Category Archives: California Discoveries

Mama-Fay-Diego Day

Last Friday I had an appointment in SF, so I decided to make a day of it with my mom and Diego :)


Diego was great on the way there-he handled the traffic, BART ride, and non-working elevators like a champ.

A few years ago, when we went to see Mindy Kaling at the Nourse Theater, we went to a wine bar across the street from Zuni Cafe. I remember being struck by the big yellow awnings, and mini-Flatiron building architecture, and taking a mental note to return some day. When my mom recommended it for lunch, I was like, yessssss please!!!


It was such a treat. A beautiful restaurant, with a zinc bar, wood-stone oven, and big, airy windows. And the food was delicious! Check out that mountain of fries…


Even if the food was terrible, the awnings alone would make me love the place. They’re so friendly!


Can’t we Talk about Something More Pleasant? is one of my absolute favorite books. The Contemporary Jewish Museum has an exhibit of Roz Chast’s illustrations and we walked over there after lunch.
The curator’s description of Chast’s humor is spot on:

Its a humor of complaint…It’s a humor of nostalgia, which actually is a humor of the costs of change, and the tragic brevity of human existence.  It’s a humor about social foibles, the silliness of so much of our behavior we take for granted.”


The exhibit has an entire wall covered in pages from the book, and I loved seeing my favorite moment in the memoir in real life.


And had to take a picture in front of the elder lawyer story. And omg, Diego’s expression!


After the museum, we walked down to the Hyatt at the Embarcadero. Of the places I breastfed that day (the SF Federal Building, the museum lobby, and the hotel) this was the best. The atrium of the hotel is a perfect respite from the city, with comfy, quiet corners perfect for feeding babies.

After picking up some empanadas and alfajores at El Porteno in the Ferry Building, it was time to go home.


Diego hit his limit in the car-its a long journey back!

Grateful for the pretty weather and a wonderful day with two of my favorite people!

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First flight!

Hello, Friday.  So, yesterday was awful.  Diego and I watched the votes on C-SPAN, and one of us burst into tears when the AYE column hit 216 (I was too angry to cry). Truly horrible-appreciated this summary of what happened and what should happen next.

Anyway, in an effort to not totally slip into despair, trying to think of happier moments from the last few days. On Wednesday, Diego and I flew back home after a great trip to Irvine to see my parents.  Some photos from Diego’s first flight and the trip:

My dad flew to Sacramento for the day last Friday, so I decided it was a perfect opportunity to tag along for the flight back. I was definitely anxious about flying with a baby, but also excited to take a trip and pull the band aid off the first-flight-fears. On Saturday morning, the three of us headed to the airport.

Even though it is only an hour flight, the door-to-door process took about as long as driving, once we factored in the long drive to the airport (one of my frequent complaints about living in Stockton–distance from the airport) and time checking and retrieving baggage. Thankfully, since it was a Saturday afternoon, the airport was pretty quiet and we were able to get three seats together, no problem.  Also-super exciting to get Diego’s first boarding pass!

img_1825Clearly, I’m way more excited about all of this than he is.

Sleeping on the plane–thank you, Diego :)

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And thank you, Dad, for getting us to Irvine! As excited as I was about taking the flight, I was even more thrilled to land in Irvine.  We picked up my suitcase and the car seat from baggage claim and headed to one of my favorite restaurants for an early dinner.

img_1851img_1916California had a heat wave this week, so we tried to walk earlier in the afternoon and in the evenings.  After years and years of drought, it is pretty great to see all the greenery in May.

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Happy hour from my favorite perch in the family room :)

When I was pregnant, I often thought about introducing my baby to the beach.  Images of the waves at Crystal Cove became my focal point for when I needed to push during labor-and when that never happened, I thought about those ocean scenes to *slighty* calm down pre-surgery.  All to say I was especially excited to introduce Diego to Crystal Cove.

He was pretty unfazed by the gorgeous views, but it was a special moment for me.  We picked up potato chips and coleslaw and had a picnic dinner on the deck overlooking the ocean. It was awesome.

Soon it was Wednesday, and time to fly back home-David was desperately missing this face!

And now it’s Friday–looking forward to the weekend! (Side note-I always wondered if weekends would feel different when not working–would every day feel like a weekend? But it’s funny, I still get super excited about Fridays, even though I’ve been home all week.  Even when temporarily not working, weekends are still WAY better–the three of us are all together, the world seems to quiet down, and it’s just better).

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Great idea for caregivers

One of the best parts of living in DC (and something I miss) is the lunch-time lectures hosted by various think-tanks and universities.  There’s always something interesting happening, somewhere to go and learn.  Several years ago, the Center for American Progress hosted a conversation with Jane Gross, a reporter for the New York Times. I immediately RSVP-d (and not just because the CAP lectures always had good sandwiches-the fancy kind, with crisp, fresh veggies).  I’d recently finished Jane Gross’ A Bittersweet Season and was a huge fan of her blog on aging, The New Old Age.

In her book, and during the lunch conversation, she highlighted the startling lack of support our society provides to caregivers.  Beyond our abysmal federal protections, void of any paid leave support, even in our families and communities, we frequently fail caregivers.  While aging and caregiving is a part of the natural life-cycle, it is largely ignored  in a way that other life-cycle moments are not.  When someone gets married, or has a child, tradition dictates a joyous response from the community: throwing showers, providing advice, helping the couple prepare for their new role.  In her book, Jane Gross points out that there’s no equivalent for caregivers.  When someone has to take weeks or months off of work to care for a loved one, they are lucky if they get the time covered–and there’s definitely no “shower” equivalent, no tradition of a community rallying to fortify the caregiver with the tools and essentials needed for the new challenge.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the years (and many other thoughtful observations Jane Gross writes about in the book–seriously, highly recommend it!).  And so, I was particularly excited to see this brilliant idea from the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program: a caregiver bootcamp. According to the press release, in the program: “Participants learn everything from how to prevent falls to how to calm a patient when they’re confused or agitated. The boot camp gives caregivers the best tools to manage their role, which can quickly become emotionally and physically taxing.”

Of COURSE UCLA would come up with such a clever program :) While much more is needed to support caregivers, this idea seems like a very important start. (Note: TBH, I don’t love the term “bootcamp” for something like this…and the headline’s use of the phrase “forced to take on caregiving” makes me a bit uncomfortable…..but tomato, tomato, it’s a great concept and definitely a step in the right direction!).

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Take a walk

Inspired, as always, by Hillary’s grace and composure, I decided we needed to take a walk. A long walk. When David sent me the photo of Hillary walking in the woods, I immediately began planning an afternoon in Big Trees.  We needed to get outside.

We picked up sandwiches at Gians and made our way the 1.5 drive to Murphys/Big Trees. The fresh air at the higher elevation was restorative. The trees, already magnificent in their height, were even more splendid in the late afternoon light.




Gratitude for our public lands and our Veterans were at the front of my mind, looking out at that beautiful view.


It felt good to walk and reflect. David and I constantly talk about everything, but I’m a true believer that there’s something to be said about walking and talking to truly work through knotty mental tangles. We’ve both been anxious and troubled by Tuesday and it felt so good to talk through it all, totally uninterrupted, outside.

I mean, those trees, just amazing!! The afternoon in the trees and sunshine did wonders. Still incedibly worried and scared, but it was a relief to be surrounded by all that natural beauty.

Driving back, we stopped at the Red Apple for some sweets.


We never made it to Apple Hill this year and I’ve been craving an apple cider donut all fall. The Red Apple donuts are incredible. We each devoured one-and it was so good-we had to split another. After this awful week, it felt good to delight in something so delicious.

Hoping for a peaceful, quiet weekend.

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Remembering

Thinking about a remarkable person today.  I’m sitting in our little house, in Stockton, and thinking, how many people woke up this morning, and the first person they thought of was Tim.  How many people in this city are carrying beautiful memories of an incredible man, while making their way through their morning, remembering and reflecting.

This weekend, the mental replay of my few memories of Tim was on a constant loop.  Memories of the first time I met Tim and Katie.  I must have been back in California for just a few months, totally overwhelmed by the change, and completely unclear about David’s new job, and what did this whole downtown revitalization thing really mean? From the moment we sat down at Mile Wine with Katie and Tim-they already had a crisp bottle of bubbly open-and shared afternoon drinks and laughs, I felt at ease.  Tim’s enthusiasm for the city combined with his remarkable ability to zero in on tactical actions to ignite change left quite an impression.

Memories of Tim at a birthday party, at Huddle events and the Stockmarket, and stories from David, came flooding back this weekend.  At the time, living in Oakland, I was so removed (geographically and mentally) from everything in Stockton. I realize now I was present for so little of that year.  This weekend, I felt like I was wringing memories from a sponge, trying to get another drop, another memory.  I realized, tragically, how briefly I knew Tim. Reading about his friendships and impact-across this city and world-it is totally clear that I was a blip on the screen of his life, at best.  Yet, in my life, and likely in the lives of so many others, his impact was profound.  That must be the mark of an incredible life; to move and impact a universe of people far more than they will ever impact you.

A week after he died, I read Ta Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. Interestingly, my work book club is reading it and we’re talking about it tomorrow.  At the time, I felt haunted by Coates’ memories of his friend Prince, who the world lost far too soon.  Once again, these words keep playing in my mind as I think and reflect on Tim’s memory.

I think every day and about whom I expect to think every day for the rest of my life.  I think sometimes that he was an invention, and in some ways he is, because when the young are killed they are haloed by all that was possible, all that was plundered.  He was kind.  Generosity radiated off of him, and he seemed to have a facility with everyone and everything. This can never be true, but there are people who pull the illusion off without effort and (he) was one of them.  I can only say what I saw, what I felt.  There are people whom we do not fully know, and yet, they live in a place within us, and when they are plundered, when they lose their bodies and the dark energy disperses, the place becomes a wound.

Like Coates’ says, I can only say what I saw, what I felt.  A man who helped others see promise where there was so little hope, who brought electricity to every moment, and who brought great relief, inspiration and laughter to this sometimes doubtful outsider.  Tim, you are so missed.

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B. Getty Photo

 

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