Category Archives: Observations

Baby shower weekend

This weekend, I had an interesting (and delightful!) experience attending three baby showers in a 24 hours. Going in to the weekend, I hadn’t expected to be so moved by the events, but man, they were beautiful.

Diego and David with his cousins, celebrating Alina’s baby-to-be :)

Our state is currently reeling from multiple horrific tragedies and ongoing wildfire destruction. The fires were constantly top of mind, with so much smoke, the city smelled like a campsite and the sky was completely hazy.

It’s difficult to be positive, or even future-thinking, when so many are facing such harrowing circumstances. And that’s probably ok-I think it’s important to be aware and thoughtful of reality.

At the same time, wallowing in misery doesn’t help anyone, so it was especially nice to be distracted by such joyful events this weekend.

And what joy! Over the two days, we saw friends and family, which is always the best tonic.

Diego and Colin at baby Cora’s Sip and See

Beyond the buoying effect of gathering together, was the extra joy preparing for these sweet babies. As we were unloading pink gift bags at Katie’s uncle’s house, and looking around the long table of joyful family at Tia Sonia’s, and watching giddy toddlers on tricycles at the Hirsh home, I felt this overwhelming sense of…I know it sounds cheesy…but love. So many acts of love and hope, of people gathering together to say, “Hey, baby! We’re so excited for you! And we’re here for you and your family!”

As someone who did literally nothing other than show up, I’ll say it takes a lot of work to put on a baby shower. And what is love if not putting in work to show someone you care?

Last night, as we passed around the sweetest handmade stuffed rabbit, cooed over the tiniest little headbands, and gushed over the tear-jerking power of the Nancy Tillman books, my heart felt full and hopeful for the future. While vitriolic Twitter spats and terrifying news personalities can lead me to think everyone is awful and we’re headed for doom, seeing all the love and care and effort this weekend certainly challenged that narrative.

It was a beautiful weekend. Today, we observed Veterans Day and the three of us spent the day together.

We mostly stayed home-my attempt to find an indoor play place open on the holiday was unsuccessful-but it was nice and cozy.

We started the day with a rare treat: brunch at Rockridge Cafe. We walked around the neighborhood for a bit, before heading to Trader Joe’s and hunkering down for the day. We watched a zillion SNL re-runs, read the paper, cooked, and had a lot of time to just delight in Diego.

Hoping the fires are soon contained and praying for recovery for all impacted.

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Taking care

This afternoon, one of my colleagues shared an e-mail reflecting on how we can take care of each other, especially when world events feel so overwhelming.

It’s got me thinking of the my comfort anchors, and how I’m trying to take better care and tune out the difficult noise. Here’s some things on my list:

Water:

Nature, fresh air, and most of all-water. One of my resolutions this year was to try to see the water-the ocean, lakes, anything-at least once a week. I’ve been mostly sticking to it, and it helps a lot.

Evening walks:

Walking has always been my sanity saver, and I really rely on that time to feel centered. Now that Diego is so active, we don’t do quite the post-daycare marathon walks that we used to (he can’t really spend an hours+ chilling in the stroller-he needs to run!) but I do treasure the walks to and from daycare/the park.

3) Reading:

(Diego always pulls the Joan Didions off the shelf-ha) The library is open later on Tuesdays, so we’re generally there about once a week. I’m currently reading the new AQ book, Alternate Side. It’s pretty good. Other recent totally-get-lost-and-tune-out-the-noise reads: Hey Ladies!, How Hard Can it Be?, Little Fires Everywhere, and After Birth. A few weeks ago, All We Ever Wanted would have been that list, but a central plot element is disturbingly similar to the Kavanaugh horror, so not entirely an escape. But a really good read. And nothing is ever completely removed from the tensions and anxiety of actual life-at least, I think that’s what makes reading interesting.

4) The Women’s Hour on the BBC:

Of course, podcasts. I like all the hits (Fresh Air, CYG, Coffee+Crumbs, Katie Couric, The Weeds), but I when I really need to escape, I go to the UK. There’s something so comforting about Jane Garvey’s voice, and when things are suffocatingly bonkers in the US, hearing about them from an outside perspective always gives me some much needed separation and perspective. The interview with Kimberle Crenshaw after the hearings was the best analysis I read/heard.

5) Limited Social Media

Somehow, this summer, I became a total Instagram junkie. It’s embarrassing the number of hours wasted scrolling through stories, particularly when I constantly complained about how tired I was. But it’s so hard to cut back! Anyway, I quit for about three weeks, and it REALLY helped clear my head. I’m back on, but trying to monitor and limit my use. We’ll see. It’s absurdly addicting.

6) Wine

A good end of the day glass always helps. Also-this bottle! It is FOUR DOLLARS at Trader Joe’s. I asked the wine rep if it was terrible, and he goes “it’s flying off the shelves.” I was still super skeptical, but figured it couldn’t hurt to try. It’s shockingly pretty good!

7) These two.

The best reason to turn off the news/phone-time with them :)

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4th of July

Listening to fireworks, thinking about our imperfect union, hoping that it will improve, feeling grateful for this country and this relaxing day with family.

The weather was perfect, and we spent the day in Stockton, with a beautiful afternoon at the pool. Silvia made a delicious lunch and it was pretty special floating around in the pool, under the sun, on a Wednesday afternoon.

But for Diego? The highlight of this holiday? Hanging with his BFF, Charlie.

He’s just smitten with this dog.

And loooooooves sharing his Cheerios.

Unfortunately, with his tiny apartment and his mom’s low tolerance for Additional Logistical Responsibilities, it looks like Diego won’t have a dog of his own for a while. Thank goodness visits with his grandma!

Happy 4th of July :)

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Summer travel

I’m at the airport, waiting to board a flight-my first non-work solo flight since Diego was born. I’m flying to Dallas for very brief (less than 36 hours!) girls weekend with Kelleen and Katie. I’m so excited.

A week ago, exactly, we were at the airport in Maui, gearing up for our long, long post-vacation flight home.

Diego had a rough week in Maui-a cold, teething, heat rashes-but was surprisingly chipper at the airport. He crawled all over the terminal, giddy at all the open space after a week in a hotel. I naively assumed his good mood indicated an easy flight ahead.

Ohhh was I wrong.

I felt every minute of that 4 hour, 40 minute flight. Once we (finally) arrived in Oakland, David and I laughed at the absurdity of all of it: Diego, hardly sleeping, the food service running out just before our row, the fifteen lap babies squished into the back few rows-at least one (including ours) screaming, the poor but remarkably kind stranger who got stuck in our row, reassuring us of our “great parenting!” as we slowly fell apart.

A week later, I feel like we’re still recovering from the trip. I admit, I was entirely too confident about our capacity to travel as a family. The week in Maui (in Maui!!) was far more exhausting than I anticipated. It’s a weird thing to be in such a magical haven for restoration, staring at sparkly, clear-blue water, and think, ughhhh….I’m so drained.

When we got home, I felt kind of rattled by the experience. If we can’t hack it as a family in Maui-at a gorgeous resort-will we ever travel as a family? Of course, some of it was (hopefully) unique to this experience: hopefully Diego won’t cut a molar on future trips, hopefully we won’t all get hit by viral bugs-but maybe traveling with kids is way more tiring than I thought? And if that’s the case, is it even worth it?

All week, David and I joked that here on out: no big family trips. One hour drive or less. But I can already feel that creeping wanderlust in the back of my head saying, noooo….we can do this! We have to keep traveling. It practically our responsibility as parents.

Realistically, we probably don’t need (and can’t afford) to do another big trip like this for several years. Diego won’t remember it anyway. But when he’s older…I hope we re-commit to travel (and to exposing him to places beyond beach resorts).

I’m thinking of all of this at an airport, on a day when travel thoughts took front of mind. The first thing I saw this morning was news of Anthony Bourdain’s death. His loss hit me in an unfamiliar way. I generally think about celebrity deaths when they happen, or come up in conversation. They rarely provoke a sense of, wow, but my life wouldn’t be the same without that person. But it really wouldn’t.

When we went to Dublin, our bus ride from the airport was diverted due to protests. We spotted a restaurant we recognized from Bourdain’s No Reservations, and jumped off the bus to check it out. It was a highlight of the trip. In Istanbul, I remember following David, as he navigated us through the crowded madness of Taksim Square, on a search for Durumzade, another (incredible) Bourdain find.

It’s been interesting reading about his impact on so many. He wasn’t preaching anything revolutionary-just be curious. But it certainly hit a nerve, and is a perspective I’ll miss:

“If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.

Anyway, thinking about all of this as the season of summer travel begins. Maybe it’s the time distance from the vacation, maybe it’s all the reading about adventure, but it certainly wants to make me reconsider our travel hesitation. Maybe. But only if we get Diego a seat. Definitely don’t want to do any more long haul flights with a lap baby!

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Train love

Last week, I spent two days in LA for a training. I noticed these two cuties waiting for the metro on the way back to Union Station. The held hands waiting for the train…


And they didn’t let go as they got in the car…


And their sweetness just made me smile.

Happy Wednesday :)

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