It’s hard to believe you’ve been gone six and a half years. I remember thinking you were so young to die at 63, and now today, you’d be 70. SEVENTY. That sounds so old somehow.
It’s been far too long since I did a full-blown WO so I’m back with a vengeance. Not really, but it has been one of the most challenging weeks in recent memory and I’m doing my damndest to work through it without imploding.
- Vacation in Sight: That’s right, the countdown is on for a little getaway to Deutschland AKA Germany. My body is ready for all of the beer, bread, pretzels, and other stereotypical fare we can expect at none other than OKTOBERFEST. Am I excited? You betcha.
- A Dirndl: Basically the only thing that turned my mood around today (pre-vacation stress, you know) was receiving my Oktoberfest outfit. My inspiration may or may not have been Gracie Lou Freebush, and I just have a few finishing touches to make it perfekt.
- Alligator’s Birthday: My eldest niece turns SIX tomorrow. Where does the time go? She is smart, sassy, and all the things I wish I was at her age. As the leader of now two other little sisters, she’s got some big shoes to fill. Luckily, big feet run in our family. Happy almost birthday, Alligator! Ah-nt Ah-mahn-dah loves you!
- “Bad Guy” – Billie Eilish: I’ve somehow managed to miss covering this megahit teen sensation who is all the things I could never be at her age. The video is hauntingly fascinating, from skinned knees to dance moves, and the tune cannot stay out of my head for more than 2 hours at a time. I’d say “you go girl” but then I think her fans would find me and beat me up.
I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.
I spent the bulk of June cheering on my brother’s fitness progress and not doing a whole lot toward my own. I’ve fallen out of routines, de-prioritized healthy habits, and generally made excuses for my lack of motivation. For the first time probably ever, though, I’m not completely beating myself up for it. [Negative thoughts squashed: ~20]
While I still have a hard time abandoning books I don’t love, I did evolve a bit into trying shorter stories and more memoirs. I did my best to like some titles, but there were only a few standouts from the nine I consumed in June. [Books read: 9]
Weather be damned, here’s the rest of my June un-gloomed:
- Finished a Vegas trip with CHRISTINA AGUILERA and her first residency show
- Fought yet another mystery illness, perhaps my body’s way of saying “slow the F down”
- Celebrated a dear couple’s wedding and toasted with their champagne burro
- Made new friends via an Airbnb stay at said wedding weekend
- Caught up with former colleagues at a happy hour where pigeons shat on us
- Mourned the loss of the Warriors in Game 6
- Co-hosted a beach bonfire with s’mores on s’mores on s’mores
- Celebrated a friend’s birthday with putt-putt and got the only Hole in One on the 18th hole!
- Remembered Dad during a quiet, reflective Father’s Day
- Volunteered with kinders and then veterans for my company’s month of service program
- Attended Book Club, having not read the book for probably the first time ever
- Continued the tradition of seeing the “Sex and the City Live!” drag show at Oasis
- Celebrated my second mom’s birthday with bocce, barbecue, and beers
- Did some self-care work in the form of nails did, hair did, everything did
- Virtually celebrated my niece’s third birthday and sparkly cowgirl costume
This is my new bff, Zoe. She’s a little camera-shy.
Am I still blowing out birthday candles? Yes. Am I mad about it? No.
- The Never-Ending Birthday: Yes, it’s been seven days since my birthday and YES, I am with you, hating on people who are still setting off fireworks. But I’ve been quite surprised to enjoy so many celebrations, from a pinata at work to a park picnic to a delicious dinner and more. I’m feeling the love, folks!
- SFPL Is #1: You may recall my infatuation with the library and this article cements why the San Francisco Public Library is truly top-notch. From engaging programs to redefining the role of librarians, it’s clear the SFPL is #1 in our hearts and the Dewey Decimal System. (Don’t @ me for a DDS joke, y’all.)
- “52 Lists for Happiness”: This weekly journal has made the rounds on plenty of gift-giving lists and must-have articles. It was gifted to me last year, and while I wasn’t diligently sticking to the habit (and am therefore, not done), I can honestly say it’s given me a healthy and helpful way to document the things I’m proud of. Plus, it’s preeetty.
- All Drake Everythang: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Drake’s latest record-breaking album “Scorpion” and mega collaborations. Just look at the Billboard Hot 100 — he’s on 13 of the top 21! If that doesn’t scream “Success!” I don’t know what does.
If you’ve been here a while, you already know the 4th of July happens to be my birthday. And while I’ve certainly learned to embrace the annual red, white and blue theme, I was woefully unprepared for this year’s mid-week mayhem.
In any case, and in honor of my 31st birthday, I thought it fitting to acknowledge 31 things I’m especially grateful for. These aren’t in any particular order after the top 10 😉 and while some sound silly, I’m a hundred percent serious:
- My family
- My friends
- My faith
- My freedom
- My health
- My home
- My education
- My career
- Food + water
- The library
- Road trips
- The DVR
- Promo codes
- Guilty pleasures
- Being informed
- Healthy debates
- My new diffuser
- The ocean
Here’s hoping you each had a safe and celebratory 4th ❤️💙 Cheers!
Have you ever had an “oh shit” moment where you question your intelligence and entire existence, because you can’t believe you could possibly do something so stupid (read: human)? Oh boy, have I.
- Nachi Cocom Cozumel: This was far from an “oops” — this was by far, actually, the best part of #33AndCancerFree! We spent the day on a private beach with unlimited cocktails, delicious food and access to amenities. I opted to add on an oceanside massage, while others went parasailing and rented floaties. Perfection is an understatement.
- MIA TSA: Fresh off a relaxing getaway, THIS was my major f***-up. I often make snarky comments about my fellow travelers who don’t know the liquids or laptop rules, and karma came for me hard. Thankfully, the fine folks at MIA TSA Lost and Found were able to locate and overnight a very important item I left there, and I couldn’t have been happier to be reunited with it today. Major sigh of relief.
- Alli’s Birthday: It’s hard to believe my older niece didn’t stay age 3 forever, but as of yesterday, she is now 4 freaking years old. Holy heck. I don’t know where the time has gone, and I’m sure her parents feel it even more. I couldn’t be more proud of the little lady she’s growing into, and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes her. Happy birthday, Alli-gator!
- My San Franniversary: Also worth celebrating? Today’s my 3-year San Franniversary! Some days, it feels like I just got here. Other days, it feels like I’ve been here 10 years. No matter the mood, I’ve been exposed to more culture, opportunity, perspective and temperate weather than I ever imagined. Cheers to you, SF! I love to hate you sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’ve read Wittyburg since the very beginning, you know I used to have a lot more to say beyond these Weekly Obsessions. And I love these WOs — more than I ever expected I would. But I lost my way three years ago, when my dad died and I had trouble finding inspiration beyond weekly posts. Hell, I had trouble getting out of bed.
All that to say, I’m so appreciative of those who’ve stuck with me, checking in each week. I absolutely hope to bring you more varied content soon … and I want you to hold me to it this time!
This week’s obsessions are focused on my dad, as we honored his angelversary yesterday. 3 years doesn’t feel like long in the grand scheme of things, but a thousand days without hearing his voice have truly taken a toll. Combine that with an ER trip for my older niece — she’ll be OK, thank God — and yesterday sure was a doozy.
- “M*A*S*H”: There is no other show to evoke memories of my dad than this. He watched reruns religiously, we bought him the boxed sets of DVDs over the years, and I can’t hear the theme song without immediately thinking of him. Even now, if I’m mindlessly flipping through channels, I’ll land on a rerun to follow Hawkeye and crew.
- Boy Scouts of America: My dad donated countless hours to various organizations, but the BSA held a particularly special place in his heart. From helping Brother’s troop to eventually becoming Scoutmaster, dedicating summers and weekends to Camp La-No-Che in Central Florida, and selling popcorn like no other, Mr. Rick lived its mission to the fullest — scout’s honor.
- Brother’s Birthday: I’m such a selfless little sister, aren’t I? Dad wouldn’t be who he was without his first-born, who turns 33 on Friday. Despite spending our tumultuous childhoods tormenting each other, Brother has since become one of my best friends, closest confidants and biggest supporters. 143, Bud.
- “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” – Creedence Clearwater Revival: CCR is so quintessential Slick Rick, without a doubt. Among the songs we chose to play for his services, this one lifts me to another place, puts a smile on our faces, and reminds us of all the good times we had with him.
My birthday weekend went much differently than planned, which could be the universe’s way of knocking me on my ass a bit. Whatever the case, I’ve got a few things to keep me smiling through the bumps and bruises.
- Lillian Grace: Despite anxiously awaiting my niece’s arrival, there’s still something so magical about her actually making her entrance into the world. She was born on June 30 at 1:12pm ET, weighing 8lbs and 13 oz, and was 19.5in long. Welcome to our crazy, beautiful family, Lillian! I can’t wait to squish those cheeks and cover you with kisses soon.
- SFMOMA: The iconic SF Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) closed for extensive renovations before I moved here, so to say I was excited for a team outing there is a total understatement. We didn’t even make it through the entire building; there’s so much to explore and enjoy. Highly recommend whether you live in SF or are just passing through.
- Birthday Gifts: After an extra-long weekend, our office was a little sluggish getting back into the swing of things today. But two of my teams surprised me with thoughtful cards, flowers and gifts from SFMoMA, which filled my heart with happiness 🙂 ← Proof
- Sugar Pine Point: As promised, Tahoe was absolutely stunning this weekend. Our campsite was the perfect distance from the outside world, yet we were close enough to the lake that we could kayak and watch fireworks and relax without much prep at all. It’s no wonder the sites sell out on the first day of the season!
Images courtesy of: SIL + Brother, Twitter, Me x2
It’s been an emotional week for my home state, particularly for the city of Orlando. I woke up Sunday to my family and friends there marked as “Safe” on Facebook, but there are more than 50 families who weren’t as fortunate. I’m still collecting my thoughts into coherent sentences for a separate post, but until then, here are some things to help us smile through the pain:
- Hallee’s Birthday: Hallee Sorenson is a vibrant young woman, who happens to be autistic and celebrated her 18th birthday alone last year after invited guests failed to show. Her cousin Becky has now invited all of Facebook to send Hallee birthday wishes via mail. If you can take a few minutes to brighten this young lady’s day, cards can be mailed to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401
- Magz Retires: The mother of all teachers — my mother — retired last week after 32 years of teaching foreign languages and life lessons. She spent 22 years at the same high school and has inspired countless students throughout her tenure. True to form, she’s still working hard this week and grading AP tests in Cincinnati. There’s a large margarita on the rocks (no salt) with her name on it when I see her next month.
- T-Rex Competes on “America Ninja Warrior”: The T-Rex costume has provided plenty of laughs in various viral videos, but this one might just take the cake. I don’t think I could complete any of these obstacles in regular clothes, let alone an inflatable costume. Spoiler alert: T-Rex’s tiny arms may be his downfall.
- NYC Gay Men’s Chorus on “GMA”: Driving out the darkness with a message of positivity, my friend Marc and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus shone brightly on Monday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.” Their message of pride and joy to comfort the grieving Orlando and LGTBQ communities is truly mesmerizing.
On a final note, as Father’s Day approaches: If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with your dad, please call or spend time with him — anything you can — on Sunday. A close friend of mine just lost her father to cancer, 50+ children in Orlando won’t be celebrating and there are things so much bigger in this world than our stubborn differences and disputes.
After months of planning and anticipation, my cousin’s wedding was absolutely amazing! The newlyweds ended the evening with a firework sendoff fit for a fairytale. I’m sort of back to reality while working remotely from Tampa this week — so here are four things I’m loving while in the 813. Are you surprised they’re all food-related?
- The Columbia: We celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday Sunday at this iconic Ybor establishment. From mojitos to the 1905 salad to “good rice” that’s to die for, it’s no wonder this Cuban cookery has been a Tampa tradition for 110+ years. Don’t pass through Tampa without stopping by!
- Moreno Bakery: What birthday dinner would be complete without a towering, tantalizing cake? My SIL’s mom provided a fantastic Bananas Foster cake that left us all with sugar comas beyond compare. I’m actually drooling at the thought.
- Publix Subs: These things have a cult following for a reason. The PubSub is actually life-changing, and being so far from this grocery store makes them all that more special when I’m in Florida. Boar’s Head Italian FTW!
- “Sugar” – Maroon 5: Full disclosure: I actually can’t stand this song (or Adam Levine’s voice, still). But something about hearing it at a wedding — or when my niece is in the car — just gets the people going. Plus, the video is just the cutest ever (fake or not).