I haven’t been back to Florida in six months, so it’s just about time for waves of homesickness to set in. It doesn’t help that we just had Father’s Day (our sixth without Dad), my parents’ anniversary (their 39th), and my grandma’s birthday would be tomorrow (happy 89th in Heaven, Grammy!). Here’s what’s helping me get through the hometown blues:
- FaceTime: I mean, duh. There’s likely no way I would get through being far from family if it weren’t for the power of technology. I’m very grateful for my mom, brother, SIL, and the whole gang being up for FaceTiming regularly. It’s nothing like being there, of course, but it’s absolutely a great (and cheap!) alternative.
- A Cowgirl’s 3rd Birthday: Coming in hot this weekend is my younger niece, who turns THREE on Sunday! I can hardly believe she’ll be a three-nager in no time. Her current obsession with Jessie the cowgirl shows no sign of stopping, so it’s only fitting she dress the part in a sparkly hat and pair of boots to “ride like the wind, Bullseye!”
- “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Randy Newman: All this Toy Story talk has me thinking of the classic (how old am I?) song that brought us all to tears. Of the many musical moments we have Pixar to thank for, this one easily sits near the top tunes to take us back. I also can’t help but think of the show “Monk” when I hear it, but that’s another story for another week.
- #PrideForever: There’s no place like home, eh Dorothy? And there’s nowhere I’d rather be to celebrate 50 years of the modern LGBTQ+ movement than in gay ol’ San Francisco. Living in such an accepting, love-filled, progressive place can have its scary moments. But overall, I feel very privileged and special to reside in this Bay Area among people of all identities and backgrounds.
Sometimes the simplest things in life can truly bring the greatest pleasures. I got back to my simple roots this week and, I gotta say, it really helped me get through some shit.
- GoT Finale: Wouuuld we call this simple? No. But finally knowing how our beloved Starks and the rest of the Westeros crew fared brings such closure to the chaos. Didn’t love it, wouldn’t rate it 10/10, but does any finale ever really nail it? Thanks for the memories, GoT. And now our watch has ended.
- Olive Garden: I don’t know if there’s another restaurant that reminds me of home as much as the OG. My grandpa (Pop) was a daily visitor and everyone knows those breadsticks can inspire family feuds like no other. I had my first-ever Tour of Italy and will be visiting again soon.
- Lolli & Pops: Next to the only OG in town is a massive mall, containing this SF treasure. We were actual kids in a candy store as my friend gasped “Pineapple! Gummy sharks!” etc. etc. The massive candy bark and cookie-dough bites are worth the visit alone.
- “Candy” – Mandy Moore: Well, duh. But I also killed some time the other day watching “Center Stage” and was reminded of this perennial pop hit’s place in history. Doesn’t get sweeter than that. Love always, Mandy.
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 told myself I’d try a “clean eating on weekdays” approach in March but I most certainly did not. Instead, I started on the 1st with a Mexican fiesta lunch, spent mid-March in San Diego (Mexican food capital of California) and ended the 31st with a wine-and-tacos apartment purge party. Noticing a theme? Ay dios mio. [🌮 eaten: ~20]
Despite having plenty of time to devote to reading on the shuttle and quick flights, I found myself not able to power through any reads the way I normally would. (For context, I can usually get through a book in 2-4 sittings, and a few days’ time.) That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my March picks, but I do think I was considerably less motivated with my brain on overdrive in work summits and commitments. [📚 read: 3.5]
Some highlights from the madness that was this past month:
- Bowling with dear friends who moved to New York last year
- Celebrating a housemate’s birthday with incredible Cajun cuisine
- Meeting lots of inspiring and empowering women through Junior League of SF
- Attending a newcomer summit for work + getting uplifting insight
- Looking for a new apartment with a current housemate
- Catching up with a longtime friend during her stay in SF before she moves back to NYC
- Checking out a crystal fair (really!) and somehow buying only jewelry
- Hosting my fave former writer for lunch at my new(ish) job
- Happy hour-ing with other former writers and getting the tea
- Helping another former writer with her portfolio
- Spending a week in San Diego with my family
- Experiencing DisneyLand for the first time and seeing my nieces go wild
- Attending a global summit for work + meeting tons of colleagues face-to-face
- Exploring the Exploratorium 😉 and its After Dark series for the first time
- Celebrating a handful of close friends’ birthdays with drinks, dinners, brunches galore
Six people looking at the camera = a Christmas miracle
This week our little Witty family finds itself in San Diego (insert Anchorman joke here). It’s been fun so far seeing my nieces light up with excitement over everything from the donut shop to the hotel room sliding glass door. It’s not been the best to see them freak out over sharing and pushing elevator buttons buuuut you win some, you lose some.
- The Donut Bar: Don’t let the simple name fool you. This sweet shop offers fun, festive donuts and a ton of drinks on tap (including rich chocolate milk). It also happens to be a block from our hotel, making it almost impossible to resist. Somehow, we’ve only managed to go twice so far 😉 And, compared to SF prices, they’re a good deal for the size of the sweets.
- The Taco Stand: I won’t give San Diego points for naming creativity, but maybe their businesses just benefit from Google search terms. Right next to The Donut Bar is this fan favorite of locals and visitors alike. I tried the nopal (cactus), fried fish, and shrimp varieties, and 2/3 were truly perfect. We’re heading to the La Jolla location for sunset on Friday, so I’ll be sure to report back about round two.
- Muppet Babies: One of the benefits of being around kiddos is learning about all the stuff they watch. I had no idea this classic cartoon was redone for Disney and featuring an all-new (to me) character, a penguin named Summer. Fozzie still has awful jokes; Kermie is still helpless without my fave, Miss Piggy; and Animal is still my younger niece’s spirit… animal. Gonzo rounds out the crew for ridiculous adventures and antics.
- Disneyland: A second benefit of kid time is seeing the
worlder, land, through their eyes. Even though they’re already experts at Walt Disney World, they got to experience a whole new (to them) park and distinguish differences between the two. From the classic It’s a Small World and Thunder Mountain Railroad to the Star Wars area, infinity and beyond, they had an absolute blast.
For the first time since my dad died in 2013, his birthday falls on a Wednesday. To say I’m obsessed with anything but his memory today would be absurd.
I’m grateful to have an understanding boss and team so I could work from home and sort my feelings away from a cubicle. I had plenty of meetings to keep my mind occupied, but it inevitably drifted many times today to how he would be celebrating.
Slick Rick was larger than life in many ways. He was not the most patient or affectionate father, but the values he instilled in us were exactly what we needed (even if we didn’t know it then). My brother and I inherited his work ethic, commitment to community, quick temper and affinity for wrestling. Our mom loved him throughout 33 years of marriage and countless ups and downs.
Dad’s stroke in 1995 changed our world overnight. He wasn’t expected to live, let alone recover. He took that prognosis head-on and regained his ability to talk, walk, write and drive — while being permanently paralyzed on his dominant right side.
Growing up with a handicapped father taught me a lot about how cruel the world can be and how much life can change in an instant. We didn’t always get along, but I’ve lived every day of adulthood trying to make him proud and see the result of his parental guidance.
It hasn’t gotten easier to keep his memory alive these past 5.5 years but I’ll keep honoring him in big and small ways as long as I can.
143 always, Big Guy ❤️
At my brother’s wedding, November 2012
I thought I’d take a different approach this week, since a common theme has surfaced time and time again recently: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The Good: My beloved laptop did not have a meltdown, as I feared it might, while my young nieces played assistant and tapped, tapped, tapped away on my keyboard Monday night. I was fortunate to be able to work remotely during a quick trip to Florida, but man was I fearing the worst while they oohed and aahed over a non-touchscreen device.
The Bad: I did have a meltdown. A fatal flaw of mine is taking on the weight of the world, and it’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s part perfectionism, part insanity, but I can’t seem to let things go or let others “do” for me. This often manifests itself in my impatience and lack of trust, and sometimes, it gets so bad I go into full shutdown mode.
The Ugly: The emotions from said shutdown, plus from seeing my family for such a fleeting few days, made for quite the ugly cry. Thankfully, hugs from my nieces, comforting words from my mom, support from my brother and sister-in-law, and all-around love from extended family and friends helped me get through the worst of it. Just goes to show, no matter how old you are, your support system is everything.
Which of these smileys most closely fits your week? Let me know in the comments below!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and I’m spending it in New York with some of my very favorite people. So far, we’ve managed to clock in more than 11 miles of walking, the Museum of Mathematics, countless tasty treats, and — tonight — we’ll add The Rockettes to the list.
I couldn’t be happier to spend this time with my mom, aunt, uncle and cousins. We don’t see each other often, and when we do, it’s not a collective vacation. I feel incredibly blessed to be here with them, and I hope time slows down juuust a little bit during the rest of our trip.
A more reflective year-end post is coming, but I’m just enjoying living in these moments for now. Cheers, y’all!