The holiday season is in full swing, and as if I needed another reminder of it, today was the FOURTH White Elephant I’ve participated in this month. Over-commit much? I’m rocking my special sweater, tree earrings and festive fur so you better believe I’m trying to ward off my usual Grinch-y tendencies and embrace the season wholeheartedly.
- SF Ballet’s Nutcracker: Thanks to a monster group discount and the Junior League of San Francisco, I’ll be enjoying tonight’s performance of this winter classic for a nominal fee. Sugar plum fairies and pirouettes await to fulfill all my wildest prima ballerina dreams. I have no doubt my intro to the SF Ballet will be a memorable one.
- Suppenküche: A dear friend hosts an awesome annual dinner at this SF staple during Hanukkah, and this year’s celebration was no exception. From dreidel spin-offs to giant potato pancakes and banana beer, it’s a tradition I remember fondly every year. Who knows? Maybe one year I’ll even break tradition and go twice.
- The Exploratorium: Despite living in SF for 4+ years, I hadn’t yet ventured into this museum of curiosity, adventure and education. My department holiday party was here last weekend, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed the activities at every turn. The food and photo booths helped, too, but I’d happily revisit on a “normal” day.
- “All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey: Duhhhh. I can’t help myself and refuse to apologize for it. Between last week’s viewing of “Love Actually” and Carey’s always entertaining holiday antics, this is about the only seasonal tune I can listen to more than once a day. Don’t @ me, you knew it was coming at some point.
Yesterday’s shooting at YouTube HQ hit close to home, as you can imagine. I’m grateful to report my handful of friends who work there are all safe, but it’s yet another example of this complex issue and our system’s failure to address it. I’m not one to stand on a soapbox but I also feel like we just continue to shout into the void. Distractions are sometimes necessary, and here’s what’s keeping my mind occupied otherwise:
- Rediscovering Volleyball: After many months of discussion with a few girlfriends, we’ve finally gotten a volleyball team together and had our first practice last night. It’s been at least eight years since I bumped, set or spiked — and my forearms are feeling it — but I’m pumped for the next 10 weeks of play. Game on!
- SF Walk to Work Day: Inspired by last night’s sweat sesh, I reignited my walking commute today. Perfect timing, as tomorrow is SF’s Walk to Work Day. Assuming the Pineapple Express storm of the century holds off, I’ll be sure to stop by the nearest freebie hub to celebrate. Hills be damned, who wouldn’t prefer a scenic walk over a crowded bus ride with strangers’ armpits in your face?
- “RuPaul’s Drag Race”: 10 seasons of Drag Race? You’re a winner, baby. It’s been interesting to see the evolution of this series, including the All-Stars spin-offs, and this season has no shortage of drama. The contestants, the challenges, the judges — I’m living for it all. Catch new episodes on Thursdays at 8pm ET, only on VH1.
- “Bad at Love” – Halsey: The enigmatic songstress was recently a judge on Drag Race, promptly reminding me to consume her discography. This current chart-topper is no stranger to being a fan favorite, and I’d bet that nearly every millennial has felt “bad at love” at some point in modern dating. Enjoy!
I don’t know what it is about Wednesdays lately that I’m often struggling to get my head on straight, but I was able to cobble a few things together this time around:
- Antibiotics: Last week, my boss interrupted me on a conference call and urged me to see a doctor. I finally took the advice and went to a Walk-In Care clinic and was promptly prescribed antibiotics. I’ve since started feeling like a human again! I don’t recall the last time I was that sick but am so grateful to have both my nostrils functioning.
- Lafayette Park: San Francisco is experiencing some of the most beautiful weather possible in February, so I took full advantage last weekend by lounging around this neighborhood hotspot. 70 degrees and sunny? Doesn’t get much better than that. Bonus: It’s more of a family-friendly park so the DILFs are out in full force. Boom.
- Burlingame: I spent Super Bowl Sunday with friends in this South Bay gem I hadn’t yet explored. While I didn’t get any photos myself, I will definitely be back to discover more. For a quick 30-minute train ride from SF, you can’t beat the small-town feel with big-city culture. I’m especially intrigued by the PEZ Museum — talk about a throwback!
- “Meant to Be” – Bebe Rexha f. Florida Georgia Line: This earworm has been stuck in my head for a solid week, and I’m not even mad about it. While the lyrics are deceptively simple, the melody is complex enough to keep me coming back for more. I dare you to give it a listen and tell me you don’t feel the same.
For the first time in many weeks, I have mostly good news to share. It’s a Christmas (season) miracle! And while we’ll kick off on a somber note, I can’t express enough how trying 2017 has been for so many. The hope of what 2018 will soon bring is about all that’s getting me through right now.
- Remembering Mayor Lee: Yesterday, me and my San Francisco neighbors awoke to the news of the unexpected passing of our Mayor, Ed Lee. He was 65. After suffering a heart attack in a Safeway Monday night, he died at SF General in the early morning hours, leaving behind his wife and daughters, and a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten. No matter your opinion of his policy, no one can argue with how good a man he was and how hard he fought to protect SF and its residents.
- Holiday Soul with OIGC: From a touching tribute to Mayor Lee to appearances by Cece Winans and more, last night’s performance of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir with the San Francisco Symphony was incredible. I’m normally quite grinchy when it comes to holiday cheer, but my two-sizes-too-small heart will always beat for outstanding voices joining in worship.
- Doug Jones Wins: What’s that glimmer of hope amid all the bulllshit 2017 brought? Alabama chose people over party last night, in the highly contested seat for Senate vacated by (now Attorney General) Jeff Sessions. Take all of the chatter and “it’s temporary” talk out of it — this is a HUGE win for the often marginalized and silenced victims of sexual abuse. An extra special thank-you to the black voters who clearly supported the cause, and without whom, this victory wouldn’t be possible.
- “Oh Happy Day” – “Sister Act 2”: Not only was this my favorite song from the movie, but it also made an appearance at the Holiday Soul concert AND accurately sums up my feelings on Alabama. Oh, and anything with Whoopi Goldberg and/or Lauryn Hill gets me going. Need I say more?
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.
It should come as no surprise that I’m ex-haus-ted this week. It’s a good problem to have, given how many fun experiences and projects I’ve had lately. But it’s all caught up to me just in time for a wine country day Saturday and the big 3-0 Tuesday. Here’s what’s helping me attempt to unwind before then:
- Tracey Mammolito Photography: The woman responsible for those amazing photos I shared yesterday, y’all. Tracey’s energy was contagious, she made me feel comfortable (despite looking VERY silly in a public park) and her communication was spot-on. If you’re in SF and need a profesh photog, Tracey’s your girl.
- BachFantasy: This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to betting on “The Bachelorette,” but it is my first season in a BachFantasy league. The recaps are entertaining, and the spreadsheet is a wet dream for OCD nerds like me. We’re up to the mid-season draft, and although I’m pretty far out of first, I’m hoping my dark horse picks will make a comeback soon.
- Sutter Health: Remember that career leap I mentioned yesterday? Well, today I can officially share I’ve accepted an offer to join Sutter Health as their Manager of Content Strategy and Multimedia! Sutter is a not-for-profit network of doctors, hospitals and health services for millions of Californians, and I couldn’t be more excited to call it my next home. I’ll have more to share soon, but at least that cat’s out of the bag 🙂
- “California Girls” – The Beach Boys: Call me old school, but there’s something about this classic that just puts a sunshiney smile on my face. I don’t know that I’m considered a true Californian at just a few years in, but my family can attest to my lifetime appreciation for The Beach Boys. Bonus: They remind me of my dad, and riding around in his beat-up ‘91 Ford Ranger.
I’m running out of ways to say how messed up the world is. I read about the Virginia shooting on my way into work, only to learn around 9am (from my desk) about the UPS shooting in San Francisco, five blocks from my office. We were told to stay inside, and our security staff remained on high alert until the area was clear and the shooter was confirmed in custody.
Trying to make sense of these people’s motives feels futile: It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, how you feel wronged by your employer — any of it. Lives are lost at the hands of others, who very clearly need help and healthy ways to express their anger.
Hot on the heels of the Pulse anniversary, my heart shattered today when I called my mom and heard her crying. I can’t imagine what these families are feeling, to know they aren’t able to hear their loved ones respond and say they’re OK.
I don’t have the answer to gun violence and/or control. It’s a complicated issue, obviously, and I don’t believe the answer is as simple as a sentence or two. What I do believe is that violence is not the answer. Hurting others doesn’t solve these problems. Pointing blame is pointless.
So it feels tone deaf to share about the week I’ve had, when others aren’t as lucky. Instead, I suggest you call your loved ones — for no reason at all, except to say hello — and to hug those you can a little tighter.
This playlist has been my inspiration all week, and it’s worth a listen if you’re in need of comfort. As always, if you need more than music, there are organizations to help.