If you’re going to San Francisco…

This week, I am coming off a fantastic long weekend in San Francisco with my best friend. Re-entry into real life has been rather rude (especially after that flight delay that got me home at 2:30 a.m.), but I have memories of our resort stay, city excursions and Napa Valley tour to sustain me. I won’t bore you with all our travel details but will share a few pictures and just say that I’m pretty lucky to have spent several fabulous days with a lovely friend who goes all the way back to high school, knows all my secrets and loves me anyway. I miss you already, Lila!

(All pictures taken with an iPhone – no digital SLR on this trip!)

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Our historic cottage at Cavallo Point, at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, directly across the bay from San Francisco

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A few of the famed “painted ladies” seen on our Victorian homes walking tour

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Stained glass skylight inside a restored Victorian home, now a hotel

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From the Golden Gate Park rose garden

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Japanese gardens

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From our walk back across the Golden Gate Bridge

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Seen from across the bay, in Sausalito

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Fabulous weekly farmer’s market at the ferry building in San Fran

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Inside the ferry building

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Chinatown, obviously

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Ferry that took us from the city across the bay to Sausalito, where our resort was located

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Alcatraz as seen from the ferry

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Sausalito

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Napa Valley train ride

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Castello di Amorosa winery tour

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Views from the castle

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Roses and grape vines at another winery along the way

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Our resort (partial view on far left, red roofs), the marina and bay as seen from our hike Monday morning

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Another year older, and what do you get?

This past Tuesday was my 34th birthday. This is a ridiculous number. I don’t find it exactly depressing. It’s more that my mind soundly rejects the number and instead clings to the image of my college self as the real me. (The continuing discovery of gray hairs would perhaps tell a different story. As would the fact that my 15-year high school reunion is a few short weeks away. Then there are the forehead lines… Okay, now this IS getting depressing.) My dad kindly pointed out that I could probably remember his 34th birthday, when I was eight years old.

I locked my two children in the car after a hair cut appointment Tuesday morning, which led to wondering whether this is the year my mind begins to go. (Don’t worry, it was a lovely, cool day, Lina slept and Corin was thoroughly occupied with his sucker and the police officers who drove out to stand guard in rather useless fashion while we waited for Jon to rescue us.)

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Corin thought the whole thing was a grand adventure.

 

The day improved from there, however, and I had a fantastic dinner and homemade birthday cake provided by my parents and brother- and sister-in-law. Then I fell asleep on the couch.

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Uncle Justin

On Thursday evening, I left for a girls’ weekend in Chicago with a few very dear friends. The trip expenses were my only birthday gift request this year, and it was an excellent choice. I had a fantastic time and came home excited to see my husband and kids and ready to tackle motherhood with renewed enthusiasm. One conversation from the trip reminded me how nice it is to be at a place in life where I am confident and comfortable with myself and the life I have built, well beyond the insecurities that made portions of childhood and adolescence so difficult. The truth is, I wouldn’t go back for all the tea in China, not even to my 20s. I am happy in this nowhere-near-perfect life, with the little ones I adore, a deeper marriage, and friendships growing more beautiful with the patina of shared joys, struggles and heartaches.

So, I will take this opportunity to say thank you to my family for sending me on the trip, to my husband and in-laws for keeping things running like a well-oiled machine in my absence, and to my dear friends who helped make some awesome new memories.

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