a dinner party

emily just finished a huge project at work so we threw a surprise dinner party for her—

colorful letters on computer paper, with stamps and drawings and colored with rainbow chalk, strung together on twine to say “congratulations emily” and hung across my living room. flowers in mason jars and scotch bottles. a huge multicolored mylar parrot we named bernie, “laying” a blue farmers market egg in a brown bag nest. a moleskine with a bookmark stamped with emily’s name and a heart that alex and i made with our thumbprints. the coffee table set with candles and flowers and and mugs of lavender rooibos tea and a pitcher of lemon water with party straws that looked like peppermint sticks, and cushions from the couch to use as seating.

there were no leftovers.

it was a perfect night, full of love and warmth and caring and belonging and joy and gratitude.

(and a killer soundtrack.)

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the menu:

spring mix, roasted lemon brussel sprouts, toasted pumpkin seeds, chia cider vinaigrette.

wild king salmon pan seared and finished in the oven, with some delicious mystery rub that matt concocted, and sliced avocados.

steamed artichokes with a dipping sauce of grapeseed oil, minced garlic, minced basil, salt and lemon juice.

cold cucumber soup: chopped cucumber marinated with leeks, garlic, lemon juice, dill and salt and pureed with chicken stock, finished with grapeseed oil.

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rochester in june

tap and table with tigran. lincoln county lemonade. all the tyler hugs. so much snuggling and talking and lounging at knoobles bungalow. falling asleep with my head on tyler’s lap, watching gilmore girls.

emily’s bachelorette party. sauvignon blanc and pork belly and lamb stew and grilled octopus at good luck, then girl talk and cocktails at amy’s. weird to be on upton and for jeff and katie not to live there anymore. coming home and trying to take a picture of ty and tim snuggled up watching a movie, but it wasn’t conveying the tenderness of the moment, so i wrote about it instead. chocolate milk and kitchen chats.

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rain. sleeping in. more rain. watching “friends,” looking for jobs. abundance with lou, then abilene. monkey porches and ginger ales and jeopardy. gluten free pulled pork at the new east ave wegmans. crossing delancey: the greatest birthday present. more rain. more “friends.” more jobs.

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waking up to say goodbye to ty and tim, who were going away for the weekend, then back to sleep until the wedding. i put on makeup, and a milly dress, and jack rogers, and pink nails. valet parking at the MAG. crying as soon as emily walked into the hall. sugar mountain cupcake frosting. IRIS!! driving to abilene in the rain, which felt so good, knowing the streets and the places and the routes, everything right where i left it. johnny. shots of grand marnier, closing down the bar. back at the house, whiskey and music and talking.

rain. abundance in my pjs for sad rainy day snacks. big lawn in the evening: man bar, whiskey gingers, grilled salmon, the slinky and mr oreo, listening to records and playing and prancersising and some serious talks, too. crying on the way home because being back in rochester feels like home and makes san francisco feel…not.

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brunch with katie at the owl house, mimosas and breakfast nachos: scrambled eggs, pepper jack, salsa fresca, avocado puree, chipotle-lime vegan mayo and stewed black beans on tortilla chips. century liquors to get ty and tim a thank-you bottle–apple pie moonshine–and some hudson bourbon to bring back with me. sitting on the porch of the garson street house with diet cherry cokes, talking about all the girls things to the late-90s r+b soundtrack of a little kid’s birthday party. sticky lips: cherry bomb pulled pork and cider mustard slaw and being surprised by styrofoam take-out containers. crawling into bed with ty and tim, catching each other up on our respective weddings. watching lost in translation while downloading music we’d been listening to at big lawn. tim digging up an album for me from the deepest annals of the internet.

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iced tea at equal grounds with emily. portlandia. hugging ty goodbye in the rain. magnolia’s on lou’s couch.

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weekend at the berkeley house

saturday night, by the fire in the garden:

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woke up to family breakfast. alejandro had gone out for coffee and bacon and everyone made something—pesto scrambled eggs, sweet potato home fries, lemon and garlic asparagus, massaged kale—and we ate outside in the sun in our pajamas.

treasure island flea to finally get something to put on my walls. food trucks, acrobatics, word games, sitting in the grass by the water listening to 60s records.

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a weekend with katie

dinner and tea at peacefood before a CTY reunion at the parlour. taking three trains to get home. eating leftovers and curling up in bed.

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lil dicky videos in our pjs. getting dressed is hard, layers are important. walking to williamsburg to find that ella is closed, but station has good brunch. mimosas make me sleepy. running through penn station to catch the train to princeton. getting picked up at the junction by mom and dad, like we’ve been doing for 15 years. grading papers at the battlefield. making a seasonal dinner from whole earth center bounty: red leaf lettuce with goat cheese, multicolored grape tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds and a sunflower oil and cider vinegar dressing; roasted cauliflower with sauteed baby bellas, roasted yellow squash and semi-caramelized onions; and for dessert, pear halves hollowed, with a square of almond chocolate in the cup, filled with almond butter, roasted and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. sitting at the kitchen table grading papers after dinner, drinking jasmine tulsi tea. poring over the almost 20 years of CTY memorabilia that lives in my childhood bedroom. falling asleep watching friends.

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making two kind of pancakes for breakfast, a sweet and a savory. napping in the car with my and katie’s heads stacked on top of each other.

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a letter i wrote to myself on the digital detox retreat, to be delivered just after my birthday

hey you!

if you’re reading this letter, you’ve turned 28 and you’re not dead. on the outside, at least; are you still being aware, and present, and mindful? are you using what feel like failures as opportunities for change and growth? are you writing down your thoughts instead of thinking about how exhausting that may be and doing something easier instead. are you allowing yourself to take risks, and allowing yourself to “fail”? are you grateful to your body, kind to your mind, thinking in terms of what you have accomplished instead of what you haven’t? make sure to keep smiling at people—big, genuine smiles. it won’t matter if they think you’re crazy, it won’t matter if they don’t smile back. maybe it’s because they forgot how to smile and they need you to reteach them. make sure that when you give hugs they’re long, and real. say gratitudes every day, different ones; if you don’t feel like you have anything original to be grateful for, go do something.

i don’t know where you’re heading when it comes to food, or love, or work, or purpose. you probably won’t either. just remember to be right where you are whenever you’re there. know that it can disappear in an instant, but don’t live in fear or dread, or with guilt.

you’re kind to others, but don’t just do it because you don’t know how to be kind to yourself—you have to learn that, too. maybe one day you will even believe those kindnesses.

you can be happy or sad, or strong or weak; you can be any dichotomy, anywhere on any spectrum, as long as you are here, and you are now.

please know you’re loved…

january 27, 2013

a night at the berkeley house

last night we made dinner at emily and alex’s and i wished there was a piece of technology that could capture feelings. i always feel home when i’m with them, especially when i’m there at the house. we cooked, picked spinach from the garden and grilled chicken in the back yard, and it felt like being in rochester, at a dinner at chester’s. we are dinner at the low table in the living room, sitting on low pillows, by candlelight, with a fire going. later we had chocolate that tasted like blackberries and i fell asleep by the fire.