For as long as we’ve lived in the bay area, I have wanted to experience the hot springs in Sonoma and Calistoga. Its so close to us — but we never make time. This past week, we decided to keep Thanksgiving plans low key, so we could take some extra time off to really relax. I had it set in my head that hot springs would be the only way to calm down and recover from the past few months of work-stress. Intern was a bit doubtful about the curing properties of hot mineral water… but I felt pretty certain.
After all the hustling and juggling of the past few months, its hard to slow down. I have a hard time giving myself permission to give a break, even if that means “taking a break” while also doing two other things at the same time. Not an effective method for achieving relaxation. Intern and I made plans and shook on it, we’d take 2 days off. The magical part of our plan was that it actually happened. No work crisis, no last minute meetings, no reason to postpone our trip. The morning we’d planned to head out to Calistoga we found a last minute deal on a hotel, so we packed our picnic and an overnight bag and got on the road.
The drive to Calistoga from San Francisco is just under two hours. We visited a winery for a pre-Thanksgiving picnic lunch, then dumped our bags and threw on swimsuits to test out those restorative mineral hot springs. Works like a charm. In two days we packed in a good amount of healing water and relaxation. We drove back the following afternoon to make our traditional Thanksgiving meal.
After 10 days in Washington, its good to be back in warmer, drier weather, though having a taste of real fall was pretty refreshing. Bright fall leaves, listening to rain at night and a fire roaring in the fireplace? Not bad for a few days. I think I experienced a full spectrum of weather there- rainy days, windy days, dry cloudy days and even a few days of patchy sun. I sort of miss that changing weather and rain! The rain was brief, and very very nice.
My sister went out into the woods near my mom’s house and came back dragging this old painted sign we’d taken out there as kids. The sign is probably 15-20 years old, long forgotten in our old fort hidden in the woods between old growth stumps and moss covered nurse logs. I remember taking the sign out to the woods with my sister, carrying it over streams and wetlands and across fallen logs and through dense woods to a little moss covered clearing. Every trip out to the woods was always full of big plans for extended trips out to our fort, but in reality most of those plans were thwarted by too many mosquitos from the surrounding wetlands, or our encounters with mysterious animal tracks in the mud, and scary sounds and movement just beyond our eyesight. I realize now we were pretty brave kids, much braver than I feel now.
For the last three years we’ve joined Intern’s company for a weekend-long retreat away from the city. Coworkers, consultants, families and an open bar all weekend. There are planned activities like biking, pool parties, golf and competitive wine tasting. Things can get a little rowdy, but this year things got a little fancy. This year the escape was held in Napa, with a special party at Castello di Amorosa. The dinner was black tie, with a masquerade ball following dinner. After dinner we all put on our masks and were lead down through narrow candlelight hallways down deep underneath the castle, past wine cellars, a room of armor, and even a torture chamber. Yes, more than one reference to Eyes Wide Shut was made… but fortunately the only thing waiting for us at the end of the procession was top 40 music and a dessert bar.
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I’m back in San Francisco after a 10 day trip to Washington. I spent most of my time on the Eastside, in the woods at my mom’s house. The visit was very quiet, with lots of rest, good meals, and conversation… in uncharacteristically humid warm summer weather. I’m back in the summer fog, wrapped up in a sweater this morning in my office and I’ll be spending the next few days getting caught up on all the blissfully neglected emails and work that has since piled up.
The above photo is a birthday gift from Schatzi. We purchased two green neon letters, then we cleaned them up, popped them open (got rid of all the inner tubing and wires) and filled each letter with a chain of lights to illuminate our dining room. The word makes me smile every time I walk into the dining room. The letters are from a sign that once spelled out “HAIR” so if you’re in the market, Schatzi still has the A and R available!