Posts in California
Ten.Two Hundred & Forty-Seven

1. The first thing I see is that our flight has been delayed. 

2. The second thing I read is a text message from my mother at 4:24am asking where the nearest hospital is.   

3. We call to extend the rental car and then get dressed. We argue over where to eat lunch as the sun rises. Nothing is even open for breakfast yet. 

4. It’s chilly but there’s finally some sun. Our walk is peppered with “good mornings,” the cawing of the crows. One day this will not be a vacation. 

5. I stop into Copperfield’s Book Store in Healdsburg for a book on wine country, any book. Just something I know I can’t find at home.  

6. Lunch is a paprika broth filled with potatoes and leeks, clams and cod. We dip a little bit of sourdough into the bowl to soak up the juices.  

7. She’s being admitted and so I shoot off a few texts to neighbors to see who can watch the children while Dad visits her in the next town over. So grateful for community. 

8. Her comment makes us smile.  

9. We eat and drink and talk on the plane. Arms entwined. He says it’s like having an extra date.  

10. From the airport we’ll head to the hospital where she is in order to pick up the car. The waning moon is looking in on me through the window of the Prius. We are all silent. But I am hearing all of the noise. 

Ten.Two Hundred & Forty-Six

1. Deep gray sky but it’s beginning to glow. 

2. Birdsong as the light filters in, pale yellow.  

3. The problem with waking so early in a sleepy town is having to wait for everyone else to wake up. 

4. The most beautiful bowl of granola I’ve ever seen. Honey drizzled over the vanilla yogurt. Granola with soft yet crunchy almonds. Topped with a slice of a blood orange. Hot coffee. 

5. The green in this valley. So much green. But this spot may not be right for us.  

6.  “A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.” - East of Eden

7. Compline. Black and gray and white and wood. One glass of Vouvray Petillant. One glass of Blaufränkisch. One glass of Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle. Duck fat fries and terrine and funky cheeses. Natural light illuminating the room. It’s a wine bar for the curious. I can’t wait to come back. 

8. When we live here... When we live here... When we live here... 

9. How is it already the last night?  

10. Tomorrow morning I’ll rub on some more of this lotion, pack up my things, stick my feet into my converse and walk around culinary garden, fill up on coffee and farmer dreams at Fremont Diner. 

Ten.Two Hundred & Forty-Five

1. I wake up early to call the kids in sick to school so that they can have an extra day with their grandparents. 

2. We drive to the flagship location in downtown Saint Helena. The front window is stacked with crusty breads. I get an English muffin—double toasted—with butter and blackberry jam. Also this big slice of lemon pie with a ginger snap crust. The coffee is steamy and burning through the thin paper cup.  

3. The bakery is full of older people with no work to do and then men in rough jeans and work boots and fleece. This is what I love about wine country the most: the work. I don’t love it for the glamour. I love it for the effort that goes into loving the land. The reverence for nature. The passion for the earth and its beauty. It wouldn’t take long for me to become a farmer if I lived here.   

4. I eat the lemon pie as a second breakfast. The gray morning light illuminating my sliver of the bed. 

5. The drive up to Brown Estate is steep and windy but so beautiful. Green as far as the eye can see. Undulating hills and a touch of blue sky.  

6. The garden is unused but it could be a magical place.  

7. Gotts for the first time. Bacon cheeseburger in a lettuce wrap. You can always tell when ketchup is homemade. The color is a little deeper and the sauce retains visible texture.  

8. So wet.  

9. Beaujolais from Regnie. I opt for a light dinner. Salad and tamales at Mustard’s. Platform 8 for dessert: ice cream made using liquid nitrogen. Blackelberry = huckleberry mixed with activated charcoal. Topped with sweet crunch and freeze dried berries. 

10. “I want this to be mine,” is what I said to myself. This admission to self followed by shame: “But that sounds greedy.” And so then the reworking of words begins within my mind. How do I explain it? Ok. So there is this thing. It’s not that you want it because you crave dominion over it but because you crave a consistent and ever deepening communion with it. Because all of it is calling to you. Because you’ve been flitting back and forth, pulling away bits and pieces to construct the nest of your dreams. And so now the longing feels cavernous because the gap is closing but not quickly enough. Maybe this is where you lean more into your faith. 

Ten.Two Hundred & Forty-Four

1. Up before the light, listening to the sound of rain hitting terra cotta tiles on the patio. 

2. I go to eat breakfast by myself. Coffee, orange juice, water, a chickpea, potato and kale scramble. Quiet. I can see the vineyards in the distance, bare, wet and dripping.

3. Downtown Santa Rosa to meet Adam for coffee at Flying Goat. I almost don’t recognize him with all of the hair. We sit and talk life and photography and freelancing.  

4. Back at the ranch. So much time planning and talking and dreaming. I can’t wait to bring everyone here to sit by the pool, to warm by the fire, the drink in the sun, to make space to breathe. 

5. We get tacos with Kevin before he heads back to San Francisco to go home. He tells me to stop underpricing myself. To keep playing with one light and a subject. To live with the confidence I speak to in my writing. Grateful for mentors like this.  

6. We drive through Petaluma as we make our way toward Napa. There’s a little bar, Ernie’s Tin Bar, with cute chalkboard signs and a no cell phone policy.   

7. Green hills as far as the eye can see. Trying to keep my vision pointed on gratitude. 

8. A glass of Fumé Blanc upon arrival. There’s a new blanket at the foot of the bed.  

9. The Charter Oak. Schramsberg and a long chat with the sommelier who also happens to be from Chicago as we wait for our friends. Wood and leather and copper and vintage rugs. Embers from the open flame. A drawer at the table loaded with silverware and a napkin. Sparkling water. Musacdet. Bordeaux blend. Mushrooms and salads and kohlrabi and duck and burgers.   

10. Gratitude for this. For time spent in meaningful conversations. For good coffee and good wine and good food. For the privilege of comfort. For space. For beauty. 

Ten.Two Hundred & Thirty-One

1. I wake up a little later than I intended to but the light is just now starting to come into the room. 

2. They’re FaceTime-ing me at 6:30am. Time zones. They are in the car and on their way to school.  

3. I take my time getting ready. The light from the skylight in the bathroom makes me smile.

4. I grab a big mug, cream in color and speckled. Hot water for tea.  

5. The three of us in the booth talking about the places in which we live, how motherhood changes you. How it changes everything.

6. So much sun.  

7. I find a Target to get some shoes for the shower. And a few bananas in case I get hungry before bed.  

8. It’s so warm I’m sweating as I roll my bag to the room.  

9. I write that I’m very teary today. Crying about almost everything.  

10. We hold hands because we are braided together just like the challah we are about to partake of.  

10.1 Byron introduces me to Parker Palmer before we sit down for dinner. And a young woman, Mariah, who happens to be a senior editor for the On Being blog joins us. And it is a lovely conversation and I tear up talking about how overwhelmingly grateful I am. 

10.2 I think there will be a lot of tears this weekend.  

10.3 Krista Tippet and David Whyte.