Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Forever on the first tee

It's hard for me to imagine a world without Margo. But here we are.

Margo and Dave were close friends for 28 years. They met at his first job out of college and their friendship would span three marriages, a whole lot of now-defunct-or-acquired startups, dozens of bottles of really good red wine, and countless rounds of golf. Dave officiated at her wedding to Dennis, on the 18th green at Pebble Beach.

She and Dave were in constant competition for the #1 sales spot at whatever company they both worked for. Because of this we traveled to Palm Springs, Cabo and Puerto Rico together. She taught us the expression "closing skirt." That, apparently, got her husband's attention as he started out as a customer.

Margo wore a hat to our wedding, many hats while golfing, but no helmet the weekend we skied at Kirkwood. The last hat she wore was of the Penguin variety, with a serving of dry ice.

Six years ago she called Dave and told him that she had just been laid off from her job. While that was bothersome, what really irked her was the diagnosis she'd just received of breast cancer.

If anything, that diagnosis made Margo work harder. She started a new business, traveled even more, and thought of her cancer only when she absolutely had to. As she put it, "It's a book on my bookshelf. I take it down when I have to and then I stick it right back up there."

I could write on and on about her entertaining, because it was legendary. Dave's birthday. Seth and Lori's anniversary. Dennis' 50th birthday at Lake Tahoe. Christmas parties in the San Carlos hills house with the tree on a turntable which so brightly that it could be seen from space. Or at least from the approach to SFO. Regular 'ole dinners at her house were special occasions.

However, what stays with me most are the little things that make up a whole person -- how much she loved her dogs and loved sharing them with my animal-passionate daughter. How she was so excited for Dave to meet Dennis, who was so sweetly nervous that he spilled a drink all down his shirt. How much thought she gave to decorating her stepson's room in their house.

The memories of Margo come to me at odd times. They surprise me and I have to stop to catch my breath. Yesterday I saw a picture of the Musee D'Orsay on Facebook, a place Margo and I have been together. Today Camp Parks was all over the news because it was on lockdown; Margo dragged us to look at houses near there perhaps 20 years ago. (She conveniently neglected to mention the women's prison there. We passed on those houses.) Never again will I be able to eat bucatini without thinking of the day we shared a plate of it in the pouring rain.

 I am grateful for Margo for bringing Dennis into our life. Godspeed, Dennis. We are right alongside you.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The search for the perfect roommate.

One of The Pinks will start college on the other side of the country in September. She got in to her first choice school - audible sigh of relief - and has just selected a roommate.

Today's roommate selection process is very different than when Dave and I went off to college. Like many of you, were were randomly assigned roommates. Mine was actually from Madison, the city our college was in. She was a train wreck of epic proportion and flunked out the first semester. Yet her parents didn't know what to do with her and they'd paid her housing fee in full so she just stayed in the dorms, drinking her way through to June. My guess is that they hoped she'd find herself a husband. Or a sugar daddy.

Kids today can take the luck of the draw or they can request specific roommates. They find these people through apps such as Roomsurf.com or Facebook groups set up for their specific college. The back-and forth is a lot like I imagine match.com to be. Except that once you commit to a roommate, you are tethered together for an entire academic year.

The first part of this is looking at the prospective roommate's Instagram feed. If you like that then you start texting and asking questions along the lines of: Are you going to rush? Do you drink? Do you play sports? Have you ever been outside of the US?

What has surprised me most about this ritual is the number of people who look for roommates prior to actually committing to the school they are roommate shopping for. Apparently this is common practice.

I actually think that roommates should be vetted based on clothing and shoe size. Have you seen how tiny those dorm closets are?! Sharing is caring.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Matchmaker

Will anyone even notice that I've started blogging again?

Over the weekend, at a social event, I talked to very nice, divorced man. I know his daughters through sports and they are equally nice. He mentioned he hadn't dated much since his divorce. I know a very nice divorced woman who is gainfully employed and age appropriate for him. They could find happiness together.

What is my hesitation in connecting the dots?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The End.

Five and a half years ago I began this blog. This was my first post.

Since then I've taken you to a whole bunch of places in the US, including Tahoe about 20 times, Italy, France, the UK, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Morocco, Singapore, China, and the Bahamas.

My kids have moved from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school. Two are now taller than me. All three have entered Jewish adulthood and have volunteered extensively in our community. Friends have married and divorced. Some have died. Dave hasn't changed the locks on me yet and I'm trying to keep it that way.

I've bitched and quilted and entertained. Some of my favorite recipes have appeared here, including Callie's cookies. I've blogged on movies and books. And mean girls, one of my largest sources of irritation and one that I am passionate about eradicating the behaviors of, one hormonal preteen at a time.

You know what I think about being a dance mom. Here you've read more about cupcakes than you ever wanted to know.

For the last five and a half years The Pinks have wondered which of their adventures would appear on this blog. As, in all likelihood, have some of you. The Pinks have asked me to stop blogging about them and so I am signing off. I will still write, of course, because that's what I've done faithfully since I learned to hold a pencil, but it will no longer be for public consumption.

For those of you I have inadvertently offended with my writing, I apologize. It was never my intent to cause you discomfort. This has simply been my therapy, my creative outlet.

Thank you for following me on this adventure. Not for one day do I forget how very lucky I am.

Happy new year. May 2015 be the year that all your dreams come true.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Thirty-two white, blue and green balloons. Scored in pajamas and Uggs at the crack of dawn. Sideboard. Starbucks. Sweet Street. Santana Row. Creation of prop for Video Production class by six girls. Kara's Cupcakes. Benihana. Grandparents. Krispy Kreme. Bed. Unless they can stay awake until nearly midnight, the time they were actually born 13 years ago.

Monday, December 29, 2014

For Sale

One slope-side condo at Squaw Valley. KT-22 and Red Dog views. Two bedrooms, two full baths. In-unit laundry. Fireplace. Balcony facing mountain. Murphy-bed-style dining table. 1,100 square feet. One block from Village. Next to Cable Car and Olympic House. Underground parking for two cars closer to lifts than is Squaw's parking. 2 hours 45 minutes from our suburb without traffic. Pool, hot tubs, gym, tennis courts. Built in 2001. $844K.

Here's the listing and pictures.

Yup, we are selling our Tahoe place. We don't use it enough to justify the cost of ownership. I'm sorry to break this to those of you have become used to your annual vacation there. Or more than annual. That would be you, Dad. And it was our pleasure for you and your entourage to make it one of your homes away from home, too.

This place was a fantasy when The Pinks were younger. We closed on it a month before I got pregnant with the youngest ones. I loved its efficient size -- easy to clean up compared to our home in the Bay. We achieved our goal, which was having all Three Pinks ski well and having a place for us to create memories. There was no schlepping of gear. There was no wondering if there'd be games / pool toys / snacks / sunscreen there. It was so easy. And it's still easy, it's just empty most of the time.

Things I will miss:

1. The ritual of the drive: No electronics until we cross the Benicia Bridge. Pass the Jelly Belly Factory. Whiz past the Mondavi Center at UC Davis. The Yolo Causeway is two hours from Tahoe. Skirt Sacramento. Roseville. Rocklin. Stop at Ikeda for produce, snacks and Dutch Apple Pie. Historic Auburn. Gain elevation. Start to notice pine trees. Watch for snowline in winter. Gold Run. Soda Springs. Boreal. Descend to Donner Lake. Exit I-80 at Truckee and drive 10 more miles to the Olympic Rings! Three miles to go. Squaw Valley meadow. Arrive.

2. The view of the ski slopes from our bed. Skiing until 2pm then napping, waking up just in time to see the last of the skiers come off the mountain.

3. Not touching the car for a whole weekend. Who needs to when your activities are right outside your door and there are also restaurants, shops and a Starbucks?

4. Our neighbors, whose kids come in and out of our condo like it is their own. As do our kids with theirs.

5. The convenience of a season ski pass.

6. Winter days skiing with my brother and the extended family. Summer days at the Dollar Point Beach with the extended family.

7. Three generation ski trips which usually included dinner at the best restaurant in the Village, Mamasake.

Memorable moments:

1. The ex-wife of a still-friend who said to me as she was departing from her week-long stay, "How come there was no good coffee in the condo? I had to walk to Starbucks."

2. The nonstop snow, the mountain-closing kind, that kept my father, Thing 2 and I indoors the entire duration of one Three Generation Ski Trip.

3. Teaching the kids to play poker.

4. Paige teaching me that it's perfectly acceptable for kids to ski in their pajamas.

5. The ambulance ride to the Tahoe Forest Hospital when one of The Pinks had croup so badly that she was turning blue. Another time when I fled the condo at 2am and drove back to the Bay with all Three Pinks after getting one's croup under control and realizing I'd never go back to sleep listening to her breathe all night.

6. Barry and Kristin's wedding on the west shore in August 2002.

We'll not stop skiing at Squaw. After all, The Pinks gain a huge amount of satisfaction knowing they can beat me down every single run. I maintain that my form is better. But we'll ski other places, too. And we'll look back on those years happily.

Feel free to forward this information to anyone you know who may be looking for a Tahoe property. While we didn't rent our condo out, many owners in our development do and make a tidy bit from the revenue.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Do opposites attract? Or at minimum, can they work?

There was a recent question on the Berkeley Parents List from a woman who was concerned about her long-term relationship her baby's father, a night owl. She is a morning person and went on for several paragraphs about her fears that two people so different might not have a chance at marital bliss.

This struck me as overthinking in a big way. If you want some laughs, point your browser at the BPN. I love the diversity of opinions far right and far left, and also the queries from (what I consider to be) wackos such as a woman who wanted to know exactly how to apologize for driving her husband to have an affair by pursuing her PhD while pregnant with their child.

This night vs morning thing seems to be a matter of picking your battles. I'm a morning person. Dave is a night person. When necessary I stay up really late. When necessary he gets up early. That's how we roll.

A a mother-of-three told me that it took her a while to realize that she and her husband would never go to bed at the same time because he only needs four hours of sleep.

I know another couple where the husband loves cold weather and the wife loves the heat. They live in the Bay Area and as long as they do a few significant family ski trips each winter, they're good for another year.

You can view this situation as a glass half full or a glass half empty. The woman who posed the query could use her early mornings to nurture herself: work out, read, pursue a hobby, run errands, etc. Or she can talk herself into that being the reason her relationship is doomed.