Annual U of M Holiday Dinner in SF

Posse got the ball rolling on our annual holiday party with the Michigan crew. Morgan and Greg graciously invited everyone over to their house in the city. Posse, being the planner, arranged high-class transportation for all the Peninsula couples.

We met at Tam and Ben’s for a little pre-party while the Menlo Park crew we’re on their way north. Our little party bus was beyond expectations, replete with diamond-quilted seating, which is a far-off dream of mine. Now I want one.

We arrived at Morgan and Greg gorgeous home in San Francisco and rolled right into cocktail hour(s). Our holiday parties have alternated between homes and restaurants over the years. One really nice thing about this year was the chance to meaningfully connect with old friends. All of dinner was delicious, but the standout effort was Morgan having the caterer recreate their take on the Pizza House Chipati. It was a stroke of genius.

The highlight of every party is our gift exchange. This year was a little less contentious only because the early pickers had some unfortunate choices that did not warrant a steal. As always, hilarity ensued. Unexpectedly, the gift exchange paused when Guns ‘n Roses came on. Grace and I always get shit for going home with our own presents, but when you buy awesome presents, that’s what happens. Our hostess was only getting started just as the Ubers were summoned to take us back to the suburbs.

Thanks, Posse, for making all the arrangements. Thanks, Thornes, for hosting us all. Thanks, crew, for decades of friendships and laughter. Happy Holidays to all!

Thanksgiving with Michigan Grandparents

My mom and dad came out for their first visit this year. They arrived in time to attend their first Carey Generations Day. For Thanksgiving, our oven was busted, so Clara and Mike invited our whole family over to spend it with their whole family. My camera was also busted so you’ll have to trust me that it was awesome.

On Sunday, we all drove out to Half Moon Bay for lunch at the hotel, followed by a short stop at the beach. We picked up our Christmas Tree on the way home and Grace had it decorated by dinner time. She’s a machine.

The kids had a great time spending their week off with their grandparents. Looking forward to seeing them again in a few weeks on the East Coast.

My First Prime Rib

Grace went down to San Diego for a girls weekend with Ann. My parents and Jen were in town and both of our ovens were out of order. I decided to try a prime rib on the Big Green Egg. I had no idea what I was doing, but figured it out along the way. The nice folks at Pape’s helped me choose the right size and seasoned it for me as I was in a hurry. Jen and my mom helped with the sides and all came together beautifully. Dave ended up joining us for dinner and Grace made it home in time to enjoy some, too.

I learned a few things that I’ll remember for next time. That said, it turned out great and I’m happy I tried it.

Lucas’s 8th Birthday Party

After the controlled chaos of inviting every kid in Lucas’s grade over last year, we dialed it way back this year. Lucas is still really into Harry Potter, so we had a toned-down version of the party Olivia had last year. He had just a few of his buddies over for lunch, some activities, and a short screening of The Sorcerer’s Stone.

It was a nice afternoon with friends on a rainy afternoon. We thank Lucas’s friends for helping him celebrate turning 8 years old. Happy Birthday to our little big man.

Exploring Detroit with Dad

Last August, I took my dad to Detroit for lunch, but we didn’t make it past Midtown. This past trip, my mom was in Korea with my aunt, so my dad and I went exploring downtown. We parked at 500 Woodward, which was my office building for my first 5 years out of college.

We had a nice lunch at Central Kitchen before heading to Midtown. We saw Jon and Greg’s Detroit Jolly Pumpkin restaurant and also stopped into Shinola’s flagship store where my buddy (and former camper), Gracie was working.

I’ll always root for Detroit and I think it’s on its way!

U of M Homecoming in Ann Arbor

Jon and Greg have been trying to rally everyone to Homecoming for a few years. This year turned out to be the year (it doesn’t hurt that we finally had a good chance of winning too). Jon may have oversold it a bit with talk of a barn dance, carnival rides, petting zoo, etc. His excuse was that he wasn’t able to build the barn, which I guess is a good one.

On Friday, Fran and Jon hosted everyone at their home. It was awesome to see all of the kids (and adults) together. Pretty much the entire Bay Area crew (Grace and the kids excepted – sad face) made a strong showing.

On Saturday, Jon and Greg hosted everyone at their tailgate. Many more friends rolled in from all over on what turned out to be a glorious Fall football Saturday. Worlds collided as Jen, friends from b-school and even POPSUGAR were there.

Greg graciously hosted me, Buecker and Allard in his seats in the new club level. This was my first football game in the new Big House (I had been inside for the Man U vs. Real Madrid game a couple years ago), and experience was amazing.

Afterwards, we went back to the tailgate and then someone invited everyone over to Greg’s house (but I’m not sure it was Greg). I had a quick dinner with Jen and Kim on Main Street. I walked out of the restaurant and ran into two high school friends, one of whom I coincidentally ran into at the Utah game last year. Shenanigans at Greg’s lasted well into the evening and thankfully nothing was broken despite many high-risk activities.

Sunday turned out to be beautiful and warm, which was perfect for coffee outdoors at Zingermans (where I ran into more friends randomly). I drove around to all my old stomping grounds: where I used to live, work, miss class, get parking tickets, get towed, do the crossword in the Michigan Daily, etc. I made one last stop and had a quick visit with Maggie (a POPSUGAR buddy and her Carhartt-wearing dog, Rupert).

What an amazing weekend with lifelong friends. Thanks again to Fran, Jon and Greg for hosting all of us for a memorable weekend. Next time, Grace, Olivia and Lucas are coming, too!

GO BLUE!

Visit from the Milano-Sessines

Jen and Mike brought the family out to the Bay Area for a long weekend. We were very happy that they spent a night with us for a long overdue visit. The last time Jen and Mike visited us in Burlingame was almost 15 years ago when they were traveling the world. They’re still globe-trotting with Zoë and Owen, but it’s usually to far-off, interesting places. We’re happy SF made an itinerary.

I told all the kids that while Mike and I didn’t start going to school together until 4th grade, our sisters became friends and forced a play date on us when we were in 3rd grade (i.e., about their age). Although that was almost four decades ago, I remember it very clearly.

Olivia and Lucas were sad the minute they drove away. We’re already looking forward to our next visit together, which will likely be on the East Coast.