Work Hiatus Golf in San Francisco and Las Vegas

For the first time ever, I took off a little time between jobs. By first time, I mean the first time when I voluntarily changed jobs vs. being laid off or unemployed. Somehow, I found myself quite busy during this time, as Grace gave me a big punch list of things to do around the house and for the family. Honestly, I didn’t knock it all out, but I did my best and made some progress. It also helped that I didn’t have a car to fix.

First, big shout out to my buddy Albert who took off several stealth days from work, including the first and last days of official time off to golf with me. We got in a round at Half Moon Bay on day 1 (Erich also joined that day) as well as a couple rounds at Harding Park in San Francisco. I also got in one solo round of contemplation during week one.

For the last hurrah, Eddie met me in Las Vegas for 5 days. I can’t tell you how relaxing it was relative to our normal itinerary, which usually involves break-of-dawn golf, pool with the kids, dinners, etc. (i.e., too tired to gamble). Aside from our morning tee times, we had no agenda. We got in four rounds of golf at Bear’s Best, Royal Links, Paiute Wolf and Coyote Springs. The weather was perfect for golf in the desert.

Each day we had lunch when we were done and dinner whenever we were hungry. We had great meals in the Encore/Wynn where we stayed and also ventured off the property to Carnevino (best lamb chops ever) and a romantic dinner outdoors at Mon Ami Gabi. We had some fun in between, but truthfully, we were in bed by 10pm on day one and got crushed on day three, also resulting in an early night. Although we see each other once and sometimes twice a year, we gathered that we haven’t traveled alone together in over two decades when he was single and still in medical school. It was QT with my ride or die.

Although I technically rolled right into a family vacation for Thanksgiving, my hiatus is all but over. I’m already having dreams about work. I’m very thankful for this time off, for the big pass Grace gave me, and for the time friends made for me.

I may never play golf again… (until ski season is over, that is).

Lucas’s 9th Birthday

Amid the chaos of our Halloween hangover, we celebrated Lucas’s 9th birthday on November 1st. The last single-digit birthday … sigh. We celebrated at Il Fornaio with uncle Dave and our new au pair, Elin! She’s been with us about a month and we’re so lucky to have her.

Lucas celebrated with a small group of friends last weekend. He opened his presents and cards from family and friends. I might be biased, but I think he was most grateful for his Pokemon cards from mom and dad. Thanks for everyone’s generosity.

Happy Birthday, Lucas. We love you!

Lucas’s 9th Birthday Party

We’ve gone guardrail to guardrail on Lucas’s birthday party the last couple years. Two years ago, there were too many kids (for the parents), and last year, there were two few kids (for Lucas). Hopefully, this year was just right.

Lucas requested a Minecraft-themed birthday party, as that is one of his favorite things to do on his device (among too many other things). Our friend Angie from school is a baker extraordinaire and made the Minecraft toppers for the cupcakes. Wow, is she talented.

Kate, as always, planned the rest of the party, including the decorations and activities. The most memorable activity might have been the Mentos-Coke explosion. Poor Grant bore the brunt of the fallout.

This special group of friends had a great time. Lucas is very lucky to have them. Hope you had a great time at your birthday party, Lucas!

Farewell, POPSUGAR

After 11 years, last week I said goodbye to my family and friends at POPSUGAR. I’ve chronicled many of our most memorable moments over the years here, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that leaving a company and people I love so much was very hard indeed. Nevertheless, I received the sweetest low-key sendoff over the last couple days thanks to the ever-thoughtful Krista.

Pizza lunch was fitting and the team printed some of our favorite snapshots from over the years. Somehow, I got roped into the weekly POPCAST, and even though I asked not to be put on the spot, James Lipton’s questions were being fired at me at the end. I was hardly prepared.

Neither was I fully prepared to finally say goodbye. Several friends indulged me in a few last buddy shots (except Brian). It was hard to break the news to my neighborhood friends, too, at Coffee Bar and Henry’s. Even though they fire my slice the minute they see me, I ghosted my friends a Giorgio’s all week. I hope they’ll understand.

11 years ago I joined a team who was already family and they’ll remain as such regardless of the hoodie I wear. Since that time, I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of amazing people, many of whom I consider forever friends whether I see them daily or not. POPSUGAR will always be a huge part of my life.

U2 – Joshua Tree Tour in San Diego with Childhood BFFs

I tried to get Chris to join us for U2 at Levi’s Stadium, but the timing just wasn’t right. After U2 added a San Diego stop to their Joshua Tree tour, Chris returned the favor and invited me to come down. Grace is in Hong Kong with her family and my parents are visiting to help out, so I didn’t decide to go down until this week.

About an hour after landing, Chris had me in a wet suit, crashing through the surf in a sea kayak, which was reminiscent of Castaway. I didn’t curse him the entire time, but I was wondering why he couldn’t just take me to brunch? Honestly, we had a great time and although I requested an encounter with a sea otter, the next best thing were sea lion cubs. The highlight was riding in on the surf to La Jolla beach in our kayak without disaster.

We stopped at Chris’s house to say hi to Laura and regroup. After Cooper and Stella came home from school, we went to Cooper’s football game before heading over to Steve and Vickie’s new house near University of San Diego. Scott was late getting back from SF, but arrived at Steve’s just after we did. We didn’t make it a priority to see the opening act (Beck) and had dinner before the show instead.

I’m just going to come out and say that the show at Levi’s wasn’t my favorite. It was only the 3rd stop on the tour and it seems they were still working out some glitches. They completely shit the bed on “With or Without You,” I didn’t like the arrangement of “Running to Stand Still” (my favorite JT track), and some of the other songs just seemed off. This San Diego show was the last US stop, so by now they had plenty of practice.

Everything about the show was better. Though technically it was the first day of autumn, it still felt like a warm summer night. The electricity of the crowd was palpable from the very beginning. There were more chills even though I knew exactly what to expect. They completely worked out “With Or Without You,” “Running to Stand Still” was closer to the album version, the encore set was better, and they finished the evening with “One” instead of a slow song that nobody had ever heard.

Most importantly, I was with my BFFs. Chris and Steve were with me at the Silverdome show. It wasn’t until last night that I found out that Scott wasn’t with us that night because he had too much integrity to call in sick to Dunham’s. Though looking back it’s a big regret for him (and us), it’s not surprising at all. None of these guys have changed a bit.

We packed a lot in during my 27 hours in San Diego. Thanks to Chris for hosting me for the show and at his home. Also, thanks to my parents for getting the kids to two soccer games and swim while I was gone.