U of M Tahoe Trip to Blaine’s – Winter Edition

Matt invited the west coast crew back up to Lake Tahoe for a ski trip. It’s just as beautiful up there in the winter, just snowier. I rode up with Ben on Thursday evening and Matt and Dukes were already up there.

Friday, we skied Palisades, which was the first time for me in years. Because I last skied there when the kids were very little, I don’t recall the big mountain aspect if this resort. It was a welcome change. We met up with Greg and his friends and skied together after lunch.

On Saturday, we avoided the crowds and skied at Matt’s home mountain of Homewood. This was a first for me. I always thought Heavenly had the best views in Lake Tahoe but I was wrong. Homewood is right on the lake with spectacular views everywhere. It was well groomed and quiet. The plumbing is not modern.

Great weekend away with the boys. Hope we do it again soon. Thanks for having us, Blaine!

27 Photos



Beaver Creek with Grandma and Aunt Jen

The kids got out of school early this year, so we decided to go on our annual ski trip before the holidays. Even though they weren’t going to ski, we asked my mom and Jen (and Blue) to join us to experience mountain life for a week. To keep things familiar, we went back to Beaver Creek, though we stayed at a different hotel for the first time.

After all flying into Denver, we drove up to the mountains together. Things went a lot more smoothly with our flights and bags compared to last year, so we had that going for us. The snow was also the best it has been for us this early in the season, so we were also thankful for that.

Even though we took mom and Jen to some of our favorite places, we tried some new ones together, too. We took a one-day excursion to Vail, which really meant a couple of runs and lunch. The weather most of the week was pretty good. Some bluebird days, some new snow, and some bomb cyclone wind and snow.

All-in-all, it was a fun Rhee family trip, despite the 7-hour delay getting home from Denver. We all flew back to SF to spend the rest of the holiday together. Everyone was super excited to see Luna, except maybe Blue.

44 Photos



Thanksgiving in NY – 2022

Last year, we attempted to spend the Christmas holiday in NYC and Rye, but we abandoned our plans midway through the week. Things are thankfully different this year, so our Park Thanksgiving was again planned for Addy and Charles’s house. 

Like last year, we spent the front end of our trip in Manhattan. We didn’t have any firm plans, except to see family and friends. Our first night, we saw a big group of summer camp friends in Koreatown. Liv was especially excited to see her cousin, Sara, who stayed with us for a night at the hotel. Thanks, Liz and Clarence for a great dinner!

It was bitterly cold those first few days. Addy and Charles came into the city for lunch at Quality Italian, which is always a must on our NY trip. We also got to see Jeanah for ramen. It was a long way to come see a movie, but Wakanda Forever was worth the trip.

One of the things I wanted to see was the 9/11 Memorial. I haven’t been down there in almost 20 years. Olivia and Lucas weren’t alive then, so I can appreciate that they don’t have the context of remembering it as we do. Still, it sparked a lot of conversation. I think it’s something I need to go see again alone and when it’s less crowded.

We met Grace’s parents and family for soup dumplings on Monday after they arrived. Afterwards, we walked over to Times Square, as Olivia really wanted to see it. We ended our last night in Manhattan with dessert at the hotel.

Tuesday, we headed out to Addy and Charles’s house in Rye. We haven’t all been there for a holiday since 2016, though Grace and the kids have visited more recently. It was mostly quiet time before Thanksgiving.

The Parks were kind to also include the Rhees (mom, Jen and Blue) for Thanksgiving. It was nice for all of us to be together again. I love Thanksgiving dinner and this one was prepared to perfection. Thanks to all the cooks! Sandor was hosting 30+ nearby and was also kind to invite all of us over for dessert for long overdue meeting of the clans.

On Friday, Ana and Bobby brought the family from Ridgewood to Rye to meet up for brunch. This was our first time meeting baby Courtney. She is such a cutie!

On Saturday, Jen hosted a big crew for the U of M vs. OSU game. Big props to Sandor for bringing the boys dressed for the occasion. They have much more spirit than Olivia and Lucas. Jen was dismayed that our flight time conflicted with the game. We missed the last two Donovan Edwards TDs just as we were getting into our car. Is it bad that we’re most thankful for this win?!?

Thanks again to everyone who hosted us this trip. It was really great to be back in NY and see so many family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

81 Photos



Harry Styles Concert in Los Angeles

We’re nearing the end of our concert series for 2022, but this is clearly the pinnacle for Olivia, who is slightly obsessed with Harry Styles. We were cool with Olivia wanting to see him on his tour, but it didn’t help that he was only playing a few cities, the nearest being in Los Angeles.

Back in May, Olivia came home from a school trip with a lot of memories and COVID-19. The silver lining of her being home that week was the she could focus all of her time and attention to securing tickets to this concert. She enlisted my help and as each show went on sale, we anxiously logged in to get in the queue. We first ended up with 4 tickets to last Saturday’s show, which thanks to being deep in line and Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing,” we paid an astronomical sum for upper bowl tickets. I was underwhelmed.

A few hours later, we tried again for the next Saturday’s show. While I was again thousands deep, Olivia somehow ended up 2nd in the queue. She was in tears with joy. I was just happy she got 8 General Admissions tickets for a reasonable sum and was now just stressed about who to invite.

In the end, only a couple of Olivia’s friends could attend the show, which was perfect because my car only holds 4 people. After our Olivia Rodrigo GA debacle, Olivia felt we needed to up our GA game and wanted to camp out. I was very hesitant to sign up for that, given an overnight in Inglewood with 3 teens seemed sketchy. Plus, I’m way too old to sleep on pavement. Olivia’s pragmatism prevailed and she decided on her own that it wasn’t worth it.

I picked them up straight from school on Friday and after seven hours, including a stop at Party City for feather boas and candy, we made it to LA. We tried to do a drive-by of the Kia Forum, but Friday’s show was just letting out and it was mayhem. The weather was really nice, so I agreed to go early and try to get wrist bands. We got up at 5:30am and got in line around 6:00am, behind about 600 people crazier people than us. There were people already in line and camping for Tuesday’s show – nuts!

We brought lawn chairs, Snuggies, sign-making supplies and even homework and the time passed surprisingly quickly. By 10:40am, our wristbands were secured. We were numbers 610-613 in line. Olivia’s friends had not really visited LA before, so we went for a well-deserved brunch in Manhattan Beach. Olivia wasn’t very happy that I forced them to take so many pictures after we had all just rolled out of bed and were not camera ready. Too bad.

We only had a couple hours to rest and get ready before heading back to the forum between 3-4pm to get back in line. From then, it was queue after queue until we finally entered the arena just after 6pm. Ben Harper opened  and was great and Harry’s set started promptly at 9pm. We had already been on our feet for 6 hours. I was now ready to sit and admit to shopping for seats on StubHub.

Within about 20-30 seconds of Harry coming on stage, I realized his fandom is something I hadn’t really experienced before. It was deafening (literally – ears still ringing). Olivia wasn’t crying just yet. However, the minute I realized all of this was worth it was when Harry waved to her and she just turned around to me and started sobbing. At 15, I didn’t love anything or anyone that much (because I didn’t discover Kim Basinger until I was 16). Olivia sobbed again in the car when she reviewed the video of Harry waving at her.

The show was actually really fun and the girls all had such a good time, Olivia especially. I will say I am more of a fan, but I’m not necessarily inclined to camp out for him again. Even Olivia conceded it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

We didn’t eat or drink anything for close to 12 hours, so it was time for dinner. It’s been close to 30 years since I had a late night in Manhattan Beach, but The Kettle is still 24-hours so we went there. It was a long, long day of Harry Styles.

I told Olivia I was only invited because they needed me there. She said that wasn’t true – they didn’t need me (oof). The truth is in a few years she’ll be able to do this on her own. I’m glad we got to experience this together and she was truly appreciative.

62 Photos



U of M Trip to Blaine’s Tahoe House

I was lucky to spend this past weekend in Tahoe with a different set of brothers. Jen and Matt bought and renovated a home in Tahoma during the pandemic. It is on the shore of Lake Tahoe and every inch of it is beautiful. Matt invited the entire NorCal U of M crew up to break it in and attendance was near capacity.

The trip was almost waved off due to the nearby fires. Blaine and Yo arrived early to scout it out and we were assured it was just “hazy.” Grady and I drove up together and as we got closer, the visibility was low and the air became acrid. We were pretty certain they were going to be bugging out just as we arrived.

We mostly sheltered indoors except for a short walk up to a great pizza place for dinner. Grady and I haven’t roomed together since our legendary Vegas trips. Thankfully when we woke up Saturday morning, it was quite clear and it looked like it was going to be a great weekend.

The first order of business was the Michigan football game, which coincided with breakfast prepared by Matt. The first indication that we were growing up was that fruit was served. After some more football, we took the boat over to Chamber’s Landing for lunch. The lake was running too low to bring the boat in, so Matt ferried us 2 at a time in his under-inflated dinghy, which was rated to carry 0.75 Benjams (now an official unit of measure). It was precarious, but we all made it aboard his more seaworthy vessel.

We arrived at Chambers Landing only to find they weren’t open for lunch. Based on our dress, it was easy to guess we were Michigan fans and made friends with people who had Michigan roots wherever we went. After a couple rounds of frozen drinks, we continued on to Sunnyside for a proper lunch and some grocery shopping.

Getting off the boat was even dodgier, so much so that Grady and Matt decided to swim vs. risk falling in. The afternoon was spent consuming more football and various chips (Greg even brought out some vegetables). For dinner, Matt prepared an amazing meal of grilled tri-tip and salad.

Dinner conversation covered many topics, books and shows. On the drive home, Grady compiled a list of over 20 books referenced during dinner. 17 were from him with an average of 1 each from the rest of us, my contribution being a young adult novel I read about 10 years ago. By the end of the evening, we reverted to our younger selves, playing bad pool while watching Caddy Shack. Ben said night night early.

Having been away on sequential guys trips (thanks, Grace!), I wanted to make it home in time for Olivia’s soccer game. Grady and I got on the road early, just as Matt and Jason were heading out for a ride (strong move).

Super big thanks to Matt for hosting us all at his new home. This was a rare full gathering of this group of very old friends (almost 33 years to the week for me and Dukes). It was also a reminder that we need to do this more often. We’re already looking forward to our next football BBQ and annual holiday party.

GO BLUE!

52 Photos



Spring Break on the Big Island

Spring break this year was also a belated celebration for Grace’s 50th birthday. Although we used to go to Hawaii a bit before the kids and also when the kids were very little, they’ve only been one time that they remember. We had a great trip with the Lees to Maui for spring break several years ago.

Grace thought it was time for a return trip to a special place for us, which is Hualalai on the Big Island, where we spent the second half of our honeymoon. We also went there with my parents on a babymoon before Olivia was born. Then there was one last trip with Olivia when she was a toddler.

In the past, we rarely left the resort, but Grace planned some memorable excursions for us throughout the trip. On Monday evening, we went manta ray feeding nearby. There were about 10 other boats in the same area just off the coast near the airport. They use bright lights to attract the plankton, which in turn attracts the manta rays who feed right below you. We ended up seeing 6-8 manta rays with four continuously looping under our board for quite a while. We weren’t allowed to touch them, but they were close enough that they touched us. Lucas had some trouble with his gear so didn’t enjoy it as much. Olivia said it was the coolest thing she had ever experienced.

Tuesday we golfed together. It was a tough round for everyone as the wind got up. Olivia got hit by an errant ball early on in the round and took a break for a while. We were mostly all smiles by the end of the round (except Lucas). We checked that off the list.

Wednesday morning we went out on a canoe at the resort. It wasn’t expected, but a pod of dolphins went right past us, which was so cool. We also saw a couple sea turtles. On the way back in, we were able to snorkel along the reef and saw many fish.

On Thursday, Grace and I golfed again while the kids tended to themselves by the pool. They survived the several hours unattended. We had lunch together and had more pool time.

Friday was our last full day and Grace had planned a ziplining activity in Kohala, which was about an hour from the resort. I though it was controversial to spend our last day away, but it ended up being really fun and the kids said they enjoyed it even more than the manta ray feeding. We didn’t really have time to swim when we returned, but everyone was okay with some down time.

Our amazing week in paradise went by so quickly. Given our late spring break, we ran into several friends from school at the resort and then met a few more families who were on our plane home. I also ran into an old friend from my earliest start-up adventures when I first moved to the Bay Area. It’s always a small world.

Lucas said it was sad like leaving camp, which I understood. Grace said it was one of her favorite trips ever (perhaps behind her 40th birthday extravaganza). We all had an amazing time and did the math on how old we’d all be if it were another 13 years before we return. I hope it’s not that long, but it will be worth the wait.

83 Photos



U of M Ski Trip to Vail

A group of guys have been going on this ski trip for a while. This year, Thorne let me know he and Blaine had space in their room and invited me along. Among the other first timers were Blaine, Jon, Lamarchial and possibly some others. Some people departed as others arrived, but my guess is that there were about 16 or 17 people in this group (almost all Sigma Nus, plus some relatives and close friends).

The SF crew arrived Thursday afternoon, but some others had already had a full day of skiing and were gathered at the Red Lion for après. We spent hours there catching up before moving over to Vendetta’s for pizza and the Michigan basketball game. We finished the evening at the hotel before calling it a night. It’s no wonder why some of them did not make it to first chair, but the committed were waiting at the Gondola 1 before service officially started.

It’s not easy to keep a group this large together on a mountain like Vail. To that point, we lost Lamar about 3 minutes after getting off the gondola and didn’t see him again until lunch. It was almost as bad as losing your kid at the mall. There wasn’t a lot of new snow, but it was good enough. The groomers were a lot better than the back bowls, and we covered a lot of the mountain in search of good terrain.

How many old dudes can you fit in a hot tub? Too many is the answer. The size of the group also made it hard to find fine dining, but that was okay because we all fit inside the Blü Cow. Those guys behind the bar had no idea a group would come in and pay for the next 3 months’ rent. I wasn’t there to shut it down, but they reserved half the restaurant for us for the following night as well.

Although I’ve seen most of these guys here and there over the years, I hadn’t met John before because he was a little after my time in the house. The Flint crew showed up on Friday, and Paul and I decided we hadn’t seen each other since college. That meant it was awesome to catch up on almost 30 years and also learn he has 580K TikTok followers. Who knew!

The number of skiers/boarders dwindled on Saturday, with some opting for recovery. Greg and Scott had a beautiful champagne lunch at the Four Seasons. We’re all very happy for them. The rest of us were dining on burgers and chicken strips at the Eagle’s Nest and only the bravest continued on through the end of a very full day of skiing and riding.

Saturday’s Michigan-OSU game did not end as well, but we shook it off with more Vendetta’s (sorry, Blü Cow crew) in Greg’s room. Things got a little crazy with our all-night Euchre tournament. No punches were thrown, but let’s just say some people will do anything to win.

Sunday, I ventured out alone for a few runs in the morning before packing up and saying our farewells. Thorne, Idema and I had our first civilized meal of the trip at Sweet Basil before heading out to Eagle and home.

One thing I loved about this trip was that I got to really catch up with everyone, unlike at a tailgate or a game. There’s lots of time on the chairlift and while hanging out to meaningfully reconnect. On the mountain and in the bar, everyone is still 20. But our conversations really reflect our age as we celebrate our children (and babies!) and partners, support each other with our aging parents, lift some out of unimaginable hardships, compare colonoscopies and cholesterol levels, and contemplate the next phase of life.

However that next phase plays out for each of us, I hope we can keep doing this trip while our knees and (some) livers will allow. Until next time.

Note: I can’t be in all places at all times to capture all the shenanigans, so these are a collection of photos from the trip.

71 Photos



Long weekend in Tahoe with Moons

We spent the long weekend with the Moons in Lake Tahoe. Clara and Grace conspired to sign-up Lucas for ski team at Northstar. This was his first time skiing with his Mountain Explorers team. He’ll get some more days on the mountain this season and is happy to have Nico to keep him company.

Olivia and Alex didn’t ski/ride as much this weekend, but they still got out for some tubing. We didn’t end up getting on the mountain on our last day, so the four kids went tubing instead. It was a great end to our weekend together.

Thanks, Moons, for having us (as always). We’ll see you again in two weeks.

28 Photos



Ski Trip to Beaver Creek with Jea and Eddie

We planned a ski trip for the 2nd week of the kids’ break. It’s always a gamble with the snow that early in the season and a week or two before our trip to Beaver Creek it was looking very bleak. It was dumping in California during that time, but not all of the storms seemed to be hitting Colorado.

While we’re used to going to Beaver Creek now, we chose it in particular because Jea and Eddie planned to be their with their family and their friends. It’s a crazy time to travel and the only thing we could find was a 3 BR at the Westin. We didn’t need all the space, so Jea and Eddie joined us in one of our rooms, which was nice to be able to stay together.

Between COVID-19 and the weather, our flight to Eagle was cancelled after several delays. We spent most of the day at the airport trying to re-route and got on a flight to Denver in the afternoon, rented a car, and drove ourselves up that evening. It was very snowy and slow, but we made it safely, but our bags did not.

We arrived on Sunday, but our bags didn’t arrive until Wednesday night. Luckily I had shipped all of our ski gear ahead of time because we were supposed to be coming directly from NY. The kids didn’t have their base layers, so we bought some there and everyone wore the same clothes for 3 days straight. Thankfully we had laundry in the unit to stay fresh.

It snowed pretty much every day we were there, yet much of the mountain and lifts were still not open. The lack of staff impacted everything from the restaurants, in-room dining menu, and lift operations. I don’t think I skied a groomed run all week. Even Starbucks was shut down in the hotel, which is usually an important part of our routine.

In any case, we made the most of the fresh snow and being with our friends. It wasn’t easy to coordinate the whole group, but the kids skied together some days, as did the adults. We had some meals together and celebrated Olivia’s birthday. We enjoyed spending time with the Lim family and their boys were great with Olivia and Lucas (even if they were no match for him in Super Smash Bros). We were supposed to spend NYE together, but the other groups headed out a day early to beat a big storm that threatened to snow them in. They made it safely to Denver after a 5-hour drive.

We were suffering as well back at the hotel, watching Michigan get destroyed in the semi-finals. I barely made it to east coast midnight, but I did manage to get out early on New Years Day to find some fresh powder. Lucas and I skied 6 days while Olivia took her birthday off with Grace.

Although we were delayed again on the way home, we were relieved to just get a flight out with all the cancellations. We made it home safely with all of our luggage (though our shipped ski bags were dropped off ironically to the wrong house).

Happy New Year!

52 Photos



NYC for the Holidays – 2021

We finally had planned to spend the holidays in NY to be together with family. This was technically a Park Christmas, but my mom would be with Jen and the Haus would all be around. I hadn’t been to NY since Eemoh’s 80th birthday over three years ago. We planned to spend the first half of the week in Manhattan. Grace wanted to minimize walking, so we stayed at the St. Regis vs. the Essex House or Mandarin, which are more towards Columbus Circle.

We met Dave for dinner on the first night. My mom came down from Jen’s to hang out with us on Monday. We went to Rockefeller Center to check out the tree. It was pretty crazy down there. We had our first celebrity sighting when Olivia noticed Gaten Matarazzo from one of our favorite shows, Stranger Things. I told her to ask for a photo, but she hesitated. My mom was the most aggressive in getting close to him and in the end Liv wanted one, but we missed our opportunity.

We had a late afternoon snack at the St. Regis before heading out to go skating in Central Park at Wollman Rink. It was a bit of a zoo down there, but we had fun and no one got injured. We had dinner at Quality Italian with Dave, Jeanah and my mom. The last time we came here together, my mom took a really bad tumble on the last couple stairs and broke her knee cap and wrist. We rode the elevator this time.

On Tuesday, we went to the MOMA with the kids. They weren’t really in the mood for a museum and were being very teenagery. Grace did a little shopping on her own while the kids and I had another snack at the hotel. All the food and service there was excellent by the way, especially breakfast. That evening, we had dinner with Zoë and Jeanah. We hadn’t seen her since SJC.

By Wednesday, things were getting a little crazy with COVID-19 in Manhattan. Our Christmas plans were becoming very uncertain and it looked like we weren’t going to see extended family, including my mom, and Grace’s parents, who didn’t even come in from Michigan. Although the kids were very sad to miss spending time with Cameron and Dex at Addy and Charles’s house, we decided to head home early on Wednesday.

We took a PCR test before we left, got home safely, and all received negative results. We survived and Luna was especially happy to see us arrive home early vs. being gone for two weeks straight. We were supposed to fly directly from NY to Colorado, so those plans had to be rearranged.

Until next time, NYC!

49 Photos



© www.graceandjason.com 2023