Thanksgiving 2019

This was a Park Thanksgiving. We decided to all meet in Michigan, as Delaney was already there for college, and the Hur family is in the area. We stayed with my parents, with Jen and Blue. Elin has been staying with us for a couple of months. After some days exploring Austin and New Orleans, she flew up to Detroit to spend the holiday with us.

To avoid the madness of traveling during Thanksgiving, we flew out on Wednesday and returned on Saturday. It was a rainy week, but we spent some time outdoors walking Blue and showing Elin around my home and around U of M.

Grace’s parents don’t keep too much in Ann Arbor, so instead of trying to cook, we ordered in a complete Thanksgiving dinner from Zingerman’s. As you can imaging, it was delicious. On Friday, everyone came over to my parents’ house for dinner and to give Olivia and Lucas more time to spend with Delaney and Cameron.

Dave took Jen’s tickets for the Ohio St. vs. Michigan game, while the rest of us watched the brutality from the comforts of home. The kids love Buddy’s pizza, so we had that for lunch. I spent some time senior- proofing my parents’ house.

We have much for which to be thankful, especially precious time with our parents and family.

Summer Trip to Michigan with Family

Despite some mild objections (from Lucas), the kids would be going to SJC again this summer. Last year, I took them out a few days early to get them adjusted to the time and to spend time at my parents’ house, which they love. This year, we asked my parents if they could spend a week there. Jen also joined in the fun and brought her new puppy, Blue, from NY.

We discussed several options to get them to Michigan that first week. I felt they were old enough to fly unaccompanied, but Lucas did not. We considered having our au pair, Ala, take them, but they declined. In the end, I chaperoned them on their Saturday flight and returned home the next day.

Ala went to travel, so it was very quiet at home with just me and Grace. The kids had fun with Aunt Jen, Grandma, Grandpa, and of course, Blue. Olivia taught him many new tricks. Grace went to Michigan the following Friday. I have been encumbered by employment and opted to take the redeye that evening instead.

Grace’s parents happened to be in town, so we had lunch with most of the Hur clan in Ann Arbor. We spent a little time downtown and also stocked up on Michigan gear at M-Den. We spent the rest of the day getting ready for camp.

The kids only had an extra day after camp to spend in West Bloomfield. I did a little home maintenance (there was more to do). The main mission was for the kids (and us) to spend time with their grandparents, which is too seldom these days. I think my dad’s mission was to show us his new driveway.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for hosting us all.

WBHS 30th Reunion

This past weekend the WBHS class of 1988 celebrated our 30th high school reunion. Jen, Randy, Stephanie, and Jodi did an amazing job or organizing this event at the Red Dunn outside the Trumbull & Porter hotel in Detroit. Brad was our awesome DJ. It was a great venue for all of us to catch up after too many years.

Like so many of our other reunions, it just never seems like enough time to catch up with everyone. Aside from so many good friends who weren’t able to attend, there were people I saw with whom I didn’t get to speak to, which is regretful. That said, I’m so thankful for all the meaningful connections I made over the weekend. It’s hard to catch up on decades of being apart. The best was reminiscing fun times and remembering our dearly departed friends.

As my kids grow, I get more and more perspective on how great my childhood was in West Bloomfield among so many great people. I feel fortunate for the friends we had, the space we had to explore and roam, and all the mischief we had up and down Orchard Lake Road.

Sorry for some out of focus photos included here – the softness was unintentional. Thanks to Ross for cropping me out of the photo with Nancy – fair warning for anyone needing an amputation below the ankle. Until we all meet again, take care, everyone!

Christmas in Michigan with Rhees and Parks

For the first time in 8 years, we spent the Christmas holiday in Michigan at my parents’ house (and childhood home). The kids know it well from our summer trips, but they haven’t really experienced snow there as kids (and ironically there was a lot more of it than in Colorado). Addy and Charles were also in Michigan to visit Amy and Arnie’s family, and thus Grace’s parents and Dave also came to Michigan.

Everyone came over for Christmas Day and dinner. The kids had some daylight to play in the snow. I tried to buy some sleds, but there was nothing open. They improvised with cardboard and plastic. Grace improvised with the recycling container top. The Rhees (no relation) also joined us for dinner, which was prepared by my mom, Jen and Grace.

We spent time in Ann Arbor with Grace’s Hur side of the family. It was nice to see all the cousins. They each took turns kissing the ring (Dad Park).

We saw Melanie, Nick and the kids, who took us downtown for lunch and bowling at Punch Bowl Social. It was a nice excursion to my old work neighborhood. Detroit is coming along!

The holidays is also the time we celebrate my Dad’s birthday. We celebrated 82 with a great meal at Eddie V’s, which is new to Detroit. Happy Birthday, Dad!

We all love visiting Michigan at any time of year. Olivia and Lucas can’t get enough of the wide open spaces and my parents’ yard. Even though it was single digits, they never really complained about the cold, which encourages me that our California kids are tougher than we might think.

Visiting Family and Friends in Michigan

There were three reasons for our annual trip home to Michigan:

  1. Visiting Michigan grandparents, seeing aunt Jen, and catching up with friends.
  2. Attending Sae Jong Camp
  3. My golf tour of Michigan

Last year, because we attended a reunion before camp, the kids didn’t feel like they had enough time at grandma and grandpa’s house. Thus, this year we went a few days early not only to adjust to the time, but also to spend quality time with family and friends.

Highlights:

  • Grace’s parents happened to be traveling back to LA from Michigan as we were landing, so they met us at the gate to say hello. Our flight was delayed, so we only had time to walk them down to their gate. Still, it was a great surprise for all of us.
  • My mom always likes to cook the kids’ favorite foods. Olivia’s best compliment to her was that we were so lucky to grow up with such great food. This is true!
  • We visited with the Melanie and Nick for a bit and Randy also came over.
  • Last year, I took my dad downtown to explore. This year, the kids and I took my mom. We went back to midtown and had lunch at Jolly Pumpkin and also visited the Shinola store for some souvenirs. The kids were also mesmerized by an actual turntable (hint hint, Santa).
  • We tried flying our kites again, but it was futile. I’ve done it many times as a kid back there, but now I think the forest has grown too tall and was blocking the wind. The kids never tire of my childhood elementary school playground.
  • We met up with the Feleses again for dinner and dessert at Stroh’s. We wouldn’t have another chance because they were off to Spain for an awesome summer adventure.
  • On Saturday, we met Jea and Eddie’s family in Ann Arbor. Jea and Emma were touring Chicago colleges and then everyone met up to visit Michigan in Ann Arbor. We had lunch together at Zingerman’s (check!)
  • Our golf tour included a detour to Ludington. Eddie’s parents invited me and Joe to stay at their place. I hadn’t been there in well over 20 years. Top Gun was being screened as we arrived. We slumber partied with Ethan in the basement like we were all 13 years old. We got the full Ludington experience, including tennis, lunch and golf.
  • After bringing the kids back from camp, I went to Michigan to have brunch with Fran and Jon. The Brimhalls were visiting their old hood from their new hood in Telluride.
  • Finally, on our last day, Kristen and Scott happened to be home visiting Scott’s parents, so we met up with Riley and Natalie in Birmingham.

For as much as we squeezed in, there wasn’t enough time to see everyone. We’ll be back in December for the holidays and will hopefully have a chance to see more friends then.

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.

Visiting Family and Friends in Michigan

Olivia and Lucas were bummed to spend so little time at their grandparents’ house during our Michigan visit. Grandma and Grandpa were very proud to show them their expanded garden this year and even protected a few vegetables from the local vermin just so the kids could pick them. I saw a tiny little snake and hesitated for just a second to catch him. It’s been over 20 years since the last one I caught. They even indulged in the simple pleasure of spraying the hose, which is something that is not quite permitted in California.

The kids were introduced to “Detroit Style” pizza at Buddy’s before we headed up north to camp. JP, YY, Jen and I went to AA on the way back from camp. On Monday, JP got in a round at U of M golf course. Jen got crushed by the big Delta outage and her flight was cancelled. The silver lining was that we were all able to have dinner together at Social Kitchen in Birmingham.

On Tuesday, I took my dad to lunch down in Detroit. Nick suggested Selden Standard, which did not disappoint. I need to spend more time downtown. My West Bloomfield buddies made time that evening and we caught up until late night.

On Wednesday, I explored the area on my own for a while. That evening, I had dinner with Melanie, Nick and the kids in Fashionable Ferndale. I needed my beard for that hipster outing.

On Thursday, Grace came to town and we went straight to Ann Arbor. I had my second Zingerman’s lunch of the week (there can never be too many). I unwittingly introduced Grace to Shinola and she walked out with a watch. Jon plugged me into Ann Arbor Man’s Meal, which was a very convenient way to catch up with Marty, Greg, Paul, Rob and Jon. Grace was able to hang out with Frances and we kept them up way past bedtime.

When we returned with the kids from camp on Saturday, my mom was happy to be able to cook for all of us and took special orders from the kids. Lucas even got ramen for breakfast as his choice. We met up with the Feleses one last time and had a nice lunch with my parents before heading home.

Already looking forward to returning next year!

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa in West Bloomfield

On Tuesday of our trip we went from Ann Arbor to West Bloomfield to stay with “Michigan” grandma and grandpa. The kids always enjoy their visits, but this time, they seemed particularly appreciative of the green grass and wide open spaces, both of which are hard to come by in California. They worked hard in my parents’ vegetable garden. Grandma got them a soccer ball and aunt Jen sent kites, which we flew in the Doherty field adjacent to our yard.

One evening, I got to meet up with Jen, Jodi, and Randy in Birmingham. It’s always nice to meet up with friends from home.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for great visit. The kids didn’t want to leave.

Deer Valley with WB Guys

This past weekend, the guys from West Bloomfield met up for our annual ski trip to Utah. While there was initially more enthusiasm from the bunch, in the end several people weren’t able to make it. Thus, the team was Steve, Scott, Herb and me. We stayed at our usual town house just outside of Park City. The entire trip was planned around the Sunday brunch buffet at The Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley. We committed to also ski there on Friday, leaving Saturday open to ski somewhere different.

After receiving some fresh snow at Deer Valley, it wasn’t that compelling to go try the Canyons again. Because we have never skied consecutive days at Deer Valley before, we hadn’t taken advantage of the complimentary ski storage (nor even noticed it). However, once it was discovered, that sealed the deal for skiing there all weekend as we saved ourselves the trouble of carrying our crap back and forth.

Another new development was our Saturday brunch buffet at the Montage, which was beautiful. Scott still stands by the famous Deer Valley turkey chili, which we ate on Friday. We also enjoyed some great dinners at some new restaurants in Park City.

It snowed even more on Saturday so Sunday morning we were out early for first tracks. It was probably the best conditions I’ve had all season and was a lot of fun. We all had afternoon flights so we headed out right after lunch.

Although the team was small this year, it was a perfect four for all the chair lifts and we were able to enjoy catching up. Hopefully next year we’ll be back to full force. Discussions have started for an epic trip to celebrate our half centuries, which is now in sight. We’re still negotiating skiing or golf. I’m up for both!

Reliving Childhood at Doherty Elementary with the Kids

We made a couple trips to Doherty with the kids during our visit home. Once with my mom and aunt and another time with Grace. Just about every story I could remember was told, many involving “Uncle so-and-so.”

Most of the playground toys are new, but I know exactly where the old jungle gym stood, off of which Chris fell. I also know just where that pipe was buried beneath the old sand box. Then there was that time I fell off the wall after AM Kindergarten just outside Jen(ny)’s classroom and she came to the rescue. And, they have no idea how much time I spent in that creek and crawling through that pipe.

After almost 40 years, it doesn’t seem that different. One of the main things I noticed on this trip was how over-grown all of the trees and foliage seem now compared to when they were new and young. Even so, going back there I don’t feel that far removed from it all.