An Eventful Easter Weekend

A party in SF! A play in Berkeley! Easter Sunday in Sonoma! A car! And a spectacular Sonoma home! All this and more!

Last weekend was, I might say, one of the more eventful ones of my time in California. Particularly given that I was even sleeping in my own bed. The weekend got off to a good start, socially, with a CREEES reception in Rob Wessling’s (our fearless assistant (and de facto actual) director) apartment. The reception, with a few of our CREEES associates as well as many of those in my MA program, was pretty well-attended, given that it was in San Francisco AND on a holiday weekend.

In the foreground, from left to right: CREEES MA students Caitlin, Maria, and Andrew, and Andrew's girlfriend, Nicole.

Among the most illustrious of our guests was the indomitable Otto, who belonged to someone associated with the center. Rob was in love.

As usual, I found it nice to get out of Palo Alto. Being down in the Lower Haight was a firm reminder of why I love San Francisco. The architecture, people actually moving on the streets–such a welcomed chance from sleepy Palo Alto.

After the party, squeezed between javelins, we crowded into Andrew’s car to head off to Berkeley.

Oh hi, Nicole and Caitlin (and Andrew)!

Crossing the Bay Bridge. This city really never gets old!

In Berkeley, we were treated to a night on CREEES, with a production of Beardo, an off-colour, raunchy musical-like production based loosely on the life of Rasputin. It was a lot of fun.

We weren’t really sure what to expect, and I think some of us liked it more than others (hi, Pasha!). But it was a nice excuse to get out for the evening and do something out of the ordinary! Particularly when CREEES was footing the bill.

Andrew and Nicole. And Pasha.

During the intermission, a raffle took place, and one of the illustrious winners included our very own Pasha. Whose utterly unpronounceable name (yes, he wrote it with the appropriate “Ł’s” in both his names) confused and distressed the woman who had drawn his card. His prize? An utterly fantastic beard of his own.

Oh Pasha, THIS is a great look!

But alas, that was only half the weekend! Thanks to certain circumstances and unexpected generosity, I found myself in possession of car keys for the weekend, and I took the illustrious “Grandmobile” up to Sonoma to spend Easter with my great aunt and uncle, who live up there. After a pleasant two hour drive (OH HOW NICE IT IS TO HAVE A CAR!) and a morning church service, we were joined by my cousin (once removed) and his family for a delicious brunch. It was nice to catch up with these relatives, whom I last saw, I believe, extremely briefly during a 2006 jaunt in wine country.

With my second cousin, Shannon, during an Easter egg hunt. She found some!

Actually, Shannon was pretty cute:

After a lovely brunch (brunch being obviously the best meal of any day you have it), we headed back to my aunt and uncle’s house near Glen Ellen, in Sonoma County, where we enjoyed conversation and dessert (and a mini-geography lesson: Tajikistan is, for the record, very close to Afghanistan. And China.). My contribution: a lemon-berry pound cake. Not my biggest aesthetic success, but certainly delicious.

After finishing up there, I stopped by Caroline’s parents’ new home in Sonoma, where the Corbitt family was also celebrating Easter. Intending to stop for just a quick tour and champagne, I was invited to stay for dinner (so full!), and had a pleasant afternoon and evening with the family, who have really served as my home base of sorts for my time in California. Their new home (about to be featured in another post, since Caroline just threw a fabulous party there this past weekend) was stunning. After all, who wouldn’t love a home with a pool and hot tub in view of mountains and vineyards. Amazing.

Clockwise from top left: vineyards of the back yard, the vines up close, Caroline's mother pours the wine, Caroline enjoys a beer in the hot tub. Yes all around!

After an uneventful two hour drive back, I was most sorry to see such a pleasant weekend over. Alas, to all the people who made it possible! To generous hosts, a well-funded department, and a certain New Haven grandmother, whose car and its usual driver made the trip to Sonoma possible.

Luckily, this past weekend hasn’t been too shabby. And with plans for next weekend in Kansas City and an incoming visitor for the weekend after that, the next weeks are looking pretty good, too!

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