A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

Thankful Tuesdays begin and oh how I love San Francisco March 29, 2011

Filed under: adult fun,friends,travel — courtsbrogno @ 5:47 pm

The week went by rather quickly, and there is much to be thankful for.

Like finally finishing grading and ending a long and arduous quarter by submitting grades after spending much of the week grading like a mad woman, which is both exhausting and exhilarating:

Then for a very brief reprieve, I packed the kids into the car and off we went for a weekend in San Francisco to visit my mom and dad, attend my best friend Michelle’s baby shower, and spend some time with some great friends.

Oh, how I do love you San Francisco.

Is there any bridge more beautiful than the Golden Gate?

Of course, with my terrible sense of direction, I spent a very frustrating amount of time driving around lost in this city, but then I came to realize, getting lost near Golden Gate Park is not such a bad way to spend my time lost and driving around the city:

And spending some time on Tasha’s roof so we could take in the views of the city? Practically heaven:





Or being in the Sunset district and looking down a street, admiring a row of uniquely styled houses, which is always a reminder of why the diversity of the city–even in just the houses and districts–makes San Francisco a place that other cities should be jealous of:

And just because I happened to be lost and somehow ended up at City Lights Bookstore, I’m putting in one of my favorite poems by its founder (note: the actual spacing of the poem is not transferring correctly):

Constantly Risking Absurdity (#15)

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of day
performing entrechats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be


For he’s the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap


And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence



I attended Michelle’s baby shower while I was up in San Francisco as well, seeing most of my same best friends I saw at my birthday. Which was great. It’s so rare we get together that often. Plus, celebrating Michelle’s new baby coming (due May 11th!) made my visit seem even more special:

(Another girl for Michelle and Cain!)


(lots of presents for this new baby girl)


(Michelle, proud mama to be, relishing in the attention she deserves)


(Michelle was delighted to have many family members fly up to SF to help celebrate. I was delighted to see her family!)


And then it was off for a night on the town with Tasha, some old friends, a few new friends, and I even got the chance to see my old neighbor, who I miss living next to (he didn’t call the city and complain about my chickens!). We had so much fun; oh yes, we did!

(That’s Tasha and my old neighbor Brady. They are not kissing. Just hugging.)

The night was a love fest and it was one that I will always remember. Good times and good memories: I can’t ask for much more.

Sadly, I had to leave Sunday as it was time to drive home and  prepare myself for a new quarter with classes starting Monday. Though I was up way later than I had anticipated, I’m thankful I successfully finished all my prepping for the new quarter. Giving up some sleep was well worth waking up without stress.

And then it was back into the classroom, and the first day, why always exhausting, is also invigorating. I think of all the possibilities that can come from both me as an instructor and my students as well. All the possibilities that await exploration. That’s what makes all the grading and exhaustion worth it. Very worth it.

It was a good week. A busy week. A short vacation with a lot of love spread around.

I’m so lucky in life. That I know to be true.



i heart san francisco November 14, 2010

Filed under: travel — courtsbrogno @ 10:09 pm

Thankful for my day in san frncisco and marin. will update more when i’m not so exhausted from this quick trip.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I LOVE San Francisco. I think this may be the area I’m supposed to be living (and Portland and Seattle and Oxford…). I just love being here. And it doesn’t hurt that my best friend lives in the Richmond district, right across from Golden Gate Park and still be close to some cool restaurants and activities also just down the street.

So Luke and I took a stroll to get some coffee and he was so well-behaved, I think he wants to live here too.

And I love San Francisco because I took Luke for a bike ride on Olivia’s pink radio flyer and some guy yelled, “Way to keep him out of the gender box. Good for you!” I mean, he was only riding it because we didn’t being a bike; I wasn’t trying to make a statement. But I love how accepting most people are in this city.

We left Michelle’s house to travel across the most beautiful bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge:



To visit my cousin Nicole and her family:


I’m incredibly grateful that Nicole was able to accommodate us on such late notice (I had only emailed her about a possible visit on Thursday). My cousin is so cool and since we really weren’t that close when we were growing up, I feel like now that we’ve reconnected as adults we have some serious catch-up to do. So trying to see her when I’m up in San Fran is a must. I’m also incredibly thankful for my aunt, Nicole’s mom, who made us an amazing brunch and did all the work so we could watch the kids as they played, talk, and admire Nicole’s newly bought, gorgeous home in Mill Valley:


(Maddie on Nicole’s deck. What a view!)


Nicole’s son Beckett and Luke played so nicely and I really hope they can be friends as they continue to grow:


We left and drove back over the Golden Gate Bridge, sad to be heading home. I do love where I live, but I love my trips to SF. And now I realize I need more time there. I want to see my cousin and her family more and I always want to see Michelle more. I want to see more friends who live there, especially my dear friends Tasha and Cory and other good friends who moved there. I also want to hike Mount Tam, walk though Muir Woods, and spend the day at Stinson Beach. I want to see another concert there. I want to eat at an amazing restaurant. I want to go back to the Japanese Tea Gardens. Oh….I want to do it all.

Thus, we’re planning a week visit hopefully during Spring Break. We’re coming back, San Francisco, because I love you just too much to stay away.

P.S. Both Nicole and Michelle are pregnant!!!! So much to be thankful for!!!!


The little big game November 13, 2010

Filed under: family fun,travel — courtsbrogno @ 9:26 pm

Very thankful to have attended the annual little big game. But I’m hanging out with my friend michelle, so ill update later.


To those who’ve never heard of the little big game, it means nothing. To those who grew up attending Burlingame High School or San Mateo High School, this football game means everything.

I didn’t go to either school. In fact, I don’t ever recall attending my own high school football game. But my best friend Michelle’s husband went to San Mateo High School and has been their football’s offensive coordinator for at least 5 years. And for four years, we’ve been going to this game and rooting for San Mateo to win.

It’s a 90 year rivalry, and the winner gets “the paw” (Burlingame’s mascot is the Panther and San Mateo’s is the Bear Cat, thus the paw reference. from what I’ve seen in the years I’ve gone to the game, San Mateo has never won, EXCEPT for last year when both my kids came down with the flu and we missed the game. The ONLY game in about 15 years that San Mateo won.I often wonder if it’s me who is bad luck.

And though San Mateo lost again this year, we still had a great time.

(watching the game)


(the football team)

(Half time show: the marching band. They are so GOOD!)

This year my parents came to the game with us as well as my dear friend Christine who lives close to the area. And hanging with Michelle, her daughter Olivia (who is the same age as Luke), and then sitting around after the game drinking wine and chatting made for a GREAT day! And I love watching Luke and Olivia play, even if that means Luke dons a tutu to play ballerina with Olivia.

Even with all the fun of hanging with my best friend, I really look forward to this game every year for the simple reason of cheering on a team I know Cain has worked so hard to coach. And even if they didn’t win, Cain loves those kids, and it makes me heart swell to see the love he has for his players.

(Cain with Olivia after the game)

Now here’s hoping that next year San Mateo WINS!


ikea me November 12, 2010

Filed under: family fun,travel — courtsbrogno @ 9:07 pm

We are in Northern California for the weekend. We left town around 1p.m and made it here by 4:30. We made good time and are sooooo happy to have a weekend of family, friends, and–oh YES–football!

But before all the weekend fun begins, I’m thankful for a safe car ride and especially for my Aunt Linda who bought the kids a video player for the car yesterday. The kids watching Toy Story 3 instead of listening to me sing in the car–pure bliss for them.

I’m normally one of those people who generally thinks that more is not better and that kids DO NOT need very much to be happy, healthy kids. But I bend the rules on entertainment for the car. Man, it is awesome to have screens on the back of the head rests for movie watching. Who invented this brilliant idea? Cause I’d like to by him or her a drink.

Once we arrived at my mom and dad’s, we hung out, ate dinner, and then I left Luke with my mom and took Maddie to what I consider “adult Disneyland:” IKEA!

Ikea is honestly the greatest place in the world. I could plan out a hundred ways to decorate my house. Alas, I didn’t need anything for my house, so we mostly just walked around and bought a few gifts and some pillows and tupperware.

But Maddie and I picked our favorite rooms and pretended we lived there (and Maddie wasn’t even embarrassed).

God how I love Ikea. I wish I could live there. But for now, I’m thankful for the Ikea date Maddie and I had.


good-bye L.A. June 19, 2010

Filed under: travel — courtsbrogno @ 3:53 pm

The differences between Southern California and my home are vast, but as I leave this evening to head back home, I am already missing some great SoCal aspects. Here are some of my favs:

  1. Much of my family lives here and it’s great to visit. I have many friends that live here as well that I miss and love and wish I could see more often.
  2. KCRW (89.9). This is a close tie with #1, which makes me a little callous, but oh well. Seriously KCRW is the BEST radio station anywhere. Even places I’ve never been to. Nothing can be better than this. Mornings Become Eclectic? What came before this show? I was a little nervous when Nic Harcourt left at the end of 2008, but the new host, Jason Bentley, is great. And while I can, and often do, listen to this station via my computer, it just feels really awesome to turn on the radio and tune in.
  3. Again, the warm ocean water and the soft sand. I could lie on the beach all day and actually go in the water without fear of hypothermia. I cannot believe Maddie actually goes in the water by our house. It is so cold. I guess it’s all she’s known, but being a SoCal baby, I just cannot get used to it.
  4. Warm evenings. Evenings where you can sit outside to eat dinner, dessert, and even stay out and drink wine. Evenings where you can wear a summer dress all night long. Evenings where dragonflies flutter around and kids can still swim in pools.
  5. Lots of people my age. Single people. Single men. Gorgeous single men who actually talked to me and seemed nice, more specifically.
  6. The amount of concerts and events always going on. Reading the paper this morning, in just the area my family lives in, this weekend I could have gone to 3 different concerts, 4 plays, and 2 outdoor performances. And these aren’t just events I could go to; these are events I would seriously LOVE to attend.

And so, as I pack up the car ready for the journey home, I am thankful today for Southern California. I love a lot about this area, and it’s nice to visit. I will, however, not miss the traffic, the 8 lane highways (going ONE way), drivers who love to honk as soon as the light turns green (hold on; I’ve got a stick), too many people living beyond their means, smog, too many corporate owned stores (rather than small, independent businesses), oh and so, so, so, so much more….

Here I come small town…glad to be coming home.


mini vacation during my vacation June 18, 2010

Filed under: kindness toward me,travel — courtsbrogno @ 9:09 pm

Leaving Oceanside was sad today—I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Sofia nor was I ready to tackle the 5-405-110 freeways.

But we did. And we made it to my aunt’s house. And today, I’m thankful for my Aunt Linda.

Who is awesome. For many reasons.

Today, she had my car washed (it’s so clean right now, I don’t even want to drive it), she watched the kids so I could go to Target, the kids played in her pool (it’s an endless pool—the kid that has a motor in it so you can swim against a current) and she watched them so I could lay in the sun and do some reading, she then made dinner, and right now she’s playing with Luke so I can type this.

Not only that, but she’s always been like a mother-figure to me. She always visits, takes care of us always, and is generally super awesome. It’s so nice to be hanging out at her house–it’s a gorgeous house in the hills of Los Angeles with a beautiful view; it’s like a mini-vacation for me.


visiting sofia June 17, 2010

Filed under: friends,travel — courtsbrogno @ 9:00 pm

Aham I’m actually using a blackberry for the first time because I’m still at my friend sofias house who does not have an internet connection. Goof for life. Bad for blogging. Anyway thankful for sofia and our day together. Much more to come once my computer can go online.

Also…lakers just won. Yay. Thankful for that too.


So even though I update with Sofia’s Blackberry, I have to admit (as I’m sure you can see) that I’m totally not adept to the new phone technology. I don’t understand the appeal of a Blackberry and now after using one, I’m still a little bit confused as to why they are so popular. It literally took me almost 45 minutes to log onto my blog site and write what little I did.

But back to my blog from yesterday: I am so very thankful for my day with Sofia (Corinne’s mom—see last blog).

Sofia and I met when I was waiting tables while putting myself through college and graduate school. Sofia was an amazing server, and even better she was a single mom. She instantly befriended me, invited me over to her house for dinner, cooked an amazing dinner for me and Maddie, and then—just like that—we were best friends.

‘Sofia is the greatest friend anyone could want. I mean that. 100% sincerity. You should become her friend. Search her out. Find her. It’s totally worth it.

She will sew anything you need—even if you don’t think you need anything sewed: she will find it for you.

She will make you homemade cookies anytime you want. She always has the ingredients ready.

She will fold your laundry if it’s sitting out (as mine often is). Perfectly. Like in a past life she owned a dry cleaners.

She will always listen to your problems.

She will help you in any way she can, no matter the time. I once called her at 4 in the morning because I had a cracked wisdom tooth and was in so much pain I needed something. She answered the phone, chipper, and brought over to my house some strong Advil. I also once called her when Maddie was in the hospital with a concussion. Sofia asked me if I wanted her to come to the hospital. I said no, that I was fine. She came anyway. I was so thankful.

Unfortunately, Sofia moved away a few years ago, and we don’t see each other nearly as much as we should; in fact, coming down for Corinne’s graduation was the first time we’ve seen Sofia in over a year. We cannot go that long.

But we did have Thursday to play in Oceanside. And play we did. We had such a great time.

We played at the beach:

Maddie and Sofia’s daughter Isabella splashed in the waves:

Luke played in the sand:

We went to the house that Kelly McGillis lived in when she played Charlie in the movie Top Gun. Since Top Gun is one of my all time favorite movies (I still cry when Goose dies), I had to see it. It’s all boarded up, but I didn’t care; I was still excited.

Then we went to Mission San Luis Rey.

And walked through the graveyard:

Look how old this grave is:

And looked at the beautiful lavender fields:

We had such a GREAT day together. I am thankful for that!