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Friends, Purim, and libraries

Pre-COVID, I’d say the majority of my social interactions came while I was traveling, and I was a bit of a hermit when I was at home. I didn’t see my local friends a whole lot, in spite of the tremendous amount of value I placed on them. Now with things opening up, but my opportunity to travel for work still limited, I’ve been making an extra effort to start building up those local relationships again. I’m slowly starting to see people after what has, in many cases, been more than four years between visits! If you’re counting at home, that means most of these people have never met my kids, or every really seen me in mother mode. I’m still me, but it is definitely a shift.

In keeping with this, my friend James came out to Castro Valley recently for a visit. He’s one of those friends who has kept in touch throughout the pandemic and gently nudged every few months to check on a visit, which is something I’m incredibly grateful for. I haven’t been asking my friends to come down for the whole family experience, but it does make scheduling much easier since time on my own is quite limited. When he offered joining the whole family for brunch I happily accepted. It was really nice catching up and hearing his own journey and stories from pandemic life and work. After brunch the two of us were able to sneak out during kiddo nap time to grab some tea at a local bakery and boba tea shop.

Back at home with the family, we did a light observation of Purim recently. Light because we didn’t dress up or go to any events because we’re still making our way through the maze of preschool era someone-is-always-sick and it didn’t come together. But we did make Hamantashen! Last year I used a recipe that was dairy free for MJ, but I went with full dairy this time because the non-dairy ones quickly became hard after the first day. These ones came out delicious! And Adam was my helper in filling them. Next time I’ll make more of the strawberry ones, since my house has a strong preference for those (even if my heart is with the raspberry ones!).

I’ve started getting out of the house more myself too to get back to coffee shop work some mornings. It’s nice to get out of the house and I’ve been enjoying exploring all my local cafes, and most recently, libraries! There’s a brand new library in the next town over that opened during the pandemic. It’s a beautiful building with lots of places to work, and features a little seed library and a little makerspace! I’ve been a couple times now. My first visit was on my own to check it out and work, and sign up at the makerspace. It’s a free service to the community besides materials and the requirement to sign some forms and complete safety training for the devices. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the machines, and delaying my need for my own 3D printer even further. In my next visit to the library, all of us went and I brought Adam up to check out the seed library, since he’s very interested in planting things this spring. I’ll definitely be adding this library to my list of go-to spots for regularly working though.

What will we do with all those old card catalogs? Seed library!

Work has been very busy, with some big changes happening with my role, in a good way. I’m also writing this from Philadelphia, so we had a cross-country journey to prep for in early March, but we’re getting much better at this. We have a solid checklist for getting ready, and I don’t think we forgot anything this time! The flight also went pretty well, we each took a kiddo and were able to keep them pretty entertained. Traveling with two little kids is still exhausting, and we haven’t yet tackled what it’s like going somewhere that’s not our east coast vacation home, but it’s still a win, and makes me less anxious about the whole process now. Unfortunately, it wasn’t far into a trip when it became very clear that we were all sick, but that’s a post for another time, when I’m feeling better!