Tuesday, Sept. 7: I boarded a plane at ACV, landed at SFO, BARTed over to the Hyatt Embassy for the four-day California World Oceans conference. Half of the attendees were young, attractive, childless and well-traveled with multiple degrees and stunningly accomplished. The other half was older, attractive, had perhaps a child or two, and were even more well-traveled with even greater education and stunningly accomplished. I am the same age as the older half; awareness of my lack of accomplishment undercut my self-esteem. I spent the most time with the younger half; awareness of the toll age has taken on the ol’ face and bod diminished my self-confidence. Other than that, the conference served up many opportunities in which to wonder why I did so much damn partying in high school instead of focusing on my grades, dammit, and now my poor besotted brain is… besotted.

But, we did go out for some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had!

(Lest anyone worry I’m in a fragile state, let me reassure you that I am okay with my life choices and happy to be where I am today.)

I also drank too much one evening and found myself performing karaoke for the first time ever. A proud record, destroyed by that demon alcohol. Specifically, by the cotton-candy-tasting pink cocktail at that Thai bar in the Embarcadero. That’s what triggered the downward spiral.

Friday, Sept. 10: Flew home, helped host our Surfrider Shindig at ATL. Thanks to Greenhouse Boardshop, we raised another $1,000 or so — excellent. I’d written what I thought was a decently motivational speech, but failed to predict the volume of noise (read: volume of children) I’d be speaking over. In the manner of great speechgivers everywhere, I cut my losses and cut it short. Nonetheless, a promising-looking Volunteer Coordinator candidate sought me out after, so, hopefully, mission accomplished.

Saturday, Sept. 11: Loaded up family (four out of five) and set off on a road trip to Gustine, home of the world’s largest Portuguese festa, celebrating Our Lady of Miracles. We missed the cow parade, but did arrive in time for the Parade of Queens. By blood or marriage, my husband is related to almost everyone in town and so, thus, are we. The crusty old ranchers swooped up Nick, a veritable city boy by Gustine standards, and took him out to shoot rabbits (I found that part out later) and to the bloodless bullfights. Both, I hear, were quite exciting. Kaylee and I opted for kitchen table chat with the female side of the family. Everyone ate for days. The Central Valley is nearly unbearable with its heat.

Tuesday, Sept. 14: We left Gustine with loads of extra food, including a fine vinegary pepper relish, and arrived in San Francisco. Clement Street, looking for a quick lunch before Nick’s diabetes check up. Underwhelmed by Bagan’s Burmese. At the check-up, the doctor and nurses scolded us for not being more attentive to the number of Nick’s lows. On the go, I hadn’t realized he’d had so many. The bad mom alarm sounded in my head. Complicating matters, since morphing into a teenager, he’s less inclined to keep us as informed or let us help — classic teenager behavior, but with regards to the diabetes, one we need to resolve quickly. The doctor adjusted his insulin amounts and we discussed ways to stay better connected; sometimes the distance between Manila and SF is so great, we forget to utilize those resources

Thursday, Sept. 15: I drive to Sacramento after missing the train. I missed the train because in my attempt to BART to Richmond, I ended up in Millbrae instead. Apparently, just getting on the right line isn’t enough. The train must also be traveling in the correct direction. My friend texts from Humboldt. He needs to borrow a board. The waves are really clean and fun.

Friday, Sept. 16: I fly to L.A. and back, have lunch in Marina Del Rey. Back in the City, the party starts. Bobby’s uncle’s 70th birthday. Cousins galore. We’re staying at the Fairmont Hotel. It’s at the top of a very steep hill. The kind of hill where you think, “Oh, good, only one more block.” And then you think, “I am never going to make it up this last block.”

Saturday, Sept. 17: Dinner in the Tonga Room aka an astounding and upscale version of Disneyland’s Tiki Room. Thatched huts, a band playing on a boat, drinks with umbrellas, the works. (I will post photos when we finally get home.) The kids hang out with their numerous teenage cousins, a rare treat. My heart warms with love for family, the extended versions of which have defined our weekends, bookended these days of travel, occasioned it.

Today: We will pack up and leave, finally return to home, to Humboldt, where I hear rain awaits us. I hope the waves are waiting, too.