Saturday, December 7, 2019

Happy Holidays from the Brookses!

December 7, 2019
Santa Rosa, CA

                                   -Buddy the Elf 
Happy holidays from the Brookses!
Scott & Caroline

Happiest of Holidays to our Family, Friends, and the many, many Fans of who identify as neither.

2019... Wow. What is there to say? As I sit down to write this, it feels like we spent the whole year working, but looking back at our photos, I am reminded that we actually did have a few pretty good exploits.

The year started strong, with a San Francisco-tradition House of Prime Rib dinner that developed into an overnight at friends Judy and Kevin's place, which escalated into the very generous offer to let us use Judy's apartment in Florence, Italy. Who would we be to decline?  Not Scott and Caroline, that's for sure!

2019 delivered an extremely wet and chilly (read: miserable) Santa Rosa winter during which, if our photos are a reliable indication, we apparently spent nearly entirely in the noble pursuit of wine tasting with friends, with a few waterfall hikes thrown in when it wasn't too wet and/or muddy to hike. Completely sick and tired of the rain, it was finally time to set off for nine days in Tuscany and Rome, just before Easter. I believe it goes without saying that we had an incredible time filled with amazing food, wine and scenery. We will leave the memory of Scott's Roman Food Poisoning Adventure behind us in the year 2019, soon - and glad - to be forgotten (no photos - so it didn't happen).

We kicked off the summer season in Santa Rosa with a Memorial Weekend visit from Steve, Caroline's dear, long-time friend with whom we reconnected while in New York. In early June, Caroline joined Stonefield Development as an official employee, after just over a year of temping there (commitment-phobe that she is) and as a regular employee, she began working four days per week up from her very part-time schedule of three (baby steps!).

Summer really heated up with a celebration of Caroline's 50th *gasp* birthday. On a gorgeous late-June day, friends joined us on the patio of a small winery within walking distance our apartment. Everyone had a lot of fun - some had even more fun than others! The party clearly heralded a good decade to come.

The 2019 Summer of Fun continued in July with a trip to Hawaii. Each year, Scott's employer, Delicato Family Wines, holds a company sales meeting somewhere pleasant. Every few years, however, they break the bank and invite employees to bring their families as well. This year, it was five days at the Ritz in Maui. The families got to enjoy the resort and various activities while the employees "worked" (there were a few meetings squeezed into the schedule, between snorkeling trips and pool time and nightly wine and food festivals). We parlayed the trip into 10 fabulous days in Hawaii, hitting Maui a few days early and then exploring Oahu for a few days afterward. Hawaii just doesn't seem to get old for us.  Shocking, I know.

In between traveling - Scott made a brief visit to Michigan (while Caroline stayed home to work and generally recover from our busy life!) and we visited friends Richard & Kim and their family in Reno - we finally saw Hamilton (fantastic - why did we wait so long?!) and otherwise spent the summer and fall playing plenty of croquet and bocce, two games that conveniently pair quite well with wine-tasting/drinking.

The "highlight" of the fall was probably the excitement of another wildfire-triggered evacuation from our home in October, our second in two years. Luckily for us, our good friends from New York, Brian and Richelle had just moved to San Francisco and happened to be up visiting us at the time. After a fitful night of sleep for all, not knowing when or if the evacuation order would come, in the early morning hours we all fled down to our friends' apartment in the city, where we pretended to live back in SF for most of the week. If the two of us weren't so sick at the time, it would've felt like a mini-vacation.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, we drove up to Lake Tahoe to celebrate in the cold and the snow with long-time friends from our San Francisco days. Despite the frigid temps and dicey driving conditions, we had a wonderful time catching up with the adults and kids alike. Always a fun time, ice skating at the Northstar Village rink was beautiful and festive as the fat snowflakes fell, and a definite highlight of the trip.

Christmas this year looks to be a low key affair. We'll be heading to the quiet desert town of Las Vegas in southern Nevada, where we plan to get some hiking in during the all-too-short days, and then negate any exercise with an excess of food and drink each night.

Let us know how your year was, and what you've got planned for the next! If you've been considering a trip to Northern California Wine Country, we'd love to see you! Wishing you a joyful holiday season and a happy, healthy 2020!

The Outtakes, aka the making of a Brooks Christmas card, aka Ridiculous, Gratuitous Elf Shots:

Aaaaand, it's a wrap!
Our patient friend Debbie took copious photos, helping us turn our holiday-card-vision into reality!
Wishing everyone the sweetest holiday season!

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