Whirlwind of Wonderfulness

I adore interesting people and their stories (surprise, surprise). And this past weekend was a whirlwind filled with interesting people sharing interesting stories–which made me a happy camper (who needed a nap afterward).

On Friday, I left my perch in the mountains and made my way to Saratoga to pick up a wonderful friend and co-founder of Anonymous Good. She was staying with some friends and before we zoomed off, she gave me a quick tour of their compound. A true compound–gorgeous at every turn–that included a vineyard, a basketball court, and two garages filled with classic cars that I promptly began to pretend were mine (especially the snazzy little 300SL Mercedes–I think it was–from the late 50’s I’m guessing).

After zipping off, we arrived very early for our meeting at Facebook so our lovely superwoman of a host took us to lunch at the cafeteria. Great food enjoyed outside on the terrace while we chatted away about how incredible her eyebrows were (those arches!) along with awesome initiatives that are underway. (I’m sworn to secrecy!) That was followed by a meeting with several more of the amazing minds within Facebook, then a tour of the rooftop garden that was a terrific end to a great day of discussions.

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(Photos by P)

We checked into our hotel and promptly found the bar. We earned our drinks, thank you very much. Wine for me and a Long Island Iced Tea for P—hold the tequila, and swap out the triple sec for peach schnapps. More conversation in the bar, seated at the table nearest the fireplace. Glowing conversation, glowing faces, and good drinks. Sushi for dinner at a nearby spot I’d found, then we made plans for an early breakfast and went off to our rooms for sleep.

The next day—Saturday—we enjoyed breakfast and chatting with the server from India. He showed us pictures of his hometown that P, by way of “coincidence,” is slated to travel to next year. Nice guy, nice breakfast, followed by a nice drive while we talked and talked en route to the mountains.

After a quick pit stop at Casa de Fruta—for restrooms and wine purchases—we kept on and arrived back at my mountain homestead and waited a short while for our mutual friend W (who created an awesome iPhone App called Mindfulness Daily). From there we zipped off to Bass Lake then picked up our catered dinner, brought it home, and prepared for more friends to arrive for a dinner party.

So when I say we all had a good time talking, here’s what I mean by that: P spent a lot of her career being a journalist, then later served as bureau chief for a major network, and she currently produces humanitarian documentaries as well as frees slaves, serves on various non-profit boards, etc., etc. One of her many, many, many skills includes asking pointed questions that spear into the pulse of something, then oh-so-gracefully will go right for the heart. She is a SKILLED woman at getting stories out of people, to put it mildly. (And no one at the dinner party would disagree with this!)

Wine and Mexican food and fantastic stories of how couples met—all around the table. “When did you know?” etc. And let me tell you, P did not let anyone off the hook and indeed was known to throw a cloth napkin at someone if their answer was…well…shit. (As she would say.) 🙂

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(Photo on left by P, photo on right by W)

The next morning, I took P and W and my pup for a tour of Sugar Pine where I was raised. Then we ventured on to Yosemite for a quick moment to pause and breath and take pictures at the river.

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Then we ventured back home where P and W packed up and, after a series of hugs and thank-yous, headed out for the airport.

When I say it was a whirlwind of wonderfulness, I truly mean that we each were challenged to turn ourselves inside out and share, and to do so in an environment where our insides were celebrated—our stories, our interests, our lives—and no matter what we shared, it was wonderful simply to be sharing with people who have, as P put it, big hearts and big brains.

xo Isla