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This is one of those years where we showed up somewhere and were fed, and that was fine. I brought some cut-up veggies and two spreads: a simple chicken-liver pate from my very, very old copy of the New York Times Cookbook–mid-1960s–and Green Goddess dip from my new Williams-Sonoma “horses’ ovaries” cookbook (to use an old family joke). I am not sure where the name “Green Goddess” comes from, but anchovies, sour cream, and tarragon turn out to be a regal combination.

As good as it was to see people we care about, it was even better to have two long, leisurely drives with Sandy up and down the Peninsula, simple private time for talking about life. We even drove back to Point Richmond and down by the waterfront spun through the McMansions popping up like weeds after a spring rain (and just as crowded; as Sandy says, in those houses you could lean out your kitchen window and spit at your neighbor). It was nice to see the Point, but it was also a bit poignant. One of my friends still there said to me not too long ago, referring to his own life, “There are ghosts here,” and I know what he means. We drove past the house of a friend who had died, and felt our connection to the Point diminished by that loss.

But still, we kept driving, crawling up and down familar streets with their eclectic hodgepodge of houses clinging to the sides of steep hills. We are thankful for the times we have had, and for what we have now.

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