Mission Peak, Fremont, CA

What was it that Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell said about there not being a mountain high enough, valley low enough…?

Was that with or without Converse shoes?

Now Playing: “Do You Know The Way To San Jose” by Dionne Warwick

I missed the chance to visit my childhood best friend, Mandi, in San Jose during my last extended visit to California in October, so there was no way hell or highwater was going to “keep me from getting to [her] babe” during this stint in NorCal.

Well, maybe. Mandi was very excited to suggest that we go on a hike outside of San Jose, in a city called Fremont, and initially I said I was game because of how awry my diet has gone while being here in California (awry meaning, I’m eating everything again and am probably gaining beaucoup pounds per second… sorry, Dad). I didn’t anticipate what a beast Mission Peak was going to be for a pansy like me who decided to wear every bit of inappropriate clothing I owned for this trek:

  • Converse shoes
  • Socks without padding that kept slipping every which way
  • Sports bra without padding (and things got quite nippy as we ventured onwards and upwards!)
  • Beanie (which only served me well for ~20 mins out of the 3 hour hike)

It’s a good thing I have literally been best friends with Mandi and Don since we were babies. Seriously, we have the pictures. There’s even one with Don sitting on a gigantic diaper that had to have been soiled because WHY THE F is that diaper so big.

Pausing for a moment there.

At one point, Mandi looked down at her Apple watch and as she reported we were about 20% of the way up, I asked if it was wine-o-clock yet. 20% more and I had identified a nice little grassy knoll that didn’t have any traces of cow diarrhea on it (well, maybe), upon where I announced I would wait for them the remainder of the time and possibly do some reflective crap like write poems about hills while they completed the hike.

They wouldn’t let me budge. And thank God they didn’t.

Hitting the summit with these two life-long friends was incredible. The gusts of wind at the top were congratulatory chants blowing sweet everythings into my ear, regaling me with “Awesome job” and “You did it!” and “You believed in yourself!” and “Atta girl, chub, you’ve earned this grub!”

And we awarded ourselves with the snacks we had brought along as we waited in the obscenely long line to take a picture atop the Mission Peak totem pole, Mandi with her KIND bar and me with a Jack in the Box taco I forgot I had slipped into my purse.

It went extremely well with the Shiner Don had packed in a Hydroflask for us, because at the end of the day and no matter where we are, these three are always going to be Texans tried and true.


Welcome Back to Petaluma, CA

The hills are alive… in Petaluma.

Now Playing: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo╩╗ole

I didn’t know about this place until about 2013 or 2014 or so. I know. Shameful, Jillian. It’s called geography, freaking learn about it. I was introduced to this charming little town of ~6,000 people or so by my (then soon-to-be) godsister Amy, and quickly learned in 2015 that this magic place truly must be where love grows.

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My first visit in 2015 for Jace and Amy’s wedding restored my belief that people can fall in love and display affection publicly and not have it be gross or nauseating but instead actually really heartwarming and awe-inspiring. Yo, Petaluma – you did that. Y’all did that. Thank you. From the bottom of the heart that I’m told that I have *tear

And I’m serious about the “where love grows” thing. Five minutes later (and in the spring of 2016, specifically), Jace and Amy brought my adorable little nephew, Malachi, into this world. In fact, we’re celebrating his birthday next week.

Sweet baby Chi

Being back in Petaluma is exactly what the doctor ordered. The first order of business was a visit to the rolling-on-a-river-err-creek hills of Ricafrente Ranch, adjacent to the hill on which Jace and Amy were married just a short little while ago.

Auntie Jing & Malachi
View of the Ricafrente Ranch hills

No son ever loved his papa so
Hold on tight, Malachi! Safe in his mama’s arms
Crazy Tita Jing. What a (veggie) HAM

And OMG OLD CHICAGO PIZZA. Y’ALL. I had been dreaming about a slice of this heaven ever since I knew I was coming back to Petaluma.

all the childhood memories I have that include trouble also include these two

A shared pie and a few brews over bikes with my lifelong bros was the perfect welcome back to this charming little town I’m calling home from now until… well… who knows? *slanty-wink-emoji