We haven't yet started the traditions of an annual holiday card or yearly round-up newsletter for our family and friends, but while sorting through and enjoying the cards we received from others, we realized that if any year warranted some sort of review of our lives, it's certainly 2016.
We kicked off 2016 with a flight from New Jersey to California, unknowingly setting a precedent for a flight-heavy year. We tried to start a yoga habit together at Liberation Yoga (it didn't take). We ventured out to some restaurants we had never been to (Open Sesame, Palermo's, Clifton's Cafeteria). We caught up with friends from London, New York and Philadelphia. We brunched at Gjelina, saw an experimental art installation at the La Brea Tar Pits, discovered our favorite hike at Topanga State Park, and saw David Cross perform live downtown. Andy committed to a 6000-mile riding goal for 2016, and Addie committed to refocusing her time on writing. We also watched "Ex-Machina" and decided it was amazing.
We may have attacked January a little too zealously, because the February calendar was quieter. We nestled in for the premiere of "The People v. OJ Simpson" and loved the series all the way through. We ordered everything (ok, almost everything) on the menu at Playa Provisions. We spent Valentine's Day hiking and watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean before diving into a Top Round dinner followed by wine and cheese al fresco with our friends, Ian and Megan. Andy spoke to a group of high school students as part of the Space Horizons initiative and Addie started prep work on an independent feature. We had a long lazy brunch with colleagues at The Hudson before both of us took off for long weekends with our families.
We converged back in Los Angeles just in time to host Addie's sister and brother-in-law for a week. Visitors are always a good excuse for hometown touring, so we indulged in stops at The Butcher's Daughter, Terroni, Neptune's Net, Vernetti, Milk, and Umami Burger. We took them hiking and farmer's marketing and they did plenty of touring on their own. We had brunch with some old friends to remeet their toddler (sometimes you need to remeet the toddler even though you've already met the baby) and stopped into the Mapplethorpe exhibit at LACMA. We had date night in Old Town Pasadena at AKA. We even dragged ourselves to The Grove to watch "Batman v. Superman" to see if all the reviews were correct.
We got engaged on April 1 - which was a for real engagement and not, as Addie's brother called it, The World's Greatest April Fool's Joke. Andy proposed on the front steps of the building where we shared our first kiss, and we toasted ourselves at our favorite/the worst Italian restaurant, Amalfi (As an aside, we recently discovered this restaurant has closed... RIP, Amalfi. You may have been mediocre but at least you weren't cheap). That weekend we visited The Rain Room while still in our afterglow and met our friends' Don and Shalena's brand new daughter, while simultaneously trying to track down all near-and-far friends and family to share the news. We went to see "Midnight Special," Andy threw a Paris-Roubaix party, we were treated to an engagement dinner with Kim and Aaron, a subsequent brunch with Ian at Osteria la Buca, and reunion drinks with long lost friends at Stir Market. We booked a spur of the moment trip to Japan after Andy answered the question "If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?". Addie made a dash to finish a pilot for NBC ("Midnight Texas") and, after stopping in Silverlake to celebrate Aaron's birthday, we raced to the airport once again.
May started at Addie's grandfather's funeral in rural Pennsylvania, a Quaker-style affair with storytelling, baked goods and no viewing. It coincided with Andy's mother's birthday which mitigated some of the somberness of the trip. Back in Los Angeles, meetings were had - the type of meetings on which all career hopes and dreams ride in Hollywood. Spirits started to rise again. By the middle of the month, we were back on the East Coast to attend a wedding at City Winery and stay with NYC best friends, Bob and Erica, where we squeezed in a brunch trip to The Penrose. The long-percolating independent feature that Addie started in February was greenlit and raced into production. We got it into our heads to start blogging (something we aspire to do more frequently in 2017) and kicked it off with an inaugural Malibu post. We raced to the end of the month by binge-watching the just-released season of "Bloodline."
June dawned and we were off to Japan! We fought the jetlag. We ate the noodles. And the buns. And the sushi. And the matcha pastries. We fell in love with Kyoto. We went to the fish market. We saw the temples and were compelled to do research on both Japanese culture and history, realizing we knew so little. We bought knives. We bought chopsticks and pottery. We hiked into the mountains and soaked in the hot springs. And although we're sure other things happened this month, this is all we remember.
July brought new jobs for us both. Addie started in earnest working freelance on three different shows ("Outcast," "Lost in Space," and the on-going feature). Andy announced that he was leaving his current position for an opportunity to open a new office for a larger company in Los Angeles. For July 4th we drove to Long Beach for a show we eventually missed anyway when a melee broke out, we rode our bikes to Salt & Straw for ice cream, and we went to see "The Lobster." We finally got to try Trejo's Tacos and took ourselves to a matinee of "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates." Addie spent a week sweltering on set in South Carolina. Sarah took us to see The Upright Citizen's Brigade for the first time. We attended our first concert at The Greek Theatre seeing The Lone Bellow & The National. We wrapped the month out by scouting wedding locations, only to realize we found the whole wedding planning thing too overwhelming to tackle.
By August, we were back on transcontinental flights, this time for London, where we spent two weeks so Andy could train with his new company. We day-tripped to Cambridge and Greenwich where we visited the homes of some colleagues, deciding once and for all to actively pursue home-ownership in Los Angeles, an idea we'd been navigating for several months. Addie indulged in all the museums and bookstores that central London has to offer while navigating the "harder than they look" aspects of working remotely. By the time we returned to LA, Addie got to squeeze in a few meditation classes at The Den - a habit she started pursuing during the particularly stressful months of March and April - and Addie's Dad and brother came to visit for a week, celebrating her father's 70th birthday with a trip to see the Chicago Cubs play at Dodger Stadium.
September was blessedly quiet. Both Addie and Andy were working from home, which one of them enjoyed more than the other. We hiked. We worked. We lunched. Addie surprised Andy with a French dinner downtown and a gathering of friends at Button Mash for his birthday. Andy rode his bike the 95 miles from North Hollywood to Santa Barbara with a cast of characters. We went to see "Don't Breathe" because Andy finally agreed to see a horror movie. Andy cooked a stellar rack of lamb for a dinner party, and we toasted with colleagues at the excellent Wallace in Culver City. We even found our real estate agent.
We kicked off October with a drive to the mountains to go apple picking and donut eating with Kim and Aaron. Where no seasons exist, the seasonal traditions become even more important. We also dove headfirst into open-housing, an activity that ate up every free minute for the rest of the year. Addie sprang for a personal trainer - an indulgence that was well worth it for the few months it was affordable. We treated ourselves to an earlybird neighborhood date night, going to Sugarfish, Odys + Penelope, and Milk all in one evening. Andy spent an evening speaking to a class of film students at UCLA on the eve of discovering that his old rat terrier, Nysa, had passed away back in Philadelphia. We were the last people in the world to discover Poké. By the end of the month we had more visitors - Andy's parents came to LA for a week.
We took Andy's parents' straight to Big Sur because it might be the single best argument for liking California. We stayed at the Big Sur Lodge and caught an amazing fog-bound dusk at Pfeiffer Beach. We saw the elephant seals and the sea lions. We ate at Deetjen's twice, and poked our heads into the Henry Miller Memorial Library. We stopped at Scout on the way up, and at the Hearst Castle on the way down. The open house tour continued ad nauseum. We made an offer on a house we loved and lost the house, all the while watching interest rates climb daily around the Presidential election... an historic event that threw us and most of Los Angeles into a period of quiet desperation. We picked ourselves up to attend Friendsgiving, and then took off for Thanksgiving proper in the MidWest where we hunkered down quietly with Addie's Dad and brother for a week.
December - oh, December! The craziest of them all! The house we fell in love with and lost came back around to us when the original buyer dropped out, causing us to spend 72 hours in knots trying to figure out if buying the house despite the changed interest rates was a wise move. We did research and talked candidly about finances with every sober person we could find, and yet still we remained on the fence. We escaped to a cabin in Idyllwild with Kim and Aaron for Addie's birthday, torturing them the entire weekend with our agonizing back and forth. We had a bottle of fancy beer and a bottle of fancy wine and decided to make a counter offer on the house after all. The next day we were on a flight back to Europe for four days in London and a three days in Germany, where we would spend several hours every night gathering financial records for the home loan. Theater and Christmas Markets were both attended, we got to visit with his brother's family and shower Andy's nephew in books featuring his twin loves of architecture and mythology. We came home for a week and signed 1000 house-related documents. Addie attended a birthday show of the new "Amelie" musical with friends Kim and Sarah. We watched "Arrival" and both cried. By the 21st we were on planes again, navigating holiday travel delays to get back to Philadelphia and New Jersey for a week of family and pasta-filled meals. Luckily the weather cooperated so we could meet babies, eat ramen, and drink all the coffees and teas while also experiencing a sulfur discharge all over South Philly. We watched "Manchester by the Sea" and by the 28th we were back in Los Angeles and picking up the keys to our house which we now officially own. Oh, and Andy completed that 6000-mile riding goal with only hours to spare,
So here we are, at the end of the year. It's funny how at any given moment it's so easy to feel that nothing is happening, but looking back over the year, nearly everything happened. We both started new jobs, got engaged, traveled to two different continents and bought a house. A loved one passed away. Friends announced pregnancies, had babies, and looked to change their own careers which sometimes takes them far away.
2016 was a wild ride, but one for which we are most grateful. Looking to 2017, we'll pursue a bit more slowness, more space for our most-valued relationships and more time for our creative endeavors.
It's hard to reflect on 2016 and not note the cultural shifts that we saw along the way. We lost more than our share of icons. And we saw the rise of rhetoric that normalizes marginalization at home and abroad. While we've had tremendous fortune this year and try to focus on the joy we find with our friends and each other, we look to 2017 as a time to remain vigilant, to see where we can contribute to the greater good along the way.
We wish you all Peace in 2017. Love.