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Long Way from Home

What a whirlwind these few months have been, filled with lots of unpacking and challenging weather. As well as the fun of exploring beautiful and historic scenery. The people of Annapolis have been kind and encouraging. Autumn has launched a huge campaign to win my favor, and I can't say it isn't working. And yet my heart is still in California. I am desperately missing my family and friends and the familiarity of "home." It feels as though I am grieving, and I guess that I am. There is an emptiness that won't go away.

I can barely hold it together for phone calls home. I feel like a child at my first sleep away camp, trying to be brave and not beg them to come and get me. My grandma is moving into the home, and I'd love to be there to help her (and my mom) through this transition. A Santa Barbara friend starts chemo next week, and I'm not around to bring meals or help with the carpool. Friends are posting pictures at the pumpkin patch, a place w…
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August in Annapolis

When we broke the news of our impending move to friends and family in California, often their first comments were about the Maryland weather. "That's going to be a big adjustment," they'd say. And as I embark on week four of this new adventure, I can say that they were absolutely right; this is a big adjustment.

One thing East Coast weather has got going for it is consistency. You know when you wake up in Annapolis in August that it is going to be hot. That you will open the front door each morning and step out to feel God's hot breath on your skin. There is no wondering if you might need a sweater in the evenings (you won't) or an umbrella even though the sky is blue (you will). It just makes planning easier.

What I was really unprepared for is the bugs. We don't even own a fly swatter, for goodness sake! The deafening and constant screech of thousands of invisible insects is something I thought technicians invented for swamp scene ambiance in the "…

Packing, Day 1

The boxes are being filled. The awful screech of the tape gun is a constant.  I've misplaced three fat black Sharpies today alone. Moving truck arrives in 7 days.

We are really doing this. 

Gulp.

There was a displaced bird's nest on the front step this morning. Poor little birdie, putting so much effort into that cozy little home and suddenly having to start anew. At least birds don't have to bubble wrap the nicknacks.





Summer Playlist 2012

I take any excuse possible to run errands on warm summer evenings after the kids are in bed. I love driving through town with the windows down, music blasting, and car seats empty.

I've been making summer playlists, or (as they were known in 1987) "mixed tapes," since high school. The first one was recorded on Memorex and came like a rite of passage along with a driver's license and diploma. Guns N Roses opened the collection with "Sweet Child o Mine" and side two peaked with Simply Red's "Lady in Red." 

I like to think that my musical tastes have matured a little in the years since high school, or at least broadened past Top 40.  (Now it is my children who obsess over Gotye and Katy Perry, and I who need an iPhone app to identify them.) But there are a few constants in nearly every playlist that I create. For reasons unexplainable, you'll almost always find Neil Young somewhere in the mix, as well as a hymn. And everything must be sing…

I and Love and You

The kids and I spent the day road tripping home, and listening to this song on repeat. It perfectly sums up what our lives look like at this very minute, with one foot in California and the other in Maryland, heads spinning with details, dreams and tie cutting.

Just can't get enough of those Avett Brothers.


The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You (Official Music Video). Watch more top selected videos about: The Avett Brothers
Load the car and write the note. Grab your bag and grab your coat. Tell the ones that need to know. We are headed north. One foot in and one foot back. But it don’t pay to live like that. So I cut the ties and I jumped the track. For never to return.
Ahh Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in. Are you aware the shape I’m in? My hands they shake, my head it spins. Ahh Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in. . . .
Dumbed down and numbed by time and age. Your dreams that catch the world, the cage. The highway sets the travelers stage. All exits look the same.
Ahh Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in. Are…

Sunshine and Sweet Tea

If Dolly Parton is right (and why wouldn't she be?) in proclaiming sweet tea "the wine of the South," then DC and I are going to get along just fine.

Sweet tea is my fuel during the summer. It is fun to drink and helps keep me awake when it's 91 degrees inside the house and I'd like nothing more than to nod off on a big veranda somewhere during those two days in July when summer actually comes to Santa Barbara. I'm perfecting the recipe now to impress my new Maryland neighbors with my southern hospitality after August 1.

SOUTHERN SWEET TEA
makes 3 quarts

4 Pitcher-size cold-brew tea bags, 8 regular, or 6 tablespoons orange pekoe tea leaves in a diffuser
¾ cup sugar
Ice cubes
2 lemons, sliced (optional)
Fresh mint sprig (optional)

Place the tea bags in a large pitcher. Add 3 quarts cold water, and steep for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and the sugar. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the te…

Life is Like A Box of Chocolate

According to experts, chocolate is now good for you. Feel guilt no longer; chocolate is actually good for the heart, brain and libido. Can I get an amen? 

That is more than the permission the kids and I needed to visit Papa during his shift at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory. If you ever find yourself cruising down I-5 through the nothingness of Lathrop, do something sweet for yourself and pit stop at Ghirardelli's ice cream shop. At $5 each, the "World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae" will not disappoint.



The smell alone is enough to get your dopamine levels rising, keeping travelers bellied up to the bar like alcoholics on a binge. Thankfully, you can't get pulled over for driving home under the influence of an over-sized sundae. Although, judging by the giddiness and volume of some of the pint-sized patrons, I'd say the hot fudge can definitely affect your judgement.

Life may be like a box of chocolates, but in this case, you definitely know what you are going to …