We are back, and we have news…

It’s hard to believe that this poor blog has been neglected for nearly a year! A year!

We have been up to a lot since last May. We traveled to New Mexico, Georgia, Nova Scotia, Utah, California, Massachusetts, and back to Utah (Zion National Park). It was a bit of a whirlwind year. It was made possible by our flexible work schedules, a lot of budgeting, and research.

Tim and I have always valued time over money. The cliche is true–it is always possible to make more money, but it is impossible to make more time. In working with older adults, I was constantly encouraged to spend time with the ones I love, particularly while we are both still healthy. Instead of postponing our desire to travel and spend time together, we have decided to embrace it.

For over a year, we have toyed with the idea of buying a small camper van. A van that we could drive around the country, especially to visit our stunning National Parks. We saved for a year and when Tim stumbled across a 2003 Eurovan MV in Pensacola, we went through the necessary steps (we will detail this process in an upcoming post) and purchased it. We named the van Ranger. We have spent the past couple of months working on the van. It will be our home for over 10 weeks this summer.

This is a very privileged position, and we are both aware of how fortunate we are to have the support of so many people. Our excellent educations have made it possible for us to choose jobs that allow for flexibility and time off. We do not take this for granted. If anything, we realize this privilege should not be wasted. We are hitting the road!

We will attempt to update this blog regularly for us, our families, and our friends. We will provide details of our trip, but also guides for others on purchasing a van, gear that we have found helpful, do-it-yourself guide to screens/curtains/etc. and more.

Join us!



We’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling this Spring. Tim and I wanted to prioritize travel now that our overall situation is more stable. In April, we headed back to home for a brief visit:
   Above: Chores at the marina, very berry muffins at the Merc. 

A week later, we went to Chicago: 
 Above: One of my favorite museums, Chicago Cultural Center, our favorite cafe, obligatory shot of the Bean, view from our Cubs game. We stayed in a really cool hotel and I loved walking around the city. 

Last weekend, we flew to Denver to visit the Bs:  

    Above: Red Rocks, I-70 from Vail to Denver, flat irons in Boulder, watching rock scramblers, group shot!

In between, we hosted Aunt Nikki and Uncle Mike! Uncle Mike made his famous frittata:

And we relaxed on the beach on Saturday AND Sunday!

We are looking forward to Mark and Diane’s visit later this month and Andy’s visit in June!
 Cheers! Spring has sprung!




The Story of Sig

Sig (short for Sigmund Freud) is our neighbor’s cat. He just happens to hang around our houses and seek out sun and affection. He is a funny cat who acts mostly like a dog. He follows us around as we do yard work, comes when called by name, and sits by your feet. He is six to seven years old and found his way onto our deck and with a morsel of wild salmon (and some prodding by Natalie) decided to never leave. And without further ado:
Sig aime:

–Iams adult cat food. Others simply will not do. This morning, he was sitting on our front stoop next to the newspaper, surveying the neighborhood. As soon as he heard the back door open, he comes running for breakfast. You’d think he hadn’t eaten in days as he knocked the food bowl clear out of my hand. He takes a few bites and then…

–He climbs up on one of the cars (usually the Corolla, poor Rolly) and drinks the dew off the top of the car. I first discovered this when I saw paw prints all over the windshield and top of the car. The water from the hose is subpar, as is the filtered water presented one morning. He prefers running spring water (pond next door) or natural dew. A nature lover (insert John Denver song here).

–anchoives (in olive oil) and wild salmon. In his defense, it’s a good way to use up the final four anchoives that never make it into the Caesar dressing.

–Sitting in the deck chairs (when he thinks no one is looking).

–Sleeping in the sunlight on the pavers, as you scratch his belly.

–being scratched behind his ears, on his chest, or atop his head. He leans into your hand and PURRRs.

Sig n’aime pas:

–The vet. He pees the carrier.

–Aldi cat food. He will yowl in protest.

–Mean dogs that chase him.

–My father’s secret cure-all cream for that mange spot on his back.

–Triple creme Camembert. Sticks to the roof of his mouth.

And that’s the story of Siggi!

February happenings

 Above: Sig, our neighborhood cat; kite flying at Pass-a-Grille; 12″ lighter; C, J, and D visit; D hanging out in the hammock; N & T were good sports on a windy beach day (or hour).

We’ve been lucky to have visitors fairly consistently since our move to Florida. This month has been beautiful, weather-wise (albeit a bit cool). Relaxing. Hope you are enjoying life where you are.

New Year

Happy 2016, all.

We had a lovely holiday with family and friends. Last year was a life-changing one for us. It would be hard to fully process everything that happened in such a short period of time…a new job for Tim, a major move, an extended summer vacation, a new job for me, visitors, hosting thanksgiving, lots of beach. 

It is nice to be back in Florida. We just had a wonderful weekend with Moz (that’s her, above). We are looking forward to new memories in this new year. 

Thank you all for your love and support. 

Wow! It’s December.

I am having trouble sleeping, and our little blog is a bit threadbare, so here’s a visual update on our fall/early winter (?) lives:

 October: Jussaumes visit (how do we not photo document such events?), continued settling in, century ride on the east coast (of Florida). Above: Cocoa Beach, waiting for the drawbridge to open at Cape Canaveral. 
November: Discovering Anna Maria Island. One hour away, sweetest little beach town. Donuts, burritos, free parking, all-day beaching. The perfect kind of Sunday. Above: Sunshine Skyway, my little beach house dream, Bolts game (or, the danger/joy of all-you-can-eat buffets), Bernie debate watch party at our place (nine strangers, all wonderful, people are really good, making connections in a new city, and Bernie, come on!), birthdays and Thanksgiving (again, no photos! Ahhh!), boat rides to the sandbar, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year (grapefruit season).  


 December (so far): It’s been really warm here. Still in the 80s. Christmas carols are kind of strange here–“I don’t know if ther’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer.” Let me tell you, there will be no snow. But floridians are full of cheer. Flamingoes in Santa hats, palm trees with ornaments. I like it. Above: Gord is coming to Florida, we have tickets, and we are pumped. Learning Spanish for work, via an array of apps. Beach, every weekend. Tim’s holiday party–this photo makes me laugh. Do we look like prom chaperones? Haha!

So that’s a quick update. We have been adjusting to this new place and all that goes with it (jobs, weather, radio stations, you know) but we are doing well–thriving, even. This weather is incredible, people are very nice, work is hard but there is a more laid-back lifestyle here, our house is fun and comfortable, we have visitors, we have each other. We have enough. 

Over and out! For now!


Still here!

We are still here, enjoying and adjusting to our new life in Florida.    
(From top: lots of palms, Wolfie gets a tuneup in Palm Harbor, Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern, lots of beach, Ross visits).

There is something to be said for not only achieving a goal, but processing the aftermath. Our major goal was for Tim to get a tenure-track position and we are so grateful for it. However, it is easy to think, “Well, once he gets this job, everything will be great!” And by and large, it is. We like Tampa, the new house (boy, does it feel big), Tim’s job, the people, the beach, and so on. But it is still hard. In some ways, harder than we expected. I am still waiting for a start date at work, four weeks after meeting with HR. There are lots of clearances and I appreciate their thoroughness, but it is frustrating. It can be annoying to rely on GPS all the time and it is mentally and physically tiring to be living in a new place. But! If you had told us last October that Tim would have this position and it would be in Tampa, we would have been so excited and relieved. 

I have been trying to set up the house, the guest areas, and rip out all the grass that was eaten by chinch bugs (do not even get me started!). I have also been reading at the gorgeous beach that is 40 minutes away. Awake at Work by Michael Carroll was really good, and is helping me gain some perspective on my upcoming job in a new setting. The Atlantic has had some really great articles recently, especially “The Coddling of the American Mind.”

Ross visited a couple of weeks ago, Mark and Diane arrive tonight, and Andy will be joining us for a very Florida Thanksgiving, along with Moz and Foz! It is great to see everyone. 

So there is a brief update. I am headed out to run some errands before it gets too hot!

One week in Florida

We have been in Florida for nine days. The first week was a bit of a whirlwind. Lots of things to do (license and registration, unpacking, driving around with GPS), but overall, things are fine. 

The weather here is crazy! As I write this, we are having a serious thunderstorm (serious by Massachusetts standards). It rains every day, sometimes torrential rain, and there is significant thunder and lightning almost daily. It is tough to plan around the weather, since storms tend to pop up quickly and stay in one place for a very long time. This makes evening walks difficult. But! When we can do evening walks, they are pretty nice!  

Not too shabby!

Nearly that we have encountered in Florida has been very nice–super friendly, always willing to help and say hello. We went out to dinner with our neighbors next door on Friday and then did the Riverwalk. A highlight of the week, for sure!

We went to Siesta Beach on Saturday, which is voted the #1 beach in America by Trip Advisor. It was beautiful! Quartz sand, clear water, good amenities! We arrived early, got a prime parking spot, went swimming, and had a picnic lunch. Lots of fun.  

Tim started his orientation week today. I have an interview for a new job on Wednesday and we are mostly unpacked. The house is very nice and we are starting to settle in. Lots to do, but we are trying to be patient. 

Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and gifts! We miss you!

Heading offcape

Our time in Massachusetts has come to a close, and we are heading back to Tampa today. It is hard to believe that we have been here for five weeks. We were able to see many family members and friends, and for that, we are especially grateful. 

We spent our last few days on the Cape. We went fishing on the Suzy Q and below are a few highlights: 

We watched the sunset on August 6, and it was a pretty spectacular anniversary show: 

Yesterday was Mozzie’s birthday and it was full of surprises, including a new bike, two stuffed Labradors, Ross and Erin, presents, and a German chocolate cake from Amy’s Bread.  

It has been a great summer, and we are so grateful to everyone, but especially our parents. We love you!!!

We are heading to the airport soon, and Andy will be holding down the fort while Mark and Diane enjoy France. Speaking of France, take a look at the view from their hotel room. C’est incroyable, non? 


So long, Massachusetts! See you in December.