Running on empty? Not such a good thing. An empty inbox? A good thing.

I'm overtired and under-prepared to board a plane tomorrow morning (a mere 8 hours from now). Instead of packing, I spent this evening purging my work emails so I'll have a clean slate to return to.

Looking forward to digging my toes in the Florida sand, seeing my family for the first time since Christmas, and spending a first vacation with my husband, parents, and brothers all under one roof.


napa recap[a]

our adorable [rented] adobe
...lame rhyme. Couldn't help it.

In April, we made a little getaway to Napa Valley. We flew from Indiana to San Fran on Friday, met up with friends from Georgia, rented a minivan (oh yeah), and traipsed 90 minutes northeast to Napa.

We stayed in this impeccable little bungalow (owned by Bill and Paul, a fab couple with fab taste).

Toured a few wineries—among them, Beringer, Mumm, Joseph Phelps, Louis Martini (favorite), Sterling, and Silver Oak.

We even saw some redwoods and hiked the valley. Wonderful food, wonderful company, and perfect weather made for two very happy travelers.

the view from joseph phelps winery

the mumm sparking wine estate

drip coffee at the oxbow public market

group shot!

the not-so-newlyweds
posing with the iron man and his wheelbarrow 

a game of bocce
the necessary photo op

hiking the valley
fresh off the vine


monkey grass and more

We've started the process of reclaiming our backyard. It's been long-neglected but we're finally making progress. 

Alongside the garage (an area previously called The Mud Pit), we planted five Green Mountain Boxwood bushes and 10 little Monkey Grasses. They have a real name, but Monkey Grass is just more fun to say. More to come this month!
The Mud Pit, before
...and after.


a very honest mother's day letter


I remember having clean clothes to wear every day growing up, but I never remember thanking you for that. 

There was one wet Fall day... I was so angry at  you—I can't remember why—and I stormed out of the house, into the garage. A few minutes later, you followed and told me to hold out my hand. You dropped a peppermint into my selfish palm—a peace offering. I sneered, stuffed it back into your hands and walked off into the woods, a quarter-mile into the forest to my fort. 

I was stuck inside my anger, the way pieces got stuck in the Candy Land gumdrop squares. You liked Queen Frostine and I liked Princess Lolli. Or maybe I liked both, and you tolerated the game just because you loved me. 

When you wouldn't let me shave my hairless legs, I told you I hated you. 

My chest was flat and I took it out on you.

I said I didn't want to be a "housewife" and, at different points in time, I yearned to be a hairdresser, an FBI agent, Julia Roberts. You told me I looked time her. You told me I could be anything I wanted to be. 

In the haze of adolescence, I couldn't feel anything beyond my own fingertips. I had a sharp tongue, and I used it.

I'm sorry. 

I eat uncooked pasta now. You always did that while making us dinner. 

I find peace in yoga classes, the same ones Dad and I would make fun of you for. I drink chamomile tea.

On occasion, I stand in the kitchen with one foot firmly on the ground, the other propped against the inside of my knee—your signature stance.

I see you reflected in a handful of my habits, in ways that might have annoyed me when I was younger—in ways that I love now, because I feel like you are always with me.

You're wonderful, and I love you, and I'm so happy to have you.


first comes destruction

Here's recent evidence that things often get worse before they get better—a few "before" photos of our sun porch. It's a work in progress, but we at least got rid of the nasty carpet. New photos of the nearly-finish product coming soon!


taylor vs. taylor

Now, really, how is a girl supposed to choose between these two? 

Taylor Kitsch, of Friday Night Lights fame

Taylor Lautner, werewolf extraordinaire from Twilight


the psychology of twitter

While forcing myself to jog this evening, I caught my internal dialogue talking in Tweets. Short little quips. Not full sentences.

I started worrying... is my brain being crippled by Twitter? Will my writing suffer because I can only process thoughts 140-characters at a time? Should I take a Twitter hiatus? But would I then need to take a Facebook hiatus? What about blogging? And what about Instagram, my newfound love?

A hiatus will not work. I sadly can't go a weekend without these things, let alone a month. 

So my next thought, as I'm panting along down the trail, is Why? What is it about all these things that draws me in? What's the psychology behind it?

Get home. Take off muddy sneakers. Walk to computer. Google search "the psychology of Twitter."

The first result, an older article from PsychologyToday.com states:

At its worst, Twitter is an exercise in unconditional narcissism - the idea that others might actually care about the minutiae of our daily lives. I believe that this phenomena of micro-celebrity is driven by existential anxiety. I twitter, therefore I am. I matter. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggoneit, people like me!

Yes, yes, we can all agree that social media, in all forms, is dripping with narcissism. BUT— here's my but—what about its documentation value? Or its artistic worth? Or its power to spark curiosity and creativity? 

Truth is, the journalist in me loves capturing and recording little glimpses of everyday happenings. 

This morning I took the stairs instead of the elevator and I found this. Random, beautiful, and creepy at the same time because it led me to wonder... how on Earth did a single long-stem pink rose end up in a dirty stairwell of a downtown parking garage? Who dropped it, or threw it, and why? What's the story there?

There are stories everywhere—tiny fragments of life waiting to be shared. THAT (tinged with a bit of narcissism) is why I love these things we call social networks.


do yourself a favor and...

  • watch the entire first season of Downton Abbey in a weekend
  • sleep in (so late that your partner is eating lunch when you wake up)
  • open a bottle of Louis Martini cabernet
  • read The Descendants
  • don't rent The Descendants
  • take a nap outside in the sun
  • play football in the mud
  • hike to the top of a (relatively small) mountain
  • laugh at this blog
  • laugh at this video

I recommend wasting time on any and all of the above listed tasks. I have for the past month, and I don't regret a minute of it.

In Napa Valley with friends... more photos to follow!