A San Francisco Moment

A few nights ago, we stayed with our college friend, Grace Han McMahon, and her wonderful husband, Ted, in their home just outside of San Francisco.  We reconnected with Grace a couple years ago in an incredibly small-world moment: Marshall ran into Grace when they both were walking down the hallway of Marshall’s mother’s retirement community in Newport News, Virginia. Turns out Grace’s parents live in the same community! Fast forward, Grace very graciously invited us to stay with her family during our trip. With very little lead time (because our schedule has been so last minute) Grace somehow put […]


I am behind in posting about the stops on our trip. To be completely candid, I just can’t keep up. The trip has been fantastic – we have seen and done so many things together as a family – but it’s also been physically challenging for me. I haven’t made things any easier by going wayyy off my all-organic, ketogenic, gluten-free diet. The Southwest cuisine (and its homemade tortillas!) were just too tempting. We’ve been sampling some terrific Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives places as recommended by Guy Fieri and – wow – has it been delicious! I’m glad I went […]

A Tribute to Barbed Wire

Two days ago, we drove from Little Rock, Arkansas, all the way through Oklahoma (or, as I’ve constantly been quoting Steve Martin from the movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, “Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Oklahoma!”) to our overnight stop outside the Cactus Inn Motel in McLean, TX on iconic Route 66. (We do get our kicks, yes?) The day started with a really great conversation with our host, C. The night before, he’d warned us about the Arkansas mosquitoes potentially carrying us away. Now, we were talking about everything from Maybelline makeup to water heater hoses. His Arkansas drawl reminded me of my West […]

Nashville to Memphis

Saturday, after we left the Kindness Farm, we toured the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. We are not big country music people, but we loved the tour anyway. The Grand Ole Opry is an American institution, a real icon. We were late arriving for our tour, so a nice guard at the Opry caught us up – it was almost like having a private tour until we joined our group! After the Grand Ole Opry we went into a HUGE mall next door and walked around for awhile. It was nice to be in the air conditioning. It is hot […]

The Kindness Farm

The last 24 hours have been WONDERFUL! We got to Cassandra’s farm at 11:00pm instead of midnight lar night because we’d changed time zones without realizing it! We were immediately greeted by Anna, Chris, and Denise, who led us to a flat, grassy field behind the barn, which was lit up by a string of cheery, round, white bulbs. Heaven, after being on the road for 12 hours! They gave us six lovely duck eggs I’d purchased through the Hipcamp website (actually, I’d only asked for three, the other three were pure gift, which turned out to be the theme […]

Delayed a Day – But on Our Way Now!

Well, I’m afraid we didn’t make it out of the driveway yesterday. We got the van back from the shop at 2:30 and proceeded to pack it up until 11:30 at night! There was just too much that had to be done before we could leave, including hydrating compost material for our onboard Nature’s Head composting toilet. Here is a picture of Hannah working on it: We were sad to miss our very first camping reservation at an alpaca farm in Wytheville, VA. But I have to say, by the end of last night, the van looked amazing! After packing […]

First Day – A Delay

First Day – A Delay… So, we were planning to get the van back from the shop – yes, the shop – this morning and head out before noon. It is almost 2:00 now. How did this happen? Well, a couple of days ago I had the bright – albeit belated – idea to have the van “checked out” before we embarked on our cross-country trip. I should be happy I did, because it needed maintenance. They worked on it all day yesterday – filters, oil change, belts, two new tires. This morning they were going to rotate the tires […]

So, This Happened…And This is Happening!

So, This Happened…And This is Happening! HAIR! Okay, so the hair is the first “this.” The story behind the hair: Hannah has wanted to dye her hair green for a while and I’d said “no, no, no…okay.” And then she asked me if I’d dye my hair with her. And, to my surprise, I said “okay!” It’s quite an offer for a mom to get from her 17 year old! So, I’ve never dyed my hair before. Ever. A few times I got highlights, but never dyed. So now my hair is dyed “mermaid.” What can I say? I saw […]

Five Years of Brain Cancer

  Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of my diagnosis with brain cancer. Five years later, I’m still standing and am very grateful. 22-34% of people with my diagnosis do not live past five years. I am wistful today, though, having just watched Mr. Holland’s Opus with Hannah, Marshall, Mom, and Dad this past weekend. I am thinking about my own life’s opus. What is it? In the movie, Mr. Holland works for 30 years in the same school, teaching music. His opus is the many students he’s impacted through his teaching. The movie culminates when Mr. Holland directs a surprise […]

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