Family, friends, memories, and wedding bells.

We were super excited to arrive in Dallas, where we raised our family and developed lifelong friends, After a lovely night at the Adolphus, we headed to our Airbnb home for the next month.

We had secured an entire house for this month, because our European kids were visiting! The home was lovely, in a quiet, well-located neighborhood–but the owners had not quite moved out! We had to move their stuff out of the way to make room for a month’s worth of clothing, food, and toiletries, but once that was done we were quite comfortable.

Our home-for-a-month in Dallas

The next day I had lunch with dear friends Joni (aka the bride) and Cara to work on wedding planning. Cara and I had offered to be Joni’s unofficial wedding consultants, and we were also hosting a lingerie shower, so we had lots of work to do before the October 16 nuptuals! Later that week I made a light dinner for Joni’s friends who were doing the wedding flowers. I hadn’t seen Joni or Cara since the “before times” so it was a sweet reunion.

Wedding flowers: serious work being done here.

We were beyond excited to welcome our daughter and son-in-law, who live in Europe and whom we hadn’t seen in almost two years! His parents joined us at the airport for reunion hugs and a few tears. They thoughtfully planned to go home with their respective parents to have a special family-of-origin night, followed by splitting their time between the two families. 

Nic and Amelia, our beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, exceptional kids

The next day the two families (including Nic’s brother, who flew in for a visit) met up for brunch at Norma’s, a long-time favorite diner-style restaurant. We feasted, we laughed, we caught up on two years’ worth of news. We love Nic’s family and have often wished we lived closer; spending time with them is always a joy. Plus, the food at Norma’s is amazing.

My dish from Norma’s: it ended up being several meals!

That weekend was also Phil’s 70th birthday! The small family celebration was understated and almost exactly what he wanted (the “almost” because our other kids, whose baby was almost due, couldn’t be there). After dinner at Chuy’s with Nic’s family, we all went back to our Airbnb for cake, ice cream, and champagne. And a few days later came the most wonderful gift of all: a granddaughter!

The next fun thing in a month of way too much fun was Joni’s bachelorette party, hosted by her daughters. Our group included family by choice, dear friends, and new friends, and it was a wonderful evening. 

Joni and her squad

The dinner was held at Town Hearth, a hip Dallas restaurant (is “hip” still a word?) where the beautiful people go to see, be seen, and enjoy great food. We may or may not have driven the waiter crazy.

Before dinner, on our best behavior

After that we headed to the Crescent Hotel, where we continued the party in Joni’s suite until we were politely asked to keep it down. We then proceeded to the lobby, where we may or may not have driven others crazy. We finally ended the evening after 2am, which seemed appropriate at the time.

Later in the evening. . .

The next week I had a business trip to St. Louis, and when I returned it was T minus 4 days until the lingerie shower, for which I was doing the food and flowers. Cara hosted at her lovely home, made  killer mai tais, curated the music, and provided the beverages and desserts.

Shower flowers

We had decided on the menu, and I made as much food as possible in advance. Still, it was a mad rush to get everything ready!

Shower food, lots of it!

We managed to finish everything just as the first guests arrived. It had been over 40 years since I’d attended a lingerie shower!


The shower was great fun, and Joni received some beautiful gifts. It was wonderful to see old friends after so long, and to welcome new ones. Joni has an amazing circle of friends in her neighborhood–so great I was wishing we lived near them!

Can you tell Cara and I coordinated outfits for the shower?

Shower done, it was time to focus on the main event: the wedding was less than two weeks away! Fortunately, a business trip was cancelled, so I had a bit more time. After a quick day trip to meet our granddaughter, and a lovely dinner with our dear friends-who-are-family Carol and Richard, it was all wedding, all the time.

The wedding planners and the bride

The rehearsal had gone well, and the rehearsal dinner at Lava Cantina was perfect.

Joni and Scott at the rehearsal dinner

We packed up everything from Joni’s house and headed to the venue. The wedding was the first held at her neighborhood amenity center. We had to move all the furniture, decor, and Halloween decorations out to turn it into a wedding venue, but fortunately we had several strong guys to help with the heavy lifting. Cara had orchestrated everything to the minute, and for the most part it went accordingly–thanks to great vendors, friends and helpers. Joni’s friends did a spectacular job on the flowers! Once we got all the reception tables set up, we were thrilled with the space.

Reception space, ready to go

Joni was escorted down the aisle by her grandson, Landon, and her bridesmaids were daughters Jamie and Lindsey and granddaughter Ava. 

Joni and Landon

The wedding, held at sunset by the lake under a beautiful pergola, was perfect. 

A beautiful beginning

When my Apple watch died before the wedding it had already recorded 22,000 steps–and that was before Cara and I had orchestrated the wedding and reception! Plus, of course we HAD to join in the dancing. The next morning we could barely walk. So we rested on Sunday, and then celebrated our last evening in Dallas with a reunion dinner. 

“Sweeties” dinner

This was a group of life-long friends who met when we all worked at Sweetwater Health Enterprises, the company founded by dear friends Marsha and Bob. A special treat was having Michael, our IT genius, join from California. These people are precious to Phil and me, and the dinner, held at May Dragon, the favorite restaurant of our wonderful late friend Gwyn Harwell, was a treasure. We caught up on everyone’s lives, toasted our friend Gwyn, and soaked up the joy of special friendships.


And with that, we bid farewell to a crazy, fun-filled, momentous month in Dallas. Saying goodbye to Amelia and Nic, who spent that last night with us, was less hard than usual because we will see them in France in a few months. And I didn’t even cry!


on the road again!

Finishing up our pre-retirement Grand Tour

Denver was so great we (sort of) hated to leave, but it was time to continue on our journey. Before we ever even conceived of becoming Roamers, we had discussed doing a “Grand Retirement Tour” when I retired, crisscrossing the US and visiting friends along the way. Recently we realized that we’ve already been doing exactly that! Beginning with an Atlanta dinner with Philip and Erin, on to Raleigh with old friends Lloyd and Janet and favorite colleagues Michael and Sarah and Norm and Marie, continuing through Thanksgiving in Plymouth with our Cummings Clan, on to Phil’s old friend in Savannah, Dorothy and Amy in Santa Fe and Phoenix, cousins Karyl, Matt, and Dafid, as well as dear friends Gracelyn and Ralph and Beth and Wade in California, a visit from high school bestie Patricia in Hawaii, several days in Santa Clara with Karyl and Matt,  randomly running into Phil’s sister Pam and husband Roger on the Oregon coast (!), fun in Portland with nephew Connor and his girlfriend April, as well as high school Wild Woman Tina, and friends Cathy and Pat, then great times in Seattle with Sue and Mitch, as well as Rob and Liz, on to Denver where we had visits from Lynn and Danny and Michael and Carmen, San Diego again with Karyl and Matt, Las Vegas with friends Pilar and Rene–WOW! We are reminded of how rich we are in friends and family.

And it didn’t stop there. In the ten days of travel from Denver to Dallas, we had dinner in Kansas City with dear friends/former colleagues Deb and Mike and his wife Renee. Then we were off to Tulsa for a few days with bestie Beth and her partner Wade, where I got to help Beth’s sister Jenni with a baby shower for Beth’s daughter Sydney. Several of the guests were friends I’d not seen in ages, and it was wonderful to honor Syd, who’s been like a daughter to me since her birth.

Baby shower giggles

It was a brunch shower, and I made individual fritattas and fruit salad, served with croissants I did NOT make. But the star of the show was the gorgeous petits fours that Jenni ordered. Her baker made them to match the napkins!

Jenni’s beautiful petits fours

We loved the time we spent with Beth, Wade, Syd, Sean, and little Cora. Cora is a big fan of nicknames; Wade is Wade-o, Phil is Philio, and I’m “the other one.” She cracked us all up constantly.

Cora’s grilled cheese sandwich tower

We, of course, were very well fed in the days we spent with Beth and Wade. She’s a wonderful baker, and Wade is a great chef. He runs a meat business, Luther Brown Meats, and we were treated to several of his products. We had some memorable meals with this “family by choice.”

One of Wade’s beautifully presented plates

While in Tulsa we also got some quality time with dear friend and Wild Woman Linda. We walked, we chatted, we lunched, and best of all, we visited Tulsa’s Gathering Place, a world class public park offering exploration, beauty, gorgeous architecture, and much more. Our 50th high school reunion, originally planned for 2020, was cancelled again due to COVID, so the opportunity to spend time with my high school friend was truly a gift.

The Gathering Place: a wonderland for kids and adults!

We said goodbye to our Tulsa crew and headed to visit my brother Larry and wife Leanna, taking a slight detour to see Price Tower, the Frank Lloyd Wright skyscraper in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Phil is a huge Wright fan, and it was definitely worth the trip to see it. After a quick lunch, we headed on to Arkansas for our visit with Larry and Lea.

Price Tower lobby

Larry and Lea were in the throes of renovations on their beautiful lakeside home, so we spent most of our time out and about. We only had two days, but we packed a lot of fun into them, exploring new restaurants in the area, catching up on over two years’ worth of chats, and generally enjoying our time together. We made a day trip to Eureka Springs, which Phil and I had never seen. Along the way, we had one of those serendipitous experiences that seem like gifts from the universe, during a visit to Martin Greer’s Candies. Dr. Greer, a retired artist and professor (his father founded the company, and now his son makes the chocolates), came in to welcome us to the shop and we learned about his art career. “Care to see my studio?” he asked. Of course that was an irresistible offer, and we were not disappointed. Cartoons, paintings, animation cels–it was all there. We felt as if we’d snagged a private museum tour! 

We pulled ourselves away and headed to our next stop, Thorncrown Chapel. Hidden in the woods, this beautiful small chapel is a popular wedding site. Well worth a quick visit!

Thorncrown Chapel

From there we headed on to Eureka Springs, a quaint village full of shops and restaurants. We especially enjoyed exploring the Crescent Hotel, a beautifully preserved 1886 hotel and spa.

Lovebirds at the Cresent Hotel

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at the Buttered Biscuit, a favorite from a previous trip, before saying goodbye and heading out for Dallas. We were beyond excited for this part of our trip, as our daughter and son-in-law will also be visiting from their home in Sweden. As a treat, we spent our first night (using points!) at the Adolphus. There we made friends with talented bartender Justin Wells, who recommended dinner at Billy Can Can. In fact, since he works there part time, Justin arranged for VIP treatment–reservations at the bar, where we could watch the action! We had a wonderful, top 20 meal there and were treated like royalty.

the bar at Billy Can Can: “Before Death Drink”

We each had an appetizer, main course, and dessert, and everything was exceptional! I enjoyed it so much I forgot to take pictures after the appetizer. 

Appetizer: deviled eggs six ways

Our ten days on the road between Denver and Dallas were indeed memorable. Now we’re happily ensconsed in our Dallas Airbnb, and I can’t wait to share the stories!