We love New England, and spending time on Cape Cod was a priority, before it gets too cold. So we decided to look for our first long stay somewhere roughly along the route to the Cape. Raleigh was our choice, largely because one of Phil’s closest high school friends lives in Durham, and also because I’d spent time there for business and was interested in exploring it more. I would take a week off, my first vacation time this year, so we’d have ample time for adventure.

We began by exploring our immediate neighborhood, an area called Cameron Village. We had chosen this AirBnB because of its walkability, and we weren’t disappointed. We walked ten minutes to the grocery store daily, and I have to admit we’ve explored a number of neighborhood restaurants offering outdoor dining. Our tiny one-bedroom apartment is conveniently located but has a very small kitchen with only a dorm fridge, so storing much food was not an option–nor was having both of us in the kitchen at the same time.

Once my vacation time set in, we began exploring the area. First on our list was downtown Raleigh, which is small and easy to navigate. Our favorite “find” was historic Oakwood, a 19th century neighborhood with a variety of beautiful homes. We explored it initially by car and later on foot. Two things stood out: first, Oakwood is an overwhelmingly liberal neighborhood, with ubiquitous “Black Lives Matter,” “We Believe in Science,” “Hate Has No Home Here,” and political signs. It was a balm after living in a conservative red town during election season. The second interesting thing was that Oakwood residents take Halloween SERIOUSLY!!! Pictures cannot capture the festive and spooky spirit of the area. We  had so much fun, especially after we staved off the hangries by walking to local restaurant The Raleigh Times, where we shared the best Ruben sandwich of our lives (with collard kimchee instead of sauerkraut!) and Phil had a wonderful craft cocktail.

On Sunday we decided to explore the Black Farmers’ Market and the North Carolina State Public Farmers’ Market. Rain was pouring down during the first visit, but everyone seemed happy to be there and appreciative of customers who came out despite the weather. By the time we arrived at the second one, the rain was reduced to a drizzle. We couldn’t buy much (tiny fridge!), but we bought some wonderful espresso beans and a few veggies.  And we tried two North Carolina delicacies: boiled peanuts (YUCK!) and a peach hand pie called a Jack. Jacks are fried in lard. Yep, lard. 

We also had some delightful day trips. On one day we visited the Glencoe Mill HIstoric District (only drove around because it was raining), a lovely historic neighborhood in Burlington, the Duke University campus (I love college campuses), and walked the historic district of Hillsborough.

The North Carolina Museum of Art was exceptional, with an astonishing range of works. They were issuing free tickets on a schedule to avoid overcrowding, and we felt very safe social distancing in our masks.

We were surprised by the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield–much more interesting than we’d imagined. And we spent a couple of hours walking the historic district in Wilmington, which was lovely–but there were too many people not socially distancing, so we spent a lot of time dodging them.

But the best part of our Raleigh adventure has been reconnecting with old friends. We spent a wonderful afternoon with Phil’s highschool friend Lloyd and his wife Janet. Their outdoor entertainment area was beautiful, and they set up beverages and empanadas in separate areas so we all felt safe. At the end of our visit we picked up barbeque and spent another evening with them. We had another wonderful evening with friends Michael and Sara on their patio overlooking the lake. Michael is a wonderful cook and created a well-timed dinner of heavy appetizers–roasted dates with a soft cheese dip, mini-sandwiches, and summer rolls, followed by a spectacular apple crumble. We had not met Sara before, and it was one of those magical “instant friendship” experiences, We’re still talking about what a great evening that was.

And finally we spent an evening with my colleague Norm, his wife Marie, and their daughter Sophia. Norm is a unique blend of actuary and improv performer, and one of my favorite colleagues. We picked up dinner from their favorite vegan restaurant and feasted on great food and even greater conversation on their patio, overlooked by huge trees and stars.

So our first long stay has been a big success by all standards. Exploring a new area, reconnecting with great friends, and sampling wonderful food adds up to our kind of lifestyle. We are so far loving our Roaming experience!


Leaf-head Phil in Southborough

Look at this beautiful porch mural in Oakwood!

Liberal Oakwood neighborhood

This home’s Halloween decor was beyond anything we’d ever seen before!


Skeleton dog wears a mask for safety!

Look closely. The zebra and the frog are fishing!

Norm’s backyard–“lovely, dark, and deep” woods


And we’re off!

Phil and Sandy have left the building.

Wow!  It’s been a very hectic and exciting few weeks.  After our house closing date was confirmed, our next task was to get rid of almost everything we owned, empty the house, confirm our initial roaming plans, and prepare to embark on this big adventure.  We had three weeks to get all this done.

Empty bedroom

I tried to be organized about it, I really did.  I set up my office closet for the “keep in storage” items and the guest room closet for the “take” items.  I made to-do lists and checklists, sometimes adding items just for the pleasure of crossing them off.  But as the date drew closer, all bets were off.  Every spare tote bag was filled with partly organized/partly random stuff.  We sold our two cars and bought a slightly newer hybrid.  I sold most of our furniture on Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace.  We engaged our son, aka our car butler, to help us figure it all out.  In the end, we managed to store all our remaining worldly goods in a 5×5 storage unit and our new hybrid sedan–the latter due entirely to our son’s Tetris prowess.  We closed on our house, made a final visit to Baxter, who was so happy in his new home he hardly noticed us, and we were off.


Sunset on the road

We spent our first night in Houston with our dear friend Patricia, who treated us to adult beverages and an elegant dinner.  Early the next morning we headed to our first stop–Laurel, Mississippi, of “Home Town” fame.  We wanted to see the charming town Erin and Ben Napier had shared on their hit home renovation show.

 Laurel!  Ben and Erin’s store!  Cute old pickup!


After exploring the quaint downtown and taking a drive to see some of the beautiful homes in Laurel, we were starving.  As so often happens when we’re on the road, we happened into a restaurant that turned into a memorable experience.  The local Italian and pizza joint made the BEST bruschetta we’ve ever had!  We celebrated with a toast, of course.

Prosecco toast

After a night of tossing and turning in our hotel bed, we grabbed giant coffees and headed to our next stop, Atlanta.  

I thought this random side-of-the-road graffiti was beautiful.

There we had a wonderful dinner with our friends Philip and Erin, who were the most charming hosts.  They served a fabulous salmon (topped with a mix of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon and roasted in the oven–I’m totally copying it!), followed by chocolate cake and ice cream.  What a treat, both the dinner and the company!

The next morning we headed to our much-anticipated, first temporary home in Raleigh.  How we ever got all this stuff in our car is a mystery.  Instead of fully unpacking, we headed to the grocery store!  Our first dinner started with heirloom tomatoes and buratta.  And wine.  Always wine.

First dinner in our little (let’s be honest, it’s tiny) apartment in Raleigh

What a mess!

So here we are, on the road, settling in to our temporary home, and enjoying our new neighborhood.  It doesn’t hurt that there’s a wonderful bakery just a ten minute walk away!  We hope to see a few friends while we’re here, socially distanced of course, but mostly we’re just excited to explore our new surroundings and see what we’ll discover on this first part of our journey.  We packed our optimism, openmindedness, and excitement for what will come.  Stay tuned!




. . .and now it’s real!

Things are moving FAST!

My head is spinning, but I’m taking a break to provide this update.  We never imagined things would proceed at such a pace!  Our realtor met with us on September 10, we signed the listing agreement the next day, and on 9/12 the photos were taken.  The listing was set to go live on September 14.  Then came the big surprise:  on September 13 we received a full price offer!  We chose to interpret that as a sign from the universe and signed the contract.  Now we had to figure out how to dispose of a lifetime’s accumulation of stuff!

Our buyer’s last name starts with an S so we’re leaving this “S” stone!

We decided that we would not keep any furniture, instead only keeping things that were truly important to us:  my mother’s china, a few of Phil’s paintings, off-season clothes and shoes we would need while roaming, important papers, memorabilia, and some beloved works of art.  We limited ourselves to two boxes each of books; I dedicated one box to fiction and poetry and the other to cookbooks.


One of Phil’s paintings that I can’t part with

The next thing, the really, really hard thing, was finding a new family for Baxter.  I made a bio with his photo and we shared it with friends and family.  Our friends network came through!  Baxter is now the CEO of Silo, a local fused glass studio, and the beloved pet of owners Elissa and Chester.  They loved Baxter on sight, and he warmed up to them right away.  Elissa kindly sent us pictures to show us how well Baxter was adjusting.  He will love going to work with them every day, greeting customers, soaking up attention, and observing activity from his kitty condo that went with him.  I cried most of the day he left, but after several days I feel ok and know it was the right decision for him.

Baxter exploring his new office


You might be wondering how we’re managing to dispose of everything that won’t fit into a 5′ x 5′ storage unit.  Just in case you ever have to do this, here are the steps we’re taking:

  1. Had our kids identify what they wanted.  We’re shipping a number of items to our daughter in Europe, and our son who lives close will pick up his things.  We also gave away a number of things to friends in the area. 
  2. Made a list of everything to be sold, with information and pricing.  We gave this to our realtor, and the person buying our home ended up buying a lot!
  3. Listed the rest on Nextdoor.  This resulted in several sales to people in our immediate neighborhood.
  4. Listed on Facebook Marketplace.  I’ve been surprised at how much has sold on this site!
  5. Donations, donations, donations.  We’ll donate primarily to Habitat’s Restore, where they sell items to raise money for home building.

Our home buyer bought almost everything you see in this picture!

We decided against an estate sale due to COVID risk, and we were pleased that everyone who has purchased items has masked up.  The big learning from this experience is that selling all your stuff can be almost a full-time job!  Good thing it doesn’t go on very long.  Also, we priced everything at about 40% of retail, and most buyers paid full price.  We discount things that don’t sell quickly, as our goal is to sell as much as possible.

And now we have 2 1/2 weeks to wind up everything and hit the road.  We’ve decided on Cape Cod for our first destination, with a three-week stop in Raleigh.  We’ve booked AirBnBs in both locations, with a few hotel stops along the way.  I’ll be working, aside from a few vacation days, so we won’t be spending long driving days.  We’ve been pleased to see the extra cleaning our hosts (both AirBnB and Marriott) are doing to protect guests from COVID, but we’ll be bringing along plenty of disinfectant supplies and masks.  

The cozy cottage that will be our temporary home on the Cape

Seeing our house emptying a little each day feels weird–not bad, just strange.  And of course we miss Baxter (I haven’t broken my habit of closing the bathroom doors to prevent him from playing with the toilet paper rolls!).  And it’s definitely stressful handling inquiries, keeping track of everything, and managing transactions with strangers (all of whom have been lovely so far!).  But mostly?  We’re excited about this new experience.  We’re so glad we’re taking this step.  Here’s to the next adventure!




we’re selling the house!

This is getting real. . .

The pandemic experience has caused us to look at just about everything differently.  We’ve always believed that life is short and moments are not to be wasted, but recently we’ve come to realize that our time on this planet is limited and we must not wait to start our next adventure.  So. . .we decided to sell the house we love.

 Our little piece of heaven

A real estate agent came over this morning to look at the house and discuss the listing.  She sold us this house and was eager to see all the improvements we’ve made in our three years here.  No major remodeling was needed, but we added a large patio and pergola, installed custom window treatments, had all the cabinetry painted, installed new lighting, and had a lot of landscaping work done.  This is our favorite house (keep in mind, we’ve moved 18 times in our marriage!) and it will be hard to leave.

My raised bed garden.  The sign cracks me up!

But the pangs of giving up our house are coupled with excitement about this next adventure.  Since Americans are not allowed into France, where we plan to begin our roaming, we’ve decided to take this opportunity to roam the U.S.  My job allows me to work from anywhere in the country, which is a huge privilege.  So we’re planning to spend some extended time in some of our favorite places, and to discover some new ones.


  • Since it’s likely that our in-country roaming will begin in late fall or early winter, we’re looking at some warmer locations to start.  We love Savannah, Asheville, Charleston, and Raleigh-Durham, so one or more of those locations might be first on our list.  We’ve started researching AirBnB options and would plan to spend several weeks or a month in each locale.
  • Our son had the brilliant suggestion to spend some time in Dallas, where many of our oldest and dearest friends live.  That’s where we raised our kids and where we lived the longest (including our record:  11 years in one house!).  The COVID situation will likely dictate when we do that, as we’ll want to see our friends and not be isolated there.
  • Our original idea, before we decided on roaming, was to do a “grand retirement tour” in a couple of years, visiting friends and family throughout the country and making stops in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and New Mexico.  We’ll incorporate those locations into our U.S. roaming–at least we could have some socially distanced visits with dear ones.
  • And, assuming we have sufficient time, we’ll want to visit our beloved New England, where we spent eight wonderful years.  Moving to Boston in 2008 was the best adventure of our lives so far, and it’s where we learned that home can be anywhere as long as we’re together.  We love the entire area and look forward to returning to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont as well as Massachussets, where we’ll also see dear friends.

We are going to miss this adjustable bed!  But not as much as Baxter. . .

So, these are exciting plans.  But a major obstacle remains, one that almost brings me to tears every time I think about it:  Baxter.  We love him and don’t want to give him up.  We debated bringing him with us, especially since he’s very chill and has even done a road trip with us.  But we know cats hate change, and putting him through constant changes, moving every time he gets comfortable somewhere, would be selfish.  So we’re going to have to find him new humans.  That will be the hardest part of this.

 How can we part with this fellow?


So the first part of our adventure is about to begin.  We’re excited, anxious, sad, and frankly a bit stressed.  But mostly?  We know that now is the time to do new things.  We’re ready.




where will we stay?


Wlhen we begin Roaming we plan to stay in each location at least one month.  I’ve never taken more than twelve days off work so this will definitely be a new experience!  We have some comfort with AirBnB and have been dreaming over apartments on that site for our first ventures, mostly in France, Italy, and Portugal.  Having vacationed in rentals six times, we decided to review each place and look for lessons learned.

Our first vacation apartment experience was on a trip to Paris with our kids.  We had a wonderful Palais Royale location, two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, and a tiny kitchen.  It was a splurge, but we loved it!  We discovered a lovely bistro at the end of the block and became friendly with the owner.  We’d love to visit again, but it’s too expensive now!  We used the same company a couple of years later, booking a smaller two-bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking the Sacre Coeur.  It was just a touch shabby, but it was affordable and had everything we needed–two bedrooms, one bathroom, and beds for all five of us–and a tiny Parisian elevator so we didn’t have to lug our bags up several flights of stairs.

For our next vacation apartment adventure, I decided we didn’t need luxury and looked for something very affordable.  This was our first real lesson (and our first AirBnB experience!).  The ground floor apartment in Berlin looked cute in the pictures–crisp, bright colors, and compact.  When we arrived, however, it was a different story.  The bed, which looked big, was way too small, so I had to sleep on the sofa.  The bathroom turned out to be a wet room, and the shower drain was plugged and flooded the bathroom and part of the living room.  And when we opened the freezer, we found some horrible, very old, frozen food.  The first night, a drunken, angry man serenaded us outside the open windows, which we couldn’t shut because of the heat.  We paid well below $100 per night but spent as little time in this apartment as possible.

So, what happens after an experience like ours in Berlin?  You overcorrect, of course!  Our next trip was to Stockholm, and I was determined to find us a pleasant place–and I did.  Located a stone’s throw from the Old Town, our apartment on the top floor of an elevator building boasted two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a huge dining room with a piano, and a wonderful kitchen with an espresso machine that I spent an hour on youtube videos to master!  It was more expensive than a hotel, but it was wonderful!  In fact, it was much larger than we needed for only two people.  But it was definitely an overcorrection.

Our next adventure was in California, where we stayed with our daughter and son-in-law.  The place was close to the beach, old, and quaint.  We loved it!  However, we didn’t know that the owners  lived above us and shared the garden, and they REALLY enjoyed spending time with us, popping in unannounced just to visit.  We, however, craved privacy and family time.  Eventually I found myself hiding in my bedroom to avoid chatting.

Our most recent AirBnB experience was on a trip of a lifetime to Tuscany, in April 2019.  We flew to Rome for a couple of days, then met our kids for the drive to our villa.  The landscape was gorgeous, our host was charming but gave us privacy, the four-bedroom, two-bath villa was larger than we needed but very comfortable, and while it was too chilly to swim, we enjoyed both sitting by the pool and warming up by the fireplace.  And perhaps the best part was cooking together and eating in the spacious kitchen!  But we had to drive 20 minutes to get to any store or cafe.

So. . .what have we learned?  To shoot for a mix of luxury and frugality.  To focus on location.  To look for gracious hosts who are friendly but don’t want to spend lots of time with us.  To make sure the basics (a clean, workable kitchen, a comfortable king-sized bed, a bathroom with a good shower) are there.  And, when it’s booked and we’ve arrived, to remember that no place is perfect, to roll with the punches and make the most of our precious time in each temporary home, and to remember our sense of humor.  And most of all, to cherish the memories!


This beautiful Palais Royale apartment has been completely renovated since we stayed there.  Much pricier now!


Sacre Coeur view!



This Berlin bed is much smaller than it seems in the picture!



I fell in love with the red fridge in our Stockholm apartment–and the espresso machine!


The living room of our temporary California home


At “home” in Tuscany


Roaming–At Home?


Like everyone else, Phil and I were getting a little anxious and depressed after more than five months of confinement.  While we acknowledge our privilege–we’re healthy, our family is safe, and we have enough of everything–staying home has become a bit burdensome.  We have one couple with whom we’ve expanded our mutual bubble, getting together occasionally while socially distancing.  On a recent visit we were commiserating about our ennui, and we talked about how anxious we are to start traveling again.  We shared some fun day trips we’d each taken, and our friends mentioned a “painted churches” trip a mutual friend had taken.

The next day, Saturday, we decided to make this trip.  We found a route outlined on The Day Tripper, filled our water bottles, and took off in the late morning.  When we “roam” at home, we like to avoid major highways to better explore the area, so the entire trip took us about five hours.  All but one of the beautiful churches were open, and we encountered not a single other person.  Who knew there was such European-style splendor in the Texas Hill Country?!


This church looks like a Faberge egg!                                     One of the many beautiful Texas ranch gates


More recently we discovered that our friend, alcohol ink artist Tom Wiley, writes for Ride Texas magazine, where he shares interesting motorcycle rides that also entice automobile afficionados like us.  Last weekend we took his “Old 9 Road” ride, with some variations.  What a fun day trip that turned out to be!

This just cracks me up!                                           Post-pandemic, we’ll go inside!                             Best burger in Texas?


Having rediscovered day trips sans shopping, other people, and inside dining, we’ve decided to copy our friends the Wileys and have a day trip adventure (“Roam from home”?) every weekend until we can Roam again in earnest.  Time to make lemonade from these lemons!

Things we’ll miss when we’re roamers


Wow, where to start?!  During this endless pandemic I’ve been trying to focus on the things that bring joy to our lives, the things for which we are endlessly grateful.  And I’ve realized that some of them are not going to be part of our lives as Roamers.

For example, family and friends.  Sure, they’ll still be in our lives, but we won’t be able to see them as often as we’d like.  And I’ll miss special gatherings, unable to come back to the U.S. without advance planning.  For example, I have a group of high school girlfriends who gather annually for a “Wild Women’s Weekend.”  I will have unbearable FOMO the first time I have to miss that.

We will miss Baxter, our rescue cat, more than I can say.  He makes us laugh every single day.  He is a cat with personality who never met a stranger.  How will we ever be able to say goodbye to him?  We’re hoping we can find him a new home with family or friends, so we can visit him when we’re Roamers.  But it breaks my heart to even think about giving him up.

Dinner parties.  I love to cook and love to entertain.  It doesn’t stress me out and it’s so much fun, especially when we can bring people together to form new friendships.  But when we’re Roamers, we probably won’t stay in one place long enough to form strong friendships, so hosting dinner parties will be a rare opportunity.  I’ll miss that.

Gardening!  I’m the opposite of an expert, but I love growing things, especially food.  Well, to be honest, what I really enjoy is harvesting.  The rest is just effort.  But if we’re somewhere that offers regular farmers’ markets, we can still get close to that joyful feeling of harvesting.

Getting in the car any time we need to go somewhere.  While we love walking and look forward to living in an urban environment, we’ll miss the ability to spontaneously jump in the car and go, often just driving aimlessly to see what we’ll discover.  We’ll have to plan ahead to rent a car when we want to drive anywhere.

Having a home.  This is a big one.  We love our little house and garden, and making it our own over the past three years has been a joy.  We’ve lived in eighteen different homes during our marriage, and this is my favorite house ever.  And we love coming home from a trip, getting back to this comfortable space that’s entirely our own.  I think as long as we’re together we’ll feel at home–but roaming will be the test!

We will miss these things, and so much more.  But one thing this pandemic has taught us is that life is short.  We truly cannot wait to discover new things on this big adventure!



My “Wild Women”


Basket Baxter






Anticipating that we may be able to begin roaming sooner than originally planned, Phil and I spent our quarantined 39th anniversary weekend (!) going through our house and pulling out things we no longer need.  We’re donating them, trying to do a little good as we lighten our load.  This exercise has been very interesting in several ways:

  1. We have so, so much more than we need. We are serial downsizers, but each time we reduce, our remaining stuff seems to grow.  There is so little we truly need.  This time we pinkie swore we’ll avoid stockpiling stuff—clothing, dishes, jewelry, linens, gadgets—and make sure we acquire only useful and necessary things.  And maybe the occasional treasure.
  2. This is hard. As an English major and former teacher, I’m addicted to books.  Even now that most books I buy are digital, I still love the feeling of holding a real book.  We’ve downsized our books before, but this was the deepest cut ever.  I felt joy as I looked over beloved classics, contemporary novels, memoirs, histories, poetry, and of course my beloved cookbooks.  Phil drove to the donation center with about 600 of my books.  I felt a bit melancholy, tinged with a sense of freedom and joy. 
  3. I’m learning that I don’t need objects to remember loved ones. Parting with treasured books, gifts from family and friends, and some of my mother’s and grandmother’s jewelry at first came with some guilt.  Would my friend Gwyn be hurt if she knew I gave away the meditation figure I’ve kept in my office for over 25 years?  Would my grandma be sad seeing me part with her favorite strawberry brooch?  They both died years ago, but I like to think they’d approve of my decision to release stuff in favor of adventure, knowing that I will always hold the memories close.
  4. Deciding what to keep is becoming easier. There’s a bit of Marie Kondo magic in holding an object, feeling it spark joy, and deciding it has earned its place in the storage unit of our future.

This process is affecting us.  Roaming feels closer, more real than ever.  I wake up excited to reduce more, to plan, to get closer to the time when we can travel again, say goodbye to our house and our stuff, and embark on this adventure.  And thank heaven for technology that enables us to keep treasured images!






She’s been with me over 25 years.


Wartime love–from my mom to my dad


I found this in my daddy’s treasure box.

This post is not about roaming. 

It’s about racism.  Writing these words I wonder whether I have anything of value to say, and whether I have any right to speak on this topic. 

I’m a privileged white straight woman.  I have a good job, a wonderful family, financial stability, and safety.  I have long considered myself an “ally” but now realize I had no idea what that even meant.

Confronting the poison of racism in myself is scary, painful, and hard.  That doesn’t matter one bit.  It’s necessary, and my pain is absolutely nothing compared to the pain lived daily by BIPOC.

I’ve been reading a lot of comments on Next Door about a racist note left on the door of a vacationing Black family in my small Texas town.  The comments range from horrified and shamed to defensive and belligerent.  I think all the comments have been by white people, who comprise most of our town’s population.  Some of them deny that such a thing as systemic racism even exists. 

I’ve also been reading Glennon Doyle’s treasure of a book, Untamed, and yesterday read the chapter titled Racist.  Doyle, a white woman, has the courage to confront her own racism and acknowledge the way racism contaminates the very air we breathe.  We’ve all been contaminated, and it’s our job to find the poison in ourselves and get rid of it.  Her words are helping me work through this process.  I wish everyone in the U.S. would read her book; if that happened, I believe our country would begin to heal.  She urges us to not perform, as I’ve done for many years, but to transform.  That’s what I’m trying to do now.  Only then will I be a true ally.

I’m working to improve.

Community. serendipity.


Late in the afternoon, just as I’d finished my last conference call of the day, I saw someone walk up onto our front porch and ring the doorbell.  It was a neighbor I’d never formally met, one who sat on the homeowners’ association board with my husband.  And she was bringing a gift:  three giant zucchinis.


Her boss, she explained, decided to get into gardening—and REALLY got into it.  Not understanding that these are gourds that multiply, she planted ten of these beauties, and now the entire office was at risk of burial by zucchini.  I invited her in, and as it happened, on the kitchen counter was Vivian Howard’s cookbook, open to the squash section.  I’d been reading it and looking forward to later in the summer when zucchini would be plentiful and cheap.


My neighbor glanced with interest at the squash glamor shots, and out came her phone to capture several of the recipes.  She left with a promise of more zucchini and possibly tomatoes:  her boss had planted 50 tomato plants in her “garden.”


That evening we feasted on squash and onions (I pan-fried almond-crusted tilapia fillets to go on top).  Was it just my imagination, or did the meal taste especially good because it was a gift?  Was I more a part of the community for having accepted the gift, and given something in return?  Perhaps being part of a community where people look out for each other, something our grandparents took for granted, is a balm.


When Phil and I are Roamers, we look forward to making connections, even (or especially?) brief ones, wherever we go.  And we hope to spread and receive kindness, and to be good neighbors.







Zucchini!  Summer!



The recipe I made with the gift