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Posts Tagged ‘road trips’

One of the things I’ve missed the most in these pandemic times is travel.

I love my little nest in Eastie, but I also love hitting the road or jumping on a plane or train, to see somewhere new or revisit familiar, favorite places. Like so many folks I know, I have mourned multiple canceled trips this spring and summer. My guy and I have ridden our bikes all over Boston, and it’s been fun, but I’ve barely been out of the city for months.

Last week, though, I decided to get out of town – at least for the afternoon – and head down to Falmouth, near the base of Cape Cod. My friend Hannah had invited me for lunch and a walk, so I rented a Zipcar and drove down in the late morning. By some miracle I escaped the weekend traffic (in both directions), and the afternoon was just what my soul needed.

Hannah and I met at a writing workshop years ago, and we love talking about books and faith and catching up on our lives. I sat on her sun porch and sipped tea while she made lunch for us, and we ate at a square blue table in her front yard, trading stories while the skies gradually cleared.

After lunch, we slipped on our sneakers and went for a long, rambling walk, past a local farm where someone had nailed a small box to a fence post and written “Enjoy!” on the side. It held a few cherry tomatoes, so I helped myself. And the dahlias nearby were stunning.

We walked down the bike path, through a sedate neighborhood filled with late-summer trees and flowers, over to Little Island and the beach there, which you reach by walking through the woods. There was a rotting pilot whale carcass on the beach (so smelly!) but there was also sweet autumn clematis, blooming away, and the first red leaves. We perched on the rocks and talked for a while, and then we walked back and I hopped in my rental car to make the drive home.

It was only a few hours, but I’d forgotten how refreshing it could be to see different views, explore a new path, breathe (slightly) different air. Not to mention the nourishing company of a dear friend. In these strange, anxious months, making the effort to get away often feels overwhelming. But I’m here to tell you: it is entirely worth it.

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kissing in america book striped skirt

“I loved romances because when you opened the first page, you knew the story would end well.”

Since her dad died in a plane crash, Eva Roth has found solace in romance novels – 118 of them over two years, to be exact. Her mother, a professor of women’s studies, is dismayed by what she calls her daughter’s “ultimate rebellion.” But Eva isn’t reading romances to upset her mom: she’s reading them as an escape, seeking a little stability and a few happy endings in a world that no longer makes sense without her dad.

Margo Rabb’s young adult novel Kissing in America is the story of Eva’s journey, literal and figurative, to come to terms with her grief and learn a few things about love.

I adore a good YA novel, and I don’t mind that a lot of YA novels are fairly typical boy-meets-girl stories. But Eva’s story doesn’t fit that mold, despite her addiction to steamy novels with lurid covers and dashing heroes. Instead, it’s a story about all kinds of love: friendship, love altered by grief, and the tight, complex bond between mothers and daughters.

It’s my turn again at Great New Books today, and I chose Kissing in America as my latest pick. (I read it on my trip to NYC last month and loved it.) Please join me over at the GNB site to read the rest of my review.

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“The sea was angry that day, my friends…”*

Or life was angry, or something like that. Starting last night, it’s been one interesting return to Abilene.

First we stopped three times to go to the bathroom (on a less-than-four-hour drive!) between San Antonio and Abilene. This was funny, but after a while I just wanted to get off the road. Betsy’s small bladder has been a family joke for years…but it made the trip seem LONG yesterday.

Then Leigh Anne and I almost set the kitchen on fire trying to make pasta for dinner. (This was after she had accidentally poured a whole batch of noodles into the sink, rendering them inedible. And after we discovered that we did NOT have useable mozzarella cheese, as we thought. Sad day.)

Then it hit all of us (Leigh Anne, Bethany and me) that this is our last week of living together. Bethany moves to Nashville in less than two weeks. Leigh Anne starts her senior year of college very soon. And me? I still have NO IDEA what I’m going to do – so I’m freaking out. Big time.

Things did brighten up a bit with an ice cream session (Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, Haagen-Dazs Mayan Chocolate, and Godiva Chocolate Raspberry Truffle)…YUM. Unfortunately, even rich chocolatey ice cream cannot heal all ills. After ranting to my patient J for at least the fourth time that day, I fell into bed, exhausted.

This morning, it was a three-chocolate day by 10:30 a.m. (read: stressful morning). Dropped bagel on the ground, trouble locating the photo CD I needed at work, more anxiety about the future, etc. etc. And such a long to-do list for the week that my head aches just looking at it.

Fortunately, I’ve gotten lots of good email today. And applied for four jobs. And hoped desperately that something will happen for me. Because right now it seems that I’m the only clueless one. No job, no permanent home, no idea about what’s going to happen. And that is not a fun place to be.

Apologies for the whining, dear friends. I’ll post about something fun soon. I promise.

*George Costanza – a random Seinfeld episode

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