back safe, home again [june 23]

Row 1:  Parthenon | Greek flag flying | Ionian Sea;  Row 2:  Our hotel | Dinner at the port of Katakolon, Greece | Cal swimming;  Row 3:  Olympia | Cal;  Row 4:  Colosseum | Sorrento | Amalfi Coast;  Row 5:  Positano | Sweet Violet

Row 1: Parthenon | Greek flag flying | Ionian Sea; Row 2: Our hotel | Dinner at the port of Katakolon, Greece | Cal swimming; Row 3: Olympia | Cal; Row 4: Colosseum | Sorrento | Amalfi Coast; Row 5: Positano | Sweet Violet

Well, we made it home. Got in last week and have been in recovery mode ever since. The trip was fabulous, sublime and surreal on so many levels. It was also distracting, exhausting and sad.

As so many of you know by now, we lost our sweet Violet while we were gone, and I can't pretend that her death didn't impact much of the trip for me once we heard the news. Coming home to her absence has been, if anything, bewildering, like getting bad news twice. Cal and I have been recuperating and trying to heal our hearts on a steady diet of The West Wing and Smartpop popcorn (mixing the white cheddar with the kettle corn has turned out to be our best decision all week). He's worried about me, but I'm fine. Just sad, and I'd like the opportunity to simply be so.

So yes, we're home. The trip feels like a beautiful blur, and though I took many photos and will start to dismantle my memory card and share them here soon, I feel like I lost my photography mojo somewhere along the way. It felt like there was little connection to the pictures I've been taking, and now that we're back, I haven't felt inclined to pick up my camera much at all. Hoping that changes soon.

When I come home from a trip, I usually feel energized in my space and anxious to tackle my world with the new-found knowledge our travels have given me. Rejuvenated and ready to start new rituals. This time, for a lot of reasons, I feel exhausted and achy, and, as I said, bewildered. The other dogs are restless and agitated, but seem okay. Still, it's very quiet in the house without her.

And to all of you who reached out to us through messages on Facebook and Instagram, through notes and texts, how can I ever thank you enough? How can I ever tell you what your kind and thoughtful words meant to me. We read them all, each and everyone, reaching across so many miles. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. I've missed you all, and I'm anxious to "see" you again and to "hear" your voices around me. What's been happening lately? X

five things, may 9


1. I think the highlight of my week was when David Lebovitz retweeted my tweet about his cookbook yesterday and said, "Nice job on the ribs!" No! Really.... the highlight was Neel coming home from a conference, and that means I don't have to make the coffee any more. No! Really! The highlight is Neel coming home. Really. :)

2. I think Cal has been working hard on a post that answers your questions about the Page Program. Let's face it, I'm last on the to-do list after homework and baseball. Let's face it. Baseball is first on the to-do list. If you have any other questions you'd like him to answer about any aspect of the program, leave it in the comments, and we'll add it to the list.

3. I think I love the internet! So how's this for a small world story for you? I'm following lots of Italy-based folks on Instagram and checking out their blogs for tips and inspiration. If you're headed to Rome anytime soon, you should really use Gillian's Lists as a reference. She's an American expat in Rome, and as soon as I commented on her blog, she was lovely enough to email me so many wonderful suggestions. So guess what? Earlier this week, when I wrote that post about the rice paper candies and my home town, Gillian commented, and we grew up just half an hour apart! How crazytown is that? Not only that, but someone else I "met" on Instagram through #perception_collection grew up near me too. Crazy making, for sure, in so many ways, but this? This is why I love the internet.

4. I think I loved all your comments on that rice paper candy post, by the way. They really meant a lot to me. It's funny how memories get triggered. Every time I think back to that summer, I'm sitting on a shuttle bus next to my grandma. We must have gone together to the Fair. Also, if you're looking for me, I'm with Rooth, devouring a bag of Swedish Fish.

5. I think I also wanted to tell you how honored I am to be part of an amazing group of photographers who are rocking their Fuji cameras. I have a lot to say about this little camera and my decision to add it to my bag. I've been working on getting my thoughts in order, and I hope to share them with you next week. The group that contributes to this blog is made up of some amazing and inspiring photographers (it took me awhile to work up the courage to be part of it), and they've also contributed a great deal to my growing understanding of my new tool. The FujiXCrew post goes live each Friday, and I hope to be there each week. Thank you for taking a look.