To New Beginnings and 18 Years of Marriage

You might be wondering where I’ve been in the last month. Long story short. We moved back to California, moving company was 2 weeks late in delivering our stuff and all 3 kiddos began a new school year while my husband transitioned to a new work setting. As for me? A million crazy, outlandish things happened and at a certain point all I could do was laugh. So many great stories to share and I will at a certain point. For now, I am relishing in being home where I belong and creating my new normal. Work has picked up and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to do meaningful work with nonprofit organizations that are changing lives.

On this Labor Day, I’m thinking about my husband and one of the greatest journeys I ever embarked on- getting married 18 years ago. I literally had no idea what I was doing but in a way I think that’s the way it should be- that’s life- stepping off the ledge- hoping for the best and knowing you’ve got to prepare for a little turbulence. So- here’s to new beginnings- that we never grow so comfortable that we are afraid to step off that ledge. I’m off to push my family into joining me for a hike in our beloved canyons this morning. In the meantime, while I catch my breath- I leave you with this piece written during my last week in St. Louis. Many blessings to you all…


The cicada’s song has returned and serenades us upon dusk. The out of nowhere monsoon thunder and lightning storms have resumed as well.We chase the fireflies around the yard and marvel at their lights. The ground smells strong after a good storm and the birds and bunnies remind us of how much life there is in the world.

I’m not scared anymore.

One year ago we landed in St. Louis, ready for an adventure and yet so sad to leave California. Also scared because I knew this move would bring so many changes and I was afraid of how those changes might affect us.

The past few years had caught up with us. My father-in-law’s stage IV cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing along with the aftermath. Ever watched a person die before your eyes? It’s a frightful thing and as you watch the horror unfold in front of you, control is slipping out of your hands and you realize this is how we all end. Life and marriage and kids and problems had turned us into shells of what we had been in our younger days, we found ourselves scrapping through, with no gusto for life- our feet heavy upon waking and hitting the hardwood floor most mornings. And then out of nowhere- poof- we were moving to St. Louis! Everything you thought about your life and what you knew about gone in that instant.

Although we didn’t know it at the time- we had just hit the re-start button for our lives. What an incredible gift. People entered our lives that we didn’t even know we needed. Experiences were had that we didn’t even know we needed to experience. But most importantly- our most valuable lesson is that we learned to laugh and find the joy in life and in each other again.

It is time for this family to go home back to California. We will pick up where we left off but from a different place. Continue our adventure we will- seeking out those people who are a bit different- the outsiders if you will- realizing how hard it is to be the person that no one talks or relates to, the person that doesn’t quite fit the narrative. Always looking for new places to discover, new journeys to travel, new experiences to have so we can continue to learn about ourselves.  We will challenge ourselves to be more empathetic, caring, loving and open. We will try our hardest to protect our sacred family time and space amidst the crazy of life and not overburden ourselves with outside commitments.

I’m not scared anymore.




Spring Break Part II- The Sea Ranch

March 2016-April 2016 046After leaving San Francisco, we drove up highway 101- through Marin County, passing Novato, Petaluma, and lots of dairy and cheese farms. Cows, horses and goats dot the landscape- we always joke around about how these cows have the life- unlike the ones off of the 5 freeway in Coalinga. The beauty of the California coastline in this area is exquisite as you drive through redwood forests and small, quaint towns like Fort Ross, Jenner by the Sea, and Bodega Bay (great place to buy and fly a kite, picnic and eat saltwater taffy).

The first time we visited the Sea Ranch was in 1999 and we have visited frequently since. First as 20-somethings, then as newlyweds and then as parents of a growing brood. Although we’ve changed, the Sea Ranch has remained exactly the same. Bones and muscles feel strong and weak at the same time- sort of like when you step into a hot tub or get a massage. The wildflowers, coastline and dried grasses all combine together to produce this scent that permeates everything- you inhale deeply and it’s in your soul, your clothes and hair. We sleep deeper and more profoundly here. Deep to our core, at the Sea Ranch, we are the best that we can be and we hold it and the memories we have created over the years close.

That first day we hiked, cooked yummy food, ate too much of the smoked like bacon monterey jack cheese and spent quality much-needed lazy time together.

Continue reading “Spring Break Part II- The Sea Ranch”

Spring Break Part 1- San Francisco

March 2016-April 2016 018This past March, we Spring Break adventured back to a place we hold very near and dear to our hearts- the Bay Area in California. Where our love affair began over 25 years ago. First meeting in Berkeley and then moving to the City and spending our 20’s working and loving life in one of my favorite cities of all time- San Francisco. Many of the people we met there during that time have all disbursed throughout the world- some we only keep in contact with through Facebook and others we’ve managed to keep close, and I think of them all, often and with fondness and nostalgia.

We lived in San Francisco in the 90’s- before it became the tech city it is today, we remember it when all we paid was $1,200 for a rent-controlled 2 bedroom apartment that was blocks from the beach. Our neighbors were surfers and single moms and young people like us, just starting out in life with their first real jobs in corporate America. South of Market was not yet developed- there had been no ballpark built… yet. You took your clients to Palamino’s and Zuni Cafe for a nice lunch. The Slanted Door and Tommy Toy’s (closed as of March 2013) were where you took them to dinner. We had views of the Bay Bridge that were completely unobstructed – no buildings blocking your view. The Presidio did not have a million people walking and biking around. You pretty much had it to yourself. The mission district was not completely gentrified. You enjoyed the graffiti, the mom and pop establishments, the Mexican party bus that took you from bar to bar and all those crazy 20-somethings that were trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their life. Sometimes, it seems like a far-away dream that might have happened to someone else. Certainly, not me- suburban mother of 3 living in St. Louis, Missouri in charge of washing dishes, laundry and personal cook, driver and housekeeper to a family of 5. How could this be the same person?

On the day we arrived into SFO, we grabbed our rent-a-car and drove quickly down to the City- taking the old route in through the backroads- through the Sunset District and along the Great Highway. It was a breathtaking day and I yearned to have had more time there to explore but alas we had to arrive at our final destination- the Sea Ranch – before dark and we still had a good few hours of driving time ahead of us. So, instead, we grabbed a quick bite to eat. We headed to where else but our old dive and favorite sushi in the city- Kitaro Sushi! This was known as our place to all our old friends from back in the day. We used to order take-out from there on a weekly basis. It was exactly as we remembered it- the sushi was fresh and pure. Kitaro roll, Godzilla roll, Dragon roll, 49er roll- oh my! The kids devoured their sushi, drank their green tea and learned to really eat with chopsticks. Baby girl asked for sushi for lunch last week and I bought some at Trader Joe’s. She ate it for lunch and I asked her when she got home how she had enjoyed it. It was okay she said with a straight face but not as good as the sushi in San Francisco. Um, yeah I replied- that sushi pretty much rocks this world. It’s hard to compare!

The old neighborhood was the same and yet it was not. The city has a strange, moneyed vibe now with burgeoning amounts of homeless populations that have created tent cities in downtown. You have both sides living so close next to each other, living completely different journeys. The young adults on Geary Avenue look younger to me now, so urban with their sagging pants and big headphones and it seems my age has caught up to me. I struggled to connect and remember being like them- with no cares in the world and only time to kill, waiting for the bus to pick you up and take you along to your next adventure.

The coastline was still beautiful and rugged and cold. Linda still owns and operates the laundromat at the corner where I used to wash my laundry, week after week. “But a house on Cabrillo Street sold for $2.3 million recently” said Linda. “On Cabrillo Street!” Of course it was a tech executive. It’s not that they just come and drive up all the prices she tells us, it’s that they do not become a part of the neighborhood- they keep to themselves. Always working, never seen outside or as part of the community – completely isolated and self-absorbed in their money and their work.

I wonder what San Francisco will be like in another 20 years. And if I will still enjoy visiting it.

You’re moving where?

A little background on how we got here.

At the beginning of 2015, the hubby stumbled upon a really great job opportunity in St. Louis, MO. He had interviewed with several companies in lots of other places throughout the country, so I responded with a well- why NOT? Thinking it would just be another company he would interview with. So here we are 6 months later and well- we are moving from California to Missouri in a matter of weeks. YIKES! What’s a Cali girl like myself to do? Pull up my big girl panties, hitch up the wagon and go. And so begins the adventure.

I’ve decided to start this blog because we have a really great big circle of wonderfully amazing family and friends who we are going to deeply miss and try to keep in contact with as best as we can and they are also very curious as to how this Cali family is going to adjust to life in the Mid-West. The blog will also be great therapy for me as I transition to a completely different way of life. And so I will try to write and post pictures of what are sure to be some very funny, emotional and reflective stories.

I will confess that I just visited St. Louis last week for the first time and boy was it a culture shock. I mean, it took me a few days just to process it all. WOW. Dorothy, we were definitely not in California anymore. One thing that really struck me was how slow everything and everyone moves there. They don’t have the rush, grit or hustle bustle of Los Angeles. It is very quiet in a way that I am not accustomed to. Upon my return home to LA, I commented to a friend- well- I just don’t know what I am going to do over there. It’s just so slow and quiet. We giggled and I said – well- perhaps I’ll take up sewing and take it back to the “Little House” days- where you spent a lot of your time inside your log cabin. And my friend said- well that’s just darn perfect- the name of your new blog- “Little House in Missouri.”

And so here we go. Welcome to Team Jackson’s adventures in Little House in Missouri!