The kids and I made our first visit back to California since our move to Maine 7.5 years ago. We were joined by Sal, O’da and Bri in Carpenteria, south of Santa Barbara. The kids’ home state allowed us to re-live so many fond memories: winter sunshine, Mexican food on every street corner, mountains, vibrant February community gardens and farmers markets, loaded citrus trees, tart dried apricots, friendly strangers, Amtrak rides, outdoor winter swimming, seals and pelicans. All of this combined with time with our Quirk family made the week pretty perfect. If only Tim and Anna, who had to stay home for work, had been there!