what i noticed for nora: night.

Even though, according to the calendar, the rainy summer season is over, those of us in south Florida are still being held down by some seriously oppressive weather. The rain has been persistent and unforgiving, leaving many areas around saturated at best and flooded out at worst. And the heat hasn’t relented much either, turning our home into an unbearable sauna. Because of this, my heart aches for the cooler air of Tallahassee, the orange in the leaves, the warm coffees… while my spirit stands by, sweating bullets.

And then when I just can’t take sweating through another shirt a really old guy in a Bentley with a Pennsylvania license plate tries to run my baby and me over in the Whole Foods parking lot and I just have to laugh so I don’t scream.

Sometimes (like right now, for example) Dan will take Dax and let me go out and about on my own, with my lap top and some books and my journal, to let me have some time to myself to explore this new-to-us town without corralling a tiny, adorable little human who loves to climb all over me and sign, MILK PLEASE MILK PLEASE PLEASE MILK MILK PLEASE.

A few weeks ago, during one of my little outings, I went to the nearest coffee shop after dinner. While I waited in line for my latte, I looked around the room to spot a suitable place to set up shop. Most of the best places inside were taken, but all of the outdoor tables were open. I cringed at the thought of sitting outside but decided to bite the bullet for the sake of alone-ness.

Oh how glad I was to do so!



Sitting out in the open, I was pleased to find that when the sun goes to bed, it takes with it most of the stifling heat and humidity of the day to make room for silent heat lightning, cooler temperatures, and a soft breeze.

The thing about where I live is that once you’ve noticed a few key things — sunsets, beaches, palm trees — there really isn’t much else. It’s like God just CTRL C CTRL V’d all down this coast. That isn’t a bad thing, by any means. I mean how much better can life get? It just makes writing a column like this a bit more challenging.

Either way, something about nightfall transforms this place. It’s like when the sun sets, it hits a giant reset button. The hot, sticky, wet day we’ve suffered through is over and done with and we can finally exhale. With the drop in temperature, evaporation of moisture, and a duller hum, everything seems a bit more human. A little more what I’m used to.

what i noticed for nora: a mystery.

Dan and I have (finally) resumed our running routine. Three days a week, when Dax first stirs, we go get him, I nurse him while Dan changes into running clothes, then while I change Dan gets Dax ready, then we head out the door with the jogging stroller.

We’ve orchestrated this little routine because it leaves little room for complaining or excuse-making. If Dax is awake, so are we, so we might as well run.

At the end of our run yesterday, as we were coming back into our apartment complex, we ran past a few trees that we see everyday but I never really “noticed” until then. I made Dan stop.

“Give me my phone,” I said breathlessly.


“Because I have to [GASP] notice something for [GASP] Nora.”

Dan handed me my phone and I snapped a picture of these little beauties.


In the picture, they look like oranges. But they’re not. Look at the size of the leaves for reference, and you’ll see that these tiny, orange fruits are no bigger than sweet peas. But they’re orange. And on a tree.

And I have no idea what they are

Since I haven’t lived here a full month year yet, I have never seen these things go through all the seasons. (By the way, in Naples, there are a grand total of TWO seasons: snowbird season — or just “season” — and off season.) It will be exciting to see them bloom and grow and ripen over the next few months to find out exactly what they are.

These little orange bulbs remind me of my own “season” of life. Like these tiny fruits, it is a mystery to me, currently in the very early stages of blossoming. I don’t know what it will turn out to be like once it’s ripe, or how long it will take to get there. All I know is that at this moment it is new and fresh and beautiful and intriguing and I’m eagerly awaiting the impending harvest.


what i noticed for nora: banyan trees.


If you’re coming to visit us on a weekend, I’m going to take you to the Farmer’s Market on Third Street South on Saturday. (But you’ll have to get up early with us because it’s from 7:30 to 11:30 in the morning.) Not only are there tons of stands with organic produce/meat, there are also homemade jewelry stands, arts and crafts, and even a woman who sells homemade organic dog and cat treats!

Oh and don’t eat breakfast because we’re going to get s’mores beignets from the sweet Dutch man in his food truck. (I may be turning into an organic/clean food Nazi but I can’t refuse fried dough just yet.)

To get to the market, we have to drive down Broad Street, which is lined with these GORGEOUS banyan trees with twisty roots and sturdy trunks and limbs that stretch for days.

According to some random Welcome to Naples! signs that are posted all around the city (still not entirely sure where the city limits are for this reason) Naples is nicknamed Tree City, USA. It’s quite fitting, as you can’t turn your head without laying eyes on at least 100 palm trees.

But these trees are special to me. The first time I saw them I literally gasped at their beauty.

I’m not entirely sure my picture does them justice but just trust me on this one.

introducing: what i noticed for nora.

Moving to a new city is exciting, but the emotions of what you leave behind can definitely cloud your view of your new home. I’ve lived in Naples for fourteen days now, and I’ve absolutely been blinded to the beauty around me by the overwhelming sadness of leaving Tallahassee behind.

A few days ago, I was able to catch up with my good friend Nora on the phone. It was so nice to hear her voice and, for those precious minutes, Tallahassee didn’t seem so far away.

Nora, a Detroit native currently living in Tallahassee but who has lived in countless other places around the globe, is no stranger to this phenomenon and, in order to replace sad feelings with grateful ones, suggested I try to notice — like really notice — at least one beautiful thing a week about my new home and to write about it. I thought that was a good idea.

This week’s WHAT I NOTICED FOR NORA , or WINFN, (if you say it fast, WIN-FIN!) is a bit cheat-y because I actually noticed it before I talked to her. And how could you not?

Along the southwest coast of Florida, the sunsets are to die for. The few I’ve had the pleasure of ogling have left me breathless and thankful.




[Full disclosure: I did take these pictures with Instagram but no filter! Swearsies! The sunsets here are just THAT pretty. For more sunset pictures (and a thousand pictures of my kid) you should follow me.]

I think this practice is good for anyone. Not just those of us who just moved to a new town and are desperately trying to figure out where/what/how/when/why everything is. Even if you’ve lived in your town for a while, try this. Try to discover something beautiful — even if it’s something small — about where you live and take a picture of it. This will force you to really notice it for all that it is. Creation. Splendor.

A blessing.