Monday, October 17, 2016


So, back in Mauritius, Fred and I rented a home that was once a lighthouse. My office is at the top and I can see the ocean on all sides. It's connected to nature- to the tides, the smell of the ocean- everything we loved about the Hermosa House. 

It's funky and I can't wait to join him there. 

Right now I'm here overseeing the construction of the new digs and finishing up my Rachel Carson picture book biography which I think comes out in Fall of 2017- or it may be Spring of 2018. There was an announcement about it from my publisher in Publishers Weekly a little bit ago that had the date. I am set up in my parents' kitchen with my monitors and digital tablet and Fred is in Mauritius with doing what he does so well- using his optimism for a better tomorrow in Africa. Making a difference. 

His mornings are spent paddle boarding on clear turquoise water with sea turtles and color fishes. And I am here walking on white sand beached collecting treasure from the ocean and paddle boarding through mangroves (well, we did that together actually) ...

Sarasota is the perfect compliment to Mauritius- it's full or arts, culture, great food and an endless variety of enrichment activities like great jazz music. 

So now we go forward with Sarasota as our American homeless and Mauritius. What a life! I would have never predicted- but, then again, nothing in my life have I predicted- nothing- except being an artist. 

I am feeling very fortunate indeed. We live in two white sand beach areas with the most amazing birds and clouds and wherever we are together, it's just like when we first stepped into the Hermosa house and made it our own. 

April...A Lot Has Happened Since.

In the last three years, there has been very little time for reflection- we have always been on the move. Even before the three years, just before we made the decision for us to start a new company on the podunk island I had never heard of before- Mauritius, we had been in constant flux- constantly adjusting. 

When we bought the Hermosa House we were in a very different place in our lives. We thought that we would retire there- even though at the time we bought it we were both in our early 40's . I was 41 and actually, Fred was still in his late 30's.  When we walked into the house for the first time it was after having gone house hunting up in Washington State. We had both caught some awful respiratory thing and had gotten back to SLO and climbed into my old 92 Nissan Sentra with the dent in the door and saw an open house sign on the way back to our apartment. The realator no doubt looked to the car and us and thought that there was no way these two could afford this house here by the sea. We walked in and instantly loved it and then we put in an offer. 

 We had so much fun remodeling it. People said it would ruin our relationship - that remodeling was one of the most stressful things a couple could do. Years later I heard the story of just such a case down the street where a twenty-some year marriage went kaput over a remodel. We made that faux-cape cod bungalow into something pretty amazing and we loved it. We traced out names into the concrete on the garden wall after we built it. 

After we moved to MRU, I would fly back four times a year for my work, to see friends and to connect with something familiar. Mauritius had not been so fun for me. A male dominated Hindu culture with nerve shattering driving conditions, an over-spraying of pesticides (ah yes, did I mention my next book is about Rachel Carson?) and a disconnect from nature facilitated by the compounds that ex-pats live surrounded by walls- both to keep things out and in. My trips were about a month or longer in duration and would time  with Tristam's school needs and once a year, with the SCBWI conference in LA to meet with the tribe. This last year it became clear that we were not going to return to Hermosa for another 10 years or so. I hadn't realized it, but being there was starting to depress me. On the one hand, I loved it- the sound of the waves at night from our bedroom , the smell of the ocean air , the comfort of being in a place that is yours and familiar to you. But it was becoming a ghost of an idea that had been laid out as a couple and here I was alone. 

So...we sold it. Our wonderful realtor put up the sign and I remember the pang in my heart and our amazing neighbors and dear friends helped us to keep the place up while it was on the market- and it sold quickly. And we are building a place in Sarasota, Florida- on the other side of the county, but still on the west coast of that state just down the street from my parents. 

I packed up the Hermosa house and then movers (Meathead Movers- would not recommend FYI) came and put our stuff into a box. It waits somewhere in California for word to have it shipped out to Florida.