Skip to content

Tour du Friends

August 23, 2019

On and on and on and on

Live in Person
In 2006, I went to the second BlogHer conference in San Jose. 300 women and a couple men, all bloggers. When we got there, many of us felt like we knew one another. When we left, lifetime friendships had been formed.

When I left Joliet, I headed for Springfield, Illinois, to see one of those people, Kelly Wickham Hurst, whose blog Mocha Momma features education, race, and her cute family in equal measure. Our afternoon was about the same – we talked about education and race and our lives, then bobbed around in her granddaughter’s other grandmother’s backyard pool for a few hours. There’s nothing more relaxing than propping yourself across a buoyant pool toy and chatting with a cute baby on a sunny summer afternon.

In addition to being a friend, Kelly has been my go-to resource for asking Stupid White People questions, for which she seems to have endless patience. I thank her over and over, because I want to be a better person, and her clear-eyed, sharp-witted honesty has taken me down mental paths I would have never thought to travel on my own.

After a long journey through some very big cornfields, I arrived on the second stop of my friend tour to see Casey Coombs. I didn’t meet her until BlogHer 2007, but the moment I bumped into this tiny packet of glowing energy in a Chicago bar, I knew she was someone special. She was bouncy and cheerful and cute, but she had a depth that was revealed when she read a devastating piece about her pregnancy and hyperemesis gravis (morning sickness times 100) at the first BlogHer Voices of the Year event (where I also read, and Kelly did too, and Jenny the Bloggess and…you shoulda been there).

After she made me dinner, I went with her and her family to a safety fair, where small-town Hoosiers got to talk to policemen and firefighters and mental health workers and child safety folks while munching on hot dogs and bumping into one another. Her husband is running for judge, so did some very subtle campaigning (more like “Hi Bob!” than “I hope I have your vote”).

Next stop, Ohio, to see Christina McEnemy, one of the OG bloggers from San Jose. She took me out for good pizza (FINALLY) and great ice cream (Jeni’s! Columbus is their home). She showed me a bit of Columbus, which was way more happening than I had anticipated. It’sa regular Portland on the Plains.

Christina is a powerful intellect and a warrior mom, as well as one of my secret band of Pokemon Go players.

Casey and Christina are both raising two girls and I’m so happy to see badass women rearing badass women.



We also visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park

I stayed outside of Cleveland in Streetsboro because there’s pretty much nowhere to park an RV within 25 miles of Cleveland. My very kind friend Kevin Charnas, who used to be local in Carpinteria until he decided to move back closer to his folks, drove all the way out to get me. Twice. That is a friend.


Kevin is one of the funniest people I know, which is saying a lot. He’s also handsome and really cares about people, running a program for people facing heart surgery at medical center. He gets them to write poetry and go on retreats and walk labyrinths.


I got to go to his great nephew’s first birthday party. Adorable. He and I also spent an evening at the delicious Cleveland Museum of Art, which has everything from an armor room to Tiffany glass to Mark Rothkos. God bless the rich folk who endowed it (admission is free!).

Franklin PA
I caught up with Michael again in Franklin for a stone-skipping competition. Like bloggers, it is another small tight-knit community, and they have taken me in as one of their own.

Somewhere in NY
And now I’m no to somewhere in eastern NY to see my old housemate and friend, Robina Bobina. It has been over a decade since I saw her, but I’m sure it will be like old times. And she has dogs and cats, and you KNOW how I feel about that.

So to summarize: driving around is fun. Driving around and seeing people you like is like eating Jeni’s ice cream on a hot summer night – perfect.

PS I always forget to take pics of my friends! I’m having so much fun I forget. My apologies.


The Rock in River Festival, Franklin, PA, founded by Michael’s friend Russ Byars


The winning number of skips was 44, on the other side of the board. Mike is 5th from bottom. “Airtight Alibi” is his nickname. 

  1. Carla Lee permalink
    August 24, 2019 01:05

    Columbus!!! I really think it is a great place to visit. There is diversity, food, and like you said great pizza!!! Glad you had a great time. Sounds awesome!

  2. August 24, 2019 20:23

    OOOOOH! Jeni’s! I’m in love with the Darkest Chocolate AND the Roasted PB with chocolate flecks AND the Peach biscuits and Jam. Bless the high-end stores here in Tucson that carry them…what flavor(s) did ja get?

    • August 26, 2019 12:27

      Brown Butter Almond, Strawberry Buttermilk, and the best – Atlantic Beach Pie, which is tart and citrusy and a little salty.

  3. September 7, 2019 06:35

    If your travels take you back through Kansas City, I’d love to see you!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: