On finally appreciating Florida (and shattering those Chicago delusions) after 25 years

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25 years ago today, my mom and I left Chicago and arrived in central Florida to begin a new life. I was two, she was 28 (a year older than I am now… yikes), and almost everyone we loved was suddenly a thousand miles away in breezy Chicago or its soft-grassed suburbs. I was distraught and ungrateful; she was newly divorced and brave enough to make this daunting leap alone. Almost every day since then, I’ve missed Illinois and hated this state. I never adjusted to the weather, I flew back “home” to spend every school break with my cousins,. . . keep going

Happy birthday, sweet girl.

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Today my cat Lucy — my first cat, my first love, the first creature who’s ever trusted and relied on me and me alone (even before I could manage the same) — turns five. I know how loopy and laughable pet birthdays can sound, but is it more meaningless an occasion than a birthday party for a one-year-old human who’s just as oblivious?  For me it’s a tradition that recalls fuzzy memories of sticking candles in cans of tuna fish for my sweet, grumpy Gumball.  I’m thankful for every one of the eighteen August 25s she spent with us, and. . . keep going