Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It's amazing how one place can become such a part of you. Ten years ago, I never would have imagined that my life would have taken me through Missouri and then to Little Rock. But here I am, at 26, filled with a bittersweet happiness that I discovered this place and had the chance to spend a few precious years here. In such a short time, I developed both a sense of place that I've never experienced anywhere else, as well as incredibly strong, close, undoubtedly lifelong friendships.

Given that I didn't start this blog until a few years after moving to Little Rock, I still have many stories to share. So, stop by once in a while; I plan to continue to post.

As I embark on the next stage, I am now more certain than ever of this: Our country is a diverse, fascinating and beautiful place. And you can't have a genuine appreciation of that until you've tasted raccoon in a high school gym way off the beaten path, attended Good Friday services in a mega-church, eaten fried pickles at the state fair, and been called "baby" by your boss - the Governor.

Come visit my new blog on life in D.C. at

Monday, September 6, 2010

Travelogue: LR to DC

Guest blogger and older brother Justin details our two-day trip back to Washington. His words -- and my photos and a few notes in italics:

Sam and I arrived in DC yesterday after a mostly pleasant and incident-free journey.
Clyde, the traveling bichon

We got a late start on Friday due to some last-minute compulsive housecleaning, and only made it to Jackson, Tennessee, to spend the first night. We were so tired that we went right to bed. Saturday, we drove on to Nashville, which was a nice place to take a break. We ended up downtown and turned into tourists, so it was probably more of an indulgence than we should have allowed.
However, Jack's BBQ was well worth standing in line for a half hour.
Later that day, we passed through Knoxville as the game was starting, and the place was a circus. (Probably about the same as Fayetteville.)

An observation about I-40: Based upon a non-scientific tally of billboards, the Cracker Barrels are outnumbered only by the adult book stores, theaters, "adult superstores" and other such emporiums. ("Jesus Saves," etc. comes in a distant third.)

We made it to Bristol, Virginia, in time for a late sushi dinner at Osaka, one of the "Top 100 Asian Restaurants in America" (nominated). It was pretty good; try the Vietnamese spring roll with tuna, salmon, avocado and fresh mango, served cold in a rice flour wrapper.

We spent the night at a Rodeway Inn in Roanoke. (We do not recommend this establishment. Shell out the extra 20 bucks to upgrade to Econo Lodge so you won't be afraid to walk around barefoot.)

The last leg of the trip was a beautiful drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains, taking us to Northern Virginia. As we arrived in DC on Sunday afternoon, Sam made me take her through Georgetown for old time's sake.
Clyde kept quiet and behaved himself throughout the trip. He was ignoring his dog food though, so we saved him a little BBQ on Saturday and some scrambled eggs from breakfast on Sunday. The funniest part was when he climbed way up on top of the bags we had stacked on one side of the back seat so that he could get a better view of the road.
Once we got home, Clyde met the newest member of the family, our parents' seven-week old boxer puppy, Ellie Mae.

Neither was quite sure what to think of the other.
But in the end, everyone just really needed a nap.
It was a long and tiring trip home, and a physically and emotionally draining past couple of weeks for all involved, including my dearest Little Rock friends whom I already miss tremendously. After a couple days to process, I'll post some additional thoughts in life in Little Rock and the path ahead.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bye, Bye Little Rock

Three and a half years and two jobs after moving to Little Rock, the moving truck has departed, the car is packed, and (hopefully) the house will be rented soon. I don't know how to begin to summarize my eye-opening, life-changing time in this wonderful hidden gem of the South, so I'll leave you with an e-mail a colleague at the Governor's Office sent me on November 17, 2009, after I attended my first University of Arkansas Razorback football game in Fayetteville:

First, I'd like to say how excited I am that Samantha had such a great first trip to Fayetteville. We owe her and the traveling party a big thank you for spending their Saturday night to ensure the Razorbacks reached Bowl eligibility with their victory over the pipsqueaks from Troy.

I've bumped into her a few times since her trek down 540 ... she cannot stop calling the hogs and singing the fight song. It's been great!

Sam, we expect to see you bright and early Saturday morning taking part in another Arkansas football tradition: tailgating at War Memorial. Bring your bacon and eggs -- I've told Petrino to expect you.

Wooo pig!!!

And, in no particular order, some of the things I'll miss about Arkansas:

Pinnacle Mountain
The seemingly ubiquitous ability among Southern men to pull out a guitar and croon me a tune - or 10
Eureka Springs
Running into people I know everywhere I go
The Big Dam Bridge - one of Clyde's favorites
Bossa Nova's cheese rolls. Amazing.
Cotija's tomatillo salsa
How waiters ask you if you want separate checks
The complete absence of traffic from any one point in Little Rock to another, and the proximity of the airport
Walking into work every morning in a beautiful State Capitol where every click of the heels is a satisfying tap tap tap on marble
Men opening doors for me and doing other Southern gentlemanly kind of things
Dillards' shoe department
Sushi Cafe
Southern hospitality
The large and wonderful Little Rock family I'll miss dearly and expect to come visit me often!