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Despite my predilection for food and favorite recipes, I suspect that what most people—as in you friends and family who might read this—really want to see is photos. Photos of our move cross country and photos of our new home. So consider this Part 1 of a two-part installment with more to come soon. I’ve posted a few favorites from the coast-to-coast drive below.

Driving through Utah

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The calendar says its September 24—a whole two days past the autumn equinox—but you would never know it by walking outside. Summer is showing up late here in the Bay area. The mercury peaked at 87 degrees in Mountain View today, with 97 predicted for tomorrow. Granted it could have been worse. D.C. topped the Weather Channel’s list of worst summers; looks like we barely dodged that bullet!

Even though I was breaking a sweat in cutoffs and a t-shirt this afternoon, and my cool weather wardrobe might stay unpacked for weeks more, some internal clock says it’s time to eat butternut squash. And soup. Better yet, paired together. So darn it, I made butternut squash soup for dinner tonight.

Prep work

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Checking out our new digs in SF

For me, California smells like eucalyptus and sagebrush. You could bottle up that smell and sell it for a fortune’s worth of nostalgia and daydreams to anyone who has ever lived here. The scent is as unmistakable as the pungent cedar of my native Washington state, or the thin burning whiff of aspen in a wood stove from my husband’s Colorado mountain home.

When we blearily maneuvered our Toyota 4Runner and U-Haul full of stuff the final push cross-country this summer over the high Sierras, through the Central Valley, and around the south side of the San Francisco Bay, that smell of eucalyptus is what got us to our new front door.

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