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This weekend, we typically head to the Outer Banks for vacation, but for the first time in 14 years, we are not. Cory is off to college orientation next Friday, and thus it did not make sense to drive eight hours each way for what would have been a five-night trip. Instead, for the first time, we are doing a staycation. This is the time of year when the pool and flowers here at the house are lovely --- and always tough to leave --- thus I will be relaxing and reading in a new location.

I came home Wednesday night after a business dinner to find my son and his two close friends playing Rock Band in the basement. I wish I could have captured this moment on video, but I know they would have shied from the camera and the moment would have been spoiled. Thus this becomes one of those memories I will run like film in my head. These three have been friends for a decade, and starting Saturday when Son 2A leaves for Miami, they will be headed to college. It’s the end of an era around here. It was too funny watching them so intent on playing as a trio banging on the drums, strumming away on the guitar and singing. They were so unself-conscious about this, clearly comfortable with each other, switching roles, teasing but also encouraging each other, keeping score, but the score not really mattering. This was a metaphor for their friendship: supportive with strong doses of good humor and lots of good-natured ribbing.

Well, this Jersey Girl is in the Hamptons for the weekend. For those not from the NY metro area, the Hamptons are the stretch of beaches east of New York City where the New Yorkers head to on weekends to play. Tom and the boys have been out here a lot through the years, but I have not been “out East” since Cory was a baby. We’re visiting our dear friend Moe, who the boys fondly call “Uncle Moe.” This will be our first trip out since Moe’s lovely wife, Shirley, passed away last fall. On the past trips that I ventured on, Tom would race his BMW at Bridgehampton Race Track (sold a while back, and I think it is now a golf course and homes), or he and the boys would sail with Moe. Shirley and I shopped, read and chatted. We always stopped by The Barefoot Contessa to pick up dips and other great specialty items from Ina Garten’s store that was open out there. Every time I watch “The Barefoot Contessa” on Food Network or read one of her cookbooks, I remember those fun adventures.

This weekend, we are hosting a neighborhood barbecue. We live on a block where people are friendly, but everyone has their own lives. I am tired of meeting over generators during storms or having short conversations while folks walk by. Two things inspired this. First, Kate, who is one of our fabulous interns this summer, lives two doors away, but I had never met her or her parents, though they probably have lived here 10 years. Actually, I also had never seen them! Then new neighbors moved in next door, and as I rang their doorbell to deliver “welcome brownies,” I decided I wanted to give them an accelerated introduction to the neighborhood.