May 24 12

The last time we went on a real vacation, we were celebrating a tenth anniversary and a 30th birthday. We went to St. Lucia, where I proceeded to lie on my back with a drink in hand for an entire week. I’m telling you. I did not move a muscle, unless it was to cool off in the pool or to exercise my arm to shove nachos into my gob or to reapply a 45th coat of my children’s SPF 100 sunscreen (I’m a burner, you know).


So, when I was surprised with a fourteen anniversary and 34th birthday trip to California, I just assumed that I would be vacationing the same slothlike way—pool, nachos. Oh no. This was not that trip.

40 beer tastings.

1 horseback riding adventure through a vineyard and a ranch with a real live cowboy who even wore Wrangler jeans.

1 six mile bike ride down the Santa Barbara beach, whereupon I managed to flash every single person we passed. You guys, biking in a sundress looks way better in magazines, when it’s fake. There’s really very little that’s ladylike about this.

1 art museum.

1 cookies and cream birthday cupcake the size of my face.

2 farmer’s markets.

2 Mexican restaurants.

2 adorable main streets of two adorable towns.

1 coffee shop that was also a post office.

Every morning spent up at 5am (hello, not adjusting to PST!) watching all the crap that Bravo likes to run at ungodly hours of the day. (Also, why don’t we have Bravo in Canada??)

Spending so much time—including my birthday—with some of my most favorite people on earth. And seeing most of their adorable kids.

Too many hours looking at houses that are for sale.

Yes. YES, it’s true.


We were trying to figure out the name for the syndrome I occasionally show symptoms of. You may suffer from this as well. You travel to someplace and you immediately fall in love with it and you don’t want to leave and you can see yourself putting down roots and hanging around for a while. You can immediately see where your children will go to school, what you will do on weekends; you can see the rest of your days plotted out in this spot. At first we thought it was called Florence Syndrome, but after consulting my pal google, it seems that there is a Florence Syndrome (and a Paris one! and a Jerusalem one!) but they involve hallucinations and fainting and dizziness on account of all the culture.

That’s not exactly what happens to me, but there may be a little bit of dizziness involved.

I had it after visiting PEI. BAD. It happens every time I visit New York City or Atlanta. It happened when I went to visit my nieces in Nashville. And, you guys, I mean, it even happened to me after spending a month last summer in Milwaukee. I could see our family living in an old house near Lake Michigan and having Friday night dinners with my mom, Packer Sundays, and my kids picking up thick midwestern accents.

I doubt there’s a Milwaukee syndrome, unless it’s hallucinations from too much beer and cheese.

And that’s why it’s now officially called the ALIMARTELL SYNDROME.

So, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, and Los Angeles?

FORGET IT. I mean, come on. How can you not fall in love with this piece of paradise?

I had to be forced to get on that plane.

I already miss it.

  1. I’m exhausted reading about your vacation and yet it sounds perfect.
    Also I have the same symptoms, but I never knew it was called the ALIMARTELL syndrome. No one will understand. I got it bad in Pemberton, BC last summer and I get it every time we go to France. I’ll be having the same syndrome this summer when we go back.

    Comment by Kat on May 24, 2012
  2. Santa Barbara is MY FAVORITE. I went to college there and we go up there every time we have a spare weekend! LOVE.

    Comment by Rebecca (Bearca) on May 24, 2012
  3. I’m so happy you had a good time. If anyone is deserving of a great vacation hanging out with the people she loves, it’s you.

    I mean, when it’s not me.

    Comment by Sharon on May 24, 2012
  4. No, you need to move. We all voted and agreed.

    Comment by heather... on May 24, 2012

    Comment by ali on May 24, 2012
  6. I guess I have Ali Martell syndrome too! My hubs brings me back down to earth with the whole “you’d still have to clean this house too.” Buzz kill.

    Comment by Kristen @ The Chronicles of Dutch on May 24, 2012
  7. More pics!

    Comment by Jen on May 24, 2012
  8. Yeah. So. Here’s the thing. I came home to a deader than dead iMac. We are taking it in…but until then, I can’t upload my pics. I am devastated.

    Comment by ali on May 24, 2012
  9. Booooo. Well, I guess, welcome back?

    Comment by Jen on May 24, 2012
  10. My van battery was dead too…so, there’s a theme here. 🙂

    Comment by ali on May 24, 2012
  11. What a lovely vacation/birthday/anniversary. I feel the same way whenever I am at the beach. I don’t want to leave and want to live there year round, even if it is cold on the Delaware shore in the winter. Sadly my wife always says no.

    Comment by Corey Feldman on May 24, 2012
  12. It misses you, too. Come back soon. Forever. xoxo

    Comment by Meghan on May 24, 2012
  13. You didn’t even see the best in SoCal: San Diego (although I do love Santa Barbara as well).

    Comment by kel on May 24, 2012
  14. I have been to San Diego. It’s lovely too…even if it’s German for a whale’s vagina.



    Comment by ali on May 24, 2012
  15. I totally suffer from this. I can imagine living in a hundred places, and it’s a crying shame I can’t manage to do it all at once. Who invented this staying in one place business???

    We visited BC a year after we were married, travelled around to a few cities. In May. We had a house in Kelowna by October 15th. In the last year I have looked at real estate in at least ten cities in Canada, New York State, areas near Boston, France and Palm Springs. ; )

    I pretty much don’t ever close the mls site. And my favourites look like I’m losing my goddamn mind.

    Currently pondering my next move…totally busted.

    Comment by Jen @littlemissmocha on May 24, 2012
  16. Santa Barbara is lovely.

    I too suffer from AliMartell Syndrome, big time.

    Comment by Vesta Vayne on May 25, 2012
  17. This is my first time go to see at here and i am in fact happy to read I’m Back. And I’m Already Looking At Southern California Real Estate. | Cheaper Than Therapyeverthing at one place.

    Comment by toms shoes on June 21, 2013

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