family vacation

This is sort of a random collection of photos, but I have an explanation that seems tedious to explain. The short version is that I currently don’t have a working cord for my phone – it was severed in transit to the beach. I need to replace my old phone, and I never seem to get around to figuring out what to buy next. And so I’ve stalled on buying new parts for an old phone. I charge it in my car, and stay off it to preserve the battery. It’s a quirky thing, but so am I. So while I waffle on decisions that cost a lot of money, I have vacation photos on my phone that are just sitting there. I realize there are alternative ways to access them – but again, tedious and lame, I’ll own in.

So here is the random collection of photos from my nice camera. I didn’t use it a whole lot during the week, but I like the photos that are on it.

My parents were gracious enough to invite our family and my sister’s family to join them this year. We’ve done this a few other times, and it’s always a lot of fun. There’s a different dynamic than when just the four of us go, but the bigger group trips are both fun and relaxing. In fact, this might have been one of the most relaxing vacations we’ve had in awhile.

We kept everything really simple. Planned meals and grocery runs ahead of time, and limited the number of times we ate out. We’ve discovered that we really like to maximize our outdoor time, and getting cleaned up for dinner cuts into that quite a bit. My sister’s family spends a lot of time at the pool each summer, and my parents hit the beach several times a year. But these seven days are what we’ve got, and we try to get the most out of them.

I kept up my ritual of waking just before sunrise and going for a run each morning. With the shift to Eastern Standard Time, that means I’m waking up at what feels like 4:45am each morning. But it’s worth it. I just know that by nine each night I’m ready for bed! I set a goal to run the equivalent of a full marathon over the course of the week and I broke that. I averaged a 4.5 mile loop each day for six days, and walked the same loop on the last morning with M. I took at least two to three other beach walks a day, and would have taken up residence on the paddleboard if I could have. It was excellent paddleboarding weather – smooth seas and not a lot of chop. It was a pretty active week, but I loved it. It was just what we all needed.

We managed to remain sunburn-free by tearing through an extraordinary amount of SPF 50 each day. There was some pool swimming and splashing, but mostly a whole lot of beach time. M and I had a porch off our bedroom that faced the ocean. We sat out there often, and could easily see where the rest of the family was. We could hear voices below or across the yard, or see cousins walking down or back across the walkway over the dunes. I loved having the shutters open – even when we walked into the condo at the opposite end, we could see the ocean at the other end of the hallway. I miss that view. Until next time…

still here

These garden photos are old, and so am I. Please forgive my silence here. I’m still alive. Thanks for that email asking me about that. I made myself busy in other things while the girls were gone for a few weeks this summer, and once they returned we settled back into a routine of sorts, one that didn’t involve sitting in front of a computer in the evenings.

I also had a brief encounter with a drunk driver a couple of weeks ago. I was at a complete stop at a light, and he plowed into my car from behind, pushing me forward to the car in front of me. I’m feeling quite lucky that he wasn’t going any faster, and grateful that my car absorbed the bump quite well, considering it is old and not worth a lot, and any substantial damage would have totaled it for sure. I’m regretting the decision I made, while sitting at the light, to lean over to the passenger’s seat and take my library books out of my bag so that I would remember to drop them off in the return box on the way home. So I was turned sideways and in an awkward position that really rang my bell. I get that phrase now – the ringing in my ears started immediately, and was completely distracting and disconcerting. It took me a bit to get it back together, but I (mostly) took it easy for the next week and tried to practice good post-concussion resting skills.

It was a Friday afternoon when it happened, and I was rushing out of the office to get home. My parents had arrived, my in-laws had brought the girls home again after another week away, and my sister’s family was coming in as well. We had a whole weekend of celebrating planned for F’s 9th birthday, and I was just a few minutes, and one library book drop-off, away from starting the fun. After a thorough examination, I was released to go home and rest, but we had a party to throw. I delegated some, but in my typical style, I just kept going. So now I’m pretty tired and trying to be reasonable about my own expectations and to-do lists.

What else is new? My children are getting so old. I did some deep cleaning while they were away, and spent a lot of time in their quiet, empty rooms. E will be a sophomore this fall. I understand how time is moving now, and I’m thinking of those things that I still want to do with her at home, things to tell her, stuff she still has to learn. It’s a lot. F will be in fourth grade, and her friends’ parents bring up middle school but I’m just not ready to go there yet in my head. It’s fast. I’m not saying anything new, just saying it. It’s fast.

I wasn’t supposed to exercise or lift things for at least a week, so I waited 6 days until I caved and needed to move and stretch. I’m terribly impatient with myself and stillness. That’s not entirely accurate – I find stillness in movement, so that’s really what I was seeking. Stillness in my brain, which is what I needed to heal anyway. At least that’s what I tell myself.

On my first run after the accident I really slowed myself waaaaay down, but when I was done I looked at my tracker and I had run one of my fastest times this year. My perspective is skewed – maybe I don’t know what slow is. Maybe my perception of it also got knocked silly. The days feel slower because the light lasts longer, but I’m filling up the spaces with the same efficiency that I’ve always brought. I never learn.

I have a stack of magazines that I’m determined to get through and recycle. They’ve accumulated to the point that I can’t imagine actually reading through them all, but I’m going to try. I think I’ve successfully cancelled the subscriptions, but they will still arrive until the end of the subscription year. I started with a Travel + Leisure, and it’s left me feeling like there is so much of this world that I will never ever see. Am I okay with that? I walk the same paths over and over again, and what am I missing in that ritual?

Maybe nothing. Maybe it’s enough to read about these places, even if I never see them in person. I run and think about a trip I’d like to take with E and M before she leaves for college. Where would we go? What would we squeeze into a trip like that? Would it feel like the end? Like our last opportunity? Or would she become the inviter – come join me here? and here? and here?

I have so much on my mind. Nothing new. I’m still here. Still me. Barely bruised.

special request

I have so many photos to share here, but first, a request.

The girls were with me recently in the garden, and they begged me to take their picture in the old children’s garden. If you are familiar with our botanical garden, there’s a really large children’s garden – but it wasn’t there when E was little. In fact, she didn’t know about it for several years after it was built. (I was initially against a play area in the garden because I just wanted the garden to be the place to explore. I’m over it now, but still we rarely go.) Anyway, there was a tiny children’s garden that used to have an outdoor train, and it still has a mini-hedge maze with a peacock fountain in the middle. The girls insisted that I take their photos, and THEN I was instructed to look up old photos of little E and F in the fountain.

So I did.

E, October 2004

F, October 2010