“Shore” Do Miss Vacation

Let’s take a break from ranting and write about something more feel-good: our beach trip!

We had a great time. The weather was mostly good, and we spent a few hours every day on the beach. We never made it to the aquarium, but I don’t think Daniel minded. We ate great food; I think I had shrimp, scallops and tuna almost every day!  I was able to read 4 awful books from my book sale stash. They were Dan Brown wannabes specializing in conspiracy theories and though ludicrous, fun to read. I definitely taxed no brain cells reading them.  Never fear – I was able to visit the magical book store on the island (by myself!) and buy 3 new books for me and 1 for Daniel.  I call the book store magical because it has the most eclectic collection, and I am always able to find something unique.  The town house we rented was perfect as well with enough room for Daniel’s toys downstairs and two huge bedrooms and an amazing view upstairs.

It was the best beach trip our little family has had.  At 4, Daniel still requires constant vigilance on the beach, but he didn’t try to run off and was able to entertain himself playing with sand for short periods of time. Jimmy and I were actually able to sit at the same time and watch him play before he demanded to go to the ocean.   Daniel loves the water and he’s quite the water baby. We brought back an impressive collection of sea shells, and Daniel even found a few star fish 😉

The three of us returned home rested, yet exhausted (vacationing is hard work!).

We’re firmly back in the real world of work and day care, and thinking about our vacation fills us with longing and a bad case of the vacation blues. Seven days in which we shut out the world and did whatever we wanted to do. How we needed that.

So, we decided that going to the beach once this year is not enough. Last weekend we booked the townhouse for the week of my birthday in September. I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday.


Beach attitude

Beach attitude



Beach selfie



Eating at Amos Mosquito’s



View from our enclosed lower patio







View from our upper deck



Daniel finds a star fish





I’ll stomp your sand castle!

Gone Fishing

Daniel's favorite.

Not really. It might not surprise you that I don’t fish.  I have fished. I grew up with a pond in my back yard and can dig for worms and bait hooks with the best of them. And yes, it is fun when a fish takes the bait and you reel it in. Cleaning and eating what I’ve caught? No thank you. I’m weird about fish in that I prefer someone else to cook it for me. Just one more way I differ from my family.

I digress.

Jimmy, Daniel and I are leaving for the beach in a few hours.  Seven glorious days at the beach.  This year we’ve rented a beach house.  That sounds very grand. In actuality, it’s a townhouse, but it’s an end unit and ocean front (my one requirement). When we began to plan our annual beach trip, we talked about finding a three-bedroom condo or a beach house.  Jimmy wanted to find a house if we could because he thought we needed more space.  A third bedroom in a condo would just get us another bedroom but not really more space.  Last year’s condo was good, but it did start to feel a tad claustrophobic in the living area. 

Surprisingly, there are affordable options for ocean front beach houses for one family.  We’ll see how it goes. Since it’s a townhouse, it’s two levels, and the beach views are on the second floor where the bedrooms are.  I wonder if I will miss seeing the beach from the living room.  On the other hand, it will be nice to be in a real house with real appliances and not Lilliputian ones. And we’re only steps from the sand and water!!

There are new bathing suits. New sand toys. New books.  We are ready. Most importantly, we are mentally ready.  We need this vacation.  Jimmy has been working so hard at work. I don’t think a week has gone by that he hasn’t had to work late (thankfully from home) at least one night. Daniel has been working hard at daycare, and I know he’s ready for a break.  As for me, work continues to be interesting.  Some days are good; others make me want to beat my head against the wall. Sometimes it feels like death by a thousand well-meaning cuts.  The last two years, our beach trip has happened after the summer all-staff meeting at work. I know I’m ready for vacation when I leave that meeting muttering, “F this. F all this.”

And then there are the dreams.  In the last month, I have started having vivid dreams about work. And violence.  In these dreams, something bad always happens.  People are hurt. People are shot.  I neither perpetrate the violence nor am a victim and as dreams go, it’s never exactly the people you work with, but the theme is the same: bad stuff happens at work. Gee, I wonder what that means.  Stress? Anxiety? Uncertainty? Psychologically unsafe?  All of those things, but for now, I’m concluding it means that I am very ready for vacation.

I’ve posted before about the beach restores me.  I’m looking forward to that and very much need it.  I can’t wait to build sand castles for Daniel to smash. To wiggle our toes in the sand. For the three of us to swim in the ocean and pool. To go to the aquarium and see what’s new. To eat great food. And most importantly, to do nothing but what we want to do and if that means nothing at all, that’s OK. I hope we three return rested and rejuvenated.  And hopefully I’ll read a better book than 50 Shades of Grey (one of last year’s beach reads).

See you next week.




Beach on a lovely summer day

Like many people, I learned to swim in a pool.  An artificial rectangle of water in which the only waves made were due to the wind or the exertions of the swimmers displacing water with each stroke. I even joined the local swim team for a few years. I was no Michael Phelps, but I could competently perform all 4 strokes.  Breast stroke was my favorite, but I was better at Freestyle. At the end of my first season, I was voted Most Improved (don’t be too impressed – I was 6!).

I love the ocean, but I can’t swim in it.  It’s mainly due to fear.  I fear the possibility of stinging jellyfish.  I fear the undertow. I fear being swept out to sea and not having the strength or ability to propel myself back to shore, knowing that eventually my arms will give out, and I will sink.  I fear tidal waves.  I fear sharks, huge, monstrous great whites.  As a contact lens wearer, I fear getting water in my eyes and not being able to see. I fear what I can’t see in the water. The ocean is too wild and unpredictable for me to be entirely comfortable with it.

I’ve blogged many times that the past few years have been rough ones for my family.  Jimmy and I keep telling ourselves, “next year will be better.” The problem is that it never is. There is always something to keep our stress levels and worry high and life eventful in general.  What we keep hoping for is a placid, calm year with only minor ripples like those in the swimming pool.

What I’ve realized this year is that life isn’t like a swimming pool; it’s like the ocean.  Like the ocean, life can be murky and unclear.  Giant waves like a job loss or family member’s illness or death that knock you down or gentle swells that tickle your feet and ankles, enticing you to play. Poisonous or dangerous animals that sting or nip at you when you’re trying to make your way through the water.  The way the ocean floor can suddenly drop off, jolting you and leaving you flailing or finding  yourself standing above it all, briefly, on a sandbar that’s never in the same place. The strength and energy it takes to fight the forces trying to suck you under or much farther out than you intended to go.  There is beauty too of course. Beauty in the way the sun brings out the blue-green of the water.  The wonder of witnessing a school of dolphins or a whale breaching.   The healing effects the salt can have on your skin.  Through it all, the ocean keeps going, indifferent to the bruises it causes and the beauty it creates.  It’s up to us to make our way through it.

The problem is that I don’t know how to swim in the ocean. I’m used to the swimming pool in which there are few obstacles and clearly-marked lanes to guide your progress.

I guess I better learn.