Tag Archives: summer vacation

Day 61 – And my summer is done

24 Aug

wpid-20140713_085103.jpgSixty-one days is a long time to not be working. I don’t say vacation because my job is such that I get paid for the work I do ten months a year and that pay gets spread over twelve months. When I’m not working in the summer, I’m actually not paid for that time, but it sure feels like vacation and I love it. I consider it one of the many perks of my job. To anyone who begrudges me that summer ‘vacation’, you too could have been a teacher. I don’t apologize one bit for enjoying every bit of that time. Tomorrow I officially go back to work for the 2014-15 school year.

When I started my daily blogging on day one, I mused about how blogging every day might affect my enjoyment of the summer. In fact, I was pretty certain that 2011, the last summer I blogged every day, was an excellent summer in part because of the blogging. Now I know that I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad summer, but I don’t think blogging made it what it was. I usually enjoyed the time spent writing. I’m proud of myself for posting every single day and I’m a bit tired of posting every single day. This summer was good. Nothing bad happened but I wouldn’t call it fantastic, as I did in 2011.

I had big plans to read lots this summer! On day two (no I won’t recap every day) I shared my summer reading list. I read five of the eleven books on my list, well I’m almost finished number five. Of the five, I recommend three booksof them. The first book I read was The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It was okay,  lagged in the middle and was a long story, long enough to be epic, but fell short. It was far less interesting than its title suggests. Then I read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. This was a great YA read that I’d recommend to most of my female friends and my students. It deals with poverty, abuse, bullying and young love. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness was my favourite read of the summer. It was the third in her Discovery of Witches trilogy and I almost never read sequels. This was a most excellent exception. If you like fantasy and historical fiction, this trilogy is for you. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was a light and easy read and it was downright funny. Glenn’s reading it now. I’d recommend this one to anyone who reads; its appeal and target audience is that wide. Right now, I’ve been reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for a few weeks because I had a difficult time getting into it and I had to slug through the second part of it. With about 60 pages left to read I finally want to know how it ends. What drew me to this book was the premise: four strangers meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve on the roof of a tall building with the intention of jumping to their deaths. They don’t jump and the rest of the book is about how they navigate through life and their newfound unlikely and unofficial support group. It’s less interesting than it sounds. I’ll see it through.

I have learned a lot about myself as a writer this summer. While I won’t delve into that too much I’d like to recap my top five posts ICYMI.

  1. Day 14 – Letting Go I wrote about my daughter’s daring summer adventureswpid-img_0301.png
  2. Day 20 – Ten ideas for stories exactly what the title suggests
  3. Day 28 – Namaste was about my path to yoga and what makes it right for me
  4. Day 29 – The end of an era was about the new subdivision being built behind my home
  5. Day 42 – BBQ Meatballs is a family favourite recipe

Each of these have been viewed by over a hundred different readers, so clearly these have proven to be the most interesting posts. Even though each post is dramatically different from the others, they have one thing in common. None of them are about my day, nor are they poetry. Those type of posts got the least traffic. I enjoy writing poetry and will keep doing so. In fact, if you didn’t see my blackout poetry, check it out. I really had fun with it and can’t wait to try it with my students. I always felt like writing about my day was  a bit narcissistic and definitely a cop-out when I wasn’t sure what else to write about, especially when the day wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Now that my 61 days are over, I plan to continue blogging from time-to-time. Now that the summer is over, I’m looking forward to going back to work. I might as well look forward to it and go in with a positive outlook because it’s going to happen either way. It’ll certainly make it more enjoyable.

And thus, without a wing,
or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape,
Into the beautiful.
                       ~ Emily Dickinson

Day 24 – Oh Friday, I love you!

18 Jul

Even when on summer vacation, I love Fridays! Friday is my favourite day of the week because it’s the day of the week that brings all things good. For our family, Friday usually means homemade pizza for dinner and a relaxing evening. This Friday was good for a couple of reasons. My aunt Margaret Johnston spent the day here today and she and Sadie had a good day sitting on the deck and chatting. Now they have plans for next week too.

I had coffee this afternoon with, I was going to say old friend, but I’d say it’s just the start of a friendship. Kalin is a former student who graduated from high school ten years ago. For some reason, we’ve just stayed in touch. Maybe it was our shared love for books, or maybe it was our love for school in general. She just moved back to Fredericton to persue her doctorate at UNB and she messaged me a few days ago after reading one of my blog posts. We sat with coffee and chatted for almost two hours. If I didn’t have supper to prepare for seven people, I could have spent the whole afternoon there.

fancyTonight we did our usual homemade pizza, but we made more than usual. My aunt Margaret and Savanna’s boyfriend, Alex, were both here for supper. Our neighbour Mary dropped by because Savanna and Seldon had been feeding her cat while she was eleanor and parkaway and we managed to convince her to stay for some pizza too. We finished a bottle of a yummy red wine given to us by our neighbours as a thank-you for some help during the power outage. I love finding a new wine that I enjoy and this one was very good. But what I love even more is a day spent with family and friends! This Friday brought all these good things and I even had time to spend with my new read, Eleanor & Park.

Day 3 – One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble

27 Jun

The first few days of my summer vacation are always about getting to do those things that have been put off. Today was a beautiful day to be out on the town. It was sunny and warm and perfect for going to Telus for my daughter, because her name isn’t the primary one on the account they won’t talk to her without us. Then taking my son’s brand new, Crappy Tire bike to have it fixed because Crappy Tire put it together wrong and didn’t know how to fix it. The good news is, the one year old bike, that’s been ridden twice, is finally working like it is new. The lesson here is, don’t buy a bike from Crappy Tire.

bangkokThe fun part of summer vacation is being able to do spontaneous things like seeking out a food truck that’s only in town for this weekend and getting awesome Thai food to bring to Glenn’s work and have lunch with my sweetie. We shared spring rolls, cashew chicken and pad thai and it was all scrumptious. We’ve not eaten a lot of Thai food, but if you read the reviews on facebook, you’ll learn that many people believe it’s the best Thai food ever and from a food truck nonetheless.

After getting groceries in the afternoon, I did get about a half an hour on my deck with my book, but tomorrow I plan to spend much of the day reading. I can’t wait!

We ended our day with our neighbourhood party. Once a month we gather at one of the neighbour’s houses, theoretically from 6-8 PM but it always goes longer. Everyone brings their own drink and finger food/appetizer to share, so no one feels the pressure of hosting. We’ve been doing this every month since January and we’ve had a different host each month so far. It’s been really good getting to know my neighbours better!

Oh, did you make the connection with the title? I guess it wasn’t really ‘night’, or technically IN Bangkok, but it was yummy!

Day 58 – My summer has been GREAT!

24 Aug

Last night I went out again with my good friend Marueen. We went for dinner at The Lunar Rogue, then went to Officer’s Square for the outdoor concert, Ross Neilsen & the Sufferin Bastards. Glenn and ZuZu met us at the concert. When I got there, I was looking all through the crowd to find him and I saw a colleague pointing and assumed he was pointing me toward my husband. I looked to find Glenn and when I turned back to wave at my colleague, he had already turned his head in conversation.

We sat down and were enjoying the concert and conversation. But, I thought I better go say hello to my colleague and thank him for pointing me in the right direction. I haven’t seen him since June, so naturally he asked, “How has your summer been?”

To which I replied, “Great!”

“Great!? Most people who have had good summers say good, or nice, but ‘great’; that’s fantastic!”

I found myself saying, “It really has been.”

I could look back over my summer and dwell on all of the things that I didn’t accomplish or lament about the times I should have taken to rest instead of doing something else, but I’m going to choose to look back through my blog and see everything I have done this summer. At least that’s what I’m going to do tonight. Maybe on Sunday, when I know I have to get up and go to work the next day, I’ll feel differently, but I won’t let myself live in the state of self-pity for too long. I HAVE had a great summer. I got to spend ten days at the cottage with my family and a whole week with my niece, brother and sister-in-law. Glenn and I made two trips to New Jersey where we shopped a lot, did a few touristy things that included a day in NYC. I really got into my groove at the gym trying a bunch of new classes including, accidently of course, body combat. I was lucky enough to go to the best workshop I’ve attended in my whole career. And, I’ve read some great books. I’ve spent quality time with friends and family, and blogged all along the way. With my last two summers cut short by course work for my masters, this one has been a fabulous, university course free, summer.

Of course it would be nice to have another week or two, but after having nearly nine weeks off, I’m willing to admit that I’m ready (and need) to go back to work/school. I never know what to call it; it’s both work and school. The laissez faire days of summer are nearly over, and they’ll only really last to relieve my work related stress until the late January snow becomes unbearable. But, I can live with that, because then it’s the hope of another beautiful summer like this one that keeps me sane. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I really love what I do.

I’m not going to promise not to complain over the next few days about what I didn’t do. Remember that list that I wrote on Saturday about the stuff I didn’t do this summer that I’d like to try to squeeze into this week? Pfft, yeah, pfft, right! But, I’m okay with that too. I might grumble a little, most at myself, but my prevailing attitude is one of joy and gratefulness. I’m glad that I can say I’ve had a great summer and have the blog to prove it.

Day 31 – July & August

28 Jul

Initially, I had misgivings about counting down the days of summer vacation. I thought it would bring up this feeling of dread as the days left became fewer than the days already past. Today I realized that we are halfway through summer vacation and I’ve got just as many days left as I’ve just had. I was away for 16 of the past 31 days, and I’ll be home for most of the next 31. Plus, at this time last year, and the year before, I was just finishing up school in Halifax and my summer was just beginning.

I’m reading, writing, going to the gym, travelling, spending time with friends and family, shopping, and relaxing. I’m having a fantastic summer and I’m equally as excited for the second half as I was the first half. Not at all like my workout this morning. When it was half over I thought, only half left to go–I can do this. When it comes to the summer, I think, it’s only half over, no need to lament yet!

I’m looking forward to getting back to school this year. No, really, I am. I decided a few years ago that September comes around, right on time, every year. I have two choices. I can like it or not. Not liking in makes me miserable and cranky; liking it gives me something to look forward to at the end of vacation. Plus, there’s something exciting about the start of a new school year. There is the smell of new school supplies, and opening new markers that no one else has ever used. There’s meeting all the new people in your classes and the new year’s resolutions that haven’t been broken yet; this goes for both teachers and students.

With the leaves changing colour and apple picking opportunities, September was already a great month. If I had to rank the months according to how much I liked them, September would be third. September brings the start of school. The teacher in me likes that school is starting, but the parent in me likes it even more. As much as I cannot wait to be free of the routines at the end of June, I’m SO ready for the routines to begin again in September. Like most, I need routine in my life. September also brings the Harvest. Oh, I like fresh vegetables that we find at the market in September, but that’s not the Harvest I meant. Every September my husband and I go to the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton. It’s the week every year that our city comes alive!

Fall has typically been my favourtie season. Even as a kid I was always more excited for school to start in September than I ever was for it to end in June. Somewhere along the journey those two have traded places in my mind, but they both are exciting times of change. So, I’ve decided that September is the third best month of the year, right after July and August.

Day Nine – Summer Rocks

6 Jul

The time is slipping away already. Tomorrow my vacation days will be into the double digits, however I’m not like the excited nine year-old child who cannot wait to turn ten. I’d like this summer to hurry up and slow down. Again, I’m not sure this whole counting the days was a great idea, but it’s like this accident that is happening in slow motion. I cannot look away; now that I’ve started I feel compelled to keep counting.

My second biggest goal this summer is to spend copious amounts of time in a deck chair reading the time away, but when I spoke to my husband at noon I still hadn’t picked my book up yet today. I had already been on a walk with mom, Lauren and ZuZu and had given Lauren a bottle. I had a shower and two cups of coffee. I had picked my book up and set it back down in several locations but didn’t read a bit. In fact, it was after supper today when I was able to steal away any substantial amount of time to be by myself with my book. But, I must admit, Lauren has been the best distraction I can think of. I’m thoroughly enjoying just lazing around holding, feeding, rocking, swinging, walking, and playing with her.

I picked up Savanna from Caton’s this evening and she got to meet her cousin for the first time today. She got her just in time to feed her the last bottle of the day. It was quite an amazing thing to watch my baby so expertly care for her baby cousin… glimpses into the future, perhaps.

Now that Lauren’s in bed for the night, and my kids have gone off to hang out with their friends, I’m enjoying some quiet time on the front porch with my laptop. It’s one of those perfect summer evenings where it’s too chilly for the mosquitoes and you need a sweater to sit outside. If feels nice after the warm day we had.

I have 53 glorious days left of this wonderful phenomenon called summer and I’m going to savor every minute. Tomorrow’s adventures include a date night with the most amazing man on earth and hopefully, if the weather cooperates, an Andy Brown concert in Officer’s Square. If you haven’t heard Andy Brown you should. It will be the best outdoor concert of the whole series. Summer rocks!

Day Seven – Lauren

4 Jul

It doesn’t feel like I’ve been on vacation for a whole week yet. Maybe that’s because the first three days were taken up with errands, doctor appointments and tests for me and the kids, a work planning project that will be ongoing throughout the summer and household stuff that couldn’t wait. Then, there was Canada Day that ran into the weekend. Today is the first day I’ve really felt like I’ve been on vacation. It usually does take me a week to wind down and feel that way. I’m not sure how I’d deal if I only got one week of vacation.

The best thing about today was meeting my niece Lauren. I think she’s as sweet as they come. She’s sleeping now, 8PM – 8AM at four months old… I’m in awe. But, I got almost an hour with her all by myself. I got to feed her a bedtime bottle and cuddle her until Greg and Patti came back at 8 o’clock to put her to bed. I do remember my own children being that tiny and precious, and while it seems like they’ve grown oh so very fast, the stage Lauren is at now seems like a vague distant memory. Sometimes I wish I could return to those days, just for an hour like I had tonight with Lauren.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to be out of the ‘baby phase’ and love how fun our family is right now. But, there’s something about holding those precious little ones. It’s an indescribable and irreplaceable feeling. Someday I look forward to having grandchildren, if I’m blessed with them. Although, I don’t want that to happen anytime in the next decade, so for now I’m going to enjoy every last bit of the time I get with my darling niece.

Tomorrow’s adventures will include some time spent reading in the sun, giving my niece at least one of her bottles, reading to her (which is something that’s on my list), a walk where I get to push the stroller at least part of the way, and a lot of quality time with my family.

I love summer!

** Oh yeah, and Happy 4th to my favourite American and love of my life, and all of my American family and friends.

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