A Proper Vacation

toes in the sandI just returned from my first proper vacation in five years. By proper, I mean a vacation in which I do a lot of sitting around at a beach with umbrella drinks.  This vacation was the First Annual Mother Daughter Beach Trip to North Myrtle Beach, SC.  I had a whole week with my mother – something I’ll treasure for always.  And we do it again next year!

The drive down was uneventful.  We arrived a day before our check-in at the condo, so we stayed in a seedy motel on the beach.  It was glorious that first night on the beach sitting in the dark and watching the phosphorescent surf.  After the long drive, I slept like a dead person.

010We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at a Wyndham resort. We unpacked suitcases and put clothes in the drawers and closets.  We shopped for food.  We had board games.  We set the timer on the coffee pot so we’d have coffee when we woke.  We flippin’ moved in.  It was wonderful.

The condo was luxurious – granite countertops, walk in showers, a large soaking tub.  It was equipped with everything we needed including a washer and dryer.  We were on the 9th floor and although we were not ocean front (long story), the view was fabulous.  While I would never give up my barn, there’s something to be said for smaller living spaces – they’re a whole lot easier to keep clean and organized.

029Left to my own devices, I would have sat on the beach each of the 8 days we were there and stared at the ocean until I was fried to a crisp. Mom is more of a get out and do things kind of chick.  So we ran up and down Highway 17 eating and shopping and visiting a sculpture garden.  The garden is truly a marvel and I had a lot of fun with the camera there.  I have still not properly learned to use the camera.  But it’s on my to-do list.  You know, that list of mine that is in volumes.

We did a fair amount of shopping.  I bought a dress that I have no idea where I’m going to wear it other than next year’s beach trip.  Honestly, does a 55 year old need a strapless blue and white striped sun dress?  No.  But what’s need got to do with it.

toes on the balconyBut each day started and ended with me drinking coffee or wine on the balcony. The balcony and I fused.  I was one with the balcony.  The ocean breeze, the scent of salt water, the sounds of the waves, the tightness of my sun-kissed skin.  It would take about 5 minutes on the balcony for me to become all zen.

One afternoon we had a rousing game of Scrabble.  We didn’t keep score, but I think Mom won.  She had longer, more interesting words.  I was too zen to give the game my full attention.  The glass of wine probably didn’t help much either.

I do miss that balcony.

mamas artBetween balcony sessions and running up and down Highway 17, I sat on the beach in my blue sand chair. On the beach, it took me about 2 minutes to be all zen.  There is nothing like planting one’s butt in a low chair with feet in the surf for chilling out.  I was a puddle of ooze with no more ambition, aside from procuring the occasional umbrella drink, than the sand on the beach.  One day I watched dolphins cavort.  Another I watched toddlers cavort.  I was struck, as I always am, by the joy children find on the seashore.  I need grandbabies to take to the beach.  (Do you hear me, Chef Boy ‘R Mine?)

first breakfastWhile we did procure groceries, we ate out a lot. One morning for breakfast, I had a steamer of crab legs and shrimp.  Another breakfast involved fish tacos and a Hurricane in a souvenir glass.  One day we had banana splits (bodacious banana splits) for lunch.  We had dinner in a dive bar and the fish was so fresh, I swear they went out and caught it while I was eating my sushi appetizer.

I went to bed early, slept late and usually managed a nap. We had rain one day and I tucked into a good book while listening to the roar of the surf and raindrops on the patio door.

jeansIt was all good. All of it.  It was the vacation I sorely needed after the past few years and I savored every moment.  I have my commemorative Christmas ornaments to mark the occasion and I have memories of quality time with my mother.  I can highly recommend a proper vacation!

I’m having trouble reorienting to real life. My house is a mess.  The suitcase is still sitting in the kitchen. The puppy missed me and spends a lot of time on my lap.  It’s been hard to motivate to do much more than what is absolutely necessary.  But today I have a fire in my belly to tackle this house – I want it as zen as I feel.  So off I go to clean and declutter and deal with the suitcase.

 

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Filed under September 2014

Throwback Thursday: Cowboy Boots

Iguana!

Iguana!

I haven’t worn these boots since 2008 which is far too long.  I believe I’ll be cowgirling it tomorrow.  As well as dusting the dust off the boots, I’m dusting the blog off.  I feel better when I write and, dammit, I’m gonna blather on.

 

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Filed under September 2014

Writer’s Block (or sumpin’)

I haven’t been able to write these past few weeks, months, years.  It seems that I have nothing to say, but I talk to myself constantly.  Clearly, I have plenty to say, but the tyranny of the blank page is winning.

I’m not sure what my problem is, but it’s as if all my words have dried up and blown away.  I sit down to write and nothing comes out.  Or sometimes, I get drivel.

[Warning:  the following is probably drivel.]

But it’s not drivel I wish to write.  Like many writers, I want to reveal the mysteries of the universe.  Or at the very least entertain with a good story.  It seems I am all out of new stories and I don’t feel like telling the old ones.

I tried to join a writing group tonight.  I got stood up.  Or I misunderstood the time or the place.  Or something.  It struck me that joining a writing group to force me to write was either pitiful or a stroke of genius.  I’m also considering a graduate degree in creative writing.  Also either genius or pitiful.  Perhaps  I need deadlines.  Externally imposed deadlines.  I’m not good at corralling myself.

I need to write.  I’ve often said that I don’t know what I think until I write it out.  The process of putting words in order orders my thoughts in a way that nothing else does.  I need to write.  And I can’t.

This is getting tiresome.

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Filed under August 2014

Throwback Thursday – Dragonlady

dragonlady

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July 24, 2014 9:47 am · 9:47 am

Inertia

It’s been rainy and dreary all day.  I’m loving The Polar Vortex in July.

I did nothing today.   I would say “absolutely nothing” except I installed a new roll of paper towel in the kitchen.

lazyI gave myself permission early on to do nothing today.  Generally, when I do this, I get all sorts of things done.  I’m just perverse that way.

But not today.  I  have been the very definition of a couch potato.  I read a little.  I slept a little.  I stalked folks on Facebook.  I danced with the dog.  I ate comfort food (and didn’t clean the kitchen).  I drank two pots of coffee.  I have been worthless.

I think there’s something to be said for taking a day off now and again.  My life has been such that there’s been no end of things needing to be done for decades.  Periodically, I do sit around and do nothing, but I feel antsy and guilty and jittery about it.  Not today.

Today I wallowed in my inertia.  Savored it.  Provided a background of Mozart and a scented coconut candle to enhance it.  I’m still in my pajamas at a quarter to eight.  I haven’t brushed my hair or made the bed.  I have done nothing save unwrap a roll of paper towel and hang it on the wall.

My body is pulsing with endorphins of goodness.  I am blissfully happy with my no good self.  I hope your Saturday was just as rewarding.

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Filed under July 2014

Throwback Thursday: Mom and Me

mom and me

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July 17, 2014 10:02 am · 10:02 am

Ain’t No Son Shine When He’s Gone

a boy and his dogChef Boy ‘R Mine was here for a week and just left Monday morning.  I am all verklempt and singing “Ain’t no son-shine when he’s gone.”  (H/T to Mona and Dena.)

My son lives in Atlanta and, as a chef, works crazy hours including weekends and holidays.  I don’t get to see him often and, when I do, it’s usually just a brief visit.  A whole week was a gift.

chef boy r mineI’m fond of saying to expectant parents that no one ever tells you how much fun kids are.  And, hoo boy, young souls make my soul sing.  But I’m learning that there’s a lot of fun and satisfaction in older children.  My son is very much an adult and living a self-actualized life.  He’s intelligent, articulate and has a wicked good sense of humor.  I enjoy talking to him.  I enjoy sitting in companionable silence with him.  I enjoy watching him play with his dogs.

He cooks for me, sometimes, when he comes home.  This time I bought a filled-to-the-brim grocery cart of quick and easy stuff so he wouldn’t have to cook, but he chose to anyway.  We had a quite marvelous Ricotta Gnocchi Bolognese that was so good we ate it for 3 days without tiring of it.  I said, as I often say when Chef Boy ‘R Mine cooks, that it was the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.  And it was.

gnocciAfter the first round of Gnocchi Bolognese when I was still high on the endorphins of good food, I had no sooner settled into a glass of after-dinner wine when he announced he was going to go wax my car.  I wondered aloud if I was dying and no one had told me.  He had cooked and done most of the cleaning up and was still willing to spend 4 ½ hours waxing my car.

At night, by lamplight, he waxed my car.  Not just waxed it, but washed it, clayed it, compounded it, did this and did that and then something else.  This was not just a wax job, but the kind of attention a car gets with a $400 detailing job.

When I walk to my car, I see a sparkle and shine that reminds me that I have a son who loves me and is willing to spend his vacation days with me.  Adult children, I’m finding, are a great joy.  Life is good.

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Filed under July 2014