Tag Archive | summer

Summer vacation

Summer?  When was that?  It’s been a busy summer around my house.  Not a terrible summer with no fun at all.  No, we have had out share of fun.  It’s just been too busy for words.  Literally I haven’t had much time to write.  Not only that, but I haven’t felt much like writing.  I haven’t been able to get that quietness in the brain which I find necessary for writing.  It’ll come back soon enough.  Sort of like that stray cat you feed.  It leaves for a month or so hoping to get tastier food or mice in another yard and you miss it.  Once it comes back it’s kind of nice.  (that comparison was for my parents, who seem to have an endless line of strays wander through their yard most likely befriended by their own cat Shadow.)  So I have stretched my brain today and decided to do a wee bit of writing. 

Its been a summer of little vacation time.  Since we are going to Florida in the fall though, that was acceptable.  I did manage to take the kids on some day trips, and get away for a weekend without them.  (They are enjoying the beach for a week.  Lovely)

Since we haven’t really done any travelling since March, my boyfriend started his usual muttering about needing to get away.  We share the same love of travel but I have less time.  So we decided on a quick weekend to Northern Pennsylvania.  Some friends of ours had told us about a wonderful place up north with a big gorge and beautiful scenery, so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

After 5 and a half hours of driving, we got to the cleanest town I have ever been to.  It was like a set out of a show from the 60’s or actually reminded me a little of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ without the snow, because of the wide main street.  It was littered with bed and breakfasts in quaint old houses, little shops and a really amazing diner with the best hamburger I have had in a long time. 

We did a bike ‘n’ hike.  We biked a few miles, then hiked about a mile (no that’s not much) up a huge hill..maybe it was considered a mountain, it certainly seemed like it to me.  It gave us an amazing view of the valley and an understanding of why it was called the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. 

After resting for a while, and regaining the feeling in my legs, we started back down the slope.  I think gravity had quite an effect on us.  We felt quite proud of ourselves for climbing this enormous rocky mound. We did our best to ignore the kids scampering up the paths like little mountain goats.  At the bottom, after realizing I had lost my feet somewhere along the way, we hopped back on our bikes, went back down the trail and were in bed that night by 8 o’clock. 

The next day was another drive home.  Even though the weekend was physically exerting, sweat inducing and dirty, it left us invigorated and relaxed.  I think I can feel like at least we did something for the summer.  Although it is not ended, and I still plan on going to the beach at least one more time, before September 21st, I am ready for school.  Are the kids??




County Fair!

Despite the triple-digit temperatures which have become so common this year, summer has always been my favorite season.  I actually don’t mind the triple-digits too much either, as long as there is a pool handy.  Even a kiddie pool will make me happy.  In the season of high humidity and temperatures which verge on oven-like, the county fairs come to town.  Last year, the county fair took on a whole new meaning with my daughter involved in 4H and the small animal groups.  We spent a lot of time standing in a blistering hot tent with a bunch of rabbits and guinea pigs.  Not to mention an extremely antsy and bored 5-year old.  It was still fun and we still went on some rides.  This year however, my oldest red-head decided to forgo the fair in favor of a gymnastics class.  So, I took the little one.

Here is my clumsy attempt at a picture of the fair from a distance.  (I’m a writer not a photographer)

As luck would have it, it was a cool cloudy day.  Yesterday was quite literally 100 degrees, and today, a breezy 78 degrees.  I almost wished my oldest had decided to come to the fair, since it was so pleasant outside.  But that passed as soon as I saw my youngest tearing out the door of the car  in her eagerness to get to the fair.  (Besides, I  have seen my girls both doing acrobatics and I know they love it too much to pass up) Only two years ago the fair moved headquarters to a much bigger field with nice barns, stands for the equestrian shows, and lots of room for the rides.

We parked and found our way to the entrance of the fair, the smell of trampled grass strong.  I always loved that smell because it reminded me of when my mother worked craft fairs when I was young.  Since we went early, it wasn’t that crowded yet and soon enough we wandered, tickets in hand, to see what fun cheesy rides they had this year.  There were several.  Some I got to go on, since my daughter doesn’t grow, and come even a two-year old could ride by themselves meaning she could as well.  I must say they were all pretty enjoyable.  We both agreed that the boat was one of our favorites.  It was one of the rides that swings up and then sideways a bunch of times.

After the rides, which were difficult to part with, we wandered over to the animal tents.  I grew up being fortunate enough to go to my county’s fair as a kid.  I remember the dust of the midway, the continuous roar of stock cars over the whole event, and of course the food.  Now I live in a town which is on the edge of a fairly rural part of the state, so there is a big emphasis on farming and agriculture.   Hey, we’re not called the Garden State for nothing.  Besides officially our county fair is called the FARM fair.  So yes, it has tractor pulls, sheep shearing contests, and even corn husking.

After all those rides and animal gawking, what could be better than some ice-cold root beer in an overpriced mug (souvenir of the fair of course) some cheese fries, kettle corn, and a cotton candy bigger than my daughter’s head?  Nothing could be better, except a sausage sandwich.  I’ll have to wait for the boardwalk for that one.

Now we are settled at home and my daughter is snug in her bed.  How she can sleep after inhaling all that sugar I’ll never know. Now we have a whole year to wait for the next fair.  And who knows, maybe she will even be big enough to ride the junior roller coaster.

What are your summer traditions?  Do you have a favorite fair in your town?

By the way, I really hope someone caught my credit to Star Trek up there.

My daughters are actually fish

Every day I keep telling myself I am going to actually use a computer for something other than work (which has become busier than the Parkway on a hot summer day).  That happened once last week.  My laptop has sat on the kitchen table for the last week  amid a pile of Gregory Peck postage stamps (a gift) and some dingy papers with notes of story ideas scrawled on them.  I check my email through my phone once in a while but that’s about it.  I’ve become a hermit.  I have finally found some energy and time to sit down and commune with my laptop.  It was missing me, I think.

So as not to wander too far from the title, I’ll tell you, well, brag a little, about my daughters and their fish like swimming skills.  Growing up, I was in the pool on a daily basis and also on the local swim team for several years, so swimming skill was taken for granted in the 8-year-old set.  However, my daughters do not attend any pool on a regular basis.  Until this year, summer camp consisted of a twice weekly day trip for a few hours.  The girls frequented their grandmother’s house too, which has a beautiful pool.  I have considered getting formal lessons for them for a few years, but something always took precedence.  Seeing them this weekend at their grandmother’s house however, I think they must be part fish.  They have red hair, so maybe they are descendents of the Disneyfied little mermaid.

For anyone who lives in the Northeast it was a hot sticky day and perfect for a poolside party.  Not having the good fortune to see them swim all the time, I was not surprised at their swimming ability but at their skill at using the ability to jump and dive. Ok maybe I was a little surprised at the ease with which my 6-year-old flung herself into the deep end and bobbed around.  They certainly have not mastered any of the traditional strokes, freestyle or butterfly, but they skittered through the water like little minnows.  I had a wonderful time sitting and watching them throw themselves through inner tubes into the water.  Their natural ability did make me wonder if maybe I should get them some swimming lessons after all.  But there is always next year.  And I would prefer, with all of our busy schedules to keep some time this summer for unstructured fun.  If the weather gets any hotter, I think we’ll all be swimming until December at this rate.

My Happy Place

Yesterday I think I had the best idea of my whole life.  Really.  I decided to grab a few hoagies and the kids, and go down to the shore after work.  For all those non local’s, since I’m from New Jersey, it’s always ‘down’ the shore, even if it’s actually just travelling east.  I thought it would be a great idea because it was probably slightly hotter than the sun’s surface yesterday.  I didn’t realize however, how nice the water would be.  Going to the shore is a passion of mine.  My parents started it so I can blame them.  I can literally feel the stress lifting from my shoulders as soon as my toes hit the sand. 

We started off, I picked the closest beach, about an hour from our house;  hoping for no traffic along the way.  Since its pretty deserted there wasn’t any. Even close to the beach, the road was fairly clear.  It worked like a charm.  By 5.15 we were installed on the beach.  There were few umbrellas still up since most of the vacationers were getting ready for dinner.  My youngest had come straight from her kiddie pool so she was ready to go.  My oldest and I just wore shorts, not planning on getting wet. 

We found a good spot and set out our impromptu picnic.  Not that the girls were interested in dinner.  Hoagies don’t compare to the crashing waves and sand.  The water, like I said, was really nice.  I let it wash around my legs as the girls frolicked and turned cartwheels in the wet sand.  (Yes my oldest got her shorts soaked of course) I brought out my chair and sat, watching the girls for a good hour before we decided to eat.  That’s when I decided that the beach is definitely my happy place.   It had to have been the best evening we have had in a long time.  We stayed for a few hours, built a castle, which got washed away in the rising tide, and finally headed home.  I would love to do that every week.  Maybe we will.  The beach is one place which never gets boring.

Summer vacation anyone?

Last week was almost the end of February.  Despite the milder temperatures this year, I pulled on another sweater and started to plan…summer?  I suppose I had it lucky when I was a kid.  My parents even more so, I realize now.  Every year was pretty similar.  Once school let out in June, hoards of kids with itchy legs, from having to sit so long, would crowd outside to enjoy the summer.  We were so excited that there was no homework and no desks or bag lunches.  That lasted about a week and a half.  Then summer became hot.  And sticky.  By mid July we were all bored out of our head from sitting in the back yard asking each other what should we do that day.  Fortunately there was always the swim club.  Our town had two of them.  Most kids went to one of those.  But for the most part, there was always a parent on hand in the summer; and the only people I knew of who went to sleep away camp were on TV.  I really don’t consider myself that old, but things have really changed.  First, even in families where there are two parents, most of them both work.  That means the kids can’t spend the summer getting bored out of their head and end up being actually happy to start school.  Second is a discovery that since no one lets their kids go play by themselves anymore, most of the time there are no large groups congregating on the playgrounds and front yards.  My neighborhood is about as lively as a ghost town in Nevada.  So even if you were at home during the day, your kids wouldn’t want to go outside.  I don’t blame them, I’d much rather be bored out of my head with a couple of friends.  Instead , now we register our kids for some kind of activity, some child care (don’t call it that in front of the pre-teen crowd!) from the moment they leave school to the moment it opens again in September.  It also means that kids no longer have what we used to call ‘summer vacation.’  For the most part, they all wake up at the same time so their parents can get to work.  If they are lucky, there is a summer camp with nice lakes or arts and crafts near by, but of course, the nicer it is the steeper the price.  By the end of summer, there is no excitement about school starting anymore, it seems that it’s just a movement from one location to the other, with the added bonus of homework of course.  Now, instead of looking forward to summer, I find myself in the midst of a mild panic attack when I think about what used to be the best season of all.