How I Spent My Summer Vacation

 With the arrival of Labor Day weekend, tradition says that summer is unofficially over.  Time to put away the white shoes and bring on the pumpkin spice and Halloween Candy.  Of course this hasn't been at all a traditional summer.  This hasn't been a "normal" year.  But that doesn't mean I shouldn't look back and remember what I did this summer...

What DID I do this summer?  Besides eat too much (yes, I've gained a few pounds) and drink too much (three visits to Total Wine and More this summer?), I've done a lot of walking and exploring neighborhoods outside of my town.  But what else have I done?  Thanks to Google Photos and Maps, even when my memory fails, I can remember what I did this summer (besides spending countless hours in the home office on the computer listening to construction next door).  Here are a few highlights:

  • School let out on June 19th.  My son spent a lot of time gardening (sadly we didn't get much from the cucumber or tomato plants) and working in the yard.  He created a tiered garden of lavender behind the garage and even dug and built his own firepit.

  • For the July 4th holiday, we headed to Skytop Lodge  We had a great and safe time and our adventures are chronicled here:,,, and  I had hoped we might return this month (September) but so far that doesn't seem to be in the stars.  Maybe something will change.
  • In mid-July we finally got to see my in-laws again.  We hadn't seen them since December of 2019.  They came out to visit and have lunch as a early celebration for my husband's birthday.  We had a lot of laughs as we dined outdoors at a local restaurant.
  • The three of us also did a quick visit to the NJ shore to see my parents and set them up with new computers (Chromebooks).  We didn't really get to the beach, but...
  • My son and I also had the opportunity to visit my aunt, who lives on a lake only 30 minutes away from us.  It was my son's first visit to the lake and he really took to it.  The two of them swam around (this was the first time I'd really seen my son swim) and actually did some pruning from the water!  I didn't go in, but it was very relaxing to just be there and enjoy the view.  (I also went out after the fact and found a blow up raft so that we could float around if we are invited up again!)

  • July ended on a sad note, as a good friend lost her battle with cancer.  Thankfully, I was able to visit with her, albeit virtually, just about a week before she passed and was able to share a special gift with her.  I think it brought her comfort and I hope it continues to comfort her family.
  • In early August my son and I left my husband at home and spent a weekend at the shore with my parents.  This time we DID make it to the beach and both of us got into the ocean!  The Saturday we went was a perfect day where you could just float around.
  • The following Monday, we all drove out to Pennsylvania to see my in-laws and have lunch.  I made it a 4 day weekend to celebrate my son's 15th birthday.  Again there was much good food and laughter.
  • Unfortunately, my son's birthday was full of rain and wind.  One of the many bizarre storms we had during the month of August.  I'm hoping now that the month is over we'll see less?  (Fingers crossed)

  • All the heat and rain was definitely good for our "friend" Spragg.  If you've been following my posts, "he" started out in early/mid August as a tiny weed and is now a full fledged blooming Datura stramonium that is reaching for the sky.  I'll have to keep an eye out, in case he starts to wind his way across the property line and up my backyard

  • I made several visits to the NJ shore in August.  My dad had surgery on the 14th and the weather wasn't much for the beach.  I went back again last weekend to check in on things and also got to see comedian, musician and ventriloquist, Taylor Mason perform at an outside venue (aka the "deck" of the Normandy Beach Yacht Club, to which my parents belong and is honestly less of a "yacht" club and more of a building on the shore of the bay where people used to race boats but these days use as a place to drink, and drink and eat and drink).  Taylor, who in the last century, was also a neighbor of mine, is hysterically funny without being crude (which is probably why Disney regularly has his perform on their cruise).  He is quick on his feet (despite presenting the illusion that he is not) and knows/adapts to his audience (in this case a group of older mostly inebriated or on the way to being inebriated white bread conservatives who have a good deal of money, but probably not as much as they would have you think.)  Perhaps I thought he was hysterical because he is a friend.  Or perhaps it was because he picked on my dad (who

    need to be picked on).  But I think mainly it was just because he is incredibly talented and funny and EXACTLY what I needed.  (Not to mention what everyone else needed as well.)  I'd highly recommend seeing him live, when the opportunity presents itself again, but until then, if you check out his facebook page you might catch him performing "live".

  • I also spent a lot of time out on our "patio" (which my grandfather built circa 1950).  If you can't get away, you can at least get out.  My son discovered gardening.  I re-discovered sitting on my butt with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and reading a lot of books on my Nook.  I started August with Sheila Connelly's first book in the Orchard Mystery Series, One Bad Apple, and am now on #12.  I think since the beginning of the school summer vacation break, I've downed 25 books.  Mostly light fiction to get me through, but I also read some more "difficult" books like Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson which was one of the most painful things I have ever read, but need to be read.  My Goodreads review says:  "Despite having to put this book down several times because I could not stomach the realities of this book, I could not help but finish it quickly. Isabel Wilkerson has written about a complex matter in an understandable way. To say I was moved is an understatement. She has opened my eyes to things I do not want to see and I will never be able to close them again. As the author says: "Once awakened, we then have a choice. We can be born to the dominant caste but choose not to dominate...We need not bristle when those deemed subordinate break free, but rejoice that there may be one more human being who can add their true strengths to humanity." I have made my choice...and I WILL rejoice."
  • Finally, both my son and I have been spending a lot of our free time volunteering at our church thrift shop now that it is somewhat open again. If anyone asks him what he did on HIS summer vacation, this is the photo I'm going to show.

So, as strange as this summer has been and as un-summer like as it is/was; it wasn't all bad.  It was productive.  And now we move unofficially into autumn.  I'm sure it's going to be full of some not so nice twists and turns, but I'll continue to be full of hope as the days cool, pumpkin spice begins to flows and colors of the season begin to shine. 

Be Safe.  Be well.


Popular posts from this blog

As Is

Dear Mom & Dad: Coming to a Close

Where Is My Document & Check?