Thursday, July 24, 2008

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

It is not lost on me, not for one second, that grownups are not entitled to experience summer the same way children are.

It's not bad, just different.

Regardless, summer is my favorite time of year. It always has been and will always be, no matter the circumstances. Not coincidentally, I've noticed that our adult summers seem to be filled with change and transition -- perhaps it is the excess of daylight that gives rise to added productivity.

What follows is a brief chronicle of our summer days and thoughts.

In June, we took our sort of annual trip up the coast of our fine state, this time ending up in Pismo Beach.

In case you're not from here, I'll let you in on a little secret...June at the edge of the Pacific isn't remotely warm or balmy. It's not the California you see on television or in movies. Despite the known "June Gloom," when the kids have a few days off, even if its chilly and overcast, we like to make the best of an uncrowded beach trip.

Even though it's cold, it's still very pretty.

We packed up our sand toys and headed even further up the coast to Monterey. Rafe and I had always wanted to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium and decided that we'd take the opportunity to drive a few extra hundred miles to pay a visit.

We took the scenic drive down Highway One back to our resort motel, remembering how stunning the rugged coastline is and also how our difficult, young, tired, hungry, overstimulated children aren't really interested in never-ending lengthy car rides scenic vistas.

On our drive back home, we made a quick stop in Santa Ynez to replenish the supply of our house wine (scroll down for the Pinot Noir), having had quite enough of the whine already in our possession.

The Santa Ynez wine country is our newfound oasis. It's an easy day trip and a fun place to spend an afternoon with our dear friends, drinking companions, and partners in mischief (who also happen to be Rafe's sister and her husband), Auntie Banana (happy birthday Auntie B!) and Uncle C (the monkey's uncle).

Every time we go, we see things we imagine the kids will love, but I've been reluctant to share this place with the children for many reasons, not the least of which includes my desire to enjoy my children's company and wine separately -- as much as I enjoy both, I cannot enjoy them simultaneously. Anyway, we thought the kids would adore the miniature horses, tiny equestrian specimens roughly the size of our dog, that we've seen time and again along the route to some favorite vineyards.

They were mostly indifferent. (I mean the kids, though I guess the horses were, too.)

We returned to life as we know it.

Though as it has been in the past, this summer has again found us in transition and making big changes. My husband left his full-time gig, his lengthy commute and his after hours consulting to become a consultant full-time, giving his expertise on his terms. When he explained to colleagues that he was resigning and moving on, he didn't describe it in terms of his career advancement or the pursuit of a new venture, he explained that he was changing his life. It is a wonderful thing.

Following closely in his shadow, I have also given notice with my transitional employers and will begin my dream job in a few weeks. In short summary: it's part-time with benefits, in an organization I love with a leader I respect and admire, and by the way, it's ten minutes from home. I am elated. Sometimes I skip to my car on my way out the door of my office. (Okay, not literally, but I've still got a week so it might happen.)

To get us through some of the summer juggle, the kids have been heavily enrolled in summer camp. They come home tired and dirty, pockets and backpacks filled with crafts and treasures.

We've still had time for some family outings (so much easier now with Daddy's flexible schedule!), some extra long play dates, a lot of picnic dinners, countless bubble blowing sessions and trips planned to amusement parks, county fairs and ball games.

In what I perceive as an homage to the many children who have summered before them, my little darlings have built a "clubhouse."

In case you can't read it, the sign states:
The people can come 6 and under can go in our tent.

Yes, my boy wrote this all by himself. My boy who will be turning six in a few weeks and entering the first grade (with his own desk!) in September. I am grateful that he has extended the "club" to include his little sister and to exclude the grownups (though I'm willing to wager that he'd extend an invitation to grandparents, and even a special aunt and uncle, if asked, tickled, or bribed).

Not every kid would.

And so, my dear friends and gentle readers, I am going to close the curtain on this blog. With a new job starting, children returning to school, trips planned and a desire to focus on my professional space, I need to store this blog somewhere between my high school yearbooks, my wedding veil, the umbrellas and wool sweaters. I will continue to write, though shifting my online presence towards my business. Though I'm not planning to cross promote, I'll point you towards the new space (if you haven't found it already) if you'd like.

It, like everything else, is a work in progress.

I wish you many days filled with bubbles, butterflies, and dreams come true.



Ms Picket To You said...

NOW, now, it makes sense.

I am somewhat awed by the calmness in which you relate such awesome change (I have never liked change) but then again, and isn't this weird, it doesn't surprise me.

Since I have "known" you, you have been on a path to something. I think you find yourself now at the first great crossroad on the path, took the right route, and are marching down it.

I am thrilled and delighted and waving you on from the trees at the side.

Thank you for everything. So delighted to know you, my virtual neighbor, and hope we stay in touch.

Waiting Amy said...

Congratulations on your brave new endeavor! I wish you all the luck in the world. Although, somehow, I don't believe you will need it, as your dedication will surely see you though.

Your summer looks beautiful -- I so want to go to Monterey too. So glad to know you are having special family time with your loved ones before your big transition.

I've enjoyed sharing your family, and I hope to see more of your successes in the future!

Paige said...

you will email me plenty, though?

and whenever your man finally comes to atl, you'll come with, right?

Tally O said...

Hurrah! I must hear more! Skipping is good!

Sass E-mum said...

It's the end of an era.

You are a smart woman - making decisions about change, moving on and embracing the future.

Exciting stuff. I AM interested to know what you do next, I hope you'll drop me a line so I can see what you do next.

I wish you good luck and lots more happiness.

Not so gentle reader said...

I'm still crying. Your way with words is phenomenal. Your birth father would be proud.

I remember the day I tried to teach you to skip...I guess you've got it down now.

I Love you.

MyUtopia said...

Wow! Great photos!

Ann(ie) said...

I was meant to live in Cali. In my next life!! ;) Looks like so much fun!

BUT, I'm going to miss you so much, girlie. Drop me a line and let me know how you're doing from time to time will ya? I'm so happy for you and if you're ever in Seattle visiting your friend PLEASE look me up, okay?


Working mum said...

I too will miss your posts and am interested in what you are going to do. I wish you godspeed in your endeavours. WM x

Jen M. said...

I lvoe these pictures, hearing about your changes ahead, and "catching up" with you via your blog.

Good things are afoot...

MamaNeena said...

First, yea for the dream job!
Second, that picture of traffic is really depressing and makes me long for the country life!
Third, pictures of kids sleeping are the best.
Fourth, I think I may just have to visit Cali now.

Don Mills Diva said...

Obviously Jules was really paying attention...:-)

This was a wonderful goodbye. You have a real gift for writing and you will be missed. All the best in this new phase of your life.

Farm Fresh Jessica said...

What a great way to spend summer! Those pics at the aquarium are wonderful!

Best of luck!

Laski Gal said...

Karen . . . just checking in to see how your summer went!

I hope all is well and you update us soon!

GoteeMan said...

Gorgeous pictures...

Hope all is going well for you...

J/ (

GoteeMan said...

Just checking in...

J/ (