Tag Archives: vacation

Weeks since I’ve written. 11 years old, urban hair.

Someone is, many of you are– hanging in there with me, as I move back to the workaday world and into longer silences.  I am appreciative.  I have many things to tell, rejoice, laugh about and complain about.  There are musings and things I am excited about– perhaps a few secrets to share.  But I am teetering on the edge of a nasty cold– trying to stave it off– so I won’t write much here.

Back at work after vacation, I look at and handle some beautiful, smooth rocks from Lake Michigan, now off the beach and on my desk at work.  And I miss Lake Michigan and wondered when we returned to our city, to the East coast, I wondered again if we should move to Wisconsin.  My sister says to me that having me close would be great, but that I need to remember that living in Wisconsin– dealing with work and daughter’s school and schedules and bosses, even very near her, would be nothing like being on vacation in Wisconsin.  That much of what I long for when I return home is to go and be on permanent vacation in Wisconsin.  That I do like the life of living with a group  (my sister and mother and nephews high on my list) of people I love, the pack of young people around us keeping things lively, looking at the lake, being with my daughter, my parter, being outdoors all the time.

My older nephew is back at school here and we had a lovely 24 hours together– labor day weekend with my daughter and one of her best friends.  My partner was away in NYC giving care and attention to one of her very most beloved people who is going through chemotherapy.   The day after 24 hours here, my nephew called to say he has strep throat, which explained, perhaps, his desire to nap here and to stay longer than we are usually able to hold onto him.  All good– good to be the aunt-on-call for sickness and comfort.

And in the last two weeks my daughter has started middle school.  More to come on that.  Much more to come.

For now though, creativity and invention.  Hers.  Here was the key component of her back to school outfit.  My beautiful and inventive girl.

Checking it out.

She wanted and we got, an orange streak in her hair. August 24, 2012.

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Tuesday & Wednesday–August 14-15

The days are so full and the iPhone is so small–I can do just these short daily entries with photos. I won’t write what I’ve been thinking about my (still somewhat new) job from here or about big, important issues of our times some of which have unfolded here in Wisconsin during the time of this trip. I will say I have had a good chance to get much closer to my hard-working sweetheart– a very good thing.

There is a County park on the Lake Michigan side which is thick pine forest at the edge with a beautiful white/ grey flat rock outcropping into a deeper and often bluer section of the lake. It is wilder, rougher than the parts of the shore where most of our time has been spent.

Tuesday we all caravanned there stopping at a farmers market on the way. Tuesday night we said goodbye to my sister and nephews and yesterday was a quieter day, with a visit for my mom and me to a weaver’s small gallery, a mothers (partner and me) and daughter bike ride, a little beach time all together and a bike ride home from the beach as the sun was setting– for just my partner and me while daughter and her grandmother drove home and cooked. And then dinner– with beautiful organic vegetables and cheese and my daughter’s (she’s quite a baker) cornbread. Forgive me if photos are out of order– still figuring out this WordPress iPhone application.

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Lake Michigan study, August 14.

I wake up at about 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. each morning as it gets light. I can fall back to sleep but the view of the water out the window is like this– though sometimes it is pinker than today. I love this time of morning while the rest of the household is asleep and soon I will sleep again too. But first I get this early morning view.

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Vacation. With iPhone.

We are on day five of our 2012 vacation and day three of our 2012 Door County, Wisconsin adventure. I am trying WordPress posting from my iPhone for the very first time. And though it’s a cool thing to be able to do– my note to self and to you is that in general being in a place like this (so beautiful,no work and time with my daughter, partner & mother)– spent on iPhone and not just looking, looking, playing and enjoying is wrong… Nonetheless here are scenes from days one, two and three– today.

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Leaving Nova Scotia; the romance of the sea

There was a kind of magic in the Nova Scotia trip– which was my idea, my invention.  Nova Scotia is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.  And being with my cousins after so many years was so good for many reasons.

We went to Nova Scotia without the kind of research people now do about things to do in places they travel to.  We went knowing it would be beautiful and without many set expectations about what we wanted to do.  The weather was cool and overcast, drizzling intermittently and just plain raining a lot of the time.  My cousins were not enjoying the rain and cool weather and said often that this had been one of the worst springs/summers in memory.  To me it was beautiful–absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful, every day, foggy or clear, cool or when the sun shone through.  There was that wonderful walk/ hike on Micou’s Island, and a second great walk, just my honey and me setting out from a great little place called Bike and Bean— on the beautifully groomed bike trail one day when we had set out to bike for a couple of hours, just the two of us, but all the bikes were rented.  And there were other drives and adventures, and just the view of St. Margaret’s  Bay from the dining room table of my cousins’ home.  This isn’t actually the view from their house, but another view– nonetheless, it was something like this, though from high on a hill which is where their house is situated.

Just one beautiful view of clouds, sky, air, water; St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia, August, 2011

But the one thing my dear girlfriend had wanted to do for sure was to go on a whale watch.

What seems like a long time ago, we used to go to Provincetown on Cape Cod for many vacations.  It’s gorgeous there and very, very gay, lesbian, queer.  Later I went to many writer’s workshops and fell in love with the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown which brought me back time after time in a different way.

Together in Provincetown, my honey and I have gone on many beautiful, inspiring and moving whale watches  sponsored by the Center for Coastal Studies which is truly a research and education center– not a commercial enterprise.  We set out many times with interesting naturalists teaching us and had the remarkable good fortune to see whales which are nothing less than awe-inspiring and other marine life close up.  Although there must have been a time or two when the weather wasn’t great, it never mattered.

In Nova Scotia we deliberated between a whale watch which appeared to be a fairly commercial endeavor– leaving from Halifax which is about an hour’s drive east of where my cousins live and a smaller whale watch leaving from a smaller town about an hour west of where we were staying.  The day before we flew back to the U.S. for part two of our vacation, we chose the westward drive to Lunenburg for the less commercial whale watch and now looking back I must admit there was a kind of tourist’s greed in operation– the Lunenburg trip said we might see humpbacks, while the Halifax trip only advertised “smaller” whales.

As we boarded the ship– well, boat, really– I realized just how uncommercial this was going to be– there were a total of 18 people on board, including an infant. And two crew members.  There was no naturalist and as turned out to be important, there was no enclosed area and only one small bathroom which I think is called the bulkhead on a boat.  I had worried some about my mother, soon to be 80– on this trip, but she said she was up for it.  It was hazy and overcast as we drove to Lunenburg.  Once on the boat we sped out to sea.   I love to be on the ocean, the look of the water, the feel of the water moving, the sun on the water or the expanse of dark clouds.  I am not a good swimmer and my feeling about being on the water is surely terror mixed with excitement, but somehow the effect of the mix is that I am someone who loves to be on water.  From a boat I am reverent and very aware of the beauty of the world, the natural world and the people in the world.

As we sped further and further into the sea, the sky was dark, gray and covered in thick, dark clouds off to one side of the boat and the water in that direction was almost black.  Looking out in the other direction, the sky was light, blue, clear, hot and sunny.  And the sea shone blue and sparkly as the light bounced off each ripple.  But the sea was choppy, rough and the boat began rocking side to side, like a wildly enthusiastic toddler on a rocking chair.  Harder and harder with no end to the rocking in sight.

Then it began.  We had both a very young man there with either his girlfriend or very new wife sitting across from us and an older man traveling from Germany with his wife sitting just two people over.  Both had large cameras with big telescopic lenses and were poised to take beautiful close-ups of the whales we would see.  They both became the vomiters of the trip.  We watched helplessly as one then the other lurched toward the bathroom– either making it or grabbing a bucket on the way in.  This went on for what became a very long time and there was nowhere to go to get a little break from these two bodily dramas.  It was— well–awful.  And comical.  Sort of.

I have had motion sickness only once or twice in my life.  It is hard for me to tell whether it was all that vomiting or the rocky sea– but after not too long a time I began to sweat and I felt sick and grew weak in the knees– literally. I was having trouble standing up.  It was going to take all my concentration to hold it together. Also if I had needed a bathroom I’d have needed to take a number.    I am not sure if my daughter was frightened by the violent tossing of the open boat on the sea or the two grown men who were so sick, but after a while she, who had been thrilled to get on the boat, came over to me, sat down and hid her head in my chest– started to shake and cried and pleaded to go home.  She wept that she missed Oliver–the big, sweet, loud barking dog at my cousins’ house.  My mother on the other hand, who often complains that some set of activities is too much for her, walked around looking out to sea from every angle, smiling, sniffing the sea air, feeling great and invigorated.

The ride went on and on and the small crew grew desperate to find whales for us to watch.  Cutting the engines, sitting still in the choppy sea and watching, then spotting something and lurching and speeding off in another direction.  We did finally catch the dorsal fins and arc of the backs of two whales, far off in the distance but by then I don’t think anyone cared too much.

When we returned to my cousins’ house they reported back to me what my daughter, in the door ahead of me, reported to them and I overheard the same simple and accurate report to my sister and family:  that both a young man and an old man couldn’t stop throwing up.  I was reminded that every once in a great while  a little bigger and more organized could be better– and that my greed to see the biggest whales was just that, greed.   In some sense it was a completely miserable and overpriced experience.  Still, a day out on the water on vacation in Canada with my family is preferable to so many other ways I sometimes spend three hours.

Ocean beach. What does happy look like?

You chase waves and they chase back. Aug. 2010

Sister and brother. Aug. 2010

Braiding and securing without a hair tie. That bandana, now lost at sea! This was the braid I did before she decided to have me cut 6 inches of hair off. Aug. 2010

My gorgeous girl. The first one. Can you tell she loves a beach day? August 2010

Surf, after a storm. August 2010

The surf, the girl, the braid. August 2010

Sometimes you have only to look at your own photos, taken less than two weeks ago, to know that everything is really, really ok.  And it is.