Category Archives: Cape Cod

Pacing myself

It seems that so much of life involves schedules and commitments. When we’re at work, during our designated work hours, we frequently have to respond to the demands of others, doing what “they” want, when “they” want it. In my chosen profession(s) I have to be responsive to other people’s needs and, when it’s work time, I don’t take issue with it at all. But, when I’m on vacation, that’s just not happening.

I’m a morning person. It isn’t unusual for me to wake up with the birds and I love the sense of feeling in tune with the earth. Since I need something in my tummy before I can drink coffee, breakfast is a mandatory meal for me. Beyond that, though, I’m winging it. I don’t want to feel pressured to have a meal just because it’s lunch time or dinner time. I want to eat when I’m hungry or to line my stomach before enjoying a cocktail or three. It’s vacation. Unless I have reservations for somewhere, I’m all about eating simply when I feel like it.

Not surprisingly for a librarian, I’m super organized. I prefer to stay on top of things in terms of tidying up, laundry and keeping our stuff under control. I hate the feeling of haphazard inefficiency. Seriously, it makes me more than a little insane. To avoid this, I try to combine errands and minimize the number of times I have to get in and out of my car. Particularly when we’re staying on an island that is inaccessible by car when the tide is in.

I’m realizing that I might be challenging to be around on vacation since I feel about vacation as I do about running: it’s my time to completely set my own pace. Beyond the rhythm of the tides, I won’t be pressured to abide by anyone else’s schedule or demands. It’s my vacation and I want to go with my own flow. Don’t you?

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Filed under Cape Cod, musings, Random, running, Summer, vacation

Morning thoughts

imageThe sun is peeking out from the soft grey clouds and my private little deck beckons. Listening to the birds and the trees on a quiet morning while the rest of the house still sleeps, is one of my favorite times of the day. No one needs anything, other than the hummingbird who just cruised by the feeder looking for some breakfast. He’ll have to wait.

I’ve been visiting the Cape for 16 consecutive summers and the charm has yet to wear off. Sure, there are places I no longer find appealing (I’m talking to you, obvious consumption Chatham) but, in general, I still appreciate what this place offers me. Despite all the changing variables – where we stay, the layouts of the various houses we have rented, the time of the summer, the composition of our families, which friends visit, the most special thing to me about the Cape is how it itself remains constant. There will be fried seafood and sandy feet and predictable tides. The shoreline may shift and beaches and dunes will erode, but the sun will reliably drop into the bay in a blaze of orange and purple at the end of the day. This, is what I love about being here.

I can’t help but reflect on my boys and how their needs and interests have changed over the years. The amount of props they once required! Strollers and pack and plays, life preservers and diapers – all gone now, replaced by digital toys and, thank God, books. When I packed this year, in my usual style, filling Rubbermaid containers which can double as hampers after the clothing is hastily put into temporary homes in strange dressers, I got my own bin for the first time ever. For years, I’ve shared my bin with my youngest as I’ve placed the big guys’ clothes together. This year their stuff is all together and I have a smaller box just for me. It means something doesn’t it?

Life is changing – every day. Coming to the beach and taking the time to recognize, accept and honor that, while digging my toes in the sand, makes these weeks the most special of the year. I hope you have a place like that, too.

Time to feed the hummingbirds.

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Filed under aging, Boys, Cape Cod, family, favorites, musings, road trips, Summer, vacation

Responsibility – personal or professional?

IMG_2485Allow me to share a recent occurrence with you, both to clarify that my life isn’t perfect and to, hopefully, garner some opinions. Last month, I had a little “incident” while on the ferry traveling to Martha’s Vineyard. We arrived at the terminal, approximately 35 minutes prior to our departure and were directed into a specific lane (I believe it was 13) to wait to board the ship for which we had a reservation.  A short time later, we were instructed to follow the vehicle(s) in front of us to board the ferry. We drove onto the boat, parked on the far left and turned the engine off. Next stop: Vineyard Haven!

During our ever-so-smooth sail, I gleefully ordered take out from our favorite VH spot, The Net Result, patting myself on the back for being über-organized. By the time the boat docked, I could practically taste those fried scallops. When I got the order to start my engine, I did so happily. The cars ahead of us started to move forward and I followed…

But, wait!! What was that horrible noise? As I crept forward to the sound of something metallic, I looked around and couldn’t help but see the looks of horror on the faces of the neighboring car’s occupants. They pointed to my roof. I stopped my car and looked up to see my trusty Trek no longer neatly horizontal in my roof rack. No, instead it was decidedly vertical, wedged tightly between the roof of my wagon and an upper deck of the ferry. Really?

I put my car in park and waited for an employee (a deckhand?) to address the situation. He slowly approached and looked at my car and at me. He started to shrug his shoulders, as if it was my fault that my bicycle was now more an abstract piece of street art than the vehicle which has gotten me from Point A to Point B for 17 years. Uh, uh, buddy. No way.IMG_2482

Once I was able to speak in a reasonable tone of voice, I had a conversation with a couple of employees and we filled out an accident report. My bicycle was zip tied to my roof and off we drove, really needing those delectable scallops more than ever.  I spoke with a representative  of the Steamship Authority and upon my return to Albany, I gathered estimates (Bike: totaled, replacement approximately $700, roof repair/paint $850, bike rack $340) and sent an email statement of what transpired.  That was a few weeks ago and I have yet to hear back.  I plan to follow through with a phone call in a week or two.

So – what do you think?  Who’s responsible for the damages/loss?  Am I culpable because I didn’t look above and in front of my car when I parked in the spot where I was directed?  Curious to hear some opinions…

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Filed under biking, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, musings

Moms@Work – August posts

image:timesunion.com

image:timesunion.com

Let’s forgive me for not getting to this until what is essentially the second week of September, ok?  Seeing that the school year is beginning so late, I’ve kind of been pretending that this past weekend was Labor Day.  But, without further ado…

For the third year in a row, I completed the Warrior Dash down at Windham Mountain.  Kind of pleased with this year’s results: 62nd of 779 in my age group, 1463 of 7300.

I became obsessed with Orange is the New Black.  Have you watched it yet?  When does season two start??

My Quinnie became sick while we were on vacation and I reflected on how stressful sick children, far from our pediatrician, can be.

I had a meltdown about needing bangs – STAT!

The movie theater became the perfect babysitter so I could take a run.

Finding the “perfect” Cape Cod house can be a real test of patience and acceptance.

And there are a few things you don’t want to find in your temporary beach home.

There was a little bit of panic as the days of August started growing shorter.

And a lot of discussion about twerking and expressing oneself.

Finally, my piece from the Sept/Oct issue of Women@Work talked about how not to Fear the Fall.

What have you been up to??

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Filed under aging, Boys, Cape Cod, Events, Exercise, family, favorites, Martha's Vineyard, Moms@Work, Observations, running, sick, Summer, travel, vacation

What I missed

IMG_2475After being back and settled in the DelSo for a week, I thought I’d share what I missed this summer while away. Some of the items on the list, I may take for granted when I’m home, while others are always appreciated. The list is not in any order, although alphabetical would naturally be my first impulse. I’m a librarian, remember?

  • My pillows. I wish I could bring them along on the vacation, but there just isn’t enough room in the car – and there are only two.
  • My coffee bean grinder. What do you mean not everyone grinds their beans freshly each morning?
  • My griddle pan. Traditionally, I bring my waffle iron along on the trip, but next year I may need to find some space for my go-to pancake/grilled cheese making surface. Making either of these items individually makes no sense when you can make three at a time.
  • Our sweet old lab, Cassidy Bono Lilly, especially when I read stories like this gem from Paul Grondahl.
  • Him. Because I like having him around.

What do you find yourself missing the most when away from home?

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Filed under Albany, breakfast, Cape Cod, Cooking, DelSo, family, favorites, friends, Martha's Vineyard, Summer, travel, vacation

Meteor shower of love

Going down the dune would be more fun if going up the dune wasn't eventually necessary.

Going down the dune would be more fun if going up the dune wasn’t eventually necessary.

Last week, I had the brilliant idea to get a beach bonfire permit so we could take in the Perseids Meteor showers, beachside. Like last year, we were shut out of our first choice beach, Newcomb Hollow and “settled” for White Crest. If you’re unfamiliar with these Wellfleet ocean beaches, trust me, they’re all beautiful. The only true disadvantage to White Crest is the remarkably steep dune one must navigate from the parking lot down to the beach. And, of course, the return climb up the dune.

The weather was fairly cooperative, but there was a bit of fall in the air. Jeans and sweatshirts were necessary, as were marshmallows, lots of marshmallows. I have to say that watching my brother build and maintain fires in the wood-burning stove of our childhood home, really has paid off. I can build a fire, Jack London. Naturally, we were a bit half-assed about things – I had some paper, some cardboard, a little kindling and a $10 bundle of soft wood and a lighter, but no bucket to fill with water to extinguish the fire. Never mind. We figured it out.

While we didn’t go all out with s’mores fixings this year, I have to say the boys have really mastered the art of toasting marshmallows to a perfectly gorgeous shade of brown. They really were the best toasted marshmallows I ever recall eating, at least that’s my excuse for eating as many of them as I did.

The fires of other sky watchers.

The fires of other sky watchers.

Good friends, delicious marshmallows and a blazing fire ocean side made for a pretty special evening. But the best part of the entire night was when Quinn and I were sharing a chair, in a practically reclined position, staring quietly at the sky. He nestled into me, and I wrapped my arms around him. Our eyes searched the heavens for trails of light and we made a vow to never forget this night.

It’s impossible to predict where in the sky the meteors will ultimately appear, but the light shining in my son’s eyes as he promised to always remember that moment, provided all the illumination for which this mom could ever wish.  Magical memories.

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Filed under Boys, Cape Cod, family, Summer, vacation

A bridge, a baby and some boys

There’s almost nothing like the ocean to punctuate time, especially when you’re temporarily living on an island which is inaccessible during high tide. The necessity of planning is as explicit and unavoidable as the tide chart adhered to the fridge with a magnet.

20130816-065047.jpg

When the tide is out there’s the shallowest of tidal pools under the bridge, barely enough water to carve the silty bottom of the marsh into rivulets. When that tide rolls in, though? That’s a different story. The salt water flows in and submerges the almost garishly green marsh grasses. The bridge becomes a launching pad for the neighborhood adrenalin seekers, some complete with choreographed group dances and cheeky chants. There’s a remarkable difference between the two extreme states of the tide, yet it is predictable and easily planned for – just refer to the chart. It’s there in black and white.

This year, for the first time in a long time, we’re vacationing with a baby, and for the first time ever – it’s a girl. She was present (in utero) last year, but nothing really prepared me for sharing a house with a baby again, especially a busy baby on the verge of walking. Like childbirth, you just forget what was demanded by those days, it was simply survival when you were in the thick of it. The minute details (each of which seemed ever so critical at the time) of taking care of a child have disappeared faster than a sandbar in a rising tide.

Despite promises made, be it to yourself, your child(ren), or the well-intentioned older person offering advice, just like you’ve heard your entire life those early days of parenting/babyhood go far faster than could ever be imagined. There was no punctuation to mark the end of that chapter of parenting. It’s gone, and unlike the tide it won’t be back.

This year my middle son chose to only stay in Massachusetts for one of the two weeks of our vacation. He wanted to be home, hanging with his friends and practicing lacrosse. I felt that I needed to respect his preference and, for me, it was an exercise in letting him go. I was okay with the decision, but I’m less able to accept the fact that 2012 may have been the last year that my boys and I would be together for a two-week vacation at the beach. How could that even be possible without some sort of acknowledgement? Where’s the chart to refer to for important things like that?

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Filed under aging, beauty, Boys, Cape Cod, family, moms, musings, Observations, Summer, vacation