These are the sort of vacations that the girls will have fond memories of when they look back on their childhoods: a house full of family, meals eaten outside. This is a 70th birthday to remember – surrounded by family, a surprise Hawaiian dinner cooked by a son and a birthday cake baked in Seattle and transported 100 miles by car and ferry. Deer wandered into our backyard in the evenings and we saw the full spectrum of stars at night.
Orcas Island was the first island I visited in the San Juans and it’s still magical 21 years later. It remains one of my favorite places on earth.
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Looks like we escaped that crazy, record breaking rainstorm on Long Island just in time. We were watching the weather all day, wondering if our flight would get delayed, but it was on time and we even flew in 45 minutes early, missing the storm on the East Coast by a few hours. I feel like we’ve had some good weather karma this summer, escaping rain on market days when it’s been in the forecast.
The days here in Washington so far have been drizzly and cool. We come in August because it’s usually a guarantee of the best weather of the year. The sun usually shines and the temps are warm but dry, and it feels like an escape from the humidity back home. This summer in NY, however, has been unusual in that we barely hit above 85 degrees and for the most part, wasn’t as humid as you would expect when you conjure up images of hazy East Coast summers. The weather this summer has been spectacular, in fact. The grayness here so far has been fine – typical of weather here year round and it reminds me of the days when I lived here. I think about our vaguely loose plan of moving back here in 20 or so years – you know, when we’re ready to retire or whatever that means, and whether I can truly get used to the damp and the gray again. I get cold easily. But it feels good right now, wrapping a jacket and a sweater when we’re out in the mornings and putting on socks for what seems like the first time in weeks.
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It’s hard to believe how much bigger the kids are since the last time we visited our friend Sara’s lakehouse 2 years ago. They seemed so little the previous years we’ve spent our Fourth of July here. So much has happened to both our families in the past year, but there’s nothing like sitting out on the dock in the first morning light, taking in all the sparks of light that reflect off the water’s surface. This year the girls were able to swim across the lake to the other side of the dock, with flotation devices of course, but still an accomplishment. They marked their names on the inside of the living room closet, adding their names to the list of family and friends who have completed that swim in past years (never mind that they technically cheated). They’re etched now into the history of the house.
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Can never underestimate the importance of travel, even if it’s just a 4 hour drive away. Sometimes you need to break away from your life to gain perspective on some decisions you’ve been wavering on. I’m always eager to see something new. Time spent with family is good too. As my cousins and I got older, our big extended family stopped getting together for various reasons that our parents never shared. Sometimes years went by. It takes effort to stay in touch, but when it happens you realize how important family can be, especially now that a younger generation is involved. The kids really do love to spend time with extended family. It’s often not “what are we doing” that gets asked at holidays, but “who are we spending it with?”
I also met a long time online friend for the first time this trip. I feel like I haven’t been doing this as much as I have in the past, maybe because I think there was a period of time when I was closing in, but sometimes these meetings just feel right, like picking up a conversation where you had left off in emails, but in person. My friend and I walked around Boston for miles and miles. She showed me some of her favorite streets including Commonwealth Avenue which reminded me of a prettier Eastern Parkway here in Brooklyn. The magnolias were in peak bloom all along the avenue and it felt good to be moving, talking, and enjoying the milder weather and sunshine.
I recently made a set of decisions that I’m unsure of. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I coast solely on my gut and not on careful examination of the pros and cons. Well, let me back up because I think you all know I tend to overthink things. In the end though, even after endless deliberation, I go with my gut. I’m waiting to see if they were the right choices. It can be nerve-wracking.
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We’re spending a few days on the Massachusetts Coast this Spring Break. It’s beautiful, but cold. We’re happy to be by the ocean again and see rocky shorelines and hunt for shells and treasures. We’ve missed it.
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