Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Favorite Vacation

A while back, Dave and I were talking about what our favorite vacations were growing up. Naturally, his all involved camping under the vast African sky and fighting off monkeys and lions and such (ok, maybe not so much wild animal fighting, but there could have been!!).

My family never went on elaborate get-aways, but I do remember going on a number of vacations with my family. Often, they involved unbearably long car rides and sharing rooms with cousins. I always had fun, and while the van certainly felt cramped after 12 hours, I never dreaded spending that time with my family. We'd listen to Hank the Cowdog or Adventures in Odyssey. We'd play the licence plate state game and the alphabet game 1,000,000 times (till mom made us stop because she was going nuts). But my favorite vacation wasn't at my Aunt's condo or touring new and exciting cities, but at my uncle's lake cottage about 40 minutes away from our house.

We'd been there a million times, so there was nothing "new and exciting" about the trip. The lake wasn't even that big. There wasn't a ton of sand to play in or fancy touristy things to visit. There was just a comfortable old cottage by a comfortable old lake with a comfortable old tree swing. In the summer of 2007 my parents decided that we would borrow the cottage for a week of vacation.

I was 17 and naturally couldn't handle a whole week away from "civilization" (aka my best friend and my boyfriend), so my parents let me bring Emily along. The four of us girls (Em and me and Sarah and Hannah) stayed in the ginormous upstairs loft/bedroom area all squished together, and Jake stayed downstairs in the "real" second bedroom. We didn't go anywhere the entire week. I'm pretty sure that the TV didn't work and all the music we listened to was on a record player (which honestly is retro and awesome. I hope that thing is still there). We spent the entire week swimming, canoeing over to the "island" just across the lake, laying out on the dock (and getting royally sunburned!) and reading. Seriously, at any given point there were probably three people sprawled across various pieces of furniture in the most uncomfortable-looking positions reading adventure novels and mysteries and westerns.

We ate a lot of food and roasted marshmallows over the fire. We relaxed and played and had a great time. We read and chatted and slept when (and where) we felt like it. To me, it was the perfect vacation. I was surrounded by people I loved. I wasn't expected to go anywhere or do anything or even make small talk if I didn't feel like it.

I was reminded of this vacation when my cousin posted pictures of her little daughter enjoying time at "Grandpa's cottage." I've seen pictures of me and my siblings playing there at about the same age. She'll grow up to have wonderful memories of a relaxing place with people who love  her. I know I do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.
(My Favorite Things, The Sound of Music)

There are a few things that can always make me happy, regardless of how I was feeling before. There's something wonderful about Christmas music (yes, any time of the year!) that will make me feel better even when I'm totally bummed out. When Dave and I were first married, he had to travel for two weeks for work, and I was sad and lonely. I realized that when I put Christmas music on, all my favorite feelings from my favorite holiday just came up and made me feel better.

I know I can't be the only one who has little things that make a big difference. They're things that recall my childhood or people that I love, and sometimes that's just enough umph to get me out of a rut. Here are a few of my favorite things, what are yours?

Anne of Green Gables
Little Women

Enchanted (or pretty much any princess movie)

Something pretty
An over-sized sweater or sweatshirt, especially if it belongs to my hubby :-)

Listen to:
Disney music
Christmas music



Homemade chocolate chip cookies

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why Blog?

I started thinking today about why I want to blog (and why I never do).

I love reading blogs by other people. I love learning more about things that interest me, and blogs can be a great way to do this. However, I do prefer personal blogs to corporate blogs. For example, I read Apartment Therapy, and I love it. I've learned a lot and been exposed to beautiful things I would have otherwise perhaps never heard of. However, I'm not attached to AT. If I go away on vacation, I don't read all the posts when I get back. Sometimes I skim through the titles to see if anything interests me, but usually I just clear my feed and start over.

My favorite blog right now is Young House Love. This blog is also about home decorating things, but it's much more personal. Most posts are about what the couple (The Petersiks) are doing around their house. They give DIY ideas and budget friendly ideas and then sometimes talk about what they had for dinner or why they cloth diaper. It's much more engaging than Apartment Therapy, and even if I have no use for the project that day, or even if I don't like the result, I love to read each and every post. I like to know that they think kinda like me and have a similar style to what I imagine my style would be if I were ever organized enough to have "style."

So I love blogs, and I'm capable of writing (the fact that my school gave me a diploma in Journalism is proof-ish of that). So why don't I?

I want to be interesting. I want the world to be fascinated by what I do. I want to write about the way I vacuum my floors and have you all falling over yourselves to tell me that I'm talented or brilliant or that you like the color I painted my toenails. I have trouble updating my blog because I blog for my readers. And for that to be a lasting motivation, I have to actually have readers. Which I'm pretty sure I don't.

But I still love the idea of blogging. When I was a kid I kept diaries. I still have them, and when I found them and started reading through them I was so embarrassed that I thought (much less wrote) the things that I did. I was immature and silly and awkward, and I wanted to go and burn those diaries so that no one could ever find them and read them. But then I remembered that I was in fifth grade. And in fifth grade you're supposed to be immature and silly and awkward. And when I wasn't searching for matches I realized that all those awkward things brought back memories that otherwise may have been lost forever.

I wish I had kept a diary when Dave and I were dating. I have no written record of how I felt when he asked me out, or where we went for dinner on our seventh date. And I wish I did. There were so many memories and feelings involved in those years that may now be gone forever, and it makes me so sad. I have no written record of planning my wedding, I was too busy planning it to take five minutes to write down how excited I was. And now I realize that we have been married for two years and I am 23 years old, and I may someday forget the beauty of being a newlywed.

So maybe someday I'll look back at this blog and think how silly I was, and maybe I'll wish I had never written it. (It is quite likely I'll wish I had never published it). But maybe if I decide to blog just for me, I'll be able to remember some of the silly little things that make this part of my life special. Maybe if I forget that I'm in between life stages and stop looking for interesting things to happen, I'll remember what it feels like to be 23, graduated, married and a little silly.

Maybe that will be enough to keep me writing.