Tag Archive for Recreation

Summer’s Already Gone?

1-IMG_0184This is the first summer in a long, long, long time that I can remember that we never did make it to the beach.  No sand between the toes, no salty ocean water, and no frozen chocolate malt cup with one of those little wooden spoons.  It’s a little bit of a bummer since we are less than an hour from the ocean’s shore.  But, things happen and life rolls on.  There will be many more summer’s at the beach.

This is me pouting a little, and stomping my feet a couple of times.  I have such great memories of going to the beach with all of my kids, and their cousins.  For a few summers we would go to the beach once a week.  We’d leave right after lunch and get to the  ocean’s shore around 2pm.  We’d take dinner with us.  Cold chicken legs, watermelon, and an assortment of chips and what not’s.  We’d swim and watch the sunset, and would not leave until it got dark.  Such good times and such great memories.  Sometimes I would have 5 or 6 kids in the car with me, along with all of the boogie boards, towels, lots of sunscreen, and food.  My Momster van would be stuffed to the brim.

For quite a few years we had an annual family picnic at the beach.  We would set the date so everyone could be together for a day of fun in the sun.  There would be tons of food, a few e-z ups for shade, lots of chairs, and a wagon to haul it all in.  Then there is a certain Travel Guy in the family who would get to the beach extremely early, I’m talking like 6 or 7 am.  He would stake out a fire ring, take a grill with him to cook on,  and get a spot all staked out for the day.  I’m sure I remember him taking some parking cones to help him stake out our “party zone” for the day.  He’d usually have a few helpers with him, who’d get treated to a breakfast cooked beachside.

Family members would trickle into the “party zone” throughout the day. There would be lots of eating and swimming,  swimming and eating, Frisbees, a few baseball gloves and a ball for the kids to play pickle, and maybe a kite or two.

By dinnertime we’d have a fire roaring in the ring.  Hot dogs and hamburgers roasting, salads galore, and all of the kids just chomping at the bit to roast marshmallows for their s’mores. Of course it wouldn’t be a proper marshmallow fest without a game of chubby bunny first.

We’d roast lots and lots of mallows, eat s’mores, laugh and kibbutz about all things family.  The day would end when  the beach closed, around 10pm, and then it was the long, tired trek home.  Such great memories and such good times.

It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten all of the gang together for a family beach day.  It gets harder and harder every year with all of the kids moving along in their own directions. It was a fun family tradition that hopefully we can revive again soon.

Now fall is upon us.  Here in Southern California we look forward to the cooler days and nights.  Many, many cooler nights.  We still can get to the beach a time or two, it’s just not the same as during the hot days of summer.

Does your family have a  favorite summertime get together?

Some Thoughts from 30,000 Feet

1-IMG_0692This post was penned a few weeks ago, while I was on the plane with Travel Man going back to Illinois to see our family.  I wanted to share it with all of you because we were having so much fun together, and I always love sharing tales of my Travel Guy’s crazy work lifestyle.

June 20, 2013:  This weekend Travel Man and I are actually taking a little vacation trip together.  Yay!!  I’m writing this post from 30,000 feet somewhere between Denver and Milwaukee.  It is so nice to see Travel Man relaxed, laughing, and smiling.

He has had a harried three weeks.  He’s been through or in the airports in these cities:

Las Vegas
Los Angeles
Oklahoma City
Chicago Midway

So needless to say he’s been making the “rounds” so to speak.  He’s been in a lot of airports, and had lots of rides in “tubes”.  That’s my new catch phrase for his airplane travel, or should I say where his office is located!!

He’s been getting a little burnt out on the airport/airplane routine.  He’ll ask me, “What day is it?, or Where was I last week?”.   Thank goodness for our electronic calendars.  That’s how we keep track of all of his travels.

Getting to take a trip just for family and fun is just plain good medicine for his soul right now. Plus we get to be together for a few days too!! Bonus!

Travel Man wanted me to write about our travel experiences on Southwest Airlines.  I’m saving that post for another day.  Today is about how great it is to be able to spend time with my husband.  Every trip we take no, matter how big or small becomes an adventure with him.  He’s a professional people watcher, because he’s in airports and amongst the crowds so much.  He loves to try to guess where people are going, or which person belongs with who, or what their life story is.  It can really be entertaining.

This weekend we are heading to Illinois to celebrate my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary.  We are looking forward to some big hugs, lots of gabbing, and then some more hugs.  My parents are there, and my brother and sister are joining us too.  I think it’s the first time we’ve all been in Illinois together since 1986.

This weekend I am determined to get the story of how my grandparents met committed to paper or some sort of electronic device.  A story that I want to have for posterity’s sake, and for all the grandkids to hear.

More on our weekend travels soon.  Memories will be made, pictures will be posted,  and then the long, goodbye hugs will be upon us.

Postscript: As you can probably tell I wrote this post prior to my Dad’s unexpected passing.  See my post from July 4, 2013.  Little did any of us know that fate brought us all together with my grandparents one last time.

It’s a Wonderful, sometimes Crazy Life

1-IMG_0692Today is Travel Man’s first work trip for the New Year , and he is traveling overseas to Bangkok.  My husband’s work life involves travel, lots and lots of travel.  Last year he logged over 160,000 air miles.    He was supposed to be in the air yesterday, but due to some bad weather in some other part of the world, his flight was cancelled, and he got rescheduled for a departure today.

It’s funny you know, he doesn’t have the normal commute, doesn’t have “normal” work hours, and frequently works the weekends.  But he does get to use his home office as his base of operations, and we work around his days at home to get to spend time with one another, and spend time with other family members.  I consider us incredibly lucky in that regard.

When his travel plans got shuffled yesterday, which I have to say does not happen very often, we rearranged our day, and actually were able to spend time with our grandkiddos together.  He surprised Evan and picked him up at school.  Which was fun for Travel Man, because we found out from our daughter earlier in the day that Evan was a little bummed because he did not get to give his Papa a goodbye,  travel hug.  (That’s what Evan called it. )

1-IMG_0112The difficult part for me in all of the travel shuffling was saying goodbye to Travel Man twice.  And yesterday when he was leaving I got teary eyed,  this hardly ever happens to me.  I’m saying goodbye to my guy many times during any given month.  But yesterday was different.  We had stayed at a hotel near LAX Sunday night so the trip to the airport the next morning would take no time at all.  This meant that Travel Man could just catch the hotel shuttle bus to get to the airport.  I went down with him to see him off when the shuttle bus got there.  We said our goodbyes, he went to the shuttle bus, and I was waiting for him to look up at me so I could give him that one last wave.  And then we had a moment.  My loving husband came back inside the hotel lobby to give me one more  hug.  When I realized he was walking back in that’s when the tears started.  No warning, I just got emotional and there the tears were.  We got in one last hug, and my Travel Man reassured me there was no reason to be upset, and then he was off.

Of course, he came back to the hotel in about an hour, and now this morning he is off again.  One more goodbye, and he is off to his “work travel”.  Back in work mode, back in “travel mode”.  That’s what Travel Man calls it.

I think with my blogging this year I will try to share more stories with all of you about how Travel Man and I get through the crazy travel times with his job, and how we get along with it all.  It’s a good life, sometimes crazy, but it’s what we do.

We’ve been Resting, Recuperating, and Recharging

Last Monday afternoon Travel Man and I were enjoying a glorious day at a local beach here in Southern California.  The temperature at the beach was a balmy 82°, and the water temperature was even better 69°.  Beautiful, picture perfect day.  We took our lunch with us, and had planned to stay until close to dinner time.  However, our day had a different plan for us.

The waves were cresting at about 6-7 feet that day, which is unusual for Corona del Mar.  It’s a beach that’s a little inlet next to the Newport Beach jetty.  I swam a couple of times, and Travel Man brought the boogie board with him so he could “catch some waves”.   Around 3pm Travel Man went out with the boogie board, and was having fun riding the waves.  I was on the beach reading, and could see him bopping around in the water. 

Then about 15 minutes later my Travel Man comes staggering out of the water, and he’s using the boogie board to hold himself up.  I could tell something wasn’t right with him, so I went right down to the shore to see if he was ok.  He definitely was not ok.  He had some blood running down his face, and had a nasty scrape on top of his head, and he was hurting.  I got him back to our chairs in the sand, and was looking at the cut on his head to see how serious it was.   A swimmer who had seen Travel Man stagger out of the water came over to see how he was doing and offered to get the lifeguard for us.

The lifeguard checked him out, and cleaned out the cut on his head.  He was having a tremendous amount of pain in his neck.  The lifeguard told Travel Man he should have his neck and back checked out.  The kind of crash he had taken to the ocean floor is characterized as “going over the falls”.  Meaning he was at the very top of the crest of the wave, and the momentum slammed him to the ocean floor.  The choices for getting medical attention were; call for an ambulance, or go the doctor on our own.  We opted for no ambulance, and got the Injured Man in the car first.  Before this a very kind woman sitting near us came over to see if we needed help  loading up the car.  Of course, being the fathead that I am I said, “No, we’re fine.  I think we can manage.”  Of course I was not fine, I was racked with fear that my husband had seriously injured himself.  In hindsight, I should have insisted that Travel Man be transported by ambulance.  We had no idea how seriously he was injured.

We actually started to drive towards home to go to our family doctor, and Travel Man was in so much pain we opted for the emergency room two miles from the hospital.  Travel Man called my parents, as they had been in the area earlier in the day.  We got checked in to the ER, and I called my brother and asked him to come and sit with me.  And he did.  He was at the hospital within half an hour, and my parents arrived about an hour later.  My family is awesome like that.  If there’s an emergency or you need their help, they are ALWAYS there for you.  I just love my family.

 Travel Man went through some painful moments waiting to be checked out by the doctors; getting a CT scan, and getting an x-ray.  Then he got some pain meds and he was able to relax a little.  Once we got the results that there was nothing fractured, he got released to go home.  This was about 4½ hours after we had initially arrived in the ER. 

And my brother, he stayed with us the whole time,  until we got Travel Man back in the car to go home.  He’s just awesome like that.  We sent my parents home earlier in the evening, as they had a long drive home.  I was ever so thankful for their presence while Tom was getting checked out.  Otherwise my worry gene kicks in, my mind wanders, and I imagine the worst.

Since last Monday, Travel Man has been resting and recuperating.  He’s not too happy about this arrangement, but he knows it is necessary.  And I am happy to report that he is feeling much better.  The abrasion on his scalp has already healed, and his black eye is nearly gone.  He was quite a sight.  We’re both looking forward to our batteries getting recharged from the resting and recuperating, and moving on to the next adventure.  But you all should know, there will be no more boogie boarding in Travel Man’s world. 

One other reminder from this story is that there are kind and warm-hearted people everywhere you go.  The generosity of the people on the beach was amazing.  Travel Man and I always tell each other if we see a chance to be helpful to someone we always  will, because you never know when you might need the next “Pay It Forward”.

The Tomatoes are Growing

Hello neighbors.  Yes I’m still here and no I haven’t gone anywhere.  You see Travel Man got home from his second international trip last Saturday, and we’ve been spending some much-needed time together.  He’s only been home 8 days in the last 30, and now he’s home all of this week (anxiously keeping my fingers crossed).  We’ve been having some great meals together, and working in the garden together.  Always a lot to do in the garden.

This year I planted 5 tomatoes plants.  The varieties I purchased from Lowe’s and Home Depot were; Roma, Better Boy, Big Boy, and Celebrity.  A pretty ambitious effort for me, because at the end of last summer I had proclaimed I would only plant two tomato plants this year.  I’m crazy like that, sometimes I just like to go for the gusto!  So I had intended to share these pictures with all of you about a month ago, and somehow they got lost in the “Camp Grandma” menagerie of pictures.

This little contraption is what I am using to water the tomatoes this summer.  Of course in Southern California we have some extreme heat in the summer.  Travel Man found these for me at one of his favorite hardware stores, and I was readily willing to try them.  The spike holds a two liter soda bottle.  It has little holes down each side of the spike to allow the water to flow through to the roots.  With the heat we are having right now I am filling the bottles up twice a day.  In the morning and again in the early evening.  So far so good as the tomatoes are thriving.

This picture of the Roma tomato plant is from a month ago.


And this is the same plant today.  I finally added the cages and staking to all of the tomato plants last weekend.  Now it’s just keeping up with the watering and weeding, and waiting for the arrival of the first tomato!!  I cannot wait to have my first BLT with a garden tomato!

We (meaning Travel Man and I) are having an ongoing discussion about the best way to let the tomatoes grow.  My mindset has always been to just put the cages up and let them go to town.  Travel Man’s theory is we should keep them pruned inside of the cages to get a better crop of tomatoes.  I am trying it Travel Man’s way this summer, so I can see how the plants to in the raised bed they are growing in.  And I have to give his idea a chance too.  I like to try to see things from all sides, and not be the “fathead”.  So that being said it brings me to my question for all of you who garden or have gardened in the past.  “To prune the tomatoes, or not prune the tomatoes?”   That is my question to all of you.  Looking forward to hearing some great gardening opinions.  Happy Wednesday to everyone!

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