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Posts tagged ‘vacation’

From Gold to Green

I left the gold colored landscape of Northern California last week for the Green Mountain State. Summertime in Vermont is quite glorious if you can avoid the man eating mosquitos. Yesterday, my dad, mom, brother, and I headed out to a new adventure. We decided on AuSable Chasm- an attraction in New York’s Adirondack Mountains on the other side of Lake Champlain.

This was very, very special because I hadn’t spent a whole day with my brother since he left California back in September, and my time with my dad is limited when I visit because he works. When I was told they were taking the day off, I felt like I had won the lottery! What a treat.

We headed out across Lake Champlain on the Grand Isle ferry. It’s a quick trip, but the sun was shining and the views are lush and soothing.

And then a wave comes and soaks you!!

We drove south down routes 9 and 22 through gorgeous little towns filled with brick buildings, past old stone walls separating farms, and incredible limestone homes. These houses made me so jealous considering what we can buy in San Jose for the same amount of money.

I’ve only ever been in this area one other time, and Chris and I saw Rainbow Falls at AuSable Chasm from the road. Growing up, I had seen the photos and really wanted to check it out, but we got there after closing that day.

The old bridge and pump house are majestic.

Little did I know as we started down the trail that I’d soon feel like I was back West again!

We hiked down along the trails and couldn’t believe we were in the Northeast.

We then rafted lazily down the chasm eroded over time by the river.

After our journey, we headed into Essex, NY for lunch right on the lake and a little bit of antiquing which is one of my favorite things ever!!

Then, back on the ferry.

We were so beat! It was a great day exploring with some of my favorite people.

Almost There…

My students are facing finals, and I am soooo glad that I’m not in high school anymore.  While I’m working everyday, I’m dreaming of what’s to come!

Things that I am saving for the summer:

  • Organize recipes and cookbooks.  Make a binder of all the loose papers I have.
  • Try to go pescatarian for an anti-inflammatory diet.  See if back and overall health improve with the changes.  Come up with lots of great new recipes.
  • Buy a house.
  • Move into said house.
  • Study “good works” in the Bible.  Get over my anxiety about studying the Bible.
  • Cook at home more.
  • Make a website for my business and finalize my new business plan.
  • Learn how to stick to a budget.

Things I have been doing that will help my summer be totally rocking if I can keep them up:

  • Losing weight.  Legs and arms are already looking quite nice!
  • Not crowding every day full with stuff to do.
  • Being realistic about what I can accomplish, give, do, etc…
  • Staying conscious of where our money goes.
  • Praying that God will meet all of our needs even though I won’t be working as much.

What I’d like to do this summer:

  • Go on a long vacation to Dawn Ranch in Sonoma and swim in the Russian River all day long while sipping lightly chilled rose as Honey chases birds.
  • Not babysit every single day.

What I will actually be doing this summer:

  • Celebrating 5 year of marriage!
  • Going to the beach with my favorite dog as many times as possible.
  • Being outside as much as possible.
  • Going to Vermont for a family reunion.

No, It’s a Good Thing!

My sister, Sarah, is coming to visit next month.  She is coming because she loves me and wants to spend time with me.  The trip was spurred on by the fact that I didn’t go back for Christmas this year because it was too big of a push for me mentally; I just needed some down time.  Chris and I got it by staying in California, but we really missed being with our families for the holidays.

Sarah decided to come visit, because she knew it would bless me, build me up, and care for me.  We and I are super close, can tell each other anything, and love each other immensely.  She is one of my best friends, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

I explain this, because it got kinda twisted last week in my mind.  All the sudden, I started thinking about this future visit as a stressful time.  It was actually really strange, because she’s really low key and just wants to be with me.  Honestly, even if we sat on the couch all week, I’m sure she would be happy to have some time to relax and talk in person without two little munchkins (the cutest kids on earth, Elijah and Norah) running around.  Plus, she’s coming over my students’ break, so I don’t even have to juggle work!

But my odd response to the visit was another sign that I had my head on backward (see this week’s previous posts if you don’t believe me).  So I changed my mind.

In this situation, that change was really easy to enact.  I’ve been thinking about the fun things that we can do while she’s here (Año Nuevo’s elephant seals, Sonoma wine tasting, Santa Cruz, walks to take in all the California flowers in bloom, antiquing in my neighborhood), the way that we’ll stay up way too late chatting like we always have (since we shared a room when we were young), and getting to meet her little boy, Benjamin, for the first time.

Maybe we won’t do any of the activities that I’ve envisioned…  but who cares?!?  My little sis, who knows me better than the entire world, is coming to visit!  Maybe we’ll just cook and drink her yummy margaritas.

I am so excited now for her trip, but it took me realizing that the time together will bring joy and love and life instead of added responsibility.  And what little extra duties are required of me, I’m willing to take on, because that time together is totally worth it.

Even if I give up my bed for a few days.  But you would, too, if you knew how cute Benjamin was!

Vacation Contemplation

Vacations are tricky for me.  I love being away from home, relaxing, exploring, and trying new things.

Those very activities, though, also tend to make me melancholy.  Stepping away from the normal routine in my life gives me time to reflect without as much noise.  And that’s where I start to get into trouble.

One minor example is that I always decide that I want to move to the place where we’ve travelled (except LA, yuck).  For me, the grass is literally greener…  San Jose is dirty, smoggy, and expensive.  In Hawaii, I can buy an oceanfront condo in Kona for $199,000.  In Sonoma, a house on the Russian River surrounded by redwoods goes for $300,000.  Compared to the prices in the South Bay, those are a steal!

Vineyard, W. Dry Creek Road

But, honestly, it’s not really that the housing prices are more reasonable.  Sure, though places are quieter, cleaner, and more peaceful than being near the junction of two major highways, but I’m just not settled, and I haven’t been for a very long time.

Being in a new environment somehow forces me to think about my life and what I would like to do differently.  Maybe it’s because when I’m someplace different, I am the only thing that hasn’t changed.  (Well, Chris and Honey haven’t changed either, but I just bring them along for the ride!)

Olive trees, W. Dry Creek Road

So today, while taking the long way and driving through the various wine growing regions, I started to get sad- for no apparent reason.  I think I have a clue, though.  The last six months have brought major changes, and I’ve struggled with the transitions… And there are even more on the horizon.

Some come as soon as Monday, when I start looking for a new job.  Part of the quiet contemplation as we drove came from the fact that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  After years of switching jobs, industries, etc…, this prospect is daunting and exhausting.  While I am sure that I will find my niche eventually, the road seems as narrow and windy as our off-the-beaten-path trek today.

The bright side to this is that come Monday, when I put my nose to the grindstone and start my search, I will be rested and invigorated after having some fun excursions.  Maybe this time up in my brain is just setting me up to be successful and more grounded during the changes.  Maybe the new job is right around the corner.  In the meantime, I’m still bringing home the bacon as a tutor, and I am very thankful for that.

Plus, being away does have it’s perks too.  Yesterday, I brainstormed my idea for a cookbook (watch out, Rachel Ray) and came up with a way to make our home office a more pleasant place to work (plants outside the window).

But if I moved to Sonoma, I could just be a farmer.  🙂

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