Thursday, September 23, 2010

A breath of fresh air

Sometimes getting away from it all can be good for you, and this week we have chosen to do just that.

When I was looking for places to take the family for vacation, I initially considered a number of popular American tourist beach-front locations, which mostly would have put us along the coasts of Florida or South Carolina.

But I decided that this time, it might be nice to do something a little different. Go somewhere a little bit more low-key, not a place covered in tourists and flashing lights and animated cartoon characters, and Jekyll Island seemed like the perfect place to go.

The kids are on fall vacation, so rather than do what we always do and stay home chilling and grilling, we decided to given them a late summer beach trip, and I'm happy to say we made a good decision. They're having a ball.

It's currently the middle of the off-season, and so in some ways it almost feels like we have the island to ourselves. There are a handful of families here and there, but it's been nice going to any restaurant of our choice and having absolutely no wait. Going to the pool and getting to choose any lounge chair you want. And although most of the waitstaff in the dining establishments are operating on island-time (i.e., they're not in the greatest hurry to bring you your food), they're super nice and make you feel welcome with their southern charm and their welcoming smiles.

This hasn't been a week full of activity, but I think we're all enjoying doing a whole lot of nothing. Internet and phone service is scarce, but the trade-off is being able to walk along the shore, stroll the fishing piers, observe the lighthouses, see dolphins right from the beach and being able to find those little mom-and-pop seafood dives with outdoor dining options and bottle of wine specials.

How often do you get to watch your kids pull nets in from a shrimping boat? Not every day, let me tell you. And it was cool to see they held their own. We'd joined a group of high-school kids on their 4H field trip (hey, we got a discount), and we spent the morning trolling along the ecological shores and historic marshlands, seeing more dolphins, sea birds and learning the history of the island. And the teen group got to keep whatever was pulled off the boat to help feed their animals.

And even though we didn't catch much, Maya was brave and touched everything that came out of the net.

All in all, I'd say we're having a great time, and this will be a place I'm sure we return to in the future.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Much ado about nothing

I started a blog several years ago, and I swear I was addicted to writing all the time, even if I had nothing remotely interesting to say. It didn't matter. I’d use my blog as an opportunity to just get my thoughts out, to share whatever funny events were going on in my day (or at least funny to me), and it was cathartic to just write. Even if I knew the audience who would read my thoughts consisted of only about five or six people.

Then I joined Facebook.

And all of a sudden, I had whole different arena for sharing my thoughts. And what’s more, I only had to share a sentence or two. It was painless. It was quick. It was easy, and I received feedback and comments and saw the thoughts of my friends, too. Even friends I hadn’t seen or spoken to since the playground at recess in second grade. How cool was that?

It was different from Twitter I reasoned (and have since vowed never to join). I really don’t need one more outlet for social networking that calls and beckons me to spend more idle time. Plus in many ways, I pretty much considered my status posts on Facebook to be enough “sharing.” I can post pictures in minutes, which incidentally has killed my desire to scrapbook. Instead of taking the time to write an elaborate journal entry for my pictures, I simply type a quick caption and I’m done. Almost like when my kids had a bottle for the first time after months of nursing, and must have thought “Man, you’ve been holding out on me Mom. I could’ve been full and satisfied in 5 minutes instead of 20, all I have to do is suck down this milk and I’m good to go?”

But I will say, I’ve missed the experience of just writing for the sake of writing. Having a thought and looking at it from a variety of angles – well, actually just one angle, my own. Even if no one read it, that fact didn’t matter. I’d purged my brain of something, exciting or not, and it’s that experience I miss the most.

So here’s my first blog post in ages. It’s about nothing important and nothing interesting. But I knew if I didn’t start somewhere, I wouldn’t do it. This was totally more for me than for the pleasure of any of you who happen to have lost three minutes of your life reading this boring drivel. But I don’t apologize. . .it felt good to write again. Even though, at the end of the day, I’ve said absolutely nothing.