Vacation Wrap Up and Winners

I love summer.  I love traveling east every year to the same lakefront location.  I love seeing the same cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, the same lifelong friends and family (my husband’s) year after year.  Really, I do.  (Just ignore all those travel brochures to Hawaii gathering dust in the magazine basket-I don’t know WHO put them there).   

Northeast Pennsylvania is beautiful.  I love the gorgeous green rolling hills and the brilliant blue sky.  I love the honeymoon phase when we first get there- when the kids are getting along and everyone is happy to see each other.  This doesn’t last very long, but it sure is nice.  I love the mist on the glassy lake in the morning, the orange daylilies, the screened in porch, the mosquitoes, the kids making a fort in the woods, ice cream at the local dairy.  I love the smell of sunscreen and bug spray and hot dogs on the grill, love the excitement the kids get over catching frogs and lightning bugs and caterpillars or spotting a deer, the thrill we all get over a big thunderstorm, the board games, the chilly nights (“good sleeping weather”), the 4th of July fireworks, the lemonade and cold beer and friendly neighbors.  I had time to read 4 books and 3 magazines while occasionally glancing up to watch my kids jump off the dock, play in the sand, catch fish in a bucket.  I love the slower pace, the low tech fun. Love it, love it all.   

It’s like stepping back in time.  The biggest story on the news during our trip was about a bear cub recovering after being hit by a truck and the latest score of the Yankees game (no, not THOSE Yankees- I’m talking about the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees!).  I’m sure there must have been other things going on in the news- in fact I remember hearing from someone at the beach that Angelina Jolie gave birth to twins and that John McCain made a stupid remark that got lots of press. Good to know that the rest of the world goes on without us while we’re on vacation.  

I picked up a new reader while I was in PA- no, not a Kindle!  A blog reader with eyeballs-my husband’s cousin (Hi, Kim!)  She’s an attorney and single mom of three gorgeous, whip-smart girls.  She mentioned at a family gathering that she’d gotten her older 2 into golfing, because each year many college scholarships for women golfers go unclaimed (after doing a tiny bit of Google research, I’ve learned that’s not exactly true-sorry, Kim!).  Anyway, my youngest overheard this conversation and also admired her cousin Maddie’s pretty pink golf clubs, so now she’s hounding me to call and find out about golf lessons.  At 9 she’s a little young to be gunning for college scholarships, I think, but pink is her color, so it’s on my to-do list for today. 

I missed my July book club meeting for The Sweet Potato Queen’s Big Ass 1st Novel (and now that I’ve written that sentence, I’m sure to get more hits from people googling “big ass”.  If that’s how you got here, sorry to disappoint you, because I don’t have what you’re looking for on this blog!!)  Anyway, everybody had fun without me- book clubber Karen made brisket on rolls and asked everyone else to bring “comfort food” which, of course, meant different things to different people-pies and sweets and many other calorie-laden goodies.  Although most thought the book was funny, the food was the highlight of the meeting. Our pick for August is Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, which I had time to read at the lake, so I’m ahead of myself! 

Coming home from vacation is the sucky part.  After having my 5’10” body folded into a teeny airline seat for 8 hours or so (including all the time just sitting around on the runway), I was all crampy and sore waking up yesterday, my first day home.  I was happy to be in my own bed, but then had to face all the unpacking and laundry, 2 weeks of mail, bills to pay, groceries to buy, email and phone calls to return (sorry if I haven’t responded to you yet; I’m working on it!), an overgrown yard, a dusty van, grumpy bored children, a dog who missed us and has been really spoiled by her dogsitter (my mom), all while exhausted and jet-lagged.  Today (day 2) has got to be better, right? 

I’ll post a few vacation pictures once I get around to unpacking the camera.  I’ve also got several reviews to write, and winners to announce!  The reviews will have to wait until everyone in my home has clean underwear, but I can announce the winners right now, so here goes— 

The winners of Janeology by Karen Harrington are: 

Fightingwindmills and Jenefur!

 The winner of A Summer Affair and Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand is:

 Patti from Displaced Beachbums

 Congrats to the winners!  I’ll email you to get your contact info.

What is your least favorite part of going on vacation?  The packing?  The unpacking?  Squabbling kids? Navigating the airport?  Leave a comment and let me know!

It’s good to be home!  

7 New Books to Throw into your Beach Bag this Summer

School’s out and the kids want to go to the pool, the beach, the water park.  What books should you throw into your beach bag?  Here are a few suggestions:

Not a Happy Camper: A Memoir by Mindy Schneider (256 pages)

A nostalgic look back to the 1970s at the experience of sleep-away camp through the eyes of a 13 year old Jewish girl.  I went to camp in the 70’s and can’t wait to relive those summers with this book.

The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips (251 pages)

The ripple effect of a baby thrown into a well reveals the racial and class divisions in a southern coal-mining town in Depression-era Alabama. 

The Enders Hotel by Brandon Schrand (238 pages)

Schrand’s memoir of his youth in a decrepit Idaho hotel/cafe/bar. 

The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown (336 pages)

The story of a summer friendship between two children from very different backgrounds: 10 year old motherless Alice and the neighbor’s grandson, Theo.

The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares (320 pages)

Traveling Pants author’s first novel for adults- a coming of age story about two sisters in love with the same man.  

The Manny by Holly Peterson (368 pages)

A Park Ave. mom hires a male nanny for her son.  Could this be the male version of The Nanny Diaries?  Judging from the reviews on amazon, people seem to either love it or hate it.

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge (400 pages)

After learning her college sweetheart husband has been cheating on her, Mira takes off with no destination in mind and lands in Seattle, where she finds someone new: herself.  I loved Jennie Shortridge’s book, Eating Heaven, and can’t wait to dive into this one!

What books are going in your beach bag?