Friday, August 20, 2010

The Last Beach Day

It was a perfect day at the beach.

Sunny. The tide was out and the wind was down. Waves were present and predictable. I spent quite a bit of time in the water today.

We started our day with a walk on the beach at 6:15. The water was calm, the light was beautiful, and the mosquitoes were out. There were a couple of other humans on the beach, many birds, and tons of shell litter. It was clear from the bird prints that any protein left in all the mussel shells had been picked clean by the gulls. I got Joni Mitchell's "Urge for Going" stuck in my head seriously. "I had me a man in summer time, he had summer colored skin..."

Home to urge the girls out of bed. They didn't love my rendition of "Dear Prudence" - but the sun was out and the sky was blue, it was beautiful and (well, I'm their mother) I think they are too - So breakfast, laundry, and off to the beach.

Hotter today at the beach because of the lack of wind, but we stayed in the water, bobbing like corks, riding the waves, and getting boogie board rash. Ah, the beach life.

I made it two hours before my heat-and-salt-o-meter went off, and I headed back with the girls to shower and make lunch. But I promised myself one last beach before the day was over.

And I got it. At 3:00, I headed back to the beach all by myself. I had a chance to stand in the water and think about this summer - the water kept me afloat as I rose and fell with the rollers coming in. There is a lot to think about. I've read some excellent books and some perfectly lovely junk food reading, I've been under the tutelage of master teachers, I've met and collaborated with teachers from all over North America, I've watched my daughters grow and assume new responsibilities, I've spent time with good friends, I've learned things about my own reserves and feelings, I've come to appreciate my extended family for the care they give each other, I've enjoyed food and wine with friends, and I've changed as a teacher and as a person. This summer's experiences have changed me in so many positive ways. And as I stood at the beach, packing up to go back to the house to get ready for dinner, I was sorry to say goodbye to LBI.

There is plenty to greet us back at home in Evanston. Sam turns 50, Emily starts YAMO rehearsal, friends from the Faire are in town from Minneapolis - and we need to buy school supplies (It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year).

Goodbye, LBI - It's been a real pleasure. Thanks Bob and Claire (my In-Laws) for making this all possible.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday on the beach

What a pleasure to wake up early but not get up. The girls were fully cashed out and Sam was in NYC, so I read my book. It was very nice to not worry about anyone. And I did enjoy City of Bones. Now I need to read the rest of the series.

We went to the beach this morning, and we were there for over an hour. Not a ton of time, but the sun is strong and we are SPF conditioning. I want to be able to really hang there by the end of the week. The waves were great. Not so strong as yesterday, but enough to knock you over if you weren't looking.

We were home in time for a late lunch. Bob and Claire went out to run errands and had lunch out, so we quesadillaed and the girls watched a 30 Rock marathon. I read, as you can see. It rained, I pulled all the towels in from the line, did my usual two loads of laundry, and made a big tomato-y beef soup for dinner that made Emily happy.

I bought tasty wine. I friend of mine is enjoying a '61 Latour tonight for his 52nd birthday. I had a passable chardonnay. I pretended for just a minute that I was enjoying a glass of that wine as a part of his birthday celebration. I have a VIVID imagination.

I'm off in a few short minutes to pick up Sam and Martha from the Manahawken Bus stop on NJ Transit. They have bussed in from NYC.

I love the beach, even when it rains. And if I can get my new/used camera to stop giving me a CF error or error 99, I will get up bright and early and get those post dawn beach photos. The forecast calls for possible rain tomorrow and glorious weather for the rest of the week.

Reading IS doing something.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday in Beach Haven

How can you complain about a day that was just about perfect (with a couple of small exceptions)?

We woke at our usual early hour but chose to not get up right away as the house was cool and still. As I could NOT keep my eyes open last night, this gave us a chance to talk through Sam's proposed trip to NYC tonight with Paul and his return on the bus to Manahawken with Martha tomorrow, late. This idea was moving forward so that Sam could finish his role of tech support (living, furnishings, computing) for his mom. We brought a used computer from the school computer sale (one of the first intel chip macs that has an integrated iSight camera) and Hannah has set up all the voice activated controls that she can for Gilda. Sam gets to show her how it works.

We went for a walk to the Village hall to see about beach tokens, got the info we needed, met Paul who had arrived from NY, and headed back to the house and then to the beach. It was great to have Paul here, and we headed to the beach with Grandpa Bob in tow for some wave jumping and general beach merriment. We had a great couple of hours on the beach where we were in and out of the water, rebasted with sunscreen, and nourished with cheese crackers and grapes. I stayed at the beach for a bit longer than the rest and arrived home to find lunch made. Lunch DOES taste better when someone else makes it.

I'm reading Cassie Claire's City of Bones (woefully behind, I know) and loving it, so I read some more, worked a bit on some InDesign work and napped a bit while the children went shopping with Paul and Sam. Excellent.

Dinner was started with the one wrong note of the day, a dreadful bottle of wine that Paul brought. He says it needs more time in the bottle. I am skeptical.

We made the Fishkin standard lemon garlic chicken with rice and three vegetables (hoping to tempt some folks to eat the vegetables). Oh, well. And in the midst of all this I washed clothes.

Sam and Paul are off to NY and we will hold down the fort here in Beach Haven. Tough duty, but we are up to the challenge. Tomorrow I will buy more seltzer (the girls have fallen in love with elderflower syrup) and a decent bottle of wine. All will be right with the world again.

And the sun set over the island. Cloudy, but Sophia (Sam tells me the photo is hers) got a nice image (see above).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

First Day at the Beach

The day started out as overcast and cool, but that never stopped us!
After we blasted the girls out of bed, we headed for our first day at the beach.

We dragged the grandparents with us, and we settled in for an hour or so of surf jumping and reading.

We had an agenda besides the beach:
  • Visit friends up island at their home in Loveladies.
  • Make lunch
  • Shop for groceries
Not in that order. I made lunch (which was delicious as far as I was concerned but was not lunch-perational to everyone at the table. Well, that's life and lunch.

We headed north to the fabulous home of friends of Bob and Claire where Hannah and Emily swam in the pickle barrel/swimming pool with the friends' great-granddaughter. Then off to the Shop-Rite for a major shop.

So dinner and a lovely glass or two of GrĂ¼ner Veltliner, an Austrian white wine. Light and refreshing. A little spritzy. Delicious summer wine. Lovely summer day.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Long Beach Island - the week begins

We are visiting Sam's father and his wife Claire this week. They have rented a house in Beach Haven on Long Beach Island, and this house is beautiful. We are pretty far down the island, near the bird sanctuary, and the house is situated so that the breeze is amazing as well as the view.

This is the view during the day, looking west, and we had a spectacular sunset.

We had the usual traffic on the causeway and the Garden State Parkway today as we drove to the shore. We had lots of time, and we were in no hurry. All hurry would have done is cause heartburn, and that seemed contrary as the smell of the sea became stronger and stronger.

I'm amazed at the house. It's well equipped and so comfortable. The view (as you can see) is broad and beautiful. And then, if all of this isn't enough, this little sliver of moon rose over the end of the Island tonight.

More from the Island as the week unfolds. And yes, I'm using my sunblock.