Well, after my "working vacation" week at Chautauqua, I hit the road for Buffalo. I knew how badly I missed Cheryl when I sat down as soon as I entered her home, and we talked for about two hours straight. We stayed in Buffalo that weekend, rather than heading for the Lake; apparently the campground where she parks her trailer has a huge celebration every July 4 weekend, including a big bonfire on the beach, a live band, and all night partying. Not being the party-hearty gals that we used to be, we chose to stay home. That gave me the chance to go to church at Calvary Episcopal in Williamsville, NY, where I served as Assistant Rector for 3 1/2 years right out of seminary. It was great to see familiar faces, but I did forget that midsummer without air conditioning, even in Buffalo, can be a tad warm.
Sunday afternoon, 3 old friends came over to Cheryl's, and she prepared an elaborate and wonderful tuna nicoise salad which we munched on all afternoon. The best part, of course, was the conversation.
Monday, Cheryl and I hit the grocery store and then headed south for a week and a half on Lake Erie. All I can say is, it was wonderful. Here are a few pictures:
Cheryl is a late sleeper, so I had most of the morning to myself to make coffee, write morning pages, eat breakfast, read, walk the 50 yards or so to get a look at the lake, and putter around. Fortunately, Cheryl and I both are heavy sleepers, so I could rattle and bang around in the tiny galley kitchen next to her bedroom, and she didn't even roll over. It was lovely to have that leisurely, solitary (introverted) stretch of morning to ponder the mysteries of the universe. When Cheryl woke, we would talk while she ate her breakfast.
The bulk of the day was spent in various leisure pursuits, including trying to find wireless internet access, walking around, or:
I have to ask you: who kidnapped me and put me inside that fat woman's body??? Still, the hammock was heavenly, and even more so after I raised it up higher, so my butt cleared the ground by more than just a couple of inches.
From 3-5 pm I went to the beach every day (well, okay, it did rain a couple of days -- but that's not bad for a week and a half on the lake!). I love my little rituals, and having a set beach time was perfect. After the beach it was cocktail hour, and I came home, had a gin & tonic (or 2, or several), and started dinner. Since I enjoy grilling, Cheryl left that part of the dinner up to me, and she took over table setting and salad-making. Yum, yum. We had steak, fish, lamb, chicken, grilled veggies, pre-assembled skewers of meat and veggies, and all manner of wonderful treats. Evenings were devoted to reading, conversation, the occasional campfire, and reasonable bedtimes for me (though Cheryl tended to stay up late reading). Oh, and I forgot the nearly nightly walk back to the shore to check out the sunset.
Yes, they looked like this nearly every night.
I was so sad to set out that last morning for home. I wanted to linger, but I knew I needed to make the whole drive in one day, so an early departure was mandatory. I wanted to get home Friday night, so I would have all day Saturday to unpack, do laundry, sort and open mail, and generally settle in.
One of the things that Cheryl and I do for one another is share what we're currently interested in, and inspire one another with good ideas and good intentions. Cheryl has been on a "healthy eating" kick, and she inspired me to add lots of fresh fruits and veggies to my diet. I'm better than she is about exercise, doing yoga 3+ times a week and running 5 days most weeks. So the last few days she and I took long, brisk walks together and talked about hopes and dreams and goals. I think we both got a healthy dose of motivation from each other!
When I got home, I felt energized and inspired. I went to both the farmer's market and a roadside stand, and bought lots of healthy fruits and veggies. I decided to cut out cocktail time altogether for a while, all to the aim of losing as much of this excess weight as I can manage. I got back into my running practice, and also started a home yoga practice, even if just for a few minutes a day. So far, I've lost 4 1/2 lbs. in the 2 weeks since I got home! Yay me! I've also got new energy and enthusiasm for work, which is part of what vacations are for.
So I recommend it. Exotic travel is great. Working vacations can also sometimes be great. But I think God made the Sabbath for us because God knew we needed some time to be still and do nothing worthwhile. That's where re-creation, even Resurrection, happens. I'm so grateful for my time away, and so glad to be back home with my work and my dogs!