Back from vacating.
We spent the last 10 days up at 26 Pines. Maddie has become a fearless leaper into deep waters. Deep to her, at any rate. She also impressed all and sundry with her advanced reading skills.
Dale developed into the Implacable Nemesis of All Panfish, netting a couple score of hapless sunfish and bluegills off my parents' dock. All were returned to the lake unscathed, to grow into eating size. He also attended his first car race, and was rather impressed.
Rachel kept trying to pet the fish in the bucket, and was wowed by the fireworks display. She also had a tea party with Neema (their nickname for my mom).
Together, the three delighted in a visit to the petting zoo/farm, and it took determined parrying by Heather and me to avoid bringing home one of the "free [sic] kittens." The jet ski was also popular, but more with Maddie than the others.
Heather had a good break, too, and I think she likes the farm more than the kids, if possible. She pounded through a couple of books and we were able to watch Galaxy Quest and Fellowship of the Ring, both on VHS. No DVD or cable for the cottage, thank you very much. No phone, either
We also were able to make a stop at Hulings, which is running everything at 25% off. The gaming section has shrunk to D&D only, with board wargaming a thing of the past. But we were able to leave with a few keepsakes, including a kite, a model ('78 Firebird), a some-assembly-required birdhouse, and a DMG (version 3.5). But perhaps the most telling object is the handwritten receipt, all figures tallied by calculator. Claude's son, who was manning the store at the time, said that his father just wasn't into the newer business tech.
If I learned anything, it was that I need to get away from the constant white noise hum of urban life more often. Hearing the wind sough through the second-growth forest 100 feet out the back door, catching the mournful call of one of the lake's nesting pair of loons, or just regaining the sense of a world that knows when to stop, that it has to stop--that's essential. Nature isn't just window dressing. It's woven into what we are. We lose that connection at our peril and I know I need to renew that connection more often. I needed this vacation more than I thought.
I'll get caught up on the mail and other projects ASAP.