A whirlwind two weeks, three countries, and thousands of miles of vacation came to an end yesterday with a long drive back from Canada.
We had another great week in PEI doing our favorite things and also doing not much at all.
I did get a lot of reading done between all the miles, including some fiction: Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane, A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny, Zero Days by Ruth Ware, and Valdez is Coming by Elmore Leonard. Plus, some non-fiction, as well: How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy, The Best of It by Kay Ryan, and Play: How it Shapes Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown.
All worth the time. I’ve reached the point where if the book isn’t working for me, I don’t plow through it, I just put it aside.
Anyone else read any great beach or vacation books this year?
Two Saturdays, two very different climates. Last week, I was drinking sweet Dominican coffee and sweating over the keyboard. This Saturday, I am cool as a cucumber. A Canadian cucumber. If they grew cukes in Canada. Which they probably do, but not in PEI, based on roadside sides they only grow potatoes here.
We have returned to Prince Edward Island for another year. “You’re going there again?” Yes. It’s hard to explain our love for this remote little slip of land but we are not denying it, just embracing it.
The underrated beauty of going back to a place again and again is that you’ve done it all. The only thing left to do is nothing. Idle away a day without the guilt and let your mind wander.
GK Chesterton said there were three types of leisure: “The first is being allowed to do something. The second is being allowed to do anything. And the third (and perhaps most rare and precious) is being allowed to do nothing.”
The kitchen reno is well underway and we are escaping the dust and chaos for a week’s vacation. There was just too much temptation for Michelle. Power tools everywhere.
With the end of August approaching, the girls wrapped up their last set of summer music lessons. I didn’t have to tell them to practice every day, but more often than not their was some Dad nagging. This parental prodding often led to huffs, puffs, eye rolls, or worse.
This self-flagellation for discipline, even to do good things, is tough. Sometimes it’s necessary, of course, but it’s difficult to maintain for any length of time. What does work? For me, it’s curiosity. It’s remembering the things you’re trying to force yourself to do are often things you find fun or satisfying. At least you did at one time. Once I managed to change my outlook on my daily tasks, whether they are writing, exercise, design, or baking, as things I’m curious about then they often become a lot less onerous.
Oddly, once i started doing this, my days often looked much the same as they did before but they now feel a lot different.
Yes, sometimes things still need to just get done. I don’t find paying bills or vacuuming all that curious, but instead of bullying yourself to get things done, try being disciplined about things that bring you joy. You’ll feel a lot better.
I only learned this recently but hope the girls can learn it a lot sooner.
Now and blog about 12 hours in a car…..
If you are going to visit Prince Edward Island, you really should take some time to see the island by water. The views of the red cliffs, bays, inlets and green fields spinning out toward the horizon is a view not to be missed.
Last year, we went for a morning boat tour that included fishing and clamming. This year we went a little more low key and a lot more musical. We booked a ‘jigs and reels’ sunset tour with the Fiddling Fisherman out of Souris.
Our summer of two islands and two countries has come to an end. A bit of a luxury? Sure. Better than spending that money on day camps, water parks, or new toys? Absolutely.
Our girls definitely learn best by doing. Reading books and looking at pictures is great but nothing beats hands-on experience. One of my many favorite little memories from the past week was passing the Amish family buggy on the road near our rental house and the conversation it sparked with Cecilia. You could almost see how the first hand brush with a vastly differently culture was re-mapping her worldview through curiosity and not skepticism.
Whether we were on a working lobster boat or visiting the community bakery, the girls were able to see firsthand how different cultures live, taste the food, and maybe step into their shoes for a short time. These sensory experiences allow the girls to gain knowledge in a more meaningful way. I think that’s worth stretching the budget for.
If you are reading this it means we’ve survived our 12 hour car trip across the border into Canada without an international incident and are back in PEI for a week of mussels….and not much else beyond a relaxing end to the summer.
Family road trips can be many things but mostly they are a test for parents on how long they can keep kids occupied before the children reach their breaking point. I try to see this as a way to help them develop patience and slowly prepare them for a life of sitting in a cube working on TPS reports.
The girls actually did great. We’ve built up their stamina with road trips to Jersey, Philly, and DC and they handled the extra hours pretty well. We did Harry Potter on audio, they did a few movies, there were silly road games, some French pop on the radio, and a breakfast truck stop.
We have three cardinal rules for our road trips: First, keep everyone fed. Second, embrace the chaos with as much humor and patience as you can muster. Third, always bring baby wipes no matter how old your kids (or their father) get.
The big fourth grade project is a report on Canada. This includes research, a typed presentation, and an artifact. One of the things I like most about Cecilia’s teacher is how she gives the kids the time and space to do things on their own. For better and for worse. Sorry, for better and for learning opportunities.
Watching Cecilia ‘type’ her slides was almost viscerally painful. Until she discovered dictation! We thought about stepping in but if we are going to let them figure things out why can’t she use all the tools on her Chromebook.
The toughest part for me to witness has been the design of the slides. I worked for almost 8 year as a consultant. I spent a lot time using PowerPoint. A lot. I would sometimes dream in PowerPoint. People would open their mouths and a perfectly formatted slide would pop out with their dialogue.
Cecilia’s slide dialogue would have been…difficult to read. She enjoyed different fonts. Explored different font sizes. Discovered rainbow fonts. She discovered Comic Sans. We had to have a chat.
As a designer, I will not let my child submit a report using Comic Sans. Time and space has its limits.