Vacation Talk

by Rhode

Spring has finally sprung in my neck of the woods, and it has me thinking of how to use my vacation and personal time…

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Also, if money and time are no object, where would you go on vacation, who would you take with you, how long would you stay, and what would you do?


133 thoughts on “Vacation Talk

  1. What a nice, dreamy topic for the Friday of a long weekend! Well done, Rhode and CoC. :-)

    My favorite regular vacation spot is Taos, most specifically in winter for skiing. Except this last year, which was so bleeping cold I didn’t even want to run the 20′ to the hot tub.

    My favorite “used to” vacation spot is Turks & Caicos for the diving. DH and I went once on our “last pre-kid vacation” and ended up at this small hotel that rented us what had been the caretaker’s room, which was a little 2nd floor 1Br apartment with a huge deck, directly on the ocean. Hanging off the West Caicos wall basically is my zen spot. But that trip I blew out my ear and missed several days — but the deck was so awesome I didn’t even miss it.

    My favorite “big” vacation spot is Italy; I’d happily do a week at the same house in Tuscany and a week in Piedmont any day.

    The place I most want to go on the “money and time are no object” trip is the whole South Pacific — New Zealand #1, Australia, Fiji, diving Truk, etc.

  2. Cape Cod is my favorite and I’m spending a little over a week up there this summer.:)

    I’d love to do Europe when the kids get a little bigger for two weeks because I’ve never been. I also think one of those luxe dude ranches out west would be quite fun.

  3. I’ve reached a point where it’s more important to me to travel to see people rather than things. I’ve been to Europe and Asia and Mexico and Canada and all over the U.S. I’ve been to lots of museums. If you offer me a free stay in Half Moon Bay I won’t turn it down, but I’m more interested in driving to Silicon Valley and the Santa Cruz mountains to see all my old friends.

  4. without money and time impediments…really exploring South Africa. Michener’s The Covenant was prescient and I’ve wanted to go there ever since I read it. I have no family connection to the place.

    Even though I’ve lived there twice, I’d say a favorite vacation spot would be LA. Yup, LA. Beach, Museums, Restaurants, Mountains, Weather. The same can be said for other cities, true, but Randy Newman is right I LOVE LA! (except for the baseball team…lifelong Giants fan here…Dodger stadium is still nice, however).

  5. Friends! how could I forget that, too. Plenty of ’em in LA for us both. (Thanks for the reminder RMS).

  6. “if money and time are no object, where would you go on vacation”

    Everywhere–all the time. DH and I travelled quite frequently, pre-kids. We’d like to take the same trips now, with the kids. Unfortunately, everything costs a lot more, college is around the corner, and we have to deal with school schedules, so our travels are much more limited.

    Favorite place I’d like to revisit? South Africa and Galapagos. Nothing beats having a sundowner on the African plain looking at zebras as they walk by. Or hanging out, up close on a beach with sea lions.

  7. Great topic!

    I am not a huge traveler, and there are not many places that I am dying to visit that are new to me. I would like to take a trip to Italy that is relaxing and more luxurious than my few rushed days there as a student several decades ago.

    Cape Cod and Nantucket are tops on my list, plus London and New York.

    While I am in England I would also love to visit Bath and Lyme (to see where Louisa Musgrove fell)!

    Visiting family is important also, but the locations are not quite as alluring (which is why we often go to Cape Cod)!

  8. where would you go on vacation, who would you take with you, how long would you stay, and what would you do?

    All of us! But, much like the RV tour of the national parks they’d get a vote. But, here is the trip and it’s going to sound crazy as I love the travel part of travel and I love long weekends vs. 9, 11 or 14 day trips.

    Leave Boston on JAL 787 Thursday at 1:30pm in first class and get to Tokyo at on Friday at 4pm (the actual flight time is 13:30. Then go out for a nice dinner, then the next day sight seeing, take a bullet train to Mt. Fuji on Saturday. Sunday maybe the train to Kyoto. Monday sight seeing in Tokyo and then back on the plane for the 13 hr flight to Boston. Amazingly enough, due to the international date line, the flight time and the path over the North Pole, the flight leaves Tokyo at 6:15pm on Monday and gets into Boston at 6:15 on Monday.

  9. We went to New Zealand for our honeymoon and it is beautiful and uncrowded. I’d love to spend half the year there in retirement. South Africa and the Mediterranean region would also be nice. Eastern Europe in 2003 was interesting because they were rebuilding. But at this point in my life, none of those will happen. We’re up for another summer of camping, fishing and backpacking.

  10. I love Australia. I’ve been there a few times for work and vacation. I can’t wait until DD is old enough to make the trip. I think we need at least two weeks and I would like to go during their summer so it’s hard to figure it out with school.

    I have a milestone birthday in 2016 so I’m thinking about where I want to go next summer. I’ve never been to Italy and I really want to visit Tuscany and the Amalfi coast. The cities will have to wait for another trip.

    I want to visit a few of the Scandanavian countries, but I really want to visit Denmark.

    As for actual vacation, were playing tourist in NYC today. It’s a very expensive day at a place called Sugar Factory near the high line.

    We have the Disney cruise and possibly a long weekend in Baltimore. I’m not a fan of Baltimore or DC in the summer. The timing works this summer because our friends moved there for new jobs, and it’s easier to go while camp is in session.

  11. My favorite place that we go on vacation as a family is Hawaii. With the kids, we’ve been going to Maui but I’d love to go back to Kaui and DH would love to go back to the Big Island.

    Someday I would love to go to New Zealand and Australia. I’d also love to go to NYC and Chicago with DH.

    We are thinking of taking the kids to Italy or Spain sometime in the next 2 – 3 years. They would be 11 and 17. I’d love suggestions of teen-friendly places to go – and whether you’d go to Italy or Spain – or if you’d go to a different country. If we went to Italy, I’m thinking Rome, Florence and Venice. If we went to Spain, I’d want to go to Barcelona and Seville (I haven’t been to Seville but I had a friend who spent a semester there in college and she loved it).

  12. After college, I spent 6 months backpacking in Europe. This was in the late 80’s – before the Berlin wall came down. My favorite countries were Portugal, Norway (so beautiful) and Ireland (they loved Americans – especially in Northern Ireland which didn’t get many tourists at the time. The advantage of having gone to college outside Philly in the 80’s was that every place in Europe felt much safer – even Belfast).

  13. Great topic! We are a family of mixed preferences, so it is tough to find something that suits us all. We typically like a 4-day trip, max. My husband prefers cruises, because flying into a strange city, driving a rental car when he has no idea where we’re going, etc, is just not relaxing to him. On our visit to the in-laws last weekend, after a couple of beers, I heard him commit to a 7-day cruise with some family members, who all agreed that they’d work out the details over Facebook with me. WTH!?! We don’t go ANYWHERE for 7 days, because we always get restless and change our plans to come home early. (We all have things we like to do around here). On a ship, there is no getting off early!

    I spend a lot of my vacation days visiting family, so don’t get to explore a lot of new places. My parents have hit an age where we need to check on them periodically through the year. My siblings live in Chicago and LA, and my extended family is in the Philadelphia area, so we have weddings or reunions or whatever that take us to those cities, reducing the budget to do much else.

    For dream trips, just my daughter and I are going to go to Ireland (current plan) for her college graduation. That way we can stay longer, and she and I travel really well together. We are both really looking forward to that.

    For favorite trips, I loved wine country, and I was amazed at how much I loved Montana when I had to go there for an extended work trip. We stayed at a B&B in Helena, and my husband flew up on the weekend and we drove down to Jackson Hole. It was all so beautiful. I’d love to go back up that way with time to just drive around with no agenda.

  14. Whichever scenic place I pick – I’ll like to spend a few months there (Three would be plenty). Unfortunately, my work is not sabbatical friendly, so it will have to wait till I retire from my job. I think PTM described one vacation where they rented a place by the beach and spent a month. It sounded wonderful.

  15. Drat – my post just went on vacation!

    I’ll go anywhere. I love to travel, and can’t think of a single place I wouldn’t love to visit, whether I’ve already been or not. Whoever’s giving me the unlimited time and money for all this travel is welcome to book me a trip (please include DH, my favorite travel companion) and just let me know when we should show up at the airport. I always like seeing art museums and places of worship (of any religion) when I’m abroad, so if those could be worked in, that’d be great. We’re spoiled about level of accommodation, but we’re quite cheerful about down days with nothing planned, so on the whole, I think we’d be pretty low maintenance to plan for. Maybe not cheap, but certainly agreeable.

  16. SSM, fifteen years ago, New Zealand was comparable in cost to Hawaii for a two week trip, due to much cheaper lodging and a good exchange rate. You might consider New Zealand instead of Hawaii. Australia and New Zealand would require a month to see both, I think. I visited my sister for two weeks in Australia once and it was nice along the East Coast, which was all I had time to see.

  17. Hoping to go to Rome and maybe some more of Italy next year. H really wants to go to Germany instead, so that will be the first decision point.
    Favorite place in the world is Cape Cod, but since we spend every summer vacation with my inlaws at the lake, we won’t be going back any time soon.

  18. Lauren, I have a milestone birthday this summer, but something going on at work will prevent me from taking much in the way of vacation at the time. In line with RMS’ comment, I’m all about spending time with friends. Since all of my college close friends are sharing in this milestone birthday (two within a couple of days of me), we are meeting in our college town (central to most of us) for a small reunion. So at least I’ll get old with friends who are also getting old. I’m actually looking forward to spending a weekend with old friends in a not-exciting place more than I think I would to a more exciting destination.

    And Risley – to tie in to a question you asked about Greek life, these friends I’m getting together with are my sorority sisters from so many years back. All these years later, and they’re still among my closest friends. (And because there’s really no reason to change as I grow up, we’re already planning on ditching items on the reunion agenda to go to our favorite bar and drink mid-afternoon.)

  19. “We are thinking of taking the kids to Italy or Spain sometime in the next 2 – 3 years. They would be 11 and 17. I’d love suggestions of teen-friendly places to go – and whether you’d go to Italy or Spain – or if you’d go to a different country. If we went to Italy, I’m thinking Rome, Florence and Venice. If we went to Spain, I’d want to go to Barcelona and Seville (I haven’t been to Seville but I had a friend who spent a semester there in college and she loved it).”

    ssm – if you email me…get the address from CoC…I will give you this info in detail. we have done both places when our kids were 10-17.

  20. First choice would be to time travel back and spend a summer on the lake at age 10.

    Since I doubt time travel will be invented anytime soon, someday I want to take my own children to the lake (ideally the same lake house if they’ll let us rent it) where I spent my summers growing up. I want to teach them to waterski and to fish, to watch them catch frogs and lizards, to discover that PB&J tastes like gourmet when eaten on a sandbar. I want all their cousins to be there, for them to get muddier than they ever thought possible, to get in trouble for spitting watermelon seeds off the deck. All the things that make childhood so sweet.

  21. Fred,

    If you go to Seville try to go during the fair in April. It’s a lot of his:

    And guys on horseback wearing Zoro outfits. It’s magical!

  22. there are so many places I want to go…need to get a passport STAT.

    Europe – London, Paris, Germany castles, Italy, Spain, etc

    African safari

    New Zealand & Australia



    see the rest of the US

  23. One of my favorite places to go with kids from the east coast is Bermuda. Fast direct flight, really pretty, super clean. Feels like you are really far away and not just off the coast of NC.

    When the youngest gets to be 5, I think I will be up for some cross-Atlantic travel. Probably Italy. It is my favorite place and seems quite child-friendly.

  24. The Duggars have previously promoted the teachings of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a conservative organization that was once popular among the Christian homeschooling movement. Gothard resigned from the institute he founded in 2014, after allegations of sexual harassment, molestation and failing to report child abuse.

    I’m shocked!

  25. “Josh Duggar’s wife, Anna — who is pregnant with their fourth child — added that her husband told her of his “past teenage mistakes” two years before he proposed to her, and that he had received counseling that “changed his life.”

    I find this hard to believe that she would court him knowing this

  26. Duggar – forgiven perhaps, forgotten no. One of my relatives was caught looking inappropriately at the young female members of the extended family. He was spoken to but I doubt he got any counseling. The younger females will not be alone with him ever. Even the guys become wary and want to make sure their wives and daughters are not alone with him.

  27. Right now my focus is on the trip we’re taking this summer. But given unlimited time and funds, I’d go all over the place, with stops at home in between for long enough to rest up and plan the next trip. In fact . . . kind of what my parents and in-laws are doing in retirement.

  28. On a happy note: my mother just checked online and discovered that Social Security has (i) removed the “amount owed” for the alleged past overpayments, and (ii) recalculated the monthly benefits figure as the full amount again (in fact, even a little higher — one thing we discovered looking into the issue is that the very first amount they calculated was too low). So, apparently, the appeal letter worked, where 5 trips to the office and many more telephone calls couldn’t even get an explanation. So, yay!!

    Of course, she still hasn’t received a letter or phone call explaining anything . . . . But there’s more money in her account, so she’s happy. Gift horses and all that. :-)

  29. Laura, that’s great news. It is so frustrating to deal with social security and the IRS.

  30. We are kind of in the middle of a month long argument about travel. It is beginning to be clear that we will never have time for extended travel with DH’s current career. There are a number of trips that I had always assumed we would take whe the kids were a bit older NZ, transsiberian railway, Southeast Asia. Things that can’t be fit into 2 week blocks – which seems unlikely to change for him, ever. Of course, I spent some time with MMM (due to the constant comment on this blog, as well as the friends who just deided they couldn’t go to Florida with us due to their new religion) and think the answer is to sell the cars, downsize, reuse our ziplock bags and learn how to live on expired food forever.

    It might be a good topic of another day, but I am trying to envision a future that is not controlled by the fact that DH needs to be at a specific desk 50 weeks a year (his work is not conducive to telecommuting – the most he has ever done is get written into a contract that he gets one day per ten).

  31. ” the most he has ever done is get written into a contract that he gets one day per ten).”

    Is he working on a contract basis? If so, perhaps your best chance for an extended vacation would be between contracts.

  32. Ada, if you’d really consider MMM measures, maybe you should plan when they’re older to do a six month or year-long sabbatical to travel — either arrange it as a break from your respective jobs, or just decide you’ll look for new ones when your return. Obviously you’d have to save in the years leading up to that and travel frugally.

  33. Ada,

    In a very general sense, what does he do for a living that makes extended travel so difficult?

  34. A friend of mine turned 55, retired from her teaching job, and is taking her 10-year-old daughter around the world for a year. They’re just leaving her husband at home, since he has to work.

  35. I know of companies that have very rigid policies about extended time off and I know others, in the same exact industry, that think nothing of someone taking 3 or 4 weeks off. In some cases, I think this is do to having a number of employees (and executives) who are original from India or China and the idea of taking 2,3 or 4 weeks off to go back to the old country for a wedding or just to see family is totally normal.

  36. They’re just leaving her husband at home, since he has to work.

    Did you watch the House Hunters International where the family from Dallas was moving to Norway and the father would continue to work as an MD in Dallas and commute to Oslo?

  37. “Past teenage mistakes” are “I swiped a beer from the fridge in the garage” or “I went joy riding in dad’s mercedes while he was away”, not “I felt up my sisters on multiple occasions.”

  38. I’m like LfB– I want to go skiing.

    If money were no object, I’d go somewhere like Aspen or Sun Valley and spend a season there, renting (buying?) a home large enough to accommodate multiple guests (e.g., entire families) and inviting friends and family to join us.

    Of, I might combine Rhett’s destination with skiing, and rent a place like this:

    Spending a season at (or near) a ski area is on my retirement bucket list, and WCE’s mention of Idaho in a previous discussion got me looking at somewhere there for a retirement rental or vacation home. Somewhere close enough to ski at Sun Valley, and perhaps bike in Craters of the Moon National Monument, and to be a home base for summer travel to places like Yellowstone.

  39. HFN – I totally agree. I read a quote recently that said something along the lines of “One time is a mistake. The second time is a decision.” I feel that way about Josh.

  40. DS has a couple of friends, siblings who moved here about 6 years ago with their mom, to go to school here. Their Dad is back in their home country working. This isn’t all that unusual, either.

  41. And I can’t even touch on the fact that it happened again even after the parents knew about the first event. It makes me borderline psychotic with rage. I have a daughter, and I can tell you that would not happen to her two times on my watch.

  42. “One time is a mistake. The second time is a decision.”

    On the other hand, he was raised by a creepy nut. Milo will disagree but I think growing up in that isolated and highly sexual environment must have had some impact. So, I have some sympathy for him.

  43. I have a milestone BD and a milestone anniversary next summer, so I am planning a kid free long weekend w DH to Santa Barbara and the nearby wine country. Very excited. Any suggestions welcome! We have been talking about a girlfriends trip as well (for the last milestone we all went to Napa), but can’t agree on location/theme yet. Some want beachy, I would love to do that dude ranch in the mountains.

    A lot of our recent family trips have been to visit friends/family too. Mostly DC area and Minneapolis. We loved the we Surly brew house in MSP.

    We also do an annual winter beach rental in FLA for a week. The location is spectacular only for the beach and the temperature differential to home in February!

    Soon we will plan a European trip with DS maybe 2017 or 2018. At 9 or 10, he should be old enough to appreciate but young enough not to be sullen, right?

  44. Rhett, I can’t decide if I have sympathy for him or not. I recently found out a high school friend did this to his sister. He also was raised in a kind of a weird family, but there were 3 other brothers, and none of them touched her. Why just him? and why just Josh? It makes me wonder if the younger brothers even knew about it before this week. The fact that it wasn’t just once – that even after he got told on once that he kept going back that I find so disturbing. And that fact that his wife knew before they were courting – how screwed up is that that she can accept that as normal?

  45. Why just him? and why just Josh?

    Everyone’s different and deals with things in their own constructive or destructive ways.

  46. MBT,

    It’s sort of like the suicides in Palo Alto. You put some kids in a high pressure environment and they thrive. You put their sibling in the same situation and they self destruct.

  47. Hi, Jack: Does anyone have a recommendation for a good knife sharpener? Some of our kitchen knives have gotten to the point where the honing steel isn’t enough to get them to the point of slicing tomatoes like the Ginsu Knife commercials.

  48. After 14 years with my husband, it is absolutely clear that our ideal vacation is a week in Manhattan around the first of May, when the theaters are full of great shows and the weather is just enough warmer than Boston to let us go out without a coat. We stay at this funky hotel in Chelsea, get a weeklong subway pass, try different restaurants and bars with no need to drive anywhere, throw in a museum, a visit with relatives or friends. Between the grandchildren, the cats and our own internal travel clock, a week at a time is plenty. Every few years we can switch to New Orleans, with the same ability to go everywhere on foot or by trolley, and great entertainment, food, and drink. I can spend a similar week in DC, too, but since that is where I grew up and will end up in my dotage, I don’t usually think of that as a vacation destination.

    As for overseas, I am still in love with Iceland as an inexpensive active destination for families or couples.

  49. Why just him? and why just Josh?

    We don’t know that it’s just Josh. That’s all that’s been made public.

  50. Mémé, that sounds like something I’d like to do with my family once we are no longer contrained by school calendars, although perhaps we would want to go a little later in May, as we may be more sensitive to cold weather. We’d see a bunch of Broadway (and off-Broadway) shows, go to a lot of museums, and see the NY Philharmonic.

    We did a small part of that last summer, seeing a couple of shows and going to some museums. We couldn’t fit in a Philharmonic performance, but we were able to catch the National Symphony in DC.

  51. So, he doesn’t work on a contract basis, but has changed jobs frequently – I keep holding out that we could take extended time off between jobs. However, every new employer wants him to start last week, and I need 3 months notice or so to get significant time off. So, after a recent job transition, it dawned on me that traveling between jobs hasn’t worked the last 8 times he changed, it probably is not going to work the next 8 times.

    As to what he does, it is computer-ish — he used to be more alone in a room with a machine, but now he is more people facing, meetings, planning, coordinating. Things that don’t lend themselves to telecommuting. He would need to find a way to step backwards or sideways to telecommute a significant amount (though that has been on the table).

    He also has suggested that I travel without him. I do that quite a bit now – I will have the kids out of the house 30+ days this year while he stays home and works (he is much happier in a cube farm than at Disneyworld). That works for both of us. However, I actually enjoy seeing the world (you know, not Disney) with him, eating new food, talking about sights, etc. Me + kids (even when they are 5 years older and hopefully more person-like) on the train to Russia just doesn’t seem fun without built in grown up conversation.

    I think HM is right — we need work ourselves into a place financially and career-wise that we can take a year off here and there.

  52. “We don’t know that it’s just Josh. That’s all that’s been made public.”

    See, this is the thing that troubles me. Abuse inside families doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The failure to protect the girls, the cover up, the super creepy father and the “just pray and forgive” attitude of the mother, it all makes me think there’s more.

  53. Finn- When do you see yourselves not constrained by school calendars? After everyone is through college and grad school? Then you are constrained by vacation time….

    Also, you should check out McCall, ID– great skiing nearby, lovely mountain community with great summer activities, far less arugula than Sun Valley.

  54. “When do you see yourselves not constrained by school calendars? After everyone is through college and grad school? Then you are constrained by vacation time…. ”

    By the time the kids are done with school, DW and I will be retired, so we can work around their vacation schedules. We’ll probably be retired before both kids are done with grad school, so we may have opportunities for extended travel with them during their school breaks.

    “Also, you should check out McCall, ID– great skiing nearby, lovely mountain community with great summer activities, far less arugula than Sun Valley.”

    Thanks, I will. I’ve skied SV a couple times and really liked it, and it was fairly close to the town WCE mentioned, so those factors had me thinking about that part of ID.

    However, DW and I do like arugula.

  55. “we need work ourselves into a place financially and career-wise that we can take a year off here and there.”

    Maybe not a year– just in a good enough place for your DH to pass on a job that wants him last week.

    It sounds to me like he’s in high enough demand to be able to ask for a few weeks to a couple of months between jobs without jeopardizing the next job offer, i.e., they may say no, but still want him to start last week.

  56. My perfect vacation is 5-6 days. Any longer and I start missing the comforts of home. Optimal time visiting my parents = 2-3 days.

  57. I don’t think it is the Duggar family. It is just that he had more opportunity than most to prey on young girls, even if those girls happen to be his sisters. I am not sure if counseling, praying or really eradicates this behavior. Curb maybe, stop forever, I think not.

  58. Right now the answer is anywhere. But, will be no where. Every time I even begin to think about it, I end up with one or the other parent in the ER. So, earlier today when I was thinking how wonderful it was going to be this weekend with no committments, the phone rings and, yep, now I’m sitting in the ER. Been here 3 hours so far.

  59. AustinMom – are your parents (or at least one of them – the other can tag along with the move) sick enough to move to a facility with on site care that can handle minor stuff without sending them to the ER? One of the problems my mom had was that the licensing requirements for Asstd Living in Massachusetts pretty much constrained them to send her at the slightest sign, so we would sit there forever for no good reason. The ER doc would do a few tests, make a note in the electronic file that my mom didn’t want treatment or further testing, and let us go back, usually in the car. But each trip took something out of her.

  60. Ah, crap, sorry AustinMom — hope all is ok, and thoughts with you for a relaxing rest of the weekend. As best you can manage.

  61. Austin mom – So sorry that you are back in the ER. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way!!

  62. Unfortunately, they usually end up being admitted each time because it is serious enough to do so – broken bones, major infections, putting in pace maker, etc. Yep, again to be admitted tonight.

    As an only child, I just get worn down. One parent is very difficult to deal with plus has lots of anger, which only makes it more mentally and emotionally exhausting.

    This level of recurring issues has been going on about 2.5 years.

  63. Austin mom, sorry! That’s a lot to deal with all of the time. It’s interesting that you mention the only chd thing because I have two local mom friends dealing with very similar issues. They’re both the only girl with two brothers. Also, the only person that is local so they deal with every hospital or rehab visit too.

  64. Austin Mom, sorry to hear that it is serious stuff all the time. I was an only child, too, but there was just Mom to deal with and it only got difficult to manage when she hit 90 – about 3 years total. I was able to go on one vacation (to New Zealand), because I hired a geriatric care manager who visited her twice a week, was friendly with the staff, was authorized to make any and all instantaneous decisions, and would be paid handsomely by the hour to sit in the emergency room with her if necessary (it was not).

    A younger couple with acute conditions and at least one cantankerous member is an entirely different matter, not to mention the fact that you have two children at home. I’ll be thinking of you.

  65. Austin, you have all my sympathy. This is a very difficult time of life. All the best to you.

  66. Thanks for the thoughts; it really does help.
    Cantankerous is the word I’ve been looking for, but couldn’t dredge it up.

  67. Finn, there are a few places that do knife sharpening locally. I think that key shop around back of CakeWorks also does but it’s not listed there, and the ones that are look fine. The Cutting Edge one I think is run by that guy who’s part of the Khanate of the Golden Horde (local SCA, they do demos at various fairs and festivals), so blades are his hobby as well as his day job.

  68. Ivy:

    When during the summer were you planning to come to Santa Barbara? Notable events (to embrace or avoid depending your preference) are the Summer Solstice Parade in June or Fiesta Week in early August. This weekend is the I’madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival where we’ve been doing a family square for the past 4 years.

    What sort of activities are you interested in? Athletic, sight-seeing, cultural, eating? DS just got back from a school whale watching trip today where they saw 6 hump back whales. They headed east so they missed the oil spill.

    What sort of restaurants do you like?

  69. AustinMom:

    I’m so sorry that you are at this stage of life with your parents. It can be physically relentless and emotionally complicated. Is all the appropriate durable power of paperwork in place?

  70. Ada, HM, thanks for the sharpening links.

    I think you live in a different world WRT kitchen tools. I think our entire set of kitchen knives, purchased at an outlet mall, cost less than $40. I think we’d be just as well off getting a new set as paying someone to sharpen ours.

    I’ll probably go with what I know– a good old fashioned stone. $7.20 from Amazon.

  71. The electric sharpener is a no-brainer because it positions the knife correctly. That’s important for me because it enables me to sharpen a bunch of knives quickly.

  72. AustinMom — I’ve seen family and friends have to deal with cantankerous elderly parents/spouses, and it adds another layer of misery to eldercare. I’m sorry you’re in this situation, and hoping for the best outcome for you all.

  73. AustinMom – sorry to hear what you are going through. I hope things settle down for you.

    Trying to daydream about vacation always makes me grumpy these days. There are so many places I would like to go! DH is such a homebody that I can’t get him excited about traveling ever, and coupled with his worry about how the kids would behave, he REALLY doesn’t want to travel with them. I would love to see the rest of Europe (have only been to UK and France) and Japan and New Zealand, and Patagonia. Also would like to go back to Hawaii (the only time I went there was on tour in college) and some of the other national parks. And PEI to see the Anne of Green Gables sites!

  74. L, this probably isn’t an option while the kids are little, but you might eventually have to round up some female friend or friends to travel with. That’s what my in-laws wound up doing. MIL wanted to travel; FIL wanted to stay home. So she found a compatible friend and went to Europe a few times with the friend.

    In my own home, I let DH go camping with DSS, or with his oddball drinking buddy. I don’t want to sleep on the ground or sh*t in the woods. You can love your spouse and still not be compatible in every single regard.

  75. Finn, I have a Chef’s Choice electric knife sharpener that works fine.

  76. Austin, I’m very sorry. What a stress for you. I can totally see how you’d get wiped out by all of it, and how the cantankerousness would make it all so much more draining.

    Dagny/ssk (do we have others here in Cali?) – how close are you to any of Orinda, Oakland or Manhattan Beach?

  77. Thanks for the fun suggestions and daydreams. Right now DH and I are bickering about Chicago. His sister lives there and will baptize her twins there. He doesn’t want to spend money to fly there and I don’t want to drive 15 hours with a baby. I will win only because I don’t have the vacation time to lose 2 days driving.

    The next fun trip is Boise to visit a friend. We’ll do that next spring.

    Austin- I’m so sorry and am thinking of you.

  78. Hi all, just checking in quickly. Baby June is doing great. I was not prepared mentally for how physically draining breastfeeding would be–so thankful that my husband has been home too because I feel like I am walking around in a fog most of the time. They say it will probably improve as my body adapts– hoping so! But feeling very lucky that she is doing well even though I am struggling somewhat. Thanks again for all the well-wishes.

  79. June — keep a bowl of grapes within arm’s reach of everywhere you sit down to nurse the baby. It helps, especially with that twilight nursing.

  80. That’s a great article, Louise. I love this part:

    I would never have to attend a parent-teacher meeting to find out why my daughter’s history instructor was teaching the class that England’s King Edward II didn’t have a son. A son named Edward III. A son who took special pains to publicly hang the man who allegedly killed his dad—and let the body rot for a couple of days, just to show how ticked off he was about his father’s mistreatment. All of which my kids knew because their mother grew up 5 miles from the castle where Edward II was heinously butchered. Leaving behind Edward III. His son.

    “The timeline gets confusing back then,” the teacher explained when we visited him. No, it doesn’t. In history, this thing happened and that thing didn’t. If you didn’t know that, your students got crummy AP scores. And then they didn’t get into the best college. My wife and I weren’t going out of our way to embarrass the teacher. It was just…well…first you’re wrong about Edward III, and then you’re wrong about Henry III, and before you know it, you’re wrong about Richard III. Who knows where it all could lead?

  81. June – beside the bowl of grapes, add a second of M&Ms. I survived on those during nursing. (I am not as mature as HM).

    So glad to hear you feel you’re getting help. I think the fog will clear, and hope it happens soon.

  82. Ris, there are different philosophies about the apostrophe and s after a name that ends in an s or z. The way I learned it was that you put “apostrophe s” after everyone’s name except Jesus. That has the advantage of being easy to remember.

    In Jesus’ name, amen.

  83. Yeah, that’s what Strunk and White says as I recall, an ‘s after all but Biblical names.

    Funny about the grapes/M&Ms, Risley. Maybe I needed the extra liquid too, because grapes was definitely what I wanted to have on hand at that time.

  84. Risley – I’m about 2 hours away from Manhattan Beach (doable on a weekend). LaGirl should be closer. I think juju is further south of there.

    You really should do Chaucer’s in SB.

  85. Good luck June!! In addition to grapes and MMs I kept water with me all the time. Still keep the water around me.

  86. June, for me nursing gets easier once the baby hits 10 lb- by then the baby is skilled and can go longer without eating. Baby WCE feeds less at night then cluster feeds in the morning

  87. “an ‘s after all but Biblical names”

    What if you have a friend named James?

    The way I learned it, it would just be the apostrophe.

  88. Risley, I think Fred grew up very near Orinda and Oakland.

    I think BAM is in the general area.

  89. Austin, sorry to hear how things are going for you. My SIL went through something like that; her mom had a lot of anger after suffering a stroke which left her unable to care for herself. I hope I’m never like that to my kids or caregivers.

  90. Louise, just reading your link (before I even clicked on it) made me think of Alice Cooper, which then made me think about hearing the Peanuts kids doing their rendition.

  91. Thanks, CoC. That’s more what I was thinking of, something that would not cost more than we originally paid for the entire set of knives.

  92. OK, so I looked at the knife sharpener CoC mentioned, then clicked on a link to another sharpener. Right below the description, there’s the Frequently Bought Together section; in this case, the knife sharpener is frequently bought together with a “COZIA Premium Lightweight Balaclava – Full Face Ski Mask or Motorcycle Balaclava.”

    So who’s buying this sharpener– Jason??? I suppose I could take this as a very strong endorsement for this sharpener– leaves the knife well prepared for cutting through flesh.

  93. Risley – I am pretty close to Orinda and Oakland (I live in San Francisco – about 15 miles away).

  94. I didn’t know about the Biblical names exception. Thanks for that lesson!

    Finn – I thought James would be a Biblical name, too. Maybe it’s one whose non-secular use is so widespread that it got bumped from the Biblical list for purposes of this rule. ?? HM will prolly know.

    Dagny – ah. Will be in MB on a Wed, alas. Was going to ask about coffee or a drink or whatever.

    ssk – I’m going to be in Oakland on Aug 4, Orinda on Aug 5. Not everyone here wants to meet in person, but if you do, let’s chat! I think I’m pretty easy to track down, but CofC has my email address, too.

  95. Louise, I sooo enjoyed and related to Joe Queenan’s piece. I had considered putting up a post about it, and I’m not surprised to learn that he lives in Westchester County.

    … From the moment my children left school forever ten years ago, I felt a radiant, ineffable joy suffuse my very being. Far from being depressed or sad, I was elated. There was a simple reason for this: From that point onward, I would never again have to think about the kids and school. Never, ever, ever.

    I would never have to go to the middle school office to find out why my child was doing so poorly in math. I would never have to ask the high-school principal why the French teacher didn’t seem to speak much French. I would never have to ask the grade-school principal why he rewrote my daughter’s sixth-grade graduation speech to include more references to his own prodigious sense of humor and caring disposition, and fewer jokes of her own.

    I would never have to complain that the school had discontinued the WordMasters competition, the one activity at which my son truly excelled. I would never have to find out if my son was in any way responsible for a classmate damaging his wrist during recess. I would never again have to listen to my child, or anyone else’s, play the cello.

  96. I loved Queenan’s piece, but I have one more thing that I am waiting for after high school graduation. There are certain parents (carpool “friends”) that I never want to speak to again.
    I maintain these relationships with people that I can’t stand, and 13 years is a long time to remain civil. It is necessary because it is such a small town, but I can’t wait to stop dealing with a few of these ladies.

  97. @ Lauren – it is surprising that it has turned out to be such a negative experience dealing with the parents
    – unless there is a certain dynamic to each Westchester town that you wouldn’t know unless you moved there.

  98. Risley – I would love to meet! I should be around in early August, so I will send you an email and we can work out the details. I think Bay area mom is the only other person in the area – maybe she can join us as well.

    I haven’t read the essay yet, but in general l I share Queenan’s feelings. It is a relief to not have to worry about that stuff any longer. When they are in college you really can’t get involved (unless it is something serious), and while I worry from afar, they work it out – and you don’t have get into any of the details. Most of the time I hear about things after the fact, which is even better!

  99. Oh, BAM, yes! Sorry – inadvertent miss. Would love to see you both. And Dagny, but it sounds like a far far journey, especially midweek.

  100. Hmm, interesting question about when is a name Biblical. Like, if you follow RMS’s example, “In Jesus’ name we pray,” would you go the other way for the same name in secular use, e.g. “The third-place winner of the Made-Up School History Fair was Jesus Rivera. Jesus’s poster on early Spanish Missions included a lovely sugar cube model that gave students a real visual representation of the period, at least until it disappeared during the kindergarten students’ visit.”

  101. I think I’ll go with just the apostrophe and save some ink, toner, bandwidth, etc., etc. (Mémé’s vacation idea put “The King and I” revival, currently playing on Broadway, into my mind).

    How about plural possessives, e.g., the locally infamous “Veterans’ Memorial Freeway,” formerly called the “Veteran’s Memorial Freeway,” until the question was raised of exactly which veteran was being memorialized?

  102. Rhode, Boise in spring could mean… skiing!?!?

    Thanks to WCE and Ada, I’ve been looking at ski areas in ID. Ada suggested McCall, which is about 2.5 hours north of Boise. There are several ski areas near McCall, but there is also Bogus Basin, “just 16 minutes from downtown Boise.”

  103. “How about plural possessives, e.g., the locally infamous “Veterans’ Memorial Freeway,”

    The other day, DH and I walked our dogs past two young boys. One of them called out, “Hey, I really like your guys’s dogs.”

    Best plural possessive ever. And I’ve got to believe he was too young to have seen Napoleon Dynamite.

    In other news, some stuff happened around here this weekend that made us need to stay in town, and plan some distraction while we’re here. Details irrelevant — it’ll all be fine in the end. Anyway, DH was finally motivated to bite the $15/mo bullet on HBO or whatever their new service is, and he and I have seen a few episodes of Newsroom. Have you all already seen it? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Aaron Sorkin. If you have, anyone know why it only ran 3 seasons? Is it going to be all wrapped up by the end of Season 3, or did it get canceled, so we’re left hanging? Maybe Birdman and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are the reasons? (We’re only in Season 1 so please don’t tell me how it ends!)

  104. Risley – DS got me to start watching Newsroom, and I loved it! You have to be a fan of that “quick talk” Aaron Sorkin style, but I enjoyed it. I believe the 3rd season was a little shorter, and it may have been cancelled, but luckily they wrapped up the story lines so you don’t feel like you’ve been stranded at the edge of a cliff!

  105. ssk – yeah, DH and I have commented a few times about how the dialogue often goes from witty/quick to too slick. But I haven’t laughed out loud at a show like this in a long time. And I love Jeff Daniels and that woman who plays his EP. And Sam Waterston. And Dev Patel. And …

  106. I know some people didn’t like Newsroom, but I really enjoyed the whole series. I loved the cast, and I was sorry that it had to end.

    Louise, it is just a handful of people and these moms exist every where!!! I read books about them, I see them in sitcoms and movies so I know it must be fairly common. I have met some wonderful people, but it is just a small group that I can’t wait to say goodbye to after graduation.

  107. Ris – not for nothing, but we probably have people we know in common in Orinda! But I won’t be there then.

    As ssk said, BAM is also nearby to both the N. Calif places.

  108. I confess that I won’t miss any Mother– save one. She happens to be the second worst mother in the school (I’m the worst). Funny thing is is that she has the best kid in the school.

    I am so eager to be seeing all of them (plus their parents, other kids and hangers on) for a few hours on Tuesday at the Awards Ceremony.

  109. After the past few days of rain, tornadoes and strong winds, I am thankful my family came through unscathed. However, a small tornado did touchdown about 2 miles from us, wreaked a bit of havoc on the business’ property, but no one was hurt as it was after hours. Hope all my Texan Totebaggers also came through OK. We have more rain forecast for today and the rest of the week.

    On the school side, I haven’t made friends with very many of the parents at my kids’ schools. The ones I have are because we have common interests outside of school. Per my kid, I intimidated a teacher because I was demanding (politely) an answer as to clarify the situation about the science fair assignment. My kid got a 100%. I think that was a gimme grade to get me off the teacher’s back. That only makes it worse in my mind.

    On the parent front – looks like skilled nursing is the next step – not sick enough to remain in the hospital, but not healthy enough to go home. Having issues with confusion, weakness, refusing to eat, and can’t get out of bed solo or with minor assistance. On a holiday weekend, everything moves slowly…getting the evaluations to qualify for the skilled nursing and then getting a placement. Not expecting the transfer until Tuesday.

  110. Austin, I’m sorry to hear that. As a heads up, most people on your parent’s situation who go from the hospital to a skilled facility end up going into long-term care from there. I forget the exact percentage but it’s pretty high. If your goal is to have him/her return home, you should try to get home nursing care lined up instead of going into a skilled facility.

  111. Austin Mom – A skilled nursing placement will allow for further evaluation. The third parties have already said once, you can’t take this one home right now. If it is not an injury or procedure from which one heals over time, the professionals at the skilled nursing facility are going to make a recommendation when Medicare eligibility runs out by reason of time limit, or if there is a determination (too much improvement or too little) that they can’t bill Medicare any longer. The specifics of who is the difficult one, gender roles, financial power within the relationship, will determine how you navigate the future minefield.

    This is an ideal time to engage a qualified senior care manager – “just to coordinate ongoing arrangements and be familiar with your case”. They are probably already tired of dealing with their doctor, the hospital docs, the hospital social worker, and then there will be the skilled nursing staff, another social worker. One person familiar with the case might be an easier sell right now. He or she will from experience be able to advise about physical modifications to the living situation, number of hours for home health aide or housekeeper, whether a move to continuing care community is necessary, possibly suggest ways to find decent independent home health workers at a cost saving over an agency (you are in Texas, after all). Mostly she will be in your corner, flatly saying that AustinMom is not qualified to take on the required level of care. You personally can pay the fees if that is an issue for your parents, but they have to agree to the engagement and at least one of them sign the forms.

  112. Thanks for the advice, all–I will keep grapes, M&Ms, and wine in mind. :) My current lifesaver is trail mix–lots of calories in a small-ish volume. I do feel like over the weekend I started to feel less out of it, relatively. WCE, I can see that 10 pounds could be a tipping point–Baby June was on the big side and is already up over her birth weight which enables her to sleep longer at night.

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