Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Storm Before the Calm

Tomorrow morning at 8:00 the hubby and I intend to hit the open road in our sporty little black wagon, bound for adventure, grand vistas, and vacation with my parents in Vail. In between hiking to the tops of 14ers and visiting with friends flung across the front range, some relaxation is on the agenda. Yes, I said that relaxing is on the agenda, because that's how I roll. I am an J (for all you Myers-Briggs-ers out there) and I have to plan in order to relax.

I love going on vacation, but the truth is, I often stress myself out in the process of getting there. When packing, I want to think of everything I might possibly need. I have this fear of forgetting something important, and because I'm cheap I'll kick myself for having to purchase something once there that I already had at home. For the past several weeks I've had "things to pack" pop into my head at random times and the shower, at the grocery store, in the middle of dinner, lying in bed at night trying to shut off my list-making brain. I had to start a real list (broken down into major and minor categories, of course) and every time I thought of something else I'd run and add it to the list. I factor in contingency plans. I check weather reports. I MapQuest. I invariably pack more books, music, games, and other forms of entertainment than I will ever get to while away from home (case in point: I just checked out 5 audiobooks from the library). Something about "vacation" triggers this irrationality that being away from home and relieved of the responsibilities of work for a time will somehow multiply my ability (and desire) to do and consume. When really, isn't the purpose of a vacation to slow down and not do, and to sit back and not consume so much?

Yes, when it comes to vacation and relaxing, I am definitely still an abecedarian (as in, a novice still learning the rudiments of a subject). Given this admission, I am charging myself with this assignment: to discover the ABCs of vacation, and to blog about it when I get home. (I'm such a nerd I just gave myself homework for vacation! I'm hopeless!) I'll be taking my trusty Canon along with me, and hope to capture some of the entries to present in photo form.

What about you? Are you an old pro when it comes to getting away and kicking back? Or do you get all worked up about the prospect of not working?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Good Times in Small Town USA

Did you enjoy the holiday weekend? Hubby and I packed in some great times and made fun memories together and with friends. Saturday morning we headed out to Glen Ellyn, a suburb of Chicago, to play the role of enthralled spectator at the town's annual Cardboard Boat Regatta.

If you're not familiar with the concept of a cardboard boat regatta, here it is in a nutshell: teams of 2-8 people build boats made entirely of cardboard (along with a few other allowed materials, such as glue, tape, and paint) in which they race around a course on a lake competing for the fastest finish. Best things about watching a cardboard boat regatta: Admiring the creativity in the various boats' design. Appreciating the contestants' enthusiasm and spirit (and in some cases, costumes). Cheering with abandon for the winners, for those who fight gallantly just to finish the course, and for those whose boats sink spectacularly somewhere along the way. Here are a few pics I took as we perused the boats before the races began.
Star Wars boat, complete with crew in costume
Mario Karts. On display, the three boats were separate. For competition, they had to be connected. Unfortunately, that didn't last long, and Luigi never did make it to the finish line.
Travis posing with "Made in the USA"
My friend Jim and his buddies have been building boats and competing in this event for over a decade. Each year they pick a theme and go all out. This year their boat was a Harley. Here they are after rounding the second buoy and racing for the finish line. Eight grown men in a cardboard boat -- who would've thought that could work? 

Made in the USA took 1st place in the "Legends" division and also won the judge's award for Best Looking Boat. Congrats to Jim & the Harley crew!

For photos from professional photojournalists with zoom lenses, check this out.