Sunday, July 06, 2008

Being away from home is not always a vacation.

It’s been several years since we had a real summer vacation. I remember them being action-packed and children-centered, usually spent with good friends on an ocean beach. Our mermaid daughter braved the waves past the breakers with the men. Made me drop my novel and sit on the edge of my beach chair... When you are married to vacation coordinator with an agenda to wake at sunrise and to find the best breakfast in town by 8am, the days are over-full. I remember digging a little leftover sand out of my ear on the way home and fingering seashells in every pocket and bag we carried. Still, I can hear giggles on the shore, the smell of Coppertone, and the sound of seagulls squawking over Cheez-its. After seven days of sun and fun I’d return to work, sunburned and exhausted, with the urge to curl up under my desk to re-energize myself. Vacations. Aren’t they supposed to relax and rejuvenate?

Getting away is good and we've been traveling! Since moving from Maryland to Delaware in 2002 then moving from Delaware to North Carolina in 2005, and about six new jobs between the two of us, I can’t count the number of trips I’ve made on the interstates for family medical emergencies, visits to a nursing home, and funerals. I wanna head north to have a happy, fun time, dammit, on a real vacation, in Maryland and Delaware with good old friends.



After four days away last week, I knew the hummingbird nectar was turning rancid. They waited. I missed them and my little dogs, too.


I’ve seen two males and two females. Numbers are low in Charlotte, possibly due to drought conditions. We don't know...

Right now I’d love to schedule a week vacation at home and tend to little projects around the house. Maybe take a few nature hikes. But there are drawbacks...


Are you coming outside with us? Ever?

A week at home means the Licker Sisters would hold me under their doggie thumbs while I wash the hardwood floors and follow me for bathroom breaks. I’d still cook dinner every night or throw something edible out on the kitchen table and call it dinner. Not a vacation!



Still waiting for my hummingbird photo of the year… I get caught up in what in they do and forget to point and shoot!


Afternoon thunderstorms have helped the wildflower beds I planted from seed. What is this?


Sunny southern skies combined with stormy northern skies make me worry for Gina and Billy traveling from a wedding in Virginia today. Worry is poisonous when it's your best sport, you know.

Funerals for family members suck the energy from your body and the spirit from your soul. Numbing. I've been craving a fix. I needed a shot of something pleasurable today.



Like a shot of distant and uncooperative herons

or a Turtle Rx along the road.

Good photos will come, in time.

Ya know? It’s time for a ME vacation. One that will be all for ME. I’ll travel to the mountains of southern West Virginia next April to be part of the New River Birding and Nature Festival. I’ll see some good friends I know well but never physically embraced.


Thanks for your messages on my previous post. Life goes on.


Alyssa said...

Hi Mary,

I know how draining family funerals can be and can appreciate your need for just an alone and "normal" time for yourself. And, yes, having a vacation (can you even call it that!??) at home turns out to be even more work that a regular work week. (Unfortunately, if hubby is around, you really can't relax the way you'd like to.) I surely hope you can go on a long weekend (just for you) much sooner than your fun (but a long way off!) birding adventure. And I recognize those demanding looking dog faces immediately!! They can sense that you are thinking about some "alone time"...

Your pictures are excellent as usual and I especially like the serious turtle. I think the hummingbird photos are lovely too. I can't even seem to get a good snapshot of a butterfly, so anyone who can catch hummers is a pro in my book!

The unknown plant you posted is a variety of sunflower. I'm sticking my neck out, but I'd say by the color of the foliage the flower will be reddish or maroon. But than again ....

Take it easy - you've been through a very lot the past week. Gather the girls around you and watch the birds (if they'll let you) !!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Welcome back Mary. You and your family have been in my thougths and prayers often.

Even though these pictures don't meet your expectations I think they are good.

The Licker Sisters don't look like they were too stressed while you were gone. They look darling anticipating your attention.

I hope you get some "me" time soon. Even a full day of relaxation will be better than nothing.

Angie said...

I've thought of you every day. I missed you. Your photos are wonderful, as always. :)

Carol Michel said...

I'm taking a stayvacation next week. I'll eat out every night, in my own city. You should try it! No one says you HAVE to cook or wash hardwood floors. In fact, take the money you save by not going anyplace and hire someone to wash the floors, baseboards, cabinets and more while you enjoy time outdoors with the birds and turtles and oh, yes, the infamous Licker Sisters.

(On my stayvacation, I think I'll peel wallpaper off the kitchen walls and repaint... do as I SAY, not as I do!)

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
(I hope those clouds brought you rain and a safe return for your daughter and her husband.)

NatureWoman said...

I've been thinking about you Mary. Yup those family funerals do suck it right out of you. I have a memorial service to attend out of town in a couple of weeks.

Ahhh, vacation, what's that? I need one of those, too.

beckie said...

Mary, so glad you are back. I have thought of you often in the last week, hoping you and yours could find some comfort. My prayers are still with you.

The hummers are just wonderful. I especially like the one with his neck strecthed waaay up. Looks like a different bird. Ah, the girls are looking so sweet-makes me think they want something. Probably you. The turtle is such a grand old guy. Moss on his shell and everything. What a great photo op.

If you can't get a week vacation take an hour here or there just for you-and do it often! Or you could come see one of us. We'd pamper your butt off!

Mel said...

Dear Mary,
All my love and best wishes.
You'll get dream vacations soon, you deserve it.
Hugs and kisses,

Debbie said...

Mary, welcome back. I'm sorry you are feeling drained. I hope you find some rest and refreshment soon.

KGMom said...

Mary--I have been thinking of you all week (and your brother & his family) and keeping prayers spoken for you all.

I love the photo of two patient (or not so patient) dogs waiting for you.

And your first paragraph about vacations--evoking the memories thereof. . .priceless. You are a gifted writer, my dear.

Cheryl said...

Dear Mary.....So pleased you are going to find 'ME' time. Your soul and body need to heal. My grandmother used to say....God only gives burdens to those that can carry them. I never quite understood those words....I do now. I have found woman that turn to nature are usually carers....they take the load....but we have to heal, to enable us to carry on. We turn to Mother Earth to restore us and show us the way....nature is so very healing....

I have thought of you much during the last week Mary.......and will for the months ahead......

Sherry at the Zoo said...

You deserve a break. I'm with Carol...hire the work done and go take some more pictures for your fans instead.

The licker sisters look adorable as usual.

Jayne said...

Welcome home my friend. Hummers and Licker Sisters is just exactly what you need right now. Be gentle with yourself, ok? Love and hugs to you, and I may just have to look into that "me" trip too. Maybe then I can give you an IRL hug.

NCmountainwoman said...

Welcome home, Mary. I loved your descriptions of the beach vacation. I think it rings true for many of us.

Take care of yourself and do plan a vacation for yourself. Just tell your husband that like all important people, you need a make a "vision quest."

Kerri Farley said...

Hi Mary, I've been thinking of you often. I hope you can plan a get away just for yourself...for some Happy Time!

Your shots are Fabulous!!

Rose said...

Mary, Glad you are back. I, too, have been thinking of you all week. There's nothing like spending some time watching the birds and enjoying the wonders of nature to refresh the soul. (And I'm sure the "Licker Sisters" shared their joy at having you back.)
A vacation sounds great--you deserve some "me" time.

Whenever you have the time, I left an award for you on my post last Friday. No pressure, no stress: pass it along if you want or just keep it to yourself. I'm just happy seeing your wonderful photos of the hummingbirds again:)

Balisha said...

I hope your family is beginning to mend. It's a long process we all have to go through sooner or later. I'll be thinking good thoughts for you.
I loved the pictures....the doggies are adorable...their little faces should help cheer you up.

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Mary! It's good to have you back. Been worrying about you and your family.

Your photos are lovely. We haven't had many hummers around here either. My friend asked the people at the bird observatory, and they say that the populations are down this year. They don't know why.

Take a little mini-me vacation. If you are close to a beach, go. Walk along the beach and lose yourself with the sound of the waves. Trust me, you will feel better. Lisa

Anonymous said...

One day, Mary, you'll vacation at your own pace. Until then, give a kiss to the Licker Sisters from me, will you?

JeanMac said...

Welcome home, Mary. Missed you.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
So glad you are home safe and sound. Travel is draining and your trips have not been relaxing times. Soon you will have ME time even if it means soaking in the tub.
The Hummingbirds are beautiful. They are the best of medicine.
Hope your rains were refreshing and life slows down a wee bit for you.

Donna said...

Hi Mary,
I hope you find some pleasure in your day. Sounds like you've been through the wringer.
Your photos are beautiful, as usual, and I love those little Licker Sisters!
Take care and take some time for you.

entoto said...

Dear Mary,

I am so glad you are home again, safe and sound. I've been praying for your family and your safe journey.

Go get a pedicure or something. Not a vacation, I know. But you get a little spoiled!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Glad to have you back, Mary!
And glad you're thinking forward to next April. I always find that having something to look forward to helps me pass the difficult times.
New River sounds terrific--I might go, too!

Mary C said...

Glad to hear you are home safely. Sounds like you could use a pedicure and massage -- not exactly a vacation, but as someone else said it will certainly perk you up and make you feel special.

Susan Gets Native said...

Yep, family (or any) funerals suck out LOUD.
I've thought of you every single day. Hurting for you and your family.

Birds and dogs. They are manna.

dmmgmfm said...

I took a few days off from my jobs last week and this...but between visiting daddy and my brother and helping out the cousins, I'll need to take a vacation from my vacation.

I'm heading home tomorrow...I miss my kitty and my own wonderful bed, but at least I didn't have to attend any funerals.

I hope you get your chance at a break, Mary, you richly deserve it.


Corey said...

Glad you're back Mary. I've given your blog a "blogosphere" award, I hope you'll come over and read about it when you get caught up. Stay well.

Naturegirl said...

Mary this series of photos was good for our souls..nature does that!
Love the photo of the plant with black outline on the leaves and the turtle shot! All that algae on his shell I want reach into the photo and pick it off!
Mary what is your *recipe for hummingbird nectar? (I use 4 water to 1 sugar)
Seems to get cloudy when I place out into the feeders..I have the bottle type. Sure would appreciate a relpy.
hugs NG

Susie said...

Hi Mary,
Road trips for all the reasons you've mentioned are not restful or relaxing.
Loved seeing your pictures and I hope you can find some time to relax and destress..

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I'm glad your back, Mary. I've thought about you often during this time. I think your pictures are wonderful, but I can also understand the desire to get an absolutely perfect picture.

I love the hummingbirds. I still haven't been seeing them around here. I hadn't been able to justify wasting the sugar, since no hummingbirds were drinking it. Your pictures inspire me though, maybe I'll mix up some again and see if they find it this time.
Vacation? What is that? I don't think women ever really get time completely off do they? Especially moms with young children.

PJ said...

Oh, my I'm so sorry for you and your family's loss. I know how hard that is losing one of my sister in laws a few years ago just before my neice was to graduate from high school. It's just so hard...I hope your brother is doing ok! sorry for my late response as I was taking a mini break myself. Peace be with your family!

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, so glad to see you back. I've been checking. I'm on vacation myself right now in CT. when I get home I'll need a vacation from my vacation but then again, there will be all these photos to post and posts to write and....oh well, you get the picture! My heart still grieves for you and I hope you can feel my heartfelt sympathy flooding your way.