Tag Archives: Staycation

In Between Now And Then

8 Sep

I actually took advantage of it.

I didn’t have anything planned really, but I still took advantage.

Another stay-cation on the books for the Guats this Labor Day Weekend. A camping vacation would have been nice, but nevertheless I still found myself being grateful for the extra 24-hour period. Even though I didn’t have the “happening” plan I still found a way to find bring “cool” to our weekend. Cool and gratefulness. You see, the scenery and the peace I felt made up for the lack of traveling this three-day weekend. I figured a lot of people would probably be traveling to a get look at a place just like this …

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Appreciating the beach, the surfers and gaining peace at the same time. :)

Appreciating the beach, the surfers and gaining peace at the same time. 🙂

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And the miraculous thing?

I had plenty of personal space. Plenty. And you know how I feel about my personal space and those hijackers who always try to crowd me. This time, at this beach … it didn’t happen.

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Discovering personal space exists

Discovering personal space exists

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There were people but for some reason they didn’t wander all the way down to my little spot. They hung out by the tidal pools, which we discovered bright and early before anyone arrived. My kids enjoyed checking out this new beach and the anemones, crabby-crabs, and tiny fish that lived in its tidal pool waters.

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Exploring tide pools

Exploring tide pools

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I rediscovered that my California beaches can make up for nonexistent plans on a three-day weekend, on a free day, a free 24-hour period. You get to spend it anyway you want and instead of feeling bummed about staying in town, I just felt grateful that I had another school-free-don’t-have-to-pack-up-lunches-fight-school-traffic-and-snobby-PTA-moms-for-a-parking-spot kind of day. Labor Day was a beach day, filled with gratitude, boogie boards, sand toys, and plenty of Coppertone 45.

I felt myself being present in the moment, not worrying about the one that just passed, and not rushing to the next. I wasn’t worrying about the future of chicken dinner, or the picking up of Legos, or the fact that the purple Crayola crayon broke in half. I was just in between now and then, and that took place on the beach.

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The Stay-Cationers

1 Sep

I don’t know how it happened. But it’s been three years in a row.

Wait!

No.

Six!

It’s been six years in a row.

That burns me out.

I didn’t plan on becoming one, it just happened and it has nothing to do with parenthood. It’s just what happened.

I knew it was on the calendar, been on the calendar for years. It’s been set in stone since the late 1800s. I looked it up. It’s historic, people look forward to these things for months. Months!  Counting down the days until this particular weekend happens.

It’s the weekend where you get extra time, but not just an hour, you get a whole 24 hours to do whatever you want. There’s no one expecting you to clock in. You get three … three days to yourself … to celebrate, relax, unwind in some place that’s not your home. Anywhere but home. It’s your opportunity to sit in traffic or deal with airport personnel on your way to some great destination.

It’s the three-day weekend.

It’s Labor Day Weekend.

In some parts of the world they even call it a holiday. Not vacation, holiday.

A time to live labor-free and celebrate.

And here I was … working my ass off as a parent and letting the weekend pass me by without a boarding pass, or filling up the tank.

Yeah.

It happened to me.

I was one of them.

I’d come to the realization that I’d become one. Didn’t expect to, thought I’d have a timeshare or something, but no … nothing. Not even a huge backyard where I could set up tents and pretend to go camping. No pretending.

I’d become one.

I’d become a Stay-Cationer.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, but looks like once you hit the five years in a row mark, it’s official. You get a card. You’re in the club. You’re in the try to make a vacation for yourself in your own city club. Try to escape your hustle and bustle without boarding a plane or train group.

Normally things of this nature don’t burn me out, but for some reason it did this year.

And it’s probably because it wasn’t a conscious choice. I didn’t say “Hey, Guat why don’t you just stay in this weekend and explore the city.”

No. In fact, I don’t think I said that to myself at all the last five years, I think that’s what dawned on me.

So after a I’m-burned-out-I-can’t-believe-this-whoa-as-me session I came to grips with reality.

I an accidental tourist in my own city.

Yeah.

That was me.

But considering my location, I guess it wasn’t that bad. I was at a place where Coppertone 45 and flip-flops were an essential part of life. There was Framboise.  There was chocolate. There was laughter. And then there was more chocolate. And the fact that my kids weren’t having any meltdowns along the way gave this in-town retreat a five-star rating.

I’d have to admit that it was pretty good after all, even if I’d become a three-day weekend Stay-Cationer, it wasn’t too bad of a place to get stuck in.

Exhibit A

The Beach.

A good starting point for your stay-cation is a visit to the Pacific Ocean.

A good starting point for your stay-cation is a visit to the Pacific Ocean.

 

Exhibit B

Relaxation.

Actually having fun at the beach before we hit some boogie board action, followed by a swim in the pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Actually having fun at the beach before we hit some boogie board action, followed by a swim in the pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

 

Exhibit C

Good Food.

After all that fun in the sun we hit the food truck nation, over 30 trucks lined the streets of our neighborhood this weekend where there were so many tasty dishes tempting us.

After all that fun in the sun we hit the food truck nation, over 30 trucks lined the streets of our neighborhood this weekend where there were so many tasty dishes tempting us.

 

Exhibit D

The Best Truck Ever = The Best Smile Ever.

We found the truck that we'd been searching for ... The Grilled Cheese Truck. We had the Cheesy Mac and Ribs Grilled Cheese. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome ... dude ... I can't even.

We found the truck that we’d been searching for … The Grilled Cheese Truck. We had the Cheesy Mac and Ribs Grilled Cheese. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome … dude … I can’t even.

 

Exhibit E.

There’s no picture for Exhibit E … it’s just my soft Bed, Bath & Beyond pillow that will assist me in a long restful sleep after my supreme you-do-with-what-you’ve-got-because-what-you’ve-got-is-enough stay-cation.

Shine on.

 

 

 

The Mood Changer

27 May

It’s a three-day weekend and for most people this Memorial Day Weekend means a mini-vacation — an escape from yourself and your life. I’m sad to say that I didn’t escape anything or anyone the last three days.

I felt pretty much like a dud stuck in my overcrowded part of the hemisphere. But I couldn’t let myself or my family completely drown in the boredom of staying-in-town–for-the-weekend routine. So I did what any poor writer with financial technical difficulties would do … I had a stay-cation at the beach, appreciated the moments with my kids, and gave thanks to the fallen soldiers from the past. This stay-cation proved to be better than expected.

I have to say, the Pacific Ocean rocked. It’s a total mood changer. But in addition to the beach all activities were accompanied by barbecue.

 

 

Touching the Pacific Ocean

Touching the Pacific Ocean. This was the shy beginning … but by the end of the day everyone was jumping waves and needing to use the beach showers to get sand out of everywhere.

 

 

A beach trip is not complete without building sandcastles. And everyone was hard at work, but as you can tell I didn't dress my kid. Pink would never have been an option for my daughter. In fact I have no idea how this swimsuit made it. It's a good thing the Pacific Ocean had magical mood changing powers.

A beach trip is not complete without building sandcastles. And everyone was hard at work, but as you can tell I didn’t dress my kid. Pink would never have been an option for my daughter. In fact I have no idea how this swimsuit made it. It’s a good thing the Pacific Ocean had magical mood changing powers.

 

 

Snack time was pretty tasty.

Snack time was pretty tasty.

 

 

Our tasty side dishes.

Our tasty side dishes.

 

 

For the vegetarian side of the family.

Ceviche … for the vegetarian side of the family. I had two helpings with my steak.

 

 

 

 

 

Where It All Began

11 Oct

Why not … it all started with these two little words. Why not?

Flipping through the channels I saw it … flying high, legs hanging out in the wind, and parachute catching air. The Travel Channel. I saw it, briefly. It was on one of those top beaches shows. They managed to catch somebody parasailing in the background. And it took me back … Labor Day Weekend circa 1993.

On a spur of the moment decision my Dad hijacked Labor Day and decided that the Guat Family should head north to Santa Barbara. I don’t remember why my sister didn’t share this blessed two-hour traffic jammed hostile back-seat driver journey up north, but for some reason she was absent.

In any case we made it without pushing anyone out of the car while it was moving. Once we got there the relaxed laid-back atmosphere sort of washed over us and we forgot about the dysfunctional relationships linking us together. Our stay-cation had begun.

We strolled through town checking out the botanical gardens, churches, and cool artists’ festival they had that weekend. Before this I had no idea how awesome chalk on sidewalk could be, but it was pretty amazing to see all the colorful portraits and landscapes.

And then we headed to the beach … and that’s where we saw it. I had never seen anything like it. I had seen jet skiing , water skiing, and surfing. But I had never seen parasailing. We didn’t have the Travel Channel back then and if we did I wasn’t aware of it.

In any case I was in awe by the whole experience. When my dad asked me what I was looking at I pointed at the person flying high above the water and the boat pulling him away.

And then that’s when it started … my premature bucket list. I had no idea it was a bucket list at the time. It was more of the I-Wish-I-Could-Do-That-One-Day List. The list that remained unwritten, mostly a bunch of adventures and thoughts in my head, but this …this was the first one to be crossed off and I didn’t even know it at the time.

Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 20...

 Photo credit: Wikipedia

 

“That looks cool. I think I’d like to do that one day.”

“Are you crazy?” My Dad asked.

“Yes. Yes I am.”

“Then I think we should do it,” my Dad said.

“Today?”

“Why not?”

And then there it was … the why not. This is where it all began.

Now it surprised me that he said “we.” Reason 1) He did not know how to swim, neither did I at the time.  Reason 2) He was scared of heights, not deathly scared but pretty much freaking him out kind of scared.

But that didn’t stop him. He was an adventurer that day and so was I. My mom even came along for the ride, just to witness our crazy adventure, see our expressions and join in on the laughter.

For this adventure my Dad went first. He was eager to check this off the list. I think if he would have waited he might not have gone through with it. So when they asked, who’s first, he jumped up and strapped on that harness. When he was high up in the sky, he seemed to be enjoying the view. However when he was being pulled down into the boat he appeared to have a little anxiety and nervousness going on. It might have been the Pacific Ocean hanging out beneath him. But he smiled and laughed his way through it.

Me.

I did the whole woo-hoo! on the way up and on the way down. And even though this happened almost twenty years ago I can still remember saying ‘holy crap!’ when I was way up high.

Blue skies and white sandy beaches. We had plenty of those down in Southern California but from this perspective everything looked different.

After that stay-cation I had a lot more ideas rumbling around in my head … in my I-Wish-I-Could-Do-That-One-Day thoughts.

 

 

 

Labor Day Stay-cation

3 Sep

Every year I tell myself I’m going to be one of those vacationers that escapes on Labor Day Weekend. A traveler that takes an airplane ride, or most likely a drive to an adventurous or laid-back destination, which may possibly lead to a Griswold Family type of vacation, but at least that would be an adventure. I’d like any kind of adventure any destination that’s not the inflatable pool in the patio.

Did this happen?

No. No put your seat backs. No put your tray tables in their full upright position. No securely fastening your seat belts and making sure your carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. No, none of that. But at least no hostile customer service agents. No lost luggage. And no angry passengers because they can’t smoke on the plane. No Griswold Family adventure.

So what did I do instead?

A Labor Day Stay-cation.

Something that required unleaded fuel and a twenty mile radius.

Whenever you’re on a budget and need a vacation, you seek a destination that will bring you a little peace, fun, and relaxation at the same time the beach is the destination for you. It’s a cheap date, that shows you a good time.

 

Unfortunately the masses crowding the beach also felt like having a stay-cation.

However we were able to find a nice spot.

 

 

We built sand castles.

 

 

We destroyed sand castles.

 

 

We played sports.

 

 

We forgot our volleyball so we watched other people play sports too.

 

 

We people watched … and then I wondered when the last time was that I laid back and relaxed like this chick right here … reading a book in peace. She looks like she has no gray hair.

 

 

So I sat there and looked at the sky for a minute, but only one minute as we needed to do some boogie boarding and pretend surfing with my son.

 

 

While pretend surfing with my son,  I noticed this dude paddle-boarding. He looked bad-ass. I added this to my bucket list. But then I heard about some great-white shark encounters with paddle-boarders off the coast of California just recently and thought about it again.

 

But then I got distracted when this dude came out of the water. My dude laughed at me and said why don’t you just take a picture. So I did. Then surfer hottie dude took off his wet suit. I would have taken a picture but in that moment I forgot how to work the camera … in fact I think I forgot my name.

 

 

I got inspired for some reason and we went back to “pretend surfing,” but the waves got too big. Falling down with wet sand everywhere as I was trying to keep my son from giant waves was proof enough that pretend surfing time was over.

 

 

It was time to pack it up and leave. Luckily, this time I had some help. Usually I’m the one that looks like a crazy garage sale walking down the beach.

 

Even without the airplane ride or long drive to far away places, it was a good stay-cation.