My City By the Bay

PC: Instagram @frankabbottphotography

Y’all!! It’s 4th of July weekend. There were absolutely perfect grand finale fireworks exploding over the bay behind Wahoos Stadium last Saturday night as Cat Country belted out the Star Spangled Banner and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” for the whole town, songs we know by heart because we’ve heard them, literally, hundreds and hundreds of times growing up here. Our townsfolk serenaded each other up and down the coastline as they sprawled out on blankets laid on pelts of damp grass downtown in the historic district while their kids twirled sparklers in the air screaming, “Look, mama!” We drank ice cold canned drinks plucked from sloshy coolers doubling as benches and we grilled big fat hotdogs, sitting on the hallowed ground of five hundred years of European history as kids hit baseballs and men planned offshore fishing trips for next weekend. We ate truckloads of chilled watermelon. We drove our big lifted trucks to get down there, or maybe our convertibles, or our Jeeps, because the climate of this area just begs for you to ride around with the top down, the twang of a Luke Bryan country song blaring out your window, talking with your passenger about the excitement of the Blue Angels Show coming up the next weekend. We complain about the traffic…and the heat…my God the heat, but yes, we love it here. The pride we have in our military, the confident air of superiority we have in all things USA…well, it makes us walk a little straighter and push our shoulders back just a smidge. It’s gooood to be an American. Really good. I couldn’t be more patriotic right now in my red, white and blue hangover if I’d signed the Declaration of Independence myself.  We love our country. Read more

Dear Teacher

PC: Instagram @monicabondurant

Dear Teacher,

I am writing this love letter to a specific handful of very busy men and women I know. Wondering if I mean you? Read on.

You folks that I work alongside, all of you who talked for weeks about the coming end of the school year and how “it will be soooooo nice not to have to get up and ‘do anything’ every day! Oh my GOD!”  

But I see you. You haven’t stopped moving since the last period bell rang two weeks ago. You are still going 100 mph in twenty directions and your summer vacation is already two weeks old. There are only nine weeks left and you are still, technically, working. Why? Read more

10 Easy Rules for Vacationing With Family

Photo Credit: Dawn Quarles @dawnquarlesauthor.

As I write this post, my laptop’s internet signal strength brings to mind what it would be like to share a milkshake with nine other people sucking simultaneously through individual straws. And as I peck out my thoughts this morning, sipping fresh coffee with my own special creamer, the snow falls softly outside the Crested Butte ski resort condo where my party of ten continues to snooze. Inside the semi-separateness of the connecting three bedrooms and the loft where we have spread ourselves out to cohabitate for a week, for now all is peaceful. I enjoy these calm, gentle mornings alone because it’s the only time that feels like my real life. I am accustomed to having lots of quiet time to myself, and I am spoiled at home with endless personal, private amenities. But be assured, the peace and solitude I am enjoying now will completely vaporize once everyone wakes up. Sharing a home with lots of other people is an experience to behold, and I have learned a thing or two this week about how to get along with everyone I love, but don’t necessarily love to live with, with the least amount of inconvenience. Read more

My Dog Stinks and Other Reasons You Can’t Come Over

PC: Instagram @brittany_sherwood

The app on my phone says I have 7 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes, and 4 seconds left before I go back to work for the new school year. I definitely have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, my favorite (ok, only) son is a freshman and will be with me every day all day at the same high school where I work now, and I never get tired of him being nearby. However, on the other hand, I’ve had a rather horrible summer [what with the dog deaths and dog bites that caused me straight-up heartache over the last two months].

Nevertheless, as I do every year during the months when I don’t have to report to work each day, I develop some really bad personal habits. By the time August rolls around, I begin to actively worry about the discomfort that 5:30 a.m. is going to bring me, so much so that now I’m not even sleeping well at all; the stress of my backwards and excessive sleeping habits weighing heavily on me. I mean, my circadian rhythms are on vacation, too. Don’t believe me? Here was my day yesterday: Read more