How to Take a Vacation


Of Thee I Sing, Winter Park!



I know.  No post last week. What can I say other than my brain was like a faucet with only the slightest drop of water hanging on for dear life at the rim. I figured it was time to fill my creative cup.

Luckily, my two week vacation began on Monday.  I started my re-charge plan by being a zombie on my sofa. I took a walk. I didn’t eat anyone’s brains, but fed myself well and returned back to the sofa for a marathon of reading and snoozing. It’s not exactly a running start for an energy boost but my control panel has been lit up with activity all summer to the point of overload. Sleeping and reading on Monday was like grabbing a horseshoe shaped breaker and shutting down the main power.  It felt zappy, like when your nervous system jolts you awake just as you fall off a cliff in your not-yet-dream.

Disconnecting usually feels delightful when you’re going a million miles an hour, but I actually felt out of sorts with myself. I started feeling what I call Fussy Baby Syndrome. I wanna lie down. No, I wanna get up. I wanna be alone. Maybe I should call a friend to go out?

The last dribs of unsettled anxiety seemed to be trying to find a voice like a nerve ending that’s firing at random.  It finally went away and I woke up on Tuesday a brand new human being.

It takes time to transition into vacation. I’m convinced one day of brainwashing must take place before you can enjoy the rest.


Ahhhhh.  Achieved.

Where the writing and reading magic happened

I drove up to the mountains (Winter Park) to stay at a friend’s place alone.  I brought 4 books, plowed through 2 already, had my 20 minute altitude crushing headache when I didn’t drink enough water and took up residence on the deck.  Who knew being away from my own place (which I love) could feel so good.  Change of scenery really does something. Mental note: must do this sooner next time I feel like a beast.

Is it a wonder that I don’t currently own hiking boots?


I went into the village of Winter Park. I had skied there all winter and wanted to see what it was like with grass. Somehow it was less intimidating.  What I did find intimidating were all the crazy mountain bikers. Not your average 5-K t-shirt wearing Gatorade dudes…these guys were in full Mad Max Turtle gear. They had breast plates and back shields and shoulder shelving that was NFL worthy. They had full helmets with chin guards and iridescent ski goggles that made them look like supernatural heroes on bikes. The palpable testosterone gave me a thrill, you big crazy fellas.


Dudes in bike armor. I swear I’m not taking a picture of you. Don’t run me over.


Getting the bikes loaded on the ski lift


Bye-bye Mad Max Biker dudes. I’m going to miss those chest plates.


I wanted to take a photo of these guys up-close, but was too shy to ask. I pretended I was taking a photo of the mountain instead. I’m sure they thought I was weird.  I spent most of the afternoon reading and people watching. I watched a couple playing with a life size black and white chess set in the town square. I always imagined having one of those as a kid. At one time, my brother John and his friend Tom and I were dreaming up a human chess board, but with only 3 people, we came up short for pieces.  As I was day-dreaming about this, I watched a rogue two year old, come in from the right and run full-force kamikaze into the chess pieces, toppling over with three pieces about the same size as him. The couple playing froze. The harried Mom a few steps behind said, “Sorry!” Just as she picked up the kid (not the pieces) he stretched his powerful little body and solidly kicked another piece down. I laughed my ass off.

A disconcerting sign upon entering the ladies room

I thought I’d make a list of how to take a vacation. Next time, when I am in desperate need of a vacation, I can remember how to do it.

Top 10 Ways to Take a Vacation:

1.) Take a vacation.

2.) Experience Fussy Baby Syndrome. Give baby anything she wants.

3.) Nap to the point of boredom

4.) Read books you’ve been meaning to read

          a) Seminar by Theresa Rebeck (play)

          b) The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert (Biography)

          c) Falling Through Space by Ellen Gilchrist (Memoir/Journals)

          d) Ghostbread by Sonja Livingston (Memoir)

5.) Make new list of books to read when finished.

          a) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy  (* I vow to read a classic that I pretend to know about… Maybe it will be riveting? and wonderful?)

          b) My Life in Heavy Metal by Steve Almond (Short Stories)

          c) The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage (Fiction)

          d) I have so many to fill this slot, I can’t commit.

6.) Take a walk. Preferably at 9,000 feet above sea level. The two chocolate cookies will feel earned.

7.) Try to get paid while on vacation.

         – It’s like having a banker rub your head until you fall asleep.

8.) Drink water. It’s good to stay headache free.

9.) People watch on park bench.  Make note of other people people-watching. Come up with no particular realization other than it’s nice to pass time among other people who are relaxing.

10.) Look up often into the sky.

All is right in the world.

It’s been a mighty good week reading and writing. I also watched two episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. Did I just say that publicly? I must really be on vacation. Turn up the entertainment, pass me a Stella Artois.

If all goes well, I’ll be reporting to you next week from Santa Fe. I can give you a progress report on Anna Karenina. I think I can guess how this classic Russian novel is going to end. But my road trip to New Mexico? A Mystery.