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How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation

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It’s been four days since I last heard from my son. I knew this would be likely but for crying out loud – it’s the 21st century! No cell phone service? Across 895 miles of the Alaskan Highway and British Columbia? They could have put a tower or two out there. Really, I’m not worried. I guess since nobody has shown up at the front door with a telegram, I can assume all is well. While Alex is off on his summer vacation adventure, I’m sure you’re wondering if I’m lonesome, and how I’m passing the time. Well, here’s the short list so far: 1. I’m perfecting the art of cooking beets. They look so old-fashioned and appealing at the farmer’s markets I can’t resist. So far, I’ve baked them (really easy); sliced them into a dressing of OJ, olive oil, shallots and rice vinegar (yum!); sautéed the greens with garlic and fresh lemon juice (tastes like swiss chard); and boiled little baby beets and made a salad with feta cheese, capers and balsamic vinegar. Trust me, these are not your grandma’s beets! 2. I’m practicing blowing smoke rings. Seriously. I have developed this odd desire for Swisher Sweets in the last year or so. Not in a Clintonesque way, and like Bill, I definitely do not inhale. I guess there are worse vices to have. I only ever light one up when my son is at least 250 miles away, generally on the privacy of my back deck. But I have always admired the skill of smoke ring blowing, so I figured what the hell? But, duh, it leaves the nastiest taste in your mouth for hours. 3. I’m borrowing my sister’s kids. My little nephews are 5 and 8 and they absolutely kill me! They are good for laughs and they’re a constant source of entertainment. Sammy plays a mean game of tic-tac-toe. Max is a great story teller who can not wait for the fire ban to lift so he can set off the $400 worth of fireworks he’s been hoarding. My sister rarely says no when I ask to take her kids off her hands for a few hours. Usually I can hear her squealing into my driveway before I hang up the phone. 4. I’m not shopping. Nope, not even at Wal-Mart. It’s unusual for me to have spare time and not spend it doing a little retail therapy. Maybe I’m at a point where I just don’t need or want any more “stuff?. More likely, I•m waiting for the retail season to change. Okay – not a real exciting list I know. But it’s been less than a week that I’ve had the house to myself. When your life is so generally focused on your kid, there’s bound to be an adjustment period during which you realize you can do whatever you want! I’d love to know what’s on your “if I had four weeks to myself this is what I’d do? list.

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