It seems like we've been on vacation for days. Not really, but we have strayed far from our routine. That's the fun of summer! On the day of Arielle's adventure to the warehouse, Liana and I had a delightful day of sewing. We will soon be ready to start up our Etsy store! For now, we are focusing on bags and have five nearly ready to go.
The next two days brought the much-anticipated home school conference that I long for every year. It energizes me for a new school year. There are great speakers, either other parents sharing their journeys or curriculum authors who give me insight into new books or methods to use in teaching. The first day of the conference I took the girls and my granddaughter Lana. They even had their own session with other girls at one point in the day. Arielle searched the used books to provide her with summer reading, and I perused new books, longingly thumbing through, but only buying exactly what we truly needed. I've always loved books--the feel of them, the smell of them. Thank you, Mother, for instilling that in me.
The next day of the conference Fred gave me a gift of time. He stayed with the girls at home so I could think and plan and check out vendors and sit in on lectures. To top off the day, three friends and I stopped for dinner on the way home. We sat outdoors in an unusual restaurant along an unused railroad track in the middle of town. The restaurant served organic, locally grown meats, fruits and vegetables. My daughter-in-law would love it here! (Want to go, Stacia?) We had lovely salads of bibb lettuce with cheeses and fresh berries. Lady food--not at all suitable for my meat-a-tarian husband!
Fred had some vacation time, so on Monday we took a day trip. We drove only an hour away, but it might as well have been in another state. I can't believe I've lived here so long and haven't seen this part of the countryside. The beauty of the gorgeous rolling hills with farmland planted in patches of green and yellow caused even Fred to slow down and relax. Giant cottony clouds rested lightly on the horizon and a mountain ridge stretched all around in the distance. Our destination was a cave in the midst of a pine forest. As we hiked to the entrance, the heavy pine scent sent me back to childhood, camping in Yosemite with my family and the mixed emotions of those days. The cave has an interesting history of entertaining guests in an underground ballroom complete with piano while World War II raged on in Europe.
Later we traveled further north toward the mountains and visited a most unusual store full of stuffed animals. No, not toys. This was a Man Store with nothing much of interest for the girls and me except for the many specimens of deer arranged in their natural habitat. Like a zoo, only the deer were dead. It was a little unnerving.
On the way home we stopped at a place where Fred used to visit as a child with his parents and sisters. I know it holds a lot of memories for him, what sort, I'm not sure. The pagoda was closed so we couldn't climb to the top, but we had a great view anyway of the nearby town from this high point. Arielle thought she could see the building where Damien and Gretchen were married. Only good times reigned that night!
To end our vacation, we stopped at a local Chinese restaurant for cheap, delicious food. Even though we didn't go far from home, it was fun to pretend we were away on a trip. And actually, this was one of our best family days that I can remember. I hope the girls will tuck this away in their hearts and maybe one day tell the stories to their own children. I want their memories to always be a picture of pure joy and love without the dark frame of raging war that so often distorts their parent's.