Where I Wish

  The issue with taking these concentrated mini-vacations… like the 18 hours I just had at the cottage with the girls before I left them with their grandmother, is that it makes me feel like I’ve got to cram in as much fun as can possibly be had that wee time.

(The first Cotty sock, reclining on the reading log at the beach.)

I definitely had it too.  My nephew Hank and I looked at rocks and admired the pyrite sparkling in the water at the beach.

I read on the beach, we ran races on the sand.

(All of us, even though we’re mostly all grown up.  Some family traditions are oddly sticky. Also, my sister is surprisingly fast.)

I swam and swam, all the way out to the big rock with Sam. (As one would expect of a sailor, she can swim like a fish.)

It was wonderful, and all to fast. I sat on the rock at the empty beach watching Samantha and Hank play dolphin (I thought 16 might be to old to play dolphin.  I was wrong) and I started my second sock, and tried to figure out how to stay longer.

I left the girls there, to play and swim, and drove back to Toronto to work, with nothing but a nasty sunburn to show for it. (Yes, I was diligent with the sunscreen.  It’s just a side effect of trying to enjoy the beach while you can be at it. I tried to avoid it, I got it anyway, I think it was worth it.)  Now I’m here, and I wish I was there.

I’m not good at playing dolphin, but I’m pretty wicked at crocodile, and as Megan said "If you don’t know what those games are, you’re not doing the beach right."

I love summer.

103 thoughts on “Where I Wish

  1. Funny how being self-employed makes us work harder and appreciate the time off more (I think, anyways). Glad you had fun.

  2. Thank you for sharing your golden summer moments! Wish that I had the energy to make it to that rock. Three cheers for being so physically fit, Stephanie! Way to go!

  3. Good Times!!!! When I was a teeneager and lived in Florida – all summer was spent at one beach or another. We all started school as brown as little walnuts and healthy as horses (well – sea-horses, I guess). Water skiing – swimming – boating! It’s such a great part of the warm time of year! So glad you got to go and share at least some of the time! Good for you – and Happy Days to the rest of the clan!

  4. 16 years old maybe ‘too old’ if you are with your contemporaries, but when you are inducting young realtives into family traditions one can drop one’s ‘coolness’ and just rev it up.
    Sorry about the sunburn, glad you made the trip home OK.

  5. My madmother is deteriorating, but reading about your lovely, gentle, fun filled day brought back memories of when I was young and would race on the sand with my sisters. And eat sandwiches filled with sand. And my mother laughing and clapping instead of moaning and being angry all the time.
    But,for now, she still loves the socks I knit for her, and she wears her shawlette no matter what the weather. So perhaps on Saturday I’ll take her to the coast and we can have a day full of sand sandwiches, and watching others racing to the tideline. And I’ll knit a while too.
    Thanks for the smiles

  6. This typist should make ‘realtives’ ‘relatives’ – I am still trying to work it out if this was a Freudian slip.

  7. Gorgeous beach and lake! Lake Huron? I went to Manitoulin island once and camped at the western end. Shelves of limestone in the water were perfect for sitting and soaking and cooling down.

  8. Thanks for pointing us to your current reading of The Hatbox Letters & another great Canadian author — Beth Powning. Happy summer to all.

  9. Sounds like fun, even though it was so short! That yarn is absolutely perfect for beach knitting! What is it???

  10. Need more beach time,you say? You could always organize a mini knitting retreat up there. On the East Coast. Where those of us who can’t get to the West Coast can get to. Just sayin’…

  11. But the vacation that leaves you wishing you were still there, and enjoying the memories you made, is the perfect length. Otherwise, you stay too long, and it’s not so special, and it fades away too quickly after it’s over.

  12. That sounds lovely….Here I am, on the beach, on the Gulf of Mexico and I can’t even enjoy it because it keeps raining! I’m quite jealous.

  13. Apparently, I don’t do the beach right. But I’m from Philadelphia, by way of Missouri, by way of South Korea.
    Please to be explaining dolphin and crocodile?

  14. I’m with Min. Dolphin and crocodile were unknown beach games when we lived on Staten Island, New York. Are they family specialties or does “everyone” know the games?

  15. I’m guessing Dolphin is pretty similar to the game we play at the beach called Mermaid. 🙂 I don’t think you are ever too old to play that. Then again, I love to swim, I’ve always felt I could be a fish.

  16. Beautiful!!! That water is sooo clear!!!
    What a wonderful grandmother the kids have!!!
    I’d talk to that boss of yours about letting you have a few more days off soon so you can go back.

  17. Being raised inland and vacationing in the mountains, I never saw the ocean until I was 18 years old. Then we visited San Diego, and all I could do was stare, mesmerized by the waves going in and out. Now, I always make it a point to go to waters’ edge whenever I am in a seaside town. What a treat!

  18. i sure hope those are pictures of the lake huron shore, cos we have a cottage rental booked there later this month and it looks a mighty fine place to be!

  19. Having moved from Florida to a very much land-locked state, I soooo miss water! Thanks for the great pictures. It sounds like a great time, even if it was rushed!

  20. Where are the beach games taking place? We’re looking for Canadian beaches for our vacation next month! Suggestions for cottages?

  21. As much as I loathe the humidity, I love summer, too. I just admitted this to myself this year…though it’s an easy admission to make when one has a mouth full of heirloom tomatoes out of one’s back garden.

  22. Ah, an oasis in the wilderness. So glad you had some fun in the sun (and sand and water). I have a real thing about the water, can’t get enough of it. I can’t drive across a bridge without straining to see the river below. Love it.

  23. I understand what you mean regarding the “too old” thing. I thought my boys (15 and 13) might be too old to play in the rain. I was sooo wrong — and I’m grateful I was! It was a joy to watch them running and playing in that downpour. That’s the best part of summer.

  24. Man, your boss is pretty stingy with the vacation time! I think she ought to at least give you another day a month, though I admit I appreciate how much you produce for her (and us)!

  25. Do y’all play “crocodile” the way we play “gator” down here? One kid lurks in the water, and reaches out and grabs the ankles of anyone else who wanders too close, yanking them into the water and growling ferociously? You can also play “gator” in the mud.
    Having a “cottage” sounds so nice. Down here we have “camps.” For rich folks, a “camp” is a full sized, rustic-themed second house that happens to be in the woods or at the beach. For everybody else it’s an old RV, up on cinderblocks.
    Looks like you had a great time. Wish you could have stayed longer.

  26. I’ll live my summer vicariously thorough you. My husband is in Afghanistan and it’s just me and the cats… they’re good company and all but not the sort of creatures to enjoy a good day at the beach. I suspect they don’t even know how to play dolphin.
    Heck, neither do I.

  27. My boys used to play shark. :/ Because they are boys, maybe? Who knows! It involved a lot of underwater grabbing of appendages and much screaming in terror. 🙂 I miss those boys! Our youngest was convinced there were sharks in Lake Ontario, too. He’d ask each time we went over the skyway if that’s where the sharks lived. His older brothers teased him out of asking that eventually. Did I mention how much I miss those boys?

  28. Smiles and warm, familiar memories. Thank you. How is it that now that I live full time 15 minutes from the ocean I’ve only made it there once this summer? (But I do own lots of bathing suits and beach towels if any one comes to visit!)Could it be a business, a house and grown up kids who don’t need me to take them to the beach? All grandchildren live on the other side of a very large ocean.

  29. I just typed “But how do you keep the sand out of your balls?” Looked at it, shook my head and went, oh never mind. Glad you enjoyed the beach!

  30. It looks positively idlyllic and I can certainly understand your desire to stay longer. I long for something similar period.

  31. Sounds like you packed a lot into one day 🙂
    Crocodile in our family was laying in shallow water and using your arms to paddle yourself around, no dragging anyone under though!
    I miss carefree, warm days. Had enough of winter.

  32. Check the sell-by-date on that sunscreen. Too old it doesn’t work. Also extreme temperatures (like storing it in the glove box) could change the chemistry.
    I think you need a new boss. Family vacations are treasures.
    This summer – with the very warm weather, amazingly warm water temperatures (for NJ) and the Gulf oil spill, I’ve been day tripping to the shore (beach for non-New Jersey people) more than any other year. Something like a pressing need to enjoy it before we ruin it. (Off shore drilling proposed for NJ last year). I’m very lucky to be only an hour from some great beaches.

  33. You are never too old to play dolphin or run beach races. Being a grown-up means that I get to define what grown-ups do, and I say, grown-ups don’t have to give up on fun!

  34. This is in regards to your post two days ago. Regarding the heat: Window units need not be nailed down. Some can just be shoved into the window, and the window itself slid onto it’s top. The one I just bought had wings to the side, to cover up the rest of the window. They run from $100 to $200 for a single room, to quite a bit more for larger spaces. It might be good for bedrooms and offices. At the end of the miserable season, you pull them off the ledge, and stow them in a garage or attic, until the following year.
    Second, instead of poking around in a cold bathtub, you can stick a bucket of ice cubes in front of a fan. This chills the air blown over the ice. We are using gallon jugs of ice, old milk cartons filled with water and placed in front of the fan. It doesn’t work quite as well, but it also does not spill, which is important around rambunctious smallies.
    You probably already know all this, right?

  35. WHAT a beautiful beach! Looks like a perfectly lovely day.
    As an aside, did you buy your sunblock this year? Turns out they’re only good for a year.

  36. Thank you for the visit with Hank. We haven’t seen him in a while and I was hank-ering for a glimpse. (sorry). He’s gotten so big!

  37. Oh, and I want that yarn. I really, really want that yarn. And it’s not available.
    Ah well, I can still get the pattern, and I will.

  38. Okay, I do not know dolphin or crocodile…here in Maine we play sharks and minnows…
    And duck, duck, goose in kayaks!
    Ocean games…boats involved.
    Your beach sounds lovely, my turn in a few weeks.

  39. love the beach…. spent a couple days there this summer with my minions and got badly sunburned as well this summer….. I can’t use sunscreen (allergic to something in lotions…. even the sensitive skin ones make the burns worse and I end up with sun poisoning…)
    Glad to see you got to have a minivacation 🙂

  40. It is always so sad to have to leave the beach, I usually feel quite peaceful and stress free while I am near the water. Glad you had some time to enjoy with family.
    Sunscreen will not work if it is out of date, I found out the hard way ! always check the “use by”

  41. Don’t you badmouth Sam like that. She clearly swims better than a sailor — historically, most sailors couldn’t swim a lick.

  42. What Rams said, about sailors swimming. I don’t know many sailors or fishermen who could save their own lives in a bathtub. At least on the East Coast.

  43. Oh, I ache for summer, even though it’s still here (and all day I’ve been cursing the heat and the mosquitos so you wouldn’t even know how much I love it). Bittersweet.
    Sidenote re: sunburns. I just read an article that sun exposure is not nearly as big a factor in lethal skin cancers as previously thought. So your sunburn might be uncomfortable now (my sympathies!) but it’s probably not going to affect you long-term.

  44. Beach looks great. I used to go the the Jersey shore in the summers with my mother and 5 siblings. Too many kids for a long vacation but we loved the day at the beach with a picnic lunch. On a knitting note, are those Signature needles you’re using? Did I miss a post where you talked about them? Do you like them? Just wondering if I should spring the money……

  45. Yup, Rams and Steph VW are absolutely right. I was a sailor in the Canadian Navy and I just managed to pass the requisite swim test. Swim like a fish? Far from it! I almost miss Ontario looking at your beach photos. Growing up we spent plenty of time around Lake Huron.

  46. I’ll admit it is hard to work at the beach. I have my own business and forcing myself to just do the work is often the most difficult task. But sometimes I can take my work to the beach, the kids run and swim. I mostly work, but at least I can look up and see the ocean. Kind of sad, I live a few miles from the beach, but it is still difficult to make the time to be there.
    Taking the time to go to the beach and leave work behind is special.

  47. I’ll admit it is hard to work at the beach. I have my own business and forcing myself to just do the work is often the most difficult task. But sometimes I can take my work to the beach, the kids run and swim. I mostly work, but at least I can look up and see the ocean. Kind of sad, I live a few miles from the beach, but it is still difficult to make the time to be there.
    Taking the time to go to the beach and leave work behind is special. Do it more often. Work is always there, along with the heat and the ants.

  48. What is it about the beach? No summer is complete without a visit to the water. We live in the mountains and I’m always telling my husband that this would be a good location for a beach! Thanks for sharing the great pictures.

  49. Hank absorbed that beach day all the way up to the pyrite in his hair. He’s golden.
    That yarn is the most perfect colorway for that setting; knitted up, it echoes the texture of the sand.

  50. It’s been forever since I’ve had a day at the beach. The last time was cut short by my forgetting important supplies (funnily enough sunscreen wasn’t even on the list) like the key for my bike lock, so I could secure my bike to enjoy the water.
    There is a 1 and 2 mile ocean swim just north of Boston that is a lot of fun. It is great fun even if you are slow like I am!

  51. We do mini vacations also. We had a short 3 day visit with my sister. Although I was kind of happy to get back home, but sad I did not have more time to explore the area she lives in. lol. We went camping and I could of hung out there for a few more days. But had to be back home to attend to other things like band camp, 4h meetings, hubbys work, my class I am taking this summer. There is just not enough summer days to enjoy.

  52. Just yesterday, I walked by a poster at work that had a quote from Chekhov: “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
    Substitute “dead” for “happy,” and he’d be right. I love summer.

  53. I’ve been trying very hard to not even think cranky thoughts about the weather and humidity for next month it could snow. Instead I’ve been building sand castles at the beach with my grandchildren. It’s going to be another scorcher today. Think I’m going to take my mother and go visit relatives who happen to have a cabin at the lake.

  54. The pictures are beautiful, use the one of the two of you walking to the water as your screen saver for January!

  55. Oh, I feel a bit sad that I’ve never played dolphin or crocodile! (Perhaps the epic grey drizzle has something to do with my mood too.) I was always more a sandcastle-building, seashell-collecting sort.

  56. Arrr! It’s a pyrites life for me!
    Thanks for knowing what pyrite is and mentioning it…as a geologist, it always makes me happy to find rocks in minerals in my day (even if it is just stories of them).

  57. Oh me oh my I’m glad you had at least a little time at the beach to enjoy. the pictures make me very homesick for the north .

  58. How do you play dolphin and crocodile? I sadly missed out on these games while frolicking at my grandparents lakeside cottage growing up. Perhaps that’s because I grew up in a US state without either of those animals? Perhaps we should have created a game called “Moose” or “Loon”…

  59. I just came back from two weeks on a Greek Island perfecting the beach bum lifestyle, it was too hot to knit, but other than that it was perfect. I want to go back … sigh…

  60. Don’t you ever feel strange knitting at the beach? I was at the Beaches outside of Toronto two weeks ago knitting and everyone kept looking at me like I was insane….

  61. You made the most out of the time that you had. That’s a good thing. I don’t live near the ocean so am glad you shared. I felt like I was on the beach with the sand going through my toes, and in the water with Hank! Thanks!
    Oh – and love those socks!! 🙂

  62. Growing up without a beach, I have no idea what those games are. Could you post tomorrow? With pictures?

  63. Tell your boss that she doesn’t have to do everything and that you need time at the beach, more than 18 hrs too. The sun will still come up tomorrow morning no matter what we got done or didn’t. But a cottage filled with family isn’t always there, without enough of that, it doesn’t really matter if the sun comes up or not.

  64. Sounds like the time with your family at beach was well worth the dreaded drive. And, sometimes the short, unexpected pleasures are the best ones!

  65. Wow. Hank is getting SO big! And I love his hair. I want to see what it looks like all dry. 🙂 The sock looked like it might have been a bit lonely that day. I’ve been avoiding swimming since I’m two minutes from going into labor (I really really hope) but I enjoy seeing other people’s posts about it.

  66. As many have said, one should never be too old to play at the beach. I play Submarine with my kids. I swim with a kid on my back until she/he screams “DIVE” in my ear. I plunge under the water while the kid leaps forward like a torpedo. So much fun. I’ll have to introduce Dolphin. We also play Shark and Croc games.
    But question, does the sand-yarn mixture bug you? I’ve always been worried about knitting at the beach because I wasn’t sure sand and yarn would mix well.

  67. Oregon’s beach waters are rediculously frigid any time of the year (we go to the beach when it’s too hot inland- its usually thirty degrees cooler and foggy when it’s 100 or more inland). However, we do have an abundance of lakes in my area, and now I’m definintely wishing for a camping trip and a swimming hole instead of heading on into work. Guess I’ll once again live vicariously through this blog!

  68. People around here in the mid-Atlantic play Marco Polo in pools and possibly lakes. In all my born years I’ve never heard of dolphins and crocodiles. Are they a Canadian thing?

  69. Thanks for the glimpse of your mini-vacations. I really enjoy them, plus it looks so beautiful there. The added bonus of seeing Hank was nice too, it seems like he’s growing up on your blog and we get to set on the sidelines and watch. Please tell me that there was a nice breeze and the temperature was wonderful. I’m tired of sweltering, I couldn’t even work on my sock today.

  70. You’re a meanie knitting that beautiful yarn that was only available at Sock Summit, where I didn’t buy any, dope that I am.
    Which is to say, I love it.

  71. My theory is that the older we get, the more important it is that we take time to play. Glad to see that you and yours had such a grand time.

  72. Dude, no idea what those games are but I play a different one…..it’s called how many times can I get hit on by every guy while lying there in a bikini. Loads of fun. Trust me 😉

  73. Ooh, summer… We really haven’t gotten “summer” here yet, if you can believe. I keep waiting for a sunny beach day. It’ll come — probably in October, when I’m ready for fall! It looks like you’re making the most of the time you’ve got, which is always the way to play it.

  74. Where did you go? We just got back from 3 days in Leland, MI. Beautiful beach, hot weather, some rain when going to Grand Traverse Lighthouse & good get-togethers w/ family. Thanks for sharing.

  75. What a wonderful holiday and what a lovely beach! What a wonderful summer time for you and for the kids.
    However – did you know that in earlier times sailors didn’t swim? My great-great-grandfathers were fishermen, captains and sailors in an era when ships were sailing ships. I was told they never ever learned to swim – you were doomed anyway if ever anything went wrong on sea … And indeed, quite a few of them could never be buried in their hometown.

  76. looks like the River (and you who live near it know which one I’m talking about) near Kingston and Wolfe Island. Lovely beach…

  77. It was fun to see Hank again. I’ve never forgotten his faith in knittening — wasn’t he the one who was sure you could knit him a blue hat out of pink yarn?

  78. I don’t know what “dolphin” or “corcodile” are (at our pool they play “shark” – maybe something similar?) but my idea of “doing the beach right” is reading a mystery book in a sand chair at the water line (not to far into the water – don’t want the book to get wet!).

  79. I’m sorry you were sunburned! Its great though that you’ve had this time with your daughters. I recently got married and when a minor incident (my car getting towed – my bad, I’m not complaining) required me calling my Daddy due to the hubs being out of town I was sooo relieved! I miss my parents even though living with them right before getting married was often stressful. We’ve always had a pretty good relationship and I hope you enjoy these times with your daughters because they enjoy it too (just don’t let them realize it!)

  80. I also intended to add that I’ve really enjoyed your posts recently and the frequency of them. I check every day and your blog is one of my favorites!

  81. Re the sunburn – everyone at the Jersey shore has these surf shirts – slightly stretchy short- or long-sleeve shirts, keep the sun off. Not the heavy scuba neoprene! Bright colors, great for kids and grown-ups who don’t get enough of a tan to not burn on those occasional trips.
    I love knitting at the beach. My chair, mat and umbrella live in my car year-round.

  82. Sounds like it will be gorgeous whether you dye it or not. The new Baby Venus cardigan at Patternfish is made with yarn that has a gradual color change. Or maybe Citron would show off the color shift like on a flower petal — though it might be more shawl than shawlette in a worsted weight.

  83. Guess I didn’t learn to do the beach right Megan. I never heard of playing dolphin or crocodile……sad but true

  84. Wow! That water is gorgeous. Clear enough to give Rangeley Lake a run for its money. Where…? if you can tell me without killing me.

  85. Yeah, you love summer because soon enough it’s gone and let me tell you, sister, we’re going to pay for that ‘non-winter’ we had last year. Before you know it, the ice will be here and I for one, will try to remember every moment I spent at the beach this summer. Playing whatever…..

  86. I liked your socks. Next, I am selling all kinds of knitting hosiery machines at ludhiana, India,for wollen-sweater,lady-coaty,half-sleeve,school-uniform & gloves ,socks,caps etc.

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