Summer Vacation


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When I was growing up, we spent two weeks at Orr Lake every summer. I have lots of great memories, but one of my earliest is of evening walks to the store for the daily newspaper for my Dad and treats for us kids. Here’s a photo of my mother and me from around that time:


As an adult, going away for a summer vacation has been hit-or-miss. When I had full-time employment, having a week or two off was a welcome break, even if we couldn’t manage to get away.

Once I started my part-time venture, “vacation” time was devoted to working on my business, and I didn’t go away until I’d been self-employed full-time for a couple of years. In 2007 my Dad and I spent a week with my sister and brother-in-law on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

South Shore Nova Scotia

Despite rediscovering the joys of travel and learning that my clients could manage without me for a time, I didn’t take another vacation until 2013, when Scott, Carly and I went to a cottage on Lake Erie. The place had a few things going for it, including this fabulous cement pad by the lake.

Carly at the Cottage

We went there most afternoons until 2:00, when it got too hot. The trouble was the view. If we looked to our left, we saw the Nanticoke Generating Station.

Nanticoke Generating Station

When we looked to our right, in the distance we could see part of U.S. Steel Canada Lake Erie Works. And as you can see in the photo above, there was tons of algae. Not something you’d want to swim or even wade in. There were plenty of other issues, but I won’t bore you with the details.

We loved getting back into cottage life though, and spent time last summer and again last week at a wonderful spot on Lake Huron.


It was a great place to catch up on my NYIP course, both reading and actual photography. You can see more of my photos from both summers in my Port Albert Album on Flickr.

I did lots of other reading too, of course. I even completed another Province for the Canadian Reading Challenge!Breakdown by Budge Wilson

I was introduced to Nova Scotian author Budge Wilson’s writing when I received a copy of Before Green Gables as a gift. I talked a bit about it in an earlier post, 5 Ways to Celebrate Canada Day, but in a nutshell, I loved it. When I spotted Breakdown at my sister’s house, I was excited about the prospect of reading another one of her books. The fact that it’s about the impact of a father’s mental health issues on his family made it even more appealing. I feel strongly that as a society we need to speak more openly about this, and that requires understanding what it is we’re talking about.

What I didn’t realize is that the book was written for ages eleven to teens. I knew it was for young people, but wasn’t expecting it to be at the middle school level. It was therefore a bit lighter in tone than I would have expected and – even worse for an avid reader on vacation – I finished it much too quickly.

I’d prepared for this possibility by installing the OverDrive app on my iPad so I could borrow ebooks from my local library. I didn’t end up needing it though,  because I realized I had an unread ebook, Only Time Will Tell, by Jeffrey Archer. Kobo probably offered a deal I couldn’t resist, which I immediately forgot about. If so, it was a shrewd marketing move, as it’s the first of a series, and now that I’ve just about finished it, I’m eager to read the rest. Book 7, This Was a Man, is coming out this fall, so that’s six more books to look forward to!

I guess reading has always been a key part of the cottage experience for me. This was about 40 summers ago.


I’ve been home for a week now, but still officially on vacation. I haven’t done much, but the important thing is – other than downloading emails and deleting whatever I could – I didn’t work!

I know that real life isn’t like vacation, but I also don’t want to get consumed by my work as soon as I start up again on Monday. To help me from falling into that trap, I’ve signed up for The Art of Photography: How to Take Your Pictures to the Next Level, which happens to start on Monday as well. It’s a very different teaching method than the NYIP course, and I have a feeling it will better suit my learning style. I’ll keep you posted!

Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Sabrina Quairoli on July 18, 2016 at 6:30 am

    I’m glad you had a great relaxing vacation, Janet. For me, when I go on vacation, it really helps me regroup with the family and see the big picture of what I am doing in my life. It’s the candy of life. =) Vacations have always been a part of my life. Thanks for sharing your vacations.

    • Janet on July 18, 2016 at 7:24 am

      I’m starting to see that what I took for granted as a child is actually an important part of a healthy balanced lifestyle. I’m glad it’s a big part of your life!

  2. Seana Turner on July 18, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Won’t be getting away this summer, but I actually love being here in my hometown, which is beautiful in the summer months. It is a challenge, though, to stop working when you are home. I’ve set aside a few days to completely unplug, and enjoyed every minute. And I actually love reading young adult books… there are so many wonderful stories out there for this age group now!

    • Janet on July 18, 2016 at 7:26 am

      It’s definitely hard to stop working when you’re physically still at work, but we’ve both proven it can be done – and it’s so worth it!

      I was expecting Breakdown to be a young adult novel, but it seemed to be for an even younger reader. Still a good read – just not as meaty as I’d hoped!

  3. Linda Samuels on July 18, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Welcome back from vacation and the much-needed break. We all need time to recharge and get away from the demanding to-do lists. It’s even more challenging when you’re a solopreneur because the ability to work 24/7 is all too possible.

    I’ve taken a few long weekends this summer and have a few other “off” work times scheduled in July and August. I loved the time I had and can’t wait for more time coming. Just changing the routine and having some quiet time to think and just be is a wonderful way to recharge the batteries.

    I’m happy that your vacation gave you all that you needed and that you’re gently getting back to your work.

    • Janet on July 18, 2016 at 10:06 am

      One of my local colleagues is working four-day weeks this summer in lieu of taking a regular vacation. I’m not sure that would work for me, but as long as everyone gets the break they need, it doesn’t matter how it is accomplished!

  4. Stacey Agin Murray on July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Re-entry from a vacation isn’t easy–good to see you’re easing back into your daily routine. Enjoy your photography class!

    • Janet on July 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks Stacey! I can’t wait to work on my first assignment!

  5. Sarah Soboleski on July 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Your vacation sounded so relaxing! It’s been 5+ years since my husband and I have been on a vacation, but the ones we did take years ago were for 2+wks. One week just isn’t long enough to really unwind.

    • Janet on July 20, 2016 at 5:39 am

      A week does go by awfully quickly, and it took me a couple of days just to be comfortable not DOing anything. But although I was sad to be heading home, I was ready.

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