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.
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.
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.
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!
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!