Beaches, Cupcakes and Lakes… Oh my!

Fun with iPhones, aka Vacation makes us happy!

Vacation is a fabulous thing.  I don’t take them often and when I do I normally remain connected to much of the outside world, including my office.  Even when I spent three glorious weeks in Europe last summer, I was anxiously checking email from hotel rooms  and WiFi enabled planes.

This time, however, I didn’t.  I checked my phone once a day for messages, but other than that, I left it plugged in on the night stand.  I didn’t care.  I was on vacation.

Donner Lake at Midnight
Why would I check my email when I could be staring out at this? Or photographing it because let’s be honest that is a huge part of vacation for me.

Of course, that also means I have neglected all of you out in the blogosphere.  I am  sorry about that.

Actually, I’m not.

About the only thing I am actually sorry about is the ten pounds I managed to pack on.  Holy hell.  Any guesses what caused that?  B-E-E-R.  And those ridiculously yummy Lime-a-ritas.  Seriously, those things are amazing.

So how was my vacation?  Pretty much awesome.

It started out with a trip to Santa Barbara for a flyball tournament.  It is a long and boring drive, but we always attend because we not only love the host team but where else can we wrap up a day of racing by lounging on the beach with all the dogs?  It is pretty awesome.

Pretty awesome, right?

Frolicking canines

Penelope is oh so happy to be here!

Corrigan couldn’t find the ball so he brought back kelp.

From there, we leisurely drove up the coast of California to obtain the Holy Grail of cupcakes (if you ask me, anyway) from Kara’s Cupcakes in San Francisco.  They were delicious, but then they always are.  I could go for one right now but alas, no room left in the calorie budget for raspberry filled chocolately goodness.


Of course, we also had the cops called on us for traveling with dogs.  Apparently that is a crime in Palo Alto, which is totally weird because I was hanging out with the dogs the entire five minutes (according to our parking stub) it took to acquire cupcakes.  There must not be a lot going on in Palo Alto or they have the most amazing response time ever for frantic crazy women (I actually had the “joy” of watching this woman call while screaming that dogs were suffering and going to die if they didn’t come quick, thinking it couldn’t be for US).  Needless to say we were stopped at the gate by the friendly police but received a nice apology as indeed, everything was just fine/legal/whatever.  WOW.  That was special and stressful.  I really do understand that there are ignorant or uncaring people out there who do horrible things to dogs (trust me, I do rescue work-people are awful), but a quietly resting group of well attended air conditioned dogs enjoying delicious beef ribs with plenty of water after a long weekend of traveling and competing does NOT constitute an emergency.  In fact, I’m not even sure how she even SAW the dogs.  As you can see, I am still really bothered by the whole thing.

We drove 10 hours so the dogs could play in the ocean. We are horrible people, clearly.

Once we made it out of the Bay Area, we headed up to Donner Lake, you know the famed place where the Donner party spent a horrific winter and eventually resorted to eating each other?  Yup.  Right there.  (Where was the crazy lady then, hmmm?)  My parents, who live in a small cabin right on the lake had rented the vacation house next door for two weeks.  It was pretty much Hotel Donner, with friends of all manner checking in and checking out.  It was crazy and chaotic, but despite the fact that at one point we had 18 people in two groups who didn’t know each other under one roof, it worked perfect.  No really, it did.

Here is how much schedule went each day:

Wake up at dawn and run and swim with dogs.

Go back to bed until 9 or 9:30 followed by a leisurely breakfast.

By 10:30 we had cocktails in hand (hey, we were on vacation) and situated ourselves on the dock where we would sit until 4 or 5.

Did I mention we sang honest to goodness campfire songs?

Eventually, we’d work our way back inside, enjoy dinner around 8 then kick up a campfire for smores and cocktails.  Somewhere around midnight or 1 am, we’d drift back to our beds and start all over.

We also took naps.

At one point while watching the little kids play in the water and the teenagers chase each other down with varying degrees of angst and flirtation while we sat near motionless in our chairs, sipping ice cold beers while listening to an eclectic playlist dubbed “Just Chillin’” I realized something.  We are getting old.  More poetically, we are mellowing with age like a fine wine.

We also went tubing and swimming, you know, to keep the kids entertained. I’m sorry, dear parents, for coercing you into take we kids out when we were little instead of letting you lounge on the dock. I understand now.

You see, I don’t sit still well.  I always have to be doing something.  I jam pack as much activity as I can into every day-even when I am on vacation.  In fact, I have a habit of taking long weekends rather than entire weeks off because I just have too much to do.  And for years I looked at my parents and their friends just sitting for hours while chatting away on porches and docks and thought how boring that must be and now I find myself back at work, preparing to host our own flyball tournament this weekend, and thinking just how wonderful it was to just sit quietly.  For hours.  Without doing anything.

An evening cruise around the lake.

Life is hard on vacation!

About the only day we did anything truly exciting was the Fourth of July.  It started out like every other day:  I went for a nice run along the lake shore with a couple of dogs, pausing to let them swim here and there.  And after spending a couple hours lounging on the dock, like an episode of Master Chef, Karen and I suddenly became team captains, directing all manner of people in the creation of a meal to feed 50 people, including a band of hungry bagpipers.  Yes.  Bagpipers.

In fact, our friendly local pipe band even serenaded us as Karen and I busily assembled a taco buffet on the Fourth of July.  It was sort of an international party of sorts, apparently.

After a delicious dinner (and three courses of dessert) we all assembled on the dock to enjoy a spectacular fireworks show while the pipers played behind us.  You are welcome, Donner Lake.  Actually, you would be surprised how many people love this holiday experience.  Every year, boats, kayakers and stand up paddle boarders come over to our little section of the lake cheer on the pipers.  They are pretty kick ass.

And this year, they had a new piper.  My dad!

That’s MY dad!

This is huge and exciting!  He even played the opening solo of Amazing Grace.  It actually brought tears to my eyes because I am just so very proud of him.


It also means I will be heading to Australia in 2014.  We’ll get to that on another day.

Now we are home, back to reality and all that jazz.  By reality I mean hosting the largest flyball tournament in our region this weekend.  It’s crazy and I’m crazy.  I can’t seem to get enough time at the gym to work out all my tournament anxiety.  I’ve even been a little bingey, which is NOT good (particularly after packing on those ten horrible little pounds. UGH!), but I’m working on it.

Drew says he isn’t ready to be done with vacation so if he just sits in the suitcase it’s not really over, right?

Things will get back to normal on Monday.  What exactly is normal?  I have no idea but I’m quite positive I need another run.  Right now.  Until I get those next few miles in, I hope you are all enjoying your July as much as I am!