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A friend once said to me that when you’re living your life fully, you don’t have time to keep your diary. Maybe that’s true for blogging too, but I also think that having less child care coverage and more inviting weather during the summer play their part in slower output during July and August. I know last summer I consciously allowed myself the summer off from the blog, but not so this year. I did want to write posts, I just never seemed to get to it. Maybe that is the sign of a successful summer. I certainly ate well, traveled and my hair is a shade lighter from being in the sun. I investigated a few new things and saw some old friends. Carving out the time to digest and reflect was the thing that perhaps fell by the wayside and maybe that’s why the old chesnut of the My Summer Vacation essay came to exist in the first place.

So in sum, I will tell you that we had a nice family trip to Minnesota and a weekend getaway to Mendocino/Fort Bragg with just Chris and me. Both were wonderful. Both were splendid eating fests. In Minnesota, we had great family dinners and coffee shop breakfasts. The road between Minneapolis and Duluth is marked at roughly the halfway point by a great establishment called Tobies, and when you order a fried egg over well from them, that’s how they serve it. (We have concluded that the Midwest is superior to most places in knowing how to cook eggs.) Tobie’s also make delicious pies and baked goods. We stopped there coming and going.

Mendocino/Fort Bragg has become such a favorite spot for us. It’s about more than just making a Roundman’s Smokehouse run, though we did stock up on items to bring home and are still enjoying them and the feeling of security that comes from knowing that Roundman’s bacon is in the house.

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Some additional Summer highlights:

BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT Swimming to the island with the rope swing on Fish Lake with my daughter. This is about a mile from the dock and yes, I was wearing a life vest so it’s not like it is not a truly major accomplishment – but it’s not something I considered doing before and wouldn’t have done without major utzing at the outset from my child. As we made it to this tiny crescent of an island my daughter called to me, “See mom, you’ve finally accomplished something!”

BEST ADDITION My niece has officially moved to San Francisco and arrived in early August. What an awesome new development! And perhaps this will draw other family members west at least to visit more.

MOST WELCOME SURPRISE This summer had a couple of unpleasant surprises mixed in with some great ones. Such is life, right? The nicest for me was hearing from my nephew (aforementioned nieces’ older brother) while we were in Minnesota that he was just a few hours away in Wisconsin and him making the drive to spend a day with us in Duluth. Seeing him was so great and that he truly liked and saw the value of Chris’ home town meant a lot.

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BEST MEAL Oh, that’s a tough one. I think it’s got to be the big family meal we had at the cabin on fish lake when the whole extended family came – and it’s a large extended family. Chris’ sister made an amazing and copious spread, people praised my spinach hummus, there was plenty of Leinenkugel on hand. It was a meal that lasted all afternoon and had the added bonus of a handful of little kids running around to the amusement of proud grandparent faces. This is a family that likes food as much as mine does. They, like my family, will also talk about past meals in their collective hall of fame during the present meal.

The meal at Café Beaujolais in Mendocino also deserves special mention. It was certainly our best date dinner of the summer. We were happy to try this foodie mecca for the first time, having heard so much about it. We so wanted a reservation there that when we stopped in and they told us they were booked for dinner, Chris left our phone number ‘in case there was a cancellation’ at which the hostess dutifully took the number with the cloaked attitude that this sort of thing is not a common occurrence. Yet about 40 minutes later Chris got a call from the French accented young lady, with definite wonderment in her voice, to tell him there had indeed been a cancellation and she could seat us at 7:30. Voila. I assure you that Chris uses his powers only for good.

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BEST MOVIE I get out to many more kids movies than the other kind and we enjoyed the new Star Trek one a lot but I’m going to have to give the honors to Despicable Me 2. Given that I didn’t really like the first Despicable Me all that much, I was delighted and thoroughly entertained by this one. As if it wasn’t funny enough every minute, they wrap it up with a minion singing ‘I Swear’ in minion-speak. Classic. Just classic.

I READ A BOOK! Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, which I enjoyed a lot, and the many scenes on the Italian riviera Cinque Terre region fit in with the summer mentality. I recommend it, though the author kind of loses it at the very end. I’ve come to expect this kind of crapping out from best selling authors but the book is still worth it.

BEST AND MOST HONORED SUMMER TRADITION A day at Santa Cruz Boardwalk. My daughter and I have done this with another family every year now for, I believe, 7 years running. It wouldn’t be summer without it. Log ride optional.

School started around here this past Monday for public school kids in San Francisco, as it did for my friend with two school age kids in Atlanta, Georgia. Yes it feels too early but everyone seems to be handling it well and getting back into the swing of things. We don’t get to have Labor Day as the demarcation point but we still get to enjoy it as a sort of last hurrah. For those of you who have another week or so of unofficial summer, please enjoy; and if you haven’t yet carved out the things that make it feel like summer in a workaday world, there’s still time. Carpe diem. Whether to you such an adventure is pointing your car in a new direction for an impromptu day trip, walking in the moonlight or taking a stack of magazines or a silly novel to read on a sunny deck, find something a little special to put a little summer in your summer. Our souls can always use that little special attention. Allons-y!

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