Summer Fun

My fan (Mailyn) wants more from me so she’s going to get it in the form of a lengthy post. If you have a short attention span you may want to just give up here, though there are pictures for you, too.

I took the kids and a friend each to CamelBeach in the Poconos yesterday. The weather was perfect. High 70’s, low 80’s with low humidity. The ride up was pleasant, though they didn’t particularly care to listen to my play list all the way there. I don’t know why not. It totally rocks. At least it rocks if you’re 40-ish.

On Monday I went in search of a new bathing suit – as if Mondays aren’t bad enough. Out of the six or seven swimsuits in my drawer only one actually fit me and that was my mastectomy suit. The neckline is so high and I don’t need the worthless “special” pockets anymore. I knew it was kind of silly to buy a new swimsuit when school starts in two weeks, but I couldn’t help myself. And I hit the jackpot! Sears has LandsEnd bathing suits and they were on clearance. I found a top that went well with the bottoms I already have and made off with it for $10.00! And look at it!! It’s better than a Miracle Suit. If you go here you can see how it makes me look tall and thin and young and, dare I say it, “hot”? Okay. You’re right. This isn’t me. And while I don’t look anything like her, I didn’t end up crying in the dressing room – a very shocking and pleasant experience for me.

We got to CamelBeach and instead of renting a locker I told the kids I would just keep their stuff with me. I may be feeling great since the surgery, but I’m not up to walking all over heck and gone and riding waterslides. They threw their stuff on beach chairs and promised to come check on me every couple of hours so I could take potty breaks.

This is my beach chair. This is the first beach chair I’ve sat in since probably August – maybe early September – of 2004. I thought it was worthy of a photo. I started off in the shade and knew I would eventually end up in the sun. Being a former hedonist, the glaring white of my legs is rather depressing. So my thought was I’d begin my day in the shade and work my way slowly into a little tanning. I didn’t start off with sunscreen because, well, I was in the shade.

I was also reading. And as so often happens with me, I kept thinking, “I’ll put the sunscreen on after this chapter.” But by the end of the chapter I had to see what was going to happen next. So then I thought, “I’ll put the sunscreen on after this chapter.” I’m sure you intelligent people that are still with me can see where this is going. I burned my leg. Actually, I only burned a strip of my leg. Just one. I do have a little strip of pink on my other leg, too, but not as bright as the red on my other. I look ridiculous. Pasty is much preferred to striped.

As much as I adore sitting and reading I had to get up and walk around a bit. So I took pictures. In the winter CamelBeach is CamelBack Mountain – a premier ski area in this vicinity. I’m curious to know what happens with the wave pool and kiddy pools and water slides in the winter. But in the summer it is totally incongruous to have ski lifts, snow makers and pine trees right next to beach chairs, fake palm trees and surf huts.

On our way out the kids stopped for some airbrushed tattoos.

Aren’t they cool?? Especially because they didn’t hurt and they’ll eventually go away.

I sat at a table with whoever wasn’t being tattooed and waited. Across the eating area was a shack with the name “Kahuna Cheese Steaks.” Something I don’t think you’d ever see in Philly. I asked Taylor, “Is it just me, or does that make you think of Kahlua Mudslides?” It was just me.

We finally made it home last night and all were exhausted. I can see why the kids were so tired. They ran all over the place. I, on the other hand, sat most of the day. Still, I soaked in a glorious bubble bath, drank a bottle of water and read the rest of my book. It was all going along so nicely until I decided to turn on the jets.

First of all the jets frothed up the bubbles to an alarming height. And since I was reading this was not good. Secondly, the last few times I took a bath I had to use the Aveeno Oatmeal soak. Apparently the stuff got into the jets because when I turned them on there was oatmeal crap EVERYWHERE! So that ended my delicious soak in the tub.

I crawled into bed and slept the sleep of the dead – though what does that really mean? How does anyone truly know how the dead sleep? But I digress. I got up this morning and had to wake both the kids as Katie had to baby sit and Taylor had a 9:00 meeting at church for Youth Leadership.

That less than delightful chore done, I got my clothes out of the closet and set about getting dressed, the whole time thinking about the last Starbuck’s Vanilla Frappuccino in the fridge. I’m pretty sure I was smiling dreamily while pulling my capris on, even though the blasted sunburned stripe was paining me. Then I picked up the hooded t-shirt and yanked it on over my head, succeeding in bruising the bridge of my nose with the hanger I forgot to remove!

Though my leg and my nose hurt, I staved off the woe-is-me drama with the thought of cold liquid happiness waiting for me downstairs. You know what’s next, don’t you? You can see it coming, can’t you?

I was totally blindsided.


I should have had a Kahlua Mudslide. That’s coffee, after all.

As you know, this summer has been pretty lame for me. Hawaii – cancelled. Arkansas – cancelled. No day trips to the shore, no bike riding, no much of anything fun. Katie and I did have a blast in NYC, but I put that in a different category.

So yesterday was my first “official” summer outing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Our summers used to consist of spending the majority of our time at the local pool. I loved it as much as the kids. If none of my friends were there I would just read while the kids swam. More often than not, however, my very best friends were there as well. I ask you what’s better than being lazy on a summer day in the company of good friends.

Those days came to a screeching halt for me when I was diagnosed. That summer (2005) I was in the middle of chemo and couldn’t be outside in the sun for any length of time. And most of the time my white count was so low that it was dangerous for me to be in public places.

Last summer I did manage two trips to the shore with the kids and driving trips to “learn the lay of the land”. It was our first summer in Pennsylvania and so most of our summer fun was just the three of us.

And you all know about this summer. Rashes, blisters, bumps, female troubles and finally a hysterectomy brought 2007 in a close second as the worst summer ever. As much as it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not. To everything there is a season and this was just another summer of healing for me.


Side note – “Praise you in This Storm” by Casting Crowns is playing on the iPod right now. Appropriate, I think.


Todd is taking Friday off and we’re driving down to Baltimore to take in the National Aquarium and the Inner Harbor and I’m quite excited about that. Our one day/one night family summer vacation. And I know that next summer is going to be among the best ever. As long as I remember the sunscreen BEFORE I start reading.


  1. Gretchen on August 15, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    I say, 2008 is your “new season” party. Hawaii, Europe. Whatever. These summers of healing are what you need right now, but I think a little vaca is in order. And…if you can’t afford/don’t want to do those, there’s always the Pac. NW, and my beach house. The novelty hasn’t worn off at our new house yet–it never will!–and the kids crack me up by singing “Beach House” to the tune of Brick House. Nothing but wholesome entertainment at our house. I know what you mean by being distracted by a new book. Who, me?

  2. susan on August 15, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    You always amaze me with your positive attitude. Enjoy the rest of your “summer of healing”

  3. Katybug on August 15, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Love the swimsuit!!! I have a blue version of the tank top/skirt, only b/c they didn’t have a pink one that year. Argh. I want to know what you were reading so I can add it to my wishlist!!! Given, of course, that I haven’t read it already! :-)Camelback Mountain? I would imagine that jokes are plentiful these days? 😕 (Camelback…Brokeback…get it now?)Thanks for sharing your day. Sounds like a fun one. I love reading your posts. 🙂

  4. April on August 15, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Reid and I honeymooned in the Pocono’s. He wants to take me to Hawaii for our 10-yr in December. You know you are making me miss home. Enjoy B-more!

  5. Barb on August 15, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    I’m thinkin’ it’s time for me to get a burqini. ‘Cept I’d want one with short sleeves and no hat, and I’m not sure they come that way.

  6. Rosie on August 16, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Have a great mini-vacation with the family. I think you should treat yourself to Starbies tomorrow to make up for today.I was shaking my head about the sunscreen. You sound like GG. He’s always going to “do in a minute” and gets distracted. The kids have stories about the time he had a burnt stripe on his shoulder, his leg, his lower back his face…it’s always something. I didn’t know there was another one of you out there! 🙂

  7. Swishy on August 16, 2007 at 12:41 am

    Oh, that sounds like a fun day! Consider it a warmup for your awesome 2008!

  8. Dorky Dad on August 16, 2007 at 12:59 am

    You really do have a great outlook, and an excellent perspective. After the summer you have had you probably have every right to feel down and upset. I’d probably be a babbling idiot. I mean, more so than I am now … So thanks for the inspiration!

  9. creative-type dad on August 16, 2007 at 1:40 am

    I agree about the Kahlua Mudslide – that totally counts as coffee…!

  10. Jenster on August 16, 2007 at 8:50 am

    Gretchen – Todd’s ringtone for me is “Brick House” (silly boy). Now I’ll always thing “Beach House” which is appropriate because I look more like the latter. lol Thanks for the invite!! :o)Susan – I am going to enjoy the rest of my summer – all week and a half of it! Katybug – It’s another Nora Roberts. And I hadn’t EVEN thought of any Brokeback Mountain jokes!! What’s wrong with me??? :o)April – I used to look at all the Pocono honeymoon spots at the back of my Bride magazines, but I had no idea where they were! LOLBarb – Would you get it in black??Rosie – I’m totally blowing the diet tomorrow when we go to Baltimore. Starbucks for the trip, Maryland crab while we’re there, and whatever else strikes my fancey. And heaven forbid GG and I ever go to the beach together. We’d be no help to each other at all!Swishy – Yeah! I’m warming up!!Dorky Dad – I just don’t write (usually) when I’m all upset. That image I have to uphold and all that.Creative Dad – I KNOW!!! But something about starting the day with alcohol seemed so, I don’t know, so… fraternity??

  11. radioactive girl on August 16, 2007 at 9:14 am

    I can’t believe he drank your frappuccino! I am dreading the day my kids are old enough to do that!I totally get your summer of leisure hanging out with friends. I missed that a lot the two summers I was sick. This summer I was fine, but a lot of my friends gave up their pool passes because they felt their kids are too old. You are NEVER too old to go to the pool, and even if the kids are, I need some company! What were they thinking?!?

  12. Mailyn on August 16, 2007 at 9:45 am

    I so rock! I get my own post. Mehehe. Potty breaks? LOL. That’s cute and funny in too many ways. The tattoos are wicked. I need to fix mine because it’s missing my name [which is Chinese] and colors. I asked Taylor, “Is it just me, or does that make you think of Kahlua Mudslides?” It was just me.Hey I thought the same thing! It’s good to know I’m not the only drunk around here. :-PYay! I’m so glad you had fun! You deserve it and OMG have you tried the mint farppucinos? They sell it at the local grocery store and they are to DIE for! Oh and they also had a strawberry one but that was kinda iffy.

  13. Jenster on August 16, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Radioactive Girl – My friends don’t belong to the pool anymore, either. So even if we were still in Arkansas we probably wouldn’t. Which means we’d just have to find somewhere else to hang out.Mailyn – It’s all for you, baby. :o) I haven’t tried a mint frappuccino, but I’ll put it on my list! I’m definitely getting something yummy for the road trip tomorrow!!

  14. Monnik on August 16, 2007 at 11:58 am

    wow, sounds like fun!!!except for the part about Taylor drinking your frappuccino. 🙂

  15. D.O.M. Dan on August 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your day. I’m glad you had a good time, but sorry to hear about the sunburn. Hope you have fun at the aquarium.

  16. Jodi_Lee on August 16, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Ahhhhh…that does sound like fun! And good for you for not crying in the dressing room. I HATE dressing rooms and WHY do they have the worst lighting??!! Okay, now I digress… I think next Summer will be fabulous for you, too!

  17. Barb on August 16, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    I’d prefer a colorful burqini. The picture I saw of one had it in red and yellow.

  18. Eileen on August 16, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    Sounds like you had fun and I loved the pictures!! You always amaze me with your positve attitude and keep moving forward approach to life. I learn so much from you. You are an amazing person!You will really enjoy Baltimore and the Aquarium. Get the tickets early!! The inner harbor is fun to putter around. XOXO

  19. Lynilu on August 17, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    The swim suit is nice. It sounds like a fun outing!

  20. In-Between Panic Attacks on August 18, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Seriously, that sounds like so much fun. We did this a few years ago in San Antonio with the Fam and SIx Flags. As for the self-inflicted injury, we are kindred spirits! I totally opened the door to my minivan last week, like a freak that had never opened a door before, somehow rammed the door right into my head. Right on my eyebrow. Sometimes I wonder if I have a neurological disorder, or if I am really JUST THAT CLUMSY. Hm.

  21. In-Between Panic Attacks on August 18, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    BTW, my hubbyis from AR-Kansas. Did we cover that already? Some of the pics on my photobucket are at the lake in Hot Springs. (In? Near? I can’t remember.)

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