Five Things I Learned at the Beach

Written By: Kim - Aug• 16•13

This week, my daughter and I spent a few days at the beach. Here are the five things I learned.

  1. If we lived near or on the water, I would ride my bike or walk every day. There is something about a body of water, but especially an ocean, that makes me want to get up and go. While I saw a few people using the indoor treadmills (which made me wonder at their sanity), the boardwalk was more than wide enough to accommodate everyone. This particular beach front even had a separate bicycle path. Maybe it was the constant ocean breeze, but it was a perfect way to incorporate healthy activity in to our
  2. At the beach, almost anything goes. Where else can you see someone waiting for the bus in a bikini? And holy cow, the trashy t-shirts. We haven’t been to an American beach in three years. I had forgotten about the tacky shops. Really America, we can do better.
  3. Dogs do not belong in baby strollers. If your dog cannot make it down the boardwalk, leave him or her at home. My daughter and I almost fell off our bikes from laughter when a 60-something woman was pushing her purse-size dog in a child-size stroller.
  4. The beach umbrella or cabana is worth the rental fee. It sounds like opposite day, but if I am mostly in the shade, I will stay on the beach longer. As you can see, I am not a sun worshipper. Despite my Italian mother, my fair skin, blue eyes and small amount of natural red tint comes via my German father. After I worked for a year at a cancer surgeon’s office, I am fanatical about sunscreen, hats, and shade. Interestingly enough, I don’t mind tanning my legs, with sunblock of course. So, if you want me to stick around the beach or the pool, then find me an umbrella or cabana.
  5. My daughter makes a great travel companion. Our trip this week was a girl’s retreat. She is enthusiastic about travel and is not afraid to let you see that. She likes to have an agenda. I often wonder if she will end up in meeting planning. The association world could use more people like her. The only complaint I have is that she likes to completely unpack and spread her items everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean within an hour of getting inside our room, the entire contents of her suitcase, backpack and beach bag are in the closet, bureau drawers, desk, bed, chair and bathroom.

Maybe it’s because my children are both teenagers now, but the summer just seems to fly by. My husband and I only have three more before our son goes off to college and five more before my daughter heads to college and we are empty nesters. Maybe then, we will trade the suburban house for a beach front place.



How Facebook Helps Us Process Grief

Written By: Kim - Apr• 13•13

It’s been a sad week in my Facebook world. Last Sunday evening, a high school friend passed away after a short, three-month battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In for foot surgery one Facebook post, diagnosed with ALL, then dead in less than about three months. Not only has it been a roller coaster for her family and close friends, those of us waiting for news were praying for it to be good. I had never even heard of this aggressive form of cancer until now. Her death impacted me despite the fact that I was not a close friend. She was a mom, a wife and a US Air Force Airman. That tender spot I have for military folks never really goes away.

©Mike Howard, 2011

©Mike Howard, 2011

Then, later in the week, another friend flew across country to be with her dying mother. The only good news out of this story is that all of her siblings and grandchildren were there when her mom passed away. We should all be so lucky.

The final sad event was when another friend’s dog passed away. This is the dog that my friend had since before she had children of her own. Honestly, after that post and the other events of the week (including a friend’s scare when they could not locate his wife’s EMT crew after an emergency call), I was afraid to look at Facebook. I just didn’t think I could process any more sad news in the space of a week.

If I were a country song writer, I would have the next hit on my hands.

Before online capabilities and then social media sites, we had to learn the news the old fashioned way: letters or phone calls. Now, you go to your Facebook page and you never know what you will find.

So, like everyone connected to these friends, I am processing the information, sharing their grief and trying to be of some comfort. I can only hope that the outpouring of love from friends help ease their burden of grief just a little.

Hug your loved ones and family a little tighter. None of us never know how long we truly have. Here’s to seeing our loved ones, including our pets, on the other side.