Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back from Vacation

Greetings!! I'm back from a fantastic vacation with family, feeling refreshed and feeling like a lucky husband and dad. My wrists are even thankful for the lack of internet access for quite some time. The only downside is feeling sluggish due to the outstanding food I've eaten, but I'll run around extra hard at volleyball this month to catch up!

Ok, actually, I've been back a month and a half. My perfectionistic tendencies have been warring with my desire to blog, with several ideas for series and half-written posts that have not seen light of day. Today I want to take a (minor) stand against procrastination, to try to get back in the habit of blogging. To be honest, this tendency to procrastinate has led to a lot of stuff 'slipping' that I should never have let slip, like keeping in touch with family. I've got some practical information I want to share on diet and exercise, as well as some excellent progress on that front that's got me very encouraged! Rather than back-date the posts on Blogger, or editing them, I'm going to post them essentially as-is, starting with the rest of this vacation report, which I wrote back on July 6th, 2007...

We started with a week at the pool and on the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My sister and her family live there, and we lured down my Dad and Mom for a surprise 80th birthday celebration. My other sister and her husband from New York were able to come down as well. Amazingly, it has been over 25 years since we've all been together in one place at the same time. (It better not be that long before our next gathering!) What a great time we had seeing each other. The SC crew knew the owners of a wonderful Italian restaurant, where we spent the whole evening dining and laughing and being serenaded on the accordian. Our four kids got to hang out with their cousins (who they had never met) which was very nice. My son and I enjoyed the "Lazy River" at our hotel, which is like a pool in the shape of an oval where you just float around in the shade. Dawn enjoyed walking on the beach and seeing the ocean again. My Dad was indeed quite surprised, and it was a fitting tribute to the man I love and respect so much. He even got to give us a good solid thrashing at bowling.

The next week was back in North Carolina with my parents in their log cabin on the lake. (What a great place to retire for a man who loves fishing!) Even better, Dawn's entire family was converging nearby (her middle sister also lives in North Carolina). Her younger sister and husband brought down a speedboat. The kids *loved* that! Well, two did anyway, and the other two enjoyed it with reservations. I had a great "lead by example" moment when I agreed to get dragged behind the boat in a tube at high velocity. Seeing Mom do it didn't convince the kids because, well, she'll try anything. But if Dad does it, *anybody* can. So after my ride, my daughter agreed to try the tube. With this a smiling success, first one boy, then all the rest, agreed they would try the tube. We only went about 2 knots, but this was a major achievement! With an excellent dinner at the Outback, the kids were able to see essentially *all* their aunts and uncles from both sides of the family, and all but two cousins, in one trip. I don't know if we'll ever see that happen again.

On the way back, we stopped by our alma mater, Virginia Tech, to pay our respects, visit the memorial, and generally see how the place was holding up. There was quite a bit of construction since the last time we were there. It was a touching and sober visit in the light of recent events, and we're glad we got to stop by. As an added bonus, we got to go to our favorite restaurant in the entire country - the Farmhouse in Christiansburg, Virginia. The food there is to die for, delicious, hearty, and not unreasonably priced. I tried Seafood Newburg (for the first time) and it was exquisitely good. The kids even loved their onion rings - and they hate onions!? Each time I go back there I figure it can't meet the high expectations and memories of the last visit, but each time it does.

Of course, it does feel really good to be back home. It also felt good to get back on the volleyball court after several weeks away (and about five pounds heavier). That was a real workout when I let them twist my arm into a fourth hour of play, and 3-on-3 at this point. Thoughts of this, some recent conversations, and a niece who is just about to embark on a diet program, have put me in the mindset of improving physical fitness. For my own sake (and perhaps for my niece's sake) I'm going to do several posts on diet and exercise. Pray for me as I have ten more pounds to go on my goal to lose 50 pounds. I'm getting close! :)

Today, Aug.23, is my 'target' date for reaching the 50 lb. mark. Have I made it those last ten pounds, or has procrastination (or gluttony) foiled my attempt? Stay tuned and see!

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