Vacation: All I Ever Wanted

Madeira Beach: Let the shenanigans begin!

Did you sing the title of this post? You totally did, didn’t you? Belinda Carlisle and the Go-Go’s are so much fun. I know, I’m the *worst*. But you know what that means, right? I’ve resurfaced! W00t!

For me, vacation is a time to recharge my batteries, just like it is for everyone else. Usually, I like my vacations to be stimulating. I stare at a computer screen (or 3) all day long, and I need something more than the 65Hz refresh rate of my monitors to shove me back into a creative state. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my words, and I love my giant monitors at my desk, but I long for views further away than the length of my arm in front of my face. So I said to myself, ” Self, you’re taking a screen vacation!” and that meant no SwearyChronicles for the last week and a half. Sorrynotsorry.

But I’m headed back to Canada tomorrow from the (mostly) sunny climes of Florida. I’ve been here for almost 2 weeks, first for reallyreal vacation, then for a Educational Technology conference for $Dayjob. Today, I’m sitting in a fancypants hotel room for the last night of my trip. The French doors to my balcony open to a huge atrium full of palm trees and paths and koi ponds and turtles and alligators. Oh. And a big sailboat/restaurant in a big indoor lake over on the other side of the big giant atrium. It’s pretty great.

I should probably be packing. Check out is at 11am. But no. How does one prime the pump to get the words flowing again? There are lots of little snippets of ideas in the SwearyParent Incubator where I record thinkythoughts to chew on later. But none of them seem *quite* what I want to delve into right now. Bossman wants me to write a blog post for the $dayjob blog, regaling folks with what it was like being at the Ed Tech conference that $dayjob hosts for the first time. (Apparently, “Pretty great” is not a sufficiently long submission”. Either I’m too chatty, or I’m too succinct. GeezLouise.) Tomorrow, we aim for the Little-Bear-Just-Right co-efficient of grandiloquence.

But tonight, I consider the mental downshift that I was able to do on my vacation, and the inspiration I’ve had from my experiences of the last few days at the conference. It’s like when you wring out a sponge, and then it can suck up clean water for the job ahead.

On the first leg of my trip, there was the familiar streets and sights and sounds of Madiera Beach. The high tides and the low tides. There was time with my sister (who lives in Vancouver, so we don’t see each other often enough).  There were manta rays in the shallows of the beach, and dolphins in the causeway at John’s Pass and in the inland waterways. And there were sea turtle nests on the beach. There were pelicans flying in formation, and pipers racing the ebb and flow of the shore for the coquinas in the surf. There were long walks on the beach with my dad, and my sister, and my gentleman associate. There was the glee my mom has when she’s elbow deep into all-you-can-eat crab legs. There was the art of Dale Chuhily, and the charm of the renewed downtown St. Petersburg. There was ice cream at the Candy Kitchen. There was floating for hours and hoursandhours in the ocean – some days in waves, some days in calm. There was the billowy dark clouds that blow in just at the right time to go in to shower for dinner. There was lightning in the sky over the inky black of the ocean in the middle of the night. There was the Waffle House and the Dbar and Foxy’s and Scully’s.

Who wants to dust the Mille Fiori?
That’s my sister. She’s totally my sunshine.
Sculley’s: All about the grouper and the key lime pie!
The Flamingo mural at John’s Pass

Then, a glorious day at Epcot, rife with tiny Japanese girls whaling on huge taiko drums, and a Bavarian band (sidenote: Apparently I was the only one in the Germany pavilion that day who knew that the response to ZiggyZaggyZiggyZaggy is Oi,Oi,Oi. Much to the shock of the woman standing beside me. Thanks Octoberfest!) There was the sparkling sidewalk and the blue/purple lighting of the geodesic sphere at night, and the bouncing water fountains at Imagination, and the hedgemaze in England, and the Mariachi band and Dias de los Muertos art exhibit in Mexico. There was the joy of the Mitsukoshi department store in Japan and the stunning tile mosaics and the Medina in Morocco. I love Epcot. Truly.

Good morning, Guv’na!
The tilework in Morocco
The ceiling of the Temple of Heaven replica in China
The world tree (realms) tapestry, inside the Stave Church, Norway

Then, the Fusion2019 Educational Technology conference. I met clients with whom I’ve been conversing for years in accessibility interest group meetings. People recognized my name from the monthly publishing task byline. I got surprised by the feedback some people gave us. I laughed with clients over the foibles of our shared industry. I had amazing opportunities to meet people who can help my career (in small and large ways). I heard compelling keynotes. I felt proud of my team’s accomplishments and excited for ways to accomplish more. I had insightful (and sometimes hi-larious conversations over meals and beers with bossman, boss2man, and boss4lady. I gave boss5lady a new catchphrase that her kids are going to love: Smartypantsdance.

Huzzah. Mischief managed.

My sponge is truly squeezed out and refreshed. I’m glad to be back at it. May you also get the type of rest you need to renew your spirit.

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