71 Days

What I did during my summer vacation…

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Day 12ish? – 24 hour vacation

I may have discovered a wonderful thing – the one day vacation.

I am at the Marriott Hotel down the street from Joe Riley Stadium where Jeff and I just watched the Riverdogs lose to the Greenville somethings. Game results are secondary to eating corn dogs and watching a great fireworks show.

I planned our little getaway this week and we don’t usually spend money and time running away from home but I really wanted to take a break and get away a little. I also didn’t have the time and money to take a “real” vacation. So we’ll be back home tomorrow afternoon.

We have plans to eat at The Workshop on King Street, a new food court restaurant experience I’ve heard about.

We saw fireworks and drank 24 oz. beers tonight. So far, so good. Think the 24-hour vacation may be a recurring event this summer and I’m liking it.


Day 8: On Learning Something New…

Or actually, learning a LOT of new stuff. I am working with my husband and parents this summer, learning more about running our family seafood business. Although my father thinks somehow I know all about the seafood business through some sort of genetic osmosis (I don’t think that works in humans), I actually know slightly more than the average Ohio-an, and less than virtually every human being that now works at our dock.

I am the dumbest person in the room – and the feeling makes my skin crawl. But today, on my fifth day of working at the dock, I started to feel like I might be able to learn a new trick or maybe 12 new tricks. There is a small silver lining around my ignorance cloud and I’m maybe getting the hang of it. I only asked my husband 17 questions instead of 38, so there is improvement. I answered questions people asked me on the phone without saying, “Let me check with Jeff.” Now I might have been wrong, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take, and I’m more confident in my answers, be they wrong or right!

As a school librarian, I’m kind of big on learning, growing…”grow or die,” as one of my librarian professors affirmed repeatedly. And I am not all that patient with folks who drag their feet on learning something new, but I maybe can empathize with them a little more. Learning means admitting your ignorance, which is not that comfortable for me and I’m sure many more. So here’s to learning new things. Grow or Die! I think I’ve decided to grow.

Day 3 of Summer Vacation

After the 2nd year of working in the best elementary school in Charleston County, I am looking forward to a fun, relaxing and busy summer vacation.  I feel compelled to share my extreme and complete thankfulness to so many people: 

First, my students. I may whine during the school year, but during 5th grade graduation, as I looked out on those adorable, eager faces, I was a little teary (I know – shocking) as I gave out library awards and for every award given, I saw 10 more deserving, kind, wonderful students that I wish I had a trophy, certificate and gold star for. I am not a fan of awards,  mostly because libraries are for everyone forever. That’s it. In sum- everyone can benefit from being super library users for the rest of their lives. God, I like be my job! Seriously… the best! 

I remember often a former student who told me a book I recommended is the ONLY book he ever finished. On one hand, I can’t imagine the empty pit in my life that is now full of great books I’ve read, and I’m sad he doesn’t have the long list I do. On the other, guess what? He liked a book! He finished a book! He still remembers ten  years later the title of a book he liked. This victory may be small, but it is still important, and measured one kiddo, one book, one smile st a time!

So happy day, huzzah…. onward and upward.

Second, my super-fantastic library volunteers. I have 3 grandmas who visit me weekly or more often, shelve books, straighten shelves, and sometimes even dust. They are wonderful, and I don’t know how I could teach, have great programs or do anything well without their help. They are my helpers, emissaries and captains of the library cheerleading team. I am fortunate beyond measure thanks to Diane, Susan and Shelly! Oh, and they’re also fun, kind, nice women who I really like hanging out with!

And last, but not least, my wonderful family. My husband Jeff and kiddos Jake and Katie, have spent a lot of time helping me move furniture and books, been, “sources,” for research projects and sometimes warm bodies during lessons and story times. They are tuned into a librarian-focused life which sometimes has a laser focus on any Very Hungry Caterpillarish anything, Maurice Sendak and all his glory and of course our friend HP and Lemony Snicket. Grateful for their support and general niceness.

As I thank these great folks that are so important to my library life, I have turned my focus away from my library for a few months. I am working with my husband and parents to buy my parents’ business where Jeff has worked for 20 years. I am learning how to do invoices and print tags for oysters and clams. I am trying to make peace with being the dumbest person in the room, as I have way less experience and knowledge than EVERYONE else at the dock. It is an uncomfortable position to be in for me. But I’m working on it. Jeff is great and patient and my parents are working hard to make this transition as painless as possible.

It seems there is a recurring theme in my life – I am surrounded by kindness and am so very grateful for it. Day 3 of summer vacation just makes me ever more thankful for my two work families – my school and business. Life is good!

Hospital Sushi

Make your own adventure, and sometimes when your adventure options are not the most exciting, you eat hospital sushi. Today I jumped off a little Japanese cliff and had sushi instead of a more mundane choice. I know sushi is ordered by toddlers and isn’t the culinary adventure it once was. But in the midst of staying with my favorite person in the hospital, I felt like Amelia Earheardt in my tiny adventure.

We’re in the hospital as Jeff recovers from back surgery. This is an adventure we didn’t exactly choose. I guess Jeff could have chosen to continue to live in pain and eventually face further restriction of his activities, paralysis and just a plain old miserable existence. But he chose a pretty big adventure that will take several months to complete. Lots of physical therapy and discomfort to come, but we’re both looking forward to a healthy 2018.
During the recovery, I’ll get to be his nurse – not my special skill, but so far, so good. And I can recommend St Francis Hospital’s sushi (served Wednesday’s only). As Jeff said when I came back to the room, a hospital is a great place to experiment with sushi! 

Day 20? – AKA Earlier This Summer

Great day bringing in some clams with our 3rd generation of clam farmers… Jeff Massey, wife Kim Livingston and son Jake Massey brought in a few bags of farm-raised clams from pristine Bulls Bay.

via Gathering clams — Bulls Bay Seafood

Day 37ish – Mass Transit is Super!

Trains are my favorite I think. Yesterday my dear daughter and I got a little adventurous and took the commuter train from Ramsey to Hoboken. I know you can’t believe how fortunate we are to be able to go to Hoboken, but we are living the dream. 

If you don’t have a former 10-year-old who was utterly committed to Buddy Valastro of The Cupcake Boss fame, you might not see the draw. We took a 52-minute train ride to buy delicious canolli and look back a little bit a flavorful memory. My little cupcake is no longer ten, but canolli knows no age.

Hoboken is a lovely small city with fantastic views of the NYC skyline. And home to Frank Freaking Sinatra. Fly me to the moon – Wowza. From the historic train station (like we arrived at Station 9 3/4 to go to Hogwarts), you can take another train or ferry into the city -so a great stop with a truly beautiful train station.

Station says Lackawanna vertically – party of Lackawanna line.

Katie even said she could have taken the trip in her own. Of course she could – score for mom and mass transit.

We brought home some canolli and crumb cake to share with the family — what a great time. I’ll miss my NJ fam when we go home.

Ceiling of Hoboken train station.

Day 33 – Flight of the Girls

​We are heading to New Jersey & New York aboard budget airlines Spirit and have sat in the Myrtle Beach airport for over 4 hours.  Just keep repeating – $133 flight….$133 flight. I should be happy they let me sit in a seat and not on the wing.

So we arrived to my lovely aunt and uncle’s great hospitality. Northern hospitality includes baked ziti and chauffeuring through road conditions Katie describes as, “there are no lanes; it’s a free-for-all.”

Went to the Statue of Liberty today – ferry ride over is the best part. Hope you all know the SOL is on New Jersey! During the ride I was struck again by what a water-centered city New York is. What a great place to live if you love the water. I know it’s not McClellanville – everyone can’t live in paradise. But at least New Yorkers can see, touch and hear the water all around them. ​


Day 32 – Summer’s Halfway Over

…..and I’ve finally written something. I am at Clemson for my youngest and only daughter’s orientation into college. I’m vacillating between booting her out the door as her 18-year-old self knows everything and isn’t afraid to express it, and hugging her constantly and fearing for her departure. Everyone talks about the empty nest syndrome, and I’m waiting for my own personal breakdown, but that hasn’t happened yet — and I’m hoping we’ll be breakdown-free for the rest of the summer.

During our parent orientation, the wonderful folks at Clemson reminded us repeatedly to allow our students to succeed and fail on their own. They’re independent people,



Great Italian food at Brioso on Tiger Blvd.


responsible for themselves now, etc., etc. Then why do we need to go to, “parent orientation?”  for two days (and pay for it also, btw). After going, I think our parenting style may not be the style of most parents. We raised our girl to be independent and she is (much to my annoyance sometimes). Maybe we’re in the minority, but I’m proud of our strong-willed, independent girl.


Despite feeling a little annoyed with the constant reminders that our child is 18 (knew that already), I’m glad we went. I feel much more comfortable about Katie’s school and the upcoming year. For those parents like me who’ve already taught their kids to do their own laundry, chew their own food and match their clothes, having our kids go away is a natural progression of what we (and they) have worked towards over the past 18 years. I’m confident she can take care of herself and rock her school career.

It’s okay to be a grown-up. She can do this and we can start this new chapter of our family adventure together (and apart)!


Day 45- Flight of the Geography Wiz

img_6524Monday, Jeff and I took a fast trip to Cary, NC to see Flight of the Conchords. If you don’t know them, you’ll have to check them out — talented and funny Kiwis that we were introduced to by Tim and Lisa — another reason we love our T & L. The concert was great but HOT and we got upgraded in our hotel, so a great trip.The problem is I have a geography disability that luckily hasn’t been life-threatening to this point. The Cary Monday concert is one in a long line of little geo-blunders I’ve made over the course of our marriage. Kim’s not-so-accurate geography rules go a little like this:

  1. If something is in an adjacent state, it is 2-3 hours away. Not true — Cary’s 4 1/2 hours away so maybe a 9 hour drive isn’t the best way to start a work week. Also, NC (the entire state) is not 10 degrees cooler than SC every day (another Kim Geo Rule), all of the time. It was 97 degrees at our outdoor concert — no fair.
  2. Everything in Charleston County is 30 minutes away – 45 with traffic. No matter how many times this is proven wrong, I continue to make plans in downtown Charleston and am always amazed at how long it takes me to get there. I am repeating the mantra, “remember Edisto,” over and over as it is 2 hours away and that still shocks me.
  3. By the same token, everything in Florida is an hour from Disney. I’ve driven to Key West (or napped while Jeff drove) but still operate under this falsehood. I once got great cheap flights for the whole fam damily to Ft. Lauderdale (nonrefundable too) so we could go to Disney. When I called Jeff and told him about my deal, he told me that it was a 5,6,7 hour drive – I really don’t remember now, but it was too long. He thankfully took over the vacation planning and found us a super place in Key Largo that was one of our favorite vacations ever (Key Lime Sailing Club)
  4. And my final, proudest geo faux pas….when Jeff and I were first married, we were driving to New Jersey to see my Aunt Phyllis and I suggested we stop in Boston on the way. I remembered going there in childhood trips and it was a few hours from NJ, but until I said it out loud, I hadn’t considered the North/South thing. Jeff laughed and has enjoyed reminding me of this during the following 26 years of marriage. I would be unapproachable without these small flaws!

In my defense, the geography standards in my education were moved from 8th grade to 7th grade between my 7th/8th grade years. If you graduated from high school in 1985, you too might share my educational shame. It’s not my fault. Public education strikes again.

I have tried to compensate for this inadequacy by taking history classes, using map placemats (for my kids wink wink) and reading National Geogrphic magazine, but maybe the geography education window was in middle school and that bad boy slammed shut.

But onward and upward–I will keep making travel plans (because it’s fun) and hope they work out. So far, they have — but maybe I’ll consult mapquest before I click on that confirm button for airplane tickets.

Day 44 🏊🏻 My Favorite Lake!

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Embarked on an adventure with my favorite hubby and some great friends. We took our pontoon boat from Rice Hope Plantation on the Cooper River up the Tail Race Canal through the Pinopolis Locks to Lake Moultrie. Great boat ride with just enough danger to make it interesting – thunder and lightning was much more fun when we watched on the porch of a bar/restaurant in Bonneau.

We also got to take a dip in the lake in front of the Boy Scout camp where I grew up when my parents were caretakers there. You can go home again! I ate a half of a watermelon while bobbing up and down in the water — perfection.

Thanks Jeff for leading me on this and many other great adventures! Hope to see you next Sunday to do it again.

Following: I jut read this article saying 3 dolphins had been sited further up the river, and 2 have recently be found dead. The one we saw Sunday may have been the third — hope so.


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