Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blow Some Bubbles

For my mini-vacation today, I blew bubbles. Lots of shiny, floaty, pretty bubbles.

Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated a friend's wedding. I remember when the bride and groom were showered with rice as they left the church. Rice symbolizes fertility, wishing the couple prosperity in their marriage, and feeding the Evil Spirits so they'll stay away. Sometime in the 1990's American wedding parties began using alternatives, like confetti, popcorn, flower petals, or birdseed. Our friends arranged for each of us to get a tiny plastic bottle of bubble soap. As they walked from the church to the trolley car (another story), we showered them with bubbles.

Of course, we didn't use all our bubble soap at the wedding, so the bottles came home with us. And now, I'm putting them to good use for mini-vacations.

There is something very relaxing about creating bubbles with your own breath. It's a bit magical. There's this shiny film of liquid poised in the oval of plastic, dripping just a little, and then you gently blow. And a bounty of bubbles appear, floating in shiny abandon until they pop. Amazing.

You don't need to attend a wedding. You could buy some bubble solution at a store. But you can also make your own solution at home. You can become a bubble-blowing expert. Goodness, the possibilities are endless!

But as caregivers, we know that we probably don't have time to become a bona fide bubble-blowing expert. At least not right now. But we can dunk our little ring in bubble solution and blow. Imagine some of your troubles popping into oblivion. Imagine your wishes, hopes and prayers rising into the universe. Just watch the play of light over the bubbles.

Bubbles make great mini-vacations. All you have to do is...blow.

Blessings on your caregiving day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"Staycation" A noun. Created in the early 2000's. Similar to a vacation, except the activities are done close to home. Or in the backyard. Or on the couch. ~LaVerne's Kinda Informal Dictionary

I like this new word that the media created not long after the financial crisis hit. It says that we can take time off, and we don't have to hassle with packing or airline security or finding a place for the pet. Don't misunderstand. I cherish my time out of town. I work from home, so if I don't get out of town regularly, I have a bit of an emotional meltdown. Just ask my husband!

But there are times when getting the heck out of town doesn't work. Like last summer, when my husband was in school and keeping up with his Dad's care, and I was knee deep in a major project for a client. We weren't going anywhere. But we could plan regular staycations.

Make a list of all the things you usually do on vacation. Go out to eat. Play miniature golf. Or 18-holes of golf. Swim. Read a popular fiction novel. Watch a marathon of a favorite TV show. Go to the movies. Whatever.

Now plan to do all these things. Maybe in one week (now there's some serious down time!), or a long weekend. Maybe one activity a week for a couple of months.

It is summertime, and staycations may include the family, but not necessarily. Fall is coming. The kids are going back to school. While you're planning for the family's Fall schedule, don't forget you. Plan regular staycations for yourself. You'll have something to look forward to all the time. And that can really lift your spirits when the caregiving gets rough.

Staycation! It's a word whose time has come.

Blessings on your caregiving--and your staycations!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Be a Tourist

I was off last week, taking my own gift-of-the-month. We drove to Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina for a few days, not too far from our home, and the trip reminded me of an easy way to plan for a brief break close to home.

Play tourist, right where you live.

Go to the library, bookstore or AAA office (if you're a member) and get a tourbook for your state or local area. Check out your state's tourism bureau on the web and look for tourist maps in grocery stores. I found a map of North Carolina Civil War sites that makes a good resource for small trips around the area. I picked up a great book in the bookstore called "Day Trips from Raleigh-Durham" and I requested a copy of the AAA tourbook that covers North Carolina. When I'm planning a couple of hours for a local holiday, I look through these books for the tourist attractions--museums, parks, shopping centers, historic sites, craft studios, buildings of local significance, and factory tours. In many tourbooks, the entry for an attraction will note how long a typical visit lasts. I pick what strikes my fancy and fits my schedule. Then I act like a tourist and visit.

In tourist mode, I've learned a lot about North Carolina and seen beautiful local scenery which I would never have known existed--all while giving myself time away from the normal stresses of life.

These local mini-trips are low-cost, save gas, and help the local economy. It's all good.

Take care of yourself today. Be a tourist.

Blessings on your caregiving!