A Different Kind of Vacation

Sedona sunset

Almost every vacation I’ve ever taken has been to do something. Go to a convention. See the touristy sights. Look at Doctor Who locations. Visit as many friends and family as I can squeeze into a few days. I come home feeling no more rested than when I left (and often far less so).

This last trip to Sedona, Arizona was something different. Finally. Okay, maybe Steven and I did manage to fill it up with going-and-doing-type-stuff more than was entirely necessary, but it was easily the most relaxed vacation I’ve taken in many many years. And it was great.

I didn’t de-stress quite as much as I would have liked, but the somewhat-enforced relaxation did make a difference that I can feel even now. I’m more clear-headed and ready to face the challenges of the day.

A big part of that was largely unplugging from social media. I didn’t even know where my phone was half the time, and I was 100% ok with that. I checked emails and incoming tweets a few times, but I didn’t check my feeds overall. I had next to no idea what was going on in the larger world and it was fantastic.

This was a family vacation, so I spent lots of quality time with my mom and dad, sister and brother, and my aunt (plus, the aforementioned Steven, of course). We played games (Pandemic! Catan! Apples to Apples!) and grilled our own food and soaked in the hot tub a LOT. There was a ton of just sitting around and talking or reading or staring at the views. (The pic above is a sunset as seen from one of our three patios.)

After experiencing something like this, I realize this is the kind of vacation I truly need every once in a while. I can remember only one beach vacation in Florida that left me feeling so recharged, like I’d gotten what I needed out of a vacation (and that one I spent almost entirely on the beach, reading). This is something I’m going to take into account the next time I start planning future trips.

The tricky thing is I’m not in a financial place to take vacations like this often. (Or at all, really. This one was planned so far in advance that it happened despite my current looking-for-work state.) Even when finances are firmly in the black, there are only so many trips I can take in a year. When I’ve got a day-to-day gig again, there’ll be a limited number of vacation days to take into account too. If I skip Doctor Who conventions (very much do-stuff kinds of trips) for a year that means I miss seeing most of my friends for that whole year. That’s no good for my mental health either! And when it comes to non-con trips, I’m married to a “do-er”, who wants to go see things and do things. So there’s that to consider.*

I guess for now I’m just incredibly thankful I got to take this particular trip at this particular time. It might not happen again soon, but it did happen. And I’m overjoyed that it did.

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*I absolutely recognize how lucky I am that this is a “problem” I have. There are many people for whom any kind of trip would be a dream, and I don’t take it for granted.

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New Year’s Meh-solutions

2016

I’m fairly lukewarm on the idea of New Year’s resolutions. They don’t really work for me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the year gone by and what I’d like to be different or better in the new one. I’ll work towards those things. But I know that my brain doesn’t like it when I promise things–even to myself. Yes, I suppose it means I’m not holding myself accountable for the things I don’t achieve, but it also means I’m not beating myself up for failing. And I know which is more likely to happen when it comes to my mind.

In fact, forgiving myself and letting go is at the top of my list for 2016. I tend to get obsessive about things like media. If I’ve subscribed to a podcast, I feel like I have to listen to all the episodes. I got a bit better about that last year, and I want to improve more this year. In fact, I just deleted a podcast ep I was only halfway through. It was a Doctor Who podcast, and while I was taking some schadenfreudeical delight in hearing cranky old fans moan about how “Hell Bent” was “a waste of Gallifrey”, there’s only so much of that kind of negativity I can consume without it affecting my mental health. It’s okay to beg off when that starts to happen. I’ve never actually done it before today, and I do feel a little guilty about it, but I’m trying to let that go.

Speaking of podcasts, Continue reading

Random Christmas Memories

E-Christmas

Happy holidays everyone! Thought I’d jot down some random Christmas memories that always bring me cheer. I’m killing time until Steven gets home. Apparently having Christmas Eve off isn’t a thing in Alberta. He’s working a half day. In some ways, I am still getting used to Canada. Then again, Boxing Day is a holiday here, so that’s a nice bonus. When he gets home, we’re going out for Indian buffet and then to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens again. Third time will almost certainly be a charm!

Anyway, on to the random Christmas memories! (And this is me trying to stay cheery, even though the folks involved in these memories are 1500 miles away.) Continue reading

Happy Birthday Dylan!

Dylan from 2011

Yep, it’s birthday season in the Ensign family! March, April, May, and June were always exciting months as a kid. And then expensive months as we got old enough to buy presents for each other. Regardless, it was always lots of fun.

Today it’s my brother Dylan’s turn. This one’s a little harder to write (in a sappy, emotional way) because my brother and I really suck at keeping in touch. We’re just lazy when it comes to reaching out for contact. That’s not so say we’re not close—quite the contrary. Continue reading

Happy Birthday Amber!

Amber Eowyn

We may not have travelling pants, but there are a few dresses that have changed hands more than once. That’s right. Today, on her birthday, I’m talking about my sister. Amber Ananda Ensign was born on March 25th 19somethingsomething.* I was very excited because I wanted a sister. I was less excited when my parents didn’t take my suggestion and name her “Golden Hair”. (I’m pretty sure I’m remembering that right. Apparently I listened to a lot of America when I was four.)

When we were young, Amber and I were very different—and not just because I was five years older, and when you’re a kid, five years is a near-insurmountable gulf. It was more that Amber knew her mind from moment one. Continue reading

“It’s Morning” (Guest Post by My Grandma!)

Hello good readers! This post is something special. My grandma wrote a short manuscript, created from scraps of things she jotted down over a series of years.  She didn’t think it was particularly good, and tucked it away long ago. My mom and Aunt Marsha recently convinced her otherwise, and she’s graciously allowed me to publish it here. I couldn’t be more proud to come from such a line of impressive ladies. If I do have any real writing talent, I clearly come by it honestly.

I love how this gives me a peek into what life was like for my mom’s family when she was growing up. Family history like this is so very precious to me. And even if you don’t happen to be related to me, there’s real wisdom and heart here. (Which, if you know my grandma, you know is completely appropriate.)

Now please enjoy. I know I did.


It’s Morning

by Flossie Peterson

1954

     This is a bad dream—a nightmare. “Wake-up,” I tell myself. But no. I’m trapped in a fantastic prison. Somehow I see my face contorted with panic as sadistic guards rattle the cage. “Why prolong this?” I scream. “Just take me out of here and get it over!”

Continue reading

On Family

Family

They say blood is thicker than water. Well that’s just crap. I mean, except for literally. I suppose blood does have higher viscosity than pure water, but as for as the colloquial meaning of that saying, right now I kinda want to punch it. Because it’s So. Completely. Wrong.

“Found family” is a concept I’ve thought about a lot since I met my “Doctor Who family” and started going to conventions. Don’t get me wrong, I love my biological relatives. But the idea that I love other folks less, simply because their DNA doesn’t match mine closely enough, is patent nonsense. In fact, when we actively choose people to bring into and then keep in our lives, I think it’s a much stronger statement than an accident of amino acids and meiosis. Shared experiences create a stronger bond than a similar pattern of nucleotides. Continue reading