Vacations are good.

Holidays are great. I’m learning to appreciate them more and more. I’ve never been a “special occasion” person. I’ve always been more of an every day kind of guy. But the harder work gets, and the more responsibilities I get, the more I get what vacations are about. I guess I vacationed from blogging for a bit, too. Too busy livin’.

First, the swim team that I coach hosted a swim meet comprised entirely of other small teams like our own. It’s a fun meet, and very little pressure. While last year was a bit hiccupy because I didn’t know what I was doing, this year went great. I even got to sing the national anthem in front of a couple hundred people (well, they were turned around looking at the flag, so that made it easier). We didn’t win the meet–didn’t even come close, actually, but we had a good time anyway.

Next, the fam and I packed up and headed to Mississippi for Thanksgiving. April and I got to see New Moon, which, having read and enjoyed the books, was way better to me than the first movie. And the audience participation made it really fun. The first time Taylor Lautner pulled his shirt off, girls all over the room gasped and one whispered “There it is!” The whole movie flowed better and the effects did a good job of translating some stuff onto the screen from the book. I am told I HAVE to see The Blind Side as soon as I can, too, so that’s next on my list. I always get a kick watching Sandra Bullock because I know my dad fixed her teeth once.

Next I got to go to the Big Easy for a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, an organization which probably requires no explanation. A good friend of mine is working to establish himself in the field of Biblical Studies, and he wanted a wingman for the conference to help him navigate the lingo and the nuances of that world. Turns out, he’s got his way figured out pretty well already. So I just sat in on a few readings of papers (most of which were snoozers, honestly) and shopped for souvenirs for my girls.

My morning runs were great! Since our hotel was a few blocks from the river, I got to run down Canal Street, then along the Mississippi River for a mile or so, then back through the French Quarter, past dozens of fun-looking shops and famous restaurants, then back to the hotel. I picked up some authentic Mardi Gras masks for my girls (who subsequently kept them on for several days after I got home!) and a cute Saints shirt for April.

New Orleans has got Saints fever this year like you wouldn’t believe! As soon as I pulled into town, just as I was passing the Superdome, I heard “WHO DAT? WHO DAT? WHO DAT SAY THEY GONNA BEAT THEM SAINTS? WHO DAT?” and then of course a rendition of “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In.” That was alot of fun. In fact, in one half hour period I heard local radio stations play three songs which mentioned the Saints, including one called “I Believe in the Power of Love,” which features a line about the Saints going to the Super Bowl. Growing up in Mississippi, the Saints were our closest team, so they were our team. Plus, my folks went to school with Archie Manning and his wife, so we root for his team. Bill made sure I had a good Cajun meal at Mother’s before we left. The Crawfish Etouffe was fantastic!

The rest of the week was hangout time with family. My baby sister Catherine (who is almost done with Dental school now) hosted the extended family at her new place for Thanksgiving. The food was excellent, as it is every year, and like always I ate so much that there was no room for dessert. The kids had a blast playing with cousins (so did I) and the weather was great. Hanging out with cousins is another one of those things that you appreciate more as time goes on. It somehow gets more meaningful every time. There’s something about being with people who knew you when you were just a kid and so goofy all the time. Once you’re grown up, getting together with them reminds you of what it was like when life was simpler, less stressful. Sigh.

Well, we had some good hangout time with April’s folks and with mine, plus we threw in some shopping and a second showing of New Moon, so it really felt like a vacation by the time we were done. Funny how it takes three or four days to fall into vacation mode, and it’s too bad that you don’t get to start the trip at that point. But I’m still glad it comes when it does.

Now it’s back to work and juggling schedules…but only three weeks before we get to go back again! Looking forward to more R & R. Vacations are good.

Oh yeah, and the Saints beat the Patriots. Where I’m from, that’s beginning to look like one of the signs of the apocalypse. We may not have to wait until 2012 :-)

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5 Responses to “Vacations are good.”

  1. Bill Says:

    Wish it had been longer. Good times…

  2. Cat Says:

    You sang the national anthem?! Neil that’s so great! You need to use your voice more often, it is really beautiful.

  3. brotherjohnny Says:

    A vacation is (or can be) kinda like a sabbath rest…

  4. missy Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this Neil. Made me smile the whole way through. Thanks =)

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