fifteen things I did on spring break


For the better part of five days, I was without internet service or cell phone coverage. I couldn’t check my work email. I could not read my latest patient updates in our electronic medical record (something I’m apt to do on weekends or holidays, even when I’m off). I was not able to read status updates on Facebook or browse the beautiful images on Instagram. I was not able to tweet or read tweets. Or retweet, for that matter. I was not able to read the New York Times or the Washington Post or watch funny cat videos online.

Instead, I was able to do the following:
1. Read most of a book. I’ve become hooked on Tania French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, and I’m almost done with the third one, Faithful Place.
2. Share in a nightly toast with my husband and children during cocktail hour, before each evening’s dinner. We toasted with our glasses of beer (for him) and wine (for me) and Shirley Temples (for the little ones) to each other and to a wonderful vacation.
3. Knit several rows of stitches in the shawl I’m working on, one of two projects on my needles right now. I’ve learned that I can’t have just one project at a time. Turns out that I’m not a monogamous knitter.
4. Have soft serve ice cream twice a day. Or more.

5. Show off my mad ping-pong skills. I am only slightly better than my kids, but they are so terrible at the game that it makes me look like a champion.
6. Sit with the sun on my shoulders and my feet in a swimming pool, with one of my kids on either side of me, while judging a belly flop competition. It’s amazing what grown men with a few (or a dozen) drinks in them will do to show off. It’s even more amazing that we all had so much fun watching the contest.
7. Ignore depressing current events.
8. Have countless discussions about the Titanic and whether our ship, the Brilliance of the Seas, was built better than the Titanic and had enough lifeboats for everyone and whether there were icebergs in the Gulf of Mexico. The answers were always yes, yes, and no.
9. Marvel at how the sun seems almost alive in its last minutes on the horizon, before disappearing over the edge of the earth.
10. Swim with a dolphin named Lula at Dolphin Discovery in Grand Cayman. I loved it more than I ever imagined I would.
11. Learn the definitions of forward and aft.
12. Fail to learn the definitions of starboard and port.
13. Not think about death and dying, family crises, work dilemmas, promotion and tenure, manuscripts waiting to be finished, manuscripts waiting to be started, summer camp sign ups, or my floundering enthusiasm for blogging.
14. Go to bed shortly after dark, and awake shortly after dawn, with never a nightmare in between.
15. Relax.

cruise sunset

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9 Responses to “our summer vacation: banff and glacier national parks”

  1. Gail — July 20, 2015 @ 7:37 am

    WOW!  You certainly did cover a lot of ground!  The photos are magnificent,  MJ.  On your next trip, try to remember to take enough time there so you can really take it all in after  you put the camera down.  xoxo

  2. Abby — July 20, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

    These photos are STUNNING. I’ve never been to a national park… horrible, I know I suppose my parents (and subsequently, I) are just city/hotel people hahah. My dad often talk about how he regrets not taking us to a national park when we were younger, though, and after seeing this post I’m dying to go! So much beauty. 

  3. Paula — July 22, 2015 @ 8:22 am

    Ouch on the expensive car rental but “Wow” on seeing this photos on my laptop instead of my phone! There are stunning and I’m looking forward to reading more on this vacation.

  4. Lisa Doucet — July 22, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

    Awesome info and pic’s… When I read your blog this a.m. I was stoked… then I found out about the fires in GNP…. I leave in 2 wks…. hope it will be ok…..

  5. Kate King — March 3, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

    Hello! My husband and I are looking into doing a similar trip. Which car rental company did you use? I have not been able to find a clear answer on which companies will allow you to bring cars from the US to Canada, and the other way. Thank you for your help!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — March 6th, 2016 @ 6:45 pm

      Budget was the only car rental we found that would do a one-way rental from Canada to the US. I’m not sure about the other way around (US to Canada).

  6. Allycia Wolff — August 10, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I’m looking to plan a trip next summer and have always wanted to do Glacier and Banff in one trip. Do you think two weeks would be enough to do both? If not, which park would you recommend doing first? Thanks!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — August 10th, 2016 @ 2:41 pm

      Oh, wow. That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! I think you can do both in two weeks easily, and you’d find plenty of reasons to want to return later. Have a wonderful time!

  7. Nicole Miller — January 3, 2017 @ 9:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this information!  Very helpful!  I wanted to do Banff and Glacier together but have decided to stick to Banff for now since we will only have a week.  

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