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Friday, May 16, 2008

Whew... What A Vacation!!!

I've been quiet on this blog for the last couple of weeks because we took a jaunt down south to visit my family. It's been our family tradition to go "diving" for Abalone (a muscle that is found under and around rocks burried within the thick kelp beds of the world's oceans. It is quite tasty but very expensive to buy or quite tricky to capture). The limit is 3 Abalone in your possession at any given time because this amazing little animal has been fished out in so many places. The men in my family began diving off the northern coast of California well before 1962 (this was the year my dad first began diving for Abalone). Much has changed since that time, but the family tradition is being carried on by a select few of the men of my generation. Though Matt "plucked" each creature on his own the previous trip, he had been guided and taught by the older generation of family divers. This year was quite different for Matt... He searched, found, and captured this ellusive animal all on his own and was able to fullfill his quota... We were quite proud of his strenuous efforts and showed our pride through a full blown standing ovation with the capture of his third Abalone!!!

This was C's first Abalone Diving trip, so the experience, for me, was even more spectacular. We went to our traditional diving grounds only to find that it was being over-run by a significant portion of the population of San Francisco. The "beach" (a very rocky area sparsly spotted with black sand) is located down a steep cliff with rocks waiting patiently below for a careless climber. Trails that were originally etched out by cattle cut slightly into the hillside allowing us a steep and slow climb down into the abyss below. The first day, M and C wobbly made their way to the bottom holding tightly to my arms, pockets, and waist for safety. Once we reached the bottom, I took C around to all the tide pools that had been left wide open by the significantly low tide, which revealed treasures not normally witnessed by those of us who don't dare to tread below the ocean's depths. C loved each new creature she found and readily touched starfish, baby crab, tiny baby eels that were found under rocks, all waiting patiently for the tide to return. M sat on a large rock and refused to touch a single critter.

The jaunt back up the cliff was even more treaturous as I helped my father carry his hefty weight-belt as he helped my mom and my 18 month old nephew back up the steep incline. With C and M clinging to myself, my mom, and my sister the long trek up the slope was tiring. Though M utterly refused to return to the family beach the next day, he did decide he wanted to dive into the ocean's depths with his daddy as soon as he was old enough. M's departure from the outing left me free to focus solely on C, making the journey down to the shore far easier and more enjoyable than the previous day.

Luckily, near our camp site there is a nice stretch of sandy beach allowing us to have a peaceful and easy walk to the ocean at our leasure. M enjoyed this trek to the water much more than the alternative and readily went with us. He was able to build sandcastles and proceeded to wage war on his neighbor (me)! He fired large cannons (rocks) onto my castle and was able to nock down my state flag (a seashell) in the process, declaring himself the victor! Needless to say... M had a blast (no pun intended) in his own way!!!

Upon returning to my parent's house at the end of the 5-day journey, Matt, my parents, my sister and her fiance, and I began tearing down our camping gear, cleaning up the mess that we made during our excursion, followed my several days of demolition on my parent's front yard. Dad is forever remodeling something, so this new project was not totally unexpected. Matt extended his leave by a few days in order to help Dad with the more difficult aspects of the project. We're planning another trip down to help further on July 4th.

During our vacation, M was able to continue with his school work. My mom noted the differences she saw in his school abilities. Our only dilemma in continuing to do home-based schooling is getting M involved in extra-curricular activities and allowing myself some time to attend school to further my sign language skills. If we can work better around these two major issues then we may consider continuing with this type of education, as it seems to work really well for M.

Our journey these past two weeks has been tiring, rewarding, fun, and exciting!!! And we cannot wait until next year's trip!!!

1 comment:

Mom2JosephLilyRoseJack said...

WOW!!!

Sounds like tons of fun. My husband Anthony would love doing that. Glad the kids are well and I am glad you are doing good too. You sound super happy and that's great.

Talk with you soon.


Lisa