Posted on April 19, 2012 at 8:16 am

I grew up in a school system that let kids out three times a year, and truth be told, only three times a year. I think they really begrudged us the weekends. We went home for summer, after a full school day on Christmas Eve (any less and families were likely to bolt out of town the day before) and for two full weeks in March, when everyone left for as far south as their family budget would allow. Dad used to say it was the Canadian national character to go to Florida. Mom was just excited to get back to her native United States and stock up on Lava soap and cumin. One year, when I was 16, we went to the Bahamas, having chosen our hotel package out of a colorful stack of brochures with shiny paper and beautiful photos of swimming pools and pristine beaches. They were the center piece of the kitchen table for a month, with sharpie stars and circles growing in number all over them. The excitement before we left was unbearable, and when we got to the airport, the travel company gave us all our own canvas bag with the company logo on it, for beach stuff or what have you. They plied everyone with tropical drinks on the plane, and Mom said she had heard that on one of those charter flights, the passengers had all got so drunk that they had started running up and down the aisle en masse to see if they could mess with the plane's automatic flight leveling system. I was worried a little. I was also a little disappointed that everyone stayed in their seats and we landed like a normal flight. It was a nice trip, there was indeed a pretty beach, and I didn't get sunburned, and we were surprised to run into friends also staying at our hotel. But the best part was the artisans' market across the street where the booths were full of tropical touristy things to haggle over and stuff into our luggage. That's really what I remember about school vacation growing up.

Now, time off from school as my children are growing up is a scattered affair, sprinkled about as half days and long weekends like the superintendant loaded up his rifle with buckshot and fired at his calendar. Combined with my youngest's reluctance to ever leave the house for a trip longer than a run to the supermarket (so that no one ever dreams of flights to Florida or even a train to New York), I am never quite prepared for the week they fling at us in February, or yet again in April suddenly landing at my feet on what seems a random friday afternoon when the youngest child's teacher hands him off to me and waves with a  cheerful "See you a week from Monday!"

oh, it's vacation?

And of course, this is the week I have a hair appointment, three looming deadlines, an overnight road trip for an article interview, and my book club coming over.

Which is all to say, It took me until Thursday to get out the random number generator and email the winners of my blogiversary book giveaway contest. Susan, Cate, and Susan (who started her blog about the same time as I did, and has been a blog buddy ever since).

Thanks so much everyone who spoke up in the comments, and thank you for playing.

I'm off to knit now. I hope you are too.