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Our Home Town Beach

When I was a little girl I used to pretend I was a mermaid; I'd place my legs in first position and imagine I was a fish swimming in the ocean. I find when I see the ocean and feel it on my body I turn into that little girl again wishing on the moon and believing in fantasy and magic. The sea beckons me and I surrender to it. The feeling you have when a wave is carrying you is euphoric; it's like that delicious nap you awake from feeling alive, happy, and whole.

I have always felt most in my element at the beach. It suits me; all my senses come alive and I let the waves wash away all emotions. My zodiac even says I am a water sign ruled by the moon. I love that I share this with both of my children. We cancers are soft shell crabs and we like to hide under our shells often. It's interesting having three cancers in the house! I find I can read my children very well and I have a bit of a sixth sense tuning into their needs.

My mom is also good at reading feelings. She likes to people watch at the beach. There was a woman in Galveston walking in the sand and looking at the waves. My Mom said, "Ash, see that woman? She's thinking about someone. She's remembering!" My Mom was explaining to me that the beach is where you can go to figure something out. We all need that time alone to remember where we end and others begin. I always feel my head is a mess of thoughts swimming like schools of fish, but at Galveston my mind was calm, healing, and remembering. I know Confucius said, "No matter where you go, there you are," but when I am "there" at the beach, I am more me than anywhere! It's a natural and simple therapy to just let the waves cleanse you free of anything that keeps you from smiling. Because emotion is like water; you feel it from deep within. I love this quote by E.E. Cummings, "For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It's always our self we find in the sea."
My Dad with his big sister, Ann. 

My friend and fellow mermaid said to me, "There is something about the gentle (well, sometimes not so gently) movement of the water, that wonderful sand under your feet, a light breeze, smell of sun tan lotion and ... it's Margarita time! Or is it Pina colada? Something totally refreshing!"

Listening to Tracy Chapman's New Beginning song I was reminded about what the gulf has gone through. Like the song goes...They've had to start all over and make a new beginning. One of my favorite ballet teachers, Shelley Padilla, is putting on a benefit, Dancing to Restore the Gulf. She's doing a wonderful thing and asking for donations instead of ticket sales. All proceeds will go to benefit the National Wildlife Foundation. What a beautiful way to help. Knowing Shelley, I think most will walk away from the dance concert feeling more alive than as if carried by a wave.
Date: Saturday, July 31st
Time: 7:30PM
Place: Courtyard Theater 1509 Avenue H, Plano, TX 75074

When visiting Galveston recently, it was a treat for the eyes to drive around town and see all the historical homes. You can see the past of wealth and poverty, and almost taste the remnants of catastrophe as the transformations supplant the agony of loss with the pride of hope fulfilled.

My Aunt Ann (who lives in Galveston) is currently reading the book Infinite Monster. It's a new book that tells how Galveston has had to rise up after its demolishing disaster; one of America's largest hurricanes, Ike. The author Leigh Jones said, "Ike reminded me that much good can come from disaster. I would never have willingly given up all the things that Ike took from me, but I came away with a much clearer understanding of the importance of people over possessions and challenge over comfort. I would never have known how much I could withstand without Ike. The storm gave me freedom to live my life without being afraid of what I might lose if I take risks."

Living in North Texas, Galveston is our closest beach...our home town beach! What would you get by supporting your neighbor? GREAT food, clean cool sand that is cared for daily, and plenty to satisfy every vacationer (old and young). The town has done an amazing job of remembering Galveston before Ike. Ruined trees have been sculpted into works of art all across town. Restaurants like: Russo's NY Pizzeria, The Original Mexican Cafe, Mosquito Café, Rudy and Paco, Gaido's, Blue Water Grill, and Saltwater Grill will keep you full and restore you after a day at the beach.

My brother Sean and sister-in-law Jeyhan lived in Galveston four years during her stay at the University of Texas Medical School. They were sad to leave and like my Aunt Ann had many recommendations for us. We can't wait to go back and see more of the things we all love: Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn, Touring Galveston's tree sculptures, Dickens on the Strand, dolphin sighting, Saturday ArtWalk ...

Galveston is the perfect home town beach for Dallas neighbors. It's more doable than driving to Florida and very reasonable. Another favorite beach of mine is Rosemary Beach in Florida.  Unfortunately this is not an easy journey to make with little ones. I was excited to see Galveston building Beachtown which is the same group that built Rosemary Beach and Seaside. With its catch phrase, "A Simple Life by the Sea" it's sure to attract more than mosquitoes!

Some of my favorite movies when I was younger were: Mystic Pizza, Mermaid, and Splash because of the fantasy and water surrounding the films. I'm reading a book that takes me back to my childhood mermaid fantasies. What's great about children's literature is that the inner child can be found again. If you fantasized that you were a mermaid like I did then I have the perfect book recommendation for you to take to the beach this summer and share with your children. Texas author Kathi Appelt's Keeper is just right for reading along the Texas beach. Keeper was literally born in the sea and believes her mother is a mermaid who swam away to join other mermaids when she was three. Look for a Q & A with the author to come soon. If you start on it now, you can participate in our conversation.  

Find your inner mermaid and let the waves carry you to your home town beach.

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