Life’s a B—

How you fill in the blank may depend on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, or maybe whether you love or hate the beach.

Last week I swung between the two views. The grand-kids, 11 and seven, are cousins, and are as different from each other a their mothers (my daughters) are. Grandson is smart (and sometimes smart-mouthed), bookish and pretty self-sufficient. Granddaughter is a little sprite,  flitting around wanting to play and be entertained. Fortunately they both love the water.

Bryan reading in the car

Bryan reading in the car

The actual beach time, at Port Aransas, was as much fun as ever. The water was a nice temperature, not sea-weedy, and the beach was clean and fairly uncrowded. The surf was perfect–fun but not scary. I’m grateful my grandchildren love playing in the surf as much as I do. I even taught my granddaughter how to body surf, and the kids bickered over shared a boogie board.

Gary and Bryan

Gary and Bryan

Chloe and me

Chloe and me












Bryan was less camera-shy than Chloe this time

Bryan was less camera-shy than Chloe 



A rare moment of repose for me (photo by Bryan)

A rare moment of repose for me (photo by Bryan)











But because the July Texas sun is brutal, beach time was limited to three or four hours max, with frequent shade, snack, re-sunscreening and water breaks. That left many other hours to fill. Early morning and evening were good for walks, especially on the fishing pier at the house in Rockport where we stay. The poison hours were late afternoon, after the ferry ride back from Port A and a little quiet time. I admit I caved and let Chloe watch more TV than I would have liked, thereby exposing Bryan to more screen time than his parents would approve, but Nick and Cartoon Network provided a relatively harmless reprieve, along with a kid-friendly movie an evening or two. (“Up” was so much funnier this time, watching it with the kids, who loved the crazy dogs and the huge [female] bird, “Kevin.”

Chloe and Gary fishing (unsuccessfully)

Chloe and Gary fishing (unsuccessfully)


The kids were fascinated by a dead fish being eaten by a blue crab. (I took pictures of it but I'll spare you the gore.)

The kids were fascinated by a dead fish being eaten by a blue crab. (I took closeups of it but I’ll spare you the gore.)









I swear every time we go that it’s the last time I’ll take those two together, especially in the teeth of summer, but it’s kind of like childbirth–you forget the pain and appreciate the results. On the last day, the kids, who had spatted and bickered like siblings, got along beautifully. Bryan commented that they’re either at each other’s throats or, “What’s the opposite of that?” “Playing nicely,” I replied.

One of the days in Port A we took a long break for lunch at the ultimate beach bar/restaurant, Moby Dick’s, and mooched around the souvenir shops. I gave them each $5. Chloe bought some sand dollars and a necklace for her mom; Bryan bought only a $1 sea bean and kept the rest.

Befriending a shark Moby Dick's

Taking on a shark Moby Dick’s

Gary and his pirate bud.

Gary and his pirate bud.

Chloe actually not hiding from the camera

Chloe modeling the necklace she bought for mommy

My new friend

My new friend

The whole family braving the shark.

Into the belly of the beast, where at least it’s shady.



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