It comes around about twice a year: a moment when I don’t have to get up in the morning and go. That doesn’t sound like much, but after weeks on end of nothing but deadlines, meetings, and the rest, one really appreciates a little down time. For me, vacation is less about going to the beach, or climbing a mountain, or visiting a foreign country than it is having some time to myself when I can do what I want to do. This sounds a lot like complaining, but I’m not complaining. I love my job and when vacation is over, I’ll be right back in the saddle fixing problems, answering emails, and teaching class–happy, in other words. My problem, everyone’s problem probably, is that the day-in, day-out, stress of the routine starts to wear on the nerves after awhile. Breaking free of the office for a few days is, however, great for moral. Sometimes getting away from it all gives you that new perspective that will make everything easier when you return. That is why vacation is such a good thing to do. The daily grind can be a backbreaking routine that just sucks the life out of your spirit. Whenever I get the chance, then, I do something to break up the routine, and believe me, it makes everything a whole lot better. So this is my chance to catch a breath of fresh air, to do some things for myself, be creative, cook a little, take a long winter’s nap. I don’t need excitement or strange places, odd food or dangerous past-times. All I really need is a fresh log to throw on the fire and somewhere to rest my weary feet.