Breaking Away: Some Washington Movers and Shakers Find That Just Vegging Out Is Tougher Than It Looks

By Michelle Boorstein

Published on9/3/2007
The Washington Post

How the A-List Spent Summer Vacation

Ahh, the summer vacation. What is its emblem?

Waves lapping warm sand. Lazy hammock naps. A mitt lying in the grass. Conferences.
Yes, it seems, if you’re one of the Washington area’s many bigwigs, what you call your summer “vacation” might well have revolved around a conference, a meeting, your office or, at the very least, your BlackBerry. You took it on your trip and checked it every few hours, wonkified workaholic that you are.

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke at five conferences: in Italy, Colorado, Quebec, Sydney and Seattle.
Kathy Kemper, center with daughters Christina, left, and Kelsey Kemper Valentine in California

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, recently “retired” as Catholic archbishop of Washington, hit meetings in the hot spots of Ukraine, Syria and Kazakhstan.

Washington Wizards forward Caron Butler said he was “off,” which meant he had to work out only 3 1/2 hours a day. Butler bounced between Washington, Jamaica (where his wife is from) and Racine, Wis., where he grew up and does charitable work. Butler, who has three children, also went to Puerto Rico with his wife, Andrea, for her birthday, jet-skiing and touring Old San Juan. They flew out to Las Vegas, where they had gotten engaged and married, and saw R&B singer Toni Braxton.

McCarrick is reflective about what he sees as a potential cost. “At this stage of my life, I should try to be more of a prayeraholic.”

The cardinal was forced to stop globe-trotting for peace and interfaith dialogue on his 77th birthday, which was on 7-7-07, when about 100 relatives and friends got together in New Jersey. “My family laid down the law,” he said.

Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief, also said he has a hard time taking off. He tried to, planning to spend a week with his wife and daughters in Sydney before the International AIDS Society Conference, at which he was speaking. However (don’t you hate when this happens!), President Bush awarded him the National Medal of Science just before the trip, which meant cutting it short. He did manage to do a climbing tour of the Sydney Harbour Bridge all “harnessed and shackled” for safety.
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) returned to the place he has spent many summers since he was a boy — a remote farmhouse in northern Vermont that his mother’s father had bought. Van Hollen spent a week there with his three children and his wife, Katherine, hiking, swimming, trout fishing, picking raspberries and building a two-story treehouse. “We just try to get out of cellphone range,” he said.

Kathy Kemper, tennis coach and host of a popular newsmakers’ breakfast, is one of the lucky ones who gets a full month away. Every August she, her husband and children go to a house they own in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. They surf, golf and hang out with cousins and grandparents.

“The beach is so beautiful and the weather is fabulous,” she starts saying, “but to tell you the truth, it’s not that relaxing. You’re trying to corral 18 people everywhere you go.”
Sounds like a working vacation.

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