The Muse tells me it’s time to break for summer, and like the Wife (heads up, husbands) the Muse is always right. To that end, I will be on vacation from my blog until the beginning of September, when, I hope, you will join me again.
To tie up a loose end before I vacate: The Sweater has been completed. The Twenty Year Sweater Here is a photo.
I know. I never said I was a good knitter, did I? Check out the oddly puffy sleeves. When I put The Sweater on, I’ve got a weird Shakespeare-in-winter thing going on.
This morning I am going to go outside and paint a watercolor. Even though I have a boatload of books to review and three writing projects awaiting various revisions, I am still going to shove them aside and do a watercolor. It won’t advance my career or make me money, but. . .
I am the product of two very different people. My mother has, as my dad likes to say, two speeds: slow and stop. But I think he might be envious, since he’s fast and faster. I tend to be more like my dad, until I remember that I’m also part my mom. Once I asked her how she avoided over-doing. She told me that she does three “things”—“things” being chores—per day, and once they are done, she’s off the hook and free to do what she wants. (I believe one of the “things” is making the bed, so you see she’s not unduly stressing herself.)
When I find myself in a muddle of work, I remember her words. Painting a watercolor this morning is going to be more satisfying than disciplining myself through a revision and what’s more, I suspect it will free up other creative areas in my brain, making me more effective when I get back to writing.
If you’re more on the driven side like me, maybe today you can try to do one thing you truly enjoy, for no other reason than that you truly enjoy it–see how it goes.
Until September, then. Have a lovely summer.
I was talking on the phone the other day to an old friend –the kind of old friend you can admit anything to—and I let slip that I really didn’t like high summer that much. My friend agreed. I was surprised, since I’d expected that saying I don’t like high summer is tantamount to being a traitor to human-dom.
I once read that extroverts recharge by being with other people and introverts recharge by being alone. Within that definition, I am an introvert. Being around human activity wears me out. And summertime—mid-August in particular—is bursting with human activity. People are desperately on vacation. The roads are crowded with vehicles loaded to the gills with pods and bike racks. Vacation spots are crowded–even my pond gets busy.
All this frantic desire to have a good time in the one or two weeks of allotted vacation time—a desire that often results in a great deal of loudness and pushiness—is in contrast to what is happening in nature.
In nature, high summer is a languid time—drowsy and sated. The broods are raised, the fruit is fruiting and things are going to seed. It is a time of rest and recovery. It is a time of peaceful ease. Yes, the natural world does have a loud and pushy time of year, but it is not August; it is spring.
I suppose it is my sense of this screeching against the natural order of things, like a train off its rails, that is at the root of my aversion to high summer. I want it to be a time of rest, but it rarely is.
Come September though, with its wine sweetness of fall days, people drift back to their homes and their routines. Things shift and settle into their natural track once again and introverts like me breathe deeply, welcoming the quiet, full days.
‘Tis the season of houseguests and if you live in a desirable summer location like I do (on a lake), not only do you want to share, others also want you to share. But first off, I want to say to anyone reading this who has been a guest at my house that this post is NOT about you. Obviously, if I were going to complain about certain houseguests, I wouldn’t be doing it in a public blog. I would do it behind their backs.
However, based on extensive houseguest experience, I’d like to give a list of Do’s and Don’ts, because I’ve found that some people just don’t seem to know the etiquette and effort involved in being a houseguest.
DO bring food. Assume that the beautiful, but remote location your host lives in also precludes the ready availability of grocery stores. If you are staying two nights or more (god forbid) you MUST bring at least one dinner.
DO bring alcohol. Lots of it. Even if you don’t drink, believe me, your host will.
DO bring a gift—just a little something—for your host so that she feels like you appreciate her effort. (If you bring enough food and alcohol, you can dispense with the gift.)
DO offer to help with the cooking and cleaning up. Your host will most likely refuse, but this little dance must be honored.
DO offer to drive if you and your host are going someplace. If your host insists on driving, DO offer to pay for gas, or buy your host lunch.
DO allow your host some downtime. Assume she lives in this remote location because she likes her solitude. Entertain yourself occasionally.
The Don’ts are pretty simple: DON’T not do any of the DO’s.
And in addition:
DON’T ask your host to bring you a little plate of cheese and crackers to tide you over as you relax in the living room while she is making dinner for everyone after having driven you both around the state for five hours.
DON’T be passive/aggressive. This is being passive/aggressive in case you’re not sure: “Oh, I thought we’d go to that crocheted marine life exhibit that is eighty miles away and you’d drive since I drove all the way up here to see you and we can catch up on things while we get there.” If your host is not interested in marine life rendered in crochet, she’s NOT going to want to drive you to that exhibit under the guise of “catching up”. But she will, if she is a good host. She will just feel like a ho, that’s all. And you will not be invited back. Ever.