Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summertime Camping

We leave for a week of camping on the North Shore today.

On the plus side this means disconnecting from electronics, errands, LISTS OF THINGS TO DO, and writing up curriculum. Those time suckers will be replaced with long walks on the beach, reading lazily under the shade of a tree, chatting it up with family friends, and the lovely sunset cocktail hour. Evenings I can choose to engage in card or board games or sit by the fire and watch the teens burn marshmallows and try to outdo each other in storytelling. There’s the infamous crab catching walk every other night on the beach followed by the now anticlimactic crab race. When the kids were all young it was very exciting. Now the high point for the teens is seeing if they can ditch the parents (who are focused on the youngest of the herd) and sneak off down the beach. This is especially true when the family friends all bring a “new” friend so that they can ALL experience the thrill of racing hormones. Let’s see, what would I have been more interested in at 15? Crabs running out of a bucket? Sneaking off down the beach with a pack of teens that included cute new boys? It’s such a close call I’ll have to think about it.

Watching my kids with all my friends' kids running around with a sense of freedom that is rarely attainable in modern society. Squabbles. Adventures. These kids have grown up together. They’re more like cousins than a lot of blood cousins I know.

I’m in such a mood that I forgot what the down side of camping is. I guess we’re off.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Resting From THE LIST

The day that I decided to do the list thing I was very motivated. Part of my motivation stemmed from the fact that no matter what I did accomplish each day, my mind tended to focus on what was left UNDONE.

For instance. Spending a day at the beach with my family. A glorious time was had by all. The snorkeling was something that most people only get to watch on the travel channel; my son and his friend took me out to a place past the reef with dramatic 40 foot drops of underwater cliff covered in coral, schools of rainbow fish feeding in a frenzy, then bursting in all directions like a fourth of July firework display when I swam into the middle of them. I had the fun of watching free divers exercising their lungs by jumping off the reef holding mini boulders. While I floated on the surface like a tourist, these guys would plunge straight down to the bottom. One of them sat crossed legged and mimed transcendental meditation and I had to wonder if it was something he would normally consider doing or if it was just for me and the boys. His friend reenacted Blue Crush and jogged along the floor of the ocean with his boulder. Since I had loaned my snorkel and mask to my son’s buddy and was instead goggling the show with swimmer’s goggles, I had to bend my head back for great gulps of air. Twice. I was very impressed with everyone else’s lungs. The whole scene reminded me of a grown up version of playing tea party on the floor of my friend’s swimming pool as a kid.

After spending two days up at the North Shore, my next day back home I felt overwhelmed by tasks left undone after a week of summer.

With only six weeks now left I went with the list idea.

Which worked really well the day I started it. That day I:
  1. Wrote a blog.
  2. Wrote a chunk of the stuff I’m doing for work.
  3. Balanced my checking account and paid some bills.
  4. Took my son to the orthodontist.
  5. Made the meal and shopping list for the summer camping trip.
  6. Went to three separate stores and bought the food/supplies for the summer camping trip.
  7. Got my son to clean the yard.
  8. Got my daughter to vacuum the house.
  9. Fertilized the potted plants.
  10. REFILLED OUT my daughter’s college financial aid paperwork, since her college says the online version we did two months ago had missing information and that they had been having this problem A LOT, so to please do the whole shebang AGAIN on a hard copy.
  11. Best for last. Cleaned my bathroom. Not a regular cleaning. EVERYTHING. The cupboards, drawers, medicine cabinet. Organized. Pretty. Someplace one can go and actually take a leisurely bath ( I located the leisurely bath items - including candles, incense, and bath beads that had melted into one giant blob- under piles Costco priced TP) It’s a good thing I’m NOT AT WORK and therefore can choose to ignore both symbolism and irony in my own life.

Things on the list I did not get to included filing of crap in the office and cleaning the ceiling fans. Ah. Well. Still a day where a task oriented person can be proud. Even if one is trying to reconnect with one’s creative side and NOT BE TASK ORIENTED.

The next day I woke up with a migraine and had to spend half a day laying around napping and waiting for the Imitrex to do its thing.

I think the headache was more from sleeping in a bedroom still reeking of the smell of bathroom cleaning supplies than from the actual work itself.

I’ve chosen to take the attitude that the half day was NOT WASTED. I had meant to put napping on the list in the first place.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How to keep SUMMERTIME from becoming a fuck fest.

1. Know when to say NO. Nada. No WAY JOSE.
2. Pick your fights. You don’t ALWAYS have to react when one of your teenage children annoys you. Purposely.
3. Make lists. I realize this does not sound like the free and wonderful summer of yore childhood. But facts are facts. And even if the long walks on the beach and the lazy afternoons curled up with a book are a big chunk of WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT, there are the creative projects you had imagined doing (hm em siad blog writing) home projects you had put off doing all school year that, once done, you will feel fabulously about having completed, and, let’s face it, regular errands, doctor and dentists appointments, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada. A list with items crossed off reminds you of what you HAVE completed. Otherwise, every evening, the demented part of your personality will try and make you feel guilty over what was NOT accomplished. The big ol’ FUCK ME
4. Keep a nice variety of alcoholic beverages on hand.
5. Know when it’s OK to hang up on someone (see item #2).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


When it's summertime and the weather is high
You can stretch right up
And touch the sky

Summertime, summertime, sum sum, summertime...