I made one of those scrapbooky type images of what my summer looked like. I’ve been back in Vermont for a solid week and it’s been great to be back. It was also great to be away. When I was a kid we’d always take a vacation of some sort of in the summer but it was often to visit family or friends (and later with my dad, to sit on a random beach someplace) and wasn’t for very long. After last year’s enforced broken-ankle-summer-vacation I decided I liked the idea of being in a geographically distinct place for the summer, so I did it again this year. Had some friends over. Visited diners. Had more friends over. Visited libraries. Cooked out on the grill. Went on woodsy hikes. Peered at birds, bunnies, frogs and the occasional turkey and cat. Got some exercise. Vistied Nebraska (by plane) and St. Paul MN (by car). Pruned some wisteria. Cleaned bathrooms and did some of the never-ending work of keeping a big house in decent shape. It was fun. I think I’ll do it again next year. It sounds like a lot of stuff but it’s as close to leisure as I can probably get. Here’s a recap of past Virgo Months of Leisure, the time of year when I try, and often fail, to relax.
Larger version of this photo.
Top Row: Nebraska, kayaking, Westport stone wall
Next row: Birthday weekend. CHILDNADO weekend
Next row: Me in Cooperstown, the dearly departed Boo Radley on Kate’s new couch, Kate in the aerie, Jim at the end of the boardwalk
Next row: birdfeeder at sunset, UMass Dartmouth’s Carney Library
Next row: flowers, Fourth of July parade
Yeah I’m shouting. This is my annual me-festival, one of the made-up holidays that I celebrate because I find the standard palette of holidays uninspiring, though I do enjoy many of them.
The idea, which started sometime before my blog, is that Virgos are uptight and overly analytical and so they need to take some time off and chill out, regularly. I think my friend Anne and I thought this up, or maybe it was her idea alone. In any case, I’ve run with it and made some sort of mention of it online every year. I also attempt to unwind and pay special attention to my stress levels and try to moderate them as best I can. The punch line is that the Virgo month is also the beginning of school and all sorts of crazy things happen [9/11 happened, Jet Blue does a special sale that I’m always tempted to buy in to, I’m frequently in transit, school is starting, this month there is a lot of paperwork that I’m dying to be done with] and it’s usually the very opposite of relaxing and haw haw, the stereotype is correct after all.
So, to recap, the Virgo Month of Leisure started today. It’s been slow going so far–I was interviewed in the Montpelier ACLU office for a cable access project about privacy and then I had a delicious dinner with pie–but I expect it to ramp up. Here, because it’s funny, is a linked list of the last fourteen years of Month of Leisure failures.
I’ve also created an event on facebook. If you’re a facebooker, you can sign up to “attend” over there. My birthday is on September 5th. I’m hoping it’s a good one.
I pretty much skipped the Virgo Month of Leisure last year and decided to get my lifeguard certificate instead. Two years ago Ola hadn’t yet left for the Peace Corps and I was preparing to caretake her house and greet my new roommate. I also made a list of what I’ve been doing about this time every year since 1998.
In 1998 I celebrated my 30th birthday in Guatemala and was pretty pleased with how it all went down. This year I’ll be celebrating my 40th, from my new apartment here in Vermont, and I’m also feeling pretty pleased. I’ll save the list-making for a few weeks from now, but this is just a peek at whether I’ll pull off any leisure time in the next thirty days.
As I’ve mentioned, I haven’t been working at the tech center this Summer which has been pretty good. It’s enabled me to unpack slowly and get settled here. I don’t start any real travelling-for-work for a few weeks, though I was in Maine last weekend and I’m doing a flyby to New York City at the end of next week. September will see me in Potsdam New York, Sacramento California and Marquette Michigan but then I’m not going anyplace far until I go to Kansas in October. I’m a little better equipped for travelling now also. I have a lightweight laptop and I just got an EVDO card from “work” [MetaFilter: the job that doesn’t seem like a job] so I can connect from pretty much anyplace, even the dead zones in my apartment where my cell phone doesn’t work.
So, I suspect the next week or so may actually be leisurely, after that it’s anyone’s guess. Here are a few links to other things you might like to look at.
I came home from the transfer station today [i.e. the dump] and there was a little paper bag of cucumbers on my steps. They were delicious.