I thought nothing could top last summer’s “Clean out mom’s house” project for being the exact opposite of what the Virgo Month of Leisure is supposed to be about. I was wrong. I bought a house, just up the road; I move tomorrow. I’ve been balancing some health stuff (I am fine, just some pain I am getting slow-mo dealt with) and so I’ve been spending this past month alternately packing and resting, mostly alone because I’m not feeling fit for company. I like packing and I like to think I’m pretty good at it but I’m now in the “last five boxes” phase where I figure I’ve only got five more boxes left of stuff but then I fill those and… there’s still a small amount of stuff left, maybe five boxes worth. My neighbors have a barn that contains an endless supply of boxes for which I am very grateful.
The very good news is that I’ll spend the largest chunk of the Virgo Month of Leisure mostly unpacking which is an eventual “order out of chaos” process that pleases me. I’m going to have stairs on the INSIDE of the house which feels so very fancy. And I’ll have a guestroom that isn’t also in my office. Once I start feeling better, you should come visit. I added all the photos I took for my insurance inspection to the Flickr photo set so feel free to give yourself a virtual tour.
So hey I think I managed to break a leisure record this Virgo Month of Leisure! The bad news is that’s because I’ve been feeling borderline punk for a few months now. I always thought of myself as someone in pretty good shape, but every so often I just come down with… sinus nonsense, or a weird pulled muscle, or this time some strange respiratory thing of indeterminate origin that also sort of overlapped with the Return of Shingles. So I’m back on the shingles medicine and I’ve been taking it easy which is somehow more fun when I’m at home and can do little things like head out for a chicken pie supper with friends and then go home and flop out and not do much. I’ve been getting an absurd amount of reading done.
In between all that, I’ve been working the problem and getting medical stuff slowly checked out. It’s breast cancer awareness week (you’re welcome for no pink outline to this post) and I got a mammogram (all good). If you’re someone with breasts, you should make sure you’re up to date on yours as well. October is really my favorite month because more things than usual are my favorite color. Even being crashed out on the day bed looking out the window is mostly a delight. Ronni turned the furnace on early this year (it was 32 the night before last) and there’s something peaceful and calming about not shivering while you type.
And my birthday, which was the day after my doctor’s appointment where my doctor said “You seem fine,” was actually nice, just a lovely day wandering around town saying hi to people while running errands, and then wrapping up with some drinks with friends up the road and wandering home through my dark neighborhood by myself. Since then I’ve performed two weddings (one more formal, one less formal), gone to a lot of meetings, played some board games, and spent a lot of time enjoying the lava lamp Jim gave me which has been an unexpectedly fun thing. Next up: applesauce and a quickie trip to Florida because I do still do some work around here.
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.