Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

Why must I make excuses for who I am and what I enjoy doing?

I had dinner last night with Drew and his girlfriend. It was fantastic to spend time with them and get caught up on each others' lives. After dinner we went to see a movie and then for yummy smoothies. The vast majority of our dinner conversation was a lot of fun. But then there was that hint of judgement.

Drew asked me what I was planning to do with my summer.

"A whole lot of nothing," I replied.

"I know that's what you're doing right now, but it's only the beginning of summer. What are you going to do with the rest of it?"

"Umm... more of the same."

"Really? Nothing?"

"Well... of course I have a few little things I want to accomplish around the house, but for the most part, I fully intend to just read a lot and watch movies."

Drew let it drop after that, but his point was made. Apparently, I am supposed to accomplish something with my summer. And if I don't I'm some kind of failure.

Why isn't it okay for me to just be this summer? In the past I've taken classes, moved, done house projects, trained a puppy, and traveled. While I would like to have some fun this summer (and get a few of those house projects done), I don't see what's wrong with being allowed these weeks to do what I don't have time to do during the school year. Yes, I know I just wrote a post doing a little minor griping about my need to define this summer, but my main priorities are to read as many books as possible and trim my Blockbuster queue down to a little more reasonable length.

I hope that's okay with everyone.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Summer of... (taking suggestions)

The past four summers have all had very distinct themes. Or sometimes two themes. But themes none the less.

2004: The Summer of B

Of course, 2004 could just as easily be categorized as the Summer of Home Ownership as I had just purchased my house and was getting used to all the fun (and annoyances) of having my own home. And it was just as much the Summer of Copper. My sweet little girl came home with me exactly four years ago yesterday, and that summer was a time of adjustment and joy that she brought into my life. But, for some reason, when I think back to 2004, I immediately think of B. and the time we spent together that summer. Well, I'm not sure it can really be classified as time together as time spent in each other's presence was actually quite limited. But, if you count Internet time (and who here doesn't??), we spent most of the summer together. It was not unusual for B. and I to spend close to the entire day chatting on AIM. The moment I got out of bed in the morning, I would log on to see of he was there (and he usually was, waiting for me to arrive), and we would chat for hours. Sometimes we would only sign off as it got close to five p.m. and his freedom would come to an end. Then we would check back in around ten or eleven and chat for anywhere from two to four more hours. I'd go to bed and the entire cycle would start all over again in the morning.

And we all know how well that turned out, don't we?

So why do my thoughts immediately turn to him still, even though two other, very remarkable events also consumed that summer? I think it's because I still have those other two things, and not only do I not have B., but I don't have anything that even closely resembles what I had with him either.

2005: The Summer of Grad School (part 1)

In 2005 I voluntarily gave up a great deal of my summer freedom in pursuit of higher education. Once I finally decided what I wanted to get my Masters' Degree in, I also wanted to get it done. So I enrolled in three graduate courses for the summer term... nine credits... a full-time load. Of course, it was great to be able to say, at the end of the summer, that I was already a quarter of the way done with my degree, but it was difficult at times to have to turn down offers of sitting by the pool, and going out to dinner. I particularly remember having to head home immediately after Fourth of July fireworks because I needed to study for an upcoming cataloging exam.

2006: The Summer of Hell

This was the year that I thought my life as I knew it was over. I was facing tenure charges for stating my opinion via my blog and MySpace page on my own time. Who knew that teachers don't have freedom of speech? Had they been successful in their quest, not only would I have lost my job, but it would have been very difficult for me to get another one. Districts do not, as a rule, hire teachers that have been dismissed from their previous positions. While it's highly unlikely that I actually would have been fired, I'm not sure what I would have done if I had been. This is all I know how to do and anything else that I've ever been interested in doing would require a whole new degree. Kind of hard to finance that when you're halfway through working on one already and you don't have an income.

Oh, yeah, and on top of all that stress, I was still working full-time on my Masters' Degree. But by then I was somewhat used to that level of work since I had done it the summer before, and taken six credits each term during the school year, too. Plus it kind of paled in comparison to the rest of the nightmare that was my life.

2007: The Summer of Hawaii

I don't know that I'd say that I never thought I'd go to Hawaii. It's not like it was something I'd completely dismissed, but it wasn't really something I thought about either. So when the opportunity arose to go to such a stunning locale with one of my best friends, I jumped at the chance. It was, perhaps, not the wisest way I could have spent all that money, but I don't regret it for an instant. I'm well aware that the trip itself was only a week and a half of my summer, but it seems like everything I did for weeks leading up to departure was prepare. I thought constantly about what items I should purchase to take with me, what things needed to be done to ready my house for my absence, and how traumatic it might be to my babies to have me gone for such a long stretch.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since the trip. It seems like every day something happens that triggers a mind trip back to the islands.

So now it's 2008...

I realize that I've only been on vacation for two weeks, but so far I haven't a clue what this year's theme is going to be. In past years it has been crystal clear by this point of the summer, so I'm feeling a little lost right now. I suppose that I should see this as a good thing... there is no event that is tearing my life apart right now, which is certainly an improvement over two years ago.

I guess I'm just hoping that something will happen to make this summer a memorable one. I guess I better be a little more specific.

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Friday, June 13, 2008


I think that my ass may be growing roots into the couch.

I've been on summer vacation for a week now and it's kind of ridiculous how little I've done with the past seven days.

Day 1: Mowed the lawn. Sat on the couch and watched TV.

Day 2 (my birthday, no less): Sat on the couch and watched TV. Unpacked my new PDA and started learning how to use it.

Day 3: Sat on the couch and watched TV. Did a little housecleaning Finished reading Nineteen Minutes. Discovered that new PDA came complete with solitaire. Found myself going online to order an elliptical machine that I saw on an infomercial (hey, don't judge me).

Day 4: Got up at 8 a.m., stopped at McDonald's for breakfast, then spent five hours at school wrapping up all my loose ends for the school year. Completed inventory, completed requisitions, packed up my classroom, and checked out a box full of books to bring home. On the way home, I stopped to pick up necessary supplies and groceries, then ran by Blockbuster to use up this month's coupons before they expired. Completed one load of laundry. Watched The Other Boleyn Girl. Began reading Among the Hidden.

Day 5: Did another load of laundry. Finished Among the Hidden and began Among the Impostors. Cut Copper's toenails. Installed Sudoku program on new PDA. Watched National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. Decided that my jaw is out of alignment and I have to start wearing my bite guard to bed again, especially since I have to go to the dentist next month and they will yell at me if I don't.

Day 6: Deposited reimbursement check at the credit union, bought Father's Day card, returned DVDs, and swung by Arby's for dinner. Deepened Sudoku addiction. Finished Among the Impostors. Watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Bourne Supremacy. Began Among the Betrayed.

Day 7: Sudoku addiction reaches critical stage. Mailed Father's Day card, got a haircut and traded in videos for two more. Finished Among the Betrayed. Paid bills online. Started Among the Barons.

And... that does it. While it's been an enjoyable way to begin the summer vacation, I know I cannot maintain this level of inactivity. I have projects that need to be completed around the house and I need to get myself moving physically as I have a few pounds that should really come off (see... not so silly ordering the elliptical machine).

Good news: Drew is scheduled to be home any day now on a couple weeks of leave. Maybe he'll keep me occupied for a day or two.