Monthly Archives: July 2013

The lazy, hazy, unproductive daze of summer

When KitKat and I conceived this idea for a blog, a key question lurking in the back of my mind was, “Will we have enough energy/dedication/content to keep this thing going?” After all, I’ve been known to start many projects with great enthusiasm only to lose steam once life intervened (as it invariably does). Nonetheless, we launched in January with high hopes:  This project would sharpen our creative writing skills, serve as a crash course in blogging (something two marketers should understand) and, if we were lucky, would also allow us to exercise some middle-aged demons.

Our goal was for each of us to do one post, every two weeks, for a total of four postings a month. Off to a promising start, in January we posted 11 times. We each had a backlog of topics floating around our heads, and it seemed there was no end to the curveballs—or perhaps “snowballs” is more accurate—life was tossing our way. Every day seemed laden with a fresh blanket of material… February brought a slight decline in our writing output, but the shortest month of the year still saw us generate 7 posts. After that, we stabilized at a pace of about 5 posts per month. That’s one more than our “guidelines” dictated, so we were still doing great.

Then it finally got nice out.

feet by poolIf you’ve been reading this blog from the start, you no doubt detected a theme in our early posts that can best be summarized as, “two-mentally-unstable-women-living-in-a-perpetually-frozen-locale-churn-out-ironic-observations-about-life-to-keep-from-slipping-over-the-edge-of-sanity-and-bludgeoning-those-around-them-with-an-icicle.”

And for the most part it worked. We finally made it to summer with our marriages, jobs and good humor mostly intact. But if we consider blogging to be a form of online therapy (and we do), then there have been a couple of mental breakthroughs along the way. And one thing we’ve both learned is this: You’ve got to strike when the iron is hot–whether you’re talking about writing or living. Carpe diem. That may be trite and hackneyed, yes, but it’s also undeniably true.

Enjoying the beauty around you.

Enjoy the beauty in your own backyard.

Today’s swimming hole is tomorrow’s skating rink, so you need to make your splash before the first thin layer of ice takes hold of your heart. I know that a lot of people swear by meditative silence, but I find that if I spend too much time alone with my thoughts, I find myself fretting over thorns when I should be smelling the roses. I’m much happier when I’m doing stuff—whether it’s making strides toward solving a problem (e.g., at work), improving my surroundings (e.g., weeding my garden), focusing on others for a change (e.g., visiting my parents) or just enjoying the best that Minnesota has to offer (e.g., concerts in the park with my kids).

Concerts by the lake, a favorite summer past-time.

Concerts by the lake, a favorite summer past-time.

At the same time, KitKat and I have also found that writing a post when we’re uninspired—or when long summer nights are beckoning us outdoors—is useless. It just ain’t gonna happen. Yet, we believe there will still be a few summer moments when inspiration strikes, and we can crank out our thoughts in record speed. But until then, we’ll just sip our margaritas while waiting patiently for that muse to arrive.

The bottom line here is KitKat and I are slacking off a bit with our posts during these months. But we hope you won’t really notice because you, too, have dragged yourself away from the computer and are enjoying these fleeting days of summer. That’s what we want for our readers…  Just remember to come back in the fall. We promise that once October rolls around and the kids are settled into their school routines, our postings will wax as surely as our daylight hours wane, and we’ll be full of new stories to share. In the meantime, slack off a little yourself and go enjoy a margarita on the deck. We won’t tell.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
– John Lubbock
 

Simple Summer Spontaneity

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference. Take this summer. It has been here in Minnesota for a few weeks now. (A few weeks late, I might add.) But unlike usual, summer just hadn’t sunk in. It felt like every other day … other than I had different wardrobe options.

Usually summer frees up something in me. All the normal tasks and daily grind get lighter. I feel more carefree. It has always had a magical effect. I feel like I can get through anything as soon as I step outside. I am sure this is enhanced by spending months not seeing blue sky or sun. Summer for me is like Dorothy landing in Oz and everything is in technicolor. But this year, for some reason, summer has just been going by. Maybe it was the late start. Perhaps it’s a busier job with more responsibility. Or worse, another one of those getting older things that I keep learning about (so far none for the better). Whatever it was, summer has been slipping by me.

Last night though, I finally found the fix. I sat chatting with my neighbor as our five-year-olds played in the front yard. Nothing too unusual except it was later than I would normally call it quits. (I’m a stickler for bedtimes. I like my couple of hours a night with no children.) But, they were having such a good time we decided to fight off the mosquitoes and to deal with the crabbiness we knew would be facing us in the morning with over-tired kids.

Finally, heading in at almost 10:00,  my neighbor said, “let’s not let the night end. Let’s walk to Freestyle.”  I went inside to grab my wallet and my son who was reading in bed. “Get up if you want to go get yogurt!”  A frozen yogurt bar with tons of indulgent toppings had recently opened up a few blocks away. The look on my sons face showing cool mom points were scored, and my husband’s eye-rolling suggesting we had sipped on too much wine, made it even more perfect of an idea. Complete spontaneity which always gives me a high. Back outside I was greeted with wine poured into snow cone cups for our walk.

Watching my usually “too cool” son pretend to race and lose with the littler girls, as we headed down, was one of those rare moments you think you did something right as a mom … sibling harmony is elusive in our house. We ran into many neighbors along the way including one of our hockey families, I hadn’t seen since the season ended. All returning from the yogurt shop. The girls loved seeing the teenagers (many of them their sitters) passing by and waving on their bikes as they were headed there to hang out.

The place was packed. I also learned that the owner was an attraction for the candymoms of the neighborhood. I still haven’t spotted him myself  but what a great marketing ploy – create a place that draws the attention of both moms and kids.

Walking home in the dark I grabbed my son’s hand, expecting him to pull back which always happens with any sort of public affection. But instead of shaking me off, he spent the rest of the walk blabbering about baseball plays to us and holding my hand the whole time as we watched the girls giggling and running ahead of us.

It sounds simple and silly, probably pretty trivial. But, I finally had my summer kick-off moment. The “Ah Ha” moment I needed to remember to enjoy the perks of the season. A time when nothing seems quite as daunting. Where everything seems brighter. I didn’t need a special moment; I just needed to be in the moment. And it was the simplest things that brought me there.

Now, if I can just hold on to that and apply it to rest of the complicated thoughts swarming in my head.