We are taking a long weekend to enjoy this beautiful summer. There will be biking and kayaking and lots of good food. There will be lazy afternoons filled with books of poetry and wine. There will be hiking and walking and staring at the sky. There will be writing, but not here. I’ll be scribbling in notebooks and on napkins and probably in the sand somewhere. So, while I nap and chat and relax, I encourage you to get outside. There’s just a month left of summer, get out there!
Last weekend, Daughter spent the night at my Mom’s with her cousin (we’ll call her AJ). They are 2.5 years apart, but get along beautifully. They are both high-energy and goofy. They look just like each other. AJ can’t sit still and daughter is constantly laughing and joining in on her antics. AJ can read, so Daughter listens, mesmerized as she reads to her. When I picked up the girls on Sunday, Daughter’s hair was neatly pulled back in to a string of ponytails. I looked at my Mom, doubtful she knew how to do that, and then AJ called out, “I did her hair. I learned on my doll.” Brilliant I thought. It’s so fun to see these girls together. They look so much alike they could pass for sisters, and probably do. The difference in age is only going to get smaller as they get older, and I love the idea of Daughter having a close cousin. We’re already planning the next adventure.
Besides the health benefits of running, both mental and physical… Besides the camaraderie and bragging brights… Besides the cute workout clothes and bright pink shoes… This is why I run. To get outside. To watch the sun rise. To watch the sun set. To see ducks swimming undisturbed at the beach. To see squirrels and chipmunks sleepy and off guard. To see early mornings, late evenings, middays that I otherwise wouldn’t. I don’t run on a treadmill. I run outside. Year round. (Mostly. Okay, not if it’s below 10 degrees. But would you?)
Saturday night we had friends over and we (they) made the most amazing dinner.
K brought Gazpacho shooters with Spicy Shrimp. We made Caprese Kabobs with Balsamic. T brought Sangria…. ah, Sangria.
L made the Paella while I watched over her shoulder and handed her ingredients.
And K brought a Lemon Ice Box Cake. I provided the candles.
Then we all sat on our porch, motionless and stuffed. B got up to fill our wine glasses. We took turns tossing the ball for the dog. But mostly we sat and enjoyed the summer breezes and each other’s company. A lovely, perfect, blessed night. Thanks all…
My Dad loved Jazz. All kinds of Jazz, I believe. But I distinctly remember his love of Big Band Jazz. Fortunately, I inherited this love. And there’s nothing better than watching it live. So, last week, when Husband asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I told him I wanted to go to the local outdoor concert venue and watch a Big Band Jazz Group. He agreed. So tonight, after the spotty rains passed over and we were loaded full of sushi, we drove down to Starling Lake and watched the Jazz on the Prairie Big Band. There were fluffy white clouds littering the bright blue sky and a nice breeze that kept the bugs away. I could feel there with us. I swayed, Daughter danced and we all had a good time. Thanks, Babe. It was a great birthday.
My mom gave me this book of Poetry recently. I have it sitting on my (new) night stand. And before I drift off, or when I have moment in the morning I pick it and read a bit. Billy Collin’s work is just my speed. It’s accessible, I understand it and most importantly, I love it.
In the poem titled “Poetry,” he writes:
We are busy doing nothing– and all we need for that is an afternoon, a rowboat under a blue sky.
Doesn’t that just force you to look and relax? I’m heading out right now to find a rowboat.
On our walk this morning Z was slower than normal. She had plenty of energy before we left the house, but now that we were following the sidewalk and watching the sun rise above the horizon, she was being rather pokey. At one point she stopped and starting chewing, flossing, sucking on a patch of taller grass. I looked down at her and said, “Are you ruminating?”
I have no idea where the word came from, but I’m so glad it did.
“Ruminate,” I said again out loud. (It was barely 6:30 in the morning, nobody was out to hear me.)
think deeply about something. 2. (of a ruminant) chew the cud.
What an amazing word. It’s fun to say. It’s fun to think about. It’s fun to picture a cow chewing, chewing, chewing. And more importantly, it’s a remind to slow down, think deeply and just keep chewing. How often do we get to do that? Between work and meals and baths and commuting and walking/pulling the dog?
Do me a favor. Spend some time Ruminating this weekend. I hope to. I hope you do too.
I came across this list yesterday: 25 American Classics Everyone Should Read at Least Once. And honestly, I’ve only read a few. I’m not surprised. I read a lot, but I tend to read the newer stuff. And certainly not historical stuff. Boooorrrring. But reading about these classics has me thinking I should probably dig into a few of them. Maybe all of them? No, that would be silly. But a few that I will request from my favorite library are:
“The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.” Just because.
“The House of Mirth.” It sounds delicious and devastating.
“How the Other Half Lives.” Depressing, but a need to know.
“Maggie: A Girl on the Street.” Because I love New York. And could never live there.
“The Portrait of a Lady.” Two words. Henry. James.
‘Their Eyes were Watching.” The 30s.
“To Kill a Mockingbird.” Again, just because.
So, how many of these Classics have you read? (Mom – have you read them all?) It’s not a simple quest… who’s with me?
I woke up way too early this morning so I could go to the Community Center and swim laps before Husband had to walk the dog and we all had to leave the house for the day. Seeing 5:35am on the clock is one thing. Getting out of bed, bringing the dog outside and then getting in the car at 5:35 is something else. Despite the time, the sun was up and it was already a beautiful day. I made it to the club, stumbled through the lobby and found my way to the edge of the pool. I glanced at the notes I scribbled out from the training guide — 100 warm up, 6×50, 2×300, 4×25, 50 cool down. Not too bad, similar to last time. The 100 felt good, I stretched and finally woke up. The 50 sprints were fast and got me going. The 300s felt good and I found my groove. Just in time to do the 25 sprints and then cool down. The clock at the edge of the pool read 6:25 and I new I had to get home. I wish I’d had more time, I knew I had more in me. Maybe next week.
When I got home daughter was awake and cuddled into our bed.
“Mommy, were you training?”
I’m sure Husband used that word rather than “swimming” so she wouldn’t get upset I didn’t bring her with me.
“Yes, baby, I was training.”
“I bet you’re going to win the race.”
I chuckled. “I sure hope so, kiddo. I sure hope so.”
I started listening to Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird this morning on the way to work. I forget how funny she is. How realistic she can be. And how damn smart she is. Just write, is her message. Don’t worry about being published. Don’t worry about fame. Don’t worry about the money. Because, she reminds me, those things probably won’t happen. What I need to remember, is to enjoy the process. Enjoy the writing. Because if it ain’t fun it’s not worth it, right? I write to learn. To share. To remember. And this big project that’s haunting me day and night? Well… I’m working on that to understand it. It’s not going to happen over night. I just have to tackle it “bird by bird.” Right, Anne?