Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Simple Summer Pleasures

I am probably the only person over forty who does not have a Bucket List, although I'm not exactly sure why. I have not lived with wild abandon, so it's certainly not because there is nothing left for the list. Maybe because I don't have a burning desire to do things like bungee jump or skydive, I haven't taken the time to start a bucket list that in the end would likely be a list of places to which I'd like to travel.

I did start a different kind of list, however, when I was sitting at the pool the other day. Just the day before I had gone on an antiquing adventure in Woodbury with a friend (which was a first for both of us, and a lot of fun), but other than that I thought about how I hadn't done much new or different. My vacation was half over and I hadn't done very much at all. I have a lot coming up during the second half, but even as I sat by the pool--sunning, reading, relaxing--I felt disappointed. I wondered what could I do to feel better about how I spent my summer vacation, especially with limited remaining  time and budget.

So I started thinking...

When is the last time you went to a bakery or coffee shop and sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a pastry? Doing so in vacation places--Chicago, Newport-- doesn't count. Neither does Starbucks. Somewhere close to home...Similarly, when is the last time you went to an ice cream stand? Have you ever gone to hot dog stand? What about packing a picnic lunch and finding a place to sit and have a quiet lunch?

Hmmmm. None of the things are particularly time consuming or expensive. I just never think to do them. And I should. I need to step outside the box, change my routine a little here and there, and enjoy some of the simple pleasures of summer. While I still have time.

Friday, June 27, 2014

[Heart] Bluer than Blue Skies

There are afternoons in the summer when the sky is so blue it is almost purple. If the sun is at my back I can stare at it and get lost in it, all the while wishing I could describe it (is it periwinkle? or is that indigo?), bottle it, remember it when I'm feeling anything less than happy. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Photo Journal: A Little Lift

Found this on my white board yesterday, written between restriction enzyme sequences. My spirit really needed it. Thanks, girls.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


This time last year, I was probably already a fixture by the pool, well on my way to summer bronze, pink only around my strap lines. Two weeks into this pool season, I have yet to stop by the pool for my pool pass. I haven't even brought my chair up from the basement, although I did repack my pool bag for a day at the beach (that we spent bundled up in the back yard--having fun nevertheless).

It was not until the third weekend in May when I finally felt the way I typically do in mid-March. Two days in a row of sunshine and seasonable temperatures, one of them spent walking around Boston, and I finally began to feel winter thaw from my bones and my spirits lift a notch above major clinical depression. 

Two weeks later, on a day forecast today to be "top ten," I did not gear up and hit the pool today.

No, I didn't have a skin cancer scare. And I'm not getting more insecure as I age. (But don't worry. I'm also not giving up on myself and ordering muumuus on line.) I definitely still have an aversion to other people's Ill-behaved children near 5 feet of water surrounded by cement (nothing relaxing about that), but that's not it either. This year I have a new life plan, which at present seems to be diverting me from some of those old, unproductive habits. 

In a few years I hope that my life no longer cycles as it has for the last several : 42 weeks of misery followed by 10 weeks of bliss and avoidance.

Unless aliens have abducted Joanne and I am just pretending to be her, I will eventually, definitely, get my tan on. But today, instead of getting by the pool hoping for peace and quiet, with ear buds on the ready just in case, I went to the bookstore and bought a book on floral design and took myself out to an al fresco brunch. While I created my own peace,  I stirred new life into my spirit. 

I am hopeful. I am inspired. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Breaking Bad Habits

Last week, while I was gearing up to write a post that in some way explained, if not excused, my three or four month absence/negligence/less than stellar effort to write, I came across a few things dated 2010 and 2011. That I could find a list of things to do or reread an email from four years ago and feel like it was yesterday was a little disconcerting. I felt nothing akin to how I did when graduating from college I remembered Moving In Day, so proud of the confident woman I'd become as I thought back to how unsure and timid I was just four years earlier. Nostalgia was absent.

Looking back on the four years that had passed I longed only for people I have lost. Yet I also felt a profound sense of disappointment and discontent with myself, having done nothing since they passed away that would make them proud or that I would want to tell them about. If I could be granted a special wish for Middle Aged Women Trying to Figure Things Out and sit by my pool with Donna this weekend as we had on Memorial Day weekends past, I would still be complaining about teaching, how education is not what it used to be, and how I don't believe in what I am being asked to do anymore.

And that is absolutely not the conversation I want to have with her when I get to have one again. 


I understand now how people stay in unproductive and unhappy habits and relationships for longer than they should because I see myself as one of them. 

So I am left to the task of forgiving myself for getting stuck, and then I move on to find joy. I forge a plan and brace myself for an adventure, willing to take risks for my new normal to be a happy one. 

I'll keep you posted. 

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