Who Can Think In This Heat?

daylight-landscape-reflection-1209610And just like that, it’s August and shelves are ransacked of glue sticks, pencils, Kleenex, and individual snacks (though the fruit cups are always the last to go, aren’t they?). It’s like an army of kid-sized locusts have swarmed through all the stores and that’s how I know school’s started.

The Junior Halls have long since left their school days behind but there’s a part of me that I suspect will always be on school-time, following that back-to-school calendar and all its holidays/vacations. It’s hard-wired into my system.

But what’s also hard-wired into my system is that August is still vacation, especially the first two weeks of this month of sweltering heat. I went back to school after Labor Day, lo those many years ago; my kids went back to school in late August. And I’m pretty sure I know why: it’s too darn hot to think when it’s 89 but feels like 102.

The brain cannot function when it’s that hot and I have science on my side here. At my Tybee Island spot, the heat pump can’t keep the house cool. Yesterday, it was 84 around suppertime. EIGHTY-FOUR. I had to write a post for The Muffin and thank goodness, I tackled it in the morning before my brain turned to complete mush.

Except! Except I had to think up something the day before and it was also exceedingly warm in my house so I could only come up with short, little topics. Thus we have a. scientific proof re: my heat-affecting-thinking theory and b. “Writing Shorts” over at the Muffin today.

I feel like it’s pretty decent writing stuff, August and heat and brain mush considered. But it might help if you set your expectations accordingly (for both my post and the poor kidders and teachers).

The Busyness of Me

checklist-composition-handwriting-1226398There is something special about marking off tasks on my To Do List.

I mean, I’m not dancing in the streets, popping champagne, and wearing a party hat to celebrate, but at the end of the day, I do get a kick out of striking through each done chore. Which is why it often takes me a while to realize that my busyness isn’t necessarily productive.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I can be quite busy and simultaneously lazy. Because I sometimes use busyness to keep from doing the things I oughta. Stuff like getting my hair cut and colored or cleaning up the spilled engine oil in the basement (and how did that engine oil spill, anyway? Or even end up in my basement, dripping down a shelf and into every nook and cranny on its way to the floor?)…I simply don’t have time to deal with those chores when I have bills to pay or an icemaker that’s on the fritz or a book that’s a corkin’ good mystery due in two days.

51EyIzsPEVL._SY346_(Sidebar: The mystery is Bats in the Belfry, written by E. C. R. Lorac; it’s a London mystery, from the 1930’s, and the dialogue is fascinating and downright obscure. Which explains why I just said “on the fritz” and “corking.” Expressions which may or may not be in the book. But I’ll tell you what is in the book: a confoundedly twisted mystery that, with just a few chapters left, I still have not figured out. What the deuce?)

But there’s another kind of busy that I’m occasionally afflicted with and that’s the kind that keeps me distracted when I don’t want to deal with something…like when I hired the workers to rebuild the deck, fix the basement hole-in-the-wall, and put wood floors in Mister Man’s office–all within a couple months after the man died.

And now, I’m exceedingly busy (see above re: bills, icemaker, and mystery) and I’m thinking that possibly, just possibly, I’m trying to distract myself from dealing with my writing malaise.

Well, you can read all about it over at The Muffin in The Busy Trap. Because I suspect that I’m not the only writer who goes through something like this every once in a while. And I also suspect that once I figure it out–and that blasted jolly good mystery isn’t keeping me awake at night!–I’ll find my way to whatever I decide is next and then I’ll be busy writing.

Oh! And then I’ll have “writing” to mark off on my To Do List. I’ll probably fit in a couple more tasks to mark off, too, because one really needs a handful of chores if one is going to get that giddy feeling of accomplishment. But I am not cleaning up that engine oil.

I Should Probably Just Stay Home

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A view from my desk at the beach. Not that I work, just showing you the view.

So when I head to the beach, it’s quite the ordeal. That’s probably why I need so many naps once I get there… Anyway, the point is, preparing to leave one house for another for weeks at a time is a whole thing for me. It’s worth it, but still. A whole big thing:

I have to remember to hold the mail and cancel the paper. (Yes, I have to cancel it because the AJC will hold the paper but I am still charged for the paper. Back in the day, my account was credited when the paper was held. And it just goes against everything I believe in–well, almost everything–to pay for a paper that I’m not reading. So I cancel the paper and wait until I’m home for good and then start the paper again. Yes, it’s a lot of trouble to go to for twenty-three bucks but it’s the principle, y’all.)

I have to pack up my entire summer wardrobe even though I wear the same shorts and t-shirts for most of the time. I always think I’ll have to attend a sudden formal soiree or that a rogue snowstorm will hit the coast and what if I don’t have my jeans, sweaters, and long-sleeved shirts, not to mention my good black dress and my fancy high-heeled shoes? (I don’t bring my boots to the beach; that would be ridiculous.)

And don’t get me started on the food and such that I pack. Because despite the fact that there is a grocery store literally three blocks from me and a Publix (just like I have here) only a few miles down the Tybee road, I MUST BRING GROCERIES FROM HOME.

That last one I’ll admit is kinda crazy. But what is not crazy is that I hide all the Really Important Stuff in my house that I don’t bring to the beach just in case bad men (or women, let’s be fair here) break into my home and abscond with the family jewels (I feel I should mention here, just in case any of these scofflaws have read this far, that the family jewels aren’t much. We’re not even sure if they’re genuine. And when I say “they” I really mean just the one. Which is probably fake.).

Anyway, one year, I hid my Really Important Flashdrive and I still haven’t found it. So now, I had the brilliant idea to write myself notes–in code, of course–on my calendar to tell me where I’ve hidden stuff. Except this year, by the time I returned, all rested and oh-so-refreshed, I’d forgotten I’d hidden my Really Important Stuff or that I’d written helpful little notes to remind me where I’d hidden stuff. So every time I looked at my calendar and saw a particularly weird and cryptic note, I wondered what in the world it possibly meant.

And then I needed my checkbook (which is, after all, Really Important Stuff) and you can probably see where this is going. I COULD NOT FIND MY CHECKBOOK. At some point, it occurred to me that I’d hidden the checkbook but WHERE? WHERE? WHERE? If only I’d had sense enough to leave a trail of bread crumbs to my checkbook!

After tearing up the house, I finally found the checkbook. Exactly where I’d carefully hidden it. And then I happened to glance over at the calendar where the weirdly cryptic note suddenly made perfect sense.

I’m not sure where I hid my extra laptop and there are no more cryptic notes. I feel like when I go to hide the next Really Important Thing in my house, there will be the laptop, covered in dust, wondering where I’ve been. In the meantime, it’s back to writing for me and you can read the latest over at the Muffin in “What’s the Big Idea?”

(Just FYI, it has nothing to do with the particular bright idea I had to write myself coded notes; it’s a whole different idea. But it’s the same old lesson when it comes to pride.)

Spot the Difference: Summer Vs. Vacation

IMG_20190609_174418204I’m in  summer mode re: work right now. Which basically means I enjoy two siestas during the day–a short stint out on the deck or on the beach, soaking up my Vitamin D (And P.S. A quick bit of time in the sun is the best source of Vitamin D but do wear your sunscreen!) AND a late afternoon siesta where I get my reading in (And by “reading”, I mean “nap”)–instead of the one siesta I take during full work mode.

As you can imagine, one must be very organized to get anything accomplished if one’s taking two siestas a day. And I know what you’re thinking: can one really be that organized? So as proof, I offer today’s post over at The Muffin. To wit, Revision: A Whole ‘Nother Story.

You’ll note that not only have I come up with some pretty darn good writing/revision stuff but also I have shared my ultra-organized revision grid/chart wherein it’s kinda mind-boggling in its accomplishment glory.

I should probably add that other writers way more accomplished than I came up with revision grids and the same darn good writing/revision stuff ages ago BUT that doesn’t negate the fact that I worked like a fiend in the last six weeks on the latest manuscript whilst taking their advice AND two siestas.

So I think I deserve a vacation at this point. Which basically means that for the next six weeks, you can find me either on the deck, the beach, or the screened porch, with a book and/or a cool drink or Popsicle in hand. I may be reading, I may be napping, I may be thinking up the next story, but there is one thing you can be certain about: I WILL be wearing sunscreen.

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Libs will be checking email for me, but I wouldn’t count on her. Even when she’s in full work mode–and you can see that she’s revved up and at the ready here– she’s dismally lazy.

Lest We Forget

2013-05-27-08-27-45On May 3, 2000, President Bill Clinton released a memorandum from the White House regarding the National Moment of Remembrance.

In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal “National Moment of Remembrance” on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.

Accordingly, I hereby direct all executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance (Program), to promote a “National Moment of Remembrance” to occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day.”

I hope you’re having a lovely Memorial Day, celebrating with family and friends and furry companions. And when 3:00 rolls around–or really, any time today– maybe you could take just a minute to say thank you.

Thank you to those who are putting themselves in harm’s way right now so that we can be safe. Thank you to the young veteran who’s next door, mowing her lawn or diapering his baby. Thank you to the fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, grandparents and godparents who never speak about their service but sacrificed so much so that I could have so much. And thank you to all those who’ve gone before, who gave their all so that I could live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Lest we forget, we’re celebrating Memorial Day because of them.