Dog Days of Summer
So, as you may have noticed, I have fallen off posting with any regularity. I could give you a few reasons for this (new and exciting relationship, weekly sketch show writing/rehearsing/performing demands until mid-July, general summer busyness, a couple of minor illnesses) but the truth is, I haven’t been doing much writing of any kind, other than sketch writing, for a while.
Writing these posts used to be a (mostly) weekly exercise, something I had become very practiced and disciplined at doing. I also did an okay job of writing other pieces on a regular basis. I was working on the book at a decent (if not entirely dogged) clip. But a few months ago I suddenly found myself uninspired to write. In the past, I may have pushed myself, created forced writing time each week, slogged through a bunch of terrible writing. But this time I couldn’t do it.
It’s difficult calling yourself a writer, considering yourself a writer, and not feeling inspired to write. In the past, writing was almost a compulsion: I’d sit up in bed needing to scribble down what I was thinking, use my breaks at work to outline a piece, spend hours after work crafting essays and book chapters and blog posts. But aside from a piece or two, I haven’t written much of anything lately.
I try not to beat myself up about it, don’t let myself think of the hours I’ve “wasted” when I could have been writing. I won’t let it bother me that I started this post three weeks ago but didn’t finish it until now. Instead, I’m feeling more rested and renewed after my break. “The Dog Days of Summer” refer to the period of time mid-summer, roughly July 3 to August 11, when the Dog Star (Sirius) rises at the same time as the sun. According to Dictionary.com, it’s a “sultry” time of the summer, “a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.” They certainly were just that for me.
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
The Fourth 25th was my grandmother’s 100th birthday. I posted about her before the day, but I didn’t really post about our celebration, which coincided with Easter weekend and was the first opportunity for Boyfriend to meet members of my extended family on both sides. Although he wasn’t feeling well, we had a great weekend. That Saturday we spent with my dad’s side of the family at our traditional celebration at a local park. There were egg hunts! There were drawings! There was lots and lots of food. And Easter Sunday we celebrated my grandmother by enjoying dishes she used to make and love and by telling lots of stories about Gram. I’d still like to write a post devoted to her (not just things that happened in the world during her lifetime, but who she was as a person), but that will have to come in its own time.
The Fifth 25th was in April, and to celebrate (or because our relationship warranted it) Boyfriend and I went to Pennsylvania for a few days at the end of the month to meet his family. It was wonderful. I love his family (and not only because he’s part of it). They welcomed me in, showed me around, and told lots of old family stories. Highlights included: seeing the house his dad grew up in, complete with pond, creek, and old barn; a tour of his dad’s maple syrup operations; eating breakfast cooked by Boyfriend and his mom; and playing Cranium with his parents, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend. And, although Boyfriend didn’t love it, I really enjoyed when his dad pulled out all the family photo albums and sat with me, explaining who everyone was. I know I’m biased, but Boyfriend was a really, really cute kid.
For the Sixth 25th (May), we went to a Saint Paul Saints game to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. It was my first time at the new stadium, and what an experience. While I like the newness of the location, the beauty of the St. Paul skyline behind home plate, and some of the cool additions (a pirate ship bar, the Berm, and lots of punny signs: Dairy Area–ha!), I do kind of miss the old place. The new field feels like other professional ball fields I’ve been to, but I don’t love what athletic stadiums have become: expensive, showy, named after a company. There’s so much of an emphasis on everything other than the actual sport. We have become accustomed to t-shirt giveaways and goofy mascot competitions, fancy food vendors and kiss cams. I think watching the Olympics recently really highlighted the contrast. There aren’t even cheerleaders there: just pure athletic competitions, and, though I do love old couples smooching on the JumboTron, I miss that in these new stadiums.
The Seventh 25th came in June, but we celebrated on the 3rd of July with our annual trip to Brunet Island State Park for a cookout and early fireworks. It did not disappoint. There was a moment when we were sitting in the dugout watching the fireworks and my dad was on one side of me and Boyfriend was on the other and it was heaven. I don’t have any pictures from that, but I do have this one of my mom on a pogo stick in June (so cool, right?):
The Eighth 25th (July) marked almost six months with the Boyfriend. To celebrate, we spent an early weekend in northern Wisconsin/the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. We went up to Bayfield and then hit an arts festival in Grand Marais, spending an overnight at Lutsen Resort. We had a wonderful time. The area was very beautiful and it was a much-needed relaxing getaway. Here’s my favorite pic from that trip, followed by a few others:
The Ninth 25th is coming up next Friday, which means I’m halfway between 34 and 35. Eep! I’ll be celebrating today by participating in something called All Saint Paul’s a Stage, an event in which teams of three improvisors perform improvgrams for people throughout the City of St. Paul. An improvgram is like a singing telegram but a short improvised set of scenes. Should be fun!
I can’t promise I’ll get back to my regular posting, but I can promise that I’ll try not to be away so long. I’ve missed you.