Tag Archives: vacation

Sweat

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It’s summer. This should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, it’s July, and while that may mean chilly temperatures for our friends in New Zealand, here in Southeastern America it means heat.

Heavy, sticky, disgusting heat.

Heat that seeps through the drywall. Heat that no car AC can hope to defeat. Heat that filters in through unshuttered windows and hovers above leather seats and steering wheels.

The South is humid. Unlike the West, where the air may be hot but remains breathable, the perpetual 50% humidity of the South turns air of any temperature into barely inhalable soup. Puddles from occasional rainstorms stay for days, and sweat has nowhere to go.

Summer in the South means you never. Stop. Sweating.

Okay, maybe normal people do. I don’t.

Something happened to me when I started my 20s. Something awful. I used to be one of the few teenagers that never, ever got a pimple, glistened vaguely during workouts, and smelled like a flower garden 88% of the time. But my 20s hit and boom, acne and buckets and buckets of inexplicable sweat.

I suspect I have some rare breed of adrenal issue that I might just have inherited from my father. We both have issues with heat. My father and I both start feeling uncomforatbly warm at around 70 degrees (that’s 21 degrees for my friends in New Zealand). We start dripping sweat at 75. Eighty and we’re swimming in our own natural coolant. Ninety and we’re drooling over travel brochures on northern Russia.

I seem to have an added complication to my sweat issue. I sweat when in situations where I have to socialize with strangers or even acquaintences. I sweat at parties. I sweat when I get in front of people to speak, sing, or otherwise perform. I sweat if I sit still too long. I sweat when I stand too long. I sweat if I have to wait in line anywhere, especially government offices. If you see me in any social context where I am thinking of the next thing I have to say, you’ll probably see me with my hands tucked under my arms, not because I am nervous or emtionally gaurded but because I’m trying to gauge just how large the sweatstains under my arms are growing and at what rate and what on earth can I do to hide them.

And that’s just in the fall and winter. In the summer the nightmare gets about 1000x worse.

My poor long-suffering spouse spends his July evenings in flannel pajamas burrowed into a pile of quilts while I sprawl out in shorts and a tank top next to our window AC unit which is allegedly blasting 60 degree air while my sweat glands remain unconvinced. (That’s 15 degrees for our friends in New Zealand.)

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Just buy some antiperspirent deoderant. Problem solved.” Yes, sure, but only if they manage to put it in a spray bottle and in large enough quantities to coat my whole body in it every day from May to November.

Or, as an alternative, I could just relocate to a different climate for the summer months. Somewhere like New Zealand.

 

 

 

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Too Soon

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And tomorrow, vacation is over.

Monday I start my first big person job. I am grateful to have one–others are not so lucky.

I had a few simple goals for this vacation. One was to read a book–one that wasn’t a textbook, and was a novel of my choosing. I am two-thirds of the way through the first novel I’ve been able to touch since White Fange, which I read in April.

Another goal was to find salt and pepper shakers. My parents and I are avid antique-store perusers. Antique stores have tons of salt a pepper shakers, but very few would actually fit my taste. I found the salt and pepper shakers, which will be adorning my apartment kitchen table soon enough.

I also set out to find a quilt for my bed at the apartment. No luck there.

I didn’t intend to look for one of these, but I found a cool doormat, too. Mow my guests will be colorfully welcomed into our humble abode.

Another goal was to sleep a lot. I did–about nine to ten hours a night. I feel fantastic, thank you.

I also wanted to write a lot. I did. I wrote in a blank book. I wrote several pages. I’m happy with what I have written. The end.

And I wanted to hand feed wild deer. I did that tonight. They weren’t eating out of my hand, but one brave buck got within three feet of me nibbling on corn I had dropped. His head was at my elbow from where I was sitting on the porch steps.

All in all, I’d say this was a profitable trip. I feel well-rested, fairly able-bodied, and ready (sort of) to take on my new responsibilities.

Sort of.

Where the Wild Things Are

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The advantage of staying in the middle of nowhere is that you get to see things you’d never get to see otherwise.

In the suburbs, I never see deer. Deer-sized squirrels, maybe, but never deer. Here, in the gated mountain neighborhood where we’re staying, deer are everywhere. It’s protected area, and they know it. There are too many people living on the mountain to justify permitting hunting. The deer population is allowed to do as it chooses.

When we first visited here when I was 11, a deer sighting was a rare event. I’d always ride in the car with my face pressed up against the glass, scanning the woods for the flash of a white tail, the curve of a graceful brown neck. We’d see one deer, maybe two at the most. And you could forget about them coming up to the house.

This year, however, enough generations of deer have been raised under the knowledge that people won’t hurt them that they’ll wander out in the open, in broad daylight, going about their deery business. We saw five of them by our back porch today: a yearling buck, four does, and a tiny fawn that scampered about in the shadows. My mother tossed corn at them from the porch steps as they watched her warily, but without real fear.

I realize that deer are common creatures. We hunt them. They taste good. In numbers too great, they can damage a local ecosystem and become pests that destroy crops intended for human consumption, not for the nibblings of wild tings. Hence the hunting. There is nothing really that exceptional about seeing one. Not around here. They’re as common as squirrels.

But they are so beautiful. They carry themselves with almost unearthly grace. Their eyes are wide and fathomlessly dark with long lashes that lend humanness to their elegant faces. Their bodies are sleek, their hides the color of autumn. Their females are vigilant, their males protective. No wonder legends tell of fairies and wood elves riding through the forests on the backs of deer.

Some people go on vacation to have an excuse to watch untold hours of television or lose themselves in a mountain of books. While I have been losing myself in the book that I brought to read on this trip, I find greater delight in sitting on the porch, watching the forest’s residents silently treading the hidden highways beneath me.

Reality Returns

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So I’ve been on vacation for a week.

I didn’t go anywhere, which was lovely. Recovering from an international flight like the one I took a week ago takes time. Instead, I stayed at home with my awesome family.

I baked things. I ate things. Not all of them were things that I baked. Some of what I ate was movie popcorn, which is about a -9 on the “healthy” scale. Asbestos is -10.

Yes, we left the shelter of our home to go to a movie theater and watch Monsters University and Man of Steel. Two days in a row of movie-theater-going. Thank goodness we came in late to the second one and didn’t have time to buy the obligatory accompanying junk food.

We also did a lot of driving around on mountain roads. There was a lot of rain, so we didn’t see too much of the scenery. But after a decade of drought, we’re happy for the rain. The minor protests breaking out on my forehead in the humid aftermath is something I’ll try to overlook.

Tomorrow, however, I return to work at the library after almost a month of absence. Hopefully they didn’t change everything while I was gone. My supervisor and her husband (also one of my supervisors) have left work at the library so they can prep for their move to a state way, way up north. This is a sad development for all of us at the library, since we will miss them. They were super supervisors. And good friends.

Aside from that, hopefully everything will be the same—calm, quiet, and bookish.

Maybe with a schedule in place, I can start being productive again. 

Summertime and the Going is Easy

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I and everything that was in my dorm room is home.

There is a plus and a negative side to this. The plus is, of course, I’m home, and I get to sleep in my own bed. The negative is that my bed is currently covered in clothing and miscellaneous bags, so actually getting into bed will be a bit of an adventure.

I couldn’t have done the simple thing and put everything in a suitcase or two—no, I had to go and just bring carloads of stuff home. About three carloads in all, actually. I own way too much. Project number one of the summer will be downsizing.

Summer. I just said summer. “Summer” as in “summer vacation” summer.

“Summer” as in “listening to music in the car with the windows rolled down.” “Summer” as in “road trips” and “missions trips” and “trips to the bookstore.” “Summer” as in “movie nights” and “music nights” and “knitting nights” and “nights of doing nothing but staring at a blank page while I wait for words to fill it.”

“Summer” as in “no homework for three months.”

“Summer” as in “freedom.”

“Summer” as in “sleep.” 

Change of Pace

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There are two kinds of vacation. There’s the kind where you go and see and do a lot, like the vacation where you go to Washington D.C. and visit the Smithsonian and all of the monuments, or the kind where you go to New York to see the Met or cheer for the Yankees (or not, depending on what side of that fence you happen to be on). Or you could take a road trip down Route 66, or take the usual adventure cop-out and go to Disneyland.

Then there’s the vacation where you deliberately do as little as possible. Vacations of this nature involve a cabin in the woods or a hotel room on a beach, a book of DVDs and/or cable and/or a really good book or three. And you stay there. The best attraction in a thirty mile radius is a variety of antique stores, which are always worth perusing. But for the most part, you do nothing.

Both are completely legitimate uses of vacation time. There is as much to be learned from period of inactivity as there are periods of activity and bustle. While going and doing can teach you much, it can be stressful. And sitting back and doing nothing can be stressful for those who don’t like to be inactive.

It’s all about picking your poison, I suppose. Both have their pros and cons. But I can tell you that right now, after two weeks of constant activity, having license to sleep until 10 and then take a nap at 3 and go to bed at 9 is perfectly fine with me. As much as I love doing something, having the chance to do nothing at all is as refreshing as it gets

Hallelujah

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Home for Thanksgiving.

Thank goodness.

After endless weeks of sweating through the rigors of college nonsense, I get to flop onto the couch and forget about it all for six days. And do nothing.

Well, in theory, anyway. Nothing would be nice. But my conscience, bless its heart, won’t let me.

There’s still Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to read. And voice yoga voice and articulation drill time to do. Socks to knit. Food to cook. Music to listen to. Drawings to draw (some of which might get posted later…depends on how good they out). If I get really ambitious, I’ll write a backlog of posts so that you all will have something to read after I get back to school and things get really crazy.

Oh yeah, and food to eat. Lots and lots of food to eat.

All that jazz.

In the meantime, wanna know how much of that has gotten done?

Zip. Zilch. Zero.

If history repeats itself per usual, chances are no actual productivity will happen until, say, Sunday, the day before I go back.

I’ve talked about procrastination before, so I won’t bore you all by elaborating further. Let’s just say that free time, contrary to popular opinion, does not lend itself to greater productivity.

Usually it just provides more opportunity for laziness.

Enough philosophizing. Regardless of how much there is to do, I need to get about three days of recovery sleep before any of that happens.

Good night, all.

One Month

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As of yesterday, I have been blogging for one month. I have managed to put up a post every day—some have been long, some have been only a sentence, but there has been at least one chunk of new material broadcast every day.

During that one month, I have discussed diets, fashion, cats, knitting, and man-eating plants. I have been to North Carolina and Rivendell, respectively, and gave you all juicy details about my excursions with my hilarious family. I have delivered both gut-wrenching puns and thought-provoking (at least I hope they were) essays on life. I’ve rambled excessively about Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings. And I have written at least one post that acknowledges my faithful readership, and I would like to do so again today.

The last time I did a post like this one, my highest number of hits on one day was 92. Since then, that number has jumped to 131. I’ve gone from 10 bemused subscribers to 16. Average hits per day is now a comfortable 49. Total hits: as of right now, 1,573. Apparently all of you loyal readers have friends, and you’ve been referring me. Oodles of thanks to you delightful people! What’s a blog if no one reads it?

I must unfortunately be the bearer of bad tidings. As of tonight, I will have completely moved into a dorm at Undisclosed University. Classes start in about four days. My life is about to get very busy. I’m sorry my dears, but this blog will no longer be a priority.

Now, I’m not abandoning The Risible Rambler. I am a Creative Writing major who is currently not taking a single solitary class in her major, much to my chagrin—this blog will become an outlet for unused creative energy. But the posts will be less frequent, and the will definitely be shorter. The day may come when I will have trouble writing something funny. Priorities change when a girl has deadlines to meet and classes to go to. But I will do my very best. I

This Morning

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Anytown summers are always nothing but hot. So hot that you step outside for two seconds and get heatstroke. So hot that the guys down at Denny’s are making their omelets on the sidewalk behind the restaurant. Not only is it hot, but it’s muggy—there’s so much water in the air that you need a scuba mask just to get to the car. It gets so muggy even bald guys are complaining of frizz issues. By 8 o’ clock in the morning, it’s 80 degrees outside, and then it’s all pretty much downhill from there. What’s really bad is that summer is our longest season, stretching from May to September. Polar bears like myself draw blinds and crank down the AC, entering into a sort of hibernation until fall finally gets here. With little rain, too little cloud cover, and way too much dratted sunshine, summers in Anytown are miserable. Shirt-sticking-to-you, too-hot-to-breathe, someone-please-throw-a-water-balloon-at-me kind of miserable.

And then there was this morning.

Per usual, I went outside to water the plants. Something felt different. Not a bad kind of different. Just different. I had a little trouble figuring out what it was.

And then I realized—I could breathe. I had left my scuba mask inside. But here I was, inhaling, exhaling. The air was warm, but not nearly as warm as it has been. There was even the tiniest bit of a breeze.

I caught a whiff of something in the air. My heart skipped a beat as I detected that first precious whiff of apple and cinnamon, the first bite of a granny smith translated to an aroma. I know that smell so well. That crisp edge of air that signals the departure of summer as autumn backs up the moving van.

It was the smell of hope.

Summer is almost over. No more heat. No more dryness. No more mugginess. Fall is coming. Evenings of apple cider and walks through mound of fallen leaves. Clean blue skies and grey rainy days and dish after dish of pumpkin pie. Socks and boots and sweaters. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Coziness and comfort with a cat on my lap.

And for a moment, as I stood there inhaling the sweet hints of autumn, I forgot that I have to move back into the dorms on Friday. I forgot that a grueling class schedule looms on my horizon. I forgot that I have to go back to six-hour nights and 13-hour days. For five minutes, it was just me and autumn’s messenger angels singing a quiet hallelujah on our weathered back deck.

Puns

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No, I didn't take this picture. I'm not awesome enough to work for Peter Jackson.

Even wizards love 'em.

Everything I learned about puns, I learned from my dad. And, like most of the important things I learned from my dad, I learned them while sitting in the back seat of our car.

My family and I have always spent our road trips playing word games. One of my favorites was punning with my dad in the form of a long dialogue. For example:

Me, pointing out of the car window: “Look, a fallen tree.”

Dad: “Eh, it was aspen for it.”

Me: “Oh, Daddy, that’s a horrible oak.”

Dad: “You’re barking up the wrong tree, here.”

Me: “Dad, these puns aren’t as poplar as you think they are.”

Dad: “It wouldn’t hurt you to branch out every once in a while.”

Me: “Leaf me alone, would you?”

Dad: “Sweetie, puns need to be a maple in any writer’s literary diet.”

Me, dubious: “That’s a bit of a stretch, there, Dad.”

Dad: “I know.” [He grins at me in the rear view mirror]  “No need for it to become a root of bitterness, though, Sweetie!”

Me: [Bangs head against the head rest and sighs, then laughs hysterically.]

Family bonding at its finest, right there. You should hear all of the ones we can come up with for eggs.

Of course, why would I want to crack a yolk like that?

Groaning yet? Good.

Home Again, Home Again

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Well, I’m back.

Back to sweltering heat. Back to my work schedule. Back to the diet. Back to running around in circles. Back to the harsh reality of a swiftly-approaching school year. Back to wearing a watch.

Yet also back to my comfy bed. Back to AC. Back to healthy, yummy salads. Back to my exciting reading list. Back to my awesome job. Back to my friends. Back to my cats. Back to reasonable bed times.

Back home.

In other news, today is MY PARENT’S ANNIVERSARY!!! (Explosions of confetti, band music, and loud cheering.)

All in all, we had a lovely trip, and, as always, we three had oodles of fun riding around a gawking at scenery that looks like this:

As you can see, I have good reason to be sad the trip is over. But I’m not despairing just yet…I leave for my biannual trip to Rivendell tomorrow. More on that later.

So, my dear readers, you’ll have to pardon me if I do not produce any risibility over the next few days. But my time with the friendly folk at Rivendell tends to inspire me, and I’m sure I’ll have something delicious for you to read come Saturday.

 

The Rambler on the Road: Chapter 3

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The Forget-Me-Nots

Yesterday was our day to do absolutely nothing. We stayed at the top of our hill and lazed around. All day. It was glorious. I finally finished Erin’s socks, and I can now move on to another project (most likely more socks).

We did crawl out of our hole long enough to go find food and enjoy a little entertainment. The food? Pizza from a family-owned pizzeria. The entertainment? A live concert sponsored by the local general mercantile, featuring The Forget-Me-Nots, a home-grown group of fiddlers who write all of their own tunes.

I would have posted a video of them playing, but that will have to wait until I get somewhere where the wireless service doesn’t drop out every ten second or so.

We were also serenaded by these chaps:

Bluegrass Boys

An award-winning banjo player, the spokesperson who played several instruments including the hammer dulcimer, and a jovial fiddler.

We topped off the day by going back to the condo to eat this:

Love on a Plate

While watching Star Trek and drinking coffee.

I love vacation.