Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.
Elizabeth was mentioning this yesterday, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Not that I wasn’t before.
I think it’s partly the summer schedule. First of all, the manchild’s day starts a full hour later, and ends a half hour earlier, going to day camp rather than school. Related to that, instead of the school bus picking him up, I drive him. It isn’t far, but each pickup and drop off takes a half an hour. So right there, I’ve lost 2.5 hours of usual work time, which is a big hit. Half of it ends up coming out of my online time, and half of it from production time; and this leaves me feeling (and being) behind on email (which is a perpetual state of affairs anyway, I suppose) as well as blogging, with drafts piling up… and barely keeping my head above water productionwise.
This morning I got up and found I’d forgotten to bring in a handful of blending fibers that I dyed yesterday.
They’ll be fine. Still, oops. I completely forgot about them!
I could also blame the heat for part of my doldrums, but then the past few days have been perfect summer weather. Absolutely perfect. So it’s definitely not that.
It’s not like life is bad.
See? Kitten (in front of fiber being spun), work in progress, beer… of course, it’s beer in a bottle instead of on tap, because we failed to realize how close to empty the keg was till it ran out on us unexpectedly on Monday, with nobody having a chance to go get a new one till the weekend. The horror! The absolute horror!
The work in progress, incidentally, is the Pagoda shawl. I dyed some Falkland yellow, a little variegated (but not as variegated as I was envisioning, when all is said and done), and have been wrapping it up. It’s presently my big needle project — which is sort of pathetic, considering it’s on a size 3 Addi Turbo. I decided I would switch to that and finish it up, so as to have something finished to show for the summer to date, instead of continuing to make invisible progress on the Foggy, Foggy Dew shawl. But of course, the Pagoda shawl isn’t done either. 2-3 evenings, I think.
Kaylee isn’t herself right now, though, what with new stitches in her belly from Monday’s spay. She’s bouncing back, but she needs a lot of snuggling right now.
Oh, so instead of working on actually finishing something last night, what did I do?
Well, I deserved it, I suppose. What is it? More of that superwash merino/tencel blend! They’ll be up for sale soon (and I’m going to do a pre-listing sale before putting stuff in the ebay store, I think, to give loyal blog readers first crack at stuff. Seems fair). This one is my favourite, I think:
That’s “Harvest.” I’m trying to talk myself out of keeping it for me. Of course, I might keep “Maize” instead.
I’ve been dyeing tussah silk as well; I like this one in spite of myself. Fortunately for all concerned, Elizabeth’s run off with it already, so there’s no need to worry about me stealing it for my own stash (which doesn’t need to be any bigger).
Today, once I get all the other various things I need to do out of the way, I’ll be in with Cardzilla, working on some fresh batts. Today and tomorrow are the last generally-available stuff for a bit, as after that, I’m tied up with Batt Club round 2 for a bit, and then I might go easy on myself and take a little break. Or not; I’m not so great at taking breaks. Someone remind me that I said I was thinking about taking one, sometime in a week or two when I’m clearly not?
Oh, I almost forgot.
He’s not tired. Ignore the giant circles under his eyes; they mean nothing.
Despite his evident fatigue, he actually behaved far, far better than most of the grownups, the majority of whom were pretty quick to muscle kids out of the way for things. I think this is part of what bugs me about the Pottermania; if we’re supposed to be doing this for the children, then how about we give the children a chance? I’ve been less crowded in a Tokyo subway, and the people doing the crowding were old enough to know better than to be shoving 9-year-olds around. It’s sad; while I’m thrilled about him reading, and very much enjoy the fact that he shares his parents’ bookishness, grownup obsession does make it harder for me about the Potter stuff.
We gave him a special dispensation to stay up reading as long as he liked. I don’t know when he passed out, but he was awake again — and half done with the book — by about 8 AM.
And done by 11.
His cousin (who I understand is very likely reading this) had probably better be done with it by now, so that he can discuss it with her at length. He’s been bursting at the seams about it, and being very good not spoiling it for other kids.
An interesting piece on NPR recently (during the Pottermania media blitz of course) talked about why it may be that some kids stop reading around age 9 or 10, even if they’ve read a lot before that. A big reason, it was suggested, is that kids don’t know what else they might like to read, and have trouble finding decent books. That theory flabbergasted me; aren’t there teachers, librarians, parents to help with that? Other kids even?
To be fair, I remember a few times when I was, oh, 8-10, that I brazenly told my parents I was out of stuff to read, and had nothing to read, and couldn’t figure out what to do about it. Without fail, every single one of these utterances resulted in a trip to the bookshelves in our house, and a huge, heaping new stack of books next to my bed. My parents scoffed at the notion of “running out of things to read,” urging me to simply read anything and everything.
That attitude worked out well when we were living abroad. Traveling internationally, you can’t always take a ton of books and it can be a challenge to find new ones in some places. There were times we’d simply buy whatever books we found, whatever they were, whatever language they were in, so long as we could come close to reading it. Hostels, albergues, expatriate hidey-holes of various stripes would commonly have random libraries: pick up a book you haven’t read, leave one you’re done with. That resulted in reading anything from Sidney Sheldon to Doris Lessing, Steven King to Walt Whitman, The Canterbury Tales to The Communist Manifesto. And lots of stuff in between. Periodicals and meaty tomes such as major religious books like the Bible (various versions, both testaments, English and Spanish) and the Tao Te Ching got read; these were substantially more fun than what we’d end up reading when even those things ran out, like the Merck Manual, which is actually extra fun when you’re living in the third world, as it tends to lead straight into “Huh, maybe I have scabies. Geeze, that sounds unpleasant. Hey, listen to this one…”
Okay, maybe you had to be there.
Oh, okay, so it was not really fun per se; but in retrospect, it sure is funny to remember.
Anyway, supposing that I really had read my way through everything on hand, and I went whining to my father about not having anything to read, he always had one answer: “Well then, I guess it’s time for you to write something.”
“I don’t know what to write!” I’d whine back. And then he’d give me a writing exercise, which as often as not would then end up being critiqued and rewritten, again and again (Yes, I know: use fewer words and be more concise. That’s never been my strong suit. I didn’t say I was an editor, did I?).
So with that sort of literate upbringing in mind, the notion of 10-year-olds not being able to find something to read is just… mind-boggling to me. Looking back, and really thinking about it, I can see how it could have happened to me, if my parents (and grandparents, and aunts and uncles, and… yeah) weren’t how they were.
All in all, I have often thought that if I had to choose one thing and one thing only to keep from all of civilization, one privilege alone, one thing not to lose in the great apocalypse, it would be literacy. With literacy, you can build anything, eventually. Literacy is what I couldn’t give up. No, I don’t want to give up my washer and dryer either, or electricity, or medicine, or science, or anything like that — but literacy? It would win, if there were only one thing that could be saved. Literacy is the great wonder of the civilized world.
Geeze, you’d think I was dragging my feet about getting into the studio today, and not just drinking more coffee. But alas, the cup is empty, the pot is likewise, and I’ve chewed up way more of my day sitting here than I meant to — my precious, too-short day.
I’ll leave you with this photo, which I was compelled to take last week. I walked outside and there it was: this looming thunderhead, backlit impressively by the setting sun, towering unbelievably high and moving East. I turned around and went back in for the camera, and by the time I got back, the backlighting was starting to fade and it wasn’t quite as it had been; but still, close.
I’m ready for my own personal skies to break open and incredible productivity to rain forth. At this rate, though, it’s gonna be fall.