Summer, How I’ve Grown to Love Thee

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“It’s gonna be a hot one,” he said as he stepped onto the boat.

I’m not a summer person. What I mean by that is I don’t like the heat (usually).

But I grew to love summer when my kids were young and they played outside all day long, soaking up the summer warmth and fun. I loved it even more when they were school age and teens, when summer meant long vacations, sleeping in (for them), leisurely trips to the beach, long summer car vacations. In short, I loved summer with my kids.

My kids no longer have summer vacations (not long ones anyway, they both work full time)—although they’ve both been to Maine for a taste of summer—and I’m rethinking how I feel about summer, in general… Last winter was the winter from hell. It was colder and snowier than any winter we’ve had in a long time, and now I suddenly find myself a fan of summer. I can’t even seem to mind the heat. And I don’t want it to end.

Yesterday we—and by “we” I of course mean MEH (My Engineer Husband) and I—went to take sunrise photos on the dock at Littlejohn Island (that’s one of the photos I took at the top of the post). As we stood and watched the sun rise, a fisherman walked down to the dock and stood with his gear, waiting. “Mornin’,” he said as he walked by. Across the water, we could hear a boat approach from Chebeague Island. As MEH and I watched, the commercial fishing boat pulled up to the dock and the fisherman got on board.

He looked up at us as he stepped onto the boat and said, “It’s gonna be a hot one.” He smiled and waved as the boat pulled away. He was right.

This summer I’ve found lots to do. I haven’t blogged (here on my blog) for almost two months—the longest break I’ve taken ever from posting a blog. I’ve been doing other things during my summer break…

Writing. I’ve revised one novel (cut over 15,000 words and wrote a new first chapter), and now I’m querying. I’m also 20,000 words into a new novel; it opens with four kids graduating from high school and starting summer vacation. It’s sweeping me away.

Reading. I’ve read a lot of books this summer. I really loved middle grade When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. And Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor—which I just wrote this review about for Great New Books.

Editing. At the beginning of this summer Therese Walsh asked if I’d be an assistant editor for Writer Unboxed. I was honored. I’ve been working for Writer Unboxed, coordinating guest posts, for about a year and a half. I’ve also been blogging there for about three years (how is that possible?). I had two posts there this summer, one about why I’m rethinking my spying ways, and last week, I posted one about my writing rules (and why I have only one).

Watching. MEH and I just finished binge watching Alias, which I loved. I also watched HawthoRNe (not about the famous writer, which is why I started watching in the first place), which I didn’t love. VEEP, which we loved and laughed through, and I strongly recommend. We watched movies. Spy in the theater, which we loved and laughed through, and also strongly recommend. We went to see Paper Towns which I wasn’t crazy about (I read the book, too, also not so crazy about it). And last night we watched The Rewrite on DVD and it was (yes) about writing and was a good movie although not deep in the least.

Gardening. But not enough. The weeds and woods are taking over the garden. And the deer ate most of the beans and a good deal of the Swiss Chard, and about half the potato crop was eaten by some kind of grubs. It’s the way life is as a backyard farmer in Maine. But we still have lots of tomatoes and kale. And we have a lovely volunteer pumpkin (the plant reseeded itself from last year). And we’ve been going to the Portland Farmers’ Market every Saturday where we’ve bought the best blueberries we’ve ever eaten. Summer makes eating local so easy and good.

And that’s what I’ve been doing on my summer vacation, how about you?

Cheers,

Julia

Sunrise Thoughts on Half a Habit


This morning I looked out the window at the sunrise and thought: “What a beautiful sunrise to capture on video…” Then my thoughts wandered to standing on the bridge overlook and making the weekly movie of the sandbar beach.

And then I remembered, no more. Apparently the routine has become a habit: look up the tide chart online to check the daily tide predictions, check sunrise and sunset times, put new batteries in the video camera, make a plan for when to go. In all, it would take us about an hour to plan, drive, shoot the video. Then another hour to post the video and write the blog.

A two-hour habit. Me, a creature of habit, said—a little wistfully—to MEH (My Engineer Husband): “It’s Sunday and we don’t have to make the video.”

“Isn’t it grand?” MEH said.

So here I am to let you know: today I’ve only been able to give up half the habit. If you visited today expecting to see the beach video, check out last week’s post and explanation for why it’s not here!

Are you—like me—a creature of habit? Or are you more like MEH—happier to just go with the flow and enjoy the ride?

Cheers,

Julia

p.s. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a very special interview and giveaway for my one-year blogiversary, so please come back!

Windy Sunrise on the Coast of Maine

(Sunday, October 16, 2011, 6:56 a.m. EST, 52 degrees F)

This morning we went to the beach overlook at sunrise—6:56 a.m. The eastern sky was streaked with beautiful pinks, oranges, and yellows. (Unfortunately we don’t face east when we take the videos; we face north!) It was very very windy this morning, so much so that it almost sounds like rain, and there were small waves cresting along the sandy point.

As we stood on the bridge, waiting for the best light for the video, our dog kept pulling MEH (My Engineer Husband) toward the path to the beach. Finally MEH relented and headed down to the beach while I took the video from the bridge…which means on this week’s video, you can see MEH and Abby strolling down the beach. While MEH was down there, he took some amazing photos of the sunrise!

As I took the video, I was excited to see a lobster boat with what we think was a “steady sail” on the back! A steady sail keeps the boat from rolling when it gets windy and the seas kick up—certainly the case today. And believe me, the wind had a definite chill to it, yet another reminder that winter is heading our way. Soon we’ll be standing on the bridge taking videos in the snow and ice, just like in our very first video postcard, Perfect (Maine) Beach Weather.


Finally, here’s one of the photos MEH took of the sunrise. Greetings from the coast of Maine!




Two Video Postcards from the Coast of Maine with love from wordsxo

Note: We’ve been pretty disappointed with the quality of Blogger video uploads, so today for the first time we first uploaded the video to youtube. I’m glad to say that by doing it this way, the video postcard is of much higher quality. 


Sunday, March 27, 8:35 a.m. EST, 32 degrees F

We went to the bridge overlook twice this morning: once at sunrise and again at 8:35.


The first time (video shown below) reminded me of the old saying: pink sky in morning, sailors take warning; pink sky at night, sailor’s delight. It was very peaceful with gently lapping waves from the outgoing tide. Although the video was beautiful, it’s fairly unremarkable in lack of movement other than the water ripples, with no birds in sight.


By the time we returned at 8:35 (video shown above), the wind had picked up and it felt much colder with wind chill. It’s a little discouraging because it feels a lot more like winter than it does like spring. But that’s the way the seasons are in Maine: one step forward and then two back. I wish the wind weren’t so fierce, so you could hear all the bird life; we’re pretty sure we also heard seals, probably from a farther away rock ledge where they like to hang out. The gulls and ducks and other birds float by in this video, which is fun to watch. Still, I can’t help but shiver as I watch them, glad that I can go home to a hot cup of coffee!


Sunday, March 27, 6:35 a.m. EST, 20 degrees F