Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Pleasures

In the hot, humid Southland, it's not so much that it's "summertime and the living is easy," regardless of what Porgy & Bess might think. It's sticky-hot and you wish fervently for a thunderstorm to cool things off, although you know that the harsh reality is that the storm's just going to add to the general stickiness of things.

But we have camellias and magnolias, so there are consolations.

There are other summertime pleasures, too. I decided to sit in the air conditioning and contemplate some of them. They include:
  • Air conditioning. I grew up in an old, rambling, non-air-conditioned house and let me tell you, my brother-in-law got it right when he said of his summer days spent a-courting my sister, "I'd stay in the guest room. I'd lie awake at night, drenched in sweat, praying for dawn." So yes, air conditioning tops the list.
  • Baseball. A love of baseball doesn't just run in my family; it pretty much gallops. If you have a chance to sit in the shade (careful of those aluminum bleachers!) and watch a chaotic game played by seven-year-olds and some very patient coaches, take it. It's an excellent opportunity to be reminded that sometimes, joy is every bit as important as skill.
  • Cheerwine sherbet. I just discovered this recently. Cheerwine is a regional soft drink - cherry flavored and just out of this world! Soft-freeze that and I'm yours.
  • Dogs. Especially when coupled with the above-mentioned seven-year-olds.
  • Friends. During the worst of the heat, you don't want to go out much, but when a friend suggests that you try Zumba (in the a/c, naturally!) at the local YMCA, think twice before you say "no." Good exercise and you get the added benefit of working out your sense of humor as you figure out right from left to a throbbing Latin beat.

There are other summertime pleasures, I'm sure. Suggestions?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Father's Eyes

Today is Father's Day. For me, this is a happy occasion. As I get older, I realize more and more how very, very fortunate I was in my draw of parents. I have friends and associates whose luck was more - well, let's be kind and say "varied" in that department.

I resemble my mother in a lot of ways, but when people who know my father first meet me, they almost always burst out with, "You have your father's eyes!" Now, that's an understandable reaction, since both my father and I have bright blue eyes with a distinctly darker blue ring around the iris that really makes our eyes "pop" amongst our features. It's a little unusual and that's what people are referring to. At least, that's what I think.

But I know what I secretly hope they're referring to.

For an explanation, I have to go to my list of Things I've Learned From My Dad. This list is still under construction, as my dad is a smart cuss and I keep adding items to the list. However, among the items on the list are:
  • Pretty's nice; smart's better.
  • It's not unladylike to know how to change a tire.
  • While we're on the subject, don't ride the clutch.
  • When buying anything, always ask, "What's the best you can do?" You might be surprised.
  • It's okay to make mistakes - and it's much better than not trying.
  • When you make a mistake (and you will), own up to it and do your best to fix it.
  • Be polite to everyone. Saying "sir" and "ma'am" might be old-fashioned, but it's in style around here.
  • You've got advantages a lot of other people don't have and you got them mostly through other people's hard work. Don't look down on anybody. No one has the right to do that; you just know it 'cause I've told you.
  • If you can help someone out, do it, even if it inconveniences you a little.
  • Life is hard and you never know what demons someone else is fighting, so be kind whenever you can.
Based on this list, yeah - I do hope I have my father's eyes. For this is how my dad views the world. It's rough out there and compassion is in short supply. Look at the other person as an actual person and react with gentleness whenever you can. Take a breath, smile, and remember that at the end of the day, we're all just doing the best we can.

Thanks, Dad.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Take a Day!

When I was just a half-fledged Mockingbird, I would occasionally get sick. Nothing bad - I was always pretty fortunate in that area, but sometimes I'd catch whatever strain of creeping crud was making its way around school. Not too often, but every now and again, it'd be bad enough to stay home and bedridden for a day instead of going to school. I liked school (still do, although I'm now on the other side of the desk), so I had to be pretty far under the weather to miss it. Also, my parents were very much in favor of their kids being in school as opposed to at home, so staying at home meant a fever or other such tangible evidence of physical ailments. Once I was better, my mother would send me back to school with a note explaining my absence.

I think I need a note today.

Not for sickness - I'm actually quite hale and hearty - but because sometimes you need a sick day. Let's call this one a mental health day - I can take a day off now before I get too scorched, or I can do it later in the form of my body calling a screeching halt to my running about with my hair on fire.

Oh, there's plenty to do. My house is cluttered and messy, crowded with unanswered mail and clumps of dog hair. Stacks of research material are piled both hither and yon. Thank-you notes need to be written and wedding announcements still need to be sent. Laundry is piled up, the recycling is threatening to overtake the carport and my kitchen floor is a disgrace to my upbringing.

And it'll all wait until tomorrow. If it doesn't, that means the house sprites have attended to it, which would be fine by me. But they're probably on vacation right now, so the mess will still be there. But by taking a day off from it all, I won't be crazy.

So I'm writing my own note today, temporarily excusing myself from adult 'spsponsibilities. The mess will get straightened, the checkbook will get balanced, notes will be written and so on. But today is glorious and hot outside and sometimes you need ice cream for lunch.

So go ahead - take a day! I'll write you a note.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Look For Me Over There!

Remember, Gentle Readers, that I am currently attending the 4th Biennial Slayage Conference down in the sunny and supremely humid climes of St. Augustine, Florida.

I'm posting over in unfetteredbrilliance about the conference and other related goings-on. Click here to go there.

Won't you join me?

Back here later!