Like many Mainers, we don’t go away during the summer. In twenty-seven years, we’ve only done it once. That’s because our jobs become busiest in the warmer months, and, since we are self-employed, taking off now would be nuts. (It’s one of the great ironies of living in Vacationland that most of its residents find it hard to take one!)
Vicki Doudera here. Despite the title of this blog, I’m not really taking a summer vacation, but I’ve decided to act like I am by embracing two beliefs: one, summer is an attitude; and two, every day should have some work and play. Toward that end, my days are a jumble of writing, real estate, walking the dog, riding my bike, and sailing. How to fit it all in?
1. Rise early, Three times a week I’m cycling at 6 am with a few friends. It’s keeping me in shape and making my head feel good, too. The other mornings I take long rambles with the dog, noticing what’s newly bloomed, chatting with neighbors, or mulling over sections of my fiction.
2. Try something new. In addition to starting Darby Farr #5, I’m working on some short stories for my publisher. These are a challenge for me, but summer feels like the time to tackle new things. I take my laptop and write wherever I fancy — at the camp, on the porch, or on the deck. Being so portable is a welcome change from the rest of the year, when I’m positioned as close as possible to the woodstove.
3. Get to work in a fun fashion. Last summer I found an old “frosty blue” Schwinn Suburban bike from 1979. I cleaned it up, got new tires, and found a basket for the front. I use it to cruise downtown when I really must head into the office, and somehow it doesn’t feel like I’m trudging off to work.
4. Do a summer project. Last year, it was the Schwinn, the year before, some old kitchen chairs that I gave new lfe to with spray paint and vinyl. This year? Chickens!
Right now, four adorable chicks are chirping away in our barn. They’ll stay in there until August, when they’ll be big enough to go outside. By that time, I’ll have sorted out their living quarters. I think I have a coop lined up at a new listing in Lincolnville, but first I have to figure out how to get it to Camden. It’s in rough shape, but I’m looking forward to fixing it up. (Another project!)
5. Mix n’ Match. I’m doing lots of signings in various parts of Maine this July, and will be in Rockland today (2 to 3:30 pm at the Reading Corner) as you read this. Although technically “working,” I approach these events as mini-respites. I browse the stores, people watch, and enjoy whichever town I’m in.
I’m not taking a summer vacation, but with a few tricks I can still enjoy this all-too-fleeting season. What about you?