Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How I Spent My Blogging Vacation

Anyone else ever have to write those incredibly boring essays on the first day of school, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"?  They always seemed so torturous. First, it was a not-so-subtle reminder of all the fun you'd been having before school started up again.  Second, you had to sit there and listen to your classmates tell you about all the fun they'd been having at horseback riding camp or in Hawaii or something else that was equal parts unexpected and way cooler than anything you did that summer. The message seemed to be "Tell the rest of the class how uncool you are and by the way, you won't be having any more fun like that until the end of December."

My summer vacations were fun, but not in the way that was traditionally considered "fun" in the very American consumerist sense: we didn't take any long trips to glamorous locations or go on expensive excursions.  There was a lot of camping, and as I got older, lots of babysitting my younger siblings.  As a kid I never felt I could brag about my vacations, but now that I'm older I know better.  My childhood vacations were the best kind: they involved lots of unstructured play time among us kids, lots of physical activity (hiking, swimming in various lakes and rivers, running around on the beach), and just wandering about learning about nature in park ranger centers or mukking around in tide pools.  Plus, I now have a healthier appreciation for my long-suffering parents who managed to pull off seven days of camping with three kids between 8 and 13 years old.  Most importantly, I had plenty of time during my summer vacations to read books quietly.  My absolute favorite pastime was reading, and I've had my own library card for as long as I can remember.  Even though my summer vacation essays weren't the most riveting pieces of nonfiction prose ever penned, the vacations themselves were magically both enriching and relaxing at the same time, in sharp contrast to my recent blogging vacation. 

I didn't intend to have a blogging vacation this semester, it just worked out that way.  This term I had a glut of "happy problems": I was offered more classes than I've seen since before the 2009 budget cuts, and decided that on top of a full teaching load I should totally sign on for a side project as well.  I know I'm lucky to be an educator with an overabundance of work opportunities (especially in this state), but it was hard not to complain and get crabby about my job when I was skipping my regular knit night because I was too exhausted from all the grading.  I've learned my lesson: you have to say no sometimes, even if they're offering to pay you, if the commitment will infringe on your mental downtime. This lesson is one I intend to apply as quickly as possible, too.  After a few years of being forced to take lots of personal-enrichment time through a lack of work, I've forgotten that I might need to forcibly protect some of that time when the pendulum swings back in the other direction. 

So I'm planning some structure into my creative time, to make sure I maintain that balance a little better.  I want to be able to rotate between knitting, spinning, and sewing projects on the blog to keep things lively and exciting for everybody.  Just because I'm on a sewing kick doesn't mean that I want my knitting readers to have another three-month-long dry spell!  I also want to try and have one blog post more than 50% written at any time, and another in the planning stages so that I always have something that can be quickly finished and edited in a pinch.  This should be easier over the summer, since I have a (small) backlog of projects from March and April and I'm only teaching two days a week.  The real challenge will be keeping up with the writing pipeline during the semester. 

To get things going, what do you like best about vacation?  Have a favorite memory from your childhood vacations?  Share in the comments!  

1 comment:

purple&orange said...

Vacations as a kid always involved lots of driving, lots of camping and lots of seeing cool interesting stuff. usually about a week long, we would drive as far as we could and camp, never in the same place twice. there were always specific destinations in mind but we often got side-tracked by the idea of something interesting. We always had a cooler of food, so "going-out" almost never happened. I liked the camping, but I always wished we stayed a bit longer in each place. I would like to visit the places now that I am an adult.