What Vacation Type Are You?

By Ellen Rothberg

I’m on vacation. I have been on vacation since July 1. It’s an experimental vacation, as my husband calls it, because he is working, remotely, from our vacation spot in Vail, Colorado. Working remotely, is a new phenomenon brought on by smart phones, computers and other electronic geniuses we now possess. I am not working remotely, unless you consider trying to orchestrate the movements of the people in my life that I left behind in Houston. Electronic gadgets do not work quite as well for my purposes as they do for my husband’s. His experiment has been a limited success. Mine, not so much.

So, why when I left the heat of Texas for the beautiful, coolness of Colorado, am I not considering the experimental vacation a success? Well, there are several reasons, most of them pretty reasonable. Let me share them in no particular order:

  1. I have an elderly mother, well taken care of, but still pretty dependent on me for social interaction. .Unfortunately, she often thinks that close friends and family are out to get her. This leaves me to smooth over the hard feelings and try to help her reframe the misconceptions. This feat, despite being a mental health professional, is often too much for me at home, let alone from 1000 miles away.
  2. Colorado is a young, vibrant, fitness-minded, outdoorsy place. I am not young, vibrant, fitness-minded or outdoorsy. I will not wake up one morning and say to myself, “I can’t wait to go on a five mile hike at 8200 feet above sea level”. I live the other eleven months of the year in a city at or below sea level. My lungs can’t take the altitude change and anyone who’s ever been to Houston knows there is nothing to hike up to. This is not to say that I can’t enjoy a nice walk by a babbling creek in 65-70 degree weather in July. I am just not going to dream about it.
  3. One of my children is about to be married. The wedding is two weeks after I return home. I think that anybody who has ever been even remotely involved in the planning of a wedding knows what I am thinking. Enough said!
  4. I am one of  number of education professionals who have some part of the summer off from work. I won’t get into the debate about how educators have the whole summer off or how we are paid enough for the job we do. I will only say that my school year kicks off on August 10, the week after my return from the month long experimental vacation in Colorado.
  5. Oh, did I mention that my month long vacation in Colorado took place in a fancy condo rental? Yes, it is beautiful, but I still did laundry, dishes, cooking (OK, not that much cooking), and cleaning up. The hourly rates to have the condo cleaned on a daily basis was more than I make per hour as an education professional. Oh, I forgot, I wasn’t going to talk about that.

What is my ideal vacation? One where I sit on the beach, holding my second or third frosty rum or tequila concoction of the day as natives serenade me with whatever island specialty tunes they choose to play that day. Oh, and where the trials and tribulations of my real life back home take care of themselves for the time I am gone.

 

 

Heard & Overheard During NaNoWriMo

by Mandy Broughton

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In case you live in a cave or have been kipnapped by the Fae-Mer-folk, it’s NaNoWriMo. What is this bizarre acronym? It’s just a fancy way of saying National Novel Writing Month.

For one crazy-fun-filled month, November, writers from around the galaxy, commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. All output, no editing. No deleting. No lamenting, “I shall write a novel one day.” That day is now. And we’re in the midst of it.

I personally believe that NaNoWriMo is better than sliced bread. For a numbers gal, who never got praised for being creative in ANYTHING, I get the chance to cast aside all responsibility and to create. It is a wonderful and exhausting experience.

As with any of casting aside of responsibilities, there have been some interesting conversations overheard in my particular NaNoWriMo quarantined household. I’d like to share just a few.

  1. “Mom lets us watch as much TV as we want but we also have to scrounge for food.”

From December to October, media time is severely limited for my kids but I do reward them with lots of home-cooked meals. But in November, they catch up on all their missed media and out-Netflix the most devoted Netflixers.

I disagree with peanut butter sandwiches being considered as scrounging for food. It’s like a fast, only with peanut for thirty days.

  1. “Would a tree spirit in human form be healed if she were planted in soil and watered?”

Yes, I asked this question. What do you think?

  1. “I can’t find the Apache name for a Dryad—a tree spirit? If I can’t find the name, then what am I supposed to call her?!”

“What about ‘tree spirit?’”

Okay, this happened in writing group. I get so caught up in my research that I forget maybe sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  1. “Outta my way, it’s NaNoBaTi. I’ve got three minutes.”

NaNo word sprints are the greatest thing ever. Tweets from my phone set me to typing as fast as I can. I make Clark Kent look like a slacker. Only problem is that sometimes they don’t call the National Novel Bathroom Time often enough. Especially when I’ve been downing caffeine like a camel on water after a long journey through the dessert.

  1. “I sorry, I can’t come in to volunteer today.”

I really hope the organizations where I volunteer don’t read this blog.

  1. “Taking notes on the bulletin about the sermon today?”

“Uh… no.”

I do not NaNo during church. I promise. Just because I jot down a few ideas doesn’t mean I wasn’t listening to the sermon. I promise!

  1. “You killed off the horse I named?!”

Sorry, kid. Yes, I needed a name of a horse. And, yes, the werewolves got him. I’ll write another horse one day. And let him live. Maybe.

  1. “Maybe if the house were cleaner, the kids would enjoy going to school more.”

The house gets messy. The kids get cranky. And my husband gets desperate. I promise I’ll clean… December 1. But wait, I might be doing National Novel Editing Month then…

  1. “What are you doing for lunch?”

“Mining silver.”

Did you know YouTube has videos of mining silver? And smelting silver from ore? And one lady has an entire blog series on the making of silver bullets? You can’t melt silver over any old campfire.

10. “I just finished the first draft of my new novel.”

I haven’t said this one yet this year. But I will. I love NaNoWriMo. If you haven’t done it, try it. If you love it, please consider donating. It’s a wonderful cause. And we always need a little more creativity—and fun—in this part of the galaxy.

Okay, my phone is calling. The new NaNoWordSprints leader is ready to sprint. I’m off to finish my novel.