Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Report No. 2

Greetings from the Outer Banks of North Carolina! That's where I've been hiding away since last Friday, trying to get this summer kick-started.

It has been a strange summer so far. I spent the first few weeks of it revising a novel, a process I enjoy, but one that takes up a lot of space in my head. It's hard to get your summer mojo going when your brain is focused on other things, especially imaginary things that only exist in your own little mind.

(The pink house across the street from where we're staying.)

We're here on Ocracoke Island until Saturday, when we'll head back to Durham. On Sunday, I leave for the American Library Association's summer convention in New Orleans. I'll return home Tuesday evening, and then Phase II of the summer begins. I sort of hope it's the boring phase of summer, the part where I don't do much at all except learn how to preserve figs and make mozzerella cheese and eat a million tomatoes from our garden.

To recap the summer so far, for those of you keeping score at home, here is what I've done since the boys finished school:

1. Gone to a fiddler's convention in Mt. Airy, NC, where I learned that Bluegrass fiddlers and Old Time fiddlers are the Hatfields and McCoys of the contemporary age. It was a scene worthy of a master's degree thesis in sociology, group psychology or anthropology.

2. Taken a canning class over at the local County Extension Agency, where I learned more about botulism than I ever cared to know.

3. Finished revising a novel, which you'll be happy to hear my editor has accepted with open arms and says there are only three or four (or five or six or seven) tiny things that still need working on.

4. Spent a week getting ready for vacation. Which I am now enjoying, though I am living with the underlying dread of going home and immediately turning around to go somewhere else, where I will be expected to be extroverted and charming, something I'm only occasionally capable of. And then turning around one more time (I'm getting dizzy!) to come back home and deal with the unpacking and cleaning and all that.

The best thing about this vacation so far, other than the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of one of the most beautiful spots on the eastern seaboard, has been watching Jack on his bike. We are staying in the village, which is one of the more bike- and pedestrian-friendly places I've been, and has a wonderful bookstore and plenty of places to stop and get a Dr. Pepper or an ice cream cone. Jack has been out and about on his bike for hours every day, breathing what may be his first real breaths of independence. It has done my heart good to see him thus.

I hope that starting next week I'll be a little more regular in my blogging. With any luck, I'll be back frequently updating you on my efforts at cheesemaking and preserving figs and peaches and posting many, many pictures of my tomatoes. Ah, tomatoes. They do my heart good.


Pom Pom said...

I've missed you so much. I knew you were at the sea. Yesterday I went to a site and gazed at Bar Harbor, sweet cottages, and the kind of ice cream and bike opportunities that Jack is enjoying! Sounds blissful! Enjoy! The canning classes sound scary.

Gumbo Lily said...

Enjoy those sweet vacation days as they come. I'm glad you're going to do some canning this summer! Don't be afraid. You'll be happy to have some of those tomatoes in jars too. Tomato pictures please. Mine will be a long way off.


GretchenJoanna said...

Yes, yes, I will be so glad to have some tomatoes, though ours don't come until the end of July, usually...maybe some cherry toms will come sooner.
The store-bought ones are still terrible!

Tracy said...

It's sounding like your holiday is pretty darn relaxed. And summer tomatoes from your garden...have a few for me, cos that's the thing I miss most. I just don't have time to garden when they need to be planted.

My girls will be thrilled to know you've got another book on it's way out. They convinced our school library staff to buy "Shoot the Moon". They both loved it.

We've just one week before heading into our mid-year winter holiday here. Two weeks (for me) of just relaxing and the odd bit of catching up with friends. Bliss. The kids have another week after that before school goes back.