I can’t believe it is the middle of August already. It seems like just a week ago it was the first of June, my summer was starting, and I had a whole list of projects that I was going to complete. I was going to paint the house inside and out, clean and reorganize every room, I was going to write three books. It all seemed so possible. The days of summer stretched out before me endlessly. August was so far away – it almost didn’t exist! But now here I am with the nonexistent August staring me in the face. And I have accomplished little of what I planned to do. It’s the same every year.
The first week or so I am very productive. Then, as time goes on, I start to sleep a little later, relax a little more, and the projects I’ve planned (or even started) get put up, postponed, or completely forgotten. It frustrates me that I can’t seem to keep up that frantic pace of the first week all summer. So I decided to make a list of what I did this summer and concentrate on that instead of what I didn’t do (much longer list)
I read 15 books (including the ones I listened to on CD during my various trips). I love to read and rarely get a chance, so this was a particular treat. They gave me food for thought and I feel like a better, wiser person for having read them. And in the process I might have even sharpened my own writing abilities.
I watched some television – I won’t claim to have gained anything from this except just that relaxing occasionally is a good thing.
I took a lot of walks – One of my goals was to lose weight and I have! I’ve lost the same 10 pounds 3 times and gained it back 3 times so my walking was a part of that questionably successful effort although I can’t consider the weight loss walking a total waste. If I hadn’t been walking (and losing) I would have gained 30 pounds this summer instead of breaking even!!!!
I have been able to spend quality time with all my grandchildren. I’ve walked on beaches with them, watched them float down rivers, filled plastic swimming pools for them, comforted them when they were frightened by storms, been beaten by them in board games, made cookies with them, seen the smiles on their faces, felt their little hands in mine, laughed at all the crazy stuff they say, and shed tears when I had to say goodbye.
I visited my aged grandparents, looked in to their tired but still beautiful eyes, cooked for them, talked about the past and the future, laughed at the crazy things they say, and shed tears when I had to say goodbye since I never know when a goodbye might be our final farewell.
And after all my mini-adventures I came home to a happy reunion with my husband who had missed me and my son who has missed all the things I do for him. So maybe my summer was productive after all.
It makes me think about life and how it’s much the same. We start out full of energy. During childhood we run and play from dawn until dusk. As teenagers we have complete confidence in ourselves and are sure we can conquer the world. Life stretches out endlessly before us. Then as young adults we work on education, get married, have children, and build careers. Every moment is claimed and accounted for. Sometimes our goals change or are lost in the frantic activity of every day. And then we get older. Our children are grown, our careers determined and perhaps even over. Then we reassess our purpose. We take things slower and accomplish less. We appreciate more, we read books, we look at scenery, we feel old and wrinkled, we look at an old, wrinkled spouse and marvel that he is more handsome now than when we first met.
I hope that when our lives are over and we look back at the time we spent on earth, the regret for the things we meant to accomplish (and didn’t) will fade quickly as we remember all the wonderful moments we were privileged to experience.
So you think you want to write a book . . . Part ThreeI'm going to keep this week's installment short since I posted about my summer! But the next step, in my opinion, is to practice. Keeping a journal is the best way to hone your writing abilities. When you write about your life and the people in it and the things that happen you accomplish two things. You create a priceless record for your progeny and you learn to express yourself without having to create characters or settings or plot (all that has been done for you by life). I also recommend short stories. They are less intimidating than a whole book and easier to work with just because of size. So if you have an idea - develop it into a short story first. It can always be expanded into a full-length book at some point in the future. But starting small has many advantages. So that's my tip for this week!
Recipe of the Week
Grandma Ruth's Quiche
8 pieces thick-sliced bacon (cooked and crumbled)
2 pie shells (8-inch, prick sides and bottom, cook for 8 minutes at 350)
4 green onions (chopped – I don’t use the greens just the tops)
1 pint half and half
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup Swiss cheese (shredded)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsps butter (melted)
(Preheat oven to 375 degrees)
Sprinkle bacon, cheeses, and green onions in the bottom of the partially-baked pie shells. In a blender mix Half and Half, eggs, salt and pepper, and butter just until blended. Place pie shells on a cookie sheet. Pour mixture into pie shells. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to rest for 15 minutes and then serve warm. (You can add other ingredients like spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers!)
This quiche goes great with the Cheese Grits from last week!!!