Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I am--sadly, and semi-unwillingly--back at work now, after having been able to take some time off. This invariably means that I ventured home to Michigan, as I have few other places I can (or want to) spend an extended period of time. But what do I do while I'm there? Sometimes this is a mystery even to me, as it's not unusual for me to realize I've been home for X number of days or weeks without having accomplished anything substantial. So this year, I've decided to take stock of my summer activities, mainly for my personal edification (because what is a blog, after all, but an exercise in navel gazing?).

1) Blogging
While it's true that I haven't done nearly as much with this blog as I could or should have, I did manage to write a few posts, which I sort of, um, had not done in the month or two leading up to the summer. If I could get paid for being a slacker, I'd be pretty rich by now, to be perfectly honest.

2) Retreating
I spent two and a half days of June at Interlochen Center for the Arts (in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan) taking a course called Live Your Art Retreat and Creativity Incubator, taught by Holly Wren Spaulding, a Michigan native who is primarily a poet. I recommend both Interlochen and Spaulding for your artistic needs!

3) Shopping
I would not be me if I hadn't spent at least part of my summer buying (an absolutely necessary amount of) books. Of course, this also involves visiting local bookstores when I'm traveling, in which manner I was able to discover the used bookstore Landmark Books and the full-price shop Brilliant Books, both in Traverse City. I especially love Brilliant Books; the people who work there are incredible and warm in a way that only independent booksellers can be (and shout-out to them for giving me a free coffee mug).

During the Fourth of July holiday weekend, my mother insisted that we go to South Haven to explore the (used and new) bookstore Black River Books, which she had stumbled across back in May and thought I would like, which I did. Later in July, she took me to the Lansing branch of Schuler Books and Music (new and used), which is borderline overwhelming but also fun.

Because I also found places elsewhere in the spring, before I came home, I'd like to mention them even though they weren't part of my summer vacation: Cottonwood Books (new and used) in Baton Rouge and 1/4 Price Books (used) in Houston, which are both interesting and useful places! Many thanks to Kristi for recommending Cottonwood and Emily for recommending 1/4 Price.

4) Researching
While I didn't engage in any classroom- or instruction-based professional development for my job (although Live Your Art gave me some good ideas for my paid work as well as my writing!), I did make an effort to do some reading that would further my understanding of and ability to perform my job in Louisiana. Any time I found an article online that might relate to my position, I would read it and make notes on especially relevant things so I could share this information with my coworkers. 

I also read a legal history of censorship and indecency law called Not in Front of the Children. It had been a textbook of mine in college; at that time, we employed only the first third or so of the book, and I was excited to finally finish it all these years later, since it relates to what I do.

5) Crafting
Sometimes, I come up with these crazy ideas about getting crafty. This almost always ends badly, and I'll be writing a post about it soon. Stay tuned.

6) Snuggling
My dog resides with my parents out of necessity (I am not allowed to have pets where I live). I miss her stupid, cute little face all the time when I'm away, so I take these vacations as an opportunity to overload myself with puppy time. We play. We watch movies. We take naps. It's incredible. I wish I could spend every day with her.

All of this makes me sound like I stayed busier than I did. For the most part, I sat around or slept or caught up on some of the movies I missed earlier by not having much money for the cinema. I also saw Niece and Nephew, of course, and played a prank on my brother (which I regret approximately zero percent); I may be *cough*adklfjeiwndfk*cough* years old, but some things never get old.

I'll wrap this up by saying that I don't intend to sound like a schoolmarm, but I'm genuinely curious: how did YOU spend your summer? Let me know, if you're so inclined.


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