V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N…In the Summer Time

As we approach summer vacation time in the USA, I hear people making travel plans, bemoaning their lack of funds to do up a trip “right”, etc. Many younger people act as if it is their God-given right to get away from it all, where they spend too much money and too much energy trying to have a good time.

This is not something I understand.

My parents never took us on vacations. We’d do day trips when my dad had his two weeks off. But he was tried from his work in the factory and just wanted to spend his days off puttering around outside. Plus my folks didn’t have the money for annual sojourns to Disney, a beach house, or anything else.

When our children were younger, my husband and I didn’t often have concurrent  chunks of time off. If one of us was able to take off  five consecutive days, the other usually couldn’t. It was the nature of our jobs at the time. We took our children on day trips–the Thousand Islands, Cooperstown, Niagara Falls (the Canadian side), and the zoo.

In my current Day Job, we had a mandatory week off every July when the place shut down. And I loved it. That week forced me to take off five consecutive days instead of creating a series of long weekends. I’m going to miss that this year.

When I was young and single, I tried travelling for vacation a couple of times, but mostly ended up in a hotel room reading. I’m not a very touristy person. And I could sprawl in my own apartment with a book just as well as spend money to go away and do the same thing.

Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax. I see too many people returning from their jaunts more exhausted than when they left.

The exceptions to my missing the point of vacation are the RWA National Conferences I’ve attended. But the side trips weren’t the point of being in different cities. Yes, I loved the monuments and museums in DC. I’ve been to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas and the Margaret Mitchell Museum in Atlanta. I’ve trod the RIverwalk and basked by the pool in Reno. And went shopping with my mother-in-law in Manhattan.

But going away for the sake of going away? I don’t get it. My husband would love to take a cruise. I don’t get it. Lounging on a beach? I tried it. Didn’t enjoy it. I’d rather lounge in my back yard.

Our annual vacation usually consists of a long weekend in Cooperstown for the Glimmerglass Festival  and another at Capitolfest–a silent movie/early talkie film festival in a nearby city. Yes, we really do sit in a darkened theater for hours on end and watch movies. Oh, and there are the season tickets to the local Triple A baseball team. Trust me. We don’t lack for a life just because we don’t trek to the shore or go camping.

I tend to use my time off from my Day Job for writing. Or market research (a.k.a. reading).

As I’m getting older, I’m getting crankier and more reclusive. I’ve stopped trying to convince myself to do things I think I should do. Like go on vacation. And I’m happier for it.

(And, in case you don’t know where the title of this blog post came from, you can learn about it here.)





“I’m Sorry”

Women tend to say, “I’m sorry.” A lot. I know I say it when I haven’t heard something someone’s said to me. I also tend to preface many statements of opinion with the phrase. Or when I disagree with someone.

I periodically make an attempt to cut those two words from by vocabulary, but have not yet been successful.

There’s a bit of a movement to exchange the word “Thanks” for “Sorry.”

Check out this comic strip.

Or this blog.

Or this article.

Or this one.

Thanks for reading this blog post through to the end.

Theater Etitquette

I remember the first time I went to a real movie theater (instead of the drive-in). My cousins’ aunt took us on a city bus to see some Disney movie…maybe Bambi. I remember my father telling me, “No talking during the movie or they’ll throw you out on your ear.” I spent an awfully long time that afternoon wondering exactly how my poor, constantly infected ears would survive being tossed out on, and how exactly that would work. Did it mean I would land on my ear on the concrete sidewalk? But wouldn’t the rest of my head also have contact?  The upshot was I never made a sound during the movie because I didn’t want to find out the hard way.

When my son was in middle school, the teacher who oversaw the school plays said to me: “We also need to teach students how to be an audience.” At the time, I thought that was a really bizarre statement.

I’ve since learned what he meant. Movie theater theater etiquette has vanished. People talk through features, open their candy wrappers, look at their cell phones–the light from the screens are distracting–and in general have no manners or consideration for the people around them.

Several years ago, when Wicked first came through town, my daughter’s enjoyment of the show was destroyed by the girl sitting next to her singing along with the cast.

The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago. My husband and I were fortunate enough to obtain tickets to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. This was not a movie. Not a concert. It was a theatrical performance featuring live actors on the stage. And the child next to me–the one who jumped up and down in her seat, squirmed, and kicked me–sang along with the cast. And her mother smiled down on her with indulgent maternal pride.

Hello? You are not in your living room. This wasn’t Sesame Street Live  or a Tom Chapin or Raffi or Arrogant Worms concert. A child that young who cannot sit still has no business being at a theatrical performance targeted to adults. And who told Mom it was okay to sing along with the cast of a Broadway show performance? Mother and child should have both been tossed out on their ears.

How to be an audience ought to be class taught in every elementary school.


Happy Anniversary

I’d like to wish my parents a happy 63rd anniversary.

They knew each other three (3) months before they got married.

Who says there’s no such thing as love at first sight?

Old-Fashioned Words

When my son was either in Kindergarten or first grade, his teacher told him to put on his rain coat. He asked, “Do you mean my slicker?”  His teacher explained to him that “slicker” was an old-fashioned word for rain coat.

I once referred to a meal my husband particularly likes as a “larder” meal. He said, “huh?” I said, “You know. Made from food I keep in the larder.” He had no idea what I meant. (A larder is a room or large cupboard for storing food.)

I recently used the word “wench” in my current work in progress. My critique partners suggested I change the word because it was more historical and the story I’m writing is set in the near future. But I like the word wench. And it means exactly what I wanted to convey in the passage. But my crit partners were right: the word is imprisoned by its past.

English is a marvelous language, fluid and adaptable. We add new words every year. But I sometimes wish we didn’t stop using many of the older ones.