July 2007


Picket fence

It’s been over a month since I took the ferry from Boston to Provincetown, MA for a few days of R&R. I’ve already shared a handful of pictures from that getaway, but here are some more selections from my photo archive: my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Vacation. Enjoy!

Beachcombing

Bravo

Capt. Red

Eat Dessert First

Kayaks with grass

This is not the office

Signs

Waiting

Happy mannequin

Staghorn sumac

I’ve been feeling like I’m stuck in a blog-rut, alternating between not having much to say and not having much time to say it. This morning, looking to prove my theory that there’s something about summer that puts me in a writerly funk, I clicked my own blog Archive to see what I was saying (or possibly complaining about) this time last year. And wouldn’t you know it, right around this time last year I started posting longer, more intellectually involved posts after lamenting that I’d fallen into the habit of posting too many quick, photo “postcard” entries.

This week, all I’ve had the time or motivation to blog have been quick, photo “postcard” entries: when I’ve had an idea for a long, more intellectually challenging post, I haven’t had time to write it up, and when I find myself with free time, writing a long, intellectually challenging post falls somewhere toward the bottom of my list of “wanna do’s.” When I first started blogging, I didn’t have much expectation of what my posts should or shouldn’t be: when I first started blogging, in fact, I think I set myself a rough 10-minute guideline, reasoning that if I couldn’t say it in about 10 minutes, I didn’t have time to say it.

The other side of the fence

When I participated in a blogging panel at the ASLE conference in Spartanburg, SC this past June, someone asked Jo(e) how long she spends blogging each day, and she said nearly all her posts are written in half-hour chunks, on her laptop, while she waits to chauffeur her kids to or from various extra-curricular activities. I found myself strangely conflicted when I heard Jo(e) say that. On the one hand, her approach sounded so incredibly liberating: “Wow, what could I write–and what time might I have for other things–if I treated my blog like a creature that had to be fed regularly, but quickly.” On the other hand, though, I knew that my Inner Perfectionist would have a difficult time blogging as if I were a laptop-toting mom: I will and do take longer than a half hour to write the posts that I consider my best ones, and my Inner Overachiever wants to write more of those posts, not fewer.

So when I realize it was right around this time last year when I spend more than a half-hour to write a substantial post about embodied faith, I find myself looking at my own blog archive with more than a touch of Blog Envy. And when I read the kind of posts Jo(e) writes in a half-hour, that Blog Envy only grows, as green and greedy as a weed.

Iced coffee with shoes

I’ll let you provide your own caption for this image of a take-out cup of iced coffee stashed on an outdoor rack of shoes. Perhaps hitting summer sidewalk sales is enough to make you thirsty?

Say what?

I’ve been taking relatively few pictures this month, partly because I’ve been spending my weekends away from Keene, and partly because I’ve been busy with other things. Although I’m still technically on summer break, what they say about the tendency of work to expand to fit one’s available time is true. Right now I’m teaching two classes (one face-to-face, one online), overseeing an independent study project, prepping a handful of fall classes, and otherwise trying to Have a Life, and it feels like a full plate.

Come fall when I’ll be teaching at least five classes (four face-to-face, at least one online), I’ll be truly busy…right now, I’m just practicing at being busy. Still, there’s something about summertime that makes me work slower and that makes almost any amount of work feel like too much. In lieu of the summer doldrums, I seem to have fallen into summer sluggishness.

Still, I couldn’t help but snap the above photo on yesterday’s welcome-back dogwalk here in Keene yesterday. It’s comforting to know that other folks sometimes struggle to get their message through.

Wink

Reggie’s doggy friend MAD wanted to assure you that black cats aren’t the only ones who are lucky on Friday the 13th. MAD was recently diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament, a debilitating injury that is common in Labrador retrievers. Luckily, though, MAD’s scheduled for corrective surgery that looks more complicated than many human medical procedures I’ve undergone.

Right as Michael Moore’s Sicko is highlighting the difficulties many humans face when it comes to affording health care, MAD has an owner who’s willing to pay for an expensive surgery to make sure all four of his legs work properly. Lucky dog.

Rocco on window sill

They say that black cats and Friday the 13th are unlucky, but consider this. This weekend Reggie and I are staying with not one but three black cats. In one of his nine other lives, Rocco (shown above) was such a behavioral basket case, the vet recommended he be put to sleep. Today, he is a pampered pet whose only remnant of his attention-starved past is his almost dog-like habit of (yes) dogging your footsteps and flinging himself to the floor before you, begging for a belly rub.

Shadow on pizza box

In one of her previous lives, Shadow (at right) found herself with a cat-allergic owner…who booked her a flight to Massachusetts where she now demonstrates her queenly dominion by claiming any random pizza-box as her throne. And Stan, who moves too quickly for me to photograph, was so homely with a deformed jaw, an animal shelter offered to give him for free to anyone willing to love a less-than-pretty kitty. Now Stan, like Rocco and Shadow, is living a charmed life in a cat-friendly house where even a dog like Reggie respects the real rulers of the roost.

Are black cats and Friday the 13th unlucky? You tell me whether it’s unlucky to be a black cat in a house where high-tech laptops exist solely to warm your well-fed tummy.

Shadow on laptop

Cracked

I’m sure the random neighbor who saw me crouch to snap a photo of a dried-up mud puddle on my walk to campus yesterday thought I was cracked. But considering the resultant image, can you blame me for stopping?

UPDATE: Given the desert-like look of this otherwise ordinary image, I’m submitting it for this week’s Photo Friday challenge, Barren. Who needs to visit far-off salt flats or deserts when you can find a square foot of barrenness right on your own street?

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