Wednesday, August 18, 2010

End of (My) Summer Wrap-Up

I know the weather says otherwise, but the end of summer is here.  Mama's summer, at least.  Starting today, I'm back at work full time for The Man.  Sure I joked during the spring that my wee-tiny promotion that goes into effect this week means that I'm The Man now, but it was just that, a "joke."  Despite the fact that I love my Meatspace job with a burning passion, I think it's a universal truth that whether it's an average Monday or the first day back at work after two months off, grey clouds hang over the heads of those who are yoked to a job that dictates their freedom, their bedtimes, the number of glasses of wine they can consume on any given night.

Roommate is a freelancer, and I know that those of you who are self-employed have your own host of woes when it comes to your jobs.  But my #1 beef with being a working woman is losing my spontaneity. A few days ago, I was lucky enough to have lunch with a group of fantastic women-- several of whom are Awesome Louisvillagers already.  And it made me powerful sad to know that that would be the last time, until next June likely, that I'd be able to be a Lady Who Lunches.

At the beginning of the summer, I made a "to do" list for the upcoming months, but when I upgraded to a new computer, I didn't bother to transfer the list over to the MacBook.  I know myself well enough to know that no matter how much on that list I accomplished, those un-done "to dos" would haunt me.  So I've been winging it this summer.  For good or for ill.

Here are some thoughts on the Summer of Lou, including some of those done and undone "to dos."
  • Monitizing the blog:  I'm not even really sure what the word "monitize" means.  But I know I had on my list something along the lines of:  "look into how you can make some $ through"  Yeah. Didn't really happen.  I thought about it, truly I did.  But I never really went the distance.  I printed business cards in an effort to "legitimize" myself.  You might be seeing some of those pop up at local cafes sometime soon-- I have 500 of them.  I am occasionally adding Amazon associates links, but I haven't seen a penny from that.  Or the Google ads. Sure, I'd love some kind of sugardaddy/mummy, especially when webhosting renewal time comes around, and I have to shell out a couple hundred from my own pocket.  But in the end, I don't really relish the idea of putting my hand out.  And this summer, especially, Loueyville did something almost as good as put change in my pocket: it "paid for" dozens of adventures and evenings out in the form of media passes, free tickets, and being put "on the list."

  • And thanks to in part to Loueyville and in part to Louisville, I pretty much had the most fun summer I can remember.  Rocket-ass heat and all.  Charlie Mars, HullabaLOU, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde.  Free stuff like Waterfront Wednesdays and 4th Street Live's Blues Travelers show.  Discovering music at Zanzabar.  Loads of movies at Baxter.  Late nights at the Back Door.  Cool(ish) evenings outdoors at O'Shea's or Flanagan's.  TONS of Bats games.  (go Bats!)  It's just been fun.  Fun, fun, fun.  Often at the expense, ahem, of the "grown up stuff."  The lawn and "garden."  The housekeeping.  The planning for the upcoming Meatplace job year.  The major household DIY projects that were on my buried "to do" list.  So this is my mea culpa to myself:  Lou, you're gonna hate yourself in a week, when you have a long year of hard work ahead of you, and you spent your entire summer having fun.  All play and no work makes Lou a bit of a mess. Live with it, sister.
  • If I can finish revising my "serious" writing project by the end of the weekend-- only 75 more pages to go!-- I will have reached my goal of having an agent-ready manuscript by the end of the summer.  This goal didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped in some ways, but in other ways, it was very affirming to see how close I've been to being ready all this time. Long-time readers may remember that I used to be a voracious writer, and then chemo punked my noggin and made it impossible for me to concentrate for any length of time.  It was very nice to mark my return to (fiction) writing this summer, first by attending WRW in the early summer and then by ending my summer working on the manuscript in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
  • Good travels this summer, speaking of Cuernavaca.  WRW took me to lovely Owensboro, KY for ten days.  Family and friends visits took me to New England for two-plus weeks.  Got to see the town where I was born and the town where I spent the first 8 months of my life in Hanover and Lebanon, NH respectively.  Got to visit with my college roommate and her lovely children in Stowe, VT.  A few days on the Vineyard with my aunt and uncle and mom.  A visit with Grandma Lou, the coolest, most beautiful 87-year old you'll ever meet (if you're lucky) outside of Boston.  A visit with Big Mama Lou in the hometown.  
Today at the Meatspace Workplace, they had one of those nasty "ice breaker" activities.  And my "neighbor" was supposed to interview me on the following topic:  "Of what are you most proud?"  Nice.  I don't have the go-to answers: kids or a family.  I'm not particularly proud of most of my personal relationships-- although it does make me insanely happy that I enjoy Roommate's company as much now as I did when we first met eight years ago, despite the fact that we're exes.  There's no massive achievement in my life that I can point to.  The fact that I survived my cancer gets chalked up to my doctors, nurses, and modern science.  The fact that I've survived other difficult times gets chalked up to the support of the people around me and Jim Beam.  

This was my answer:  I'm most proud of the fact that I've been doing the same job for eleven years, and I still wake up most mornings happy to go to work.  I'm most proud of the fact that despite a lot of pressure to not be a teacher, both personal and financial, I still am.  I still love the kids.  I still love what I do.  I still strive to be better every year.  I still believe that what I do is important.  And even though I'm not ready to go back to the Meatspace Workplace, I'm excited for the new year.  

Happy end of summer, y'all.  Hope it was a good one for you too.  And I hope you all can say the same about what you do to bring home the bacon.  We should all be so lucky.  

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