#UpbeatAuthors: Self-Respect

When I become interested in an author, I will read all I can about that person. Many years ago, someone recommended A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf to me. I read it. I liked it. I bought several of her books. Didn’t care for her fiction. I took out volumes of her letters from the library and read them. I purchased A Writer’s Diary, a book with excerpts from her journals as compiled by her husband after her death. There were relatable moments. One might say I studied Virginia Woolf as an author.

A friend of mine was involved in a book discussion group at a local university. When the group was scheduled to discuss Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, my friend invited me to attend with her. We went to the college professor’s home for the discussion. I was young, impressionable, and feeling rather awed that these educated people were including me, with my high school diploma, in their discussion. We drank tea in a room with red “oriental” carpets strewn over shiny wood floors. There may have been Georgia O’Keefe prints on the white walls. I was a little intimidated.

I didn’t say much. After all, who was I?

I now regret not speaking up at the end of the session, when the professor said, “We should all strive to emulate Virginia Woolf.”

As I said to my friend in the car as we drove home, “Why would I want to emulate a woman who committed suicide? Killing myself isn’t my definition of success.”

My friend was shocked. She didn’t realize Woolf had indeed killed herself. She berated me for not speaking out. I confessed my intimidation. She replied: “But you’re right.”

After that night, I didn’t feel quite so belittled for skipping college to get on with life. Not having a degree doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. It merely means I’m self-educated.

 

Two Seemingly Unrelated Memories

I don’t pretend to know everything. Heck, I don’t even know most things. But I do have an awareness of the world on a certain level. There was one year, though, that I began to wonder about that.

It began in the summer. Swatches were new and “the thing.” I made a comment about them, and the sister of a colleague looked at me and said, “How do you know about Swatches?” I looked at her and said, “We do have cable TV, you know.” OK, the city in which I live may not be the hotbed of the latest fashion trends, and probably never has been, but seriously? This was the 1980s. The Pony Express was long gone.

A few months later, a man I’d just started seeing  and I were watching a movie. The movie was not set in the US. There was a scene with some sort of fireworks-y celebration going on, and I murmured, “Oh, it’s probably Guy Fawkes Night.” The man paused the tape, turned to me and said, “How do you know about Guy Fawkes Night?” Now, this man was not British or any other nationality where Guy Fawkes Night is observed. I had just as much right to “know” about Guy Fawkes Night as he did.  The budding relationship got nipped right about then.

I read. That’s how I know things.

 

 

Happy First Day of Summer

Summer is my favorite season. Late spring and early autumn are nice, too, particularly since they bookend summer, but summer rocks.

Here are ten reasons I love summer:

  1. I love “summer” songs–the poolside music of my youth.
  2. Flowers. I love flowers. This year, I have coleus, too.
  3. Patio time. There are few pleasures greater than coming home from work, plopping on the patio with a glass of wine, and absorbing warmth.
  4. No boots. No jackets. No gloves.
  5. Driving. I don’t need to shovel out or brush off. The roads aren’t icy. I can open the sunroof on my car and enjoy the rush of warm air. Crank up radio and sing along.
  6. Summer foods. I love summer salads (if they don’t contain eggs or mayo). Fresh veggies and fruits. Herbs. Grilled meats. Ice cream.
  7. Baseball. Hanging out at the local minor league stadium with TV Stevie on a warm summer night is perfection.
  8. Bare feet/flipflops/sandals. I hate shoes. I  hate socks even more.
  9. Being warm. The heat doesn’t bother me the way it does some people. I am blessed.
  10. Summer casual attire. My workplace has a summer dress code that is more comfortable than the usual professional attire that is required. I think summer attire in general is more casual, even out of the work place.

What are some of your favorite things about summer?

 

Road Trips and Friendships

I love a road trip with the right people. I’m lucky enough to have the right people in my life.

On a recent journey, the driver had picked up several music CDs from the library. One of them was Awesome Mix Volume 1 from the Guardians of the Galaxy  movie. While singing along and chatting, we learned that one of our foursome had never seen the movie. We always watch movies in the evening, and had we known she’d never seen the movie, one of us would have packed it. Someone else had never seen the second movie.

OK. Double feature time.

Out came the cell phones. Two of us were checking availability at the Best Buys, Targets, Barnes & Nobles, and even Red Boxes in the various towns ahead of us. “Target in This Town has the second one.” “Best Buy in That Town has the first one…damn, it’s Blu Ray. Forget it.” “Oh! Maybe we can order it from Amazon and get free shipping.” Except the place we stay is in the woods and doesn’t have a delivery or mailing address.

We eventually tracked down the movie at a Wal-Mart near our final destination. The next day, the Driver made not one, but two trips to get both DVDs.

That night we laughed until our sides ached as we watched the movies back-to-back.

Recalling our on-the-road antics with the Internet still makes me smile. These are the very best kind of friends to have. Kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

 

Hydration

The last time I went to the doctor, he told me I was dehydrated. I try very hard to drink water throughout the day, but am not always successful. My solution to that is to keep several insulated containers of cold water at my desk. Doing this has helped.

At home is another story. I was swilling iced tea faster than I could make it and chill it, so I was holding back drinking, so I’d have something cold to drink “later.” I finally decided that was a bogus strategy, since it prevented me from drinking enough fluids.

I went on line and found my favorite iced tea pitcher and purchased it in several additional colors. Then I created a color-coded key and hung it on the fridge.

I like teas from Celestial Seasonings, especially their Cool Brew black teas. I order these by the case directly from Celestial Seasonings, as I cannot find them in stores around here. You don’t need to boil water to make them. I also like their fruit teas, especially the blueberry and acai mango.

So here is what the top shelf of my fridge now looks like:

I never go thirsty.