Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 July 1956 “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”

Though this lovely Patti Page song will not be released until next year (1957) I thought I would share it with you.
Even though our ‘Staycation’ on the Cape is officially over, I suppose I know feel the need to do my ‘report’ on ‘my summer vacation’. I think it was a great rest and probably the best holiday we have had in some time. The travel was easy and cheap, the accommodations lovely, and the cost quite frugal.
When hubby and I decided to take our Staycation or Holiday at Home, we figured we would mostly rest and relax and that we did do. Yet, the first two days of our break together had us working on projects in the yard. A trip to the dump ( we are still clearing and organizing from our move here last summer and the condensing of two houses and a city apartment can leave quite a bit of work). But, it was joyful work. We felt as if we were coming here and ‘opening the cottage for the summer’. Therefore the work had fun to it.
It seems work away from home always feels different. Dishes in the cabin in the woods feels different than the sameness of those at home. But, we were still here at home, but our perception had changed. That seems to be an important factor, one’s perception. This is a real skill I have been developing ever since beginning this project. Though it was never officially on the list of ‘to-doing’, it had to happen. I am in 1955, a change of perception. It is normal to wear a girdle and hose and sew my own clothes, perception. We are off to a summer holiday, yet in the same place; Perception. It is a tool, an aide, much like imgaination that possibly doesnt’ get as much use as it once did. True, though, that one has to use a change of perception to live in our virtual digital world: we are not truly chatting in a room, yet we are communicating with others, so that is a sort of perception, I suppose.
It got me thinking how something as simple as a change of perception can really be a boon to our modern life. If we are frustrated with our jobs or traffic or noise, we can try to shift the perception of the moment. Stuck at work again, well, plan out a week of ‘after work fun’ and when you get home:half day holidays at your favorite place. Maybe pick a theme, shop for the food appropriate to it, Margaritas and Mexican Food, Cajun and Cocktails and French Accordion music. Get your friends or family involved and say good bye to the daily stress and enjoy your little mini staycation; Perception.
Part of my own relaxing that took place this week was my lessening of my chores. My homemaker duties are indeed my job, so to take a break from them just took a little basic planning. I decided an amount for dining out, bought extra easy to prepare treats, such as s’mores and ice cream cones, and ta-dah: Fun and relaxation! Letting the floors get a little dustier, not baking or doing too many chores, one is more forgiving of ones environment in their ‘beach cottage’. Sand on the floor here, its character and charm. Flip flops and wet bathing suits are simply atmosphere to the moment.
This made me realize, though I thoroughly enjoyed my break from these things (and I did have a quite little fear that I would undo a year and a half of work to get where I am with housework) I found today, as I kissed hubby off to work with his lunch, that I saw it was also time for me to get back to work. In a way, it made me feel, ever more so, that this is truly a job. And one that I enjoy enough that though my break from it was relaxing and heavenly, my return to it was not dreaded.
In fact, today sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing, putting away, organizing, even cleaning the ice box, it all was part of the perception twist. We had returned from a lovely 11 day stint in our little beach house back to our home and I needed to get it to rights. I have some fun sewing projects lined up that I dreamed of and chatted about with friends. I truly feel re-charged to get back to my ‘work a day’ life. Though I even imagined while on our ‘staycation’ that I would come to see sweeping or dishes as a dreaded chore, but I found the lesson I have learned thus far to still be true. Make your list, treat it as a job, plan a ‘break’ from it and get to it. Nothing gets done without or just knuckling down and doing it.
That is probably the best lesson learned from my project and new life: No excuses and MORE work! The more you do daily as a part of your life the more you can accomplish and pile on and then you will be surprised with what you are doing in months. All the things you want to do, sew, paint that picture, learn to knit, skydive, learn a language, all of it will find a place, it will slip into the slots of your day as soon as you fill them with work and fun and ambition and leave entertainment and tv as a reward, but a small part of those days.
Our days our finite, that is a constant truth no matter what you believe, so don’t waste them.  As a good 50’s mother might say, “Don’t waste that food, there are starving people in the world” well, count your time off our your free time important and realize many people in the world do not have as much as we sometimes do, so don’t waste it. Clean the plate of your day with chores and projects and you will grow big and strong in confidence, skill, and a real sense of purpose and joy in your life. We need to lose the modern idea of the carrot before the horse always struggling and hoping ‘one day’ when that day is here right now, so get to filling it and enjoying it! And fun and accomplishment does not have to be expensive.
I think the frugality of the holiday really surprised me. We spent for the week (even with two breakfasts out and two dinners and a lunch) probably what we would have spent just on gas or 1/2 a plane ticket. There were no bags to check, no suitcases to pack, unpack and pack again, and it really made for a relaxing time. So, if any of you find your pennies a little short, don’t give up on the holiday or try to ‘reach beyond your means’ for a week, only to pay for it later in debt, try a stay at home vacation and see how much you really enjoy yourself and feel relaxed when you return to work. And, try a switch of perception in your day to find joy in it where you might sometimes find frustration or pain. Why shout alone in your car at the ‘idiot’ who cut you off, your only adding anger and shouting to your own life, they don’t care. Instead, imagine yourself in a foreign country and you don’t understand the ways of the road, smile and think of how you might carry that perception switch home with you. Now your home is a hotel, a hostel in a foreign country so cook up some new exotic food, put on some world music and watch the birds sing.
Maybe it is just the ‘50’s in me, but now I often find that I try to find the moral or resolution to the story of my day. I think checking off my accomplishments and simply moving any ‘failures’ to be the ‘lessons and to-doing of tomorrow’ such an emotionally healthy way to live. And, besides, if it gets to be too much one day, I’ll just use my Perception shift to take an hour trip to a tropical island.
Well, that is enough for me today. I will return tomorrow and shall try to continue my daily posting. Thank you for giving me the week off.
I think I will close with this fun home movie from 1950’s of Dennis here on the Cape. As we have no home movies of our trip this year, this can suffice for the fun. I am considering getting an old super 8 and starting to document our lives with it. It is not as easy as digital video but I fell compelled, so if any of you know anything of it or where to get a good camera and projector let me know.
Happy Homemaking.
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