6 The curriculum fair went quite well. We need some better display arrangements, that is clear, but it was profitable. And there were folks who went from the fair to the store to shop, and there will presumably be folks who go online to shop, since I pressed flyers about the website into their hands, and overall I felt as though I was being properly guerilla-esque in my marketing efforts.

Was it fun? In some ways, yes. It was nice to see old friends and there is a bit of a carnival atmosphere to these shows. The Empress came to spell me at lunch and I moseyed around the other booths and bought Yorkshire Tea from a woman who apparently travels about doing tea shows. She was not even from our state. I was sort of amazed. Books, sure, lots of people take those on the road, but tea?

I was pleased to get the tea.

There were not many booksellers there, actually. I usually enjoy the opportunity to check out offerings from small presses, but it wasn’t like that yesterday. I was two booths down from the local music studio, so I had eight hours of listening to people play piano with various levels of skill but generally a high level of enthusiasm and a heavy foot on the forte pedal. The noise level was getting to me by the end of the day.6

As you see, Montezuma has finally gotten around to blooming, several weeks later than normal. We have a couple dozen blooms now on Montezuma and New Dawn.

The other two roses are still getting their beauty sleep.

We do however have baby tomatoes. You can see them below.

Marion Nestle, in her book What to Eat, has completed the dairy products. I am convinced by her central claim: whatever you believe about dairy products, it is something people paid a lot of money to convince you of — the milk cartel or their opponents. All the scientifically proven stuff about 6 milk is normal information about protein, calcium, saturated fat, and sweeteners. If you like nonfat dairy products, eat and drink them. If not, get your protein and calcium from some other source. If you really like cheese — and Nestle agrees that a good cheese is worth eating a little saturated fat for — you should eat it in “slivers and shreds,” which is to say in tiny quantities, not in chunks or pizzas. Sigh. We already know that, but the political machinations of the milk industry and their competition are quite fascinating to read about.

We called out for pizza last night when I got home, in spite of the health risks of doing so, and watched two movies in a veritable burst of laziness.

6 I began a crochet picot edging on Cherry Bomb.

It is still inclined to roll, and it is larger than I had envisioned it being. Well, I was obviously envisioning something made from crochet thread, not a worsted-weight cotton, so that is the fault of my envisioning process, not of the edging. I may see how a knitted picot edging compares, or I may just finish it up.

I am on vacation, so I can do whatever I want.

I was thinking about this yesterday. I think that my vacation image of going to a city by myself, or of going on a week-long hike, is not as much about seeing new museums or being in the wilderness as it is about anonymity, irresponsibility, and selfishness.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. My theory about vacations is that they should be a contrast to what you normally do. If you are usually outside, you should vacation indoors. If you live in the city, you should go to the country. I spend most of my time responding to people. Even when I am working alone — and there are only a few hours in the day on a few days of the week when I am alone — even then I am responding to people online. I don’t think it does any harm for me to be irresponsible, selfish, and unresponsive (within reason) for a week out of the year. It allows me to get through Back to School with some modicum of grace. Or at least to get through it.

So I need some time of not responding to people. My fantasy of going to a city, staying in a hotel, and exploring the town all alone is mostly about not having to talk to people or take care of anyone or see to anything or even be nice. Even if someone spoke to me in such a situation, I could ignore them. Cities are like that.

On family vacations, while I am always still the mom, I don’t have to do housework at the campsite or answer the phone at the hotel or be responsible for anything beyond the safety and comfort of the family. There are no appointments, and I am assured that I will not run into someone who wants me to get a book for them — something which happens to me on walks in the park with some frequency.

We had great family vacations, but the time when the whole family could get time off together is in the past. The time when my family can cheerfully spare me to go off for a week on my own is in the future.

But I was thinking about residential workshops I’ve arranged in the past. I’ve done nature camps for kids, and weekends for teachers. Once The Nurse and I did a long weekend workshop on the Civil War. We had lectures and craft projects for the participants balanced with nature hikes, including evening hikes and one where we came upon paper corpses with presenting symptoms written on them and did charting and calculations. We arranged healthy meals for them, along with plenty of chocolate, and we all had a great time.

I think I’ll skip the corpses. But I also think that the same skills that allow me to arrange these things for other people can allow me to do the same for myself.

So, although my vacation plans have been derailed, I think I will be able to achieve a sense of vacation, so long as I keep the right attitude. Today, as soon as the boys are up, we are heading out to one of our local lakes for a hike and perhaps swimming and paddleboating. I have frivolous books, and #2 son assisted me in spending an alarming amount of money on outdoor snacks, bug repellant, and such. For the rest of the week, we intend to do other local hikes after his exams each day. He is off on Friday, and though the other family members are not, he has agreed to go camping with me for that last weekend. What a good kid he is!

He did want to go whitewater canoeing, but I don’t think I am up for that without more experienced people along. It is true that #2 son is one of the people I would choose first to be in an emergency with, because he has a can-do attitude that makes emergencies seem more fun. When he was little, his motto was “Stay calm, stay cool, and snap into action.” He no longer says this, but the attitude is still there.

However, the other person I would like to have along is my husband, who is very like MacGyvor. A more emotionally volatile MacGyvor, to be sure, but still a handy guy to have with you in the wilderness. If he can come with us, we’ll do some canoing.

We have a listing of good local hikes, and have not already done them all. In the mornings, I may do some in-town explorations or just loll about or make things. And of course my Wednesday morning is settled: waiting for the carpet guy.

I think the key to success here will be not letting anyone know that I am in town. Otherwise people will want me to do things. So I will not answer my door (except for the carpet guy on Wednesday) or the phone, and I will adopt disguises when I am doing very local explorations. If confronted, perhaps by some fellow visitor to the botanical gardens wanting a particular bulletin board set, I will deny my identity and pretend not to know what they are talking about.