the dilettante's guide to life



What I did on my Summer vacation.
Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004 @ 2:23 pm

No, I'm not dead. I've just been on a bit of a vacation.

Oh, all right. A LOT of vacation.

Our real holiday-- that is, the bit where we actually left home and travelled around the US visiting friends and family-- lasted for over three weeks and was our longest ever. Elvis has been back at work and working hard ever since. I, on the other hand, have not.

To be somewhat fair to myself, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time with my three new hobbies: teaching myself the piano, doing cryptic crosswords, and hanging around various medical facilities. (As hobbies go, the third one hasn't got much going for it, but sometimes you don't choose your hobbies. Sometimes they choose you.)

As far as my writing goes, however, I have done exactly nothing. It's amazing, really, how quickly you get out of the habit. The days fly by, and suddenly it's the evening and you just haven't gotten around to it, and you think "tomorrow, definitely tomorrow", but tomorrow is always today, isn't it, and I just don't have the time/inclination/inspiration. Not today.

It's been a lazy, laid back sort of summer, but things have been happening. We had our aforementioned trip to the US, which was fantastic. Usually we only have two weeks and things are a bit hectic, but with the addition of a third week things were only moderately frantic, and then not all that often. We even had a 'holiday within a holiday', and drove down to the gulf coast of Florida, where I've never been before and which is very nice indeed. They like to talk a lot about their "sugar sand" beaches, but they seemed more like flour to me. Very nice, though, and wonderful for swimming. It's a hell of a long drive, however, even if we did have the pleasure of driving past the high school in Wilmer, Alabama, home of the "Fighten Titens". (Where they ejucate there childrens real good, apparently, although I must admit that the Mater Man had some lovely looking produce on offer. And where else can you pick up a tan and a video in the very same store? Now that, my friends, is real convenience.)

I've been to the beach since getting back to Portugal. Once, and it was so windy and chilly that Molly never even managed to take her tee shirt off. The beach bar makes a mean cup of coffee, however, which was helpful. I've been swimming in our building's pool far more often, and now that I've finally gotten around to buying some comfy cushions for the sun loungers, it's a very pleasant place to spend a lazy hour or two in the afternoon. Providing that our new next door neighbors, The Horribles, aren't down there with their fractious brood of rotten children. They've got at least five of them, and Mrs. Horrible appears to pregnant yet again. When Young Horrible has a temper tantrum, the au pair likes to take him out into the hall of our building, so he can share his horribleness with ALL the other residents-- especially me. Charming. At least the little shits have stopped ringing our doorbell seventeen times a day. I expect them to start pressing all the buttons in the elevators any day now, if they haven't already.

I got a new laptop, another Toshiba Satellite, which I love. It has a non-wonky keyboard (Yayy!), and tons of hard disk space (Yayy!), and it runs Windows XP, which is quite a change after 5 years of Windows 98. I still haven't quite figured it out, although I've spent lots of time configuring everything the way I want, and transferring files, and downloading Mozilla and and Zone Alarm and so forth. Other than that, I haven't spent all that much time on the internet, except for reading the news which I find increasingly depressing.

Speaking of which, I gave up cheese for an entire month and lost not one single pound. All that suffering for nothing, and I won't be doing it again. Life's too short to live without cheese.

Other than that, what's been going on around here is just life. We've been to the pub, and found some new restaurants, and watched many, many football games. I've started going to the gym on a regular basis, yet again. Molly, too, so we've been encouraging each other, which should help. We've made some new friends, although even more have moved away. We've been to going away parties and birthday parties and barbeques. There has been one birth and, sadly, some deaths, too. Friends have had disagreements and fights, and mostly they've made up afterward, although sometimes not. Some friends have started dating, and stopped dating and, in some cases, started dating someone else entirely. They've changed jobs, and discovered new hobbies. Just life, really.

And now Elvis is up and practicing his guitar in the living room, and it's time for me to take a shower and have something to eat before I start foraging for chocolate.

To those of you who wrote wondering where I've been: Thank you! I appreciate your concern and I'm doing just fine. Really. Sorry if I haven't gotten back to you-- I haven't been checking that email account (and I just spent ten minutes clearing out all the spam). Summer's over now, and so, hopefully is my writing break-- and that means I'll be updating much, much more often.

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