Technically, I have been on vacation for two days now. I’ve “sort of” been on vacation for a week, though, if you think of “no kids at school, only meetings and packing up” counts as “not working.” However, on Friday I really and truly walked out of my classroom for two months. (I’ll be in another classroom this summer when I help teach Wingra School 4 U, our summer program for incoming kindergarteners.)
So, what am I going to do with all this time???? Oh, I’ll manage to fill it up by:
- Taking classes. In the last week of July, I’ll be up North in Wisconsin, learning all about Wisconsin’s cultural heritage. I hear that Polish sausage is involved, so I may not be able to participate 100%, but the main thing is, I’ll be able to teach my kids how to be a lumberjack. Or something. And earning credits. Right now, in June and July, I have begun taking Chinese. It’s a non-credit course, thank goodness! I am already adrift in the sea of a tonal language. However, it’s very exciting to have a new challenge. If I do get to go back to China, I want to know how to say much more than I did the last time!
- Cooking and eating. For the last few years, and most especially in the last few months, my tummy and I have been at odds. I have a wonderful doctor who tested me for everything possible (great news – I do not have a lot of bad things!), and even though Celiac Disease was one of the “negatives,” she nevertheless recommended I give up gluten for at least six weeks, to see what happened. I agreed, but decided to wait until vacation when it would be easier to control my surroundings. I am very familiar with what this will involve, thanks to several years of students with food allergies. My son has also gone gluten-free and feels much better all around. Yesterday I made potato salad, braised tofu, and artichokes. This evening, I made some quinoa with kale, and some home-made roasted-red-pepper hummus. I was very proud of myself for successfully roasting and peeling a red pepper. And it tasted great!
- Reading books. I normally try to read a variety of books during the school year, and this year was no exception. However, I’m looking forward to many more books per week/month and have already begun Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See. (Just so you don’t think I’m doing total-immersion Chinese, my last two books were about Japan: Learning to Bow, by Bruce Feiler, and Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus. The latter is a novel for kids, based on a true story, and I highly recommend it.)
- Oh, yeah, the garden…. guess I’m doing some work out there…. yay…. I guess if I like to cook and eat it, I’ve got to help grow it too!
- Vacationing. Finally, I’ll get to “vacation” with my husband when he takes a week off next week. Although I dislike the term “staycation,” that’s pretty much the plan – one night of camping at a friend’s farm, and then day trips to Milwaukee, Chicago and good old Madison, where we work but seldom recreate. In August, I’ll go visit the family out in RI and MA. Perhaps even a visit to Cape Cod!
Happy Summer – officially starting in just a few days!