Summer Sundries

The first leg of my predicted 5-month marathon is wrapping up. My husband and I spent a hectic but fun-filled week back in the Midwest visiting our families. We had a big reunion on my dad’s side of the family, with 17 of the 20 “kids” of my generation present and our assorted spouses/significant others, children, and even a few grandchildren. How any of my cousins are old enough to be “grandma” or “grandpa” is beyond me.

And I saw my first photo of my grandparents when they were young. One of my cousins had a copy of one of their wedding photosβ€”one that must have passed my grandmother’s critical eye. She had cut herself out of most of them.

my paternal grandparents

my paternal grandparents

Now, I’ll admit that I’m hypercritical of photos of me. It’s one reason you don’t see me posting many on the blog. But I’ve never gone so far as to cut myself out of the picture. Hide the picture, yes. But that’s another matter all together. πŸ˜‰

This was the first time anyone had ever said I resemble someone from this side of the family. Some people think they see bits of my grandmother in me. Honestly, I don’t really see them. But that doesn’t mean I’m right. I may just be biased since I never had any kind of warm fuzzy vibe from this grandmother. I was a late surprise in the family, and my grandparents were well into their sixties and early seventies when I was born.

On Wisconsin

The trip to Wisconsin was fun, too, and included a brewery tour. When in Rome, right?

br 1

Always nice when a company has some fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously

For those of you who may not know it, Wisconsin has long been home to a number of breweries. Not surprising when you think about how many German and Czech settlers made their ways there.

On Writing and Blogging

Needless to say, I didn’t get any writing done on the trip. But I did a lot of thinking about the newest WIP. And if I can get through a large batch of grant reviews, I may have time to turn some of those ideas into words on the page before too long. I’m afraid I also didn’t have time to keep up with your blog posts. And there’s just no way I can go back to visit those I missed. But I’ll try to get through all of the new ones after they arrive in my inbox tomorrow.

So, a short post today, and I’ll leave you with another setting photo from the new WIP. Hmm, I wonder what this has to do with the story?

BT 3 I’ll post again in a couple of weeks. Until then, I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the first days of summer in the northern hemisphere or winter in the southern.

59 thoughts on “Summer Sundries

  1. If I cut myself out of the photos I didn’t like, I’d hardly have any left…

    Sounds like the family reunion was wonderful. And I’d love to tour a brewery. Much more my style than a winery visit, I’m afraid. I love those draft handles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d be in the same boat. So I’m usually the one taking the photos whenever possible. πŸ˜‰

      We did have a great time, and if you like beer, you’d love a brewery tour. They’re usually both entertaining and informative, and they always include samples. I’ve got to believe there are some that aren’t too far from you!

      Like

      • There probably are. There are so many things around us we never take advantage of. At least I’ve been to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Once, anyway. πŸ™‚

        Like

        • Once was enough for me. πŸ˜‰ While it was cool to see so many artifacts associated with so many great musicians, I really thought the place fell short in telling the story of rock. Really old-fashioned as museums go. Which, when you think of how ground-breaking rock has been, is rather ironic!

          Like

  2. Glad to hear from you, JM. Summer is a busy time for most, probably why the blog traffic slows. Where in Wisconsin? I spent 5 years of my childhood in the Badger State. Two of my sisters are still in Milwaukee, and we are heading up there this weekend. Have to see if we can arrange a brewery tour… what a great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Far, far too busy this summer for me. My husband grew up near Green Bay, but we were visiting his sister near Stevens Point. If you’ll be in Milwaukee, Miller gives great tours of its facility. Really interesting to compare that with a microbrewery tour!

      Like

  3. Sounds like a great summer! We writers have to take a break once in a while to recharge our creative batteries. Though Stephen King et al would disagree – they would have us write every day of the year except on their birthday. But we are not machines that can be programmed, so time out is okay. Looking forward to read about your new WIP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, it’s so much easier for King et al. to write every day when they’re no longer tied to a day job! I know the new story is simmering away in my mind, and I am keeping notes. So maybe I’ll be able to steal some time this summer or at least in the fall to make some real progress with it.

      I’m keeping the new WIP hush-hush until it’s ready to show to early beta readers. If they think it holds promise, I’ll spill the beans. πŸ˜‰

      Like

    • It was such a treat to see the photo of my grandparents when they were young. We didn’t have any of them at all, and I don’t think my cousin got hold of them until her mother passed away. So much interesting family history gets squirreled away and lost sometimes.

      I’ll try to enjoy it, but boy will it be a grind!

      Like

  4. Touring breweries is fun. We have a Red Hook Brewery out here, as well as a myriad of “mom and pop” breweries. I’m a fan of them all! Glad to know you’re still writing, even if it is in imagination only. That still counts and can be more valuable than we realize. We tend to be less critical of our ideas before we write them down. Enjoy your summer off from blogging! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • The break was great, but now I’m absolutely swamped with work. Archaeology reports to write, grant applications for a federal agency to review…. Let’s just say retirement sounds like a lovely thing just now. πŸ™‚ Taking the blogging break helps, but I could sure use some extra hours in the day. If only!

      Like

  5. It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful time, JM. I think your grandmother looks lovely and it’s a shame she didn’t like photos of herself. Best of luck with the WIP – I’m looking forward to reading it πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • That particular grandmother always seemed to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders, and I’m not sure why. One of life’s mysteries that I doubt I’ll ever solve!

      But, yes, the reunion was so much fun, even if I was exhausted and sunburned after it. Now, to get through the next few months with at least some of my sanity intact! πŸ™‚

      Like

    • That’s what I’m hoping with the WIP. I’m taking notes and working on setting photos and sketches to help crystallize the story in my mind’s eye. That should help when I do get to sit down and actually write again. The reunion was a blast, and you can get a glimpse of the fun in the exchange with my cousin in the comment above yours. πŸ˜‰ Maybe all this time away, even when it’s work, will be a bit of a vacation for my creative side, too….

      Like

  6. Glad you had a great time at the reunion even though it means being swamped at work. I can relate to that feeling πŸ™‚ Good luck catching up. I’m really hoping you’ll get to find some time to yourself to start up on your new WIP. I’m excited for you!!!! πŸ™‚ Happy summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure there’s much time for writing before October! Maybe I can sneak some in during late July and August, but I’m not sure. But I think putting together images for the story will help me when I can write, and I’ll have some decent notes to work from. I just have to take it all one day at a time and work through everything…..

      I hope you’ll have more time to spend with your WIPs this summer than I will! πŸ™‚

      Like

      • Yikes, that’s a long time to not be able to write and know it. Hopefully all the note taking, collecting images and thinking it through will help when it does come time to write it.

        I’ve been making slow but steady progress on this story. Getting ready to start part III on my first draft. I know there’s a long way to go but I’m enjoying just focusing in writing.

        Yes … one day at a time πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmmm. “Retreat” ?”Now selling”? Getting curious!
    It’s good to get out and away from normal walls and places. Breezes clear out the brainy fuzzies.
    I was the last one born of my generation – all but one grandmother dead by then. (That picture is a little haunting – what is she looking at? thinking?) There is a bit of her look in you in any case.
    Reviewing grants – oh, that’s fun. Get that stuff done and get back to WIP! (the pictures are too much of a teaser!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The next photo will probably have you really wondering what’s up in the story. πŸ™‚ But that’s a couple of posts away. I need to get a book review out for the next one. I’m having fun with the images and putting together sketches about various places where the action takes place. That should help when I can finally get more into the writing. And I hope you’re right that all the change of scenery and focus on other work will have me refreshed when I can spend more time writing.

      I have four cousins a bit younger than I am on this side of the family. I think there’s 21 or 22 years between the youngest and eldest, and so there are some kids in two different generations who aren’t all that far apart in age. That’s a challenge to keep track of!

      Hoping to finish up the first round of reviews on Friday, but then there’s another to follow. At least there won’t be as many in that one. Then I need to get back to some archaeology reports…. My new computer glasses are getting too good a workout just now!

      Like

    • Both the tour and the reunion were a lot of fun. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but it’s really nice to have a big get together like that just for the heck of it. Too often, we only get to see some people at funerals, especially as we get older. It’s nice to just hang out and have fun!

      Like

  8. Looks like you had quite the adventure JM. LOVE the photo of your grandparents. Old photos like those tell such a story. Maybe that’s why I tend to write in historical time periods. Such a different world.

    Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a great break. Of course, I’m paying for it now with the work that built up while I was away. πŸ˜‰

      I’ve always loved the old photos, too, and the past in general. I suspect that’s one reason why I became an archaeologist, and it influences my writing, too.

      Trying to enjoy the summer, but work is making it harder than I’d like!

      Like

  9. There’s sure to be a story behind your grandmother’s vehemence about taking herself out of photographs … makes for an interesting characteristic if not a good mystery πŸ™‚ Glad you’re enjoying your summer and thinking, imagining … as well as getting around to the grand applications. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if, like me, she was simply hypercritical about how she looked in them, or if there was another reason for it. But it’s a trait I should consider for a character down the line!

      If all goes well, I might have a little breather in late July and August. But you never know when more deadlines might crop up and new projects come in. Fingers crossed, though!

      Like

    • One of the reasons why I find it hard to write in stolen moments is because my fingers are on the keyboard so much right now with work. At the end of the day, I really don’t feel like getting back on the computer! I’m hoping that will change when things do settle down again.

      Like

  10. Sounds as if you’ve been having a great time, J! That’s what summer is about. Have you noticed wherever there’s long periods of cold there are a large number of breweries? Ha! Nice to see you and read you. Happy trails!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, but now I need to deal with all the work that piled up while we were gone. Sigh. I think I will enjoy retirement when its time comes. πŸ˜‰

      Beer and cold climates do go together, don’t they? Another reason why Wisconsin is home to so many brews! Alas, in my effort to remove a few pounds, I’m afraid some of the beer and wine have to stay on the shelf. If I could ramp up my exercise more instead, I would. But when I try, a very cranky hip, knee, and foot remind me that I’m not 25 anymore. 😦

      Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

      Like

  11. Oh, this made me miss my midwest home. I hope the weather was nice while you were there. It’s horrible where I live right now. With all that’s going on with us, I could use one (or seven) of those brews. πŸ˜› Keep enjoying that summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It was actually quite warm up in central Wisconsinβ€”mid-80s and humid. Not like the summer lakeshore temperatures my husband remembers from growing up on Lake Michigan. So those Point beer samples were a nice break. Unfortunately, they don’t yet distribute out our way. But we bought a six-pack of their White Stout, which was really good.

    I hope you’ll get some respites from the Florida heat and humidity!

    Like

  13. Hey, that’s where I used to live! Though the beer culture is thriving in Milwaukee, I think Portland has it beat. Still, we have not done a brewery tour. But we did used to go to a beer tasting in Milwaukee every year at the Harley Davidson Museum that was really fun, if not a little dangerous. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband grew up near Green Bay, so Wisconsin brews are in his blood. πŸ˜‰ And if you enjoy those Portland brews, I’d heartily recommend a tour. They’re reasonably priced, fun, and even educational. Some are very generous with the samples, so the designated driver should be careful!

      Haβ€”beer and Harleys. What could possibly be dangerous? πŸ™‚

      Like

  14. I love old fashioned photos like that, it was such a big event to take a photo wasn’t it, such a far cry from how photography is today! I had a tour round a brewery not far from where I live a couple of years ago, it was for a magazine article, I was interviewing the head brewer, and he gave me a full tour – it’s actually Britain’s oldest brewer, officially founded in 1698 but with evidence of brewing there long before that. So the history of it was really interesting on the tour, as well as seeing the process. Hope you get some writing time in soon! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did you get free samples to help you with the “flavor” of the story? πŸ˜‰ I’d bet someone was doing some brewing in the colonies back then, but nothing that survived to this day. I know a number of my ancestors distilled their own whisk(e)y in Kentucky in the 1700s. One 5 great grandfather had 46 gallons of the stuff on hand when he died. Of course, he ran an ordinary, so most of that should have been for the travelers!

      It’s so strange to see this young woman in the photograph because all of my memories of my grandmother are of a heavyset, elderly woman wearing an apron over her simple dress. How time (and life on the farm) change us! πŸ™‚

      Like

  15. Great photo of your grandparents JM – your grandmother looks very stylish in that hat and coat! Glad to hear that despite all the other work, the WIP is still brewing and you’re finding ways, like the setting photos and sketches, to keep it turning over until you have the time to write again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think she was dressed for the weatherβ€”they were married in January. And in good pre-birth control, Catholic Irish (my grandmother) tradition, my father was born in October.

      My life feels like it’s been turned upside down this last month, so even thinking about the WIP seems like a luxury at times. But I don’t want to put it too far out of mindβ€”I’m afraid I wouldn’t find my way back to it!

      Like

  16. It’s funny, some people take amazing shots of me and others just can’t. I try not to be difficult about photos. I just move to the back in group shots and hope for the best. If it’s a friend taking the pic, they are usually good about deleting the bad ones. πŸ™‚ Sounds like an awesome trip home. Family time is important. Even if you aren’t actively writing, in the back of your mind you are subconsciously working on it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are a few that I like and that I think do look like me. Then there are all the others. πŸ˜‰ If the day ever comes for an author head shot, I know I’ll be a basket case when it comes to choosing!

      You’re so right. Family time is important, and it was so nice to have such a big get together just for the heck of it. From what I saw, everyone had a blast.

      I want to keep the WIP in my thoughts because I don’t want to lose any of the ideas about it or never find the enthusiasm to pick it up again. I’m really hoping for a bit of a breather in July where I can sit down with it again. πŸ™‚

      Like

      • Most people say to me–you look so much better in person. I’m just not super photogenic. πŸ˜‰ Aw that is awesome memory making time. Sometimes it’s okay to let it go to the back of your mind, but I get that fear that it can all cool off. Do you take notes on it? I have dozens of post its of random thoughts about a new WIP just so I don’t lose them before I can write them into scenes. πŸ™‚ Hope July lets you write lots.

        Like

        • Definitely taking notes! Like my other stories, this one has its own notebook as well as various computer files in addition to Scrivener. I need spreadsheets with summarized character info and timelines, calendars for the specific action…. The usual, right? πŸ˜‰

          The first part of the month is tough for time, but I’m hoping for a breather around the midpoint. Alsoβ€”glad to see that you and Gwen will get to connect in DeKalb!

          Like

  17. I wish you’d included a pic of you in the post for easy comparison. Like you really wanted to do that! πŸ™‚ Sounds like your new WIP is brimming to the top in your head. That’s part of the fun, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Finding a photo I like enough to post is too big a challenge in my time-challenged summer. πŸ˜‰ I honestly believe the new WIP will be a good one and have a good chance at a wider audience. So I don’t want to ruin it by cramming in “stuff” just to get the word count going. I’m taking extensive notes and thinking about the story, and I think that will serve me well when some real time is freed up. Or so I hope!

      Like

  18. Like you I’m not a fan of photos, hence the icon here instead of a head shot. If I can help it, I avoid being in photos.
    Sounds like you had a great time and it’s always good to get away and not think about blogging, the social networking hype and writing so you can relax and enjoy life.
    I am sure when the dust settles you’ll be right into your writing πŸ˜€

    Like

    • It’ll still be a while before everything settles down, I’m afraid. But the break really did help. And I’m hoping for a bit of a breather later this month, but there are no guarantees. We’ll just have to see what happens. I think my note taking will help get me going again on the new WIP when I do have time to sit down with it. Fingers crossed! πŸ˜€

      Like

  19. I’m glad I made it here before you closed the comments. When I’m just able to click “LIIKE” I wonder if the author knows I really read the piece.

    I’m glad you’re having (had?) fun on your trip. I haven’t been on a big trip in years (and am not likely to go on one for a few more) and really miss it. Where did you go in the Midwest? You mention Wisconsin (breweries), but intimate that it was A Midwestern stop, but not the only Midwestern stop. And did you drive or fly? I love to drive places (and nothing is very far in your half of the country).

    Your grandparents were good-looking people. Your grandpa definitely has that “fresh-immigrant” look (although he could be an 8th-Generation American for all I know, as highly unlikely as that may be).

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m gradually extending the time I keep the comments open. There must be a “trip wire” on the timing that triggers all the attempted spam comments I was getting. So much easier this way to rescue the occasional real comment that Akismet falsely accuses of being spam.

    The trip last month was fun. Just a short break in Wisconsin and Illinois, where my husband’s family and mine still live. And we drove. Neither one of us is big on flying, and we’ve tried it for trips back, but we always go back to the car. It’s just more comfortable and less stressful.

    Your comment about my grandfather really made me smile. My grandmother there is the “younger American.” Her grandparents were all born in Ireland. As for that grandfather, his “youngest American” ancestors arrived soon after the Revolutionary War. Other lines, though, had been here since the 1600s. On some lines, he has six or more generations here before him. What you see in this photo is the “farm boy” (and “farm girl”) all cleaned up for the wedding.

    Of course, on my mother’s side, I’m first-generation American. And I don’t think this grandmother ever approved of my father marrying “a foreigner.”

    Like

Comments are closed.