That September feeling, that sense of anticipation that has always, always accompanied everything I do from the middle of August onwards has eluded me this year. So far anyway.
I’m still waiting for it to wash over me and leave behind the familiar sense of excitement for new beginnings. Not necessarily the excitement that a new school year is beginning. I have been retired for ten years… it’s no wonder that has worn off. But I usually still feel a certain nostalgia for those first days of school. And anticipation for new books, new clothes. And new adventures.
Just not this year. Not so far, anyway.
I’m trying to be patient with myself. To lose myself in things that I love doing. But it seems that like Georgia O’Keefe once said, “I have done nothing all summer but wait for myself to be myself again.”
Of course I’ve not been doing nothing. If you’ll pardon the double negative. Not exactly. Just less of what I would normally be doing. With less enthusiasm. Or I should say with less sustained enthusiasm. There have been bouts of enthusiasm. I’ve felt the odd moment of anticipation. Little flurries of excitement. That’s how I know that this will all pass. And I’ll be myself again.
In the meantime, Hubby and I have been enjoying his garden since we came home from New Brunswick. Fresh carrots, freshly dug new potatoes, beans, tomatoes, kale, cucumbers.
I’m back on my regular exercise routine, which always helps my mood. I’ve been walking, cycling with Hubby, and pedalling my exercise bike. And while I’m on the exercise bike I’ve been perusing Instagram and Pinterest. Looking for fall fashion ideas. And discovering this haircut in my perusals. I’m thinking of asking Carmen to give me a classic pixie cut next time. It would be so easy to manage when we’re in Portugal in October.
I have finally allowed myself to start thinking again about our trip to Portugal at the end of the month. After Mum’s death I didn’t think about it at all. Except to remember how far away it was, and how I did not need to think about it, not yet. We’d done all our planning and bookings months ago.
But now, the first week of September, is the time I set aside to do a wardrobe inventory and plan what to pack.
So I’ve started thinking about my trip wardrobe. Reading my packing lists from our last big trip to Slovenia and Croatia in 2019. Looking at what worked, what I will reprise, and what mistakes I made. Making lists of possible pieces to pack. And a list of what I need to buy. I attempted to do a preliminary try-on session last week, but it was too hot. The trying on can wait until the temperatures cool in a week or so.
It’s hard to pack for cooler temperatures when the weather is sweltering. Hard to imagine any weather but what you are experiencing. I still remember the mistakes I made packing for our first trip to Australia. How does one pack for the heat of an Australian summer, or even their fall, when it’s -30° C in January in Canada? I learned my lesson the hard way and froze my sandalled feet on a rainy autumn night in Sydney. Who knew that 20° C could feel so cold?
I’ve been out shopping once with my “to buy” list. I visited the new Uniqlo store in downtown Ottawa on Thursday. I was very impressed with the stock, the service, the prices, and the quality of the pieces I tried. And purchased, I should add. I found a long-sleeved, black and white striped, cotton tee shirt, a light-weight, merino wool sweater, and a pair of black jeans, all of which were on my to-buy list for our trip. I’d budgeted two hours for my shopping before I had to meet my friend Susan for lunch, and I was done my list in half an hour.
This gave me plenty of time to stroll around the Byward Market area in the sunshine and visit a store which I love. At Schad, I splurged on a beautiful, dark green silk blouse from Frame. This shirt is NOT for our trip. But I’ve already planned at least three fall outfits in my head around this shirt. I’ll show it to you in a later post. In the meantime, you can find it here.
Then clutching my purchases I headed off for lunch with my old friend. Shopping, crossing things off my list, splurging on a silk blouse, then a lovely lunch, and a good catch-up with my friend. That whole day went a long way to reestablishing my equanimity. To making me feel like me again.
Of course recapturing my sense of equanimity is always helped along by books. As my mum once said to me over the phone when she was having a lonely day after my step-father had passed away, “What do people do who don’t read books, Susie?” “I don’t know, Mum,” I replied.
I bought Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford weeks ago. It’s all about the life of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I started it, but then set it aside for this upcoming week when Hubby is away fishing. Weather permitting, I’ll be sitting on the deck for a couple of days, cup of tea by my elbow, doing nothing but read.
This past week, I’ve been reading A Tiding of Magpies one of Steve Burrows’ “Birder” series about Detective Chief Inspector Dominic Jejeune, a transplanted Canadian working in Norfolk, England. Jejeune is, like his creator, obsessed with birds. Hence the name of the series. I like this series. Although I do grow weary of all the bird detail after a while. I guess I’m a bit like Jejeune’s colleagues whose eyes glaze over at the mention of birdwatching. Still, I’m enjoying this one.
I’ve also been listening to the newest Ann Cleeves book in her Two Rivers series, set in north Devon and featuring DI Matthew Venn. I always like Cleeves’ books and while Venn is not as irascible and interesting a character as Vera Stanhope, I like this series. The new book is called The Raging Storm.
The other piece of entertainment that has been absorbing me this week is an old BBC series I found on Prime. Edward and Mrs. Simpson was first broadcast in 1978, and, frankly, it’s stunningly good. In my opinion, of course. Edward Fox as Edward VIII is wonderful. Just right. He even looks like the real thing. And he plays the role so that the viewer is alternately charmed and exasperated by the Prince of Wales who would become king for such a short time. The other cast members are really good too. Even Lord Beaverbrook seems much as this fellow Canadian always imagined him to be. My hometown and the university I attended owe much to Lord Beaverbrook, and his name adorns statues, hotels, university residences, and skating rinks in Fredericton.
I found Edward and Mrs. Simpson a fascinating watch. Much as I did while watching The Crown, I kept pausing to look up historical characters. And if I didn’t know that it was filmed in the seventies, I might suspect that some of its scenes were taken right out of the real life of Princess Diana. The chase scene in France when Mrs. Simpson and her protectors are being hounded by the press: a night scene of speeding cars, horns, lights in the darkness, and a tunnel was chilling in light of what happened in 1997.
You know, that September feeling for me has always been tied up with books. Back when I was a kid it was new school books that had to be brought home and covered with brown paper to keep them pristine. Did you have to “cover” your books when you were a kid? I always loved that as part of the ritual of the new school year. Then of course we could decorate the covers with crayons and markers which I always loved.
These days that September feeling is associated with the anticipation of new books by authors I love. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the fourth Thursday Murder Club mystery by Richard Osman. If you haven’t been following along with this delightful series that takes place in a seniors care home, what have you been doing? You are three books behind, my friend. The fourth book, The Last Devil to Die, will be released on September 19, at least that’s the date here in Canada. I’ve pre-ordered it.
I mean… I think I have. Ha. In a flurry of excitement in the summer I pre-ordered a bunch of books and now I can’t remember which ones I ordered for my Kindle, which I ordered on Audible, and which I decided could wait until they come into our library. I guess I’ll just have to be surprised when they pop up on my device.
So that’s what I have been up to this first week of September. This first week of the new school year. Not exactly bouncing into fall which I am wont to do most years. Anticipating new books, new sweaters, new adventures. At least not yet. But I’m pretty sure by the time I am actually packing our suitcases for Portugal I will have recaptured that September feeling.
Just in time for October.
What have you been doing as September begins, my friends?
P.S. The book links in this post, and the link to the Frame blouse are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.
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