Our modem died a speedy death this week, and we were without Internet at the house for two days.
Chris and I both rely heavily on Internet access to do our jobs, and without it, we are largely paralyzed. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we are always connected in one way or another, whether via our phones or an iPad on the go, on our laptops at home, or on our computers at work. There is an intangible feeling of constantly being wired in — accessible, and also aware of what pressing need might demand our immediate attention. We are both guilty of being distracted, of using our phones to take a photo of a moment that is too beautiful not to capture, and then quickly scanning our email for work. Part of our consciousness in any given moment is focused on that work world. We have to consciously turn it off to be fully present. We’re good at that on family days, and horrible about it in the evenings at home.
Being disconnected and unable to do our freelance work for two evenings this week freed us up to rest and relax. On Wednesday night after Mackenzie’s bedtime and kitchen cleanup, I climbed into bed intending to read and instead went to sleep. On Thursday Lea came over and we made a fantastic dinner and enjoyed an evening with Mackenzie — no rush, no things that needed to be done, other than getting everyone to bed on time.
We replaced the modem tonight. We’re back online… and back to the usual grind. Although I’m thankful (very!) for a connection again, I have to admit the forced hiatus was… nice.
I’ve been a little disconnected over the last few weeks in a less literal way. Work has been intense, and when work is intense, I live in my head — I think in terms of data arrays and ways to arrange code to solve particular problems. I dream about it and think about it in the shower. When Mackenzie wakes up in the middle of the night, I have to shake myself out of that mindset and focus on the tiny and very real person in front of me.
In the midst of that, I’ve found myself reaching for ways to ground myself in reality. Chris and I say often that our hobbies — DIY and craft and gardening and woodworking and sewing and the art of making things — aren’t just hobbies for us. They keep us sane. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reaching for those comforts a lot, but taking less time to document them here.
I’ve sewn a runner for our kitchen table, matching napkins, a shirt for Mackenzie, and a little gift for my new niece and her parents. I’ve canned strawberry preserves, peach mint preserves, and blackberry preserves. I’ve blanched and frozen bags of green beans from our CSA. We’ve gone to three u-pick farms (one of them twice), and we’re going to another one tomorrow. I’ve frozen quart after quart of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I’ve cooked dinner from the contents of our weekly CSA box nearly every night. I’ve made at least four recipes from Bread and Wine. I have applesauce making in the crockpot as I type this. We even had a little dinner party this past weekend with some close friends and Lea, which meant a whole lot of cleaning and house prep, and an equal amount of just enjoying the company of people we love.
In doing all of that, I haven’t gotten better at using Chris’s camera. I haven’t documented the DIY projects we’ve been doing. I haven’t finished the post about Mackenzie’s amazing new bed that Chris built and how it has transformed her sleeping habits (yay!). I haven’t taken photos of Mackenzie’s three new books that are just too cool not to share. I haven’t told you more about Bread and Wine, or what I thought of Lean In, or about the awesome book on canning I’ve been reading, or a dozen other things floating in my head. I haven’t shared our meal plan or new recipes, because seriously, I could just tell you what we’re eating every night and keep this blog updated, but I know you come here for more than that.
The thing I love most about this time of year is that the sights and sounds and smells of summer — the heat of the warm air when you step outside and the beating of the sun, the coolness of water on flushed cheeks, the smell of tomatoes fresh off the vine, the unbeatable sweet taste of a sun-warmed berry, the feel of dirt on your hands, even the scrubbing of dirty knees and toes — they ground my senses in a way that few other things can do. They keep me in the present, soaking it all in.
I’m taking pictures as I go, and I’m looking forward to digging back in and sharing them here, but I hope that you’re out there digging into summer as well, and letting it fill your senses. If you have a link you’d like to share to your own summer adventures, please do. I’d love to hear about them.