Saturday, July 26, 2014

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER--They work for me!

Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time when "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." The last word is also written as it sounds: frenzies.

Sound familiar? I believe we truly are in the Dog Days of Summer.

I was born during this time, a Virgo, an August baby, and my mother told me many times how hot it was the day I was born, decades ago, in a house with no air conditioning (what was that, anyway?), no running water, and one light bulb in each room. You might say we were poor, but really we weren't. We just lived as everyone else did in the small North Texas farming community back then.

And so, I can identify with the Dog Days of Summer on a first-hand basis.

I have learned I can make this time work for me. The summer months have become a time of respite, a time to shift gears and work on a different level, a different playing field--or do nothing. During these hot days, my usual responsibilities have been dismissed for the summer, just as they were when I taught high schools students.

Since I'm happily retired now, I have no job or anything professional I must do. All groups I belong to are suspended for the summer. In each one, I do hold a position, a post, or a volunteer spot of various sorts. My book club even suspends meetings once a month, giving us time to read some of the selected books for the coming year.

While you might think I'd be languishing like those people centuries ago when this quote was written, I have instead found a burst of energy that I am directing to writing--more than usual.

A. I pulled a manuscript from Archives titled Whisper on the Wind, dusted it off, re-read and re-edited it, and sent it to a publisher.

B. I wrote a short story for Prairie Rose Publications to add to one of their summer anthologies: Cowboy Cravings. My story? Titled: Starr Bright. This was fun, a little different from my usual fare. Still a Western Romance, it's a complete story in 13,000 words.

C. I wrote out short synopses for three short stories that will be a series titled TRINITY HILL BRIDES, about Mail Order Brides in the 1880 small town in the Central Texas Hill Country.

Book I: Kathleen--The Make-Believe Bride, is 26,000 words complete.

Book II: Lorelei--The Left-Over Bride, has around 6,000 words so far. I know the plot, so the writing goes faster.

Book III: Vague plot is outlined, names not chosen. The bride will abandon her intended husband for a mysterious man.

D. I have a re-release this summer titled TEXAS BLUE, the first of the "Texas Books" back in 2007 which is available once more with a beautiful new cover.

E. I have promoted my summer release titled TEXAS DREAMER, my tenth novel length story, and the last...yes, the last "Texas" book. Time to begin something new. I love Texas Dreamer, though, and I'm happy it turned out so well.

The heat, the long days, the sameness of the weeks do not bother me during July and August. I'm happy to remain at home in my air conditioning, only going out when I wish, going only where I want. How much better could this be?

I can't say I like the name put to these long summer days, but I only pay attention to my own business. Oh, I'm not a hermit. I love to have coffee, and talk with friends, and hang around the library, and shop a little here, a little there.

September will arrive soon enough, and...Bang! all starts up once again.

This, too, I love. Newness, beginnings, reconnections.

Can't wait for September.


  1. Celia, I love these days, too--my birthday is Monday. I remember how I always looked forward to it as a kid, and so July the 4th was a milestone for me, just that much closer to my bd! Probably was for you, too! You know, we might not feel this kinship to this time of the year if we lived in a time with no air conditioning. My mother often told me how she suffered being pregnant with me -- my two sisters were born in January and February. LOL

    I've heard it said that one reason these are called the Dog Days is because you can see the constellation, Sirius the Dog, during this time. I need to find out more about that--don't know if that's the true reason or not, but it sounds good to me. LOL

    I'm like you -- everything is suspended to a point--since I have responsibilities as Editor in Chief for my publishing house, I can't suspend everything--the show must go on! But I move slower, things are more unhurried in general, and it seems my mind is always more relaxed and "in balance" during this time of the year. Excellent post! I enjoyed it. I'm a Leo, but we're still kindred spirits...


  2. Cheryl--you're right that these days were named for the constellation, Sirius the Dog. I just didn't get into that for this post--but you are correct. The quote at the first of the post almost caused me to drift off into world events right now, because our poor old sick world is raving mad, in a frenzy of...whatever.
    But it's true that I don't mind these months at all. Oh, but I would have if not for air conditioning. Just imagine how that has changed our environment. I grew up in West Texas on the high, dry plains. We had water evaporative coolers on top of the house, and a big fan blew the water cooled air through big vents into the middle hallway of the house. You had to walk through there to the bedrooms, and I hated it because it messed up my hair. It was like a wind tunnel!
    I think I got off the subject!
    Thanks for commenting--I'm not surprised you feel the same way and are a Leo!
    See? I knew not to drift into world affairs.

  3. Celia, I love the hot days. I wait for them impatiently. That's when I can swim in the ocean everyday. Summer is also the time the grandchildren come to visit. Special time we cherish. Other activities including writing are put on hold, but there will always be cold days down the road.

  4. I grew up without air conditioning, except the kind that came directly off the ocean. While sea breeze can be refreshing, let me tell you it is HOT at dead low tide in August. Hot enough to make grown men pass out. That's hot.

    I also carried my oldest two weeks past her due date during the hottest summer on record (at that time), so I've experienced hot from the inside and out. As a child I learned to change my routine for the dead of summer. you did your running around before 10 a.m. and after supper. The rest of the time, you found a shady spot, a glass of water, and whiled away the time. My next door neighbor and her daughters liked to play Canasta, and that's what we did most summer afternoons.

    I still like to shift into that snail-pace of activity for August. It's my dreaming time, the time where I give myself the luxury of thinking about nothing and everything.

    Great post, Celia!

  5. On hot days like these it just makes sense to conserve energy. I don't hang out on the deck these days the way I love to do when it's a little cooler, and I only make one trip a day to the garden to see if anything has ripened.
    I remember when my family first moved south when I was five years old. No one I knew had air conditioning. My dad made up rest in the heat of the day and pulled all the shades down trying to keep the house cool. The kids in the neighborhood played in the yard in the morning and at twilight when it was cooler.
    My Yankee grandmother (not a very nice person) used to talk about "those lazy southerners", but she had no idea how they had to slow down in the heat.
    Even though it's hot in these summer days, I still like it much better than winter when it's cold and everything looks dead.
    Your new mail order bride series sounds so wonderful. I'm behind on your books, but I'll be catching up soon.
    As always, I wish you the very best, because you so deserve it.

  6. I keep getting inspired, then sidetracked by other stuff. Anyway, I do think better when it's not too hot. I'm glad we have central air!

  7. Celia, I hate the Dog Days and identify with the original meaning. Thank heavens for air conditioning!

    Love the new cover for TEXAS BLUE. Look forward to your mail order bride series. I'm doing one too. I love reading and writing mail order brides.

  8. Celia, I enjoyed this post, as alwlays. And also the comments that have followed. I enjoy the hot weather here and in Florida which is actually about the same. I go witht the flow during dog days which is really do-nothing and not feel guilty about it time for me. But mentally I am gearing up for my most productive time of year in mid Sept. to end of Oct. I always get a severe case of "Fall Fever" and think I can conquer the world!

  9. Mona--You do have a special place to have grandchildren for summer visits. How wonderful. No wonder you love living in Florida.

  10. Maggie---I grew up on the high dry plains of Texas, and although the sun could burn you to a crisp and really heat your body, we always said it was "a dry heat." If there was a breeze or wind, it would most often cool us.
    I always hate going to grandmother's house in Mineral Wells, North Texas, more humidity--and we'd sweat all night.
    Jim and I move from the high plains to Houston for his first job. We loved the trees!!!...but that humidity just about killed us. We lived there four years and move back out west--this time to the mountains for a time.
    But we're all alike in that we played until noon outside, but stayed indoors all afternoon, and played again around dark. That was the most fun.
    I can just imagine the Georgia heat at "dead low tide in August."
    Stay cool!

  11. Sarah--like you, I don't like the cold months...except for the clothes. I don't like summer clothing, mainly because I don't think I look good in anything found in stores. But winter clothing suits me really well--long sleeves and long pants.
    And, yes, everything looks dead which is not good, either.
    I don't think air conditioners had been invented when I was very small. I really don't know, to tell the truth. I know when I was a kid and we'd visit grandparents in north texas, the downtown business had electric ceiling fans...just rotating fans.

    It's fun to see so many feel as I do, that we like the slower pace of the hot months, and we have less social obligations. That's what I like--I try to become a hermit!
    Thanks so much for your comments..I always look forward to them.

  12. Morgan--I think we're all thankful for central air! What a blessing.

  13. Caroline--isn't that cover pretty for Texas Blue? I found the photo, and Laura took the same font--script--from Texas Promise and Texas True, and it all came out just beautiful.
    My MOB stories are my first--I knew you had done some, and Tanya, but I never even thought about it.
    We'll see how it works out.

  14. Linda--I like the comments, too. It's fun to read what others think.
    I understand that feeling we get with the first cold front in the fall--sometimes it comes early, sometimes we think it will never arrive. It has some magical element to it, that yes, makes us feel as though we can conquer the world!

  15. Delightful post, Celia! You captured the feel of these "dog days" of summer. Like you, I'm staying in my air conditioned home, concentrating on finishing book one in my romantic suspense series. Although, I do try to get outside in the early mornings to do a little gardening. I like hot weather, always have even when living up north. Guess I'm a southern girl by inclination if not birth.

  16. Hi Celia,
    You've gotten quite a bit accomplished this summer, I'd say. I, too, am a Virgo (Sept. 22), which always reminded me school was starting. I always enjoyed getting back into a routine, even as a kid. Summertime usually kept me lazy.

  17. Lyn--I give you permissions to be a Southern girl--they can't be beat! I've never lived in a cold climate, but I'm fairly certain I wouldn't like it. I get cold with the first cold front around October and don't get warm until May. My MI daughter-in-law cannot believe I sleep under an electric blanket in Texas.
    This is a good time to write, isn't it? I've taken off a couple of days for some social activities, but the older I get, the less I enjoy being with a group. I lost my patience and want to go home.
    Thanks so much for commenting.

  18. Kristy--Me, too. I loved school so much, everything about it, from first grade through graduation. No wonder I became a teacher.
    The long lazy free days do have their appeal, but like you, September brought me back to earth. Routines began, and that, too, has it's appeal.
    Thanks for commenting.