The 1810 Underwear Blues

I usually spend all day in court on Thursday, and then if I can, I work from home on Friday…

Right. We’re all friends here, so allow me to be a bit more honest: I goof the heck off on Friday, though seldom on purpose.

I always have big plans for how I’m going to catch up on Friday. I’ll go in to the office a little late, I think, clean off my desk, read some of that conference literature I’ve been moving from one shelf to another. I’ll weed out terminated files. Heck, I’ll even clean the windows.


I get the sleeping in part done sometimes, though not always. Sergeant Preston of the Yukon has ideas about when I ought to get up, and his bark is loud enough that I often heed his guidance. So up I do get, but then… Well, I must check the two other blogs I contribute to regularly, and dump my emails, and I should put in at least 2000 words daily on my Work In Progress. I have a work in revision that always needs attention too, usually several of them.

And yet, somewhere in the middle of the morning, I realize I’m not making much progress on any of it. Occasionally, I’ll get the WIP or the WIR tended to, but I never feel the work is very good, and by mid afternoon at the latest, I’m usually reading about that most riveting of topics, ladies underwear circa 1810.

Note to self: Two Nerdy History Girls is a wonderful blog, and the Random Kitten Generator can be accessed from Julie Anne Long’s website.

I’ve caught onto myself by now, and realized that after the work week has pounded my mood flat and hung my creativity and energy out to dry, what I need is not another to do list, not a morning spent in service to productivity, but rather, hours of solitude and unstructured time.

Both. One or the other isn’t good enough. People in my space, no matter how dear those people might be, have a way of shooting the unstructured aspect of things to perdition. So, no people, no assignments.

I need this to be happy, I need lots of it, and I need it regularly. If I have a nice, relaxed, solitudinous Friday, by Friday evening I can often hit that WIP and get at least a decent scene done (or indecent, depending on where we are in the manuscript). By Saturday, I’m cooking again, and I’m usually still finding things to write come Monday morning.

When I hear teachers, social workers, and parents carping about how children need structure, there’s a part of me that wants to bellow right back, “They need un-structure just as badly, maybe worse!”

But I can’t speak to what other people or their children need. Me, I need the down time, and I need it to myself.

What is the aspect of your weekend that you most need to stay happy? To one commenter, I’ll send out a signed ARC of Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight.



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45 comments on “The 1810 Underwear Blues

    • Jayne, you remind me of cross-country trips my parents took in the early sixties. They’d cram four or five kids into a station wagon and drive west for days. My mom thought it was going to be dreadful but we children, particularly my youngest brother, loved the togetherness.

  1. I love to get up before everyone else on the weekends, let the dog out, feed her, give my 3 cats their treats, let the dog out again, give her a treat, and settle down with my Kindle Fire to check out Facebook and the news and then settle down for some me time with a good book! When does your next one come out? I am desperate for a good book!

    • Mary, there was a time when the only hour of the week I wasn’t on work duty or mom duty was that hour in church, when Beloved Offspring was entertained down in the nursery, and I could just sit and collect myself. We all DO need a day of rest; thank goodness the Creator modeled that for us.

  2. i need my moment with a (big) cup of coffee and (undisturbed) time to read a good book. i let my Lukas take care of the dogs on his own and just relax for a bit. This is if i’m not working, two out of five weekends (sadly) is spent at work. Not as relaxing. I prefer my coffee/book moment in bed =)
    best wishes & Happy Sunday! //Linda
    p.s this was written from my bed, too! =D

    • Ain’t technology wonderful? And I’m not a coffee drinker, but I must have my first POT of decaf jasmine green tea in the morning. I don’t need the caffeine, I need the sense of being in charge of the start of my day, and choosing to start it with a small entitlement.

  3. Hi, Grace! I hope for an invite from my mom or son to go swimming in their pools. Or I’m just happy to sit on the couch near Jack and watch him watch golf. He has felt lousy since RT. He drove me all the way from Houston to Chicago with the beginnings of an ulcer. He still feels lousy. We’re waiting until July 5th for an Upper GI. (and ,of course, I read)

    • Ulcers stink. They make you aware of how much you enjoy eating, and what a betrayal it is when your body no longer views food the same way. We’ll wish him good results, and a resolution to the situation in short order.
      And you should have a standing invite to swim in Darling Son’s pool–grandma privileges, if nothing else, right?

  4. Early morning walks with NOTHING to listen to is my favorite time, week day or weekend. I do take the dog (who always thinks the day starts with sun-up), but he and I have a long, random, quiet time to walk and reflect and enjoy the silence. Used to be the ONLY quiet time of the day, but retirement has changed that. Nevertheless, days go best when they start with a two mile walk.

    • Polly, because of the heat, I’ve swapped my evening walk to morning sometimes, and it’s amazing the traffic Sarge and I encounter: deer, rabbits, foxes, a skunk, bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, ground hogs… Sarge points to some of it, but mostly leaves everybody to their own dawn patrol. It’s marvelous!

  5. I love to read and can read for longer uninterrupted minutes on the weekends. Lots of dvds, reading, and relaxation make for a fun weekend!

    • Heather, I used to live for that hour after Beloved Offspring went to bed (please, God, can she stay there tonight!?), when I could curl up with a book. I could be going on thirty-six hours without a nap, and I’d still need to stay up one more hour for a little reading.

  6. I also love the unstructured time that weekends allow. With my husband home, I also get to spend more time reading and not entertaining a four-year-old!

    • Claire, be patient. Another two years and that four year old will be a full day scholar, and then there will be home work and classmates to entertain him or her. Thank goodness for a dad who will take up some slack on weekends until then.

  7. Oh I sooo need the time to myself. I love my family. All of them. And I love time with them. But I need time by myself. To do nothing that matters. Nothing that would be on any kind of list or spreadsheet. But just by myself. By myself. I need that time. Ever hear of a man cave!? We have one. Now you know why we have one. 🙂 Hope you have a great week, Grace. 🙂

    • I never understood why it was a “man” cave, and not an introvert cave, or a self-actualized person cave. Only guys need solitude? Only guys like to have all the stuff related to their current project out of reach of busy little fingers and prying eyes? Only guys want a solid, lockable door between them and whoever thinks they can barge in any moment and break their train of thought?

      Oops, I promise: No rants this week.

  8. I’ve always needed “me” time whether it’s 10 minutes or a whole day. I find myself feeling guilty more of than not if I do spend a whole Sunday doing nothing but reading. That “go, go, go, get things done” mentality is hard to put aside, but I do try and am getting better at it as I get older!

    • Kim, I don’t have a television, and I realize one of the effects of that (besides I never know what’s going on on BBC), is that I have to work harder to make myself spend time in screen saver mode. Reading comes close, gardening comes close, but for complete rest of the productivity impulse, the tube is marvelous.

  9. The weekend means a stretch of reading time. Whether it’s catching up on newspapers and magazines or a book from the library.

    Grace, I, too, have become an early morning person. There was a children’s picture book called The Cheerful Quiet by Betty Horvath which illustrates this mode perfectly.

    • It’s so much easier to waken early in summer–the birds are singing, the air feels as fresh as it’s going to get, and there’s no sense of battling the elements every time you wander past your kitchen door.

  10. Saturday morning is my relaxation time. My little stinkeroo will come to our bedroom for the daily cuddle then off he goes to watch his weekend cartoons. As soon as his breakfast is served, his mom lumbers back to bed to join dear hubby who is still snoozing. That’s the time I surf the net or continue the book adventure left behind the night before.

    Though I take my sweet time rousing myself, rest assured that during the weekend, the house will somehow be put to rights; a few corners scrubbed clean, a few clothes put in the laundry, a few plants tended.

    I love the exercise of going to church every Sunday, being with the people of the same faith is a soothing balm for the soul. If we have invitations to attend to every now and then, it will be fulfilled. I say that that is part of being part of a society, being included to gatherings and rubbing elbows.

    Weekend is a bliss, a blessing I look forward to. There may be scheduled activities, there may be none, but there will be that precious moment that I will always partake for myself.

    • Weekend is also, for me, a little grief. There comes that moment on Sunday afternoon when I realize the focus has to be on preparing for Monday, whether it’s a trip into the office, an extra load of laundry, or a grocery run made to leave Monday free for work stuff, I hate it when the weekend expires.

  11. I like to sleep in a little longer than usual and then read the newspaper in one sitting. During the week, I sometimes have to finish the paper at night and that cuts into my book reading time. 🙂

    • Kim, I enjoy the physical paper, and hope the good ones find a way to remain solvent. I think it’s the New Orleans Times Picayune that has gone to paper circulation three days a week. ARGH! What are we supposed to do while we swill chicory coffee and scarf beignets?

  12. Silence. Or dogs. Preferably both if I can finagle it. Working long days for a busy police department and talking to people all day takes its toll and by the time the weekend rolls around the last thing I want to do is spend time with people or talk. As soon as I leave the building the phone goes off, the music goes on & the books come out. I’ll spend the time in a hammok under a shady tree, reading. If I’m lucky enough to have a dog visitor that weekend then we spend time hanging out together at home or in the park. If its a long weekend, then maybe by Sunday I’m ready to socialize with friends and have them over for a dinner party. With wine. And dessert. Maybe just wine & dessert…

    • Why don’t we know which genius invented the hammock? I’ll bet some of the best dreams ever dreamed took place in a hammock on a summer morning. And I get you about the quiet. If I have music on, I’m listening to it, not using it as aural wallpaper. For background, I want the chirping birds, the summer breeze, and the crickets.

  13. I need some us time with my husband, one day to sleep in (’cause I stay up late reading during the week) and a good stretch of me time for reading and computer browsing on either Saturday or Sunday.

  14. A day of no scheduled activities–WOW! A trip around the area to used book stores, looking for back list books of Mary Balogh and other regency authors.

    • I didn’t use to be this way, Anne. I’d get up Saturday morning and do my housecleaning rampage, hit the grocery store, take Beloved Offspring to the park, Check, Check, Check… Maybe I’m in recovery from those years, because I cannot pull that kind of approach off anywhere near as consistently these days.

  15. Ah, see this a wonderful argument for why we should go to a three day weekend. During the school year I have a hard time accomplishing much on the weekend because I just need to do nothing (or anything) for a large chunk of one day. A weekend of projects or traveling doesn’t feel like a weekend. That’s probably why I took to going to the gym at 8AM on Saturday and then sitting around chatting for a ridiculous amount of time afterwards. It pushes off whatever work that needs to be done at home. Of course a good nap can make any day better, too.

    The kids always ask if I assign homework on the weekend. I don’t because I don’t want to do school stuff on the weekend so why should I make them? In fact, if they would get their act together they would never have homework because they would get it done before they walk out the door of my classroom.

    • That time you spend visiting in the gym, I think a lot of spend browsing FB or checking the twitter stream. We plug in at low voltage because even that can restore us. I’m wondering though, if GoRuck recharged you, and if you’re going to blog about it somewhere?

      • I thought about blogging GoRuck. A friend of mine that went blogged it but I think I’ll blog about it anyway just to put my own spin on it. It was an experience like no other. I’ll let you know when I’ve got the blog up. Give me a day or two.

  16. I need that solitary time to recharge after the work week. Though I love my hubby dearly, those three to four hours Saturday morning when he is golfing are like a gift. No schedule, just taking that time to do whatever strikes my fancy.

    • For every golf widow (or widower), I expect there are three more praying for sunny Saturdays. Everybody needs breathing room, and himself probably needs his time on the links, too.

      • You’d think so, Grace, but he wants me to take up the game. Not happening, not in this lifetime.

  17. My weekend is not complete without big Sunday breakfast, the newspaper, and a pot of tea. We are lucky to live 2 minutes from a church that has a 12:15 Mass. : )

    • I about did handsprings when the church came up with “Anticipation” masses on Saturday evening. What could be handier? And it took away that “I really need to sleep in,” excuse, too.

      • Yeah … Sat. evening masses come in very handy when dancing daughter has competitions all day on Sundays, which put a crimp in my lazy mornings. ya know?