In which I am in restore mode

This post was originally published in June 2009. I will be back to blogging afresh next week.

I am doing a system restore of myself. The last year, in particular the last six months, have been challenging and demanding ones. I love my work–LOVE my work–and would never complain about it. But it is also true that having a creative job means that what you take in is just as important and essential as what you put out. It means that sometimes the tank feels empty, and that once in awhile you have to be very, very still and small and quiet and do as little as possible. So a system restore is called for, a return to factory settings, a defragging to smooth out all the rough and jagged edges and wait for serenity to stop by for a visit.

Ideally, a proper system restore would include a “rest cure”, the bygone term for vacation, a mental health break in which I would rent a villa in Greece, pack a stack of books and a few sarongs and not come home for a month. Rest cures take time, you know. I had even planned an abbreviated version for the husband and myself–a few days on a Caribbean island. That plan got scuppered between the puppy and my trip to New York, so I am attempting a refurbishment at home with a few things I already had lying around:

*Sally Hansen nail polish in Marine Scene. I swiped it from my daughter. It’s insanely tropically turquoise. I may not be swimming in the Caribbean, but my nails at least match the water.

*L’Occitane Rose Incense Cones. They don’t burn long, but for the short time they do, they smell delicious. Rose and smoke doesn’t sound like a good combination, but there’s something oddly summery about it. (I am STILL mourning the fact that Banana Republic discontinued their Presidio incense years ago. Hands down it was the best incense I have ever, ever smelled. It smelled like a eucalyptus grove after a rainstorm, which ordinarily would put me right off, but it was divine.)

*Alba coconut lip balm. It’s organic and it smells like Hawaiian Tropic.

*NUMI tea in White Rose and Apricot. Unlike other teas–these are pale and wan and fragile. They are scented rather than flavored, and surprisingly refreshing, even in the heat.

*Yankee Candle company candles in Coconut Bay. More Hawaiian Tropic yumminess.

*Trader Joe’s sorbets in lemon and mango-tangerine. Non-fat and so flavorful that a tiny portion is all you need. Much more fun than ice cream.

*Lilies from my garden. My daughter picked some yesterday for us to wear in our hair. We felt very Polynesian.

*Vacation films. Last weekend I watched “Niagara”–very noir, very suspenseful with Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten. Beautiful shots of the falls and I love the idea of renting a tiny cottage and pulling up in front of it in a huge convertible with a scarf tied over my head. (“Shirley Valentine” is good for a dose of Greek escapism.)

*Naps. I find myself dozing on the sofa over my armchair travel books for about twenty minutes each afternoon.

*White cotton. I’m digging every white petticoat out of my closet right now. I think I was inspired by watching “Much Ado About Nothing” a few weeks ago and seeing Emma Thompson and Kate Beckinsale frolicking around in full white skirts and pretty white bodices. It’s crisp and cool and there’s something terribly Isak Dinesen about it.