Summer Schedule: Back to the Basics

Margherita and friends

Margherita and friends


In the last post, I wrote about the the ride P and I took up into the mountains — the one that refreshed my mind, body, and soul on such a deep level that I have decided that this summer, I’m making big changes in my work schedule to allow for much more of that tempo libero (free time).

I simply need it.

I’ve been feeling rundown after a physically, emotionally, and mentally rough stretch that started when we lost our dear Pinters last December and culminated in a miscarriage I suffered last month.

I’m still in the depths of processing the up and down emotions surrounding so many events in the past six months; they’ve all been competing so ferociously for air time, and I know it’s time to listen to them.

It’s also time to really listen to my body and what it’s telling me.

I’m exhausted.

It’s time to slow down and really drink in this Calabrian summer and all it has to offer.

Now I’m not doing anything crazy like taking a sabbatical for a few months (oh how I wish I could!), but for me, the upcoming pledge is rather revolutionary.

So I’m writing it down here for the world (well, you readers) to see:

No work on the weekends this summer.


And “work” includes accounting, invoicing, marketing, website upkeep, and social media, which as anyone who has ever attempted to have an online presence knows, can eat up a *lot* of time and energy. Anything work-related will just have to wait until Monday.

On Friday evenings this summer, I’ll be shutting down my work brain and doing only things I love, on a personal level, all weekend long. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Trips to the campagna with P
  • Long early morning walks with the dogs
  • Playing with the goaties
  • Sitting at the bar with my cappuccino for as long as I like
  • Reading, for pleasure
  • Writing, for pleasure
  • Taking photos, photos, photos
  • Scanning old family photos & archiving them
  • Digging back into family genealogy after a several year lapse
  • Cross-stitching
  • Picnics & barbecues
  • Watching television, yes including crappy reality TV!
  • Catching up on movies
  • Day-trips
  • Nothing at all

And I reserve the right to add to this list of ideas at will, and, incidentally, to take off random afternoons or mornings whenever I like.

I know that all the work on my to-do list will be waiting for me on Monday mornings, and the world will not crumble if I don’t do just one more blog post or reach out to one more person to review our upcoming release from Gemelli Press (stay tuned for more info though!).

I also have a funny feeling that I’ll be getting more done during the week than I usually do just because I know the weekends are off-limits for “catching up.”

This may seem like a silly post to many of you, but I needed to get this out there; I feel lighter just having typed all this, so thank you for humoring me.

Now if you’ll excuse me it’s time for my afternoon iced decaf coffee to close out my Friday workday as I stream an episode of Fringe for later this evening (I’m finally in the current season, albeit early on!).

And then tomorrow, well, I don’t know yet what I’ll be doing.

Isn’t that wonderful?!


Do you have special plans for your summer schedule?

81 Beans of Wisdom to “Summer Schedule: Back to the Basics”
  1. 06.15.2012

    Good for you Michelle, I am glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself although I am very sorry to hear that you had such a challenging 6 months. Have a wonderful summer, enjoy those weekends and we’ll all look forward to your many contributions that will abound because you will allow for rest and rejuvenation!! Brava! I hope more people will follow your lead! Un abbraccio, Liana.

    michelle Reply:

    Grazie mille Liana xx

  2. 06.15.2012

    This is SO awesome. I am so glad you’re putting yourself first. Hopefully the summer gives you the respite you need.

    michelle Reply:

    Thx Heather! Hope you’re doing well 🙂

  3. Vanessa

    Sounds great Michelle. Feel free to come visit me if you need a day/ weekend trip 🙂

    michelle Reply:

    Grazie V!

  4. Sounds great Michelle! It’s easy to forget that we need to put ourselves first, but when we don’t our body reminds us…enjoy your weekends! x

    michelle Reply:

    Thx Christina…I’m doing my best 😀

  5. 06.15.2012

    Michelle, I’m so sorry for the losses you have suffered in recent months, and glad that you are not minimizing your own need for time to recover. May these summer months bring rest, refreshment, and blessing into your life. (And by all means, gelato!) Sandy

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much Sandy!

  6. Sam

    Very sorry for the loss you have suffered. You are in a good place to heal your body and soul. I will say a prayer for your peace and healing.

    Austen Reply:

    I will add my prayers too for your healing. You are in the right place for it.

    And: in your list of Priorities, I was surprised to see Gelato there only once. I think you deserve allowing yourself 2x/day.

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Austen — and I will take your gelato advice to heart 😉

    michelle Reply:

    Grazie mille, Sam xx

  7. Kari

    You know I support this 100%! I imposed the no work on the weekends last summer and it makes Sunday night especially so wonderful! It is so crazy in this day and age that others expect things to be done immediately like responding to e-mails, postings on FB and that Twitter thing. But you know it is all about you setting the pace…I love this post!

    michelle Reply:

    Thank goodness you support this, socio hahaha 😉 xx

  8. Michele Connors

    Sorry to hear you’ve had a tough few months, Michelle. I think your weekend breaks will help you to take a breath and refresh. Sometimes people don’t realize that working at home can mean many more hours than working in an office where you physically leave your workspace at the end of a day. And working for yourself/freelance usually means even more dedication!

    michelle Reply:

    This is very true, the hours worked…it’s so easy to just sit back down at the computer for “one more thing.” Hope all is well in the US!

  9. Mary

    So sorry to hear about the rough time you’ve been having. Give yourself some time to just enjoy living and get your inner harmony back. Everything will be waiting for you on Monday morning. Hugs to you. I haven’t lost a goat but I’ve been through the other 3 times now. Keep your chin up and your hope strong and take some time to regain your balance.

    michelle Reply:

    Grazie mille, Mary…many hugs back at you. Hope you’re having a lovely summer as well xx

  10. 06.15.2012

    Scheduled time off is an excellent and necessary thing. I’ve carved out Sundays as the day I refuse to do anything useful, although lately I’ve not been good about sticking to that. I don’t have any big summer plans, but now that I’ve read your list, I’m adding GELATO to mine. It won’t be the same as when I was in college and there was a gelato place that would actually deliver it to your door (via a somewhat Chachi-esque guy on a motorcycle), but I expect I’ll still enjoy it.

    I’m so sorry to hear about the baby. Much love to you and P.

    michelle Reply:

    If I have inspired more gelato-eating this summer, my work here is done 🙂 Thanks, Flu-Flu 😛 xx

  11. Anne

    Dear Michelle, so sorry to read that you have been having a very difficult past few months.. and so sorry to read about the baby.

    I am so pleased to read that you are going to listen to your body, lots of people never do, it is a one huge MUST. I love the list that you have for your weekends, cappuccino and gelato would come top of my list, people watching is so me too. Take care of yourself.

    michelle Reply:

    Yes, people-watching too! Thanks Anne 🙂 xx

  12. 06.15.2012

    My heart aches for your miscarriage. Yes, time to pamper yourself as much as you can, doing as often as possible what speaks to your soul.
    Un abbraccio, Mary in Umbria

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Mary xx

  13. I am ALL ABOUT tempo libero. You need to do what your body and mind call you to do. All work and no play… know the rest. As for us, we can wait until Monday. Enjoy your weekends!!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks bella!

  14. Alex

    Looking forward in time and speaking from years of business experience, as well as someone who was driven as you are, I can tell you that you have made a major decision that will deliver things you may not even be aware of yet. The rest and relaxation that you will garner from this decision will precipitate out in the near future in a higher level of quality work, general attitude and happiness. It is just amazing how a nonstop work effort, over an extended period of time, can zap energy and turn work performance and interpersonal relations into mediocrity. (that’s experience talking) Not only you, but everyone around you will experience the new you. The freightening part is the new level of everything you will be doing. I have always been totally impressed with your work……now you really have me sitting on the edge! Good luck……..the best is yet to come.

    michelle Reply:

    This is so sweet of you, Alex; thank you so much for your ongoing support 🙂

  15. 06.16.2012

    Sounds perfect. Enjoy each moment!

    michelle Reply:

    Thank you!

  16. 06.16.2012

    Hi Michele– I’m sure the back and forth was difficult, but how valuable you worked your through it all and came home to P. and the life you’ve built, in turn arisen from a dream! You are an inspiration.



    michelle Reply:

    Grazie Jenne’ 🙂

  17. 06.16.2012

    Bravo! Have an excellent weekend and thank you for writing this.

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Jess 🙂

  18. Kay


    michelle Reply:


  19. Carlo

    Thanks for sharing these valuable and intimate thoughts with us. First of all about your rediscovery of the value of offtime: it’s about time!
    I went over your list, I tried to put them in order and at every point I was saying to myself, “this is first of the list”, then again at the next point, then the next… So to make things short I will say they are ALL important, except TV which deserves to be at the bottom of the list maybe, tee hee.
    Un forte abbraccio dai tuoi amici
    Carlo and Alisa

    michelle Reply:

    Ha, our Sky conked out on us this weekend, so the Universe apparently agrees with your assessment as well hahaha 😉

  20. Carlo

    Oh, and anyone who should think yours is a silly post is, well, silly.
    Love ya

    michelle Reply:

    Un bacione xx

  21. Gil

    Glad to hear that you are slowing down a bit this Summer. Take a few Mondays off while you are at it as you have no boss to accuse you of being an alcoholic! Also, take a Friday and Monday off and make believe you are a ‘civil servant’ with a drinking problem…xo

    michelle Reply:

    Ha! Excellent advice, Gil…grazie mille!

  22. Alicia

    I’m sorry for your losses. Happy belated Mother’s day and Early (in 3 hours) American Father’s Day for P.

    *Toasting my root beer float to you *

    To happiness, no matter where you are, or what you are doing.


    michelle Reply:

    Grazie Alicia; much appreciated 🙂

  23. Oh I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby, sending love x lisa

    michelle Reply:

    Thank you, Lisa xx

  24. 06.19.2012

    Sorry for your loss..God bless you!

    michelle Reply:

    Grazie 🙂

  25. 06.19.2012

    Sorry for your losses. You will have babies, no worries. I also had a miscarriage before my two children were born. Love that you are going to live more of la dolce vita!

    michelle Reply:

    Thank you, Lenora! I appreciate your support, as always 🙂 xx

  26. 06.19.2012

    Oh Michelle, my heart goes out to you. I hope you enjoyed your first weekend off, a perfect idea, I hope you will adhere to the plan. Take Care. xx

    michelle Reply:

    Grazie mille LindyLou; so far so good on the weekend no-plans 😉

  27. Carole D.

    Michelle, mi dispiace a sentire la brutta notizia. Spero che a presto (quanto sei pronta) ci sara’ una bella sorpresa.
    You’re still my fav. blogger. Keep writing…..

    michelle Reply:

    Grazie mille, Carole…spero che avremo belle notizie di condividere sooner rather than later 😉

  28. 06.20.2012

    I can completely identify with your loss. I had the same thing happen last year. Seems our lives are starting to be more and more similar. Anyway, take care of yourself. You seem to have a large and caring web base of friends. I hope you have the same in your village of people that can actually hug you!
    As for my summer plans, they have to start with minor surgery (to correct the miscarriage problem) and then are full of catching up on everything I couldn’t do last summer when I tore an achilles tendon which required surgery: printing course, hikes on Monte Rosa, relaxation on a beach somewhere. Make the best of your free time.

    michelle Reply:

    Hugs to you as well, Irene. Many xx

  29. Hi Michelle,

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had these difficulties and sending thoughts and prayers!

    michelle Reply:

    Thank you Jenifer 🙂

  30. Nicola

    That sounds wonderful. Good for you! And thanks for the inspiration in re-evaluating life.

    My summer schedule? Get back to Italy over the summer (avoiding the commuting nightmare over the Olympics) and work out a way to make money so I can stay there at some point!
    Take care

    michelle Reply:

    Best of luck to you in making it happen, Nicola!

  31. Nicole

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that a loss like that can leave you feeling ragged. It’s so important to take care of yourself. Redirect some energy inward and heal. One gelato at a time. Un abbraccio forte.

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Nicole; I’m lagging on that gelato resolution come to think of it……

  32. SW

    So sorry to hear about your miscarriage, Michelle.

    Hope you enjoy taking some free time, this summer – I love your list of things to do! It reflects the sweet simplicity of the Calabrian lifestyle, which you give those of us who read your blog a window into, everytime you post.

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, SW; so far so good on the list 😉

  33. 06.28.2012

    Oh wow Michelle, you’ve been thru the grind mill, so sorry to hear your news but wonderful you’re taking some overdue time out. The most important thing please make sure you stick to it, no dabbling of dita on keyboards!

    michelle Reply:

    Sticking to it has been the easy part…HA! Thanks Sammy 🙂 xx

  34. Lark

    Michelle, so sorry to hear about your losses. I, too, suffered a miscarriage with my first pregnancy. I worried that I would never be able to have children, and promised myself that, if I couldn’t, I would not let it consume me. Three months later I was pregnant again. I went on to have three kids who are now 13,11, and 9. I know things will work out for you. I think it is great that you are taking time to enjoy the wonderful things in life…enjoy the beauty around you!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Lark; your thoughts and words are quite comforting as we move forward 🙂 xx

  35. 07.03.2012

    So sorry to learn of your losses. Platitudes don’t help, but you sound wise, self-aware and positive enough that I am confident that you will see your way through the challenging times. Kudos to you for taking more time to yourself. Although I’m not always successful, I usually try to “unplug” in the evenings and weekends. I hope you’re enjoying your summer!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Dawn; I’m definitely enjoying the summer so far…looking forward to lots more of it (except for the heat — THAT could calm down a bit) 😉

  36. Alex

    Well Michele, I needed to drop back in on this thread. More as an explanation for my apparent absence of concern for your loss. I can only speak for myself, (but maybe for a few other males on this thread) with respect to genuine concern. In my original thread there was an absence of sorrow for your loss. Please accept my apologies for this. It basically falls into that area where guys generally have no clue what to say…….kind of one of those duh!!! moments. I mean just look at the female responses…… let me try and at least say that I truly feel for your loss and that I just did not know how best to say it…..

    michelle Reply:

    Aw thank you, Alex; no worries — I know the feeling of not knowing what to say 🙂 xx

  37. 07.04.2012

    Great post Michelle! Thanks so much for sharing. Steve and I have been having the same exact thoughts lately. For a while now, we’ve turned into workaholics – working 12 hour days, 7 days a week in front of the computer – to the detriment of our family life and time with our children. We’re realizing that this isn’t really us nor the way we want to live our lives. It’s back to some basics and the sweet, simple life for us too – at least on the weekends! 🙂

    michelle Reply:

    Must be something in the air indeed, Linda 🙂 Enjoy your summer with your family! xx

  38. 07.13.2012

    Hi Michelle, thanks for writing this post. I’m glad to hear that you are taking much-needed “me” time, it’s so important, and I’m really sorry for the challenges you’ve had lately. I think you’re right that you’ll get more done during the week, both from a feeling that you can only work during the week and also from feeling more personally relaxed and balanced.
    A big hug,

  39. Mary

    Michelle, so sorry to hear about the loss you and your husband shared…you are in our prayers. So can you let us know how those new changes are coming along…would like to know what you are up to now. Have you been successful in having work-free weekends? Oh, and I would love to know how the “campagna” is coming along…


    michelle Reply:

    Hi Mary, things are great — still sticking to keeping my weekends free of work and the olives are progressing nicely in the campagna even though this should be our “off” year (usually you have one good harvest year following by one that’s not so good). Thank you for reading, and for asking!

  40. Just catching up on some blogs and I just wanted to see if you met your goal of not working on the weekends. It’s always easier said than done. We all need time for ourselves even if it’s meditating while pulling those darn weeds.

    Blessings to you and P

    michelle Reply:

    Linda, I did! I’m still sticking with it in large part even now…sometimes I have to bend the rules because things come up during the week taking me away from work so I have to make up the time, but I’m definitely still keeping with entire days off from any work. It’s wonderful!



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake