“…and the livin’ is easy…”

I love that song. Every word, every sentiment.

It brings me, in my imagination, to a breezy screened room with a sturdy wicker chair and a tall, cool drink. Looking out, of course, on a perfectly groomed lawn and garden. The sun is shining. No obligations hang over me. Warm and comfortable, I may just doze right here.

Real life is a little more hectic, for me, here on Beaver Island in the summertime.

My granddaughter, Madeline, and I went to a concert last weekend.

Claudia Schmidt is a former employer and a dear friend of mine, as well as a wonderful musician and singer. She used to live here on Beaver Island, and it’s always lovely when she makes it back. She performed at the Community Center last Saturday evening.

We dressed for the occasion. Madeline chose the “very similar to the styles that Taylor Swift wears” dress that she’d worn for her own recital (she plays stand up bass). The sash was a bit frayed from the wash, but was elegant nonetheless. I wore the gauzy, tie-dyed “summer of love” dress that I’d purchased when visiting Florida with my sisters. Unaccustomed to wearing dresses of any kind, I managed to briefly flash the people in seats behind me while trying to disentangle my flowing dress from the folding theater seat. Fortunately, my grandmotherly underpants and sixty-year-old fanny caused only laughter, and the evening continued shamelessly.

Claudia intersperses her concerts with anecdotes, reminiscences and commentary. A poet at heart, these bits of information are generally heartfelt, thoughtful and thought-provoking.

One thing she spoke about this time was “Busy.”

That has become the stock answer to any questions regarding how things are going or what one is up to. It’s not an answer, really, but a definition of a condition.


“Busy, busy, busy!”


It starts to sound like gibberish after a while, she noted.

She avoids that answer, on principle.

To instead answer, “Nothing,” when asked, “What have you been up to?” has value for the looks of horror it evokes.

“What?! NOTHING??”

Generally, though, when activities seem overwhelming, her answer is, “I am living a rich and very full life.”


So, as I look out from my messy desk on this Monday in July, onto a lawn that needs mowing and a garden that needs tending, trying to plan my week that involves three outside jobs, preparing for and attending an art event, finishing a commission piece for a very patient client, making some progress on housework and yard work, sending out resumes and letters of interest for possible employment, a trip to the mainland to visit the Secretary of State, paying bills that have been ignored too long, repairing my washing machine and finding time for some worthwhile and memory-making activities with my granddaughter, I say…

“This summer, I am living a rich and very full life!”


21 responses »

  1. A rich and very full life for sure. And so much richer than saying “busy”. Sometimes I think being busy is like a competition. The busier I am, the more important I am? Perhaps a holdover from that Puritan mindset that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. I say, be idle whenever you can, soak in the warmth and sunshine, revel in Madeline’s visit and the rest will happen as it is wont to!

    • Yes, Joss, it can be difficult to hold on to that thought, but its a good one. Raised with German work ethic, it’s my tendency to even make relaxing days productive. My granddaughter helps me to see the joy in accomplishing nothing at all!

  2. Enjoyed your blog. Unsual for me I have been doing more work. Putting in a patio that had been in procrast-I mean planning for 24 years. I would have to pick the hottest week of the year to do it.
    I always enjoy Claudia, like Bonnie Raitt, she always makes you feel like you’ve been invited into her living room. I once saw her at an eatery where she came out for the second act like she was one of the wait staff. Need I say latecomers were surprised.

  3. The chaos of summer really wears on me, but thinking of it as a rich and full life makes it sound lovely. When the Minnesota State Fair ends on Labor Day is when I breath deep with relief…the easy living for me starts in the fall.

    Hang in there, Cindy!

    • Yes, I look forward to Autumn, too, for the warm, quiet days. I enjoy all the activities of summer, but we all need a pause afterward, I think. I’ll look forward to those easy living days for you!

  4. You know Claudia Schmidt? Oh be still my envious heart! How wonderful! And that you and your granddaughter were able to attend the concert. What a rich and full life!

    • Yes! Isn’t she wonderful?! Claudia lived here on Beaver Island for several years. She and her husband opened and ran the Bluebird Bed and Breakfast. They then got involved in an old island restaurant. That’s where I worked for her. Since she’s now in Minnesota, we always love to catch up with her when she makes it back to the island. Her Mom was recently buried here, and her father is looking at moving back to the island, so her connections here remain strong. Thanks for reading, Kathy, and for your comments!

  5. We have been fans of Claudia for many years and have seen her in concert a few times. She does seem like a wonderful person 🙂 Annie

    • I know! She makes you feel like you know her from her personal reflections and intimate concerts. As I got to know her, I realized how true that is…it is her honest personality, and she really does love being there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s