Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

Summer Treehouse, or Your August Book of Days

Ladies and Gentlemen: Here is your Convivio Book of Days for August. Its tardy arrival is an embarrassment, and I apologize. My own transition to August has not gone at all as expected. It began with teaching a weeklong summer book arts camp for young teens, a week that threw my life a bit off the rails. The person who was supposed to teach the camp bailed at the last minute and so I was asked and I agreed to do it. I’d be home each day by 4:30, I’d get an hour lunch each day. I never get an hour for lunch in my regular job. I even brought my journal with me, for all the luxurious free time I’d have during lunch to write.

My journal is still in the back seat of the car, unopened. In retrospect, I feel like maybe the instructor who quit had some inside information on these kids and opted to jump ship. Me, I went in expecting to teach 16 kids who wanted to learn how to make books to do just that. There were a few who did have a bit of that drive: MacKenzie, Taylor, Emily… maybe even Natalia. The rest? Not so much. I suspect they were there because it was late summer and their parents really didn’t know what to do with them anymore and so they coughed up a lot of dough to place them somewhere, anywhere, for a week. It could’ve been a book arts camp or it could’ve been a labor camp––the experience didn’t matter so much as just finding some place for their kids to go that didn’t involve them.

I won’t go into detail, but if you teach middle school, God bless you. Some of us have what it takes and some do not, and I, most certainly, do not. I was a walking zombie all week, vampirized by those kids. It was only once the weekend was half over that I realized that the letterpress printed calendar that my friends Gail and David sent me was still set on the July page. And so on Sunday I turned the page to August and set to work, as well, on the Book of Days calendar project for August. Let me tell you: It’s nice to be back. Your cover star this month? A treehouse I stumbled across on one of my walks through Götzis, Austria, when Seth and I were there in July. I was walking back from the post office down by the train station when I saw it. A gnome protects the tree house, which I imagine is frequented by children who have great imagination and creativity. Perhaps they don’t yet have phones, and their lives don’t revolve around memes on YouTube. Maybe they are kids who like to be outdoors and who like to run around and experience the real world. They like cherries and they like to make things. Anyway, I hope so.

Enjoy the calendar! You’ll hear from me again this week for Obon––one of my favorite summer holidays.


Ascona Sun, or Your July Book of Days

July brings many days star-related: there is Independence Day on the Fourth, with its stars and stripes, and there are the Dog Days of Summer that begin in July and run through August––days ruled by Sirius, the Dog Star, days traditionally considered the hottest of the year––and then there is Tanabata, the Star Festival of Japan. For your Convivio Book of Days calendar for July, we thought we’d focus on stars, then. As luck would have it, as Seth and I wandered the steep narrow streets of Ascona today in Switzerland, we came across the perfect image for this month of stars.

And so yes, we are on a short tour of Europe, with stops in Northern Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. Seth has four days of training in Austria for his job back home, and so we figured why don’t I tag along, too. My Italian has so far proven rusty at best, and as for German, all I know is one statement that Seth taught me years ago: “Kann ich bitte du butter haben?” Which I gather means something like, “May I have the butter, please?” He only taught it to me because it’s so fun to say. I also know how to substitute the word “butter” for “bread,” which is brot. So at the very least I know I can survive on bread and butter while we’re in Austria and Eastern Switzerland. We return to Italy again after his training, and so we’ll end our European tour back in a land where the language is at least somewhat more familiar to me, although the past couple of days have taught me I have long ways to go to pass muster on conversational Italian, too. A big help so far has been the restricted 1943 Italian Phrase Book that was published by the US Military that I found on my bookshelf the night before we left home. It’s helped me so far ask the woman next to me on the plane where she lived, and it will also be useful if I find myself needing to ask someone their rank and whether this bridge is passable (È practicabile questo ponte?).

As for the Convivio Book of Days calendar for July, it is here and ready for you at our website, a printable PDF that you can print out on standard US Letter size paper, if you wish. The cover star of the calendar is that same sun image you see here on today’s blog post. We’ll be posting lots more pictures of Italy and Switzerland and Austria on Instagram, if you care to tag along with us: you’ll find Convivio Bookworks there (@conviviobookworks) and Seth, too: (@royal_river_pottery).

Have a good month. Buongiornio and guten tag!

The View from Above, or Your June Book of Days

June is here and here, too, is our monthly gift to you: the printable Convivio Book of Days Calendar. For June, our cover star is the plumeria tree in our yard, which is so tall now that it’s rare for us to actually see the bright pink blooms on the tree. We only know the tree is blooming when flowers drift down to the ground. But we need a new roof, and Seth was up there assessing the situation, and from above the yard’s tree line he got a bird’s eye view of the plumeria and that’s when he took the photo that graces this month’s calendar. The plumeria is better known around here as frangipani. In Hawaii, I hear, this is the flower that’s used most often to make leis.  And that’s kind of nice, having a tree in the yard that occasionally sends petals to the ground, like a quiet Aloha.

Enjoy the calendar. It is a PDF document, so you can print it and pin it to your wall, if you are so inclined. It is a handy companion to the Convivio Book of Days Blog, and that companionship is also kind of nice, no? I will do my best to write about each of the holidays listed on the calendar. It is summer, the gentle time of year. May it be a beautiful time for you all.