I recently changed my standard blue computer screen background to an image of the view from my favorite vacation spot. (I hoped it would not only make me smile, but provide a calm, pleasant distraction from daily responsibilities.) My husband and I have traveled to the same place the past five years, where, for a week, we're lost in time. The view is always the same: the deep blue ocean meets the lighter blue sky on the horizon, and the waves splash against the rocks on the beach. An occasional cruise ship is spotted in the distance, and a dozen fishing boats anchor off shore. No banana boats here or airplanes flying overhead advertising the daily lunch menu; the entertainment is spotting whales jumping, sea gulls diving for fish, and lizards sunning themselves on the rocks.

The first year it took me a couple of days to adjust to no schedules and "doing nothing": no phones, no e-mail, no cooking, no cleaning, no driving-no decisions, other than what to order to eat or drink and which chaise lounge to sit in. I bring books and magazines but find myself mesmerized by the view. A few naps, a couple leisurely walks on the beach, and the day turns into evening. Where does the time go? I think about what would have been accomplished back at the office or at home and, with slight guilt, remind myself that I need the rest.

I can barely remember a time that my day hasn't been dictated by a schedule. School and college, work and babies, children's school and sports activities, business appointments, workout schedules, volunteer and community activities, housework-then collapsing into bed. I wake up only to begin it all over again.

I've chuckled at my thoughts for an upcoming weekend after checking my schedule, "Good, I'll have a few extra hours on Saturday or Sunday to catch up," which translates into more hours at the office or a home project. I struggle with the knowledge that the only times I lose track of time is when I'm removed from my usual environment. With no access to the office or home, I can concentrate on the present, regardless of the hour or minute.

I have, however, found myself "lost in time" on the Illinois River, at the Riverfront Market, enjoying a performance, listening to music, even watching the fireworks. Another reminder of the importance of art and culture in our lives: to give us pause for contemplation. Central Illinois has many opportunities to become lost in time. I need the reminder-the screen saver helps, too! AA!