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Archive for the ‘Summertime’ Category

Eating a Whale

The last time I updated this blog, I logged #59 in a list of 99 things to celebrate about Summer. That was two year ago! While last year’s one entry contained much to be grateful for and yes, even celebrate, none of it was specifically summery. This leaves me with 40 items to finish out the list, so I am back to try to eat this whale. And that is my first suggestion for Summer 2016:

60. Eat a Whale. Not literally, but figuratively, as in Shel Silverstein’s poem Melinda Mae: take a big project (like finishing a list of 99 items) and take one bite — check off one item at a time. With 99 days (97 at this writing), Summer is ideal for big things done in small pieces.

61. Sign up for a Summer Challenge. Lots of bloggers and sites offer them — clean cooking, catching up on scrap booking, exercising everyday — on almost any topic for which you’d like to build a habit. Not one bite at a time, but rather one day at a time. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. We have time enough for three new ones!

62. Convertibles and sunroofs: My very first car had a sunroof, my second did not. When I bought my third car, a sunroof was one of the “mandatory” upgrades I wanted. I imagine that convertible aficionados feel the same way about their access to overhead sunshine. Just be sure to wear sunscreen!

63. Screen porch: breezes, a respite from the sometimes-relentless sun, and (virtually) no mosquitoes — what’s not to like. Our little cottage has one and it is a lifesaver for my husband (Mr. Mosquito Bait) and for me (cooler than a deck, warmer than air conditioning. Even the cat likes it!

64. Reruns: Nowadays, reruns of favorite and not-so-favorite TV shows are all over the place, including on line, but it used to be that they signaled “Summer!” New shows were rare in the Summer, and the old ones (with their ads) kept network TV going (and rainy days sane) until the start of the new seasons in the Fall.

65. Now, of course, we have summer-only series on TV. My only personal experience with this is Royal Pains, but I know there are many more out there. And that’s only on TV . . .!


Work In Progress

Work In Progress

Ok, this is the project I’ve chosen to start working on 15 minutes a day this Summer. Very seasonal, yes? I love working on things in season, even though that often means I probably won’t get to use the finished product right away, because the season will have changed before or when I’m done. But that’s OK, because this feels like Summer and that will help to motivate me!

Lighten Up!

#58: At this time of year, we’re in the lightest clothes possible, but what about lightening up our homes? I’ve changed my bedcovers twice since Winter: a lighter quilt for Spring and now a coverlet for Summer. A more formal homekeeper than I might also roll up the area rugs and change the draperies, but that’s going a little too far for me. I’ll settle for the fresh bedding and having the curtains cleaned!

#59 How about some summer freebies to lighten the pull on our wallets? The 11th of July (7/11) is Free Slurpie Day at 7-11 stores and June 3rd was Free Donut Day for 2011 at Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme. Several companies bring out new treats during the Summer, and they’re often free, too. Dunkin’ Donuts ran coupons for free Frozen Iced Tea this year. What will they think of next??

Summer Reading Program

#57 Summer Reading Programs: When I was a kid, my local library had a summer reading program just for kids. We registered every year, listing the books we’d read, and even participating in contests (like the year we built doll houses to represent the All of a Kind Family books). I don’t know if there were programs for adults (what your parents do hardly registers when you are 9 or 10) but there are now, at least at my present library. I’ve signed up every year since we’ve lived here, duly listing the books I’ve read or listened to by submitting book reviews. Using the old book report format of title, author, topic, and “why I liked this book” seems to be a good formula, and no one is correcting them anyway. It’s a great way to get “credit” for your summer reading (you are doing some, aren’t you?).  A couple of year ago, I actually won a prize (movie tickets and chocolate bars!!!) in the drawing taken from that week’s submissions — how cool is that?!? Made me feel like a kid again — like getting an “A” on my book report.


#56. One of the nicest parts of Summer is graduations, or if you or one of yours is a senior, GRADUATION DAY! While most colleges and high school have commencement exercises while it is technically still Spring, here in Virginia it already felt like Summer before my daughter’s college graduation. It was definitely summery the week we attended a friend’s son’s high school graduation party. My friend’s in-laws did a Hawaiian pig roast — yes, in the ground for hours, weighted down with bricks — again, definitely Summer.

My favorite part of graduations, as with all special events, is the presents. Giving them, getting them, exchanging them — I don’t care, I just like presents. (Full disclosure: I dislike shopping for people who are “hard to buy for” (you know who you are!), but a graduating senior is usually not in that category.) For graduations, there are built-in themes to help with the shopping: something connected to the college, whether celebrating a rising freshman or a newly minted alum, or things related to the student”s chosen major or career path, and of course, financial assistance is alway welcome. Our daughter’s gifts (from us) were a new computer (laptops get old and slow after four years of nearly constant use), a stylized print that referenced her college colors and traditions (thank you, Pluff Mudd Designs!), and a tea tray with a cross-stitch of her college seal under glass, all wrapped in the school’s signature pink and green. For my friend’s son, we chose a very nice leather wallet, filled with gift cards to Starbucks (he’s chosen an urban campus), Itunes (he’s a teen, after all), and Amazon.com (where my daughter managed to purchase the lion’s share of her textbooks at deep discounts). A little gift box wrapped in blue and tied with a “buff” ribbon (again, school colors), and it was ready to go.

Even for students who live far away, making shipping a gift impractical, there are way to send something personal. Some college bookstores will ship a gift for you. My daughter received a call from her campus shop to “come pick up a gift” that was wrapped and waiting for her. One year I contacted the bookstore on another campus and they mailed a  purse made of school spirit ribbons to a friend’s daughter who would be going there that Fall. You’d be surprised, I think, by the fun gift items available. Yes, no teenager or young adult is going to have hurt feelings over receiving a check, but why not make it more personal? A gift certificate to their campus shop could be just the thing.

Summer Camp

#55. Go to Summer Camp. Or send your kids. Or go with them as a volunteer. I have mixed feeelings about those overnight summer camps which kids attend for the entire season, but a few weeks of camp is a nice thing, whether sleep-away or day. All the usual suspects: bugs, water, hiking, s’mores, silly songs, and lots of time outside — it’s a good thing to try. If your kids (or you) hate it, no need to repeat the experiment. My best friend goes to camp all Summer long — she’s the camp director for a nature center — and another woman I know goes to a music camps. I’ve also heard of book camp (learning to make books, paper and otherwise) and one Summer my daughter went to a sewing day camp. I’m even seeing signs for science and engineering camps, so it’s seeming like there’s something for everyone. For myself, I’d like my camp to include massages, yoga, facials, and good food. What is a spa, after all, but summer camp (with perks) for grown-ups?

Halfway There!

Well, actually, we are way more than halfway there, but with this entry, I will get halfway to my goal of 99 different Summery things. It’s harder than I thought it would be!

43. Arts or music festival: These abound where I live (outside a major metropolitan area), so I can have my pick of art or music or both. For the past two years, I’ve participated in a music festival. My choir sponsors a summer camp for high schoolers who like to sing and we spend each evening of that week rehearsing a piece that is performed that weekend. The kids also spend time taking music theory and voice lessons. One of the adult member of my choir attends a camp like this just for grown-ups each year. Sounds like fun!

44. Doctor’s appointments: OK, definitely not celebratory, but appointments are easier to get in the summertime, until you get close to back-to-school. By the end of the Summer, I will have spent a solid week at the doctors, either for myself, my child, or with a friend. Not fun, but easier to do now than during the rest of the year.

45. Grilling: Yes, I know this can be done year-round in some climates, but it’s almost necessary in this one. I like my meat cooked, and using the stove or the oven heats up the kitchen. Tonight there are mini sirloin steaks waiting to go on the grill. Sometimes I “jerk” them, but tonight, they are just going as is.

46. Christmas in July, Part 1: I started a new stitching project that has a Christmas theme. This actually gives me a chance to finish it in time for the holidays!

47. Christmas in July, Part 2: All those back-to-school sales are actually a great time to start whittling down your list for the holidays. If you don’t have a list, start one! If you do, think of the money you’ll save and the crowds you won’t have to face.

48. Bible Study: I did already mention taking a class, but I don’t count this as school. Many churches run “summer studies” — short, usually 6-week Bible studies. I found one on the web and “took it” with a friend who lives no where near me. It was great to catch up with her via IM and work together on something that strengthened our faith.

49. Ice cream pie: I already mentioned trying new ice cream flavors, didn’t I? Well, this is not a new flavor — it’s a whole different kind of treat. It’s also a great way to make a dessert without having to cook. My recipe involves Peanut Butter, a chocolate crumb pie shell (no baking — I buy this pre-made), Cool Whip, and cream cheese.

50. Ice cream stands: Many of these are open year-round, but I don’t think going out for ice cream is a fun date for December, at least not where I live. I’ve been waiting for my husband to ask me out to our local stand — so far no invite. Maybe I should ask him!