Tag Archives: summer

Happy new year

Everyone knows the real New Year begins the day after Labor Day. January 1st is just a date that brings a new calendar but not much else of significance.

Historically, school starts the day after Labor Day, though many jurisdictions have bumped it to August. Congress is back, Washington traffic will build to its usual awful and the white shoes of those who observe proper etiquette are aptly stored in boxes until next May.

It’s time for resolutions. Last Labor Day, I gave up coffee, but the old demon has dripped back into my life. Time to filter out that and other bad habits that brewed over the summer—the trips to Baskin Robbins, the chips and dips, the carbonated beverages.

It used to be that Labor Day was marked by the Jerry Lewis Multiple Dystrophy telethon, but this year it was a condensed telethon sans Jerry. In honor of Jerry—and because I was a little down—I spent much of yesterday on the sofa, watching a marathon of Jerry Lewis movies on Antenna TV.

Several times over the weekend, I heard from parents who had dropped their freshmen off at college. While sitting with a friend Sunday night, we traded observations about how the college drop-off has changed over the last 30 years.

After filling multiple carts at Bed Bath and Beyond, parents now haul truckloads of electronics, appliances, shelving and bedding (coordinated between roommates) into kids’ dorms, make their beds, set out their color-coded file folders on their neatly organized desks, hang bulletin boards, place their folded tee shirts and underwear into school-issued dressers, set out mailing supplies for writing Grandma, and leave them behind with hugs, tearful goodbyes and as much advice as we can hurl at them while pulling out of the parking lot.

I shared with my friend a memory of moving into my freshman dorm. Granted, I was just moving across town. Regardless, on the night before classes began, I packed one large turquoise pleather suitcase, grabbed an afghan I had crocheted that summer, watched Jerry Lewis sing his ceremonial “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and drove myself to college.

It’s the day after Labor Day once again and I’m looking forward to a happy New Year. It was kind of a weird summer for me, so I’m not particularly sorry to leave it behind. Here’s to a new school year, to resolutions, to fabulous fall fabrics. And to Jerry Lewis.


Filed under Food, Health, Holidays, Movies, Television and Radio


My husband used to say that summer doesn’t really begin until the Fourth of July. I think he meant it in the context of the Dewey Beach calendar, but I suspect most beach resorts look at it the same way.

This summer, I definitely believe it. Even though we’ve already had our summer vacation, it feels as though everything we’ve done since Memorial Day has been an orchestrated lead-up to this week.

Mostly, we looked forward to and planned for the arrival of my brother’s family for the Independence Day holiday and worked backward. Between my work travel, our beach vacation, my dental surgery and a few other obligations, the open time slots were scheduled for buying groceries, pre-preparing meals, cleaning the house, getting the yard in shape, washing the car and making beds. This was the fun part, the anticipation of our visit with our nephews and their parents.

They’re gone now, we’ve done about eight loads of laundry and it’s eerily quiet around here.

It’s time to think about the rest of the summer, drum up some more business, conjure up blog ideas and send belated greetings to a lot of people whose birthdays came and went during the frenzy.

I still have a bit of a junk food hangover. Today will be my day to clear my mind and my body and make the switch over to official summer, before the rest of it slips away.

Oh, and I’ll try and think of something more interesting to write about tomorrow.


Filed under Family and Friends, Food, Health, Holidays

Global cooling

It’s July in Washington. The weather is forecast to be sunny and 90 degrees, with 40 percent humidity, for the next 10 days. Ah, sweater weather!

This time of year, I don’t go anywhere, except maybe the beach, without a sweater.

Now that we finally have central air in our home, I sometimes put my bathrobe on over my clothes.

Don’t get me wrong; I welcomed A/C with open, goosebumped arms. It’s great. I sleep like a baby.

But overall, I feel that air conditioning is overdone. Do humans really need to spend their days and nights in 65-degree temperatures? I don’t know about you, but too much A/C makes my nose run, gives me a headache and makes my muscles ache. Can we just tone it down a little and maybe save the planet in the meantime?

The last office in which I worked was like a walk-in refrigerator. While my burly Norwegian colleague controlled the thermostat on our hallway, our boss came in every morning and did a Mister Rogers ritual, exchanging suit jacket for cardigan sweater. Everywhere I go—the mall, the grocery store, the movie theater, church, any hospital, every office building, every airplane, airport and restaurant—the air is cranked so high (or is it low?) that I can barely function without cover. When I travel, I carry a big shawl that doubles as a blanket. I can’t recall a flight in the last few years on which I haven’t buried myself under it. I’d wear gloves and a nosebag if I thought to pack them.

Are there any environmental scientists or engineers out there who can tell me how much energy could be saved by bumping up thermostats up a few degrees? Wouldn’t businesses also save huge amounts of money? Could we put a dent in our nation’s economic and environmental troubles with a simple flip of a switch?

If you agree, let’s huddle together and make it happen.


Filed under Health, Rants and Raves, Travel

Not so gym-dandy

What’s the temperature in your gym? Yesterday mine was 98 degrees.

Once, when I said something in a post about going to the gym, my son chimed in. “Don’t lie, Mom. You don’t go to the gym.”

Rude accusations aside, he was wrong. I do go to the gym. I don’t go to a health club or a fitness center or a recreation facility. I go to a gym.

Remember gym? Big room, wood floor, retractable bleachers and a basketball hoop at each end?

Yeah, the gym. I happen to exercise at one owned by a local Boys & Girls Club. It’s not air conditioned; typically it’s about 10 degrees warmer than the temperature outside. Not only that, when I work out really hard, it spins around.

This is a pivotal time in my workout cycle. My current eight-week session is about to expire, hopefully before I do. My cue is, when I start to see spots, it’s time to back off.

I dragged myself back there yesterday after recovering from a bout with my respiratory illness. The air was like melting Jell-O. I made it though my one-hour class, motivated by knowing I’ll need to put on a swimsuit and a party dress within days. As if one workout were going to do magic. So I plowed through, periodically stepping outside into the 90-degree heat to take a breath.

I need to find a summer exercise alternative that isn’t going to cost me a flabby arm and leg.


Filed under Health, Sports and Recreation

Summer smellstice

Yesterday The Washington Post showcased, in a photo essay of sorts on the front page, how various cultures around the world celebrated the summer solstice.  Twenty thousand revelers watched the sun rise at Stonehenge, a man in Tel Aviv ran in 94-degree heat as the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea, throngs of yogis saluted the sun in Times Square and, in Tiwanaku, Bolivia, an Andean religious leader made a spiritual offering over a fire in celebration of the Aymara new year.

I made pesto.

And today I awoke to the lingering aroma of fresh basil, one of the signature smells of summer.

A few weeks ago we talked about the sounds of summer.  Now that it’s officially summer, smells are what really get me going.  If your olfactory sense is as keen as mine—even if it isn’t—the faintest of smells can take you on the most vivid of journeys, to a certain time or place.  Am I right?

The first batch of pesto scraped out of my Cuisinart kicks off the season.

What else?  For me, it’s the smell of a lime Popsicle, honeysuckle, Sea and Ski suntan lotion and ripe strawberries.  Maybe a fresh peach.  Definitely a charcoal grill.

I don’t know if they even make Sea and Ski anymore, but I can tell you one whiff and I’d be on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, around 1965, guzzling my Aunt Mary Lee’s lemonade.  Last week a friend gave me a scented candle that smells just like Coppertone Tanning Butter and that took me to a neighborhood swimming pool in 1971.  I don’t think Coppertone even makes tanning butter anymore.  It used to come in a yellowish jar with a brown lid.

Today where I live it’s supposed to be 98 degrees with 90 percent humidity.  While I am out buying lime Popsicles, maybe you can tell me what does it for you—what smells signify summer?  Do they take you anywhere?


Filed under Family and Friends, Food

Sounds of summer

Ahh, the first weekend of unofficial summer.  Imagine this as you sit at your desk today.  You are heading out to your deck or patio for some serious hang time.  Your entrée is marinating, you’ve just lit the grill, your beverages have achieved optimum iciness.  Your favorite friends are on their way over.  You position your outdoor speakers, even if just a boom box pointed out the window. You press Play.

What music wafts across your backyard?  In other words, what comprises the soundtrack to your summer?

I have many different playlists on my iPod and I typically choose according to the crowd.  But if I were stranded on a desert island, with my grilled meat and frozen beverage, of course, and had to choose only, how many shall we say, five songs to groove to, what would they be?

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

  1. Weezer, “Island in the Sun”
  2. Michael Franti, “Say Hey (I Love You)”
  3. Los Lonely Boys, “Heaven” or maybe “Hollywood”
  4. Plain White T’s, “That Girl”
  5. Jonathan Edwards, “Shanty”

If I could have more, I might download a few from a list I found online, Essential Songs for Your Tropical Vacation, but many of those are in my collection already. 

Just for the record, Margaritaville is not one of them.


Filed under Family and Friends, Music