As is tradition, every summer I make a list of extra small ways to carpe diem, if you will, the summer season. This year, I thought I’d divide my list into four categories. The first two, Fun Favorites and Weird Favorites, are taken from past lists. The last two categories are my new ideas and Baby-Girl’s new ideas for the summer of 2016.
Fun Favorite Ideas:
1. Fall asleep on the hammock out back. Drifting in and out of sleep is also wonderful, but doesn’t count. You must completely let go, fall asleep, and wake slowly to the sounds of nature around you. (I recommend doing this when your LCB/significant other isn’t around, because I don’t consider waking to the sound of his/her voice, as entertaining as it is, to be the same thing as waking to the sounds of nature.) (2011)
2. Read a book with a beach theme and without any literary value whatsoever. I’m personally thinking of targeting one of those books where the heroine leaves either her dark past or her suburban condo and heads to the beach for a week getaway that turns into a lifetime getaway when her transmission goes out right after she arrives. As she begins to examine her life while waiting for her transmission to be fixed (the auto shop is short-staffed and has a hard time sourcing a new transmission), she also imagines remaking herself in this small beach town and begins exploring possible ways to support herself there, like by buying the purple bed-and-breakfast for sale or by opening a small art gallery for tourists. I suppose it’s inevitable that she meets a good-looking local who installs transmissions by day (think of the potential in that “when they first met” scene) and teaches graduate classes on the Romantic poets by night. Naturally, she’ll only discover the night gig later, after she’s wondering why she, a woman with OCD tendencies, is so attracted to a man with dirt permanently embedded in his fingernails. Hopefully, he at least won’t have “the bluest eyes she’s ever seen.” (I once interned in a fiction department at a small publisher where I screened initial manuscript submissions. I can’t tell you how many men and women there are in the world of fiction walking around with the bluest eyes ever seen by man. I’m not sure whether this particular blue-eyed species exists in the real world, but they are alive and kicking in the would-be novels arena.) The idea, anyway, is to read something you otherwise wouldn’t read (nothing teachable in my case), and something that’s purely entertainment (no thought required). (2014)
Weird Favorite Ideas:
1. Hug a tree. You heard me correctly. This is simply a nod to the Anne of Green Gables books that filled my girlhood. This also has to be done covertly, because in my case, if LCB witnesses one of the hugs, he would fall on the ground in deep spasmodic laughs that likely would rupture his gut. (2011)
2. Walk around the yard at night with a lantern.
Somehow, I have this image of myself walking barefoot at night, with a long white dress trailing behind me in the breeze, going about my business throughout the yard. Since we have virtually no yard and since I don’t garden, in truth I really have no legitimate business there. But I could pretend. It just sounds so…I don’t know, interesting, so different from my life now. It makes it sound like you stepped fresh from the pages of a literary work written during the Romantic period, minus the crazy woman locked up in the attic who’ll at any moment burn down the house, or dying on the boat ride to Camelot, or any other such inconveniences. (2013)
3. This one’s courtesy of Baby-Girl: “Dip your feet in water for an hour, and while you do it, do something fun like read a book. And also, dip your hair in a little bucket of water.” (2015)
My New Ideas:
1. Catch lightning bugs with the kids. Put them in properly stocked and ventilated Mason jars. Let the kids fall asleep with the jars by their beds, and then release the lightning bugs after the kids are asleep. You could even experiment with colored Mason jars.
2. Take a portable fan out on the deck or porch. Bear with me here. This would, for the most part, be a waste on the island, where breezes abound. But one afternoon earlier this week, sitting on a deck that was very much off-island, I couldn’t help but think, “This heat would be so much more bearable if we just had a breeze.” Summer in the South can get hot, but the ocean breeze just changes things. This got me thinking about how placing a portable fan nearby on the deck would somewhat simulate the island experience and it might increase your outside time.
3. Create the perfect ice cream sandwich. I rarely eat ice cream sandwiches, but recently it dawned on me that the reason why might be that I never make them myself. What if, I thought, I experimented with using my favorite cookies recipes with my favorite ice cream? Currently, my two favorite cookie recipes are chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and brownie cookies, and two current ice cream favorites are Haagen-Dazs and Harris Teeter All Natural in varying chocolate and vanilla intensities. Chocolate intensity is huge in my dessert world, so I’d experiment with the right ice cream/cookie combination to achieve the correct level of chocolate intensity. You could even make a bunch of these in varying combinations with family or friends, let them sit in the freezer for a while, and then divvy them up into wedges for a group taste-testing.
Baby-Girl’s New Ideas (Her Words):
1. Someone draws a picture for everyone, and they have to make a story out of it in a certain amount of time. The person who draws the picture gets to judge who has the best story. If the artist (the person who draws) also wants to write a story, then someone else has to make a picture so the artist can also write a story. (She hasn’t really determined how the judging will work in this scenario, so you have free rein here.)
2. Have a dark day where we turn off all the lights and close the shades and get little candles or flashlights and do everything like that. Pajamas, slippers, pillows, stuffed animals – I have a lot of them – and covers are optional.
3. Have a day where we all talk in one accent for the whole day. If you’re talking to an important, new, or nice lady or guy, then you can talk normal.
For other ideas and past lists, you may want to look here:
The Summer List for 2011
The Summer List for 2012
The Summer List for 2013
The Summer List for 2014
The Summer List for 2015
Happy summer of 2016, y’all!