The 2014 (and Fourth Annual) Summer List

100_0869 (2)As the first day of summer is fast approaching, the time is right for my annual list of things to do this summer. Folks, it’s hard to follow up after ingenious ideas like last year’s #2 (waffle cone Frosty), 2011’s #9 (hug a tree), or 2012’s #1 (drive at dusk with your head out the window but don’t forget to shut your mouth), but for you, I will try.

(For more on the birth of the summer list way back in the Chicago days, check here, and see Summer List 2012 and Summer List 2013 for other ideas for celebrating summer.)

So here goes.

1. Eat dessert before dinner one night. My younger son, also the originator of the ice cream breakfast, came up with this one. Ever pragmatic and in pursuit of the inevitable, I plan to implement this one on a night when LCB and I don’t feel like cooking.

2. Make my own Diet Coke slushie. I’ve cut down on my pop consumption lately, so anything involving Diet Coke just sounds so darn good. The truth is I’m just going to wing it when it comes to making one. I can tell you what I won’t do, however: option #3 on WikiHow. Having to source rock salt, use food storage bags of various sizes, and sequentially combine ingredients doesn’t sound like a fun summer beverage; it sounds like a science experiment. ‘Course, now that I think about it, this would be totally up LCB’s alley. In fact, fifty bucks says the man already has rock salt stuffed away somewhere anyway. It’s probably from 1974 (the man’s a total hoarder), but he probably has it.

3. Try a new pizza topping. Technically, this doesn’t have much to do with summer, but let me explain. Our typical Friday night pattern during the school year is to spend a few hours after school running around accomplishing little, and then crashing on the couch with a movie while LCB makes pizza. So after a hard week of work and an afternoon of hamster-wheeling, I feel I’ve earned a good piece or seven of pizza. A new topping has the potential to mar the culinary experience, and I’m just not up high-risk situations after a long week during the school year. (For further explanation on what I do during the school year, see Things High Schoolers Never Say, and you will understand why it is critical for my Friday night pizza to remain steadfast.) In summer, however, I spend much less time teaching things like achieving sanitary excellence mediocrity, so I’m stronger and more ready to take on a brave new world.

Just for the record, I have no idea what my topping choice will be. This means it will probably be something newsworthy, like pepperoni.

4. Attend an outdoor summer concert, preferably one where you are encouraged to bring food and drink. Growing up largely in the Chicago area, we frequented Ravinia, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a practice I introduced LCB to years later when he moved to the area. We’ve also gone to outdoor concerts on our old island, but haven’t explored all our nearby options on our not-so-new island yet. I’ve decided it’s high time to try.

5. Attend a drive-in movie theater. Summer is a great time for throwbacks, and we’ve talked about doing this for years, so I’ve decided this is the summer to do it. It’ll require a bit of a drive on our part, but I plan to make a day trip out of it. I used to find theaters in my region.

6. 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 I otherwise wouldn’t read, something I’d never teach (no lesson ideas running through my head while I read), and something that’s purely entertainment (no thought required).

7. And finally, this year I’m amending #2 from my 2011 list, which was essentially what I did in Chicago every summer. #2 from the Chicago list is, “Swing on the front porch swing in the morning with a cup of coffee, in the afternoon with the aforementioned glass of pink lemonade, and in the evening with a glass of wine.” I don’t have a porch swing anymore; sometimes I really miss that. But what I do have now is a rocking chair, a rocking chair I love as much as I loved my porch swing in Chicago. So this summer, I’ll rock on the back deck rocking chair in the morning with a cup of coffee, in the afternoon with a glass of pink lemonade, and in the evening with a glass of wine.

100_2906The seating and the views may have changed, but that luxurious feeling of summer remains.

Enjoy your summer, y’all, and let me know what you have on your summer list for this year!


Up next: We Went Off (Really Far Off)

2 Replies to “The 2014 (and Fourth Annual) Summer List”

  1. The bluest eyes comment killed me dead! I can’t even tell you how many “beach reads” that I’ve chucked aside after reading that description. I fully endorse #1 & #7, although everything on the list sounds like fun!

    1. Thanks, Kirsten. I can picture your sons trying #1, at your suggestion of course. 🙂

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