The 9th Annual Summer List

Well, I’m happy to have an exciting update on my attempt to complete one of the items on last year’s Annual Summer List. Suggestion #4 was to read a book you’ve “spent your whole life avoiding” and even “cringing at.” I mentioned that mine was Moby Dick. This choice, y’all, was not without cause: After making it official to the universe one year ago, I am still only 40% of the way, according to Kindle, through the novel. Here I am, living my best life.

In truth, I was going to try to quickly finish it this month before I posted so I could say I’ve completed it, but alas, other things got in the way, like all the things. In my defense, I’ve been on a memoir binge the last few weeks, and have plowed through:

Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life

Nicole Chung’s All You Can Ever Know

Roxane Gay’s Hunger

Tara Westover’s Educated

Dani Shapiro’s Inheritance

as well as:

Karen Russell’s story collection Orange World

John Williams’s novel Stoner

Celeste Ng’s novel Little Fires Everywhere

Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair (technically a reread, still totally counts)

So I’m still very much practicing literacy. Just not so much with Moby Dick.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, here’s the Ninth Annual Summer List, just in time for the summer solstice and the official start of the season.  As I have before, I asked Baby-Girl to help with creating the list. While she brainstormed, I transcribed her ideas. They went like this:

1. Eat breakfast for dinner, eat dinner for lunch, and eat lunch for breakfast.

I think we’ve added things very similar to this before, but as Baby-Girl pointed out, in millennial fashion, “It’s fine.”

2. Have a potato salad day.

“What’s potato salad day?” I asked. “You know, you just eat potato salad all day. That’s just all you eat.” I sense this will be less popular with some folks. Like, for instance, the folks that don’t like potato salad.

3. Have a fresh day.

Before you raise your eyebrows, she clarified with: “You eat all fresh stuff, like cucumbers, broccoli, salads, and fruits like peaches, mangoes, and pineapple. I mean, I don’t like pineapple but whatever. You can eat smoothies, or anything fresh and great.”

Then, she decided she was overdoing the food aspect of the list. So she brainstormed for a minute and suggested this:

4. Bike to a restaurant and eat breakfast.

“You’re still incorporating food pretty heavily in this idea,” I said. “Yeah,” she acknowledged, but then decided that “it’s okay because you’re burning carbs with the biking.” I chose not to pursue her thoughts on the person who consumes a carb-free breakfast. It would have gotten far too complicated for both of us.

Some of my thoughts:

5. Make a contraption. I went on Pinterest last week and found all these cool contraptions for kids made out of PVC pipes. Some of them, for instance, were attached to hoses, and little holes in the PVC pipes allowed water to spray in various directions, creating backyard fountains and even structures that looked like small car washes for kids (rather than cars). The one pictured above is by, who gives directions on parts needed and how to build this. I would like to be a person who someday makes one of these.

6. Host a tea party. This is one of those “I might feel weird introducing this idea to my friends but it might be fun if I have the right kind of friends” idea. In other words, make it what works best for you and your friends. If you want to wear sundresses and serve petit fours, go for it. If you want to wear jeans and serve wine in your tea cups, all the better.

7. Make colored ice cubes and surprise your family with them at dinner or whip them out at a get-together. You could adjust the colors to go with themes: red and blue for the fourth, team colors on game day, the birthday person’s favorite colors for a birthday party, etc. Sometimes, it’s the small things.

8. Waterproof (as best you can) a paper lantern (or twelve) and hang them in the trees around your house for the summer. I’ve always wanted to throw an evening party and decorate my yard this way but thought it would be a one-time deal since the lanterns are made out of paper. However, I got curious and researched this recently, and found that people have had some success with extending the life of their paper lanterns by applying a water-repellent or waterproof substance to the lantern’s exterior. explains how do this to a pre-made or a custom lantern using Mod Podge Outdoors and a foam brush.

9. Upgrade your hammock. I’ve mentioned hammocks before. Right now I have a swing hammock, but I recently googled hammocks and found many more deluxe versions of the hammock available.

Currently, I have my eye on this hammock from Macys, which is half hammock, half portable bedroom. There is some awesome sleep and some even better daydreaming to be had in this. It is a pricey $2,000, which is why it helps to also consider it a bedroom of sorts. For you risk-takers out there, an alternative to purchasing one would be to try out a pricey hammock in the store for a few hours so you know which one you will buy if money someday starts falling from the sky. This is what’s called the temporary upgrade that also helps prepare you to be an informed buyer in case. It will be an advantage if you are or can make yourself look either elderly or like a brand-new parent. Just saying.

Alternatively, for a quarter of the price, I also found an Enfield Hammacka Chair Hammock to attach to the back of your truck. Basically, two hammock seats can swing from the back of a pick-up truck or convert into a single, full-length hammock. Imagine if they added seat belts and made these street-legal. If they did, I’d love to take a long, slow drive down a drivable beach in one of these puppies.

Well, that’s my list, folks! For other ideas to help make the most of summer, check out the lists from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Happy, happy summer!

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