Sunday, July 01, 2012

In Which We Find.. Summer

fireworks at Magic Kingdom, March 2012
If I had to pick my favorite month of the year, I would have a hard time. So many different months would be in the running for that title for a variety of different reasons. I could devote an entire post to October, and the way the light changes, how the air crisps up after a summer of heat and humidity, how I love the way the leaves crunch under my feet as I walk to and from school, and then there's the joy of being able to wear my sweaters again. If you asked me to pick my favorite month of SUMMER, however, I'd tell you July in an instant. When you work in education, July is the only month that doesn't have school attached to it. June is mostly full of school, especially if you have missed days to make up at the end, and August has a few days of school at the end of it, and the knowing that you will be going back when the month is over. But July... July is a whole calender page of squares, that when turned, are void of any mention of school. The month that is the epitome of summer vacation. July is a blank page full of hope and promise. Even despite my summer job starting in July (I actually started back this past Friday, because I'm a softy and couldn't say no when I heard they needed my help), July is the least busy of the summer months at our house this year. Actually, the same could be said about most years if I think hard about it. Mother Nature even got in the spirit of things and has given us glorious summer like temperatures to go along with what I consider the official start of summer (it's cold and rainy in June, who calls that summer?).

In the spirit of it all, I have come up with a list of things I'd like to do this summer.
The past few summers have been crazy with work and obligations, and while those things are necessary, I think it's important to plan in some fun. After all, isn't that what summer vacation is for? Here's what I have come up with so far:

 1. Go see a movie at the Northfield Drive-In. I have never been to the drive-in. We actually have two of them within a reasonable distance from our house, which we have lived at now for 11 summers, and we have never been to either one of them. We tried to go see Pirates of the Caribbean (don't ask me which one) one summer in Milford, but we left too late and by the time we got in the gates, they turned us away. That was a terrible disappointment. Northfield is one of the oldest drive-in theaters in the country and next summer they are going to be changing the way they show movies, so I think it's important to get there this summer and see one the "old fashioned way".

2. Go hiking with The Boy™. This one is going to be a little bit tricky, as we will need cooler weather to convince him to go, and it will need to fall on a day I have off, which is Sunday or Monday. Last year I decided that I wanted to start what I refer to as 'Project Hike', which is a quest to hike all of the hills and mountains in NH. He said that he would join me, and I promised that we could start small and local. As we didn't start until late in the year, and then life got crazy and we got winter in October, only 2 mountains are crossed off the list. That's OK. I'm hoping to renew interest in it and cross off a few more.

3. Unplug on Sundays. Yes, I realize today is Sunday, but you have to start somewhere right? During this past  year of hardness, I've turned to mindless internet-ing as an escape and a way to wind down at the end of the day. It's actually kind of sad because I have a bunch of more productive hobbies that I could have chosen instead, but my heart wasn't in the right place to be able to focus on any of those, and so Pinterest, and Ravelry, and the numerous blogs that I read was what I chose instead. It's a bit of a nasty habit to have fallen into, and one I want to get away from. One of the things I am going to do, starting next week, is to unplug on Sundays. No internet, no email, no checking Facebook from my phone. I will check text messages, but only if they are from actual people, which is a very rare occurrence, and only because I get them from my boss, my mom, and my son who is currently living with my brother for the summer. Sunday is one of my two days off, and the only one I get off with The Boy™ unless he chooses to take off a random Monday here and there, and I want to make the most of them.

4. Go to a Swamp Bats game.The Swamp Bats are a college-level baseball team who play locally in Keene. We used to go every summer and see at least a game or two. We haven't been at least the past two summers, and I miss it. Mr. Man informed us a few years ago that he thought the games were 'boring', and I think that put a damper on us being there. That and the few times I scored us some free tickets, it rained. There is actually a game scheduled for Tuesday night, along with Fireworks, which is always one of my favorite games to attend, and I'm going to let Ms. Thang bring along a friend and we're going to the game and she's going to sleepover... so that the next day we can do number five and six on my list which are:

5. Run a Race. It's no secret that last year my running, along with everything else in my life fell apart. I was holding out that 2012 would be my year, and well, we have heard how well that is going. I started running again on Mother's Day. I decided I was done worrying about being underweight, and so long as I was healthy (which I am), I needed the mental relief that comes with running. That, and my body needed the fitness that came along with it. Aside from 2 days, I have run every other day since then, and I can't tell you how glad I am for it. Granted, some of those runs have been awful. The beginning was rough, the days when the humidity is 100% and it's already 70 at 6am are still stinky, and some days I just don't get my groove on. But other days, like yesterday, I can get out there and pound out 4 miles like it's no one's business. That is what I enjoy the most. Those are the runs that inspire me to get up at 5 am and do it again. Tuesday morning Ms. Thang has to do volunteer work for the Interact Club at her school at the Four on the Fourth race in Keene. Being we have to bring her, I thought, heck, why not, and I filled out the form to run the race.

6. Go to the Lake. After the race is over, and she is done serving her time, the plan is to come home, let me shower, eat lunch, or pack it up, and then head to Ware's Grove Beach at Spofford Lake. We haven't been to the lake in AGES, and the weather is supposed to be nice and summer like all week. They are calling for thunderstorms on Wednesday (of course) so this part of our plan might change, but we'll just shuffle it to another day if it does. Early on in our years the kids and I test drove out different lakes until we found this one. It's perfect. We have to pay $6 (the price has gone up over the years, but it's still reasonable!) as non-residents, but the lake is clean, the beach is clean, and it has shade from trees for The Boy™ which was what sold him. It's really lovely and every summer I long to get there, and we haven't in such a long time.

7. Go to the Beach. When I went to the beach back in early May, I realized that I really miss going to the ocean. We have gone less than a handful of times since we moved out here in 2001, and it makes me sad. I'm secretly toying with the idea of taking Ms. Thang's birthday off, packing us all up and heading to the beach for the whole day. There is a beach mass that evening, and if I remember right, Wednesday is the night they have fireworks as well. That would be a bang up kind of birthday if you ask me!

8. Go with C, and her mom, and Ms. Thang to Twinkle Town for some mini-golf. We went last summer, and got caught in the middle of a horrific thunderstorm in the middle of our game. We stuck it out, huddled inside one of the covered holes, and went on to finish our game when it was done, but the owner gave us all a free pass to come back. We enjoyed the whole thing a ton, but decided we needed to do it again, but not on a day when there was a chance of a storm.

9. Bike to Tracie's Farm. It's not a far ride, only 8.4 miles round trip actually, but it's all uphill. Our town was built in an old lake bed (I'm not kidding), which makes doing anything that isn't right where I live in the center of town, tricky. My runs all include hills. If I want to do long runs (more than 5 miles), I go out to the HS in Swanzey. I have biked out I think a mile so far, and holy heck, those hills are killers. I'd love to know the elevation difference between here and Fitzwilliam, but maybe I'm better off not, because I might decide to change my mind.

10. Take more naps. Swing on my swing. Read a few books. Knit something for me. Go for walks with The Boy™ after dinner. Play board games. Drink lots of water. Laugh more. Worry less. Get into a better schedule before school starts. Call my mom. Learn to make gluten free bread. Learn to let go. Slow down.

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