It’s hard to believe that the summer season has come and gone and suddenly it is September already. Well, Summer hasn’t exactly left us, as we are still very much feeling her blazing presence, but the leisure time, the vacation time she brings along has long since gone. Having been awarded an extra day of freedom from my labors this weekend, I decided to grant myself a little digital vacation time. Wandering through photographs from our recent coastal adventure, I got lost in the fascination of exploring tiny worlds through the lens of a camera.
It seems I may have mastered the art of making of a list, but completing a list…well, that’s a whole different skill set. Here I am at Summer’s end, already preparing for a new school year to begin. I had grand plans for my Summer To-Do’s, but looking back I can’t say I accomplished much on my list. I did manage to take a vacation. It was wonderful, luxurious and actually felt like a genuine vacation. When I stop to think about it, I guess that’s actually a rather significant accomplishment in itself. However, after a week of indulging and imbibing with complete and total abandon of our healthy eating habits, it became clear that a certain household project was in dire need of completion. Health and wellness are important priorities in this household and you are probably aware of my special affection for food, but with my healthy ways in disarray I was feeling a slight disconnection. So, I decided it was time to stock up, make space and seek a little solace in The Pantry.
Hello Summer. It’s so nice to see you again, it’s been a while. Oh, and how kind of you to bring along your Excessive Heat Warnings, too. I can’t say I appreciate that…sigh…but, welcome back anyway. I suppose you plan to stay? Well then, I’d say this visit calls for a nice, refreshing beverage, don’t you?
I’d never describe myself as a sparkly sort of girl. I can’t say I have a very bubbly personality. I’m not one to swirl or twirl or brew up fizzy energy. However, in the presence of those effervescent qualities, I can’t help but be affected.
I must admit, the past two months have been a little rough for me. Getting to the end of this school year was tough, but I made it. School is finally out and I find myself officially unemployed for the next eight weeks. With this abundance of time laid out before me, my mind begins the arduous task of sorting through the myriad of possibilities…How shall I spend this precious allowance of time? What to do, where to go, who to see? And so the making of the lists begins. There are the To-Do’s, the Should-Do’s, the Could-Do’s, the Would-Like-To’s, the Need-To’s, the Must-Do’s, the Absolutely-Have-To’s and, of course, the I-Would-Really-Love-To’s. There is something about the making of a list that lures you into a false sense of control, fools you into believing you are organized and misleads the mind into thinking you are on top of things. Unfortunately, the reality for me is a cloudy mess of confusion. I seem to be suffering from some sort of attention deficit issue lately and I am experiencing some difficulty in focusing my priorities. Focus…I bet there’s a tonic for that. Some sort of elixir, a natural remedy to cure this particular malady? Naturally, I chose to begin my tackling of the To-Do’s in the kitchen. Lesson #1: When you find yourself in such an unfocused state of mind, it is best to stay out of the kitchen.
I have never been one to express strong political views or overtly display my patriotic colors, but there is this song that I really love and I always find it especially poignant on Independence Day. You know that Woody Guthrie tune…
This land is your land, this land is my landFrom California to the New York island;From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters:This land was made for you and me.
Well, I don’t know how it happened, but summer is in full swing, it seems. For many months now, I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this “Summer Break” I had carefully planned for myself this year. I have been longing for and looking forward to a lazy summer schedule with an abundance of free time, trips to take, projects to make and some serious catching up to do. Then suddenly it occurred to me that this precious summer time of mine has come and is already slipping through my grasp. With me, it always seems the best-laid plans never quite turn out the way I expect. I tend to be the flexible one in life, always willing to accommodate, usually able to rearrange, happy to change my plans for the sake of seemingly more important priorities. Sometimes I think the universe knows this about me and intentionally takes advantage of my flexible nature. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for I have grown to adore and look forward to those delightful little discoveries that so often accompany an unexpected change in direction.
For ten years now, I have spent my days with little folks, talking about life, the world, what things do and how they work. Together, we have the pleasure of indulging our mutual sense of wonder. I have come to understand that children have an innate love of nature and if that love is nurtured, it will naturally bloom into a love of self and love for others. I watch it happen time and time again, year after year, cycle after cycle. It never ceases to amaze me. So, how can we as parents, teachers and role models, tap into this sense of wonder and instill healthy habits within our children? They are, after all, our hope for the future…are they not? It is a mighty responsibility, an overwhelming task, so my advice is to simply start small. Invite them. Excite them. Delight them in the process. And those healthy habits will naturally become part of who they are.
About this time of year I usually find myself moaning about the unbearable desert heat, groaning about this ever-lasting summer season and wishing away my precious time. This year however, my husband and I decided to make an unlikely escape, taking a break from our typical summer Sierra adventures. We wanted to try something new, so we traded in the alpine lake with that picture-perfect campsite for a luxurious beach house with a never-ending ocean view.
Well Summer has definitely made her way around and seems to be settled in for the season. With temperatures above a hundred we are beginning to wilt around here. Welcome July. There are many things I love about my summer season, but the heat is not one of them. I don’t know about you, but when the mercury rises, my appetite drops. I don’t desire much but sweet summer fruits, simple salads, smoothies and such. So, here are a few suggestions for healthy and refreshing ways to keep your cool in the midst of this summer heat.