Winding Down: The End of Summer is Here

Winding Down: The End of Summer is Here

Some areas across the nation have already started back to school! I know this from listening to the news, reading social media, belonging to a teacher blog-writing community, and talking with friends.  Here, in the upper mid-west, our summer is not quite over, but it is close.  Most districts have two to three more weeks until students arrive back at their desks, ready to learn.

As the years go by, summer seems to go faster and faster! This summer was no exception. Although probably busier than most summers we have had, I feel a sense of accomplishment as this one comes to a close. My husband and I took our very first, week-long trip alone, since our honeymoon – thirty years ago!  Our sons have kept busy – the youngest finishing up an online course, which he has diligently spent 2-3 hours on a day since the Monday after school got out – even he said he feels tuned up for his first AP class experience that will start in September!  The traveling soccer league he belonged to is over and done with for the season and perhaps for good for us. It was exhausting  and not truly necessary to be driving two and a half hours to a large city to compete against teams than might not be more skilled but were definitely more cohesive than ours.  But, just as that ended, the high school team started having captain’s practices and contact days with the coaches. We are in the middle of “training camp” which has constituted 9 hours already just between Monday and Tuesday this week. By the end of today, another 5 and a half hours on the pitch will be completed. Between the mental demands from the online class and the physical demands of the soccer, our fifteen year old needed a three-hour nap yesterday for the first time in years!  It almost felt as if he were two again, with all of us checking on him periodically!

College visits have been underway. It just makes sense to use the time over the summer to get to some of the prospective campuses rather than take a day from school once it starts.  Our middle son will be a senior this year! He has been employed for over 12 months, kept up good grades, learned to enjoy working out at the YMCA, helped to win a tennis team conference championship – which continued into the summer, and fine tuned his 3D printing – software – coding skills over the last year. Currently, he is printing a pin-hole viewer for us to use during the solar eclipse next week. I even got a hug before bed from him last night, and a chance to tell him how proud he makes me!  However, he is a worrier – like me, and the state of the world weighs on his mind.  His final year of high school will go fast (we have been through a senior year once before), with memories being made on a daily basis that he can hopefully look back on happily when the future arrives and he is a college student.

Our oldest was just home for a visit. He graduated from college this past May, Summa Cum Laude, no less!  He blossomed during his university time and has elected to pursue a PhD in Statistics. His program starts on Monday.  I am excited for him!  Employment during the summer was split between two research labs, checking on goats, being with friends,  and developing his own areas of interest to pursue in the coming months.  A couple of week-long visits home were squeezed in along with a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, with his Aunt to celebrate his successes – which have been many.  The trip was well deserved!

Early summer and mid-summer brought the death of both of our beloved cats.  They were fourteen and blood brother, barn cats.  We are pet-less now and I can tell you it is still an adjustment, especially for me. I miss them. I miss caring for them, loving them, and receiving their love in return. Yet, I know we are not ready for new pets. Not yet.

Our house siding project is coming along. Hopefully, it will be finished by the time the weather turns cold. Our fruit has been coming in all season – first cherries, then blueberries, now plums, and pears. The harvests have been plentiful and they keep us busy processing the fruit. We have learned that ripeness turns to rot if you wait too long!

I have had a tiny amount of time to work on jewelry making – a hobby of mine. But, I also took a summer graduate course that was grueling and did not end until early July.  So, my time has been somewhat limited. I am itching to get back to more creating.  For the first time ever, I am really not sure I am ready for my fall semester of classes to begin!

Yes, our summer has been busy and fulfilling. I think we all have a sense of accomplishment. I know, in many ways, we have been enriched by all of the activities and challenges. But, summer is winding down. Our town’s local festival – Kornfest – is this weekend. To us, it signals the end of summer is near and the school year is about to begin. I think we are ready!

 

 

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Musings on Mid-Summer

Musings on Mid-Summer

Sharing some thoughts on a mid-summer morning.

  • Wicked weather in the mid-west, repeats itself often with severe thunderstorms living up to the warnings that precede the wrath of their horizontal rains.
  • Flash flood warnings at 2:20 a.m. waking you from a restless sleep.
  • Books being read. Books being finished. Books being started. Just read.
  • Beginning to look forward to the new school year, not back at the last.
  • Squeezing in some gardening on hot, humid days, if only for a few minutes.
  • Picking blueberries in my own backyard for the third time in a week.
  • Teaching our youngest how to drive and not having to grip the side door any longer!
  • Weeds, weeds, and more weeds.
  • Homegrown vegetables starting to ripen. Tomato. Eggplant. Pepper.
  • Myriad of milkweed patches minus caterpillars eating the leaves.
  • Soccer on green fields turning brown as the days shorten but the temperature remains hot.
  • Tennis on steamy, heat radiating courts, racquets slipping from hands greased by sunscreen.
  • Time to pursue hobbies – creating new jewelry, publishing curriculum.
  • Appreciating local art and artists.
  • Looking at backpacks on Amazon, wistfully realizing we missed the fantastic deal on Prime Day.
  • Walking with friends, two times a week, even if it is 95 degrees – our own form of “hot yoga”.
  • Getting ready for vacation. Or returning from vacation.
  • Dreaming of pink sand beaches and turquoise water.
  • Considering colleges.
  • Cleaning out dresser drawers.
  • Popping your bike tire, knowing the construction has taken its toll on your form of transportation.
  • Being thankful for patch kits.
  • Being reminded to wear a bike helmet, even if your friends do not.
  • Safety first. Coolness Second.
  • Checking on goats at 9:30 at night and realizing they need water.
  • Preparing for the summer course mid-term, even when you do not want to.

This is life. This is summer. Soon, the season will change.

Slice of Life: Anxiety vs. Relaxation

Slice of Life: Anxiety vs. Relaxation

Today’s post is truly a slice of my life. I am buried in work for my grad class on Advanced Interpretive Media Design. This will probably be the most busy week of the summer for me. My final project is due, along with the regular week’s worth of assignments. So far I am not all that optimistic that time will be on my side. There is a lot to do and seemingly not enough time to do it. This is the problem with a perfectionist personality! This is time to do it adequately but not time to do it in an excellent fashion. Why this continues to bother me when I am this old is beyond me!  It is ingrained in me to strive for excellence.

Life tends to move on when one is preoccupied with a task. This is also what is happening to me now. Our cherries have ripened all at once. They need to be picked! I have carved out a limited amount of time to do that. But, once they are picked they need to be processed – that takes time, too.

firstharvestbackcherries2017

Our youngest son has two soccer games this week. My husband and I will probably split the duties on those, but since he works on the day of the second one and it is in the Twin Cities, that responsibility will fall to me.  I am trying to get as much done as possible to be able to go without undo anxiety that I should be working on my final course project, due July 2nd.DSC_0351

My sister, and her family, who I dearly love is coming in from out-of-state for a visit. We will be hosting them at our cabin in the Northwoods this coming weekend. Ideally, I should be making some meals, and planning activities. In reality, I have purchased non-perishables, including a lot of wine as well as white t-shirts and tie dye kits. I really would like to visit with out a lot of pressure to turn in my week’s work (all due, July 2nd).

The school district committment that I wrote about earlier this week, is Wednesday night, make that tomorrow night. I woke up today feeling like I should cancel attending due to the pressure and anxiety I am feeling about getting my coursework done. I will decide tomorrow morning whether I can keep that committment.

It is mid-summer, a time of year for reading good books, lazing around, campfires, and long walks. I cannot say I have done much of that yet.  I did only get 5 and a half hours of sleep last night and it was not because I was doing something fun. I am very familiar with anxiety and insomnia.  When I do not sleep well, I do not function well.   Earlier this morning, I was trying to move something with my mousepad on my computer and realized I was touching the table instead!  This is not good! It is uncharacteristic for me to say this but, I really think “I need a break”.  My course ends July 9th and I will be so glad it will be over.  This is a slice of my life right now.

 

Cheers to Summer

Cheers to Summer

Summer evenings are time to enjoy sitting in your yard, surrounded by beautiful flowers, enjoying a glass of wine from a local vineyard. Who wouldn’t enjoy this?

Cheers!

summer wine sippingWhat do you do to relax in the summer?

Construction, Construction, What’s your Function?! Frustration!

Construction, Construction, What’s your Function?! Frustration!

Our town is full of road construction right now. It started mid-April and is in full swing. We are outgrowing our infrastructure and thus, the roads are getting widened, grocery store chains are building new, improved, larger stores, and more housing developments are developing! Needless to say, it is frustrating to get from one end of town to the other.

On Tuesdays, I walk with a girlfriend for just over an hour.  We trade routes every other week, and this week was my turn to drive to her house and walk in her neighborhood. What is normally a ten minute drive was a 30 minute drive yesterday. The roads near both of our houses are ripped up, constituting a drive out-of-the-way to reach each other. Almost there, it started to rain. When I got there, we walked anyway, in the rain.

It was a wet, but enjoyable, quiet relief from dodging the orange cones and noise of the jack hammer.  I needed the relaxation and so did she.

The worst part is that I find people are driving very haphazardly! Is it due to all the rain? Is it due to the construction? I do not know for sure, but some of it is due to impatience.  Frustration and impatience are on the rise for the drivers in our town as we battle this construction during this spring and summer.

Just today, on the way home from buying annuals to plant in my garden, two nearly close calls had me gesticulating from the driver’s side of my car, while I watched an SUV approach me too rapidly from behind after I made a turn. I am not sure they had even seen me approach. I was turning left from an arm of the intersection that has the right of way.  This is a very strange intersection in our town. It is a three-way stop at a four-way intersection. What is usually an area that has a slight amount of risk in passing through, has grown exponentially in danger since the construction has started.  This is where I was almost rear-ended today. The driver caught my surprised gesticulation and backed off, accordingly. No vulgarity was involved.

However, almost immediately after that, another vehicle made a right hand turn in front of one of our school buses that was signaling a drop off with flashing red lights and a retractable stop sign that was extended.  I am hoping the bus driver caught her license plate. She definitely knew what she did and slowly pulled over – which was probably another dangerous decision, given the time of day.

I was glad to return home, safe. I have to be honest here and disclose that I am not a fan of all this growth and parallel need for construction in our town.  I will be more than happy when the construction ends and has no function, leaving us with wider – hopefully safer, roads on which to drive.