Dear summer … I’m breaking up with you. (jk)
Summer: there are two kinds of people in this world: those who live for summer, swimsuits and suntans and those who wilt when the temps rise about 70 degrees.
I’m a wilter.
Fifteen long, hot, there’s-only-one-season-year-round-never-ending Florida summers, followed by a decade of hot flashes made this rose droop. At my age, shorts and tank tops are out of the question and can we please not discuss the trauma of trying on bathing suits?
I honestly began to dread summer to the point that depression would set in the higher the temperature climbed. Claustrophobia. I got S.A.D. starting in March. But guess what?
Two summers ago it got so bad I knew I had to do something and so I began a Summer Gratitude campaign; each day I would make a list of 10 things to be grateful for. 10 summertime things. Granted, my initial lists were heavily skewed towards food, (watermelon, root beer floats, corn on the cob) but I did my best to give thanks while staying out of the sun as much as possible.
I actually started to like summer. Or at least find it more tolerable. When I went out to get the mail I began lifting my face to the sun to soak up the rays. The heat didn’t bother me as much.
We (gulp) went to the beach in June. I survived and even enjoyed myself as long as I retreated from the heat before noon.
So in celebration of my transformation, I offer you my list of 10 things I’m loving this summer:
1. Ditching the dark colors in my bedroom.
My color palette was stuck in the 90’s –reds and earth tones that had started to feel heavy. A 15-year-old Ralph Lauren leopard sheet, hand me downs, Goodwill finds and an ink-stained quilt rounded out the decor. It was time for another trip to Goodwill –this time to drop off.
I wanted it to feel light and airy, with neutral colors, texture and linen sheets. My friend and I combed the clearance aisles of Homegoods and put together a room that I’m swooning about!
No linen sheets but I found a gorgeous linen bed skirt (lined) along with a yummy plush blanket, and a micro suede pillow. Ruffled sheets and a nubby quilt completed the bed. Patterned curtains coupled with sheers for the windows. An impulsive stop at Goodwill scored a puffy white comforter for FOUR DOLLARS.
I can’t wait for bedtime.
2. Free (or mostly free) books.
When I was a little girl growing up in a small town in Ohio, we had a bookmobile that came every two weeks. My favorite reading spot was the metal glider on our front porch.
These days you can find me loading up at the public library or better yet, picking up a novel or two at our neighborhood Tiny Library.
My book shelves are overflowing with fiction I found at Goodwill (sixty-nine cents for paperbacks) and another stack passed on by a friend.
Now I’ve got to find a vintage metal glider.
3. Dr. Bronner’s 18-In-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure Castile Soap
It was popular in the 60’s and I still love it now that I’m IN my 60’s. Every year when June rolls around or the temp hits 90 degrees, my husband picks up a jumbo bottle for us to use in the shower. It’s fresh and invigorating and feels like summer. I think of this as my hippie soap. Peace, baby.
If I were on death row and got to choose my last meal, I would absolutely request a BLT. First of all …bacon. You’ve seen the video of the toddler taking his first bite of bacon? I rest my case. If you’re serious about BLT’s you’ll order yourself some smoky Benton’s Bacon. Farmer’s market tomatoes, iceberg lettuce (NO arugula or other fancy shmancy greens allowed), Hellman’s mayonnaise (sorry, I’m not a Duke’s fan) and sturdy white bread. Toasted.
I balked at Instagram when it was first introduced; I didn’t get it, and figured it was just another passing teenage fad. But as I began to look for ways to get my writing out into the world it started to make more sense. So this summer, I hired my granddaughter to show me the ins and outs and now I’m an official Instagrammer. When I hit the landmark (to me) number of 200 followers, I was so excited! My husband asked, “So, that’s good?” I laughed and said, “It’s a start!”
You can find me at @susanmariniely. My favorite part about IG is that it led me to the next favorite thing I’m loving this summer:
I’m not naturally a visual person, but I’m working on it. Mainly I’m learning to look for light, for patterns, and for texture. Now when I go for a walk, I take my iPhone and snap pics as I go. I’m not walking as fast as I used to but my soul is getting plenty of exercise.
Next goal: figure out how to edit pictures. That sizing thing… Help!
7. My lime green leaf blower.
Part of what I hated about summer was the mess the mimosa tree made all over my porch. Sure, they’re pretty. For about 30 seconds before they start to decompose and adhere like glue to the concrete. Don’t even get me started on the slime they turn into when it rains. So this summer I bought myself my very own leaf blower. Girls, let me tell you a little secret: the boys have been having all the fun! Vroom, vroom! Bye, bye mimosa!
This is the most surprising of all, especially since I just told you I don’t wear shorts. A while back a friend mentioned that she has a closet full of skorts.
“Skorts?” I snorted. “Those short skirts with built-in underwear? That we wore in kindergarten? They make those for women?”
Not for this woman, I thought to myself. And then while shopping the $1.49 bin at the thrift store I spied a cute navy blue Nike skort. I thought about my thighs, shrugged and snapped it up! We were headed for the beach and I figured it would come in handy.
Guess what? Heads did not turn in dismay when I wore it. Nobody cares what you wear at the beach. It’s so comfortable I wear it all the time! Around the house. You, however, will never see me in it. Just sayin.’ And no, I’m not posting a picture.
This does not come easy for me.
The word relax comes from a root word meaning “loose” or “be slack.” In other words, the opposite of me.
What does relaxing look like this summer?
This is what I’m doing:
* watching as many sunrises as possible/not feeling guilty when I sleep in
* spending more time on the porch
* learning to quiet my racing thoughts
* replaying my video of ocean waves
This is what I’m not doing:
* wearing much makeup
* beating myself up for not being productive (whatever that means)
* going to bed until I finish the book (or my droopy eyes can’t focus)
We tried for years to grow mint, with no luck. Whether it’s the soil here, or our thumbs have finally turned green, we are now over-run with it. I’m finally a believer in the invasive nature of mint. It’s showing up in my iced tea, in my pretty French bottle of water I keep in the fridge, in salads and in my daily protein drinks. I just might try tossing a handful in my shower tonight. Ah…
*Bonus: My friend Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, “The Next Right Thing.”
I’m too restless and easily distracted to listen to most podcasts, but I will sit still as a church mouse for this one. Her voice is so soothing that I immediately start to relax.
Emily is on a quest to help you find space for your soul to breathe. Every time I listen I come away refreshed.
What are you loving this summer? Share in the comments!