Summer Wish List 2013

Now that it’s officially summer, I think I’d better get my fourth annual Standing in the Shadows summer wish list going (here’s the third). However dreamy these ideas sound, be assured I won’t actually get to some impressive chunk of them. However, it’s nice to wish and it’s nice to remember summer holds so many incredible possibilities. What I do get to do I will be glad to do. And that’s really the point of summer: that warm, bright, sultry, slower time encourages us to pause—and maybe to delve into new territory, too. A little of each goes a long way.

Also? By nature, I’m much more comfortable with routine and summer takes a great deal of consistency away. So, I love the light-filled days and struggle with the changeability. That’s just how I am and how it goes. And here we are.

Old Friends’ Farm peonies

1. We don’t belong to a CSA this year. I did go pick strawberries already and I plan to keep on picking my favorite things. Right ahead of me: sugar snap peas and blueberries.

2. I’ve realized I get a little uncomfortable on the bicycle, but I do plan some bike path riding (with my family or friends). The possibility exists to team a ride with an early nosh at Coco.

3. At this point, summer and making jam have an equal sign between them. I’ve begun and plan to continue. So far, strawberry rhubarb seems just peachy, but peach will be plenty peachy when the time comes.

4. Visits: orchard, farmers’ markets that aren’t “mine.” There are some new farm stores cropping up, too.

5. Do as little of the carpool driving as possible, but when I do it, enjoy the chatter and perhaps buy people ice cream (in the afternoon, not the morning).

6. Bitten by the Zumba bug, I will surely go to plenty of Zumba classes. Zumba and yoga, which is another love, are surely the yin and yang of exercise. I’m into both. Go figure. I do look forward to a few fantastic runs sprinkled in there, too.

7. If you count swimming holes as pools, lakes, and ponds, yes, yes, and yes. We will spend time at and in the water.

8. Although I said I would get through Andrew Solomon’s amazing and epic Far From the Tree by the end of 2013, I would really like to finish it this summer.

9. The truly epic task that is clearing through stuff and organizing, well, that is of course on my list. It’s both have-to and want-to. When things are less cluttered, there’s a little more room for happiness. I don’t oversubscribe to this notion, but I do like my house better. Since I live and work here, to like it is to be a bit happier. That’s just how it goes.

10. I have seen the Mo Willems’ show Seriously Silly at the Carle Museum. It is beyond worth a trip. I will bring friends and kids, even friends’ kids. I think the perfect way to go will be on the bus. I doubt a pigeon will be driving it, but you can’t have everything.

11. Iced Tea. Frozen grapes. GoBerry. You sense a theme here.

12. After lo these sixty million years of parenthood in dog or rat years finally crack the bedtime code.

13. While I’m at it, work hard to become a teenager whisperer—or at least subdue the grumpiness that adolescence seems to bring (yes, this is an attempt at politeness and restraint; I am, so they tell me, the grown-up).

14. Get 24 hours without any family member in sight. That’s the only way I stand a chance at the last two items on my list.

15. Between the new Pigeon postcards and my friend Colette owning a store that sells great stationery—Essentials is the store—I have in my possession a great stash of new cards and postcards. I have stamps. You get the idea.

Vintage photo from JE pickup.

16. When Remy goes to Journey’s End Farm Camp for two weeks, I will direct a great deal of mail his direction. My average is one note or postcard per day. It’s his fourth summer there so I may slow down. I may not.

Vintage Letter from Remy

17. Even if it is a rarity, we have a date night plan to see Before Midnight. We’ve seen the other two. I guess we’ve been together a while. Beyond this movie, more time with him is on my priority list—summer and every season. He’s that cool.

18. A long overdue project is to get many photographs printed. I might even put some into small albums. I am taking ideas for favorite ways to do the latter.

19. Around here we have amazing and hi-larious children’s theater (Paintbox Theatre). We’ll go to all three shows. We’ll tell everyone we know to go to all three shows. I hope to see some other performances too (New Century Theatre, Double Edge, who knows what else or where else).

20. Start Saskia on a very simple read-aloud chapter book. Before that, I seem to be spending some considerable energy trying to decide which one should go first. Dick King-Smith is likely to get the honor.

21. Figure out the rising kindergartner’s afterschool schedule. This involves logistics like transportation, babysitters, my time, friends, and gymnastics. The big unknown is how easily she adjusts to a new school and new schedule.

22. If—more like when—a movie I am sure that one or both teenagers have to see comes to Popcorn Noir this summer, go.

23. Find every outgrown sneaker that belonged to my ten year-old and get it out of the mudroom.

24. Buy him some more shoes that fit. Or find some via his somewhat bigger-footed friends; he needs some muckety shoes for camp and river swims.

25. While I wait rather impatiently for the return of “Homeland” and “Nashville” and “Scandal” (oh, I could go on, but I won’t embarrass myself), finish “The Americans” and continue through “Girls” (we’ve watched the first season). Obviously, I will listen to Lennon and Maisy more than I will admit, too.

26. Get all of us in the photo booth together.

27. Get some Polaroid-esque camera for pretty much the same reason as the photo booth yen.

28. Encourage the teen chef to grow his own herbs. This was on last year’s list. Like a New Year’s Resolution, sometimes you need to keep at it in hopes it’ll stick. This was my experience of flossing; it took a while to lock in the habit. This teen tells me (via wellness class this semester) that flossing extends your life expectancy.

29. For me, to hold a baby is grounding, happy, and delicious. I have a new nephew I must go squeeze very soon (and often). Leo is grounding, happy-making and delicious. Truth is, toddlers, small children, and bigger children and teens enrich my life and sometimes it’s through the chance to know kids of all ages (not only the ages my kids are) that reminds me of this.

Ione above. Hootenanny below.

30. It’s our summer of Hootenanny. I go with Saskia and camera. What a true delight this is.

31. It is also the summer of the playground and the yoyo.

Photo credit: Ellen Carter

32. Remy and his friend Gabe have developed a habit of early morning explorations in the neighborhood when they have sleepovers. The other evening, I took a little stroll with one teen at dusk. To walk at different times of day is like plucking something wonderful from your closet; you didn’t know you had such a gem right there. To walk, just because you otherwise you don’t find the sunset or the cool air in your closet is to waste the opportunity—or something.

33. Write.

34. One place my work shows up this summer is on Brain Child’s blog. FYI. My focus there is adoption.

35. Help organize the Pie Contest to benefit Tuesday Market’s Food StampsX2 efforts. The actual event is in September, but we are already at work on the project.

36. The solstice-cum-super-moon has wreaked havoc on our household’s sleep. Get more sleep.

37. Grill peaches. Add corn. Go for the impromptu gathering with friends model. Summer is for hanging out.

38. And turn fifty! I have a day planned, and like my summer list, a pile of things I hope to do this year, just because I’m so fortunate to be here to enjoy—and all else—my life.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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