Thursday, June 18, 2009

Full Speed Ahead to Summer!

I know summer doesn't officially begin until June 21, but as far as I'm concerned, Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of the season. It's right around the time my son gets out of school, our neighborhood outdoor pool opens, and the cookout season begins!

When I was a child, summer was a lazy season. The only real activity was the dreaded swim lessons at the high school pool, and the only nice thing about them was stopping at our neighborhood soda fountain, Shaw's, for ice cream afterward. I liked to get vanilla hand dipped in chocolate shell, on a sugar cone.

Shaw's single scoop of pistachio

Beyond swim lessons, my summer activities as a kid consisted of following my mother around on her errands, and reading. I would go to the library several times a week and bring home books by the armload. I loved to sit in my backyard on a blanket under a gangly old tree and read.

The highlight of every summer came at the end, when our town had it's Labor Day weekend Art & Wine Festival. Everyone in town attended, and it was where you met up and caught up with all your friends from school. It was also where I got to see and appreciate tons of hand made art!

My son's having a very different experience of summer. As we moved to Colorado when he was turning 5, his memory is just of our mountain summers. Living at the foot of Pikes Peak means summer days begin warm, then cloud up for afternoon thunder showers and rain, then clear off again to warm, mild evenings. Every now and then we nervously contemplate heading to the basement when funnel clouds are reported -- but they rarely touchdown.

(By the way, this one did touch down and did some damage on Monday in the town my son is camping in! I haven't talked to him, but heard from some of the leaders that the boys spent some time that afternoon in the camp's storm shelter. I am remaining calm.)

There's no humidity at all here in the high desert, and on the plains we live pretty much bug free -- I think I've seen 2 mosquitoes in 7 years at home. No fleas either! But lots of moths, which keeps my kitty busy!

Who, me?

So, summer here means get out to the pool for a lovely morning swim and leave when you're hungry for lunch, before it clouds up. I try to get my son outdoors as much as possible, which isn't always easy with all the fun technology that entices him to be constantly in front of a screen.

We walk the dogs, work in the yard, and catch all the flea markets and garage sales we can! We used to camp a lot but since my son goes on so many trips with Scouts, we seem to do that less as a family now. We love to catch Sky Sox games -- for me that's a highlight of summer!

This year, we're not traveling much; as I mentioned earlier, we're going to visit family in St. Louis next week but no beach vacations or trips back to California this year (*sob*)!

From my visit to SF last summer

I love summer for the gastronomic delights: berries and melons in season, grilled meat, and the fact that I try not to turn on the oven at all, which means creative thinking in the kitchen!

Where I grew up, we had 70 degree weather just about year 'round, and the Bay kept it from ever getting too warm. There was no need for air conditioning, and maybe 1-1/2 weeks TOPS that it was truly hot enough to swim outdoors.

That's what I love about living here in Colorado: we get all the seasons, and you can count on there being several sweltering hot (but not humid!) weeks in the summer, where you can sit out on your patio all evening with your friends, and listen to the sounds of summer -- crickets chirping, kids running around outside, and the random firecracker.

What means summer to you in your neck of the woods?


Jingle said...

Okay...the ice cream pic got me. Now I REALLY want some!!! LOL!

Missie/Crafting with Cat Hair said...

Boy does that ice cream look yummy!!! And what a pretty kitty!

What a nice post! You were a lot like I was: hating swimming lessons and spending way too much time at the library.

Growing up in Florida, I dreaded the summer. It was just too hot and humid. My birthday is in August too, the hottest month in Florida, so I'd always have pool parties, because what else is there to do when it is hot as Hades!

Summer in the Carolinas is not much different than summer in Florida: tremendous heat, humidity, tall grass, and mosquitos! Overall, I am really not a fan of summer. I really can't stand the heat (and cutting the grass). :) But the best thing about living in the Carolinas as opposed to Florida is it is only really hot for three or four months, then the fall comes!!!

Lydia said...

I would read outside in my bating suit tanning, or inside on the side of the couch, or on my bed while my Mom would call me for dinner umpteen times... and we would ride our bikes to the library for concerts , as a teenager, and have penny carnivals, or shows on our patio.

We would swim in my best friend's pool, doing ballets, and eating uglies(pb&j's), or her Mom's homemade chocolate chippers(Nestle's),...ah, yes...that was the life.

Lydia said...

ps- the penny carnivals or shows were in our younger years, NOT as teenagers-duh..:)

Evy said...

Mmm, yes, that ice-cream looks delicious! Makes me want to run out and get a cone right now!

I loved the weather in Colorado when I lived there (lived in Greeley) - in fact, that was some of the best time I've had in my life!

barb cabot said...

It's summer, truly summer when I see a photo of ice cream like that one! WooHoo. I like the fact that you have no bugs. Your son is so your photos. Happy vacation to you all!

Micki said...

Summer in Ireland is usually cool. Love the pics!

Allidink said...

What sweet stories of summer :) Pistachio ice cream is my favorite flavor!!! Yum! It's amusing but I live 10 minutes from the beach and never go haha. I used to when I was younger, when mommy could pack everything and bring snacks and when I got older and had to do all that myself I just realized it was a lot of work LOL. Have a fun summer!

All the best,

Stephanie said...

That tornado pic is amazing. Glad to here the kids made it through safe.
I thought I would have more time since summer started.... I was wrong. I'm hoping to get back to the blogging and garage sales soon.
Take care,

Cherry's Jubilee said...

darn it took my comment!

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Thanks for visiting Blackberry Creek. I love your blog. The pictures of your kids are great. Glad nobody was hurt by the tornado. And glad kitty doesn't have to deal with fleas.

Linda Sue said...

Awesome indeed -that tornado picture- it even smiled for you! WOW! Love this post- feel all summery and of course the ice cream created desire...lucky for me I have nothing in the freezer except old fish...Fish pops- hey I think I am onto something!
Colorado is my favorite state after Washington. Green is nice.

Pretty Things said...

That twister literally sent cold shivers down my back.

storybeader said...

great blog - love the heading! I feel like I really got to know you with this post! Your weather in Colorado sound wonderful! oh, and great pics! {:-Deb