Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Highlights

As summer comes to a triumphant close and the kids conclude their second week of a new school year, I reflect back on a fine three months. My summer highlights in order of occurrence:

1) Alaskans. My brother and his two daughters visited from Bethel, Alaska and stayed the whole summer! They bunked at our parents’ abode, a 30 minute drive from us, and we saw them every weekend. That was super getting an opportunity to gorge on these folks because we typically get them for only a week or two every year.

2) iPad acquisition. Wife Klem gifted me an iPad, or iPal as we sometimes say at home, for Father’s Day. It’s a fun toy whether you’re a video gamer, like to read books and newspapers electronically, or enjoy watching movies on a neat portable screen with super resolution. For me? It feeds my video game fix and I stream movies from Netflix. I know, this does not have the waft of a titan of industry, but I have embraced my humanity. When we go on vacation, though, I leave the iPad behind to give myself a break from its enchanting affect.

3) Movie watching. My boy’s interests are morphing and growing up. Not grown up, but growing up. We now watch movies together with a shared interest rather than choosing a child’s movie obligating the parent to please the child. Sure he still likes movies that are geared to kids, but he also enjoys End of the World genre films (i.e., 2012 starring John Cusack) and space alien-related films, both goofy (i.e., Men In Black) and scary (i.e., Skyline). We’ve got more movies slated for viewing that we’re both looking forward to seeing in due time (i.e., Cowboys Versus Aliens, Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and War of the Worlds).

4) My sister got married! It was a very fun weekend seeing her calmly and cooly orchestrate her wedding shin dig and enjoy herself. I never saw the smile leave her face the entire weekend as if there was no stress or pressure. Oh, yeah, and I like her husband and am pleased to be able to call him brother. The wedding ceremony by the pool with the rolling hills as a backdrop and the wedding churros and mousse, because wedding cake just isn’t enough for a foody.

5) Swimming. My daughter learned to swim this summer! She is rumored to have swam a few feet under her own propulsion last summer, but the results were inconclusive and were not repeated. This summer, though she clearly owned swimming! It’s a relief knowing that if she takes an accidental tumble into a body of water she’ll be capable of swimming to an edge and getting out.

6)Washington state vacation. Wife Klem’s people live in Washington and we eagerly go every year. The typical daily routine: a delicious breakfast, a hike, lunch on upscale sangwich fixings, swimming, nap, a top shelf dinner, and a movie at night topped with a beer! Also mix in a few beach visits to look for sea glass plus a bike ride. Those, my friends, are the ingredients for an above average vacation heavily loaded in favor of relaxation.

7) NFL lock-out was resolved. I dig watching professional football. The emotional swings, the highs and the lows, over the course of a three hour game at relatively low consequences make each game, or most games, a fun experience regardless of who’s playing. Fall and winter would be knocked down a notch without the boost they receive from the NFL. Maybe this sounds like silliness, but I will dig it from September through Super Sunday in February, then long for its return next September.

8) Pacific Grove vacation. We go to Pacific Grove, near Monterey, California, every year for a family vacation; my parents, a brother and his family, relatives in the Bay Area, and, if we’re lucky, additional family from out of state. [We scored the Alaskans this year, which was big!] A week of daily family walks along the coast, thrift shopping, an auction, sea glassing, horsing around with family, and enjoying cool overcast beach weather when the temperature at home reaches into the 90s and higher. Plus, a few fancy desserts of caramel apples and gourmet cookies enhance the high esteem enjoyed by Pacific Grove.

9) Dungeons & Dragons. My boy played D&D for his first time while we were in Pacific Grove (me, him, and two of his uncles). My guy really got a kick out of it. So much, in fact, that I’m in the process of studying up on the rules so that we may go adventuring again just the two of us. It takes hours to play and the rules are very involved. We have Christmas break slated for a D&D adventure. This is a turning point, of sorts, as mentioned above about sharing movies with an equal interest. This is a turning point in that we are sharing the fun equally rather than the parent simply orchestrating play time for the child.

10) Figs. Our neighbor dropped off a batch of figs last week and they were delicious! The day after I finished the last fig they brought another batch, larger than the first! This evening I ate eight figs. A delight, was this consumption! Nine more remain to be consumed tomorrow. At which point my fig inventory will be extinguished and I’ll be clamoring for the next drop off.

Life is grand!