Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer, this week
















This was our seventh week of summer break.

The heat has been brutal for the past two weeks, but it seems as if relief is in sight for the coming week. We will finally be seeing some more monsoon activity. This has been an unusually hot and dry summer so far. Everyone is feeling fed up with it. Unfortunately, our break from the heat will contribute to a scary-sounding "heat dome" situation for the Midwest. I hope it doesn't get too bad for people there.

We're eating a lot of cold foods nowadays, just trying to keep the house and our bodies cool. Our tomatoes are plentiful enough to have a few almost every day, though I still buy them at the store too. I make green salads or tomato-cucumber-basil salads most nights for dinner.

We did bake this past week, partly to keep busy but also because we felt like cookies. We made jam thumbprint cookies with our own homemade raspberry jam. It was just a small batch (this is my favorite recipe for thumbprint cookies) and they were delicious. I refrigerated them to keep them fresh and the jam drops got nice and firm, like soft jellybeans.

During the week, I really enjoyed this post about vacationing in Beirut in the 1960's, before the city was devastated by war. It's of particular interest to me because my mother's family, who are Syrian American, often vacationed in Beirut in that era and I've always tried to imagine it as the glamorous place it once was. That's a really neat blog, by the way, lots to see and learn.

The kids went back for another session of swimming lessons. We'll be there this week as well. This session is quite sparsely attended and I've got the shady knoll pretty much all to myself. It's thirty-five minutes of cool, breezy bliss.

We attended the final week of the library's summer reading program. There are still three-plus weeks until school starts and I wish they had more activities to help pass the time, but library budgets are not exactly fat these days. I understand, but still...summer break is long. We'll go to the library anyway, activities or not. The kids have both been reading a lot this summer, especially the GB - her nose is almost always in a book. It's wonderful to see.

My pirate ship cross-stitch is so close to being finished. I'm just adding the final bits of "water" detail under the ship now. I hope to have a finished, framed project soon. There's birthday-gift work to get started on.

The GB found a large clutch of empty snail shells under a wild grapevine in the arroyo. She was picking them up by the handful to save in a bag. They're really interesting; no two are alike.

I'm really enjoying these quiet summer weeks, spent mostly at home in swamp-cooled air, with short trips out for groceries, library books, swims and occasional coffees. My kids are getting older and are better at occupying themselves during the long days, which has been good for my relaxation. I'm feeling so anxious and ill-at-ease with the news and everything going on right now. I'd like to shut off and ignore it all, but I don't think that's realistic. I do my best; I tend to listen to the radio more than I watch TV, which helps. It's all just nuts - the elections, the violence, the political unrest here and abroad. Just in the time since I began writing this post (I stopped for a trip to Costco), there was another mass shooting of police officers. I just don't know what to say about that. I will say again that I'm trying to use the computer less, because it's tempting to click over to the news or - at the very least - the weather (I can torment myself with bad news in any number of ways, just try me), so if I'm scarce, you'll know why.

I hope you're having a good weekend. We're staying home the rest of the day, having gotten the Costco chore out of the way. I'm going to make iced tea now. We're grilling some pork chops and asparagus for dinner and looking forward to our Sunday night PBS watching party for two. I'm really enjoying this show Dancing on the Edge. Have you watched it? It's very good; the Bear is quite possibly the most avid John Goodman fan alive, and as usual, I'm in love with the period costumes.

I leave you with two summer songs from my adolescence, just because I've felt like listening to them lately: this one because it's about, well, summer. And this one because I once heard a radio DJ announce it as "the ANTHEM of the summer of 1995," so obviously it's of major cultural importance.

25 comments:

  1. Taking it easy in your heat is the only way to go. We had our first (ish) hot day today with paddling pool fun at a friends with so many other friends we haven't seen for ages. It was brilliant. We all went to Young Farmers Club together in our youth, got married, had children and now the kids just sort of slot in together with children they rarely know but know they have a connection to. Blissful. Take it easy. Jo xx

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  2. It's a lovely feeling to get home for the day isn't it. I always heave a happy sigh. I know what you mean about the news. I have just been looking at the BBC news website in fact. When there's not fresh horror abroad we have our tumultuous political situation which has new drama every single day. I am on a news diet at the moment. Just a short amount each day. I can't listen to the constant dissection of every single thing.

    A two day heatwave is due here tomorrow. It won't be anything like as hot as it is with you but we will all talk about nothing else, we all get terribly exercised by any anomaly in the weather over here as you know. I shall be following your lead with cold foods. I hope you have another good week of summer. We have only one week of school left now, the excitement is building! CJ xx

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  3. I just followed the "heat dome" link and was amused to see that your news channels are as alarmist in their weather predictions as ours, the difference being that your heat waves are actually really dangerous. (Not a year goes by without "Arctic blasts" or "blistering heatwaves" being predicted by the British media, neither of which ever happen.)

    I love your photos, which exude relaxed summer heat and long lazy days. I hope the heat breaks for you soon. Xx

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  4. Wow that is really hot, I find that kind of heat exhausting it sounds like you are all coping with it well. I can't bear the news at the moment. I used to listen to it in the radio but I don't switch it on now it is just not suitable for young ears any more. I catch snippets online when I remember.

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  5. Love all your photos, Jennifer. I was hoping that July might be hot here - or even warm would be nice. It's not. It's cold - even for Scotland. I keep thinking "maybe this week" but it doesn't look like it. I suppose we should be grateful that we don't get as hot as you do - but a wee bit heat would be nice!

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  6. Lovely photos, Jennifer! I find the heat to be absolutely exhausting. We have very hot and humid summers here in the southeast - I'm not a fan. I'm also making iced tea (peach) we seem to not be able to get enough on these hot days. Your dinner this evening sounds delicious! Have a great week!

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  7. If you could send me a bit of your sunshine and heat and I could send you a bit of our clouds and cool temps we might both think our weather perfect! Yesterday I went to Seaside Beach on the northern Oregon shore. Although I had layers of clothing on to keep warm and I kept my back to the sun when it dared to shine I somehow came home with a bit of a sunburn on my face!
    In spite of the conflicts we learn about in the world, your current summer days remind me of mine with my kids...good times that I hope will continue. xx

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  8. As always, I enjoyed the photos! I love seeing your summer progressing.
    We are supposed to be just on the outskirts of the "heat dome" and are supposed to have temps in the low 100's. I'm not ready!

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  9. I am really enjoying your summer posts. I began drooling over the thumbprint cookies with raspberry homemade jam.. they're gorgeous! I am also frustrated by the violence we're seeing and hearing about.. way.. too.. often. I'm just glad we live out in a rural community. Cities seem less safe as each day passes. All we can do is spread love. And you do. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  10. Your summer holiday sounds idyllic - so relaxing. I love the photo of your daughter reading in bed. E was lying in the hammock reading yesterday - after months of exam stress it was lovely to see. Enjoy your shady knoll! xx

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  11. oh my that heat.......... the news story is terrifying. I hope you can stay cool till the storms come x

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  12. When I was a teenager a girl from the Lebanon joined our class, escaping the horrors of Beirut. In my all girls' Catholic school she was a breath of fresh air from exotic climes but of course her presence meant that her home country was being torn apart. I travelled widely from the late 70s until the birth of my son in 1993 and sometimes I cannot bear to think of what has happened to countries I knew and loved. (My son has inherited my wanderlust and is currently travelling through India. I am following his progress via my Atlas and his Instagram feed.) But is it any worse now, or is it that due to technology we are constantly fed a diet of news so it seems as if the world is going to hell in a handcart. I get my news from the Guardian and Observer newspapers and a little bit from Radio 4. I find television news unnecessarily graphic and alarmist and I never use the Internet to follow news stories as that is even worse. As other correspondents have mentioned we are experiencing a mini-heatwave in the south of the U.K. Temperatures are forecast to reach 30 degrees centigrade, which is fine by me. In truth I'm quite excited as this evening, under an almost full moon, I'm going to my local heathland common to watch the nightjars. The smell of pine and bracken will fill the air and I will imagine I am on a Mediterranean island. Despite the heat it sounds and looks as if you are having wonderfully relaxing holidays Jennifer.

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  13. We are just coming into the summer holiday period where schools are breaking up this week locally, so it will be busy around here as I live by the coast. We are also having a little heatwave although nothing like the heat you get, which I am enjoying. Salads seems to be on the menu daily with little additions from the garden. You certainly seem to be having a good summer.

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  14. Another really enjoyable post about your summer holiday Jennifer. Your pirate ship cross stitch is looking fantastic. All those neat stitches awakened a little notion in me to do a cross stitch project, I haven't done any cross stitch for years. I clicked through your links, and the piece about Beruit is fascinating. It looks so glamerous, so sophisticated. Tragic what has happened there, yet we never seem to learn, and instead find new ways to kill each other with every passing year, or, as it seems at the moment, every passing week. X

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  15. We are doing the same with heat, just keep ourselves and the house cool, eat light and a lot of water to drink. Your summer snaps are very lovely. really enjoyed them. The global situation is so bad, I don't know where all that will lead us...
    Wishing you all the best
    Olympia

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  16. Our schools haven't finished yet and our summer hasn't really got going either, though we're predicted our hottest day of the year tomorrow, not sure if that'll happen or not, the forecast is wrong more often than it's right. It sounds like you're having a great summer break with just the right amount of activities to keep the young ones occupied but give you a rest too. Looking forward to seeing the finished cross stitch, it's looking good.

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  17. While you are suffering from extreme heat we are having what I think of as an English summer here in my corner of BC. For the past month we have had cooler than normal temperatures (this has not been true for the rest of Canada), and buckets of rain. Interesting about Beirut. I had a high school teacher who was from Egypt, and his wife was from Jordan. He used to talk about how Beirut was the Paris of the East. Hard to imagine now.

    I hope you enjoy your remaining few quiet summer weeks before the busyness of school returns. I'm with you about spending less time on the computer. I'm doing the same, for the same reason. It's just too easy to click on a news link to check in with the latest headlines.

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  18. Your salads and those cookies! Yum! I think I'll visit your house. I would curl up with the GB and read books, sit in the shade and cross-stitch with you and enjoy eating all of the treats with the BB as I imagine he likes them as much as I would. :-). I agree with your comments about the news. I turn it on just long enough so that I'm informed about events, but then off before they overwhelm me. Our weather has been fairly cool so far, but a heat up is predicted for this week. I prefer the cool! Thank you for your comment about the Ramsey courses. You're right of course. If you live within your means, life is so much more manageable, peaceful and comfortable. Much less stress. I'm glad you and your husband have figured that out while you're young. I know many people who will never be able to retire because they spent what they didn't have, over and over again.
    Blessings my friend,
    Betsy

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  19. I am waiting for our own 'heatwave' (it will be in the mid twenties, centigrade). I do hope you get relief from the heat very soon, I know how much you like the autumn. I restrict news to the headlines or the 5 minutes radio news at the full hour, enough to not be ignorant but not too much to bear. I find reading blogs like yours greatly helps to keep anxiety at bay, it is good to see normal and happy lives. I'd love to eat all of your salads, just beautiful. Have an enjoyable week my friend. xx

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  20. Wow -- just 3 weeks until school starts again? How can it be? I feel like I'm just getting my summer started! It sounds like you're having a wonderful, relaxing summer. And I'm a little worried about the heat dome thing -- we're supposed to hit 97 on the weekend -- with our humidity, that will be a killer. More sewing time for me LOL!!!

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  21. Your summer sounds wonderful my friend. I miss those days with little ones, swim lessons and library time. Now with work I am as frantic as ever, but Little Buddy is having his swim lessons at home and is doing really well with them. Enjoy,
    Meredith

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  22. Sounds like your days are full with all good things and your description of watching swim lessons in the shade is leaving me with envy (ours are inside here). Hope it cools off for you soon. The stitch is looking great.

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  23. I'm really enjoying your slices of summer series.
    I'm one of those in the Midwest (northern IL) and yes, it's hot here! Tomorrow through next Monday will be in the 90's with heat indexes well over 100. The temps here wouldn't be so unbearable if it weren't for the awful humidity we have here. I've been eating a lot of salads, too.
    I don't watch the news on TV, nor do I listen to it on the radio. And I mostly avoid it online. I can't take that kind of negativity and stress. I try to focus on positivity and spreading kindess instead.

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  24. Your pictures look so fresh and summery - especially the salads. We have been enjoying lots of salads too, with cucumbers from my mum's garden.

    I have saved the cookie recipe and hope to make them with Emily at some point in the holidays.

    It was interesting to read the article on Beirut. It is a shame we only hear about the terrible things happening there. I would love to know more about how the ordinary people are getting on with their lives.

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