The Summer List 2016: Final Tally


As the sun goes down on another summer, it’s time for the final accounting: when I look back at my list of things to do for the season (which I haven’t touched since first publishing it months ago) and see how I made out.  This year, I tried to keep it rather low-key.  I knew that I was moving and that I might not be able to do as much as I normally would try to squeeze in, amidst the whirlwind of closing out one job and starting another, closing out one life and starting another.  But I was raised a New Yorker (even if I consider myself a Virginian now) and New Yorkers believe in maximizing the sunshine and squeezing every bit of fun they can out of our all too brief summer season.  Since I have to be me:



  • Run the 50 Yard Finish 5K.  Done!  I huffed and puffed through it, but I crossed that finish line.  Apparently I got my medal handed to me by the Buffalo Bills’ kickoff kicker – who knew?


  • Eat lots of summer fruit – watermelon, cantaloupe, stone fruits and berries, get in my belly!  Done!  Picture above from our berry picking adventures over fourth of July weekend.  (We left with a flat of raspberries – that we didn’t pick – and a small handful of blueberries that we did.)  But while picking wasn’t spectacularly successful this year – I’m holding out high hopes for apple picking, though – I made sure to always grab summer fruit from the farmers’ markets or the grocery store, and I definitely ate my fill.  I even did a little baking – stone fruit compote, I’m looking at you.  Actually, I’m not looking at you, because you’re long gone, and you were delicious.

high rising wild strawberries summer half

  • Dive into Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire novels.  I’m calling this one done, because I’ve read four so far, including three that are set in the summer months – High Rising, Wild Strawberries, August Folly and Summer Half.  Looking to get a few more in before too long, as well.


  • Get back into the habit of buying my produce from our local farmers market.  Done!  I’m not getting every produce item from the farmers’ market, but I’m working on it!  I’m really making an effort to live as seasonally as possible, and buying from the market is a big part of that.  Hope I can continue building on this practice into the fall and winter (Virginia markets are year-round!).


  • Spend a weekend (or longer?) at the beach.  Done!  I was hoping to squeeze in at least a long weekend, but I did it even better and managed an entire week between moving back to NoVA and starting my new job.  We spent eight glorious days soaking up the sunshine and salt air in Virginia Beach with my BFF, Rebecca, and her family, and it was magic.

Look into getting a bike trailer for the kiddos.  Can I call this done if I have a trailer picked out and just have to buy it?  Maybe something to do this fall.

  • Resuscitate my balcony herb garden.

cider with rosie

  • Read Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee.  Done!  Cider with Rosie spans all the seasons, so it doesn’t have to be a summer read, but for some reason I always thought of it as a warm weather book.  I read it on my metro commutes and several times, found myself surprised to have reached my stop, I was so deep in Laurie Lee’s boyhood memoir.


  • Stock up on bubbles, sidewalk chalk and other fun outdoor toys and let Peanut go to town.  Done!  We got bubbles and sidewalk chalk, and dug out the bikes too, and the kids have been having a blast playing out in the warm air.  It’s easy to get them out, because Nugget in particular is obsessed with being “Out-siiiiiiiiiiiiide” – he will stand at the door and whine to be let out, like a puppy, and once I even caught him calling “Outsiiiiiide!  Outsiiiiiiide!” in his sleep.  Peanut is more of an indoor child, and often needs to be dragged away from her nice climate-controlled bedroom – I think Nugget is going to be a good influence on her.  I’m thinking that in future years, I should stock their Easter baskets with outdoor goodies, and have that be the Easter Bunny’s specialty (rather than candy).
  • Take the family on a weekend visit to Ithaca and Watkins Glen.

Soooooo… Not too bad!  We never made it to Ithaca, and I sort of suspected I wouldn’t be able to get the garden going, what with moving and all – that is something to do next spring, for sure, though.  But I’m pretty pleased with the rest of the list!  I made lots of time for fun, and made sure to do the simple things that make summer what it is – like shopping the farmers’ market and eating plenty of delicious seasonal produce, too.  And now it’s time to turn my attention to fall, and all the good stuff that the new season brings.  Fall list coming next week!


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