Thursday, August 05, 2010

Things to Like About August

I think I came up with the midpoint for the new book last night/early this morning. I've done just about all the research I need, with just a little more reading to do on a couple of topics. Next I start the world building and outlining.

I took a short walk this morning -- very short because even before 8 it was still warmer than was comfortable, so I turned back pretty quickly. Still, short is better than nothing. I started to make a list of things I'm looking forward to in the fall as a coping mechanism to help me get through the current heat wave. Then it occurred to me that maybe I'd be better off listing things that I enjoy about August. It's better to enjoy where I am than to wish for time to fly. So, here's my list of good things about August.

1) My birthday.
I know I'm at an age when I'm not supposed to be excited about birthdays, but I figure they mean I'm still alive. I've really enjoyed birthdays in my adulthood since having a summer birthday is a pain when you're a kid. I always kind of envied the kids who had birthdays during the school year. They got a fuss made over them at school and they often got to bring cupcakes for the class for an in-class party (something they probably don't allow these days since that takes away from preparing for the standardized tests and sugar is so often banned). Or they could pass out invitations to their parties at school. With a summer birthday, at the most you got a group "summer birthday" party. If you had a party for your friends, you were limited to inviting the kids you had contact with over the summer, and even then, people were often out of town on vacation at that time of year. Since I was in a military family, we usually moved during the summer, so I'd just moved to a new place right before my birthday. That rather limited party opportunities. Even if we hadn't just moved, my friends might have just moved, so there wasn't anyone to invite. I'm pretty sure I came out on the short end of presents, though I guess I came out ahead on cake consumption. But once I got into the working world, I got to have parties at work, and at most places I worked, instead of me having to bring cupcakes for the class, the office provided the party (at two places, there was an office birthday fund in the budget, and at one place we had a birthday roster where each person was responsible for someone else's birthday). Now I don't get a birthday from my co-workers (the plants don't really celebrate birthdays), but it's fun getting greetings from bunches of people I don't even know. At my age, I don't really care about presents and giving and receiving them can be awkward, but I do enjoy at least a little bit of fuss.

2) Fresh fruit.
I love fruit, and this is the peak time of year for it. There's watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and cherries. I eat some kind of fresh fruit in just about every meal, and I've come up with fun ways of using the fruit. My new favorite salad involves greens with strawberries, walnuts, feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette, sometimes with grilled chicken for a main dish salad. Then there's a fruit salad with watermelon and blueberries with a squeeze of lime juice. A couple of days ago, I used some cherries to make a sauce to go with a grilled pork chop. Cherry cobbler is divine. And one of the best combinations ever is fresh cherries with Blue Bell Dutch chocolate ice cream.

3) The swimming pool.
I really should take to the pool more often because I do enjoy it when I do. Our pool area is surrounded by trees, so it almost feels like I'm a naiad swimming in a forest pond (I'm a fantasy writer, so I can't help it). I really like it when there's been a wind that's blown pink crape myrtle blossoms into the water. That adds to the fantasy effect.

4) Summer TV.
Summer used to be a TV dead zone, but these days, some of my favorite shows are summer cable shows. There's Leverage, White Collar, Warehouse 13, Haven, Covert Affairs and the PBS Mystery series.

5) Summer movies.
The big special effects blockbusters tend to come earlier in the summer, but the chick flicks hit in August. Meanwhile, the blockbusters from earlier in the summer are hitting the dollar theater, and last summer's blockbusters are hitting HBO.

6) Armadillocon.
I'll be going to Austin for Armadillocon at the end of the month, and I'm turning it into a mini vacation. When I was in college, I thought that the hotel where the con is now being held was the ultimate. One of the organizations I belonged to had special events and brunches there, and I wanted to stay there someday. I did stay one night there on a business trip about ten years ago, but I was barely there. This time, I'm staying an extra night so I can enjoy the last day of the con and get some rest before the drive home. That should also give me some nice hotel time to relax.

7) The return of some fun activities.
Ballet starts again in August, as does choir practice. While I've enjoyed having the free evenings, I also enjoy doing those things.

There, that's enough things about August I can appreciate. I think that should get me through the month. And now to go play some more with zucchini and tomatoes. Today it will involve Italian parsley and penne.

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