Mid to late August, it happens.

The back to school flyers weigh more than the news/travel/ and sports section combined.

My 14 year old daughter sighs and shakes her head-“I don’t know where the time went.”

Cunningham pool posts it’s last day. Sunblock goes on sale.
I look up from everything
To wonder how the hell that happened.

The pool might close,
assignments might be due,
but the sales are going to run until it’s time for Halloween.

Summertime is time out. Time off.
A day at the beach. An hour by the barbecue. An afternoon with a good book.

Some time at the park with your kids, grandkids,
or a bunch of dogs you’re babysitting,
spying on them on the swing in the playground,
wondering where the hell time went.

I don’t know where you’re at in the journey,
but I can pass this on.

The beach doesn’t close.
The barbecue doesn’t care if it’s Monday, November, or 4 am.

Cunningham pool shuts down,
but there’s ponds, kiddie pools,
the ocean, the bay,
and the bathtub,
all offering different water temperatures and dining options.

We can move thru life
At summertime slow,
Or fall frantic.
It’s still August, my friends.

No one is going to run out of pencils.

You don’t need to start wearing fall until January,
orange is not on the runway this year.

Revel in flip flops, sundresses, and shorts of all shapes,
until knees are blue.

Stay barefoot whenever you can, have something on hand
in case you want to enter a store, a restaurant,
or have an appointment with a court officer, or a prospective employer.

There are beaches, and the water is warm.
If the sharks bother you-
There are lakes, kayaks, italian ice, baseball, drive-ins, eating outside, eating takeout from the boxes in bed while watching Netflix, bike paths, hiking trails…

These are my summer time things.

I want to say- to myself- as much as you-

It doesn’t have to end because
the bus pass came in,
or a leaf turned,
or your son graduated high school, and all his friends are going to college,
and you want him to get ready for fall.

Summer is here.

It will not leave
until we mark
it in pen
Or email a colleague
Likely to note
it’s expected departure
On the calendar.

There is time
To call your family.
Text your friends.
Light a sparkler. Go dancing.
Sing along to the radio.
Roll down the top.
Roll down the window.
Laugh out loud.
Wish on a candle.
Look at the clouds.
Buy a beach towel that
means something.

Everything else goes by so fast, everything else-

This year,
Let summer last.

We don’t need to infringe
on the Fall season-

those that love the fall,
or make their living selling leafblowers, pumpkins, and autumn colored towels-
I respect their needs too,

I am just asking for a little room
to prepare for what needs to be done
in September.

There is work to be done in September.

This year,
I need a little extra time at the beach,
Before what comes
After Summer
2018.

Today, 730 wake up, kids home from school, I’m off for interpersonal communications. Three hour class lecture covered syntax and hopi indians and the n word. Next, work study, I am the woman responsible for making sure the students of Quincy College know Jesus is coming to speak to us about the importance of voting, and there is a creative writing club whose leader has promised to bring snacks to 

the first meeting. And I tidied up the lounge. And I replaced the tape used on fliers in the past with sticky goo. I worked until four.
Then, two frantic conversations later, I had to pick one kid up from the bus, and get another to football… Do you have your water bottle… What you mean you forgot your helmut? You need your helmut? Your phone? You need your phone at football practice????
Picked up. Dropped off. Picked up. Dropped off. I am truly a modern day suburban glacier.
Home to get ready for a benefit, Date night with my daughter. Dress, make up, brief attempt at making my hair look like a style instead of just hair, I need to learn how to make a chignon… Katy looked great, she is eight, she knows about accessoriess and the dangers of too much blush. 
We are in the car in fifteen minutes. Dressed and smelling really good and then, we are pulling into the parking lot of the t, and… no cash. I begin my evening begging the parking attendant to let me slide an envelope thru his window with the $5 parking fee after they close because we are running late. I guess he likes my hair, or he thinks I’m really pathetic, or he will agree to anything because as I beg him, three other cars pull in behind me…
We park the car. I dig out an old tee ticket from the summer and we fly thru the turnstiles, Katy still loves a ride on the escalator,
We take the red line to the green line. We walk from Copley five blocks to the Copley Marriot. Katy and I are both in high heels but they are wedges, our feet don’t hurt too bad and we are excited. We are in the city. We are going to a benefit. We have tickets waiting, and there will be music, and dinner and dancing.
And there was. For a few hours, there was music by Bernadette Peters, and dancing by a swing band, and sliders and shrimp and wine and Shirley Temples. It was a lovely night. 
On the way to the t, I remembered to hit the bank machine. When we got back to the car, I remembered to slip the cash in the envelope and leave the envelope in the booth where the parking attendant was sitting just a few hours ago.
I was a princess tonight, even if it was just for an hour or two. And princesses always keep their promises, even when they are really, really tired from a long night of dancing.
And princesses in 2012 make sure they go home and blog about keeping their promises even though they were really, really tired after a long, long night of dancing and a long, long day of doing everything else.

I recently returned to college with the hope I might eventually figure out what I want to be when I grow up. In the course of this journey, I’ve studied math, computer science,  two subjects out of my comfort zone, but I think I met my nemesis in the form of a course called Anatomy and Physiology, no, it’s actually Applied Anatomy and Physiology, ( does this mean we have do dissect frogs, or are we going to play doctor?)

I have a quiz this week, but I when I sat down to study, I was seized by a very, very unfamiliar urge. I wanted to clean my house.

It was quite a bender. I washed the walls, I took everything out of the refrigerator, wiped the shelves, then re -organized it’s contents. We now have a space put aside for cheese, I’m happy to say. But the highlight of my afternoon was when I tackled the  receptacle in my kitchen known as the library box. On the bottom I found, buried under Highlights magazines, National Geographics and takeout menus, a “Mom’s Got It Together Calendar”. On the cover is a picture of a very happy mother, I assume, and a sticker that says “keeps the family in order”. Along the bottom it promises “Stay organized- so you can play!” It is a 24 month calendar good from September 2010 thru August 2012.

I had a golden opportunity, and I blew it.

     Tonight called for a long, leisurely stroll around Turner’s Pond with Sophie, Katy, my eight year old, and her two friends, Thanh and Tue. We took off around 6:30.
     The sun glowed orange and red, the girls raced on ahead playing tag, i think. I was listening to Michael Frante on headphones. From time to time I’d pause for the awkward conversation between fellow dog walkers that happens while our respective dogs sniffed each other’s respective butts.

      At the end of the walk, I left the girls to collect the Wonder Pup so I could catch up on Words with Friends and beat my mother, (another story.)
      Suddenly I heard “Sophie’s looking for something…” Next “Sophie’s chasing chickens. Mom, she’s chasing the chickens and I don’t think they like it.” Immediately followed by “Sophie’s in the CHICKEN COOP!”
     Let me make this clear, I don’t take my family and my dog walking on a farm or anywhere near a farm. This was Turner’s Pond, where at best I thought she’d chase some ducks. Ducks who have wings and know how to use them. Maybe some geese, who might teach her a lesson and bite her on the nose.
     So when I sprinted thru the woods, I had no idea what I was looking for, I was just following the sounds of little girl screams, an occasional bark, and some panting.
     Set back from the path, there it was. A chicken coop, and just outside the coop a yard, the whole thing all neatly penned in with chicken wire. “Katy, where’s Sophie?” “She’s inside.” I lifted the roof of the chicken coop, and there she was, in a space about the size of the inside of a very small oven, accompanied by three very scared chickens.
     Katy ran away crying. Sophie looked at me and tried to wag her tail, though it was difficult, given that chicken coops, by definition, are on the small side. The chickens cowered, Sophie wagged and smiled. She was ready to settle down for a sleepover with poultry.
     “Tue, Thanh, help me!” The girls lifted up the roof the chicken coop so I was able to reach in and pry Sophie, all 52 very reluctant pounds of puppy, out of our feathered friends home.
     The sun was down by the time we left the Pond, Katy’s tears were dry by the time we left the pond, and on our way home from the pond, I promised Tue and Thanh a trip to the yogurt bar.
     But not tonight. I’m still looking for long and leisurely, so right now, I’m heading upstairs for a bath. Tomorrow, I’ll go apologize to the chickens.

How do you like it?

September 17, 2012

Sophie, the pup, prefers water from the toilet. Bijoux and Mamma, the cats, love to sip from glasses left on the table intended for humans. I’ve never seen Whitey the bird drink, all I know is she likes her H2O clean. (Which explains why that is the one spot in her cage she hasn’t used as a toilet.) Sammy the Turtle uses his water dish as a means of escape, he likes baths more than beverages.

Colin and Katy like their water delivered to them, five minutes past bed time. And it must be cold. Most nights they don’t get it, but they seem to be thriving.

I like to gulp water right from a gallon jug, 20 drinks and I’m done for a while. Sheldon likes cubes so he’s in charge of refilling the trays.

It’s funny. We all get thirsty. And each of us have entirely different ways of quenching that thirst. For the most part (excluding Colin and Katy’s demands, I mean, every single night, 5 minutes after I have tuck them in,) each preference is indulged.

I’m not heading for a metaphor, I’m sleepy. I’m not going to break into song about how lucky I am to be an American. I can’t sing, not much rhymes with water and it wouldn’t go over well with the top 40 demographic.

I just wanted to note- water is important. Scientists say so. So does the school nurse, and the trainers at my gym.

So turn off the tap when you brush, leaving it on isn’t going to clean the sink. Don’t flush just because you went into the bathroom to reapply lipstick. If you have to take a bath, share it with someone you love, or someone who smells so bad it is interfering with your quality of life.

My family and I thank you.

6 am wake son

7 am wake daughter

715 am wake daughter again

750 am drop daughter at school bus

800 am yoga

900 am shower

940 am first class this semester, physical evaluations and assessments

1100 am second class this semester, strength training and endurance

1 pm third class… Anatomy and Physiology, the human body will never look the same now that I’ve seen it in quadrants.

255 pm run to car so that I may

300 pm pick up daughter

330 pm go to store

430 pm pick up friend’s daughter

500  pm cook dinner

530 pm eat dinner

535 pm clean up after dinner

540 pm start conversation with kids about why they should help me clean up after dinner.

542 pm kids remember homework they have to do right away…

Etc. Etc. Etc.

It was a long, long day, and I wanted to record it all for posterity, but I’m too damn tired. So if you would like to fill in the blanks and imagine the details- the funny and/or insightful comments I made, or just how great my hair looked, go for it.

If you’re a realist, I usually have lipstick on my teeth.