Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Thursday, September 12, 2013

...the two most beautiful words in the English language

So, summer comes to a close; maybe it's time for a recap. My first summer off in a long while and I wanted to make the most of it. How'd it go, anyway?

First of all, here's the complete coded countdown: the first image appeared on this blog and the rest just on Facebook, ticking off the days left in summer break. (There was a re-set about halfway through, when I decided that enjoying more summer was more fun than making a little extra money teaching a pre-fall class, dropped the moonlight assignment, and moved my start date back ten days.)


Now, how about those big plans?

"Ranging" as I call it - walking, running, or walk-running - might be counted as the biggest accomplishment of the summer. I have been persistent and consistent, and in fact will run a 5K in a few days to raise funds for lymphoma research. That circuit hasn't clicked that would turn me into one of those "OMG, I just have to run today!" people, but it has become a routine practice.

Likewise exercising. I have stuck with what I call the NY Times exercise plan (because that's where I first read it) as a daily (well, nearly daily) routine for the whole summer. I was slowed down just a little bit by my skateboarding tumble, but I just modified the upper-body elements to compensate and then worked my way back. This, too, will continue.

The ukulele playing has come along well. I'm not sure I'm quite ready for a concert, but I can sure manage five or six songs without mangling them too badly. I'm still playing with a limited repertoire of chords, but it's growing as my muppet fingers learn to contort themselves a little more. I feel I have plateaued a bit in my understanding of music itself; we'll see if there's a breakthrough anytime soon.

Longboarding has been both a great success and a mild disappointment. I took to it a lot better than I thought I would, and even did a three-mile jaunt one morning. I just haven't given it enough time compared to the other goals. Too bad, cuz I look so rad doing it. And boss. And hep.
Le sigh. Drawing has been the biggest challenge, the activity in which I feel the Gap Effect most strongly. I'm not sure how to push through that membrane of disappointment into a more productive space, and I fear that an ill-suited workspace plus school demands will cause this one neglected to be over the next few months unless a new strategy can be found.

Of course, the summer has not all been all self-improvement. I did work a bit, teaching an online class during summer session and attending a three-day workshop in what has become this academic year's main non-teaching duty, High School to College transition.

We have also had some friends experiencing serious challenges, and have been fortunate enough to be able to spend time and resources helping out.

And there was tons of fun: I have been running a kickass D&D campaign with a great group of players, I had a visit from my niece and we got to meet her family, we made a trip to Spokane to watch minor league ball with dear friends, we made it to Coco's family cabin in the woods for a day, and we got to spend time with a pal visiting from Spain. And I actually read books made of paper!

As today was the last official day of summer break, I tried to make it pretty representative of this summer: exercise, a walk through the ravine, a trip to the park with Coco to read and play with the ducks, and some frozen yogurt as an evening treat. Bottling today wouldn't make a bad vintage at all...

This is what happens when you take a poet to the park

and also this

and this too.

And now summer is, for all intents and purposes, over. I imagine that the blogging and the tumblring and the tweeting will slow down a bit, especially in Fall quarter, which promises to be particularly busy. It has been a great ninety days. Thanks to all my friends, in the real world or the virtual one, for helping to make it so.

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