JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: It's now two weeks after Memorial Day, and no one could say it's not truly summertime. The temperatures in the Northeast have risen into the 70s, college graduations are over and high schoolers will finish marching across the stage this week. Kids are squirming in their seats as the end of the school year nears. Seasonal attractions have reopened, women are pulling out their sandals and getting pedicures, and Farmers Markets are swinging into high gear. Summer!
The possibilities for trips, activities and things to do are endless, and, unfortunately, I often find by Labor Day that I've let a lot of those possibilities slip through my fingers. So this year, I've decide to make a summer bucket list (not that I expect to kick the bucket at the end. It's a sand bucket. On a beach.) I'm going to write down the things I want to do, and as events pop up in the newspaper or opportunities present themselves, I will act on them - buying tickets, making reservation, confirming with friends - and add the events to my calendar. There are always constraints of money, or time, or availability, but I'm not going to qualify any of the items on my list, because once you start to add "if I can afford it" or "when a slot opens" you're already halfway to forgetting about what you wanted to do in the first place. So here's my initial list:Attend a Sea Dogs game. The local AA team plays great baseball - several Sea Dogs alums have gone up to the majors - and is a fun, inexpensive day out.
See at least two Shakespeare plays. We have the fabulous Theater at Monmouth within an easy drive, as well as Fenix Theater performing in Deering Oaks Park in Portland and MaineStage Shakespeare in Kennebunk. The latter two are free! No reason not to catch Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, The Winter's Tale or A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Wiggle my toes in the sand at Old Orchard Beach. Stroll the Boardwalk. Give Youngest money to ride the rides while the rest of us gorge on sausages, fries, and fried dough.
Thrillerfest in New York City!
Float with friends down the Saco River. It's literally less than 200 yards from my house. In a related vein:
Invite folks over to barbeque. We've always struggled with a beautiful yard and garden area that had nowhere to host grilling parties. No more! Ross and The Boy have already broken ground on a slate patio large enough for a fire pit on one end and the grill and its acoutrements on the other. I can taste those burgers already.
I can think of more, but that's enough to be getting on with. How about you Reds? What;s on your list for summer?
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Finish novel, finish novel, finish novel.
Is that a little obsessive? OK, swim in ocean off Naranganset with the family, have a lobster roll at Aunt Carrie's, staycation in NYC (housesitting a Tribeca loft large enough to roller-skate in) and take Kiddo to see Les Miz for the first time. Watch fireflies in the courtyard at dusk!
LUCY BURDETTE: Finish novel, finish novel, finish novel LOL! Also brainstorm new projects. Visit John's family in Maine. Visit friends at Long Pond, MA. Make choux puff pastry stuffed with coffee creme and covered with chocolate or caramel. Read more--yikes if you could only see my pile!! Play a little golf. Have a drink or two at the beach. In other words, find time to relax:).
HALLIE EPHRON: Wish we had fireflies... when I was in Ohio last summer they were everywhere and it was magical.
This is a good exercise, because the only summer list I’d made so far goes like this: 1) replace the washing machine 2) get new garage doors 3) paint the house 4) replace the heating system 5) replace the storm door …
In between I hope to have some fun, starting with food: - Steamers and a lobster roll and onion rings from Tony’s Clam Shop on Wollaston Beach
- Burnt caramel ice cream from Toscanini’s in Cambridge
- My mother’s barbecued spareribs made here at home
- Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, and corn, corn, corn when the local crops comes upI’m won’t be at Thrillerfest but I will be at Book Passage’s Mystery Writing Conference in Corte Madera and Writer’s Digest’s annual conference in New York.
The icing on this particular cake will be my high school reunion in Beverly Hills – probably a genuine bucket list item.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Finish novel, finish novel, finish novel. I will be SO happy when I do!
We have a backyard pool, and one of the best things about summer is getting a blow-up raft, and a book, and some frozen lemonade. You clamber onto the raft, and read, floating around the pool, looking up through the tall leafy trees to the blue sky. It is so peaceful!We are going out to Tanglewood in August, to hear the Boston symphony (including YoYo Ma playing Bach!) We're heading to the Cape for a weekend with friends, and will have a dinner in P'town. And I have SO many book events! Love that. I'll be at Thrillerfest, but only on Friday. No time!
I cannot wait for the delicious tomatoes and corn--we love to grill them outside. And the kids are coming for the 4th of July-so we'll have lobsters and champagne and proseco and watch the fireworks from the Esplanade.
Oh, Hallie, I went to our 40th reunion like, ten years ago. I walked in, took one look and remember thinking: "Oh, I'm in the wrong place. These are all somebody's parents!"
But I really have to finish the book. And 2 short stories. I will be SO happy when I do!
JULIA: Hank, I'm coming down to your house to make sure you actually get into the pool this summer!
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Finish novel, finish novel, finish novel.... LOL. Actually, it's not due until October 1st, but that doesn't mean that I don't have to write like it's due September 1st, as damned slow as I am. BUT, I am not traveling, I have a brand new gorgeous flagstone patio and new landscaping, and I mean to enjoy them!
In fact, Julia, I crossed several things off my summer bucket list this past weekend: 1)Visiting Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas. This new park is built OVER the freeway, and it's incredibly cool. My daughter took me for a birthday lunch at the restaurant in the park and it was amazing. I want to go back with at least one of the dogs and sample things from the many food trucks. 2) On Saturday we had a barbecue and sat on the deck and new patio. Julia, I hope you like yours as much! 3) On Sunday, I took a real day off. Did only minimal chores, read some of the NYT (which has been piling up for a couple of months), sat on the aforementioned patio in the cool morning shade with a cup of tea, watching the dogs play, AND best of all, I spent an hour in my hammock, just looking at the trees overhead. Absolute bliss.
So I want to do all of these things some more. And make homemade lemonade and root beer floats. I want to take a photo of the Sno Cone stand down the street just at dusk. I want to sit on the front porch and watch the fireflies, ditto a summer storm. I want to watch fireworks on the 4th (we totally missed it last year...) , and I want to go to the wonderful farmer's market here early on Saturday mornings.
Hank, I am so envious that you are getting to see YoYo Ma play Bach...
JULIA: I, too, have to finish novel, finish novel, finish novel. Sadly, it's not a special summertime event - as I tell my students, being an author is like having a term paper due...forever. If anyone from my publishing house or my agency is reading this, rest assured that I'll only just slip in my summer bucket list items between relentless bouts of writing!
How about you, dear readers? What's on your list for summer?