Monday, May 25, 2009

Sumer is Icumen In

HANK: Lhude sing--its driving me cuccoo! Flo and Eddy, the ducks that arrive every spring in out backyard pool are here. So that's a delightful herald of the new season. (It's their sixth or seventh year with us. It brings tears of happiness to my eyes to see them return.)

And yes, it's wonderful that it's nice and sunny--the sun feels so comforting and lulling after the harsh winter. It's a treat to go outside and not have to battle the weather. And it's too early in the season to be complaining about the heat.

But there's that pre-summer to-do list. Do you have one? Of course being on the list doesn't mean it's going to get accomplished. But the list is haunting me, following me around, shooting its evil and relentless little reminders at me as I try to ignore it.

Change my closet from winter clothes to summer clothes. Figure out what has to go to the dry cleaners, and figure out how it's even possible to afford to buy my cleaned clothes back from them. (If it prevents those skeevy disgusting moths, so be it. Worth it.)

Look at my bathing suit. Ignore it.

The windows in our house need washing. So do the screens. Now that the sun is shining, all the smeary leftover gunk from the shadowy winter is in full back-lit relief. Can I just ignore that, too?

Clean the patio furniture. Get sunscreen. Bug spray. Yank out the grill. Make sure there's tonic water for gin and tonics. (Wait, this is sounding better.) Scout for fresh corn. (not yet, not yet...) Fill the house with peonies (not yet, not yet.) And it's just one month until PRIME TIME comes out!

Hey. This began as a list of annoying to-dos. But now I'm getting excited. I'm not wishing the time away. But this'll be fun.

As soon as I change the closet.

How about you? What's on your summer to-do list? (Will you actually do it?)

JAN: What I want to know is WHY changing the closets and drawers takes an entire day?? Are my closets and drawers telling me I buy too many clothes, and wear too few of them??

I've washed the windows (YAY!) done some planting (I hate gardening, but love fresh herbs), and did a half-baked job of changing the closets. For me the most important pre-summer ritual, is switching to summer tennis, which means signing up for the USTA teams and getting in shape for some singles (HAH!)

I also have to start researching for my trip to France. How can a reporter who LOVES research, hate it and procrastinate when the research involves something fun like travel? I'm not sure but I think a good shrink would have field day with it.

HALLIE: As I'm just back from a 3-week vacation, my to-do list is endless... beginning with mow the lawn, weed the garden (already!), refill the bird bath, put flower pots on the patio, and yes, wash windows. Honestly, I haven't bought an item of clothing that needs to be dry-cleaned in years, so never mind all that, and I never reorganize the closet...there's too little in there and I know it all well. Just bought myself a new bathing suit and a decent pair of sandals and I'm ready to welcome summer!

HANK: Oh, Hallie—welcome home! And we want photos. And only you could say “just bought myself a new bathing suit” without a trace of irony or terror. But that’s a blog for another day.

Happy Memorial Day. Or--thoughtful Memorial Day, I guess is more appropriate.

Summer to-dos? What are we forgetting?


  1. My favorite summer to-do is the vegetable garden. And somehow we are ahead of ourselves with that this year. (Thanks in large part to my hub who does the double-digging of the beds every year.) We've been eating asparagus for a month, and now moving into spinach, radishes and arugula, and eagerly anticipating the rest. Oh, and the cilantro has reseeded itself like crazy so I'm thinking of tons of Mexican dishes.

    And I'm thrilled that the town farmer's market has started up again. That means the most amazing bread every Friday, along with fresh veggies and herbs, local fish and cheese, you get the idea!

  2. RHYS: Please don't mention to-do lists! I'm off to a conference in Canada next week, then I have to start on my next book, and during the days before I go I have to finish setting up a blog book tour, ordering new bookmarks, and make sure everything is in place for a launch on July 7th. The painters just finished painting our house and in the process they dug everything out of our one decent flower bed (the one on the patio behind the trellis where the deer can't reach it. So that needs refilling and replanting and the drip system is behaving badly. In California if you go away and leave plants without water you'll come home to dead plants.

    But speaking of good omens of spring, we have a pair of baby fawns, all spindly and spotted. Their mother leaves them on my back hill, right by the patio fence, while she goes off and they lie there, not moving, thinking they are invisble while I watch from my upstairs window.

  3. I love our local farmer's market. but I am always amused at these women, walking around with the eco-friendly shopping bags, buying local produce to save the planet,then getting into the biggest SUVs you've ever seen and roaring away.

  4. Hank, I'm with you on being excited about stocking the tonic water for the G&Ts! And I'm very happy about eating local asparagus for several weeks now, and yesterday the first lettuce from my garden. I'm also ignoring the windows that need washing (and the job of hunting for that new bathing suit. groan), instead enjoying having the windows open at all times and having time to plant cukes and beans and cilantro, then sitting outside admiring the garden. It's a glorious season.


  5. Hmm..planting vegetables. It sounds glorious. When I lived i Atlanta, I had a vegetable garden, and it was so much fun. Delicious. And it also kind of felt like beating the system, you know? Like ha, this carrot is mine. Take that, Stop and Shop.

    I'm less elaborate now, but I have to say even the joy of snipping our own basil and rosemary is pretty wonderful.

    Edith and Roberta, how do you keep the critters out of the lettuce? (I keep imagining Peter Rabbit.)

    Rhys! Can you get a photo of the fawns? How wonderful..and that is a lovely omen.

  6. For some reason, the historic area of Ipswich (our house was built in 1718) is in town enough not to have critters that eat greens, thanks be to the Goddess. When I used to farm in West Newbury, it was heartbreaking to have full heads of lettuce ready to cut and take to market and then come out on market day the next morning and find them all chewed evenly down to an inch high. That's when I set up an electrically charged wire to keep rabbits and woodchucks out. Another solution is to bury your garden fence a foot underground so they can't dig under it, and also to have an opaque wall - apparently if they can't see it, they won't go after it (although I didn't test this theory).

  7. Summer..yippee!! Rearranging all of the outside furniture and sitting in every chair to make sure I like the view..filling the containers and planters (this year I'm red and white)..deciding which throws and pillows go where..watching tennis..watching my husband cook..

  8. Yes, Ro, I do agree. The view is SO important! Today friends came over--and I made someone change seats on the patio so she could have a better view of the flowers...

    Come back tomrorrow, everyone! One of the hot new authors of the year will be here. I wish I had discovered her..but it was really Vinny who introduced me..

  9. Survive revisions.

    Celebrate two loved ones beating cancer. Cookouts! Mojitos! Movies!

    Play with my dog as often as I work her.

    Dead head the rose bushes.

    Walk Boston Common, take a deep breath, and receive whatever's next.

  10. Finally get those morning glories started (I know, I know, way late - but I'll buy the already started ones). Scrub the grill...

    by the way, you know that Flo and Eddie were both male, yes? (Flo was "The Phospherescent Leech.") I won't tell the female mallard if you won't.

  11. Good grief...The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie...The Turtles reborn...