Saturday, July 10, 2021

Making the Most of Your Summer Stay-cation

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I have to admit to feeling little pangs of envy over other people's summer vacation plans. Everyone seems to be lounging by the pool, or going to the beach. Even camping sounds pretty idyllic to this non-camper, after a year and a half of being stuck at home. But as I am chained to my desk for the rest of the summer--which is flying by--I thought I'd see what I could do to make the most of my stay-cation.

Except for one horrible week in June, the weather hasn't been too bad (at least for north Texas) with temps in the low to mid-nineties rather than high nineties or over a hundred.

My dog knows how to enjoy summer!

 

Well, I'm not rolling in the grass, but she sets a good example, and I could do better. 

My patio is an oasis in the mornings. But I was hardly sticking my nose outside except to water, so I resolved to put up my patio umbrella every morning and just sit for a bit, pretending I'm at an exotic resort.

 

The breeze blows, the fountain burbles, and I even have my own spa! It's amazing what a little cool water can do.

 

I put on my garden hat.

 

I've stocked up on Gatorade. (Which only tastes good when you are really, really hot, but when you are really, really hot, it is THE thing.)

 

I'm smelling the roses. (That's my newest, David Austin's Boscobel. And it does actually smell divine.)

 

I'm reminding myself to enjoy the summer display in the rest of the garden. I do too much work in the spring to just ignore it at the height of its glory.

 

I won't say it's the same as a week in Cancun, but hanging out Chez Debs is not all that bad. Now if an ice cream truck would just come by with a Dreamsicle, it would be perfection...

REDS and readers, how do you do make the most of summer at home?





61 comments:

  1. Lately, summer here at home means hot, hot, hot, or rain, rain, rain. Although we haven’t been flooded out, it’s been quite wet of late. And hot. Too hot to sit outside, too hot to garden.
    So, we’ve been sitting in the house [reading in air-conditioned comfort] and planning a trip to Colorado [where it’s guaranteed to be cooler] to visit our oldest daughter [and collect grandbaby hugs  :) ] . . . .

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  2. The sting of not going anywhere this summer on a vacation has been softened by our new arrival. Eight-year-old Lulu, a rescue Brittany Spaniel, is settling in. We've now had her two weeks. The first week was very trying, but that's because she is scared of my husband. I wanted a dog, but my husband couldn't wait to get another one, and he was really frustrated by Lulu's reaction to him. Up until this past March, Lulu had been owned by a breeding operation and had produced multiple litters. A man was in charge, and we don't know what she went through. She's been in contact with women since her rescue. Well, Philip finally quit stressing, which, of course, Lulu was feeling, and this week has been so much better. She is a beautiful, sweet girl, who will sleep with me, as Philip and I sleep in different bedrooms. But, we are all a work in progress as a family, so this summer will be spent helping Lulu gain confidence in the safety of her forever home. We will also see our daughter and her family some, when they can fit us in, as they are busy, busy. We might try to go visit our son, who is three hours away, but it would require an overnight, and I'm not sure we can leave Lulu anytime soon. We would probably have to take her with us. Next fall, we are planning a short trip through the Boone Trail in Kentucky, a 143 mile stretch starting at Cumberland Gap, where Daniel Boone blazed a trail into Kentucky. We will make it a slow 143 miles, stopping overnight at least a couple of times and ending up in Lexington, KY where our son lives. So, reading, sitting on the back screened-in porch when it's cool enough, and enjoying Lulu are our summer plans.

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    1. Here's to Lulu and the best summer of her life. I do hope you can take her along with you on your trips. She's had a traumatic life and needs the security of knowing she has her forever place.

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    2. My suggestion for your husband is to get those tiny little liver treats at the pet store and carry them in a little baggie all the time. No one else should have them except him. He should give one to her when she comes to him and only when she comes to him. He can also entice her with a favorite game with a ball or other toy that only he plays with her. He'll have to be patient. Love takes time.

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    3. That sounds like a great strategy, Judy!

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    4. I'm so happy for you, Kathy, and for Lulu. Judy has some great suggestions. I'm sure she and Philip will form their own bond.

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    5. Fingers crossed, Kathy, that Lulu and Philip can find their way together. Love will find a way, I hope.

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    6. Ann, I do think we will try to include Lulu if we go anywhere. I doubt that I'd be able to leave her. Judy, good suggestions, and love and trust do indeed take time. Philip takes her for long walks in the morning and to a park with a fishing lake. She is beginning to really enjoy those. It really took Philip realizing that it might be a long process for Lulu to quit stressing as much. I think she's shown tremendous progress (as have we, hahaha) in only two weeks. The rule of three--three days, three weeks, and three months--is very accurate.https://www.giveshelter.org/assets/images/documents/Rule_of_Threes.pdf Philip and I are both so happy to have a sweet doggie in our lives again.

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  3. I try to swim more in the summer. As much as I love summer (and I do), I also appreciate my AC. And I'm enjoying still working from home.

    I've got to get some time off this summer at some point, even if it is just me staying at home. But I'm hoping to get out with some friends in September.

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    1. I'm glad you are still getting to work from home, Mark!

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  4. That doesn't sound half bad, Debs! I putter in my vegetable garden, pick blueberries daily as they ripen, and sit on my deck reading after dinner. I'll take a notebook to the beach on a few early mornings to write and walk and enjoy the ocean.

    We'll take one weekend two hours north in New Hampshire visiting Hugh's sister and her family, including a new great-nephew, and another one at my son's two hours west of here. I rather enjoy staycations.

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  5. I feel as though my staycation has lasted long enough. 2020 was like that. Most days this summer it has been nice enough to sit in my lush yard for a bit while Kenai enjoyed time lying in the grass. Our screen porch is a haven and a great place to bring a book. The storms this week seem endless though.

    We will go to visit Rachel's family on the Delaware shore and we will see Jonathan's family again, too. There is a big trip planned for the autumn with the kids. We are still working out the details. Next year, I think Alaska! Looking at that now.

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    1. A screened porch and a book. That sounds like perfect summer to me, Judy.

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  6. Yesterday I spent hours bailing water from our driveway so the rains (we got 2 1/2 inches in about 4 hours) from Elsa didn't inundate our basement. Ah, summer. Today it will be dry and warm (not too hot) and I'm looking forward to coffee and a patio sit. My perennial garden has surrendered to the bunnies. They've gobbled up all my black-eyed susans and coneflowers but the day lilies and phlox seem not to be to their taste. I do love being surrounded by green. Not planning a single trip right now but my daughter is staying with me for a bit which makes it feels a little like I'm getting a bit of an at-home vacation.

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    1. Hallie, your bunnies must be the size of North Dakota by now. We have a few resident brown bunnies who hop about being adorable and a coterie of squirrels who mostly move tulip bulbs around, but no widespread destruction of perennials. I wonder if it is the periodic presence of Penny Lane and Sergeant Pepper in our garden that keeps them in line?

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    2. Visits from adult children are always an in-home vacation! I'm getting one today and tonight, too.

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    3. It's gorgeous this morning after days of unbearable humidity and huge rain storms. My garage is still sand-bagged against the potential flood.
      Enjoy your daughter, Hallie. So great to have a visit!
      My bunnies are eating the coneflower, too. Darn.

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    4. We do have bunnies but have not had them eat the coneflowers. Unless we have so many coneflowers that we don't notice a few gone for snacks. Our first German shepherd LOVED the coneflowers and would always have to stop and have a nibble when we went for walks.

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    5. My son and I walk every morning and count bunnies. Yesterday we saw 2 sitting on the edge of a neighbors flower bed nibbling on the leaves. I did feel a bit bad for the flowers but I couldn't bring myself to run the bunnies off.

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    6. My son and I walk every morning and count bunnies. Yesterday we saw 2 sitting on the edge of a neighbors flower bed nibbling on the leaves. I did feel a bit bad for the flowers but I couldn't bring myself to run the bunnies off.

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  7. Yes, exactly! It's the little things... a squirrel doing its Crazy Dance in the back yard, a glass of wine on the patio, geraniums flaming in their terracotta pots.

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  8. Ah, summer on the tundra! Right now it is 61F, high today predicted 75F. The windows are all open, the rain has passed, and the sun is shining. June was gorgeous and now July is half over. We are both fully vaccinated and beginning to creep out into society.

    Next month we are flying to Raleigh to be with my grandson and his wife and meet my great grandson, Griffin. He is seven months old now, pulling up and cruising around, crawling faster than his parents can run, feeding himself people food, and giggling himself into a puddle. He also has a huge bruise on his forehead, a result of a tumble in his peregrinations.

    Other than than that, we will be staying close to home -- going to Immersive Van Gogh in Buffalo in August, and Carmen, Live at the Met, later this month. If the border ever opens, we will go to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the day. I don't see a trip to Texas in the near future, but we shall see what the fall and winter bring.

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    1. https://www.immersivevangogh.com/

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    2. Ann, Immersive Van Gogh is supposed to come here but has been delayed. There has been a big stink about the tickets. So glad you are getting to see that adorable baby!!!

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    3. Ann, a friend of mine just posted about their trip to Chicago to see the Immersive Van Gogh. I would love to see that, too.

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  9. Debs, I love your photos.
    My stay-cation has a lot to do with enjoying the countryside and food. In June I ate lots of strawberries, now I pick up and eat tons of raspberries. I hear that the picking up of blueberries begins this week and that the kiosk selling corn is being installed.
    Yesterday, while walking I spotted two baby deers. Like Amy , I watch squirrels and birds.

    Now that it is permitted and that we are fully vaccinated, I’ll drive 1 to 2 hours to visit my brothers and my godmother at least once each. Then if my brothers come once too, it will make my summer.

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    1. Danielle, I watch the birds, too, although I could do with less of the squirrels... And I am picking cherry tomatoes from my little bucket garden every day.

      I'm so glad you will get to see your brothers!

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  10. Leisurely dinners on the screened porch (summer food!), swimming laps in a local pool, endless weeding and pruning between thunderstorms. Lots of garden photography. Summer opera sitting in designated "circles" on the great lawn at a local park. Lots of Eurocup soccer on TV followed in two weeks by the Olympics. Though I'll be cheering from home, we can't forget the athletes.

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    1. Oh, I would love to have a screened porch, Margaret. The sunporch in our old house was built as the screened porch, but glassed in long before we moved here, and there is really no where else to put a screened porch.

      And, yes, the Olympics!

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  11. Debs, that sounds--and looks--so relaxing and peaceful. The spa is the best way to start the day, evah.

    I'm about ready to wish we were doing a staycation instead of the stupidly huge trip we're about to take. Talk about stress. It's costly, and there are a lot of moving pieces that have to fit together just right. My daughter and her husband will switch to a new place while we are there (I know, I'm trying not to think about it), and to top it off, both of them, fully vaccinated, are recovering from a bout of Covid. They will be out of quarantine by the time we get there, but still. And I don't want to think about the 26 hours it will take to get there, or the 30 hours it will take to get home. With a 16-year old in tow.

    What were we thinking????

    In the meantime I am going to envision myself hanging out in Debs's peaceful and rose-scented garden with the tinkling fountain in the background, and calm myself with a little zen mindpower. Ohmmmm.

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    1. Ohmm, and safe travels, dear Karen!

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    2. Karen, I'm sure your trip will be wonderful and you be so glad you went! How long will you be there? We will miss you!

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    3. Oh my goodness, you sound so stressed… I agree though, when you get there it will be fantastic. travel seems very odd now, after so long being forced to stay home, so that is part of it as well I am sure…
      We cannot wait to hear all about it!
      (They got sick after being vaccinated? Do you know how that happened?)

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    4. Karen, ohmm is right. I am just getting used to traveling 2-1/2 hours to Beverly/Boston again. I admit to being envious of your upcoming adventure and at the same time knowing I'm not ready for that yet! Just know that everyone here is wishing you a safe, fabulous trip!

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    5. Two weeks, plus travel time, Debs. Thanks for the ohmms, everyone.

      Hank, it's hard to say where they got it, although my son-in-law had just been to Tanzania, where they are in serious denial, have no vaccines, don't report, and the president may have himself died of Covid. Also, the vaccines are 95% effective. Which means a 5% chance of infection, although the cases should be lighter (but aren't always; a small percentage of breakthrough infected persons still die). We still should all be careful, and masked and distanced as much as possible. I cringe when I see Facebook photos of families with small, unvaccinated children in crowded public spaces.

      The airlines are super vigilant, and have clean air circulating in the cabin. Kenya also has mask mandates, with arrest for noncompliance. But it's still a bit worrisome.

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    6. Were your kids very sick, Karen?

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    7. My daughter had two days of what felt like a cold. Her husband was sicker, with some lightheadedness and body aches, more like a flu. His lasted more like four or five days. He's also 13 years older than she is.

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  12. I have to admit to you all, I am happy to be home. Our garden is lush and incredible – – because of the torrential and relentless relentless rain. The minute the sun hits everything is going to just go crazy! Our tomatoes are going great guns, and I am so excited about it. We have chipmunks and so many bunnies! And a whole parade of birds that we watch. And I know mother nature is a little bit in this equilibrium, because suddenly, this year, we have pigeons! Yes, among the Cardinals and nuthatches and Blue Jays and sparrows and etc. etc., we have pigeons. How bizarre is that?
    We sit by the pool, and say to each other: why would we go anywhere?
    And of course I have a book due in two months, so I am working like a crazy person.
    And may I just ask you: how on earth did it get to be July?

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    1. Really, Hank, I was asking the same thing. I even still have June on my kitchen whiteboard calendar. Oops.

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    2. Hank, are they pigeons or mourning doves? We get mourning doves at our feeders all the time.

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    3. Oh, we have doves, too--always in pairs. But nope, these are indisputably totally pigeons. SO funny and bizarre. And, it seems, lost.

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  13. It has been so long since I took a vacation anywhere that I barely remember what that's like. Between concerts and grant proposal deadlines, I've been working through my weekends for nearly a month now, and it has Got. To. Stop. So this weekend I'm doing dog stuff. There's a middle-aged border collie in Dallas who has been owner surrendered for reasons that make sense to the owner. I'm picking her up today, and moving her on toward Houston tomorrow, with a little time along the road back to stop for food I can't get here, and some cheap souvenirs. Maybe in August I'll get a week to myself.

    In the meantime, I have discovered that the wind pools the scent of one of my roses in the little niche that is my front step. I think I'll go sit out there for a while.

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    1. Gigi, if you could bottle that scent for winter....

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  14. My swing in the garden, in between bouts of thunderstorms and high heat/humidity--otherwise inside. Watching the deer come to eat the little green apples fallen from the trees. Trying to find homes for three sweet kittens--their brother is off to his forever home this afternoon (and we are all a bit weepy, but his new mom has purchased an enormous cat tower for his pleasure, so we are convinced he's in good hands). Hoping to trap their momma--who came to us as a stray and won't let us pet her--and get her fixed this coming week. New roses coming next week and my Crown Princess Marguerite has two new buds!

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  15. Just being home, not having to go anywhere is a great staycation.

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  16. No staycation, just business as usual. Staying indoors away from the heat and humidity. We've had a week of rain thanks to a system sitting to our southwest on the coast. The mosquitoes have come out of hiding and they're ravenous! The weeds have taken over and I'm tempted to leave them and claim it as a wildlife sanctuary but they're not the pretty variety.

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  17. Becky Sue EpsteinJuly 10, 2021 at 12:16 PM

    Debs, speaking of Dreamsicles (which I grew up calling Creamsicles), I discovered you can buy my favorite ice-cream-truck treat in the supermarket: Drumsticks. Chocolate-dipped ice cream on a cone. A variety of flavors -- vanilla, chocolate, caramel centers. Some have the chocolate coating dipped in nuts. And I read there's a new dulce de leche cone. Hope you can find Dreamsicles nearby. That would really be staycationing in style!

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    1. I remember them being called Creamsicles, too. So maybe two different brands? But that was my favorite thing on the ice cream truck. We don't have enough kids in our neighborhood now to make it worth an ice cream van's while. We do have a sno-cone stand that sets up just down the block every summer. I love it because it seems so retro, although I don't actually like sno-cones. Maybe I should pour my Gatorade on the shave ice...

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  18. Debs, your summer staycation sounds idyllic. Spending the summer ensconced in my cool apartment reading wonderful novels. Today is another Spare the Air Day and we got an alert from the Sierra Club that going outside is risky for sensitive groups. That tells me the air quality is bad.

    Diana

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  19. Has anyone tried the latest frozen treat, Dole Whips? They sound fantastic, with pineapple juice and chunks. Yum.

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  20. Your garden is gorgeous, Debs! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. It's 113 here in AZ so it's pool time, pool time, pool time for me. Having just spent three weeks in New England, I don't really mind the heat...much. Now if we could just get some thunderstorms. Also, I'm repainting some rooms so that'll keep me busy.

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    1. 113, Jenn?? Yikes. I would live in the pool. Can you write in the pool, LOL?

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  21. I love looking at summer gardens, all the beauty none of the dehydration. There is a meme that has St. Peter saying "Well you should be going to Hell, but we see you lived in Florida, so you get a pass." That pretty much sums up my summer. heading off for some more ice tea.

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    1. Yes, iced tea sounds so fabulous when it's really hot. I even got cold brew iced coffee at the market this morning.

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  22. Your home is beautiful -- that rose bush! I wish I could smell it. Island Way sorbets might fill that Dreamsicle craving.
    I'm not tempted to travel, but I did just have my first in-restaurant meal with a friend and I'm ready for more. I'm not back to the Y yet, but perhaps when the day campers go back to school . . . and what other adventures await? Meanwhile, the library drive-through gives me stacks of vicarious adventures. <3

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