Life is short and summer is shorter, so this month it’s all about
the beach, nearly every week
ice cream, nearly every day
long field trips at lunch
breakfast on the patio, complete with feathers
grilled lime and garlic chicken wings
the farmers’ market
casual or fancy sandals?
becoming an expert in synchronized diving and women’s gymnastics
pretending the purple-blooming flowers are not weeds
skirts, summer dresses, frocks and tank tops
soft hum of the ceiling fan
Lest you think I’ve needed a week to recover from the big 4-0, I was actually just enjoying summer in the jubilant manner in which summer should be enjoyed: swimming, daytripping, reading (because sometimes turning a page is all you can manage in the heat), and taking days off to do absolutely nothing, which is hard because summer is about activity and the outdoors and adventure. Winter lacks this cache so utterly it shouldn’t even be a season.
But a quick wrap up on the birthday outing to Westport. First, unless one is a multimillionaire, one may only visit Connecticut, so Opal (the Toyota) and I, set out amidst warnings of severe thunderstorms with the potential for torrential rain and hail (birthday, on!). We cruised by grand stone homes and renovated farmhouses overlooking Long Island Sound, harbors dotted with sailboats and yachts, and everywhere: ladies who lunch.
First stop: Goodwill. I’d heard magical things about this new outpost (fancy wood floors, birthday month discount) and it did not disappoint. I pounced immediately on olive-green Oxford heels while pondering why someone would buy them, wear them once (from my estimation), and then ditch them. But who cares. They were mine for $12. Maple says they match her eyes. I also scored a frilly red top and a J. Crew cardigan with glass buttons I’ve been searching for on eBay (found!). And the cutest vintage French poster that has already claimed a wall. All for 20-something buckaroos.
Lunch at Tarry Lodge needs minimal description to get across the majesty of cheese: lightly fried squash blossoms with goat cheese and a 4-cheese pizza that melted and crisped in less than five minutes and was consumed in less.
When the sky opened up, I was at Terrain, a heavenly nursery—the Anthropologie of plants. Lilac bushes, feathery fronds, and sunny annuals beckoned, rinsed by the rain, all of us cooled. I bought a bushy birthday plant studded with purple flowers and resisted the rustic planters, colorful metal chairs, strawberry vines—all of it.
I dipped in and out of other shops before grabbing dinner, like a tween, at Shake Shack (what’s a birthday without ice cream?) and headed home, windows rolled down on a warm summer night, lightning flashing in the distance like birthday fireworks.
Columbus might have worn a fuzzy, cable-knit sweater and thick woolen pants when he cruised the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria up to these here shores. But on this Columbus Day in New England, more reminiscent of August, boxers would have sufficed. It’s hot. The windows are open and the beach was packed with celebratory sunbathers. Global warming, we welcome you.
People swam despite the water temp and dogs frolicked and romped, savoring the surprise summer day. Clouds took the day off.
I just got the slickest pair of riding boots at The Tannery, the shoe store with the friendliest cadre of Middle Eastern men. They’re cute and comfortable (I know! Impossible, right? Wait, you thought I was talking about the men didn’t you?) because they’re made by Born, so you can actually walk in them instead of strutting around for like five minutes and having to pull them off ’cause they feel like your calf is getting a mammogram. I trekked all around Providence with them recently with nary a blister to be found.
Wait, let me take a picture of them…
The thing about boots though is that when the first crisp day of fall hits, you run out to buy them, but it turns out the next day feels like summer, and where are your boots? Standing legless and forlorn useless by the bed. Of course, if you hadn’t bought the boots, it would have turned fall—and stayed fall—overnight. So, I figure it’s a win-win: I got boots and it’s summery.
Now I just need a horse.
Just a warning: if I hear you say anything like “Wow, summer went by fast” or “Fall is right around the corner” or you mention the word “school” or anything that even suggests that summer is on its way out you might get decked. Fair warning. Summer is not over. And if there is any seasonal justice, this fall will be ridiculously summerlike after the rainy summer we endured. Aside from that melty heat wave, I carried that damn sweater with me more days than I wore a skirt, and that is not right, Mother Nature. Not right. But the ocean is still warming up, naysayers, and there are plenty of beach days left. K?
Remember when New England had a summer? You remember summer—that season of hot and sticky beach days and the promise of shade? Remember the joy of hearing that tinkling tune as the ice cream truck rounded the corner, cruising into your hood? You just couldn’t run out the door fast enough. I heard one the other day, in fact, and was humming along to the song until I realized it was Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. In June. Huh? I was so confused I couldn’t make it through the throng of kids in time.
Twitter to the rescue.
Just when I had dismissed Twitter as silly, I read this article in Budget Travel magazine and suddenly see the brilliance behind this little tool. The dessert truck can alert me when it’s coming around the bend? I’m there.
Is it me or have you run out of sweaters to wear this winter? Winter seems especially 1) long and 2) cold and I’m running out of cozy options. I mean, I have sweaters, but I only like a handful. A pile of wooliness lays dormant in my under-the-bed (and thus out-of-mind) container, none of which will get worn before spring. And liking say, four of the ones I have, means I really have no sweaters. So, I went shopping.
Now, if I were in the market for a bathing suit or a summer frock, man, I would have cleaned up. But sweaters? Gone, baby, gone. Pants? Forget it. You can choose from capris or walking shorts only. If you want to cover your ankles, you’ll have to wait till fall. I was also thinking it might be nice to have a scarf-hat-glove set that matches seeing as we’re only halfway through the winter and I’m pretty sure my purple scarf does not go with my green hat. But that pie-in-the-sky idea was as silly as shopping for a bathing suit while there’s still snow on the ground. At Target, it’s only sun hats and beach totes—tempting, but not very warm. For now, it looks like I will have to take my advice from one of those magazine spreads that tells you how to travel with like, three items and change your look: accessorize. Looks like the old scarves and bangles are coming out of retirement.