How I Spent This Summer

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The temperature hasn’t cooled off much, but as we edge ever closer to Labor Day I know it’s almost over – soon summer will be a sweet, distant memory.

With the academic year just around the corner it seems fitting that I write a “How I Spent This Summer” post (the verb “spent” being apropos, as summer days are such precious currency).

It may not have turned out exactly as planned, but, oh, did I have a grand time over the past two months!

A Few Highlights…

I had lovely, long overdue visits with family and in-laws in Halifax and Ontario.

I saw my first Yankees game:

Yankees

I traveled to Denver and saw Florence + The Machine at Red Rocks (an early birthday gift from my husband who earned bonus points when I discovered that Florence stayed in the same hotel as us – saw her poolside the morning after the concert)!

I consumed some excellent meals (top prize goes to a special dish created by guest chefs Matthew Gaudet and Alex Howell at Brooklyn’s Extra FancySalmon Head Hot Pot: a whole salmon head nestled in 3 month old kimchi and served in a big le Creuset Dutch Oven.  I absolutely love it when a talented chef takes something others might consider waste and whips it into something delectable).

I took in some excellent exhibitions at the Met, Brooklyn Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, The New Whitney, MoMA…you get the idea 😉  I saw A LOT of great art.

I experienced some heart moving theater:

Rack Card

A limited run Fringe gem, Little One, produced by a Vancouver, BC based theatre group, and a Broadway, Tony-award winning tour de force which I know I’ll be going to see again – Fun Home.

Yes, by golly, I didn’t make as much art as I thought I would, but I did partake in more extra-curricular activities than I thought I would and I don’t regret a minute of it.  It’s all R&D.

The best part about the summer – the cherry on top of the summer sundae – was the serendipitous surprises that I experienced. You know, those unplanned, spontaneous things that happen because you’re running late, or you actually hear your phone ring because it’s beside you instead of in the other room and you answer it.

Disruptions and Being Present Led to Some Pure Joy

Because we just missed the 10am train, my husband and I decided we would eat lunch before heading to the waves when we arrived at noon in Long Beach. Andrew sussed out an Italian deli that also served house-made pies and we ended up having an awesome pizza experience.

Pizza

I enjoyed Sorrento’s pies and the way they were served immensely – I would take the 2 hr round-trip train ride out to Long Beach just to eat some of their sweet ‘za.

Because I answered the phone one afternoon I got to say yes to a gracious invitation from a new textile artist friend who had an extra ticket to Shakespeare in the Park (thanks, Robin!).

Cymbeline

No photos permitted during the performance so I snapped this quick shot of the set as audience members were filing in to take their seats.  Note, that castle-type structure off to the left is a building in Central Park.

Cymbeline!  I had no idea what a treat I was in for.  I’m a Shakespeare fan and the Public Theatre knows how to deliver with finesse.  Superb acting and the highlight was the mock battle scene that the stage crew conjured with sound and flashes of light on the park trees.  Next summer standing in line to take advantage of this free-to-the-public Central Park tradition will be at the top of my to-do list.

Lessons Learned

Surely this summer essay wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include some reflection on insights gained.

  1. Plan on going early (whether it’s renting chairs and umbrellas at the beach or claiming a voucher for free tickets, you must arrive early, early. 11am will simply not do).
  2. A little research goes a long way (keeping on top of what’s-on-around-town will yield all sorts of free, fun things every night of the week).

I can’t ignore the summer’s-end ennui that’s starting to settle in, but I am looking forward to making further adjustments to next year’s summer schedule!

How did YOU spend YOUR summer?  Please share your highlights and serendipitous surprises in the comments below.

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