Summer is mellowing out and winding down. Before I give the season a final farewell wave, I want to reflect on some of the small pleasures I’ve enjoyed over the last few months. Routinely acknowledging the good things in my life exercises my gratitude muscle and helps me mentally end the summer on a happy note.
Small Pleasures: Summer 2019
- Sitting on the front porch. My front porch is the perfect place for reading a book or hanging out with my husband. It’s comfortable and secluded and I whiled away many, many hours there this summer.
- Orange Creamsicle smoothies. My extended family enjoyed our biennial trip to the Outer Banks in July. There is a smoothie shop in Corolla called Island Smoothie that makes the most delicious and refreshing Orange Creamsicle smoothies I have ever tasted. I stopped by almost every day of our vacation for a hit of brain-freezing goodness.
- Toy Story 4. I was surprised by how much I loved this movie. It is the perfect ending to a beloved Disney/Pixar franchise.
- The Try Channel. I am addicted to this YouTube channel highlighting Irish people trying different foods and drinks and providing commentary on their experiences. Posts are uploaded every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I haven’t missed one all summer. the combination of fun personalities and hilarious interactions and reactions keeps me (and Jay) coming back. The Krispy Kreme clip hooked me and I haven’t looked back. (Fair warning – salty language runs amok in these videos).
- Star Trek (the original series). Late last year, Jay and I decided to work our way through all three seasons of Star Trek (79 hour long episodes) on Netflix. We finished the last show, Turnabout Intruder, this summer. Bad acting and cheap sets aside, we both gained a real appreciation for the ways this short lived series attempted to addresses issues of the time (the late 1960s) and we developed a better understanding of the impact the show has had on American pop culture. More importantly, though, spending time with Captain Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Starship Enterprise was a nostalgic stress reliever for me – something I desperately needed this summer.
- Audiobooks. Over the summer semester, I drove an inordinate amount of miles to observe my clinical students. One of the benefits of all that travel was the opportunity to listen to some excellent audiobooks. These books turned what could have felt like a boring waste of time into an adventure I looked forward to. My favorite audiobooks from the summer are:
- Recursion by Blake Crouch (5 stars)
- Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Dalton-Brooks (4.25 stars)
- Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (4.5 stars)
- The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (4 stars)
- Atomic Habits by James Clear (5 stars)
- Nine Horses Waiting by Mary Stewart (4 stars)
- Butterflies, moths and bumble bees. This summer seemed to be a bumper season for pretty bugs. I love watching the bumble bees gather pollen and the butterflies fluttering from flower to flower. It made my heart happy.
- Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne (available on Amazon). Somehow I missed this historical drama based on the book by Anthony Trollope when it came out in 2016. The mini-series is very high quality and an absolute joy to watch, especially because I was unfamiliar with the storyline. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys movies/mini-series like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre or Elizabeth Gaskill’s North and South.
- The Currently Reading podcast. Besides audiobooks, I enjoy listening to a good podcast when I’m driving. In August, I stumbled across the Currently Reading podcast hosted by Meredith Monday Schwartz and Kaytee Cobb. The podcast is fairly new (just over a year) and after taking my time over the last several weeks working through their back catalog, I’m almost caught up. In each episode, these ladies casually talk about the books they’ve read recently (good and bad), they do a deep dive into a bookish topic, and then press favorite books into their listeners hands. I especially like that they cover many backlist titles and that they have no problem discussing books they didn’t like and why. Listening to this podcast keeps me excited about reading (not that I need the encouragement) and adds to my TBR (to-be-read) pile with each episode.
- Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo show. A very weird, very magical experience. I enjoyed every minute of it and am thankful I had the chance to see it.
To be completely honest, when I first started this list, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to come up with enough items to make the post worthwhile reading. I’ve been so weighed down with the burdens of work, I failed to see all the good things I enjoyed this summer. Now I can let the summer go with a happy heart and welcome the fall with open arms. My lovely daughter is getting married in a few weeks so this autumn is starting out with one gigantic celebratory bang. Bring on the pumpkins, apple cider and fall fairs!
I hope my list inspires you to reminisce on your own summer pleasures. If you’d like to share some of them in the Comments, I’d love to read about them.