Really Summer

31 May 2002

I dreamed that William Butler Yeats' younger half-brother was selling me a new fountain pen nib in Berkeley. That's just a heck of a way to start your day, trying to poke around your brain figuring out where that came from. I read no Yeats at all yesterday, nor anything related to him. I finished Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity and read Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris (lovely essays about being a chronic reader) and started Nikki Giovanni's Sacred Cows...And Other Edibles. None of which remind me of Yeats at all. So don't ask me, because I don't know.

It's really, truly summer here, as I said yesterday. One of the big things that means is that the neighbors are noisier. They spend more time outside, they have their windows open more, and we have our windows open more. So we get to hear everything -- everything they yell, that is, which is more than one would hope. But there's a summer sound that almost makes up for it: an aluminum bat hitting a baseball. I'm a little alarmed that some of the kids are playing baseball in our (not very large) courtyard, but it's such a summery sweet sound, one I haven't heard in so long, that I tell myself to relax, and in any case they appear to be batting away from our windows.

When I talked to C.J., he was talking about playing volleyball outside again, and about his new lawnmower, which is the push kind, not electric or gas. He was telling me about how it sounds, and I could hear it all in his voice, the way it would smell a few blocks from Lake Nokomis with freshly cut grass, just barely cooling off in the humid evenings. The clippy sound of his mower and the birds he says he can still hear while he mows, now that he has this mower, and my brain added Gloria calling out that she was home from work. I could even hear the mosquitoes whine a little. It was all there in the way he talked, or maybe it was just there in my head already, I don't know.

I have a little Minnesota in my head these days. It goes in sync with the calendar, generally. When we first moved out here, I missed October and April in Minnesota, because they're the best, so amazing, and so much better than October and April most other places. But as we've been waiting out here, I've filled in the other months, too. September and March first, and then a bit of June and then a bit of November...and then, well, nothing really like Christmastime in The Cities...and now I miss it all the time. I always missed the people. Now I miss the place, too, all year round. And if you've ever spent July or January in Minnesota, you know that they're really not something to miss, except in the sense of, "I went to Norway and missed July in Minneapolis entirely, and isn't that a gosh-darn shame. Golly gee, I sure do feel bad about that." People who aren't from the Upper Midwest assume that January is going to be the worst, but I have to say July gives it a run for its money in the Cities, in that "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" sort of way. Last night as we were going to bed, Mark suddenly asked, "When it's hot at home, does it feel different?" And it does. The same temperature feels entirely different.

I'm trying to appreciate the summer out here, the way that we can go without the AC comfortably for most of it and the smell of salt in the very back of the air, or in the front if we drive to the Bay or the coast. I think we're going to make significant progress on the List this summer, the list of stuff that we can't do anywhere else and would really like to do here. It's a better idea than trying and failing to make this into a life in the Upper Midwest. (And anybody who's contemplating a visit should oughta speak up so that we don't plan something like Angel Island for the week before you get here.)

I wore those shorts yesterday. The ones I got for my twelfth birthday. Those are just some good shorts. And I'm approaching my twenty-fourth birthday in July, which will mean that these shorts will have been with me for half of my life. Those are some faithful shorts, there, and they show very little in the way of wear. They're maybe a slightly paler shade of sage than they used to be, but I don't really think you can expect a pair of cotton shorts to last you half your life and keep going in precisely the same color. It almost makes me want to go buy more shorts from Banana Republic, and maybe a skirt or two or some pants. Because, I mean, twelve years. That's a bit unexpected, you know?

With the way retro is going, these shorts (were they not so bland) could become retro without me throwing them in the back of the closet in the interim.

Evidently I'm the anti-Jessie. I love summer clothes. I don't feel like they're mine, but I love 'em. Like Jessie, I'm not always so good about sitting "like a girl," but that lack doesn't really make me feel uncomfortable. (My mother, on the other hand....) I just shift around when I remember it. I also feel a little less physically anchored in summer clothes, but I can deal with that, too.

The hardest part to deal with about summer is trying to use the oven less in the hot part of the day. I'm going to make banana bread with different kinds of bananas today -- I really have to, because the bananas are really going fast. So there's that, and grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, Not The Moose work, all of those things. Enjoy your day. I intend to.

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