Carpe Aestas: Seize the Summer. From June 21 to September 21, 2013, I am going to do my best to try to suck the marrow out of this season. Too many summers have gone by the wayside, wasted on work and mindless living. My goal this summer is to catalog these days and ensure that I don’t lose focus on enJOYment as the drearydoms of normal life set in (as they often do).
This third week of summer marks that time between the July 4th and Labor Day, that most people associate with summer. This is the time of music and movies, beaches, sunscreen, and travel.
After going to bed early on the 4th of July, this week started with the blasted alarm going off at 5:20 in the blessed am. This alarm was set because we had 8am reservations aboard the boat that runs tourists to and from Catalina Island.
In 30 years of living in Southern California, I had never been to Catalina. This trip was Laura’s idea to get us out of the house and doing summer stuff as a family.
Because we hopped an earlier boat than we were scheduled to take, we were the last ones aboard and there were no seats inside the boat. It was a cold boat ride out to Catalina as it was early and there was a thick marine layer. Luckily, we brought layers of clothing.
The day was spent touring the island and laying on a tightly packed beach. It seemed as if God had carved Catalina out of a few square miles of Pasadena and dropped it in the ocean to keep the land safe and preserved from intruding cities. We caught the 4:45 launch back to the mainland. With good seas and better traffic, I was able to make it to tennis by 7pm.
Saturday morning, the mental alarm clock sounded at 5:30am with a reminder that the Ladies’ Championship match at Wimbledon was on at 8. That was way too much time to spend sitting around waking up, so I decided to action the building of the sign.
I still haven’t actually watched the recordings of either the Gentlemen’s or the Ladies’ Championships. This was one of THOSE years when I didn’t get to watch Wimbledon at all. It happens occasionally. Saturday also marked the first official day of training for the Santa Barbara Marathon. A few miles were run and time was spent at the gym, neither activity was done in great excess.
Sunday morning brought this feeling of impending doom, like a great crushing weight bearing down on me trying to squash the soul from my body. Turns out it was just Monday reminding me that after four days off, it owned my ass the next day.
Monday brought a delightful surprise from my God Mother. She sent me a half-dozen pictures from when I was little. Most of them were from my first birthday, but this one was when I was from when I was 4. Very few pictures remain of me before my college years. More rare are pictures from my earliest years.
Tuesday brought my first long run of the training season. The first four miles went really well, the last five, didn’t. Turns out one can learn a lot about ones fitness level running after work on a hot summer day with very little afternoon nutrition.
Wednesday night we drove to Whittier with our neighbors and had dinner at Dattilo’s Restaurant. It’s a great little Italian place I used to frequent when I was in college. From appetizer to dessert, the food there is wonderful. The company was as well. Although my neighbor’s birthday was the next day, we both were presented with birthday celebration goodies.
After dinner, we explored Uptown Whittier and made a stop in my favorite record store, Lovell’s Records & Tapes. This store was here when I came to Whittier in the early 80s. The legend was that you could get any record you wanted at Lovell’s. if it wasn’t there, they could get it within days.
I bought my first 3 CDs in this store in 1987, when the place was filled with cassettes, vinyl and those small compact discs were the brand new thing. I really think that the owner of the store has made a pact with the devil, because I can’t see how a store like this can still be business after all these years.
Although CDs have taken over the store, there is still a huge selection of vinyl, both LPs and 45’s.
It’s fun to come to this store and people watch. They look through the music and they remember. They light up. You can find out a lot about a person as you walk through Lovell’s with them. You find out what music they liked when they were younger. You find out about what concerts they went to. They tell you fun events that were long-buried memories the moments before.
The week ended with a pizza party celebrating the neighbor’s birthday. The house was filled with neighborhood children. The adults ate, drank and laughed. As usual, I was the one who had to call it a night first. I hate that, but I did had responsibilities to the next day.
OK people, 71 days left in Summer. What are you going to do to make it memorable?