Let's Chat: Start of Summer Edition

People!  Are you still here?  I hadn't intended on becoming a negligent blogger, but, whew, life has happened these past few weeks!  Given my recent absence, I believe it's the perfect time for us to have a little chat.  Poolside, this time. (We can work on our tans. And drink sweet tea.)  Let's live it up!  Let's catch up!

Yet another semester is in the books.  Yesterday, I submitted final grades for the two summer classes I've been teaching. Summer semesters are funny things.  They contain all of the content and evaluation that a typical 15-week semester contains, yet compress it into 6 weeks.  The pace is startling.  The good thing is that it all moves so rapidly you don't have time to process how the term "summer classes" connotes a sort of punishment, as if the two entities of "summer" and "classes" should never mix.  By the time you grasp this, you're already done.

And now that the grades are in the books, I legitimately take a break from teaching until August.  Oh, friends, I'm not going to waste these coming weeks. It's summer!

The kids are on vacation, too.  I'm happy to report that when my daughters dashed home from school on the final day, leaving a trail of a hundred worksheets and pencil nubs in their wake from emptied backpacks, it took longer than 24 hours until someone uttered the words, "I'm bored."  Not much longer, mind you, but still.

Getting lost in a parking deck. Since I'm being honest, I should also tell you about the time last week when I parked in a different part of my campus parking deck and dashed out before getting my bearings, not even noting the floor level.  Five hours later I returned to the deck and walked to the area where I typically park. Not surprisingly, no car.

More surprisingly, for the next fifteen minutes -- fifteen minutes! -- I wandered the double-helix of the deck's six levels like a forlorn nomad, periodically clicking my key fob and hoping that I'd hear a nearby beep.

It's funny how your mind works during these moments.  I considered the possibility that I'd never find my car again, that I'd spend the rest of my life wandering the parking deck, just like that one time when I was 18 and joined my dad while he worked on an exterior painting project and I panicked while climbing off the third-story roof onto the ladder, certain that I would never, ever, be able to climb off the roof onto that ladder, that I'd need to be rescued by helicopter, or that I'd spend the rest of my natural life on that roof.

And then, of course, I found my car.  True story.

People of action!  My husband recently read a book about being a person of action, or, essentially, doing those things you need to do, right in the moment.  It's such an obvious premise, but the reminder is always useful.  He fixed our broken lamp post (it hadn't worked for a year), and entered the house, looked at me, and declared, "I am a man of action, you know."  I followed suit.  I printed a few photos and mailed them, with handwritten notes and real envelopes and actual stamps, to dear relatives.

Look at me, all proud, as I put four envelopes in the mailbox while thinking, "I am a woman of action!"  (This is actually quite fun.  In fact, I think we'll walk around spontaneously announcing, "WE ARE PEOPLE OF ACTION!")

Speaking of handwriting.  Back in the day, I had lovely handwriting.  One college friend even quipped it was its own font: Robin Sans Serif, 12 point.  Over the years, though, it's deteriorated into scratchy hieroglyphic letters, as if someone reading it would wonder if I'm suffering from a degenerative hand condition that impairs my manual dexterity.  Or maybe I'm just too used to typing.

The power of a check-in.  The other day I received an email from a reader who was checking in since I hadn't posted for a while.  Such kindness came through her words, and it made me feel valued, that my absence had been noted, that my words had been missed.  (Thanks, Ann!  Your note made my day!)

This, too, was another good reminder: our simplest actions, even a brief word or a check-in, can brighten someone's day measurably.  So, dear friends, let's keep being generous with our words and actions.

Is your glass of sweet tea empty?  Should we turn over and tan the other side now?  Thank you, my dear readers, for permitting me this little catch-up post.  Wishing you and yours the happiest start to summer!

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