By Jill Greenwood
Summer . . . I fall firmly in the camp of “Please, dear lord, deliver me from this heat and this humidity and please let that be sweat dripping down my ass and not an ant” as far as this season is concerned. Pretty sure that I’m one of a very select group of teachers who don’t particularly care for this season. Trust me, I’ve thought over the merits of the sun shining, but I’m convinced that my family’s genes long ago beat any kind of sun worshipping firmly out of our people. Don’t get me wrong. Plop my ass down on a beach chair in say the Bahamas, and I’ll not move for hours . . . provided that I have a) shade, b) a gentle breeze, and c) someone willing to schlep me a few drinky poos. But overall, I could take or leave summer except for one thing: ice cream.
Yes, I know you can get it year round. And, yes, I know that Ben and Jerry’s does a fine job of keeping me in the good stuff. Hell, even Graeter’s is now selling down the street from my house. But come summer, I break out my ice cream maker and make it myself with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream At Home. Which is really odd because to make the kind I love, you have to boil the milk and stir it for about four minutes. And I don’t have air conditioning of any kind. Not central air. Not window units. Not anything. So, imagine someone prone to turning red at the mere thought of the temperature going north of 75 degrees, standing in a kitchen that’s about 85 degrees, carefully stirring and whisking a pot of boiling milk. All you’re missing in this visual is the hair net to keep my shaggy bangs out of my eyes. And why don’t I need it, you might be asking? Because I’m sweating my fucking ass off and my damn hair is plastered to the sides of my cheeks, that’s why.
But we’re not done on this ice cream adventure . . . oh, no . . . not by a long shot. Next, I have to whisk the boiled milk into the cream cheese mixture (seriously, you should just buy the damn cook book; it’s genius) and then transfer it to a gallon Ziploc and let it cool for a half hour. Most sane people would take the time to sit down, sip some iced tea (or whiskey), put their feet up. But I figure, I’m already hot and sweaty and disgusting that I may as well vacuum the carpet or some ridiculous shit like that. So after it cools down – the ice cream mixture, not me (clearly) – I can have a tasty treat, right? No. Not unless you like slightly thickened milk with a little bit of flavor. Spin that baby in the actual ice cream maker for about 30 minutes. Which means I can take a shower. Again, that sanity issue creeps up, so it’s over to the sink to do those dishes (and if I don’t have air conditioning, it’s a safe bet I don’t have a dish washer; when you buy a house built when Woodrow Wilson was President, you buy it for charm . . . like a dumb ass).
When those 30 minutes are up, and you’re looking down as a mass of *almost* ice cream, it can get you a little emotional. No longer are you seeing a baggie full of nearly curdled milk. It’s gone beyond the chilled, thickened milk phase. You have bona fide ice cream . . . if you’re willing to wait about four more hours. Because right now, after the 30 minutes of spinning and churning, it’s not quite ice cream. So lick your fingers since getting the ice cream packed into a container is messy work and take a shower because you’ve sweat enough for most people in the tri-state area and put your feet up. Dream of taking that first bite. Practice your scooping technique. Figure out when you can make another batch (because the cookbook is chock full of favorites). And get ready to scream.
Why don’t I make ice cream in the fall when the temperature dips to a more acceptable level? I have no clue. There’s no good reason, at least not one that makes sense. Do you have any treats that defy rationality? Anything that you could buy much, much cheaper at the store, but for some reason, it’s worth it to sweat like a whore in church and make it? I’d love to know that there are other sanity-challenged people out there. So . . . dish it. What’s your “must have” treat of the summer?
*If you’re celebrating Independence Day, happy 4th, y’all! I’ll be the idiot at the fireworks with her fingers jammed so far in her ears that her brain will start to tingle. Hate. Loud. Noises.
by Tiffani “Living La Vida Bathing Suit” Michele
Dear, sweet, delusional, and incorrect Erika really threw down the gauntlet yesterday when she blogged “I Hate Summer“. Haterz gonna hate, I know, but she left me no choice but to retaliate with my own post, “I Love Summer” to show her the errors of her ways. Because really, I read her words in shock and awe, shaking my head and mouthing the words “nooooooo!” while raising my fists into the air like a supplicant for correct seasonal priorities. It’s nothing personal, I suppose, and nothing that can’t be fixed over a late night of beer drinking and shots of whiskey. But still. I was offended. Hating Summer?! What?! Who could possibly?! Can you even say those words together?!
I love Summer so much I want to get drunk off vodka infused watermelon, and fondle and caress it and maybe even grind up against it until we’re both tired and drunk and a little sunburned and pass out to the light of fireflies dancing around us. So here’s my own list of summery love:
1) So Much More Light! I don’t struggle to wake up early like I do in the dark hours of winter, because the sun is already shining in my window beckoning me to hop out of bed and get my party on. It shines all day long without any chance of snowstorms or weeks and weeks of gray days. It even stays light waaaaay into traditional night. There is finally enough time in the day to do everything…wake up early, get shit done by afternoon, take a little nap, wake up, and still have more than half a day’s light to play around with. Yes Please!
2) Break From Cooking! No one wants to use an oven or stove when it’s hot. That’s where grills and men come in handy. In the summer, you can hand off a plate of raw meat and it comes back to you in the form of a fresh dinner made by a man cooking on a grill. Cooking and baking goes down by at least half thanks to cold pasta salads, fruit dips, man grilling, pot luck neighbor picnics, and yogurt based foods. Being single has put a wrench into my plans, actually, but that’s what Craigslist is for. “Wanted: man who likes to grill. I will supply raw meat and veggies in exchange for a nicely grilled dinner every night. Knowledge of grilled desert recipes a plus. None of this is code for “I really mean I want to have freaky sex with a stranger”. Only those serious grillers need to contact me.”
3) Bathing Suits, Boats/Beach and Beers! If there’s any way to spend a day better than this, I don’t know what it is.
(body by hooping, y’all, and I’m not even kidding!)
4) Summer Sports Rock Hard! Fall and Winter have sports that are boring to watch, boring to play, involve lots of layers, and have a high degree of hurt involved. Touch football always ends up tackle. Hockey players wear too many layers to make it interesting for us women folk, if you know what I’m saying. Skiing also involves to many layers and way to many chances to run into trees and die of massive internal injuries. But summer is all about play! Swimming, volleyball, surfing, and skateboarding. Who doesn’t love the laid back nature of that?! All done in varying forms of dishabille. Rawr!
5) It’s Simply Magical. All my favorite memories come from the summertime. No school, no bedtime, spending time with friends, going on summer trips, eating popsicles all day long, summer loving with the star crossed boyfriend that I knew I’d never see again, lounging at the beach eating nachos and hot dogs, sun kissed hair, and fireflies. Ah, fireflies. My kids had never seen them before last week. But as we spent time with cousins in Georgia, they experienced the magic for the first time. It made my mama heart grow three sizes bigger.
Seriously. This is life, people. Magical, awesome, simple, pure. Brought to you by summer!
What are some of your favorite things about the best season ever (summer, of course)?!
by Erika Ray
There are two types of people in this world: those who love summer and those who hate summer. I fall into the Hate camp. I fall so deeply in the Hate camp that I could be the President. When you hate Summer, people make you justify your hate all the time. “How could you hate Summer?” the Lovers whine. Well, let me tell you why I hate Summer.
1. I hate being hot. More important, I hate humidity. Mix the two and fuck me, I’m in Hell. We went to Vegas last Summer and I almost died on the Strip. Before the trip, people kept saying, “It’s a dry heat. Don’t worry.” Fine. It was mildly better, but the first day we were crammed in a bus with no air and a bunch of homeless people thinking the bus had A/C. I wanted to die. One more mile and I would have died next to a strange woman who kept pulling tattered Bible verse from her bra. I took one to prepare for my impending doom. You never know… When I didn’t die and the doors flew up, I ran so fast from Crazy Bible Bra Lady.
2. When it’s Summer, people expect you to be outdoors. Do you want to know what I hate second to Summer? The outdoors. Yes, I love to camp. But to hang out in the backyard just because isn’t my idea of fun. I have a house with A/C next to my backyard. That’s where I want to be. In the Summer, if you aren’t outdoors if feels icky and there’s an air of guilt that circulates with the freon.
3. Mosquitos love Summer. Mosquitos loves me. I love to scratch. I love to try to pop the bites. Yes, I’m in my mid-thirites and I realize that mosquito bites don’t pop. Yes, I keep trying. Mosquitos give me ample bites to practice.
4. Summer has a bunch of filth that the other seasons don’t have. Summer has a good amount of leftovers. And filth/leftovers mean someone has to clean up. Fine. Winter has dirty snow, boots, and gloves. Fall has dead leaves and pumpkin guts. Spring has mud. But Summer has an endless list of debris. Here’s what I found in the past two days.
Summer calls for Mexican style beers. And Mexican style beer goes down like the yummiest water: i.e. more bottles in the morning.
Beer Can Chicken and corn might be the best Summer meal and leaves the most debris. I didn’t photograph the beer can up the chicken’s butt. That’s the filthiest most delicious part of the meal.
Suits have to dry. Usually you’ll find the boys’ suits on the floor or shoved in their book bags. Leaving more of a mess.
When you do venture outside, you can’t just walk out with a hat. You have to bring bags of stuff. Sun block, bug spray, toys, towels, sunglasses, crap, poo, shit, turds…
I hope I made my case for hating Summer. Those who fall into the Love camp won’t hear any of my whining. I won’t convince them. But I am tired of feeling bad for hating Summer. Give me Fall. Let me run through the Spring rains. Winter? I’ll take ya. Summer? I’ve got another two months to deal with your shit.
If you want to help me get over my hatred for Summer, upload your favorite Summer photos to the summer album on our Facebook page. Turn me into a lover of the sun and heat this season brings.
We’ve started a new tradition in our household. The dance party. It’s been just the thing to get us through the late afternoon slump. Occasionally, it prevents WWIII over a particular toy. We’re not picky about the source: iPod, YouTube, radio, cd, spotify, etc. We crank it just loud enough to cause the neighbors to stop and wonder…..and then we DANCE! We sing, we shake it, we play air guitar/drums, we conga line, we twirl, and sometimes we jump on the bed. Okay that last one’s not really dancing, but it’s freestyle so who cares. The point is…it’s FUN! Today we cranked this tune: “press play” and spun around the living room. I took to the cedar chest to avoid the kamikaze cart wheels taking place.
We’ve loved sharing music with you this month. Hope you continue to crank it loud and let it move your soul as we celebrate Summer during the month of July!