Friday Fluff, Sweet Machine

Friday fluff: Summertime

It’s summer here in the northern hemisphere, and the living, as they say, is easy. Or at least, it’s been easy for me the last week because I’ve been on a little staycation since my classes/orals/grading frenzy ended; I have stuff to work on over the summer, but suddenly I live in a world of few deadlines and lots of new novels calling me from the shelves (Michael Chabon, I’m looking at you!).

In general, summer’s not my favorite season* — too sticky, too much sunburn — but there are certain things that I associate with summer that I just love. Some are genuinely only found during summer — swarms of fireflies at dusk, the sun still being out late in the evening, little farmer’s markets and summer festivals everywhere — but many are things I only do during the summer because of some deep associations I have with summer meaning freedom and fun (courtesy the 9-month US school year). So when July rolls around, even as I sweat and get burned pink, I look forward to those things: going out to the movies instead of renting DVDs, exploring the city, drinking mojitos, going to the zoo.

What are you itching to do this summer? What’s your favorite summer event in your city or town? Are you going on vacation? Is there anything you could do year-round but you only do in summer? Live it up in the comments.

*Except when I lived in Seattle, where summer is seriously Edenic. 70 degrees, blue skies, no rain — it’s my idea of perfection. Good thing, too, because after six months of gray skies you start to think the sun has been swallowed up on the other side of the earth.

131 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Summertime”

  1. Alas! For years summertime has meant one thing to me: iced coffee. Oh, how I do love it. And I’ve finally found out that my system cannot, canNOT, handle coffee in any form. Didn’t bother me in the winter, but it’s been so hard to forgo the iced coffee this summer …

  2. Oh, Miss Conduct, I hear you — I had to give up coffee this year for the same reason after being an inveterate coffee drinker for over 10 years. I miss it SO MUCH, and not being able to have an iced coffee makes me terribly sad.

    I recommend replacing it with alcohol.

  3. I’m going to Disney World!!!! With my parents. I’m trying to convince Mr. I to go, but he doesn’t think he will be able to fit on the rides. (Though I haven’t had many problems with that WDW is pretty fatty friendly.)

    I too enjoy farmers markets. This weekend I plan to enjoy some serious hanging out in the park with my dog. My only wish is that I had somewhere to go swimming.

  4. Heh, I thought I was the only one who couldn’t drink coffee because of the…tragic results. Alcohol is indeed an excellent substitute, though. :)

    Speaking of alcohol, I’m planning on an overheated and most probably very drunken trip to NYC next month, and a bit later I’m going to the beach with my parents, woohoo! That will involve substantially less liquor, however.

  5. big up for the iced coffee! LOL

    i, for one, will be spending most of my summer in the city (as i recently forked most of my $$$ into a new apartment — there goes any vacation plans)…

    but we also have a “taste of…..” event held on our waterfront that has local eateries doling out their best dishes and wines! along with local events & concerts (tonight: Devo!)….i should be just fine!

    plus, i hope to volunteer at our LGBT film festival…..or at least attend a few flix…..

  6. It is too hot in NYC for me to do anything. We had ridiculous weather a few weeks ago that completely knocked me on my ass, and it’s not even July yet. I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate the heat. Hate it.

    I have about a three degree range before I’m too cold or sweating buckets. I feel like I am the only sweaty woman in town – what is the secret???? I’m sitting here getting angry because I feel like I need to shower again. Hate.

    When I lived upstate I used to love to go camping and canoeing, but I just can’t afford it right now. Blah – for someone whose 20 year long depression recently lifted I am one cranky asshole.

    I want to retreat into Michigan’s northern woods and stay there until October. Who’s with me?!?

  7. i’m in seattle and you’re totally right — i am in eden and basking in the sun! :)

    i recently rediscovered stephen king and there’s nothing like getting lost in a novel with the sailboats drifting by!

  8. 70 degrees is way, way too cold for me to think of it as summer. I love it hot. My fav temperature is about 90, but without too much humidity.

    Summer is just my favorite time of the year, period. Summer is going to the beach at Lake Michigan and riding my bike and drinking iced americanos and later in the day, a gin and tonic. Summer is sleeping naked with the windows open. And buying blueberries at the farmers market.

    No coffee in any form! That has to be the saddest thing ever. I love coffee. I can’t handle the caffeine, so I switched to decafe. And I don’t do real well with the acid either, so I limit myself to one a day, plus I brew by the coffee todie cold brew method which cuts the acid considerably. But it’s hard to imagine no coffee at all.

  9. Summer makes me want to go out and pick strawberries. I used to do that for money out in Oregon when I was ages 10-14 (then I got a job at a Dairy Queen, yay!). Before that, my mom would drag the kids along when she went out picking, for money or for gleaning. Fragrant strawberry fields–smelling not only of strawberries, but also dirt and rot and a whiff from the portapotties over in the far corner of the field–are part of summer in my mind.

    I’m a little afraid of the U-pick farms here near Boston. I have this fear that the experience has become Disney-fied, and besides, I think the casual berrypicker has no respect for the field. I remember I went one year as an adult in CA, and I saw people just roaming the field, going wherever, stepping on the plants, etc. I wanted to yell: hey! If you don’t like the row you’re given, finish it quicker and _then_ move on to the next one. And stop stepping on my berries, you stupid fuck!

    So, I’m a little picky about it. But I want berries, so I may give in.

  10. Okay, first of all, yes to Michael Chabon. I just read the Yiddish Policemen’s Union and very much enjoyed it.

    I associate summer with road trips, which is probably not in the plans for the next, oh, hundred years. But thanks to getting into biking with my partner, we’ll probably do that a lot.

    I’m big into fireflies and sitting amongst them in the yard/park while sipping tasty beverages. Nowadays that’s berry weiss (ahhhh) or hard cider. Hooray for sweet-tooth alcohol and folding lawn chairs!

  11. I actually don’t miss coffee, even iced espresso, isn’t that weird? Maybe it’s because I never give things up on spec; I wait for them to cause terrible stomach pains many times in a row. By the time I give them up, the alternate options seem pretty crummy.

    I am looking forward to going to Erie and picking black raspberries, and going to Rehoboth and winning at Skee-Ball. I’m excited to bust out the ice cream maker. I’m happy that our pea and tomato plants are enormous. I want to go kayaking at the place Dan found that’s biking distance away, but I’ve been too dragged-out lately. And I’m hoping to make it back down to Surrey, VA, where we spent Memorial Day, because hanging out down there mainly involves drinking beers and walking on the beach and playing with dogs. Now that’s a summer tradition!

  12. I look forward to our summer….the part I look forward to the most is Christmas! Going down to the beach in my jandals for a BBQ with friends chatting over how great it is to be having a warm Christmas, as opposed to our Northern Hemisphere counterparts ;)

  13. Mmmm… I had iced coffee this morning. Definitely a summer treat. That, and the occasional red slurpee!

    I would kill to find a place around here where I can go open-water swimming. And we’re not talking one of those beaches where the guards make you stay within the over-crowded roped-in area. I want someplace where I can swim across the whole freakin’ lake if I want to. Alas, Northern Virginia/DC don’t seem to have places where I can do that.

    I used to have friends who lived in a subdivision that has a private lake about 20 miles south of me. They would let me use their lake pass and there I could swim and swim and it was fantastic. And then for about 2 years after they moved out of there, I’d use expired lake passes to get onto the private beach and go anyway. But then they sort of caught on to me and I couldn’t get in anymore. Boo! I’ve considered putting an ad in their community newspaper saying, “Can I be your friend? Can you get me into your lake?” But I’m not sure they’d appreciate that… :)

    Lakes are one of the few things I miss about the midwest…

  14. I have loads of plans. Fort Lauderdale is hot and steamy, and the rainstorms are in full force in the afternoon. Luckily I live near enough to the beach that it doesn’t matter a bit. Me and the dog have been to the beach a lot in the last few months, it’s only going to step up now. I’ve also been down snorkeling in Key Largo twice already (touched a sea turtle for the first time!) and I want to go down a few more times before summer’s end, gas prices be damned. I also just got my bike fixed up so I want to ride around town this summer, hopefully saving $$ in the process. Obviously lots of breezy capris and tank tops are being stocked in my wardrobe. The hot tub has been drained and dried, the pool is warm and lovely. Fruits and veggies taste delicious, our mango tree has been pelting the door down with fruit, so it’s mango salsa and mango shakes and mango out of my ears for awhile.

    Pool parties, of course, are the reason for the season. Tomorrow I am hosting a Bon Voyage party for my best friend who is spending HER summer in Europe. Next weekend we’ll be doing a “5th of July” party. I’m going to host a birthday for said friend when she gets back, my own birthday in August, and maybe even my cousin’s birthday. All in the pool.

    Vacation wise, things have yet to take shape, but a trip to Dragoncon at the end of August is almost certainly in my future.

  15. libbyloo, there are some swimming holes around… I’ve seen people swimming in Savage Mill, for instance. Haven’t checked any of them out myself but I want to. Then again I am more into river swimming than lake swimming.

  16. I have had the great good fortune to get laid off just as spring was getting into full swing. I’ve had no life for the last couple of years because of roller derby, so now that it’s my league’s off-season, I am traveling, traveling, traveling! I am going to go everywhere this summer!
    I have no money, but just visiting my family members is a good start. i’ve already had a two-week getaway to my parents’ house to meet my six-month-old nephew.
    Road trips are harder now that gas is so pricey, but piling five girls into my subcompact Japanese car and driving 5 hours to see another roller derby league’s season championship is my plan for next weekend. What we lack in comfort we’ll make up for in cheap camaraderie.

    And just sitting on my sunporch listening to my neighbor blasting soul music on the AM radio, with a beer in a frosty mug, is about as close to Heaven as you can get on earth.

    Also after seven or eight years, I finally have a swimsuit that fits me and I think I look hot in, so… one of my teammates has a pool, and we’ve got a few weekend pool parties pencilied in. :)

  17. My fav temperature is about 90, but without too much humidity.

    Oh man, anything above 80 basically makes me want to die. I really can’t stand the heat. It gives me headaches! I get so cranky!

    Summer always makes me feel like I’ve lost the genetic lottery when it comes to sunshine: I burn too easily to enjoy the heat, but I get tremendously depressed from the lack of sun in the winter. I guess I’m supposed to live in the tropics, only the magical tropics where it’s not so hot?

  18. I definitely think of traveling and strawberry- and snap-pea picking! Such happy childhood times!

    Though nowadays, I mostly think of the &(*^#%ing tourists clogging my roads and not knowing how to drive. SOME OF US HAVE TO GET TO WORK PEOPLE.

  19. FJ – I’ve been curious about those… I’ve seen the site. I’m afraid that they’ll mostly be more of “places to splash around and relax” as opposed to “places to do distance swimming”… I’m specifically looking for the latter… but there are merits to both (one of which being the Boyfriend will potentially join me for the former).

    I do think I’m going to go down here, maybe even this weekend: — I like that it says “no lifeguards”… in my book, that means “no one to stop me”… Of course, I will need to find another reckless soul like myself to go along!

  20. Summer in England is a contradiction in terms.

    However, we will be visiting the seaside (it is the British Way) and taking walks in the country.

    My favourite part about the summer is the extended hours of sunlight. I get SAD, so the sunshine is panacea to me.

  21. Hmmm. Definitely the fruit picking, now that I live somewhere with u-picks. Strawberries, then blueberries, then apples in the fall.
    I love having the break from teaching, but I’ve been really slow getting myself going to get back in the groove of research. Hasn’t happened at all yet. Boo!
    I used to hate going to the beach when I grew up, but that’s because I lived near Army Corps of Engineers fake beaches with huge rocks and no shade. Now that I’m somewhere with nice sandy beaches and shade, I love taking the kids for a few hours. Especially now that I don’t hate my big fat self in a swimsuit any more. :)

  22. I’m spending the summer in Seattle, and it is awfully beautiful. A little chilly for my tastes, but otherwise gorgeous. I don’t think I could stand the winters here, though. Pittsburgh winters were bad enough, and they had snow for me to enjoy.

    My favorite thing about summers is doing outdoorsy things. In the winter when it’s cold I mostly get grumpy outside, except on special days when there is fresh snow and sun. But in the summer being outside is lovely. I used to go on canoe trips with my family, and I lived within walking distance of a little wooded park that I’d wander through alone or with my neighbor when we were in middle school. Last summer in Iowa there was less of that sort of thing, thanks to ridiculous heat and humidity all the freakin time (and a certain lack of forest in Iowa), but I could usually get in a nice bike ride in the evening, watching the sunset and the fireflies. This particular summer I’m really looking forward to hiking in the mountains with my boyfriend.

    sweetmachine, clearly you are meant to be migratory. I am not sure how you will manage to work that out, but do let me know if you do. I have a somewhat higher tolerance for heat and sun, but otherwise I’m similar. I could probably manage the southwest’s climate since dry heat is much more pleasant for me, but the unsustainability of human urban development in the desert bothers me on a socially/environmentally conscious level, while the lack of trees saddens me on a more personal “I love trees” level.

  23. OTM, are you serious? That means I might miss you in Chicago (Aug. 6-9), but catch up with you in Delaware, which would be just too funny. I will get in touch when I know when we’re going (it will certainly be sometime in August).


    I’ll give you stuffed lobsters. I won about 12 of them in Skee-Ball last year.

  25. misha: It’s supposed to rain here in the T-Dot all weekend. :(

    However, it is still Canada Day weekend! So that makes up for something!

  26. My main plan is to read whole books. I have to read lots and lots during term time, but it’s always very rushed and always with the essay I’m writing in mind, which gets very frustrating when it’s on an interesting topic.

    (Jamboree- I’m totally with you. I’m trying to make sure I spend a decent amount of time every day because I suspect I have SAD, but it keeps raining on me.)

  27. Oh and I am like sweetmachine when it comes to heat. I am basically the most miserable creature in the world from June to mid-September and I spend my summer waiting very impatiently for it to just end already. I’m more fortunate though in that I don’t get winter-time SAD. It’s just the opposite – I’m happier n’ hell from fall through spring and usually get actively depressed in the summer once the heat and oppressive sunlight kicks in. Like now. Ugh.

  28. WOW sweetmachine this came at the most perfect time for me :-) I drink Mojitos all year round

    Actually to be honest, I drink Mojitos in like shorts and tank tops. What we do is set up a huge karosene heater in the living room and get it to like 80 and lounge around in summer clothes….. yeah nerdy I know

    But I get to go swimming in the summer which is not possible and we can play in the sandbox(Also not possible in Cleveland)

    But the thing I’m doing this summer I’m most looking forward to is BUBBLEFEST!!

    I’m organizing that :-) I’ve been looking for an excuse to drop line here… if anyone wants to come visit the Myspace page :-) <3

  29. I drink mojitos year-round, but only in the summer do I drink mojitos made with mint that’s just been picked off the plant on my back porch.

  30. I’m looking forward to my trip to Sunrivier (outside of Bend in Central Oregon) this summer.

    Also my BFF and I are trying to do lot’s of hiking this summer up in Mt Hood and Mt St Helen’s and the Coast. She has a great book “60 hikes in 60 miles from Portland” that has lot’s of good stuff. I’m having two dinner parties and possibly a BBQ at our house this summer and I love planning those.

    Today I’m using some comp time (I’ve been working like a dog this week) to leave early and enjoy the beautiful weather, maybe go for a bike ride.

    I am also much like SM with hot weather. I grew up on the Oregon Coast and we rarely saw it go above 80 in the summer, I’m just not built for that sort of weather (I’m also not built for extreme cold, give me a temperate climate any day please)

  31. Riding Bikes! We have pretty good bike trails in Milwaukee so you don’t spend 70% of your ride looking over your shoulder to make sure cars aren’t going to kill you (but I still wear a helmet – SAFETY FIRST!). My bike is a coppery brown Jamis Commuter 1.0. It’s heaven on the ass (comfy seat), upright so all the weight of my chest isn’t supported on two skinny wrists, and rides like a caddy. I actually keep my bike in my apartment, like a family member. Have I mentioned that I love my bike? I love the wind on my face, the burn in my thighs and the sun on my shoulders. I love racing past other cyclists or meandering last in line. I love that when I started biking I could not get up this specific hill on one of the trails without walking it and now I can bike it easy. Have I mentioned that I love to bike?

    I also love to swim, but I haven’t been able to do that since I lived with my parents in Florida fifteen years ago. There aren’t any pools close by me (I live downtown) and Lake Michigan is way too cold to swim in; even if it’s like 90 degrees topside, the waves feel like they’re below freezing at all times. The next place I live, I want a) more counter space in the kitchen and b) a pool!

    I love the sun!

  32. Like jamboree said, summer in England is a contradiction in terms. On top of that, I live farther north than she does, and it’s even worse up here! I’m sitting here right now in jeans, a t-shirt, and a knitted hoodie, and I’m shivering! (It’s raining, too.)

    Since the children here only get 6 weeks for their summer vacation, we don’t have as much time to do stuff as most of y’all. Add to that the fact that I have a severely autistic daughter who is a nightmare to bring anywhere (because she’ll just run off if you don’t watch her every. single. second.), and you get a family that doesn’t really do much. Luckily, I have wonderful friends who take the other 3 to the park with them when they take their own kids, so they’re not stuck in the house all summer.

    As strange as it is, though, I much prefer it to Chicago summers. Stifling heat, humidity so thick you feel like you’re breathing water and/or trying to swim through it, and heat stroke I DO NOT MISS. I’m SO glad that I don’t have to have days when I come home from work and walk around in nothing but a pair of shorts and a BRA because putting anymore clothing next to my skin will make me want to DIE. I do kind of miss Keepataw Days, though. That was a carnival that would roll through my hometown every September – Labor Day weekend. I used to love taking the kids there during the day, bringing them home to my grandmother and then going back with Hubby at night to do the REALLY fun stuff. ;)

  33. I am currently on summer break and thank God for it. Germany is currently experiencing a weird heat wave – on one day we have dry heat, the next day is reallllllly muggy. :-/ I’ve adopted a sort of Mediterranean lifestyle: I get up very early and take care of errands, nap from noon to about 2 pm, go to work from 5 pm to 10 pm and then stay up until 2 am.

    What I really looked forward to this summer was the European soccer cup. Germany is in the finals and soccer is a really big thing here – so Sunday (day of the final match against Spain) should be a real celebration (dancing on the streets, staying up late drinking, …), irregardless of who wins. :o)

    Other than that, I will be studying a lot this summer break because I have my finals in September. Other than that, I will catch up on my reading, meet up with friends that I’ve neglegted during the last semester and fly to Barcelona for a week (whooooohoooo!).

  34. Fillyjonk you can grow it in little planters in the kitchen that’s what we do. I have fresh mint all year round. Then I cook a lot so I always grow herbs in my kitchen I even have a little UV lamp for them :-)

    I’d love to have a green house so I could grow veggies and fruit all year round as well

  35. I am generally a heat-hater. I have found in my middle age that my ankles really love to swell in the heat, so I hate heat even more than ever.

    But I enjoy all seasons for different reasons. The extended daylight is my favorite summer benefit. What summer brings to mind for me: slipping on flip flops; growing tomatoes, peppers and cukes; maintaining a perennial garden; attending MLS soccer games (Columbus Crew is our team); deck dining and drinking when it’s not too hot; wearing white linen pants; the annual big family vacation in August (Dad, stepmom, 6 adult kids and partners).

  36. Summer is my least favorite season because I do not like being too hot. It makes me nauseous and cranky. Even the dry heat I live in (there’s something to be said for living at altitude). Usually it cools down at night but we’re in one of the two or three times during the summer when it doesn’t get particularly cool at night and A/C just doesn’t cut it. Grumble.

    We just finished one of the highlights of my summer – friends of ours throw a huge weekend house party which some people fly in for. It’s much food and drink and conversation and I see people I haven’t seen in ages. There’s just so much fun and joy surrounding the event.

    The next big party is the science fiction worldcon in August (Denvention, if anyone else is going). There are also a couple of festivals I’d like to go to or maybe a museum or two, or maybe a concert.

  37. Kennywood Park for Italian Day, Idlewild Park just because, going off to Columbus for a weekend in July to see friends we only get to see a couple times a year now, working in the garden, weeding my flowerbeds, hanging out with the dogs out in the yard, going to one of the city or county parks with the dogs and taking them to an off-leash area, going to the pool, the local Arts Festival, hitting up the farmers markets, all things I can’t do this summer. I hate this summer.

  38. I’m a swimmer, so summertime means outdoor swimming in a 50 meter pool — which means the laps take just about forever! I’m also from Jersey but live in Philly now. Luckily I’m still in close proximity to the Jersey shores, so I do some of the 1-2 mile ocean swims that they have going on at all the shore points on the weekends. I get to stop by some awesome farmers markets on the way home too — tomatoes and corn!

    Other than that though, I totally despise the heat and humidity of East Coast summertime.

    Also, go Germany for Eurocup 2008!

  39. This summer I’m finally brave enough to wear sleeveless stuff. :) I plan on buying a couple of tank tops.

    I’ll be spending the next few months “rebuilding” my life; I’ve just gone through a lot of tragic things, and I’m hoping this summer will allow me to get back on track with life.

    Oh, and lots of running around doing stuff with friends. :) Of course, I do that year round.

  40. I’m a beach bum.

    So summer = Jersey shore + Girlfriend + Sleeping in the car on the shore + scavenging the best internet connection a beach house could offer to write here :-)

    Summer also = ear infections from swimming, allergies, and still wearing a heavy coat since my job is FREEZING but getting weird looks from people when I’m still outside heading into my job.


  41. FJ – I am v. serious. And you’re instinct on us missing each other is about right – I’m in DE from 8/7 through 8/11 (about as long a family visit as I can take, Skee-Ball or no Skee-Ball). You’re instinct on my wanting to hang out and my love of stuffed lobsters is also correct.

    But yeah, girl, email me.

  42. Oh man, I think we are going to exactly miss each other… I probably won’t leave Chicago till the 10th. Man, you were tops on my list of people I wanted to meet, too! (I mean, leaving aside Kate and SM, who I’ve already met.) Well, I’m in Rehoboth most summers, so if I don’t make it up to Chicago again before next summer, we’ll coordinate ahead of time.

  43. Crapola! Well, yes, I am in RHB once or twice a year, too, so maybe next summer.

    Summer dreams… ripped at the seams…

  44. It’s supposed to hit the mid-90s here in PDX this weekend, and we don’t have A/C. It does get freaking hot in the Upper Left on occasion. Interestingly, the hotter it gets in Portland and Seattle, the drier it gets. Hot and sticky is one combination I do NOT miss from back east. Portland’s summer weather is almost exactly like Seattle’s, maybe a couple of degrees warmer since we’re a bit more inland.

    Summer here, I love. LOVE it. Amazing fruit (even in our backyard we have raspberries coming ripe, YUM). Oh, summer fruit. Peaches the size of a doll’s head, cherries to die for, even the yellow ones are actually affordable here. And free outdoor movies in the parks! And for once, lots of sunshine.

    But boy, do we pay our dues to get to Eden here. Nine or ten months of clouds clouds clouds and rain rain rain. Portland’s even worse for that than Seattle, we have what people call the “gray blanket” when there’s no sun for weeks, at all. Seattle at least gets the odd sun break. I’m told Hillsboro (just outside PDX) does get a few more sun breaks in the winter, though.

    PDX-ers, in case you didn’t know, there’s a Chunky Dunk this Sunday! I’m going!

  45. I grew up in Portland and I love that gray cloudy weather (although I’ll admit to getting sick of it in about June).

    But I’m spending the summer studying for the bar exam, so I honestly am kind of wishing for more cloudy days. sigh.

  46. DC summers tend to be miserably hot and sticky, but I’m definitely a summer girl anyhow. I’m sad that this year I pretty much missed June, between interesting work hours, having nasal polyps*, and frantically trying to buy a house before our lease is up.

    I am, however, looking forward to nice long summer evenings in a hammock on the patio of our new house later in the summer, though.

    * Not being able to breathe sort of takes away your incentive to do anything but whine.

  47. I’m in northern California, not in any danger from the fires, but it’s so smoky here that whenever I’ve poked my nose outdoors I’ve hacked and sneezed. Even indoors, my eyes are itchy and runny — and I’m not all that sensitive to smoke. The air is just that foul.

    Before half the state began to burn at once, I was looking forward to long warm evenings in the garden … tending my vegetable patch in the raised beds, and sipping iced tea on the deck with my dog collapsed across my feet. Watching the birds splash in their bath and hawk for insects over the bit of lawn. Cloud-spotting in the sunset and twilight, and star-gazing after dark.

  48. Seattle summers are indeed wonderful, like today! Sunday is the Seattle Pride parade and I am very excited! I scuba dive year-round but it is much better during the summer because it isn’t as cold at the surface when you come out. Mr. Rainer is also very nice during the summer because it is warm and still has snow! Oh and kayaking and skim boarding are also great!

    I love Washington state.

  49. Another Colorado resident. :)

    I absolutely love summer as I am not at all into skiing or other winter sports, so I love being able to do high elevation hikes and camping trips. My favorite running event is in August, too, which I am very much looking forward to. Yay summer!

  50. Meowser, I definitely thought winter in Eugene was worse than winter in Seattle — the gray blanket was totally on there. I remember my first year there, once it started raining in October, I asked an older grad student when we would see the sun again. He said, “June,” and I burst out laughing. And then I realized he wasn’t kidding.

  51. Summertime means being able to run around nude or with minimal clothing in the house and being light and free from heavy clothing. Getting very very hot and then jumping into cold water. Delicious refreshing drinks like ice mint tea, all types and hybrids of cold coffee drinks, and icy fruits and juices.

    Summertime is about getting together with people and having fun relaxing time. Walks in the cool evening shade and eating decadent ice cream fudge sundaes after eating mesquite wood smoked bbq. Daydreaming and reading all kinds of books and magazine.

    I love summer in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, and Montana. Wonderful beautiful summer breezes and not too too hot heat without too much humidity. I like to go to SF in summer when L.A. is too hot. Hate DC & NY in summer.

  52. Oh my goodness, NO FREAKIN’ WAY, holls!!! Maybe in my next life!

    It’s the Mt. Sneffels half in Ouray. Only like 86.9 miles less… Heh.

  53. One of my favorite summertime feelings is being in air conditioning for maybe a *bit* too long, then stepping out into the heat. I love the way that contrast feels. Then the Chicago humidity makes me weep. I’m a fiend for Las Vegas in the summer. Dry heat is so much easier for me to handle than the humidity.

    In a way, I’ve had two summers this year — I was in New Zealand during their summer (end of February-beginning of March) and it was so refreshing to leave Chicago’s chilly ass and be in a place where I could thaw out my bones and stroll around on a beach and frolic in the ocean. So my second summer vacation consists of the person I went to NZ to see coming here for a few days and then we’re heading to Vegas. I’m beyond excited–but then I’ll be so depressed because I won’t have any vacation time left for the remainder of the year. It can’t be January 1 fast enough–I need my four weeks of PTO back, dammit!

  54. See, I can tell that some of you like warmer weather than I, just by whether or not you find Seattle marvelous today. :) To me, it’s 73 degrees, so it’s already getting on the warm side. I’m having my hubby break out the AC from storage today because it’s supposed to be in the upper 80s over the weekend (records!) and I won’t survive that without coolant!

    As I’ve probably said 100 times, I’m from Alaska, so I grew up on much cooler weather, and that’s one thing I still prefer. If it *maybe* hit 70, I’d be perfectly happy. Besides, that way I can walk around and ride my bike and whatever else without sweating… and I like that very much! Also, being from AK, summer reminds me of long, long days… sitting down to watch baseball at 9 at night on the longest day of the year and knowing they won’t turn on the lights at the ballpark. :)

    I definitely need to go on a road trip. We can’t afford to go far this year, but there are places my transplanted husband hasn’t been, so I think some exploration is in order!

  55. Jane, OMG… I spent 3 days in Vegas in August and I straight refused to leave the htoel (Caesar’s) during the day. Even at night it was too hot for me but it was better.

    F the desert is what I say!

  56. Summer, to me, means spending a lot of time outdoors. And going to the beach. I miss going to the beach. I’ve been working on my garden, but it’s not quite the same. Must start saving for a trip to the beach, even if it’s ‘just’ on the Texas shore.

  57. I remember my first year there, once it started raining in October, I asked an older grad student when we would see the sun again. He said, “June,” and I burst out laughing. And then I realized he wasn’t kidding.

    No, he wasn’t. Eugene=Portland, in miniature and with more pollen.

  58. And speaking of the desert, I found it absolutely hilarious, when I lived in Phoenix, that people would wear sweatshirts and refuse to go swimming (even in a heated pool) when it was 82 degrees out because it was “too cold.” (Going swimming outdoors year-round was probably the thing I liked most about the place, that and year-round baseball. But gads was it HOT.)

  59. I live in Los Angeles where every season is just a different shade of “FREAKING HOT OMG”, so I in the summer I hit the beach as often as possible to beat the 100degree+ heat. The beaches here are sublime. Last week I even saw DOLPHINS! I was mere feet away from them. So cool.

    The only downside is that I am almost always the only fat lady in a sea of skinny women in string bikinis. It doesn’t stop me from wearing a swimsuit and enjoying myself, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little. (But then, I’m brand new to this whole “not hating myself” thing.)

  60. Going to the beach, reading books that aren’t on any syllabus, and eating strawberries straight from our garden are all awesome, but my favorite thing about summer here in Boston is Shakespeare on the Common. Grab a few friends and a couple bottles of wine, camp out about an hour before showtime, watch dusk fade to dark, then see some high-quality (free!) theater. It’s a fabulous way to spend an evening.

  61. Meg, what area of L.A. do you live? I live around West Hollywood and we don’t even have an air conditioner at home since we don’t need it. We just turn on the fan when it gets hotter.

    L.A. in general is not the kindest place for anyone bigger than size 5/6 since this is where they crank out these insane images of women. All these stereotypically ‘perfected’ women flock here to make it in the entertainment biz and therefore screw up the mentality of most people here. I refuse to drink the kool aid here where plastic surgery is considered to be just everyday part of life. It’s major surgery that can get you killed or maimed, people. It’s elective surgery!!!

    Just remind yourself in L.A. that you are normal and that the other plasticized people around you are not the average in the US.

  62. I didn’t realize how awesome Seattle summers are until I moved here and experienced it. We certainly are DESPERATE for some sun come July. The grayness squelches my spirit, I tell ya.

    I love how they have all these outdoor festivals and outdoor movies and outdoor concerts and outdoor EVERYTHING during the summer. It’s like you’ll be cited if you are found in doors during summer in Seattle.

  63. I live in North Hollywood, Viv. I walk four miles every day down Ventura Boulevard. It’s…interesting.

    You’re absolutely right about L.A. being an unrealistic sampling of the American population. I definitely try to remind myself of that, although it’s difficult to keep some of it from seeping into my subconscious. I just moved here two years ago, and my friends from home are bewildered when I tell them that I’m often publicly insulted about my weight. I’m a size 12, which is considered fairly average in many places, but here it’s, like, impossibly huge. (I read an article recently about how the L.A. standard of “size zero” is now passe and “triple zero” is the new goal. Great.)

    It’s a challenge to live here and be a fat person, that’s for sure–rarely seeing anyone else who looks like me, surrounded by cute stores that don’t sell anything in my size, the collective conversation always revolving around diets and gyms, the snide, self-righteous comments. But actually? It’s a blessing in disguise, because the crazy intensity of all this focus on thinness drove me into the arms of the fat acceptance movement. And hopefully I can spread some of it around.

    Well, that was quite a ramble…don’t get me started on the wonders of being a fat girl in Los Angeles!

  64. Meg, I congratulate you on being a sane thinking human being. Before I moved to L.A., I thought the stereotype of the superficial, celebrity obsessed, and plastic surgery/diet obsessed denizens was just that, a stereotype limited to a small segment of the population. But I was shocked that there were so many people who fit this stereotype. Now I’m not so surprised, I just take it for granted. I try to stay away from people who have this damaged view of the world, self, and of others. Your body size does not a person make. Being super skinny is not a virtue.

  65. Mosquitos. that is all. Like, huge swarming CLOUDS of the nasty things hovering in my backyard waiting to swoop down and attack the moment you step outside…they are horrid this year. Ugh. So gross.

    In more pleasant things, taking my daughter to the pool and being the only mom weird/free spirited/not giving a damn enough to jump right in with the kids and splash and dive and play :) If the rest of them want to perch at the edges and pose and tan and whine about their bodies and husbands and whatever, they can do that, I’m gonna have fun! I always get the weirdest looks…. but I’m sure the garishly neon patterned two piece suit on a *gasp* fat chick might have something to do with it. Oh well, it’s good for them to have their preconceptions challenged!

  66. Ok, I’m in Texas. We’re talking triple-degree weather here, folks. So all wonderous things need to be done indoors (museums, aquarium, or mall, anyone?)or in the evening.

    My favorite? Playing with the fireflies. I don’t catch them in jars like I did when I was little, but sometimes you can get them to crawl on your hand and flash their bright light. If there’s no fireflies to be had, it’s sitting in the backyard at dusk with a piece of ice cold watermelon. Mmm…watermelon!

  67. Summer! On Monday, hubby and I went to Canada’s Wonderland, which was super fun. We went at 10 am, left at 3:30 pm to go home and take a nap and eat (we live 20 minutes away), and came back at 8pm to finish the evening. It was the best because when we came back, the park had emptied, and we managed to hit 8 coasters in two hours. Then, we both were dizzy and sickish, but it was TOTALLY worth it.

    Toronto in the summer is lovely. We got a ton of rain in June, but it was usually accompanied by awesome thunderstorms, which I adore.

    Also, reading all of the people on here that go, “Hey! I’m from x too! Where in x do you live?”, is there any sort of way to make meetups with other people on this site? I would love to make some friends in the area that are into FA.

  68. When we have informal department BBQs during the summer, our VP makes homemade mojitos. STRONG ones. I could use one of those sometime soon.

  69. I live in DC, where the summer is disgusting (hint: do NOT visit this city in the summer. Its suicidal) but there are things that I love about summertime: waterparks, lying in the air conditioning with a stack of good books, summer heat storms, and most of all, annual trip to Maine. This year we are adding an island on the Bay of Fundy. Now THAT will be fun.

  70. Oh, one other thing I meant to say, which jamboree also touched on – the longer days. I guess it’s because we’re so far north, but it actually doesn’t start to get REALLY dark here until well past 10 p.m. And it starts getting light out again at 2 a.m. Less than 4 hours of REAL night. It’s weird. When I first moved out here 5 years ago, it was one of the things I had the hardest time adjusting to. I kept thinking it was earlier than it was simply because it was still so light out.

  71. Jane! OMG yes! Getting too too cold in air conditioning and then walking out the door into hot heat is an amazing feeling.

    I’m between Portland and Seattle, and one of my favorite things is going off Prozac for the summer :) I’m definitely happier when I can see the sun.

    Also: swimming in lakes and rivers, hot afternoon couch naps under the ceiling fan, early evening hammock naps in the yard, BBQ, fresh peach pies (I’m a baker), summer dresses, flip flops, early morning or late evening neighborhood walks to cool off, and no rain coat!

  72. carolatina! ::waves:: you’re a shapeling, too, hooray! :)

    it’s super hot here today, and i just went for a nice hike in the woods. i failed to find the letterbox i was looking for (it was one of those “you’ll know the spot when you see it” clues, grr), but that’s okay! it’s one of two i haven’t found yet in town, and i’m leaving town in a couple months so i’d like to find it. but if i don’t, the woods are still pretty to walk around in.

  73. Oh hi, apropos of nothing except that I just remembered: I was in NYC for the first time a week ago (ohmygod, LOVE) and I noticed that Starbucks and the Hard Rock Cafe (I know, I know, I’m such a tourist) both had calorie counts for everything they sold, in big letters, RIGHT NEXT to it, so you coudn’t avoid them even if you wanted to. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? All I wanted was a sodding doughnut with my cup of tea and I got thrown into this whole “oh my god, it’s 440 calories, am I really that hungry?” shame spiral and then I made myself eat it because I WANTED A DOUGHNUT, DAMMIT, except by that stage psychologically I didn’t, and it was this whole mess.

    No one else I was with seemed to be bothered about it. They were all, “Yeah, it helps you make healthier choices”, and the ones who had been all about getting a cookie or something our way in magically decided that actually, they didn’t want one, and didn’t seem to think there was any kind of problem with the enforced reminder that TEH COOKEES MIGHT MAKE YOU FAT, OMG.

    Does this happen a lot in America? Are we pretending it’s okay? For the love of god, stop medicalising my food!

  74. Well, I am in Phoenix, AZ and this is the time of year that people look at each other and say,” Oh my God, why do we live here? I don’t know if I can do another summer.” Out side it is an oven of 113 degrees that blasts, whoosh, into our faces as we step outside. At least it is a dry heat, they say. The rest of the year it is magical…but our summers are so horrid, that one ofter forgets how bad it is until we are in it again. Wish me luck, because this goes on until October.

  75. Caitlin, it’s the LAW in NYC that chain restaurants and coffeehouses and fast food places have to post their calorie counts right there on the board where customers can see them. Mom and pop places are exempt. But since everyone goes to Starbucks anyway (snerk), within a year there shouldn’t be a fat person within 60 miles of New York.

    In all serious, I went to Starbucks a couple of times when I was in New York last month. The calorie counts didn’t change my order at all. So they’ll still have to deal with at least one fatass recalcitrant tourist.

  76. When my XH and I lived in Phoenix, we used to say, “It’s a dry heave!” Yeah, right around April all the snowbirds start clearing out of town like their asses are literally on fire. Which, by then, they are.

    And I love telling people about how Binkley was found, as a 1-month-old kitten, in a soda machine in Tempe. In May. Smart kitten, finding the one place in town he wouldn’t melt.

  77. I just got back from visiting relatives. They live near the beach, but I didn’t sunbathe (too hot). I did go on the boardwalk and play in the arcade, and went to the local casino and played slots (won $294 combined on two penny machines). I’m heading to the new casino in Philly next Monday, and my grandfather is going with me. It’s a bus trip, so no worries about driving.

    Other than that, I’ll be home doing what I usually do, work and be on the computer way too much.

  78. I actually don’t really like summer that much. With college, I’m not even off from school as I still take classes. It’s way to hot and I have no AC. I burn too easy. I hate bugs, which is what I hate most about spring and summer- bugs start coming out.
    I do actually love the rain and storms though.
    I also love swimming, but I have no pools around I have access too nor any lakes close enough by, and I can’t afford to travel to any :(

  79. I’m moving to Phoenix August 1st. You all are scaring me. (Actually, I’ve been scared since someone told me she once left her sunglasses in her car in the summer, came back, put them on, and got second degree burns on her face. Argh!)

  80. Erin, do you have any community colleges nearby? If they have pools, they usually have some public swim hours (not that they’re good hours). Just throwing it out there because it’s something that usually doesn’t get a lot of publicity so most people don’t know about it.

  81. LilahMorgan, make sure you get a car windshield shade if you move to Phoenix. A reflective one. And keep your windows on either side open a crack when you leave the car. Seat and steering wheel covers aren’t a bad idea either.

    Also, make sure you have heavy-duty tires and batteries, because your air conditioning will be set on stun from April through October and tires actually BLOW UP on the freeways there because of the heat. And get a straw hat that ties at the chin; even if you think it looks silly the tie will keep it from blowing off your head. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water (or Gatorade) and have some serious kind of moisturizer to treat your feeties.

    Also, don’t go in the pool at noon when the sun is highest in the sky unless you wear a sunscreening t-shirt in the pool; you’ll roast, even under water. Better to wait until after 3 to swim; it’ll still be peak heat then but the sun will be lower. And if you wait until after 6 P.M. to do your errands, or if you’re a very early bird and you can get them done by 8 A.M., all the better.

    And go to Diamondbacks games, even if you hate baseball. That stadium is RAWWWK. And it’s actually air-conditioned!

  82. Carleigh wrote: “Also, reading all of the people on here that go, “Hey! I’m from x too! Where in x do you live?”, is there any sort of way to make meetups with other people on this site?”

    I’m from the same ‘x’ that you are. :-) (I live on the YU campus.)

    I’m extremely heat-sensitive, and like temperatures under 20c. Thankfully, this summer I’m finally in student housing with a/c. I keep it on full-blast all. the. time. And spend a lot of my time in cool libraries.

  83. Thanks, Meowser! This is all stuff I’m just not used to thinking about. But it will be nice to be able to swim outside year round, for sure.

  84. One of these days, some of us L.A. gals should get together and trade some horror stories. My god, this place is absolutely surreal. I am about average size and I can imagine how horrendous it would be especially for short people who are larger than size 14.

  85. Did I say horrendous? I meant life sucking, ego debilitating, and inhumane treatment from the skinnies and L.A. in general.

  86. It would be great to have some sort of fat gathering here, Viv. Occasionally (very occasionally) I’ll see other fat people out and about and wonder what kind of lonely private hell they’re enduring. It’d be nice if we had a safe haven.

  87. Summer is when London actually has amazing weather. Not too hot (except for a couple of weeks in August) but sunny and breezy and gorgeous. We celebrated the amazing weather yesterday by taking a 5-mile walk through North London and Hampstead Heath, having a picnic in the park and then spreading out our picnic blanket and napping in the shade.

    Meowser, that Chunky Dunk thing looks amazing!!!! Oh, how I wish there was one in London. I love to swim but haven’t worn a swimsuit in years as I can’t bear the thought of people seeing my back-fat and giant thighs, so it would be great to have a size-positive swimming session somewhere nearby.

  88. no big plans for the summer as i’m pregnant and feeling v tired and unable to plan anything. we were going to go to england and the lake district in august but changed our minds because of the pregnancy and are now going to avoid flying anywhere and spend 3 nights at a beautiful spa up north in the Carmel mountains near Haifa to mark our first wedding anniversary. Think we might also take some time to paint the second bedroom and convert it from hubby’s office to baby bedroom/my office (and switch hubby to my mini-closed-in porch office until such time as we move house to somewhere bigger). Various family members visiting, hopefully a banishing of nausea so we can actually go and do things in the evenings rather than just hide out and watch tv, and work work work to clear the decks before maternity leave starts by the end of October… i’m kind of sad that my maternity leave will be during winter so i can’t enjoy the warm weather with the little one when he/she arrives, but i can hope for a mild november/december, which we often get here – november here is often spring-like, and gorgeous.

  89. I hate heat and humidity and summer is my least favorite season from that perspective, but you’re right, sweetmachine – there are a lot of summer things I love despite that.

    We got to Silver Beach in St. Joe, MI at least once every summer toward dusk. Watch the sun set, walk down the pier, build sand castles, the kids play on the play equipment. One year – although that time I think we were at Lion’s beach, which is gravel rather than sand – after the sun dropped below the horizon the sky and lake were this beautiful pearly grey for the longest time, the horizon almost invisible, just one lone boat way out on the lake heading for the St. Joe river, paralleling the beach, and you could follow the wake all the way along from the boat until the waves washed up on the beach, the only true waves that still quiet night… Lovely.

    We’re also in walking distance to this city park with different water gadgets – no pool or even pond, but more like the coolest sprinkler set up ever – I don’t go for that but it’s fun to watch the kids there, and the walk out in the dusk is nice, too. Eldest daughter may be a teenager, but she still gets all excited about seeing rabbits and sighting the cats prowling around and seeing what’s blooming and whatnot. She and I usually walk while hubby hauls the other kids in the van so they don’t have to walk home all wet (it’s a mile or so away).

    Downtown South Bend has paths along both sides of the river and walking those is a summer tradition. There’s a bit of a waterfall down by the Regional Museum of Art and a big sculpture out in the river that clanks in the wind, a fish ladder on the far side that we have yet to see fish in but hope springs eternal, hubby and the kids go to kayak races sometimes but I like the quieter craft out at dusk.

    In the summer there are free concerts all around here four or five nights a week (depending on the week and how far you want to drive); often there are fireworks after the concerts on the Island back behind the RMoA over the river that are nice. The fireworks after the Silver Hawks games tend to be more spectacular but of course are not reflected by the river. I love chrysamthemums and the other colored kinds of fireworks, although for a while there they’d throw in all kinda concussion fireworks during the big finale, which was irritating because I hate the noise and the bright white flash would wash out the pretty stuff, but either they have a different group of fireworks guys now or whoever designed the show got tired of that effect, thank goodness.

    The art show in the St. Joe Park on the Bluff is usually a great deal, although it can also be a serious whack to the budget. If the art is not up to par you can still gaze out over the St. Joe river and the beach and all. We try to get in a re-enactment every year; a Civil War battle or the Voyageurs or whatnot; in my experience re-enactors love to talk and to explain all the details of their costume and the like; when the kids were younger it was a great joy to have someone else answering their stream of questions. Plus I’ve always enjoyed listening to someone knowledgable who is really enthused about one of my interests.

    And I’ve started “collecting lighthouses” – try to get a new one in every year. Had great hopes of touring the one in South Haven this year – usually I just walk out to them but the South Haven one is open for tours during Harborfest – but it was windy and rainy and to my annoyance there wasn’t anyone out conducting the tours while we were there. However the waves were high enough they were splashing almost across the pier, which the kids thought ever-so-nifty, and there was a barge grounded on the opposite beach they were trying to work free, add in the dredgers and some serious sand castle work and it was not an afternoon wasted.

  90. SHILOH SHILOH WHERE DO YOU LIVE?!?!?!?! If these are the places you visit, we must live really close to each other. Gadzooks! A real live fatosphere friend? Would it be possible?

    (And if you DO live around me, where is Michiana’s secret stash of progressive people who have a basic understanding of oppression? I feel like I’ve looked everywhere.)

  91. Unless…. zomg, wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out we knew each other in real life already, LOL?

    (Fat chance, though. (No pun intended.) I know so few people locally. Unless you go to my church or you’re my friend Brooke or my shrink or my pastor or my neighbor or my husband, lol.)

  92. *Except when I lived in Seattle, where summer is seriously Edenic. 70 degrees, blue skies, no rain — it’s my idea of perfection. Good thing, too, because after six months of gray skies you start to think the sun has been swallowed up on the other side of the earth.

    sweetmachine, I’m jumping up and down making squealing noises, because this year I happen to be heading for the Bumbershoot! (Both times I’ve been to Seattle before have been in the spring, although we got enough Bobby Sherman-esque skies then that I’d begun to think the thing about rain was, you know, an urban legend. Until one day walking down Denny I got soaked to the skin in two seconds flat. Ha!) So, great weather, I hope, for Beck, Neko Case and a bunch of other great stuff. I’ve also absolutely promised my husband that this time, breeze permitting, he gets to take his kite to Gasworks Park.

    Meanwhile, back here in Blighty, it’s quite balmy and I’m enjoying barefootedness, local strawberries and a lot of iced, highly caffeinated things with straws in – I’m a mochaholic in all seasons, but especially now. I’m not a great sunbather in the heat – I prefer to do like my cat and skulk indoors, unless I have something specific outdoor to be doing. Roll on August!

  93. Unless…. zomg, wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out we knew each other in real life already, LOL?

    Don’t put it out of the realm of consideration! There was someone I knew from here who turned out to be IRL friends with a friend of some of my friends, which we found out on Facebook’s I am Kate Harding group and the lists of other people’s friends.

  94. Well, had a great morning. My hubby and I were craving sushi but since it is sunday, most sushi places are closed or open only in the evening. But we really wanted donuts so we went to Frattelli’s in Bev. Hills. Very good donuts.

    But THEY WERE CLOSED, ON A SUNDAY!!! They close on Sundays. We were flabbergasted and another lady with her family was there and we were both shocked and aghast that a donut place regularly closes on Sundays. What’s up with that??? True it is gourmet donuts but Sprinkles, a cupcake place just up the street was open and crowded. too crowded.

    Anyway, we ended up getting Korean soon doo bu ji gae(soft tofu soup…mmmm) in Koreatown plaza and getting some Sprinkles cupcakes which I’m absolutely enjoying with our Intelligentsia coffee which we grind and brew at home. We have a little down time today so just relaxing and treating ourselves. The red velvet cupcake with sourcream frosting is to die for!!!

    Before Intelligentsia and LA coffee mill in Silverlake, we almost resorted to roasting our own beans because LA has horrible coffee. Staryucks?? ewww. I drink their coffee/frap once in a while but they are pretty mediocre.

    Yep, us L.A. gals gotta get together when we have time. There are many very nice and sane people out there but there are way more of the other types here that dilutes the niceness and the saneness of the rest of us.

    How many are out there. Meg, you are in N. Hollywood, I’m in W. Hollywood so we are not too far from each other. Anyone else?

  95. This year, I’m taking the perfect vacation.

    I’m leaving Orlando (zomg hot hot hot) and going to the Central Oregon Cascade mountains. I will spend a week in a vacation home that looks out onto a horse pasture with a mountain towering above it, and I will be ALONE. For an entire delicious week. No one to please but myself, no one to tell me “Oh honey, don’t eat that!” I will eat toast and butter, and crackers and Tillamook sharp white cheddar cheese, and I will sit on the back porch and drink lemonade and read.

    I’m also going to the quilt festival nearby, and will spend a bunch of time sewing. Heaven.

  96. cereselle, waaaaah, I wanna go!! Can you bring back some extra solitude for me, please? I’ll uncork it when my four-year-old is twenty minutes into one of his hour-long barrages of questions about insects. :)

    Off-topic, but as there hasn’t been an open thread recently I’ll ask anyway, with apologies if I oughtn’t. Does anyone know any dance-y cardio workout DVDs that’s generally fat-positive and has male and female workout people, but includes a moderate- to high-impact option? I have a Denise Austin DVD and I like the workout but I don’t like the all-slender cast nor the periodic exhortations to “burn fat” and “watch the fat melt away.” And my son asked me why there are no boys in it. (He likes to dance along too.)

  97. Wait! Hang on! I just implied something stupid! Let me try to repent… I didn’t mean that a fat-positive workout video wouldn’t include a moderate- to high-impact option because fat people can’t jump around!!! (Though it sounded like that, and I’m sorry.)

    What was in my mind was that I asked my pastor this very question, and she said, “Actually? Sweatin’ to the Oldies, believe it or not.” But having seen a bit of STTO, I didn’t think it would involve enough jumping and booty-shaking actually to get me sweating. So my “but” was in response to a conversation I was remembering earlier.

    That said, it was a still a very stupid way to phrase things, and if I were more aware I would have caught it. Sorry.

  98. A Sarah,
    I love doing dance dvds at home but now that you mention it, all of the dvds have slender to average women in them. I think Rich. Simmons is the only one I’ve seen that even includes men and women of different sizes in them. I’m surprised that he doesn’t have different level of fitness to his dvds. Sorry, I can’t think of even one that I am familiar with that meets your criteria.

  99. A Sarah – not at all dance-y, but I really like Leslie Sansone’s walking videos. There’s just something about her. The workouts are pretty good (if a bit monotonous), but she’s got a kind supportive attitude that I really get into. She does streaming online videos too, that are subscription-only but cheaper than buying a video you may or may not use to check her out. (


    I’m in South Bend. Which I presume means a Real Life fatosphere friend is at least a possibility.

    (And if you DO live around me, where is Michiana’s secret stash of progressive people who have a basic understanding of oppression? I feel like I’ve looked everywhere.)

    Got me. I’m essentially a hermit, I’m afraid. In terms of the locals I know various college professors who were at one time neighbors, other former neighbors I’ve lost touch with, some people from church, a few random librarians, and that’s about it.

  101. The dancing to the oldies vids are really good provided you skip the “i lost x pounds so you can too” bits at the end. I have the whole set, hopefully I’ll be able to use them again someday. Even when I was very fit, lifting bigtime and doing 5 mi run/walks 4x/week and doing reebok step, I could work up a sweat with Richard. He still cracks me up, too.

  102. Shiloh, whoa, me too!!

    (Now I’m trying to think if you could possibly actually be anyone I know. I don’t think so. You have daughters, right? I don’t know anyone with daughterS, plural. You know random librarians? Do you work at the library? We’re at the downtown and Francis branches a lot. We go to church on the South side, but I can’t think of anyone there whom you could be.)

    Um, okay, so… what do we do now? Is two enough for a South Bend/Mishawaka meetup? Anyone else? We could do it at Fiddlers Hearth! Or the Chocolate Cafe! (Husband and older son were just there today for a birthday party.)

    And, wow, I am totally giving these Richard Simmons vids a second look. I think I’ll check some out from the library. (That would be the awesome SOUTH BEND library, Shiloh. Woot!)

  103. oops, car, I just read upthread… thank you for that recommendation as well! I sometimes do get in non-dancey moods too, and that link looked very promising. :)

  104. Damn it, there were thunderstorms and I didn’t get to go to the Chunky Dunk!

    But Emerald, if you’re really going to Seattle for Bumbershoot, maybe that will be enough of an excuse for me to finally get my arse up there for it. The one year I had tickets (to see Liz Phair, dammit!), I sprained my ankle and couldn’t go.

  105. A Sarah – Once I started thinking about it I remembered that Leslie is all abut the “lose weight with me”, so you do have to kind of tune that out. But, she’s still got more of the ‘you can do it!” without being too perky, and always emphasizes that you can do everything at lower or higher energy levels depending on what your body is telling you to do and it’s all good.

  106. I hate almost everything about summer except for the thunderstorms. I sleep like a rock during thunderstorms, and Ohio has some darn impressive ones!

    Maybe when I get my new dresses and bike shorts I’ll be a little more positive about walking around in the heat. Jeans and 90 degree weather do not a happy heathen make.

  107. I was just in Chicago, and it was about 80 for Pride, rather than 105 or something rotten like that.

    Any Shapelings in the Chicago area who play band instruments, you should totally join the Lakeside Pride Freedom Band just for the Pride Parade. There’s NOTHING like playing for 500,000 people who are REALLY EXCITED TO SEE YOU.

    (But thank Zeus Pride season is over. Maybe I can stop getting sunburnt every weekend.)

  108. “I was just in Chicago, and it was about 80 for Pride, rather than 105 or something rotten like that.”

    The weather was comfy for Toronto Pride as well, thank goodness. I attended as a spectator, though I’m regretting turning down the offers of two groups to march with them (one of my friends tried to convince me that marching with the vegan / animal rights contingent amounted to “trying to hijack the agenda” — but I shouldn’t have listened to him!) It was great all the same.

  109. You know random librarians? Do you work at the library?

    No, we’re just there a lot – my eldest is 13 and we’ve been going to the Main library nearly once a week since she was a little one. One librarian has had most of my kids for the toddler “reading” time (they would sing and dance after the reading) and another one used to do cool crafty stuff (although she’s moved on to a better paying job, alas). Plus middle daughter will yap at anyone who doesn’t tell her to get lost, so a fair percentage of the children’s librarians who work Monday evenings at least know who she is.

    what do we do now? Is two enough for a South Bend/Mishawaka meetup? Anyone else? We could do it at Fiddlers Hearth! Or the Chocolate Cafe!

    I vote Chocolate Cafe (I like their chai). I think two is enough but give it time to see if anyone else is interested (I know someone spoke of doing stuff in SW MI on a thread somewhere, but that might’ve been you).

    Another summer thing we do that I look forward to – eldest daughter and I attend history lectures in the old courthouse in Berrien Springs. Generally these are interesting but it’s hot and quiet, except for the one on guns where you get to go outside and shoot them and stuff – of course the one time I invited eldest daughter’s good pal I managed to cause all manner of noises with my water bottle and what not. This week’s is on women’s suffrage, an appropriate choice for Independece Day Eve I should think.

  110. Er, “I think two is enough but suggest we give it time,” according to your preference, of course.

  111. Summer in South Carolina? Freaking hot. Lots of trips to things inside and taking walks early in the am. Cold lemonade and sweet tea. I hate it but I’ve lived here my entire life, except for 5 years in NYC which wasn’t much better, so I’m used to it. Sort of. We’re talking about moving to the West Coast after I get out of grad school so I don’t have to deal with the sun anymore. ;)

  112. Find a way to make enough money to move out of my parents’ house.

    No it’s not summer specific, but it’s been my goal since I moved back in after college. *sigh*

  113. Liza,
    You should be proud of yourself for trying. I know lots of people who “just hate living with their parents.” While at the same time refuse to make choices that will allow them to change that. Best of luck! Try not to let the crappy economy get you down.!

  114. I’ve been planning to visit the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, they’re having a glassworking exhibit there until September.

    I also have been thinking about going to a hotel near me, that has an indoor water park. However, after going to one in Wisconsin awhile ago, I learned it doesn’t take me long to get tired climbing all those stairs to the waterslides. Would it kill them to make an elevator, and you just navigate through bridges to whatever slide you want to go on at the top?

  115. I’m having a little taste of summer right now. Pink lemonade! Homemade, and not a drop of food coloring. I found several large bags of pink lemons at the local/organic grocery. (Yes, they’re real, and delicious.)

    I’m also job hunting, as I’m freshly graduated. Yay. I’ve got one good lead, awfully far away considering gas prices, but the pay is pretty exceptional, and may make up for it. Meh. I’ll figure it out if I get the interview.

  116. Congratulations on graduating, Emmy! Job hunting sucks — make sure you have a good stack of books, DVDs, video games, knitting, crosswords, or what have you to keep you busy and cheer you up while you’re waiting to hear back from places. And good luck!

  117. I used to hate heat and sun, but after I went to Burning Man a few years ago, I pretty much have learned to love it. Sunscreen and shade are my friends, to be sure, but pure yellow sunshine and blue skies are the best medicine!

    This summer I want to take advantage of all the local Farmer’s Markets and enjoy all sorts of seasonal produce, breads, and baked goods. I just popped round one today and treated myself to some Queen Anne cherries and bumped into a local soap and bodycare line made from organic ingredients! Nice!

    I am also on a cafe kick and am trying to visit as many independent cafes as possible to sample their iced tea. I can’t drink coffee either, but deny me my iced tea and you got a very, very grouchy (and parched) fattie. Iced tea tastes so good in summer! Happiness in a glass!

    Finally, I am trying to incorporate more types of physical activity into my schedule. I just picked up a coupon for a free martial arts class – -this particular dojo has a class specifically for students with injuries or other meidcal factors who need a slower pace and more guidance from the instructor. I also took a yoga class at a local studio, and want to take a few tai chi classes as well. Somehow all this is easier when the weather is cooperative in terms of walking and more spontaneous traveling across town.

  118. I know I’m days late to this party, but I couldn’t resist and the Fatosphere moves so very FAST! (not a complaint, just an observation). I don’t feel too bad. This is gonna be long so it might not get read anyhoo.

    I am actually on vacation right now. My parents and I drove from Michigan to visit my sis, bro, and new nephew in Connecticut. What a cool thing. I’ve never been to the east coast… er, well, unless NYC counts because I did to to the Westminster kennel club show once but that was just for a day. Anyhow. It’s been a lot of fun in the sun, a chance to see beloved family and connect with my dad in the car, and also quite the FA journey in a lot of ways.

    My mom has been making little comments about my weight for a while but I’ve been more or less able to deal with her. Sis, on the other hand… hoo boy! She’s a great person in many ways and I love her dearly, but I won’t mince words on it, she’s a weight bigot. Not quite nine months after her first child and she’s already back to svelte. She’s been saying enraging and hurtful things with increasing frequency since I got here about my weight and how I “need” to lose, because of course what I do or don’t with my body is somehow her call to make.

    First we were trying on clothes. I put on a sundress and was spinning in it, because of course the swishyness of a dress is of vital import to its buy-ability. She said “see Sugar, this is why you need to lose weight. You’re just not a fat person.” I said, “what’s that supposed to mean?” and she came back with this lame something about me not being like a fat person or not meant to be one or something. What, so being bubbly or taking joy in clothes that swish is only a personality trait I deserve to have if I am thin? NO FAT PIXIES, I guess. What bullshit.

    There’ve been tons of comments about my body and a lot of prejudice and general derision directed at fat and fat people since I got here, and it has been a challenge not to let it get me down. I almost cried once… I’m sorry I ever tried to defend myself, because I mentioned the time I was basically-kinda-almost having an eating disorder and didn’t eat for days on end and was miserable, paranoid, cranky, and couldn’t concentrate from lack of food. She actually said to me “well you didn’t die so you must not have needed it.” No seriously. If you don’t die from a year of eating barely enough to get by on, you must not need enough food to nourish your body. And that really cut because of what it took to let go of that for me. That time was a sensitive and life-changing experience for me, something I swore I’d never go back to. Statements like that, especially from my sister, remind me how I got there. She followed up this loving commentary with something about how it is sad for me to need to overeat to be happy. Obviously, since I’m fat, it is because I overeat, and has zilch to do with the fact that I’m depressed, don’t sleep, and am all but sedentary.

    I did let it get to me a little, I must admit. For the first time in a long time, I weighed myself. In the spirit of Joy Nash’s Fat Rant I proudly claim each of my 170 pounds, which sit unevenly on my 5-foot frame, collecting largely smack in my middle. And that’s just how it is. It’s just a belly. If I don’t feel like looking at it, I can just sit up straight, in which case all I can see when I look down is a really fabulous set of massive breasts. Yet a small betraying part of me said in the back of my mind “oh thank goodness, it’s under 200” and also “my gods, I’d have to lose FIFTY pounds to get back to 120!” This betrayal of myself is why I have gone un-weighed for so long. It is too tempting to obsess over something that should very much be arbitrary.

    Anyhow, on to the good stuff (even though this is already heinously long… I apologize, but this is the only place I can talk about this stuff and be remotely heard or understood). Today we went to the beach. My first time touching the Atlantic. I was excited! I looooooove the beach. At first there was fog and we couldn’t swim so I grabbed a bucket meant for the baby (he’s nine months, he wasn’t using it) and tried to make a sand castle. When that didn’t work I just played around in the sand and stood in the shallows looking for pretty rocks. Then I got in the water, inspected more kinds of seaweed then I ever imagined existed, and jumped into these spectacular waves, the likes of which you do NOT see on the Great Lakes. My mom saw me doing such and rented me a boogy board (hey my family hates my fat, not me… mom’s very thoughtful). Now THAT was awesome. I boarded until I was exhausted… well, I actually would have kept going a bit longer but the rental was only for 2 hours. If you have never tried boogy boarding, go do it, right now. Run. In your pajamas? On the loo with your laptop? Checking the comp on your lunch break? Tough. Boogy board. NOW. You won’t be sorry!!!! But anyhow, the point is, I did all those things, and also skipped around in the sand, and yelled WHEE OCEAN, and I did it all in a swimsuit, and I did it all fat. And I felt even better for it. Like I was sticking it to anyone who thinks being 50 pounds heavier than before means I don’t get to run around and act like a giant toddler at the beach.

    Then we went to the mall. After the epic fail that is clothes shopping (blech), I got a soft blue bear at Build-a-Bear. We are talking cloud-soft. And my favorite color. The bear’s name is Moon btw. Because.

    So, still fat, still struggling with personal and familial issues. But still summer, still fun, and above all, no matter what my body looks like, I AM STILL ME.

    If growing up means you leave your sense of wonder at the door and stop taking in all the awesomeness that is everywhere, or if being seen as intelligent means you’re no longer easy to please or amuse… guess I’m just a 26-year-old, college-educated, well-read KIDIOT.

    By my heels, I care not.

  119. Well, ’tis winter Down Under, so I’m busy enjoying things like soup and sitting in front of the heater.

    Summer for me is having every door and window in the house open to catch the breeze, and wearing just a sarong or a kaftan over my underwear. It’s going down to the beach (which is about three blocks thataway *points*) and going swimming. It’s fish and chips on the grass near the tearooms. It’s drinking enough water to keep my kidneys afloat all month. It’s remembering to switch on the sprinklers on the designated watering days.

    Summer is smelling barbecued meat from the neighbouring houses (and thinking “gee, we should get ourselves a barbecue” each time I do). Summer is grapes fresh off the vine, still warm, washed off in the sink; or grapes fresh out of the fridge, cold and sweet and delicious. Summer is Christmas, and trying to figure out how to cook up enough food to serve everyone without boiling myself in the process.

    Summer is six months away. *sigh*

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