Life Lately | August 2021

Well dang. August is over and next week is Labor Day and that just about wraps things up for the summer, you know? 

One could say the sun is setting on summer, no? Cue corresponding picture:

Summer Sunset at Frankfort Beach |

I think I got what I needed this summer though.  I mean, of course if the universe would conference me in and solicit my opinion on an appropriate length for summer, I'd just go ahead and say "forever" but insofar my phone has never rang. And so I savored enough of the hot sticky days of August that I think I'm open to a season shift. 

In other news that doesn't sound entirely convincing, I *think* I got Duke enrolled in school this year. Our school district is apparently understaffed and so while I haven't received any paperwork for a school year that starts in a week, I have an email that says "you're all set" and I'm basing all my confidence in that. I follow up weekly. The director probably groans every time my name lands in her inbox, but over the weekend I met another family at the playground who commiserated on the very same lack of communication. So I guess there will a lot of confused parents showing up at Lake Ann Elementary with NO IDEA if they should even be there. LOL. 

Anyway, last weekend we bought a backpack and new jeans and that back-to-school feeling just has a decidedly unsummery feel. 

PS - this costume is Duke's idea of some good back-to-school shopping -

Captain America |


But this post is not about impending seasons. It's about August, which was 100% stereotypical: hot, humid, perfect. That said, many mornings I considered laying on my floor and just giving up rather than get dressed in my not air-conditioned house, anticipating an arctic level air-conditioner at work. If Hell has a dress code, I bet it's some version of that dichotomy. 

Speaking of work, I pretty much was there or the beach the entire month. The work is self-explanatory, it's consuming. Now the beach - I have perfected a routine. Sundays, after a full weekend at any lake, I bring the beach bag in the house, dump the sand, wash the towels, evaluate the sunscreen supply. I repack the bag, tossing in a spare swimsuit just in case, and put it back in my car's trunk. This part is just luxury, but I keep a Costco case of La Croix (or whatever) in the back seat and then we are basically ready for spontaneous after-work trips to the beach every single night of the week. 

Evening Swims at Crystal Lake |

You never know when you're going to find a great pull-off right on Lake Michigan and I am here to be prepared. 

Evenings at Crystal Lake |

And you know, this is one of these nice things that Duke and I enjoy equally together. Everyone says how much he is like Ryan and looks like Ryan and acts like Ryan and all that is true. But when we park at the beach and he runs across the sand, dragging a boogie board behind him, letting his flip flops fall off anywhere, and goes splashing right into the water, I'm just satisfied that we have a few things in common too. I think Duke and I go to the beach in a week more than Ryan has gone to the beach in his life. 


If summer days are a sandwich, my biggest investment is in the bread. I wrap my days with being out on my deck as much as possible. I drink my coffee there in the morning, and stay parked long after dinner with 15 citronella candles burning away. At the beginning of the summer, I bought about $20 worth of string lights and boy, what a good use of resources. I can't overstate the truly simple joy sitting outside brings me, even as the days begin to start later and end earlier. 

I mean --

Morning on the Deck |

A week or so ago, it rained hard and I sat at my kitchen table drinking coffee instead and it just made me think about how miserable winter is. Being inside all the time. I always wonder how many more Michigan winters I have left in me, and with an employment market that is becoming increasingly more open to remote work, the answer is "not many." 


Ryan and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this month. Time really does fly, doesn't it?   

Our Wedding |

Ryan's mom watched Duke for us so we could go out for dinner and we wound up at a Chinese buffet which, trust me, is so fitting. We have approximately four shared interests and enthusiasm for Chinese food is one of them. Ryan and I really are very opposite personalities. We don't really disagree -- we're just different people and it seems to work. Every year is a testament that opposites really do attract. So there's my marriage advice! That and carefully choose what hills you're willing to die on. 


I mostly spent the month reading about the Bush family's political dynasty. The book wasn't perfect -- it was huge, occasionally dry, and treated the men with kid gloves (but didn't mind calling Barbara Bush fat on more than one occasion) - but I did learn a lot. I just picked up Laura Bush's memoir and I'm looking forward to reading that soon. I try to flip-flop fiction with non-fiction, so if I hadn't already read it a handful of times, I probably would have picked up American Wife, which is a fictionalized, loosely based account of Laura Bush's life. It's one of my favorite books and as I do with really great books,  I've already over consumed it. 

Reading About The Bush Dynasty |

PS - impossible to over consume are those tacos. I make a crockpot full of chicken breasts, shred it and live off it for a week. Some version of tacos lands on the menu at least three times a week. 

Anyway, I'm currently a few chapters into I Don't Know How She Does It after being recommended by one of my favorite writers, Jenny Rosenstrach. 

I Don't Know How She Does It |

And lastly! One of the best books I read all summer is not new and I think it's probably required high school reading for a lot of people, but I'd never read it and if you haven't, I cannot recommend it enough! I devoured it in about 24 hours, and promptly passed it to Ryan's mom, who also could not put it down. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is five stars all day long. If you enjoyed Tara Westover's Educated (another five star-er IMHO), you will love this one. 

The Glass Castle |


Other fun things -

Moomers Cherry Pie ice cream. What a dream. I coaxed myself out of the house late in the afternoon on a Sunday for ice cream and felt really weird walking away from the ordering window with only one cone. Duke has given up ice cream because he doesn't like sticky hands - ha! 

Cherry Pie Ice Cream |

Sunset swims. It's my favorite time to be at the beach. 

Sunset Swimming at Crystal Lake |

This one was at Frankfort Beach and we had some good waves that day. I pulled Duke out on his boogie board, into roughly (my) waist high water and I'll just say that seeing your kiddo enjoy something for the first time is so so so fun. 

Frankfort Beach |

Goin' to the fair. Goin' to the fair. Northwestern Michigan Fair. 

Carnival Rides |

Should have started with this one, but I guess I'll wrap up with the very first thing I did this month. My best friend and her family camped about 20 minutes from my house. Lots of ice cream that weekend.

KJ and Jenn |


September is one the best, most underrated months. Duke's and Ryan's birthdays are coming up, not to mention the summer crowd will thin out a bit and we'll be able to visit a few of our favorite NoMI spots without the maddening traffic. I always wait to go to Moomers and Fishtown until September and I promise they are far more enjoyable that way. 

And can't forget Labor Day! We'll have a houseful and I am cheerfully writing my grocery list already. I can hardly wait. 

Happy September you guys! 

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