Hey there summer! I’ve been out and about enjoying the weather and have been doing lots of fun summer activities: from trying my hand at disc golf (and failing miserably … there might be video to prove it somewhere), to paddle boating, to grilling out, to gardening, to — of course — running.
So far, this summer has been jam-packed full of friends, which is great because friends are a part of my life that I typically ignore because I’m always in relationship land. Since Mark and I have been long distance, and I’ve been living on my own, I’ve taken this chance to spend more time with friends and to really appreciate all of my close friends for who they are and how great of relationships we’ve grown over the years. I’m relationship girl: I suck at starting (and ending) all my personal relationships, but once I have one, I tend to hold onto it for dear life. That’s why I can count on one hand (maybe two?) how many close friends I have.
I was anticipating that my summer would start on July 1: the first official day of my summer vacation from work and school. I was even thinking about making a fun graphic for my summer (summer of Cal?). I, however, was caught off guard a couple of weeks back when my best friend from college randomly blew into town and surprised me.
I mentioned a while back that we’d been talking lately and that we had a big list of awesome fun summer activities planned for July / August when he was pretty sure that he might be in Iowa for a while. He likes to live off the grid, so I figured we’d have a couple of weeks to catch up and hang out at best. I was seriously surprised when I left work one afternoon and he was standing outside my building. I’d imagined he would do something like that, but wasn’t expecting him to show up til July. We were pretty happy to be reunited, so we got started working on our summer fun list by grilling out that night. We’ve since gone (or, rather, attempted) disc golfing, went running, hiking, and even did a nostalgia bar crawl of campustown area bars.
Sometime later that week, Amanda and I went to an Electric Six concert in Des Moines. It was a smaller show at a small venue, which, in my opinion, makes for the best kind of show. We were in the front row, and the lead vocalist give us hugs after the show. My friend Steph and her hubs showed up too, and I was glad to spend some time with them as well. Fun times, and another great way to kick off summer.
I spent almost every weekend in May driving back and forth to Minnesota. Mark and I went to see The Faint again in Minneapolis. Once again, I managed to control my fangirlness when I saw the band outside the venue chatting before the show, and again when I saw the lead vocalist and his wife in the VIP balcony area (which was somehow where we ended up). I want to interview the vocalist for my MFA research if he’ll let me. I haven’t gotten enough research ready yet, so I imagine it’ll be a year before I’ve got something smart to talk about with him. So I’m saving it.
My friend Shelly and I caught up over some vino and tapas a couple weeks back. Shelly and I used to be work buddies, but I haven’t seen her much since I quit Drake University a few years back (my fault). She made a date and made me stick to it, and I’m glad that we got a chance to hang. We made a date for next month to do a similar hang, and I’m looking forward to it!
Last week my friend Kim was in Iowa all the way from NYC. Kim and I have been close for more than a decade, and although I haven’t visited her in the big apple (I’m a terrible friend …), Kim always makes sure I know when she’s in Iowa, and we try to meet up to do something fun, even if it’s to grab a cup of coffee quick. Fortunately, Kim was in Iowa for more than a day or two, so we were able to spend half a day paddle boating on the lake at Big Creek State Park. We caught up and chatted for a few hours, but, as always, time went far too quickly and she had to leave. Kim is one of my favorite people because no matter how long we haven’t seen each other or talked, it seems like we pick up wherever we left off. I love that girl!
On Saturday, I was invited to an impromptu evening out with Amanda because she won tickets to Paula Poundstone. We were seated in the front row, and Paula’s schtick is chatting with the audience and kind of making fun of them. So, naturally, we became part of her act. She asked us if we were together, sisters, or friends, and how old we were because we were so adorable and young — like “kittens from the same litter”. Then she proceeded to try to wrap her head around Amanda making art full time (which is typically something Amanda encounters). It was a fun show, and I’m glad we got a chance to be a part of it!
This past weekend I finally got a chance to meet up with my friend Kelly who I haven’t seen in ages (seriously, I realized I have seen Kim more than I’ve seen Kelly in the last year, and Kelly lives in town). That girl is always so BUSY! I made dinner at my place and we caught up over some cards and some Michael Jackson on vinyl.
Coming up this weekend, I’m finally getting a chance to spend time with my friend Steph. Steph and I made a plan earlier this year to get together once a month or so, but then school got in the way, and she’s typically all planned out over the summer between weddings and traveling. I’m looking forward to catching up with her soon. Not sure what we’re doing, but it really doesn’t matter because I want to see her.
FINALLY, the grand pooh-bah of summertime that I’m looking forward to is happening in NINE days! Mark took six days of vacation and will be here for a staycation from July 3–12. We have grown so tired of driving back and forth only to spend a few measly days together at a time. This is our first time alone together in ages. I have no idea what our plans are, but I think that’s actually the plan: no plans! I imagine we’ll do a lot of hiking, listening to vinyl, cooking, dog-walking, and whatever else comes up. We’re going to take my parents to a brewery over the weekend of the 4th, but otherwise we have no plans, which is exactly what we need. We might just spend the entire time cuddling. No judgement.
I have ONE more fun summer plan, but I’m not going to reveal it until it happens. It’s happening next Wednesday, and I’m excited but a little nervous about it. You’ll get to see it soon enough.
What are your summer plans?