Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Sara and Melissa Talk About...Summer

We've been running a column series (for over three years now!) to get more personal with our readers. This month, we are talking about summer. Anything goes with this topic.

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them. 

Sara Steven:

Every summer, we try to escape the heat of the Phoenix-Metro area. Pre-Covid, that meant flying out to see family and friends, but post-Covid, we had to find other ways to safely travel. Thus began our road trip Sedona tradition. 

This is from July, 2020. 

And July, 2023.

My boys love the Crescent Moon Picnic Site, located by Cathedral Rock in Sedona. This is one of their favorite tree spots to visit while we’re there. They also enjoy the freezing cold water, which is a hard find in Arizona. Yet the high country never disappoints.

I love it when they spend time together like this. It seems a much harder task when we’re back on home turf. The eighteen year old has a part-time job, and the twelve year old seems to have more of a social life than I do, with get togethers and swim play dates, so it never feels like we get much family time together. When we’re in Sedona, we’re on Sedona time. There’s no rush to get from point A to point B. We feel like we can travel safely again, and there are plenty of other places we could go, but this is what we want to do, every year.

My parents are camp hosting in Sedona this year. It means manning the Call of the Canyon Picnic Site at the West Fork Oak Creek trailhead. It’s a trail I’d never been on before, and it was pretty fantastic. 

Even my parents’ dog Panda joined in. I appreciate that I was raised to honor nature, a sentiment I believe I’ve passed on to my children, too. I think it’s a big reason we want to spend time in the Sedona area, enjoying the great outdoors as much as we’re able to. I really, really love our summer tradition.

Melissa Amster:

I am not a summer person. I hate when it gets to 80 degrees or anything above that. I don't belong to a pool, nor do I have the desire to go these days. (I wouldn't mind a water park though.) I don't really do the outdoor activities that go along with summer either. While my job is flexible, I don't really have summer vacation. And that's okay by me. Having said that, here's how my summer has been going so far:

The highlight of my summer so far has been my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. It's something we had planned for quite some time and it was rewarding to see it all come together. It was a really special day and my daughter did an amazing job with her speech. This was about a month ago, but we just got photos back so it was fun reliving the event through them. 

Seeing my kids in theater performances has also been a special part of my summer. My daughter had a great speaking role in Newsies Jr. at her camp, playing Pulitzer. She really came out of her shell this year and blew me away when I saw her on stage. My older son also had a huge role in a local production of The Prom and I was so proud to see him give it his all. He also performed with his high school improv troupe (that he started up last year) at his sister's Bat Mitzvah. 

We didn't do a lot for Independence Day. We went to this big field area in Virginia on July 2nd and hung out with our cousins and watched fireworks. The next night, we got to see friends who were in town from New Jersey. We hadn't seen them in a while but it was like no time had been lost. On the actual holiday, we just laid low for the most part and went to dinner in the evening. It felt like a Sunday more than a holiday. 

I've been volunteering at A Wider Circle, which is a local organization that helps families who have low income get back on their feet. I mainly work in the warehouse to make sure all the clothing that is donated is in dignity condition (no personalization, stains, rips, etc). Here's more on the organization:

Tomorrow is my birthday, which is a highlight of every summer. It's the only thing I really like about summer anyway. It will probably be low key too, but I plan to have dinner with my husband and kids to celebrate in the evening. Last summer, all three kids had Covid on my birthday, so I want to include them in my celebration this year. (My oldest won't be available, but we have some celebratory plans that we hope will come into fruition next month for both our birthdays, since he's turning 18 in September.  Gasp!) 

Aside from that, I've just been watching a lot of TV. I fell in love with Somebody Somewhere last month and recently was laughing non-stop from The Other Two. I've also been watching The Bear, Never Have I Ever, And Just Like That, Manifest, RiverdaleHow I Met Your Father, and XO, Kitty. I plan to watch season two of The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem and am excited for Heartstopper and Only Murders in the Building to come back in August.

Tell us how your summer is going or what you like most about summer or anything else to do with this season!

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dstoutholcomb said...

Happy Birthday, Melissa!


Anonymous said...

susieqlaw: Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Emily Catan said...

Happy Birthday to you, Melissa!! Indulge yourself!!
I love summer because I will get two-month summer break! Yay!If I opt to work summer school, I still have a month's break in addition to earning extra money. This is the time I binge read my TBR, trying to catch up with my reading!

Rachel Mermel said...

Melissa - we’ve been friends for soooo long and this is the first time I’ve truly explored your site. LOVE it! Happy Belated Dear Friend!!! Thanks for sharing your love of reading with me. Can’t wait to talk soon! :- )