Phoenix is hot. Saturday's high is supposed to be 109. Phoenix will be hot until early October. It is hot enough that it is very possible to burn your hands on the steering wheel. Outside activities must be completed before 9:00 AM or after 8:00 PM to prevent serious melting of various body parts. Hibernation for the next 4 months is smart in such a situation.
Not being the brightest bulb in the chandelier means I don't plan on following that advice. I dislike summer, but not for the obvious reason: 110 degrees in the shade.
I hate summer because everything stops. Most of the church groups and other social gatherings Betty and I are part of are on hold until at least Labor Day. People disappear into their air conditioned homes, malls, and movie theaters. Those who can head to cooler climates. I tend to read too much, watch too much Netflix, and stay trapped in my own little world inside the house. We usually have a few vacation getaways over the summer that help, but that isn't good enough.
I must admit as I read the schedules and activities of many of the BRITW (best readers in the world...you!) I sometimes feel inadequate. There are a some of you, who will go unnamed, who are squeezing every drop out of your day and your life. After I wonder at your energy level, I look for ways to emulate your approach to your life.
So, besides burning my hands on the car's steering wheel, what am I planning for the Summer of 2012?
* A chance to meet and make new friends on my first "Meet the Bloggers" vacation to Oregon in July. This is the first time Betty and I have planned an entire trip around spending time with folks we have met on-line. We will be shown the best parks, gardens, neighborhoods, and sights only locals know about. Galen Pearl, Barbara and Earl Torris, plus Bill and Wendy Birnbaum have offered to show us their favorite parts of the state. A couple from our small group at church spends the summer in Bend so we will drop by to see them for lunch one day. And, we have reservations at a beautiful inn on the coast for a few nights. But, primarily this will be a first for us...a vacation focused on cementing new friendships. It doesn't hurt that the temperatures will be much more tolerable than at home.
* Try out RV living. For too many years I have told Betty I would like to try RV vacations. We have discussed it, budgeting for it, and at the last minute, always canceled plans for it. After passing my 63rd birthday a few weeks ago I'm finally waking up to the reality of my situation: if there are things I'd like to do I need to do them. My future time line isn't elastic: it doesn't stretch as far as it once did.
So, we are committed to renting a 25 footer for a 10 day vacation in September in the Flagstaff and White Mountains area of Arizona. We will pick up the RV in Flagstaff, saving me the tough drive up I-17. Since we will drive to Flagstaff in a family car we will have a vehicle for getting around during the days, making it convenient to leave the rental sitting in its camping spot.
The point of this trip is to see if the image of living in an RV fits the reality. Will the small space be a problem, or lots of fun? Will living in the forest in a smallish metal box be fun? I'll never know if I don't stop reading about it and actually try it.
* Take guitar lessons. For the last two years I have tried to self-teach myself to play the guitar. I get to a certain point and stall. I lose interest and put it away for a few months, meaning I have to start all over again. The thing is, I like to make music. It is fun to play a few Christmas songs or nursery rhyme songs for the grandkids. But, I'm realizing unless I commit to spending money on some lessons to correct bad habits and get my playing to the next level, I'll never get much past Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. So, after our return from the Oregon trip I will sign up for lessons, put down my money, and see what happens.
* Have new book finished by early fall. As you know from the post of a few days ago, readers have helped me narrow my focus for a new book. This summer will be the time to turn the concept into reality. The goal is to have the e-book available on Amazon by October. This time around, if the response is solid, I may decide to have a printed version available, too.
* Free Nights at Phoenix Art Museum, Desert Botanical Gardens. I write a lot about finding things to do on a limited budget, but the reality is I don't take my own advice often enough. Though a lot of activities, like the Phoenix Symphony and area theaters, are shut down for the summer, there are still plenty of ways to be entertained and educated. The art museum and the botanical garden continue with free nights all summer. Arizona State University has a surprisingly active calendar of student concerts and lecture series that doesn't stop. Even in the heat of summer, there are on-going festivals, arts and craft shows, and music events that are low cost. All I need to do is work up the energy to get off my butt, leave the house, and take advantage.
* Work with new prison ministry mentee after his release in late July. A fellow I have been visiting in prison for the past several months is set to be released at the end of July. I am scheduled to drive to the prison in the northern part of the state, pick him up the morning of his release, and bring him back to his new housing unit in Phoenix. From that point forward, he and I will talk on the phone almost daily. We will get together at least once a week to talk about his problems and progress in adjusting to life on the outside. We will attend some church services together. I will help him get to appointments, job interviews, even food shopping trips. Roughly 10 hours a week will be dedicated to this important part of my volunteer life, but it is worth every minute.
Having to come up with fresh posts three times a week, means you are likely to know how well I am doing in each of these areas. There is a certain accountability that comes from blogging!
What are your plans? How will you spend the next several months...being active or maybe resting up from a tough year? Going public with your goals may help you accomplish what you'd like.