Somewhere Between 6 and 7 Things I’m Doing This Summer

Hi, hello. Here I am.
I know you thought I’d left you, but I’ve been right here
all along.
Doesn’t that sound like lyrics to the next big power ballad?
I’ll make a music video for it. It’ll be of me wading in knee-deep water on a
tropical beach in Antigua, except 1. I have no money to go to Antigua OR for professional video services and 2. I don’t want you to know who I am just yet, so the music video will really just consist of someone filming me walking and sloshing along the length of my bathtub and singing a song I made up with a bag over my head.
(As you can see, I’ve grown no less weird in our time
Today is my first day of summer, and summer feels a little
different this year. Professionally, 2017-18 was great. I want to adopt all my students and their parents, and I feel like I’m the best teacher I’ve ever
been. But the weight of the world outside of my classroom has just been…a
lot. Between Harvey and the shooting in Santa Fe and a hundred other disasters near and far, I felt like I was army-crawling to the finish line this year, dragging both legs because this school year had broken them. You know what I mean?
One of my favorite summer traditions as a teacher besides peeing when I want is to make a list of everything I want to accomplish, complete, try, or visit over the summer. However, I haven’t actually made one of these lists in years. Between grad school, switching schools, professional development, moving, my contract job writing for WeAreTeachers, writing four new curricula*, and a large chunk of my close friends getting married, the past three summers have been so brain-stabbingly busy that I haven’t had the time for such frivolities. (Don’t worry, teachers who are parents—I hear your uproarious, condescending laughter about what I think being busy means.)
But this summer, I’m back in the game. Having a list helps redirect me from my natural inclination of how I’d like to spend a free day (sitting in complete darkness either watching a true crime documentary on Netflix or scrolling through articles online about how bad the world is) to more positive, healthy, productive ways of caring for myself, connecting with others, and developing Skills.
These are things I hope to accomplish between professional
development, training, a super secret project I’ll tell you about before the
end of the year (!), and the 3.5 million weekday appointments/errands I haven’t been able to complete from September 2017 until now:

My Summer To-Do
List, 2018

1. Make at least one meal from a cookbook each week. 
I’ve amassed quite a few cookbooks and have made recipes
from, oh, I don’t know, .01% of each of them? There’s something so pleasant about using a cookbook instead of your phone—it harkens back to The Old World. No frustration about your phone locking you out every 30 seconds, no spilling batter or sauces on your screen. Just the usual frustration about how to divide 1 and ¾ cup flour in half.
2. Read books. 
Here is my little baby stack!
Calypso because I love David Sedaris, Little Fires Everywhere because I’m late to the party where everyone read it in 2017, Eligible because my friend Alison’s book recommendation game is on fire, and Cravings because Chrissy Teigen is a national treasure. And yes, I AM counting a cookbook as summer reading, thank you for asking. Also note the jasmine plant that I have miraculously not killed.
3. Learn how to throw an axe. 
No explanation for this one. I just want to.
4. Go to the beach or a lake. 
I like the beach best in the morning and evening because I’m
ancient, so maybe I’ll rent a tiny beach house for a weekend. Want to come with me? I promise to bring boozy popsicles and go to bed every night before 10.
5. Invite my aged neighbor to have dinner with me one
I say “aged” instead of “elderly” because she’s fabulous and
zesty, words we might use to describe some great cheeses and wine. Plus I
suspect she has some wild stories from her past, and I’m here for them.
6. Take a cheese class. 
I just learned that this is a thing, and I’m not sure if it’s a “how to make cheese” class or “learn about the different types of cheese” class, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll be there.
6. Compile my favorite quotes and poems into a
Right now I have them on a single, giant email thread with myself that I keep replying to, and it’s getting very hard to read with all the >>>>>s. Do you know what I mean by that? It’s only the first day of summer which means I don’t yet the energy to explain any further.
7. Teach my dog to stop jumping on people OR shake. 
One of these is way more ambitious than the other, so I want to have an “out” in case the first is too hard. This is how I approach to-do lists. Also maybe life.
 Just realized I have two number sixes. I’m leaving them.
What is on your summer to-do list? Besides your second jobs
to make ends meet and your professional development and your curriculum writing and just in general recovering from a job that people think only lasts from 8-4 Monday through Friday nine months out of the year? Tell me what you’re cooking (and which cookbooks you’re using), what you’re reading, what you’re catching up on, what you’re binge-streaming. Or just send me pictures of your pets.
I’ve missed you. And summer. It’s going to be a good one.
*Have you ever tried to use someone else’s lesson plans/curriculum? It feels like wearing someone else’s underwear**. I can’t do it.  So I write my own.
**I have not done this often.