The End of Summer


Tomorrow is my first day of school, and it’s nearly Labor Day weekend, which means summer is officially over. It was a good, but busy, summer. Between getting married, moving, quitting my job, and preparing for graduate school, I am a bit tired going into the next season.

To mark the end of the season, I wanted to look back at my Summer Bucket List and see what I did end up accomplishing.

  • Cook and bake: We got an ice cream maker for our wedding, and we have put it to good use. I really wanted to learn to make spaghetti from scratch, but that hasn’t happened. The fall and winter are better for baking anyway.
  • Go for a long bike ride and bike to work: I haven’t biked as much as I had hoped this summer. We moved further from the main biking routes in the city, and it became more of a pain. Still, I had a couple of longer rides – nothing to Indiana – but I am satisfied with how much I did ride.
  • Blog more: I have been avoiding writing lately. I have lots of writing ideas, but then I get it in my head that I need to pitch these pieces. I get scared and just never write them. I debate putting all of those pieces on to the blog, but then I wonder if it’s worth it for the six people who read the blog. What I am saying is that I am struggling with what is the purpose of writing and the joy it brings me. I am stuck in this cycle that if my writing isn’t going somewhere big it’s not worth it, but that isn’t the kind of writer I want to be. I am thinking about doing a 30-day blog challenge to just make myself write more. Stay tuned. IMG_0107.JPG
  • Day date with Ethan and Annie to Starved Rock: We did this, and it was wonderful. It was a hoooooottttt day, but Annie loved scaling up and down the trails and splashing in the waterfalls. We went early enough that we beat the crowds and were home for a snack and a nap.
  • Go camping: Haven’t done this yet, but a friend invited me to tag along on a camping trip to Michigan in September so I am planning on that. And, another friend and I are planning a bigger trip in 2019.
  • Read more: I may not have earned any Pizza Hut badges, but I did read a few books this summer. My favorites include Find A Way by Diana NyadKitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, and Born a Crime by a Trevor Noah. (I really like memoirs, I guess).
  • Try Bumble Friends: I went on one friend date and talked to a few others, but no lasting connections. I think I am just going to invest more in my current friendships.
  • Take steps to start a podcast: Nope. Maybe someday.
  • Make kombucha: Yes! I took a class and have now made three or four batches. I love it, although I am not necessarily experimenting with flavors. I just love ginger so much.
  • Explore our new neighborhood: Rogers Park is taking some getting used to, but we are liking it so far. This weekend we had brunch at a divey diner that would be a great place for daily coffee and eggs, if I was the kind of person who had a breakfast at a diner ever morning.
  • Take the water taxi to Chinatown and then get dim sum: One Saturday my friend Katie and I were actually going to do this – I even bought the tickets – but it did not happen. Instead, we drank beers on my friend’s rooftop, which was highly enjoyable. It’s still on the list for the fall. IMG_1449
  • Swim: I have fallen back in love with swimming, and I actually did some swimming in Lake Michigan this summer. I am working on a piece about that that I hope to sell or share with you all one date.

Other fun things I got to do this summer that were not on the bucket list:

  • A weekend at a lake house in Wisconsin that included a lot of cheese curds, boating and, of course, Spotted Cow. Annie fell in love with the lake, and now it’s my life goal to have a vacation home in Wisconsin.
  • Lots of quiet nights with my husband. I made a conscious effort a few months ago to thin my schedule, and I’ve really enjoyed having lazy evenings in which we watch TV and eat homemade ice cream.
  • A long road trip to South Dakota and Minnesota. I found myself with two free weeks between ending work and starting graduate school, so Annie and I decided to drive to South Dakota. We did the first leg – 13 hours – in one day. In Pierre, I hung out with my nephews, had a mini wedding celebration, enjoyed the quietness of the Rushmore State. I drove to the Twin Cities for a few days where I watched way too much trashy TV and was a live-in nannie for my niece. It was a great break and good family time.

This was a really good summer for me. I didn’t do everything I set out to do, but I am OK with that. Fall is my favorite season, and I will likely have a new bucket list, but I get to go into September with lots of good summer memories. How was your summer? What was your favorite thing about it?

6 thoughts on “The End of Summer

  1. Hi Heather, love the post. It’s kind of mix emotions at that time. As fall is always lovely but sad at the same time for some reason. What a beautiful family you have. I found you on wordpress and now following you. Will be visiting you quite often
    I am a new blogger here. Please come, check out my site and give me if you have any advice for a new blogger like myself.

    Love and stay connected,


    1. Hi, Bushra, thanks for visiting my blog and sharing how you feel about the fall. I do think seasonal transitions can be sad, sometimes. You have so much hope for it and then it passes without you doing all that you set out to accomplish! Keep your head up and I will definitely check out your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Heather. I think I’ve commented before, but it’s been awhile. I’m a friend of Dave & Judy, who I think you knew in Peace Corps Niger. I met them in Peace Corps Armenia. I remember to check your blog from time to time and am always amazed at how similar some of your thoughts are to my own…. Specifically in this post, your questions about why write, if there’s no “bigger” purpose, but we both know that there can never be a bigger purpose if the writing doesn’t get done… or something like that. Anyway, just wanted to comment that I appreciate that you’re still blogging, and I hope you keep it up. Thanks. And good luck in grad school!


    1. Hi, Evelyn! Yes, I definitely remember you from back in the Peace Corps blogging days! Thank you so much for checking back in and for the comment. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that writing has to do so something, that it has to be seen, that it must go somewhere. Really, though, first and foremost, writing is about what it does for you. So you gotta write for you before you write for anything else. It’s good to hear from you and I hope you are doing well!


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