Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Goals

Summer is coveted time when you work in higher education.

Before you ask, no, I do not have summers off. But, throughout the end of the spring semester, I crave summer. It is a different pace. It is time to focus on planning ahead for the upcoming academic year, versus feeling like everything is getting done "just in time" or that I am constantly trying to catch up. It also feels like there is actually time to get out and enjoy summer, as I have less evening and weekend commitments. So we try to cram in as much fun as we can, and most of it in June and July. Once August 1 hits, something just shifts, and it feels like summer is over. That last month feels frantic as I try to get everything done before the students come back.

Last summer flew by at warp speed. We did a lot of fun things, but there were so many other things I would have loved to make happen that I just didn't get to. I think it was all of those baseball games and races. Because we aren't really traveling at all this summer and don't have too many major set things on the calendar, I have tried to set some summer goals, to make sure that I am making the most of it. Here they are for 2014:

Go regularly to the farmer's market. It is my favorite part of summer. And the best way that I can ensure that I am eating healthy and cutting costs on my grocery budget during the summer. So far I have gotten some delicious stuff: bread, honey, cheese curds, asparagus, strawberries, snap peas, lettuce, kale, spinach, and mushrooms. I can't wait to see what else the vendors will have as the summer goes on.

Actually cook. During the school year, it is easy to get out of the habit of meal planning and cooking and just choose to go out to eat instead. We really got out of the habit of cooking during the weeks before and after our wedding, and I honestly kind of miss it. Although I would love to spend every evening dining outdoors on a restaurant patio, I want to take advantage of the extra time that I have to try some new recipes and plan out our meals. Good old habit building. Grilling outside and utilizing our crock pot are actually better options for us during the summer, as we don't have air conditioning and will do anything we can to avoid making the house hotter.

Run. It's been a really long time. And I actually haven't scheduled out any races for this summer - mainly to save money, but also because I've been lazy. I need to get my new pair of running shoes, and get back out on the road. I miss the personal time that it provides.

Read. Summer is when I do the most leisure reading. And I have a long list of books waiting to be picked up. I love turning off the tv and reading instead. I just finished reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and can't put down The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling). I made a goal to read 52 books this year (one a week). I've only finished 11 and it's been 26 weeks. It's time to catch up!

Plan our honeymoon. I am so glad that we made the decision not to honeymoon right after the wedding. We would have been exhausted, and I probably would have been miserable, thanks to that good old summer cold that showed up during the week after our wedding. I think that having the time set aside to plan now also has been a good transition post-wedding. It gives us something to look forward to, and I'm not experiencing those post-wedding blues that some folks have.

Organize. Since we had folks around during the week before and after the wedding, we did our best to clean the house a bit. This sometimes (often) meant shoving things out of sight, which has left some of our closets and storage spaces in sore shape. Yikes. I would love to go through and organize them while we have the time to do it, so that no one gets an injury from opening a closet door. Not necessarily the most fun summer task, but one that will clear a bit of physical and mental clutter. I know the crap is in there, and it's staring me down. It has to go!

Checking out free/cheap stuff. In our effort to save for our honeymoon, we have been looking for all of the different fun, free things to do around Milwaukee this summer. There are a number of outdoor concerts, movies, and other cool stuff that we just haven't checked out yet. It is easy to stop paying attention to our fun budget during the summer because we want to do all of the festivals and stuff. My hope is that if we make a game out of finding the free stuff, it will continue to be fun. So far, we have been to a free Symphony concert in the park, the Jelly Belly Factory tour, the Criterion Classic cycling race that went through our neighborhood, and Summerfest, of course. I'm hoping to make it to Shakespeare in the Park this weekend, as it ends on Sunday.

It's so hard to believe that July is next month. It is just starting to feel like summer, and we only have 9 weekends left before the students move in!

Do you set summer goals? What are they?

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