Saturday, June 16, 2012

Southern Summer Nights

The first day of summer technically isn’t for a few more days, but in my world, summer has been in full swing for a while.  Nashville had some 80 degrees days in February, so the short sleeves have been in the front of my closet for months. I don’t get “summer break” or anything quite that wonderful like my teacher friends do, but it is a treat to have less traffic on the way to work every morning without all of the school buses and mini vans around. For me, summer means having hours of daylight after work every night. It feels like a whole, new, refreshing life after a winter of being in an office during every sunlight hour. My favorite thing about summer? The southern summer nights.

CMA Fest
My absolute favorite event in Nashville, the CMA Music Fest, was another big hit this year, of course. I went with one of my favorite friends and we watched The Band Perry, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, and (my favorite) Carrie Underwood perform, among many others. We also watched the crowd. It’s what we do. We saw the typical CMA concert crowd.  The Act-The-Song-Outers. The Let-It-All-Hang-Outers. The Drink-‘Til-You-Pass-Outers. The Can’t-Help-But-Make-Outers. The Never-Get-Outers. The I-Clearly-Have-No-Friends-Or-They-Wouldn’t-Have-Let-Me-Wear-These-Clothes-Outers. And then there’s us, acting (and looking) totally normal with a few other people in the sold-out stadium.  Sometimes I wonder if the rest of the crowd is pointing back at us as we walk by and saying, “Wow. I wonder why they wore that sun dress and cowboy boots instead of this camo halter top, tie-dyed shorts, and bedazzled fanny pack?”.

My Concert Buddy
When I was in high school, one of my best friends and I always played the cruising game. We would turn down a back road, get our speed up to the speed limit, and then let off of the gas completely. No gas. No brake. Just cruising. And we would make guesses as to how far we could coast before stopping. “I bet we can make it to the third barn on the left.” “No way, we can at least make it to the hay bales way up there on the right.” The coasting game actually takes strategy. If there are hills and curves, the length of your coast can change drastically. This is life in Small Town America.

But now I have a new kind of cruising that I LOVE to do. My dad got a motorcycle this past spring.

My first encounter with his new bike. Not exactly ready for a ride just yet.

He had motorcycles when he was younger, but never while I was alive. Now, because of these crazy gas prices, he got a small “commuter” bike just to take back and forth to work.  Well, that was the intent before I got on it. I had never even been on a bike before, but now I can’t get off of it. On almost any free afternoon that I get, we go cruising. We drive through country back roads and through tiny little towns that we have never even heard of and we stop at little farm stands and we cruise up through the KY Mennonite country. We just pick a direction and drive until we make enough turns to find our way back home again just before sunset. Every time we cruise I play the Rodney Atkins’ song “Take a Back Road” over and over again in my head. I love being on the back of a bike. I’m a little obsessed.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

Someone at work recently pointed out that I use “home” to refer to my parent’s house and “my condo” to refer to the place that I currently live. I always hear that “Home is where your heart is”. So yeah, I love my condo, but my heart is at my “home”. And this past week a huge part of my heart was at my home. My sister and nephews came in for a visit, so I took a spur of the moment trip home on a weeknight to hang out with them. My nephews and I did our favorite thing. We (mainly I) dress up in crazy costumes and then jump out from around corners to try to scare each other. I do it often enough to say that I think it has become a hobby.

Although after a while of jumping around corners, my nephew wanted to play the game outside. So we ran around in our front yard looking like this. 

I didn't realize that I looked like such a creeper until I saw the picture

Did I mention that our home is on a main highway? Did I mention our neighbors were all home? Did I mention we were in the front yard? Clearly I will do anything to make that little guy smile!

We enjoyed dinner on the deck with fresh blackberries and watermelon.

And at dusk my sister and I took a walk to the pond and picked any of the first blackberries of the season that we could find along the way.

The lightning bugs. The frogs. The sunset. There is no place like home.

Sleep Drama
And since this whole blog post is about night time activities, you know that I just have to mention my broken arm and sleeping drama. My sleep medication has been working just fine. Before the medicine, I was, to my knowledge, acting something out about 5 nights a week.  In the three weeks since starting the medicine, I have only done something twice. Big improvement. I have the hardest time ever getting out of bed in the mornings, though.  And this is coming from the girl that normally sets 4 phone alarms, a music alarm, and turns the tv on to help wake me up every morning anyways. I think I’m going to have to do the “put a really annoying beeping alarm all the way across the room” thing. We’ll see. 

I did graduate from occupational therapy recently.  I got a t-shirt and everything. My wrist has what they consider a “normal range of motion”. I say that because my wrists were normally hyper flexible.  For example, your wrist should be able to bend forwards by 70 degrees and backwards by 60 degrees.  When I completed OT, my left, broken arm was registering 90/80, which is well above normal.  However, my right wrist (and my left one pre-break) was flexible enough to bend 140/100. That’s twice the normal amount. So yeah, I’ll never get all of that back in my left arm, but at least I am “normal” again. Normal is a relative term. 

You can never have to many concerts, cruises, or cookouts.  Celebrate your summer.

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