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School Is Out Finally

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“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Okay: my summers for the past few years have been really, really lame.  And I have a lot of excuses for that, and some of them are even good ones – no vacation time from work, scraping by on only a little money, blah blah blah.  Oh, and then there were the summers that I got dumped (two of them) and the summer that my cat was dying on top of that.  And then there’s that oh-so-special kind of New York mugginess we get time to time that just saps your will to do much aside from huddle close to the air conditioner and tell yourself that the electricity bills will be better than not dying.

But a lack of money and time shouldn’t have prevented me from trying to do stuff close to home, or at least on the weekends.  It is stupid just how many free concerts and outdoor movies and free museum hours there are in New York – hell, there are museums that are free all the time.  And I get two whole days every week where I am free to actually go visit them.

This year, finally, is different.  I have an enormous amount of vacation time – I’ve already planned two week-long trips and one three-day weekend, and I still have three days left to use, and I work with people who will encourage me to use them.  And I actually have income which if not enormous, is at least  consistent. …and I have a much more energy-savvy A/C now, so I’m more likely to turn the damn thing on.

So. This is the summer I have resolved to well and truly live it up and Do Stuff.  Hit way more of the free concerts and movies around town, make regular visits to Governors’ Island, explore corners of the city I haven’t seen, eat way more ice cream, finally try lobster rolls at Red Hook, go on day trips upstate when it gets too muggy in the city.  I want the kind of summer days like when I was a kid, when I left the house early and came home with sand in my hair and at least three new bug bites.  Or I want the summer nights I dreamed about having when I first came here – heading out of the house in a light summery sundress, maybe finding a little place to get a drink where they had music, and eyeflirting with guys.  Or I want summer afternoons where I spend hours just making something just because – a papercraft, a little book, just…doing something.

I’ve been fooling around with some papercraft stuff, actually, and have been drawn to the idea behind smash books – they’re scrapbooks the way I remember scrapbooks used to be, before you had to have a degree in design to lay out your damn pages. You just have a blank book and you stick stuff into it.  And three of the many blank books I have are all handmade, unlined paper.  So when I went out to Governors Island yesterday, and somehow came home with a couple of little paper things in my wake, I decided – well, let’s try this thing.  My goal this summer is to live it up so much that I end up filling the entire book with accumulated scraps of things, just from this one summer.  Tags from visits to the Met, matchbook covers from new bars I’ve found, napkins from new ice cream shops I’ve discovered, map sketches so I can find that weird ruined cabin during hikes upstate, you name it.

Memorial Day is on us, and that means summer is on us.  This summer is on.

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