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How I’m Savoring Summertime

View from the therapy pool

As a kid, summertime was my favorite part of the year. I played with my neighbor friends, went to swim lessons, and got to spend time with my Grandpa Otto and Grandma Mabel. For example, I have vivid memories of my grandparents picking me up at swim practice in their giant green Mercury sedan. I remember being in the pool floating around with my swim instructor and feeling so happy to see my grandparents.

I’d climb out of the pool and my Grandpa Otto would say something like, “Good job swimming, Punky!”

As an aside, my Grandpa Otto nicknamed me Punky after Punky Brewster. Punky was the main character in a television show that aired in the 1980s. When I stayed at my Grandparents house, we’d watch the show together. Whenever my Grandpa called me Punky, I smiled because he was in a playful mood.

I’ve been channeling the memories of playfulness this summer. I’ve been trying to play more often and worry less. To do this, I’ve been making time for the following activities:

Swimming. Over the last month, I’ve been swimming laps four or five times a week. I love swimming because it’s a form of mediation (at least for me). When I swim, I count laps or say positive mantras. The deep breathing involved in swimming reminds me of yoga, except it’s better. When I’m in the pool I feel weightless and my body doesn’t hurt. Swimming is a hard workout, but it feels completely different from walking, running, or yoga.

Sadly, there are no year round pools in Yreka, CA (the closest town to my house). However, I’m not giving up swimming when the pool closes because it’s helped me let go of anxiety. When the Yreka pool closes, I’m going to drive to Ashland, Oregon a few days a week to swim at the YMCA and I’m going to take advantage of the public library.

Reading. In the evenings, I’ve been reading fiction and non-fiction books. Thanks to The Lively Show, I’ve discovered a few good books including The Royal We.

Doodling and drawing. A few weeks ago, I stepped outside my comfort zone and took an art class at the Ashland Art Center called “The Artist Within.” The instructor, Jack Wiens, was fantastic! I learned the basics of drawing a face. I haven’t drawn a face since I was a kid and it was fun. Plus, I’ve been doodling in my journal for the last month. Like swimming, doodling and has a meditative quality. I love it!

Work adventures. Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely. I’ve taken positive steps to address my loneliness. Once I have more clarity on this topic, I’ll share an essay about my experience. For now, I will say that seeing a counselor and working outside of my house at libraries and coffee shops has been incredibly helpful. I’ve also been able to set up co-working dates with a friend and that’s made me feel less alone and more grounded.

Everyday adventures. Logan and I have been going on as many adventures as possible this summer. For example, on Sunday July 12, 2015, Logan and I celebrated our 12th year of marriage. We drove to Jacksonville, OR for an adventure. The trip wasn’t planned and we weren’t sure if we would stay the night or just take a day trip. Jacksonville is only an hour drive from our home, so a day trip would have been feasible, but we decided to pack an overnight bag in case we decided to stay the night.

Over coffee and beer, at Pony Espresso, we looked at a local map and price checked hotels on our smart phones. We found a great deal on Priceline and stayed at the Country House Inns. In addition to their main hotel, they have cute cottages near downtown Jacksonville. We stayed in a small cottage and it was perfect for us.

Also, we had fantastic food, beer, coffee, and ice cream while we were in Jacksonville. It was a real treat to eat at restaurants, but the best part of the trip was spending time with Logan. We walked all over the city, through the park, and had long talks about the future and the trajectory of our personal and professional lives. I’ll share more about those talks on the blog soon.

What are you doing for fun this summer? Share your story in the comments section.

With gratitude,

P. S. I’m teaching my online photography course—Everyday Magic: How to Capture Creative Images with Your Camera—this summer. The course begins on August 17, 2015 and runs for five weeks. I hope you’ll join me for the upcoming session! You can read the full course description here.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jill July 28, 2015, 7:16 am

    I injured my foot back in the spring and have had to lay off running on the roads for a bit until it heals. However, I decided to give trail running a try and have fallen in love with it. My husband and sometimes my daughter join me, and we run through the woods, jumping over rocks, splashing through creeks, stopping to look at cool mushrooms or wildlife. It’s the best time I have had in a long time!

  • Michelle July 28, 2015, 7:34 am

    Dear Tammy,

    I was recently thinking how fortunate I am to have purchased your book “You Can Buy Happiness and It’s Cheap.” It’s because of your book that I subscribed to your newsletter, and later learned about Courtney Carver’s “Be More With Less,” as other inspirational writers. I very much appreciate reading about other’s adventures, challenges, and the like. From elementary school through college I wrote a lot. I loved journaling and poetry, until one day a then boyfriend read a couple of my poems and said they sucked. I stopped writing for a very long time but am happy to say that I’ve picked it up again for a year now! I don’t write poetry anymore, though I find true pleasure in journaling and blogging.

    In any event, this summer I have been very busy at work preparing for the next school year. Though I do have a vacation planned for the end of August with my boyfriend, I have been making every effort to take advantage of summers in New York. I live in NYC and there are tons of activities and events, from outdoor movie screenings, beer gardens, smorgasburg, free yoga in the park, and more. With all NYC has to offer in the summer, it’s also important to get out of the city every now and again. During my teenage and college years I used to travel to the Hudson Valley often with friends to visit other friends. I hadn’t traveled up there in several years until this summer and now I can’t keep away! Two weekends ago my boyfriend and I went to New Paltz, NY. We ate at The Village Tearoom (I highly recommend), toured a Waldorf school (one of our sister schools), drove up to Mohonk (though we were turned away without a day pass or reservation), and explored Water Street Market (where I purchased two lovely antique jewelry pieces – sterling silver earrings and a locket). Then we drove down to Beacon, NY and checked in at our B&B. We ate dinner on Main Street and went to see my friend at an Open Mic at the Howland Cultural Center. On Saturday we hiked Mt. Beacon, ate lunch at Poppy’s (best burgers!) on Main Street, and drove down to New Windsor, NY to check out Storm King Art Center (check out their site!). Spending time in the Hudson Valley renewed my love of upstate NY so much that I want to move there in the not too distant future. NYC has changed tremendously and it’s too expensive to make a real living. I lived in the Bay Area for a little of a year a few years ago and considered moving back there, but even Oakland and Berkeley real estate is sky rocketing. That’s another story! In conclusion, I am loving small trips out of the city this summer 🙂

  • Denise Compton July 28, 2015, 8:44 am

    Hi Tammy,

    I’m spending 2.5 weeks this summer driving through the southwest US. Right now, I’m dog/hen/horse/house sitting for my brother and sister-in-law in Arizona. It’s a lot of hard physical work, but so beautiful where they live. It’s really taking me out of my self-absorbtion as I’m usually too tuckered out to think about anything in any kind of depth, other than something as profound as, why do horse flies exist?

    My next stop is Austin, Texas, then back through New Mexico and Flagstaff Arizona (checking out the Lowell Observatory) with a final destination to be Bakersfield California to visit my daughter and son-in-law who just moved. We are planning to hike in Sequoia National Park (yay!). So, I’ll definitely be having adventures to write in my Adventure Log.

    Take care and remember you continue to be an inspiration to so many people!

  • Mickey July 28, 2015, 9:54 am

    This summer, I’m taking it slow. We’re going on picnics, flying kites, going for walks and free movie screenings in the park. We cook minimally and eat A LOT of fresh vegetables. I love how silly it seems to eat pickles in the park (picnics>sandwiches>pickles on the side). We’re lucky that we live in a very green but still urban neighborhood in Pittsburgh, down the street from a large park and hiking trails. First summer here, and we’re reaping the benefits big time.

    We’re planning a trip to Lake Erie at the end of summer, and I’m super excited for that.

    Thank you for sharing your summer with us, Tammy.

  • Christy King July 28, 2015, 11:16 am

    When it was in the upper 90s, I was having trouble enjoying summer, but now it’s cooled off some, so I can do more biking and hiking.

    I spend a lot of time on the patio or balcony watching birds and squirrels with my binoculars.

    Walking to the local farmers’ market each week is a new habit, now that we live close enough (our old house was several miles away from any farmers’ markets, so we had to drive).

    We took an amazing road trip to Glacier National Park earlier this month.

  • Luna Darcy July 28, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    I am from Manila, Philippines and it’s no longer summer here. But when it’s summer, my favorite thing to do is to run. I am a long distance runner and I can’t tell you much I love running in the outdoors as much as I can, and this only happens in the summer. Now that it’s the rainy season, I an finding hard to run outside so I’m stuck in the treadmill.

    I also love going on picnics with friends and family.

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational and delightful summer story.


  • Lauren July 28, 2015, 3:56 pm

    I’m really inspired by the way you’ve taken positive steps to address loneliness, as well as your every day adventures. I love adventures like that, and I’m putting Jacksonville, OR on my list of places to visit when I finally get to America.

    It’s winter in New Zealand, so I’m definitely not going out swimming! My days are made up of cups of tea and long walks, taking photos of every day surroundings in the crisp winter light, and planning my move to a new city in a month. Nerve wracking!

  • Nicole July 28, 2015, 6:22 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    Great ideas and also glad to hear you are seeing a counsellor for support. I hope that they will help you understand your loneliness more fully.

    With understanding,


  • Christa from Australia July 28, 2015, 11:06 pm

    HI Tammy,
    How interesting to know that you feel swimming is like a kind of meditation. I feel the same way when I swim laps. All I do is I concentrate on counting the number of laps and magically all the garbage in my head seems to clear away. I absolutely love swimming as the water buoyancy makes exercising less difficult and more comfortable than on land.

  • Anna July 29, 2015, 1:48 am

    I’m looking forward to your blog post about loneliness and how you addressed it. I work from home as a translator and there are times when I feel very lonely. The anxiety about meeting new people does not help. I’ve been following you Tammy for a few years and I must admit that I look up to you – you remind of what’s really important in life. Thank you.

  • Christina Neumann July 29, 2015, 9:31 am

    Many years ago, probably when I wasyour age, I started swimming. I started out in a hotel pool that charged$2.00. Then I joined a club that had a pool and seriously started swimming laps. It was so wonderful and meditative. Later, I was pregnant at 42, and swam right up to my due date and then 2 weeks after. Then the pool closed and the closest pool was many miles away. I haven’t been swimming in a long time, but my Just Keep Walking project, is about walking everyday for the last 2 years, and I’ve just started year 3. Funny though, I just thought of checking out the new club in our nearest town. It is a membership and not cheap. But, I have thought about swimming again.

  • Diane August 4, 2015, 2:03 pm

    Your remarks about loneliness really resonated with me. I work from home, and I think the tendency to become more isolated and hermit-like can really creep up on someone who doesn’t need to leave the house for work. I recently spend nearly a month house-sitting for a family member and going out much more. I’m back home now and realizing even more how the climate here conspires to keep me in the climate controlled home. And how much I miss a more temperate, walkable place to live.

  • Julia August 9, 2015, 7:06 am

    As soon as the school year was over, I took off for the first time in years to Gros Morne National Park in Western Newfoundland with Wild WomenExpeditions. All I can say is that it was a wonderfully life affirming week of hiking and sea kayaking. I also did a week of camping along the lower St Lawrence with my best friend since kindergarten. Besides that, time with friends, family, reading, gardening, playing the guitar, cycling, walking. I love to swim too, but oddly, I do that during the school year. Swimming is also a form of meditation for me. Once, my body gets into the smooth rhythm of lap swimming, my mind flows and I am free to release any tension, let thoughts float by. I come out feeling refreshed after a day with my students and totally relaxed.

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