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July Mixed Bag

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In the metaphor of Summer as Weekend we have reached Saturday; the month with bookends on either side in which we are fully carefree. In the PNW we mostly keep our July fun close to home in order to enjoy the confluence of good weather and spectacular surroundings. For me July equals Summer Swim Team, fireworks, and the MLB All Star Game (this year here in Seattle!) Here’s what’s been on my mind lately, enjoy and welcome to the July Mixed Bag!

Family Vacation, Minus One

Family vacations matter, especially now that the kids are grown and schedules are hard to align. I had been looking forward to our family trip to Cancun for months; the only time that all 5 of my people would be able to spend time together until Christmas. When you are a planner like me you spend a lot of time up front ensuring that everything will go smoothly and all parties will enjoy themselves on the trip. Which I did. But there was one element I couldn’t plan that went awry. Our middle kid is going to Barcelona in the fall to study abroad. She submitted her passport for the Student Visa process back in April and was told there were no guarantees but she should expect to receive it back by mid-June. Well, it didn’t arrive in time and she couldn’t come on the trip. The recalibration that was required once the sad news became clear was easy from a practical standpoint; but it was a much harder mental exercise.

When things don’t go as planned I have a really hard time until I’ve recalibrated. In this case there was an extra layer of disappointment, sadness and guilt involved in the recalibration. I was personally disappointed that Charlotte wouldn’t be with us and also that we would have to wait until December to spend time together as a family. I was sad that my girl was sad and there wasn’t anything I could do to make her feel better. And I felt guilty going on the trip and having fun without her. It SUCKED. But once we were there I tried to focus on the opportunities in front of me; to experience a new culture (our first time in Mexico), to relax and let go of daily routines (I didn’t work out for 4 days straight!) and to enjoy our grown-up kids (well, 2 of them) outside the trappings of home. Of course I didn’t have as much fun as I would have if Charlotte had been with us BUT with a little effort I was able to enjoy the vacation for what it was. It took some extra mental work but I got there. I let myself feel those feeling of disappointment, sadness and guilt and then moved on. In this case when handed a lemon I couldn’t quite make lemonade but was able to manage a vinaigrette that was a little sour but still delicious.

Summer Gear

What gear to you use regularly in the summer? Do you have it appropriately labeled and accessible? Whenever I’m organizing a garage for a client I’m struck by the contrast between how they treat their holiday decor vs the stuff they use in the summer. The Holiday decorations are almost always together in the same area, stowed neatly in totes that clearly indicate what is inside. The things they use in the summer (e.g. swimming stuff, boating things, camping gear) are spread out all over the place, inconsistently contained and haphazardly placed wherever there happens to be available shelf space. I would like to gently recommend that you give your summer gear the same respect as your holiday decorations. Gather like items, get a few totes, label them and designate some real estate in your garage that is reserved exclusively for summer.

Galveston Diet

It seems like every year my body is going through some sort of change, mostly associated with the different phases of menopause. This year the change has been a most stubborn and unwelcome layer of belly fat that has rebuffed all of my efforts to dislodge it. It’s been a discouraging and depressing journey thus far, culminating in a complete replacement of my summer shorts collection and costing me both money and dignity. I discovered The Galveston Diet in a Facebook Group and it represents my last ditch effort to get my waistline back. The primary component of the program is a 16:8 version of Intermittent Fasting, something I have contemplated but never tried (also recommended as a key to longevity by David Sinclair in Lifespan.) I’ve never tried it because my workouts happen early in the morning and hunger inevitably follows. Due to my thickening middle I’m going to have to work around this issue and make the fasting happen if I want to avoid replacing my entire wardrobe. The other components involve diet, which don’t require a big change from how I’m already eating so that part won’t be hard. Anyway I’m starting this month and will let you know how it goes, cross your fingers for me!


I recently got my first gel manicure and it got me thinking about how many things in my life require maintenance. I am religious about pedicures but have never bothered with manicures because the the regular kind chips immediately and the acrylic kind is brutal on your actual nails. But gel polish is the Goldilocks of manicures, it doesn’t chip and isn’t murder on your nail beds. However, it is another thing to maintain. Right now, in terms of personal grooming, I maintain my toes and my hair (and my bikini line in season.) I’m only counting the things that require outsourcing, time, money or all three. To add another thing into the rotation is going to impact both my calendar and my wallet, so I’m still deciding if I will maintain.

Do you ever think about how many things you maintain? My example is personal grooming but there are many others: home (chores, repairs, yard, organization), dependents (children & pets) and health (Doctor/Dentist visits, prescriptions, vitamins, fitness, etc.). Many things you currently maintain in your life or home aren’t really a choice but many are, yet we don’t think about the impact that choice will have on our lives. When you are in your busiest years of raising a family, time is the most precious of commodities. Before you bring another thing into your life that requires maintenance it’s worth contemplating the time and money it will require to maintain, and whether it’s worth it.

I hope this July holds many delights for you, whether they are home or abroad, require effort to maintain or represent something new you are trying. The ‘Saturday’ of the summer is here to enjoy – make sure you make space for it!

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