Summer Update

Doesn’t it feel like summer is flying by? Here it is, mid-July, and school will be starting before you know it!

Not that a school calendar means that much to me, since I am not a teacher, and I don’t have kids yet. But in my world of working for a symphony orchestra, our schedule is just as cyclical as the school calendar: our symphony season starts in mid-September, and runs through early June. That doesn’t mean I get summers off, but our office is much more relaxed during June, July and August. One of the perks of my job is getting eight Fridays off in those summer months while our musicians and conductors are away playing in different music festivals, vacationing, or maybe just relaxing at home.

So, what I have I been doing with myself during this summer?

Swim trialsOlympic Swim Trials! My husband and I attended the opening session of the Olympic swim trials a few weeks ago, which were held in my hometown, Omaha, Neb. It was a dream come true to see these world-class athletes competing in my city for the third straight Olympic trials. #WeDontCoastOmaha

Seeing friends and family! For my first official Friday off, I took my grandma to lunch. I treated her to Mexican food, and she returned the favor by treating me to ice cream. We chatted about my various cousins, aunts, and uncles, and then some about her long marriage to my grandpa, who passed away six years ago. If it were a movie or a book, my grandmother would have passed on sage wisdom or advice, or told me a secret about my family that would have changed everything. But instead, I made a pleasant memory of just spending time with someone I care about. I’ve also gotten to spend time with cousins and other family members at a recent bridal shower and family reunion.

WritingReading! That’s a given, right?

Writing! I usually try to write during my lunch hour at work, and since I have a lot less meetings in the summer time, I can get nearly a solid hour of writing time in, seated in my office’s window seat.

Gardening! I’ve trimmed bushes, pulled weeds, and planted a small flower garden in the backyard that I hope to expand next summer.

Singing! I joined my church’s praise team this spring, and have had the pleasure of helping lead others in worship. For a special July 4 service, we sang patriotic songs, including all of the military anthems (the Air Force theme went over especially well here in Bellevue, home of Offutt Air Force Base!) and it was a special time to recognize our veterans and reflect on our freedoms.

EmmetMeeting new people! I had the pleasure of attending a concert by Irish tenor Emmet Cahill last week, and he was phenomenal! Emmet’s team is hoping he can come sing with the Omaha Symphony someday, and brought him to my attention. After hearing him perform, I am definitely recommending him for future seasons. In addition to his beautiful voice, he had a charming persona both onstage and off, and his dimples are adorable!

Relaxing with the TV! Yes, I’m a Netflix junkie, because I love finding new shows. The last few months, I’ve been watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, a show about a lady detective in 1920s Melbourne, Australia. Phryne Fisher is a modern woman who loves sparring with detective inspector Jack Robinson. With only three seasons, I’ve been parceling the episodes out for months, but I’m going to miss Phyrne when I’m done. Any other show suggestions?

Snuggle bugsSnuggling babies! Well, really just one. Last Friday, I was able to visit one of my best friends, and her nine-day old newborn, Ivy. I got to snuggle that little muffin to my heart’s content while I visited with her mama and daddy all day. Bazinga was incredibly jealous that I spent my day away from her (she usually “helps” me when I write or garden, or cuddles next to me when we watch Miss Fisher), so she had to get some snuggle time in too!

I’m looking forward to the rest of my summer! What are you doing to while away the heat?



Babies and Cats and Dogs – Oh, my!

I love to laugh. I hope I’m that grandma with laugh lines deeply imbedded in her face (which shouldn’t be hard – I’m well on the way). Obviously it’s not always appropriate to laugh, but sometimes those can be the times when it’s hardest not to. Like during communion when your grandma drops her little plastic cup and it bounces its way across the sanctuary (and bounces and bounces…), pinging off the granite floor in the silence.

Or during a sermon on a summer morning, when the sun reflects off the floor and makes a giant silhouette image of a friend of yours on the back wall (and they don’t know they’re bigger than life).

Or trying to be solemn while assembling for a graveside service right after someone comments about the Rolloff family being buried at the top of the hill (they had noticed the marker of someone buried long ago in that tiny town’s cemetery).

I have a file of “Keepers” in my inbox where I store emails people have sent that struck me particularly funny. More than once I’ve opened it and read a few – sure enough, I was soon smiling and feeling better.

Here are a few YouTube links that I hope will make you laugh today. Who can NOT laugh when a baby lets loose with that adorable belly laugh? Or when twins crack themselves up (and leave us out of the fun!)?

Even if you don’t like cats or dogs, it’s hard not to giggle at the predicaments they get themselves into or when they share a special talent.

Life can be pretty rough on occasion. I thank our God for laughter (He must have a sense of humor – He created the hippopotamus, after all!).