Friday, June 20, 2008

The Summer of... (taking suggestions)

The past four summers have all had very distinct themes. Or sometimes two themes. But themes none the less.

2004: The Summer of B

Of course, 2004 could just as easily be categorized as the Summer of Home Ownership as I had just purchased my house and was getting used to all the fun (and annoyances) of having my own home. And it was just as much the Summer of Copper. My sweet little girl came home with me exactly four years ago yesterday, and that summer was a time of adjustment and joy that she brought into my life. But, for some reason, when I think back to 2004, I immediately think of B. and the time we spent together that summer. Well, I'm not sure it can really be classified as time together as time spent in each other's presence was actually quite limited. But, if you count Internet time (and who here doesn't??), we spent most of the summer together. It was not unusual for B. and I to spend close to the entire day chatting on AIM. The moment I got out of bed in the morning, I would log on to see of he was there (and he usually was, waiting for me to arrive), and we would chat for hours. Sometimes we would only sign off as it got close to five p.m. and his freedom would come to an end. Then we would check back in around ten or eleven and chat for anywhere from two to four more hours. I'd go to bed and the entire cycle would start all over again in the morning.

And we all know how well that turned out, don't we?

So why do my thoughts immediately turn to him still, even though two other, very remarkable events also consumed that summer? I think it's because I still have those other two things, and not only do I not have B., but I don't have anything that even closely resembles what I had with him either.

2005: The Summer of Grad School (part 1)

In 2005 I voluntarily gave up a great deal of my summer freedom in pursuit of higher education. Once I finally decided what I wanted to get my Masters' Degree in, I also wanted to get it done. So I enrolled in three graduate courses for the summer term... nine credits... a full-time load. Of course, it was great to be able to say, at the end of the summer, that I was already a quarter of the way done with my degree, but it was difficult at times to have to turn down offers of sitting by the pool, and going out to dinner. I particularly remember having to head home immediately after Fourth of July fireworks because I needed to study for an upcoming cataloging exam.

2006: The Summer of Hell

This was the year that I thought my life as I knew it was over. I was facing tenure charges for stating my opinion via my blog and MySpace page on my own time. Who knew that teachers don't have freedom of speech? Had they been successful in their quest, not only would I have lost my job, but it would have been very difficult for me to get another one. Districts do not, as a rule, hire teachers that have been dismissed from their previous positions. While it's highly unlikely that I actually would have been fired, I'm not sure what I would have done if I had been. This is all I know how to do and anything else that I've ever been interested in doing would require a whole new degree. Kind of hard to finance that when you're halfway through working on one already and you don't have an income.

Oh, yeah, and on top of all that stress, I was still working full-time on my Masters' Degree. But by then I was somewhat used to that level of work since I had done it the summer before, and taken six credits each term during the school year, too. Plus it kind of paled in comparison to the rest of the nightmare that was my life.

2007: The Summer of Hawaii

I don't know that I'd say that I never thought I'd go to Hawaii. It's not like it was something I'd completely dismissed, but it wasn't really something I thought about either. So when the opportunity arose to go to such a stunning locale with one of my best friends, I jumped at the chance. It was, perhaps, not the wisest way I could have spent all that money, but I don't regret it for an instant. I'm well aware that the trip itself was only a week and a half of my summer, but it seems like everything I did for weeks leading up to departure was prepare. I thought constantly about what items I should purchase to take with me, what things needed to be done to ready my house for my absence, and how traumatic it might be to my babies to have me gone for such a long stretch.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since the trip. It seems like every day something happens that triggers a mind trip back to the islands.

So now it's 2008...

I realize that I've only been on vacation for two weeks, but so far I haven't a clue what this year's theme is going to be. In past years it has been crystal clear by this point of the summer, so I'm feeling a little lost right now. I suppose that I should see this as a good thing... there is no event that is tearing my life apart right now, which is certainly an improvement over two years ago.

I guess I'm just hoping that something will happen to make this summer a memorable one. I guess I better be a little more specific.

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