Best Of . . . July 2022
Brief Interlude

Starting Your Engines . . . But Different

(Just a quick note to begin. One of the reasons I blog is to give myself a creative outlet. Ideas come to me. Sometimes they work out, and sometimes they don't. And sometimes they just . . . fade away over time. The "starting your engines" idea, as originally conceived, has lost its charm for me -- and if I can't inspire myself with an idea, I surely can't inspire anyone else with it. But I still like the concept . . . of starting the month by starting your engines. I just haven't quite figured out how yet. Please bear with me while I work that out.)


Welcome to August!

How we got here so quickly, I have no idea. But I'm sure it comes with age. Because summer lasted a million years when I was a kid, and now that I'm in my 60s, well . . . not so much. But. Here we are. August already.

Each year, at the beginning of summer, I think about all the things I want to do during the months ahead. Some years I actually write a list, but most years I just carry that list around in my head. My "summer stuff" list varies by year, and usually includes a real mishmash of things: "Eat ice cream cones regularly" and "Plant a tree" and "Clear out the linen closet."

My list generally changes by year, but one thing (well, two if you count the ice cream) shows up on every summer list I put together: "Watch a sunset over Lake Michigan."

And you know what? We never do it!


Oh, we get to Lake Michigan every year, at least once or twice. But we don't tend to stick around for the sunset! And it's one of those things that . . . never quite appeals once you're tucked in at home for the evening, with your glass of wine. And especially when you can watch some pretty amazing sunsets right there at home, from the comfort of your own front porch. (Plus . . . here in West Michigan, at the very western edge of the eastern time zone, our sunsets come very late.)

But last Saturday, we did it! Tom and I drove to South Haven (about 35 miles away) after dinner, and we settled into our beach chairs on a little sand dune and we watched the sun set over Lake Michigan.


It was such a beautiful evening. The weather was perfect. It was peaceful. And lovely.

I love living so close to The Lake. (If you've never seen the Great Lakes, well. It's much like being at the seashore . . . very coastal and all. Except the waves are wind-based, not tidal. And it's fresh water instead of salt water.) (Which tends to freak ocean-people out.) (And no matter which Great Lake you live near in Michigan, you refer to it as The Lake.)


So. Back to August 1.

When August hits, I always get a little bit (almost) panicky inside. August's arrival . . . means summer is nearly over. (Not really, these days, but I'm sure you get what I mean.) I'm never ready for it to end. And I want to make the most of every summer moment that remains, y'know?

So today, I encourage you to review your "summer list" -- the things you wanted to do this summer -- and pick something that's there, year in and year out. The thing that maybe you don't usually get around to doing.

And then . . . go do it!

Quick. Before summer is gone.

IMG_3923 2

Trust me, you won't regret it!

"I could never in a hundred summers get tired of this."
        --- Susan Branch


It's August, my friends.
Don't wait!

Start Your Engines!


PS - I'm close - very close - to launching my newly designed blog. I may be posting less often over the next week or two while I work out all the kinks and put on the finishing touches. It's hard to both keep my "regular" blog schedule going AND design a new one, y'know?  But please know I'm here. Working things out.


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I'm so glad you + Tom made it for sunset on the lake! It's one of our rituals here at the cottage, and in the past--when we had to drive home to Colorado--it was the one Troy missed most. Lake Michigan is SO ocean-y (it's my favorite Great Lake), and those pictures look seriously vacation-y. What a gift, just 35 miles' drive.
Congrats on the final stretch of your new blog! Can't wait to see it. I know how much work it is (fun, most of the time...moments, though, when I've gotten sweaty.) Final stretch. Woot!


Yay for final stretches (your blog...not August). And, although I'm not a huge fan of summer, I find myself wondering where it has gone and why so quickly! Your sunset pictures are just lovely. And 35 miles from The Lake? That is just marvelous. There is something about being by water that is SO relaxing...especially at sunset.


I think the Great Lakes are better than the ocean (or maybe I'm just not much of a Jersey shore person)! That is a lovely sunset and I'm glad you got to see it. As for ice cream, I was disappointed last night. I had to run to the bank ATM to get cash for John (it's a long story) and I decided I would reward myself with an ice cream cone. I stopped by three places and they were all closed, at 8:45. It looks like I'll have to eat ice cream earlier.


How nice that you and Tom got to spend time at the lake and enjoyed that lovely sunset! I grew up spending time every summer on the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario with family and friends. Since then I've dipped my feet into all five of the Great Lakes. My sister and I have a long weekend planned to visit Holland, MI at the end of September!

kim in oregon

As a sunset lover, I really am enjoying your pictures. And that's a terrific picture of you.


I think the irony of summer and sunsets is that usually we have the time for them in the summer -- but they come so late! We did go to see the sun set on the Gulf of Mexico when we were in Florida this past winter (when it happens early enough that we can do it as a pre-dinner activity), and it was pretty amazing that something that happens every day all around the world can be so spectacular. Glad you could finally cross this item off your list.


That's a beautiful sunset and a wonderful way of reminding us that it's important to make time to do the things that bring us joy. I'm quite used to seeing a sunRISE over the ocean but sunSETS are trickier here on the east coast. I love that last picture of you, you look happy and relaxed.


Lovely photos of the sunset! Years ago -- maybe 10? -- Matthew decided to put our last names and the house number on our mailbox. But only did part of it; the first letters and digits are missing. Every summer I say I am going to finish it... and I have not done it. Maybe this summer?


I’m happy to have visited The Lake a couple of times and it is amazing! Your picture is just so happy and relaxed. We’ve been doing that! I’ve got a thing or two on my summer “we should” list. Working the plan…xo


The thing I miss the most about my move to Pittsburgh... is the stunning lack of sunsets. I miss little about Holland... but I do so dearly miss those sunsets. You are so right. Watching them is just magical. Thank you so much for sharing... I love your photos!

And I am very very excited for your new blog platform! XO


I have been making certain that I enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies of summer, because frankly that is the only thing I really enjoy about summer. But I do LOVE fresh fruits and veggies, and anytime I can eat too many berries, I'm a happy person.


How lovely to just sit and watch the sun set over Lake Michigan. I'm a fan of northern lakes. We visit one in Minnesota every summer. Reading earlier blog posts, I love the idea of taking the wind out of the negativity sails by celebrating small wins. I too have a word journal this year. I sure admire your creative style.

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