Category Archives: Opinion

The Ultimate Summer Day


I went for a walk the other day a little after noon. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, a light hoodie, and sandals. I live in the Phoenix area, and the temperature was in the mid-60s.

(But earlier in the morning, when I took the dog out, in my PJs and terry robe, the temperature was about 40 degrees. I know, I’m spoiled. I suffer when the temp dips down below 50.)

I came home from my walk, took a shower, and dressed in denim bermudas and a long-sleeve shirt.

I don’t like any weather that involves raking or shoveling. Winter is enjoyable here, but I really like summer better, even in the desert; though in the 100+ degree heat, I’d prefer to be in the pool if I have to be outside.

Sea and sky

My ideal summer day is based on the ones I experienced as a 15-year-old growing up in New Jersey. The sky would be blue, the sun warm, the temperature in the mid-to-upper 80s (though with the typical 85% humidity, it would be much less comfortable than Arizona dry heat), and I would be at the beach. I’d have a cooler with me, with cold soda and sandwiches and snacks. I’d have no responsibilities for the day—no job to go to, no meals to prepare, no appointments upcoming, no pressing deadlines to meet. And I’d have a friend with me, preferably one of the opposite sex.

When our kids were little and we still lived in New Jersey, but closer to the Pennsylvania border rather than near the Atlantic shore, we might drive half an hour to a lake to have a change of pace from the backyard pool. But my ideal day still included sun and water.

When we moved to Arizona, we bought another house with a pool, because we knew it would play a big part in our summers. A lot of people don’t like having pools, because they see the upkeep as tedious and expensive. But we had five kids. Going on a one-week vacation during the summer would cost us more than the price of a year’s worth of pool chemicals. And really, if you invest in a good pool vacuum, maintenance only takes maybe an hour or less a week. When the kids were young, we were in the pool every day. The kids’ birthday parties were always pool parties (except for Andy’s—he was born in December).

Now, with our kids all grown, we are not in the pool every day from April through October. Greg’s not been in the pool in years. I average about a dozen dips per summer, though every time I go in, I wonder why I don’t do it every day.

Only six more months till summer.

I can’t wait.

Independence Day

Independence Day

It’s Fourth of July weekend, and this year I’m really not into it.

I used to be a very patriotic person. I believed the United States is the best country there is.

Now, I knew she had warts, but I looked past them to her beautiful soul. Or to the beautiful soul I thought she had. You know, the one that espouses freedom and opportunity.

But then I started hanging out with people who have made me question everything I thought I knew.

Or maybe I had those questions when I was growing up, but I squelched them to conform to what I was being taught in school.

What we celebrate on Independence Day is the rebellion of British colonists against Great Britain.

Granted, they had legitimate issues. They had the obligation of paying taxes to the Crown, without the right of representation in Parliament. Yeah, throw that tea in the harbor!

But what were the colonists doing in the New World, anyway? Securing as much land as possible for the British Empire. Even if it meant displacing or murdering the people who had lived here for millenia. After all, they were only savages.

And supplying Europe with tobacco and cotton, even if they had to kidnap and enslave people from Africa to do the heavy labor. After all, they were only savages.

From the moment white people set foot in North America, they committed atrocity after atrocity. To be sure, the same thing was happening all over the globe. This was the glorious result of the age of exploration. New lands to conquer and subjugate.

Yet today the United States is quick to point out human rights offenses in other countries. Yeah, it takes an oppressor to recognize another oppressor.

I know what I am saying will be very unpopular with many of the lovely people who read this blog, but events of the last year and a half have made me realize that the injustices of the past have led to the continued, ingrained injustice and ugliness and deadliness and division that is plaguing our country now. I am witnessing people making personal fortunes on the backs of the poor and the ill. I am seeing voting accessibility being severely scaled back. I am heartbroken that I’m seeing the country I love for what she truly is, and she’s not virtuous.

It has to stop. It has to change. It has to be healed and rebuilt. Or we will not have a United States any longer. It will implode, as well it should.