Monday, June 30, 2014

chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool.

 I am a teacher and yesterday was the first day of my summer vacation. I could lie to you and tell you that it really isn't as great as you think, that we really don't have 66 days of freedom. I could tell you that the bulk of my 9 weeks and 3 days are spent on cleaning up from this past year, getting ready for next year, and doing professional development in between.

But the truth is, when I left school Friday at precisely 3:12 pm, my room was locked and loaded and I have no reason to return until the last week in August.

And the other truth is that after taking the six extra credits every summer for six years that resulted in me becoming both a Reading and Special Education specialist, I really have no more courses to take.

And the other truth is that this afternoon, my two babies left for camp for eight weeks, meaning that my other full-time job -mom- is also breaking form summer.

And the ultimate truth about all of this is that It. Is. Freakin'. Awesome.

I hear it all the time; people saying to me, "Oh you teachers, you've got it so great with your summers off."

Yeah, you're G-d damn right it's great. But don't be a hater. It's not my fault you chose your job instead of mine. You could've been a teacher, too and be sitting beside me right now enjoying a frosty beverage.

However since you're stuck inside doing your job instead of my profession of awesomeness, I am going to do you a favour. I am going to allow you to live vicariously through me and the 3rd annual Summer of Me. I am going to let you read along as I make the most of summer 2014, which from now on will be known as...

65 Ways to Make the Most of 65 Days of Chillin' out, Maxin', Relaxin' all cool
Note: the following 65 items are based on what makes me happy. You may think it's lame and boring but that's not my problem. At least I'm not stuck behind a desk & wearing nude stockings in an overly air-conditioned office with windows that don't open.

1-20: Read all of these books...at least. That works out to more than two books per week. (Update: 1 down, 19 to go) 

21-25: Read all of these books. I know...I told you earlier that I wasn't going to be doing any professional development this summer, but apparently I am too big of a nerd and have a deep-rooted need to become a better teacher.
26. Go to at least one Blue Jays game.
27. Eat at least 1 strawberry grown in my urban farm. I had this goal last year and failed. But this year, I'm bringing it; those sneaky squirrels are going to regret messing with my berries.

Recipe #1:
Swiss Chard Sautéed with mushrooms,
garlic, olive oil & lemon juice
28. Learn how to cook (and like) Swiss chard...and fast! I made an impulsive decision to grow it this year and things are getting out of control.
29. Learn how to light a one-match fire. We bought a new firepit for our back yard and last night (the first night of summer vaycay) we had our first fire. It only took about 10 matches, all of our kindeling, a role of paper towel, and a ripped-up paper gardening bag.
30. Make and complete a Honey-do list of all those little jobs that need to be done around my house but that I never have time to do. Like replace this dead Boxwood:
31, 32, 33: Binge-watch all the shows that I love but didn't have the metal energy to watch during the year: Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, and Downton Abbey.
34: Visit Farmer's Markets.
35. Complete my version of this 30 days of de-cluttering plan.
36. As a part of my de-cluttering, get rid of a good chunk of the shoes I love but never wear.
37. As a result of my 30 days of decluttering, have a super-duper garage sale.
38. As a result of selling my shoes in my super-duper garage sale, use some of the money to replace all of my pretty, but uncomfortable, heels with my one dream shoes that I know I can wear with almost everything:
39. Clean out my deep freezer. I am afraid of what's living in the bottom of that thing.
40. Finally try Kho San Road, Fat Pascha, Momofuku's Noodle Bar, Bar Buca, Black Camel, Porchetta & Co., Guu Izikaya, Fatburger, and a whole whack of other restaurants I can't believe I haven't tried yet.
41. Make a really good pavlova. I am not sure if this is an endeavor worth pursuing during our hot & humid summer but so be it.
42. Get back into couponing. I can't believe I let my coupon book get so empty!
43. Go on an awesome road trip...hopefully to some kitchy small towns like Myrtle Beach, VA and New Bern, NC (made famous by Nicholas Sparks, my favorite guilty-pleasure author).
44. Step off the planet for a little while and spend some time alone with my husband at our place in Florida.
45. Get in the habit of drinking the 8 glasses of water per day that I should be drinking but don't because as a teacher, I can't go to the bathroom whenever I want and thus, drinking too much water before a two-hour teaching block is a bit of a death wish.
46. Spend at least one hour per day doing absolutely nothing productive without feeling even an ounce of guilt.
47. Make  strawberry jam from berries I've picked. Or raspberry jam. Or blueberry. Or peach. Or any combination of them all.
48. Can/freeze/pesto-cize the veggies I grow so I can continue to enjoy the summer long after the leaves have fallen.
49. Plan my daughter's bat mitzvah. I know! I can't believe it either! It seems like just yesterday she was born and in a few short months, according to Jewish law, she will be a real young woman.
50. Learn how to embrace my curly hair...at least some of the time.
51. Throw my annual Ladies' Only Book Exchange Paty. I know it sounds lame, but it is actually so much fun.
52.Go to Sugar Beach,  Corktown Commons, Ward's Island, and some other awesome outdoor spots in the T-dot.
53. Run with Roz. She's one of my very-best-besties and a running partner that shames inspires me to be better.
54. As a result of my training with Roz, complete the Midsummer Night's Run 15k.
55. As a result of my training for the Midsummer Night's Run, complete the RBC 25k.
56. Practice yoga on a more regular basis.
57. Go to the Taste of Toronto food as well as a whole whack of the other awesome festivals going on in Toronto.
58. Meet my other very-best bestie, Stacey, for lunch/drinks/snacks near her work in Yorkville.
59. Go for lunch to Dragon Pearl with my school friends to celebrate Lesley and Megan's birthdays. Except they call it Dragon Hurl because it is an all-you-can-eat buffet and apparently, they spend 4 hours there.
60. Watch a  matinee performance of whatever really cheesy rom-com/tearjerker/toilet-humour comedy happens to be playing.
60a. Order popcorn with butter (layered) and chocolate-covered raisins to eat at the movie.
61. Have at least two pool parties where we talk like crazy, eat guacamole, drink slushy drinks, and read trashy magazine.
62. Learn how to make master this butter tart recipe. I've only been carrying the recipe clipping in my purse for a year.
63. Put my 1000's (literally!) of Shutterstock photos into albums.
64. Spend one whole rainy day in my pj's, eating cheezies & watching trashy TV.
65. Move towards a (mostly) clean-eating, plant-based diet (and by diet, I don't mean diet, I mean life-long healthy eating routine. I know this contradicts 60a and 62...this is why I said mostly)
Bonus: Take a moment each day to reflect more on being happy and grateful that I am fortunate enough to have a life that allows me to have a 66 day summer break.

Am I missing anything?

Sautéed Swiss Chard and Mushrooms

1 bunch Swiss chard
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, smushed
1 tbsp. oil
juice & zest from 1/2 a lemon
s & p to taste

Chop the chard, separating the leaves and stems
Heat the oil in a pan over medium.
Toss in the mushrooms & stir around.
Two minutes later, add in the garlic and toss around.
One minute later, add in the stems and toss around.
Two minutes later, add in the greens and toss around.
When wilted, toss

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