Summertime, August 2019 edition

The summer is racing along. Our June trip to Lake Champlain seems like it was a year ago. My second big vacation of the summer – a week in Maine with my extended family, then a week of scout camp with Neutronlad is over and work is looming large. Band camp, that annual ritual for Easton Area High School students, is underway and consuming most of StarGirl’s free time.

The start of school feels like its days away … and the truth is only slightly better; we have two more weeks until the kids are back in the classroom.

So how’s that summer punch list looking? I’m making progress, but there’s plenty I likely won’t get done before Labor Day.

Summer Reading List 2019: I’ve read 10 of 19 books on my summer reading list, which isn’t as far along as I’d expected to be, but that’s still a lot of books. I read a bunch of books during our Vermont vacation in June, but I read a lot less in July and early August, despite a week in Maine and Scout Camp. I traded book time for family, which is a good trade, but means I may need to define “summer” as Memorial Day to September 21 if I want a chance of finishing the list.

Bring Back Monster Week: I watched a bunch of movies, binged Stranger Things Season 3, and started writing reviews, but Monster Week is looking like more of a fall thing than a summer thing. Still, it’s been a fun endeavor and inspired me to watch some of my favorite movies.

Complete the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: I’m further along than I’ve ever been before. I acquired Biggorron’s Sword and made my way to the final boss battle of the Shadow Temple … where I am now stuck trying to defeat Bongo Bongo. My son tells me this is one of the toughest fights in the game, and I believe him.

Go to the Jersey Shore: The fates conspired to keep me from getting to the Jersey Shore, though we did spend a week at the (much colder) Maine Shore. I’d still like to sneak in a trip to the Jersey Shore this month.

Backpacking: In July, we went on an overnight backpacking trip in Worthington State Forest and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey. It was a short backpacking trip as such things go – hike two miles into a campground, sleep, then hike ten miles the next day – but it was a good training exercise. It gave NeutronLad a chance to get comfortable with his backpack, and me more experience on the trail. Ideally, I’d like to get in another trip in August, but that seems unlikely given our time commitments.

Play disc golf: Sadly, I’ve only gotten in one game of disc golf this summer. That’s mostly because of vacations and weekend commitments that cut into my available disc times on Saturday and Sunday.

Run five kilometers: Done!

Swim a mile: Done! I swam a mile at scout camp (and even got the patch).

Walk seven miles a day: This proved harder than expected, because of weather, vacation, and Recon, our new Seeing Eye puppy who joined us in July. I frequently take him to work with me and, being a puppy, he wasn’t up for the 2.6-mile round trip walk to work.

I averaged 5.2 miles a day in June and 5.9 in July. August is looking up, in large part to all the walking I did at scout camp: I’m averaging 7.8 miles a day. Recon’s now able to walk to work, so I expect that number will stay in the 6-to-7 mile a day range going forward.

Get to 200 lbs.: I’m at 210. Getting to 200 by the end of the summer seems unlikely, but I’ll keep working at it.

Side Quests

Climb a Cliff! Scout camp was much easier this year. We had 11 scouts, which was more than last year, but two of them were high schoolers, and the others were mostly in the 12-to-13 range. There’s a huge difference in maturity between 11-12 and 12-13, and that difference let our leaders (including me) go off and do some fun things at camp. Three of us when to the climbing tower to sharpen our climbing and belaying skills, which culminated with climbing a rocky cliff. I’d never made it to the top of a climbing tower before, let alone climbed a cliff – at scout camp, I did both.

Ockanikon Iron Man: The scout camp had an “iron man” event consisting of three activities: 1) ascend the climbing wall in a minute or less 2) swim .5 miles and 3) run a 5K. I did all three. The rock wall was easily the hardest thing for me; I’d been practicing running and swimming, but climbing? I hadn’t done that for years. It felt great to earn the patch, especially after a year of PT to strengthen my now-healed broken ankle.

New Shows: Another part of what sidetracked me from my summer reading list was new shows to watch, specifically Amazon’s Good Omens and The Boys. The former is about an angel and a devil who got comfortable on Earth and try to prevent Armageddon. The later is a gritty, brutal look at superheroes gone bad. Both are worth watching.

Get a bike!: My trusty Trek mountain bike, which I bought in college, has been retired in favor of a new Trek Dual Sport 2. It’s a road bike/mountain bike hybrid, which makes it great for commuting the 1.3 miles to work or trail riding with the family.

Play Magic: The Gathering: I used to play Magic a lot in the mid-to-late 1990s, and again on Xbox and PlayStation when the Duel of the Planewalkers games was still a thing. A few years ago I tried to get my son interested in the game, but he was too young to really grok the strategy. That changed when we went to Scout Camp; they were selling starter sets and boosters and we decided to try it out. This time, he gets it … and returned home to start building his own decks. It’s great to be playing the game again, and even better to be playing with my kid.

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I read Ghosts of the Saltmarsh (Amazon) while on vacation in Maine. Credit: Ken Newquist.

 

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