Thursday, July 10, 2014

League Post: It's Just Not Summer Until...

I'm finally getting my butt in gear and doing another League of Extraordinary Bloggers post! So what is the topic this week you may ask?

This week’s assignment from the League: It’s just not summer until…

What is it that defines "Summer" for this Goodwill Geek? Hmmm... let's think. I have a few I can think of right off the bat. Like... 

The constant hum of fans around the house! Maine in the summer time is actually pretty hot. Not as hot as the southern states, sure, but we're not the frozen tundra that people seem to think we are. Day or night at our house, we keep these things going as long as we're home and in the room we're trying to cool off for any period of time. We sleep with them going all night long, which makes it so that when Fall comes, and we pack the fans away, I actually have trouble falling asleep without the white noise going in the background.

The doors of our house stay open pretty much ALL the time, except when we're either not there or sleeping. What's weird is how much like a sauna the house gets when it is several degrees cooler outside some days.

Tiger lillies! These things are ALL around our house, and exploding this time of year. And they're one of my favorite flowers. There are also a handful of songs that just never fail to make me feel like Summer is HERE. I don't have as many of these as I do Halloween or Christmas songs... but here's a few. I realize some of these feel a bit "On the nose" when it comes to Summer listening... but that's the kind of unsubtle guy I am.

They Might Be Giants are an all-year sort of band for me, to be sure... but this song is LITERALLY about the Sun. Doesn't really get much more summer-y than that. And I love jumping around with my kids to this song!

Yes, it's SUPER cheesy and cliche... but I can't hear anyone even SAY the word "Summer" without bursting into this song. I mean this almost as near-literal as I can, too. I'm one of those weirdos who finds lyrics that match almost everything people around me say and then just... sort of... belt them out. 

I am a HUGE Louis Armstrong fan. And this version of "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess is slow and sleek and sexy. Ella Fitzgerald's vocals are like nothing else on this planet. This whole song makes you feel the slow, sweaty, tired pressure of a Summer heat. 

Sandals. I pretty much wear nothing but sandals until Fall comes. Same for my wife. My daughter is all about the flip-flops, and my two boys are pretty much barefoot unless we make them put shoes on.

The pets spend a lot more time outdoors this time of year, especially since Pumpkin the bunny lives in a pen upstairs in our daughter's room, and would probably bake if we left him up there all day long.

Pumpkin and the AT-AT I've brought into the family have been getting to know each other pretty well actually.

In the Summer we also pretty much relinquish our backyard to the ants. They get REALLY bad and REALLY aggressive. These two pictures are from the kids' SLIDE in the backyard.

Mowing the lawn is a test of fortitude in the sweltering heat and wave upon wave of fire ant attacks. It's for real a total Empire of the Ants back there:

I posted this for both of you. You know who you are.  

The sweet, delicious taste of freezer pops. Whether you call them Fla-Vor-Ice or Otter Pops... these things are a STAPLE of Summer. As is...

I am always sad to see these tubular freezer pops (seemingly filled with various types of automotive fluid when you pick them up unfrozen) disappear from the grocery stores every year. I should really stock up. The sweet golden one pictured above is pineapple flavored. 

And speaking of pineapple flavored... here is my new favorite Summer beverage. ACE Pineapple Cider. Adults only. This is hard cider of which I have become a fan. I'm all about the Fox Barrel, the Angry Orchard, the Original Sin, the Johnny Appleseed, and now the ACE. Please drink responsibly.

Or don't. 

I'm not your mother.

You will be hard pressed to find a day when the Goodwill Geek's family doesn't go swimming. We have a pond called Webb's which is just a seven minute drive from the house. So we spend quite a bit of time there. The boys got new floaty rings this year, and they LOVE them.

And finally, it's not really Summer until we've made one of our trips out to Sand Beach. Sand Beach is out on Mount Desert Island, and takes us about an hour drive to reach. We don't go every weekend, but we go fairly often. It is deliciously cold, and salty, and sandy, and refreshing. Here's a poem I wrote for my daughter about 4 years ago about our trips to Sand Beach:

Sand Beach

Sandy beach and sandy butts.
Sandy feet and sandy guts.
Sandy eyes, and sandy hair...
We are sandy everywhere.

Sandy beach with water cold.
Only swim if you feel bold.
Better off in warm lagoons,
to splash and laugh like crazy loons. 

Sandy beach and sandy fun
seems to fly... and then its done.
In the car, we wave "adieu"
Sleepy. Happy.
Sandy, too.

--Derek Ash, 2010

There's actually so much more than all this that just screams "summer" at me... but I'm just glad that Summer actually IS HERE. It was such a long and painful winter for me that the Summer is such a relief. And of course another Fall and another Halloween is just around the corner... but for now I am content to sit on the beach in my sandals with my ice-pop running down my arm. 

Let's see what says "Summer" to the rest of the League, shall we? 

- Go Play Listen shares some Summery tunes. 
- The Nerd Nook takes us on an entire tour of Summer!
- Jathniel talks about Summertime in Sin City. 
- Our fearless leader over at Cool & Collected talks about the Summer necessity of the Big Budget Summer Blockbusters!
- The Geeky Vixen has her own (kick-ass) list of Summer essentials, including movies, roadtrips, and to hunting! 

That's all I have tonight kids! I'll be back soon to show off some Geeky Goodwill Goodies! Until then, Happy Hunting! 


  1. I would have guessed that Maine would be pretty humid in the summer, but when you're running away from all kinds of Stephen King monsters, who has time to notice?

    Good to see the pets are getting along.

    You're the third person to mention "Empire of the Ants" this week! I think I may be the only member of this whole operation who hasn't seen it. When I was a kid, "Them!" was the go-to movie for giant ants.

    Mm. Pineapple is one of my favorite fruit flavors. I'm so envious!

    1. I try to give Castle Rock and Derry a wide berth, but monsters and spirits are pretty much just EVERYWHERE up here...

  2. What a cool peek in on you guys :) My buddy and I sometimes have whole conversations in song lyrics. It's just so therapeutic to belt out a song randomly and my kids are soooo tired of my rendition of "ALL BY MYYYYSEEEELF!" It usually pops out anytime I'm doing something in the kitchen. I used to work overnight stocking at a Walmart in the candy aisle up front. The dairy stocker used to belt it out once every night and I looked forward to it. I feel like I'm carrying his torch...... That poem is so telling of what kind of dad you are and the realness of your family. The Ash family is a lucky bunch :)

    1. The best example I can use is the theme song to this old game: which I burst out singing every time we make or get pizza.

    2. Do you really?! Ha ha!! Lucky kids ;) I remember this game. Do they even make commercials for board games anymore? That thought makes me kind of sad :(

  3. I'm with Erik on this one, you've peaked my interest in "Empire of the Ants"....
    Also it looks like your boys we're having a blast at the beach.

    1. It's INSANE and awesome... and if you haven't seen THEM yet, you should fix that immediately as well. The giant insect subgenre of horror is often an amazing one. Do yourself a favor and check out 1995's "Mosquito" too. One of the best bad movies out there.

  4. You live in Maine? Aww, I'm so jealous because (1) the state is just so beautiful it must be like living in a postcard, (2) I've read University of Maine has badass environmental courses, and (3) STEPHEN KING COUNTRY OF COURSE!

    1. (1) I am pretty darn lucky (when it isn't winter) to live in Maine. The whole state feels semi-rural, with the exception of the handful of bigger cities. Living in a postcard is kind of pushing it, but we're very lucky to have all the beautiful forests and ocean here.

      (2) My wife is taking classes through UMM and they do indeed have a ton of environmental classes. Not sure about the other universities... but I know she just finished up an Environmental Psychology course which was pretty interesting to me as an outside observer.

      (3) Believe it or not my mother-in-law used to clean Stephen King's house in Bangor. She met him twice while she was working there. She and the other cleaners she worked with weren't supposed to interact with the King family in any way. Her instructions from the cleaning company were to avoid the family at all costs, and to literally hide in a closet if she heard them coming... but my mother-in-law had too much self-respect to do anything of the sort. She said he seemed very friendly and polite. She wasn't a King fan in any way shape or form though, so it was sort of wasted on her.

      I can only imagine what Stephen King would have done if he entered a room of his house where he had just heard someone vacuuming, and then went to take something out of the closet and found someone hiding in there.

      Probably written another best-seller actually.

    2. Derek, your response here was the best thing about this post. Extremely interesting stuff right here.

    3. Seconded! Amazing Stephen King story. Makes me want to fist-bump your mother-in-law.

  5. How cute. The bunny and the AT-AT are getting along.

    Never would have thought that Maine gets hot. Yeah, I'm one of those that thought it was tundra year round.


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