The Rest of the Summer


I saw my first sunflowers the other day. Harbinger of death, I screamed! OK, not really, but sunflowers, beautiful as they are, do serve as a reminder that The End of Summer is on its way (cue funereal music here…).

A lover once said to me; Wow. You. Really. Have. A. Thing. About. Summer. She thought it odd that I saw summer as a special and distinct season. Needless to say she did not last long.

I asked The Anti-Poverty Organizer what she wants to achieve in what’s left of summer. She looked puzzled. She listed some work things. But I hope I planted a seed. I hope she jumps in a lake or hops on another ferry before summer’s end.


For all of those reasons, I thought I would bare my soul and post a few things I want to achieve for The Rest of the Summer. I’ll check back with this list in September to see how I did…

Have a summer BBQ
I’ve tidied up my deck, planted some flowers. Time to have some loud and lovely friends grace the back deck while I stir up mojitos, mustard glazed chicken kebabs, blueberry bulgar salad, watermelon feta salad, purslane and parsley salad, and raspberry banana sorbet (see below).


Write every weekday morning
…It doesn’t matter if it’s fifteen minutes or two hours. A daily writing practice is powerful: it builds the creative muscles, and it adds pages, too.

Go camping
How can I call myself a Canadian?? This summer I have yet to huddle over a campfire, swat away small wild animals, crawl into a too-small tent, sleep on an uncomfortable mattress and wake up to the sounds of lake water lapping on a shore.

Hire a research assistant
Boring, I know. But scary emails from my academic publisher appear in my inbox; onerous research deadlines loom! Somewhere in the near empty hallways of my university lurks the perfect research assistant and I will find her/him!


Go on more picnics
Last week The Anti Poverty Organizer, The Girlfriend and myself had the simplest of picnics: homemade potato salad and churassco chicken, at a perfect picnic table on Ward’s Island (ok, I know churassco chicken has had way too much mention on this site). But really, it doesn’t take much….

Go swimming

A friend of mine once said that summer has not been achieved until you’ve lost track of how many times you’ve plunged into the lake/ocean/river…

Get my course syllabi done
Which of these things do not go together? swimming…barbecuing…course syllabi??? Yes, dear readers, academics do not have the entire summer off as many of you, in your slightly delusional ways of thinking, assume. In fact, we pretty much work through whole summer. The trick is to mix and match: a few hours of course prep followed by a late afternoon date for cocktails on a terrace with someone amusing is the way to do it.

Buy certain essential household items
A bed (my back calls out for a better one!); a TV (mine is 15 years old!); a couch (the one I have is a borrowed vintage Ikea monstrosity).


Go to more farmers’ markets
Dufferin Grove Market last week was a riot of colour, smells and tastes, even in a gentle rain. Trinity Bellwoods features The Peach Man with his earnest lecture on biodynamic farming, and The Cheese Lady and her fantastic fromage. Like snowflakes, no two alike….

Sit in as many outdoor terraces as humanly possible
Our outdoor cafes days are numbered…

Sign up for driving lessons
I am one of those unusual folk who cannot drive. But the other day I ran into one of the little old ladies who grace my neighbourhood. I learned to drive at age 50 she said. Was so nice. I drove to Scarborough. I drove to Hamilton. 50. Is. Very Good. Age. To. Learn. To. Drive.


So there you have it. My rest-of-summer list.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Raspberry-Banana Sorbet

This makes about 3 large servings. Add an extra frozen banana or cup of fruit for each additional serving.

2 frozen bananas (peel ripe bananas and wrap with plastic wrap before freezing solid)
2 cups fresh raspberries (or fruit of choice), frozen
sweetener of choice (liquid sweeteners, such as rice syrup or agave nectar, dissolve best)

Take the frozen bananas out of the freezer and break them into 3 or 4 pieces. Place them and the raspberries into the food processor and allow them to sit for about 10 minutes, to thaw only slightly.

Cover and start the food processor. (Don’t be surprised when the processor bucks like an angry bull when the blade hits that frozen fruit!) With it running, add just a little bit of “milk” (you can also use water or juice here) to help the fruit blend smoothly. I recommend about 1/4 to 1/2 cup liquid for the amount of fruit used here. Stop the processor from time to time and scrape down the sides. Keep processing until the fruit is the smooth consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Add sweetener to taste (I use a little bit of stevia) and process briefly one more time.

Serve immediately. Or you can put the whole processor into the freezer until you’re ready to eat and give it another blending right before serving. The sorbet can also be stored in a plastic container for up to a few days and re-processed to soften.


  1. Wow, learning to drive–way to go, that’s a big one. I gotta teach my kid how to swim and ride a bike. I’ve got to harvest some honey, write some grants, make some prayer flags. Got blackberries to pick at UBC Farm, a lot of rosé to drink, Moscow Mules, and sangria!!! I haven’t had sangria yet. Where did the summer go?

    I’ve got to take some books into a second hand store, see if I can get some cash. Save seeds as they ripen.

    Swim swim swim bike bike bike noodle in the garden and write summer haikus.

  2. Mine is trying to keep the summer is simple as possible. I am spending a big chunk of it in Bulgaria where contrary to general belief it is hard to keep things simple. But on my list is: visiting old friends in Sofia, having as much feta as possible, cooking in the garden with my uncle, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes (the best still after all these years) and visiting some small monasteries. Enjoy your summer, it sounds lovely!

  3. Lori W:
    You’ve got a lot to do before summer ends! Fortunately for the non-academic, it goes a little later than September 2nd. I like that grant writing and prayer flags are in the same sentenced!

    Miss B,
    Your summer SO does not sound simple! But it does sound excellent, and “having as much feta as possible” seems like a noble yet achievable goal.

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