Saturday, June 18, 2016

Summer Fun: Pumpkin's Guide to Getting the Most Out of Summer

Whether you are a firm believer that summer begins on Memorial Day (so approximately meteorological summer) or if you're a strict adherent to the belief that summer begins on June 20th with the solstice (astronomical summer), your season has finally arrived. You're out there living your best summer life (this has become a phrase I'm partial to these days), soaking up the sun, reveling in the heat, and I assume, enjoying a frosty adult beverage. You probably have your pool/beach time scheduled and probably a summer vacation planned. But have you stopped and considered whether or not you're truly getting the most out of your summer? What could possibly make your summer even better?

I'll tell you what - Pumpkin's advice on how to get the most out of summer. She knows a lot about enjoying the sun and just as her helpful advice got us all through Snowzilla this winter; she'll make sure your summer is the absolute best it can be.

Pumpkin's Guide to Getting the Most Out of Summer

Tip 1: Moderation is the key to enjoying the sun.
Pumpkin is the literal queen of the sun patch. I once watched her sit in the same sun patch for over an hour without moving or blinking. I had to check to see if she was still breathing at one point. Sun is an essential part of summer enjoyment; we need the vitamin D after months in cold, cold weather and here in DC, fifteen straight days of rain at the end of May. Get out there an soak up the sun but do so with some care and caution. It's all about moderation since summer is a marathon not a sprint. Ways to balance enjoyment and moderation:
  • Sunscreen - Pumpkin recommends a minimum SPF of 30 but I like to take it a step further and bump that up to 45. She has fur; I'm a very white woman who "lobsters" when the sun is even mentioned. Make sure you reapply your sunscreen if you're outside for longs periods of time swimming or sweating profusely (which will always happen).
  • Shade - Find a nice tree, fancy umbrella, or building to hide in every now and then. It's cooler and may even involve finding a frosty beverage or two.
  • Invest in one of those tiny fans. Tiny fans make a lot of sense.
Tip 2: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Hydration is essential when spending more time outside in the broiling sun. We're all going to be sweaty messes this summer and staying hydrated will help in so many ways. Pumpkin is a master at staying hydrated whether it's drinking from her actual water bowl or finding other sources of water like the bathroom sink, unattended water glasses, or the bathtub after I've gotten out of the shower. Sometimes she doesn't even wait until I'm done brushing my teeth to get in on the sink action in the bathroom. She needs her water and will get it in whatever fashion she can.

Tip 3: Rooftop bars (or the top of the refrigerator) are great places to enjoy a cold beverage when the weather gets hot.
Pumpkin loves hanging out on top of the refrigerator. Bonus: when she stays at my parents' house, they put a water bowl on top of the fridge for her so it's exactly like her own rooftop bar. The height gives her a great view of the apartment or their kitchen. The same can be said about hanging out at a rooftop bar after work or on a sunny weekend day. Arlington and DC have some wonderful rooftop bars with great views. Be prepared to wait in line to get upstairs but it's absolutely worth the wait. Make sure that you have an exit plan; Pumpkin doesn't always remember to have one when she jumps on top of the fridge. She prefers the "meow until someone helps me" method of exiting. Doing this at a rooftop bar is not recommended but knowing your limits and having a DD or Uber on your phone are always a good idea.

Tip 4: When in doubt, take a nap.
Sun and nap - priceless.
Being outside maybe fun but it's also exhausting. Pumpkin is a master at all things napping from location to length of nap to sleeping with her eyes open. It's a skill and one that we should all learn how to do. I don't nap often but something about summer and the sun and lazy afternoons makes me want to nap all the time.

Napping by Pumpkin:
  • Comfort is in the eye of the beholder. If perching yourself on the back of the couch or one someone's arm while they're trying to read or do other things is comfortable for you, embrace it.
  • 18 hours a day is the ideal amount of time one should nap. Pumpkin is a beast when she doesn't get this much nap time in. 
  • If you want to creep out a person and nap at the same time, learn to nap with your eyes open. It's definitely a skill worth cultivating. 
  • Let your people know when they've intruded into your napping time. This can come in the form of meowing at them in disgust, scratching them for no reason, or maybe staring at them as if you're plotting a way to keep them up all night. Because they deserve to be tortured for disturbing your sleep.

Tip 5: Get your summer reading list together
Pumpkin has been a reader since way back. She loves books of all types; histories, memoirs, novels, art books. She is an equal opportunity reader and you should be too. Books are great for napping on, lounging by the pool or on the beach, or if you're stuck inside on a rainy day. Check out The Washington Post's summer book recommendations to plan your reading list. I just picked up The Girls by Emma Cline because nothing says summer quite like a book about a cult.
From her kitten days.

Tip 6: Outdoor activities can be turned into indoor activities if you get a little creative. 
So many of Pumpkin's tips involved the great outdoors but she realizes that the outside is not for everyone; she doesn't even like it that much. Pumpkin spent the first few weeks of her life on the mean streets of Honolulu before I adopted her and the outdoors did her no good. Apparently she fought with other animals and was bitten by one one of them. This resulted in her having an abscess that eventually burst and she spent several weeks with one side of her face shaved. A cat with half of a shaved face is a sad sight. There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can/should enjoy this summer but Pumpkin would also like to provide alternatives in case you're more of an indoor kid and/or want to avoid fighting with other neighbor animals:
  • Visit a winery. Sure they're pretty and picturesque and wine is delicious but you could also sit home and drink wine while wearing yoga pants and hanging out with Pumpkin. There's also less of a chance that you'll have to hang out with pretentious wine guy if you drink at home.
  • Go to a theme park. Roller coasters are amazing and awkward moments with theme park characters make for great Instagram photos but lines are the worst and the sun can be punishing. Pumpkin's alternative: make an at home obstacle course. Climb on top of your furniture, jump over the stuff everyone leaves out everywhere that you don't want to pick up, the possibilities are endless.
  • Attend an outdoor movie event. Outdoor movies sound like a great idea but they lack the one thing that Pumpkin feels is essential for movie watching: air conditioning. How are you supposed to watch a movie if your Junior Mints are melting all over the place? It's easy to replicate the big screen at home and as a bonus, you can wear your pajamas and cuddle with your pets. Pumpkin approves. 
  • Catch a baseball game at your favorite stadium. Actually, you should do this one. Pumpkin can attest that nothing is more boring than watching baseball on television except watching golf on television. Sometimes outside wins.
Get out there an live your best summer life! Pumpkin will be here, indoors, napping, occasionally moving from sun patch to sun patch, and staring at me in a mildly creepy way.

Next week: My fitness adventures continue with my first month adding yoga to my routine. There's that saying that you should be wary of endeavors that involve buying new clothes but I rather like my new yoga pants. Check it out next weekend on the Island!


  1. Pumpkin is an expert tip-giver!

    1. She likes being helpful. Or so I tell myself.