High Summer

I love it. Bring on the heat! And we’ve had plenty of it the last week or two as July smolders its way to August.
These hot summer days and evenings have been busy around here. Less than a week after I unpacked from RWA, we had our annual summer party. That means a full day of food prep, assisted by my Kat and Laura with BW and Jason out in the swelter setting up canopies, tables, hauling out the big coolers.

Sunday morning means more setting up and setting out, finishing up. By early afternoon, we’re packed with people inside and out–so no, making ten pounds of potato salad wasn’t overkill.

Scarily clean potatoes for the salad.

It’s a fine tradition my parents started decades ago, so I think of them a lot while I cook and stir, while I chat with Kat and Laura as they chop and peel, when I glance out the window and see my boy up on the garden wall with a blue tarp and bungie cords.

The first tray of deviled eggs.
Kat’s annual fruit basket creation.
Sunday night and Monday are clean it up and break it down, and another summer highlight has come and gone. Time moves.
Then it’s back to work–current book all day, proofing galleys in the evening. I have a goal to reach on the wip before we leave for vacation (yay!) in less than a week. Friday, I hit the mark–just in time as I’ve ignored pretty much everything else.(Except my workouts.) And I hit it in time to hang a little while with Kayla who’s pretty excited as she’ll turn 14 the next day.
I picked my first tomato, which brought me ridiculous pleasure. I don’t even eat tomatoes, but do a little happy dance as I hold it in my hand, smell it. More are ripening on the vine, and there are lots of pretty little peppers growing beside them. I hope our housesitters make good use of them while we’re gone.
IMG_1576On Saturday, Kayla’s having her party here–a swim party with girlfriends–so she’s pumped. Pumped enough she walks up the hill a couple hours before the party just as I–just showered from a workout–head out to weed. (Something that’s been neglected.) Happy birthday, my baby girl. I still remember when we put her a car seat that I got from https://hifivebaby.com/best-convertible-car-seat-for-small-cars/ for the first time. She was so little. She points out my little vase of flowers have faded, and I need to pick more.
So I do.
She looks so pretty, and I swear she gets taller if I glance away for two minutes. I hear her helping her Grandda with something while I start down the garden, filling my big tub with weeds. I get one tub filled when the skies open up.
She’s annoyed with the storm–and the forecast of more–but it doesn’t dampen her anticipation–cake, presents, girlfriends! When her mom gets here it’s decorations, all following Kayla’s choice of beach theme, and very cool cakes. One for Kayla, and one for her little brother Colt and Grandda who both have birthdays that hit while we’re away. Colt will be six in about a week. Grandda will be older than that!
We all pitch in, and when the sun comes back out, I go back to weeding. Girls come, and one of Logan’s pals invited to keep him company in the midst of all that female. As I weed, filling a second tub–I can hear that distinctly girl sound–chatter and laughter, all so high and bright–echoing in the pool house. It’s such happy sound, young, uninhibited. After the gardens been put back to rights, I reward myself with a glass of wine and go out to sit by the water feature. It’s steamy out, after the rain, but there’s a little breeze there, and the water’s making its pretty music, the woods are so, so green. My Rose of Sharon are blooming beautifully. And the sound of happy girls makes more music.
Parker comes out to lie at my feet, and just sitting there after this intensely busy week, I’m almost stupidly content.
Even as I feel another storm coming, it’s all good. I won’t have to water my pots today, and the girls have had a good couple of hours of swim time. They need to eat, have cake.
And finally, especially for an almost six-year-old boy, presents. Colt’s happy, Logan and his pal are happy watching the big screen, and Kayla and her girls make their circle. I love how they hug after every gift is opened, and I hope, so much hope, they’ll all remember this unity, this affection, that it carries through as they grow up into women. How lovely it is to watch this ritual, to see its potential as the rain falls and thunder grumbles outside.
I’ve just spent a week with girlfriends, so I know that potential realized. I want that for my baby girl and her sweet friends. In contrast, Logan and his pal Spencer hang out, glued to some game on the TV, pretty much ignoring–stoically–the female action. I know that bond as well–I grew up with four brothers, had two sons, after all. That’s special, too, that can last and form circles.
We all need our circle.
Now, today, the house holds quiet. I’ve got a workout to do, tubs of books to sign. Then it’s packing. No high heels or fancy duds needed. It’s vacation time!
I’ll be blogging journals, as always, starting next week. [Note from Laura: you’ll have to stop by on Tuesday to see where Nora’s gone. ]
Enjoy these hot and steamy days (or the chilly ones for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere). Time moves fast, so appreciate the moments, and those who share them with you.

22 thoughts on “High Summer”

  1. Nora, this may sound silly to you but I have said it out loud to myself and my friends. I had a total knee replacement in April. Very hard recovery. Without your books, your stories — I would have gone into such depression. I had stacks by my bed. I knew I could pick up a book and go to a wonderful place with great characters. You are such a gifted writer. I love the romance and the story lines. I love Eve and Roarke! I just wanted to say thank you! Thank you ???

  2. Just spent a week with grandsons, son and daughter-in-law. They left yesterday to go back home to Florida. Miss them more each time they leave. Will see them again at Christmas.

  3. Tropics weather all year round in Singapore. So is really wonderful to read about Nora’s life, what I only read in books, is true. Summers and summer parties. <3

  4. Reading that was just lovely. The continuity of family and friends is special. Hope your vacation is all that you want it to be!

  5. I ynderstand the feelings you expressed in watching your grandchildren grow into young adulthood and the bonds of friendships they have forged over the years. Our oldest grandson just turned 13, and his mom was the only girl with four brothers, too , and now she has three boys and one girl! So it is fun to watch all these interactions of male-female dynamics play out as they grow. Much to look forward to!! Happy birthday to your granddaughter, and have a wonderful vacation!

  6. It’s always appreciated to read of your days at home. Not surprisingly you make us feel we are there with you. One of the things I enjoy most are the many little tells that reveal you include (possibly unintentionally) yourself in Eve’s personality. I see many similarities and smile as I know where those traits come from. It makes Eve even more real. What a legacy!

  7. Very hot and dry here, I’m not a fan of humidity! Reminding myself I’ll be thinking fondly of these days when winter comes. My tomatoes (which I love to eat!) are a bit behind yours, just got my first ripe cherry tomato today. Have a marvelous holiday and thanks, in advance, for sharing your time off!

    1. Love tomatoes, but can’t grow them worth a plug nickel. My bestest friend in the whole world and I spent lots of time in years past raiding her neighbor’s garden. We would take a salt shaker out with us and have a feast. Those were the good old days, and I’m lucky to still have her in my life – if only a few times a year now.

  8. Belated birthday greetings to all with wishes for a year filled with unexpected fun and friends!

    And also to say jaut finished rereading both The Liar and The Search….each get better with each reread…how is this possible??? Dang Nora has bewitched the books!!

  9. Awww the magick of summer! Celebrating Lammas…and the first harvest…thanks for sharing!

  10. Birthdays and Summer and Vacation!!! It sounds wonderful. I can’t do the heat. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the sun and the warmth, but intense heat makes me so sick that I watch the temps closely. We have been in the triple digits here and the humidity really has been bad. When I do venture out in the evenings, it is cover up time because of the Mosquitos, but there is nothing more pleasurable for me than to watch the bats make their evening exodus.
    Kayla is growing up into a beautiful young lady. So glad to hear that she has her own Circle to bond with. Happy Birthday to Kayla, Colt and Grandda! Birthdays are so special. Another milestone that earns a rite of passage.
    Your gardens are beautiful, your tomatoes are perfect and I love that you can sit out and listen to the music of the water.
    Have a wonderful Vacation. Beth

  11. Thanks for sharing these beautiful times. My girlfriend of more then 40 years was here last week. We spent a lot of time thinking and talking about friends that become family and the ease of habing her visit. When we go places together we don’t have to ‘take care’ of each other. We have more ‘old friends’. Most of us went to college together, and the daughter of one of those friends is off to Yale next year. Our husbands joined us in taking our little Yaley to breakfast were we talked briefly about the friends she will make and the importanceimportance of watching out for one another on campus and off, of having friends that have your back, and you all stay safe.
    It’s a different talk we have now, but the potential for wonderful friends is always there.

  12. I envy your discipline. I don’t have it- especially the commitment to working out. And congrats to Kayla- I’m so impressed with her refined look- many girls her age just go crazy with makeup. As for her height- she’ll still grow. My 16 year old granddaughter is 5’9″- and had her black belt at age 14! Time does fly. I hope you have a great vacation- you certainly need it. As for potato salad- I make app 17 lbs at a time- all my friends beg for it. It’s a winner- made with red potatoes- email me if you want the recipe.

    1. I shot up to 5’10” between Jr. High and High School. I love being tall. Everyone around me was tall, and I don’t realize how many not-so-tall people I’m around now until I go home.

      Now I’m craving potato salad!

  13. Happy Birthday to Kayla, Colt and BW! Best wishes for a great year ahead. I love Kat’s watermelon fruit bowl. I made one once, years ago, but nowhere near as fancy as hers.

  14. Your words are so true. Everyone needs a circle! Happy birthday to Kayla, Colt and Grandda! Enjoy your vacation!

  15. So true that the best memories are composed of the simple pleasures of a hot summer day spent celebrating special birthdays and picking wildflowers and ripe tomatoes! I enjoyed reading your blog, Nora; you are truly blessed to have such a joyful attitude ! It certainly shows in your work! Love your books–I am a nurse and am always looking for windows to other worlds!! Keep them coming! ( I use too many exclamation points) Oh well !

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