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Goals melt as summer sneaks by

Sunday, July 25, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:01 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 26, 2008

I’m not a “glass is half empty” kind of person, but I figure summer is 50 percent over after the Fourth of July even though the rational side of me knows we still have two months to go. I think most of the retail stores agree with me because anything light weight is on sale. Now they’re stocking coats and turtlenecks, and I start itching just walking by.

At the beginning of the summer I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish before fall. Now that it’s midpoint, I like to take stock of where I am with my goals.

I’m always in some phase of a diet and every year I fantasize about experiencing the BIG meltdown over the summer. I tell myself that when the farmer’s market is filled with big fat juicy tomatoes, piles of peaches and corn, green beans and zucchini, I’d start eating healthier and my extra pounds will fall away. I don’t figure in the fact that I like big slabs of bacon swimming in the water while the beans simmer, or that I bake the zucchini with a fourth of a cup of olive oil topped with a cup of Parmesan cheese. And corn, on or off the cob, is not a diet food — especially coated with a stick of butter.

I promised myself that the exercise I had done haphazardly during the winter and spring would begin full force once summer was here. I didn’t figure that we’d have so much rain. I don’t walk when it’s raining or even if there is a chance of rain. And then there’s the humidity — it makes my hair frizzy and my legs limp. I don’t do well when the air is so heavy I can barely lift my foot. So at the halfway point I can report that I have had a net weight loss of zero.

Next on my summer list was to get the perfect “fake” tan. I wanted a healthy glow to my skin (also, dark fat looks more slimming than light fat). I bought two kinds, one for the face and one for the body. So far I’ve tried the face tanner and almost mastered its application. I’m still trying to figure out how to tan ears. But so far I haven’t had the nerve to try the one for the legs (the only part of my body I will show in public.) This year they came out with a towelette that you rub all over the part you want painted. It seems simple enough, but I have to wait until we go away for a few days to try it just in case I look like a mosaic.

I always think that I’ll be able to read more books during the summer months. Not deep, involved volumes of nonfiction, but cleverly crafted murder mysteries or courtroom dramas (no romance nonsense for me.) In late May, all of the summer must reads were on the stands, and I picked up a half-dozen of my favorite authors. Seven weeks into the summer and I’m only halfway through my second book. I was going to set aside an hour every day to lie in the sun (with the appropriate level of sun block) and drift away with the characters in the story. But when the sun is straight above my head, the sweat begins to roll down my cheeks, making reading the words difficult — so I move to the deck. Even with a fan blowing on me, the heat is oppressive so I move indoors. Then one of two things happens: I either find a chore that I have to attend to immediately, such as baking a batch of chocolate cookies, or I recline on the sofa and promptly doze off.

I promised myself that I would become the master gardener this summer. Every year I spend a small fortune in flowers and by August they have either starved to death or been overrun by weeds. This year’s gardening adventure had a rocky start. Apparently a deer (or two) enjoyed my selection and cleared my front planter. They ate all of the annuals by my mailbox and they came up on the front porch to dine on my impatiens. They waited until I had replanted everything and then made another visit. It wasn’t until I sprayed my flowers with the foulest smelling stuff I’ve ever sniffed that they decided to find another restaurant. Now I’m happy to report that most of my plantings are alive and growing. I haven’t been as vigilant as I had hoped with pulling weeds but my annuals have learned to live with their ugly cousins.

I also SWORE I wasn’t going to watch TV during the summer. I knew I’d never keep that pledge. However, the summer lineup is so bad that I have to work at finding something to watch. I mostly tune in to QVC or the food channel — another reason I haven’t lost any weight.

I still have time to accomplish most of my goals. I just need to prioritize them. I’m ditching the diet for now, shelving the tanner and turning off the tube until the Olympics. I think I’ll spend the rest of my summer holed up in the house with a good book.

If you have a comment or want to water my plants for me, please e-mail me at jdh@socket.net


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