A fresh array of thoughts at the intersection of my to do list and society

Summers aren’t like they used to be when you were a kid. As an adult, you don’t get to embrace the season by enjoying the sun, drinking homemade lemonade while sitting on the front porch, watching daytime programs and sleeping in most mornings. But, this year, I got the chance to have fun and learn a little more about myself. Now that summer has ended and the temperatures are about to drop (we hope), I’ve had a chance to reflect on all I’ve accomplished. While I’m sad to see summer go, I’m very excited to see what the next chapter of my life has in store for me. Here are a few highlights from the summer.

…There is a season, turn, turn, turn…
At the end of July, I was laid off from my job. I shared my story recently on the PRSA Colorado Chapter Blog and haven’t looked back since. Thanks to friends and colleagues from the PRSA and Denver communities like @irant, @greeblemonkey, @sandyhens, @gtrupin, @caracrifasi, @crazycanuckblog and @gpelz, I was able to keep my chin up and find a new job pretty darn quickly. I’m going back to my agency roots, and I never thought I would be this excited about it. Well, I think getting the chance to get some new “school supplies” has helped that a bit (who doesn’t want shiny new pens, planner and notebooks, right?!).

A new job also means a new daycare for Maya. I know many parents go through changing schools, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. She’s also moving from a Montessori daycare to a more structured learning environment. I don’t think either way of teaching children is better than the other, but for many reasons, this move is best for our family. I’m sure she’ll be just fine. It’s me I’m worried about.

Hangin’ with the fam
This summer was filled with lots of family time. It started with a trip to Steamboat Springs with us and my mom and sister from Florida. We rented a house and spent a lot of time together taking hikes, eating at Mazzola’s and watching Molson and Montana chase after birds from the porch. We’ve never spent that much time together and I’m proud to say no one was harmed during this experiment.

We also got a chance to hang out with other family members during the Fourth of July weekend. Before we moved here more than two years ago, I found out that I had cousins in the Denver area on my mom’s side. I try to get together with them every chance I get because they are a lot of fun and a big part of my heritage. The picnic was a wonderful time to celebrate the ups and downs of life, new beginnings and good old-fashioned outdoor fun.

The greatest thing about this summer was getting the chance to spend a lot of time with Maya. I kept her home from daycare quite a bit so we could play together. Who knows if I’ll ever get the chance to do this again, right? We took swim lessons, trips to the beach – Colorado style, of course – made many visits to Target, explored new restaurants, watch movies and most importantly, gave each other a million hugs and kisses. This alone made the summer of 2010 the best summer of all!

Believe it or not, a brown thumb can be cured
Since I can remember, I have killed every plant and flower I’ve ever had. Even the easy ones like Peace Lilies and Spider Plants would die within weeks of me caring for them. I tried last summer to grow a tomato plant and got one…the size of a nickel. This summer I got serious about it. I bought a gazillion types of plant food, fertilized with drought-tolerate soil and hoped for the best. The efforts paid off with a schweet summer garden in the backyard, geraniums that haven’t stopped blooming and an amazingly fragrant rose bush at the front door. I even have a tomato plant with more than 12 tomatoes growing on it (I cheated and used the Topsy Turvy, but still). While growing flowers and plants won’t solve the world’s problems, it reminded me I can accomplish a lot with patience and a little extra care. It’s easy to forget the need for TLC in the 24/7 lifestyle we live in these days.

Summertime fun
The biggest event of the summer was Maya’s swim party in August. Her birthday is in January and we never get the chance to have an outdoor celebration for her. So, we decided to do something big for her this year. I knew we would have fun, but I never expected to have as much fun as we did. Guests included some of Maya’s classmates, neighbors, family and friends. We had a big pool and bubbles and our neighbors brought over a bouncy-thing (that’s the technical term for it) as well as a slide. There was tons of food and sunshine for everyone to enjoy. Just look at that smile – it says it all!

Other fun things we did include the Rocky Mountain Gator Club picnic, Taste of Colorado, Fourth of July parade in Highlands Ranch, meeting the mermaids at the Denver Aquarium and a trip to Mount Evans to see the mountain goats. Barry and I also got the chance to take some hikes we’ve wanted to do since we moved here. From Fish Creek Falls, Blue Lake and Chief Mountain, we enjoyed exploring parts of Colorado we hadn’t seen yet. And, as you can see from the photo, the dogs enjoyed themselves as well.

Getting to know the gubernatorial candidates
At the end of the summer, I was invited to attend a debate between the candidates running for Governor by the Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas. Out of the three candidates running, only John Hickenlooper and Dan Maes showed up. I’m guessing most people there weren’t too upset about that. The debate focused on a variety of children’s issues including education, obesity and healthcare. They also discussed the overall fiscal health of Colorado. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect because the political system across the nation is in such turmoil and I assumed Colorado was no different. However, I walked away from it with new friends and a new understanding of the issues the state is facing. It also gave me a much-needed nudge to learn about the current legislative proposals as well as the platforms for which each candidate is focused on this election year. While only Dan Maes took time to visit with the attendees after the debate, I’m still undecided. I need to do some more research before I vote.

Overall, I would say this was an awesome summer. I was certainly given my share of punches, but I’m a believer of getting right back up once you’ve been knocked down. I’m looking forward to seeing what the fall has in store. I’m bummed that I won’t be able to spend as much time with my family as I have in these past few months, but am OK with not spending my days yelling at the dogs to quit barking. I also just bought some fall mums so I’m hoping to keep the green-thumb streak going. Wish me luck!


Comments on: "How I spent my summer vacation" (8)

  1. you’re my hero as always!!

  2. tanya said:

    I love your optimistic attitude, Dana. Sounds like you had a great summer.

  3. Great blog, Dana. I enjoyed it and we’re still so glad you are here! Thanks for sharing the 4th with us and CONGRATULATIONS on your job. Would Maya be interested in a Halloween hayride in our subdivision? Probably the Saturday before Halloween.

    • Hey Pat. Thanks for reading my blog. Do you know what time on that Saturday? There’s a Halloween party at our Town Center that day too.

  4. Love it, thanks for the update! Had no idea you had been so busy:) Miss you guys!

  5. Thanks, Shel. It was one of the bestest summers we’ve had in a long time! We miss you too, especially during football season!

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