Tell Me a Summertime Story, Sing Me a Summertime Song

As much as I love “Hump Day,” this last one left something to be desired. My husband and I received a call that his dad (in his late 80’s) had been admitted into a Cardiac specialty unit and that his heart rate was “too low.” We heard words like angiogram, pace maker insertion, cardiac ablation, and even open heart surgery. We waited on pins and needles from thousands of miles away on Thursday as they did an angiogram to decide what they were going to do next. I’m pleased to report that the best possible outcome happened. My badass father-in-law who’s beaten cancer 3 times got a pace maker inserted and is now home recovering.

So obviously stress has been a big factor for me this last week. With my birthday fast approaching, I need to dip into some fun. Some sun! I’d like your help…

Summer-Beach-Quote-7Thinking back on some of my more awesome summers I thought… we need to talk summer romance.

The first boy to steal my heart was a brown haired, brown eyed Italian who’d recently moved to a neighboring town the summer I turned 14. He was a year older than me with bronze skin and an infectious smile that told me he was as big a flirt as me. He was also in high school.

For the first time in my existence, I found myself unsure. Would he think I was pretty enough? Would he care that I was only in eighth grade? Would he like me? To me, he was beautiful. He was a football player and wrestler an could have any girl he wanted. Yeah. My insecurity was because, for once, what someone else thought mattered to me. A lot.

So the first time he pulled me away to talk during one of our youth group outings, I was a bit tongue tied. When he looked down at me, I couldn’t look away. Finally, I broke the silence in my ever so blunt way.

Me: Why are you looking at me like that?
Him: Like what?
Me: Like you like me.
Him: Because I do.
Me: ::sputtering::
Him: Wow! Speechless. I never thought I’d see the day. And you’re blushing!
Me: I’m Filipino. We don’t blush.
Him: Yes, you do. And it’s cute…

And that began my first ever summer romance. Was it hot and heavy like in Three For All? Not even close. But there’s something about a first summer romance that brings out my inner nostalgic side.

Kinda like music. There’s something about certain songs that trigger memories. So, since I’m in the mood to share joy and fun and sun, I’m sharing songs with the word “Summer” in the title.

Since I’ve headed back to my youth, why don’t we start there with our music, too.

You’ve gotta love Bryan Adams. He just brings out a natural sense of fun….kinda like Kenny Chesney.

Or we can go a little bit hot and heavy… with Calvin Harris

Or a bit silly, dancing fun with Grease….

Now it’s your turn. Share a summer romance story or a favorite song with the word “summer” in it. Let’s bring on some playfulness and/or nostalgia.

Seduction of Summer

Not too long ago I wrote an article for Sexual Wellness News about the importance of revving up the sex life. Writing it for them, though much more technical than you guys ever see on here, reminded me of the many reasons I’ve always loved this time of year.

As many of you know, I’m not much of a snow person. In fact, I like my snow to arrive between Christmas eve and Christmas day. Period. So as entertained as I may be by posts from my friends from the great white north, it’s not something I’d want for myself. In fact, all it took was a couple of blizzards from back home in Chicago (and a 2 day power outage to go with it) to convince me it was time to search for sunnier skies.

My husband lovingly calls me a closet nudist and he’s not far from wrong. One of the great joys of summertime is the opportunity to throw off articles of clothing that you’ve deemed “necessary to keep you warm” during the less gentle seasons. Ladies, how many times have you found yourself checking out some washboard abs as a guy has decided to shuck his shirt? Gentlemen, how many of you dig seeing your girl in a sundress and flip flops or go to the beach to check out the bikinis? Yes. The ability to take it off is pretty phenomenal. (And if you haven’t tried it because you’re nervous about your body…you should. You’d be amazed at how freeing it feels. And you might also be surprised at how easy it is to accept yourself just a bit more when you’re doing it for pleasure, not analysis in the mirror trying to imagine how “everyone else” sees you.)

Enjoying my pool, libation in hand

Enjoying my pool, libation in hand

Summertime is also a great opportunity to enjoy playful outdoor excursions. If you’re as fortunate as me, sometimes you don’t have to go past your back door. (And if you’ve got enough privacy, it can be a clothing optional event as well!) Okay, so not everyone has a pool in their back yard. What other options are there? How about picnics in the park? Visits to the beach? Outdoor concerts? Neighborhood festivals? So many fun-loving options!

Best of all are summer vacation trips. Isn’t there something very appealing about going someplace where no one knows you? Where you can let your hair down and be whomever you’d like? How would some random stranger know that going to a nude beach is something you’d never have the guts to do at home? Who cares if you and your partner decide to act out the fantasy of inviting a stranger into your bed for one night only….protected, of course. Or maybe, if that’s not your thing….you and your partner can role play. Pretend to be strangers. Let him or her pick you up in the bar and ravish you before you even make it back to your hotel room. Heck, sex on the beach is more than just a drink, you know…. (And if you have an aversion to sand, the side of a building or the back seat of a car works quite nicely, too.)

And if you don’t have a partner….it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Wild, hot, torrid connections are so much fun to explore. You’ve got a whole lot of options available to you. Just remember. Confidence is sexy. Pretty eyes and great smiles can seduce a person from half way across a room before a word is even spoken.

Yes, to me, sun and summertime is all about possibility and adventure with a ton of exploration. And vacation is the perfect time to leave reality behind and explore to your heart’s desire. We don’t have to go into these adventures blindly. Make sure to pack a bunch of condoms and a great quality lube… in fact, besides being organic, Aloe Cadabra is a great choice for so many reasons….and not just because they have a Piña Colada flavor. Yeah. I’m a HUGE fan. Can you tell?

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering…. So far this summer I’ve already enjoyed one concert. Hunter Hayes’ “We are not Invisible” tour with Danielle Bradbery and Dan + Shay. Next month I’m headed out to Chicago for a long weekend to visit my sister and see Blake Shelton, the Band Perry and Neal McCoy….and hopefully an outdoor concert at Ravinia, too.

Now it’s your turn…. What about summertime seduces you?

PS. For those of you who’ve read it, any adventurous likenesses to my book Three For All may have a LOT to do with my love of the season. 😉

A Splash Of Summer Tunes

Summer songs have always drawn me. There’s a freedom and playfulness about it, much like splashing in a cool lake with friends. Also really awesome is how the music has such a broad range…from the laid back summer breezes to the boy-meets-girl summer romances to the reminiscing about the past…to simple joyrides.

So, as summer is beginning to wind to a close (sad, but true) I thought I’d share 5 of my favorite songs of celebration.

Is there anything cooler than the combination of Ella and Louis? Really. Not much… Listen to the way they play with each other through their voices and Louis’ trumpet. You don’t find that kind of musical interaction these days. Doesn’t it make you nostalgic for warm nights, a cool breeze and a song that is all sultry heat, yet soothing as a lullaby?

What about that first summer crush? Trying to impress… The rush, the excitement… Knowing you’ll never forget the memories you’re building. Yeah, there’s something bittersweet about that kind of nostalgia, but it never fails to bring a smile to your face. Brad Paisley is great with songs like that for me. His music warms my soul.

For those of us who aren’t spring chickens anymore…who doesn’t think of Henley and Bryan Adams. Boys Of Summer was good, but nothing did it for me quite like this one. Running around with friends. Thinking we were cool. Yeah, thinking back on the 80’s and early ’90’s can still make me smile.

And what about those coming of age moments? That last summer before college can be both fun and traumatic. Or the summer before your senior year…when you realize your life truly is moving toward adulthood….It’s energizing, but it’s also a little scary. Throw in your first “romance”…..makes for some great summer snapshots in your mind. For me, that’s what Deana Carter’s managed to capture.

Did you ever go somewhere else for the summer and find romance? Maybe it was camp. Maybe it was somewhere exotic. Did you think it would last forever? Was it really the person or the place that drew you? This playful Simple Plan song makes me smile and my body move…yup! This ditty has me dancing.

So what about you? What are your favorite summer songs? Favorite summer memories? Would love to hear about why they’re meaningful to you.


Prevent A Summer Tragedy

I still remember that summer. It was nearly 30 years ago. I was 11 years old. Six months ago we’d moved back to the states. Six months ago my kid brother didn’t have two best friends named Chester and his cousin, Leo. They were both sweet kids. Rambunctious, playful…a lot like my brother. And they both wanted to marry me. Let’s face it, that was never going to happen. The boys were four years younger than me, but it was flattering.

Every summer our church used to have a group summer retreat at Little Grassy Lake in a small town near Carbondale, IL. They’d rent out cabins and have all sorts of fun events for the kids. This was our first summer to go. Many of the families headed out that Wednesday, but we weren’t able to leave until Friday and would only be staying for the weekend….or so we thought.

Even at 11, I knew something was horribly wrong when we arrived. Groups of people were clumped together. Close friends were huddled in circles. The sound of tears and wailing could be heard the instant the van door was opened. There was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was too much like what it sounded like when my youngest brother died nearly a year before. Part of me wanted to wrap my arms over my ears to try to block out the noise that was tearing away at my heart. It was too much, too soon. But I couldn’t.

Instead, my sister, brother and I, along with one of the friends we’d come with held hands as we waited for her parents to find out what had happened. Unfortunately, voices carry…

“I can’t believe Chester Drowned!”

That horrible, horrible sentence seemed to be coming from every direction at once.

My head turned toward the bank further down the hill. Men in blue uniforms were there with a stretcher. Someone was strapped in and covered. Considering the distended belly I couldn’t imagine it could be the same, thin little boy who had argued with his cousin just last week about which of them was going to win my hand.

How was this possible, I wondered. There had been tons of people at the lake. Where had his parents been? Had they not been watching? But I knew better. His parents were protective! What about his many cousins? If he’d been screaming or flailing, he would’ve been rescued immediately! Unlike what happens in the movies, I can guarantee you this never happened. As if I hadn’t already learned how quickly a situation could turn fatal, this was one more example…

Sadly, the search afterward had been caught on video by one of the people there. Friends and family had been looking for him for about 30 minutes before they’d found him and pulled him out. He was already gone. It was the first time I’d seen what a drowning death looked like, and let me tell you, it’s nothing like the movies.

This year a link showed up in my Facebook talking about silent drowning. For Chester and because it’s summertime, I thought I needed to share the link here as well. You never know when it might save a life. Drowning, Quick And Silent-How To Spot Someone In Trouble

The other thing I’ll ask…. Please, please, PLEASE! If you have a pool, supervise your kids. Don’t leave it up to other children to watch out. My neighbors down the street had a few children…I’d see them playing in the street all the time. The youngest was about 2. The parents were never out there; instead they left it up to the 8 and 10 year olds to watch the younger ones. Coming home from work a couple years ago I drove past their house. It was surrounded by police, ambulance and fire trucks.

Thinking maybe one of the kids had finally been hit by a careless driver while playing in the street I said a silent prayer that the injury wasn’t very serious. It wasn’t until I got in to work that one of my employees asked if I knew the little 2 year old baby who’d drowned. Apparently, in the papers it noted that the child had been left in the “supervision” of an older sibling and had made it into the back yard. She’d fallen into the pool. By the time someone noticed it was too late.

I won’t go on a rant about careless parenting. They paid the ultimate price. No one deserves to feel that kind of pain. No child should have to go through that. What I will ask is that you educate yourselves…and love and protect your children. You never know when this knowledge could save a life.