1. Outdoor showers – My grandfather used to say “The best thing about this meal was the porch!” Sort of a backhanded compliment but he was that kind of guy. Just as the same dish tastes better outside, an outdoor shower beats the indoor by a long shot.
In summer, outside is king.
Showering outside – a space where the private domain intersects with the public – might feel awkward at first. Then it feels like a waterfall, truly. A breeze wafts through, the top is open to the sky and you feel swathed in a natural nook. Showering naked is possible with strategically placed walls. This is a great DIY project for someone with extra time on their hands – attention recent retirees 😆!
2. Stand Up Paddleboarding – From the first time I stood up on the board, I was hooked. Ten years ago I took a paddleboard yoga class near my office in Madison. I didn’t know what a paddleboard was. The fear of falling into the slimy reeds in Lake Mendota was enough to keep me afloat. I stopped and bought a board on my drive home that very day. Practiced solo, besides the benefits of a low-impact workout, there is a solemnity and meditative energy in this sport. The activation of the small muscles of the feet and calves are exactly what I need for my foot pain. It feels like physical therapy. The element of danger is always there; the chance of getting soaked teeters on a delicate balance. The euphoria of feeling mastery over the water is real.
3. Ode to Cheese and Crackers – I grew up on packaged, processed Kraft American cheese. I still prefer it for an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich. I have been experimenting with more sophisticated cheeses. Buying fresh local cheese at the farmers market is new for me. This is America’s Dairyland after all – the land of squeaky curds and cheeseheads.
Discovering new cheese tastes and textures is like learning a new language. A family friend gets a big shout-out for making crackers that are out of this world. Serving with figs, dates or fresh berries make it look like you know what you’re doing. Drizzle honey over the bleu cheese and you’re a master. The other night we served it after the meal, like in France, akin to the TikTok craze of reverse shampooing.