Friday miscellany: Little summer adventures (and Bach)

The heat hasn’t been quite as brutal this week, so I’ve had a few outdoor adventures. I walked with a friend through some nature trails on Monday, and ran with a friend along the Schuylkill River Trail this morning (it was lovely — about 62 degrees when we started! Almost cool!). I biked the SRT yesterday before surrendering the car to my 17-year-old who wanted to go meet friends. I have still not purchased a car. My husband is sending me links to various cars. I tend to be a total satisficer, but maybe it’s the fact that I’ve driven my current car for 13 years now…that’s a long time to live with a decision!

My husband and I had a short summer-y date night last night. We went to a beer garden (see: Summer Fun List) that was also on the Schuylkill River, in Bridgeport. This was a low key, nice place, and the beer and food were good and the summer night was great until a huge wind kicked up around 8:00 p.m. Fortunately we had to leave to go get a kid at parkour shortly thereafter so it was all good.

We are still figuring out what to do on our days off next week. I am wary of going into the week without a plan as I suspect if we wake up on those days and ask the kids what they want to do the answer will be…nothing. And it’s hard to get 7 people organized for much (or at least 4-5 people…I tend not to force the oldest kids to go to anything though they are welcome to!). My husband and I may also have slightly different ideas of what we want to do…

I spent some time this week creating the Bach listening calendar for the rest of the summer (in my project of listening to all of Bach in a year). The folks who are following this calendar are in for a treat in August. After wading through all the cantatas we get to the longer vocal masterworks, and we also have some great instrumental stuff that happens in the last 100 of the BWVs (which match up with how I’m organizing all this…). Let’s just say we get the St. Matthew Passion and then the Goldberg Variations back to back.

Anyway, on to this week’s content! Over at Before Breakfast, I shared some tips from Anna Goldfarb’s Modern Friendship book, including “Look for context friends,” and “Make invitations specific.” The latter is truly life-changing advice. “Let’s get together!” sometime, said to a potential new friend, is really hard to make work. Better to start with an actual activity that can be accepted, rejected, or negotiated, but gives everyone something to work with. I also note that “You can pivot.” Just as with media training, you don’t have to answer the actual question that was asked!

At the Best of Both Worlds Patreon page, we’ve been discussing our 2024 goals (how are we doing now, at mid-year?), and how to survive family road trips.

At Vanderhacks (my Substack newsletter) we’ve been discussing tips to “Upgrade your packed lunches,” and the mantra that “This is when you get stronger,” that can help for motivation in difficult moments. The paywalled post was a “Golden Hours grab bag” of suggestions to make your evenings a lot more fun.

My weekly newsletter (“A week’s worth”) comes out Saturday mornings, and my monthly newsletter (“Just a Minute”) comes out next week at some point (generally near the first of the month). You can subscribe to both by clicking the appropriate boxes here.

Photo: Cheery food truck parked near the beer garden. It wasn’t open but I appreciated the color! 

7 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Little summer adventures (and Bach)

  1. I’ve taken a “decide once” approach to cars. We only buy Hondas, so if we need a van it’s an Odyssey and if we need a car it’s an Accord. I haven’t owned another type of vehicle since 2002. We only buy used, and only buy vehicles with under 150,000 miles, so this narrows the search down farther without having to put in any cognitive effort.

    1. This is smart. I don’t drive (never transferred my license) but my husband has a 7-year old Civic that’s going to be fine for ages yet. I’m struck by is how much bigger cars have gotten in the last decades, and how everything is an SUV. My dream car would definitely be a Volvo station wagon, driven to death, but apparently, they aren’t selling them in Europe anymore.

      1. @CB – I will probably get a mid-sized SUV. I don’t technically need one for # of people (we have the van) but I do need all wheel drive since I live on a big hill in a place with ice and snow. So that part is key.

    2. @Seppie – Hondas are good cars! We went the Toyota direction for our van (the Sienna) but I know a lot of people are really happy with their Odysseys.

  2. We have Odyssey, it’s an amazing car for a big family.
    Laura, I have a question if you don’t mind answering. I’m always impressed by the amount of writing/ideas you produce weekly in form of blogging, newsletters, short podcast and long podcast. I would really be interested in an episode where you deep dive how do you manage to come up with all of this ideas and write them.

    Good luck on your upcoming break!

    1. @Maha – sure, we can probably answer that question. Short answer is that it’s my job…I’m not doing this in addition to other things – it’s what I spend my work hours doing. I also write pretty quickly so it doesn’t take that long…I bet Sarah has some ideas too…

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