What I Did On My Summer Vacation

In the time-honored tradition of students returning to school (which I am! for the first time in 7+ years), I’ve decided to treat you to the ol’ summer vacation essay.

First of all—I moved!  R and I found an apartment together.  The place we were living in before had been his first post-co-op apartment, and I had moved in after his first two roommates moved out, so it never felt as much mine as this place does.  The new apartment is beautiful.  The neighborhood is full of families with children, which is lovely, and the children have spent their summer running around the neighborhood shrieking.  Children are very high-pitched.  I don’t dislike children, but I definitely dislike shrieking, so the move has reinforced my decision to remain childless for now.  Helpful, right?

Shortly after moving, I spent a couple of days in a little town north of Toronto, visiting a couple of retired science teachers I met when I was couchsurfing in Tucson back in the fall.  We went on a cool bog hike where I saw wild orchids and pitcher plants in bloom!  It was a lovely weekend of exploring Canadian parks and catching up.  Later I got a bill in the mail for $27 Canadian because I apparently drove on a private toll road.  Beware the secret insane tolls in Ontario!


Pitcher plants – Sarracenia purpurea

At the end of June, I drove back out to Six Circles Farm to lend a hand with garlic scape pesto production.  Got to chill with some of my favorite people, see a whole friggin’ mess of stars that I sometimes forget are up there, sleep to the rhythm of katydids and crickets, forage for berries, and swim in the deepest of Finger Lakes, the magical mystical Seneca.  It’s still so hard to spend most of my time not there.

R and I spent a week in July tent camping in the Adirondacks.  This is the third summer we have gone.  We picked a campsite we had to canoe across a lake to get to, with all our gear, which is a more challenging camping adventure than I had done before I met him.  I’d like to eventually work my way up to backpacking, where I would have to be able to carry all my gear on foot all day.  Haven’t tried it yet.

We spent one day just canoeing around, exploring; and we spent the next day climbing a mountain (not one of the high peaks but a very nice mountain nonetheless).  The third day was drizzly and overcast, so we took some psilocybin mushrooms we’d brought along and wandered around the woods looking at mushrooms.  Found a bunch of cool slime molds.  I had not tried mushrooms before so I only took a little bit, but I found it enjoyable.  I stood in one spot for about an hour and turned slowly, taking in every tiny detail of my surroundings, staring at all the plants—and what do you know, I spotted a wild orchid!  A rose pogonia.


Rose Pogonia – Pogonia ophioglossoides

On our way back from camping we stopped at a place called Cathedral Pines, where I got to meet the oldest Eastern White Pines I’ve ever seen.


Cathedral Pines – Pinus strobus

After hearing about how great it was for at least a year and ignoring it, I finally listened to the soundtrack of the musical Hamilton and fell completely in love.  I listened to it probably five times in two weeks, and then I had to stop because I had all the songs stuck in my head at once.  Even R got into it, and he’s not really a big musical fan.

I grew a porch garden!  Honestly this ate up a ton of my time this summer.  The idea was to grow everything I would need to make and can pasta sauce, because I am poor and 1/4 Italian and therefore pasta makes up a ridiculous percentage of my diet.  Most of the things that could possibly go wrong with a garden went wrong this summer, and I still have fruit to show for it, so I guess I can’t complain too much—but it was definitely a challenging season.  I might get into it in a separate post sometime, but it would be super long and super boring for anyone who doesn’t garden.


My biggest tomatoes. The variety is called Gold Medal.

When I moved into the housing co-op in the fall of 2013, I moved a lot of my possessions into my parents’ basement for temporary storage, and they want it gone by the end of this year—so one of the things I did this summer was start clearing that stuff out.  It’s a terrifying mess of useless crap that I somehow thought I would want in the future.  The burden of stuff stewardship strikes again.  I’m organizing a clothing swap next week to try to unload some of it.

My car got broken into while it was parked on the street right in front of my new apartment, but oddly, instead of smashing the window they seem to have jimmied the door open with a wire.  My stuff was thrown everywhere around the car, but the only things missing were a bag of quarters for meters and a CD of British folk music.  The part that really pissed me off was that the person sat in my car and smoked a cigarette, leaving ashes in the cup holder and their butt on the floor.  I can’t stand weird smells in my car.  It’s taken me weeks to get it back to normal-ish.  I had to drive it to my parents’ house to use their upholstery steamer machine.

My friend Amber invited me to busk with her as part of a local grassroots art festival.  She did tarot readings and I did plant identification.  I’d like to think that I might be the world’s first plant-ID busker.  I only got one customer, though.

My busking setup.

And finally, I got sexually harassed at work in a really absurd way!  This 60-year-old local hippie/artist dude spent AN HOUR staring deep into my eyes and doing dramatic poetry recitations, dancing around the store, telling me he loved me and wanted to “lie with” me,  asking me to marry him, etc.  I didn’t want to be rude to a customer, and I wasn’t quite sure how unhinged he was/how much acid he’d taken (he couldn’t seem to figure out whether it was day time?), so I kept trying to bid him good day, but he would not take the hint.  He finally held out his hand as if to shake mine and I thought, good, he’s about to leave—so I extended my hand and he KISSED IT.  Shudder.  He came back again a few weeks later and started to launch into that whole routine, but this time I was prepared.  I refused to engage and kept saying that I knew he meant well but he was making me uncomfortable and I wanted him to stop, and he blathered on a little more and left. I didn’t even have to pull out my plans B and C.  Hopefully that’s the end of it.  Fun times in customer service!