Tag: summer

A Few Small Thoughts

 

I’ve been busy. A customer is building a specialized milling machine, and I’m writing the software to create the tool paths — the motions the machine will have to make — required to manufacture sets of a few hundred slightly different precision parts that have to fit together fairly precisely. I’ve never done something quite like this, and it’s taken several iterations to get the math right and the paths precise down to the “tenths” (engineer talk for 0.0001″) required by the machine, and to do so without devouring the spinning cutting bits.

I’m very happy with the results so far. I’ll be at it the rest of this week and then, I hope, back to life as usual.

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Here’s an escape-from-politics-post for the weekend: Kick back with a Blue Hawaii and this mix of some of my favorite smooth Hawaiian rock, funk, and soul from the ’70’s and ’80’s (and one from the ’90’s). If you’re interesting in learning more, read on past the track list for artist and song descriptions and many […]

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School’s Out and So Am I … Some Thoughts

 

My school finishes officially on Thursday. This will be my last year; I gave notice in March that I would be leaving at the end of the school year. I leave with my professional relationships in a good place, which I think is always preferable.

It’s been a long year. Some of you might remember the post I wrote after the first day of school when I was overwhelmed by the demands of the new hybrid year. The prospect of nine months surrounded by those cables and machines was intimidating. It got better, as all things do in time, but it remained exhausting to teach remote and in-person students simultaneously. Students and their parents took advantage of the school’s generous remote option. A doctor’s appointment at 3 pm became an excuse not to come to school at all that day and to attend classes remotely, turning what might have been a pleasant and traditional “in-person” class into a dreadful experience with the Teams video (the student always had their camera off, protesting, “my computer is broken, it’ll be fixed soon”). Any exercise planned for in-person had to be scrapped in favor of something that could be done with the remote student. These changes were often discovered last minute, 5-10 minutes before class. Some students simply didn’t come to school at all, even if they hadn’t applied for the remote option; they were just remote every day without an excuse because they “didn’t feel well.” Other students were discovered to be working in public-facing jobs after school at retail stores even though they had applied to be remote students for the year, which made teachers incredulous (to say the least). They went to great lengths to prepare their virtual lessons using new technology they had adopted this year to accommodate the remote students and yet from 3:30 pm, those remote students were working the cash register at The Gap in busy suburban malls, surrounded by people. The administration took note of low teacher morale and tried to take a stand in the 4th quarter but by then it was a bit late.

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A cheerful yet realistic summer blog entry I made when my daughters were little and giddy about getting out of school.  The first days after school let out, while my mind was full of deadlines and laundry, the girls were stoked about being out for the summer. So excited, in fact, that they went beyond […]

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I went for my usual walk on the Chicago lakefront today. Our mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has not yet opened the beaches (the actual ones with sand) on the lakefront, nor has she allowed the public pools in the city parks to be opened. As a result, in the Loop area where I live, families from […]

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Learn all about how Memorial Day started and why it’s so important to celebrate those who have given their lives defending our freedom.

Checking Off My Summer List, Part One

 

Summer in Northwest Montana goes by in a blur. One breezy, sparkling day, a season I call “late spring” emerges out of the weeks of rain, mud, fog, and false starts.  I’m ogling the blossomy landscaping at our McDonald’s drive-through and thinking that this must be the prettiest corner of the prettiest region in the US.  We’ve arrived, and I vow to hold on to each day so that the months don’t flip by quite so quickly. But then after just a couple family visits, an out-of-town trip, several smoky days we hope will go away, and some weeks of tourist-packed traffic, we’re suddenly back to new teacher training at my job. And then I see the back-to-school supplies at WalMart. And finally—the death knell for summer—come the first crimson leaves that signal we’re about to enter that other season, that one that is unpredictably glorious, and we hope long, but always the gateway into weeks of bleak indoor weather.

With a timeframe like this, those of us who have moved here because the lush woods and mountains drew us like powerful magnets have some things to get done in our spare time. We rebuke ourselves each sunny day that we’re indoors, especially when it’s not too hot (the sun out here is brutal) or threatening rain. I tend to have a mental summer checklist of things that need to happen by mid-September, because I’m lucky if October is hospitable enough for such things. I’d say I’ve done a fairly good job of covering the list this summer, with time to spare for more:

City Journal editor Brian Anderson joins Vanessa Mendoza, executive vice president of the Manhattan Institute, for our second annual discussion of Brian’s summer and vacation reading list.

Summer is upon us, and the City Journal editors are ready for some vacation. We asked Brian to tell us what books he’s taking with him to the beach this year and why.

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I’m reading some vintage Peter Mayle this summer. I just finished Hotel Pastis. It’s a treasure – crime, romance, humor, wine, a new career, what’s not to like? It would be a great movie. It seems some famous married producer/director couple almost made it a movie, but didn’t – so there’s still an opportunity. I […]

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Our local Jazz station which is a favorite – WSBZ 106.3 The “Seabreeze”, seems to being going Muzak..  I love Jazz, old, new and anything in-between. I’ve discovered new artists like Jesse Cook and Damien Escobar on this station.  I have Duke Ellington’s Greatest Hits on CD – it puts me in an instantly happy […]

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Phoenix, Hell, and the Bucket Lady

 

After a mild few months, summer heat finally hit Phoenix this week. No return of our record-breaking 122°F; yesterday was a balmy 111°. The show “King of the Hill” best expressed non-Arizonans’ view of the Valley of the Sun.

Bobby: 111 degrees?! Phoenix really can’t be that hot, can it? (steps out of car) Oh my God, it’s like standing on the sun!

Peggy: This city should not exist. It is a monument to man’s arrogance.

Group Writing: The Curse of Summer Heat

 

Few people I know like the heat of a Florida summer. In fact, if people say they enjoy it, we assume they have a screw loose. Part of the culture requires that you complain about the heat at least once in a conversation. And when summer starts early, as it seems to have this year (today it will be 98 degrees), the moaning and groaning are cacophonous.

So, I commiserate with others on the weather; it’s always a good conversation opener. When I meet someone new or am not feeling fully awake, the weather is always a reliable topic. And something we can all agree on.

But quite honestly, I’ve come to realize that commenting on the weather for me is just a lazy habit. For example, I have never paid a lot of attention to the weather when we have made decisions about where we will live. We’ve lived in Massachusetts (humid summers, nasty nor’easters), Colorado (where in the 1980’s we were snowed in for several days), California (which has many more problems that negate the mild weather), and now Florida, the lightning capital of the US (with its humidity and thunderstorms). My husband hates the cold, so no matter how hot it gets, he rarely complains. He knows when he has a good thing.

City Journal editor Brian Anderson joins Vanessa Mendoza, executive vice president of the Manhattan Institute, to discuss Brian’s summer and vacation reading list.

Summer is traditionally a time when Americans can catch up on books that they’ve been meaning to read (or reread). We asked Brian to talk about what books are on his list this year, how he decides what to read, and more.

Mango: Fruit of the Gods

 

The high of summer in Cambodia is marked by the Khmer New Year in mid-April. It’s a time when the entire country collectively sweats. Women in their fine silk and lace go to the monasteries and welcome the New Year in the searing heat. However, underneath all the sweltering heat, there is a very heady, sweet tropical aroma lingering in the air; the peak of the mango season is almost upon us.

Mango is the quintessential tropical summer fruit. I’ve mentioned before on this page that I grew up on an orchard. To be precise, I grew up on a mango orchard, and many childhood memories are associated with this fruit. With the arrival of spring in late January, the blossoms would bloom on the mango trees. The sweet fragrance of the flowers would attract insects. We’d gather dried leaves and grass around the bases of the trees and light fire to keep the insects away. By late March, as the temperature begins to rise and the budding mangoes continue to grow, there is a slight change in the air and so arrive the “mango rains.” Mangoes begin to fall from the trees, marking the arrival of the pre-monsoon rainfall. These “mango rains”, also referred to as “summer showers,” are just light sprinkles in the afternoon, but sometimes they do turn into several hours of downpour. But without the rains, the crop won’t thrive; the rains help in the early ripening of the mangoes. After the rainfall, we would gather all the fallen green mangoes and pickle them whole. Khmers love eating sour fruits, especially mangoes, pickled or fresh. If you ever visit Cambodia, you’d see fruit vendors selling sour fruits on every street corner, all over the country. We eat those fruits dipped in a mixture of salt, sugar, and chili. Our pickled mangoes never lasted until the next season.

As the high summer arrives in mid to late April, mangoes begin to ripe. We’d pluck them and gather them according to varieties. There are a few dozen Khmer mango varieties and they are just as good as those you’d find in India, the birthplace of the fruit.The most prized variety by Khmers is svay keo chin.

Summer in Montana

 

My last post was about summer while I was growing up in Arkansas during which I made plenty of great memories. Now that I’ve been up here in Montana for several years, I’ve made quite a few Montana summer memories.


I moved to Montana in June of 2014. The day I left Arkansas, there was a heat index of 120 with 90-some-odd-percent humidity. I loaded up the U-Haul with the help of several friends, stuck the cat in his pet taxi, booted up an audiobook, and set off on my great trek across the country. I drove up to Sioux Falls, SD the first day and was delighted with the much cooler temperatures. I drove to Gillette, WY on the second day to stay with my handsome now-husband. (@kaladin) Then I finished the journey up to Bozeman on the third day. Terry had already picked us out an apartment on his last leave. Got the truck unloaded, and started to settle in for about a week before the new job started.

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 — Why hello, there, sand people. My name’s Amer Maid. What’s yours? The San D. Mann Family? Well, welcome to the neighborhood, guys. What’s that? You’re looking for a place to live? Well, you’ve come to the right person; that’s for sure. I’m the best beachcomber in the area; so if I can’t find you […]

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Growing up, I loved summer, especially the two or three weeks with my grandparents; my cousins Judy and Joy would come over, too, and along with helping with household chores, we had plenty of time for fun. There was Little League baseball, shopping trips to Vevay, and the annual “Lawn Fate” [i.e., fête] in Moorefield—a […]

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When I was a boy, then teenager, then college student, I quite loathed summers in Indiana. It always seemed like we in the midwest got the worst of all possible worlds weather-wise: Artic, breath-freezing cold in the winter and blast-furnace, lung-dehydrating heat in the winter. There were also tornados in the spring, like the one […]

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