Well, folks, today is, for me, the last day of summer. Tomorrow morning, my alarm will go off at 5:30, and I'll amble out of bed and step back into a routine I know so well nine months out of the year. I'll be in the car by about 6:45 listening to NPR and sitting behind my desk by 7:15 wondering what happened to my summer. Yes, I officially report back to work tomorrow, and, while I won't see students for two more days, I'll be up to my eyeballs in lesson planning and photocopies and all the stuff that goes with this teaching gig of mine. I'll be pouring over my class lists, wondering which freshmen I'll be able to recruit onto the speech team or into drama club, groaning as I recognize names on the lists of my upperclass courses, and filling my calendar with rehearsals and meetings and speech tournaments.
With that said, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on this summer. What better way to do that than with a top ten list? So here it is, Mel's Top Ten Highlights of the Summer of 2008:
10. New episodes of Project Runway! I'm still working through my feelings for the new designers (it takes time to get to know these people, and so many of them are gone before they've had a chance to define their characters!), but right now, I'm pulling hard for Terri. That chick kicks ass, and the judges need to get on board and finally let her win a freakin' challenge! Oh, and I do know that I hate Blayne.
9. New episodes of Monk, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and The Closer. If there's one thing I love more than reality tv (and actually, there's a LOT more that I love more than reality tv), it's crime procedurals. The fact that Monk and The Closer add a good hint of humor to the mix helps. (Because really what I love most is a good comedy. 30 Rock and The Office can't come back soon enough!!)
8. The Dark Knight. I'm not a comic book geek, but I love me some Batman. And Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker is something I'll never forget and will serve as a perfect example of gleefully surrendering to your art .
7. Netflix for helping me see the movies I never have time to see during the school year. I see shockingly few movies from September through May because I have so little time. I teach during the week, I'm away at speech tournaments every Saturday during the winter or giving my Saturdays to set building for the fall play or spring musical. Thanks to Netflix, I've finally been able to see a lot of the fall and winter movies that I wanted to see but missed (like National Treasure 2) OR movies that I was too embarrassed to be seen seeing in public (like Alvin and the Chipmunks) OR movies that never came to my local multiplex (like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day which is currently a "Long Wait" to get).
6. Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Luikin, Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor and the other Olympic athletes who actually made watching sports appointment television for me this summer.
5. Finding my inner gardener. For the first time ever, I spent quite a bit of time outdoors tending to plant life. The petunias and impatiens I planted in front of my house at the beginning of the summer have thrived under my watch. Even better, the seed blanket I put down in the infamous crop circle in my back yard has begun to sprout, filling that dusty circle with baby's breath and ageratum and evening scented stock and zinnias. Watching those flowers grow and bloom has been absolutely breathtaking and has filled me with an embarrassing amount of joy.
4. Appearing onstage again in this summer's show of Christopher Durang one acts. Even though I wasn't overly thrilled with my performance, I did get a nice amount of positive feedback and had a lot of fun exploring some wacked out characters lurking in my subconscious. (Threatening to kill my sis onstage with a teaspoon was like a dream come true!)
3. Starting this blog. Not only has this blog allowed me to pontificate at length about my opinions both political and cultural, but it has also allowed me to keep in touch with distant friends and make new ones at the same time. Here's hoping I can keep it up when I'm waist deep in five-paragraph essays.
2. The Obama-Biden ticket. And not just because I was right but because I think it might be the ticket that could really change America. Yes, I am a political optimist, but I haven't felt this jazzed about a ticket since 1992. I'm not stocking up on champagne yet, but I am keeping the U2 CD on stand-by ready to crank on the evening of November 4. (Any candidate who plays U2 as his intro music earns my vote by the end of the first verse!)
1. My new house! I moved into my house the day after giving my last final exam a school and walked out of my classroom with a house still full of boxes and unpacking to do. Over the course of the past months, I've unpacked all but a few strategically stashed away boxes (thank God for the millions of closets this house boasts!) and turned this cute little ranch house into a home full of sunshine and plants and happiness. There's still work to do to finalize that transition, but it's going to be hard to leave home tomorrow -- but great to know about the home I have to return to at the end of the day.
And so I bid a sad good-bye to the summer of 2008 as I head off to start this last day a freedom -- a day that will be spent fixing a typical Sunday breakfast (I'm thinking pancakes), reading the Sunday paper, mowing my lawn, and settling down tonight to watch the season finale of Law and Order: Criminal Intent (and the possible return of Nicole Wallace?!?!?!?). Hey, summer of 2008, it's been great! See ya' next year!