It's officially summer!!!
Well, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway...
School is out. The trees are vibrant green, and the markets are selling peonies and hydrangeas, some of my favorite flowers.
What's on your list of things to do in the summer? For me, it wouldn't be summer without doing the following:
- Go to the beach (Although I live in Southern California, I do not live close to the beach, so I may only go a few times a year.)
- Take a few road trips (Took a short one to Lake Arrowhead over the weekend for a friend's birthday celebration.)
- Read something fun! This summer, I'm working my way through the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, which includes Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan before the movie comes out in August!
- Go to a baseball game.
Summers, for me, have always meant going to baseball games.
I grew up in Arlington, Texas, which is home to the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball Team. Since we lived about a mile from the Rangers' stadium, and since baseball is generally cheaper than football tickets, we would go to games all summer long. Always in the cheap seats, of course.
Many players lived in our neighborhood. Pitcher Kevin Brown, who played for the Rangers, Yankees, Orioles, Marlins, Padres and the Dodgers, lived next door to us for awhile, and we were at the game where Nolan Ryan (in the photo below) threw his 7th no-hitter in 1991.
Since it's on my Annual Summer Go Do List, I bought some mid-priced tickets for Monday night's Los Angeles Dodgers game. Now, going to a game in Los Angeles is quite different than going to a game in Texas. For one, the temperature in Los Angeles has been in the mid-70's, and when the sun goes down, it can get down to the 60's, which for some of us thin-blooded Angelenos, is time to break out the sweaters, sweatshirts or jackets!
Summers in Texas, as you can imagine, are REALLY HOT. In July and August, temperature stay in the 100's during the day and may dip just a drop into the 90's after the sun sets. My brother and I would turn on the sprinkler in the backyard, drag it underneath our jungle gym and pretend it was a water park.
Going to a game back then was also way less expensive than today. Parking was probably free because I can't imagine my cheap dad paying to park. For this game, my husband and I took three modes of transportation to get to Dodgers Stadium because we didn't want to sit in rush hour traffic. We spent $6 on a Lyft to the nearest train station and took a $3.50 train ride to Union Station, where we boarded a free shuttle bus to the stadium. By car, on a good day, it's about a 20 minute car ride. Taking public transpo, it took us an hour, so once we got to the ballpark, we were hungry!
We first checked out the vendors hawking hot dogs, peanuts, ice-cream...
Blue fluffy cotton candy...
We settled on some portobello mushroom burgers, waffle fries, beer, a bottle of water and for dessert, I couldn't pass up a churro, which are a Spanish-Portuguese fried dough pastry, rolled in cinnamon and sugar. If you've never had one, it tastes like a cinnamon-sugar donut but crispy on the outside and chewier on the inside.
I order from a guy standing at the opposite end of my row. He passes the churro to the nearest person, who then passes the churro to the person sitting next to him and so on. Each person passes the churro to the next person ever so gently, with their hands on the paper, so they don't touch the actual churro. I had seen this happening a few times, and it brought me back to those simpler days.
It's something that has stayed the same, all of these years -- a trust between strangers to work together, in cooperation and for a common purpose. When I pass my money over, person to person, I am trusting that my five dollars will make it past all of the strangers on my row and into the hands of the churro vendor. It does, of course, and in this small act, (at the risk of sounding melodramatic) one that hundreds of thousands of people have participated in, I find hope and faith in humanity.
With so much unjust in the world, I like to find examples of the good, even in the smallest of acts. For the most part, sporting events, concerts and other places where a large crowd of diverse people gather, there needs to be unspoken trust and faith. We go through metal detectors and bag searches at the gate, but once inside, it's our commonalities that convince us to get along. Unless you are milling about in a box seat, you're usually touching arms with complete strangers, in seats that don't move. So, it's nice to know that I can count on those strangers to first of all, pay attention to me (someone that's sitting 5, 6, 7 seats down from them), secondly, to gently hand over someone else's food, and then finally, to not pocket that money for themselves. Just like the players on the field, it takes teamwork, trust, and faith for the vendor to get paid and for me to receive that churro. It also takes sometimes singing Take Me Out to the Ballpark (badly, together) and attempting (and ultimately not succeeding at this particular ballgame) to create the human wave, to create the experience we all want together.
With so much love & gratitude,
What's on your list of things to do in the summer? What does summer mean to you? How do you like to celebrate the season? Let me know in the comments below. Also, please subscribe, if you like this post. I love hearing from you, and if you'd like to work with me on your financial wellness roadmap, one that works with your summer plans, just go to the main page and sign up for a free one hour financial assessment with me.