Originally published June 26, 2009
Reprinted with permission from Bay Area News Group – East Bay
Beach books and summer go together like a bucket and shovel.
Now is the time to dig into a good beach book. I’m talking about a book that is entertaining, but effortless to read, with nothing challenging or edifying. That’s what summer is all about– slacking off and taking it easy.
To go along with the beach books, I’ve come up with the idea of beach hair. If I can relax my reading standards in the summer, surely I can relax my grooming standards too. I’m ready to forgo all the time, effort and hair products that it takes to make my curly hair look presentable. I can let go and, at the same time, just let my hair go. All summer long, I’ll sport a messy windblown look, as if I spent the day at the beach. When an occasion calls for something more, I can stick a flower in my hair like an island native.
While I’m at it, I’ll make beach food, whether I’m headed to the beach or not. I see beach food as a simpler, less fussy approach to feeding my family. When you’re eating at the beach, you’re not particularly concerned about eating all the right food groups. It’s a matter of choosing food that’s easily consumed while sitting in the Indian position on a towel in the sand; food should not be too drippy or temperature-sensitive. For dinners at home this summer, I imagine serving turkey sandwiches with a bag of chips and a fruit roll-up.
I’ll take a similar approach to keeping the house tidy this summer, which I’ll call beach housekeeping. Normally, I’m preoccupied with keeping my house clean and making sure everything is put away. With three kids, it’s an all-consuming effort. But, this summer, I’ll look at everyday at home like a day at the beach. I won’t be bothered by the bundles of stuff left scattered around by everyone or the sand that seems to be everywhere. I’ll just kick back, relax, and sip a cool drink, preferably with an umbrella in it.
To hang onto this beach frame-of-mind all summer, I’ve come up with other ideas. I can wear coconut-smelling sunblock 24/7. (I’ll be sure to reapply it every two hours.) And, instead of putting on my regular old clothes when I get up each morning, I’ll dress in terry cover-ups and flip-flops, no matter where I’m going or what I’m doing.
If I do it right, the summer will feel like one long song by The Beach Boys. I’m thinking “Little Surfer Girl”, “Surf’s Up” and “Surfin USA”. Maybe even a little “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow”.
At this time of year, surfers are ideal role models, because they like to hang loose — their only concern is the next big wave. I have to assume that surfers really believe life is a beach. I believe it, too. At least during the summer.
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