A Toast to a Toasty Summer

3 fruity drinks on a table
Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

September is sending signals that summer is drawing to a close. At my age, I don’t want to wish away time, but this summer has been an endurance test. Wherever you live, it’s likely some kind of weather stress and the underlying worry over what it means for our future has touched you.

So I’m glad to have the temperatures cool. We even got a little rain a few days ago. Not enough, but I’m thankful for every drop.

A sure sign that summer is coming to a close is the Minnesota State Fair. In the best of times, the crowds, noise, and smells of the fair are difficult to take. I have read an ungodly number of self-help books during my lifetime to change myself and how I function in the world. But this year I decided that rather than try to change my normal-for-me reactions to crowds, I would find work arounds.

Arriving at the fairgrounds early, before any of the buildings were even open, I paid for a parking space so I could have my van close by. I got in the back of my van, pulled out my cook stove, and made oatmeal. Then leisurely ate and drank my coffee while reading a magazine.

Heating water on camp stove inside a van

I had planned the day before which buildings I wanted to go into. The key places to visit included the Agriculture & Horticulture Building and the garden and pond displays around that building and the Pet Pavillions and Demonstration Area.

I spent the most time at the Agriculture & Horticulture Building because (gasp!)…

Me being attacked by wolf from Little Red Riding Hood.

The theme this year for the Floralpalooza was “Happily Ever After!” and the fairy tale displays were beautiful and fun.

When pressing crowds, blaring music, shouting, and cheese curd, corn dog, and spicy food smells reached a fever pitch, I returned to my van to have lunch and relax.

view of Minnesota State Fair crowd

When I went back in, I headed toward the animal and poultry barns, but the sea of people looked impenetrable. Note to self: go to those barns early, especially if you want to get close enough to the animals to draw them.

I’m glad to have a van set up comfortably enough to sit inside, cook, and rest. And now, besides being good for camping, I know it makes a nice, cozy getaway when I go to all day events.

I didn’t do nearly enough camping this summer. The uncertainty of the weather and fires kept me home. That’s the next thing to work on. Yes, it’s safer at home. But I’m missing out on doing things I want to do while I’m still healthy enough to do them.

I’m learning there is no failure here. No reason to beat myself up. There’s just me discovering and adjusting until I can do what I want, go where I want, and come out okay.

What things do you do to bring yourself back to a place of comfort?

dog sitting on rocky ground


just because I thought you might like to know…

During one of my roadtrips into the world wide web, I looked for other creatures who are poorly designed for their environment. Horses were number one. Anyone who has owned a horse understands this. They colic and go lame and sometimes bruise their tender feet, which leads to an abscess. They are an odd mix of strength and fragility. But is that really unusual? I think it’s why I love them so.

woman on horse, leaning on horse's neck

A surprising animal on the list of poorly designed creatures was the cheetah, who suffers from anxiety in captivity and won’t breed and gets sick and dies. Wait! What? Who wouldn’t be anxious in captivity? Anyway, zoos have started pairing cheetahs with support dogs to help the cheetahs stay calm. I wonder if anyone has asked how the support dogs feel about this…

Dog with anxious expression
Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

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