We Chicagoans should have known . . . We were spoiled this winter by record highs that made the season one of the most enjoyable winters ever. But now, it’s been almost a month since we’ve had any rain, and the temperatures are breaking record highs again. Unfortunately, this time record highs translate to 100° plus humidity. So, while my new hydrangea that Peter and I bought on Mother’s Day is struggling to survive and the grass turns a sad straw color, the kids and I are trying to maintain a fun, active summer finding cheap, indoor things to do throughout the city.

I feel like the summer really just started. But when I look at the calendar, here it is, the end of June and more than a month since I last wrote a blog post. I’ve thought of lots of topics to discuss over morning coffee–but obviously I haven’t done so. As a compromise, here’s a bullet list of some of the items that should have been discussed between the end of May and now:

  • Pinterest: Yep, I succumbed. It’s really not that bad. I have basically limited it to food & recipes, knitting ideas, household decorating ideas, and fun, frivolous fancies. No work. The idea of companies entering Pinterest is ludicrous. Not everything is for every group. Corporate America: Go away.
  •  Baby graduating from elementary school: Yes, the baby is now a middle schooler. Two in middle school, one in high school, and I feel very, very old and mortal.
  • Election 2012: I’m working hard on bringing down my blood pressure, so I guess I have to skip this topic for now.
  • Summer Reading: I have had time to really dig into a few good books on the weekends and at night. My favorites so far this summer are Carry the One, The Imperfectionists, and Anne Patchett’s new State of Wonder. The Innocents was OK but had a sloppy, lazy ending, to be brutally honest. If you’ve heard good things about it, stick with the library copy.
  • Best day with kids so far: Art Institute and Miller’s Pub, where we met dad for dinner. Tried out the Millennium Park Parking Garage. I think the Grant Park Garage is bigger and easier to navigate. The new Modern Wing is really architecturally beautiful, but none of us were really interested in what was in it. But as a hallway from the new north entrance to the main galleries, we loved it! Renoir is still my favorite, along with the Dutch painters. And after 20 years, I still want to just step inside Caillebotte’s  “Paris Street; Rainy Day.” DD took an acute interest in the sculptures, and the boys seemed most interested in the early American artists. Of course, the early American art was within the first hour we were there. I’m theorizing a very positive correlation exists. We all highly recommend Miller’s Pub–each boy devoured a 1/2 slab of ribs.
  • Old-fashioned sandwiches are a wonderful thing! With the heat, I’ve been making tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad sandwiches this summer. Next up: Cucumber sandwiches and BLTs. I’ve also had a yen for stuffed green peppers (had a dream I was making sheet trays of them). One cooler evening, I’ll have to make them for the kids.
  • Non-alcoholic Beer: only 60 calories. Whoo!