Theoretically, summer will return to the polar-vortex-battered Northern Hemisphere. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what are your fondest memories of Summer past?

I’m going to be in the northern and southern hemisphere for this activity — looking forward and back.

Our summers are quite predictable: we always go to Scotland for most of July and I look forward to it every year. I love being there. My husband and I both went to the University of St. Andrews, graduating in 1970. (Holy cow, our 50th reunion is coming up in a few years!) About 29 years ago, we bought a house in St. Andrews, big enough for our family as well as the 5 students who occupy it during the University terms. They have it ten months a year, and we and extended family and friends have it for two months. Our children were between 3-8 years old when we started taking them over every summer, and there we joined other members of my husband’s English family, especially cousins the same age, and had memorable times there. This summer we’re spending time with family member’s North Wales, near Chester. I will be nice to see them, but also somewhat melancholic. We will be helping to clear out the house of my father-in-law who passed away at 94 last August. (His wife died about 15 years ago.) It will be nice to get together with three brothers and their offspring — it’s so much fun see their children grown into adults with their own thoughts and opinions. Then there is the next generation… the great-grandchildren. The family tree continues to blossom.

Looking back to last summer is like remembering a good dream. My son and daughter-in-law got decided to get married in Sonoma, California, after they’d made several trip there and fell in love with the area. The celebration started with a ceremony at a lovely Spanish-style Catholic church, then a wonderful reception at Gloria Ferrer Vineyard and Winery. I’ve had two daughters get married, so this was a walk in the park for me! All we had to do was host the rehearsal dinner, and the restaurant I picked out from afar (Virginia) was great! It was fun gathering our and the bride’s family into one hotel and having a week-long celebration. Everyone had a great time, and we easily broke up into groups for various activities. It was a super way to begin the blending of families. It was gratifying, too, to have a number of friends come across the country to attend the wedding.

It was also my first time in California — as it was for most of the people who came. San Francisco and Sonoma did not disappoint. They just made me want to see more of the sights in that State. The first time I saw the West Coast was when my daughter and her Canadian husband moved to Seattle about three years ago after law school in Michigan. My son-in-law grew up in Vancouver, and was drawn back to the west — and his family. We’ve been there several times since, and find so many fascinating things to do and visit. In Seattle, water is all around (and I don’t mean rain), so many beaches are available for walks, playing, and enjoying. In almost any direction there are mountains, and because of the hilliness of Seattle and the desire to have a water view, there are some of the strangest, and most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. (We going to visit for Easter — not quite summer.) The West is definitely different, and worth more exploration in the future.