Things to do during a sedentary summer

Posted on July 24, 2019 at 6:00 am

By Dana Mannino

The way I see it, there are two phases of summer: active summer and sedentary summer.

For me, active summer occurs when temperatures reach 70–85 degrees. At those temps, I try to spend most of my time outside, preferably in the mountains or at a lake, in the garden will do as well. Nothing says summer like an evening walk along the Spokane River as the flowers give off their perfume.

Sedentary summer occurs at temperatures between 86–105 degrees or when the Air Quality Index goes above 150 (unhealthy to hazardous). I spend most of sedentary summers in my basement.

Granted, basements are not the most pleasant setting, but over the years my sedentary summer memories have come to rank alongside memories of active summer backpacking trips. In the sedentary summers of my childhood, my sisters and I would binge watch the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. We took breaks between each episode to run through the sprinkler and then returned damp and refreshed to watch more.

With a little determination and judicious use of a library card, you could spend all of sedentary summer watching BBC Miniseries.

Sadly, I can’t anymore because I have limited stamina for binge watching. There comes a point when my eyes feel like sandpaper and my brain screams: “I’M BORED!” I think it’s hereditary. Except for the Pride and Prejudice binge, my family’s attention span for television often falls way short of bingeing. This has led to the following, even more nerdy, sedentary summer adventures:

  • The summer I studied Latin.
  • The summer my sister made a timeline analyzing trends in animated movies (e.g., How many feature mice?).
  • The summer we all took piano lessons.
  • The summer my mom filled our basement with friends learning to quilt.
  • The summer (make that four summers), I spent reading Les Miserables, which is 1,400 pages (not that I was counting!).
  • The summer we turned ourselves into tigers with stage makeup.

Whatever subterranean activities you prefer during a sedentary summer, the library is here to help.

Are you a binge-watching champion? Check out the library’s streaming offerings on hoopla, available at no cost. With titles as varied as The Great British Baking Show and Rick and Morty, there’s something for everyone.

Want to pick up an instrument? Check out the video music lessons, also available at no cost, through the library’s digital resource LinkedIn Learning, which provides thousands of online training courses that you can explore at your own pace.

Are you a crafter or hobbyist? Check out Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center for inspiration, instructions, and project ideas.

Or, if you are Minecraft fan, check out this Unofficial Encyclopedia of Ultimate Challenges for Minecrafters. With over 200 color illustrations and in-depth coverage of challenges, you’re sure to find hours of delight.

Want to learn a language? Pronunciator is our online resource to get you started and learning one (or over 80) languages in no time.

Willing to leave the house? There are plenty of events at your local library, all at no cost. Plus, our libraries have air conditioning!

Are you a bookworm? Let us help you find your next summer read. Give us a call, stop by to talk to library staff, or browse our online book recommendation tools: NoveList, NoveList K–8 for kids of all ages, and SelectReads, which sends you a monthly newsletter of new books in the genres and on the topics you choose.

Oh! Be sure to get yourself on the wait list for one of our free Discover Passes to the Washington State Parks. That way, when active summer rolls back around, you will be ready to head out and explore.

In the meantime, turn on the sprinkler and pass me a Popsicle. I’ve got a one-act play to write! Because trying new things is what sedentary summer is all about.

Dana Mannino

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