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Start grabbing summer before it's gone

     This week, I read a piece by Hank Stuever in the Washington Post about how it's never too soon to regret the passing of summer. I refer to it in my "From the Home Front" column in today's Home & Style section.

    Why wait until the last week of August to regret not renting that beach house? Or not having hair long enough to wear in a cute little ponytail?, he asks.

    The regrets could have started Memorial Day.

     Stuever is having a little fun with us, of course. But it does make you think: "What do I really want to do this summer -- before it slips away?"

In search of good gift ideas!

     Gift card? Picture frame? Something homemade? Gifts are on many people's minds this time of year  -- for weddings and showers, of course, but also for grads, teachers, dance instructors, bus drivers and others.

Registries can help with the former, but ideas for the latter can leave you stumped.  Hey, you don't have to tell me how tempting those gift cards displayed at the Target checkouts are -- especially when you're feeling more clueless than creative in the gift-giving department.

Then, again, there are those who always come up with the perfect present.
Good gift ideas? We'd love to hear them.

It's my party and it'll rain if it wants to

  Nothing casts a dark cloud on outdoor party planning than the fear of bad weather. Years ago, I attended a fancy engagement party -- no, not mine-- at which it absolutely poured.

     Thankfully, there was a huge tent with sides so dinner guests stayed dry, even if the sound of pelting rain drowned out conversation at times.

      Years later, my husband and I hosted a summer party for his grandmother's 100th birthday and invited tons of people. We set up a food buffet indoors, with plenty of tables and chairs outside.

     For some reason (money, perhaps?) we opted not to rent a tent. If it had rained, we would have been cooked.

     Thankfully, the day turned out to be beautiful. But I know other people who have not been so lucky .‚.‚.