Wow, sorry to disappear like that again. I think I'm back now...baseball is really and truly over, and I'm sort of reaching a place of equanimity with the work situation (not happy, but figuring out how to benefit from a sucky situation--deluding myself? Perhaps). I do miss it. There has been so much I've been wanting to tell you about--knitting and fishing and dragonflies and organizing and poppies and toenail polish. I hope I'll get to some of it all this week. In the meantime, do you realize we're in the middle of full-on summer? And by in the middle I mean careening wildly toward winter (sorry, I just can't find my way to appreciating summer without acknowledging its every milestone as a step closer to its end).
I picked strawberries on Saturday, which was the very last day the place I like to go was open for the season, which meant not only that all the berries were either moldy or small and unripe, but also that strawberry season is over! How could this have happened. Our peas have been done for two weeks (I just shelled the last of them, growing starchy and wooden in our crisper drawer, into dinner tonight), and my flower garden, which is just irises and poppies, has been done for ages (suggestions on later season plants would be most welcome).
I did manage to eek 21 quarts of berries out of the fields (to my quadriceps' everlasting dismay), which I made into 14 jars of jam/syrup.
I was so psyched by my no-pectin experiences last year, that I felt really confident in going into this batch (with a slight variation on technique), but I only had 7/8 the sugar I needed, so divided three batches over two pans, and so that they were too full, and every time each neared 220 degrees, it would boil over, and I never did reach that magic temperature (and ended up with a very messy stove).
Don't they look pretty though? I haven't tried it yet, but my family consumed a jar while I was away on an overnight at the lake with some very bawdy old ladies. Their behavior was quite shocking--they had already downed three margaritas when I got there, and they proceeded to tease a neighbor (also old lady) about whether her date was spending the night ("well if he doesn't stay with you, he can stay with us" said the two widows) and skinny dipping at midnight. Two of us went kayaking the next morning and I managed to get my annual "I won't put on sunblock because I want a little color" lobster burn. Yowch.
The previous weekend we took our second-annual Fourth-of-July weekend trip up to Grandma C's camp. It was a good opportunity for me to just let all the stress of the last couple of months just drain out of me. Grandma C took care of us, and I just read, drew and helped little boys unhook sunfish from their lines.
I try to point out to all and sundry that I am not the one to fish, so I shouldn't be the one to unhook fish, but no one listens (the other adults think six-year-olds should be able to unhook their own fish; the six-year-olds just let the fish flop around getting further entangled; the ten-year-old tried to help, then started crying, "It's hurting it! That's why I don't like to fish anymore." I have since been informed by someone whose husband is a fish and wildlife guy that fish like sunfish and bass have cartilaginous mouths and it's impossible to hurt them. I don't know if I believe this, but I passed it on to M in hopes that he won't give up fishing so easily, since he used to love it so much. P.S. We do catch-and-release due to mercury, plus ewe, who wants to gut fish?)
We came home for the Fourth of July parade, with its classic mix of really loud fire trucks (and all three of my kids with their fingers in their ears) pukingly patriotic/right wing trucks and the local artist's walking critique of politics and society. This year's was "Maiden Maine" being married off to big business.
We even went to the fireworks, which was crazy, since they don't even start until 9:15. Two out of three kids were asleep when we got there. But I guess now that we've done it two years in a row, it's a tradition and we're stuck with it.
I've been trying for the last three months to plan a long trip/leave of absence for the rest of this summer, for which I've been unable to get either approval or denial, so I've been living in this weird state of limbo, unable to make plans for either going or staying. As a result, I've made no lists of things to accomplish, places to go, work to get done, events not to miss. What's that they say, life is what happens while you were making other plans? I've actually gotten used to the uncertainty, which shouldn't be surprising since humans get used to much worse things all the time, though I'm really read to know already, one way or the other. Preferably the way that involves getting the heck out of Dodge for a little while. I really need some time (as in more than a weekend) away from the stress, the politics, the construction (oh, yes, in addition to the workplace being hostile, it is also being torn apart to replace the HVAC system), and truly just some time to slow down and live life for a little while. Know what I mean?