I love late summer. Right now in the early evening you can smell the last of the spicy blackberries drying up on their vines. The hills and fields are a golden patchwork because of the intense heat. The vineyards are picking the pinot grapes early-ish this year. (My guess is that this will be as good a vintage as 2015 with the weather we've had.) Almost everything else is parched and crispy, but I’ve found that the marigolds and mums will bloom like crazy as long as I keep them watered. I planted jasmine two years ago by the front door and it is still fragrant and going strong.
Still, things must wrap up because the earth continues to rotate. In any given year it offers up the best that it has, doesn’t it? Our ancient and decrepit Italian plum trees were prolific this year. Honestly, they look dead 365 and then BOOM! Plums everywhere. There is a modest bunch of Barlett pears that are doing their thing on two very tiny trees right next to them (those are what I’m really looking forward to since I don't have peach trees).
So what could be better in the summer than Words With Friends? Friends With Gardens. Bless them; they have offered up corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes, luscious beets, and Oh! THE ZUCCHINI. MON DIEU. THE ZUCCHINI. We saw a tremendous one that was placed in a box outside of church with a hand written sign that said, “Free to Good Home.” It was ENORMOUS. I was too afraid to even touch it. How many orphaned zucchinis are out there just waiting for their chance to be turned into bread? (We’ve made two loaves already).
Something that we’ve been cranking out all on our own has been homemade ice cream. A good friend had two ice cream makers and bestowed her extra one to us. I picked up some nice Pyrex containers from Kohl’s with Reward Point vouchers and we were in business. We’ve made chocolate, chocolate Reeses’ peanut butter cup, vanilla, and cookies and cream along with a few failures in there (learning curve be damned). Next up is Honey Lavender ice cream since my lavender is still in bloom for some odd reason. Won’t that be delish? Eat your heart out, Salt & Straw.
The highlight of all this has been the new Baby Spot I brought home in July. She’s the biggest ray of sunshine around here. If she lets me sit down I’ll write about her later because she deserves her own post (right now she’s sleeping in a sun patch). Yes, balance has been restored in The House of Spot. *smiles*
And so there you have it… Just trying to keep that pervasive feeling of “let down” at bay this time of year and appreciate the good stuff. The Daughters’ school needs press ever so insistently at the edges and so I deal with it as I need to and then wipe the slate clean in my mind. As much as I loved “Back to School” as a kid, I want nothing than to be a million miles away from it. Ah, Summer. Keep on keeping on.
Long time, no House of Spot. I know, I know… It’s been a bit of a wrecking ball over here with no time to type. If I could sum up the last few months in a few pithy words it would be, “Just get this kid graduated.” This, of course, leads into a new drama and that is, “Now what does this kid need for college?” (And “Holy cow, my poor second child is still drowning in homework and finals.”)
This whole past year and a half has been somewhat of an agility course. In running this marathon I’ve had to take multiple steps back now and then and get a grip on myself. Sit through any parent orientation. It's not for the faint of heart. They start throwing around acronyms, some of which I had already successfully navigated and some that were completely new. FAFSA? Check. FERPA? Nope.
The dialogue in my head while I’m sitting there listening the Official College Person goes something like this: “OMG. What’s a Ferpa? No. Wait. NOT Fafsa, Ferpa? Breathe, breathe, breathe, you didn’t miss anything yet. They wouldn’t be saying this word if you weren’t at another portal in this process. Or is Ferpa a name? Breathe. Breathe. Remember you felt like this when you signed them up for preschool, Bridget. And then you felt this little panic when you sent them off to kindergarten. And again with middle school. And definitely with high school. *exhales* Okay, okay. We’ll find out what this Feepa, no wait, F-E-R-P-A-A-A is. You’ll find out what those letters stand for. No worries. No worries.”
Am I the only parent who feels like this? They throw a new "requirement" at you and suddenly, just like Claire in an episode of Modern Family, your brain is scrambling and you’re whipping out a pen and jotting it down on your disposable coffee cup because you didn’t think you needed to take notes for this event. Turns out I had already been through FERPA with both daughters for their community college classes, I just didn’t know it had a name.
All kidding aside, it’s the financial meetings that actually make me sob when I get home from these campus check ins. Initially I’m a little surly inside while I’m there, because the cost of all of this is wicked crazy. Okay. I’m sure my entire body language says, “MAJOR SURLY. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.” I try really hard to hold it in. REALLY HARD. I am mostly successful at this. *makes sideways face, looks upward* When they tell me that my kid could write more scholarship essays my eyes start to narrow down to little slits (her fingers are down to a bloody pulp from submitting them). When they flat out state that their tuition will increase 3% every year and my child’s scholarships and aid will not, my mouth hardens. (“Does the college really need that sushi chef in the cafeteria?" "Where exactly does this $120 parking fee 'go' in the parking lot?"See? I tried so hard that I did NOT actually say that; I only thought it. But then of course I just said it here, so there’s that.) I can guarantee that any parent that goes through this process walks out of there muttering, “Yes. I believe I do ‘Feel the Bern’ of that crazy haired Mr. Sanders now. Yes. Yes, I believe I do.”
So we are working over the summer to get all her "ferpas" in a row so that she can launch in August. It will be a great feeling, right?
Sorry for the radio silence over here at The House of Spot. I assure you though, it is a crazy whirlwind. If you think "end of the school year" activities are crazy, then just throw in a graduate. More to come in the following week!