Tuesday Things

A horrible picture of an amazing night. (My brother cracks me up.)
I have napping bumbles on my allium all the time. They make my heart happy.
I don’t think we intended to have this many marigolds.
Not my garden, but my garden neighbor and it brings me as much delight as if it were my own.

I am as unready for summer to end as I am ready for schedules, structure, and school to start. The fewer hours of daylight have become noticeable, and just like other seasonal creatures, I find myself instinctually preparing. School supplies are ready. School and sport calendars have been entered into the family one. I freeze quarts of green beans (my garden’s biggest success this year) and order a new cozy wool blanket. I add fresh batteries to the twinkle lights and faux candles that have worn down and sat unlit for months. Days are a whirlwind of practices, construction banging, taxi driving, and trying to stay on top of the dishes, laundry, and the crap teenagers leave all over the place. Loveys have been replaced by wallets and headphones in terms of things mom must find RIGHT NOW to avoid meltdowns. Adding to the irony, the very things they so desperately wanted to help with as toddlers, they are old enough to tackle on their own but do only under protest. It’s discombobulating to miss them while they are still here, but as much as I love these bigger versions, I miss the little versions of themselves acutely.

We went to Madison last week to see Hamilton with my sister and niece. We walked the campus a bit while Violet and I talked about the kind of college they would some day like to attend (in generalities). Abram starts his last year of middle school.

Jesse and I celebrate 20 years of marriage this week. The day will be filled with the kinds of things I wouldn’t have found romantic when we were married, but find terribly romantic now – help with a home project that I’ve been putting off, clearing out some space in the garden, juggling kid stuff.

Speaking of the garden, I absolutely came home and cried over those hollowed out pumpkins. I’ve had one successful year in growing them and it was the year I planted, completely ignored my garden to the point I had it ripped out and replaced with landscaping the following year. (It is a true testament to our 20 years that five years later when I said, “I think I want to put raised beds there”, Jesse actually let me rip out the landscaping and built the beds himself.) One of my community garden neighbors has an adorable little pumpkin set up that I think I’m going to try and emulate next year with fingers crossed.

Let’s talk some things.

Reading: Wilder Girls by Rory Power and I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. They both were dark and intense and I didn’t like either of them. Right now, I’ve been reading a few entries of Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed in the evenings. I’m not loving that either. I need something fun and light.

Knitting: Two baby blankets (that are finished, but later than I would have liked). I used this pattern and this yarn and loved the results. I also have another pair of socks on the needles but haven’t worked on them in over in a month.

Watching: While knitting, I’ve been rewatching Suits (thank you, Marian for the suggestion) and the early seasons of Game of Thrones (when the kids aren’t home). Violet and I watched an episode of Home (Apple+) that we enjoyed.

Making: Last week I ended up making banana bread twice in four days and it never lasted more than 24 hours. Cracklin’ Chicken with broccoli from the garden. This salad with our garden produce was a perfect crunchy treat. (I modified to use 1 tsp salt it was still pretty salty. I’ll use less next time.)

That’s me. I hope you’re finding the end of summer delightful. I’d love to hear what you are -ing when you get a chance!!

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  • Love your photos, as always, Kate. Your gardens are doing so well. What a shame about the pumpkins! (I’d have cried too.) It looks like you’re doing some major construction upstairs! I hope it turns out well, and that you share some photos once it’s all done. The baby blankets are so pretty—the colours are lovely, as is the pattern.

    I wish I had a fun and light read to recommend. I’ve been reading some non-fiction (The Good Ancestor and A Brief History of Thought) as well as an old dystopian novel (We by Yevgeny Zamyatin), none of which were/are fun or light. (I did just buy yet another Nancy Drew, though, and three Asterix comics!) I’ve been re-watching shows just like you are (Downton Abbey and Star Trek Voyager), also while knitting.

    I know I’m an outlier, but I’m always glad to see the end of summer. I find the heat and humidity where we live unbearable at times, and I also just really love the structure of kids back to school. My youngest is going into grade 12 this year (!), so we’re also discussing universities and programs. We don’t have a university here, so he’s only got one more year at home. Yikes.

    Congratulations to you and Jesse on 20 years of marriage, Kate! Your idea of a good anniversary exactly matches mine. 🙂

    • It doesn’t surprise me at all that we are in agreement on a good anniversary. 😉

      I absolutely will share pictures when the project is done. I’ll probably even share as progress (slowly) occurs. The contractor said January which has me a little nervous. Right now we have one bedroom and one bath and while its functioning, it certainly is suboptimal. It’ll be better when the bedroom flooring is in and the kids can go back to sleeping in their own rooms.

      I had to google Asterix. The description sounds so cool. Comic books and graphic novels are all Abram enjoys – do you think it might be something he would find interesting? And Downton is the perfect knitting show. I have to power knit one last sock for a birthday so I might take your suggestion on that as well!

      I can’t believe he’s going into grade 12!! Yikes, is right!! Sending hugs! Does he have his heart set on anywhere?

      • January as an end date for your renovations—yes, I can see how that would be making you a bit nervous. I suppose the silver lining is that it’s sometimes good to see what you can get through, if that makes sense. When we moved here, we had to do extensive renovations, and although it was really hard at times it did in many ways make us stronger as a family.

        My youngest read Asterix when he was about Abram’s age. Voraciously, I have to add—we borrowed every single volume the library had. It’s quite an old series (I read many of them as a kid), so it’s possible there are things in there that may not have aged well, but it’s quite a smart series, with lots of funny wordplay, and I’d say it’d be worth trying to see if your library has the first book.

        I’ll take the hug for my son going off to university in a year! He’s thinking he’d like to go to McMaster in Hamilton. Our daughter and older son went there and they both really liked it.

        • I agree with your silver lining. And I have no complaints really. It’s a hard age for the kids to not have their own spaces, but it’s for a very limited time and the end product will be worth it.

          Our library is actually closed for a little bit (it’s undergoing a rather large renovation as well!) but once it reopens, I think I will look and see if I can find the first book. Funny wordplay is right up Abe’s alley!

          Good luck to your son at McMaster – I’m guessing the application process starts in the next month or so?

          • IIRC the application deadline for Ontario universities is the end of December, so he has some time to tour campuses and think about things. (He’s already been to many of the campuses because he came along when we toured for his siblings, but of course that was a while ago.) He’ll apply to several places, just because that’s how the application process works here, and who knows—he may end up changing his mind and going somewhere else.

            You’re re-watching Stranger Things, this time with Violet! My youngest was the one who got me going with it. 🙂

  • Tiny Beautiful Things didn’t appeal to me either. 
    Your allium makes me so happy. That is something I hope to grow in my garden next year. I’m saving it in my phone’s notes.
    Happy Anniversary!!

    • Absolutely! It’s a perennial and the bees LOVE it. This is the smaller plant but I love the bigger one as well!!

      And thank you!

  • You always capture exactly how I feel about things:
    “I am as unready for summer to end as I am ready for schedules, structure, and school to start.”
    “It’s discombobulating to miss them while they are still here, but as much as I love these bigger versions, I miss the little versions of themselves acutely.”
    How is Abram in the last year of middle school? Like, seriously. How? Argh. And I love that first photo of you. That’s just pure joy in your face.

    Our house is in a similar state of disarray. For our last week of break before Cane returns to work, we’re taking advantage of having the house to ourselves (my daughter is currently away) to re-do our bedroom. Painting the walls and our old iron bed, replacing nightstands and wall mirror. Our house is so small, a project in one room impacts pretty much all the rooms, and it puts me over some edge to do too much of that with more than the two of us here. I’m glad to finally do this quick and easy project before we’re back in school-year routines.

    We’re harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers and basil. Our onions didn’t grow very big, but we’re eating them now, too. I’m hoping next year we’ll have more of a garden, but I’m so happy with and grateful for what we’ve managed this year. I love your neighbor’s flowers! They would make me happy, too. I’ve never tried pumpkins. I was pretty thrilled to branch out to cucumbers and actually have some success. (I think we’ll get a whopping three of them.)

    I recently read (listened to) The Guncle by Steven Rowley, and I loved it. Light and funny and heartwarming. Highly recommend for you. Currently listening to The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall. Very light and I’m not at all the intended audience and I don’t love it, but it’s great to listen to while painting walls, and it’s growing on me. You might try Emily Henry’s Book Lovers or Helen Hoang’s The Heart Principle if you want to see what romance looks like for Gen Z/young millenials.

    As for watching, we’ve just discovered and LOVE Reservation Dogs (Hulu). You might like this piece on it: g/article/magic-half-hour-on-reservation-dogs/ It appeals to me in the way Better Things did.

    My last big -ing is…healthing? Making and attending what feels like lots of medical appointments. Finally going to seriously try to get my varied pain issues to a better place.

    Wishing all of you the best as you embark on another school year!

    • I’m blaming peri-menopause for “themselves” instead of just plain them. Wording is hard. I’m glad you got what I was trying to say though!!

      Your garden this year sounds lovely! Every year I plant a big pot of herbs and then watch it go to seed before I do much of anything with it. I wish I was better about herbs because tomatoes and basil are such a great combo but by the time I have tomatoes, my basil is shot.

      I loved The Guncle too! I’m going to add The Heart Principle to my list too! Have you read Serious Moonlight? Or Unscripted? Those were two Gen Z romances V recommended to me that I actually kind of liked.

      Thank you for sharing that article with me – not only does it make me want to watch Reservation Dogs and it really makes me want to to do that – it has sent me down a rabbit hole of good television! (I’m also forwarding it to my brother who is my go to for TV recommendations.) Also, I never did watch Better Things. I think I saw you and Kari talk about it once or twice but it didn’t stick so that’s going on the list as well.

      I feel you on the small house/people/project combo! I need to clean/organize our mechanical room and usually that would be a simple pull it out/clean it/bring things back in. With us all in the basement there really it’s just a recipe for disaster unless everyone is out of the house so it will have to wait until school starts this fall!

      So good to hear from you, Rita! How has your back been doing? I hope you’re having a great deal of success in the health-ing and that soon (if not already) you won’t be dealing with the pain you’ve had!!

      • I think you’ll like The Heart Principle. It’s hard to put in a genre niche, and some parts are painful, but you feel pretty good by the end.

        As for Better Things, I recently started watching it over from the beginning and noticed a different vibe in the first episodes. I think there was a real shift when Louis C.K. left and Pamela Adlon took it completely over. It got better after he left, mainly in that it really dove into the experience of being a late-midlife woman raising kids. No more storylines about her romantic/sexual relationships. It was great to see her character turn her focus to her life as it is–and to come to the place she lands on with it and herself by the end of the series. I’d still say to watch it from the beginning, though, just so you can see the full arc of the story. Kind of like how you have to get through the first season of Schitt’s Creek.

        My back is doing much better and I’m doing much better. Still not 100% where I once was, but I’m able to do the things I want to do. I think pain is just part of the deal for me, but working to minimize it and manage it. Thank you for asking.

        • I’m so glad to hear that your back is doing better, as is the rest of you. Thank you for telling me more about Better Things. I googled it last night and after seeing Louis CK was one of the writers behind it, didn’t know how much I wanted to delve into it. It’s definitely going on my list now.

          Violet actually asked to start watching Stranger Things last night so we started with the first two episodes of the first season. I watched them before when they first came out, but I stopped after the first season so we’ll see if it sticks.

  • Oh so nice to see your happiness, Kate; and I certainly did wonder who that was with the smirk 😏 your brother!

    I always have a soft heart for doggo pics. Even when they nap. Does he bark in his dreams? I never know if waking Yorkie is helpful or taking away a fun time dream. I noticed him on a few!

    I love to play cards and bunko. Hoping time will get to a better state of safety so I can create both groups to my home. I love hosting small groups like this. I’m working on a plan to do so.

    Great visual of where you are on the upstairs and you had me laughing about finding your phone or headphones! So you cracked me up!!

    What in the heck is that bottle with lights? It looks extremely scary to me.

    Your daughter looks just like you! Love her bleached bangs an knitted hat with sleeveless wear. What a statement on her face!

    Have no idea what the two towels are about. Did you knit them? If you did… I want them!

    And I want that banana nut recipe that goes in 48 hours!! I ordered the bakery version from my local grocery delivery service today. But I’m sure it will not be a tummy as yours!

    All is well with Yorkie an me. I’m happy and well rested. Doing seawall walks early mornings and inside AC during heat of the day, then out in our beautiful backyard in the evenings. I’m watching The bachelorette on Monday this season and loving it!!
    I miss your blog post, yet understand there’s so much in life to do and explore.

    • She does occasionally bark in her dreams. Sometimes I wake her up – sometimes I don’t. I wonder too!!

      Sorry to scare you. It’s an old milk bottle that I put twinkle lights in as a nightlight. Any opportunity to put on a little twinkle.

      The towels are actually baby blankets and I did knit them! I do like that stitch for a hand towel! I might have to use the left over yarn for them!

      Your days sound lovely, TD! So good to hear from you!

  • That’s one great cribbage hand. Well done.

    I’m in awe of your marigolds. Ours just gave up the ghost when it got hot and humid here. But yours? Show-offs, every last one.

    Happy Anniversary! Interesting, isn’t it, how as you get older the way you define romance changes?

    • Thank you for the well wishes!! I am so grateful that it does change. I was pretty silly back then!!

      And that cribbage hand ALMOST skunked my sister. Beating her is an accomplishment so being one point shy of skunking her was worth noting!