Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Report

Summer's bounty: A basketful of Romas on their
 way to becoming paste. Photo: The Man.

It occurred to me the other day that summer is the only season I actively review. Has it been a good summer? Did I get done this summer all I had planned (ha!)? I never ask myself if I had a good fall, if I enjoyed the winter, if I accomplished all my springtime goals.

So has it been a good summer? Well, it's a been a good summer for tomatoes. Our freezer is loaded with tomato sauce, tomato soup, and tomato paste. With my stomach ailments, I haven't been able to eat tomatoes this summer, so I have been an admirer of tomatoes. They are such beautiful creatures.

(By the way, I just ate a sliver of cheddar cheese to see if it would give me a stomachache. I should know in the next ten minutes or so. I'm very tired of chicken, brown rice and steamed zucchini, as you might imagine. So I've become a risk-taker. Cheddar cheese! Tortellini! A grape! It's all an adventure.)

All this to say, culinarily-speaking, it hasn't been such a great summer. Writing-wise, not so hot either. Who knew that I needed to be caffeinated in order to create? I've started drinking Lady Gray tea, which has just a smidgen of caffeine, and I seem to be able to tolerate it, so maybe in a couple of weeks I'll move up to the hard stuff. That's right, Earl Gray. Just try to stop me.

Quilt-wise? It's all good. Right now I'm quilting a quilt for a friend. Here's how it looks:

I'm free-motion quilting, which is about as much fun as I can legally have.

I have not done a good job this summer of handing over all the household chores to the boys, as was my plan. I lacked resolve. My tummy hurt. I was too busy worrying about the terminal illness my bad gut surely portended. It's impossible to work up the enthusiasm for showing a boy how to scrub out a toilet when you're convinced you only have a month or two to live.

Many good walks this summer, a bit of weight loss, some nice get-togethers with friends. Too much time in the dentist's chair. The very sad loss of a neighbor who wasn't yet fifty and left behind a wife and two teenaged children.

I don't think I can sum this summer up. Well, there's two weeks left before school starts (and two months more, at least, of warm weather). Maybe I'll see the big picture as I wave goodbye to the boys on the first day. I suspect when I think back to this summer, what I'll remember most of all is sitting in the family room with the Man, knitting and watching the Olympics and "Foyle's War," very cozy indeed. Not so bad at all.


Susan said...

Glad you found Lady Gray tea. It's my favorite afternoon indulgence. I like to brew a cuppa and pretend that Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey has just brought me the afternoon post on a little silver tray. It's a great escape tea.

Pom Pom said...

I sure hope your stomach is good as new very soon. That's tragic that you can't eat those gorgeous tomatoes!
Your tricky quilting looks VERY cool!
Chores. Blech. I failed at that, too. Why don't you interview the boys and let us see how they assess the summer?
It's so true that we never look back over our fall and determine its success. We're silly.
Two more weeks and you'll be out on the sidewalks with Travis. Yay!

magsmcc said...

I'm commenting on two posts here- Happy Anniversary. I'm interested that painting your room was A Nice Thing. Two weeks ago PC came home and then there was chiselled away plaster and I needed to decide paint or wallpaper- what??! Today the feature wall has gone from bed to window in slate grey back to bed in duck egg blue. This has not felt like A Nice Thing. Not with And and Bob arriving in a week. You are stoicism personified. You are a coper. The boys will be rich enough to hire someone for toilets!! Quilting- oh wow! I prefer Lady Grey to her man. But green tea I like best. Would it work?

Jo said...

Oh, your tomatoes are divine. Just imagine you are Queen Elizabeth the First. She had tomatoes in her flower garden for their aesthetic qualities as well, and never ate a one. I think I could grow tomatoes just for their smell on a hot summer's day. Hoping your insides are better by Winter, and you can appreciate preserved tomatoey goodness by then.
Enjoy those cups of tea. English Breakfast does it for me.

GretchenJoanna said...

When I read your last post mentioning tomatoes, I *was* wondering if they were allowed on your bland regimen. I surely hope you get well in time to eat a fresh tomato or two in September.

And it's a relief to hear that lack of caffeine doesn't keep you from quilting.

Gumbo Lily said...

What gorgeous Romas! Mine are still green, but today I picked 4 ripe tomatoes! I hope you'll be chowing down on spaghetti and stews made with homemade tomato sauce and paste this fall.

Lovely quilty goodness! I had fun playing with free motion awhile back. Results in a jiffy!

I tend to measure my summer by productivity too and perhaps we shouldn't. Let's measure the summer by long walks, sitting in the lawn chair, sun tanning, or by reading a really good book.

Tracy said...

First - oh my goodness that quilting is beautiful. Any time you want a quilting trip to Australia I've one that needs attention. I am thinking I should just pay to have it custom quilted.

Frances what on earth is going on with your gut? It has been very nasty to you for so long now. I hope the cheese did well by you and that things are slowly, slowly on the mend. I had a weekend of excessive and very uncomfortable wind. Not the socially impolite kind, but more of a gut/esophageal thing. I was beside myself and it was only a few days. Nothing like pain to get you to think twice about what you eat, is there?

I think I might have hit on the chore thing. Mr Busy likes to buy hot chips after church (the one thing I don't like about our new church). We've having chip issues because I refuse to shell out for them every week like that's a part of going to church. Today I offered him pay for work. Things he doesn't normally do - like cleaning the toilet, bathroom, vacuuming and sweeping. He earned $1 per job and things around here are cleaner. What he does with his four bucks is up to him. I'm off the chip hook and with a clean house to boot!

PS. I don't care if it's not done the way I would do it. It got done.

Heather said...

Your tomatoes are beautiful. Hopefully you will be able to enjoy your frozen stock later on, when your stomach condition gets better. I hope you feel better soon!

wayside wanderer said...

I haven't ever thought about it, but I measure my summer, too. Is it because we are stay at home moms and summer offers such a radically different change of pace in conjuction with such high expectations of wonders and bliss? I said something about this at church on sunday to a couple and the husband teased me saying something to the effect that his summer days look just like every other day of the year...get up, go to work, come home, yada yada. He was joking...but it did make me think (mostly how sorry for him I was...haha)

I hope you are feeling better and that it is NOT some malicious life ending illness. I hate my new tooth, by the way. I hope yours is better than mine.

debbie bailey said...

I agree with Wayside Wandered about why we measure summers. Must be a stay-at-home Mom thing! Also, because summers are SO different from the rest of the year, we cherish the time to be freer and more spontaneous. Makes sense to me anyway. I have exactly six hours before my daughter is officially a high school student at a school other than home. I'm sure measuring that!