Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer Wraps Up

How was your summer? Mine, for the most part, was exceedingly fun. Some of the people in this house had a birthday party in which they were suddenly revealed to be EIGHT YEARS OLD. And seeing as how they were such Harry Potter fans I made them some fancy schmancy Harry Potter items to usher in this event: origami owls, letters of acceptance to Hogwarts, cards with miniature gear for their new school, paper wands in custom cardboard boxes, boxes of chocolate frogs with wizard cards (it's intriguing what some adults are getting up to out there, I tell you). We even convinced The Queen of Dairies to put a Hogwarts crest on one of their finest ice cream cakes, seeing as how we're always on holiday when this birthday rolls around, and my holiday kitchen in no way resembles the kind of kitchen one could bake or ice a cake in. Then, when we got home and had another birthday party for the relatives, I'd had enough of we'd kind of exhausted the whole Harry Potter thing so I made them a cake that was supposed to look like an Ohm, which is a creature from a Miyazaki movie called Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. An ohm looks like a large woodbug. Well, a large woodbug with lots of blue eyes, which turn bright red when it's mad, which is usually when the humans do bad things to the environment (ack, go watch the film, I'm making it sound weird). And, in an occurrence that really shouldn't surprise me anymore, when I was trolling the internet looking for Ohm stills on which to base the cake, I came across a lot of Ohmu in various mediums, made by a lot of very odd creative people and there was even a Lego Ohmu. The people in this house who turned eight was thrilled with their particular Ohm, especially as it involved three layers of cake, a whole package of sparklers, and a ton of icing.

I made a dress out of this material (cast your eyes left) and endured an astonishing amount of comments from people who could not understand why I was wearing a) a dress made out of kid's fabric, b) a dress made out of material with SILLY LOOKING BUGS on it, and c) a really LOUD green dress. All I could say was "Umm, because I liked the material?"






I made chocolate leaves for yet another birthday cake, this time one for an adult who wanted something more sedate than an Ohm cake. Chocolate leaves are one of the more satisfying things one can do with a lot of leftover chocolate chips, they're super easy, and they always look really impressive. Oops, I'm outing myself here, aren't I? Trust me, they'll practically KILL you they're so complicated - and they take HOURS to make.

We also swam a lot. And played a lot. And built a lot of Lego structures. And caught the cat accidentally with the hose a few times (the places this cat sleeps!). And in a final, last ditch attempt at capturing the summer, the twins and I decided to enter a whole whack of categories for the local County Fair. We collected the longest bean pods we could find, the best pumpkins we could find, the reddest tomatoes we had, and Dominic even went all out and made some penguin cupcakes from the amazingly creative Hello Cupcake book he'd discovered at the library. I entered some of my canned things and a few garden items. FDPG made some pressed flower creations and some truly lovely greeting cards. It was incredibly hectic and exciting and breathlessly fun (some of us won a few Best In Category ribbons and a surprising number of firsts and some of us even won some - gasp - cash) and although we all agreed to enter at least 4 times as many categories next year, we also decided not to start everything the week before the fair. In the interests of not giving me a nervous breakdown...

And now it's the end of the summer. School is starting almost INSTANTLY. I like to mark this time. Something to mark the start of a new school year, a time of excitement and anticipation in this house even though we're homeschoolers and don't have to get up early to catch a bus or get to the classroom on time. If our school funds come tomorrow we'll be off to get some new pencils perhaps, or something in the workbooky line for the always busy FDPG, or the watercolours I'm planning for our Art Bags. Then it'll be back to dealing with the 5,392,190 tomatoes in the back yard. Tomatoes to turn into many many jars of salsa (a salsa that won me a Best in Category ribbon at the fair - does it get any more exciting than that?) for those long winter months.

We had a funny incident the other week, as we were on our way to meet a friend at the bank. We were racing to meet a friend at a bank, and some fellow in a coffee shop doorway said, å propos of nothing "Don't worry - they'll all be gone in another 2 weeks!" My kids, for whom this was a Mysterious Remark From Another Planet, all said "What did he mean by that? Where are we going?" They were uneasy. Disquieted, even. I was SO tempted to play a little game with them, but being the mature adult I (sometimes) am, I didn't. "He meant school," I said, "public school. All parents generally look forward to getting rid of their kids round about now." Then I looked at them all and laughed rather immoderately.

"Poor you," said Max, "You're stuck with us!" And then we ALL laughed rather immoderately.

19 comments:

Heather said...

I love that you entered preserves in the fair. I sometimes wonder if that is one of those things that will begin to dwindle as the older people who have always preserved things pass on. There just doesn't seem to be as many people who can things anymore. Anyway, it makes me sad and so I am always pleased to hear of people entering and carrying on the tradition, you know? Last year the boys and I were talking about entering but then we moved and that was the end of that plan. Next year! ;-)

Sarah N. said...

Congratulations on your success at the fair! I love the idea of an ohmu cake. I've got to try making chocolate leaves sometime. I have a dress made out of fabric that looks quite similar except the grass is thinner and there are butterflies, bees and dragonflies. I've lost count of all the times someone has assumed I can't wait to get rid of my kids as school starts.

Samantha said...

Why not a photo of you modeling the dress? Come on, please please! ;-) I can't tell what style it is.
I love that fabric by the way. Very fun :-)

sheila said...

Heather, you MUST enter next year. It's incredibly fun. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I saw all those firsts and Best In Show rosettes. It was weirdly rewarding. Even better, my parents were so thrilled. It's something they can relate to. It's a tradition I can deal with.

And Samantha my DAHLING, I wore that dress today JUST FOR YOU and Shelly saw me wearing it AND I told her why I was wearing it and to be SURE to tell you what it looked like (unless it looked really dorky and then she was to tell you that I looked really hot). Because I am big and fat and unphotogenic and so can only really exist in your imagination.

Samantha said...

Lucky Shelly! So, she didn't get any secret photos so I can see you then eh? I ordered in a couple of guidebooks from your area so I can start mentally planning a trip down in my head. I even got a book that gives a walking tour of the area. I'm very ambitious. ;-) Then I'll just need to balls to drive onto the ferry - oh, and the money but that's small beans compared to the ferry .

Maybe I should send you a photo of what I really look like. My wedding photo is muy deceiving and it was the ONLY wedding photo that I liked (possibly because it didn't look like me)

Why are we so hard on ourselves eh? :-)

sheila said...

Sarah, thankyou! Maybe we could waltz around the coffee shops one morning with our children in tow, proclaiming a Wear Silly Clothing Day?

sheila said...

Samantha, I will meet you at the ferry and drive you on if you like. And Shelly said that you are REALLY cute IRL, no matter what you say, so there. Somehow, after seeing your wedding picture, I suspected as much. And no, I don't THINK she got any shots, although her daughter followed us around with an iPod touch so STEEL yourself. If I have bat wings they aren't mine!

We're hard on ourselves because we are hardwired for it, I think. It's an evolutionary tic. I'm not sure why else - Shelly and I did discuss the whole Hag Girl in School thing and we came away none the wiser.

Vivian said...

Sheila! How do you have time to do all these things? I am shamed and will now make more of an effort for my little one's birthday party. You are amazing. I hope your family knows it.

sheila said...

Vivian, I am among the Great Unemployed ranks, so I have way more time than you probably do. And I think I harbor secret ambitions to decorate strange cakes. And look for weird 'wizard fonts' on the internet. There's a thrill in the oddball for me.

But you know, I think some of this stems from us never having 'invite 10 friends for pizza and a movie' birthday parties. Those kind of parties incite a certain panic in me. I've always avoided them and while my kids never say anything, I've wondered if they wish I did them more. So I make sure their family party has elements of those other kinds of parties: crazy cake, fun trappings, etc.

Shelly said...

OK Ladies. I must interject. Samantha, the dress is adorable. It's something I would wear. And no, Sheila, I never thought of sneaking my cell phone out to snap a secret photo. (note to self: take cell phone to Sheila's next visit) Driving on the ferry is super easy. Maybe the next time I come down, you'll have to just come with me and we'll both go to Sheila's for latte. She makes a great one. 3 hours flew by and we both suddenly realized that we had to be somewhere else. And I'm still trying to figure out how to download that font...

sheila said...

Shelly! Why do you think I was posing so much? Or did you not notice? I thought for sure me lounging on the edge of that armchair with my hair tossed so casually over my shoulder, continually letting loose my silvery laugh would have given it away, but I see I had you caught in my web of Tomfoolery...ha ha.

I'm glad you find driving on the ferry easy. It's a big ferry, Samantha. Big lanes. Lots of room. Nice staff guiding you along. Clean well lit stairways. Vending machines along the way, even. I'll even buy you a Hello magazine to take your mind off the stress of it all. And there will be a reassuring, soothing latté when you get off on the other side. Just watch out for Rebecca's dog...

Samantha said...

Oooh! Now I want to see the dress! Have I mentioned how impressed I am that you made a dress?!??! Would you at least post it on the knitting conference??

For the record, I have driven on ferries before. The first time was in my dad's car and they squished me down the side and my side mirror hit a pole. The next time, I was in my f-i-l's truck, and they put me on a hill, and I was so paranoid it was going to roll back (even though it was an automatic) so as the line started moving in front of me, I gently pushed the gas and the truck wouldn't move. Panic, panic! So I pushed harder on the gas and the truck revved up but still didn't move!!! Oh no, what was going on !!!!!! I thought. Then I put it into drive (oops!) and it drove forward. I don't know why ferries do this to me. It's madness!

However, we are talking about (at some point) moving to an island so it would be really great for me to get over this little issue... or else I could stow away in Shelly's trunk ;-)

Samantha said...

What is Hello magazine?

I was thinking, maybe they will give me the big lanes if I drive a Hummer, since it's wider then most vehicles.

Samantha said...

I was reading something, and it said to do one thing per month that scares you (something like that) so maybe a driving on the ferry should be my one thing one month. Maybe after months of visualization and hypnosis I can do this. The funny thing is, most of the time I will not let something like this defeat me. I make myself do it. I can do it right? I am in independent woman!!! I can do anything!!! RIght?

Hmm, I wonder how long before you block my comments ;-)

sheila said...

Well, I just wrote a long post about Hello magazine and it blocked MY comments!

Help! I've fallen into a giant pit of Internet Hell!

sheila said...

Well, let's try that again (sheila approaches the Sleeping Blog stealthily and silently, in case it should wake and block her comments again).

http://greenridgechronicles.blogspot.com/2008/08/summer-vacation-part-2.html

Here's a link where I discuss Hello! magazine and it's unfortunate descent into the depths of Celebrity Allegiances.

sheila said...

It accepted me! It likes me! My blog actually LIKES me! Oh Relief is mine!

(oh shut up sheila you idiot)

Samantha said...

You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, your blog likes you!!

Off to check out your magazine :-)

Samantha said...

Sheila my dear, you are hilarious! I will never be able to read another review on, well, anything, as it will be a terrible disappointment after (briefly) seeing the world through your eyes. All other reviews will be terribly dull.

The aging rocker did not look all that happy by the way. And I can't help but wonder what Ashley bought when he hit the shops. I'm intrigued! ;-)