Tis the season

MontihairWe’re just galloping towards the end of school and this most kick ass time of year is flying by. If you took a venn diagram with one circle being school and one circle being summer, we’re in the intersecting area that is defined by sunshine, staring out the window, sweatiness, rowdiness, popsicles, field day, and a general slide-on-into-home attitude. I love it. I’ve always loved it. I never went to a school with air conditioning and neither do my kids. Somehow their damp brows and flushed faces at the end of the school day are all part of the charm. You can practically hear the drum beats: Sum-mer! Sum-mer! Sum-mer!

Babeos minus Paul-3In the midst of all of this, I got to fly off on a secret mission last week: Operation Babe-o-matic, Part II, to be specific. Sunny turned 40 and her hilarious husband, Tax Man Italiano, managed to plan a giant surprise party without her knowing. Of course, the Babe-os shimmyied and shammyied and sashayed in the door about 40 minutes after Sunny’s first heart attack of the evening, sending her into a second surprised near-swoon. It was tremendously fun and a comforting reminder that somethings never change. When Sunny’s 180 friends had cleared out, the five of us were still standing, dancing around with beers, feeling like we were 20 again. (Actually, I should say 6 of us because Meester Panqueques was an honorary Babe-o for the night, kindly fetching Dolly and me at the airport, driving us to the party in amused near-silence while Tartare, Dolly and I shrieked and chatted and dove right in in that way that friends do when there is very little time.) I’m only including a small photo because . . . how can I put this delicately? There would be no reason to subject you to our shiny happy late-night-good-time faces. No reason at all. It was a lightening quick trip – less than 24 hours, but so much fun, so very very good for my soul. My only regret is that I’m always left feeling bereft that these soul sisters of mine scattered like seeds in the wind after college, and not a one of them managed to land near me.

gardenAnd speaking of seeds, yesterday time slowed down twice for me, and both times, it was in a garden. First, Doctor Dash and I had a really juicy hour with a “garden coach” from Bachmans Nursery named Suzanne. She showed up at our house and she didn’t waste any time in plunging into our perennial garden to give us the lay of the land. We found out all sorts of stuff. Now we know we have two horrid invasive buckthorn trees that need to be removed asap (actually, it’s already done – Doctor Dash could also aptly be renamed Doctor Bushwhacker). We also now know that we should be fawning over a beautiful lacy drapey Pagoda Dogwood because we are “lucky to have such a specimen.” We know where to move the hydrangea that is languishing in the shade and the bleeding heart that is getting the shit kicked out of it over in soccer terrain. We know which hostas are next for being divided and recolonized and what to do with the crazy rose bush that’s turned aggressive, hanging its thorny branches into the yard in the hopes of catching some tender child flesh. We now know what is weed and what is hearty native growth. We even know what to put in Melancholy Corner and that, my friends, is something that has eluded us since we moved into this house. Suzanne was knowledgeable, witty, and best of all, pragmatic. I feel like we can do this now. We can make our garden even more beautiful, piece by piece, plant by plant, season by season.

4kidsAs soon as I was finished with Suzanne, I raced off to school to drive Supergirl and a few of her friends to Waite House, the food shelf that our school collects food for all year long. The first graders were going to deliver and plant the vegetables they had grown from seed in the Waite House garden. The garden will be tended by the Waite House volunteers and the families who utilize the services. There were enough kids to do most of the planting so I mostly got to watch and listen and I have to say, it was lovely. We didn’t need “one more thing” to go do, but I’m so glad we did this. Not only did they plant tons of tomatoes, beans, peppers and herbs, they pretty much lined the perimeter of the chain link fence with sunflowers and other ornamentals. I am so grateful to their teachers for realizing that there is no end to the good that can come of this – the planting, the waiting, the giving, the digging, the beautifying. It’s all so good for our guys and hopefully there will be many families eating delicious tomatoes later this summer; tomatoes that started out as seeds in cups on an elementary school floor.

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