And so another summer comes to an end.
I’m good with that. Summer is my least favorite season. I feel that after living in Texas and Tennessee for five years each, I’ve done my time in mind-meltingly hot weather and oppressive humidity.
Wouldn’t it be nice if reality actually worked like that? But, no.
Lest you think it’s all curmudgeon all the time around here, there are things about summer that I like.
It’s nice to have no particular schedule to adhere to. If the kids make it to swimming lessons, great! If I call an audible and decide to spent the morning in my jammies, no big deal. We can go to the library _ or not. It’s all loosey-goosey.
Granted, after a few weeks of this, my innate scheduler is sighing loudly and looking at her watch _ but I shan’t dwell on that. This is about the good parts of summer.
I love that we have more freedom to pack up and go away. During the school year, our academic jobs and the kids’ school schedules make it nearly impossible to get out of town without Normandy Beach level logistics.
When the kids were younger, we would simply pull them out of school to satisfy our wanderlust. Now we’re in the meat of their academic lives. Yes, they can miss a day or two here and there _ but it’s really best not to.
Which isn’t to say that if some kind, benevolent soul gave us an all-expenses paid trip to Europe that had to be taken in October, I wouldn’t find a way to make it work. Because I’m not a total fool.
Now that the kids are older, we’ve developed a few traditions that I’d miss if summer suddenly dropped out of the year.
I would feel bereft without several hours spent reading while waiting for the end of swimming lessons or T-ball games.
It’s fun to mosey around the park while talking about nothing more important than the probability of rain. Also, I can kick both kids and the dog outside without fear that they’ll freeze.
I can plan whole menus around foods that can be grilled, which is, perhaps, my favorite method of cooking because I’m not responsible for doing it.
What I will miss the most, however, will be the caterpillars.
I’m not sure how this started. Perhaps it was suggested by my father-in-law, a retired second-grade teacher. Perhaps my husband is responsible because he saw a milkweed plant on a golf course. Or maybe the idea simply coalesced out of the heavy July air.
The origin matters not.
Every summer since the Diva was a toddler, we’ve collected monarch caterpillar eggs, which we nurture through their hatching and eating and chrysalising and emerging stages. It is one of the world’s easiest biology demonstrations and one that only requires minimal diligence.
Valuable kitchen counter space is eaten up by every last glass vase, jar or storage container that can be repurposed as a rookery. Extra milkweed leaves stack up on our deck, should there be a dining emergency. For the caterpillars, of course.
And every dang summer, I swear it will be the last one for this mess and madness. It’s enough to keep the dog and the cats and the kids alive. Why ask for more trouble?
And every dang summer, the same moment changes my mind.
I get how caterpillars work. They are, essentially, digestive systems with eyes whose sole directive is to eat as much milkweed as possible. They go from sesame-seed-sized to nearly thumb-length in a matter of weeks. They eat and eat and eat and eat until they just can’t eat no more.
What I don’t get is how the transformation works. This munching machine hangs itself upside down, splits its skin, reveals the green chrysalis that was underneath, and ... what?
My sense of wonder, long dulled by years of being an adult, is reawakened each time this happens. I would be less astounded if a bear came out of hibernation as a house cat or a gerbil. Each still has four legs and fur; the biggest change is one of scale.
The same can’t be said for caterpillars and butterflies. They don’t share that many components, really. Which says nothing about the wings.
Part of me wants to know what goes on behind the green curtain _ do the insect’s innards completely dissolve? are there bits that remain? where does it all go? _ but most of me enjoys the mystery too much to spoil it.
No matter how many times we do it, I am perennially astounded when I discover an actual butterfly hanging from the top of the jar. Every. Time.
I’m sure there’s some great analogy that can be made between this and parenting, about how kids are nothing but eating machines whose transformations are also mysteries, etc. There is truth in that.
But without my kids, I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience the simple wonder that takes place on my kitchen counter every summer. It almost makes the rest of the season worthwhile.
Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of “Sweater Quest.” Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/
And so another summer comes to an end.
Life in a fish bowl: Careful planning needed when setting up aquarium
Some say that tropical fish are the ultimate pets -- the key to mental health, a peaceful humidifier, a source of perpetual scientific questions, an inexpensive alternative to rising cable TV bills. And there are those who simply love the beauty of fish.Continued ...
Focus on health helps restore Sharon Springs
Indomitable spirits are reviving the resort culture of Sharon Springs, in Schoharie County.Continued ...
What would you do if you were president?
Presidents Day is Monday. Not only is it a day to reflect on past presidents, it can be a day for people to imagine what they would do if they were president. We asked local elementary students their thoughts on the subject, and below are their responses, exactly as written:Continued ...
Thoughtful gifts can make Feb. 14 a day to remember
Valentine's Day is less than a week away, but there is still time to show your love how much you care.Continued ...
Prepare for the Taxman: Get paperwork ready to send to the IRS
Taxes, taxes. Many Americans really hate them.Continued ...
- Life in a fish bowl: Careful planning needed when setting up aquarium
- Around The Arts
Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
As I sit here writing this, the holiday glow is still going strong (my column deadline is two weeks before the publication date), and I've been spending a great deal of time not only with my daughter, but her stuff. We're incredibly lucky to have a loving network of family and friends that spoil her, so I've been merging her new goodies with her old.Continued ...
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
Art found in the foods at local road stands, markets
Artisanal foods have become quite popular in recent years, with some abuse of the term by mass-retailers and fast food restaurants.Continued ...
- Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
- Music Beat
Copyright royalties can make you smile
A few years ago, I wrote an article on the skill and dedication necessary to become a songwriter.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
Build a team to build a career
People love music because music is that magical means of communication that never fails. The music industry is going through some rough times, but it is not going to die because music is a basic, central need in everyone's life.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips about Percentage and Commission Agreements
Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
Catch 22 is a successful American ska/punk band that has released several albums and has a record deal with the Chicago-based label, Victory Records. Although the band has its roots in New Jersey, founding member Ryan Eldred has friends with whom he produces recordings in Walton During one of Eldred's visits to Walton, he met Ann Jones, a home-schooled native of Walton, an enthusiastic cellist and successful professional hairstylist.Continued ...
- Copyright royalties can make you smile
- Parenting Imperfect
It is in February when the breaking point is reached
If I could edit the calendar, the two months I'd do away with are August and February.Continued ...
Ibuprofen saved the vacation
Right after New Year's Day, we four hearty souls flew to Orlando to visit my mother, stepfather and aunt.Continued ...
The write stuff is often hard to find in my household
Now that the kids are older and I sleep well most nights, my biggest parenting challenge is boundaries. The challenge is that I feel like I should have them and the small people refuse to acknowledge such a thing could exist.Continued ...
Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.Continued ...
A Halloween message to my future self
I'm writing this column a few days before Halloween. And I'm writing this mostly for my future self, as a reminder of the lessons learned this particular last week in October.Continued ...
- It is in February when the breaking point is reached
- Senior scene
From the Office: Laws work to help protect those in need of guardianship
Sometimes individuals cannot care for themselves. In New York, guardianship laws exist to empower others to take care of children and adults who need help to care for themselves and or their property. This is the second of a two-part column that explores the issues and the law of guardianship in New York state.Continued ...
Looking Back: Dressing modestly for success never goes out of style
Where have all the years gone? It seems like just yesterday that I was able to go and go… do and do so much more: Shopping all the "clearance racks" store after store and enjoying seeing all the new items and keeping up-to-date with what the fashions will be for the next season (that is if they weren't too hilariously out of line with good taste and lacking modesty). I really enjoyed "shopping 'til I drop."Continued ...
Social Security: Sometimes some of your Social Security income is taxable
Around this time every year, I get many questions about Social Security benefits and filing taxes.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Don't confuse signs of 'magnesia' with senior moments
The other day somebody told me I was losing my mind; this was when I realized that I might have "milk of magnesia."Continued ...
- From the Office: Take advantage of all the help available to you
- From the Office: Laws work to help protect those in need of guardianship
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
A Word of Advice: It's never too early to work on soft skills
If somebody on the street asks you your best characteristics, you'll probably start telling them about how good you are with kids or how articulate you can be.Continued ...
On the Go: Rainbow connection to principles that I follow
During the fall, I had an assignment at school to write a Mad-Lib style poem about where I am from. In the section for religious beliefs, I wrote about sleeping in on Sundays and the rainbow principles.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: Poetry of 19-year-old sharpens view on life
Almost all high school students I know claims they "don't like poetry." Or at least they wouldn't go out of their way to read it.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Some things are better when you do it yourself
I'm a do-it-yourself kind of girl.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: Don't get mad, get even
Failure and rejection are signs taken in by the modern human consciousness as those of nothing but that â€" failure.Continued ...
- A Word of Advice: It's never too early to work on soft skills