Friday, August 24, 2012

On Friendship


Here's what Ben gave Ava for her birthday. He spent ages on the Cape looking for the perfect stones and shells. It was the counterpoint to her Christmas present to him, which she'd made from rocks she'd found on a beach in Ireland.


Ben and Ava, 2012

Ben and Ava, 2005
There's nothing quite like a long friendship, is there? They're like a pair of old slippers. With teenaged feet inside them. Sigh.
Meanwhile, there are some other things I've been enjoying in these last days of summer.


This summer pasta with corn, zucchini, lime, and mint, for one. Not to be immodest, but it is just insanely fragrant and summery and delicious, and so perfect for nights when you've got a couple zukes, a couple ears of corn, and loads of fresh herbs.

Wild grapes, which, if you live in New England, are happening early, as in now.

This lip balm, which I've now given to a couple of people too. The color is perfect; it's fragrance-free but smells great; it's very nicely moist; everybody loves it.

This book, which is like a classic quietly apocalyptic middle-school coming-of-age story crossed with a more loudly apocalyptic global-warming story. I know. It doesn't sound good, but I absolutely loved it, and then Michael loved it too. Don't worry--it's not at all like those urban end-of-the-world stories where everybody's lurking around a burnt-out New York in the dark with guns and rabid dogs. It's more like everyday misery refracted through the end times. Hm. Still not sounding quite right.

And this book, mostly because Tracy Clark is such a gorgeously inspirational photographer and writer, and also because I have a teeny little thing in it.

We've been watching Arrested Development with Ben every night, late, and while I'm not exactly recommending it, boy, are we laughing a lot. Come on!

Ben, who starts middle school next week. I will be catatonically depressed about the end of the summer. Please stand by. Dear friends, do. Stand by me.

xo

29 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:45 PM

    I join you in catatonia. If that's a word. Except I'm also agitatedly manic.

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  2. That lip balm?!?! We gave that to our teachers last Christmas. Huge hit. :)
    Happy Almost Back to school...how did we follow you from 'Bringing up Ben' to him starting middle school!?!?

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  3. Erin K.2:07 PM

    That lip balm also lives on my desk at work! These days it constitutes being "made up" If I wear a slightly darker lip balm or break it out and put on some eyeshadow and mascara my boys look at me wide eyed and say "wow mommy you look so fancy" The bar is that low :)

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  4. I just bought that lip balm 2 days ago, on a whim, and I'm in love. It dresses up my "I don't really wear makeup . . . " look so nicely :) And I hear you on the middle school thing. My kiddo started last Thursday. It's awesome, in both the current and the more traditional, terrifying senses of the word. It's been a transition. Last night as we fought him to go to bed (after practicing 2 sports, and having fought him to get *up* that morning) he said tearfully, "But I just want to READ! There's no time to read in middle school!" I assured him that the first couple of weeks were about finding balance, and that we'd get the schedule figured out. Now, to make that happen. *sigh*

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  5. Michele2:33 PM

    I've never loved the feel of Burts Bees, but this? This one has changed my life:

    http://soaptopia.com/shea_butter_lip_balms

    I am particularly fond of the coconut one - the mint is nice too.

    And my oldest is off to junior high in the fall as well. I will join you in catatonia, or at the very least in a large bottle of wine!

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  6. Anonymous4:29 PM

    I am reading that book, too, and had an equally hard time describing it to a friend today. I'll be taking it on my 6 day camping trip for a little light reading. ;-)

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  7. The book was gripping, and good...but deeply and quietly sad.

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  8. KerrMama5:00 PM

    Catherine, you HAVE to read Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani. It's written as a series of letters between middle school pen pals, with Silas writing from the southeast Kentucky boy's view and Neela writing from the NYC immigrant girl's view. I heard the authors interviewed on NPR and realized House is practically my neighbor. I loved every sweet word (and a great message about the dangers of mountain-top removal). I know my middle-schoolers would love it if I could ever pry my daughter away from Ponyboy Curtis (one of my first loves too). My baby boy started middle school this month and it's gut-wrenching. Mine are on either side of Ben (my daughter's older) and you and I practically share a birthday a year apart. Yes, I've been cyber-stalking you since BabyCenter. Love your lyrical prose.

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  9. My oldest started the seventh grade last week, and my baby is due in 24 days. My emotional state is not exactly pleasant for those who have to live with me. I feel your pain.

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  10. Thanks for the book suggestions. I'm going to buy the Age of Miracles for myself and Elevate the Everyday for a friend of mine who is a mother and loves photography.

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  11. My oldest started Middle School on Monday and my baby started Kindergarten. (I have 2 in between also.) Wow! What a week! We did survive though. :o)

    Middle school for him is totally different than it was for me. He has "A" day and "B" day - 4 different classes each day. I'm already confused and I'm not the one who has to DO it! LOL

    My baby Kindergartener was in bed at 5:30 this evening (Friday!). He is totally wiped out, poor baby.

    Poor Mama . . . where did all the babies go?!?!?

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  12. I just had to chime in and mention that the pasta is my very favorite at-home meal, and I make it often in the summer. Some friends recently gave us a gigantic zucchini, and I made the pasta and your olive oil-zucchini cake. It was perfect. What would I do without you? :)

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  13. Rebecca7:30 PM

    My Ben starts middle school, too. And he's such a teenager already (low voice, grown to 5' 9", listening to music) that I nearly cry when he snuggles me briefly. They are still sweet boys, even if they look like men.

    We've had a Catan-centric summer. Makes me think of you :)

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  14. Wow, how times flies! I started following your blog when my youngest (who starts second grade) was an infant. I feel your pain. My oldest starts high school. I feel like I have such a short time to cram in as much as possible before she leaves the nest.

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  15. Yikes! Middle school! How did this happen? Thanks for sharing so many years of your family's life with us and good luck with the transition. The sandwich and hamburger kits were just fabulous!

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  16. Anonymous6:12 PM

    I just started this past week as a middle school counselor after working as a counselor in an elementary school for seven years. Does that count? ;) I find that new kindergarteners and new 6th graders are not so different. Both so wide-eyed, excited for the independence and new experience, with weepy parents in tow, and everyone needing so much reassurance. It really will all be ok, promise.

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  17. Love that BB balm in Rose. Thanks for the reminder on the pasta--I've had it floating around in my brain since you originally posted it, but have never gotten around to actually making it. Will try it ASAP. Best wishes with back to school.

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  18. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Just read your original post with the pasta recipe. Love your comment about Anni. Now-a-days ideas abound... :) ellie

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  20. Love Arrested Development. We've let the kids watch it since they were little. What's nice is that they don't understand all the dirty jokes until they're old enough to be allowed to hear them.

    "It's not a *Volvo*."

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  21. P.S. Catherine, have you ever made Sue Gregg's whole grain blender waffles (http://www.suegregg.com/recipes/breakfasts/blenderbatterwaffles/blenderbatterwafflesA.htm). I'm making them this morning (after they soaked all night) and thought of you and how they might be right up your delicious waffle (and wholesome whole grain) alley. Give them a try if you haven't. I'm using a blend of oats, barley, millet, and brown rice, and Kate's Real Buttermilk for the liquid. They are super light and crisp and don't taste "healthy" in the slightest.

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  22. So glad you commented that the lip balm smells nice, because I bought some Badger lip balm recently and I can barely stand to use it because it smells so strange. All natural is sometimes stinky.
    My oldest started kindergarten 2 weeks ago, and I too can't believe how quickly time is flying. We will all be here to hold your virtual hand as your babies grow up.
    I am waiting for Hurricane Isaac to turn off the lights, so I'm frantically trying to do anything internet-wise that I won't be able to if we're out of power. Thanks for being one of the top things to read!

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  23. Loved "Snow Child," thanks sor the recommendation. Still wish you were on Twitter!

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  24. I love it when you make these lists. I already put the lip balm in my cart. If a credit card #'s saved in there, I'm going to buy it too!

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  25. While I'm grateful a lot of Arrested Development goes over my kids' heads, I'm so looking forward to enjoying "Analrapist" together. For now they're all "Bob Loblaw's Law Blog"---this has been hilarious FOR YEARS!

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  26. It's crazy. My son is starting middle school in two days. I have been reading your blog (of and on - I stopped internetting for a while to try to live my real life. Then I gave up.) since I was pregnant with him, and I wish I could toast you with a cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever you drink.... tea with vodka?)

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  27. How was the first day of middle school?

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  28. jenny2:29 PM

    what age do kids start middle school in usa? here its age 8 and I'm sure Bens older than that! how many years in each school do you have , it either goes 4/4/4 here or 3/4/5

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  29. Family First believes public finances should be diverted from expensive (high tax) government bureaucracies to families.

    Family First

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