What, me worry?

As a nationally-acclaimed worry-wort  (*disclaimer: no one has ever given me anything but grief, let alone acclaim for my vigilant worrying) a few weeks ago I did something that I’ve been feeling kind of proud of.

This:

That’s me (not pictured) boldly allowing my baby to ride her bike to school clear across suburbia all by herself without any bubble wrap.

And here I am not pictured again, sending my 4th grader out to meet the school bus alone with little more than a smile and that pack on her back.

I am brave. I am chill and relaxed and so comfortably assured that my children are prepared for their world that I can barely think of anything to worry about.  List? Consider yourself checked.

Vegetables? Eaten.

Sunscreen? Applied.

And oh yes stranger danger and helmets and looking two ways and holding on with both hands we’ve covered you too.  We are good.

And then, an email.  An email from school that came with this title:

Bear Activity confirmed in school district.

Aces.  So much for all that time I dedicated to compulsive preparations because I can tell you this with utter confidence  —  I sent those little lambs out into their environment without a single item that might be useful in self-defense against wild animals.

Unless you count a sharpened #2?

I turn my jittery, flustered attention back to the email and find, not a step-by-step on defeating bears with writing implements, but this helpful tip:

“Please talk to your children about bear safety.”

Um, right-o.  I am sure that tying trash in trees and stomping out campfires works just fine when these not-so-gentle giants are encountered in their woodsy ‘hood, but what could bear safety in the suburbs possibly look like?

I can only assume that it’s a little bit Never accept candy from trench-coat-adorned bears.

And perhaps a smattering of Just Say No, er, to bears.

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bowl

Excuse me the title, but when Acadia showcased her Queen Monster Tomato my mind had yet to make the leap from Shark Week and bigger boats to farming and jumbo tomatoes.

And when I say we’re gonna need a bigger bowl…

I mean with all hands on deck and tomato juice flying and canning jars bubbling away and our floor running red with the carnage of so much flesh being torn limb from oops, sorry.  Darn shark week muddling my metaphors.

Argggh, who needs sharks?  I’ve got a couple of  scurvy lasses willing to flash their knives in the name of preserving food.

And while all hands were on deck for slicing dicing squeezing and chopping,

a funny thing happened to me.  In the midst of all this my pulse, racing with the pressure of back to school and outgrown sneakers and unfamiliar schedules and shark attacks, started to beat just a bit smoother.  And my brow, furrowed with the worries brought on by a new middle-schooler and a calendar to be updated with activities galore, relaxed back into my forehead.

So what does one do with an abundance of relaxed emotions and a couple of backyard apple trees that chose this year to produce hundreds of glamour-shot worthy beauties?

Easy.  One leaps deftly from canning tomatoes to grinding out applesauce.  And once again our workers sliced and diced and ground away

all in the name of putting up enough sustenance to keep us well throughout the harsh winter to come.  Oh the joy of walking past the crumbling destruction that is our flooded basement and into the storage closet that now houses this bounty —

(Note to the nay-sayers:  Yes, one can survive on tomatoes, applesauce and jam alone.  But just in case, say hello to our back-up plan:  Operation Vegetarian Katniss.