I'm afraid I'm full of grumbles and gripes during the slow tick tock of the clock this week. Riley and I are feeling the continuing grind of schoolwork that is chaining us mercilessly to the kitchen table as of late.
Memories of our carefree road trip, rolling along the cozy little windy lanes of Cape Cod, trundling up through the wilds of Maine's rugged harbor dotted coastline seem to have faded now and become surreal.
It is at times like this, when my kitchen table is my only daily vantage point, when I know why I am so compelled to use my camera to capture scenes, beautifully plated meals, softly blowing flower fields, moody sunsets, diverse people, and anything that can trigger for me again the incredible moments in time of luxurious freedom and discovery that seem so rarely enjoyed.
Basically, as can be guessed, homeschooling high school means reliving each and every one of those high school courses that some of us might generally prefer to forget. We're all strong in some areas and weaker in others. For me, those were any subjects math related. Thank goodness I out-source that subject and also have a math wizard for a husband who can see straight through word problems, quadratic equations, and anything that deals with trains traveling at certain miles per hour.
Never did I expect to homeschool high school. These final years of junior and senior year have my wee brain cells stretching to the maximum capacity. But, with a daughter now in college, and reporting back to me how much she values her homeschooling past, urging me to stay committed to it for her brother, I am resolved to see these next two years through.
It's not a glamorous life. Period. It is a kitchen table filled with books, french translation sheets, computers, globes, calculators, spark notes, PSAT workbooks, driver's ed workbooks, and all manner of cool pencils and pens that make the process of high school a touch more fun.
We have committed to this learning style for my son. It is a full time job that takes a lot out of me each and every day. There are good days when I think, in our own small way, we are changing the future course of the next generation. And there are not so good days when I readily award myself the worst teacher in the world ribbon and go off to sulk in the corner as Patrick gives me a much needed pep talk.
But I am not the type to shirk on any kind of responsibility when it comes to my children. So we plod steadfastly ahead, one day at a time, one class at a time, one assignment at a time...deep into the world of poetry genres, origins of government types, hundreds of french verbs, and subatomic origins of cellular theories.
But, when I lose sight of the purpose of my goal and the end seems murky and gloomy...I go into the kitchen...I can move into a world of my own imagined glamor. I can clear the daily clutter of humdrum school life off the table.
In my alternate world, I can create for us a meal that whisks my mind off to a cozy little dark wooden paneled pub in London with a plaid chair pushed up to a crackling fireplace, or a tucked away little bistro on Rue Cler in Paris with little square sugar cubes on the table, or a remote B&B on the gentle island of PEI where perhaps a little red fox might scamper across the lawn and go off into the distant woods.
Such is the glamorous life that I paint in the life of my food blogging world. When I feel like the school year's end is far off into the future and assignments are piled high and one research paper melds into yet another and another...there is always.. dinner.
Not every dinner is a glamorous one. That is certainly for sure. Weekends are filled with dreamy concoctions carefully planned, sliced, chopped and fretted over in the kitchen. But weeknights are an entirely different story. A leftover soup warmed up quickly...anything that can be thrown on top of a salad...and all manner of prepared eggs with toast are typical nightly fares.
But every now and then, I get an extra burst of energy after the last subject has been graded, discussed, completed, and checked off of the list...to slip into the kitchen and prepare a little feast for our week night dinner.
This Pork Tenderloin with Autumn Royal Grapes and Shallot Sauce dinner was just such an occasion this week. All ingredients were on on hand. Quickly sliced shallots are thrown into a hot sizzling cast iron pan and infuse the house with weekend style aromas. A pour of leftover white wine and a splash beef stock bring together a deliciously satisfying and quick weeknight meal.
I came home from the weekend market with a small container of quail eggs that gave an extra perk to our week night plates.
It's good that the seasons are pushing for a change. I am ready for a change, a break, a shakeup...a light at the end of the tunnel of homework assignments that need sorting, grading, filing, and organizing.
A little weeknight feast. Quickly prepared. Wearily made but dreamily enjoyed. We've made it up and over Wednesday. The weekend is in sight. I have recipes to linger over, markets to make my rounds through, and weekend living to savor before the kitchen table becomes the repository of all manner of unglamorous activity once again!