My husband is driving #2 daughter back up to school today. She has eight weeks of summer school before she will actually be finished, though she has already had her commencement ceremony and all. A bit anti-climactic, I suppose, but I say that in the scheme of things it really doesn’t matter. The Empress pointed out that alterations to our plans can lead to better things than we ourselves had planned. There might, she said, be a wonderful opportunity coming up in July that wouldn’t have been available in May. #2 has a couple of job offers, but both are office manager things, not singer things. I think that it is comforting to have them, but I hope that she will encounter more wonderful opportunities. I will miss her a lot.

There is no cafeteria in the summertime at her school, so her daddy got her a good supply of noodles. If you have eaten Ramen noodles, you have a little idea of these. However, when you eat Ramen noodles, and think that they taste like a fake something, you are right. These are the real instant noodles that Ramen are the fake ones of. If you see what I mean. Three cases ought to see her through.

I have also packed up tea and single-serving packages of applesauce, and I am thinking that she also needs dried fruit, granola, chocolate, and other such camping food. She has lunch and dinner dates for tomorrow, and we are sending a bicycle up with her, so we think she will not starve to death during the next two months. If you are in her neck of the woods, give her a ride to the grocery store sometime, okay?

We are sending her up with her job-interview outfits, and a good job-search book, and I am trying hard not to hope that she comes back here and takes one of those jobs she has been offered. But from here on out, it is just me and the boys.

That has been true, of course, since #1 daughter married two and a half years ago — #2 was already away at school. But #2 has been home for about a third of the year since then. Now it will really just be me and the boys. I love them, but they don’t do crafting marathons with me, now do they?

That’s okay. That’s what my online crafting buddies are for. The knitters’ Summer Reading Challenge begins today. I am in the middle of My Very Own Murder, which is more general fiction than mystery novel, though a death has taken place.

The protagonist is a 50-year-old woman, newly divorced, who is  redefining herself. It doesn’t sound very entertaining, put like that, but actually it is.

It is too late now to join the Summer Reading Challenge if you haven’t already done so, but The Book Junkie has links and stuff if you want to dip into people’s postings from time to time.

The initial form of the challenge was this: read two books a week for the summer, and post about them. I am keeping that initial challenge. “But,” you may be thinking, “she already reads three books a week. What kind of challenge is that?”

Well, summer is already challenging for me. July and August are always very taxing at work, and The Empress has already announced that she expects June to be trying for all of us. We are opening a second store today. I have occasional slight worries — based on how thrilled people are that we are doing this — that our first location, the one where I am the manager, will languish and die and I will be out of work. I am not sure how exactly June will be extra trying, but I hope it will be very busy.

At the same time, summer at home is extra messy because the kids are out of school and hanging around all the time making messes. They also eat everything in the house every day, so keeping the place provisioned is a challenge. Also it is terribly hot here in the summer. And we have summer tuition this year, so there is the added financial challenge. I therefore look forward to coming home exhausted every day to a hot house in a hideous mess, in which I am supposed to cook dinner with minimal ingredients. I hope this is unduly pessimistic, but it is based on experience.

Keeping up with a healthy way of life is also more difficult in the summer, and perhaps more so this year because #2 daughter will not be here to be my gym partner. During the school year, I drop #2 son off at school and go right to the gym — I am in the car, I have on my gym clothes, why would I skip it? If I am instead getting up in the 90 or 100 degree weather, why not just loll around until time for work? I am also less energetic about fighting with the guys for my healthy foods, as opposed to the meatitude and sweetitude they prefer. More about this anon, but I expect the whole thing to be challenging this year.

So, what with one thing and another, I don’t think I need any more challenge than I already have. And yet, I like to have goals and plans. So the Summer Reading Challenge will provide a little structure and an essentially unchallenging challenge.

Some of the other participants have long reading lists, or plans like reading one nonfiction and one fiction book each week, or an all-classics plan. One of the fun variations was to post pictures of all the places you read during the challenge, and I might do that.

This month’s book for Knit the Classics is Wuthering Heights. I am making a traditional pleated teacosy. There are several reasons for this: first, I am in need of a teacosy to keep my tea hot for that second cup. Second, the person I remember best from my long-ago reading of Wuthering Heights is the housekeeper or nurse or whatever (I will let you know when I refresh my memory by re-reading) who comforts Catherine and Heathcliff,and I feel sure that she would have had one of these pleated teacosies. Third, this pattern involves clever construction. My knitting plans for the summer mostly involve great swathes of stockinette in really pretty colors, so I wanted to get in a bit of clever construction before embarking on the next summer knitting project. This pattern is from Traditional Victorian Whitework, though as you see I am not making mine white. I had intended to make it white and bright blue, like those striped English cups, but in the event, those colors were not available in the local shop, so I went with this French Country look. There is a similar, but free, pattern here.

The Sew? I Knit sewalong beginning today is a top. I completed my planned top during my sewing marathon weekend, but have a length of blue gauze and intend to make a summer top from it at some point during the month.

So that is the shape of June.