New York Haikus

Wedding in New York
Beautiful bride, handsome groom
Sure hope they make it

You know I’m kidding
Of course they’re going to make it
Can’t you take a joke?

A night at Ustavs
Saris, flowers, rings on toes
A blend of cultures

Candlelit wedding
An altar of white roses
Hope they don’t catch fire

Food, spirits, music
Fancy moves on the dance floor
The Best fam’ly rocks

Dance the night away
Mom takes a turn on the floor
Her new hip works well

Open bar, dance floor
Brothers and sisters can’t help
but be obnoxious

If the day should come
When my children choose to wed
You can pay me back

After the wedding
A visit to the Waldorf
Looking for Brad Pitt

The party’s over
Let’s get out and take a walk
First we need Starbucks

A stroll down 5th Ave.
Pashminas are everywhere
I think I’ll buy some

Blend with the natives
Try to catch a friggin’ cab

Buy a subway pass
How many tries does it take
So aggravating

Time for all to leave
Goodbyes are never easy
Lets do this again


Life goes on

I am adjusting to my empty nest. Oh sure, I’ve had days when every time I’ve turned my head I’ve been confronted by sweet reminders of my days with little ones…finding an ”I love you mommy” note in an old handbag, hearing a song on the radio that my daughters used to dance to as preschoolers, unearthing little green army men in a garden. As suggested by my sister-in-law I have allowed myself to become a sloppy, blubbering mess while perusing photo albums. I’ve also called on friends who have listened to me wallow and name each and every injustice, real or imagined, that I’ve foisted on my kids. And in a few moments of clarity I’ve patted myself on the back for a job well done. I’ve also made some interesting discoveries. For instance:
My teenage children were NOT the only people in the house who subscribed to the “leave it where you drop it” genre of housekeeping.
A fist full of wasabi peas and a glass of wine is NOT a balanced meal.
With practice, it IS possible to watch several television programs at the same time.
An unmade bed isn’t all that unsightly.
The pile of towels on the couch will eventually get folded, and if it doesn’t, well a wrinkley towel is just as absorbent as a nicely folded one.
Moving forward, I’ve spent more time in my studio and with fewer demands on me, I’ve been able to work at odd hours and well into the night. I’ve decided to show a few pieces at Gallery 110 in November and am working diligently to complete one last piece before then. When I began the piece I considered doing a series of blog entries entitled, The Anatomy of a Relief Print, illustrating my process, step-by-step, but somehow getting the piece done on time seemed more important. Maybe next time.
I think I’m going to be okay. It’s like the extra room has allowed me to puff-up a bit. I’m taking up more space, (um… figuratively and literally…what was that about wasabi peas and wine for dinner?) and that’s a good thing.


Empty Nest

All my chicks have left the nest. Can’t talk about it.


One down, two to go

Daughter M has been delivered to her university of choice, not without a fiasco. A failed sprinkler system prevented her from settling in to her dorm room immediately, but with the help of big fans, drainage tubes and professional water removal specialists running here and there measuring moisture levels, she was able to move in a few days later. Let’s hope this is not some sort of sign or omen for her life on campus. Although, she did tell me that the other day she spilled a bowl of soup down her front and everyone in the cafeteria looked up (at her) as the bowl, tray and its contents hit the floor with a resounding clatter. ugh.
Also made a furniture delivery run to Eugene with number one son. He has a nice apartment, well, actually it’s a nice room, in a well-kept home a few blocks from campus. We picked up a few things at Ikea and spent the evening putting them together. His space is well lit and cozy. Although his is not a ‘party house’ (which his landlord made very clear) there is one conveniently located across the street. On the next block over is a Circle K and across the street from that, an excellent coffee shop.
All this frenetic activity getting my offspring ready to head off to, and return to, college is completely distracting me from the fact that in a month’s time they will ALL be GONE. My nest will be empty…I mean really empty…like, they won’t just be at a sleepover or at camp for a week…in fact, I might not see them for months at a time…maybe I’ll get another cat. The upside to all this activity is that my mind has has been churning with ideas. Nix the more cats idea, I think I’ll get back into my studio.


Two trips to Target for dorm supplies

Items purchased: two 20-pack hangers, 4-pack of Scotch tape, two 3-drawer storage carts, one alarm clock.

A trip to Linens 'n Things for dorm supplies

Items purchased: two 21-gallon storage bins, three 12-inch table fans, one set of twin sheets, one set of xl twin sheets, ceramic canisters.


A trip to Staples for dorm supplies

Items purchased: paper clips, Bic-matic 0.7 pencils, Swingline staples, computer printer paper, two 6-outlet power strips, post-it notes, poster tape, two 1-hole punches, two 50-pack CDR spindles, two ethernet cords, one 60-pack Write Bros. ball point pens/black, one 6-pack spiral bound notebooks, thumb tacks.

A trip to Ikea for dorm supplies

Items purchased: one Andrea Kakal comforter cover, one Bibbi Snurr comforter covers, two Plaggis Organizers, one dokument letter organizer, one Fusa mirror, one Hanna Slinga, one Hanna Blomma, one Skruvsta swivel chair, one Trensum mirror, five pillows.


A trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond for dorm supplies

Items purchased: six bath towels, six hand towels, two shower caddies, two clip on desk lamps, two eggshell foam mattress pads, cork board tiles, removable wall hooks.


A trip to Costco for dorm supplies

Items purchased: a stapler, multipacks of toothpaste, Lubriderm, tampons, toothpaste, and dental floss, dry roasted almonds, a case of perrier, multipack of orbit gum, athletic socks, gummy vitamins, AA batteries, microwave popcorn, contact solution, neosporin, band-aids, soap, dryer sheets, swisspers.


Book Lust, I mean List

My lovely sister-in-law passed along to me four books she thought I’d enjoy. She and I share a love of memiors so I was not surprised to find that all the books she lent me were memiors. As I placed them on the, (already pretty full) ”books I want to read” bookshelf I started thinking about other memiors I’ve read and loved. Here, in no particular order, are ten of my favorites:

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, Ann Patchett

Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy

Drinking: A Love Story, Carolyn Knapp

When all the World was Young, Barbara Holland

The Color of Water, James McBride

Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes (it’s nothing like the movie)

Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls

Bird by Bird - Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott

All Over but the Shoutin’, Rick Bragg


Post Graduation Post

Graduation is over, my parents have returned to the midwest, (where they have REAL summer weather, I’ll have you know!) and the exhaustion I felt post graduation festivties is slowly lifting. As with many things in life, anticipation is often worse than the actual event…so true for me with this milestone event. The days heading into commencement week found me weepy at the most inopportune times; I even welled up with tears when I heard the first few bars of Pomp and Circumstance, but since then, nuthin’. In fact, coming home from work this week, tripping over shoes in the front hall, seeing dishes piled high next to an empty dishwasher and having to run dripping wet from one bathroom to the other to get MY shampoo only served to remind me that they are still kids in so many ways. Wearing a gown and mortarboard does not an adult make. We’re simply starting a new chapter in which I’m sure I’ll have a lot more parenting to do. But it was fun, this high school thing…even with all my kvetching I’ve pretty much loved every minute of it.


A Walk Around the Lake

This morning I took my first early morning walk of the season around Lake Serene. In the summer I take this 3 mile walk quite often, and so early that I rarely see another person and the only sounds I hear are birds chirping, the occasional bark of a dog and the slap of my sneakers against the sidewalk. And I love it. The air is sweet, the lake is smooth and the silence allows my mind to roam. I didn’t get out early enough this morning. There was a guy weed-whipping the ditch in front of his house, school busses were rolling by, and the din of commuter traffic was unmistakable. In addition, the slap of my sneakers on the sidewalk was completely drowned out by the waggle of my thighs and the flapping of my upper arms against my back fat. My mind was consumed with how I can fit a more rigorous workout schedule into my already busy days. Still, the way the sun came through the trees, the clear blue sky, the cool balmy air, all served to remind me that summer, my favorite season, is just around the corner.


Checking things off a list...

Here’s a list of what I’ve been doing since I returned from Ireland. April sped by so fast.
1. Rearranged book shelves…this is an ongoing project.
2. Cleaned my closet.
3. Downloaded, resized, uploaded pictures from Ireland onto new smugmug page. This took several days, but I think I’ve finally got the process down.
4. Spent time in my studio and finally finished a piece that I am somewhat satisfied with.
5. Finished daughter A’s costume for high school musical…a victorian gown made from acres of fabric, the experince of which has added new skills to my sewing repertoire including the use of boneing and crinoline.
6. Finished two hats for daughter A’s costume for high school musical.
7. Short trips to Eugene, Ellensburg and Whidbey Island.
8. One trip to the skin doctor, (use sunscreen!!) one trip to the physical therapist, three trips to the chiropractor, (I am falling apart.)
9. Patienly endured the college decision process of twin daughters.
10. Wrote checks to said colleges.
In the weeks ahead I will view the spring musical, (and that fabulous hat) numerous times, go prom shopping with daughters and spend buckets of money, prepare physically and emotionally for their high school graduation, and host out of town visitors. Still, every spare moment I will steal away to my studio to get something done. Gaa! I must go there now.


Welcome Home Goodbye

Remember the party game when the host brings out a tray filled with objects then takes the tray away, removes a few items and you have to guess what’s missing? That’s what it’s like living in my house this week. Last week, while I was in Ireland with my daughter’s high school choir, my husband packed up his belongings and moved out. His moving out did not come as a surprise, it’s something he’s been planning to do since January, perhaps earlier, but I’m finding the half empty bookshelves and cupboards a bit disorienting. I look on a shelf or in a cupboard, and know something is different, something is missing, but I don’t know what. One way to look at this is, if I can’t name the missing items, they mustn’t have been that important in the first place. On the other hand, these bookshelves and cupboards are the backdrop of my life and even if I can’t name each particular item, each thing has been burned into my memory. Needless to say, the gaping holes will take some getting used to. So, I’ve started moving things around to fill in the spaces; to change the backdrop. At the same time, I’ve been throwing things away…going through piles of papers and ”things” that have accumulated over the years…using a variation of the “if you haven’t worn it in a year, throw it out” rule. I wasn’t expecting him to leave so abruptly after our return from Ireland, but maybe it’s for the best. Maybe it’s better to make this household adjustment while dealing with the unpleasant tasks of returning from a wonderful foriegn excursion…unpacking suitcases, jetlag and laundry. Sort of like a rough landing. And maybe after my rough landing I’ll emerge with a smile on my face, thankful and happy to be where I am.


The First One Leaves the Nest

I dropped my first born off at the University of Oregon last Sunday. Quack! Quack! My son is a duck. I looked high and low in the bookstore for a “Mama Duck” bumpersticker but the closest I could find was “Oregon Mom”. That just doesn’t have the same ring to it, but I bought it anyway.
This milestone event proved to be more difficult for me than anticipated. We moved him into his dorm room and hung out with him on campus up until just before he had to attend his new-student orientation session. After we said our goodbyes, as we were walking away, I began to well up. And I cried for about fifty miles on the drive home. What’s most interesting to me is just a few hours before I had a scowl on my face and was thinking, “my god, I can’t wait until this kid is in college and not hanging around insulting me!” We had had one of our mother/son tifts and I was actually anxious for him to be off on his own, (Humpf! He’ll have a whole new appreciation for me after he’s been on his own awhile!) But as we were driving away all I could think of was him as a little boy. His life passed before my eyes, (it’s true, they really do grow up fast) and I kept wondering if I was a good enough mom. Did I do a good enough job? Did I damage him too much? And why is it the parenting moments you’d rather forget are the ones that loom largest and most vivid in memory? All week I’ve felt a bit bruised.
In all honesty, I am proud of him and excited for him. College, for me, was a wonderful experience and that’s my wish for him as well. I hope he has fun, makes friends, learns a lot. I’ve been anticipating this event for quite some time now, sometimes with glee, sometimes with dread. In my heart I know it’s time, but that doesn’t make it any easier.