The Trip

It was almost 10:30 last night when my son got home from his guard tech job. He was excited that I had made spaghetti squash for him because, as usual, while he was out teaching and coaching he had forgotten to eat. He pulled out the ironing board and brought in his laundry from the dryer and dumped it all over the kitchen table. He’s on his phone. He’s on his computer. He’s charging three other devices(one of which is a charger…) I feel myself slipping into old-school Mom-mode. “No, no!” a voice cries in my mind, “Don’t do it!” My mouth refuses to listen.

“So how close are you to being packed?”

Ah crap. I’ve done it. It’s obvious that he is nowhere near done being packed and ready to go on his trip tomorrow(today, now…) He gives me A Look. I give him credit though, it isn’t The Look, the one that really sets me off. Some tiny bit of reason finds a way to prevail. I gather up the remains of my art journal supplies and put them away. I rinse out my tea mug and set it out to dry for tomorrow’s first life-giving caffeine infusion. I give him a hug good night, and whisper, “Good luck.”

Did I mention that he has a super early flight this morning?

I was having a lovely dream about something or other, when I startled awake to the sound of my son dragging a suitcase down the hallway. I grab my robe and trudge down the stairs after him. I resist the urge to make him double check that he’s packed everything he needs. He’s calm and remarkably cheerful for someone who probably hasn’t had any sleep. I envy his youth and resiliency right now. I just don’t function on small amounts of sleep, I never have. I breathe a silent “Thank you.” to his friend who is picking him up and taking him to the airport so I don’t have to.

His ride is here. He gives me a hug, I wish him a safe trip. He tells me he will text me when he lands. He will probably forget.

I hear the garage door closing. I pop onto Facebook to wish him and his group a safe trip and success at their competition in Dayton.

I smile as I think about how the times change. This would have been a completely different scenario with my parents. I close my laptop, shut off the lights and head back upstairs.

Should have left a light on somewhere, because I trip over his dog, sprawled next to my bed.

Cleo know how this goes. She grumbles a little, so do I and we both go back to sleep.


Keeping Sane

Art journaling is one of the ways I keep sane while the world whirls around me. Though I’ve been “crafty” all of my life, I’ve only attempted to be “arty” relatively recently. My crafting adventures have included a number of sewing related things(quilting, applique, home dec etc.), crochet(can’t coordinate two sticks to knit), scrapbooking, jewelry making…the list does go on….

As part of my transition to a less child-full home, I’ve been taking art-related classes both around town, and online. I love the steady, meditative, precise strokes of Zentangle, the freedom of expressive painting, and the challenge of faces(stylized and whimsical, but not straight portraiture). I like to explore these topics, as well as techniques and prompts from some books I’ve collected and classes I’ve taken in my hand bound art journals. I learned this particular book structure from Effy Wild. The center journal in the photo is my first attempt. It’s about 2/3 full of art journal spreads. The other two are WIP(work in progress…).

At the end of the day, I love to fling my arting materials all of the table and wallow in creativity. It feels good to lose myself in something other than my day to day stuff.

a glass of wine is optional ;>)


Telling Tales

I have always loved telling stories. Over the last few years, I have participated in a November writing romp called National Novel Writing Month(NaNoWriMo). Basically, you try to put together a 50,000 word novel in a month. I’ve participated 5 times and finished 4 novels. I’ve loved the momentum and discipline of it, although I think only two of those novels might be worth further work.  The emphasis of the exercise is definitely on process not product, there just isn’t enough time for fine writing and revision.

NaNoWriMo also offers an April session called Camp NaNoWriMo which offers another chance to work on new pieces of writing, or to do revisions. I was planning on revising a steampunk novel I completed for NaNo two years ago and was asking my daughter her opinion about how to handle the rewrite. We tossed ideas around for a few minutes, and then I said, “Maybe I should just start over, tell a new tale.”

Em said, “We should write that bad romance novel we’ve always talked about.”

I carefully considered her suggestion…for about two seconds…and agreed. We are planning a truly terrible and cliched romance novel!

Is it wise to add another item to our already crowded to-do list? Only time will tell. I think we will enjoy it though. Creativity is always a great stress reliever for both of us. A little laughter and silliness never hurt anyone.

This might not be such a crazy idea after all.



Yep, that’s the one. That’s how I’ve been feeling. If you didn’t already sense it, WARNING, VENT AHEAD….

I thought I was more prepared for this last school year, but, boy was I wrong. I’ve spent my time rushing from activity to activity, weathering a long series of “lasts”, wondering if it will ever end. Wishing it would end sooner. My daughter actually has a countdown on her phone. I added one this morning.

This is not what I wanted it to be. I thought I was prepared for the tasks ahead. I’d been down this road before. I was emotionally in a really solid place. Ha!

I am done with school, teachers, administrators, counselors, cranky classmates, senior projects, field trips, current events assignments and endless emails about senior events. We have paid for transcripts, applications, tests, AP exams, and the Financial Aid forms. Don’t even get me started on the graduation swag…wow…   I feel like I’m drowning in paperwork and wasted time. 

Not much joyful in the old nest today, but this too shall pass right? Someday we’ll all look back on this and laugh?


I comfort myself knowing that most of this is already behind us, I think she has picked her school. It’s a good choice for a lot of reasons, she seems excited to take on a new world. I know I’m ready for a new groove. Been thinking about it quite a bit, as a matter of fact. Guess I’ll hang onto that for now.

By the way, ostriches don’t really bury their heads in the sand….

I’m off to plan a better day.


Houston we have a Problem, or Letting Go 201

As I was wasting time on Facebook the other evening, my son’s status popped up and said, “EXPLETIVE”. Naturally I was curious, so I texted him to ask what was wrong. My heart got erratic when he told me that the front tire of the car he was driving blew out,  but he was able to get the car safely to the side of the road(avoiding the light pole… heart clutch…).

What to do? Deep breath. Don’t panic.

After letting him reassure me that he was OK, I decided to let him solve the problem. He has friends in the area(I’m in San Diego, he’s in Phoenix), they would work it out. I cheerily asked him to text me when he got back to his apartment.

Two hours later. No text. No nothing.

Pushing 11:00pm now. I text my daughter. Is he home yet? She replies, “No, but he’s ok. I’m with him now.” It turns out that there were now 5 of them, all hanging out on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck.

Deep breath. Nothing I can do to fix this. They’re all fine. They will work it out.

And they did. Without me.

Letting go. It’s a learned habit.

Last Day of School 2012-2013

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. We moved my son to the Phoenix area for his summer drum corps experience(my daughter joins him tonight!). We made it through prom, endless music concerts, and summer packing for tour. Throw in my husband’s WSOP poker week, my parents’ ill health, car repair from my fender bender, and a glorious two day respite at CREATE Mixed-Media art retreat (best birthday present EVER!) I feel it’s safe to say that we are living very full lives.

Today I just want to have a massive meltdown. I was actually going to save it for tomorrow, but I don’t think it will wait. It’s just all life. There is good and bad and quite a lot in between. I’m looking forward to having this time without kids, and missing them all at the same time. I want to keep busy. I want to go back to bed.

Ok, what I need here is a plan…and another strong cup of Earl Grey….

1. Enjoy the present moment.

– Ignore the colossal mess in Em’s bathroom. It will still be there tomorrow, but she won’t be. Make some fun memories together today.

2. Couple time.

– Jim and I have already made plans for Sushi Saturday, and a trip to the ballpark to see the Padres take on the Diamondbacks.  Perhaps on Sunday we can take a trip to the Wild Animal Park and see the cheetahs. I hear there are baby elephants, too.

3. Me time.

– I’m working on class proposals for the fall teaching season, and finishing up class prep for the classes that start in two weeks. I love teaching and sharing what I know, so this part is easy and fun for me. I’m still working on a fabric journal that I started at a CREATE class, and it feels really good to let my crazy ideas run free and see what I can come up with. I think I may take the dog for a long walk today, she really misses “her boy”.

Yep. Life is good. Even when it feels too busy and all mixed up with stuff.

Life is good.

Dinner with Adults

We have survived another rite of teen passage> Prom. Emily had a nice time and she looked great. But this is not her story.

We have known Emily’s date’s parents for a few years now, but never really connected in any real or meaningful way. We were on committees together, saw each other at events, never exchanged more than the basic pleasantries. After all, we were there to support the kids’ activities, not really socialize, right?

After taking the requisite pre-Prom photos, the kids headed out in the rented Towncar, and the parents shared dinner at a nearby restaurant. What a great idea! Free of our kids, we talked about current events and shared long-ago stories. We laughed alot, and found out that we have much in common. I found myself feeling a bit sad that we hadn’t made this connection earlier. These are fun people I’d love to spend more time with!

Empty Nest 101> make new adult friends, check…