Friday, July 17, 2015

~This Moment~

~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to see.
The sky is blue, dotted by only one cloud, maybe two. The mockingbirds have been whistling scales all night long. There are no more apples on the trees, but the lilikoi is dripping with fruit. It will be a hot day. Hotter than June. As hot as July. But this moment is calm, shaded, still. Things feel settled in, and go unnoticed. A broken chair in a quiet corner, waiting.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"The key left with the time traveling boy."

It's a good summer. We are stopping. We are going. We are playing, like children. We are sleeping late. We are rising with giggles. We are taking new routes, and traveling familiar paths.

Maria wrote a sentence generating program in Scratch. William calls it "Immediate gratification Mad-Libs," which I think is an apt description. We've generated dozens and dozens of random and silly sentences. I cannot forget "The key to the front door left with the time traveling boy." It's the start of something...

Another consequence of our Downtown journeys... a luxurious and scrumptious stop at an old favorite, Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts. Maria and I spent almost as much time admiring each of the edible art pieces as we did sharing this flourless chocolate masterpiece, and Alex arrived just in time to help us, too.

Almost seventeen. I think this surprises me more than anything about our children growing up. My cousin Vicky wisely noted that, "because of the three boys, he is your baby." She's right. He's always been the little brother, keeping up with the big boys, but the truth is he's no longer just keeping up, he's making his own way, sometimes leading the way. His interests, his skills, his plans... they are shaping into good things, his own things. There's nothing to do for it but to watch admiringly, appreciatively, supportively, and make room for his growth.

Yeah, we've got this summer wired.

{Pun. Can't be helped!}

Alex's sculpting class has us captivated, with what he's making, with the materials he's dabbling in, with what's next. We are in love with this wire woman, 6'4" tall, an elegant form. Now he's moved on to clay and plaster, building a totem. I have a special appreciation and gratitude for his teacher who implores her students to look into found sources, and hardware shop materials for their art supplies. {Have you priced college textbooks, lately?? Good grief. Resourcefulness, and economizing, are good lessons.} Alex likes clay... that's what he learned yesterday, and I couldn't agree more. Clay is good stuff, and when I told him how I loved ceramics when I was in middle school, he observantly reminded me that I could love it, again. Take a class. Smart fellow, that Alex.

Be a lifetime learner, has been an expression I have repeated to my children all their lives, especially when we were homeschooling. "When I don't know the answer, we'll figure it out together," I would assure them. And this was well before the Internet was the gem it is today. They have taken me at my word, and soared. It troubles me that in this country we continue to make education a financial hardship, an untenable burden. Why make knowledge and skills such privileged information that students have to sink themselves into massive debt, or say pass when choosing higher education. Don't we want, eagerly, selflessly, to have the brightest and best, to support and nurture intelligence, critical thinking, and practical skills, for the greater part of our population? {Not to lecture anyone... I simply cannot help expressing some of my frustration and confusion.}

Where was I?

Sewing! William is back at it, and he is soaring with this dress shirt pattern. Not to say it's been easy, that he hasn't brought out the seam ripper. But, together we are figuring out all the pieces, and the shirt is looking quite sharp, even for a muslin. I share this as much to acknowledge his accomplishment, as to recognize how much he inspires me. I'd still be stringing fabric squares together, taking the easy way, if left to my own devices, especially if I were the beginning tailor. Not William, though... he keeps jumping into the challenging stuff. Sewing plackets, fitting collars, customizing fit and sizes. There are moments when my head reels, and I think "quit!" Not William, though, and as a result he is getting better, and better, and inspiring me to do the same.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Walk Into a Shop

For one errand, then another, we've found ourselves in San Diego more than usual... far more than usual. Once I get over being turned around, one way streets, parking rules, and the accelerated pace, I find that there is a lot to discover and enjoy, a lot to appreciate, Downtown. On one such excursion, we walked through Little Italy, then into something of an old curiosity shop, called Architectural Salvage. Rust and wear, treasures everywhere.

My thoughts, this morning, are as pressing, random, worn, frayed, and eclectic as the bits and bobs in this shop. I wish they were as orderly.

* Alex has his passport.
* I love letters, alphabets.
* Ants come into houses when the weather changes.
* The weather changed.
* I've made reservations, and tentative plans for a visit to colleges.
* Tuesday evenings = cheap night at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. Rides are a $1.
* Thank you Bethany.
* My strong convictions and ideals are not impervious, nor immune, to the pressures, expectations, demands, criticisms, accusations, assumptions, hopes, wishes, good intentions, doubts, second guesses, and confusion that comes with having a high school senior who intends to pursue a higher education.
* You can do too little.
* You can do too much.
* You will get it wrong, if even by doing it right.
* It will be what it will be, but someone's gonna get blamed.
* I feel stressed. And a weensy bit cynical.
* Someone should water the garden.
* But drought.
* Where is Maria's Pluto shirt? {It's always been a planet in her heart.}
* Ever since articles about the perils of sitting have been popping up everywhere, I find myself laying down, more, just to be safe.
* I love enamel ware.
* I love store cats.
* Hit me up for beets.
* We have a lot of beets.
* The dress shirt William is sewing is turning out really well.
* I miss Mexico.
* I miss BFTC. I miss him a lot. It makes me cry.
* This could go on all day.
* But, there's too much to do.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Five Good Things

Pictures on my phone, this morning, included two selfies of me trying to pick a fabric color for a dress, Geoff cooking, yummy food (mediocre pictures), and the photograph I stole from Anna Banana... fields of lupines before a lake, with glacier cut valleys, and towering plateaus. She's in Iceland. It's a stunning image.


Well, I thought I would share pictures from a party, from last week. But honestly, don't you want to see Iceland, first?
The colors are so heavenly, even the distant slopes are muted hues of blues and purples. It makes my mind whirr to think of standing before so many flowers, wild, overcoming the scene. My imagination is captured.

Good Things...

1. Summer vacations, and the friends who share their pictures. If you ever wonder whether it's a good idea to share your vacation memories in social media, whether people like that sort of thing... well, you have my vote!

2. Watching Pride & Prejudice with Diana, Stacy, William, and Maria... giggling, swooning, and enjoying good company.

3. Hearing from my mom that things go well with our Oregon family... with our growing Oregon family. Soon, Henry and Eva will join the Northwest ranks!

4. Observing the pleasures of summer enjoyed by William, Alex, Max, and Maria... reading, sewing, sculpting, programming, sleepovers, card games, walks and talks.

5. Learning the details of Alex and Bambi's impending Scotland adventure!

Monday, mid-July... the days, the weeks, are passing swiftly by.

I have always envy-admired the passages in novels where the protagonist recalls every detail of a time, or place, or any descriptive account of an event in someone's life, practically photographic. The story teller professing to recall, oh so vividly, every significant and minor article, as though nothing could slip their notice, or escape their memory. I've wondered if, before photography, before recordings, and easy supplies of papers and pens were at hand, if we actually noticed more, paid closer attention, trained our minds to hold onto views, shapes, fragrances, the sounds of someone's laugh, a bird's call, lines of poetry... to reminisce, to recite, to remember. And it's not just the passing of our summer days, that makes me reflect on memory, on slowing things down by paying close attention... my children are growing, as children do, and I miss their baby-selves, those toddling days, and all those summers past. I have adored and cherished every day, each new year, sharing with them, watching them. And I have tried to diligently observe, appreciate the details, be in the moment, as they say... but, still, the days pass, and suddenly toddlers are adults, and the little changes amount to new interests, new plans, new views, and however closely I was minding everything, appreciating all I could, we seem to have hurled ourselves through space and time, and here we are... in the future, and still moving forward. It all passes swiftly by.

It did not happen without warning, this time rush. I can recall the wistful looks of adults, the sighs, the admonitions from weary grown-up people... they seemed to relish telling me that life is short, to expect time to sneak up on me, for everything to pass quickly by, but at sixteen, or twenty, what can it mean? We have little to compare our time with, so the warnings, while duly noted, were more abstract than practical, less inspiring than simply gloomy forecasts. Happily, my Mommy consoled me with this... Grow up? Don't fret too much about being "grown-up." Think of your favorite people, of the happiest people. Do they stop playing, stop exploring, stop learning, or sharing? No. The happiest people retain their wonder, nurture joy, and they play. There's no question that things will change, that we will have our duties and chores, that time will pass, and quickly, too... but thank goodness for play, for wonder, imagination, for mindfully observing the details, and appreciating the good things.