Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Quieter Nest

I feel a bit turned around. Our nest is not empty, but it's much quieter, stranger. One day to the next, there are new routines, different schedules, and life feels different. A lot is new, and unfamiliar. I'd call this a period of adjustment, and there are more changes coming. For one thing, Alex is back to school, and working. Max is almost done with his summer class, and will soon be moving back into a dorm. And Maria... Maria is really, officially, in high school. (I may repeat this, frequently, for emphasis, and to convince myself it's true. It feels all too sudden, and even on day 3, catches me off-guard.) My own first day of school is next week, and in the meantime, I am urging and coaxing myself into filling my emptier hours with meaningful activities.

In the days leading up to Maria going back into a school, we kept reminding ourselves, "There are only 4 more days. What should we do? Should we go somewhere?" Then it was 3 days, and so on. And each new day we would eagerly assess our options and consider the gravity of our waning summer, the impending It, school. High school.

Being both excited for Maria, and naturally a bit anxious, too, I am happy to have a fun distraction, in the form of a themed swap, I am participating in on Instagram. It's been a perfect diversion. The theme is Beatrix Potter and the organizers matched all the participants with partners, and descriptions of our interests, and favorite colors, and our favorite Beatrix Potter character, so we can swap handmade gifts, and other goodies. I already forgot which character I said was my favorite... Hunca Munca? Mrs. Tiggywinkle? No matter. The real fun has been in seeing what everyone is making, without revealing who the gifts and favors are for, and getting reacquainted with what I like about the woman, Beatrix Potter. She was not only an artist and author, she was a naturalist, a scientist and conservationist. A few years ago I read Beatrix Potter, A Life in Nature.


But, wait.

Oh dear... I've mentioned all of this before.

Yeah. Seriously, stop me if you've heard this one before.

Something new... a few glimpses of things I made for my partner. My package has a long way to travel, and so I won't share too much. I wouldn't want to give away the surprise.

It's a handkerchief, and I painted and embroidered Peter Rabbit and tiny robin.

I keep pretending that I am not going to think about fall. And I post to Instagram that I am trying not to get preoccupied with thoughts about fall, and leaves, and pumpkins and sweaters. But, of course, I am totally obsessed... my determination to be casual and indifferent is an utter and complete failure.

Maybe I've blogged about these? Spoon tomatoes are the silliest thing I've ever planted, and if I can get into a time machine, I will stop myself from ever letting those near my home. Just a touch of drama, but the plant means to take over the entire yard! They come back, more and more, every year, and they are impossible to control, because the fruit are teeny teeny tiny and just go wherever they may. I let the chickens and goats free-range on them. We harvest them, too, but it's more than we can manage. Silly things. And really, who doesn't appreciate having silly things to occupy their thoughts? It's much better than actually bad things filling our heads.

The Anagram Sisters and our back-to-school breakfast meet-up. Surprisingly, they've never gone to the same school! Not for grade school or junior high. But, now they are freshmen, together, at the same school. I've been saying that these pictures are being taken with one of those phone filter apps... this one is the high school filter and makes them look older and more sophisticated than I am prepared to recognize. You should see Maria's student i.d. I was not prepared for that grown-up look, either.

Sorry to say, the girls did not get classes together. But, they did get classes they wanted, and like. Maria has Japanese, English, dance PE, and a technology rotation series that will include auto shop, theater, and computer programming. Next semester she'll add math, and maybe metal shop. The school has a schedule that works out so they take eight full classes in a year, but at something of a college pace... four classes per semester.

Official. First day. And a page from Maria's sketchbook, the night before. She's not taking any art this year, but she's eager about getting an art class next year, a real art class, at last. She's looking forward to so many new subjects and opportunities.

Speaking of new opportunities... Alex is enjoying his work with a sheet metal company. He gets a chance to manufacture and install, and he's working with friends. We never knew his great-grandfather, Gil, but Alex has managed to slip into a family trade, metal work. I am reminded of driving around San Antonio, Texas with my Mom, and her pointing out buildings around the city that he helped construct.

Alex is up very early for work. And the first day of school we were all up very early with Maria. But on this second day, pretty as it was, I laughed knowingly, and said to Geoff, "Well, it's day 2, and the novelty has officially worn off!" It's so much easier and more pleasant for me to be an early bird when no one expects it of me. It's really not bad, now, but when that first cold spell hits, and the blankets are too cozy... it's gonna be brutal! (Don't tell Maria I said so.)

Someone remarked that Ada has a "heart-shaped nose." That's sweet. I just love her face, and Tasha's too. They are cuties.

It seems like the chicas are mellowing a bit. Pepper and Pippi aren't quite the feathered terrors they used to be. The dears are getting on in years. Has it been 5 years since most of them were chicks? I've lost track. They are still laying, which is nice. I wouldn't exactly call them "cuties," but they have their good qualities.

I've got a second handkerchief in the hoop. This one is for me. A sheep standing in her meadow. And in the other corner, a leaping sheep.

Ah-ha! We do get signs of fall in our neck of the woods, and how about that view? Pacific pumpkins. My friend, Lani calls this the "million dollar pumpkin patch." Those lucky pumpkins!

Lucky us, too.

Since I am determined to fill my emptier hours with meaningful activities, I am thankful for pumpkin and pacific views, for street art, roses, my cell phone camera, and blank handkerchiefs, floss, and time to stitch my whimsical notions. And since I am always thankful for clean clothes, I'd better see what I can do on that front.

Are there signs of fall, where you are?