A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pink Eye?

Not exactly.

This is my firstborn. He was about four months old, just starting to get the almost white hair that he eventually grew out of. Wasn't he proud?

And here he is, 32 years later.


I just put him on a plane to Japan. Where he and his wife will be living for at least two more years. Possibly forever.

Pink eye? No, I burst a blood vessel in my eye crying (or trying not to) for the last two days.

Oh, I know. Intellectually, I know what a wonderful opportunity this is for them. She will be near her family after living in the US for most of the last decade. They will live in a place where teachers are still treated with respect and where healthcare is considered more a right than a privilege. They will have access to beauty and culture and the hot city scene if they want it.

For all of those things, I rejoice for this opportunity.

But my heart is a mother's heart. I weep.

An ocean away.

I can't help but to think about the pioneer mothers who sent their babies west (as I send mine west) without the internet, cell phones, Skype and facebook. Who stood in the road until the wagon had rolled out of sight and who knew that - quite possibly - most likely - they would never hear from that child again. Never know whether they made their future or not.

And I am grateful.

Or to think of the mothers today who don't want to let go of that last hug - as I did not want to let go this morning - to take their arms from around their precious baby off to Afghanistan or Iraq.

And I am grateful.

Fare well, my precious boy.

Be safe. Have fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Disneyland. (again)

Had a fantastic day yesterday with my older son and his wife. Breakfast with Chef Oscar. Rides in two parks. Aladdin. Dinner at the Blue Bayou. Ragtime piano with Alan AND retiree Johnny Hodges. New "World of Color" show at DCA.

Have continued to work The Artist's Way (Julia Cameron). The friend who recommended it said it had transformed him. I told him transformation was probably aiming a little high.

I was wrong.

Transformation is in progress.

Heading out to help DS1 get clothes (my birthday gift to him) since he is quite tall and it may be difficult to find what he needs in Japan.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Unseasonably Cool

I'm not complaining.

I don't ever remember a summer so downright chilly. Here along the California coast June Gloom is the norm, but we often have years where the late June summer temps have been in the high 90s and 100s for weeks. The recent temps have been hovering in the low 70s.

It's just delightful.

I've been working away in the garden.

This bed was knee high in spring grass and dandelions (the tortoises like the dandelions). I cleared it out and planted lisianthus and gerbera daisies. I clearly need more flowers here and will probably add some violas in the fall. The Snowball bush (viburnum) in the corner (barely showing in the picture) is doing great! It will probably be huge next year.

I had a great bed of sweet peas this year and they are going to seed. They were all advertised as self-sowing so I'm hopeful that I'll get some of the same back next year. The one on the end was my favorite (I think it was called Strawberry Sundae but I've lost the label).

I am absolutely thrilled by the performance of the three brugmansias I ordered last year from Kartuz Greenhouses. They arrived as 6-inch rooted sticks. After just a few weeks they were about a foot tall. And now, about a year later, they are three feet tall and have been blooming all season. I'm enjoying all of them (plus the pink that has been in the yard for several years) but this one is my favorite. It's called 'Creamsicle'. The bloom (some are double) starts out pure white, then as it ages it develops this lovely peachy mottling, just like when we would mix vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet and kind of stir it up as it melted. What a yummy flower.

You can see the flower of one of my hydrangeas in this picture. This year I added aluminum sulfate to the water once to try to bring on the blue. Then my dad got sick and with one thing and another I missed adding the stuff in subsequent waterings. I ended up with this strange but quite lovely mix of colors. This is a lacecap. The flowers are a strong blue, but the bracts around the edge are a mix of pink and purple. I kind of like it.

In other news, my oldest and his wife are on their way to Japan and are staying with us for a few weeks. Their lease was up on their apartment June 30 and they fly out the end of July. My room is back to looking the way it did before my grand remodel. It's OK, I know it's just for a few days really and I will be so sad to see them go. My DIL is having a rough time deciding what to keep and what to trash as she goes through the last of her boxes. They can't take much (will have to pay to ship anything) so they gave away their furniture and kitchen equipment. They already sold one car and still have the other to sell as well as a computer. Some of their stuff I will store in my storage unit. I made it as clear as I knew how to communicate, though, that nothing was to be left in the house.

If that wasn't enough, my younger son decided to honor his grandpa's memory by returning to music. I'm thrilled to death, but he's a drummer and drums take lots of space. For now he is confined to his room, but I told him that when the other two leave, we will convert the spare room into a shared space so that he can have his drums in there and get his bed back.

In personal news, I shared with a friend that I was enjoying The Imagineering Workout, a delightful little book I bought at Disneyland. Disney Imagineers share their advice for igniting creativity. I've mentioned to him before that I'm worried about making it through the next few years of teaching and was hoping this book would give me some new approach. He then told me that he had worked The Artist's Way program by Julia Cameron and that it had a huge positive impact for him. Since he is rarely wrong, I decided to go for it. I'm just finishing my second week. There is a lot of writing and a handful of "assignments" each week (including a weekly solo "artist's date"). Already I'm noticing some significant changes in my attitude about myself and what I do. I still don't know about the next school year but am feeling some confidence that I'll get it together.

Finally, we are all getting our wits about us again after my dad's short but intense passing with cancer. Mom seems to be doing well. Last Sunday I threw a party at her house to belatedly celebrate my BIL's birthday, my oldest son's birthday and my birthday. As always, everyone asked what we all wanted for our birthdays. I replied that I had decided to buy myself an IPOD Touch and asked for Best Buy gift cards. I am overwhelmed by their generosity. Between them my family gave me enough cards to just about pay for the device I wanted (I ended up paying just the tax and for a service contract. Oh, yes, and a really cool pink protective cover). Anyway, here's my new treasure toy.

32 gb 3 gen. I've managed to connect to my facebook account, rip over some favorite movies, transfer my favorite music and load in a DMC floss inventory app, a mah jong game and three Disneyland line time trackers. Now, if I can just find wifi wherever I go I'll be in good shape.

Actually, most of what I wanted it for I don't need wifi, but being able to satisfy my facebook addiction from time to time would be nice.