Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Milestone

My baby graduates from college tomorrow.

She called me on Wednesday, during my lunch break. “Mom, I just had to call you,” she began.

She didn’t sound panicked or worried, so I assumed it wasn’t bad news. “What’s up?” I asked.

“I am officially done with school! I turned in my last project this morning. I am a college graduate!”

I’m just as excited as she is. And I’ll admit, I’m a little sad, too. Why? Because we are officially empty-nesters. She hasn’t really lived at home for a while, but it’s still been her home base. She brings her laundry on weekends, catches up on the news, and checks her mail. But soon she’ll be taking off for parts unknown, ready to live her life, whatever that means. She’ll be making her own decisions, paying her own way, and forging her own path.

She’s got plans. She’s going to travel across the country and see things. She’s going to work for sustainability, a cleaner, healthier earth, and equality for all. I’m so proud of the things she’s done, the things she’s doing now, and the things she plans to do.

My baby is all grown up. The toddler who climbed onto the kitchen counter because she wanted to fix her own lunch is now a young lady who whips up entire meals for herself and assorted friends. The urchin who dragged in assorted stones from the yard for her “rock collection” now chides me for my endless piles of fabric and scrapbooking materials. And the little girl who lost herself in endless tales of fantasy is now creating tales of her own through the fascinating life she will lead.

I guess I’m not done being a mom. But the job description is going to look a lot different from this point on. I know others have gone through this and survived to tell about it, and I will too.

But I’m going to miss the old job. At least for a while.

Goals updates:

Health – down the tubes. I’ve been doing too much snacking during my sit-down job, and no trips to the gym lately.

Writing: met with my critique group last weekend. Started watching movies as a possible resource for the historical time period. Not much luck there.

Creativity: helped mom make some table favors for her club meeting next month. She made origami flowers, and I made the vases (with my daughter and son-in-law’s help) from serger thread spools! Here’s a picture:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

My husband has a talent I really wish I had.

He has the amazing ability to close his eyes, shut off his mind, and fall asleep. He can do this lying down, or in a chair. He can do this if he is alone, or if there are twenty people walking in and out of the house. It doesn't matter whether he is tired, or whether he has had eight full hours of sleep. Once he fell asleep in the middle of an Easter gathering. There were at least twenty adults, and a dozen or more children running around looking for Easter Eggs. He sat in a comfy chair and snored.

I, on the other hand, go through a myriad of requirements before I am able to shut off my mind enough for my body to go to sleep. If I’m worried or upset, it’s a given – I won’t sleep. If I’ve had more than two cups of regular coffee or tea, it’s useless to lie down before midnight. And if I’ve had a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in the last two weeks, I plan on staying up late, or waking up early the next day.

Lately, I’ve been working at a full-time temporary job at which I read and evaluate student responses to reading comprehension questions. I have to be awake and alert for this job. But my mind doesn’t want to cooperate. Last Sunday night I lay awake for five hours before I gave up. But as usual, my dear husband snored away, totally oblivious to my dilemma.

I got out of bed at 3:00 am, furious at my lack of ability to sleep. Hubby was sitting in his recliner, watching his forensic murder mystery shows. After years of working the early-early shift at the factory, he refuses to change his sleep schedule.

Me (storming into the family room): “You make me so mad!”

Him (still staring at the TV screen): “Why?”

Me: “You don’t have any trouble going to sleep!”

Him: “Why is that my fault?”

Me: “Because I can’t! I lie there night after night, hour after hour, and I can’t get to sleep!”

Him: “What do you want me to do?”

Me: “Stay up with me!”

Yeah, I know. I was being unreasonable. Lack of sleep does that. On Monday during my lunch break I went to a nutritional health store and got some herbal sleep aids. They’ve helped a little. I just have to learn how to switch my mind off. Maybe someday my head will be as empty as his.

And then I’ll sleep.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Facebook Saves the Day!

It seems that whenever I develop an interest in something and spend time on it, my children tell me I’m “addicted”. I’ve gone through additions to scrapbooking, reading, and sewing and various television shows. Now I seem to have developed (according to them) an obsession with facebook. Because I happen to look at it whenever I get online, I’m a “stalker”. Hey, I can’t help it if I like to stay informed about my friends and family!

Right now, I’m in my hotel room in northern Michigan. I’m here because tomorrow I’m going to judge at a junior high music festival. I turned my phone on to call my husband and let him know I got here okay. Unfortunately, I can’t get cell phone service here! What to do? Hmm. I just happen to have my laptop with me.

I got online, and went to facebook. Luckily, one of my “friends” who happened to be online was my grandson, Gabe. I sent him a message asking him to please call or text his grandfather and let him know I got here okay. He did so right away. Problem solved! Facebook saved the day.

At least one problem is solved anyway. The other problem is I drove all the way up here without my dress clothes! I got here at 10 pm so all the stores are closed and they won’t be open before I have to be there. I’m going to have to judge in my sloppy jeans tomorrow! Yuk!

Oh, well. Facebook and the internet can’t solve EVERY problem. But it makes life a little easier.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Easter Magic

Last Sunday I joined sixty or so other musicians and the pastoral staff of our church in leading the Easter celebration. I don’t perform so much any more, so it was a real treat for me to take out my oboe, sit in an orchestra of accomplished musicians and play beautiful music of praise and worship.

I teach a course about the inclusion of music in elementary classrooms, so I’m used to expounding the positive effects of music on cognitive development and reinforcement of academic skills. But worship music is something else entirely. When we play the traditional Easter favorites like “He Arose!” or “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” I experience a magical feeling. Through the music of the holiday, I can share in the elation experienced from the very first Easter morning. I can express my thankfulness at the wonder of His sacrifice and the conviction that I am among His children.

Music enhances all our worship services. Christmas music is especially wonderful. But Easter music is even more awesome – I think it’s the message of hope, joy and promise that we are in great hands.

What could be better?

Goals progress:

Health – more backsliding, but it’s slowing. Easter chocolate is particularly tempting.

Writing: blogging, and adding an average of a paragraph a day to my manuscript. This has been a very busy week.

Creativity: almost done with a quilt top. No time for much else.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Have I Told You About My Grandkids?

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have a tradition of taking my grandkids shopping for their birthday present, and going out together for a meal. This week it was Scottie’s turn. Scottie is saving up for a video camera, so I gave him cash to put toward it, since my budget can’t quite handle paying for the whole camera. But I picked him up for dinner to celebrate.

Scottie chose a nice Mexican restaurant near his home. I love to try out new restaurants and gladly took him there. The food was excellent, and the service was great. If it were closer to my home, I might be able to convince my husband to try it out!

While digging into our meals, I learned a little bit more about this fourth grandchild. He is from a very athletic family, and naturally he played Little League baseball and soccer. Baseball is no longer on his agenda, but he has found his niche in science and technology. His school’s Science Olympiad Team was grateful to him and his partner for earning the school’s first medal at a state competition. What an incredible achievement!

The video camera isn’t just a whim, either. I’ve seen clips of videos he has put together. They’re great! One of his efforts earned a ribbon at the 4-H Fair last year. He told me about the various software programs he likes to use. I was familiar with one or two, and he very eloquently described the pros and cons of each – in language I was able to understand. What a kid! Someday I may see his name in the credits of a movie.

I think it’s great that his parents are encouraging him to pursue his own interests. I’m also pleased that they are raising him to be thoughtful, considerate and polite. He thanked me several times for dinner and his birthday money. And then he helped me choose and fill some Easter eggs for his sister and cousins.

I found a quote I think I’ll use in my scrapbook someday: “What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars worth of pleasure.” (Gene Perret).

I am rich beyond measure.

Goals Progress:

Health: backsliding a little this week. The chips and salsa at the Mexican restaurant didn’t help.

Writing: slow progress. Writing everyday, but some days only a few words.

Creativity: our sewing group made over 250 hats this week! I also managed to make a few baby hats for mom’s club fundraiser.