Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ah, home.

Where have I been in the last six weeks? Let's see: Hartford, CT; Gaithersburg, MD; Washington, DC; Lancaster, PA; Westfield, NJ; a weekend at home; and then onto Morristown, NJ.
We have celebrated Xan's 13th birthday, had a Hannukah party (any excuse to eat latkes), got very surprised by the 'coolness' of downtown Lancaster, Xan took a willow branch making furniture workshop and made a friend a table, got a ticket for a headlight being out (and now the other one is out---go figure!); we have home-schooled a lot in the car, and Michael's back has gone out and he came down to Morristown anyway. Which brings me to the almost present.
We had the big family pow-wow "does he or doesn't he come to Morristown". We need this show. We need the money. He is the one who always stablizes the panels and focuses the lights. So we need him for that. So we book a last minute hotel so that we can be near the show instead of staying about 40 minutes away with our dear friends. He comes. We leave on Thursday morning and about 15 miles into our drive we hit the snow storm that we thought we would drive through later on in our journey. The drive that takes us 3 hours took us 7 and we arrive just in time to unload the car (which had become my highest priority of the day). We go to the hotel which turns out not to be as groovy as I thought a La Quinta owned property should be. But we are whupped and so we go with it. Next day we do that which I hate to do...We set up on the day that we are open for business and this time we are open until 8pm. We send Michael back to the hotel and stood around waiting for the crowd to show up. We waiting all weekend. So very disappointing for our last show of the year and one needs the money. Michael stayed in the hotel all weekend. Xan and I worked the show and we did breakdown all by ourselves. Xan was fabulous.
Sunday night after breakdown found us standing in the PathMark down the street from the hotel in the frozen foods section picking out our most favorite delicacies that we can micro-wave. We were tired and brain dead by that point. I got Amy's Kitchen enchiladas. Xan got mashed potatoes and Tabatchnick's soup. We got Michael a chicken pot pie. We get back to the hotel in the ice storm and hunker in for a really poor movie on HBO "Deck The Halls" with Mathew Broderick and Danny DeVito and eat our dinners. By then it was 9.
I drove us all back home yesterday. We unloaded the back seat (just our personal stuff) and I got Xan off to voice lessons and chorus rehearsal. I went off to the post office and then to the grocery store. Came home and made a quick hot&sour soup and then off to pick up Xan and took her with me for my weaving class' 'pie night' to see all the projects finished (not mine!) and then we left there and went to the movie store and got "Meet the Robinsons" and "Hairspray".
We hunker down with hot&sour soup and "Meet the Robinsons".
Ah, home.
Where the plowed snow piles are frozen and shining.
Where our sidewalk is a speed-skaters dream.
Where the powdery gently gusts of snow flurries are starting right outside my window.
Ah, home.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

...the taste of words on my tongue.

I am astounded by how many wonderful writers are out there blogging.
Jane is just about the most heartfelt writer I know.
J writes with such intelligence.
Annalise writes with a great sense of humor.
Shauna creates pictures before my eyes and I can practically taste the food she writes about.
Just to mention a few of my favorites.
Sometimes I surf and I'm blown away by words. Words. Words.
I am fed by the taste of words on my tongue.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

...continue to spread your joy.

Last weekend was our fourth show in a row in four weekends.
Note to self (just like I do every year at this time): Do not book four shows in four weekends in a row!!!
I have lots to blog about but I need to take this time to write about Bubba.
A member of my tribe has been lost.
We do a lot of shows with a promoter called Sugarloaf. Nice promotion company and I like the shows. Over the past few years we have become part of the community. Every show we are at we share stories, break bread, stand around and kibbitz, and help out when a fellow artist needs to take a break (i.e. pee).
This past weekend we were not a Sugarloaf show but at a show by a little tyrant I call, "Little Dickie" (ands that's another story). A bunch of the artists are fellow Sugarloafians and we all do our thing of tribe like behaviors (yes, the good and the bad) and Sunday one of us gets the call that Bubba, who is in Columbus, Ohio at another show, was found dead in his hotel room. Xan heard it and came and told Michael and I.
I must admit that my first thought was, "Thank God he didn't die in a car accident". There are so many of us that get in car accidents.
I tear up. We have lost Bubba. Bubba was such a presence at shows. He was a very tall, very round bellied fellow who sold leather stuff. He was always walking around bellowing 'hello's and 'how are ya's to everyone as he came by your booth. He was always cheerful and present with people.
I didn't hang out with him. Whenever I saw him I would say 'hello' and try and match his beauty with my voice.
Bubba has/had a son (5 kids really). The son that he brought to shows is mentally challenged. He is around 30 or so and very shy. I talked to a friend yesterday (who called to see if we had heard) and she told me that Nathan, Bubba's son, once got she and a bunch of women artists to go and play lazer tag with him. He asked each one individually and they all found out about each other once they got there. "Must have been about 10 of us", she told me. What a crack up. I know Nathan because he loves 'Middle Earth Studios' which is a children's theater that comes to the shows for kid entertainment. We have set up near them at some shows and Nathan is at every theater performance. Of course, Xan knows him well because she likes 'Middle Earth' too.
Next weekend there is a Sugarloaf show in Chantilly, VA. We won't be at that one. I know that there will be something done in Bubba's honor. I'm sorry we will miss it.

Hail to Bubba. Thanks for being a bright aura among us. Sorry you had to leave. You will be missed but I promise you this:
I will always strive to greet people at shows with the same enthusiasm that you did. I will always do this in your honor so that a part of you will live on as I continue to spread your joy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How could we resist a tour of this?

This one is a quickie because we have to get ready to go to work. Well, first we have to stop at the post office (stamps for a mailing for our next show) and then off to the train station (dropping Artie off so that she can get back to Saratoga for work).
On Monday and Tuesday we took a bunch of tours in D.C. All thanks to our local congressman. We went into the Capital Building, The Supreme Court, The Library of Congress, and The Kennedy Center. Usually we spend our time in D.C. at some part of the Smithsonian it was nice to branch out and see other sites.
Here are some quickie photos of our day:

And I've got to add this one just to let you know that we know how to have a good time.How could we resist a tour of this?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What do you think?

"it occurred to her in the moment that gravity took over that only her reaction to events made a difference"

This past weekend we were at the Sugarloaf Arts and Craft Festival in Gaithersburg, MD. What would have been an OK weekend for us turned into a very good weekend thanks to our new benefactor Helen. Helen is a jeweler and sculptor from Tennessee. She was in the booth across from us.
Here's the funny thing...
On Thursday we leave in the morning for our usual 9 hour drive to Gaithersburg for our set up. We hit traffic and construction on the way and we arrive at the fairgrounds (where the show is) 10 minutes before the show office is closing. Thankfully we get checked in and now it is 8pm. We decide to set up our 10 x 10 outdoor tent (we have an outdoor space at this show) and unload the car into it. We do that and we button up the hatches and we drive away knowing that we have to do what we really don't like to do...get up really early the next morning and set up our booth before the show starts at 10am.
We get up too early the next morning. We are all pissy and tired. We arrive at the fairgrounds to find that the high winds during the early morning have totally torqued and broken our trusty tent. Michael took one look at it and commented on how it must be our turn. Over the years we have seen this sort of thing happen many times to others.
Now we have to figure out what to do. Rent a tent? Go buy a new tent? Thankfully all of our inventory was still in the bins. If we had set up the night before we would have been in a real pickle (basically we would have been screwed!). We find out how much it is to rent a tent...ouch. We look for a BJ's or Costco. We finally find out that we can move locations and set up in a barn and we won't need a tent. So at 9:30am we are frantically loading up the car to move our stuff to a different location and then we have to unload the car all before "5 minutes ago" because our car has to get off the fairgrounds because the show is about to open.
We are working like clockwork. We are laughing and moving at the speed of TERRA. We unload the car, get it moved off the grounds, and then we are left to set up our space. We were hustling. We were open for business with lights on and cash box ready at around 1pm. We went back to our old space and left a sign letting all our customers from our mailing know where we were. A big sigh of relief, pats on the back, running into all sorts of other vendors who have to comment on the fact "oh, that was you" and we are standing around twiddling our thumbs because there aren't very many customers walking around. All of our neighbors are talking about how well we handled the situation and in what good spirits we are in. Well sure, shit happens and just like our good friend Lance has advised us we duck and roll.
If we hadn't hit traffic and construction, if our tent hadn't mangled itself into a twisted piece of art, if someone hadn't have moved out of the barn to somewhere else making their old space open we wouldn't have ended up across from Helen. She 'made' our show financially and emotionally.
Is it all coincidence or is it fate?
What do you think?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And that morning's moment of greatness was over.

I awoke yesterday morning feeling refreshed and perky. That's pretty unusual for a Monday morning after a show weekend. And even more unusual because we drove home the night before and got in around midnight.
So I am feeling spunky and I am getting all sorts of things accomplished all before 8AM. I am amazing!! I did the banking, wrote a post, put together some pictures of a baby blanket that I took off the loom...I am multi-tasking away. I put the sausage on the stove to make sausage and eggs for breakfast. I am a goddess. I put in a load of laundry, I check the printer, do some more futzing and then the perfect alignment of my morning crumbled.Oops! I forgot about the sausage burning away. But all was not lost...we ate them anyway with our omelets. And that morning's moment of greatness was over.

Monday, November 12, 2007

So many logistics so little time.

We have now officially started our 4 shows in 4 weekends in a row. Last weekend was Hartford, CT, then we have Gaithersburg, MD, then Lancaster, PA, then Westfield, NJ. We did have 5 shows in a row but our last show is in an armory and the National Guard has been called so the promoter had to switch the dates. All of the artists that had already booked their hotels on priceline are SOL...what a drag. We always stay with friends so it was easy to switch weekends.
For the past month Xan and I have been totally consumed with a trip. When each of our girls turns 13 they are allowed to pick a place to travel to with Mom and Dad. It's our way of celebrating their 'coming of age'. Artie chose to go to NYC and Xan has chosen to go to Paris. That's right, Paris.
So we again decided that we need to spend money that we do not have and we have booked our air and we are in the process of booking an apartment. We are getting an apartment in the Latin Quarter for about $700 a week. Let me tell you that when we first starting seriously planning this trip 500 euros (the cost of the apartment) was $716 and now it is $730. Oh woe is us...all of us. We are thinking about buying our euros now because we get to pay for the apartment in cash when we arrive. If we wait for 2 or 3 months who knows what 500 euros will convert into. These are bad days for the dollars.
Xan is working very hard these days at shows to make as much money as she can for the trip. She's helping to fund the trip...all her idea.
Get this....over Thanksgiving Xan is driving to Cleveland, Ohio to work for a woman who paints on silk and makes clothing with it. This past weekend Xan worked for her and it was great. So off she is going to Ohio to work a show with Denise and will fly back into Albany when the show is over. She will miss Thanksgiving because that is their set-up day and under normal circumstances we wouldn't let it happen but there's the Paris trip and Xan is so motivated to go and make money.
I must be off to figure out her plane home and to figure out how Artie is going to get to Maryland to meet us for Thanksgiving. So many logistics so little time.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

...no matter how cool it looks.

I signed up for the Mablahblahblah. You know that thing where you post everyday for a month. I thought it would be so much fun. Two of my favorite bloggers do it and I wanted to feel the commraderie.
I missed the second day.
I have been so depressed about it that I haven't posted since the first day.
I missed the stupid second day.
How lame is that?

So back to blogging. In my own time in my own way....
Halloween!!!This is what my kitchen table looked like for a whole day before we brought the pumpkins out into our tent that we set up.We serve hot mulled cider to all the grown ups and give away toys of some sort to all the kids. This year we had kazoos and they were a big hit. It was a blast to teach the little kids how to use them.
Artie's costume:
Xan's costume that she designed and totally made herself (Goddess, I love homeschooling):
Our upstairs neighbors came out and played for everyone. Greg is an amazing guitar player and luthier and Maggie is almost done getting her teaching certificate. We are so blessed to have them in our house!
It was a groovy, groovy evening with lots of crowds stopping by. All the grown ups telling us that they look forward to our stop every year. It's nice to hear the appreciation for something that we love to do.
The next day Artie was outside and noticed a small bird on some of the spider web that we had put out. She thought that the bird looked so beautiful that she took some pictures.While she was snapping away she realized that the poor bird was stuck. So she got Xan and some gloves and she cut the bird free taking care not to touch the bird in any way. The deed was done and the little guy flew off to safety.
Note to self...Next year do not use the spider web on the sunflowers no matter how cool it looks.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Anything beats the heat around here.

The weather here is unseasonably warm. So warm that kids were out last night in those skimpy two piece costumes that they can only wear in mid-July. It was an eye opener.
On my way home from getting the mail today I passed a house that I just love. This house is a big white rambling oasis on a corner. It's owned by this real outrageous black woman who loves to garden with old tires. There's mostly a white picket fence that surrounds the yard.
Today I noticed that the matronly black bear (of the chain saw variety) was wearing a faux-fur coat. Standing there up by the tree just waiting winter.
What a glorious sight.
I, too, am waiting for winter. Anything beats the heat around here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

...gotten through for now.

Let's face it. I do retail almost every weekend, all weekend long. I stand around in (what I hope is) a funky, interesting, and creative outfit. I put on my best "I am only paying attention to you and you only" face and I hopefully sell enough of Michael's ceramics to pay the mortgage, buy new winter coats, pay for soccer, and if I'm lucky splurge a little on the groceries. I don't sell all by myself Michael is there. In fact he is much better at it than I am. Not that I am bad or anything but he is much better with the schmoozing part.
Last weekend we trek, and I mean we trek, to Novi, MI for a show with a promoter that we work with a lot. We get up at 3:30 in the morning on Thursday and we are in the car ready to go at 4:00. We drive in intense fog for hours. It must have been Mother Nature's little "Ha, Ha" on the Terra's and their big white van, Moby. We trade off driving and sleeping about every 3 hours. Xan did some homeschool in the car. We listened to "The Stories of Oz". The original ones, weird, and most of them are not very pleasant. But we feel righteous for having done it because they are classics. We had such an unremarkable lunch that for the life of me I can't remember where we ate. And finally, finally we pull into the Rock Financial Center at 5:00pm to set up our booth. We are there until 8:00 and we are not even done yet. It took us a while to figure out a new set up because Michael is a 'demo artist' (which to us means that we get a free booth space in exchange for Michael working at the show). We get to the hotel and this time it is a good one. We are staying at a Marriott and they have an indoor pool. We go to an 'Olive Garden' for dinner. Michael and I each order a glass of wine and we were all barely able to pick up our forks to eat dinner. Back to the hotel and some tv watching and as usual I am the first one asleep.
The weekend was a bust. Novi is a bedroom community for Detroit. For me, that about sums it up. We were packed all weekend. We worked our butts off and for all our hard effort we broke even. People stood in front of our booth, stared, mouths fell slightly open, heads tilted to one side, mouths open, words come out, "Can you explain this to me?" That's what we did all weekend. Talk, talk, talk, explain, explain, explain. Very little wrapping was done.
It happens. We have doing this enough years now that we take it in stride. Every show is a learning experience and you never how economically successful you are going to be until you try. We know people who who raked in the dough.
At home yesterday sitting at our kitchen table I had out the bill box and was sorting through them picking out which bills to pay and which to leave until after the next show. I am in a constant flux of 'putting all my eggs in one show'. The loan payment can wait because even though it is due the 1st I really have until the 16th before they charge a late payment. Must pay the credit cards because they are nasty, nasty corporations who will raise my APR if I am 2 seconds late in paying. I always try to prioritize 'people' we owe money to right after the credit cards because they are people and they need the money just like we do. I want to give them the opportunity to sit at their kitchen table with their bill boxes and play their version of check roulette.
I open up the Sprint bill. Ouch. It's over $500. $469 of it is Artie's from the 3 weeks that she is in Austin. I just remembered that I haven't told her yet. That will smart. Austin seems like forever ago.
Another show is in the bag. Another day with the bills has been, well, it has been gotten through for now.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm thinking about Turkey.

On our way to Michigan last week I had the map out in the car. we were going to do a detour to Niagara Falls. Xan and I are looking at the map...
"Hey Mom, does that say Buffalo?"
"Yeah sweetie."
"I know, isn't Buffalo a country?"
"No honey, Buffalo is a city."
"No I'm sure it is a country."
"It's not. It's a city in New York state dear."
"No, no, no I"m sure that it is a country."
"It's not honey, it is a city in New York state and we are going to drive through there to get to Niagara Falls on Monday."
"No Mom, I'm sure it's a country. It's (long pause). Oh, ha-ha, it's Turkey. I'm thinking about Turkey."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

...it's all working out.

Everyone sent me such kind and supportive wishes during the time that Artie was in Austin. I just want everyone to know that she is home and doing great. Really great.
I think that this experience helped her do some maturing. She is taking a pastels portrait class, working at a coffee shop and looking for another job, and (get this) she is taking classes to prepare her for getting her GED. She is actively looking at colleges for special effects make-up design.
Michael and I are yet once again 'wowed' by our daughter.
She's happy, productive, and she's home. I must admit it's good to have her home, it's all working out. Thank Goddess it's all working out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

...off the loom last month.

I haven't posted in a while because I've been waiting for everyone to see the pictures of J. But it is time to move on and you should really look at my last post and see the pictures of J.
We went to Baltimore a few weekends ago for an art show. Last year at this time we were at the same art show staying with the same wonderful friends, the Rashkins. Our friend, Laura, is someone that used to rent an apartment from us when we lived in Tucson, AZ. Oh, let's say, about 17 or 18 years ago.
Laura arrived at our doorstep a few days before Thanksgiving one year wanting to rent our apartment. She stayed, she had Thanksgiving with us and she has been a feature in our lives ever since. We even went to her wedding. How lucky for us to know Laura!!!
So...last year I asked her daughter, Anna (then 3), if I could make her a rug in my weaving class. It was decided that I could. And here it is a year later and I am bringing the rug to Anna's house unfinished. I spent one night sitting on the floor tie-ing off the ends so that I could leave the rug with her. I am the slowest weaver!! It takes me about 6 months to a year (obviously) to get one project done from start to finish.
I got up early on the morning that we were leaving so that I could take some pictures of Anna with her new rug. See how happy she is...See how excited she is to have a rug that Victoria made just for her...See how she can smile when asked, "Why aren't you smiling, Anna?".The rug is finished...now on to the baby blankets I took off the loom last month.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

...and a helluva woman.

Finally, finally I can tell you about the day that I got to meet J. Beautiful, beautiful J. She is so wonderful that she even let me borrow her luscious hair for a few moments.Now what kind of woman that you have never met in person before will let you have the hair that you have always dreamed for a few moments? J rocks!!!
J and her family came to a show that we were doing in Manassas, VA. And what a lovely family they are.She has three young boys that had loads of fun playing with some clay that Michael got out for them. See them having loads of fun.OK so maybe ice cream is more fun.But seriously folks...I got to meet a very special woman. I look forward to reading her blog. She makes my day better every time she leaves a comment on mine. She is a gifted wordsmith and a helluva woman.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Is this really happening?

A bottle of wine later and good nights sleep and now I am ready to blog about it.
Yesterday my Mom calls me from Texas. She is out there visiting her best friend and just so happens to be two hours away from Austin.
She says, (and this is after not calling me when she arrived in Texas, like she said she would, a few days previously) "I just want you to know that I am on my way to Austin to go and get Artie. I thought that you would be relieved to know."
"Are you picking her up, like taking her away from there for good?"
"I've been talking to her a lot lately and I think that she needs to get out of there so I am picking her up so that she can spend a few days with me in Junction (where she is staying with her friend)."
"OK then Mom. I, too, have been talking with Artie a lot lately and I am not going to intervene in this situation no matter what my feelings about it are. Artie is in a position where she needs to be making decisions on her own and I am not going to tell her or you what to do."
"I think that she needs me to come and get her so I am going."
That's about the jist of it.
Later in the day I get a phone call from Artie that she has been waiting outside of her apartment complex for over 1/2 an hour. Her grandmother is late and she is worried. I told her that Granny could be lost but there was nothing to do but wait. And to please call me when she is in the car with Granny.
She doesn't call.
I called a couple of hours later. They are in a restaurant somewhere on the way to Junction and everything is groovy. I ask her to please call me when they get to Junction.
A couple of hours later....
I call to make sure that everythiing is OK.
"Everything is fine Mom we are just taking the scenic route."
"Do you know where you are?"
There's some talking back and forth in the car with Artie and Granny.
"Yeah, Granny says we are in San Antonio."
This is not such a great 'great' by the way. It's getting dark. My mother has really crappy night vision. They are in San Antonio which is out of the way of where Junction is. I'm thinking that this is not such a good thing. And Artie is assuring me how everything is fine.
"Everything is not really fine dear, your grandmother has a really hard time seeing at night."
"I know Mom, I'm helping her."
"That's good dear call me when you get to Junction. And if you need me to mapquest anything for you call me!!!"
They got to Junction a few hours later around 11pm their time. Artie has no cell service there and it took her a while to figure out how to use the rotary dial telephone.
And my Mom is going to take her back to Junction on Monday? Is this really happening?

Friday, September 21, 2007

....she's coming home.

So she has finagled money out of my Mom and she is coming home.
Big breath.
She's coming home.
We are in no way helping her to get here but we are clear that we will not turn her away if she shows up on our doorstep.
She's coming home.
She had it all figured out how to get herself to Lopez. She had a place to live and a job but after a heart to heart talk with her about doing what she really wants to do vs. making another mistake she let us know that she is coming home to be with us.
She's coming home.
She has found a job here and we are being very clear with her that things will not be the same for her around here.
She's coming home.
Xan is not too thrilled with the whole thing. I think that she has seen enough of the emotional trauma that we have been through this week and thinks that Artie would be better out on Lopez.
She's coming home.
I don't know how I really feel about the whole thing. I don't think that Artie really gets the magnitude of the personal growth that she is giving up. I will not let her come home and live like an emotional cripple.
She's coming home.
Oh God...she's coming home.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stamina, stamina, stamina...

Yesterday morning was totally sucked into the Artie emotional hysteria. Yesterday afternoon was totally sucked into the Artie emotional hysteria. Yesterday evening I had just gotten home from working at the Farmers Market and she calls I told her that I couldn't talk to her until after dinner was made and we had eaten and watched our movie. She called three times before the movie was over and each time we told her that we would be calling her when the movie was over.
I called when the movie was over and we had a reasonably good conversation. Both she and I have been talking to reps from the Vancouver Film School. But in this conversation she tells me about how she has tried to hurt herself by taking too many aspirins. She's thinking that if she hurts herself we will come out and get her. Then she tells me that just that very day she has burned herself. On purpose.
What do you do?
I told her that the 5 aspirin that she told me she took won't kill her.
"That was only the 5 I took Mom! I stopped myself."
What do you say?
Our conversation got better. I kept it focused on this costume rental place near her house that is hiring. Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds....how fun does that sound? I kept it focused on the Starbucks application that she has. I kept it focused on the Vancouver Film School. I told her yet again that she needs to stay out there for some personal growth....and she needs to learn how to deal with herself.
I actually went to bed feeling fairly good. Then I woke up at 4am. Michael is still working and tells me that he has spent most of the evening on the phone with our oldest. On Sunday night she stooped to the "You don't love me that's why you won't let me come home". Last night it was her "My best friends' parents are better parents than you are". Michael said that the phone call was over because she was getting too hurtful and would regret the things that she was saying. She called back an hour later crying and apologizing and they talked for an hour.
Needless to say I didn't go back to sleep for a very long time.
So far this week we have missed soccer, a hair appointment, been late to work at the market, a cheese tour, and barely homeschooled yesterday morning. We are so sucked up in this emotional drama we are not functioning properly.
Stamina, stamina, stamina......

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

....into the pits of despair.

We've had one good day. ONE GOOD DAY. Well if you can consider that Art was pissed off enough (at us) to get her ass on the city bus and ride it. She told me that day that she was coping by putting on a facade.
"OK...if that's what you need to do to get through this."
Yesterday we were back to the I hate it here(s) and I want to come home(s).
She called in the wee hours of the morning and Michael told her that we need some rest and that we need to sleep so we will talk to her in the morning.
She told me yesterday that she has a job interview today at a coffee shop at the airport. She is going in and they will talk and do a background check. And she's got a job interview for a cashier position at some restaurant called Jimmy Chews.
Michael said yesterday (before we started receiving more distressing phone calls) that I should blog everyday about this so that we can have a record of how great this move to Austin has been for us. Little did we know that we were about to be plunged down again into the pits of despair.

Monday, September 17, 2007

...numb to the core.

I had wonderful plans to blog about my vacation in Mexico. I had anticipated with warm fuzzy thoughts about the blog that would contain the pictures and my thoughts about J. How glorious to meet J and how dear it was going to be to share that with my blogger friends.
Instead....I have spent the last 4 days in hell. In parent hell.
Artie flew off to Austin, TX on Tuesday last week.
On Wednesday the phone calls of need and loneliness started. We have peaked (hopefully peaked) into how much I hate her and won't come out to Austin and be there for her.. How can I? How can I save her from herself? Oh, this is hard folks. I want to get on that plane. I want to go out there and hug here and hold her. I can not.
We are standing back and allowing our oldest to succeed. We are standing back and allowing her to figure out for herself how she is going to help herself feel better.
What growing pains. I am frozen with fear.
Teary eyed and numb to the core.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I love to fly, don't you?

Today we did the massive 12 housr drive to Maryland to stay with our friends and they are going to drive us to the airport in the morning. Early morning...not really to far from now.
On our drive we stopped at a Starbucks in NJ. A woman who works there was working on a sign that she wanted to put up about a coffee. Michael asked her what she was doing and she showed him her work and was discouraged. Michael offered to do it for her. "Are you good at this sort of thing?" She asked.
We got free Frappucinos and coffee out of the deal.
I told her that we would stop by once a month when they need to change the sign.
I'll be back from Mexico next week...hopefully with lots of good pics.
Mom is ok, by the way, not great but there are a lot of tests being done at the moment and her cardiologist and her primary care guy seem to think that her blood pressure problem is not the awful incurable disease that it could be. We'll know next week.
I'm going snorkeling...and this time tomorrow I'll be in a different country.
I love to fly, don't you?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Love you all......

So, I am here in MA with my Mom doing my best not to loose it. Xan arrived last Monday and I was hoping that Mom would be up and running in a few days but she is not. She is having a problem where she will be fine sitting down but when she stands up her blood pressure drops and she's a gonner.
I borrowed her car on Friday (my 20th wedding anniversary) and drove to Stockbridge, MA to help Michael set up for a show. We went over to Jacob's Pillow (be still my heart this place if fabulous) and saw a dance performance. It was wonderful and beautiful. Spent the night at a friend's house and then I left on Saturday to come back to my Mom's.
Today we went to see the doctor again. He is taking her off one more medication that she takes that might have something to do with her blood pressure. If that doesn't work than he is pretty sure she has the lucky fortune of have a blood pressure system that does not know how to regulate itself. This is a royal pain the ass to deal with but better to know what is going on and deal with it than not know and not be able to walk around.
I have cleaning my Mom's house...ICK!!!
This past Friday my brother and his wife signed papers on her (his wife) dream house. It is in Wareham, MA. In the town where she grew up and ever since she can remember she has wanted to live in this house. It was built in the 1700's. Her kids have grown up with her driving by it and telling them that someday they would live there. Now they do. Pretty cool huh? She wants Michael to come over and wood burn the word "dream" into one of the old beams in the kitchen. Of course he will!!!
Today I get to park my ass on the ride around mower and mow the yard. Tomorrow Artie is taking the bus in to help me keep my sanity. She's a good kid. She is all packed for Austin and is going to fly out in the middle of September.
I have been watching the progress of Hurricane Dean. Tomorrow it should hit the Yucatan Peninsula. And we are flying out there in a week. EEK.
We'll see what happens.
I know that I've been tagged but I got to move on to other things on the internet and then get back to Mom's. Ahhkkk, this is the second time from the 2nd person and sooner or later I'll do my 8 things.
Love you all.....

Monday, August 13, 2007

...our trusty navigator for company.

I have been so selfishly self-involved in my vacation search that I forgot to mention that my Mom just got a pacemaker put in. She came home from the hospital on Saturday and my brother did the weekend duty. Now, today, Xan & I are going to take the bus down to be with her until Friday when we take the bus to the Berkshires to set up for a show.
So, I am travel bound this week. Hopefully we will make it to the library and I can blog.
When I told my friend, Beth, yesterday about my experience with Artie and the bus station she said that it was too bad Xan wasn't there. Because we all know that Xan would have had that itinerary out and questioning every little detail.
Thankfully I will have our trusty navigator for company.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

...midnight update.

It's official.
We are flying out of Washington, DC from Reagon International Airport for Cancun on Wed. Aug. 29th until Sept. 5th for $213 a person. We are staying in a two bedroom condo in Akumel on the Riviera Maya for a week for $705. Not too shabby.
I highly recommend this website www.vrbo.com...that's vacation rental by owner.
We are renting from a nice couple in NH that live near our friend Andy.
That's my midnight update.

...to be had at my finger tips.

We have decided that we want to do something celebatory. Not just the usual dinner but something "wow". Something really special.
Michael and I have our 20th wedding anniversary this month, next month he is turning 50, and Artie is leaving the nest and moving to Austin, TX and our best friend, Andy, has his birthday this month and wants to join in on the fun.
Our first thoughts were that we wanted to take a cruise on the Hudson River. We wanted something that would take us down to NYC and see the Statue of Liberty from the water and come back up. That was a no go...couldn't find anything that was doing that. Then I looked into smaller cruises. We could take an all day sail out of Kingston on the tall ship "Clearwater". It was commissioned to be built by Pete Seeger and it's mission is to promote envirionment issues dealing with the Hudson. That sounded fun but Michael thought that some of us would be bored. Bored? OK so I moved on.
I started to think of all things that I wanted to show the girls here on the East Coast and what haven't we done yet. Niagara Falls and Nova Scotia and Acadia National Park in ME. So I start looking into these possibilities. Niagara Falls is 6 hours away and we all agree that we don't want to be spending a lot of time in the car because we spend a lot of time in the car anyway and want to avoid that. I looked into flying and taking the train and taking the car ferry to Nova Scotia. Nothing is gelling together. I even looked into castles. I thought that it would be fun to spend the night in a castle and there a few here in NY. Then somehow this has all morphed into snorkeling.
We all love to snorkel. We have wonderful memories of being in the Bahamas and walking out our timeshare and snorkeling off the beach. Xan was just a baby and Artie must have been 6. Oh it was glorious. Why not go snorkeling?
I sit myself down in front of Expedia and my fingers are flying across the key board. We have so many variables. Because we travel and we want to squish this celebration in between shows we have about six different airports we could leave from. From Boston, Providence, Hartford, all the NYC ones, Albany, or Washington, DC. We can leave near where a show is ending or end up near a show that is just starting. We can fly to anywhere that there is snorkeling.
I started with the most northern island in the carribean and worked my way down. My fingers did the walking from the Dominican Republic to Aruba. I was there for about 7 hours straight. This is what I have done pretty much excusively for two days.
And we did call a travel agent to see if they could come up with anything better. You know, not really.
Nearing the end...I think. We have decided to fly in and out of Boston so that we can travel with Andy (but late last night I think that we might have changed our minds on this point) and we are either going to Jamaica or the Riviera Maya outside of Cancun. In both places we can stay on the beach and snorkel to our hearts content.
When I first started this search vacation packages were about $500 a person. I thought that that was reseasonable. But right before my eyes the cost of flying went up. Damn. Now we are looking at options from $600 (flight and villa) or $750 (for an all inclusive). How are we going to afford this? We talked about it yesterday and realized that we do all sorts of things that we can't afford and we want to do this so we will.
I must away to check out something that I thought of last night but refrained from getting out of bed to check on.
I"m obsessive about this kind of stuff...always thinking that there is a better deal to be had at my finger tips.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Finally here are the pictures that I told a few friends I was going to post up on my blog days ago. I am so amazed at what she has done over the past 5 weeks. WOW. I knew she was talented I just had no idea that she could draw like this.
Michael has a saying, "It's been a long year today". Well, it was a long year yesterday. Artie came home from Skidmore on Friday and had plans to leave for Pensic (a re-enactment sort of thing for medieval time period and before that time period enthusiasts) on Saturday. Well the kid was an emotting mess. She was all wigged out about finishing her art program and then saying goodbye to friends, packing up all her stuff to move home, unpacking all her stuff at home, packing up all the stuff that she needed for Pensic, and then getting reading to take the bus to Pittsburgh. I stayed home from work (we were at a show in VT) to be with her on Saturday.
The morning began with frustration and her wanting to throw things (she had a lot of artwork to deal with from her art classes at Skidmore). The mid-day turned into her wanting to leave on Sunday instead of Saturday. Good choice in my book but her pick up in Pittsburgh wanted her to arrive on Sunday. So, she gets herself ready to leave on the bus for Saturday.
We take a cab to the Saratoga Springs bus station. Really not to far from our house but with two suitcases and 80+ degree weather I thought it wise. Art wants me to come and sit with her and wait for the bus. It's ok with me. We met all the crazies that are heading back to Albany after drinking at the racetrack all day. One woman wants to know if Artie and I are girlfriends. Uh, no!
So, dear emotionally wrenched Artie gets on the bus for Pittsburg. All is well. She has her itinerary printed out. She is going to Port Authority in NYC to transfer to a bus for Pittsburgh. We did a lot of planning for this. Making sure that she is in NYC during a time of day so that she is present and awake to make her transfer. The bus will get her into Pittsburgh at 6:30am. It's a long ride from here to Pittsburgh.
So.....Artie gets to Port Authority at 9:30pm and is catching an 11:15pm bus. She gets there. Calls us to let us know that she is there. The cell connection is awful so we only chat for a second. But she is there and OK. The kid is overwhelmed with the size of the place and goes to the information counter to help her figure out where the bus to Pittsburg is. The really nice guy at the information place wants to help her out and carries one of her bags for her over to the gate for the bus. This really nice guy who most likely really meant to be nice. This really nice guy who walked my really nice kid to the wrong gate. She didn't check to see what gate she was at. She didn't check to make sure that the bus number on her itinerary matched the bus number at the gate. She goes ahead and gets on the bus. She didn't even question the bus driver when told her that she would be transferring in Philadelphia. She knew damn well that she wasn't transferring anywhere but in NYC.
I called her at 11:30pm just as I was getting into bed. Just to say goodnight and make sure that she got on the bus. She then tells me what the bus driver said to her when she got on the bus. I am thinking, "This is not good". I hang up with her and get online and see that there is no transfer like I thought and I'm thinking, "Where the hell is she going?". Once back on the phone with her she tells me that everyone is asleep and there is noone to ask and the person next to her is asleep and she can't get out to talk to the bus driver. We make a plan for her to call me when the bus stops.
I fall asleep with the phone next to me. I am woken up at 12:30am.
"Hi Mom, I got on the wrong bus. I'm in Philadelphia."
"OK, what time and where is your connection to Pittsburgh?"
"I don't know."
"Didn't you ask the driver when you got off the bus?"
"Do you see a ticket office with ticket agents?"
"Go and ask the ticket agent what time and where the bus to Pittsburgh is and call me right back."
Wait, wait, wait.
"Mom (her sobbing starts) I have to wait until 5:45am (my gut is wrenching). I feel so stupid I never checked to see that I was getting on the right bus because the information guy took me there."
"I know sweetie, I know (Oh fuck my 18 yr. daughter has to spend the night in the bus station in Philly)."
"Mom, I feel so stupid. I didn't want to leave today anyway. Mahhhhummmm."
"I know sweetie (I think I could just about puke right now)."
Meanwhile Michael is across the street sitting with Xan because she is babysitting for a neighbor and it's late. I now walk across the street.
"Well Honey you are going to have to sit in the station until the bus comes."
"I know."
Michael gets on the phone and gives her some great advice about asking the ticket agent where the safest place to sit is and that she should take her purse off and zip it into her bag and then sit on her luggage so nobody can take it if she falls asleep.
We all chat back and forth for a little while. Apparently there is a tv on there so she goes and sits somewhere where she can stay awake and watch tv.
I go home and get into bed with the phone.
Michael got a serious vibe at 3am and called her while some yahoo was trying to pick her up. She told me later that morning that there was a homeless woman that sat with her and thought that Artie was her daughter. She took out her journal and wrote about all the displaced nuts that she saw and met.
I set our alarm for 5:25am so that I could make sure that she was up and getting on the bus.
We chat and the bus is late. She gets on the bus around 6:30am and I tell her to go to sleep because the bus only has a few stops and she doesn't get off until it's last stop in Pittsburgh.
I never go back to sleep and we have to leave the house at 8am to be in VT in time for our show.
Of all the things to happen that morning we leave both of our cell phones behind and don't realize it until we are too far on the way to Vt to turn around. It's OK we have lots of friends with phones. I phone Artie at 12:30 to make sure that she got to Pittsburgh Ok. Got her voicemail which did not thrill me and left her a message. She called back and got my dear friend Lisa and told her that she was with Mark (her pick up) and all is well.
All was well. I became a bowl of jello. Exhausted and limp. I floated through the rest of the day can't wait to get home and crawl onto the couch.
Mid morning Xan wanted to give me a hug. Michael, who knows me so well, said to her, "Don't touch Mommy honey until this is all over then you can hug her all you want." He knows so well how tightly compact I put all that anxiety in there and one hug can let it all unravel. He knows I hate that.
In the afternoon I looked at him teary eyed, "We lived through it honey. I know it's not the first time nor will be the last but we got through this one."
We had a nice hug.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


I can't believe that so much time has passed since my last blog entry.
We got Xan off to Tucson alright. She had the good fortune of sharing a whole row by herself with another young (homeschooler to boot!) girl who was travelling alone as well. The plane arrived an hour early. Dig that...an hour early. The Continental folks whisked her off to some office where she waited for an hour and a half for Keith to finally catch up with her and all the miscommunication with the airline. I've got a great picture of her on the airplane with the captain. Will have to download it later as I am using my friend's computer.
Which brings me to the present. I went to my Mom's for 5 days and hung out with her while she had cataract surgery. Then I came here to Andy's to cat sit. Two days by myself with no phone or car. Downright unamerican. Downright decadent, if you ask me. Yesterday I watched Hitch (cute), The Public Eye (very good flic), and The Weatherman (depressing and quite real). Here I am ALONE. Just me and the kitties. And, of course, a good book. I am reading "Thud" by Terry Pratchett. I just got turned onto Terry Pratchett and am enjoying him.
Mom's: I think my max 'Mom limit' is about 4 days. Sad to say, sad to admit. She really does drive me bonkers. Even that was too humorous for the actual emotions. She is a frustrating woman very self centered and is pretty negative these days. I have been thinking about aging. I believe that as we grow older we can choose to just settle into a part of ourselves. That part is of your choosing. Me? I want to be old and funny and cute. Loose my mind with an air of the absent minded professor. Hum dee doe-doe and loveable. My Mom who is witty and intelligent is choosing the unattractive parts of herself to hunker down into in her elder years. She wants to complain about others and play emotional mind games with her (maybe boyfriend) bridge partner. I have been bold with her and told her to stop complaining about him and their relationship if she is not willing to TALK to him about how she feels. She keeps telling me it's how her generation operates.
A weird thing happened on this trip. I never am comfortable in my parents' house. I never sleep well. This time on the second night that I was there something sat on the bed next to me. At first I thought that my cat, Ethel, had jumped on the bed then I realized that was not possible and woke up out of a sound sleep flailing my body across the bed to get rid of my unseen entruder. I always have this feeling when I am at parents' house that there is something that wants my attention. So, when I am there without my family and I am sleeping alone upstairs I always tell this non-seen thing that I am not interested in it getting my attention. I do this before I go to sleep. Not this time, I was doing it in the wee hours of the morning that I was not interested in having my attention 'got' at this or any other time. Oh yeah, I went back to sleep. Sometime I will tell you about my mother-in-law trying to get my attention be driving behind me in her car (after she had passed over, of course) and I knew damn well that she wanted me to pull over and talk to me. Michael has asked on several ocassions "Why didn't you stop?". Let me tell you I was not and am not interested in my mother-in-law wanting me to fix her daughter. Not my job. Don't want to go there. And I knew damn well that's what she wanted to talk about way back in April of 2006.
Life is weird.
Michael and Stuart, his brother, got to go over to their mom's house and pick up items of personal property. The horrid sister gave them one day only to complete a daunting task. As with all stories of this estate it is long and involved and I am not going to go into it. Suffice to say that we now have a storage unit and this is far from over. She continues to be dishonest and dishonorable. I choice these words diplomatically.
I am off to reconcile my bank statements to my check books. This way I won't feel like a total slouch.
Michael will arrive tonight. Good, because I miss him.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

And so it goes...

It's been a hectic time here at Terra Cottage. We are trying to wrap up our homeschooling before Monday or Tuesday so that we can send off all of our documentation to Lopez. It's been funny to read whole chapters with all their sections of history. Getting almost the whole European Middle Ages in one sitting is quite a lot to chew on. Very funny to zip through The Crusades when under different circumstances we might spend a month on those.
Artie came down with us last week to NYC for an art show at Lincoln Center. More hectic logistics with Xan staying behind bouncing between friends so that she could play two soccer games. We left a day early because we had arranged with a friend of mine who is the props master for 'Beauty and the Beast' for Artie to hang out with the make-up guy who does the make-up for the beast. Long story short, my friend had forgot about our date earlier in the week and made arrangements for another guy, Joel to meet us at the backstage door. Well, Joel was 45 minutes late, the backstage door guy was a jerk, and Artie got into the theater for only 15 minutes. David later called us and says that he owes us big time. But, Artie loved Vinney the make-up guy who filled her head with lots of info in a short time. He showed her how he does the beast's make-up. He showed her the wig room. And to top it all off he had done some special effects make-up for the movie "Dogma". He created the shit monster. Artie was on cloud nine.
I hope this experience helped. It was planned with the intention that it could help Artie decide if she wanted to go to special effects make-up school. She is now talking about trying to get into an internship at Jim Henson Studios. She's 18, who knows what she'll want to do next week. I'll keep you posted.
We got Artie off on a plane to Seattle that weekend. One down one to go! She is now safely entrenched in island life for a month before coming back here for a studio arts summer program at Skidmore College.
Now Xan is jumping around wanting all the focus on her because she is flying out to Tucson, AZ this coming Saturday. She is going to travel with some dear friends of ours. She's packing, stressing, and driving us all bonkers over here.
So in a week Michael and I will be alone for the 1st time in 18 years. Both girls gone and a few days later I have to go down to my Mom's because she is having eye surgery. Isn't that the way of things.
From my Mom's I will travel up to NH to cat sit for our best friend. He is going off to Prince Edward Island in Canada for his own family fun. Michael will meet me in NH after he gets Artie off to Skidmore and then we will do some toodling in Maine for a few days before we are off to an art show.
The weather here is thick and humid. We've got some important court dates coming up. We've been having some intense family discussions about Xan and I moving back to Lopez in the Fall. Our lawyer has informed me that I can't go because he needs my documentation skills too much. He wants me to come and work for him. Nope.
Today is another humid day on the East Coast. Xan has a choral conert for us all to attend.
And so it goes...

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Whew!! This is going to be short because I just spent the last 45 minutes diddling around with my links. I have put up two new ones. One for Ellen, my new friend that has moved to Saratoga Springs and we met online. Last week we had lunch together and she brought me some hand-folded envelopes that she had made. What a woman!
The other is for one of my favorite charitable organizations, Food For Life Vrindavan.
A few weeks ago I ran into an old friend. She used to live in our neighborhood and has moved out to the country in a big old (OLD) farmhouse. So sweet. Her husband is a Hare Krishna and we have spent many a fine celebration at their house. She mentioned to me that they were having a fundraiser for their favorite charitable organiztion that is run by their friend Rupa. Since Xan wants to be a chef when she grows up so we try and hook her up with as many cooking experiences that we can. Last Thursday and Friday Xan spent the the day with our friend, Beth, preparing for a vegetarian Indian meal and then she stayed for the event and served.
Oh my gosh, it was amazing! We had samosas, palak paneer, deep fried cauliflower, chickpeas with some tomato stuff, and rice. For desert we had some sort of semolina pudding with orange in it and a sweet spiced yogurt with raisins in it. It was so awesomely yummy. We got to sit with some people that we had not met before and that is always fun.
After we stuffed ourselves to the gills we watched a presentation by Rupa about all the work that is being done in this town, Vrindavan, in India. What a mench. Not only does he feed people everyday, provide medical care, help with housing, has started a school...Not only has he accomplished all this. He has now started a program so progressive that I get shivers everytime I think about it.
In India, in this part of India, people are poor. Dirt poor. When girls are born they are considered a curse. A curse. A curse up on their family because someday they will have to be married and that means that the family is going to have to pay a dowry. Most, pretty much all, families try to marry their daughters off as soon as they turn 13 because at that age it is the least amount of money a family will have to spend to have their girls married off. Tragic. I think Rupa's school has been around for about 4 yrs. now and he has seen girls vanish from a classroom from one day to the next. So he got to thinking about how can he motivate a family to let the girls stay in school. This is how I understand his solution:
He (I"m sure there is many more people than 'he'. It is just that I have met Rupa.) is in the process of setting up a fund, an interest bearing bank account for each girl in the school. Through donations each girl gets money in the account. The family is told that the girl may have this money when she graduates from school. The money that the girl receives upon graduation is greater than the sum that the family would receive if they marry her off at an any age. What Rupa has not made truly clear to the family is that the money is the girls'. It is theirs to do whatever they choose to do with it.
Did you get chills? Are tears running down your face? Yeah, me too.
What an inspired thing to do. What a way to change a girls' life.
Michael and I have not stopped talking about it. We are so moved by this act of social change. The bravery and humanity of it.
Like I said, I added the link into my sidebar. Oh, the places you'll go.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Today I am going to have lunch with someone that I've met online. How fun is that? My new friend, Ellen, has recently moved here from CA. She found my blog at some Saratoga website listing people from Saratoga that have blogs. Who knew? And you all know how much I love it here. Funny that someone out there thinks I'm a good candidate to promote this lovely village we live in. Weird?
Before my story..I want J to know that I still know that I owe her some cookies. I've gone gluten-free and haven't been baking. Not a really good excuse but I want her to know that I just ordered some gluten-free cookbooks. J, someday when you least expect it there will arrive a package at your door full of weird non-gluten treats.
On a funny note...I must tell you about our dinner conversation the other day. My blogger friend, Annalise, had a really funny post the other day. She said that she got a box of condoms and there is a sticker on them that says you should not put the box in the microwave. Being the enormouse intellectual that I am, I got to wondering. Why would someone put a box of condoms in the microwave? And then I intellectualized it down to "What the hell am I missing?". Because everyone always knows something that I don't know. Of this I am sure.
I read Annalise's post right before dinner. Michael is telling me dinner is ready just as I am leaving my comment. I closed down the computer and walked into the kitchen and asked Artie what she knew about microwaving condoms. Hey, she's 18 I'm sure there's a bucket load of stuff that she knows that I don't know. I've enjoyed 11 condom free years thanks to that vasectomy Michael had. I was sure she had to know. All she could say was "Mom!!!" and then when I was explaining why I wanted to know she covered her ears and sang, "La, La, La, La.". I finally weasled it out of her that she had no idea. Do you think that she was trying to shut me up?
Michael and I pondered this subject while we were getting the food on the table. He personally liked the idea that nobody wants a 'chilly willy'. We both agree that microwaving a condom is for those that really want to get pregnant but feel that they have to use the condom because they need to pretend that they don't want to get pregnant. Not the sort of person I want to be hanging out with.
Xan and her friend Gretchen came in to join us for dinner. Of course, if it was just Xan I would have continued the conversation. Embarrassing the hell out of our girls is just one of the services that I offer. Well, the conversation kept coming back to the 'thing' that I really didn't feel I should mention in front of Getchen. After a little while of the poor kid being in the dark my sense of not being rude took over. I told her about what I had read. I lean over to her and say I know how it feels when people are talking about something and not telling you what they are talking about. I hate exclusion like that so I am going to tell you what we are talking about. Xan knew it was coming, she cringed. Artie picked up her plate and started to walk out of the kitchen. I put my motherly foot down and made her come back. I lean over to Gretchen and say, "Do you know what a condom is?" Dead silence. Then she made eye contact and nodded. I told her about the blog. She laughed. Everything is allright if they laugh. Xan whined, "Mom!!!!".
It was over. Gretchen got included. I hate exclusion I can't put up with it under most circumstances.
Gretchen's mom calls us her 'colorful friends'...I have a reputation to live up to.
So dear Jane we are sisters in the 'no filter' realm.
Annalise thanks for prompting a very funny and fun dinner.
And to me...I am proud to be an openminded mom.
Ah, you should have seen their faces.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

...not feeling 'ever so inspired' this morning.

In typical Motherly Nature fashion up here in Saratoga we have warped from winter into summer. Just the day before yesterday we were all complaining about how hot and uncomfortable we were and when we looked at the thermometer outside it was 76 degrees. I remember doing the same thing last year. Even though I grew up in New England I am not cut out for hot humid summers. We even broached the subject of getting out the air conditioners and installing them.
In my perfect summer world I don't want to think about air conditioners and sweating. I want to think about breezes on the beach and gardening in my bear feet with a sun hat on. I don't want to think about lying on the couch shfitzing away and dreaming of glaciers. I want to think about going swimming and only getting as far as my ankles because the water is so cold it has numbed them with pain.
OK so much for this post that I started days ago. I'm not inspired anymore.
Here are some funt hings that are happening this summer:
1. Xan is flying (by herself!) out to Tucson and taking a road trip with some dear friends of ours.
2. Artie is flying out to Lopez for a month and then coming back to attend a summer arts program at Skidmore College.
3. Michael and I will be all alone (TOGETHER) for the first time in 18 years.
4. It's our 20th anniversary this summer and in the rush of booking shows we scheduled ourselves to be setting up for a show on our anniversary. How the hell did we manage that one?!
5. I am going to my Mom's for 5 days to hang with her while she has cataract (sp?) surgery. With all the issues I've been having with my Mom lately, this will be interesting.
6. Michael and I are going to do our best friend a really, really big favor and stay in NH for a week and take care of his aged cat while he goes with his family (he gets to deal with his mom and their issues) on Prince Edward Island in Canada.
7. We get to finally have a real court date about the estate where we can...I'm not going to say what we can do so any certain somebody has no way to find out what we have prepared. I'll let you know when it's over.
8.We get to do an art show in Wilmington, DE and we've never been there before. I'm interested in seeing what Delaware looks like.
9. Maybe, just maybe, we'll be moving in the Fall to Lopez. Dare I say it...will I jinx it. I'm ever so hopeful....
10. We are doing a show on Long Island and we are taking an extra day to go to Coney Island because this is the last summer ever that it will be in existence. It has been bought by developers and being made into Condos. Can you believe it?! The roller coaster and the ferris wheel will remain because they are historic landmarks but all the rest is going. We are taking Xan and a friend of hers and going with some friends of ours in the city. When Michael was a little kid he used to go to Coney Island with his family.
Sorry for my 'not so inspired' post. I'm just not feeling 'ever so inspired' this morning.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

She's my Artie.

My baby girl turned 18 on Monday.Funny that this is not her birthday cake. It's a celebratory cake from when she took her sculpting class in NYC.
That means that I've been married with kids for 18 yrs. Wow. And whoever decided that I deserved someone like Artie I really want to the thank them. She's amazing.
I was in labor for about 43 hours with a hard labor of 10 grueling ones. I was terrified of having a girl because my relationship with my mom is pretty screwey. Oh, but when she finally popped forth I knew that someone special had just arrived on the planet.
Artie has been by mentor, my friend, my daughter. She truly dances to the beat of a different drummer and I've had no choice but to watch her rythmic sway and trust that she and the universe know best. They have. We've journeyed. Sometimes together, sometimes as an observer.
18 for the 18 yr. old:
1. When Artie was in grammer school participating in the alternative classroom she was the one that all the kids came to solve their conflicts.
2. When Artie was a young child living in Tucson she would dance around our back yard wearing a pair of pink cowboy boots and nothing else. Buck naked and full of joy.
3. When Artie was just a baby she never slept. I would have to rock her for hours and rub the top of her head until finally, finally she would fall asleep.
4. When Artie was in first grade she came home and announced that she wanted to homeschool. How could I say 'no'? The journey of her education began.
5. Quite waters run deep. That's my Art.
6. Her given name is Hartshorn and she has changed it to Artemis.
7. She is always doing art projects: a quilt, painting, drawing in her art pad. She gets us to do family art projects.
8. She loves to sleep. I don't think I've ever met anyone who loves to sleep as much as she does.
9. Animals love her. I've never seen an animal that isn't drawn to Artie.
10. She can be so resolute and nothing will change her mind. Once her heels are dug in nothing is moving her.
11. She loves coffee and chocolate. She starting drinking it on a full time basis about 2-3 yrs. ago.
12. She's taller than me so I guess the coffee has not stunted her growth.
13. She a wildly talented artist.
14. She was a late reader but once she started she devoured the most diverse books.
15. She's a movie buff with again a real diversity of the movies that she likes.
16. She has never had a boyfriend or girlfriend of the romantic kind. She says that relationships are very complicated and she hasn't figured herself out and therefore can't imagine trying to be with someone and having to figure each other out.
17. She's wise beyond her years.
18. She has so many things that she thinks she might want to do with her life that she can't decide what to do first.

She'll be flying the coop soon. Since her young adulthood she has said that once she is 18 she's moving out. Not because she doesn't love us but because she thinks that 18 is when she needs to be on her own.
Michael and I wanted to take Artie to get her voter registration card on her birthday but alas we are here in NY and not residents so she will wait until she gets back to Lopez next month. I asked her what she wanted to do now that she was 18. There have been two things that she has been thinking about. One is to go and buy a lottery ticket. The other is to go into a local cigar store and she wants to buy a cigar tin to use as a money holder in her purse. Legally you have to be 18 to buy cigars and she loves the feeling of being able to walk in all by herself and get this tin that she has been wanting. Who knew?
She's my Artie.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

...sadness and disbelief.

Yesterday we picked up our mail. The package that Xan had sent to her cousin with birthday presents was sent back to her. My sister-in-law wrote "refused" on it.
I turned to Michael later that day and said, "Just when you think that she has behaved about as badly as she can behave she does some other really destructive thing."
Poor Xan. Why hurt an innocent 12 yr. old kid?
I am full of sadness and disbelief.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Artie has been accepted into a summer studio arts program at Skidmore College. It was quite a haul getting her application accomplished. Artie was resistant and dragged her feet the whole way. Michael and I worked hard on this application and we are so thankful that she got in. And of course, once she got her acceptance packet she's all over us to get things done. She wants to have it all ready by yesterday. Go figure.
These are few of her portfolio pictures. She applied for two studio classes drawing and painting. Chosen because she works in 3D and feels that she needs more classic training to continue in her art profession.
Here are the pics:

I guess the apple doesn't fall from the tree.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Home is good.

Did anyone feel my head pop off last week?
I went with Xan down to my mom's house. Xan is really feeling the loss of all her grandparents and wants to spend as much time as she can with her last remaining grandparent, my mom. Because these are precarious times for my mom I went with Xan. Can't trust my mom to drive the 4 hours to bring Xan back by herself nor is she willing to put Xan on a train by herself so I travelled with Xan.
It was nice in some ways. I brought all of our receipts for the 2005 and 2006 and sorted them on the dining room table for 2 days. That gave Xan some good alone time with Granny. We went out for chowder. We sorted a bunch of stuff that was on the dining room shelves. It was fun to hear all the family stories about where this & that came from and we put little pieces of tape with peope's names on it on things that Granny knows she wants that certain person to have. That was very sweet.
My head popped off later when I asked my mom if I could see her will. She told me this summer that I am the executor and I wanted to see the will so that I have an idea of what I'm supposed to do when the time comes. She told me it was all in a file in a drawer put there by my father. So one morning while Xan is sleeping and Mom is off at cardiac therapy I go in the drawer and find the file.
No big deal I take it to the dining room table with my breakfast to look it over. There is a will that was made in 1997. My brother, Mark is the executor. Fine with me. My head is still intact. A bit confusing because she has said for months that I am the executor but that's OK. I'm good with Mark being in charge. I put everything back in the file. Mark is in charge I don't need to look anymore.
Mom gets home as she is having her breakfast I bring up the subject of the will. She is surprised. There was a scandalous family incident in 1997 and my parents were angry with Mark and they made someone else the executor. I take out the will and low and behold there is a codicil at the end. In 1997 my parents made me co-executors with my brother David. That's when my head popped off. Right there in the kitchen. It must have been a pretty impressive sight for my mother.
David is my oldest brother. He is an alcoholic and drug abuser. He is my rapist. He is the one who gets into a drunken argument with his girlfriend, loads a gun, hands it to her saying, "If you hate me so much than you should kill me!" and she takes the gun and shoots herself in the head right in front of him. Yeah, my head took a trip to the moon. It took my voice with it and I was speechless.
Later that day I tell my mom that this needs to be changed. I can't be co-executors with 'him'.
The next day I open up the file again and find out that I am co-trustees of the trust with 'him' and the 'he' is the one who gets power-of-attorney. It's strange to me how I had the whole file and yet I discovered all this in stages. I guess I could only take a bit at a time to keep my sanity.
First of all, what posessed my parents to think that David is a good choice for any of this is beyond me. I do not feel malice toward him. I wish him no harm. I've had lots of therapy and I'm in a good space in my life. But really, he is not the one to be in charge of anything.
Mom and I talked about it. I looked her in the eye and said, "He is the one who raped me for a long time Mother. I am not doing this with him. You get that?" She got it. I didn't even talk to her about why they chose him. That's their baggage.
She say's she is going to change the will and my brother Mark and I are going to be co-executors. I talked it over with Mark and we are good with that.
I just can't get out of my head that it's been ten years that the will has been this way. All the time I have led a happy existence and if anything had happened to my parents I would have been plunged into hell. All that time I never knew. I find it very disturbing.
I'll tell you though, I couldn't wait to leave. Couldn't wait to come home to my household. My loving nucleus.
Yesterday I spent almost all day in my jammies puttering around and watching stupid TV.
Home is good.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I am amazing.

We spent all weekend in NYC. Artie was taking a sculpting class with Wendy Froud. She made a really cool faery doll. The rest of us went out to eat and visited a museum a day. The Natural History Museum, The Tenement Museum (my favorite!!), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was glorious and now we are broke. Very broke. Like Michael asked me yesterday if I was flipping out yet broke.
No not yet. We are used to being broke and we have overdraft protection that will slush us for a week until the wholesale orders money comes in. We spent all our fun in NYC and this week we will be eating out of the cabinets. Oh I do have to go see my Mom and we'll use a credit card for the train tickets. Haven't used a credit card in over a year...this will smart but it's not that much money so I won't flip out.
I'm not the only one who plays money roullette, right? I married an artist what can I say. And I am happy to say that every year he is a more successful one.
So today I am up early and I am creating a high school transcript for Artie. She is applying to a studio arts summer program at Skidmore College. I am here to tell all the unconventional homeschool families in the world that this is possible and that there is life without a high school diploma. I must say that Artie sounds so cool on paper. Now mind you this is an informal transcript that I am creating for her but WOW (I must have a moment of glory for myself and Michael and our choices of schooling) she sounds so unique and awesome and interesting. I must quote you my last paragraph:
"In Sum, Artie has not had a conventional education. She is the daughter of unconventional srtists. She has traveled the US extensively wither her family doing Art Shows. In every city that she is in there is some sort of cultural experience that she is exposed to with the attempt to keep the exposure homeschool related. In most likelihood she has been to more major cities and museums than anyone you know."
Yeah, I can lay it on.
I guess I'm so elated because I have been putting off creating this document for a week now. And when I finally sat down this morning my fingers flew through over the keyboard. Magic erupted on the screen and Artie is compiled into one cool individual with a lot of education under her belt.
I am amazing.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Was that my biggest mistake?

Last night Michael and I went to a Ballroom Dancing class. It was goofy and fun. We learned how to Foxtrot and Waltz. More to the point we learned how we are supposed to do the Foxtrot and the Waltz.
Just as I was getting ready for bed Artie tells me that she has written a letter to her cousin and she wants me to keep a copy of it. She is concerned that her Aunt (yeah, Michael's sister who is the executrix) will somehow use the letter against her and she wants documentation of it. Oh gosh, poor kid. I said OK and asked if I could read it. She said sure.
That was my first mistake.
She says in her letter that the disagreement between their parents (us and her cousin's) has split their friendship apart and she doesn't want that to happen. She added that she has an email address that her parents "can't" look at and she would like her cousin to email her. I was truly put out and I said something.
That was my next mistake.
In all of this conflict that we have had over my mother-in-law's estate my sister-in-law has spued such venom our way. She has convinced family friends how hurtful we are. I stood there and took it from one of my mother-in-laws best friends at my mother-in-laws memorial about how we (every family member execpt my sister-in-law) should back off and leave my sister-in-law alone. I have been working at the Farmer's Market and had family friends come to buy vegetables from where I work and when they realize it's me they clam up and don't make eye contact. I have endured rumors that have been spread about how awful we are to the poor woman over on West Lane and is in charge of her mother's estate.
I have taken it in stride. The family and friends that we are close to know exactly what is going on. They know that every decision that we have made along the way has been a weighty one. How at the beginning we tried to talk to my sister-in-law, tried to get her to come to some kind of balance. We ended up with lawyers because she put us there. She so thoroughly backed us into the proverbial corner.
Now there I was standing in my own living room with a daughter whom I adore and I could have whopped her one good. I was flipping out over the word "can't". My daughter is a terrible speller. I sat down with her and created her email account with her because I type quickly and accurately. I know her username and password. I can look at her email anytime that I want. I do not. I respect her privacy. She purposely chose that word "can't" because her cousin's mother does not hold such respect. In the past Artie has written to her cousin via email and gotten a response from her Aunt. That really irked her. So she wants to let her cousin know, for certain, that she can email her in confidence. I get it, I do.
But...to perpetuate the illusion that we are 'hurtful and bad' people from my own daughter sent me over the top. In all of this the greatest pain for me is that my niece believes that we are awful people. She tells her dad that and she has said it to her mother in public. All of which gets back to me. At my mother-in-law's memorial I walked up to her and put my hand on her back to get her attention. When she turned her head and saw it was me she jumped back and flinched...I could have burst into tears of sorrow.
So, Artie says that she is totally comfortable keeping up this false illusion if it means keeping up her relationship with her cousin. She doesn't feel that she can say to her cousin...'Hey we both believe that our parents are in the right but let's get beyond that and be close again.' She doesn't feel that she can change 'can't' to 'don't'. She says that I am over reacting.
I'm standing in the living room crying my brains out and hyperventilating over the word "can't".
Was that my biggest mistake?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Most Sincerely, Victoria Terra

Dear Friends and Family of Richard Kennedy Trevithick,

We don't know each other but I feel connected to you. Last weekend I carried Richard's name and his death date in a peace march protesting the continuation of the 'War in Iraq'. I realize that our views on politics may be different but I bet that our views on human loss are not. Wether we believe in the righteousness of this war or not I'm sure we can agree that Richard lost his future and that we are here to mourn his passing. I feel very honored to have walked with his name. Human life is a precious gift and I feel his loss very deeply.
I know so little about him. I know that he was too young to die; only 20. My oldest daughter is just about to turn 18. Her bithday is April 23th. We were celebrating her 15th birthday the day that you were mourning his passing at his funeral. I think that was the year that she had a sleepover. All of the girls ate homemade sushi, gave each other henna tattoos, slept in our converted schoolbus, and had homemade crepes for breakfast. How emotional it is for me to think that on such a happy day in my household your household was having such a solemn one. I know that Richard married his high school sweetheart because he wanted to marry the woman he loved before he went over to Iraq. I know that he pre-arranged that if anything happened to him over there that a bouquet of roses was to be sent to her. I know that at his funeral his father-in-law prosided over it, as well as his grandfather. It was held at a Bapist church so I assume that he was a bapist.
He looks gentle and kind in the picture that I found of him. Most of the military pictures of people that I see I think that they look tough and hard. Not Richard. He doesn't look the type of person that wants to kill another. Dare I say that? It said in the Washington Post that he enlisted because he wasn't ready for college. Dear God how can someone think that they are not ready for college but they are ready to go to war? It also said that he wanted to have a career in law enforcement. Not all cops are bullies...right? Not all soldiers are sociopaths...right? I am struggling with my bias, my own personal bigotry. No matter what I think of war or our administration or the military, I do believe in humanity. I would like to believe that Richard was a good guy. That he joined the Army with the best intentions of protecting people. That he would only harm someone if he really had to. That the God he believed in was kind and nondisciminatory.
I believe that no matter what you believe and that no matter what I believe that we can come together and weep for those that have died in this war. Wether we agree on our politics or our faith we can agree that Richard had so much more life to live and that we are all so very sad that he is not alive to live it.
I am a Mother. I can put aside my core belief of the wrongness of war (any war) and my dislike for President Bush. I can do that. I could even go to a Bapist Church and sit next to you at Richard's funeral. I could hold your hand. I could look you in the eye. And we would meet in our sorrow. I could say to you how very sorry I am for the lost life of Richard. We would meet in that place of understanding grief and know each other. We are not so different you and me after all.
I am so very, very sorry for your loss.
Most Sincerely,

Victoria Terra

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oh Goddess let us get through this one!!

A friend of mine recently told me that a teenager's world is so small. I 've been thinking about it all morning. Artie is having a teenage crisis. She is here in NY and wants to go back to Lopez but she is unable to find housing for herself. Living in our house is out of the question. It's too complicated for her to be responsible for the solar system and especially the propane system.
Poor kid. I feel for her. She came home for three months with the understanding that if we were unable to move in March that we would fly her home on or before April 1st. Well, April 1st is coming up our ass and she still doesn't know what she is doing. I was under the impression that she had this all figured out before she left Lopez. She thought that we were going to help her find a place to live come April (in other words we were going to find her a place to live). She's very cranky about having to put effort into things these days. I think it's the work vs. id thing.
We have, in and around her Lopez crisis, been talking a lot about her future. One week she wants to be a special effects makeup artist the next week she wants to go to art school the next week she wants to go and live in Seattle and take art classes the next week she wants to college and get a liberal arts degree. Who can keep up?
Last night I drove her home from an art show that we are doing so that she could go to work at the coffee shop today. We talked all the way home which is good because it made the 3 hours go by quickly. There is a summer art program here in Saratoga at Skidmore College. Michael is very good friends with the man who is head of the program and we are sure that Artie could get a spot in the Studio Art program. We propose that somehow we get enough money to let her be able to live on campus. That way she can get a college experience to see if that is want she wants to do. "But then I have to be here. You have no idea how much I loathe it here!" is what gets screamed back at me. She does admit, however, that the Studio Art program sounds really great. We propose that we fly her back to Lopez for her friends high school graduation and let her stay there for 3 weeks and then she comes back here for the Studio Art program and then in August hopefully we shall be ready to move (maybe). If we are not ready to move than she can decide what she wants to do.
I know she loves us. I know that at her age friends are important and she is very tight with her Lopez buddies. But really, to sacrifice things that you are passionate about just to hang with your friends. Oh...I think I remember a few arguments with my parents about not wanting to travel to Europe because I needed to stay with my friends in my hometown.
I don't feel like her world is small. I don't feel like she is small. It's just different priorities of a woman of 17 vs. a woman of 45. Oh Goddess let us get through this one!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ode to a museum.

While in Tucson we went to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. This is my favorite museum in the whole US. All of the animals at the museum are animals that have have been injured or came from people that illegally owned them...things like that. This museum rescues animals. I can not say enough good things about this place. If we still lived in Tucson we'd all be docents there. Here is my photo essay:

This is our souvenir.

Ode to a museum.