Sunday, August 23, 2015

My empty nest

I knew it was coming, and so did you because I've been talking about it for months, haven't I?  On Thursday, my son left home to move into the dorms at his college.
I've been anticipating the change and I knew it would be hard, but the reality feels so much worse than what I thought it would be like.  I'm kind of surprised that I haven't heard a lot of talk about how awful this transition is from other moms who have already been through it.

Oh, there are a couple of articles on coping with your child leaving home on the Internet that have come my way, but, seriously, there should be whole books.  Remember What to Expect When You're Expecting?  There needs to be a book like that for this phase of life, too.  It could be called something like, What You Need to Know to Let Go and it could be filled with sage advice on things like how to stop listening for them to come home every night, and what to do with all the extra milk in the refrigerator.

There could be charts showing milestones and when to expect them -- like the first time you come across his favorite snack in the grocery aisle without tearing up, and that moment you actually feel happy to have the TV all to yourself.

There would need to be a whole chapter on ways to not be clingy/needy, including a checklist for not calling, emailing and/or texting your kid multiple times a day, with a chart that shows you just how long is long enough to wait to make that first, post dorm drop-off contact.

Such a book might even lay out a timeline for how long it might take to stop feeling so sad.  During week one, expect to feel your heart in your throat at the sight of your child's empty bedroom.  By the end of week three, your chest should feel less like it has been cut open and more like healing has begun.  Until this happens, avoid laying on your child's bed clutching his pillow as it could lead to more frequent bouts of sobbing and self-pity.

This is day four.  I think I have a long way to go!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer busy-ness

I'll bet things are in full summer busy-ness at your house.  They are here!
We are counting down to less than a month until Ben goes away to college.  The other day his dorm room linens arrived and he must have been excited because he pulled it all out of the big box to check out.  It's still strewn all over my living room.
I feel like I've settled into a routine at my new job -- six weeks into it now -- and I know what I'm doing, so the days are flying by.  Busy.  I like the peaceful surroundings of the resort; summer looks beautiful here.
I don't have much time for junking and am concentrating on de-stashing right now, so there's not a lot of creative fun going on in my life.  But...last weekend when a storm blew in, I couldn't resist grabbing a bag of vintage red fabrics and starting a fabric book.
Still in its beginning phases -- the front cover is a patchwork star layered with some other reds.  The fabric on the right, above, isn't vintage.
 But these quilted pieces are...
 This coordinated cotton fabric is also new, but has a vintage look.
I wrapped a doily around the front and back covers and I really love the way it turned out.
Now I have a little stitching project to work on.  I think when it's done I'll add some Christmas-y elements so it becomes a holiday fabric book.
Also on my mind: reading this as soon as possible.  I haven't been this excited over a novel in ages.  The story of Harper Lee's quiet talent is intriguing to me.  Anyone else?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Losing Maggie

We have been sad this week, missing our best friend.
Maggie was 13 and has been in failing health for a few years.  She had congestive heart failure and on our last visit with her lifelong vet, he told us what to look out for so we would know when it was time.
We spent a couple of  days, tears flowing freely, remembering her entire life.  And what a life she had!  We brought her home for Ben's 5th birthday...
 she came from field champion hunting stock and the outdoors was in her blood.  She loved the water and the forest.  I'm so happy that we took her on camping trips with us, and have wonderful memories of her running through the woods and sleeping under the stars.
We once rented a cabin because it was right next to a flowing stream so she could play in the water, which was a big hit.  Maggie enjoyed walking, hiking and, most of all, swimming.
She was an only dog for a few years but bonded instantly with Snoopy when he joined the family, and they were best buddies until the end.
What is there to say about the love of a dog?  If you've experienced it, then you know.
These last few days I have been so struck by how much love she brought into our home.
Maggie loved us with a big, open heart that gave and gave and gave, day in and day out.  We were so lucky to have her in our lives.
And we will miss her forever.
If you have a beloved pet, hug and hold him/her close.  They are not with us long enough.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Juniper June

Even though I missed Birdsong this year, I had a chance to get in on the fun: I purchased an extra kit by Lesa Dailey for the class she taught there.  It is a little bird decoration she called Juniper June.  I think I waited about 18 hours from the time it arrived in the mail until I was at my dining room table creating it!

I followed the directions all the way up until the end, when I deviated from the style of eyes that were suggested.  I just couldn't quite figure out how to make them work, so I decided my little bird would have glass beaded eyes.
Hopefully, it doesn't look too plain.
I love my little bird and I had a ball making her!
It is the first creative thing I've done in weeks.  The challenge before me: I need to find a way back to both regular exercise and regular art time now that I have a job with regular hours!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Eagle Scout

We celebrated a milestone the other day when Ben earned the rank of Eagle Scout.  We are very proud of him and the hard work he did to earn it; it was a long road.
His journey to Eagle began in 2nd grade, when he first joined Cub Scouts.
He's been a Scout faithfully all the years since then.

For a couple of years he belonged simultaneously to two troops because he joined a troop put together just to travel to the national Jamboree.  I blogged about that trip here.
All through the Scouting years he's made some great friends, and they have grown up together.
And he's had the chance to get to know and be mentored by a whole cast of wonderful adult leaders.

Ben's Eagle project was a service project for a local elementary school.  They wanted a particular addition to their playground with decorated tires and a bean bag toss.
Tires were collected and painted at my kitchen table...
There was also a good bit of paperwork.

It was difficult to get good photos of the project in progress as it was very shady under a large tree, but here you get an idea of the work Ben and his friends did to make it happen.  I hope it will be enjoyed by the kids for years to come.
Congratulations, Ben!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Grown up coloring books and changes

I bought a couple of grown-up coloring books to amuse me during my last days at a job where I could create/play in between phone calls.
Coloring is so relaxing -- I highly recommend it for peaceful moments.
I've even seen some guys at work coloring!
In progress -- I finished this one yesterday, on my last day at work;
I also finished this little stitching project from a kit.
It feels good to be done with all of it -- but most especially the job!
The best part of any experience is always the people, isn't it?  Two gals, Kim and Linda, came out to a restaurant after work last night to help me celebrate my last day.  We laughed into the evening.  Kim has also started a new job and we're rooting for Linda to make a change, too.
Tomorrow I will start my new job working in an office at the beautiful Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.  I have high hopes for really loving it there.
Summer seems to have finally really arrived around here.
Rebecca and I stopped by a local market the other day -- here we are in a photo booth that was actually the backseat of a VW bus.
As I've mentioned before, the theme of my summer is transition.
Between the new job and preparing for Ben to go away to college it's change after change. 
If only I was more comfortable with change.
Oh well -- nowhere to go but forward!
What is the theme of your summer?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The front porch garden chair is out!

After the wettest May on record, ever, in Colorado -- June is here and we are finally seeing some sunshine.  So this weekend I got out my garden chair for the front porch.
I was thinking about how I have probably had this chair for about 10 years now -- since rescuing it from Goodwill as a chair and distressing it and adding an annual bloom.
Do you remember this plaque I made from found scraps, spelling out our last name Jackson?  Well, this year it has become the centerpiece of the chair.

I swiped some fresh white paint here and there over the already peeling paint from previous years.
To me, geraniums say "summer"!  On June 1 my baby turned 18 and with the season comes even more changes -- including a new job for me that I'll be starting in a couple of weeks!