Friday, October 24, 2014


I love my daughter.  What mother wouldn't say that?  Sometimes when I look at the pictures she posts on Facebook, I'm suddenly faced with the realization that this beautiful girl, my baby, is a wild child.  I am constantly amazed at her bravery, some might call it willfulness, but she's living her life on her own terms.  It's not an easy life.  She works harder than anyone I know, but she also plays hard, lives fully, and is always pushing herself to see what else she can do.  The above picture is her, on the right, taking fun pictures with her best friend on the left.

She has always been connected to animals without even trying.  When she was very young, somewhere between age 3-5, a wild cat followed her home.  The cat would run if we came near it, but would come up to her.  As a teenager she worked on a nearby horse farm, and I watched as the horses followed her across fields and to the barns, without her even getting reins to bring them in.

She's always been an odd mix of worry-wart, perfectionist, and daredevil.  New things always scared the hell out of her.  She never handled change well, but she was also very stubborn.  She would force herself to confront scary things if she really wanted something on the other side of it.  It made me really nervous when she began jumping horses.  When she moved onto trick-riding, I had to find peace with it, that if she broke her neck doing it, well at least she would go out doing something she loved.

I don't think I would ever strap jets to my back and skyrocket over water.  The height, the speed, the water, nope, I would never do that, but damn, you go girl!  She's not one to sit on the sidelines.

I don't believe she's an adrenalin junky.  I've met the type before.  She doesn't do things for the rush of risking her life.  She does these things because she's alive, and she wants to experience everything she can.

She wants to achieve competence.  She wants to try everything once (at least) to understand the experience, to learn new things, to participate.

She's decided she wants to be in a circus, but not one of these romaticized, "I'm going to run away and join the circus," type of fantasies.  She wants to join Cirque de Soleil.  She first started with pole classes, then competitions.  It was great, but she wanted more.  Next she began taking aerial hoop classes.  Better, but she wanted to do more.

Then came the ribbons.  She excelled at all of these things.  She then applied to various circus schools.  She had to send in video auditions for these schools.  She got accepted to two programs.  She really wants to go to the school in England, but she doesn't have the money.  You can't get student loans for this type of education.  So she has begun selling off everything she owns, piece by piece to get the money.  I think with covering boarding for her horse while she's gone, continuing to pay on her car, airfare, room, board, and tuition, she needs around $10,000.  

To me, this would be overwhelming, which is probably why I gave up on too many things that I wanted to do when I was younger.  I admire her determination.  She can't afford to continue her hoop and ribbon classes if she's going to save any money.  So she found people who do free acro-yoga classes in Baltimore in one of the churches.  She's now expanding her acrobatic skills by working with the instructor and classmates.  I admire her focus, drive, and determination.  I will give her some money to help her out, but I don't have ten grand.  Her father said he will give her some money too, also not ten grand.  I hope she's able to pull this off.  She's working so hard for this.  Sacrificing all she can.  Is it any wonder I love this child?  She's just amazing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Greetings from Miami

We hopped on a plane this morning and headed down to Miami for the weekend.  M, her sister, and some of their friends from high school flew in from around the country to all attend a Green Bay Packers game on Sunday.  Ths is M and her sister catching up on the beach.

We had a wonderful Cuban dinner and then strolled around South Beach.  The place was packed with young people and dance clubs.  That was never my thing even when I was young.  I looked up at one point as night was falling and saw some clouds moving in and the trees looked very moody.  This was the best I could do to catch the moment with my cell phone camera.

While walking on the beach we saw this guy, on his laptop and smartphone.  Dude!  Look up, there's an awesome ocean right in front of you.  ;-)

This is the view from our room on the 18th floor of the Hilton.  Tomorrow we're planning to drive down to the Florida Keys.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A day at the beach

My sister came for a visit from Ohio.  We went to the beach today and I snapped these pictures of my baby holding my sister's baby.  First cousins, 25 years apart.  Life is amazing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oh the irony

Over on CyberKitten's blog he has a picture of a seagull on a "no birds" sign. This made me think of a photo I showed to my class today. What are the chances of a cop holding a sign reading, "no more police brutality," while another cop is brutalizing a 6 year old child, and then, that someone will get the shot with all the elements in the frame at that exact moment?

This photo was taken by Matt Herron in 1965, in Jackson, Mississippi. The 6 year old boy was holding an American flag as part of a Civil Rights demonstration. When his mother saw the cop grab the flag, she told her son, "don't let that man take your flag," so the boy held on, was yanked up off the ground, and then fell to the ground. Stunning how people can behave.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My love of old hurricane lamps

I blame CK for this post.  He had a post about design on his blog here:

In the comments section I mentioned which time periods I liked as far as design (1920s-1930s) and I also mentioned my love of hurricane lamps.  I've been thinking lately about what I would like to post about, and the minute I thought about my lamps, I thought, that's it!

So I have no idea how old any of my lamps are, and until this post, I never bothered to research anything about them.  I didn't buy and collect them because they were worth money, I collect them because they have aesthetic value to me. I love the weight of them when I pick them up.  I love the cool feel of the glass in hand.  I love the beauty in their curving lines, and I love that they are practical as well as beautiful.  

I purchased my first oil lamp (a reproduction) in 1982.  It has a glass top and a wooden base.  I got it for the look, but I was also moving away from home for the first time and I wanted to make sure I had a source of light if I couldn't afford to use electricity, which as it turned out, was pretty prescient.  I was very poor when I first went out on my own and couldn't afford to use electricity for anything that wasn't necessary.

Later when I was living in Arkansas, I discovered Quattlebaum's junk shop.  I was like a kid in a candy store there, they had junk, but also antique oil lamps and iron beds (both of which I began collecting) and I was hooked.  I became a regular customer, haunting the aisles and the shelves every week when he brought in new products from estate sales and other places where he found these treasures.  

Now I'm a long way from Arkansas, and there are no junk shops in Maryland like you would find on every back road in Arkansas, so I have to satisfy myself with getting to the weekend flea market a few times every few months and picking up the occasional lamp, or part of a lamp.

Currently I've found myself in the possession of two very old bases (first photo on top) in which they have a base that has the brass threads for the burner on the inside of the glass neck.  Reproduction lamps and reproduction burners are made to screw into threads on the outside of the glass neck.  So I've been unable to find a burner to fit either base.  In the picture at the top, I placed a burner and chimney on top of one of the bases, but they re not secured.  

In addition to the oil/hurricane lamps, I've also started picking up lanterns, antiques and reproductions. I don't know why lamps have captured my attention so thoroughly, but I do love looking at them.  Currently I have lined all the shelves in my daughter's old room with various lamps and lanterns.  I'm actually out of room to put any more up there, so I don't know what I'll do if I find another I can't live without.  

Recently I've begun picking up old milk and medicine bottles.  I love clear glass, etched or pressed. I also collect dishes like that.  I wonder what my fascination is with old glass. Oh well, I guess I should get back to researching them.  Maybe I'll find out how old they are or find replacement burners for those two older bases.

My baby is doing okay

I've had the chance to Skype with my son and his girlfriend, plus we've texted and Facebook messaged.  M says I've had more regular contact with him since he left the country than when he lived nearby.  She's right, but it's never enough for a mother.  Here are some of their touristy pictures in Taiwan.  He also tells me he is learning a little Chinese, but he's picking up the everyday slang better.  At least that's what I think he was referring to.  I still miss him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I must have been lazy in a previous lifetime and am making up for it inthis lifetime.

What a long, slow process cleaning and decluttering can be.  So how long ago did I clean out the attic so a new roof could be put on?  Oh yeah, last May, almost five months later, and I'm still dealing with the repercussions of that event.  When I emptied the attic, stuff went into my son's room and our sunroom downstairs.  We just had the second, of two massive, multi-family yards sales to sell the stuff that was in the attic.  So now that the attic clutter was out of the sunroom, I could tackle the other clutter that was already in the sunroom before we added all the a stuff from the attic.  That clutter was golf stuff, yoga stuff, sewing, craft, tools, office papers, and all sorts of other things.  I didn't think to take a before picture, but that is just about done, and it has been exhausting.  It turned into more than just cleaning.  We hauled all M's band equipment up to the attic, because the band is no more since 2 players moved to California.  We also hauled my sewing machine, table, and all my fabric and craft supplies to the attic.

Next I had to move junk and furniture out of the room so I could clean all the windows, wash and polish all the wood trim.  I next noticed all the walls were scuffed up, chipped, and dented from guys hauling band equipment in and out over the years, so I touched up the paint around the room.  It wasn't easy matching a faded, 9 year old paint job, but we got so close that it's not that noticeable.  Then I ended up hauling all the furniture back and forth between the living room and sunroom, mixing and matching the furniture until everything fit.  I was beyond exhausted. All this is going on in the midst of still teaching and grading, plus I've been getting ready to take a really fast weekend trip up to NY to see family.  Then as soon as we get back, another sister is coming to see me.  Then the following weekend we're flying to Miami to see the Green Bay Packers play.  Then when we return from that trip, we will have workers in here to gut the upstairs bathroom, because we just don't have enough chaos in our lives.  Below are the pictures of our cleaned up sunroom.  It only looked close to this, briefly, in 2005 when we first moved into this house.  For 8 of our 9 years in this house it has been the band room and junk room.  I feel like I can breathe in this room because all the clutter is gone.  I can't even remember the last time you could see the floor.  Ahhh.