Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Special New Year Begins

You've heard me say it before:
Forget January 1 -- the first day of school is real New Year's Day. Always worth a picture.

But today isn't a run-of-the-mill first day of school. It's the first day of Jamie's last year of high school. Turning 18 in October, he graduates Class of 2010.

Maybe that's why, for the first time in his "first day of schools," he beat me to the digital punch.

Grabbing his lunch, Jamie said: "Is it camera time?"

Happy to officially ring in this exciting new year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Change of Art Plans

I rinsed bottles of liquid watercolor, part of today's shed clean-out.

Run-off blotched my hands fuscia, my mind hugging memories of little boys busy with brushes.

Colorful vestiges of pre-school crafts. Back when art supplies stayed out 24-7. When art trumped almost all. Days long forgotten.

Or so I thought.

"What happened to the paint bottles?" Jamie asked tonight.

He'd apparently spied the bottles in the shed, figured them into a stay-at-home date night with Oli.

Happy with our regained usefulness, the craft corner and I yielded creative alternatives.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday-extra: Craving that 9 month break... Again

It's Friday, and by my count there are 5 days until school starts again for my sons... and I am reminded of my essay published 7 summers ago. Back before my sons were teenagers.

So I offer it up now to all parents who, like I was then -- and am now -- ready for school to begin again.

No matter how much they claim its untrue, kids like school. Maybe not the homework. But the energy.

There's always something happening at school. That's not always true for summer days.

Summer doldrums can be hard... on parents, too.

(NOTE: The email address on the article is no longer valid.)

Take-home Trail Lessons

Overheard on today's walking trail:

One woman emoting to another,"This is a precious time. Stop wasting my time by..."

Her voice trailed out of earshot, leaving my walking partner and I to consider the stage, fill in blanks:

Was it one friend telling a story: "And so I said..."

Perhaps advice: "Here's what you should say..."

Or was it an in-the-moment reprimand: "Stop wasting this time together."

Either way, it was food for our thoughts. Personalizing who, what and why.

Then reminding each other where to start:

The mirror.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Do-nothing Day Fuels Imagination

A do-nothing hang-around day. Like all our childhood summer days.

But our museum break had morphed into screen play -- televisions, computers and phones. Aunts, uncles, cousins at Grandpa and Weezie's house.

So we took a walk.

Rock Creek
Past Audobon's pond, down the long driveway into Rock Creek Park. My brother, sister and I sharing childhood stories with the others.

We crossed the bridge to a path we'd forgotten. Maybe never known?
Rock Creek Bridge

A colonial carriage trail later used by a finishing school. Decorative bridges. Creek views. Stone structure partially buried.
stone structure along trail

Fuel for imagination.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Power of Curator Editing

Smithsonian Exhibit TVs Smithsonian Exhibit
It's really too much, all the things the curators jammed into the war exhibit at the Smithsonian's American History Museum. So much that it's hard to know where to start.

Left with the overwhelming feeling that there's just not enough time to do it justice, I felt obliged to race through, casting eyes on pictures, reading snippets of quotes, watching bits of the videos.

Until... I stumbled upon the quiet of the P.O.W. alcove with just uniformed mannequin, living essentials and wall-sized photo of an emotional homecoming.

POW essentials

Effective editing always is.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stalled Communications, Woman to Woman

A column of poetry punctuated my departure from Carolina's Rare Book Collection reading room.

bathroom haikuA bathroom surprise. Tempting, even.
"Yellow door Haiku.
Syllable connections, stalled.
Woman to woman."

But I couldn't do it. Not as student. Not now.

So I remained read-only, left amazed at literary graffiti's survival within this no-drinks, no-food, no noise zone.


Are you in the author mix, forgiving forgotten Haiku rules...

Or blinded by employee-only bathroom status?

Perhaps you applaud from a distance, watching where this poetic trail might lead.

Wondering... next generation "rare"?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Re-living Wilson Reading Room

I could have sat in this very chair. Hard-backed red-oak with a gentle grove on the seat, a slight rise to divide the leg space.

Certainly I looked out these very windows. The asbestos tiles, waxed annually to a protective shine. Red oak bookcases. Brass lamps. All familiar, unchanged.

Walking around Chapel Hill has fueled lots of memories. But these chairs, the long tables, the brass table lamps -- its brought back the experience.

This spot makes me eager to refresh goals, feeling again youth's potential.

Potential I know still lives.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Low-tech College Impact

Just when I thought the Wake Forest tour was going to be all about fun, food and free wifi, our young guide went off-script to talk about the students she'd met, changes she'd noticed in herself since transfering last semester.

"It's easier to remain focused when you have other students around you that are doing the same things," she said. "It's not embarassing to say you're going to Model U.N. because most likely that friend you're talking to is going to Asia club."

I knew it was true. I'd lived that transformation at UNC-Chapel Hill decades before.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

School's In. Let the Fun Begin. Again.

I'm back at San Francisco State. My own Summer School.

"Branding" has familiar faces. Many of us have zoomed through the Integrated Marketing Certificate program requirements together but we're about to temporarily derail after September waiting for the final class, which is only available in December.

I'll miss it... even when I was younger I'd start counting down the days from July 4th until school started again.

Here's why: Stuff happens at school. Good stuff. Funny stuff. Bad stuff, too.

Summer was a crap shoot.
Sometimes just the lull between endless school story opportunities.