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Archive for May, 2009

On my list of life goals, among other things, is to build a collection of original art. 

Art is a funny thing.  For most people it’s personal.  Personally, I’m not crazy about portraits or still lifes of flowers, and there’s precious little that I care for in abstracts, though I have seen good examples of each and would consider owning them. 

Mostly, I just like what I like. 

My problem is, I have expensive taste.  Not Sotheby’s expensive, but more along the lines of “that costs as much as my house payment” sort of expensive.  So it’s been hard to even start a collection.  But at Christmastime my mother gave me an original painting of an artist I’ve long admired, and because he is her neighbor and a really nice guy to boot, he cut her a deal.  He’s one of the few artists I know of who is making a living with his art. 

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Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but this painting cost more along the lines of my utility payment. 

I frequent an art gallery near my office and from time to time find an artist whose work appeals to me.  I found one just the other day, and wow is she talented with watercolors.  And true to my expensive taste, one painting of hers that I really like costs nearly as much as my car. 

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Yeah.  Don’t think I’ll be buying that.  But trust me, it’s gorgeous in person.  The detail is incredible. 

My quest for a personal collection of original art is going to take quite a while, I think. 

 

— Mox

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Bittersweet.

Today is the last day of school in our district.  That means that after today, I will no longer have a second grader.  I will instead have an incoming third grader. 

As happy as I am to put the daily dance of uniforms and lunch packing and homework battles behind me, at least for the summer, a part of me recognizes this event for what it is — another step in the direction of growing up.  I try to keep my propensity for maudlin-ness under control, but there are days where I just can’t help myself. 

How I’d like to turn back the clock and redo first grade all over, taking what I know now with me.  This year has been so much better for Spawn, and I hate that the kid’s first experience with school was so negative.  Now that we’re well into the navigation of the school experience with ADHD and dyslexia, I see some of the things I should have done differently, or sooner, or later.  A big difference this year, I think, was Spawn’s teacher.  I was a little dubious at first because of the horror stories I’d heard about nuns, but Sister was the best possible teacher for Spawn.  I really hate to leave her class. 

True to form, I am already worrying about next year’s teacher.  Will she be the same patient, loving influence on my child that Spawn had in second grade?  Will she be willing to try new things to help my nonlinear learner to learn and succeed? 

For now, though, I am focusing on the things that will make Spawn’s summer relaxing and fun and yes, educational.  There will be daycamps and swimming and lots of lazing about.  I am going to work on myself, too, on my having enough patience for Spawn and encouraging the kid to read this summer.  This summer Spawn’s tutor won’t be available, so it’s going to be up to me to work with the kid.  I pray I’m up to the challenge. 

 

— Mox

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On Sunday, after fulfillment of family obligations, my husband and I decided to take Spawn into Chicago Proper to see some of the sights.  Heretofore Spawn had only been to O’Hare, so this was the opportunity for the kid to truly say, “I’ve been to Chicago.” 

We considered taking the train in, since that would have put the cherry on top for Spawn, but as it turned out it was just easier to drive in.  On the way in we pointed out the Sears Tower, and then the full skyline, Lake Michigan, Soldier Field.  We spent a good part of the day and a chunk of cash at the Shedd Aquarium, which is Spawn’s idea of a great outing.  We tried to meet up with a cousin who lives near Wrigley, but missed connecting, and cruised around the neighborhood for a bit. 

I love to sight-see, even places I’ve been dozens of times, and tend to get wrapped up in looking about.  Some time had passed before I realized that Spawn was rather quiet in the back seat.  I turned around and there was Spawn, headphones on, book in hand, oblivious to the city scenery all around. 

I experienced in that moment a sense of deja vu, but from my parents’ perspective.  I was always the kid in the backseat plugged into a set of headphones, book in hand, totally letting the miles and sights slide by.  My father used to get really irritated with me for being such a bookworm during these trips, because of how much I missed seeing.  I have no excuse for that now, but back then I suspect it was a case of being bored with certain types of scenery.  I was all eyes in the mountains or in the city, but miles of ruraldom sent me to my books.  I mean, when you come from the country a barn is a barn is a barn. 

It’s true.  You pay for your raisings. 

 

— Mox

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That toddlin’ town.

My family sets the bar pretty high when it comes to marriage.  I distinctly remember as a child celebrating my dad’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  All of my dad’s brothers and sisters have been married 50 years, or are approaching that milestone.  My own parents marked 47 years of bickering just this year. 

This year, instead of our annual Memorial Day weekend BBQ, the Mox family, et al, are trekking northward to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my dad’s sister and her husband. 

There will be booze.  I think this might be key.  A key.  The key. 

My generation hasn’t fared as well in the marriage game, as a good many of my cousins have divorced and remarried, some of them more than once.  It’s hard to say whether it’s the times we live in now, or if it’s just that this gene pool is hard to swim in, but I daresay not too many of the first generation of cousins will meet this milestone.  The second generation of cousins, our kids, will likely marry and divorce more than we did. 

My husband and I will celebrate 16 years of marriage soon.  As I look toward the horizon that is 50 years, I can’t help but think — that’s a really long time to live with the same person. 

 

— Mox

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Decided to stroll through my garden last night before dark. 

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I have come to a conclusion:  I like pink. 

 

— Mox

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Each of us has different responses to stress, and mine vary depending on the type of stress I’m experiencing.  Depending on the situation, you’ll find me eating, drinking, shopping, biting my nails, snapping at people, staring into space, or ironing. 

What?  Yes.  Ironing. 

When I experience the kind of stress that makes me want to run away from home, or at least get as far away as humanly possible from my family, and I’m not able to do any of the other things on the list above, including just getting the hell out of Dodge — I iron. 

The basement is sort of my domain.  When I’m in the basement, no one bothers me, much.  It’s cool and slightly damp and a bit catty, and besides being the place where household items go to die, it’s not of a whole lot of use to the other members in my house.  There’s not much you can do with a basement that leaks like a sieve every time there’s a hard rain, short of spending many thousands of dollars on waterproofing.  But my laundry room is in the basement, and there are usually a few things hanging down there that are clean but need to be touched up with an iron.  I save them for those days where I need to get away from my loved ones and take out my aggression in a positive fashion. 

With the cool, damp air, a washer and/or dryer running, plus the furnace/air conditioner and a dehumidifier, it’s about as close as I can get to a cavelike solitude.  Unless there’s a herd of elephants running down the hall upstairs, I can be alone with my undisturbed thoughts and have some relative peace and quiet. 

If I have the time, I rather enjoy ironing.  I don’t enjoy it if I have to do it in order for us to get out of the door to church on time, but if I’ve got some thinking to do or I’m upset about something, I relish the putting-to-right that ironing brings.  I like to use spray starch and blasts of steam, and put creases in pants or take wrinkles out of skirts.  I talk to myself.  I have imaginary arguments with my husband.  I tell off that lady I used to work with who made my life hell.  I make plans.   And I do all of this out loud, because no one can hear me over the din. 

I get the same sort of satisfaction from digging in the garden, but it’s not always possible to do that.  It’s the combination of physical work with mental exercise that helps to restore my balance.  I come back up into the heat and light of the world with my feathers decidedly less ruffled. 

If I could only figure out how to do that with the pillow creases I have on my face every morning, life would be golden. 

 

— Mox

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Done and done.

Ever have one of those moments, where all the world’s chaos is swirling around you, that you look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am so over this”? 

That was me last night. 

Things that I am so over right now include, in no particular order: 

  1. Cats
  2. Parenting
  3. Working
  4. Husbands
  5. Paying bills
  6. Getting older
  7. Parents
  8. Hometowns
  9. Laundry
  10. Clutter
  11. School
  12. Homework
  13. Being sociable
  14. Being health-conscious

The weeks of my years are constructed from days that contain varying degrees of difficulty, and yesterday was one of those days where I just flat-out hit the wall.  I seem to be doing that with increasing regularity.  I can only hope that the impending end of the school year will alleviate some of that, because at the very least it will eliminate the onus of school, homework, and a large portion of laundry.  Maybe it will help me to ease up on the constant pushing I have to do to get Spawn moving through the cycle of get-up-get-dressed-go-to-school-come-home-homework-dinner-bath-bedtime.  By the end of the day I am spent. 

I have a box of books that I brought home from the school’s used book sale.  What I would really like to do is take that box and go somewhere warm and tropical for as long as it would take to read every one of those books.  And as long as I am fantasizing, there will be a pool, gourmet food, maid service, and a good deal of solitude.  Because a bubble bath is just not cutting it these days. 

 

— Mox

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