Monday, June 28, 2010

At Last

Leisure tends to corrupt, and absolute leisure corrupts absolutely.
Edgar A. Shoaff

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Milestone - Another Deep Breath

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

For those of you with children, or those of you who observe others with children, please know/recall/try to forget how the senior year of high school can often be one of the most difficult. Oh, sure, I remember the nights walking the floors calming a crying baby, or sticking yet another spoonful of food into their mouths. Not to mention how many diapers I changed awaiting both the day and their never ending energy to finally abate.

But as I look back, tending their appetite, cleanliness, and making yet another batch of Play-doh seemed much simpler. Defined. I didn't have to add in the deep emotion that arrives when it's time to launch them, making certain I get them to the 18year milestone. Experience the persistent worry that my husband and I have provided them with the necessary tools to create their own paths. Often, a tough mask covers my angst.

Last fall I said to my youngest son, Ian, "Get ready to not like me." Having had experience with his two brothers before him, I added. "Remember, it's all for you."

A little guilt never hurts.

"Much to accomplish this fall semester. I won't do any of it for you, but I will ride your ass until you get it all done."

Threat experience works, too.

His list:
Take SAT/ACT tests
Choose five schools to send applications
Fill out the applications
Write the required essays
Create a resume for college aps
Get References
Write thank yous
Pass high school.

I have to be honest. Maintaining the necessary vigor to get through this with the third child makes me glad I didn't have more. I doubt I could muster the energy or strength to get through another one, nor provide their just deserve.

But no excuse for not carrying the whip for Ian.

Alas, the year sped by. The whip, lost somewhere in the house, and there we were, Graduation Day.

Oldest brother and new sister-in-law joined the party.

A tired, relieved mom.

Two days of cooking for the party and last time the Orange and Black (school colors) tablecloths will come out except for Halloween.
Pies, instead of a cake. Rhubarb, Blueberry Rhubarb, Buttermilk, Apple, and a Blueberry Crisp.

How can this time have gone by so quickly?
And the next stop on his life trail?
Roll Tide.
His leaving my home in the fall already causing my heart to seize up, but that's a story for another day much too soon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WOW - Blogger of Note

I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.
James Baldwin

Welcome to Midlife Jobhunter. A thank you to my long-time blog friends, Pam and Sandy at Words of Wisdom, otherwise known as WOW, for featuring me as a Blogger of Note on their fine venture. WOW supports writers and readers who appreciate blogs that promote thoughtful responses and insights. Hope I live up to the honor.

Midlife Jobhunter began on a five minute whim as I worked on my resume and panicked over rejoining the workforce. Oh, the camaraderie I've enjoyed while my clumsy gait meanders on this mapless ride.

The blog world hosts a vast group of hunters, just like me, complete with a myriad of road blocks and sites to view along the way. My followers know I’m a crappy housekeeper, throw a baseball much better than I braid hair, and could live in my hammock with a stack of good books. That this spring I collected a daughter-in-law (who throws one hell of a softball), a college graduate, and my last high school graduate.

They survived my miserable first job - grading high school test papers. That this year, my job wasn’t much better – substitute teaching. That I’ve discovered this midlife jobhunting is about much more than the receipt of a lousy paycheck. It is, instead, a search for self. A search for purpose. A discovery and gathering of the shavings that hold us together.

I get to choose three past posts to help you get better acquainted. How difficult this has been. What do I want someone new to know about me? Probably best to get rid of one of my worst attributes right off the bat.

Circling the Stupid

Ode to the One I Didn't Hire

The Art of My Essays

Join the ride and Happy Trails.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Flying Studs

It is in his pleasure that a man really lives; it is from his leisure that he constructs the true fabric of self.
Agnes Repplie

For the past week, I've been in hibernation at the cabin. Lying dormant, holed up, withdrawn, retreating. Cocooning in my hammock.

School's out. No teaching to be had. A brief respite before the last two giant activities of the spring - freshman disorientation at my youngest's university and an Eagle Scout Court of Honor. I'm living the life of a vacationer with a few putterings along the way. Hiding in my hammock with five library books and a beer. Occasionally rising to put in another load of laundry or wash up dishes. Sweep the floor. Water a plant. Grab another drink or a handful of strawberries before retreating back to my cloistered abode.

How lucky I feel. But the week hasn't passed without excitement. Our Internet has been sporadic at best, so much easier to read without the distraction of the computer. I had thought it might be a week to catch up with everyone, but, alas, my emails either take forever to send or don't go at all. Library books prevailed.

Perfect Summer Reading for a someone who hasn't had a brain that might concentrate on words on the page for many, many months. Here's my accomplished list for the week.

Jane Green - To Have and to Hold
The condition - Jennifer Haigh
The Story Sisters - Alice Hoffman
The Cottagers - Marshall N. Klimasewiski
Songs Without Words - Ann Packer

My youngest son joined me most of the week. We ate frozen pizzas and he made spaghetti one night. Green chili macaroni and cheese another. Middle son came home on his day off from his new job 3 hours away. And one morning, my oldest, now married son showed as well. He's working out this way two days a week. Came by to use the bathroom and invite me to lunch. How fun was that - lunch at the Bluebonnet Cafe with all three of my sons. Can't tell you when the last time that happened.

But, life does have it exigencies as well. Wednesday night I sat reading on the front porch as a cold front blew in. The wind changed direction and gathered speed. My hanging plants rocked back and forth, then began to swirl. The sky filled with ominous shades of blue and those marshmallow-like clouds you imagine reaching up and plucking.

I gathered the chairs and took them inside, the wind gaining in force with each re-entry to the porch. I picked up the hanging plants and as I came around to the breezeway of the porch, the wind's power almost knocked me over. I recalled Auntie Em, hand on forehead, screaming for Dorothy.

Safe in my big blue reading chair looking out over the lake, my chair began to shake. The entire cabin shook. Then, flying at my window was the roof of the neighbor's dock. Smashed into the railing on our porch. Rattled the crap out of me.

The rain arrived, and the thunder, and my son and I watched the remainder of the neighbors roof flap in the storm, wondering if that, too, might join our yard. As the storm subsided, the neighbor rushed over. We viewed the damage, thankful no one was hurt.

Yes, that is a two by four slammed into the wood. The wind, an unforgiving force at times.
The missing roof section.

The storm passed and this most beautiful sunset took its place.

Had to leave the stud in the wall for a few days - at least until my husband, my stud, arrived to see it. And all the neighbors who came down for the weekend had a chance for a view. Always something to fix at the lake.

Now, two New Yorkers left to catch up on and then I'm back to my bookclub selection of the month - The Speckled Monster - A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox. Fun summer reading. (Searching my shelf for smut.)

Tomorrow, back to reality and all those piles of paperwork requiring my attention. I stuffed them all out of sight before the graduation party. I wonder where?


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