Oh my. These two posts today have got me in a very serious frame of mind —not in a bad way, just in a way that I would prefer not to think about just yet. So, in my campaign of avoidance of issues which make me cry and/or feel my mortality too keenly…
Joey’s mom tagged me recently for this meme of five things. I am delighted to procrastinate on contemplating my mortality (or that of those around me) and happily share this with you instead!
Five things found in your bag:
Wallet chock full of plastic cards for every conceivable purpose —many of which have nothing to do with actually paying directly for anything —and a picture of my son and my husband.
Cell phone with far more pictures and videos of Nik (and his daddy) than telephone numbers for people I ever talk to; it’s my portable memory book.
Eyeglass cleaning kit for the reading glasses I never seem to remember to take with me anywhere.
Empty business card case. Though I don’t have an actual job which requires business cards, I made some up for myself to make it easier to exchange information at conferences and workshops. I gave the last one out at Tuesday’s meeting to a visiting parent who was looking for some local support.
Pens. Lots and lots of pens. I seem to attract them for some strange reason; never mind that I rarely have anything to actually write on in my bag!
Five favorite things in your room:
I am currently in my loft so I’ll go with what’s here —
My entire CD collection which ranges from Annie Lennox to Enya to ZZ Top with a very healthy dollop of Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Sondheim, Frank Loesser, Gershwin, Glen Miller, and a whole host of every genre of music (except gangsta rap). One might call my musical tastes eclectic —or schizophrenic.
My small and equally eclectic collection of antique books. If I had the space and funds it would be a much, much larger collection —preferably housed in a large English manor somewhere, in a library with floor to ceiling shelves and lots of quiet nooks for reading or napping. My most prized specimen was an original copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850) which I was foolish enough to take that to college with me; some schnook stole it. The works range from Twain to Dostoevsky, Hegel, Kant, Spinoza, and E.B. White. Among my favorites are leather-bound, gilt-edged works by Thackeray, collections of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson published the year before his death in 1882, an English translation of the Koran published in 1880, and John Greenleaf Whittier’s Among the Hills (1869); many of these once belonged to my Nana Cook whom I adored. Also included in this treasure trove is a small representation of lighter fare such as Louisa May Alcott’s Under the Lilacs (1887), A Spinner in the Sun (1906), Minkie (1907), and Persis Putnam’s Treasure (1908)—all of which once belonged to my paternal grandmother, Momo. Mostly suitable fare for a young woman brought up in a modest Quaker home just after the turn of the Twentieth Century (she was born in 1897). I remember reading some of these books as a young girl when I would visit my grandparents at their summer home in Cape May, NJ. But my favorite —the book which I still take down periodically and ever so gently turn its pages —is Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1906 with exquisite illustrations by Harrison Fisher. This, too, belonged to my Momo.
Most of these books are not worth a lot except to me; they are a scant yet tangible connection to my family history. Most, if not all, of these books belonged to cousins or aunts and uncles of my grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ generations and were lovingly gifted between them with inscriptions in spidery copperplate. I cannot explain it but I feel a strong connection to these remnants of lives long passed; as if these books might speak to me and tell me more about the people on my family tree.
Framed photographs I took of the ocean crashing onto the rocks as the tide came in on the beach in Davenport, CA. I used to love driving down Route One with the sunroof open, music blaring, the wind whipping my (then) long hair into dark tangles dampened with salt to arrive at this quiet little cove. I’d wander along the water’s edge finding shells and stones as I waited for the perfect inspiration —photo or otherwise. It is this same beach where Niksdad and I often stopped to stretch our legs while out for a ride on his Harley. Sometimes we would make it a destination for a romantic picnic or a special way to celebrate Easter morning at sunrise. I’ve always felt a strong connection to the ocean; I don’t think I could live anywhere that I wouldn’t at least be able to drive to it within a couple of hours.
A small cedar box which contains the ashes of my beloved cat, Tasha. She chose me when I was in college in Louisiana. This tiny little gray and black and white tiger striped kitten climbed up my pant leg and nestled into my arms; she stole my heart immediately and irrevocably. We grew up together, Tasha and I. She slept under the covers with me, shared Kalamata olives with me, and was my backup alarm clock when I hit the snooze one time too many and her breakfast was late.
She moved with me from Baton Rouge to Boston to South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York City. She was an intrepid cross-country traveler as my parents drove me from Delaware to California in an RV when I moved to San Jose in 1998. Settling in California, Tasha and I rounded out our seventeen years together until she grew too ill, too old and frail to survive another move. Tasha always had impeccable instincts about men —Niksdad is the only one she ever took to. I often wonder if she held on long enough to make sure I was going to be okay; she died in my arms in the middle of the night just weeks before my wedding in 2001. I miss her every day.
Rocks I collected on a trip to Nova Scotia one year —another exciting RV excursion with my parents. We visited the Bay of Fundy—one of two places in the world to experience the phenomenon of tidal bore — and walked out into the actual bay while the tide was out. The specimens we collected were exquisite! The rocks are small talismans I keep on my desk to remind me of the forces of nature, the strength of family, and that time can smooth out many hard edges.
Five things you have always wanted to do:
Visit the British Isles; I’d love to rent a small country cottage for a summer and really soak up the countryside.
Sing at La Scala or The Metropolitan Opera in NYC. I came close in a six-degrees kind of way; I once studied voice with McHenry Boatwright who once sang at the Met. I also studied with Luba Tchereseky who was, allegedly, blacklisted at the Met and so, subsequently, were her students. I did, however, once sing in a recital here.
Learn to play the guitar.
Sing professionally with a band performing music of the big band/swing era. Hey, Nik’s first home-PT experiences were often to the music of Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey!
Learn to draw and paint.
Five things you are currently into:
Being the best mom I can possibly be to Nikolas.
Learning to take better care of myself.
Planning my summer household reclamation project (aka figuring out how to dig our way out from under all the junk we seem to have accumulated but not found a place for)!
Learning as much as I can about Augmentative Communication so I can help Nik with his communication efforts.
Trying to find the time and energy to write more regularly.
Five people you’d like to tag:
Marla and Maizie, Jenn, Delilah, and Angela.