Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stompin' Grounds Re-Visited!

I spent this weekend at my college reunion. Since a lady never discusses her age, I'll be coy about just how many years have passed since I wore a flimsy creased polyester robe with matching mortarboard, but suffice it to say that it had been more than a few.

What did I learn from this experience?

Well . . .

First off, when you get the chance to go to one of these things, go. Keep your expectations low, but go. I found that time had continued its march and that was both a good and a bad thing. There were new buildings and buildings that were no longer there. For example, the theatre in which I did a fair amount of growing up was still there and still felt like home (down to the musty scent in the air - a peculiar mix of dust, paint, and magic), but I had to acknowledge that I had done some growing since then. So had the theatre - the school now has an amazing visual arts center so the theatre took over the old arts annex, turning it into a black-box studio and scene shop.

Second, people are weird. While the sharp edges of a few things had worn to a more comfortable rounded shape, well - as the Doors once wisely observed, people are strange. Whether it was just reverting to old form or a lack of forward movement, a few cliques seemed to immediately re-form. Oh, well. Hope the years have been kind to them; I haven't time to try to break in there now to find out.

Third, growing up isn't all bad. My school worked hard to prepare me for a world that was going to toss me about and not care at all how I felt about that. The road has not always been smooth and I haven't always stayed upright, but I always managed to get vertical again one way or another and these are some of the women who helped me get that way.

Fourth, I'm very, very lucky. For all the jokes about my going to a "finishing school" where pearls were issued along with freshman textbooks (they weren't; it's a joke people!), the motto is true. Women who are going places really do start at Hollins!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Seeing Your Own Town

Full spring has arrived! Around here, that means a weather report that stays pretty much the same from now until late September - "Sunny and hot with a chance of a late-afternoon thunderstorm." It's actually a great time of year to enjoy living in a small Southern town. The farmer's market is in full swing, it's warm enough to open the windows, and (with a little effort) I seem to find pockets of time to enjoy things more than in the midst of the whirl that is all too often the semester.

So - a list of things to make sure to experience and savor during this time of the year:

1. Find a baseball game. It can be pro, but I prefer the "lower leagues." Find an American Legion league game - top notch talent and I can guarantee an enthusiastic crowd. If the economic news has been getting to you, bring out the big guns and go find a team of under-sixes playing. I promise you'll feel better after seeing some kid forget where second base is, but still be happy just to be playing. Would that we were all so smart.
2. An old-fashioned merry-go-round, complete with calliope. I'm lucky in that my town has one of these that's been lovingly restored, but you can find them more easily than you could thirty years ago. In a pinch, one of the fiberglass imitations will do, but there's something about those wooden horses carved with their manes and tails so dramatically flared . . . And the nice people who run said carousel won't even look at you funny when you pick out a horse to ride yourself.
3. Shut down a coffeehouse. Round up a couple of good friends, get some strong joe and sit outside laughing and cutting up until the barrista politely tells you to scram so she can stack the tables.
4. Stroll through a farmer's market. I still don't have my tomatoes in, but I got a window box of lettuces for a "living salad" that makes me feel downright optimistic. Also, talk with the people - don't just point at the produce and grunt. I've met some very interesting people at the local market and we all know that everyone has a story to tell. What made the egg lady want to raise chickens that lay blue-green eggs? Why did the marine biologist decide to make small-batch vinegars? Hmmm.
5. Catch up on some visual entertainment when it's too wet to go outside. I still have a few Dollhouse episodes to finish (and there's always this!) plus there's an ever-growing stack of books I plan to read. Just don't spend too much time indoors - outside is lovely!

And she's waiting.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Endings & Beginnings

I'm back from my (much-needed) dandelion break - thanks for waiting for me.

I'm on the other side of the "crazy time" now. Classes have met for the final time, examinations have been given and scored, grades have been averaged and the results have been recorded. It's time to put a period at the end of this semester. Tonight is graduation at my college and my fancy-monkey regalia (complete with puffy hat) is quietly hanging in the closet, ready to make me dignified and 'spectable. (Well, as much as a hefty robe decorated with purple velvet panels edged in gold can accomplish that goal.)

In any event - whew!

In addition, the suite that houses my cubbyhole of an office is scheduled for demolition (crowbars, not explosives) on Thursday to make room for a long overdue remodel. (We get doors!) That means that everything has to be boxed and moved, but organized enough so I can still find everything necessary to teach my summer classes and continue to teach my high school class. (Side note: every tried to spark the interest of high school seniors in May? It taxes the imagination. I'm seriously considering puppets - it would at least keep me entertained!)

So there's been very little down time. I'm behind on everything - house cleaning, Dollhouse watching, garden-planting, etc., etc.

Why, I haven't even had time to tell you about my sparkly ring and the honorable FryDaddy's proposal. 'Strue. Mockingbird is otherwise engaged!

That'll make you willing to put up with quite a bit of end-of-semester nonsense, let me tell you!