Sunday, January 6, 2013

This year.

 Okay, last spring I decided to make a big decision, to go back to school and finish my degree.  I went to college at the usual age but left for my Mrs. degree.  That's all I really ever wanted was to be, a wife and mother.  Who knew, way back when, that there was an expiration date on that ambition?  Okay, most folks, but not me.  I still have an-almost 16 year old at home but, after over 30 years of doing the wifey thing I've been having a mid-life crisis over what's next.  I've always wanted to be an official Aggie (I was born and raised there, breastfed in Kyle Field, bleed maroon, and have been an unofficial Aggie my whole life); get the degree, have the ring.  So I decided after 12 years of hiking uphill (but enjoyably so) trying to make a business of my art making, that going back to school was the answer.  Wrong.  Deja vu all over again.  I am not academic, never have been, I'm guessing I never will be.  I'm not destined to be one of those remarkable 60 year olds who walks across the stage, and, in my dreams, gets my ring on ring day inside the giant ring at Texas A&M University.  
After having a fabulous holiday season (my childhood family in Oregon at Thanksgiving and with my children at home for Christmas), you know if you have read my previous post, that the only cure for holiday hangover is to start checking Pinterest, magazines, my saved inspiration photos, and get my creative juices going and my head deep into paper and glue.  So far it has worked!  I sometimes get discouraged for, although the customers at our shop love looking at my creations, they are a little too conservative to actually understand what to do with them.  I think there's still a little mentality that hand-crafted means homemade which competes with Made in China as a real deal.  Plus, who can complete with China in price?  I would never even consider charging for my time; I just try to break even on supplies and keep my prices low.  Don't take any of this as resentment; the satisfaction of making something that appeals to at least me is priceless.  And being part of a group of women at The Pink Cabbage is wonderful.  Lots of creative women with a shared passion of offering unique items for our customers.  And, overall, we are very successful.
So, no school for me although, despite my aversion, I did well.  Maybe an art workshop in the future.  Definitely lots of paper and glue in my nearest future.  Until I finally get to trade our too-big house for a smaller cottage that would just make my year and certainly keep me busy in the best way.  But that's another dream for now...

Best holiday season that I can remember...

Well it's been since 2005 since I'd spent Christmas with all my boys but this was a first one that also included the girl in our family.  Kristen, Lucas' girl of six years travelled with Lucas from my hometown in Texas to be with us.  Kristen had been to NYC and Philly but never the Balto/DC area so she was in for a treat.  The whole week was one big treat for me.
First trip out was to the Baltimore Inner Harbor.  On our walk to the aquarium we spied this place, It's Sugar, and had to go in.  Poor owners, I think most folks go in there to just take pics but if we'd been doing stockings on Christmas this would have been where I'd have purchased the treats.  Next year...
In addition to the huge forms of every candy you can imagine, they had some really cute, funky displays.  It was fun.
Kristen had never been to a large aquarium before so she loved it.  It's the National Aquarium even though it's located in Balto.  It's the perfect locale because it's right on the Chesapeake.  It's a really nice aquarium but since Lucas, Matt, and I have been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium many, many times it's enjoyable but really doesn't compare.  Monterey has one of the best in the world plus the views.  Still enjoyable and we tried not to make too many comparisons for Kristen's sake.
The jellyfish exhibit is hypnotic.  They are just so strange and so wonderfully relaxing to watch.  We spent the most time watching them.
The next outing was to D.C.  Justin couldn't join us this day.  It was a cold, windy one so we decided to do the indoor things, the museums.  We really made the rounds; The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of American History, The National Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and The National Archives.  We couldn't take photos in The National Archives but we got to see the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.  It's quite the set up, much like a cathedral; huge iron gates, the lights are dim so as not to damage the documents further.  They are very worn and faded as it is.  It has a wonderful dome ceiling with lots of cameras!  It's very reverent in there.  We got kicked out because Paul was chewing gum!

At the Museum of American History.  So meaningful especially so soon after we had seen the movie Lincoln.  This is his actual suit.

And the actual proclamation.
A favorite photo of mine.
Not a good photo and I couldn't get the color right as you can see...George Bush Drive is in my hometown of College Station, Texas where President George H.W. Bush has his library.  It's really maroon but I couldn't get it to show.  The symbol on the left is that of The City of College Station.  
We could all spend a whole day at the art museum.  I've always said I'd go and just spend a day so I could sit on the benches they have available to just sit and stare at the extraordinary works.
Lucas loves this museum the best too.  He could be left for the day and never notice...of course, Kristen would be in the next room and not notice either!
You see these on postcards and posters and cards but seeing them in person is just amazing.  Lucas was told by a dosset that there is a film placed over the paintings so the light and debris that people might bring in will not damage the art.

I wouldn't mind a print of this cutie.
Monet, Degas, Matisse, Gauquin, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, etc.

In between museums we went to a small restaurant for snacks next to where these brave folks were bundled up skating.  I found it more fun watching.
The next day, still chilly but much less windy, we all returned on the metro to see the outside sites.
This view just never gets old.
Though all of us except Kristen had been to Arlington Cemetery, we had a new reason this time for our visit...
...Kristen has a great-uncle (her grandmother's brother on her father's side) who is buried there.  We had never gone into the grave sites before, only to see the changing of the guards. It was a moving experience for all of us and very special for Kristen.
We had to run full force up hill from the grave in time to see the changing of the guards but got there just in time.  It was particularly moving for me since there had been so many photos going around on facebook showing how the soldiers refused to "stand down" during hurricane Sandy.  Honor Guard is truly an honor.
I've been here countless times but it's another thing that just never gets old.  There is a special feeling when in the presence of this huge reminder of the fine men who formed our great country.
After gift opening but before dinner on Christmas day, Lucas and Kristen headed out for 18 holes of disc golf at one of our local disc golf courses.  Still a little snow on the ground from Christmas eve.
Getting ready for that hella shot!
Taking a moment before digging in.  Happy mamma.
If you didn't have the holidays of your dreams as I did this year, take heed, it could take a few years but it's worth every minute when it finally happens.  The kids also got to see many old friends who where home for the holidays, one who just returned from Afganistan, and a lot who Lucas hadn't seen in a long time (we usually go to Texas to visit them, this was his first trip here in seven years).  Lots of reunions and happy times.  Happy new year everyone!!!!