Monday, August 29, 2011

As I walked in my neighborhood this morning....

....I watched two little boys walking together ahead of their mother who was with a third child.  Suddenly, the youngest one turned around, looked back at his mom, and then took her hand in his. It was so sweet to watch them as they happily walked to school together.

Once I caught up with them, I introduced myself and got into a conversation with the mom, Sarah.  She and her family had just moved into a home near me.  She said that she walks her three boys to school every day.

I spoke with the boys asking them about their teachers, etc.  Although a bit shy at first, they did begin to share some thoughts with me about school. The youngest was in kindergarten...and he was the one I watched holding his mom's hand tightly the entire time.

Suddenly, my mind went back to a time 32 years ago (how can that be?) when I took my oldest son to the very same school.  I can recall that feeling as I would drive him up to the circular drive at the back of the school and watch as he walked away and into the building alone.  I still get a little lump in my throat thinking about it!

Back then the kids didn't use backpacks and instead had to lug handfulls of books in their little arms.  This sometimes meant that things went flying as they got out of the cars. It seems so much easier for the kids now...

Three years later I sent my youngest off to the same school and got the same lump in my throat.  But, it was nice having them in the same place for a few years.  Comforting in a way.

Of course, it wasn't long before I was joining carpools as my oldest began to attend the Junior High.  In a blink of an eye that changed to high school and then college wasn't far behind. I miss watching my two boys journey through school every day.  I loved every minute of being a mom when they were still at home.

Now, they are both  living far away in two different cities watching their own children go to school.  As their children grow, I wish them the same joys that they gave to me.

It is such a mixture of emotions watching our children grow and go out on their own.  I feel such a loss not having them around all the time....but, so much pride and happiness to see them flourishing as young adults.

~All of this reminiscing just from seeing  three little boys on their way to school this morning, wishing that I could have stopped things from moving so quickly back then.... for just a while.... and yearning for that time so long ago....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

As I opened the door....there stood my new friend...smiling, and holding a warm Challah in her hands...

Sometimes we are lucky enough to have special people come into our lives when we least expect it.  That is the case with Miriam...

She signed up for one of my adult pottery classes and we became instant friends.

This interesting woman continues to fascinate me.  She and her husband are the proud parents of 9  (yes, 9!) beautiful children ranging in age from 2-18. She seems to be able to lovingly handle this large crew in such a gentle way.  She would receive many cell phone calls during the pottery class and I couldn't help but listen to her as she calmly handled each child's needs.

Miriam and her family are Orthodox Jews.  This is the most traditional stream of Judaism."Orthodox Jews are very unique in their lifestyle. They are very family oriented and lead warm and loving large families. Honoring parents and devotion for their children's humble and honest upbringing is a core Orthodox Judaism belief."

From sundown on Friday evening to sundown on Saturday night, the Sabbath is observed.  Phones, television, and, even lights are turned off.  If they go to their house of worship they will walk... as driving is not allowed on the Sabbath.

Miriam's husband is the Rabbi of the local Chabad House.  Many wonderful and inspiring events and programs take place there throughout the year.

So, what is so unusual about this new friendship?  Well, even though I am Jewish, I am part of the Reform stream of Judaism.  This is the most contemporary and progressive of the three sects.  Much of our Temple Services are done in English with a small portion of prayers done in Hebrew. I do not take part in many of the strict observances that Miriam and her family do.

In fact, my whole feeling about organized religion is somewhat challenging.  I find that religion can be so divisive.  I believe that individual spirituality and goodness is a much more important aspect of my religious life.  I am proud to be Jewish and I certainly celebrate the holidays....but, much of my prayer is done personally and privately on my own.

I so look forward to opening up my mind and heart as I get to know more about Miriam and her beliefs. We have already planned to get together and exchange thoughts and ideas that we each have.  I have many questions about Orthodox Jewry that I plan on asking Miriam....and, I know that she will answer me without any judgement on her part.

This is the second time that she has come to my door to wish me a good Shabbas and to bring me one of her homemade (and delicious!) braided challah breads. In my desire to do something special and meaningful for her, I have begun to create a Sabbath challah tray out of clay for her family to use on Friday nights.

I can't wait to be able to present it to this beautiful and special new friend...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Silent Treatment

I love the commercial that is presently airing for a new sitcom.

The female lead is giving advice to all women out there about what to do when they get in an argument with their significant other....and, they are feeling angry inside.

"Dont give them the silent treatment!" she admonishes,  "That is not punishment to a man..."

It then shows the man sitting there happily watching television as she sits quietly....not talking.

She suggests that, instead, we should talk on and on about anything and everything that they probably have no desire to discuss, much less hear.

I "silently" laugh inside at the truth of this.

Shhhh....don't tell the men. : )

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tornadoes, Earthquakes and Hurricanes...oh my!

Craziness abounds as Mother Nature continues to amaze, frighten, and confuse us.

It is difficult to fathom the destructive forces of nature lately. It certainly is gaining respect as a force to be reckoned with and not to be taken lightly!

My concerns for Florida and Hurricane Irene...where some of my family lives.....have now changed to the Eastern seaboard to the north of them.  I am hopeful that Irene will lose some of it's power as it continues to make it's way up the coast.  With one son and his family in D.C., you can bet that I will be keeping an eye on things in the next few days!

While taking my morning walk today, I came upon a city employee marking some lines on our newly-paved road.

We exchanged "hello's" and then he commented; "This is a lovely neighborhood, but the flying bugs here are terrible.  It must be because of all of the trees in this area."

Thinking about the high tax rates we pay to live in this beautiful part of the city, I replied, "Oh, yeah....we pay extra for the bugs!"

A week from Saturday I will be heading up north to Minnesota to spend a few days with Adam, Jenny, Owen and Audrey. I cannot wait to get my arms around all of them!  It has been waaay too long....

We will have a small celebration for Owen as he turns 5 while I am there.  He decided that he wanted his birthday theme to be "rock star".  So, it looks like I will be adding some fun, colorful hair extensions to my hair....and maybe getting a temporary tattoo or two. Now if I can just find my old black leather pants....

My pottery classes are over for now so I am taking a "breather" for a few weeks before starting some new pre-holiday classes. This will give me a chance to begin to build up my own inventory of pieces before the holiday season occurs....I'm looking forward to getting creative again and getting my hands in that clay!

Ten o'clock here and my bed is calling...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The finished "Ugly Jugs"

Can you pick out the one that is mine from the jugs done by my 7 year old students?

I know, I know.....Mine looks like Howdy Doody and Mr. Potato Head's love child!
And, what is with the freckles?!?!

: O

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just a comment about comments....

I just wanted to do a little post about the comments that people sometimes leave on my blog.

I so appreciate knowing that someone out there is reading my posts....and the comments verify that.

Even though my "site summary" shows 12-40 readers a day, I seldom get more than one or two comments at any given time.  That is okay with me in that I read several blogs a day and very rarely have time to comment.  But, that is not to say that I don't enjoy reading the posts.  I do.

So to Granny Annie and Susan Adcox I want to say a huge THANK YOU so much for taking the time to leave me messages after visiting my blog!!! 

Your comments make me smile and feel good knowing that someone is actually out there in Bloggerville.
: )

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Are you old?" one of my seven year old students asked yesterday morning during class.

"Yes, I am," I honestly answered.

"How old?" he continued.

"Why don't you guess?" I replied.

"35?" was his answer.

"Older," I said, now smiling at his 7 year old innocence.

"36?"....he kept on.

"Yes!" I exclaimed...."exactly right".

:  )

Monday, August 08, 2011

"Let me see the ugliest face that you can make!" I said.... the three 7 and 8 year old boys who were attending my children's summer pottery class.

I watched as they contorted their faces....stuck their fingers in their noses.....crossed their eyes and stuck out their tongues.  One of the boys could actually make one eye look up while the other looked down. (Ew)

I then began to tell them the story of folk art pottery ugly face jugs.

These jugs first started appearing in the United States around the late 1700's....mostly in the Southern states.

There are a variety of stories about the origins of these jugs and what the ugly face was to signify.  They were thought to have been used by slaves to fend off evil spirits and could even be found as grave markers.

Later on, these jugs were used to keep children away from the moonshine that was stored in them.  It was hoped that the scary face would dissuade them from taking a sip of the contents.

So, they got started making coils that wrapped around and around to form the jug.  Then they had to smooth the coils so that they blended together to make an even surface.This is a slow process, but the boys were surprisingly patient.  Once the jug was formed to their satisfaction, they began to stick on the facial features....

Here are their final products prior to painting and firing:
(Interesting, eh?)

Mine actually came out looking more like......


: )

Saturday, August 06, 2011

As I walked outside to get the morning paper....

.....I took a deep breath and appreciated the early morning peace and quiet.  Other than a few birds singing and a gentle wind blowing....there really wasn't much going on.

I went back inside my house and made myself a whole wheat bagel spread with delicious almond butter and strawberry preserves.  I sat and read the paper while sipping on a tall glass of chilled orange juice.

Sitting at my kitchen bar area, I glanced outside at my beautiful backyard with appreciation. A couple of hummingbirds were "fighting" over who would get a sip of the fresh new sugar water that I had put out yesterday.

I watered a few of my inside plants that were beginning to ask for water by beginning to wilt slightly.

I am looking forward to picking Dave up from the airport later this up some homemade crab cakes to be enjoyed while sipping a glass of red wine.  The wine was dropped off yesterday by my dear friend, Gary, who told me that he wanted to share his newest bargain "find" of a really great wine. : )

Going down to my kiln with a bit of trepidation, I opened the still warm lid to discover that all of my student's treasures were intact.  I couldn't help but smile as I unloaded each piece and marveled at what good work they had done....especially for beginners. I'm looking forward to being able to hand over the finished pieces to them on Tuesday night!

My iphone let me know that it was my turn to solve a word puzzle game that I am in the process of playing with my two sons.

And, so, the day begins.

As always, it is the simple pleasures in life that I love the most.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Where have the days gone?

To all of my faithful reader (s?) out there....sorry that I haven't been posting.

I am trying to think about exactly what I have been doing these last few days that has kept me away from my blogging...

Here's what I have come up with:
1.) Preparing for pottery classes
2.) Teaching pottery classes
3.) Firing pottery pieces and praying that none of the student's work blows up in the kiln! (so far, so good)
4.) Taking care of piled up paper work, bills and other such nonsense.
5.) Doing some organizing. (very little)
6.) Trying not to watch the news.
7.) Eating more than I should.
8.) Baking a little....and, then eating what I have baked of course.
9.) Working on getting my greenish pool water back to a sparkling blue.
10.) Doctor appointments.
11.) Mammogram.
12.) Bone density test.
13.) Teeth cleaning.
14.) Missing my family, my kids, my grandkids, and Dave, who is visiting with his family.
15.) Catching up with tv shows on my DVR.
16.) Playing "Words with Friends" and "Hanging with Friends" with family and friends on my iPad.
17.) Walking on my treadmill since the heat index here is hovering in the 100 degree mark.
18.) Bemoaning the fact that it is already August when I hardly noticed July come and go...
19.)  Realizing how sad the above list is....and, that I actually have no excuse for not keeping up with my blog.
: )