Love is spending a long weekend with my college daughter and then having to say goodbye. Twenty is such an in-between age. Clearly mature and grown up enough to live independently and go to college, yet too young to fully take control of life and all its responsibilities and demands. We are all getting used to her first summer living away from home. For us, it means twelve months this year of only two kids at home. For her, it means working to pay rent in addition to taking summer classes. I spent several days with her, doing the things that mothers do, going grocery shopping, helping take care of errands and scheduling appointments etc. We had long talks about school, work, and friendships. It made me feel needed as a mother, and I hope it helped her feel less all alone in a big world and that her family is here to support her all the time. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was a heartwarming feeling knowing my presence made a difference. I’m also super proud of her and her hard work and happy to see her growing into an independent woman.
This is a picture of a new drink I discovered at Chili’s. It’s a Patron Margarita with just lime juice and agave nectar (without the Grand Marnier). I don’t usually drink margaritas because I don’t care for the sticky-sweet high fructose corn syrup sweetened lemon/lime mixers that are found so frequently in stores and restaurants. A friend of mine who is also watching her sugar intake (I have an intolerance) calls these types of drinks “skinny” margaritas and first turned me on to the fact that bars offer them. I had previously given up on drinking bar drinks because of all my allergies/intolerances and was sticking with white wine, Chardonnay. However, it does get a little boring to only drink wine, so it made me very happy to find this new drink while visiting my daughter at college.
Because I have a gluten sensitivity, I don’t drink beer or liquors distilled through wheat like whiskey. Vodka and gin are also distilled through grains, often using corn, which I also have a sensitivity too. I’ve heard of some potato vodkas, but I’m not savvy to which brands they are, and it’s just easier to steer clear of them than it is to experiment and get sick because I drank the wrong thing. Tequila comes from the agave plant, so it’s the one liquor I know it’s ok to drink occasionally. I like shots of tequila, but I’m not sure they like me. They are so strong, and I usually get a bit crazy and do things that I will regret the next day. The skinny margarita with just tequila, lime juice, and agave is a great new option for me (I just have to be careful there isn’t corn in the lime juice).
Oh boy, it’s a little embarrassing to share this picture, but the prompt called for something old. I was out of town that day. And I was surrounded by new things in my daughter’s nice apartment across the street from her college campus. All day I looked for something old to take a picture of and came up short. So, since I had this picture on my phone, I decided it fit ok. This is my eighth grade yearbook picture taken during the 1981-1982 school year. As you can see the feathered back hair was popular then, and I was also right in the middle of three years of braces. That was a fun year of my life, but its also the year I started getting into trouble and hanging out with the wrong crowd. Glad I made it through those rough adolescent years!
This is a picture I took in west Texas on my way from Dallas to Lubbock. It’s a pretty flat and boring drive most of the time, but after a few hours, the landscape starts to change and then there are miles of wind farms. I’d never seen them at night before and thought they fit this prompt very nicely. At night, the wind turbines are illuminated, and it creates and interesting landscape, much different than they look during the day. I believe wind power is an important component in the clean energy movement and am happy that Texas is home to many wind farms.
This is a picture of my house and home. We moved to Texas from Virginia seven summers ago to take advantage of the housing market. We were able to buy more than twice the house for less money than in the DC area. Although I miss my hometown in Virginia and being in the DC area, I’ve always wanted a nice big house where I can raise my kids and then they can return when they are home from college. Now that my oldest is finished with her sophomore year of college, that dream has already come true. She says she appreciates that she can come home and have her old bedroom. Moving into this house literally changed our lives overnight. We were all able to spread out; each kid got their own room and walk-in closet. We went from one living room to four living rooms. I love coming home to our house and hope to be there for a long, long time!
This is a picture of a painting I made on my birthday at Painting With A Twist. It’s my version of “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. It’s a fun place to go with friends or on a date night. Everybody makes different versions of the same painting, and an instructor tells the class what to do step-by-step. Classes last either two or three hours, and it’s ok to bring wine, drinks, and food to eat while there. I’ve been there a few times so far and really enjoyed myself. This is my favorite of the paintings I’ve done so far.
This is a panoramic picture of the sunset I took with my iPhone. Texas has the most beautiful sunsets, and I am frequently snapping pictures and exclaiming, “look how pretty the sky is!” to my friends and family. They kind of roll their eyes and try to have patience for me to snap my pictures with enthusiasm. I don’t really care. I love sunsets, and I love natural beauty. In fact, the sunsets are one of my favorite things about living in Texas. The land is pretty flat where I live, so the sky is big! Every night, the sky is alive with color and form. This one isn’t the most colorful or the picture with the most shapes, but in general the overall impression of the sky was breathtaking. It makes me feel small in this universe.
This is a picture of me with my favorite musical artist, Jewel! I’ve seen her perform multiple times, but I had never met her or bought a VIP ticket until her most recent performance in May in Texas. I wrote about how I excited I was to meet her here.It was a weird experience. We went to this room with other VIP ticket holders, and the room was entirely silent. I could barely contain my excitement and didn’t understand why everybody was being so sullen and quiet. Maybe they were nervous? It was very casual. We waited there until she was ready, and then she just came in the room and we lined up to meet her. I expected a table where she would be sitting and some kind of fancy backdrop and lighting or something, but no, it was just a regular room, and she just stood there awkwardly ready to meet us. It must get so old for her. But, I knew I would only have a few moments with her, so I got in the back of the line and tried to figure out what the heck I was going to say to her. What do you say to your idol?
My husband met her right before me and told her I was her biggest fan and then gave me the rest of his time with her. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I know I had a huge smile on my face and rambled on about how much I love her and her music, that I also play guitar and enjoy playing and singing her songs, and that I had seen her perform many times and was super excited to meet her. I laughed and said, “this MIT get so old for you.” She was very sweet and said it doesn’t get old. We posed for a couple pictures then it was someone else’s turn. That was it! Then we found our seats and enjoyed the concert. It was amazing also because we got to go up on stage and see all her guitars. What a fun experience.
I took this picture of me and my son while we were taking a walk on a nearby trail. He is growing up so fast. I know it won’t be long until his shadow is as big as or bigger than mine. For now, I will cherish every moment of life with a small child.
This is a picture of a meditation spot in my room. I love this Buddha holding a lotus flower, and there are several bamboo plants like that one around my house. The unscented white candle represents pure light, and it makes me feel calm to sit and meditate, clearing my mind of thoughts and worries and inviting light into my being. I try to meditate every day in some shape or form, and I love the calm feeling I get afterwards. I first learned about meditation when I took a Buddhism course in college. It’s harder than it sounds to clear your mind of all thoughts and just be!