Monday, September 1, 2014

How to drop a freshman off at college

This has been one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.  There has been real grief and real joy in this process.  I am still recovering.  I'm going to apologize in advance for the blurry photos.  Everything happened so fast.  It will give the realistic impression of looking through tears.

Step 1:  Packing.

Three suitcases packed impossibly full.  Each suitcase came in at just under the 50lb weight limit.  This was no small feat.  Favorite pillow, favorite teddy, favorite journals all had to stay home.  We enjoyed the miracle of those big bags that can be filled and then vacuumed to remove the air.  Even though this made things wonderfully compact, it didn't make them any lighter.

Step 2:  Arrive at destination, hit all the stores.
It's all those little things that add up:  a white board, highlighters, a desk lamp.  Ka-ching!  Big bill at Target.  Then we went to another store where my credit card was immediately denied.  Apparently out-of-state big purchases trigger a freeze.  One parent told me that a Target she went to actually had  a sign on the front door warning out-of-state college parents to notify their credit card company before trying to make a purchase.  It took a little time, but I got it cleared up and spent plenty more money at the bedding store.

Step 3: Visit the campus even though move-in day is the next day.

"Mom,this is the lawn, this is the castle..."  is about the level of detail I got from her. She had been out to visit earlier in the summer with a friend to take placement tests. She was thrilled to show me the "writing room" in the library where she plans to hunker down with her laptop.

But the castle!  Oh my, what a beautiful place.  I learned the next day that it was modeled after the castle in Scotland that was later used to film the Harry Potter movies.

There were numerous ballrooms.

Some of the ballrooms had painted ceilings.

Suit of armor - I was told he tends to change spots and poses in the night.

Step 4:  Try to sleep the night before move-in.  Fail.

Step 5: Try to survive move-in day
This was so well orchestrated that it all went pretty quickly.  Parents backed cars up to the curb in front of the dorms and all the sports teams descended on the cars and unloaded them and took everything up to the room.  It felt like it was about 130 degrees and these poor kids kept their good humor despite being drenched with sweat at 10:00 in the morning. 

Step 6: Make the bed.

Even though it would have been a lot easier for her to wrestle the sheets onto the top bunk, I insisted on doing it.  It's the mom's job, the last time I'll probably ever make her bed for her.  I tugged and smoothed and tried to make everything as perfect as possible.  Meanwhile, Drama Girl stuffed clothes into drawers and I bit my tongue to stop myself from lecturing about the importance of folding.

Step 7: Meet the roommates and their parents
Did I mention three girls are stuffed into an "overbooked double?"  Drama Girl will only be with them for one semester and they communicated a lot before they met, but I still have reservations about the whole setup.  By the time we got all three girls and all of their stuff squeezed into the room, it was time to attend the half-dozen parent orientation activities while the kids went off to do some icebreaker activities with other students.

Step 8:  The final goodbye
I can't write about this without crying.  As the staff explained it, they designed it to happen fast, like pulling off a bandaid.  There were plenty of volunteers around with "Free Hugs" buttons and I confess I got one from a sympathetic stranger.  Seeing other moms (and some dads) tearing up didn't make any of it any easier.

But when all was said and done, it was such a happy day too.  As one parent said, it was like "releasing a trout."  A flip of the tail, a shimmer of light, and they were off, happy in their environment.

Good luck Drama Girl.  I love you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The power of a picture

Drama Girl is about to have her 18th birthday party.  I thought it would be fun to create a little slideshow of pictures of her to show at the party.  Also, apparently, I want to torture myself with sentimentality.

Here she is cuddling with a teddy bear I had made for her.  You can barely see it in the picture but it's right next to her face.  She named him Rainbow Flowers and he's gone on a lot of adventures with her.

And there they are again, that little girl and her bear.  This picture is killing me.  Credit and thanks to Jeff Bartee Photography.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Mysterious Halloween Town

I've started another project.  Of course I have.  I'm all about starting more things than I can finish in a lifetime.

I've been seeing lots of pictures on Instagram of this project.  The pattern is by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and is coming out in four parts.  I have the first two and this is most of part 1 complete.  I think I might switch the white moon to yellow.  The beauty of Instagram is seeing how other people have changed the pattern.  It's fun to stitch along with others who are working on the same project.

While I stitch, I've been listening to a great audiobook; The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.  Here's a link to the kindle version:

It's a funny, somewhat dark story of an old man who escapes a nursing home and gets more than he bargains for.  Chapters about his present are interspersed with tales of his life and adventures during the 20th century.  Like Forrst Gump, he meets a lot of famous people and has a hand in changing the course of history.  I laughed out loud a number of times.  Good silly fun.

Everybody is getting ready to go back to school this month.  I used to love August vacations but they're just not possible any more.  I liked the old days when school always started after Labor Day.  Jungle Boy is going to middle college starting next week.  He's still enrolled in high school, but he takes classes instead at the local community college.  Such a great opportunity for him.  He'll be able to transfer all of his credits and possibly shave a year or more off of college.Wasabi Girl goes back to high school the week after that.

Drama Girl and I are all set to fly her out to college.  We spent two painful hours at the sheets and towel store trying to get her to decide on things like a comforter.  No luck.  There were too many choices.  I thought something like pillows would be easier - good grief!  She actually laid down on the floor to test different types.  Then we picked the kind of towel she wanted - but it took her forever to pick the color.  Why was it all so hard?  At least she has a new quilt to start the school year.  If she wants a comforter as well, there is time to ship it to her before it gets cold there.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hattie Hedgehog

How adorable is this?  The fifth in the series of free advent animal patterns from Brookes Books Publishing.

I think I'm going to finish each of these into an ornament, and rig up some kind of garland to display them all.  Since the patterns are coming out once a month, I still have plenty of time to figure it out.

And here is my jar of 2014 scraps to date.  It never looks like much, but it's a big wide jar and it represents a lot of stitching hours.  I'm posting this as part of Daffycat's "TUSAL" (totally useless stitchalong).

I've become an instagram addict.  So many wonderful creative photos from all over the world.  Of course this has led me to new projects I want to start.  There are just never enough hours in the day.  You can find me on instagram at 

Drama Girl got her class schedule and textbook list.  It includes this book, "Buffy and the Heroine's Journey: Vampire Slayer as Feminine Chosen One"
She can never accuse me of not adequately preparing her for her higher education.  Also?  I really want to go to college with her.  But I take consolation in the fact that being a grownup means I never have to take calculus again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UFO Monday: The Farmer's Wife Quilt

I am the queen of UFOs (unfinished objects).  It's so much more fun to start new projects than to finish old ones.  Lucky for me, there is a group on facebook that's working on the Farmer's Wife quilt so I'm picking that project up again.

These are a few of my recent blocks. Since I started this project, I feel like I'm seeing hot pink everywhere.  Maybe my wild color choice wont look so wild after all.

I originally planned to only do 50 of the blocks, but now that I have a group of other women to help keep me going, I might make more.  I certainly have enough pink fabric to make all 111 blocks.

27 days until Drama Girl leaves for college.  Her bedroom looks like a bomb went off.  Somehow, it needs to all get sorted and packed and stored.  At the moment the task looks impossible but I know we'll get it done.  I'm savoring every last day with her.  I'm listening to her plans to spend next summer in Europe and my heart is breaking thinking about how much I'm going to miss her.  I'm grateful that keeping my hands busy with quilts is so very comforting to me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mini Hexie quilt

I finished my little hexagon quilt that I made from the charm squares I collected during the local shop hop.  The bright batiks make me smile.  Now I feel like I need another hexie project, this one was so fun.  I admire the quilters who make huge quilts this way - so much work!

This one makes me think of summer.  I nearly fell over when I walked in the craft store yesterday and saw all the Fall displays already!  I don't want to think about Fall for a long time.  

I'm planning another trip to Disneyland next week.  The kids are all in summer school and working so this will just be a trip with my girlfriends.  Sometimes grownups are my favorite kids.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Animal Advent #4: Duncan Dog!

Here is the latest in the series of animal advent characters.  It's not too late to join in on this stitchalong!  You can find the free patterns over at Brooks Books.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with these.  Might make them into individual ornaments or might put them together as some sort of advent calendar.  Luckily I have about two years to figure it out.

Linking up today with the Smalls stitchalong at Stitching Lotus.

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