Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seeing the Seahorse

I am so excited to share my mosaic seahorse, finished and ready for the gallery. He is hopefully one of many of his kind...I find myself dreaming up all kinds of color schemes. Work on the next one commences in the next week or so--in vivid orange.

Post post postscript: Friends who saw this post and later saw the seahorse in real life clued me in to the obvious: There's nothing in these pictures to indicate the actual size of this work of ceramic sea life. He's a big guy. A full 29 inches. That's a lot of hours and a lot of materials...he's currently in a gallery, waiting for either just the right buyer or for me to rotate my stock and bring him home (my personal favorite option!) Meanwhile, both real life and online friends suggested I make smaller versions of my seahorse, to accommodate a range of budgets and decor needs. I have two now in the works--one 75% of the original size, and the other half. I've got an idea for a miniature in mind as well--perhaps even as a blog giveaway--stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MWF ISO Island Connection(s)

Traveling to a new place is like a blind date: anything is possible. An ill mood may prevail, disaster could unfold, plans could go awry. On the other hand, things could play out in a spirit of frivolous fun; the tone is light, casual. But every so often? You discover a match mach made in heaven and find true love.

Indeed, I prepared for my recent foray into Florida and Grand Bahama Island with a date-like attention to my physique: I worked out, got my hair highlighted, shopped for new clothes. A couple of times I questioned the motivation behind my concerted effort to look my best. I tell myself that my beauty regimen consisted of things I would have done anyway, and that is mostly true. But I have to admit to some sort of strange desire to make a good impression, to be physically compatible with my island surroundings.

Our itinerary took us first to the Sunshine State, then onward via cruise ship to the Bahamas before winding down on American soil back in Florida. Florida and I had already met, at various points in my formative and adolescent years, so we were beyond both the initial wonder and uncertainty of a fresh introduction. Still, Florida went all out to impress with splashy smorgasbord of big-ticket fun in the skies and on the waterways. I left feeling suitably wooed.

Our introduction to GBI got off to an admittedly rocky start. Not unlike that awkward moment of realization when you discover your date intended to go Dutch and you didn’t bother to stop at the bank, we wound up hungry and irritated within the first hour. It seems the cruise line, that sketchy mutual friend who introduced us, told a lot of half truths and downright lies about the grandiosity of the spread GBI was prepared to put out for us. Grand Bahama was happy to have our company, but not prepared to play host to the extent to which our matchmaker led us to believe. Our time together would include dining, but it was up to us to procure the goods.

It wasn’t long before we realized that our disappointment wasn’t really Grand Bahama’s fault. The island hadn’t had a chance to speak for itself. So, like any good date, we started listening to Grand Bahama, discovering what the island had to say for itself.

As I tuned in to GBI, I discovered that despite the vibrancy of the surroundings and the boisterousness of the people (there was a “Friendly Bob” or a “Big Mama” around every corner, eager to hock wares or sell various services) the island approached me with a whisper, with hints of what was possible.

A shell-spangledled postcard I picked up at a drugstore with a name that made me predispositioned to love it (Regular Readers can guess why I may have been drawn to The Seahorse Drug Mart) tipped me off to the possibility of some great beach combing which sparked an after dinner walk covering at least three miles of ocean front.

GBI wasn’t prepared to give up its secrets so quickly, however. It offered up just these small Bahama Bits, pieces to represent potential treasure, waiting, for some other time, some other shore.

Postcards from The Seahorse spoke also of reef-dwelling wonders. Outfitted in snorkeling gear, I got a little peek of what was possible, there, as well, although the island whispered then, too, on my single opportunity to connect with it on a below-the-surface level. The seas were rough that day, and the island chose not to make it easy for me see what lies below. I battled 4-6 foot waves for ever single glimpse I got of the vibrant kaleidoscope of sea life swimming in those aqua waters. But I saw enough to know that there is a lot of potential. Potential for a deeper connection some time, some where on that chain of islands.

But if true love is best defined by a pining to reconnect, then it just may be Florida with whom we made a love connection. My husband and I truly enjoyed every moment we were there. The water, the scenery, the weather. And as an added benefit, during the entire vacation my husband’s surgically repaired knee functioned completely normally. At our Virginia home, he can’t comfortably do stairs, let alone three mile beach walks. All of our Florida raving along with the joint benefit has led to talk and more than a little joking about a Sunshine State retirement.

I’m not sure I’m ready, yet, for that level of commitment. I want to believe that there are many more blind dates, and perhaps a second shot at a Grand-er Bahama match up before I settle down in such an, umm…, permanent way.

In Other News

I know I alluded to the possibility of seahorse pics going up today, but a combination of dreary weather (I prefer shooting in natural light) and some last minute finish work pushed the photo shoot to sometime today.

An After-the-Fact After Thought (read: a fleeting thought I added to the post when it was several hours old):

What destinations have been true love for you, Readers? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Are the Odds?

As Regular Readers know, I have displayed uncharacteristic calm in the face of a recent discovery of some decidedly sketchy skin anomalies. As a Card-Carrying Hypochondriac, this type of Finding is typically a one way ticket to The Dark Place--a mental destination in which I wallow in despair over my certain doom. I've done some Hard Time in the Dark Place over possibilities with chances of actually unfolding hovering in the single digits. However, for reasons which remain unclear, I surveyed my odds against possible skin cancer and deemed the whole thing Thoroughly Survivable, a belief that casual conversations with family and even blog comments confirmed.

Imagine my surprise, then, at the publication of the following table in my local paper reporting the Actual Odds of Surviving various afflictions by locality:

For those who may encounter difficulties viewing the area of detail within the image, reference the stats in the "melanoma" block in the "My City" column. Really? Apparently, in My City, not only does every single one of the melanoma victims perish, so also does .8--a full 80%!-- of some other poor, unsuspecting soul. What are the chances? More people die of melanoma than even have it? Long odds, indeed.

Considering my recent gaffes in reading comprehension, I'm willing to concede the possibility that I have completely misread the above table. But what I'm seeing here is melanoma--a form of skin cancer stacked up against some of the biggest Medical Headline Makers and emerging, by far, as the most virulent of the maladies. Now, I do know that not all skin cancers are melanomas--but, frankly, we don't know what we're dealing with here, and let me reiterate: we're looking at an ailment possible of taking out more people than even have the diagnosis.

And you know what? At the risk of losing my own hypochondria diagnosis--I'm still completely unfazed. What are the odds of that?

Sunday, April 25, 2010


After a week of wandering on domestic and foreign soil, observing celestial phenomena, and swimming with sea creatures, it was time to return to a place that’s even more adventurous. Two weeks ago this evening I came home.

Home may be familiar and infinitely more comfortable than the places we choose to wander, but that doesn’t mean it’s predictable or risk-free. Although most of us equate home with stability, others view it as more fragile. Some even claim that if you leave home for long enough, you can’t ever go back.

Having returned to many “homes” on varied occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of returning to the comforts of things known, even as I have learned to embrace the uncertainties of interacting within the dynamic, changing, environments in which we live. I’ve thought a lot about home today, as I have reflected on two very different homes to which I recently returned.

This morning my husband and I returned to our home church to participate in the congregation’s annual Homecoming Day. Our history at that church spans nearly eighteen years, including the cumulative six that passed the two times we left—once in the nineties, for complicated reasons, and again three years ago because attending a new church was best for our kids. Still, this place is home—a place where people have seen me at my best and at my worst, a place where I’ve grown, learned, laughed, and loved. It’s a place, now, to which I am able to return in the same way a grown child heads home for family celebrations, knowing that there’ll be hugs, kisses, newsy updates, and lots of good wishes. It’s a place where I choose to keep a bit of my heart, not sure where, or when, or if, I will ever again be a part of the daily happenings, but choosing to leave open the possibility that I might.

This afternoon I spent my time inside another type of “home” to which I’ve returned of late. Mosaic art has been a huge part of my life for the past nine years, including the nearly three that passed after an accident with a certain piece drove my interest in the craft into deep underground. Prior to the accident—which claimed a mirror I had made as a wedding gift for my friend, Jen, and her husband—working with tile was an integral part of my existence. It was a medium in which I operated in full confidence—believing that my grasp on the craft was as invincible as the tile with which I worked. That ended the day that I learned that tile was not invincible, that it was possible for damage other than that of my own, strategic design to destroy everything for which I’d worked. I learned this hard lesson at the worst possible moment—during what I thought was the final polishing. As I buffed the surfaces with my glass cloth, I discovered, to my horror, that they weren’t “coming clean.” It was then that I realized that the surface of each piece of tile was badly scratched. To this day, I have no idea how this was even possible—a fact that created a reticence to rebuild. Being, as I was, then, in the midst of graduate school, it was easier just to leave, to quit inhabiting this domain that I thought I ruled. If I didn’t know what went wrong, then it could happen again. I couldn’t control the outcome, which made it too scary to invest.

It’s a good thing I don’t view my real life home the same way. Because, life is the magical experience that it is for the very reason that we can’t ever really control it. We can learn, choose, practice, and act, to the best of our ability, what we think we know, but we are never guaranteed an outcome. Which is why, four months ago, I was brave enough to respond to the urge I felt to try again, to break tile and remake it into something beautiful and unexpected. I made something small—and even though I held my breath during the final grouting and subsequently shining, things went exactly as they did during the dozens of groutings and shinings that transpired before the damaged mirror—just as they should.

So in March, when I was presented with the opportunity to designed pieces for a gallery, I decided to take a big risk and return in a bigger way to craft which used to be my artistic home. I painted tiles, fired and smashed them. I arranged the broken bits on a wooden pattern I designed. I grouted those little bits, one by one, into place. And today, after returning home from the Homecoming, it was time to grout and shine.

Although I did not perform this task with my former confidence, I completed it all the same—slowly, carefully, with long breaks for deep, unnecessary breaths. Unnecessary, because the piece is fine—as, in reality, the next several dozen or more pieces will likely be. What happened on that fateful day that took me far away from my comfortable realm was “one of those things,” a random, unexplained happening of the kind that should evoke respect rather than fear.

Yes ,home is fragile--in the same way a priceless piece art, or a common mosaic, is fragile—for its beauty, for the joy and shelter it provides, and even, perhaps especially, for the mysteries embedded within the unknown parts of those places we know so well.

It is good to be home. In every sense of the word.

In Other News:

Look for The Big Reveal on the Seahorse long about Wednesday. He's basically finished, but I needs some finishing touches before I do a photo shoot.

Jen, I still owe you a mirror. Let's talk.

For those of you who have asked about my pieces: Yes, I am taking orders, particularly for those who aren't in a big hurry for a speedy delivery. More details will follow about my future plans.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fractured Wary Tales

I may present myself regularly in this forum as a freelance writer and working artist, but going strictly by my official credentials, I’m best described as a secondary English teacher. Never mind that the only time I ever presided over an Actual English class with Real Students was during my student teaching, and that I entered the masters program through which I earned my certification only as a back door to getting re-hired as an elementary art teacher. But those are different stories, most of which have been thoroughly explored in assorted posts spanning late ’07-mid ’09.

My educational details come to bear within the current post only to underscore the alarm with which I regard recent evidence that my reading comprehension has hit an all time low. Yesterday I mentally substituted a key noun in a friend’s facebook status, effectively changing the meaning the poster intended to convey. Twice, today, I cheerfully volunteered to cover specific meals to be served during an upcoming girls’ lake house weekend—only to discover that other prospective attendees had already claimed both mealtimes in clear, concise prose within a widely-distributed email thread which I had ostensibly been reading. For days, I revealed in the possibility of enrolling in a particular art class I’ve been eying on the local community college website. When I finally decided to take the plunge and register, I discovered that the class was clearly labeled as an offering at a relatively remote satellite campus, too many miles north to be a viable option.

I chalk much of these gaffes up to side effects from trying to keep up with too much at once. Aside from the usual rigors of part time teaching, family life, and general post- vacation re-assimilation into society, I have been stoically plugging away on the mosaic pieces I agreed to submit to a local art gallery.
I say stoically because of my ongoing dismay over the contractual terms associated with becoming a Participating Artist at the gallery. I’ve been having difficulty accepting the concept of forking over a full two-thirds—66%!—of my sales to the gallery, in addition to an accompanying 8 hours of monthly in-shop servitude. It seems impossible, under these conditions, for one to break even, considering the cost of materials alone, without even getting into the hours of labor and creative energy. Still, I’ve gamely pressed on in spite of my prevailing wariness, encouraged by family, friends, and even Readers that the exposure alone was worth it.

“Consider the pieces advertising costs,” my wise friend, Lori, suggested.

“Just figure out your materials cost, double it and then multiply it by three,” my husband said. “It is what it is.”

So I’ve been logging each expense along the way, struggling to remain excited for the opportunity to practically give away a finished puzzle comprised of hand painted pieces and careful design.

Sunday, my friend Lisa, who happens to be a Participating Artist as well as a Board Member at said gallery called to see how things were coming.

“Oh, pretty good,” I said. “It’s just that I’m really wondering how much I’m going to have to charge for these pieces to even break even. It’s just that with the gallery taking a 66% commission, I don’t know how I can keep from losing money on the deal,” I confessed.

“What?! Who would do that?” Lisa’s shock jolted across the phone lines. “YOU get the 66%, silly. “


“And you do know that if you work the 8 hours a month, they’ll give half of the commission they take back to you, right?”

Um, no. I didn’t know that, because It appears that I read the entire contract backwards.

Which is why it’s probably a good thing that I’m not teaching English right now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


The most disturbing part of any vacation is the certainty and speed with which it begins to fade. From the time the former destination becomes so distant as to be framed nicely in a rear view mirror or the window of a plane, the sights, sounds, flavors, and even the mood of the excursion begins to slowly pale until weeks, months, or certainly years later, all that remains are a few mental snapshots to go along with whatever ones were captured through a lens.

The first time I remember being truly saddened by the fading process of travel was at the end of an especially delightful trip to San Diego ten years ago. As the bay dissolved into a single reflective glint in the view at take off, I remember being struck by the thought that, from there on, the trip was destined only to go ever further away. Sure, I had memories, but the only ones of those I could truly count on were those safely recorded in the little bound book in which I’d been furtively storing them.

I didn’t keep a journal on my recent trip to Florida and The Bahamas, and that kind of scares me. It wasn’t an intentional decision—a fresh journal whiled away the entire trip in my carry on —it just never happened. Typically, in the event that actually living a journey precludes the recording of it, I’ll spend the return trip logging the memories as they waft, vapor-like, from my mind. But this time, I didn’t despite the fact that I had to go back to work the morning after our return, an event I knew would have a Clorox-like effect on the vivid pattern of the beach milieu in which I’d been so recently enveloped.

I didn’t, even though not three weeks ago, I found a journal from a 2003 trip to Seattle in which I read that my then-twelve year old daughter, though fascinated by the trolley bus outfitted with two steering wheels for swift changes in direction, expressed great concern that sitting in the seat opposite mine could result in us winding up at opposing destinations and I laughed myself senseless. I never would have remembered that, but I have that memory now because I preserved it in print—the only reliable anti-fading agent of which I’m aware.

And yet, by ten AM Monday morning, I was elbow deep in grout, surrounded by kindergartners wielding miniature mosaic tiles and hadn’t had a single thought about blue skies, ocean waters, or palm trees in hours. And so the week went, each day taking me further from the sun and surf until it seemed the trip lived on only in my dreams, during which I remained fully convinced that I was moving across the ocean, which isn’t that far of a stretch in a full-motion water bed.

By now, I’ve almost been back for as long as I was gone, and I am determined to write something in that journal today before time can further act on my memory. Because the only reliable thing I know about time is that it is a thief, but at least a kind one. Already, the intervening days have polished the jagged edges from some of the rougher recollections of the trip, like the dismal hours of paper work and long lines required to board the cruise ship, or the disappointment of discovering that the all-inclusive package we paid for somehow did not extend to meals at the resort on Grand Bahama Island. Pshh…barely worth noting from this vantage point, especially when there is so much I do want to remember, that I’m struggling to impress on my mind so it isn’t lost.

Many of these are little things, most matter only to me. Some are as simple as little facts I learned about the environment on an eco-tour of the Space Coast waterways immediately after we saw the Shuttle Discovery off on its mission. (Who knew that the root systems of mangrove trees provide safe harbor for 80% of seafood species, or that dolphins remain in motion every moment of their 30 years of life? I didn't.)Other events are just moments—moments that were funny, or peaceful, or felt adventuresome. All of them, I want to remember.

I want to remember the irony of passing up a cup of coffee at the airport in hopes of getting some good brew upon landing in Florida and my husband saying, in an off-hand sort of way, “I don’t think your opportunities are what you think they are,” and the following string of inexplicable events that left me virtually joe-less for the next 36 hours. Things like thinking I was so smart, buying a whole bag of coffee to brew at the hotel, but not purchasing any accompanying filters. Things like forgoing all but a few ounces of coffee when we awoke for the space shuttle launch in the in the middle of the night for fear that I’d be caught without facilities, and then somehow not finding a coffee shop until the next afternoon. And foolishly passing it up because I felt hot, and already settled for coffee ice cream, and then not finding another one until nearly bedtime. And waking up the next morning and saying things would be different and immediately tearing into the only envelope of prepackaged coffee in the hotel and severing the ironically named commodity asunder in my eagerness.

I want to remember the thrill of getting up at 2:00—two o’clock!- AM to see the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery. Not only was seeing the shuttle a lifetime first, seeing that particular hour at the outset of a day as opposed to the flip side was a new experience as well. In the aftermath of a couple of recent, hazy stupors triggered by early risings associated with an ill-timed dental appointment and volunteerism at a homeless shelter, I was skeptical about `my prospects for long term alertness, particularly in light of the aforementioned caffeine shortage. Which makes it all the more satisfying to remember being up 17 hours later, thanks to the best nap I probably ever had and waking up with less than 24 hours of amazing memories behind me and nearly a week’s worth ahead.

I want to remember driving down the coast on Florida’s A1A the next day, talking with my husband about things on which we agree—the wonderful-ness of our surroundings, and various thoughts about life and kids—as well as things about which we don’t always agree, such as politics.

I want to remember watching the sunset off the aft end of the cruise ship, and reclining in a big cozy lounge chair with my husband as the stars emerged and the deck cleared and we were somehow alone in a floating city with a population of 1200 people.

I want to remember that even though the snorkeling excursion we splurged on turned into a couple hours on rough seas on and off a catamaran, that even though death seemed a viable options, I mastered both my gag reflex and my seasickness and saw some amazing fish in their coral reef digs.

I never want to forget that I came reasonably close to fulfilling a Life List dream when Salvador kissed me.

I don’t want to forget escaping the expensive tourist area in the aftermath of the not-very-inclusive meal plan scandal and finding a humble grocery store where I bought a $2.00 pineapple and begged a deli worker to slice it for me.

Even though I don’t have a single photo of the place, I don’t want to forget the little Irish restaurant we discovered next to the grocery store, and the good people we met.

A despite the fact that I probably took too many pictures of the place, I’m afraid I won’t remember enough about the awesome suite we stayed in on our last vacation night, back in Florida. Masterfully designed and artfully decorated, it would make an ideal model for guest accommodations in the house we hope to build.

The truth is that I’ll probably forget things I’d like to remember, and recall random things I’d expect to forget. Life is like that. And journal or no, vacations have their own way of Living Large in a sort of Travel Immortality. And maybe our memories of them evolve into just what they should be, regardless of whatever we may do—or not—to preserve them.

In Other News:

The skin cancer scare is on hold. Dr. M is on vacation, and I can't trust a substitute with cancer of any kind. This gives me a month to test out a skin cancer potion from the herbalist that I've kept on hand for just this sort of circumstance. With any luck, I can dissolve away all the sketchy spots before Dr. M is back in the office.

I appreciated reading the comments from faithful readers while I was away. I will be getting caught up on blog reading and commenting over the coming week. Can't wait to see what everyone has been up to!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Band Aids Stuck On Me

If things have gone even remotely according to plan, I’ll be on a white sandy beach somewhere in the Bahamas by the time you read this. At the time of this writing, I feel as prepared as I possibly can be: I’m modeling newly highlighted hair, wearing my 2007 jeans, and feeling fairly loose and agile, after a visit to the chiropractor to adjust the neck and back muscles that got all moved around while working to get back into said 2007 jeans. And I’m sporting an assortment of tiny circular Band-Aids.

Why the adhesive rounds? They’re the result of findings made through a routine encounter with the Discovery Channel’s Scope It Out 30 X magnification device. See, the other evening I was just, well, scoping things out, and decided to take a little look-see at a couple of fairly innocuous looking moles on my arms. For the most part, I observed smooth, uniform surfaces that were of no real interest. One blemish, however, transformed beneath the powers of the Scope it Out’s 30 times magnification into a visual not unlike those seen illustrating certain skin cancers in various Dermatology Brochures.

Now, I’m aware that the Scope it Out is not a cutting edge diagnostic tool, and I’m also aware that, to the trained eyes of particular longtime Readers and Friends, that this is going to read like a Hypochondriac Relapse. Fear not. My hypochondria is still solidly under control. I assure you that I am completely matter of fact and calm about the situation. To the naked eye, the spot in question looks incredibly normal, so what we’re dealing with here is the Actual Possibility that the Scope it Out may become a genuine early diagnostic tool, which would really be rather cool. But as I’m planning a beach week, I decided to err on the side of caution and give the iffy area—as well as a second possibly suspicious spot on the other arm and a strange new mole on the far back side of my left ankle that I can’t reach with the Scope it Out without risking another chiropractor visit—some added protection with the circular Band Aids.

I actually planned to sort of go with the look and flash some colored Band Aids, like the ones I wore like little face tattoos in the late nineties when I had some moles removed for cosmetic reasons, but the only ones I found in stock were boring, flesh colored disks. I’ll keep my eyes open in case I find some cool island Band Aids in the meantime to accent my highlights and my 2007 jeans. Either way, I’ll have plenty on hand to use after I have the spots removed when I get home. Unless I find another Discovery Channel toy in the meantime that can take care of that, too.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

From the Better Late Than Never Files or Away, Squared

So, I stood you up yesterday. I apologize. Neither the tech, or as it turns out, the coffee, is as abundant as the solar rays here in the Sunshine State. Everything else is wonderful. I awoke at 2 AM yesterday to witness the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. A friend asked me via facebook if it was everything I expected, and I had to say that, honestly, I had no idea what to expect. At one point, I actually thought we'd be standing around a platform, waving to the astronauts as they boarded, feeling the heat of the exhaust on our bare skin as the rockets propelled the shuttle heavenward right behind some burly security guards and braided rope, and other crazy things.

As it turned out, we were some of the lucky few, thanks to my husband's affiliations with NASA, to have passes to view the whole scene from the causeway observation point. What's more, we were able to meet up with a couple I know from work and take them along. Viewing a launch represented an item from her husband's Life List, and, evidently, our vantage point was beyond his wildest dreams. So it was great to assist in making a dream come true and watching the joy of it unfolding.

I was as tired as I expected to be, particularly considering that I was still going at 9 PM even though, for various reasons that could star in a post of their own, I'd been without beans for seventeen hours.

It's a new day now, and I'm off now to scout out some joe. Now that the shuttle is up, up, and away, it is now time for anchors to follow suit. I'm Bahamas bound!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Popping In About Lifting Off

If things have gone even slightly as planned, by the time you read this I will be in Florida. If an entire other tier of events go unthwarted, I will have witnessed the launch of STS-131, commonly known as the Space Shuttle. If still more happenings remain predictable, there is a strong chance if you come back later on today, you may see a photo or two of the launch.

Yep, that’s a whole lot of question marks. But, really, isn’t that just status quo?
I’ll try to stop back by later today—if you can make it, why don’t you pop back on in, too, and we’ll see if anything went even slightly as planned.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Two Places at Once

So I’m finally leaving the country. But as I’ve already been largely gone from gone from Bloggy-ville for way too long already, I’ve actually made arrangements to be two places at once for the coming week: on far away sunny beaches and right here at my virtual home. Yep, I am THAT good!

So if you’d like to stop by for a visit this week, I’d plan on Monday and Wednesday, for sure (hint: there’s some pre-fabbed material already scheduled). I wouldn’t put another surprise visit or two out of the question, but as I’ll be working off my i-touch and my husband’s netbook, those would be of the short and sweet, possibly pictorial variety.

I won’t be able to read other blogs this week, but I will be sure to visit all of my faithful commenting followers upon my return.

Friday, April 02, 2010

All Spring Break in a Day (version 2.0)

We may not be dealing with anything as epic as the single hour of sunlight in seven years that Ray Bradbury’s characters had to work with in his All Summer in a Day, but, we are, nonetheless, working on a compressed time schedule.

See, Spring Break in my home has traditionally been a full week of projects and local tourism: a little bit of spring cleaning, a bit of extreme makeover, and a dash of stay-cation. My kids and I typically stock up on audio books and foray into all kinds of literary adventures while completing a thorough scrubbing of the kitchen floor and repainting of a bedroom or bathroom or the sewing of curtains. Despite the full roster of projects, there's always plenty of time for park treks and museum explorations.In short, the typical blueprint for Spring Break is a full ten days of relaxed productivity and meandering fun.

This year, the kids and I have a single day: today. One Spring Day with no school, no work, no plans other than going wherever the day leads. The compressed format has everything to do with those passports my husband and I secured before I disappeared on the unplanned blogging hiatus that has kept me mum for the better part of three weeks. This coming Sunday after church, we’re off on a different kind of Spring Break that’s slated to take off with an up close and personal viewing of the Space Shuttle launch and head straight to the Bahamas via cruise ship. I’m suitably excited, although the small twinge of guilt I feel for leaving the kids over Spring Break motivated me to get most of my laundry and nearly all of my cleaning out of the way yesterday so that today can exist as a sort of metaphoric tootsie roll: all the goodness of Spring Break rolled up into one single day.

In Other News:

At this writing, I’m planning one decent post before my departure. If you’re still out there, I hope you’ll look for it.

My recent disappearance comes with no concrete excuse, story, or reasonable explanation. It was completely unplanned and surprised even me.

Literature Minute:

If you've never read All Summer in a Day, I recommend taking a fifteen minute Spring Break of your own and doing it now. As thought-provoking old school YA, it's a crash-course introduction to an essential American author.

As another literary notable, don't miss the Hans Christian Andersen gallery on Google's main page today. It may look like a single celebratory image in honor of the fabled author, but, as I inadvertently discovered, the image changes when you click on it. I think there are four to see before google dumps you out onto a Hans Christian Andersen search page.


I’m fully aware that, as posts go, this one isn’t winning any awards.  I’ve just been silent for so long I thought it was time to say something.


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