Sitting outside on the porch at 8:30 on the first weekend in October. I will not complain about the mosquitos, the humidity, or my frizzing up hair because I can't recall a time when we were still having pie and coffee on the porch in our shorts the first weekend in October.
Traditionally, I am having a massive panic attack the last week of September and first week of October. Art is You is next weekend and although I've been preparing my class for ELEVEN MONTHS, there are always so many last minute things to do. I have to pack up the kits, figure out the class supplies, figure out an "arty" wardrobe for several days, get ahead of myself at work because I take that Monday off to teach but the next day I am right back in court, and prepare for a few small events I will help with.
And "trades". OMG the trades.
Going to a weekend long, residential art retreat is not unlike summer camp. You hope you get a good bunkmate, that your counselors will like you, that you know where everything is, that you didn't forget how to paint or draw (or swim) and you need to bring little favors to trade with others. In Girl Scout camp, we all made little beaded, thready, yarn and feathered thingies that we tied to tiny gold safety pins and traded with each other to pin on our straw cowboy hats.
Could you imagine how adorable??
Kinda the same thing at art retreats.
After the first few years, I figured out that making 50 little thingies was more stressful than teaching a class. I have no time, no ideas, and did I say no time?
So I cheat and bring my business cards (Moo cards - google 'em) but I haven't gotten new ones in a few years and people may fling them back at me when I proffer a retread of a card they got lat year in exchange for their handmade, silver clay, baked in a kiln exquisite tiny replica of an acorn in a nest of gold wire that they tatted on their grandmother's crochet needles, 100 times over.
Seriously, I always say I am just NOT going to trade anything and ignore it all and then someone is wearing these amazing origami earrings and when I ask where she got them she tells me that our friend Nancy made them as trades and I am all over Nancy shamefacedly begging her for a pair in exchange for a drawing of a daisy hastily scribbled on a tag I found on the floor in one of the classrooms.
I just can't do it all.
So I'm not going to try.
In the meantime, it's good to keep busy. This weekend all the kidlets have come home to be en famille for a memorial for The Empress. The sisters, husbands, and kids are all going to Mass together. We will sit right in the pew where my mother sat for 40 years, and then we will come back to my house for brunch.
I am a bit cautious about myself this weekend and next. I'm not sure if I can face being in the same classroom and areas I was last year when Mr. Pom called me with the dreadful, unexpected news.
But I know one thing. I will be among family this weekend and dear friends next weekend. I will not be alone with my sorrow. Nor will be allowed to stare off into space and wallow, which I have a strong tendency to do. I will be sharing waffles one weekend and paintings of waffles the next.
Life is good.