Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Family, Farm & Art Therapy

As summer arrives for a teacher it's time to "catch up" on things I've let go during the school year.  I've taught for 30 years now and my schedule still keeps me busy and running with things revolving around school during the year that it's "a breath of fresh air" to finally reach summer vacation.
This summer I've already gone home to the farm for a week.  My sister Deb was there visiting for a few days too and we filled our days with activities, wishing for more time.  We both really enjoy being on the farm and helping our folks, the results were a scratch at the surface but still visible.

Deb weeded, I planted.  Deb helped Dad pick up sticks and clear away a fallen tree in the grove, organized tools, searched in the attic...  I drove everyone around, worked on Mom's computer, planted a garden for them,...  We planned on a small one and I don't know how, but it got larger than any of us imagined!  The area where the old chicken house once was is now a garden in full view with tomatoes, cucumbers, beats, squash, onions, pumpkins and watermelons awaiting sun and rain.
I also made some hanging vases for Mom to use as table favors, for a lunch she will have for friends, using copper wire, beads and antique bottles.  Of course there were extras to give away that week.  There were errands to run, people to visit, meals to make and things to look through.
This was the first Memorial Day for Deb and I to be home in many years.  The Grandview Cemetery service was our first time to attend since Steve had died.  We picked fresh flowers and put them in a can we covered with the bottom of a jeans pant leg, it looked rather nice and represented flowers that have grown on the farm for many years.
It touched my whole family to see others put flowers on his grave as well.  He had made a difference in others lives, what we all can only wish for.  Visiting with friends, neighbors and relatives at the cemetery was a joy.  We all share something from our past and some of it connects to the reason we were all there on that hill overlooking the Sioux River valley.
Making the trip from Hill City, SD were my Auntie Carol and Uncle Wes!  It was great to see them and a few relatives that came back to the farm for more visiting time and a meal.
Back in Denver, I busily prepared for friends that shingled my house and the start of "spring" cleaning that had been put off way too long.
This past week it's been time for some art "therapy".  Friends Mike and Janine were in mind when I started a painting of a beach/lake scene on canvas.  This was a joy to paint again, not for a class project but with someone else in mind.  I posted daily updates on facebook for friends to critique and now it is finished and ready to deliver to Clear Lake on my way back to the farm in a week.
Time goes by so fast during summer vacation.  I've packed in a lot during the past three weeks. I hope the rest of the summer is as productive and relaxing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Longtime friends

Back in February conversations started via emails with some college roommates of mine, with plans to get together and watch the Royal wedding of Will and Kate at the end of April.  With the February "blues" hitting us, four of us (and two husbands) quickly jumped on the chance for an excuse to get together and take off a day of work to have our reunion.  We started our countdown to the date via rotating e-mails discussing plans for the weekend, and the entertainment of weekly Will and Kate trivia provided by Janine.  It wasn't just the wedding enticing us to meet, but of seeing each other, getting away from our daily grind, finding the familiar in a friendship over 30 years old.  Clear Lake was the destination and we took out from Beaman and Denver, IA, Shakopee, MN, and Roscoe, IL.

There was sharing to be done; gift bags, crafts, photos, travels to hear about and technology to be played with.  Beth is so talented, she creates so much; books, quilts, memory containers,...  Here are a couple of her creations she's made that share family stories and photos to capture a moment in time.

Janine had tiaras and boas for us to sport for the wedding.  Mike and his Mom made us a delicious English breakfast in honor of the wedding in the early hours and from there on we talked, laughed, shopped and ate all weekend long.

We "found" old friends on facebook, reminisced and renewed friendships that have withstood time.   Thank you Janine and Mike for your hospitality and all of you for your timeless friendship.
Janine, Penny, Beth and Diane (AKA J-rod, P-rod, Miller and Johns)
The view from their patio in Clear Lake.


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