Posts Tagged ‘back-to-school’

Flowers Closeup, images of flowers grouped together,
photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

The girls were at camp for a week, which is the first time since this time last year that we had the house to ourselves. It’s late August, almost September, and this particular camp — which is always held the week before school starts — is the last hurrah of summer.

My oldest starts high school next week. During a few days off recently I began a room redecoration project with her. We had intended to go to the cabin for two days with Jim and Em, but I forgot about an orthodontist appointment for Dee that couldn’t be changed. So off they went while Dee and I set about redoing her bedroom.

She decided on a black-and-white color scheme with lavender, light blue, light pink, and other accent colors. We bought a new bedding set, plus two white shag rugs (I know!), a white desk chair, and a zebra print lamp. But the best part was when she got to select artwork for the walls. She found seven photo prints of different flowers, black-and-white with hints of color, in double-white mats.

I then purchased ready-made frames from Michael’s (my boycott there didn’t last long) and did something I rarely do. Instead of procrastinating and letting the new prints and frames sit untouched for weeks, I actually put them all together and hung them in a group on Dee’s wall.

Wall of Flowers, to hang multiple pictures together on the wall, I used this excellent “how to,” photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

The end of summer and beginning of school is a welcome time for me. Much as I enjoy the excitement of vacations and a general lazy feeling that lasts for two-and-a-half months starting in May, summer reminds me how much I cherish the routines that back-to-school brings in our household.

One such routine is quiet time for my artwork. With the girls back in school, that means they’re not staying up late on weeknights. Weeknights, often after 9p, are when I can pull out my jewelry and lose myself in the tactical work of designing bracelets, gluing on designs, sanding edges, and mixing resin.

Just last night, I worked on several new bracelets. I am always amazed at the vibrancy of the work and delighted any time a new color scheme or design emerges. I turn my music on loud — usually k.d. lang belting out hymns of the 49th parallel, James Taylor, or Collective Soul — and don’t look up again for hours.

Bracelets in Process, pieces coming together, (calendar
stuck on June), photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

But summer ain’t over ’til it’s over. Besides a couple of New Student orientations, the first day of school isn’t until Thursday. There is much yet to fit in over this last weekend.

Em is starting a new transition, too, from elementary to middle school. She also got new accouterments for her bedroom, such as bedding in bright oranges, magentas, lime greens, and turquoise. Jim has to fix the cool and colorful lamp inherited from Dee’s room, plus we have a few items yet to purchase. And there is still more to do to finish up Dee’s redecoration — the full length mirror, more wall hangings, and putting up the curtains that are being hemmed by a local seamstress.

It’s only now that summer is almost over that I can see how important these particular new beginnings are for my daughters. I like to mark beginnings — transformation in one’s life, new seasons, milestone dates, new roles.

And as I celebrate, it’s with a bittersweet heart because as the saying goes, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Mother and Child, antique framed Catholic print, hung to look over my art-making space, photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

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Tools Of The Trade (On Sale), Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Back-to-school sales are a bonus for writers. Liz came home last night with presents in tow: three full-sized college ruled notebooks for Writing Practice and five colorful 4 1/2 by 3 1/4 Composition notebooks with marble covers (my favorite for carrying around in my pocket). The large notebooks were a penny less than 4 bits; the small ones only 19 cents. (Hint: a bit is 12.5 cents; 2 bits is a quarter.)

Last night I put the small red Composition notebook by my bed. It came in handy when I woke up at 3 a.m. with insomnia. I grabbed it and wrote down these haiku (senryu) floating around in my head. I had hoped the rhythmic counting would help me get back to sleep:


Insomnia haiku (II)

crumpled white paper
word remembrances of love
10 sleepless monsters
rambling around in my head
flat Insomnia

beyond Milky Way
a random act of kindness
what it takes to love



I hope everyone is taking advantage of the back-to-school sales to stock up on writing supplies. Paper products are our Tools of the Trade. What kind of notebooks and pens do you love? Where can we get the best deals?


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, August 13th, 2009

-related to posts: WRITING TOPIC – TOOLS OF THE TRADE, haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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I know summer is coming to an end when we pick up the girls from camp. They’re sad, eat the salami-and-cheese sandwiches I pack for them with a faraway look in their eyes. They’re tired, too, plain ol’ worn out. It’s as if today, this day that we pick them up from camp, all the weight of summer presses on them. Hot and sweaty, thunderheads building. There’s a heaviness about it for all of us.

I remember summer lasted forever when I was a kid. Seems like we never started school until after Labor Day, and here we are, not even halfway into August and the closet holds two bags full of school supplies. I remember Mom making at least a sort of fuss over back-to-school. I remember my school supplies stacked up next to my bed in a tidy pile where for days I could admire the candy-apple red pencil, an oversized one that barely fit your fingers, and a Big Chief tablet.

Mom bought us a few new dresses (or sewed them), a new pair of shoes, and those thin socks that folded at the ankle to show off girly lace. We didn’t get a lot, not even enough for a new outfit each day that first week back, but that was OK. By the second week we were back to all our old clothes anyway.

I went to the mall last Sunday afternoon after dropping off the girls at camp. I wanted to get Dee some black jeans with skinny legs, she’s been asking for them for weeks plus it was tax-free weekend, which seems to function as Pavlov’s bell, we all go out like Night-of-the-Living-Dead zombies to the stores even though the 7% savings barely makes it worth the trouble. But still. I went and ran into the mother of another camper. We laughed and said something like, It’s just plain easier to shop for our kids when we’re without ’em.

We don’t have the exact same rituals to end summer that I had as a kid, but we have some of them. Mine were the school supplies and the few new clothes, plus a sudden interest in cleanliness. Bathing and curling my hair, a new pajama gown, and going to bed when it was still light. Mom and Dad were rigid about school nights. It didn’t matter what Nature had to say; it was time to turn off the sun and get to bed.

I told Em that I wanted to show her how I organized and cleaned her room while she was gone, and when I suggested that we go take a little tour of the drawers and closet, she broke out crying, “Mom, I just want to sit down!” She’s been away two weeks, being back home must be both a relief and a major letdown. Thank goodness she doesn’t start school until Tuesday.

It’s been a humid summer. Jim was saying as we drove back from the mountains that he hasn’t seen clouds like these, so many and for so many days, since he was a kid. These are the summer days from our youth, thick air, a hot that makes you sweat inside even, swamp coolers don’t work well in humidity. But a coolness this morning. I’ve been using the quilt in addition to the sheet, and even when I went to Trader Joe’s this morning at nine, I wore a sweater.

It’s a transitional time, I said to someone recently that it felt like running into a glass door. I didn’t see it coming even though I knew it was out there somewhere, this end of lazy days, quiet mornings and staying up as late as you want.

I just had a strange thought. Once our kids are grown, will it seem like the fading of summer into fall is like any other change of season?


-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SUMMER

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