Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Book[mark] 'em, Danno"

It's that time of year...the end of a school year when it's time to say goodbye and thank you to so many people who have helped you and your child survive the rigors of exams, stressful classes, and, in our case, the graduate school application process. I wanted to find a small but meaningful way to show my appreciation to the people who were there when I couldn't be for Meredith, talking her down from her emotional crises and bringing her spirits up when things weren't going according to her plans.

Bookmarks seemed the perfect gift for these wonderful people in the academic world. They were quick, useful and offered a wonderful assortment of patterns to individualize each gift.

My first one was the Cloverleaf Eyelet Rib bookmark that I made for practice and which provided a nice birthday gift for my stepmother back in April:

I wasn't thrilled with the lack of stitch definition but it was pretty. My tight knitting meant I probably should have used larger needles. The Size 3 Crochet Thread was a little bulky.

The next one I made was the No Wrong Side Bookmark also made with size 3 crochet thread and a great gift for her academic advisor extraordinaire, Doug. He was always there for her and specialized in helping her through the darkest days of Organic Chemistry.

The Triple Chevron Bookmark was a gift for Susan, the woman who was invaluable to Meredith for her help in all of the lab research she needed to do for her thesis.

The Leaf Bookmark was a gift for one of her professors, Brenda, who provided countless hours of support and guidance in and out of the classroom.

Stephanie, Brenda's suitemate also did a yeoman's job of being there for my cookie whenever she needed a pep talk. She taught a couple of her courses and helped her stay focused on her way to her degree in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. Her bookmark was the Pine Tree Bookmark.

This bookmark is called Flourish and I made it for Dr. Wallace, Meredith's Department Chair and her mentor for her Senior Honors Thesis. She was tough on her but only because she believed that she could hold her to high standards to produce her best work.

Steven, one of her apartment mates received Feather and Fan (Old Shale), done on Size 10 crochet thread. It was a little like knitting with spider webs and if I dropped a stitch (as I did more than once) my only recourse was to frog it and start over. A true exercise in patience! But Steven's patience and support for Meredith made it worthwhile.

And, finally, Melissa, her other apartment mate received Diamond Lace Bookmark in her favorite color purple. Meredith, Steven and Melissa were an awesome team, supporting each other through a very stressful senior year.

These past four years have gone by so quickly. It has been so reassuring to know that there were so many people in Meredith's life who provided her with caring support and friendships that will last her lifetime. If I could I would give them all a million dollars and it still wouldn't begin to thank them enough for all they have done for her.

She's a very special young woman with an amazing future ahead of her. As she heads off to a PhD program in New York City in the fall I know she has had a terrific foundation academically and emotionally during her four years at UVM. I'm SO very proud of her! Love you so much Cookie!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Goodbye, Old Friend...

Thirty years ago my husband and I bought our bedroom set. We were so proud of the three pieces that transformed the empty bedroom in our apartment into a warm and cozy refuge. We moved it twice, once from Brooklyn to a rented house in Maine and, 25 years ago, into our first owned-by-us-and-the-bank REAL house.

Sadly, a few months ago we realized that our mattress and box spring a word, tired. The top didn't so much resemble a mattress as it did a topographical map with some REALLY pronounced hills and valleys. That terrain was doing a number on our backs, hips and knees.

So, we did our research, found a great sale at Macy's and set out to replace our mattress and boxspring. They were delivered today. I admit I felt a little twinge of remorse as I stripped the old bed, thinking of the hours we spent cuddling, talking, dreaming, sharing ideas, resolving conflicts, watching movies, playing with our baby girl and, of course, sleeping. We probably have spent more hours there than any other place on earth.

The truck pulled up and two young men began unloading the large, bulky packages. That's when things fell apart. Here is the culprit:

That is the stairwell...and only our bedroom. Apparently box springs are just a teensy-weensy bit bigger than they were 30 years ago. That extra inch or so meant there was no way the box spring was going upstairs. CRAP! So back it went on the truck...

and the set became a least until our new split queen box spring arrives next week.

Ah, sweet dreams again!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Now THAT'S more like it...

After a winter that seemed to go on forever, Spring has finally burst through the door with a huge TA-DA! The colors are so intense and gorgeous. This Rhododendron is in full bloom on the college campus where I work. Here are some other glimpses of the beautiful gardens, all lovingly crafted and maintained by an amazing head landscaper named Larry. What a gift that man has!

With a shoestring budget and a staff made up of primarily students and volunteers he manages to transform the campus into a splash of color and texture.

Every branch is lovingly pruned and shaped to create the perfect effect. I often wonder how many students, faculty and staff take notice of the beauty the surrounds them. This week most of them are hunkered down for final exams but, hopefully, at some subliminal level Larry's efforts are creating a calming environment to enhance their learning.

Every pocket and corner on campus catches your eye with amazing colors.

Even some of the less-travelled walkways are full of beauty.

Thank you, Larry, for bringing your passion and your gardening gift to those of us who get to benefit from your efforts! You are truly and artist!

You made suffering through this past winter ALMOST worthwhile!!! Happy Spring everyone!