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Kid’s coming and going

    I am missing my youngest daughter today. She’s been on a five day field trip with her school (the small gifted program here at Blue Ridge Elementary) to Orlando. They’re taking classes at Disney. We sure didn’t get field trips like that in Sarasota. She’s armed with my cell phone so she can call home whenever she wants, and I get cute little “check-ins” every few hours, excited descriptions of the rides she is waiting in line for or descriptions of those she’s just experienced. We’ve been to Disney a million times, but for some reason, she thinks it’s more exciting when you have to travel all the way from Georgia to get there. The group took two educational classes at Epcot too, and Neva says they were wonderful. We took our dancers to an educational program at Disney once – they do a good job.


     We’re about the only parents who did not chaperone on this trip. We just aren’t that protective and I’m comfortable with the family that volunteered to have her in their room (makes it easier to keep their own child entertained, they say). My older daughter is in college in Orlando and she made time to visit Neva – so it’s not as if my baby is far from home without family nearby.


     Our family will be going to Orlando in July to find a new living situation for Denver, because our pre-paid contract for a dorm is up after this year. Groan – I figured at the time that two years of prepaid dorm payments were enough because an upperclassman would want an apartment. Now that the time is here to shell out funds for an alternate living situation, I could kick myself in the patootie. What was I thinking? Anyway, we thought it’d be nicer to spend our Disney time as a family on our own than with a school group, so we let Neva take this trip on her own.


    To raise money for the trip, the group sold bottled water. A local water company gave them cases (24 bottles) of purified spring water for only 2.00 (cost) and the kids sold them for the market value of 12.00. (Generous support from that company, I’d say.) That meant the students got 10.00 per case to pay for the trip. We didn’t know anyone here to sell water too, so we bought 40 cases. We figured we had to pay 400.00 for the trip anyway, so why not get some water out of it? This way we ended up with 40 cases of water for only 80.00 cash outlay– a great deal. But now, we have water stacked up along this cabin, at Mark’s workshop, by the horses – everywhere. If there’s a nuclear war, we won’t go thirsty. I could build a barn out of them if I don’t ever get around to building one out of wood. Of course, this also means I might be giving my relatives cases of water for Christmas if we don’t get drink’in soon.


    Denver is coming home from college today for a two-week visit– I’m going to Atlanta to pick her up at the airport in a few minutes. I’m thrilled she is coming and we have some fun things planned. This weekend we’ll be taking a silver charm jewelry making class at the Campbell school and next Wednesday, a bead weaving class at a local bead store – all a part of her birthday gift. (She is turning 20 – wow!)


      Last week I was enrolled in a clay bead class at the Bead shop. On the day it was taking place, it rained heavily. This meant Mark couldn’t go to the land to sand logs, so he decided to join me and learn to make handmade clay beads for his antler baskets (no store-bought garnishes will make interfere with the” integrity” of his baskets, say’s the man – now a country craftsmen extraordinaire).


   We had a ball learning how to make coils that join in dozens of ways to make these remarkably complex beads. They are striking – with fine detailed patterns and glorious shapes. They’re also fun to make because you can experiment and venture from established patterns to discover innovative designs hidden in the mix. In fact, we liked it so much that the minute we got home, Mark went on-line and bought gobs more clay. We plan to have a bead-making party with Denver, Kent and Dianne this week. (And Neva can roll some clay too.) It’ll be a jewelry themed visit for my daughter, I guess, which is a dream come true for her. For our family bead night, I’ll make chicken wings and we’ll open a bottle of wine. My beads may end up a bit lopsided, but hey, it will be a good time.


   I took the beads I made in the class home and made a fantastic ornate necklace that looks very Native American. These unique clay beads add a completely new dimension to my new passion  -making jewelry. They offer another texture and another way to make my creations original – but I must admit, it’s getting ridiculous. I have about 40 new, funky, creative necklaces (no simple bead stringing for this girl). My handmade jewlery is a central part of my new uniform now– jeans, cute top and unique necklaces and earrings.  Mark says I better plan to start selling them soon or he ‘ll have to build me a “jewelry room” in our new house. Watch out fella, don’t give me any ideas!


     When Denver is home, I actually shop – she comes home with almost empty suitcases and I always send her back with it stuffed. We go out to the Chinese place for lunch (only the girls in the family shares a passion for lo mien so I don’t get to eat my favorite food much.) We go play pool, screaming and squealing as we aggressively try to outplay each other. Denver and I are competitive in a funny way. We’ll be taking hikes this trip too to see the waterfalls. And we are taking the kids to Dollywood and Gatlinburg on Mother’s day weekend. Then, there is the fact that I plan to take Denver horseback riding a few times. She fell last time (big weenie) and it’s important she get back in the saddle again.  But this time I’ll put her on Peppy – the horse is good and healed from his injury now. He’s a perfect mount and riding will be a very different experience for her this time. We can ride along the trails and talk. It will be nice.


   So, overall, the next few weeks will be prime family time. I have a huge writing packet due for school next Monday, so I’ll be burning the candle at night to free up my daytime for all of the above stuff, but that’s OK. I’ve learned you don’t need “time” to go to school – you need to be willing to “make the time”, no matter how inconvenient.


    I am off to the airport. I want to leave early to stop at the nearest Starbucks along the way (an hour drive) so I can get a cup of coffee and experience the suburban environment. Sometimes I like reentering “civilization” and I enjoy the convienience of it all– other times, I find it off-putting and I’m hit with a wave of distaste for pop culture and how it makes everyone go through life like the overworked, bored fella from the Duncan Donuts commercial – “Time to make the donuts” (sigh). This makes me grateful that I’ve moved to some place more interesting. More alive. Funny – I don’t know how the traffic, people and franchises will strike me until I get there, but either way it goes, I can count on the coffee being a delight.


    Time to go. Neva just called. She is just leaving “Fronteerland.”
     Ha. So am I.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

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