Sprinkled with a Dash of Melancholoy

Morning Ride Home Fog 1

It’s that time of year…
that bittersweet time.

You can just feel it…
There’s a  nip in the air.

You can hear it…
The crickets croon.

You can smell it…
Drying leaves and withering grass.

There’s that knot in the stomach…
not sure if it’s nervous or excited.

It’s an ending…
but it is also a beginning.

Carefree days are left behind…
Structured schedules begin.

It’s brand new shoes…
and choosing just the right first day outfit.

It’s shiny new binders…
and backpacks with lots of compartments.

It’s one-subject and three-subject and five-subject
multi-colored spiral notebooks.

It’s freshly sharpened pencils…
and pens in red, and blue and black.

It’s fresh new crayons and assorted colored pencils…
and highlighters in neon shades of yellow and pink and green.

It’s the anticipation of seeing old friends
and the hope of meeting new ones.

It’s new teachers, new subjects, new classrooms…
It’s squeaky clean blackboards with fresh sticks of chalk.

It’s time to secretly pass notes
with important messages

like “Do you like me? Yes or No
Circle One”

It’s waiting with the neighbors at the bus stop
and sharing seats times three.

And then growing old enough
to be too cool for the bus.

It’s apples for teachers
and pictures with bus drivers.

It’s back to school time –
Can you feel it in the air?

And even though it’s been
quite a few years

since I sent my boys off
with ambivalent feelings of sadness and pride

and even more since it was me as that little girl
with butterflies of anticipation, fear, and excitement

I still get that feeling
this time of year.

Sweet joyful memories…
sprinkled with a dash of melancholy.

I can’t be the only one
that feels this way.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Daily Prompt:  Learning

Brown Eyed (or Black or Purple Eyed!) Susan

Brown Eyed Susan Watercolor 5x7

Brown Eyed Susan Impressionistic Watercolor 5 x 7

Work and life have been very busy and exciting around here.

And even though it is all good, sometimes the busyness can be stressful.

When I need or want to unwind, I have truly found peace and joy in watercolor painting.

A year ago, I would have told you I enjoyed it, but I sometimes found it stressful as I wanted to be so good and realized what a truly challenging medium watercolor is.

About a year and a half into this new artistic love and hobby, I can truly say I now enjoy it for what it brings to me…  The way it relaxes me watching the water and paint flow and mix and mingle…  The joy in creating something completely unique and original…

And I no longer stress over perfection (well – most of the time!).  I am an artist (finally calling myself that!) who finds more joy in painting than sketching, so drawing before painting is tedious to me.  I can’t wait to get to the paint, so I would so much rather just skip the sketching stage.  Don’t get me wrong, though…  I GREATLY admire those that can sketch and draw creating almost exact likenesses to objects!  I marvel and appreciate it so much!

I now realize I want to create things for my own joy…  my own impression…. my own interpretation… and if someone else likes it – good.  If not, that is okay too.   I  have developed my own little style, and though I will never be Vincent Van Gogh, I enjoy my painting.

So here’s one of my latest – a simple study of a single brown-eyed susan – Jodi’d up with a purple center, loose strokes and a few splatters!

Here was the photo I took of the flower from our front yard garden.  As you can see,  I didn’t try to replicate it exactly as is, but used it as a reference to create my impression or interpretation from.

brown eyed susan flower

I rather like this one, and I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like framed.

brown eyed susan watercolor 5x7 matted and framed to 8x10

I think I’ll add this one to our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop.  I love it as a print and think it will make lovely greeting/note cards too.  It still amazes me that people have bought my original artwork, prints and cards.  Every time the “ding” of the cash register alerts me that someone has bought something from our Etsy shop, I get so excited to see what they liked.  Whether it was a beautiful rustic sign or piece of home decor made by my daughter-in-law and partner in artistic fun, Colleen, or a piece of artwork or set of cards that I created, it is such an honor, and I feel such joy.

brown eyed susan watercolor card set

Tomorrow I am going to be sharing what I think might be my very favorite painting I have done to date.  I am excited to share it.  You may or may not like it, but that’s okay.  Thanks for traveling along this journey with me…. cherishing the moments… at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Paint

Dear Kitchen Table

kitchen table

My Dear Ole’ Kitchen Table –

I know you are growing old and tired and worn (and as I look at this photo I took of you just yesterday, I realize it even more!)  There are days I think I want to replace you – or at least refinish your surface.  Many a discussion has been had about you!

But then I remember all the things we’ve been through together… The memories you’ve been a part of…  The people that have sat around you…    the food and festivities you have held…    the activities that you supported….   the different homes you have moved to with us through the years….  and I have a hard time parting with you.

Remember all those Christmas cards we colored on you?  Hours and hours over the years of markers and ink accidentally sliding off the paper onto you, which you gracefully accepted.

Remember how many times milk was spilled on you?  It often slithered through the cracks and off the edge onto the floor, but you never complained while we all scampered to gather clothes to wipe you off and rearrange dinner.

Remember homework, filling out school papers, permission slips, sick notes….?

Remember science projects and art projects?

Remember gift wrapping sessions with paper and scissors and tape and boxes and bags and tags?

Remember daily family dinner time conversations?   Arguments?   Laughter?   Prayers?   Tears?

Remember games of Chutes and Ladders, Old Maid, Monopoly, Life, Trouble, Five Crowns, Rummy, Yahtzee, Set, Operation, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, and the hardest of all on you – Jenga!?

Remember breakfasts with friends with strips of sizzling bacon, stacks of pancakes, bowls of eggs, and cups and cups and cups of coffee?

Remember when the boys were in high school and we hosted weekly Thursday night flag football games for 5 or 10 or 15 at a time – and then served pots of spaghetti or chili or whole hams or turkeys or roasts to all for dinner – always with a cake or pie or plates of cookies for dessert for hungry growing boys (and girls!)?

Remember vacation-planning sessions discussed around you – like our trip to Hawaii with Jill & Todd – or reminiscing about favorite vacations like our Caribbean Cruise where we met our wonderful Bubby and Glenn or our ultimate excursion to Alaska with our sweet Janet?

Remember our first Christmas reunited with Dad and Carole and Aunt Gwen and Uncle Frank and John and Jeff and Dawn and Jen and the whole gang?

Remember bantering and jokes between Pap and Ron?

Remember shower and wedding planning discussions for Jake and Colleen?

Remember meeting Liz and seeing how happy she makes Nick?

You’ve cooled cookies and cakes and pies on warm summer days and cold winter evenings.

You’ve held fresh flowers and birthday cakes and candles.

Each scratch and fade and mark is a reminder of all of these times….

Thank you for being with our family and helping to keep us in touch with each other.  You were often the center of important deep and meaningful conversations.  Other times you were pounded on as we laughed until we cried…..   or cried until we laughed.

You may not be as beautiful as you were 24 years ago when we bought you from the quaint shop that sells handmade Amish-built oak furniture, but neither am I?

And I’m ok with you if you’re ok with me.

What we have together goes much deeper than superficial “looks.”

Thank you, my dear ole’ kitchen table, for all you have given to our family.

With love,

Jodi

*This post was inspired by Thursday’s Daily Prompt at The Daily Post, entitled:   Literate for a Day:   Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?