Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some Welcome News

This morning my DH received two emails from the University of Potsdam.

They were both in German and had to be translated. Funnily enough, the first one informed us (in German, no less) that he would be permitted to submit his dissertation in English. However, he will have to submit a 10-page conclusion in German. Given the availability of translation software, this should not be a problem.

But this is not the acceptance letter we are waiting for, which he needs in order to request scholarships.

The second letter was from the International Scholar's office, to alert us that some forms are still missing for matriculation, but we knew that and we can do that after we arrive in Germany.

All of this is strangely anti-climactic seeing as we've been waiting for so long to find out where we're going from here. There are still hurdles to be jumped before we are certainly going to Berlin, but we are one step closer. I am having a hard time feeling anything about it, but I guess maybe I will later.

Limbo is not a nice place to visit, even for vacation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sanity Check

In the midst of all the chaos of my current life, I have relied on creativity to keep me sane.  

Or to allow me to express my insanity.  Something like that.

I found this recipe that seemed interesting, and I sent a link to my daughter to see if she wanted to make it for her upcoming birthday.  She was very enthusiastic, so we decided to do a trial run.

It's called a rainbow cake, and it uses no fat in the recipe. But it was so sweet that all three of us found it difficult to finish even one slice! So, we decided to make the recipe but bake up cupcakes instead.

I also decided to finally make a project I've been thinking about for some months now. A case for my crochet hooks.

I've seen many different types of things like this, used for crochet hooks, colored pencils, and other similar items. I was inspired, but sometimes it takes being under stress to make something like this happen. All in all, I'm happy with it. Now all my hooks are in one place and I will know right away if one is missing.

After these creative bursts, I felt that I wanted to draw with pen and ink. I'm also itching to use my colored pencils, but I haven't gotten to that yet.
To mix things up a bit, I decided on white ink on black paper. And I just sat and drew without any plan or idea of where I was going.

After I got to a certain point on this one, I decided to try and add some color with the colored pencils, but I wasn't pleased with the result. So I went back later and drew this one.

These are highly reflective of the craziness and indefiniteness of life right now, but drawing them was keenly satisfying. They are sort of sprawling doodles which I drew as fast as I could and let my instincts guide me. The first one seems sort of like underwater life to me, while the second one looks like plant life. The state of mind the work put me into in process was one I really yearn to enter again, soon. It was restful and challenging at the same time. Especially when my family wasn't interrupting me....

And lastly, for today's post: the Leetle Birdies have been spotting in cyberspace! Cuteable has included them in her latest post. Let's hope that generates some sales!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Things My Mother Taught Me, Inadvertently

If you are a follower of my sister's blog, or came to this blog via my brother's myspace page, then you already know that our mother died on the 19th of April.  Both of them have posted about her passing, but it's taken me a bit longer to get my thoughts together on the matter.  

It's only been a week, but I feel like I still have a lot of emotion to unpack. My most frequent feeling is anger, but I know that's just one of the stages of grief, so I'm not letting it manifest itself.  I think I've been angry at her for a long time, without really letting myself know that I was.  

Last fall, when my sister and I went to settle her into a nursing home, it was a very shocking experience.  I remember that after that part of my trip was over and we were driving back to Tennessee, I began to work on what I called my Anti-Mom Manifesto.  It was a list of reminders of things that she was or did that I didn't want to become or repeat.  So, in essence, the most valuable things I learned from my mother were all about seeing her life as a cautionary tale.

1. Take care of my health.  Don't allow myself to become addicted to anything harmful.  Don't take my health for granted.

2. Forgive those who wrong me (including her!)  Lack of forgiveness leads to bitterness.  

3. Don't be a victim.  Have good boundaries and defend them.

4. Make good decisions.  Try to correct mistakes, and then move on.

5.  Don't accumulate material possessions.  Accumulate healthy relationships.

6.  Pets are not more important than people. 

7.  Don't settle for crummy from myself - strive for excellence.

8.  Be honest with myself and others.  Be willing to examine my life and tell the truth about what I see there.

9.  Put my child's needs before my own most of the time.  Not always, but mostly.  

10. Only cook with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

I'm sure that not every item on this list will have the same significance for my readers as it has for me.  I'm sure there's more.  I don't really want to talk about how she didn't do these things.  

So, in addition to dealing with my mother dying, I am still living in limbo regarding where we're moving to in...a little over 2 months...GRRRRRRR!

The options are Berlin, Germany or back to the states.  I mostly feel like I could go to either place and it would be ok, but we are just waiting and waiting and waiting and it's getting a bit tedious.  To say the least.  

To keep myself sane, I have worked on a few projects.  But I will save that for tomorrow's post.  And I'm still singing with the choir - we are getting close to our performances in early May.  And then that part of my life will be over.  I'm so glad I joined the choir and hope I have the opportunity to do it again wherever we wind up.