Last day of the month. My wish and prayer for this fall-winter season is good health. I will be using my light box to keep the blues away, walking in the mornings for exercise and doses of nature, and mostly staying on my diet to avoid bad foods, especially sugar. Face pain is always there, but manageable. I'm busy with work and thinking of projects to do. One is to redecorate the side porch. Photos below. Suggestions?


One little cotton seed made it this year, producing one little cotton flower and one little cotton boll.
Little survivor of the drought.


The bathroom has drywall.


My mom cut down two trees in her back yard. We are not happy.
We love trees.

I put sticks all around this baby ginkgo to tell the men not to destroy it. They did anyway. 


This is growing in my small little anchialine shrimp tank. I don't know what it is and must look at a sample under the microscope.


Update-- the drywall is going in!


Update on the bathroom renovation.
Dan has framed in the shower and hooked up a lot of plumbing.
Below is the wall where the sink will be.


Today I spent 10 hours at a research conference on campus. I spoke at two small meetings and presented this poster in the afternoon. I heard many speeches, and got to meet people I wouldn't ordinarily meet. The point I'm trying to make is that I spent TEN hours doing something active and social and I felt AOK.


And now I am 53. Dinner at Mom's with friends and flowers and lively discussions.


Moment of awe on walk in the park this morning.


They made it out of the wilderness! Squirt just sent me a little text message--- they are fine.


Today was better. I decided to lose myself in something, and finished a project I'd been working on for months. No, not the one in the picture, but I did finish that one also. I finished a book I'd written (it's only 63 pages) about finding my relatives this year. I published it as a magazine through blurb.com and also as an e-book. 
I also worked on getting ready for school this week-- and made a chicken curry soup with sweet potatoes. 
It's funny, I finished the 30 day cleanse diet but I like the food so much, I just keep eating it. Good stuff. Good for you. 
I'm ok.
I'm ok.


Today I cried when I found his bedspread in the dryer. I thought he had taken it with him and I'd be left looking for a mis-matched comforter. But he left it here-- the same one he's had since he was a teen. It's beat up with some holes and buttons missing, but it's his. This is the wrought iron bed he's slept in (not the mattress exactly) since he was 2 years old. A bed that belonged to my great great grandfather back on the island in the bay. I'm glad it still has my son's energy. 

Meanwhile he and Jes and Dan are hiking Mount of the Holy Cross. I'm not terrified. No, I'm not. Not at all. I'm sure they know exactly what they are doing. 

they are really really far away

Today I finally cleaned up my home office. 
Started knitting a new project, and blocked one I finished yesterday.
Watched a sappy movie on Netflix.
Talked to my old friend KBB back in C'ville and my cousin Nancy up in Massachusetts. Cried both times. I think it actually helped.

Tomorrow I will go for a walk,
Plan my lesson for Tuesday,
and I don't know what else.


Today has hit me hard.
I noticed that he left his key behind. Cried.
I looked in his room. Cried.
His shampoo and all toiletries are gone from the bathroom. Cried.
I told a friend that waking up and not having him home was sad. Cried.
I'm writing this. Crying.

I need to repeat this mantra: He has not left me. He has just grown up. This is supposed to happen. This is what parenting feels like. This is normal. If I didn't feel sad, that would be abnormal.

I Google "Empty Nest Syndrome" and find page after page of descriptions and advice for coping with the LAST ONE TO LEAVE THE NEST. 
This is why it's so hard. He is the last one.
And he's my son.
And I worry. 
Squirt, please be well. Please find friends. Please find joy in the mountains. Please find your passion in life. Please drive safely. Please be careful while biking. Wear your helmet. Please see a doctor if you are sick (you have health insurance only until February). Get your teeth cleaned every six months. Please don't fall off a mountain. Please come home for Christmas.

And please call your mother regularly. She misses you and loves you more than anything. Know that. Know that to be the ultimate truth.

"Sons are the anchors of a mother's life." ~Sophocles

Feeling tossed about in the waves about now.
The gate. Children must pass through the gate.
But the gate is never locked-
and home is always waiting with a loving embrace.


A year of weight.
Look at my weight loss since January 2016 when I dedicated myself to walking.
Got my cholesterol checked today-- it has gone from 249 to 210.
That was the bright spot today.
Department meeting was peppered with shocks throughout.
Pulled muscle or something in back has me alternating ice and heat, and I cannot sit for long, and driving is hard.


Squirt liked to keep his cup here. Our shopping list is above it. He left today and left his cup behind.
I cried like a baby and hugged and kissed him and told him to be happy and call me if he's sad and keep in touch and I hugged him again real hard and cried again. He left. Dan went with him-- they are driving to Colorado. They are going backpacking with Jes for the weekend, then Dan is helping Squirt move into his new apartment, then flying home. We will be by ourselves. In 30 years we have never had the house to ourselves. Even when Squirt was off at his first college experience in 2009, we had Frisbee. 
I miss my son.
I remember the night when he was about 18 months old-- he could walk, but was just starting to talk well. 
Middle of the night he calls out. I go to him and hug him. 
Tissue, he said.
Tissue? You want a tissue?
No, TISSue.
I pick him up.
He kisses me. 
TISS you.
My son.
Yes, yes, he was a momma's boy... but that boy was so loved by his momma.


Four years ago, I sent Squirt a text message from this restaurant encouraging him to apply to Auburn and move with us here. He did. He graduated. Last night, we took him to dinner at the same restaurant for our send-off. He leaves tomorrow for Colorado.  It doesn't feel real. 


Taught tonight after a 12 hour day that contained some significant scary pain. But I survived and class went really well. The topics were 5E and inquiry, and we did checks lab, energy ball, and relative density lab.


Sunday. I felt good today. Walked this morning-- then went to the store, shopped, then cooked, and took a curry dish to a pool party potluck with some female friends.