The countdown begins

Veeka's 'come hither' pose on Billy Goat trail

Less than 3 weeks to go before the packers and movers and I am very, very busy. Was gone over the weekend to research one last WaPo magazine piece and I’m fighting to find the time to write it, as there’s so many other things I have to do. Like put in a textbook order for my classes!

Am trying to spend some quality time saying good-bye to old friends, some of whom I do not know if I will see again. The WaPo piece took me just east of Richmond to Charles City, Va., to a fascinating farm and to some fascinating folks to interview. I then took an extra day to go to Norfolk to see two more sets of friends I won’t be seeing again in a long while and then dropped by a third friend in Dumfries to bid farewell to her. The place we stayed in Norfolk was the home of Diane Husson and her husband, Emile; Diane being an artist that I did an article on years ago for The Washington Times and then became friends with. Then she married Emile, who has also become a good friend. I love to spend time in their home and gave at all the cool art that Diane has put all over the walls, such as the troika of female beachgoers. She does coastal art, for lack of a better word; beach and sea scenes, sculptures and lots more on her website which is here. I have bought some of her art as well since it’s priced quite reasonably and maybe someday I can afford even more of it.

Diane's tropical bar scene art piece

In the past month, I’ve been trying to cram in a few things that I want to do before leaving the eastern seaboard, one of which was hiking on the Maryland side of the Great Falls of the Potomac. A friend took Veeka and I along the Billy Goat trail and that was one hazardous little journey over some very nasty rocks. While I creaked along, Veeka clambered up 50-foot sheer drops. I still like to hike but I’m realizing that one false step these days can lead to a lot of grief and that I am a bit more fragile than I used to be. Also realized that hiking without decent hiking boots is really dumb. Being without health insurance (my COBRA ran out in December) has made me ultra-cautious.

Veeka makes her way down the rocks

Anyway, saying good-bye is becoming quite sad, especially when there are friends with pretty serious health issues they may/may not survive. I had several long talks with friends who are the same age or older than me about growing old and how terrifying it appears when it looks all downhill from here! Still think the smartest thing I ever did was adopt a child at age 50; if anything keeps one young, it’s raising a 7-year-old. At least I can kid myself for awhile longer that I’m living the life of a 20- or 30-something. Years ago, I used to scorn older people for not wanting to take risks. Now I’m entering that category and I hate myself for giving into fears I should not have but which crop up. We are so fragile, all of us. Even inanimate things; the moving company today just emailed me to ask me the dimensions of my harp, because they want to build a special carton for it. I will be camping out in a campus apartment for several weeks, so won’t have access to my things. And sometime in there must schlep to Memphis to get the harp out of storage, as it will warp if it sits in a warehouse too long.

Finally reached the bottom

I feel like I no sooner take care of one crisis than another erupts. The latest headache is Veeka’s future school. I had chosen one I really liked and when we flew to Jackson two weeks ago, she interviewed there and I thought all was well. Then I heard that her math scores were too low and I was told I had to get a tutor to get them up (in 3 weeks time – right) by the time we returned to Jackson and *if* she was improved, she could be admitted provisionally until everyone was sure she could hack it in their first grade. And if I could not make this happen, maybe Veeka should go back to kindergarten? I informed the admissions committee that Veeka had already been held back a year and she was entering first grade this year come hell or high water. And so…I am now looking for a new school, which is incredibly difficult from 800 miles away. Because I could go public school, this has thrown into disarray my decision as to which house to buy. Had I known this first school would act like this, I would have changed the plane reservations to be there an extra day so we could have interviewed at other schools but now we must wait until we get there in early August. And schools in that part of Tennessee for some bizarre reason start incredibly early. Public schools start Aug. 3! So the first thing we must do upon arriving is take Veeka to a pediatrician who can write up a Tennessee immunization form because her Maryland records aren’t good enough. Our appointment is the morning of Aug. 2. Aaeeii….

More Diane art: Notice the dog relaxing. Wish I could.