Interview with the teen artist

What is your current age: 13 going on 30. Don’t put that, haha.
What is your favorite television show:  Cut Throat Kitchen. No, wait. ID Channel. It’s not a show, I like the whole network.
Favorite color: purple. It’ll never not be purple.
Favorite school subject: In all honesty, even though I kinda struggle, I really like math. You either get math or you don’t.
Longest Skype conversation: 8 hours long. Continuous or throughout the day?

Interjection from the younger brother: She’s doodoo fresh.

What is your dream job: I want to be an animator or a character designer.

How many days until Freshman year: 48. I knew that from heart. It’s sad that I know.

Who inspires you: Camilla d’Errico, Yuna, and my mom.

What are most looking forward to: In life, or in high school? In life, I’m looking forward to having enough money to sustain myself and still have fun. And for high school, the experience. Because my school is so… exciting, I think it’s just going to be a lot of fun.

What’s your typical phone activity: probably, the one I usually do is go on instagram or skype Kiernan. I look at art and funny videos (Pokemon Go videos and memes, I love memes)

What’s your greatest accomplishment to date: Surviving. Do not put that. Stop. Probably getting into Colgan. That was hard. You had an interview – not like this one, cause its just mom. My mom wasn’t even there ..[in the room].
It was… There was a lot of pressure. I got to look at a lot of artists’ work and they were actually really good. And that oil painter -ahhhk – her work was GORGEOUS.

And what are your immediate plans: Skypeing my friends. Checking the school website daily. I’m going on a couple vacations. And I’m doing my track workouts.

Tell me about your art: I’m a realistic artist. I try to draw hyper realistically, mostly people portraits. I enjoy sketching out with blue pencil. I just got a new desk and so I like to sketch on it. And clean it. I have a wipe. [Mom face palms herself in agony. Child responds ‘I hate you.’ Mom considers how many days are left before college.]

What’s your favorite art piece so far: The one of Yadon.

What’s the silliest art mistake you’ve made: Making a thick oil painting right before needing to  turn it in for my interview. Traumatizing. I spent three hours trying to dry that thing. [who knew it needed to oxidize to dry?]

What do you think about art box subscriptions: I love ’em because it gives you good size samples that I honestly would never buy.

What else do you want to remember about right now: I fall up the stairs every single day. Fall up and down every single day.

I finally got all A’s.

What time is it (besides bedtime past due): It is July 13, 2016 12:03am with 47 days left until school which means I need to update my calendar. [bedtime.] I love you mom. [She licks her. Mom dislikes child’s actions. Banishes her from room. She slips on way out. Brother comes in from his room “stop licking mom!” She does it again. “I cant stop, I love how she freaks out.”]

*recorded by Mom verbatim in third person because she felt like it even though the child considers that weird.

Two for tulips

IMG0540 copyThe weather man lied again.  I should’ve known when I requested a personal day a week ahead of time that the predictions might be wrong – – that the forecast would change, as it inevitably seems to do whenever I have plans. Maybe Mother Nature has it out for me?  Or, maybe, she has plotted to alter my plans for some unknown purpose yet to be revealed.

A week of beautiful weather – warm temperatures, clear skies, sunshine.  It was awesome.  Except the blooming tulip field was miserable.  What had already been called a shorter, sparser crop than in previous years suffered terribly under the out-of-the-norm heat. And then the long overdue rain could do little to salvage the flowers.

It’s like the weather flip flopped.  What should’ve been gloomy and wet, was anything but.  What should’ve been comfortable, dry and mildly sunny became a slippery, chilly, dreary day.  Nevertheless, I insisted the girls and I would try for the fields.  We dressed in compatible colors, selected footwear we could (theoretically) clean, and located our umbrellas.  And though I’d splurged on cute umbrellas once before, they somehow clashed with our attire and we desperately need to invest in cute rain boots and slickers.  The voice in my head whispers: “someday soon… charge it!” But I decline.

After confirming Chi had earned her straight-A report card in a “student-led conference,” we returned home in pouring rain.  It seemed as though it would never let up.  I checked the field report on FB, inquired as to whether the daring could still venture out in the soggy fields.  I was assured that at noon, they’d be open for business regardless of the precipitation.

We had the field mostly to ourselves, which was no surprise considering the puddles and mud that slurped and sucked at our shoes with each step.  Ri loved the mess.  The gooshy noise as the mud sucked down her shoes was excitingly new.  And watching the thick brown ‘paint’ cover her legs as she brushed a shoe across them was safely naughty behavior.  Who could fault her for getting a little dirty in all this sludge?

IMG0543 copyIMG0444 copyChi humored me.  Despite an unfortunate teenage breakout that turned into a long blemish down her nose, she was a trooper.  We covered the mark with purple glitter shadow and dubbed it a trademark.  It looked exotic. She looked – as always – stunning.

I realized that our annual sunshine and tulips photos would be a little different this year.  And I relished in the time spent with my quickly growing girls.

They traipsed through those fields with their baskets.  They pulled at their selected tulips and secured a few bulbs, too.

Laughter caught the wind as they got stuck in the mud, struggled to maintain clean shoes.

Each raised her face to the sky to catch the rain as tiny droplets fell in a shockingly chilly drizzle while we lingered.

And the smiles – – those precious smiles as the camera clicked and froze the moments alone in the fields on a rainy ditch day in the middle of the week.

IMG0387 copy IMG0366 copy IMG0353 copy IMG0471 copy

The rift

I stand at the shoreline
You sit, discontent in that rickety little boat
It rocks, dangerously, at your shifting weight
Rippling water currents draw you slowly out
Swiftly, you drift further into unknown waters
Receding from my vantage point
There’s no goodbye, no salutations at all
Just a distance increasing
I wade in, willing myself to swim to you
But I cannot
So I stand waste deep in the sludge
Silently willing you to paddle back
Oblivious to my mental pleading, still further the rift grows

Blizzard cometh {Day 1}

IMG7234 copyThe flakes began Wednesday night, not Friday as they’d said.  I should’ve known when they started canceling evening events, but I’d been periodically checking the weather forecast through out the day.
My colleague said she’d never heard of a “blizzard watch,” though I’m certain there’d been others before now.  And when the fire alarm sent us outside on drill in the 30 degree temperature,  it smelled like snow.  The ominous clear grey skies were increasing the student buzz about days off. We weren’t expecting to be off on Thursday,  but I’d prayed they wouldn’t force us into school with predicted snowfall on Friday.
The well stocked shelves of the grocery store belied the fervor of scared shoppers stocking up for the unknown. On Wednesday afternoon, their fears weren’t yet real.  Friday morning, though, after hundreds of accidents and disabled vehicles,  lengthened commutes and closed public transit, the store’s meager remnants were hardly beckoning.  The bread, milk, and meat isles were sparse.
IMG7236 copy IMG7237 copy IMG7274 copy IMG7286 copy  Then the real snow began. It started with non-threatening flurries and maintained the slow decent for hours. The white collected, stuck to the chilled pavement, built in increments. By 1:30, it increased and the winds created swirling tornadoes of snow as our neighborhood began to disappear.
At 5, I realized we’d not ventured out. Piling on layers of clothes, the kids and I trekked into the blinding elements. Ri didn’t remember a snow like this. Ya was surprised by the icy collection of flakes mingling with the fluffy, good for nothing build up. This was not snowball worthy.

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And my newly crowned teen found restraint, showing her maturity. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be a kid. That carefree exploring of youth is quickly ending. Now, it’s Ri who picks up boulders of ice to hurl at me. It’s she who laughs at the frenzied clouds disrupted from descent by heavy gusts, at the collection of snow on her lashes. IMG7339 copy

IMG7291 copyBut Chi delights in being Ri’s playmate. She lets go of appearances to give baby sister experience. Ri runs, Chi chases. Ri circles back, running right to her would-be capture. And they laugh as she’s swept up into an embrace and swung around and around.IMG7347 copy
Meanwhile, Ya perfects snow angels on the impassable street. He samples snow. And he sits in shock when Ri tosses loose snow at him, somehow covering half his face. IMG7308 copy

Failure to concede

I’m racking my mind trying to figure out what could’ve made this morning different.

It was such a simple trip — picking up a few non perishables for our long awaited getaway.  Ya tagged along, pointing at items we should get because they were “just what Dad gives me,” or were favorites we never indulge in.  I’d heard so many “Mo-ommmm,” in that elongated whine of impatience and insistence that I almost considered giving in to the numerous requests for that which we didn’t need.

We packed our few items into the two 5 cent bags and rolled our cart into the lot. The rain was coming down hard. A truck driving way too fast elected not to yield to the pedestrian cross walk. I thought then what’s the rush?

Belted in, we started around the corner towards a crowded Wawa parking lot. I avoided the call of my soft preztel, and navigated toward the red light. A Cadillac jumped out in front of me insisting he be first in line for the green.  I let him have it.

It dawned on me that I forgot the gloves hubs asked me to pick up. I considered returning to the store, but decided against it.

Then, when the light permitted us, we followed the hurried Caddy into the intersection. But a blue car traveling way too fast toward her red light, careened into us. In that ultra slow time between impact and realization of our predicament,  I contemplated damage. Ya was ok. The car, though it squealed in protest, could be driven forward and out of traffic.  The impatient Caddy stopped, came to check on me, offered himself as a witness.

She came reluctantly over. An older woman with bronzed skin and long hair. “I’m sorry. My mind’s going in so many directions. I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt. It’s my fault.”  In that awkward apology, I fought to contain myself. My perishable groceries (good sale on nearly expired meats) sat spoiling in the trunk. My new car now had a mark on its record. My son, in his trauma, sat questioning everything from the back seat. My left side seared, then numbed.  I wondered how long it’d take for my husband to arrive, for the police and ambulance to reach us. Would I need to take it?

In the lobby of the ER, dad sat waiting. He watched as patients signed in and were taken back. Time ticked by and no one called for me. An oversight, they said. The EMT didn’t notify the desk I was there. The nurse desk had my paperwork, though. Hours later, and after much complaint to the “patient advocate,” we’re in a room. More waiting. My arm is squeezed. My hand, poked. Yes, it hurts. Xrays (too much metal on your person, Mrs. Smith). Pills I cannot swallow. I gag as dad grimaces about my hangup.

Diagnosis?  Muscle trauma. It’ll hurt -worse tomorrow,  and continuing for several days more.

Happy 3rd birthday, baby!


Today is your birthday. My sweet spitfire, my mini. “Thank you mom! Kiss. Hug,” you say several times a day. Later, though, I’m reprimanding you for swatting a sibling who refused your whim. Your teachers tell me you are the class protector. You sing all the time. You remind us to pray, frequently saying, “Mom, hallelujah. ” And you love to act as you “read” books. You love stickers. Anna, Elsa, Olaf (hola?), Minions (nanana), Mickey Mouse (hot dog, Mik Mow) are all favorites. You love watching Annie original and 2014. You love “teeyee,” or rather YouTube videos. You dislike “bubs” (bugs). And you are an excellent back seat driver.

Happy birthday, Ri. You are our favorite wedding gift.

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