It’s been a busy week for all of us, full of artistic events and (mostly medical) appointments.
Monday Afternoon and Evening: Visual and Musical Arts
In art class, North’s most recent project is a painting of cherry blossoms, based on some photos Noah took while he was home for spring break. The cherries on our block were just starting to bloom when he left in mid-March. On Monday, their teacher asked North to finish the painting so she could put it in the art show at their school later in the week. This was a nice thing to learn because the kids don’t always know ahead of time what’s going to be on display.
That night Ithaca’s Campus Band (for non-music majors) had its twice-yearly concert. It’s livestreamed, so we got to watch Noah play triangle, suspended cymbals, snare drums, and timpani. It was a short concert, just four songs, but I always enjoy hearing him play. I have since he was nine and it was a little bittersweet watching his last college band concert after all these years. My favorite song was the last one, “The Cave You Fear,” because I could hear him playing the timpani pretty well. I asked Noah about the title, and he said it’s a Joseph Campbell quote: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” That’s something to think about, as he stands on the brink of his adult life.
Tuesday Morning: Medical Science
North had an appointment at the pain clinic at Children’s on Tuesday morning. They were being evaluated for POTS because of some dizziness they’ve been having. I didn’t go because I thought it would mainly be a procedural appointment, during which their heart rate would be measured in different positions (laying down, sitting, standing). And they did do that (and found they don’t have POTS), but they also had a long consultation about pain as well.
It was a new doctor and Beth and North both reported that they liked him. North has had a lot of experiences of not feeling heard by pain doctors, but he seemed to listen, to have reviewed their chart before the appointment, and to have consulted with the neurologist they’re seeing for their migraines, all points in his favor. He gave them a referral to see another doctor to consult about possibly getting braces to help stabilize their joints and he mentioned that the new migraine drug they are about to start might help with other kinds of pain, too. We’re all feeling cautiously hopeful about these developments. North mentioned it would be nice to have their hands freer if braces made it possible to use their cane and crutches less. They were specifically thinking of standing for long hours in the kitchen at culinary school more easily.
Tuesday Evening: Literary Arts
That night was Favorite Poem Night at the library. North was considering coming with me but didn’t because they’d gone to bed with a migraine. For years I didn’t read a poem at Favorite Poem Night because the pressure of picking one favorite poem was too overwhelming. Seven years ago, I chilled out and realized it could be just a poem I liked, and I read an Emily Dickinson poem (#670, “One Need Not Be a Chamber to Be Haunted”). I’ve read a poem most years the event has been held since then. It was cancelled for covid in 2020 and I think in 2021, too.
Tuesday, inspired by all the spring wildflowers (dandelions, asters, buttercups) in my yard, I returned to Dickinson and read poem #81, even though it’s actually about fall flowers and how they extend the floral season just when it seems to have ended.
We should not mind so small a flower—
Except it quiet bring
Our little garden that we lost
Back to the Lawn again.
So spicy her Carnations nod—
So drunken, reel her Bees—
So silver steal a hundred flutes
From out a hundred trees—
That whoso sees this little flower
By faith may clear behold
The Bobolinks around the throne
And Dandelions gold.
There were many lovely poems read, including pieces by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Alice Walker, Jack Prelutsky, Ada Limón, Mary Oliver, Robert Penn Warren, and Maya Angelou, among others, but I was particularly excited to see “What You Missed that Day You were Absent from Fourth Grade,” on the program because I just love this poem. There were two precocious little girls who read poems in French and the poet laurate of Takoma Park—yes, we have one—read from his work. It was a fun event.
Thursday Evening: Visual Arts
We had a fairly uneventful 504 meeting at North’s school Thursday morning. We didn’t make any changes to their accommodations, decided that they will stick with the half-virtual, half-in person schedule they’ve had since January for the rest of the school year, and discussed possible changes to their senior year course schedule, but we didn’t make any final decisions about that.
After the meeting was over, we decided to take a sneak peek at the art displayed in the hallway and we discovered that not only was North’s cherry blossom painting there, but also their winter landscape, which is based on a composite of a photo Noah took of me at Blackwater Falls State Park and other photos both kids have taken there. North noted with some amusement that the cherry blossom picture had been hung upside down. The blossoms are supposed to be dangling down from the branch. Beth needed to get back to work so we didn’t have a chance to look at the other art right then, but we returned that evening.
Walking through the art at a more leisurely pace, we found North had three pieces in the show. The ink wash cityscape they completed largely at home last fall and winter was there, too. We got to chat with their ninth-grade ceramics teacher who taught them virtually during the pandemic, and with their current painting teacher, and to look at painting, drawing, photography, and digital art from other classes. There was a whole room that was dedicated mostly to ceramics and other forms of three-dimensional art, which interested North because they are signed up for Ceramics 2 next year.
Friday: Theatrical Arts
In the morning, North had a psychiatrist appointment, again pretty uneventful. That night North and Beth went to see Sister Act at a high school in Virginia, so North could review it for Cappies. They’ve been really busy with this activity recently—in the past two weeks they’ve also attended and reviewed Mean Girls and Legally Blonde. The theater director and Cappies’ co-ordinator for their school reads the reviews and he pulled them aside recently and told them he really enjoys their writing.
Beth has gone to many of these shows with North and I intended to at the beginning of the school year, but because the Cappies have a meeting to debrief after the play and many of the plays are at schools pretty far away (often in Virginia), going to one usually means getting home after midnight. After the one time I did it in October, I was never up to it again. I am not the night owl I was in my youth. I always had mixed feelings about skipping the plays because I like theater and I would have liked being familiar with the performances when I read North’s reviews. And as this was the last play North would review this year, I had some FOMO as Beth and North left the house, around five p.m.
It turned out to be a good night for me to stay home, though, because an hour or so after they left, I started to feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. I ended up putting the pizza and salad I’d ordered straight into the fridge as soon as it arrived and crawled into bed at seven. I listened to podcasts for a couple hours until I fell asleep during one. I woke recovered in the morning, so I’m not sure what was wrong.
Apparently, I missed the best show of the year, according to Beth. She raved about the acting, the choreography, and the pit orchestra. North wrote the production was “dynamic and enchanting, with stunning acting, magnificent vocals, and expert behind the scenes work.”
Upcoming: Visual Arts, Medical Science, and Pastry Arts
The play was just the beginning of a busy weekend for North that will include a therapist appointment, Sol’s birthday party, and a trip to the National Art Gallery with Ranvita. Then next week North has in-person appointments at urology, the pain clinic, and a Zoom meeting with Accessibility Services at Johnson and Wales University to get more detail about what accommodations are possible in the Baking and Pastry Arts program.
Speaking of pastry arts, North has volunteered to make my birthday cupcakes next month, so in addition to appreciating both offspring’s musical, photographic, artistic, and theatrical talents, we’ll soon have the opportunity to appreciate the younger one’s baking, too.