Monday, February 22, 2010

Morning, Morning

Reading Break here, and while I have a big stack of marking to work through, some proposals to write up, several hours of meetings to attend, and some reading-and-thinking-ahead prep to do, I don't have to get up and out to classes. The more relaxed schedule is a welcome half-time break, after which there will only be six more weeks of class until exams and end of term. And while there is less that I have to get up for in the morning this week, there is much incentive to get up early, as you can see. This weekend, in fact, it was even warm enough in the early morning sun (with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders) to take my cuppa out on the deck and marvel. . . .
The week before Reading Break was a busy and, in several ways, tough one, but it culminated in a very successful Friday morning -- I've been collaborating in an exciting project, working with a colleague from the Graphic Arts/Media Studies side, and along with two other teams, we presented at a well-attended Colloquium which sent me into the Break on a buzz-y high of creativity. So very satisfying, and well worth all the extra time it's demanded through the term.
Meanwhile, I pushed myself to have some "authentic" (as Privilege might deem them) conversations with my mother. Hard to tell, over the phone, really, how much traction those calls yielded, what the "stickiness" factor might have been, but they felt productive and honest, at least, and I managed to be loving and gentle and only just a bit stern. Do you notice that the foggy day's beauty parallels that of the sunny day? Yes, I'm trying to notice that as well. Seems to me it might make a useful analogy to life. Hmmmmm.


  1. It is extraordinary that California and Oregon and Washington and B.C. all share the same ocean and yet the coasts and sunsets all look so very different. Thank you, dear Matter, for sharing these incredible shots with us. Gorgeous!!

    I sincerely hope that your chat with your mother is sticky.
    p.s. I prefer foggy day beauty to sunny beauty. Sunny beauty is so obvious. Foggy beauty is more subtle and sophisticated.

  2. What beautiful, serene images! I'd brave the chill a bit too for the sake of that view with my morning coffee.

    I'm glad to hear your conversations with your mother seemed to go well, and regardless of what "sticks", you've said your piece and expressed your feelings honestly. And sometimes, that's all we can do and it's enough.

  3. Your posts are such lovely, quiet meditations sometimes. I am working on authentic. Had to come out from behind the "mom voice" in a conversation with my daughter, just today. It's not easy to budge old habits.

  4. Ah, so envious. We're just begun our spring semester. Sigh.

  5. Once again I envy that view. I am visiting Mother this weekend but I know that just a smidgen of honesty would open up the flood gates of resentment.
    I need some more of your tolerance.

  6. Wow! Do you ever enlarge and frame any of your photos? These ones are certainly worthy! Enjoy your 'break'. Our kids are on 'ski break', although we are not going skiing. I, however, leave on Thursday for 4 days in Holland/Germany on a conference -
    the CF takes good care of families and this is to do with the Military Family Support Program. Of course I am interested in the subject matter - but really looking forward to getting away from the teenage hormones etc.! :0) Patricia

  7. Love your morning posts, the fog as much as the glorious light. Such different moods, both so important.

    Good luck with your "authentic" conversations. That the potential exists to even try is such a wonderful gift.

  8. "Loving and gentle and a bit stern" sounds spot on. A geriatric psychiatrist friend advised me to 'allow' my mother her way unless she was not mentally competent. What mattered in the end is that she knew she was loved.

    And I'm happy to hear you are enjoying your creative work, too. That is not easy when family matters compete for our attention.

  9. LBR: Of course, a big difference with my coastal view is that I'm on an island looking back at the Mainland, looking toward the sunrise. . .
    Pseu: I'll admit, it did feel like an accomplishment, whatever the outcome.
    LPC: Especially with one of my daughters, I came to see how much she worked (unconsciously, I'm sure) to elicit that "mom voice" -- we're in a pretty good space now, but I sometimes have to articulate what I think is going on, just so we have a chance of moving on.
    Miss C: Wow! I know I'd have a very tough time mustering energy to learn a new bunch of names, create a working class dynamic, at this point. I'm just heading toward the light and the tunnel's getting brighter as the days grow longer . . .
    Alison: Resentment and defensiveness were certainly part of the conversation . . .
    Patricia: Sometimes I SAY I'm going to enlarge and frame -- just haven't got around to it yet. Have a wonderful getaway weekend -- those are so important, especially living with a house full of guys!
    Mardel: You're spot on! Despite the frustations I have always had with my mother, there is the potential for these kinds of conversations to work. Thanks for reminding me what a gift this is.
    Duchesse: I think we may be out of the woods right now, but fingers are still crossed, breath bated. Someone whose social skills have always been limited and who feels even more constrained by the limitations of age, feels powerless and defensive . . . tough to deal with, but the kid gloves have been getting a good workout . . .

  10. I love foggy days at the beach. Beautiful photos! Pleased to hear your conversations with your mom went well.


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