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No Soup for You!

Oh, Starbucks. You don’t miss me. Be honest. You merely miss my money. Sorry, Starbucks! You can send me a ton of push notifications and e-mails saying that you’re opening back up or that your summer drinks are here but I’m not coming back yet. I don’t go for your beverages or food; I go for the atmosphere. Given that your lobbies are still closed, there’s no reason for me to return yet. And even if you magically reopened them tomorrow, it’s not safe to return yet. According to my app, my stars don’t expire until September. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll see me around that time but not before.

I’ve ben thinking about getting a traveler’s notebook, a kind of leather cover that holds several notebooks at one time. I’ve been looking at the big names in the traveler’s notebook business but there’s not a lot of people doing that size. The ones that are really aren’t producing true traveler’s notebooks in that size but more padfolio style covers that only hold one notebook. That’s not what I’m looking for. I want one that can hold at least four notebooks, about what it would take to hold a whole handwritten novel at one time.

I tried ChicSparrow, which as far as I can tell is THE place for traveler’s notebooks, but they no longer make traveler’s notebooks for that size. They used to! Sadly, they don’t do custom orders. I reached out to them to see if they were going to be making that size again anytime soon, but they aren’t. They were lovely folks though and even answered my e-mail with a personal response video, which I thought was brilliant.

I did see where Galen Leather offered a version that held two notebooks at one time but that wasn’t quite what I wanted either. From what I could tell, they don’t do custom orders. Innovative Journaling offers a two-notebook version as well. I took a chance and contacted Innovative Journaling, since I liked their style better, and asked if they could make a version that held four notebooks.

They wrote me back rather quickly saying they could do that and wanted to confirm a few details before giving me a quote. I replied with the details and got excited. But here I am two weeks later and there’s been no quote or further communication. I’m disappointed. It’s possible they got busy, but I find it more likely they decided they didn’t want to do a custom job after all. I’m not going to chase them down to have what I want made. They either want the business, or they don’t.

Yesterday, my wife had hand surgery for what we thought was a tumor. Turns out it was just inflamed tissue and some bone growth. It had been hurting her for months so I’m sure she’s glad to have it gone. The downside to all this is that I’ll have to do everything around the house for the next month. I don’t like the idea of less me time, but you got to do what got to do. Life is a joy that way!

I took this morning off work so that I can take my son to his school one last time. He’s supposed to get his actual diploma today and a refund for some of his senior dues. It’s hard to believe his high school career is over. He’s starting a new phase of his life and I guess by proxy, me and my wife will be starting one soon too. We’re not empty nesters yet but we know it’s coming in the next few years. That’s just a weird thought!

Mood: A sad green star. Disappointed

Music: Professor Elemental – “Everything Stops for Tea”

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Milestone Poetry

What an emotional couple of days! I’m glad I took yesterday off. We got done with all the festivities just before lunchtime and took a whole bunch of pictures afterward. I probably could have just done a half-day yesterday considering what time we got done but it ended up being good that I didn’t go back to work. It allowed me to write a couple of poems and take care of some other tasks that I’d been meaning to take care of.

I’m really glad his high school broadcasted both the virtual graduation and the senior parade on YouTube Live. That allowed our family members to watch it from the safety of their own homes while it was happening. I know they were looking forward to coming to the actual graduation, but this ended up being the next best thing. YouTube has a lot of his high school career if you consider all the band performances that are on there over the years. I think it’s cool that he has that to look back on when he wants to reminisce.

Not everyone is big into poetry, so I haven’t been sharing a lot of my stuff lately. But since these are rather large milestones, I felt it would be good to share them here.

The first is about his virtual graduation:

Virtual Graduation
The pandemic threatened to cancel my son’s graduation,
But little did it know it was up against the TCHS bulldog nation,
It managed to kill senior prom and his remaining senior year,
We were told graduation couldn’t happen and we shed a tear,
He had earned the right to walk across that promised stage,
It’s an important milestone that signals his coming of age,
We and the rest of his family, as with others, mourned the loss,
But TCHS bulldogs would show that coronavirus who’s boss,
While it couldn’t be in person, they could have one online,
To everyone’s surprise a virtual graduation turned out fine,
A live online broadcast is more than a bit unorthodox,
But they read their names and gave their standard talks,
It was clear from his laughs and the class messages being sent,
That having a virtual graduation did the trick- 100 percent.

The second is about his senior parade:

Senior Parade
Knowing that the seniors had earned the right to walk the stage,
The TCHS bulldog nation has one more fight to wage,
The parents and the seniors decked in their caps and gowns,
Drove to the school parking lot and filled it with cheering sounds,
We lined up in the order in which we arrived and watched the cars,
Car horns honked and one by one they went, just like ours,
We drove through a maze of rural streets lined with cheering folk,
I never imagined the feelings such a parade would invoke,
When we reached Bulldog Boulevard, we were sorted into our lane,
Photos were snapped and teachers cheered – It was all insane,
We proceeded two by two until we got to the stage and he got out, 
We watched him walk the stage as the wind whipped about,
That special moment we’d all worked hard for had finally came,
We tried to take pictures as best we could and cheered at his name,
I don’t know how he felt but for us it was an emotional whirlpool,
Just like that it was over, and we were driving away from his school,

I don’t know if they invoke the same emotions in others as they do with me but if they did, I’m sorry. Maybe this video will make you feel better. Enjoy!

Mood: A stressed green star. Overwhelmed

Music: Lindsey Stirling – “Crystallize”

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Dangers Ahead

It’s officially the turtle nesting season for beaches across the east coast and a lot of the beaches that I like to frequent have already started seeing both the mama turtles and their nests. It’s neat to count the nests throughout the season and then actually see the little baby turtles scramble across the sands, ultimately to wrestle their way past the surf into the ocean at large.

It kind of reminds me of what’s happening with my son. We’ve watched him grow these last 18 years into an adult and now it’s his turn to scramble across the sands and wrestle his way past the surf into the world at large. Due to COVID-19, he like many high school seniors aren’t getting a traditional graduation. Last night he attended his virtual graduation and then today he participated in his senior parade, where he got to do a drive-thru version of walking across the stage. Somehow, he grew up faster than I ever thought possible. It’s bittersweet feeling.

I’m sad that his senior year got cut short. I wish he could have been able to spend more time with his friends and experience those last days of his high school life. Those days will never come again. To make matters worse, he had a job lined up at the zoo that he was looking forward to but all that got put on hold due to the virus. The zoo is just now reopening but it doesn’t look like the job he had lined up is available currently. We’re not certain if he’ll have a job there once all this is over.

When I look around at the world, I wonder what kind of legacy we’ve left him. There’s a pandemic running wild and half our country believes it’s a hoax. Many aren’t wearing masks or social distancing. News outlets spread propaganda for the political parties they support, leaving the world even more divided than it was. Everything is polarized. America is no longer “we the people” but “us versus them”. Society feels like it’s breaking down and the rule of law tattered. As a parent, I feel like we’ve failed him and there’s nothing I can do to fix it.

At the end of the day, not all those little baby turtles survive. There’s a whole host of predators out there just waiting to devour them. My son faces the same dangers. I just hope I’ve equipped him well enough to make it through all those obstacles and thrive.

Speaking of the ocean, my wife and I have been talking about when we might head to the beach now that everything is opening back up. It’s clear from our news and social feeds that people are returning to the beach in droves. Personally, we feel it’s way too early to go right now. We’re going to at least give it until July and see where things stand. Considering that we’ve already missed two of our normal trips to the beach, we’re dying to go but don’t want that to be literal. I just hope things will have leveled out by then so we can go. Time will tell.

Mood: An achy green star. Proud but Worried

Music: High School Musical 3 – “Scream”

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