Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Mother's Goodbye

This morning at 3:54 a.m. I woke to face this day which has brought both excitement and tears over the last few months. My son Evan is traveling to Saigon, Vietnam to find his adventure after graduating from the University of Iowa this past May.

This last week at school has been grueling and it wore me down physically. Thinking about sending my son to the other side of the planet has worn on me mentally. It has caused such mixed feelings that I have had moments of panic tempered by deep breathing. I have had long conversations with myself that these feelings are perfectly normal 'mother-sending-her-son off' emotions. I have to believe that he will be safe and that this young man will find his most excellent adventure.

Ev is a world traveler. Eighth grade took him to Japan for 10 days to visit our sister city. The summer after his junior year in high school found him in Uganda for a month to build a school in a small village. As a junior at the University of Iowa, he studied abroad for a semester in Mysore, India; he taught in a village school for 3 weeks before he traveled home. Since that first trip to the mountains of Japan, he has wanted to teach English as a second language overseas. This morning we sent our son off to follow his dream.

A lump sits in my throat as I type this. He just turned 22 years old. I watched his back as he approached the ticket counter to check in. He seemed relaxed and ready to go. When he turned, however, I could see both excitement and strain on his face. Once his bag was turned over to the agent, there was no turning back. He spotted me and kind of shrugged with a whimsical look on his face. Pure Ev.

His journey to this world away takes place over 2 days on 3 airlines. He is a world traveler and he has always managed to get to where he needed to be. However, these next 26 hours will be hell until we hear from him....that he has arrived safely, that his determination to embrace this new adventure is intact...and that he is still in possession of his passport and money!

Friday, September 17, 2010

LA401 Lake Delhi Project - Alternative Futures

Another week down. Professor1 mentioned that today completes the 4th week of studio. Yes! This is my last studio in my academic career and I am ready to be done with these 6-credit hour behemoths.

This weekend brings semi-joy. I still have a concept plan to do, but the instruction today from Professor2 mandates that we let go of Concept One and Concept Two and go for something completely different. I am trying, but it is hard to fore-go my values and beliefs. I will make myself explore new territory. We will see. I am envisioning floating boats, maybe stacked to make condos! This is the last opportunity to go for pie-in-the-sky.

We heard yesterday that the lake district is asking for $9.9 M for a three-phase project of stabilization/restoration/rebuilding for the generation of hydroelectric power. This price tag represents Lake Delhi Recreation Association's pie-in-the-sky and they want the taxpayers to pay for it. OK. The dam's purpose for the last 37 years has been recreation and now they are showcasing this plan as one for clean, green energy production. Things will have to change if the LDRA wants that kind of cash from the government. What needs to happen to satisfy the stakeholders, the taxpayers?

Let's see what happens with Concept Three by Monday. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hand Drawing YEAH!!!

I have been tethered to my laptop these last few days, working thru the process that comes with tackling assignments...AutoCad drawings for Construction Materials class; a technical report and presentation for studio on Lake Delhi, Delaware County (the dam breach last July, 2010); a 2nd concept plan for the design (it didn't change much from my thinking for the 1st concept plan); and a field trip to Pella, IA to study the site of an historical Dutch village museum. It seems like it has been non-stop since Labor Day. Oh, there were also the two academic papers that needed to be read before Monday and I haven't even started on the assigned readings for my preservation class and construction materials class.

This is when I get crazy. I cannot think straight anymore. I cannot complete a sentence because my mind goes blank mid-thought. It's embarrassing when I am trying to ask a question in class and I just forget. Life should not be this fast-paced. I am too old for this. I am doing it, but I don't like it very much. In fact I resent that the only time I am outside is when I am riding my bike back and forth to campus. It has been a beautiful autumn so far and I want to be in my garden, talking long walks, tromping along Worle Creek!

Well, late this morning, I said enough. I should have been studying for my quiz in Construction Materials, but decided instead to go upstairs to my drafting table and do some sections for my PowerPoint presentation. I get lost behind that table and in a matter of minutes I was feeling great. In fact, it was just what the doctor ordered! Two sections whipped out in about 30 minutes....and I was a new woman.

The topic is not the most captivating...Streambed Ownership in Iowa! But I put my ideas down on the vellum, added some color with the PrismaColor pencils. I think I got my point across graphically.