Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011


It is official. I am done! I just now submitted my last required assignment online for the coursework portion for my BLA/MLA (bachelor and masters in landscape architecture). No doubt, I still have a mountain to climb with finishing up my thesis, but that will come along. My major prof gave me permission to lay off for a while and go garden. I need a break to get my head back in the game if I am going to do this in a way that is fulfilling for me.

So, I am feeling pretty grand right now. It's a little bittersweet, tho. I've shed a few tears this past week when I started cleaning out my grad studio space. I even experienced an anxiety attack when I thought about the loss of this structure in my life for the last 4 years when I had to be somewhere AND with completed assignments!

Mostly, I have been sad thinking about the dispersal of all the kiddies with whom I have come to share close and wonderful friendships and who will be spinning off from the College of Design to conquer their worlds. They have accepted and included me in all their antics and foibles. I love them dearly. This past semester I have made a conscious effort to be present for their reviews. Yesterday was the last of the last. It ran from 10 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. I am not complaining. It was great to watch them spin their stories about the amazing places they and their team mates had created through models and renderings. These designs flowed from their fingertips through the keyboard and into the software which fed the printers that spewed out these incredible, large-format images of places that exist only in the mind's eye. Wow! Truly mind-boggling. Plus there was champagne and Peanut M&Ms, so the day was actually fun.

What happens next? As I stated earlier, my prof gave me permission to dig in the dirt for a couple of weeks. Then Tess will be off to Uganda. Her father and I will take her to the airport to see her off on the trip of a month in Africa as part of a high school adventure. Her brother was also a junior on the 2005 team that kicked-off this project of building schools, so this is a nice conclusion for Tess' junior year. A close family friend will be the doc traveling with this group, so we will breathe easier knowing Dr. Brown is watching over our collective brood.

Tomorrow I am hosting the semi-annual SSLA BBQ (that is the ISU student chapter of our professional organization) and we will party. These 5th year students are my people; I have spent most of my classes and studios with this group throughout my 4-year journey. The weatherman has promised balmy temps and a clear sky, so I am looking forward to this last bash in the garden.

Then I will dig. I have a veggie garden that needs attending to now that we are into May. This year I am planting beets and potatoes. And garlic. I used to grow garlic, but somehow things got away from me the Fall of 2007. I will see if I can get some cloves going; maybe get some springtime scapes yet this season. I also want to plant carrots and greens.

I vow also to attack the lawn. Literally. Last year I pulled all the brick edging out 4 feet to extend perennials beds and reduce the amount of lawn to mow. I need to do that in the front garden as well and also add to some areas in the way-back garden. That will involve hauling brick, which is labor intensive, so it will give my mind some much needed exercise in those other lobes.

I also found an index card in my pile the other night when I was looking for some sketches to hand in with my construction assignment. It listed some designed landscapes to see B4ID (B4 I die), so perhaps another road trip while Tess is gone to Uganda.

I have dreamed of this day for a very, very long time. Looking back, I can now see that it has driven some major decisions over the last 30 years of my life. Who know where the road will take me. I'm not worried. Things always work out for a reason and I believe in my heart that all things will work out for me.