Graduation


by Pat Antonopoulos

Individual Milestone cocooned in Group Passage.
The months of May and June are gorged with celebrations from pre-schools to university campuses.
Faculties prepare and families rejoice with gifts and parties. For many, the festive air is charged with joy and success. The hat-toss can signify completion of one challenge and moving onto the next.

Even though an individual might receive twenty invitations to various graduation ceremonies, a sorting is necessary. Some invitations are more announcements due to limited space at the event and not enough tickets to include every person to whom an invitation is sent. There are as many reasons for receiving invitations as there graduates sending the cards.

Each year there are individuals who stand out from the group—individuals for whom all the accolades and celebrations seem to pale in light of what those individuals deserve. Andrew and Kathleen are two such young people. Admittedly, in recent years I know them more through the words spoken from each parent’s heart, but that is a deep and respected knowing.

Andrew is graduating from high school. From button-down little boy to stand-tall young man, Andrew has handle his life with integrity. He has graciously accepted both ‘learning-takes’ and wonderful successes. I first knew him as an A+ first grade gentleman and I am proud to know him as a young journalist preparing for college.

Kathleen is graduating from college. She is a deeply beautiful and accomplished young woman weighing job opportunities and making important choices. Kathleen has coupled her talents as a writer and a theater major with her unshakable dependability and strong work ethic. I cannot count how many times, Kathleen’s mother has said, “I love that kid!”

I salute Andrew, Kathleen and all graduates as they move though this milestone and enjoy the recognition of their accomplishments.

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Patchwork

by Pat Antonopoulos

Quilting.
Actually, machine quilting.
Tried hand quilting and learned that arthritis precludes making those tiny stitches. Plus there is my perpetual problem of learning to sit still for longer periods of time. Machine quilting gave me a bit of a creative outlet and a chance to learn a new skill.

A couple of years later we are many quilts cozier, and family closets are well supplied with winter warmth. The unwelcome side effect is several drawers filled with unmatched, unrelated fabric pieces. The new challenge is to use the fabric to create a quilt that isn’t hodge-podge ugly, but rather one that resembles a planned project.

Shades and designs in reds, purples, blues yellows, blacks and whites separated in heaps and batches covered the sewing area. Florals, geometrics, pirates, bears, bunnies, beautiful scraps of a huge variety of patterns resist a theme of quick description. Each piece of material is important because it represents the loved one for whom it was chosen. So I walked away from this for several days and waited for something to gel, a idea to take this from a mini-mess to a beautiful project.

In those intervening day, I attended a funeral service for a dear friend, enjoyed a Mother’s Day celebration, accepted the chair position of another volunteer activity, and helped with a graduation ceremony. Out of town family phoned for extended problem solving conversations and I cared for a grandson. A local institution, Rainy Day Books, accepted Four Ordinary Women for an author event on July 30. Together, my husband and I planned for family visits during the summer as we continued the day to day routines of our life together.

The ‘quilt’ theme slipped quietly into a moment of passing as I came in from yard work.

It isn’t the separate events that hold us together, but rather the binding of those events—the values that tie—family, good friendships, commitment, perseverance, hard work, a solid belief system, determination, giving back and caring. The bits and piece of the ordinary combine and are shaped to become something both comforting and beautiful—the quilt of my life.

Now I will have the fun of selecting that perfect piece of fabric to outline and bind my hodge-podge into something beautiful, something to remind me of the extraordinary people in my life.

Which Idol?


by Pat Antonopoulos

Never having watched American Idol could disqualify my opinion.
Never having heard Susan Boyle sing could diminish my opinion.
Listening to others speak, reading commentary and marveling that we salute in others what we would dismiss for ourselves prompts my blog.

It seems to be a universal that Susan Boyle has a magnificent voice. I look forward to hearing her sing. The stories of her so called ‘frumpy’ look, the reaction of the AI judges to her look and the absolute wonder when Ms. Boyle sang are well known.

Following Susan Boyle’s appearance on American television, the salutes to frumpy began.
“How wonderful to see an authentic woman…how great that Ms. Boyle has the confidence to present herself as she is, plump body, unaltered eyebrows and granny dress…”

Next came the comments on Ms. Boyle’s make-over. “New hair-do, trimmed brows, leather jacket…” Comments that diminished her authentic look, that seemed to chastise her for changing the woman who wowed the world with her voice and her looks.

A different slant on that same old double standard? Probably.
We salute Susan Boyle for being frumpy in a culture that has disdained frumpy for decades.
We praise her authentic look when most of us spend dollars to take ourselves as far from frumpy as possible.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could honor the talent of Susan Boyle…admire and accept the beauty of her voice…get to know the woman who owns that voice…and allow her the privacy of choices that each of us makes on a daily basis?