Hi, remember me? Been a long time right? It’s a sandwich issue that’s kept me running and unable to blog lately.
I love a good sandwich as well as the next gal, but unfortunately, this is not the kind of sandwich of which I speak. I was talking to a colleague from the Psychology Department the other day about some of the things that have been going on in my personal life and she replied,
“Oh yeah – you could have been a guest speaker in my Human Development class today – we were talking about the ‘sandwich generation'” The comment was generated by my relating that I’d sent my husband back east to be with his mother who had suffered a heart attack and was in the Intensive Care unit as the doctors tried to determine how best to treat her.
I confess, I’d not heard the term before, but I found that it fits me pretty well right now:
a generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents.
Sandwich generation. Yep, that’s me. I have an adolescent and a preteen at home and 75 year old parents across town. Then we throw in my in-laws halfway across the country and you’ve got a pretty imposing mix. The constant travails of my children are so well ingrained into my daily life as to be routine. My “aging” parents are generally very self sufficient. My mom has a myriad of health challenges – fortunately for me, she is diligent about staying in front of them (her day planner is well populated with various doctor appointments) Nevertheless, I’ve been privy to a fair amount of medical information over the past decade.
Thus, when my husband called from the hospital (after a middle of the night round trip to drop him at the airport) to give me an update, I already had an idea of what they had done and were doing. He reported that his mom several blocked arteries…the worst of them at 100% blockage. My response: “have they put in a stent yet?” Indeed – they had done that the previous evening shortly after she arrived at the hospital. I’m not medically clairvoyant – my mom had a heart attack a decade ago, and currently sports eight coronary stents along with her two stainless steel hip joints (you don’t want to be behind the Bionic Granny in airport security!) I’ve been down this road before, and for his mom who is diabetic and subsequently diagnosed as being in diabetic kidney failure, it’s going to be a very, very difficult ride. (she is currently stable, but still hospitalized and most likely looking at dialysis for the immediate future)
Sandwich for two anyone? Short of moving back east (which is NOT happening) there is very little we can do in a practical sense. My husband stayed for a week and is now in touch with his mother and his sisters regarding her condition, but it is a profoundly powerless feeling for both of us…this is not something that we can fix with a bandage and a kiss. This is real life grown up stuff.
Then there are those kids of mine. Those precocious, talented, bedeviling fiends. I love them fiercely, but there are days I think that I would cheerfully drop them off on the side of the road and drive away. It seems that if one is celebrating a high, the other is down in the dumps.
This weekend, Showbiz Kid scored a coup when he earned an Exemplary Soloist Award for a vocal performance at the Wisconsin State Solo and Ensemble Festival. It’s kind of a big deal as it is the pinnacle of achievement for a high school musician in the state of Wisconsin. We are all enormously proud.
Mini Me is right there with us, but there are also visible signs that she is struggling with a pretty formidable jealously in the face of her brother’s achievement. I get it, I really do. He is almost ten years older than her, he has rights and privileges that she doesn’t, and now this. How is 10.5 supposed to compete with *this* Of course, to me, as a parent, it’s not a competition, but I can see how she might think it is. Actually, I know for a fact she thinks it is because last night at bedtime when I told her I loved her she replied, “I know you love Showbiz more Mom.”
GREAT. BIG. GIANT. SANDWICH!
On top of all of that, my uncle died on April 24. Granted, he was 81 and he was very sick and living as an invalid for a long time would have been crushing to him, but he was the uncle who threw me in the lake and taught me to swim and the uncle who popped out my first loose tooth with his thumb. His gregarious, volatile, generous presence will be missed.
Times they are a changin’ I guess…Circle of Life and all that. Perhaps having written some of this down, I can move it out of my “hard drive” and free up some brain space for some much needed recreational Armitaging…
What say you?!
I know, I know…you don’t know me from Adam’s off ox, so you can hardly be expected to know where in creation my passport is hiding. But, since you’ve been so helpful in finding things in the past…creativity, inspiration, equilibrium, etc., I thought perhaps you’d be willing to roll up your sleeves and help me search…
Excellent…although you might be slightly overdressed to rifle through boxes in my basement…
Dude, no actual rifles required for this mission! That army green tee is much better for basement search and rescue though!
The search is on…I appreciate the help – even if it’s only in 2-D form!
At the end of the bough–its uttermost end,
Missed by the harvesters, ripens the apple,
Nay, not overlooked, but far out of reach,
So with all best things.
I’m happy to report that I was able to pull off a rapidly executed mini getaway to Chicago to catch The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great before it wrapped up its stay at the Field Museum. I really try to stay away from special exhibits in the periods around when they open and when they close since there are usually throngs of people clustered around every display case at both of those times. In addition to the end of run traffic, the museum was also teaming with
ravaging hordes school children on class trips last Friday.
Call me crabby, but as both a parent and an educator, when I manage to escape to a museum without my students or my own progeny in tow, I’m less than appreciative of other peoples’ kids showcase blocking me at every turn. Psst…task #1 on the museum scavenger hunt exercise? Be a considerate visitor and slow your roll Junior, lest you plow into someone and start an artifact toppling chain reaction.
Fortunately, for me at least, I’d previously seen a great deal of this material on display at various museums in Greece…AND (admittedly shameful habit for one such as I) I was not terribly interested in poring over the artifact labels at length while jockeying for position with a clutch of preteen boys next to the replica of an ancient voting machine! Additionally, I tend to be most interested in the cases that the majority of people give only cursory attention. In fact, my very favorite piece in the exhibit (which boasted the famed Mask of Agamemnon and an ornately rendered royal Macedonian gold crown) was in a case of less Iron Age grave goods.
Isn’t it lovely…a dainty little 11th century amphoriskos that has definitely seen better days. The ceramic analyst in me was crouched between the wall and the back of the case to get a better view the panels of chevrons and cross hatched diamonds that are characteristic features of a vase of this period….pottery only a mother could love
While my bestie wandered from case to case to see what there was to see, I found myself on a slightly different mission. For the past three years or so, every time I’m in proximity to a collection of ancient Greek materials, I find myself looking for a certain profile amid the vases and reliefs.
I didn’t find much of what I was looking for among the artifacts on display in this exhibit, but the search did inspire me to look around a bit when I got home. I’ve talked before about my attraction to the head down, profile view portraits of Richard Armitage. It is a pose that I find hauntingly familiar to a number of ancient pieces I’ve seen – particularly in the corpus of Greek painted pottery, but finding the specific vases has been rather elusive. I was more successful today in finding similar profiles in sculptural examples, which, like the Chin Up examples, are generally rather somber in overall tone – not unlike the mood of the image or Richard Armitage as John Proctor I suppose.
This gorgeous piece, a grave marker, or stele, is Roman in date, but clearly re-creating several style elements of Classical sculpture of 5th century BC Athens. the excessively muscular body is all Roman, but the beautifully down turned head has all the melancholy glory of it’s classical predecessors.
I found a comparison of the overall composition of the images pretty incredible. The downcast chin and eyes, the beard, the long slope of the profile nose and angular planes of the face – all that’s missing is the helmet!
There are a number of similarly composed classical works that also measure up fairly well…
Here, from the East pediment of the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina, a fallen warrior leans heavily on his shield as the weight of injury and pain pull him toward the ground.
Given what we know of the lean, sinewy physique that lay under Proctor’s coat, the resemblance is even stronger. (How is it that Richard Armitage has not yet inhabited the role of a Greek hero?!).
I even find quite a striking similarity in certain reliefs of the goddess Athena…
From the Athenian Acropolis, like her heroic compatriots…helmet tilted up, the mourning Athena leans heavily on her staff as she contemplates the grave stele in front of her.
Although a more feminine iteration, with her softly modeled cheeks and chin, the overall composition of mournful contemplation translates loud and clear.
I’ve yet to find the vase painting that started this whole quest, but the profile path is Rich indeed!
Doesn’t seem like it could possibly be that long, but calendars do not lie – today is my 3rd Blogiversary and look who threw me a little party…
Things have been a bit slow around here of late – not for lack of inspiRAtion – but for 60 hour work weeks, homeschooling child, dance lessons, cello lesson, voice lessons, et cetera, et cetera ad infinitum. The mundane is really taking a bite out of my fun time I’ll tell you! However, I am determined to carve out more time for what continues to be a really great thinking and creative space for me, so please stay tuned.
In looking back over my three blogging years, one cumulative statistic that continues to crack me up is that a post from my very first year continues to be the one that generates the most page views…and not for the intended reasons. By now, I’m very sure that more than a few unwitting undergraduates assigned to research Greek sculpture have landed here at Ancient Armitage for the discussion of
HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY TO ME :)
(and apologies to colleagues worldwide for leading your peeps astray…)
It has been a full on CRAPTASTIC March so far – until today – March 15 – The Ides of March.
Tonight was a rather singular bright spot in a bleakish stretch. Tonight my Rome class marked the Ides of March 44 BCE assassination of Julius Caesar.
What kind of cake?
Blood red cake of course! (Relax…it’s Red Velvet…with white chocolate buttercream )
Brings a whole new twist to “Beware the Ides of March”