Samain Bare Aspen Moon
Conversations with Ruth. Yesterday Kate wasn’t feeling so well in the a.m., nausea that plagues her mornings on occasion. So I was the breakfast guy for Ruth and Gabe, who stayed here starting on Sunday evening through last night. Ruth came down first, unusual because Gabe is usually the early riser. She fixed herself some ramen, she’s a good cook all on her own, learned from Grandma.
We started talking. She loves her new school, Mcauliffe. It’s not in a modernist soul stealing box like Sweigart, her elementary school. It has ornamentation, having been built in 1914, which she described in some detail. Gothic arches over drinking fountains, molding with inlays, stair rails with decor under the polyurethane, big windows and the exceptional cupolas visible in this photograph. She’s an arts oriented girl, very aware of the design of her surroundings. We both like this older, more whimsical era of architecture.
Mcauliffe also has periods, unlike the daily grind in an elementary classroom where you only leave for recess and lunch. The freedom that grants her between classes means a lot to her. She’s taking Mandarin, robotics, math, language arts, gym, earth science and art. It’s a more challenging environment for EGT’s, extremely gifted and talented, which she’s finally beginning to embrace as describing herself.
Polaris is the GT middle school, but she chose Mcauliffe because all save one of her friends from Sweigart chose it, too. Her bffs Wilson and Annika in particular are at Mcauliffe. Annika is a competitive climber, traveling the U.S. to participate in timed ascents of climbing walls. Wilson ran cross-country as she did. They spend a lot of time together outside of school.
This transition to middle school, along with declining stress from the divorce, seems to have allowed her to open up, blossom in ways that are beautiful to see.
We also talked about books. She’s a voracious reader, currently focusing a lot of her reading on Jodi Picoult, though she just started Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Of course, she also has books to read for school, the humorous part there being that the first book assigned to her she had already read. In the third grade.
She wanted to know who my favorite authors were. Always a stumper for me since I’ve been reading much like Ruth for over 60 years. Lots of typeface over the eyeball transom, not all of it stuck in the memory banks. Yesterday I went with Herman Hesse, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and William Gibson. Asked today I would add Philip Kerr, Kim Stanley Robinson, Kafka. Tomorrow another group. Not to mention poets and classical authors, playwrights and non-fiction writers.
I put together an Ikea reading chair for her and an almost identical one for myself. She sat in hers, me in mine. She also loves art and wanted to know what my favorite piece of art was here in the loft. I have an Andy Warhol print of soup cans that I like a lot. She likes my Mike Elko print satirizing the Bush terror propaganda.
She’s a young lady with many interests, including alpine skiing. She’s been skiing since she was three and at this point is very accomplished. She and Jon are going to ski on Friday at Arapahoe Basin, or, as it is more usually known here, A-basin. She also loves to cook. Yesterday she made banana bread, rosemary bread, a pecan pie and cut up the yams for caramelized sweet potatoes. Today she’s making deviled eggs to bring to Thanksgiving tomorrow.
She’s still very tender on matters related to the divorce, not yet ready to sort out how she feels about it. The more I see her on this side of it, the more I believe the negative effects of Jon and Jen’s explosive fighting were awful for her. She has an inquisitive spirit, is very observant, and, unfortunately, is not inclined to talk about her feelings. All of these facets of her personality have made processing the turmoil of the last few years difficult for her. In the extreme.
It’s exciting to see her beginning to know herself, to gain agency in her life in a positive, not angry way. I’m grateful to have her as a grandchild, one I see frequently.