Hermann's Hermit


As a favor to my Uncle Jerry, a man I will be indebted to for the rest of my mortal existence, I cat sit/house watch the Hermann's home. The tradition began last June and continued this summer when Steve Hermann called me once again about watching Samson and Delila. Steve is a successful lawyer in a downtown DC firm and his wife, Suzanne Ross, teaches Women's Rights law at Georgetown. They are an amazing couple who seem to be very much in love, even after who knows how many years of marriage. They have two children; one son and one daughter. Each time I cat sit its because they are visiting their daughter, a Peace Core volunteer, in Guatamala.
One of my favorite things about this house is its character. I love brick homes. I always have. I used to tell my dad I would never own a house made of wood because it would never survive a tornado. Although my opinion has since changed I still love brick homes.
In the back just off the dining room is a sun room with a royal blue couch. It may sound tacky but its the coolest piece of furniture and I love it. Its especially nice in the spring because the sun warms the room just enough, making it perfect for a cat nap. Samson favors the large leather ottoman that sits in front of the couch and just as I drift from a light doze into a deeper snooze, he'll jump on my lap and demand attention.
Delila is just as affectionate. Although "Lie Lie," (my nickname for her) never learned to meow, she can squeek and does so when she wants in or out. I took photos of both which I hope to include in a separate blog... someday.
The home is also great because the decor is readable, meaning, it reflects the occupants tastes and interests. Although it has a touch of contemporary the atmosphere is more domestic, making guests feel welcome and comfortable. Its kind of like an old houserobe or a worn blanket.
I want a home like that one day. That atmosphere is hard to acheive in a new home. I think that's another reason why I love historic homes. Time often breeds character and who would want a home without a past? Not me.
As I think about what the next year or two may bring, i.e., graduation, finding a job, moving, settling down, I can't help but wonder where the next chapter of my life will take me. Will I finally buy a home? If so, where? Will I start with my beach bungalow in Charleston or a small ranch in nowhere USA? Either way, I hope I can create a home, much like the Hermann's, that is warm and personable. A home people will value and cherish long after I am gone because it means something.
I am not sure I will ever cat sit for the Hermmans again but I will always remember, with fondness, my time spent in their home.

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Our Latest Adventure

As I embark on the last week of my 27th year, my mind has been engaged in serious reflection. This self-analysis was encouraged by an activity I attended last night.
The Great American Scrapbook Convention has become an annual event for Gwen, Stephanie and I. Every year, for one evening, I surround myself with women of all ages and backgrounds to "crop" for an average of four hours. This event, I believe is quickly evolving into a tradition. I am ok with this. I love making and keeping traditions. Knowing I have an official tradition to anticipate annually with Gwen and Stephanie is exciting and comforting because its through activities like scrapbooking that I learn the most about myself and my friends. I love that we can work beside each other quietly, in the "comfortable silence" only good friends can enjoy. I also love how Gwen patiently gives into my pleas for help, which is not really help but more her doing for me what I am too lazy to do for myself.
The extreme level of estrogen in the room also does wonders for me. Although I am not particularly creative or crafty, evidence can be seen in photo above, there is something about being in a room filled with women who are. Although I have little in common with my scrapbooking peers, I can't help admire them for their excitement and devotion. Last night's attendants probably ranged in age from 25-65, most being mothers and grandmothers. Jacqueline, aka "Baby" our neophyte, was probably the youngest registered patron there, being 23.
I have decided scrapbooking is similar to RS Homemaking, which I also enjoy. This convention brings hundreds of women together for a ritual of creation & preservation. The photos resurrect memories. These memories often relate to family or friendships. The tools, i.e. scissors, paper, stickers, buttons, ribbon, etc., become instruments of creation. The Convention is an outlet, a time away from family, for release and renewal. Groups of 4-8 women surround tables covered in cheap, plastic tablecloths to gossip, laugh and share ideas. Music broadcast over loudspeakers occassionally solicits spontaneous outbursts of dancing from women who probably stopped dancing, outside of their homes, long ago. It is during these moments I hang my head and offer a laugh impregnated with self-pity.
"Did I ever expect my life to come to this?" I ask myself. I am almost 28. A single woman who hopes to embark on a successful post-graduate career, if not before, and I am attending, on a Saturday night, a scrapbook convention with women who have probably sacrificed their dreams on the alter of family and offspring. Is there anything wrong with this? Absolutely not. But situations like this always cause self-examination. As a single young woman, wouldn't a better time investment be going to a spa, gym, club, cafe, etc., instead of a scrapbook convention? There are no contacts to be made in this company of women. There are no sexy, successful, single men to meet. I have no children to scrapbook photos for. None of my friends, other than Gwen, Steph, Alyssa, and Jacqueline care about my "pages." So why do I continue to register for the convention?
I have decided that some part of me, don't ask me which, is comforted knowing women exist who devote themselves to their families. Who knows how many women look forward to this annual event as their only personal time? Who knows how many have supportive husbands who encourage their spouses to cultivate their crafty talents? For a few, I imagine this is one of the only times they participate in something that doesn't involve their families directly. Although these thoughts make me a little sad, I can't help but smile and join in, trying to contribute to their enjoyment...their excitement. Who knows? Perhaps one day I will be as they are now? I never thought I would be 28 and unwed.
I also take comfort in knowing no matter what my future holds, I can always participate. Even if Steph or Gwen marry before next year's crop or the year after, this is an activity we can attend together no matter how old we are or what our marital status may be. I imagine our becoming like the women in How to Make an American Quilt, with relationships as permanent as the memories we try to preserve.
So, will I attend the crop next year? Absolutely. As my mousepad door-prize boldly declares in tacky pink script "I Love Scrapbookin'!"

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