CarolineGerardo haiku, photos, journal

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Northwest College Acceptance Trip

Northwest Coast College Acceptance Trip 4/10/2015
Son was admitted to nine of the ten colleges that he applied to. Did he set his sights too low? He worries what choice will make his future. He’s smarter than I am.

Endings and a door opens.
Carson is my youngest child.

Cracks in the concrete allow seeds to lodge.
Waiting to surprise a bird with a morsel
or poppies bloom in the middle of the freeway divider,
crumbs are soothsayers.

The flight from Orange County to Oakland was bumpy.

This is a return trip to review narrowed down prospects. The first time was a dust storm trip where we took a region and hit three colleges a day with appointments and excuses about the traffic or tardy flights. It’s been expensive. SAT, ACT, applications, classes, and more fees to send the scores total over seven thousand dollars. The travel: airfare, Enterprise Car Rentals and a combination of Motel 6 and cheap local unbranded motels totals fifteen grand. My income is condensed by the crash and my life is in a turn over from working a seventy hour work week as mortgage banker. I act as Mom and Dad supporting my family financially and emotionally. On the horizon for me is a new life. The blitzkrieg depleted most my liquid savings. It was worth every screaming moment calculating lives for other people. It’s time for my son to map his course.

In the last swoop over broccoli trees and brown gravy grass, a familiar sound of flaps and engines in grinds in reverse. Hey we’re headed in an arrow shot forward; we laugh at brakes.

The drought doesn’t appear to have touched the Bay. The low mounds of rusty rock and snakes of dirt quell back high tide. If you look from higher heaven, the landscape has transformed. Accept change or drown, or better said perhaps dehydrate to dust.

We arrive in Seattle on the second flight. Enterprise Rental Car efficiently gets us on the road. My son puts the paper map in the pocket of the door. G. P. S. on a phone can lead, as long as there aren't too many sky scrapers in the way.

Meandering up to Capitol Hill, we intend to drop our bags at the Sorrento Hotel and walk the campus. Some mix up with the reservation, and my son kindly doesn't roll his eyes at me knowing that perhaps I made the reservation on my phone without my good glasses. The woman and the counter has kind eyes. She assures us that we can leave our bags and return when they call us.
“No rush we will be a couple hours.” I say.

Two umbrellas in one backpack and the camera; I will find the chip from our trip and share the images, soon.
We opt to take a self guided tour and lose interest of Seattle University quickly. Its better with one of those lovely students walking backwards sharing bits of their personal experiences.
We park the car near Pike’s Place Market. Then search for the gum wall, past the Art Museum and walk along the water. The wind comes and goes bringing rain when it gusts. Nothing stops us. My son’s a trooper but I can tell when he gets hungry.
“Let’s get back to the hotel and change for dinner.”
“Like a fancy dinner?”
“Whatever you pick is fine.”
Hotel Sorrento doesn't look luxurious from its brick exterior. The lobby is wood paneled and old world. We wait for the tiny elevator, like one in Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill.
The room is lovely. Down quilts covered in the finest Egyptian cotton duvets, plushy Italianate carpeting and tasseled drapery all add to the soft feeling. Carson takes a quick shower and I relax handwriting some notes. I didn't bring a laptop. I will be actively with my son as much as possible this trip. He turns on some Star Wars cartoons, and flips through his phone.
“There’s a Mediterranean restaurant one block from here. Okay?”
“Perfect.” I answer.
We don’t accept any offers for suggestions from a concierge or Yelp. I am following my son’s lead. We are on an adventure.
Mediterranean Kitchen Kabob is a block away. The owner cooks and there is one waitress. Your meal starts with a warm bowl of lentil soup, then next a fresh salad. The bottle on the table that I already played with is the garlic dressing. Don’t eat the pita, save room for a hearty meal. After dinner we peek in a bakery window.
“This is our breakfast stop Mom.”
It’s late, and we have a long drive to Portland University in the morning to be there by 8:30 A.M.
There’s some hospital noise, and seagulls in the morning to wake us up. I take a shower, and enjoy not worrying about my water company at home (I always take a shallow bath).
A short stop in Gig Harbor, but we decide the Columbia River Gorge is going to be on the road returning to Seattle. Our bakery in Seattle wasn't open but we found Suzanna’s Bakery on the Harbor. A woman in front of us purchased the last almond croissant and his lips turned down.
“Do you have any more almond croissants?” I asked.
She smiled understanding the question. Behind her on the counter was a white bag, with a treat perhaps for herself for later.
“Yes a special one made for me.”
A pastry with extra almonds on top. Carson was appreciative and chatty with her.
I took my black coffee out on the deck. The bay is quiet, no boats moving in or out. Gig Harbor has modest Victorian houses with cheerful flowers in their front yards. I think about renting a place here and writing full time if Carson chooses Seattle or Portland. Perhaps it would be too smothering to even think such a thought. Still I could see myself holed in a tiny cottage, but in Ireland for a year. My savings wouldn’t last unless I take on a professor position or continue doing home loans. Someone suggested I ought to write a thriller under a pen name, as I am writing quirky literary fiction for my own creative design and I ghost wrote with huge success for someone else. I’m day dreaming about names Ryder O’ Hara or Blade Flannery when my son comes out on the porch.
“A photo of you with the water?”
“ME?” I nearly snort my coffee, as I shun the camera like a superstitious native.
Back to reality, back in our rented Jetta. Don’t slam the car, it’s a nice ride. Five or so miles back to the main highway, we continue southward. Farms, and strange blocks of empty trees perk my curiosity. Boxes in the forest where sometimes new conifers are starting, must be logging.
There are these mounds of timbers, piled by some colossus ready to create bond fires to the gods of Mount Rainer? I’m uncertain what they symbolize or for what purpose they stand. Make note of exit number 63 for our return trip.
The drive is a lime green slick. I swerve when I gaze out the window to mossy trees through windshield wipers.
“Want me to drive?”
“I’ll focus.”
We arrive late, not fashionably. Carson finds a friend from grade school. A faux leopard coat, burgundy hair and giant eyeglasses wraps my son in a hug. They giggle about the crowd of hundreds here for mass and the President’s speech.
She’s also uncertain of what college she will choose.
“My first choice is FIT NYC, but it’s the most expensive.” She gushes with her father silently steps behind.
Carson whispers that this school offered him, “Academic free ride.”
“Wow. Engineering! You’re smart.”
It wasn't Lacrosse that brought him here, they only have a club team. Something the Dean says about a men’s dorm that cheers for the women’s soccer team in kilts and face paint perks his interest.
“Let’s check out that dorm.”
The tour goes well. He feels at home here on the Bluff as they call it. It feels safer than UC Santa Cruz, University of San Francisco or Occidental College to me. Admitted Freshman Day might change the order of his “picks.” The friend texts Carson about meeting for dinner.
“If you want, but tricky to keep an appointment and leave our schedule open.”
He nods.
“I can make time to see her when I get home.”
Driving northward in the car, we head out feeling good about the day. I think about the friend from grade school and even though they attend different High Schools. My son is better than I at maintaining those relationships. Frankly he’s great at everything.
We found our way past an old cemetery, wound around a gravel road and I captured photographs of the piles. They remind me of Fort Vaux, north of Verdun. There were several signs about no trespassing and anyone caught stealing firewood will be shot. Carson opted to stay in the car. A man watched me from the distance. The piles are twenty feet high, but he seemed more foreboding. I waved to indicate I was only taking photographs. Muddy ground engulfed my tennis shoes. The man walked closer, with his hands in his jacket pockets.
“These are beautiful. I’m sorry for intruding.”
He smiled at the compliment, “My family’s been here generations.”
I thanked him. He bowed his head. God I wish I can find the memory card for the images. All I have is these few from my iphone4. Saint Anthony will surely help me find the card.
Once back in the car Carson says, “I was ready to save you if he had a gun Mom.”
“No saving, I took the risk on myself.”
My son nodded silently.
“I love you Mom, nothing bad is going to happen when I’m around.”
Being together on this trip didn’t decide where Carson will attend college. Like many parents I assume who have this May 1st deadline, we pray for the best decision. Here is the list of colleges he was accepted. Please comment about your vote for the right fit. (He’s thinking Engineering and was interested in Catholic Colleges for a spiritual aspect that he thinks he missed in grade school)
Rochester Institute of Technology –offered $10000 a year cost is $55
Seattle University offered $22000 +/- a year cost is $50
University of Portland offered $22,000 cost is $55
Washington University offered $9000 he thinks classes are too large and impersonal
UC Santa Cruz offered $12000 cost is $24000 ( this is his current highest pick and my frown)
University of San Francisco offered $11000 cost is $54
Occidental College offered nothing cost is $55 he thinks too close to home
Harvey Mudd offered no $ he doesn’t like the campus and wishes he applied to MIT instead
Didn’t hear back from Boston College and they have some emails he can’t open

a burned out shack Carson says was a meth lab lol

Auburn along the way 

psychic help needed :)

Pike's Market Seattle 2015

Washington and Oregon

Gig Harbor 2015 road trip

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spring Comes

 Spring comes.
Forsythia buried under five feet of snow
but Whole Foods sells peonies I know
Sleep on linens washed in lavender water

Ordered galvanized beds?
Combed the seed catalogs?

Spring comes

ready or not

Renews all things.

Sprouts despite rust.

Builds nests from sweaters.

Spring comes!

Prepare your heart:

she'll send dandelions

up in shining glory

gold as fresh honey.

Spring delivers

amazing opportunities for you-

opposite of giving up for Lent,

fingers will create

and hearts share joy.


I'm thinking about gardening.

In California there are no mounds of snow that
crocus seem to melt away. Spring starts
with flycatchers coming back to the creek,
with mourning doves nesting again in my
gazebo and the return of monarch butterflies
to milkweed on the hillside.
I pray for your heart to warm up, may all
your worries be put under your pillow like
those tiny dolls that can eat up the stress.
I keep you in my prayers and heart
for health and what you need.

If anyone wants seeds - email me
I'll mail them snail mail just don't tell
Monsanto. Not that GMO's read poetry.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Blue and white dishes that were in the secretary
Life's messy.
Tragedy with daughter lead into Christmas Season
I forgot to put the twenty pound weights on the bottom
of the Christmas tree.
I had more than 1032 antique and pre- WWI ornaments.
~ the operative word
Tree spilled over on the front face of the best glass
Some survived the spill.

The beginning of my holiday.
After getting the Noble Fir back upright, it took me
two additional days to re-trim.
"No harm," I kept chanting-
After finishing I went to bed early.
Around two in the morning a hissing sound woke me.
Carson was gone skiing and Blair in Colorado.
Perhaps it was only the wind.
Honey (our elderly Golden Retriever)  started 
howling - this of course engaged the pack coyotes
in the canyon.
There was no moon.
I went downstairs with a baseball bat.
A slugger wasn't the proper tool.
First step down, icy wet-
The whole downstairs was filled with an inch of water.
I ran out front in a white gauzy nightgown 
to turn the main off.
Then my flood cleanup began...
I'm writing a book about drought and the irony
made me keep on track from crying.
Why waste the liquid?
Without running water I hosted family Christmas dinner.
I gave a toast about persevering.
Dinner was grand.
A flood is not going to get me down.
I'm a good swimmer.
How was your holiday?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Free Christmas Decorations

pine cones with metallic gold spray

Part one of three home made free Christmas decorations.
Use what is local, ask permission from neighbors to trim their trees, have fun.

Foraging for Free Christmas Gifts and Ornaments.
I found these small pine cones on the side of the road in Laguna Canyon.
I sprayed one side with metallic gold. Another half I am going to spray silver. These I just want a little shine. The branches are quite lovely

For the wreaths I cut Frazier Fir, blue spruce, cedar, magnolia, rosemary and herbs from my garden
Tools needed: garden clippers, wire, hangers, maybe gloves if you like and wire pinchers and cutters. For each wreath I used to coat hangers and casually wired them together in two places. The bunches of greenery are wired in a circular pattern  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Grateful For Glow of Love

Chat about the day.
You wait on me, dinner from La Serena grill.
A movie together smolders into shared passion.
The sounds of traffic blur by the call of the surf.
Ocean dances rhythmically under the grateful firmament.
She gives Christmas lights, before the holiday, all free.
It is Fall.
Sweet gum leaves dry to take flight
only to be spilled crunchy into the fire.
We bake an atmosphere of crimson cinnamon.

I return home to an existence of frightening darkness. 
You have an early morning. 
I make my getaway on the spine of leaves 
or I will fail and stay within your rose colored bed.

Outside, the moon opens a bowl low 
waiting for the cereal of stars to fill her up. 
Dipper shines low in the northern horizon. 
Polaris finds her way over the glimmer of ocean. 

My car rear lights require new bulbs. 

Santa Ana winds whistle offshore. 
They paint the sunset dusty scarlet, 
make the night sky open deeper. 
Heaven grants seer ability to pierce through minds.

Grateful for the glow of love.

Happy Thanksgiving 

Caroline Gerardo
Paintings on left are Van Gogh Autumn Trees
The crescent moon was out over Laguna Beach last night
I wish you all a moment of reflection for the simple
gifts we are given.