Monday, October 24, 2005

I don't feel profound tonight, but it is time to record a bit of the pace here. bob seems a little happier with his class. he is letting them join him for lunch three ata ime and is getting to know them that way. He also is getting a better sense of appropriate pacing and lesson plans. I had fun at the park with Zachary this morning - first time with coats. He was an entranced observer or an elementary school field trip, knew enough to stay out tof the big kids' way and watched everything they did. We watched Kk's character dance class on Saturday - such serious classes now - emphasis on geting it all right, all down - French words for positions, the beat, the body stance - I'm impressed with the concentration of all the kids - and KK especially - so right there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lately I've been reading March of Dime share logs, the stories of families with very premature babies. I started reading looking for voluneteer opportunities, but now am caught in the pain and tenderness of these families stories - the hurt and the hope. I realise anew how fragile life is and how precious. And I am, again, thinkful that I carried Ruth, despite placenta previa, to a month before her due date. These stories make me realise how close we came to a frightening struggle - how close to losing her. I'm thankful for Ruth tonight.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The moon did rise in perfect harvest moon glory - blood red, then blowing up and floating like a child's orange ballon, next clear pumpkin orange, then the color of candy corn, lemon yellow, flaxen, finally high and silver. Glorious.
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Full moon tonight - I plan to eat out in the yard on the orange bench that used to be on my grandparents' back porch. Not exactly traditional for the first night of Sukkoth (no sukkah and I don't feel inclined to walk up the hill to the community sukkoh) but at least out doors. The air is clear with the slanted light appropriate to October though the temperature is ten degrees higher than my October ideal (80's not low 70's this afternoon) Leaves are looking old and gold tinged, waiting to fall. I wonder if the moon will rise orange.
I am in full grandma mode. KK will be a mouse in the Nutcracker this year, one of five at her level - a little more serious choreography than last year as an angel. She and I get the treat of going to Ballet Austin's costume ball for Petit Partners - the kids whose families make a small contribution each year in their names. All are young dancers - most pretty serious, and its a fun group. I love dressing up and being entertained. KK will be a white cat and I think I will stick with my black dress and orange boa but may try something more elaborate. I've been accompanying KK to Saturday classes and rehearsals and love the routine - traveling with her on the city bus, picnics between classes, stopping for shaved ice on the way to the bus stop when she's done, watching her stretch in the hall and adjust her hair, watching her grow and thrive - knowing her and being part of the network that helps her do what she loves -dance.
Monday mornings Zach - three - visits. Today we went to Northwest Park, as we often do - so perfect - I sat on a bench in the cool alternately watching the kids and reading - probably the same bench I sat on when Ruth and Joanna played at the same park. Zach came flapping his arms to be fed Chex Mix - Zachy bird - then ran off to climb and laugh with other kids. He is so much fun these days - no tantrums likehe threw last year, easy communication, clear affection. He is beginning to recognise letters and uses increasingly complex sentences.
Yesterday afternoon I had all theree kids and it was Danny who shone, with his imagination and creative skills, his social connection with kids at the park, his sweetness and awareness. He had them playing an elaborate dressed up game in the back yard - king, princess and bad guy - classic. I called them in at dark and fed them pumpkin pudding. It was an afternoon that reflected the best times raising my own girls.
I am so fortunate to have these children close. Some days I wish every day was a Monday - a day without work and with both family time and time alone. Retirement seems so idyllic but I know I'm not ready yet financially or in terms of feeling done regarding the practice and what I can contribute there. Work days are still good, satisfying, not too hard - but Mondays are special and mine and I need them.
Bob is trying hard not to be disappointed with the change to fifth grade. He has great kids but still feels uprooted and unprepared, is trying not to resent being forced to make the change. I'm glad he has a whole week off at Thanksgiving and we have no special plans. I hope we get some hiking in. I think that will help him feel refreshed and ready to continue with his class.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Home late from my long weekend with Bob in Corpus - should sleep - but there is so much to record. I'll hit the highlights so I don't forget and expand later, after sleep. Bus trip down was odd - OU football weekend, buses even going south crowded - the bus overheating, turning around, the driver threatening to throw off a man who kept cussing loudly - but eventually stopped, a couple across the aisle from me meeting for the first time on the bus (clear from their conversation) and then making out vigorously most of hte way from San Antonio to Corpus . She had a wedding ring on. I was shocked and distressed and judgemental. on the other end of human nature, I talked to a young man who had been transfered from Tulane to UT after Katrina and who was impressed with how well the University is taking care of him - just took three hours to get registered, books, housing, everything arranged, and he loves his classes.

Bob and I organized his class room during the work day Saturday, watched the end of the OU game, we out Itallian, enjoyed some wetlands birding and walking Lobo by the bay at sunset We, started Sunday in the Gulf - glassy calm, no waves to speak of - walked out farther than we ever have, from sand bar to sandbar, turned when it gor over our heads . Today the waves were more acive and a storm was blowing up as we walked the shore through a convention of terns, Foresters, sandwich, Caspian, Royal, gull billed - as well as willet, Gulls, great blue heron, sanderling and ruddy turnstones. At the Port Aransas birding center we clibed the tower and were treated by a glorious view of birds - white ibis, cormorants, redwinged black birds, pelicans white and brown, egrets snowy and Great American - but mostly dozens of deeply roseate spoonbills, flapping and feeding, active and GLORIOUS. The shrimp has been good this year, as evidenced in the brightness of their feathers.

And then there's the fifth grade. I met the kids today and I jus want to spread my wings around all of them - an age I especially like and these kids touched me - sharing vulnerable writings with me already, asking serious, deep questions about my novel plot, and technical writing questions - one I couldn't answer about how to punctuate sound effects. The fifth grade class was on lock down because twins (one in each class) had been threatened over the weekend by their father in process of a difficult divorce. Bob is still feeling the wight of the task of changing grades - but I sure like these kids. we both miss the little ones, several of whom hugged us in the halls.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My experience of being between seasons this morning at the bus stop was physical and powerful. The wind from the north, cool and brisk, bleww against my face while summer's stubborn sun, from the south, warmed my back. I felt myself in a doorway, a pocket between realities, a clear space neither this nor that - and worth recording.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wednesday afternoon at work. Zachary got a boy hair cut yesterday - no more wild blond curls on his shoulders - still huge blue eyes and warrior spirit - himself. I miss the curls. I am trying to move thoughtfully through the High Holy Days - to catch up on tasks undone and to reflect on goals and directions. Mostly I want to be kind and present - to live with enough discipline to accomplish some creation and some service - to love and be loved.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jewish New Year - feast of sweetness, birthday of earth and hope - wake up call - umpteenth chance - the book of life is open and we are invited to open our own personal books of accounting and recounting. I feel reflective, quiet - discouraged by all the harm people do each other, by the persistance of war and mistrust on levels global and personal. I am aware of the impermanance of life and human creation, whether from hurricaine or from accident (a high school boy killed last week when he rode his bike toward school because of a bus strike and was hit b y a cement truck). I am more comfortable now that my life is past midpoint, that it will wind down, will end. It is rich now. I have so many blessings (three of which still fit on my lap at one time if we squish). I cleaned the house and smile at a bow of apples on the table, fresh flowers. I owe apologies, outreach, continued efforts to heal what is broken in the world. I dip my apple in honey and remember the sweet, even as the bitter scent of misery lingers in the air. I begin again.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

KK and I had a precious ballet weekend - just us while Joanna worked and James took a truckload of furniture and the boys down to Bob in Corpus. KK had two ballet classes and a Nutcracker audition on Saturday and we got to see Stephen Mills' new ballet performed by Ballet Austin on Sunday - a strongly beautiful piece about grace of body. KK is really showing grace of body and spirit herself - in blue velvet or leotard and tights, with her chignon tight (and self made) at the nape of her neck - her posture perfect - using waiting time in the hall outside class to stretch with her therabands - pinning her audition number carefully on her leotart, making sure its straght - wanting to be safely early for the audition - then after audition joyfully showing me dances on the sidewalk, skittering like a mouse, gliding like an angel, grinning over a cup of rootbeer cinnamon shaved ice. It was great having time to just hang out with KK, to eat pizza and play Uno, to talk and laugh, tickle and watch gymnastics moves in the livingroom (temporarily couchless). We also worked on her travels with grandparents scrapbook. I'm impressed with her clarity on which papers she wants to use and her strong style sense as she arranges mementos - also by her memory for our travels. (Thank you Bob for bringing the concept of amazing travel adventures to our family. That's one I wouldn't have pulled off alone.) I love having time alone with any family member and this weekend with KK was a special gift. I feel like we are coming to know each other more deeply and I love it that she is becoming more interested in my stories of the times when her Mama and Auntie were little.