Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday night - I'm tired and disquieted by violence in the world. What will happen in Palestine with Hamas in office? What should happen? Why did Ariel Sharron fall ill just when he was beginning to act in thel interests of peace. What were local vandals thinking when they scribbled antin-Jewish slogans on the walls of a mosque? Do they not know the difference between mosque and synagogue, or is hate for anyone different so indiscriminate that there really is no difference in their eyes? Bob reports kids in his class stealing readily - some being trained to shoplift by their parents - and the gap between rich and poor gets bigger. How can we keep turning our heads? What can we do differently? Seven kids from one family are killed in a car wreck (not the driver's fault) and public scrutiny focuses on the fact that the driver was fifteen and usning her learner's permit illegally. Why do we hang onto the belief that we can keep oursleves safe by pointing the finger - blaming victims for their misfortunes?

And in the midst of all my questions and concerns - Bob and I have learned that we enjoy playing Scrabble. KK receied an award at school on Friday for always doing her personal best - something very true of her. The sky this afternoon was robin's egg blue - not the milk glass blue of winter sky, but hinting at spring. The sunset the last two nights has been intensely appricot - flaming, exploding apricot.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Disturbing scene tonight at Subway. On the way to pick KK up at ballet class I went in to get sandwiches for Joanna and the kids, meatballs for myself while Joanna waited in the car with the boys.I walked straight into the restaurant, rehearsing the order in my head. The young taking orders was distracted. "I've already called the cops on him." he said "Customers have been complaining all day. When I tried to talk to him about moving on he just started cussing at me." I looked out the glass door then and saw him - apparently homeless man, bearded, sitting on duffles in front of the shop. A young woman had offered to get him a bag of chips and he's said that wasn't enough. He wanted a meatball sub. She said she couldn't even afford a meatball sub for herself, just a bowl of soup. The young man behind the counter kept repeating that he hated having to call the cops, that he had always been good at settling disagreements, especially with his sisters. How young was he really I wondered - probably not much past twenty. The life of the man on the sidewalk probably cpompletely explodes his perceptions of the possible - mine too if I'm honest. I wanted to run and hide. I wanted to buy the guy a meatball sub and urried slip him a ten besides. Instead I averted my eyes and hurried to the car with dinner, relieved to be leaving before the cops arrived. Cowardly me. My circumstances alow me to avert my eyes from so much. And sometimes I do.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Quiet Monday - odd and precious addition of having a couple of hours during KK's ballet class to help Danny with his homework. He had so much! But he worked diligently, reading aloud, drawing farm animals and their associated products, coming up with words containing "oi" and "oy", and practicing mixed addition and subtraction and "ar" sounds. There is so much to learn when you are seven! I remember sometimes how confusing it was to be a kid - so many ideas and rules and things grownups thought were important. Reading came easily to me, but I remember getting caught by little stuff - like the period at the end of a sentence and the decimal point looking the same. I cries so many tears over that one thing, util my Daddy finally figured out what was confusing me and taught me one symbol could have two meanings. Working with Danny tonight I wondered if he had any similar confusions. Nothing surfaced. He definitely knows the difference between adding and taking away and can show me with objects how both processes work. Watching young learners leaves me in awe of how much each of us learns in a lifetime.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Yesterday was an odd and full day - many different moments and feelings.

Struggling clients - so much pain when people who started relationships in hope as we all do, get caught in blame and worrying about who is more wrong. So futile! Every moment is so precious. I remind myself tonight that it doesn't matter who is more right, more wrong. Communicating love matters.

Lunch with Bill - discussions of writing (and my NOT writing because story ideas feel elusive - are elusive - these days) There is such comfort and freedom in old friendships -

More old friendships - Dinner was Jean's treat for me and Joanna - a baseball clinic for women at UT, complete with Mexican dinner and speeches by coaches, and players. Keith Moreland hosted, so charming. Odd that Jean and he and I all have history being UT students around the same time. We should still be young. Ruth writes in her photojournal about not feeling "like a grown up" and I don't feel "older". I did have a great time and actually won an amazing prize in the raffle - a National League baseball signed by Rookie of the Year Huston Street, son of the quarterback of the National Championship Longhorn football team from my fresman year in 1969, and my all time favorite Texas baseball player.

After dinner downer- I realized how critical I can be when we went to pick up the kids at Kid's Space and KK had forgotten to do her homework, Danny had misplaced his glasses, and Zachary was just walking around being three. I was so frustrated with them all and made a bad situation worse, got us all to the point of tears or beyond. I spent time afterward reflecting on my values - and I realised that I forget to be kind and am definitely not competent when I am trying to instill values of koindess and competence in the kids. And I also forget how much criticism hurts when you are little - how hard it is to get everything right. I need to remember to value their happiness and trust that they will learn all they need to learn.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'm reading Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek again and loving the richness of the language and the emphasis on mindfulness and the complexities of nature and spirit. "Beauty" she writes " itself is the language to which we have no key." I love that. And her focus on the seasons and the trees.
This morning at the park north wind whipped at Zachary and me. My head was in the book, remembering the legend about Portuguese mares who turned tail to the wind and became pregnant with steeds of the wind - the fastest and most beautiful of white horses, who could not live more than three years. Zachary only knew that the wind made his ears cold. I blew on his ears, cupped them in my hands, but he still was cold, so we went back to the house and cuddled up in bed where I read him Eric Carle's "Mr. Seahorse". It was fun to share delight at the beautiful illustrations.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Back home, the moon rose yellow as new corn. I feel refreshed from our getaway - peaceful. On a nature trail this morning I learned what a sweet gum tree's seed pod looks like and how to distinguish black jack oak from post oak by examining the lobes of the leaves. Tonight over dinner Bob asked me what ten organizations I believe make the most difference in the betterment of the world. I couldn't give clear answers, but I love the question - love the man - love being loved by the man I love.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Cozy afternoon. Bob and I have escaped ordinary time and are all snuggled up in a condo in the pine woods of northeast Texas. I am thrilled with this Silver Leaf resort - Holly Lake Ranch near Big Sandy ( should have known it would be incredible since Ruth picked it.) We have a fireplace and a giant tub, and I am really impressed by the management and amenities - a food treat basket in the kitchen and a bath treat basket by the tub, an activity center run by friendly women and well stocked with games and books - a tiny theater showing G and PG movies in the afternoons, playground, minigolf, volleyball, ping pong, shuffle board - even archery. This would be a wonderful place to hang out with grandkids, and maybe we will do that some other time. Right now Bob and I have been so busy we just want to BE - out of context, no pressure. We'll explore Caddo Lake State Park at some point this long weekend. Tonight we may check out a Scrabble game. Bob told me when we were looking at games that he suspects he is better at Scrabble than I am even because I know words well because he is better able to figure out how to make letters work for maximum points. I'm not so sure. I don't want to be competitive - I mean, we're a team and it really doesn't matter who is better at Scrabble or anything else - however, I have long standing pride about my competence at word games. I think I want to gove Srabble with my husband a try (odd that in all our marriage we haven't played Scrabble together.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

The moon is full again - wolf moon - the first full moon since midwinter. It shines big and silver over the street, bright through clear cold air, surrounded by stars. It feels right that the wolf moon and Martin Luther King's birthday fall close together. In Native American traditions wolf is the totem of the teacher - the person who is loyal to his own community but goes beyond that community to learn new ways which he then brings back into the community for its betterment. The wolf never forgets his roots, but dreams beyond the restrictions of old ways and leads others out of the bondage of these restrictions. I can think of no better description of Dr. King.

I had an odd realization today - checked out at dinner in a conversation with Joanna (daughter) and KK (granddaughter). To both of them Dr. King is part of history - like FDR, Abraham Lincoln and the founding fathers. To me Dr.King is contemporary - a part of my personal past, discovered in his prime,remembered, not learned about from books. The Civil Rights Movement, The War in Viet Nam, the Kennedy and King assassinations are to me as World War II, the discovery of the concentration camps, and the death of FDR are to my parents' generation. When I was ten there were still a few people living who remembered the Civil War, the veterans of World War I were in their sixites and the veterans of Worls War II were in the prime of their lives. The bus station in Houston still had two waiting rooms, one for whites and a much smaller, less well appointed one for "coloreds". I remember sneaking a look through the door into the other waiting room - feeling naughty and confused. I didn't understand the significance of the two waiting rooms or the presence in restaurants of signs that said "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." I remember feeling proud of being able to read the words in those signs, and puzzled about their purpose. I had no idea how wrong they were.

Generational perspective is intriguing. I've thought about generational values differences but not so much about the issue of one generation's current events being the next generation's history. Duh! It seems obvious, but I hadn't really thought about it.