Thursday, February 23, 2006

I am still chasing my tail. This whole business of selling beads on eBay is a trip. It is fun describing the items - hard self-promotin, letting people know I'm selling these beads - fun seeing who bids on what and cyber-meeting peopls from all a woman I like - she biaround the country. Interesting connection is with a woman who bought a red memory wire necklace. She was my first bidder. Turns out she bought the necklace for her sixteen year old niece who has cerebral palsy and has trouble getting jewelry on and off. The aunt and I started corresponding and now she wants me to make a special silver gray and white fresh water pearl piece for her niece. That's exciting - both the people and the commission to design something special. Also plugging the beads has gotten me writing to and hearing from people I have known at life stages from high school to the present - That's fun.

I need to sleep andnot write - long longwork day plus beads.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This is a pretty shabby blog entry. I have so much I want to write about - but I'm really pushing to get my auction of beads up on EBay. This is the second auction. The first week was a success and I really want to follow up with a greater variety of beads, but this is taking forever - listing them. I will persevere. And I also will sleep - haven't been doing enough of that.
So I'm going to list a few topics I will be writing about here over the next few days - to jog my memory and my conscience and see that I do it:

The dance performance I saw Sunday with Ruth and KK - a young Choreographer's showcase with a theme of "manners" - and my response to the concept of manners.

The eBay selling experience.

Jean's Papa and his war stories and how much I respect that man - and how much being with him makes me miss Daddy.

The book Clockers.

Doing schoolwork with KK and Danny.

Dealing with parenting mistakes I made.

One observation I will make right now before going to bed is that spring is creeping up on us even though we had freezing rain on Sunday. If you put your eyes two inches away from the stems of Zachary's cypress tree you can see actual leaves (needles technically, I guess) starting to unfurl. And I've seen mountain laurel and wisteria - redbud too - just a hint - a beginning. Color is on the way back.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Today I made a house call (actually an office call) on a new client who is in a wheel chair. The session went really well, seems like a good match. The odd thing for me was the this woman works in a building which is also home to the same "home for unwed mothers" that my birh mother ran away from a few months before I was born. I don't know that whole story, just that she felt confined, didn't like it, and wanted to arrange my adoption herself, as she did. The "home" is not in the same building as in 1950, and the parts of it I saw were inviting and friendly. I encountered several very pregnant young women, each of whom smiled at me - just very odd to think that the last time I was under the auspices of this place I was in untero.

Otherewise, I had a good day - a good walk through the campus area, took myself out to Thai lunch on the way back to the office. (and ice cream at Amy's, Mexican chocloate with cinnamon)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My focus is scattered this week, to the point that I didn't realize how long it had been since I'd written here. I really have been all over the lot. As many of you know, I've been making beaded jewelry for years, selling it very catch as catch can - loving making it. But there is an unweildy amoumnt of jewelry now and money is always good - so people have been suggesting I try selling on eBay. The prospect was daunting until, last weekend Ruth offered to start photographing pieces and to help me frame an eBay listing. Once she started so generously taking pictures I started writing product descriptions as fast as I could to get an auction up. We have seventy items up and my new compulsion is checking to see when I get bids or watchers. People are looking at my jewelry and a couple have bid, so it's a start. I feel encouraged about this marketing possibility.

Valentines - I made them with KK and Danny Sunday afternoon for their classes. They both worked hard on handmade Valentines. I was impressed by how much both have grown up since last year. Dany can write his friends' names now and has the patience to do it twice - on card and envelope. KK makes beautiful cards and understands how to balance her high standards with a need to finish in a reasonable period of time. I was surprised by how much both kids had a sense of what sorts of paper and color were appropriate for boys and girls. I wouldn't have thought it would matter so much with valentines. (Also on a valentines note I am one fortunate mother-in -law. Both sons-in-law made a valentines fuss over me, a gorgeous pashima scarf from an nonprofit helping Afbhani women and children from Chris and an abundance of rich red roses from James. There are so many mother-in-law jokes. Being loved and remembered by these two young men really touches me. And of course there's Bob, my real Valentine, who brought me pots of red tulips and whose love I am thankful for every day.

Olympics - hard to believe I was at the Winter Olympics four years ago (thank you again Joanna, a trip to remember indeed!) Torino Opening ceremonies pleased me with the pomp and circumstances, the international peace emphasis and the Itallian flavor. I loved seeing Venus born out of her seashell with Aura and Zepher on high . Only the Ferrari really missed for me. I don't have the aesthetic to see such a pared down machine as beautiful . I loved the women of distinction from every continent carrying in the Olympic Flag - all in white. Sophia Loren is still absolutely beautiful at 71. I remember stories of how she suffered in Italy during WOrld war II, interesting to see her back home in splendor at an Olympic game. And I liked seeing the author Isabel Allende - not just her magnificent words. The women were activists, performers, athletes, artists - and seeing them all together pleased me. Fire worked as it always works , rings of fire and glowing torch, the Olympic torch passed on in style. May we all do as well passing on our personal torches. I'm not caught in any specific Olympic event, but in the spirit of the games, as always.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tonight I had one of those startling experiences of seeing myself as the world sees me. I didn't like it. I made my bank deposit after work and hurried to the bus stop, running the last thirty yards or so because I saw the bus approaching, didn't want to miss it, and was in a playful, energetic mood. I deposited my fare and smiled at the bus driver. I was surprised when, with warmth in her voice and eyes told me, the driver said to me, "I don't like to see you running you could fall." "But I'm not old enough to worry about that." I protested automatically. She persisted. "It's dark and the sidewalk's not even and a fall can be serious." I thanked her for her concern, which seemed genuine - but I just don't think about myself as someone who shouldn't run to catch a bus - or someone for whom a fall could be serious. Denial? I don't know.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I feel sad and confused tonight. Bob talks about the kids he's teaching - fifth graders, and one of the main themes is selfishness and rudeness. Kids mock Bob and each other - say cruel things, "have to be watched like a hawk" or they steal things from each other or destroy books and pencils. They are unwilling to put up with the boredome of sitting quietly and reading while other kids finish tests. They have to have fun all the time. Being bored, ever, is not acceptable. They don't seem to be reversing roles, exercising empathy very much at all. I know theat many of these kids have tough stories and I know they are young enough that they still need to be taught right from wrong - but the tone just seems off and it scares me to be living in a world in which such selfishness is considered a necessary evil in fifth graders. I see it in other places too - especially with drivers. People in cars don't meet my eyes and smile as often as they used to when I come to an intersection on foot. Generally now, if I meet a driver's eyes, he or she just goes through the intersection. I think I remember a time, not too many years ago when there was more interplay, more connection, whoever actually went first. I want a gentler world. I'm willing to take the time to be gentler with others, to listen and watch and care. Sometimes it seems like the willingness is not reciprocal.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I've had a truly quiet day after a busy work week and weekend. I think I needed it more than I realised. I've been alone all day and haven't done much - no grandkids visits because Danny woke with fever this morning. I've slept late and read email and haven't really done much - maybe will at least write a real letter later or do a scrap book page or something before going to bed. Taking a day completely off is rare for me lately. I've picked up the pace at work and have been keeping all three grandkids most weekends so Joanna can work. Until recently I kept a kind of modified shabat and that was probably physically and mentally healthy. Today has been that kind of day and this one just kind of happened -probably a good thing. I think its been a mistake to let myself get caught up in such a busy life, responding to whatever seems to need doing or startin something I want to do -always DOING.

That said, the weekend, though busy was fun and satisfying. Bob and I took all three grandkids to a favorite state owned cave - Longhorn Caverns - yesterday and everybody enjoyed both the road trip (about an hour and a half throught the wintry hill country each way) and the cave and woods exploration part of the adventure. Wintry in Texas means you wear a sweater or jacket and the crass has no color and the trees look like "a bunch or sticks" (KK's words). We were impressed that Zachary at three understood and followed the instructions about not touching the cave, and touched that he asked before entering if this cave had monsters.

Ruth and Chris spent the weekend at our house - in and out - reparing for a wedding shower for Chris' sister. Having them visit is always fun and I did lots of cooking both for them and the kids and for Bob to take back for his week. Also, he was making lots of games for his fifth gaders - which meant cutting out stacks of cards. That's a job I don't like much - and to my great pleasure, KK does. So Saturday night after the boys went to bed she and Bob cut out cards for a learning game about inherited vs. noninherited traits and sang along with a sentimental favorte CD of lullabies while I cooked up stew and chili. A sense of well-being descended over all of us, About as good as it gets!

Bob and I went to a late showing of Broke Back MountainSaturday night while Ruth and Chris stayed with the sleeping children. I had a mixed reaction to the film. It was beautifully shot in breath-taking country and I cared about the characters and the social issue addressed - but I was frustrated that nobody triumphed - that essentially "the bad guys won." Ruth says that it would have been more powerful as a social cause movie, rather than a failed love story, because it could have better shown the destructive power of homophobia if it had been more like The Laramie Project. I don't think it would have been less powerful for me if the issues had been presented strongly and the protagonists had then managed to triumph in some way - even if there had been a sad ending after the triumph. I know, I really am an idealist - apparently incurable and not desiring a cure.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Change is the one constant in life I know - but in the larger world this period seems to be one of greater than usual changes. Some kind of seismic shift is occuring. In Joanna's words "a changing of the guard". The generation that fought World War II is dying off. The concentration camps and the dropping of the atom bomb are history. The Viet Nam veterans are gray haired now. Greenspan just announced his retirement and Sandra Day O'Conor is leaving the Supreme Court soom. There have been so many deaths people whose names were icons, household words (whether you liked and aproved of them or not) Arafat is dead and Sharon is incapacitated by stroke. We've buried Reagan and the Pope, Rosa Parks, and, just this week are burying Corretta Scott King. I remember her as the handsome young civil right's leader's pretty pregnant wife. But its more than the individual deaths. The baton is being passed and I'm not quite sure to whom or where they will take it, or what my role is int his period of passage. I feel shaky - on shaky ground - and I hope the next generation does better than mine did with its power.