Monday, March 27, 2006

Raining - raining - raining. It has been raining most of the day and is supposed to continue most of the week. We need it. The winter was dangerously dry with wild fires and a burn ban all over Texas. Now spring is coming into green softness, but slowly after a major cold snap last week. Trees still look scraggy - not lush yet - in transition, like awkward adolescents. A week from now it will be very different I think - full spring.

I finished my hospice volunteer training today. It is exciting to me to be working on a volunteer project with Ruth - following her lead in the photo part of the project at least. Its been a while since I worked with hospice or grief groups, and I think I've missed it. I didn't plan to start volunteering until I closed my practice in ten years or so - but this feels good now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

We did have a good spring break week. While Bob was home we made a day trip down to Fulton to see the birds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge from a boat with commentary by an experienced birder. (And we saw the first bluebonnets of spring on the way down). From the boat we saw 23 whooping cranes, including at least five babies, one still strongly cinnamon colored. There were only fifteen whoopers left in the world in the forties when the project to save them began - 215 now, so seeing so many in one day was amazing and hopeful. We also had funny experience of seeing a greater flaming -- yes pink and standing on one leg -- who DOES NOT belong in the Aransas refuge. Occasionally an adolescent flies up from Mexico and visits. He looked pretty odd standing in the midst of a bevy of white pelicans, who DID NOT enjoy his presence.

Bob is working very hard to get his fifth grade science and math program up to speed, and its been a huge challenge, but he seems to be making real inroads. He says it would be much easier to teach fifth grade at Menger next year, especially math, Science would still be a challenge. The decision about whether to apply for jobs closer to home opens up next month. It will be a hard one, financially to our advantage and nice to be simplified back to one home and together every night -- but could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire regarding principals and such and he would like to leave on the note of having finished a really successful year feeling strong and competent. Change is hard. We really don't know what choice we'll make (and of course not what will be available if he does choose to look). There is a program here Alliance Schools, which selects schools which serve low income populations and have a high commitment to excellence and community involvement. Probably Bob will apply to all of those.

Ruth and Chris were in Austin on their spring break too and it was fun having them as house guests. They were pretty busy visiting friends and doing city errands, but we enjoyed evenings together. Ruth has volunteered with a local hospice Austin to do a photo project with them -- somehow helping families record and treasure photo memories when a death is imminent. I don't know exactly what she will do, but she is excited by this opportunity and needs a photo assistant who is certified with the hospice. That would be me once I can get trained and get my TB test. I'm waiting for a call back. I'm also volunteering to do their newsletter. I went this morning for training and go back tomorrow before work to finish training. I find the volunteer coordinator and the bereavement services coordinator wonderfully refreshing real, hard working women, who were very open and welcoming to me. It was fun being the beginner, not in charge. I think this will be a great opportunity for Ruth and me to work together doing something meaningful - also a chance to expand my community.

Chris has already started applying to jobs in the Austin area. He and Ruth want to get back into their house and their life here, though this school year has been successful, exciting and educational for both of them, OR they want to move to the Pacific northwest where they love the nature and progressive political climate. A huge deal over break was the discussion in which I got it (after may tears and much protestation) that moving might really be the best thing for them and that I don't need out little family community to continue as is. I could be happy with a scattered family. I was completely stubborn on this issue, but something has shifted and the shift is real. I work like that. I'm wedded to my position until I'm not and then I don't look back. This surprises Chris who hasn't seen it may times yet, but is a relief to Ruth. She says they probably will not choose to move because of expensive housing up there, Chris' trouble with lack of sunlight, and their own attachment to staying near family. We'll see.

I had lots of Grandma fun over spring break. Joanna's kids continue to grow up (of course)! Every time I see KK dance, she's markedly better. The first weekend of break we were able to attend "watching days" in her classes, which was a treat. The instruction she's getting is excellent and the steps are getting harder and harder. Watching all the young dancers concentrate so fiercely and work so hard is inspiring.

Zachary is lots of fun these days, talking in sentences and tearing about getting into and climbing up and over everything he encounters. That kid knows no obstacles even when they seem apparent to others. Sunday lunchtime was a prime example. He asked Ruth if he could ride in her car to a restaurant and she said "No' because the car seat was in Bob's car ad she didn't want to move it. Zach wet out and unstrapped the car seat and lugged it over to Ruth's car ad hefted it up on the seat -- of course he couldn't do the straps. We were all impressed.

I'm working, reading, enjoying my new venture of selling beads on eBay -- enjoying having my family close for now. I'm not writing much beyond my daily writing practice and bead descriptios, but want to change that - WILL change that. It will be easier now that I don't have a house full of people. .

Thursday, March 09, 2006

With regard to yesterday's entry about the most looked up words, Ruth read it and commented that people might have been thinking about structural integrity - like the levees didn't have. That makes sense. I know that meaning well and wonder why I t didn't occur to me.

Spring wise, this is the first orning I look out my back window and see a cloud of (still a bit scraggy and sickly) green in the tree tops. And the sky is that shade of fresh washed blue that only comes in early spring and after a thunder storm, which we did have last night.

I'm still playing with beads and put up my first one day only auction (green for St. Patrick's Day) last night. So far so good. I do have bids.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Merriam-Webster OnLine just released its list of top searched words of 2005: integrity, refugee, contempt, filibuster, insipid, tsunami, pandemic, conclave, levee and inept. On first reading this list bothered me - seemed focused on disaster, fear, and judgement (I'm not saying its incorrect) of the government. I found the list depressing for the first day, then looked at it again and thought maybe people are just interested in understanding what's going on. Maybe some of these words are really new to the. I applaud curiosity. I wonder about myself and my initial judgeent. The word integrity is positive, and I initially assued that it was being researched in terms of "lack or" on the part of elected officials. Now I wonder.

On a different note, spring continues in Austin. I was sad to see the first few leaves on one red bud, indicating the flowers will start to fade soon. Flowering tree time is so short. The wisteris is already beginning to fade. A funny side bar about Austin spring is that the streets and the lawns of greening grass are covered with fallen brown leaves. The very common and prized evergreen live oak drops its old leaves in March, never completely becoing bare, just looking shabby for a few weeks while new leaves bud. KK's tree is a live oak and is shedding while her brothers' trees green up.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This evening as I walked home from the bus stop at sunset I saw a heavy black woman - youngish - standing on the bridge over Shoal Creek, smoking a cigarette. She looked out of place - and I censored myself for thinking that. Then as I walked by her, she asked me for money. That has never happened right here in the neighborhood - just a block from the house - on foot. I felt vulnerable, invaded, and guilty. I wanted to feel generous, but I didn't. I didn't want her there (here) so close to home challenging me with her need. I gave her a dollar and I could tell she thought that wasn't nearly enough. I had more, but I didn't reach back into my bag. I was scared, rattled. I didn't want her to be there, within my inner sanctum of places wanting money. I wonder if she is a hurricaine survivor. I wonder what she's been through - how she washed up in my neighborhood asking for money. I care and I don't care. I don't want her to suffer and I don't want her on my "doorstep." I'm locking my doors tonight. I don't like myself very much right now.

Monday, March 06, 2006

It is red bud time - a hint last week and brighter pink every day - trees clouded with pink - no leaves yet. When the leaves start the flowers begin to fade. Zachary's tiny cpress is fringed in needles and Danny's aple pops with buds. It is earliest spring - no wild flowers yet but tree flowers - a precious and very short time.

This evening some of the sweetest parts of family history replay. Joanna is with KK at ballet watching day and the boys are with me. Danny did his homework. They played in the sweet spring evening in the back yard where their other and auntie played. The sounds of little boys are a little different - more truck sounds - but the feeling is the same - me in the kitchen, spring in the air, happy kids out back. I like anchoring a second generation from the same house. .

I feel like I caught up with myself a little today - cleaning house, moving spring clothes into my closet and winter clothes out, writing a little. Its been a gentle day, a good day.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The first daffodils of spring are up and it was warm today - sleeveless dress war - yesterday too after being COLD for a week or so running.

I'm still really caught up in the beads - the eBay thing is successful so far. I have my third auction up and will leave it alone (the listing's what takes tie) for a couple of days. I ay even really write here something of quality.

DEtails of life - helping Danny with reading homework and practice is fun. He is getting the whole reading writing thing and his concentration is fun to watch. I wish Bob were ore cofortable in his classroom, but soe good things are happening there. One boy brought in ten rulers to compensate for the many the class has lost or broken. Bob'snew system of teaching math sees to be working.