Monday, June 30, 2008

A sweet moment with Bob - He commented the other day how happy it made him to see the big stack of books beside my bedside table. I realized again how fortunate I am to have a husband who sees a big stack of books as a good and happy indication of an active mind and not a big mess!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What a sweet and quiet weekend Bob and I have had! We have had no visitors of any age and no scheduled or social activities. We did go to the grocery store and the bead store and have been listening to music and watching an amazing amount of quality video. We are more than half way through War and Peace now and expect to get the four of the five discs on Tuesday. The story is so rich and the characters and their circumstances so compelling, it's blth hard to watch them struggle and suffer and hard to wait to see what will happen next.

Questions. Mary asks, "Do you believe in an afterlife?" This one has been hard for me too, like Ruth's last question, and I've been putting off answering. The answer seems more importnat to many people than it is to me. I remember a quote from John Adam's (who did believe in an afterlife) which was addressed to Thomas Jefferson (who did not). Mr Adams said something to the effect that, if he was right, he and Mr. Jefferson would meet in Heaven and Mr. Jefferson would be surprised, but if he was wrong, no harm would be done because neither of them would be around to notice. The intellectual part of me believes that it doesn't make difference in terms of how I live today and what I choose to do whether my personality or my soul continue after death and in what form. The point is to do the next right thing, NOW.

However, my personal experience points to the presence of an afterlife which does allow for the continuation of personality. This is what Kerry seemed to experience a few days before his death in a vision which he shared with me. I know some people believe this sort of vision is actually a hallucination caused by dying brain cells. I only know it seemed one of the most real experiences I have ever shared with anyone and brought both of us deep peace and courage. I also have had experiences in which I feel I've seen some of my beloved dead, especially Kerry and my Grandma Anna in very real ways after their deaths. I don't know what form I believe after life takes, and have also had experiences which are consistent with reincarnation. I don't know how all the pieces and concepts fit together. It is not so important to me, though the sense of continuing connection with my beloved dead is a comfort.

Bob's second question is an easier one, so I will answer it tonight after two hard ones in a row. He asked "What are the two (or three or four) qualities in your Dad that you most admire?"

1. Daddy loved learning about how the world works and was always eager to discover the mysteries of the universe. He approached learning with courage, openness and eagerness, and never stopped learning.

2. Daddy understood and was able to teach me that living according to one's own passions, values and sense of mission is more important than pleasing people, being conventional and acceptable, or attaining worldy success.

3. Daddy was introspective and honest with himself and could apologize when wong.

4. Daddy was wonderfully playful and loving - he had great hugs and tickles for me when I was little, balloons in the filing cabinet drawer, wonderful word play later and the perfect compliments as I was growing up. He let me know he loved me, let me know he was proud of me.

Update: This morning I read some blog entries that reminded me of the difficult period when Mama was increasingly combative and crazed with dementia and I remembered the quality of Daddy's which I learned most about during those years and which may be the most precious of all, the capacity for deep, loyal and abiding love.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The question for tody is a hard one. Ruth asked "What lessons did your daughters reject/fail to get/etc from you (that you wish they had)." It's hard because I can't think of anything I'm really sure of that either - not to mention both - of them rejected or didn't get. I believe my conventions regarding sexual behavior may be a little more conservative than theirs, but I believe their beliefs coincide with mine in spirit regarding the importance of. I wish both of them felt more free from the perceived judgement of others, more confident of who they are in the world, especially around minor things like looks. I think the messages I sent around grieving were confusing as I struggled to grieve Kerry and raise them at the same time. Joanna has said that the way I held together and modeled containment when the worst had happened may have been destructive to her ability to feel what she's feeling in the moment. I value feeling what one feels in the moment deeply and also value keeping on keeping on. I tried to model that balance, but think I missed a bit and regret that. Some differences are just temperament. I modeled a kind of order and quiet that Joanna rejected because she finds it restrictive, and that is fine with me. Ruth is more like me in terms of order and containment. I think both of them learned too much anxiety and control from me, too much emphasis on the importance of individual action and choice and I should probably feel guiltier than I do about that. My value sitll is better too much emphasis on responsibility than too little though. In most ways I believe both daughters have taken my values and Kerry's and Bob's and those of their extended family of loving adults and adjusted them beautifully to their times, temperaments, and developing beliefs. I' so delighted by both of my daughters.
Bob is such a gift to me - brings so much into my life I wouldn't otherwise pursue actively. This morning I'm thinking about classical music, but wildness in nature, political activism, birding, reading Cormac McCarthy, seeing a wide range of plays and films all fit. This summer Bob is adding many pieces to his classical music collection through an inexpensive online service that utilizes his Zoon music player. It's fun to watch him all excited about the pieces he is finding and listening to for the first time. He has also gotten me involved in a study of the music of Aaron Copland. I remember loving Copland's works from childhood (thank you Daddy), but I'm learning so much more this summer about the politics (liberal, populist, hopeful) behind his works and about the works themselves. This morning we listened to the whole Appalachian Spring ballet instead of just the suite as is usually played. I love the suite, but the ballet is even stronger because more tension is written into it - a tension between heel fire and damnation fundamentalism and the beautiful, hopeful theology of "Ti's a Gift To Be Simple, Ti's a Gift To Be Free." The tension makes the triumph of the hopeful theme at the end overpoweringly sweet. Thank you Bob.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm dragging on my question responses (and please, anybody who is reading feel free to add more questions in comments any day. This is fun, even if I am dragging, makes me think.

Ruth asked What lessons did your daughters learn from you that you are proud of passing on?

Pay attention. Reverse roles. Look at everything from every possible angle and assume you've missed an angle or ten. Learn to learn. Love to love. Give to give. All you know you have is now so live each moment well. Be kind. Question assumptions. Take care of innocents. Dance. There is know one right way to do anything. Listen to your intuition. Real is better than perfect. Choose love not ego. My power to do good and my power to do harm are equal, the difference is choice. No matter what happens to me, no matter how much it hurts, I can convert the energy of the pain to something good and useful.
I feel a little flat the way I sometimes do in the middle of busy work weeks. I' proud of Bob and me though. We've been getting to mundane tasks around here, just a few a day. Yesterday he put up a clothes line and he hung and I brought in a load of laundry the way I remember for childhood. Experimenting with line drying is one of our energy conservation experiments - a simple way to use solar energy for sure. We've also been eliminateing some stacks around here and cooking together, something we haven't really done much. I'm loving having him home this summer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ruth asked: What are your biggest weaknesses and strengths as a mother?

It's a more complicated question than I thought at first. I think there are different aspects of being a mother and I have different strengths and weaknesses regarding different aspects.

There is the skills aspect of being a mother, and in that area I had many strengths and advantages. I know a lot about child development, education, arts and crafts, relationships, personality, communication - know a lot about a lot of things that I've had fun teaching my daughters. I was never at a loss for pulling a word game out of my hat while we were taking a long hot walk and I could always create some kind of art or science project out of found junk. I knew how to use good listening skills (even if I didn't always) and knew and still know how to apologize wrong. I was a decent cook and provided a reasonably clean and comfortable environment. I knew how to teach my daughters how to write and think well. I knew my wildflowers and had good skills for teaching independent thinking and genuine communication.

I had and have skill weaknesses too. Not being able to drive was a pain for the girls at times, and I wasn't sensitive enough to that discomfort on their parts, didn't really get it. I am not and never was a great organizer and I think that made family life harder on all of us. I am not and never was great at making holidays, and never worked hard enough to overcome my aversion to and stress around major holidays. I was not a skilled, gentle Sweet nurturer of sick children.

More important than the skill strengths and weaknesses are the strengths and weaknesses of essence, feeling, way of being in the world. Here I'll tackle weaknesses first. I've let my ego get in the way, been embarrassed by behavior I which never should have taken personally. I was too hard on them when they were growing up, especially in school. I took stellar performance for granted when I wish I had given more praise and made more comments on their many excellent accomplishments. I've struggled with when to hold on and when to let go. I've let my own feelings dominate at times when their feelings were more important. I doubted when I should have believed and believed when I should have doubted. My biggest weakness can be summed up in the statement that at times I let my feelings be more important than theirs and did damage to them through that selfishness.

On a personality and feeling level, I think my greatest strength as a mother is real love for my daughters, love that looks at them as individuals and wants them to be the best versions of themselves (love that allows me to get past wanting them to be alternate versions of myself or to make me proud). I wanted the girls, adored them clearly and purely when they were tiny, marveled at ever finger, toe, word, dance step. I held and kissed and cuddled and taught and contained with deep love. I accepted that they would make choices different from mine and, with uneven grace, have respected and supported their choices. I continue to work hard to understand them, apologize when I need to. With no effort at all, I continue to adore them, want to spend time with them, splash love all over them. I think the strength I can usually show as a mother of adult children is best expressed in a recent poem:

To Grown Daughters

To love you I must

trust your judgement

separate my serenity

from your well-being

love you without need

embrace and release.
Ruth asked a question about my interest or lack thereof in contacting my birth parents and that question has stirred up a bit of discussion. I want to add two poems I wrote recently about my experience with being adopted which may shed some light on my answer. THey also seem to be part of the original answer and I wish I had sent the then.

First Beginning

Child of impulse, begun
during redbud time on campus
result of unchecked life force
unexpected baby, natural product
when passion overrode caution.
Until my wedding night,
Mama stayed terrified
I'd repeat the pattern,
Chided me to remember
I was conceived in a ditch,
more probably in the backseat
of a parked car or on a daybed
in a garage apartment
I like to imagine moonlight,
to hope they believed
they would love forever.
My heartbeat is their product
Their love did keep.

Second Beginning

I was welcomed in excitement
on a cold night in December
carefully over-wrapped in blankets
Chosen child, ten years coming
Perceived miracle, named for a queen
Until dementia swallowed her
Mama was terrified she'd lose me.
She tried hard, cherished each moment
back porch summers, baking kolaches
offered every opportunity, perfect dresses
fitted and detailed, just for me, just right
Mama hugged hard, loved hard, held on tight
Chided me to remember she'd die if I failed her.
With every privilege comes a responsibility
I keep the pact. My life ethic is her product
Chosen child still works to make love keep.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This week has been so rich with images of power and beauty and with work accomplished, too. I woke before dawn on the day of Summer Solstice and saw the sun rise on a cloudy morning from the balcony of our San Antonio condo - then traveled to Corpus with Bob where we worked hard to organize in his classroom and apartment. We managed to go through all the old papers from last school year and get everything that needs recycling on its way to a new incarnation. Then we drove out to Padre Island National Seashore where we stood in the warm gentle gulf waves while sun set and sky paled then darkened. Fifteen black skimmers flew over our heads, along with three flocks of white birds we couldn't identify in the fading light (snowy egrets?)We sat at a picnic table and watched stars pop out in the eastern sky, few at first, then a multitude until we sat in a starry dome waiting for the moon, who eventually rose stately and striated by cloud. She rose as flaming red as the setting sun, then progressed in changing colors to orange, yellow, and finally silver white. It was midnight before we returned to the apartment, a long and rich longest day.

Yesterday, driving back to Austin under a thundery sky, Bob spotted a small coyote and made a detour to watch the young animal for as long as we could. He cooperated marvelously letting us watch him walk about and sniff for food. I thought it was appropriate for a coyote, the Native American spirit keeper for the summer season to show up for us at midsummer. Coyote is the teacher who teaches through trickery and keeps humans humble, able to laugh at ourselves and learn from our mistakes. Humility is definitely a goal of mine but please coyote, life has played enough tricks on our family lately. Please lay off.

This afternoon was a treat for me. I accompanied K.K. to her placement class at the Ballet Austin Summer Intensive, which has grown to draw young dancers from 36 states and six other countries as far away as Australia. The dancers range in age from the one ten year old (only one younger than K.K.) to eighteen. They are an impressive looking, serious, beautiful lot. It was fun for me to be among young people who are working hard at an art they love. K.K. felt intimidated at first when she walked into a room of intense fifteen and sixteen year olds stretching for their class - said she felt really little for the first time in a long time -but relaxed and stretched and danced.

Question for this entry: Ruth asked What is your greatest growing edge?

My greatest growing edge right now is staying calm and mindful (not anxious, not judgemental) but calm and present in the moment whatever is going on around me. When I'm tired and busy I find myself pulled out of this state by all kinds of little stimuli and I don't want that to keep happening. I am working on staying centered and peaceful, present, responsive appropriately to people around me, no matter what is going on.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Short present day entry tonight - too busy living to write about it much. Bob and I are in Corpus - worked in the classroom, worked in the hot apartment, then went to the magic beach. There was fire dmage in the dunes on Padre Island National Sea Shore, which made us sad - acrid smell, deer looking sad on charred dunes. But when we got down to the water's edgein the tween - sun setting flame and stars popping out before moon rose red as setting sun - no damage and no sorrow were apparent. I felt, and still feel writing this, appy as every mother wants her child to be.

To keep responding to my requested questions, Ruth asked:

You are SUCH a sensual person--you raised us with so much amazing mindfulness about color, texture, season, etc.... why didn't you do more with music in our lives when I was a kid? Was it that Bob did so much of it, that technology is tricky and you don't feel "musically gifted", does music touch you less, or do you think there WAS a lot of music in our lives? (And, as a follow up, how do you think this relates to having two daughters SO touched by song? If at all?)

This question surprised me Ruth. I did try to fill your childhood with music. I was the one who bourght all the "Wee Sing" tapes when you were little and the tickets to various childrens' concerts. I still remember how thrilled I was the first time I heard Joanna (about two) singing to herself prettily. I LOVED it (and still do) that both of you can sing. When we used to go to St. Matthews, the long singing during Communion was my favorite part of the service and when you sang along I was delighted and touched. Standing beside you at synogogue when you sing, swaying with you, is one of my favorite activities on earth. And I was deeply touched when Joanna sang to my mother when she was dying and when Bob sang to Rudy several times when he was ill.

But I am not musically gifted and don't think I am good at making music real for other people, the way I can other sensory experiences. I need other people to make music real for me - so it makes sense I didn't take the lead in that area of your life. I don't have the gifts. I never felt confident enough in my own piano playing to play for you and Joanna the way Mama always played when I was growing up. I wish now I had kept up the skill level I once had, however short it fell of hers.

I also grew up in an environment where music was almost always playing, either piano or stereo, and I often felt overwhelmed by so much sound and tend not to turn on sounds but to keep the house quiet. I think if I WANTED music enough, or tremembered how important it is to tohers, I would have and would now master the technological chllenges involved in making it play more.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I was happy to get back to the office today and see the new carpet in place. I had sufficient breaks to get all my books and pretties back on the newly dusted furniture. The carpet looks really good, and sturdy, which should keep it looking good for some time. Bob took the grand kids to an animal park today while I was working and all four of them had a great day.

Thanks Ruth for a whole array of questions for my question request post. And everybody else, please don't be intimidated by the length of Ruth's lists. I'll just keep at it, one question a day, and will insert other people's questions (if any) between Ruth's. Your first one is one of your easiest Ru.

How do you feel about your birth parents? And do you have any desire to get in touch with them?

I don't really think or feel much about my birth parents very often these days. My birth and childhood seem so long ago. I am who I am and that personhood results from mysterious combination of the genes they gave me,the experiences, love, and training my adoptive parents gave me, and all the experiences and choices I've had and made since. I wonder sometimes (rarely) how having had me during college affected the remainder of my birth parents' lives. I wonder about half siblings. I wonder if my birth parents are still alive. I'm glad I saw my birth father give a lecture once, glad I saw my birth mother's picture in the University yearbook (on the swim team) and glad I heard her voice on he telephone. I hope they have had good lives and wish them well. I am thankful to them for the gift of life - for the particular genetic combination that is me, and for making the best, most responsible decision they could about arranging for my raising.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bob and I are back from San Antonio, two amazingly peaceful, quiet nights before two cray work days. My toe is healing well and I actually beat Bob at Scrabble two more times in the fifteen games we played. Amazing! Generous man is actually teaching me to think strategicly regarding Scrabble and points on the board instead of just making cool words.

I have my first bite on my "Ask me a question, any question and I will blog about it." challenge from yesterday. Actually I have two questions from one friend. Thanks Mary. Here goes.

Who are your heroes? (Thinking of LIVING heroes rather than those who are deceased.)

I am not one who thinks much in terms of heroes, either living or dead, but Martha Perkins truly has been a hero and role model for me. Martha founded The Listening Tree therapy practice back when I was a young wife and mother in my pink bubble years. The practice was a third career for her after teaching and counseling on the university campus. She started the practice when she was recently widowed, lonely and seeking, deeply missing the love of her life. She had spent some time after his sudden death taking cruises and entertaining, and had the means to continue in that way, but felt a desire to do something healing for others.

The practice she founded is special in its dedication to the provision of deep, quality counseling services to people regardless of ability to pay. Martha also was rare in the way she approached people seeking counsel, seeing their wholeness, their strengths, not just their brokenness. She taught me to look past diagnostic codes and to see people "half a heart beat healthier" than they are. Martha brought wonderful teachers, especially Carl Kirsch and Dorothy and Mort Satten into my life.

Martha recruited me to teach parenting classes for some of her clients before Kerry got sick. I wasn't interested. The girls were still small and I was happy at home, teaching a few classes around my kitchen table. I wasn't taking many chances in those days, or changing much. Then Kerry died. Two days after the funeral Martha called and said she had an office for me when I was ready to come and work. I started three weeks later and have found my life's work carrying on her healing tradition after her retirement.

Martha taught me that my grief wouldn't kill me, that tears were finite, and that energy is energy and the energy of pin had best be converted into something useful like work, art, or service.

Write about something that happened in your life that you found very personally rewarding?

I could answer this so many way - find rewards in many aspects of life, but I think I feel the clearest sense of reward when I do something that works. Often its simple things, like cleaning out a messy drawer or closet, making a necklace that sparkles just right in the sunlight, planning and preparing a meal and watching people I love eat it with satisfaction and delight. Finishing what I start and feeling satisfied is rewarding. Meal example aside, I try not to look for reward in other people's responses. That's a slippery slope for me because I want very badly to please everyone I love all the time and can get hopelessly tangled up trying to do so. I also feel a real sense of reward when I feel that I have behaved well in a difficult situation, responding with wisdom and kindness.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I've been reading blogs again and found a wonderful one where the writer promises to write a full length for real blog entry about any topic any reader asks her to write about (sequentially, not all at once!). That's exciting to me. Her blog is much better read than mine and she already has fifteen interesting requests. I left a request for an entry on finding her life's work and how she has come to know she's good at it, because that is a theme in the post in which she asks for responses. I'm excited about going back to her blog each day to read what she writes in response to the requests, which range greatly in how serious and how personal they are, and each is interesting to me.

I was so fascinated by this experiment that I also decided to copy this blogger - I am tempted to admiration through imitation. So here's your chance. Anything you want me to write about, anything you'd like to pick my brain on, just ask me in a comment on this post and I promise to respond (one per day in the order of the comments).
Bob and I are enjoying a wonderful break in San Antonio at our time share condo right on the river walk. It's such a restful place, all stone and windows overlooking trees and water, cavelike bedroom and deep tubs and comforters - so restful. I dropped the small middle drawer of my dresser on my right foot yesterday in my attempt to pack and it fell right on the middle toe, bruising it dramatically. I don't know if its broken, but it is less swollen today than yesterday so I'm hopeful it will heal well. When I've gone to the doctor with broken or maybe broken toes before I have been told that maybe I broke my toe and to rest ice and elevate - no different than what I'm doing anyway. I actually am enjoying the minor injury as an excuse to stay in out of the heat and read and play Scrabble. My husband is GOOD at Scrabble but I beat him this morning (Go me!). Ruth and Chris sweetly left us a brand new fancy travel Scrabble set on the bed here for Bob's Fathers' Day gift. I mentioned on the phone before meeting them for supper yesterday that I couldn;t find the old Scrabble set, and they went out and got us this one. That kind of thoughtfulness deeply touches my heart.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Last night Bob and I walked to the top of the holding pond hill for the first time since his back started bothering him leading to the blood clot issue. It is great to be on a track back to being more active after about a month. Thankful here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

No new carpet yet - frustrating! The crew was running late and didn't start when they might have been too late and kept me from seeing my first client. That's probably good - but now I'm about to leave for a long weekend andall my books are out in the hall and my pretties in the secretarie's office. I hope I can get them put back before we leave town. I wish workers were more reliable.
Good day otherwise. Bob and I watched A Soldier's Story tonight, very good 1984 film about race in the US Army in World War Two. I'm surprised that film was made that long ago - seems more modern and aware of subtlties in its concept of relations within and between races. I was so caught in the film that it seemed like no time passed from beginning to end. I enjoyed seeing a very young Denzel Washington. That man surely is having a glorious career.

I'm so proud of Ruth in her new college professor role. She really seems to have hit her flow with this first class. I also am thrilled that she TALKS to me - goes over class outlines with me, asks me about nuances in her responses to student papers, respects me enough to want to spend her valuable time listening to what I think about things she knows a great deal about. Looking at the same issues from communication and psychology perspectives is exciting. I am so fortunate in my family! (I'm picking on Ruth at the moment and too sleepy to come up with an instance about each of you - but the pride and gratitude is evenly distributed.)
I am getting new carpet in my office tomorrow - very much needed - and it was a lot of work to move all the books out of the shelves and all the stones and pretties out of the way so that the workers can move the furmoture out tomorrow morning and get the carpet in before my work day starts. I think I'll see my first couple of clients in a fairly bare office, take advantage of the empty shelves to dust and rearrange.

Bob and I saw the film Atonement tonight, skillful and faithful rendition of disturbing and thought-provoking book about the nature of truth and the amoount of harm lies can cause. Bob feels no empathy for the character who lied and it scares me a little that I do feel empathy for her - can imagine myself at thirteen being unclear about exactly what I saw and what I knew. Disturbing that one can do so much harm without intention to harm. I'm not sure I want to go to sleep so soon after that film, but morning will come early.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Eight years. Ruth and Chris have been maried EIGHT years not six. Time and numbers have never been my strengthe but the axiom that time flies faster as I get older seems true. Blessings to that beutiful sustaining marriage even if I can't gget the numbers right.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm having trouble blogging - brain fried after unusually long work days. Can't spell and line up sentences - probably better to just splash our disorganized stuff than fail to write at all. So much is happening.

The date is important. Mira died three months ago and Ruth and Chris have been married six years today. Their new pregnancy is five weeks old - the tiny heart of our new hope started beating in the last few days - too soon to hear it, just know from Ruth's research.

On the political side, I was surprised yesterday in the convenience store to overhear the talk of three young tattooed men in baseball caps. "Hillary Clinton has done her country proud." said one to his friend who replied "Yes, she'll come through for Obama." So much for my stereotypes about what people with different apparel are thinking about!

Sad and disturbing - The Texas Governor's Mansion inhabited way back to Sam Houston -burned badly over the weekend - arson. It was under restoration and I think reports indicate that it will still be restored. So much happened in that house. At least no one was hurt. Mostly I'm horrified that there are people who create intentional harm.

Saturday night Bob and I watched "The Bat", an Austinized version of the opera "Der Fliedermaus". It was hilarious once I managed to convince myself not to be embarrassed by the bawdiness and drinking jokes. It had lots of local types down to a t, the hair styles and shopping bags, the UT booster in a white suit with a sequined long horn on the back of the jacket. I wish my Daddy had lived to see this one. He would have howled with laughter - found the original hilarious and Austin was his chosen home town so the Austinization would have suited him, I think.

I don't know what to make of work. Summer is supposed to be a light time and I'm crazy busy, struggling to fit people in. I'm loving the work I'm doing and the new clients, as well as the financial benefits of a busy practice, but I feel like my mind is not quite keeping up with itself. Surely there will be a lull at some point when people take vacations. Mostly I'm pleased to be so busy, just a little frightened of being wound too tightly.

Yesterday, when he saw me for the first time after work, achary asked me "how was your day?" in a completely grown up and appropriate manner. And he listened to my answer! Great manners at six and a good model for all of us. He really added quality to my evening with his interest. Thanks Zachy (and Joanna for raising him so well).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tired tonight and hot - ready to go out for a walk in the wind. At least I caught up on email and Bob and I did some household organizing today - found some more closet floor, always a good thing, that.

I can't decide if I think Obama should offer hillary Clinton the Vice Presidency or if she should take it if he offers. I just heard on the news that they met tonight - I like them both and expect them to both be part of solutions for our country. GOt to do my part too - not quite sure what that is either.

Music study continues. Copland today, who I've always enjoyed. Today we heard a delightful clarinet work he wrote for Benny Goodman - and played by Benny Goodman! My Dad liked both Copland and Goodman. I miss you tonight, Daddy, wish I could invite you over to hear the CD.

And Peg, your comment about the laundry being not so important made me smile. I need friends like you to help me fight the overwhelm around the domestic things I'm not so good at.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hard to believe its Wednesday and I haven't blogged here yet since Sunday. Work weeks seem to fly. I'm posting fast, midday, probably not deep.

What's on my mind?

Both of my daughters excite me with their competence in their work - proud of them. Ruth is putting together an amazing syllabus for her summer class and Joanna's department at Sears looks bright and busy - well done both of you.

Bob's coumadin level was right last week - communication difficulty with person on the phone made us believe it was way too thin. That makes me feel much safer.

Obama will be the Democratic candidate for President and I will work for him and for all of us - for change. I don't understand Hillary Clinton's behavior right now, why she has not conceded and publicly put on an Obaba T shirt. I need to read more and understand her motivations and see what happens in the next few days.

I'm excited beyond the reasonable about getting to watch "So You Think You Can Dance" tonight after work. THat's my guiltiest, silliest pleasure right now, and a pleasure it is indeed.

I wonder if I'll ever catch up with laundry - should blog short and put another load in right now.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The combination of the time machine quality of the football game last night, conversations about culture, and a writing prompt about "technophobia" caused me to want to share a poem in response to change. I am startled off and on again by the many differences between twentieth and twenty first century life. I think some of the changes (like more effective chemotherapy for many cancers and information access so quickly through the internet) are extremely positive, some like the trend toward fancy coffee with funny names and cacao percentage just style and neutral, and some of the changes - like using ear plugs in public, annonymous stores, less local, acceptance in the work place of it being impossible to do well in the expected amount of time what one is asked to do, acceptance of credit card debt as necessary - have risks. But they are all changes in the world in which I function, hence the poem.


It's not the technology I fear,
style is style, methodology
irrelevant, function vital.
What I fear is feeling lost
in a context too foreign,
finding nothing familiar,
alienatien of dated elder.
I spent this evening in an odd setting for me - a semi-pro football game at a small field in East Austin (the part of town where more African Americans have traditionally lived and just across the street front the magnet Jr. High my girls attended, across a different street from the projects). It felt good being there with old friends and both daughters and Chris and all the grand kids. It also felt like an alien world - in a way a time machine trip back to the sixties - slower, friendly, grass field, wooden bleachers, funky scoreboard, nothing fancy - but also very integrated(would never have happened in the sixties in this town). I loved watching a very diverse flock of cute kids play on the sidelines.

This afternoon Bob and I watched From Lions to Lambswith Robert Redford and Meryl Streep - a very thought provoking film about government, journalism, and the possibility (or not) of making a difference in today's world, right now. The War in Iraq is the backdrop.

Last night Bob and I listened to music by Mendelssohn - so beautiful and yet disquieting when he created fairy music in Midsummer Night's Dream. He was only seventeen when he wrote the overture - utterly amazing how much gifted individuals can produce how young. And I continue to be blown away by the way music floods me with feeling - almost too much, but only almost. I'm thankful Bob shares classical music with me, and we will be listening to a lot this summer and learning about it. he will lead. I will follow.

I gave Bob the last Lovenax shot this morning and I'm really thankful to be done. We both did better with me giving him shots than we thought we would but it kept getting harder as bruises showed up where I'd given previous shots. his anticoagulant levels are too high, we know from a phone call from the doctor - and hopefully we'll get that settled at the appointment on Tuesday. I'm wanting him to be well and strong again and not to have special concerns about his helath - and I'm just so thankful I didn't lose him last week.