Thursday, July 31, 2008

First day back at work felt good, though I was wiped out at the end of the day and totally happy to flop on the couch while Bob fixed a delicious pasta meal with whole grain noodles and waited on me.

Bob was happy today because his birthday present from me arrived (wish we had gotten it before out trip, but what is, is). His last digital camera disappeared, probably stolen at school, and I got him a new one on which he got a great deal (prices really are going down on electronics, still!) This one has a good built-in zoom so he can use it to take pictures of birds and has started his collection of bird pictures with three easy to find locals - prancing male grackle, pretty white winged dove in tree, and downy young open mouthed English sparrow. No really special species yet - but a start, and it's exciting to see the quality. Eventually I want him to teach me to include his pictures on the blog. The only reason I don't put pictures on the blog is the absence (past) of camera and the lack (current) of skills. The latter can be remedied as has been the front.

Tonight, after indulging our addiction to "So You Think You Can Dance" Bob and I watched a documentary about the great and much maligned African American singer, actor and African, Paul Robeson. We both have admired him for many years, and my interest was piqued when he was showed up n the play we loved "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting". But there is so much about him I didn't know, including that it was he who sang the versions of "Old Man River" and "I Dreamed I saw Joe Hill Last Night" that have been highly meaningful to me since childhood. I didn't know he played football for Rutgers (only African on team and initially much beaten up and resented) and made all American - only you have that honor revoked when he was associated with Communism during the McCarthy era. I didn't know he was the first African American to play Othello with a white cast or that he was the son of a runaway slave who educated him self and became a minister, only to be driven out of his Presbyterian church bis combination of race and popularity stirred up controversy. I also didn't know he was a lawyer before he took up his highly successful career in entertainment and that he quiet that career because (in New York!) racism limited his career to the point that white secretaries wouldn't take dictation from an African American. I knew Paul Robeson was active in the labor movement and sang on the picket lines, but not the extent to which he did that internationally, especially in Russia and Wales. He seems like a "Profiles in Courage" type character who was highly gifted and stripped of his earned honors because of his race and his politics. Thank you Paul Robeson for the example of your integrity and the amazing passion and beauty of your voice, especially singing spirituals. For moe about this American hero check out

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bob and I are safely home in hot Texas after our glorious interlude in the Pacific Northwest. It's hard to believe both places and climates exist at the same moment on the time space continuum. Our flight home was as uneventful and pleasant as our flight out and the house, Lobo (dog), and Caleb (cat) are well and seem happy to see us. Joanna met us at the airport and we enjoyed having a visit with her. I work tomorrow, though not before 11:00, so I should be a sensible person and go to bed. But I want to post our Gig harbor Washington bid list first, so I will.

Birds Bob and I saw in Gig Harbor Washington area - July 24 through July 28, 2008

The order is relatively chronological, but Bob put the three signature birds of the trip first, and had to start with the bald eagle. We had many sightings of mature and juvenile eagles from the deck, often quite close. WOW. We have to go back to visit though, because we didn't see the osprey (as if I couldn't come up with a few thousand other reasons for a return visit!)

Bald eagle
great blue heron
belted kingfisher
northwestern crow
band tailed pigeon
tree swallow
glaucous backed gull
mew gull
common murre
northern flicker (red shafted)
dak eyed junco
American robin
rufous humming bird
stellar jay
violet green swallow
barn swallow
hairy wood pecker
red tailed hawk
Canada goose
fox sparrow
piine siskin
American goldfinch

Monday, July 28, 2008

Today has been adventurous and delightful and varied - amazing.

We woke early because of a super low tide in the cove, which provided the opportunity to wade out and visit the sand dollar bed and star fish. Slipping and sliding about in the cold mud with Ruth and Chris was much more fun than it sounds like it would have been. The sand dollars were black and hairy looking when alive, and golden or white when dead. Moon snails as big as a five year old's fist slid along the cove bottom. We saw star fish, pale moon green, sunny gold, purple, and (a first for me) bright blue. The largest blue starfish was as big across as a dinner plate. Crabs -spider, Dunginess, and red rock, scampered about our feet and took cover in abandoned shells and under sand dollars.

After cove time, Ruth and I worked out in Joe's garage gym and I learned new exercises for specific muscle groups, which I will forget if Ruth doesn't keep reminding me. I even, with Ruth's encouragement, managed to stretch backward on the exercise ball and let my head hang down behind me in a simulated back bend. I was sure I would fall off, but did not.

Heidi's best friend, Rina, has a two acre spread with goats, chickens, dogs, cats and astonishing gardens. She grows all kinds of herbs I've only seen dried or in essential oils, including hyssop - one of my favorites for breathing problems. It was wonderful to see the hyssop growing, and the Clary sage. Hyssop surprised me by looking a little like lavender. Rina invited us to come pick raspberries, another first for me. When ripe, they came off right in my hands, without even being pulled. Heidi, Chris, Ruth, and I filled six little baskets with berries (not to mention the many we ate in the garden). As I write Heidi is making raspberry and peach cobbler.

Tomorrow Bob and I fly back to city life, working life - our life. And unfortunately to triple digit temperatures again. It really is paradise here. I don't know if I would know how to live like this, to do all the things that need doing to maintain gardens, boat, house - but I guess I could learn. It is just so sweet here. I expect today's adventures aren't over and will include at least one more ride in the kayak when the tide is high enough. I think it would be wonderful to time daily activities to tide rather than clock.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My writing group had a prompt to write a nature poem, and here on the deck at Joe and Heidi's house I watch and hear the noisy Northwestern crows as we talk of social justice issues. The two themes merged in my mind, producing a poem.


Northwestern crows caw with confidence,
volume, raspy resolve. "Pay attention!"
they declare. Insistent, raucous yammering
hurts human ears. I slam window shut,
consider fashion options for my scarecrow.
But native people claim crows cry "Injustice".
Easier to label crows obnoxious, insane.
Easier to shut my heart to attrocity.
I fling open my window, rip hands from ears,
and add my single voice to the persistent
outcry of the ancient concil of crows
May justice be done. May justice be done.
I'm up and oddly restless in the middle of the night -maybe excited because Ruth and Chris arrived safe and sound and delightful. A highlight today was a kayak lesson from Joe. I actually paddled, with instruction, and did better than I expected to. It felt good to move along with my muscle power adding to our pace. I took frequent rests, but even managed one turn by myself, so I'm proud.

I also weeded under Heidi's grape arbors while she and Bob went to the airport to get Ruth and Chris. I, who have never even seen any grape growing up close other than wild muscadine, am oddly satisfied to be able to say "I weeded under the grape arbors." It feels exotic. After the weeding, as the sun set over the cove Joe and I lay on the soft grass under the arbors and talked while Latte (Their beautiful Golden Retriever, yellow lab mix, stretched out full length against my side and napped as we talked. There was something astonishingly sweet about the big, breathing, trusting presence of that sleeping dog. As I write on the computer tonight he sleeps at my feet, just barely touching one foot. He reminds me a little of Kiddo, Peggy, and loves to chase toys and play splash splash in the cove. I seem to be falling in love. Maybe I am a big dog person after all. I sure seem to be noticing dogs of all kinds lately and wondering which would be a match for my personal dog.

Right before supper Heidi and I carried buckets of water up the hill to water the two Italian plum trees she has planted on the hillside where she wants to eventually have a little orchard. She showed me the property all the way to the edge and WOW - the back part of their land really is temperate rain forest with ferns, big trees, and the deep shadows of these emerald woods. The more I see of this retreat of theirs, the more I am entranced.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I think I'm in paradise here in my husband's brother's home on a little cove off the Puget Sound. We've been out in the kayak, traveling just a little up the cove to a creek where salmon spawn in fall, observed a seal in the water and bald eagles overhead while eating supper on the deck. And I've had a complete blast helping my sister in law (and dear friend) in her AMAZING garden. At home my garden dried up this year with all our triple digit no rain temperatures. Here she and I worked probably four hours yesterday afternoon, weeding and edging beds and it wasn't even hot. Last night the broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and snow peas for our stir fry came from the garden. I actually got to go out and get them in a basket and bring them straight in and cut them up. I LOVE that. Maybe this year the kids and I will pull off a fall garden. I'm resolved to try harder.

Also, I got a lesson in using a bread machine this morning and now I REALLY want one. It is so easy and I could have whole grain hot breads for Bob (and me) whenever we wanted, even on work days. Baking bread from scratch has daunted me working - just something I'm not going to take the energy to do. But Heidi, who is a sweet and patient and precise teacher showed me how easy it is with her bread machine. Now I'm a total convert and seriously in the market.

I've also renewed my commitment to help Bob with healthy eating habits the rest of the summer and into the fall. He's just not comfortable and able to move around well and easily at this weight and I want him to be more comfortable (and live longer. I would feel terribly guilty as well as bereaved if he had a heart attack and died heavy and I hadn't worked harder to help him lose weight.) I think I can help with what I cook - and DON'T cook. I think both of us will try the online Weight Watchers Core program when we get home.

Southern girl that I am, I also have had an education in how some of my favorite foods look growing (Blackberry thickets are HUGE and blueberry bushes can be taller than me like little trees. I had no idea. I thought they were little bushes like our Texas dewberry bushes. I also saw foxglove in real life for the first time, white and delicate and bell like just like I'd seen it in photographs, but also lavender and deep magenta.

I am so happy here, loving the conversations and connection as I did during our Blacksburg visit, but - having more time and fewer people here, I'm realizing how tired I am at some deep level. I don't feel tired walking around - have plenty of energy for the things I want and need to do, but here, with people going to bed early and not too much I really can do after dark, I find myself sinking into deep sleep and a slower pace, and feeling it resting me. Most of our recent vacations have been more adventurous and fast paced, and (like the day at Peggy's house after the writing retreat when I just slept and slept) I'm truly valuing a chance to deeply relax.

This life makes me realize how wonderful some versioon of a retired life could be - not now even if we were ready financially, but maybe later. The uncharted days where weeding a garden or making a quilt top could be a days goal have their allure, as of course do the travel options available.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I want to post that our airport and airplane experience flying Sothwest from Austin to Seattle was PERFECT. I know many people are having bad airplane experiences lately and I'm a nervous flier anyway, so it seems important for me to accentuate the positive. We were treated kindly and warmly even in security and strongly so on the plane, where all workers did their jobs cheerfully without seeming boored or automatic - really kind. The flight was smooth, efficient, we even arrived twenty minutes early and the pilot made a joke about hoping we'd remember that the next time they were twenty mionutes late. The plane was completely full and I do find it wearing to be so close to so many people I don't know for hours, but everyone I interacted with at all was totally courteous and I think we passengers made the experience of being crowded together as nontoxic for each other as it could be. I was astonished at how quiet people kept their tiny children (less than four). I've always found that a hard task when my girls were little.Between Austin and Phoenix we had a family of four in the three seats in front of us mom, dad, toddler girl and four year old boy. I had fun making silent eyes with the little girl and didn't even know the little boy was there until they got off the plane. ASTONISHING!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This week has been an amazing wild whirlwind. Bob actually drove most of the night to get me home in time to see all my clients yesterday. It was a hard day -nine to eight with a very short lunch, especially after grabbing sleep in the car and just a little in the bed, but I think my clients appreciated my presence even if I was a little draggy. I got a great (exhausted) night's sleep last night and had a much easier though long work day today. Our back packs are packed for the flight to Seattle in the morning EARLY. I'm nervous about the early departure and nervous about flying and nervous about closing down the house and not leaving it a mess and remembering everything I need to remember - but I'm always nervous and everything is usually fine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Life does not go as expected. I thought I would be almost home by now but Bob and I are in Knoxville waiting for repairs on our wonderful old Toyota Avalon, which suddenly started firing on only three cillinders yesterday. We can't complain - well over 200,000 miles on this car, which has taken us so many marvelous places so comfortably with very little repair cost. I never thought I could love a car - just transportation - but this one has been so comfortable and reliable, really a special car and has been the means of getting so Yellowstone and back and forth so many times to Corpus, to visits to Blacksburg, to Big Bend and Arizona, the Grand Canyon and the Giand Saguaros, the giant sequoias too, the blue whales in the Monterry Bay and the sand hill cranes rising with the morning. Thank you car.

I'm probably - almost for sure - going to have to change my work day tomorrow, which is kind of a pain. I hate to disappoint people who are counting on seeing me - but here I am in Tennessee and I can't teleport and getting an airplane at this late date seems daunting and expensive and I don't want to send Bob on alone with a car whose repairs might not hold - or even to deal with trying to find the airport and get tickets.

I've actually enjoyed the delay except that I feel guilty - time to get LOTS of sleep and play Scrabble and start to catch up on blogs. Bob Trounced me last night on SCrabble, getting a seven letter word "dragnet" very late in the game. That man is incredible. (In so many ways)

Friday, July 18, 2008

I have WAY too much to write - so full of thoughts and impressions of this trip to Blacksburg, all the people and places. Right now, between family visits, I cna't compose my brain to get it all down right. Main points - I love the man I'm married to and celebrating his birthday yesterday was great. I'm glad we did it with his family and stood out in the street with his parents after others left and looked at the beautiful full moon. I so appreciate both the goodness and hhe intelligence of the family from which Bob came.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Good weekend but distracted - trying to get ready to leave for Virginia Tuesday and walking and working in between. Days are shorter when more than an hour is used for exercise, but that's good. I'm enjoying our walks even though nights are hot.

We celebrated our friend Marie's birthday yesterday (unfortunately Joanna's car fell apart -broken axle just as Tracy arrived with the children. I liked his perspective that he was thankful it didn't happen at high speed.) K.K. looked completely gorgeous and way too grown up in a green dress she "shopped" for in the closet of Ruth's very fashionable sister-in-law. (Thank you Kelly.) Time really is passing there's no missing that K.K. is a young lady these days, not one of the flock of cute kids that turns up at parties. Danny and Zach are still delightfully part of that flock.

I need to get back to question answering, and I have some wonderful hard ones to answer - but it's late again and I'll stick to easy. Mary my friend asks what career I would choose if I could suddenly have a different career without training or other realistic things being an issue.

I think I would choose (nothing like hubris here) to be a published novelist well regarded and teaching writing in a good master's program at a major university. I might even get to give the occasional graduation speech at a university. Or I would have gone the theater route and at this point would be retired from a career as a "gypsy" dancer on Broadway and would be teaching dance - would have been successful enough to afford a decent apartment in Greenwich Village and would spend lots of time in museums and at shows. Like I said - nothing like hubris!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The dance performances went well today - delightful to watch the young dancers at different levels - really good dancing and choreography. I'm so thankful for Ballet Austin! K.K. looked beautiful and competent in her new green leotard and her ankle held up fine. Bob bought her ice cream after the last performance (I was back at work by then).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

K.K. has three performances tomorrow to mark the end of dance intensive and unfortunately she injured her ankle slightly at the end of practice today. I hope it holds up OK tomorrow. She seemed pretty worn out this evening, ready to just lie on the couch, not talkative. It's probably good that she will be down to just the jazz and Broadway twice a week classes she loves after tomorrow and won't have such long dance days. The making of an artist is hard work, as is the making of anything of value.

My knee, which had been hurting the last week or so is recovered enough that I'm joining Bob in night walks again and have been delighting in the waxing moon. It was setting as we walked at the beginning of the week, now is a full half, sliced straight down the middle as i with a sharp knife and hung big yellow above the holding pond as we walked tonight.

I've been reading a book about the Jewish experience in World War II, Suite Francaise - or trying to read it. I think it is excellently set up but I am avoiding. I know the author died in Auschwitz and I just seem to always find something else to do that read her one step closer to the death camp. My writers group had a prompt about writing about the experience of being in a big crowd and I wrote a poem that surprised me. World War II was a long time ago and there have been and are other genocides and lots of people who weren't Jews were killed by the Nazis and Jews have no special claim on suffering - and yet one's own ethnic and social history is one's own and mine haunts me in the oddest ways - unexpected. This is what I wrote.


Laughing in line. waiting to enter
political rally, waiting to give
joyful grand daughter glimpse
of her candidate - a woman
running hard for President.
Laughing in line on cold night,
warming hands in each other's
sleeves, kid bundled in three coats,
strangers friendly, bound by hope,
press of crowd encouraging,
even in our red state, so many
out to hear Hillary and cheer.
Press of crowd friendly until
smiling security guard at door
asks grand daughter to lift
her arms so he can feel for weapon,
a formality, but in my mind
we suddenly huddle terrified
in Warsaw, 1942, wearing all our
coats, wearing the yellow star. Jews
waiting to be packed into cattle cars.
Knees shake. Grand daughter laughs.
Moment passes. Happy political crowd
enters arena to cheer our candidate.
I'm going to answer another easy question which has an embarrassing answer. Mary J, you ask me where I get my news on a regular basis and why.

Truth is, I am not as systematic as I believe a person should be about getting news. I sometimes watch the News Hour on PBS and always feel that I learn when I do. When something is clearly happening - like a primary or a storm I sometimes follow on CNN or local news. I like seeing candidates and hearing speeches, but often feel commentary is puffed up - not real reporting but editorializing. I do not watch FOX News because of its conservative bias. I often watch Bill Moyers and Charlie Rose, but not every week and not perfectly all the way through. I have a few topics I have the New York Times send me articles about - vary with interest, usually include "writing" and some mental health topic. I don't always read the articles. I don't read any newspaper on a regular basis though I believe I would be a better citizen if I did - just lack the discipline (or maybe it's priorities because I don't have any trouble finding the discipline to regularly read the blogs of people I love). I've always been better on the micro (familial/local) than the macro ( world/universe) scale in terms of being active. I do check sites on line like Amnesty International on a fairly regular basis and sporadically read articles in news magazines including The Economist and Time. And I ask the better informed members of my family, especially Chris, Bob, and Joanna, what they know and think about issues and events in the world. I'm more likely to read fairly recent history (twentieth century ) at length than news. This is an area in which I wish I were more together and systematic, but probably won't ever be. If you ask Bob this question he will probably have a more systematic answer.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'll tackle another easy question tonight - don't feel smart enough for the bigger, more important ones. Mary J asks * What do you love about living in Austin? What would you change if you could?

Probably the main thing I love about Austin is that I know it so well, both present and past. I mean I grew up on stories of Austin in the thirties when my parents were in school here, can drive by (or even walk by from the office) the house where they brought me hoe as a baby. I have memories on ost of the streets of central Austin - my own memories and the shared memories of family story. Austin feels like home and I'm not very good at feeling at home, so that matters.

A related theme is that many of my closest friends and family are here, so I have a strong network to call on in need. And because of my work I am a little known in town and that's fun - to be greeted in public by people who are grateful for help I provided years ago or want to comment on something I said in a talk at a mothers' club meeting. Daughters and their families of course are a big part of the richness of close people.

More concrete things I like - The University of Texas, with all the cultural and athletic opportunities it offers, as well as the presence of a population of professors and students, good opera, theatre, ballet options, great restaurants, especially Mexican, a liberal, comfortable feel even in a conservative state, good enough public transportation from where I live, a comfortable neighborhood I can afford, day trips into the hill country very possible, spring wild flowers.I'm glad it freezes some in the winter and that snow and sleet are possible but that they are NOT a big part of the winter every winter. I have gotten used to the summers, hot as they are and know that easterners find our falls puny but I love them all the same.

What would I change about Austin? - car addiction. Too many families have too many cars and drive too much and sometimes it seems like there are cars everywhere I look. I'd also prevent buildings that depend on air conditioning and have windows that don't open. That scares me in our hot climate. I'd like more emphasis on native plants and less on keeping green lawns during dry summers. I wish there were no topless clubs in Austin and no advertising for such places along the highway - and that people getting drunk was less of part of the live music scene down town. I wish there were less of a difference between the rich and the poor and more community across class. But I think most of the things I'd change are really American problems, not Austin problems. I really love my town.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I'm worn out today with a long work day and an emotional three episodes of War and Peace. The horror of war and the foolishness of most humans are so clearly protrayed. A sweet note today was watching the boys at the park playing lovingly with a toddler named Rose. Both Danny and Zachary had great patience pushing her in the baby swing (that all of my grands and both of my daughters were pushed in, and that hopefully will have new family baby swingers next summer!) Rose's mother had their pet at the parrk, a beautiful, friedly. (trained) white cockatoo named Angel boy. Both or our boys and their big sister were intrigued with this lovely bird.

I love my new crop of questions to answer but don't feel enough energy for the harder ones. One I can handle tonight is Mary's, Is there anything that you miss...that you used to do many / a few year ago, but don't do much/ at all any more?

Yes, I miss playing the piano. I played several hours most days when I was in high school and college and stopped playing when I left campus and didn't have a pian. When I got my childhood piano back after Kerry died (when my parents moved to Texas and brought it with them) my skills were rusty and I wasn't in a musical mood. And Bob plays better than I ever did, so I just never started playing again. Right now I don't have a piano in the house - but do own one in air conditioned storage. I've been thinking about bringing it home and starting from the beginning again. I never was very good on the piano, but I used to love playing songs from Broadway shows and folk music, some spirituals and some easier classical pieces.

I also miss needlework - just realized this recently. Beading takes much the same role, but the textures are different. I stitched from the time I was eight or nine into my forties - odd not to be doing it anymore - may try picking that up again too.

Monday, July 07, 2008

This is just a place keeper post. I've run out of writing time tonight. It was a good day, after all the emotional build up yesterday to Kerry's death anniversary. Today I was so pleased to be with Bob, couldn't keep y hands off him, feel so full of love for him and so thankful for each day we have together. He and Ruth and Chris and I went to the cemetery and put gladiolas on Kerry's grave and went out to lunch and talked about raising their baby (I hope I hope) It rained this afternoon, a delight in the middle of drought and I went grocery shopping and cherished the ability to buy food - also noticed emptier shelves than usual. Thanks both Mary's for more questions - and I know I still have two of yours Bob - but not tonight. I need to settle my brain and sleep before a long work week.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Twenty two years ago tonight I was waiting for Kerry to die. The death date is tomorrow, but it was really a day like today, a SUnday, that we did our waiting and loving and letting go. I have such a rich life now with Bob (sitting in his chair in the other room reading a biogrophy of Aaron Copland, warm and real and loving me and offering to go out and buy me chocolate with ginger in it later.) I have friends and work I love and grown daughters and the good men who love them, and grand children and two more coming. And all of it could change in any moment and I know that. A poem I found this evening fits my mood.

By Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Jane Kenyon was married to the poet Donald Hall. She died of leukemia in 1995 while compiling this collection of poems.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I'm coming to the end of my solicited questions (so if any of you have more, ask away.) This is Ruth's last and I have two more from Bob

If someone were to give you a gift a day for a month what would you want the gifts to be?

If someone important were to give me one of something every day for a month I'd want stories - memories - annecdotes of connection - the stories that made up the structure of our relatinship for that person.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fourth of July celebration was perfect in RUth's haven of a pool filled back yard - not even too hot and no mosquitos. Ruth and Chris are at the end of their busy month, ready to rest and unwind. The kids are growing up so beautifully and all had a blast in the pool. Me too. Joanna's friend Tray made the food, delicious barbeque and lots of it. After dark fell we enjoyed fire workds and sparklers. Again the kids seeme big and self sufficient, running and spinning wiht sparklers with as much delight as I remember.

I'm thinking more of family than patriotism this Fourth - but am thinking as I prepare to go to bed about my belief that my patriotism is to the principles behind our government more than to the government itself, or to any specific administration.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ruth asks "What is the hardest thing in your daily life that you do anyway?"

I think the hardest thing that I (at least usually) choose to do anyway is stay in high self, which I operationalize by listening to others, not judging, not controlling to manage my anxiety, staying present and kind in the moment no matter what. This is hard for me, takes constant effort and self-monitoring, avoidance of temptation and self-indulgence. However, the degree to which I like my life and feel good about it pretty much depends on the extent to which I stay in high self so it's worth the considerable effort.
Persistent Hope

Hope follows me
like a little brother.
pesky, persistent
allows no escape
no silence in despair
thumbs freckled nose
at the shadow of death
sings despite darkness
off key, unrelenting
I cannot escape.
Thank you, hope
Ruth asks, "What do you most wish you could change about yourself?"

That's easy - my tendency toward anxietyand especially the defense of trying to mitigate anxiety by trying to control the behavior of others.