Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bob and I have had a good, quiet day - lots of grading. It's a little eerie waiting for Hurricaine Gustav, three years after the devastation of Hurricaine Katrina. New Orleans is being evacuated. This afternoon elderly and disabled people were sent north on a train - I'm not sure to where - but at least there is some kind of plan. I feel unsettled, partly because of the storm. Life as we know it is so fragile, can be blown away at any moment by forces external or internal.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I've been reading books by Orson Scott Card about as fast as I can find them. He is a new writer to me this year - though many readers I know read at least Ender's Game well before this year. I am delighted by the complexity of this many's mind and the depth of his concern about ethics in human history - about compassion and trying to find a right way when there is no clear one right way. He makes me think and feel and see being alive and active in the world from quirky and unfamiliar angles (kind of like my friend Peggy's poems do). My last two card reads are Past Watch, a deep an intriguing alternate history of earth centered around the fall out of the journey of Christopher Columbus and Magic Street in which magic, straight from Midsummer Night's Dream, visits a middle class African American neighborhood in Los Angelos.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Psalm 57:1
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
I'm listening to Bill Richardson in the background - speaking in both English and Spanish, as he warms up the convention crowd in Mile High Stadium for Barack Obama's speech of acceptance of his party's nomination for president. Bill Richardson was born to a Mexican mother and an American father. Obama of course was born to a white mother from Kansas and and a Kenyan father. So much has changed for the better. Lyndon Johnson would be 100 years old today and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. are both forty years dead. I am thankful to have lived in the times I've lived and seen the changes I've seen.

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Robert F. Kennedy

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm still enjoying the excitement of the Democratic National Convention - feeling generally attached to the idea that is the United States of America - completely tearful (even though I know the makers wanted me to be) over a film by Stephen Speilburg about the military in Iraq - those who come home and those who don't. A commentator made a remark about the reasons the Democrats were focusing so much on the military and my first though, in answer was, "I'ts wartime." SOmetimes I think those of us who don't have family in the military forget.

I'm having bus adventures these days - suddenly morning buses are running late and VERY full, with people standing. I'm going to need to start leaving the house a little earlier, but that is fine. I'm glad more people are riding the buses here. The mix of people is very diverse - students, business type people all dressed up, young families, bike-muters, people who look homeless - all of us behaving courteously together. I like being part of the human soup, not isolated off in a private car. I also like being outside whether I choose to be or not - during the walks to and home from the bus stop. I'm feeling subtle changes in sun and shade, the quality of the air, and seeing color changes sweep across the sky. I miss so much of that when I spend most of my time in buildings or cars.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Politics aside - I talked to Bob briefly and he had another good day - getting to know his class. He is grading busily because he gave them math and science evaluative tests today and is trying to get the results quickly. No procrastinating. Go Bob!
I'm still obsessed with the Democratic National Convention. The first convention I remember was the 1960 convention in whch John Kennedy was nominated. I remember the disasterous Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968. I cried in misery over that one. Tonight I cried too, but out of identification with the causes advocated and a sense of connection to Hillary Clinton - especially after having seen her in Austin.
Hillary was wonderful. She came out loud and clear for Obama as well as in honor of women's right to vote. I loved her line about her mother being born before women had the right to vote and her daughter voting for her own mother for President.

I've been loving this convention, identifying with Democratic tradition firmly. I loved seeing Caroline and Ted Kennedy last night. I'm still laughing at myself for dancing in the living room as Ted Kennedy spoke. And interesting commentator point was (when the pictures of the young Kennedy brothers were shown) that Ted Kennedy is the first in his generation of Kennedy men that we got to see age. I cried over that too.

Being old enough to have lived through a reasonable chunk of history is a huge blessing. I'm thinking about Kerry tonight, and everybody else who dies young. I really treasure the perspective that living as long as I've lived has given me and hope for another two or three healty decades.

Monday, August 25, 2008

OK - Go Teddy Kennedy! Go Jimmy Carter, elder statesman of my soul. I'm watching the Democratic National Convention - saw President Carter interviewed, gracious, smart, honest, low key, talking of compassion and race. Then Teddy took the stand against medical orders and gave a strong (nothing low key there) moving speech which has me dancing and with goose bumps. I know he's a flawed man, has made lots of mistakes - but he stands for the causes I stand for and I have my flaws and mistakes too And I'm more like Carter, not one to give people goosebumps. I respect them both.

Peace is more then just the absence of war. People everywhere seek an inner peace that comes from the human rights to voice their views, choose their leaders, feed their families and raise healthy children.
Jimmy Carter
I'm starting to write here while I'm still on the phone with Bob. he seems to have had a great first day of school - only seventeen of his twenty one arrived (though he expects more tomorrow) and they seemed more curious and respectful than past classes. And he has a good plan and knows what he wants to achieve this year - got straight to work with them on reading and readers' response. It's fun to hear him sounding up and confident as school starts.

When Bob talks about his technology use in the classroom I feel dated. He uses Power Point on a regular basis with the kids and seems so facile with it. I'd be writing on the board or a poster board. It's amazing to me how much ordinary activities like teaching school have changed with technology. I want to see myself as someone open to change and growth, not stuck in the past, but I think I would feel daunted being expected to use Power Point on a regular basis, not just for big deal presentations. And the resisting part of me is glad I don't have to learn how to do that.

I'm aware as I write that I still have the habit of basing my feelings on what's going on with people I love rather than responding to my life directly, first person. My own day has been good. I saw the one client I see at home on Mondays, did scheduling regarding my very busy fall client rush, paid a few bills and wrote a few notes. I'm doing OK eating the right foods but have a strong impulse to eat more than I need which I don't have when I'm busy at work - much more thought about food when home alone. I wonder how people keep their weight down in retirement. I think that may be a problem for me if I ever retire. I actually went in the scrap book room and moved a few things around as I promised last night and have been back in there today to turn on the light (which at my current level of paralysis is a big deal) but still haven't started work. I think I will get three or four hours in though, now. It doesn't feel impossible, and I think that, as Mary commented, this will get easier for me after I start.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's odd at my house tonight - no children - no children all weekend. And school is about to start. I am so little involved in getting anybody ready this year - haven't even physically helped Bob in the classroom at all. It's like the start of school, which so deeply affects at least six of my closest people, is happening in another time zone or something. It's real for me, but one step removed. I hope all of my students and teachers have exactly the year they need to have - hope that for all students and teachers, actually.

This fall is so different, with Joanna not working for me and needing so much less help and Ruth and Chris busy in their own home and lives. I need to be more conscious of time. There seems to be a great deal of it, and I want to be creful to choose what I do with it, to complete projects, not just to drift.

I still feel really overwhemed about scrap booking projects - but now is surely the time. I just get more daunted by not picking it up again. I will do at least something before I go to bed tonight and three hours tomorrow. Maybe then I won't be so afraid to touch the old letters and pictures and so afraid I never will. I k now it doesn't matter on a cosmic level if our family history is in order or not, but getting it so is something I want to do, and believe I can do, if I just can stop giving in to overwhelm.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I found a new toy. It's called "wordles" - a way ofturning words into a picture collage thing based on their frequency of use in a text. I played with it with my reverberation/echoes poem and here is the result. If you want to play, the wordles home page is It's free to make wordles - and it may be addictive, at least for me. Nap time now.
It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Fat blond girl, fourteen
scowls in aquarium line.
Lime green T shirt screams
in huge white neon letters
I don't know who to throttle,
parents, manufacturer, media.
How could such an outrageous
message be culturally cool?
Acceptable? How can anyone
believe that is funny? I rage.
I cry. I fear for our children.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My work week is winding down - just one day to go and the last two days not quite as long as the first two.The summer seems to be winding down too. After a killer hot dry summer we are having milder mornings and warm wet afternoons. Shoal Creek flows with water rather than lying cement barren. Green has once again begun to occur naturally around here. It's been months - since early May - that I have seen local, unwatered green growth. And the normal late summer evening sounds are back - cicadas and toads. The temperature will be in the low nineties when the kids go back to school next week - bearable for sure but still short sleeve weather - too warm for cute fall clothes. I wonder what it would be like to live in a climate where one really could comfortably wear fall clothes on the first day of school.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gold Blood

Skinny ten year old
hyperactive, fatherless
bully magnet, pitiable.
mother-loved, challenged
coached, muscle and heart
to surge through water,
passion pushed resistence,
goal glowed, mythic, heroic,
achieved thirteen years later,
records smashed, eight medallions
attest to Micheal Phelps' gold blood.

I know I am picking out one athlete here, and there are so many in the Olympics, and not in the Olympics, and dancers, singers, musicians, artists - people who emerge in excellence from shadowed or simply ordinary childhoods. And so many who look golden early who do not continue to shine. I think of the Alcoholics Annonymous saying "Don't judge your insides by other people's outsides." I think about the value of not judging at all, and the difficulty. And I go ahead and post the poem I wrote about one gold blood in particular with no disrespect to anyone else's achievements or journey.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am in a quiet mood tonight after a long work day - good work day. I repeat on this blog how fortunate I am to have work I love. I know I repeat - and I am so thankful to have work I love.I also am really blessed in my writing group. This week, home, with more time, I am having a blast with the prompts (Thanks Belle). One was to write a poem using the word "avacado". I wrote two.

Regretted Scorn (Avacado Green)

Avacado green, harvest gold
colors of my teens, my mother's
cool, trendy - enamel fridge colors
shag carpet colors. I wince now
at my arogant young scorn
of my mother's version of cool.

Avacado Shelter

Avacado orchard behind the house
where I was five, sheltering trees
welcomed tentative climber,
secret world of shadows, shapes,
birds, opossum family, dream orchard
invited imagination, nurtured exploration.
Avacado orchard behind the house
haven of sheltering trees. Thank you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What My Life Should Leave

My life should leave echoes,
resounding unpredictably,
echoes of introspection,
conscience, wisdom, hope,
echoes which sing out and resound
Love not ego, My power to do good
and my power to do harm are equal.
The difference is choice. Be kind.
No unnecessary losses. Listen.
Love is stronger than loss.

Reverberating echoes are legacy.
Attribution remains irrelevant.
Days off are wonderful for catching up on reading and writing - hence multiple posts here: I just found a most amazing blog, a woman's international adoption story in which she pulls no punches about the difficulties of bonding with her daughter, adopted as a toddler from Jamaica as opposed to the ease of bonding with her birth son about the same age. The post to which I'm linking you gives a superbly written account of the contrast in the quality of life between our pampered children and the truly poor children in places like Jamaica's "City of the Sun".
I can't believe it. It's 1:47 on an August afternoon during an Austin summer where temperatures have been consistently over 100 degrees Farenheight - even 106, which is plain too hot! And right now the temperature is 73 degrees Farenheight. And it isn't supposed to get into the nineties again until Sunday and rain is in the forecast every day. I would have forgotten rain existed if I hadn't visited the Pacific northwest last month. Last week wehn Bob and I were wading out into the Gulf of Mexico, both of us noticed that the water felt cooler than usual for August (not cold but not bathtub warm either). I took that as a sign - maybe wishful thinking - that fall would come earlier and cooler this year. I hope I'm right.
Journalist and cancer blogger Leroy Seivers died of his disease on August 15. I found his blog My Cancer toward the end, but went and read it back from it's beginning. I think it was a brave thing for this journalist, who had experienced so much broad band emotion covering wars and disasters all over the world, to share his own final personal journey. The blog, sponsored by NPR, had a tremendous readership, including many people wiht cancer and their families. It was truly a gift of love. I find the obituary article I have referenced a chronicle of a great career and life. Thank you Leroy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home - Bob has gone back to Corpus for his first full school week (no kid's yet, more preparation time). Grandchildren are a their own house in their own beds, daughters busily living their own lives. Weekend house guests (what a treat to have Margie, Dave and Rob overnight and watch the Olympics with actual swimmers!) have flown back to Denver. I've checked office messages and there are phone calls to return, but no emergencies. I start a busy work week on Tuesday and am sitting at this moment in our messy kitchen wishing I had more groceries in the house, but happy to have the rest of today and all of tomorrow quiet, except for returning those phone calls and getting some groceries.

Bob's return to Corpus and work is a transition in our lives, a change point, when I return to my school year rhythm of living more alone, accomplishing more individual tasks. I miss him already and am also eager to get some scrap book work and some short story writing done. But not right yet. I want to just unwind a little, just be and breathe and sleep.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Last vacation day had a picture perfect ending - kids on the beach building an impressive neighborhood of sand castles, Bob and I holding hands in the Gulf of Mexico, discussing how to teach kids to write while we bobbed up and down in the gentle waves as the sun set and the moon rose full in a sky tinted gently in blues and pinks. The pearl tones of the sky reflected in the water, the mist and glowing beach sand looked like something painted by Monet - literally caught my breath at the pue beauty of it.

I'm still totally awed by Bridges, the web site I wrote about last week. I wrote to the Friday "I believe" challenge agin today.

I believe the concept of tryog to do my best all the time is dangerous. I try instead to do "well enough" most of the time at most things and aim for excellencewhen possibble, especially with things that really matter. I have made myself so anxious and scattered trying to do my best at everything. Brilliance, when it happens, just blows through the roof on it's own accord anyway.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today was a wonderful vacation day for the kids and me and a good first day back to work for Bob. It is wonderful to see him glowing about being welcomed back with hugs from female teachers and administrators and a handshake from stern and very competent Mr. Washington, who teaches fifth grade. I asked Bob if he felt "home" back at Menger today and he said he did. He said it's a good time to be at Menger. As much as we see wrong with the standardized testing, having done well and being a recognized school does feel good, and there are going to be University of Texas researchers on campus this year doing a study of something about first to third grade math. I think Bob, like me, finds the presence of academic researchers pleasing.

The kids and I spent a long day at the Texas State Aquarium, which just gets better every time I visit it. it is, of course, one of Danny's favorite places on earth and he really was able to show us around after having been there all week lat week. The aquarium has acquired a bunch of new rays - really big black ones, who impressed the heck out of me with their size and the grace of their flight through the water. I also enjoyed watching K.K. and Danny both confidently identify some easy birds (roseate spoonbill, white ibis, and great blue heron) in captivity after seeing these birds in the wild yesterday. They were justifiably proud of their skills.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beach week with grandchildren has all its usual joys - these sounds and smells of salt water waves and sea breeze, dinner table conversations, just the three kids and Bob and me, sharing memories of how we've been coming here since Danny was two - before Zachary was born...remembering the first time we saw ghost crabs together, sand castles, even sunburns - so much shared. And so much is changing. Zachary has made the jump to being able to really swim - is working on an overhand crawl stroke, and wants to spend every possible minute in the "blue pool". Danny is least changed - solidly in middle childhood and a beach lover as ever, also a good beginning birder. K.K. is really growing up, amazing me by finding the broom in the hall closet at the condo and sweeping up sand I hadn't even noticed. She also is noticed and noticing the slightly older boys out at the pool - very shyly tentative, but noticing. On the other hand she wistfully wishes she were a baby and didn't have to face the stress of middle school. Watching her, I think she'll do better than most with this change. Tomorrow we go to the aquarium and Bob has his first official work day at his school. I'm wishing a good year for all of us.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I seem to be obsessing on the issue of John Edward's infidelity. I even dreamed about Elizabeth Edwards last night - innocent dream. She was just walking on a beach but she was definitely there, alone. I think a friend caught part of why I'm obsessing in an email when she wrote, "I feel betrayed and I'm not even his wife." Me too.

I find myself shaken by another friend's comment, that maybe the affair was a factor contributing to the spread of Elizabeth Edwards' of cancer.I don't want to believe that, though I know stress compromises the immune system. I am willing to accept that we are responsible for each other's emotional and spiritual well being to enormous extent, but the possible presence of that big a connection between what other people do and my physical health or survival, or between my behavior and the physical health and survival of others, scares me silly.

The issue of the media behavior and what is or isn't news and what is or isn't private is huge here.

The issue of individual responsibility is even stronger for me though - how we have got to stop thinking about whether we can get by with things and live out of what is helpful or hurtful to others. I don't think it's just about men, or politicians, or sex, but about our whole society being too externally motivated and doing what we think we can get by with. I increase my motivation today to demonstrate and speak out for internal motivation and to teach kids, all kids whose lives touch mine, even more strongly, the value of never trying to get by with anything.

I believe the core issue here is responsible use of personal power, and that applies to all players, including the press. I keep going back to one of my core belief statements "My power to do good and my power to do harm are equal. The difference is choice". The more powerful we are, the more difference we can make ineither direction. I wish John Edwards had been more careful with his considerable persona. power.

MORE THOUGHTS: (PS) I really am obsessing on this. I hope I stop here, but who knows? I just realized that one of the things that upsets me the most is that Edwards chose to run for President AFTER the affair. That just blows me away, seems completely irresponsible and full of hubris. And if Elizabeth Edwards did know as she said she did, and supported his bid under those circumstances, I no longer see her as an innocent. It seems such an enormous act of ego to believe that one, or one's husband' is THE one who can save or turn around the country, enough to attempt a Presidential campaign under compromising circumstances like that. I am completely shocked they would have made such a choice.

I have a new favorite destination in blogland, Bridges, at The amazing woman who hosts Lost and Found, Connections Abound, a superb infertility and loss of baby resource, has done it again. She has created a consortium site which I will let her describe here in her own words:

About Bridges
Who Are We

Bridges is an awareness consortium of compassionate bloggers who are using writing to educate, tell a story, bring awareness, and build community. Our contributing editors all keep personal blogs and our blogroll serves as a cross-section of community where you can find various stories on a plethora of topics.

Topics already have included infertility, cancer, mental illness,and ADHD. The site links us to communities of bloggers who are experienceing particular issues, for instance "Mothers With Cancer" For me the site really does act as a bridge between communities and experiences. She even has a Friday feature which in which we can participate by answering one of two questions:

What do you believe?
What have you observed or noticed this week as you've walked through your world?

The very first discussion got deeply into the "Do things happen for a reason?" issue. Here is my first Friday response - no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly, but I feel like sharing it anyway.

I believe things happen - period - not for a cosmic reason. I do believe in physical reasons: that Kerry, my first husband got deadly cancer at 36 because of chemicl exposure as a small child, but not because God had a lesson in the dying for him or for me. I do believe in God as a source of strength and energy, that I draw on through spiritual practice. I most strongly believe that, whatever happens to me, I have power in what I do with the circumstances, how I let them shrink me or induce growth. I believe that we can give useful, even noble purposes to the worst things that happen to us, and that is where I find hope, not in looking for a cosmic reason.

I don't think we have the power we sometimes long for - to keep our babies and bodies healthy, our loved ones alive, through positive thought, healthy enough practices,keeping stress down, or even prayer. When Kerry was dying, one of the hardest things was to know I couldn't keep him alive by loving him well enough. A number of people suggested that we needed to adjust our prayer or our thinking, and that only hurt more. I really believe many things happen to us that are outside our control and that we can only take charge of how we respond.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I'm feeling a little frayed tonight. It's been a long work day and I feel less than usually sure that I was helpful to clients today. I wasn't tired or "off", but do the human condition is just complicated - no simple fixes.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I am trying to go to bed early (for me) because I made the insane choice of starting an eleven hour work day tomorrow at 8:00 in the morning - will be worth it but sleep is the responsible choice here.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the lack of control we really have in our lives and want to share two quotes I like on that theme.

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -- Joseph Campbell

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." -- Gilda Radner

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I have a little extra time before going to work and have been pleasing myself by straightening up a little - dusting - doing domestic things that seem to be harder for me to get to when there are others in the house. It feels good. I'm also really enjoying Bob's enjoyment of his birthday present camera. He has taken pictures of Danny at Sea Camp and is well on his way with his bird picture collection. He seems so happy hunting the birds and getting their pictures - really makes me happy to be able to add to his happiness with the camera, and I'm thrilled that he's sharing the pictures.

I got distracted from the questions I requested during the busy summer and want to get back to them - briefly this morning, then really wade in. Some of the hardest and most interesting questions await.

Mary J asks "Do you believe in absolute truth?" That's a tough one. I believe in objective recordable reality, but that's different from absolute truth. I mean someone can photograph a moment and viewers of the photo can see who was in the room, with what facial expression, wearing what clothes - but probably no one in the room will remember the scene exactly as the photo caught it because our brains are so full of filters. I think it's the same with bigger spiritual truths, that there is an objective reality about things like the presence or absence of God and heaven, but that we are incapable of really knowing or understanding those realities and so we interpret them as best we can. As far as ethics go, I definitely believe many of the little nuances we think of as ethics are really cultural - like what behavior connotes respect or intimacy - what degree of emotional or physical connection is "enough" in a particular situation. I believe that when it comes down to the very basic "Love thy neighbor as thyself." that some version shows up in just about every tradition I've heard of and it seems the closest thing I know to absolute truth is that life works better when more people follow this tenet. "Love, not ego" is the code for that tenet which I play over and over in my own thoughts and use to guide my actions. As for many of the other sayings and philosophies I live by like "Real is better than perfect." and "No unnecessary losses", I don't think they are absolute truths, just guidelines that help me live more as I choose to.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I've had a pretty ordinary good day back at work living on my own again - proud of myself for getting to the bus stop and the office on time - returning phone calls, mailing a check - all the little pieces of being grown up that still make me feel confident and - well- grown up. Funny that it's still an issue at 57. I'm still reading cancer and death of child blogs and am so thankful tonight that my ordinary days (for now) are good and relatively challenge free.

I miss Bob and am thrilled he has internet in the Corpus apartment now. That will make life much easier. We've already been sending notes like school kids.

It's supposed to rain, but it isn't - is cooler though. The sense that a storm may come, a wind, a change, seems to have lifted many people's spirits today.

I cannot claim to love
faceless children
as much as my own or
to care who eats or dies
in huts across the world
as much as who is hungry
in my house,at my table.
My empathy is limited.
I believe interdependence
is self interest, is essential.
All life dies or thrives with earth,
interconnected,. Interdependent.
Nations, boundaries, personal identities
are luxuries we can no longer afford.
We must choose to share our
resources reasonably or we will all die.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Blogging like mad - I know. This is the first couple of quiet days I've had in a while and I'm both having more input because of doing things like reading blogs and watching TV and having more time to process input in writing. This entry is because I just watched a segment of a PBS series called China From The Inside that helped me realize how ignorant I a of the way people live all over the world. This segment about women in China, in combination with last night's Wide Angle segment on the training of midwife surgeons to fight the high rate of maternal and infant mortality in sub Saharan Africa really focuses me on the extreme privilege in my own life, even at times when money seems tight. These shows make me see the degree of difference between my life and most people in the world's lives more clearly than just reading words and numbers can. Sub Saharan Africa has 85% of the disease in the world and 2% of the doctors (or something close to that - imperfect memory) and one Chinese woman kills herself every four minutes - mostly women in the country side between sixteen and thirty five. A woman in the countryside is not asked if she is married, according to this show but "who her master is". My own little life has been so privileged - so sheltered. I really recommend the China From The Inside series. They seem to have amazing access. The women's segment showed both rural and urban life - the regimentation of factory life (which some young women were very pleased with as better than rural poverty and others found very stressful. To my western sensibility the crowding and regimentation in the cities would be very difficult as would the hard physical work and poverty of rural Chinese life. The topic of preference for boy children (and the abortion or abandonment of girls) was also addressed. The next segment will be on the environment.
Not So Sure.

I used to think I knew
that what was good for me
would be good for you.
Now I'm not so sure
I just came in from hanging the wash on the line - ordinary enough but I'm feeling really proud of myself. The decision to make this life style change to line drying has been easier for Bob than for me. I've resisted, complained, even fussed. I didn't want to bother, disliked the stiffness of line dried clothes, wanted to just keep using the drier. But I'm slowly changing. Leaving the clothes out only long enough to dry them - no extra, seems to help with the stiffness issue. And there is something sweet about repeating an activity I remember doing with my Grandma Anna, with so much love. I am using her clothespins (much sturdier than those made now) and keeping them in a basket from her kitchen. I also felt close to Bob this morning hanging clothes on the line he lovingly rigged this summer - doing something I know he values. And talk about solar energy! It really is flowing downward here. Good to take advantage.
I found an amazing blog yesterday - sat up much of the night reading back entries. It is called "My Cancer" and is the cancer journey story of a successful professional , Leroy Seivers, who has been fighting (his word though he's not sure he likes it) metastatic cancer for two and half years. He and his wife are getting into the hard part now - the considering hospice part. They are still sharing their experience and have built a tremendous community and provided so much support and connection (I only barely managed to touch the comments but there is a large community of readers). This blog is one more example of how people can use absolutely any experience to grow and to help others. We are not what happens to us, but what we make of what happens to us. The link is

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It's quiet in my house - cool - well over 100 outside. Bob and Danny are on their way to Corpus where Danny will attend a week of aquarium camp and I Bob will put in some work in his classroom. We've had such a good summer - talks, walks, visits with family. I miss my husband already but also am enjoying the quiet and am about to start doing some cleaning and organizing. I have projects to do and some enjoyment of having time open to do them - mostly scrapbooking and an effort to make more sensible use of my kitchen drawers - some organization of poetry too and a short story or two. Bob and I actually did start Weight Watchers yesterday and I'm hopeful. He printed out lots of recipes and I cooked five - like all of them - sent him back with plenty of healthy food. And I will have blueberries for my afternoon snack.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Memorable Day - It's day 90 of Ruth's current pregnancy with Sprout, the day Mira died on March 11. All is still well with Sprout.

Bob and I had an end of summer dinner date at Fonda San Miquel, the restaurant at which we had a number of memorable dates, including the lunch during which we were reintroduced by our mutual friend and our rehearsal dinner (Thank you Bill and GInny!) It is as it always was, beautiful, fragrant, rich with memory, and with the best flavored intereior Mexican food I've ever eaten anywhere.