Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I feel much better, brighter, than earlier before I walked to the store. It's odd how just walking up the hill in the cooling evening cleared my head, and how pleasant it was to just shop for tooth paste and tea without time constraints. I still have words and words to write and not the time I want to give them, if I am disciplined and get sleep before my work day. I will get at least a few highlights down.

Bob's class is wonderful this year (so strange how groups of kids can differ from year to year). I took them memory wire necklaces with pendants onf animals and stones.They chose with delight, care and gratitude. They asked questions about the stones, the animals, how I chose what stones and beads to use together, what tools I used, if I'd teach them to make necklaces (and yes, of course yes!)

I coached the kids on writing, revising, creating personal narratives, and this group tries so hard. They have stories to tell, real stories - just need to learn that mastery of the writing craft is the way to get their stories told. I felt excited, sitting with kids as they revealed the details of their experience whether riding to San Antonio in the back of a pickup truck with four cousins and an uncle, hunting and learning to pluck a wild turkey, fearing an uncle's temper, or making eggs and watching football with a loving Daddy. They made their lives real for me, and I felt honored.

The kids and parents see Bob for the mentor, teacher, good man he is and it makes me happy to see him in an environment where he is so clearly loved. The school kids and teachers were given free food at Gatti Land Friday night and I delighted in seeing all the hugs Bob got and the extent to which he was in his element, his world. I feel that kind of "at home" at my office and I like it that he has that professional and human community too. It would be nice if they were in the same city, but I'm more thankful we have what we have than fretting the details.

Saturday night Bob and I stood in the Gulf (beach re sculpted with less sand and large rolling swells after hurricane Ike). Sunday morning we visited the hawk watch and attended the Native American blessing of the hawks. The chanting and the emphasis on this season of change reminded me of my own tribe's chanting and singing at Rosh Hoshannah. Some of the sounds in the chants were even the same - especially "Ya." The blessing offered at the end was "May you walk in ceremony always." I like that blessing - re frame it "May you walk in mindfulness always." Or in shalom - wholeness.

Owl Truth

Springtime mornings last so long
we forget the deep night's song.
Fall trees flame, and we remember.
Owl's call shatters bright illusion.
Time is short, harvest uncertain.
Owl moon waxes, shows first crescent,
slimmest glimmer of life's full circle.
We sense death, and dread her coming
We fear death and meet her singing.
Owl moon holds us, coming, going.
She rocks us lightly, knowing, knowing.
Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.
--Phillips Brooks

I'm way too far behind on this blog and have so much I want to share from my visit with Bob and his class in Corpus and the begining of the High Holy Days. I've had trouble gathering my words and thought that just starting out posting again with the quote (which I just found and really like) would let readers know I'm alive and maybe prime my writing pump a little. We'll see. I have to walk up the hill now and return a late DVD lest we be charged for it. When I get back, I hope I'll write for real.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Joanna's birthday - I took her to supper at the Olive Garden and it was a sweet evening , just the two of us - felt good. Thirty one years ago feels like a long time, especially with her Daddy having been dead twenty of them. he was so much a part of the day of her birth, the beginning of her life. I remember walking to the library in labor with her - to speed things up, some of the same route I walked home from the bus stop today. I remember walking up the sidewalk to the front door the first time with her in my arms, and then, the next morning, Kerry and I going out on the patio to read the paper and have tea and locking the baby alone in the house. The second she started to cry, he broke the window and climbed in to rescue her. It is sad tonight that so many of the people who were actively involved in welcoming and loving baby Joanna are dead. Joanna, however, thrives. happy birthday sweet daughter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today was a better day. I finished my apologies and amends for yesterday's mistake. I'm excited about celebrating Joanna's birthday tomorrow (dinner out together) and about going to Corpus to see Bob for the weekend. I want to swim in the Gulf one more time before it gets too cold and see the migrating birds. And I want to meet this years class and am scheduled to help a few of the fast finisher polish essays. And of course, it will be good just to be with Bob. I'm taking the super early bus on Friday so I can spend tomorrow evening with Joanna.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am definitely in a mental place to need and benefit from the refection and turning of this time of year. I made a mental error at work which feels like a betrayal of trust to a friend. I meant no harm - was forgetful and careless or details as I can be - as I tend to be. As I said in my apology, I caused harm in the way in which I habitually cause harm, one of the ways it is hardest for me to change. I make no excuses. I had only good intentions and bad habits, and I caused harm all the same. So the reflection for today (which is one of my favorites anyway) has deep meaning for me.

Maimonides, the RaMBaM, describes the mental state we should adopt... We should think of ourselves and the world as perfectly balanced: exactly half guilty and half innocent. If we commit one sin we press down the scale of guilt against ourselves and the entire world and cause its destruction. And if we perform one good deed we press down the scale of merit and bring salvation to the entire world. Our simplest acts become infused with profound meaning.

Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm feeling time is short tonight because I want to put out fall decorations in my house and work starts eary in the morning. So, feeling that it is too late to write a long blog entry, I will use another Jewish reflective piece (and no, the irony of title and placement isn't lost on me - amuses me.)

It's Never Too Late

The last word has no been spoken,
the last sentence has not been written
the final verdict is not in.
It is never to late
to change my mind,
my direction,
to say no to the past
and yes to the future,
to offer remorse,
to ask and give forgiveness.
It is never too late
to start over again,
to feel again
to love again
to hope again...

Rabbi Harold Schulweis

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I feel content tonight. The children and Bob and I hiked at McKinney Falls this morning and it felt so good just to be out in the season shift weather with people I love. K.K. and I noticed leaves falling from the trees in the woods, a steady green gold flutter downward - as she said "a literal example of the coming of fall." We noticed individual leaves, golden, or faded green on the path, beautiful portraits of a life and function lived out and passing to a new stage. We all delighted in the discovery, in a tiny pond among the rocks, of a skinny striped three foot long water snake and at least one leopard frog. Asters and morning glories in blues, pinks, and purples, forced their faces up through crevices in the rocks. The season of change is so alive.

And K.K. is like that too - richly alive, as she changes from girl to young woman. She had her first school dance Friday night (a sweet sixth grade dance with no couple dancing, just lots of chicken dance and Y.M.C.A., but the normal developing tensions of attraction and shyness (Does that cute boy who I haven't seen since second grade even remember who I am?) I see the changes in her brothers too, more maturity, more calm, more self awareness. Danny waked along the trail wisting bird song - joining in what he called, accurately, the birds morning party in the woods. he looked so relaxed, arms swinging, gait fluid. I wanted to bottle the moment. And Zachary is a mountain goat, a tree climber, delighted, unafraid but not reckless, just a joy - and really learning his letters now and understanding that he needs to.

And Bob. Bob is such a good man, such a joy to me - creating memories and experiences for me and the kids that wouldn't happen without his creativity and desire to make the best and most of every chance we have. We wouldn't have seen the snake if we hadn't gone to the park and we wouldn't have gone to the park if Bob hadn't thought to. I'm so fortunate in my husband, my life!
Continuing in the reflective tone of the season, I want to share an anecdote sent to me by Rabbi Kerry Baker:

Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and Episcopal Archbishop of South Africa, had a profound effect on his later life. When asked to name a childhood experience that empowered him to work for social justice, he recalled an incident in which, as a youngster, he saw a white man tip his hat to a black woman.

“The woman,” noted Tutu, “was my mother, and the man was an Episcopal bishop!”

Based on this incident, I am encouraged to think of an act that influenced me for good when I was younger.

There were so many, but my mind goes first to my Grandma Anna, my mother's mother, who is my anchor for goodness and simplicity. I remember hanging laundry with her when I was six or seven, up earlier in the morning than I wanted to be. I don't remember complaining about the hour or the work, but I must have, because I remember she reminded me about the honor and dignity of work done well without complaint. She taught me to hang each piece of clothing straight and carefully, clothes pins evenly spaced. Hanging clothes with her was like a morning prayer, a mindfulness, an act of gratitude. She pointed out the colors of the sky, the song and redness of the cardinal in the peach tree, the freshness of the breeze. The lesson doesn't translate well into words. It was so deep, under and beyond words - a lesson of humility, simplicity, dignity, work, mindfulness, all tied together in the daily routines of life.

And I am asked to make a commitment to pass this lesson on today.

Today I will behave in ways that will reflect mindfuness, patience, and humility.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

As the High Holy Days approach I will be posting more intorspective Jewish pieces gathered from different sources. This one definitey touches my belief that we are all citizens of one world.

Humanity Is Indivisible

How does the Jewish mind work? We learned that from Teddy Kollek, the [former] mayor of Jerusalem, when he was awarded the annual Peace Prize of the Association of German Publishers. The ceremony took place in the historic Paulskirche in Frankfurt. When Kollek was asked to designate someone to present the award, he made a surprising choice. He picked Manfred Rommel, now the mayor of Stuttgart, and the son of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.

After receiving the prize, Kollek responded. He explained that he had chosen Rommel to make the present5ation because he remembered the battle of El Alamein and the “great danger that the German army, under Field Marshall Rommel, posed in [that] part of the world. The fate of the Jewish people of Palestine [now Israel] seemed mortally threatened.”

“Who would have imagined then, [Kollek asked], that the field Marshall’s son and I would meet in the peaceful profession of being mayors? Isn’t that a symbol of peace, which is our theme here?” And then Kollek added these remarkable words:

“In the face of the fanaticism and intolerance which are the mark of our time, there is a need for a deep belief in humanistic Jewishness…treating all [people] with the same respect and in the same manner. That isn’t always recognized, especially among groups which only think of themselves and overlook the interests of others…According to Jewish belief, [however], humanity is indivisible.

Rabbi Sandy Ragins, from The American Rabbi, 1994

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Summer is fading - temperature below sixty for the first time since spring early this morning - full harvest moon beginning to wane, summer green on neighborhood trees barely fading. The change is subtle right now, just starting, but heartening. It is the season of harvest and I am reflective Jewish holidays. I'm reflecting tonight on harvest. What am I harvesting this season?

Increased awareness that everything changes.
Initiative to write every day - at east something.
Renewed excitement in my work.
Commitment to healthier eating.
Increased closeness with both daughters.
A changing relationship with a beautifully developing K.K.
Extra delight in my marriage with Bob, and pleasure in his career blooming.
Renewed commitment to giving people the benefit of the doubt.
New and strengthened friendships.

I wonder what others are harvesting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Edward Steichen : Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.
We Remember Them
At the rising of the sun and at its going down
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter
We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring
We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn
We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength
We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart
We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share
We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make
We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.

I don't know the author, but I love this reading about the beloved dead which I have heard at Jewish funerals and which my niece Mary shared as the reading at her friend's funeral Thursday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quiet today - resrful day off. I did a little scrapbooking, a little beading, read some, took a walk in the moonlight, not much of consequence - a conscious shoring up of energy for a work week which feels overscheduled. Mastering the discipline of scheduling seems to stay justa step beyond me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Hole

The important thing
when you are making a hole
is what
will come

Peggy Goetz - September 14, 2008
What a lovely weekend, and completely different than the holed up weekend I expected. Yesterday Bob and I took the grand kids hiking out at Pedernales Falls State Park, our favorite "green glass river" park. We walked (and the boys clambered, climbed, and lept) through formations of rocks right by the river. K.. talked about sixthr grade, which seems a fit for her. She seems so self- contained and happy with who she is, and had just deeply enjoyed the first day back at jazz and tap with her favorite teachers. Danny and Zachary demonstrated great cheer and stamina, loving the chance to move and be in a beautiful wild place. Wildlife wise we struck it rich, seeing ring tail and fox.

Today was more mundane, lots of cooking and laundry - but Bob and I had good visits with Joanna and Tracy last night and Ruth and Chris this afternoon - Life truly is good.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike missed us - just cloudy and a little breezy. There was damage in Houston and Galveston, but not even there as much as was feared. t's been great having extra time wiht Bob. Now we just need to figure out how we want to use the time we thought we would be housebound.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm tired tonight - don't know how much from waiting for the hurricane to hit or not and how much just from a long work week. It's great to have Bob here, safe, before the winds and rain hit - if they will. I worry about hte people in Galveston and Houston where the storm is much stronger and already doing damage.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike is Coming

Hurricane Ike is coming,
sucking moisture out of air,
breathing stifling stillness.
Hurricane Ike is coming,
storing toward Texas coast
Highways run one way - away.
Hurricane Ike is coming.
School is out. We flood
stores for bottled water,
batteries, chocolate.
hurricane Ike is coming.
We board windows,
secure garbage cans,
hurricane Ike is coming
We hold onto each other
lie restless in our beds,
Hurricane Ike is coming.
what will he leave behind?

Victoria Hendricks - September 11, 2008
September 11 - not just a date anymore, like December 7 (day of infamy) and July 7 (the day Kerry died) They are watershed dates, individually or culturally, the days before turns into after. I think the book Falling Man catches that separation of Before and After very well. It happens with other things - like a diagnosis of a terminal or serious illness too. Laurie Siefers catches it in the NPRMyCancer blog - two befores and afters - Leroy's diagnosis, and his death. I wonder how many turning point events are left in my life - how many fresh starts I have left in me - both in my personal life and as a citizen of the world.

I realize that I could be having political thoughts around September 11, but I just don't - grieving thoughts only. And thoughts toward actions I can take to help people lean not to hate, not to separate around divides of religion, nation, race, class - all the things we use to make people "the other" - "the enemy"

My September 11 seven years later has passed and Hurricane Ike is roaring toward the Texas coast, but mostly life goes on as usual. I'm surprised by how little comment people give this date - seem to be going through a period of silent mourning and commemoration, maybe trying to make sense of the change in the world internally. Several people I know and respect have said they have no words about the events of this date seven years ago. I still have words, need words need to focus and to grieve. I have been looking at pictures of myself at a Fire fighter shrine (outside firehouse near the towers) and at the beautiful large framed photograph K.K. and I bought from a local New Yorker which depicts the towers vibrant at sunset.On a friend's blog I saw pictures of the towers just being themselves on an ordinary day - and most movingly, a picture of friends joyfully dining at Windows on the World. That one made me weep. I wanted to eat there - a romantic fantasy never possible now.

I think the silence around this day for so many people catches my attention as another evidence of how individually people grieve.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A site I love - Bridges - has a loop of memoir 100 words pieces up in memory of September 11. I don't know how often they switch. Mine is in there somewhere. They are full of variety and stunning I think - some good young writers in this crew and lots of feeling from different perspectives. http://awarenessbridges.blogspot.com/

The piece I have in there is the airplanes one I wrote last year.

September 11 Airplanes

Jet planes became weapons,
silver bullets hurled by hate
at abstractions of greed,
shattered real lives,
orphaned real children
widowed real wives.

Victoria Hendricks - September 10, 2007
It seems like time, in preparation for the Days of Awe, to start with a few spiritual preparations posts. The following quote was sent today by a rabbi friend.

Shaping the Image of the Coming Year

My friend, Kansas City Jewish community leader Merilyn Berenbom, tells this story from her childhood.

My father was a lawyer, and he happened to have as one of his clients the well-known artist Thomas Hart Benton. Occasionally, when I was a young child, our family would visit his house, where he had a large studio, with a broad wall where he would create his famous murals. And with every mural, even while the wall was still blank, the studio would have in it sculptures and paintings. For before creating any character in the mural itself, Benton would make an entire sculpture of that individual, and do painting of that character, so as to effectively capture what it was that he wanted to create.

And so I have reflected since then about how important it is to capture a vision of what we want to create, before we go about building it.

And as we approach the beginning of the New Year, we reflect about why we are here. Throgh our prayers, through reflection, through sincere teshuvah…we are doing the work of shaping the bust, the image, of the year we seek to create. It remains for us to make the final “mural” of our lives by shaping our characters, day to day, throughout the rest of the year.

Rabbi David M. Horowitz
Now evacuation of Corpus Christi is under way. School is canceled tomorrow and Friday. Bob stayed and worked late tonight preparing some enrichment packets for a couple of very bright math students who are finishing much faster than the rest of the class and then fidgeting, bored. He is happy to have had the extra time to prepare. He'll sleep tonight there and get up early in the morning and drive up here on the Interstates which are already being directed only away from the coast. I'm working tomorrow anyway, so we wouldn't get much extra time together if he got on the road late tonight. I'm glad he got the extra work sheets made. I hope we are all over-preparing for this storm and there is no loss of life and little loss of property. And I'm looking forward to extra days with my husband.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's odd that I didn't post about Hurricane Ike earlier. Maybe I really an brain dead, or just in denal or have dulled warning lights from the many times scary weather phenomena were predicted and did not hit. At any rate, Hurricane Ike may well hit Corpus Christi where Bob teaches, and may drop a lot of rain on us in Austin - winds too. Bob says the chance of a direct damaging hit on Corpus is still not real high. Storms are so unpredictable, however Bob will probably evacuate Corpus Thursday night unless Ike turns. There will probably be a day off from school there Friday. Bob seems calm, but has a full tank of gas and plans to evacuate quickly if asked to, with dog and turtle and camera and lap top in tow A cool thing is that his class is studying mapping and is tracking Ike - much to the kids interest. He doesn't seem to have any kids who are really terrified of storms, just appropriately cautious. I love how BOb is incorporating real life events into his teaching, and the kids seem to be loving it too.
The i key on my computer is sticking and I'm brain dead from a very long work day, so no real words of wisdom tonight. I am finishing Falling Man, a novel by Don Delillo in honor of the September 11 anniversary - striking book of memory, the way it is lost and found again, the many ways living through horrors changes people and relationships. This book takes many points of view - mostly of a man who walked out of the towers, his wife (with whom he was having marital difficulties before the attack) and his young son, who scans the sky for more planes. It also (very disturbingly for me) explores the inner life of one of the terrorists before the attack - his humanness, his pain, and his very threatening beliefs. The language is beautiful throughout and the psychology rings true. The tone is reflective and sad, but not without warmth and love. It's a book about after - after the worst has happened - after the turning point. It makes me think about the "afters" in my own life - the new chapters after innocence, or a love, or a way of being in the world has been lost. Most afters are small scale - personal. The after regarding the September 11 attacks was so much bigger. The author does a good job of letting it be big and personal at the same time. Literature of power is such a gift. I go to bed tonight thankful for story tellers and their courage to tell our stories.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato
Just to get it down - I'm actually doing it - working on scrapbooks at a deep level focusing on the one of my parents marriage years. I need to buy more adhesive, but I am truly progressing (I hope, I believe) not just moving things around like I ave been when I've even been doing that.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Language does have the power to change reality. Therefore, treat your words as the mighty instruments they are - to heal, to bring into being, to remove, as if by magic, the terrible violations of childhood, to nurture, to cherish, to bless, to forgive - to create from the whole cloth of your soul, true love.
Daphne Rose Kingma
I've had a really quiet day - nothing much to post about. I cooked mango for the first time in my life - yummy with turkey - actually worked on my long blocked projects, rearranged my closets for season change -nothing worth many words but I'm in the habit of writing here every day and want to give this good quiet day the attention it deserves.

Biggest accomplishment today is that my friend Katie, a local parenting coach and therapist published my piece about children and grief on her parenting blog. I'm wanting to write ore for more audiences so that feels good. If you're interested the link is http://www.katiemalinski.com/blog/

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Feeling connected makes such a big difference in my sense of well-being. THis evening Ruth called to ask me for some help brain storming for her college lecture tomorrow - internal and external, global specific, responsible or not in terms of attribution. The subject doesn't matter. What matters to me so much is that she still values me as a thinker and support. It's so much fun to be able to help - feels so good to be needed. Happy Mama here tonight.
I'm feeling happy this afternoon even though Bob stayed in Corpus this weekend to save gas and work on lesson plans. last night I went to synagogue with Ruth and Chris and enjoyed the singing and the warmth of the small reconstructionist group with which we are praying these days. It's good to see Ruth and Chris obviously connecting there, loved and supported. during the joys and oys segment, in which we talk about our lives, Chris announced Sprout's coming birth and talked about the sadness of having lost Mira just after announcing that pregnancy in synagogue. This time they are a full month further along and have no complications of any kind - so far so good. Joanna stopped by this morning and we went to the grocery store together and got a good talk in. She reports that all three kids are having a pretty good beginning of school. Home work will really heat up for K.K. when dance starts next week, but so far so good. I'm happy she is getting more dance scholarship this year. Every bit helps. Joanna looks healthy and pretty, she and Ruth both lovely in early pregnancy.

I haven't started scrap book or other projects yet - but it's only Saturday afternoon and I think I will get more done this solitary weekend than I did tow weeks ago - feeling hopeful and less blocked.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

K.K. Sleeping - age 12

Even in her Pooh nightgown with Teddy cuddled close,
Even when she's nuzzled Caleb the cat goodnight.
Even though she still checks the bathroom light
Even after she's asked twice for a hug and a tuck.
Even with flame curls loose on her favorite yellow pillow,
Even in sleep, her face has changed, no longer a child's.
John McCain's speech is much more what I expected - sober and solid and respectful - not hateful like the speeches last night. I have liked and respected this man for years. I was distressed last night by the tone - but not so tonight.

I do love and respect our country, and the democratic process as it plays out in this election and in our national life.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I'm distressed by the Republican National Convention. There seems to be so much anger, so much name calling. I want to vote and want others to vote issues - not stirred up emotion.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Today was a good work day - satisfying. The great mood I built up during the weekend with Bob hasn't worn off yet. I even did some extra walking during the heat of a hot day and didn't mind at all. I've been searching quote sites, finding some treasures. This one fits my mood this evening.

And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…
Marilyn Thomsen

Monday, September 01, 2008

Early this morning (though it felt like very late last night), I posted about our wonderful weekend so far. Today was even better. Bob and I hiked under the pine trees at Bastrop State Park, and visited our favorite rock shop where Bob bought a few bright marbles and hearts for the treasure box for his students. Thirsty from hiking in the heat we treated ourselves to oversized diet limeades from Sonic - and enjoyed them immensely. As we drove away from the rock shop, Bob saw a sign that said "BEADS" and turned down a driveway to follow it. We found an out of the way little bead store where the man teaches classes in wire work and makes his own pendants - and where he sold beautiful semiprecious beads at really reasonable prices. I bought three colors of jade, two sizes sodalite, and some really striking sardonyx and jasper. I haven't bought semiprecious beads in some time and am excited - and was especially touched that BOb found the store and encouraged me to buy. I felt like a young woman on a date with him today - the hiking and shopping, and on the way home finding fresh juicy peaches at a roadside stand and letting the juice run down our chins. What a lucky woman am I!
This will be a mundane post about a mundane and happy weekend.

I talked with Joanna last night, and briefly with K.K. and it seems that school started well for everyone at that house. K.K. seems much calmer about middle school now that it has started, seems to like her teachers and be making new friends. For the boys this school year does not bring big changes and they were both happy to see school friends again. Ruth taught her first ACC class of the semester today and she feels it went well. Her day job in the life skills class in the elementary school is also pleasing her - only ten kids when she feared more and another employee hired so the ratio is reasonable after all. Bob and Chris both continue to be happy with their classes

I'm loving having Bob for the three day weekend. He even came in Friday night bearing roses and lilies! We have had a relaxing, quiet time together, and got lots of grading done. I caught up his laundry and cooked lots of healthy Weight Watchers core recipes for us both to eat over the next couple of weeks. Both of us were pleased by the weight loss we are showing. We just need to keep it up. Today we received the exercises equipments (stretch bands for strength training) that Bob recently ordered. i like them and we both enjoyed our workout today. We even played some Scrabble tonight - one game with a twist Bob thought to add. We got an extra ten points if we uses a word from a specific category - tonight animals. I got four or five more animals than he did but he still beat me. Oh well, I live to play another day. We will got to a state park tomorrow morning for a hike before it gets too hot, which means I should be asleep or at least in bed, but I feel restless.

I keep thinking about the Gulf Coast (especially New Orleans) and Gustav - hoping against hope it won't do as much harm as it seems like it will. I do think it's appropriate and compassionate that the Republicans are playing down their convention n face of Gustav. I don't believe things happen for a reason or that patterns in nature are driven by the divine in a very specific, one on one way - but Gustave threatening New Orleans three years after the devastation of Katrina gives me pause. I don't seem to be able to settle to sleep and I think that's all Gustav.