Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today is my 59'th birthday and it has been a good day. I am not as focused on birthdays or age as many people I think, but I do notice that this is the last birthday in my fifties. My fifties has been a good decade, one of my best. I used to think of sixty as the beginning of being "old". I don't think that now. Many of my friends are well past sixty and active, adventurous, healthy. Sixty doesn't scare me, but I do know that as we get older losses of members of our own generation will get more frequent and that makes me sad. I remember my friend Dolly who died suddenly last spring.

I do love that my birthday is the day the nights start to get shorter, the days longer, the day of the invisible beginning of light's return. That change seems especially fitting this year. The fall has been rich with so much change, mostly good. I just hope, hope, hope that Joanna's house will close tomorrow and satisfactorily after way too many delays.

The co housing with Ruth Chris and Liam is working out delightfully, and the work of pruning belongings, though it will continue at least into the spring, has progressed markedly. I think there is nothing in the kitchen or living room that we have not consciously chosen to keep, and I've made great progress in that direction with clothes, shoes and such. Family pictures and old letters are another story altogether. Maybe next year. Seriously, it does seem more possible than it has in decades to have a real handle on what I keep.

Liam has his own room, lovingly painted by his Mom in Pacific northwest colors to match the mural of La Push that adorns one wall. He slept a good portion of last night alone in the bed in his room, a surprise to all of us. Bob and I are resettled in the middle bedroom with the pull down wall bed, and like having more space when the bed is up. Bob finally has drawers and a half closet of his own for the first time since we started the cohousing. We have a beautiful green wall that will feature our Navajo tree of life rug and shelves for treasures.I think the bedroom situation is resolving now into one that really works for all of us. Still boxes to go through - still a box in the middle of my bedroom floor in fact - but better, much better.

I only worked a little today - had lunch at my favorite Indian buffet with Ruth, Liam, and Bob, and walked with Bob at dusk at McKinney Falls. We talked about the possibility of his shifting to teaching high school math and looking for a job in Austin, or even a fourth grade job in Austin. His school in Corpus is a great fit, but, with five school years until retirement, the idea of living together full time again appeals. We'll see. The highlight of our walk was the sight of over thirty Great American egrets on the shores of Onion Creek.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Last year I was full of poems for Hannukah. This year I'm just thankful for all sources of light in the darkness. This year has brought two new family babies, major changes in housing, enriching travels through the American west, ongoing sense of both mortality and awe. Nights are long this time of year, and still the sun comes up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's odd to think about turning 59 later this month. I've never been an age person, never thought much about milestone birthdays. It feels strange though to be almost sixty. I'm thankful to have lived this long and experienced all I've experienced. Its just odd to realize I've known my oldest friends way longer than we were old when we met. Machines now look so different than they did when I was a child or even a young mother - laptop, cellphone (the whole concept of "texting" flat screen TV. I remember being a kid and going to Tomorrow land at Disneyland and looking at the house of the future, which if I remember right was less plugged in than my house today. There has been so much change and I can learn to take advantage of it and benefit from it, but it will never feel "mine". Definitely a twentieth century mind here.

The more sobering thing about being in my late fifties is that the people I remember as mentors and guides - the people who turned sixty around the time I turned forty, are mostly dead now or ill or in some way impaired. It is odd to be thinking twenty five good years, long shot thirty - and then again, there was no counting on the first thirty or even the first one. Each day for what I can do with it. That is enough.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The garage is almost a studio. It's gone through so many stages, some orderly, some awfulduring the 33 years we've lived in this house. Studio is probably the best yet. It's fun to watch Ruth excited about having proper photo space for her lights and back drops. She's working so hard to claim it. I wonder what pictures she will take in this reclaimed space.

Also, we had Jean and Mark to dinner tonight. It was a sweet dinner and especially fun for me to serve "potato gook", one of Kerry's traditional childhood comfort foods - the meal his Dad cooked when his mother was not able to cook. It's sort of hash with potatos, onions, and ground beef and plenty of black pepper -really very simple but satisfying on a cool wet night and good to remember its origins with old friends who loved Kerry too. The comparable dish in Bob's family growing up was a tuna fish casserole with potato chips on top. My Dad was not as creative. He broiled steaks and made salad or just took me oout to dinner when Mama was out of town. Now I live in a family where the main cook is the Daddy and Liam will not understand first hand about homes in which Daddy only cooks when Mama can't.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Odd weekend. Good. Ruth and I both work in spurts and we spurted big time. Mostly she led and I followed. She chopped out the old hedges in front of hte house, which had gotten quite tall. We were tired of them, want something different, mopre native - we'll see. It is really odd walking out of the house and feeling the openness between the absent hedgese. Then we worked a few hours in the garage preparing it for photo studio use - fun together and productive.

Friday, December 04, 2009

It's not the longest night yet, but it's a cold one - so I'll post my winter lullaby. I'm happy tonight after a sweet synagogue service and dinner out with RUth Chris and Liam. I do want to get back to cooking more at home, but warm Mexican food on a freezing nigbht - Yum!

Winter Lullaby

Longest night blow
wisdom through me.
You knew me new
and know me now.
You grew me, grow me,
teach me, slow me.
Wrap me deep
in dreamfull sleep.
Clear mind and eyes.
Bring visions to me
Blow cold and starry
.while I sleep.
Bring me secrets
of the deep..
You grow me, grew me,
You know me now and
knew me new.
Longest night,
blow wisdom
through me.
Ruth just called me at work to report snow flurries. Yay! I did see a few flakes from the office window but not much yet. We took Liam for a walk earlier, all of us all bundled. Putting on the mittens was a pain but he seemed to enjoy the cold crisp weather even though it wasn't snowing at that moment. It's funny how excited we Texans get about just a little snow. I was talking with an acquaintance who grew up in Winnipeg and she says that schools close there only when combinedtemperature and skin conditions are such that any exposed skin will freeze solid in less than a minute! I can't even imagine and the thought of raising a baby in such a dangerous weather situation is freaky. In the mean time, snow flurries Austin style are fun.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's an odd Thursday afternoon in Austin, people in general off balance I think in expectation of snow tomorrow. Early December snow is enve rarer than later winter snow here. If we get freezing percipitation between Thanksgiving and Christmas it is usually sleet. but what is being predicted is snow. Liam and Andrea's firs snow, which they are small to fully participate in but will enjoy on some level, I;m sure. I'm excited and my clients seem to be excited too, or at least thrown off. People are failing to show up today who NEVER do that, and the schedule is just generally odd. I'm in a good mood though, kind of a kid mood, waiting for the white stuff to fall from the sky. I remember sitting in a fourth grade classroom in Houston, where snow is even rarer than in Austin, watching a Valentine's Day snow fall. That one was a number of inches deep and lasted the weekend. We built snowmen and the Bedling terrriers had no idea what to make of the cold stuff into which they sunk. I still have the memories and the pictures of that weekend. And I think that's part of myu excitement.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It is Nutcracker Ballet time again, spacing rehearsals, parking permits, slightly different instructions each season for the drop off and retrieval of young dancers. Cast member T shirts and yard signs. K.K. is a Chinese dancer now. I remember how big the Chinese looked the year she was a tiny first grade angel in her first Nut Cracker. This is her fifth Nutcracker (angel, mouse, (year off for gymnastics competition) Bonbon, Bonbon, now Chinese next year she's likely to be a party girl (Nut Cracker big time, dancing on point, rehearsing mostly with the company not with the kid cast. It has been such a delight watching K.K. absorb and be absorbed into the Ballet Austin world. The company apprentice and the dance supply store knows her shoe size. She nods, smiles, greets and is greeted by dancers of all sizes in the Ballet Austin building 0 her world. I love to visit.

It is also almost Hannukah (which I celebrate better than I spell). Ruth decorated the house today for Liam's first festival of lights. She has three mennorahs out, a bowl of dreidels, sparkly dreidel lights, blue shalom flag flying on our flag pole. I love the celebration of light as the days shorten.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obviously, I haven't been blogging much. I don't like that. New month is a good time for a behavior change, and I think I'll try to emulate my friend Peggy who published a poem in her blog each day of her birthday month. I don't know if it will be a poem every day - but a post at least. Today I do have a poem.


Flight of grouse,
fall of snowflake,
leaf, fragile blossom,
track of silver stick
child spins down beach,
destructive funnel of
spring volcano above town
silent core of strength endures
at heart of fragile shell.
after shell shape erodes.

Also of note, Texas fall is late and brief, but right now it is in full flare, Danny's maple glorious red and gold. By Friday, when we are supposed to have a hard freeze, the trees will be bare, but they are shouting out in color at the very end of their season. Brave trees!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bob and I are off on our pre Thanksgiving retreat - especially sweet this year as we visit four month old niece Cristina and her parents in Iowa. First time I've been in Iowa and I am glad it is a mild fall. I was expecting frigid weather and it's just cool, not different from home by much, though I know it will be. We walked in the woods this afternoon, ate home cooked peruvian food (you!) and apple pie. I still marvel that some babies (Cristina is one) like their baths. It was not so with mine. This tradition of pre Thanksgiving road trips is great for me, body, mind and soul, but I sure am behind on blogs and emails.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The poetry prompt today was "clouds..." It surprises me where my mind takes me.

Clouds Color

Clouds color sunset.
Clear day fades unremarkably.
Clouds echo with turbulance,
Flare golden apricot, catch flame,
Stormy day, survived, ends in glory.

Today, however, was not a cloudy day, literally or metaphorically, though we did have a thuinder storm during the night. The day dawned cool crisp windy, leaf fall proceeding, one of my favorite kinds of day. I spent the day helping Joanna unpack into the new house, with success. Andrea is at the age that she doesn't want to be put down, so having hands to pack and unpack is hard. We made great progress, though there is a long way to go. This afternoon Danny and I had so much fun and success working together unpacking boxes of toys and creating some new storage systems. He was a perfect helper, so quick and willing (or maybe I was his helper). Then when Joanna and I took K.K. to ballet, though traffic was heavy, we had great conversation in the car about all kinds of favorites - K.K. led - favorite dog, movie, book, musical, ballet. Sharing was fun and continued after we left K.K. at class. It was Chris' gaming night with friends so Ruth and Joanna and I went out for Mexican dinner and margaritas without babies - delightful! So despite my poem, my clear day ended in glory or at least great happiness.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This weekend was busy and I felt tired much of yesterday, so much we are still doing to organize house and garage - getting rid of everything we don't tryly choose to have. So many of my belongings I have by attrition. SOmeone gave me something and I found a place for it and still have it. Shifting to a much more mindful relationship with things is WORK. Today's poetry prompt was "hanging" and my take on it was surely influenced by the sorting.

I've spent my adult life
learning when to hang on,
when to let go.
Practicing still.

Also, Bob and I had a wonderful break this afternoon attending the opera La Boheme. I've seen it before, but today really was transported, just caught in and feeling the whole story. A funny on myself is that during the intermission I started thinking how the story of starving artists, love, and illness in a flamboyant setting could be transfered to 1980's Castro District Sand Fran Cisco and done as a gay love story. I got positively obsessed with the idea, imagining scenes, and then whenh I told Ruth and Chris they broke out laughing. It's been done. Rent, which I haven't seen, is a remake (in Greenwich Village, but still....duh....no Tony awards for me.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Long work week. I think it's time for the upcoming vacation. Ruth is making great progress child-proofing, which is a good thing because Liam is walking, climbong, opening, pulling things out, down, on top of his head. As I write she and K.K. are wotking on the restructuring of garage shelves. I should get K.K. to bed soon since dance starts early tomorrow. I wrote a couple of poems I like this week based on poem a day prompts. I love the way prompts get me to write poems I'd never dream up on my own.

Dead End

If only imobilizes.
No regrets, yearnings, pleas.
No bargains, deals, second guesses.
Only mindful action now.


We construct wisdom
against nature - uphill,
build against impulse.
My prayer is for strength
to choose, today, tomorrow,
to lay another shimmering stone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Leaf fall has started - watched the golden shower past the upstairs office window today. We are still weeks from the first freeze, but it is clearly no longer green season. Liam is a walker now, not a baby who can take steps but a toddler who crosses the room without thinking about it, a little guy who stands steadily while focusing on playing with his blocks.

Monday, November 09, 2009

It's both sad and good helping Joanna's family move houses. I remember helping them move into the big house, and now leaving it seems just as right as buying it did then. I felt tears in my throat when Danny stood in the empty center of his ocean room Joanna painted with murals for him and said he would miss it. He will. He is hoping for new murals in the new room he and Zachary share. It was probably my last time in the big house today. I didn't think about that until right now. K.K. and I had a sweet moment at the end sitting on the stairs, just visiting while we waited for Joanna to get us with the car. Then I gave K/K's day a painful ending by slamming her fingers in the car door (not broken but painful) I felt terrible, and know that I make physical mistakes when I'm tired. That scares me about myself.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Random violence seems more present than usual, or maybe I'm more focused on it - military base shooting at Fort Hood yesterday, office building shooting in Orlando today, serial killer found in Cleveland on Halloween. It is alarming to know that people snap unexpectedly and can do so much harm. I also read today that unemployment is up again, another factor that has to add to pressure on people. Tonight it was good to go to synagogue and pray in community and especially to watch the congregation love Liam. Sweetness is sure out there. Live is hard AND life is good. Got to remember that AND.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The PTA program went great with sixteen of Bob's eighteen students participating and over forty in all - unusual participation and attendence for htis school. I'm thrilled it went so well. The move continues apace too. As several of you commented, it is great to be part of a family that helps each other. It's Chris' birthday tomorrow, and I am so thankful to have this good man in our lives.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Here, I'm feeling a little crazed with a more than uually demanding work week and a desire to help Joanna get the last belongings out of the house that is being sold and into the house where she and her family are living (Ruth's former house). the financial, business end of everything is falling into line, but there is still plain work to do. We have promised to be done by next Tuesday night, so there is an end in sight, which helps me not panic. Also, I am very much in an assistant role and feel some relief not being in charge of so much organization. I will not panic. Everything will work out. I will not panic.....I will not panic....I will not panic.....

Bob's big PTA program is tomorrow night, with Native American inspired dances and a display of foods which originated in teh Americas. We had fun Sunday at Whole Foods (which is a zoo here on Sundays) buying same.

It is ironic to me having been among the vey prosperous organic buying shoppers in Whole Foods on Sunday to see on the news Monday that one of our local food banks had closed for the day because of empty shelves - a situation since remedied at least temporarily by business and private donations. I also saw a long line of people last night waiting for medical care at a free clinic near my office. The contrast between comfort and want is so strong, even in this country, without even thinking about African level poverty. I feel fortunate to be among the relatively comfortable and work to do what I can about the gap, to do enough, but not to deny myself some of the pleasures money can buy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Beyond Valence

Travel beyond duality
to accept what is
challenges wisdom.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween is over and I am sad, just like when I was little. I don't want to take down the decorations, which alwyas make me smile. Our weekend was a good one. We watched K.K. dance in a school related performance - all the middle school and high school dance students in her district in performance. It was impressive what the teachers were able to do with so many kids on stage at once and such a range of skills. K.K.'s training shows, and she looked really happy in her school setting. We met her friend Tasha, whose Halloween party she attended - first time not trick or treating with the family. Going out wiht the boys and Joanna, Tracy, and Andrea was a kick - just a happy feeling walking around in the cozy neighborhood admiring costumes and listening to the boys greet school friends. Drea was an adorable elephant who LOVED her little trunk. Liam was an equally adorable little green monster.

This week bob will be in charge of fourth grade PTA program and his kids will be featured in Native American inspired dances. We made a trip to Whole Foods this afternoon to get foods that originated in the Americas to be used in the harvest dance. It was fun gathering all the different shapes and colors, textures and sizes of fruits and vegetables. I think my favorites were the tomatillow - which always surprise me with their papery coating, and a big warty golden and green gourd. Wish Bob's little dancers well. He is nervous, and I think saome of them are too.

I'm trying a poem a day challenge this month - but not with great confidence. THe first prompt is to write about the Day of the Dead and I'll give it a try,


Early Halloween dusk, waxing moon.
Cardinal perches perfectly still
on bright patch of winter grass,
oblivious to voices, prowling cat,
laughing baby. Family gathers,
worried, amazed, in awe, watches
together until cardinal stirs,
takes flight into fading light,
no ordinary visitor. Identity undisclosed.
All Souls, All Saints, All mystery.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today blew in like the icon of Halloween. A still humid mild morning shattered in storm. Sporadic pelting rains have bobmarded my office skylight off and on all day. Now, as evening comes early, the biggest wave of storm pushes in from the north and trees, their leaves faded green but yet to color, dance and sway. Tonight the temperature will drop to near forty. Change change and more change blow in this season in every sector of our lives here.

I think the phrase "winds of change" has real wisdom and truth in it. Change is like wind , refreshing, cleansing, disconcerting, unsettling, potentially dangerous - All. I remember how right it seemed when I first heard the oft repeated saying (whether or not true) that the Chinese symbol for change combines the symbols for danger and opportunity. That is so true, even though it has been repeated to the point of cliche.

So here I stand in a swirl of falling leaves, watching the waxing moon this week, realizing that for the first time in years I lost track of the phase of the moon over the last two months. It has been my habit for years to observe the moon cycles, but somehow I lost September and most of October in re-homing activity and frequent nights of cloud. Vow for now is to watch the moon this month, to reconnect. That cycle follows it's pattern whatever else changes. The constancy is in the changes, I think, at least in this life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Keep me

Keep me gentle,
mindful, hopeful.
Keep me strong,
active, helpful.
Keep my actions
in allignment
with my love.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The temperature will drop twenty degrees or so tonight and it will storm. Today Bob and I took KK, Danny, and Zachary (gorgeous white Cats style cat with feather boa, frightening sparkling Twilight style vampire, and debonair pirate) to the annual symphony orchestra's children's concert. We went intending to buy tickets but somehow got comped, which was great. We've been going to these concerts in or mostly in costume since Joanna and Ruth were little. My feather boa is orange. I'll even wear it to work on Friday - a once a year pleasure. There's still lots of sorting and thinning to do here, but progress has been huge. We have developed a weekend routine which involves trips to the Farmer's Market, which is a highlight of my week. Cooking is more fun than it's been in a very long time - probably because it's shared. Bob worked hard this weekend on selecting three native American songs and creating basic choreography for an assembly at his school in a couple of weeks. I seem to be resisting writing here - maybe because life is just good in a simple way - not sure. I don't want to let this venue slip.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good weekend - I'm loving shopping at the Farmer's Market Saturday mornings, cooking up vegetables on Saturday and Sunday - lotw of new tastes to try (and old ones reintroduced). Today my favorite dish was tiny yellow and zuchinni squash, picked really young from a nearby farm, and sauteed with a little green onion and some baby bella mushrooms. Other food delight is that Chris has learned to make lemon meringue pie, a childhood favorite. Yum! Bob and I were able to watch K.k.'s whole dance practice for the Chinese routine for the Nutcracker- fun to watch the girls turn I remember little turn into real ballerinas. We visited Joanna and Andrea at their house when we took K.K. home, and that was a delight. Andrea has huge chocolate eyes, so expressive;

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life is such a balance, that which tires and that which refreshes. Writing promts this week, and the weariness of work well done inspired a couple of poems.


Wildness, beyond wires and buildings
wide horizon unlimited, big sky,
out of time, unconnected, no ringers,
numbers, appointments, one right answer
feet on the ground, wind water sounds.
Unexpected animal activity, coyote howl,
Peregrine in pine, Western Pygmy butterflies.
Mystery, unexpected secrets, freedom.
Wildness, beyond designed thought,
evokes words, peace, rest, joy.

Erev Shabbat (my favorite holy day)

The sun on the tree tops no longer is seen.
Week over, work over, responsibilities lain,
Candles lit, light gathered, weary faces smile.
Wordless song rises into cooling night.
All is never right with the world.
Ever Shabbat, I let my troubles rise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Liam has beaten his mother's record for early walking in our family. He walked at eight months almost exactly (Yesterday for the first time consistently) and Ruth walked at nine months. He is darling, grinning, toddling from person to person - and especially back into Mama's arms, with huge grin. He also has his first shoes and stands steadily in them. lifting the heavy shoes to walk is an effort, though he managed it today sereral times, second day with shoes. The shoes were bought just in time because it is cooling off (in the forties tomorrow night) and new walker that he is the boy wants his feet on the ground.

Andrea, I think, will wait until a more reasonable age to walk because she is VERY mobile crawling on all fours. She gets where she wants to go. Liam did a fine army crawl but skipped all fours crawling to get on his feet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I know worrying is useless. I know most children who get swine flu have mild cases and recover quickly. I know the lives of children I love are no more precious than the lives of any other children, including the far too many children starving, living in war zones, suffering all over the world. And still, when I look at Liam taking his first brave unassisted steps across the kitchen floor, I think about the five year old girl who went to school a few blocks away from my office and died of swine fluy yesterday. She was healthy before she got the flu, had a pediatrician her mother called, just got sick and died within a few days. It scares me. The scared part of me wants to just close the office and hope they'll close the schools and everybody hole up - and that doesn't really make sense, so I gather my faith and courage for one more day,

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prepare to read a bunch of catch up over the next few days - but not so much tonight. My time in Corpus with Bob was great, both personally and with regard to school and back pack program kick off. I need to be responsible and sleep before the work week starts - but all is very good. One tid bit, at a Corpus birding trail we met a retired entomologist from Wisconsin (warm and delighted, excited, knowledgable, delightful woman) who showed us the tiniest butterfly in the United STates (the Western Pygmy Blue) which is truly tiny and was hiding out in the depths of wildflowers to escape the cool morning. Butterflies our guide taught us, are easy to spot after a cold windy night because they are hungry and out seeking nectar desparately. I didn't know that.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Schedule book found (OK Ruth foound it - thank you Ruth) under my bed where I had looked several times. It is great to have help and great to have my artificial brain back in place. I really depend on that schedule book.
I feel a bit crazy this afternoon. The schedule book that holds my professional brain has disappeared. I have no idea who is coming for app[ointments this afternoon or tomorrow or when, so I just sit at the front desk between sessions and greet all comers. So far, everyhing has worked fine - but it's disconcerting. I have NEVER misplaced the schedule book - have good routines for keeping up with it. I've looked hard at the office and at home. I'm hoping it is in Chris' car - maybe fell out of my bag when I was taking it home Friday. Got to find the thing, but no ppoint in writing more about it.

On more interesting points, it's a chaotic but productive day for Joanna, Ruth, Chris and Tracy. They have the moving truck again and are moving the couch and glorious chair and a half and some other large items from Ruth's house to ours and then Joanna's furniture to Ruth's house. A big job, though Joanna and Tray have done a lot of the moving out already. At least the houses where most of the stuff is are only a few blocks apart. It will be fun to go home and see our house with real furniture in the living room (and beautiful furniture at that).

On the Grandma front, I really really really must spend more time with Andrea and the boys. I get K.K. because of her dance schedule and the location of the studio and Liam because of the co housing, but Andrea is still quite justifiably afraid of both Bob and me - really wary. That won't do for much longer. Got to win that little heart. Of course even Liam, who knows me well, much prefers parental arms when distressed. The boys at least I know well and they me - always great hugs and conversations, just not enough time together. I'm proud of Danny for winning an award at school for kindness and cooperation - real strengths of his. K.K. won some kind of general good student award too, not sure exactly. She's a Chinese dancer in the Nut Cracker this year as expected. It's funny how routine and yet how special the Nut Cracker is for our family now. The first year she was an angel was such a big deal. Now it is just a good part of our life.

WE had a little dinner party ;last ight - Jean and Mark with house residents and Joanna dropped in at just the right moment. I lovecooking for peopke I love - and using farmers' market produce makes it even better. The crew loved the patty pan squash, which made me inordinately happy. Even with my schedule book lost, life is good.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Asking for and accepting help has reached a new level for me. I was feeling completely overwhelmed trying to get my stuff organized in my new smaller bedroom. It seemed like everything I tried was only partially succesful and I was using up my energy at work and on the rest of the house and the belonging pruning. This afternoon I asked Ruth to help me just a little with my room - just to organize my thinking. Then I had to go back to work. When I came home she had made the space beautiful and usable, reorienting the bed, putting the ce3dar chest in the clset and moving dressers out to be more accessible - just really taking care of me by taking care of my space. That is the sweetest thing about htis cohousing for me - being taken care of sometimes. Dishes get washed, food prepared, laundry folded wihtout my doing it. Treats come into the house without my bringing them. I feel like I get the best parts of bing a child - the surprises and the care while getting to do the same kind of nurturing for the others.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm having trouble writing here - no good reason. I think I'm just burning my energy at work and on trying to continue refining the house simplifications. There is still so much to do. Ruth finished painting the blue dining room today - lovely. Yom Kippur was beautifully celebrated by our community. I am still feeling contemplative, thinking of broken relationships and interpersonal disappointments. I am so very aware that each of my words and actions affects the people around me, and it is a big responsibility to choose wisely and kindly, choice by choice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another cool rainy day. It's funny how minor accomplishments can be so satisfying. As we continue to have large amounts to trash and especially recycle, Wednesday nights are a highlight of the week for me as I get permission to use neighbors empty can space and carry more and more old papers and such out of the house to recycle. I laugh at myself for having so much fun in this simple process. I think it satisfies me because, unlike most of the more complicated aspects of life, it works every time. I gather the recycling, put it in the cans, and it goes away the next morning - simple cause and effect.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First day of autumn felt like it - rainy all day and high didn't reach seventy. I wished I had a sweater all day- a lovely wish after our killer hot dry summer. It's with a deep sense of relief that I see green growth at the roadside and water flowing in our creeks. It will warm up again before autumn begins to settle into winter, but today was a lovely precurser.

Ruth and Chris and I continue to work on the house. Last night Ruth and I got lots of old stuff, all kinds, down from the attic and were able to send most to the thrift shop with no regrets. Liam is thriving, and thriving right here where I can hug him every day, to my great delight. He is a cuddly armful, but only for a minute, before he cruises off on his next great adventure, lively that one, so loved, and loving life already.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I enter the river
in autumn each year,
when light fades,
when hope quakes
new moon, deep dark
I enter the river.
Your love is my ark.

Pockets hang heavy
with fear and regret.
I enter the river
to empty and fill.
Love will sustain me.
The river can change me.
I trust that it will.

Victoria Hbendricks, September 21, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Organized spiritual practice in a community is so ggod for me. I didn't feel like going to Rosh Hoshannah services tonight, and yet going, singing, reading in front of hte congregation, seeing friends, watching the congregation love Liam (and Ruth and Chris))all lifted my heart. This is the time of turning away from past mistakes and starting clean and strong. I turn my heart and soul in that direction - more writing tomorrow - holiday poems half baked - but now, sleep.
Tomorrow night Rosh Hoshannah begins - time of spiritual new beginnings, fresh starts. It is remarkably a year of new beginnings on so many levels for our family. Tonight I'm tired and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work it will take to make this house the way we want it to be - fresh and not cluttered. I know tomorrow I will feel more enerrgy for more change.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary Travers died today - icon of folk singing, long hair, big voice, passionate performer. I feel my own mortality as the great ones a half generation older begin to die off from natural causes, not drug over doses, plane crashes, suicide. They just die, as we all will. About Mary, I feel thankful that she shone her light and sang her song as she did so many years. I always loved the song "If I had a Hammer...if I had a song to sing, I'd sing it on the mountain...I'd sing a song of freedom all over this land." Well she did have a song to sing and she sang it. May I do the same, sing my song (not literally you don't have to cover your ears) with power and grace for as many days as I am given.

Notions of heaven are highly personal. I wrote a short poem last week about one version, which fits when I think about Mary Travers and Ted Kennedy.


To be remembered as refuge,
To continue to guide, nurture,
love, teach, comfort, sustain
After body dies. Heaven.
Victoria Hendricks, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

I made turkey with Mango and cinnamon for supper tonight, with cous cous, and Ruth liked it. This is meaningful because she was a very picky eater into early adulthood, especially about fruits and vegetables and this is an odd dish, just one I love. I have Chris to thank for her expanded tastes. He's a great cook, very accepting, and led her to safely try new tastes. I love so much about that man!

So far so good on my new way of thinking, being in the world. It really does feel like a little miracle, the loosening of need to control. I've known since Kerry died that bad things happen no matter how much you love, how good you are, how hard you try - but there's something fresh right now, a lightening up. I think I'm seeing more how much my family members love me even though I can't keep them safe and make everything work out OK. I've always been more interested in having their respect, everyone's respect, than in unconditional love, which always seemed too easy. I didn't want any positive regard I hadn't earned. I never understood why people even thought unconditional love was a good thing - unconditional responsibility or loyalty maybe - as for a parent with a disability, but not unconditional love. What I wanted was that heady mix of love, liking and respect that blows the ceiling off the room. I still love it when that comes and I always will. Probably everybody does - but their is a peace in being loved as is without earning it that is just beginning to feel real and desirable.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Big changes - inside and out. I loved this weekend, the presence of so many of my cherished family members, helping KK with homework, just being in her presence, watching Ruth and Joanna play with Liam, listening to both of them talk about their own lives and the directions in which they are working and hoping to move. It is the time of year in the Jewish calender for introspection and change, for casting out the crumbs of stale old ways. That time comes every year, of course and it matters every year, but the truth is some years I am more moved than others - and this year is special for me. I decided (chose) yesterday to give up habits of thought and anxiety (read control) that I developed when I was raising the girls after Kerry died. I was the only grown up then and I did have a lot of responsibility for making everything work. It isn't like that now. Bob is a great partner and my daughters are grown and capable. And yet, I held on in some hard to define way to a sense that I had the wellfare of the family in the palm of my hand. i let go of that lie yesterday, with many tears and much difficulty in a long conversation with Ruth, Chris and Bob. Relaxation has never been a goal of mine - not stressing, resting, having fun - just not on Victoria's list. And it's time to change that now, to soften. It seems like something that just happened, like a little miracle, as soon as I chose it. All day today and yesterday afternoon I had plenty of chances to stress over little stuff, to overthink details, and I just didn't - wasn't even tempted. I know I'll be tempted again, but this seems like one of those big life changing decisions -an inner Rubicon - after which nothing is ever the same again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Really tired tonight, but happy. It's rained all day. Bob came home tonight instead of tomorrow and Joanna and K.K. joined us for Sabbath dinner with the blue table cloth and my grandmother's lace - very sweet. Its almost Jewish New Year, time to value sweetness in life and contemplate changes, fresh starts. Plenty of that going around in our family.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm proud of myself tonight. I installed a light fixture-my first Ruth installed a ceiling fan in the living room and I was handing her screws and mentioned that my Dad would be proud of her. He and Mama had made a list of gender atypical skills they wanted any kids to have and installing a light fixture was on the list for girls. Ruth then proceeded to encourage and instruct me to install the light Not so hard, with Ruth guidance. It's odd how many things I have never tried that I probably could do just fine. I love the rewourcefulness of both my daughters, the can do spirit to try all kinds of projects.

On another track altogether, I'm thinking how, on September 10, 2001 we went to bed with no idea that September 11 2001 would be anything but an ordinary late summer day.
Estate items moved out, Ruth and Chris' things from their house mostly moved in - no more Ryder truck in the driveway. Whew! Culling culling culling still -but more and more things have real places to be and stay. I love that Ruth takes the lead in organizing. I can follow, do much of hte physical work, keep things clean and neat, but I've never been good at creating systems and she is. Living room (whimsy themed with kids in mind and pleasing to us grownups too) is taking shape. Kitchen contents are merged and Chris is cooking up a storm using ingredients we've pooled. I'm worn out from moving and crazy work week, but so far so good. Joanna came over this evening and it was fun seeing her in the auntie role playing with Liam. I liked having her in the house with us. KK will be here Friday night - need to find some time to get Zachary and Danny over. Life has to slow down and it will. I love hte direction its going.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Another writing prompt - to write about the pleasure of all five senses, inspired this poem of one sweet moment this evening.


Room smells of neroli, orange blossom
scent, brides and babies. Smooth
clean sheet under cheek, feather soft
baby hair pressed sweaty in crook of arm,
Sea taste of salt, abundant life,on tongue
when I steal tiny lick of precious fuzz.
Easy cadence of breath, yours, mine,
your mother's,all relaxed, gentle slow,
as we rest on Sabbath after hard day's
work. Piles of boxes glimpsed promise
more evenings of delight. You're moving in!

Victoria Hendricks, September 4, 2009
Sabbath and a holiday weekend - both feel great. Our service tonight was sweet. Liam sat on his parent's laps, responded to the music with claps and sways, just soaked up the love. We have a small community and so Liam is really known, as is the fact of Mira's death before his birth. In some ways she seems as present in services as he does and that feels good.

There's a great big Ryder truck in the driveway full with a load from storage unit and house to take to estate sale people. I have surprisingly few qualms about parting with items from my parents' and grandparents' homes, and from my life with Kerry. It seems to be time. Of course I'm not parting with everything. I am impressed with my body, not as strong as Ruth, but plenty able to cary my weight of big chests and book shelves. That feels good, reassuring.

Bob will be home tomorrow and the estate sale stuff will be gone. Both of those things please me. Still lots of work to go here, but getting the estate items out is a huge step.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A writing group promt this week was to write about "the pleasure of not being perfect". I have plenty of opportunities to savor that pleasure, and especially right now. The complexities of the co-housing, all the new activities and patterns as well as stuff out of place, make mistakes and miscommunications easier and there have been more than usual. I so love the way Ruth and Chris handle these kinds of problems. The following poem is true - and the good news is that the mistake was not as expensive as we feared.

The Pleasure of Not Being Perfect

I put the diaper service diapers in the trash
this morning. Expensive mistake. Part mine,
Part Ruth's. She didn't give clear directions.
I didn't put mental pieces together properly.
It's OK. We'll pay for more diapers. We
accept our mistakes, each other's too.
Perfection is not required. Big relief.

Victoria Hendricks, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Chris fixed saffron rice and chicken with black bean sauce tonight. Yum. Getting our belongings honed down further and further is so much work - but worth it. At the moment I'm trying to create some kind of system for our nonfiction -should probalby use Dewey decimal or Library of Congress system or something official - tiring.

An odd and amusing tidbit - the Zulu word for ceel phone means "the screaming in the pocket."

Monday, August 31, 2009



New word, old idea,
family or friends
living together
making it work
under one roof
like I remember,
cooking, eating,
laughing, singing,
sharing expenses,
worries, stories,
too familiar to be new
old idea, co housing.

Victoria Hendricks

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Our health care delivery system is so broken. Being part of it is hard, offering services which are only part of what people really need. Real people struggle every day in ways that more accessible health care could change. I feel sad and angry and want to be part of making a change happen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mortality Noted

Everyone who was old when I was young
died years ago. Buildings are named after
men and women who bought me ice cream,
carried me across the street. Memories.
Memorials. Teddy Kennedy died last night,
the little brother who mourned his slain
big brothers. Called immature, impulsive,
He lived with his losses, his mistakes,
worked for ideals, spoke out, died alive.
Good night. Well done. As young lions
of my childhood die old lions, I feel my mortality ,
not the enemy, a reminder, increasingly familiar.

Victoria Hendricks, August 26, 2009
I just read President Obama's (still love to type President OBama) letter to the nation about Ted Kennedy's death and was touched on many levels. So much time has passed since I was a girl and Camelot was new - so much gained and so much lost on many fronts. The piece of the letter that got to me most was more personal than political. When writing of Senator Kennedy's battle with cancer our President wrote

"His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives."
President Barack Obama

That reflects the way I feel about death. Sudden death, without a chance for good bye and thank you still scares me - not the actual death but the suddenness and the possibility of unfinished connection. So important to say thank you every day, and I love you, and I'm sorry. We never know when good bye will come, said or not.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I just read on CBS breaking news that Ted Kennedy has died. I remember when he and his brothers were young and vital - remember seeing him last summer at the Democratic convention and being struck that I had not seen another Kennedy man of his generation grow old. So many losses in his life and so much perseverance too. Peace to him.

"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." - Jack Kennedy ace

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Life is a celebration of awakenings, of new beginnings, and wonderful surprises that enlighten the soul." --Cielo

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I think I'm tireder than I've been in years - so much change. Good though. Thanks to Ruth and Chris I have working wireless internet in every room (Wow!) and the long messed up bathroom sink is fixed. There is so much they know how to do that I don't and Bob hasn't had time for.

Bob is excited to be starting school tomorrow - with the back pack program in place and lots of good ideas. I'm excited for him and his kids. When he comes home next weekend he will see lots of change - probably lots I can't envision yet.

Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men -- the balance-wheel of the social machinery.
: Horace Mann

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Co- housing. I just learned the word today (thanks Ann) about a week after we commited to the idea. Ruth and Chris and Bob and me and Liam sharing space and resources in the Stardust house Kerry and I bought 32 years ago to start our family. He alwyas talked about having a "family compound" someday and the idea appealed to me greatly. We considered co housing with Jean and Mark and Monica way back (didn't know the word then) It's exciting to me. And this seems like a good small beginning.

On a practical level, this is great for me. I have so much stuff I don't need or want - overwhelm - too much and I can't organize it. Now with Ruth and Chris helping, cabinets work right that never have. They have a knack for making nest. This is about interdependence - higher goal than independence, about sharing and mutual benefit. It's a lot of work right now sorting, changing, discarding, reworking, but great to have more adults focused on a project. Doing it together instead of us helping them or thm helping us - all doing it for a shared cause - ours. Separation has been too great. And of course Liam is a shining light in all of this.

Trick is making sure Joanna and her brood are included - keeping the usness of the whole family, keeping boundaries where people want them and avoiding false boundaries. This has (to me) to operate on an abundance not scarcity model - plenty for everybody, especially plenty of love, time attention.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving."
Albert Einstein

And moving we are - lots of change afoot in our familywith plans to consolodate and simplify resources, live in more community. I'll share the details here when we've worked them out better, but right now I'm excited and challenged. Change takes effort, but I think I will LOVE the new balance we will attain.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Our lives are a mixture of different roles.
Most of us are doing the best we can to find whatever the right balance is . . .
For me, that balance is family, work, and service."
Hillary Rodham Clinton

This is a good quote for me at the end of a busy and challenging first work week back from travels. Balancing roles has been tougher than usual this week and I went into Friday night tired but happy to have Bob home.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

“There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves” Frank Herbert

This quote really suits me and my life philosophy - so many waves of feeling, all equally real and important - no good or bad, positive or negative - comfortable and uncomfortable maybe, but all equally real. I can live with feeling the waves.

After a month of travel, I've started doing the prompts again for my writers' group and Peggy asked us tonight to write about painted toe nails. I came up with three very different short poems which fit my sense of riding the waves. The details in the poems may not be exactly right. Daddy may not have painted Mama's toes every week - but the feeling fits. (Thank you Peggy)

Painted toe-nails -1

When Daddy was dying
in the hospital in Houston
I found a salon (strange word)
between hotel room and his bed.
Between, I stopped for manicure,
facial massage, eyebrow wax,
hair cut, painted toe nails.
Unfamiliar comfort items,
unexpectedly effective.

Painted Toenails -2

I painted K.K.'s toe nails red
white and blue the Fourth of July
she was five. Every year since,
she's asked for a repeat. Now
she paints my toenails too,
red white and blue, tradition
expanding, bonding, sweet.

Painted Toenails -3

Daddy painted Mama's toe nails
every week after she lost her words,
three years - pink, red, peach, gold.
every week, tedious tender love.

Victoria Hendricks, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." --Albert Einstein

Bob took Danny to his favorite Corpus highlight tonight and found it GONE. The beautiful carousel Jean took Monica to so many summers, so loved by K.K. Danny, and Zachary has been removed from the mall. Andrea and Liam will never ride its horses or spin in its spinners. That seems so very wrong and makes me want to cry - a trivial sadness in one way, when I think about cancer, war, starvation, but a loss of a cherished tradition and a real loss.

It thundered this evening, even rained a little and cooled down to 81. I'm not usually weather obsessed but the heat and drought this summer are so intense, exceptions need to be noted.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home again, back at work for real today - good day. The house is still strewn with bits and pieces of travel gear - also new to me clothes from Ruth's closet. I'm wanting to get my closet set up for fall colors, put away the soft yellow and periwinkle, the butterflies and flowers. Maybe it's wishful thinking since the temperatures still hover above 100. Bob and Danny are in Corpus for Danny's Sea Camp and for Bob to start organizing the classroom. He is tired, hot, trying hard to get his grant funded program for parent involvement back packs off the ground. He took Danny to the beach tonight, even tired as he was, and Danny, beach lover that he is, had a blast building sand castles and making new friends. I wish I'd been there, but I'm glad I was where I was, so at home in my office doing what I know how to do.

Our travel was amazing. Anybody who wants to read about it and hasn't check outhttp://therebackagain.shutterfly.com/. It's not quite finished - still have some of Zachary's notes to copy off paper and want to write a trip summary. This was one of the top trips of my life - got to document properly. And if you ever get a chance to go to Yellowstone, or Grand Canyon North Rim, grab hold tight.

AS I resume routine, it's probably a good idea to have a theme for quotes, something centering. I hereby delcare that the theme for the rest of August is balance. We'll see what I can find on that theme. Here's the first.

“The word 'happiness' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”

Carl Jung

Friday, July 17, 2009

On our way - almost - celebrated Bob beautifully today. I sure love that man.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Excited about trip now. We got the groceries in and I'm about to make Chex Mix. We also went out to Fonda San Miguel, where we had our rehearsal dinner and many beautiful dates and celebrations to celebrate Bob 's sixtieth birthday. It is amazing how sixty seemed like a scary birthday at 37 and now it just seems good - a good point to reach. I know life can change at any moment, but I am looking forward to a good decade for Bob and for me too. What a blessing that man isin my life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I promise travel blog next week. Right now I'm having trouble wanting to write much. I'm enjoying work this week, feeling connected with what I do there and also happy to have a break coming up. Traveling with Bob and the kids seems like a great treat - just being out of the heat and taking in remembered and new sights. Still have preparations to do - just scatter brained a little, thinking in too many directions. Bob and I were at the coast Saturday though and saw five coyotes running on the beach in the light of the rising gibbous moon - they were graceful shadow shapes - dreamy. We also noticed that the moonlight appeared silver above the water before we saw the actual moon. Every time we go to the beach alone at night our experience and knowledge of that place increases. I'm so lucky to be married to a man who will wait for the moonrise with me and who is as thrilled by coyotes on the beach as I am. I'm so lucky to be married to THIS man. He turns sixty Friday. I remember when sixty seemed like the beginning of "old". It doesn't feel like that now - maybe like the beginning of a little bit freer - but just the very beginning. Happy almost birthday, Bob.

Friday, July 10, 2009

OK, I liked about feeling completely uncreative, or maybe my mood changed. They do do that, moods. Anyway, a poem.


Fear, intuition, hope
such skillful mimics.
Doesn't really matter
which one speaks.
Live now, anyway.

Victoria Hendricks
July 10, 2009
Not very creative this Friday night - not really creative this week, but checking in here anyway. I love it that I'm a Great Aunt (remember loving that generation of aunts and uncles in my family and want to do a good job by little Cristina Elena and all possible sibs and cousins who may follow.) I love it that our family is growing in sweetness and love. It's time to start getting ready for our trip with the KDZ. A week from tonight will be our last night hoime. K.K. and Margie have been excitedly corresponding about K.K.'s big girl visit to Denver. It's fun to watch her grow into that role and I'm so touched that Margie and Dave are offering her this special opportunity. Bob is doing his usual magnificent job of mapping out hikes, selecting car music for us to appreciate and rate. I'd better get started on my part - laundry and food.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

So hot this July - we learned that it is because there is no moisture left in the parched earth to evaporate and cool things off. Global warming is rendering frightening results.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

We celebrated K.K.'s thirteenth birthday yesterday - hard to believe. It's good to have her the age she is and who she is - scholarshipped dancer, about to fly off to Denver to visit Margie and Dave before our family vacation. I loved having Jean and Mark and Marie and Bill present for the party, which I wouldn't have made happen, but Bob did. So good to be married to someone who is good at making things happen in ways in which I am just not. The boys were darling yesterday, sociable Danny handing out animal medicine cards to guests, Zachary enjoying the presence of his "birthday twin" and special adult friend David. Liam and Andrea were precious baby selves, handed back and forth and crowed over by the women present. I love watching Jeannie and Marie (and K.K. and Ruth and actually, Chris too) with the babies. I missed Joanna, who is still caught in a storm of work, and am glad Tracy was able to drop in for a minute on his way to work.

Monday, July 06, 2009

No theme for July, Peggy - too busy a month with travel coming up. I hope to do another theme in August (maybe). I worked a bit today, unexpected response to need - and BOb and I walked at moon rise at McKinney Falls. Tomorrow KK turns thirteen, which means Kerr's been dead 23 years - hard to believe either fact.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

good day - lots of progress on organizing family artifacts, mostly needlework. I'm writing notes and stories and putting them in the cedar chest with the items I'm saving (Ruth's idea) so it's kidn of a 3D scrapbook. I'm loving looking at my Grandma Anna's handwork. She lived so carefully, like she stitched, attention to detaiol, love in every stitch.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Hard work week - lots of people struggling - love what I do though. Tonight I got a brief armful of sleeping Liam. Wow! He can sit by himself indefinitely (when awake of course!) and makes all kinds of sounds (also when awake), including an unmistakeable crow. I've always loved the crowing sound some babies make. Bob walked four miles on the treadmill today and yesterday too. That is great progress. I love the way he has hung in this summer.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Busy week - delightful evening with K.K. Bob and I took her to Katz'after dance for a last time to order pancakes from the kid's menu before she turns thirteen. We've been going to Katz' off and on after dance since she was five and the tradition will continue. She flirted with the waiter, who was charming and got her a free birthday sundae, complete with prized cherry.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Henry David Thoreau:
When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.

OK, The month is over and I have gotten a courage quote up every day. So now I want votes. What is your favorite?

Monday, June 29, 2009

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. Helen Keller

Sunday, June 28, 2009

“If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.”
John Maxwell

Saturday, June 27, 2009

To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform. Theodore H. White

Wonderful if hot day. It's so nice having Bob home (I know I kep writing that!) I'm proud of us today. We had a flat tire (nail - went flat all of a sudden) coming home from taking K.K. to dance and we managed just fine changing it, even in the over 100 heat. It was also reassuring that a fire truck stopped just as we were finishing to see if we needed help and actually the crew finished bit, but we were fine without help. It was reassuring both that we could manage the tire and also that help was available.

Later in the afternoon we had visits from both Thing One (Liam) and Thing Two (Andrea)a special day. It was especially a great chance for Bob and me to have several sweet hours with Andrea alone. Tray is getting better after his football injury and he was able to be with his team on the bench during the game and Joanna had to work so Andrea stayed at our house. At first Liam and Auntie were visiting and Andrea and Liam had some time to smile at and observe each other - increasingly interested each in the other.

A funny note is that Andrea were dressed in her "Future President of the United States" onesie and Ruth said she had almost dressed Liam in his today. Hers is pink and his blue. I think it's marvelous that it is possible that Andrea, a girl child of color, actually could become President - wasn't so when I was a girl. A?nd of course it's wrong that it's marvelous. We want to get pictures of the cousins in their "future president" onsies before they outgrow them.

Chris came to claim his family after taking his teacher certification exams for English and ESL and he held you for a while. I'm proud of him expanding his professional opportunitues, consciously, intentionally. After their little family left to get dinner Bob and I had Andrea to ourselves.

What a sweet time! Andrea giggled for us and showed us that she can push up on your hands and knees and rock, (a BIG step toward crawling) and she laughed while she was doing it. She also LOVES singing (Joanna told us she did, but I had to see it to understand how much.) For a little while she were crying, really unhappy and I put her in Bob's lap to go make a bottle. I thought she'd just cry until I came back with milk, but he started to sing the French National Anthem in French LOUDLY and she not only stopped crying but calmed completely down, stopped moving at all and just lay in his lap perfectly still staring up at him mezmerized through four or five songs including "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Amazing Grace ".

She also met Grandpa Bob's porcupine puppet today and loved exploring the little creature (a good friend of Liam's already) giggled out loud when it tickled her back, petted it and (of course) tried valiantly to get her mouth on it. She jumped, flew, rode our knees, drank three bottles, and settled in for several sweet naps pressed right up against me. It is such a joy to be geting to know her better.

A plus at the end of our time was a nice visit with both of your parents. Tray is about to start physical therapy for his leg - a hopeful step and Joanna is working really hard, but is almost at the end of the long frustrating certification process for her store. She is tired, but it is clear she's doing a really good job. I'm proud of both Joanna and Tracy, as well as Ruth and Chris.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. –William Shakespeare

I love this quote - doubts as traitors to the cause of enacting good.

It's been a productive happy week even though the Longhorns lost the COllege World Series. They gave it a good ride. And I have managed to use the nervous energy of the games to clean out all kitchen junk drawers (not perfectly but well for me).

It is terribly hot -107 one afternoon - and I barely know it with long work days and air conditioned everything. It feels wrong (if comfortable) to be so out of touch with weather extremes. I'm glad though that Bob is doing his walking at the gym in the air conditioning.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace. Amelia Earhart

This courage quote I don't quite understand,but I cite it anyway because I remember reading about Amelia Earhart when I was in maybe fifth grade and obsessed with biographies of women who flew, one way or another. She did it literally and, even though lost, helped at least one generation of girls claim our own wings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Confucius Analects
To see what is right and not to do it, is want of courage.

But to know what is right - that is wisdom I think, and even harder than courage. My prayer is to find both, day by day, moment by moment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don Quixote, de la Mancha 1605-1615
One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this.

This one's for you Bob - though I don't see you "covered with scars" I do see you determined to make the world better and it's not alwys easy. You are really fighteing the exercise demons this summer, and with such resolution. I love you, my love. All dreams possible.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure if they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes. ~Carl Sandburg

I got to help Ruth grade today - a real treat to read the essays of her ACC students (who are actually advanced high school seniors). They are winningly self disclosing in their essays about messages that have shaped their lives and about criterio on which they select people as desirable to approach. The world has changed and hasn't. I was surprised that the one person who classified people in terms of age didn't talk about wisdom and authority in age, but rather helplessness and avoided people perceived as old. That was so NOT true for me in my teens and twenties - and I don't think for my daughters - so much wisdom in the generations ahead. But grading was fun and James brought the KDZ over to swim, which was nice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It seems right to use a father's quote for courage on Fathers' Day weekend (which is also the first weekend of summer and feels like it with temperatures over 100 and pools blissfully open.)

I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Atticus Finch was, I believe an icon of the good, strong, brave, gentle, tender father for much of my generation, surely he was for me. In honor, courage of personal conviction, and devotion to family the wonderful men who have so influenced my life and those of my girls and grands are much like him. They deserve and extra courage quote.

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. ~Mark Twain

This weekend I honor men of moral and physical courage, living and dead. I miss my own Daddy, honor Bob's Dad, who still is the head and heart of the male line of a family of world changers, feel sweet sadness and nostalgia for Kerry, young Daddy of my daughters, who did not live to see them grow up, and my young friend Paul who did not make it to his first Father's day with his baby daughter. I think of James, who is doing a good job of loving his kids through difficult changes, and Tracy whose eyes glow when he holds baby Andrea. I think of Chris, who was grieving one baby and hoping for another one this time last year, and now is the very very happy and proud father of very present Liam. I see Danny and Zachary tender and protective of their baby sister and imagine the fathers, good fathers, they will be in time. I honor Bill, Mark, Funny Joe, Dr. Bill, My own Uncle Rudy, both Davids, Danny and ROcker - all the good me who have been kind and strong and influenced us for good.

But mostly, though, feel love and appreciation for Bob who not only saw but helped them grow up and loves and is loved by them still. Blended families are hard - harder than I ever dreamed - and worth every tear and effort. I'm so glad we became the family we are. Poem for today is for Bob- whose goodness has been one of the major touchstones of my adult life.

No One Day

There was no one day
I finally knew I trusted
you, myself, the kids,
no one day perfect connection
fell in like magic and
fear shed like faded feathers.
There was no one day
I finally knew we were
family for real, for keeps,
no matter what. No one
day. But I know it now.

Victoria Hendricks
June 18, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
~Winston Churchill

Another contestant for my favorite courage quote. I'm going to ask blog readers to vote on your favorite at the end of the month, so pay attention. Peggy, you ask where I get the quotes. Some I know - keep in my head and live by but most come from one online site or another. Two favorites are http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_courage.html and http://www.quotegarden.com/courage.html.

It's been a good, busy, odd weekend. We were going to drive down to Corpus to finish up a few tasks with Bob's apartment (everything he wanted to bring home didn't fit in the car the first time - but we decided to wait because the AC down there is broken and should be fixed on Thursday and it's HOT! It was nice to be here for Fathers' Day weekend anyway. We hung out with Joanna's family on their patio as evening cooled yesterday and watched Zachary do skateboard tricks. Poor Joanna and Tracy! She is working long hours getting the store ready for inventory and also certification - two major tasks, and he is still in that huge hot brace and suffering from his knee injury - but they are hanging in and yesterday evening was a sweet interlude. Before that we had been to the gym with Ruth's crew - taking turns working out and holding sleeping Liam. Both felt great. I hope I'm getting a second wind on healthy eating and exercise - was doing great through fall and winter, but less inclined lately. This weekend it seems easier again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon

This may be my favorite courage quote yet this month -one that's new to me. Once again I had a day that didn't require real courage, just persistence, discipline, perspective. It has been a long work week. My weeks alternate shorter and longer and this was a longer. The weekend stretches invitingly ahead.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whoever said anybody has a right to give up? Marian Wright Edelman

Good ordinary day - precooking in ggod shape, laundry done, everybody well as far as I know, work invigorating, Bob home, the Lonhorns still in the winners' bracket, writing happening, friends in my life - good ordinary day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I can only embrace my courage to the extent that I accept my vulnerability.
Dorothy Baldwin Satten

Monday, June 15, 2009

Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill

Good long mixed day. Bob and I started out with a visit with Joanna, Tracy and ANDREA. (The big KDZ are still at the ranch). It was so pleasant to just hang out and talk baseball, books, babies in their home - peaceful. Then Ruth,Chris and Liam came over and Ruth took pictures of Liam (Thing One) and Andrea (Thing Two) with me in their little red costumes like the characters from The Cat In The Hat. Back before the babies were born we joked about who would be Thing One and who would be Thing Two regarding birth order and somewhere in the process Ruth bought the sweet sleepers - good to have the pictures today even though I didn't brush my hair before being caught on camera with a precious double armful. Part of the urgency regarding the pictures was that thought the garments are the same size Thing One and Thing Two are NOT - Liam having had a major recent growth spurt - so we wanted to catch them while the costumes still fit. For a peek you can check out http://liamslife.shutterfly.com/ourgalleries or http://andreasgrace.shutterfly.com/. Note the difference in foot size between the two "things" and the hand holding which was spontaneous, not posed.

After family time Bob and Bill and I met to do our Snowflake Method writing meeting. I like the way this is flowing for me. They seem to feel the same. Step two, to turn the original sentence into a paragraph which lays out the basic progression of the novel int "three disasters and a resolutoin" is still short enough to share in the blog - so here is where I am so far. I did, obviously choose my first option about the two old friends starting a clinic.

Snowflake Step One

Two middle aged therapists risk danger and personal failure when they open a clinic for the uninsured in a tough neighborhood.

Snowflake Step Two

Libby and Becca, former college roommates, in their late fifties now, rekindle reconnect in an effort to establish a low cost mental health clinic for the uninsured in the now rundown hose the shared during the seventies. Libby, a therapist has just left her state agency job in disgust at failures of the system and Becca’s husband has asked her for a divorce, so both are at cross roads and crises of competence. The challenge of restoring the house and opening the clinic doors shakes both women as they discover the deterioration and increased violence of the neighborhood, but they find unexpected allies who help them continue. Once the clinic is open, Libby struggles with questions of ethics and competence as case after case tests her sense of her professional skills. After Becca is stabbed by the mother of a child the women have been working to find placement for, her husband pleads with her to return to the marriage. She and Libby both must decide whether to abandon or continue their dream.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh” A.A Milne

The above quote reings very true. Almopst everyone I know is harder on him/herself than on anyone else. Makes me sad. I approve of high standards for self - and at the same time, I think we, like our children, function best when viewed through the eyes of love.

Bob and I had a very productive organizing weekend, and a fun weekend. And the Longhorns won the first World Series game - though not elegantly. THey could probably use the above quote tonight. A kick of game watching was the four generational nature of our experience. Bob's Dad called when the game was over and Joanna was on the phone with us through most of it. Liam, who we kept for about an hour, seemed to be intrigued by the movement and excitement on the TV. Odd the things that pass through generations, picked up by some, ignored by others. I wonder which if any of the next generation will be baseball fans.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

Today was a good day with Bob - the kind of easy busy productive day summers give us. We rearranged art and family pictures and cut book covers for his class next year and it was FUN, just being able to be together and do those things.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another stormy night, though not as extreme as last night. I'm glad it's Friday. This feels like the first regular weekend of summer - Bob home already, no huge plans, lots of little projects to do. I'm a happy thankful sleepyhead tonight - a good feeling but not productive of much writing.

Courage without conscience is a wild beast.
Robert G. Ingersoll

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.

Ralph W. Sockman

Stormy night - tornados between ther girls' house and ours. Big hail, but it seems like less damage than one would expect. All of us safe. The kids took shelter in the c loset under the stairs for a while.

We took care of Liam while Ruth and Chris celebrated their anniversary. He cried some, but I waas mostly able to comfort him. He was good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.
Margaret Chase Smith

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.
Helen Keller

Bob and I watched New York Ballet doing Romeo and Juliet (Prokoviev) on DVD - gorgeous innovative sets and costumes, superb male dancers. The second act, the tragic act, really caught me - but I still have trouble with the commentary saying Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story. It seems more a story of revenge and impulse than truly of love. In the greatest love story (romantic love) I'd see the lovers live many years and grow old together, hurt and forgive each other, overcome obstacles and losses, rejoice together too, not just mourn. Tragedies are cathartic and beautiful, but I think the best love story would not be a tragedy, but a tale of transformation and growth.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Zachary's little birthday party was a delight. We gave him a little blue camel back pack to take on the trip later this summer and he loved it and used it while playing in the yard and riding his bike - well celebrated boy. We played a game at the table - What is one reason you like having Zachary in the world. here are some of our answers.

Grandma - He is strong and kind and the world needs more people who are both strong and kind.

Grandpa - He has a great smile and the world needs more smiles.

Auntie - He comes into the room and says "I just love today."

K.K. - He's funny. He makes me laugh.

Danny - He shares his toys and plays with me.

David - He was born on my birthday and is my very good friend.

Bob and I had a really restful nap after the party and then went on to delight in the Longhorn's baseball victory over TCU for a trip to the COllege WOrld Series in Omaha. Go Horns!

In the process of listening to baseball coverage I learned that today is Jakie Robinson Day, so it seems right to use a courage quote by that man.

Whatever obstacles I found made me fight all the harder. But it would have been impossible for me to fight at all, except that I was sustained by the personal and deep-rooted belief that my fight had a chance.
Jackie Robinson

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Good long day - hard in moments because I think I'm tired on some level. I love having Bob home. We went to another basebnall game today and the Longhorns lost - which means another game tomorrow which we'd best win. It's not til evening. Ryuth and Chris invited us to their house for supper - delicious as usual - asiago sausage and artichokes with homemade pasta. Yum! After supper we walked on a trail in their neighborhood - Liam first in stroller then in mobie wrap falling asleep on his Mommy and enjoyed the full moon. It put on a show playing peek-a-boo with the clouds. We played a question game, each of us asking a question which all of us answered - made for much good introspection and sharing. I'll share the questions here and my own answers. Again, the names of the questioneres are in parentheses but the answers are my own only.

(Bob) What book that you read this year was your favorite - Lost Boys by Orsan Scott Card

(Victoria) What would question about yourself or your life would you most want to have answered this time next year? Do I want to change focus between therapy work and writing wisdom work and/or fiction and if so how?

(Ruth) What is the hardest truth you have learned about yourself this year? My level of anxiety/struggle as perceived by many who love me is inconsistent with my view of myself as a happy person and troubles some who love me.

(Ruth) What is the happiest truth you have learned about yourself this year? I like myself body and role and personhood, at the age I am and really am not much afraid of the losses of aging in the way that I once was.

I love talks like this.

I'm nervous tonight because we are going to have a little late birthday party here for Zachary tomorrow (Bob's idea and he's right the kid should have a celebration with grandparents) I'm just not in the mood for hostessing even at a light level and have never been much of a birthday person. Bob will do most of it and I bet I'll have a happy report tomorrow.
Today's courage piece is poem not simple quote, by my friend Peggy Goetz, upon having met and listened to Sister Helen Prejean inspiration for Dean Man Walking., the oper and and the film. The opera is one of the strongest works of art I've ever seen. It has no simple interpretation for me, but calls up the courage to rexamine deep splits in my beliefs on complex issues. For more about Sister Helen, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Prejean and especially her blog http://www.sisterhelen.org/

Meeting the Monster

Sister Helen was afraid to meet
him, a young man condemned
to die for a brutal crime. She
wondered would she be able
to talk to him, to even look at him,
this monster. Writing a letter of
spiritual support was one thing,
but meeting quite another. She
caught her breath with the sound
of a door behind the plexiglass.
And then he was just a man,
so ordinary, so human, pale
in chains, alone, scared
to die, young. She looked
the Monster in the face
and it changed her life.

Peggy Goetz, June 5, 2009

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Conscience is the root of all true courage; if a man would be brave let him obey his conscience.
James Freeman Clarke

Good day - Bob's home and the Longhorn baseball team won and K.K. visited and watched a DVD with classic choreography by Balanchine. I bought groceries for healthy summer cooking but haven't actually cooked yet - just keep munching cherries. Yum!

Friday, June 05, 2009

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.

Henry David Thoreau

I chose tonight's courage quote in honor of my sweet husband who understands and experiences the glory and power of music as deeply as anyone I have ever known. He is now home for the summer. HOORAY!!!!! I am writing short tonight for obvious reasons.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Erich Fromm

Good courage quote for the beginning of a writing project, I think.
Several of you have expressed interest in my Show Flake Method project The link to Randy Ingermanson's description of this method for creating a plan for a novel is http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php. The greatest news is that Bob is joining Bill and me. He has been wanting to try young people's fiction and this very structured method appeals to him - actually more than it does to Bill and me, and he has a great first step.

The description of the first step of the Snow Flake Method - from the web site I referenced, is:

Step 1) Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel. Something like this: "A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul." (This is the summary for my first novel, Transgression.) The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

For myself, I was getting frustrated - am so much the "seat of the pants" writer, but I took a long walk yesterday and focused on the method and something clicked. I came up with three rough first steps and then realised that all three have the same theme in a way - the same reason fro being. So, even if I don't know what story I want to tell or how it will go I know WHY I want to tell a story right now, and for that I thank the snowflake. Here are my three roughies. I'd very much appreciate that anyone who reads this vote on which is most appealing.

My theme or purpose for writing is something like "In the early twenty first century people of different ages and backgrounds connect and pool understandings and strengths to face challenges."

Option One - Working Title Clinic Two middle aged therapists risk danger and personal failure when they open a clinic for the uninsured in a tough neighborhood.

Option two - Working Title Ghost A fourth grader, her recovering addict father, a young kindergarten teacher, a retiring janitor, and the school librarian work together to decode messages from an obstreperous ghost in order to find hidden money needed to save the school's music program.

Option three - A divorced nurse discovers purpose through lost stories while deciding what to do with her family home in a small Texas town.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
Soren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

Maya Angelou

I didn't need any particular courage today, a day of meaningful work, not really stretching my edges but feeling useful. I do see courage every day in my clients. I guess my act of courage for the day is yet to come - finishing the Snowflake Method challenge and coming up with at least one novel "seed" to share with Bill tomorrow at lunch. This is very hard for me, starting in this systematic way, not natural, and I REALLY want to at least begin the process in real earnest.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Great day with Liam - such a sweet life, music time, story time,, naps in the chair. I want June to be a month of new beginnning on rhis blog - an experiment of a theme for a month. Out of mt hat, I pick courage for June, and start with a quote from a woman I much admire.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm sitting at Ruth's very fast computer looking forward to a great day with Liam tomorrow (last day he and I will have alone while his parents work, though I trust we will get other days alone). THe beach trip was great- even a lovely walk on the beach. Padres Island, and really all of south Texas has greeened up nicely since we were down there last in the midst of extreme drought. That's a big relief. It was black skimmer night on the beach. I don't know how many we saw, more than twenty I'm pretty sure - stately and unique. I love to watch them fish by well...skimming. It's especially impressive when they do it in a line of four or more. THe absence of brown pelicans was also striking. Bob says he bets they are on their nests on nearby islands, which makes sense. I can't remember the last time I was at that beach witout seeing many pelicans.

CLassroom packing up was successful. I love seeing BOb in the school where he is so loved, among friends.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Past my bed time, (not insomniac, just got in late, talked with Bob, and needed to unwind a little. I had a pleasant bus ride down here after a productive, satisfying work day. I'm actually looking forward to packing upthe classroom tomorrow and then going to the beach in the evening. I'm a dork to like cleaning, but I DO (espefcially other people's cleaning) and of course I love the beach, especially with Bob. And interesting observation tonight was that several bus passengers brought fishing gear with them in order to fish down here. The bus was well ridden but not packed. I got to sit alone the whole way, which was comfortable. WE walked Lobo down by the bay after my arrivl, and I'm stonished again by the inky black quality of Corpus Christi bay on a still cloudy night. It takes the"inky black" phrase out of clichedom.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good ordinary day - work and friends and writing group. Bill and I are starting a writing project next week (gulp) using the "snowflake method" of organizing ideas to create a plan for a novel. We want to see where we will get by following this schematic for a summer. I love doing projects with Bill. THis is scary since at this point I have no idea what I will be writing about. It will be interesting to see where this leads us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bob and his kids had a great San Antonio field trip. No rain. He learned new details at the Museum of Texas Cultures, incuding that Tejanos used ants to hollow out drinking gourds to hold water safely. They lured the ants with honey. Caddo Indian women were tatooed in a straight line dividing the face in half when they married.
I'm thinking about Memorial Day from the point of view of everyone hurt by wars, as well as our U.S. soldiers. My friend Peggy wrote a poem about Afghanistan which touches me deeply.


Who wills it on the earth
thirty years of war,
a hundred, a thousand
years carried on the
backs ordinary people
struggling to survive
another week, another
month, waiting for
running water, electricity
schools, clinics, laughter
while the War Lords
replace lords of war
hugging, shaking hands
selling poppies, while
the women weep
behind their burkas
time without end.

Peggy Goetz
May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

For anyone waiting to see what was in the Menger time capsule, disappointment. They couldn't dig it up because it was pouring rain during the ceremony. Bob worries that more rain will make the field trip difficult tomorrow, but I hope not. He is taking his car and driving a couple of teachers because there are not enough bus seats - another great use for the Prius, Pearl.

I'm thrilled for K.K. tonight. She got commended status on her language arts TAKS test (as much as I dislike those tests, this is a real accomplishment for a girl who started out quite dyslexic and used to fear failing the reading portions. She's also reading real books for fun more and more. One hurdle behind us! I'm also touched that family relationships are close enough that she called to tell me about her scores.

I'm sad I didn't see Zachary on his seventh birthday - the first one I've missed celebrating on the day for any of the KDZ, I think - just no wheels available with everybody working and Tracy to hurt to drive. I did talk to Zachy and he sounded happy, well celebrated with cupcakes. Bob and I will take him on a special outing of his choosing as soon as school is out.

Aside - Chris is off his crutches and even took a walk with Liam in the stroller. I'm relieved he's moving better and hope Tracy will be too , soon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Almost Summer! Though I believe Bob and I are getting better each year at the weekend cooking long distance commuting game, and though the Prius helps with ecological guilt, we both look forward to summers. This one is almost upon us. I suspect we may not be odd among teachers and their families, who may appreciate summer as much as school kids. I can sure identify with K.K.'s can't wait for summer attitude in a way I don't think I could if my own life weren't so shaped by the school year.

All in all, Bob has had a pretty good school year, though still some frustration with the motivation level of the students.

He has added some great pluses for the fourth grade this year, including Thursday's field trip to the Alamo and Institute of Texas Cultures. My bus trip down to San Antonio to meet him Saturday morning was a great success. We scouted the two locations for fourth grade activities, which was fun. Its odd to be old enough that quilts, fans, architectural styles and cooking implements from my girlhood are featured in historical exhibits. Next weekend I will go down to Corpus and help him close up the classroom - a really big deal this year since the school is undergoing renovations and will be locked up tight all summer.

This weekend was good for us - quiet especially yesterday. We watched the Longhorn baseball team on TV win the Big 12 Conference tournament. We also watched Ballet Austin's performance of Hamlet, the amazing original choreographies of our wonderful local choreographer Stephen Mills. K.K. is so fortunate to be studying in his company. She says she already misses ballet class and the last class was just Friday - but she is also in the mood for a break. Zachary turns seven tomorrow - amazing.

Last night we watched the national Memorial Day concert and I was very much moved by the loss of life that stands behind our nation as we know it today. I'd seen many military families sightseeing when exploring in San Antonio. Listening to General Colin Powell talk about military personnel "in harm's way" brought back very recent clear images of these young men and women and their families. I wonder if there is any way we humans can learn to "do war no more". I do pray there is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Good Friday, excited about San Antonio trip tomorrow. Bob is talking to me on the phone though about how difficult his class is at the end of the year, especially about picking up mess - refusing to pick up things they didn't think they had thrown on the floor. He says kids throw trash behind the filing cabinet or in someone else's desk on purpose - too lazy to walk to the trash can. I don't get this kind of behavior AT ALL. I know he has lots of good classroom moments, but some of the negative attitudes are really unpleasant.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A bizarre additional post. The fathers of BOTH of my youngest grand babies are currently on crutches! Chris was hurt in a fluke accident at a TAKS pep rally a three weeks ago now and is recovering, and Tracy tore knee ligaments Monday night at football practice and is at the can't move really hurting stage. Yuck! THese are minor troubles as troubles go, but oddly conicidental.
Enjoying being a teacher's wife tonight. I'm proud of my teacher man husband. He won a grant competition to start a "Step Up To The Plate" backpack program to help parents and students work together on homework next year. Also, his school is being declared a historic school on Tuesday and, as part of the ceremony a time capsule buried by Menger students eighteen years ago will be opened. I wonder what's in there. Also, I'm taking the bus down to San Antonio Saturday morning to meet Bob and go together through the Alamo and the Museum of Texas Cultures to prepare for the kids' filed trip later to those to locations. I won't be on the field trip, but am glad to help with the preparations.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tired but satisfied with today's work. It's odd how mourning goes. I play on line Scrabble and wonder if Dolly liked to play word games. I never knew. I wish I'd known her better. I pet my cat and remember how much Paul loved his cat and get teary. Even several steps removed, as I am with these losses, I notice the wave form of grief, how it comes and washes over unexpected, and passes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back at work today, no Liam time. No Grandma time at all. I do love my job and the atmosphere at work, ehte energy of the work I do. It is the only thing I've done (except maybe for writing when that is at its very best) that touches being as satisfying as deep personal relationships. It's relationships, connections that put me over the top. I like being part of the process of helping people grow, learn, discover, thrive. I can be sitting in the chair and a half with Liam watching his eyes light up because I kiss him in the right place and inflect my voice the way he likes on "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or in my office chair watching a young woman get it for the first time that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with her - that the people who abused her did what they did because of something in them, not something in her.Even with writing, with characters, so much of the joy is infeeling connedted.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Rich rainy years spring
dances in verdant, lush
croaking toads, flashing fire flies,
spreading brilliant quilt of
bluebonnets, wine cups,
Indian paint brush, dewberries.

Drought dry years spring
limps in, depleted, dull
yellow green, absent toad
chorus, firefly lanterns
sparcely dotted with sturdy
daisies, prickly poppies.

Every year, in drought
or quenching rain,
dancing or limping,
rich or struggling.
abundant or depleted,
Spring returns.

Victoria Hendricks, May 17, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I've been posting everywhere else this week and didn't realize I hadn't been posting here. Big oversight. Big week.

I'll begin with a quote which a friend used as a tagline today and which is absolutely true for me.

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whooping cough does seem to be behind us. Only Danny ttested positive. I'm so glad the family persevered and got him treatment and the rest of us (especially babies) prevention. Bob and K.K. have had colds - but you recover from colds. I'm impressed with all BOb got done this week, especially pictures for his school's social, even not feeling well. He will be here in a little while after working to pack up his room this morning. He attended a lovely retirement party for a good friend and longterm special ed teacher last night. Tonight we go to the last symphony of the season. I would never have gotten tickets to symphony or opera without his influence and now I'm so glad we have them - look forward to each event.

The highlight of my week, of course, was living out at Ruth and Chris' house taking care of Liam while Ruth worked the week - talk about bliss. The boy is happy with my care and bottles of his mom liquid gold breast milk. He smiles, plays, cuddles, vocalizes, responds, initiates, loves flying, hates tummy time, taught me the bliss of "sleeping like a baby" cuddled in the chair an a half by the window. Ruth and Chris have done a typically superb job of organizing their home and their lives to envelop this little guy. Every moment out there was like heaven,including the time with the adults while Liam slept. I am so fortunate.

On the dark side, news of deaths and illnesses of friends and family members and the struggles of clients hit hard this week, reminding me how fragile as well as how precious our lives, hence my attachment to the quote, which bears repeating.

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. Ralph Waldo Emerson