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!