Thursday, December 30, 2010

It has been another good day here in Blacksburg. The snow is still on the ground, but apparently rain may wash it away tomorrow or the next day. Today Bob's mom and mary Lee took Bob and me to a civil rights site right here in Blacksburg, a small museum in the Oddfellow's Hall, the fraternal lodge of the historic black community in Blacksburg. Most of the afternoon and evening I've been working on writing up the pictures Bob has taken along our Civil Right's pilgrimage route. We have arranged them in a separate blog, and would love you to visit if you are interested. The link is

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am sitting in Bob's parents warm, decorated, well stocked house, feeling so loved, loving connected and thoroughly enjoying the fact that out the window the ground is still blanketed in sparkly white snow, which just began to melt today. Being with Bob's parents makes me want to take better care of myself physically (though people can take great care of themselves and get sick and die or lose function anyway). These two people though, are such a blessing to all their family, all the generations as they continue in their eighties. I'm beginning to want that for myself, both the joy of seeing the generations develop and the possibility of continuing to provide stories, wisdom, support, and mostly LOVE.

Monday, December 27, 2010

How do I start blogging regularly again? I guess I just start blogging regularly again. Trying to catch up or explain even to myself, how or why I lapsed just gets confusing. So here I sit in a beautiful hotel room in downtown Atlanta, excited to go see the whale sharks (the largest fish in the world and hard to keep in aquariums) at the Atlanta Aquarium in the morning, and beluga whales too. Those white whales have a soft spot in my heart. Back maybe thirty years ago Sea World in San Diego had a beluga whale which absolutely caught my imagination but didn't live long.Belugas are especially prone to infection in captivity. I hope they do better in the Atlanta Aquarium. Tomorrow night Bob and I will begin a visit with his family in Blacksburg Virginia where an abundance of snow and an abundance of love await us. I'm looking forward to both. Bob and I have been on the road since Christmas morning, and it's been great. We had a sweet Christmas with Joanna and her crew - presents, muffins, board games on the floor beside the tree, Andrea climbing up and down off Bob's lap, grinning, giggling, making a game of it. Once we left San Antonio we started on a Civil Rights Era pilgrimage which we've been researching and preparing for for weeks now. Spiritually and emotionally this trip is just what I've needed to recharge after a challenging year. Bob has been taking pictures along our way, and I'm writing about the movement sites and their effect on me. Maybe Bob will write some too. We'll see. Stay tuned for a link to our special, as yet non existent, blog about our pilgrimage.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I love my husband. He is magic in ways that I am not. Last night I wanted to see the full lunar eclipse, on winter solstice, the day before my sixtieth birthday with all my heart and soul. We napped in the afternoon so we would not be exhausted by staying up for the eclipse. I went out and walked the dogs at moonrise and admired the golden moon in the clear sky, so excited I would see it disappear and return later. Then the clouds gathered and it became clear it wasn't going to be clear enough to see the eclipse. I felt sad, but weather is weather, and I prepared for bed. Not Bob. He found a live cam of the eclipse on line and we lay in each others' arms and watched the moon begin to disappear, if on the computer screen. Then Bob jumped up and pulled me outside with him, found a break in the clouds and suddenly, just for a second, we saw the bare crescent of the eclipsing moon. I love my husband.
I wrote all the deep philosophical stuff about turning sixty already. I just want to report here that Bob gave me a beautiful birthday - all focus on me. I worked a few hours in the morning and after that he just offered me everything I wanted all day long - trips to odd second hand stores I've been curious about and haven't made time to visit, dinner on the heated porch over the lake at Hula Hut where I gorged on chicken Pipeline enchiladas, a walk around our most romantic loop down at Town Lake (I know it's officially Lady Bird Lake now and the woman deserves a lake named after her, but in memory, it is still Town Lake where Bob and I walked and kissed on one of our first dates and where my children and grandchildren alike have fed ducks and swans.) The sun set. The moon rose. The light is ever so slowly coming back as we move two days past shortest day. The dance of life continues.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sixty. I turned sixty today. Its odd because I remember when sixty seemed old and it sure doesn't feel old when it is my own age. There are a few tell tale signs. It still surprises me when someone pulls out a cell phone in public and starts talking away. Texting is a mystery. Many events, like the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., are memories to me, not history. I notice when I put my name and birth date in the registration book at the gym at least 85% of the people who sign in are significantly younger than I am, many even younger than my daughters. I have a teen aged grand daughter.

So yes, six decades have passed since my birth and they've been full ones. I've learned, lost, loved so much. Twice married, once widowed I've eulogized one husband, both parents, aunt and uncle. I know the stories, often going back two generations, of most of the objects in my home. I live in a home in which my daughter put a space heater in her son's bedroom because she remembers how cold that room was nights when she slept there as a child. I can't remember how many color schemes we've had in the hall bath since we bought the house thirty three years ago. I remember as if it were yesterday how proud, happy, and disoriented I felt the first night I tried to sleep in the house when it was new.

At sixty, my past is longer than my future and that doesn't scare me. I don't know how long I have or how much of what I do have will be good time, productive time, but then I never really knew that. I don't feel like winding up my life, settling down, slowing down. I am still up for adventures, hard work, creating new stories, making a difference. I look back on accomplishments and mistakes and want to use all I have learned to create more of the former and fewer of the latter. I am still learning, and I also want to teach, to pass the torch, to inspire.

So what do I want to share tonight. It's simple. I am not in charge of what happens to me, for better or for worse, but I am in charge of taking the feelings that result from whatever happens and transforming their energy into work, art, or service. I am not entitled to spin my wheels, nurse my wounds, sit on my gifts. Transformation is my responsibility, whatever happens. Love, not ego.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Hope

Shorter days follow
longer nights. Darkness
chills every hollow.
Still hope whispers
there is light enough.

Victoria Hendricks

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Last darkness this Hanukkah is hopelessness, despair. The miracle of the Festival of Light is that light is sufficient, no matter how short the day, how dark the night, how frightening the diagnosis, how fierce the enemy, how complicated the problem. I will hurt again and stumble, lose loves, fail at ventures. I work to remember that the energy of pain can be turned, transformed into work, service, art, and those are the candles in my personal year round menorah which I need in order to keep my feet in moments of darkness.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Today's darkness is hurry. It wears me out, takes me out of the moment, saps my spontanaety, cripples my abilitly to be present with others. I will continue to work effectivley and steadily, but I will stay in the moment, foot in front of foot - one foot-two foot, one foot-two foot - and trust that this kind of steady, mindful effort is enough. I cannot fly. I have to walk, and I only have two feet. I will drop any candle I carry if I hurry and trip over them!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sixth darkness is entitlement - a deep darkness. I don't want to use the word "deserve" anymore. It is so easy to think I deserve a certain kind of treatment because I'm excellent at something, special, or because I have suffered or am suffering. The sword of entitlement cuts both ways, and whether it points out gifts or neediness, it separates me from the rest of human kind, makes my somehow more important. I don't believe everyone has the same needs at every moment and I do believe individual treatment of individuals makes sense. I need someone to read me small print because I simply can't read it, not because I "deserve" that level of help. I appreciate that help and other help greatly, as I appreciate it when someone allows me to take a leadership role in an area in which I am strong. I believe in terms of "deserving" humane, even generous, treatment, all humans are equal and when we fall into entitlement we negate that equality and dishonor others and ourselves.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The darkness I choose to illuminate today is fear. It is so easy to let fear block actions of generosity or creativity, to let it keep me from asking a question or approaching someone in difficulty. It can keep me from apologizing and making amends,from offering help, from asking for help. I don't expect to eliminate fear, but to take it as a background presence that doesn't control my choices and actions - to be more conscious in my efforts to "feel the fear and do it anyway."

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Fourth source of darkness is arrogance (self-righteousness), the sense that I know what is right for others without listening and trying to understand what they feel, want, need. the sense that I know what is better, period. I don't even always know what is best for myself. To walk in light and spread light I need to keep open, listening, learning, humble.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

It has been a good Saturday - productive in our paring of belongings and fun dancing to Hanukkah music with Liam, Ruth, Chris and Bob. We had Marie and Bill to dinner, lattkes and curry, smaller scale celebration than most years, but delicious and good company. I asked which darkness to throw light at tonight and Ruth suggested apathy. Deep darkness, that, and seductive. So easy to believe it doesn't matter what we do, how hard we try, that no difference can be enough. And yet I am so sensitive to other people's positive efforts, the note, the smile, the generous act, the words of appreciation. Everything good everyone does matters. And the thoughtless uncaring things hurt on the receiving end. So it does matter what I put out, small scale and large. My endeavor, to continue to care and to act on my values.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Hannukah Shabbat service was sweet, more people than usual, baby to elderly, anbd everybody clapped and swayed to some of the happy songs. My candle tonight is to brighten the darkness caused by impatience. Road rage, impatient behavior in line, failure to listen, especially to children, thinking about what I'm going to say next instead of to what you are saying - I am guilty at times of all of those. Impatience hurts. being ignored in the name of some's efficiency hurts. Being hurried hurts. I will make an effort to avoid interrupting, to make sure people are finished before I speak, to paraphrase, to acknowledge what is said to me, to smile in line and assure people I'm not in a hurry, to let hurried people pass, to use time mindfully.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thursday workday, first Hanukkah candle lit last night. Both facts have me thinking about light and darkness in the metaphoric sense. I am going to try, each Hanukkah day, to write a short piece here about a kind of darkness which I am distressed to see in my world, and also at least one promise I make to myself about lighting a tiny candle in that particular darkness.

Gossip, the need to make oneself feel better by criticizing others, is an insidious darkness. I hear it all the time, the criticism of how some other person is somehow inadequate, ridiculous, pathetic, unappreciative, just WRONG. I hear women talk about the physical appearances of other women, friends and strangers - and criticize either for "letting herself go" or for being obsessed with looks. I hear people dissect each other's marriages, parenting, self care. I get sucked in myself, and there is the momentary pleasure of connecting with someone else in feeling superior to the third party - but a dirty feeling follows. I commit myself more strongly to avoiding engaging in gossip of any kind and to either leaving the room or speaking up when other people do. I will look at how well my own behavior matches my values instead of comparing myself to others, for better or for worse.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Life changes so fast some years. Right now there is no pattern. It makes me a little nuts, but it's good - destructive patterns shifting. Bob is working like crazy pitching and planning to sell belongings we don't need, and he seems happy, up energy, full of plans and ideas for the first time in a few years. I don't think I understood how much school was dragging hime down, even before this year. He is also excited to have gotten a part time (just three hours a week) job tutoring highschool math for a private tutoring service. He's excited to see how he likes it (starts tomorrow) because one option for semi retirement, which would even keep his pension would be a part time math tutoring position for the school district. They have a few with benefits even.
I just love seeing him happy, didn';t realized I had given up on hope of happiness and energy for him, thought it would just be one foot in front of theother at best. I am so relieved.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I've been absent from this blog way too long, so caught up in the activities of my life, flooded with change. I hate it that I stop writing when I have the most to write, but sometimes I do. This fall has been hard. Bob's Austin teaching job didn't work out, way too stressful. I was truly afraid the job would kill him, because he wants so much to make a difference, to teach if he is trying to teach, and it wasn't happening. The kids weren't learning, and also were running amok, literally running, jumping, wrestling, punching, shouting, throwing paper air planes at him. All the wild behavior I think he could have kept working on changing if learning had been happening, but it just wasn't. I'm glad he chose to leave, but the process was hard, the stress he went through to get to the decision point and the uncertainty about walking away from steady work. When he started teaching, we thought he'd do it five to seven years, and this was year eight, so I guess that dream lasted as long as we initially thought it would, though I had forgotten that until recently. Right now Bob is happy, has several possibilities for part time employment, is going to the gym regularly and working on a novel idea that I even get to help with. I love seeing him looking ahead without worrying about being behind at school. It's a big change for all of us, and I'm working on focusing on its positive aspects.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life feels very hard and scary right now, and yet I see so much beauty in the middle of the struggle. Liam thrives like a young tree. He can use a rolling pin properly, and, with instruction, make children's scissors cut. He shouldn't be able to do these things, but he can. KK thrives, and continues to be excited about arts high school next year. At the moment Chris and Ruth are laughing out in the living room as they paint minis (little statues) for Chris' gaming (Battle Tech) convention this weekend. This hobby has brought him great pleasure over the years and it's fun to watch him get excited about it. However, Bob continues to be anxious and exhausted and in great conflict around his job. We are all scared about money. In San Antonio, Danny is very sick with a high fever - and that worries me. I don't like being away from my loves especially when times are hard.

Monday, November 08, 2010

There is so much harshness in the world. It scares me, the terrible pain the kids in Bob's class turn into disrespect which hurts Bob and wakes him at three in the morning with pounding heart. At least he has the grace and kindness not to pass the harshness along. K.K. cried Thursday night about a bully at school. the annoying, persistent, demoralizing kind. Apparently the kids who are not in Pre AP classes tend to behave badly at school, ioncluding unkindly to others. Teachers in K.K.'s school have great curriculum, but it doesn't seem to be changing the flow of behavior. Yesterday at the park with Liam there was a little boy, about five, who greeted us with a sem-iautomatic toy weapon. He kept saying "Watch out there." and firing at us. We ignored him. But when Liam tripped the boy asked if he was OK in a perfectly sweet tone - like the violent acting out was completely apart from his ordinary way of being and he didn't even know it - scary to me. I know kids play guns, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians whether they have toy guns or not, but the odd thing about this was his involving strangers as victims, not inviting us to play, just shooting at us. I also see the economic differences so harsh in our community, so many having terrible struggles just for necessities and a small number hip deep in luxurious choices. I've spent most of my life on the luck side of the line, but that doesn't make the presence of the line, and what seems to be an intensification, any more right. This is one of those mornings when "Life is hard." hits me straiht between the eyes and "Life is good." is a truth I reach for. I don't have to reach very far. Liam just brought me a home baked cookie.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I am thinking about work - life work at the moment. I am so fortunate to have life work I love, can do, and that people are willing to pay me for. I heard today on the radio that first time unemployment claims are up again big time this month. I grew up on stories of the Great Depression and nobody is saying these times are as hard s those, but I see so many competent people, friends, family, clients all, looking hard in vain for work of any kind. It's scary. And I see Bob struggling in a difficult, stressful classroom, his hard won second career dream not nurturing him at this time. It's sad. I watch K.K. looking at future work, considering different dance related paths, and my hope for her and all other young people is to be able to find the kind of match in work that I fell, floated into. My being in this office, in this work isn't something I plotted out carefully or could have. I worked hard, learned, shared, and a door opened. It doesn't always work like that. My work situation is one of those "it's not fair" situations in the good direction. It's not fair I have work I love so, when so many have trouble finding work at all. I am profoundly thankful.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Today was a good family day, including a ride with Liam and Ruth on a little train with a Halloween themed tunnel. It is newish, an engine named Sophie, not far from the house. We all enjoyed the short hill country ride in the open train on a mild bright fall afternoon. KK has all homework done so she won't have to think about it on Halloween. Bob is a little better each day with regard to his sinus infection. I wish it would be gone already.

Friday, October 29, 2010

the local "Boo Zoo" Halloween event with young family friends and K.K. with her daddy for the night. KK is so big! I remember when she, then each of her brothers, was the baby or toddler we took to "Boo Zoo" I felt a little sad being out of the "Boo" loop, but this morning KK and I had fun dressing not quite in costume but in Halloweeny clothes for the last pre-spooky woek/school day. I love it that she wore one orange earring and one black. I love her sense of style. I love it even more that she thinks its fun to dress up with me. I feel more than a little sad that I won't see Danny, Zachary, and Andrea this Halloweenbut have enough perspective to know how fortunate I am to have had them right here so long and close still. In the costumey trend, My friend Beth and I made fall crowns for ourselves today, feathers, beads, stones set on elastic covered with ribbons. They really turned out pretty. I'm wearing mine as I type.

My mood is obviously better than the last couple of days, though Bob's job is still tough and he is in the midst of a sinus infection. He is a little better today and had a less terrible school day. I am feeling the shabbat freshness more than last week and am putting the concerns of making enough enough .

My life trucks along in the midst of an Internationaal Terror alert with some
antiSemites in Ymen mailing explosives to synagogues - deeply distresskubg,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I keep falling behind with this blog, and I hate it. This is a crazy fall, ups and downs. I worry about Bob in his school, such a tough placement for him and such tough lives for the many of his students- toughness resulting in toughness, pain being used to pass on pain. I worry about our world, so much self-centeredness of so many kinds. It seems like there is so little I can do to make life better for anybody, and yet each little action is an action.

Friday, October 15, 2010

it's been a hard week, work frustrations for Bob and sadness over a friend in trouble for KK. It's odd how much I write about Shabbat on this blog, but truth is it's an anchor for me, especially tough weeks. Tonight Bob and I were the only ones at the table at sunset and we decided to light the candles and make the blessings anyway, and it did geel good, like peace descended. I should sleep now and hopefully write more that makes more sense tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm having a terrible time just sitting down to blog here and I hate it, so much is going on. It's time to resort to bullets again, I think. Let's see what I can do in fifteen minutes befre my first client arrives.

- Living in a multiple generation household continues to be glorious for me. I wish more families would try it without economic necessity or the sense of anybody having failed. It just feels so much more connected for me than the nuclear family every generation to itself way. There is more work (dishes, laundry, logistic decisions, but also more hands and minds to apply to everything), more points of view, not to mention the joy of the kids, the huggles and snuggles from Liam, the chance to see KK bloom academically, personally, and as a dancer. I love being part of a household in which I can be helpful and receive help. Maybe it's the antidote to my happy enough but somewhat isolated years as an only child.

- KK is living in her little house, though the inside is not finished. She adores it and adore spending time out there with her doing homework, organizing, or just chatting - very peaceful. Chris is working on the wiring today and completion is seeming part of the near, not distant future. It is working out great for KK to have her beloved cat Dinah with her in the little house.

- The magnet arts academy at McCallum had an open house last week and KK, Bob , and I were all drop dead impressed. The kid has to audition, but they are still building the dance thread and looking for dancers, so she should get in easily. Her pre-audition workshop is in a couple of weeks.

-Bob has a tough class, especially his afternoon group, and is tired and sometimes discouraged by both their out of control behavior and the lack of interest in learning, but he's hanging in. I help out in the class on Monday afternoons and tutor the refugee students, which is getting easier and more fun.

- KK very generously is sharing the coupons on the backs of old ballet tickets so I can go to Zumba class with her FREE at least once a week. I adore Zumba. I don't jump as high or move as fast as the younger dancers but I have every bit as much fun, even when I still get left and right feet mixed up. Getting to the gym is hard since I can only go as Bob's guest and he's so worn out he doesn't go much. We will get that back, but I will try to keep Zumba, which is a huge joy, with the lively international rythyms and the chance to just bust out and move.

- I'm having fun with the online poetry world, getting acquainted with the work of other poets and hearing their impressions of my work - feels good. If you are interested in this part of my life, check the And Now Poems blog.

- Visiting Joanna's family in their new home and celebrating her birthday was great. The house is small and simple and missing some amenities I have come to take for granted, like a dish washer, but it works for them. Jo has done a good job pf making it homey fast. The boys look and sound great. Danny especially likes his math and science teacher. Andrea is utterly darling and seems to remember me, or at least is very generous with kisses. She takes after her mother and wants the same books read over and over and OVER AND OVER. Joanna says it's payback.

- Time for clients now, but I think I did pretty well for 15 minutes. More later.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Picture perfect almost fall weather here. As mornings progress toward noon I can feel the heat of sunlight from the east and the cool breeze from the west at the same moment - a lovely between sensation. K.K. is between too. Last night she and Bob and I attended the open house at the performing arts high school she will probably attend - seems great with a real dance major. The high school students in the arts academy performed beautifully and also were pelasant to talk to, grown up. it reminded me of my old California high school in attitude and excitement. K.K. felt it too, and was happy to see several of her Ballet Austin and school friends in attendance. This afternoon Ruth and Liam and I went to a pumpkin patch which has been held for years by a neighborhood church. I was taken by the varaiety of pumpkins - not only traditional orange in many sizes from tennis ball to doll house, but bright red bumpy, and orange and white striped pumpkins and some green and slightly flattened. There were also gorgeous swan gourds, which are new to me and truly resemble that bird in a number of positions -(various from gourd to gourd). Liam delighted in the pumpkins, found the discipline not to climb the piles or use them as balls. Ruth taught him to "place" the pumpkins gently back down after holding them, and with a little practice that took. We let Liam buy one little fifty cent pumpkin for himself . I gave him two quarters and he took his quarters and his pumkin to the table where a sweet church gentleman negotiated the sale, which he and Liam sealed with a handshike. I love watching the civilization of the children, the ways they learn the rules and traditions of our culture.

Monday, October 04, 2010

My life feels like I'm working triple shifts, with home and family life, work, and personal writing and reading and being. It leaves me late with blogging, but I am still really happy with the way it feels. I feel fifteen years younger because my life, with kids in the house, is fifteen years younger. It's great, but I don't always notice the passage of days. I respect Mommy bloggers who keep up the pattern of regular blogging - can't be easy. At this moment I'm about to go off to Bob's school to tutor the refugee children, which is going well buit stretches my ability to think of images and draw them (how do you draw a river in ten seconds and get the meaning across?) Happy item is that Bob, KK, and I visited Joanna and her family in San Antonio yesterday, and I feel good about the way they are pulling life togetehr there in the new house - small, but liveable. Fresh fall weather is very much upon us, and Ruth and Chris did three wonderful meals in the sukkah. (I do know the holiday is over but the season isn't and we are continuing to enjoy our lovely sukkoah. The instructions on the kit joked that it is required to be down relatively soon which some people interpret as "by Channukah". We'll beat that deadline, but we're still enjoying our little shelter under the stars.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week is moving quickly. Fall has arrived with beautiful clear days and cool nights. KK is sleeping in her little house under quilts, so snug in her bed. We've had some misadventures including a flat tire on Pearl the Prius which Bob and I replaced on the way home from work today - ended up walking to a new to us Mexican diner while the new tires were installed and enjoyed mole and each other's company. More seriously, Chris' bike was stolen from outside the tutoring office in which he works, right in our neighborhood. He rides it every day and is pretty upset. A happy event involved Ruth and Liam watching a local little league team and the nine year old Red Sox inviting Liam into the dugout - his first chance to hang out wiht "the guys". It is bizarre to me that a student at UT ran across campus yesterday firing shots and eventually killed himself on the sixth floor of the library in the basement of which Jeannie works. No one else was hurt and Mark called as soon as he knew to tell us jean was safe.The shooter was a college sophomore, a math major. No one seems to know what caused his behavior. I just keep thinking he was somebody's baby.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We've had a sweet weekend, quieter than I expected. Bob had a lot of catch up work on lesson plans, so we did not go to San Antonio as we planned. Instead we worked on K.K's little house, got the bed in there, a rod for clothes to hang on, and did more unpacking. She slept out there peacefully for the first time last night and will again tonight. I love the co-housing, the blend of generations, KK's feet in my lap while I write. I feel like I've been given a decade or two, having children in the house again, especially the beautiful mix of toddler and teen. One highlight of the weekend is that Ballet Austin gave KK two tickets free to the ballet, Carmina Burana, which was done with dancers, chorus, and orchestra - so intense and glorious. Stephen Mills is a genius of a choreographer - better every year. Austin is lucky to have him, and symphony director Peter Bay too for that matter.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

For those of you who've asked... This is a sukkah (pictures of OUR sukkah to follow)This is Liam shaking the Luluv

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The sick season is starting in Austin which makes me nervous with our larger household, but, though clients are beginning to cancel with fevers, all of us in the house stay well. I doubt we can get through the fall and winter without at least a few colds though with exposure to three different schools, all those kids Chris tutors, and my office contacts. It's easy for me to worry to about minor possible problems I can't control. I am offering the household vitamin C and we are all hand washing and beyond that I have no power. My task for now - stay in the moment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A couple of you have asked what a sukkah is. It is a temporary structure jews put up in the yard this time of year - a harvest festival tradition after Yom Kippur. The sukkoh is built with three walls and the roof is slatted so you can see the stars. You eat in it for eight days, inviting friends and neighbors in, a time of hospitality and openness. Many sleep in ther sukkot and we hope to this year at least once. You decorate with fruits, vegetables, leaves, and children's crafts. It is the closest thing Jews get to a Christmas tree in terms of decorating, and Liam is already having fun making decorations. This is the first year we have made our own sukkoh, thanks of course to Ruth and Chris. It isn't finished yet (busy and rainy day) but it will be very cool. I'll send pictures, or at least link to them on the ThreGeneration blog.

It was a good experience to help in Bob's class today. The refugee children have only been here four months and are pretty lost, but learning fast. It's hard to stick teaching math when they don't know what the words in the problems are discribing - whether it's "cyllinder" or "gerbil". I did alot of drawing and it seemed helpful. I like them both and I think they like me. Before I went I really had performance anxiety and understood for the first time why someone might just back off from a volunteer experience out of trepidation. I kept thinking it would be easier to stay home and help KK with her homework. It is easier to help her, and I did that too, but I'm hooked on Bob's class now. The rest of the class, American poor kids, is a crazy mix of understanding and pain, rowdiness and curiosity, excessive jewelry and sweet smiles. I am intrigued by a number of them and also did a good job of staying in a supportive role and not putting my agendas on Bob's class. I hope to help out every Monday afternoon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today was a good gentle day. KK came back fed and happy with homework done from a good visit with her mother, Tracy, and sibs in San Antonio. She seemed really peaceful and just generally in a good mood upon her return. Earlier today Ruth and Chris and Liam worked hours on building our first Sukkot ever in our back yard. Later I helped too, also did some just general yard clean up. It felt good to be outside on a mild rainy afternoon working with people I love. I also got to go to Bob's school with him for a while and make order - just a peaceful day without the spiritual intensity of the next few days. Tomorrow I will go back to Bob's school with the intention of tutoring two kids who are refugees from Burma. I'm nervous. They don't have much English and I'm afraid I won't be helpful, but I want to try.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yom Kipper - Mid fast - I find great comfort in wearing white with no vanity,just pulling my Yom Kipper dress over my head like the shroud it represents, sticking my feet in cloth shoes and going forth to service with none of the usual concerns about matching jewelry or getting tasks done in the right order. I love the minor key chanting, the prayers of repentance, the call to turn, turn, turn, toward goodness and love.
But I struggle with amends and especially with real and lasting change. Often, I don't even know what to change to do more good and less harm. The children's story read at services today taught, through the misadventures of a very large and clumsy if well intentioned bird, that the hardest word in the world is "sorry". That isn't true for me. It's easy to be sorry and say "sorry". What is hard, hard, hard is to understand before I do something wrong that it is wrong. So often I try to say something kind, and it hurts, or I want to be helpful and it distracts or interferes. My empathy fails me day in and day out. Even when my ego is out of the way and my intentions are focused and in tune with my values, I do harm.
When Kerry and I planned to have children, and were blessed with bright, beautiful little girls, it was vitally important to both of us - the most important thing in our worlds, to give them love, opportunities, limits, values, dream seeds - skills, hope, courage, everything they needed to thrive and to contribute. Like most parents, we wanted them to have more opportunities than we had, to have less pain, less trouble, and to live richer lives. I think we got some of those things right, but I know now I acted at times with distraction, indifference, control, selfishness, ego, insensitivity with both of my daughters. Even now that they are lovely strong women, I speak wrong words, fail to communicate the depth of my love, don't know what they need or how to provide it.
And then there's Bob - how I love that good man and yet, several times every week I jump and shriek when he has help to offer me, or I try to ask for something I want or need (and I know the rules, teach people at work how to make requests and complaints kindly) and I fall into language that sounds critical to him and hurts him.
It isn't saying "sorry", admitting wrong that is hard - It's knowing what is better to do, not just the rules but really how to do it, and then doing it right again and again and again that is hard. That is my prayer this Yom Kipper afternoon -

Source of life and wisdom, strengthen my empathy. Help me match my words and voice with my intentions. Slow my reactions. Strengthen my empathy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur Day of atonement, turning toward higher self, higher values, fasting, remorse and forgiveness. We're only a few hours in -after the lovely introspective service, before the fast gets hard. My communities group cofession is full of paradox, which I love. We ask forgiveness for expecting both too much and too little of ourselves. Both transgressions are true of me different moments, different aspects of life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sometimes the sweetest gifts, greatest treasures, are unplanned and unplannable. I'm feeling enormously greatful for the completely unexpected soul deep talk I had with two old friends tonight.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I love my life right now. It's like a few layers got pulled back and instead of living as an empty nester, looking for opportunities to take care of others outside of work, I'm suddenly right back in the middle of younger family life. I already mourned this stage, never thought I'd have it back, but shows what I know, or don't. Here I am in the middle of it again and though making school lunches is tedious and there are evenings I'm really ready for some down time, I love this chance to be part of an active younger family again. Saturday night Bob and KK and I went to the symphony and (thanks to shared tickets from Jean and Mark) were able to take our friend Annalyn. It was exciting to share the music, and interesting to me that KK loves that music and has been to enough symphonies now that I see her as a co-sharer, rather than someone Bob and I share the music with.

Sunday was unexpectedly rich and busy. Ruth and Liam have just started a monthly Jewish kids' craft program called "Training Wheels". Each session focuses on a holiday I think, and the one we attended was about upcoming Sukkot. We made a graham cracker Sukkot with marshmallow creme for glue and fruit loops on top (with surprising insight,Liam called the sweet cereal "sugar" and he got at least as many on the Sukkot as into his mouth), puppet guests to visit us in our Sukkot, a celebratory flag, and a very glittery blue and silver compact disk which makes a beautiful Sukkot decoration. I think it's exciting that this program exists, and I so enjoyed loved helping and watching Ruth help Liam. His concentration, instruction following, and attention to detail were super, especially for his age.

Sunday afternoon was "Come Dance Day" with free classes all afternoon at Ballet Austin. KK invited me and her friend Reba from school to join her and it was both marvelous and humbling. Zumba, an exercise dance class to international rhythms is about my speed - steps not too precise but plenty of chance to burn calories and experience the abandon and joy of really letting go to upbeat music. I want to go to Zumba with KK every Saturday morning - a real treat. But the theatre dace classes, taught by KK's mentors Danny and Rocker were HARD - I seemed to be constantly going in the wrong direction on the wrong foot a step behind the music - and then I'd look up and see KK and her dance friend Abby just hitting every move and doing it with style. It was good for me to remember how hard what she does every day is. I like Reba a lot, a girl who was game in the hard classes despite lack of dance training, can laugh at herself, and has a great sense of rhythm she uses in her own art as a guitarist and singer. What a lovely afternoon!

I still feel a little flooded by all the details and schedules of our active family, but I think it's beginning to fall into place better - especially KK's homework and dance schedule patterns. She is amazing to me in that she is up and ready for school every morning - no muss, no fuss, no reminding. I was never that easy to get moving as a school kid.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It seems wrong not to note 9-11, icon of vulnerability and falling buildings, trigger for wars, day of so much loss and change with a blog entry. I'm not feeling profound. I do remember. It is interesting to me that KK used the attack on the Twin Towers as one of the historical events she believes defines her in a project for her history class. Probably that is as true for most of her generation as the assassinations of the sixties were for mine. Sad things we mark time by. at least we had the moon walk too.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Rosh hshannah beginning - lovely service tonighthas me cherishing the sweetness in my life and contemplative about the ways in which I want to turn more toward kindness. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor Day Weekend never meant much to me as a kid or young woman, except that you weren't supposed to wear white after it - sort of an official end of summer. I remember feeling frustrated that Texas weather didn't honor Labor Day as an end of summer. The last few years, though, I've gotten to love this three day weekend, when the weather actually has tended to have moderated a little. I still smile remembering two Labor Days ago when Bob and I had a lovely hike together in Bastrop STate Park and he found and out of the way bead shop and bought me jade and lapis. Last year Chris, Ruth, and Liam were moving in - crazy busy - and Chris stopped in the middle and grilled chicken, steak, and corn, which we ate in the front yard. This year the whole houshold hiked Saturday at Enchanted Rock, had dinner with friends, and generally enjoyed each other - good feeling in the house, and for me at least, a break from stress and busy-ness and a sense of renewal.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Long week, tired at the end but happy. Shabbat service before the High Holy Days was sweet. Liam sings and sways with the congregation, so loved there and part of it now. I don't feel smart tonight, but satisfied. I have a sleepy KK and a sleepy self to tuck in bed.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I felt like my best self today - especially at work. Sessions were tough but I felt competent, like I knew what people needed and their responses verified that. I love to be able to be a trail guide to people who feel stuck or frustrated. I even had the rare honor of using a smudge stick to help a very dear and special client clear and bless her new home for her new life.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Good day - no crises - Also, We all got paid. It was getting tight toward the end of the month. Money does make a difference in my mood, having enough, or not. Joanna and Tracy worked themselves exhausted clearing out their storeroom and moving stuff to San Antonio. They are in their new rent house though - at least have the key and have the stuff in a truck parked out front. Ruth and Chris are eager on a closing on the contract on their house. Everything shifting, for the better I hope.I had lunch with Bill, talking about his excellent short stories - wish I could focus on plots as he does. I love that he values my opinions. Time soon to try some fiction of my own again. I'm beginning to think about the High Holy Days approaching, musing and planning how to cleanse my heart, make amends, make new beginnings. This is a solemn and valuable time of year.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Much better day today. Bob and I went with KK to her back to school night last night and it was fun to see her relaxed and knowing exactly where to go in the school that seemed like such a maze a week ago - so comfortable with all her teachers and beginning to recognize and be recognized by other students. Her teachers are a real mix of ages, personalities, styles, and it was good to get a feel, and just to be there with her and Bob. KK, in unguarded moments, has been known to say "All my teachers always love me." and this sure seems to be the case this year. I especially was pleased to hear her math teacher comment that she obviously was a person who likes and is good at math. Her math teacher is young and enthusiastic, ardent even, and he touched me by asking how KK was doing with making friends. Many of the school adults really seem to notice and be getting to know her. Her counselor even asked her what she was doing at the back to school night - "Shouldn't you be dancing?" (It is one of the two weeks a year that Ballet Austin is closed). I love that she's only been at school there two weeks and the adults already have a sense of her. If I were KK the scariest class would be keyboarding - taught by a dynamic and loud woman who emphasises keyboarding speed. Timed tests make me nervous, KK too, but she will manage. Like KK, I would probably like art best. The teacher is hilarious, devoted, warm, a hero kind of teacher who I'm sure evokes the best in all of his students.

Ruth and Joanna both went to sixth grade at the school KK is attending now. I couldn't help but remember that I had migraines boht of their back to school nights and really had to struggle to focus and want to be there. Not so tonight. I felt great and engaged and not even shy. Some say "aging isn't for sissies." So far aging is fine. Perimenopause isn't for sissies though, that's for sure. Margaret Mead once wrote about "postmenopausal zest" and I adore experiencing it. I feel more like I did during my thirties than during my forties and early fifties - except for less bounce in the knees. I love it!

Bob is working very hard to do all he believes is necessary for his students, and family needs have kept him from working some times when I know he could have used the time for himself. I fall even more in love with him as I watch him balance all the needs and demands in such a compassionate way. His classes are challenging, but yesterday seemed to be a good day. The next two days he will be working especially hard to get ready for his own back to school night on Thursday.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday is supposed to be my relaxing day, but today was insane - It felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack all day long. I think I have more trouble than I want to admit with my daughter's lives being unsettled. Joanna and family are on the very verge of getting into a rental house in San Antonio and RUth and Chris almost have a contract to sell their house. But things could still go wrong. People say "Don't worry." and it doesn't quite fit. I don't think I worry or catastropise, don't expect the worst. I just don't feel settled when my daughters lives are unsettled. I don't seem to be able to just bracket (This is theris and this is mine and I can care about them without feeling their aK. and their adjustments to school. I'll be more relaxed when I know both of them are fully in the flow. Love3 with boundaries is so tough for me. I don't have the emotional strength to feel everyone I love's burdens fully, or the power to lift them, and respecting people demands stepping back and trustiog them to deal with their own burdens unless they ask for help. Easier said than done. Today showed me how far I have to go on this.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's been a good weekend. I think Bob is less tired than he was on Friday, and more ready for the new school week than he thought he'd be. We spent parts of both weekend days at school, but not long times, and today arranged the desks for group work. We also went to the gym both days, which has been harder for us to manage since school started. KK has been good company. She has had interesting get to know you school assignments, including a shield assignment for American history in which she needed to include personal, historical, and cultural symbols that mean something to her as a citizen. She really did a beautiful job with the motto "Dance like Nobody's watching." It was a joy last night watching Ruth use her fancy drawing on the computer software to help KK block out her idea - really a great lesson as well as a neat product. Living in our house can't be easy for a kid, high standards all around, as well as lots of love and support.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today has been a good Saturday - lots of housework and some computer play, a little time in Bob's classroom and a little more tomorrow, a walk with K.K., home made enchilladas by Chris. Last night was mideastern. That man has me thoroughly spoiled. I like to cook fine, but living with him is like a gourmet world tour, and I'm even managing to lose weight while enjoying all this glorious food.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First week of school is over. Whew! Everybody is tired, but satisfied I think, quiet in the house tonight. K.K. is spending the night with her Dad. Liam fell asleep early. Ruth and Chris are tidying up and Bob is playing with music downloads and dozing in his chair. I think I will go to sleep early too

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day continued well -so cool to see K.K. putting down roots, seeming more relaxed about school.
This morning felt great, maybe the sense of being over "hump day" of the first week of school. K.K. seemed strong and prepared this morning, not with such a strong feeling of newness and nerves, just going to school. I'm looking forward to this evening, getting off at 5:30, having more time home with family, not rushing. I feel a little sad not seeing the boys as they start new schools, but life does bring changes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It feels so good to see K.K. relaxing into Lamar, excited about singing wiht the choir at the pep rally on Friday, making friends, really just seeming to be finding her legs. Bob's first week is tough, so much to do to feel he is doing right by his kids. I hope I can help enough with some of the physical work over the weekend that he starts next week feeling caught up. The intensity of the summer heat broke today - no more hundreds in the forecast! And the high Saturday will be in the eighties. Feeling coolness in the breeze today lifted my spirits. The rising moon tonight had the golden tones I associate with autumn moons - beautiful.
Things I'd like to do this year - an idea borrowed from Ruth's blog:

So here are some things I'd like to do this year:

1. Learn to sew again and make skirts and dresses.
2. Get my beading under control (sell off many beads I've made and start some more complex beaded projects, mostly semi-precious.
3. Finish and compile my book of Jewish holiday poems.
4. Take a road trip with Bob out into the wilderness somewhere.
5. Get out in the full moon more, especially at McKinney Falls.
6. Take at least one Butler Community School dance class with K.K.
7. Continue to make sense of old family pictures and letters.
8. Learn to knit.
9. Make one craft project with Liam each season,and with Andrea too if at all possible.
10. Get my feet into a river and the Gulf of Mexico.
11. Write more emails and letters, birthday cards and such.
12. Plant something and keep it alive, at best a whole garden.
13. Go to a play with Bob.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Second days are tough, the getting up and moving through change without the adrenaline of first days. Our crew made it, all of them, Ruth, K.K. and Bob. Everybody's tired I think. but resilliant enough that Ruth, Liam, K.K. and I started dancing spontaneously during dinner preparations (to Might Be Giants science songs Ruth shared with Bob for use in his classroom. he didn't dance but was thrilled with the resource.) K.K. is finding the feel of Lamar, though nerves made her cry again this morning. Once again she was met by kindness and perked up and got through the day without mishap. I am such a freak. I ADORE the homework helper role, which having K.K. in the house allows me to reenter. I like her assignments for language arts and history, They are working on the meaning and importance of history before they start memorizing facts - an approach I approve of. She had to come up with a quote about the importance of history after reading a number of famous ones. Hers is "Yesterday is the seed of tomorrow.", She also was asked to pick four character trait words from a long list and apply them to herself in short paragraphs, which I think was a neat assignment which I might reframe a little the next time I assign prompts for my writers' group. K.K. picked "cheerful", "friendly", "talented", and ""nervous", all of which definitely apply. I'm loving having Bob home, just the quiet presence of him in the night, and being able to go to his classroom with him, even if I just keep him company and don't help much. He has a diverse group of kids, including refugees from the Congo and Burma, and he believes they have a lot to learn this year, especially in math. He is tired, but persevering. Ruth has large classes - always full because she is much desired as a professor at ACC, and is struggling with all the minutia of computer problems and parking permit hassles and such.
I think the whole household will appreciate the weekend.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First day survived! It was touching to walk into lamar with K.K. this morning. Her tears started as soon as her feet took her into the strange school, and the principal and teachers were all very kind and helpful - amazingly so, and within a few minutes she was smiling through her tears. I love that kid. She takes her vulnerability in a very matter-of-fact way, knows she cries when she's scared in new situations and doesn't freak out that she's crying. She ended up having a really good day and making two new friends. Bob's day went fine, not as amazingly as he had hoped, but fine. he's drilling himself tonight on his student's names in connection with pictures he took of them. They, as a group, are pretty frustrated about being back at elementary school instead of going to middle school as they expected (due to the poor performance of the middle school to which they were headed). BOb was hoping discussion of their feelings about staying at elementary school would help shift these feelings more than it seemed to. Tomorrow should be a tougher day for the students but easier on Bob. He's planning to give them some benchmark tests.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I am having a terrible time blogging, and that's not like me. I've been down, stressed,struggling with the pace of work and family life - and yet also delighted with both. K.K., Bob and Ruth all start new semesters in the morning, Bob with a beautifully decorated calssroom and meticulous lesson plans, K.K. with a great back to school outfit and school supplies thoroughly organized. It touched me that Chris and Ruth and I were all three in the kitchen tonight lovingly working on lunches for both of them. Ruth is such a conschiencious professor, i really think her students are fortunate. Every sememster she makes her class a little better, a little deeper, and she cares so much. i hate it that the first day of school is supposed to be 105 degrees - just seems wrong. I think eventual cooler weather will lift my spirits as well as those of many others here in hot Austin. I commit tonight to writing something here every day for the next two weeeks, just to build a habit and share information about our new beginnings, even if
i'm not paritcularly inspired or coherent.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

We visited Bob's school today, moved in boxes, so sweet to be making a new beginning. I learned today that there is a large international refugee community at his school, from many nations. He will have at least one student from the Congo, one of three brothers known to a friend of mine who works with resettlement for refugees. Apparently there is a very high quality nonprofit apartment complex across the street from the school which houses refugees from all over the world, many of whom have large families which attend the school. We met the young assistant principal, very likable young man and former first grade teacher who was dressed as informally for moving boxes as Bob and I were.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Bob has the key to his new classroom - plenty big with windows. I'm exhausted with all the change, trying to incorporate all his belongings into our room. He's actually doing great at getting his accumualtions down, really reduced and organized wardrobe yesterday. I'm just at the overwhelm point though, need a bath and sleep.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Wow! Bob is all moved out of his Corpus apartment, everything boxed up and b rought home. I remember when we found apartment and how excited we were when he got the job at Menger - good job - good seven years. It is time for a change now and will be exciting to get him established in his new job at Andrews. We hope to see his classroom tomorrow. The move was hard work, but much assisted by Ruth, Chris, James, and Jean, and even by little Liam, who is amazingly helpful and cooperative at his young age. He was thrilled to find and claim soccor balls and other delights in his Grandpa's apartment. Bob hates to move and is just glad this is done. I'm glad to have him home, don't really hate moving, haven't done it so many times. I do like the way it mencourages purging belongings and making new starts. I feel a little nostalgic for the Menger and Corpus years - especially the bus trips down to stay with Bob and ouor veach walks. There will be more beach walks though, even without an apartment and job down there.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I feel satisfied tonight, happy to have gotten the household's laundry done, happy in time spent with Ruth and Liam, glad Bob is coming home from Blacksburg tomorrow night. he had a really great visit with family. I hear the pleasure in his voice - such good people he comes from. Highlight this afternoon was a fierce thuderstorm that hit while Ruth, Liam, and I were in Home Depot looking at doors and windows for the little house we are building out back for K.K. The storm was unusually quick rolling in, roared loud, flashed bright. Liam loved it and kept asking his Mama to make more thunder. Sometimes even his magic mama can't make something happen. We walked the dogs after the rain slowed to gentle mist, marveled at being cool in Texas on an evening in July.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Moon is big tonight, time got away this month during its waxing. I felt sad seeing it so full so experientially soon after I saw it as a crescent. This summer is passing fast for me, so busy and full of change, sweetness I want to hold as well as stress. I'm enjoying the house to myself tonight, though I miss Bob. His family visit sounds delightful. I'm rethinking my decision to stay here and worm would have enjoyed this visit. Liam and his Mom made nachos for midafternoon snack, and Chris taughjt K.K. to make chocolate chip pancakes this morning. So much of what is precious is ordinary time shared.
Several sudden deaths in my broader circle have me wanting to share a recent poem about life and living it here as well as in the poetry blog.


I am thankful for the times
I've dropped practical concerns,
rolled on the floor with the toddler,
giggled or wept too late with friends,
walked a dusky beach until moonrise,
made love on a rainy winter afternoon
with floor unswept, dishes in the sink.
Death says no soon enough.
In the mean time, I say yes.

Victoria Hendricks
July 14, 2010
Shabbat again. This summer is so stressful I especially appreciate the pause, and the way we have been marking it with the ritual meal. We are no where near Orthodox - but there is something beautiful in having a break from business, a sense of standing on holy ground as a family at least once a week. I felt the air change tonight as we lifted Chris' prayer shawl over Liam and stood together in our little tent, a refuge of blessing. This work wee really played out my mantra of "Life is hard and life is good." I saw so much suffering this week - and also had utterly delightful catch up coaching sessions with young women I saw regularly years ago - both doing well in their lives, thriving, and coming back to share their successes and dreams with me. It is such a delight to see growth and joy, hard won.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I am so far behind - time to resort to bullet format and stream of consciousness and just get everything down that seems important at all.

-Bob turned 61 on Saturday and I revived his mother's wonderful tradition of letting the birthday person be "boss for the day". It was so much fun for me to be at his beck and call and see what he would want to do. We started the day with a walk on Town Lake, ended with a local (tiny funky theater that supports local artists) performance of the play Circle Mirror of Transformation, which we both enjoyed, though it was set in a creative drama class and caught some of my vulnerabilities about times I have "made a fool of myself" in pursuit of creative goals. I have not been sure if I like naturalistic theatre, but I think I do when it is done with a sensitive touch. I feel some redemption that I tried to write some more naturalistic scripts, with pauses and awkward human interactions when I was younger and was told audiences would be bored - apparently not always today. Liam and Ruth baked Bob a wonderful lemon birthday cake with the word "celebration" written in candles - and this man sure deserves celebrating. Chris fixed spicy and low fat chicken and steak on the grill with the best pineapple chipolte sauce I've ever tasted. We talked at dinner - with K.K. present, about the things we love about Bob, including his trip planning, his attention to making sure we communicate fully, his willingness to admit and change when he has made a mistake, and his radical acceptance of us all with our quirks and mistakes. I am crazy in love with my husband, more than ever as our relationship seems to catch up with it's history. What started in innocent hope has moved through challenges of blended family, health problems, career change, to a place of tremendous mutual respect and increasing teamwork.

-Housing changes are coming fast and furious and not nailed down yet - more as that shifts. Probably K.K. will live with us during the school year while her family moves to San Antonio for work. And we still have to get Bob home all the way, the stuff as well as the man.

-Bob is visiting his parents in Blacksburg on Thursday. I'm sad I chose to stay here and work, but it's probably a good thing since work is demanding and delightful right now.

-I'm newly addicted to hills work outs on the treadmill at the gym and both Bob and I continue to lose weight and feel more fit, about which I am a bit heady.

-I struggle with my desire to make everything perfect or at least good for everybody I love all the time (nothing new there) and am more and more seeing that this is a growing edge for me, letting go of needing to buffer pain for those I love.

-Irrational physiological anxiety will probably always be part of my life, and that pisses me off, but I am determined to neither deny the anxiety or be ruled by it. I have anxiety. Anxiety does not have me.

-The online poetry community is COOL, and I want to devote more time to becoming a stronger part of it. i don't just want to, I will!

-Old friends celebrated Marie's birthday Sunday night. It was great. Nothing like old friends. I remember her thirtieth birthday celebration. I remember meeting her when Joanna was the age Liam is now! Time does pass and that's not all bad. Roots grow deep with time.

-Kerry has been dead 21 years - bizarre! I remember some of the events of the summer of his death as if they happened yesterday, and yet that time almost seems like another person lived it. I'm thankful for both of my marriages, both of my lives.

-It has been a relatively moderate and very green summer. Crepe myrtle season is past it's peak, but the flowers of that summer plant are still visible in a variety of colors and please me deeply. Red bud is early spring, Crepe myrtle high summer.

-It's James' birthday today. I'm proud of the way he and Joanna have managed their separation and continued to both parent their kids. He is taking the kids to his family's ranch for the midweek, and that is something they all look forward to.

-I've been visiting Northwest Pool (walking distance) on summer afternoons for more than 31 years and there is not much more delightful than a summer afternoon at your neighborhood pool, especially with whichever generation of family babies in tow.

-Hummus, especially citrus or black pepper, pineapple, and blueberries are my favorite summer foods - oh, ahd cashews with black pepper.

-The moon has been a rising crescent this week, probably half tonight, and I just learned that after full, Bob's favorite shape of moon is the lemon slice, barely still a crescent, just short of half. My favorite, maybe even more than full, is the very first visible crescent, just tiny and barely visible. For me that is hope's moon. What is your favorite phase of the moon?

-Usually moderation in bedtime is good for me but once in a while, like tonihgt, absorboing enough silence to allow a crazy flow of writing is more valuable than sleep.

-For the ump-hundreth time, Life is good and life is hard. Most everything is multidetermined. Those seem to be my most familiar anchoring statements lately. And real really is better than perfect (because it is possible).


Nobody's perfect. That's for sure.
Not me, no where close. Imperfect.
So it's good nobody's perfect as
long as each of us remembers
nobody's perfect. That's for sure.

Victoria Hendricks
July 14, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I have trouble writing about my life right now. So much is changing. It seems like everything is changing day to day, but I know it's not quite that extreme. Bob is for sure moving back to Austin to teach sixth grade in the fall, which means we need to clean out his apartment. Joanna's family is moving out of Ruth's house so Ruth and Chris can sell the house, and I have been helping with the packing for that move. K.K. and Zachary are super helpers, even long hard hot packing days, and Andrea is a darling toddle-waddle who tries to help or hinder by turns, putting the right things into boxes or taking the wrong things out. Danny is in Corpus with Bob at the Texas State Aquarium's explorer camp, which is superb and perfect for him. The kids are learningto use a seine net in the sand, to identify birds, fish, and insects, to canoe, to use a compass, the rudiments of scubs - so many real
naturalist skills. Danny is in his element, totally thrilled. His voice just resonated joy when he told me on the phone about the BIG black bellied whistling duck that flew low over his head in the marsh, whistling. Bob works hard to make the right activities happen for the grandkids every summer, and he sure has hit with Danny and Sea Camp. Actually, I'd like to go to Sea Camp myself.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Hard week. Exciting week. So much change. So much sadness and loss at work and in the larger world. I'm glad Bob is coming home for good and dreading the work of moving him home. I wish I could just focus on the good parts and not dread the work.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

It's really amazing - everything's changing. Bob was hired on the spot to teach sixth grade at Andrews Elementary here in Austin. So he'll be home for good after seven years of keeping two households. We got used to it. it worked. I loved getting to know the Corpus community - our beach and birding time - and the lives of the families and kids we met down there. If I'd thought it would be seven years when we started, I wouldn't have gone for it, but it hasn't seemed long or bad or hard. But now he'll be home and a whole new phase starting. I'm excited about being able to easily help in the classroom, to go to assemblies and plays and things, and just to be together day in and day out, night in and night out. And not keeping two households will sure be easier on the pocketbook.

It's crazy weather here because of Hurricaine Alex, highs around 80 and lots of rain, nothing like early July in Texas where we are usually well into the 90's if not 100.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bob has interviews for two sixth grade teaching jobs tomorrow - exciting and hopeful. It really be good to have him home working, even though the house would be pretty full until we could afford to add on. I'm letting myself hope tonight.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sweet Shabbat after a stressful work week. I love the Friday night traditions, the candles and prayers, the slow mindful meal and deeper than usual conversations. I love the blessings and the presence of Liam, learning to love the traditions of his faith. Today he helped his parents make challah for the first time and it was unusually tasty - great mix of crispness on the inside and softness on the inside. I walked Lobo after cleaning the kitchen and felt happy in the summer moonlight - lighting far away on the southern horizon, the tensions of the week set aside for now.
Basketball camp ended yesterday on a high note, though Ruth and I were both working and unable to see the closing games and ceremonies. Bob watched Zachary play in two games, in which he demonstrated his quickness and developing understanding that it is better to pass than to always shoot. Chris and Liam arrived in time for the award ceremony in which Zachary was proud to receive ribbons for the tournament of games and an individual "around the world" tournament as well as his own basketball and a participation medal. Thank goodness the local resale sports shop, Play IT Again Sports, was willing to blow up the ball, which was given in the package, as yet uninflated. When I got home from work Zachary and I dribbled and passed the ball on the driveway, which was fun for both of us. I haven't played with a basketball in several years. I especially enjoyed hearing all Zach has learned, the labeling of bounce, chest and overhead passes, and his reminder to me to dribble with soft hands "like a cat", which he demonstrated beautifully. I love how hard he worked this week, in a group of around 100 boys he didn't know, mostly older, and how much he learned. The balance of personal best, quest for learning and growth, and the competitive culture is hard for me still and I really respect and feel honored to watch Zachary find his balance on that issue. It was also plain fun to have him around for the week. I also am very thankful to be married to Bob, who is the one who found the basketball camp otion, who finds so many enrichment options for all of us which I would never pick up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The second two days of basketball camp with Zachary staying at our house have been rich in so many experiences for all of us. Zach is at camp with bigger boys and with boys who have already had formal basketball coaching, so he is dealing with being a beginner at something he wants to be really good at - and seeing that others are clearly better. It;s hard, as that experience always is. I'm proud of his perseverance and courage, hanging in and working hard each day, learning so much. We finished our library book about basketball rules last night. It excites me when he can tell me how many points one gets for different kinds of shots, how one makes a bounce pass, what the referee does with his hands to signal "traveling" and so much else. At this point I don't care at all if he's good at basketball, but am thrilled that he throws himself hard into learning and trying.Last night Chris fixed a spaghetti and meatballs dinner (whole wheat for Bob and me) at Zach's request and even made chocolate noodles and cream cheese chocolate balls so there was spaghetti and "meat"balls for dessert too. Bob and I had raspberries over the unsweetened chocolate noodles. Yum! Zachary has had several walks with and play times with the park with and without Liam, all great. Tuesday night K.K. was with us too, between dance classes, and she and I had a pleasant moonlit night walk with both dogs. Bob and I continue to use the gym, and it continues to feel good.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pickup at basketball camp was as delightful as delivery. I found Zachary at the end of an eight hour day still shooting baskets with some bigger boys. He learned a lot today, including the names of positions in basketball. He had a chance to play guard, center, and forward. He reported that the coach told him he made a good guard because he is "fast as a flash", which is true, and he was especially proud of winning the jump ball when he was center since height is not one of his strong points. He talked about dribbling, passing, when to use one hand and when to use two, serious in that delightful way people are serious about activities they are enjoying getting good at. I found a library book for him, Illustrated Rules of Baseball, which he and Ruth and I all enjoyed while Chris cooked dinner. Bob bought Zachary a small shaved ice, coconut and cherry, after his long athletic day, and it was a hit. Liam and Zachary had a bath together and played with the Fischer Price little people and city that both of their mothers loved as girls.

Bob and I continue to exercize at the gym, good for both of us. I walked Lobo tonight, hoping to enjoy being outside on shortest night, night of summer solstice. It felt hot and muggy and a little spooky to me - don't know why the spooky. I didn't walk long. It is always interesting to me that the light starts dying on the longest day, when it is so bright, so evident, and is reborn on the shortest day, when it is hardly evident at all. Life in death, death in life - that is something I believe, and maybe that's the spookiness after all.
This morning Bob and I took Zachary to basketball camp up the hill at Anderson High School, a four day coaching for kids from second to ninth grade. We gave Zach, Danny, and K.K. the choice of an activity camp as a Christmas present and K.K. and Danny made predictable choices, a special dance show with her favorite teachers for K.K. and Sea Camp in Corpus for Danny. Zach, who loves balls and all things athletic, chose basketball camp.

The camp is just up the hill from our house, a long walk or a very short car ride, so it makes sense for Zach to live at our house during camp. We went and got him at his house before bed last night, and basketball shorts and shoes packed in the soutcase, he was very much ready to come. His big brother and sister helped him pack his suitcase. When we got home we put Zachary quickly to bed on the couch so he would have plenty of sleep before an intense eight hour physical day. It was absolutely precious that Liam, still up after an active Father's Day with his parents, helped tuck his big cousin in and gave him good night kisses - so nurturing and Zach was dear with Liam too, patting his back and just being generally loving.

I'm so glad I got up this morning to take Zachary. usually sleep in on my Mondays off and Bob had offered to do the morning routine himself, but my sleepy brain perked to enough to realize that this first time was the only first time that is ever going to be for Zach and sports camp. I was so impressed by our boy. Not only did he get up and dressed and fed independently and quickly, but he looked great, very much the young athlete with the short buzzed hair cut he prefers and his strong lean little body in shiny red basketball shorts and a sleeveless uniform like shirt. More important though, he seemed completely in his element in the gym with all the other kids, many much bigger. After he followed the coach's instructions about where to put his lunch, he grabbed a ball and dribbled out into the court and started practicing shooting at the regulation height hoop which looks pretty hight to me. He missed a few shots, as did most of the guys, but then hit one and a bit later, to Bob's surprise, hit a free throw from the free throw line. I was so happy that he seemed so comfortable and comptetent and happy. We did wave good-bye and I think he noticed, but he was clearly in his own world, exactly as he should be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bob and I found the San Antonio Art Museum today - free after 4:00 on Tuesdays and with a wonderful docent led tour of wide ranging exhibits from Egyptian through psychodelic - with surprisingly good Roman sculptures, beautiful Irish silver, and a wonderful collection of Latin American Art from preColumbian through colonial period to contemporary. My mind is spinning with images from art across time and space. My personal favorite piece today was a tiny (she would fit in the palm of my hand) Greek sculpture of a Mynad, every fiber of her tiny body caught in the spirit of dance. I was also impressed by a ceiling area, light shining through it, all done in glorious glowing glass in every color - not flat like stained glass windows but layered in three dimensions - looked like a magnificent coral reef - glorious! A funny item was an original Andy Warhol Campbells Soup painting (Split Pea)/ I've seen so many references to the sooup can paintings in books, it made me laugh to actually see one. We humans have surely made all kinds of things in the pursuit of truth, beauty, profit, and a good laugh.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bob and I are in San Antonio enjoying our week at the river condo - very sweet. We walked the River Walk early this morning before many people out - very lovely with beautiful flowers and trees, much healthier this nondrought year. It is a gorgeous summer for crepe myrtle in all colors - really intense and gorgeous bloom this year. Down by the river we saw a hawk in the sky and ducks on the water, including a mallard family with five ducklings. My favorite birdlife was the pair of yellow crowned night herons, the male in full breeding feather, building their nest in a bald cypress along the path. Most of this afternoon Bob and I have been working together on an idea we have for a novel for young readers - fun for us even if we don't ever get near publication. This tradition of the June get away in this place at a time of year when we are both tired and the temperature is rising is good for us.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's hard to believe it's Thursday morning again. Time seems to be getting away from me which is odd. I don't feel "busier" than usual - though maybe the difference was going to baseball games with Bob during the weekend. (The Longhorns won their regional and we will be attending and hoping for good results at the super regional against a strong TCU team which starts tomorrrow.) Also tomorrow, Ruth and Chris will have been married ten years. That's another example of time getting away from me for sure - such rich years with all the growth in their lives in education and love, and the struggle with infertility, the death of little unborn Mira (I still imagine her possible curls against my cheek with a sad yearning for the lost dream), and now the robust presence of Liam in all our lives and the joys of co-housing. Also this afternoon Bob has an interview for a high school math job locally. Times really are changing . Back to work with me for now..

Thursday, June 03, 2010

We are all so connected. Last night there was a big noisy scary thunderstorm while we sat at the dinner table. A brilliant flash of lightening electrified the room and thunder cracked gehind me, terrified and startled me and I screamed. As I screamed, I saw Liam's face change, his terror, and then his scream, mirroring mt own. Ruth and Chris calmed him quickly, but for a moment my fear of the storm entered him and I feel really guilty about this. I will work hard to be more careful how I react when I am frightened - around children, maybe around people period.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I am feeling happy tonight for no particular reason. So much is wrong in the larger world. But Chris made mushrooms and cherry tomatos on the grill, and perfect rice and a tart white dipping sauce for dinner and Liam is learning the signs and words ro "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly..." and Bob is coming home this weekend for the summer Friday morning...and I am just happy in this moment

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day weekend is over. This is the first Memorial Day in the last several that I haven't watched the national ceremony and concert - I am sad though for all the families still losing sons and daughters in war, and thankful to our military, past and present - especially Bob's Dad who served in World War Two, Korea, and Viet Nam. Thank you Dubby. Bob came home for the weekend and is back in Corpus until Friday. He joined a gym yesterday, with a membership that allows me to be his guest every time he goes. We used the tread mills together yesterday and that was good, though I think Ruth is right that the eliptical machine is better for my knee. I am deeply sad about the leaking oil in the Gulf of Mexico, hoping to get some of my feelings about that into poetry - also concernes about affairs in the Koreas and Israel.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My blog seems very Jewish lately and that is odd to me because I don't think of myself too frequently in terms of my religious orientation - spiritual practices yes, but not so much their origin and tradition - but here I am just home from a chanting service (really lovely) by visiting rabbi Sheva Gold and having thoroughly enjoyed a hafdallah (end of Sabbath) service on the deck with Ruth Chris and Liam before dinner. I do apprecialte my traditions obviously. i wrote a poem today though that kind of ecplains why thinking of my orientation and beliefs is less important to me than to many people. As I wrote before, I won't be putting many poems here now that I have the poetry blog, but this sems important to explain me and religion.

Proof Futile

Futile to require proof

of God, Heaven, Hell,

Sufficient to access strength

deeper than my own.

Sufficient to find guidance,

peace in spiritual practice.

Sufficient to draw wisdom

from my dear beloved dead.

Sufficient to believe my own

influence will outlast breath.

Victoria Hendricks May 22, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Midweek, almost. It is thunderstorm season - trees and grass very green, dinner on the deck , which only wants sanding and staining, most nights now, unless of course, storm comes at dinnertime. Tonight during dinner a pair of neighbors Chris recently made friends with walked by with their pet duck (yes you read that right) in a bright green wheel barrow. Of course that caused a good interruption replete with conversation laughter and much quacking on the part of duck - not as much quacking from Liam as I would have expected. On the "small world" side of things, the woman in this couple was the administrator who helped Ruth through logistics a few years back when she started teaching at the community college. She, though closer to my age, grew up on this street and, like Ruth, moved back from the suburbs to her childhood home. Her parents died before she came back, however.

It is a Jewish holiday, Succoth, on which we celebrate having received the Ten Commandments and, oddly, have a tradition of eating rich dairy dessert. Chris served cheesecake, yum. We talked about the Ten Commandments after supper on the deck, named them and discussed which seem the most difficult to follow. We settled on idolatry (not in the literal sense but in the sense of worshiping (overvaluing) things of the world rather than the divine and not bearing false witness in the sense of avoiding giving an intentionally false or partial impression . I like it that our Jewish spiritual practices seem to be casually woven into our lives together these days - not nearly as thick a thread as in an Orthodox home, but present and treasured and just part of life. This feels good to me now and makes me happy that Liam has never known it otherwise.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It was a treat to take K.K. to the symphony last night - strong performance of Mahler's First Symphony -so emotionally wild and varied. The discount seats Bob got us must have been cancellations, right down in the the third row where we could see the faces and movements of the musicians and conductor beautifully. K.K. especially loves watching the elegant young concert mistress, whose reminds me of some of the equally elegant performing artists she knows in her dance world. Also, just to document, Ruth and Chris bought the last of the wood for the deck yesterday and laid most of it. They lost light before they got it all screwed down and there is angling to do on the far corner to make the deck a more pleasing shape - also sanding and staining, but they are really knocking it out. Bob is here, mostly recovered from his exhasuting week and he and I are about ready to don our orangewear and go off to the season's last home baseball games before tournament play begins. The Lonhorns have done so well we are pretty much guaranteed there will be a regional tournament here right after school gets out - always fun for us.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's a rainy, thundery night, not really a scary storm but one that has me wanting to be up reading poetry blogs and writing rather than sleeping as I should be. I'm loving finding the world of amateur poets all over the world who use the Internet as a forum for meeting and mutual encouragement. This makes me happy. In my middle of the night weary happy dreamy mood, I was struck by the quote I found on one blog.

"For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses." —Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I'm posting it tonight in memory of both of my parents, Mama who reminded me never to trust anyone who was too sure there was only one right way and Daddy, with mind and soul of physicist, who saw the world as infinitely complex and beautiful.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another Friday night - Pot roast Chris cooked perfectly for our shabat dinner. Liam amazes me by learning the prayers already - just a word here and a gesture ther, but learning them, valuing the specialness of our set apart Friday night meal. I especially love the way he copies us when we bring the light of the newly lit candles to our eyes in a traditional gesture. Sometimes he draws the light to his ears, but clearly he does whathe believes we are doing with a beatific smile. Innocence and wisdom really do seem to come full circle. My meditation tonight is settling around a poem sent to me by Bob's sweet brother and our fellow spiritual seeker, Bill.


”We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.”
-T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm surprised I haven't written here since Monday. Sometimes time does fly away. It has been a hard week somehow, though a good week with Ruth and Chris and Liam. We had supper at an actual table on the almost finished deck tonight - with napkins and everything. A friend shared a wonderful quote with me today .

"When I use my power in service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether or not I am afraid."
-Audre Lourde

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bob's fourth grade team took all the classes to San Antonio today for a major field trip - Alamo, IMAX theatre, and Museum of Texas Cultures with the cool Back Forty living history exhibit. It sounds like the Back Forty was the best part of the field trip. The kids didn't behave great and the wait at the IMAX was long and difficult. Bob is tired, but satisfied with having given the kids an exciting and educational experience.

I actually used a table saw tonight! I never thought I'd do that. I helped Ruth with the steps for the deck. They look so good. her design is awesome. We also discovered strawberry plants in a corner of the garden, actually producing! I gave up on those plants years ago and had forgotten about them, but our colder winter seems to have triggered production. The berries are tiny still, but definitely strawberries. I even ate one.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

I've had a good day, quiet, very loved and loving feeling. Chris cooked special dinner for us mothers - Ruth's favorite "pink chicken" which I may like as much as she does. I'm so happy Ruth did get to be a mother after the years of infertility and Mira's death. I'd appreciate liam anyway, not to mention plain adore him, but I remember how sad Mother's Day was two years ago just after Mira died and I am so glad that sadness is an undercurrent now, not dominant. I'll always miss getting to hold and know and love that little girl, and I know her parents will too, and it is easier to accept her absence in Liam's presence, at least for me.

I wish Joanna and Tracy and the kids could have come over but life is crazy busy for them and they sent love. We've never been huge on celebrating holidays on the day, and when Joanna took me to the Salt lake City Olympics we agreed that was my Mothers' Day present for ever and ever - a good one.

I've been thinking about mothering - mostly my own. It was such a joy mostly (except in the early teens when I didn't handle individuation so well). Nothing in my life has brought more delight and more unexpected rewards. I wish I had done many things differently, more gently, more respectfully to the people the girls were. I wish I had been more accepting of illnesses, less anxious about health and just plain less anxious. I wish I had made it more clear how delighted I was by successes, of which they both had many. I wish I could have made Kerry's dying hurt them less - but that wish I think is not one I blame myself around. Losing a parent just does hurt. Mostly I'm just thankful for the privilege of being their mother.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Today was a good day - time alone with Liam and some fun little projects like making a bank for him out of an oat meal carton collaged with pictures from travel and other magazines my college roommate Jean and I saved thirty years ago. We had the walls of our room all done in travel collages back then - her idea. Liam's little bank is fun, and secured with Mudge Podge, truly a magic product. This is one of those instances when having saved things did create great joy. One of the pictures we used on the bank is a very sixties dated cute sceen of red headed children cooking - complete with chef's hat - so perfect for strawberry blond Liam who loves helping his gourmet Daddy in the kitchen.

Tonight is the run up for Mother's Day. Part of me hates Hallmark holidays because they make so many people so sad - in this case mostly people who have lost their mothers or children to death or estrangement and women who have been unable to have children. I also enjoy Mother's Day because it is great for childlike crafts and expressions of love. Liam let me draw all the way around his body to make a Liam poster for Ruth - "Liam loves Mama!" and we stuck hearts all over it. It's fun to have a chance to be that freely playful and child-like.

One of my small writing groups prompts this week was to write about what our mothers did right. That was a brilliant prompt for me. Thank you Judy. My mother did so much right, and also made some painful mistakes. True of me as a mother too, I know. It felt good for this poem to just write about the good stuff, not to try to find a balance or paint the whole woman. This is a poem I will post both here and on the new poetry blog because it is both about my life and a poem.


My mother was a hot tamale,
world by the tail, first generation,
fast train out of Tiny Texas,
got rid of her Czech accent
kept her recipes, songs, family
loyalty, worked her way through
college in the middle of Depression
with the best job on campus,
loved hard, played great jazz piano,
sewed magic clothes that made me
feel like a perfect princess, got me
books, books, books, Listened to
my stories every afternoon after school,
told me her stories, told the truth as
she understood it, talked straight
about work, sex and money,
knew that life is hard and good.
taught me to use my gifts in gratitude.
and to question people who were too sure.
made a new career for herself in her fifties
aught classrooms of women how to take
care of themselves in the work world,
knew how to say she was sorry.

Victoria Hendricks
May 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

I decided that, since I'm reponding to more poetry prompts lately and plain writing a lot of poetry, it's time to separate poetry out from my regular blogging. I'll still stick a few poems in here, favorites or poems that I think especially reflect my current life or my essence, but mostly, if you're looking for poetry to to

Tonight was Shabat service at the J, intimate and sweet. It is so precious to see this small community love Liam, and him thriving in it's midst. I'm ready for the peace of Shabat - busy week.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bob and I have been married twenty one years tonight. It feels weird. i remember the day I turned twenty one, and it felt like I'd lived a whole life ub to that point. It was almost twenty years after that I married Bob, a whole lifetime again, and now another twenty one years have passed and it doesn't seem like a minute. Yet the girls wer little then and now they are grown and mothers. I still do the same work and still feel very much teh same, hopefully a little wiser, easier on myself and others. Bob still is my love, and in this I am so fortunate. These poems are for you sweetie.

Love Poem

Thank you
for loving me
when I am least
lovable, for patience,
tenderness, hope
when I feel hopeless.
For loving me,
Thank you.

Bob Hendricks

Bob Hendricks loves me.
That feels like a miracle.
We haven't been easy,
me and my girls, bereaved,
volatile, skeptical, set in our ways.
He married me, adopted them
taught us about season tickets.
to make reservations and shop
for deals on dream vacations.
He loves Beethoven, Rembrandt,
Faulkner, Melville, Rodin ,Cezanne.
He sings "Take Me Out to the Ball
Game" with his arm around my waist
every seventh inning stretch and knows
the rules and strategies of every sport.
He'd rather share Yellowstone, Big Bend,
the Grand Canyon with grand children
than experience more parks without them.
He pulls me outdoors to see the full moon
rise when the toads call in the neighborhood.
Chess genius, he grew bored of the game
because winning was too easy. No ego about
his math mind, his quickness, his knowledge.
He always has a dog he loves with little boy heart.
His totems are red wolf, golden eagle.
He meets God in wildness, great art.
He struggled to find work that
mattered, satisfied, big mind
and bigger ideals, desire to help.
Teaching fourth grade isn't perfect,
but it suits more than marketing.
He loves learning about almost anything,
fights overeating, especially chocolate,
rises early, craves information, respects his
parents, his brothers, reminds me strangers
starving in Africa are just as human as
grandchildren asleep on out own sofa,
is afraid of heights, spiders, hurting me.
It feels like a miracle.
Bob Hendricks loves me.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

And now I lay me down to sleep...I remember lying in my childhood bed under the pink ribbed bed spread with that prayer in my head. I pray the Lord my soul to keep As an adult I pray I've lived mindfully and kindly from my soul today, used it to inform my actions and words, and for the wisdom to do that even better tomorrow. And if I die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take. That part hasn't changed much. Maybe I'm less literal in my expectations of eternity, but I definitely offer myself to the infinite, to something bigger than myself. So now I lay me down to sleep.

Poetry prompt of the day was "delight" which was fun to play with.

Delight lights

Delight lights
I can plan for
but not delight.
lights when
she will,