Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yesterday was a difficult work day with a good ending at home with Shabbat dinner and grand kids sleeping over. I was so tired, emotionally and physically, from an intense short work week and a day of witnessing too much despair. Lying on the sofa with Zachary snuggled in close, telling me he loved me as he fell asleep was a perfect antidote. I want to innoculate my grandchildren against the possibility of lives of despair, desparation,r desolation but of course I can't. I can just love them. And I so.

Bob and I have run away from home for the ending and beginning of the old nd new year. We are down in the south Texas Valley - Years ago called Valley of the Palms - come to look at the birds. We had a good afternoon of birding. The green jay has a brilliant blue head. I always forget that. The culture of birders in RV's is intriguing. They were very friendly, warm, invited us to a New Year's Eve party at the camp ground - people our age on bikes with binoculars, living three months here three months there. I don't know if I could like doing that - it feels so unrooted, so utterly leisure. I think I would have to really unhook from my needs to be needed and to feel useful to live like that. I also think I'd miss having a real kitchen. Probably I'm just not ready to think about any major retirement related changes yet.

Yesterday I was down, had trouble looking forward to the new year. Tonight in a motel room in Refugio I feel more hopeful - still not quite sure what I'm looking forward to, but ready to look forward.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My energy feels forward focused, Christmas and Hannukah behind, very sweet, I feel like there's a wind at my back, not looking over my shoulder much. One thing I wanted to record about the last year. It'a the year I started wearing ethnic clothing, especially silk Indian clothing with beads and embroidery. I buy them at Savers for twelve or fifteen dollars for a gorgeous three piece outfit. It is so liberating for me. The kinds of clothes available for older America women bore me and I adore this new flowy, bright colored look - costumes every day, not uniforms!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mary, I haven't been as chatty as I'd like either. Yesderday was very busy - no computer time until I was so sleepy I kept nodding off trying to do the simplest thing. But ir was a great day. We celebrated Danny's birthday with used store shopping, which this batch of kids loves, lunch at a Chinese buffet (his choice and logical for a starving growing runner who likes lots of flavors and needs lots of food), and the late afternoon and evening at Sea World on those wonderful free passes.. The highlight of the shopping was leather jackets for all three big kids. They are THRILLED. All look good but Danny's is amazing, really a great looking item on him. I had so much fun being at Sea World with the whole crew, seeing all the cousins interact sweetly and my girls together. The only lousy thing was that Tracy was sick with a stomach bug and couldn't come. I hope the rest of us stay well. Also, Bob just gets more tired on days like this than I wish he did - leg muscle tired even with all the working out he is doing. It is frustrating for him. Still, we don't have anything real to complain about. I go back to work in an hour or so, but have a pretty short day.

We kind of missed the last night of Hannukah, being out celebrating Danny. I had my personal moment, watching the sunset sky flare with light in rich apricots. Hannukah was good for me this year. I do feel more light going out than coming into it, more hope and more energy. I also feel a strong sense of family, warm and together to face whatever comes.

I think about the new year coming and feel a desire to shift energy a little, perk up, have diversity,new experiences, eat less sugar, write more paper letters, learn a little more about knitting, love better, use my toung in defense less often. I'm in my "give yourself to love" place and hope I can live it as strongly as I feel it. Because love is what i'm after.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy tonight, disorganized, but happy. There are so many letters i want to write on actual paper in pretty colors of ink, so many cards I've saved over the years I want to send, so many beads I wonder if I'll ever string, so much yarn. I want to want less and have less and yet there are times I want more. Tonight the Hannukah candles were so bright we could have read by them, and we thought about the many generations who did read by candle light. I dedicate tonight's candle to the enernal quest for balance.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Strange for it to be Christmas without seeing joanna and her kids. We'll celebrate with them on Tuesday, and in this house we are keeping Hannukkh, not Christmas, but I still missed Joanna's Christmas morning the way she makes it magic. It was a good day though. We decorated moose and beat masks with glitter and sequins, decorated Hannukah cupcakes (which was FUN. Liam can do it just fine this year, and I haven't played with sprinkles and icing in years. Bob and I walked by Town Lake as late afternoon faded to dusk and the water took on the pearly colors of the sky. Almost all the leaves are gone and the cormorants who winter in the old bald cypresses are back in force.

Tonight's candle is for communication, that we all might be better able to speak our truths and to listen to the truths of others.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fifth night of Hannukah falls on Christmas Eve. I feel the sweetness of the celebration of the birth of hope - whether in the form of a messiah or in any other form. For solong after Kerry died I wouldn't hope about anything - could not bear the idea of having another foundation shattered. Bob shook sense into me about that. It was too hard, too depressing to live without hope that tomorrow would come. I don't trust that tomorrow will come. it might not. But I hope it will, and that's enough.

Tonight's candle was for all of us who have trouble admitting when we have been wrong.
I had a good first full day of being sixty one - I worked and felt good about it, spent an hour in the fancy grocery store, Central Market, choosing a few fun luxuries for the season, bath foam, sweet oils, chocolate. I felt that fun rush of spirit I have felt other years at winter holidays and found myself smiling at everyone. I didn't get a lot of smiles back. People were buying festive type things - flowers, shrimp, cheese balles, wine - but they looked more harried than festive most of them, which disappointed me. I wanted to be met good cheer for good cheer.

Chris outdid himself with our Shabbat meal, designed for my tastes because of the birthday and boy did he hit. Mushrroms, squash with onions, orzo, and lemon ginger trifle for dessert with sparkler candles in it and voices of my closest ones singing the birthday song. Sweet. We had four mennorot burning tonight plus the Shabbat candles. My fourth night candle was for our beloved dead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I've had a great birthday, feel much loved and celebrated. I worked a little, enjoyed meals with family, walked in the woods with Bob, talked, reflected, listened - ended with third Hannukah candle and now some computer time.

So what happened the year I was sixty?

Bob and I traveled the Civil Rights trail - so many memories of a difficult and powerful time in the history of our nation. So shameful we needed a Civil Rights Movement at all. It is more real for me now, the depth of the need and the heat of the movement after having stood on the steps of the church bombed in Montgomery, walked across the William Pettis Bridge imimagining being met with clubs, chased on horseback. It especially feels real after having stood in the parking lot looking up onto the hotel balcony where Martin Luther King Jr, died.

I learned simple knitting from Mary Lee (Thank you! Thank you!) and have
been knitting compulsively and joyfully for almost a year now. It is so much fun to be able to put colors and textures together in this way.

Bob and I started writing letters once a month with the local Amnesty International chapter, a stretch for two introverts and also rewarding.

Diane Truswell died on July 6 and Bob and I drove up to her memorial service in Wisconsin later in the summer. I miss her alomost daily, reread her poems, and remember the strength and integrity of her life. I also am more aware of mortality since she died and trying harder to live each moment with as much love and presence as possible.

KK started arts highschool and is thriving as student, dancer, human being. It's a delight to have her in the little house in our back yard and Liam in his room down the hall. I give a loud cheer for multigenerational living, hectic at times but even richer than I could have imagined. I miss Zachary, Danny and Andrea but am glad they are only down the road in San Antonio and not across the country. A goal for the next year is to have more time and connection with them.

Bob retired from teaching after a horrible semester of sixth graders. He is happy in retirement, pursuing many interests and I have come to love having him more available and present. He is glue in my life on the crazy busy days when I work too hard. We started writing a children's book together, got discouraged, and vowed today to starrt up again.

I'm very aware that I don't know how many more birthdays I will have. None of us knows (duh!) Birthdays were not a big deal in my family growing up and I think I am just now beginning to appreciate the celebration of the blessing of another day, a start into another year.
Tonight it is raining cold outside our warm house. It feels good to me to be inside and together, family. I turn sixty one just about right now, was born about two in the morning in, of all places for a jewish girl, the Salvation Army shelter in San Antonio. I always give their Santas something as a thank you for the sacntuary they gave my scared young mother so many years ago.

Second night of Hannukah I dedicate my candle to all who need phsical healing, especially Joe and Heid.i

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

School is out. Bob took KK to San Antonio today. We celebrated the first night of Hannukah. Ruth made great lattkes and we all played dreidel for chocolates and laughed. I think i want to make a point of dedicating each night's candle to something - not sure how this will go, but I'll just start.

I light one candle for the lonely people - bereaved, estranged, everyone who feels disconnected or more seperate than he or she would like. I light one candle of compassion, connection, inspiration to let myself remember that many people are alone tonight, actually or in their hearts and souls, and wish they weren't.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It is a good thing but exhausting to be going through finals with KK as her major support person. She is so consciencious. The hardest test is tomorrow, preAP biology. There are so many formulas I'd have trouble withthe test. I'm proud of her develoiping good study habits. I think we're all ready for school to be out though. I know I am.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

KK had her winter choir concert tonight, arts high school, some beautiful voices, some fun arrangements, fun to see her with Matthew, both of them so happy in new romance. I enjoyed meeting Matthew's parents, singers who met in the university choir, Longhorn Singers and, before they had kids, performed in our town's hillside summer musicals. They seem like good people and have a very polite and talented son who KK believes hung the moon. The feeling seems quite mutual.

Controversy about the concert contents affected our family. The issues of separation of church and state, how much it is OK for religious songs to be in school concerts stirred strong feelings. Is it OK for a public school choir to sing a Mozart Requiem Mass, sing religious Christmas or Hannukah songs, sing a blessing at the end of a concert? . Is something like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" unacceptable in songs because it presumes the existance of a personified devil?

Bob looked up rulings on the internet and found the legal opinion that schools can sing religious holiday songs if they intersperse them in the same concert with secular holiday songs. I don't quite get this, because I don't understand the secular holiday idea very well, but i do enjoy the music, religious and secular. I like that the young singers are being trained to sing classics like the Mozart Requiem and would be sad if those couldn't be sung in the public schools. I feel the same way about spirituals and gospel music. It seems like the kids should be taught about them, just as about other classic genres in music tradition. Perhaps they could be presented in concerts with more "this is an example of..." wording so that it would be clear that the kids were not required to believe or promote what they were singing.

In an increasingly diverse community, and with a concern about extremists pusing their own brand of religion in the schools I intellectually believe strongly in the separation of church and state - but I do feel like removing all the songs from different religious traditions would weaken the texture of the music performed. I'd like to hear songs from more diverse traditions, Hindu, Buddhist, tribal traditions, earth based teligions, Islamic music, not just Christian with a smattering of Jewish. But I understand that we still predominantly come from a western, monotheistic, JudeoChristian tradition.

The blessing the kids sang at the end of the concert was beautiful. I loved being blessed. For me blessing is powerful and holy, a real prayer that moves energy, not just a saying or singing of words, so it does seem inappropriate in a public school setting. on one level that's sad to me. I can use all the blessings I can get, and feel the world can too. But separation of church and state is a core principle in our Constitution and I think being a little legalistic about it is necessary.

I feel sad that the controversy , which is real and importand, clouded my enjoyment and pure delight in KK in her choir dress, hair jewelry, stage makeup applied by Matt's performer mother, reveling in a performance oppoertunity with friends. It must feel wonderful to be able to make music in a group like that, with all the harmony and complex parts. I'm a little in awe, especially of the selected top choir, First Edition. I never could sing and am astonished by people who can and do with such beauty and passion.

Life is so complex, so AND. Sometimes I wish it were simple. However, with news of two sudden deaths in my acquaintance community last night, the death of a five year old twin last week from extremely aggressive leukemia (he was fine as far as anyone knew, got sick over the weekend and was dead by Tuesday) and worrying cancer developments with Joe and Heidi, I'm thankful for every moment of life, confusing and paradoxical or not. If you're reading this, please take a moment to express honest affection or gratitude to someone (and this does include pets) who you cherish.
I have such a collection of images in my head tonight...Andrea telling me yesterday, as we crossed the street to the zoo to "Stop, car coming. Be careful." (I saw the car and am glad she is getting street crossing skills and concepts as she approaches three. Liam has them too.) KK delighted to see her first red eyed tree frog live and also delighted with her current sweetheart, matthew, who seems equally delighted with her. I find myself touching Bob more, cuddling closer as if young romance observed helps me remember to savor the sweetness we have together...concern for joe and heidi who are dealing with cancer information and changes and can laugh together still as well as cry. i know i'm not good at laughing even in good times. They astonish me. KK is studying for finals and i'm spending time with her in the little house, knitting as she studies. It feels good but I'm behind writing and don't like that. but now, sleep.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bob and I went to a wonderful Amnesty International event tonight - writing cards of encouragement and hope to prisoners of conscience around the world as well as the normal pleas for release. It was at a little African owned club over in East Austin - blues five nights a week and African music on Saturday night. The traditional African stringed instrument was amazing and one I've never seen. The owner musician fed us all free - heaping plates of luscious barbecue and also gave us glasses of wine. I only had a glass and a half. my first glass spilled and he gave me a refill, but I feel a heady mix of images from the peril of the political prisoners, the closeness of like minded citizens on a cold night, the trancy music, the food and maybe the wine.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Ruth and I werre talking about blogging this evening - and in my writers group we have recently had discussions about writing "from the gut". Both discussions have me thinking that I want to work on my writing so that I will tell more stories with more details, especially feeling details, to engage more with the reader. I think I feel my posts are more self-revealing than they seem because I don't tend to write specific details, sometimes because I don't put enough effort into the writing, other times because I want to save my own face or someone else's. I think its my nature to be a little more in my head than most, a step removed from my experiences, and I want to work against that tendency to write with greater heat and transparency.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Highlight tonight was listening to KK talking at length and sweetly on the phone to both of her brothers. They have fought as all siblings fight, but she misses them now and has tenderness toward them. "Always remember I love you. Remember you are smart, no matter what anybody says. Just keep doing what you have to do. I love you. I don't tell you often enough. I love you. "

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Everyone in the house is sleeping and I should be, but it is one of those nights when it feels free to be up exploring creative blogs and my own thoughts in the quiet of the small hours. I found two amazing blogs, and in the process, the suggestion to ask myself at the end of each year the last questions James Lipton asks his guests on Inside the Actor’s Studio. .

This list has become a once a year ritual for a blogger who calls himself Rabbit. He finds it interesting to see what changes from year to year. As Rabbit said, “I encourage you to steal them and answer them for yourself – even if you don’t post them, tuck them away and revisit yourself next year. The trick is to not read your previous answers before answering the new ones.”

This is my first year doing the list and here are my answers. I would love to read yours. If you do them, please do leave a link to your own post in the comments. Here goes.

1. What is your favorite word?

"Abide" has been my favorite word for years. I tend to be anxious and want to fix things and it really settles me to know that often all people need is that I abide and don't dump them or blow off their pain or their dreams.

2. What is your least favorite word?

"Obviously" is my least favorite word. So little, if anything at all is obvious and acting as if it is so is condescending and in my oopinion dangerous.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Open space, open time, open minds, open hearts, open discussion

4. What turns you off?

clutter, noise, closed minds, closed hearts, absolutism

5. What is your favorite curse word?

"Yayda Netchke" It's Czech and I'm probably spelling it wrong because I never saw it written. It was my grandma Anna's only curse word and may not even be an actual curse word, but I loved her and copied her and copy her curse word still. It feels strong and personal, not melted yet into American pie.

6. What sound or noise do you love?


7. What noise do you hate?

the laugh track sounds of television

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

. totally unrealistic given lack of sufficient vision and talent, but reporter in dangerous and troubled parts of the world, catching the moment of crisis with my camera, getting the great tragic shot, writing it down.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

I would hate any profession that required me to count things and keep detailed reports - nightmare job would be accountant.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"Thank you. Well done."

So those are my answers. I'd love to see what some of the rest of you would do with these questions.

Monday, December 05, 2011

I learned a concept from KK tonight. We were still studying the Fosse book and looking at pictures of dancers in improbable positions. I couldn't follow what might or might not not happen next. often it looked like a dancer might be about to fall. KK could predict a successful outcome each time and I asked her how she did it. She told me to follow the free foot, the one which was not bearing weight and to imagine how it could land. She says one always has to follow the free foot, the one that doesn't have pressure on it, that a choreographer invents moves by following the free foot. I started thinking beyond dance to life planning, how I can chart my next move by focusing on the naturally trajectory of the parts of me that are free, not bearing weight. There is an empowerment and grace in that concept that makes me very happy. That is probably also part of why writing feels so good right now. It's a free foot. Just for me. No pressure. I can let it take me where it will.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Today was another good day, especially with KK. She and I are studying together a very detailed biography of dancer choreographer Bob Fosse and the history of his work. She has had several teachers who worked with Fosse. She loves his style and is good at it and is now grappling with some of the complexity of the man, who was fascinated by darker aspects of life. Learning wiht her is a thrill, and especially learning this where she'll look at a picture and hop up and show me the move depicted and tell an annecdote from a teacher who learned it from Fosse.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Good day. I spent much of it alone in my room playing and writing on the computer while life went on merrily in the house. Lietening in on all the activity felt good. KK and her daddy and boyfriend and Bob watched the Longhorns lose a football game and enjoyed each other in the process. Ruth and Chris and Liam came back from an all day bike ride with groceries. Chris made roast beef inside salt crust (you don't eat the crust it keeps the beef moist. Yum! Ruth and Liam both demonstrated their head stands and both are impressive. I asked Chris to see his and he just laughed. No one even asked me. it's been a long time since i stood on my head. Low pressure days are sweet.

Friday, December 02, 2011

It feels good to keep writing here, enough days to feel like I'm doing it. Tonight Bob and Liam and Ruth sang in the living room before supper. We had takeout barbecue for shabbat and Liam sang the blessing over the bread.
I like the feel of the house as the candles burn down. I am sleepy, brain tired after a full work week, but feeling strong and like a good night's sleep will leave me fresh. That is so different from a week ago. I am thankful for the ability to regain balance.
Long day at work and home. i'm relearning the countries and physical features of South America as KK learns them - so much I have forgotten. i do remember loving learning about the Andes as a girl. I think geography is tought better now, at least at her school, more sense and patterns and less pure memorization, but tonight was very homework heavy. the kid is a trooper.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm feeling satisfied tonight, hopeful, like the efforts I've been making since Saturday to improve my mood and reduce stress are working. I'm posting something here every day whether it seems important or not, writing a poem every day, knitting bright light little scarves from eyelash yarn for KK's friends and teachers, just smiling more and feeling less like my life has just been stirred with a stick and has no pattern. It is good for me to remember that when I feel overwhelmed it really just takes a little step or two to get some sense of order and power back.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm thinking about the word "deep", a prompt for a poem friends have written to. I love this word. I see myself as deep, the universe as deep well of infinite energy, my connection to that energy assured. the concept of depth has always comforted me - deep stillness under water, in the forrest. I do better at the heart of things than on the surface, best closest to core, to birth and death. The shallow waters with tricky currents, everyday living is where I struggle. Deep is simple - offers fewer choices, requires only abiding.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It seems important to try to write everyday here to try to get my groove back. I don't like hte amount of stress I'm feeling these days, especially after having read an article about long term stress contributing to women having heart attacks. I want to have less struggle, less anxiety, more times of just enjoying life, and that should be easy at this point because nothing is wrong - nobody is really sick. it is just the everyday things like minor conflicts with KK and trying to deal with order in the house and scheduling at work that I wear myself out over. i've got to stop this and maybe writing daily will help, at least help me notice how much of a problem my stress level is.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

TOday was hard. I started out feeling just really overwhelmed and behind in every area of life. I was anxious and irritable and somehow it all worked out that I asked for help and got plenty from Bob and Ruth and we accomplished some major reorgainzing in the bedroom. KK came home happy from Big Bend. Life feels much more managable tonight and going to sleep will keep it so. I hope. It really feels good to need help and attention and GET it. I am gratefrul tonight.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I hate that I'm not keeping up this blog. I used to love writing it, with quotes and commentary on all kinds of things. Lately it just feels hard. My decision is to close it out or push through the block and make it alive again. Half dead it depresses me and that won't do.

I don't have full ressurection capacity tonight. It will take awhile, but I have a couple of thoughts.

The Wednesday Wars is a really good coming of age book set in the era in which I came of age. It's male perspective and a little too cute for my taste in places, but it also really hits home regarding the events of that wonderful terrible spring when Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobb Kennedy were killed, the draft and the War in Viet Nam were all too real, and The Times They are A'changin was in the air. I still have a sweet sad spot in my heart for 1968, the year I left home - the year I left California when so many other young peoplke were heading there. The book gave me good chills.

Thanksgiving and the recent trip to Tulsa gave me a new take on cousins. It really is wonderful to have close cousins. I had/have perfectly decent cousins but age differences and location kept us from ever being really close. My grandkids love having cousins and being cousins.It makes me happy to watch. I'm lucky to have married into a family that does cousinship well.

Fall continues to be my season. I come alive wiht the wind and the crispness in the air. Tonight we took a sunset walk with Liam and the moon was just a brush stroke of a crescent, Venus and Jupiter both bright against a darkening sky. It doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Bob and I took a half moon walk at McKinny falls and hear owls and coyotes - perfect autumn evening, just cool enough. It felt good to be walking together, something we've done alot but not as much lately. I'm reading a novel in which the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angelos, where Bobby Kennedy was shot, falls to the wrecking ball. I don't know if this really happened, but the idea of it shakes me. So much that I've lived has become history and it just doesn't seem that long ago.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We saw Complexions contemorary Ballet last night - pushes human body and spirit beyond what I thought possible. I learned classical forms and know the work and discipline htat took - but this incredibly athletic fusion dance is just beyond. KK has her first highschool romance in bloom - very sweet. I'm reading an odd book about a longitudinal study of gifted kids born a few years before my daughters - fascinating and disturbing mix of life stories.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beautiful first nip of fall. Last night before the front came through we had dinner in the sukkoh - delicious and good to be together as a family - all the Austin bunch. But after dinner I felt anxious and distressed - maybe that what we have is too sweet and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and something awful to happen. I don't want that, don't want to think like that. Last night I cried and cried in bed and sweet Bob just held on, which is all anyone could do. Today he brought me a beautiful pink butterfly balloon at work. I love being loved like that, when I am at my most vulnerable and unappealing. I still feel a sense of forboding and tremendous tenderness for everyone I love. Today was better than yesterday. I felt competent and strong at work and caught up a little with emails, which feels good. Tomorrow night will be a treat - a showing of the Complections dance company with $10.00 tickets complements of KK's dance program.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yom Kippur is behind us. Fasting was hard for me this year and I feel a little uncertain about the directions of my turning closer to bringing oneness to my life and the world. It was wonderful though being in service with the Jewish contingent of my family - especially seeing Chris carry the troah in procession and Liam follow behind dancing. I am coming clearer and clearer that I will never be able to be all that I want to be to everyone I love, and that this will becopme even less possible as my capacity decreasing with age. I feel it decreasing - still plenty left but I am not as strong, not as enduring, even with efforts to remain so. There seems to be a lesson of acceptance in my autumn, of resting in being enough as I am. It is a hard lesson.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Change is in the air in so many ways. Mornings are actually cool and afternoons mild. KK's flying in the air show has run its glorious course and her first six weeks in high school is behind us, good transition. Last night, trying on adorable handed down outfits from Ruth's friend, she talked about her school she said "I need Mac Callum and I need Ballet Austin." Her determination to follow her dance dream solidifies, a change of intensity in a familiar direction. Liam has reached a whole new level of play, negotiating with dragons, slaying if necessary. Ruth is teaching him to use force only if the opponent won't negotiate. Bob has been working hard at the school volunteering and I wish it were easier on him physically. His veinous insufficiency causes his legs to get horribly red when he stands or even sits with dangling legs for long, as he did Friday. He is very tired when that redness comes. It worries me. The financial difficulties Joanna and her kids have worry me. I know worry is pointless. I am excited about getting new glasses, two pair, one for distance, one for close, and will hope I can see and function better with them. We are preparing emotionally and spiritually for Yom Kippur, looking for the best way to be in an uncertain world.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time to beging again, to reassess, another Rosh Hoshannah tomorrow. I think about those in my life who were alive when this year began and are no longer. I especially think of Diane. She had the courage to face all her tomorrows (no umbrellas) I want to take that quality with me into my new cycle of days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ruth cut my hair tonight. It's wonderful to have someone in the famiy who can do that so I like it. It's wonderful to be able to eat dinner with the family on the deck and feel a touch of fall in the air. I'm relieved KK is enjoying the beginning of high school, thriving and dancing up a storm, learning that literature is more interesting than she ever expected. Liam is a breath of fresh air, runs into my room to tell me dinner is ready with the joy of innocent childhood and pure love. I feel so appreciative of being loved. Bob took me at lunch today to a program at Ballet Austin, a preview of Stephen Mills new ballet The Mozart Pruject, shich impresses me immensely. I felt so blessed to have a husband who not only shares my interest in the arts but has the organizational skills to figure out what is showing where and get us to various events. I am in a place of counting blessings, especially those that involve feeling loved and cared for.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hard day at work - so much sorrow and just mental complexity keeping up with people's needs, feelings, plugging in the best systems and thoughts I can to be helpful. Some days are just tougher than others. This evening was great though at home. Bob fixed pasta, Ruth added chicken, and Sir Liam Alot ran around in his knight costume requesting we play "dragon". KK is on the center harness now for the upcoming Blue Lapis Light show, nervous but excited. I spent a couple of hours out in her little house knitting Paula's gorgeous yarn (completely spoiled me now for cheap acryllics!) while KK answered questions for English about a disturbing story by Joyce Carrol Oates - in which a teen age girl has a (hopefully dream) coinfrontation with the devil. I'm impressed that KK has gotten excited by the academic side of school and is enjoying things like learning her figures of speech. She is excited to teach me things I don't know, like that "the lord of the flies" is a name for the devil. Learning to read was so hard for this kid. I think I gave up on ever having conversations like the one tonight with her, accepted that loss, and now it isn't a loss at all. The conversations are happening.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm knitting with the real deal the last few days, yarn hand spun and dyed by a friend I respect immensely for her intelligence, resillience, and individualistic yet connected life. The yarn was a gift at the memorial service of another equally authentic and compassionate friend, and I'm knitting it into a throw for yet another woman of honor, valor, honesty and hilarious delight. The dyes are berries and the colors rich in greens and violets, wines. The growing blanket wraps me in joy. I love that I can be part of a web of connection through needlework. When I was little my grandmother was still participating in sewing circles, quilting bees and being part of such a creative circle was a fantasy of mine. Check that one off the list. Hooray!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I should carry a notepad. Now that I'm trying to blog here again I find myself hiking or riding in the car with an "I should blog that thought" in my mind, but they are not sticking as well as I'd like. One image that did stick is the old joni Mitchell song in which the paved paridise and put up a parking lot. KK and I heard it in a restaurant today, different singer, don't know who. It resonates because I'm still sick over the beautiful little stone house next to my office which was knocked down and is being replaced by an ugly concrete box building which will hold a Mattres Firm store. Even more though, the song says, "You never know what you've got until it's gone." No way! I refuse to live like that. I know what I've got and I know it's precious and II know it or any part of it could be gone any second. I refuse to depend on disasters and crisies to strengthen my desire to savor and cherish life as it is right now.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Today was a very good day - exciting morning participating in a work day at the dance department at KK's arts high school, so much fun sorting and cataloging tons of costume items and getting to know teachers, students, families. I have so many happy memories related to theaters, onstage and backstage, and today fit right in. It is wonderful to see KK thriving at school and in dance (she's doing arial work now, flying upside down in the harness with a troupe called Blue Lapis Light). She added an idea which was accepted into the choreography today. When the orchestra on stage plays "CanCan", the three girls in the harnesses will launch into the dance, upside down! This will bew something to see. Also, it rained just a little today, not enough to ease the drought but soothingly to all and enough to make us remember rain exists. Liam and I took a walk at the very end of dusk, silvery clouds light against the deep dark sky. Liam circled my index finger with his sweet strong grip. "I like the dark, Grandma." he said. I like it too, but it is better to walk in the dark with someone who loves you.
Begin Again
Time to begin again,
to write each day,
to focus on kindness,
to focus, to center,
to write each day.
Time to begin again

Definitely time to beging writing here again. I've been composing in my head, but not typing, overtwhelmed and bogged down, but not by anything bad. KK's school start has been great. i think I was more invested in Mac going well for her than I expected. I need to release the attachment, let the successes and the frustrations be hers and just offer support and cdnnection

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good day, I actually wrote for real though I didn't finish my chapter. Also I went to the guild meeting for the dancers and their parents at KK's high school - neat women of all generations and exciting opportunities for her. It was wierd to be asked her high school graduation year. Life is in fast forward. She's supposed to be in maybe third grade and they are talking about college visits! EEK! I am nervous about this school year and happy too. I remember her mother starting high school at the same school, but it wasn't an arts academy then. i remember starting high school, how nervous I was about my first day clothing choice. It's funny at this point I remember that I wore a blue reversable wrap around skirt I had made and was proud to have made. But I don't remember what I wore above the waist. I wonder what KK will wear. A week from tonight will be the night before her first day of high school. Again EEK!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I had an odd good day, not the productive writing day I'd planned. Maybe I should feel guilty but I don't think I do. I talked at real length with Joanna on the phone today, about everything and nothing, about writing, about kids. It was so much fun! Then Ruth and Chris and Liam came home from setting up Chris' classroom and made dinner. I discovered Gardens of Time on Facebook, which could be dangerous to productivity but is just fun at the moment. I read the chapter Bob wrote, talked with him through various media - funny how "talked" doesn't mean what it used to. Mostly I approve of all the different technologies that keep us in contact even if I do struggle with the lingo.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The degree of contrast in the world is just heart breaking and mind streching. I read about starvation in Africa, terrible right now, hear about race riots in London and black on white violence at the Wisconsin State Fair, cry over the stubbornness in Congress, and suffer with clients and friends who are ill or depressed or both. When I let myself, I get scared that my friends and I are all getting older and that losses and suffering abong us will only increase. I look at the sweet, eager faces of the younger generations and know they are vulnerable to all kinds of harm. I have to shake my head to shake out the tendency to speculate on what harm will befall each one. At the same time, living in my house is fun. I've spent the last two hours with Ruth giggling and making warm fuzzies (think pom poms) out of scrap yarn for Chris to use as tokens in a reward system in his new classes. They are pretty in all their bright colors. Bob called in, happy but exhausted after a couple of hikes on Mt. Ranier with family. Chris has keys to his new classroom, upbeat change into a hopeful new life phase.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So much to write and I need to sleep. Sometimes I just mark the place here to remind myself to come back. i've been writing in my mind off and onn all evening, while doing routine things like taking out the trash. Being past sixty is so odd. I really do have a twentieth century mind, still surprised dozens of times a day by the way reality is different from what I remember as a girl - so much if it the technologies and the way they affect thinking. And yet, I feel very much alive now and part of now, like every moment is precious and I get more aware how precious every time another friend gets sick or dies. I want to live well now, make a difference now. And the first step right now is a good night's sleep, but hopefully writing tomorrow.

Friday, August 05, 2011

I feel a little lighter today, despite difficulty containing concern about the medical waiting and scary news of dear family members. I jumped on Ruth's trampoline last night. Jump i maybe an overstatement. I bent my knees and bounced (good calf work out) and then did jump just a little, feet of the tramp. it energizing. The crazy fun though came from the game Ruth calls "breaking the egg". I lay in the middle of the tramp with my knees tucked up to my chest and my arms tight around my legs, trying to hold that tucked "egg" position and Ruth and Liam jumped around me, shaking me wildly. The bodily sensations involved were amazing - the FUN of childhood physical play. I am usually so contained emotionally, especially about laughter, and I was just cackling and squealing and hollering like a kid without having to choose to or not to. There is something marvelous for me about being out of control, not having to control, in a safe, fun setting. I've never been OK or felt safe with drinking or drugging to get there - doesn't feel safe. Physical play is my best G rated gate to release, and I sure needed a release last night.

Anyway, time to go home and clean my room and do my laundry after a nice short work day.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

This is a hard time for me, and I don't know quite why. Catching the pace at work after the sadness and emotional connection of Diane's celebration of life has been challenging. The intense heat, 110. 112, 108, has me daunted, not so much physically as in terms of global warming, fears about what we have done to our planet, what we will leave our grand children. It depresses me, not like clinical depression but like existential despair. Also many people I know are struggling with medical and emotional crisis, real ones. I hate being only human, so limited in my ability to make a real difference, especially in face of illness.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rokenbok in the kitchen, an unexpected thank you gift of a vase of beautiful white lilies and purple stock on the dresser, emails from friends make it easier to handle the serious illness of yet another friend. Tough summer healthwise for so many. A former client brought the flowers, utterly unexpectedly, after a couple of years. They are beautiful and also really help me know that my work makes a difference.

On a light note, when Bob and I were at the Harry Ransom Center we saw an original Picasso dong dish, really. He was having lunch with a friend and held out is bowl for the daushaund, Lump, to lick when he was done. He asked the owner if Lump had ever had a dish of his own and the owner admitted he had not. The artist remidied that by whipping out some black paint and quickly painting a portrait of the long doggie on the dish and writing "Por Lump" above it. Odd things turn up in museums.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's been a great couple of days with the kids. We had a house full of grandchildren last night, all but Andrea. It was a sweet evening watching Liam enjoy his big cousins, who were just coming off a week visit with their daddy. At one point all the kids and Chris were absorbed in a Mario Cart video game on the Wii, all equally happy. It makes me happy to see the connection between Liam and his big cousins, Andrea too. As the house quieted down for sleep, I had an especially sweet conversation with Zachary, nothing special except for the feel of it. I'm especially touched when the boys want to talk with me. I learned that Zachary would like to work as a lifeguard when he is older. He still loves baths as much as I do. I remember he has been a water lover from the time he was quite small.

Today was just one of those special family days that makes my basket of blessings overflow. We drove the big kids back to San Antonio and just hung out with Joanna's family all day. We talked and talked and talked, went out to a Mexican restaurant that was perfect, whole grain low fat for Bob, vegetarian for Jo, very moderate prices, everything yummy, and a huge indoor playscape for the kids (great when it was 104 outside!). Its even open 24 hours, though we didn't take advantage of that aspect. But better than the restaurant was the relaxed time to just hang out and visit for hours with Joanna and Tracy. We talked about so many topics from education to sports to Danny's shirt size and growth spurt. The boys entertained Andrea, except when she entertained us with two fisted banana eating and sweet cuddles. It was just a very sweet day.

And the fun continues at home. There is a children's building system called Rockenbok that Ruth and Chris and Liam love, having received some as present when Liam turned two. Today Ruth found a whole world of Rockenbok at a great price on Craig's List, and as I write she and Chris and Liam are sitting up late on the dining room floor putting it together.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This seems to be theatre weekend. Bob and I went to the Harry Ransom center, a local museum, this afternoon and explored an exhibit about Tennessee Williams and his work. It was inspiring to be around so much information about his writing process, letters that showed how hard he worked. He always seemed like a magical genius to me. I still remember the first time I read the script for The Glass Managerie, especially the stage directions for it as a memory play. It was one of those pieces of art that just took me beyond normal thought to a magic place. I think back then he just produced work of that quality naturally, and to some extent he did, but he also worked very hard and steadily at it, sriting something, play, poetry, short story for three or four hours most every day. As one who writes, I find that encouraging. To write something remarkable, I must first WRITE.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bob and I just got home forom seeing an intense and excellent play, The Book of Grace. It really brings home the potential for people to hurt and heal each other in families and in the larger world too. I thought about the terrorism in Norway many times during the play. It is worth seeing, though tense. There's a line in the play "You can spread the love or spread the shit. It's a choice." That really is wha tthe play is abouot and is a central theme in my life. In the play we really get to see how much damage it does when someone chooses to "spread the shit". I cried out and hid my head in Bob's chest at the climax of the play, took several minutes to be able to open my eyes and look at the action again. It was beautifully directed by the author, Suzan-Lori Parks. I want to see or at least read everything else she's written including the Pullitzer Prize winning Top Dog. The play is about walls, boundaries, barriers, their helpful and hurtful functions and focuses in part on the border fence between Texas and Mexico. Bob and I saw the fence last week when we were in South Texas - an ominous presence.

Friday, July 22, 2011

One good thing about hot Texas summers is the blue time of night - the deep indigo time right after sunset before full dark. I haven't seen it any time but summer or anywhere but Texas and find it breathtakingly beautiful. Bob and I got a full dose of it's splendor tonight when we came out of HEB after getting cat food. I've seen it hundreds of times, and it still takes by breath away each time.

Today there has been horrible violence in Norway, more than ninety killed by one man with a gun and a bomb. Apparently the motive is political, but not one that has been revealed yet or that I understand. I feel a need to learn more and also just horror at what we humans can and do do to each other on a regular basis.

On the other side of human behavior, liam invited me into his bed cave for stories in utter trust and sweetness. my friend Peggy sent me a gift of a friendship shawl that is the most beautiful gossame, sparkly, ruffled thing I've ever touched - knitted way beyond my skill level and with such kindness. I just keep looking at it as it is draped at the foot of my bed as I write.

I wish for more gossamer in the world and less bloodshed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I received gift today that really touched me, two hanks of hand dyed rose pink alpaca, merino, silk, donegal yarn from Chile. It's so beautiful I'm almost afraid to knit it, but I will and I'll keep the result too.
It's funny about me and pink, especially soft, soft, multishaded rosy pink. It was my favorite color when I was a little girl and I'd say it isn't now. Except it touches me in a way other colors usually don't. When I catch myself spontaneously picking something up and holding it to my cheek, it's often pink. When I can't resist sticking my nose in a flower, it's likely the pink one. I don't think at this point I look like someone who prefers pink - maybe green or violet. I'm glad my friend saw the pink loving little girl in me. i'm happy tonight sitting here petting my pink yarn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am writing here tonight simply to write here and keep the habit up. I am unispired and have no great news. I guess I'm mildly grumpy again, but not as bad as last week. I don't know if it's the heat of this summer in part, or just the time of my life, but I heard of two other deaths today, not people close to me, but one very close to a friend. I am also frustrated that the new landlords don't like the interior design in our waiting room and want to "update". I hate that word. We and our clients love the lobby the way it is and it is a secure space for a lot of people and I don't see why they can't won't leave it alone. And they didn't even have any cool yarn at Savers.WAh!!! I really do know that, except for the deaths, none of this is real trouble.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Great birthday trip with Bob - birds, birds, birds, list tomorrow when I can keep my eyes open. I am so aware that being married to this guy is beyond luck or even blessing. Falling asleep here,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tired, even emotionally exhausted, but optimistic about a birding trip to Brownsville to get our feet in the Gulf again, see the unique birds, and celebrate Bob's birthday. It is even supposed to be an average of 15 degrees cooler there. My own fatigue makes me sensitive to everybody else;s possible struggles. Blessings to all who read here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm frustrated and grumpy and I don't like myself this way. Construction equipment is super noisy digging up the ground where the pretty little house was destroyed next to my office. And the new owners of our building want to do a face lift of some kind and everything will be a mess inside and out and I'm sick of change.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

It's 25 years today since Kerry died, husband of my youth, father of my babies. So much of that last hospitalization feels like yesterday, the awful moments and also the love and the peace that passeth understanding. Death is very much around me right now, and also life. Bob has been the husband of the second half of my life, the father of my girls into womanhood, grandfather of their children. I have had two rich chapters, blessed with so much love. Moon is at half tonight, which makes sense when I think about my adult life having two phases, not equal in length, but disticnt and both beautiful. And I'm also thinking about my friend Mary in fresh grief. Love and hurt, hurt and love, one foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My friend Diane died today. That trumps anything else I might blog. I wrote her a memorial poem in April, when she was clearly losing ground to Parkinson's disease. I changed it a little tonight and posting it here seems right since it's about my life and loss more than poetry.


Last year your goal
was a hole in one,
only person I know
who ever came close.

When I offered to help
with a heavy suitcase
you glared, I'm fine
and held on tight.

You pointed at the top
of steep hill behind cabin.
I would have been the first
one up there
. Tears welled.

You skied Olympic slopes,
sailed turbulent seas,
swam with giant turtles,
let love turn you around.

You danced in the rain,
sang down the moon,
painted in flowers,
fuschia, aqua, magenta.

You always knew
strength is vulnerability,
vulnerability, strength.
You showed both.

You were not ready
to lose body, voice, life.
I am not ready to
to forget the music of you laugh.

Your legacy is a naked heart.
I cleaned out the
hall closet and threw
away an armful of umbrellas.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Life feels a little uncanny. The temperatures rise to over 100 every afternoon. No rain. Summer is like that in Texas, but this year especially. I worry about tipping points. Have we pushed the earth too far?
I hope not. I hope we can learn to live more lightly, to reverse damage done. I know summer gets me down. It was 25 years ago that we were going through Kerry's dying, 15 years ago waiting for KK's birth. It is a time of being born and dying for me and mine, this high summer time. It makes me nervous, wary.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Thinking about July 4 tomorrow, patriotism, protest, how they do not contradict in times when one is troubled by the behavior of the government. Richard Kramer, the man whose memorial I attended yesterday had a great comment about this topic when he was a newly retired Lieutenant Colonel teaching political science and in charge of ROTC at the University of Texas during the protests against the war in Viet Nam. He instructed his students "Don't burn the flag, wash it." This is a man who lived by his philosophy, later speaking up in many scholarly settings against the war in Iraq.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Today Ruth and Chris and I attended the memorial service of a man of great personal and professional achievment. He had also suffered many losses, overcome difficulties in his ninetyone years, and been the center of a community in which he was truly loved. He published his last professional book only a year ago. I loved it that Ruth and Chris took Liam to the service and explained that it was to celebrate the life of John's grandfather who had died. At the end of the reception Ruth had Liam give John a big soft hug and tell him he was sorry that his grandfather had died. That moment was so sweet - the teaching of manners and empathy, the circle of birth and death, river of generations. One of the participants in the community eulogy called the deceased Air Force Colonel, professor, widower, grandfather, friend a mensch, and of course that is what we are hoping to raise Liam to be - a good man who lives for the whole world, not just for his own pleasures.

The other thing that struck me at the service was that I am half way in age between Ruth and the man who died. Of course I may not make ninty, or even sixty one. Who knows. But somehow knowing how much he accomplished in the last thirty years, and seeing many of his friends healthy and articulate in their seventies and eighties, gave me a kind of wake up call. I'm not old and I don't have to think about life winding down. It could stop at any moment, sure, but it could have stopped at any past moment. I'm not just tying up loose ends, like I have sometimes though lately. I'm here and may very well have time for significant new chapters. It still matters what I do, what I choose. I am so thankful to Richard and his friends for this lesson.

Friday, July 01, 2011

I feel the Sabbath peace tonight after an especially tiring work week and a lovely meal with family, then synagogue services. I also feel sad. The little house next to the office is gone, as if it had never been there. That really shakes me, makes everything seem so fragile. I think of houses as permanent, I guess, though i know they are not given bull dozers. The summer heat is oppressive, which also makes me feel vulnerable/ Tomorrow Ruth and Chris and I will go to the funeral of the grandfather of a young friend, a man who was a strong and positive influence in his grandson's life. My friend Diane remains very ill. I feel death in life more strongly than usual right now, and the need to give everyone I love an extra kiss if possible, at least an extra word of encouragement. Life is hard and life is good. We are all in this together, bound to each other by our mortality and our breath.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Change and loss seem to be my theme lately. This week some one, I want to say "greedy developer" but I really don't know, is teaing down the lovely little stone house next to my office to replace it with who knows what. I love that little house. I used to get my hair cut there, then the salon moved and the house was a high class fabric store for years. It hurts me to see it just knocked down, such a lovely little house, nothing wrong with it. I think somebody just expects to be able to make more money by putting something different on the land. Stepping out of the office and seeing the house become rubble physically hurts.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My friend Diane is very ill. She is a woman of great energy and courage who has lived her life with passion and integrity. I love her dearly and want to share here a poem she wrote which reflects the way she faces life.

No Umbrellas
The rain runs down my face
like mascara on a hot day, melts
on my arms like warm mayonnaise,
dampens my clothes as if it came
from an old-fashioned laundry
bottle with a sprinkle top, dispenses
water to iron my wrinkled clothes.

It matters not where I am
or was, walking barefoot
through puddles and creeks
with my best friend beside me,
swimming in a lake, exploring
a city I've never seen, half a
world away, anywhere.

When I came from a rainy climate
I said that was why, but later said
the same when the new climate was
dry, tropical, marine, desert, arctic.
It matters not. Life remains equal.
Nothing protects, nothing shields.
My choice. Rain. Life. The same.

When the rain comes
I have nothing to deflect it,
no urge to escape to an inside
room, no feelings of coldness
or dampness, no fear of what
might escort it, nothing at all.
No umbrellas for pouring rain.

Diane Truswell

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

lazy night after demanding work day. Bob and I are sitting on the couch watching the championship game of the College Word Series. I've been knitting and writing and he's been scanning pictures of our life together, more than twenty years now, into the computer. It doesn't seem that long, nearly. I feel sad seeing all the pictures of our daughters at different stages in their lives, growing and changing. It is so weird that Ruth and Joanna were both younger than KK is now when Bob and I married, and of course we have pictures of KK younger than Andrea and Liam are now. I remember my mother saying when she was about the age I am now that she was shocked when she looked in the mirror because she felt like the same self she had always been and didn't recognise the "old woman" in the mirror as herself. I don't feel that so much about the mirror, but looking at the pictures as evidence of time behind me makes me melancholy. They are also treasured memories of lovely adventures and milestones.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I went to a party Saturday and talked with a friend who has been living in Singapore, on the equator. he talked aboutthe days and nights being the same length all years around. And of course, DUH!, the yare at the equator. i realized how I just don't think about that, think of winter and summer solstice as having an intrinsic spiritual meaning. I am a creature limited by my experience, always stretching to see from other perspectives.

Friday, June 24, 2011

tosay, nature reinforced a lesson I've learned many times. Bob and I had a lovely afternoon, after playing joyfully in he Gulf of Mexico, birding various ponds, marshes and parks in the Gulf region. As we walked down the board walk out of the Aransas Birding Center in the marshland, both of us spotted an unusual bird perched very still in a near tree. It had a streaky breast, but sort of resembled a grackle. Bob spent maybe ten minutes looking in his bird book for streaky grackle look alikes. Nothing! Then the bird began sqwauking noisily and a mama grackle flewup and fed it. WE were seeing a baby bird, mama bird interaction, something I rarely see. Now in Texas, the grackle is a very common bird even in town, common enough to be pesty, also very raucous. But today this common bird gave me an extraordinary natural history lesson. So the spiritual lesson benieath the natural lesson seems to be: You can't predict who your techers will be and the magical, or at least surprise, can spring up when you least expect it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This is a vacation post, written looking down on the River Walk and up at the towers of downtown San Antonio from the condo on the river where we stay one week a year. It was fun this year to introduce Liam and Andrea (both two now) to this sweet little place as their "vacation home." It's always odd for me, coming here as a comfortable vacationer to remember that the Salvation Army facility where I was born to a scared, unwed mother was very near the location of our condo building. When I walk down the block to get root beer for the grandkids from Walgreens I imagine my birth mother walking cold in December into that shelter, about to give birth to a baby she knew she wouldn't know. It was three days before Christmas. I hope Christmas isn't hard for her still. I also look at the parked cars along the streets and remember the story about how I, wrapped in too many blankets, was hand delivered to my adoptive parents in their car. Daddy opened the blanket, saw my red hair, and said "We hit the jackpot!" I scared my parents by screaming all the way back to Austin, where they took me straight to a pediatrician who pronounced me overheated. They removed several of the blankets and I calmed right down.
That story has always rooted me in my coming into the family in which I grew up. Being here on this street takes the roots back a step, to my actual birth and the emotions of the parents who felt unable to raise me. Life really does come full circle.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bob asked me on our full moon walk tonight how the moon connected to spirit for me, and a piece fell in I've never quite seen before. Every hour of every night, from wherever I am, the moon looks different. What I see is never the same from moment to moment. My image of the moon depends on where I am and conditions around me. The moon, however, remains constant, regardless of how I see it, even whether I can see it at all. That is equally true, I believe, of the divine.
Recent days have brought difficult health news for a number of people I know, close friends and family and also others at the edge of my circle. This is the time of year Kerry's cancer suddenly worsened twenty five years ago, leading to his death on July 7. This is the time of year I really got how closely death and life walk side by side. As high summer, summer solstice approaches The energies of the earth gather. Around here all the wild plants are going from flower to seed as Liam and I discovered on our walk yesterday. The days are still getting longer, soon to start getting shorter. All our own days are getting shorter already, though we can't know the number. It is comforting this morning to think about the seeds that all of us have already planted with our lives, consciouswly and unconsciously. Living is legacy and dying can't wipe it out. The new plants are already coming up and will continue long after we are gone. Some of them are weeds, from seeds we wish we'd never sown. I except that for myself. Some seeds I sowed out of ego or just ignorance and I cry over the plants that have grown from those, do what I can to reduce the effects of those plantings. This morning though I'm thinking about the seeds which others have planted, and me too, which produce bright flowers, shade trees, trail markers for those who follow. SOme level of immortality is inevitable, and that comforts me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Eintstein's definition of religion suits me. This is what he says religion is.

“A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty. It is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude. In this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. Enough for me, the mystery of the eternity of life and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.”

Friday, June 10, 2011

Someone stole my wallet out of my purse in my office right in the middle of the office day today - shocks me, both the boldness and the desparation and/or selfishness. I don't have alot of emotion about this. I still think most people are trustworthy most of the time, but I will not keep cash in my wallet at work anymore, just in case. I mourn the loss of that bit of trust. I want to live in the world as if people can be trusted and mostly I do, don't like to feel I have to protect mself or my belongings, but I will.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I'm still thinking about time and change. This theme may be a bit of a broken record for a while. Does anyone remember records? A few months ago I was sorting through old letters for scrapbooking. I have stacks from decades ago, sent and received. my daughter said something about people today not having the art of writing letters like that, full of the details and feelings of daily life, chronicled fo friends and family. I countered that I thought the art was much revived with Facebook and even email. People write all the time about their lives, even more than I used to on paper. But she countered that on Facebook people mostly write about the PRESENT - what is happening right now, that they don't take the time to compile a story of the last few days or weeks, a summary. I had not noticed that before our conversation, but now I do notice it, and for the most part she is right. I don't know what it means, this anchoring of communication in the present. I've heard that people who use text messages heavily also stay very much in the present much of the time. Is it more mindful to stay in the now? It confuses me and creates a sense of vague unease, as if something nameless is being lost. I know I'll continue to write letters (and I still think of them as letters even if they are transmitted electronically) that talk about the recent past, not just the present moment.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I'm back to thinking about time. A young friend wrote a poem about time in which he described it as "friend to none." I'm not sure I feel that way. We talked a little about the topic and he asked me if I thought death was good, if I looked forward to it. I realized that this is not true. I enjoy life and take seriously the responsibilities it offers. I'm not sure what will come with death, but feel that it is not an end. I can't know that, but I feel like I know it, which is odd. I think death is neutral. It just is. It comes on it's own terms. I don't think time and death degrade all things, just that they change all things.

Monday, June 06, 2011

I think I'm removing the word "deserve" from my vocabulary. It's confused me for a long time and now I realize it just doesn't fit in my world view. People say "I didn't deserve to get sick." or to have some other terrible thing happen. They say "You deserve good health now." It just doesn't make sense to me. In human contracts fairness, and I guess deserving, make sense. If I promise to pay you ten dollars for a taxi ride I deserve for you to take me where you said you would in a reasonable, safe and polite way and you deserve your ten dollars and maybe a tip if that is customary. In that context I get the concepts of fairness and deserving. But not in cosmic terms. No one deserves cancer, to be hit by a bomb or a tornado in her sleep, to see her baby die of a bee sting allergy. No one deserves to be beaten, starved, or for that matter coddled like a princess. I think we make ourselves sick and resentful worrying about undeserved ills or the absence of good things we believe we deserve. I think we falsely set ourselves up as "better than" people who struggle or have illnesses or other problems because we believe we somehow deserve our better fortune and them their worse. I think the concept of deserving separates us from others and from our own humanness. Bad things happen. Amazing, wonderfulthings happen. I don't think there is a reason in a cosmic way either way. I mean I believe our behavior influences things like whether people like and respect us and how strong our marriages are. I don't believe trying harder, playing by the rules have the power to guarantee happy endings. Meaning is something we have to give our lives, not something scripted. Given my circumstances, as long as my mind and body cooperate, I can and do give meanings to everything that has happened. It's from that meaning that my life can make sense to me, not some kind of preformed sense of deserving.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

This morning I'm thinking about time, age, and change. I flew into Austin to live when I was 18, flew into Mueller Airport. I don't thinnk I knew I would stay my whole life, but I considered that really possible. My parents had gone to college in Austin, married and worked here early on, and talked about it always like the paradise on earth they always wanted to return to and wished California job hadn't tempted them to leave. I think when I imagined staying I had no idea how much a city could change in forty three years. Probably I have changed as much as the city, but that's harder to see because I know I am the same at core. I don't know if that's true of the city, but imagine it might well be. The University of Texas is still here, the Texas capital, the sense of being a progressive city in a conservative state, the more casual dress and the live music. But so much has changed.

The change was beautifully and powerfully hammered home on Wednesday when Bob took me to see a gorgeous new park and planned community on the grounds of old Mueller Airport, which was replaced by Bergstrem (a military air base not only when I came to town but when my daughters visited it on kindergarten field trips). The park is great, magnificently planned, even uses an old hanger as a stage for events. It features native plants skillfully arranged around a lovely largish pond with water features, a creative play scape Liam has already enjoyed, a beautiful communal fire pit and much more I coouldn't even take in on one short visit. It is a haven for wild birds of many kinds already and offered us views of baby pied billed grebes (my first) and my closest view ever of a glorious yellow crowned night heron in full breeding plumage. It is also a haven for the wonderfully ethnically and culturally diverse community Austin has become. I saw people of so many ethnicities, heard more languages than I could count in the heavily used park. I love what is there now at Mueller.

I also miss what is not there - the airport where I ventured into my adult life in lavender polyester minidress, having written poetry on napkins all the way from California, the airport Jeannie borrowed a colleg e friend's car to drive out to on restless spring nights so we could watch the planes take off, the airport where, at twenty, I flew into Kerry's (almost 25 years dead) waiting arms exactly like the heroine in a chick flick, with just the same kind of abandon and joy, the airport from which we proudly and nervously took our babies on their first plane trips to California to visit my parents (both a decade dead now). I look at the picture of Kerry's mother (two decades dead) looking out the airport window with two year old Joanna, both of them delighted, and that time and place seem as real as yesterday. I remember the first time I met Bob at the airport when he returned from a business trip, woman not girl, but so happy to have the love that allowed me to fly into the arms of another good man.

The old airport is not there. Obviously the memories remain.
Someday the glorious new park will not be there, or will be changed, and the young people I saw falling in love and playing with their families there will no longer be young and will have their memories.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

I promised to be back and am managing it sooner than I promised, which feels hopeful. KK's eighth grade math teacher gave the kids a non math assignment at the end of the year, a character exercise. He listed five traits that he believes contribute to character and asked the kids to list three ways that they show each of the traits. It seems like a good exercise for adults too and I would adore it if some of you responded in comments. If three examples seems like too much, just list one or two. Here are the characteristics and my responses.


I show leadership when I run my practice in a controversial way regarding fees because I believe it is ethical and help younger therapists learn to do the same.

I show leadership when I refuse to condone against, sexist, or racist jokes in my present, or to participate in the kind of "you know how men are" games women tend to play when alone together.

I show leadership when I model admitting that I am being defensive, apologize quickly when wrong, and make every effort to change my ways.


I show concern when I check in on a regular basis with people I know are having a hard time.

I show concern when I write letters for social justice for Amnesty International.

I show concern when I listen to the concerns of friends and family and abide.


I show courage when I go out into the world on a regular basis and shop, make appointments, make phone calls, deal with details even when I am very anxious and would rather hide.

I show courage when I share my views on issues close to my heart with people I respect who might not agree with me.

I show courage when I set strong boundaries with my grand daughter, even if it makes her mad.


I show curiosity when I get library books full of new knitting stitches and patterns and try them.

I show curiosity when I read poetry sites on the web and try new forms.

I show curiosity when I ask people about their lives and listen well, drawing them out and cherishing their stories.


I show integrity when I tell the truth about what I've spent, what I feel, what I need or want even though I believe I will invite disaproval or disappointment.

I show integrity when I keep the spiritual practices I choose to keep (Sabbath, Kosher, meditation time) even when it isn't convenient for me or ohters.

I show integrity when I refuse to gossip, even if I want to.

I hope some of you will respond to any extent to this exercise, which I found truly useful.

If I don't start writing here again I just won't, and that seems wrong. I like having this record of the last few years, and I want to have a comparable record of the next few years. I have thoughts and feelings to write about, but have had trouble mustering the confidence, energy, and discipline to write them. It's time for some renewal in those departments. That is enough for tonight. There will be more tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today has been a better day. I still have a number of clients and friends really struggling, suffering, but there were a few lighter sessions today and Bob and I ate Mexican supper out at our neighborhood dive. I had fun with KK, who is putting together costume bits for her musical this weekend. She was in a sparkly mood, and that brightened my mood. I know I am at a change point in my life, that sixty isn't that different than fifty except that it's a decade closer to the end, whenever that will come. The idea of wrapping up my career, my life, making sure there are as few loose ends as possible seems more crucial, and yet I am far from feeling done.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Passover is over. I think I have not done as good a job as most years of celebrating freedom or freeing myself of bad habits or wrong thinking. I guess one good thing about Jewish holidays is that you always get another chance if you live another year. Ruth mad great matzoh ball soup though.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bob and I are down at the coast tonight. We have been doing some research for a scene in the novel which will happen down here. It's been a sweet day. We were entertained by a surreal chorus of bull frogs, and a got a great look at one of the fat shiny green amphibans. I've seen plenty off frogs and toads, but not the bull variety, which is impressive, both to see and to hear in full mating frenzy. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was the venue for this froggy concert and it was also there we saw a large alligator swimming in the bay. I've seen them there on land or lying in a pond, but not swimming in the bay. It really did look like a log at first, but a SWIMMING log, later with a clearly visible head. That was impressive and fun to watch as long as I didn';t think too much about hte teeth. Tomorrow we will wander backroads collecting ambiance, then pick KK up in San Antonio after a little Easter time with the Christian branch of the family and head home. I like our runaways when we manage them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

WE had our sedar tonight on the patio, child scale. Liam presided in such delighted glory it warmed my heart. Whe I arrived home from work Liam ran to the car just bursting with joy to tell us we had matzoh balls - and boy did me, luscious in Ruth's homemade soup. We had wine, singing, love around the table, a tradition changing as the family changes but keeping the essence the same - a holiday of conscience and freedom.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Passover rivals the fall high holy days as a favorite for me. I love the sense of lightening up, the loosing of bonds, the remembering that whatever i have is enough. I actually have so much more than enough it isnot only more than enough to eat, more than enough comfort, beauty, opportunities, family, friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bob and I shared curry out - new to us thai restaurant full of sophisticated looking people - austin sophisticated, which is an odd assortment of denim, tye die, silk, and expensive techno gadgets at every table. The food and company were delightful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Long work day. My realization today was that I probably won't be working full time in ten years - that seventy is ten years after sixty and I don't see myself working full time at seventy. Ten years ago doesn't seem very long at all. The idea of not living life as I kn ow it with the office central in ten years is startling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

As the sunsets and the moon rises Passover begins. Ruth and I finished koshering the kitchen (more or less) about an hour early and had a picnic on the lawn with Liam, drinking nonkosher for Passover malt beverage and filling a bird feeder with sunflower seeds. I am thinking seriously about Passover this year, both the theme of traveling light, reducing attachments physical and emotional and the theme of freedom, especially freedom from ego.

It is supposed to be 97 tomorrow. I'm not ready, never ready for 97 in April!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm thinking about hard times and how people get through them, foot in front of foot. I think I don't apply that kind of intense mindfulness enough in easier times and so I trip over my feet and get too easily distracted, startled, ahead of myself. So, one step at a time, even when the waxing moon rises bright and the wind chimes sing of springtime.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bob and KK and i went to see the musical Carousel tonight. I just came inside from sitting out in KK's little house with her for half an hour while she cried herself to sleep over the death of Billy Bigelow (who killed himself after being caught in a mugging into which he was tempted because he wanted money to take care of the baby with whom he had just learned his wife was pregnant). The plot of this musical is so wrong b y today's standards - all good girl falls in love with bad boy, puts up with his abuse, and tries without success to save him from himself. It is such a universal theme and it scares me that I can still feel its' pull and Kk is totally a sucker for it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Today was a good ordinary day, and springlike in temperature, not overwarm. Bob and I watched the Longhorns win a baseball game at dusk. It was relaxing to sit in the ball park together on a misty, windy evening, neither cold nor warm. Bob watched ball palyers and birds through his binoculars and I knitted a stripe into a lush green shawl that particularly pleases me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

bob and KK and I saw the dress rehearsal of the spring recital for the high school dance program she will be in next year - excellent! Really impressive. As well as doing a rich and varied stage program, the kids performed with a local arial dance company, glorious wall work with flying. Iwonder what KK's dance future holds and feel happy wondering.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We drove down to San antonio tonight to see Zachary, third grader, play the dog Sandy in his shool's production of parts of the musical "Annie". He was precious and funny wiht his floppy ears and doggie postures, got a couple of good laughs,and was pleased with himself after. It was a treat to see him blossom. I'm proud of him for trying out for hte part, getting it, and doing a good job in the show.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Its been almost a month since I've written here, or feels like that at least, really not quite three weeks. Time feels fast and slow and all mixed up. I'm working hard at work and at home which is goopd and sometimes difficult. Ruth and Liam and I planted Gerber daisies in the front yard this morning, in front of the deck that's been there barely a year if that. K.K. and I took Zumba class together this afternoon. She sparkled and I sputtered, but I made it through and felt more alive for moving my body. Bob and I wrote letters for Amnesty International with the local action group, our third month now, and I'm beginning to feel like a real part of this group and getting to know some of the people slightly. The abuses of human rights all around the world are horrifying and it does feel good to be able to do or write a little to fight those horrors. It is hot here, which doesn't seem right for April, like summer skipped spring. I don't like that. The heat isn't bad, but the untimeliness bothers me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bob and I are home, the ice chest is dumped, and I've drawn a bath. We hiked more early this morning near Deming and got a good long look at a pair or prairie falcons. They were beautiful flying back and forth in front of a rugged cliff and a field of brilliant blue sky. On our way home we watched the moon rise red. We were totally bad nutritionally and had chicken fried steak and buttermilk pie for supper in the perfect west Texas little town cafe. Delicious. We did split one order - some concession to good sense. Ruth turns 30 tomorrow. I'm at that good place of having enjoyed being away and now enjoying being home, though still putting off checking work messages. Oh, we did make even more writing progress.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm in Deming in a motel room with Bob already asleep and yarn all over the place. The bright yellow object I just finished knitting is a peculiar size - usable? I hope so. maybe it will make more sense in the morning. Bob and I had a great drive across west Texas and wonderful progress with our writing idea. This is the best we've ever done with cocreation and I'm hopeful.Being away from usual connections and responsibilities is relaxing and stressful both. I've never been great at letting go and letting be. Everybody I love, know you are in my heart even though I won't have internet for two days.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My husband is wonderful. Yes I am bragging and yes I know how lucky I am. I've been working crazy hard long hours at the office and he had the garden in and the trip groceries bought and us just about ready to head off in the morning to write, hike, and rest in the New Mexico mountains. There will be no internet some of the time, so don't worry about the absence of entries. We'll be back Sunday night.

Monday, March 14, 2011

This week marks the sad end of my daughter Ruth's pregnancy with her daughter Mira. It was redbud time, spring break, soft weather like this when we got the call from the hospital in the middle of the night that she was bleeding, a long sad weekend of hoping that Mira had survived the shock, then the news of death from the sonogram, the D and C and the grief.Mira went from imagined grandchild, hoped for, to dragon fly symbol. Now her little brother Liam is two and often when he sees a dragonfly, live or in art, he tells me "My sister die. Fly away." I'm glad we are a family that remembers our losses and tells the truth. I'm glad we are a family that celebrates life in the presence of death. I'm glad we are able to mourn and remember Miraand to celebrate Liam everyday. I'm up in the middle of the night feeling anxious, and also ver glad of my family, period.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's been a rough week at work - so much pain. I feel pretty helpless sometimes. Familywise things are good. Liam has first skates and can actually roller skate. The design is much more stable than when we were kids. Bob is putting in a vegetable garden and Chris and Ruth areworking on the front yard, putting in grass seed, beautiful plants in front to the deck, and now some paving stones to broaden the walk up to the deck. They are so good in space. To think a year ago there was no deck at all. Bob and I have a writing retreat to New Mexico planned starting Wednesday and he especially is full of exciting ideas for our children's book. I'm having trouble feeling free to travel, and also feel a strong need to be off in the mountains with him. We'll see if I have the guts to go. Balance is so hard.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

After late winter in Milwaukee - white on white, I am immersed in Austin spring with cool nights, warm afternoons, a softness to the air and color bursting everywhere. It is full redbud time now, every pink tree vying to outdo her neighbor, and fruit trees, white and pink as well as lavender lilacs and wisteria are beginning to join the mix. Leaf buds burst from more and more still trees, and the earliester leafers are already providing the promise of canopy in the very softest greens.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I love the Milwaukee airport. It has a flight museum, a cool playscape for kids, a Leningrad Peace mural, and at least five flavors of citrus sorbet. I splurged on a double scoop of orange and lemon - YUM! People were friendly and helpful at every turn. My favorite thing though was the sign "Reconbobulation Zone" right after the security disconbobulation areea. That really made me smile.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Wisconsin in winter is white. Sky ground everything - white. I guess this is no news to people who have lived where winter is unremittingly snowy, but it is new to me -early march, all white, everything routine, not drama about it. It would take a blizzard, which they had a couple of weeks ago, to create drama. I think I would miss color in nature more than I would mind the cold temperatures. One can dress for cold, and I guess I would dress and decorate very colorfully if I lived in a world where one whole season was devoid of color.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Today was a starry letter today - literally. When KK opened the letter from McCallum Fine Arts Academy she knew right away it contained good news because star confetti fell out onto her hands. She has been accepted into the academy to study dance, and of course to complete her high school education. That is a marvelous thing for KK, great accomplishment to work past early deafness, dyslexia, the difficulty of dance training and still doing homework, nervousness over the audition and interview and now to be grabbing hold of a chance to go to school with other kids who care about the arts and also to study dance with top teachers from around the country in masters' classes. I'm so happy for our girl.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Odd experience for me today was spending a few moments with a uniformed soldier who had a beautiful black Lab with him. we talked a few minutes about the dog and then I said, impulsively "Thank you for your service." I felt a little dorky having said it, so I asked him if he gets sick of hearing things like that or if it still feels good. he told me he hardly ever hears it and that it feels very good. So I guess I will overcome my shyness and say it more often. I am confused about the politics of war, but feel sweetness for the young people risking their lives to protect lives.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Another take on early spring is KK, at fourteen, in her own early spring and so prone to storms of giggles or tears, so vulnerable, open, beautiful.This week there are more giggles than tears. I love you, girl, whatever your inner weather. This is a girl who has started taking over the food put away part of kitchen clean up spontaneously, who has said recently that she wants to get better at conversation and is working consciously on doing so, and who is pink and pretty and utterly silly about checking Facebook to see if certain young men are on line.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I think March is my favorite month in Texas. The blossoms and greening ning up and less freesh start, but there is still wind, unpredictability, the possibility of freeze.I'm sishing for more greening up and less deep freeae in the lives of many I know who are suffering this spring. A friend asked why knitting is so important to me right now. I think it's because I am unusually aware of unusual amounts of suffering and somehow knitting soft colors and textures together feels like an antidote, where as poems I write seem more like descriptions of the suffering, not comforts. All prompts seem to take me to suffering these days. For instance, this is my
take on stripes.


Prisoner of war
carries stripes of lash
on back all his days,
inescapble even
when hidden by
most expensive
silk shirt. My
own stripes,
yours, less visible
equally inescapable.

Victoria Hendricks
March 2, 2011

I'm not as discouraged as I might sound, just very aware of human pain every where I look. and then I see little Liam sleeping in utter bliss, absence of pain, and know that he will know all kinds of suffering and losses too and my job with him, wiht all the little ones is to protect some, but mostly to teach that the energy of pain can be converted into service, art, and work.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Bob really is getting the garden in, or at least prepared. I'm excited by that, as by Liam's increasingly delightful language and KK's happiness as innocent romance blooms for her with the first green of spring. I wore the first of my fun outfits from Ruth's closet to work today and got at least a dozen compliments. I do know how to raise daughters with good taste who then know how to dress their mother! That's a perk of having girls I never expected.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I am sad. Every time I turn around - somone else ill or more ill or diagnosed with something scary. It is as it should be, all in nature's course, older bocies wearing out, but it sucks. It hurts.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Every day there is another sign of spring - daffodils in yards today and the terrible temptations of beautiful flats of blooming flowers at Lowes. Flowers and yarn both have me astonished these days at the glory and variety of color in the world. Flower wise, I want everything this spring, - especially pansies. But I was good. Bob and I just bought a bag each of pebbles and cheap topsoil for his container garden tomatoes, for which we have high hopes. It's still to soon to plant in the ground, but we are readying the plot, mostly Bob. It feels grounding (pun intended but true at a deep level) to have him strong enough and present to put Roots in earth. Every day there is more greenish cast to grasses everywhere, and the redbuds across the street are moving from promise through hint to glory - still not full flower. Most trees still stand stark and bare, but a few show palest hint of almost green light around their branches.

I still love taking Zumba class with KK, find myself excited by the international rythms and pleased that I haven't utterly forgotten how to learn choreography, but today I was probably the oldest woman in the class by at least a decade and, watching bodies in the mirrors I had mixed feelings. I felt unattractive and heavy in comparison to the younger dancers, slow on my feet, but then I began to notice that I still know how to hold my hands, keep my arms strong (which has them hurting today).I felt the same joy in spins that I felt at 3, 13, 23, 53. And instead of feeling disgusted with my body I started to feel thankful to it to still be working and dancing after sixty seasons. It's fine it looks a little worn. We've had some great numbers, this body and I.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ruth and I had fun today cleaning out closets (which mostly beans I have a new spring wardrobe of great clothes she is too thin for now). this daughter of mine has great taste. I hardly ever buy clothes anymore, just wait for her to clean out her closet! Today she and I did buy a few clothes though at a resale shop called Savers which serves Easter Seals and seems to get it's clothes from the international community here. I did something I've wanted to do for a long time aned bought an India indian outfit (for $7.00!!!!!!!) which I am wearing this moment and just adore. It's the kind with the tunic and flowy pants, this one more everyday than some of the gorgeous brocade ones, but even this one has some beading. I expewct I'll be getting more of thiese. I feel so pretty in it, as I do in Ruth's clothes. When I go shopping for new clothes in American stores, especially clothes targeted at women my age, I find them pretty boring as well as expensive. I'm lucky to have the clothing sources I have.

But all of that is trivial. i sat down at the computer tonight and learned that the son of an online friend died suddenly Wednesday. He was 39 and left an 11 year old son, as well as parents, wife, sisters. I weep for them all, and of course I remember when Kerry died at 36, how hard it was on all the family, especially his parents, brothers, and daughters. At least we had time for goodbye. Loss is such an everyday part of life and we can't predict it so much of the time - except that it will occur again. And we can love and live as purely and intensely each moment as possible. That has to be enough.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Life is changing so fast. I seem to be getting used to the idea of Bob as a retired person. He decided today to grow his beard back, which seems ot fit not dressing for work every day. KK is thinking more and more about high school next year. Liam and Andrea are two year olds, not babies. i am knitting like crazy, something I thought I'd never learn to do. Chris is hardly home, working so much at different jobs, after a year of being the one of us home much. I miss having him in the kitchen. Bob is putting a garden in, getting stronger every day, hauled twelve bags of mulch by himself from a neighbor's yard to ours yesterday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm proud of myself for managing a third day in a row blogging. It shouldn't be hard, but it still is. I'm also proud of KK for doing a thorough job on a research paper on Kristallnicht, complete with poster and bibliography. I still hate doing bibliographies, with all their details of punctuation and perfection. I am getting a huge kick out of watching KK (She writes her name without the periods now) mature as person, dancer, and student. I am sad for Joanna to have her not around much these years, but I am so blessed to know her now as closely as I do. Spring note - today I noticed the first tinge of green on the back yard glass and the haze of pink aroung the redbud trees across the street is more intense. Last night I dreamed of fields of bluebonnets.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I think making myself start posting has been a good thing. I feel more myself, more in charge of myself and decisions about what to do when, less overwhelmed. Tonight that is write one more poem, knit three rows on a soft pink prawer shawl, take a bath in ginger ming bath salts, and fall asleep next to Bob.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I heard the second sign of winter's end today, Inca doves cooing in the trees out back early this morning. There were just a few quiet coos, as there are also only the palest hints of pink on the red bud across the street, but the change is starting. Last night I went to hear Jeanie and Mark sing in a choir concert at their church, beautiful. The music was sacred and full of love but even more than that it was precious to sit with Marie and Bill, and watch Jeanie and mark share the beauty of the music and joy of their faith. All four of these people have been my friends since we were young. I was only 18 when Jean and I became close and I remember hearing, the first time I was introduced to Mark, that he was ALREADY 20! We've been through so much love, loss, growth, change together. Tonight I write this entry honoring old friendships and new chances.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Obviously my attempt to write thirty posts in thirty days failed. I'm starting again now, aiming at a post every day until Bob and I leave for a spring break trip to New Mexico. This period since we got back from our winter trip has been oddly hard for me. So much good has happened, like the delight I'm taking in learning to knit and making things that are useful and pretty. KK had her audition for the Performing Arts School on Saturday and it seemed to go well. She was scared to death befor because she wants to get in so badly, but chirpy after. We feel hopeful about geting a letter of acceptance soon. Liam and andrea have both had their second birthdays and both are thriving and delightful. Work and money situations are improving on all fronts. Yet I feel stuck in the blues, like I'm moving through fog and not sure if I have the strength to get through it. I know there is light sparkling on the water not too far away, but I don't trust my energy to get me there.

I don't know what is wrong with me but guess it is mostly reaction from the difficult year that culminated in Bob retiring from teaching early. That was a huge disappointment for me, that his dream of changing the world one kid at a time (our dream, maybe it was more mine than his, or at least as much so) worked out only in a limited way. It is wonderful having Bob home. i find myself reaching often for his hand and saying "I need you." "I love you." and thinking, "I don't want to have to live without you." his health crisies of the last few years seem much resolved and he is working hard at the gym and saying he can lean over and get up off low couches more easily, walk more easily up hills, but his feet still swell and he moves slowly and looks tired and it scares me. I feel angry because I want to just be able to lean on him and trust his health and I know how unrealistic that is. Many of our friends and family members are having terriblelife shattering and life threatening health crisies and we are not. But I feel terrified and vulnerable.

Also my daughters and grandchildren all struggled last year (except the two littlest and I'm not good at bracketing their pain when it goes on and on. I think it's been especially hard that some of the problems could have been fixed with money and I never had quite enough, though still we are blessed beyond so many. it's so hard to shake old codependence - the feeling that if I could just do everything right enough everyone would be OK. that hits me at work too this year as more than a usual number of cliets struggle harder than usual against overwhelming circumstances, as do many of my friends.

My visual vertigo has been bad lately which has me dropping things, bumping into things, and feeling very anxious about crossing streets or being in public places where I could run into someone or they into me. The visual world is really confusing these days when it gets beyond knit one purl one. Even working on the computer is harder than it used to be. I've had bad spells like this before and they've always passed. it's just hard not to be afraid that this one won't.

As I write all of this I focus on my favorite word "Abide." That has to be enough but it hasn't felt that way lately and I've been way off balance, just wanting to sit and knit and knit, doing something with the tiny yarn world I can control. I'm a bit of a mess right now and admitting that here is a place to start.

I am

I am connector and dreamer.
I wonder if it is too late for love.
I hear crying in the night.
I see sunlight on the river.
I want to erase pain.
I am connector and dreamer.
I pretend I am not afraid.
I feel colors like caresses.
I touch the face of the moon.
I worry I let people down.
I cry when my friends hurt.
I am connector and dreamer.
I understand real is better than perfect.
I say life is hard and life is good.
I dream of my beloved dead.
I try to stay in each moment.
I hope love is stronger than loss.
I am connector and dreamer.

Victoria Hendricks, 2/ 21/ 2011

I am exhausted and overwhelmed.
I wonder if I can be enough, do enough.
I hear words of hate, cries of pain.
I see messy rooms, suffering faces.
I want to make everyone OK.
I am exhausted and overwhelmed.
I pretend I know what to do next.
I feel need swirling like tornado.
I touch Bob's hand and feel death.
I worry I am not strong enough.
I cry out in powerlessness.
I am exhausted and overwhelmed.
I understand I will have more losses.
I say love is stronger than loss.
I dream of feeling safe.
I try to stay in the moment.
I hope I have enough to give.
i am exhausted and overwhelmed.

Victoria Hendricks, 2/21/2011

After snow the last time I posted here, it seems fitting to write that I saw the first faint pink of redbud blossoms yesterday and walked at night without a jacket this full moon.