The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Yea! I’ve loaded pictures strictly with iPhone technology!

These were taken around Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico. 

We’ve been out  camping for eight nights now and have tent setup down to 4 minutes 46 seconds. I’m surprised that air mattresses are very comfortable! 

We started out seeing Marfa, Texas while waiting for an evening of star gazing with the folks at McDonald Observatory. I thought it was a great time but my travel buddies thought it was a waste of a perfectly good evening. We saw Mercury before it set ushering in views of Saturn (with four moons visible) and more shooting stars than I’ve ever wished on in one night. 

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Note from June 2012 - the opening lines of that show NUMBERS. 
Marfa, as I saw it ... some very sophisticated marketing, or flat out chincanery, is reshaping the local real estate market and filling dusty East Texas with fancy folks from both coasts. The tiny grocery store is stocked to pantry perfection. “Box culvert” Art seems to be the big draw, while several miles NE, near Valentine, a land art installation pretty well sums it all up. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

It's been so long since I opened my laptop!
It's an old laptop, but today, as the first time I opened it, I am struck by how nice Apple "feels". 
I am a big fan of all things Apple. 

What is that icon of theirs about - once you take the first bite you just want more

My phone knows practically everything about how my day is spent ... and in what area, yard or bathroom, Apple knows. Now I have the watch. Of course I adore it, everything about it seems perfect to me. It tracks my BPM which I think is pretty neat even though I have basically never wondered about that before, unless I was specifically working out. The voice text app is perfection enrobed in sleekness ... and it's so easy to clean! I can even take calls on it like Dick Tracey.

It reminds me to stand at ten till every hour (unless it knows I'm asleep or the usual, already standing). It monitors my overall activity level through out the day and my exercise specific activity as well. It tracks not only the time of my sleep, but the quality of my sleep and breaks down a range from restless to deep sleep. I think it's funny that it "thinks" I've gone back to sleep when I'm really in my first thing of the morning spot drinking (my new thing bulletproof) coffee and reading ... BPM in the low 60's tricks it. Sometimes I take the watch off while I sleep, the watch knows more about me than the people right next to me in life, and that bothers me. 

Sometimes I wonder if that biteoutoftheapple icon is going to seem ominous someday.

The flower pictured above was planted in our backyard about this time last summer. I finished the actual landscape planting (of the back yard) this morning, early, ahead of the rain.  It's raining again now and has been off and on all day. Now it has stopped again, to Max's relief, he is bothered by the rain and most especially by lightning and thunder. He can't figure it out. I don't know if rain actually penetrates his fur, but he obviously is perplexed by it.

We're sitting right here now. You can see the top of his rump over there by Tommy's glider (I'm glad I have that). Early this morning I had those curtains pulled back and I got to see a hummingbird hover in front of each individual flower as it feed on the nectar. I put up the curtains because I thought they'd be pretty with the rock and because I still remember battling the mosquitoes last Spring all the way through Summer. Turns out my favorite thing about the curtains is watching them rustle in the breeze.

Monday, March 18, 2019

My dad and me in probably 1961. 
He's been gone for 39 years now. 
He would be completely mystified by the changes in the world made since then. 
He sure would be proud of his grandkids. 
I've never know anyone with lighter blue eyes than my dad. 
I liked that he played his guitar and sang to us before bedtime when I was that age. 
He'd be about thirty in this picture.

It's weird to me that I am the last person of his who is still alive to remember my dad.

I still get a bit "seepy" from time to time concerning Cancer and more especially about losing my brother. Just got home from the Girl's Get Together/ Quilting retreat.  To catch you up, one of my high school friends hosts a girls only party up in North Texas behind the piney curtain. Besides sitting in a huge room sewing together, there's a fair amount of chatting, most of it surprisingly deep.  The topic of cancer came up, probably does anytime twelve women sit down to visit. The girl next to me (who I really feel connection with - weird for me as I generally keep a polite distance with people who are new to me) was working on the same quilt she was last year when I first met her.  The quilt fabric was harvested from a man's oxford cloth shirts and is becoming quilt squares which will eventually become quilts for that man's two adult daughters and his wife.  This friend is currently heart deep in the declining mental health of her own father in law. I could feel her heart breaking as she told the story. The family is in denial as the man exhibits life long social skills which have ingrained themselves in to habits while at the same time being obviously as lost as a stray kitten. Sometimes he seems like himself. That's who the family needs to see. Its a private and complicated story but each one of us will live out a variation of it as we tend to our elderly. I shame myself for the relief I feel knowing that my momma is safe with Jesus and I don't have to shape my life around hers. I feel bad about not being able to "like" her better. My friends remember her kindly.

One friend, who does the machine quilting for people, brought her huge tub of scraps to share with me. I'll put some pictures up to show you how she has taught me to make quilt blocks for a secret project that I'm involved with. Sounds mysterious doesn't it? I came home with a YETI 45 crammed with colorful cotton fabrics. I'm ironing them this week while I wait for my sewing machine to come home from the shop. Something inside it is saying no when I press the yes button.

Cancer. They wanted to know what I thought about the different choices people consider when they find out they have cancer. Starting with Stage four any cancer - I personally would chose to go directly to palliative care. I would chose for the people who love me to never see the pain and in my mind, inevitable despair, on my face ... contorting and destroying my body. The therapies we have for treating stage four cancers take you down a very dark road which leads to a tunnel with no light at the end of it. Those therapies are for people who need to buy time. My brother needed time. The very worst pain in my life was in seeing him see the pain I was experiencing as I looked at him with my guard down. I thought he was sound asleep ... curled up and whimpering faintly ... on that third day after an infusion. I wonder that it didn't break him before it killed him. Added to his burden was my anguish. A tear slid down his face sideways as we silently accepted the fact that he could not survive this. It's a hard thing to watch hope shatter. Fortunately the time he bought brought him some peace.
Momma was not a candidate for chemo or for any of the therapies. Because of her heart condition, or her age, or the quality of her insurance I did not ask. The Oncologist told me that I could have Momma's cancer biopsied so that I might know it's primary source ... they told me it was in her liver and the size of a grapefruit ... and that Momma would very likely not survive the procedure. I didn't ask any other questionsI told Momma when she asked, that her cancer was too far along for the chemo to help, which she meekly accepted every time the dementia prompted her to ask again. They "gave" Momma three months max but she was gone six weeks later ... and was pain free the entire time. I believe she decided to "go easy".

There's one other thing about her passing that you might find interesting. I had decided not to share it with y'all because I may have misunderstood it or imagined it. Right before she died she looked deep into my eyes. To me it felt like the first time she had truly ever looked at me. The me of me. It creeped me out but I don't understand why. I am generally willing to let people see me if they are inclined to really look. Anyway she "saw" me and in her eyes I instantly read "regret", "remorse". I told her I love you Momma, I always have ... . She seemed to panic for a split second, maybe it was that she caught her last breathe, then she died. To me it felt exactly like a birth. I think she was born in to the soul that God was thinking of when he formed her in the womb. I think He is still forming us as we develop to be born in to eternity.

I told my friends that I think the insurance companies should offer a choice between whatever the protocol for their cancer is and palliative care plus a lump sum of money so that the cancer patient could spend that insurance money in whatever way was most meaningful to them. I don't know how it is decided who gets what level of care, but I imagine it is quite expensive.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

This is the second quilt I've made. It's intended to be a companion quilt to the first, pictured at the bottom. Those colorful scrapes were given to me by a friend from my high school days.  She is a serious quilter. I will never be though I do plan on making a stack of these throw size quilts. They are kinda fun to make. I like figuring out what to do with the scrapes. It's kinda one of my things ... working with what is available to create something beautiful and useful. 

I stacked the three pieces, the top, the filler and the bottom, together in the wrong order. It's supposed to be top and bottom "right"sides together next to each other with the filler on the outside of the stack so that when you flip it right side out, the filler is in the middle.  Bet I'll never forget that lesson learned. The quilt will have turquoise hand stitching wavy lines holding it all together. The quilt below used the same scraps organized in the rainbow pattern which was repeated in the quilt pictured above. 
I do not really like these bright colored quilts ... like if I were making them for my own use they would be muted colors. It's turning out, as I become more familiar with QUILTS, that I like modern quilts best. I probably will do one for my bed. Next up for me will be a twin size quilt for my youngest child who gets to move into an apartment for her Sophomore year at college.  She is really rocking her Freshman year.

my first quilt

I'll try to remember to put a picture of the second quilt here when I've finished the handwork. It's going to be cute.

So this friend, she was really the best friend of one of my close friends. Three of those girls who I hang out with now, again after all those years I was away, actually have know each other ever since the "crib baby" room at the First Baptist Church in our hometown. The quilter queen friend (who is a PhD and still works) and I went to Girl's State together and were in the same Driver's Ed trio with Mr. Pruney. She likes to tell the story about my turn at learning what to do if case of "uneven pavement excursions". She says I said I didn't want to do it and in fact I refused to steer myself off the road onto the lower shoulder. That does sound a bit like 16 year old me. Mr. Pruney, not one to take no from one of his students, yanked the wheel crispy to the right and I responded by flooring it. We lost a hubcap in the adjacent cornfield while I was executing donuts. Not on purpose. Once we came to a stop he made us get out and find that hubcap. I had completely forgotten that story before she reminded me by telling it during one of the "girl's weekends" that they've sweetly made me a part of.
That corn field was dusty and sticky hot. I did remember that.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

There is a place in Waco, Texas,  Homestead Heritage Village, they call it "an intentional Christian community", which sounds a little red flaggy to me but other than that ... they make a lot of really cool stuff, the brooms pictured above among them.  Last week we purchased live edge lumber (for my kinda tiny) master bathroom.  It was the last room I painted in this house, having waited almost a year while we decided if we were going to work with the space as it is or take in the small adjoining space (which houses the area pictured in the preceding post). I am surprised by how much I like those areas. I do miss a deep soak tub, but it is good to have something to wish for.

Earlier today my husband and I apartment sat for our oldest son. He has recently moved and the cable guy needed in. I love the area he chose because it is like a macro community with live/work arrangement, and plenty of interesting places for him to unwind at the end of his work day ... super cool environment for the little fur monster who keeps him company.  I like Australian Shepherds a lot.  They are perfectly delightful beasts. Their energy level is very demanding though.
I wish I was able to see my two out of state kids more often. I don't worry about them, I just think they are all really neat people. And I like to hug them.

Yesterday I went to a very neat fabric store where I found the two fabrics for the next little quilt I'm getting ready to make. Cant remember if I put a picture of the one I made last year here or not.  I'm not a quilter. I don't know what people do with the quilts they make except give them away. My plan is to make a few "mini quilts" which might become baby quilts.  Lol.  I'm still truly okay with no grandchildren, though I'm concerned that today's parents might be a bit creeped out by how big I smile at their tiny shopping cart babies. It's a different world... .

I've been really happy lately.  I seem to be at a really happy time in my life. And I am trying to embrace that wholeheartedly.

We are planning a long camping/roadtrip for this Summer.  I really can't wait!  Our farthest (which I pronounce furthest even though I've been told that's incorrect) away point is Zion National Park. My HS Science teach kid is joining us for the trip. I am so glad that she can take huge chucks of time away to see the things she wants to see and I am so happy that she will be spending some of her summer traveling with her Dad and I. Max isn't going. He thinks the entire back of the car is his so he sprawls out everywhere. 

My childhood friends have a "Master Quilter" among them. She hosts a once a year girl's long weekend - that's what got me started on these mini quilts. And I secretly kinda love planning them out. And the hand-stitching is very fun.  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

the cords have relaxed a bit from when this photo was taken and now hang straight - here the beads look wobbly still.

ceiling plate

This is what I have been working on. I'll use a different chair there and I wish the countertop could be veneered in concrete but I like that I could play around in this small space and leave it with a smile. My husband and I collaborated on "making" these light fixtures - tickled with how they turned out!

This will be my 60th year. Wow. That used to seem old!

Honestly, it doesn't feel old. I mean, yeah, this or that in my body might talk to me after a long road trip or even after a day which required too many positions, but basically I feel fabulous.  It's true that my hearing has steadily declined during the past few y, okay since the seventies, but that music still begs the question: How loud is too loud? I don't hear well and I kinda like it like that. There's so much stuff in the air these days that it hits my soul like Texas Cedar popping hits my sinuses. There's only so much time one can spend trying to make sense of the senseless.

I predict this will be The Year of Circles, hopefully closing, maybe staying open.  
Yes, my Christmas gift "scolds" me when it looks like I'm neglecting my circles.  Cedar pollen has not been a kind work out buddy this season.
I wish the Apple watch would let me choose it's accent. 

This is (so far) my 60th year "project".  Here it is - Remember all your best memories, find ways to celebrate and reinforce the joy of those golden moments.

Like the third grade field trip to the Burke Baker Planetarium. Like Miss Hazel always letting me win at tick tack toe - she'd laugh when I tried to get her to take a hint. Momma said she was an old spinster before Mr. Alvin came along, but my daddy said they'd been married since he was a small child. It would be fun to play tick tack toe with a child.

So - I'm trying to access some memories to fortify and  take forward with me, and that idea companioned this one - find sad memories, bad memories, hurtful memories by listening to myself talk (even if it's just to myself, and maybe especially if). Apply forgiveness. Ask God to wrap it in grace. Forget about it forever.

My Aunt is in her mid 80's. I try to call her with some routine. She is my mother's younger sister and I'd say clearly Momma's best lifelong friend. When we talk my Aunt rambles through her hurtful memories and sometimes she even gets riled up in the telling. Every time we talk. Those are the memories that she has rolling around in her head and she works her way through them as one might the beads on a rosary. It makes me so sad for her. It's a meager feast for her old age. I suspect all humans suffer. as well as have moments of joy. I'm hoping I might discipline myself towards reliving the good moments when those days arrive for me.

I am old enough to remember how marvelously cool Dick Tracey's watch was. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

2019 Wow. There have been a few events, celestial events like the passing of Haley's comet which when I learned of the expectation of them I wondered how old will I be when that is supposed to happen? 2019 is the year I turn 60 and 60 seems like a perfectly wonderful age to be. 
I've been looking forward to 60 without even realizing it. 

Last week my middle daughter, C, and I toured the caverns near San Antonio. It was all pretty cool - my kid had three or four geology classes (idk exactly why, but she is basically a geologist next to my knowledge of anything earth - ask me a weather question though) and made the tour fascinating to the point that I'll read up a bit on that on my own. She wants to revisit Carlsbad Caverns during our summer drive around. We'll drive a route that reaches as far NW as Zion National Park. We are working on "finding"things to see all along the way and back via Denver.  That will be in June and helping with the planning is one of the gifts I will give myself this year. This year wants to be a year full of joy ... I can feel it in my bones.

Noteworthy: The Natural Bridge Caverns, Hidden Passages tour, culminates in a total black out, Everyone was seated and expected to experience totally darkness. 

It was interesting. I appreciate having the opportunity to "see" that expansive   it's black and it's utterly dark but it doesn't feel vacant. It feels unknowable. My brain could not find the place to start figuring it out.

I'm enjoying think about that.  Light.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas, may your soul feel its worth!

May you be filled with the 

wonder of  Mary,
the obedience of Joseph,
the joy of the Angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,

the determination of the Magi,
and the peace of the Christ child.

AlmightyGod, Father, Son and  Holy Spirit
bless you now and forever.

(Read this week and thought to save for myself  and pass on to you,)

My son, Celine Dion and I were singing Oh Holy Night, and as I listened to him I heard these words, the soul felt its worth.

O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels' voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O nightdivine

I love the idea of that.  The soul felt its worth.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Chihuly @Denver Botanical Gardens

December road trip to Denver. One of my sons has a birthday coming up and I really needed my birthday hug from him.

This was taken back in the day. 
We were at the park and this one was running me ragged trying to keep up - he awoke each day and ran full throttle. 
Boys turn in to men so fast - mine have for certain. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Camping - yeah.

Our youngest started college this year so I thought it would be a great rite of passage (towards the empty nest years) to make a trip, just the husband and I ... okay, and the dog ... for a campout at the beach.  Yes, a cruise would have been better.  My husband is pretty sure he doesn't like cruises. I thought campout at the National Seashore (Corpus) because I know he likes that and I was hoping for fun for both of us. We started trying to put together a few days back on September. Rain has been a thing for Texas this year so finding clear weather days has been on my front burner.
Finally,  a clear calendar and clear skies came together.

I got busy pre cooking enough food for four full days out in the middle of nowhere. And you was I excited about having everything perfect in the food and beverage department.

L packed up the car and off we went.

What a surprise it was to find the water up so close to the dunes! Normally there is enough room for four "lanes" and plenty of beach before the water laps at the sand. Normally tents and fire pits dot the beach as close to the dunes as these tire marks are. The Padre Island National Seashore is a beautiful 60 mile stretch of undeveloped shoreline and is an absolute treasure. This picture was taken just after high tide, around 3:00 local. We drove in about 5 miles and began to set up out camp.

Pitching the tent was a real trick. An ice chest was used to weight the thing down and two cots, complete with foam toppers, held down the sides. So far, so good.  I'd say the temperature was perfect - in the mid sixties. The winds however seemed to be hurricane force.

I dug the pit while L began to dismantle the shipping pallet that we brought in for fire wood. The misgivings about staying for several days had already found a perch, but I was still excited about trying out my latest plan for reheating the precooked meals. Last campout the foil packets were over salted with sand ... like the YETI tumblers were this time ... already! And they hadn't even been taken out of the car! (Yes, the front doors remained shut after we arrived!)

The first night wasn't fun. Max was already in the tent with his tail tucked between his legs. He barely stirred when I came in rubbing my socked feet together to knock off sand which had found its way inside my Keens. I tied a scarf over my face and melted into the foam mattress pad pulling the covers up high and tucking them tightly as I could around my body. I was cold, but figured I'd warm up if I just laid still. My husband was trying to get the door flap zipper closed when it broke.  I started wondering what damage we might sustain if a tent pole snapped. He invited me to snuggle in with him for warmth but I declined - I was in full "what if mode".  What if mode as in ... what if the cot breaks with us both on it. After a few minutes he suggested that we sleep in the car. Which we did. Two adults up front with the seats reclined in to the backseat where my dog, who was losing confidence in us, sprawled out.  He was pretty tired but still felt the need to check on me by licking my face or ears every few minutes.  Eventually we slept.  Max needed out every couple hours for fresh air or to exercise the bladder of a ninety year old man I am uncertain. It was a difficult night. Early the next morning my husband suggested that we break camp. Yes.

This one watched us "pack up".
That tent was shredded during the night.
Winds!  A rookie error not to play attention to that element during the planning stages!

Max - excited about the road trip
less excited about the destination
a major contributor to window fog and general car funk
happy to be headed away (dog hair and sand everywhere)!

A bright side was yummy meals already to be reheated safe and sand free back in my frig!

I was so happy to be back home!

Hope Week

Normally we don't go to "late service". Normally, I get ready for church on Saturday, and by that I mean I have my clothes picked out and my hair ready.
Back in the day, my shoes would be checked just incase I hadn't put them away in peak condition ... or sometimes it was so I could definitely find them. My purse, aka the diaper bag, and later the activity bag, would be packed. Those back in the day days taught me to get myself as ready as possible so that getting ready time could be minimized because Sunday mornings came fully loaded with every gremlin imaginable.

This Sunday we sat on a different side of the church than usual, closer to the door, second set of pews, me first going in, and behind a young man who seemed to maybe be the father of a blonde ponytailed girl with a jingle bell clippy and a sort of introverted looking early teenager. Shortly, another couple of middle to high school aged kids slid in with them and every one occupied themselves on their phones.  I wasn't sure it was a family, but they were setting more quietly than friends tend to even during the time before church begins. After the singing started a very frazzled looking frail shouldered young woman came in to their pew and I noticed she was holding the hand of a young boy. One, two, three, four, five, I thought. Five kids. Also that it's never a good sign for a young one, who might have been in "children's church" rather than "big church", to come in being led along by the hand.  

It's surprising what you notice when you don't even realize you're  paying any attention.

This is what I thought I noticed. Her hair was absolutely a wreck.  I'm not saying that like someone who is being critical.  I'm saying it like someone who knows what it's like to sleep with her hair in a ponytail and wake up with something that appears to be a falling apart bird's nest. It was so bad a tangle ... the tangles were tangled ... and I just realized, once she has a moment for a hair brush, she's gonna know why I hugged her and said what I did after church.

At right about the peak of the sermon, there was a loud crash. It sounded like a pane of stained-glass had fallen and shattered in to reverberating pieces on the wooden floors.
Maybe you don't know this about me but, I am an intent listener. I want to hear your words and the nuances of your words. I want to hear every subtle shade of what you are communicating.

Preacher was talking about the paraplegic being let down through the roof while Jesus spoke in a very crowded room ... and I was imagining my body frozen from the neck down ... and I'm being lowered ... and it made me wonder how "frozen" we might really be spiritually.

Anyway, the little girl in front of me had dropped her tin of colored pencils. The whole thing. It was surprisingly loud because it was so unexpected. I jumped like one might just before hearing "SHOOTER".
Silly me.  Just pencils. The little girl was so embarrassed - she pulled her hoodie up over her head hiding her face as her daddy leaned in to whisper something.  The 500 or so congregants returned their eyes up front and the sermon continued without pause. Mom didn't stir for that though glances were exchanged with the dad when their eldest got up and quietly left (presumably for a bathroom break but only the parents could guess I guess).

Five kids.  Sunday morning. Christmas time. Advent. Week two - a lesson on hope.

Hope ... the word hope seems to be changing its commonly held meaning from the archaic, a feeling of trust to a word which means desire or want ... as in I want, ummm hope, to win the lottery. (That would be fun!)

My Advent guide actually suggests setting up a wonderful expectation that will be dashed so that one might understand what it feels like to anticipate a delightful "occurrence" only to be disappointed by a change in circumstance. Briefly - just long enough to feel the sting of hope now lost.  Life brings object lessons in that without parental manipulation - I would not betray my kid's trust in me, even briefly, to highlight that fact.

I'm actually "doing" the Church's Advent Guide alone, during my quiet time.  
It is disturbing that this guide suggests something that feels wrong to me.  When I began this post yesterday, I hadn't read this portion of the guide yet - HOPE week in the study. 

It seems to me that the feeling of trust is intrinsically different than the feeling of desire or want. Those feelings seem to come from different "places" within me. The words are not synonymous with each other. To trust seems to be difficult for most of us where to desire or want is easy. 

What do you desire/want? Who do you trust?

The family sitting in front of us reminded me of the Sundays of my children's childhoods.  The dynamics of getting and keeping everyone "there" for the lesson felt very familiar to me. She was - overwhelmed probably is it - and chronically overwhelmed is what I saw through my years of living that without even realizing my state.  It has been the hardest thing I've ever tried to do well - raising five very different people, together, and especially when I don't have some important things figured out or the ability to execute everything well.  I wish I might have done countless small things better. 

It is my hope, my only hope, is to trust God's faithfulness in mending the brokenness in all our lives, in the world. 

Do you think maybe those older women in the church my kids grew up in noticed?  I bet they did.  And I bet they were praying for me.  

That's what I said to the woman (who was a stranger) ... I'll be praying for you during this wonderfully frantic season and as I hugged her I whispered, "You are rocking this! Hang in there, it is survivable."

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Where was I?

I baked these two pies late on Tuesday and told everyone that as long as there was enough for everyone to have a slice on Thanksgiving to feel free to dive in early if they wanted to.  And they did.  Pecan pies are ridiculously easy to make. I have never attempted my own - from scratch - pie crust, but V has several times and she says it's easy.  Her crusts were perfection so she sure made it look easy.  These are Pillsbury pie crusts which were on hand for a homemade chicken pot pie which turned in to a special request chicken and dumplings a few weeks ago leaving the pie shells to wait. Last time I was down in the Valley my friend's big sister came over to hang out with us. When we were all younger, I thought she was everything a young woman could wish to be,  and she is still just lovely.  Back in the day she taught Home Ec. - culinary science now. One friend was trying to get a pie shell ready for a special pumpkin pie which has become a birthday gift tradition for a different friend of ours. Her shell wasn't working so she was sending us to the store for an already made one when Big Sister volunteered to "put one together".  My eyes were huge watching her measure out a few things from the pantry just from memory ... like no recipe  - from memory.  Wow!  It smelled so nice cooking and came out of the oven golden and flaky, and the edges were scalloped and picture perfect.  Big Sister is still my hero after all these years. She has become everything an older woman might wish to be. It was neat to see someone slide their chair back from coffee with friends and just produce the perfect thing to fix what was becoming a bit of a mess. Anyway - that's not me as you can see. The Pillsbury pie shells were fine, but not ample enough for a smart little scalloped edge ... and they stuck to the glass pans.  Maybe I should have said a tasty pecan pie is ridiculously easy to make! Sugar, liquefied sugar (aka corn syrup), nuts, vanilla and an egg.  I did a comparison between chopped pecans and pecan halves and all preferred the pecan halves. So pies, banana bread (and for the first time ever I cooked banana slices with butter and brown sugar and that is a delicious side for banana bread - cooked bananas who knew) and most of the prep was done before bedtime on Tuesday. 
On Wednesday two of the girls made a day trip to Fredericksburg and the other daughter had car inspection tasks etc. which took her and her dad out of the house for the day leaving me to cook alone.  I wasn't expecting that. I spent Wednesday filling the house with good smells and music from my Sonos. The traditional Thanksgiving feast really is a lot of work but ... not that big a deal, I'm just not used to it now.  Everyone enjoyed the time around the table. Three was unable to make it down this year and I played Thelonius Monk, weirdly one of his favorites, as background music for the day. Hoping to visit him in Denver before Christmas. Blessed to have four of our five in for the holiday.
I like that the kids enjoy playing board games with each other
- pretty soon that table will be covered in the annual Christmas puzzle.

These were snapped during a walk around Zilker Park - one of my favorite places. One and Four suggested I get ready to join them in a 5K Turkey Trot next year - and I may do that if I don't have cooking responsibilities.

Max didn't get to go that time, but he was thrilled to be allowed up on the furniture. Sweet dog.  


Thoughts during this time which weren't necessarily anything other than random:

When you say something to someone, no matter how well intentioned, before their heart is ready to hear it - you're probably not making "it" better.


In his play "Two Trains Running," August Wilson wrote, "You walking around here with a ten-gallon bucket. Somebody put a little cupful in and you get mad 'cause it's empty. You can't go through life carrying a ten-gallon bucket. Get you a little cup. That's all you need. Get you a little cup and somebody put a bit in and it's half-full."

I dreamt:

Man in octagon maze
inside each was a slat like the line which changes a C to a G. Some octagons had more than one slat. The maze seemed to be alive and evil. The walls of the octagon and the slates would “give way” , folding down, collapsing.
The man in the maze would tumble, losing ground. It was a painful, frustrating, humiliating journey as the man made his way through the maze as best he could.

I think I think of life like that. Sometimes. In a subtle underlying way. I think sin messed up the Garden and it became the maze.

Maybe you just want out of the maze or maybe you think there is something at the end of the maze worth getting to

I think there is something worth getting to. I think that is God. I think Jesus made that Hope a possibility and I think the Holy Spirit is an invisible presence whispering encouragement as we encounter the pain and the frustrations and the humiliations.

And I think the maze will turn back into a Garden. I think the garden surrounds Heaven.

I wondered how God could possible receive me filthy as I am, broken, bloodied, a mere whisper of who He planned when he thought of me. How could He love me?

God does love us.


People die when their attitude for entering heaven to meet God is right or irreparable. 
Or perhaps we are simply at the mercy of our God/god.


So here’s what I think happens - 

people either think their thoughts or they don’t. 

Of the people who don’t, there are people who feel their thoughts - they react.

Of the people who think, most of them don’t seem to be (able to share their thoughts) 
- it’s hard to find people who share their thoughts. 
I like hearing people’s thoughts when they have actually thought about them. 

People who feel their thoughts aren’t interesting to me.

I think a lot of people aren’t formulating thoughts. 
I think those people have to spend most of their energy on surviving or providing survival.

It’s good to be at a time in my life when I can really give thought to things.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

It's been so long since I've taken time to write to myself here that I don't know what I've written down from what I've not!

The kitchen "touch up" is done.  As we prepare this house for the market (as early as next summer, but I'm thinking it will take another year after that - the casita is still a tool shed), I probably won't do another thing to this room after I change out the faucet. Would love to move the microwave out replacing it with a hood ... which would require buying a little microwave for under the counter top (where there is electrical already available) but, an over the oven hood upgrade would demand the additional work and expense of cabinet removal, wall repair/prep for tile ... it goes on and on each time one "tweaks" an already made choice! It's a cute little kitchen that functions beautifully for one cook at a time. My husband doesn't cook, except to add sardines to his pizza. When I'm not cooking, he is a sandwich man. I only eat serious bread.

I had the kitchen sparkling clean and fully loaded for the coming holiday. I love Thanksgiving.

Preparing things for the kids was fun. I fussed over getting the bedrooms as right as I could. It was fun to pull a couple of heavy quilts out which had been on my girl's beds when they shared a room. I'm realizing that I'm sentimental about those things which remind me of years long past ... and well spent. I enjoyed raising kids. Sure don't miss their meltdowns and I wish I could be as intentional at it as I'm able to be about endeavors now, but I am so very proud of each one of them. They're really cool adults.

While we were still at the table, he said, "That turkey is doing its thing." and I looked at him. First born. He is, well ... perfect. And he looked at me (and I clearly remember the first time that happened) and he said, "tryptophan" and I said, "melatonin" and he raised his eyebrows and smiled precisely as my dad did. See, sometimes tears burn behind my eyes and I look away. I wonder if that will happen more as I get older.  This stillness that sits with me now causes me to remember things often, and those memories overlay what is in the moment.  Probably I'm unable to describe it clearly. My life is intentionally uncluttered. That made room for more. I like that he can express himself perfectly while inadvertently prompting sweet memories of my dad. Genes are cool. I realize now that that expression is "bemused amusement with a dash of annoyed". Makes me smile to see it again. My son is just about ten years younger than Daddy was when he died.
Here in Texas, Dia de Muerte is a thing. I read up on it this year and it made me wish that my beliefs had a day to remember and celebrate my gone people.

I'm making it sound like thinking about all that was a big part of this time with my family - it wasn't at all. But it is fun to see family traits reappearing in later generations.

That is a fake smile. I had my camera out trying to figure out the portrait setting. Sometimes it makes the background blurry, which I like, and sometimes it does not. Certainly user error, but I can't be bothered to "google it". I seem to like to figure things out the hard way. 
She asked for a day up in Waco with just her dad and I and so we did that. She made a nail and charmed the man tending the greenhouse who shared fresh lettuce with us, three beautiful crunchy heads with their roots wrapped neatly at their bases, That was a week ago and it's still the best lettuce my refrigerator has seen. Thankful as the grocery store shelves are empty of lettuce now due to a problem with all the Romaine.  It was a good day. A really good day.
Blacksmith shop at Homestead Heritage Craft Village. Very cool.

These little chicks were making
 us laugh
 while my husband picked out seeds
 for our tomato garden.
More later -

Thursday, November 15, 2018

slavery quotes ...

Slavery is intrinsically evil because mankind was created in God's image.  To enslave or to play at slaving games, one distorts  what we see God values ... choice/free will which I believe are at the heart of "relationship". (Genesis 1:27 stated that man was created in the image of God)

Created equal ... joint heirs

 the slave’s only incentive to work was out of fear for his master
Slaves could not skimp on the cotton they placed in their baskets or they would face a fierce flogging. She contrasted this with St. Clare’s household where the slaves were generally left alone. St. Clare admitted that his slaves were like spoiled children, but commented that “whipping and abuse are like laudanum; you have to double the dose as the sensibilities decline” which ultimately led to a dehumanizing of slave and master.  
Consequently, the slaveholder must keep the African debased and in fear in order to continue to enslave him.

The institution of slavery put unlimited power into the hands of the slave-holder. There were no laws protecting the slave. A master could treat his ‘property’ with as much cruelty or benevolence as he saw fit. As a result, the institution corrupted the white slave-owner’s moral values.
 my will, and not his, all the days of his mortal life,

master lives in fear also, of the day the power over another becomes too burdensome, of being rejected, going too far. losing their control. inherently immoral. 

Uncle Tom's cabin

Slavery subverted the natural rights of blacks by subjugating and brutalizing them: taking men and turning them, against God's will and nature, into beasts ~ Frederick Douglas

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. ~Frederick Douglas
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.

The white man's happiness cannot be purchased by the black man's misery.

notes from late in 2014