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, December 31, 2016

Zilker Park Bridge support "ART"



sweet silliness

She was about 14 when they made a deal - If she drank any alcoholic beverage (at all) before she turned 21 she would have to give him her brand new, highly prized, laptop.  She looked puzzled when I asked what do you get when you don't.
Now she is 21.  Big brother gave her a cocktail recipe book and some very pretty glassware for Christmas this year.

The good news - it's definitely not Crohn's or cancer

upper and lower GI tract prep

contrast dye CT imaging

After meal at Joe's Bakery

...been seeing doctors with my C during this holiday

She is not a fan of liquid diets!


We were so happy with the Great Pyrenees breed that we found another one - Maximus Guynormous, born 11 November, one day after Samson died.  I had forgotten how busy puppy training keeps a household!

So far the cats are keeping their distance, but it's already apparent that they will all be companionably.

He came from a goat farm three hours NE of here - covered with big fleas - all set to adapt to being a family pet.  I'm working on house potty training primarily, also "sit" and leash training.  This dog will be with me into my 70's if all goes as hoped for.


Bundt pan gingerbread house cakes for neighbors
an almost complete fail this year
I attempted 5 - only one came out intact for decoration and gifting
the others were stuck
layered "crumbs" with pudding and whipped cream
for a save...

Cat finds new place to hide
(husband's study)

table top fire and wifi - kinda perfect

escaping from Atlanta!

cell lot direct PAX pickup at AUS
longer line time wise then the entire approach sequence!

Tree lights on the square downtown where we enjoyed Christmas Eve service.
Thankful to live in a place where Christmas is enthusiastically celebrated.

Christmas Eve snack dinner
thanks to oldest and youngest

pretty neat that Christmas Day fell on Sunday this year
this is where we regularly attend services 

Christmas Day and day after

I kissed my little brother on the forehead for the last time on this day a couple of years ago.  it was late in the day, about this time.  He was a good buddy.  I loved him and I liked him and I miss him.

Most of the time now I can just be, feel, thankful about sharing so much of a lifetime with him.
Today we, my family, were talking about ... something like people getting you to do things that you really don't honestly want to do (or at least are hesitate to do for any number of perfectly good reasons) and I said my brothers and I could coax (goad) one another into probably all sorts of adventuring, however misguided, by simply prefacing the idea with "I dare you to... ."  Occasionally the double dog dare was called for, but we usually were all in before we knew what we were getting in to.
I don't think I'm like that at all now.  I think I think.  Pretty sure he was my last dare buddy.
He and our older brother were great guys to start life with - they helped me make a lot of the choices that eventually shaped who I have become.  Brothers.  I know I was especially blessed!

We, again my family, were playing a new silly game, DRUNK, STONED or STUPID (is that small enough print?  It's kinda an embarrassing game title isn't it?), and everyone agreed that I had to take the card "Alphabetizes spice rack in spare time"- so - what's not right about that?  My little brother was the sort of guy who would playfully move the cayenne down towards the garlic ... he helped me see that it can also make sense for cumin, onion flakes and garlic salt to be side by side on the spice rack - both literally and figuratively.

That is a new pup - he is giving my oldest son lessons in parenting - classes in session intermittently throughout the night hours.  They are both here for the holiday along with all the sisters - Denver son couldn't get away.  C is wrangling the pooch while big brother cat naps in the car.  We are headed to our Christmas day walk around the lake.

Today four of us are going to drive three hours to bring our Great Pyrenees puppy home.  Two "found" him via an internet search.  

Day after Christmas.
It's really neat to have so many of our family in. 70 degrees out here on the river.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

There are no ordinary people

 We visited at a church today and a quote attributed to C.S.Lewis was projected - I snapped pics of it with my phone so that I could look at it more carefully later - which is now. Unfortunately, the words in that order do not show up from the search.  The sermon was interesting - basically,  he said, 1. we are created for a purpose (which he talked about - to be in God's presence), 2. there is a problem (sin), 3. there is a promise (Christ's sacrifice enables us to come into God's presence).  Looking for "the" quote caused me to look at some other Lewis ideas which I have enjoyed thinking about.  My favorite thing from today's meanderings is the idea that  There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. 

Very cool and kinda creepy ... I'll need to do better.

Our lifelong longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside is no mere neurotic fancy but the truest index of our real situation.  The sense that in this universe we are strangers...and the longing to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality is no mere accident.
That is a note from church today.  I was unable to "find it" per se ...
picture at church - that's a remote telecast - looks pretty real

screen shot of "Quotable Lewis"
the quote as it was displayed at church just isn't showing up
I'll keep looking

 Following C.S. Lewis quotes both from THE WEIGHT of GLORY.

“The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgment, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.” ~Lewis

“Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”~Lewis

Again, Lewis, writing in "The Problem of Pain": "All the things that have deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it -- tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest -- if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself -- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say 'Here at last is the thing I was made for.' We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want . . . which we shall still desire on our deathbeds . . . Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it -- made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand."  >here

" remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden. " from Weight of Glory pdf page 9

You never talk to a mere mortal.  Wow.

steep turn

Leek/Cauliflower soup with mozzarella and red pepper

L and "Four" kayaking
70s yesterday, low 20s now as I type!

cat harassment

last year's lights, all of them, on this year's tree

Christmas decorating ... 
V and I visited a church Christmas bizarre, I call it that because it seems weird to me when things are for sale at church ... it was in the gym (that a church has a gym is a little bizarre to me too, but most of them do these days) ... and Boy Scouts were handing out flyers advertising their Christmas tree sale/fundraiser.  I thought that, buying our tree from the Scouts, would be right up my husband's alley.  

The tree that L selected is our best tree ever and fits nicely under an eight foot ceiling, the hugeness of it is in it's breadth!  An entire elk family could shelter beneath it's branches! I think I strung five bunches of little twinkling lights before I made my first run to Target for more.  The lights were finally "on" and I went outside to search for something peaceful to look at ... came back in and string number two from the bottom had "blown".  My husband graciously sorted that out for me while I made my final (fingers crossed) trip to the light store.  The ornaments, still packed in their little boxes, were waiting on the coffee table.  I was very surprised when the two youngest girls showed no inclination to decorate the tree.

It's all done now!  I'm starting to see why people like the artificial trees with lights already on.  During a house hunt I saw a "Christmas Tree Closet" cleverly placed under the stairs to a second floor.  Those people leave their entire tree decorated.  Wow.  That peculiar little (ocd) click in my personality makes replacing the ornaments in their storage "spots" and back into the big plastic ornament tub one of my favorite holiday rituals. That and placing the lights on the tree in sync with the constellations found in the Winter sky.  
Yeah, not really.
That would be weird!

star chart at antique store
(with sold sign - I thought it was cool/interesting)

Now it's time to start baking!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Because I picked up pizza last night , I got to see this - downtown Georgetown - all fancied up!

before and after chair project

I bought these at an estate sale late in '13 or early in '14 with the intention of "refurbishing" them.  Got distracted by more important matters, but finally worked my way back around to these little jewels.

Best note I've read in a long time! World Story - the News and the Good News

The Mirrored Night Sky © Xiaohua Zhao (China)
An enthralled stargazer is immersed in the stars as the luminous purple sky is mirrored in the thin sheet of water across the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.

World Story – the News and the Good News


Human beings make up stories. I don’t mean that the stories aren’t true, only that we make them up. We connect things. We make sense of things. We ask what is happening and the answer is a story. When we read a history book, we encounter a story. We do not examine the facts of the 5th century in the Byzantine Empire, for the events in a small town in a single day would more than fill any book. Our stories are a selection of facts, told together in a manner that produces a narrative. We like to have cause and effect. This thing happened which caused that thing to happen which is why we now have Cable TV (or some such story). But of course, the story is not the thing itself. And frequently the story is incorrect.
On any given day, with the lives of 7.4 billion people, many thousands of millions of things take place. In any given news cycle, less than one hundred will likely be cited as news. The “news” is an exceedingly selective narrative of a tiny fraction of daily events, deemed by someone, somewhere, to be worth bringing to the attention of the world. Those few events will form conversations of those who notice, produce 100 million postings on Facebook (along with cute pictures of cats and puppies), and seem “important” to many. But this is exceedingly irrational, no matter how it feels.
Near the beginning of the 1st century, Rome was a dominant force in the lives of some 60-70 million people. Its armies guaranteed a general peace and commerce prospered. In the major cities, and elsewhere, goods from far-away lands could be purchased. Chinese items have been found in Roman archaeological sites in Britain. Augustus Caesar, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, was the uncontested Emperor, having vanquished his father’s enemies and consolidated his power. His image could be found on coins throughout the empire. It is certainly the case that very little notice (if any) was accorded the birth of a Galilean peasant child, regardless of how the Scriptures tell the story.
It is almost comical (were it not so sad) to read modern critical historians suggesting that lack of contemporary non-Christian descriptions and accounts of Jesus raise questions about his historical reality. The truth is that you don’t notice events like that until well after the fact.
But this is paralleled in our own time. The vast preponderance of everything that happens to everybody all the time is not “newsworthy.” This says nothing about its importance. Indeed, what happens to you during your day is far more important to you than most of the content of the evening news. It is simply the case that most of reality is ignored by those who are telling the “public” story. These things are not essential to their narrative. The narrative says, “Unemployment rose last month.” However, reality is that Jill and Jack and Aaron and Jaquan, lost their jobs and don’t know how they are going to explain the lack of Christmas in their homes this year. And, indeed, next month employment might be “up,” but it matters little to Jill and Jack, Aaron and Jaquan if they’re still looking for work.
The public narrative (news and history) is like watching actors in a play. However, the actors have stumbled into the notion that the play is reality. They react to each other and the narrative within the play, but the reality off-stage (which is the rest of the whole world) is nowhere in sight. We might easily conclude that the entire idea of a public narrative is absurd (and it is, largely).
But people are story-tellers. If you ask, “What’s happening?” the answer will take some sort of story form.  Apparently, God is a story-teller as well. In St. John’s gospel we read:
No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (Joh 1:18)
The Latin translation of this verse says that the only-begotten Son “narrates” Him (enarravit). And this is precisely the case. The Christian claim is that Christ Himself is the story of the universe. He is the author and the protagonist. He is the meaning of the true story. Every sub-story (my life and yours) gains its meaning and purpose from the greater story of which they are a part. This is not the story of the rise and fall of nations. It is not the story of cultural conservation. It is not the story of progress. It is not the story of increasing liberation and ever-increasing economies.
The universe is a story God is telling. It is the story of Pascha, that God became one of us in order to free us and all of creation from our bondage to death and decay. The resurrection of Christ is the end of the story, or at least gives us a peek at the end of the story that will be the end of all stories. St. Paul tells it this way:
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death…. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1Co 15:22-28)
This is the story that Christians should tell each other whenever they gather. Properly, all other stories disappear or are seen in the relative state of their unimportance. God doesn’t watch the news in order to find out what some small group of people think is important. His eye is on the sparrow as He calls us each by name. What might seem important to you now may very well never be spoken of in the age to come. There, all things will be revealed for their truth, and only those things that are true will remain.
Sadly, the largely fictional narrative of the public world has become the primary story for many people, including Christians. Who someone is, who we judge them to be, what interests them and forms their associations and so much else, are defined by their relationship to the public narrative. It becomes something of a public “gospel,” telling us what we should value, and establishing the arguments of our lives. The Christian gospel itself is often co-opted by this public story, allowing itself to become a subset of the other. This submits Christ to the world and distorts the truth as it is made known in Him.
I once had a conversation with a friend about monastic hermits in the desert. He dismissed them as of no relevance. “Who even knows that they’re there?” He asked. Of course, I could say the same about any number of average people anywhere in the world at any given moment. That they may be “known” by some tiny circle of friends seems hardly greater than the loneliness of a hermit. But that is only true if we use the false standard of the public narrative. God knows the hermit is there. The devil knows it and trembles at the sound of his prayer. For all we know, God withholds his judgement and extends His mercy at the urging of this unknown monk.
There is an unfolding story. It is not on your television. It cannot be googled. By it, the universe is moved in the blessed unfolding of the will of God.
Christ has made it known.

C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy © Michael Jaeger (Austria)
Comet Lovejoy sails through the solar system in a green haze leaving cometary dust in its wake. C/2014 Q2 is the fifth comet to have been discovered by Australian amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, Terry Lovejoy. Towards the end of 2014 and into the beginning of 2015 the comet could be seen through binoculars or in some special cases with the naked eye soaring through Earth’s skies. The radiant blue-green contrasting against the backdrop of the night sky is due to the diatomic gas burning off it as it travels through space, and the disjointed tail illustrates the effects of a disturbance caused by solar winds. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Balance - Change

I've started going to a pilates class - well, it's piyo - a hybrid of pilates and yoga.  I didn't realize my body was a weak and basically out of shape as it is.  I can walk pretty much all day if I want to.  I don't feel weak or tired (that I had noticed).  I stopped running before I started having babies ... became busy with other things.  I have told my kids who run or swim that neglecting "running" is definitely the one regret of my life.  I haven't actually thought I could "get back in to it".  I have even heard myself think that I should have resumed running for fun when I first began to fly (instead of) ... I could have run on all sorts of exotic beaches with the money spent on aviation.  I used to like to run.  I don't spend a lot of time looking at other people, but I must admit, I do notice the calves on runners and bikers - I feel happy for them and a tad envious!

My son casually invited me to join him in a 5K.  I immediately thought, no way I could do that.  But, that's not true.  I like that he asked me.  I've enjoyed thinking about it.  Not sure it fits with what I'm working on right now, but I do smile when I consider the challenge.  5K really isn't much.

A cold snap in the area encouraged me to do my walking time on the tread mill inside our home.  I thought about what the PiLo instructor is teaching/reminding about posture, core engagement and balance.  I wondered if I could walk on the treadmill with my eyes closed.  I can walk on the tread mill concentrating on pushing my foot heel through the toes down on to the surface as I do the yoga mat.  I can vary my stride from long to shorter and even walk sideways or backwards on the treadmill.  I can run on the treadmill.  I can't walk with my eyes closed.  Yeah - a few steps, not really walking.  I found that if I have just a finger extended to touch the upper part of the machine that I am able to walk with my eyes closed.  It's a yoga balance exercise.  Here - stand on one foot (with excellent posture) lift a foot (maybe just a few inches off the floor or higher if you can, all the way up to hip to knee horizontal position) dangle the foot in a pendulum motion and find your balance --- now move your eyes from where you were looking to somewhere else --- still balanced?  Close your eyes.  It gets more difficult.

Balance.  I remember watching my babies figure out how to use their bodies and part of it was about figuring out how to balance themselves.  We work to get it and we work to keep it.  Balance is something we can easily lose as our bodies age.

I thought it was interesting that as long as "just my finger" was touching something stable that I could move/walk with my eyes shut. 

Doing that little physical experiment reminded me of a specific moment back in the 90s.  

My husband was back in school beginning his PhD, we had two children and I had gone back to work (outside the home).  It wasn't what I expected.  I didn't expect to put my babies in childcare and go back to work while my husband picked up another degree.  I had waited on having children until I thought things were pretty well settled and on "track".  I didn't expect major life changes would be happening in my thirties.  It was an incredibly stressful time for me, for him too. New town, no friends/church, new job, new routine.   My husband was teaching and had a stipend  - he was still making money, but ... I felt responsible for every thing we had to say no - not now - to ... and there were a lot of "nos".  There were times when bath soap seemed like a luxury.  Money was tight. My husband was 100% focused on getting finished asap and worked at it seemed like around the clock.  Our baby girl took her first steps at the Montessori school ... we missed that and all the things young children do during their busy days.  I remember standing in the kitchen looking at a huge cockroach which we couldn't afford to have someone come out and spray (yes, I have heard of RAID - we couldn't eat it so it wasn't on the grocery shopping list).  The children were in their little beds for the evening and I was telling my husband something about my boss insisting that I make another sales call on a client who was making inappropriate - passes - at me.  I can't remember the conversation after all these years - I just remember my absolute shock at how my husband responded to that.  He said the guy wouldn't be making a pass at me if I weren't somehow encouraging it.  It felt exactly like walking on the tread mill today felt when I tried to walk with my eyes shut and took my finger away from that last little touch point.  Everything shifted.  I felt like I was going to fall and just keep on falling.  I had to re-find my balance.  On the treadmill it was as simple as opening my eyes, re-balancing and trying again.  I remember telling my husband - around that time - that it was as though I had suddenly parachuted in to someone else's life.  I fell and fell and landed in someone else's life.  That's how PhD school was for me. It wasn't a good time for us.  It took me a while to figure out how to balance myself.  Life is full of surprises.

I did learned the truth of what Socrates said - change is about building "the new".  I don't dislike change.   

update -notes on COMPASSION

[update - just this between these brackets 30 Nov. 16 -

- compassion (sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others) doesn't make you, your neighborhood, or your entire Nation, a doormat.  I am reminded of the saying large doors swing on little hinges (something like that).  The information that I have to work with about "refugees" for example, is incomplete.  Providing sanctuary to people fleeing crappy places is not necessarily the most compassionate conclusion.  

On one hand, we have the gum ball guy's talk on immigration (see above) on the other, or another, hand, we have - well, this: 

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said Monday he was saddened by the “senseless act of gun violence” at Ohio State University, even though the attacker used a butcher knife and a car.
Mr. Kaine, who ran on the 2016 Democratic ticket with presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, was accused of pushing a gun-control agenda after his Twitter post blaming firearms for the siege.
Kaine is supposed to be a better thinker than comments like that indicate.  He is representing large groups of people and I, perhaps naively, want to believe that our elected voices for "the people" aren't "dumb-dumbs" with talking points (guns bad. sing along with the bouncing ball...).  He is not my Senator/Representative, but he is a position to speak towards our collective governance.
and this:
an immigrant Artan was born in Somalia and moved to Pakistan with his family in 2007. He came to the United States as a legal permanent resident in 2014. Ohio State attacker
This story wasn't about a gun, or gun violence.  The gun part of the story is a man intent on a murderous attack on "regular people" was stopped/killed/shot dead by an officer of the law. It could have been a "regular person" with a gun but it wasn't - I wonder how that would have played out. Let's direct collective angst toward senseless gun violence and away from senseless Muslim immigrant violence.   
It seems that we are encouraged to believe that all Muslims are regular people, immigrating victims who must be treated with compassion.  I mean - soldiers wear uniforms identifying themselves, these guys aren't soldiers ... we wouldn't allow foreign soldiers to walk among us would we?  
I wonder how much we are willing to spend on "compassion" (There should be a well publicized conversation on what it costs to support an immigrant - financial costs are just a matter of fact and public record - societal costs aren't as easily calculated and when a recipient of "compassion" freaks out, the cost to their victim/s is not a matter for calculation ... I wonder, am I safe out walking on the local trail ... that is what terrorism is about, inciting fear with acts of violence to manipulate outcomes.
... what ever that amount is, I would like for it to be spent on American servicemen/women and their families (and cops actually).  If there is compassion money left over after that, I'd like to see it go towards projects that benefit our country.  I think immigrants should be assigned to "people of that particular compassion" who want to help immigrants assimilate in to American norms.  Let those folks host immigrates in their homes as one might a foreign exchange student - let them be accountable to their neighbors for what that community thinks is right. 
I don't want to spend my compassion on soldiers intent on harming this Country.  I don't think that is compassion well spent.]