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

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Zinnias

It’s the time of year when zinnias collected from my pollinator bed won’t be missed by the ones that crowd my summer squash. 

As I remembered back over 2022, one of my favorite things was the novelty of growing squash. This year I planted several varieties. To catch up with whatever I last had to say “here” I’ll note, I feel stiff as a writer. Can I sit here with my morning quiet and coffee and write myself into a practice of reflection again? 

This year we drained the pool that came with the house we bought in Texas and found that it was yuckier looking than the clear water made it appear. I googled and wrapped myself up and had fun sandblasting, nothing to learn, just load a bucket with sand (they called it glass beads), point and pull the trigger. I actually enjoy restoration type work. The band of decorative tiles and the coping edge look beautiful. I’d like to sandblast a glass door just to see, but I probably won’t. We spent a small fortune on a wonderful new front door … it’s wood with four very large glass panels. I liked the idea of light streaming in, but when the new black hardware was installed on the old front door I knew the lack of privacy was too much for my husband’s sensibilities. The door leans against the wall in his study, an unfinished wooden slab with clear glass panes. Sometimes I think to advertise it for sell. Mostly I don’t think about it. 

There is sandblasting yet to do though. The back porch had been fitted with screen walls and a door by the previous owner. There is the stubborn remnant of  (I guess) spray foam where the screen walls met rock columns. That area is open now and has shears keeping mosquitoes out. The stubborn remnants of foam insulation will want to be removed before I take on my next big project, smearing the exterior walls of the house. Summer is the perfect time for that, but back to the pool.  My husband acid washed the pool walls as part of the prep to paint.  I chose a conservative pool blue color, but when repaint in a couple of years, I’ll go darker. We figured the DYI was worth a try and it turned out to be a very satisfying experience. 

I’ve spent the past few years learning how to garden in the limestone rock layer prevalent on the West side of I35 in Central Texas. It took a real jackhammer, too big for me to handle, a willing husband and vast quantities of improved soil. There are also lots of potted plants. The one banana tree we bought in the RGV has proliferated to three very large bell shaped terra cotta pots. It’s a joy to see new leaves unfurling. I didn’t know that I would enjoy gardening. 


 




The zinnias were barely blooming when that picture was taken. 



Sunday, May 29, 2022



 Those cherry tomatoes are weighing down the vines! 

Today I read that they will continue to ripen once cut from the vine. Probably an experiment waiting to happen. 

The zucchini has been my favorite so far! The plant is practically a shrub! 


Monday, May 23, 2022

 I used to wake up in the morning and think to myself, “I get to fly today”.

I used to get up and get going. Those were good days. Busier days, days when everything moved faster. So fast that I could sometimes even see “the burr”.

There was an in between time. Maybe it can be like setting cruise while “before” felt more like caravaning with strangers in the fast lane, slowing only for red tail lights ahead or flashing blue and red in the rear view…  

With that metaphor, now it’s all cruise, cruise and scan for people who need to be “let in”. No hurries, few worries - I cruise my car like autopilot, no brakes just minor predialed adjustments.

Now when I wake up I am wrapped in quiet. I drink the coffee I like while reading quieter things. I pet my dog who is always a bit too nearby. I think about our garden while I wait for the sun (and my husband) to rise. If I worry it’s about squash bugs and hornworms. Nothing is “blurred”. 

I don’t spend much time on fretting about politics or pestilence.



22 years ago I was delivering our last child on this day. She dazzles me. She’s here today, a layover of sorts before a summer internship and a PhD program in the fall. 

It’s a good time. 



Sunday, March 27, 2022

 



Someone has strung a couple of lines under the bridge and they’re tightrope walking on them ~ fun to watch ~ Zilker Park late Winter. 


Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ



 Day before yesterday I met a new person at the dog park. She had a long legged pink lidded very timid white pit bull hybrid. 

On leash. She was standing at the exact spot where Max knows he will be cut loose. That’s local for “untethered”. I could tell the girl, youngish, 20 something, watchful, wary yet un-jaded was sizing me up. I told her that Max would be chill with her dog most probably. She asked how old Max is while she leaned over her dog, talking soft. I wondered if her reassurances calmed the dog or served to transfer her nervous energy. Later I could see the sweetness in her personality. She told me where she’d come from (north at the border where the Red River draws the line), something about her cousins and maybe a brother around here, and later, that she planned to spend the summer months up in Colorado. I recommended Boulder since her plans seemed to be fluid. She told me that her Dad is seventy. I’ll tell you that I imagined he must be financing her Lululemon adorableness, but the full arm of ink, the top half of her back and notional tats scattered around all over her made me wonder if her last boyfriend might have been a tattoo artist. I thought they were overly dark for her pale blonde complexion but I don’t think she felt any sting in my assessment. We walked, talking a little and after a while we noticed that my dog had wandered off to perform his perimeter scenting duties and her dog was growing in dog swagger. 

I said, “We all sure could learn a lot if we let the dogs inform us”.

She said, let’s call her S, she’d told me her by then, “I agree. Instead we make up stories about each other.”


LOL! I laughed. Precisely. “We make up stories about each other and that’s okay, it’s how we survive. I shrugged,  What a fun observation!”


We had stopped at the second turn but as we began to walk again I said, “ I could tell when you decided you “could take me if you needed to.”

S laughed and replied, I thought I could get over the fence and away …” she gestured, like a dancer maybe, maybe just a kid. I don’t know what makes a person feel threatened or potentially threatened or suddenly safe.  Other people joined us on the walking path and the conversation took a turn. She probably walked half a mile with us before needing to go off to tend to her dog. Who knows if I’ll see her again. 


 I do wonder about these wandering kids. 


She and I are reading the same book. Atomic Habits (James Clear). I’d love to hear her thoughts on it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022


 That’s a real dog. On an airplane. In a backpack with a sweater on. One of my kids took that picture and later said the dog was chill the entire flight but continued to look “pissed”. 


Back when the 70’s rolled over into the 80’s I began my first volunteer effort. I was new to the ways of the adult world and “giving back”, even before that phase was coined, seemed the right thing to do. 

 

I answered the phone on the overnight shift at Crisis Intervention. It was all about listening in a way that people “felt heard”.  The idea was that people in distress sometimes just don’t have “people” to talk to as they approach the snapping point - the job was essentially triage, then routing to appropriate services. Most of the time, callers could be encouraged to recognize and reach out to their own support groups, sometimes other United Way affiliates could be recommended. 

I never had a “crisis type” call there. My callers were mostly lonely or alone people who wanted human contact (albeit anonymously, over a phone line).


I don’t know if I ever “helped” anyone. 


My outcome was that I began to realize how well insulated from hardships my life experience had been and very likely would continue to be. 


I also began to realize that I actually was quite na├»ve. 

I began to see that “stupid solutions” seem perfectly reasonable to people when their options are severely limited by new stressors, previous poor choices and compounding difficult circumstances.


I developed an understanding that “choices make choices”. 

Big decisions automatically structure future choices. I had no framework to hang the fact that life rarely offers  “do- overs” on the big, trajectory setting, big life choices are big because they ramify. 


I finished undergrad, started a Masters in Architecture which was interrupted by the reality of the severe economic recession of the 1980s, and started what would become a very satisfying job in outside sales (contract furniture). I don’t see “sales” as talking people into making a purchase, I see the job as being the resource person who is able to find and provide what the buyer already knows they want or need. I was fortunate to find a good fit  career-wise. 


On the idea of do- overs … it probably would have been better for me to stay with that job after I began to have children. Instead, I became a stay at home mother - a job I knew I was, at that time,  ill-equipped for. Additionally, “homemaking” wasn’t an interest nor did it come naturally to me. I clearly remember being on my hands and knees trying to scour “Mop & Glow” buildup out of the textured linoleum kitchen floor. The baby was asleep and I was making every effort to be the perfect wife and mother. 


So weird to write those words. Perfect. 


Most of the time - back then - I really was trying to figure out, to learn, how to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother. 

While I was genuinely amazed at how much I liked my child (and loved, but that’s different), he slept a lot initially. I missed the chase of big installations, I loved making money and I loved winning! I loved the cute clothes, the fancy high heels, all that fun stuff. Lol. I’ve found that the rewards of parenting are far less tangible. I can’t remember gold stars ever. 


Yesterday, the younger woman who I exchange confidences with, asked me if I “wanted” so many children. She is coming up on parenting her first teenager and it’s looking like the minefield that it is. 


Did I? 


I wasn’t feeling the biological clock, (and honestly I’ve never heard it ticking) when we decided to start our family. My husband had a game plan in mind and felt that he was the right age to start a family. I wasn’t giddy about the whole thing … and my mother had continuously expressed doubts about my ability to carry and delivery a child … I honestly half expected to die during childbirth. Really. This goes back to my naivety. 

It must be a primary belief that we will be cared for by the people who’s job that is. I’m still realizing what a “mess” my mother was. My kids were recently teasing me about using the dishwasher as a drying rack (I know I’m not the only one) because nothing goes into my dishwasher without being already clean and rinsed, then I’ll turn it on. My mom held “child me” to impossibly high  standards. I didn’t know that then. I just came to believe that as a daughter I was a failure. I had stopped trying to please my mother altogether by my teen years. I found other ways to succeed and fortunately those activities provided opportunities for better choices later on. 


Side note here - people love to ask old people what their big regrets are, I’m noticing the idea even in advertising lately - I do have a few regrets. 

My relationship with my mother didn’t support me missing her. I was honored to experience the journey with her during her last few weeks, but I didn’t grieve a loss. I regret that I don’t miss my mother. That is regrettable from ever angle. I don’t miss her voice in my head either. I trusted her and she was ill-equipped emotionally. So much beautiful potential in her wasted under the scars of her own abusive childhood. I’ve always said “she did her best” but it’s not until recently that I can see how hard she must have been trying. I regret that time ran out on me telling her that. 


Now I am old. At least oldish. My children are adults. I definitely feel the satisfaction of having raised decent, capable, well- packaged people. I’m glad we were able to provide an environment for them to thrive in and I’m glad they made good choices for themselves. 

Probably the hardest part was letting them make their own “big” choices knowing that do- overs are costly. 

My friend seems to hover over her kid. She doesn’t want her kid to make mistakes, any mistakes, but most pointedly, the same mistakes she herself made. My friend seems to be making her same mistakes over again. She knows she is. 

It’s true and it’s also hard to say/hear that people make mistakes. Children earning responsibilities make mistakes. Adults with responsibilities still make mistakes.


Mistakes represent places for course correction. The consequences of mistakes inform us. It’s wasteful I think to keep on making the same mistakes when you already know not to. 


If I had a do-over starting before I began a family … 

I would have loved to fly more. I’d love to started flying sooner. I’m sure about that but I’d still want the privilege of helping these five people start their lives. 

They actually contributed more to shaping who I’ve become then my own parents did. They “raised” me. 

If I could know then what I know now, I wouldn’t change much. I’d do better I hope, but I’d still prioritize them. 

Everyone I know who flys professionally gets frustrated with the job. It seems to stop being the fun kind of challenging. Parenting isn’t really expected to be “fun”. It’s a sort of life work that is under valued. 


The social climate in my country seems very much as it did in my coming of age years. 

Carter was President then Reagan. 

The economy was in recession. Computers were going to make all the work of life easier, faster, and promised a four day work week. 

Pop culture was teaching us that “more money” was the path to happiness, the age of conspicuous opulence began. We started hearing about AIDS …


It’s popular now to blame the Boomers, placing blame is a sort of a sport now. 

 I was surprised when the country elected an actor to serve as President. I still am amazed by that. Are they all actors now? 

I dreaded moving to the part of the country (in the early 90’s) that had fostered a “Jimmy Carter” type. Yeah, he seems to be a really nice guy. I was afraid that he wasn’t very smart. 

I didn’t like that little boys wore smocked garments and white knee socks. I didn’t like that the illiteracy rate was so high … this is a tangent. I saw the results of the welfare state - it’s like benching an entire group. It wastes lives in my opinion. 

I didn’t like the Deep South but it turned out to be a quiet little place to start my family. My experience there was what I made of it. 


I may have preferred staying naive. 

I think individuals are so largely powerless to affect all except personal changes - and even those deeply ingrained habits and beliefs are hard to change. 

We get so much verifiably false information that it’s almost silly to form an opinion. “Truth” has become relative. Has it always been so? 

I have never been able to see things in black and white without noticing  all the shades of grey but it’s so much harder now. 













Sunday, March 6, 2022

124/1000

 I’ve been unable to sign in “here” for sometime. Inactivity helped me forget the correct password ~ plus all this time away from journaling has made me self conscious about writing. 


I’m going to try to pick “it” back up though. 


124/1000 - glad for access 


This was the line at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas 
They’re open only on Saturdays and people drive from all over to taste Tootsie’s pit smoking technique.

Brisket is $30.00 a pound now. 





 



Wednesday, June 30, 2021

 Paralleling the mighty Mississippi on a vaguely southernly heading through the delta lands this morning. Three hours in we made the turn towards home with Memphis in our six. 


I saw a note earlier today advertising a short course on an “authentic writing practice”.  I wonder what that means these days. The trend towards homogenized thinking seems to be encouraged by the information outlets on all sides. In other words, I hear less about what is actually “happening” and more about how I should  properly respond to that. Today, on the news that I normally avoid listening to, I heard that Big Tech is filtering/restricting access to information about the Covid vaccines. Draw your own uninformed conclusions about that because that’s the whole story as it was “reported”.  Almost everyone I know has been vaccinated… and I’ve heard “be afraid” warnings targeted at both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated populations. Everywhere I can turn, either R or L (middle ground/moderate reporting seems non-existent) for news of current events, funnels me towards the message of “be afraid”. The chaos is epidemic. 


Last summer (2020) canceled travel and we sat home relearning how to wash our hands. I, having been raised by the ultimate germaphobe, was well prepared to spray Lysol over every package that came into our home. It was curious to see grocery checkers in masks hunkered behind sheets of plexiglass handling grocery items which had recently been up and down every aisle in the store, past every potential cootie present in one of the few places where cootie carriers congregated six feet apart with their sanitized hands and facial adornments.  “Be afraid” hung heavy in the air where Muzak had been replaced by PSAs reminding us to social distance.  

Huge tent cities began to pop up under the freeway system in Austin as the homeless population inexplicably swelled and be afraid finally found perch as I, all on my own, inside my head, began to wonder where all the additional “homeless” had come from. Austin PD was defunded around the same time that a small group of people decided to stop traffic on I35, a major N|S corridor through central Texas. I saw one of the billboards while south bound and entering Austin via I35. 


Austin Police Defunded Enter at Your Own Risk," reads one of the billboards. ... Amid calls to defund the police, the Austin City Council last month voted to cut $150 million from its police department budget. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott criticized the decision, saying in a statement that it "paves the way for lawlessness."Sep 13, 2020


————————————————-


In fact, CNN reports that “Those seeking to disband police consider defunding an initial step toward creating an entirely different model of community-led public safety.” 


So-called “community-led public safety” is not led by police and pushes police to the background or out of the picture entirely. Where does the money taken from the police go? The answer varies by city but generally falls into a few buckets.


“Those dollars can be used to fund schools, hospitals, housing and food in those communities, too — “all of the things we know increase safety,” Phillip McHarris, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Yale University and lead research and policy associate at the Community Resource Hub for Safety and Accountability, told CNN.

(https://nationalpolicesupportfund.com/what-happens-when-cities-defund-police-departments/

4 March 2021) 





In Memphis we were seated next to a couple of armed Federal Agents where we had dinner on Beale St. I saw several uniformed security guards, none equipped with so much as a fly swatter, leaning against buildings on our walk from the hotel to the tourist attractions nearby. We were cautioned more than once by the locals to be back in our room “way before dark”.  

The Peabody was splendid. The fountain ducks did their thing (for the unmasked smiling crowd).  That was the high point in Memphis … well, honestly, for me, the duck parade was no big deal … visiting with a woman who had moved to Savannah during the Katrina storm relocation away from New Orleans and was in Memphis traveling with her daughter and grandchildren, was my most fun Memphis moment. New Orleans people tend (imho) to be “authentic” and she wasn’t coy with her opinions. 

On the drive to Louisville I told my husband that if I owned the Peabody, I’d start auctioning architectural salvage from it right now. Memphis is papered in “help wanted” signs and the declining downtown area is populated by glassy eyed beggars. We “heard” that the hotel is running at a very limited capacity due to staffing shortages. I’m obviously no expert but the street level shop windows are curtained with painters brown paper and hotel entry was closely monitored. 















Monday, June 21, 2021

 I think the best thing I saw today while we were driving through the grazing lands of Brazos County, Texas was a huge murmuration of birds, so large that it seemed to never lose touch with the ground even as it twirled into the sky. Nature has its own way with ballet I’ve noticed during these stiller times.

I was thinking I better make a note of that, hoping with a reminder, I might be able to see it again in my mind’s eye. 

It was splendid. Just all by itself I loved seeing it - how do they know how to fly so tightly? Do they communicate or simply flow with one another? And to see one that dips continuously to the ground - I’ve never seen before. Probably a ready supply of some unfortunate newly surfaced bug (hopefully hornworms). 


We are headed up to Michigan for a visit with our son. All that car time might support some catch-up posts. Hopeful. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

 



The grocery store was slammed full of shoppers on Friday when we finally felt the roads were safe enough to venture out. Power had been intermittent for over a week and as mains burst in the area, boil notices added to the strain of not having water to boil. We were not so hard hit. Water pressure was lost, but our home was never completely without tap water supply. Hot showers in the dark was as bad as it got here. 

Sheer boredom compounded by the lack of tonic water my husband splashes in his gin encouraged us to brave the ice. 

There has been too much idleness even during this more leisurely time of retirement. 

We put a few things in our small cart. The store was completely out of fruits, vegetables, and meats, including the prepackaged deli/breakfast meats and cheeses which normally filled the store coolers. There was no dairy or eggs. I was hoping for some Noosa Lemon yogurt. That entire area of the store was roped off. Because we had chicken on our list I approached a store manager who was standing near one of the empty coolers chatting with a young stocker-looking kid. I wondered if he had any word of when to expect the supply chain to ramp back up. He seemed almost gleeful as he launched into his version of “why it can’t be called global warming” and that given these wild extremes of temperature, “climate change” is a much better phrase for this predicament. I could tell that I had interrupted a lecture when the young guy took his opportunity to drift away. I had time to let him talk. It took some patience but he finally and abruptly did stop. 


 

I smiled faintly, reminding him gently, “chicken?”.  

He might have been a Dairy section supervisor. 

“Can’t say, he said, “...been promised milk and eggs tonight.” 


People are tired. I frequently wonder what “things will look like” in the future. The trials of confronting loss, and of preparing for the unknowns presented by what appears to be a crumbling democracy are taking and have taken a toll. I’m not seeing hopelessness in the faces at the grocery store - my only venue for observing strangers - the vibe seems to be polite, tired, watchful. At check-out the cashier told us that we had too many bottles of tonic water. Water is being rationed she explained because so many people are without water. I felt shamed, but not ashamed and said, okay but that’s not water. Tonic water is not water. Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink that is commonly used as a cocktail mixer." When they indicated that it clearly says “water” right there on the label I said "I know you are just trying to follow the rules as we are too." 

 

Slightly awkward. 


The liquor store two doors down had no problem selling us how ever many bottles my husband purchased in there while I took our groceries to the car. I wondered as I waited if the two party size bags of Cheetos that I impulsively bought made me “greedy”. I could tell you that the chips aisle was completely stocked... .  

It may be just me, and I may be “entitled” (not sure, all the societal algorithms are in flux), but it seems like people are being encouraged to “keep their heads down” and go with the flow...yes, it clearly says water right on the label. Good catch. 


After the big thaw we ventured out to grocery shop again - last time really was about getting the tonic water - this trip was about sourcing food for our dog. He eats a bag of kibble, a chicken (cooked and deboned) and chicken livers when we can find them. Purina recommends one can per 10.5-12.5 pounds a day. My dog weighs about 100 pounds. Feeding him chicken is more time consuming but lots cheaper and better nutritionally. I had two whole chickens, four pints of livers and a single serving steak when we arrived at the check out. Even though I hadn’t seen any rationing signs when we were shopping, we were told by the cashier that there is a 5 protein limit. 

I opted for 2 chickens, 2 pints of livers and the steak. That’s $13.00 of protein we will share with the dog and a steak for me.  At home we discovered that one of the two containers of chicken livers wasn’t bagged. We’ll write off that buck and a half and pay closer attention next time. 


Other than spotty dairy supplies and no bottled water,  the store appeared to be completely stocked. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

 So, I guess like everyone else, I am thinking about an air fryer.

 Air fryers, pictures of food prepared in air fryers...airfryer cookbooks (I went to B&N today trying to get a copy of the TIMES magazine that the article about all those guys teaming up to save democracy was printed in - that was a no go, so upstairs to look at real cookbooks while I was there anyway)...air fryer things are everywhere. I don't even eat fried foods (much) and I'm thinking about one. I want to know first hand how in the world that works. 

And does it work?  

Does air fry? 

Hmmm, I was raised all the way down to the border of south Texas.  The other day some one said Corpus is south Texas, but there's basically a whole 'nother State southwest of Corpus. It's the border and right now I'm hearing that Covid-19 is jumping from home to home almost as fast as new people are coming in to the country. 

I've wondered about that. I really think I'm too much of the too good to be true mindset to have be able to make that trip. I don't blame them. One of the Executive Orders rolled out the red carpet. Thank goodness we have I35 running up the middle of the country to help these newbies navigate their way north. I was driving by myself heading south from Dallas down I35 after dark and noticed several cars in tow (two piggy backing sometimes which is incredibly impressive and sorta scared even to a Valley girl) also headed south and to my thinking pretty far south. They load those vehicles with all manner of things - crammed full. Headed back home wildly wealthy by village standards. I'm happy for them. They probably think we are crazy up here. 

Air fryers. All the bread machines and all the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers have been sold (I'm guessing) so we are on to air fryers. I do love chalupas. And chips. I've almost forgotten how much I love chips and salsa. 

I've taken up serious cooking during these stay at home and listen to TV fussing all day days.  We may never eat out again. Austin area is back up to 75% occupancy in our restaurants but everybody learned how to cook last year. And we figured out our better food at home not only tastes better, it's like 1/3 the cost before tip. And I wear black yoga pants everyday. Everyday. I love it. I'm saying that because not only are we not spending money entertaining ourselves out and about, we are also not buying new clothes. I have my comfy at home clothes and I can wear them to the gym. Lately I'm wracking up 120 minutes a day on my watches green arc playing Beat Saber on the Oculus Quest. That's all I do ...dogpark (WX permitting - ice storm today), grocery store, gym, front yard, back yard, home. 

We get so many Amazon deliveries in this neighborhood that packages are being dropped off out of unmarked cars. A kid who probably used to be waiting tables to pay for college is now driving Amazon boxes around in his car. I was outside when he just stopped in the middle of the street, got out and came walking towards me smiling under his mask. I'm sorry I don't have on a mask (in my yard doing yard work) I said, but if you're not afraid of my cooties I'll take that. I asked him if he wanted a bottle of propel, which he didn't and thanked him for delivering "the ocean".  The ocean? he took the time to ask, and I told him it was a sound machine...I'm missing the coast.

 



Friday, January 29, 2021

 I don't know how or when it happened, but somewhere along the way in the last few years I've developed an appreciation for a quiet life.  I mean, I've always been a quiet type person.  I wasn't the kid who talked in school, I was the distance runner type kid in High School and I guess running in the quiet, my own version of quiet which is earbuds in, has recently become my thing again - if you can call 15 minute miles on an elliptical inside a temperature controlled gym "running". I don't think I'd miss the masked people on the machines around me. I have a treadmill at home and even though it’sa good one, I don't use it unless I'm in dire straits to close my green ring. 

Most days, including Sundays, my husband and I take Max to the dog park. It's amazing how much that seems to mean to the dog. Unless the weather is just too bad we go as early as possible.  I do miss the day when dogs accompanied their kids out and about unleashed. I don't remember when I saw my first leashed dog, but I do remember when leashed dogs was uncommon. My childhood dog could situate herself just right out of my dad's long reach a top Momma's bright red station-wagon. That dog seemed to know when Vet visits were the destination and could be bribed down only with the promise of DQ ice-cream cup. She knew. Probably my smartest dog ever ... she was a terrier blend, All-American pooch my dad would say.

I can see my husband in there hustling up a snack - it's dinner time, I need to cook.  Cracked wheat steamed in bone broth with already roasted chicken tonight.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Taken on my birthday for quick response to text query - “what are you doing?”

Recently realized I miss posting here. I’m too busy. Too busy with mostly good things, but busier than I need to be.  

Putting together a weekend party for one of my kids ... be back no later than next week! 


The days are long - like shadows but the years are short  - brb!

Monday, November 30, 2020



 Giant sunflowers. The seeds came as a gift in the mail from my oldest friend. The Fibonacci aspect is fun for me, I can’t wait to enjoy those pods unfurling. 

Finally have a “good start” on Morning Glories too!   




  
And later - once it was time to close in the greenhouse  - 


Still blooming after the vines were trimmed away and stacked on the compost pile. 










123/1000


 

HAVE you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? 
Have you not learned the great lessons of those who rejected you, and braced themselves against   you? or who treated you with contempt, or  disputed the passage with you? 
Have you had no practice to receive opponents when they come?
~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1867

Friday, September 11, 2020




It’s raining here, has been all day, and some of yesterday as well. The first cool front of 2020 has moved in ushering out the lamest summer of my life. Cover-19 restrictions shut down a planned family campout at the National Seashore ... big bummer, I seem to need a sand and salt reset.  Kids can't get away to join us, but L and I may take the dog down for a few days later in September. 





I have a new power washer.
3000psi is significant better than 2000psi












Saturday, July 25, 2020

Love Language notes from August 2010


My husband and oldest son are off in pursuit of something Andrew Ellicott. They're going to Baton Rouge They'll be back late Wednesday. I'm glad my son is going. It's not his thing, but a break will be good for him. He's waiting to hear back from the Navy. Military downsizing has him concerned.

In Sunday school we have been watching a video series titled "The Five Love Languages" (Gary Chapman). It is amazing how differently people communicate and "hear" love. You would think that married couples had this whole thing pretty well figured out. My husband says I am very complicated and I sometimes sense him studying me - like a science project. I don't like that feeling. I think I am extremely uncomplicated - simple really.

We took the quiz - the love language quiz.
A.Words of Affirmation- L5,D6
B.Quality Time - L12,D8
C.Receiving Gifts - L0,D6
D.Acts of Service - L8,D5
E.Physical Touch - L5,D5

The quiz is set up with thirty question like this: 1 I like to receive notes of affirmation from my spouse (A) or I like it when my spouse hugs me (E). You work through the thirty choosing this more than that. I bet it would render different results if each question made all five choices available. My sample is weighted pretty evenly with Quality Time pulling slightly out front.

According to the author:
Words of Affirmation = "One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up. Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouses perspective. When you make a request of your spouse, you are affirming his or her worth and abilities."

Quality time = "Togetherness has to do with focused attention. Quality conversation means sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context."

Receiving Gifts = "Gifts are visual symbols of love. If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. I Corinthians 8:12 The worth of gifts has nothing to do with monetary value and everything to do with love. Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse's primary love language is receiving gifts."

Acts of Service = "Sometimes doing simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love." He suggests we make a list of items and rate their importance to us so that the act of service is actually what the receiver values. "The spouse who performs acts of service out of fear, guilt, and resentment understands clearly that these are not expressions of love. A doormat is an inanimate object. No person should ever be a doormat. Allowing oneself to be used or manipulated by another is not an act of love. You are allowing him or her to develop inhumane habits. Love says, I love you too much to let you treat me this way. It is not good for you or me."

Physical Touch = "...Physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love. Babies who are held, hugged, and kissed develop a healthier emotional life then those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact. Physical touch is also a powerful vehicle for communicating marital love. Whatever there is of me resides in my body. To touch my body is to touch me."

While I scored pretty evenly across the spectrum Quality Time was just a tad more important to me. That's probably true. I am sure that it is the most guarded of the expressions of love that I give. I really see time as limited and precious. When I share time with someone I see that as a big deal. There are so many cool things, so many necessary things, so many wonderful things - there's a lot to do and it all takes time. One of the most memorable things about my husband when we were dating was that he was always on time. He's been very reliable about time in the thirty years that we've been married. I really appreciate that. I remember a lesson learned when I worked with one flight instructor who routinely rearranged my flight lessons for some unknown reasons. It wasn't a huge problem but it was somewhat difficult for me because of my many time commitments. Our work together ended when he “blew off” one training appointment too many. Quality time is important to me.

Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts are next for me. Yeah - I think it is super important to speak politely and encouragingly ... to be caring. When I get exasperated or overwhelmed, mean talk is my first line of defense or offense. It always makes me feel horrible when
 I cool down. Mean talk just tears people down. That never makes anyone stronger or better. Nobody wins. I am getting a lot better at not talking or acting in a hurtful way.
Next gifts - I like to give gifts ... I like to spend a bit of time thinking about what someone would especially like. I'm big on thank you notes and thank you gifts. As far as receiving gifts - that makes me uncomfortable unless it's Christmas or my birthday.
The gift of physical presence seems super special to me, but hard to accept. I can see that trusting someone to be there for me is pretty difficult. I don't like to feel vulnerable and I keep that from happening whenever possible. My dysfunctional up bringing didn't support counting on others. My husband tends to be emotionally unavailable in stressful times. He would help me out if I ran out of gas, but anything really stressful would be iffy. I would hate to be in a crisis situation ... I'm not sure I have the people to help me through that. I am secretly afraid of dealing with cancer. I think I'd have to do that pretty much on my own.

Acts of Service and Physical Touch where tied and just barely less important then the other love languages. I like doing things for people and I like touching people.
I see all of these "languages" as closely related ... maybe even not separate at all. I think love is a choice.
Tiny tiny tiny written on the inside of my wrist - protecttrusthopepersevere-love. I started writing it there in August last year. I write it there to remind myself that I am making choices. Even on days when I am stressed out I am making choices. This year I've been learning that I wasn't built to carry my own load. I simply wasn't designed with the lifting capacity. I wouldn't intentionally over load anyone or anything else.

The Message translation of Matthew 11:28-30 follows:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”


Jesus demonstrated fluency in these so called love languages. I Corinthians 13 is a description of that love.