Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Beautiful Spring garden at Mount Vernon!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I dreamt about Virginia all night last night. When our son came running into our bedroom, as is customary in the middle of the night, I asked, "But what about Virginia? How's it doing?"
This craziness follows my piecing together our itinerary for the trip (all the Virginia and DC details) which begins on Saturday.

I've already packed my laundry basket (yes, I packed sacks for each day so that I won't have to lug my heavy suitcase from the van to the hotels. Thought I'd try this for the first time. My arms are so weak!). I've contacted Eastern friends whom my mom, Cody, and I'll be seeing or staying with. I reminded our Representative's office about our need for Capitol tickets. I've engaged Cody in boring studies about presidents, bills, national relics, spies, military. It's time to go!

Here's what we'll be doing:

Visiting friends in Richmond
Going to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown
Touring Mount Vernon
Riding the Tourmobile all over DC -- focusing on monuments
Going through the White House (saying secret prayers of influence!)
Feeling the sadness of Ford's Theater
Visiting friends and a cousin
Skipping around Monticello
Possibly, but probably not, running in the Louisville half-marathon with a friend

I'm not sure if I'll be posting much, but I'll post a few pictures afterwards. Pictures like "here are lilies by Capitol building ... here are pansies in front of the old Burgesses House ... "I remember the roses that were in front of the White House which I have an old photo of ... the gardeners are the most important people in government afterall. So, bon voyage! I'll post when I return.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What Kind of Cookie I Am ... here it is the ultimate personality measure. The words 'traditional and conservative' scare me because I'm picturing a polyester-clad RushL., but I'll take the rest which sounds more attractive. :) What kind of cookie are you?

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie
Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!
What Kind of Cookie Are You?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Boys are stupid, and girls become evil at this age," said the junior class principal today when I called him to change contact information. He confidentially tells me that my daughter's boyfriend is not known to be mean, only goofy. He keeps telling me to hang in there, although I've only briefly met him at a school orientation. He has a reputation of being caring yet tough at his difficult job as a disciplinarian.

The conversation gives me a lift because I know that she is being watched even though my eyes can't. When I talked to her private practice counselor today, she related to me that my daughter is sorting a few tangled feelings out during sessions. My ears are plugged, but she is being heard.

Fortunately, the Body takes over like the involuntary contractions of the heart. Today at guitar lessons, I turned to "Cat's Cradle", the old Harry Chapin song about a father's regret regarding lost time with his son. Fortunately, my instructor sensed after a couple of bars that I really needed to turn the page quickly to find another song.

The graces within life that God gives become stark in their meaning during times like this. Thank you all for your prayers. Thank you for your automatic non-judgment. Thank you for your messages of hope to me. I do have a core peace that, even though I can't be the mother to the little girl who used to want and need me constantly, God is working in her life in the only way she will allow right now. She is being seen, heard and known. One day, I'll get to enter back into that room where she will willingly allow me to sense-mother once more. The prodigal's fattened calf ... yes, it makes sense now. I'm looking forward to the party.
Once upon a time, I had a little girl who loved kittens, fancy dresses, Polly pockets, and me. She told me quite often, "You're gooooood, Mom; you're goooood." With her cooing, she would snuggle up to me and we would look deep into each other's eyes, understanding that we would always be together as much as possible. Thirteen years later, she is 17, and her words have changed; the gleam in her eyes have turned from love to hatred; and, on Thursday, she ran off, to live with her grandmother and/or to be at her boyfriend's house as much as possible. She is skipping school and most likely will be behind in her credits. Unless she can look beyond the immediate, she won't graduate next year. My husband and I don't understand what happened ... well, one always knows one's parenting weaknesses, but we felt that we all would get through the normal potholes along the way.

One mother I met on the sidelines of the soccer field made this normal as she told me her son ran off at 17 because he didn't want to comply with a curfew. A good kid all the way up, until limits were put on him. Another mother's son lived in the streets until he decided that home was where he belonged. A wonderful Christian friend's son lives with a dealer who wants sexual favors. These help me know that sometimes learning must happen this way.

It's all sad, though. Last night at the grocery store, I systematically dismissed from aisle to aisle what she would like stocked in our refrigerator. Today, I go her counselor's office to see what to do this time. It has happened before in the last several months. My hope and expectation is now on a low simmer deep inside. God's process often takes longer chapters instead of a quick poem, depending upon the character he's developing. I release and trust as much as I can to his loving composition.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It is finished, and my mind bossed my legs around successfully, up the hill, through the Budweiser complex past the Clydesdales, up the hill, past the interstate, up the hill, and down across the finish line. Thirteen miles warranted an **impressive** medal (which I think I've lost), a free bag of Panera bagels, an aluminum foil blanket .... and most importantly, two hours and nineteen minutes with my best friend from high school! We rarely see each other and just recently reconnected. She's still an amazing Christian with a beautiful spirit within. That was the inspiring part of the run. Thankful. Priceless.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

This is a rare photo of my garden owl on his pedestal. Mostly, our cats, Cassie and Trixie, jump on his head to get on top of the fence and send him sprawing. It's exasperating because there's no way to tell them, other than a bbgun (kidding!) that they're desecrating a friendship idol. I received this owl from one of my fave friend Nisha when I worked in her garden when they were trying to sell their house prior to moving to Iowa. He was there for her, upright, casting prudence upon everything. But, in my garden, prudence gives way to whimsy and flight. Cats rule.

At the police station, the culprit lines up, hoping to not be recognized.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Life grants us frames, gratifying-living-natural as we throw rocks in an amber creek. Dark toads line the bank, framing frogs against mud. I watch my son's every move with my camera lens. If I turn and look at a rustle in the weeds, he will shoot up and no longer be a boy. Why are moments intense, and even moreso when the weather soothes us? The peace promotes a feeling of time unboundedness. As if we have this moment forever. Yet, if I turn away, the time has crumpled; I've lost my attentiveness, and then I wonder: will he be gone, and might a tornado uproot us all? What is important for one to treasure? How do we accept peace and anxiety together?

I don't mean for this post to be bluesy. I just appreciate the questions that comes to mind in nature, the 'transcendence' that directly approaches when you're within it. God can be heard, inquiring of you, inviting you, replying. I have the need for more natural frames in my life.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tree peony in the earliest form is as tantalizing as its later bloom. I once wrote a poem about this plant; once in a mood; once when the implication didn't scare; once when I was foolish. Now, I'm willing to leave this particular plant behind when we move. Yet a faint sigh? No, I will not bring a root, a single solitary root, because it should stay out of sight in someone else's home and mind, never mind the heart. My heart has hosted too many roots before and no telling what type of extending mass of invasion a transplanted root might suggest. But, what springs from the root here, in early April, is indeed lovely.
You Are a Soy Latte
At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed
At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky
You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it
Your caffeine addiction level: medium

I got this fun link from Dawn who got it from ... , who discovered it from .... funny, but I've never had a my alter ego, soy latte, before; I prefer my coffee black and strong -- what kind of coffee do they think you are?
Beginning of a Bill cartoon

Isn't that a cute little wee bill? We are cramming in as much U.S. government lessons as we can prior to our trip to Washington D.C. at the end of April. The above cartoon (and subsequent others to explain the process) came from a helpful colorful site here. Geez, I homeschool in order to realize how much I don't remember!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I wish that I could write a fitting ode to my garden aid cart pictured above. I first thought that this birthday gift was for geriatric hobby gardeners prescribed under doctor's stern orders. So, I initially sat on it smirkfully, looking for the reactions of those watching over our wooden fence (these townies do continuously watch our movements, you know). And, then, voila!, it became my favorite garden tool. I just sit and scoot along the dandelion row without getting my knees or butt wet from the grass. I love it; it's just so sidesaddle ladylike. (My kids also like zipping down the driveway on it as well.) And, so I'm wondering, what is your favorite garden tool?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Perhaps we five women looked like this poetic revolutionary last night at a local restaurant? I hope so. I've always wanted my hair to have the contemporary flair that she has.

Seriously, we were a bit blatant about our ambitions too, with poetry books spread on the table, one of my copied poems at every plate (gulp), indepth, fun conversation over appetizers and ice cream. I love the fact that I can have such wonderful dialogue with women that I care about. For me, the caring is as important as the poetry. Perhaps it equals the same.

We were at different experience levels with poetry. One remembered the rigors of metrical, formulated verse from high school. She's sadly carried this as the definition of poetry all these years, and she's now 47. One friend wants to return back to herself, which is poetry's role. The hunger and light in her eyes spoke of need and hope. The power of words .... It's interesting to see what called each of them out from their busy, work performance lives. One of the poems we all marveled about is one by James Wright which I post below. Enjoy!

A Blessing -- James Wright (1927-1980)

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have gladly come out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Monday, April 03, 2006

What's more beautiful than new growth on a viburnum bush?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Doesn't the lady in front look happy? And, it's encouraging to see that she's surrounded by men, willing to carry her like the secret female-pharoah she is whenever her gluts give away after 100 yards.

My half-marathon is on Sunday, and my nasal tone announcing event sounds like it isn't an option. I'm just not sure that I'm ready: nothing is as unforgiving as a long, hilly, windy thirteen miles on thigh and gravity-sucking concrete.

I've only completed 10.5 miles in training, suffering several days afterwards. Even now, my nasal-pitched lower back forgives nothing. I should be on a walker at this moment, shuffling for a cookie.

Why did I sell my George Sheehan book "Running to Win" at my last garage sale? I've asked myself that question only 1000 times since. I'm totally on my own, trapped in my sordid, diseased, dumpy thoughts of pound-dumb.

The race t-shirt had better be good.

T.S. Eliot cheerfully tells me, though: Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. Hmmmm.....I wonder what his training program looks like. I think I like Shakespeare's realism here better: Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.

Impossible. Yes, I do like the sound of that today. Surely they give refunds?


Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Bronze Bow

We've been enjoying Elizabeth George Speare's books. We first read "Sign of the Beaver" which hooked us. We love the adventure, character development, historical setting, and, at least in "The Bronze Bow" the Tablespoon of romantic love thrown in for good Cody-squirming-smiling measure. We just finished this book and both of us can't get it out of our minds. Cody wants a Bronze Bow II! Next of course, we'll read her most famous: Witch of Blackburn Pond. She's a wonderful writer!