Thursday, May 26, 2016

How does your garden grow?


A botanist friend and I were corresponding about gardens, and we agreed that we both like free-form gardens, with plants allowed to grow into the shapes they want—within reason, of course. But we weren’t in favor of the sculpted, manicured look so favored today by much of suburbia. What you like in a garden tells much about what you like in life, just as do the foods you eat, the books you read, the things you choose to surround yourself with.

At one time in British history, garden were carefully delineated, neatly plotted and formed. Beyond their borders, nature could grow wild, but the garden kept the wilderness at bay and gave man a sense of control, creating order in an unruly universe. Sometimes during this period, carefully manicured bushes and trees came into popularity. The topiary tree and other shapes. While I wouldn’t have one in my garden, I have seen recently beautifully sculpted topiaries of animals.

The Victorian era saw gardens as an extension of the house, to be lavishly decorated as evidence of taste. Not only were geegaws, from gazebos to benches, desired, flower displays were lavish and colorful to fit the exterior of Queen Anne homes with their gingerbread trim. Today most of us would call these gardens fussy and overdone.

In the early nineteenth century, the Craftsman style became popular as a protest against mass production and the standardization of parts. When houses all began to look alike, designers used natural materials—wood, stone—to distinguish their houses and give them individuality. Similarly, gardens around Craftsmen homes were allowed to grow free rather than sculpted and carefully trimmed into an organized pattern. The typical Craftsman home’s garden has the feel and appeal of an English garden.

Today in the United States garden take many shapes and forms—we have tried to surround our homes with manicured and mowed lawns, which proved to be a mistake in some parts of the country. In the desert Southwest, for example, the cost of maintain a lawn, in water alone, is astronomical and suggests we should think of a new way to garden. It’s not easy for some—one of my sons routinely mowed down the evening pinks which sprouted in my lawn. I loved them, but he said, “They’re weeds, Mom.” In our neighborhood newsletter, a contributor complained about people who do not used weed-and-feed regularly and thus provided a crop of dandelions for the whole neighborhood. I wanted to tell him to make a salad out of the greens and enjoy.

But I like gardens with lots of native plants—yarrow, cone flowers, coreopsis, Mexican hat flowers, oleander, rosemary, mint, lantana and a long list of others. I don’t have much sun either on the front or back of my house, so my choices are sort of limited.

Some of us do like to let nature take its course. Granted, some plants need a little taming. Yaupon holly, for instance, does not need to be painstakingly trimmed, it’s interior opened up as one friend showed me years ago—talk about a time suck. But neither does it need to grow out of control until it shouts neglect. What I ideally aim for is a moderate course between two alternatives.

I have neighbors who have been growing vegetables in their front yard. The result is plants of all sizes and shapes with no discernible pattern—I find it distracting and think such gardens should, like the traditional kitchen garden, be in the back of the house.

And much as I like free-form growing, I don’t like when a jungle sprouts in the bushes to the west of my house, with volunteer trees offering to get out of control. I guess maybe in gardens as in politics, I’m a moderate liberal (no hooting, please, from friends and family).
How does your garden grow?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

God compensates


Reality is the leading cause of stress among those who are in touch with it.

—Lily Tomlin

The quote above is something I liked well enough that I wanted to share it. My mom would have liked it. She was fond of such sayings as “The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine,” or “God works in mysterious ways his wonders to accomplish.” The latter is sort of what’s on my mind tonight.

Between Jordan and me, we have a fairly constant stream of visitors to this house, usually at happy hour. Since the discovery of my broken ankle, most of them make a beeline for me to ask, “How do you feel?” My answer is that every part of me feels perfectly fine except for my ankle which hurts like sixty. A month ago I would have cheerfully said I felt fine when I really didn’t, but now I do. I think it’s one of God’s mysterious ways.

As many of you know, I’ve struggled with anxiety, balance problems, fear of falling, even some insecurity. Now that there’s something in my body that actually hurts badly enough to focus all my energy, those neurotic (my term) ailments have all gone away. Sure, there are some logical explanations—I’m on a new anti-anxiety medication, and it works wonderfully, makes me feel like a new person. I’m also on my new bright red walker, and I have no fear of falling. I sleep well and pain free at night, and during the day I sit at my desk and think all is well and I can conquer bear. But when I stand up and walk, I am indeed in touch with the reality of pain. It’s as though God said, not unkindly, “You want something to worry about? Here’s a real something.”

The fracture, as I understand it, is not exactly a hairline but almost. No displacement of bones. If I’ve got it right I sprained the ankle, and the sprain pulled the ligaments apart until the bone broke. That’s why it hurts worse now than it did a few days after I fell. The fracture is at the bottom of the fibula, the lesser bone in the leg, and not weight-bearing.

So tomorrow I go in the morning to have my puffy hand x-rayed (it doesn’t hurt but has an ugly bruise) and to have a bone density test I should have had several years ago. Then I go to be fitted with a walking boot that I will wear night and day for at least four weeks. I hope that will lessen the pain by supporting the ankle better and also begin the healing process.

The Dean DeLuca Golf Tournament is this weekend (nobody in Fort Worth calls it anything but the Colonial) so Jordan and Christian will both be working. I’ll have Jacob at least one night but pretty much I’ll be home alone for four days. I can either mope and have a pity party or I can get a lot of work done. I have invited all the non-golf people I know to stop by for coffee or wine, so I’ll probably have visitors. Life ain’t so bad.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Waltzing with my Walker

 
My Queen Bee chair
For several years occasional friends have suggested that because of my lack of balance I needed a walker. Once, maybe ten years ago, two good friends went into hysterics at the idea and declared that was what they would get me for Christmas. It didn’t come to pass, but now I am officially old: my new, fancy walker arrived today. Jacob was so excited he could hardly stand himself—unpacked it, and assembled what needed doing, and only had to call Jay for help on one small piece. It’s very fancy with a seat, a basket for carrying things—note to self: the basket does not carry a glass of wine. Tried it tonight and dumped wine all over the kitchen floor. But it has locking brakes—you lock it if you’re going to use it to stand up or if you’re going to sit in it. So tonight as Jordan cooked dinner and then Christian finished cooking, I sat like the Queen Bee and told them, step by step, how to make German potato salad my way. Jordan calls the dining room chair I always sit in my princess chair; now she says my walker must have a name, so I’m going to call it my Queen Bee chair.

After all my reluctance, I have to admit a walker makes it easier to walk. Still my ankle hurts, even though it’s the distal portion of a leg bone and not the ankle that is broken. Tomorrow I go to the doctor and then, presumably, to get a boot. Perhaps to have my hand ex-rayed and a bone density test. I’ll talk to the doctor about pain medication—so far I’ve just been taking aspirin and find wine more effective but one can only treat oneself with so much of that.

News that I found interesting today: read the best statement on all this bathroom fuss from the superintendent of Granbury schools. He said it looked to him like a solution looking for a problem and suggested that Texas legislators spend their energy and time on the big problems—like why Texas ranks so low educationally in the nation and massive funding cuts to education. Local administrators, he suggested wryly, can deal with such problems as who pees where. I like that man.

Not so much the legislator—which I could remember where he’s from and whether he’s state or national—who wants to regulate the age and weight of strippers.  Talk about dealing with major issues of state.

Jordan’s cooking got interrupted by friends tonight so Christian finished the dinner, and he, Jacob and I ate without her—German potato salad, kielbasa, and the blue cheese green salad she’d made. Most interesting discussion because Jacob wanted to know what it meant to be transgender. We discussed all aspects of that and bathroom use for a long time, and I’m so glad we could talk openly rather than having him pick up misinformation on the school grounds. Our conclusion: God wires some people differently but loves them all.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A good bad day

 
There really are three dogs here if you can see June Bug hiding in the upper left.
When we consolidate our households, all three will be living here. Cricket and June Bug
are King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, bred to be placid and quiet. Quite a puzzle for Sophie
who wants them to run and play with her.  But she calmed down nicely.
No blog last night because I was just too tired after a family visit that lasted later than I thought. My oldest son, Colin, arrived about ten with his two children—Morgan, almost eleven, and Kegan, nine. The cousins were ecstatic to be together, and Christian and Jordan had come to greet everyone--and brought their dogs. So we sat and talked—about their new swimming pool, about our plans for the cottage, about the world in general. At 47, Colin is a handsome man in good shape, and I am so proud of him—and love him dearly and so welcome his infrequent visits. They live in Tomball, northwest of Houston, and this weekend his wife kicked them out of the house (his words) so she could have a girls’ weekend.

Jacob spent the night but was up early for his baseball game. His parents came and collected all three children, while I let Colin feed them and I slept late. He’s an early riser anyway.
Cousins at the baseball game
When they were gone, Colin went for a run, and I dressed and piddled at my desk. We headed out about ten or so to get the x-ray of my hand the doctor had requested—but the doctor’s orders had not arrived at the x-ray place so no go. Colin was already confused by this city he’s grown up in—I took him back roads to Hulen to avoid zoo traffic, and he said, “We’re on Hulen. How did we get here?” Asked where Old Granbury Road was and I told him not anywhere close. Then I took him across a new bridge over the Trinity where the land is mostly undeveloped but you know it will sprout offices and apartments within a year. Apparently Neiman Marcus is going in out there. Colin said you could tell plans are big because there were four huge cranes. We circled around by the new Press CafĂ© where there’s a Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and he said, “Fort Worth is looking just like Austin.” High compliment.

Jacob’s game went to ten innings and then they lost by one point—bitter. But we all met for lunch at Carshon’s Deli (Colin won’t come to FW unless he can have a Rebecca sandwich). I had a half Reuben, and everyone got to speculating on why the specialty sandwiches all had girls’ name beginning with R. We forgot to ask but I’m sure there’s a story there.

After lunch Colin and his children headed for Frisco for a visit with Jamie and Eden (Maddie and Melanie were in Boulder); Jacob and his family went home; I worked at my desk and then took a long nap. By the time I got up Jacob was playing with the boys directly behind us, and Jordan had assigned me to order them pizza, which I did.

But now it’s evening, and my foot hurts, and my ambition, enthusiasm, whatever goes downhill in direct proportion. I have powered through fixing myself some pasta and am hoping Jacob will bring all the pizza detritus to the kitchen for me. Hard to carry things with a walker. I have ordered a new one which has a seat, a carrying basket, a hook for my purse, and—greatest of all—a cup holder. It doesn’t exactly say “Wine” on it but I’m sure that’s what it’s meant for.

Last night a friend of Jordan’s was here and in the course of conversation said, “I hope my children take such good care of me.” Tonight my thought, despite my pity party over a painful foot, is how fortunate I am to have children who take such good care of me. With people my age, a broken hip is often the beginning of the trip down the slippery slope, but this is not a hip—it’s a hairline fracture of the fibula—and I am determined to be of good cheer and ride it out. Six weeks in a boot!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Whining again

 After vowing not to whine anymore, because it made me feel like a wimp, here I am complaining. My right ankle—the one I twisted when I fell two weeks ago—was getting much better. Until the last two or three days. This morning I decided I didn’t want to wait to the weekend and have it become an emergency situation so I called the doctor’s office. I could hardly walk and was lurching around the house holding on to furniture and walls. They gave me an appt. with a PA at 2:30, saying my doctor was completely booked.

The morning was brightened because friend Carol brought a used-book dealer to look at my books, and she took 40 books, most for her business but a few for her personal reading. Carol was a great salesperson, pointing out one title after another. Carol estimates I have about 500 books left, not including the ones I wrote. Maybe books are like spaghetti or salad that grow in the bowl as you eat.

Made a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, grabbed a small glass of wine, and then a small nap before Jordan came. I told Jordan I feared the diagnosis would be “You’re clumsy” and my sweet daughter said, “Well, you are.” The woman examined the new bruise and swelling on my hand and asked if I bruise easily. I truly wanted to reply, “No, I’m clumsy.” I have no idea what I did to my hand and arm but it sure does look ugly.

Sent for x-rays. The site said two-hour wait, so I voted for waiting till tomorrow, but Jordan went in and came back to get me. Honest, we were out of there within half an hour or less, and the doctor’s office sent the report before five: small fracture of the fibula just above the ankle joint. I’ll see the doctor, not the PA, Monday morning. Meantime I’m trying to stay off my feet and using a neighbor’s walker—I’ve resisted the latter for a long time, but it really does help. I feel more secure and there’s a more even distribution of weight.

So Jordan and Jacob are here tonight, though she has gone to a birthday party at the Wine Haus down the street for an hour. Tomorrow night, Colin will be here with Morgan and Kegan so that will brighten my weekend a lot.

I don’t mean to sound like Joe Bftsplk, but it seems it’s always something. In a sense I’m relieved to know there is a diagnosis and I wasn’t just being a wimp; on the other hand, all those people who keep warning that I’ll fall and break a bone can now say, “I told you so.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Big Book Sale


Subie and I waiting for eager buyers
Today was Jordan’s big book sale. I call it that, even though it was my books we were selling, because she conceived the idea, carried it out, planned it, and was hostess. She invited teachers and moms from Jacob’s school to come to a special sale, 3:15-5:15. We forgot that on Wednesdays most kids are in school until 4:00 instead of 3:00 because of UIL.

By 3:00, Jordan had everything ready—small quiches, fruit, cheese, salami, and wine. One mom came with two boys and bought two books. But as the afternoon went by, more moms came—the ones she and I both know—and they bought books, sometimes three or four children’s books, sometimes my newest novel for which we charged full price. We were disappointed that no teachers came, in spite of promises, but still sales amounted to a nice total. And, most important, it was fun. I get lots of hugs from these young mothers and I love it. They drifted around the house, they chatted and gossiped and they browsed books and asked questions about them.

Friend Subie was here to act as treasurer, not that she was that busy. But we had a good chat, sometimes joined by Jordan. Subie had to leave just as more moms were arriving. The last guest left about 9:00—no wonder I was tired.

Tonight my house looks like a book display, with many books on zogs borrowed from the TCU Press. Jordan and I will take them down tomorrow, but she did all the dishes and refrigerated the food before she left. Tomorrow I’ll have quiches for lunch—enough of the small ones will equal a regular serving, and they were so good.

It was a nice end to a day that didn’t start off well. My ankle hurt, my hand hurt, and I was still feeling sorry for myself. I stumbled about the house, fiddled at the computer without accomplishing much, and ate peanut butter for lunch—a sure sign I’m out of ideas and energy. Then an early nap, but by the time Jordan arrived, I was up, with makeup on, and ready to go.

Caroline, Jacob and Hayes, with the old lady
(Sorry I think I closed my eyes)
Two of my favorites of Jacob’s friends were here, and I was lucky enough to get my picture taken with them.

A good day, but oh my, am I ready for bed.
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Monday blues on a Tuesday night


Monday blues on Tuesday night

May 17, 2016

For some reason unknown to me I have the Monday blues on a Tuesday night and indulged in a real pity party tonight when a friend dropped me off at dinner. My ankle that should be better by now is more painful tonight than it has been, and for some unknown reason I have a bruised and swollen right hand. This morning I couldn’t shift gears without using both hands, but it’s much better tonight. Still swollen and tender, so much so that someone commented on it at dinner. I’m getting tired of physical aches and pains, and I swear I’m not going to mention them again.

My good friend Subie said she’s found she has all these things happening to her right now—like yesterday’s cataract surgery—and she thinks they just come in spells and you have to live through them. I’ll adopt her philosophy, actually one I’ve always believed in—this too shall pass. I think it’s just as you age, those spells come more often and linger longer.

Actually it was a good day. Took Sophie to the vet today for her annual checkup, where she was pronounced in perfect health. It’s always a chore for me because she gets so excited, but I’ve developed a system—I drive the car right up to the gate to the yard, open the car door, and then cautiously open the gate, get a leash on a wriggly dog, and put her in the car where I attach a second leash that is like her car seat—or restraining leash or whatever. It assures she won’t go through the windshield if something awful happens. The vet staff kept oohing and aahing about how cute and well behaved she was—they just haven’t seen her at her demanding most. Tonight as I was leaving for dinner, she escaped and went rocketing down the front sidewalk with Subie and Jordan in hot pursuit. I hollered for Jacob, and he and his friend Hayes bolted out the door. They all came back dragging an unrepentant Sophie. I told her I didn’t spend all that money at the vet this morning only to have her run away tonight.

Had a nice lunch with my mentor today—he doesn’t like that term but he’s the one who practically hand-carried me through graduate school and reads almost everything I write. We’ve been friends for forty years and are frequent lunch buddies. We chat about our writing projects, our families, politics (in complete agreement) and other things going on in our lives.

And tonight was neighbors’ night at the Grill, so I had a pleasant dinner with good friends.

Jordan meanwhile was at the house rearranging this and that and preparing for the book sale tomorrow. She has invited moms and teachers from Jacob’s school, and is preparing for a party with wine and snacks. I have my orders to straighten the house in the morning—my desk, my bedroom, and the bathroom. She has invested so much time and effort into this that I hope it goes well. My coffee table holds a huge pile of books—if you come in this house you cannot leave without taking a book. Great idea on her part. At this point I’m less interested in making a profit than I am in downsizing my library.

Busy times!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday blues on Tuesday night

May 17, 2016

For some reason unknown to me I have the Monday blues on a Tuesday night and indulged in a real pity party tonight when a friend dropped me off at dinner. My ankle that should be better by now is more painful tonight than it has been, and for some unknown reason I have a bruised and swollen right hand. This morning I couldn’t shift gears without using both hands, but it’s much better tonight. Still swollen and tender, so much so that someone commented on it at dinner. I’m getting tired of physical aches and pains, and I swear I’m not going to mention them again.

My good friend Subie said she’s found she has all these things happening to her right now—like yesterday’s cataract surgery—and she thinks they just come in spells and you have to live through them. I’ll adopt her philosophy, actually one I’ve always believed in—this too shall pass. I think it’s just as you age, those spells come more often and linger longer.

Actually it was a good day. Took Sophie to the vet today for her annual checkup, where she was pronounced in perfect health. It’s always a chore for me because she gets so excited, but I’ve developed a system—I drive the car right up to the gate to the yard, open the car door, and then cautiously open the gate, get a leash on a wriggly dog, and put her in the car where I attach a second leash that is like her car seat—or restraining leash or whatever. It assures she won’t go through the windshield if something awful happens. The vet staff kept oohing and aahing about how cute and well behaved she was—they just haven’t seen her at her demanding most. Tonight as I was leaving for dinner, she escaped and went rocketing down the front sidewalk with Subie and Jordan in hot pursuit. I hollered for Jacob, and he and his friend Hayes bolted out the door. They all came back dragging an unrepentant Sophie. I told her I didn’t spend all that money at the vet this morning only to have her run away tonight.

Had a nice lunch with my mentor today—he doesn’t like that term but he’s the one who practically hand-carried me through graduate school and reads almost everything I write. We’ve been friends for forty years and are frequent lunch buddies. We chat about our writing projects, our families, politics (in complete agreement) and other things going on in our lives.

And tonight was neighbors’ night at the Grill, so I had a pleasant dinner with good friends.

Jordan meanwhile was at the house rearranging this and that and preparing for the book sale tomorrow. She has invited moms and teachers from Jacob’s school, and is preparing for a party with wine and snacks. I have my orders to straighten the house in the morning—my desk, my bedroom, and the bathroom. She has invested so much time and effort into this that I hope it goes well. My coffee table holds a huge pile of books—if you come in this house you cannot leave without taking a book. Great idea on her part. At this point I’m less interested in making a profit than I am in downsizing my library.

Busy times!

 
For some reason unknown to me I have the Monday blues on a Tuesday night and indulged in a real pity party tonight when a friend dropped me off at dinner. My ankle that should be better by now is more painful tonight than it has been, and for some unknown reason I have a bruised and swollen right hand. This morning I couldn’t shift gears without using both hands, but it’s much better tonight. Still swollen and tender, so much so that someone commented on it at dinner. I’m getting tired of physical aches and pains, and I swear I’m not going to mention them again.

My good friend Subie said she’s found she has all these things happening to her right now—like yesterday’s cataract surgery—and she thinks they just come in spells and you have to live through them. I’ll adopt her philosophy, actually one I’ve always believed in—this too shall pass. I think it’s just as you age, those spells come more often and linger longer.

Actually it was a good day. Took Sophie to the vet today for her annual checkup, where she was pronounced in perfect health. It’s always a chore for me because she gets so excited, but I’ve developed a system—I drive the car right up to the gate to the yard, open the car door, and then cautiously open the gate, get a leash on a wriggly dog, and put her in the car where I attach a second leash that is like her car seat—or restraining leash or whatever. It assures she won’t go through the windshield if something awful happens. The vet staff kept oohing and aahing about how cute and well behaved she was—they just haven’t seen her at her demanding most. Tonight as I was leaving for dinner, she escaped and went rocketing down the front sidewalk with Subie and Jordan in hot pursuit. I hollered for Jacob, and he and his friend Hayes bolted out the door. They all came back dragging an unrepentant Sophie. I told her I didn’t spend all that money at the vet this morning only to have her run away tonight.

Had a nice lunch with my mentor today—he doesn’t like that term but he’s the one who practically hand-carried me through graduate school and reads almost everything I write. We’ve been friends for forty years and are frequent lunch buddies. We chat about our writing projects, our families, politics (in complete agreement) and other things going on in our lives.

And tonight was neighbors’ night at the Grill, so I had a pleasant dinner with good friends.

Jordan meanwhile was at the house rearranging this and that and preparing for the book sale tomorrow. She has invited moms and teachers from Jacob’s school, and is preparing for a party with wine and snacks. I have my orders to straighten the house in the morning—my desk, my bedroom, and the bathroom. She has invested so much time and effort into this that I hope it goes well. My coffee table holds a huge pile of books—if you come in this house you cannot leave without taking a book. Great idea on her part. At this point I’m less interested in making a profit than I am in downsizing my library.

Busy times!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 16, 2016


Klutz in the Kitchen

May 16, 2016

I distinguished myself in the kitchen the last couple of days. Yesterday, I let an iron skillet sit on a warm burner to dry—only it was on a high burner. By the time I smelled it at the other end of the house, the skillet was pretty much ruined, and I will order a new one.

This morning, I hand washed the glassware left from yesterday—and managed to reach for a towel and knock one of the small carafes onto my unforgiving stone floor. Glass shattered though not in too wide a range—couldn’t find the dust pan until I unloaded the whole utility closet. Not a happy camper.

At noon, trying to open a box of wine—don’t judge!—I got into a fight with the spigot and got wine all over the floor. Threw a junk towel over it to soak it up, which proved to be a good move because a few minutes later I took a box of blueberries—most of them eaten and the few left wrinkled enough that I knew they’d be sour—out of the fridge and set it on the counter. Somehow, maybe in putting the box of wine in the fridge, I dumped the blueberries on the kitchen floor—and stomped some before I realized it. But as luck would have it, most of them landed on the towel I’d put down, so I picked up the others, threw them on the towel, and emptied the whole thing into the sink. From there I took them to the trash. I was about through with the kitchen for the day.

But tonight I redeemed myself with the one-person meal I cooked. Linguine with brown butter, sage and Parmesan. Honestly, I couldn’t taste the sage but the brown butter and Parmesan combination was wonderful. I’ll do that again, maybe with more sage since my plant seems to be flourishing. Really good supper.

Maybe I’ll venture into the kitchen again, but not tomorrow. I have lunch and dinner plans, providing the weather cooperates. Storms are predicted. Spring in Texas is always unpredictable but more so this year. Yet we should feel blessed—I heard from people in the Northeast who woke to temperatures in the 40s and 50s.

A wild thought just occurred to me. Fifty-two years ago today I married Joel Alter, the father of our adoptive children. We divorced in 1981 or 1982, and he died three and a half years ago. I felt sad when he died because I remembered the good Joel I married and not the man he became, but no regrets. I’ve had a good life, raised four children as a single parent, forged a career for myself—all things I wouldn’t have done if I were still married to him. And the kids turned out to be wonderful people—another outcome I’m not sure about if he’d still been involved. The Lord looks out for us in various ways.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday night thoughts

 My girls and their sons left about eleven this morning after a breakfast flurry to go to a TCU/Baylor baseball game in Waco. Ford, nine, thinks at this point he wants to go to TCU on a baseball scholarship; Jacob, almost ten, remains a firm Baylor fan and was devastated to know that their seats were right behind the TCU dugout. Scholarship? I don’t think he’s even thought about the concept.

Laundry to do, dishwasher to empty—somehow I dislike that last chore more than others. I spent the day mostly working at my desk, doing a few household chores, and taking a long nap to recover from staying up too late with my wine-drinking daughters last night. The visit was too short but so delightful.
Reading with horror/amusement about the Republican state convention in town this week. They rant that homosexuality is forbidden in the Bible. Former President Jimmy Carter has pointed out that it is never mentioned in the Bible and existed long before Christ’s time. The state platform also says it is abhorrent to Texans—wonder how many they polled on that. And abortion is out the window—again. I love narrow minds—NOT.

Hillary Clinton just sent me a fund raiser that said, “We won’t win this one without a fight.” Truer words may never have been spoken, but I doubt she expected this much of a fight when she went into the campaign. And if she and Trump are the nominees it will only get worse and nastier. I admire Bernie for hanging in there and for his answer when Barbara Walters wanted to know one word he would want his presidency known for: compassion. I admire Hillary for campaigning like the trooper she is and taking the high road. I am really tired of the Facebook posts about what a crook she is—do these people not read the news? And ditto for posts about what slime her husband is—he made a huge, unforgiveable mistake, but he did a lot of good as president. Too many people ride their hobbyhorses to death.

So here I sit, the one writing chore I assigned myself today done plus this blog. I have three books to read for a contest, so I think I’ll continue with one. My brain is rattling with ideas for another book—and one of them is about a man. Hey, wait, it’s me who always writes about women. Got to keep working those ideas on the back burner of my brain. One day I think I should finish the two mysteries I have started; the next I think historical fiction like The Gilded Cage is my forte. And occasionally the thought creeps in that maybe I’m through; I should content myself with managing the books I’ve written and not start another. I try to bat that thought away.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The joy of people I care about

What joy to be having a girls’ night with my two daughters.  Granted, there are two nine-year-old boys here, but after they got over loud giggly fits and visits from neighborhood children, they’ve been fairly quiet. Meantime we’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening. Lingered over wine and appetizers—including the good tuna my friend brought last night and a sharp Irish cheddar.

Then they cooked while I offered bits of advice—salmon in an anchovy/garlic/butter sauce with capers. Megan really loved the recipe—she did the fixing—and Ford ate it, while Jacob refused. We sat on the deck until cool evening air drove us inside. Then we sat in the living room and had more wine.

They are delightful company—going from laughter to giggles to reminiscences of their childhood. They’re busy visualizing my new quarters, making suggestions for paint colors, and the like. There’s a strong bond between them and a certain compatibility of all of us together that makes for a smooth, happy evening.

For lunch today I had a visit from another of my special people, someone who is almost a child of mine. Elizabeth (known to the world as Beth) lived in my garage apartment for a year, during which we had more fun, lots of wine on the deck late at night, cooking adventures, and a generally good time. Probably twenty years before that she had come to my office as a work-study student, and we just always stayed close. She’s been in Pennsylvania for two-and-a-half years now, but comes to visit her family here frequently and works in a visit with us.

Today we went to Torchy’s and brought tacos home to eat on the deck. Jacob and Elizabeth were always close, and Sophie adored her so the visit was a treat for all of us.

Guys are nice, and I love the company of a good man, but there’s something about girls’ visits that is so special, so unspoken yet so tangible. It’s a given that we can speak honestly without fearing criticism, find support and interest and love.

As my youngest son said to me when he found out his second child would be another daughter, “Girls are so neat.”