Friday, March 11, 2011

What retirement is not--reflections on several things

Boring. Dull. Stultifying. All those things I feared when I envisioned waking up in the morning and wondering what ever I would do with the day. Doesn't happen--and certainly didn't happen this week. Tonight is a nice quiet evening at home with the dog at my feet and the cat curled up on my bed--first such evening all week. One night my class met here, one night I went to dinner--The Tavern, my new favorite restaurant. So far everything I've had there was wonderful, but I am partial to the club sandwich which has to be split--it's huge. And they serve the best black beans I've ever tasted.
Last night was the Bookish Frogs (translate that as Friends of the TCU Press) annual dinner. David Bush and Jim Parsons, authors/photographers of Hill Country Deco, presented a fascinating program and slide show. They are smart, articulate, and work together like a comedy team. Besides their book is a gorgeous exploration of art deco buildings, mostly in Austin and San Antonio. Lovely evening, but by the time I got home I was too tired to blog.
Today, lunch with those same two authors to discuss their possible future projects. I was delighted to be invited--okay I horned in--because I am particulary interested in one of the topics they are considering. Besides, the ladies of the office (plus Melinda's friend KK of whom I'm very fond) giggled all the way to the North Side to eat at Joe T.'s on the patio. A lovely day for sitting outside, sipping wine or margaritas, and eating that traditional Tex-Mex food. Nice, nice, day.
Now I'm home, trying to do some work, but I am watching TV--uncharacteristic for me. First I was intrigued by "Who Do You Think You Are?"--an episode of the program sponsored by My friend Jeannie and my daughter-in-law Mel are both hooked on finding their roots and now I wish I'd done that a year ago, so that I could have some information before going to Scotland. All I have is a record of the family after they came to Canada, though I do know we are descended from Gillies MacBain, who died a martyr for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden. I just don't have time to do it, let alone spend an evening watching TV!
Now though I'm watching a documentary on today's earthquake and tsunami--a tragedy so huge it's hard to comprehend. In 2004 when a devastating tsunami hit Indonesia, I had never heard the word. Now I know of the damage it can do, damage that is beyond the imagination. It is pale to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, but they are. Help is rushing to them from many countries, yet we still don't know the full story I fear. I heard that Hillary Clinton had arraned to get coolant to the endangered nuclear plant but tonight they are saying that a nuclear disaster is perilously close. Yesterday one of those end-of-the-world sages predicted the worst earthquake in history would occur today--makes you wonder.
My friends vacationing in Hawaii report they are fine, spent the night in their van in a parking lot. This is their second tsunami in two years. I remember they reported both being swept up by a huge wave as they walked the beach but fortunately they made it to safety. I told them they better winter in South Texas after this.
But it is heartbreaking to think of the lives lost, lives forever changed, property damaged beyond recovery. I remember in 2004, a friend of mine who is agnostic, asked, "If there's a kind God, why does he send a tsunami?" I was at a loss, but a minister said, "Shit happens. God doesn't send it. He helps us recover from it."

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