Wednesday, January 31, 2007


For those of you who love music, and love sharing new finds, I've added a widget for Pandora (see lower right). I haven't updated my "radio station" in months and am not sure what's in there. But set up a station for yourself and give it a whirl. It's somewhat similar to Shelfari in that you can share your station with friends except Pandora provides the library. You don't have to own the songs. The more you educate it by voting the songs you're offered up or down, the more accurately it offers you music to your taste. It's free and you can listen to new music all day long.

What are you guys listening to lately?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How Long is Long

This harsh winter weather is every bit as wearying as any stretch of Houston's unbearable summer heat. The cold, though, unlike the heat which might induce you to gather friends around a pool for margaritas and guacamole, is not conducive to social interactions, it least not to this still thin blooded Texan. I know why bears hibernate. I'd like to stay in my warm bed under the covers, until, say, June. At least the school bus finally made it up our road today and I didn't have to repeat my slapstick dash to scrape ice from the windshield while trying to maintain my balance on 2 inches of ice slick as a mirror. And then I think of those pioneer women who might have trekked across the very stretch of ground I've become somewhat adept at skating on (two hard falls on the same piece of anatomy being an adequate motivator to add that skill to my repertoire), toting infants and small children across the continent without central heat, a 24 hr. pharmacy or wipies. Holing up for winter in some frontier town, waiting months to hear news of family and friends. I heard their voices in the rustling of the 25 mph winds in the trees last night, " ........" actually, I can't repeat what I heard--a kid could read this. Suffice it to say I heard mention of the internet, GoreTex, combustible engines, electricity and lattes. Oh, and I think I caught the word "guacamole."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Today I saw my shadow

and heard a morning chorus of "plunk plunk plunk" echo around the shimmering hills. The heavy gray banished, for a day, by sunlit snowmelt. Never mind tomorrow the temperature will again plummet and snow flurries are expected. Today rivulets of clear water washed the world behind its pink ears. My tires touched dirt in the treads worn into ice I've skidded over for weeks. The winter's savage beauty finally exhausts. It's not finished with us but today, a small reprieve. In the unbearable blue of the sky a promise: eventually spring will come.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Coming Untucked

Each morning is a scurry of activity, more so since the school bus can no longer make it down and up our ice coated lane and we have to drive to school ourselves. Since moving here the girls have been entrusted with new responsibilities including making their beds. No matter how much time I allot in the mornings for getting ready, or how instant the breakfast, it’s inevitably a mad dash to get out the door on time. Regardless, the girls are not permitted to leave their beds unmade. Once we’ve assembled our fifteen layers of sweaters, coats, gloves, hats, backpacks, boots, etc., skated our way to the frozen car and either scraped or defrosted the windshield, we’re on our merry way to school. Quick kisses and they’re off. I come back to the warm house, heat up the coffee and clear away any remaining dishes, crumbs, and rings of maple syrup. The morning sun (on the days when it deigns to appear) slants in the windows and all is silent as a chapel. I walk toward their rooms, picking up orphaned socks and books left on the dining room table. And every time, as I enter their rooms, I am struck by the sight of their beds, covers drawn up but melting over the sides like the icing on my never photogenic cakes. I resist the urge to tuck and smooth, savoring instead the weak knee effect rendered every time by the sight of such perfect imperfection.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dangerous Beauty

The last time we were marooned by the weather it was due to 15 inches of snow. Our neighborly neighbors plowed us out the next day and we were back in business. This time treacherous ice has kept us housebound since Friday and with new ice coming and temps remaining below freezing all week, I'm wondering when I'll ever be able to venture out of here. My oldest daughter went home with a friend on Friday for a sleepover and although she is doing fine, it's a helpless feeling to know that we cannot retrieve her.

What first seems an inviting cozy respite from the obligations of mobility, replete with stacks of good books, new music and the opportunity to emerse into long neglected projects, quickly descends into out cabin fever. We are well supplied with batteries, candles, food, etc. and so far we have not lost power. If we do it will get quite chilly and we'll be tramping to the nearest neighbors with a wood burning stove. In a strange way, it's kind of nice to be reminded that we skate on the edge of oblivious comfort and stark survival at any given moment of our lives, to know friendly neighbors are a necessity rather than a condiment, to realize so much of happens in our lives is beyond our control. Comfort and safety can become soul numbing, inuring us to harsh realities faced daily by most inhabitants of our planet who are thankful that they and their children woke to see another day. We all need to be shaken up once in a while.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back for the Future

No matter how much time you have off, it's never enough. Especially after really wonderful time off. We had the luxury of spending a week at home enjoying Christmas and Boxing Day and then most of a week with my family in Dallas. It was only the second time I'd been back to Texas since our move and I've never enjoyed Mexican (and Chinese and Italian) food so much. I got to spend a leisurely afternoon with my friend Karen while my mom watched all the kids. Her husband Brad joined us after work (not all of us got time off) which kicked off the first of a run of restaurant visits requiring the rearranging of many tables to accommodate us all. And a New Years resolution to start the Sonoma Diet.

My sister-in-law Aisha introduced us to the Nasher Sculpture Museum (see photo of one of their Jonathah Borofsky sculptures) which conveniently sits next to the Dallas Museum of Fine Art. Although we skipped the massive lines for the Van Gosh exhibit, it was heartening to see so many people jammed into an art museum and we enjoyed wandering the permanent collections. The Nasher allowed photos, the DMFA did not. The Nasher has good coffee.

On the drive down we stopped in Oklahoma City with hopes of locating the Oklahoma City Memorial. We arrived just before twilight so we were able to see it for some moments in the daylight before watching it transform as night fell and the illumination took prominence. Two towers, one of which is built on the only remaining wall of the original building, are divided by a long reflecting pool. They illuminate the times 9:01 and 9:03, the moments before and after the bombing.

On one side of the pool is a series of illuminated metal chairs, arranged symmetrically and reminiscent of a cemetery, which are labeled with the name of the person who lost their life in close proximity to where their chair is situated. Along the perimeter of the memorial is the remainder of the original chain link fence covered with the trinkets, prayers, photos, shoes, beads, and crosses of the families and strangers who have come there to remember and to mourn. No celebration ever erases the residue of loss but I was grateful, after viewing such a massive testament of pain, that what the angels proclaimed on Christmas night 2000 years ago still rings loud and still rings true: good news of great joy--a savior is born.