Monday, December 27, 2010

Zeus in snowy dog heaven

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas!!

First time it has snowed on Christmas Day in my lifetime. THAT'S something to record!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hospitality suite

M. played at UGA this week. Kati (our former German exchange student from 2003, visiting this Christmas) and I drove down to Athens and arrived about an hour early. We parked and found a rear entrance to the stadium by the parking garage. After wandering around in the building we found a security guard and asked how to get to the colosseum. She said it would open in a few minutes but pointed us to the 'hospitality suite'. I asked what she meant. "Oh, you can go in there and get some dinner!" "Really?" I asked. She assured me to go on in. So Kati and I went to the hospitality suite. And ate to our hearts content, though I did have the decency to cover up my purple and black sweater, surrounded as we were by a sea of red. For of course, the hospitality suite was filled with UGA supporters (and one assumes, donors). Between laughing ourselves silly, we took pictures to document our security-guard-approved party-crashing.

Then we went in the colosseum, saw that our tickets were in the nosebleed section, and promptly went down to the second row. In a few minutes a nice genteleman arrived, stating that we were in his seat, but that he owned the whole row and were welcome to stay in the seats if he could just have the aisle. Then during the game a fan across the court kept yelling to "Put in Moses!" Have no idea who he was, or why he decided to petition for M, but eventually he did get a few minutes of playing time. (It was especially cool to watch the game later, recorded on ESPN, and see him on TV!)

So thank you UGA fans for all your hospitality and support!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why is it when your kids are doing something....

....that you can't take your eyes off them? When Chelsea was Baloo or Titania in the play; when Clark was on the football field or in the chorus; when Grayson was in the Mr. Eastside pageant or running crosscountry; when Mackenzie was on the court or part of the homecoming court.... I have absolutely no memories of anyone else! All I can do is watch my child in wonder, love, and admiration. It was that way last night....Mack's team played against Wofford. Even though he was only in for 44 seconds of the game, he's the player I watched the most.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ho Ho Holidays

The Christmas party season is well underway. Tuesday night brought Kathy's annual girlfriend party. The only man in the place is our bartender Matt, the perfect bartender. He tells everyone how great they look, keeps everybody's glass filled, and poses for photos with everyone.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Looking forward

Ups and downs rattle your teeth for awhile, but eventually, you settle into whatever reality looks like. That's where I'm at. My teeth are rattling a little, but I am looking forward to the road smoothing out into a new normal. I was recently chosen with 2 others from my program to work in England this spring. Tabitha (pictured with me) and Ryan and I will go to the University of Sheffield, and work in Student Affairs there for 5 weeks. By then, I hope I'll have Grayson back from Afghanistan, the 2 year divorce over, and be able to really have a great time, without worries.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A tough day ahead

This is how my day started today.

I can't stop crying after reading today's headline, after just talking to Gray last night. This is where he is. I can't bear these sad headlines. But I've got to stop crying, because I have to be in the dentist's chair at 9. And then my day really goes downhill, with a temporary hearing at noon. Most days I love and celebrate, but today seems like a rough one brewing. I want to find something today to celebrate and appreciate. Please God.

How my day started!

I'm lucky to have some of the best friends on earth. Seriously. Old, new. Young, old. Married, single. I love them.
So this weekend I went up to Asheville to celebrate my old friend (as in, she's been my friend a long time) Beth's birthday. Her hubby Steve has also been my friend for 30 years. And joining us was a new friend, Kingsley, whom I met last year. We dined at the Biltmore House, and ate scrumptious food. I spent the night with them, and awoke to snow! Beth served a lovely breakfast and we visited this morning. I returned to a dog who was happy to see me -- another of my good friends. I went to a friend's birthday party, then relaxed with another friend to watch Dan in Real Life (my favorite Steve Carrell role). Wrapped up the night with a Skype with my favorite Marine and a few phone calls with other friends.

I am grateful tonight for friendships that last across time, across distance, across grief and loss and misfortune.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving in the midst of camping out

I took this picture earlier in the season at Clemson while I was waiting at the bus stop. I forget which game they were camped out to get tickets for. I just remember thinking how serious they must be about wanting to see the game, to camp for several days there on the concrete!
As I contemplate Thanksgiving this year, I recall this photo. I feel these days like someone living in a tent, on concrete, with a lot of time to kill, on view for all to see and make comment on as they walk past. I feel like I'm in this suspended time, waiting to get my ticket. And then what? It's easy to be thankful when you're propped up on a comfy sofa in a climate-controlled home. But when you are in transition, when the 'comfy' is gone, it can be harder to be thankful. The benefits are less obvious; when I concentrate though, I see them. I live a more centered life, a painfully clarified one. I have some dear friends and family willing to enter the tent with me and make sure I'm OK. I have been propelled to achieve things I hadn't ever gotten around to before. I have a sense of divine presence with me. I have the strength of inner conviction informing my actions. So while I may not have all the things of the past, while I may be missing the social and relational aspects of the life I once had... I can still say I am blessed. And for that, I AM thankful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Perfect Day

Somewhere about 3:00 today, I realized this was one of those days. Everything was good. Good breakfast. Time spent painting. Time spent hiking and meditating. Time spent staring up at the beautiful blue sky, in my favorite season, in the 70 degree weather, wearing shorts, watching the last of the leaves fall. Did the Sunday crossword. Talked with a friend.
I'm grateful for every day. But I really do appreciate the perfect ones.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just for history

I don't have many pictures this year, and even less of myself! But I'm putting a few out here. It's been a tough year, but I like the current trajectory being in a positive direction.

Monday, April 26, 2010

From the Mountains to the Coast

"Come on," Beth said. "It will be fun." How many crazy ideas start that way? My friend had just suggested that we, two middle-aged Rubenesque women, should bike across the state of South Carolina. Never mind that we weren't bikers, nor that we had the right equipment, nor that we had ever biked across the neighborhood, much less the state. It would be fun.

Today marked the end of this three-day adventure, that had been six months in the making. We had been riding every week, building stamina according to some kind of training regimen that, Beth promised, would prepare us for the 270 mile trek. Theoretically we were also supposed to be going to the gym and training between rides, but I conveniently forgot that part most weeks. I did a little yoga when it was convenient, but otherwise, I relied on our weekly rides to condition me.

Tonight we arrived at Folly Beach, having left at the NC/SC state line just two days earlier. By leapfrogging each other, we took 10 mile segments, one riding while the other rested. On Day Two, her daughter Laura joined the team and added a shot of energy and endurance to the effort. Ten miles at a time we made it. We rode in the rain and wind. We waited out thunderstorms. We stuck it out when it seemed tedious, or onerous. We laughed a lot and encouraged each other every leg of the way. We faced a few dogs, lots of vultures, a possum playing possum, a friendly neighborhood shotgun incident, and getting lost. We smelled every kind of roadkill --possum, squirrel, frogs, vulture, snake, armadillo, deer, alligator, and many, many unidentifiable creatures -- and Beth even contributed (twice!!) to creating some. We noticed many plants in bloom: bachelor buttons, red clover, blackberries, wild roses, trumpet vine, wild iris. We noted roadsigns we would never have noticed if we weren't forced to slow down and read them: Do Right Lane, Peach Leaf Curl Road, Redemption Way. We learned how the topography and ecology and local flavor of the counties -- Greenville, Laurens, Greenwood, Saluda, Aiken, Orangeburg, Dorchester, Charleston -- differed from one another. We learned, if we had forgotten, that there are lots of ways to live happily. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most beautiful and satisfying... even just a long weekend, spent on a bike with a friend.

And she was right. It was fun.

So close to home

Thanks to Ruthie at synch-ro-ni-zing for this poem.

by Coleman Barks

Milton, the airport driver, retired now
from trucking, who ferried me
from the Greenville-Spartanburg airport
to Athens last Sunday midnight to 2:30 A.M.,
tells me about his son, Tom, just back
from the Gulf war. "He's at Fort Stewart
with the 102nd Mechanized, the first tank unit
over the line, not a shot fired at them.
His job was to check the Iraqi tanks
that the airstrikes hit, hundreds of them.
The boy had never even come up on a car accident
here at home, twenty-four years old. Can you
imagine what he lifted the lid to find?
Three helmets with heads in them staring
from the floor, and that's just one tank.
He has screaming flashbacks, can't talk about it
anymore. I just told him to be strong
and put it out of his mind. With time,
if you stay strong, those things'll go away.
Or they'd find a bunker, one of those holes
they hid in, and yell something in American,
and wait a minute, and then roll grenades in
and check it and find nineteen freshly killed guys,
some sixty, some fourteen, real thin.
They were just too scared to move.
He feels pretty bad about it, truthfully,
all this yellow ribbon celebrating.
It wasn't a war really. I mean, he says
it was just piles and piles of their bodies.
Some of his friends got sick, started vomiting,
and had to be walked back to the rear.
Looks like to me it could have been worked
some other way. My boy came through OK,
but he won't go back, I'll tell you that.
He's getting out as soon as he can.
First chance comes, he'll be in Greenville
selling cars, or fixing them. He's good at both.
Pretty good carpenter too, you know how I know?
He'll tear the whole thing out if it's not right
and start over. There's some that'll look
at a board that's not flush and say shit,
nail it, but he can't do that, Tom."