Monday, March 29, 2010

Quote for the Week

And If I Did Not Make Mistakes
Katie Paton

And if I did not make mistakes
And give too brief a thought to heavy questions
And too much time to little matter,
Or if I always knew which road to travel
Where every step would lead me into daylight
And if each face that turned to watch me pass
Was broken by a smile,
Or if whenever I should choose to lay my heart
Bare upon the sun-warmed grass
Ir always was returned with tender touches
And carried by a song,
And if my heaviest burden were only to be
A breeze upon my back and blossom in my hair,
And if my brow was never crossed with lines of pain,
If all this endless summer were my lot
And winter's fury never beat me back,
Then I never would have seen the stormy nights
Through which I've struggled, fought and won,
I never would have known the joy of needed comfort given
Or the essence of a friend.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Goodbye, Toyota; Hello, Nissan

Last week I got a new car. It was time. My car was almost a teenager. Besides, it was a Toyota and, although I never had trouble with it and it wasn't a model that was recalled, I was a bit nervous about it.

I was just going to look. Maybe I'd wait until the Toyota's birthday in July to buy and then I'd check out a sport car and become the "Hot Granny" in a cool Camaro.

My son offered to come car shopping with me. I didn't like the spots cars. The ride was too rough. I looked at the Nissan Maxima and surprised both of us by saying, "I'll take it."

It's a white four-door with all kinds of gadgets. So many in fact, that when the salesman began demonstrating what button to push for this and what knob to turn for that, I almost began to cry. It's going to take months to figure out. But the best thing it has is Bluetooth--hands-free phone, a safe way to talk while driving.

The last day I drove my Toyota I felt a wave of grief. I remembered when Ralph and I picked it out and the summer evening I drove it home with Ralph in the passenger seat. He was part of that car. I patted it gently as I parked it at the dealer and whispered another goodbye to the times I spent with Ralph.

The same day I got the Nissan I read an article on the Internet about a woman whose husband died suddenly. A few weeks later she bought the sports car they had been looking at because she knew he'd want her to have it. She put his ashes in the glove compartment so he could enjoy it, too.

After chuckling at the story, I got Ralph's driver's license and put it in a little plastic box in the glove compartment. Now he can enjoy the new car, too, and I don't miss the Toyota at all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quote for the Week

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence....Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greener where it is watered... Carry water with you and tend the grass whereever you may be.
Robert Fulghum

Books Can Change Your Life

Reading has always been a major part of my life. When I was small, my mother read to me. Once I learned to read, I devoured books. I loved the library--the smell of books, the quiet rooms, the sound of my shoes on the tile floors. Alice, Tom Sawyer, the March sisters were as much my friends as the kids I played with at school and in the neighborhood.

Recently I saw a discussion on Amazon titled Books That Changed My Life. I can think of three.

The first is a Silhoueete Romance I picked up at a discount store. I can't even remember the name of it, but it hooked me on romance novels. So it wasn't surprising that I noticed an article in the Houston paper about Romance Writers of America, an organization that was having its first national conference here in Houston. The article talked about the women who wrote the books I'd been reading, and I thought, "I could do that." But that was just a thought.

Another book changed that thought into reality. While I was waiting to get my hair cut one day, I read an excerpt in Good Housekeeping of a book called Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want. I'm not much for how-to books but this one intrigued me. I bought the book, and I was on my way to getting what I wanted--becoming a published romance author.

The third book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, changed the way I looked at tragedies and disappointments. It got me through some of the worst days of my life, and I often re-read it when I need a reminder that sorrows are as much a part of life as happiness.

What about you? Has a book changed your life?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quote for the Week

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise;
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom
Goes on as fruit.

Dawna Markova
from her book, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Idea of March and Other Days

It seems like we just celebrated New Year's, but here it is, the Ides of March. Memories of high school Latin class and Caesar's Gallic Wars dance through my head. I loved Latin. Our teacher, a sweet spinster with iron gray hair, was outstanding. Latin was her life, and her greatest dream was to visit Rome. My senior year in high school, her students raised the money to make her dream come true.

For me, March is always a bittersweet month, filled with beauty and pain. It's warm now in Houston, in the 70;s, but because of late freezes, gardens are still bare. My redbud, my favorite tree, is just budding. Next week it will be filled with feathery fuchsia flowers that will eventually give way to green leaves. Usually by now, azaleas are in full bloom--rose, pink, lavendar, white. Seeing them makes me catch my breath. But this year, not a single blossom is to be seen. The annual Azalea Trail began last weekend, with no azaleas.

On highways and country roads, the bluebonnets are starting to bloom. Seeing them, our state flower, can turn any Texan's heart to mush. Taking a Saturday or Sunday drive along the Bluebonnet Trail each spring has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. I always pick a handful, watching over my shoulder for the Highway Patrol. You are not supposed to pick bluebonnets along Texas highways.

March brings the Livestock Show and Rodeo, one of Houston's premier events. Groups of trail riders come in from nearby areas the week before the rodeo. They spend Friday night in Memorial Park. It nearly always rains. Saturday is the rodeo parade and a few days later the real thing begins. Last time I went to the rodeo was in 2004 to see bull riding and Willie Nelson...and the pig races.

March means putting away winter clothes, pollen and sneezing, soft spring breezes and surprise northers. One such norther blew in during the late afternoon of March 29 when I was in college. I hadn't worn a jacket to class, but I had worn a long sleeved dress with a wide patent leather belt. Underneath it I wore the fashion fad of the year, a crinoline petticoat that made the dress stand out like an old-fashioned hoop skirt. That evening one of my roomates had turned on the gas heater in our room, but she hadn't closed the window. A stiff breeze blew in as I stood with my back to the stove, talking to one of my sorority sisters. Suddenly she yelled, "Your dress is on fire." The petticoat had blown into the stove. I knew better than to run, but I ran, screaming. I was burned over a third of my body and spent three months in the burn ward at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. I am lucky to have survived.

My father died in March 1981. Ralph and I were planning a trip to South America, but I got sick with fever and a throat infection so we had to cancel. Therefore we were home when Daddy was hospitalized with a kidney infection. I had already planned to be away from work, so as soon as my infection cleared, I went to Austin. Missing that vacation was an experience of synchronicity. I got to be with my father during his last days. As I packed for the drive to Austin, I pondered taking my black suit, reasoning that if I didn't bring it, I wouldn't need it. Ralph brought it the following week for me to wear to Daddy's funeral.

Ralph's stem cell transplant was in March. We went in with such high hopes, but the transplant began the downward slide that ended in his death.

Ralph's birthday was in March, and so was my first wedding (and that marriage ended badly).

As lovely as this month is on the outside, it hurts inside, and I'm always glad to see March end and April begin.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quote for the Week

by Hermann Hagedorn

Like a young child who to his mother's door
Runs eager for the welcoming embrace,
And finds the door shut, and with troubled face
Calls, and through sobbing calls, and o'er and o'er
Calling, storms at the panel--so before
A door that will not open, sick and numb,
I listen for a word that will not come.
And know at last, I may not enter more.

Silence! And through the silence and the dark
By that closed door, the distant sob of tears
Beats on my spirit, as on fairy shores
The spectral sea, and through the sobbing--hark!
Down the fair chanbered corridor of years,
The quiet shutting, one by one, of doors.

When I was in college, I took a course in interpretative speech and the professor had each student read this poem aloud. He said, "You won't understand it now, but as you grow older, you will." I do.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Technology and Me

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. On the one hand, I love the convenience of all those technological gadgets. On the other, I don't know the finer points of most of them, and if something goes wrong, I haven't a clue what to do. Just an example, when I came back to Houston after Ralph's funeral, my answering machine with his voice message on it wasn't working. Could there be a worse time to lose the sound of his voice? I tried to get the phone to work; in fact I tore through the house, trying every unit. Nothing. I burst into tears. I called my daughter. She couldn't help. I sat down at Ralph's desk, put my head down and cried some more. My gaze wandered to the floor, and it was then I realized that the phone wasn't working because it was unplugged. Fixed it and called my daughter, who said, "Your first technological triumph."

I haven't had many. The new, improved look of my blog is the work of my son. He finally got what I meant about my blog looking boring and said, "I can fix that." I watched but I'm sure if I get tired of this template, I'll have to call on him again.

Friday I had lunch with a friend who showed me the dozens of apps on her IPhone. Until recently I didn't know what app meant. Now I do, but I'm not sure I want a bunch of them on my phone. I use my phone to make and receive phone calls. Do I want to check my e-mail, play games, read the weather report? I did see an app with someone reading and showing Hop on Pop, and I thought it would be cute to use in a therapy session but then I realized I could read it myself in a therapy session with the same results.

My son has a Kindle and loves it. Call me a dinosaur, but I prefer a real book. I like my GPS but sometimes it gives me strange directions; still it's a useful device to have. Of course, my computer is essential to my life, but when it gets a virus which takes me to and no where else and I have to turn it off till my computer guy can get here, I am miserable.

Last week I tested a young child who is stuttering. I always tape a stuttering evaluation, go back over it and count the number of stuttered words. I set my ancient, trusty cassette recorder on the table, and the child was astounded. He'd never seen one before.

Saturday I attended a dyslexia conference and went to a breakout session on technology in the schools. The presenter said research has shown that children whose parents are constantly on their cell phones frequently develop behavior problems. There was a discussion of privacy issues, impulsivity in posting, plagiarism, teaching children how to judge source material (Adults often have trouble with that, too) and radiation exposure from cell phones. I came away thinking that, like advances in medicine which have side effects and ethical issues, advances in technology have, too, and we have to think about that. Then, of course, I went home, heated up dinner in the microwave and watched Saturday Night Live on my HD TV.

Template by: Bright Sunshine Designs by Mary - Affordable Custom Blog Design © 2011