Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bridget's Big Date

Well, it's not ALL about Bridget.... first of all, I must lead off by saying "Nice home run, Aidan!" He ripped it to the big hole in left field and if he wasn't such a speedy guy, probably wouldn't have made it all the way home. It was great to see!

On to The Event of the Weekend..... The Father-Daughter Prom.

Oh my goodness.... they are just so cute and sweet at this age and I know it will all change someday (not too soon, please!). How much longer will she get so excited about a date with Dad?

We started the evening with a "Pre-Prom Cocktail Party" with several friends.

Once everyone arrived, Aidan got a very distressed look on his face and headed off to the woods just to get away from the giggles and frills. After cocktails and photo ops, the men and girls headed off to the Hilton, and the Mommy Brigade settled in with soup, salad, wine and a LOT of good conversation. Thanks, ladies!

After a fun-filled evening of conga lines, the chicken dance, macarena, hula-hoop contests (Bridget won!), this is what came home.

Friday, April 11, 2008

crazy tragic sometimes almost magic awful beautiful life

I guess my days (or weeks!) and the items that stick in my mind fall into one of two categories:

Angle of Repose


I love this crazy tragic sometimes almost magic awful beautiful life

If this makes no sense to you, scroll down and read my first blog post.

This week was definitely in the "crazy/tragic" category.

I've recently started working again and had to spend most of this week in New York. Between my trip, and Ray's adventures back home with the kids, there was a lot of crazy/tragic.

Ray's adventures included the repeated escape antics of Scamp. He has a girlfriend down at the neighbor's (Scamp, not Ray) and sometimes just decides she's worth it to endure the jolt of his shock collar as he leaves our property. We've noticed he does this a LOT more often when I am away. Hmmm.... does that mean that I am his mate and Sadie (neighbor dog) is his mistress? Who knows. Anyway, as Ray was chasing Scamp down High Road, he managed (long story) to break our neighbor's lock on their pasture gate (with the car - told you, long story). So, a trip to the store is in order to replace her pasture lock. He also had another neighbor send up an SOS for Kids Needing Ride To School. Another neighbor SOS for Car Won't Start, and another neighbor SOS for Stuck at Work, Can You Watch My Kids? Add in two nights of (more) Severe Weather with kids cowering in his bed (equals Lack of Sleep), the usual sports practices, Bridget having a Project due at school, Aidan's baseball game (our turn to bring snack - Red Bull, anyone?), and Ray's week to drive the Boy Scout Carpool. And he still managed to have the house clean and a nice dinner waiting for me when I got home last night. Love that man!

My week was far less crazy (maybe there is something to this Working thing after all?). It was a Damage Control trip as far as work was concerned, so while stressful, I love a good scary project. The bonus was I got to spend 2 great evenings at the (lovely) home of Ray's sister, Regina and her husband Rob. FINALLY got to meet my two little nieces there, Kailey and Lindsey. What fun!

Got stuck in the Great American Airlines MD80 Snafu on the way home but Continental stepped up to the challenge admirably and it was all accomplished with only about 7 phone calls and visits to 3 different airline counters at the airport, so I consider myself luckier than most. SOMEhow in that process (multiple flight changes, maybe?) I became a "security risk" and got the dreaded SSSS on my ticket. My favorite part of THAT whole process of the Confirming Of The Underwire Bra.

Note to self... no more underwire bras while flying.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spring Weekend.....

The much anticipated nice weather is here! What an excellent weekend.....

I did NOT get a chance to go for a walk and take photos of all the amazing flowers up and down the road. I took ONE snap while picking Bridget up from a playdate. It's a field down the road from my house. It's for sale, if anyone has 7.5 million dollars.

Friday, after Bridget's soccer practice and Aidan's baseball practice, a few families gathered at a friend's (thanks Cathie!) to plan a baby shower for the horse trainer who is expecting twins. Always fun to get together with friends and share a few bottles of wine.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny. But the Soccer Gods felt the fields were still too wet so Bridget's game was cancelled. The Baseball Gods are much hardier I guess, because Aidan's game was still on. He plays mostly catcher and first base and it was a good game and a tough loss for his team, but Aidan played really well and had a couple of key plays so he can feel good about his own performance. The best was when he was trying to steal 3rd and got caught in a "pickle." I could see him drawing the 3rd baseman further and further off and gauging his speed and finally deciding he could outrun him and he did!

Another nice evening spent in the company of neighbors (thanks, Manley family!) and another bottle of our "house wine" (Axis cab) shared with friends. We're runnin' low and probably ought to stock up again.

Today was Horse Show Day.

Bridget's been working with a new pony (Tiara) and was a little nervous about using this horse in a show for the first time. If you know horses, you know they can spot a nervous little girl a mile away. Tiara had her number and it wasn't a good day for Bridget, but it was a great learning experience if nothing else. She had a little redemption in the competitions that were only on the flat (no jumps) and beat the pants off several older, more experienced riders, so we know there's hope!

The boys spent the afternoon working on clubhouse stuff and found a friendly neighborhood copperhead in the woodpile. Ray pinned it down with a piece of wood and chopped it's head off with a shovel. I won't show you the photo of THAT.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Texas Weather

"If you don't like the weather in (insert location here), just wait, it'll change!"

This holds true for Texas, for sure!

While thunder and lightening are a pretty regular occurrence, last night's storm was a cut above. 3am found all 4 of us crammed in our bed, with a laptop showing the latest radar pictures. That big, ugly, dark spot was right over our heads and boy! was that thunder loud!

Bridget was shaking under the covers, Reba was going insane out in her crate. Reba hates storms. She goes completely psycho, poor thing.

Then, the hail started. 'Bout the size of ping-pong balls. Car-damaging size, unfortunately. Noisy, too.

Next, came the sirens. I need to correct the kids thinking.... they believe these are tornado sirens. They are, simply, severe weather sirens and usually start up just after the storm cell has passed beyond us. Thanks for the warning.

I don't think I told y'all (love that word!) about our blizzard a few weeks back? Two of 'em, actually. The first was on a Monday night and getting Aidan home from swim practice was quite a trial. The last 7-8 miles to our house is a one-lane road with ditches on either side and no streetlights. It was VERY dark, with my car lights ONLY illuminating the snowflakes. The center line and sides of the road were completely obscured. Made it home safe and sound and the kids stayed up late out back building a snow man and making snow angel.

(would insert cute late-night snow photo here if the camera hadn't been (ahem) dropped that night and is now in the repair shop)

The next storm was just a few days later and it was a true blizzard. At least 6 inches of snow in just a few hours. On a community that is completely unprepared, that is crippling.

The kids had quite an adventure. That 7-8 mile stretch of one-lane road? So many cars were wrecked in all manner (into each other, into the ditch, etc.) that the school bus couldn't get to our neighborhood. The driver pulled over and had all the kids share the 4-5 cell phones that were on the bus and call any available adult to come retrieve them. Kids wound up going with the first known adult who showed up, but couldn't get back home so wound up at houses all over the place. Ray got smart and headed towards the lake where he knew of a road that got real close to a trail that backs up to our neighborhood. Abandoned the car back there and hiked the kids the rest of the way home through the woods.

A few days later, it was sunny and 80 degrees.

Texas weather sure keeps life interesting!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Beauty is Hard to Resist

Bridget was writing a story for school the other night. It was about (as usual) a girl and her horse. The girl was about to ride her horse into an area which wasn't allowed because "the beauty was hard to resist."

Not a bad line for a 8-yr old, I thought.

I like the idea of my little girl taking a risk to see a little extra beauty.

Springtime anywhere is such a wonderous, beautiful time. Right here in my own back yard, it is stunning. If I can find the time this weekend (doubtful, but hope springs eternal - especially this time of year), I will walk around my neighborhood and take some photos to post here.

People don't think "beauty" when they think of Texas, and I didn't either. But we got lucky in our neighborhood. Geologically, it is an anomoly, so there is interesting terrain and lots of trees. Geographically, it is considered a rural area and there are no sidewalks, plenty of livestock, and surprising places everywhere for wildflowers to spring up unbidden.

Last year at this time we had 4 baby horses up and down the road. None yet, but I know of one pregnant mare so far, and two sheep that had a "rental ram" named Moxie shacking up with them - can't wait to see if he left his mark!

A picture is worth a thousand words.... I hope to get some this weekend.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Favorite Books and Authors

If I ever have a few minutes "spare time" you'll usually find me with my nose in a book.

I bring books to the gas station, to the kids' swim practice, the hair salon, the doctor's office. I try to find my "angle of repose" whenever and wherever I can. One of my favorite spots when I actually DO have real lazy time is my hammock out back. With my furry bunny blanket if it's a bit nippy.

Two of my all-time favorite authors.....

Diana Gabaldon and Wallace Stegner. Give them a try, if you haven't!

Ms. Gabaldon write big, meaty tomes that defy genre. Mostly, I consider them historical fiction, and her books are serials. The main series starts in the Scottish uprising of 1745 and has (to date) followed these Scots on their emigration to America on the eve of the Revolutionary War. The historical detail and character development are phenomenal. Which is why each book is nearly 1,000 pages! Occasionally, this author gets "distracted" by a secondary character and explores what they were doing when they weren't a part of the main story. These distractions have resulted in a series of "novellas" (longer than a short story, shorter than a novel) that are also delightfully written.

Wallace Stegner (may he rest in peace) is considered an "early American writer" and founded the creative writing program at Stanford. His fiction works deal primarily with "late" pioneers (late 19th to early 20th century), and not just geographical pioneers. Many of his characters are explorers, dreamers, chasers, renegades. He's also done a lot of nonfiction and activism relating to our enviornment. He's an amazing writer and highly intelligent. A man who can really "turn a phrase." My two favorite books of is are Angle of Repose, and also Crossing to Safety.

Because of this blog, I just found out my friend Jean grew up w/ Mr. Stegner's granddaughter. She'd not read a lot of his works, and I hope my blog has sparked her interest. Jean and I enjoy a lot of the same books and were in a book club together when we both lived in Dublin.

What am I reading now?

"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. She writes wonderful earthy fiction that I find hard to describe, but it usually includes down-to-earth characters doing their best in a crazy world. This book though is a non-fiction work describing her family's commitment for one year to "take the oil out of food." Not "fat" oils - petroleum. They won't eat/buy anything they didn't grow/raise themselves or know who did. Everything has to be local. Oh, sure, you say.... hit the Farmer's Markets, etc. But what about things like mayonnaise? It's got me all fired up about the far reaching benefits of eating only local, in-season foods. Maybe even growing my own, if I didn't have such a crummy track record with gardening!

I recently read "What is the What" by Dave Eggers.... also non-fiction, which is pretty rare for me. Dave Eggers is also a man with an amazing gift for language and a slightly sardonic style. He tells the (true) story of one boy's journey (over several years) out of Sudan, into Kenya, Ethopia, and ultimately Atlanta GA where he attended college and started to raise money to educate those left in areas like the Sudan so there will be no more "lost boys" like him. Achek Deng is the young man's name and it is an amazing story.

What are YOU reading?

I'm always looking for suggestions (leave them in the "comments" section!) and since the Uptight Righteous "christian (ha!)" Biddies kicked me out of book club recently, I need new reading suggestions to keep me from getting stuck in a literary rut (which is MUCH better than being stuck in an Uptight Righteous Hypocritical rut as far as I'm concerned!).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose. Definition: an engineering term meaning the angle at which dirt and pebbles stop rolling and come to rest.

The other title I'd considered for my blog was a long title of a country song: I love this crazy tragic sometimes almost magic awful beautiful life.

Contrary ideas, those.

No matter. Life is full of contradictions, juxtapositions, conflicts and compromises. Meeting these gracefully, to find one's own angle of repose is a way of acheiving balance, sanity, gratification.

Angle of Repose is also the title of a Pulitzer Prize winning book by one of my favorite authors, Wallace Stegner. There will be a lot about books in this blog. Books are where I find my own angle of repose and escape for a few minutes from the crazy/tragic.

So. There it is. My first blog posting. One of these days, I'll start putting up things that I hope will interest my friends. Stories, photos, memories. Watch this space.