Archive for February, 2015

Baby David is Married!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 25, 2015 by drycreekherbs

Captain David Conquers the Pond copy.jpg One of my favorite photos of the Baby David. Now he is all grown up and certainly not a baby. He and Frances were married on Valentine’s Day. I missed it. IMG_2333.JPG IMG_2332.JPG IMG_2005.JPG

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Katie Has a Baby! Pam Would be a Grandmother!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2015 by drycreekherbs

Grayson was born while I was in Mexico. Pam would be poppin’ her buttons. Katie is a natural—just like he’s been here all along. He is soon adorable.

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Home

Posted in Out and About with tags , , on February 25, 2015 by drycreekherbs

Home is a good place to be—when I come back from a trip it takes me at least a week to get sorted out…laundry, suitcases, calendar, chores, weight management, etc. Add to those stressors (?) a trip to SAT to let Mom know I wasn’t killed in Mexico…or that I didn’t run off with a bandito(s)…Since the beginning of time I have felt burdened by the most mundane chores. If I put something on a list, I’m shackled until the task is completed. It is ridiculous…and inherited from my Dad. IMG_2339.jpg

So, home it is. Today I did lab work at 8:00 am. I took a NAP from 10-1!!! The magical world of San Miguel is in my rear view mirror…I am already clouded by the dust of my memory machine. This was the second trip to the San Miguel Writer’s conference—which wasn’t as absolutely fabulous as last year’s event. The weather was brrrrrr cold and wet, which meant I had to squeeze all my shopping, and exploring into two days. Dennis and Gay met us for dinner one night…they are a big part of my SMdA context. Camie and I ate at Berlin and also Café Rama and the three (including Larry) of us ate at The Rosewood the last night. This was a quiet trip—soothing and still. I read Girl on the Train obsessively and took wonderful long siestas with cats and dogs on my bed. Larry cooked for us the best of comfort food. He also brought us BOTH flowers on Valentine’s Day! Sure is divine to be a guest in their casita.

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And why would anyone want a guest room if they could have a casita? No sitting on the side of a bed with the door closed so not to be under foot. No interrupting hosts to ask for a cup of tea. No noise. It is just perfect. I enjoyed the great bedroom and vanity, a bed with a heating mattress pad, cats and dogs for naps, lots of electrical outlets for my beauty paraphernalia, my own garage opener, fireplace, WI-FI, a kitchenette complete with snacks, a view, flowers, koi, cable TV, movies, great natural light for makeup application, and a complete bathroom. Added to this, Larry is a fabulous cook, florist, banker, and advisor. Yep, I want a casita for my infrequent guests or I want to live with Camie and Larry, et al in the casita.IMG_2325.jpg

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Once home, I made a quick overnighter to see about Mom. Well, she is never going to be better and will only get worse–a sad commentary. I focus on how she was and her big contributions not only to her family but also to her country. I love that my Mom is a vet. Billy has arranged for a helper to come in three times a week….Ada does laundry, cooking, bathing and dressing. Mom seems to be OK with it because she knows the alternative is a nursing home. Mom is moderately interested in my Mexico experiences…well, she can’t hear so maybe she is more interested than I think. Because of her hearing, she just fills in the blanks… this is dangerous.

My new vocabulary words: kümmerspeck, brotberuf, jeremiad, and Misophonia. The first two are German idioms that I looooooove. I can remember German words easily compared to English. I struggle with words like cat in my mother tongue. So, kümmerspeck is a condition…getting fat from grief with bacon in the mix and brotberuf is another idiom for a daily work…like a blue-collar job, I think. The first I can work into idle chitchat but the second will be more of a challenge. Jeremiad is a prolonged lament—I am thinking like a filibuster. The last word: Misophonia is the visceral response to sounds like smacking lips, sniffing, sneezing, and I imagine farting. Mosophonia will be easy to talk about but what I really want is to snuff Susan Lawson by using it in Words with Friends! I live to beat her!!!IMG_2274.JPG

My impressions of the conference: I won’t be writing a book, and probably not even a short story, and definitely no poetry….well maybe a tasteless limerick. I might be able to conjure up enough sentiment to write an essay. If I have any writing talent it is the ability to convey my VOICE. Referred to as POV-point of voice not privately owned vehicle. I attend the conference like I do cooking classes. The experience is a floorshow…not necessary to come back an epicurean but better able to make clever conversation. Of course, clever conversation requires an audience—so that means either at Mah Jongg, Happy Hour, or in the chemo center where listeners are captive. It is hard to break away from a bore when you are attached to an IV pole. My audiences are not sufficiently enchanted with my antics and always hope for the short version. I wish I had a talk radio show. Live on Riotous Radio, Salado’s KOFF or WDUM, Susan Krals Speaks.
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OK, back to the conference. My workshops-Telling the Truth in a Memoir Writing and Selling a Killer Short Story, Finish Your Novel the TV Way, Using the Tools of Journalism to Write the Memoir, See the World-Craft the Story: Composing the Travel Essay, Building the Bear: Evoking and Organizing the Fiction Draft, and How to Write Funny. So, I sat and listened as a reader and watched people. I did learn and I felt scintillated by the originality of these people….I mean it, I spend most all the time around people that are not too different than I am. Yes indeed, the conference is a stimulating and a safe experience for me. Whereas Camie, often attends writing classes and knows all this stuff, I never have and surely won’t. I don’t like accountability or practice. Just as I secretly think I could paint one great oil on canvas, I prefer to think, I have the POTENTIAL to write one clever essay….but I sure don’t want to risk failure…so I just fancy myself capable and that is satisfaction enough.

I saw the iconic Gloria Steinem who looks fab for a woman in her 80s. She is just as liberal as expected and I give her credit for being a maven. I think she said, ‘The Kardashians are a set back for the women’s movement. They will be embarrassed if they ever get smart. Like Donald Trump.’ I think Steinem said that. Alice Walker was interesting too….I think she is a new lesbian and an activist opposing female genital mutilation. Like who wouldn’t? At the end of her interview, we could ask questions. After a series of anticipated questions, an African (I think Muslim?) man asked how it was that it is ok to circumcise males but it isn’t ok to ‘circumcise females.’ Hello. He asked this in a room of about 90% females…I am surprised he wasn’t eviscerated on the spot. Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with the Pearl Earring seems like a gal who would be fun to know. I can’t remember any of her talk…she just seemed like a normal gal.

Some things I wrote down….I don’t know that I even know why.Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 11.47.21 AM.png IMG_2340.JPG

• Writing is making the invisible-visible.

• Consider the politics of language

• Brains are organized around image and narrative.

• Laughter is an orgasm of the mind

• You can’t pray unless you can’t laugh

• The way people look does not tell how they think

Hmmmmm, what else? Oh yes, Doc Severenson also uses a CPAP machine. I queued up directly behind him to get on the plane. He was about to trip over the shoulder strap when I made my move. “Doc, be careful you might trip on your CPAP machine.” He looked up and smiled. I showed him mine. This was a very intimate celebrity moment.

Anne Lamott said, “…no one needs to watch the news every night, unless one is married to the anchor.” I need to tell Len this. Amen.

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There is Grime on the Window of my Heart. I Don’t Like It.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 1, 2015 by drycreekherbs

What the hell is going on? There is too much despair, sickness, and anxiety going on. Well there. Now I think I will press on.

Mom’s situation is only getting worse and she is for the first time in her life adversarial, maybe even crotchety. She wants to stay in her home with her ‘things.’ The reality is she needs 24/7 care as in watched. This is all taking a toll on Bros. Bill—no surprise. Yesterday we had a row…mean words and tears from me. I will always feel guilty, always. My listeners try to console me by saying that I am doing the best I can. No. I could move down there and stay a couple of months or even a couple of weeks at a time. I don’t want to do that. I am sorry and so grateful to Billy and I in almost every situation defer to his preferences….some times I speak up and he doesn’t like that. He said last night he thought I just wanted Mom to be ‘put somewhere.’ What I want is for her to be safer and for him to have some freedom.
IMG_2166.JPGToday Billy texted me that he has hired someone with 20 years experience as a floor manager at an assisted living facility. Hooray. Twenty hours a week and she will tend to Mom’s needs, clean, and cook. Oh God, please let this work for Mom. Please.

Cee has pancreatic cancer and it doesn’t look good. The tumor is too large for surgery so she is scheduled for chemo and radiation to shrink it. In eight weeks there will be a CT scan to see if the tumor has shrunk enough for surgery. Yesterday she has her first chemo –she felt fine until today. Today her body is flushed from head to toe with what looks like a sunburn and pain. She is feeling lots of fatigue too. Currently she wants me to come help her after the surgery, probably in March. I will go and pray that I can do exactly what she wants, comfort her, and realllllllly not make her crazy. Cee’s brother lives in Orlando and I know he will help with her care.

Nina told me today that Brad’s vet friends have set up a foundation in memory of Lolly. There will be scholarship money for a high school student who is interested in elementary education. Nina and I will serve as the screeners (?) much like I did for Pam’s memorial scholarship.

Last week I took Foy out to lunch—it was kinda like the old days…we bickered about where the restaurant of his choice was located. He was grumpy and suspicious about the GPS’ accuracy and probably thought it was emitting killer radiation. I told him after driving in a huge 3 mile circle that he did not know where it was and we were taking our chances with the techno magic GPS. Heritage Homestead is a Christian Farming community in Elm Mott, TX. The food was good; Foy had the soup of his dreams; and we had a grand visit.

The real reason I am beefy is that I am always eating lunch with chums…—Katie is very preg and soon to pop.

Today I had a dermatology apt…nose skin freeze-off and talk of vascular surgery for varicose veins. ONLY if they put me to sleep. And why I wonder will I consider this? I am pretty sure I will not ever be seen in public wearing shorts or bathing suit so what is the point? I will think on this.

Also today is our 44th wedding anniversary. I find that stunning. I am a lucky woman –Len only gets kinder and more patient and more generous as the years go buy. We went to the Roaring Fork in North Austin to celebrate…I slept late today because I drink 2 huckleberry frozen margaritas! AND I stayed up till 1:00 am.

I have a new friend I met at S&W’s infusion center. D. is a few years older than I; she also was a military wife and hails from Germany. Although she has lived in Temple for a few years she had only been to Salado one time…so we did lunch and shopped…she’s a good shopper too. I like new friends, building from the ground up and learning about their life experience….it is like reading a new book. We will do this again.

AND, speaking of books, I am listening to a book that so far has been captivating…Miss Peregtrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and reading The Kashmir Shaw…the Killeen Book Club reviewed Charles Krauthammer’s book, Things That Matter and our Salado Book Club reviewed Killing Patton. Sometimes my head spins…I like stretching and Krauthammer’s book reallllllly stretched me…what a vocabulary.

Our new SleepNumber bed is amazing….I am afraid I might eject myself out of it by accident. The raised head part is great….

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