Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Birthdya to me!

as my 63rd natal day draws to a close, i'm as happy as a pig in mud. i've been toasted and feted and gifted today but what has me grinning from ear to ear is the larrupin' birthday surprise pictured above. give credit to my bonnie for thinking outside the box, for taking a leap of faith and all the credit for making, from scratch, this fantastical, delectable coconut meringue pie instead of the usual boring birthday confection. of all the pies to be had in this world, coconut meringue is my favorite. i do love me some (cheryl sherrer's recipe) italian cream cake, which features a ton of coconut also btw, but when it comes to pies give me c.m. every time. and this specimen (pictured above) is the best i've laid a lip over in a very long time. thank you my dear. i am officially on a sugar high of epic proportions. aio

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

so, we made it back home tuesday evening, after our quick trip down south. as it turns out little a-town, and our house, was in the path of quite a storm starting about midnight monday and on into the wee hours of tuesday morning. although no tornado was actually spotted, the sirens went off on 3-4 different occasions and for what seemed like hours at a time according to those who live directly under one of the signals. mostly rain and a little hail, the paper reported that sw a-town where i live, got as much as 4 inches of rain. i believe it because i emptied at least that much from my rain gauge! mcdonald's lake that i've mentioned before, is out of it's banks and the water is blocking the sidewalk around it's perimeter in places. the good news is that it handled a bunch of rain that fell in a very short time. runoff flows into it from the north, south, east and west. impressive! the holding pool at the end of our alley also did it's job exceptionally well. when we came in about 7;30 p.m. tuesday evening 95% of the runoff had already done just that-- run off. there was still some water standing in pools but the runoff had already been reduced to a trickle. while i would have liked to have been here to witness all the rain, i feel confident that nothing short of the great flood will put our humble home at risk for flooding. water. water, water-- water everywhwere. let the mosquito season begin. aio

Monday, May 24, 2010

in my 60+ years i've had occasion to attend any number of funerals. generally, funerals are sad affairs, but i've been to two which i would call, not so much funerals, but true celebrations of the decedent's life. one such was my good friend mike roberts. the second i attended today. it was the service for a family friend, jackie rawson of san antonio. from the outset, those in attendance were appraised that there would be laughter and there would be tears. and there was, both aplenty. not just an occasional embarrassed titter but full on, now that was funny, laughter. and tears, but not the kind any one would try to hide. tears of joy for a rich and wondrous life lived to the fullest. in a word, this service spoke of love. the love given to and received from an anchor for her family, for those on tree house-- the street where she and lloyd have lived for 30+ years, where tim and lisa grew up and where the celebration of a life well lived continued after final respects were paid at the cemetery. there at jackie's house on tree house the stories continued. and with the stories, so continued the laughter and tears, but mostly laughter. remembrances shared of a wife, a mom, a sister, an aunt and the grand dame of tree house lane. i'm glad we knew you jackie. god's speed!

Friday, May 21, 2010

more than once my kids have heard me posit "there's a difference between wants and needs". since mid february i've been anticipating a visit from chris. as the days and weeks have passed, my level of anticipation and excitement has amped exponentially. saturday, 5/22 was to be the day my wanting to see him would come to realization at last. on wednesday, 5/19, we received a call telling us that a long time family friend, after a lengthy fight against the monster that is cancer, had at last succumbed. from that moment i began a necessary shift from selfish want, to a more selfless need. my younger children were raised in the main by our mary and judy. these remarkable ladies are two among the remarkable loeser family. mary and judy, and over the years the rest of the loesers, took chris and then kelly into their lives and hearts; not blood kin, but family none the less. over the years, the kids were included come vacation time and thus they/we came to love jack, winnie and joe, as well and jackie and jayne and their hubbies and kids as well. we all, but more especially our kids, have many memories of the time spent basking in loeser love and fun. memories that must include grandmother loeser's potatoe soup on halloween night, of innumerable trips down south to san antonio and to angleton for loeser fun in the sun. as much as i have been wanting 5/22 to get here the greater need is to go to chris in austin, to be with him and our loeser family in their loss. the greater need is to be there with chris and our loeser family--to share their grief, to recall favorite memories of jackie and to celebrate a beautiful life. RIP

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

work, work, work--tomorrow, wednesday, is my monday. ordinarily thursday is my monday but this week i've switched days in order to be off on saturday, my usual friday. why? i'm so excited i can barely sit still because our baby boy, the middle child, our christopher is flying in on saturday for a three hour tour of little a-town. well it's not literally three hours but he flies out again early on monday, so you get the drift. the question now is what do we do while he's here or rather how do we make the most of the time we have together. some options are--1) we could take in the amarillo venom ( our indoor football team whose record is 8-1 and have already clinched their division with like 7 games to go), or 2) we could see iron man 2 at the tascosa drive-in theater, or 3)take in iron man 2, or another movie, at a regular theater (boringly ordinary), or 4) we could maybe go bowling (chris has his own ball in big a-town (austin). it so cool, it has an eye ball on it the better to see the strikes with), or 5) something else like grilling up some beef tenderloin with kenemac's accidentally delicious steak sauce. in the end it doesn't matter. just the fact that he will be here at all has my eeky leaky heart all atwitter and smiling ear to ear. come on saturday! aio

Monday, May 17, 2010

what is your general outlook, your take on life. are you an optimist-- everything will be okay. or, are you a pessimist-- nothing good will come my way. or perhaps a realist- life is what happens while you wait. re-reading my post from 5/17, it sounded on the whole pessimistic and a bit harsh. after all it's not that a like event might not happen just about anywhere. take for instance little a-town. particularly in the older parts of the city there is no storm drainage system. being basically flat a rain such as the one that hit the big easy on sunday could easily result in waters rising in a residential neighborhood. it has in the recent past. in 1982 a pump in lawrence lake failed resulting in 200 city blocks being flooded over two days. the lake was subsequently deepened to handle the runoff. when the neighborhood we live in was proposed the playa lake in the plat was deepened to handle runoff. we live about a block from the boundary fence and "uphill" from the lake but i can foresee a time when the lake could overfill and water might find it's way uphill and into houses. mcdonald's lake was deepened to handle runoff from the new neighborhoods north, south and west of coulter road. little a-town, being situated on dry land, should the unthinkable ever happen, has options to address the problem. when the city in which you live is built in the middle of a swamp, options are limited. still, big easy, wdytwgth? aio
new orleans, louisiana--aka,the big easy. i'm sorry, but i just don't get it. what is the siren call that is so strong my young just have to live in your midst. as a rent, somewhere in the back of my mind all the time is a niggling thought that something bad is gonna happen. admittedly bad stuff can happen anywhere one may choose to live but we are coming up on the hurricane season. june 1 to be exact. those in the know are predicting an active hurricane season on the order of the one in 2005 that spawned katrina and rita. that prediction is worrisome. taking a page from jay leno's new feature "what did you think was going to happen?" i'd ask whoever it was that decided to build a city below sea level and on the gulf coast to boot-- wdytwgth? the easy can deal a great chunk of misery 24, 7, 365 without a hurricane anywhere on the horizon. all day, every day, pumps work to keep the waters of the gulf at bay. already working at capacity. the pumps can only manage rainfall up to 1 inch/hour. after that the city starts to flood. such was the case on sunday. during an ordinary spring thunderstorm the pumps were overwhelmed and the waters rose up on the street where my transplanted texans live. not to the level of that johnny cash classic "five feet high and rising" but enough to deposit 3 inches of water in their cars. not exactly good news, so my question to my transplants re: their moving to the big, but not so easy is. what did you think was going to happen? aio

Sunday, May 16, 2010

i most certainly do not proclaim any great love for, or knowledge of, classical music. i will admit however, that i do enjoy our evenings with the amarillo symphony. saturday night was the last concert in the symphony's 85th season. this concert the was latest installment in my exposure to what some might call the finer things in life. the rough edges on this dry land cotton farmer's kid likely will never be completely removed but saturday night's performance by our amarillo symphony orchestra at the world class globe-news center for the performing arts did it's bit toward that end. an evening in our hall, which btw has been compared favorably to the sydney opera house, is never boring, not even for this lover of country music. the concert opened with jean sebelius' finlandia, opus 26 . pleasant enough in itself but then there was a salute to helen gerald who recently passed. mrs. gerald played with the symphony and other groups around town for 63 years. the recount of her years and accomplishements both amazed and moved me. samuel barber's concerto for violin and orchestra, opus 14 was dedicated in her memory. the guest artist, brian lewis, played well but to me he phoned in his performance. there simply was no emotion coming from him, no need to put yourself out for little a-town, after all. that he was playing a stradivarius did impress me however. our fantastic hall accepted and reflected all the strad could deliver and neither left us wanting. the final piece of the evening was camille staint-saens' symphony no. 3 in c minor, opus 78, organ symphony. merely pleasant in the beginning, the peice built until the magnificent coda. the standing o in this case was well deserved. i am in awe of maestro kimbo ishii-eto and the growth educed from our symphony since he took up the baton. this country boy can't wait to see and hear what kimbo, and the symphony's 86th season, may hold in store. aio

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

as my 63rd birthday approaches, i'm coming to realize more and more the wisdom of celebrating the beauty of ordinary days. i'm learning to take pleasure in the smallest of the unexpected. the truth is that not every day will be marked by events momentous. today has already been a blessing to me. flipping through pictures posted by a facebook friend i happened on a picture of my darling daughter. captured for all time, unaware of being photographed, even in profile, her magnificent smile and the radiance of her beautiful soul emanate from her visage. be ever alert as the bonus moments in your life may pop up anywhere and at any time. have a great hump day everyone. aio

Monday, May 10, 2010

with great apologies to Irving Berlin--(sing it, to the tune of blue skies) brown skies, frowning at me-- nothing but brown skies, do i see. blackbirds, blowing along-- all of the blackbirds, hangin' on. it's not a fit day for man, bird nor beast outside today. i posted on the facebook earlier that the winds were maintaining at 26, gusting to 37 mph. hmmph! that was a breeze. i went out for a four mile run, thinking all the time, wowsers! this wind is something. resistance training! it does a body good! a check with the weatherbug when i got back home revealed the winds sustaining at 41 with gusts to 57. a check just now reveals the same but with a gust to 60. if mr. rogers were still with us he might be singing-- it's a beautiful in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood and things are looking good. not true, mr. rogers. so not true. hope things are less brown where ever you hang your hat. aio

Sunday, May 9, 2010

this is for the owners of feline friends-- lucy, lucky and ellwood in our house. domesticated cats they are, that is wild animals, long ago tamed but in reality the distant relative of a hunter. of the three, lucy is the hunter among ours. from time to time she has gifted us with the occasional bug and rarely a bird. she comes in prancing, head and tail held high, meowing around her latest prey. lookie, lookie, what i got! most usually the birds are unharmed, minus a few feathers perhaps, but once rescued and after calming the hammering heart able to fly away towards another day. today, being mother's day, lucy really outdid herself. not the usual house sparrow as a mother's day gift. that just wouldn't do. on this fine morning a half grown mourning dove was her latest victim. into the house she came, prancing proudly, the dove's wings all askew. lucy meowing lookie, lookie; the dove cooing help me, heellpp! the dove escaped. visions of the wild kingdom ensued. the might lioness chasing, catching. the prey escaping, then more chasing. the dove's feathers, whether plucked or shed in defense, everywhere. the dove, making one final stab at escape flew toward the light of freedom-- the kitchen window. it bounced off, coming to rest in the sink. lucy, frantically looking, meowing, where did it go? the dove sat in the sink, composed. out of lucy's sight, it allowed me to gently pick it up with my left hand and cover it with my right. it never struggled against me. i took it outside to the alley. i set it on the branch of some brush piled there-- and in a second, in a burst of flight and loose feathers, away it flew. happy mother's day everyone. aio

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

i've whined in previous posts about how very far away from little a-town our kids have chosen to live. it all all boils down to love i think. not that they love us any less, but there is some inborn need in them to expand their horizons. the wanderlust that takes them so far away hopefully leads them to happiness. it's always good to hear a hint of the joye de vive in their voices when we talk. without being able to eye ball them up close and personal one is reduced to listening for nuance. in my most recent conversations with the three of them the tone in their voices spoke volumes about how life is going. each one seems to be up for the moment and life, if they're happy, i'm happy. aio

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Helen Gerald, Mike Roberts... RIP

today's newspaper had a piece on helen gerald. she died on friday having left her mark on the music scene here in little a-town over 60+ years. she played in the symphony forever, under many different conductors. she played the viola and later moved to violin. she started the suzuki strings program here. she touched innumerable lives through her passion for music. my condolences to all whose life is somehow better for having known helen. she was 91. it has been six years since our friend mike roberts was taken from us. mike too left his mark in this world by sharing his passion for fitness with anyone who would allow him a bit of their time. it was his ministry. mike was 53. he left a legacy of caring for others, in a different way than helen, but had he livied to age 91 he may well have touched as many lives as she did. both left this world a better place. considering how many lives were enriched by the two has me wondering what, if anything, will be my stamp on the world. will kind words be spoken on my behalf when i'm gone? will i have touched someone in such a way as to make their life better for having known me? i have my doubts. i read an article in the newspaper this morning about a barber in canyon whose three children have gone on to earn advanced degrees. it spoke of how he showed up at his shop early each morning and through his clipping and snipping and his gift for interacting with people, was able to afford his children a brighter future. a testament to his character is that he gives all the credit for their success to his wife. in a sense that will be his legacy. touching the lives of those who sat in his chair allowed him to pave the way to a better life for his children. perhaps that will be my mark on the world. showing up every day for almost thirty-six years has allowed my three to go forth in the world to do their do. while none are likely to develop a cure for cancer, each in their own way will leave the world a better place when they too are gone. what greater mark could a man ask to make. aio