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Showing posts from December, 2007

Airport musings~

Sitting in Houston's Airport-- Bush Intercontinental-- I face a sun setting over the fin of a grounded Continental jet. There's a football game on TV and Bruce has moved closer for a better view.

I'd rather watch people. An odd lot us humans, but interesting, and nice-- for the most part-- all with a tale, each the lead actor in a drama written only for him-- or so he thinks.

Nobody here looks ominous in anyway. All the random "beepers" were pulled aside and screened further. All water bottles have been confiscated from those who didn't know water was a liquid.

We're safe, those of us waiting for flight 686. It's the weather that may pull a cruel twist with the storm that is due to arrive in Boston while we're only half way there. Or an invisible virus someone harbors.

A mother-of-three adjusts her load. She's determined to stuff a pacifier in the baby hanging in a sack from her front. Her toddler tells her his tummy feels better now and the…

San Antonio and Boston~

I'm in Austin. Two days after Christmas we flew to Texas for another of Worcester State's basketball tournaments. Bruce's motto is, "I didn't miss any of David's games in high school-- and he played three sports-- why start now?"

My motto is, "I didn't make all of his games in high school-- nor did I try. The least I can do is go to the ones that require traveling to a place I've never been."

David spends his days with the team. When they are not playing or practicing, the coaches take the kids out to see the sights.

We have plenty of free time to see the sights and to relax, which is what I'm after, basketball aside. Today we headed 80 miles south to San Antonio and sauntered along the River Walk-- the much corralled and exploited, but nicely so, San Antonio River-- in sun and sixty plus temps. We visited the Alamo, and absorbed a bit of Texas's interesting history and culture.

Beautiful! Eye candy! Never ashamed to lug a camera an…

I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day~

These words written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the Civil War still resonate today . . . unfortunately. But where there is love there is the hope of peace. Let it begin. Merry Christmas!

I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And mild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
“The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another.” ~Unknown

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till ringing, singing o…

'Tis the season~

I'm never all that jolly at Christmas time. It's too commercial, too demanding. I hate demands. I hate to follow the sheep through the stores-- not that people mean to be sheep, but 'tis the season-- spending money I shouldn't, spending time wrapping gifts when I am tired, gifts that will only be ripped open, expensive paper burned in the woodstove or cluttering a landfill.

I don't know how to return Christmas to what I think it should be: peace and love. All is calm, all is bright.

It's hard to back up.

I don't like all the hype. But somewhere along the line, early on when my three kids were little, I succumbed and set a precedent that I want to end, but how?

Here's what I'd say to new parents:

Don't start off your Christmases by piling presents high under the tree. It's easy to do when a lot of little toys, relatively inexpensive, make a big pile to the eye-popping delight of the little ones. Their excitement makes it worth repeating next yea…

I.C.E Interrogation~

Buffalo in the winter turned out to be not so bad at all. We spent the time between breakfast and David's game at Niagara Falls.

We wandered the American side of the river, me towing the camera and snapping way too many pictures, even though I know from experience that no photo ever does justice to the falls.

Crossing into Canada required no more than showing a driver's license and answering questions: where were from, where we were born, where were going, and why? No birth certificate required, and no physical check of the car.

The woman agent who quizzed us at Canada's crossing appeared to have a bit of the Niagara River flowing through her veins--no smile, no "Welcome to Canada, enjoy your visit"-- glaring suspiciously as she leaned slightly to look past my husband at me in the passenger's seat of the car.

"And where was she born?" she asked my husband, keeping her eyes locked on mine. Conscious of my tendency to make wisecracks at inopportune moment…

Shuffle off to Buffalo~

It's 7:11 p.m. and I'm on the bed leaning against three puffy pillows. The laptop rests across my thighs. My husband is on the other bed with the newspaper. The TV is on: Law and Order. He's watching; I'm not.

"You should get away, just the two of you," my friend tells me-- often. "It will revive your relationship."

We are in Buffalo, New York, after an eight hour ride that took ten today because of the snowstorm that swept into the northeast and dumped a quick six inches. Who goes to Buffalo in the winter? The city, home to Niagara Falls, is notorious for its snowfall.

Our mission was not planned as a relationship revival. We came to watch David's college basketball team--the Worcester State Lancers-- play a winter tournament. Bruce attended every one of David's high school games: football, basketball and baseball, and will go to the college games too. I went to the high school home games, most of the time. I think.

One other Boston area team…

One winter morning~

I woke early this morning, way too early for Saturday, the day I plan to catch up on my weekly sleep deficit.

Monday through Friday I get up at 5:45. This time of year, the sun -- if it appears that day-- barely makes it to 20 degrees above the horizon by the time I get to work.

The early winter sky is always beautiful, my small consolation prize for being conscious--barely-- before my biorhythms want me to be.

But today, I figured I'd roll out after nine, at least, if I was lucky. I wasn't, as far as my sleep plans went.

I'd gone to the bathroom, and plopped back into bed. But the view I'd seen out the window nagged: perfect light, snow still on the branches, grasses bowed and beautiful under crystal blankets.

Go to sleep. It's only snow, I told myself.

But it's beautiful, and you can take a nap later. Get up! That was me, too.

When I argue with myself, I listen to the emotional side, not the logical. So I got up, grabbed the camera, and slipped out into the frosty b…

But, merry Christmas~

I have a friend, Ross, who lives across the Atlantic in West Amble, a Dickensian sounding village in windswept Northern England.

To read his emails one would think it's always raining or blowing up a gale from the sea, or at this time of the year, sleeting. Maybe it is. Ross says, the past summer "lasted two days, and it was only warm enough for shorts one of those."

He's a truly funny man and I look forward to his common sense comments couched in humor. Make that humour.

In his latest missive he says, " Your last year teaching ... you'll be counting it in months by January, if not already ...

Actually, on the first day of school in September I started putting the "days left" count on my calendar. One hundred-twenty-something left! That's not saying I don't still enjoy the business of teaching a room full of ten and eleven year olds. I do. But I can look forward to the end at the same time, and I am.

He says, "I wonder if, in years past, yo…

Caffeine and a smile~

A couple of months ago I chose to stop writing for my town paper, feeling that something was going to snap-- maybe me-- if I didn't cut down on some of the things I was doing.

I was behind on my invoices, three months worth of stories had never been submitted for payment, so I sat down yesterday, finally, to make out an invoice. I'd kept records of my stories, but I decided to double-check my accuracy by looking at the online archive of the paper's online.

A bold headline caught my eye. I did a double-take, the way I'd react if I saw my boss in an unexpected place like a liquor store or church. My own name stood out in bold.

The story was a press release for the latest Chicken Soup For the Soul book in which I have a story. The CS people must have sent a press release; I vaguely remember signing an online form that gave them permission. It's part of their marketing plan.

I laughed when I read the summary the CS team wrote. It starts: "Douillette is late for w…