Sunday, July 29, 2007

fear and faith, growth and potential

My computer desktop probably has more files and notes on it than that Kaypro II I used to own would've held altogether. Luckily, modern computers can find things as if my magic... but this find was mechanical. I was using "notepad," which has 20 or so open notes, and one jumped out at me (the corner of it, from under others).

I had mentioned this piece of writing just the other day to one of my kids. And then this weekend I was corresponding with a friend about Holly. He wrote, " I can't tell you how impressed I am with your confidence in your daughter and her decisions, and I really hope I'll have the same relationship with my kids someday. You're absolutely right about Holly, she's very mature and emotionally aware, and when she's older, whatever she decides will undoubtedly be the right choice."

It reminded me of this writing, but I didn't know I would find it, within hours! I love when that happens.

So what's in green, below, was written in 2003:

I used to worry strongly about what would happen if I died, when my kids were
eight and ten and unschooled. I was very fearful of leaving them in the
lurch partway through the project. But as each has turned 14, give or take a
year, the whole worry flowed out of me regarding that child. Each of them
blossomed HUGELY right after the rough early puberty, and I think that right
at this moment any of them would make it fine without parents. I wouldn't
think the same of the schooled teens I know around me, who are suspicious and
resentful of adults, who avoid eye contact and have learned to just say what
they have to say to get adults to ignore them too.

My kids are, by contrast, direct and cheery, honest and responsible.

Often I'll look at them through the lens of something I'm reading about or
thinking, or a period movie I've watched. Could the boys be sailors or
soldiers if they were in another place and time? Easily. They would be among
the best, if they had good reason to go and do those things. Either of them,
right now, would make good parents. Holly's still a little young, at 13, but
there are times in which she'd've been in the early stages of arranged
marriages, and could she do that? Yes. She's physically young, but she's
emotionally and mentally more aware of social issues and human factors than many
adults, and she's not thinking maybe she understands it, she knows she has some
clear understandings.

She knows.

That feeling of fakery and fraud that people have talked about for the past
few decades seems absent in these kids. What they don't know doesn't scare
them, and what they do know is solid.

Sandra (Maybe you can't get there without joining the list, but I just have it here as a citation, to show when and where it was written.)

Kirby is 21 years old today. I was in labor, 21 years ago. About sundown tonight, I'll have been a mom for 21 years.

Within a month, Kirby will have moved to Texas. I'm not afraid. I'll miss him, but I'm not afraid. This will be a snap, compared to the other things I know he could do if he had to, if he wanted to, if he needed to. It's smaller than other things he will do in the future when he has to, wants to or needs to. I'm glad to have known my kids. I'm glad I lived long enough for them to be launched or launch-ready, as it were. I would say "I'm proud of them," but it sounds too much like the thoughts of an owner or an artist/creator, and they were by-products of my happy relationship with Keith. We didn't "build" them. We don't own them. We got to watch them grow and blossom, and we were careful not to prevent their growth. We nurtured but we didn't design or create.

I'm proud of myself for not screwing them up any worse than I might inadvertently have done in small ways I'm sure I'll hear about as the years unfold.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lucy and the Virgin Mary, friends, dogs and babies

I was looking for these

and I found this:
There's no relation, but I thought it was beautiful.

It's the Virgin Mary, from the blog of an American Catholic in Korea. Very nice art. Peaceful and beautiful.

Kirby is moving in less than a month. Today, again, all three of my children are home. My husband is home. The five members of our family are all at our house at the same time, with no extras. I don't mind extras, and I don't mind them being out and about, but now that Kirby has an exit strategy, as it were, I have become hyper-aware of who's where when.

Tomorrow Kirby turns twenty-one years old. Another landmark that doesn't show. Another milestone that's not made of stone at all. I'll never be young again and he'll never be a baby. But in my head, in my heart, there he is—baby Kirby.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It is my birthday

It is my birthday, and I have outlived my dad. That's not a comfortable feeling, being older than my dad ever was. Many people have experienced that, and some at too young an age for comfort, but for me, my dad has been gone half my life, which isn't too bad at the age of 54. He didn't get to meet Kirby, who was named for him, though, nor other grandkids. My dad's name was Kirby Adams.

So I'm cleaning my house because people are coming over to play Encore this afternoon and evening. I'm starting at 4:00 so that Kirby Dodd can come over before he goes to work. And also so my friend Jon can come over before he goes to a super secret meeting of the Order of the Water Buffalo or some modern-age equivalent.

So I'm cleaning and thinking about changing the world. I'm not thinking "I need to change the world," I'm musing on what kinds of things change the world. And the thoughts flitting up and around are from discussions last week on an SCA online e-mail list about children's activities in the SCA, and about a friend who plans to do something to change the world, and about people who have changed the world by assassinating some president or Beatle or something.

The world can't help but change. If it's alive, it's changing, many would have said as I was growing up, but even if it's dead it's changing, as the girlfriend of a now-assassinated Beatle once showed by displaying fruit as it dried up and changed form every day, every moment. I'm not sure fruit qualifies as "dead," but it's not alive, either, an apple on a pillar in an art museum.

And so here's what I think: If by "change the world" a person means "make the world better," then step #1 must be to decide right then not to make the world worse.

Accidents sometimes make the world worse, and carelessness, and flukes of weather and acts of God. But if a personal decision makes the world worse, then what?

There are different levels of "oops"—didn't know, didn't think, forgot, didn't care, was pisssed off or drunk, was furious and wanted to do damage... What can be undone? What can be atoned for?

But anyway... the world starts to get better when people stop making it worse, and a person's life starts to get better when he consciously decides to do what is better instead of what is worse in any given moment.

I have a baby book I've written in sometimes. It has a page for when a person turns 30, 40, 50, to record one's philosophy of life. (Maybe it starts at 20, I'd have to dig it out and look.) I didn't know what that meant, when I was young. When I was 40 I knew, but didn't want to write down a snapshot philosophy of life, because I figured it could change by the time I was 41.

Life changes, and now I foist my philosophy of life onto just anyone who comes by my blog, or who says they'd like to learn something from me. I never hunt them down and give them a test later, though. Holly said to me one day something like "Friends come in and out of your life like bus boys in a restaurant." WOW, I thought. That helps! That helps when I'm sad that someone is slipping out of my daily life. I told her it was pretty wonderful and she said it was a Stephen King line from "The Body."

People come and go and we change each other. We amuse each other if we're lucky and frustrate each other if we're not so lucky. This is new today and I'll add more. I have notes and files here and there on the computer and on paper I can add as I come across them. The Log of Life (the aforementioned "baby book") pages are empty. I guess the baby book has moved over here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Little road trip to Denver

The first images are in northeastern New Mexico, Saturday July 21.

Holly and our friend Bo King and I went to Colorado for an evening, and the next day we went to the KwikE Mart, and to South Park.

KwikE Mart Photos

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lyrics Game (Encore)

Although I've announced this a few odd places, a friend who reads this blog didn't know. Sorry.

I'm putting up a word or two a day for people to consider. When Encore is played in person, teams take turns singing phrases of songs at least eight words long. It's different, doing it in writing, but still fun to think through and fun to read posts...

Anyone who wants to come and play is welcome.

Incidentally, there are assorted photos of things and places in my yard, and such. When I run out of these I'll need to take dice and game pieces out into the world at large. Soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

digging a hole

I'm going to move some trees. They're honey locust trees I planted from seed. They're nearly as tall as I am and there are half a dozen all close together I'm going to dig up and move. I dug a big hole to put them in. I filled it with water and then dug some more when it soaked in. I trenched around the trees, and filled that with water. There was a bunch of big river rock in the dirt there, like fist-sized "pebbles," and that made it harder.

I was letting my mind just flit and flow while I dug and it crossed my mind that Keith might ask who dug those holes for me. And then I wondered why Keith might assume I didn't dig them. Then I knew why.

I don't have a broken leg, I'm not recovering from a broken leg, I'm not pregnant, and I'm not recovering from a cesarean.

In the past twenty two years I've had two broken legs, and three pregnancies, not in that order. The first broken leg led directly to the first pregnancy, and the second broken leg was when Holly was ten or so, and I suppose I could have dug holes in those years after I recovered from Holly's birth, and I probably dug a few smaller ones, but I had three little kids and a big strong husband.

Now I have a husband with arthritis in his shoulder; I have a nearly-twenty-one-year-old with a fulltime job and little interest in yard work who's moving away next month; I have a big strong eighteen year old who had a skateboard wreck last night so both his hands are bruised and scraped (not too badly; he'll be in armor on Saturday) who's driving his sister to Las Cruces for Warped Tour tomorrow so she can see Cute is What We Aim For (with an older friend, and a younger friend, so four of them are going for an overnight adventure), and then he's going to an SCA campout in the Jemez Mountains (between Jemez Springs and Los Alamos, not anywhere near Las Cruces) on Friday.

So I'm the best available hole digger today, and it was fun, and I felt strong. Good.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

a tumbleweed grew through a bone

I pulled a tumbleweed (a babyish one, less than a foot high, still very soft) out of my flowerbed. I just pulled it out, like I pull any weeds out, and a bone came with it, straight across, like a bow tie. It's lying on an 8.5 x 14" paper, and you can click to see the larger images.

It's not a stunning big deal, but I thought it was an interesting New Mexico thing to share. Something unusual and a littel exotic...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Holly's Homecoming Day

This will be a jumbly portrait of the day, July 3, 2007. Holly is coming back from nearly two weeks in Rhode Island where she went to celebrate Quinn and Madeline's birthday. She'll be here at 10:30 tonight. It will be 12:30, the time she's used to now.

Holly said yesterday that she's not really homesick, but she misses the mountains, Marty and quesadillas. So I made sure there was cheese, and will buy tortillas this afternoon, and Keith willl get a case of refried beans at Costco this afternoon.

She called earlier today and asked me where I was, because she had called the house and no one answered but I answered my cellphone. I was in the hottub, cleaning it, so she asked if I was planning to heat it. I hesitated and said it's been 102 degrees, and she said she wanted the hot tub, so I said okay. I make a call to see if I can get her picked up by a few of the younger kids (Marty and crew) who might be willing to pick her up at the airport and then sit in the hot tub with her, after the quesadillas at 11:00 or so. This might or might not work. If not, I'll pick her up and sit with her. I don't have the local social updates she needs, though, not many of them.

When I woke up too early, 4:00, and was out laying out the hot tub drainhose and pulling the plug and spotlighting cockroaches to squish them (quietly, in my own backyard), a car engine started in our driveway. I went up to see if Marty was leaving, or Kirby, or if someone was stealing a car, but it sounded too new and tuned to be any of our cars. Turns out it was a friend of Marty's, and when I walked around the house Marty came out the front door, and we managed not to scare each other.

Marty went to sleep. Keith got up at 5:00 to go to work and told me Marty's supposed to work on armor at Steve's house at 10:00. I went to sleep, Dermod called (I was awake, but not up, at 9:30) which was good, because I wanted to make sure Marty was up; he was.

After a while Marty called me from the city parking lot near the courthouse, to say he was there to show up for the citation he got for being in a city park after hours. He was getting cold feet, and I felt bad for not being there with him so I coached him and encouraged him a bit.

Yesterday I found a dove's egg in the side pocket of a backpack in the library. A mourning dove had gotten stuck in there because the dog can open the door but not close it, and though I let the dove out a window, she spent a day or two (poor thing).

I don't think this is how it is at everyone's house, and I'm glad it's not this way every day at my house, but I do like having a life where things happen, and the things are more often interesting than awful.

I've read back over what's above and I might know why I like this life, or why this life is likeable. I don't have a schedule for cleaning the hot tub, I clean it every week or so, when there's a good day or a good reason. Being awake at 4:00 on a day that was likely to hit 102 degrees was a GOOD time to start early. Nobody was mad at Marty for being awake at 4:something in the morning. Keith was undisturbed that I was up and Marty was freshly abed; he knew Marty wanted to get to the armor making session and had faith that he would. Nobody shamed Marty for getting a citation for being in a park. They were playing on cool, steel slides on a hot Saturday night, and had the option to have stayed at a party where they could've been drinking, but they weren't. I didn't say "no" to Holly about quesadillas or the tub. No reason to say no.