Welcome!

A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lasts.

Today I graded my last set of assignments.

160 of them.

Or, actually, I finished the four sets that I've been working on for a few days.  But that last class felt special.  Like, this is for reals.

I don't have to do that ever again.  It was truly the WORST part of teaching, grading papers.  Not that I minded reading some of them.  Sometimes.  But who am I to judge where a kid is in their life, what drama they are enduring at the moment they created what was on that piece of paper, what trauma they escape just to come into my classroom and have me tell them they are a failure when all they really want - all they really need - at this moment on this day in this school year - is a safe place to rest for a while?

I hated it, and I never have to do it again.  I won't miss it.

There are four people - two teachers - retiring from my school.  A total of four teachers in the district. Tomorrow I will be among three recognized at the union retirement party.  The fourth teacher retiree is the other teacher from my school, but declines to participate in the dinner.  We have had a lot of gloating fun for the last few weeks, however.

We have a secret sign.

"I don't care, I don't care..."


We sit through meetings.  The bandwith isn't strong enough to support the number of computers on campus and must be fixed for next year.  I look over at my colleague and we both start doing the "I don't care" hand flip.  New textbook adoptions.  Handflip.  New frameworks.  Handflip.  Homework policy.  Handflip.  Upcoming students with challenges.  Handflip.

There is a lot to not care about.

I'm supposed to give a little speech tomorrow.  What I won't miss, what I will.

What I won't miss?

Cavalry parents.

Call slips from the office.

The stock phrase when teachers want to pull their students out of my class.  "They know they have to make up the assignment."  Gawd, I hate that phrase almost as much as the practice.  Because, yes, I do think what I'm doing in my class has value, as much as what the other teachers are doing.

Fortunately, the list of what I will miss is much longer.  Big things, like the colleagues who have been crewmates in this lifeboat I've been in for half my adult life.  Little things like the glorious view of the mountains between me and the ocean as I pull into the parking lot.


But as I tried to figure out what I will say during my little segment of the program tomorrow, I decided it best to focus on just three things from that list that represent the one big thing I will miss most about being a teacher.

I will share about the girl who was tested and qualified as retarded but placed in my regular ed history class anyway because her parents didn't want her to be away from her friends.  She was so disabled that we (her special ed resource teacher and I) created special tests for her.  Five multiple choice questions instead of twenty-five (and no essays) with only one correct answer and one distractor and the correct answer highlighted.  She still failed them.  Nevertheless, in age-old eighth grade tradition, all of my students are required to recite the Preamble to the Constitution from memory, and this girl had the same assignment as the others.  Memorize it, stand at your seat when called, and recite.  For a grade.  Mom called and begged me not to make her daughter do this in front of the class.  "She can do it during lunch."  Um, no.  The speech pathologist came to me and begged me to let her do it during the nutrition break.  Um, no.  These parents insisted on her being in the regular ed class; she would do what the regular ed students do.  As I recall, even the principal questioned whether making her do it with the rest of the class was the best decision.  The big day came, and she stood when called and recited the Preamble.  Perfectly.  The class applauded her as they had everyone else, but she was the only student who floated out of the classroom.  Mom called me the next day and apologized for pressuring me.  "She has never been like this before."

Just this year, another student, this one with a serious speech issue faltered his way through the Preamble.  When it was time for the three-minute Genius Hour presentation, there we were again.  "Doing it during a break is a perfectly acceptable accommodation."  Um.  No.  And again, he got up in front of the class with his brilliantly assembled slide presentation and used his hard-practiced speaking skills to do his three-minute presentation.  Not perfectly and I'm sure was the only person in the class with teary eyes watching him use his coping skills when the stutter threatened, but he stopped and he breathed and he focused and he got through it.  And I got the thrill of yet again watching a student grow exponentially in self-confidence and self-pride.

None compare, however, to my experience of three years ago.  I've written of it here before.  His mom still gives me giant hugs whenever she sees me.  I had a student with cerebral palsy.  Movie star handsome with a killer smile and a wicked sense of humor, he walked (or, more honestly, dragged himself around) with crutches and had serious speaking  challenges.  When it was his time for the 3-minute presentation, I gave him a choice.  In class or break?  At your seat or in front of the class?  I was pretty sure what he'd choose but I gave him a few days and finally he told me, "In front of the class."  I scheduled him for fifteen minutes at the end of class, knowing that he might have some computer issues because of the CP.  Ultimately, because of those issues coupled with computer slowness issues, his presentation took thirty minutes.  On pizza reward lunch day.  Five minutes into the lunch period, I stopped the presentation and offered to the class that they could leave and go get their pizza.

Not one student moved.  They just looked blankly at me like, "Are you nuts?"

I quickly sent the aide to the pizza line to tell them what was going on while the speaker valiantly continued his presentation.  A total of thirty minutes, fifteen minutes of their lunch time.  On pizza award day.  The entire class stayed to the end, then applauded and left with smiles and high fives and "Awesome job!"

The last students were heading out the door when I lost it.  On my way out I was greeted by a wide-eyed, teary principal coming in who said only, "Oh, my God!"

That's what I will miss the most.  Watching students who are given a chance to do something the world is telling them they cannot, do what seems impossible.  Having the privilege of watching their spines straighten, their faces light up and their feet lift off the floor.

As I've packed my classroom, I've run across a thin file labeled "Inspiration."  In it is an end-of-the year thank-you note from yet another special needs student.  She wrote, "For the first time, in your class I felt like I could do what the other kids do."

So, I guess most of all, I will miss kicking kids' butts into what the world tells them they cannot do.  And absorbing the joy when they sparkle with the knowledge that they can.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Celine Dion - How Does A Moment Last Forever (live in Las Vegas)



The new music for this movie really resonated with me.  I loved the new songs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lasts

... and firsts.
Tonight was my last Open House.

These things always make me nervous.  I have just enough "issues" in a school year to nurse a little bit of dread before an open house.  But, I'm happy to say there was not a hiccup.  In fact, it was a lovely reminder of why I should be a little bit sad to be retiring.  Ex-students from years past who won't be able to drop in and say hello.  A little sister that made the sign of a tear track when she learned she would not have me for a teacher as her two older brother had.  And parent after parent sharing how much their child had loved my class and how much the family had learned because their student brought home and shared what they had learned.  (The "Wizard of Oz" lecture is always popular.  "Mind blown.")

Tonight was particularly gratifying because there was a record number of parents wanting to thank me for assigning the family history project.  As part of the project, each student has to interview three relatives, then write their biographies to be bound into a magazine.  (That's some of them on the wall tonight.)  The parents wanted to tell me how much it meant to their parents or grandparents to actually have a child ask them questions and learn their stories.  I couldn't receive a nicer compliment.  As  I reach the end of this career, I calculate that my students have documented nearly 12,000 stories that would not have otherwise been recorded.  It's the achievement of which I am most proud as a history teacher.

I really hope my replacement continues the tradition.

I had SUCH a nice weekend, this past.

I decided to go to Disneyland for some special shopping.

Dang, it was packed!

First time I've ever waited an hour just to get to the kiosk in the Mickey and Friends parking structure.  The line was all the way onto the freeway, and I believe I was one of the last couple of hundred cars allowed to park in the structure.  It was full - I was in the next to the last row on the top level with the others full - before 9:00 am.  I heard that they had to start turning people away in the afternoon because they had reached capacity.  I left early so wasn't there when it happened, but the crowd I did experience in the early hours is enough evidence that it was a remarkably full day.

Still, I rarely ride anything anymore, and didn't have any problems doing what I wanted to do.

I started with a nice bacon and eggs (and biscuit, no potatoes) breakfast at the Rancho del Zocalo, then a few songs by the Silver Dollar Six over the entrance to the Golden Horseshoe.   I had stopped at World of Disney for the new Sleeping Beauty Tsum Tsums, but they didn't have them so trekked out to ToonTown to see if they had them.  Nope.   I had promised some friends to send a picture of the new light saber churros in Tomorrowland, so I detoured through Tomorrowland on my way back to Main Street.


While there I slipped into the Little Green Men pin shop for some special purchases, then headed over to Coke Corner.  Met a new friend in the bushes behind me...


...while an old friend entertained on the ragtime piano.


After a couple of sets (appreciated hearing some special favorites), I headed over to the Disneyana shop to check on my cell set purchase.  It was not really time for it to be done, but they had said they would call to tell me when it was ready and I had realized a few weeks ago that I had no idea what their number would be.  Since my husband died I no longer respond to strange numbers on my phone, so I thought I should find out what number I should keep an eye out for.

Turned out, the cast member I was talking to was the one who kept track of the comings and goings of these special orders.  She asked my name, then disappeared into the back room.  She came out to confirm the name I'd ordered under, then disappeared again, re-appearing with my purchase!

This picture isn't anywhere close to showing how gorgeous this cell is.

Perfect timing.  It had come in during that week, so I could take it home at this most convenient time.

I left the park, then took a walk up to Wonderground, where I didn't find anything to tempt me (for a change) before doing some shopping at the Acorn gift shop in the Grand Californian Hotel.  I was able to complete my collection of Arts-and-Crafts styled tiles that I hope to use in a kitchen remodel.  Someday.  I was a little disappointed that the piano player I had heard there a few weeks ago wasn't playing again, but I figured I already got lucky once that day so I shouldn't be piano greedy.

Now loaded with purchases, I went to Storytellers Cafe to re-hydrate and have a terrific Cobb Salad for lunch.  Got to interact with the BEST Pluto ever.


While I waited for lunch, I looked up the nearest Disney Store to try to find the Sleeping Beauty tsums.  Turned out there was one just a few minutes drive down the 5.  I caught a limo-tram (happens all the time that I load onto the tram from the wheelchair ramp - I was using my walker that trip - and they end up taking just me to the parking lot) and in a very short time was in a comfortable mall in Santa Ana.  I was thrilled to find the little toys I wanted just two doors down from See's.  Irresistible.


All of this was just time killing before my real reason for being in Orange County.

A few weeks ago someone posted a video of a male hula dancer on facebook.  I was impressed, not only with the dancer but with the off-screen singer.  Turned out the singer was the amazing (and famous) Hawaiian artist, Robert Cazimero.  I shared the video, and an old friend asked in comments if I had ever seen a Cazimero live performance.  I had followed the Brothers Cazimero on facebook for a few years but no, had never seen them live.  My friend then informed me that Robert Cazimero would be performing in Whittier in May, so I hopped over to the website and got myself a ticket.  I managed to get to the theater relaxed and ready for an evening of hula.

This was one of the best musical experiences of my life.  The little theater was intimate and the production beautifully crafted in every way.  I'd heard of the "spirit of Aloha," but have never experienced it before.  Aloha energy filled the theater.

And Cazimero!  What a voice!   What a piano!  He was getting over a virus and noted he was not in top form (really?) but even in not top form, his singing was stunning.  It was a full program of beautiful music and gorgeous hula dancing with a thread of unexpected humor through the evening.  I was lucky enough to buy a copy of his latest album before the concert (ten bucks, such a deal), and then got it signed afterward.


 
 (I might be just a little bit in love with this man for a while.)


It was a long, late drive home, but I had no problems staying awake with that fabulous baritone teaching me new songs to sing.  In Hawaiian.

The next morning was a slow start but I managed to get a few chores done before heading to the garden.  I'm working slowly at getting the vegetable garden whipped into shape, and Sunday's chore was adding a new composting device.  As is most of the garden space (which takes up about half the back yard), the space where I wanted the composter was full of weeds and covered with leaves, so I spent over an hour cleaning.  Eventually I had to engage in some jiu jitsu with that weed in front of the planter, but thought I was victorious in the end...


 ... and the composter landed in its new home.

As I wrapped up my couple of hours, I decided to water my little container garden and something zoomed past me to land in the rosemary.  I thought it was a hummingbird, it was so big, but was shocked to see the biggest grasshopper I've ever seen.  Anywhere.  And my uncle was a Kansas farmer.  They have grasshoppers there.  But mine wins.


I don't use pesticides and in general have a "let nature do its thing" philosophy.  I admit to inviting the mockingbirds to make a lunch out of this guy.

I ended my weekend on a slower note that I began it.  Remember my claim of victory over the weed?  I was somewhat premature in declaring the win.  Sometime during the match my sneaky opponent managed to injure my knee.  According to the MRI, my left knee has six things wrong with it, one of which can be helped with surgery.  And that's my good knee.  My bad knee is now practically un-use-able.

Ouch

I did not need this, now.  Fifteen work days left and a classroom to clear out of by the 16th of June.

Wish me luck.  Me and my best friend, ibuprofen.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day


Mine is the best.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Found

It doesn't make practical sense, but when I get overwhelmed with the things I cannot control, I often find myself making a big mess - usually re-organizing storage - that I can control.  This morning I realized that I was digging into a box (which usually has stuff stacked on it) for something I wanted several times a week when the drawers the box sits on sat full of stuff I never needed.  So this morning I dumped all the contents of the drawers and the box (which usually has stuff stacked on it) onto the bed and spent a calming hour re-arranging so that the rarely stuff will sit in the box (which usually has stuff stacked on it).

While I was messin' with the mess I ran across a stray page from a writing group I belonged to for a while.  I guess I needed to re-read this now.

I decided to store it here.
December 12, 2012

What Was Left Behind

Half of the flour from
the cookie recipe

A tune that meant something

An invitation floating
to be acted on or forgotten?

Rows of baby plants not yet checked for survival
Seedlings and bulbs hibernating in the garage
Stratification run amok

Regrets not left
carried along though the years
like pocket lint
in a Goodwill sweater

Sometimes they just come out that way.

8:55 am


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Integrity...

...can be fun.

Backstory:

I sold a piece of property, finally.  At a loss, and most of the proceeds went into paying off credit card debt, but there was a little left over.  Enough to let me make some long-held and even some newer dreams come true.  I've already documented some here.

This little story is about color.  I've lived in this house over forty years - forty-three, to be exact - and for forty of them I couldn't shake the "temporary 'cause we're moving up" mentality.  Everything neutral all that time.  Because.  Selling.

Now that I know this is my forever home, I am coming to despise neutral and crave color.  And my choices are surprising and delighting me.

Most recently, I purchased this amazing photograph by Italian photographer Antonio Busiello (who is a delight to work with on a purchase, by the way.)  The Anacapa Arch is just a few miles offshore from my house as the crow - or rather, as the seagull - flies.  This was a National Geographic Society award winner and I fell in love with it at first sight.


I worked with an amazing framer at Michael's, believe it or not.  I picked out the wood because I wanted something that reminded me of an old ship.  The burlap mat (as in the jute of the old rigging) has added a gorgeous texture and in person brings out the rocky surface of the arch.  And the framer found the perfect copper bead for the final inner frame.  Even Antonio declared the presentation "perfect," and it is now the focal point of this room.

Shortly after this purchase, the Facebook Shop-'Till-You-Drop algorithm found me this turquoise chair and my fickle heart skipped from the print to this insanely uncomfortable piece of art.

 

I'm actually kind of glad it's so uncomfortable.  Nobody will want to sit in it and it will last forever.

Then, while on Stearn's Wharf in Santa Barbara waiting for a Whale Watch excursion, I found this treasure in one of the gift shops.





Not only the right color and gorgeous font, but my favorite Santa Barbara coast excursion is the sunset cruise, so it was completely appropriate.

So, what does any or all of this have to do with integrity?

Yesterday I went to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve and afterward hunted down a delightful quilt shop in Lancaster.  (This was to calm me for the CA Hwy 14 portion of my return trip.  I do truly despise Santa Clarita and the portion of the 14 that runs through it toward the 5, but that's a story for another time.)  I was looking for a number of fabrics.  Red and white to use with an piece of redwork embroidery I'm working on.   (Found the PERFECT piece.)  Flowers for a new quilt for my little bed.  (Found that.)

And, as always, fabric I didn't know I was looking for but found anyway.  The Rogue One panel (which will now form the backing for my Force Awakens wallhanging/pin display.  Reversible, uh huh.)  And some gorgeous sea-themed pieces.

I had already decided that I wanted to make a quilt to cover my 43-year-old, 8-foot sofa.  When I had it re-upholstered over thirty years ago, I told the saleswoman I wanted chain mail.  I had little kids and figured if something could hang in there until they were somewhat civilized, I would be WAY ahead of the game.  Well, there are issues with the sofa (it needs some longer legs, for example, so people can get out of it) but the upholstery is still hanging in there and looks like it will probably outlast me (and I intend to live a good long time yet).

But, the color...  well... it's so...

Neutral.

Brown.  A nice brown.  A warm brown.  With a nice yellow tone that goes with the carpet I adore.

But brown.

So, I came up with this idea.  I'm going to drag out all my sea-themed art quilt patterns by McKenna Ryan.   I have these...


... and want to order a couple more.  They will need tweaking to fit what I want, with some color changes to incorporate the turquoise here and there.  They will form a side of the quilt that will hang across the back of the seat.  Like, where you lean when you sit down.

But the actual back of the sofa will be visible from the kitchen, and I wasn't real sure how to handle that.  Do I really want to do sixteen feet of these art quilt blocks?

So, back to the little quilt shop.  I'm wandering through the ocean-themed section.  Which, I have to admit, I was surprised to see in a Lancaster quilt shop, but it was awesome.  And then my fabric-ignited pacemaker kicked into gear again when I spied this...





Perfection.  Quilted and draped over the back of the sofa with the art blocks on the other side, this will come across sort of like a yummy wallpaper.

I started off by asking for two yards, then corrected it to three, then said, "Oh, make it four."

I carted my purchases to the register table and the cashier of the day rang up the ticket.  I paid and left.  Once in my car, all my thoughts were on not getting lost on my way back to the 14 and then getting home alive.  Happily home, I started sorting through my treasures and realized there was no way my payment was enough for all that fabric.  I got out my receipt and ticked off the fabric pieces.  Sure enough, they had only charged me for a half-yard of the gorgeous shells and coral piece when I had purchased four yards.

No way I was driving all the way back to make this right, but I hoped they would adjust over the phone.  I called and I imagine the person on the phone mis-heard when I said they had grossly under-charged me.  I think she thought I meant over-charged because, of course, nobody would call to offer to pay for something they already had ownership of, sheltered in their home two hours away.

But there's that integrity piece.

Years ago, I heard Billy Joel's song, "My Life," and a verse has stayed with me my entire adult life.

They will tell you you can't sleep alone in a strange place
Then they'll tell you you can't sleep with somebody else.
Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space.
Either way it's O.K.
You wake up with yourself.

I've never forgotten that lesson.  I wake up with myself every day, and I have to like that experience.  My mom owned a quilt shop briefly.  And got ripped off.  It hurt her.  I won't do that to another small business.

So, yeah.

I called and it was fun.  The moment when the serious woman on the other end of the line realized I didn't want a refund of an over-charge but wanted to read her my credit card number so that she could get paid for the 3.5 yards of delicious fabric I had walked out with.  And I loved the anonymity of it all.  I'm not a regular customer.  They didn't know me and won't recognize me if I ever go back.  Just a faceless kindness across the phone lines.

Priceless.

I'm still pretty much crushing on the music of Carrie Newcomer, and I love this chorus from her song, "Lean Into the Light."


 The shadows of this world will say
There's no hope, why try anyway?
Every kindness large or slight
Shifts the balance towards the light.

It made someone's day better.  I imagine her, incredulous, sharing the story through the day.  "You'll never believe this, but..."  She'll take it home and share it.  And maybe, I can only hope, others will be inspired to pass it on.


Because it made a difference for that one.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Poppy...

...success.

Second attempt this year and I finally made it when the poppies were open.  Kind of end of season, I hear, but still impressive.

Enjoyed playing with my new camera.  I had hoped to get a new one before I head to Japan in October.  I've been pretty happy with the Nikon Coolpix over the years.  I was using my third, and not so impressed with it as the other two.  I could never figure out how to turn off the function that provided light for night shots (meaning no night shots) and the colors were too often just washed out.  I had pretty much decided to get a Canon Powershot when I was ready for a new one, especially if I could get more optical zoom than the 11x that I had.

Yesterday I was waiting for seating at a new restaurant actually in my favorite nursery in Newport Beach.  The Farmhouse melds with Roger's Gardens beautifully.  I was taken by the mix of woods - different colors, different saw patterns - used on the hostess station, so reached into my purse for the
Coolpix to snap a picture.  As occasionally happens, my developing arthritis decided to team up with my lifelong benign essential tremor in what can only be called a spaz attack and I bobbled the camera to its dramatic demise.  A rather end over teakettle flip directly onto the gorgeous stained concrete floor.  On its lens.

I took out the memory card and battery and handed the camera to the hostess for disposal.  Then, since I was scheduled for a run to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve today, detoured to the Best Buy for the premature purchase of the Canon.  Happily, Canon Powershots were on sale this week - everywhere - and I was able to get the 40x optical for the same price as I expected to pay for the 18x.  Too early to tell if I'm going to like the zoom as well (if I can take pictures of the full moon that turn out as well, I will be happy) but today's color shots are much better than I was getting.

I was a little worried on the drive out as the closer I got to my exit from the 5, the colder and more overcast it became.  I turned back the last time because all the flowers were closed along the 138.  But, as I waited in the one-in-one-out line at the preserve, the sun came out and happy poppies opened up for the show.



I love the combination of lupine and poppy.  This was the lone lupine on this trail.


My last spring break day trip.

I bought my mom a new recliner that will be delivered tomorrow so I will take my papers to grade to her house.  Thursday I'm having my termite-eaten French doors replaced so will be home all day.  Am hoping to be able to plant my tomatoes and herbs and pollinator-attracting flowers while the guy works.  That is assuming I can get all my papers graded tomorrow.  Saturday is free and Sunday I'll be helping with Easter all day.  Then back for my last 43 days until retirement.

Getting more and more excited, although I admit to some disjointed feelings as well.  I suspect they are connected to my son and his dog moving out.  It makes the transition even more dramatic.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pack

My son moved in with his beloved and her two dogs a few weeks ago.  Yesterday he came by and picked up our dog and the dog's worldly possessions.  I wish I'd been taping this old, goofy dog's ecstatic reaction when, first, my son picked up his collar and leash and second, when he realized they were going to go somewhere in the car.

I assume all went well, because they have not returned.




 

It's been eight years since we brought him home.

I'm not going to miss the hair everywhere.
I'm not going to miss the drool on my knee.
I'm not going to miss the fifteen-minute toileting excursions.
I'm not going to miss dog farts in the middle of the night.
I'm not going to miss scheduling my life around being home for the dog.




But I sure am going to miss the love.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Delightful Day...

... in progress.

This morning was a trip with a friend to Otto & Sons in Fillmore for





I'd been to it before but she had not, and as always, it was so satisfying to watch her have so much fun.

Over a hundred varieties of tomatoes.

Three weeks until Rose Days.  We. Will. Be. Back.
Invigorated by the sunshine, fresh air and fragrance of orange blossoms, we headed to my favorite restaurant for lunch, then home to plan where to plant the swag.


No, not just tomatoes.  Herbs and lupine...


...and more herbs. 
 
 
Inspired, I took a quick spring walk through the neglected home garden spaces, overwhelmed with gratitude for the rain this year.

Hydrangea.  Will start the bluing tomorrow.  I thought I'd lost it last summer, but it's already twice as big as it got last year.

 
Planning to get this Cara Cara in the ground this year.  Got one orange off her last year and it was delish.

Always happy when the Japanese Maples recover.  Hoping to pot them into forever pots this year.

Dutchman's Pipe doing well.  Watched a propagation video so will try to make more.  Not giving up on trying to attract the Pipevine Swallowtail.

SQUEEE!  Amaryllis, and they should be Apple Blossom.  Finally.  Fingers crossed.

Passion vine recovering for another year of Fritillary butterflies.

One Apricot Chiffon poppy.  Hoping for seeds and more.

Geum Totally Tangerine.  Have it all over the yard, and blooming in several spaces.

Lots of volunteer milkweed for the Monarchs.  Yay.

I think cutting back is helping the Milkweed..

Honey Perfume.

Brass Band

Hot Cocoa.

Hot Cocoa again.  Planning to dig up grass for more rose space.

Just Joey.  My favorite.  Smells wonderful.

Thrilled that poppies are popping up everywhere.
 
Skimmed the winter algae off the top of the water and was thrilled to note that the half-dozen finger-sized pieces of elodea had exploded into a whole forest of itself in the pond.  The fish seem happy to have it to hide in.

Most of the goldfish school survived the winter.

This lily had gone dormant down to the soil.  These leaves have appeared just this week.  Tomorrow - feed!

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' already in its first flush.

Rested and did a little writing before heading into town for a get-together with Timber Hawkeye, author of Buddhist Boot Camp.  Got my times mixed up and arrived late but just in time to see a dear friend and owner of Mrs. Figs' Bookworm, our delightful little independent bookstore, reading aloud from Douglas Wood's gorgeous Old Turtle.  When she finished, Timber led us in a five-minute meditation to rest with what we'd heard, then we enjoyed a conversation about the lessons from the book.  We ended with another short meditation, and I headed directly to the restaurant where my son was playing drums with singer/piano player Michael Falcone.

The juxtaposition of the two gatherings - a quiet discussion with meditation into a bar atmosphere - disturbed me, but I chose once more to take it as a lesson.  When you know what you don't want, you know what you do want.  I was practically dancing through the day, it was such a happy time.   Only to come screeching to a halt in the restaurant.  

I don't think I'll be hearing him play there again.  Even the little wine bar with the jazz groups doesn't have that tinge of sad that this place does.

Fortunately, I came home to a clear night scented with orange blossoms and lit with a sliver of moonshine to be greeted by our old, crippled, dopey Lab who gives constant lessons in unconditional love.

All is well with me.