Praise Song: Children at Play

042515Praise how a field, any field, means run! To the trees and back and–panting–let’s go again. Up and down on one leg or leaping like a frog or hand on the head because we are unicorns. Praise a pickup game of soccer behind the barbecue restaurant. Praise piggybacking the little kids as we sprint. Praise dusk coming on, the air April thick, parents waiting at picnic tables while the children keep going, keep going. Praise their breathlessness. Praise how fully they enter the action. Praise their dampened hair as we hug goodbye in the parking lot.

April 25, 2015

Praise Song: Getting Through a Hard Week

It’s true, each day I found something to praise. The focus of students writing around a table, the sweetness of the restaurant where we held our rehearsal dinner almost seven years ago. Amid an endless headache and doctors’ appointments and traffic that didn’t want to release me from its hold, I snapped pictures of the CSA baskets and the dinner I came home to and kitchen shears on a wrinkled towel that deserve a song for the satisfying snip that they make. I found what was tender and worthy in a week that tested me. So praise the practice of praising, even when it’s hard. Praise three meals a day and a husband and friends who look after me. Praise three years of Amelia at Free Minds and how proudly the writers read their work on Tuesday night. Praise a headache subsiding and a blog still alive and how I took those kitchen shears to the garden, Saturday afternoon, and clipped a small bouquet for the kitchen.

April 18, 2015

Praise Song: Children at Easter

Praise the boy in the pew in front of us, his blue glasses held to his head with a strap, his bow tie and blonde bowl cut, praise how he rolled and wiggled through to communion, when his parents finally carried him away. Praise the girl in the white polka dotted dress, with her turned-in toes and messy hair that gave Chris a lump in his throat for a past so far away. Praise the children who took over our house for the afternoon, who made obstacle courses out of hand weights, bouncy balls, and an inflatable balance disk, then ran in circles around the couch. Praise their laughter from the den. Praise their joy at an egg hunt, at guitar strumming and piano banging and tapping the side of a mesh strainer to rain sugar onto a cake. Easter asks for the spirit of children, for baskets of plastic grass and cascarones cracked on the head. Praise a holiday that revels in glory, in youth. Praise our house afterwards, the confetti on the porch, straw on the carpet, the dozens of seeds pulled from out-of-date packages that were tucked into the soil by small hands. Who can say? They just might grow.

April 5, 2015

Honk! and More

There is no better Austin than the one that shows itself on a late March Saturday, which is the one we got to share with Gary on his visit. It’s a day that invites deck sitting and park going and choosing between too many good events spread between too many places. It’s the perfect problem to have. Julie on the radio talking about the Candoli Brothers. Marching bands from across the country converging to play and dance and sing. The familiar old woman in the bright yellow sports bra shaking it with the belly dancer. We sat in grass, in the shade, and we stood in a parking lot beneath giant murals and the horns honked and swooned. Minor Mishap brought it again. Then we drank tea and ate leftovers and saw improv and strolled through the hopping streets of downtown, all the way to Willie. I leaned over to Gary at the show and said, “Just so you know, our life isn’t always this exciting.” But occasionally in late March, it is.

March 28, 2015

Kitchen with Four Annabellas

032615Dinner at home for Gary’s visit means chicken roasted with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme; salad with the sharpest blue cheese; carrot cake with birthday candles. Maryjean brings Apothic red and canvases. She’s been playing with painting Annabella, seeking the images less posed, more true. But the hair goes from blonde to red, from red to black. We nosh on olives and salami, Swiss cheese cut into little squares, and Annabella watches us–younger, older, shot through Maryjean’s imagination, her brush. Meanwhile, the real Annabella is in LA, doing we know not what, watching we know not whom.

March 26, 2015

These Two

031615So alike, from high forehead and deep-set eyes to tendency to talk over anyone in the room. Smart. Incisive. Ever reading, gathering data so that they are suddenly spouting about bitcoins or women’s rights in Eastern Europe or Jimmy Durante. Staying up too late. Forgetting to eat. Sweeping in to make everyone feel at home. Quick on their feet. Laughing. Dancing. Joking. Effusive. Unabashed over crispy brussel sprouts, smoky brisket, the touch of cardamom in the gelato. Fearless in social situations. Connectors. Bridge builders. Big thinkers. Writers of sweet cards you tuck in your suitcase and carry with you. Story tellers. Gesticulators. Endearing. Adorable. Father and daughter. Family.

March 16, 2015

Flu

030915My grandfather was a pharmacist, and he brought home thermometers that my mother and aunt would then break to play with the mercury. It rolled and gathered and separated and shined. Even when I was a kid, my mother mused on the magic of liquid metal. We know today that mercury isn’t safe, and most of our thermometers are plastic and make beeping noises when we use them. But when I’m really sick,  I still turn to the old fashioned ones. This one may have come from my grandfather’s Connecticut pharmacy. Today it confirmed that my fever was rising — 99.5 to 100.9 to 101.6, before I took some ibuprofen. The idea of play was far in the distance as I ached and slumped and shivered and sweat. Inert, I thought, as I looked at my slippers and thought my feet too far away to bother taking them off. I am inert. I kept the thermometer in easy reach all day.

March 9, 2015