Monday, December 15, 2008

So Much Goodness in the Icy Wind

I have much to be grateful for this week. There is music in the house. Suna and I are both healthy. The kids are supportive, and we have a nice house.

That last bit is important. While running an errand the other day, I saw a homeless man panhandling on a busy corner. When I left the business, I saw the cops arresting him and several of his compatriots ambling away from the scene and trying to look like they didn’t know him.

I thought of that man and his friends this morning when I stepped out to go to work—something else for which to be grateful in this economy. I was supposed to wake up to temperatures in the 50s. Instead, I stepped out into a near-freezing wind. I wondered if that homeless man was warm, if he thought it was better to be in a warm jail cell than looking for food and shelter on a windy street. I won’t get started on the criminalization of poverty. I promise. Still my heart went out to that man I had never met.

So let me talk about an internal locus of control. We can choose our attitude. All we have to do to feel grateful and empowered is to look at those who have less than we do, not those who have more. I have seen people with very little smile and laugh while others worry themselves sick over trying to get another TV.

Then if we actually do something to help our fellow humans, how much better would we feel?

So, most of all, I am grateful for these lessons in humanity and humility.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Concert

Last night, the holiday season began with the McNeil High School Band’s winter concert. Suna went a little early with TubaBoy so that she could catch the last bit of the orchestra’s concert. I took the extra half hour after I got home from work to unwind so that I could enjoy the band.

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McNeil Varsity Band

The Varsity Band played two numbers. They sounded really good this year—much better than last year. I’m not sure if that is because the music selection was better suited or because of the number of ringers playing with them. (The guy on mallets for the first number will soon turn 50. That’s younger than Suna and I but a tad oldish for a high school band.) Or maybe they just worked harder this year.

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Concert Band

Next came the Concert Band. They also sounded really good, even if the music selection did annoy Beccano. He only got to play two notes on the first selection. Then they played “Ave Maria,” which had no percussion at all. He did get to play quite nicely on the final selection.

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Wind Ensemble

The third and last band was the Wind Ensemble, featuring TubaBoy. OK. It didn’t feature him, but he was in it. They play a choir song that the composer had arranged for band. It was awesome. Then the director read a Cajun version of “The Night Before Christmas.” That has been something of a tradition, but he punished the audience last year by being too angry at the antics of a the drum line to read it.

Wind Ensemble wrapped up with “Sleigh Ride,” which we will also be doing in the choir’s Christmas program. Sigh. The band played it really well.

But the strangest part of the night was that all three band directors seemed to have gotten a fresh hair cut for the performance. Being fans of the military style, all three were shorn high and tight. They looked really professional when facing the audience. But when they turned to conduct, the stage lights shown through their hair giving the impression of haloed skulls. It would have been a really cool effect for a Halloween concert. For Yule, it was just a little creepy.

Unfortunately—or maybe fortunately—none of the photos show the skull effect, but you can see more at Facebook.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good New—I Hope

I got a meeting request from my boss today. Nothing noteworthy about that except that the meeting is in January and my contract is supposed to expire at the end of the year. That’s good news—I hope.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thank Yous

Suna and I open wedding presents.

Photo by: Beccano

Of course, I have to be grateful today for Suna and the family. They come first, but I’m also grateful for all the friends who came to our wedding last week. And for all the lovely gifts. Thank you to everyone who came. Thank you for all the goodies, especially for the toilet seat we asked for.

I think we finished writing our thank you cards this evening while watching the football game. I know I still have to find a couple of addresses.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Gardening Sadness

White Begonia

Today was a sad day in the garden, the first weekend after the first freeze. I spent a good bit of time trimming frost damage from some of my beautiful plants. Then to make it a perfect storm, this is also the day I had to cut the beautiful wedding flowers into bits for the compost pile.

I love finished compost, but it is always sad to have to put such beautifulness on the pile.

So, I’m posting a picture of one of the begonias to remind me that life is a circle. This white begonia is the only one in a whiskey barrel of red ones.

Some of these begonias became part of the compost pile today, along with the wedding flowers and other stuff from the yard. There they will slowly revert to compost, which will feed other plants and bring beauty back into the world.

And the circle turns ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
Were captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
—Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mothers and Hearts

The heart is one of the yang organs

Photo source: Wolf Wikis

On returning to work this morning, I had some astounding news. 

  • My former boss missed the wedding because her mother had to have a heart “proceedure” again last week. She is doing better now, and former boss is back at work. 
  • Then I found out my current boss was out yesterday and this morning because her mother was having heart problems and her father was too sick to take care of her. We had a nice talk about heart surgery in elderly parents—my mom lived five years after having a quadruple bypass at 75 but never regained her former strength—and I reminded her about the Austin Heart Hospital.

Please send positive energies to these two lovely women and their mothers. I’m sure that if you send positive energy, it will get to the right place and then come back to you reinforced.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Farewells

My nephew Chris made the trek from Bozo’s Port. He and his wife went back early Sunday via my Dad’s.

Photo by: Parker

After the wedding, Suna and I honeymooned at a local hotel, where we had champagne as a midnight snack and for breakfast. Sweetness and Suna’s family joined us for brunch at the hotel. Sweetness went home to her kids from the hotel, and we went home and spent a quiet day catching up on important things like Facebook and family.

Today we said goodbye to the Prince and Suna’s sister. We dropped the Prince off at the airport and went to lunch with SS at the new Kirby Lane. The food is as good as ever, but they have completely ruined the atmosphere. The interior of the new restaurant seems to be designed to amplify the least sound enough to raise the ambient noise level past the threshold of pain. This was at 13:30, and the room was far from full.

We left after a tasty but deafening meal and visited the Amish Furniture store down the sidewalk. Then we took SS back to the house to pick up her rental car and said farewell.

Everyone eventually made it home safely, and our house is returning to its “normal” levels of chaos.

So this week I am grateful to have formed a new family and to feel so welcome in it. I am grateful to everyone who traveled to attend Thanksgiving and the wedding—and to everyone one who just crossed town. I am grateful to everyone—Parker, SS, Elizabeth, and many others—who helped the wedding come of smoothly. And I am grateful to be able to enjoy some relative peace and quiet at home again.