Archive for September, 2007

Sweet Dreams
September 28, 2007

A dream is a wish your heart makes…                                                                                                           –Cinderella 

Somehow my pillowslip ended up on the floor this morning. I didn’t even notice that it was off the pillow until I spied a crumpled wad of fabric down by the bedpost as I walked through the room later on. I think Bailey had taken advantage of this unexpected gift from above and made a little bed out of it.  

How did that happen? Over the past three nights I have had some so-called ‘anxiety dreams’ where I’ve been searching for something. In the first, I was searching for my car in a multi-story parking lot. It was a rental car, and I couldn’t remember what kind it was or what it looked like (this was helpful!), nor of course what level I had parked on. In the second, I was searching for my classroom in college, but I couldn’t remember what class it was that I had signed up for (even more helpful!).  

Then last night, I lost Joel in an airport. Our plane was boarding, and it must have been a Southwest Airlines flight, because why else would I have been anxious about getting a good seat? In this dream, I either didn’t have my cell phone or I didn’t think about calling him (dreams don’t exactly make much sense sometimes), so I just went ahead and boarded with hopes that he’d show up. Once inside the plane, I found myself in what looked like a theater with plush seats. I picked a window seat that was almost hidden, and then I anxiously looked for Joel to come through the door.  

Well, I never found my car in the parking lot, and I never found my classroom in college, but Joel did board that plane, and I was so happy to see him! But that doesn’t explain why my pillowslip was on the floor this morning… 

Dreams are funny things and I’ve had some doozies! I’ve walked in my sleep, talked in my sleep but what I do mostly is dream vividly and wonder what they mean. There was the time that I shook Joel awake as a newlywed and asked him “WHO ARE YOU??” He said, “It’s me!” which was apparently a good enough answer for me, because I just rolled over and went back to sleep. Then there was another night when I woke him up to report that orange juice was dripping from the ceiling (I have no idea where that one came from). 

But taking the pillowslip off my pillow in the middle of the night and tossing it on the floor? Maybe I was dreaming that I wanted a pillow on the Southwest plane that I’d boarded, but after having read that airlines don’t clean the pillows or blankets between flights (so don’t ask for one… bring your own), I unconsciously took my own pillowslip off my pillow and threw it on the floor?  

I guess I should better ask myself why I am having so many searching dreams lately. What am I searching for? The fact that Joel showed up in my dream last night was a good sign that it’s not a replacement for him! Maybe I’m at a crossroads as far as ‘what to do’, as my website ‘pay’ job is coming to an end (I’ll still be working on the arts pages as a volunteer). Maybe I’m searching for a new challenge?  

Could be! I keep threatening to write a book. Maybe this is a sign! Let’s see what I dream about tonight!

A Trip Back in Time
September 22, 2007

 Kids say the darndest things…  

Due to a slow news week and a lack of time to prepare a throw down entry, let’s travel 50 years back in time to 1957 in New Orleans, where 4 year old sister ‘Dee Dee’ has ostensibly written a letter to her grandfather. The following was actually written by our mother, and it always makes us laugh when we read it (I think I just blew out my spell check by writing this!): 

Thursday night 

Dere Paw-Paw, 

I wont 2 tel u about raisins. Ef u put wun up yer noz, it duz not even hert. I no becuz I put wun en my noz on Toosday. It is a gud way to get Mommie to jump around and get a lot things dun in a hurry, so ef u ever wont Memaw to jump around, put a raisin way up in yer noz. It duzn’t hert. 

Mommie wuz so-ing on Memaw’s red coat and getting reddy to wrap it up and also to wrap Mam-maw’s pyjimas for her berthday when I cam and told her I didn’t wont to eet the raisin I had put up my noz becuz I cudn’t git it out. She rilly hopped up and put me on the bed and tried to pik the raisin out with her tweezrs, but I moved and scratched my noz and boy did it bleed and when I saw the blood boy did I holler. 

That maid her run around more and she phoned the doctor and he sed cum rite over- so she put a rag on my noz and then she hurried and tied up her packages- and she hollered at everybody and I just hollered. 

When we got to the doctor, I stopped hollering- and the hole ofice wuz full of people, so we had to wate a long time. Tetot kept falling off the chair, becuz she was playing she was fishing and falling in the water, and Carol kept wanting to red Mommie’s book and kep kicking me with her big shoes and it wuz verry crowded and we had to stay about an our befor our tern came. 

Then my noz felt lik I had a big bugger- so I took my rag and blue real hard- and whut do u no! That big raisin just popped right out! All the pepul in the ofice lafed and lafed and the nerse lafed too and the doctur sed he woodn’t send a bill. Mommie lafed a littil too, but I think she had things she’d ruther hav ben doing at hom. We wer all glad I new how to blo my noz so hard. Aren’t u. 

Luv frum yer

DD  

(Thanks for the laugh, Mom! I don’t know how you ever managed… )

First Call for Fall!
September 15, 2007

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…

John Keats (1795-1821) 

I felt fall tonight (Sept. 11) for the first time this year… well in Houston, anyway. I had felt it twice before in other places, and both times, it was a delicious sensation, but to actually feel it in Houston this early is, simply ‘cool’! And it isn’t even autumn yet on the calendar! 

Fall may mean a season of twilight for some folks, but I’m still on a ‘school year’ schedule, even though I don’t really have to think about that sort of calendar much anymore. To me, fall will always mean a fresh new slate, with that thrill that a brand new notebook purchased along with all the other school supplies brings. The best new school supply ever was the unopened box of crayons with their sharp points of color just waiting to be selected. 

New clothes? Unfortunately, for grown ups, there is no good excuse to go buy new clothes for school anymore. But even if not new, my fall wardrobe is certainly different from my summer togs. I’m not wearing them quite yet, mind you, because summer weather WILL return down here no matter what the calendar says. Still, it will be fun to eventually ‘retire’ the clothes that I’ve been wearing for months for some more snuggly stuff. No more white pants after the fall equinox, for sure!  

What am I saying? I am the perennially cold person who quakes in church because the air conditioning is on full blast. While I’m at the grocery store, my hands grow numb in the freezer aisle. My favorite quip is that when the day comes that I finally hit menopause, I will NOT suffer from hot flashes, but rather I will enjoy ‘comfortable flashes.’ You may see me going ‘AHHHH’ at some random point as I bask in the heat.  

So. Where have I felt fall 2007 before now? The first time was in San Francisco in mid August, although it was just typical summer weather there. It was a nice break from the usual hot Houston weather, but I’m not sure I would want to be so cool all the time during the summer months. Still, it was invigorating to WANT to walk on the sunny side of the street, and to wear a light jacket in the evenings. However, just knowing it was typical of SF, I didn’t get into the fall spirit at the time; I just savored the sensation. 

Now when we went to New York at the end of August to visit Shannon up in the Hudson Valley, it was different. She had called us earlier in the week prior to our visit to say that it was getting chilly at night, so it might be good to bring a jacket. The reality was that in the span of three days, the temperature rose FORTY degrees, and it was in the nineties that Saturday of our visit! It was typical Houston weather, but certainly atypical for them, and we could see that people were NOT used to it.  

But a storm blew through that night, and the next morning, I felt the first harbinger of fall. It was wonderful to run in it, and even though it wasn’t all THAT cool, the front brought that certain brisk dryness to the air. As we strolled along and window-shopped in Rhinebeck later that Sunday, I bought a fuzzy pullover that will be great to wear later in the season.  

Back in Houston this week, I wasn’t the only creature to feel fall last night. The dogs felt it, too, and they were eager to go outside and sniff the breezes that came from somewhere north of here. That they didn’t want to come back inside was the proof.  

So fall is definitely on the way! It may still be warm during the days, but the sun is casting a longer shadow, and the light is more golden. Evenings and mornings are pleasant, and before we know it, we’ll be complaining about it being too cold. Don’t you just love it? It’s absolutely the most wonderful time of the year!

Choir Camp
September 7, 2007

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

Ever since 1999, I have spent my Labor Day weekends as a camp counselor for Pure Sound, our church’s youth choir, at their annual retreat at Camp for All (near Burton, TX). When I began this journey, my daughter was in the 8th grade, and now she is a senior in college. I’m not sure when I made the decision to continue being a counselor after her graduation from high school, but I am glad that I did.  

Why? Because I have found that being a counselor is easier with other people’s children than one’s own. Not that I love them more than my daughter; I most certainly do not. But when Shannon’s not there, I can focus on the others without worrying about whether or not she is a) having fun, b) being well behaved or c) singing correctly. And I can love the other kids totally without worrying about whether or not she will mind. I can sit with them at meals without wondering if she would rather have me sit with her and her friends. It really is freeing to be able to give them my all.  

Back in 2004 when I was debating whether or not to go back, I made the decision to continue by looking at my dad’s legacy as a Boy Scout leader. For 50 years he worked with the Scouts, wherever he lived and no matter that his own sons weren’t involved. I cannot match his total years of service, but I can do this for as long as I am able (and welcome).   

Now I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I have so much fun, and get so much love back from the kids, it’s a real gift to me. This year was extra nice; I was in a cabin of 10th/11th grade girls who all got along and were very enthusiastic campers. No drama, no hissy fits, no hurt feelings. My co-counselor was a dear friend, and we laughed together as we both forgot our shampoo and had to borrow some called, ‘Brunette Goddess’ from one of our charges.  

One morning before dawn, I jogged down the country roads with a fellow runner, a 15 year old ‘hare’ to my ‘tortoise’. Whew! But we visited as we ran, and I got to hear about some of her family issues that have given me a better insight into her character.  

I had a blast playing volleyball with a mixed team of die-hard players and never-before-touched-a-ball ones. The game was evenly matched, and we lost by only one point! It was so neat to see the newbies really get into the spirit, and we really celebrated their successful shots.  

The talent show was, shall I say, ‘interesting’? It was a mix of acts, my favorite of which was the 8th grade boy who juggled lighted balls in the dark! He was amazing! Of course, there was a lot of singing, and several of the guys performed some loud, hard rock numbers that just about pierced my ears! (my taste runs more towards old fashioned fare…) Alas, my camera battery died in the middle of the show, and I’ve been saying it was a case of homicide. But then afterwards, one of our 6th graders confided in me, ‘That was the COOLEST talent show ever!’ So there you go.  

I helped the seniors make the communion bread as they planned for the service on Sunday evening. They were horsing around, but I tell you, it was the best bread ever! (Do I always say that? I think so…) But when it came time for them to step up and lead the service, they took it very seriously and did a terrific job.  

Note: one of my funniest camp memories has to do with this bread preparation. My friend Mike helped us one year, and then later introduced me to someone as his ‘bed breaking buddy’ (rather than his ‘bread baking buddy’). I’ve never let him forget that one! 

The dance is always held on the final night, and it is both loud and long. I prefer to sit outside on the porch in a rocking chair and escort singers to and from cabins as needed (they aren’t allowed to run loose during this time). It’s just nice to be outside and enjoy the fresh air and the stars (usually not visible in Houston!). One younger girl wasn’t really comfortable with the goings on, so we walked back to her cabin. She confided in me that she had wanted to go on a nature walk while at camp, so I took her by to see a praying mantis that I had spied under light earlier in the evening. And then we heard and saw a Great Horned Owl! It was the coolest sight, and she seemed genuinely awed by it. I hope it made a good memory for her.

 I returned home in great spirits, renewed and excited about the new choir year. What a delight it is for me to be able to serve in such a way that allows me to reap so many blessings as a result! Now I better understand how Dad felt, and I like to think that he would be proud that his legacy of service lives on.