Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Almost time to leave

We left Daddy with the family and drove a few miles north on 35 to the new outlet mall, specifically to La Madeleine's for a late breakfast. Having made do with Nutrigrain bars and toaster pastries for the past few mornings, I was hungry for the real thing. I filled my tummy with some well cooked scrambled eggs, potato galette (French style hash browns), bacon, a croissant, coffee, and slices of chewy French breads and preserves that were there for the taking. The bread and coffee reminded me of my first morning in Avignon.

I don't know if I will have an opportunity to take more pictures of the new baby. I do not want to use a flash and hurt his little eyes. But he is doing well, a tiny and precious little person. His face has lost some of the puffiness from being born and he is already nursing well. I think the older boys are adjusting. Tomorrow we will leave the babies, the prickly pear cactus and the Lone Star Statebehind and fly east on Continental to home sweet home.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Duty Called

My two favorite restaurants are here in Austin, Z'Tejas and Eddie V's Edgewater Grill but we have not been able to squeeze in either one. That's OK. Outings to the hospital, Target, and the local grocery store HEB will just have to do this time. Jessica and cute little Adam came home, and we took the noisy other little boys to the park for awhile. I enjoyed the blues and greens of sky and land, warm wind, the graceful flight of the hawk overhead, and sitting on the park bench watching the children at play. Life goes on.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thoughts for the day

1. A newborn baby still looks like he brings with him the wisdom of the ages.
2. We humans are sure helpless when we arrive.
3. The same big questions: nurture vs nature, environment vs heredity, genes vs early learning
4. Circumcision is painful.
5. Is having a baby easier or harder than it was when I had mine?
6. There is less for a nursery nurse to do now than when I worked in one.
7. Kids can sure learn a lot of bad behaviors from "kid shows."
8. Every home is different and we are all particular about something.
9. I am glad I am adaptable.
10. Toaster strudels were a good invention.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Neighborhood Cats

These cats are asking "Where is our dinner?" They are missing Jessica who feeds them even though she says they are not hers. She has counted fourteen. I have seen about six and some are long haired beauties.One at a time they came to eat. I think the musical Cats makes us more aware of their secret lives and behaviors.

Austin's Whole Foods Market

The flagship store at the corner of Sixth and Lamar is a feast for the senses. We got out today and headed to my favorite place in town. Parking is in a garage under the store and elevators take you up to the Whole Foods experience. This Saturday it was filled with shoppers, probably lucky locals who don't have to wait two years between visits. What a great place! It has the usual beautiful produce, wines, cheeses, cut flowers, aged beef, high quality staples and so forth that ours does, but one of the biggest draws here are the many small bistro-like areas where you can get anything to eat that you could possibly want. There is a smoothie bar, Bowie BBQ, a taco "stand," a place for vegan cuisine, Candy Island, soup and sandwich, sushi and other Asian fare, a seafood diner, Sweet Bites, big and little pizzas, and I cannot begin to remember the rest. There are stools around most cooking areas, small tables and chairs, and outside there were umbrella shaded tables for those who want to enjoy their meals there. Inside the mixed aromas were heavenly. Coffee beans were roasting and wonderful breads were baking in hot ovens. My, how I wish I could braid a challah like the ones there. Or make a nutritious Seedilicious loaf if that is what it was called. Samples of coffee and tea were being offered as were nutty cheeses, healthy bars, the various breads, and ice cream made from coconut and rice milk. I bought a bouquet of yellow tulips for Jessica, this nice packaged salad for myself and a few other little things. If you go to Austin, Whole Foods downtown is a must. Somehow the world seems a little brighter in there!

The Blackbirds of Austin

Ten years ago I came to Austin, Texas for the first time and was stunned by the sheer numbers of these shiny blackbirds. They are all over the place, more ubiquitous than pigeons in a big city. Yesterday afternoon they were resting in trees and on the fence of Jessica's back yard; they hang out at grocery stores and at the park where we took the boys to play yesterday. They are Great Tailed Grackles and I can vouch for the long spreading plumage. I got this picture as I was leaving the most wonderful Whole Foods in downtown Austin today.
And another. A female?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Introducing Adam

Nicholas, six years old, holding baby brother on his birth day. Adam weighs 7 lbs 13 oz and is 20 inches long.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In Austin

We flew into Austin today because tomorrow Jessica will be having her third boy by C section. About five a.m. James will take her to the hospital and we will stay to take care of the children. Tomorrow I hope to have some pictures of the new baby!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Social History

Today I'd like to comment on the inadequacies of our current prez and on his increasingly evident narcissism that pre-election was referred to as malignant, but since I am perplexed as to what I can do about it, I don't know where to start. Like most Americans I am just living out my life.

When I was a student and sitting in history classes, I used to wonder what else the people were doing during these eras of upheaval and war, because history lessons just seemed to go from war to war, to dictators and kings, with only a few years in between. (I remember that because of all the dates I had to memorize.) I wondered...how did the world continue to move along and populate itself in spite of all the "change"? How did the women manage through the bloodshed, loss and violence? How did they live their lives? What did they look like, these people of long ago?

Today we are in actual military wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are also engaged in cultural and political wars within our own boundaries. It is a difficult time as some of those who currently have the power to bring about "change" seem to be hell bent on taking power away from the individual citizen and putting it in their own hands, the defiant hands of a seemingly immoral central government. I believe most Americans oppose this ideology. And we have conflict within our own American minds as we try to sort through the info that is fed to us, what our eyes see, and what our spirits respond to.

Now I know that life goes on during times of turmoil and transitions. People continue to fall in love, listen to music, work, change clothing styles, learn new things, and all that is a part of history also. I suppose as change - a word that now implies bad tidings - comes, our social lives will also change and that will be a history lesson unto itself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

the ZZZs

There have been many love songs written about sleep and dreams. A very old favorite of mine was "Deep in a Dream" that I learned from my mother. Another was Deep Purple . . . .when the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls. I start yawning when I hear it. It's a real trigger for sleep.

In a short while I will be sleeping. Some of the hints for "sleep hygiene" are not to eat during the few hours before you hit the sack. Better to sleep without a full tummy. And definitely do not play computer games and especially spider solitaire at night because the light from the monitor excites your brain and then it wants to go on and keep playing. In general turn off lights and sounds except for peaceful refrains and let your body and mind enter the rest mode. Then it is time to let go of the day. All that was accomplished is past. There will be expectations for the next day but you can handle them. Start thinking peaceful thoughts and soft lullabies. Keep the lights dim and your clothes soft and warm. My eyes are getting heavy and I begin to enter that place where my friends Wynken, Blynken, and Nod live. What a lovely retreat sleep takes us to. here i go...zzz

Sunday, March 22, 2009

my poor clothes

During the past couple of weeks I have purged my closet of many memorable T shirts, other old favorite tops and a few bottoms from my less than fashionable wardrobe. Also ousted were a dozen or so polo type shirts from the hubby's side that he so far hasn't noticed as missing. The unholy and unstained potentially sellable items went to Goodwill. The rest I stuffed into big bags and dragged into to my hospital to fill the shelves of the clothes closet. Now I see my lovely attire everywhere! Today, I counted five patients wearing my old familiar items. "My favorite shirt!" I wanted to cry to the woman at the med window. "Do you know I was wearing that when I held my granddaughter for the first time?" But I tightened my lips, looked away and passed her by. My striped knit top is hers now and it looked nice on her. Better for her to have it than for it to lie idle and unloved I told myself. Believe you me...there is no telling who these clothes will end up on! I didn't discard easily but really, the need is there and I am glad for the clothes to be used. I think.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Silly March

Within the past twenty days we have seen the most fickle of weather, from sunny summer temps to snow to last night's thunder storm. But that's the way March blows, out with old man winter and in with the newness of rebirth. That is reason enough to celebrate it on its own, but other observances found places in this month of change also. Not only is today the Spring Equinox in which we can enjoy an equal amount of night and day and just maybe play with standing an egg on end, but it is also National Agriculture Day. Aren't we all thankful for the farmers? Tomorrow is National Common Courtesy Day, which we more and more need to be reminded of, and also Maple Syrup Day. Yum. March 23 is National Puppy Day. Awww... And so it goes from Beer Day on the first to Doctor's Day on the 31st. A big round of applause for all the reasons to celebrate March!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I love the bright massive displays of forsythia this time of year. They bring hope that spring is right around the corner.

Still at it . . .

My last two blog posts have been nothing except to say that I am alive and well. On Monday and Tuesday I taught at the hospital, and the feelings that I have when being with my students, I realized, are like when I was at the beach with my children when they were little, always counting bobbing heads and giving warnings to avoid dire results.

There is something exhausting about being hyper alert and overly responsible not to mention having tired legs from what feels like miles of walking. (Next time I must remember to use that pedometer I bought for myself at Christmas!) By the time I got settled at home there was not much more my poor brain could produce. But of course there is always a flip side or another facet or angle to any situation, and to this it is that I am glad that there is something I know well enough to pass along to the next generation.

I am now realizing that I not only have adult patients but also students who were not even born when I started in this work. It doesn't seem that long. . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Evening

As the wife of the kitchen guy, I get to go to a few restaurant openings. Tonight it was a new pizza and wings place right here in Greenville. It was fun and festive and we got to sample lots of good items from their menu before coming home to watch the rest of American Idol. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jacob's Day

My favorite person is fifteen today. He is fun to hang out with and such good company for his grandmommy. Happy birthday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


When I was in college the first time and a flamingly heterosexual teenaged girl, my English professor who was an "old maid" and a feminist though I don't think the word was coined then, had the class spend an eternity on the book "Cranford." It was a small book and my how she loved it, almost as much as she hated men. "It takes a mighty good man to be better than no man at all," she religiously proclaimed at every chance, and "Cranford" was about strong spinsters, reflective of her own situation and values. At least that was what she wanted us to get out of it, I still remember. Last year Masterpiece Theatre had a series based on this Elizabeth Gaskell novel of nineteenth century England that traumatized me at eighteen, but I never got to see it. I hope to. I have also thought I would like to revisit the written version someday. This evening I stumbled across the full book on line so I don't even have to buy it! I guess when a book becomes a classic it doesn't benefit the economy to send it to press. Now a reading of "Cranford" is on my list of things to do. I think I am ready.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Do radishes have feelings, too?

I made one of my regular visits to The Fresh Market this afternoon. Maybe it was the lighting or other display tricks, but the plentiful supply of fruits and veggies looked gorgeous, especially the different colored radishes stacked with their root ends together for the customers to pluck. I asked the manager if I could take a picture of them. He kind of winced and said that normally he'd say no, but since I am a faithful customer and since we once sat out a hostage situation together, well...OK. So here they are. But I wonder . . . are those white guys in the middle making funny faces?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's in a name?

Today's news reports that Bernie Madoff is being sentenced for swindling folks out of billions of dollars. Ol' Bernie made off with quite a sum. There are many other apropos or perhaps ill-fitting names like the orthodontist whose last name was Smiley or the nurse named Hurt. Sometimes when I am sitting across from a patient talking, I think of their births and how much thought went into choosing their names based on the observation that some just seem to be a random combination drawn from a hat. Are they indicative of parental hopes? Presidents tend to have names that seem stately, even William Jefferson Clinton. (Of course not all. With initials like BO, what do we expect?) Jessica is trying to come up with a name for her baby boy who will arrive this month. What will the name say about him? When she chose the others, who knew they would end up on the top five most popular names for their birth years! But that's the way names go, up and down the scale. Some names like Emma have had resurgences in popularity but what happened to Ethel? Dropped off the chart I suppose. And was Made-off destined to be a thief?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I think I have finally identified this tree from its pretty flower. The blooms arrive while it is still winter, before the tree is dressed with spring leaves. It is the Saucer Magnolia.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

And just what does it save?

It has been almost three whole days since daylight savings time started and I have not yet adjusted. But I am not alone. Most of at work today agreed that we felt like we had jet lag, a little fuzzy, not our usual quick thinking selves. I have heard that it takes about three days to adapt, so hopefully our internal rhythms will reset pretty soon. However there are schools of thought that say it really takes half a year to adjust and others that say our brains and bodies never really adjust at all. It seems strange that one little hour can cause such problems, but apparently it does. When DST begins we may also experience headaches, drowsiness, and lack of a sound sleep, but there are more serious consequences, too. Shortly after the spring time change, the incidence of heart attacks increases as well as the suicide rate. At least we will have eight months to adjust and then falling back is a bit easier. Whatever...I just wish the decision makers would choose either EST or DST year round with no switching.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

From the Indian Restaurant

We ordered Indian food today at work and this is one of the tasty meals. In the center is what we are calling curried cabbage. At the top position, noon, is plain basmati rice, and clockwise next is onion chutney, then papadam (like a crispy savory cracker, chicken curry, and at 9 pm is onion nan, a pancake-like flatbread.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Letting go . . .

What is it about our stuff that makes it hard to let go of? For me it is probably the memories attached to them and maybe when the stuff goes, I wonder if the memory will go, too. And doesn't our stuff also represent our tastes and interests and tell stories about who we are? Maybe out of love someone gave us something and the sentiment stays even after the person is gone. Individually our stuff is like pieces of us and it hard to cut off a piece as if it is unnecessary. And silly me...I still worry about the environment and the landfills and who else would like it so I take way too much time trying to recycle in some way, when each day in my little hospital environment, there is more trash taken off than I have in a year. To rid and therefore free myself of stuff, I must change my mindset and be cold and ruthless about these things in my home that I am attached to. Our stuff speaks about our life journeys and in some ways defines us. No wonder it is hard to let go.

I remember an older friend once saying that she had empty drawers in her dresser (which I couldn't imagine) and kept only the bare essentials for living comfortably. Though in good health she was close to her eighties and didn't want her children to have to deal with so much of her stuff when she died. I doubt that I could ever be that spartan, but I do think she may be on the right track. Now off to go through another stack.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

At night around the hospital

Not a pizza but a snow covered planter.

Where? Swinging from the trees?


I recently read that approximately 700,000 songs are downloaded illegally every five minutes. I hope I can say this with impunity, but I was once one of those downloaders, and what fun I had! I looked up just about every song I ever knew. Eventually laden with guilt and not wanting to bring shame to my family or my employer, I stopped, but for me, a big fine would have been worth all the pleasure I had.

Songs that I loved in my early years and thought I would never hear again were among the first searches, and how happy I was to find them. Soon I had a mix of a thousand or so in my music library, and I burned many a CD for not only myself but for everyone I knew. Who doesn't love music in some form! But it was educational, too, which I think is an important piece of the service that downloading provided. If I was curious about a certain singer, style, instrument or genre, I could find it, and felt that I was learning as I went along. For me it wasn't about downloading the most recent billboard hit, which I guess is what all the fuss was about.

A few years ago I came to the end of my downloading days, and in the car I now often listen to people opining, so music has become a lesser part of my life. I have missed it. Sorting through my old CDs and playing them the past couple of days has been like having an old friend to visit.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Not a Snowbunny

Dear Diary,
My teaching day was cancelled due to the pretty white precipitation. I have been wanting snow because it makes me feel that I have experienced winter and I planned to take some pretty pics after it fell, but instead I have been enjoying it inside from the windows. Now much of it has melted and I suppose I will meet my students tomorrow. I went through my CDs and have been listening to some favorites including a few spins of The Pointer Sisters, made vegetable soup, kept up with the news, cleaned a closet, and did a few other random household duties. It is nice to have a day like this as long as there are not too many of them.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow at last . . .

Mother Nature waited until the daffodils started blooming to bring the first - maybe only - snow of the season. We were expecting it, but when I had just about given up, snow started falling at dark, big flakes quickly covering everything such as this front yard dogwood.

Welcome, March!

This droopy little daffodil says spring is coming!