A New Day

My eyes sprung open in the darkened room. I lay in the bed trying to decide if perhaps I might fall back asleep, but the numbers on the clock radio filled the room with a lime green glow and my mind began its predawn ritual of worry. Not wishing to wake my husband, I rolled from the bed, fumbled through the jumble on the bedside table to retrieve my glasses, phone and iPad, and quietly snuck from the bedroom to the sanctuary of the “new couch,” a couch we have had for thirty-seven years, certainly not the newest couch in the house, but indisputably the most comfortable. I piled the square pillows around me, building a nest to cradle my aching back and hips, and settled in to await the dawning of a new day.

My head pounded as if the infantry was marching through my house, raising a cloud of urine-tainted cat litter dust and releasing a flood of post-nasal drip down the back of my throat.  I heard the click of the thermostat and knew the AC soon would be blowing chilled air throughout the house. The door at the top of the stairs swung open and bare feet shuffled across the oak-grained floor.  Glancing up, I saw the ghostly image of my night-gowned sister illuminated  by the nightlight as she traveled to the bathroom and back to bed. The stairs began to creak and I knew my husband was half-awake and making his way to the recliner in the media room upstairs.  After much mumbling and grumbling and creaking of leather, he and the ancient black cat inherited from my mother following her death 14 years ago fell into sonorous sleep.

Slowly the dark sky began to turn a pale gray, the birds began to sing their greetings to the rising sun.  Cars traveled down the street, slowing as they approached the stop sign, accelerating as their drivers continued on their way to work.

And suddenly, the whine of the coffee grinder and the heady smell of Ruta Maya beans brewing . It’s another day in Texas.

Password Nightmare

Back in 2009 my husband and I gifted each other with Macbook Pros. At some point in time between then and yesterday my administrator password was corrupted and I was unable to update my operating system. Now, ordinarily this should have been an easy fix, except I couldn't find the original install disc. After many houses of searching, I did find the install cd, hidden among a number of other cds that had been with my former classroom supplies. I am back in business except for having to recreate my computer keychain.

Technology and I are the best of frenemies.

Five Things on a Friday


This sweet calico kitty has developed osteosarcoma in her left front leg. We are so sad at the prospect of losing her sooner rather than later.

2. I read today that there are 57 identified hate groups in Texas. I do not understand why people just can't get along.

3. Spring in Texas has been unusual this year. Here it is April 18th, and we still haven't turned on the AC. As a matter of fact, the furnace has been on every morning this week.

4. We cleaned the pond last Sunday and now we actually can see all the fish. One is over a foot long and probably weighs more than a pound - big enough to fry up for dinner.

5. My book groups reading for April - The Bartender's Tale and Escape from Camp 14.

D-Day for Team Wilson

This afternoon at 4:00 we meet with my husband's urologist to discuss  the options for treating his  recently diagnosed prostate cancer. While we are understandably anxious about this, we remain generally optimistic that whatever the recommended treatment, it will be successful. Please keep Jim in your thoughts and prayers. We need him  to hang  with us for a lot more years.

Here's to New Beginnings and Detours

This summer was meant to be a season of celebration and new beginnings -- a remodel of the upstairs, a week of fun and frolic on the beach with our children and grandchildren, a cruise to the Arctic with my sister and brother-in-law and our favorite cousin and her husband. 

Fate has a way of stepping in at such inopportune times. Wednesday we learned that my husband has cancer, not quite the new beginning we were envisioning, but a new beginning none the less. I'm hoping this new road is just a detour to celebration.
  • Current Music
    The meow of cats
  • Tags

My Grandmother, Part 3

I wish I knew more about Mattie’s childhood in the late 1800s.  While she was born in Miami County, Ohio, according to information gathered in the 1880 decennial United States census, her parents and two of her surviving older sisters were all born and lived in Pennsylvania (York County), apparently making the move to Ohio sometime around 1870.  Mattie’s maternal grandparents, Reuben and Mary Kendig had settled in Newton Township, Miami County, Ohio, around 1860; Mary died in 1871; perhaps Maria and the family had traveled to Ohio to care for her ailing mother. Maria was a “healer” using old Pennsylvania Dutch herbal remedies and superstitions. My mother once told me that this healing gift had been handed down from mother to daughter for generations, but great-grandfather Wallick, who had served as a private in Company E of the 166th Pennsylvania Regiment during the Civil War and was  trained as a veterinarian, did not believe in the old superstitions and forbade his daughters to learn the craft.

My Grandmother, part 2

Did I really say deaf and dumb? Wow, you’d think I, of all people, would be more politically correct when assigning a label to someone, wouldn’t you? Well, Mattie was born in 1879, and I’d bet the words politically correct hadn’t even been coined yet. In any case, Mattie’s tongue was tethered and she didn’t speak until one Saturday, a baking day in the Wallick household. As her mother Maria and her 4 older sisters, Della, Helen, Leona, and Harriet,  worked in the kitchen baking breads and pastries for the week's family meals, Mattie stood gazing out the window. Her father, Samuel, was a farmer and veterinarian. On this particular Saturday he had taken the horse and buggy, perhaps making a call to tend to a neighbor’s ailing milk cow. As he returned home, leading Betsy and the buggy down the lane towards the house and barn, Mattie , standing at the window with fingers in her mouth, whispered, “Betsy!” She turned to her mother, blood streaming from her mouth; while standing at the window with fingers in her mouth, Martha Belle had torn the fever-scarred skin tying her tongue to the floor of her mouth. Mattie might be deaf; but, by golly, she was dumb no more.

  • Current Music
    kitty snores

Teachers Write! 6/5/2012

In the far corner of my backyard there is a small manmade pond. The water, stained brown by the tannic acid from  pine needles that fall to the surface, laps against the black rubber liner pinned to the ground by sand-colored flagstones . The pond is filled with water hyacinths, their tall, spiky purple blooms towering above rounded lily pads floating on the surface of the water. There are even some fish, several bright orange koi and some smaller brownish- green fish that are a puzzlement to us. How did they come to live in our pond? Small inky  tadpoles gather on leaves partially submerged in the water,  their  presence foreshadowed by the croaking ballads  of lust-struck toads and frogs in the hot, humid Texas nights.  The peace and serenity of my backyard pond is marred this morning by the sounds of lawn mowers and edgers as a crew of landscapers tends to the pocket park across the street.  The smell of freshly cut grass mingles with the earthy aroma of the leaf mulch piled in my vegetable garden. My barefeet , bejeweled with droplets of water left shimmering on my grass after last night’s watering, carry me back to the air-conditioned quiet of my home.  Tomorrow, tomorrow will be quiet.