There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
You are very welcome here, so feel free to comment and contribute!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Sweetest 15-Year-Old, etc.

Ski Beanie
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I know I have put lots of pix of Beccano in here lately, but hey, he's around all the time. Today I need to honor the boy, though, because it's his 15th birthday. And no matter how down I feel about other stuff, having him around makes me happy. How could you not love someone who tries to sabotage your photo of his new hat by hiding crossed eyes under the bangs he is trying to grow out?

We'd hoped to give him a good start on a new guitar fund (he wants a pretty nice one), but the latest job loss for me means I can't do it quite yet. I did make him the hat in the picture, which is made from a cotton/cashmere blend, so it's a NICE hat. I just wish he didn't want me to always knit in BLACK. I ordered him some heavy metal t-shirts and what he calls an "Emo Bag" (a messenger bag), so he will have some gifts, plus the ice cream cake already in the freezer. He asked for a Chinese dinner, which is easily accomplished, so he should have a good birthday. I hope he has some fun in addition to his finals today at school!

It's funny, when Tuba Boy turned 15, I really didn't see him being ready to learn to drive, but Beccano I think is ready. He doesn't want a car, though, unless he can get a VW Vanagon and convert it to biodeisel, which he would make himself. He has already priced all these things. Dream on, Beccano.

There isn't much news here. I have applied to about 15 jobs, and found that I had left an 8 off of 2008 in my resume. Great. I did manage to repost it most places, but SHEESH.

Yesterday I didn't feel too hot, so I spent most of the day at the yarn shop, which was pleasant, though I got some pretty awful anxiety symptoms a couple of times (I am still doing better than usual, just, heck, sometimes the jobless thing gets scary). I enjoy talking to the staff and the Chicks with Sticks when they arrive. Some of them are so incredibly kind to me. It makes me feel like I CAN be part of a group and respected and liked, even if I'll never be a "cool kid." I just want to be part of a group, like I used to be in the Dysfunctional Nonprofit Organization.

Speaking of which, I need to send all my best wishes to my friends and former employees there, if they are reading. For them, let me share the quote on my May calendar page from the job that ended in November (I plan to hang it on the wall):
"Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." --Joshua J. Marine
I wish us all meaningful lives.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend Project

Well, my personal weekend project is to keep my spirits up and knit a lot. But Lee has done some great stuff around the yard. On Saturday, he built this really nifty compost sifter. You can see lots more photos and details on Lee's blog, if you are interested in how it works and how it was made. I am just happy to have compost at all, since the dirt here in the hill country of Texas is pretty useless for anything other than native plants, and even the natives seem to like some compost. This screen thing sifts out big pieces and just leaves nice, small compost to spread around the yard. He made it almost entirely out of scrap wood, too, so we are being frugal! That man is "handy," that's for sure!

We are doing OK garden-wise, too. A few plants have bit the dust, due to already getting pretty hot, or in a couple of cases, too much water in a planter we didn't realize had no drainage hole. But some things are beautiful, like this, um, whatever it is that lived over winter and has come back in triumphant splendor! It makes me happy to see all the flowers and plants.

I am doing real well most of the time, and thank everyone for their thoughts. I dread tomorrow, when have to go back in to the Tower of Doom and get my stuff, but I have thought it through and think I can get it done fairly quickly and efficiently. And if I am lucky, my friend may help me take my stuff to my car. Then I will be able to move forward and find a better place for me where my personality isn't attacked and snap judgments aren't held against me. I don't need a perfect spot, just one with reasonable expectations (like you don't have to LIE to people) and a modicum of congeniality.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Becoming the New Me

Today I want to share something I wrote in my Tarot blog, since I am sure most of you don't read it (only someone both interested in tarot AND in what I am thinking about my issues every single day would read that, and it's mostly me, Lee and sometime Jody).

But, I drew the two pictured cards (from the Fenestra deck, illustrated by a young Thai tarot enthusiast). They really captured why I am feeling less defeated and down than the last time I had to start job searching (of course, believe me, I realize I may be in for another LONG road of job searching, which is not my favorite activity). Anyway, this morning I wrote this:

Here's the 9 of Pentacles again. She must be trying to tell me something, since she was also there on Friday. Looking at the definitions, I see she is about more than seeking refinement. She is about taking control of things, doing things for one's self and being self reliant. And the Judgment card also has a message that is helpful for me today, about getting a new start, awakening to possibilities, and enjoying renewed hope.

And I honestly am feeling less horrible about being jobless this time than the last, even though the last time was not my fault, and this one I was blamed. I know that it wasn't me. And the Judgment card tells me to forgive them as well as me. They never gave me a chance to see I was a nice and fun person to know, having pre-judged me on limited evidence. I had no chance to grow or feel secure there. I get to transform into the person I really want to be now. Not sure how, but at least now I can. I was so focused on keeping the job so I'd have benefits that I was letting myself suffer, and suffer a lot.

I think that is why I feel relieved more than anything else. I get another chance to find something better. This time I will stop focusing so much on getting anything with benefits and make sure it is also a good fit. Of course, that job I interviewed for so many times WAS a good fit, but it didn't come through...hoping that changes this time!

Of course I am scared, and being me, I slip into self-pity, self-blame and pessimism every so often (mostly when I think about how I have to go back and get my stuff on Tuesday, ironically when everyone else is going to be at the employee appreciation lunch). But I am doing this less, and mostly feeling pity for anyone put into that atmosphere there. I am actually excited about applying for new positions and seeing if maybe I can take over Lee's position or another one like it. And I have a little time to work on my knitting stuff--like a book on teaching knitting. I even dreamed last night of a new way to knit a flower. So, I feel full of creativity and potential, rather than squished and defeated.

Maybe THAT is the lesson all this job loss is supposed to have taught me. Please, let that be it!!

By the way, the Judgment card in the deck I usually use, Robin Wood, has a woman rising from flames like a Phoenix. That is also an image I enjoy and will use. Here, I stuck it in as another lovely image. Sorry she's nekkid, but her clothes boiled off.

Keep sending those words of support, friends, they help. I also got the nicest note on the Ravelry knitting site yesterday, which reminded me I am good at a lot of things:
I am one of your students; you were teaching me how to knit lace while you were knitting the red lace top from Vogue Knits–I just want to thank you again, you are a fantastic teacher. I wish I could just sit at Bluebonnet and have you teach me everything you know! I added you to my friends list so I could look at all the beautiful stuff you make!
Isn't that sweet? I will choose to believe it when people write and say nice things about me, and when they say not-so-nice things about me, I will filter it carefully and find the true parts, and work on that (like I will from now on NOT be accepting a job where I have to portray myself as an expert on something I am not). I won't add negative interpretations to make myself feel worse.

While you are at it, also send some good job vibes to my friend, Tina, from the comments in my last entry.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Theme of This Blog

There's no Friday's Feast this week, which is good, because on Friday I was not really up to blathering about random cute things about myself. I wasn't feeling very cute. Mostly I was feeling pissed off, defeated, and relieved, all at once.

Because yes, I did discover the theme of this blog. It is "Suna's Job Ends and She Has to Go Find Another One." For the FOURTH time since May 2006, I am job-free. Yep, all that hard work, extra friendliness, redoubled effort and honest helping of others was not enough. I just don't "fit in with the team." Well, that's for damned sure. Other than one notable exception, that was the most cliquish, unfriendly and aloof bunch of humans I ever ran into. I didn't stand a chance, but I did valiantly send out friendly, approachable and kind vibes and pour all the energy I had into doing good work. And they acknowledged that my work was good, though they didn't like how I answered the phone. Well, the way I answered the phone made the people on the other end happy, and fit with all the skills I wrote up at Dell and was taught as the nonprofit organization. I'm not the problem.

Y'all know that generally I'll accept blame for anything rather than blame anyone else, and that I beat myself up to a fault. This time, nope. I am glad to get out of that extremely toxic environment and have a chance to start again. I already have some good recommendations, thanks to church friends (one of whom, Jim, kindly rode the bus home with me and was incredibly supportive--really got me through that last bus ride home) and I even know of some contracts coming open.

We will be OK, even though the fact that Lee's contract ends in a few weeks is a bit scary. We are more prepared this time. I just regret losing my insurance before I even got to use it, and wish I hadn't bought a new Blackberry Pearl phone this week. Sigh. It's so funny, I had a GREAT week at work last week. I was really feeling like I was getting the hang of things, people were being a bit nicer, and I was cheerful without forcing myself to act that way. I am beginning to learn to treasure moments of happiness. They are fleeting.

I hate to ask for job search vibes AGAIN, but it looks like I need to. Great timing, right in the middle of the gigantic gas price surge and the Republicans' nice new recession.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy Hippies

My Hippie Son
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I guess our whole family is happy hippies, and I have to say I enjoy that. Here's Beccano in Jeff's really cool old batik shirt, trying to straighten his hair via bandana. My, has that boy grown. We spent most of the weekend together and had a great time while Lee was visiting his dad (a worthwhile pursuit, and I was sorry to miss the chance to meet his brother, who happened to also be visiting when Lee got there).

Beccano spent our Saturday (after I knitted, of course) going to Goodwill so he could outfit himself in Grunge Rock plaid shirts (not all flannel, in a nod to the fact that we are NOT in Seattle). We also got a really cool book on how to play harmonica, in German, and a Presbyterian Hymnal from the 60s (1940s original publication date). I was surprised to look on the inside and see it came from Jacksonville, Florida, not far from where I grew up. I am sure this was the first hymnal I ever used. We plan to use it for practice in reading music and doing harmonies.

Much of Saturday evening we spent geekily looking at Google Earth. I showed him where I grew up, my high school and such. We also looked at all sorts of beautiful places in Iceland and Germany. Google Earth is HOURS of fun. It's like traveling--you just click a camera and see a scene of that place!

I even got him to go to church with me on Sunday. What a boy. Speaking of boys, Tuba Boy has been more communicative lately and we are all enjoying that. He's just at work so much that I don't build up a lot of stories about him. I enjoy it when his large, hulking friends, who act like the boys they still are at heart, come to visit, though.

Things are going quite smoothly at home, and work is at least 75% better. That is a relief. I have lots more responsibilities and that makes me feel more a part of things, which is also nice. We are still hoping Lee finds another job or contract quickly, though I do like his current coworkers--we saw one who is very friendly and has a great sense of humor in the grocery store last night--turns out she is a neighbor. And heck, even the neighbors are being nicer lately, though all are amused we have tomatoes and onions in the front yard. Hey, we're hippies. Go us. Hope they still like us when Lee fires up his new chipper/shredder.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stormy Weather and Friday's Feast

Emo Beccano
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here is a pensive Beccano, in what is called an "Emo Photo" because it is just part of him, and it has been subtly colorized. OK, it fits his mood in the story below.


I wanted to write yesterday, but I caught up with my tarot blog instead. Lee did a nice post in his blog, though, about the storms we went through on Wednesday night. We had three waves of very severe weather come through the northern and central Austin area. Beccano and I drove into a tornado warning unwittingly because I turned off the radio on the way home from choir to chat with him (he has really enjoyed the math tutoring he is getting from a fellow choir members' daughter). We saw green lightning, then a friend of his called to say, "Where are you?" because he wasn't on AIM. Then we knew we had to boogie home. By the time we got there, a funnel cloud had been sighted. I was sorta freaked out because, well, I have been through more tornado warnings than I'd prefer, and seen way too much horrible damage to people I know. I have tried SO hard to not convey that, but Beccano is also freaked out because we had a bad tornado warning 11 years ago (the tornado leveled a town north of here and damaged the grocery store and neighborhood the next city up from us) when we were in a third-floor apartment and had nowhere to hide. He still remembers.

So, we huddled as long as we could in the very stuffy laundry room with Buddy the dog panting nervously and exuding heat, Beccano shaking or sobbing, me knitting nervously, and Lee wishing he could go be with his precious dogs, who mostly were in their kennels because they would not come in the tiny room. Tuba Boy was at work, huddled in the locker room (he works in a huge, mostly glass gym). Then he went to the New Asian Girlfriend's nearby house until it was safe to drive home, between surges. After the first surge, which delivered hail and a lot of rain, we watched the radar on the second one, which just brought sideways rain (which caused some damage to our bedroom ceiling). The third surge was after we went to bed, though not much sleep was had by anyone, and Gwynneth woke me up pacing and panting in our room at 5 am, because the dogs were locked in the house.

Our neighborhood got by OK, though as Lee reports, he did find a tiny beautiful warbler who was a storm victim. Central Austin was a MESS. You could see it get worse and worse as the bus got closer to campus. There was really bad hail, some of which lingered until morning. The roads and ground were carpeted in oak leaves and branches. There were many downed trees, many broken windows, and such. Our building lost some windows, and the poor old greenhouse next to us looks real bad. A coworker's brand-new house they haven't even moved into yet got a lot of water damage. Much of the day was spent sharing tales of damage and where people huddled. At least it was a time for bonding. And no people were hurt, other than Beccano's friend who got hit by hail while trying to cover his car. Beccano said he had a VERY bad bruise.

Oh yeah, and as mentioned above, Tuba Boy is on the third girlfriend in the past month or two. I guess hormones have settled in. This one seems nice, too. Of course, he would only pick nice ones. But he is following my trend of consoling someone who just got dumped. I may need to have a chat with him on how that can backfire.

Friday's Feast

Appetizer: What is the nearest big city to your home?
There are well over a million people in the greater Austin area, so I'd say that's it. I am also near the fairly large suburbs of Round Rock and Cedar Park, Texas.

Soup: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?
To be honest, I'd say an 8. Sometimes there are things that concern me so much that I talk to Lee or a very close friend about them.

Salad: Describe your hair (color, texture, length).
Hmm. My hair is medium-dark brown, with fine texture. It is very thick, so there are a lot of fine hairs. It is also curly/wavy. It doesn't make ringlets like the kids' hair does, but when dried properly, it has nice waves. It can also be dried fairly straight. I am getting some gray in it, more in the front. My family grays slowly, so it isn't too bad. However, for the past few years I have been playing with hair color, so my avatar picture has it when it was a reddish blonde. Right now it is a dark red. I will probably let it grow out after the wedding, since my new income precludes spending a lot of money on hair coloring.

Main Course: What kind of driver are you? Courteous? Aggressive? Slow?
I like to drive legally and politely. But, I am not slow. I think the thing I aim for is efficient driving, taking the quickest route in the smoothest, least stressful way possible. I don't think I am in a race. I want to, as they used to say on Florida license plates "arrive alive." I once heard an interview on the radio with Jackie Stewart, the former race-car driver. He explained that when driving on the road, he didn't try to get there the fastest. He wanted it as smooth as possible. So he left space for easy lane changes, made smooth stops, did gradual accelerations. He pointed out that there was more than one challenge to driving, so speed is not everything. Both I and my ex have remembered that for years.

Dessert: When was the last time you had a really bad week?
I believe that most of April consisted of bad weeks. The time between when the boss said I sucked and no one liked me and the time when she said I actually didn't suck and people were happier with me was incredibly, numbingly stressful.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Surprise, a New Man

ELAB the Philosopher
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I know I posted like crazy yesterday, but I wanted to share my latest surprise. As if all the Mother's Day gifts weren't enough, Lee surprised me today by shaving off his final facial hair remnant, the mustache. I think he did it to look younger, since the facial hair is a lovely gray. He does have to look for work again starting now, so looking younger is a good thing for people our age. Sigh.

However, it's a gift for me, too, since I am quite fond of smooth faces. I have never been a big fan of kissing beards and mustaches, even when they look good on the person. So, I am happy. I also think he looks like a fascinating blend of my Hero Peter Townshend and that impish Bill Maher fellow.

And, by the way, if he decides to go for the beard, mustache, underlip thingie or whatever again, I'll still be fine. He's the same fine person underneath!

As for me, I keep wishing I could have a gray streak at the front of my face. The Bonnie Raitt look or something.

Weird thing: After all those years with the incredibly scruffy beard thing, the former roommate Jeff has also shaved. I think he is also trying to look younger, having given up on looking smaller with the beard. He has very little gray in the hair on his head, so this may actually be working for him!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Life and Goings On

Heron-like Bird
Originally uploaded by sunasak
A lot has been going on, but nothing earth shattering. I am catching up by posting three things today instead of going to church. Hmm, what priorities.

Today's photo is a really lovely shore bird we saw while driving around Lake Buchanan yesterday, looking for a cheap house that did not exist (the GPS kept saying to turn right into a muddy field), for a project of Lee's. But we did see some neat wetland areas teeming with all kinds of lovely birds, some of which you don't see so often around here. The lake also has bald eagles, but we didn't see any. This is a place I would love to retire to or have a second home in, if I could be so lucky. It's near my favorite red granite, surrounded by hills and water, and quiet. Where we were had a mix of old-fashioned "lake houses" that are really old mobile homes, and some nicer ones, but none of the immense monstrosity mansions that are all you can get around Lake Travis any more. This lake is farther up the highland lake chain and not really a feasible commute to Austin, but even so, a small house we saw was for sale for over $400,000. Not our price range.

By the way, the lake's name is pronounced with a short u. Yet another of those weird local Texas pronunciations. Note the pretty cactus blooms behind the bird. It's prickly pear season!

In other stuff, we had intended to go see a group I like, the Greencards, on Friday, because I had won tickets in a magical way.Last week Beccano and I went to Barnes and Noble, so I could get a book I wanted to read and he could get a CD. We were chatting about music, and I had said how bluegrass was interesting, due to a lot of young people getting into it, and mentioned the Greencards, a group who had lived in Austin for a few years, being imported from Australia and England. The mandolin player, Kym Warner, is an amazing talent, having been the national champion down there. When we got to B&N, I saw their most recent CD, which I hadn't bought yet due to my financial constraints of late. I got it. When we got into the car, I thought the CD was already in, because the radio was playing the Greencards (it was the local NPR station's "Folkways" program). The song ended, and the DJ said they were going to play another song, but not until they gave away some tickets to their upcoming concert. He said the third caller who could identify the name of an instrumental song on their latest CD that was named for a Houston musical venue would win. Well, I said, "Dude, hand me that CD!" to Beccano. There I saw "Mucky the Duck" listed. I knew there is a place in Houston called "The Mucky Duck," so I started dialing, and won! What a coincidence to have just bought the CD!

But, it turned out the concert was the same night as the kids' final band concert of the year, which was lovely but went on a long time. By the time Beccano had turned in his tuxedo jacket, it was 15 minutes before show-time and rain was threatening (the concert was outdoors). So we missed it. On the other hand, the concert was lovely. Tuba Boy had a brief solo and got to stand up and bow, and there was a beautiful trombone concerto played by a very, very talented boy who is going on to be a trombone performance major. So, all was not lost.

Let's is better. I have been very busy with lots of new assignments, since my favorite coworker suddenly got a chance to do a different job. I am happy for her, but will be sad to see her go, since she is so helpful. I am doing well getting folks more friendly, though.

And yesterday, as the bird photo indicates, Lee and I went on a nice drive into the Hill Country, and I enjoyed the scenery very much. I even saw a place I'd love to live later. Who knows what will happen if Lee suddenly has money to put into another house, but there are certainly possibilities out there. He is quite handy and can really fix things up when he has the time and tools!

Last night we sorta made up for not going to see the Greencards by seeing Jeff the Former Roommate at a local place. We sat with a friend and had a pretty good time. Beccano looked bored but I think he just looks that way these days. He seemed pleased when his name was mentioned and a song dedicated to him. Jeff seems to be settling into this new house better than the previous one, so our fingers are crossed that things are looking up for him at last!

Quick Mother's Day Sharing

New Bed Edging
Originally uploaded by sunasak
This is just a quick post to say how happy I am with the flower bed edging Lee has put in front of the house. It is so professional and level. My big contribution was to suggest we use two colors of pavers to make it blend with the house better. He did all the hard work. I am grateful on this Mother's Day to have Lee in my life. He got me two lovely rose-scented candles made by his niece, which was a wonderful gesture.

I am also grateful for little Beccano, who cleaned the whole house, including his room, as a gift. All the tangled mess of video game guitars and drums has been put away, even.

I am sure Tuba Boy thought of me before he left for work this morning. He has been much better with holidays lately.

Friday's Feast

Lung Guitar
Originally uploaded by sunasak
OK, I am late, but you get the bonus photo of a sculpture by a middle school student from the exhibit of local students' art, which was at the Performing Art Center where the boys had their annual final band concert of the year. I found the lung guitar quite a creative concept.


Appetizer: When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?

I guess. Most people don't smile at me, probably because I am so scary. LOL. No, really, I see nothing wrong with looking pleasant at people who are trying to do the same.

Soup: Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix?

Most of the house has deep green carpet, which I picked because I could. Why put in beige for resale when by the time you sell the house you'll need new carpet anyway? And after three puppies in 11 years, we do need new flooring. Lee is talking about tile downstairs. We have large tiles in the bathrooms and entry. The kitchen has really boring vinyl tile in bad shape. That is getting replaced in the not-too-distant future, too.

Salad: Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name.

Suna sure slept soundly Sunday.

Main Course: Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption?


Dessert: Name 2 blue things.

Robins' eggs and my bird, Skylight, who has been playing with Lee all morning.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Just an update

I was waiting until I had a photo to share of the flower bed edging Lee is putting around the house, but it keeps being rainy or something, so I don't have any.

Mostly I wanted anyone who was worrying along with me to know I met with the boss yesterday and got much better feedback on me and my work, so I get to stay in the office. I guess it helps that the super-competent next-newest person just got a different position at the university, so if they canned me they'd be down 2 out of 3 people in our sub group. Gee, that's great job security (sarcasm off). No, really, things are going much better at work. There is now some laughter and it is a bit calmer, even with the person who likes me least back from vacation and the one that likes me most on vacation this week. I feel like I will be able to handle things from here on out, and will concentrate on working to make things stable at home, helping Lee get another position, etc.

In semi-good news, the stress has helped me in my weight loss plan, and I am only two pounds above the upper limit I usually like to keep to. So if I lose about 7 more pounds, I will be real happy. My clothing is back to fitting normally, too, though the new jeans I bought a month or two ago are now really too large. Oh, what torture, hee hee.

Other good stuff. Beccano's guitar playing is really, really improving. He sounds very musical, and I am very impressed with his practicing and work ethic on that. And Tuba Boy has stepped back a little from the silent surliness and has been pleasant to be around for a few days. Something like his old cheery self. He's messing up the car a bit, but handling it OK. I have been helping him with some school registration challenges, and it was SO nice to get a call from him just wanting some support. I feel useful as a parent again.

So, things are not too bad. At least I am in still love and someone wants to move my wedding date earlier. Aww.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday's Feast

OK, I am less whacked out (marginally), so I will try to get back to this.

Appetizer: What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?
A tie between Mighty Mouse and Alvin and the Chipmunks. I wanted them to be my children.

Soup: Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it?
I would get a dachshund that was an adult and not a crazed barker. I'd probably give her a fun German name. Maybe Brunhilde and call her Brunie.

Salad: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy getting all dressed up for a special occasion?
That would be a 10. I love dressing up, and have hardly any occasion to. However, I don't like crowds, so often I don't enjoy the events.

Main Course: What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?
I mostly listen to NPR on my commute (mostly on the bus these days). At any other time I listen to either a quirky oldies station that the whole family can agree on or the local independent Americana/Rock for Old People station.

Dessert: When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it?
We are sort of looking for a clock for the media room. Prior to that, the last new clock I got was a gift, the bird clock in the office (we turned the sound off).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Grackle Love

I heard on the local NPR station a little blurb by a fellow talking about how he is different from most Austinites in that he does not hate the ubiquitous boat-tailed grackles.

I admit that these creatures have bugged me a lot in the past. They are everywhere humans congregate, especially anywhere someone might drop some food. And they gather in huge numbers. They seem to be constantly either eating or making these horrific sounds--squeaks, clacks, whoops.

The guy on the radio said that the sound the boat-tailed grackles make reminds him that he is home. Hmm, I had never thought of it that way. The same day I heard this, I'd been sitting in the little courtyard outside the student union at the university. There's a big oak tree that shades it. I heard a squeak and looked up to see a very large male grackle doing that weird heat pointed up thing they do, with a ray of sunlight striking him so that he glowed blue and purple. I have to say he was beautiful. I need to remember that, in ever being with some ugly habits (like lurking in the bushes and under my feet trying to find a tidbit), there is also beauty.

And since this especially large and festive type of grackle is not found everywhere, they ARE a sign that I am "home." Nice, now that I have Lee and feel like I truly do own my home and am anchored, I do feel home in greater Austin now.

PS: Work has been very peaceful this week, and I have been doing interesting things. Like learning MS OneNote. Whoa, if you have Office 2007, try it out! It is great for taking notes, organizing thoughts and collecting images, etc. Now I really DO need to install Office 2007 at home.

PPS: Festive Beltane greetings to all of you who celebrate. May your lives be full of fertility and growth. I hope we do something to celebrate this evening.