Beginner's Mind

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Everybody's somebody in Luckenbach

No, we didn't go to Luckenbach, but we were close!

The next big town over is Fredericksburg, which we did visit. But I'm starting in the middle of the story.

For economical reasons, for this trip to Texas we flew in and out of Montreal. We learned a very important lesson there: Canada is a foreign country. And, as it is a foreign country, you need to prove you are a US citizen to fly into the US. I'd flown into and out of Canada before without a hitch, but that was years ago. There doesn't seem to be the same requirement when you drive across the border (although I understand that is going to change), but flying is a whole 'nother thing.

We flew to San Antonio and drove down to Sinton and Corpus Christi to visit with my aunt and uncle. My parents flew down, too, so it was a reunion of sorts. Even my cousin Craig, who I hadn't seen (I'm guessing) in twenty years, flew down, so we were one big happy. Karen and I had a huge piece of Key Lime Pie (which was Karen's only strong wish on this trip) at dinner that night. Mission accomplished.

We took a trip to Mexico, to the little border town of Progresso. We took in the shops and had lunch (cabrito tacos, very tasty!). Again, we had a good time. On the way down we stopped at my old Alma Mater and loaded up on shirts.

Mostly we just visited. There was a lot of talk of Australia (my aunt is part owner of some property down there), and talk about the upcoming (for them) Alaska cruise this summer.

We went to San Antonio a few days later, where Fiesta was being held that whole week. San Antonio is a very multicultural city (it used to be primarily German, if you can believe that) and they have festivals and parties for any old reason. We went to a cactus show (can you believe the excitement?) where I saw plants that would scare me in any other venue (cacti with fur?). Here, too we visited with Mike and his wife Susan (Mike of Rhetoric & Rhythm fame), and their twenty month-old son Nathan. Poor Nathan didn't know what to do about us at first, but he eventually warmed up to us.

Nathan and I played a game I'm now calling "Super Hero." I would squat next to him, point up to the sky, and say, "What's that up in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's NATHAN-MAN!" And on the last part I'd toss him up in the air and catch him. He actually liked it, and would come up to me, pointing in the air.

We made a sweep of all the Half Price Books stores, both in Corpus and all four in San Antonio.

Books and music can be a bad addiction.

Our last foray in the Hill Country was to a town called Boerne (pronounced "Bernie") where there was an art walk being held, and then over to Fredericksburg to explore all the shops. In all the years I had lived in Texas, I had never stopped in Fredericksburg to look around. There's lots of neat stuff there, and I waited too long to check it out.

Every time I've flown to Texas, I've asked myself if I could go back and live there. Usually the answer is "no", but this time I got to thinking it wouldn't be all that bad. But then, now that I'm back home, the weather has gotten warmer, the trees have leaf buds out, and it's trout season, and I think I'll stay a little while longer.


I've had the song Luckenbach, Texas playing in my head all morning. It's a special place, a kind of rejuvenating point, or, at least, it used to be. (If it isn't anymore, I don't want to know).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Stay tuned

I've been away for a bit, but am now back. I'm a tired tonight, so no big entry this evening. However, stay tuned for more adventures from Spaulding, about the son we are expecting, and my thoughts on gesso-faced women.

Friday, April 15, 2005

My kind of English

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English

25% Dixie

10% Yankee

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

(Survey found via Reflections in d minor)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hospital Daze - Part 1

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital sits on the Charles River in Boston, within a stone's throw of the Fleet Center. I decided to fly down to Boston rather than have someone drive me down; it was just easier on me as well as on anyone driving me down. There's no place to park a car for three weeks that doesn't cost a fortune, so I couldn't drive myself.

My roommate was a long-time Boston resident, a working man of Italian descent. I was concerned when I arrived because he had a radio, which he was playing kinda loud. I'm a country boy who likes quiet. But, it turned out he was willing to keep the volume down to a slight roar, which wasn't so bad. It was after being there a few days that he felt comfortable to sing with the music, even when he was wearing headphones. His singing voice was interesting in that he did not feel compelled to vocalize in any one key, even when the song called for it. Still, it was a happy sound and I found that I didn't mind the radio so much after that.

The pain management program in which I was admitted had all the pain patients on the fifth floor, which also housed amputees. There were folks missing a number of limbs, including one fellow missing both legs and both hands. One fellow who was missing both legs was a very friendly and likeable fellow, and a few of us in the pain program became buddies with him.

It occurred to me on the second day I was there that, even though there were people in the hospital missing various body parts, still all I saw were whole people. There's just more to a person than what the body presents.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Surfer's Paradise

The Uncyclopedia.

(Beware, it is very addicting.)

Sister Hand Grenade of Love

Oh my. Jihad!.

Maybe I'm really a Unitarian.

(Thanks to Reflections in d minor.)

Music in my head: Bright Side of the Road, Van Morrison

Monday, April 11, 2005

Sonny (sic) days ahead

As some of you may have guessed I've been away getting treatment for headaches at Spaulding Hospital for the last three weeks. I've got a lot to say about being there, it was an adventure for sure. I've got bigger news to tell first, though. For now, I will say that the treatment went better than I expected, and I even had a lot of fun, not something you would expect from an extended hospital stay.


I got home in time to go to Karen's next ultrasound exam. The doctor told us after the exam that he would cut the chances in half of something being wrong with the pregnancy (and the chances were already pretty low anyway). And, in other news...we're going to have a boy! Both the technician and the doctor said there was no doubt about it! (When the female resident came in, saw the "evidence" and swooned, I was convinced, too!)

We were both a bit shocked. For some reason I cannot explain we thought we were going to have a girl. Karen is still a bit rattled; she claims she doesn't know how to raise a boy. (A neighbor who has a boy told her that you give him a helmet and knee pads and let him go.) After about an hour or so, it hit me: a son! I would have been very happy either way, and I am very happy.

Thanks to all of you who still come by to read after I've been gone so long.

Music in my head: A big jumble of things

P.S. Thanks so much to Keri and Kat and Karen for the e-mails and phone calls while I was in Boston. Y'all kept me connected to the outside world.