Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rio, Sis and I mowed your pasture

While I was in Texas this past week, I mowed Rio's corral--the small pasture that surrounded his hay barn, stall, and feeding/watering area.  It was late in the evening, and with a breeze blowing.  The sun had sunk below the rim and a dusty orange haze lingered over the tall grasses along the creek where his hooves carved little chips in the stones that lined the bed.

The smell of the prairie sage as it fell to the blades of the tractor infused my nostrils and my memories and Rio was behind me, following in the trail of the new-mown grasses, patiently waiting for the treat he always knew was in my pocket once the chores were done.

His spirit swirled around me as the dust rose up in front of me, enveloping me in the dry northwest Texas air in August.  Once, I overturned a clod of grass to discover one of his last piles of horse apples, still slightly green because it has been protected from the sun by the 18 inch grasses that have not been grazed nor mown since April.  I told my sister about it, and she became teary eyed.  Who gets sentimental over horse shit?  We both did, wondering how it could have been protected these past few hot and dry  months, only to surprise me in a vulnerable moment when I had been breathing in Rio's essence along with the dust and the sage.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Retiring the Lottabusha County Chronicles

Sometimes, it is hard to let go, even when we need to.  Sometimes, it requires a little nudge or even a great big push to help us to see that.  I will not repeat the stories here (you can read them over at Suzassippi about shutting down the windmill and saying goodbye to Rio), but being in Texas 3 weeks ago and once again dealing with letting go helped me to reach the point to let go of Suzassippi's Lottabusha County Chronicles.  I have struggled with it for a while, as somehow, it seemed like another loss in the face of so many losses these past 14 years, and especially in the past 4.

Lottabusha is just a different place to me.  It was a place where I shared my efforts to make sense of the things in Mississippi that did not make sense to me, but also, a place to celebrate the gifts it brought.  Making sense of things and celebrating the gifts of understanding can be a reason to take action for another change.

If you have been a long-time reader, thank you for continuing during all the sporadic posts these last few years and recent months.  If you are someone who just stopped by on occasion because a search brought you to the blog, thank you for stopping by.  To both types of readers, I appreciate the connections--both deep and continuous, and those where I might not have even known but for a comment.  I hope you will step over to Suzassippi for a visit.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reflecting on Reflective Social Work Practice

Several years ago, one of Rand's co-workers sketched a "super-hero" of him as Random Access.  It was a tribute to his accessibility and willingness to help with technology issues.  First of all, I think RA the person rocks, and second, RA the super hero does willingly make himself accessible--not just at work, but to his family and friends who are always calling on him for help with our computer issues.

Frankly, I am a little jealous.

As hard as I try (and I do, constantly reading about teaching and coaching and supervising and professional development and educating, and consulting and dialoging with my mentors and mentees about all those things, and researching and publishing about those concerns--3 so far in the last 6 months), I seem in a "slump" these last few weeks.  I am not only not a super-heroine, but not even a heroine.
  It reminds me of my tiger metaphor.  I am torn between wanting to jump up and attack a jugular, and the awareness of needing to lie down and wait for the prey to come to me.  Kind of reminds me of my first mentor when I started teaching social work.
Anyone who thinks teaching in a university is a plum job has never done it.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Cat Light on a Dark Night

It has been another weird week around Lottabusha County.  Wearisome.  Last night I was tired and cold.  I had to catch a ride with R to work as J needed the car.  He dropped me on the corner several blocks via a long detour.  Construction.  A nightmare to drive and worse to walk.  Fences, detours, closed streets, half streets--all worsened by the multitude of folks who do not understand (or else do not care) about the rules for a 4-way stop.  Folks who cross the street by walking diagonal through the center of the street, tying up 4 lanes of traffic.  It was raining, and windy, and I had a book bag and my computer because because none of the work computers will work in the makeshift temporary classroom.

At 5, R texted to see when I would be ready.  I asked where he wanted me to meet him.  He said he could get to where ever I wanted, so I said I wanted in front of my building.  Time passed--25 minutes of it with me on the curb, in the wind, holding that heavy book bag and computer.  I put my hoodie up and stood with my back to the wind.  I watched the guys down the street loading and unloading giant dumpsters with a semi to haul off the debris from the day's demolition work and get ready for the next.  I watched them lock up the construction site fences.

I had expected it would take a while, because traffic lines are lengthy on all roads, and there are long waits at the intersections.  I finally pulled my phone out of my pocket to check with him, and saw where he had called 1 minute prior--but the phone had not rung.  "I can't get to your building."  I called him back and asked where he was.  "In the parking lot by the chapel."  I said I was on my way--trekking back the same several blocks, up a flight of stairs, down a flight of stairs as from the morning traipse.  Another 20 minutes to get off campus and 10 more to get home.

We were standing in the kitchen talking when the electricity went out and we were standing in the kitchen in pitch black dark.  I felt for the flashlight, and lit a couple of candles.  All lights were out at our neighbors (believe me, around here, it could have been something else in this house going wrong) so we sat down to wait it out.  It was a long wait.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Metaphor for Aloneness and Togetherness: Waterfowl in New Orleans City Park

 Yep, doing all right here by myself.  I'm cool.  I'm chillin'.  This gives me time to think thoughts, and dream dreams, and envision visions. 
But at some point in time, we need to consider togetherness and connection.  Without that, all the thoughts and dreams and visions do not amount to anything other than noise in our heads.  Social Bridges said it nicely yesterday:
...memory is crucial to connectedness in the world and our sense of having a place within that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday Puzzle

Can you spot the dog in this picture?  Remember those puzzles that used to appear in kiddie magazines?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Aluminum Architectural Details in former Shushan Airport

 New Orleans former Shushan Airport contains a wealth of architectural Art Deco details.  For interior pictures during the 1930s and vintage post card images, see the link at the Restoration of New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
This stairwell post reminds me of a miniature Empire State Building.