Well, my goodness! It's been about 18 months since I've posted anything of substance. Maybe you even assumed I'd disappeared. Alas, I'm back.
Texas' state flower is the bluebonnet. A funny thing about this flower, way down here along our southern border, is its need for a harsh, cold winter. The seed coating must be scarified through repeated freezing and thawing for the flower to bloom. Some springs, after a mild winter, the bluebonnets aren't particularly plentiful here in NoTex; when the winter is brutal, they are spectacular.
And somewhere in there is a metaphor for my absence. With Young Girl's return to public school and the subsequent lack of long periods of solitude I had a mild season (not that it felt that way at the time). But over the last year or so, something has been lurking around inside, freezing and thawing and freezing and thawing, and being - in general - harsh. I seem to be sufficiently scarified to start the blooming process which may not flourish until spring, just like the bluebonnet.
Today, I find myself with nothing particularly profound to say, a pot of long-cooking Bolognese sauce on the stove, and a bit of time. So let's just gut out some bullet points, what say?
* Yes, I know it's the Iowa Caucus today. And you know my politics if you've read more than a post or two. I wish I could attribute this, but I've heard the Republican primary season characterized as a reality show. Who will be voted off the island tonight? About a year ago, I laid a small bet - based on several years of successful ticket-predicting - that President Obama would be running against a Romney/Perry ticket. Cold Mormon needs good-old-boy evangelical to go all the way. How could I have underestimated the stupidity of the man who has been my own governor oh so many years? Probably because the governor of Texas is not a very powerful position. It took a national stage for his stupidity to metastasize. I still think Romney is inevitable. But I'd like to see the race for number two be something like "Dancing with a Democrat" or "Flaming Kitchen Knives of Malice." There's some entertainment for you!
* Young Girl adjusted beautifully from classic Montessori instruction to whacko public school. Why whacko? The puzzling curriculum-of-the-day switches, the new social studies standards which are beyond bizarre, a GT program that is nothing more than Behavioral Segregation in most cases.....I could go on and probably will after I go Medieval on the school board in a couple of weeks. It is true. I plan to - publicly - speak my mind in Small Town Texas. As does The Man. Let the chips fall where they may. One highlight, though. Young Girl's 2010-2011 Future Problem Solvers team went to state finals, meaning a trip to Austin without parents. Whoo Hooo!
* My sister has continued to decline. The most recent scan showed her breast cancer has returned in her lumbar spine and ribs. She suffered severe side effects from whole-brain radiation, and when you mess with the brain and its messaging system all sorts of bad things can happen all over your body. When I went through WBR with my mother and my sister, we were told that there was really no way to predict who would suffer side effects or the severity thereof. My mother suffered minimally, my sister, maximally. Sis is now in an assisted-living facility, which has been a blessing beyond belief. And before you start screaming at me about cancer screening, let me just say I am on it with a vengeance. I had my ovaries and uterus removed last year, and meet with a breast surgeon twice a year. Both my sisters, my mother, and I were/are BRCA negative. But the cluster is just too weird to be anything other than hypervigilant.
* Thanks to the truly miraculous Couch-to-5K running program Young Girl and I have now completed four 5K races. I've met or exceeded my (extremely) modest goals in each. I'm what runners call a "penguin," but I'm a runner nonetheless. Even if you think you are too big/old/injured/jaded/whatever, I encourage you to look at C25K. If I can do it...
* Large Dog returned to the German Shorthaired Pointer rescue program in 2009, amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Small Dog adopted us in October 2011. One is missed, both are adored.
* I continue to be supported in Our Town by the fabulous women of the First Amendment Friday group. The circle has widened a bit, too. Who knew so many Leftist Ladies hang around these parts!
* I promise to be back tomorrow. Feels kind of great to have my fingers back on the keys.