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It’s a new day January 7, 2013

Posted by Barbara in Art, Life.

New Year’s resolutions have little power in my world.  Maybe I can handle a few one day at a time.

May I:

Think more and talk less.

And never for others.

Write more.

Paint more.

Buy less ‘stuff’

and give more away.

Let go when I need to.

When I slip, I hope you’ll nudge me.  Kindly, if possible.

Thank you.


“Let us cultivate our garden.” 
                                             ― Voltaire, Candide


A Legacy of Love November 8, 2012

Posted by Barbara in Art, Life.

A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.  ~Author Unknown


Saying goodbye isn’t easy.

Mom knew her time was near; her heart was ready for the journey.  Mine wanted to linger.  One more kiss.  Just a little longer to hold her hand.  And then that last, quiet breath.

Later, as my sister and I sat down to write an obituary, we struggled with the effort of telling the story of a lifetime in such a few words.  The bullet-list of a standard newspaper form seems so bland.  Mom was anything but bland.  We finished the writing because deadlines force action, but my heart continues to catalog the memories; we owe so much, my siblings and I, to that mother’s legacy.


‘Til we meet again December 31, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Art.
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She was headed up into the mountains when I first met her.  She and her husband had come for a wilderness fishing trip with my parents – a pack trip with horses up into the San Juan mountains to one of our favorite lakes.  It was secluded enough that my father once threatened to move on because he saw smoke from another campfire at the far end of the lake a mile or more away.    If she was fearful of bears or snakes, or handling a horse on the trail, I never knew it.  Her 4 ft 11 5 ft 1 in stature and soft smile may have misled some folk about the steel that lay beneath.

A few years later, I decided in my 20 yr old wisdom that I should leave my parents New Mexico ranch for the big city.  I planned to try California, but my father convinced me  Houston would be just as exciting.  He knew Paul and Sybil would be near to look after me.  They were.   Paul found me a starter job at his company and Sybil welcomed me to weekends and holidays at their home as though I were one of the family.  I thought of her as a southern belle.  Her gentle grace and hospitality helped fill that empty place within me that my lust for self-reliance couldn’t quite manage.

She and Paul reared three boys – each of them strong willed and independent – but also equipped with a strong moral compass and a deep kindness that I now know are rooted in her and Paul’s steadfast example.  When I fell in love with the youngest of the three,  my world was set on a new and wonderfully fulfilling path.

Of course, we had  our share of misunderstandings.  Having a daughter-in-law is, after all, a unique experience.   Over the years, I began to see the childhood that gave her that strength and the mother’s heart that led her and we came to terms with our differences.

She met life’s challenges with grace and intelligence and faith, and that never changed even through the years alzheimer’s disease took its toll.   And Paul was there with her for the whole trip – all 69 1/2 of the years they spent together.    That all three of their sons shared the effort as they made sure she and Paul were supported and loved up to the very end of her adventure speaks highly of who she was.

She built a real family.   I’m grateful to have been a part of it.

May she rest in peace.

Parents and kids November 29, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Art.

Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.  ~Gail Lumet Buckley

We had an awesome Thanksgiving. I hope you did, too.

We were blessed with having all our sons (and a couple of really special girlfriends) AND both my parents AND my brother and his sweet wife (one of my very closest friends starting in our high school days) enjoying the Texas hill country. It was a rare treat for us to be all together. Nothing says ‘family’ like the smiles and hugs shared in such magic times.


“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” ~Jane Howard

Until the end of time…. June 23, 2011

Posted by Barbara in Art.

Today is the 69th year of wedded bliss for my wonderful parents-in-law.  I want to wish them a VERY happy anniversary!  Not only that, but this fall will bring my own parent’s 65th anniversary. Among the siblings in both families, we each count marriages that have lasted, to date,  30 – 40 years, and counting.  So, while I’m no expert, I do offer some observations about what it takes to make marriage work.

No worries.  It’s a very short list.  In fact, there are only 3 basic rules.  Break any of the three and you’re on your own.  Keep all of them, and you are almost guaranteed a successful relationship.

Number 1: Base it on real friendship. No, I didn’t say love.  People misunderstand and misuse the word love way too much for it to convey any clear concept these days.

What most people think of as ‘love’ is emotion.  It’s a ‘feeling’ – and we know that feelings change from one day to the next, one moment to the next.  Feelings are created by chemicals in your brain that are manipulated by external inputs:  situations, illness, foods, exercise, medications, the list goes on.    The first flush of love is a pleasant feeling, to be sure.  Just not one you can count on as a basis for a lifetime relationship.  The kind of love I see so clearly in those hands, the kind that develops such a deep and lasting bond,  is built over years of shared laughter and shared tears.

Friendship, on the other hand, makes one think of words like:  dependable, tolerant, happy, memories, loyal,  compadre….    Those words describe a consistent continuing  mutually giving relationship between equals.  We enjoy spending time with friends – working, playing, just hanging out.  Friends usually share our most basic values, but beyond that we tend to be tolerant of most differences.  We seldom believe we can re-make a friend into something he or she is not.   If changes are required before you can accept and enjoy your future spouse, it’s a recipe for failure.

If there is such a thing as a good marriage, it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.  ~Michel de Montaigne 


A blog renewed April 1, 2010

Posted by Barbara in Art.
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I had great intentions.  Really!

This blog was to chronicle my learning about internet from what was a new perspective for me – gaming with my kids.    I discovered that internet and its myriad manifestations have created for us a new world that is simultaneously  smaller and larger.   There have been so many things to learn – and it’s been a blessing to get to see some of them through my sons’ eyes as well as my own.   I’ve made friends – some quite good “real” friends that I’ve never met in the real world.  I’ve felt the down side of gaming – the shadow of internet addiction, along with many, many positive and creative interactions.   I’ve grown from the experiences – not always without pain, but that’s how growth happens sometimes.

I wish I’d kept up with the log so it would have been captured in real time – but now is now and maybe the time for blogging has finally come.     Since the world is changing around us as quickly as we are changing ourselves, the topics are likely to be pretty broad.  Anything, in fact, that I feel a nudge to express an opinion about as well as forays into the fun and frustrations of life.

Maybe I’ll be fortunate to find someone out there interested on occasion.  If not – that’s okay, too.  The journaling will be a worthy exercise.  So, welcome (again) to my world!

If…….. March 20, 2008

Posted by Barbara in Art.
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I try to stay aware of the kinds of lessons we learn in life and how those same lessons play out in the social and game structure of games like WoW.    Because this kind of game is so interactive and the timetable of progression is so compressed compared to the real world, you can learn and re-learn lessons pretty quickly.

Today I ran across that great poem by Rudyard Kipling and realized how completely appropriate it is, all over again.   If you’ve played long enough to have a character at max level, you’ve been a part of a guild or two, joined raids – especially those with 25 – 40 people involved, or been an officer in a guild, I invite you to enjoy this again with a new context.   (more…)