Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dartboard Barbie

We have creative daughters. This is a good thing. Still, sometimes their ingenuity is somewhat unexpected. Even at times...disturbing. This is what Great Scott found in the living room this morning amid their cheery post-Christmas play.
I'm just grateful my brother-in-law didn't find those throwing knives he wanted to give them.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Purple is a Christmas Color

Tonight my sister and I dyed my hair (a first!) for Christmas.


I adore it.

Tomorrow Great Scott, the girls and I go to his mother's. (The mother who took him aside when he told her we were getting married 16 years ago, and asked him why he couldn't find a good Baptist girl.)

The timing is not, alas, entirely accidental.

I am not a particularly virtuous woman. (I am however, a very happy one!)

Update: Pictures below as requested.

Before Christmas

After Christmas

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday Thirteen: Impressions at a Memorial Service

I've not posted a Thursday Thirteen list in a long time. I like lists. They are a genre of literature all to themselves. I'm not so fond of joining things. Therefore I will compromise. I reserve the option of posting a Thursday Thirteen list but will do it without using the formatting or linkage that go along with the original and official deeliebopper.

Today was Dr. Nancy Walker's memorial service. Below are thirteen thoughts or observations that ran through my head.

1. It is cold.

2. What wonderful people are Witt and Leslie Salley (who were of great help to her and were with her when she died)! How glad I am to have met them.

3. THAT was Nancy?! (On seeing a picture of her in a poofy dress in her teen years)

4. Her mother looks very much like her, only perhaps a little softer, more approachable.

5. Her sister has a wonderful sense of humor.

6. Having people get up and speak (a "Nancy roast" Nancy and a friend called it) is so much nicer than having a sermon! (Great Scott take note. Please no sermons at my funeral!)

7. While there was not an overabundance of flowers, the stories I heard told about her today make us all bloom into laughter over and over.

8. It is amazing how many lives a teacher of teachers (or a Teacher of Teachers, as Dr. George Jenson put it) can impact. She potentially influences and inspires not just her own students, but their students as well.

9. I did not know that she went back to finish her degree after her daughter's death. Somehow it seemed to me that she'd probably always been clicking through the halls of higher education, setting students quivering in their boots with one glance over her tiny wire-rimmed glasses.

10. Van Morrison's music can be perfect for a memorial service.

11. It is good to let down the guard of professional veneer and be human.

12. The passing of an exceptional person brings choking grief, but borne together with others who loved and appreciated her, that grief is somehow transformed into a shared joy in having known her.

13. Nancy was an exceptional person. One of the characteristics that made her such was that she treated those who knew her as exceptional people as well, worthy of being listened to, capable of accomplishing their goals, and unique and valuable in themselves. I was struck, as person after person, student after student, colleague after colleague stood to honor her, by how right she was.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Day Six

School is canceled again tomorrow for both Great Scott and both girls.

I know why ferrets eat their young.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dr. Nancy L. Walker

This morning I opened my inbox to find an email from a stranger, but one who was a friend of a friend. My friend, a beloved one-time teacher, has died.

Nancy Walker taught composition and rhetoric classes for years at Missouri State University, although when Great Scott and I attended her classes and sought her out in her third floor office, MSU was SMSU, Southwest Missouri State University. The transition from one name to another was difficult to make, almost as difficult as trying to imagine the university without her after her retirement a couple of years ago. To try to imagine the world without her will be harder yet. I do not think I can do it. I know I do not wish to. Blessedly, I do not have to. "Everything is to the point," she often said. That saying is only one of many things about her that has become as much a part of me as the permanent callous on the side of my right middle finger, the one worn by the friction of pen against flesh.

We had kept in loose contact over the last 15 years since my leaving all pretense of academia. Great Scott saw her occasionally after he began working again on a master's degree. Only last week I'd emailed her. This morning after reading of her death, I found one of her essays (excerpt below) in the online archives of The Oklahoma Review. She was a most exceptional person. She will be missed beyond measure.

A chickadee (life-span twelve years) chatters at the bird feeder, snatching a sunflower seed to relish on a near-by oak branch. A cardinal (life-span fifteen years) sits on an oak branch while the bluebirds (life-span eight years) dip in the bird bath. A bank of leaves surrounds the still-blooming geraniums -- the inevitable transition from autumn to winter when time goes south slowly.