Beth, thankfully, at long last, has agreed to allow Lilia to go visit Daniel. We've argued this for the past eighteen months. I don't know why, but she suddenly changed her mind. To be fair, she is a terrific mom, who has legitimate concerns for her daughter. I agree with her, in that I don't want Lilia to have to deal with this, either. I don't want her to be hurt. I don't want her to be the little child at school whose daddy is in prison.
But I feel that she needs to see for herself that he is okay, and that if he could be with her he truly would be.
She knows Daniel is not "away working" because she asked him point blank on the phone, and he answered "no." He wants to explain things to her when he sees her, he said. So, I'm taking her over next weekend to see him. Everything's squared away, and I will attempt to prepare her. I'm planning to talk in terms of "time out." Adults get in trouble, too. And everything can still be okay, even when that happens. Also, I'm convinced it's all in how we handle the information and our own attitudes toward people who are incarcerated and need help correcting their mistakes.
Conference. Week before last, I spent in St. Louis at the National Conference for Catechetical Leaders. Sounds, well, "conference-y" doesn't it? The best parts: the road trip with three fabulous women, the food, oh-my-gosh, connecting with so many interesting people from all over the place, and my instead-of-lunch walk down to the park beneath the Arch. (Oh, yes, and the four of us rode the Mark Twain up and back down the River one afternoon. Mississippi River, that is.)
Everything in between. Can't say it all in one blog post.
Friendships are so much fun lately. The road trip to St. Louis with Patsy, Mary and Christen; our A.W.E. group yesterday morning. We were all nine there at once and it got pretty rowdy and raucus-y. Evidently what "women of a certain vintage" do. And then there are some quiet one-on-one lunches and conversations along the way.
Golf. Jack and I hit balls at the range the other night. Went pretty well! I didn't get my clubs out at all last summer. It will feel good to play. Definitely missing it.
Hot outdoors, finally. Some people say they don't like it.
I am officially off work, now, until 1 August. Only thing is, there are some things I still want to shine up before I leave, and I am also doing some "trade-off" time so I can attend a family wedding in Kansas in late August. From there, I plan to go to Oklahoma and see some friends/family and do a little finishing up research on my novel. So I'm a little "in and out" and "still around, sort of" at St. Mary of Nazareth. I also have a few things going with Adult Faith Formation right now that I don't want to miss out on.
Jack is doing lots of work on the yard, lately, filling and seeding. He's also gotten back into fly tying and fishing, not in a BIG way, so much as a MEDIUM way. I'm happy for the outdoorsman in him.
Kayak. I finally got out! The kayak is a Christmas present from Jack, and I finally took it out last Saturday for about an hour. I suppose I should have christened it, or something. Just didn't occur to me.
Layers. Here's an example: Early in the week, my longtime friend, Kenda, contacted me through Facebook to say she and her daughters, Sara and Kaylyn, were traveling from their home in Montana to Omaha for a wedding, and would I be free on Friday. She also contacted another friend, Lu, who lives in Cedar Rapids, and invited Lu and her daughter, Bethany, to meet us. The six of us met for lunch at Palmer, and after lunch we dropped in on another friend, Jill, who couldn't get away from work to meet us for lunch.
Here are the layers: Kenda, Lu, and Jill were students at Drake during our early years in Des Moines, and I was in campus ministry back then. (There are four of these girls who graduated from Drake back in the early '80's. Renae was on her way out of town and couldn't join us.) I used to hang out in the dorm with them, and they used to hang out at church together and at our home. They had not seen each other in, say, twenty years. It was almost thirty for me.
It was NOT like stepping back in time. It was like stepping together into the present time in a different way, and bringing all the layers of our shared and not shared past along with us. The shared history is a mix of people and events we can and can't remember clearly, doesn't matter. I'm still savoring sitting with those beautiful women yesterday, looking into the faces of those daughters, who seemed to enjoy watching and listening as we reminisced and caught up. So much time, so many changes, so many things still the same. P.S. Thank you, Facebook!
More on this when I have the photo to add.
Novel is pouring through and out of me. It's hard to explain. It's delivered from a different part of the brain than the part used to write, say, a blog post. I have the beginning and the ending, and I know almost everything that happens, I just have to get it all down and in order. I'd love to have a complete first draft done by 1 July. Think I can? In terms of words, I'm sitting at about 60,000 right now.
Plans. Aside from the trip to see Daniel in Pekin next weekend, and the plan to spin this novel out, Jack and I are planning a trip to Taos at the end of the month to research my next novel. I believe there's some fly fishing embedded in this plan. In July, we typically go our separate ways. Jack goes to his home town, Sparta, Wisconsin for a memorial golf tournament, and to donate time to the kids, teaching golf. About the time he gets home, I go on retreat with three girlfriends. We rent a place in Minocqua. Right on the lake. Late August will be my return to work, the trip to Kansas and Oklahoma while Jack and Jason drive out to California together. All of this with some Lilia-and-Grady time mixed in, hopefully. And a trip to see the Harigs' new house!
Questions. I know the setting for my next novel, but not the story line yet. I guess these things work the way they work. I only know I'm intrigued by the old churches situated in the villages along the High Road to Taos. So that's where I'm going to start. I'm going with this mantra: "Tell me."
Even though I sweep at least twice a day, this stuff is a constant. And, from the looks of the tree, it's going to be this way for a long while.
Unknown. See (above) Questions. I'm so haunted by those little communities and churches. I wonder what stories they have to tell?
Sometime in the future, I'll start at this end of the alphabet and maybe get to use V,W,X,Y, and Z.