On Saturday morning, my email was full. Among the happy news and questions and requests, this photo rested. Along with a few others. It was taken in Weimar, where I've never been. But it swept me away, anyway, because this is the Germany I know. The one I love. It could be Nuremberg, Munich, Hersbruck, Berlin - or any one of the dozens of hamlets and villages I have been to visit. The wide, ample, sturdy architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries is abundant in Bavaria; but Weimar is to the north, in Thuringia. So it gave me pause, this beautiful photograph, taken by my friend, who I know as Bill, Carter.
On Friday morning, my mailbox was smiling. That's because of the arrival, above, of Sam Ward's beautiful, handpainted notecards. Sam is the son of Michelle Ward, and the story of this endeavor is one of inspiration and determination. Please take a moment to read about it at Michelle's website, here. And, take a look at the the Etsy shop, here - you won't be sorry for ordering a few packs of the cards. They're beautiful. Michelle's support and creative spirit make my teacher-heart so happy.
And here is Nubs. He usually naps and munches on things right beyond the fence. The property extends beyond the fence, and the fence was here when I first arrived. If it was meant to keep animals out, it's an epic fail. That's fine by me.
I crave these. It's the only serious craving I get, usually several times a year. And I am particular. Not any shrimp or prawns will do - I want wild caught shrimp from the Texas Gulf. I especially like them fresh, but they are just as good if you have to buy them frozen. And I am particular about how to cook them. My mother had a friend, Don Neu, who taught me: Simmer for a minute or two in beer, with lots and lots of black pepper. Just till they turn pink. Shell on or off, doesn't matter. I ate a dozen of these yesterday afternoon. Cooked on the induction plate, since the gas range is still to be installed...They were excellent.
Last week was so busy - four meetings, two music events, multiple phone calls, and reading for the book club.
This is my second reading of the book.
The first time I read it, it was painful. Provocative and thoughtful and painful. I may have rushed through it. So this time, for our book club, I slowed it w a y d o w n . I read mindfully, word by word, one word at a time. You may know Ta-Nehisi Coates from his essays and blog posts for The Atlantic. They are extraordinary pieces of writing, and so is Between The World And Me. There is a similarity to James Baldwin's 1963 book, The Fire Next Time. Baldwin writes to his nephew to speak of ways to navigate the 1963 world in America as a young black man. Coates' book is a letter to his son, offering wisdom and truth about navigating the world in 2015 America as a young black man. It expresses Coates' hopes for his son, and tells of Coates' own experiences. It is a powerful and profound piece of writing, a work that I predict will become a classic.
All of this is on my mind, heading into another busy summer week. An even busier week with three music events, two meetings, two appointments and two full days away. Still, I've been asked to write a coaching piece about people who are 'impossible'. So stay tuned for an exploration of understanding about one kind of person you'd like to run the other way from, because I'm honoring my friends who made the request. Look for it here, on Wednesday. And meanwhile, I hope your busy week hums with happiness.