One of those annual letters…

One month into the new year – Happy Amost February!

Sorry I have been out of the loop. While I hate this excuse. I have been burning the candle at both ends. And since a few of you had asked where I’ve been and what is going on, I  just decided to pour a cup of coffee and write to you this morning to fill 155916237you in…   So this is sort of the email I was planning to send to you during the holidays and kept putting on the back burner… well. Today is the day to write it and press send!

In no particular order:
We got a new executive director at ALERRT, and he is wonderful. I received a major promotion and am juggling two jobs, but beginning in April, I will be exclusively handling marketing, media and governmental relations, which is the dream job. We moved into fabulous new offices near the hospital, and I have huge windows and can look out and see the Texas Hill Country – and Alkek Library and Old Main!   I am getting here at dawn and leaving at dusk most days, but suffice to say that I feel like I have a new job and absolutely love it.

I have been asked to write Delbert McClinton’s bio  – he is a legendary Texas musician, who wrote “Two More Bottles of Wine,” among other country hits – and now – in his 75th year, he is moving into more of a crooning style. I am looking forward to working with him and getting this project done and developing it into a multifaceted definitive profile of Delbert.

I have cut back on other freelance projects and carefully considered taking this on, but it is truly what I love to do – and no one has written a major piece about him to date, and hey, he taught John Lennon to play the harmonica, for goodness sakes, and most of all, I think he has a very good story to tell in Texas music history.

The collaborative Texas songwriter book project for Texas A&M Press was hung up in legal for a little while as they got permissions to use some song lyrics in other chapters – but looks like it is going to press soon.

Speaking of Texas music, in March, I am representing the Center for Texas Music History and presenting a paper at the Texas State Historical Association Annual Conference in Corpus Christi: “Texas Music: From Frontiers to Footlights.” I am looking forward to that conference and getting to soak up a lot of great presentations – not to mention the book fair that happens along with the conference.

On a sad note, my children are struggling with their father’s mortality — as his heart grows weaker. My former husband, Kent Finlay  has been in Methodist Hospital in SA for about 9 days and they were hoping to move him to a rehab facility but have been unable to stabilize him enough to make that move.  HalleyAnna and I drove over to see him this week – and it is very sad. Each of my children is handling this differently, and while I am not in a place to facilitate this, I can only sit back and pray for grace and peace for them in their own ways. As you know, these sorts of things can tear at the fiber of the best of family relationships, but I can only hope for comfort and good memories for each of them.

Jenni, who took the lead on taking care of him last spring while he had the bone marrow transplant and cancer treatments, has a book of poetry coming out this week Here is what the blurb says:

Jenni Finlay will soon release her first chapbook of poetry, entitled Table For One (Mezcalita Press). Acclaimed author Brian T. Atkinson recently submitted the book’s foreword. “Turn the page,” he writes. “You’ll learn life lessons in care and compassion and calling your own heart into action.” Illustrations by the amazing Marc Harkness complement the poems, written during the months when Jenni was her father’s caretaker during his cancer treatment and bone marrow transplant.  The bittersweet vignettes are as humorous as they are heartwrenching.    Stay tuned for more details of Jenni’s poetry debut set for release in early March 2015!  CLICK HERE to pre-order today!

Her book about her dad, coauthored with Brian T. Atkinson, Kent Finlay: Dreamer is slated for fall release through the Texas State University’s  Center for Texas Music History  John and Robin Dixon Series – also through Texas A&M Press.

Mark and I are still taking care of – and spending as much time as possible  with – his dear mother, who at 90, is still the beautiful woman his father fell in love with. She has a wry sense of humor and enjoy driving Mark crazy in a way only mothers can!  My mother has settled in comfortably in Savannah, Georgia near my brother and his family and has found a truly happy place to be.  Mark and I have determined that 2015 is the year that we focus on quality time doing things that are important to us.  I got on a walking kick last fall and when my knee started to give me trouble, I researched and then talked my best buddy Kim Porterfield into getting Really Great Bicycles and we love them.  We started a regular riding regime but my knee was not getting better.

The knee was not further harmed by the bicycling (in fact, I am told that is good for it) but it appears that the meniscus (sp) has been compromised in my left knee and it hurts like the devil when I move it in certain ways. So — as my brilliant non-doctor husband says, “Don’t move it in those ways.” But I finally went to my dr and after dealing with some insurance fal-de-ral am finally seeing a sports medicine orthopedist who specializes in knees next week. I throw in the sports medicine part just to point out that it is not a “old peoples” knee doctor! lol!  I might just need to go see Jenice’s Dr. Jim, since Mark always insists that vets are much  better doctors than human doctors – because they have to learn about every kind of body – from birds to horses! — though, wait–  thinking of horses,  he may have to shoot me if my knee is unfixable!   So for now, Kim is riding solo and I am waiting till i go to the knee guy before I get back on the bike.

Sterling gave me a wooden sign a while ago that says, “Enjoy life. It is not a dress rehearsal.” and this year, we are taking that to heart. We are determining what is important vs what is urgent.. and finding that last year, we let much important time pass while addressing squeaky wheels and the loudest squalkers. We are finally both at a place where we feel we are doing our best — and we are very lucky.

Yes. This may sound like one of Those Emails that people laugh about  that attempts to catch people up with everything great that is going on,  so for the record, life is not a bowl of cherries. We have to jiggle the handle on the toilet in our bathroom to make the water stop running, and you have to walk single file through our garage because of all the junk, and our outside Christmas lights are still up BUT THEY ARE UNPLUGGED — but Mark and I have decided that taking deep breaths and enjoying quality of life — and that spending time celebrating real friendship are much more certain keys to happiness than chasing our tails and trying to keep up with a full calendar of meetings and committees and to-do lists.

And as we approach Barkley’s first anniversary with us on February 4,  we are grateful for PAWS animal shelter for saving him for us – (he had been turned over  to the shelter three times  and had been there since October when we got him last February)  and for the great adventures we have been on together. He is the best traveling dog and truly adds another dimension to our family.

As I mentioned, the first quarter of this year is a bit of a challenge but we are getting things organized and squared away personally and professionally, and will be living in a new kind of normal beginning in April.  Let’s make it memorable. I hope to spend more quality time with good friends in this new year. And look forward to sitting and visiting and catching up soon. So here we are almost 1/12th of the way through 2015. Here’s to all of us. Quality life.

Love,
Diana

Listening to: Green Leaves of Summer by Asleep At The Wheel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s