Friday, September 25, 2009


The hubby came home for lunch to find the bird had made it's way back up and out of the vent. But not without leaving, um, well, traces, if you know what I mean...

In other news, I finished the rough draft of chapter two this afternoon. Word count is at 11,000, counting the intro and preface. Things are moving along, albeit not as I'd envisioned. It is an interesting and sometimes frustrating process. I don't have nearly as much time to dedicate to it as I would like...

Off to pick up kids from school, take Bub to gymnastics, and go eat ice cream with Buddy.


just "venting"

With a full day of no kids ahead of me, and a sinus infection that persuades me not to go to the gym this morning, I sit down to the computer with a cup of Vanilla Chai with cream (real cream, because I'm not losing weight anyway) and anticipate a full day of writing and, quite possibly, napping. As my tea steeps, I bustle about getting things in place, so as to be undisturbed for the rest of my morning. I pull up, "tune" it to my George Winston station, and settle in.

As I boot up the computer, I hear a metal clanking outside my kitchen window that sounds as if it's coming from my driveway. There should not be metal noises coming from my driveway. I stop and listen for a second or two, conclude our neighbor must be home and getting ready to mow his yard, and go ahead and pull up my email. Then I hear it again.

It really sounds like it's closer than his yard, I think. But it has to be the lawn mower. Can't think of what else it could be. I go on reading. I hear it again. Finally curiosity gets the best of me, and I get up to look out the kitchen window. Nothing. I look out the back door. Nothing. I look out the kitchen window again. Nothing. Then, I hear it again. And I realize it's not coming from the kitchen window, it's coming from the kitchen.

I turn toward to noise, coming from above my refrigerator, to find a tiny beaked head sticking out from my kitchen vent into my kitchen. Then a little foot. Then a wing. Then the noise, again, and all appendages disappear. I freeze in shock, then, as its head appears again, realize I need to do something before I have a freaked out sparrow flying around my house, freaking out both myself and the cat.

But what do I do? As much as I like birds, I certainly don't like them that much that I want one flipping out and flapping in my face! I start to dial my husband at work, then realize he probably is not going to come back home at 9 AM to deal with this. I know that Beth, though on her way to the grocery, has just dropped her kids off at school near my house and I may be able to catch her before she's too far north to come back. I breathe a prayer, something like Dear God please let her answer her phone and come help me even though she is going to be even more freaked out than I am, and hit the button for her cell phone. God is merciful, as is Beth. Help is on the way.

But help to do WHAT? I don't know how to open the vent, nor do I want to open the vent. It is becoming apparent I need to call my husband. I speed dial the office and the new receptionist answers. "Good morning, Lorie! How are you today?"

"Um, I'm good, all except for this BIRD in my KITCHEN--is my husband there?"

She transfers me with an "Oh my!" and puts my husband on the line, who is less than enthusiastic about the issue. Of course, he's not the one watching the bird try to escape into the kitchen, where it's going to freak out and flap all over and, let's be honest, likely POOP all over everything. He says he can come home at lunch. That's not working for me. He instructs me to pull apart a cereal box and tape it up around the vent until he can come home. That, I can do.

Beth arrives, questioning what, exactly, the cat that sits at the front door to greet her is good for, if he can't deal with the bird in the vent. She reminds me she's terrified of animals. I remind her I'm aware of that, and assign her the task of handing me the tape.

I climb up on the chair, just seconds after the last escape attempt, and the bird goes still out of survival instinct. Yes, that's right, I soothe, you just be real still and I'll pretend I don't see you, okay? I manage, despite my height deficit, to finally get the box secured around the vent, and Beth goes on her merry grocery-shopping way.

All is eerily quiet now, with an occasional flutter or clank from above the fridge. (Why is "fridge" spelled with a "d" and "refrigerator" is not?) It is 9:45, and it will be a few hours before my husband comes to free the little critter, hopefully without my help, but most likely with. I regard the poor creature--stuck in a deep, dark place, unable to get help, light and open space on the other side, just out of reach. I know how this little bird feels. I want out, too.

But freedom is coming. Help is on the way.

As long as my attempt to keep it from escaping doesn't suffocate it in the meantime.

Sure is quiet up there now...

Monday, September 21, 2009

on (not) singing

Normally, my mail doesn't make me cry. Normally. But today's mail was an exception. Today's mail contained the season brochure for The Toledo Masterworks Chorale, and it pressed on a tender spot in my spirit I have gone to great lengths to avoid over the past several years. This blog began as an effort to avoid that tender spot. And I'd done pretty well, as of late. But tender spots always seem to be found, somehow. Someone presses on them by mentioning the unmentionable, asking the unaskable, or mailing you a brochure that gets delivered right into your hands and says, "Hey—pay attention to me now, would you?"

We moved here nine years ago, leaving behind this fine group of semi-professional musicians with whom we had developed deep friendships and made incredible music for eight years. It was the first time since kindergarten that I had not been a part of a choir. I am still, nine years later, choir-less, and today, in particular, that makes me very, very sad.

In a season of life within which women already tend to feel every shred of their identity is laid on the altar of motherhood, it was particularly excruciating to take this part of my heart and lay it down, not knowing when or if it would ever be restored to me. Singing was not just a part of my identity, it was the entirety of who I thought myself to be. I loved singing choral music with a passion that nothing else—nothing else—in my life has ever even come close to. Passion deferred, I am discovering, makes the spirit sick.

Singing with the Chorale was a source of joy, of emotional outlet, of pride. It connected me with God and with others in a way few other things can. I ache for that, and there is nothing I can do about it. There is still, nine years later, no ram in the bush to spare this offering. And so today, thanks to the Chorale's 38th season, I am sitting here at my computer wiping tears and grieving this empty, achy place in my spirit that cannot be comforted by anything less than being a part of that glorious sound again, and again, and again.

Best wishes to the MWC for a fabulous season. Looks like fun. Wish I could be there.

Sing loud, old friends. Sing loud.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

how i spent my weekend

Marmon Valley with a crew of fifth grade girls. I am still recouperating!

This whole "having more time when the kids are both in school full time" thing is more challenging than I'd hoped. Sure wish I could get in a regular pattern of blogging. How do y'all do it? At any rate, I have about 6000 words done on "the book." They're rough, but they're on paper. Well, theoretically speaking. Tomorrow my goal, for the whole four hours I will have free, is to write chapter two. Wish me luck! And don't email me, okay? I'll be too tempted to respond... Gotta stay out of my email!!! Ugh!!!

Friday, September 04, 2009

a conversation of my own

Just finished reading Angry Conversations With God: A Snarky But Authentic Spiritual Memoir, by Susan E. Isaacs, within which a disgruntled spiritual spouse decides to take God, whom she has been told all her single life will be her husband, to couples counseling.

Near the beginning, Susan imagines, after having heard about the very popular Conversations With God, what a conversation with the God she currently is "married" to would sound like. It goes something like this:

Susan: God, what the **** are you doing?

God: Shut the **** up or I'll kill you or something.

Of course, this is not what God really sounds like. And, of course, she and God reconcile in the end. But I found the book intriguing, as both a counselor and fellow conversant, and began to imagine my own conversations.

Mine goes something like this:

(I see God across the room, standing alone, looking around at the crowd.)

Me: (Approaching him because he doesn't make eye contact with me.) Hello? God? Do you remember me?

God: Oh! (His eyes register a blank look, but he smiles and shakes my hand.) Sure. I remember you. What was your name again?

(I smile awkwardly, embarrassed that I've remembered his name but he's not remembered mine. Happens all the time.)

Me: It's Lorie. Remember? We grew up together. I go to your church.

God: Oh, yeah! That's right! I thought you looked familiar. How is Scott? (He looks around the room again, scanning faces. He waves at someone.)

Me: Tom. (I smile another politely strained smile, embarrassed all the more.) My husband's name is Tom.

God: That's right—good ol' Scott. (His hand is on my arm, but he's already moving toward someone else.) Hey, listen—I'd love to chat, but I need to go shower blessings on people and heal some stuff and get to know some folks for a while, so, I'll catch you 'round, okay? Good talkin' with you, Leslie! Don't be a stranger!

I stand there, smarting, as he makes a bee-line for a beautiful couple with the right clothes and the right hair and the right stuff and embraces them warmly. I overhear him:

God: Hey guys! Great to see you again—last night was great, wasn't it? Hey—did you get that new job I sent you? Oh, good! And how about the tuition payment? Yes? Great. And how are the kids enjoying the new pool? Fabulous. Just wanted to bless you guys—love to love on ya! We'll get together again tomorrow night, okay?

The sting grows warm, spreading, a stupid don't-you-dare-cry smile plastered to my bewildered face, as I watch God go from person to person, working the room. I observe with jealousy, with hurt, with anger. And I wonder why, after 35 years of trying to get his attention, he still doesn't notice me. As I turn to escape, I hear him laughing, see him embracing others, observe him gaze deeply, affectionately into their eyes.

I walk out into the parking lot, the cool fall air mixing with my tears, soothing my red cheeks but little else. A life-time of trying, in my own insecure, imperfect way, to try to get to know this man, and he still doesn't really know I exist, much less give me the time of day. Why do I continue to pursue him?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

more blue skies

Wrote this over the summer on a long, sunny drive. Thought it was fitting for today.

Green upon green upon blue upon green,

Spreading wide and long and high and deep.

What touches the earth, reaches the sky,

Bringing heaven within reach.

Spreading wide and long and high and deep—

Fruited branches ride the breeze,

Bringing heaven within reach,

Rooting peace in the soil of my soul.

Fruited branches ride the breeze—

What touches the earth, touches the sky,

Rooting peace in the soil of my soul…

Green upon green upon blue upon green.

nothin' but blue skies...

Clear blue skies, mild temperatures, days at home to my self. THIS is what I love about September.

These next four months are my absolute favorite time of the year. I welcome them with the first bit of hope I've felt for a LONG time.