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Showing posts from 2011

Huckleberry: Part 1

When Dave and I went out on a scooter ride the night of August 5th last year, we did not leave our apartment with any intention of adopting two cats.

But life is funny that way.

It was 10'o'clock at night, and Dave and I we were driving past a gas station when Dave yelled, "I see kittens!" as he swerved sharply into the lot.  "You what?" I bellowed through my helmet.  And as soon as he cut the engine, I heard a wild scraping in the bushes by the road, and a jet-black kitten came shooting down from the branches.  Paws splayed, he caught sight of us, froze, and then shot back into the shrubbery.

"There's another one!" Dave called out, pointing beyond the bush to an arch-backed kitten, this one grey and white, frozen against the back curb of the gas station lot.  A car suddenly pulled into the lot, cutting my visual with the kitten.  What already hit Dave finally hit me - if they stay here, they'll get run over.  I lifted my face mask and cro…


Leaving a church you love is difficult.

What a small word, "difficult".  Nine letters, three syllables, a small vague word full of heartbreak.

It is October now.  And in October of last year, I left a church I loved.

It was the right decision.  But it was "difficult".

Dave and I left at the end of October.  At this time last year, we were in the final throes, and I was thrashing, in agony, miserable.  The church I loved and the people I loved were hurting me.  And worse, the wounds were inflicted with imperfect judgement and the best intentions.

Some mornings, I still wake up angry thinking about it.  Misguided love is a dangerous thing.

For some reason, it helps to know that it hurts so much because I loved them, that church, so much.  My heart was there, had grown vessels and nerves, was pumping blood, deep-set in the chest of that church.  And then when we left, I had to cut it out.

I sometimes wonder if my heart will ever beat right again.

The healing has been …

Good Things

A couple of months ago, I went to a bar with my friend, Tricia.  I ordered a pale ale, and the instant she went to the bathroom, two awkward young men swooped over to flirt with me.

Before that, she and I were talking about art and about writing. She is out in California, living twenty miles from L.A. and writing screenplays. She wants to write big action and adventure movies like Cowboys and Aliens with heroes like Indiana Jones, big and blazing romps of fun.  "I just wrote a romantic-comedy," she said, and, both of us Christians, we were discussing the value of art that isn't explicitly "Christian" or that doesn't directly talk about God.

Without thinking, I said, "It is good to fill the world with good things."

Last week was strangely sad for me.  A relative of mine died of heart failure, one of my young cats suddenly fell ill and had to be put down, and my mother told me Wednesday morning that one of her patients, a 7-year-old girl, is slowly…


I went to a viewing last night.

What a strange tradition, I thought, as I think at every viewing I've been to.

Funerals I understand - the readings, the preaching, the crying, the quiet solemnity.  There's a formality and a sadness to it.

But viewings, in my experience, are family reunions with a dead body in the room.

I always have these moments where I'm catching up with friends and relatives, sometimes even laughing, but the moment I do I throw a guilty look at the coffin.  Oh right - there's a dead body here, I shouldn't be laughing.  Then I do it five minutes later, and look panicked over my shoulder, please God, tell me I wasn't laughing too loud with a dead person in the room.

Honestly, I don't think people know what to do, though.  How often are you standing around in a room with a dead body?  I think that's why we laugh.  Last night, even the adult daughter of the woman who passed away smiled several times, even laughed a little between the cryi…


I wrote this last week before our one-year-old cat, Huck, got sick.  We had to put him to sleep Friday evening around 5:30.  I miss these moments with our little buddy.

When I went out to run errands this morning, I almost didn't bring a jacket with me.  On an excessive whim, I snatched a tattered fleecy sweatshirt, the one with the cigarette hole in the elbow (I don't smoke, but I used to spend a lot of time on porchs with smokers).  The moment I stepped outside, I was reminded that it is no longer August - it was cool, lower 60s, a cold breeze and a lingering fog in the trees of the school yard.  I closed the door behind myself and quickly shoved into the sleeves, gathering the cloth around me.

Summer is saying goodbye.  I know Ohio well enough to know there are still a few hot days ahead, but I know that Summer's grasp is gone.  And our short-lived beautiful Autumn is coming into her prime.

It was a beautiful summer.

Oh, for lots of reasons.  But I say that because that…

Day 1004

Thoughts on Marriage

Quiet Time
Dave and I had a lot going on when we were first married: we were in a church that met at least three nights a week, we each had a full-time college class load, and we both had part time jobs. 

But in June of 2010, we both got our degrees.  And in October of 2010, we left that busy church.  Our lives have quieted down a lot, and the quiet has been good for us.

Dinner has become an important part of our evening rhythm.  We both get home from work at about the same time, and I put together a simple meal.  There's an unassuming melody to it, a gentle heartbeat.  I ask how many tator tots he wants, and he always says 15.  I knock on the study door when the food's about done, and he gets my silverware and napkin for me.  I hear the scraping legs of unfolding TV trays in the living room as I dish up his plate.  If it's early enough, we watch the news on PBS; if it's later, we watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, guessing aloud the questions an…

Down to Business

I will probably never blog here with the same faithfulness that I used to. However, that does not mean that I'm not writing.

In fact, I've started a small business:

(Thanks to my father for designing the logo)
The business is simple: as my website quips, it's "designed to preserve the irreplaceable life stories of people in written, audio or video form."

You see, my grandmother passed away a year ago this month. And, as I have previously posted, I am (very slowly) working on a book-size project that snapshots my family in the weeks around her death.

But the timing of her death led to this idea for my business. You see, she died before I could really sit down with her and record her life stories. We had even planned to do it the summer before she died, but it didn't work out. I regretted that deeply when she was gone.

I want other people to be able to keep their heritage, their inherited stories, and I don't want their possible lack of time, equipment or skill …