Sunday, December 18, 2011

Surviving the Song of the Season

I struggle with Christmas. You're heard all this before about returning to the real meaning of Christmas. Simplifying. Focusing on the Incarnation instead of the inhalation of as many parties, gifts and food as possible. The season is turning into a celebration of family. "Make someone happy this year." "Get the family together." "Make this the best Christmas ever."

I have no arguments about quality family time, letting those you love know you love them. But sometimes I feel this desperate urge to retreat from everyone so that I can remember the Someone who made me able to love, give and have hope.

About a year ago, I realized that I do have a few special minutes in all the holiday bustle where it all becomes clear. These few minutes are Christmas to me. I anticipate the moment, and usually weep for joy when they come. This is it: our family tradition was always to play one particular song on Christmas morning. That was the signal for all the kids upstairs that they could come down and start the fun. The song is this: (Done by "Glad--Acapella Project)

In the first light of a new day
No one knew He had arrived
Things continued as they had been
While a new born softly cried.

But the heavens wrapped in wonder
Knew the meaning of His birth
In the weakness of a baby
They knew God had come to earth.

As His mother held him closely,
It was hard to understand
That her baby not yet speaking
Was the Word of God to man.

He would tell them of His kingdom,
But their hearts would not believe
They would hate Him and in anger
They would nail Him to a tree.

But the sadness would be broken
As the song of life arose
And the First born of creation
Would ascend and take his throne.

He has left it to redeem us,
But before His life began
He knew He´d come back not as a baby
But as The Lord of ev´ry man.

Hear the angels as they´re singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will our song be
When He comes again
When He comes again

Hear the angels as they´re singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will our song be
When He comes again to Earth

When He comes to rule the Earth!

If you have not heard this song, I believe you can hear it on iTunes. I'm no music buff, but this moves me like no other song. If you could go to heaven for one single deed, I believe the singer in this song would deserve that reward for hitting that one last note--piercingly beautiful--sometimes I wonder if I will survive till he finishes that note!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unwelcome Visitor

He stamps and glares
And gives a shake
Clearly disapproving,
But I insist he trot along
And tap the glass
To get him moving.

An astounding leap
And off he bounds
Into the woods at hand.
He looks back once
And sees me there
Making good on my demand.

Perhaps now the birds
Might have a chance
To get themselves some dinner.
They'd best be quick
Cause that squirrel I know
Ain't getting any thinner.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Considering politics and race
And concerns of life and rights
It saddens me to see my place
Is mostly shades of red and whites
While my brethren of the African hue
Are mostly inclined toward black and blue.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flash from the Past

Just thought you'd want to know that since light travels at 186,282 feet per second, if you stood 5 feet away from a mirror and looked at yourself, you would see something special. The image that bounces back to your eyes is what you looked like .0000536 seconds ago. A real flash from the past!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Whisper in the Garden

In the past few weeks some packages arrived for me. They were lily bulbs I ordered last spring and totally forgot about. That's what I love about ordering plant materials. You give yourself a gift by doing it, then you tend to shove them to the back of your mind. When they arrive they are a surprise present all over again. I was glad that I saved a pile of compost from the summer activities, so that I could enrich the soil as I buried them for the winter. Come next spring, they will come up and I will be surprised again--another gift arriving.
I went in for lilies in a big way this year, and if I'm lucky and persistent, I may even get some photos from the garden catalog posted here... Three kinds of lilies, all different heights.
Planting bulbs is an act of hope. I am willing to wait until mid- to late-summer to receive my reward. I'll have some nurturing to do in the meantime, but I garden to grow in patience. I garden to be stunned by beauty. I garden to remind myself that there is something to hope for. The flowers are just a whisper of the promise.

Monday, August 8, 2011

'Fraid to Step Outside

Weeds are growing and I oughter
Go out and pull them, but I dodder
'Cause I'm nothin' but mosquito fodder.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Breaking Storm

An epoch passes while I wait
The dreaded thing I anticipate.
It hovers like a thunder cloud--
A veil of gray, a funeral shroud.

The air is thick and hard to breathe,
And worries round my head enwreathe
My fears which only multiply
Like billowing blackness in the sky.

Then in a moment I hear a sigh
Of wind in motion passing by.
All that I thought would bring me grief
Was nothing--I embrace relief.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sweet Sweat

Normally I don't like being sticky, hot and dripping. (Wow! That sounds like a gloriously sticky sweet roll right out of the oven...) However, my first thought was that typical humid Michigan summers have their downsides. Doing any kind of outdoor work in mid-summer results in a clothes-soaking, dust-and-dirt-sticking, disheveled appearance.

I recently found myself in this state just as a storm hit and took out the electricity for seven hours. That meant that for the rest of the day I was waiting, hoping, trusting that the power would return so that I could shower and relieve myself of the grime and itchy film of filth all over my body. It was not to be. The power stayed off and the time approached when I was really going to have to do something to get cleaned up. I had a dinner engagement that I didn't want to miss. Fortune was on my side. A unexpected visit from a friend on the other side of town, the side with electricity, provided me with the answer. I packed up a change of clothes and went to her house and was cleaned up with time to spare.

One of the greatest pleasures in life is warm, clean water flowing over a tired, muddy body. You can be exhausted, sure that you have no strength left for anything. But the refreshment of that water rejuvenates and energizes and relaxes. You come out of that bath feeling like a human being again. I'm tempted to get distracted with all the baptismal symbols here, but I don't want to go there just now. The main thing I want to say is that hard work--getting sweaty, dirty and worn out--has rewards. You can see the product of your labors and look forward to the blissful shower to come. That is the sweetness of getting sweaty.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Roaming Home

Travel is stimulating. We anticipate it with enthusiasm and reminisce our wanderings with longing to return. While roaming the country or traveling abroad, we admire what we may never see again and indulge in pleasures because they are distant from home and attractive because unfamiliar.

When roughing it, what would be a major nuisance at home becomes a rustic adventure. When taking in the city high life, the deafening hustle-bustle and stench of transportation fumes becomes the life pulse of sophistication and culture.

I heard a lecture in college about vacations. It was a natural resources class intended to help students understand how to design and enhance a national park for maximum vacation satisfaction. I've never forgotten several points. They explained how emotions impact vacation. Anticipation rises as the departure time nears. Pleasure has an early peak right after beginning a trip and then settles into a contented plateau. When nearing the destination excitement begins to rise again. The point of the lecture was learning how to design a facility or park to keep the excitement level at high enough peaks and plateaus that the visitor leaves feeling successful about the experience.

What I don't remember about it is when the allure of home kicks in. When does that desire peak and plateau? Can you quantify the longing and relief when home comes in sight?

I love vacations. I anticipate them, get immersed in them, and hope for them to last. But once I'm packed to leave, heading for the turf I know best, I'm also glad to be roaming home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can't Take It

Wider and wider,
sipping hard cider,
My eyes begin to pop.

Warmer and warmer,
My cheeks are the warner--
It's time for me to stop.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Scrambling for a Win?

My top ten tips for being a good Scrabble player:

1. Always look to see which colored tiles are reachable.
2. Always check every word on the board to see if one letter can be added to the front or end of it.
3. Always check before you finish your play to see what you are opening up for your opponent.
4. Make plays parallel to words as much as possible so you get scores going in several directions.
5. Don't assume your opponent can spell, won't try to fake a word, or won't challenge you.*
6. Try to play people that are better than you as much as possible.
7. Don't complain about your tiles unless your opponent complains first. Let him/her start the whining. If you have poor tiles, either swap or shut up. A good player can tell when his/her opponent is working with crap.
8. Between games read a lot, and have a dictionary on hand to look up words. You can never have a good enough stock pile of words.
9. Big is not always better. Short words with big scores are just fine. Impress me with the bottom line--unless you use all your tiles and get a BINGO.
10. It doesn't hurt, especially at the end of the game, to keep track of which tiles have been played and what letters are left. In a close game, it can make the difference between a win or loss.
11. (A bonus tip!) Never assume in the first two-thirds of the game that you are too far ahead to be beaten. Cockiness leads to less aggressive playing. Next thing you know, you'll be scrambling to stay on top.

*Does not apply to the facebook version of Scrabble, which is why I really hate it. I also hate it because it accepts lots of phony words like XI, QI, and ZA to make people who are lousy players feel better, and to make good players lazy. Did that push anyone's buttons? (Hope so.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breaking up (a habit) is hard to do...

What is the difference between a good and bad habit?

1. A good one is hard to start, and a bad one is hard to stop.
2. A good one is undermined by good intentions, while a bad one is what is doing the undermining.
3. A good one may have few immediate rewards, while a bad one usually punishes us somehow.
4. A good one doesn't come naturally, while a bad one takes little effort to maintain because it is a habit...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Springtime Tanager

With vermilion plumage and jet-black wings,
You make my art-starved spirit sing:
A canvas splashed with brilliant hues
Of scarlet, chartreuse, and azure blues.

Perched among the fuschia flowers,
A redbud refuge is your bower
Against a clear and cloudless expanse
Of the bluest blue. I stand entranced.

All afternoon you come and go
Keeping me company as I work below
To dig and weed and cultivate
A beauteous Eden I long to create.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Suspended License

I know how it feels
when you lose your wheels,
'cause I'll be the one who provides
all your needed rides.


It seems odd to me that I dislike washing up and getting dressed in the morning, but it's true. There is a grace period from the time my feet hit the floor to when I've finished my breakfast when I'm just fine. Then comes the realization that I am still in my pajamas and something must be done about that. Lounging around in pj's is not my idea of comfort--unless I'm sick--which isn't a comforting thought.

Sometimes I delay the actual ritual by doing pre-ritual rituals. It is legitimate to empty the dishwasher and make the bed first. Starting a load of laundry is also acceptable. Sometimes I allow myself to check my email, but then I'm ashamed if I actually answer some email in my pj's. That is really pitiful. Just get dressed. Go do it!

I arrive in the bathroom. Disliking that sticky, gritty, been-driving-with-the-windows-rolled-down feel of uncleanness on my face, I flip a towel around my neck. How people can go around without washing the film of sleep-induced oils and sweat off their face is beyond my reckoning. But actually picking up a washcloth and doing it takes really decisive action on my part for so early in the morning. The main deterrent could be that I use ice-cold water--not wanting to waste gallons of frigid water waiting for the tepidly warm water to arrive. However, once that washcloth hits my face I know I have made it halfway through the tedious morning ritual.

My morning ablutions are so simple, it is difficult for me to admit that I can hardly get through them. I often have to take a break between washing my face and brushing my teeth. The will to just keep pushing on often breaks down in the middle--I can't take any more of this! I admit that I don't shower every morning, because so often I do something that gets me dirty during the day, that I often shower later on. So when I've made it through washing my face, instead of showering, I go get dressed before trying to tackle the next part of washing up.

Bliss for me would be a world where you could wear the exact same comfortable thing every day and everyone would affirm your choice as fashionable, sensible, modest and becoming. My uniform would be jeans, a tee shirt, a sweater if chilly, white socks, and slip-on loafers. Most days are not that simple, but I still have to remind myself not to put on the same dressed-up look as the day before.

Once I'm clothed I still feel that burden of unreadiness--teeth must still be brushed. I love that slick, fresh, minty feel of freshly brushed teeth. When I was in college, I would brush and floss my teeth whenever I needed a study-time pick-me-up. It worked better than caffeine, and my dentist was always amazed at my hygiene. I still like brushed teeth, but I have to actually do it. Squeezing the toothpaste out on my brush, finally doing it, comes as a relief. The last needful decision has been made; the action has been carried out.

But wait--I still have to floss! In my opinion, one of the greatest inventions of the last decade was the flosser. If you haven't discovered them yet, get in your car right now, go straight to the drugstore and find the mouth care aisle. Right where you would find dental floss are these packages with fifty or so little tools that have half an inch of floss stretched across plastic arms just like a miniature cheese slicer. They are for flossing your teeth! Amazing. You don't have to pull out a yard of waxy string and attempt to cut it on a tiny razor edge with a yank hard enough to start a chain saw. You don't have to wrap it around two fingers until they turn purple from lack of circulation. You don't have to try to fit both fists in your mouth while you try to floss, unable to see what you are doing because your bloated, throbbing fingers are in the way. You can now floss one-handed, comfortably, and without fear of needing a finger amputated because of gangrene due to loss of blood flow into that digit.

The feeling of accomplishment once I'm dressed, washed, brushed and flossed gives me the energy to actually face the day and start to do what that day is for. I've left that feeling of limbo--up, but not dressed and ready to go--behind.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Plodding Today, Soaring Tomorrow

There is something about a dull headache that makes you feel that you should be relieved from just about everything. It's hard to think, make decisions, move projects forward, and generally be productive. When pain medication doesn't lighten the throb, you feel justified in sitting back with a cup of tea and just vegetating. But life doesn't work that way, and you still have obligations to fulfill that an annoying but not debilitating headache doesn't excuse. If you can move forward despite the foggy brain function and slowed thought processes you feel yourself a conqueror--or at least a survivor.

Life often hands us situations where we must go on in spite of obstacles. They can be physical, mental, emotional, practical or ethical dilemmas. How we handle ourselves says a lot about our character. Are we only determined when circumstances are favorable? Are we only productive when we are in good health? Are we only thoughtful and clever when the ideas flow like a stream at spring flooding?

I want to be a faithful stalwart who can plod along whatever the weather, and when the sky's are fair, I can soar.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Foiled Again!

The conversation between Jesus and the devil in the desert is most interesting. Satan, unaware of the One God's triune nature, does not realize who he is addressing. His first suggestion to the Son of God is to turn the stones into bread, since Jesus is hungry. Jesus's reply is that man does not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God. He is, in effect, saying to the devil, "Man lives by me--the Word of God made flesh." Later Jesus reveals himself also as the Bread of Life.

The devil, thinking himself clever, then uses the written word to try and entrap the Word. He says, "Throw yourself down from this high place, and God will save you," quoting the sacred writings for Jesus's edification. Jesus, who is God, says, "You should not put God to the test." The devil does not understand that he just asked the Savior to save himself. He also does not grasp that he just put two of the three persons of God to the test.

Finally Satan offers the whole world if Jesus will worship him. The One through which the whole world was created sends the devil packing with, "Only God should be worshiped." The devil, unsuccessful in getting God to worship him, declines the veiled rebuke that the devil should worship the one he is tempting.

It is an incredible conversation of errors. Each time the devil spars with Jesus, he hands Jesus the weapon Jesus needs to foil the devil.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mystery Meditations

I have a date with Planned Parenthood once a week. I pace their sidewalk and pray the rosary. Perhaps it is as much for me as anyone who goes in, but I often find my thoughts going in surprising directions. Here is today's:

The Annunciation: Mary's "yes" to God risks everything. In her time and culture, it could have been a death sentence. Yet Mary's womb became God's home, and Joseph her protector. May all women today see the blessing of giving a safe home to God's children within themselves.

The Visitation: Mary and Elizabeth meet face-to-face. Jesus and John meet womb-to-womb. May women today realize they may be carrying someone who will change the world.

The Nativity: Jesus was born into poverty, but his parents were not afraid to have him. They trusted God for everything they needed and kings came with gifts to provide. May all women today find the courage to trust God for what this new life will need.

The Presentation: Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple on the eighth day for circumcision. This is what all Jewish parents did for the boys born to them. They welcomed him into their life--all of it. May women today have hearts ready to welcome their babies into all of their life.

The Finding of Jesus in the Temple: God had a plan for Jesus's life. He has a plan for everyone--mothers, fathers, children and teachers. The men in the temple were the first to hear from the Teacher and they were astounded. May everyone associated with abortion learn the truth from God himself!

The Baptism of the Lord: Jesus began his ministry with baptism. May all babies be given the chance to begin their life with baptism.

The Wedding at Cana: God loves marriage. May all men and women see its beauty, and save their bodies for this sacrament. Every child deserves the security of a whole and healthy family.

The Preaching of the Gospel: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. May the truth about abortion come out in such a way that no woman would ever choose it.

The Transfiguration: Jesus was transformed on the mountain to reveal his glory. He was radiant and full of life. May all women choose life and experience the radiance that pregnancy brings.

The Institution of the Eucharist: Unless you eat my bread and drink my blood, you have no life in you. Unless you carry this body to term, you also will have no life in you. Along with your child, something of yourself will die, too.

The Agony in the Garden: Jesus was afraid of what was ahead of him, but he trusted his Father and went ahead. May all fearful, pregnant women today trust their Father and choose life.

The Scourging at the Pillar: The whipping Jesus received tore at his flesh. Most authorities say it was severe enough to have killed him. Abortion tears at the flesh of babies until they are dead. It is a horrible choice, but Jesus forgave those who whipped him. Pray for women to seek forgiveness for their abortions.

The Crowning with Thorns: Ultimately the crown of thorns was a symbol of everyone rejecting who Jesus really was. Abortionists don't like women to know what they are really doing, because if they did, many would choose life. Pray for women to not reject this little life, or the one who is Life.

The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus was willing to carry the cross, because he loves women who are unwilling to carry their babies. Pray for women to accept their actions for what they are, repent, and draw close to Jesus.

The Crucifixion: Jesus forgave everyone for what they were doing--the ones who scourged him, the ones who condemned him, the ones who betrayed him, the ones who nailed him to the cross. Jesus forgives those who choose abortion, those who reject parenthood, and those who provide the service of killing their children. Pray for everyone involved in abortion, that they would repent and turn to God.

The Resurrection: When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, many others in Jerusalem also rose from the dead and walked about the city. May all the aborted children find comfort in being raised from the dead to be with Jesus now. May their mothers and fathers forgive themselves and be comforted by knowing their children are safe in his hands.

The Ascension: All of Jesus's disciples gathered to see Jesus ascend into heaven. He gave them a great commission to spread the truth. May many more who hate abortion join the ranks of those willing to spread the truth. Give them courage to make this choice.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is our advisor and helper. Give us all wisdom and guidance in working to end abortion.

The Assumption: Mary lived a quiet and obedient life. She trusted God completely. She was a mother to die for! May all women see her perfect example and not be afraid to choose motherhood.

The Coronation: Mary is often pictured in her coronation with the child Jesus in her lap. May all women choose life, so that they will know the joy of having a child who reaches for them, needs them, is comforted by them, and treasures them. May the tender lovingkindness of Mary replace the selfishness and emptiness that abortion brings.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


It's going to fall--that pine outside
Which leans so ominously left.
I find it odd the wind blew right
And caused an opposite shift.

We're just like that when we are pushed.
We resist beyond the force,
And find ourselves bent to extreme--
Not on the straighter course.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It Should Have Come As No Surprise

I'm reading Hitler's Mein Kampf right now. What strikes me most about it is that he hid nothing of what he planned to do. It's all laid out there. The extreme nationalism, the right of the strong to squeeze out the weak, the fixation on Jews as the source of all evil. I can only ask, why was the world so surprised?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Sad Lesson

A stricken gray mouse, an easy prey
Panting in the moldly leaves it lay
Poisoned by bait in a dark recess
Meant to make the world just one mouse less.

The saw-whet owl swooped down for dinner,
Snapped it up in less than a glimmer,
Ate down the fatal rodent tidbit,
Ate down baited bait that undid it.

Both man and owl aimed for the same.
Both man and owl a mouse would claim.
Both man and owl got what they most sought,
But owl paid his life for what he bought.

Would that a pact could have been made
To keep the mice in the shaded glade.
But mice will not stay where it is not warm,
But seek out shelter from the winter storm.

Man found the owl with glassy globe eyes,
Who lay dying from the tainted prize.
He rued the sad day the bait was set
And vowed a safer trap to get.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Am I A Geezer Now?

This storm outside that was accompanied by a lot of hype just doesn't impress me. When I was a kid, Kalamazoo got 40 inches of snow in two days. Missed school days was counted in weeks, not days. People died. Geezers say, "When I was a kid..." What does that make me?

Monday, January 31, 2011

An occasional visit

This bird showed up at my bird feeder last week. I wasn't familiar with it: a Carolina wren. We live at the northernmost reaches of its habitat. When I looked it up in my bird field guide book, I noticed a penciled in comment: 12/24/2007 at suet feeder. So it had been three years since I last saw him.

To Carolina wren: you are most welcome to come more often, but discovering you was such a treat!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Modern Cow Pies

I was shoveling my sidewalks yesterday. I like doing that. Fresh air. Some exercise. I usually shovel part of the driveway while I'm at it. I also shovel out of the garage those lumpy piles of half-frozen slush that fall off the car. I like to think of them as modern cow pies.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

Kind deeds are very powerful. Sometimes we can do something for someone that to us is so insignificant, but to the recipient it will never be forgotten. I have a memory from my childhood that I still cry about whenever I think of it. I cried about it typing this post. I'm sure the person who helped me has no idea what an impact her kindness had.

When I was in second grade our family moved from in town to out in the country. My school changed. I no longer walked to school, but had to ride a bus AND transfer half-way home to another school bus. For a painfully shy second-grader it felt like I was going to China for school, although it was only seven miles. Not only did I have to travel so far, but my sister and I were the only ones on the buses we rode that had to go through this transfer. It was all because the closer school was over-crowded.

On the first day our mother took us to school, but we had to do the ride home. The buses were big, noisy, and smelly. They were full of kids--lots of them bigger than I, and most definitely noisier. We were reassured that we would be helped, and we were. However, it was hard to get shuffled around by strangers, so when I got aboard the second bus, bus 16 driven by "Ma Whelan", I was terrified and near to tears. We meekly boarded this strange monstrosity, and crept down the aisle, hoping to find a seat to ourselves. Kids were staring at us. They weren't particularly making room or being friendly either. Ma saw our terror, however, and in no time she cleared out the seat right behind her and whisked us into it. Her kind smile and assurances of getting us home safely helped me from completely melting down right then and there.

I rode Ma Whelan's bus for the next ten years--although "Sweet 16" was retired and she got a new bus before I graduated from high school. Everyone loved her. We'd always take up a collection for her birthday and buy her a new sweater to wear while driving the bus. She was our mother on the bus, and her firmness, kindness and protection earned her a place of love and respect in most bus-riders hearts. But that first day, her thoughtfulness quelled the wheels of panic going round and round in my head as I rode the bus home for the first of thousands of times.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shedding Some Light

A few years ago I repainted one of our bedrooms. As part of the prep for repainting, two holes had to be repaired in the dry wall. One was on a wall, the other in the ceiling. I opted to repair the dry wall myself. How hard could it be? The results were mixed.

The hole in the wall was quite large, having accommodated a teenager's rear end while wrestling with a sibling. When slammed against the wall, the dry wall, not the buttock, caved in. I had to cut the hole square, insert some wood to brace the patch, and then cut a square to fit the hole. Then came the mudding around the edges and smoothing it out. I'm sure there were frustrating moments, but the overall result was quite professional. You can't see the patch--the wall is smooth.

The hole in the ceiling was a different matter. It was caused by some paper wasps who got into our attic and built their nest there, eating away the dry wall, I suppose, for their own building materials. My son recalls being able to hear the buzzing above his head and praying to God they wouldn't break through.

Well, the wasps were dead now, but before they expired, the dry wall was eaten down to paper-thinness in a circle about six inches in diameter. I nervously removed that area and scooped out bit by bit all of the nest. Then I followed the same steps I did with the hole in the wall.

It is much more difficult to do repairs when your head is bent backwards working on a horizontal, but upside-down surface. This hole is also positioned by a window. Light pours in there, exposing everything. That naked patch is so bad--lumpy, bumpy and all the seams showing. How could have I failed so badly there?

That bad patch is like the face of many embarrassments. As long as nothing draws attention to our errors, faults, and lack of giftedness, we get along just fine. But as soon as a particular area comes under scrutiny, nothing can hide. The spotlight shows all the zits, moles and wrinkles in the complexions of our faults.

I look at that bad patch and realize my limitations. True, I could take it all out and re-do it, but I know the extent of my time, energy and patience. Perfection can wait when it comes to dry wall. Besides, half in embarrassment, half in humility, I point out the bad patch to people who come in the room. See this? I did that. Yeah, I know. It's really bad. I feel relieved to be less than super-human.

The patch is also a good reminder about other areas of my life. There are things that we should not allow to remain unchanged. I lost my patience with that patch. I am not willing to remain impatient with people. Grace is needed--and a willingness to cut out, patch, and smooth over my failings. My dark corners could use a light shed on them now and again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dead, Not Alive, part three

It occurred to me that there needs to be some explanation about my mouse-baiting.

It all came to a crisis a couple of years ago when I saw my first live owl. It was on my deck, just sitting there in a corner. At first I thought it was a fuzzy ball, and went out to investigate. But when I came close the fuzzy ball opened its eyes!

A baby owl! Or so I thought since it did not fly off, until I did some research in my bird field guide. It was a saw-whet owl--no bigger than a baseball if fully fluffed up. It totally changed how I felt about owls. So small, light and beautiful. The feathers were soft and the color of a grey winter forest--flecks of brown, rust and charcoal. Bright yellow eyes bore into my bird-loving heart, blessing it with wonder.

It sat there all day, and I concluded that it was sick. Finally it fell over and dropped off the deck. I retrieved it, put it comfortably in a lined box and called up the local bird rescue. They explained that it had probably eaten a mouse that was in its last death throes after eating D-con, or some other mouse poison. The mouse was an easy catch, but it was also the demise of the owl. I was mortified as I thought of the D-con in my own attic, and vowed I would never use that stuff again. The little owl died shortly thereafter. It grieved me deeply.

So now comes the problem--if the mice would stay outside I wouldn't care how many there were. But when they come inside, eat up package after package of Ramen noodles--even when I lock them in a plastic bin--and leave behind nasty little pellet droppings, then something must be done. Even all that would not raise my ire--but when I found them nesting in my quilt fabric boxes it became all out war!

Recently I called in a pest control expert. He wanted to use poison. I said no. So he set some traps that would catch them alive. I would have to deal with them after that. Let's just say that it cost too much money, did not catch them alive, and caused considerable pain, distress and agony for the dying mouse, and considerable pain, distress and agony for me when I saw the results.

So it's back to Jif and pop-eyed dead rodents--if only they would not take the bait and run.