Monday, May 31, 2010

Binge reading

I love to read.

That's not the exact way to express my relationship with reading.  It's not like a hobby for which I set aside time, or make special trips to buy supplies. It's not like the obsession I sometimes have with knitting, where the wonder of seeing something grow on my needles compels me to sit down with it night after night until it's finished.

Reading is more like eating. I do it every day, sometimes thoughtfully and in celebration, often with little conscious thought, just to keep going.

So I guess I'd have to say I've been binge-reading for the last 24 hours. I went through half a novel yesterday, with little thought for the consequences.* This morning it was long, serious pieces as I wandered through various blogs and internet sites. Kind of like the days of getting lost in the library as an undergraduate.

I am looking for new ways to think, new things to think about.

And could the binge-reading be connected to efforts to change my eating habits?

* "The Help" -- story, story, story; interesting because a white female author has used the first person to give voices to black female domestics in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962-63

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I took off the rumpled linen blouse, folded the long red scarf, left the shoes at the foot of the stairs. Pentecost Sunday is about over, and if I were somewhere in the middle of a good book, I'd be in bed nodding off with that book. It is so much easier to read than to reflect. 

The female cardinal appeared in the tree outside my kitchen window this morning. She flashed her brown-red color here and there, sideways on the branch. The movement caught my eye. She is not bright startling red like her mate, but still red and regal from top to tail. She feeds in a tree, and I suspect, nests in the forsythia bush.

I had a bright red dress once, close-fitting, scarlet. I was in a show at the time, playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret. My body was on display that spring, especially on stage. The red dress was not in the show, but still it said, Look at me, I'm bright and not afraid to be looked at. I sewed a red satin dress that spring, too, with spaghetti straps and not much room for a bra underneath. But worn on me, rather than on a character, I didn't know how to bring it off. I felt conspicuous and awkward.

I cannot imagine myself in a red dress now. The red scarf was about as much red as I could wear on this May mid-life day. Red for the fire of Pentecost. Red for the Holy Spirit--that person of the Triune God often pictured as a white dove. Go figure.

The preacher at the cantata this afternoon used the pronoun "she" for the Holy Spirit. I like that, more because it's startling than inclusive. How do you picture rushing wind and Spirit moving on the waters? How do you recognize truth and wisdom, creativity and the fire of love? Does the Spirit wear red sometimes--red of blood, red of passion?  Red that suffers and celebrates.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Jack, the dog

Took Jack, our thirteen-year-old dog to the vet this afternoon for euthanasia. Her back legs have been giving her trouble for the last year or more. She could hardly walk. She cried and barked in frustration. She struggled to get around the house to be with us. She couldn't run along the fence outside and bark at strangers passing by, though she continued to bark at squirrels in trees across the street.

Jack was sent by God to our family. She was the little black puppy, abandoned late at night in our back yard when our old dog, Max, was dying of cancer. My younger son, who was four, had prayed for a new puppy. God delivered. (Few things have been that simple since.)

Jack chewed up a couple of cowboy hats, chewed the noses off teddy bears, and one memorable day chewed a hole in a sweater back I had just finished knitting. It took hours and hours to reknit it. But on the whole, she was a great dog, a true member of the pack. She loved and trusted her boys, Kris and Kurt. She grew to be wary of Lon as his dementia worsened. He kicked her from time to time, but this only meant she spent more time with the rest of us, sleeping on top of my feet if Lon was prowling about.

It is yet another sign of the end of an era, the end of romping and wrestling and playing young'uns at our house. Another milepost that reminds us that life is ever-changing, with many comings and goings. Jack's chair, which absolutely reeks of acrid dog smells, will go out to the garbage, her bowls will go to the basement. Eliza is watching the video she took yesterday of Kris feeding Jack a bacon cheeseburger. Here's a photo:

I am relieved it's over with for her. Some would say I took too long in coming to this decision, that she suffered. But she soldiered on, for us. I tear up as I think of that love--or that hard-wired dog behavior that looks like love. Nah. She loved us. God sent her here to do just that.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Lusty Month

May arrived early this morning with bright blue, clear skies.

I looked out the bedroom window and went back to sleep.

Now, mid-day, it's cloudy. The flush of morning coffee has worn off, with only one load of laundry underway and a few miscellaneous computer tasks completed. We need a new mower to cut the dandelions that are eight inches deep in the backyard. And the spring cold/allergy thing in my head and throat has thickened and settled.

Such is the rhythm of Saturday. How soon before I can go back to sleep?

There is hope on the horizon. Kurt has gone off to buy charcoal, to grill hamburgers. You gotta love a kid who cooks for himself and shares with his old mom. And then it will be time for me to head off to the fabric store, for the pink glittery fabric that will become Eliza's prom dress--part her fantasy, part mine.

There may yet be life in this lusty month of lilacs and leafy green.