Saturday, September 3, 2011

She's gone

I am broken. But these words -- from Job, of all places -- are the duct tape binding me together.
But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. -- Job 12:7-10

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Operation Vernal Equinox

I've posted several times about my Neighbor Situation -- on the one side, a young family with a sweet little boy who seems unable to communicate without shouting, and on the other, a debauched recently-divorced middle aged man who blasts Nickelback through outdoor speakers as soon as the weather warms up pretty much all weekend long, even when he's not home.

In all seriousness, I am glad these people are having a good time. Happy people make noise and hearing other people living their lives, to some degree, is part of living in a community. But between the shrieking and exceptionally bad music, I have spent the last few summers indoors. And even with the windows shut and A/C blasting, I can still hear these folks.

But recently I scored what I think is some pretty cool mid-century modern patio furniture. Pale pale yellow metal in groovy rounded shapes. I just love it and so want to enjoy it. But preferably without having to wear ear plugs the whole time or waiting for some quiet at 3AM.

My first instinct was to go all Gitmo on them, engaging in my own form of musical torture at an equivalent volume. Show tunes, I was thinking. Bad Christian rock (goodness knows there's enough of it out there). Or maybe Chinese opera. But the passive-aggressive (and childish) nature of this form of protest is wrong. And not neighborly.

It's very likely that the process of reclaiming my back yard, even with gentle assertions of my own rights to space and time outside, will lead to interactions with the neighbors about how to rightfully do what you want on your own property but doing so in a way that doesn't prevent your neighbors from doing the same. Interactions I've been basically avoiding for fear of not knowing what to say in a winsome or godly way or just flat out wanting to avoid conflict.

At this point, I think my strategy will be to have a pitcher of lemonade with me whenever I am outside puttering or just hanging out back there, ready and waiting for those who might want to cross a property line to chat. About the rigors of parenting a kindergartner. Or keeping chemicals in a pool in balance. Or whatever. Hopefully if I try my best to be hospitable in my conduct and hold a sincere desire to get us out of this suburban Cold War in my heart, it will at least be a step in the right direction.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Play ball

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America is ruled by it like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."     -- Terence Mann, Field of Dreams

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day in the life of a legislative staffer

Scene: Fifth floor hallway of the Capitol. I was meeting with a group of constituents too large to fit in our office.

Constituent A: blah blah safety net blah blah redevelopment money blah

Nora: *nodding, taking notes, making sympathetic noises*

Constituent B: We know things are moving quickly with the vote coming up Thursday, and..."

Nora: I understand. And?

Constituent B: Do your shoes have whiskers on them?

Nora: Uh...

Constituent B: And are those ears?

Nora: Ah, well, yes, they are.

*Entire group is now staring at my feet.*

Constituent A: They're mice!

Nora: They are. They are mice. They were on sale. And seemed whimsical at the time.

Constituent C: They are whimsical.

Constituent D: I think I see their noses.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Photo via Twitter

This scene from Egypt today brought to mind images from the United States' own not-so-recent past.

Photo from AP
 Praying with and for the people of Egypt.