Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dorian's tale Part 2

Sep 11, 2010 6:50 am

I’m in the living room next to the entry way of the Greens’ home and there is catnip all over the floor. Dorian is standing in the middle of it looking guilty, but not so guilty that he doesn't keep attacking the plastic bag he robbed off the shelf to get at it. I remember hearing something go bump last night. Amy was putting together a pile of things to go with Dorian to his new home and the bag of catnip was amongst those things. Well the catnip will no longer be going with him because it’s scattered all over the floor and he’s so strung out that he almost doesn’t notice it any more.

Back to my trip. The winds were against us going to Phoenix so we arrived 15 minutes late. I had enough time to get to my next gate, use a bathroom, and fail to talk myself into spending $8 for a slice of pizza. I ate a granola bar I brought along and it was time to board the plane. No games or prizes this time. The plane to Salt Lake was brand new, all shiny and bright. The flight was only a third full, so getting a window seat was easy. I even managed to be on the ideal side of the plane to view the Grand Canyon. Wow. First time I’ve ever looked at that wonder of God’s creation. Even from 10,000 feet up you cannot take it all in with one look. By the time you see the end of it the beginning of it is out of view. Let me say after that, that anyone who uses the word “grand” to describe the size of something like a van, a coffee, or a dinner roll is committing linguistic fraud.

I didn’t write more during the flight for two reasons. 1. The skies were clear and I was seeing a part of the country I’ve never known before. I am a heart a Midwest girl. Most of my above ground viewing has been farm land in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. On this flight I was seeing the topography I’d never looked at before. Farms with round fields set up for most efficient use of irrigation and mountains, and brown and red earth, terraced fields with their wavy patterns. 2. My sister Rebecca passed on some book club books to me. Fiction is dangerous for me. I get addicted easily and then become useless. The author’s style gets into my head and I start narrating my own life. So when I wasn’t gazing out the window I was reading. That and eating peanuts and drinking Dr. Pepper.

The wind that slowed us down going to phoenix pushed us to salt Lake City and we arrived 15 minutes early. I failed to tell my hosts I had a cell phone—I don’t use it much but I did make sure it was charged and that I had active minutes and I brought it along. I even got Latif to get me a number for Mike so I called him and then he called his wife Amy and called me, and well, long story short, Amy found me at the passenger pick up. Our first stop was for food. We met Mike at Zapos and enjoyed soup and sandwiches. So after eating we arrived at their place. You had to be careful entering the door so that Dorian wouldn’t bolt out of it. I came in with my suitcase and there he was. I put my hand down and he sniffed it and then let me pet him. “See,” Amy said, “You pet him and you have a friend for life.”

Mike and Amy Green

The LORD has a way of connecting people that is both mysterious and wonderful. Mike Green is a member of the Society of Saint Polycarp as is my husband. The SSP has its annual retreat north of Milwaukee at Holy Hill. The Greens turned Mikes trip to the retreat into a family vacation and due to some storms in Denver arrived in Milwaukee too late to pick up their rental car. So Latif, who only knew Mike via the SSP Yahoo group picked them up at the airport in our two door Ford Focus and got them to the Ramada Inn Downtown. The next morning he took Mike back to the airport to get the rental car. See it wasn’t just Mike and Amy, but Mike, Amy and Jillian their baby daughter (dubbed the “miracle baby” because they were told that they probably couldn’t have children, but God surprised them with Jillian). Babies need a lot of stuff, so getting three adults, an infant, stroller, car seat and a week’s worth of luggage into our car was a bit of a challenge. In the end Amy had to hold a suitcase on her lap to make it work.

When not at the retreat Latif and I played host and tour guide and it was a wonderful week. Latif was newly unemployed and I had taken the week off of work so for me it was a “be a tourist in your home town” kind of vacation all the more fun as I could show off my favorite city to our out-of-town guests. We took in a neighborhood street festival, the art museum, a few brew pubs, (something not as common in Salt Lake City) and even made our way to a Kopps frozen custard. In the course of all this fun we of course got to know our new friends and two facts came to light: Latif and I were planning on adopting a cat in the coming year and the Greens had a cat that they were trying to give to a good home.


edited and approved

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dorian's tale

This was written on my trip out to Utah to pick up a cat.

Part 1.

Sep 10, 2010 in the air over America

There is something about travel that makes me anxious. I worry about forgetting things; I worry about getting lost, but most of all, I worry about being late. So I am always ready way too early. I have to work to slow down and take my time or I end up ready to go hours ahead of when I need to be, and then I just become this fidgety mess. This trip was no different. My flight took off at 10:30 am Milwaukee time. I needed to be at the airport by around 9:30. Last night I got home from work late. There was a class I needed to teach at 6:30 so even heading right home I didn’t get there until about 7:50. By 8:20 p.m. I was completely packed. I then sat at the computer to check into my flight and get my boarding pass.

We were out of paper at home, so I grabbed a stack of “good on one side” scrap paper at work on which to print things. Most of it was old library handouts, drafts of new handouts, printed schedules and calendars. I failed to notice that not all the sheets were white and as it came out, I managed to print my boarding pass for my first flight on a pink sheet of paper the back side of which explained how to do research on children’s literature. Turns out my poverty was an asset because Southwest gave me a prize (a can caddy) for having my boarding pass printed on a different color.

I was the 91st person to board the plane and got a window seat just behind the wing. An extra bonus was the flight taking off towards the lake and turning over the downtown offering some great views of some of my most loved landmarks including St. Stephen’s.

Anyway, back to the story, I had that “I’m flying on a plane for the first time in 8 years” thing going on and spent a lot of time making sure I wasn’t going to try to bring anything that I shouldn’t. Packing light is a challenge for me. It’s sort of like complicated math for me: I can do it but it takes a lot of thinking and you can’t interrupt me. I debated at length about taking my Neo, going light and just grabbing a pen and pad of paper, but as I sit here typing away I can say that I’m very glad to have my writing tool with me. My hands would have cramped up by this point if I was hand writing.

(The pilot is talking and I can’t understand a word he is saying. Drinks are also coming. I’ve already eaten my cheese sandwich crackers but I’m saving my Ritz chips for the arrival of my glass of Dr. Pepper.)

So this morning I was up around 6:00. Latif got home last night, and well, since he started his job hosting at Benihana I haven’t seen much of him when he is conscious. I didn’t get to bed until after midnight and I didn’t sleep well, because I was cold, until Mr. Gaba came to bed a little later.

This morning I got up about 6:05. Late for me, but still way too early. I played around online, watched the local news, and tried to put off, as long as I could stand it, getting dressed and putting the last two items in my suitcase before closing it up. I was all ready to go by 8:00 am, but hanging around an airport costs money. Parking is free if it’s less than 30 minutes so I really did not want to hang around the airport. I read a few blogs, checked facebook again, and checked the flight status. I checked my bag to make sure I had everything I needed. I debated at length with myself about taking my thumb drive with me, fussed about whether I should re-print my boarding pass on white paper or if anyone would care that it was pink. Finally, at 8:40 we left. Latif drove and did not hurry. He made a usual missed exit kind of mistake that he seems to always make when he drops me off at an airport. This time he just took the next exit and we drove past the hotel where he used to work. (Once in Fort Wayne he simply put the car in reverse and drove backwards on the freeway to get to the exit.—It’s never a journey—It’s always an adventure.) Drinks are here. I’ll write more later.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer writing

It’s been a long summer and I was supposed to dedicate my writing efforts to cranking out a rough draft of my work on the study habits of seminary students, so I put blogging aside for the summer. I did make some progress, but not as much as I intended. Anyway, I will try to get back to writing something at least once a week.

I did do some other writing this summer. Most particularly I wrote this story, with the help of two of my nieces, while I was on vacation at my eldest sister’s home in Fridley MN. You may be able to pick out what parts were contributed by the teenager, the five-year-old and the adult.


Annabel’s home

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Annabel who lived in a tree in the middle of the city with her best friends, squirrels named Nutmeg Squally and Quirrel. The squirrels at times make her crazy especially during storms because they squeaked sooooooooo loud. One night there was a very bad storm. She woke not from the thunder but from the squeaking and said, “Stop squirrels,” but the squirrels wouldn’t stop. The next morning after the rain stopped she decided that she needed a new squirrel free home. And she got one.

This time Annabel’s new home was in the sewer with the rats. But unstable atmospheric conditions led to yet another horrible thunder storm. And it was a very prickly place. This didn’t help when rats squeaked from the thunder and made her jump on the prickly things.

“Oh dear” she thought, “I can’t live here either.”

So the next day she moved to a kennel and lived with the dogs. And she liked it so much in there because there was a really soft blanket that she could use to muffle noise the barking dogs made. Unfortunately her best squirrel friends were afraid of the dogs and refused to visit her there. But it was so cozy there she couldn’t move anywhere else. Until the dogs started ganging up on her and started to get out of her cages and tried to attack her.

“Oh dear” she thought, “maybe I will have to move after all.”

And she did move after all. She moved to a bee farm and found their honey quite delightful. Even the squirrels liked it there, and would visit often. But she didn’t like it anymore because she didn’t like getting stung.

“Oh dear,” she said. And then she thought, “Oh, Deer!” I’ll move to the wildlife sanctuary with the deer.

When she got there she met a very kind deer named Bambi. He let Annabel ride on him. But Annabel had gained weight from eating honey and it hurt Bambi, so he bit her. She was terrible upset by this and felt that it was necessary to leave immediately. But she was crying that she wanted her Mamma and Dada.

Then Nutmeg Squally and Quirrel showed up and said, “Oh Annabel the jet stream has moved south bringing in cooler temperatures and stabilizing the atmosphere so if you come back to live in the tree there will not be thunderstorms to scare us, so you will not have to go back to your mamma and dada who we know are ogres.”

So Annabel moved back to the tree in the city with her three friends and collected their fluff and made ear plugs and never had to move again. Until the tree was invaded by a fungus and the city had to cut it down, but that’s a story for another day.