I Hear Voices

An interesting blog on writing. The line about being “Other” speaks volumes about being the outsider.

A Holistic Journey

First Grade, NYC First Grade, NYC

I imagine people don’t know what a recluse I am. I socialize at church, at field trips. Stand tall, take initiative, make announcements at our homeschool gatherings. My parents, struggling to piece together a life in a country where they were Other, taught their little girl to write large and speak loudly. That’s me in the school play, mike in hand. (My husband would now like me to lower my voice by 20%.) I’m usually the one to notice inefficient or even unjust ways things are done in our different communities and the one to speak up. So I can pull off extrovert and can be sociable because I know it’s rude to sit next to someone for half an hour and say nothing. But all I want, oh all I want is to bolt the door to my office and write. Bury myself in what novelist…

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Maybe We Don’t Want to Listen To Your Story

Here’s a blog from a writer that I follow. Bill

A Holistic Journey

I had my feet up on the couch, willing the bleeding to stop. I couldn’t find any pads last night but remembered the spare diapers I kept for my nephew’s sleepovers. They were perfect. What a word. Perfect. I suppose I should have this down by now. I changed out the diapers every hour, sometimes faster. The empty trash bin had filled, blood-sodden, overnight. Today my back yearned for something soft underneath as the pelvic ache grew louder.

The doorbell rang.

My body refused to move but I was waiting for a package to sign for. I had to get the gift to Dad. I tried not to think about the rush in my pants when I got up and shuffled, exhausted, to the door. Outside the window stood a man with a pen behind an ear, clipboard in hand. Damn solicitors. He waved hopefully when he caught sight…

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From a Distance


Often, changes are seen only from a distance.

So it is with our house renovations. Since we signed the closing documents on our soon to be new home a bit over two weeks ago, our lives have been compressed activity. It is not unusual for two or more groups of contractors to be working, or at least inspecting, at the same time. Since Debbie and I decided to act as our own “general contractors” after having been staggered by the labor costs associated with using a well known home center as our main coordinator for our projects, we have interviewed many painters, kitchen cabinet suppliers, flooring installers and builders and roofers. If it sounds like we are doing a lot of work, well, I guess we are! But, changing a house is not nearly so challenging as changing one’s life. And, so far, so good.


We have learned to really listen to those presenting us with work proposals. It’s often not only what they say, but how they say it, that determines who we will agree to work with. We’ve been blessed to come across some very decent, hard working folks that believe their crafts are the signature of their lives.

Dave is our lead man for the floor demolition and will also take part in the installation of the new tile. He comes to work early and is determined to remove every bit of what was intended to be a “permanent” wood floor. One arm is tattooed with a barbed wire design and the other with the Confederate battle flag and the words, “The South shall rise again”. He smokes too much. But, during his breaks he speaks of his wife and a son afflicted by what sounds to be autism. Dave’s hardness is mainly in his arms and back. We hope he will join us when we have our “new home” celebration party.

There are others we have met during this “extreme makeover” for which we are grateful and fortunate to have met. There are some that we wish we could have worked with but our budgets or schedules were not in sync.

We also have met several of our new neighbors. We are keeping the promise made to ourselves to be outgoing and speak with those we live near and those we meet while walking our neighborhood. Here it is easy. While many of our new neighbors are not originally from Jacksonville (many are from the mid-west) there is something different here in the way neighbors interact. At least in my experience. Debbie has had the good fortune of experiencing Southern graciousness before. There is a book I am nearly finished reading titled, “Southern by the Grace of God”. It gives an interesting insight to Southern thinking, values and custom. I cannot help but think of the similarities between the Southern way of life and that of rural Irish living, from which I am not far removed. Perhaps I am closer to home than I had imagined.


And, so, yesterday I took The Redhead’s advice and went for a neighborhood walk before returning to our apartment. I had spent much of the day at the house with the workmen. Sidewalks are a neighborhoods best friend – they connect homes and people. It was while speaking with our neighbor, whose home also is on the pond, that I was able to see our house from a distance. She remarked how she noticed already some changes. She was right. Some of the changes could better be seen – from a distance.