Little Blind Girl has left the building

Jeff and Jodi's Epic Bike Move by Will Vanlue on Flickr

Jeff and Jodi’s Epic Bike Move by Will Vanlue on Flickr

I’m moving.  I’m pretty sure the tears are because I’ve developed allergies to cardboard, packing tape, and bubble wrap simultaneously, and not at all because I’m leaving the place I’ve called home for six years.  You can disagree with me if you want, because I’m just making that up to keep from sounding like a wimp.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are things I will not miss.  For instance, I live in a converted warehouse that wasn’t built to be a residence, and in one of the corners the walls don’t quite meet.  If you’re standing at the right angle at the right time of day, you can see daylight.  I’ve seen it snow inside my apartment.  I won’t miss that.  I also live above a restaurant.  I don’t know why it is that they like to dump all their glass bottles into the recycling bin at dawn, but they do, and the restaurant has a bar, so that’s a lot of bottles.  I won’t miss that, either, though it’s been a pretty reliable alarm clock.  I also won’t miss the trains that run immediately behind the building, and I definitely won’t miss whoever it is who thinks it’s a good idea to blast Justin Bieber at two in the morning.

I’ve made this into a home, though, the first I’ve ever had on my own.  I’ve lived on my own for a while, but I never stayed anywhere for long.  I’m a rolling stone, baby, and I gather no moss.  Except here.  My home, my sacred space, my sanctuary.  The place where, no matter how mad the Chloe Cat is, she has to let me in because she has nobody else to feed her.  I’ve had sleepless nights here because I was anxious, because I was ecstatic, because I had a broken heart, because I had a broken bone, or because I just couldn’t sleep.  I started this blog here.  I can see where my viewership is coming from, and it knocks me out to see that little map light up with countries all across the world in which people are reading this blog, and it all started here.

I’m moving to a great place and I’m looking forward to making a new home in which I haven’t had any heartbreaks yet, or had to shovel snow off the floor.  Maybe my new neighbors will blast Muse at two in the morning, or (it could happen) Bach.  Maybe I’ll blast Bach and see how long it takes people to complain (prediction:  17 seconds).  I’m looking forward to living in a place where the ceiling is so high, I have to submit a work order to get a light bulb changed.  But mostly, I’m looking forward to not having to pack any more boxes, or wrap any more fragile items, or try to hold a box closed with one hand while I tape it up with the other using tape that has somehow become stuck to itself in the last half-second.  Sentimentality is nice and all, but if this doesn’t end soon, I’m going to find out who it is who’s been blasting Justin Bieber for the past few years, shove them in a box, tape it shut, and mail it to Canada.

And I’m going to miss the hell out of this place.  Even though it has no closet space, the floors slant, and it managed to get flooded on the top floor, it was home.  Au revoir, apartment mine.  May you be tenanted by good people who always remember to change your air filter.

Follow That Rainbow! Or, How I Did My Budget

It doesn’t pay to be a grown-up.

Image credit:  mystica at

Image credit: mystica at

I’ve been thinking that, at some point before I retire, it would be nice to buy a house.  To that end, I recently spoke with a financial advisor (I may be glamorizing his job here a bit–it was just a guy at my bank who agreed to talk to me) and went through my finances with an eye toward getting things in shape, eventually, to own my own home.  He warned me, “This is going to take some belt-tightening,” and I believed him.  My job is more spiritually than financially remunerative.  I just wasn’t quite prepared for how tight that belt was going to have to get.  Here’s the gist:

Of course, federal and state taxes come out of the paycheck before you ever get it.  Then there are all the other automatic payments for things like retirement accounts, flexible spending plans or health savings accounts, student loans, personal savings accounts, and things of that nature.  Then there’s rent (or mortgage, I hope, eventually), utilities, groceries, pantyhose (I need a separate line in my budget for these because I go through so many), beer household necessities, all the stuff you really do have to have.  Most people also have a car payment or at least an amount for gas; I have taxi money.  There’s whatever other categories your life calls for, like beer child care, beer medical expenses, pet supplies, property taxes, things along those lines.  Then there’s what you have to put aside for a down payment, and then there’s what’s left.

I’m not kidding, I actually had more pocket-money when I was a kid with an allowance.  It really doesn’t pay to be a grown-up, and I’ve got the spreadsheet to prove it.

It was raining while we were doing this, and it stopped not long after we finished.  I looked out of my window and saw a rainbow that came right near my home.  It was so close, I could actually see the end of the rainbow.  I craned my neck, because it would have been fantastic timing to find a pot of gold just then.  Where do you think the rainbow ended?

In the graveyard next to my apartment building.

I don’t know what to make of that.  I’m completely not just coming up with a cool metaphor to give added dimension and meaning to my blog post.  This really happened.  I actually saw where the rainbow ended, and it ended in a graveyard next to my building.  Is it the death of hope?  A commentary on the ephemeral nature of human lives and dreams?  A message from above that I should just give up now?

And then I thought, maybe that’s just where the rainbow starts.

By Photograph: Eric Rolph at English Wikipedia Crop + shadow: user:BokicaK (File:Double-alaskan-rainbow.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Photograph: Eric Rolph at English Wikipedia Crop + shadow: user:BokicaK (File:Double-alaskan-rainbow.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The Smallest Christmas Tree

Many of you may not know that I’m adopted.  More than three decades ago, just before Christmas, my mother brought me into her home–my home–for the first time.  Though she couldn’t possibly have known what she was getting into, she and my father and sister welcomed me with love and always made me feel as much a part of the family as though I had been born into it.  This story is for my mother, who helped me decorate my very first Christmas tree since I left home, and who was worried that it was too small.


The Christmas tree was very small.  It was the smallest Christmas tree in the forest.  “Hmm,” said its father.  “Oh, dear,” sighed its mother.  Its brothers and sisters looked down at it and giggled.

Tiny tree

Tiny tree (Photo credit: get down)

At Christmas tree school, the other trees in the class won prizes:  “Best in Ornaments,” “First in Candy Canes,” “Biggest Star.”  But the smallest Christmas tree didn’t win any prizes.

The teacher looked at the smallest Christmas tree and shook its head.  “People want big trees, trees they can hang a hundred ornaments on.  There may not be a place for you.”

The smallest Christmas tree drooped its branches all the way home.  That night, it dreamed of a warm, welcoming house filled with firelight and purring cats.  It dreamed of hot chocolate, Christmas carols, and falling snow.  It dreamed of being covered in a hundred ornaments and crowned with a big, bright star.

Every day, the smallest Christmas tree looked for a home that wanted a tree.  Every day, it heard the same thing:  homes these days want bigger trees.  You can’t hold all the ornaments.  You can’t cover all the presents.  You can’t hold up the star.

English: Tree in Freezing Fog Tree on side of ...

English: Tree in Freezing Fog Tree on side of footpath. Footpath between Oak Road and Hampers Lane. Very cold and frosty day pre-Christmas. Brrr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas got closer and closer.  The wind became sharper and colder.  It rushed through the branches of the smallest Christmas tree.  The tree shivered and pulled its boughs tight against its trunk.  For the first time, it began to wonder if it would ever find a Christmas home.

Then, it saw a tiny sign in the corner of a store window: “Christmas tree wanted.  Fireplace with cats.  No tree too small.”  The ad looked old.  It looked like it had been in the window for a long time.  But it was Christmas Eve, and the smallest Christmas tree decided to try.

The house didn’t look like much from the outside.  It was the smallest house on the street.  It was all the way at the end of the street, so the smallest Christmas tree had to walk past window after decorated window, each showing a tall and brightly-lit Christmas tree.  The smallest tree stopped just outside the front door of the smallest house, tired and cold and almost ready to give up.

basil fireplace

basil fireplace (Photo credit: cyrusbulsara)

Then the door opened.  Warm light fell on the smallest Christmas tree.  The tree looked into the beautiful, smiling face of a small young woman.  Cats purred at her feet and firelight flickered in the background.  Behind the woman was a space near the fire just big enough for a very small Christmas tree.

The woman welcomed the smallest Christmas tree into her home.  Christmas carols played softly around the tree as it settled gratefully beside the fireplace.  The wind outside blew fierce and cold against the windows, but the smallest Christmas tree was warm inside the smallest house.  The space beside the fire was just the right size.

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The woman brought out all the ornaments she had been saving until she finally found a tree.  There were over a hundred ornaments.  Each one had been given to the woman by someone she loved.  Each one had a story with it.  The woman told each story to the smallest Christmas tree as she decorated it.

The woman decorated the smallest Christmas tree for hours.  She sang carols as she wound garlands through the tree’s branches.  She smiled as she hung it with candy canes.  She covered the bottom of the Christmas tree with a shimmering blanket, and she hung ornaments on every branch, all the way up to the top.  The smallest Christmas tree held very still as the pile of ornaments grew smaller, wondering how all of the ornaments could possibly fit.

But they did fit–every one.

English: American Christmas Tree

English: American Christmas Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last of all, gently and carefully, the woman placed a glittering star on top of the very highest branch.  Covered in ornaments and surrounded by firelight and music, the smallest Christmas tree had found its home.

The next morning, the smallest Christmas tree looked out of the windows of the smallest house.  Nearby, the woman cradled a cup of hot chocolate beside the fire.  Beneath the tree’s branches, cats purred and prowled on the shimmering blanket.  Snow was falling soft and white outside the windows.  In its new home, the smallest Christmas tree heard the glad ringing of bells and knew that it was Christmas day.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  May every wandering soul find a home like mine.

Thanksgiving Stew

Here is the Little Blind Girl’s recipe for Thanksgiving Stew:


  • Eighteen relatives from four generations
  • A kitchen that can only hold three people
  • A turkey that’s been cooking since before dawn
  • Seven different desserts
  • Small children in dress clothes who’ve had too much sugar and not enough sleep
  • Half a dozen cars trying to share a driveway
  • Ten family stories that have been aged for at least five years
  • Assorted pets, dietary restrictions, conflicting commitments, & long-running grudges

English: Photo showing some of the aspects of ...

Directions:  Put the turkey in a home that hasn’t been this clean since last Thanksgiving.  Add the four generations of relatives gradually.  Sprinkle in the small children, the desserts, and the overcrowded driveway.  Let simmer, then add the kitchen that can only hold three people (beware of elbows) and the family stories (use liberally and without discretion).  Garnish with assorted pets, dietary restrictions, and conflicting commitments.  Add the long-running grudges to the after-dinner drinks.  Serve warm and eat until you fall asleep in your chair while watching football.  Serves:  a small nation.  Leftovers should last for approximately two weeks, depending on the strength of the grudges.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I’m grateful for each and every one of you.  Thank you for reading my blog, and being kind enough to let me know when you like it.