pull up a chair

where wisdom gathers, poetry unfolds and divine light is sparked…

Tag: blog

goodbye to white-on-black

oh my goodness. i am filled to the brim here today, as i type these white keys on the black page. chalk to the chalkboard i always thought of it. all these five years, two months, two weeks and five days.

oh, i’ve heard grumbles now and then. hard to see. makes folks eyes do the wazzle-dazzle, which means the albino letters get all wobbly, do a dance on the black velvet curtain, and it’s impossible to read.

i’ve always found it homey. but then i like cloudy days, a gray november day is some of God’s best artwork, far as i’m concerned.

so it’ll be a bit like taking off the sunglasses when we up and move over the weekend. when we kiss iWeb goodbye, this lovely little paintset that all these years has let me play here, write my heart out, let you join in on the hearty conversation.

in the nine gazillion changes underfoot, i found out not so long ago (where was i when the smoke signals went up?) that ol’ iWeb will soon be obsolete, and mobileMe, the cloud that carries the chair to all your houses, it is evaporating come summer.

it’s pretty much like finding a bright orange eviction notice slapped on your front door. or parking in some illicit spot downtown and finding a big ol’ chicago police department clamp on your back right wheel. while you were away, the sheriff came and booted you.

so as long as i was leaping out of airplanes in the last few weeks, i decided now’s the time to make the one last leap. we are moving, you and i and all our chairs and the kitchen table too. and worry not, i won’t forget the old milk pitcher, the cracked one up above. i’ll haul it along. with all the coffee mugs and spoons.

all you have to do is ring the same old doorbell. i’ll be there, waiting on the other end.

i’ve been doing all the packing for the last few days. trying to make it all cozy over in the new place. the walls are white. and some of you — though you’re not here reading, because you told me long long ago that you would not read a place where words come out all chalky white on slate — well some of you will be tickled to learn that the new place believes in black letters on white walls. just like in the old days, when you could count on ink getting smeared all over your mitts as you read the morning’s news.

i up and moved — with MAJOR assist from the chief technical saint, my little brother bri, who swooped on a cape and saved the day when i thought the chair was forever lost — every last one of the 523 daily meanders that have meandered here, and soon as i’m done with this one, making it a neat 524, i’ll carry this one over there too. sort of like when the moving van takes all the big stuff, and you throw one last lamp there beside you in the passenger seat, lest it get left behind.

it might take a while to get the curtains up, to make it all pretty again. for one thing i have a full 524 photos to move, one by one. and somehow the paragraph indentations all got lost. can you even begin to guess how many paragraphs need to be indented? oh lord, does anyone know a 1-800 listing for the paragraph patrol?

as with any move, i’m a bowl of floopy noodles over here. part of me is sad to leave this place that’s been such a fine home for me, and my heart. and the words that spill here.

this ol’ house was built with and by my sweet college boy. back when he was just an eighth-grader. i loved the way he sat down that long ago december’s night, and started poking buttons and next thing i knew he had me shoved out the window and onto the blogosphere.

where would we be without the ones who push us from behind when we don’t realize how very much we need the shove?

i might walk around one last time. peek in corners i’ve not seen in a long long time. wipe off the last of the cobwebs, then take one big brave breath, and pull the shades.

there’s a new place waiting for all of us to pull up chairs. and it’s a spiffy place. it’s got tricks and marvels i can’t begin to grasp. not yet anyway.

for starters, i don’t think you’ll ever be tangled again in the darn comment snags, the ones here on iWeb that sometimes let you pipe up and add your thoughts, and sometimes kept you banging on the window, trying to get someone to let you in.

i never much like change. i could wear the same old pair of slippers till my big toe pokes through (and it is, even as i type). i wouldn’t notice if a rug was worn to the threads. it’d be the same old beautiful rug it was the day i brought it home.

so this moving thing gives me the wobbles too. and i’m all worried you won’t find it cozy. but it’s clean. and we’ll all be together. and the coffee will never stop percolating there on the cookstove.

give me a wee bit of time to gussy it up.

and stick with me.

the other night, when i thought the chair was lost, when i thought our zillions of heart beats shared would never ever see the light of day, i cried myself to sleep. real tears. poured onto my pillow.

oh, sure, these are just computer keys that i push down with the pads of my fingers. but you all know the secret: they are wired straight to the nerve center of my heart.

this is all virtual, indeed. but what spins from here is as real as anything i have ever known. and it is propelling me, keeping me airborne.

so that’s it.

just one last thing: have i told you lately that with all my heart and all my soul, thanks for coming all these years.
now, let me grab the coffee and let’s get goin’ down the lane. we’ll make it just right. i promise.

love, the chair lady

housekeeping: you have nothing to do, nothing to change. the tech committee and i will get the phones changed, the new mailbox hung. just find the chair the old way, pullupachair.org
you’ll find us, wherever we are….
and i’ll be waiting…

five. really?!?

the little guy was polishing off his morning plate of eggnog french toast this snow-dusted day, when i went and struck a match. lit up that burning five, the one you see above, and plunked it in a plate of merry-sprinkled cookies.

burning plates in early morn apparently get his attention.

“why five?” he asked, not beating round the bush.

“the chair is five,” i said.

“today?” he asked.

“actually, it will be monday. but it’s five years of fridays,” i said with a number girl’s precision.

“that’s big,” he said.

i agree. quite heartfully.

i think back to december 12, 2006. i was the mother of a 13-year-old who had recently broken his neck, and a 5-year-old in kindergarten. i typed from home, not yet called back to the mothership of the newspaper where i’ve told stories for 29 years now.

i’d discovered somewhere along the way that i secretly hummed when it came to the homefront.

i knew i loved the heart and soul that upholsters every richly built dwelling place, be it cottage in the woods, or an old gray-shingled house with a birds’ nook built into the eaves. the garden, for me, had always been holy ground. the kitchen, a place that drew me. and being a mother absorbed me, in the truest ways. of these things, i thought deep and often. though none of them out loud. not much anyway.

but then came a starry december’s night.

i’d been prompted by my firstborn, who could wield a mouse, a keyboard and its contents with head-turning amazements.

“you should do a blog,” he said, shoving me into the deep end from the tentative edge of the pool.

“here, i’ll make your website,” he offered, putting off some 8th-grade algebra to make his mama purr.

it’s not every night your kid turns his imaginative powers your direction, and when he does, you haul over a chair and play along.

and that’s pretty much how i got here. i found a site, with a name that spoke to me, and down in the wee corner, it was copyrighted to me.

i had little choice but to begin to type.

every week day for a year, then every friday for the next four. which brings us to today. the three-day-early birthday. but when you get to five, who is counting minutes? who’s keeping track in such compulsive ways?

for all of you who’ve been here for all five years, i have a special row of chairs for you. right here, in the deepest chamber of my heart.

some of you are among my dearest, on the screen and off. some of you, though, became my dear beloved friends simply through the act of clicking, which in blog terms amounts to listening.

and listening is the thing.

because, really, all we want, most of us, is to be heard. whether our words come out in whispers or full-throttle proclamations, we are looking to find a few inches on the world stage where what we wonder, what we believe, matters.

world stage, of course, does not mean we seek a microphone and podium. sometimes the choicest stage is the one where someone sits across from us, and nods in rapt attention. is that not what’s at the heart of most every child’s prayer? someone, listen, please.

and so i whisper here.

not all of you whisper back, but for those of you who do, who’ve put down your own stories, who’ve wiped away a tear and let me know, who’ve joined the conversation, raised a question, turned a story upside down to discover something altogether new, i’ve another row of chairs for you, and those have padded seats.

i never asked to be a writer. i just discovered, early on, that making words and paragraphs was the closest thing to humming my heart knew how to do.

all my life i’ve written. all my life my words have flowed from deep within my heart. i can’t seem to help it.

it’s not that i’m not compelled to get my story out, but to unearth all the touchpoints, where yours and mine are intertwined, where we discover more about who we are, and this path we try to navigate, by putting words to inklings, by giving form to prayers that have not made a sound until we typed them out.

in the five years that this table has been set, so much has changed: the blogosphere, now, is a very crowded place, and i know how rare, how hard it is for anyone to carve out time to visit. my hope that this might have opened some unmarked door, the pages of a book, it did not take flight.

instead, the steady pounding of my fingers on the keys brought me a circle of voices who i know–without fanfare or applause–see the world in ways that are not unlike mine.

and most of all, and best of all, i have left a record for my boys of how deeply, purely, vastly they’ve been loved. and i’ve captured priceless snapshots from the pages of their lives, how one grew up, went off to college, and how the other melted us like butter.

i’ve discovered, deep and true, a voice that comes from miles within. and i’ve learned not to be afraid, to speak it as i live it.

it’s not an easy thing to write from your heart. not an easy thing to have your heart be questioned, tested, singed.

five years is a solid sum. and i think it satisfies my urge to complete what i’d begun. writing every friday is surely in my rhythms. but maybe now i’ll change it up. perhaps i’ll post some of what i write for the newspaper, for now they let me write there in ways i write here too.

perhaps i’ll be silent on a friday. because silence is a skill, a prayer form all its own.

what matters most is for all of you who get to here, to these holy sacred words, thank you. bless you. in ways you and i might never know. i am casting out my sparks of light, and trusting that in some form they’ll land upon your heart, and burn an everlasting flame.

know that yours forever burn in mine.

amen. and bless you.