Meet the Masons

“We don’t just sit around in our tuxedos and talk about… how great we look in our tuxedos,” Knopf said of the somewhat mysterious organization that fellow mason Brother Paul O. Walker, past District Deputy Grand Master of the 56th district (now the 24th), and the three other members in attendance agreed, needn’t be shrouded in any mystery at all.

Read this article on the Times Observer website – Meet the Masons

Read a PDF version of this article – Meet the Masons


Planning is More Important: WCSD Employees Trained to Be ALICE Instructors in the Case of School Shootings

“Has anybody ever seen the movie Home Alone,” National ALICE Instructor Joe Chavalia asked before sending simulated school shooters into real classrooms full of real school district employees Monday afternoon.

“Plans are great but planning is more important,” he said.

Read this article on the Times Observer website – ALICE

Read a PDF version of this aricle – ALICE

Everywhere, Signs – Historical Society Points Out Signs of Yesterday – A Rich and Varied History of Home

From brick facades where they once shouted out their messages, weathered ghosts of Warren’s past hover all around us, no longer shouting but rather humming atmosphere like the fading spectacled eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg in The Great Gatsbty.

Read a PDF Version of this article – Everywhere, Signs


Internal Spaces

For a show based on memory, with work falling somewhere “between memory and abstraction,” according to artist Heather Kanazawa, her exhibition – “Internal Spaces” – is appropriately titled.

Read this article on the Times Observer Website – Internal Spaces

Read a PDF version of this article – Internal Spaces


Horse Heads and Gang Wars

Not even kidding I woke up at 1 in the morning because something was rolling around at my feet. And it was totally a horse head. My kids be plottin’. Well guess what y’all, I ain’t Mr. Woltz and I ain’t goin’ down without a fight. You do not want to start this war. Mamma knows where to find real horses.


Dead Birds and Structure Fires

Original Post (Warren Times Observer Blog: At the Corner of Market and Maycomb):

“Go back down in about twenty minutes or so,” my stepdad told me, “and make sure there are no flames coming out of the front of it. Sometimes a bird will fly down the chimney and die. And burn. ”

“It” was my furnace.

I had just learned to light it after 32 years. After about an hour and a half of shivering after Mother Nature’s mood disorder had decided to rapid cycle into nasty. Finally. I mean, I’m not into it but … Finally.

I ascended the basement stairs beaming. I’d called someone to walk me through a procedure I already knew, somewhere in the recesses of terminal memory dustier than the basement where the furnace lives, how to do.

This isn’t entirely true.

I’d moved into the house circa the age of, eh, I’ll guess 26. I’d been very self-sufficient then. I’d lit the furnace myself without questioning it.

Then I got married. Had kids. Two at once, it was a whole thing. I don’t know what my body was thinking but it was intense. I didn’t get a lot done with two tiny humans to keep alive and all, and so I ceded much of the manual labor of the home to the, you know, man of the home.

Now I am separated. There is no man in manual anymore. Which is fine but it’s getting cold, man! Real cold and I have a pretty sizable touch of anxiety of the “not otherwise specified” variety plus a good imagination. Those two combine in my brain to create a supervillain in the form of an HD movie that loops in my head before (and during, and after, sigh) I do or say anything that shows the worst possible globally involved outcome of my speech or action vividly, in Real D.

It’s awful.

And twenty minutes is a long time, bro.

I spent most of it passively leering at the Netflix logo, which seemed to be giving me the eager puppy “wanna-throw-the-frisbee-pet-me-love-me-whats-the-matter-the-whole-world-is-made-of-unicorn-turds-to-rolll-in” gaze. Both our faces were equally blank. Just from opposite ends of the sassy spectrum.

I smelled smoke distinctly thirty seven times in twenty minutes, and ran my explanation to the fire chief through my internal monologue, editing for voice and content.

They’d want me to explain things.

From having three-year-olds I know too well that arguing fault on tye part of something physically incapable of life for the serious mess an adult is being asked to deal with doesn’t usually fly – no pun intended – too terribly well.

Kind of about as well as a, say, dead bird for example. At the bottom of a chimney. Where sits a furnace. With its pilot light freshly lit.

After 20 minutes I wedged myself back downstairs, Harry Houdini style, because whoever designed my basement entrance and stairs did so intending that anyone entering said basement via said stairs assume the risk of paralysis, at the least, each and every time.

I’m pretty sure it was the guy from Saw and I need to hang a sign on the basement door asking brave spelunkers “would you like to play a game?”

No flames.

Just warmth.

Thanks for the acute panic attack, contractor stepfather. Also, the guided tutorial. Continue rocking, my friend.

It turns out climbing the stairs was just climbing the stairs. With all my limbs tucked in like Twiggle, the preschool turtle my kids pantomime when they’re upset and need to calm down, and hunched over like my basement is the Tardis and I am the worst case of scoliosis in history walking out its front door.

But it still feels like ascending. It’s a psychological thing.

The beaming? I’m pretty sure that was just the crystalized cobwebs and petrified spider remains clung to my hair and reflecting the soft glow of the icicle lights above the kitchen sink.

But it counts.

I’ll totally allow it.