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Post 4 of 10 in the “July ’21” series.

Cycle day 25.

Today I did not make my usual two-page notebook spread that keeps my brain in order. I noticed that last Tuesday I also skipped a day. I think I slept in both days, skipping most of my morning rituals. I *might* have stayed up late (read= after 10. I’m not not a night owl.) watching more of The Office both Monday nights.

The art of entertainment. Check.

Nathan and I didn’t watch the series when it first ran. We were too Christian. Well, I was anyway. That was back when the wall between sacred and secular was very thick and very wide. I don’t really see it that way anymore. Especially during this past year as the regular ‘sacred’ practices of church have been completely flipped on their heads.

Before the pandemic Nathan had decided to quit his job as choir director because his life was too full with other work things.

After the pandemic I decided to quit my job as organist because my life was too full with other heart things.

Art of music. Check. And then uncheck.

Quitting church as an act of love for your heart is about as strange-sounding as it gets.

The pandemic. The riots. The political campaigns. Being a Minneapolitan and a Christian and an aspiring antiracist and a church musician couldn’t all happen at the same time, not for me. (Ok, yeah there was also mama stress and wife stress too. It was all together just too much.)

Part of being a Minneapolitan, for us, has looked like this.

Actually, it looked way worse than that a week ago, before I hacked down all the giant weeds and transplanted the day lilies.

This is not our garage. It’s our neighbors, and this is part of what we can see out of our kitchen window, in the house we have called home for over four years.

the window from which I have seen this graffiti garage for somewhere around 1,500 days. Embarrassing. I know.

The garage used to be all grey. With a hole on the bottom. A complaint to 311 did result in some repair work.

But, really, have you ever seen HALF of the siding redone? I was ticked and didn’t even want to figure out how to get the owner to fix it. S/he rents it out, doesn’t live nearby, and according to some contractors and hired help, isn’t super easy to reach or work with.

I admit, I didn’t try very hard. I couldn’t find the energy.

That was last year, and every day I thought, “what should I do?” I don’t want to be a naggy neighbor. I don’t want to just call and complain. I want to love my neighbors on a basis of connection and relationship, not correction and requests. And a series of things showed us that the residents were unlikely to do anything about the state of things anyway. Frankly, the residents are the last people who would every even see this, because of how the house is situated on the alley and street.

So this week I took matters into my own hands.

I did get approval from one of the residents before ripping up the weeds. I didn’t even bother asking about the paint though. Who wouldn’t want it fixed?

Made a trip to Home Depot this mornings and now I get to see this.

It’s not a perfect match. But it’s also not graffiti!

No, it wasn’t my job or responsibility to do this. But it is my view, and it was something in my power to change. It is better than it was before. It’s not awesome, but better is almost always good enough.

While I had the black paint out (to darken the paint for the garage), I also repainted our address sign that had been messed up by the boys an unmentionable number of months ago.

Then I went back to finish cleaning up the kitchen mess that I mentioned yesterday. It took hoooooouuuuuuurs, but I was super into it. Did I mention that this phase of the cycle is one where detailed work like organizing is ideal? The theory is that our brains are wired for it especially during the luteal phase. I guess there’s something to that. I swapped the mugs with the cups, cleaned the shelves, cleaned all the yucky jars of baking goods, got my lesson notes off to my students, and reorganized the plastic containers in time to help Nathan reassemble the air conditioner we took apart the other day to hose down so that it will actually work. #notanormaldayforme

Phew.

Made for a bit of a late night with the Tuesday night Gilmore Girls ritual with my girls, but it feels so good. I definitely had some powerful energy today, and I know it won’t always be like this.

Knowing that my body is designed with changing strengths throughout the month is like knowing a little secret that whispers to me, “It’s ok. You’re not weird. You’re not inconsistent. You’re not irrational. You’re just the day-25-version of you.” I’m likely to have a completely opposite kind of day soon. And hopefully then I’ll remember today.

Also, I found a really good deal at Home Depot. A matching pair, going for only $195. It was like they were calling out to me. So I took them home. It was a steal.

By Naomi Bird

Wife of tenor Nathan Bird, pianist, organist, former music therapist, writer, tea-drinker, mom of two mini-sopranos and two mini-tenors, and learner of loving the arts.

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