"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them -- by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents." - Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Heedless Young Housekeeper - part 1

This short story I wrote for a short story contest on the C19 boards. The object was to write a short continuation of either Northanger Abbey or Persuasion - either continuing from the book or from the recent TV adaptations. Although I didn't place at all I had a lot of fun writing this and making the deadline.

Northanger Abbey is my favorite Jane Austen novel and what happens to the characters in my short story are really what I imagine would have happened to them.


Catherine felt the first rays of bright sun on her pretty face, blinked sleepily and lazily stretched under her downy coverlet. From her bedroom Catherine could hear the mantle piece clock in the drawing room chime seven o’clock.
‘Only seven?’ she thought. ‘But baby will be up soon and demanding breakfast. And there’s so much to do today!’
Next to her, Catherine felt Henry’s warm breath on her neck and she turned her head to view her husband. How handsome he looked even now, lying on his stomach with his brown hair rumbled, mouth slightly opened as he snored away merrily.


Five years to the day since their wedding. Catherine smiled as she remembered that blessed day, how her emotions were mingled giddiness and timidity. Questions and apprehensions had raced through her mind as she readied for the church. Then like a soothing balm, a letter from her bridegroom had come, comforted every qualm, and settled every nerve. His letters had been such a comfort over the months of their engagement, especially when it seemed that General Tilney would not give his consent to their marrying. That day he told her he loved her, he would always love her; he had chosen her above all others to be his own. Catherine remembered warmly the vows spoken that day as they stood up with her father officiating. How near forever the words “as long as you both shall live” had sounded to them then. These last few years living in Woodston had been sweet; her husband knew how to keep humor alive and lighten her mood when she seemed besieged by housework.


As if feeling his wife’s gaze upon him, Henry Tilney stirred and warily opened his eyes against the sunshine that fell full upon his face.
“Is it morning already?” he asked and yawned deeply.
“It’s just now seven,” Catherine answered smiling sweetly.
“Seven o’clock? You know this and yet you’re still smiling?” There was a touch of morning grumpiness in his voice. “How long have you been awake?”
“Only a few minutes; I’ve been laying here staring at my handsome husband and praying that Jemima won’t call until after breakfast.” She spoke of the nursemaid; Miss Jemima Hughes was well experienced much like a mother, coaching Catherine through everything.
It was his turn to smile now: “Little chance of that when her charge is so demanding.”
“There’s no need to wonder where he gets that quality from, he is your son!” she said playfully.
“A hearty appetite is one thing we Tilney men are known for, consider the General and Frederick.”
“On that head I worry about our table’s proficiency for tonight’s dinner. But as far as the children, if they all have hearty appetites we might have to plant a larger garden!”
“Perhaps we should,” Henry smiled. “But the Tilneys are also known for two other qualities that may be useful in aiding to supply their meals.”
“And what are those?” Catherine asked curiously.
“Two very important thinks: good looks and charm.”
“Very true, you see their effect on me! But I do hope each of our children grow up to be good, if only our daughters are as elegant as your sister and our sons as clever as their father I shall be happy.”
“That doesn’t matter so much. As long as our daughters have your ears, my love, they shall want for nothing!” He joked and tried to nibble one of Catherine’s, but she was too quick for him and she giggled at his mocked pout as she bounced out of bed.
“Come - let’s see if we can eat our breakfast before little Harry wants his. There’s so much to do anyway before our guests arrive!”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


My work with Alzheimer's residents is such a blessing and is teaching me a lot. I have come to see each and every one of my residents as unique and beautiful. The nurse who taught my PCA class challenged us as caregivers to look beyond the medical info and ask ourselves "can I describe who this person is without thinking of their disease first?" This was a great point, and I began to change my way of thinking. I love learning about their family and history and discovering today what makes each person tick.

I think my residents are the most fascinating people and my views on love and beauty have differed from what they used to be. I posted on my other blog on the beauty of hands, particularly work worn, weather beaten hands. In fact I think that white hair and wrinkles are the most endearing beauty marks around. On the outside a person might not look like much but when you take the time to listen you'll see the true beauty of the soul coming through.

I wrote the following poem (ballad, essay, not sure what to call it) about one of my favorite residents. Kay's heart is so sweet, she'd always polite and thinking of others. She's the person I want to be when I'm her age. She's aged very gracefully, not just in outwardly but inside too. She doesn't let her limitations of mind or body keep her from being kind to others. I find her even more beautiful when she hears other residents repeating themselves or being forgetful and she points to herself and says "that's like me, I do that". Other times you wouldn't think she knew she had Alzheimer's but at those moments you can tell she really does understand.

I hold out my hand to her
She takes it, trusting me completely
She is small and round
Her face is screwed up as she concentrates

Her eyes stare at the floor
Her tongue runs over her lips
She hums a repetitive three notes
She carefully lays each foot, step by step

I speak to her gently
She looks up at me quizzically
Her steps falter
Her expression changes to one mingled with confusion

She reaches her other hand out to the wall
She braces herself to regain balance
Her eyes have drifted back to her feet
She stands still only a moment

She doesn't understand what has happened
She continues to walk
She looks up at me again
My dear sweet Kay smiles bravely at me

“I don't know what's the matter with me.”
She speaks the works with a little chuckle in her voice
“Are you dizzy, Kay?”
I ask her.

“Yes...a bit”
I can see the gears turning in her brain
She still doesn't understand
She holds my hand a bit tighter

We reach the kitchen safe at last
She sits down gingerly
She is ready for what is next
She is ready to eat

Later we walk to her room, hand in hand
She hums again her same old song
We near her door
She repeats her room number several times

She knows the door when she sees it
She recognizes the room
She knows this is where she belongs
“This is where I was before” she tells me.

After a quick toilette she stands before the glass
Carefully she washes and dries her hands
Then she brushes her thick gray mop
Carefully curling a lock of hair on her forehead

“Can I get in there?”
She asks me as she points to her bed
She tucks her favorite shoes under the bed
I turn down her covers

She lays her glasses on the night stand
She fluffs the pillow
I tuck her under the covers
One more blanket for warmth

I kiss her bonny face
“Good-night dear” I say.
She cups my face in her hands
“Thank you” she says.

“You do so much...for me.”
She stammers, trying to say what she thinks
“You are just...so..you're so smart...just beautiful.
God bless you.” she finishes.

“I love you.” I tell her
I walk to the door.
I take one last look
Before I close it tight

I wipe tears from my eyes.
My dear sweet Kay loves her sleep
One day I fear to find her there
Never to awake.

- Laurie B Michael 1/21/09

Monday, February 16, 2009


I haven't actually decided quite what to entitle this. It's going to be Figment of ___ something like hope, love, imagination, my mind.

I'm not sure if the meaning of this poem will be quite clear but it refers to a young man I thought myself in love with in 2007. Though I will always like him a great deal I am almost certain that I wasn't really "in love".

Forgive the lack of punctuation and there is at least one place where I haven't decided on the correct word to use.

It started out as a beautiful thing
An object of love and delight
Now I sit and stare at it
An object of pain and spite

T'was odd to me at first to love
Something beyond my wildest dreams
Tenderly my heart took hold
Filled with many lofty schemes

This dream stayed outside my reach
But I was young; hope springing new
Loving on was easily done
Earnestly, sweetly staying true

Time (weeks, months) passed as years to my heart
The object loved, now out of sight
My mind played o're remembrances
That kept love alive and bright

To these memories I added
What I wanted to see
Thinking fondly all the while
"This is what it could be."

Before I knew what I had done
I had so greatly altered it
That little beauty could I find
In my love once brightly lit

The truth revealed hurt me deep
What I'd been loving wasn't true
I loved not what it really was
But my awful dream in lue.

Worthy was it of high esteem
Of love and honor most high
But I myself had played the fool
I had dreamt and believed a lie.

This my lesson's sober thought
Teaches me to deeply love but few,
Speak the truth to even myself
And curb my imagination too.

Friend, loving long is great and good
Even thought it does cause pain,
But loving with no hope - beware!
Love, but do not love in vain.

-Laurie Michael, Winter 2007

Friday, February 13, 2009

Waiting Patiently

God's plan for my life continues to unfold daily and yet I can't help hoping that one day His plan will include marriage and a family of my own.

The poem below was inspired by a couple sermons, summer crushes, and another poem. I think it probably rhymes a bit too much but it is pretty much the prayer of my heart.

What will he be like Lord?
Strong and brave and true?
Will he be an old time friend
Or maybe someone new?

Will he have a quiet heart
Or boisterous may he be?
Will he want to follow you?
Will he really love me?

What will he look like Lord?
Not sure I really care
Just let him be tall and fine
With a full head of hair.

May he have inner beauty
Always shining through
In goodness and in holiness
Let him model you.

Let him want children, Lord
As many as can be had.
Let him be romantic
And a loving dad.

Let him have a sense of humor
Be sociable, be kind
Respectful of his elders
This man let me find.

I don't know where he is right now
But this one thing I pray
Keep him whole, keep him pure
For our wedding day.

Father, give him wisdom
As he waits for me
Grow him up and teach him
My husband soon to be.

Lord, you know my heart's desires
You know I long for this man
Please help me to wait patiently
On your master plan.

~Waiting Patiently, Laurie Michael - July 2008 at River of Life Bible Camp

My First Posting

This is really my friend Finchy's idea. She suggested that I create a blog where I can post my poetry, short stories and other writings.

Because I haven't written anything new in a few months my first few posts will be older writings.

I apologize up front for the crudeness of my musings, most of them I haven't had a chance to edit or rework yet.

Although my writings are not professionally copyrighted they are in every other sense of the word. So I'll have no qualms about my ideas or words being purloined.

Can't think of anything to post just now but I'll have a poem for next time. This should be fun!