A blog by Lori Lyons

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dancing in the streets

A lot of my social media friends got quite a kick out of this video last week.

It depicts a wonderful British woman who obviously has music in her head. Or at least in her ears. And somebody gave it a sound track. It quickly went viral.

Some laughed at her. Some made fun of her.  Some blessed her soul and admired her spunk.

I laughed with her. And I absolutely love her.

She could be me.

Just about every morning since I became a laid-off mother-in-law keeper, I have grabbed my iPhone, my ear buds, my sneakers and my trusty poodle Leigheaux and hit the streets. We head north on Apple Street, turn right on 5th, circle the park a time or two, then head home. It's exactly two miles;  2 1/2 if I make two circles.

If I'm good and my hips don't hurt too bad -- or if I don't catch a damn train -- it takes roughly 42 minutes.

And it's 42 minutes of pure bliss. No mother-in-law. No barking. No mom. No Marty. No television. No soliciting. No goddam beeper ready to go off in my ear. It is my mental health moment. It is, perhaps, the only thing keeping me from going completely insane through this. Or from becoming a raging alcoholic.

It's just me. And the music.  And sometimes, I dance.

While the good people of Norco see me "walking" down the street, in my head I'm dancing.  Sometimes I really do dance. Sometimes I sing. Play the drums. The air guitar. The piano. Sometimes I'm Joan Jett. Sometimes I pour sugar on me. Sometimes I touch myself (not really).

And sometimes people do laugh at me.  I know the cop at the school corner does. And the ones doing their paperwork at the park.  And the bus ladies who wave at me as they pass by. Someone  may even be video taping me. I don't care.

There are 249 songs on my Walking playlist. 269 on my "Favorite songs" playlist. I can't figure out exactly how many songs I have, total, but it's a lot. I am a song collector. I have songs you've never heard of. I have songs you heard when you were a kid and forgot about. I have songs that I love, songs that I like, even songs that I hate.

And I never knew that AC/DC was great walking music.

According to iTunes, I could walk for 17.2 hours with my Walking playlist. 

And sometimes I wish I could.

Laugh at me if you will. Or dance with me.

Monday, April 15, 2013


It's Lora Day!

Eleven years ago today, Judge Emile St. Pierre signed the papers that made our baby girl, Lora Leigh, ours forever. And changed our lives forever.

We will celebrate with a family dinner at IHOP. Because we never want to forget how happy we were that day.

The rest of you should hug your children today. Celebrate them, and the ease with which you were able to have them. Or the work you had to go through to have them, to get them, or to keep them.

And say a little prayer for all those parents who still have empty arms.

Here are a few of my blog posts commemorating this day. 

Here is a post from 2011. 

Here is a post from 2010.

And another from 2008.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Baby pictures


If you live in my little corner of the universe, you may know that I became a step-grandmother last week.

Yes, after many prayers over many months following a devastating loss a year and a half ago, my stepson and his wife became parents to a beautiful baby girl on April 5th. And the allelujah chorus rose to the heavens.

Little Robi Drew is beautiful and pink and perfect, with 10 little toes and 10 little fingers, a head full of dark hair and a scrunched up little face. Her parents are over the moon, as are all of her grandparents (step and otherwise) and her aunts and uncles. And her great-grandmother, who lives in my spare bedroom.

But you'll just have to imagine that.

Her parents have proclaimed that there shall be no pictures on social media. Or on this blog.


You can probably imagine how difficult that is for a social media junkie like me. For a reporter like me.

I'm dying to post the photo I took of The Coach, still wearing his game day hat, as he held his granddaughter for the first time. I wish you could see the look of love and joy in his eyes. I wish you could see how they have the same eye shape.

I wish you could see the photo of her with one eye closed -- just like him.

"People who know us know what she looks like," said the stepson, as I held, basically, a blanket and hat and a little nose.

"She won't look like this tomorrow," I told him.

They have their reasons. I don't have to be happy about it.

I expressed my disappointment to my stepdaughter the other day, to which she replied, "People had babies before Facebook, Lolo."

No shit.

Twelve years ago when my baby girl was born, there was no Facebook. No Twitter. No Lyons Din. No Tumblr. No Reddit. And phones weren't smart.

There was an America Online message board I frequented -- my support group as I made my way through six years of infertility, of years of trying to adopt, of waiting, of the one we lost. On the day my daughter was born there was a photo of her nursery on "the wall."

When, finally, a real, live child was placed in my arms that January morning, I couldn't wait to share the news with the world, to let them know we had crossed the finish line. Whew. We made it.

But, back then, cell phones were considered the spawn of the devil and had to be turned off in hospitals. So, after my baby was whisked back to the hospital nursery for tests (and while the staff tried to figure out what to do with these alleged adoptive parents wandering around the ward), I ran to the phone. The payphone in the waiting room. With quarters. Then I proceeded to call my mother, my sister-in-law, my sister, my brother, my stepkids' schools, my husband's school, my husband's ex-wife's school, my boss downtown, my office in the River Parishes and everyone else I could think of. They couldn't call back either.

Hours later, when the nurse finally did let us in to see our baby girl and when my high school friend took pity on me and decided it was time I held her, there was no camera in my pocket. No. It was in the car. In a bag. And my husband had to run to the parking lot to get it.

He did still have it later that night when the whole family came to the hospital to meet our new daughter. We took dozens of pictures of her through the nursery window. Unfortunately, as we learned the next morning at the local pharmacy/photo developing center,  there had been no film in the camera.

And that night, after a hurried dinner and a quick trip to Walmart for the baby supplies I had refused to allow myself to buy until that day, I was exhausted. But before I fell into the spare bed at my brother's house, I sat at my niece's ancient desktop computer with its ancient dial-up Internet to post a message to my friends on the AOL message board, then dash off a mass email to everyone else. With no pictures.

Then, once I got home with my daughter two days later, I didn't have a Facebook page to spread the news. I had to call everyone. Everyone in my address book. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, co-workers, coaches. 

To assist in the process, we did put a huge pink stork in our front yard. Our next-door neighbors thought we were proclaiming the birth of a grandchild even then.  But it worked. One friend said she nearly gave herself whiplash hitting the brakes.

And, while most people get a nice little birth announcement in the newspaper to tell the world their child has been born, we did not. Not even me, the newspaper lady. Because I did not give birth to my child, they would not run it. So I had to purchase one, in the classified ads. With no photo.

And a few weeks later, I did send out a little birth announcement via regular mail. With a photo. 

So, believe me. I know about Babies Before Facebook. I'm also thinking all of my Facebook friends are rather glad for it. Lora Leigh was, perhaps, the most photographed child in America for a time. Hey, I did my part to keep the Eckerd's photo center in business. And Marty and I both had little brag books in our pockets.

But we also appreciate the value of such photographs. All of my husband's baby pictures are somewhere in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico now, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.  A lot of mine got eaten by a standard poodle puppy.

And we know that little Robi will be a snarky tween in the blink of an eye.

So, yes, we were excited to whip out our iPhones to take photos of little Robi with her grandfather, with her stepgrandmother, with her great-grandmother. And with my baby girl, who is now an aunt. Those are wonderful memories. And we will cherish them forever.

We'll just keep them to ourselves.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


She was born just after noon on a Friday.

Ten little toes. Ten little fingers.

A head full of hair.
Perfect and pink.

And crying.

"The best sound in the world," said her father, my handsome young stepson.

It has been 15 months since the birth of our first grandchild, Parker.  The baby we did not get to hear. 

We did not get to spoil. 

She was born sleeping. 

And, yes, for the past nine months we all have held our breaths and prayed like crazy.

Yesterday, our prayers were answered.

Robi Drew was born crying. 

And that couldn't have made us happier.


Thursday, April 4, 2013


The job posting on my computer screen looks enticing.

Something I think I could do. Something I think I might like to do. Something that looks like it might pay a little more than minimum wage. Something OUT OF THE HOUSE.


But I hesitate.


No, I haven't gotten lazy. I haven't grown accustomed to sitting on my couch, watching soap operas and eating bon bons all day.

And it's not that I'm just loving staying home, waiting for the mother-in-law to wake up, to decide what she wants to eat for breakfast, what she wants to wear, what she wants to eat for lunch, what she wants for a snack,  what she wants for dinner and what time she wants to go to bed.

That's not it.

I want to go to work.

I want to have a purpose.

I want to have a reason to wear makeup and fix my hair.

I want to wear something besides sweats every day.

I want to get out of here and away from the goddam beeper she uses to summon me.


I don't know where to go.  I don't know what I want to do. I don't know what I want to be.

Do I want to get certified to teach?  Do I want to be a PR person? A writer? A retail salesman? A sandwich artist? A domestic?

I don't know if I have the skills. This isn't what I've done for the past 30 years. This is something entirely different. What if I can't? What if I suck?


Do I really want to drive downtown every day for a job? Pay for gas? Pay to park?

And does it make financial sense for me to go to work and then hire someone else to stay with Jane every day? Do I really want another person roaming around  my house? (The first one didn't work out so well).

Then too.

I'm loving being a freelance writer. I love being able to cover sports and news. I love writing stories more than six inches long. That I can see in the newspaper. That I can clip and save. That will go in other people's scrapbooks.

I love the opportunities I've been given as a freelancer, to cover wonderful events, to spread my own wings and challenge myself as a writer.

I  love being able to say, "No. I'm not available that day."


I haven't done half the things I said I was going to do, that I wanted to do when this whole involuntary "sabbatical" began.  I still have a list. A long one, of things to do. For me.

But time is running out.

So I do nothing.

I don't click. I don't upload my cover letter and resume. I just sit and stare.

I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand, unable to move forward, unable to get out. Not on my own. I'm stuck in place and have no idea what to do about it.

I'm just waiting for the rope.