Monday, December 29, 2008

Marley & Me

We were going to go see Marley and Me on Christmas day, but didn't get around to it. So, last night we went.
For those of you who aren't aware of how the Christmas Day Movie Outing went down last year - Doug took me to see "Sweeney Todd." And despite the fact that it starred Johnny Depp, and the music of Stephen Sondheim, it was not acceptable Christmas Day Movie Outing viewing material. But, off we went. I had to go home and put in the Susan Sarandon version of "Little Women," just to cleanse my mind of the melon thunking sounds and the vision of Helena Bonham Carter as she went up in flames behind the locked door of the furnace.
Needless to say, this year, it was my turn to pick the Christmas movie.
Our IUAA bookclub selection is Marley & Me and I just finished the book.
Doug and I saw the last afternoon matinee, yesterday. I kept leaning over and whispering "that really happened, it was in the book!"
I loved the book. Loved the movie. If you haven't read the book, read it first, then see the movie. Oh, and this movie ranks in the "houses in movies that I want" category. I loved the Pennsylvania house. Doug said he wanted the Florida house in the movie because of the pool. I say "pool, schmool." Give me a house in the country with a screened porch and fireplace. Oh, and if you want it straight from the horses mouth, read it here.
We went home and told Chelsea what a "bad" dog she is. Yeah, right. She promptly got back at us for that by chewing up one of Doug's magazines AND the bedroom carpet. For the record, we were going to get rid of the carpet anyway.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Powerless-ness feels right"

Milo found
a cozy spot
nearly the moment
I put the tree up.

We attended services at Unitarian Universalist this past Sunday. Doug wanted to light a candle for his Dad.

The woman who spoke inspired me to write when she spoke of the Winter Solstice, how this is a season for letting go. She stated "Powerless-ness feels right." In my mind, I found myself agreeing with her.

I do seem to be walking in a season of letting go. It has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I have struggled for many years with desiring to be the powerful one, to be in control. I believe I am finally starting to learn the difference between being strong and being right without being powerful. When a lion stands strong, he doesn't have to roar for those around to know he is the King of the jungle. What has it been in me, that has caused me to fight and struggle so? I am tired of the struggle. I am ready to lay my weapons down. I no longer feel the need to roar and stretch my talons for others to know that I am present. I feel this is something that women struggle with in general, always wanting to be the one in charge. I see this often at work and I think "go ahead, knock yourself out." I am at a point of having enough confidence that I know that I am o.k. I have earned a degree, I have raised my children, I survived some extremely tough years. I am fine with who I am.

Doug has been grieving and I have been his comforter and for now, abiding in his grief is a fitting place for us to be.
The last question that the speaker asked of us was "is there a shadow which your love can brighten?" I'm brightening that shadow every day in every way that I can.

His name was Elijah

At work, we put up a tree and hung tags with names of children that we were given by the Salvation Army. I carefully went around the tree, reading names, the ages and the requests for each girl and boy. My name fell upon a tag that read: Elijah, one month old. His mother asked for soft toys and a cool mist humidifier. Two of my friends went in with us to purchase gifts for him. Carol sent a generous check and Elisa opted to shop for him, purchasing an outfit that said "Let's Hike!" on it and a small chunky school bus. I bought this blanket and embroidered his name on it. As I stitched, I said a prayer for Elijah and his Mama and sent warm thoughts to them.
Camping is a big theme right now
which thrills me! You know he will
be hungry as a bear!

I also found a fuzzy little outfit with a tiger on it and little ears on the hood. Then I bought two long sleeve white t-shirts.

To fulfill the soft toys request, I found this snowman, which I envisioned propped up in the corner of Elijah's crib, so that he might awaken with the snowman smiling down on him. We also bought the humidifier and diapers. I've bought many gifts for Christmas, but fulfilling the wishes of Elijah's Mama was what warmed my heart the most.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lores Steury, July 25, 1922 to December 12, 2008

In the Barn
All morning it has rained
and now, lunch in our bellies,
the rain still falls, even and sure.
Confined to the barn, with rustle/
purrdle/coo/rustling of pigeons on
the beams, timid light through
gable windows and open door,
drip and run of the eaves against pig-
ruckus, sqeal and snort downstairs,
spring rain and rain.
Gate-making duo we
unstack rough oak gathered from
the drying pile and woods, lay the boards
out, square and cut and square, I
raise my hammer and swing (not quite sure),
bend the nail, pull,
new nail in oak board, oak hard.
My father drives his spike, touched
with beeswax, four strokes, an ease
I will always respect.
Pound-pound-pound-pound swallowed by
spring-half-stacked mow, rain,
cut and square and pound,
Rain hammered spring afternoon, pigeons,
pigs in a fervid chorus.
Tim Steury
This is my most recent favorite photo of Dad Steury. Doug plopped Chelsea on his lap and I took this pic. This was on Thanksgiving weekend. Then, Dad was hospitalized last Sunday. They brought him home towards the end of the week. Doug drove up on Thursday morning. Then Doug's two sons and Chelsea and I drove up on Saturday morning.
This brings so many memories of two years ago rushing back to me. We saw Grandma on Thanksgiving day, then headed north to have Thanksgiving with Doug's family. Then, Grandma passed away on December fifth. At least I have a good idea of how Doug feels. I was numb during Christmas. I kept looking around me, watching people celebrate wondering how the world could go on when I had just lost one so dear to me.
Doug has many wonderful traits that came from his dad- how he holds his tongue before he speaks, how he is kind and caring, his beautiful eyes (all of the Steury men have beautiful eyes), caring hands.
We will miss the Steury patriarch.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stopping by my hometown on a snowy evening.

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

My friend Debbie used to quote this poem to me. I loved listening to her voice, waiting for my favorite line: "The woods are lovely, dark and deep." It was so comforting.

Last Saturday night I was in New Castle and Kathy bought tickets to the Foster Grandparents Holiday Home tour. At Mayor Small's home, which is down a long lane, they were giving carriage rides to and from the house. I love how this shot picked up the snow. Here are some other shots from from the tour:

starting with the entrance and the beautiful real fruit!

Small's dining room.

Hand carved bed in master bedroom. Carved long ago by a family member.

Home of Jill Morris,
interior decorator.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Keeping Room

We just finished redecorating what we formerly referred to as "the fireplace room." Usually, in the winter, we do not use our living room, we live in front of the fire. This was a room that we had not done anything to at all. Ever. Other than occasionally knocking down the cobwebs, it remained untouched.

I found this "keeping room" sign in a shop in Pendleton and thought it would be perfect for the center beam of the room. When I researched the meaning of a "keeping room," I learned that it was often a room with a fireplace or a hearth. Often, it was off of the kitchen. In our house, the living room is off of the kitchen. This keeping room is on the lower level of the house which was added to the original home at some point.

Here is Milo, investigating the "new room." Doug painted the room in the paint that I picked out - "toast," and I took it from there.

Buckeyes from Kathy R's neighbor's yard. Pine cone candles that were gifts from my daughter, Laura.

The valences are from the kitchen of my former house. I am also using a throw rug that I had in the kitchen. The burgundy works well, don't you think? The table is a family piece that was my great- aunt's. The rocker was a Road 40 find - I think that I paid $45. for it. Isn't that great?

The love seat in front of the fire is where you'll find me. Along with Doug, Chelsea, Milo and Tree. I'm hoping to buy some new furniture for this room soon. With all of our fur-kids, it is a little crowded.


More "ah."

This about says it all.

"For me it is sufficient to have a corner by my hearth, a book and a friend, and a nap undisturbed by creditors or grief."
-- Fernandez de Andrada

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo Contest

The HT is having a photo contest. The classification is "Indiana environment." I entered with these two: (only two entries allowed)
The tree photo was taken at Gnaw Bone Camp.
The sunset photo was taken out behind the house on our road. Doug was mowing the yard and yelled "Honey, you might bring your camera."
The winner gets a composter. Runners up get a canvas bag.
Do you think I have what it takes to be a winner?

Monday, November 17, 2008

One year anniversary.

The was the little house in New Castle that we lived in for eighteen years. My children essentially grew up in this house. It wasn't the nicest house, but it was home. I had a one car detached garage - it had a patio out back and great trees (as you can see) out back. I planted the two evergreens in the front yard in 2001.
I loved the screened in porch with the metal roof and the awnings because you could hear the rain. Some nights, if a storm was loud and woke me, I would go out and sit on the porch and just watch and listen. I loved it that little house.
One year ago I moved to Bloomington. I love it here. There is a wonderful sense of safe community here. So much so that it was recently voted as the number one get away destination by this magazine. We have great cultural events. Farmer's market on Saturday, every restaurant and store you could ever want and many local shops and restaurants. New Castle is two hours away - so not so far that I can't get back.
When I first moved here, putting our lives together was quite an adjustment. We did long distance for two and a half years. I had my own home for eighteen years, Doug - seventeen years. Two captains, one ship. Now, a year later, things are smoother. Doug is very willing to adopt most of my suggestions concerning home improvement. Before I moved in, his house was something akin to a locker room. He and his sons used it in a very utilitarian way - place to sleep, eat, shower, change clothes before going to the next sports event. For the most part, we threw out his furniture and stuff and use mine. We have redecorated the guest room ("Laura's room") and the living room, the entry way, the bathroom and now we are redoing the family room or as we call it "the fireplace room." We have also removed carpet in the kitchen and dining room. We feel that carpet is unhealthy and eventually, I don't believe we will have any at all. We may put ceramic tile in our bedroom! The house is a bi-level and we may put ceramic tile in the entire lower level.
One year later, I'm in a better place in my life. In many more ways than one.

Those is my Cardinals!

Letterman: ‘Chirp! Chirp! It’s Bird Time.’

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YUP. I'm a BSU grad. Same as Dave. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Painted Veil (2006)

Last night, we watched a movie that Doug rented with his account. If I haven't mentioned before, we have separate accounts, because, he kept getting "guy movies." Now, I have my account and I get "chick flicks." We try, whenever possible, to watch our movies together. Painted Veil was an excellent movie for us because I love Edward Norton, (meow! Perfect at eleven years younger)(oh, hush). And, Doug loves Naomi Watts. We noticed that the movie was produced by Norton and Watts and Doug said "hey, let's make a movie and star in it!"

The movie, from the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, by the same name was shot in China. It had a cheesy tag line: "Sometimes the greatest journey is between two people." Gag me.
Naomi Watts plays Kitty Garstin. As her mother puts it "how long are you going to depend upon your father to support you?" So, they are hot to marry her off and she obliges by marrying Dr. Walter Fane (Norton) although she doesn't love him. Dr. Fane is a bacteriologist (what?) studying infectious diseases and they move to Shanghai where he is stationed to work in a government lab.
Socially, Kitty meets Charles Townsend (Liev Schreiber) and has an affair with him. The man is a typical womanizer and a creep. (Yuck, bleuck, tooey!) After Walter learns of the affair, he threatens Mrs. Fane with divorce, based upon adultery naming Charlie, unless she accompanies him to the interior of China where he is to help fight the cholera epidemic. True to a player's colors, Charlie says some mumbo-jumbo about how a divorce might not be well for "his station," and Kitty accompanies Dr. Fane to the interior.

After a two week journey traveling in this style:

This is where Cheryl's favorite most obscure moment of the movie occurs - neighbor, Mr. Waddington asks if the journey was terribly arduous and Kitty Fane's response is this: "terribly." What else would she say. But I ask you - how bad can it be when you are sitting on a chair, she is sheltered from the sun and dust, give me a freakin break. It wasn't like she traveled in a Conestoga sitting behind the asses of a couple of oxen!

The most sensual scene (sensuous?) in the movie occurs with the same neighbor, with whom the Fanes develop an intimate relationship, mostly from lack of any other neighbors, or Caucasians.

Isn't that a lovely scene?

I won't give away the entire movie. You'll have to rent it to see for yourself, but I will say that I was cheering for Kitty when five years later she runs into Charles Townsend on the street of London while she has her son Walter by the hand. Charlie once again tries to make a play for her and she basically tells him to eat sand. When she and her son walk away, young Walter says "who was that, Mummy?" and Kitty replies, "no one." YAY Kitty. Men who cheat are scums.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Don't look at her!"

On Election Day, Doug worked all day at Harrodsburg. He put in a fifteen hour day. The following night, he was on the bed by 8:30, "resting." When one or both of us are on the bed, all of us are on the bed. Two cats and a dog join in.
Despite Doug "resting," I was bustling about like normal. I brought a load of dry towels in and plopped them on the bed to fold. Doug told Chelsea, "don't look at her. Don't make eye contact or she will find a task for you to do! She will have you doing chores! Chelsea, she will have you folding laundry!"
I thought this was hilarious. I wanted to share what he said along with a pic of Chelsea "not looking at me."
If only she could fold laundry!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner

It seems totally apropos that the first Jennifer Weiner book that I've read was the first novel she wrote in 2001. I carried this book around with me everywhere. It even went to Arizona and back with me. And everywhere I went I told people - "it isn't a sex book."

The protagonist, like Jennifer Weiner, (and myself) is a "little overweight." Cannie Shapiro, again like Jennifer Weiner, is a newspaper reporter. Weiner writes of both being overweight and being a reporter with first-hand knowledge. It seems like a premonition for Weiner when in her book, Shapiro sells her screenplay and makes it big. Because that is what happened to Weiner with "In her Shoes."

In the book, Cannie is "taking a break" from boyfriend Bruce. He is hired to write a magazine column that is entitled "Good in Bed." In his column he writes of what it is like to love a "larger woman," and it is with great horror that Cannie realizes that the "C" that he refers to is none other than herself. This discovery propels her to make certain changes in her life. Cannie is pathetic, like many of us have been, claiming to still be in love with the evil Bruce. She takes steps to become a healthier woman, but all the while battles her inner demons.

Weiner, comes from a broken home and also seems to write about a father's abandonment with realistic accuracy. One of my favorite parts in the book is when she compares Shapiro to a rat, working to get that positive reinforcement when seeking out her father's approval and affection. I always seek out those rare obscure moments in book and movies (and personal relationships) that for me are defining moments.

Weiner has now written a sequel to Good in Bed entitled "Certain Girls." For me, book number two will be Weiner's sixth book.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hidey Holes and other woodsey finds

Yesterday, I was out at this park. The weather was lovely. A perfect gray, fall day. The temperature was in the thirties and it was trying to spit snow or ice or something more than rain.

I was out hiking and taking photographs with Kathy.
Isn't she pretty? Her smile and company can light up any day. She and I have been friends for nearly (gulp) thirty years. We've been on lots of adventures, together.
As we walked in the woods and I was taking photographs, I began to notice all of the hidey holes for the critters.
There were red berries,

and bittersweet.

There was a fungus among us!

Wet leaves, pretty leaves,
dried Queen Anne's Lace and other dried flowers.
And look what we found! This wasn't in the park, (leave nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints) but on the roadside. I've never seen bittersweet growing wild like this! I love bittersweet! I brought home enough to make a wreath.

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