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.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Secret Life of Bees

One of the best books I've ever read was The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Recently, my book club read it. Then a few of us went to see the movie.

I loved it. I grew up reading stories by Sue Monk Kidd. She wrote for Guidepost magazine and a few "women's magazines." As I grew older, I grew to recognize her name and I always enjoyed reading what she wrote.

Usually, I feel that the book is better than the movie. Usually, I feel the book is much better than the movie. It is difficult to make a call this time. This movie, in my opinion, is outstanding.

Queen Latifah plays August Boatwright. Her sister May (who grieves the loss of her twin, April and is sensitive to the pain of the world) is played by Sophie Okonedo. Jennifer Hudson plays Lily's caregiver and Lily's father's housekeeper, Rosaleen, and looks quite different than she did in this movie (you are still beautiful even without the make-up, Jennifer). Paul Bettany is convincing as Lily's evil father, T.Ray Owens. (Is it just me or does he always play an evil character?)He does a good job of being bad- I hated him. The only glance we get of him having any heart at all is when Rosaleen tells him that she is taking Lily into town to buy a training bra. Another Boatwright sister, June, is played by Alicia Keys. (And can this sister give a look.) Lily is played by Dakota Fanning.

The movie was filmed in North Carolina. I've been there many a time and that state is just as lovely in person as on the big screen. The story is supposed to take place in Tiburon, South Carolina.

Lily (flees (with Rosaleen in tow) to Tiburon to escape from her father and in search of answers about her mother, who is deceased. In one scene, Lily's father punishes her by using grits poured on the floor, making Lily "stand" on them with her bare knees. I found this to be an interesting portion of the story. Was this really a punishment in those days or something that someone else created? If anyone else has ever heard of this, I would love to hear from you.

August takes Lily in as her "bee apprentice," teaching her all about bees and honey making. This is one part of the story in which the movie disappointed me. While reading the book, the reader learns a lot of interesting facts about honey bees which endears one to the bee. The movie doesn't dwell upon many bee facts.

The honey is bottled under the label of the Black Madonna. This is another story which I haven't researched to know if there was ever was a Black Madonna or not. The faith that the Boatwright sisters have is touching and affects every one's lives that they come into contact with.

While watching this movie, I saw a remarkable resemblance between Fanning and my daughter at that age. I never wanted my daughter to be conceited or overly vain, so I never dwelled upon how beautiful I thought she was, but she was (and is) a beauty. A natural beauty. Fanning has that same beautiful hair, like wheat glistening in the sun. I used to tease my daughter and tell her that the color of her hair was somewhere between mouse-brown and dishwater-blonde. In truth, it glistened and was such a beautiful color. Fanning has the same cut to her jaw and the same thin arms. There is a scene where Fanning sits down onto the floor and she is all legs, gangly and long, they are on the floor before her and once again I was struck by how much she reminded me of Laura at at that age. Fanning is beautiful in a way that Laura used to describe as "before a girl is socialized." Which means "before a girl is socialized into bowing to societal expectations" of things like having your hair combed or neat and tidy or looking into the mirror and worrying about whether or not your appearance is just so.

Beautiful, earnest, honest. No hidden agenda. Totally expecting and believing to be treated well and loved and heart broken when that doesn't happen. Searching for answers about the missing component of her life - her mother's presence and any information about her.
I cried through about half of this movie. I cried until I had a headache. And, I loved it.
Nate Parker plays June's gorgeous boyfriend, Neil. He looks just like my friend Patrick. Tristan Wilds plays Zachary Taylor and the scene where he dips his finger into the purple honey to give Lily a taste is titillating in an innocent, young love sort of way.
Racial issues are a strong and ever present theme throughout the movie. In 1964 I was six. I am very thankful that we have now progressed to the point of voting in an African American for our President-elect.
Run. To. See. This. Movie! That is my "buzz."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


We can overcome judging a person by the color of their skin.

We can overcome societal pressures and expectations based on historical events.

We can embrace new ideas.

We can get past fear, ignorance and lies.

We can move ahead.

We can welcome a new family to the White House.
Personally, I thought John McCain was a "non-contender" all along. And then when Sarah Palin came along, I was convinced they were through. So, I was surprised that the race was as close as it was.
I'm very proud that Indiana has gone blue! Unheard of. Somehow, Mitch won. With all of the "not my man" stickers that I see around, I didn't expect that. He messed up the toll road situation, he has done very little to help our state park system and natural resources in Indiana.

And now we can say "Buh-bye Sarah." The only sad thing about seeing her go back to Alaska is that Tina Fey announced she is retiring the character. That was some funny stuff.

I admire McCain for his speech. He spoke so well that I felt as if he might have fared better in the election, had he spoken that well all along. And, maybe if he had put some duct tape over Sarah's mouth.

Now, git. Go. Skeedaddle on out of here. Jus' goes back to your people.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Normal scene at my house

Here is the scene in our living room recently on a cool fall evening. Fat Milo on the back of the sofa. He is my cat, indoors only. He has gotten fat from eating Chelsea's food! And Chelsea eats any left-over cat food. (Not that there is that much.)The cats will start barking and the dog will start meowing! Tree (Doug's sister named him Tree because she found him in a tree.) is the "cobby" black and white "hitler cow cat." My beloved Chelsea and my honey, Doug.
I sent this to a few gal friends of mine and labeled it "my honey and my kids." One of my friends wrote back and said "who is the honey and who are the kids?" Good question!

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