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.

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