Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sunday evening music in the park

Sunday evening we went to hear some music in the park.  We heard several numbers by various performers.  The Lazy Saints opened.
The Lazy Saints
 Behind the stage, a raucous game of basketball was being played.
 To the left of the stage, a game of touch football.
 This father son duo was my favorite, Blue Cut.  The son played a mean mandolin. 
 Afterward, we went to Upland's for some libations and grub.
 This here is our appetizer...
 When I finished eating, I put my feet up.  Have to show you my feet and my cute purse.
 We met up with our friend, Steve.
 On the way home, at the gas station, we met another friend. 
All in all it was a nice end of summer evening.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Listen, grasshopper

Listen, grasshopper
do you hear?
Fall is in the air.
I do hear, grasshopper replied.
Why do you think I'm in here?

This is a conversation that the grasshopper, found in my kitchen this morning, and I, shared.  He is still there- perched on top of the cabinet door.  I will allow him to stay for now.

We live simply on this little farm.  It is a small patch of land- one of my friends referred to it as "the farmette."  It is bordered by woods and road.  We have a large pole barn, a small red barn with side room (where the chickens are housed).

Growing up, I visited my paternal grandma's farm on weekends and loved the freedom of it.  She had acres of land with three barns, cows, lambs, corn, woods, orchard.  We could play and walk and roam.  We caught fireflies at night.  We ate watermelon in the yard, seated on metal chairs.  Voices carried from the next farm over.  One can understand why the concept of farm is a romantic notion that I cling to.  Comfort, safety and warm memories all relate to the word "farm."

We live unconventionally by some people's standards.  We do not have central air.  People sometimes gasp aloud when we tell them.  I suppose "roughing it" in such a manner is a horrifying idea to some.  I love feeling the breeze pouring through the windows.  At night we listen to the coyotes yip and the songs of chorus frogs and crickets.  This time of year it is the cacaphony of cicadas.  For the unbearably hot nights we have window air conditioners in our bedroom and the guest room.  When I asked a colleague if she enjoyed hanging out laundry and had to stifle a laugh when her response was "I like how the clothes smell but I don't like bringing in the bugs."  Bugs in the laundry are the least of my concern.  One day rushing around before heading to work something caught my eye.  It was bird poop on my shoulder.  Bugs I can handle.  Bugs can be shaken off, transported outdoors or stepped on.  I don't care to go to work sporting bird poop.

Fall is in the air.  I adore fall.  It is my favorite season.  I like fall best of all.  Indiana summers are long and hot, drenching us with its humidity.  Then one morning I head out the door and experience what I call "the ah of fall."  It is suddenly cooler and I pause for a moment and audibly say "ahhhhhh."  Temperatures are dipping in to the high fifties at night now and I have already paused to say "ahhh."  The chickens sense it and have begun to lay.  Another egg was found this morning. (In a nesting box, this time.)  A cricket in the shower this morning. 

Doug is cleaning out the chimney in the fireplace room as I write.  Most days, if it is cool enough to turn on the heat, we sit near the fire.  It is cozy and warm and the animals join us.  Our Corgi, Chelsea and the two cats.  I sit with laptop or we read or doze.  Some evenings we make dinner on the fire.  Friends enjoy coming over and sitting before the fire with us.  I have a date in October with two friends for fireplace sitting on my calendar, already. 

We have a lot of company who enjoy staying here at our little farm.  One of my friends from North Carolina came with her young daughter.  They opted to sleep that January night, not in the guest room, but in front of the fire on the pull out sleeper bed.  My friend even got up to stoke the fire during the night.  She said that for them, visiting with us was like going to camp. 

I'll take this life on this simple farm shared with spiders, crickets and grasshoppers.  The simplicity of it gives me joy.  When is the last time you had a conversation with a grasshopper?

Friday, August 26, 2011


My friend Kris over at Simplify has been asking for some photos of my chickens.  We have two roosters and the most mature, aggessive one is a little scary.  His name is Hector the Protector and Hector likes to "rush" at me when I go in to the pen.  I am going in to the pen to feed and water them!  It scares me and it makes me angry.  I yell "NO!"
We have a smaller immature rooster named Murl.  My chicken consultant told me that we will get rid of the one that attacks us.  I hope neither one of them actually attacks us.
 Here is my favorite chicken,  Ella Fitzgerald.
 My friend Hope, has chickens that are about one month older than our and it seems to me that she has been getting eggs forever. 
Doug built seven nice nesting boxes for our ten girls and what do they do?  They pulled the straw out of the boxes and made a nest on the ground.
 Here is what Doug found today...our first three eggs.  Little pullet eggs. I suppose it is redundant to say little pullet eggs.  That is like saying little, little eggs.  But, they are.
I didn't try to see who is laying, but I wonder if it is my California White, Jenny, as these eggs are nearly white.  Her comb is full and floppy and her waddle is full and red.  I know these are signs of a chicken that may be laying.
We are happy to finally get some eggs as they have been eating us out of house and home.  It is about time they started to earn their keep! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

My new digs

I acquired a new position on campus in May.  I already worked for Indiana University but now I work on Indiana Avenue at Indiana University in Indiana.  Are you sensing a theme, here?
This morning, driving to work, I called Doug and said "you know what I love about my job?"
And I told him how I love driving on Fourth Street and scoping out the firemen at the fire station every morning.  I'm not dead, y'know?  All of us gals know that firemen are always cutie-patooties!
Then as I walked into my building...see photo- below.  (I pulled all of these photos for this post off of the web- the photo below looks as if it was taken in winter.) I enter at the end of the building and this hill may not seem steep, but it is.  I love walking so hard and fast that my heart pounds.  Well, I love doing that now.  When I  first started working here and rushing up the hill and my heart would pound...well, ...it scared me.  It scared me to the point of going to the doctor and having my heart checked out.  (My doctor said this is why more men die of heart-attacks than women because we listen to our bodies.)   All is well with my ticker.  Good to know.  It was just letting me know that it was working. 
walking up this hill until my heart pounds
(photo credit indy.com)

This is my first academic year at the law school.  The students are eager and show up in suits. I arrived at the law school just as the academic year was ending.  Thus far I've noted that both staff and professors are laid back and friendly.  Rather informal.  Not certain if that will change once school begins. 
I love being within walking distance to these gates- the famous Sample Gates.  The center of campus.  This is an area pulsing with action and energy.
famous Sample gates
(photo credit iub.edu)
I love being within walking distance of these gates which are at the end of Kirkwood.  Kirkwood is home to a lot of cool, hip shops and restaurants. 
looking down Kirkwood
(photo credit law.indiana.edu)
 And, I love being within walking distance of our local library.  I dropped my netflix some time ago.  I request books, dvds and cds.  It is rare that I check something out that I haven't requested online.  We have a great system.  I get an email and I go to the shelf where my items sit with printed tickets with my name on them.  Easy peasy. 
Monroe County Public Library
(photo credit indianpublicmedia.org)
And I love being across the street from Starbucks on Indiana Avenue.
Starbucks on Indiana Avenue
(photo credit:  Janiece)
If you are a regular reader, you are already aware of my affection for Starbucks.  This particular location is purely university.  And I love it.  This may be my favorite Starbucks location, second to the Starbucks on the point on DuPont Circle in D.C.
When you walk into this Starbucks the first thing you smell is coffee.  The second thing you smell is books.  Pages to be exact.  Pages, people, not electronic devices.  You smell books and newspapers.  The smell of coffee and paper is a heavenly aroma in my opinion. 
Speaking of smells- aromas, this is another part of what I love about my job.  This time of year especially- the smell of books and leather briefcases and anticipation.  Anticipation of a new school year, parties, classes, football games.  I have worked in a university setting for nearly twelve years and I love it.  I love the students.  My own children were students at one time.  I was a student at one time.  I have no patience for those who say they hate the students.  Go find a job somewhere else if you hate the students.  The students are the reason we are here. 
You know what they say..."location, location, location."  I've got it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Help movie review

Can you stand another movie review on The Help?  Doug took me to see it last Sunday evening.  He had not read the book and he called the movie a tear-jerker.  If you are an emo like Doug, you might take some tissue along.
If you are a regular reader, you will recall I read the book sometime back and wrote a review of the book.  When it comes to movies vs. books, my advice is always read the book first!  Seems often the movie doesn't measure up to the book.  This movie takes a very close second to the book.  It is fairly accurate to the storyline in the book.  
Skeeter, played by Emma Stone returns home to Jackson, Mississippi after graduating from college.  Upon her return, she learns the family housekeeper and the woman who raised her, Constantine, is gone and no one in the family will give her a straight story as to her disappearance. Constantine is played by Cicely Tyson and there is something about her character that reminds me of my beloved maternal Grandma Doris.  Perhaps it is the way she is wrinkled and old and the way she smiles and the way she encourages and loves Skeeter. 
 Skeeter's desire is to be a writer.  She approaches Mr. Blackly, the newspaper reporter, (delightfully played by Leslie Jordan) who asks her to write a cleaning column- something Skeeter knows nothing about.  Thus begins her relationship with the maid Aibileen, who is played by Viola Davis.  (Fans of Davis may recall her brief but stellar performance in the movie Doubt when she played the role of the mother, Mrs. Miller.)
Skeeter develops a relationship with Elain Stein, an editor in New York city, in which she concocts the concept of a book written from the standpoint of the maids- the help.  I was personally tickled to see Mary Steenburgen in her portrayal of Stein.  Skeeter approaches Aibileen, as she is already talking to her on the sly, about telling her stories of how she is treated by white employers.  For some time, Aibileen is the only one who is willing to talk.  Then Minny, who always has plenty to say is the second to begin to talk to Skeeter.  Aibileen opens her home for the secret meetings.
Skeeter's "friend," the hateful Hilly is played by Bryce Dallas Howard.  She does a great job at being a racist, controlling, hateful person.  One that adds a factor of humor to the movie is Sissy Spacek who plays Hilly's mother, Missus Walters.  Missus Walters knows her daughter for her true character and has no problem calling her on it. 

 One character that I felt for was that of Celia Foote.  She is delicate in nature, naive to a fault and doesn't understand how to play the games that Hilly sets up for her.  The character from the book is captured by Jessica Chastain. 
Hilly believes she is the queen of Jackson and controls everyone that lives there.  That isn't necessarily so
One of the character's that I related to was that of Skeeter's mother, Charlotte Phelan, played by Allison Janney.  I loved her spirit in the book even though at times she was over-bearing.  (Isn't that the role of a mother?) And I loved her spirit in the book and the movie when she announces "I've decided not to die."  Simple as that. 
It sounds like something I might decide and announce to my children. 
If you haven't read the book- read it!  If you haven't seen the movie, go see it!  Then tell me what y'all think.  I. loved. it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sometimes you need to be better equipped

When I am at my daughter's in Maryland, I am taking notes.  My daughter has great taste.  She gives great gifts and the items that she surrounds herself with are quality.
While I was out there she wanted me to make biscuits and gravy.  My gravy is from scratch and we use Buttermilk Grands in a can or some such canned biscuits.  I believe I made the best biscuits and gravy that I've ever made and in part, because of the skillet that I cooked the gravy in and the baking sheet that I baked the biscuits on.  NO STICK.  Doesn't no stick make life nice?  I will purchase these items soon.  I know I can buy Calphalon (with a coupon) at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
I just did a google search to see where Chicago Metallic bake ware is sold and I read it is sold at Target.  Hello?  I'll be right there! 
Chicago metallic
We had corn on the cob and I liked my daughter's corn skewers, too.  Mady by Zyliss, I believe may be purchased via Amazon.  My daughter just loves Amazon shopping.  The skewers just felt good in my hands and they are cool because they are interlocking. 

What kind of fun discoveries have you made as of late?  Or what are your must have items?  Tell me, tell me!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dipping in with all ten

my daughter with her daughter
My daughter's baby is now five months old and she loves experiencing life with her feet.  She loves to kick and push against anything her feet encounter.  She loves to explore and feel with her feet.
I recently returned from a visit with my granddaughter.  She cracks me up how much she is loving life.  Everything goes into her mouth.  She loves to taste everything and loves to put fabric into her mouth.  I put her in her stroller one day and she turned her head and licked the fabric beside her.  When she rides in her stroller, she props her feet up on the tray in front of her as if she is the queen riding in style.
She now smiles and giggles.  You don't even have to say anything.  If you make a funny face, she smiles.  Or a funny noise- she opens her eyes wide with wonder.  She is a happy girl and wakes up smiling.  She has learned how to quickly roll from back to tummy but often gets frustrated when she becomes stuck on her tummy.  We all took turns flipping her over only for her to promptly turn back on her tummy. 
Like her Grandma, she is a nature girl.  She loves to go outdoors and watch the trees.  There is so much to listen to- cicadas singing and dogs barking the sound of the wind in the trees.  Our days were punctuated with visits to the deck to see what was going on outside.  One day when it was raining I opened the sliding glass door to the deck just so that she could smell the rain.
We also walked nearly every day.  The last time I was out for a visit, she would fall asleep immediately in her stroller when we started out on our walks.  This time she seemed to fight sleep.  There is so much to see!
When we were indoors we played with all of her toys and read books.  I don't often watch television, but I do enjoy HGTV.  My granddaughter doesn't watch much television, either, but she was certainly taken with the light and sound of it.  I would smile just watching her look at the television with rapt attention. 
She loves music and never tires of her toys that make noise or play songs.  Music can quiet her when she is fussy.  Some of her favorite songs are the "ABC song" and "You are my Sunshine."  This Grandma likes to sing Barbra Streisand's "Queen Bee" to her.  "Queen Bee" has always been one of my favorites songs- ever since I first learned it in high school.  My granddaughter's middle name is Bee...so I think it will always be our special song that I sing to her.
She is the light and joy of my life.  When we are together, time seems to stand still.  When it is just the two of us, hanging out, it is the best.  And time seems to rush by and before I know it, the days have flown by and it is time for Grandma to return home. 

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