Thursday, April 19, 2012

where I spend my days

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday was called "Second Story," because it was the upstairs of a business which is located on Kirkwood in Bloomington.  I was driving around looking for a parking space and saw the building and realized I wanted to capture it for my post, yesterday.  I was walking to meet a couple of gal friends at Malibu, after work.
This is where I the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.  I work on the graduate side.  A bridge connects the graduate side and the undergraduate side.
(IU photo)
 Below is a better photo of the bridge.  I walk over and back via this bridge every day.  It is a good place to get a good cell phone connection.  Due to the infrastructure of the building, sometimes my phone cuts out.
(photo from Internet)
There are a lot of windows where I work and I LOVE the windows...wonderful for my mental health.  Late in the afternoon it is something like being in an aquarium, though.  Around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m., we cook. 
Here is a link to my page.  I just started working at Kelley in January and I am very happy to be there.  I have a five to ten minute walk to and from my car every morning and afternoon and I sometimes walk on my lunch hour.  Or, I can sit outside and people watch.  It is always fun to see what the students are up to- especially how they dress.  If someone wanted to have a drinking game right now, they would drink every time a pair of Toms went by.  There are a lot of Toms on campus!  Not for me, but to each their own. 
On the 8th when I came to work, this is what greeted me:  (on the bridge)
A group of students were protesting.  There were some guys dressed in black on the roof.  The sign was quickly taken down and the students were removed from the roof.  I try to have my camera with me all the time and on days like this it pays off.  You never know what those students are going to be up to!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nuking the office

Today at lunch, I mis-read the label on my sweet potato.  You know the ones that are individually wrapped in plastic?  I was thinking it was seven minutes, but I looked at the label and saw 12-14 minutes, so I set the timer for 14 minutes.  When I took it out, I wondered why it was so light.  Because it was basically a shell.  When I cut into it, all of the burned smell escaped.  I dropped it into the trash and went back to my desk to get another.  Then I realized the burned smell was still coming from the trash.  I retrieved the burned potato from the trash and took it out to the trash can in the hall. 
The reason the label says 12-14 minutes is in case you are cooking two potatoes and not one!
oh dear.  I wanted to leave.  Fortunately, I had a grant writing class across campus and got to leave at 2:30 p.m.  Everyone kept saying "what is that smell?"  I opened the front and back doors to the suite and had fans going.  
I sent an email to the assistant dean telling him the error of my ways.  One of the best bosses I ever had taught me that when you mess up, admit it, apologize, fix it if you can and don't do it again.  
I just hope the smell has dissipated when we go in, tomorrow.  

On a brighter note, here are my Hunger Games fingernails.  
It is difficult to photograph one's own hand.  I painted my nails pewter (grey) and then did the tips with a raspberry pink and then drug the brush down towards the center of the nail.  I'm going to keep trying. 
My hands look as if I am ninety-seven years old and I thought "why are they so red?" 
Oh!  That was the other thing after nuking the office...I washed my hands and put lotion on, but I still smelled like I was on fire.  Ha.  The girl on fire. 
This was very similar to the time in 7th grad when I nearly burned down the kitchen in Home Ec class.  But that is another story for another time. 
Here are some parting shots of Effie's nails.  Doug said he didn't notice.  How could you not notice those nails?  I'm going to keep at it.  I like the look.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Living simply

I work at the university.  I've worked at the university in this town for four years.  Prior to that, I worked at another university for eight years.  I'm an office girl.  My current position is in a highly professional office.  I can dress it up.  I put on my make-up every day.  I even wear mascara.  I color my hair.  When I became a Grandma I thought for about five minutes "should I let my hair go gray?"  Then I quickly thought "no!"  For now, I like to color and highlight and go red and change it up.  I always wear jewelry including necklace, earrings, watch and rings, usually on both hands. 
When I get home to our little farm, all of this changes.  I shed the jewelry.  I change into comfy clothes- often times, lounge wear a.k.a. pajamas.  As I write this I am wearing flannel pajama pants printed with dog bones, a purple v-neck t-top and over that, an old flannel c.p.o.  jacket.  On my feet I wear my pink "life is good" fleece socks and my fur lined Bear Trap clogs.  There is a frost warning tonight here in southern Indiana and I am prepared.  There is an orange cat lounging on the kitchen table behind my laptop.  (This is where my real-life friends say to themselves "note to self, don't eat anything that Cheryl prepares.")  We joke that this orange cat will die on the kitchen table.
I think people would be surprised to see how simply I live in what I consider to be my "real" life.  I eshew the dishwasher  and for the most part, the television set.  If we watch t.v., it is usually a movie on dvd.  In the summer  I like to hang the laundry out on the line to dry (love the smell when I bring the clothes in off the line) and garden.  We sit by the fire in the house by winter and in summer, have fires out back.  I love to walk my Corgi and read.  We walk the rails to trails trail or hike.  We tend to our chickens and gather eggs.  We recycle.
By a lot of people's standards we might be considered backward.  Or boring.
I tend to think this simple life is just about right.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gnawing it to the bone

I met her at the newspaper when I went to work there in 1989.  I admired her writing- so forthright, so intelligent, so creative.  I observed her putting letters in the mail to her friend, Martha.  I thought "wow, she must be a good friend, as much as Donna writes to her."  I thought how lucky Martha was.  I wondered what was in those letters addressed in Donna's distinct cursive hand-writing. 
Later, I would learn Martha was her mother.  Again, I felt envious.  Donna was a woman that I admired and wanted to be like.  This is always the kind of woman friends I have sought out. 
Little by little, she and I began to talk and share.  I didn't know if she knew I was a writer.  This was before I ever went back to college to finish my degree, but I had been writing since I was ten years old.  I was dating a younger, cute photographer that worked at the paper.  That Christmas, he and I participated in the living nativity at my church.  He stepped away from the group and shot a photo.  In the next few days I penned my experience- how I stood in freezing temperatures, wearing a choir robe that ended in length far above my blue jeans and hiking boots.  I wrote of how we all stood there- waiting.  How no one came to see our little vignette.  How we wondered aloud among ourselves if this mattered, our efforts, when no one came to see our living nativity.  Then I told the story of how a young mother brought her little daughter whose eyes were wide with wonder.  How this little child believed and experienced Christ's birth when she looked upon our group and a plastic doll laying in a manger. I wrote it all up and turned in the photographer's photo and Donna loved it.  She published it and let me know if/when I wanted to write for her, she would publish it.  Thus began a long relationship between writer and editor.  I threw it at her and she fixed it and printed it.  I cannot tell you the opportunities this woman has allowed in my life with regard to my writing. 
And I cannot tell you the letters that have passed between the two of us.  After three years of working at my hometown paper, I left to go to work for a little bigger paper north of my hometown.  At that point, Donna and I became pen pals.  Then after seven years of hand-written letters, we started emailing.  That is when the letters really began to fly.  Most people would look at an email from one of us to the other and think "that is too long,"  as in, I'm not going to take the time to read that.  Doug will see me open an email from Donna and he will say every time:  "Donna writes a lot, doesn't she?"  "Yes, Doug.  Donna writes a lot."  If I ask a friend what they think about a situation, they might counter and say "what do you think?"  If I ask Donna what she thinks, she tells me.  Oh, how she tells me.  And I love it.  She is my dear diary friend.
I've been accused of talking of a subject ad nauseum.  Oh, really?  So?  You say that like it is a bad thing.  While Donna is a journalist, my degree is in English.  She gets to the point.  I embellish and carry on and fluff and puff and get all superfluous on you.  One woman's ad nauseum is another woman's Heaven.  The two of us really gnaw a subject to the bone.  We ruminate it to death.  As long as one or the other of us wants to keep discussing it, we do.
Through the years we've discussed our families, our children, relationships ,  jobs, fears, health, death, home decorating, craft projects, our pets, manicures, hair styles, books we are reading, scripture she is studying, sermons her minister preaches.  We try to figure it all out.  We cheer one another on.  We support one another. 
We are both Libras, born three days of one another in the same year.  We graduated from high school the same year.  We both got married the same year.  She has remained married to the same man all these years.  I met her shortly after I was divorced.  She thought I was oh, so together but once she got to know me, learned that in reality, my life was one big struggle.  We've talked each of my relationships to death that I've been in since I've been single.  She will honestly tell me what she thinks such as "I think he is using you, or he means well, or what were you thinking?"   We are both with men that are the total opposites of the other- but what is interesting is that in my relationship I'm with a laid back man and with Donna, she is the laid back one.  So we always help one another to see the other person's point of view.
In all these years, if she has ever been angry or put-out with me, I never knew about it.  I was unreasonable once.  Knowing her she would probably say "I don't know what you are talking about."
We have differing ideas.  Such as what will happen to us when we die.  Donna wants a casket and a tombstone.  I want my ashes to be tossed to the wind by my children in some place that is beautiful.  At this stage in life, I sometimes wonder how it will be in the end.  If she goes first, I will have to write one last letter and tuck it into her casket just before they close it.  If I go first, she will have to write a letter to me, burn it and toss it to the wind.  That is how it is with us.  One of us will have to have the last word.

Monday, April 9, 2012

How Easter was saved

In the end, Easter was saved.  Late in afternoon, we drove to McCormick's Creek State Park to hike.  Hiking is one of my favorite ways to worship.  We headed out on trail five.
Trail 5
 As you can see, most everything is leafed out and green.  (Is "leafed out" a real term or one of mine? Oh well, you know what I mean!)
 Wildflowers blooming everywhere.

 There is an old stone building on the main falls trail- probably built by the Civilian Conservation Corp.
From the outside

from the inside

steps beside the stone building
 more wildflowers along the trail


Solomon's seal (with the part hanging down, not the purple)

Star flower


the power of water
 A small cave at the park, Wolf Cave, is now closed due to the White Nose Syndrome.  I love bats and love to see them come out at night fall.  I hope they find out how to combat this awful situation.  I read some information at the park and it said that to date it is believed that a million bats have died due to this!  Do you know that bats eat mosquitos?  They are our friends. 
I believe the last time I went through this cave was with my son.  Neither of us had a flashlight so we went through it using only the light from our cell phones!  This cave is small and wet and in the end you have to slither out.  (It used to take us only ten to fifteen minutes to get through.)
Wolf cave

closed due to White Nose Syndrome
 Here I am just as we were leaving the park.  I said to Doug "pull over and take my picture with the sign."  Growing up, whenever we would visit a park, my parents would take a photo of me and my brother and sister with the sign.
me- as we were leaving
On the way home, Doug pulled in to an ice-cream place.  I said "what are you doing?"  He said "buying you ice-cream."  I said "I was at my lowest (again) this morning and I don't want to blow it.  I don't need it and neither do you." 
We came home and I baked the pork tenderloin for dinner.  I cried a lot of tears on Easter.  I guess that is what I needed to do.  Thank you for all of the love and words of wisdom.  In the end, the day was saved.  Nothing warms my soul like being in the woods.  It was sixty-four degrees and as you can see, in the end, a beautiful day in more ways than one. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012


me and my son- Easter 1990
The above photo was taken the first Easter after I got divorced.  We were living in an awful place and moved a short time later to a little house where we my children grew up.  This has always been one of my favorite photos of my son and I.  I was so skinny after the divorce and he was so cute in his sailor suit.  I'm sure it is just he and I because my daughter took this of us. 
I'm listening to Sandi Patti right now, a CD that I have listened to on Easter Sunday through the years.  I'm remembering Easters past when I sang The Holy City at sunrise service.  Of bustling into a church that was filled to the brim with women in hats and babies in bonnets and new clothes.  Of lifting my voice in song to "Up From the Grave He Arose."   I'm remembering shopping for Easter outfits.  There were many years that part of my tax return was set aside for Easter outfits for myself and my two children.  I'm remembering little hands clutching plastic eggs triumphantly.  I'm remembering a kitchen warm with the aroma of ham and rolls.   
Now those children are grown and flung across the country.  Doug's two local sons and wife/future wife were here for dinner last Sunday evening.  I have a tenderloin thawed for our dinner.  This is why grandparents move to be closer to their children and grandchildren. 
Yesterday I skyped with my daughter and granddaughter.  I said "come to Grandma" and the little Bee held her arms out to me.  I cried.  This is the cruelty of skype.  You can see and hear, but not feel or touch or take them in your arms and smell the sweetness of them.  Little Bee smiled so hard it almost seemed her face would burst.  She clapped and danced and charmed me via the screen.
I'm thinking of a brother sitting in a jail cell- perhaps visited by my parents. 
I'm thinking of a time when security meant more than a bank balance. 
It is a beautiful sunny day but I feel weepy and blue.  I am blessed in many ways but this  is how my heart feels today. I admire others who are able to share both the good and the bad.  Sharing the bad doesn't come so easily for me.  I joke that this blog is the life I wish I lived, all sunny and positive twenty-four/seven. Today I am sharing my reality. Life isn't all sunny and positive twenty-four/seven. Usually when I am upset or sad I withdraw from all social media. I am a positive person and that positive attitude has gotten me through life.  I pick myself up and go on.  This is what we do.  Life goes on.  You play the hand that you are dealt.
Holidays have a way of making us miss those who have gone on even more or those that we wish we were with but are not even more.  Holidays are supposed to be all happy and wonderful and sometimes they are not.
I'm going to direct you to my friend Brian's blog.  Love the line "the thrown was not rolled away to be thrown the next day."  Thank you, Brian.

Friday, April 6, 2012

tonight's game

Tonight at the gym I noticed someone had written on the chalkboard
The Hunger Games
Isn't that the truth?
The name of tonight's game is Pizza/No Pizza. 
I was working out at the gym tonight with a colleague and told her "tonight is pizza night."  She said "are you excited?"  I said "no, because we aren't having pizza and this is the fourth week of not having pizza."

I really love pizza.

This is week four.  Week four of being back at the "tough" gym.  I am stronger than I was but not nearly strong enough.  Yesterday morning I was at my lowest weight since I started back.  Then I blew it by going to Friday's with the girls after work. This is what I refer to as a "temporary gain."  Because it will come off, again. 
Today, I'm back on the horse.
I'm counting weight watcher's points- on my own.  In 2000 I did weight watchers and after a year I was at goal and then I became an instructor.  I'm very good at telling people how to lose weight.
I'm a lot better at telling people how to lose weight than actually losing the weight myself. 
Another thing I'm good at is losing the weight, but I'm not so good at keeping it off.
This time, I want to lose it and keep it off.  This is the third big push for me.  I did it in 2000 and I did it again in 2010.  I want to lose it and keep it off because I'm tired of being overweight.  I need to lose it for my self-esteem.  I love being fashionable and I would rather feel fashionable than matronly.  Yes, I'm a grandma, but I don't want to look/feel like one.  In fact, I'd love to have a t-shirt to wear when I'm kicking ass in the gym (throwing tires, punching the punching bag, climbing the prowler) that reads "just call me Grandma." 
Go Granny!

I became a Grandma one year ago.  And suddenly I am filled with a desire to be the best that I can be.  I want to be able to garden with my little Bee.  To walk in the woods and show her things.  To play in the floor.  To run through the airport to make a connection (which I recently had to do when I had gone out to see her).  There are times I think how many years will I have with her?  When she is thirty I will be eighty.  I want to be here for her.  I want her to know me.  I don't want to be a photograph that my daughter shows to her and says "this was your grandma, my mother.  She loved you very much."
My paternal grandma ended up on a walker.  My mother has had a number of surgeries to correct osteo issues- ankles straightened, knees replaced.  My hips ache from all of the years I ran when I was in my twenties.  Tonight in class, my knees, first one, then the other ached.  I gingerly stretched and continued with my work-out.
Today, Doug got on the horse.  He joined weight watchers.  He is doing points plus.  Which I have no idea of what that means.  I'm doing the old basic weight watchers.  I have my points counter.  The old points counter that counts fiber, calories and fat.  It worked before and it can work again.  Now they want to give you all of these extra bonus points.  I'm sorry, but I don't do extra bonus points.  And you can add points for exercise.  If I add points for exercise, I'll never lose.  Weight watchers should have a special program for post-menopausal women because it is so difficult to lose after menopause.  I keep trying to tell friends who haven't yet gone through menopause lose it now
Besides working out and eating smart, I'm getting pedis.
How are you being good to yourself?

Thursday, April 5, 2012


There's no place like home
I remember when I first moved here.  I moved here on November 17th.  I unloaded my 26 foot truck.  Then I proceeded to unpack and get ready to host twenty-seven of Doug's family for Thanksgiving.  Then the Monday following Thanksgiving, I started a new job.  My trainer was a bitter,older woman who kept saying "got it?" each time she showed me a procedure.  I went to my car at lunch, got in and started driving around town.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed and started crying.  I just wanted to go home.  But this was home. 
That was four years ago. One way I maintained my sense of self was every nine or ten weeks I would make the two plus hours trek (each way) back home to get my hair done by my hairdresser of several years, Glenna.  Remember in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy asks "are you a good witch or a bad witch?" and Glenna says "I'm not a witch at all."  For Dorothy, Glenna was her fairy god mother.  Helping her to remember "there's no place like home."
This is how my Glenna was for me.  She would greet me with a smile after my long drive and we would catch-up.  She knew the story of my life.  She was my hairdresser.  I was always excited to see her.  I always knew I would be happy when I left.  People would carry on about how didn't I know there were people right here in Bloomington who could do my hair?  But I wanted to drive back home to see Glenna.  I would always see a friend for dinner or stop in to see family.  I rarely drove back home just to get my hair done.  It was a long day, but always worth it.  Others upon seeing my hair or seeing a photo of me would say "I see why you drive back home to get your hair done." 
A couple of months ago, I got in with someone here.   Initially, I was happy.  Liked it when I came home.  Then I decided I would try someone else.  My hair is very curly.  Nappy if the truth be told.   
Last night I went to someone totally knew.  It was right in the heart of town.  A very posh shop.  The woman who did my hair had just shaved her own head- because she turned 26 today and "she isn't getting any younger."  I was tense.  When she washed my hair, she massaged and massaged.  It was very hard for me to relax.  She was great- chatting with me all the while.  I took my photo of what I'm thinking I want to do when I head to Paris.  "I'm not ready for that, yet, so maybe something between where I am now and what I think I'm going to do."  She cut it all and then asked how I would like it styled- curly or straight.  I looked at myself in the mirror and said "you can take a little bit more off."  When I went to pay, the receptionist rung me up and then I remembered I had a coupon.  We haggled and worked it out. 
I left, walked to my car, got in and cried.  It isn't that I wasn't happy with my hair- it is fine.  It isn't that I didn't like the woman who cut my hair, she was very nice.  It was being so tense throughout it all.  Missing home.  Missing familiarity.  Missing someone who knows my life story.  Missing someone who tells me about her family, too- the good and the bad. 
I got home and Doug buzzed about me like a bee..."do you like it? looks pretty...are you happy with it?"  I said "oh, yeah, it is fine.  I cried."   He said "oh, I know, I always cry after I get my hair cut, too."  (Doug cries because he barely has any hair left to cut.)
My shop back home was like my tree house.  I loved listening to everyone talk.  I belonged there.  I loved the magazines and listening to people yell over the blow dryers telling stories, complaining about men. 
I'm going to get my hair cut one more time before I go to Paris and I just may go back home to Glenna.  Why?  Because I can.  Because I miss my fairy god mother.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Have you read the book?  Have you seen the movie? I will try to give you a few of my thoughts about both without giving away too much.  I hate it when someone spoils it for me. 
 There were something like 97 people in front of me for the first book at the library, so I got on Amazon and ordered all three, together.  They arrived last Tuesday.  On Friday night, I went to bed at 8 p.m. and finished the book by 9:30 p.m.  (Going to bed to ready, really early on a Friday night is one of my favorite things to do.  I don't get to do this very often.)  First of all, I found the theme of young people killing young people to be a disturbing theme for a Y.A. (Young Adult) book.  But look at other controversial books that are popular with young adults- The Giver by Lois Lowry,  The Harry Potter books, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, the list goes on and on.  As one who has a degree in English, if it gets young adults to read, I applaud it.  And I applaud a book with a strong female protagonist.  I would have totally been the girl with the bow and arrow scampering about in the woods.  I was a Girl Scout, back in the day I had archery in gym class.  I probably wouldn't have tipped the Tracker Jacker nest, because I'm allergic to bees and I probably would have done myself in.
 If you haven't read the book, read it.  Before you see the movie.  To me, the movie was a shell.  Framework.  I've read where people are raving at how wonderfully it captured the book.  I disagree.  The movie had snippets.  Flashes.  Literally flashes. Which was a cool way to cover the story.  I guess there is no way to truly capture an entire book on film. 
This movie will affect the world of fashion.  The Effie Trinket look:  (played by Elizabeth Banks)
 It already has.
 If you've seen the movie, did you notice the scene where Katniss has the red dress on and the gems are glued to her skin?  That will be the rage at prom this year. 
Was this beard a one take?  I doubt men will go for this look because it is too much trouble, but you may see more men wearing beards, or trimming them differently than before. 

And was this the best casting of all?  Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman?  Does he do an outstanding job with any role he plays?  (This will be a popular costume, come Halloween, among other Hunger Games costumes.)

 Now here is what I have to say about the love triangle-  I would never go for the quiet brooding boy.  Liam Hemsworth plays Gale Hawthorne and hates the Big Brother government and isn't afraid to say so but is more tight lipped when it comes to confessing his feelings for Katniss.
This is the way to catch this girl:  throw me a loaf of bread.   Along with some (real) butter and he would have me literally eating out of his hand.  I would much sooner go for the baker's son than a guy that runs around in the woods killing defenseless animals.
 And that is when I would want that first kiss, too.  The white t-shirt, the apron, flour dusted upon his skin. Smelling of the best cologne ever- the smell of bread.  Not in the woods after days without a toothbrush or a shower.  Ick.  And add a gaping leg wound?  I would faint at the sight of all of that blood and puss.  Someone asked me if I thought  Josh Hutcherson was cute as Peeta Mellark.  Those big brown eyes?  Yes. 
And Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen?  Yes.  With brown hair?  Yes.  I read they hired a special trainer to teach her how to shoot a bow and arrow and scamper about in the woods.  I read that the last day of her movie training she ran full force into a wall.  How blonde of her.  Maybe she hadn't colored her hair, yet.  O.k.  Enough tacky comments. 
The book grabs hold of you and keeps you.  In the end, you just want to find out what happens.  I thought it was a bit predictable.  Am I the only one?  While watching the movie, I was just tense.  Because I knew what was going to happen.  I do think if you see the movie without reading the book, you might not understand parts of it.  (For example, the coal mine accident scenes.)  Am I the only one? 
Oh, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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