Wednesday, May 04, 2016

We’re making the most of this sweet, short life

We’re making the most of this sweet, short life: Some days the rain pours down and emotions run as deep as streams or as wide open as the Indiana prairie. On these days my thoughts are scattered and sprinkled with the here and now as well as the bygone and future...


Here are the lovely 7th grade students after they planted my new cherry tree!!     


Here is the link to this week's column. I hope you enjoy it as it is definitely full of heart and soul. As always, thank you for reading.

Lou Ann

The polls...

Working the polls is certainly an eye-opener in the American system. It also is a great way to connect with friends and neighbors.

Yesterday we were all at the polls by 5:00 to begin our duties. (Our inspectors were there earlier.)

I am not sure you have worked the polls before, but here is a little synopsis of jobs before the polls open!!

There are forms to sign...at least a dozen of them. We have to initial the back of all ballots...the initials of a Democrat and a Republican. (The poll clerks work in teams of a Democrat and a Republican.) Did you ever look on the back of a ballot and see these initials?

We have to all inspect the machines and turn them on as a team. Signs must be hung, books checked over, sheets to be gathered for tally marks.

Each team (there were four teams at the Catholic church) must take the oath given by the inspector. At 6:00 on the dot, the person in charge of our entire area (head inspector?) opens the doors and declares the polls open with the words, "Hear ye, hear ye...". I love that moment.

Yesterday there were lines waiting for us. As a poll clerk we must find each person, have each one sign and choose the ballot they would prefer, Democrat or Republican, for the primary.

There are always those folks who do not understand how primaries work and want to split their ticket, or don't know who to vote for.

There are, of course, spoiled ballots, discrepancies, and all kinds of problems that are hard to even imagine.

We work from 6-6 taking a few breaks for food which is always provided for by the ladies of the Eastern Star. Even though we sit most of the day, we are very hungry!!

At 6:00 in the evening, again the doors are closed with the words, "Hear ye, hear ye...". Then the work begins.

We must count all ballots, signatures, spoiled ballots, etc., and everything must balance. We had a discrepancy of 100 which kept us there until 7:30 in the evening until Lee (my friend, colleague, and judge in my area) found an easy arithmetic error. Again, we signed all the papers, took down signs, and wearily closed the lights. The ballots had to be escorted to the court house by our inspector and a judge, one from each political party. 

The fun began later in the evening as we all met at Monuments Pizza for pints of beer, pizza, stories, and to watch the numbers come in on the mounted television.

By the time I got home I just crawled into bed.

It was a good day, and one that I will again repeat in November.

We had a record number of voters...good job, Indiana, for voting. 

Lou Ann

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Go vote, Indiana!!

Early morning rising as I am working the polls. I am just heading out the door at 4:45 to do my civic duty and be a poll clerk for this day.

Please go vote, Indiana. How exciting that we count this year, and your vote does count.

Now off I go....

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Farewell, Shakespeare!

Here I am getting ready to read Sonnet #154 of Shakespeare!


It started as just an idea, maybe not even an idea, maybe a fleeting thought. My great friend, Carolyn Powers, sent me a note from Atlanta that she met the Bardess of Atlanta who was reading all the sonnets of Shakespeare on the beltway on Saturdays. I loved the idea, and even though it was just February, I decided I could do this in April.

I had to get permission from the city (to keep the crowds at bay!), and I discussed it with our lovely Brokaw Movie Director. They agreed to showcase a Shakespeare film every week in the theatre.

I posted on Facebook, I talked it over with friends, with my book club, well, with anyone who would listen, and the month began. I was the Bardess of Angola.

The idea was to read all the sonnets of Shakespeare on the Square at 4:00 every day, and we did. I was there for 26 out of the 30. Four days I was on the road with storytelling and passed over my lovely Shakespeare book to friends who carried on without me. 

I used my Dad's Shakespeare book making notations as we went on. Someday someone is going to wonder what that was all about!!

There were days the crowds were few and twice I read to myself out loud flinging my arms in the air, but it didn't matter.

Yesterday a few folks braved the weather...rain, wind, and a winter's gale were upon us, but we finished the sonnets.

Cheers to a small town for letting me do what I love and cheer to all who came to listen, who read, and who supported this crazy idea.

As for me...April has been a whirlwind and so I say...welcome May!

Farewell, Shakespeare!


After our final reading on April 30th. Thank you everyone!








Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Martenitsa...

My martenitsa on my apple tree.





When Tammeron Francis-Jones, my vineyard growing friend, came home from Bulgaria last February he caught me at the library.

"Wait," he said, "I have a gift for you."

He produced this little package of two small hand-made yarn dolls. I thought they were quite cute and thanked him immediately.

"No, no," he said, "you must know the story. I know you will love this."

The dolls are native to Bulgaria and they are worn towards the end of winter on your jacket or on your purse or wherever, as long as you have them with you all the time.

"And then what?" I asked.

"When the first blossom appears on your fruit tree, take it off and tie it on the branches. It will be a wish of fertility to that tree and good cheer to you."

I have been watching. Last week my service berry tree bloomed, but that is for burying the dead. (A custom from the early pioneer period!) So that wouldn't work.

Yesterday my Johnny Appleseed tree bloomed with its first blossom. Actually this year the tree is full of blooms. I think that will bring a good harvest in the Autumn and sure to bring cheer to this household.

I took my little dolls off my hobo bag and promptly tied them to the tree.

So, good cheer and fortune shall come to this old house of mine and all who enter. Please come on by and share in my good fortune!

Until tomorrow.
Lou Ann

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beauty of the world will be relived through Steele...

Beauty of the world will be relived through Steele: When I turn on the light in the studio, the first thing I see is a poster depicting the work of T.C. Steele. When I turn around after turning off the lights, I see another poster. It simply is part of the process of creating and learning a new piece.

 Dress fashion 1910.


Here is the link to this week's column. It is all about the preparation for the T.C. Steele performance next week. Just click on the above link and enjoy. Below is my seamstress, Bernie...just a few blocks away from me!




 This is Bernie's studio...oh my!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Earth Fest in my town...

Earth Fest Today!







Today is Earth Fest in my town! The weather is stunning...ah...we wait so long for Spring and here it is!

Come on out to Briali Winery for a great day! There is music by all our local groups and lots of workshops. I am teaching two workshops...at 1:00 I am teaching a Haiku workshop with Tammeron Francis-Jones. We have journals for all of you so come on out. At 3:00 I am teaching a scholarly lecture on Thoreau, Beston, and Leopold...what did these men have in common? I will be comparing their work and their lives.

Yes, today is the day! See you at Briali Winery!! 
Here are a couple of my spring Haikus for your morning...

streaks of yellow haze
night of a thousand droplets
thunder in the throat


shivering flowers   
wearing winter's coat of lace
frozen diadems  



Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrating the season...April's full moon

Celebrating the season: My April calendar looks like an old recipe card that has been reworked a dozen times...


Photo: Courtesy EarthSky.org



Ah, here we go with last week's column. I decided to post it today on the full moon of April. As you will read it is known as the Pink Moon, the Green Egg Moon, and the Worm Moon. Whatever you call it, enjoy the beauty of this spring full moon on Earth Day! Just click on the above link.

As always, thank you for reading and happy Earth Day!

Lou Ann