Monday, March 30, 2009

With a do-si-do...

It was the first day back after Spring Break and the first day to teach dance to the fifty some little first graders. They knew it was coming. We talked about it all year, yet when the today arrived, they were all a little squeamish. I mean, the thought of touching a girl (or a boy) is really too much.

My colleague and friend in crime/dance, Roy, and I sat them down on the gym floor. We talked about respect. I mean what if I pulled my sleeve down over my hand so I wouldn't really have to touch a boy? We talked about the proper way to ask a boy/girl to dance with one hand extended and a little bowing added in. (Are we teaching chivalry here?)

With the speech finally over, we had a group of 8 pave the way by demonstrating for the first grade what we wanted. They made the first square, bowed to their partners, their corners and learned how to circle up and do-si-do.

We had the whole first grade do-si-doing before the period was up. We never did get to music...that will come next week. Now we shall just wait and see how many will be absent next Monday?

Lou Ann

Lou Ann Homan-Saylor is a teacher, a writer, a storyteller and an actress. She lives in Angola, Indiana where she can be found meandering around looking for a great story or just writing late into the night by the light of her red frayed lamp. She also is the co-author of the new blog,

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour and The Game of Love and Chance...

Saturday night
Earth Hour

By 7:00 in the evening, I shut off all the lights in my cozy house including the small little window lights and gently soften the midnight hour. I wanted to participate in this event right along with the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge!

The only problem awaiting was the fact that I was leaving during the appropriate time. After shutting down the electricity, I picked up my umbrella and walked to Trine for the spring drama of The Game of Love and Chance. The event was held in the small Wells Theatre seating a hundred of so.

I took a seat in the front row leaving the duo seats for couples. (Does everyone come in couples these days??)

The show was wonderful including the open windows that boasted the oncoming storm and rattled the old windows.

I was so close that my knees were actually touching the stage! After giving my congratulations to the cast and crew, I took to the darkened streets.

I arrived home to a very dark house. I lit a few candles, took a photo or two and decided that the hour was past (well, it was almost ten) and turned on the lights. The evening gave way to heavy storms during the night which did, indeed, blink those lights a few times, but sleep finally gave way.

Today the snow covers my crocuses, but alas, tomorrow the sun will shine.

Lou Ann

Lou Ann Homan-Saylor is a teacher, a writer, a storyteller and an actress. She lives in Angola, Indiana where she can be found meandering around looking for a great story or just writing late into the night by the light of her red frayed lamp. She also is the co-author of the new blog,

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mama Mia!

On everyone's last night here in Texas we pulled out the movie, Mama Mia. It was a great way to end the week with singing and carrying on. Even Dad was energized by the film.

It has been a great week, one that we will remember for years to come. Above is my niece, Claire, on the left, and my sister, Lee. Of course, my Dad is the guy jiving in the middle.

Family visits are so much fun.

Lou Ann

Monday, March 23, 2009

Houston Family Events

So, I got up at 1:30 to leave Angola by 2:30 to catch a flight in Indy by 7:00. I cleaned house on Thursday evening with clean lavender sheets and decided to just sleep on the couch instead of getting the sheets dirty. It was just two hours anyway! Ahhh, to come home to clean sheets!

Not all of the family is here...we are spread out from coast to coast and Iraq, but how wonderful to see my sister, Lee, from Colorado and her family.

We have stayed up late telling stories, playing Scrabble, spending long hours over morning coffee and newspapers. I decided that on this Monday morning, though, I needed some office time to catch up with writing and contracts!

The weather is warm and balmy, although I didn't prepare for it as I just brought jeans and tee-shirts.

It is wonderful to be here to share these stories and have family sounds around me as I work.

Lou Ann

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Small Town and the Girl Who Lives Here

Yesterday was definitely a small town day. I took Karen, the boys and Mengting to lunch at the Deli. We had a great time sitting in the sunny window, visiting with friends, having a wonderful lunch together. It was such a lovely day that we just walked around the square, visitng the small shops, chatting with the shop keepers. We then hopped into the Jeep to go to Rural King, our favorite store! Farm boots were on clearance, and so I just couldn't help myself as I got a pair of great striped rubber boots for gardening. We also filled the cart with bird food and seeds for our garden. Jonah held and cuddled the baby chicks as Karen and I wished for a coop to put them in! Later on we visited the rummage sale to benefit WIT, Women in Transition. We picked up some long playing records, even though neither of us have a record player!!

By evening we picked up Kathy and made our way to the Angola Band Booster carnival to share hot dogs and pizza and watch the boys play games. I also got into the act as I tried my hand at the fish pond and won two fuzzy, purple hair ties! How did she know that was what I was looking for!

The girls came back and we watched Nights in Rodanthe, of which no one really liked. It was great fun, though, having girls night, again!

Today Mengting and I are off to Indianapolis for museums and storytelling. It is a lovely day for the trip! She has never been there so it will be fun for her!

Lou Ann

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Saturday Night at Cocoa Moon

Girls Night Out at Cocoa Moon

The rain was coming down so hard I overshot the parking lot at Cocoa Moon and then drove into the exit, but we did get there safely after all.

The four of us girls, Kathy, Karen, myself, and Mengting went to hear a rising young star play his music. Ruben Yves Ryan has just moved back here from Bloomington to begin work at the farmer's market and help Steuben County move forward in the green movement.

It was obvious as his CD's were wrapped in sandwich bags as opposed to plastic cases. It was a great idea, and I am thinking of copying something like that!

The crowd was fun, knew most of the folks! What a great way to enjoy a Saturday evening. It was late when we got home and pouring rain, nevertheless, we rented Woody Allen's new movie and sat in my cozy, warm house until well after midnight!

Lou Ann

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday Morning...

It is a rainy, drizzly Saturday. I woke early to get to the classes at the gym before it got too crowded.

I drove home the long way over to Gary's to buy the last of his apples from the bin and around the farm land. It is fallow, it is past harvest and too early to plant, with shades of brown and gray surrounding the countryside here in Northern Indiana.

On my way back in town I passed a funeral. The hearst was long and black followed by many cars with their lights on...for the funeral, for the rain. I pulled over and watched the procession, not knowing who had died or whose lives are now forever changed with this person gone.

The rain was slowly falling as the procession went was as if the heaven were also weeping. I could not help but think of this poem by Emily Dickinson:

Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove..He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility.

Emily Dickinson

There is more to the verses, please check out her poetry on your own.

Lou Ann

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Passge, March 1st

March 1, 2009

Sunday Passage
Subtitle: How do survive a northern winter

Dear Family and Friends,

Out my windows I see the slanting of late winter's light. The shadows are deep and full of promise of sun and brightness. The gift of this day has been long in coming, although, being a northern girl, I have no complaints over the winter.

Winter came early one afternoon. The wind began to tumble across my old back porch and slam an old piece of board that I have hanging there. The board simple says Maggie's Chicken Coop. It is one of the last remnants I have of the farm days when the boys were young, when we were all young. The sign hung on my coop and thus was saved from the fire five years ago. When I hung it on the porch I did not know it would become the barometer for weather in this fine old house.

I am fortunate to have neighbors who take care of the snow removal. Actually I never see anyone remove snow here, unless the piles are so large in town that they obstruct traffic. It is rather just moved to a new location, that often being on top of small trees, bushes or the neighbor's bicycle.
The neighborhood children love these drifts, although one must drive precariously on these winter days watching out for them.

I have spent the last two months being totally involved in my small town. Writing about it. Walking the streets early in the morning, late at night. Talking to store owners. Providing opportunities for folks to pull in a bit of culture here and there.

My theatre company, The Spoken Word, finally incorporated this year. I am so lucky to have such a hard working board. So, with all the mechanics in place, it was decided (well, in October) that we have another show. (We took a hiatus last year.) I wanted to do a local piece because of the stress of the economy, because I believe in small towns, because I wanted to give tribute and give back to a community that supports my work. Thus, The Voice of Angola was born. It is a radio show about a radio show. I am not new to this. My friend, Bob Sander, and I have written shows to perform in Indy, I write weekly radio shows on Ocracoke so this should not be so difficult. Well, I was wrong. It was a totally consuming project for me and my co-writer, Erin White. We had much help from Steuben County Historical Society. Writing small skits is one thing, but a two hour show is much less. All the news are ads were taken from the historical archives and newspapers. Costumes, hair, mannerisms were all of the 1945 time period. We even had a lesson in smoking. (Who smokes nowadays??)

There was a cast of 30 including the University's Jazz Band, the mayor, other prominent figures in the community, actors in the town, and musicians. It has been the biggest project I have ever taken on and one of the most successful. My good friend and neighbor, Lee, often chides me in my enthusiasm and ideas, but he said that he will believe in me from now on!

We had almost sell out crowds each night and all the proceeds went to our local Historical Society for the preservation of oral history. (Does that sound like the old organization I USED to belong to? Code for just storyteller folks!)

On closing night, I was presented with yellow roses from my cast and crew. I could not believe it was over. This week has been spent listening to folks talk about the show and wondering when and what the next one will be???

All in a small town.

The rhythm of winter has also been quiet for me. I direct or teach or walk, but I come home to the humming of my winter's furnace and the solitude of living alone. I often think this part of my life will change, but it doesn't. So, I paint walls and woodwork, let cast members scrawl names across my memory wall, light candles, and write late at night under my red scarlet lamp. I keep my columns for the paper going without ever missing a deadline and find myself invited to many local events. Could that be because they think I will write about it/them??

I have become enamored with Venus this past week. She is dancing with the moon in the loveliest of dancers. She has been out all winter, but with the moon hidden most of this past week, she has become bright and beautiful like a shining diamond. I wrote my entire column on the beauty of Venus this week with the headline Beauty of Venus shines as the goddess of love. The really interesting part is that it was published next to Bill O'Reilly's column. Life is very sweet.

I could chat with you for hours. Thank you so much to those folks who wrote and called about this column....we miss it. Thank you for missing it.

The shadows are lighter now and the birds are beginning to fill my small yard here at White Picket Gardens. I have spent more money on bird food this winter than my own food, I daresay. The cardinals have been stunning against the snow and I have had many varieties of woodpeckers.

And that is the news from my small town.

Tonight watch for Venus, watch for Venus with someone you love. Go out into the darkness just at sunset and her beauty will astound you.

Love to all,
Lou Ann