Sunday, January 31, 2010

Waiting for the Wolf Moon in January

Trine University Professor, Tim Carver
Friday evening at dusk I bundled up to do a photo shoot of the full moon coming up over my downtown. I packed my camera case with all the things I tell my students to take: camera, cleaning cloth, plastic bag (in case of rain or snow in this case), business cards, and money.
It was still early by the time I walked the few blocks and I was so cold that I stopped into Rachael's coffee shop to a quick cup while peeking out the front door waiting for the darkness to deepen.
There was a gentlemen working and drinking coffee. Within a few minutes he began to pack up and bundle up. He then went outside. So, I am waiting for the full moon, but this gentleman all bundled up for this frigid evening checking something in his pocket was too rich for me to pass up.
I gathered up my supplies and quickly went out asking if I may photograph him. He was so kind to say yes. The picture is so is all about my small town, the coldness of the evening and the thoughts that when waiting for something, keep your eyes open to other possibilities.
His name is Tim Carver and he is a Professor at Trine University.
Thanks for a great shot and the conversation, Tim!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thoughts and ramblings for a Tuesday...

The week end was a spilling of the arts...a full day workshop inIndy for my trip to China, two philharmonic shows (one in Indy and one in Fort Wayne), including bringing the little guys to Peter and the Wolf Ballet. Jonah sat spellbound on my lap and decided the ballet was better than Avitar! I took my niece Zoie, who is nine, and ended the afternoon with ice cream at Atzes.

I thought about my dad all week end. He loved the philharmonic and the ballet. His playbills are still overflowing in a box I brought home from Texas. The pieces were lovely and I thought about his joy in the music and question life itself.

The snow has returned to Northern Indiana. Last night the wind made her return debut swirling around this old house. It is good to be part of life, to enjoy all that there is, and yet be conscious of the dark side of this life.

So, today, I teach dance, paper making and a photography class after school. It will be a good day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Coming Home...

My dad's funeral was so lovely. It was full of family, memories, stories. There were hugs and tears...moments of laughter and moments of such grief. We all carried roses, thanks to my mom and all the daughters told stories at the memorial. Late at night we went outside under the clear Texas sky and sent up a small hot air balloon to my dad. It was magical watching it weave itself up into the stars as we sang.

The drive was long even though I never drove one bit of it. My sister's children drove leaving four of us girls to eat chocolate and watch movies.

My sisters and I built such a bond these past two months, it is the clearly the gift of love which is the tapestry of which life and death are made out of.

I have also decided that no one should ever die alone.

I put effort into the week since being home, but found many bleak moments. My friends came over at night with wine, sent flowers, and made me re-join the YMCA! All of those are good things.

So, the snow falls, sleet glistens in the tree and at night I listen to my own heartbeat.
As for tomorrow on the road again, but for a new and exciting project. You will just have to wait until then!!

Lou Ann

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Packing one more time...

Tonight I am packing to go back to Houston. It is my third trip in two months. This time it is for my dad's memorial service.

We are driving to Texas this time so a road trip by the Saylor clan will be the on call for tomorrow. We are also driving straight through. I have strict orders by my sister on bringing a small bag with just the essentials. Here is what I am taking:

snacks (mostly chocolate)
money (for gas)
crossword puzzle books
The New Yorker
a pillow
a sweater
extra jeans
two pair of underwear
snowflake socks
lip gloss
hand lotion
two books
my laptop
cell phone
road atlas
my black dress
See you in Houston.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January Thaw..

It looks as if the northern cold spell will relinquish its hold as we move into the middle of the month. Temperatures are actually going to hit 30 degrees. It is the perfect weather for building snowmen. I think I will be out with my camera this evening finding the perfect snowman. Maybe I should make one myself.

My dad used to help us make snowmen when we were kids. Some things never change...snow, coal, carrots, buttons, scarves, twigs, memories.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Birthday parties and sparklers...

What do we do in the cold Midwest during January?

The other night I was invited to Mackenzie's 15th birthday party. She is my neighbor, friend, and fellow writer. The party was dinner and a sharing of stories and poetry, everyone being asked to bring their favorite winter piece to share in the warm home she shares with her sisters and dad. With dinner cooking on the stove and glasses of milk (wine for the grown ups) in hand, we sat around the kitchen table sharing stories and poems. Most were of the winter season as the wind and snow blew around this old house. I took my beloved copy of "A Child's Christmas In Wales"by Dylan Thomas. Other poetry pieces included Mark Twain's letter to his daughter about Santa Claus, "The Mending Wall" by Robert Frost. The conversation also shifted to Wendall Berry, Donald Hall and Scott Sanders...all writers and poets.

The evening included singing all the words to "Fiddler on the Roof" from an old LP album that Lee has collected on his small suitcase style player. The girls had never heart "Matchmaker" so it wasn't long before we had our head covered with scarves and were singing to the top of our lungs.

Following the red velvet birthday cake, we presented Mackenzie with her gifts. I gave her a box of sparklers. Yes, an unusual gift, but perfect for a snowy night in January. At midnight we gathered up all our snow gear and headed outside to end the perfect party. Will she ever forget her 15th birthday? I think not.

So the cold winds blow, and I conclude that sparklers are wasted on the July 4th celebrations. Indeed they should be shared on a cold winter's night in January in the north country!

Lou Ann

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Winter's Day

This winter storm in the Midwest has left the world with amazing beauty. My garden has been full of cardinals, blue jays, chickadees and woodpeckers all afternoon. When I went out to fill the feeders this morning, there were deer tracks all around my feeders. Apparently, they jumped over the fence, ate the leftover corn and sunflower seeds and jumped over again toward the neighbor's house. It would have been a beautiful sight to see them in the snowstorm in my yard.

I have a blue bottle garden as well. It is an old southern custom which is to keep out the haints and ghosts. Needless to say, I do not believe I have any haints or ghosts so it must work. I learned of these garden bottles by my friend Katherine Windham from Selma, Alabama.

The above photo was taken at dusk. The bottles are lovely in the summer, but absolutely striking against this fresh snow. Enjoy and stay warm. Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sitting in my library...

It is a cold winter's night as I sit tucked away in my library. It really is a lovely room for me...slate blue walls, black and white photography and overflowing bookshelves.

My Chicago calendar on the wall still says November. My life stopped just as November ended with the illness of my dad. The month of December with shopping and carols and Christmas trees were all put on hold to spend the month with my dad in Texas. It was a memorable month of spending time with my brothers and sisters and my mom as we held dad's hand, stroked his head.

There was no where else in the world I wanted to be but with my dad as he made this passing journey.

My dad and I shared such love of art, music, literature, poetry, theatre. I did indeed grow up to be my dad's daughters. This room is reflective of that. I even have two wonderful framed photos of my dad in his young acting days.

Life has a strange way of catching us off guard as if caught in a photo by surprise or just spinning around and finding our world has changed. So many things have I learned this winter, some I will share and others will just get tucked under my pillow.

So, tonight as the snow begins to fall again and the wind picks up, I bid you a cozy evening of firelight and story.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year and small changes...

Dear Friends,
The past two months have become a blur for me...starting with the huge Houston celebration for my parent's 80th birthday parties and ending with the death of my dad on December 26.

Emotions have flown high and every time I get ready to start a blog, my mind has felt cluttered and yet empty of words. So within this promise of a new year, I bring many thoughts and ideas and resolutions to the table.

One is to write daily on my blog, even if no one but myself reads is the process of writing.
Other a daily crossword puzzle (OK, my friend Bill has influenced me on that one!). of course the obvious, pilates etc. three times a week.

I had thought of become a vegetarian, but then again, I will fail on that one, but I do want to become less of a meat consumer and that I can do, easily.

There are other resolutions within myself, but for now, I will just keep them to myself.

As for the blog title change, I decided that I want to focus on the small town life of America, where I find myself most of the time anyway...enjoying it, preserving it, and living in it. I hope you enjoy the small changes that this will bring.

Happy New Year to all who read. Don't forget to say Rabbit when you go visiting!