Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sadie Hawkins Day!

For more information on why we have Leap Year, click here!

This is Leap Year and today, to be more exact, is Sadie Hawkins Day.

In my high school, the girls could hardly wait for that day. That was the day that you could ask the boys to go to the dance or the movies or dance with you or even more!  We decorated our high school gym with hearts and crepe paper strung from basket to basket. Dan was my high school throb at the time, so he was the one to receive my affections (which weren't much!) It was exciting to ask him to the dance and to be brave enough to actually to that. (It is hard to believe, but I was a bit shy, really!)

Women now are much more independent so this day might go completely unnoticed as we carry on with our life today, but then again....

Happy Sadie Hawkins day, and be brave all my girl friends, just be brave!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poetry Passage

Yesterday was a sweet warm day. I hung out laundry, filled the feeders, and longed to be out all day as I occasionally (OK, really a lot) looked out my studio window. However, with a big project on the table, I am enjoying this late winter from my windows.

Today's poetry is just a sample of the sounds I heard while being outside for the brief time yesterday. Sometimes a few minutes is enough if we listen with our heart.

Bird song
Church bells
Soft wind

Dogs barking
Rivulets of water slowly flowing
Laundry flapping

A simple moment

Monday, February 27, 2012

Art Out My Window

This week I am featuring art out of my college roommate's window! Sally Schenkel first posted these lovely photos on Facebook and I loved the view out her window in Huntington, Indiana. She appears to have a great camera as well (I won't mention the kind, although I can say it is not a Nikon D40!)

Sally was my roommie for two years at Ball State a few years ago, or as Matthew always says about my past...when the world was new.

My mom always wanted me to get a part time job, and I can only tell you that the stories surrounding my job searches (getting jobs and leaving jobs) are all woven into my stories. They are hilarious tales and most involve Sally as well!

I often tell the story of the time I tried out for Charlie the Cardinal. The deal was that Ball State would pay you an income and you would get to go to the games free!

All my friends went with me to the try-outs in one of the gyms. I was not the only "Charlie" to try out. I did notice, however, that every one else had a routine with music. I had not thought of a routine. I just thought I would walk out with the head on and get the job!

When it was my turn, I put the large and very heavy head on my shoulders and walked out into the gym. I couldn't even see, let alone find the try out area. Someone had to lead me out. When I got to the table of judges, they asked if I had music. Of course I did not. I really didn't know what to do so I just stood there for a moment trying to keep my balance and keep the Cardinal head on my head. Finally I began jumping up and down, flapping my arms as if they were wings and shouting through some small orifice in the head, "Eeeee--eeeee--owowowow---eeeeee-eeeeee-----owowowow." I think I did this for at least five minutes or so it seemed.

When I was finally done, I was sweating all over from wearing that giant, hot head and from jumping up and down. I couldn't find my friends at first, but I could hear them. They were laughing so hard they had fallen out of the bleachers and were on the floor balled up with laughter and tears.

Needless to say, I did not get the job as Charlie the Cardinal.

Here are Sally's photos for Art Out My Window...dedicated to years gone by and yet to come.

Thanks Sally!

The lovely female cardinal at Sally's feeder.

What a great photo this is of the male cardinal.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My weekend in the Twin Cities!

Click here for the story of my whirlwind visit!

As always, thank you for reading my blog! I appreciate you! Here are photos from the trip!

Here is the outside of the Fitzgerald. As you can see, it was  beautiful weekend!

This is the famous Mickey's dinner close by the Fitzgerald. It was featured in the Prairie Home Companion film a few years ago!

Our steady diet for the trip! Bottoms up!

This is just one of the ice sculptures in St. Paul. This particular artist was from Dallas, Texas!

Again,outside of the Fitzgerald.

I took this photo just minutes before the show started!
This is the set for the Prairie Home Companion.

Throwing my hat at the Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis!

Here is Kathy tossing her hat as well!

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Follow the Heron Home"

This is one of my favorite artists, Karine Polwart, singing "Follow the Heron Home." I first heard this sung on Ocracoke Island by singer Rick Lee, and I have loved it ever since. Rick set up his keyboard in the corner of Philip's small house. As the evening wore on, it appeared to be his turn to perform. With his eyes closed, and so much emotion in his voice, he sang this song. I cried all the way through it.

My guitar teacher has actually written it down for me to learn, but alas, we all know how the guitar playing seems to go.

So on this snowy Friday,  enjoy the music of Karine Polwart.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

This morning, while sitting in my studio watching the frost begin to melt and drop from the trees, I thought of this book, "The Things They Carried".

It is a wonderful compilation of stories by Tim O'Brien talking about men going to war and what they take with them. They carried love letters, photographs, and so much more.

This was our first county read here in Angola a few years ago. I was so in love with this book that I thought I would be discussing it while pumping gas or with strangers at a party or with, well anyone.

On this quiet, cold morning I am thinking of the things we all carry. What is important to us, what do we carry and where do we carry them?

Looking around my studio, it is easy to see for anyone to see what is important to me...sea glass in a little bottle from Adam and Tonya...jester book ends from my dad...a black and white photo of Aaron and Karen holding baby Jonah...Matthew and Jonah's Valentine bags still full of chocolate...puppets...hundreds of books...a family photograph of Abe and water bottle...bracelets...pens...paper...marbles...

Our space and our thoughts define us and take us where we need to be. My thoughts are not so easily seen as we all mask those on a daily basis. I do believe that writers and artists let these thoughts be know in their work.

I also carry a seashell and a rock in my pocket. They are lovely to hold onto when I need a bit of comfort.

So, what do you carry? Just some thoughts on this quiet Thursday morning. And, if you haven't read the book, I encourage you to do so and share your thoughts with me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still waiting...

We wait for the snow, those of us who live in the North. It has been a disappointing winter this year for the simple joys of the winter months.

Some will argue that the heating bills are lower, and that is a fact. But where are the bright cardinals against the snow on the feeders? Or the sound of the plow in the night? Or what about a city shut down for even just a day or so leaving families with books and games strewn across the dining room table with chocolate cookies in the oven? (I know I am a dreamer!)

I even took my bike out of the garage, polished it up a bit and decided I might as well start biking. However, yesterday's brief snowstorm blanketed my town, even though it was slight of hand. I took the above photo in while having a meeting a Rachael's coffee shop. It was a lovely morning.

So, winter, it is not too late. We are waiting, we welcome you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Poetry Passage

Today's poetry passage features one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. When I was teaching I had a theatre company named, The Emily Dickinson Players. After each rehearsal and before each show, I shared her poetry with the troupe.

A few years ago I visited her home in Amherst and was given a primo tour. I was able to lower the basket out of her bedroom window. Long ago she shared ginger cookies with the neighborhood children. They would reciprocate with a flower or some small token of thank you.

This reading is a bit eerie as it was, of course, never produced by Emily Dickinson. The reading is imposed upon her lips and face.

Enjoy today's passage!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Art Out My Window...

This past weekend Kathy and I traveled by rail from our neighboring town of Waterloo, Indiana to St. Paul, Minnesota.

It was a three day full day on the train traveling to, one day there, and one day traveling from.

Our destination was the Fitzgerald Theater to see a Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.

The weather was not the normal February weather which would have been twenty degrees below zero and three feet of snow.

These photos were taken from the train on the way home crossing the Mississippi River as well as Miller Brewing Company. Enjoy!


The shadows of the ships
Rock on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Of the tardy and the soft inrolling tide.

A long brown bar at the dip of the sky
Puts an arm of sand in the span of salt.

The lucid and endless wrinkles
Draw in, lapse and withdraw.
Wavelets crumble and white spent bubbles
Wash on the floor of the beach.

Rocking on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Are the shadows of the ships.

Carl Sandburg

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The moments of our lives..

The heavy grey rain falls out my studio window. The red satin curtains are pulled back letting me view this February scene.

It is a day of thinking and reflecting and, I guess, wondering about life in general.

Today my oldest son Adam (well three minutes older than his twin brother Aaron!) is celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary with his wife, Tonya. Oh, I remember that day so well. Tonya was a family friend and it was easy to just pull her into the daughter-in-law genre. She was my first daughter-in-law. I count on her whenever they visit from St. Pete to become the kitchen fairy! I congratulate them on this day.

Abe married Kristin next in Portland, Oregon. He met Kristin on 9/11 in Santa Barbara. Their two little girls are beautiful, but oh so far away. He is my youngest, and I often find myself calling Jonah by his name.

Aaron married Karen here in Angola on a cold night in January outside in the snow and cold. The reception was here at my house. I filled the house with roses and dinner for all involved. It was a happy night as well. They live close by with continual raids of my refrigerator.

I think of my children often. They are all college graduates and work in different fields. They are all successful with their work and their lives.

I am glad to be a participant in their lives in whatever way that I can.

Here are a few photos, not many, to celebrate this day of family.

Matthew, Jonah and I at our Valentine's Day supper.
Mengting took the photo.

Here is Abe with his two little sweethearts, Holly and Brianna.
Abe and Holly were dressed up for the Love Bug Dance.

This was Adam and Tonya's engagement photo taken ten years ago!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Art Out My Window....

This photo was taken early this morning as the sun was coming up in my hometown.The red lamp is a reflection out my window. It is definitely cold, but peaceful.

When the boys are with me, we have poetry at the breakfast table. This morning I pulled out a collection of poems written by Mary O'Neill, "Hailstones and Halibut Bones".

The poem I chose was "What Is Blue". Here are just a few lines from the poem:

"Blue is twilight,
Shadows on snow,
Blue is feeling
Way down low.

Cold is blue:
Flame show from a welding torch
Is, too:
Hot, wild screaming, blistering Blue-
And on winter mornings
The dawns are blue...."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day Column...

Click here for the Valentine's Day column...

Here is the photo from college with the mystery man's bouquet.
My roomie, Sally, took this photo!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My first snowfall this season...

"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand...and melting like a
snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late."
   Marie Beron Rray

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Jonah and Beethoven

Jonah is seven years old and in the first grade. He is one of my four grandchildren. Matthew and Jonah live a stone's throw away which has made for a wonderful childhood for them and a loving experience for me. Holly and Brianna live near Phoenix, and I am sorry to say, just a few trips a year.

Over Christmas vacation Jonah expressed an interest in piano as he began to play from ear O Christmas Tree and various other Christmas carols. He started taking lessons from my neighbor, Nate, who is an accomplished musician although he is still in high school. Nate is a pusher for Jonah. He has skipped the early books with songs such as This is Up, This is Down! (Those were my first songs as well!) Jonah is learning words such as fortissimo, treble clef as well as all the keys of the piano.

This past lesson he was given Ode to Joy by Beethoven. Since there is no piano at Jonah and Matthew's house, the piano practicing is at my house on my old upright. I have been hearing Ode to Joy for days now!

The past couple of afternoons after school Jonah and I have listened to musicians, young and old, play this piece on Utube. We have also started our study of Beethoven.

During a phone call with my friend Melissa yesterday, we discussed how it seems the world is a bit disinterested in classical music. Melissa is a harpist and a fine one. Her music is featured on my fairy tale CD, and we have a new show coming out in the fall.

Melissa, listen carefully, classical music is alive and well. Maybe it is up to us to just teach it to the world.

So for all the Melissas and Jonahs in the world, happy playing and thank you for making our world more beautiful.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Keep your eye on the goal...

Most of you know my stories, my life...I keep everything pretty much in the open. It has almost been two years since my accident in China which changed alot of things for me.

Without going in to a lot of detail, it has been a long recovery with still much work to be done. I am a believer in doing, however, so I keep working hard on my goals.

This morning a great milestone was reached as I was able to walk 20 minutes on the treadmill without holding on. When I first started working out again after the physical therapy, I held on to the handles for dear life, seriously.

After my trip to Jonesboro in October, I realized that I was still having difficulty walking up the hills to the Tent on the Hill (some of you know what I mean). I discussed this with Carrie, my trainer, when I returned and we began holding onto weights as I walked the treadmill. First the right hand, then the left hand with the other hand always on the handle.

I laughed at Carrie and told her that was exactly how my mother taught me to walk, only with clothespins, not weights.

This morning was my first to walk without holding on. Of course I went slower and was not able to look around just concentrating on my balance. It really was hard work for me. Carrie was working out next to me the whole time. Maybe she was worried or just encouraging, but I wanted to look at her. When I turned my head I lost my balance and fell. Luckily I jumped off fast enough so that no damage was done. We were both very shaken up, but then we laughed about it.
OK, maybe I can fall off and get back on we said.

I got to thinking about my work, my art, my writing. Staying focused has always been a difficult for me and I try to work in small increments because of it. When I stay focused I can get so much done, but when I take my eyes off my work, I lose my balance. Yet on the other hand, there is a lot of scenery when we do look away.

I guess that is what life is made up of...balancing.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Art Out my Window

Here are a few photos from my train window last week. Maybe someone can identify where the first two are located!

Also, my fellow followers, I love all your responses. I realize that they all do not end up on the blog, but on my email. I am trying to remedy that situation. In the meantime, thanks for reading and responding, it makes my solitary writing life a bit more enjoyable!

I think this is Richmond, Virginia?

A train depot from long ago! Please keep restored!

Dancing Crescent Moon out my Window!
Lou Ann

Friday, February 03, 2012

W.B. Yeats

It has been busy and a bit hectic since I returned from Ocracoke with Philip. I have, however, still had a little time to study for my class. We are currently (still) on Yeats. I found one of his poems on utube. It is lovely and moving and brought me to tears. Let me know how you feel about it as well.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Switching gears...

Back to work at the Indiana Studio.

So here I am, one ferry, car, and train trip later. Traveling by train gives me time to adjust to all the differences that my life is made up of. Switching gears. The train whistles and moves forward as I do. The tracks are switched as we changed directions or let other trains pass us in the night.

I have been thinking the past couple of days how my life is indeed like a train...moving, bell ringing, track switching...coming and going. We are all like that really...ready to go when the train shows up on our door or when we are dropped off in the early morning darkness with suitcase in hand watching the sun come up.

The boxes are suitcases are unpacked, work is backed up from a couple of days on the road and weeks away from the studio (the still unnamed studio!)

However, don't be dismayed, there are seashells and sand in the pocket of my winter coat from our last walk on the beach.