Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our Town

Taking a walk down town, one will find our circle of commerce. It really is a small town and the circle includes our courthouse, newspaper office, small clothing shops, a pizza parlor (family owned), a couple of coffee shops (family owned), and two movie theaters (also family owned).
A couple of nights ago I took a walk down (with a little help from my umbrella) and attended "Life of Pi." I really did love the movie even though I wasn't sure I wanted to see it. My book club read the book a couple of years ago, and I love the book. However, the movie was just wonderful, so well done and the story came off strong. Good luck at the Oscars!
Both of these theaters were built in 1932. If you look carefully you can see a little of the Brokaw behind the Strand. These are, of course, my movie theaters of choice. At the Strand, Dana takes tickets, sells popcorn and then shows the movie. He is at the door when you leave as well. I took a video of Dana last summer. Here is a review of that video!
It is so important for all of us to support our local businesses, our mama/papa businesses.
As always, my camera was tucked inside and under the umbrella.
Enjoy, thanks for reading. I would love to hear about your town!
Lou Ann

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I wake in the night to the rain. It is loud, steady and with a few rumbles of thunder.

My curtains are thin and I pull them back to see the beads of water on my doors leading out to the balcony. These raindrop are illuminated with my Christmas lights which still drape over the balcony. I really should take them down, but my neighbor says they are cheery in these dark days of Winter.

These are the days that keep poets and writers inside libraries and studios. These are the days to finish books or clean out the spice cupboard...but then again we must pull away to do our daily tasks to make the world a better place.

With that in mind, I will bike off to school (yes, I will bike to school) and give my writing students a bit of knowledge, and a great deal of passion as we study Burns, build blogs, and look inside ourselves. "Excuse me, class, please turn off all cell phones and chat with your neighbor."

My Haiku for a rainy day

brocaded raindrops
erases winter's facade
leaving stark, bare mud

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday "Phantom of the Opera," Jane Austin (Pride and Prejudice), Poe and Burns from a small town in Indiana

Happy 25th Anniversary "The Phantom of the Opera"

Dear Friends,
The day started with fog and ice which quickly turned to gray skies of continuous rain.
It is also Monday morning and the studio calls to me for attention. I organize, file, get ready for new projects while listening to the "Phantom of the Opera"  and the rain beating out my window. I do not know how many years I have loved the show. During the end of my marriage we took the train to Toronto for the weekend to see the show. It was our last chance for survival. I thought we would make it as we had the best time, but it just didn't work. I remember those last moments with my heart in my throat wanting the marriage to work, wanting it to end. There are things women know.
Now years later I listen to the music. I saw the show many more times after that, but alone. It is the 25th birthday of this great masterpiece by Andrew Lloyd Webber. How can we thank him for the brilliance of his work?

                                            Happy 200th Birthday "Pride and Prejudice"

What young girl did not read Jane Austen? Even grown ups want to wear the dresses, and live a life we can only read about. So, Happy Birthday "Pride and Prejudice." Thank you Jane Austen for giving us grown up fairy tales.

The rain continues to fall and I come across a scrapbook my dad kept of my letters home, report cards and various other mementos. How I miss him on this day. He taught me to love art, music, Broadway, literature....I would like to call him and tell him about all the anniversaries. We would talk literature. He would call me Holly Go-Lightly and I would hang up the phone laughing.

And I can't stop there for it is also the birthdays of Mozart and Poe and Burns. Happy Birthday to all of you as well.

So it seems the images of my life...the endings, the beginnings have come to me through music and art and literature.

Here is a glimpse into my studio, at least one of the shelves! Also a link to this week's column toasting Poe and the Bard!

Thank you for coming into my world for a rainy Monday. Maybe you have memories or stories such as mine. Please share.

Lou Ann

Click here for the birthday celebrations for Poe and Burns

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What is your passion?

This week found me stashed away in my studio (when I wasn't teaching) working on new shows and reviewing old shows.

What is it that causes us to find the passion and hold on to it? I read, write, study and lunch passes and I forget as I read poetry by Burns, rehearse my "Gathering Coal for the Lord" show and put two new shows onto the back burner ready to begin simmering.

I ask my kids at school about their passions. The answers are varied as they have never been asked that question. I want them to think. I get, making money, golf. But then I get a few others that are deeper that causes them to go inside themselves where the world is a little scary.

"My passion?" I look at them. "It's easy. Life."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Castle Howard in Winter

Castle Howard

I found this photo early this morning. It is a spectacular view of Castle Howard. This was one of our favorite visits when Philip and I were in England. My mom and Dick took us there for the day to let us hike, roam around, and enjoy the beauty. We had tea and lunch there as well. Of course, Philip was thrilled and thought he should be Lord. Does that make me the Lady?
It sounds a bit like a John Denver song.
Alas we are back doing what we do in Ocracoke and in Indiana, but what a nice surprise to see this photo with all the snow! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Making a blue snow cloud...

It is cold here in northern Indiana. The thermometer is still hovering between 4 and 6 degrees, so I decided to do an experiment outside with my grandson Matthew. (He is 11)

Actually I have tried this before with much the same rate of success.

First you boil up a pot of water. (I use my spaghetti sauce pot, not the spaghetti pot.) I added food coloring so that you could actually see the cloud. Blue was my choice.

With Matthew as my photographer we went outside to make a cloud of blue snow. Matthew was freezing, but he did a great job on the photo shoot. This video was actually our third try, and I can't say we did much in the way to improve science, but we had fun.

You could try this yourself at home if your temperatures dip below zero!

Please notice the giant coat I am wearing in the video, this is my "twice a winter when nothing else will keep me warm coat." Just saying. By the way, it appears to have a very loud volume. Either the wind was tossing my voice towards the camera or I was shouting in order to keep warm!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A winter's morning in the Midwest...

My street
My house at White Picket Gardens
Art Out My Window
Dear Friends,

Winter has arrived in the Midwest. Wind, blowing snow and below zero temperatures blanketed my town this week.

We wait for this weather, even though everyone complains. In fact, most are joyous that cold weather has arrived. It is good for the fruit growers, the gardeners, the children (two hour delay at school), and for artists.

I was up before dawn sweeping off porches, letting the world wake up slowly. Most folks wanted to cozy down under those quilts with their sweeties, or babies, or household pets. Coffee does call us to the kitchen, however, sleepy eyed and shivering in old bathrobes.

I took these photos early this morning as the sun was coming up.

Enjoy. Winter is laced with beauty, don't miss it!

Lou Ann

Monday, January 21, 2013


Dear Friends,

Indeed we walked down to the circle to see the film "Lincoln". It was a cold walk even using my scarf as a muffler.

With all three movies in town, there was a nice crowd. Tickets for my theaters are reasonable, just $5.00 a ticket. Popcorn is a bargain as well and a must.

Both theaters, the Brokaw and the Strand, were built in 1932. Walking inside them is like walking into history. They are small theaters, and you always know the folks inside!

The seats are faded red velvet and do not swivel or bend much. They do not serve wine, nor had 3-D capabilities, or even your tickets. The truth is, I very seldom see movies anywhere else. Supporting our small towns and communities is very important to me.

"Lincoln" was stunning...the cast, the cinematography, the script. I began to cry at the beginning and was crying so hard at the end, that I had to just sit in my seat for a while.

Lincoln's words are haunting me still on this Inauguration Day and Dr. Martin Luther King Day. They are words we should live by in our personal lives, our communities, and our nation.

"Malice towards none,
Charity towards all."
Lou Ann

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A funeral takes a look into my own past.

This week's column...a good read for a winter's day. (Click here)

Today is a cold winter's day here in the Midwest. We call each other to see what we can do today...movies? In my small town our two theaters (each built in 1932) are showing Lincoln, Les Mis, and Life of Pi. All three are academy award nominees and films I want to see. Today, I think it will be Lincoln. We, my friends and I, will wear our warmest clothes and walk down to the circle to spend the afternoon.

Days and nights like this bring out all the quilts for the beds. All the beds in my house are covered with quilts from my great-grandmother Chloe.

The one in the photo is one of my favorites. I love this quilt along with the others. (There is another one of her quilts on the chair by the curtains.)

So, let's tie together this week's column and the photo.

As always, thanks for reading.

Lou Ann

Chloe's Quilt

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bristling Old Man

Dear Friends,

A few weeks before Christmas I was notified that I had placed first runner up after the first three runner ups for a poem I submitted to the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs. (?)

I had to read the letter a couple of times, and even though it actually meant I was fourth runner up, I got a nice letter from the society.

I love writing poetry and have an entire portfolio entitled "Knocking on a Glass Table." Maybe someday I will actually have them put into book form.

As for now I may just sprinkle them into my writing here and there.

So for this cold, snowy Monday in the Midwest here is my fourth runner up poem!

Bristling Old Man

Bristling old man
Caressing your newspaper
Like a lover
Sensually turning pages as if they were
Locks of hair.
Green is your color, old man
For when you put her down,
Someone else will pick her up
And she won't even remember you,
Bristling Old Man.
Lou Ann Homan
Upon watching a homeless man in a hotel in Indianapolis, sitting alone day after day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme....

Rosemary in my parlor

The weather in Indiana has been unusual this week. I arrived home to fields of snow and slippery streets. However, within a week all changed. The fishermen brought in their buckets and poles, the skaters hung up the skates, and the sleds are strewn in front yards and in mud rooms.
Yesterday was  the "January thaw" day that we often get in mid-winter. Everyone was outside...some in tank tops (well, it wasn't that warm), others on bikes, some strolling the neighborhood, and others perusing the gardens.
I am a gardener by nature, and by my grandmother Luella. Wearing my old rubber boots, jeans, and a ragged sweatshirt I was able to gain access to all the muddy gardens. I took note of things needing to be done. The raspberry cains need pruning as to the apple trees and my crab apple trees. My "white picket garden" fencing looked a bit forlorn as well, needing Tom Sawyer's hand at painting.
Needless to say, it is too early for all of that. When I strolled over to the herb beds I was rewarded with fresh parsley, thyme, sage and beautiful rosemary. Usually by now it is all dead and covered with snow. The ground was not frozen around the rosemary so I was able to actually dig up part of the plant and repot.
Rosemary is a great scent in the house and nicely replaces the pine which I finally took outside as well. My old Christmas tree is nestled by my bird feeders, gardens closed up once again as winter will return tonight. Welcome back Winter...we really need you!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

This week's column...saying farewell to our holiday trip...

Philip and I at my mom's wedding!
Click here for this week's column...saying farewell to the Holiday trip....

Dear Friends,

This month has been wonderful, hasn't it? Traveling to Eastern
Europe and England with Philip has been a dream for me. Actually Philip and I talked about going to Prague on our first date 11 years ago.

It was raining that night and Philip arrived at the rental cottage with umbrella in hand, and we walked through the village on our date.

We had dinner at the Back Porch with Amy as our server. I was, as you can imagine, a bit nervous. Well, all girls are nervous on first dates especially when the daughter is the server.

After dinner we sat up and talked in the tree house behind the Village Craftsmen. I had told him I always wanted to go to Prague. With the rain pouring down, Philip leaned over and said, "Now let's go to Prague."

It took us a few years to get there, but time is fluid.

Thank you for following our trip, listening to our tales, watching the videos. (I still have so many to post!!)

I guess it is time to move on to poetry and storytelling and teaching for me.

I appreciate your readership, stay tuned, life is interesting.

As for now, farewell to this wonderful holiday. Enjoy the column. It is a bit serendipitous.

Lou Ann

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Dancing Man in Prague...

Dear Friends,

The streets and bridges of Prague and Budapest are full of folks singing or dancing or even selling cotton bras! I dropped many a coins into coffers in the shapes of guitar cases, tin cans and even a McDonald's cup.

On our last night in Prague we were just walking the streets feeling a bit sad as we would be leaving that wonderful city in the morning. All of a sudden we came across a man dancing in the streets. (Please notice the cobblestone!) We watched for a while and then, as he kept dancing, I decided to take out the camera. It was delightful and sent us on our way to Hungary!

There was no can, guitar case, or a McDonald's cup for coins, he was dancing for the sheer joy.

Can we find this man?

Enjoy and smile away your morning as you watch The Dancing Man in Prague!!

Lou Ann

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Ode to English writers...

Last summer my mom emailed me a photo of the above pub. I knew that I had to see it in person, so last week Dick drove all of us to the site. It was a rainy morning and I jumped out of the car (along with Philip who took the photo) so that I could definitely have this picture!

I love poetry and quote it often, but being in England was so spectacular for my literary sense. I began to feel kin to EB Browning, Dickens, The Bronte Sisters, Hopkins, and well, yes, Shakespeare!

My mom had asked me to read a poem for her wedding, and at the reception I read Sonnet number XII from "Sonnets From the Portuguese" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. (If you go find it you may understand why I read it at her wedding.)

A few days later in an old bookstore, Philip found a book of Browning's poetry. This book was titled "Mrs. Browning," which was very unusual. He bought this as a gift to me.

I love this book. Maybe it is what will get me through this Indiana winter while we are apart.

So, another part of our trip, poetry in England.

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Wedding!

Click here for the wedding story in England! Enjoy!

Dear Friends,

So here is the most romantic story of 2012, at least I think so. Read the above article and enjoy!

As always, thanks for following our Holiday trip...more of poets tomorrow!

Lou Ann

The day before the wedding...such fun!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A bird's eye view of England....

Dear Friends,
Here we are in England staying with my Mom and Dick. We have been busy every day so not much time to write, although lots of photos.
We are staying in the small village of Tupton and traveling each day with a rental car as Dick's vehicle is too small for the six of us.
My brother and his wife Grace arrived Saturday evening as did we.
So here you go with a lovely view of England. As always, thanks for watching and reading.
Tonight I hope to write about my reflections of British poets and authors, until then, we are on the road again.
Lou Ann