Saturday, May 30, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend--Walk Around Gravel Lake

Dove's Nest--LCS, 2009
Brothers-LCS, 2009
Bee and Flower--LCS, 2009
As we walked the perimeter around Gravel Lake (three miles) we took photos of some of the sights. Max and Cody took us walking around the lake.

Monday, Memorial Day

Gravel Lake- LCS, May 2009
This was a tough day. We slept in, purchased flowers to plant on the deck and to take to the cemetery. Steve and I went back to the cemetery a little longer to spend a little more time with Mom. We also walked and visited the other graves. It was interesting to see the ages on the gravestones. Some were dated back to the early 1800's. It wasn't spooky or macabre, but peaceful. The bee that was buzzing around us seemed out of place, as it interrupted the loud quiet. The wind rustled through the wildflowers that lined the perimeter of the cemetery. After we returned home, seven of us ate a lovely meal prepared by Dad. Mom was on our minds.

Dutch the Dog

Dutch the Dog- LCS, May 2009
Last Sunday again. I'm mixing it up to see if you are paying attention. This is the story of a dog named Dutch who was rescued at Gravel Lake. Steve and I met him at the Gravel Lake party. (The same place where the Oreos were a hit.) Dutch was neglected. The people who had him before tied him up in the yard and basically left him outside all the time. Even in the rough Michigan weather. So the current pet parents came up to the previous "owners" and offered to pay to take the dog. They let them. So Dutch is in a wonderful new home with new pet parents and family. He was the hit of the party. Such a sweet, friendly boy. Everyone was loving this guy up. Anyway, I don't like the word owner. I prefer parent. Owner owns objects. Animals aren't objects. They are living, loving, beings. In my opinion, Java and Latte own us. And from what we saw, Dutch owns his family and most of the residents of Gravel Lake.:)

Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend

Playing Rock Band at the Big Eat, May 2009
Lori and Jennifer at her Graduation Party, May 2009
This week has gone by so quickly that I am still behind on my blogs. I'm kind of working backwards from the previous blog, but that's okay, it's my blog and I can break the rules. (It's kind of fun.) Last Saturday we had two parties to attend: a graduation party and the Big Eat 2009. my colleague and dear friend's daughter graduated last Saturday. After a nice afternoon, we then moved on to the Big Eat 2009: it's the annual gaming start of summer soiree at Kenny and Tammy's place. We finally had weather that cooperated. It was a great time. And keeping with tradition, of course I brought Boca Burgers to desecrate Kenny's grill. We ate, hung out by the pool, and then played Rock Band. It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scorch-cepie: Oreo Cookies on a Platter

On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, we are invited to a cookout at Gravel Lake to kick off the summer. Well, it was a little sad (okay REALLY sad) because Mom wasn't there to make her awesome brownies. So on the way up, Steve and I stopped at the store and tried to figure out what the heck to bring to a cookout. I certainly didn't want anyone to get food poisoning on MY account, so I came up with an idea while excusing my way through the very slow residents in this store: Oreo cookies. Simple. Sweet. Tasty. We purchased two boxes of them with the double stuffed vanilla creme center and trekked the rest of the way to the lake. When we arrived and greeted Dad, I grabbed a glass platter from the cupboard, rinsed it off, washed my hands, and ripped open the boxes of oreos. I affixed them in a cute little pyramid on the platter and then Dad put wax paper on it to hold them in place (since we were out of saran wrap.) Well, I put the platter of Oreos in the corner as a side dish. I did not know that there was a chili- cookoff. Oreos seem to soothe the stomach after sampling several dishes of chili. When I retrieved the platter a couple of hours later, the cookies were gone. The platter was licked clean. So, I'm bringing oreos on a platter to a friend's house on Friday night. Mom would have been proud or she would have said, "Isn't that nice!" ;)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Painting on Canvas and Seedfolks

Today I created another painting on canvas using blue and green acrylics by hand. The paintings are starting to tell a story. I am painting a lot of of same themes using images of blue clouds and a blue flower, with a lone flower representing me. I have thought of taking the paintings to create a picture book about grief. Hmmn...I have so many ideas and need to finish them!
Also painted a pot (blue and green) to place on my deck. I want to plant tomatoes among other veggies in decorative pots. I think blue and green will be lovely colors for pots on the deck. I signed up for the the reading program today at my library and spoke with a close friend about a wonderful book called Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. I requested more copies of this book be ordered for the library. It's a teen fiction book based on stories from several different characters. The setting takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, in a desolate part of town. A young girl plants bean seeds in April on the frozen ground in the garbage-infested alley of her apartment complex, and the story begins. Although the book published in 1997, all the recession and unity gardens sprouting up in northern Indiana, including one near my branch, makes this book even more timely and appropriate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reunion Musings

I discussed my reticence of attending my 20-year high school class reunion this summer with a friend. She asked what is the importance of the high school reunion? Why do I want to go? Admittedly at the ten-year reunion, I felt I had something to prove. Perhaps overflowing bitterness from the mean girls and guys boiled over from my Ugly Betty years known as adolescence into young adulthood prompted me to go. Hey, I have a great husband, a fun job as a children's librarian, a nice home in a darling little neighborhood, great family, friends, and fit into a size 6 black dress. Yeah yeah yeah, blah blah blah. I was the s*** and wanted everyone to know it. Yeah, whatever. I'm over myself. If you live long enough, most likely you have been slapped around by karma. Karma delivered a sucker punch to me this year. In the light of recent events in my life, with my mother's cancer prognosis, treatment, and death, the sudden death of my cat Jack, and the closing and remodeling of my library branch brought me to my knees and forced me to take a long hard look at my existence and what's important. Academic degrees, possessions, prestige, and status are nice and all, but not that important anymore. The answer I come up with is acceptance. Just to be. Just to be a part of this reunion experience. Just to screw the hesitance and the inhibition and to be. Then I can truly write my ending to this chapter, close it gingerly, and move forward. Finally. And I can carry this concept of self-acceptance into other areas of my life--new and exciting experiences. At 37, I just may be getting it. But I've always been a bit of a late bloomer. And that's okay.

Tuesday Afternoon

Beautiful Tuesday afternoon. Like the Moody Blues song. Billy Idol's White Wedding blasted in the kitchen at Le Peep's today for lunch. I'm literally sitting in the worst seat in the house (there's a sign at Le Peep's) but it's worth it to hang out with my favorite waiter, B. He's a really nice young man. Met him while I was reading Waiter Rant. Possibly fatigued from working late Monday and working out for over an hour. I'm trying to get healthy, walk the grief out, and in good physical condition for the summer, my class reunion, and my next California visit this fall. I forgot to mention that I had a good weekend, working a library furniture sale and then to a benefit/auction called The Sunshine Kids. It's a benefit that helps kids with cancer. It was a silent and live auction. I never saw an auctioneer before. I purchased an awesome gift for A.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Strange Like Weather

Today, like the weather, seemed strange to me. Weird things happened, the rain drizzled down, and I'm okay. I first woke up. Slowly. Thank goodness Steve is such a good alarm clock. Jack the cat used to wake me up in the morning with a lick and a chomp on the chin. Steve is much more of a gentleman. And patient, because in the morning, I am s-l-o-w. It's not pretty. I finally dragged myself out of bed and mustered the energy to look into the closet. What to wear today? (Note to self: lay clothes out the night before.) So I say good-bye to Java and Latte, who are already back in their respective napping places for their mid-morning siesta (I am now experiencing cat envy) and manage to get out the door and to libraryland. My left sock (stupid knee-highs) kept falling down. Wardrobe malfunction #1. So I go to my cubicle and get settled. Then the cell phone rings. It's my art therapist. I forgot to write down the correct time in my planner. Damn damn double-damn. We reschedule. And I feel bad about it, because I wanted to paint and hate letting people down. I look down at my long skirt and there's a tear on it. Wardrobe malfunction #2. Good news: I am planning the re-dedication and LaSalle RetroFest for my library. And so far, three people have committed to performing and programming for the day. I am grateful for that. LaSalle planning, collection development meeting, helping out with summer reading, listening to PLA sessions for re-certification credit, and then when Steve and I met at home tonight, we visited the gym for about an hour. It was a productive day. Now I am blogging, but ready to wind down. Storms are passing through northern Indiana--the clouds outside are rather unsettled, kind of like me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day and Gift of Music

I want to share with you one of the most precious gifts my mother ever gave me: the gift of music. You may not have known this, but my mother was a musician. Growing up, she played the saxophone and sang in the choir. My mother had a beautiful singing voice, although she did not sing publicly. She passed on her legacy to my sister and me by introducing us to music. I chose drums and percussion. My sister chose flute. My parents signed us up with music lessons. Mom took me to study with Mary Lynn Norman. As a result of those wonderful women, I managed to survive band camp and band classes. Without the gift of music, I would have never learned how to play steel drums. I took home medals in district and state competitions and after graduation, managed to continue performing music in college. Because of Mom and Mary Lynn's persuasion and support, I broke barriers. I was the first female drummer to accompany Penn High School's Chamber choir. I was the part of the first all-female rhythm section and one of the first female jazz drummers at Manchester College. The gift of music transcended college. I performed miscellaneous gigs throughout my twenties and played with cool folk music performers such as Evie Barton, Bryan Edington, and Susan Urban. I also incorporated drumming and music in my career as a librarian, through hosting and participating in drum circles, story hours (putting drums to stories), and performances for children. Recently, in the last two years, I started performing at Cornerstone (contemporary gospel) with Steve Dahlgren, Don Martin and Kris Behr, first on conga drums and then to the drumset. It's been a positive experience. So, Mom's gift of music lives on through me. I will use this gift as long as I can use my hands and feet to perform and inspire others. Thank you, Mom.

Ratatouille

Saturday night Steve and I finally watched Ratatouille. (It had been on our Netflix list for awhile.) It's a darling movie about a rat named Remy who wants more out of life than eating out of garbage cans and stealing food. He meets a hapless garbage boy who works in a Parisian restaurant. Together they achieve their dreams and form a friendship. This movie reminds me of one of my friends who is going to follow her dreams and attend chef school this summer. She's an amazing cook (I know this first-hand) and hopefully she won't forget us when she's a famous chef somewhere! Note to self: one can be inspired by an animated rat!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sushi and Star Trek, Oh My!

I got my geek on last night and liked it! Steve purchased tickets to the premiere Star Trek movie a couple of weeks ago. He even lured me to Movies 14 with sushi and seaweed salad. (Actually, I was leaving for the theater right after work and he made sure I had dinner before the film. Probably so I wouldn't gnaw on his arm during the movie. But he's kind, he does that stuff for me all the time.) We arrived early to make sure we had back row seats so there was no chance of chair kicking. The movie wowed both of us. Loved the story line--especially the dramatic opening scene which I will not spoil for you here. It was cool to see the formative years of the two main characters of the film: Captain Kirk and Spock. The music composition (plus a Beastie Boys song--a bonus!) enhanced the movie well. The original score was used in the latter part. The actor, Zachary Quinto, who played Spock (who also plays Sylar in Heroes) convinced me he was Spock and not evil Sylar. I was concerned about the typecasting, but he proved me wrong. Chris Pine, who played Captain Kirk, had the voice like Christan Slater and the bad-boy attitude like James Dean. He convinced me as well. Be on the lookout for guest stars. In my opinion, Star Trek also appealed to mainstream audiences for two reasons: to ensure success and to lure the non-trekker into the wonderful world of Star Trek. Live long and prosper...and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Maori Proverb

A colleague and dear friend sent me a wonderful quote: Turn Your Face to the Sun and Let the Shadows Fall Behind You. -Maori Proverb I thought this was profound.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Blue Monday in Paintings: Part Two

Sky Garden--LCS/2009 This painting is entitled Sky Garden. Each flower represents one year of my life.

Blue Monday in Paintings: Part One

Artwork Side by Side--LCS/ 2009
One Blue Flower--LCS/ 2009
Blue Storms-LCS/2009
Steve, bless his heart, downloaded a plethora of photographs from my digital camera. These are paintings I've created recently in the last month or so. I am drawn to the color blue, so I use it most of the time. These are created with acrylics and my bare hands.

Finding a New Path

Two Daffodils...LCS/2009
Sunday was heavy despite the balmy weather and sunshine. After service, I picked up Steve and we traveled to Gravel Lake. I can sum up this experience in one word: surreal. We met up with family and extended family for the afternoon and dinner. Steve and I biked around the lake and a part of the trail flooded. Tadpoles even swam in the water, that's how much the road flooded. So Steve and I turned around and traveled back through the water and mud. I guess this is what this time is all about. The same path we used to take to bike is no longer accessible, so we had to turn around and find a new path. We also visited Mom at the cemetery. Except for birds chirping, the cemetery was quiet. The grass around the cemetery was green with the sun hitting the new headstone. Earlier, Dad planted grass seeds in front of the gravestone. In the background we noticed black cows and calves behind the fence; a beautiful contrast with the clover green pasture. We said goodbye for now and left in silence. Gravel Lake is a much quieter place.

Labor Day Weekend: Library, Gaming, Rock Band, and Kayaking

Isn't it interesting how a simple, one-line post on social media can inspire a person to write more about it on a blog? Yes, that is w...