Saturday, February 26, 2011

Turn on the Light!

      I am not one of those whiney winter people who incessantly talk about being ready for the beach, but today, I've met my match with grey. (Or "gray" as it's spelled in the States.)  I've lived in Louisville all of my life and therefore, am familiar with the Ohio Valley and what living in this crevice brings.  In the summer, the humidity is a constant bedfellow with the hot temperatures.  Breathing becomes inhaling "soup".  Winter in the valley here can surprise us with stalled snow systems that nestle in and dump us with record amounts.  In 1994, we received 22" of the white stuff!  No matter the season, our hometown wears the moniker of Top Allergy City.  How's that for a marketing gimmick?
     But the grey!  The constant clouds!  This year, it seems so... grey. I just looked up the average number of cloudy days here and it's 171.  Not counting the partial days.  
     Today is a Saturday.  Usually a day when people are out running errands and life seems to bustling.  I decided to escape from the house where the grey has taken up residency and fill up amid people. I bought a new cell phone case. I shopped at Target - usually a happy store for me.  Ate a healthy salad in my car with the grey skies filling all the windows.  I browsed at Barnes & Noble (my favorite guilty pleasure) sipping a free coffee and looking at spring decorating magazines.  I was planning to make another stop when I threw in the dingy towel. "I'm actually depressed!" I said aloud. My van headed home.  So, what's the answer besides move?  Buy one of those goofy sunshine lights?  
     Are you serious?  These babies cost around $140.  I'd rather spend that on chocolate and a ticket to the islands.  Besides, I can't see me sitting in front of this every day soaking in happy light without feeling ridiculous.
     Maybe if I post some photos of things I love, they might distract me.
     This is my most favorite color and makes me happy:
     This guy has made me laugh for 32 years!

     I would LOVE to travel here someday (even though they have a few gray days as well):

But, until then, I've decided to put on some rocking music that reminds me of summer nights in high school. I'm going to finish scrapbooking the photos of our cruises.  I've turned on all the lights in my office and I'm telling myself it's May in the Bluegrass state.  I may get out the summer linens and set the table.  Or inform the nut of my life (see photo of old glasses above) that we're heading out to dine.  Who knows? There may even be chocolate involved.  Beats staring at a light.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

I'm amazed that with all the available television channels, I find so little worth watching.  We've even followed ridiculous programs that show cooking competitions, truckers on perilous ice roads, dog trainers, junk collectors and wedding dress selections.  I won't even try to watch the little girls who compete in beauty contests.  Their mothers spray tanning tiny four-year-old bodies, applying false eyelashes and veneers over tiny teeth. Seriously.

All this supports my love of our DVR.  It has revolutionized television. I even use it as a verb now. "Did we DVR that?" We tape the shows we enjoy - including the stupid ones- and then watch whenever we want to be entertained or zoned out.  Wouldn't it be great if they could translate that to your glasses so that whenever you're in a boring meeting, you could watch a show without anyone knowing??  Hmm... I may be having a millionaire moment here.

One of the shows I enjoy DVRing is Sunday Morning on CBS.  Only have a few minutes to watch something worthwhile?  This show has it.  The program is 90 minutes long, but filled with several segments. Some are political, some amusing and most of them are on people, places, or objects I would never learn about otherwise. Most are followed by the signature "sun" done in various artistic ways using all kinds of mediums.  I look forward to these each week.

A few months ago, we watched a segment on Kodak Kodachrome film and it's demise. There was only one small business that developed it anymore and it was shutting down. Digital imaging has put it to rest. I remember loading film into various cameras including a Brownie, Instamatic, and later 35mm dinasaurs like my father's Lycra which needed a separate light meter. That film in the hands of talented photographers captured many images we hold dear.  Remember the haunting eyes of the girl in Afghanistan on National Geographic? 

As I type, I'm learning about Gypsy Rose Lee.  Now, that isn't a topic my coffee chicks would bring up but I'll be ready for the Jeopardy category when it surfaces.  She was born in 1911 and became the first famous stripper. Lady Gaga has nothing on her.  Not what I'd call a role model, but interesting none the less.  Up next is a story entitled "The Real Lois Lane".  From racy to reporter, this show covers it all! So, as I dress for church, I'm assured that when I have a minute to sit, I'll be entertained and educated by Sunday Morning.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Who Knew?

I was not a great student in school.  Throughout elementary and high school, my parents tired of hearing "She's not working up to her potential." I don't think that was a surprise to them after several report cards.  When I was interested, I made As.  Most of the time, I was more interested in the people around me.  And the art work on the bulletin boards, the change of seasons displayed through the windows, and what everyone in class had stored in their cigar boxes.  I wasn't even close to what is now called ADD. My "condition" was and is what I'll call Creative Observation.  I'm fascinated by people, nature and objects around us.  They used to call people like me "Dreamers."  I'll take that.  I like the quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe "Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men."

I've told my husband (who listens to me patiently trying to "get me") that I see things sometimes in a movie format.  If I were directing, how would this be shot?  What kind of lighting would it need?  Sound effects? What would be in the next scene? I suppose that explains my love of writing.  I can lose myself in the scene on paper.  I want the reader to feel as if they're in the moment.  I relish a good book that takes me there; when I can see the thunderous sky, feel the scratchy sweater or smell the bubbling stew.  I just wish I were more of a wordsmith to accomplish that.  It's fulfilling for me to try and whether my efforts travel anywhere outside this blog, I'll continue dreaming on paper.

Writing at home is usually in vain.  The phone rings, the dryer buzzes, the dog wants to go out, email consumes my time, and snacks are far too easy to divert.  But, I've found an oasis for me, a secret hide-out where I nestle in with laptop, a tall travel mug of coffee or ice-tea and a blank screen.  It's a small room at my local library that can be reserved in advance.  Free wi-fi offers me a chance to turn on gentle background music as I write and plenty of research material for my efforts.  There's a window looking out on trees and another showing library patrons in the main room.  I shut the door, put the "Reserved" sign in my window and head for destinations only my imagination creates on paper.  I'm lost.  Engulfed in a world that I create and it fills me with satisfaction.  At this point, you may think I'm a little too out there, but I ask you, "What childhood book took you to a place you remember with fondness?"  Was it fighting pirates in Peter Pan?  Traversing the woods with Winnie the Pooh?  Did you smell the grass in Little House on the Prairie or cry at the end of Old Yeller? Who wasn't mesmerized by the imagery in the  Harry Potter books?

I'm heading off to my writing hide-out now.  I've allowed myself two hours to dream today.  I'll shut the door and open my mind to all I stored there in those days of Creative Observation when I was a student of fluctuating grades.  Isn't it ironic that the room I now use at the library - the place where my mind seems to expand - is called the Study Room?  Here's hoping I work up to my potential!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hunting for Home

I recently met three of my young gal pals for coffee and a bagel in a cozy chain restaurant.  I'm always amused and greatly flattered that they include me in their invitations exclaiming, "We don't think of you as old!"  Funny thing since I'm in the same generation with their moms.  I listened as they discussed the possibility of having another baby, the dynamics of disturbing their current family cocoon and the perils of potty training.  I sipped my creamy coffee and recalled with warmth those busy days in my home. When burping cloths adorned my shoulder and My Little Pony panties charmed a training toddler.

Currently, those small children that kept me continually in a dizzying pace are now young adults and seeking a place to call their own.  My daughter, 26, just signed a one year lease for her first apartment.  She's full of excitement. Scouring websites for furniture and shower curtains, wondering how her budget will survive, deciding which wall color to choose and who to invite over first. It's a test in balance. Balancing needs and wants, friends and time, work and play and how often to head to Mom and Dad's.  I'm enjoying her anticipation.  It reminds me of days when possibilities seemed countless and life stretched so far ahead.  She'll do well.  And if we're lucky, she'll invite us over for pasta and I'll smile at the warm candles welcoming us on her table.

Our son is sleeping on a couch.  Not ours.  He wants to live in Nashville and test his dreams in music.  Along with two college buddies from the area, he lived in a wonderful renovated house downtown.  Great house, lousy neighborhood.  After one break-in (which was costly for the roomies), one attempted break-in and 2 cars with windows smashed in 2 separate incidents on the same night - they packed up and moved out.  So, for seven weeks, my twenty-two year old musician has been in his words a "gypsy" living out of his car and sleeping on a couch.  It's not that they haven't looked.  But, it's February and seven colleges in the area are still in session, so the rentals are all full.  I know that as the snow melts and temps rise, so will his chances of finding the right place.  Still, a mom hates thinking about lumpy couches cradling her kid, no matter the age.  And, it doesn't help when he texted today that he's sick.  I reminded him of the box of chicken noodle soup I sent in his last "care package".  Love in a box.

Transitions.  They can be rough at times or smooth sailing.  They're never predictable.  As they leave, I long to be the mom who hugs with a twinkling eye that says "I believe in you. Enjoy the adventure God has for you ahead." But, as I hear the door close, a piece of my heart will be still. Although both of them are looking for a place to call theirs, I'm hoping they will still think of this house when they long for home. This one has the real chicken noodle soup and a mom who's always waiting at the door.