Saturday, October 29, 2005

The fog

Images from a foggy Saturday morning. I'm not sure my camera captures the magical mistiness of it all.

(I loves me some fog.)


Thursday, October 27, 2005


Okay, so help me out here, you’ve been dating Miss Nobody from Planet Nowhere for six months and you’re clearly in a manic phase having fallen in love after finishing your dinner salad on your first date, morphing into face-sucking paparazzi hemorrhoid, and proceeding to act like a coked up Hari Krishna about the whole situation, like, EVERY DAY since, pissing off Brooke Shields in your spare time, and then just going ahead on and proposing matrimony ON TOP OF THE EFFIEL TOWER (I guess the space shuttle was booked). And after all that, even though you’re Tom Cruise and stuff, you STILL CAN’T talk your girlfriend into the media circus wedding you envision (I’m thinking Minelli/Guest here).

So, you know, WHAT'S A FREAK TO DO?

Oh, I don’t know, could it be, let’s see now….


GREAT idea!

Seriously, somebody needs break out the tranquilizer gun. Or call Pat Kingsley.

(Let's hope Katie doesn't struggle with the post-partum blues. Otherwise Tom would just be forced to chain her up in the wine cellar until she gets better, I guess.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


While I love having all the plants on the porch in the summer, there's something just delightfully decadant about having big, lush plants in the house over the winter, isn't there? Decadent and sort of retro, don't you think? Sort of a seventies feel? While I'd love to take credit for it, pictured here is Satan's collection of avocado trees he grew from seed.

That IS my favorite lamp that I found at a downtown antique store. I adore the original 1950's caketop shade and, better yet, I got it for a steal. That isn't the original base, however. The original base was a much groovier black wavy ceramic affair that Satan knocked off an end table when his pointy tail accidentally caught on it. It was all very upsetting. He did rush out and buy me the replacement base you see, but it's never been quite the same. *sniff*

Anyway, I have a point here. As I know some of you are aware, November is "Nanowrimo". Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. Please go check out the website. The concept is simple: overcome writer's block, insecurity, doubt, fidgeting, procrastination, navel gazing, cerebral constipation, hysteria and all the other horrible maladies associated with writing by committing to pounding out a novel during the month of November. The website is all about support, challenges, advice, and generally just getting you through the experience (no cost involved, tho donations are welcomed). A huge number of people across the country participate. Submitting your work at the end is so very optional. There are various satellite locations that participate furnishing space for people to come together for "write-ins". There will be such a place in my very own neighborhood. How fun is that? I mean, first liquor on Sunday's and now this? Shazam.

Actually, some of us have discussed (on a notify list) the fact that we don't have the laptop that would actually be required for a write-in (does anybody write with a legal pad and number two pencil anymore? Because I'd just as soon open a vein) and so, in our case, these events might be more social support than anything. Technically, the deadline for signing up is October 1st, but I'm not so sure you still can't get in and there's certainly nothing preventing us from giving it a go idependently.

I don't know, it kinda sounds like fun.

All except for the writing part.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My first Spillover

I got turned on to reading online journals back in 1998, when I got my first home computer. A good friend of mine (hi Jeanna), told me of a few she liked to read. Before I knew it, “checking in” became habit.

I seldom, if ever, communicate with the journalers I read, though I have sent an e-mail or two on a few irresistible occasions. Mostly, I just like to keep up with people, people who are good writers in particular. And that’s really the only thing the journalers I read have in common with each other, the good writing part. One is a young mother, one a young father, one a writer in Hollywood, one a grant writer at a university in the east, a magazine editor in Chicago, a thirty-something animal lover in Baton Rouge, a columnist in Minnesota, a former dirt company employee in California.

So this morning, as per usual, after slipping a frosty diet coke into the hugger, firing up the PC and checking out the local and national news, I begin zipping thru my favorite journals. When I came upon Secra's journal and she still hadn't updated, I did something I hardly ever do. Without a second thought for some reason, I opened an e-mail window and sent her an e-mail, "Update the journal please!". I mean, heck, how else am I supposed to know how the new job is going? Sheesh.

Not too much later, my constantly ringing phone rang again. I have caller i.d. and I noted a far away area code and unfamiliar tag as I picked up. "Hmm", I thought. "This is Suz", I said. "Hi, this is Secra!", came the reply.

Now, people. THIS was a strange sensation. And a first for me. Maybe everybody else has met a million people online and then in person, but it's never happened to me before.

This unfamiliar voice from so far away was, at the same time, so familiar. I mean, I've read Secra's journal for, what, three years? More? I was there when her husband proposed, I remember her wedding, I know how many children she has, I know she's a bike rider many other things. I mean, I know Secra. Or at least I know the on-line version of her. In just a moment I realized that the e-mail I had sent contained my auto signature with all my contact information, complete with phone numbers. I think I did have the presence of mind to ask how the job was going. And, actually, we plunged into a conversation that, looking back on it, two people who've never heard each other's voices just shouldn't be having.

We didn't talk long...she had things to do and I was probably not making much sense anyway, grappling as I was with the extreme juxtaposition of familiar and unfamiliar. It was quite a sensation. And an unexpected pleasure.

Thanks for calling, Secra. And don't wait so long between updates, okay?


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sweet Relief?

I was fascinated to read recently the cover article in this month's "Atlantic Monthly" on Abraham Lincoln called "Lincoln's Great Depression". According to the article, Lincoln suffered most of his life from an almost crippling case of severe depression. The article goes so far as to say that Lincoln's depressesion was so severe that it would have prevented him from seeking and holding office today.

I've always been a fan of Lincoln's having grown up in only two states Lincoln called home: Illinois and Kentucky. My elementary school classes made the pilgramage to Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois seemingy every other year (tiny furniture), and I made the trip to New Salem, Illinois, the town where Lincoln began his career as a young lawyer more than once with my family. Fortunately, I was a willing participant in these trips and always found Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd (a Louisville gal), fascinating subjects of study. Back then, I even checked out and read a couple of school library books on Lincoln's life. Nowhere in any of my studies either in school or independent, was there any mention that Lincoln's mental state may have been less than normal.

I was amazed to learn, from the article, that Lincoln even contemplated suicide. It reads: "As a young man he talked more than once of suicide, and as he grew older he said he saw the world as hard and grim, full of misery, made that way by fate and the forces of God. "No element of Mr. Lincoln's character", declared his colleague Henry Whitney, "was so marked, obvious and ingrained as his mysterious and profound melancholy." His law partner William Herndon said, "His melancholy dripped from him as he walked.""

Eventually, Lincoln learned to at least manage his sadness, by telling and listening to jokes and clever stories and reciting poetry. Also, prophetically, Lincoln felt he had a destiny to fulfill. But mostly, Lincoln developed the ability to grimly hold on to his equilibrium while the internal storm raged on inside him. It was this ability, the article theorizes, that made him capable of sustaining the vision of a united country when so often during his presidency, it all seemed hopeless.

My point is that this information caused me to completely rethink what I have always considered to be one of the great tragedies of human history: Lincoln's assassination at the Ford Theater. Considering all the mental anguish Lincoln endured throughout his life which could only have been compounded by the deaths of two out of three of his children and the subsequent insanity of his already unstable wife...maybe, just maybe, the assassination was destiny's way of letting Lincoln off the hook. Maybe Lincoln had fully realized his considerable potential, been of great service to his fellow man, and his suffering needed to end. Right then.

You never know.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tiny Bubbles

A couple of years ago, without warning, Satan and I were seized with what I can only call Tiny Fever (or, alternatively, a bad case of the Yuletide Tinies). Specifically, we suddenly and without warning became obsessed with acquiring and displaying a tiny Christmas village. At the time, I had recently quit smoking so face it…I was just plain loony, probably too much oxygen to the brain. I’m not sure what Satan’s excuse was.

But, anyway, there we were in the seasonal section of Walmart, having a conversation that went like, “Did you get a tiny post office”? “No, what do you think about the tiny fire station?” “We DO HAVE a tiny city hall, right?” “Yes, we DEFINITELY need the tiny post office; how many buildings do we have so far?” “Ten.” “How ‘bout you give up the tiny drug store for the tiny post office?” “NO WAY, the tiny drug store STAYS”, “How ‘bout you put the tiny school house back?” “Like you can even HAVE a tiny Christmas village without the tiny schoolhouse, what are you, NUTS?”, etc.

By the time it was all over, our kids were amazed to find on display on the deep shelf of our bay window that year, a tiny glowing Christmas village complete with fire station, city hall, AND tiny schoolhouse. They were basically like, “Wha…?” And we were all, “We’re not sure how it happened”.

Since then, we’ve learned to avoid the “tiny Christmas village” aisle at Walmart or any other store. In fact, we don’t even speak of the Tiny Christmas Village Incident. If we DO pass an unavoidable tiny Christmas display we both experience a little shiver. We’ve never again actually displayed the tiny Christmas village. And, I really thought we were going to be okay. Until I went to Walmart this weekend.


That’s right, TINY PUMPKINS.

I tried to walk away, I really did. But resistance was futile.

When Satan saw them, he was all superior. Rolled his eyes in response to my question as to whether or not he’d noticed them. And for him I only have one question, “Who wants a Mini-Cooper, huh?”

Stop us before we Tiny again.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Encampment and a Review

Satan and I made our usual pilgrimage to The Encampment just across the river this weekend. I was supremely annoyed that the temperature was NEARLY EIGHTY DEGREES at what is usually a cool fall event. Nevertheless, I wore my corduroys and hiking boots.

Whether because of the weather or maybe because there were just SO MANY people, we didn't seem to enjoy ourselves quite as much as usual. We were distressed to learn the "apple crisp" people weren't there. And we ALWAYS look foward to a sickeningly sweet cinamonny apple crisp.

Othwerwise, the usual vendors were there with their wares. Satan's love affair with the split oak basket continues. And they are beautiful:

After that, we returned home for an early dinner and set out walking to the cinema. You'll be happy to know the temperature was by then a seasonally appropriate 70 degrees. The movie du jour was the much-anticipated next Bill Murray offering: Broken Flowers.

First off, let me just say, it's a great premise. Fifty-something womanizer receives mysterious letter informing him he has an eighteen year old son who may be trying to look him up. No signature, no return address. Bill shares the letter with his quirky neighbor, Basquiat (or the actor that played him) who just happens to be an amateur sleuth. Basquiat persuades Bill to make a list of the women who could possibly have had his child. Basquiat then produces a list of said candidate's whereabouts complete with trip itenerary, map quest maps, car rentals, and plane reserverations.

Tell me, who wouldn't want to go along on this quest? Obviously, the candidate roles are some juicy oppportunities for fifty-something actresses, something as rare as hen's teeth in Hollywood these days, and some heavy hitters step up to the plate. Sharon Stone and Jessica Lange, to name a few. These vignettes are definitely worth the price of admission.

Satan and I were conflicted about our rating. We finally settled on 3.5 stars out of 5. It had ELEMENTS of a four star, but in the end didn't quite satisfy to that extent. I think Bill Murray is in danger of becomming a caricature of himself, relying a little too heavily these days on the trademark Bill Murray "deadpan reaction" to everything as well as zingy one-liners followed by the patented "ironic lip curl". While we've loved these devices in the past, they begin to wear a little thin here. Satan summed up the theory by saying Murray may "run the gamut from A to D", with all due respect to Dorothy Parker. In other words: possible limited range problems. POSSIBLE. Because, make no mistake, we WANT to like Bill Murray. We want to LOVE Bill Murray and we want him to continue making successful movies.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Home Again

Sorry for the long absence. When I started this blog I had hoped it would be as near daily as possible. I have a semi-good excuse. I went to a work conference in Louisville. Which SHOULD be good news journal-wise except I FORGOT MY CAMERA. I was about thirty miles out of town when I came to the realization and darn near turned back.

So, no pictures from the trip.

I spent three days in the Galt House soaking in the latest state-wide HR buzz and WAY too much food. I had the good fortune to have dinner with my great friend Kim who good-naturedly took some time out for me when I gave her the big hi-surprise-i'm-in-town-for-five-minutes-want-to-have-dinner? call. We enjoyed an over-priced but tasty meal at Kuntz's not the least of which was taken up by a discussion of just HOW one arrives at the conclusion that Kuntz's is, like, THE BEST possible name for your wonderful new restaurant. We reasoned something a little less anatomically reminescent would be more in order. We also discussed the perplexing problem of distance as you get older. I mean, in your twenties you practically live and sleep with your good friends and by your forties you're wondering if you should even bother them to have dinner with you and they are wondering if they really want to go. As Yule Brenner would say, "It's a puzzlement".

After dinner, we walked up fourth street to Border's and enjoyed two excellent cups of chai tea al fresco. It was the perfect crisp fall night. I proclaimed that chai tea tastes exactly like liquid Christmas. Think about it. Kim promised to come for a visit to see the new place and I'M HOLDING HER TO THAT.

Oh, one moment for a book on CD recommendation: "Never Change" by Elizabeth Berg. I enjoyed it both to and from Louisville. Very good audio read.

I arrived home to find my new Diamond Flyer Todd Oldham couch had arrived:

Isn't it the most (to say the least)? You might, very reasonably, conclude that the plan is for the new couch to go into the red family room but actually I'm planning to place it in the living room and move the incredibly comfortable sectional into the family room for TV watching.

If you haven't visited my good friend Todd Oldham's portion of the Lazy Boy website, you really should. Todd has really got this whole "retro" thing covered with a line of furniture that has the most incredibly vast choices of fabrics and finishes that I think I've ever seen. The site is really interractive too so you can try out all those fabrics, etc. on the piece of your choice as you watch. I've never been a fan of Lazy Boy (quite the opposite in fact), but I've got to hand it to them in this case. To top it all off, it's some of the most affordable stuff out there.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Good-bye Columbus

Is anyone bored with these endless family room posts? Anyone...anyone? Okay, well. This is likely the last one. As you see there, Satan is approximately two-thirds finished laying the floating laminate floor that will take the place of the ugly subfloor. Those little black things you see at intervals along the base board are spacers keeping a little bit of room between the new floor and the wall. When finished, those spacers will be removed, the floor will indeed "float", and we'll install painted quarter-round molding all along the bottom.

I've had a lovely nearly four-day weekend, with today being day four, Columbus Day. Yes, there are still those of us who actually still score a day off on this obscure holiday. My Dad came for a visit yesterday and left just now. I submitted to the obligatory barbecue sandwich (Dad's favorite food) yesterday and narrowly missed complete carb overload at the doughnut shop this morning when I persuaded Dad to drive on by rather than stop for breakfast. He settled for your basic old fashioned breakfast at an old local haunt. He enjoyed grits, I enjoyed country ham. We both, I fear, may have been a little worse for the grease.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Top Coat

And there you have it, the finished product. For anyone who is counting, that is two coats of daredevil and one coat of pepto bismal. Next up: the floor.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A brisk walk. Finally.

Tonight marks our first brisk fall walk of the season, sweater required. All summer, Satan picks blossoms for me on our night walks, and tonight he picked what will probably be the last blooms on the day lilies. Bring on the fall.

I continue to be immersed in a book on CD--TEN CD's to be exact--that I checked out of the library called "The Red Tent". The book is, essentially, historical fiction which I have a penchant for, and dramatizes and expands on the story of a character in the bible, Dinah, Jacob's daughter by his wife Leah, who is mentioned only in passing in Genesis. The book is an imagining of what her life as a woman in biblical times would have been like. It has taken me three weeks to get through the first six CD's listening on my way to and from work on on my usual short day-to-day errands and trips. More than a few times, it has held me in my car in the driveway until the end of a chapter. I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying this one.

Today was my last day of work. I have a four-day weekend to look forward to. I need it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Until Next Year

I'm memorializing my porch with a picture here. In a few short weeks, we'll have to move all the plants indoors. Despite my longing for sweater weather and corduroys, I will miss my lush little balconey being the green growing oasis it has been since spring. This year, for the first time, I realized my dream of a) having a real live porch (even better is a second floor porch) and b) having a large boston fern hanging from the roof of said southern dream porch. All spring and summer I have had the pleasure of sipping adult beverages with various friends and satan as well as deliciously alone in my very own cozy semi-secret perch above the street. It's been wonderful.

Not to be outdone, Satan has his own porch and his own (somewhat inferior) plants. The design of the building is such that we have two porches. I was in fact standing on Satan's porch when I snapped the picture you see here. More often than not, we porch-sit on one balconey or the other together, but there are those times when you just need your own porch. And, sometimes, you need to co-sit on separate balconies and make faces and obsene hand gestures at one another. Occasionally, objects must be hurled with alarming force from one balconey to the other at someone or another's head. But only occasionally.

My tip of the day: never cook chicken in the crockpot on the "high" setting. I learned this the hard way yesterday when I unexpectedly morphed into Martha Steward mode and zipped home on my lunch hour to toss a lovely plump chicken stuffed with apples and celery in to the crock. The recipe called for 6-8 hrs. on "low". I reasoned since I wanted the chicken ready in only four hours the "high" setting would be appropriate. Not so much. What I found in the crockpot upon returning home no longer resembled a chicken. Unless the chicken was the victim of an especially catastrophic road kill. Conveniently, the meat no longer required chewing, but simply dissolved into broth upon hitting the palatte. Furgirl became the happy beneficiary.

In other news...the family room WILL require a second coat of daredevil. It's taken me a couple of days to admit this to myself. Friday is the unhappy day. After that, Satan will embark upon phase B of the family room transformation and lay a light maple floating floor. I will post photos of that process as well.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Daredevil: The Reddening

A very bland before:

A very vivid after:

I think I need to break away from these wimpy color choices, no?

The paint is actually still wet in that after shot. You can see the reflection of the lamp in the paint on the wall. This fabulous color transformation only took me eight short hours of work. That's right: four hours per coat. What I lack in speed I make up for in precision.

A true vivid red is not the easiest color to achieve as I learned at my Home Depot. I had to prime the walls with a god-awful shade of Pepto Bismal pink (sorry, was too traumatized to take a photo). What you see here is the primer and one coat of dare devil. The jury is still out on whether or not I'll need a second (four hour) coat. The smart money says yes.

Satan, in a very non-satany act of mercy, is washing out my roller for me as I post this.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

In Which I Hear a Symphony

I had a lovely evening, having accepted a generous invitation from my aunt Mary Ellen and cousin Christa to accompany them to a symphony performance. We dined outside on the lower deck of a popular downtown seafood restaurant. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. At dinner we became so engaged in our conversation on skinny relatives, cults, bazaar piano lessons, and cameras (guess who introduced that subject) that we nearly missed the performance. We scooted into our seats just in time, narrowly escaping a stern reprimand from The Maestro.

The concert featured a special appearance by this gentleman:

the Amazing Kreskin of the piano. Okay, so the guy's name really isn't Kreskin. I'm happy to report he COULD play a mean piano concerto, even though he did so in a near standing position. It was awfully strange.