Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Wishes and Excuses

Hi guys! Sorry, AGAIN, I'm off my posting schedule.

But, still, I'm thinking thoughts and things are happening and I'll be back soon.

In the mean time, in honor of the day, shouldn't we all do the time warp again?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

One of those daze(s)

I know! I haven’t posted in. Well, in days.

I’m sorry!

It’s just all been too much for me, this going back to work temporarily. It has thrown my life into complete chaos, this not watching Dr. Phil at 3:00 p.m. and this not sitting at my computer until noon in my PJ’s and this waking up unnaturally.

Not only that, I had to get up at FIVE a.m. Monday and travel to some place to take tests that took from 8:00 a.m. in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon to complete. Which wouldn’t have been all that bad if I hadn’t been seized, right in the middle of the whole thing, with a coughing spasm the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before in my whole life.

One minute I’m sitting there minding my own business calmly coloring in footballs with my number two pencil, and the next minute I’m coughing and hacking uncontrollably. I can’t breathe, my eyes are watering, and I can’t stop. Every time I manage to gasp in some breath, I feel like I’m finished and then…dear God, I’m not.

Of course, I couldn’t have been alone in the testing room. No! There were at least five other (unnaturally quiet, I might add) test takers there who where blessedly cough-free. No doubt they were hoping the Center for Disease Control would roar up and a team of Haz-Mat suited professionals spirit me away in some sort of hermetically sealed paddy-wagon. Heck, I was beginning to wish it.

It’s like I was Ash in “Alien” except, thankfully, nothing burst from my chest at the end. And, people, I’m not a pretty cougher (or cryer). I generally turn an alarming shade of blotchy boiled lobster red. It’s scary, I assure you.

After a while, I pulled it together and managed to complete my tests although my face remained horribly spotted and my throat really sore. Then I had to drive many miles in a rainstorm to get home, a particular pet peeve of mine (driving in rainstorms, that is).

The next day, it was, STILL, pouring rain (not that we don’t need it). After hurriedly getting ready for work, FINALLY locating an umbrella, rushing out with an ice cold Diet Coke in hand and jumping into my car, I get to work (two blocks away), leap from my car, unfurl my umbrella, and begin rushing toward the building only to realize, halfway there, that I’ve left my freshly popped elixir of life, Diet Coke, in the cup holder of my now locked car. By now many feet away. In a rainstorm. OH, THE HUMANITY! DAMN IT TO HELL!

As I’m repeating the above-referenced phrases to myself, I reach the first sheltering overhang of the building and retract my umbrella. Which, I did not realize until that moment, has a special surprise when one does this too quickly. And that is that it flings all the rain it has amassed on it’s wet, wet, surface square into one’s face.


From there, my week went downhill.

I will spare you the details, mainly because they are inappropriate for the blog, but it’s all generally related to the big question of making money to support one’s lifestyle, a subject which always makes me think of a song.

Heck, who am I kidding, damn near everything makes me think of a song.

But, anyway, this particular song, the one I’m reminded of when thinking about questions of money is, guess what, “Money” from Cabaret performed by Joel Gray and Liza Minnelli and choreographed by my hero, Bob Fosse. And so, when I begin to ponder these fiduciary issues, completely involuntarily, I always eventually just end up singing this little ditty to myself and pretty soon I’m picturing this classic number and, before I know it, just like that?

I start to feel better. You should give it a try some time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


FurGirl is no longer a half-shorn pooch. As you can see in the photo, the S-Man finished the job and she is now practically fur free. If you click on the photo for an enlargement (and probably even if you don't), you can see her pink skin peeping through what little fur she has left. If I can ever manage to get the old fur drifts up, there won't be more for a good while, praise the lord.

I think FurGirl has finally figured out the whole camera thing. She has begun looking into the lens and holding still with not too much coaxing on my part understanding, at last, that such behavior in that situation will very likely result in praise and treats. She does still have a tail, by the way, albeit one that would look more natural on a rat in its naked and decidedly un-plume-like state. It's just that she's wagging the thing so fast it has disappeared into a blur (You can't expect a FurGirl not to express her enthusiasm somehow.)

Today, with the move-in of our newest tenant, both of our downstairs apartments are officially rented and this, too, is a big relief. Since we undertook the additional renovations necessary for the units in the spring, this is the first time in a good six months that we are completely leased up. Not a minute too soon considering my currently somewhat uncertain prospects. Yay.

The S-Man and I spent last night deep into Season Three of Grey's Anatomy (warning: very outdated spoiler ahead). This show continues to impress me with its ability to make me cry almost every episode. Even when I don't want to. Even when I see it all coming.

While I thought the two-part story about the whole exploding ferry boat was a little much, I was still sucked in by Meredith's experience in afterlife limbo. Death is one of my themes (according to self exploration I undertook while reading The Artist's Way-"All that Jazz", anyone?), and I can't get enough of the dramatization of the experience. I saw the dead dog coming, but still? Loved it.

The moment Meredith broke the news to her briefly lucid mother that she was an insitutionalized Alzheimer's patient? Dear God, seriously good stuff. I felt the episode was a little stretched for content overall, but the bit with her mother dying and meeting her at the edge? Wow. Again, saw it coming, but loved it anyway.

Of course, we have our complaints. And they are named George and Izzy. What the hell is up with this story line? Both the S-Man and I remain traumatized by the sight of these two waking up together naked and hung over.

In fact, I am over George in general. His character this season has none of the endearing redeeming qualities he exhibited in seasons passed. No, George is now the Official Whiner of Gray's Anatomy and someone needs to push him down an elevator shaft or hang him from the space needle or something. There's certainly no use getting Izzy, a character that is still engaging, involved in the quagmire that is George. We'll continue to watch, but expect more bitching if this tragedy of a story line continues. 'Nuff said.

Lastly, you're probably aware of this website, but if not, you need to add it to your favorites. It is the First Chapter section of the New York Times. Here you can read the first chapters of all the great books they review. If you go there, don't expect to want to tear yourself away any time soon. This is waaaay better than browsing in the aisle at your favorite bookstore.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Gentle Rain, A Tiny Tirade, Some Links NICE is it to finally experience a night of summer rain? After, seemingly, a whole summer without it. The S-Man and I spent some time on my balcony tonight just reveling in the sound and smell, literally feeling our sinus pressure subside. Sweet relief.

This was after arriving home from a certain Global birthday dinner down the street. My gift to the birthday girl (who turned a youthful 31) was a Tiny Purse. Of course, ya'll know how I love all things tiny. And, if I owe you a gift, you can just figure right now on it being a Tiny Purse.

Well, if you're a girl, that is. And maybe even if you're not, because, I've pretty much decided it's my responsibility to see to it that everyone I know has a Tiny Purse. Something cute and somewhat flat (we don't want to add bulk to our hips, do we ladies?) with a long strap and zipper closure that you can just throw your lipstick, credit card, shine powder and cell phone in when you're on vacation or having a night on the town.

Such a purse enables one to have both hands free (if you're shopping), carry just the right (abbreviated) amount of cash or credit cards (if you're on vacation), or hit the dance floor at your favorite night spot without asking your girlfriend to eyeball your purse while you're gone (she'll forget, you know).

I mean, seriously, God forbid you carry your giant leather satchel on to the dance floor or, worse still, carry your giant leather satchel and your drink onto the dance floor. Because if you're that girl? It's all over, sister. I'm sorry. You might as well go home, put your hair up in a scrunchy, throw on some stirrup pants and nude colored knee-highs and call it a day.

Instead? Tiny Purse. Trust me on this. You can get one here if you're in the neighborhood.

Okay, where did THAT tirade come from? Oh, all right, I'll just be honest, I might have had a few drinks at the party. And it may have been champagne. And it could have possibly been the champagne I myself took to the party and then proceeded to drink damn near all by myself. So much so that my fellow party goers finally began helpfully suggesting that I just dispense with that whole pouring-the-champagne-into-the-champagne-glass step. Because, after all, it's just so TIME CONSUMING, isn't it? It's not really what you'd consider the green way to drink champagne.

Okay, enough already. I don't have time for this. I have a temporary job and various life goals.

I really just logged on to dash off a quick post with a few links.

First, praise the Lord, someone is finally filling the desperate need of the entire world to understand all about the improper use of quotation marks. It's: The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. I'm only embarrassed I didn't think of doing it myself since I have spent a lifetime being continually annoyed about the totally random, improper inclusion of quotation marks in every imaginable written communication situation. ARGH! All of you out there who have ever been similarly annoyed will weep with relief to know that somebody else in the galaxy besides yourself and a few of your friends has a working understanding of both irony and punctuation.

Last, go read this great Op-Ed piece on Al Gore by Paul Krugman of the New York Times. It's worth the jump. (Confidential to RAJ: Thanks for this link.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Keeping Up

All work and no blog makes Suz a dull girl...
All work and no blog makes Suz a dull girl...
All work and no blog makes Suz a dull girl...
All work and no blog makes Suz a dull girl...
All work and no blog makes Suz a dull girl...

Some quick bullet points for you:

-Three out of three fabulous girls agree: sharing a laptop is like wearing someone else's panties. (It just ain't right.)

-I developed a new pie: Key Lime Strawberry. It is declious and somewhat light (will post the recipe when I have more time). I have been told I should come up with an original name for the pie like those of Keri Russell's character in "The Waitress" (i.e., "Bad Baby Pie"). Anyway, the pie has a lovely lattice top and, last night, the S-Man lopped off a piece, tossed it in a bowl, smothered it in whipped topping and ate it with a spoon. This caused another of our many conflicts as I felt he wasn't showing my pretty pie the proper respect, and he responded by promptly threatening to eat the rest of the pie straight from the pie plate with a spatula. Knowing he absolutely meant it, this traumatized me into silence about the bowl and the spoon (as intended). Maybe I'll call it "Please Take my Uncivilized Husband Pie".

-I tried to watch one of my more eagerly anticipated Netflix rentals, "Crazy Love", last night, but was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch before it was over.

-For the second time in as many months, my family room TV switched itself on in the wee hours of this morning. I'm sure there is a logical explanation for this, the set is relatively new, and has many more features than we will ever understand or use. We have likely accidentally hit a button that is causing the phenom, but it is still a little spooky to be startled awake by what sounds, for all the world, like Cary Grant is carrying on a muffled conversation in the next room.

-As I suspected, I am incapable of "quick" bullet points.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hi-ho, hi-ho...'s back to work I go.

Temporarily, at least!

I'm going to try and keep up my every day blogging, but somehow, I think I may not succeed, since my temporary work assignment is full-time for the next three weeks. Good for the checkbook, bad for the on-line musings.

I was going to write a pithy post about the photo at left, but under the circumstances, I'll just say that the S-Man, fed up with the amazing girth and ever increasing number of fur-drifts blowing around every room and staircase in the house, finally broke down and ordered a set of professional doggie shearing clippers.

Shearing a fully coated Golden, however, proved more time consuming than he had anticipated, and his first shearing session yielded only the partially shaven FurGirl you see in the photo. After a full hour's work, he only succeeded in shearing off her back. A tackier blogger might be making all sorts of comparisons between, say, his head and her back. But ya'll know I'm not that blogger.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Yesterday at Aphrodite

I had a fantastic day at Aphrodite Gallery yesterday. Designer Julie Shaw put me to work on "Second Saturday", the biggest shopping day of the month for Lowertown galleries.

It's always a pleasure to be near Julie's yummy one-of-a-kind designs, not to mention the rest of her gallery that is chock full of gorgeous glassware, ceramics, jewelry from designers across the country, scarves, purses, gifts, and, beginning last night, a show of local artist, EJ Abell's, whimsical and unique work.

Check here for a partial listing of the goings-on and, if you didn't join in the fun this month, mark your calendar for Saturday, November 10th when you can hit Lowertown yourself and begin some serious crossing off on your Christmas list. Afterwards, you can self-righteously congratulate yourself that it isn't even Thanksgiving and you've made progress. You'll be so together that you won't be able to stand yourself.

But, really, shopping is only half the fun at Second Saturday, the other half being seeing and being seen. Practically the whole Paducah internet sashayed in and out at one time or another. I met shoppers from as far away as Laguna Beach California and got tips on the best way to wear a scarf, where to find psychic radio, and had my past, present and future foretold, and learned that, yes, Virginia, you can get braces to correct your pet Chiuaua's overbite.

Most exciting of all, however, was unexpectedly meeting Paducah's newest star resident (photo above), Kenn Gray. Tall, blonde, and oozing fabulousness and star power from every pore, a casual murse slung over a shoulder, Kenn told Julie and I that he decided to relocate to Paducah after a visit to the Carson Center to see a friend's performance. Surprised at what he considered a little town with a "whole lot of charm", Kenn made the decision to relocate to Paducah from Boston to be closer to his family in Tennessee.

Gray has purchased a house here and plans to open a gallery there where he will showcase his work. He is a painter as well as a jewelry and interior designer. Otherwise, Gray is the star of 13 episodes of "Travel Spies" on the Travel Channel, and has also appeared in "This Amazing House" and "Chronicle". Folks, this is a guy the Boston Globe dubbed "Boston's Style Guru".

That's right, move over William Sledd! There's a new diva in the hizzy!

But, seriously, Kenn is a heck of a nice guy and really is completely new to this area. If you see him, say hello (he's very easy to talk to), and tell him you learned all about him here. I'm counting on Kenn being understanding about my nabbing that photo from his website. I didn't have my camera with me yesterday, and know my readers that can't follow my links would want to put a face with the fabulousness.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Don't bother...

I'm off to help out at a Lowertown gallery today, so no use hanging around here today. You need to read this.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gore Watch: The Nobel Prize

He attended Harvard, and wrote his thesis on the impact of television on the presidency. Enlisted in the army and served in Vietnam as an army journalist (despite personal opposition to the war). Played drums in a rock band called "The Wildcats" and included a Beatles medley in his wedding ceremony. Served two terms in the House of Representatives. Authored a bestselling book on the environment, "Earth in the Balance" while serving in the Senate. Was, by Bill Clinton's own admission, the most "powerful Vice President in history" serving the Clinton administration as chief advisor during his two terms as Vice President. Won the 2000 presidential election. Is the subject of an Oscar winning documentary. Won an Emmy. May actually love his wife. Hosted SNL.

And, has now won the Nobel Prize.

Yet, still, he won't run.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

JLo Bump Watch '07

To be honest, I'm not a JLo fan. But since I'm not feeling like writing today, as a follow-up to a recent post in which I included a link to a JLo fugging, I'm posting this video of what looks, for all the world, like a REEEally pregnant JLo. TMZ is reporting that it's twins.

I can't imagine why they're holding off this long on making an announcement. Maybe she's planning to actually shoot the child(ren) from her womb in a perfectly choreographed dance routine at the VMA awards thus trumping, once and for all, the coverage that damn Affleck baby scored.

Online Videos by

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

True Grace

You may have noticed in the sidebar that I’m reading the latest biography on Grace Kelly, “True Grace”. It’s not the first book I’ve read about her. I have a lifelong fascination with the actress similar to the one I have for Jackie Kennedy.

“Rear Window” is one of those movies that I’m simply incapable of passing up when channel surfing. Hitchcock, the master of suspense, and one of the great directors of all time, absolutely outdoes himself with this film. It is perfectly constructed and cast, with not a single unnecessary scene, eventually building to almost unbearable suspense.

Hitchcock’s attraction for the “cool blonde” type of woman is legendary and, in my opinion, Grace, more than any other actress he cast (Tippi Hedron or Kim Novak or Janet Leigh or Ingrid Bergman) perfectly embodies the type. “Dial M for Murder” is for me only slightly less fabulous than Rear Window.

I never tire of watching the scene I posted above. It is the famous kiss that introduces Kelly into the “Rear Window” action some twenty minutes into the film. It’s just…magic. And Hitch’s longest running close-up of anyone ever.

The thing about Grace is, beneath her cool persona; beat the heart of a very passionate and remarkably free spirited woman for the time. I wouldn’t have thought this was a gal who could give the all-time boom-boom champ, Marlene Dietrich, a run for her money. But guy for guy? I’m beginning to wonder (though Grace did not share Marlene’s bent toward bi-sexuality which, let's face it, narrows the field by half).

So, of course, I knew you guys would want the condensed version of what I’ve learned so far. Here’s a partial, mind you, first-half list of Grace’s romantic liaisons:

Gary Cooper during the filming of High Noon. I must say, I don’t “get” Gary Cooper. I mean, okay, he was rugged and masculine. Whatever.

JFK. Grace’s father, Jack Kelly, and JFK’s father, Joe, were fast friends and co-womanizers. Both Irish-Catholic, rich, successful, powerful and well-connected, they had much in common. It is perhaps not surprising that their kids, Jack and Grace would get together at some point. After all, we know Jack wasn’t one to pass up quality tail. It didn’t go on for long, but Jackie knew about it and never could stand Grace for that reason. When Grace and Rainier made a state visit to the Kennedy White House, Jackie barely spoke to Grace and downgraded what would have normally been a state dinner to just a luncheon. It is said Jackie could do a dead-on exaggerated imitation of Grace’s Rear Window performance and never hesitated to trot it out for friends just any old time. Later, after Jack’s death, when Grace tried to pay a condolence visit on Jackie, Jackie refused to see her.

Bing Crosby. Grace wanted to marry Bing, but Grace’s rival for the position was Bing’s eventual second wife, Kathryn, who turned out to be more competition than Grace bargained for. The night Grace won the Oscar for her performance in “Country Girl”; she celebrated by giving that year’s Oscar winner for Best Male performance in a leading role a tumble. He was…

Marlon Brando: MEEowww. Bing Crosby was surprised to find Marlon in Grace’s bungalow at Chateau Mar mount on Oscar night. Surprised and pissed. It all ended up with Marlon cleaning Bing’s clock, which, face it, wasn’t much of a challenge for the young Adonis.

Clark Gable: Grace just couldn’t get enough of older men, likely the result of her difficult relationship with her father. She met Clark on the set of Mogambo, which was filmed on location in Africa under extremely difficult circumstances: bugs, heat, only tents to live in, and raging sexual urges. Ava Gardener, the female lead in the film, was at the time busy driving her then husband, Frank Sinatra, bat sh!t by running hot and cold on the marriage, ending a pregnancy with Frank’s baby, and having affairs with matadors. While Grace was immediately smitten with Clark, Clark was finding Ava the far more interesting woman on location. Clark settled for Grace only after the sassy Ava made it clear she wasn’t interested. The affair between Grace and Clark lasted only as long as the shoot after which Clark dropped Grace like a sack of rocks. The friendship that developed between Ava and Grace lasted until Grace’s death.

Other Royal Bedmates: Prince Aly Khan and The Shah of Iran. (I’m getting tired. Are you getting tired? This is, seriously, tiring.). Both Aly Khan and the Shah gifted Grace with outrageously extravagant jewelry. Grace’s mother was appalled and pressed Grace to return the pieces, but Grace refused. Eventually, on the eve of her wedding to Rainier, she would gift the jewelry to her bridesmaids, feeling it was inappropriate to keep such pieces after she became a wife.

Ray Milland. Grace’s co-star in Dial M for Murder 24 years her senior. This little dalliance almost cost Grace her career. Milland’s 30-year marriage to wife, Muriel, was at the time a Hollywood institution—today’s equivalent would be Angelina Jolie moving in on Paul Newman. Once the affair with Milland came to light, all of Hollywood including powerful gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper, rallied around Muriel Milland.

Oleg Cassini: Possibly Grace’s most serious relationship outside Rainier. Cassini, a dashing Italian fashion designer was, incredibly, straight, charming, handsome, and enough older than Grace to satisfy her ‘daddy’ complex. Grace met Cassini toward the end of her relationship with Ray Milland and assured the besotted Oleg that she was in love with Milland and not interested in pursuing another relationship. Undeterred, Cassini began anonymously sending her red roses, confessed after ten days, and charmed her into a date. Eventually, they would become engaged and Grace pregnant with his child. Grace’s father, however, objected strenuously to the marriage and Grace would end both the pregnancy and the relationship largely in response to her parent’s objections. Cassini would go on to become Jackie Kennedy’s favorite designer responsible almost entirely for developing the “Camelot” look.

William Holden. During the filming of “The Bridges of Toko Ri”. William is another guy I don’t “get”. So, yah, she did William Holden. Whatever.

A couple of guys she didn’t sleep with were Howard Hughes, who was infatuated with Grace, but in whom Grace had absolutely no interest. She did not conquer Jimmy Stewart, but unlike Hughes, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Grace flirted with Jimmy shamelessly during the filming of Rear Window and he flirted back, driving Jimmy’s wife, Gloria, absolutely wild. Jimmy remained faithful, however, and the attraction never progressed.

Which brings us, mostly, up to speed, at least with Grace’s more famous conquests, to the time of her first meeting Rainier when she was all of 26 years old.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Some Fugs for You (and a video)

I have no time to write today, so I'll just share with you some especially amusing fugs from one of my favorite internet sites Go Fug Yourself. People, if this site is not in your everyday faves, you need to add it this minute.

Anyway, here are a few recent fugs that I really enjoyed: First David Guest. Few people were as disappointed as I when the freak merger of all time that was Liza and David's marriage went south. Although, it was almost worth it when Guest went on Larry King live and claimed he had been spousally abused when Liza beat him about the face and neck. Because, honestly, if anyone needs to be beaten about the face and neck? It's David Guest. If only there was video.

Next, it's JLo. The Fug Girls, while funny most all the time, have a special gift for fugging Jennifer Lopez and her little vampire husband.

Lastly, Christine Ebersole visted not only Paducah, but William Sledd's bedroom. Here's the resulting video on why sweat shorts are okay (in case you are lost in the forrest) (?).

Sunday, October 07, 2007


We've managed to take in Season one of the Showtime series, Dexter, at warp speed. I can't say I completely in LOVE with this show, but the like is pretty strong. I mean, who can resist a show about your friendly neighborhood serial killer? Especially one as smokin' hot as Michael C. Hall? By the way, am I the only person that is driven crazy by the fact that the actor (Devon Graye) that plays the teenaged Dexter is a dead ringer for Scarlott Johanssen? Look:

Is it just me?

The photo at the top of the post is one I took at the Pennyrile State Forest yesterday (click for a larger version). Those are minnows swimming just below the surface of Lake Brashear. The photo is enhanced only with the standard correction: auto levels, color and contrast. I like the original image, but I love the enhanced version. It looks like a science experiment, doesn't it?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Two of My Favorite People

First off, you have to check out the iDate of the Week THIS MINUTE (SFW). One of my favorite bloggers and bestest friends, not to mention kinfolk, is featured. Along with being a raging feminist (it runs in the family!), she also finds the time to create Flavor Profiles. Yes, we are a clan of diverse interests and hot, sexy contradictions. We will bring home the chicken, fry it up in a pan and then, if you're very, very lucky, possibly allow you to feed it to us.

Christa and I also share a passion for creative reality shows. Her recent love affair with Top Chef and mine with Design Star are well documented in our blogs. Happily, our interests will converge with Season 4 of Project Runway which, since she has taken pity on me in my Bravo-channel-less state, we will watch together at her place. Yay!! I expect blogging and drinking of adult beverages to ensue.

Otherwise, following my September 19 post encouraging support for Al Gore to make another run at the White House, I myself sent him a letter. And, yesterday, I got my reply (printed on recycled paper, natch):

I have to say, Al is either absolutely not interested in running or is doing the most effective job of playing hard to get ever.

I'm beginning to lean toward the former.

Considering his experience being robbed of the 2004 election, who can blame him? This has got to be a guy, on some level, with some serious doubts about the political process in this county. Still, he took defeat like a man, took some time off, grew a beard, taught school, then shaved the beard, and reemerged as a global crusader.

Well played, Al. Well played.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Farmer's Wife

I had a great, if long, day yesterday. Lunch with friends, a fantastic dinner with family, job hunting and family visitation in between, and finally, a very naughty all night movie watching session. It all just makes me wonder how in the world I can possibly shoehorn a job into a life already so full.

My checkbook reminds me I'll be finding a way. Heh.

I recently found myself in the unusual position of having mailed back every Netflix movie I had in the house before receiving a single replacement. For a sane person, this would mean...oh, I don't know...maybe NOT watching a movie for a while? Say, a day? For me, however, this just means a quick trip to the library to hunt the non-fiction shelves (primarily) and some no-cost movie viewing. One of my few bad habits that dovetails nicely with my current budget (Dear Ben Franklin: I love you, man!).

I continue to be surprised at the movie availability at our little library, especially the documentary selection. I noticed, for instance, that 51 Birch Street is on the shelf already. Also, I recently breathlessly watched The Staircase courtesy of the library. Somebody knows what they are doing. And, frankly, in this town? I'm surprised they are getting away with it. I make it a habit to tell the library staff how appreciative I am at the check-out desk.

My most recent library selection, and the one that kept me kept me glued to the TV into the wee hours of this morning, was The Farmer's Wife. The film, from PBS Frontline, tells the quiet but desperate story of Darrell and Juanita Buschkoetter, a young Nebraska couple, as they struggle to eek out a living by farming a small, leased plot of land in Nebraska. The film covers three years in the lives of the Buschkoetters (pronounced "Bush-cutter") from 1995-1997.

Perhaps more than any other documentary I've seen, awareness of the camera on the part of the subject family (that includes three elementary school aged girls) just completely fades away.

We see the girls cooking their first batch of mac and cheese for their Mom's birthday dinner, listen as an exhausted Juanita and Darrell talk in bed at the end of long days when the couple has put in an almost super human amount of work only to find themselves, at one point, in a position to qualify for food stamps.

We are there when the couple has to borrow money from the FHA to finance the year's crop and and there when they meet with their creditors to ask for extensions on their loans. We listen as the couple both separately and together try to reconcile the difficult reality of their day-to-day lives with the idealistic dreams of their courtship.

We are there when the doubt creeps in: him about her, her about him. We are there when he understands why she is so tired, we are there when she listens to him vent. Again. We are there when the patience runs out.

While there are segments of the movie that find Darrell and Juanita face-to-face with the camera, there are no questions from the film maker(s). It is the words of the Buschkoetters alone that tell the story. And tell it they do, without a trace of self consciousness or hesitation.

Ultimately, the film is a naked portrait of a relationship. A relationship facing the overwhelming struggle for a way of life that is fast fading away. No special effects, just real life. The biggest drama of all.

You can view the first hour or so of The Farmer's Wife here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Road to Grandma's

I've been spending a lot of time lately in southern Illinois. I took the photo above, on a whim, from my car, actually. That is the last stretch of road before my Grandma's house. Just around the bend in the distance is the first outbuilding on the farm.

It occurred to me just now while I was browsing through my pictures that this place, this road and Grandma's house, is the most constant location of my life.
And these days, when everything sort of seems up in the air, it is especially nice to know that one place, at least, hasn't changed.