Friday, December 19, 2014

Serial (contains spoilers)

 Did you get hooked? I did. But like a lot of things, I was late to the game. Someone told me about it in the beginning and I kept thinking about tuning in and catching up. In the end, I didn't get around to it until it was nearly over. So, just like what we sometimes do with TV seasons when we watch an entire season at in a weekend, for about three days, I" binge listened" to Serial. I alternated between listening on my ipad and my phone. I took notes. I can't help it. I am a note taker. It helps me both remember and process what I'm hearing. And still, I want to go back and listen to the entire series again. Don't you?
 I loved the way Sarah Koenig talked to us. She seemed honest and open. There was talk about how journalists shouldn't have feelings about what they are reporting on and Sarah's response was something like "we'll, we aren't machines." Sarah investigated this murder case, but also allowed us to experience how she felt along the way. And then, if you weren't getting how she felt, she would sum it up in the next sentence for us. We were literally, along for the ride. In episode five when Sarah and Dana start out at the school and drove to the Best Buy - in twenty minutes - we were along. Kind of like "isn't this fun?" And the phone calls to Adnan - I loved those. My favorite part of the intro every episode was "this is a call from Adnan Sayed, an inmate at a Maryland correctional facility."
The other player I really loved was Deidre Enright - I know someone whose voice sounds like Deidre (and, amazingly, she is an attorney, too). I loved how Deidre spoke - I love the last time we heard from her how when Sarah called her Deidre sang out "Sarah!" Isn't it great that her students (the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law) are going to get some DNA testing, FINALLY?
I have family in Maryland who live very near to where many places were referenced in the story. I've passed Patapsco State Park many times. (Was there really a trip to Patapsco/the cliffs?)
Many act as if this serial storytelling is a new concept. Isn't that what was going on when our parents and grandparents gathered around the radio to listen to stories in the days before t.v.? But even Sarah admitted this idea is not novel and as she said "as old as Dickens."
Listening to a story is comforting when we are children and I don't know that it ever ends. Doesn't everyone love to be read to? I remember when my children were small and I would take them to story hour at the library in their pajamas. I was a stressed out single mama and I would sit with them - my little one on my lap and my older one cuddled next to me and it was such a soothing time for all of us. When I was a child, they would read about Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat and film turning the pages of the book and it was restful.
Were you disappointed in the end? I was a bit, but not surprised. I figured we wouldn't get real closure - that we would be left hanging. I mean, this is real life - not a work of fiction.  I wouldn't have convicted Sayed, either. There wasn't enough evidence. Was it just me or was there a lot of confusion over who had the car and the cell phone when? This is a reason I need to go back to listen again.
In episode twelve: what was with this dude named Josh? Where did he come from? The entire country, millions of people are listening to this podcast and Josh just suddenly learns of it and has all of this information and answers? I thought he sounded like an actor whose responses were rehearsed. It was all a little too perfect for me.
The question in my mind which begs to be answered is Where Is Jay? Because IF Sayed is innocent, that means a killer is out there. Jay knew a little bit too much about it. He was terrified. Sayed wasn't terrified because (in my humble opinion) he was innocent. When he was first arrested, he kept wondering when they were going to let him go home. If he was a killer, he would have known the jig was up.
Jay never took a polygraph, there was no search of Jay's house and what was with that long pause every time they asked Jay a question? Because he was making up his answer! The man was lying out his patootie!
Everyone is saying this podcast series will change the way of journalism. What do you think? Yesterday, there was a Ted talk about reporting via cell phones - I have to say, I've given thought to verbal blogging. Aren't you dying to hear what my voice sounds like?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Take a walk with me

Last blooms

Doug built this chair for a Christmas gift to me a couple of years ago.

The bird bath I bought in memory of mother.

Coleus I allowed to run wild


another view

steps fashioned from local limestone

everyone calls her the baby

the old man

the best chicken, ever - Ms Ella Fitzgerald

Doug built this years ago

heads bowed

property across the road

property across the road

at the end of our drive

When I walked out to my car, after work tonight, you could feel the winds of change blowing.  I walked about the property this evening, taking these photos, with temperatures of warm 83 degrees. We are expecting thunderstorms tonight which will take the temps down to 66 degrees. They are predicting an overnight low of 37 degrees on Saturday. The temps have been as low as 40 thus far, but we haven't hit the 30s, yet. Soon the fall rains will begin and with them, the leaves will come down. I hope we have some time to enjoy the changing colors before that happens.
In the summer, we are mostly outdoors. When we are in the house, we never go into the family room which we refer to as the fireplace room. We only use the fireplace room during the months we have fires going. I need to get to work cleaning the fireplace room as we may be in there soon. Before I do that, Doug will need to clean the chimney. When I sat down to write this post he walked in and said "time to batten down the hatches, right?" Usually we don't light the first fire until mid to late October. If it is cold enough to turn on the heat, we usually have a fire going. Our fireplace has an insert in it with a blower, but often we sit in the fireplace room with the door open basking in the heat.
Certain things ruin you. I've had a sunroof in my car for years now and can't imagine not having a sunroof. The same with a fireplace. I just can't imagine winter without being able to sit in front of the fire. In winter, evening after evening, Doug and I sit in there, surrounded by our two cats and our Corgi. Doug is usually dozing. I read or get on my laptop. As long as I don't have to be out on icy roads, I don't mind winter. I have a friend who teases me, but I always stock up the larder. She started teasing me about this years ago when I lived across the road from a grocery - telling me if I did run out of something, I could just walk to the grocery to fetch it. She loved to say "this isn't Little House on the Prairie!" Even so, I like the idea of stocking up - of being secure in knowing if I'm snowed in I can bake bread or a pie or cookies or make chili and all of the ingredients are at hand. I need to get to work laying in the food supplies for winter.  
We are considering finding new homes for the chickens. We are both tired of caring for them. We've kept chickens for four years now and this past year, we didn't get new chicks in the spring. I made the mistake of naming a few of my first batch - my Barred Rock, Ella Fitzgerald, my speckled Sussex, Marvella and my California white, Jenny-O. These girls probably don't even lay any longer, but it is hard to let them go. But neither of us want to hike out into the snow and break the ice or make certain the water heater is working.
October is my favorite month of the year and we've only just begun, so we aren't quite ready for snow. I love crisp leaves crunching underfoot, football games droning in the background, sweatshirts, warm cups in cold hands.
I hope you enjoyed walking with me about the property.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Everything is going to be o.k. (?)

Remember the 1965 version of  Cinderella with Lesley Ann Warren and the song "in my own little corner, in my own little chair?" Well, this isn't a corner - it is more of a cubby - an awkward little space between two closets and here I sit. This was my daughter's chair - one of the Ikea Paong chair. I always loved to sit in the chair at her house and one visit, she sent it home with me. I still love it. So comfy. I sit in it, a place I go to hide, to be alone. A place to sit, watch movies, read or blog.
My poor blog. It has become a dark, sad place to go. People ask me if I am still blogging and I say "some - but you don't want to read it." I know everyone has to deal with their own grief in their own way. A lot of people don't want to hear about it - or think it should be over. The first year is hard - the year of firsts without her. And, it will never be over. When you lose someone you love, you just have to try to learn to live without them. The people who are the most understanding are those who have lost their mother, or had a similar painful loss.
Mother died in March and then my new granddaughter was born in June and then my son married in July and then I went to see my girls in the middle of August and ever since I returned home I just kind of fell off. I haven't been working out which isn't good. I'm not as cheerful and enthusiastic and happy as I normally am. I've made some bad decisions and I'm sure that is part of it all. It is kind of like when you go through a divorce - you feel crazy and you are grasping and trying to find something that will make it o.k. and for a long while, nothing really feels o.k.
Ever feel like the whole world is mad at you? I feel like that. And, it isn't the whole world - it is some people who will never understand how I feel about a certain subject. I stood up for myself and now things are a mess. I find myself wondering how or if things will ever get worked out. I have apologized, but was told it was "too late." It is never too late. What if people just didn't apologize? And I do know people like that who think "they will get over it." What do you do when you apologize and it isn't accepted? I was told my words were meaningless. My words are not meaningless. And even if the apology doesn't mean anything to the one who said that to me (who was not the person I apologized to), my apology is still there.
I find myself wishing I was Catholic. I don't even know too much about the Catholic faith, but I want to be absolved. I want to talk to a kindly old Father - someone like Father Tim in Jan Karon's books. (He is actually an Episcopalian.) I want a wrinkled, old, warm, soft hand, the skin on the back of the hand covered in liver spots, to pat mine and tell me everything will be o.k. I want to look into kindly clear blue eyes that are filled with care and love and understanding. I want someone to tell me what to do, how to fix this mess.
You know that smell in an old church? I love that smell. That Christmas eve, baby dedication, funeral, cold Easter morning smell. The smell of years of furniture polish rubbed into gleaming old wood, of wool coats in winter, of old pages in song books, of candles snuffed out and holiness. That is what holiness smells like to me. I want to slide into a pew and listen to a sermon of compassion and encouragement.  I want to sit in the congregation and feel that the minister is looking right at me and he knows what I'm going through.
I sound as if I am a pile of mush on the floor.I'm not. I go to work. I work hard. I am good at my job. I have this house clean, finally - prompted by a guest - I am a neat freak, but had not really cleaned probably since I lost mother. My house is clean. The pumpkins and gourds and mums are in place, the fall scented candles about the house. I keep moving. I keep walking, putting one foot in front of another. And I anticipate the next visit to my son's or daughter's and the happiness I feel in those visits -  a little hand in mine, a little girl yelling "grandma!" A baby making eye contact and smiling.
Some how, some way, everything is going to be o.k.
Maybe I'm not the only one who needs to hear those words.