Saturday, January 31, 2009


I took this photo in April of 2007 when Thankful came to visit.
It's of the Old Red Mill in Jericho, Vermont.
I passed that scene today, and the river is covered in deep snow.
How deep is the snow?
Well, there were squirrel tracks running across it!

C'mon Punxsutawney Phil~!!
Give us some good news!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weathering the Storm Together

         Pine Siskins, Redpolls and Goldfinches

Dear Dean People,
We are in hard economic times that promise to get harder.
How can we help one another weather the storm?
What if we shared with one another some idears about how to "get by"?
Hubby and I are planning a large vegetable garden this summer with lots of fall canning.
Meanwhile, we are logging every penny spent and seeing where else we can cut corners.
How about you?  Got idears that have been handed down to you from your grandparents
or ways to scrimp along that you have discovered over the years?
Please share. ♥


Monday, January 26, 2009

“On This Day We Gather” - Inauguration of President Obama

by Holly Johnson

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”
President Barack Obama - Inaugural Address, Tuesday, January 20, 2008 source

Jan. 2004-New to politics, I decided to attend the ’04 IL senatorial forum for 6 candidates in Rockford IL. I seriously listened, took notes, and as each candidate spoke, my friends, Elaine and Karen thumbed up or down each candidate. Finally, the last candidate, who came almost too late to speak, strode into the room. He was tall, slender and elegant. He spoke with such eloquence and knowledge I put down my pen, I knew I was witnessing not just the next IL senator but also the future president of the United States. ---

I was not going to go to the inauguration. It would be too far, too crowded and too cold. Then the week before Jan. 20th, I received a call from Sen. Durbin’s office informing me I had 4 tickets for the inauguration. Everyone else already knew it before I did; I could not stay away from the inauguration of President Obama.

My husband, Bob, and adult son, Mark hopped in the car and headed to my daughter, Erin’s efficiency apartment in DC. As we drove across Indiana and Ohio, the rest stops began to fill with people wearing Obama stocking hats and pins. In Pennsylvania there were busses of students and activists. We all had the same destination- Washington DC.

I knew this event was not for the faint of heart. They media had warned us - millions of people, no cars in the city, congested transportation, long lines for security, hours of standing and worst of all record colds in DC. I figured that I would be dehydrated due to no water, no food and no restrooms. All would be proven true, but we went anyway.

We unloaded our car at my friend Lois' son’s condo in the suburbs of DC and she took us to the public transit. The metro gave its passengers commemorative tickets with a picture of Obama. Pepsi got into the act by plastering the walls of the subway with their altered trademark resembling Obama’s rising sun symbol.

Underestimating the time it took for city transportation (and frustrating my daughter) we missed the Sunday Inauguration Concert by half an hour. We walked around the DC Mall at night among the lit memorials and the beaming faces of the newly enthusiastic Americans. We just wanted to soak up and recover the love for America that we all had regrettably lost over the last 8 years.

The long lines started on Monday morning when attending Sen. Durbin’s open house at the Library of Congress. We were rewarded because as we waited, Sen. Durbin walked along the line shaking hands and taking pictures with his constituents. Our next line was several blocks long before entering the Hart building where the senators distributed tickets. There was an adjacent line for the congressmen’s tickets. We knew we could just send my daughter but all 4 of us wanted to take part in every aspect of the event. After security, we took the elevator up to Durbin’s office. Cold and tired all 4 of us sat on the floor outside the office to examine the packet- a letter of announcement, the six-page program and the 4 much sought after tickets. We each had to touch the tickets to confirm, that yes they were real and yes we were actually here going to the inauguration.

On Tuesday we left at 7AM, already the news told of lines starting at 4AM. We were able to board the metro for the 40-minute ride. Passengers were smashed together separated only by our bulky clothing. The cars were filled to capacity not allowing more passengers in for the remaining stops. Spontaneous singing of “America” and the national anthem were interspersed with shouts of “yes we can”.

At the capital- mass of people, more lines, more confusion, and a cursory security check of patting through our thick clothing before entering the silver ticketed area. We chose the farther back location behind a group of short students but in front of the big screen. The section just behind us was for the general public. Like those sitting in the bleacher seat section at Cubs baseball games, they appeared to be having more fun- waving flags, singing along with the projected concert and spontaneously cheering.

Six hours of standing, frozen fingers like ten little popsicles and numb feet were all worth it. Being short, my view was basically the back of heads or the bottom of people’s noses. Twice my husband lifted me like a child to see the breathtaking view of 250,000 people in front and 1.5 million people behind.

The big screen showed the parade of officials and celebrities and the crowd gave you their opinion of each. This was a partisan group- cheers and jeers as you would expect. The crowd went wild when Obama walked down the steps to the podium, which was followed by a reverent silence as he spoke the oath of office. The shouts of joy resumed following the cannons proclamation of our new president.

Dazed by it all, we wandered trying to find the exit. Just as we got to the backside of the projected TV the crowd let out a gasp- Keillor,0,4812049.column
describes best what happens next.

The crowd stopped and stared, a little stunned at the reality of it. They saw it on a screen in front of the Capitol and it was actually happening on the other side. The Bushes went up the stairs, turned, waved and disappeared into the cabin of the Marine helicopter, and people started to cheer in earnest. It was the most genuine, spontaneous, universal moment of the day. It was like watching the ice go out on the river.

The helicopter did a single loop over our heads and around the Washington Mall, Bush left leaving DC to those of us left on the mall and Obama.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Random Sunday afternoon musings

It is freezing outside. I did make myself go to church, in spite of being tired, and feeling wimpy about the weather. I know I'm going to miss next week, so I decided to go to the effort of dragging myself out of the house. (Dragging myself to church, by the way, is much like dragging myself to the gym. I don't always succeed, but I'm always glad when I do.) On the way back, it started snowing, which made the roads really slippery. So I'm happy to be home.

Earlier this week, I checked the DVD of Othello out of the library--the one with Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh. I actually grabbed it by mistake, thinking I was getting the one with Orson Welles (which I was getting for the "camp" value of such a distinguished actor doing blackface.)

After a bit of Googling about adaptations of Othello, I learned that Patrick Stewart actually played the role once, in an example of "photo-negative casting". I thought that was interesting. And then as I continued clicking about on the interwebs, I found this picture of Stewart as Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Brave man.

Anyway, I did start to watch a bit of the Fishburne Othello DVD. Not sure I really want to watch the whole thing, but I might at least skip to the end to hear the final speech. At some point in high school I had to memorize it. I can't remember any of the actual words, or even the name of the character who uttered them. All I remember is that the gist, roughly paraphrased was, "Look at all the dead people on this bed--that's just messed up!"

We have discovered once again that Son is way behind in homework that we didn't even know he had. So the challenge of the day will be to actually keep him on task to get some of it done. That kind of rules out spending this cold Sunday making some popcorn and watching a (non-Othello) DVD together.

That boy had better take good care of us when we're old...