About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, February 8, 2010

In the Bleak Mid-winter

Fighting the winter doldrums is the topic for this week's Fun Monday. Our host is Church Lady who is currently snowed in in PA. How appropriate that she would be looking for ways to beat the winter doldrums from Fun Monday bloggers.

We are indeed in the bleak mid-winter with seven weeks to go before spring. New snow fell in Louisville over the weekend, covering the dirty melting snow from last week's storm. The sky is low and grey-blue; the sun shines weakly, if at all. Bare tree branches are like filigree against the night sky. And I love this time of the year. No winter doldrums on Summit Court.

Here's a few projects and activities that make me happy this winter:

Scrabble -- can you believe that I've lived over 60 years without playing a single game of scrabble, monopoly, bridge, or trivial pursuit? I mentioned this gap in my education to my good friend Kittyhawk, telling her that I'm concerned about keeping my brain exercised. I was losing my nouns (not good for a writer), feeling that I wasn't exactly the sharpest tack in the box. She dug out her childhood Scrabble game and gave me a lesson. Now every day while I watch NCIS re-runs or bad reality TV, I challenge Thelma and Louise (my imaginary players) to a game of scrabble. So far there's not a lot of strategy involved in these nightly games. We mostly concentrate on following the rules. The final scores are never over 200 and our words are not long on syllables. For some reason Thelma wins a lot. When she gets too complacent, I bring in Butch and Sundance for a foursome. :-)

Movies, Movies, Movies -- as we discussed last week, this is awards season for the film industry. In the fall I start trying to see all the first run films as they're released, especially if they may be contenders for the major awards--Academy, Film Critics, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild. In January and February I spend many happy afternoons in theaters working on my list of award winners for best picture, actor/actress, director, song, etc. We're lucky to have two theaters in Louisville that play the lesser known, but critically acclaimed, films. What better way to escape the winter doldrums than watching a great screen performance?

Oh, and I can't forget movies on TV. Starting this month on PBS, Masterpiece Classic is showing Jane Austen--a new adaptation of Emma (lukewarm reaction), Persuasion, Northanger Abbey--Return to Cranford, and Diary of Anne Frank.

Reading and Writing -- I'm interested in hearing what local writers have to say about their craft. Recently I heard Dianne Aprile, a former columnist for the Courier Journal Newspaper, give a presentation on the life of a writer--their daily methods for getting words on paper. I had taken a journaling class with Aprile about ten years ago and remembered her commonsense advice on writing in the middle of everyday living, as we bloggers do regularly. I asked her about blogging and she had some reservations about the quality of writing that you see on blogs. I'm still thinking about her answer. Personally, the blogs that I enjoy reading are as well written as any published work of nonfiction or fiction.

In March I'm looking forward to spending an evening with another writer, Tori Murden McClure. McClure is a local hero. In the late '90s she became the first woman to successfully row across the Atlantic Ocean--in a 23 ft. plywood boat, the American Pearl--with no motor or sail. I saw this boat on exhibit and it is truly amazing that she survived this trip in such a small vessel. In 2009 she published A Pearl in The Storm, an account of her solo row across the Atlantic and what she learned about life in the process. Hearing her firsthand description of her adventure will be a great way to spend a winter's evening.

Taize Meditation -- the cold, dark days and nights of winter turn our thoughts inward. Last year near my favorite movie theater I discovered a small Episcopal church which held a meditation service every Thursday evening. I am not much for organized religion, being a Methodist on sabbatical for many years. :-) I am spiritual and try to live as ethically as I can. Anyway, I read about this Taize service and decided to check it out after seeing a movie. A small group of people gather quietly in the darkened, candlelit sanctuary. You are alone with your own thoughts and concerns. There is an opening call to silence; singing of chants--Be Still and Know, the Kyrie Eleison; people's prayer; a sacred reading; silent meditation; and closing blessing. It's hard to describe how peaceful and comforting this service is. Just what we need to help us center. My goal is to make this a regular part of my week.

Well, these are just some of my doldrums chasers, but they work. I have some other projects in mind for the second part of this winter: growing unusual house plants again; second try at learning to knit; finishing a quilted wall hanging; sewing curtains; learning to play solitaire. Check back with me on the first day of spring for a progress report!

Now before Monday has slipped away, shovel your way over to Church Lady's to check out other Fun Monday doldrums chasers.


Lil Mouse said...

solitaire and free cell on the computer are addicting, which is why I only play them about once a year!

Jan n Jer said...

You have quite a few things going to keep your mind busy and entertained. Thats funny that your just getting around to playing all those popular board games. I havent play them for a long long time. They are great entertainment. I bet Thelma n Louise likes them too!:~) Thanks for sharing Faye and Happy FM

The Church Lady said...

It looks like you have no problem at all beating the doldrums, Faye! We play Scrabble all the time as a family and we all just love it! I should have mentioned that as one of the things we do during the Winter months. We have family game night at least once per week.

I have never heard of a Taize Service. That is very interesting. We often have prayer vigils, but this sounds like a vigil with a little more substance. I think I would like it.

We tried snow-cream for the first time this weekend. I read about how to make it on another fellow bloggers site. We used half & half, sugar and vanilla. It was yummy!

Hope the rest of your week is a good one Faye! We expect more of the white stuff Wednesday.

Gattina said...

I used to play a lot of scrabble in the past, and other games too. But now I am so busy with my photos and computer or with chatting (in live on the phone) that I completely forgot about it.
Miss Rosie is fine now, only she has to put on some weight ! I was so worried, I really thought it was the end.

Debs said...

I love Scrabble!!

Sayre said...

When my husband and I first started living together, we would go out on the back deck at night and play scrabble. When his teenaged son came to live with us, we all three did it. Then we came up with the idea to write a story using every word in the game, in order! That was quite a challenge and you never knew exactly what you would come up with.

My son loves Monopoly. I bought him a special StarWars set for Christmas last year. Perhaps we'll dig it out Thursday night when Kylee comes. It's a lot more fun than watching TV or playing video games.

I like the sound of your meditation service. I should look around and see if there's something like that here.

karisma said...

Oh I love a good game of scrabble. It can get quite competitive if my sister and dad play. We all like to win and score high! LOL I have to tone it down when I play with Zak so he gets a chance to win too! LOL He is gaining on me though, won't be long before he is thrashing his mama!

Debs said...

For Christmas Day a couple of years ago I bought several board games and got others out of the cupboards. The teens had great fun and it was fun not to have computers on for a while.