Monday, May 18, 2009

A little of this, a little of that

Wish spring would show itself for more than a day at a time. Howard planted knockout roses yesterday in the back yard and with a little luck we'll get some more flowering stuff out there to brighten the view from the porch. We are such novices when it comes to planting anything! Especially me, with my black thumb and reluctance to go outdoors except to walk to the mailbox! Howard's good, though. He weeds, rakes, fertilizes, herbicides and plants grass seed. He frets over the health of our tree (yes, one tree!) and plants. I simply trust they will fend for themselves and either thrive or die. With that attitude, I'm not surprised that most everything I plant dies.

I'm troubled by the incessant publicity being given to Elizabeth Edwards on the release of her book, Resilience. Yes, she's been wronged. Yes, John is a cad who broke her heart. Yes, she has a right to vent her spleen and rail against his infidelity. But.... she will leave this earth as soon as the cancer she's fighting finally wins. When she does, her beloved children will be left with their father, a man they only know as a loving parent. How will this public shaming help them cope when Elizabeth's gone? To what purpose does she put his failings into the public spotlight any more than they already are? In the end, we are all imperfect humans who make huge, hurtful mistakes. Too bad she couldn't have left it at that.

As I write, there are echoes of banging, slamming and other noises that accompany the installation of hardwood floors. Finally, we have rid ourselves of the carpet that came with our house and replacing it with beautiful oak wood. Packing up the breakables and moving everything from the room was a chore and we will be left with a terrorized cat when the job is done, but at least we will have what we've wanted since Day One ... easy to care for, beautiful wood floors. Good things come to those who wait.

Happy birthday this Friday to the dearest of friends. Carol Panella and I met when I began work at the Evesham School District in 1998. We became dear and close friends two years later and we adopted one another as sisters shortly thereafter. She's been the shoulder I cry on, the patient sharer of health woes, the grandmother who tolerates my stories and always has incredible ones to share, the companion who joins me in stretching lunch hour to three or beyond and a loving, caring, compassionate person who makes my life easier and brightens my days. She knows all this, of course, but it never hurts to have it affirmed. Many, many more happy birthdays, my dear sister. Enjoy this one with your family. We'll celebrate later!

Kudos to our president on his speech at Notre Dame yesterday. Sad that those with opposite viewpoints should mar the glory of the day for the graduates. To his credit, President Obama set the right tone for the debate on social issues that often bring out the worst and most violent in believers and proponents. He showed his talent for conciliation, for bringing us together in spite of our differences. I was a proud Obama supporter as I watched his address. He was worth waiting for.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Longing for sunshine

Even though this lethargic feeling has a name, Seasonal Affect Disorder, I'm not comforted enough to pull myself out of the doldrums and move! Every gloomy morning that presents itself when the bedroom drapes are opened motivates me in one direction: to the sofa under the afghan with an old movie on the tv.

I love movies. Not all of them, mind you. I'm not really into action stuff and don't like any films about boxing (which I believe should be outlawed). Every year when the Academy Awards are presented, I lament that I've not seen one film that's nominated. They are too new, thus requiring a schlep to the theater, the purchase of tickets and the gamble that I'm not sitting in front of folks who use the movies as a chance to catch up with all the local gossip or to complain about their lives. At home, I curl up on the sofa, usually with my cat next to me, and get lost in the story. Often, my choice is almost inadvertent... luck of the dial, so to speak. Like yesterday.

I had grand plans for the day. So much would be accomplished! There was laundry, ironing, some cleaning and grocery shopping. When I opened the bedroom drapes, darkness and rain greeted me and immediately sapped my energy for chores. As I pulled the sheets off the bed, I flicked the remote and checked the guide for a listing of what I could use as mind-numbing fare for the work ahead.

Instead, I found myself staring at Liam Neeson, one of my favorite actors, portraying Oskar Schindler in the famous film Schindler's List. I'd always vowed not to see the film, despite its awards and raves. Shame for what humanity can do to humanity, for the silence of those who could have prevented or stopped it, deep and disturbing sadness for those involved, including the descendants who have this doleful history upon which to build their lives... all of those emotions determined early on that I would not see the film. Until yesterday.

Needless to say, nothing was accomplished except for the clean sheets. Even when the movie ended at about noon, I was still there, still in the power and emotional aftermath of Steven Spielberg's work. There was nothing in it I didn't know from history except the actual work of Oskar Schindler and the results of what his courage prompted him to do. I couldn't help thinking, as I watched him at the end of the film, grieving that he could not have saved more people, of the world leaders who could have saved millions, not just eleven hundred, had they stood up against Hitler, taken action against his genocide and motivated the rest of the world to condemn that man for the evil he was.

The Holocaust wasn't all Hitler's fault. He instigated it, of course, but he has help carrying it out. Not just from the famed SS or the Hitler Youth or any of the groups about which we learned in history classes, but from the leaders in the western world, the Pope and other religious figures and ordinary people who heard rumors of the slaughter but stayed silent and did nothing.

Today, I see that The Jane Austen Book Club is on HBO. As an Austen fan, I would dearly love to lose myself in that one, too. Lighter, easier on the psyche, certainly. But the work still wouldn't get done. And we now need milk, cereal, cat food and loads of other stuff. Rain or no rain, I have to go out.

Maybe there will be something really good showing this afternoon!