Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Health, Hillary, and Henry

A little daily Emile Coué -- along with seven injections of Rocephin -- and things are looking up health-wise. I actually felt well enough yesterday to tackle another celebrity visit. Oh, yes. Back to the depot, this time to see Hillary Clinton. I decided if it proved too much of an undertaking, I could always leave, so off the dh and I went, camera and umbrella in hand, first to find a reasonably close parking spot, then to brave the metal detectors and pocket emptying, and then finally to the depot. One more time.

Because of the rainy forecast, Mrs. Clinton's event was set up under the outside awning rather than in the open garden, and there was a sizable crowd given the fact that it had been raining on and off for a day or so and the forecast was for more of the same, especially around the time of her visit -- which turned out to be accurate. The bottom fell out shortly after her speech ended.

Photographing history was again a challenge. My friend, Deena the Poet, wasn't there, and I never was able to get a picture without a navy blue ball cap at the bottom edge. I'm sure it was being worn by a nice man, but he was seriously in the way. This was the best I could do.

All in all, I found Mrs. Clinton to be punctual, articulate and informed, concise and specific. And funny. I'm glad I went.

Which brings us to "Henry."

Henry works at Saving Grace Farm

He and a number of others just like him are the "equine" part of the equine assisted activities and therapeutic riding offered at Saving Grace, which by all accounts is a wonderful place.

I first learned about the farm and the work Jill, Janna, and Stacey do there from a former co-worker whose granddaughter has been helped tremendously by participating in one of their special needs programs. I'm blogging about it here on the outside chance that someone who reads this might be looking for a charity or a horse or a child to sponsor, or who might not know about this kind of therapy and find the information helpful (once a public health nurse, always a public health nurse.) So click on the Saving Grace link -- or check out Henry's bio. It's very impressive.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh, Bother

This is me -- under the weather. More blogging later...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Come Walk With Me...

Things are budding and blooming here. I thought I'd show you around:

Many of the plantings in the yard are flowers and shrubs given to me over the years by family and friends. (I don't landscape. I "memory keep.") The wisteria in the distance came from my late sister-in-law. The forsythia hedge behind it is the one I showed you in an earlier post. It came with the house.

The azaleas I actually bought. They were seriously trampled by roofers a few years ago, and they've bloomed beautifully ever since. Which goes to show you, I guess. Sometimes things aren't nearly as bad as they look.

This is the first time there have been open blooms on the wisteria in years. An April cold snap gets it nearly every spring and probably will again next week, according to the Weather Channel. Still, it's lovely now and full of butterflies and bumble bees.

These are white violets blooming under a wild cherry tree. The violets also came from my sister-in-law. One small bunch planted, and now they're everywhere.

Another view of the azalea:

This is a pecan tree my late father started from seed. Its two "partners" came from the dh's late Aunt Peg. All of them bear every year, but we never get any pecans to speak of -- thanks to our overabundance of squirrels. We just can't seem to beat them to the crop. I feel like "Wile E. Coyote" every fall.

"Money" plants, so called because the fall seed pod is a flat round disc which looks like a coin and looks nice in a dried arrangement. These were also a "gift" planting.

Nearby is the cat's cairn, one of "The Girls," who supervised the writing of many a book. A very large toad lives among the rocks. We scare each other on a regular basis during the summer. This is a place of wild flowers -- hen bit and mouse-ear chickweed mostly.

That does it for the "flora" part of the tour. I think there may be some "fauna" in here -- but I don't want to stick around to see what it is:


As hoped, the dh and I made it to Tinseltown for a seven o'clock showing of LEATHERHEADS, the first movie I've seen in a theater, I think, since COLD MOUNTAIN -- which is a shame actually, because until the last decade or so, I was a dedicated movie-goer. And I would be again if there were more films worth the trip. Apparently, it's my own fault -- I'm not a teenage boy.

But I digress.

I like "screwball comedies." I like the fact that I might see a place where I've actually been in a film. I like Renée Zellweger. I like George Clooney -- admittedly since I saw him in person. I don't like football. So you see, I went into this with more pros than cons.

I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed, despite the football thing and despite the comedic timing being slightly off now and then. I would have liked more focus on the romance and less on guys pounding each other into the mud, but that's the romance writer in me. This inner trait also allows me to declare here and now that Renée Zellweger and George Clooney have significant on-screen chemistry. I would especially recommend their dance in the speak-easy to writers and non-writers alike as a very fine example of how to depict almost palpable sexual attraction between a man and a woman without ever being in any way explicit -- something we could use a lot more of these days, in my opinion.

The bottom line here is that LEATHERHEADS is a light-hearted, entertaining movie. Like most movies (and books) it has some flaws, but I'm glad I went -- despite the grown man and woman two seats down who "moo-ed" when the cow came on the screen.

But that's another story.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Seven Days' Worth of Celebrity Events

I've mentioned (all right, more than "mentioned") my encounters with the former President, and George Clooney, and Renée Zellweger, but there was one more important happening in a mere seven-day span. The arrival of the best celebrity of all -- my younger sister's boy.

This is one of my favorite photos of him. He doesn't look quite like that now -- he's a college sophomore and a world traveler these days and he no longer carries a flat rabbit. He's still smiling and handsome, of course, and we were delighted that he and his very sweet and pretty friend elected to swing by to see us on their way from the Biltmore House to the Outer Banks. My immediate family is both small and scattered, so this was a truly Big Event for me and for his eighty-seven-year-old grandmother, not to mention the grandchildren, who wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that he possessed super powers. We wouldn't have missed seeing him for anything.

What a great seven days.

Now I'm off to try to teach my new MacSpeech software program to take dictation and put it into a Microsoft Word document -- preferably coherently. Let me say here that I anticipate nothing but trouble and heartache regarding this endeavor.