Day 337

Another wnter scene
Another winter scene

I love winter scenes. I’m not fond of shovelling snow, or pushing cars that are stuck, but it could be worse.

***

I’m starting this post with a complaint. I had to DVR the IU game today. I don’t like watching a game if I know the outcome in advance, so when I sat down and turned on the TV, I made sure that I didn’t catch the final score in advance. I watched the game, the first in the Big 10 season, and it was exciting all of the way. They were playing on the road, at Iowa, where they have won very few games in the past decade. It came down to the final 43 seconds; IU had a narrow lead; and the DVR recording ended. I have to say that I was irritated. I went to my smart phone to get the final score, and it froze up when I tried to make an Internet connection. This was also irritating. Finally I trudged up the stairs, turned on the PC, and found the score. IU won, and that is great, but some of the excitement was lost because I couldn’t watch the end of the game. That’s my complaint.

***

Since Comcast took over the cable operation from Insight in Lafayette, we have had some minor problems with our email account. We have been receiving emails that are directed to other people, but who seem to have te same email address. Two days ago we received an email from Comcast Customer Care that was confirming a service tech. visit to a woman in Massachusetts. We also get emails directed to a man in Georgia, a woman in Colorado, and another man in Pennsylvania.

I think that the guy in Pennsylvania is something of a ladies’ man. Last week we got one of his emails from a woman who wondered why he wasn’t returning her calls, she thought they had started a special relationship. In past months we’ve received his emails from other women who have shared jokes, bible verses, and pictures of themselves. I guess he plays the field.

When I brought our email problem to the attention of Comcast, which was not as easy as it sounds, they responded that it was either our fault or the fault of the other people that we were getting email that didn’t belong to us. Can’t do anything, so sorry.

***

That’s it for today, and for this year. Have a very Happy New Year. I’ll be back on the other side.

Day 336

By the pond in winter
By the pond in winter

You’ll never see this in Florida…poor, poor Floridians. How thy must suffer, only seeing snow in freak conditions. I do feel sorry for them.

***

I was going through my notes, looking for something to say today, but none of the notes seems appropriate for today. I found nothing in my notes.

As I was composing the previous paragraph, Cindy called me to the delicious lunch she had prepared, barbecued ribs, baked potato and salad. Simple and nourishing. As I came down the stairs I heard a crash in the kitchen. Cindy had dropped a Correll dinner plate onto the tile covered counter, and it had shattered. She was upset, and I understand that, but it wasn’t the end of the world (that happened ten days ago, didn’t it?). It did bring back a memory from 1970.

I was in the army and had finished my basic training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. I had been shipped back to Indiana to do Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Benjamin Harrison on the north side of Indianapolis. It seemed too good to be true because I was only a couple of hours away from home, and even better, only a little over an hour away from Bloomington. I still had friends who were attending IU, and I spent some weekends there when I could get a weekend pass.

One weekend when I was there, staying at the rented duplex that my friends Warby and Mike were renting, I heard a crash come in the kitchen. I jumped up, but Mike told me not to worry, it happened fairly often. It seems that Warby and a friend of his from Lawrenceburg (forgive me I can’t remember the name though I think it was Jim) would drink too much beer and then go to the kitchen where they would have a contest. Their contest was to see which of them would be the first to throw a Correll coffee cup against the kitchen wall hard enough to break it…the cup, not the wall. I was glad I wouldn’t be paying the landlord for damages.

Day 335

IMAG0241b
On the drive home from the funeral

I admit that this is not a new picture that I took today. I took this through the car window as we were going through Indianapolis yesterday evening. I’m sure you recognize the skyline. I took a few photos this morning on my way back from the bank, but this picture seemed more appropriate for context to most for this post.

***

Marilyn wanted to go to Chris’ funeral with us yesterday, so we took her newer car, but Cindy drove. I’ve been with Cindy long enough to know that in times when she feels helpless to influence events she wants to exert control, and the easiest way to do that is to drive. While driving she has some control over her destiny. Also when she drives she wants to listen to a book on tape or cd. This offers another form of control. I put on my headphones and listen to my MP3 player so that I don’t sleep through the entire drive. It is probably also a form of rebellion on my part. “You think you’re in control, sister? Look at me keeping time to the music and mouthing the lyrics.”

As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, I always have the MP3 player set on Random Shuffle. This can cause some interesting listening. On the way to Greenfield I heard Just Friends by Johnny Mathis, and a few songs later was the same song sung by Bobby Darin. I had forgotten that I had both versions on the player. I think that with about 700 songs I’m allowed to forget a few of them. Anyway, the versions are similar, and I like both of them. The Darin version has a more upbeat tempo, but I’m partial to the Mathis version when I compare the two. I’m pretty sure I favor the Mathis version because it was the first I can remember hearing. It was on an album my dad bought as a member of the Columbia House Record Club. I’ve bought the cd version of the album because I like it so much.

The background music at the visitation was composed mostly of standards and show tunes. I was surprised, however when one of the songs turned out to be a Miles Davis version of My Funny Valentine. I was surprised to hear Miles Davis among so much pop music. While I liked most of the music, the Davis tune was a happy surprise.

On the drive home there was another musical surprise caused by the Random Shuffle. Around the time I took the picture in this post I heard The Seekers singing I’ll Never Find Another You with the words:

There is always someone
For each of us, they say.
And you’ll be my someone
Forever and a day.
I could search the whole world over
Until my life is through
But I know I’ll never find another you.

This was followed immediately by Karla Bonoff singing I Can’t Hold On. It seems like a bad response to the first song when she sings:

Oh baby, this time it’s a good-bye
And you can be sure that I won’t cry
Our love is just a faded story
I’m walking down the road
And you’ve just got to let me go

Those are my music stories for today.

Day 334 – updated

Across the road
Across the road

Just back from the funeral. No post tonight. I’ll do it tomorrow.

***

OK, it’s tomorrow, I’m rested, and evidently I’m living in the future. It’s tomorrow? I took this photo with my cell phone from the front entrance to the funeral home. I had stepped outside with Cindy and her brother-in-law Gary while they each had a cigarette. I thought that the barn made a good picture, and when Gary said something along the lines of, “You can’t get much more Indiana than that,” I wasn’t sure if he meant the barn or the transmission repair shop beside it…or maybe both. So I didn’t crop the shop out of the picture completely.

I have to say that Chris’ funeral service was different from any other I have attended. For one thing, and perhaps the most memorable thing, was that it was long. It ran somewhere between one and a half to two hours long. That was just the service, the family gathered at 10 a.m., the viewing was from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and we went to the cars for the drive to the cemetery around 3 p.m. After a brief grave-side ceremony we repaired to a church for a meal. I’m nt sure what we left Greenfield, but it was starting to get dark when we drove through Indianapolis with another hour on the road ahead of us. It was a long day.

Back to the funeral service. The first new thing (for me) was that Chris’ companion Art attended from his room at the hospice in Minnesota via Skype. The minister started the ceremony with a prayer and read the obituary from the newspaper. Then he turned it over to people who wanted to speak.

Lori, Chris’ daughter, started by talking about her mother’s life and the her family. When she was finished we could see Art lay down as if exhausted. Next was Greg, Chris’ oldest surviving son, and he talked about his mother’s life and his relationship with her. Greg was followed by Christopher, Chris’ youngest son, who talked about Chris and her influence on his life. Many things can be said about the siblings, but a penchant to be terse is not one of those things. It’s as if each felt the need to explain Chris and her life from their individual perspectives, almost like the forward to a biography they were writing. A biography might be a good project for them.

Anyway, Adam, Christopher’s son then sang a song. I’m not sure if it is one that he composed. I don’t keep current with Christian songs, though I like many of the older spirituals. Adam did an excellent job. Another of Chris’ grandchildren, Shannon, spoke via telephone (another funeral first for me) about her relationship with her grandmother. Then Chris’ sister Ann spoke briefly about family relationships.

By this time I was pretty uncomfortable sitting on the folding chair, and was having a hard time concentrating. I believe that the minister spoke next, talking about his relationship with the family, specifically Lori and Greg.

Did I learn anything new about Chris? I learned some things about her earlier life. I also learned that the story Chris told me about how she met Art was completely different from the story her kids related. The story I heard was pretty straightforward, while the story I heard yesterday was almost myth-like involving a dream, an eventual spiritual awakening, and it casts Art in a very different light. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Most of our memories lie somewhere between reality and fiction. At least my memories do.

Day 333

Everything is prettier in the snow
Everything is prettier in the snow

I don’t believe I could be completely happy if I lived somewhere where I couldn’t see a sight like this. Adobe in the desert might be ok part of the year, but I love a winter day when there is snow on the ground. This weather is too nice to leave behind.

***

Another of the gifts Cindy gave me this Christmas was the cd Glad Rag Doll by Diana Krall. This cd is different from the others of her’s that I own, but it is good in its own right. I wasn’t familiar with most of the songs on the cd, but I did know Prairie Lullaby because Geoff Muldaur has recorded the song. It seemed strange hearing Diana Krall’s sultry voice (and how often do you hear the adjective sultry used in proper context?) croon the song, after hearing the Geoff Muldaur recording many times. Both versions are good. They just have to be appreciated at different times, depending on the listener’s mood.

***

It seems paradoxical, but I learned quickly after I retired that I don’t have enough time to do everything that I want to do. I am sure that part of my trouble is that I spend more time doing non-productive things, like playing games on the computer, than on more responsible things like working in the yard. If I enjoyed yard work I’m sure I would have a nice lawn, but it isn’t important to me. But even with my slacker attitude I don’t read as many books as I want; I haven’t worked on my stamp collection in months; and I haven’t updated my comic book collection database since this past summer. Not working on the database also means that I still have too many comic books in the computer room, and not stored in the basement. It’s a case of cause and effect…a negative cause and an equally negative effect.

Time to close this post. Sleep well.

Day 332

Out the front window
Out the front window

We haven’t been hit by a blizzard, yet. They have ben saying on the news that we could expect 5 to 10 inches of snow. So far it looks closer to five. Even though it hasn’t been bad here, I decided to stay in, rather than go out for a picture today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

***

We were putting in our third day of watching Dexter: Season 6 this morning when the telephone rang. It was Cindy’s step-brother, Greg, calling to tell us that Chris’ funeral had been postponed until Friday. Her body hadn’t arrived from Minnesota yet, and with the blizzard like conditions (perhaps it is a blizzard?) in the Greenfield area, they weren’t sure the roads would be clear on Thursday. Thus the postponement.

While we were watching the final episode of Season 6, Cindy’s cell rang again. Seeing that it was the repair garage calling, she put off talking to them until we had finished with Dexter. When she called them back, they had an estimate for the third high-priced repair on her car this year. Merry Christmas…Happy New Year! (If my sister is reading this, please do not say anything to mom about the car. She will want to give us money for the repair. We have it covered. Also, she would want us to buy a new car and let her give this one to “you know who.”)

***

Among the many gifts Cindy gave me was a DVD that had two shows from Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest television show from the mid-sixties. This DVD had the Stanley Brothers in one show and Doc Watson in the other. The music was fine!

I never saw the show when it was on originally; it was a PBS show, I believe, and may not have been broadcast where I was living. I know that when these two shows were broadcast I was at school in Bloomington. I also know that the TV in the lounge was seldom, if ever, tuned to PBS.

The show was broadcast in black and white, and the production values seemed to be somewhat crude. Pete would be speaking but looking at the wrong camera for long periods of time, or he would be watching the guest performers with his back to the camera. Those types of things wouldn’t fly now. But, as I said, the music was fine and I enjoyed the DVD very much.

I still have two DVDs that Cindy bought me, a concert by an early incarnation of the David Grisman Quartet, and a documentary on Joan Baez. Life is good.

Day 331

This year's IU swag
This year’s IU swag

I listed some of the IU items I received for Christmas the other day. There was moe this morning, so I decided to do a show and tell with today’s picture.

Everything is on the lovely and warm IU throw that Cindy gave me. Starting from the bottom left corner is an IU basketball T-shirt from JR, my son-in-law; quite nice. Above it is the red pin striped button-down collar shirt with the IU logo embroidered on the pocket. To the right of the shirt is a Christmas tree ornament, and below that, in the center is the IU snowglobe that has a representation of campus and plays the IU Fight Song. In the upper right corner is a wall clock/thermometer that will look very good in the computer room. Below the clock is an IU wall calendar that will also hang in the computer room. In the bottom right corner is a long-sleeved T-shirt that says CRIMSON GUARD. Missing from the picture is a different IU tree ornament that is already on the tree, and a stuffed snowman dressed in an IU sweater. The snowman sings Jingle Bells when you squeeze its left paw. If I’ve forgotten anything, please forgive me. Thanks to everyone who has added to my IU collection.

***

Yesterday afternoon Cindy and I went to the movie theater and watched Lincoln. We both loved it. If you have not seen the picture already, go and see it. It is the best movie I’ve seen in the theater since Michael Clayton in 2007, and we’ve been to a few movies since then. I found the writing, the language in Lincoln so riveting that I barely noticed the relative lack of violent action through most of the film. I was impressed, and grateful, that they…whoops, I almost added a spoiler. I don’t want to ruin it for anybody.

***

After the movie we repaired to Applebee’s for dinner, and a good dinner it was. The mall where Applebee’s is located was closing for the night and the restaurant was not very busy. Cindy’s day was made when the server carded her before bringing her a glass of wine. I was amused watching the main entrance to the mall. The doors were locked, the lights were dimmed, and yet people kept trying to come in to shop. They would usually start on the right and try opening each door until they were on the left side of the bank of doors. Procrastinators were punished.