Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Art of Celebrating

With the Summer Solstice last week and some birthdays coming up, I’ve been giving some thought to how we celebrate these special days. My family marks time with our Earth Cycle calendar, a beautifully illustrated poster; a circle which marks the months, seasons and the solstices, equinoxes and moon cycles.

Our celebrations are simple. Most importantly, I want them to be fun and pretty much stress-free. For our summer solstice celebration, my husband and kids simply roasted marshmallows over a backyard bonfire and caught fireflies. I was with my amazing book club women and we discussed ‘living closer to the numinous wild’ (Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from Women Who Run With the Wolves). It was a perfect evening.

And then the birthdays. Again, it’s simple. I don’t do fancy cakes, parties, or order custom printed M&M’s. But what we do is from the heart. We string up a special birthday banner, the birthday child wears their birthday crown, and we show pictures and tell stories of each year of the child’s life, while they walk around the ‘sun’ (a colored ball) holding the ‘earth’ (another colored ball). They beam and feel so loved as we laugh and tie our stories like strings together, weaving them into a fabric of their life. We give a few simple presents, but they are not the focus.

On full moon nights we wait and watch for the moon to come out, and run up and down the sidewalk in the moonlight, maybe in playsilk capes, and soak up some moonbeams. And this July we’re resuming our Summer Soiree, which we haven’t done for a few years. We look forward to re-connecting with friends on a hot summer night. It will be simple and perfect. And that, to me, is the Art of Celebrating.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

some catharsis

I usually only post my 'Current in Noblesville' columns here on this blog, but sometimes I'm compelled to reach further into what I've written, what others have written, or responses I've gotten.

So here we go.  I've been torn up about this oil disaster.  Thoughts of the destruction for generations to come are never far from my mind.  I can't believe this is real. 

Last night, on (an otherwise lovely) summer solstice evening, my Women Who Run With the Wolves bookclub met.  I showed them the passage in the book where Dr. E talks about the oil barge that sank in Lake Michigan in the 50's and the havoc it wrought then.  I read that 6-6-10, 2 days after writing my column on the oil spill and 48 days into the massive hemorrhage in the Earth.

Several days ago I received 2 emails stating in part that I was misinformed and delusional.  Of course humans can't destroy the earth, after all, if 'we' have detonated atomic bombs, nuked Japan, and vaporized the Bikini Atoll and are still here to tell about it, why would we think we can?  And here's news for us all:  oil is natural, and guess what?  The ocean is a giant washing machine, so it can take it!  Oh, and I need to take down my shrine to Al Gore (yeahhhh) and get me some more edumacation. 

Yes, indeed.  So this manmade enviromental disaster is no big deal.  Just go fill up your gas guzzler, go to the mall and buy some more plastics and enjoy life as usual, OK?  Never mind the eleven men who died.

Pay no attention to the wildlife that has died, will die, the marshes and sea life that may never recover, or the people whose livelihoods are wiped out. 

No. No, no, no.  Rage.  Outrage and uproar is warranted right now.  For God's sake, my children and children's children and on and on will have to live in this mucked up world.  What kind of legacy are we leaving them?  That the earth is here to use and abuse and leave it to someone else to clean up the mess?

As CP Estes writes:
"Tell me oil gobbets arent going to wash up on pristine shores worldwide.
Tell me fish and what they eat, arent going to ingest this cr– and wind up polluting the food tables for years to come, and humans will just have to hope their bodies make adaptations to the swill of petrol in their foodchains.
Tell me the roots of the grasses of the marshes are not going to be contaminated to the seventh generation of the seventh generation.
Tell me the fragile and seasonal economies in a time of already suckerpunched incomes are not going to be affected. Much.
Tell me wildlife kill of completely innocent creatures who lift our days and nights just to see them, wont be huge, that those creatures won’t die and be disposed of like oil-sotted cordwood.
I dare you to tell me ’studying’ the problem for a few more weeks and months, while Mother Earth hemorrhages is going to solve things.
Tell me more human life will not be put at risk, the working men and women’s lives put at risk in order to bail out some Saville Row dunces who are so used to priviledge, that they all begin to look just like Ken Lay’s wife whining –after her hubby and Skillings bilked thousands of senior citizens out of what they thought were their retirement savings–, and the woman had the timerity to be snivelling about maybe she and Mr. Lay wouldnt be able to keep their Aspen mansion.
Tell me that new tech that could help solve some of these hideous issues wont get bogged down by red tape from the BP overseers, that new can break through.
Tell me that all the ‘presidents’ men’ and humpty dumpty can be sewn together again.
And I’ll believe you, believe in you again.
When hell freezes over.

I’m a woman of peace with few lapses, but BP and all their cronies and cronettes have gone too far. It’s one thing to drill with all safety backups fully seated. It’s another to move recklessly through the hearts and lives of human beings and creatures and earth, mounting a moneymaking machine for oneself, hell with safety and protocols, screw definitive and effective remedies.
And in all, the principles in this disaster for the world, not once displaying even a speck of conscience.
Who else do we know in history who moved in these ways and without conscience destroying land and people and creatures? What was their end? And what damage did they inflict before they were taken down. And weren’t they taken down when neither land nor creatures nor people could any longer tolerate rhetoric over reality…
That time has now come. Reality over rhetoric. And in spades.
That outcry you hear, is not just Mother Earth, it’s the souls of the world: us. And lest some think that cry is one of weakness, it’s not… it’s our roar of unmitigated rage.
And if some think people are becoming too incensed over this, I’d say they are under-incensed about this, and that something’s awry with one’s basic survival instincts to not see the trajectories of this situation in the present and future.
Do whatever you can to help that is within your reach. I’ll be doing same. "

from here.  As i have thought many times about this disaster, 'if THIS isn't a wake-up call, I don't know what the hell IS.'  Please, people...we are all connected.  We aren't separate from each other and from this earth.  What hurts one hurts us all.  How do you possibly go on 'life as usual', when it's not?  We've done it now, and I'm so sorry that many can't see it.  I will do what I can and stand with those who do see.

Ideas for a better downtown? Start with these three now

I love Noblesville. I really do. And because I love it, I’m always thinking of what I’d like to see downtown to make it better. Friends and I have discussed many times what we’d like to see on the Square and what we’d do if we had a million magical dollars to just make it happen.
So here we go, in no particular order:

• Have a downtown Farmer’s Market on the Square on a weeknight. Many people want this. Saturday mornings for our family are usually booked solid, as they are many families. If you can’t make it one Saturday, or any Saturday, how can you get fresh, local produce from the farmers? But if there was another day and time for the market—like from 3-7pm on Wednesday, there you go! I just got back from rural New England where it’s common to have Farmer’s Markets six days a week!

• An anchor grocery store, like a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods. Most of my friends shop these stores and we have to travel to Castleton or Carmel. If one of these were on the square, we’d think we’d died and gone to heaven. Heck, an independent natural foods store would be just as awesome, if not more so.

• An independent pharmacy on the Square. I know I’m really tired of seeing those two giant drugstore chains competing to see who can populate Hamilton County more densely. You know who I’m talking about. There are, I believe, only 2 indie drugstores left in the whole county, one of which is in downtown Westfield.

Thoughts? What would you like to see downtown? I’d love to hear your comments. I have more ideas for what I’d like to see, but I think this is a good start.

PS--the new facebook page for bring a weekday Farmer's Market downtown is  here.

Historic Homes of Noblesville

Location: 1107 Logan Street

Owners: Matt and Megan Taylor, and children Madison, Travis and Shawn Taylor, since September 2009

Constructed by: Arza and Lauretta Truitt. Arza Truitt was a druggist with Truitt and Sons Apothecary located on the east side of the square in 1900. He married Lauretta Campbell in 1880. The couple had two sons.

Style: This Queen Anne home was built circa 1880 and has been added on to several times. The first was around 1896, when the Truitts added a master bedroom and a sitting room, and the porch was enlarged to the existing wraparound porch, and in modern times a large addition was constructed on the east side. The home retains its original carriage house.

What work have you done on your house? “We’ve gotten plaster repaired and done interior painting, and this summer we’re working on landscaping and a backyard patio. We also plan to put in a modern kitchen.”

What are your favorite features? “The front and back porches, the working gas fixtures throughout, the woodwork and tall ceilings, the pocket doors, and all of the detailed hardware.”

What do you enjoy about the neighborhood? “We can watch the parades from our porch, we like walking downtown to enjoy the shops and eat ice cream, we enjoy our friendly neighbors and the unique architecture here. Our first home was a bungalow on Maple Street. After living in Fishers for seven years, we wanted to get back to Noblesville and raise our kids here.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To ocean waters we have poisoned, I'm so sorry

I sit on a sun-warmed rock and compose this column in my head as I watch the waves crash onto the rugged shore. I’m at the sea—my chance for this Midwestern girl to drink up her fill of the mighty crashing sea before returning to her (certainly wonderful but) landlocked existence.

The only sounds are the waves crashing on the rocks/lapping on the shore (depending on my location) and the occasional seagull call. I pick my way across the beach and pick up another piece of sea glass. This craggy Maine coast is one of my favorite places to be.

The sea is a place for me to retreat from the daily demands of the world for a bit, to re-evaluate priorities, to re-read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift of the Sea, and to just be still.

Instead of feeling calm and centered this time, I breathed in the sea air and felt immense sadness over the death and destruction caused by the oil spill. That something like this could—and did—happen feels incomprehensible. 500-800,000 gallons of oil may be leaking into the Gulf each day. Each day.

I feel angry and powerless. And guilty, too. Guilty because as much as I try to be eco-conscious, the irony that the whole reason I can travel hundreds of miles from Noblesville to visit my beloved ocean at all is because of oil is not lost on me.

This fault lies squarely on humankind and our need—greed—for oil. And unlike natural disasters where it’s easy to mobilize and help in some way, this is paralyzing. What can we do but watch helplessly as the slick poisons our waters, our land, our animals, and ourselves?

It’s time to head home. I look out at a million stars glinting in the waters. I say I’m sorry and say goodbye.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reusable straws? What a str-awesome idea

Reusable water canteens? Check. Reusable grocery bags? Check. Reusable glass straws? Check. Yes, the latest in my eco friendly discoveries is glass straws. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? I haven’t bought plastic straws for years, in part because I can’t stand contributing more to the ‘use it once and throw it away’ collective when there are other options, plus plastic straws leach toxins, so when I learned about these glass straws I had to try them out.
I’m so glad I did. My family loves them. When my kids have friends over, they always make sure to offer them a drink ‘with a glass straw!’. And my oldest likes to pack a straw in her lunch too. Bonus, it makes drinking water, which is fairly boring, way more fun.

Strawesome makes a wide variety of straws, from smoothie to regular, clear to colored, as well as a variety of lengths. The straws are guaranteed against breakage (they’re made of borosilicate glass, the same glass that Pyrex is made of), and are handmade in the US.

The straws range in price from $6 for a ‘baby’ six inch straw, up to $13 for a 10 inch decorative bent straw. You’ll never need to buy straws again, so that’s a pretty good deal. Strawesome (http://www.strawesome.com/) also makes custom straws, which are great for unique gifts or party favors You’d better believe that all my kids want to give glass straws as presents to their friends now. And I want to give them to my friends, too. I think we just might do that.

As a special for Current in Noblesville readers, Strawesome is giving one free 8" regular plain straw with each order of $25 or more (one free straw per order). The coupon code is JUN10FS. Hurry--offer expires June 14, 2010.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Magic of the Diana Theater

With hot summer nights upon us, I thought I’d share about a well loved movie theatre located about 16 miles north of Noblesville. A quintessential small town single screen theater, the Diana Theater, built in 1926, has reached iconic status. Moviegoers flock from miles and miles around, and the times we’ve gone we’ve always seen people we know from Noblesville.

Is it worth the drive? Well, if you don’t mind not having 16 screens to choose from, you want to experience some history and/or you want a fun date or family activity that won’t break the bank, the Diana in Tipton is for you. And I sure hope it is, it’s worth it.

Our last trip up there was late last summer and we’re overdue for another. We saw Up! and took the whole fam, which is always a feat and something we never do, with the exception of going to the Diana.

That’s because the Diana has a cry room. When the baby got restless, we just headed upstairs to the cry room and watched the rest of the movie up there without worrying about bugging anyone.

When we left the theater it was still light out and was 9:30. We marveled at it and took the drive home, stopping at DQ on the way. A perfect summer night.

But you know what gets me every time?

Noblesville had a Diana Theater once. Right at Ninth and Clinton, where there is now a parking lot. How did such a good thing get away? I don’t know the answer to that, but it makes me realize how imperative it is to embrace the small town charms and icons we have left and how much richer our lives are because of them.

Visit www.fandango.com, zipcode 46072 for the Diana’s movie times.

Historic Homes of Noblesville

Location: 1443 Morton Street
Owners: Dustin and Erin Goodman, purchased in 1998

Constructed by: Mary Dill, circa 1910

Style: This home is a simple early 1900’s cottage. It originally had a front porch which has been enclosed, and the rear porch was enclosed for a bathroom.

What work have you done on your house? We’ve completely remodeled the living room. The walls had been covered with paneling and a dropped ceiling installed over crumbling plaster. We removed all of this and installed dry wall and a wood ceiling. Then we removed the vinyl siding to reveal the original wood siding and painted the exterior. The detached garage has been turned into a studio/workshop. Recently, we remodeled the entry way, which was once a covered porch. We opened up the ceilings, tiled the floor, installed new windows, and dry walled.

What are your favorite features? I love the simple architectural details we added such as the shutters, window boxes, corbels, and gingerbread. Our landscaping has added a lot of charm to the house too--my mother-in-law has created a dreamscape of perennials. The original cottage style home was very simple and modest, we added just a little flair. I also love the colors we chose, and the high ceilings are also a favorite feature.

What do you like about this neighborhood?  We can walk and bike through downtown Noblesville and Forest Park.  I also like the proximity to schools, public library, and shopping, and our neighbors are like family.