Monday, November 30, 2009

Poetry Project

This poem is from a book of poems and short stories that I've had for a long time - I Am Becoming the Woman I've Wanted. I've been thinking about it alot lately, and I really love it. I don't know much about the author, Ellen Kort, except that she was poet laureate of Wisconsin from 2000 to 2004. (You can read another one of her poems here: http://wipoetlaureate.wi.gov/docview.asp?docid=15839&locid=161.)


If Death Were a Woman
by Ellen Kort

I'd want her to come for me smelling of cinnamon
wearing bright cotton purple maybe hot pink

a red bandana in her hair She'd bring
good coffee papaya juice bouquet of sea grass

saltine crackers and a lottery ticket We'd dip
our fingers into moist pouches of lady's slippers

crouch down to see how cabbages feel when wind
bumps against them in the garden We'd walk

through Martin's woods find the old house
its crumbling foundation strung with honeysuckle vines

and in the front yard a surprise jonquils
turning the air yellow glistening and ripe

still blooming for a gardener long gone
We'd head for the beach wearing strings of shells

around our left ankles laugh at their ticking
sounds the measured beat that comes with dancing

on hard-packed sand the applause of ocean and fulls
She'd play ocarina songs to a moon almost full

and I'd sing off-key We'd glide and swoop
become confetti of leaf fall all wings

floating on small whirlwinds never once dreading
the heart-silenced drop And when it was time

she would not bathe me instead we'd scrub the porch
pour leftover water on flowers stand a long time

in the sun and silence then holding hands
we'd pose for pictures in the last light

The holidays are here!!

We spent the days after Thanksgiving Christmasing up our little world! We got a new tree this year (don't freak; we're donating our old one), and we put it up and decorated it. It looks so pretty! It's all red and gold and twinkly lights.

We also decorated the mantel and the top of the piano. (Clay is completely in love with the advent calendar that looks like a little house. I keep having to take it down so we can open and close all the little doors. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be putting any candy in there this year.) We finished up by hanging the wreath on our front door and officially putting the back yard garden to bed for the winter. (Pruning, raking, putting up the hammock and the patio umbrella, etc. I even planted some daffodil bulbs to line one of the beds we've got out there. We love the bed edged in iris, so we thought we'd continue the trend.)

Booger and I also went to Wal-Mart and bought alot of toys for the "Toys for Tots" bin (as well as a whole bunch of Christmas books for ourselves). Then, we went to the grocery (I let him put some money in the Salvation Army bucket. So cute!) so we could get what we needed to make peppermint bark! Yum! (Incidentally, Clay is not a huge fan of the finished product, though he ate so many of the chocolate chips that I almost had to make a smaller batch of bark!) We managed to get all of our Christmas cards addressed, and we're planning our baking. (We make those little loaves of different breads for our neighbors and our family members.)

Any ideas for a new, different main course for Christmas dinner? We did standing rib roast last year, and it was a huge hit. I'm thinking of either trying a crown pork roast or a huge seafood-y something this year. (Kroger sells a 10-lb. box of crab legs that I've kinda got my eye on.) Thoughts?

Hubs and I are also in the middle of a home improvement tear, fixing up a broken screen from one of the windows, having the carpet cleaned and replacing the garbage disposal. (Sadly, I have a long history of killing garbage disposals.)

Throw in a pretty demanding project at work, and it all adds up to one busy winter for me! Let's hope I can stay sane. My trip to New Orleans this weekend to see The Color Purple should help. I'm hoping that between that and brunch at The Court of Two Sisters, I will be fortified for next week!

Fa la la!!

Rags to riches

Hubs and I watched Slumdog Millionaire this week, and WOW. The movie was released in 208, so I don't feel too bad for only getting around to it now (even though it was nominated for about a trillion Oscars).

The movie tells the story of Jamal, his brother Silam, and Latika. All three children are orphaned in an attack on the Mumbai slum in which they live. They join forces to lead an adventurous, poverty-stricken life. Jamal and Silam become separated from Lakita in the midst of a daring escape from a gangster. For years thereafter, Jamal searches for Lakita. He finds her years later, only to be separated from her again.

In desperation, Jamal manages to land a spot as a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", hoping aginst hope that Latika will be watching so they can be reunited. In a twist of destiny, Jamal discovers that, due to the unique experiences growing up in the slums, he knows the answer to question after question.

Though there are definitely some very difficult parts of this movie to watch (especially at the beginning, when the primary characters are helpless children, prey to the unsavory environments that surround them), the film is ultimately uplifting. A marvel of casting, to boot, as a gifted actor portrays each of the princpal characters in different stages of life.

Sooooo worth seeing. I really loved it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, with all the trimmings.

My celebration started on Wednesday, when I went out to one of our offices to have Thanksgiving lunch with a group of employees. (At the corporate building, we celebrate holidays with something like cheese straws and cookies. At the satellite offices, where they have full kitchens, they have turkey, dressing, tons of veggies and about a million desserts. Now, where would YOU rather work?) Anyway, it was very fun (and filling!).

For my "dish," I brought a big box of precious little autumnal cookies from Campbell's Bakery in Fondren. They were shaped like squirrels, acorns, leaves turkeys, etc., and they were all iced and decorated! So cute! (And tasty!)

For lunch on Thanksgiving Day, I made the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce and appetizers. Laura pitched in with dressing and green bean casserole. And mom and sweet Grace made salad, rolls and pecan pies. I think each of us probably opened a bottle of wine. (Ha!) We had the BEST time. Clay and Caleb went tearing around the den and running through the backyard, and we all enjoyed one another's company.

Then, it was off to my in-laws for dinner. Delicious turkey, dressing, and green bean casserole (it seems I can NEVER get enough of that stuff!), plus a delicious, light strawberry dessert that I'll be making myself sometime. We sat around and patted our bellies, moaning and groaning, before taking a very tired little toddler home for an early bedtime.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking that with all of the eating I just described, nothing but chicken broth passed my lips on Friday. And that would have been perfectly sane.

But I am insane.

I had to go to FRYDAY, at Stacey's house. If you've never heard of FryDay, you can learn more about it here. I grabbed some shrimp, some catfish, some potatoes, a few veggies, and the tempura batter, then Clay and I headed over. I nearly made myself sick eating fried seafood, some delicious homemade eggrolls, and a truly unbelievable Dutch apple frittery-thing with brandy-soaked raisins in it. I came home and spent the rest of the evening willing my arteries not to harden.

I've been hardly better today, gorging myself on leftovers. I have NO will power.

Luckily, I DO have a pair of fat pants. And, really, I am sooooo thankful.

Seen any good movies lately?

Why, yes, I have.

The most notable good flick I've seen lately is Capote. I know, I know. I should have watched it back in 2005 with everyone else. But, look, I have been really BUSY since then, ok? Cut me some slack, dangit.

At any rate, I finally did get around to watching it, and it really is as good as everyone said. Phillip Seymour Hoffman clearly deserved the Oscar he won for his performance as author Truman Capote. When the movie begins, Capote is fresh off the success of Breakfast at Tiffany's. He's looking for a new story to write, and he stumbles across a newspaper story about some brutal murders in Kansas.

He heads to the tiny town that has been turned upside down by the tragedy and quickly realizes that the raw material there will help him create the best book he's ever written. As part of his research, Capote develops a close relationship with one of the accused killers, Perry White. As a viewer, I was unsure whether or not his relationship was genuine or self-serving, and I think that's the way director Bennett Miller wanted it.

Over the course of four years, Capote works with Perry, trying to get him to tell him the story of the night of the murders. In the end, Capote publishes one of the most revolutionary novels of the 20th century - In Cold Blood. However, the experience clearly takes its toll on Capote, whose career follows a steady downward trend after In Cold Blood's marvelous success. It is the viewer's pondering of what effect writing the novel must have had on the author that makes watching the film so worthwhile.

Definitely worth seeing. Performances are wonderful, and the story will make you think.

I also had the chance to see the film adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees, a novel that I really loved. Starring Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, and Paul Bettany, you can hardly go wrong here. As I mentioned, I loved the book, and I was a little disappointed that some of the "magic" qualities of the novel were not translated to the film. Overall, though, I thought performances were strong (particularly Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah) and enough of the book's original charm made the leap between mediums.

Worth watching; more of a chick flick than anything else.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Goodbye.


1922-2009
Love you.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Family.

My grandmother is an old woman. She's lived a long, full life. And now, she's really sick. The prognosis is not good.

When I was little, mom would take us up to Memaw's house every summer for a couple of weeks. She had this huge, ornately-carved dining room table. She'd let us dust it, and when we were finished, she'd say, "My what smart girls you are!" because our little fingers could get the dust cloth into all the nooks and crannies in the wood.

She'd take us blackberry picking on her property. We'd eat nearly as many blackberries as we put in the bucket. When we got back to the house, we'd have fresh blackberries robed in cream and sugar.

She'd make silver dollar pancakes for us for breakfast, with homemade syrup. Or she'd make biscuit dough and give us each a little piece of dough to play with ourselves. When we were done kneading it, we each made a tiny biscuit with it. Those little biscuits were always brown and crispy after they cooked in the cast-iron pan.

We'd go fishing with bamboo poles in the ponds up there. Once we'd brought our catch home, she was tough enough to cut the fish heads off while the poor fish were still alive. As they'd wriggle, she'd say to them, "Oh, I'm sorry. I know that hurts."

Memaw had a baby Grand piano that my grandfather bought her, a beautiful shiny black one. She'd play the piano and sing old hymns to us.

She had a green thumb. Every plant she touched seemed to flourish. She grew all kinds of flowers and shrubs, everywhere. Pawpaw built her a greenhouse, and it was always full of all kinds of thriving specimens.

She was very interested in family history, tracing it back generation after generation. She'd tell us all kinds of funny stories about our family members to make us laugh. The time her brother Joyce thought he could fly and jumped off the roof with an umbrella. The time James, her other brother, got his hands rubbed raw when he tried to haul her up into the hayloft with a pail and a rope.

When we'd visit, my sister always slept with Pawpaw, but I was Memaw's girl. I always slept with her. I'd watch as she washed her face with Pond's and took her dentures out. If I squirmed too much in bed, she'd pinch me.

My grandparents grew alot of vegetables, and I'd pick beans with her. When we started picking, all the grandkids would be out there. But by the end, it was usually just Memaw and me. I liked it best that way.

She was high-tempered, like me, and stubborn, like me. She was smart and knew it. (I suppose all that tended to get her into trouble from time to time. Who does that sound like?) We both have green eyes. I even have a little red in my hair, though hers is much more pronounced.

My grandmother surrendered to dementia years ago. At first, she'd get details wrong, and then the big stuff. She'd tell us she'd been to Scotland (and she hadn't) or that she'd earned a certain degree (that she hadn't). Later, her stories got much wilder. She'd tell us she had a plane that she parked in the basement and she used it to fly over the White House and wave at the president. (Seriously.) Later, she didn't recognize us. She'd know we were related to her, but wouldn't remember our names. And on and on.

To be honest, I mourned her passing long before now. Even though she always told me she'd live long enough to see me get married, she didn't come to my wedding. And when the baby was born, she couldn't come to see him.

Memaw, the one I remember, the one who used to whisper to me that, really, I might just be her favorite, went away a long time ago. But now that it looks like she might really be completely gone, I have a heavy feeling.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My little Jedi

We had the BEST time last night!

Clay's first Halloween, he was about 3 months old. It was my last day of work before staying home for about a year and a half to be a full-time mom. Hubs was out of town on business, and I was exhausted. So, our first Halloween was a bust.

Last year, we dressed up for Halloween, but we didn't go trick or treating. We just thought he was still a bit too little, so we put on our costumes and stayed home to open the door for other trick or treaters.


THIS YEAR, though, we thought it was high time to unleash the Bradshaws for Halloween. We decided early on to go as Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Yoda. We picked these costumes because a.) hubs is a huge star Wars fan, b.) all costumes were readily available at the Halloween store, and c.) Yoda was a comfy costume that was warm, but not too warm.


We decided to meet up with my sister and her family at my parents' house for supper before hitting the streets. Clay's cousin, Caleb, was the cutest little Batman ever. After we feasted on steak, mashed potatoes, salad and rolls, we all changed into our costumes. At first, Clay wasn't so sure he wanted to wear his. But as soon as he realized it was his ticket to go outside and run around the darkened streets, he was all for it.


He held Caleb's hand the whole night as they trick or treated, clutching his little treat bag in the other hand. He dutifully said "Trick or treat!" (usually before the person even came to the door) and "Thank you!" Having Caleb there to show him the ropes really helped. By the time we got to the fourth house or so, he had this trick or treating thing DOWN.


It was soooo cute to watch him, walking down the street with his huge Yoda ears flapping. Though he wasn't a big fan of the candy in general (he can eat about two pieces before he decides he's done with it for a while.), he LOVED his treat bag. He held it all the way home in the car, and insisted on sleeping with it last night.


I love that kid.