N is for NO

 A Quick Aside - no one said "No" that won't do for the A-Z Challenge.

A memorable afternoon with an artist in Provence  -

I like being reminded of sweet times with Jim -

Now I will move on to the A-Z Challenge for today -

N is for NO

Consider the word "NO".

I have been thinking of this several days
What's wrong with saying "no"?

I must consider this some more

Ask myself questions

Why would I say NO?

When would I saw NO?

What are the consequences???

Would YES really be better - - - -

Or just delay the inevitable NO...



M is for Margaret MacMillan lecture and memories of Inspector Morse and Oxford

This afternoon I attended a lecture by the Warden of St Antony's College, Oxford University, Margaret MacMillan - on her new book about the beginning of World War I, The War That Ended Peace."  She is an impressive speaker and gracious woman as well as an exceptional scholar.

Grateful to have had the opportunity to hear her - and will be reading her book "The War That Ended Peace" .

Working on my new story The Hello Girls, set during World War I, is expanding my interest in the period and I am loving that.

Also thought of the visit Jim and I made to Oxford years ago. It was a gorgeous day to walk those historic streets. I mostly remember the  treasures in Ashmolean Museum which were wonderful.

On a silly note, surrounded by the soft-spoken, educated voices of the Antonians (Alumni who live in the DC Area) I thought of the  Inspector Morse Mystery on WETA and could not help myself from wondering, "where is the corpse?" First saw the Inspector Morse mysteries in 1987 and watched all through the series and still enjoy them even when I know how the mystery will come out because John Thaw created such a good character.


L is for Looking Back

Today L is for Looking Back. Much of my storytelling comes from "looking back." I mine my memories for stories. That works for me in several ways but the most important to me is that it keeps other days "alive" for me. A few months ago I discovered a "prompt" in a box and it brought back a whole year - the year that my husband Jim and I were dating, that he proposed and we got married. When I opened that little yellowing date book it was like sinking your pick into a rich vein of gold. So I started working on a story from it. Sometimes I don't wait until the story simmers and cooks - I just plunge in and start telling it knowing it will work itself out through the telling. These days, with my 78th birthday coming this summer, I often feel compelled to launch the story - - and then mellow it. This morning when I was reviewing stories I have told on my TV show as I decided what to tell on Monday - I came across this video. "Looking back" - I say as I start the story. Hey, I thought. L. I am looking for an L post this morning. What an opportune moment. Use this - - and I am. Maybe it will prompt you to do some "looking back" and who knows what you will find. Wishing you good hunting and a great "gold strike."


K is for King

 K is for KING

Jim, usually a behind-the-scenes guy, takes center stage like the "king"he was for the toast at our 50th wedding anniversary party in December 2005.

This last month as the workmen are refurbishing our house I am filled with incredible gratitude for our life together and grateful to Jim for his love, caring and kindness through our 58 years together.



J is for JOY

The first aromatic loaf of bread Jim made.

J is for JOY

Thinking of  the rich often overlooked small joys that give life sweet happiness.

The joy in the fragrant smell of fresh baked bread from your own oven.

The joy of the pungent smell of turpentine and oil paints in a studio filled with other artists who are also concentrating on the canvas on an easel in front of them.

The rich and satisfying joy of feeling a large warm hand cradling your smaller hand as you walk together  - where ever you are.

The joy of seeing someone you love walking toward you -
from across the room
 from his car
 from around the corner
waiting for you at the airport
ina store
just anywhere.

The way the world goes grey when you lose someone you love  - -
there is no joy -
in anything.

after a time, a long time
it is possible to feel small bits of joy
in the sunshine of a warm day,
in flowers showing their colors,
in the warmth of a pet nudging against your leg
in the smile of a child
in the encouragement of a good friend

Even though something precious is missing - -
you can feel a bit of joy.



I is for ---? ? ? ? ?

Keeping up with the A-Z Blog Challenge is a stretch today because my list is crowded. But -- wanting to keep to the every day aspect of the challenge here goes - almost nothing - unless you make something from it.

I is for ??????

Thinking about it I started a list.

I is for:
   Invisible - like Harry Potter's Cloak of Invisibility. Now that would be nice.
   Irrestible - Many thing are -

   Interesting - now that's an easy way to go

   Intriguing - that offers the imagination a prod.

   Inevitable - ah, me - - no escape.

   Intertwined - what do you think?

And, so it goes - I,
                           I - - - -


H is for History

History hidden in letters has fascinated me for years - particularly after I started working on family history. Today I am blogging with a video to tell you the story of a letter I found almost 20 years ago in Charlotte, NC.

I have told the story of this letter often over the years and included it when I was making larger programs with letters from my collection - - - but there is a new twist to the story. Something I would never have imagined that binds us together forever.

G - is for Going to the Center

When I woke up this morning I wondered what I could write today for the blog challenge about - G.
The way I work - I never pre-plan - I hope something will emerge.
And it has.

Here is is - thanks to a Facbook post and comments from a few  "friends."

This morning I posted this picture and it prompted a conversation which led me to a new understanding of what I am doing -  

"dad gum" it's an album.

Start of the fourth week of work on my house. Not a great picture from last night but it tells me something - first art work is going up - house recovery in process. This job is
all for me - with the changes in the house I want to rotate the art work, change placements and add new stuff. I will imagine myself living in a "gallery" and hang a new show. Jim was the "master" hanger and the job will be a lot harder without him to help me - but then, truth be told, most things are harder without his hand in.

  • Susanna Connelly Holstein I like the way you center your home around art. That says a lot about you. You draw creative energy from it, I think. Also peace and comfort. Be careful climbing around to hang it! Jim's height was probably an advantage as well

  • Ellouise Schoettler Thanks Susanna Connelly Holstein Yes, I do center on the art.Jim's height was part of it - but also his "eye" for placements and relationships and his determination that everything would be level. I am more of an "essence" person and just knock a nail in and hope it works. Our son Jim helped to get this started last night - hanging a few larger ones to key the space. More will be revealed.

  • Linda Crim Ellouise , have you heard Jeanne Robertson story about LB hanging pictures?

    Is the art things you have done?

  • Ellouise Schoettler I have not heard that story - bet its a riot. Yes, the art work is all mine. A few years back I gave the walls on this level to my art work - moving the works by other artists elsewhere in the house. That works for me.

  • Linda Crim I love it! You express yourself so well via your art.

  • Kaye Miller Ellouise looking good so far,Jim would be VERY proud of you. Keep it up. ;D

  • Ellouise Schoettler @Thanks Kaye Miller I think he would like it. For one thing it's clean! Wall color is subtle - and I am refurbishing furniture we have accumulated for 50 years - taking two chairs that were in his long-time DC office to the upholstery shop this morning. Jim is definitely here. The house is refreshed, I like to think renewed - with the history in-tact and room for change. Does that make sense? Dad gum - its a kind of album.

    Thanks to my facebook Friends: Susanna Holstein, Linda Crim and Kaye Miller.

    I first met Susanna (SusannaJHolstein.com) more than a dozen years ago at the West Virginia Storytelling Festival as she began her storytelling career. her blog: grannysu.blogspot.com
    Linda Crim and I have never met in-person but, oh,my, I feel that we know each other through our writings. Her stories: eldergeneration.net
    Kaye Miller is a proud Air Force Mom and she and I know each each other through mutual understanding of keeping on keeping on.

    Thank you all for helping me on the road to a story about our house.