Friday, July 30, 2010

"Childhood Days"

Back when I was a kid, things really were simpler.  Parents didn't worry nearly as much (even the protective ones!)  That meant that my "Childhood Days" were full of all sorts of things that today's kids can't do, can't be, and can't see that were pretty standard back in the day.  On the opposite side of the coin, there are an enormous number of things that are standard now but didn't exist back then.  For instance: 

Ten Things I'd Never Heard of as a Kid!

10.  Play Dates....If I wanted to play, I went outside and found somebody.

9.   Bike  or Skate Helmets....The only kid helmet I ever heard of was for boys who played football.

8.   In-line Skates....Skates were metal, clamped onto your shoes and had four wheels set in a rectangle.  Skates came with a "key" that you wore on a ratty string around your neck.  Wheels in one straight line?  How do you keep balanced?  Spend more than $3.98 on skates??  Why!? 

7.   Seat Belts....were on airplanes, or so I heard.  I'd never been on an airplane!

6.   Infant Seats.....Babies were held by their moms, in the front seat until they could sit up, then into the back seat they went, with all the other kids.

5.   Teacher Enrichment Days....If it was a regular weekday and not a holiday, it was a school day!  Always, no exceptions!  Teachers needing "enrichment"??  Their job was to teach, that's all.

4.   Grammar school cafeterias....You either went home for lunch or you brought your lunch.  You usually ate your lunch outside, unless it was raining.   Occasionally  there might be Pizza Day or Hot Dog Day....maybe.

3.  I-Pods, MP3 players, Pandora....Huh??  If you wanted to listen to music, you only had 2 choices....listen to the radio or buy the record and play it in your living room on your mom & dads record player.

2.  87 different brands of "sports shoes", each more expensive than the last....  There were two types of "Sport shoes";  High-tops (black) for boys and Keds (white) for girls.  That's it, nothing else, really!

1.  Zero Tolerance policies....Not an issue, not even one little bit.  There wasn't a kid in town who was stupid enough to try to get away with bringing a weapon, drugs, alcohol, or anything else illicit to school!  Everybody knew that even trying such a thing would get you a personal meeting with your parents and the principal that very day,  and you would be expelled, sent to military or reform school before the week was out, and labeled a "troublemaker" or a juvenile delinquent.  All of which would wreck your life forever!

And you know what?  In our "Childhood Days", we were happy, generally well-adjusted kids, able to entertain ourselves, with good imaginations, respectful of our elders, most of us finished H.S. and even went to college.  We didn't need anything listed above to make us whole.  We were just fine the way things were!

Today's kids wouldn't last ten minutes!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Hot Fun in the Summertime"

Seems like everybody I know is just about to go, or just back from, or currently on....VACATION!   Well, of course, it's summertime and that's what you're "supposed" to do, right?   Go have some "Hot Fun in the Summertime"??   It's what we look forward to all year long.

Not too many people did the vacation thing for the last couple of years; the economy was just too iffy for "frivolous" expenditures.  So the stay-cation came into being, which is really still a vacation, it's just chopped up in smaller pieces and happens closer to home.

But this year it seems as though the traditional vacation is making a comeback!

Several of my bloggerbuds, have either been missing in action (and I assume they are  off somewhere having "hot fun") or have been posting little short tidbits about their trips.  It's sort of like the old teacher's first assignment each fall, "What I Did On My Summer Vacation",  but with photos!

I've been reading about trips to Indiana, Phoenix, Virginia, Washington, DC, Tucson, Savannah, Las Vegas, Florida, California, and Alaska.   Wait a minute!  How did Alaska get in there.  That's not much of a place for "hot fun"!

Well, that would be my Lil Sis.  She and my niece, have been on a cruise to Alaska.  They have done that several times and love it!  But they live in Phoenix, year-round, so "hot fun" in the summertime is the last thing they want!

Even Ratchlet, T.A., and Maddie-the-Great, just returned from what I've been thinking of as the "Grand American History Tour".  Because of M-t-G's intense interest in the history of the U.S., they went on a 2-week driving vacation to Gettysburg, Erie, Washington DC, Colonial Williamsburg, with various other stops along the way.   Unfortunately , it was a gazillion degrees on the East Coast, so they, indeed, really had "hot" fun!  On Sunday, we saw some of the pictures they took.  From all reports, they had a great time  (except for the heat). They all learned all sorts of interesting information about this country, but they were glad to get away from the heat wave and come home.

Not to be left out, the Big Guy and I will have a short vacation in Galveston, compliments of our darling daughter.  With one big "except".  It won't be until September.  Somehow that takes it out of the summertime, don't you think?  Nevermind that "Some Like It Hot" (like me, for instance!)  In the interest of marital harmony and avoiding discord among nations, that's when we're going.

Those of you who know him, know that for Mikey, "Hot Fun in the Summertime" is an oxymoron!!  In fact, "hot" anything, anywhere, anytime is his definition of hell on earth. And believe me, he would NOT come anywhere close to having a good time.   Soooo, our vacation won't happen until after all the little kids go back to school, the college kids are off the beaches, the crowds are gone, the humidity drops, temperatures moderate, and the days have begun to shorten. 

Hmmmm, come to think of it, that sounds just about  perfect! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

"The Teddy Bears' Picnic"

I belong to a very exclusive club.  In fact, in addition to me, there are only two other members that I know of.  I'm pretty sure there are more, but I don't know who they are.  The first step in learning if you would qualify for the club is:  "Is the song "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" familiar to you?  If not, I'm sorry, but you can't be a member of the club. 

The second criteria for membership relates to age.  There is no actual age qualification, but if you are currently under 50, it is extremely unlikely that you qualify.  Sorry, this is for those of "a certain age" only.

Thirdly, when you were a child, did you listen to children's programs on the radio on Saturday mornings?  Yes, I said radio!  If so, does the phrase "Let's Pretend", bring anything to mind??

OK, anybody still with me?  Do any of you  fill the criteria so far?  Is there anyone else out there who has figured this out?

So here it is, the final requirement to be a member of our exclusive club....Can you say, "It's Saturday and there's "Noo Schooool Todaaaay!"
[cue Theme music, "Teddy Bears Picnic"....]

It was the show Big John and Sparky!  When we were living in Chicago, it aired for a short time when I has about 7.  I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor facing a large console radio, listening intently, hanging on every word. 

Only about 45 minutes long, it was a wonderful program.  They told stories, sang songs, they looked through the Magic Mirror to see what good or not so good things the kids who listened might have done that week (as reported by parents on the sly!) and they would have a "Let's Pretend" segment where we could pretend to be firemen, or mountain climbers, or cowboys and have big adventures.  It was delightful.  I don't remember who (or what, for that matter) Big John and Sparky were exactly, but I loved them.

It wasn't on for very long (absolutely less than a year) and it wasn't a life changing experience.  It was just kind of neat that there was this program just for kids right there on the radio!  TV was just beginning to come into its own and it wouldn't be long before "Ding, Dong, School" (with Miss Francis), or "Howdy Doody" (with Buffalo Bob, Clarabelle, and Princess Summerfallwinterspring!), and then into the piece de resistance, Captain Kangaroo!  (Did you know that Bob Keeshun - Capt. Kangaroo - played Clarabell on Howdy Doody??)

But I listened to the radio on Saturday mornings.

So years went by, we moved to Florida, and I would occasionally mention Big John and Sparky.  I always was greeted with blank looks and "Who??"  No one in Fla had ever heard of it!  Well, that was surprising to me, but I figured maybe it was just a midwest thing.  But if I met someone who had grown up in Chicago, I always ask if they had listened to Big J and S.  NO ONE had ever heard of it.  No one!   I was beginning to think I had dreamed it or something, but my Mom said no, it was a real program.   Whew!

I was into my mid-teens before I finally met someone who remembered listening to Big John and Sparky.  My classmate, who would ultimately become  my Best Friend Forever, used to listen when she lived in New Orleans at about the same age!  But she hadn't ever met anyone else who listened either!  It was one of the things that tied us together!

Fast forward to the year Little Sis graduated from grammar school (1972-ish).  In a move that surprised me, her class took a 3-day graduation trip to Washington, D.C.  (they were only 13, for heaven's sake.... there was no class trip for me till senior year in high school!)  Anyway, I went along as one of the chaperones, I think there were 6 of us, 2 men and 4 women, a couple of whom  were teachers.  It was a fun trip....especially after the kids' lights out.  The chaperones gathered in one of the grown-up's rooms, had snacks, and wine, and we talked and told dirty jokes, laughed  and generally enjoyed ourselves. 

Somewhere in one of those evenings, I brought up the radio show no one ever heard of, Big John and Sparky.  As usual no one had....except for one of the male teacher/chaperones!   Oh how exciting!  Another one!  He had grown up in Chicago, was about my age and he had listened, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of his radio on Saturday morning.   And yep, you guessed it, he didn't know of anyone else either!

So there you have it.  Big John and Sparky's very exclusive and loyal imaginary fan club has just three members.  I've been asking for years and that's all I've found!  Unless one or more of you remembers the show, of course!  I'd be glad to add you, there's plenty of room for more!

However, if there isn't anyone else who ever heard the show and was a fan, it will remain just be me, Flossie, and John T.  No wonder the program didn't last long!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Buttons and Bows"

This is a big day here on Mellodee Musings....!!  This is a day I have been looking forward to for a long time.  In fact, I wasn't at all sure that I could ever get to this day.  I certainly needed help along the way and my generous friends, Laurie (   ) and especially, Beth ( ) both took pity on my poor pathetic pleas for help and between them they saved my sanity!!  I am so grateful to you both.  You should take a bow!

Okay, those of you who have been reading my posts lately probably have figured out what I'm talking about.  If not, here is what makes this a great day in the neighborhood.  It's all about "Buttons and Bows"!!

Mellodee Musings button

Mellodee Musings' Grabbable Button!

Wheee!   I've got the Button and Beth should take the Bow!!  Now I have something to share with those who like my page!  Please feel free to grab it and use it and let me know so that I can reciprocate (I hope, if I can figure out that part). 

So, guys, whaddya think?  Huh, huh???   It sounds a little odd, but  Grab Me, please!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"The Counting Song"

Today my mind is filled with minutae....which makes it a perfect time for a List! 
The topic for today?  10 Things I Love About Blogging!

10.  You can find Bloggers writing on just about anything!  Quilting, Care Giving, Music, Kids, Crafts, name it.  Somebody is sure to be writing about it.

9.   You can find Blogs with great photographs taken by real people, not just professional photographers.  Photos that are lovely, funny, sad, cute, touching, amazing.  Photos documenting not so ordinary lives and the planet we are lucky enough to call home.

8.  You can find Bloggers that make you think, or make you cry, or make you laugh.  Good writers that can express thoughts so clearly or beautifully that it makes you re-think how you feel about a lot of things!

7.   You can find Bloggers that understand design, graphics, color who create pages, and memes, and buttons, and such that just make you feel good!

6.  Bloggers support one another in good times and the not so good times.  They share their tears, hopes, fears, laughs, ambitions.  No matter how extreme, there will be someone on your side! 

5.  Blogging allows  you to express your feelings about anything!  It's your place to share.

4.  You will find Bloggers who build your ego by telling you they love your writing style.  They can make you feel like your Pulitzer is on its way!

3.  Bloggers are real people telling about their real lives in real time.  They can make you feel like you are right there and a part of their lives.

2.  You can find Bloggers that you know would be a hoot to hang around with....and it can make you wish you could meet them in real life to share a pot of tea.

1.  Bloggers can make you realize that you don't have to be stuck where you are.  There are always options and role models to inspire you to do something new.  Change can be a friend.  What a concept!!

So yep, I love Blogging, and I love that so many people are willing to let the rest of us into their lives.  Thanks to my BloggerBuds and Visitors and Lurkers and Commenters.   Thanks for letting me sing along!

Monday, July 19, 2010

"The Last Farewell"

For some obscure reason that I can't quite pinpoint, I 've been thinking about my childhood days in a (then) very small coastal town in Florida where I lived for about 5 years back in the 1950s.  It was a lazy little, seaside town with not a whole lot of excitement.  A typical small town with friendly people, no rushing in hurly burly traffic, a slow-motion town.  It was a good town and a great place to be when I was a little girl.

Because not much happened, when things did happen, it seemed like everybody in town was there.  A case in point was the 4th of July.  Activities went on all day and into the night.  Picnics, contests, games, prizes, speeches, all capped off by a fireworks display.  But for me the best part of the day was the parade!  I marched in the parade a couple of times when I was a Brownie....well, we tried to march.  A few of us were still having trouble with left and right (hey, give us a break.  We were only in the 2nd grade at the time), so we tended to get out of step fairly often.  Pretty soon we got kind of scattered out and we had to stop and re-group and try again!  The parade route wasn't that long, only about a mile or less.  But that parade lasted for at least an hour!  (We weren't the only ones who stopped and started!)

Every club in town had a float or would march along, there were two high school bands, and the fire department drum and bugle corp, the dancing schools (there were 2 in town) each with several different age groups, there was the American Legion or VFW drill teams, some years the Lion's Club had their fun little go carts and they performed patterns as they toodled along the route.  Just about every group that was marching (or trying to) would stop at the reviewing stand, and perform something!  A dance, a close-order drill, a song, a flag team.  I'm sure you know the kind of parade I'm talking about.  Just a bunch of our citizenry expresssing their patriotic spirit and love of country.

(Okay, I'm getting way off the topic I wanted to write about!  Darn, I hate when that happens.)

The thing that the parade especially brings to mind is that I can remember there being a group of veterans of WWI.  WWI had ended 34 years before, so there were quite a few of them still living.  They mainly looked like a group of grandfathers, marching in the remnants of their uniforms, and a few in wheelchairs.  They always got a big hand!

But the biggest celebrity in our parade for at least two of those years that I recall, was one very old man riding in the back of a covertible waving to the crowd.   He was a small little man who could barely be seen. This was around 1952 and 1953, so he was somewhere in his very late 90's.   He was a (Confederate) veteran  of the Civil War!!!  Truly!

He got the biggest hand of all!  You must remember that this was a small town in the South, the Confederate South!  The Civil War was practically an on-going conflict.  "The South shall rise again!", was the mantra that about 2/3 of populace would agree with!  The band played Dixie, everybody stood up and sang along and that old man knew that he was a Hero in our town!

I never knew his name but I have no doubt he was a real veteran.  Yesterday, I looked up the "Last Survivor of the Civil War".  It was a man in Minnesota who died in 1956 at the age of 103.  So I believe our veteran was authentic.  I was impressed even back then when I was so young.  You couldn't help but be.  The whole town was very proud of having that Confederate Veteran living in our town and they accorded him his due.

WWI was 91 years ago.  Now of course, nearly all of the American veterans of WWI are gone too.  All except one.  Frank Buckles, of Charles Town, West Virginia.  He is currently 109 years old!!  He lied about his age to get in the army at age 16, served as a medic, and received several medals, including the French Legion of Honor.  Through the intervention of Ross Perot, he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetary, when the time comes for his "Last Farewell". 

I hope that Charles Town, West Virginia honors this man at its 4th of July parade as he deserves.

[Check out his story at this link: ]

It won't be very long now, until there will be just a few survivors of WWII remaining.  The men of my father's generation are in their 80s and 90s now.  Their war was over  55 years ago.  And one day they too will all be gone.  And that "Last Farewell" will be very hard to say.

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Eve of Destruction"

I've read enough different blogs and talked to enough different women to know that at times we all feel like we are on the "Eve of Destruction".  Now I am not talking about Armeggedon, or any such thing.  The feeling comes from a common condition that no one likes to admit, but is extremely widespread.  More so than any of us ever knew.  The condition that makes so many of us feel as though we live in a war zone and are about to explode is the normal, everyday condition of our houses!  I think we all try to ignore it or hide it and we feel inadequate because our Mothers would be appalled that we can't get control of our ...((shudder, shudder))... clutter!

No matter how hard we try, it never goes away, at least not permanently!  There are lots of reasons.... we are busy women with jobs outside the home, little bitty kids, commitments like PTA, volunteering, groceries/cooking, the list goes on.  And who wants to go around everyday picking up after everybody else?  June Cleaver doesn't live here anymore!

It's a slow process of accumulating clutter until we finally snap and take an entire weekend (or longer) to CLEAN UP THIS MESS!  We browbeat and coerce our entire family into getting things put away or thrown out.  Until the next time! 

Sound familiar?

Have you ever noticed that when you get into one of these whirlwind moods, a very large proportion of the clutter you are dealing with belongs either to your children or your husband!  (I don't know what happens in non-traditional families, so for purposes of this post, I'll stick with the model of  mom, dad, 2 1/2 kids, and assorted creatures.)  Anyway the point is lots of husbands and kids seem incapable of taking care of their own things!  The leave things whereever they land!  It grows and grows until it builds up to the point that there is not one clear space anywhere you look and YOU CAN'T STAND IT ANYMORE!

I came across an article the other day that finally explains this phenomenon!  It's an affliction that nearly all children have.  Most of the girls grow out of it, but the boys NEVER seem to get over it.  A full grown adult male has had the condition for his whole life and probably isn't even aware of it.  This condition is similar to "tunnel vision" in that it relates to what the eye sees....or in this case, does NOT see!  It's called "Clutter Blindness" and it means that those who have it literally cannot see the mess!  I don't know how this is possible.  They should be walking into the things if they can't see them, but like drunks and fools, someone is watching over them and steering them around safely!  I'm the only one tripping over his junk stuff!   How can they not see the clutter???  Its everywhere!  And it belongs (mostly) to them!!  It's not invisible....I can see it!

If you accept this theory (and I by no means expect it of you!) then you have to take an enormously deep breath, count to 10 (or a hundred), and get over being angry about it.  Let it's not their faults, the poor dears!  They have clutter blindness.  We might even have to forgive them, after all they are disabled!

If, however, you don't buy this hogwash ....uhhh.... I mean, are skeptical of its validity, as I am, I don't think anyone would blame us, if at some point, we reach Clutter Overload!  The only real cure for Clutter Overload is to grab all of the
"invisible" male-generated clutter and toss it out the front door on to the lawn.  Let it look like the "Eve of Destruction" OUTSIDE, NOT IN MY HOUSE!

Thank you.  I feel better now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I don't think I've ever mentioned it, but I'm not much of a desserts/sweets kind of person.  This is an oddity in my family.  Everybody from my grandmother down to my granddaughter loves sweets.  "Sugartime" in our house is a must.

I remember my Gram's favorite way to diet.  She would give up her toast in the morning so that she could have pie at night!  (In case you're wondering, it didn't work!)  It was a running joke at Thanksgiving whether my mom was having pumpkin pie with a little whipped cream or whipped cream with a little pumpkin pie!  I don't remember my dad ever turning down dessert. 

Little Sis and both of her kids have a bit of a sweet tooth, I think.  Its been a while since I've seen the kids, so I'm not 100% sure.  But I definitely don't remember them NOT liking sweets.

The Big Guy is a sweets-a-holic!  He frequently sits in the evening and has a pint of ice cream!  His piece of pie rivals my mother's regarding whipped cream!  He even has certain rituals that must be followed when he has layer cake.  It must lie on the plate in the "right direction" (meaning the icing must be on  the right) so that it is easy to get icing with every bite.  Its kind of hard to explain without a piece of cake to illustrate and it took me years to figure out and remember.

His entire family also liked sweets....his mom, his dad, and all six brothers and sisters.  It was usually a two dessert (at least) meal when they all got together.  And everybody would have some of each dessert.

Even my darling daughter, who is soooo like me in most things, likes  pie, or ice cream, or cheesecake, but she doesn't like layer cake (I think she was traumatized as a child by the whole "right side/wrong side" debacle with her father!!)  Even her wedding cake was cheesecake!!

T.A.  is big on dessert too and will frequently order dessert "just to share" with Maddie-the-Great.  HA!  This fools no one!

And M-t-G originally didn't much care for sweet things until she was maybe 2 years old.  But she has gotten over that little quirk entirely.  Now she is worrying about dessert before she even begins her meal!  She likes all things sweet except whipped cream  (definitely not related to my mom!)  Ice cream with sprinkles is still her favorite though.  The truth of the matter is that it's probably more the idea of dessert rather than the specific thing.  She can be just as excited over one piece of hard candy as she is over a big gooey ice cream creation with all her favorite "stuff" on it.

I, on the other hand. just have never gotten excited about sweets....ever.  Most times I won't have anything at all.  Or sometimes I'll take a spoonful or two of the Big Guy's creme brulee or something else special, but just to taste it. Now I want to assure you that I am not an alien or diabetic or just weird.  I just find most desserts too rich, too sweet, too many flavors, just too much!  I will occasionally get a craving for chocolate or jelly bellies but that is generally satisfied in one or two days and then I'm good for another several months.  When I was pregnant I wanted Fudgecicles, had to have one every day.  The Big Guy even had to go out late at night to get some.  But once Ratchlet was born, that was the end of the Fudgecicles.  I didn't have another one for at least 10 or 15 years!  Seriously. 

Candy jars on someone's desk??  cookies?? popsicles?? pudding??  No thank you!  I can generally resist them all.  They don't tempt me in the least.  I do like sweet drinks like iced tea or Pepsi, but somehow that's not quite the same at all. 

My addiction is to the salty/crunchy things like peanuts, chips, Chex Mix, Cheetos.  I don't eat them everyday or anything.  But I really like to have something in the house to nibble when I feel the urge.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure and complete honesty, I must confess that there are a couple of things that I find a bit harder to resist .  Dolce de Leche ice cream..... brownies.... those are fairly easy and quickly satisfied.  But there is one thing, one tiny little addiction, that keeps cropping up from time to time.  This is something that is not widely known about me, even among my nearest and dearest. About once a year or even less often, I simply have to have (I'm embarrassed to tell you) a....Hot Fudge Sundae.  I don't know why, I can't explain it.  All I know is that I feel restless and unhappy until I have one. 

Yesterday was the day.  I went to the frozen custard place and had their small Hot Fudge Sundae.  It was delicious and I ate every drop.  Ahhhh, heaven. 

So now I'm good for the next year or so; my personal "Sugartime" addiction is satisfied once again.  I don't want another one, thanks.  But damn, it was good!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Three times today, I sat down to write.  Three times today, I ended up erasing what I wrote.  Three times today I came up with exactly "Nothing!"  So I am officially giving up.  I was thinking about you all and I wanted to be a good blogger.  But absolutely nothing seemed worth saying.  Sorry all!

Maybe tomorrow, "Nothing" will turn into "Something".

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Easier Said Than Done"

Whenever I try to develop a new computer skill, it always turns out to be "Easier Said Than Done".  This was true when computers changed from Word Processors to PCs.  It was true learning a multitude of software and hardware, everything from Word Perfect to Quicken, Excel, Publisher, Scanners, navigating the Web, and of course, blogging!  Plus everthing in between.  I've been using a computer since the 1970s, it shouldn't be this hard!  Despite nearly 40 years of having a computer at work and then at home, it never gets easier.  That's because the mysterious "they" keep changing the darn things, adding new capabilities, taking away things I like and can do, developing new software and operating systems, and all the rest....ALL THE TIME!  

In most cases I have managed to muddle through with a little help from somebody who knew what they were doing and a LOT of trial and error (mostly error!)  When I was working I got to be a whiz at all the office applications.  Okay, so maybe not all of them exactly, but definitely enough to earn the big bucks!  I'm pretty good on Word and Power Point, I can eventually get something done in Excel.  Basically all the basic word processing stuff is right at my fingertips. 

But now even the Internet is getting harder to least to the same level as everybody else seems able to do.  It has generally been true over the years that I learn how to use stuff by just trying different things until I sort it out.  A manual (if you can even find one) doesn't help very much, usually just adding to my confusion.  You see, I don't like to ask for help.  Mostly because the answers I get never seem to answer the question I have! 

I like simple stuff.  A telephone that makes and receives phone calls.  My cell phone is a thousand years old (that's OK, so am I) but that's pretty much all it does.  A tv that I know how to turn on and off, a DVD, VCR and the like that I can figure out how to use!  We have all the gadgets (the Big Guy, like most men) isn't happy unless he has all the latest toys.  I finally begin to figure out how to use one and they come out with the newest of the new and I'm back to square one! 

I'm sorry if this sounds familiar.  I think I may have ranted this rant before.  It's just been a frustrating couple of weeks.  All I want to do is add a button for grabbing on my blog.  I really want to learn how to do this.  There are all these cute and clever memes out there that I might want to do.  I'd love to have a button so I could trade them with my followers.

But I cannot figure out what I am doing!!  My sweet friends Laurie and Beth have both done buttons for me, but for whatever reason they weren't quite right and besides I want to learn how to do this.  As far as I can tell, there is not simple, straightforward web page that explains the process from start to where do you get the pictures, how do you combine all the different elements, how do you attach a link, how can I make something personalized so that it is attractive and fun????? 

Everything I've tried has been a colossal FAILURE!  Instead, I want to have a great SUCCESS!  

But oh, no, "they" won't stop making stuff  "Easier Said Than Done"!   Because you know it is  certainly "their" fault that I'm an inept techno-dweeb!

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Bits and Pieces" (ad infinitum)

Some days my thoughts are more random than other days.  This is one of those days.

***  Independence Day this year seemed extremely confused around here.  Nobody was able to agree on what actual day was Independence Day.  Some little towns had their parades and fireworks on Saturday, some on Sunday,  some today!  There is even one small town close by that will have their parade and fireworks on July 16!!  Some towns decided to avoid the whole thing and not have anything!  It was a very odd feeling.  The oddest part was that very, very few houses had their flags out at all.  It's all because some genius convinced the government that it was a great idea to celebrate holidays on the nearest Monday instead of on the actual date of an occurrence.  That's not so awful with most of the minor holidays, like Presidents' Day and even Labor Day.  But Independence Day is different.  All my life I've heard the holiday referred to as the 4th of July!  Now that makes no sense when the official day of celebration could be anything from July 2 through July 6!

What the heck was wrong with celebrating America's birthday on July 4th, the actual birthday???

***I know I've mentioned this before in some previous rant, but it seems to be getting worse!   One day last week I was having my lunch in a restaurant when I saw another of those skinny little teenage boys with these really baggy pants hanging almost completely below his butt.  He was rail thin, so there wasn't much that his pants could be caught on and they kept sliding further and further down his butt toward disaster. 

To further enhance the picture the upper three quarters of his butt area was a showcase for bright, kelly green boxers with some white ducks (or they might have been bunnies, it was hard to tell) all over.  He also wore this big heavyweight belt that was probably there to keep him from blowing away in a strong wind (he really was SKINNY).  He looked beyond ridiculous!

Back in the day when I was a skinny teenage girl, I knew lots of skinny teenage boys and I can say with great certainty that those boys would rather have died than to have a skinny teenage girl see their (.....ahhh, gasp....) underwear!  Seriously!!

I'll tell you a little secret (if you promise not to tell), whenever I see one of these kids, I have an almost irresistible, nearly uncontrollable urge to walk up behind them and at a strategic moment, reach over and pull the whole mess down to his knees!  I'll bet that there are other so inclined people who actually give in to that urge.  I wonder how many times it has to happen before the kid changes his style??

***   It is my considered opinion that Austin (I can't believe it's all of Texas,  but at least, Austin)  does not know how to make a good hamburger!  We keep trying different places, but I've had much better burgers in Florida, California, and Chicago!    I think it has something to do with that cowboy, campfire, chuckwagon wasn't exactly a training ground for the Le Cordon Bleu of hamburgers!

***Little Sis posted the first two lines of the Declaration of Independence on FB late yesterday, so I posted the next line, and it went back and forth until I made a mistake.  I was trying to do it from memory but I didn't do very well.  Humiliating!Other than my Little Sis, I wonder how many of you could do it from memory or am I the only loser who can't?  

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Happy Birthday"

I was Born in the U.S.A.
That makes me a Yankee Doodle Dandy
Oh yes, This is My Country.

Please, God Bless America
Some call it, Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean
But it's America.

You might feel like me 'cuz This Land is Your Land
I'm asking that God Bless the U.S.A.
Because I am Proud to be an American
My home, America the Beautiful.

 and so My Country ‘Tis of Thee
this is why Of Thee I Sing
We have the Star Spangled Banner
Oh, it is a Grand Old Flag
May it always wave, our Stars and Stripes Forever!

Happy Birthday, America !!!!

"A Year Ago Tonight"

"A Year Ago Tonight" I was not a blogger.  I had been thinking about it for awhile, but hadn't done anything concrete.  I didn't know very much about blogging, didn't know how to set one up, or follow anyone, or whether anyone would be interested in anything I wrote. 

"A Year Ago Tonight" I didn't spend all that much time on the computer.  I didn't really get the concept of making friends with someone I'd never met.  I didn't even think that I had the type of personality that would make and KEEP the commitment to write.

"A Year Ago Tonight" I didn't have a clue on what I could write about.  I'm really not all that interesting a person.  I had no clue what names I could use for my family to protect our privacy.  I had not the faintest idea about what my family's reaction might be to my writing about them in front of God and everybody!

"A Year Ago Tonight" I read a few random blogs.  I read a few blogs of people that I actually knew.  I thought some of the blogs I read were funny.  Some were beautiful.  Some others were sad.  Still others were awful or scary!   The variety and sheer numbers of bloggers amazed me.

"A Year Ago Tonight"  I made up my mind to give it a try.  I had no idea where this was heading, but I decided that I could try a few postings and if I didn't like it or wasn't any good at it, I could quit at anytime.  Nobody need ever know if it turned out not to be my cup of tea!

"A Year Ago Tonight" I figure out how to set up a basic design for my very own blog. "A Year Ago Tonight" I hit upon a name and concept that felt just right:

Mellodee musings....


 "A Year Ago Tonight" I wrote my very first posting for my blog,  "It's Not Where You Start"!    Here's a link if you want to go back to the beginning to see how this all came about: 
"A Year Ago Tonight" I didn't know a thing about blogging.  Tonight, one full year, 1457 visits, and 167 postings later, I am still here and still writing and still learning more about blogging.  A whole Year!  Wow! But the best thing about blogging has been making new friends and they all seem to like the way I write.  Go figure! I love getting and reading all your delightful comments. I just love the feedback!  I am honored to be a part of the blogging  community and I thank each and every one of you who have visited once or a hundred times. 

Happy Anniversary to me!  And Happy Reading to you.  Stop by again anytime!!  I'm pretty sure I'll be around for a long while!

Thanks and Hugs to you all!


Friday, July 2, 2010

"Thank You for the Music" (Part III)

As I was saying....It was my turn next.   I was nervous, I'd never auditioned as a soloist!!  The other girls were sitting in the Choir pews and talking softly.  I  had heard the song 4 or 5 times by then, so I was somewhat familiar with it but still....  I swallowed a few thousand times.  Miss Jones played the introduction, the girls stopped talking,  and I started to sing.  After about 2 bars, I stopped dead. 

"What was THAT?  WHO was that?"  I asked.   Everyone was looking at me with surprise except Miss Jones who just sat and smiled and said "That was our next soloist."  You see, my voice had filled the church.  It sounded rich and full and powerful (not perfect of course, but bigger and stronger than any of the others!)  I couldn't believe it!!  Ms. Jones started the introduction again and I sang the whole song.  It was amazing to me!  I never knew I sounded like that!!  I was singing full out in a church with great acoustics and that was something I had never done before.  When I finished Miss Jones was still grinning (evidently she pretty much knew what was going to happen), the other girls were clapping, squealing, and  giving hugs, and I was astounded.  After singing with other people for so long, I had always been working on blending and being part of the ensemble. But there in  that little church in that little town, I learned that yes, I COULD SING!!  Really sing....  I was going to Regional Competition as a soloist!  Oh wow! 

So Miss Jones and I started rehearsing the two songs I would sing.  As the time grew closer, I kept getting more and more nervous.  Singing in an empty church in front of  a few of my new friends was one thing, standing in front of a musical expert who would JUDGE me was something altogether different and I was having long term anticipatory stage fright that just kept getting worse. 

Finally, the day came for the competition.  There were only three of us in the room, Miss Jones, the Judge, and me.  Oh God, I was terrified.  My throat was dry, my hands were shaking a bit, and I felt like I was going to throw up!  Oh, help!!  I would never survive this.  I was supposed to sing now???  I could hardly breathe much less sing!  All the competitors were to introduce themselves, give the name of their school, and announce the names and composers of each song.  When I attempted to do that my voice was shaking and I was speaking in a whisper, but somehow I got it out.  Then Miss Jones began the introduction and I was "on".  I started the song and I was still nervous but I tried to concentrate on doing the best I could. 

As I was singing the first song, I began to notice that there was something funky happening to my knees.  My kneecaps were bouncing up and down....both of them! It was the oddest feeling!  I kept on singing, but my mind was obsessed with my knees.   I never knew that kneecaps could bounce!  I just knew this was NOT GOOD.  I kept singing.  In my head, I started thinking, "Oh please, please, make it stop.  Don't let me faint.  Why are they doing that?  Help!!!  Oh wow, this is amazing!"   I finally realized that I was at the end of the second song!  It was over!!  I did it!   And I lived through it!!!

The Judge thanked me, made a few comments on what I should work on, shook hands with Miss Jones, and left the room.  I starting jumping around, hugging Miss Jones, and talking a mile a minute about my bouncy knees!  And I couldn't stop smiling and laughing.  At that moment I didn't even care about the evaluation, because I did it!

After a bit of time my rating sheet was returned to us.  Ms. Jones took a quick look and then handed it to me.  My nervous tummy butterflies were back and I was afraid to look.  She was smiling and said, "Go on", so I looked down at the paper.  I'm pretty sure that I screamed and Miss Jones started laughing.  There it was, up in the top right hand corner:   Overall Rating:  I - Superior!  The highest rating you could get!  Despite nerves and inexperience and and the tap dancing going on in the middle of my legs, I had succeeded!  And I had written proof that, Yes, indeedy, I could sing!!

That event put me on a path that continued to lead me to more and more music in my life...College Choir with an awesome Director, Dr. E. Fissinger, (where I met the Big Guy), church choirs, singing with a trio for more than ten years, doing musical community theater where I worked my way up to principal roles in "Fiddler on the Roof",  "Annie",  "Carousel", and a lot of other shows.  Eventually, I began playing roles in straight plays  like "Steel Magnolias", "On Golden Pond",  "Blithe Spirit", among others.  I've active in theater for over 30 years now and have moved into directing as well.  Even though I'm not involved anymore, theater has been a huge part of my life.  And it all began by singing with my mom as we washed dishes! 

So who should I thank for the music?  I was remarkably blessed with the choir directors I encountered, each of them gave me a part of the package and it was a gift that I used practically everyday of my life!

So thank you Mom, I'm so grateful you loved to sing and taught me to love it too!  Sister Rita Terese, Mr. Yost, and Mrs. Horne, thank you all for the "nuts and bolts".  Jenna Jordan Jones made me see that I was better than I thought.  Dr. Fissinger, every moment with you and the choir was pure joy!  To all of you:

"....I say Thank You for the Music, for giving it to me."  
                                                        - Abba

Postscript:   There is just one teeny, tiny little detail I need to wrap up.  Those bouncy knees??  Never happened again.  Stage Fright?? - gone.  Nerves before performing??  Nope, nada, zip!  Speaking or acting or singing in front of an audience (whether large or small)???   Totally comfortable and at ease!

Hey, if I could survive that first ordeal of competition with my bouncy, dancing kneecaps and still get a Level I - Superior Vocal Rating at the age of 16, I can survive everything else .  Truly!!  And I have!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Thank You for the Music" (Part II)

To pick up my story from yesterday (soooo, if you haven't read Part I, you may go back and do so now.  I'll wait.)  ........................................  Okay, everybody up to speed??  Here we go.

When I got to the middle of Junior High, we had moved to a different town.  Whoo Hoo!  They had a Women's Chorus AND a Mixed Chorus (that's boys and girls together, gotta love public school).  So I signed up for both.  That's when I met Mrs. Horne, yet another supremely musically knowledgable Director.  Actually "met" is too strong a word.  Encountered is probably more accurate.  I sang under Mrs. Horne's direction for four straight years in both choirs, yet I seriously doubt that she could have told you my name back then, even at the end of those 4 years!

Its not that Mrs. Horne was rude exactly.  [Well, I guess I need to stop and explain something about choral singing before I go on.     In any group of singers there are always stronger singers and weaker singers.  Some people are simply more talented than others.  Some peoples' voices are stand-outs and others are great for background, but aren't individually memorable.  That's just the way it is.   Getting a good blend of all kinds of voices is part of what makes choral singing fun.  Nevertheless, the "background" voices, by their very nature, don't make much of an impression on Directors as a rule.]

Mrs. Horne had been the Chorus Director for years and her Choruses were very good and she was blessed to have several really outstanding singers, especially among the women.  There was Kathy C, Carolyn W., Doni T., Mary C., and about 6 or 7 others whose names escape me at the moment.  They had truly wonderful voices.  I, on the other hand, was always one of those "background singers", just another one of the sopranos.  It didn't bother me.  Up to that point, I had never thought I was anything special vocally.  That was just fine too.  I was painfully shy and would have hated to be singled out.

Mrs. Horne's Choruses ALWAYS got Superior ratings at both Regional and Statewide Competitions.  The soloists ALWAYS got Superior ratings  (they really were very talented young women).  Mrs. Horne knew what she was doing too!  I continued to love choral singing and to learn a lot about music and singing in her Choruses.  

Okay, this is where my life took yet another jog to the left.  In the middle of my Junior year, we moved AGAIN.  That was a heartbreaker for me.  I wouldn't get to graduate with my friends, I knew no one in the new town, the H.S. was a lot smaller.  I was pretty miserable about the whole thing.  But they had a Chorus!  So I joined least I'd still have music!

Well, I got music and sooooo much more.  I met (truly met!) Miss Jones, the Director, and she CHANGED MY LIFE.  Seriously.  She did!!

Jenna Jordan Jones was only about 24, and relatively new to teaching.  She was a hoot!!  She was young and energetic and fun!  Because she was new, and the Chorus was new to the school, she didn't inherit much in the way of seasoned singers.  But she, too, knew music and what I learned from her was less about music than it was about possibilities and risk, and self-esteem.  She had all sorts of great plans....we were going to have a summer music program, at the end of it we would have a concert and the next year, doing a musical was planned!!  Oh, be still my heart!  I had died and gone to heaven! 

Closer to the end of the school year, the Chorus would be going to Competition.  Some weeks before that, several of the girls were asked to sing solos which would be rated separately from the Chorus rating.  And she asked me!  I thought she was just being nice to the new girl.  You know, "let her audition and it will be a big thrill" kind of thing.  I was scared to death. 

We met one night at one of the local churches.  There were 4 or 5 of us and we were up in the Choir Loft while the church was empty.  Miss Jones had several songs for consideration and she had each of us sing one of them individually.  The others went first and sang a piece called "I Love Life".  It was in first soprano range, so it was right for my voice.  Each of the girls did ok with it, but no one actually sounded great.

Then it was my turn.

[End Part II!  Finish coming tomorrow, I promise!]

You might also like....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...