Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Shake, Rattle, and Roll"

I don't remember how or why it got started, but when I was a fairly little girl (maybe 4 or 5?) I began to collect salt and pepper shakers.  Well, as much as a child that age can "collect" anything!  I guess my mom was really doing the collecting at first, but I liked them and as I got older I began to take more of an interest in acquiring new sets.  Every now and then, if Mom was feeling particularly pleased with me or in a really good mood, she would let me take them out of the cabinet to "play" with them.

Playing with them pretty much consisted of taking them all out, looking at them (like seeing old friends), then moving them around,  making them into families, and then getting bored and running off to do something else....until Mom would corral me and drag ....uuuhhh....take me back to help put them away again. 

At the time we were living in Florida and with the exception of my grandparents part of the time, every living relative I had was in Illinois or Wisconsin!  But like most families at the time, they were all serious letter writers and we never felt forgotten.  As part of that family thing, lots of my aunts and uncles would periodically send me cute sets or funny ones or souvenir ones from all across the country.  There were ceramic, wood, plaster, glass, and plastic salt and pepper sets.  All sorts of sets of farm animals, buildings, places, nursery rhymes, cartoon characters, flowers, fish, sports, appliances, people....as I think back on it, it was pretty amazing.  You could get S&P sets at every tourist attraction in the world!  Souvenir shops in every city have sets.  And I ended up getting a  lot of them.

The collection got pretty large over the years (at least 150 pairs, as I recall) and it got packed up and moved, unpacked, and displayed many, many times over (we moved a lot.)  We rented a lot of houses over time and they all pretty much came with a glass-door cabinet of some sort, or at least some bookshelves somewhere, and that is where the salt and pepper shakers lived, until we moved again. 

Unfortunately when I was 17, there was a period of time that my folks split up for about 18 months, it wasn't an amicable split or a happy time in my life.  After the split, it was just Mom (trying to hold us together), me (angry at the world), and Little Sis (who was just confused).  Mom tried to find a job, but we were living in a tiny little town and there was no work for a woman with no transportation.  (Dad took the car!!!)  We had to move.  I was two weeks into my Senior Year, and we had to MOVE!  (As I said I was mad, mad, mad....at my mom and my dad, in fact at the whole world (with the exception of Little Sis who had no idea why I was so grumpy all the time.)  But I digress, that is a post for another day!

At any rate, mom decided the best thing we could do was go back to Chicago where we had family and she would be able to find a job to support us.  One of Mom's brothers and his wife drove to Florida to move us back to Chicago.  We could only take what would fit in just a VW bus and a U-Haul.

Sorry the photo is in such bad shape!  It was a slide that belonged
 to my uncle and it had been damaged over the years.

There wasn't a lot of room and choices had to be made. So the salt and pepper shakers collection didn't make the cut.  It didn't matter very much to me at 17, there were other, more important changes happening to be upset about.  My whole life was feeling like "Shake, Rattle, and Roll", and keeping my collection wouldn't have helped a bit!

Nevertheless, in the years since, I have often wished there had been another something we could have culled instead.  Actually, in the years since, I have often wondered what life would have been like, if our circumstances had never changed at all.  I have no idea, of course, but it did change and we all lost a lot more than salt and pepper shakers.

Monday, May 30, 2011

"When Johnnie Comes Marching Home Again"

They gave their all so that we can all be free!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Cappella #7

THEY ARE BACK!!  Hello friends!!!

I'm glad I didn't spend a bunch of time trying to "fix" it myself! It sure is good to see all those lovely faces again.

In the wise words of  the lovely Mona, Silly Blogger!!

Friday, May 27, 2011


What happened to my followers??  They have all just suddenly disappeared without even a puff of smoke!!  Where have they gone?  What do I do to get them back!  There are 43 of them, but all I've got is a big EMPTY box!!  What happened?  Was it something I said???



"Through the Years"

I would like to lodge a complaint!  The trouble is I don't know who exactly to complain to and that is frustrating.  Somebody decides these things but nobody really knows who.  So we live with it! 

What am I ranting about this time?  Years.  Yes, years!  We have too many of them.  No, really we do!  It has gotten out of hand.  It amazes me that anyone can even keep track of every new year that starts up.  The problem, you see, is that it's not just one new year every 365 days (or less because of that February thing).  No, there is a new year starting practically any day you want to mention.  I'll show you what I mean.

There is:

CHINESE NEW YEAR-- They  have had so many of them, they had to assign animals to each one to help them keep track. I'm not sure it's working.  Depending on who you ask, this current year is "Chinese Year" 4709, 4708, or 4648!!

JEWISH NEW YEAR --  They've been counting for a looooong time.  The most recent number is something over Year 5770 and counting.

LITURGICAL YEAR--   Used by various Christian churches to determine when to start over the cycle of  prayers they say and the Feast Days they celebrate.  There are probably similar religion-based calendars for Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'i, Shinto, etc.  I just have no idea what they are.

ISLAMIC NEW YEAR-- Islam also celebrates a new year based on a cycle of holy days that do not correspond to the Gregorian calendar.  The Islamic year is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian Year.  This year, 2011, is Year 1432 H. according to the Islamic calendar.  That doesn't seem right!  I'm not sure if anybody actually did the math.

CALENDAR YEAR --This is the old boring one that always starts on January 1 and ends on December 31.  You know, the one you can actually get in printed form  (as long as you buy it before January 15, when they magically disappear.)

Even Dogs have their own mechanism for keeping track of the days.  Called DOG YEARS, nobody knows how to figure it exactly except for the fact that dogs get older a lot faster than we do.....I still don't quite understand how!  If I where able to have my own calendar I sure wouldn't age Faster!!

Every single business in the world has a FISCAL YEAR.  This is how businesses keep track of what is happening with their money situation. The same length as a calendar year, it just starts and ends on some willy-nilly choice of a date, that differs from company to company.  This is to confuse the stockholders.

Of course, there is the SCHOOL YEAR....which is so complicated, it has to be determined by an arm of civic government, the notorious School Board!!  It is the only type of year that can be added to or subtracted from mid-term because of  money or weather!!   

School Year is similar too, but not the same as the ACADEMIC YEAR.  Generally used by institutions of higher learning, this year is kept to the absolute minimum number of days the teaching assistants (and one or two professors) must actually be present in the classroom before anyone actually noticing their absence!

There is also a cute little thing called a YEAR ABROAD.  No one really knows what this means academically, but it costs a fortune and you have to place your trust in fate that nothing harmful will befall your offspring while they romp through their Junior Year on the other side of the world.  Thankfully, this "year" only lasts from 3 to 9 months.  At which point, the child comes home spouting unknown phrases in a foreign language; carrying 14 suitcases full of dirty laundry, and calling you "Ma mère".

Another gem is the ELECTION YEAR, which only comes around every four years....to everyone's eternal gratitude!!  (It is my own theory is that elections are held only every 4 years to allow sufficient time for voters to forget all the unmet campaign promises and vote the politicians back in office yet again despite the fact that they haven't ever voted anything but the party line.)

Let's not forget about the TAX YEAR!  Not that the IRS will LET you forget....ever.  They will hunt you down like a dog, if you try to get away with "forgetting" to pay up!

There is also the AUTOMOTIVE YEAR --  Which usually occurs in September or October, thus allowing men not to have to wait one more second before they can see "THE NEW MODELS" coming along.  Poor dears who love their cars, just can't take those extra days of hyperventilating and anxiety waiting to get a whiff of "that new car smell"!

I have also realized that Animal Husbandry (or something like that) dictates that all horses have the same birthday (even though they don't really). The same is true for lambs, I believe. I don't know what this practice is called, or what calendar is actually used, but  come one day in every Spring, all the ponies get one year older.  On a different Springtime day, the same thing happens with the lambs.  This is just laziness on the part of farmers and ranchers.  I don't think they even have a party!! 

Come to think of it, every single PERSON in the world adds a Year on their Birthday, thus every day starts a NEW YEAR for somebody....ACTUALLY lots of somebodies!!

No wonder a lot of folks lie about their age!    I mean, really, who can remember "Through the Years"??  After all, there are so many YEARS all going on at once??!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"In My Merry Oldsmobile"

Well, OK, I have a Kia, not an Oldsmobile (do they even make Oldsmobiles anymore???), nevertheless, I was riding around on Sunday afternoon when I had to stop at the Speedy Stop (7-11 knockoff).  When I was just about to get back in the car to go on my merry way, a Texas State Highway Patrol squad car pulled into the parking spot next to me.

Just like most drivers, I keep up with changes to the cars used by the police, they don't stay the same forever you know.  So it kind of behooves me (I like that word....behoove....something to do with horses, right??),  ahem....as I was saying, it behooves me to know the cars and colors being used by our men in blue (who usually aren't in blue!) to monitor drivers and traffic and such. 

Anyway, the patrol car that parked next to me was grey and black, a combination I hadn't see before.  As the patrolman was getting out of his car, I asked if this was a new style for the State Highway Patrol.  He said "No, we've have had these for 2 or 3 years now!"   "Wow," said I.  "Really?!   I don't think I've ever seen one like this before.  Well, it just goes to show what a law-abiding driver I am!  I haven't been ticketed or even stopped by the Highway Patrol in years!"  I said with a laugh.    He laughed too, and then he said, "That's lucky, because your Inspection Sticker is out of date!" 

My head snapped around to look at my windshield and sure enough, there it was, big as life....Expiration Date:  1/11!!  (How could this be?  I have to walk right by that sticker every time I get into my car.  How could I NOT have seen it??)  Me and my big mouth!!!    I hung my head in embarrassment.  Oh crap, he's going to ticket me for sure!  I mean it's not just a little out of date (like April maybe) oh no, it's 4 1/2 MONTHS out of date!!!  January!!  Months, plural!!  Oh, help!

He laughed at me again (people tend to do that a lot around me, can't imagine why!)  Then he said,
"Not to worry.  We're on private property here.  Just get it taken care of right away, OK?  Have a good afternoon, ma'am."  What a nice man.  He could have followed me right out to the street and given me a ticket right there, but he didn't.  Whew!  What a relief! 
I'm sure the guys at the Police Station had a good laugh that night!!

MORAL:   Never brag to a police officer about how virtuous you are!   In fact, never engage a police officer in any kind of conversation at all!  It's safer that way!! 

Update:  The Inspection was done today and I am once again a legitimately legal driver with a sticker that doesn't expire for 12 long, months!!!  Whew!     (Uhhhh, would somebody please remind me next April??)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

I'd better start off this post with a warning.  I feel a MAJOR RANT coming on!  Although most days, I am sweetness and light (well....I am!), sometimes something inspires me to harangue all of you sweet Blogger friends, with one of my "The Queen is NOT happy" moods!  And this is that day!  Buckle up!

Also just a quick disclaimer:  The "you" referenced in the following posting, is not referring to any of my sweet Blogger friends, but rather to some other parties whose numbers shall remain legion and whose names shall remain forever unknown!  OK, now that I've scared you all to death, I'll get on with it.

NEWSFLASH:  As people age, their bodies begin to fall apart.  Really!  It's true.  You wake up one morning and your joints are all stiff and jumping out of bed is no longer a given.  Another day you realize that your glasses just aren't cutting it anymore.  You already have bifocals, now you need trifocals!  Still another day, you realize that the quiet you are enjoying isn't because you are home alone!  Nope, noise is being made all around you, you JUST CAN'T HEAR IT!   Or at least not all of it. 

The last time I had my hearing checked (I admit, it's been awhile), I was told that my hearing loss is not typical aged induced deafness.  Probably due to all the ear infections I have had over the course of my lifetime, my hearing impairment is the opposite of what is typical hearing loss.  Most people as they get older, begin to lose the capability to hear high frequency sounds.  I, on the other hand, am losing the low frequency sounds.  "Well, what difference does it make?", you might ask.  "You're still going deaf, like the rest of us."

Au contraire, mes amis!  I might be going deaf like the rest of my generation, but what I can hear DOES make a difference!  I'll tell you why.  When making a Sound, as it relates to speech, the voice uses different frequency levels for different types of sounds.  The high frequencies carry the vowels and the low frequencies carry the consonants.  So if I have trouble hearing lower frequencies, when someone speaks to me, what I hear mostly is AAA-II-EE-UUUUU.  Whereas those that have trouble hearing higher frequencies, hear mostly is  shr-tttr-slllml-kkcl-ffwww-splllllsch!  You see the problem? 

As luck would have it, my hearing loss means I hear mostly vowels.  Unfortunately the Big Guy's hearing loss means he hears mostly consonants.  Neither one of us can hear what the other one is saying!!  We spend a lot of our time together screaming, "What???" at each other!   The is especially true when he is in one room and I am in another.  Trust me, this has not improved our communications over the last couple of years.  It is frustrating.  Neither of us is quite bad enough to require hearing aids yet, but the day is coming.  Probably soon.

I really hate to mention it but that isn't really what my rant is about.  (Yeah, I know, six paragraphs and I haven't gotten to point yet???)  I'm sorry, but that is what is called the set-up....annoying, but essential to getting to the point.....which I am getting to!

In the last few weeks the Big Guy and I attended two events involving M-t-G.  The first was her Girls' Choir Concert.  The second was the Spring Music Recital for the kids taking violin, cello, or piano from the same teacher.  When it comes to the music, both of these events were extremely enjoyable and M-t-G did very well in both.  We were proud of her!

Nevertheless, I was annoyed with both teachers.  They are both professional musicians.  Musicians, by the nature of their work, spend much of their time in performance, often in front of a paying audience.   There are certain requirements of musicians and others who perform in from of an audience.  The first requirement is that the participants should be both visible and audible to the audience.  Musicians are aware of something called acoustics, that is, whether the room where the performance is to be held is constructed in such a way that sound is or is not absorbed into the walls and ceilings, making it difficult to hear. This is why microphones were invented, to boost the voices and sounds of the performance so that the audience can hear what is going on.  And that includes everything that is going on, including introductions, welcomes, whatever, that is being spoken.

These two musicians were both guilty of the same mistake, and they should know better! Neither of them used any amplification for their voices; and neither of them even tried to raise their voices to be sure their audience could hear them.  I couldn't!  In both situations, there were a fair number of grandmas and grandpas is the audience (who else goes to see kids perform?)  Neither of the two teachers even tried to be heard.  At all!

That my friends, really ticked me off!  Is there anyone out there who really doesn't know that some people have difficulty hearing?  Not just us "old" folks, but lots of other people too.  But, (and here is where my RANT really gets underway) hardly anyone ever takes that into consideration in situations where there is someone speaking to an audience of more than five people.  Even professional performers don't always get it.

It is a fact, folks, not being able to hear what is going on really defeats the effectiveness of speaking to a group rather than one-on-one!  Besides which, it really ticks people off!  You've all seen it happen too, I bet.  Ever been at a PTA meeting or a club meeting, or anything of that nature, where the floor is opened to questions or comments?  Isn't there always someone that you must strain to hear?  Someone that refuses to use a microphone even when it is  right there, saying, "Oh, I don't need that!  You can all hear me, right??"  Well, no, that's not right!  Not all of us CAN hear you.  Sometimes, people won't even stand up in those circumstances!  So not only are they impossible to hear, you can't even see their faces when they talk, so you can't even read their lips!!

The rant that I am ranting has been true for many, many years, not just since I began to have hearing loss.  Every cold that I have ever had, leads to plugged up ears and some temporary hearing loss.  My career necessitated my attending a gazillion meetings of various sizes, and there was always someone I could not hear!  Always!  Even after being TOLD they were speaking too softly!!  Lifting their voices for two or three phrases and then sliding back into their inaudible mumblings.  It's enough to make you get up and leave.

If you have something that is important enough that you want to share it with a group, please, PLEASE, consider the fact that not everyone has perfect hearing.  Consider also that your voice is softer than you think and stop insulting your audience by not caring whether or not you can be heard.

On behalf of everyone who experiences difficulty hearing for ANY reason, I want to ask every person who ever speaks to a group, to please:

1.  Stand up when you speak.
2.  Raise your voice and don't mumble.
3.  And, for the love of God, use the damn microphone.

Otherwise, your message is wasted and lost forever.

If you don't care whether I can hear you, then I don't care about what you have to say!!

-- End of Rant --

I feel better now.
Thank you for your support.
We return you now to our regular programming.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Five Foot Two"

One of commenters from yesterday's post about things I just don't get, wrote about her difficulties with a car visor not being much use because she, too, is petite and doesn't sit tall enough in the seat for the visor to block out the sun!  I know whereof she speaks!  LOL!

That got me thinking about all the other drawbacks of being....ahem....short.

I reached my full height by age 14, never grew a speck taller; wider, yes.... taller, no!  So I proceeded to live the rest of my life at 5 ft., 2 1/2 in. tall.  Strangely enough once I hit adulthood, I never thought of myself as short.  I consider my height and size combination as petite.  Sounds a whole lot nicer than short, don't you think?? 

Perhaps, one of the reasons I've never considered myself short is that I usually wore heels to work, tall heels (well, a three inch heel was as tall as you could get in a shoe back then!).  I wore them all day long and into the evening sometimes.  So I knew I looked to be taller than I was.  Still, every now and then, someone would all of a sudden, out of nowhere, break off from what was being said, look at me, and say some variety of "My God, you're SHORT".   Really?  Well, thanks for the newsflash! 

So may I just share with you some of the perils of being on the low end of the height curve??  

1.  In grade school, you are usually the shortest kid....and teachers are immensely fond of saying "line up by height".  So there you are stuck at the head of the line.  That means your the first one in and the last one out.  Not too bad if the line is for getting a little bag of Halloween candy.  Not so good for getting a booster shot for something!

2.  In group photos, you always look like you are standing in a hole!

3.  You never see parades, unless you wiggle and worm your way through the crowds to get to the curb where they put the kids....you know, the little ones you can see over!

4.  Some car seats do not adjust enough so that you can comfortably reach both the pedals AND see over the steering wheel at the same time.  According to safety guidelines, you are supposed to leave a certain amount of space between you and the steering column, otherwise if you are too close, if the airbag becomes engaged, it could break your nose!!  Oh swell!

5.  It is impossible to reach the top shelf of most grocery stores.  If you need something from the top shelf you have to go find a tall person, who will always LAUGH before they help you!  The same is true for Libraries and many, many stores like Target or Hobby Lobby.

6.  Finding clothes that fit is a real challenge.  Petite clothing helps, but then you run into style issues and what is age-appropriate.  I'm short, not 14 or 80!!

7.  When you are short, slow dancing with anyone over 5'l0" is dangerous to your health!  You can get severe neck strain trying to look at them when they are talking!!  Or sometimes it makes you lose your balance and topple over backwards.   They also assume you are a pervert or something because if you just look straight ahead you find yourself talking to their lower anatomy!!

8.You can never become a Rockette!  Or Miss America!  Or a fashion model! 

9.  It is all but impossible for someone to find you in a crowd!

10.  You can't see very well at movies, or church, or concerts, or plays, because the people who sit in front of you are ALWAYS tall and wide in the torso, even when they are sitting down!

11.  People tell you to stand up when you are speaking at meetings and gatherings when you are already standing.

12.  Some people insist on treating you like you are a child or mentally challenged.  That's just insulting!

13.  If you sit all the way back in a large chair, your feet will not touch the floor!  In fact, a lot of furniture makes you feel like you are Edith Ann in the rocking chair!!! 

14.  Sooner or later your children will shoot up like weeds and surpass your height, even the girls, and you will lose whatever size advantage you ever had and your authority will begin to dwindle away.
15.  Then to add insult to injury, at some point most people begin to shrink as they get older!!  How unfair is that???   When you aren't tall to begin with, shrinking turns you into a Munchkin until you finally just disappear all together.  (Well, ok, that's not true.)  Still, where do you think the phrase "LITTLE old lady" came from??

Really it's enough to make a grown woman cry, stamp her feet, and have a full scale tantrum!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"What's the Use of Wonderin'?" (on-going)

I keep discovering more and more things I just don't get!  Surely, I'm not the only one who feels confused about some of the things that exist in our world.  What do you think about this batch of conundrums?

1.  People (mostly young men and women) who drive all around town with their car radios or CDs blasting at a level loud enough to rival a sonic boom!  It's worse in the summertime when car windows are open.  The worst offenders also have the bass cranked up as high as it will go.  Instant headache!  Most of them will be stone deaf by the time they hit 35.  To say nothing of the rest of us who suffer when we're stuck in traffic next to one of these sound addicts!  Worst of all, why are they NEVER listening to any music that's good??

2.  I've mentioned before that I have never watched any of the "reality" shows on TV.  I recently found out that many of them are scripted!!!  How can anything that has a  script be reality??  Course the scripts would be pretty easy to write, you simply write about People Behaving Badly!  Reality my foot!

3.  How many people there are who loudly proclaim that they are CHRISTIAN, and then proceed to act in the most UN-CHRISTIAN behaviour?  Just saying you are Christian, doesn't mean you are one! 

4.  I really don't understand why so many children seem to have low self esteem and no faith in themselves. Even when they come from the most loving and supportive homes with parents who get great marks for their parenting skills, the message just doesn't seem to be getting to the kids' self-confidence and self-respect. 

5.  Why I soooo frequently seem to be in my car driving directly into the sun late in the afternoon.  The visor doesn't come anywhere near blocking out the glare and I am nearly blinded by the low hanging sun. 

6.  Why so many people say that they will "do" something and then don't!   That covers everything from "I'll call you tonight." to " I'm going to take care of it today."  It's kind of like a verbal contract.  If you don't intend to do what you say, then don't keep saying you will!  It's frustrating to the people around you!

7.  The sheer numbers of people who are dishonest, cheaters, criminals, and other forms of lowlife.  They are out only for themselves and none of the rules apply to them! 

8.  Why so few people are willing to leave comments on blog posts!!  It gets lonely over here! 

9.   Most importantly of all....why can't I find a decent pair of navy blue sandals that fit!!!!?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"On the Road Again"

I have always loved to drive.  Evidently, I still do!  I just never realized quite how much!  This was brought home to me today when I realized that sometime this week or next, my odometer will turn to 64,000 miles.  By itself, the number really isn't that bad.  In fact, my  favorite car, my little red Fiero, ended up with over 130,000 miles on it when it finally gave up the ghost....but I had that car for 14 YEARS!

The car I am driving now is a 2006 Kia Sportage that I got (new) in October of 2007.  That is just three and a half years ago.....and I am not even driving to work every day anymore!  On average, that works out to approximately 18,000 miles a year; or about 1,500 miles a month or even more astounding, that's an average of 50 miles a DAY!!   How is that possible??  I hardly ever go anywhere but around town!  No wonder it feels like I have to get gas every other day!

I made one trip to Arkansas, two summers ago, but that's the only excursion I would consider a long distance trip.   It wasn't all that far anyway.

The rest adds up for rather simple reasons.  Most of my car trips around town are within the city limits of Austin, but nothing is close to anything else!  To drive from my house to Ratchlet's house is almost 20 miles, one way!  Also, no matter where I am going, I must first get to the entrance of the development in which we live.  It is almost exactly one mile from our garage to the entrance.  If I make three separate trips from home and back again for errands, and such, that's 6 miles just leaving and returning!

When we moved here from California and bought this house, we had spent ten years living in different states than Ratchlet did.  After that, 20 miles seemed a snap!  Now, after ten years here, that 20 miles no longer feels like a snap!  Mostly it feels like a long, long way away sometimes, especially anytime around rush hour.

Now I am not blaming my trips to and from Ratchlet's house for the high mileage, some weeks I don't even go there at all.  I just spend a lot of my time in the car going hither, thither and yon (which are a lot farther away than they used to be!)

So at the rate I am accumulating those miles, reaching my previous high of 130,000 miles on just one car, should only take around  7.2 years!  Yikes!  That is half as long as it took to get to that level when we were in California, which isn't that easy to get around in either!  At 64,000 miles,  I'm already halfway there!

Well, cripes!  I must just about live in that car!   So why does it feel like I never go anywhere???   If I'm gonna spend that much time in my car, somebody should write a song about it!   Hmmm, too bad "On the Road Again" is already taken! 

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Cappella

Forsooth!  Sad news from the castle; my magic writing box appears to have been taken over by a vicious, sneaky, miserable beast who made a snack of my hard drive (maybe) and generally, took over and will not allow anyone or anything to come out.  The Big Guy has taken it off to the wizard who will (we hope) drive said beast back into the primordial bog where he will sink into oblivion forever and my magic writing box shall be returned to me.  The number of spells and incantations that the wizard (and all his little wiz assistants) must perform to drive out the beast, could be infinite and stretch until the end of time (or at least for days and days.) 

Ergo, my loyal subjects, I shall retire to the inner castle where I may occasionally be allowed to temporarily visit you via the magic box that belongs to my Consort, but it might not be often!!  Meanwhile, I shall move among the peasants and do Good  Works!

Have no fear, my friends, I shall return at the end of this siege!

Your liege,

Mellodee, the Magnificent

(Ahem....can you tell I've been playing a few thousand games set in the Middle Ages??)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The Associated Press news story released today on the bin Laden death included this statement: 
 "The terrorist leader was killed by American commandos who burst into his room and feared he was reaching for a nearby weaponU.S. officials said." 
                                                                       [emphasis added]

Really??  Is there anyone who would have had any moral compunction about the shooting this man just because he was unarmed??  This particular man???  Seriously???

Shall we talk about the 2,936 unarmed people in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11/01??!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Cappella #5

As everyone in the world knows by now, Osama bin Laden, was killed in his hideout somewhere in Pakistan yesterday.  The reaction from around the world has been varied, as you might suspect.  Some people are practically dancing in the streets in celebration, while others are angry and pledging retribution and revenge.  And others are feeling general satisfaction and vindication that the US has finally achieved its goal....the discovery and elimination of the man behind the 9/11 attack on American citizens on American soil.  That attack resulted in the tragic deaths of hundreds and hundreds of civilian Americans (and others) who had no reason to expect the horror of that day.  A horror we all felt as we watched the Towers come down. 

The fact that it has been ten years that our government and military have been attempting to locate bin Laden to bring him to justice, was frustrating to everyone.  Due to the nature of the terrorist mindset, secrecy, hiding and clandestine activity are part of their mode of operation and allowed the man to move around in secret, always being protected and defended by his cohorts and believers.  Although ten years is a long time to live in hiding, as with any fanatic (of any cause), all that hiding and conspiratorial activity is worth it as a means to an end....their cause!  Evidently no price is too high. 

Thousands of Americans have paid that ultimate price as well, but most of them had no choice in the matter.  Their lives were taken by an uncaring, hate-filled group whose professed goal was defeat of the American government and its people. 

Many died in the Towers, others at the Pentagon, still others on a plane that crashed short of its intended target, due to the heroism and bravery of American citizens who did whatever necessary to thwart the attack plane heading for the White House.  Then of course, there were the firefighters, and police and emergency workers, who gave their lives in the effort to rescue and save the original victims of the attack. 
And of course, there are the thousands of American Army and Marines, and Navy, and Air Force (in whatever combination) and other soldiers from our allies around the world who have given their lives as part of our efforts to bring some sort of peace to the Mideast and to free the Iranian and Afghan citizens from the whims of terrorists.  In addition, there have been enormous casualties suffered by the other side as well.

There are some who question whether bin Laden was, in fact, the man who was killed in Pakistan.  Due to the action of the US military to bury the body at sea (within 24 hours of death in accordance with Islamic beliefs), there will never be a way to prove the claim.  That will undoubtedly lead to more controversy and confusion that will never be sorted out to the satisfaction of everyone.

It is truly unfortunate, but I don't think that the death of this man is going to change much of anything.  All of the death, loss, grief, and pain that has occurred over the last ten years will most likely continue even without the leadership of bin Laden, because despots always have other despots waiting and willing to take over and carry on.  

Ten years of deaths and fighting hasn't been enough to find solutions to all of the issues.  Will twenty years be enough?  Fifty??  One-Hundred????  Or will this conflict go on and on for the rest of time?  Maybe it will be a matter of "the last man standing wins".

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Mellow Yellow" #6

It's time for another Mellow Yellow Monday!


A Poppa, a Daddy, a Kid and a Game
Guess who won??

My 6th contribution to Mellow Yellow Monday! Hope you liked it! Go to http://mellowyellowmonday.blogspot.com/  if you want to join the ranks of lovers of all things YELLOW!

♪♪....They call me Mellow Yellow!....♪

~~ Donovan

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"With a Smile and a Song"

Listening to a choir of girls from 9-18 is like listening to the angels sing!  Their voices are pure and lovely to hear.  The Girls' Choir this afternoon gave a performance that included songs of different styles and complexity, and they did a great job on all of them.  They sang in French, and English, and Portuguese presenting songs from both the classical and modern schools of choral music.  They were very, very good.

And our Maddie-the-Great was the best of them all!!

Okay, that's probably not really true, after all she's only been signing with them for four months!  Some of the older girls had been singing with the choir for many years and their voices were more musically mature.  However, what kind of a Grammy would I be if I didn't single out my own personal favorite girl??  It's what grandmothers do, right??!! 

Actually, the younger girls only sang in about half of the songs, leaving some of the more complex songs to the more well-developed voices.  Even so, when M-t-G was singing, my focus was on her.  At least what I could see of her!  Her spot is in the middle of the middle  row and from my seat all I could see of her was her shoulder and the top of her head!  That was a little frustrating, but at least I occasionally got a glimpse of her between songs.  She was definitely the cutest one there!

The tea portion was very nice, with lots (and I do mean LOTS) of little cakes, cookies, and scones and other goodies of which I took too many!  There were two kinds of punch, one of which was a Cucumber Punch (quite refreshing and different actually), iced tea (this is Texas, there is always iced tea!), coffee, and of course hot tea.  I was the only one at our table of eight who chose hot tea, but gee, after all what is a Tea without tea??

The final two songs the girls sang were by a contemporary composer and were very challenging and interesting pieces.  Five part-harmonies and complicated rhythms.  We really enjoyed them especially.  They were good choices to close with. 

After the concert ended, the girls (who had done three performances in three hours!) were thirsty and hungry.  They descended on the food like Genghis Khan and his Horde on the attack.  I'm pretty sure every one of the girls made their way home on the wings of a massive sugar high!  But they earned it, because each of them, "With a Smile and a Song", sang like a nightingale and made their Director proud!

To say nothing of their moms and dads, and most especially, their Grammys and Poppas!

"Tea for Two"

Tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon Mike and I are going to a Tea.  He's never been to such a "ladies" event, but he'll go tomorrow and like it!  Tea isn't his usual beverage of choice (at least not the hot kind) and it would take a lot of  little sandwiches and petit fours to fill up his tummy.  So what, you might ask, has convinced him to attend such a thing as a Spring Tea, cleverly titled "Tea for Two"??

I can answer that question with one word:  grandchild!

Yes, tomorrow the Girls' Choir M-t-G joined will be holding their Spring Tea and M-t-G along with all the other girls will be singing while the rest of us enjoy our tea and crumpets (or whatever!)  The venue for the tea is a lovely old home that belongs to the Junior League.  They use it for all sorts of occasions of their own and when not being used by them, other organizations can use it for a fee.  I've never seen the interior of the house, so I am looking forward to that as much as the tea! 

Of course, the draw is really the girls.  In order to accommodate all the parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends who wish to attend, the Choir will be holding three performances right in succession.  We are going to the latest seating at 5:00 pm.  By then any kinks will have been worked out and the girl's will will have conquered any nerves that make them jittery!   I have no idea of the program content, but it really doesn't matter.  The director has most likely put together a fairly wide selection of musical styles and I am certain it will be enjoyable. 

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the younger girls (who are not a part of some of the "senior" girls numbers) will be doubling as the servers of the tea??

Evidently this is one good way to keep the girls busy while the older girls sing....and besides, its a lot cheaper than hiring catering staff or enlisting the moms!!  :)  The first concert we attended a couple of months ago, did the same thing.  It was a concert of madrigals and the choir was dressed as peasants from the Middle Ages.  So the younger girls were "serving wenches" that served dinner to everyone.  They were so adorable and they did a great job both musically AND "victually"  (that's a new word I just made up!  LOL)  And I'm sure they will again tomorrow.  (I think I wrote about that concert already, but maybe not.)

By singing with the Choir the girls are exploring different kinds of choral music and learning a lot about how to use their voices to sing correctly, not to mention making friends and having a great time doing it!  Who knows?  Some of them may even be on their way to pursue a career in vocal performance! 

Oh! Hey, now I get it!  Of course!  How clever!  If any of the girls go forward and try to have a music career, they will have a way to support themselves between gigs.  After all, this serving wench stuff, is just another way of saying waitress!  And we all know that performers need to eat while they wait for stardom!  It is an honored tradition among performers to wait tables while waiting for their "big chance"! 

Hmmm, do you think it would be tacky to leave a tip for 10 year olds??   :)

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