Monday, October 31, 2011

"Three Little Words"

“From ghoulies and ghosties
 and long-leggedy beasties
and things that go bump in the night, good Lord, deliver us!”



Oh, and what about those "Three Little Words"?? 
You'll be hearing them a lot tonight....



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Silent Sunday

I'm trying something new for me -- Silent Sunday.  Obviously I'm not supposed to say anything, Just let the photo tell the story.  So  for the very first time in the history of the my world, I will now shut up!

Silent Sunday

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"A Cappella"

Well, I'm not sure if it is going to happen on Friday or not till Saturday, but very soon, my blog will receive it's 5,000th visit!  The number of visits currently stands at 4995, so it will probably be Saturday.

How about that??  5,000 times some one (actually lots of someones) has chosen to come and visit "Mellodee Musings".  Sometimes they even stay long enough to read a few posts.  What an incredible number!

Thank you one and all for visiting. 

Those who read my stuff fairly regularly know that I don't do contests or giveaways.  At this moment I wish I did!  Because then I could reward my 5,000th visitor with something more tangible than "thank you".  Sadly, I don't own much of anything that I could imagine anyone would want!  I suppose I could try to resurrect an old head shot and give away an autographed photo of me.....from 15 years ago.  But somehow that doesn't seem like that hot an idea!  I don't make delightful crafty things. I don't even make un-delightful crafty things! I don't have anything I'm try to sell. I don't have advertisers or sponsors or the like who would offer gift certificates or samples.  So what I'm telling you here is that whoever makes the 5,000th visit, won't be getting a thing for it.... except possibly a big "Ta-Da"!

It doesn't mean that I am an ungrateful sod.  I am thrilled that people were interested in visiting so often.  I wish some of them would come again!

According to my stat counter, I have been blogging since July 2009.  In that time I have written 430 posts.  My blog has 52 people who say they are followers (although I have never had that many visits to any post!)   I have received a total of  1,352 comments on various posts.  But that means that 3,648 visits resulted in NO Comments about anything!!  If I were better with math, I could probably extrapolate all sorts of interesting statistical percentages showing how little activity my blog really gets.

All I know is that the most comments I have ever received on any single post has been 6.  Everybody knows that statistics are just numbers that can be manipulate a million ways so I'll try not to dwell on the difference between a visit that gets counted and a visitor that actually reads!

I love the people who come and read and comment regularly.  They are loyal, supportive, and complimentary.  They are friends.  A couple even visit and comment on nearly every post  Some others come regularly but never say a word....ever! And some visits are from folks who must land here accidentally because they don't stay long enough to read anything! 

So to those who visit, whether a follower, a lurker, a drop-in, or a mistake, thanks for coming!  And maybe if everybody who lands here actually read some  you might find out you like it!  And then we could become friends too!

And Mr/Ms #5,000, whoever you may be?    "TA-DA"  That 8x10 glossy signed by yours truly (that I won't really burden you with....I promise) could become a valuable collectible some day!   (Nah, probably not!)

Seriously, thank you everyone!   I hope you come back soon. 'Cuz believe it or not, I probably still have more to say!

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Things I Couldn't Say" (aka Dear So and So)

Dear So and So...

And again Friday has arrived and with it a new batch of "Things I Couldn't Say" or Dear So and So.....

Dear Auto Repair place,

Okay, you have had my car for two full weeks now.  It should be done soon...right?  RIGHT??!!
I understand about waiting for parts and the number of hours it takes to get it repaired properly.  I really do.  I know you will do a good job because you've done work for us before, so I trust you to do it right. 

But the thing is.....I like my car.  It suits me.  I miss my car.  I need my car!!  I want it back!  NOW!  (Or as soon as humanely possible, pretty please.)


Dear Mother Nature,

You may recall that I have been quite vocal this year with my complaints about the weather.  I don't mean to be a pest, but after a summer of unending days over 100F, no rain, and a whole summer of too hot, grumpy people, we'd like some "normal" please.

Two weeks ago temps were still in the high 90s.  The rest of the country was pulling out their sweaters and jackets and enjoying a colorful Autumn.  Did you overlook us?  We had two or three days of 80s....that was very nice.  But now we have a chilly wind blowing everything around (leaves, dust and dirt, and Halloween decorations!)  The temperature this morning was 52F!  Two weeks ago it was close to 100F, now its in the 50s???  Is our Fall really going to be only 3 days long?

After the summer we had, I think you could treat us a little better.  We deserve it.


Dearest M-t-G,

Congratulations Honey!  You accomplished something that was very hard for you and it was a very BIG DEAL!  I won't write specifics because I know you don't like to be the center of attention and it would embarrass you and besides, your mom wouldn't like it!   But I just wanted to tell the world about my brave granddaughter who manages to surprise us frequently with her strengths!  You are awesome, kiddo....especially when you follow your own timetable.  Yep, you definitely march to the beat of your own drum!  But you get where you need to be and you do it your way.  Atta' girl!


Dear Family,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news (it's really not "bad" exactly), but I'd just like to alert you that it is only 56 days until Christmas!  (Does anyone else remember when we used to say "shopping days"?  That was back when stores actually closed from time to time!) 

Anyway, just a couple of things: 

1)  Let's remember to try NOT to spend the National Debt, okay? 

2) Please share your updated sizes, especially M-t-G and the Big Guy!  Otherwise there is significant danger that you will spend a great deal of time returning things that don't fit! 

3)  Update your wish lists on Amazon, otherwise you'll be stuck with stuff I pick out!

Ho Ho Ho,

Dear Kindle,

Would you please stop doing whatever it is that you do that makes you lose your connection to WiFi and prevents me from accessing the Kindle Store.  It cannot possibly be anything that I am doing that causes this glitch!!  So, shape up!


Dear Marie Callendar's.

Thank you for FINALLY (after 3 years!) bringing back Beef Stroganoff to your menu.  It is the best thing your restaurant makes!  You didn't even change it in any way (always a danger with restaurants)!  It is the epitome of comfort food.  When it disappeared the last time, it made a lot of loyal fans very disgruntled.  So I am fearful that it is only back for the "season" (i.e., winter) and then it will go away for another three years!  That would make me a lot worse than "disgruntled", and it wouldn't be a pleasant sight.  So just accept the fact that this should be one of your standard items and go mess with something else!


Dear Blogland,

If you like Dear So and So, and want to give it a try, just pop over to Kat's Place at Three Bedroom Bungalow ( ), hook up with her Linky and add your own! It's a great way to blow off steam, and you can read lots of other letters even grumpier than mine!!

Your friend,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"The Counting Song"

Another episode in my on-going collection of Things I Just Don't Get!  In no particular order, I don't understand why....

1.  Clothing manufacturers include extra buttons for clothes.....wouldn't it be cheaper and more efficient to sew the buttons on better in the first place?

2.  Junk mail still exists....they don't call it "junk" for nothing!

3.  Doughnut shops uniformly close by 2:00 p.m.....Are doughnuts even less healthy in the afternoon??

4.  Our expenses expand to match our income every time we get a "raise".....Couldn't we just coast for a little while?

5.  It's so easy for people to judge others' failings.....but soooo hard to recognize our own??  And even harder to fix them!

6.  Men's business clothes (i.e. suits) styles rarely change in any meaningful way (a suit is a suit is a suit).....and why don't they die of boredom wearing essentially the same thing day after day for most of their adult lives??

7.   Some young men and women are embracing stretched piercings for their earlobes.....have you seen them?  Don't you think that is just one big icky??

8.  Banks want to charge the account holder for using their own debit card....let's see that means we are paying to use our own money which we have allowed the bank to use for their own profit.  Isn't that essentially extortion???  Or at least immoral?  Certainly not nice!

9.  So many women's cardigan sweaters these days have 3/4 length, loose-fitting sleeves and don't button up....sweaters are for cool to cold weather, these latest designs sure don't provide much warmth!!

10. Many notorious assassins and serial killers are identified by three names....

John Wilkes Booth
Lee Harvey Oswald
James Earl Ray
John Wayne Gacy
Mark David Chapman
Jack the Ripper

LOL!  Sorry, I couldn't resist!!

And that's all she  I wrote!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Bits and Pieces"

There are some loose ends to clear up.  So here are some little bits of this and a few pieces of that.


You may recall I was in an accident about a week ago.  Just thought I would let you know that my wrist is fine.  It never did develop much more than a twinge now and then.  That's the good news.  There really isn't any bad news except that I miss my own car!  Driving a rental gets old real fast!  There isn't anything wrong with the rental exactly.  Just a few things that are annoying.  Like the car is a good two feet longer than my car.  It just barely fits in our garage!  No joke!  The car is black for another.  In Texas in the fall, it still gets pretty warm and the sun just keeps on shining.  A black car is not a good choice.  I can't even use my window shade thingy guessed's in my car which is having an extended vacation at the auto repair shop.  Sigh.  No idea what the repairs will finally cost nor how much longer it will be till it comes home.  It can't be soon enough!  I want my car!!


We still have had no appreciable amounts of rain.  We got about 2" a week or so ago, but nothing since.  They keep saying it might rain, but the chance is only around 30%.  Well, at least the 100+F days are gone.


The Big Guy and I finally put out our Halloween decorations on Sunday.  I was going to have M-t-G help me on Saturday but she ended up not staying over after all, so my waiting had been pointless.  It kind of funny though, we had all our trees and bushes trimmed a couple of weeks ago and now the same things that I put out last year, look a little puny because there is so much more open space now!
So off to Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, Dollar Tree, and Walgreen's, I went.  It's still six days before Halloween and the stores' Halloween things are totally picked over and skimpy.  The stores have moved on to Thanksgiving and, yes, to Christmas.  It's getting as bad as buying clothes!  You have to get your stuff weeks and weeks before you actually need it.  That's a problem for me.  I don't get into the holiday mood weeks and weeks before!  Besides, you can usually get some great sales closer to the holiday.  The few things they had were 40-50% off, but there wasn't anything worth buying.

Never fear, the intrepid last minute shopper did what all good bargain hunters do.  I went to Goodwill!   I found two cute little ghost-y brooms, a totem pole-like stack of pumpkins that light up, and three cute little signs that say BOO!   They will help fill up the empty!   And it only cost me $8.00!  Don'tcha just love it?


It has occurred to me that buying books on the Kindle may just send me to the poor house!  (I don't think they have those anymore, come to think of it.)  Ok, so the Kindle may send me into bankruptcy a few dollars at a time!  It adds up, you know?  I looked at our Library's on-line section on downloadable books.  No relief there.  The didn't have more than about 50 books and most of those were travel guides!  Considering I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.  That's pretty useless.  For the few other books, they include several old books no longer under copyright, but I've either read them or don't want to!  For the few books I might be interested in reading there are waiting lists.  Maybe it will improve over time, but as it stands now I won't be downloading anything from the Library any time soon.

I'll just have to try harder to find free books from Kindle and other sources.

Oh by the way, here in Austin, Goodwill has several free-standing book stores where they sell soft covers for $2.00 and most hardcovers for $4.00. That's a lot better than even Half-Priced Books!  (They also sell books in their regular stores too.)  Do their book stores exist in other parts of the country too?  If so, its a great resource for big (or even small)!  They have fiction, non-fiction, kids books, DVDs and some reference books.  The turnover seems good and while small little storefronts, they can have a lot of books in a small space!  There is one located right next to the entrance to our neighborhood!  I can grab a quick book either coming or going!  Cool!


That's it for now.  Have a good Wednesday!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Monster Mash"

Halloween is coming up soon.  Somehow I am not as inspired this year as I have been in the past.  The Big Guy even went up to the attic and brought down all my Autumn decorations and Halloween stuff....I hadn't even mentioned it once!  (That is a first!)

Maddie-the-Great will be spending the night here tonight, so I am hoping that she will help me put out the outdoor Halloween stuff.  Doing it with her just might give me the inspiration I need.  We'll see.

Last year I really expanded my "stuff" for this time of year, due, in fact, to the wonderful ideas I had seen on so many different blogs.  I bought a lot of stuff and I really got into it.  This year??  Not so much.

Part of the problem, I think, is I really don't care for what I am seeing in the stores this year.  Have you noticed?  I assume what is happening here is happening everywhere.  The whimsy is missing!  There isn't any "fun" stuff!  The vast majority of things for sale this year are really scary!  Skulls, severed, bleeding limbs, grave stones, rats (RATS!!),  big (really BIG) hairy spiders and all manner of other creepy, crawlies, ghouls, zombies, vampires, fake's enough to give you nightmares!

It isn't that I think there is anything sinister about Halloween.  I'm not worried about devil worship, or other such nonsense that some people are always ranting about.  The origins of Halloween were a mix of superstition and religion and may have had some of those sinister elements, but that was a long time ago and now Halloween is about 99% about fun for kids!  That's all.  A chance for kids to dress up in costumes and go get free candy!!  That's about as much fun as a little kid can have!  I support that wholeheartedly. 
This current trend toward the really scary stuff is all related to the recent success of books like Twilight and the flood of books and movies about monsters, vampires and zombies.  I've never gotten the appeal of any of those, but then I'm not a teenager anymore.  And lets face it, is there anything scarier than a teenager in general??  :)

I don't want to turn my house into a dark, scary, creepy haunted house thing.  We get a lot of little kids and I think some of the stuff I've seen is too frightening for a child under 5!  I like the cute, fun stuff....friendly little ghosts, flying broomsticks, funny pumpkins, confused witches, happy smiling kids!  Nothing threatening or disgusting! 

A lot of it has to do with the companies that make or sell Halloween things.  Manufacturers of novelties always are updating their line to come up with new, different, and very profitable merchandise each year.  This year they seem to have focused on creepy.  Well, no thank you....not interested.  I hope they get over this scary stuff soon.

The only kind of "Monster Mash" I am interested in,  is the song you dance to!


Friday, October 21, 2011

"There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight"

I missed it!  I've been holding on to this post since February! I just can't believe it, but I missed it.  I let October 8 come.....and go without a word.  Silly blogger!   I can still tell the story, it just won't be on the actual anniversary....the anniversary of the day when every citizen could say, "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" because there was!

It happened one hundred and forty years ago in the city of Chicago....

The fire started at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 1871 in or around a small barn that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street on the South Side of Chicago.  The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary. That was considered to be the cause for over 20 years.  However,  Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who created the cow story, admitted in 1893 that he had made it up because he thought it would make colorful copy.  Nevertheless the legend persists because Ahern was right, the idea of a cow kicking over a lantern presents an image and concept hard to forget.  The truth is that no one knows what was the exact cause of the fire.

For those of you unfamiliar with City of the Big Shoulders, Chicago (rather like Austin TX) is a city that is longer (N to S) than it is wide (E to W.)  Also like Austin, a fairly large river runs generally E to W right around the middle of town, effectively cutting the city into two parts North of the river and South of the river.  The corner of State and Madison in the middle of downtown Chicago is the official dividing line between the North Side and the South Side.  The Chicago River runs a few blocks further north, but it is a more physical division that just street numbers.

The Chicago River has played an on-going role in the history and customs of Chicago.  For instance, at some point in the late 1800s, civil engineers actually reversed the flow of the River, changing it from going toward Lake Michigan to flowing from Lake Michigan.  The reversal was for the purpose of keeping waste and icky stuff (that's a technical term, truly!) from getting into the Lake.  It was accomplished through a series of locks that are still in use.

The River also magically turns green every year on St. Patrick's Day.  No one knows how this is accomplished but it makes the large Irish population of Chicago extremely happy!  (LOL!)

In reality tho, the Chicago River was actually instrumental in saving the city from total destruction in the days that the Chicago Fire raged in 1871.

The fire's spread was aided by the city's overuse of wood for building, a drought prior to the fire, and strong winds from the southwest that carried flying embers toward the heart of the city. The city also made fatal errors by not reacting soon enough and citizens were apparently unconcerned when it began. The firefighters were also exhausted from fighting a fire that happened the day before.  The firefighters fought the fire through the entire day and became extremely exhausted. Eventually the fire jumped to a nearby neighborhood and began to devastate mansions, houses and apartments. Almost everything that crossed the fire's path was made of wood, that had been dried out for quite a while. The fire eventually got to the River where it mostly stopped, as the River served as a natural firebreak and protected the North Side from burning as well.  After two days of the city burning down it began to rain and doused the remaining fire. It is said that over 300 people died in the fire and over 100,000 were left homeless.  It was devastating to the city and it's people, but it lead to development of the best trained firefighters and a stringent fire code which is maintained even now.

Interestingly, the Chicago Fire Academy is located at 137 DeKoven Street, the site where the fire actually began.

Chicago Fire Academy (Site of the Origin of the Chicago Fire of 1871)

Now there is one other little-known fact about the Chicago Fire, probably unimportant in the overall scheme of things but it is extremely important to my mother's family.  My maternal Grandmother's mother (my great-grandmother) was about 3 or 4 years old at the time of the fire and she remembered the fire!  At that time, the family lived somewhere south of the river.  The family fled their home and went to the North Side of the river to escape the fire.

She remembered crossing the river with their belongings.  After crossing she recalled being set down on a trunk or valises  right on the dock and being told by her mother  (or father),  "Do NOT move until I come back!"  Sitting next to her on the suitcases was a rather large parrot in a cage!  She could still see the fires burning around her and it was a bit hard to breathe, though the parrot seemed fine!

Not too far away was St. Michael's Catholic Church and Elementary School.  Because it was brick and on the North side of the river it survived the fire. The family never moved back to the South Side but remained on the North Side from then on. My great-grandmother subsequently attended St. Michael's school. 

My great-grandmother told the story to her children and my grandmother told it to her children and her grandchildren, including me. I can't recall now if there was more to the story.  I'm sure there was but it was a long time ago and I don't remember. I'm even kind of fuzzy on some of what I do remember!   All I know for sure is that she and her family survived that horrible fire and lived on to raise their children and their children's children and on and on and I am grateful!


Oddly enough, in another of those funny little coincidences that are scattered through my life, my mom, dad, and I had moved to Florida when I was six, but when I was seven, Mom and Dad thought they missed Chicago so we moved back for just one year (before they came to their senses and took us back to Florida!)  Nevertheless that year in Chicago was just in time for me to go to second grade.  There used to be a gazillion Catholic elementary schools in Chicago.  In fact there still are a lot of them!  You go to the one that you live closest to.  With no particular plan in mind, my parents rented an apartment somewhere that determined I would attend second grade at....St. Michael's Elementary School!  Sometimes life just feels like an endless loop going round and round!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"This is My Country"

All my life I have been a patriotic person.  I love the U.S.  I proudly say "This Is My Country" and believe that the founding fathers were inspired to to put together a system of government  over 200 years ago that is still functioning today.  I believe in that system and the Constitution under which we are governed.

I'm usually not much of a political kind of person....and I have gotten less so with every election.   If I had to categorize myself, it would be something like a Libertarian Democrat with some Conservative leanings.  Basically what that boils down to is that I am not tied into any one party or philosophy.  It depends on the issue.  Federally, I don't vote for a party, I vote for individuals where I am familiar with them.  On the local level, it is more hit or miss.  If I don't have a clear preference, I'll vote for the Libertarian candidate.

I'm not what you call a fully informed voter.  The reason for that is that it appears to me that no matter who wins an election, nothing much changes!  Federal candidates (i.e. President, Senate, and House) have all become nothing more than perpetual candidates always campaigning for reelection, either their own or a member of their Party.  They might throw in a little legislation from time to time if they can actually manage to get a new law written, agreed to, and enacted.  Most of their time is spent arguing with each other and looking after themselves.

Well I'm getting sick of it!  The Congress, in particular, has more problems than it fixes.  This, of course, is not original to me.  We hear about approval ratings for the President fairly frequently.  I can't recall the last time (if ever) I heard about approval ratings for Congress!   I don't approve of Congress, but no one has ever asked me, except at the voting booth. 

I would venture to say that if there are statistics rating the houses of Congress those approving of the actions of Congress must be dwindling more every day.  What is to approve of?? 

This country currently has problems at almost every turn....economic, healthcare, pollution and ecology, foreign affairs, and to top it all off we still have large numbers of our service men and women in Afghanistan where they have been attempting to rout Osama bin Laden and his followers for TEN years!  

And Congress quibbles, and bickers, and calls each other names, and accomplishes a whole lot of  nothing!!  But yet they continually campaign to protect the sweet life they have found and do not want to give up!

I received the following as an email from a friend of mine.  Read it carefully.  If it doesn't make you want to scream, I'd be very surprised.  I don't know if Buffett actually said all this.  I don't know if there is any kind of groundswell for a "Congressional Reform Act of 2011".  But there should be!
I have no idea what percentage of it is true.  But if even 10 % of it is true, then we need to get Congress fixed as a first priority.   The following is how to do that:

>    Warren Buffett, in a recent  interview with CNBC, offers one of the
>    best quotes about the debt ceiling: 
>    "I could  end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just
>     pass a  law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more
>     than 3% of  GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible
>     for  re-election
>     The 26th amendment (granting the  right to vote for 18
>     year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days  to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people
>     demanded it. That was in  1971...before computers, e-mail, cell  phones, etc.
>     Of  the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year
>     or  less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.
>     Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email  to
>     a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask
>     each of those to do likewise.
>     In three days, most  people in The United States of America will
>     have the message.  This is one idea that really should be passed around.
>  _*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*_
>         1. No  Tenure / No Pension.
>         A Congressman collects a salary while in  office and receives no
>         pay when they are out of office.
>         2.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social
>          Security.
>         All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move  to the
>         Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow  into
>         the Social Security system, and Congress participates with  the
>         American people. It may not be used for any other  purpose.
>         3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan,  just as all
>         Americans do.
>         4. Congress will no longer vote  themselves a pay raise.
>         Congressional pay will rise by the lower  of CPI or 3%.
>         5. Congress loses their current health care  system and
>         participates in the same health care system as the  American people.
>         6. Congress must equally abide by all laws  they impose on the
>         American people.  They must abide by all laws  they impose on the
>         American people.
>         7. All contracts with  past and present Congressmen are void
>         effective 1/1/12. The  American people did not make this
>         contract with Congressmen.
>         Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
>          Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
>          envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their
>          term(s), then go home and back to work.
>         If each person  contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will
>         only take three  days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive
>         the message. Maybe  it is time.

We should be circulating this and actually getting this underway.  Sitting in a park in NYC and yelling about jobs, isn't very effective.  If we could get this into a national referendum we could vote on it and actually make an EFFECTIVE CHANGE  Asking Congress to fix themselves will NEVER happen.  But we, the voters, can make the change for them!

"This is My Country" and I want my Congress and my President to work together to make this country once again as great as it should be!  Let's get Congress off the gravy train and get them back to work....that way everybody else might be able to get back to work too!  Then together we can get our priorities back in order and fix the rest of it.


 I would like to see one addition.  Any individual elected to either house of Congress must pass (with a score of 80% correct or better) a written test on the Constituion of the United States before being allowed to assume their seat.  The test must be retaken any time the legislator is re-elected.  The test would be written by a panel of non-political Constitutional scholars and be updated periodically. Anyone caught cheating would lose his/her seat and become ineligible to ever run for anything again!! 

Actually ALL elected officials should be required to pass a test relating to the Constitution plus state and local legislation pertinent to their particular office.  This would include every elected individual from the President down to local dogcatchers! 

I would vote for that in a New York minute!

Congress seems to have developed complete disregard for the desires and needs of the public they are supposed to represent!  It would take a massive and unilateral coming together of all Americans to force Congress to adopt the changes or lose all subsequent elections.  But coming together in a crisis is one of the things we Americans do best!  So let's do it!!

We'll never know if we could push it through unless we try!

(Feel free to copy and share this with everyone if you agree!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

"When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain"

Does anyone else remember Kate Smith?  She was a rather large woman with a very large voice.  She had an extensive career singing for movies, radio, recordings, and she even had her own TV show in the early 50's (I think).  She introduced Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" and her performances of the song are outstanding!   Many people may not know the history of this song and Kate Smith.

God Bless America

In early 1940, Kate Smith, a fiercely patriotic American and the biggest star on radio, was deeply worried about her country.

She asked Irving Berlin if he could give her a song that would re-ignite the spirit of American patriotism and faith. He said he had a song that he had written in 1917, but never used it. He said she could have it. She sat at the piano and played it and realized how good it was. She called Mr. Berlin and told him that she couldn't take this from him for nothing. So, they agreed that any money that would be made off the song would be donated to the Boy Scouts of America.  Thanks to Kate Smith and Irving Berlin, the Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties.
Frank Sinatra said that when Kate Smith, whom he considered the greatest singer of his age, first sang this song on the radio, a million guys got 'dust' in their eyes and had to wipe the tears the 'dust' caused.

Kate Smith YouTube - click to play

Her success had nothing to do with her looks.  In fact, she wasn't a particularly attractive woman.  Unfortunately, dowdy is about the best word I could use to describe her look.  But oh my word, the woman could sing.  I loved hearing her voice.  It was powerful and rich and very stirring. There are many different videos and such on YouTube that show her wonderful versatility.  If you aren't familiar with her or her voice,  click on the photo above to go to YouTube. 

"When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain" was her theme song.   Whenever a certain kind of moon is visible in the sky I remember this song and the incredible Kate Smith.

(Not-so-clever segue...)

I was reminded of that song tonight.  I went out to get the mail this evening and peeking through the trees between the houses across the street, I saw the moon.  Not following the phases of the moon in any regular fashion, I have no idea if the moon is waxing or waning (not that I actually know which is which).  Either way the moon was fairly low on the horizon, not quite full, but looking like a big golden balloon hanging in the sky.  It was lovely.

It occurred to me that I have noticed the moon several times in the past few weeks.  The moon always catches my attention when it is the wonderful golden color that makes me think of melted butter.  It is my impression that that particular shade of gold is usually what happens when a full moon is just beginning to rise.

Well, I know there typically there is only one full moon per month.  Right?   So if the impression that I have gathered over the course of my life (i.e., gold comes only with full moons) is correct and if there is in fact, only one full moon per month, why have I noticed this golden color a few times over the last several weeks??
A golden moon low in the sky is hard to miss.  At that low angle, just above the horizon, the moon is not only golden, it seems huge!  I read somewhere a while ago, that the size of the image you see when the moon is low is actually the same size as the image you see when the moon is high.  Supposedly, the change in one's impression of the size is caused by the moon's proximity to things like trees and houses, whereas when it is in the middle of the sky there is nothing close by to change the perspective.  Does that make sense to anyone?  I don't see how that can be true, but I haven't figured out how to test it out.

Anyway, it seems a bit odd to me that I have noticed a big golden moon several times lately.  Has anyone else noticed that??  I figure that if there was something unusual going on, there would be lots of news stories and such about it and I haven't seen or heard anything, so I guess it's just me.

No matter whether it's just me or not, I sure do like looking at that big ole round yellow ball hanging in the sky.  I usually just stand there for a bit and watch it and all of a sudden I'm humming, "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain" while I think lovely thoughts about all manner of things.

I think Kate would approve!

A Cappella (follow-up)

I thought I would let you all know that I am fine.  The only physical result of yesterday's accident was a slightly sprained left wrist.  I wrapped it last night and by morning it was only a little twingy if I lifted something with a bit of weight.  Back and neck seem okay.

Now we have to cope with all the rest of the, rental car, appraiser, repair, deductible, pay for ticket, driving school, etc, etc.....YUCK!    All the stuff that's worse than the accident in some ways.  All the stuff everybody hates to have to do!

Ah well, it could be worse....a lot worse.  So I'll try not to complain too much!

In the immortal words of Roseanne Roseannadanna,  "It just goes to show you, it's always something--if it ain't one thing, it's another."

Remember, "Look both ways  several times before crossing a street....especially when driving!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"A Cappella"

This has been an interesting day. 

Because we are....uhhh....completely out of shape old, and just the  tiniest bit....uhhh.....lazy unmotivated, we have sort of let our yard get....uhhh....totally out of hand slightly overgrown for the last....uhhhh....almost eleven few years.  It wasn't intentional exactly but even with the on-again-off-again drought and an almost complete lack of attention the darned trees and bushes and shrubs just kept on growing! 

So we finally couldn't take it anymore and knew we would never manage to get ourselves out there to do what was needed, we hired a tree and landscaping service to trim, trim, trim!  And then trim some more!  The owner of the service (who is suffering from the economy and lack of work because of the drought) offered us a really great deal and we jumped on it.

It took 2-3 guys three half-days to fill up their 10' trailer completely three times with branches and brush.  We have a goodly number of trees on the property (about1/3 acre).  I think it is about 18 or 20.  And more bushes and shrubs than I can count from memory. 

Those guys worked like Trojans (not THAT kind of Trojan...sheesh!) to get it all done, loaded, cleaned up, and carted away. but it looks wonderful!!  Nothing is scraping the roof anymore, you can actually see all of the sidewalks. and our house no longer looks like Tarzan's second home!

They did a great job and several neighbors complimented us on how good it looks.  A few even talked to the owner to have some work done in their yards.  So it was a real win-win situation. 

In the process of talking to several of the neighbors (which rarely happens around here), I met the new little dog that has moved in across the street.  Such a cutie you wouldn't believe!  It is the offspring of a Shit-zu mix and a Toy Poodle and is referred to as a "Teddy Bear".  About the size of a fully grown tea-cup poodle, but very fluffy, she was nestled between the  neighbors feet as we chatted and she was shorter than the  owner's foot!  So adorable! 

Of course, I had no access to a camera to record either of these activities.

So after everything settled down and got back to normal, I went off to do some stuff.  Had a nice lunch at Chili's (have you had their chicken enchilada soup?  Delicious!!)  I got back in my car to drive to another section of the shopping area.  I stopped at the stop sign, looked both ways, saw it was clear, was nearly across the 4-lane road when BAM!  I got hit on the left side of the car by someone I had not seen!  I looked I swear, but I thought it was clear.  Either way, she hit my car at about the front wheel well and push me about five feet to the right.  This the first major accident I have ever had and I have been driving nearly every day for at least 43 or 44 years!!  

I don't believe she even tried to stop or avoid hitting me!  There were no skid marks, no horn, I heard no brakes squealing, just BAM!

I am fine.  She is fine.  Our cars are not!  Neither one is drivable.   My cute little Kia is all smashed on the right front side.  Her car appeared to have about twice the damage mine did.  We called the police (well, she called because, of course, my cell phone was dead!)   He was very nice and helpful.  Except for the part where he gave me the ticket!  In the state of Texas who hits who is not the criteria for responsibility. it is who has the right of way.  And she had the right of way and I got the ticket! 

I mentioned that I neither saw nor heard and evidence of her trying to stop, slow, or swerve, just BAM!  The officer told me that in Texas, the driver who has the right of way is NOT OBLIGATED TO EVEN TRY TO STOP!!  WHAT???

I am not going to argue the ticket, I obviously did not look closely enough for traffic from that direction, I shouldn't have been there.  My fault.  I get that. 

But not even trying to avoid the accident??  That just seems ridiculous to me.  Suppose my car had broken down in that spot, would she have been free to smash into me then, just because she had the right of way???  Absurd!  "Oh, it's okay to run over the kid who darts out in the street, after all, you had the right of way!"  That is outrageous. 

I was looking straight ahead while I was crossing the intersection and I was about 2/3 of the way across the street when she smashed directly into me.  It's bad enough that I didn't see her approaching, but either she was distracted (on the phone?? looking in her purse??  putting on make up??  I've seen people doing all of those things  and more while driving)  or she seriously needs to have her vision checked or as I have suspected at other times, I have become invisible!!

There is no other possibility.  I was directly in her path, how could she NOT see me??  Or maybe she just knew she had the right of way and figured I didn't matter!!

This morning was a lot more fun than this afternoon!  But hey, doesn't my yard look nice?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Cold Turkey"

Have you ever just gone wandering through blogland?  Hitting "Next Blog" and visiting whatever pops up randomly?  I would guess just about every blogger must have done that at least once or twice, especially when just starting out.  How else to you figure out what blogging is all about?? 

Well, I do it occasionally too.  Usually when I'm looking for inspiration for a good topic to write about or by friends haven't been very forthcoming with new posts.   It rarely results in an actual post because I either get sucked into reading a blogger who has been writing for years or I land on a whole bunch of Norwegian, Asian, or German bloggers!  (There seem to be a lot of Scandinavian and German bloggers!)  I rarely use the translate feature, doesn't translate very well!  Sorry Blogger!

Anyway, on more than one occasion (actually many more than one occasion), I will be reading a  blog that appeals to me for one reason or another and I will suddenly realize that the post I am reading appears to be the newest post, but the date is more than a year ago!  Or longer.  Sometimes there is a hint in the last couple of posts that the blogger's circumstances have changed, or they are tired of writing, or upset with people making not-so-nice comments (Why does anyone do that????)  so the fact is that the latest entry is also the last entry!  But other times there is no particular hint.  It just stops!  "Cold Turkey"!

What happened??  That really piques my curiosity.  Has there been an unexpected change in their lives?  Illness?  Accident?  Tragedy?  Death??  Or just an interrupted writing habit that once broken, was just impossible to restart??  Was it good news or bad news??  Where did they go??  Are they all right?

Frequently these bloggers have been writing faithfully for a few years, they have followers and commenters, but for whatever reason they don't write anymore. 

It feels kind of like having a boyfriend who, after dating for a long time, sudeenly just never calls again!  Not that personal of course, but similar.  Boom!  Gone.

Since I've been blogging I have located a whole bunch of bloggers that I enjoy and I follow them.  So far of the ones I already follow one has died (he was quite elderly), one has decided she doesn't want to write anymore, and one has just stopped.  The rest still write, some only sporadically, but they are still active. 

Unless it is a truly tragic situation (and I certainly hope that it isn't), if a blogger needs to quit, a couple of minutes of your (or a friend's) time to let the followers know if something has happened really seems like the polite thing to do.  We bloggers practically beg people to read our blog.  Leaving those who do read your stuff all high and dry and wondering what happened to you isn't a good thing to do to your "friends." 

Well, life is unpredictable, we all know that and situations can change over night.  Things happen.  Sometimes good, other times not so good.  But if I've like your writing enough to become I follower, I kind of consider you a friend.  I'm interested in your blog for a reason!  Just stopping with no explanation isn't what I would expect from a friend.

I promise that (unless I get hit by a bus or the like) if I choose to quit writing at some point (no, I am not contemplating doing that), I will not just quit "Cold Turkey"!  I will post about what is going on and to say goodbye and thank you! 

Don't you think that's the right thing to do??

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Do You Know The Way To San Jose?"

If you ever want to ask me or the Big Guy, "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?"  (Or anywhere, actually), you need to know that the Big Guy and I appear to be speaking different languages when trying to explain how to get from Point A to Point B!!  Unless you ask the one who thinks the most like you, I can pretty much guarantee you will get lost. 

Mikey is a map, atlas, and explicit written directions kind of guy; for example:

A.     "Immediately turn left when leaving our driveway, drive at 30 mph for exactly 3.78 miles, make a right turn onto Magnolia Street at the corner of Whipple and Magnolia.  (Don't go as far as Tamarack Road.)  Stay in right hand lane, proceed 300 ft, to 123 Magnolia St, park in the lot to the south. entrance on Magnolia.  Take elevator to to second floor.   Enter 3rd door on the right next to stairwell.  This will be the Smith Company, Suite 3. Ask to speak to Mr. Smith, the CEO.  Their phone number is 555/555-1234.

Whereas I, on the other hand, just kind of wing it!  For instance:

B.  Head downtown.  Go to the corner where the old Dairy Queen was.  Turn right on the street with the dry cleaners.  Keep going till you see the 2 story pink building (or maybe it's salmon) on the left (or maybe it's on the right, don't remember).  Park.   It's upstairs on the right I think.  When you find the right office, ask for Joe!!

So you see what I mean?  When he gives me directions he gives me A.  When I give him directions I give him B. We have learned over the years, not to rely on each other's directions to get anywhere!  But one thing I know for sure, is that I get lost with his directions and he gets lost with mine!

Hmmmmm....maybe you'd better ask someone else, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?"

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