Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter came early to our neck of the woods.

Yesterday, what started out as rain, and I mean "ark building weather" ended with winter arriving in my neck of the woods. About 2:30 pm, I looked out the window and it was snowing great, big wet flakes. This kept up the rest of the day and was still snowing and blowing at 11:00 pm when I turned off my light to go to bed.
I awoke to about 5 inches of snow this morning and a two-hour school delay.The plows had gone and the streets were clear. The wind had laid and the sun was shining.
It seems like winter came early this year. But it is beautiful out there. Especially since I really don't have to go out in it unless I really want to. And I don't want to.
It does put me in the holiday spirit, though. That's a good thing!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Item on my Bucket List

For years I have loved opera. We don't have opera around here. I would have to travel at least 4 hours to Chicago to see an opera. But I have had the privilege to see "Madam Butterfly". I was fascinated and loved every minute.
When I was in college, I took some voice training, and have been singing ever since. It has been my desire to learn a tenor aria (solo) and perform it at least once. Recently, I heard David Phelps perform "Nessun Dorma" from the opera, "Turandot." It was wonderful. I, again, was fascinated. I found his performance on Rhapsody and downloaded it to my MP3 player. The more I listened to it, the more I liked it. It is short (2:38) and it is in my range.
So I started searching for the music. I found it online and downloaded it. For you sheet music lovers out there, musicnotes. com is a wonderful source. You have to join and pay for what you download, but it's cheap by today's prices for sheet music. And they have all kinds of music. BUT, I digress.
I talked to my friend at church who directs our choir, and who is also the person who accompanies my two quartets, and she agreed to work with me to learn the music. I am challenging myself to learn it in Italian, which, of course, was the original language in which it was composed.
I am not in a hurry to do this. I don't care if it takes several months to learn it, but I am enthused. It gives me a goal.
My voice coach in college always told me that I could sing anything I wanted to sing, so I am going to give this a shot.


Monday, November 28, 2011

What I Read #82

Damage Control by Robert Dugoni: I cannot say enough good stuff about Robert Dugoni. His novels are superb. And Damage Control is no exception.
Former lawyer now law-school teacher James Hill is murdered. His twin sister, Dana Hill, also an attorney, is determined to find out not only why her brother was murdered, but who was the murderer. Accompanied by Detective Mike Logan, Dana finds clues that lead to an surprise that no one would believe, yet it was true.
You don't want to miss this novel. I give it a big "thumbs up."

Happy Reading,

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ah, Bliss!

Yesterday was, of course, Thanksgiving Day. For the first time, Prof, Kiddo and I trekked to the southern part of the state to my cousin 007's house for the special day. According to MapQuest, it was supposed to take 2 hours and 27 minutes to get there. We stopped for coffee once, and missed a turn once, and still made it in 2 hours and 31 minutes. Go us!
When we got there, we were greeted at the door by my Cousin 007 and her partner Miss Marple. They welcomed us all with a hug and let us know how glad they were that we made the trip. Miss Marple's family was there, so we got to meet them. Later on, Cousin 007's brother, my cousin Big D and his lovely wife GG (stands for Good Gramma) arrived. I hadn't seen them in a while, so it was nice to spend time with them.
We had a glorious day. 007 and MM had cooked all day Wednesday and it showed. I don't think there was anything that wasn't on the buffet. Turkey, ham, chicken and noodles, mashed and sweet potatoes, corn casserole, and the list goes on and on. We ate, we laughed, we reminisced, we looked at old pictures, we caught up on happenings within the family and generally had a wonderful time.
It was great to be together, counting and recounting our blessings together. Meeting new friends and relatives, and just relaxing with all made for a perfect day. It was a foggy dreary trip down, and even had a mist in the air that resembled snow flakes, but on the way home, it cleared and the sun peaked out for a bit as darkness settled in. It was a safe trip. Prof drove my car, and I went along for the ride, so to speak. Kiddo caught up on napping in the back seat and I even got in some crochet time. Though she drives too fast to suit me, Prof is a good driver and I wasn't worried at all. (I warned her ahead of time, that if she got a ticket for speeding, it would be hers to pay even if she was driving my vehicle. LOL)
We arrived back home full and happy. It was a day to be remembered. Even Kiddo, who usually isn't "into" that kind of stuff remarked on how good a time he had and that my side of the family "rocks." I guess that's a good thing!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I Read #81

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly: Banking tycoon and master of foreclosure, Mitchell Bondurant is found face down, dead, in a parking garage. Foreclosure fighter Lisa Trammel is accused of his murder.
Enter attorney Mickey Haller. He has been taking cases of foreclosure in his practice for a while, but now Lisa Trammel wants him to defend her against the charge of murder.
Faced with a hard-nosed prosecutor, Mickey has his work cut out for him. The Fifth Witness takes us both inside the court room and the judge's chambers as the two adversaries battle the case.
I would estimate that 85 to 90 percent of this gripping novel takes place inside the court room. Both fast moving and interesting, this novel will hold you in its grip until the last page. If you like legal suspense and court room drama, this is the novel for you.

Happy Reading,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What I Read #80

Imposter by Davis Bunn: In this "absorbing suspense thriller," Senatorial candidate Paul Kelly's wife is brutally murdered. Kelly's son, Matt, just back from a federal training academy, is "possessed" with finding his mother's killer. This was no ordinary attack. This was "war."
Another good read from Bunn.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All I can say is "WOW"!

This might be a long post, but I have something to share with you. Many years ago, in 1952, I had either the chickenpox or measles. I don't recall which, but I was in school and missed a lot of school that winter. It was then that I began losing my hearing. I guess that was not uncommon then. Then, at age 9 or 10, I had a tumor on my left eardrum. I didn't understand why Mom and Dad were so upset about that, because at the time the word "malignant" meant nothing to me. I just remember Mom shedding tears, Dad being worried, and them taking me to a ENT who treated my ear with some stuff called "radium" on a thin stick. I had to go twice a week. I remember Mom talking to me about a "growth" about the size of a pencil eraser, and that Doc. Seward was treating it to make it go away.
After that, I could not hear well in the left ear, but the right one compensated for the loss, and life went on. At age 20, I was having drainage from the left ear, so I went to another ENT Dr. He said that infection was eroding my mastoid cavity on the left side, so I had what was called a "modified-radical mastoidectomy" which robbed me of even more hearing. But it also made my left ear "safe." I always wore earplugs in swimming and whenever water might come in contact with that ear. Many years later, I had to have another mastoid surgery and the Dr. that did that one said that I had scar tissue built up that caused my ear to be infection prone. Then he tried a cochlea implant. he hoped that would improve my hearing. Alas, my body rejected it and it had to removed. I have worn a high powered hearing aid in that ear since 2001. It helped, but since so much of the inner ear was damaged through the years, there isn't a whole lot to work with.
Now, I am losing the hearing in my right ear just due to old age, I guess. I have had some problems with that ear, too. But nothing super major. I have allergies and stuff and my internal drainage tubes (I can't spell them) don't work any more. That all works to make the hearing loss. BUT, I have new hearing aids. They were a gift from my dear brother. I went to the Beltone office and had them programmed just Tuesday and all I can say about this experience is "WOW!" I am hearing things that I don't think I ever have heard, or at least not for a very long time. I can hear the fridge running, clocks ticking, and the furnace. Birds were chirping this morning and I was marveling at how much noise traffic makes. Even the mouse on my computer makes a clicking sound that I have never heard.
Last night at choir practice I was astounded by how good we sound. I knew we were good, but I never realized that we were wonderful!
And you know that little dial on the TV that has numbers from 0 to infinity for volume? Well, usually I watch TV on about 28 to 32. Last night we watch a show and the volume was set on 17. And the commercials were too loud. How great is that!! It's like getting a new lease on life. I am gonna like this a whole lot!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuff and Such

What a weekend this was. Our county hospital put on their annual fund-raising Gala on Saturday night. They had a talent competition for entertainment. There were four different acts scattered throughout the evening. Votes were $1.00 each. There were other ways of voting, too. There were pre-voting jars scattered around the community for each act, and also there were $5.00 and $10.00 voting "chips" at the gala. I was in one of the acts. My men's quartet, The GBQ, was joined by two Dr.s and an LPN from the hospital. We performed a comedy parody of Neil Sedaka's song, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, called "Waking Up Is Hard To Do." We dressed in scrubs, and used gurneys from the surgical dept, and went all out. We really sounded good and guess what...we WON! I don't know the total dollar amount, but it was the winner. It was fun, too. We spent many hours practicing and working out the choreography and etc. It was worth every minute for the fun we all had, and getting to know the two docs and the nurse was a hoot. They ARE human, just like the rest of us!!! One of the docs can't carry a tune in a bushel basket, so we assigned him a "dead" microphone. He thought that was a hoot. But he sure could act and dance. He really made the act, in my opinion! The gala itself was quite an affair with a live auction of several nice things, and then a silent auction that went on all evening in another room. The goal this year was to raise enough money to buy a super type of scope for the early detection of colon cancer. I certainly hope they got the funds they need. That type of cancer is on the rise in America.
The affair was "black tie optional." I wore my tux with a black shirt, black tie and a black vest with some silver stripes. I will post a picture when it comes available. Right!! The food was wonderful and I sat at a table with several good friends. A nice evening all in all...and WE WON!!
Yesterday, GBQ sang at a memorial service. It was sponsored by one of our local funeral homes and they honored all the families that have used their services for the loss of a loved one the past year. They do this every year. It is a nice gesture by them and much appreciated by the honorees. After the service, they serve light refreshments and they also give each family a beautiful Christmas ornament inscribed with the name of their loved one. GBQ sang an arrangement of "It is Well With my Soul." and closed the service with Mallott's "The Lord's Prayer."
Then, my good friend Curley and I went to WalMart shopping and had a few laughs. (No, not at other people, but that's hard sometimes!)
Today, I am taking it easy. With the rehearsals, and performances, plus church choir, I am tired. These old bones and body don't take that much exercise as easy as they used to. I decided to do my laundry and can relax between loads. It's raining outside, so the leaves and stuff will have to wait a few more days.
Let's see...what's on my schedule for this week...


*Note: The purple ribbon on my lapel is in honor of two very sweet little old ladies that made a definite impression on my life, and now suffer from Alzheimer's Disease. It seemed like a good night to remember them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What I Read #79

The Great Divide by T. Davis Bunn: Gloria Hall, a young activist, is missing in China. Her family wants her back. They hire attorney Marcus Glenwood to file suit against the American company, New Horizons, who are doing business with China. It seems there was a collusion and a kidnapping involved.

Like I have done many times, I started reading Bunn's works with his latest novel, and decided to go back and start with his first one. Today I am starting the second one.

Happy reading,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What I Read #78

The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni: Some of the novels that I read are "smart" and some of them are just entertaining. This one was both. Dugoni's first, but certainly not his last, The Jury Master introduces the reader to David Sloane, attorney extraordinaire. David can feel a jury's emotions, their shortcomings, and knows how they will decide before the verdict is in.
Joe Branick, a special assistant and personal friend to the president is found dead of an apparent suicide. Joe's family says "no way." David is asked to look into the matter. What he finds is scary and even dangerous to him and those around him.
For his first novel, Dugoni really has it together. I highly recommend getting hooked on his works, and the ongoing life of David Sloane.

Happy Reading,

Thought-Filled Thursday

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. ~Irv Kupcinet

Monday, November 07, 2011

Christmas Shopping in 2011

My wife had this very special cousin with whom I still keep in contact. She sent me a LONG forward about shopping this year for Christmas, and as I read it, I had to agree.

It's about time we buy American. I know, I know, another blog harping about cheap stuff made in China, Taiwan, or Mexico! Well, here's a bit of news. Look around your area at the locally owned businesses that need your support.
Give your loved ones who still have hair a certificate at a locally owned Hair Salon or Barber Shop. If you have hair, you need a haircut and/or style once in a while. Everyone would enjoy having their car washed and detailed, and there are lots of enterprising local businesses that do that very thing. Look for products that are made in the good ol' US of A when buying gifts. There are American artisans that actually raise, dye, spin the wool, and weave, knit or crochet beautiful garments right here in my area of the Midwest. I know there are woodcrafters around who make beautiful bowls, boxes and even furniture. Yes, they cost more than the products you will find on sale at WalMart, but they are more unique, and will last longer.
There are many young entrepreneurs who are struggling to get their own businesses off the ground. I have a dear, quirky friend who makes the most gorgeous jewelry and craft items. She is a divorcee trying to make it on her own. Another is a young man who can repair your computer, and will even clean it for you. If you have anyone in need of this kind of service, look around your area for some local person who does it, and get a certificate for your loved one.
Take your family out for a meal at a locally owned eatery and leave the waitperson a nice Christmas tip. You will not only be helping the restaurant owner, but the service person, too. Their Christmas might just be a little merrier because of you.
How about giving some homemade things this year. What person wouldn't enjoy a nice batch of cookies or fudge. Or a cake or a pie, maybe. Or if you are a crafter, make your loved ones something.
I know I have enough sweaters, socks and underwear to last me the rest of my natural life. What I would like is a gift card for a service on my car from the dealer where I trade. I would like a gift of a neck and shoulder massage at a local salon. I would like to have a cleaning lady come into my home and clean it well. Then maybe I could keep it that way.
I am making my Christmas cards again this year. Maybe I won't send as many, either. I plan to deliver them personally to the local friends and family. I will mail them to folks far away. I like to send cards because I enjoy getting them, and it's a way to keep in touch with those friends in far-away places, but, I won't be spending a lot of my hard earned cash on them. I enjoy making them, and I consider them a small gift of myself for the person I am sending them to.
If I do buy things that are non-American this year, I think I will go to the stores that sell hand-made items. These stores are designed for and usually are church-based, to help people rise above poverty by giving them an outlet for their wares. Look around you for these stores. They are in most towns, and they have some amazing, beautifully unique things.
So, fellow Americans, this year, keep it simple, keep it useful and keep it local. Our local businesses and our nation's economy will thank you!


T V Time

I liked this list so I thought I would share my views:

1. Name a TV show series in which you've seen every episode at least twice: Designing Women

2. Name a show you can’t miss: Big Bang Theory

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show: Chris Meloni

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show: David Spade or Charlie Sheen

5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from: Designing Women

6. Name a show you like that no one else that you know enjoys: Wings (in reruns)

7. Name a TV show which you’ve been known to sing the theme song: Designing Women

8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch: Mike and Molly

9. Name a TV series you own: None

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting choices in television: Dixie Carter

11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series? Designing Women: EP Phone Home

12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven’t gotten around to yet: None

13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad? LOST; it ran too long and got more stupid the longer it was on.

14. Name a show that’s made you cry multiple times: Hallmark Commercials

15. What do you eat when you watch TV? Vanilla Bean ice cream with Chocolate syrup.

16. How often do you watch TV? Not a lot, but I try not to miss Jeopardy

17. What’s the last TV show you watched? Biography: Johnny Cash

18. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of TV? Drama: Crime/cop shows

19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with? The Loretta Young Show: circa late “50’s

20. What TV show do you wish you never watched? Days of our Lives

21. What’s the weirdest show you enjoyed? American Pickers

22. What TV show scared you the most? A show on which Charles Manson was being interviewed

23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched? Will and Grace

24. What show was canceled too early into its run? Saving Grace

Thursday, November 03, 2011

What I Read #77

Shelter by Harlan Coben: This Young Adult novel is fantastic. Young Mickey Bolitar comes to live with his Uncle Myron Bolitar (who is an ongoing character of Coben's novels). He befriends Ema, a typical "goth" teenager and nerdy "Spoon," who wants so badly to be "one of the in crowd." Together, they go hunting for Ashley, Mickey's new girlfriend, who has mysteriously vanished.

Coben does a fine job making this novel both exciting and age appropriate, without being "corny." The dialog is up to date, as are the actions of the young people.

Though you adult readers probably wouldn't find this an interesting read, as a former educator and an avid proponent of reading for all ages, I would recommend this as a good read for any teenager, both male and female, though I think it would appeal especially to the guys.

Happy Reading,

What I Read #76

Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn: As far as I am concerned, this novel should be on everyone's reading list. Especially if you like political thrillers.

Marc Royce, a former State Department employee, is reinstated and sent to Baghdad on a special assignment. What he finds there is a miracle. The Shias and the Sunnis all coming together for the betterment of Iraq. But there is a mission to be accomplished. The Iranians continue to kidnap children of influential Iraqis to keep them suppressed. Also, a good friend of Marc's and three others have been kidnapped and it is up to Marc to bring them back alive.

He enlists the help of Sameh, a Baghdad lawyer, and Hamid, chief of Baghdad police. Working together, they set of into Iran to recover those who have been taken from their families.

What I found most interesting was the way Bunn wove the differences and similarities of Christianity and Muslim into this story. The coming together of the different religions for a common good was fascinating.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Check it out!

Check out my new pics on my other blog, "Back Home Again in Indiana." Finally, something new!


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Back From Oz

The Witch, not Glenda, the other one, and the tin man arrived at my house last night. They seem to be on a "sugar high." Gee, I wonder why.
The Divine Miss K looked adorable in her gleaming witch's costume, and RJ was hilarious as the tin man. They had been trick or treating around their neighborhood before they came to Papaw's house, so they were primed for treats. Also lots of pictures and laughs. Miss K serenaded us on the keyboard, and RJ entertained us by dancing and eating cookies. A good time was had by all. Aren't grand children "grand!"