Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another fun quiz~

I found this adorable little quiz over at Sum of Me. Click link above or the link on the results below. Click each little photo and answer the ???. First result is the Husband.














My results:











Generally speaking, the results are pretty accurate, I'd say. What about you ?

Beautiful day to Snooze

Today is the first day I've had a little while to sit here in front of the computer to mull over a post. I'm caught up with my errands and chores and obligations. The sun is bright, it's warm out. I believe I shall be a cat and curl up in the sun and snooze. At least until two forty five.

Then we're off to the races: pick up two younger children from school, supervise Son #1 while he drives us up to Arlington for the afternoon's events. It's Thursday, therefore- piano lesson, potluck dinner, bell choir and Son #2's choir. Wait for Husband to drive up to Arlington to await the end of choir (9:30) so he can drive #2 home. Meantime, I drive the older ones home and hustle them off to bed. Five forty five comes early for them. And me. The house is quiet. All is well. Pretty much. LOL

Not reading. The Charles de Lint hadn't held my attention well and now I've misplaced it. My father gave me a book to read, but it's sitting in Husband's car. I managed to get through the introduction, but now he's off to work (with my book for company) and I'm stuck.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Busy Busy Busy

I'm still around, just playing catch up with various obligations after a long holiday weekend. I hope to post tomorrow night.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Discovery

If you go to Maili's her header had a white kitty wearing a fruit cut up in the shape of a helmet on its head. Turns out an astute reader told us it is a fruit called a pummelo.

While out shopping Black Friday I happened to stop in my favorite Asian/Latino grocer. Lo and behold, they had a big display of pummelos. I remembered Maili's photo and bought one. For curiosity's sake it was 20" in circumference and weighed 2 pounds 12 ounces and was a uniform medium lime green. After peeling the extremely thick rind, nearly an inch in places, it proved to be a giant green replica of red grapefruit.

Very yummy & a wonderful breakfast. Most likely excellent cut in half and baked with honey drizzled all over (my favorite way to eat a grapefruit).

Friday, November 24, 2006

An Authentic Thanksgiving

Great News! Son #1's best buddy/GF has finally received her much needed heart transplant. I realize that this means someone somehwere close to here has lost a loved one, but I thank God that they were selfless enough to recycle their loved one so that others might have a better, healthier more productive life.

Wednesday night at 10:30 GF called from Children's Hospital and said she was about to be wheeled downstairs into surgery. Thursday morning while we were in church GF's mom and dad called separately (they're divorced- I was pleased to see how much they each cared about GF's wishes that each called Son #1) to tell Son a)the donor heart was a good fit size wise; b) she went under the knife at midnight and was in recovery by 7 am Thursday; c) she would be in recovery for several more hours; d) after that she will be in ICU for several days and can only have her parents see her; and e) they will call and leave updates as often as possible.

Truly a spectacular Thanksgiving gift. One I am sure I'll remember for many years to come. A seventeen year old girl has been given an honest chance at a full and healthy life.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Pumpkin

The Pumpkin
by John Greenleaf Whittier


Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden;
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North,
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines.

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, - our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Computer Story

This entire situation started last spring. Initially it was Norton. Now before you write & tell I was an idiot for letting it go- you're right. I was wrong to let it go at all.

BUT at the time I hunted through the pages & pages of Tech support both at Norton and at Dell. Pretty much it was a catch 22- Norton wanted info off the purchase receipt and I didn't have it (the computer was a gift from my in laws). Then, Dell told me they wouldn't help me because my husband was listed as contact person (or something similar)& I need to call Norton anyway. I asked Husband to call Dell support to fix Norton, but it never happened. I'm willing to nag about certain things, but isn't one of them. So I let it go.

Fast forward to this summer. The kids and I started having trouble playing certain online games. Occasionally I had trouble with certain functions. Again, enough to be irritating, but not enough to get me to nag the spouse (based on information I'd gotten directly from Dell). Hubby never uses the computer here unless he's playing Pogo or whatever, so what did he care?!

Monday daughter reminded me (again) that the Apple update for her iPod won't load. Since it was 6 am I nodded at her and said, "Yeah. I'll figure it out later." Daughter took her giant turtleshell, otherwise known as her backpack) and trudged across the street to catch the bus. Hours later, attempting to evade laundry and housework, I tried to play my favorite game. No go. It won't load. Same error message Daughter's gotten.

That was it. The straw that finally lit a fire under my lazy behind. I called Dell. We had a little conversation about whether or not I could do this or Hubby. The tech didn't have any problems & told me whoever answered my call way back when should've helped me. UH. Great. Thanks. I've spent the last 6 months or whatever with computer problems because your company didn't train him properly. I said as much to him and he told me he'd file a form that reprimanded the tech. Whatever. Like that'll help me now, PAL.

Finally, after an hour and twenty minutes (I wrote down the time the guy picked up my call) of talking to guy #1 plus his supervisor, we decided the operating system had become compromised. They hinted they really wanted me to hang up and make back up discs and call them back so they could reload me and I'd have a new computer. Or I could wipe it all now and they'd reload all of our basic stuff (the programs my inlaws had paid for etc.) like it was new.

What do they think I'm stupid?! You want me to hang up and call again because of your convenience? That won't happen. I don't store pictures or letters or other similar items on the computer. No financial or business matters. Yeah, I'm old fashioned. I do our accounts on paper & I hate spreadsheets. Besides, I don't trust firewalls enough to keep our pathetic financial info private. Pretty much it was all stuff related to games & favorite sites and stuff related to surfing & gaming.

So they wiped the hard drive and reloaded it all & we're good to go. Except that it took me nearly two hours of precious surfing time. I was stuck interpreting computer tech-ese, I missed my lunch time and, worst of all, I was totally stuck with folding a couch full of clean linens.

OTOH, I'm still here. Relatively normal. Supposedly with a normal fully functional, non invaded computer. HAHAHAHA As if I believe that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

OMG~ I need a hug

I spent over an hour and a half on the phone with Tech Support this afternoon. All's well that ends well. *SNORT*. I'm here, though, and on the home computer so that ought to count for something. Story tomorrow.

On the bright side, Hubby and I just bought a 23 pound turkey for Thanksgiving. Turkey leftovers anyone?!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Procrastinators Unite

Turkey Day is Thursday. Christmas is only 4 1/2 weeks away. This is prime postponing season. You're probably familiar with the drill. "I can do that tomorrow." "I can't decide between ____ or ____ or ___, so I'll wait until later to get this person's gift." You and your spouse have a signifigant discussion about appropriate gift bag items for friends or last minute guests. So you table the conversation until LATER. Like you'll have TIME LATER. The line is too long. LOL

Somehow, when I was working a few years ago, I was one of those uber organized, finished everything by November first kinda people. I was working a job that involved regular contact with the public. By the time I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was turn around and go shopping/bake/wrap as soon as I got home. Not to mention the pleasantness of our fellow man during this most joyous and holy season of the year.

Now I'm a lady of leisure. Free to put my feet upon the couch and eat bon bons and watch soap operas and game shows all day. Free to volunteer for the PTA and Room Parent and this committee and that committee and this other committee. Without a care in the world. Happy to make cupcakes and brownies and triple layer complicated French gateaux during my long, work free days.

Once I stopped working do you think I maintained this habit of having Christmas bought, wrapped and organized by the start of November? *maniacal laughter* You're crazy. The first Christmas I wasn't working, we reveled in the time together, Hubby and I. We did it all as a couple. Because Husband is a nurse, time together was hard to find. Thus the new Bookwormom Tradition- waiting until mid December to prepare for Christmas.

This year is no different. Tentatively Hubby and I decided to do gift jars. Have we decided who gets what, how many, what kind, made lists of necessary items?? Of course not.

You have to truly love Christmas to put up with it all. Thank heavens, I really really do. Otherwise I'd take December off.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm a lucky woman

Let me say, first, that I love Christmas music all year. Never, ever tire of it. EXCEPT for the 'elevator' music versions of carols and songs etc. Little son has been diligently practicing Christmas carols for several weeks now. It has been so nice to sit here and surf while listening to him play. I'm also bullying the other son into practicing a couple of duets for the holidays.Only problem, one wants jazz & the other is heavily into classical. We'll figure it out.

If I can figure out how to post music files off of my computer, I'll add a button or something so you all can listen too. If anyone knows and cares to post easy non computer literate instructions... :)

Edited~I posted hints in the comments for the Guess this Book meme.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Guess these books

This meme has also been done at Jenster's and at Tara's and other places as well, but it's cute & fun. So here we go:

1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog along with these instructions.

5. Don't you dare dig around for that "cool" or "intellectual" book on your shelves. (I know you were thinking about it.) Just pick up whatever is closest.

I grabbed a couple of books off the top of Mt. TBR.

Book One:

"As for zoological gardens...do they not allow men to better understand and thus preserve unfamiliar and exotic species?"

"I only know what the animals feel."

"I concede that no one should be able to guess their emotions better than one of your profession. But in the case where animals are held in captivity, common sense tells us that making the creatures more comfortable and helping tham adapt to their new situation is by far the most compassionate and prudent approach."

"Prudent," he repeated.


Book Two:

She was shatteringly diappointed that their affair was not to be.

And last, but by no means least, the more she thought of those moments in the wood, the more she cringed in mortification. He'd witnessed her weakness, her silly, irrational, ungovernable panic; truly she didn't want to face him again. If he'd guessed what lay behind her reaction, he'd doubtless pity her; if he hadn't, he'd think she was touched.

Luckily, Skinner hadn't come to rouse her until late.


Any ideas, fellow readers??

Thursday, November 16, 2006

TEENAGERS!!!

AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

Children. What can you do with them?! The college hunting Son #1 thinks he might be interested in minoring in music next year. Therefore, could Santa (ie: his dad and I) be persuaded to bring him a better quality sax? Of course, an upgrade, even for a secondhand sax, is very pricely. Christmas is what? 5 weeks away.

Oh,yes. Santa is made of money you see. In addition to tuition, room, board & fees Son needs a new computer for next year. Or at least several upgrades on the computer he already has. And perhaps dad and I could let him use the car? Because we- as boring stick in the mud employed parents don't need it, you see.

He's not a selfish or greedy kid at all. Just a typical American teenager who has no concept of the value of a dollar. Or of exactly how expensive these next four years will be. So, you know. Asking for a new sax, a new computer, and a refurbished car PLUS college money is no big deal. Mom will just write checks.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

AFI Top 100 Inspiring Movies

I watched an AFI (American Film Institute) special last night with Husband. They chose a list of the top 100 most inspiring films. Click link above for complete list. Do you agree? Disagree? Think they forgot your movie? Can't believe a movie made the list at all?

Top 25 from AFI's Most Inspiring Movies:

1.It's A Wonderful Life
2. To Kill A Mockingbird
3. Schindler's List
4. Rocky
5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
6. ET
7. Grapes of Wrath
8. Breaking Away
9. Miracle on 34th St.
10. Saving Pvt. Ryan
11. The Best Years of Our Lives
12. Apollo 13
13. Hoosiers
14. The Bridge on the River Kwai
15. The Miracle Worker
16. Norma Rae
17. One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest
18. The Right Stuff
19. The Diary of Anne Frank
20. Philadelphia
21. In the Heat of the Night
22. Pride of the Yankees
23. Shawshank Redemption
24. National Velvet
25. Sullivan's Travels


I'm not really a movie person, so I've not seen many of the movies on the list. I can tell you I don't think Rocky should've made the list all. Neither do I understand sports or sports movies as a metaphor for mankind (life, etc). There are quite a few sports movies on the list, but I simply don't understand the affinity. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Stomach Flu Strikes

Stomach flu strikes Bookwormom Central. Poor Son #2, vomited on the bus (into the trash can, thank heaven!) on the way to school. I was still over at the park, having just finished a morning walk when the secretary called, "You need to come pick him up. He was ill on the bus." Poor little guy. He was cheerful and talkative the whole morning, until the fateful bus ride.

So I picked him up and brought him home. He got his pjs on, without complaining, dragged his double bed size Spiderman blanket and his pillow out into the living room and promptly fell asleep for the remainder of the morning. Woke up long enough to eat some rice at lunchtime. Remember the BRAT diet? Bread, rice, applesauce and tea? Son had decided he was fine after all & scarfed down a plate of leftover wild rice while I was in my room flipping the mattress.

We had to pick up Daughter and Son #1 after school, so I piled him into the car with a dishpan, his blanket and fervent prayers that he wouldn't be sick again while we were out. He fell asleep again. We rushed around & picked up the other two kids, went to the grocery store & made it back home. Good thing too, buddy. He's made up for his quiet day with a vengeance.

This morning I sat here and surfed watching Son across the room. He's eleven now. When did he grow enough that he stretches from one end of the big couch to the other? He's sure to be tall and thin like his brother- they're almost exactly the same height at the same age. We've officially entered the stage where you can barely keep the child properly clothed, they grow so fast.

He's outgrown nearly all of his pants. What he didn't outgrow, he's torn up or stained playing outside. That's what childhood is all about, right? Playing so hard over the summer that your parents grumble at the start of the school year. He's too big to wear jackets, as well. You've seen the teens on the corner waiting for the bus shivering in the chily fall air because 'I'm too cool to wear a jacket?' Son #2 has started trying that one too. 'I'm not cold mom. It's warm out.' Yeah and I'm a yeti, kid.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Veterans Day

In Memoriam for all the dead, known and unknown; especially Elias A. McQuaid, WW II and Spc. Sheldon Myers, South Korea 1992 and Robert Quillian 2006. Honoring William ______, who took Husband's place when 235 Armor went to Iraq I in 1990 & 1991.

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by BekkaF
Image hosted by Webshots.com
by BekkaF

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


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by jnipooh2
Image hosted by Webshots.com
by llflan

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Down in the Valley

Husband and I took Son #1 out to Teeny Tiny College #4 (for TTCs 1 & 2 & 3, click here) this morning. We started with a bang- missed the alarm and woke up 40 minutes late. Too late to eat b'fast, we stopped for coffee and donuts- breakfast of champions! Could've skipped it altogether though. The college was kind enough to lay out a huge spread in the vestibule of the auditorium.

Most of the students were there for the conservatory half of the school, but Son is interested in the paraprofessional medical majors (pharmacy. physical therapy, etc). Son does play two instruments, but isn't interested in continuing to study music at that level, although he doesn't rule out minoring.

So you traipsed around much of the school, led along like good little sheep. Unfortunately many of the buildings & classrooms were locked. Bad form to have an open house and then not have rooms available for people to see. Two large new buildings under construction. Lunch in the cafeteria. Not too bad I guess. I've not eaten cafeteria food in ages, so I'm not much of a judge.

Highlight of the tour was entering the chapel. Inside, a string ensemble was rehearsing with a soprano and a music professor. Absolutely fabulous music. I could've sat there and listened all day. I'd enjoy driving out there just for the music, TBH.

We returned home late in the afternoon to remember that we'd invited the neighbor down the street to spend the night. Lovely. I barely tolerate this child when I'm not tired. Tomorrow is an early day at church, so we'll be out the door quick enough, but *waah* I just wanted to sit on the couch and veg and hibernate. Just us.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Reading, slowly

I've got book blahs again. I've picked up and put down three or four titles over the last couple of days. I finally settled on Memory & Dream by Charles de Lint. I guess I'm about 20% of the way through.

So far it revolves around a gifted painter who is mourning the death of a close friend. At the time of the friend's death (five years previous), the artist drastically changed the style and content of her work and has never explained why. Suddenly two things happen- a misdirected letter from the dead friend arrives in the artist's mailbox and a mutual acquaintance has a business proposition revolving around the dead friend's literary works.

The book switches both present and past tense by chapters. It helps promote an air of mystery, and induces (in this reader at least) a slight impatience. A desire to rush along pell mell to the end. So far I've managed to resist rushing along. I'm trying to concentrate on savoring every word every phrase every morsel.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pigloo Le Ragga des pingouins 2006

Too damn cute to resist. En francais even. LOL

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ode to the Sparrows

Found at the link above, reproduced in honor of the flock of sparrows who entertained Husband and me a day or two ago.



Hardware Sparrows
by R. T. Smith


Out for a deadbolt, light bulbs
and two-by-fours, I find a flock
of sparrows safe from hawks

and weather under the roof
of Lowe's amazing discount
store. They skitter from the racks

of stockpiled posts and hoses
to a spill of winter birdseed
on the concrete floor. How

they know to forage here,
I can't guess, but the automatic
door is close enough,

and we've had a week
of storms. They are, after all,
ubiquitous, though poor,

their only song an irritating
noise, and yet they soar
to offer, amid hardware, rope

and handyman brochures,
some relief, as if a flurry
of notes from Mozart swirled

from seed to ceiling, entreating
us to set aside our evening
chores and take grace where

we find it, saying it is possible,
even in this month of flood,
blackout and frustration,

to float once more on sheer
survival and the shadowy
bliss we exist to explore.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

McVane/Maili is back!!!!!

RUN OVER THERE and say hi!!! I kinda got the impression she didn't think anyone would miss her. She' sooo wrong, poor mite (to borrow a phrase from her, lol). I checked her blog daily for months..Anyone who reads steampunk romance, please dash over there & give the girl a recc or two or three. I don't read them, but she wants new ideas.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Shapechanger's Wife; S. Shinn

Off the top- according to a Dear Author interview, Ms. Shinn does not have a website. Kinda old school, I guess, but hopefully it helps her write faster. A girl can hope, right?

The Shape Changer's Wife was published in 1995 by Ace Books. Only 200 pages long, it's a deceptively zippy little book. The story runs along two levels- superficial or deep. Whichever suits your fancy. This title has a mythical tone to it that reminds me of Patricia McKillip's work. SCW is my first full length work by Ms. Shinn. I read part of a story a while ago & enjoyed it, but never pursued her works further.

The basic plot runs this way. Sorcerer's apprentice decides he wants to learn to shapechange, but Sorcerer A refuses to teach the apprentice this skill and steers the apprentice to Sorcerer B. Apprentice toodles off to Sorcerer B's place and commences to learning whatever Sorcerer B will teach him. Pretty soon though, apprentice realizes the people at S.B's are kinda..odd. Not only that, the local villagers dislike all of the inmates at S.B.'s.

What has Sorcerer B done? What are his motives? What is the moral and ethical dividing line between knowledge and action? If you love someone is it still love if you force them to be someone they aren't?

Unfortunately for me I borrowed this from the library. Shape Changer's Wife would be a keeper for me if this one was mine. If I can find one at my UBS I plan to buy one.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

More Award Winners

AKA- more ideas for your 2006 Christmas gift list. Your own wish list or as gifts for others.

Hurston-Wright Legacy Awards

Fiction~ My Jim by Nancy Rawles. Remember Jim? Huck Finn's companion down the river? Sadie, Jim's wife, tells this story.

Nonfiction~ Mirror to America by John Hope Franklin; autobiography.

Contemporary Fiction~ The Long Mile by Clyde W. Ford.

Debut Fiction~ Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas.

To my lasting shame, these awards have been given since 1990 & I've never heard of them. Long list 2006 nominees here. Category winners for the following years:2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 are also available on their site.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Family Day

Daughter and I spent the morning doing girly stuff- we played with makeup. It was fun. She is very fair, like her father, and I'm olive complected so our palettes are totally different. I bought her a few new colors: peach blush, navy & grey eyeliners, brown (not black! which looks overdone on her) mascara. The aim was to show her alternate ways to wear eyeliner that emphasize her eyecolor. A GF of hers resurrected the old 70's trick- line the interior edge of the lower eyelashes with black. Which then bleeds down her cheeks and makes her look like a racoon & pisses off the father.

We also put a magnifying make up mirror in her room & all of the little accessories a girl needs. Sharing a bathroom with males is the bane of a girl's existence. Hopefully now she can practice in the privacy of her room without worrying that she'll she rousted out in the middle. I put her copy of Bobbi Brown's Teenage Beauty on her desk. Thank goodness, never once does it advocate racoon eyeliner. Unfotunately, the father still doesn't like her to wear makeup, but he agrees today's results were better than the racoon eyes. I just need to buy her some lip glosses.

Son #1, he of the crazy October dash through New England, took the SATs this morning. First, let me rant- THESE DAMN TESTS ARE FLIPPIN' EXPENSIVE!!! More money than I think they're worth, but the tests are embedded into the educational establishment in an amazingly incestuous manner. Anyhow, Husband dropped him off this morning & I picked him up at one. Other than being hungry & drowning in laundry and homework the Son #1 has nothing to do. LOL Oh yeah. He needs to practice driving at some point too.

Son #2 did his morning chores & started washing his linens. Dumped his pillows into the washer..and one of them exploded. Not completely. One side of the pillow was shredded. We laughed & laughed. You'd think the manufacturer would use fabric sturdy enough to survive a washing machine. NOT. I'll have to buy him a zip up case for it. The other pillow is fine. Clean and puffy and smells good. Rollerblading is the new fun activity. Preferably on the brand new back deck just added on Friday afternoon by our landlord.

Husband taught a class at work. This time it was the 36 week Childbirth class. You know the one. "You are pregnant. Labor is called labor because you will have to work hard and it will hurt. Even with an epidural, you will have pain. Not discomfort, PAIN. Real labor and childbirth are not like 'A Baby Story' on TLC."

Husband is such a professional. I'd just stand up there and say, "SHUT UP and STOP WHINING. Women centuries over have had babies without all of our advances. Be a woman and DEAL WITH IT." This is why the Husband teaches. LOL ;)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Handbell Choir 101

We're still handbelling. Handbells in the image are nearly the exact ones we use in our choir. If you've been around a while, you may remember that all of the children and I joined the brand new handbell choir last spring (2005). FYI, I can't read music and am tone deaf. However, I can count up to sixteen. I'm only responsible for my two notes & keeping up with where we are in the music. God bless him, our music director is sooo patient. Only two of the intial eleven ringers were able to read music so the learning curve for the entire choir has been enormous.

The lady who stands next to me is a teeny French lady. She's adorable. Whenever she gets lost (which is often) she mutters under her breath in French. Boy was she surprised to learn I could understand her. LOLOL :0 Husband is desperately trying to rearrange his schedule so that he can come hear us during rehersals Thursday nights.

Currently we're trying to learn three pieces for Christmas. Bring a Torch Jeanette, Isabella, Carol of the Bells and Good Christian Folk Rejoice. They're all really fun to play. I just wish we had enough ringers to play the full five octave version of Carol of the Bells. We only have three octaves so it took our director a while ot find a version for us.

So how does one ring in a handbell choir? I thought you'd be curious. Because we're beginners, we get one bell per hand, thus one note per hand. You always hold the same note in the same hand. Then you learn which dots on the music are your bells. When we started we used two different colors and marked up our sheets terribly. That way all we'd have to do is count and ring whichever hand the music called for. Keeping proper time, that is. Assuming you've paid proper attention & not gone mentally wandering far afield. Like making grocery lists in your head or hoping your cell phone won't ring during practice or idly pondering the plot of Lost.

That was actually my biggest problem. Playing requires sustained attention in a way that I wasn't used to. I was embarrassed to learn that my attention span has totally evaporated over the course of my adulthood. I'm slowly developing my attention span muscles, so things are better that way. It's kinda hard though when you're trying to learn new French curse words being quietly muttered in one ear by the cute teenytiny little French lady. I still mark my music, unfortunatley. Makes it easier. It's a crutch I guess. Too bad 'cuz I'm hanging onto my crutch.

Daughter has progressed immensely. She began in the same place as I did, musically, although she isn't tone deaf. Now she can read music and keep time and place properly. She knows what the Italian words are & what the arcane musical squiggles mean. I'm so proud of her. She's wonderful and amazing, my beautiful daughter.

The Sons you ask. Don't you love the sons too? Well, yes. I do. Most of the time. They are boys after all. However, the crucial difference would be that they've both been taught to read music. Son #1 has played alto sax since he was 11 & acoustic guitar. Son #2 is a gifted pianist & sings like an angel. Therefore I'm not so easily wowed by the sons' handbell progress. Get the little one to sing for me, then I'm impressed. Convince older Son to bring the sax home and play for me? Then I'm enthralled. Handbells? Not so much. This picture shows the ones older Son plays.

This page has a jpg of a totally cool 7 octave handbell choir, playing original music written just for them.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Heads up Ladies

Anne Stuart fans- she's posted a column on her newest book Cold as Ice over at Squawkradio.com. Interesting reading. Just bought this one, BTW.

Under the Mistletoe; M. Balogh

An impulse buy gone wrong. I'd already read three of the five short stories in this holiday anthology. It's my own fault. I saw it in the grocery store & thought,"Wow! A MB Christmas title. I've not read this one." Dropped it into the cart and away she goes. Discovering too late I'd read most of it already. Ah well. I can always trade it later.

The five short stories are: A Family Christmas, The Star of Bethlehem, The Best Gift, Playing House and No Room at the Inn. These are traditional Regencies & feature the usual cast of plots: unhappy marriages, overbearing parents, stranding at a remote inn due to weather, etc. Balogh is a master, though, and I have to say that I enjoyed the rereads (the first three stories) quite a bit. My favorites were the last two. One of which features a remarkably pouty, willful four year old child and the other reminds me how a single event or short time period can cause a person to rethink their modus operandi and their priorities.

None are particularly realistic, but then originality isn't strictly necessary especially when we're discussing Christmas romances. After all- Christmas is the ultimate happily ever after season of them all. Or at least- it ought to be, if it weren't for meddling relatives, poverty, bills, etc. etc. For me, Christmas reads are all about comfort & familiarity & the love triumphing over all.