Thursday, March 29, 2012

Christmas Eve

Don't ask me why I'm thinking about Christmas Eve on an gorgeous, 80 degree day in March.  That's just how I roll.

Our family belonged to a very tightly knit Lutheran church, nestled deep in the Indiana countryside.  It had beautiful, stained glass windows behind the alter.  It's where John and I got married.  (This photo doesn't do it justice.)  And everyone in the wedding party will never let us forget that the church was not air conditioned either.  But who knew it would be 95 degrees with 95% humidity in the middle of June?

Anyway...  When I was around 8, or 9, I was friends with the Pastor's family.  Mary was younger than me and Robert was a little older.  Robert was a typical PK - Pastor's Kid - ALWAYS in trouble for something.  Mary was just a sweet little thing, with posters of David Cassidy covering the walls of her bedroom.  Their house, of course, was right next to the church.

Now, I know that by the time a person nears the age of double digits, they should probably be past  the point of believing in Santa Claus.  I wanted to stop "believing," but did not want to jeopardize the booty, as it where.  I was coasting until further proof presented itself.

And it did.

We went to the Christmas Eve candlelight service.  That has always been my favorite service of the year.  All the lights are out, everyone holds a candle, and sings Silent Night.  It's the best.  If you're not moved by that, well, then not much will get to you.  Everyone was there that night - including the pastor and his entire family.  

Right after service, Mary went home for some unknown reason.  She came running back, full of excitement and reported the news:  Santa had come to their house during the service.

How could this be??!  Her entire family was at church.  Nobody could have slipped out to put the presents under the tree - they all sat in the first row of pews!!!!  I had the proof I was looking for, but with an entirely different outcome.  

I was closing in on 10 years of age and had no choice but to still believe in Santa Claus.  

I believed for quite a while after that, but kept quiet about it too.  I would liken that feeling to being a Lutheran in general - even though I belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, there is not much evangelizing going on.  (We're not called the "frozen chosen" for nothing.  We tend to keep our mouths shut about our beliefs.)  

I can't remember when I figured out that one of the PK's grandparents probably lingered at the house for a few minutes, did the deed and then came to the church.  

I was not the brightest crayon in the box.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


More trips down memory lane...

Being the youngest of 4 kids, I had a lot of advantages.  It's like the quote from the movie Parenthood - "It's because he was our first... Every time he got a scratch, we were hysterical.  By the third kid you know, you let them juggle knives."

While I didn't go around flinging cutlery in the air, I'm pretty sure I was afforded more freedom than my siblings.  I had to have been the most expensive child to raise.  I got to go to Europe when I was in high school.  I was given my first two cars.

I was spoiled rotten.

It wasn't lost on me though.  I appreciated everything my parents gave me.  But the thing my brothers and sister gave me - spoiled me with - was music.  Good music.

After they left home to get on with their lives, some albums stayed behind.

John gave me Johnny Cash.  There was a time when I knew the lyrics to every song on the "prison albums."

Joyce gave me the Beatles.  Lots and lots of Beatles.  

Denny gave me Creedence Clearwater Revival.  I thought John Fogerty had the best voice in the world.

There were others too - The Who, the Stones, Bob Dylan...  but Johnny, the Beatles and CCR were my favorites.  

The stereo was in our dining room, against a wall with big windows.  I would sing and dance along with the music and in certain light, watch my reflection.  In my head, I was a rock goddess.  In reality, not so much.  

When I wasn't making a fool of myself, I would sit and look at the album covers.  Every square inch. I stared at the artwork and the photos, read who wrote the songs, found who played what instrument and where it was recorded.  The one thing that makes me sad about CDs is the album artwork shrunk along with appreciation for it.  What's worse, is that I've heard rumors that they will stop pressing CDs all together some day, and the covers will be gone for good.  But people don't buy complete albums anymore.  I'm guilty of it along with everyone else - picking a couple good songs on itunes and leaving the rest unheard.  That saddens me too, because there are gems to be found deep in the grooves of an entire album.  But I digress...

In 1973, I bought my first album with my own money.  

It was a folded album jacket, and the lyrics were printed on pages inside with artwork and photos.  I was in heaven!  I stared at those pages for hours!  That was the only album I literally wore out.  

By the time I graduated college, I had crates and crates of albums.  John and I remember that was the biggest thing we moved in and out of dorms and apartments - our stereo (the bigger the speakers, the better) and all our albums.  When we move our kids from place to place in college, there is only an ipod. And we're still lugging the albums around!  Boxes and boxes of them, moved from house to house.  With this last move, I seriously considered getting rid of them.  In the end, I couldn't do it.  One of Jim's roommates has a turntable, so he took a couple boxes with him last fall.  The rest are in the basement.  

Maybe one day, we'll get a turntable again.  I'll listen to the music, look at the covers, and take comfort in the old tunes, complete with the pops and scratches.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Caz and Lilly

"Cazzie!  What's wrong?  You seem depressed."

"Really, Home Dog.  Why you layin all up in the pantry?"

"Lilly.  What's wrong with Caz?"

"Dude.  Stop mooning her.  That's not going to make her feel any better."

"Food is not the answer to all of life's problems, you know."

"Oh I see.  You just want to be in John's lap."

"I mean, you want to fall asleep in John's lap."

"Someone may be a little jealous..."

"Good times, good times..."

"Lilly!  What's wrong?  You seem depressed."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tales from a Jet Lagged Traveler

Yes….I’m back.  Not only in my guest blogging role, but also back to the familiar ground of the USA after a weeklong business trip to the foreign lands of South Asia.  A 15-hour flight gives you plenty of time to reflect, not only on the capabilities of the airline maintenance crews (I hope they “topped” off the fuel one last time before we pushed away from the gate), but also why we love the USA.  Maybe I should submit this to that Larry the Cable Guy show on History channel…I love the History Channel, but I am digressing in a jet lag induced state.  I though a blog potpourri of observations would be warranted….

Things I liked:
·         Hotel service.  Now this is coming from a guy who is thrilled when they leave a piece of chocolate on the on the pillow.  But, this place went over the top.  I think they waited for you to leave your room and when you came back there was something new in the room!  Every night they would leave a pair of slippers by your bed (see picture).  Now granted, the slippers were probably size 6’s, but still.  There would be a pot of tea on the table (a nice wicker basket carrying case) for you as well as a “fruit of the day” selection. Two fresh toothbrushes were left for you every day.

Odd things:
·         The service at bars was amazing (yes, I have a weakness for beautiful Asian women)- you never waited on a drink and the bar snacks were great (they all served hot cashews that were coated in some sort of sugary mix).  But the drink delivery….it appeared that the waitress staff had at least 4 different dress colors.  One for AM, one for aft, one for early evening and then late evening.  Same style, just different color.  The odd part was when serving the drink, they would kneel down on both knees right next to you and present the drink.  They did it with such a beautiful grace, it didn’t seem difficult, but if I was to try that- after the first hour the paramedics would need to be on call and you better hope I hadn’t been eating chili.  No tipping was accepted.

Odd Food:
·         Why do they insist on keeping the heads on the fish when served?  The fish actually isn’t bad, but why the necessity of the fish eye?

Odd but good Food:
·         It was a brief stay, so I’m sure we would have found more dishes to try, but they had an interesting twist on one- it was Chili Crab (see picture).  Who wouldn’t love chili smothered over crab?  II wonder if I can get Long John Silver to add this to the menu….

Emotional rollercoaster hotel promos:
·         So picture walking into the hotel room….exhausted after a 30 hour trip.  You turn the TV on- and this video plays: .  For those not wanting to waste the time watching the video (it was pretty scratchy as I was recording from my phone)- it starts out with this guy walking on a mountain (no reason is ever given for his being there).  As he’s walking through chest high snow drifts and the wind is blowing, this dramatic music start to crescendo in the background.  It’s getting colder and he’s having trouble getting a fire started…and then there are wolves tracking him.  More music, now it’s getting dark and the wolves are circling.  It’s looks hopeless…Our Asian hero (we can assume that I suppose) cries out in despair and probably curses in Mandarin at his situation and imminent freezing death (I don’t think he knows about the wolves yet).  Then the last scene…he’s sprawled out in the snow……it appears he tried to make snow angels first...forming icicles (I misspelled that word in a 7th grade spelling bee and everybody laughed at me so thankfully spell check is now available) and then we see the wolves closing in on him.  I’m ready for a gory limb pulling finality, but then in a twist the pack just covers him up and saves him from the freezing cold.  Then the 1 ½ minute video would replay again.  Over and over.  Maybe it was the fatigue, but I was an emotional wreck after watching that for ½ hour.

·         I’m not sure how legal that was to phone-copy that video and given they seem very proud of their “caning” punishments, I sure don’t to want step on any toes.  If a Singaporean authority contacts you, just plead ignorance.

I had hoped the Jet Lag wouldn’t bother me, but considering I’m writing this at 3 AM… can see who won.  Until next time.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What a Rush of Inspiration

I was off kilter yesterday.  I wasn't feeling good, John was coming back from a short sales trip, I had to spruce up the house, finish a very messy art project in the basement, and we had company staying the night.  So I didn't get a chance to look at yesterday's paper until 5:00 this morning.  This is what I read while the dogs were eating breakfast:

Rush Limbaugh to be honored in state Capitol's Hall of Famous Missourians
 ST. LOUIS • Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, at the center of a storm of criticism for derogatory remarks directed at a young law school student, is set to be honored by the Missouri Legislature with a statue at the state Capitol.
House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, confirmed Monday that Limbaugh, who, like Tilley, hails from southeast Missouri, will be honored with a place in the Hall of Famous Missourians, a circle of busts in the Capitol rotunda recognizing prominent Missouri citizens.
The statues are paid for with private funds raised by the speaker.
The unveiling is not expected until closer to the end of the legislative session in May, but, last month, a Kansas City artist published an announcement on his website indicating he was working on sculptures of Limbaugh and Dred Scott, whose landmark slavery case was heard at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.
A Democratic website, Fired Up!, linked to the sculptor's page Monday morning, just as more advertisers were announcing that they were leaving Limbaugh's show.
Limbaugh grew up in Cape Girardeau, where his family has deep roots in the political and legal community. The federal court in Cape Girardeau is named after Limbaugh's grandfather; Limbaugh's uncle was a longtime judge at the St. Louis federal courthouse, where Limbaugh's cousin, a former state Supreme Court judge, is now on the bench.
On his radio show last week, Rush Limbaugh turned his focus on Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown Law School student who had spoken out in favor of including birth control in employer-covered health care plans.
Limbaugh called Fluke "a slut, a prostitute," and suggested that if "we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex ... We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."
Limbaugh apologized on Saturday — "My choice of words was not the best," he said in a statement — but that did little to quell the furor. On Monday, AOL Inc. and a tax dispute firm were the latest advertisers to declare they were leaving Limbaugh's show after the Fluke comments.
In Jefferson City, Limbaugh would be enshrined in the General Assembly rotunda along with the likes of Stan Musial, Walter Cronkite and Sacajawea, the Native American guide on the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Inductees into the Hall are selected by the Speaker of the House. Last month, Tilley unveiled the bust that will represent Negro League great Buck O'Neil, who played first base for the Kansas City Monarchs, in the hall.
The sculptor for the O'Neil statue, Kansas City artist E. Spencer Schubert, has also been commissioned to replicate Limbaugh's likeness for the Capitol.
Schubert could not be reached for comment. But in an entry on his website on Feb. 13, he posted a picture of Limbaugh alongside the famous ex-slave Scott.
"What do these two guys have in common you ask?" Schubert wrote. "Well, turns out that they are both in the process of being sculpted by E. Spencer Schubert for the Hall of Famous Missourians."
If inducted, Limbaugh will be rarefied company. The first inductee, in 1982, was humorist Mark Twain, followed in later years by Harry S Truman and Walt Disney.

At this moment, I would rather live in Illinois again with the long list of corrupt governors than live in a state that honors this guy.

My thoughts really don't have anything to do with his latest "slut" comment.  I expect that out of him.  No, I've always loathed that man.  To include him with Mark Twain and Walt Disney is a joke.  What kills me, is that very intelligent people listen to him and like him.  I don't get it.  I really, truly don't.

I wrote this in a note on my Facebook page a couple years ago, after a lengthy banter with one of my very conservative friends.  Over 2 years later, my opinion hasn't changed.  Obviously, it didn't change my friend's either.  He de-friended me.

October 8, 2009

Here is MY last and only comment about my posting: My issue with Rush and Glen and all other talking heads like them is this... Day after day they carelessly spew hate filled opinions, only to fulfill their own narcissistic needs. Any attention – good, bad or ugly - along with the never ending need for ever higher ratings are all these people and their networks care about. They could really care less about the state of our nation or anyone who is or is not prospering in it. Have they ever earnestly talked - and really listened to - someone who is down and out in America? Or do they just ignore them, jeer at them or blame someone blindly for their plight? They want to HELP America? If they did, they would do or say something constructive and not just 'stir the pot', stand back and watch the havoc ensue. Think I’m wrong? Pretend for one moment that you have someone close to you that suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and then watch the video feed of Rush’s show when he slams Michael J. Fox.
I don't need anyone to respond to this - I just think the Beatles said it best, with the lyrics from the Fool on the Hill. The Fools are wearing me out.

Day after day,
Alone on a hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he's just a fool,
And he never gives an answer,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

Well on the way,
Head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him,
or the sound he appears to make,
and he never seems to notice,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1

I haven't been posting much these days.  Saying that I'm uninspired would be putting it mildly.  You would think that February - the Debbie Downer of the calendar year - would trigger something in me...  some tragic childhood memory involving toads, tractors or raccoons, but no.  Nothing.

Maybe the weather has been too nice this winter.  We've had plenty of warm days this winter - days when I walked the dogs without wearing a coat.  If you want to count one dusting as a snowfall, we've had a grand total of two.  It was 65 degrees here yesterday, and that is supposed to be the high again today.

Maybe it's going back to work.  I've fallen into a routine that includes walking on a treadmill instead of walking down memory lane.  I wake up, work out, work, walk the dogs, do stuff around the house or run errands, cook dinner and hang out with the hubby.  Now that I think about it, it's not going back to work - it's becoming incredibly boring 5 days a week.

Maybe I'm finally adjusting to being in Missouri.  We've been here 7 months as of today.  I can finally get to the grocery store without the GPS and it's been fun to discover all the cool things St. Louis has to offer - the City Museum, seeing Chuck Berry at the Duck Room, 5th Street in St. Charles, the Schlafly Taproom, the Cards, the Blues - we've just scratched the surface.  I still only have one friend here, but thank goodness for the internet.  I keep in touch with friends and family as much as I did when I live in Illinois.

Maybe I'm in mourning over Davy Jones.  But that was only yesterday.  Darn.  Can't blame it on that.

Whatever the reason, I hope to be back at it soon.  And if you're reading this and can provide a little inspiration - please do!!