Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Losing It Under the Dome

I'm reading Valerie Bertinelli's book "Losing It," before I read her new release "Finding It."

The book goes into her family history, career, romances, marriage, issues with weight, etc. Also includes some terrific photos of her and her family. I had no idea she was a book club aficionado. She's been in a book club for years. So cool!

I'm also reading Stephen King's new book "Under the Dome"...Holy COW! The story is about a dome that seals off a city. I'll be so glad when Big Jim and Junior get their come-upance! Also wondering where the dome came from. On edge of seat...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Perfect Gift

I've been taping Christmas movies on my DVR over the last few weeks and finally got around to watching "The Perfect Gift."

Awesome! Finally a movie about the "real" story of Christmas.

Tag line: What if the world threw you a birthday party...and you weren't invited?

Plot: A spoiled school girl, her overworked executive mother and a disillusioned young minister each receives an uplifting message about friendship, commitment, and the truest meaning of Christmas from a friendly drifter.

The film was released in November 2009 and is part of the "Perfect Stranger" series by Jefferson Moore.

Friday, December 25, 2009

And there were in the same country...

...shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men."

Luke 2:8-14

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is it Christmas yet?

So what have I been doing this week? Here's the low-down:

Baking Christmas goodies (chocolate peanut clusters, bourbon balls, Russian tea cakes, sugar cookies; taking them to work so I don't eat them all)

Watching Christmas movies (The National Tree, Mr. Saint Nick, The Christmas Choir, The Christmas Card, The Homecoming, Charlie Brown, just to name a few)

Reading "A Christmas Carol" (I read it every year; I'm at the part where the ghost of Christmas present takes Scrooge to the Cratchit home)

Today I'll be walking in the snow! (So happy we're having a white Christmas this year)

Received 25 Christmas cards as of yesterday.

Drinking eggnog.

Listening to Christmas music (Barbra Streisand, Perry Como, Dean Martin, John Denver, Ella Fitzgerald, Neil Diamond, Vince Guaraldi)

Learning lines for a Christmas play.

Playing Christmas carols on the piano.

Lighting candles and watching the Christmas lights on the tree.

Reading about the birth of Jesus in the Book of Luke (Jesus is the Reason for the Season)

God bless us, everyone!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Josh and the Hot Dog


So I'm sitting at the breakfast table eating my cornflakes and reading the paper when I turn the page and there it is. A photo of my nephew Josh, age 7, with a hot dog stuffed in his mouth. I could tell it was him by the black hair and sparkling brown eyes.

This wasn't just a small black and white blurb in the local section. It was a huge full-color spread! Josh was at the Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne where members of the Wyoming National Guard fed more than 100 kids a dinner of hot dogs, chicken, baked beans and cookies.

When Josh and his family come to my house for dinner, I serve Josh's favorites: mashed potatoes and anything with sugar in it. It would be an understatement to say that Josh is hyperactive, but he moves so fast he makes a hummingbird look like a turtle.

The cool thing about Josh right now is that his front teeth are missing and he has two fangs that lend him the appearance of a vampire. But those teeth are perfect for biting into a hot dog.

Way to go, Josh!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Worst Movie of the Year

The Box.



First of all, what did Cameron's foot deformity have to do with the plot? HELLO!



And then there's the mysterious package left on the front stoop at 5:45 in the morning. Someone rings the bell, Cameron answers the door and sees a package wrapped in brown paper with nothing on it and a black car driving away. So what would a "normal" person do?



A) Call the police, fearing it might be a bomb?



B) Pick it up and bring it in the house and open it?



Of course Cameron and hubby opened it.



That's where the movie lost me. I couldn't get passed it.



The movie went downhill from there. Weird library. Bloody noses. Water coffin. Light tunnel. Alien swimming pool.

I didn't get it.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Be Happy


Browsing at Barnes and Noble the other day, I came across an amazing little book called "Be Happy" by Monica Sheehan.


The delightful line drawings by Sheehan illustrate each "happy" tidbit. For example:


Have a sense of wonder


Exercise


Reach out


Don't lose hope


Stop being a victim


Love your work


Don't compare yourself with others



I'm keeping this book here at my desk so I can refer to it often.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Love Happens

Hubby and I went to see Love Happens this week at our local cineplex. I'd read the reviews and they weren't good. But I liked the movie, and so did hubby.

The movie was promoted as a "romantic dramedy," whatever that is. The romance was not the key issue in the film. It was about how people deal with the death of a loved one; a psychological character study. Not a romance, in my opinion. Although Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart were on the road to becoming "significant others" at the end of the movie, they never kissed until the final scene.

There was humor, which was desperately needed for balance. Best funny scenes:

Aaron stealing the parrot from Martin Sheen's kitchen.
Jennifer and Aaron's confrontationin the men's room

I did not like the epilogue scene tagged on at the end of the movie in which the parrot returned to Martin Sheen after it was set free in the wild. Why was this included? I think it detracted from the sweet finale with Jennifer and Aaron in the flower shop.

Foxy News

Just observing that all the women reporters on Fox News (and other cable "news" channels) could moonlight as fashion models. They are young, reveal cleavage and look like they should be on the cover of Marie Claire.

Hello! This is supposed to be news, people! Yeah, I know. It's television. They can't have a woman who looks like a normal person on the NEWS! It's all about ratings, right? It's all about money, right?

But why is it that the MEN can be old and ugly and nobody cares?

Just wondering.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Walk

So yesterday afternoon, hubby and I went for a walk. It's mid-September and the weather is fabulous! We had been playing the Beatles Rock Band game earlier and were singing songs as we walked through the neighborhood. "I am the walrus...goo goo ga joob..." People must have thought that we were nuts. Whatever.

Sometimes when we walk we don't talk much because we are just enjoying the walk or thinking our own private thoughts. Other times we talk a lot. On this walk, I wanted to talk and hubby wanted to sing. Here's a snippet of our conversation:

ME and HUBBY (singing): "I am the walrus, I am the walrus, goo goo ga joob, goo goo ga joob..."

ME: So what about all the brouhaha about President Obama talking to the kids in school? I think it's wonderful. I don't understand what the big deal is. George Bush talked to kids and nobody said a word about it. I would think people would want the president talk to the kids.

HUBBY: You should run for president.

ME: Are you crazy? I would never want to be the president. For one thing, they have to give speeches and I'm terrible at giving speeches. They give speeches all the time. Every day, almost. I don't know how they find the time. But I guess that's why they have speech writers. Have you ever wondered why the speech writers don't get credit for the speeches? The president gets all the credit. The presidential speech writers throughout history are getting ripped off! Remember when JFK said "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"? The speech writer came up with that historic, profound statement, but Kennedy gets all the credit. That happens all the time with speech writers. It's just not fair. Are you listening to a word I'm saying?

HUBBY (singing): Lucy in the sky with diamonds...

Beatles Rock Band

Hubby bought Beatles Rock Band that came out last week. And Wow, it's awesome! As a Beatles aficionado (notice I didn't say "maniac"...when you're 52, you're supposed to have matured...yeah, right), I know all the songs and it's a blast. We still haven't figured out all the features; we're just singing along trying to match harmonies. You score points for staying on pitch. As you sing, your progress is measured by certain words that pop up: "Fab"..."Great"... "Okay"..."Messy." We were proud when we sang "I Feel Fine" on Expert Level and actually completed the song without being booed off the stage. They don't actually "boo," but the song stops and they look at you like you're an idiot.

The downside is that with facebook, twitter, blogging, and the Beatles, I will never get any work done.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Rachel Incident

Yesterday A. H. and I were having coffee at the local Starbucks and ordered the grande iced vanilla latte as usual. If you're a Starbucks regular, you know that the server asks your name and writes it on your cup when he/she takes your order.

Because my name is so difficult for people to spell and pronounce, I decided to use a fake name. Out of the blue, I picked Rachel and he wrote it on the cup. While we were waiting for our orders, I recalled that last week I had taken a facebook quiz "Which Friends Character Are You?" The result was "Rachel."

Anyway, a few hours later, A.H. and I were at Penny's shopping and after trying clothes on and deciding what to buy, we went to the counter with our items. The young lady who worked at the counter kept looking at me strangely and asked if we had met before. I said, No, I don't think so. She said that I looked like her friend and she wondered if I was her friend's mother. I said, no, my adult children don't live here...one is in California and the other is in Washington. Curious, I asked her what her freind's name was. She said, "Rachel."

A.H. and I looked at each other in total shock. What are the odds? A million to one. As we walked away, A.H. hummed the "Twilight Zone" theme. Doo doo doo doo. . . doo doo doo doo. . .

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Write Off

Here's a snippet of an actual conversation I had with hubby yesterday morning:

ME: Why do we have so many computers?

HUBBY: What do you mean?

ME: You have three computers. I have two computers. That's a total of five computers for just two people.

HUBBY: You should see how many computers Luke has. (Luke is our 29-year-old son who lives in Seattle and worked at Microsoft as a software developer before he started his own company.)

ME: Yeah, well, computers are part of his job. He can write them off on his tax returns. We can't write off our computers. In fact, we don't write anything off. Why is that?

HUBBY: Well. . . we "write off" into the sunset.

THE END

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Shoe Calendar




Went calendar shopping yesterday and couldn't resist this fabulous shoe calendar with the famous Manolo Blahnik shoes from the "Sex and the City" Movie. SNAP!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Shirt



My BFF A.H. and I are the quintessential clothes horses. We love to shop for clothes and our tastes are almost identical. I can't tell you how many times we'll be searching through racks of clothes and pull out the same item. It's insane.

A while back, we had gone shopping and saw this gray long sleeve shirt that looked great with jeans. It was an open-collar button up that covered the poochy belly and flabby arms beautifully. And we both wanted it. Typically when this happens, A.H. will get it in one color and I'll get it in another. But we both wanted the gray. Okay, fine. So we both bought the same shirt.

Of course, we had to have a game plan so we wouldn't be seen wearing the same shirt when we got together. When we talked about meeting for coffee, shopping and whatnot, our phone conversation went like this:

ME: So you want to get together for coffee?

AH: Sure, sounds like fun. The usual place?

ME: Of course.

AH: Are you going to wear The Shirt?

ME: Not if you want to.

AH: You can wear it, I'll find something else.

ME: Okay. You can wear it next time.


Oddly enough, in all the years we've known each other (over 20), we've never had to do this with any other clothing item. Only The Shirt.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

15 Books that Changed My Life

I found this challenge on one of the blogs I follow called the Writing Bug. In 15 minutes, list 15 books that impacted your life.Here are mine:



Gone With the Wind (I read it as a teen when I was going through a difficult time in my family. It was a way for me to escape to another world. I read this book 13 times.)



Watership Down (The most imaginative and creative book I've ever read. My all-time favorite novel.)



Anne of Green Gables (Anne was everything I wanted to be: smart, funny, creative and adventurous. )



Roots (Fascinating story of Black history in America. Inspired the best TV miniseries ever created.)



On Writing (Best book about the craft of writing I've ever read.)



Chronicles of Narnia (Christian allegory at its best.)



Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis tackles apologetics brilliantly. )



Night (Elie Wiesel's biographical novel about his experience in a concentration camp. Heartbreakingly tragic.)



The Diary of Anne Frank (Inspired me to be a writer of life.)



The Kent Family Chronicles (John Jakes made American History exciting in this series of historical novels.)



A Christmas Carol (I read it every Christmas. It's become a tradition. I'm always amazed at how food is so highly prized in Victorian England. The family applauds when the main course is served. These people know how to enjoy their meals.)



White Fang (A wonderful story about love and hope. I'm a dog lover and this book inspired me to write my dog anthology.)



The Chosen (I learned a lot about the faith and practice of the Orthodox Jew. I also love stories where young people pursue their dreams, despite family opposition.)



Without Feathers/Getting Even/Side Effects (Woody Allen's collection of short stories and essays. Absolutely hilarious.)



The Bible (My daily bread.)

Dilbert Goes on a Date


(Scott Adams, you ROCK!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

thirtysomething...it's about TIME!

Just ordered the newly-released "thirtysomething" season one dvd set. Now I can get rid of my old VHS tapes as new seasons become available. I didn't really get into the show until it was on reruns after it was cancelled. That's when I got hooked. I even bought the soundtrack CD!

The show is SO 80s! The hair (frizzy perms), the clothes (shoulder pads and tapered pants), the Reagan politics (GARY: Edwin Meese Attorney General? Are you kidding?)

Favorite storyline: Elliot and Nancy. I was so glad they got back together. The cancer stories were heartbreaking and so very real.

To ponder: I never understood why Ellyn was afraid of the dark cave.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Watching "The Savages" again...

I'm very impressed with this film. Yes, it's a sad and depressing story about dealing with an aging parent, but the thing that strikes me more than anything is that it's real. The relationships (between the parent and the children; between the siblings; between the siblings' and their signifcant others) are authentic. As a film, everything works to bring you into the story: the cinematography, the music, the script. A perfect movie. It's not for everyone, but a movie shouldn't be "for everyone," just those it's meant to be for.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another Saturday Night

It's so fun to hang out with my friend J. R. We have so much in common, including our love for coffee, chocolate and movies. We went to the movies yesterday and saw The Proposal (Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds)...a romantic comedy with a serious message about marriage, family and honesty. We could have done without the male stripper scene. Yoiks! I much prefer Oscar Nunez as the gay accountant in "The Office."

My favorite scenes were the dance in the woods and the accidental naked encounter.

Afterwards we spent several hours at Applebees. J R had the Chicken Quesedilla and a side salad (which just happened to be as big as a house; we thought it would be smaller...OY!) I had the Sante Fe Chicken Salad. Yum! After the meal we had coffee and discussed purses, spiritual warfare and guinea pigs.

It was 8:30 when we left the restaurant so we decided to stop by her house, pick up some gourmet chocolate and some films and go to my house to finish the party. I made popcorn and we watched Hangman's Curse (a family detective team solves a murder mystery at a high school). I was pleased to see Mel Harris as the Mom (loved her in "thirtysomething") and David Keith as the Dad ("Firestarter" and "Heartbreak Hotel.")

Speaking of "thirtysomething," I heard the first season DVD will be released next week! YAY!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Julie, Julia and Me

Hubby and I went to see "Julie and Julia" to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. For the record, while hubby (like most guys) enjoys action movies, he is a romantic at heart. So if you think he suffered through this movie for my benefit, you are mistaken. We laughed, we cried, we bought the T-shirt.

Afterwards, the plan was to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant. They serve complimentary chips and salsa...to DIE for. I usually get the taco plate with tacos, refried beans, rice and guacamole salad...hubby likes the beef sopapilla. And of course, their margaritas are the best in town.

However, when we arrived at the restaurant, the line was a mile long. We had forgotten that it was Tuesday...that's when the margaritas are two for the price of one. So we decided to go to another of our favorite eateries, Poor Richards. I had the Wild Mushroom with Tenderloin tips and hubby had the Prime Rib. The meal was delicious.

Hubby takes his food very seriously. He will not return to a restaurant that has bad service or bad food. I take things in stride and allow that the server or the chef may have just had an off day. My policy is to give people another chance.

We are opposites in our menu choices as well. I like to try new dishes every time, but hubby sticks with the same thing. I know exactly what he will order when we go out to eat. At Poor Richards he always gets the prime rib, medium rare. At Olive Garden it's the soup (Zuppa Tuscana) and salad. At Casa it's the Beef Sopapilla. At Twin Dragon it's Pepper Steak.

I can occasionally twist his arm to try new restaurants, but if he doesn't like it, he won't go back no matter what. My mission is get him to try "2 Doors Down"...a quaint spot downtown with a fun atmosphere. I ate there a few weeks ago with my friend Zoe and it was fabulous!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Behind the Seams

Project Runway's new season begins August 20. Me and my J.C. Penny's Worthington navy pencil skirt couldn't be happier.

Love Tim Gunn ("Make it work!") Love Heidi (blonde amazon on stilettos). Love the chaos, craziness and challenges ("You have five minutes to design an outfit with a copy of Newsweek. Your time starts now!")

This season there will be additional scenes featuring the "Models of Project Runway" who are also competing.

Totally psyched!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

That Girl!

Just received Season Five of "That Girl" from amazon. I now have the complete set. Huzzah!

I was nine years old when "That Girl" made it's debut on TV in 1966. The show ran for five seasons (from 1966 to 1970). I was 13 when the final show aired. Ann Marie became my idol. She was beautiful, funny, friendly, an actress...everything I wanted to be as pre-teen girl. I wore my hair in a flip just like her and fantasized about living in New York as an actress and having a cute boyfriend like Donald Hollinger. And of course, wearing those fantastic designer clothes! HOLY COW! Of course, at the time I didn't understand that a starving actress in New York wouldn't have the money to buy those cute outfits. Kind of sounds like "Sex in the City." Carrie Bradshaw spends hundreds of dollars on shoes and designer clothes on a column-writer's salary? Yeah, right.

The "That Girl" theme song didn't have lyrics until season five:

Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes, That Girl!
Chestnuts, Rainbows, Springtime... Is That Girl
She's tinsel on a tree...
She's everything that every girl should be!

Sable, Popcorn, White Wine, That Girl!
Gingham, Bluebirds, Broadway... Is That Girl
She's mine alone, but luckily for you...
If you find a girl to love,
Only one girl to love,
Then she'll be That Girl too... That Girl!


Of course, the lyrics are corny, but who cares? It was a catchy tune. My favorite is season one...the episode when Ann met Donald (Captain Dumb Dumb). In the pilot, Ted Bessell played Ann's agent. Thank goodness they changed his part to the boyfriend instead.

This show is "Terrific!"

Friday, July 03, 2009

Chicago!




I created this ink drawing for my granddaughter Vanessa. She wanted it for her BFF Chelsea, who LOVES "Chicago." I was inspired by an ad for "Chicago" in a dance magazine.


As a fan of musical theatre, I also love "Chicago." We were fortunate to see the show here in Cheyenne last year. Absolultely amazing! In the staging for this performance, the muscians were situated upstage on a shelf-type platform during the whole show. WOW!


My favorite songs from the show:


All That Jazz and Mister Cellophane



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"The sky looks like cake batter"

That's what my 15-year-old granddaughter said yesterday as we were driving home from the library. The sky was churning with all colors in the gray scale and this is the image that came to her mind. She's from California (central coast) and is awestruck by the massive sky here in Wyoming.

She's on her cell phone constantly, talking to friends, texting, taking pictures of everything that catches her fancy, including a pair of pink and black mod-style flipflops at the mall; she sent the photo to her friend in CA who LOVES that style (Nessa wouldn't be caught dead in pink...she has a self-proclaimed "skater/surfer" style). Other photos include: the front of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, a lightning storm, a stringer of rainbow trout she caught on her first day here. She's a real shutterbug, just like her grandma.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Run, Luana! Run!

Last year I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and that put an end to my running. The result? I gained 15 pounds over the winter, despite almost daily workouts on the elliptical. Sheesh!

Add to that an addiction to reality TV. I had become a human sloth.

So I'm taking control of my life. No more ice cream, cake and cookies. No more chips and soda. No more sitting around watching "America's Next Top Model" marathons on Bravo.

I am eating healthier foods and nixing the lumber jack portions. I'm also starting my running program again and doing the elliptical on the days I don't run. I bought some new Sauconys and now that it's summer I can do early morning runs. A few short years ago my routine was to get up early while it was still dark and go for a run before work. I was so dedicated that I'd run in any weather...even blizzard conditions.

Here's where my running program started going down hill (pun intended):

October 2005: I twisted my knee in a run. It was so bad I could hardly walk, much less run. After several months, I was able to run again. But I had to be careful.

October 2007: While running, I was attacked by a dog that chewed up the flesh behind my left knee. That set me back several weeks and as winter kicked in, I totally lost my stamina.

April 2008: The heel of my right foot started hurting when I ran. It was plantar fasciitis. I couldn't run for several months. I still have to do stretches and wear shoes with arch support. No more going around the house barefoot.

Now, over a year later, my plantar fasciitis is pretty much healed (pun intended), but I've discovered I have tendonitis! Nevertheless, I'm going to run again. It won't be like it was in my glory days, but at this point I'll take what I can get.

In the words of George Costanza: "I'm back, baby!"

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Own Personal R2D2


Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, my vacuum cleaner called it quits right in the middle of a major Saturday cleaning event. We had this fire engine-red Hoover for years and it was only a matter of time before it bit the dust (pun intended).
So I unplugged the beast, got in the car and began my search for a new vacuum cleaner. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but I needed a machine that could do the job. And Voila! I found it! A Hoover Turbo Empower 4600!
It features a hush mode (so it's not so loud), the handle flips down for easy storage, and best of all there's no need to change bags! When I flipped the on switch, I realized it had a mind of its own. I had to actually pull it back so it wouldn't take off out the door and around the block.
It cleaned my carpet beautifully. I was thrilled. I hadn't had that much fun vacumming in years. But all good things come to an end, so I put the handle down to store it in the closet. That's when it hit me. My vacuum looked like a slim version of R2D2, that cute little android in "Star Wars." Yes, I said cute. Everyone knows that R2 is cute with a capital "Q"!
I never thought I'd be one of those people who name their appliances, but I couldn't help myself. My Hoover is R2D2. And on cleaning day, the Force is most definitely with me.








Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Job Interview

(Short fiction by Luana Krause)

So I went for this job interview at a bank, and like, it was so weird. I waited for, like, ten minutes in the lobby and I was so BORED I thought I was gonna DIE. I couldn’t stand it any longer and checked out their magazines. You would think they’d have cool mags like “People” or “In Style.” No such luck. All they had was, like, generic. You know, “Time” and “Newsweek.” Like, who reads THAT!

Finally, this lady called my name and I went into this, like, HUGE office. The boss was sitting at this really big desk and asked me to sit down. He was a fat dude, and bald, but super nice. He’s all, “Why do you want to work at this bank?” And I’m all, “Because I need a job.” And he’s all, “What skills do you have?” And I’m all, “I can use a computer and talk on the phone.” And he’s all, “Are you good with numbers?” And I’m all, “Duh. I’ve got five credit cards and not one is maxed out yet.” And he’s all, “Do you enjoy dealing with the public?” And I’m all, “Shut up! I deal with the public all the time. I go to the mall, like, every Saturday.”

He stood up and shook my hand. And he’s all, “I’ll get back to you. Have a nice day.” I know he’s gonna offer me the job. He’ll be like, “When can you start?” And I’ll be like, “Right away.”

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time Travel Diary: March 15, 1952

Dear Diary:

It's spring in Memphis and this morning I saw my first robin. He was sitting on the branch of that giant sycamore in the front yard. But let me tell you, birds were not uppermost in my thoughts today. It was my first day at my new high school. Why oh why did Mama and Daddy and yank Charlie and me from our schools in Murfreesboro and move the family lock, stock and barrel, to Memphis of all places? Especially in the spring of my junior year! I could just DIE!

Despite my heartbreak and anguish, I think it was a blessing in disguise. The cutest boy I ever laid eyes on sits right in front of me in English class. Elvis Presley! Now I ask you, what kind of name is Elvis? His hair is black and his eyes are bluer than the summer sky. After class I "accidentally" bumped into him and dropped my books. He was so sweet. He picked them up for me and said he was sorry. I told him that was okay. I think he likes me. I wonder if he has a date for the prom?

I think this new school is going to work out just fine.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

American Idol Wild Card Show

Okay. So I'm watching the Wild Card Show on American Idol, which was recorded on my DVR because I was singing at my Cheyenne Harmony rehearsal (Cheyenne Harmony is a women's acappella singing group).

I return home to watch the show. I was disappointed that Jesse received such a negative critique from the judges. I LOVE her style of singing...and her song choices. She was my favorite. And of course, she did not make the cut. (sigh).

The other wild card contestants were so-so for me. However, I was thrilled that Tatiana was cut. I have no idea how she got this far. I suspect it's the "drama" factor. She's a drama queen if I ever saw one. It was pretty pathetic that after she was cut she went to the judges table weeping...the judges enabled her psychotic behavior by speaking words of comfort and encouragement. Puhleeze!

The last three contestants were chosen. Megan (a long-haired blonde beauty with an edgy singing style), Jasmine (a cute teenager with a powerhouse voice that came out of nowhere) and ...at that moment my DVR shut off and I didn't get to see the third choice! I also missed the surprise...a fourth contestant making a total of 13 finalists!

Luckily, the Internet came to the rescue and I found out that Anoop and Matt were also chosen. Good choices. Looking forward to next week when the competition really begins!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Werd Nerd

Today a work colleague used the word "sartorial" in describing his tie. None of us knew what "sartorial" meant, so we opened up the online dictionary and looked it up. If you already know this word, then you can skip this post. However, if you want to increase your vocabulary, take a look at the following definition:

sartorial

sar·to·ri·al [ saar táwree əl ]
adjective
Definition:

1. of tailoring: relating to tailoring or clothing in general


Now let's use it in a sentence:

Simone smiled as she saw her image in the mirror and noted that her sartorial pencil skirt had a back slit through which peaked her attractive calves.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slip Slidin' Away

It's funny how a song will reach out from the past and deliver a personal message just for you. A message that you need to hear and that will impact your life. This happened to me this week. I call it Divine Intervention.

Here's what happened:

My computer in my home office went "on the fritz" at the exact moment I was ready to work out on my elliptical machine. I usually watch a movie on my computer while I work out. Since I couldn't do that, I decided to listen to a CD instead. As "luck" would have it, I chose Paul Simon. I used to listen to him back in the day and he's still one of my favorite singer-songwriters. His songs are like poetry from the heart...set to music. His lyrics are powerful.

Anyway, I started off with "Mother and Child Reunion"...a cool, upbeat tune. The moved on to "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard," "Kodachrome," "Something So Right," "Loves Me Like a Rock," "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," "Still Crazy After All These Years," and "Late in the Evening." (Ever notice that Paul Simon's songs, more often than not, express the theme of lonliness and isolation? But there's also a glimmer of acceptance and hope.)

By this time over half an hour had gone by and I'd worked up quite a sweat.

Then all of a sudden I hear "Slip Slidin' Away." It was like my soul was on fire. The song reminded me of shattered dreams and I was overwhelmed with grief and sadness. I was literally sobbing during the whole song. I felt such pain and sorrow in my heart. The words spoke to me, like a message from God.

I knew that God orchestrated the whole thing. The computer break down, the selection of Paul Simon, this particular CD, this particular song. He was opening my "ears" to hear his message. The message is that the world is full of people with broken hearts, living in regret and embracing what might have been. But God brings comfort and healing. He is the only One who can.

The song:

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you're slip sliding away

I know a man, he came from my hometown
He wore his passion for his woman like a thorny crown
He said, Dolores, I live in fear
My love for you's so overpowering, I'm afraid that I will disappear

I know a woman, became a wife
These are the very words she uses to describe her life
She said a good day ain't got no rain
She said a bad day is when I lie in the bed
And I think of things that might have been

And I know a father who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he'd done
He came a long way just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and headed home again

God only knows, God makes his plan
The information's unavailable to the mortal man
Were work our jobs, collect our pay
Believe were gliding down the highway, when in fact we're slip sliding away

Friday, February 20, 2009

Baker Lady

Yep. I'm in the baking mood. Been doing it since December getting ready for the holidays. It all started on Thanksgiving when I made a New York cheesecake with dark chocolate cookie crust. My brother loved it...he was surprised I'd made it "from scratch"...he's used to the store-bought cheesecakes.

That's how I broke in my brand spankin' new Kitchen Aid mixer! (Early Christmas present from hubby).

For Christmas I made some ginger pumpkin bread, lemon poppyseed bread, fudge, peanut clusters, peppermint bark and sugar cookies.

For my friends at church I made some sugar cookies shaped like sheep using my Brown Bag cookie molds (these molds are collector's items now; they don't make them anymore. I have two: a sheep and a rabbit).

I also made some birthday cakes for friends and cupcakes for kids at church. I bought a couple of new cookie cook books and made some delicious butter cookies and chocolate cookies for my work colleagues.

For the last few weeks I've been making lemon poppyseed bread and butter cookies for church. I made valentine cookies (heart shaped butter cookies) for my grandkids.

This weekend I'm making oatmeal raisin cookies to share with friends from church.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Inspiration

"Nurture your hopes. Not your fears."
--- Billy Graham"

"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities. An optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."
--- Harry S. Truman

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tribute to Langston Hughes


One of my favorite poets, Langston Hughes, was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. Today marks the 107th anniversary of his birth. More than 40 years after his death in 1967, his sublime and powerful works continue to inspire generations of Americans.

See this link for more about Hughes:

"I, Too, Sing America"
by Langston Hughes


I, too, sing America.


I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.


Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.

Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--


I, too, am America.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy birthday, Wolfgang!

As a child, the only classical music I'd ever heard was in Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons (Rossini's Barber of Seville, Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture, Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor; first movement) and of course the theme song of "The Lone Ranger" which I later discovered was Rossini's "The William Tell Overture." Rossini must have been pretty popular among the Saturday morning TV crowd.

Even when I taught myself piano and guitar, I wasn't learning classical music, mostly tunes like "Camptown Ladies," "Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot" and "Bill Bailey"...hardly Wolfgang material.

The first time I actually studied "real" music was in 1996 when I finally decided to pursue my life-long dream of taking piano lessons. I was in my 30s and doing recitals with seven-year-olds Yes, it was embarrassing, but I was learing Bach, Beethoven, DeBussey, Chopin and of course, Mozart. I was in heaven.

Needless to say, I really got into classical music. It was a part of the music world I had never known and I wanted to learn everything about it. I was learning to play several of Bach's inventions and preludes, as well as Beethoven sonatas and Chopin etudes. I enjoyed Prokofiev, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, etc. I couldn't get enough. I started a CD collection of classical music and listened to music constantly.

Learning piano and studying classical music inspired me to learn the cello, so I started to take cello lessons, too. Yo-yo Ma was an inspiration. He still is. (He played at Obama's Inauguration! Wow!)

I'm not one to do anything half-heartedly, so I took a music theory class at the local college. It was challenging to say the least. One of our assignments was to compose an original piece of music in the style of Bach. We also had aural training where we learned to hear pitches and listen for intervals. This helped me quite a bit with cello. Unlike the guitar which has frets and you know where to place your fingers to play a chord and notes, the cello is almost totally played by "ear."

During my classical music phase, I attended many concerts and recitals. We saw Barry Douglas when he was on tour playing Beethoven. He was playing all 32 Beethoven sonatas (in different venues) and the five Beethoven piano concertos! I saw him play The Emperor...unbelievable! I've seen such noted pianists as Andres Schiff, Helen Grimaude, Christopher O'Reily, Frederic Chiu Emanuel Ax...and the jazz stylings of Billy Taylor and Ramsey Lewis.

The concert that meant the most to me was in 1998 when we went to Denver to see Yo-Yo Ma play the Dvorak cello concerto with the Colorado Symphony. It was the one of the best days of my life. He received seven curtain calls! I will never forget that night as long as I live. I first fell in love with Yo-Yo when I saw his short films about the Bach cello suites on PBS. I bought all six videos. Here's a link if you want to know more about these wonderful films. But I warn you, if you watch them, you will never look at Bach and his cello suites the same way again. They are a true inspiration, even if you don't know anything about classical music.

Here's an article about Yo-Yo's Bach film project:

Today, I'm still playing the piano. I'm working on Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata, some Scott Joplin ragtime music, Bach's A-minor two-part invention and Mozart's piano sonata in "C" major...plus Irving Berlin tunes and traditional hymns.

Anyway, back to Mozart. I highly recommend the film "Amadeus"... an amazing movie showcasing the talents of Tom Hulce (as Mozart) and F. Murray Abraham (as Antonio Salieri). Winner of eight Oscars, the film was based on the play by Peter Shaffer. It tells of Salieri's jealousy and hatred of Mozart, and his anger with God for giving this wonderful talent to an unworthy, spoiled brat, when he, Salieri, desired nothing more in the world than to glorify God with music. The film is Salieri's confession to a priest:

SALIERI: My plan was simple. It terrified me. First I must get the death mass and then, I must achieve his death. His funeral! Imagine it, the cathedral, all Vienna sitting there, his coffin, Mozart's little coffin in the middle, and then, in that silence, music! A divine music bursts out over them all. A great mass of death! Requiem mass for Wolfgang Mozart, composed by his devoted friend, Antonio Salieri! Oh what sublimity, what depth, what passion in the music! Salieri has been touched by God at last. And God is forced to listen! Powerless, powerless to stop it! I, for once in the end, laughing at him!

An amazing film. Ya gotta see it!

Here's a link about Mozart if you want to know more about this gifted composer:



Happy birthday, Amadeus!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

January Trees


January Trees
a poem by Luana Krause


I arise at dawn and wait for first light. The frost takes my breath away.

Wrapped in a cocoon of cold, I am held captive by the winter trees. During the night they turned white; the Creator using his ethereal impasto technique to create texture and form.

The frost is thick on the branches that reach toward heaven. Majestic sculptures of ice on exhibit in God’s museum for all to see.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Letter to the Editor

My letter to the editor was in the local newspaper this morning. I was responding to the editor's article about summer school. Here's what I wrote:

***
I disagree with the WTE's opinion that LCSD1 should "put more effort" into summer school. As the article stated, the academic gains made by "high income" kids during the summer was due to the involvement of the parents in their children's education. That is the key. Not more school hours. You can't mandate parental involvement.

***
(END QUOTE)

Sometimes I wonder if the American public school system hasn't simply become a babysitter, catering to the needs of working parents rather than actual teaching.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama's BlackBerry

Another reason to like President Obama...he's a BlackBerry user, too! I have no idea how I survived life all those years before the invention of the BlackBerry.

You're talking to a genuine, unapologetic CrackBerry. Yep. I absolutely love it!

Just yesterday when I was driving home, listening to NPR reporting on the presiden't agenda for his first day in office, I was thinking: "Barack is Bar-ROCKin' the White House!"

Shame on you guys for trying to take his BlackBerry away!

Check the link:

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/obama-gets-a-thumbs-up-for-his-blackberry/

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guitar Hero


The other day I dug out my guitar from the closet and dusted it off. We're going to visit my folks in April and I want to be able to play a few tunes with my dad, whose been practicing his guitar every day since he retired two years ago. He's very good. I'm mediocre at best.

You might say he's my guitar hero. He played the guitar back in the 1960s, but never really had time to practice. Too busy making a living and raising us kids. But now at age 65 he's pursuing his dream. He bought a Yamaha acoustic when he retired and last Christmas my mom bought him an electric guitar. He prefers the electric, but he enjoys playing both.

As for music preferences, he's not into modern music. He likes Chet Atkins, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash...also some classic rock and roll.

My history with the guitar goes back to when I was in high school. I was 16 and bought a cheap thirty-dollar guitar and a book on how to play. I listened to John Denver, Simon and Garfunkle, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and the Beatles, trying to emulate their styles. A friend of mine had a 12-string that I messed around with. Now that was fun...double strings. Wow!

When I graduated from high school, my parents wanted to get me a graduation gift. They were thinking I'd like a car. My dad's a brilliant auto mechanic and he could easily find the best deal on a used car and the ability to keep it running like a clock. But what I really wanted more than anything was a new guitar. So my dad took me to the music store to pick out a guitar (no pun intended). It was one of the best gifts I've ever received.

Now, 3o-plus years later, I'm still playing the guitar. Several years went by when I didn't play at all. I was focusing on piano, cello and choral singing. But now that Dad is playing, he's inspired me to play, too.
So here I am, playing "Country Roads," "Scarborough Fair" and the theme from "Deliverance." Watch out, Dad, and get ready for dueling guitars.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Norman's New Year's Resolutions

Sheriff Al Chambers here. On December 20, we took Norman Bates into custody for the murder of Marian Crane, Milton Arbogast and several other victims. The newspapers reported the sordid details so I won't go into them here. Suffice it to say that Mr. Bates will not be seeing the light of day for quite some time. Of course we drained the swamp where we discovered the naked body of Marian, wrapped in a shower curtain and stuffed in the trunk of her car. We scoured the house for evidence and questioned everyone even remotely associated with Norman Bates, including his third grade teacher, Mrs. Horrorwits. As far as I was concerned, it was an open and shut case. A few days after his arrest, I went back to the house. I walked down the dark halls, noting the bloodstain at the top of the stairs where Arbogast had died. I even ventured to the basement where the dead mother was found. How could someone as shy and unassuming as Norman Bates be capable of such atrocities? I was just about to leave when I decided to check his bedroom one more time. That’s when I found it. A journal. Blank, except for one entry:

My New Year’s Resolutions:

Stock up on shower curtains, Ginsu knives and Lysol Toilet & Tub Cleaner.

Check expiration date on bottle of strychnine.

Mother’s Day gift: search ebay for Christian Dior gown and Prada shoes.

Accept offer to go on the Jerry Springer Show: “Mama’s Boys Gone Bad.”

Get therapy.

Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Replace motel shower heads with low-flow.

Offer the use of the Bates Motel for the next season of “Survivor.”

Renew membership to the “National Psycho Killer Taxidermists Guild.”

Sell property and take that caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado.

***Of course Bates’ journal is secured as evidence for the trial. But one question haunts me, causing restless nights and a profound uneasiness that gnaws away at the doorposts of my soul. What in the world is "ebay"?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Kids' Book











I'm writing a story for my three youngest grandchildren for their birthdays. They will all be five years old this year. I've decided to make the story into a book, complete with illustrations by yours truly. Unfortunately, I haven't created any serious artwork in years, so it's time to get out the old sketch pad and practice my line drawings.

On Monday I'm meeting with Sophie, my graphic artist friend, so I can pick her brain and see what we can do as far as illustrations go.

I don't have the whole story worked out but it involves a dragon and a cupcake.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dog Whisperer


I discovered this show a couple of weeks ago on the National Geographic Channel. Now we are taping every episode and are totally addicted. Cesar Millan is an absolute miracle worker. I wish I knew about this program when we had our dog Britt. She was a great dog but I always had trouble walking her on the leash.


His theory of Calm Assertive Energy is amazing. Over the years, I've read almost every dog training book ever published and I've never seen anything like what Cesar does. It has to do with the psychological aspects of understanding dog behavior.


He understands that dogs are animals, not people. That's a hard thing to teach dog owners. They treat their dogs like babies or children, giving them human emotions. Cesar's motto is the rehabilitate the dog and train the owners. He says that there's isn't a dog that he can't handle. Even vicious dogs like pit bulls.


He usually solves behavior problems in just an hour or two. Watching this show, I realize that I did quite a few things wrong with Britt. If we ever get another dog, I'll be ready.