Posted in Musings and Mutterings

30 years? Really?

I know that the holiday weekend was only four days, but it felt like much longer somehow.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving with some friends on Thursday. It went very well. Food was great, we played some Uno and I didn’t have to do any dishes. How could anyone complain about that?

Friday was my eldest daughters 30th birthday. Although I’ve marked every year of my childrens birth, this one seemed to be an especially significant one. I remember when she was a baby and I’d do the math to figure out how old I’d be when she hit 30. It seemed like that day was so far away back then, so when it finally arrived, I had to take a moment to examine how I felt about it.

Think… think… think….

I think I feel better about it now than I thought I’d feel about

it then. Aside from the natural uncertainty that 30 years would hold, I had fears of being unable to care for and support both she and I, along with fears of being alone and unhappy. I knew I’d always do whatever I needed to do, but that didn’t mean it would be something that was necessarily pleasant or easy to do. As it turns out, it wasn’t always easy, but it was certainly more pleasant than I thought it would be.

When #1 was born, I was a teenage mother. I had finished high school and had found a job in an automobile dealership before my daughter was 3 months old. My pregnancy hadn’t been easy and I had been bed-ridden for 3 months prior to her birth. The full extent of her father’s interaction had been to visit me twice. Once for about 1/2 hour and the second time was for 10 minutes which had been just long enough to bring me a  dirty stuffed animal he’d found on the side of the road, “for the baby”. Um… hello?  (obviously, I hadn’t been thinking too clearly 7 months earlier…duh) At that point, I knew that I was most likely on my own, which was exactly what happened. Thankfully, my parents, while highly disappointed in me, never held anything against my daughter. She was the apple of my father’s eye and both he and my mother poured all their love into the new baby in their lives.

That first year was difficult. As any teen mother will attest, my friends virtually vanished because I wasn’t available to go and do the way they were. I don’t blame them. Their lives were just different. I was still dealing with #1’s father, who had decided to move on at that point, and working and trying to figure out a way to continue paying for all the things my child needed and what I’d be doing for our future. Although my parents doted on her and allowed us to continue living in their home, I was responsible for all of our food, clothing, medical expenses and anything else she, or I, needed. Again, I thank my parents for making sure that I knew the full extent of what my responsibilities were. I think it would have been a disservice to both #1 and I if they had done anything less.

I liken this time in my life to feeling as if I were a Waring blender, on purée. So much was swirling around in my head so quickly.

#1’s first birthday was on Thanksgiving day. My grandparents and family were all gathered for the big meal and the celebration of their first child of the next generations’ birthday. Her father was supposed to attend. He was given the time. That time came and passed and we waited an extra hour before we decided it was time to do cake and presents. #1 was dressed in a sky blue dress with ruffles and her little white shoes with bells. (so I could always tell where she was in the house) She opened her gifts and found the boxes they came in, and standing on her toys, more interesting than what they were actually designed for, but she was happy.

In those days, nothing was open on Thanksgiving except MAYBE a 7-11 store.  Her father was supposed to bring some diapers if he would ever arrive, but not wanting to be caught without something for her, I went to 7-11 to pick up a pack of diapers. Lo and behold… who was there… but her father. He had picked up cigarettes with nary a diaper in sight. I asked him if he was still planning on coming to see his child and he assured me he was, but he had to run an errand first.

Most of you should know by now that I’m a very trusting person who likes to believe in people and that they are basically good and will tell you the truth and stick by what they say. This has burned me more than once, but I still persist.

Over an hour later – well after her bath and just before her bedtime – he showed up. He had gone back to 7-11 and gotten her a tea cart made for children over 3, with so many small pieces there was no way it was safe for her to play with. Ok.. he actually showed up and he thought to bring her something.. but c’mon.


I put my baby to bed and was feeling pretty low at this point. Again, I thought about what my life might be like when she was 30. It felt bleak.

I used to have a CB radio base station in my bedroom. Most of my social circle at that point were

people I’d talk to on the radio. (I haven’t gone too far from that, since internet is just another form of the same thought process – especially chat rooms) That night, I was poking around on the radio and listening to conversations. I stopped when I heard one voice and listened for a long while to two men talking about generalities and radios. One of them sounded like a good-natured person and had thrown out so many jokes that I wanted to join this conversation. Being female, and on the CB, meant that there was a good likelihood that they’d talk to me too, so I keyed up my microphone and made a comment about my dog. (a mean little thing that would bite your feet if you moved them after he’d fallen asleep on them)

That was it. Those were the first things my now husband heard me say. We talked on the radio for a while  longer and then he asked me to call him; which I did. We spent the rest of the night on the phone and spoke again every day thereafter. Now, 29 years later, my life is nothing like I had thought it might be when #1 turned 30. My husband instantly fell in love with my little daughter and that made me instantly fall in love with him. The 3 additional children and a lifetime of love and laughter with him has definitely been better than I had ever hoped for.

You just never know….

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

The Usual

I know it’s Thanksgiving day and yes, this will probably be more of the same when it comes to a Thanksgiving Day blog… but… give a girl a break. They can’t all be gems for posterity, right?

I woke up very early this morning – it isn’t even 8 am yet and I’ve been up for 3 hours – and I’ve done nothing but poke around on the internet. I’ve watched 10-year-old opera stars, read my friends blogs, commented all over Facebook on my friends status’, saw a cat take on an alligator, read about the Euro and the trouble it faces in Ireland, looked at self-drive tours of Bavaria, made a new friend on My____ and caught up with the local news. I am thankful for the internet, my fios connection, my comfy chair, my desk, my computer, my kitty (who likes to catch up on world news with me) and my cup of coffee. I’m also thankful that I bought energy credits in wind power so I don’t fee quite so bad about my electricity usage.

My hubby is out giving blood. He left at 6:45 am to go bleed into a bag to help others. This is his 69th donation (on record – he’s actually given more) and he regularly donates platelets. He’s my hero and I’m thankful that there is the medical technology that allows his blood to run through so many other peoples veins. If one persons donation can help up to three people, then that means he’s helped at least 207 people when they needed it the most. I’m thankful that he takes his donations seriously, that he’s lived a clean life (he’s cmv negative) and that he’s not anemic. (that’s why I get refused when I go to give blood) And while we are at it, I’m just plain thankful I have him in my world. Wow.

In a bit, I’ll be going to the home of some friends for dinner. We’ll be having the usual goodies and will certainly share some laughter and fun. I’m thankful for all of my friends (even the ones I don’t get to share the day with and the ones I only know online) and for their love and support. I’m thankful for the farmers who raised my food, the earth that provided nourishment to the seed that grew from her loving soil and the people who harvested, packaged and transported that food to me.

While I wait for Hubby to return, I may as well do a little online shopping for the holidays, and maybe work on my language lessons. The house is quiet and it’s only me here, so I may just turn up the music as well. I’m thankful for the gift of music, the job that I have that helps me to learn and experience great talent and the opportunity to travel to fantastic places. I’m thankful to the woman who saw in me the ability to work with her magical instrument and trusts me to help her continue to do what she does so well; teach young children to appreciate good music, to perform with pride and compassion for what they are doing and the understanding that they are all part of something that’s rather wonderful and touches so many people in ways they could never imagine.

Yesterday, I made arrangements for my oldest daughter – who turns 30 tomorrow (more on that tomorrow) – to have a special pie baked for her. She lives about 500 miles away from me and had been missing the special French Apple pie that my mother used to buy her as a child in celebration of her birthday. I found a bakery and asked the woman to make it just the way her grandma used to buy (lol) and had my daughter go pick it up. She was very happy that she got some of Meemaw’s special gift. I am thankful for my family and the memories I have of celebrations gone by. Memories of my parents who are no longer with us, of my brother – who I only wish the best for and hope that one day he can find a way to make peace with himself – and all my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who have passed on, and of my sisters and Aunt, who are still here and who remind me of the family of my birth and how close those ties are. They are my heritage. I am also thankful for my children and grandchildren. They are the love of my life and I couldn’t be happier with the way they’ve all grown and found their way. They are my present and future and I love them more than words can ever express.

So, like I said.. the usual. :0)

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Dance, anyone?

OMG, I love dancing in my kitchen. It always makes doing the dishes one thousand times better. I have the kitchen, dining room and hallway as my stage.  I have the cat and dog, who are always a great and appreciative audience and my hips to twitch, arms to move, hair to flip and shoulders to shake. It all feels so freakin’ GOOD!!

This mornings playlist…


Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Just a Taste

Description: Coffee cortado (An latte art exam...
Image via Wikipedia

I was enjoying a cup of coffee that, between the efforts of my daughter and the barista, had been specially concocted, just for me. It had a familiar taste to it, but I couldn’t quite place it.

My husband gave up coffee and all caffeine years ago. The few exceptions he’s made to that choice have been for a cup of true English tea while we were in England, a very rare cola as a mixer and an espresso when we go to Italy. Otherwise, he has staunchly denied any offer of a caffeinated beverage. At times, I wish I was more like he is, and able to let go of my love affair with what I call my “happy juice”, but so far it’s not been a successful. Until the day that my happy juice and I part company, I will continue to enjoy a steaming cup of earthy tasting brew.

As I took sip after sip of my drink, I would roll the flavor around on my tongue and then pay attention to the flavor that swirled around in the back of my throat. I could pick out chocolate, and coffee – of course – and something buttery and something sweet and then something smoky. That was the part that was throwing me.

Typically, I drink my brew black and straight up, but variety is the spice of life and my daughter thought I might like this for a change. Slurp… a look of consternation as I try to identify what I’m relating this flavor too and then, slurp, another sip.

Stumped, I called my husband in and said to him, “I completely understand your choice not to drink coffee, and I’m not trying in any way to compromise that choice. I want you to know that I respect that, but I’d also like you to taste this. Just a little sip. I’m not asking you to chug it or even take a big swallow. I promise… I don’t want to change what you are doing, I just need help identifying a flavor.”

I had delivered my plea with sincerity and respect and a small bit of helplessness – all of which I had meant – and was staring at my husband with my cup in my hand, offering it to him.

He sat very still and looked me in the eye for a long time and with one of the most serious and thoughtful looks on his face he said to me, “Ok, Eve.”

He got the flavor right away – Skor candy bar.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Fuzzy Heads Just Feel Good

Buzz Cut
Image by JasonTromm via Flickr

This morning my husband came to give me a kiss and a hug before he left for work. He leaves very early, so I’m usually still snuggled into my warm bed. Most of the time he gives me a kiss and is gone, but this morning he scooped his arms around me and gave me a big hug, which meant that I got to put my hand on his head and feel the soft velvet of his latest haircut.

His hair is pretty short now, and feels quite fuzzy and soft. I’m finding I want to touch it more than when it was longer. As we paused there, in the predawn, I ran my fingers across his hair and had a flash of memory of our boys. “I remember when the boys had hair that felt like this.” I mumbled, half asleep and very relaxed in that  moment.

And then, a flood of memories raced through my mind within a split second…

-giving the boys their annual spring buzz cut on the back porch

-a photo of me laughing, clippers in hand, when I had only buzzed half of Hubby’s hair and stopped to look at the difference

-the boys playing with their big wheels, swimming in the pool and running around the backyard

-how much I enjoyed rubbing my hands across their fuzzy little heads when they came up to give me a hug

The sudden realization that this was all years ago, and was now the past and never to be repeated anywhere but in my mind, was rather bittersweet. I’d never again run my hand across their velvet, nor see them ride their big wheels, nor have them come to my waist when I hugged them. None of that would ever occur again anywhere else, but in my mind. But that’s the blessing. Even though time has moved on and my boys are all grown and good people, they are still in my mind as young children and I can go visit them and rub their fuzzy little heads whenever I want.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings


Have you ever done an internet or site search on yourself, or where you work?

(phht… of course you have, why did I even bother to ask?)


I just did a search of all sites on WordPress for my employer and found 2 valid sites from past singers (one I know) and 95 sites that list our Grammy Nomination. No wonder people tell me we are the best kept secret out there when they bring their child to audition. Hmh!




ohmigosh, this really doesn’t relate to this rest of the the content in this post, but, I WANT A COOKIE!!!

I’m almost to the point where I scrub work for an hour or so and just go bake  – waitaminute- why don’t I just go and get one from the store…

prolly cause I’m sleepy and lazy right now as well.

ok.. I’d better get working… move along… there’s nothing to see here….

these are not the droids you are looking for….


Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Advance Guard

A 4x4 segment panorama of the Coliseum at dusk...
Image via Wikipedia

You know how part of the stress/excitement of going somewhere new is that it’s all fresh and every thing you see, you are seeing for the first time? When you are responsible for yourself, or maybe your family, that’s part of the adventure and completely expected. But when you are the person who is responsible for 100+ other people, the majority of them children, it’s not nearly as exciting and frankly just plain worrying.

So, when the boss sent me an email that requested (strongly) that I go on a special trip in advance of our scheduled tour to Italy in the summer, the thought that I was the advance guard was the first thing my mind jumped to. I could take pictures of EVERYTHING I thought might be of help to chaperons and children. I could be familiar with the airport and hotels. I could get the skinny on social  and religious expectations since we will be performing in many a religious venue. True, I have to go by myself, which is a little daunting to me, but honestly, I’m ok with going to observe.

This trip is for the leaders of various musical groups that will be touring Italy in the near future and is designed to give them a taste of what their group could expect. It’s an interesting promotion idea to get directors fired up about international travel in a time when maybe they hadn’t been considering travel. Since we are already committed to a tour, for us it’s a useful tool, but I’m certainly not the leader of a musical group in the traditional sense of things. Sure, you could line up the 384 students we have and I’ll know all of them by name with the exception of a handful. And I can probably tell you their mom’s name and what campus they go to and just about any other functional or logistic fact about them. But ask me about a composer, or a style of teaching or anything else along those lines and I’m going to smile and nod.

I love music. In fact, music is probably the one thing I’m most passionate about. (aside from my children and my cat) My entire being responds to music, but ask me about the way music is made or who makes it, and I’ll stumble. It’s ok that I’m not educated to the extent my boss is.. I can still appreciate music, and I definitely hear things that have merit when I figure out how to express them, but I don’t express that very well verbally. So, the thought of sitting on motor coach or at the dinner table with directors has me a little daunted. I want to make a good impression on behalf of the group I work with.  I’m going into this with the thought that even though I’m not formally educated in music, I love it and this is an excellent opportunity learn more about how it all works.

Italy in February. Wow.. better step up those Italian lessons!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

In Appreciation of You

When I was in my late teens, I used to ask for a man that had a certain set of qualities. I feel very blessed that the Universe was listening.

On this, your 45th birthday, I wanted to let you know as many of the the things I appreciate about you as I can muster. Please remember, this will always be an incomplete list, as we are ever growing and I’m constantly finding new ways in which I appreciate you.

So, here it goes… I appreciate that…

You use words like “spiffy” and “indeed” regularly.

You are very warm, both physically and emotionally.

You will eat just about anything I cook and have only complained once or twice, but were always careful not to hurt my feelings.

You cared for my daughter all those years ago as if she were already yours.

You sat in a wagon with a sparkler in your hand and a silly grin.

You teach me new things all the time.

You are willing to learn.

You can be stubborn, but you always listen and consider an alternative viewpoint. (eventually)

You love my cat, too.

You make my work, your hobby.

You enjoy being with children – ours and the others that enter our lives.

You juggle anything you can find three of. It’s great to see people smile when you pick up three of something in the grocery store and play.

You dance with me in the most unexpected places… bowling alleys, sidewalks, store aisles.

You sing from your heart.

You smile at me, just..  that.. way..

You took a few years before letting me know your passion for aircraft.

You are patient.

You like to share.

You’d clean up the blocks too, even if you hadn’t played there.

You fall asleep just about anywhere, usually so you can spend more time with me.

You like autumn.

You love to explore.

You are very caring and self sacrificing – but never bitter about what you give up out of love.

You are tall and handsome.

You like the scarf and the effort and story behind it.

You love me.

You enjoy motorcycles and feeding the birds.

You enjoy reading.

You are a geek, and brilliant.

You have a temper, but not often.

You will stand on a chair to make a point – or just to be silly.

You are very curious about lots of things.

You are solitary and all inclusive at the same time – how do you do that?

You are hardworking and responsible, always putting my needs and the needs of the family above your own.

You like to travel.

You can find something to talk about with anyone.

You thank military personnel, stand for the National Anthem and remove your hat out of respect.

You love to take walks.

You are lazy at times and show me that it’s ok to relax now and then.

You suffer no fools.

You have excellent willpower.

You smell good.

You kiss me every morning and every evening and when you come home and when you leave.

You freely tell me you love me – just the way I am.

You somehow won over my Mom and Dad.

You are all these things and more and I could go on forever and never be done.

I celebrate your birth and having you on the planet and in my world.

I love you.


Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Spicy Horse Awesomeness

Shop with spices in Morocco
Image via Wikipedia

For some reason, Hubby and I were both up by 5:30 yesterday, so we went out to breakfast and went grocery shopping for the items needed for his birthday dinner. He wants some meatloaf and mashed potatoes. May sound ordinary to you, but mashed potatoes are a rarity here. We normally eat sweet potatoes because they are better for you than the common spud.

I came around an aisle and noticed that a cardboard display rack had some bulk packaging of spices in each display hole. These were high-end spices. Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Ginger and some Poultry seasoning. Each of the single jars run from 6-10.00 each and there were six jars per pack. Both Hubby and I knew they weren’t supposed to be packaged that way, so Hubby took a pack up to the manager so he’d be aware of the error.

When they both came back to the display area, the manager nodded his head and said thank you for alerting him, but in the meantime, go ahead and choose as many as we’d like in the bulk packaging.

Huh? Really?

Yep, really.

If any of you bake out there, you’ll know that Cardamom alone is worth tons, and the single jar price is around $10.00 each and this man just offered us $60.00 in spices. I felt like I was falling back through time to the spice trade era and was wondering if I had some silk to spare…. nevertheless, we asked again and he offered for us to take whatever we wanted, so we did. I am now flush with about $130.00 worth of  cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom and prepared for the baking season to begin.

But, that’s not all!

After putting away the groceries, we headed out to the local track to sit in the sunshine (beautiful day) and sip a few beers and watch the ponies run. We do bet, but our bets are usually no more than $2.00.

I’ve discussed my “system” for betting before, but as a brief review, I simply guess. It could be a name, or a color or a gut feeling that I have, but whatever it is, it usually works. On the first race I won $21.60. I should know to trust my guts by now, because right before Hubby went to place the bet, the thought crossed my mind that I should bet to win, but I decided Show would be good enough and off he went. If I’d stuck with my guts, I would have won $79.00, but I was happy with my $21.60.

We continued to enjoy the sunshine, and the $2.00 Hook and Ladder draft beers, winning and losing a few dollars here and there until I finally needed to use the ladies. On my way, I walked past the simulcast section and saw a man who was cheering on his horse, which isn’t anything different at a race track, but what was interesting was that it was so much like a song, it stopped me. Once he had finished cheering, I asked him what nationality he was because his cheering had such a sing-song quality that I just had to know. He told me he was from Trinidad and politely posed for a photo when I told him I’d probably include our encounter in  my blog.

In keeping with our theme, it was Military Appreciation Day at the track. There were military vehicles on display and a presentation of colors by a local color guard. They also held a Rody Race, where members of the military rode hoppity-hops on the track with a donation going towards a Military Recovery fund.

The rest of the afternoon passed nicely until the 8th race when Hubby and I liked the same horses. He took my choices and bet them two different ways, and since I’d been right on both horses, we won $185.00.  Granted, it’s not the MegaMillions Lottery or anything, but we were happy with it!

During most of the afternoon, we got to listen to a great band called “Sons of the Radio”. We even bought one of their CD’s. What can I say.. we support local musicians!

This is not at the track, but this is the band.

To end our day, we decided to go get some big juicy burgers after we went home to give the dog a bit of a run around the yard. As Hubby was walking out the door and had pulled the door shut he asked, “Do you have keys?”

Luckily, I had my cell phone in my purse and we got in touch with our son, who came and rescued us from having to sit hungry and cold on our front porch until our daughter came home from work. Because we appreciated him coming out to help his silly parents – and we just like being with out kids – we treated him to a burger as well.

Tomorrow on the Birthday Bash List of Events – Buffet Breakfast and Bowling!