Posted in Musings and Mutterings


OH how I am frustrated by the days that I get going, only to be sidetracked and derailed by things that were not on my “list”.

But that has nothing to do with Beanies. I just felt I needed to say it. (Oooo look.. a pretty bird…)

I have had a number of Beanies over the years. Not the fuzzy-wuzzy cute Beanie Babies and not the silly spinning hats, but instead, a tubular, microwaveable, aromatherapy heating pad. The first one I ever got was filled with feed corn, but before I knew that, I thought it was full of beans. Thus, the name Beanie stuck. Now my children know exactly what I mean when I call out, “Where is my Beanie!?”

Over the years, I often had to call the Beanie home to its rightful owner. I’d find it carefully tucked into someone’s bed, or curled up close to their chest on a chilly winter night. I don’t mind sharing, but since it never seemed to be available to me, I ended up buying a new one.

Then the hue and cry was, “Where are my BEANIES?!”

It took awhile for #3 to admit that one night he’d overheated the original and caught it on fire. He’d quickly doused the flames and disposed of the poor beanie carcass in the bottom of the trash can. Ok, that would explain why the second beanie was always missing.

Of course, I purchased beanie number three. This one I got from LL Bean and shaped like a long smashed-and-flattened roadkill of a rabbit. Occasionally, the idea of wrapping a warmed and flattened rabbit around my shoulders seemed a bit gross, but that beanie smelled really good, so I overlooked it.

Eventually, children moved out and I found that I was missing a beanie again. I didn’t think the bunny beanie had migrated that far, but still, it was coveted  by #4.

On Thanksgiving, #3 said, “Man, I love these things. I sure to wish I had one.”

TING! TING! TING! (thats the sound of my mind registering the thought of an original Christmas gift)

I decided I’d find my boy a beanie and looked online. YIKES… those things are outrageous, so I found some instructions, bought the fabric, found some essential oils that smelled pretty good and bought 20 lbs of rice.

While I was originally only going to make one beanie, I ended up cutting, sewing, scenting and stuffing 8 beanies. One for each of my children and their significant other. For each beanie, I made an instruction list, which said things like:

1.   Your ‘beanie’ may be heated in the microwave or chilled in the freezer. Just be sure not to feed it after midnight.

2.   Please do not heat your ‘beanie’ for longer than one (1) minute in the microwave without supervision. If you need another 30 seconds of heat, your ‘beanie’ will need your attention. If you ignore it, your ‘beanie’ may become annoyed and ignite in flames in an attempt to garner your attention.

(they like that extra bit of love)

3.  If you’d like moist heat, spritz your ‘beanie’ with a little bit of water, but do not submerse or saturate your ‘beanie’. It is filled with rice and essential oils and you may NOT eat it. (even if you are down on your luck)

4.   I’ve used a blend called “Balance” because I know that anyone in (or associated with) this family could use some of that in their lives!!

5.   I made this, JUST FOR YOU! I put my love and good wishes into each of my ‘beanies’ and have instructed them to infuse each of you with love and good feelings. They fear the wrath of my needle and scissors, so I’m pretty sure they’ll do my bidding.

Less than a week later, and I’ve heard from 50% of the new beanie owners, letting me know how much they love their new warm friends. This makes me happy.

What makes me even happier is that somehow, my flattened rabbit mysteriously migrated  back onto my bed shortly after Christmas morning.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts

Starbucks logo
Image via Wikipedia

I am appreciative of ANY gift I recieve and am always very humbled by the fact that someone thought of me for a gift, so if you think this blog contains any complaining about what I got, it doesn’t. Now that we’ve put that puppy to bed, let’s get on with the thought.

In the past, I’ve been given gift cards from students for Starbucks. I like Starbucks, even if I do feel they are highly overpriced for their products.  I still enjoy the experience of going into their trendily-colored shops and listening to their cool alternative or just slightly off main stream music and looking at the comfy sofas, artwork and chalk drawings. I never feel I quite belong, but I think that’s one of those things about Starbucks; they almost feel exclusive. Like you are supposed to be part of a “club” to be in one.

This year, instead of Starbucks cards, I was given Dunkin’ Donuts cards. The difference is immediately noticed. Dunkin’ Donuts is for the average person. Their brightly colored, if even a little garish, interiors of orange and pink are nothing like the Starbucks muted tones. And the prices for the product are far more in line with what a normal person would pay for a cup of hot water that’s been strained and stained by some ground up beans.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a great cup of coffee. I’ve found the best tend to be made with a French press, which isn’t something you’ll find at any “fast food” coffee shop, but I digress.

I suppose what I’m seeing here is my own personal barometer of how the economy is effecting the masses in my monkeysphere. Where Starbucks cards had been given to teachers in the past, with belts being tightened and thrifty becoming the new trend, Dunkin’ Donuts delivers more bang for the buck and less buck from the pocket, while the teacher still gets a cup of warm brew.

I’m also seeing this in other aspects of my holiday interactions and I have to say that it isn’t unwelcome. Pared down trappings, more mellowed and personal get-togethers and gifts that are simple and given with thought; perhaps even handmade. For example, so far some of my most favorite things I’ve been gifted with this year have been: (in no particular order)

  • note cards made from a watercolor painting a friend did of a picture I took in England
  • a BPA free plastic cup that looks like the kind of cup you get from a fast food place, including a straw
  • a photo book from a trip my sister/friend and I took together
  • a manuscript, written by an awesome woman who writes beautifully, but hasn’t been published yet.
  • a journal for my thoughts
  • a gift card to Borders (along with a receipt that will give me $10.00 extra dollars worth of stuff if I go at a certain time! She knew I like to make Mr. Lincoln scream while I’m pinching him.)
  • a loaf of cranberry nut bread

Personally, I give baked goods. You’d think people would get tired of baked goods, but I’m finding that many either just don’t bake or they haven’t got the time to bake and that they look forward to a gift of cookies and  goodies they can set out for their guests or enjoy on their own. (which is good, because right now, my table is groaning under the weight of all the goodies waiting for their new homes)

I think this laid back, pared down, more-bang-for-the-buck, personalized kinda Christmas is a fantastic idea and while I don’t advocate that people have to lose their jobs and the economy has to go to hell in a hand-basket for it to have occurred in my monkeysphere, I’m hoping this is a trend that will stick around for a bit.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term monkeysphere, check this out!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

100 Things

1.     This speaks to how I am. I decided to do the 100 things list and before I could begin, I decided where I’d write it, formatted a page and made sure that it was in a font I liked.

2.    I get paid to be this way – YES!!

3.    When I was young, I was my mother’s human notepad. She’d tell me things she wanted to remember and would ask me to remind her when the time was appropriate. This was a good and a bad thing. Good because it trained me to remember stuff. Bad because it annoyed her when I remembered the stuff she wanted, but she didn’t remember wanting it, so the conflict created stress for her.

4.    I have 3 siblings. Two sisters and a brother.

5.    Our brother doesn’t talk to us anymore. He got annoyed that I continued my role as human notepad and made sure all the legal stuff was done when mom died. I’m not sure why he felt cheated. We all got the same thing. He turned on the three of us and has excommunicated himself.

6.    These are his issues, not mine. I still love him and hope that he can work through whatever it is he needs to.

7.    I love to learn, but have no interest in going to school. I want to learn what I want to learn, on my own terms and not be graded on my learning. It feels better that way.

8.    I used to work in a Montessori school. I saw the processes and lessons there and realized I’d done most of the same thing with my own children without knowing I was teaching them in a Montessori fashion. This made me feel good.

9.    I have 4 children. 2 girls and 2 boys. I tend to say that I started off right, messed up in the middle and finished correctly. (girl, boy, boy, girl) That’s silly. All of my children are “right”.

10.  I also have 4 grandchildren – so far.

11.   I was a teenage mother. I gave birth to a daughter when I was 17.

12.  The father was never really involved unless there was something to gain. He’s still around, but mostly because my daughter followed him and inserted herself into his world. Or at least that’s how I see it. Those are her choices.

13.  I don’t believe in trying to control my children. They are individuals that I helped keep safe and guide them into their own choices. It’s been great to watch them grow and change.

14.  All of my children love me. They all regularly give me hugs and kisses and cuddles and call me to tell me that they are so happy with the way they were raised and that I did a good job. I love my children.

15.  I ran a daycare for 14 years. Since I had 4 children by the time I was 26, it made sense to stay at home and watch other children as well. I always wanted 6 children anyway. I usually had 6-8 children with me at any time.

16.  The neighbor’s children are my adoptive babies. They are all grown now with kids of their own, but while they grew up they were in my house all the time. I love those kids, too.

17.  We used to go places in my big Suburban. We called it the Urban Burban. I’d pack up my kids, the twins, the neighbor’s kids and we’d go to the bay, Annapolis, the park, the drive in, the zoo… you name it. We liked to go do things.

18.  Grocery shopping was a time to learn. With 8 helpers we would find items on the shelves by playing I spy. Rectangles, colors, letters… the world is a great schoolroom.

19.  I love to grocery shop. Before I took the job I have now, I seriously considered starting a grocery delivery business. I’d even come put it away in your home.

20.  Nutrition is a love of mine. A natural approach to medicine seems to stick in my head.

21.  If I didn’t have the job that I do, I would have studied Nutrition. You are what you eat and what you eat affects everyone’s chemistry set (body) differently.

22.  My job would allow – nay, encourage – me to study anything I wanted. Since I work for a well-known University that is big in the medicinal field you’d think I’d jump at the chance to get my degree for free. Nope. See number 7.

23.  I’ve always wondered what my “passion” was. I’ve never felt that crazy focused attitude people have about sports teams or bands or anything of that nature. Sure, I’ve had my interest piqued at times, but nothing ever makes me feel like I need to buy a shirt that’s emblazoned with an emblem and I refuse to go visit someone for their birthday because a “game” was on TV.

24.  I do love children and music. I guess that’s the closest thing to fandom I can think of.

25.  I get a big kick out of watching babies eat in restaurants. I like to watch them focus on the food on the plate, and reach to get at mom’s potato, and attempt to master the art of pinching and getting the morsel to their mouths. I love the little crinkled brow they get while they are working and the legs kicking in joy when they achieve their goal. I wish adults would show this kind of enjoyment.

26.  I also love watching children enjoying and dancing to music. The way they dance about, so carefree of how their bodies look and who might be looking and just letting the music move them no matter where they are. Love it.

27.  I don’t like going to concerts in large venues. You can barely hear the music, the hooting and screaming hurts my ears and I’m just annoyed by it all. Seems so counter-intuitive when you read above that I like to watch children enjoy themselves. You’d think I’d be just as happy and tolerant about everyone else loving and showing appreciation for what they are witnessing. Nope. I think because the yelling and loud clapping and whistles and standing so no one can sit all impact my experience in a way I don’t care for. That and the music doesn’t sound the same as it did in the recording.

28.  My favorite concert that hasn’t been one with the PCC would be Squeeze at the Senator Theater in Baltimore. Good band, comfy venue, just right.

29.  My motto/tagline/saying/whatever you want to call it: Say what you mean and mean what you say.  It’s about integrity and honor and clear communication.

30. The other day I pulled up to a convenience store nearby my home. The wall in front of me had a faint outline of two pay phones and the holes where they had been bolted to the wall. In some ways, this saddened me. It’s another sign of how insular life has become. More connected while less connected.

31.  I know they are grown and harvested as a crop, but seeing the leftover trees that don’t get chosen to be someone’s Christmas tree always makes me feel sad. They ended their life as nothing more than mulch. Mulch has its purpose, too. I get that. But it’s just not the same. Along those same lines, I have troubles cutting down a tree. The one time we did it, I cried. (Hey! Stop laughing at me!!)

32.  I’m allergic to onions, leeks, chives, scallions, onion powder- you name it – which all belong to the Lily family. I can eat small doses of cooked garlic, but not much and not too often. This makes mealtime quite interesting.

33.  There is a proverb taped to my refrigerator that all my kids could recite. It reads, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22

34.  I used to sculpt in polymer clay. I don’t play with clay so much anymore, but I have begun to dabble in sculpting with fondant. I like the thought of playing with my food.

35.  I was never  a big fan of choral music. I sang in the church chorus when I was younger and enjoyed it until…. See #36…. but listening to an adult chorus wasn’t something I’d choose to do. That was before my daughter started singing in a children’s chorus. I learned that treble choirs are different, and I love those. I now work for a Grammy nominated children’s chorus. (oh yeah!)

36. When I was in the church choir, there was a piece I really liked but couldn’t seem to get the lyrics right. I decided I’d take the piece home and work on the lyrics and return it on Sunday when we were supposed to sing. I didn’t ask anyone if I could do that, but didn’t see the harm in practicing. My mom saw the music in my hands and asked if I had permission to take the music. I told her I hadn’t asked. She said I was stealing from the church and then made me go back inside and tell the choral director that I was sorry for stealing. I don’t remember if she went with me to make sure I said those words or not, but I do remember feeling all kinds of horrible and crying because *I* knew that my intent was not to steal at all, but that’s not the way *she* saw it.  I didn’t like that my mother thought I’d do something like that and I hated that I didn’t tell the director the real reason I was taking the piece instead of what my mom told me to say. I stopped going to choir practice after that.

37.  My favorite colors are yellow and green and purple. I think I like them in that order as well.

38.  I started listening to the teachings of Abraham (Hicks) about a year ago and so many things that I already knew clicked into place. At times I think it’s harder now that I understand the theory of manifesting instead of when I just used to do it as a matter of normal living, but the understanding is worth it, I think.

39.  I was raised as a Methodist, but never really felt comfortable with religion. I always argued during group prayer in my head if what the preacher said was not what *I* wanted to say. I’d adjust my prayer instead. I NEVER wanted to shake the hand of the Pastor. That was just TOO uncomfortable for me… so I made sure I placed myself on the far side of my mother to avoid the event.

40.  I’ve been married for 25 years and with that same man for 29 years. I love that man. He’s exactly what I asked for when I was 18 and had those prayer/conversations on my own. Coincidence?

41.  I want to move. I’ve wanted to move for about 7 years now. Slowly, things have fallen into place and are making that more and more accessible. My goal is to put my house on the market in the Spring.

42.  I’m traveling to Italy twice in 2011. Once to look at the venues and hotels the children will be staying in during our tour and the second time with the children. We toured England in 2009. We’ve got a few other fun things lined up, but I can’t really say anything about those yet! (darn!)

43.  Long ago, when the children were young and I’d had a rough day, I’d bake. I found the measuring and mixing, the stirring and the smells very soothing. My husband would walk in the front door and inhale the delicious aroma of freshly baked something and then think, “Uh oh.”  Poor guy.

44.  I was born on the same day and just about the same time as Martin Luther King made his “I Have a Dream” speech, just a few miles from where it all occurred.

45.  I broke my leg in a sledding accident when I was 7-8. I was bundled to the brim and on the sled behind my sister on an icy slope with my legs sticking out on either side. There was no way to tuck them in we were both so bundled. We started off down the icy hill and shortly were doing warp speed until WHAM, my left leg slammed head on with a chunk of concrete my dance teacher had used to help retain her front hill. My sister continued on down the hill while I slid a few feet further after being left behind by the sled. No one thought I was truly hurt, so I had to walk back to the house in the slippery plastic bags my mom used to put over our shoes to keep us dry. I think it was the bundled clothes that kept my leg together while I walked up the icy hill to my house. Does anyone else find it ironic I broke my leg on my dance teacher’s wall?

46.  I’m addicted to coffee. The warm, earthy taste and smell is something I relate to my grandfather’s farm. It’s as close to sniffing and drinking dirt as I think I’d ever like to get.

47.  A further observation on flavors, I don’t really like many really sweet things. No hard candy, no sugary drinks, no soda… and I REALLY don’t like milk chocolate. I thought I didn’t like chocolate at all until I was introduced to the dark side of chocolate. Now, I’d rather munch on a dark chocolate baking bar than a candy bar. And chocolate should always be cold – never warm or hot. Berries and fruits, on the other hand, should always be hot – never cold. Odd, I know!

48.  I love to read. I used to go to the library just to poke around in the card catalog. I’d come home with armloads of books. Since it kept me occupied and quiet, my mother didn’t really care or edit what I read. I’m not sure reading Philip Roth books at age eleven was the right thing to do, but I did it anyway. I read everything and anything I found interesting and somehow, have not read many of the classics. I’m attempting to rectify this.

49.  I like techno. Specifically psy-trance. Seems to always get me moving.

50.  I usually wake up with some lyric or small snippet of music in my head. This morning it was “See chameleon, lying there in the sun, all things to everyone, run, run away” from the song “Run Run Away” by Slade.

51.  This list has now taken me 5 days. I either get called away, or my attention wanders and I feel it’s best to come back to it instead of forcing it. I’m not sure how long it will ultimately take me, but I feel the anticipation of the K-meister from miles away.

52.  I have 5 blogs I am combining into one main blog. I’ll still cross-post because it’s near to impossible to move your readers, but I like the fact that I’ll have everything in one spot. Eventually, I want to print my blogs so I have a non-electronic version of my writing.

53.  I’m a big fan of smiling. I’ve frequently had people say they always wonder what I’m smiling about because I do it so much. I dunno. It just feels good?

54.  I think the biggest reason I love my husband as much as I do is because we laugh…often and about some of the silliest things.

55.  I like to knit. I don’t seem to sit and do it as often as I like, but I do like to do it. I’m currently working on a sock. My friend Beth will show me how to turn the heel if I can ever get the tube part done.

56.  My biggest knitting accomplishment thus far was the Dr. Who scarf I knitted. I had promised it would be completed before we got to London. It’s patterned after the season 13 scarf worn by Tom Baker, the 5th Doctor. It’s 14 feet long. I was putting the tassels on it just before we pulled into London. I SAID I’d finish it!!

57.  I named one of my children, Liberty. She proudly announces her name to everyone she meets. She says only family gets to shorten it to Libby. Her Grandfather was killed on the USS Liberty. She does the name proud.

58.  Bess is a cat. We own each other. She’s been my bestest-buddy for 16 year now. She doesn’t look her age at all. She’s a fluffy calico. My daughter and I hand-reared 5 abandoned kittens. I had found a home twice for Bess and both times, she was returned. Not because anything was wrong with her, but because circumstances had changed and the people couldn’t keep her. After the second time, I didn’t have the heart to give her away again and I kept her and her sister, Molly. Molly died about 2 years later from feline leukemia. Bess has survived an infected uterus and 5 bouts of breast cancer. That cat and I were meant to be buddies. I love Bess.

59.  Don’t be surprised, if you read my blog, if you find some of these items re-used as writing prompts!

60.  As a little girl, I was afraid of Godzilla.

61.  I like rabbits. Not to eat-no, no, no, no, – just to look at. Under the Chinese zodiac, I’m a rabbit.

62.  I like things that sparkle. (Ooooooo, sparkly!!)

63. Sometimes, my attention wanders, but I send out an APB and someone usually sends it back to me.

64.  I am the average height of a man.

65.  When a boy would come to date my daughters, I insisted they come inside to meet me. After greeting them, I asked to see their driver’s license and wrote down the make, model and tag number of their car. I was always friendly, joking and polite, but I meant it when I said not to bring her back late.

66.  I’m not sure why, but the kids say that most of their friends were a little intimidated by me. They thought I was nice, but they were not willing to cross me. (Gee, I can’t imagine why….)

67.  I’ve never seen the movie, “A Christmas Story”. I think I’m going to keep it that way.

68.  I like watching the birds at my bird feeders. When a squirrel comes by, I alert my 85 lb. Rottie/Lab mix dog, who then gets really riled up and bounces with eagerness to get out of the door. Once adequately primed, I let her bolt out into the yard and chase the squirrels away from the feeder. This would be cruel, except she has an electric collar and never goes past “the line”, and the bird feeder is just past her area. (because she likes to eat the seed) Since the dog won’t fetch a ball, this has morphed into our version of fetch.

69.  I’ve been called critical and nit-picky. (Btw, did you know the origin of the phrase ‘nit-picky’ has to do with head lice? I bet you’d love someone with an attention to detail to be the one that checks your head for nits, now wouldn’t you) I do tend to notice small details or differences, but the word critical seems to have a negative connotation. I prefer to say that I’m observant, because that’s how I see it. I’m not trying to tear apart, or destroy, or denigrate something when I notice a detail. I’m reporting an observation, or what *I* see as an improvement. Take it or leave it. If you understand that I’m not being negative, some of my comments don’t sound so harsh. I’m working on re-phrasing for those who are more sensitive in nature.

70.   I like to volunteer. I like to be helpful and lend a hand.

71.   If I had my druthers, I’d live near water. Doesn’t have to be the beach, just water. I find large bodies of water, or rivers and streams, comforting.

72.  When pet rocks were all the rage, I was traveling across country with my family in a motor home. In Colorado, I discovered the BEST round river rocks, which I’d never seen back home. I immediately chose a pet from the river, found a marker and had my own (free) pet rock. I still have him.

73.  I am a stationary nut. I love stationary, post its, desk sets, notebooks, list pads, juicy ink pens, journals, note cards and wrapping paper.

74.  So far, I’ve been to Puerto Rico, Mexico, England, and cross country in the US twice. I still have the New England portion of the US to explore. I love to travel.

75.  I can be lazy, but I don’t relax well.

76.  I try not to be, but I can be bossy.

77.  I have green eyes.

78.  My daughter just scrunched up her face, looked at me, and announced, “You’re weird.”  I agree, and I’ll wear that badge proudly.

79.  My mom used to call me Rain and Sunshine. I’ll admit I have a vicious temper at times.

80.  I prefer silver to gold, unless it’s white gold. I do like diamonds, but I like dark blue sapphires and amethysts and deep green emeralds… in that order. (Make a note of that for when you send me gifts…hmmmkay?)

81.   I had a neighbor who made me the trustee of her fairly large estate. I was honored by her trust, but if you ever want to give someone a BIG job, make them your executor and trustee of an estate.

82. My husband gave me a card I keep on my bulletin board. It reads “Wife. There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”-Homer        It’s perfect.

83.  I don’t watch much television; instead, my time vampire seems to be the internet.

84.  The humor I enjoy is not slapstick, but more intellectual. More of a connection that needs to be made to understand the humor. Puns, when good, are fantastic. Observation of human nature is funny. Watching a guy fall or get hit in the balls or some other physically painful thing just isn’t funny to me.

85.  I’m a jeans and T shirt kind of gal. Barefoot if possible, but running shoes if I must be shod.

86. I love socks. When I was a child, we always wore the tube socks with the stripe around the top. It was difficult to keep pairs when you had 3 siblings wearing socks that were similar. Even finding white socks that match could be difficult. I started buying novelty and patterned socks to alleviate this problem. At last count, I had about 100 pairs of cute socks, not counting the white work-out variety. My friend calls the patterned socks, “gotta man” socks.

87.  Either I’m relatively simple, overlooking something major about myself, or this list just isn’t the easiest thing to complete while talking about one’s self.

88. When annoyed, or sometimes when I’m anxious, I jiggle my foot similar to the way a rattlesnake shakes its rattler.

89.  When I’m sleepy and settling in for bed, I flex just my foot back and forth slowly. The motion is very soothing.

90.  I prefer someone to draw on my back over a massage, ANY day. My sisters and I used to make trains, where we sat one behind the other to draw on the back in front of us. Eventually, the leader would have to become the caboose. We made the train formation when we played with each other’s hair as well.

91.  My kids figured out that if you played with mommy’s hair or drew on her back, you could eventually ask her just about anything you wanted and get the response you desired. I figured their ploy out when I realized I had authorized things I normally wouldn’t have. Sadly, the eventual denials meant my hair and back weren’t objects of attention any longer.

92.  I have thousands of photographs. Most of them are of my children. I used to tell the kids that if there was an emergency, they needed to take the photo albums out of the house, if they could. I like to take pictures, but I don’t know much about what I’m doing beyond, looking, pointing and clicking.

93. I love going on walks and exploring. Everything looks different when you walk. The same street you drive down daily will look different if you walk down it. You’ll always see something different. Walking is also my favorite form of exercise.

94. When on a walk during our trip out west, we got stuck in a thunderstorm around a lake, we walked by a fresh kill by a bear without realizing that fact until late in the walk and walked at a rest stop on a path that was called “Hells half acre”. On one vacation, we logged over 26 miles of walking, just wandering around the town and looking at the buildings.

95.  When you take me to a city, my head will always be looking up. I love to look at the decorations and crenelation at the tops of buildings. You just KNOW that there is a meaning behind every carving or symbol on a building, but through time, that knowledge is hidden. It would be great if every building would research the artwork on its edifice and post a plaque so I could look down now and then.

96.  Shower therapy is a great way for me to improve my mood or figure out a solution to something that’s been nagging me. I tend to get “shower epiphanies”. Love ‘em!

97.   I like that I pay attention to people. I watch them, get a feel for them and notice little things they do. I look into their eyes when they talk. I watch their faces and body language. People are like jigsaw puzzles. If you pay attention to the shapes, colors and sizes, you can find out where that piece fits where.

98. Sometimes people find something within a person that they don’t like. Sometimes they just find a behavior annoying and sometimes they don’t like one thing so much they decide that entire person isn’t worth being around and dismiss that relationship. I think that’s fairly foolish. Even if there is a behavior or habit I don’t like about someone, I weigh that against the “whole” of a person before I decide to let a relationship go. Within the differences of people are the places you find room to evaluate and grow. I’ve had more than a few people wonder why I would remain loyal to people who haven’t been very kind, or done the kindest things to me, and think that I’m foolish. I remember the person as a whole and work not to judge them by what is truly a small part of them. Then I forgive that minority and stay true to my belief that they are good and decent in the majority. Some people find this thought process difficult to understand.

99.  I can be quite random. A conversation with me will start in one place, jump to many related points, go through a few hoops and most of the time, end up with that original thought, but not always. My husband says the ability to keep up with where my mind has jumped helps to keep him mentally young and fit.

100.              WOW!! I’ve made it to the end… Carnations are my favorite flower. Not the colored kind, but ones that are natural (usually white) and have that deliciously sweet spicy scent. I will walk over to carnations at the grocery store floral department and bury my face in a bouquet of carnations every time I see one. So, I guess the last thing about me is that I’m really glad that I actually do stop and smell the flowers!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Really Done

My previous post referred to my annual game of Human Tetris being completed. As the box office for two of our concerts, I ticket the venue. With a group as large as ours, split into vocal parts, it’s difficult for parents to seem their children during a concert unless you seat the alto parents on the soprano side and vice-versa for the soprano students. Since I would certainly want to see my child, I take the extra time to seat parents accordingly. It does make the process longer, and results in swollen ankles from sitting for ages while I do it, but I think it’s worth it to the parents.

Unfortunately, parents don’t see to realize this, because I’ll check in with the woman who does the will call table only to find that people have swapped out their seats… oh well… I’m not going to stop trying.

So, 3 dress rehearsals and 4 concerts later, I’m pretty wiped out. Doesn’t sound like much, but that means over 375 children performed across two weekends and entertained a minimum of 2000 people in the area. Not too shabby to say the least.

Beginning tomorrow, I’m on my countdown to Christmas. Now that concerts are done, it’s time to get the shopping done, wrap the goodies and bake some yummy goodies. It’s my favorite part of the holiday.

I do, however, have to make an appearance at work for a holiday luncheon and gift swap. That should be fun. Maybe this year I won’t make the mistake I did a few years back. (the last time I went)

We do a Yankee swap with no item above $10.00. I’d been searching for something that I thought would be nice but useful as well and found a perfect black handbag, so I picked it up. Feeling pleased with my purchase, I went to the office on the day of the luncheon and greeted all around, only to stop and swallow hard when I said hello to Gavin, the only male in our offices. Uh oh….

You guessed it. Out of 20 or so people who could have chosen from 20 or so gifts, mine ended up being the last picked, with Gavin being the last one to pick based on the numbers we had drawn from the pot. I think I turned all kinds of red when he opened the bag to find a cute black handbag and an uncomfortable awkward silence descended on the group. Thankfully, one of the other ladies offered to switch with him before I had a chance to offer and all was well, but I felt horrible. This year, I have to make sure I don’t pick such a girlie gift.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Two Things..

1. This headline bugs me:

Minority Students Become Majority in Howard County

Minority students reach 51%, according to a report released this afternoon by the Howard County Public School System.

It doesn’t bother me that the ethnic make-up of the county has changed, so don’t go pointing fingers and getting all riled up like that. The headline bothers me because at the point that one group is larger than the other, you can’t really call them a minority anymore. In fact, it would seem to me that the group that is the other 49% of this equation would now be the minority. Right? So, does this mean that we actually have a new “different” meaning for the word minority? I was always under the impression that minority meant the smaller portion of a whole, but this headline makes it seem as though the lines between an ethnicity and the word *minority* have been blurred to almost mean the same thing.

Baltimore basilica exterior
Image via Wikipedia

2. I had an interesting night. I accompanied the singers to their rehearsal at the Baltimore Basilica this evening. After warming up and investigating the crypts – they seemed to like that – we went up to our choir loft to run through the program. In the beginning, they were mildly interested in their surroundings and perked up just a tad when the adult singers began to perform, but soon they were being the totally polite and quiet, but you could see that their interest had waned. That was, until the soprano stepped to the mic. From where we are located, the kids really can’t see much of anything except the organ across from them and the beautiful dome. (Benjamin Latrobe was the architect. Who here can tell me what else Mr. Latrobe designed?)

When they heard the soprano soloist, they suddenly took notice. All of them sat forward on the pews, craning their neck to get a peek at who the voice belonged to. The intense interest became palpable as they recognized another young singers voice. I watched them as they began to listen to her piece and couldn’t help but feel fascinated by the looks of concentration on their faces. I’m sure some were just curious, but there were others who were hanging on her every note. I just thought it was very telling of how serious they take their music to have reacted the way that they did after having just been down in the crypts, laughing and giggling and exploring all the little alcoves created by the inverted arches.


Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Got a New Phone

Hubby thought it was time for me to upgrade so we took advantage of the buy one, get one free offer for the MyTouch 4G phone. Looks like it might be ok, but I’m not making any firm decisions until I’ve played with it for a bit.

I had one of the first smart phones, an MDA, and I finally gave it up because it was so slow, needed frequent rebooting and I felt like there was no way to actually be sure I could make an emergency phone call if I wanted to. Granted that was about 6 (?) years ago and things have come an awful long way since then. Thus, Merry Christmas to he and me and now we are set to video phone while I’m away in Italy in February.

In other news, we’ve finished with concerts for one campus and I’m still playing Human Tetris for the other one. I know, I know… I should be doing that and not blogging, but really… I needed a short break. Everything went fairly well over the weekend except a small issue of a skirt dropping off a singer. Our soloist sang beautifully and stepped forward to take a much deserved bow, when her skirt’s velcro came loose and down it went. Luckily she was wearing jeans underneath her skirt and no one got a show, but I felt so bad for her to have lost her “moment” because she really did a beautiful job.

Ok, back to the grind…

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

My Favortie Scene

This week on FB, everyone has been changing their profile photos to their favorite cartoon character. I picked Thumper and in particular, I thought of this scene.

I love Thumper. He spoke his mind, was kind and loyal, was helpful and has always been my favorite.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

The Speed Bump

Speed hump with car (likely located in British...
Image via Wikipedia

Years ago, I worked very hard to get speed bumps installed in my community. Or as they are referred to here, a “traffic calming device”. Initially, one of these “devices” was installed in front of my house and I was pleased.

That first day, my sons took their lawn chairs out on the front yard and watched all the unsuspecting motorists fly up my neighborhood street, hit the speed bump and bottom out. If sparks occurred, the boys would hoot and holler and give a score to the vehicle. Needless to say, the hump was doing a good job of slowing people down to a reasonable speed.

The county, for some reason, came by not long after the initial installation and shaved the speed bump, reducing it to not much more than a mere whoopdeedoo in the road. Still the mentality of most drivers is to swing their cars as close to the curb as possible to avoid the tallest (PAH!!) portion of the hump. Did I mention you can easily do 35 over this hump and it’s no big deal, so if you are sliding to the side to avoid bottoming out, you certainly aren’t doing anything less than 35 mph.

Before the hump, people had slammed into a Chevy Nova parked in front of my house and had come up into the apron of our driveway and hit my hubby’s car. We thought the hump would help with this problem.

Not so.

In the fall of last year, my daughter parked her car in front of our house. A neighbor called us to come home from a party after someone who was trying to dodge the speed hump, couldn’t swing their car back into the middle of the road quick enough and ended up slamming into the back of her car with enough force to crush the back of the vehicle and propel it up over the curb and halfway up the slight hill of our front yard. Since their vehicle was damaged, they couldn’t go anywhere, but told the officer that it had been “slippy” out. It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine.

Tonight, I came home from rehearsal to see my son in my driveway with a pile of rocks at his feet.

This time, someone tried to avoid the speed hump and clipped the curb, drove up through my yard and over a flower bed I have on either side of my driveway apron. Each of those flower beds are raised beds, built out of stone blocks and professionally landscaped. When they came down on the other side of the flower bed, their vehicle took out the whole front of the stonework and left blocks strewn all over the apron and the road in front of my house.


That speed bump has become the bane of my front yard, or more likely, the traffic up and down my road has become so heavy – and fast – that nothing is safe in my front yard.

I’m annoyed. Harrumph!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Concert Weekend

The prompt for the Nablopomo this month was Zeitgeist, or rather, what the spirit of your holiday season is to you.

For me, every holiday season is marked by the Winter concerts for each campus which spans two weeks. That means for half of December, I’m surrounded by the angelic voices of children singing. Just to give you a taste, here is a quick video I made after our return from England in 2009.