30 November 2005

A Night at the Opera

Once or twice a year we purchase tickets to go to the opera. It's a treat that we have enjoyed for years. We can't buy the cheap seats because my husband is a big guy and the seats in some theatres were made for men an average 5'10" and about 180 pounds. If he isn't rubbing elbows with someone he blocks the aisle completely so anyone entering or exiting finds it impossible to "simply" slip past him. So we are inclined to pay extra for the really nice seats at the Dorothy Chandler.

Once you obtain your tickets, there are so many other things to do in anticipation of the start of the opera. First, do you do dinner at the venue? Or grab some fast food on the way in? We've tried the fast food and the availability is limited. My sis and I went to see Little Shop of Horrors and decided to eat at the music center and found the meal good. The price was right and it was prepared when it was ordered. So after that we have always chosen to eat there.

Then there is the lecture. An hour before curtain on the second floor, there is a lecture held. It takes you through the story of the opera being performed. You learn a few historical facts, which I find so fascinating, along with trivia about the author, composer and architecture of the day. The lecturer will take you through the emotional journey of the opera. It helps those of us who don't speak Italian or German, and it helps to rev your enthusiasm for the work. It is a favorite part of the evening for me.

Then you are welcomed into the theatre. In years long gone, once you were in, the performance has started, you're in. No getting up, taking a bathroom break, taking a call, etc. Now it is a little more lenient, but it is distracting to those who are really trying to enjoy the opera. I think it's a good idea to not allow the roaming about. It also used to be a bit stuffy in the appropriate attire department. You used to show up to the theatre dressed as if you were going to a formal ball. Tuxedos were found, evening gowns. Now days it is more like nice clothing appropriate for Sunday or a business dinner. I have seen people in really fancy clothes, but I've also seen very casual attire. It always reminds me of going to that Jimi Hendrix concert in the sixties. It was held at the San Diego Sports Arena. My mom made me wear a skirt "people don't wear pants to an evening venue" she said. Ugh! We went, me in a skirt, and I was amazed at the attire of the crowd. There were people there in appropriate attire - the hippies - in their tie die. These guys had been to a concert before! However, mixed in were the dorks whose moms made them wear a skirt, and then the ultimate: people in evening gowns and tuxedos. It was quite the eclectic crowd.

Far more than the history lecture, people watching and rules of engagement, is the opera itself. We have seen La Traviata repeatedly. It is never the same. Also, La Boheme, Le Nozze di Figaro, Pagliacci to name a few. I have a hard time picking a favorite. One particular performance of La Traviata was so well done it is still vivid in my mind. The first two acts of the opera were well done. The set colors were hues of muted gold and silver with of blues and greens. Very nicely done. The sets were striking yet, subdued. Then at the opening of the third act, the curtains opened and there was an audible gasp. Gone were the subtle gold and silvers. It was a visual feast for the eyes. Striking pinks, blood reds, orange so filled with passion it could quite literally start a fire in your mind. The stage was alive with passion and everyone in the theatre was caught up in the emotion of the story.

The music is incredible. So much so that usually after the opera, the big guy, downloads almost every version of the music he can find. He then drives around doing his job listening to music and reminding himself of the worth of the evening long spent. Each conductor has his style and we have enjoyed Placido Domingo in the last few years. I recommend the opera to everyone. There is a magical world you enter into when going. Most are three to four hours. You don't even realize how long you've been there and really wish it doesn't end soon, while you're there. If you haven't been. Go! Don't be confined to the expensive seats. First time out, buy the best cheap seats you can get. It'll be worth it.

One more story: For a special treat one year I took our oldest daughter to see "The Phantom". I had not pre-purchased tickets. I new if we went on a weekday, tickets would be available. So we went on a Tuesday. We got in line, and waited for our turn. There were quite a few people wanting tickets. We waited and waited. About 30 minutes had gone by and the tickets were selling quickly, when I figured out we were in the wrong line! We moved over and got in the correct line and finally our turn to purchase tickets had come. When I got to the window I explained we wanted tickets for the performance beginning in a few minutes. The young woman asked "how many?". "Just two" I responded. She asked me to wait while she went to check on something. Oh no, they're sold out. What am I going to do. I thought to myself, while assuring said daughter we'd be in a second. The young woman returned. She told me we were in luck. I would be able to get the needed tickets. "You see," she said "the performers have a bank of tickets set aside for each performance. If they don't need them just before the performance they are released to the public." Wow! We were able to buy eight row center tickets, on the day of the performance. When the chandelier fell to the floor in the first act, it whooshed over our heads! Then when the Phantom got angry and the lanterns lit up from the energy of his emotions, we felt the heat from the stage. It was an inspiring afternoon. One we'll never forget. A few short months later my daughter had a birthday. What did she want? She wanted everyone in the family to go see the Phantom with her, so they could know what she knew.

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27 November 2005

So how do you start a party?

When I was young, funds were always scarce. We had a family motto that said "We're rich, we just don't have any money". Many times birthdays were put on hold because it wasn't on a pay day. My mom refused to take state welfare and so we had to make a dollar stretch more ways than one. One of our famous meals was to go down to the little restaurant on the corner and on Tuesdays and Fridays they had hamburgers 10 for a dollar. Gourmet eating was not our forte. Once we ate pancakes, for every meal, 30 days in a row.

We came to appreciate the little things. Another thing we did was always try to help others in need if we could. We learned how to work and how to help. When I was 11 and 12 I took in ironing. I ironed clothes for 10 cents a piece. It helped pay for my clothes. Many times the difference between eating and not, or paying a due bill or not was something as simple as $20.

$20 can still make a difference in someone's life now days. (you knew this was coming) There is a favorite charity I give to when I can. To preface the charity, let me tell you a quick story: Once when we were desperate for money during the holidays, I found a $20 bill on the ground. I picked it up and felt elated. Then a guy walking towards me asked if it was mine, I said yes. I always felt guilty about saying yes. I knew it wasn't and I am sure he knew too. But I needed the money so bad! I kept it and it helped feed our family. I had been thinking about this incident and even prayed about it. Had I committed a sin by keeping that money? It bothered me. Then, in an answer to that prayer, I received an answer. I was going to work early one morning when I stopped at the store to pick up supplies for the plant. As I left my car, there was a $20 bill on the ground. Crisp, clean, and not a soul around. I thought of the incident from the past. I picked up the bill and went inside the store. I went to the convenience desk and told them what I had found. Could they just hold it in an envelope until someone inquired? No one but the rightful owner would even know to ask. They explained that it was against their policy and that the money was now mine. Ugh! Here we go again! Then I remembered: Modest Needs.

Modest Needs. Keith Taylor is a professor at a college. A few years ago he decided he needed to do more for others. He had finished college, but remembered how, even $20 during school could make a huge difference to a struggling student. In fact he realized it could mean the difference in the life of just about anyone. He started Modest Needs with this thinking in mind:

"Most persons living paycheck to paycheck earn just barely too much to qualify for any type of conventional assistance. This means they can't receive the help they need to overcome a short-term crisis - until they've already lost everything.

Modest Needs exists because we think there's a better way to do things. As far as we're concerned, no hard-working person should ever have to choose between taking a child to the doctor and putting food on the table."

So I went to work, and with my newly found $20 and went online and donated it to Keith Taylor's Modest Needs organization. I didn't need it and someone else did. It was time to give back. Keith does a lot of good around the states with very little money. He evaluates the needs of individuals and gives where he can. He accepts donations and even quit smoking and gives that money to Modest Needs. We have all had a time when a little extra could make all the difference. So I am asking you to start your holiday parties the right way. Give the price of dinner, the movies, or a night out at an arcade to Modest Needs. If we all give a little, we won't miss it and we'll make a difference in the life of someone who really needs short term help. Isn't that the best way to have fun anyway?

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26 November 2005

Let's get this party started!

So we just finished watching the best movie of the season - Planes, Trains and Automobiles - we begin with this one and move right through all the other corny movies that make up the holiday season. John Candy and Steve Martin are an excellent team and the movie always makes me laugh out loud. Others soon to follow: It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Mr. Kreuger's Christmas, Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Scrooged, A Christmas Carol and Miracle on 34th Street.
What movie's are on your holiday viewing list? I have to add that War of the Worlds was as good at home as it was in the theatre also!

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25 November 2005

You can't judge a book by it's cover.

I was in the first grade. We had already moved quite a few times. I am not sure what city I was living in while attending first grade. I remember walking to school. I remember the horrible shoes I had. They were those black and white oxfords, some people called them saddle shoes. Heavy, heavy, heavy leather shoes. My mother said they'd never wear out. I used to scuff them along the ground when I would swing just so they'd wear out. Why? Well it was simple. Not one other girl in my class had saddle shoes. They all wore cute little patent leather shoes. You know the ones, shiny and black with a cute little cut out around the toe, or a bow. They wore those pretty thin nylon stretchy socks with the ruffle. They were very girly shoes. I knew if I had a pair I'd find favor among my peers and make all kinds of wonderful friends. Alas it was not to be. I was shy, I had already learned what divorced meant. I knew our family was different. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't a pariah by any means, I was just that quiet little thing along the wall, waiting for my brother to show up.

Then came Easter of that year. I was informed we would be getting Easter outfits. You couldn't go to church without proper Easter attire. A cute little dress, a bonnet of some sort, and some new shoes. Remember, you had to look good for Easter Sunday. It wasn't like we were active members of any church. We would pick a church at random and attend Easter services. It could be any church. In fact, by the time I was 11 or so we had gone to every church you can imagine. So it didn't matter to me, I was getting a new outfit! Yay.

We went shopping and got a perfect dress and hat. Now on to shoes. My mom kept saying my shoes were still good and that I really didn't need shoes. Ugh. Here we go again! But then something caught her eye. She found a sale on shoes. Shoes she, as a single mom, could afford. I got the cutest patent leather shoes you can imagine. I got home put on the cute socks and my shoes and called everyone to come look. They were so perfect. I slept with them on for three days. Never before had I had such perfect shoes. Only, I couldn't wear them to school. They were for special occasions only.

By the time second grade rolled around we had moved again. I had different shoes. These ones were leather also, but cuter than saddle shoes. They were MaryJanes. I really like them. I wore them out about half way through the year. My mom could not afford new shoes. She wasn't getting child support and there was not a way to buy new shoes. So I learned how if you cut out cardboard in the shape of the bottom of your shoe you can slip it inside and pretend they were okay. But they weren't. Some kids saw them and couldn't believe I had holes in my shoes. It was then I learned how important it was to keep up appearances. I quit playing on the swings. I kept my feet flat on the floor. It took a lot of energy to always remember that no one should see the bottom of my feet.

I learned so much from such a simple thing. I learned how people judge you by your appearance, and how unfair that is. I learned that people seldom want questions answered, that they would make up their own. I learned what it meant to be the poor kid. I learned that my brother would always try to protect me from everything. But he couldn't always keep kids from laughing. But what I really learned was that you should never judge a person by their appearance. And that there is always more than one side to any story. And that when someone wears the same thing everyday, all the time, it's okay. I learned that sometimes the best things don't come wrapped in pretty packages. I learned that people were more important that things. I learned how to ask the right questions. You know, the questions, people want you to ask. The kinds of questions that don't embarrass you, the questions that empower you. I learned so much when I was seven. Those lessons are hard to learn, but they make you a better person, more able to be empathetic. Unfortunately, not everyone learns them, but I'm glad I did.

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24 November 2005

A child’s Thanksgiving. A simple lesson taught in school and church. What are things to be thankful for? Ask any 5 year old they’ll tell you what they’re thankful for: It’s those simple things. Houses. Cars. Ice Cream. Pets. The Park. Friends. Family.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is the best of all. Not that Christmas isn’t a great but it has bent so far to commercialism it has become a dreaded chore. That’s why Thanksgiving is so great. I believe you cannot compel someone to be thankful. You either are or you aren’t. And thankfully, all the commercials in the world won’t change that. It’s not like your favorite grocery store is going to market their wares to you under the guise of being grateful - “come spend all your money on one meal this year so you can all know just how much you mean to each other!” It’s just too phony. And that’s why the great advertising powers that be haven’t successfully come up with a gratitude campaign.

That’s why it’s my favorite. I’m still as simple as a five year old. I’m thankful for a family. For a house to live in and a car to drive. I’m thankful for the ocean, it has such a calming effect on me. I’m thankful we are all working, there are so many we know that haven’t this year. I’m thankful for good health, we’ve all been very fortunate. I'm thankful each of my daughters have wonderful husbands and that each one of them is happy. I'm thankful for a wonderful little miss, that is now 15 months old, she truly is a joy. I'm thankful for the blessings church brings to our lives, for the blessings of God and the gospel.

So there you have it. Simple things to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. Hopefully, it will be a good day for you too.

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22 November 2005

The best of the best!

Last night we tivo'd Jay Leno. For one reason and one reason alone. They're back! They have a new album out called The Ultimate Collection. It is a collection of old songs with a couple of new ones also. I have been a fan of the Eurythmics forever it seems. Annie Lennox owns any stage she is on and, coupled with Dave Stewart, they are a sight to be seen. Leno held them off to close the show, which I found disappointing, but at least we got to see them in action a bit.

If you want to know more, they have recorded four podcasts in conjuction with the album release. From their site: The podcast, which includes recollections from Dave on each track on the lp, plus audio clips from the songs, is being broadcast in 4 episodes.

Episode 1 is available now (Nov 21st), and new episodes will be published on Nov 28th, Dec 5th and Dec 12th. All 4 episodes together total over 60 minutes of content. Just go over to iTunes and type in Eurythmics and it should come up.

One of my all time entertaining songs of theirs is Missionary man:

Well I was born an original sinner.
I was borne from original sin.
And if I had a dollar bill
For all the things I’ve done
There’d be a mountain of money
Piled up to my chin...

My mother told me good
My mother told me strong.
She said be true to yourself
And you can’t go wrong.
But there’s just one thing
That you must understand.
You can fool with your brother -
But don’t mess with a missionary man.

Don’t mess with a missionary man.
Don’t mess with a missionary man.

Well the missionary man
He’s got God on his side.
He’s got the saints and apostles
Backin’ up from behind.
Black eyed looks from those Bible books.
He’s a man with a mission
Got a serious mind.
There was a woman in the jungle
And a monkey on a tree.
The missionary man he was followin’ me.
He said stop what you’re doing.
Get down upon your knees.
I’ve got a message for you that you better believe.

They performed this song and Sweet dreams at the November 16th 2005 induction ceremony for the UK Music Hall of Fame. Other artists, that played or appeared, and were honored at the same ceremony included the following groups: Other artists to be honoured at the awards include Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath, Joy Division/New Order, The Who, The Kinks and John Peel. (of course Jimi didn't appear) It's interesting to see this group, I have every one of them on my iTunes collection of music.

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21 November 2005

Oh My Heck!

This is the exact reason it's not a good idea to let designers go back through the past issues of Seventeen Magazine. Gauchos were popular back in the 70s and they well awful then and they're even worse now. What woman actually wants her legs to look like this???? Gads, if this little miss at a size four looks this bad, can you imagine what a size 16 is going to look like.

Now don't get me wrong. I didn't say anything bad about size 16. I in fact really like that size. What I'm saying is that the person who has decided to perpetrate this fashion don't on the world again should be made to wear them everyday until they cry like a baby and then we'll let them wear just a bit longer to warn anyone from ever bringing them out again!

Oh Ugh. I just looked at that picture again!

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20 November 2005

Flaming sky

Flaming sky
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Almost two years ago I was driving home one evening from work. I had avoided going my usual route because of road work being done. I didn't want all kinds of gravel being flung up on the bonnet of my nearly new car. So I went the long way home and was rewarded handsomely.

I was out near the airport when i glanced west and saw this amazing sunset happening. It was so breath taking that I had to pull over and shoot some pictures. It was the most flaming sky Ihad seen in years.

I have been fascinated by clouds and sunrises and sunsets for a long time. Is it any wonder I long to be a helicopter pilot? I will be posting more cloud and sky photos soon.

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19 November 2005

I have this friend

Who is the first person I met online. She is such a great person. She has had an online diary forever, and shares a lot of her life with everyone. I stumbled across her journal years ago and finally had the courage to write and tell her I thought she was great. Well that isn't exactly how it went the first time, it was more like an offer of advice, but I stil thought then, and do now think she is a really neat girl. While we are not a lot alike, she still is a good source of inspiration, and I enjoy reading about her struglles and triumphs.

Self Taught Girl is having a birthday soon. Dec 4th to be exact. She would like us to do something for her. Key word = do! She would like us to write to her. Not just write to her birthday greetings or anything like that. But she want us to write on a card 4 things we have done for ourselves. And 4 things we have done for others. She calls it an exercise in Karma. As we give, it comes back, no matter how we give, so it will be an interesting experiment to see where it goes. Oh and don't forget she also wants you to include a self addressed stamped envelope back to you so she canmail it back to you in a year. You will then be able to see how it all turned out. Mail it to her at the address she puts at her site. To get completely in the know go here:
Birthday Request
One other thing. If you've read her in the past and are a fan, leave me a comment. I'd like to see how big the circle is.

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16 November 2005

This time of year.

This time of year is the time I miss my brother the most. I am the oldest surviving sister in our family, my brother was a year older than me. Then there are the little girls. It was always him, me and the little girls.

There isn't a time in my life, before I was 31, that I don't think he wasn't my shadow. Well, that's not entirely correct, I was his shadow. He was my protector, my hero, my best friend, and most of all my big brother. I have always felt bad that we lived separate lives, sort of, from my sisters, as they didn't know him like I did.

I have been told that when we were just bits of children, he would climb out of his crib, climb into mine, rock me back to sleep, then crawl back in his and do the same. He was a rocker. Literally. He would always have music playing when he was going to sleep, if it wasn't available through radio, records or tapes, he would hum. There was always music. He would then papoose himself in his covers and rock himself silly, until sleep came.

There are certain songs I cannot sing without hearing his voice in mine. I learned to love music through him. He even introduced me to my husband, the band guy. He always had a song going. When we were in high school, he would record the radio. Then he would repeat what the DJs were saying and intro a record we all wanted to hear. He would then play the song, and when it was done add more commentary. It was pure entertainment. The only thing about him, in high school, that made me crazy was his love for the thespians group he was in. It was crazy, he had all these friends, and the geekiest of them, seemed always, to want to date me. I am so glad my parents enforced the no dating until you're 16 rule. By then, most of them had out grown their desire and I was left to my geeky self. My bro did earn actor of the year the year we graduated for his performance in Flowers for Algernon. He played the retarded guy, that got smart, and then reverted back through flawed science.

There are so many memories, it is hard to list them all.

He rocked so hard in a wicker backed rocking chair when we were small , I think four and five, that he fell through the back of the chair and it had to be trashed. Rock, rock, rock. We had a gane we'd play whiel he rocked. He'd say a word, and I'd say the corresponding word. Back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes, we'd even say words that, if our mother caught us, would get us in big trouble!

In a field, while playing once, we decided to have a dirt clod fight with all his friends. It sounded cool to me. We built a small burm and proceeded to gather small dirt clods. When the time of assault had been decided we began throwing clods as hard and as far as we could. It was pointed out rather quickly, that I through like a girl. It was okay, though because my brother said I wouldn't cry if I got hit. All the guys thought that was cool. My brother and I had a pact, what mom didn't know wouldn't hurt her, and so we took care of each other, painful parts and all. So he told me to follow his lead, and especially listen and if he yelled "duck!" I was to duck! Well I looked up and saw a clod coming my way. I didn't hear the given command and waited diligently at his side while he tossed clods and defended our fort. Whack! Oooh, oh! "Why didn't you duck?" He was looking at me as if I'd gone mad. I removed the rock from my mouth and answered that he hadn't told me too. I trusted him implicitly. He shook his head and told me I had a lot to learn about dirt clod fights. We walked home, explained to mom that there had been a slight mishap, thus the fat lip, and she handed me a wash cloth with and ice cube wrapped in it. It was also the exact time I was introduced to the wonderful healing powers of chocolate, my mom was very smart!

I trusted him always. Three weeks before his untimely death he called me to check to see how things were going. It was a rough semester for me and I was at my breaking point. I didn't want him to think I couldn't handle the pressure, and I rebuffed his questions about my life. He sighed and told me to remember, that no matter what, he'd always be there for me. My daughters tell me they can still hear the scream as I was notified of his death. My one and only brother, gone. He was not just a brother, he was my right hand. The other half of my psyche. I have yearned for what we could have been. He left behind a wonderful wife and four small children. My heart can only imagine their pain and loss. Mine, can be but a small amount of what they feel. I have childhood memories. They have a sense of a great man, but didn't have a real chance to get to know him for all that he was.

Thanksgiving always sparked the holiday season for us. We had such good times together, even the time we had only hotdogs to eat on Thanksgiving, he still found ways for us to be thankful. So each time we celebrate Thanksgiving, I can still see him sitting there, quipping some silly quip, getting us all laughing, and then telling us how much fun we were going to have.

I miss ya, bro. And I am sure you miss us too. What a celebration we'll all have together in the future sometime! Until then, go and give someone you love a real big hug. Don't let them go until they get that funny "what are you doing?" look on their face, and quietly whisper to them a memory of long ago, or of recent past that bonds you together. These people are the glue that holds most of us together. Don't forget to thank them for that!

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Geography Bee!

At a blog I visit on occasion (mostly for their links) had a link to National Geographic's geography bee page. There is a test there, I think written for kids, that you can take testing your knowledge of geography around the world. I went ahead and took both tests and scored 9 correct out of ten on both! Wow! It has been a long time since I studied geography and I amazed myself!

I think a lot of what i have been able to retain is because - and take this in the right way - well, it's because I blog. Yep, that's right! I have talked about my reason for blogging in the past and this confirms that reason. I don't travel all that much, but I love learning. The internet and blogging have given me to meet people all over the globe! I have learned of their triumphs and struggles. I have learned of the way they cook, live, entertain themselves, and surprisingly enough we're not all that different! We do have different things that lead in our lives, but deep down inside we all love our families, struggle with money and wonder if we're doing all we can to make our lives more enriched. Leaving a legacy is important for everyone, and the net, through blogging does that for each of us.

I have learned that I am not unique. I have learned that most people eat a lot more cheese than I do. And I have learned that most people believe in a higher power of some sort. I have learned about politics, music, religion, healthcare, and all sorts of interesting things. Can you say crafting???? Thank you all for being so willing to share your lives with me and countless others. Let's hear it for the bloggers of the world and the positive influence we have!

Isn't it amazing what a little geography test can do for you!

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12 November 2005

Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish!

I just finished watching Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy again! When we went to the theatre I was humoring my husband, as I thouhgt it was another space movie. I had not read the books in my younger years and had no idea what the movie would be about. I have to say, it was the funniest thing I;ve watched in a bit. Although I do have a really quick sense of humor and find most things funny waaaaaay before anyone else is even beginning to smile.

After watching it for another time today, I still laugh and laugh. It's my kind of humor. But I'm feeling a bit peckish right now, so I'll see ya later!

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10 November 2005

One problem I've found growing up in the late 60s and 70s.

Elizabeth Arden. Estee Lauder. Max Factor. Revlon. Bonne Bell. Then there's Mac. Urban Decay. Laura Mercier. Mary Kay. Prescriptives. Make-up Companies. I know there's more.

And those are just the ones I can name off the top of my head. The problem with it is that I can name them. I can go to their counters. I can purchase stuff. I can take it home. And then, once it's there...

What do I do with it???????

I am a child of the sixties and seventies. We were 'natural' girls. We were peace loving hippies who needed nothing more than a couple of great looking flowers and some lip gloss. Give me my Eau de Love and some patchouli oil on occasion and I was good to go. Essential oils. Now there's where I excel. Doesn't help me now, other than with that good silky skin, still have that thanks to essential oils. And they still smell great. I can't ever find sweet pea though.

I am getting older. I could, like my sisters, put on some make-up, dress up the lips a bit, and look a bit younger. If not a bit younger, at least well put together. Only I never learned how. I was a natural girl. Who needs make-up? I didn't then, now I do. My lips are becoming invisible. I still have great eyelashes, yet their color has faded. My skin is getting blotchier by the day. I spent more than my fair share of time in the sun. We would burn on purpose. It gave us a healthy glow. Now all it gives us is more spots! It amazes me what a couple of years made in the different approach toward make-up there is in my sisters and me. They got on the make-up train. I was too busy being natural. Ugh.

What's a girl to do? Don't tell me to go to the counter. I've been there. My money and I have parted ways many times. I still look silly with the products. So I have one last resort. My #2 is deciding to go to professional make-up artist school. I am encouraging her, majorly! Maybe if she gets some real training, she can take care of me. Now I just have to get her to live in the same state as me. Anyone else in need of some tips?

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08 November 2005

Dwell Magazine

This year I think it was in March or so I discovered a new magazine. We are thinking of building in a couple of years, and want to be very minimalist in the build. We have looked at different modular plans and have just about decided on one. I was checking out the magazine rack at B&N found this interesting design magazine. Dwell is a new urban design magazine extolling the virtues of modern minimalist living. It has many great links and ideas to build upon. My only complaint is that minimalist to me sounds great, but some of the Dwell vendors, are all about minimal except their prices. A soak tub for $16,800 sounds great but if I can get the exact thing somewhere else, for half the price, why go for the nametag?

I still read the magazine every month, and in fact became a subscriber, because ideas are ideas. I can always source less expensive tubs, lights, shelving, or any other supplier to meet my needs. I am not all about the name brand. In fact very much against it. Conspicuous consumption is an evil that brings its own level of danger. I want a house that looks like everyone else's with nothing drawing attention to it. Not that I am against nice things, I just don't want everyone to know I have them.

Some interesting links they provide this month:

Room and Board Cool stuff. Great place to get ideas for a "sensible chic" redesign.

Modernica is a great lighting place. They also have other design ideas. My favorite? I love the bubble lamps, especially the Propeller one.

I love the rugs at Emma Gardner Designs! They have such a great look to them. I love the way she brings outdoors inside.

Everyone is already familiar with this link, but I had to include them anyway! I love Acme bags! They are the perfect bag even if you don't have a laptop. I just love the structured look to them.

Want formaldehyde-free woods in your home? Choose veneers or solid hardwoods at Columbia Forest Products.

Those are just a few of the ideas packed into each issue of Dwell. It is worth the price of subscription to see all those design ideas for home in one place.

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07 November 2005

Social Poetry

Senior year we had to take an English class. I had French 4, German 2, Social Poetry and PE. PE was running. It was my favorite thing to do besides ride my bike. I probably did and easy 20 miles a day on my bike. Then the days I ran, I did about three miles a day. Oh the glory days of weighing 107 pounds.

The most interesting class of the year was social poetry. I had already taken english comp, the classics, and creative writing. I didn't want to take a class that would tax me too much senior year, I thought it would be 'cool' to take social poetry. The teacher was a teacher I knew was dating another teacher. They were trying to keep it all really quiet 'cause you just didn't do that back in the 70s. She was a rebel, so of course, I had to take her class. Basically we read album covers, and analyzed the lyrics. It was great. The notebook I made is just about the only thing I kept from high school. That and my BankofAmerica foreign language award. No cash. Just the award.

Because it was the 70s, and we were in deep with Vietnam, a lot of what we read had to do with protest songs of the 60s and 70s. My favorite song we analyzed was Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair. What I didn't know back then that I know now is that Scarborough Fair is a Celtic ballad written long ago. S&G added the canticle. The canticle was in protest to the Vietnam War. It is sung behind the second, third, and fourth stanzas. Another little known factoid about the song is that Paul Simon was taught this song when he was visiting the British Isles by Martin Carthy. It was not noted in the liners notes, no credit was given by Simon to Carthy. In fact Simon was forced to pay a settlement to Carthy in 1970 for the omission. In 2000 the performed the song together on stage in London and all was forgiven.

The ballad is of ancient origin and was first found printed in a child's book of rhymes in 1673.

Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Album: Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme


Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt
(On the side of a hill in the deep forest green)
Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
(Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground)
Without no seams nor needlework
(Blankets and bedclothes a child of the mountains)
Then she'll be a true love of mine
(Sleeps unaware of the clarion call)

Tell her to find me an acre of land
(On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves)
Parsely, sage, rosemary, & thyme
(Washes the grave with silvery tears)
Between the salt water and the sea strand
(A soldier cleans and polishes a gun)
Then she'll be a true love of mine

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather
(War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions)
Parsely, sage, rosemary & thyme
(Generals order their soldiers to kill)
And to gather it all in a bunch of heather
(And to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten)
Then she'll be a true love of mine

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

From Wikipedia:

"The refrain of "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme", though obscure to modern listeners, is full of symbolism. Parsley, used to this day as a digestive aid, was said to take away the bitterness, and medieval doctors took this in a spiritual sense as well. Sage has been known to symbolize strength for thousands of years. Rosemary represents faithfulness, love and remembrance, and the custom of a bride wearing twigs of rosemary in her hair is still practiced in England and several other European countries today. Thyme symbolizes courage, and at the time this song was written, knights would often wear images of thyme on their shields when they went to combat. The speaker in the song, by mentioning these four herbs, wishes his true love mildness to soothe the bitterness which is between them, strength to stand firm in the time of their being apart from each other, faithfulness to stay with him during this period of loneliness and paradoxically courage to fulfill her impossible tasks and to come back to him by the time she can."

Because of the particular use of herbs in the song and the underlying tones of love, deception, and sometimes impossibility of romance it has intrigued people for years. Gardener's Path, a herbalist site, offers this remedy and suggests making your own bouquet of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme:

"This makes it clear what the disappointed lover means to say by mentioning these herbs. He wishes his true love mildness to soothe the bitterness which is between them, strength to stand firm in the time of their being apart from each other, faithfulness to stay with him during this period of loneliness and paradoxically courage to fulfill her impossible tasks and to come back to him by the time she can."

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Well, so much for the meet!

I got up very early and washed my car and made it shiny and pretty all ready for the meet. The i tooled over to the market to buy supplies for the dinner I was preparing the next night. Roast Beef, potatoes and gravy, salad and veggies for 90. As I was driving I noticed that my right knee was screaming in pain and I wasn't sure I would be able to drive all day.

When the big guy got home from his seminar, he said let's go! I'll drive! We got to the end of the block when I realized we were going for a drive but not to the meet. We spent the greater part of the afternoon in urgent care. I found out I had strained, severely strained a ligament in my knee and all I would be doing for the next few days is keeping my leg elevated and taking anti-inflamatories. Fun.

Thank goodness the news from the meet was that it was very frustrating and ill-organized!

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05 November 2005

Off to the meet!

Today I'm spending the day with a bunch of other MINI enthusiasts. Long Beach MINI is hosting an event for owners. There'll be about 200 of us there and we're going to have some fun. They'll give away prises and discounts and food!

I'll share some pics when we get back. It starts at 2:00 and ends when it ends. Yay! Such a nice day for a motorer to be out and about!

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03 November 2005

I'm in love with my car, gotta feel for my automobile

For years I have been having a love affair. It is with those wonderful things called cars. In my senior year i was given a 1965 Volkswagen beetle 1600. It was Sea Blue. I loved it! I customized the interior. Bought a tapestry, a light purple one with a bit of red, and made a headliner for it. Had my sister paint a really cool scene on each door. One was an album cover and the other was a renaissance forest scene. Way cool. I drove it everywhere. My youngest suster and I drove it to a Doobie Brothers concert once. We stayed late to see the band leave the venue and hollered how much we loved that bass player's hair. Long dark, straight. Wow. It was about 1 a.m. when we started home. It threw a rod on the way home and would only go about 20 miles an hour. Rebuilt engine time. I paid $400 to get it done. I'd pay it again, before I bequeathed my next youngest sister the car when she started college. Man I miss that car. I lived with a copy of the Idiot's Guide in the glove box and could pull the engine (four bolts) and have the head removed in a mroning. Take it and have it motored out and replaced byt he next day by the time I gave it away. Whaaaa! I want it back.

I moved on to other cars, and loving each one of them. The best was a 1965 VW camper van we owned when we got married. Honeymooned for three weeks in that fine car! Camped everywhere and had a blast.

Now I own the cooper. I took the bumper off on Saturday. Removed a broken turn idicator light and the front license frame. Then put it back on, clay barred it and shined her up.

I don't know where my obsession came from but I think music played a role:

Alice Cooper's Under My Wheels

The telephone is ringing
You got me on the run
I'm driving in my car now
Anticipating fun
I'm driving right up to you, babe
I guess that you couldn't see, yeah yeah
But you under my wheels
Why don't you let me be

'Cause when you call me on the telephone
Saying take me to the show
And then I say, honey, I just can't go
Old lady's sick and I can't leave her home

The telephone is ringing
You got me on the run
I'm driving in my car now
I got you under my wheels
I got you under my wheels
I got you under my wheels
Yeah yeah
I got you under my wheels
Yeah yeah
I got you under my wheels

The telephone is ringing
You got me on the run
I'm driving in my car now
Anticipating fun
I'm driving right up to you, babe
I guess you that couldn't see, yeah yeah
But you was under my wheels, honey
Why don't you let me be, yeah yeah
I got you under my wheels
I got you under my wheels
I got you under my wheels
Yeah yeah

This was the first song I played in my MINI. Then it was closely followed by the Queen song in the title of this post. And of course Candy-O and Drive, by the Cars.
I love cars. I love that my daughters love cars. We have this great way of communicating through our car adventures. We all love them and have a good working knowledge on how to fix them and keep them in good condition. How many of you know how to use a claybar? It's fun! And you haven't lived until you've done donuts in a parking lot covered in snow!

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Shame on You, Oprah Winfrey!

I was home on Tuesday afternoon, and saw Oprah was on. The last time I watched her show she was offering $100,000 to anyone who could turn in a sex offender from the list of most wanteds. That's a pretty nice reward. Oprah stressed her anger and contempt for the sex offenders of the world and was determined to get all of us involved in the fight to rid the streets of America of the likes of them. I applauded her efforts. Good job. She has asked people to get involved in changing the legislation in their states too. She was a victim of child sexual abuse. She's not alone, many children are molested ewach year.

Tuesday afternoon was a whole different story. In fact, I was appalled at what I saw. Ms. Winfrey had Jay Leno, Brian McKnight and Rick Reilly on the show to talk about Men's issues and what women really wanted to know about strips clubs, p0rn, and other guys stuff. The first fifteen minutes did me in. Oprah chatted lightly and asked about p0rnography. She inquired what was the big deal with it? Why did men like it so much? Jay Leno led with well, we're guys. And then talked about its availablility now days. How it was so accessable in your home. You could look at it daily and not really have issues. Then one of the other guys said daily? try hourly! Haha haha, silly guys. Doesn't it bother your wives? Isn't it a betrayal? Well, Jay said his wife just laughed it off. Another said if guys enjoy watching other people engaged in intimate relations, who did it really bother?

After a few minutes of this banter I had to turn the channel. I couldn't believe that this was the same Oprah asking each of us to get involved and stop sexual predators and make this country a safer place. Then having Celebrity spokesMEN come on her show just days later extolling the virtues of p0rnography and strip clubs. It was not amusing and I did not find the humor in the show at all.

Does Oprah not see the connection? Is she that disconnected? Is a light discussion of these subjects, with laughter and silliness really appropriate? I am disappointed in the presentation to say the least. Too many men, women and children are victims of p0rnography everyday. Their quality of life suffers. It is insidious. Oh, and by the way, I don't care if you enjoy it. Keep it to yourself and don't try to convince me it doesn't ruin lives.

Shame on you Oprah! Shame on you.

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Pictures at an exhibition

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
I told you I'd add some photos of the band today. Here you go! This one is of my guy and his bass. Carvin Bass, Carvin amps. He's a died in the wool Carvin guy. He also owned a fender strat but as he didn't play lead guitar it was hardly used when in front of a crowd.

boys in the band This picture was from a newspaper article in 1973 possibly. The four to the right are original members. The guy in the dark was a lead singer for a time. He was a big showboat and waste of time. I hear he went on to do christian rock. The original band guys wanted to play originals, which at the time were very good. This lead singer dude wanted to do covers, work clubs and basically wasted a lot of time for them. What I remember of him was the song "All Right Now!" The guy on the far right is the one I started off having a crush on, as you can see, he's not in love with himself at all. Heh. The really good looking tall guy in the back is the bass player I fell in love with!

All in all the band was an interesting time in our lives.

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02 November 2005

Speaking of the Seventies

I think I was in high school during the coolest decade around. Well, maybe some of you would argue that, but I sure loved it.

Some of the things that happened to me during those high school years:

I transferred from a really awesome high school on the coast, surfing, skateboarding, ditching school to go to the beach to a high school in a farm community. I thought my life had ended. Speaking of the coolest high - one of my friends, a huge crush, and of course, a friend of my brother's - grew up to be a record producer. He has produced people like the Pet Shop Boys. Sigh.

I spent two years dating, well maybe two months. I was a social dork, much like today. I can entertain a crowd, yet cannot make small talk to save my life. So dating was horrific. I dated mostly friends of my brothers, and some of them I wouldn't go out with more than once. I have too many heartbreaking stories about this one guy. Oh the horrors!

I majored in french, minored in german, and took social poetry. Social poetry was the best. It was a seniors only class and all we did was listen to rock music, some folk, and analyze the lyrics. My favorite was Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair with the canticle. Excellent for a Vietnam era childhood.

We had our first earth day in 1971. We all got the afternoon off from school to see what we could do to impact our ecological futures. Most of us had never heard the word Ecology. We picked up all the trash around the school and piled it high in the quad. A good friend decided she'd wanted to go to college and become an ecologist. She also dated the foreign exchange student from France. She even went to France with him after school.

High school was beginning to be a bore for us. Many of us graduated early. If you ahd the credits, they'd let you go. Many of us would double up classes so we could get extra credits. I had all the credits to graduate as a junior, but I didn't have a license, so I decided to stay. Get my license and then bail. Senior year was classes until noon, jump in my car and go somewhere else. Anywhere esle.

My brother was hanging out with some guys in a band. He asked if I would go to a dance at the Demolay building with him so he could see the band. I went and saw this great looking guy. He was the lead guitar player and suddenly I had a crush. I started hanging out with the band, a lot. We went to their shows and dances and had a good time. Funny thing though, the lead player never spoke to me. I was just a kid sister. However, the bass player started up a conversation with me. He was cute in his own way and my friend Janna had a huge crush on him. well, ended up he had a crush on me. We started dating and we haven't looked back since. We got married in 1975. I still dig the bass player.

Being a band girlfriend had its ups and downs. Girls just don't get it when you say "he's with me". I had to take some steps and couple of times. Not fight, but make it clear who he belonged with...

Music was great back then. I went to so many concerts! Jimi Hendrix being the first and then others in very rapid succession. The Beatles were one band I missed seeing as they were having all kinds of trouble. The Rolling Stones? Had tickets three times, scalped them each time, made some bucks and went elsewhere.

Saw shows at Santa Monica Civic, The Orange Show, San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego Civic, Long Beach Arena, California Jams 1 and 2 and various other venues. Most cost us between 5 and 10 dollars. Didn't do drugs. Didn't drink. I was the straight man. I drove everyone else once they were wasted (not the band guy though). I spoke with Bill Graham on the phone, arranged for my sister to meet Rod Stewart and met Alice Cooper and his band. Saw Eric Clapton at almost every other show, crashing the concert, and it seemed he'd play a set with anyone. It was wierd. I never saw Cream.

More on life in the 70s later. It was fun. I was happy! Married the guy in the band, what more could I want? Pics of the band tomorrow.

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Time Capsules

I've found a great place on the web! This site can be used in so many cool ways! I found myself traveling in time, going backwards not forward though.dMarie is a time capsule site. You can put in a date and it will take you back in time and tell you little bits and pieces about that date. For example, 15 June 1972, the date of my graduation from high school (yes, I'm old, but I was only 17 when I graduated!) this is what it tells you:

Top News Headlines This Week
Jun 15 - Rock fall inside Vierzy Tunnel (France) causes 2 train crash; 107 die Jun 15 - West German police arrested RAF leader Ulrike Meinhof Jun 17 - 5 arrested for burglarizing Democratic Party HQ at Watergate Jun 17 - Looking Glass releases "Brandy" Jun 17 - "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool" by Little Jimmy Osmond peaks at #38 Jun 17 - Chile president Allende forms new government

Top Songs for 1972
A Horse with No Name by America
Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O'Sullivan
I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash
Mr. and Mrs. Jones by BillyPaul
The First Time Ever by Roberta Flack
The Candy Man by Sammy Davis,Jr.
American Pie by Don McLean
Without You by Nilsson
Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me by Mac Davis
Lean On Me by Bill Withers

On TV in 1972
Kung Fu Bridget Loves Bernie The Rookies The Bob Newhart Show The Little People Barnaby Jones Tuesday Movie of the Week Maude Monday Night Football The Waltons

Top Books in 1972

The Great Bridge by David McCullough
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

1972 Prices

Bread: $0.25/loaf
Milk: $1.33/gal
Eggs: $1.20/doz
Car: $3,879
Gas: $0.36/gal
House: $30,500
Stamp: $0.08/ea
Avg Income: $12,625/yr
Min Wage: $1.60/hr
DOW Avg: 1,020

Academy Award Winners

Best Picture: The Godfather
Best Actor: Marlon Brando in The Godfather
Best Actress: Liza Minelli in Cabaret

Interesting, the Dow is now at 10,600 and minimum wage is $5.05/hr and whoa! houses are a whole lot more. Somehow when factoring in inflation the minimum wage doesn't seem to have climbed nearly as much as housing prices or the dow!

dMarie is also a scrapbooking site if you go to dMarie!

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01 November 2005

One thing.

One thing you'll not see me write about on this or any other blog. Politics.

Politics are devisive. There are plenty of people out there blogging about them and my opinion will not sway a one of you to change your mindset. So in that spirit, the subject is off the table.

There is not another topic I can think of that splits good friends apart. And that's not a good thing. My opinion will not change the world. I don't have nearly enough money to begin swaying politics. So If you want to talk politics go to the poliblogs. You won't find what you need here in that regard.

What you will find is the occasional post on just about anything else. Crafts. Art. Architecture. Cars. Photography. Music. The old days of the 60s, 70s, and points beyond. High school. Poetry. Goofy stuff. Criticizing commercials. Like I said, just about anything else. How 'bout them gigantic M&Ms?

Upclose comparison

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My Bluebonnet!

My Bluebonnet!
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Why Cooper Chronicles eh? Well, it all began in 1972. My sister had a friend who was in to small cars. He had an Isetta and a Mini Cooper. We all loved his cars and I became hooked on them. In 2001 I saw the new MINI Coopers at the NY Auto show and said "I WANT ONE!"

I called MINIUSA and found out where I could go to get one. It involved, getting your name on a list. Once the dealerships were assigned they would pass your name along and then get you a car. I waited and waited. Finally in Mar of 2002 a dealership out of Irvine called me and the exact car I wanted. Yay! Yay! I could go get my car! NOT! The number one reason is that they wanted to charge an "opportunity" fee because MINIs were in short supply. A 15% opportunity fee! Ouch!

It was at that time that our daughter called and asked if we would support her while she went on a mission. She would be a missionary for 18 months and asked if we would support her on her mission. We said yes, and the dream of owning the MINI was put on hold. I began looking everywhere to purchase a MINI with the "opportunity" fee. The only place was outside California. So when our daughter mailed us a date she'd be returning home, I called MINI of Manhattan in NY and ordered my car. Note "opporunity" fee, just a shipping fee to get it to California. I still saved $2200 in the process. Our daughter and my car arrived within a week of each other. I haven;t stopped smiling since!

So I motor about and go on special events surrounding this great community of people called MINI owners/motorers! I belong to a club too. It is the C3 club. C3 stands for Cooper Clubs for Charity. Each time we have an event whether it's for detailing or a fun run we have a fund raiser with it. The money we raise goes to support good causes in our area. We have a great time and help others less fortunate than us.

Be ready to read more about these fun things long the way!

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Crafty Goodness

Wall Hanging
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Years ago I started this wall hanging. It is from a pattern in a Fons and Porter book. I love the "Amish" look of it and the size. The only problem I have now is that it no longer fits my decor. I finished it a few days ago and am thinking of putting it up for sale. If I do I'll let you know. I haven't ever used Ebay and I think I may just use Etsy to sell the crafty things I make.

Watch this blog for new stuff all the time!

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It's me!

I have finally decided to join the blogging world with this blog. I currently have one that addresses my professional life, this one will be about all the other stuff I do!

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