Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday 40 Years Ago

Joining a community choir led me to meet Hubby who was the director.  I joined in October of 1972.  We danced around each other all fall and winter until it was Easter.  He had agreed to direct and sing for a local church and a bunch of us from the choir agreed to tag along with him, adding support to the music.

We rehearsed on the Wednesday evening before Easter.  Afterwards a bunch of us -- all women and hubby -- went downtown to the local Hilton by the Missouri River and had cocktails and danced.  Hubby only danced with me -- consequently I was the only woman dancing.  My friends were shocked. 

On Maundy Thursday he met me at my church for the communication service.  The church was aghast.  Afterwards we went out to dinner.  Then we came home and made out on my parents couch.  They were in Colorado, having left to spend six months in their summer home.  They would have been (and later were) horrified. 

Around midnight Hubby made his departure but wasn't gone more than an hour when he called me and said he wanted to come back and just cuddle and so he did and we did.  After sharing breakfast I said I'd cook him dinner that evening if he wanted to drop by.

Forty years later and he hasn't gone home yet.  Now that's the real shocker!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just an Old Fashioned Girl

Instead of gun-metal-gray the sky today is clear, bright, and cerulean blue.  I feel spring in my bones, in the air, and in my soul.  Maybe Easter can come my way after all (it's not supposed to snow again until next Tuesday).  I even bought Hubby some Russell Stover chocolate Easter eggs today. 

I love the old fashioned Easter postcards -- they seem so much prettier than those 1950's bunnies that Hallmark cards put out in my childhood. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fun Easter Links

Perusing the web I came across these link specifically for Easter and springHave fun cruising with me.  

First a cute little Easter rap by the E bunny:  short and enjoy the pink car he rides around in.  
Easter Bunny Rap

Make your own Easter table decorations using a plain old paper plate.
Bunny Basket Craft

Serve some fun Easter food on your Bunny Basket table using these quick recipes.  Just click on the pictures to see how to make the food.
Quick Easter Food

If you want some music from the past to play during Easter dinner, you can't miss with Gene Audtry singing Peter Cottontail.  I actually owned this record -- one of three I had for my little child's record player.
Here Comes Peter Cottontail

If you want a lovely religious video with your more traditional Easter music, try this one.
Easter Morning Sunrise

 The University of Nebraska offers some history of the Easter lily and reminds you, if you bring one home from church or get sent one, you should not throw it away in a week's time -- but instead replant it.  Here's how.
Easter Lily Care

If you need to fill your Easter baskets with things other than chocolate eggs and sugary peeps, here are some great alternative ideas.
15 Cool Easter Basket Alternatives

My favorite Easter Anthem is an oldie but goodie:  The Holy City.  Here's Jessye Norman singing it to a lovely video but there is a 15 second commercial before the song.
The Holy City, Jerusalem

and here it is without the commercial -- but only a picture of Jessye:  The Holy City

Finally, here's the recipe and video for a classic strawberry short cake -- the best Easter dessert ever!
Bisquick -- How to Make Strawberry Short Cake

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Emile Pandolfi

(A portion of this post was written in 2001 -- now adapted to fit 2013)

Everybody’s been asked that question – would you rather be blind or deaf.  What an awful choice.  You don’t want to be either of course. 

It’s Sunday afternoon, I'm listening to some of my Cloud piano music as I'm I’m combing my thinning hair, and the question runs through my mind. I look at my hair, a color I hate because of its massive amount of gray which can't be dyed a pretty shade because no matter the choice the awful gray turns it yucky red  --and I realize – blind, of course.  I wouldn’t care how the hair looked, but the music . . .how can you live your life WITHout music?

One of my favorite recording artists is Emile Pandolfi.  He’s the one making very huge piano glissandos right now on my Cloud network.  I have every one of his CD’s.  He’s an interesting artist, apart from the sound he produces on his piano.  He struggled to earn his living in New York as an accompanist.  He’s worked with some of the best.  Eventually though, he tired of the struggle.  He wanted to go home to one of the Carolina’s and wed his sweetheart and have babies.  His plan, unique at the time, was to start making his own CD’s and he followed his dream.  He got married.  He had a baby.  He worked on his technique and sound and he made a CD.  He marketed the disk to specialty stores – you know, those really upscale linen stores and stationary shops.  I heard him first as I shopped for very tony Valentine Day cards in the most upscale shopping area of our city.  The sound made me stop in my tracks, stand stock still, and listen.  Then I did something I’d usually never think of doing – I asked who the artist was they were piping through the store.  I bought 5 Valentines and a CD.  Since then, I’ve worked hard to acquire every one of his albums.  Initially I had to send off to the East Coast with my check (no credit cards accepted) to get them.  Enough folks asked at Border’s and Barnes and Nobles though, and eventually, Pandolfi became mainstream – and started the trend for independent artists to succeed without major record contracts.  Pandolfi doesn’t tour the Mid-West.  He stays mainly on the East Coast, darn it.  I’d go to one of his concerts in a heartbeat.  Still, I’ve got ears – and I can blast his sound throughout my life when the need arises.  

For me, the really grand moments in life are audible.  The visual is important.  I love color.  But my soul would shrivel without sound.  Do you suppose that has bearing on my choice of husbands?  


Saturday, March 23, 2013

MeMe -- or memememe. . . meme

The title -- isn't that the sound singers make when warming up?  I'm not a fan of meme's really, but as I sit here with the snow pouring down and creating huge drifts outside our windows and doors, I'm reduced to answering questions about myself and being "all self-indulgent."  This meme didn't seem too bad . . . not that I think anybody is really interested in my answers but I did have to think a bit to come up with a response.

Have any memories you'd like to forget?

Yes, hundreds of them.  They may have helped make me what I am today but I'd just as soon forget all the times my mother flew angry with me and I couldn't figure out why or how to stop her.  I'd like to forget what it was like to live with a drunken harden who threw things and hit people and then the next day was angry with everyone because she'd been a falling down drunk the night before.   I'd like to forget that I couldn't grasp that my grandmother would die a horrible, painful death while I was angry and hateful to her for abandoning me to the drunk who ran my life. 

Grandmother, Lamie (Pumpkin, Milly, or me), Dad, Mom

Is there someone you really like to just hang out with and talk about stuff?  

I've not had good luck with deep friendships in my life, especially with women.  During the last 30 years of my life my closest and deepest relationships have been with my husband and his sister, Wendy, who lives in Houston.  However, during the 1990's I met two women I really admire(d) and formed a bond with (first professionally and then personally)  and since I've retired we're beginning to re-establish our connection.  I had dinner with one just this past week, while the other now lives in Colorado and we connect mainly through email.  Both the ladies are smart, creative, and caring -- a combination hard to find in this life.  Hubby and I have connected with two couples over the years that I dearly love, though one of the husbands died last year.  Debby and Lou are probably my closest Kansas City friends and I know that I can call them for backup no matter what happens in my life.  I'm slowly forming a bond with the Wyandotte Ladies Who Lunch and I'm thoroughly enjoying adding this contact of intelligent women into my life. 

Debby guiding the horse; Lou ready to give us a ride in the cart

Have you ever been called prince or princess?

My grandmother called me Lamie and my dad called me Pumpkin.  My grandpa called me Milly.  I've never been a princess type, I guess.  


Do you think teenagers are weird?
 Teenagers are very, very weird and it's a wonderful thing! Every kid should get the chance to experience weird in all it's glorious forms.  


How fast does your mood change?
I'm mercurial.  Moods don't last long for me.  I can be sad and down one day but the next day I'm back on top.  I can get mad at you one minute and the next I can excuse any awful thing you've done and invent reasons why you thought it was okay to do it, even if those weren't your real reasons.  I don't get mad easily but I do get frustrated quickly.  I'm not patient.  I stay happy most of the time and I forgive nearly everything. Until I don't -- them the door shuts and it never really opens again. 


How are you feeling?
I wish it were spring-like weather instead of blizzard-like snow outside my window.  I'm healthy and exercising and eating fairly normally.  My mood is even.  


Do you want someone to call you right now?
No, I'm not a person interested in phone calls.  I do like receiving emails and I learning to love Facebook messages.   I like having the time to think and process so writing answers is much preferable than spending hours on the phone.  
If my grandmother could call me now (she died in 1963) that would be great.  And I'd love to talk with Wendy and Hubby's mom, Mrs. Van -- she could call and we'd talk for hours.  

What do you always take with you?
I carry the keys to the house and the car.  That's it.  I don't carry a purse unless I'm paying for a meal.  I can stick the debit card in my pocket at the grocery store.  I keep the rewards cards above the visor in the car so I have them handy.  I've eliminated and pared down to where only the keys are needed when I go out of the house.  

Is your bed comfortable?
Our bed is wonderful.  We have a new mattress and it is our place of refuge from the world. 

Would you say you’re an understanding person?
I try to be understanding but the reality is I'm not very compassionate.  I've learned I do have an inate ability to delve into the ultimate aims of why a person says or does what he/she does -- but I'm not sure I understand why they feel the need to act that way.  I'm really NOT a people person.  
Are you generally a happy person?
I am a survivor -- and to be that way I think you have to be able to see the bright side of things.  My glass is usually half full, not empty.  Maybe I'm just not deep enough to see the dark side of things.  

Who’s in your Facebook profile picture with you?
My husband -- I'm proud to be married to him.  My blog, however, shows the boys.  

Were you single on Valentines Day?
Which Valentine's Day?  Of course I've been single on VD -- but not for the last 40 years.  That's not to say I haven't spend VD alone and unnoticed, even in the last 40 years.  
What is the last movie you watched?
The 1949 classic movie That Forsyte Woman with Greer Garson and Errol Flynn.  Watched my DVR of it last night.  


Do you listen to songs when you’re done?
Done with what?  I love music.  I listen to songs while I'm doing -- not just when I'm done.  Though I imagine this means popular music which I don't actually listen to.  Classical music, however, fills my soul with joy. 

How long does it take you to fall asleep at night?
This is the tough one -- I don't fall asleep easily and even if I get to sleep, I wake up two hours later.  Sleeping has become more and more difficult every year.  I nap great, though.  

Are you talkative?
Yes.  But I'm not sure I ever say anything that's worth listening to.  

What are your Easter plans?
Once upon a time it was sunrise service, early morning service, regular service, and a grand sit-down dinner with sterling silver and china and cloth napkins.  Now . . . . we eat when we're hungry and remind ourselves it's Easter Sunday.  This is the joy of retirement -- no churches to work at, no lesson plans to review.  It's also the sad lot of a couple with no children.  The boys can't tell Easter from any Thursday.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Week?

 Last night as Hubby and I struggled to stay warm in our exercise pool at the Research Brookside Health Center, we watched frozen pellets of snow and ice float down outside the huge pool glass windows.  We managed all 45 minutes of the class but came home glad to be back by the home hearth and out of the nasty, freezing weather.

This morning when I went out to warm up the car for the morning dog walk, the walkway was slushy, the hood and roof of the Lincoln were covered in frozen nuggets, and the windows were iced over.  It took 15 minutes to get the car warm enough to roll over to the park.

In the park, I was bundled in my heavy dog walking coat, a fleece headscarf for my forehead over which I layered a fleece bonnet, heavy fleece gloves, and a fleece neck scarf to keep my neck and mouth warm. Still I shivered in the frigid morning air.  We plodded over frozen ground iced over with a powdering of snow.  The wind kept the temperatures at under 30 degrees and the windchill hovered in the teens.

My soul says that since this is the Easter season and we are going pellmell into Holy Week we should see buds on the still barren trees.  The grass should be greening.  The jonquils getting ready to bloom and the tulip trees ready to pop. The pansies should be planted by now and getting ready to color the lawns with their purples and yellow glory. The sun should be shining at least once a week and the sky should be a spectrum of blues with white scudding clouds, not a continuous gun-metal gray. 

My frig should be loaded with ripe, rosy strawberries, succulent pink ham, and colorfully dyed boiled eggs ready to turn into deviled goodness.  My pantry should contain shortcake for the strawberries and pineapple for the ham.  There should be fresh, golden corn on the cob and new potatoes with pearl onions.  Instead, we still eating stew and pot roast and hearty winter food that keeps us stoked for the cold weather. 

Tomorrow we are told we have 100% chance of snow.  Most likely, we will have lots and lots of snow.  The light predictions are five inches -- and they total goes up from there into the double digits. 

Meanwhile dreams of spring float in my head and heart.  I've had enough of snow shovels and heavy coats and fleece scarves.  Easter reminds me of new life.  This should be a time of nature awakening the chirping birds, the boys frolicking in the sunshine on the spongy grass, and the kites soaring through the skies at the park. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What? How? Geez!

 Every two weeks or so, I scroll through the Turner Classic Movie channel on DISH and pick out old movies I have either loved or always wanted to see and I record them during the early morning hours when other things I watch regularly are NOT on the schedule. 

Consequently, I've had the fun of watching Bel Ami (ooh, Robert Pattinson is delicious!), North by Northwest (who doesn't love Cary Grant?),  and the Old Maid (no actress is better than Bette Davis) just this past week. 

Last week Finian's Rainbow showed up and I decided to record it because I didn't believe I'd ever seen it.  And I was right.  This was a 1968 version and unbelievably,  Francis Ford Coppola was director.  Which astounded me.  I had no idea that he had ever directed a musical like this.  It starred Fred Astaire as Finian and Petula Clark as the daughter.  This was Fred's last film screen musical and he was 69 years old. 

Finian's Rainbow was first on Broadway in 1947, according to Google info.  The movie is clearly a product of it's time -- the cooperative in Rainbow Valley is trying to produce a lucrative tobacco plant that is minty -- but problems arise when it won't light and then won't smoke.  Now-a-days smokeless tobacco would be all the thing. 

The racial satire in the film clearly depicts the attitudes of the 1960's but the scene in the movie where the black botanist tries to be a subservient butler to the very bigoted white Mississippi senator had me rolling on the floor.  I have not laughed so hard in a long, long time -- that scene is certainly worth the time I invested in the movie though I have to admit I did fast forward through long parts of the story that involved dancing around the glen trying to find Finian's pot of gold.  

Here's the strange thing, though -- and I have no idea how it happened.  I knew the music and lyrics to nearly every song in the show.  I don't remember ever hearing the songs played on the radio or having sung them in my youth.  I did not play them on the piano, own the record, and this wasn't the type of music my mother enjoyed and played by ear.  Clearly at some point in the 1950's or early 1960's I did hear all these songs -- and hear them often enough that I memorized them.  I have utterly no recollection of anything about this musical at all.  The plot was brand new to me -- I have NOT seen the movie or the stage play.  But I sure can sing a medley of tunes from the show. 

I know How are Things in Glocca Mora, Look to the Rainbow, Old Devil Moon, If This Isn't Love, and On That Great Gettin' Up Day -- word for word and note for note. How in the world was this possible? 

I wonder what else I might know and have no idea about?  Maybe I'm a science genius or have hidden artistic ability and just haven't discovered my talents yet.  Or maybe -- I have some hidden savant characteristics that lie undiscovered.  I'd better find them fast though, before I get too old to remember I've got them.

Look, look, look to the rainbow -- follow it over the hill and stream . .