Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover...

Ha!  If any of you recognize that line from a musical score...bravo!

Tonight that Spouse o' Mine and I went to see the musical Annie.  It was my Christmas present from him...2 months ago!  He done good, I think is the vernacular.  The musical was really enjoyable!  Having grown up on musicals, I think I knew every word from every song tonight.  And although I had seen the movie, I really got a kick out of seeing a stage presentation of Annie - it is SOooo different from film.  So much more enjoyable.

And that's all I have to say.  Merry Christmas, yes!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Making a List and Checking it Twice:

Birdhouse gourds...check!
Lemon cucumbers...check!
Assorted herbs and flowers...check, and check!

Countdown to spring: what's in YOUR garden?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

White and Red

Today it is snowing, and I put birdseed out for the birds.  A few minutes later I counted 9 male cardinals among the frenzy of birds -I don't know how many female cardinals were out there, too.  

Here's an interesting postscript:
When I told that spouse o' mine (twice) about all the cardinals outside, he glanced out, but didn't spend much time looking at them.  The second time, I realized...he probably doesn't even see the cardinals, any more than he sees ripe cherries in the orchards or the bright red maple tree down by the creek in the fall:  he's color blind. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

There is no Frigate like a Book

Read any good books lately?  This winter was made for reading!  The following is a Top 100 Books list compiled by BBC, after asking people to nominate their favorite novels. Since BBC gets more British listeners, I would imagine, that American, no doubt there will  be a few titles on here that have more notoriety across the Big Pond than here.  Nevertheless, I give you: 

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Now: Let me know how many YOU have read!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fashion Show:

This is my mother. 

She has always had a knack for looking good...

And these pictures make it look like she was out at parties all the time.

Always with the same guy, too.


This is probably the most beautiful wedding dress I have ever seen.

Young love. 
(Love the whole outfit, Mom!)  


Always "so together"!

What a great dress.

And that's my mother!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day music:

It's very clear
Our love is here to stay ;
Not for a year
But ever and a day.

The radio and the telephone
And the movies that we know
May just be passing fancies,
And in time may go !

But, oh my dear,
Our love is here to stay.
Together we're
Going a long, long way

In time the Rockies may crumble,
Gibralter may tumble,
They're only made of clay,
But our love is here to stay. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Three kids, except they're not kids anymore.  But they will be the subjects of today's post.  My life of late has been a little slow in ANY of life's subcategories; social, physical, literary, my gosh, what is my life coming to??!!! and my life of late sure does pale in comparison to those Twentysomethings, and the College Freshman.

We'll start with him - the College Freshman.  He goes to school 50 miles (or, 82 km, if you are a Canuck) from Vancouver.  What does that say to you?  It says Winter Olympics!   And to him, too!  One of his instructors gave him a list of free events/festivities in Vancouver. The College Freshman plans to spend the next two weekends in Vancouver.  Good for him!  He intends to go to the French Quarter, and FINALLY all those years of French may (or may not...) pay off!

On another College Freshman note, a few weeks ago he was running the mile in a track meet in Seattle.  The winning time was 3:59.  How can that be?!  That is a sprint!  If I were in that race, I would be lapped 3 TIMES before I finished the first lap.  So, so depressing...   The College Freshman?  Well, suffice to say, he's running with the big dogs now.

Ok, since we're on the subject of speed, let's launch into speed cycling, and the lack thereof.  Today was nearly a glorious day (45 degrees, maybe? and no wind!), so this afternoon I donned all my cold weather bike gear and hopped on my bike and headed west.  Pedaling like the wicked witch.  Or so it felt.  Actually, I was really, REALLY slow, my first time out in months and months.  (That's my excuse.  Leave me alone.)  A few days ago Daughter #2 called and told me that she held 28 mph for 4 miles on her bike ride.  My average today was half that!!!   So, so depressing...

Daughter # 2 called this afternoon and asked me if I had talked to Daughter #1?  (Daughter #1 has moved to Atlanta for an internship this semester.)   Well, we keep in touch with emails, so I knew A) She went to a party in Atlanta on Saturday.  B) She fed the homeless yesterday.  C) She is at a museum fundraiser this evening.  D) The outdoor adventure club she joined (her first night in Atlanta) is doing a service project this weekend with horses - her element, exactly.  I would guess that Daughter #1 is doing OK in her new environment.

OK, OK:  What have you done lately?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Just you wait!

In 42 days, more or less, we will no longer be looking at this:

But will be eyeing such beauties as these:

And this:


Not to mention these:

And of course, these:

More winter...tomorrow!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

Swiftly go the days...
Today is our 26th wedding anniversary.  Wowee.  I mean, WOWEE.  Had I known that the time between 1984 and 2010 was going to zip by like a time warp, I certainly would have taken better notes.  Someone should have warned me that time moves more quickly as one gets older.  I think that's an NPR article this week, but you can Google that one yourself.

Twenty-six years ago this week, we got married, honeymooned in Rome and Innsbruck, and then headed to our first home as a married couple: Cairo, Egypt.  I often contend that that year in Egypt more or less cemented our marriage; we had no one but each other to turn to that year.  Couldn't run home to Mom and Dad, and in the days pre-computer (HA! What?!), I managed one phone call home each month.  We would go to church on Sunday afternoons, and this was the same time that my family was going to church on Sunday mornings in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma.  That helped my homesickness some.  Letters from family were dear to me.  I still have those letters, to and from; they are much like a diary of my newlywed year.

So here we are, that spouse o' mine and I, twenty-six years of wedded bliss later:  three kids later, 6 homes later, probably a million highs and lows later.

Here we are.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Radio Irony

Today on my drive through the Flint Hills, I caught snippets of two radio stations.  On the upturn of the hills, I would hear the BBC, and going down in the dales I would catch St. Mary's radio station on the same 98.3, which plays songs from Broadway musicals and old tunes from Bing Crosby and such.  (I am not SO old as Bing Crosby, but I do like those old, funny songs.)

So here is an ironic mix that I listened to today, driving south on K-99 for quite a few miles:

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple too.
...humanitarian agencies say the Idaho-based Christian group New Life Children's Refuge is not the only organisation that has been spiriting children away without documentation, wanting to give them a better life elsewhere...

Regretfully they tell us
But firmly they compel us
To say goodbye . . .
. . . to you
The missionaries deny they were engaged in child trafficking, and insist they were trying to help vulnerable orphans.  On Monday, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive described them as "kidnappers" who had known "what they were doing was wrong".  He said some of the children had parents who were alive, and that the Haitian authorities were trying to reunite them. 

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight...
The missionaries have been detained since Friday, when they tried to enter the neighbouring Dominican Republic with the children, whose ages ranged from 2 months to 12 years, without the right documents.
The children were later taken to an orphanage, where those who were old enough and willing to talk said they had surviving parents.
"Up until now we have not encountered any who say they are an orphan," said Patricia Vargas of SOS Children's Village...

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu...
Experts have expressed concerns that child traffickers could take advantage of the earthquake on 12 January...
According to UN guidelines, two years should pass after a disaster before adoption can even be considered, giving time to exhaust all efforts to locate family members first.

I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Groundhog Day

From the sounds of it, all the furry little prognosticators around North America saw their shadows this morning.  Six more weeks of winter fun!  If this is the case, then I still have time to attend to my list of:

Fun Winter Activities I Will Enjoy in the Winter of 2009-10:
  1. Hike the Konza Prairie in the snow.
  2. Haul (by sled) buckets-upon-buckets of water through the snow to the outdoors animals.  (This became easier once the luge track iced up nicely.) 
  3. Climb Mount Mitchell in the winter.
  4. Take pretty pictures of frosted window panes.
  5. Study the science of avalanches.
  6.  Walk 7.5 miles on above-freezing afternoons.
  7. Ride my bike on trainer in living room for miles and miles.  Or hours and hours.
  8. Quilt.
  9. Tend to my knitting.
  10. Take Zumba lessons.
  11. Study Spanish.
  12. Play the cello.
  13. Review the fine art of curling.
  14. Get to know the US Olympic Hockey Team players' names.
  15. Continue nurturing the 8 banana trees overwintering in our home.
  16. ...
  17. ...
  18. ...
Given that I have 6 more weeks of winter, I can probably tack on some more fun activities.

Oh, by the way - this is too good to be true:
Winter fun in Onatrio
More winter...tomorrow!
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