Thursday, December 29, 2005

Jane's still got it

Jane Austen was a woman of great insight. Her writing is timeless, despite it's somewhat archaic language and overly proper society. Her novels have been reworked and retold countless times. And I have to say, they're all worth watching. The classic 'Emma' worked both as a period piece starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and as 'Clueless', a modern interpretation starring Alicia Silverstone. I loved them both. Both were pertinent to today's society. Both were just downright funny. Even her lesser told stories, like 'Mansfield Park' and 'Northanger Abbey', still translate well to film and have found an excited fan base.

The most popular though, has to be 'Pride and Prejudice'. It's been retold on film at least six times, just as a period piece. In fact the mose recent, starring Keira Knightley and Colin Firth is probably my favorite of the 'classic' versions. Colin Firth makes a brilliant Darcy. But then there are the updated versions. There's practically no counting of the many films that are moderinizations, like 'Bridget Jones Diary' and 'Bride & Prejudice'. Some may be more accepted than others, but it still proves that her writing made a lasting statement.

I'm sure some would claim that movies like 'Bride and Prejudice' and 'Clueless', only serve to belittle a great classic author. But I disagree. I think that both movies stuck to the important points and feelings of Austen's story and sometimes, updating a tale is the only way to gift it to a new generation. Clueless became as much a classic as the original tale and I think 'Bride & Prejudice' has the same potential.

If you haven't seen 'Bride' yet, go rent it. Yes it's a musical. But it's FUN. It's exciting and exotic and funny, and it captures the story so well. I admit that I'm partial to musicals, but the dancing and music is really well done. It has it's cheesy singing moments, but that just adds to the charm. Overall it's a really romantic, touching piece that was well cast. I can only hope that director Gurinder Chadha (of 'Bend it Like Beckham') will decide to do another such adaptation. Maybe she'll tackle a Bollywood version of 'Emma' or 'Sense and Sensiblity'.

Happy Renting,

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Super girl in training

Cagney and Lacey, Simon and Simon, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, they'll all go down in history as great detectives. Now you can add the A-team to that list. (The Angel/April team anyway.) From this day forth we will be known in the underground (read industrial caves) as the duo that caught a thief.

Actually, Angel saw him stealing something off the FedEx truck, I called the cops and then we both gave reports. The police came and searched the caves for his truck - not sure if they caught him or not, the sly little weasel, but we did our crime fighting best to stop a petty crook.

It was exhilerating, fighting back against crime and dealing justice to the morally corrupt. Well, it gave us an extra long lunch break anyway. We may not receive any medals or grand rewards, but we have the warm fuzzies of a good deed done.

For truth, Justice and the American way,

Super A.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

'Flatt' out in love with this song

I got an email today from my BFF Angela, asking me if I'd heard Rascal Flatts new song "What Hurts the Most". Of course I said yes, LOVE it. She sent me a link for their website where you can hear the whole song for free and I realized, hey, you all need this link too!

The song is one of those that just kind of hits a chord with me. It has the kind of lyrics that make you 'feel' the song, not just hear it. You kinda go, "Yeah. I know exactly what this guy is talking about." Even if you've never experienced it before. That is talented songwriting. Great songs should be shared so I've listed the lyrics here as well as link for Rascal Flatts site. Go check it out, and be sure to pass it on. Oh, and thanks Ang for helping me pass this on. :) (Click here to listen to the song.)

What Hurts The Most
I can take the rain on the roof of this empty house
That don’t bother me
I can take a few tears now and then and just let them out
I’m not afraid to cry every once in a while
Even though going on with you gone still upsets me
There are days every now and again I pretend I’m ok
But that’s not what gets me

What hurts the most
Was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was tryin’ to do

It’s hard to deal with the pain of losing you everywhere I go
But I’m doin’ It
It’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m alone
Still Harder
Getting up, getting dressed, livin’ with this regret
But I know if I could do it over
I would trade give away all the words that I saved in my heart
That I left unspoken

What hurts the most
Is being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was trying to do

What hurts the most
Is being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was trying to do

Not seeing that loving you
That’s what I was trying to do

Monday, December 26, 2005

Paper and Ribbons and ELMO, oh MY!

Wow, it's over. I hope ya'll had a great holiday. I have to say, I'm glad we're done, though. We had a fun day, but it will be nice to relax a little - at least until New Year's Eve.

We ended up having a slightly smaller crowd than we expected. The only little ones around this year was my 3 year old niece, but she was fun to watch. In our family, the tradition has always been the the little ones pass out the presents. It was my favorite thing as a kid, because you got to handle all the gifts as you made little piles in front of everyone in the room. Emily wasn't any different. Adam would read the tag and off she'd go to deliver it. Then, of course, we go around the room one at a time opening a single gift until we've rotated through all the packages.

Emily was the first to open and she was appropriately excited, squealing and smiling. Then, she went round the room picking which present everyone should open first. "Umm, I think this one." Then she'd pluck it from the pile and 'help' you open it. It was around her own fourth package that she finally hit the mother load. Ripping off the paper, she exposed the Elmo Dr's kit with stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and every other gadget imaginable. (She's been drooling over this toy in the store for weeks.) She screamed, "I'm a Doctor!" then threw herself on top of the box, hugging it and kicking her feet. When she finally got up, she did a little dance with it while grinning from ear to ear. It was so cute. She pretty much had to be convinced to keep opening presents, but I don't think anything else made nearly the impression on her that the doctor kit did. It was definitely her favorite present.

It's funny, I know I've had a lot of gifts that I just loved. When I was five, my oldest sister and her new husband gave me a giant box full of stuffed animals. There were at least ten. My favorite was a pink hippo that I named after the sister that gave it to me. (This DID NOT thrill her. But you know how it is, when you're that age you name everything after people you know.) As a teenager, my favorite gift was books. Any kind, it didn't matter. The more there were, the happier I was. (This still holds true for me in most cases. Books are always a guaranteed hit.) A couple of years ago, Angel gave me jewelry and I loved it. This year? Power tools. It seems funny to me that I would ever reach a point in my life where I would need, much less be excited about power tools. Mom and Dad bought me a Black and Decker cordless drill/screw driver with extra bits. I was ecstatic. I've had to borrow Dad's so many times over the last year it's ridiculous. I was ecstatic when I opened the package. I didn't hug it and grin or do any little silly dances, but I could have. I could have rivaled Emily and her doctor's kit, but how sad is it to outshine a three year old? So I just danced on the inside.

I got other gifts that I loved too. Several were for my house and again, I find it funny how much that excites me. Maybe it is like being a kid again. If you got dishes or a vacuum as a kid, you were excited because you could play house more realistically. As adults, we still like to 'play' house. It's just more expensive now.

It's a good thing playing house was one of my favorite games. Of course, back then it usually entailed a little cottage in the woods, a handsome prince and pet squirrels, but I'm happy to settle for the '50's Ranch style green house and squirrels in the back yard - for now. I refuse to give up on the rest of the fantasy. Someday my prince will come... .

Until then, keep your fantasies alive.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Baby thoughts

I love babies. They're so sweet and cuddly, and they smell heavenly. I love everything about babies. Even the not so fun stuff, like puke and dirty diapers and getting up 5 times a night. (Okay, I don't love those things, but they're worth doing in the long run.) I've not had any children of my own yet, but I've helped to raise several from birth and I've done the dirty work. I still love it - and I want kids of my own.

In kindergarten, I told my teacher I wanted 24 kids. Her eyes got all buggy and she just gave me a shocked laugh before saying, "Oh, no. That's a lot of kids. You don't want that many."
I assured her I did. Maybe even more.

In sixth grade, I realized how silly that was. Nobody can raise 24 kids these days. Despite the great examples given in "Yours, Mine and Ours" and "Cheaper By the Dozen". I recognized that 8 would be the most I could handle, six would be okay if I had to settle. For some reason I still got insane laughter at these comments.

In high school, I realized I couldn't afford to have 8 kids. I realized 6 would have to be my limit. But I was okay with this. Once graduated, I begin taking in these newborns that needed our help and with in six years had four on my hands. I loved it. It was stressful and expensive and sometimes I cried myself to sleep over one problem or another - but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Those four are getting quite big now. Definitley not babies anymore, but I still love them to pieces. People ask me if I still want kids after all of this. My answer? YES. Most definitely. But I think four would be plenty. At this rate though, I need to start having kids soon, because if I wait much longer I'll talk myself down to none. Just kidding, not likely to happen.

In all seriousness though, and maybe this sounds silly to some of you, but with all the kids running around, there are days when I ache to hold a baby once again. Especially one that is mine. And it's not just because they're cute and cuddly. There's a connection to the heavenly realm that is still present in a baby. You look into their faces and you can see pure love and trust. You can practically smell the scent of paradise still clinging to them. It brings out the best in you. You want to protect, cherish and nurture this little person. You want to share with them all you've learned and in return feel that immense love returned to you. It's a beautiful thing.

It's just hours from Christmas, and whether you believe Jesus was born on December 25th or not, it is the day that most people celebrate His birth. It's at this time of year that I think more fully on how Mary must have felt, and I wonder. Did she ache for a baby to hold? Did she dream of having a family? Did she want lots of kids to chase? When she held her firstborn and looked into his eyes, did she realize just how much love was going to be returned? Did she smell heaven's perfume in his hair? Did she feel the terror and excitement and joy all wrapped in one?
I can only imagine how much greater her questions must have been in the days that followed, but in those first moments when she held him in her arms. She looked at him as any mother would - in awe.

I wish the same for you. Pick up your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, or the nearest child. Try looking at them with the same love and awe that Mary felt that night. That's how Jesus looks at you. Don't forget that this year as we celebrate with our families. It all started because of a parents love for their child. Because a Father loved us so much He sent his only Son to save us. Doesn't He deserve to have all that love returned? How will you return His love this year?

Have a Blessed Christmas,

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Way back when... Mork roamed the earth

I got an email today. You know, the kind that's poking fun at all the "old" people by telling them all the things college kids today didn't experience. Only this one wasn't so funny - I actually feel old.

Just in case you weren't feeling too old today, this will certainly change things..

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1987.They are too young to remember the first space shuttle blowing up on liftoff. Their lifetime has always included AIDS. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic. The CD was introduced the year they were born. They have always had an answering machine.

They have always had cable.
They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
(Lucky them, those are torture devices)
They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. (Come on! Mork Ruled! I wanted to drink with my finger and sit on my head.)
They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane, Boss, de plane".
They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is.
McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
(Did your mom wash and reuse the styrofoam boxes for school lunches? Imagine the disappontment when you find PB&J instead of a burger.)
They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

I'm floored. How can my ten years seniority make that much difference? I actually remember all of this stuff. I may not have cared about J.R., but I sure as heck remember all the controversy over who shot him. I think it's sad that they've never experienced Mork from Ork. his rainbow suspenders are legendary. As is Jonathan Winters hatching from the egg that Mork laid. How cool would it be to live life backwards?

It's just too sad that these legendary things have been lost to the newest gen. So, as my part in saving the history, I'm creating a list of things that must be experienced by this younger generation.

1. Watch 'Mork & Mindy'
2. Make a mixed tape without cutting off any songs at the end, or leaving long gaps of dead air. (Tape, not CD.)
3. Heck, for that matter, play a RECORD. The static really adds character.
4. Rent a dvd with REAL cartoons, like Tail Spin, Ducktales or The Jetsons. (In emergency, subscribe to Boomerang, they play real cartoons.)
5. Rollerskate on four wheels rather than two.
6.Fall on the ground and shout, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"
7. Leave your cell phone, pager and/or blackberry's at home and spend the day using a payphone.
8. Ride backwards in the flip up rear bench of a stationwagon.
9. Even better, due it in August, in shorts with no air conditioning so the vinyl is only two degrees shy of the melting point.
10. Repeat after me... 'What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?' Follow this statement with a cute, pouty frown. If this means nothing to you, find reruns of 'Different Strokes' and watch repeatedly.

What would you preserve?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Chocolate is chocolate, or is it?

One of our manufacturers sent us a holiday package that included a box of chocolate truffles. The truffles looked pretty nested in their gold foil box and we all eagerly grabbed one to try. Then we just as quickly gagged. They're horrible. Angel had a creme brulee and the filling had crystalized chunks in the creme that stuck to her teeth and wouldn't come off. I ate an amaretto that tasted like chemical flavoring and liquor. But the real problem came when I actually agreed to try another.

'There's only one left. You like coffee, you eat it.' Amie is waving the box under my nose.

Hmm, it's coffee and chocolate, my favorite combo. Surely it's better than the first one, right? WRONG! I took one bite and had to throw the rest away. It tasted like butt. Okay, I don't know what that tastes like, but if I had to guess, this would be it. Twenty minutes later, my mouth still tastes like poop, despite drinking water and then pop to wash it out. I've finally resorted to Altoids Gum. It's only helped a little.

How do you screw up chocolate? I've always said chocolate is chocolate. Some may be classier, but it all tastes good. Well, I've just been proven wrong. Apparently some people ARE capable of screwing up chocolate. And I can't even tell you what brand to avoid, because it was generic packaging. Which means it's possible that my unsuspecting mouth may meet this hell again before the holidays are over. I could just avoid the chocolates, but let's be realistic. That ain't gonna happen. Good thing I bought a new pack of Altoids.

Hoping your chocolate is better,

Toy Story

If you hadn't guessed yet, I love frogs. I would have one as a pet, but I don't have a good place to keep it. If I ever have kids though, I'd totally go for the pet frog. (or even a turtle - but NO SNAKES OR LIZARDS.)

Frogs are so cute. There was one that lived in the ground by my parents stone retaining wall a few years ago. She would come out and sit on the wall and let me pet her at night when I came home. In the spring we'd find babies too. I suppose technically she's a toad, but I'm not prejudiced, toads are equally cute. In fact, I love frogs so much, I have little colored rubber tree frogs lined up across the top of my computer right now. My co-workers like to play with them. One used to put them in compromising positions and wait for me to find them. Bad boy.

Playing with the toys on top of my computer isn't anything new though, the toys may change from time to time, but the tricks never do. It started with my Winnie the Pooh. When I started working here, I brought a Pooh squeeze toy. It sat on top of my monitor. Eventually, I added Tigger and Eeyore. One co-worker in particular loved to mess with them. He used tape and turned them into a "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" display. He even went so far as to make paper Musketeer costumes for them, swords and all. They were also subject to kidnapping and ransom. I loved my Pooh characters, but eventually it was time to move on to something new. I've had several things. A Superman action figure that 'flew' over a burning asteroid. That one came out of a kids meal. I really wanted the Wonder Woman figure, but I got the man of steel instead.

The frogs are the most recent. Lately, I've been thinking of moving on again, despite my love of frogs. The other day, I went to Burger King and they were advertising toys from Star Wars. They had R2-D2 and I wanted him so bad. R2 is my favorite. But when I asked, they said they were sold out - permanently. That bites. So I'm still looking for the newest desktop mascot. Maybe I could find Stargate SG-1 toys. That'd be cool.

Never grow up,

Frog Kissing Song

For those of you who have never had the joy of hearing this song, click the link below and you can listen to Chet Atkins sing the whole thing. I love this song. :)


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Frog Kissing

I love my new yahoo Avatar. It's like having a virtual Barbie doll that I don't have to be ashamed of playing with. This is me (in my skinny dreams) with my Prince Charming to be.

Frog Kissing by Chet Atkins

Do you remember in the fairy tale
How the wicked witch's spell
Turned a handsome prince to a toad.
How the power of her potion,
Handed her the notion,
He was lower than the dirt in the road.
And though she left him green and warted,
Her evil plan was thwarted,
When there happened by a young miss.
Who in spite of his complexion,
Offered her affection
And broke the evil curse with a kiss.

If you've never been frog-kissin'.
Then you don't know what you've been missin'.
There's a world of opportunity,Under each and every log.
If you've never been a charm breaker,
If you've never been a handsome prince maker.
Just slow down, turn around,Bend down and kiss you a frog.

Once upon a time ago,I was down and feelin' low,
Like a lonely frog in a pond.
Life was just a joke andI was steadily a croakin',
I'd been zapped by life's wicked wand.
In the depth of my depression,
There came a true expression
Of love from a lady so sweet.
Who gave me warm fuzzy feelin's,
Feelin's that were healin',
And knocked me off my little web feet.

If you've never been frog-kissin'.
Then you don't know what you've been missin'.
There's a world of opportunity,Under each and every log.
If you've never been a charm breaker,
If you've never been a handsome prince maker.
Just slow down, turn around,Bend down and kiss you a frog.

There's a happy ever after land,
Deep within the heart of man,
Where a prince or princess abides.
But all we catch are glimpses
Of handsome prince or princess
'cause they're covered by a green horny hide.
And thought they're full of life's potential,
They're lackin' one essential,
To enable them to shine like a star.
And that's for some guy or missus,
To smother them with kisses,
And to love 'em 'cause they're just who they are.

And that's the secret of frog-kissin',
You can do it too if you just listen.
You just slow down, turn around,Bend down and kiss you a frog.

Happy Frog Kissin',

Kidding Around

My 3 year old niece came to visit me at work the other day. She ran to my desk, and after a giant hug, mimed blowing bubbles.

“Pease?” She blew her imaginary wand again, jumping up and down like a jackrabbit.

“You want to blow bubbles?” Like I didn’t know.

“Yeah-ya!” She sounds like rapper Lil’ John, when she slides over that word. You’d think she’s southern, but she’s actually from Michigan. I blame her older brothers and their hip-hop. “Blow bubbles!” She’s still miming.

So, I pull open my desk drawer and get out my mini bottle of bubbles and blow them while she happily chases them around my desk. This makes me immensely happy. Not just that she’s happy, but the bubbles part. Blowing bubbles makes me very happy. I claim to keep them in my desk for whenever a kid comes in, but really it’s an excuse to have them for me, cuz I have been known to blow them when no kids are around. In fact, my office mate hates it, because he says it leaves “bubble scum” on his desk top.

I used to carry the bubbles in my purse. It started the summer I had 9 weddings to attend. All of them had the little bubble bottles instead of rice. So, I had them all over the place. I’d blow them in the car to keep the kids entertained or whatever. But it was while stuck in traffic on a road trip that they served me best. We were following friends and just sitting among all the road construction. I was bored. I rolled down the window and started blowing bubbles out of the car. Cars ten deep on each end of us got to enjoy the little rainbows. I think my sister was a little embarrassed, but it was fun and definitely not expected. Who knows? Maybe I brightened another child like soul.

I realized after playing with my niece, that although bubbles are the beginning, they’re certainly not the end. I find there are some things that will always keep me young at heart and I’m not afraid to claim them. Here are the top 10 –
after bubble blowing of course.

1. I love to color and have my own crayons and coloring books separate from the kids.
2. I love playdough, especially the home made kind. It’s fun to make and I like the smell.
3. I still love Barbies, although I have given up playing with them. I love to walk through the Barbie aisle at Wal-Mart and look at all the new dolls and accessories.
4. Fairytales are my favorite stories, I may read more grown up versions now, but I still dream of finding my Prince Charming or discovering I’m actually a princess lost in the mists of time. They’re the best kind of day-dream.
5. I love to play sardines in the dark. It’s the most fun game ever.
6. I still read Archie Comic books and I love cartoons. Especially the ones I grew up with, like the Flintstones, Jetsons and Scooby-Doo.
7. Sometimes I still pretend that I’m a Borrower and explore the world around me from that perspective. I like to think of all the strange things I would use in my home under the floorboards. Like CD’s for mirrored dance floors.
8. I like to twirl. In fact, spinning until you’re dizzy is second only to playing sardines in the dark.
9. Dandelions are not weeds, they’re fairy wish makers, and I still blow the seed puffs allover the yard.
10. I like to make paper snowflakes. I love that each one is unique and there is no way to tell what
it will look like until you open it up.

What makes you a kid at heart?


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Funny Money

Angel and I took our sister Judy out for her 44th birthday (44! Good Grief! I know I'm the baby, but still, my sister is 44!). She hadn't been to a dinner theater before, so we all went to see 'Funny Money' starring William Christopher, better known as Father Mulcahey from M*A*S*H. We had so much fun.

The plays there are always hysterical and this one was too. Basically, Henry (W.C.) accidentally switches briefcases with a mobster on the train home from work. He gets a briefcase full of $1,650,000.00 and Mr. Nasty gets his half eaten PB&J and personal address book. Henry decides this is the chance of a lifetime and wants to flee the country with the money, but before they can get to the airport, hilarity, danger and lots of lies ensue. The play was very fast paced and we laughed until our cheeks hurt.

It was kind of nice to do the 'sisters' thing for a change. We don't often get to go out just the three of us, but it was fun. If you have the chance to check out the play at New Theater Restaurant, I highly recommend it.

Stay Funny,

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Return to Narnia

Saturday I went with Angel and Kevin to see the new Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I read the books as a kid and loved them, but hadn't revisted them since. I know a lot of people were concerened they'd ruin the book, take out the similisim and Christian undertones, but they didn't. I loved it.

Everything looked just as I had pictured it in my mind when I read the book so long ago. Even the children fit the image in my mind. The creatures looked fantastic. Especially Aslan, the lion. You could tell they had put a lot of effort into him; and they couldn't have chose a better voice. I read that they had originally cast Brian Cox as the voice, (and I have nothing against him) but later switched to Liam Neeson. Great choice, Liam has the perfect blend of authority and compassion in his tone. James McAvoy was also a fantastic choice for the faun Mr. Tumnus. That's a character that could easily have been played creepy rather than sweet if the wrong person got the role, but he was great.

I'm crossing all my fingers that this one does really well, I'd love for them to do the rest of the series. If you loved the book, you'll love the movie. Even if you've never read them, go see the movie. I highly recommend it.

See you at the Lamp Post,

Friday, December 09, 2005

Keeper of the Clan

Yay, I finally finished my Christmas cards. It took me three full evenings to get it all printed (there were only 30!) but they're done. I don't remember it taking me this long last year. I should probably trim my list again, but this is the short list. Somehow I have become the Keeper of the Clan. The Historian, the Family Tie. I keep all the photo albums, I record the funny stories, I maintain and research the family tree and I make sure all the extended family get Christmas cards. Angel sends out cards too, but somehow I still feel like it's my responsibility to be sure we all somehow stay connected.

No one gave me the job and it wasn't one I volunteered for, it just kind of fell to me. I was the one most interested in the history. When I was 8, I found all our empty albums (the ones my parents kept intending to fill) and filled them up with the pictures dumped in boxes. There were a LOT of them. But it was so much fun. After that the job just stuck. As I found myself getting more and more interested in photography and genealogy, the other duties naturally found there way to me. I'm not complaining either, I enjoy it, but it amazes me how much it defines who I am in my family. (At least my view of me in my family.) If I forget someone on the Christmas list, wow, I feel so guilty! SO, I'm hoping I remembered everybody this year.

It's funny how "family" is important to all my family members, but they all define themselves and their part in it, in a different way. If you ask them, they'll tell you, Aprils the one that keeps the pictures. April knows about the family tree, ask her. But Angel, for example, she's the Manager. She's bossy, not in an overbearing way, at least not since I was a kid. :) She's the one that always seems to have the answers. The right way of doing things, the common sense. She jokes that if we were Elinore and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, she would be Elinore with the common sense and practicality and I would be Marianne, nothing but romance and feeling. Kind of like two sides of a coin.

I suppose as the youngest, it's a good thing that I'm the Keeper of the Clan. I have longer to find someone else who's interested enough in it to pass it on. How sad is that? My Granny is in her 80's and I'm still trying to glean as much family info as I can from her, but it could be lost soon. How tragic would it be not to have someone in the next generation who cared about this stuff? Ideally, I'd like to pass it on to my own kids. But seeing as my chances for procreation are looking rather slim right now, I'm going to have to hope one of my nieces or nephews will do. But in the meantime, my closets just keep filling up with photo albums and scrap books, and next year, I'm sure I'll have more for my Christmas list. It's the way of life - it's the way of 'me'.

Scrap on,

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ewoks and Bah Humbug

I have had a Dickens of a time (as in Scrooge) getting into the holiday spirit this year. Work has just sucked the big one lately and it just seems like December snuck up on me. I have most of my holiday shopping done because I’m anal and I start in July. I still have a few little things to get, but I just can’t seem to get excited enough to drag everything out and figure out what I still need to buy. Every night I go home, telling myself that I need to fix the lights and set out my decorations. It’s not hard; I don’t have a gajillion things to put out. But by the time I get home I just think – ‘I don’t care.’

Last night I thought working on my holiday cards would help push the festive meter into gear. I designed them myself again this year and it’s taking forever to print them. I spent 4 hours on it last night and they’re not even half printed. Then I still have to print the Christmas letter that goes inside and the mailing labels. So that is my chore tonight. Sitting in front of the printer that long did NOT make me feel more festive, but the cards look really cool and I’m happy with them.

However, things are looking different this morning. I think part of it is due to the 12 inches of snow that got dumped on us last night. I still don’t like driving in it, but it’s a really beautiful snow. It looks like it has glitter stirred in. Actually, who am I kidding? I didn’t drive in it. I couldn’t get my car out of the drive and the plow hits our street last. I had my co-worker bring his 4 wheel drive Jeep over and pick me up. (Cuz heaven forbid I not go into work.) He laughed, saying I looked like an Ewok wading out to his Jeep. (Yub yub!) The snow was up to my knees and I had to just shuffle through it. I’ve got my nephew out there now shoveling. But despite all that, something festive started to click.

When I finally got to work, I put in some Christmas music. Now the radio stations have been playing it for a long time, but for me, it’s not Christmas until I listen to certain CD’s. I have to listen to Kenny Rodgers first. He’s got several Christmas albums, but the one I have to hear is ‘Christmas Wish’. I think it’s his first one. It has ‘Carol of the Bells’, ‘My Favorite Things’ and several others I just love. After Kenny, I listen to Nsync’s ‘Home for Christmas’. I love to hear Lance wish me a Merry Christmas in that deep, sexy voice. After that I usually listen to Bing Crosby and then Gary Morris (who I’m listening to right now) and suddenly the festive meter jumps from 5 to 80. So all I have left to do to be at a hundred is bake cookies, put up the decorations and watch ‘White Christmas’. If my weekend holds out okay, I’ll be at a hundred by Monday am.

Ho-hum (but not Bah-humbug),

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Best of the Best in Sci-Fi

I was surfing blogs last night, when I stumbled across one bloggers complaint of the new TV line up this fall. Of course they hated half the new shows, and I wouldn’t argue with them – with the exception of ‘Invasion’. I think it’s one of the best new shows this fall. Period. There are other good shows too, but this one has quickly topped my list of must see shows. Which got me to thinking, that although I watch a variety of things, my favorites tend to be Sci-Fi, so I thought I’d list here the top Sci-Fi shows that (in my opinion) are the must watch shows. So here they are in no specific order (they’re too good to choose a favorite among them.)

Stargate: SG-1 – Now in it’s tenth season, it’s the longest running Sci-fi show. Even over Star Trek. The reason? The cast is phenomenal, they have a real chemistry. The show is dramatic and funny, especially since Peter DeLuise joined the shows crew. I was worried the show would suffer too much with the loss of Richard Dean Anderson, but although I miss Jack horribly, the show is doing very well. Besides, I named my dog Jack O’Neil after RDA’s character, so in a way I still have him.

Stargate: Atlantis – The first spin off show worth its price. From the get go it was great. The casting was good to start with, but now in its second season, the characters are really gelling. Plus the Wraith are a great nemesis.

Invasion – Like I said above, hands down the best new show this season. I know others think the premise of aliens landing in the water during a hurricane is cheesy, but the show is anything but. The suspense and pacing is great. My only complaint is that the show is on hiatus until after the holidays. I’m on pins and needles waiting to see what happens to Russell and Dave and who’s shooting at them.

Surface – The second best show out this season. I’ve always been enthralled with Marine Biology, so the idea of finding a new vertebrate in the ocean is really cool. Plus, the story follows a teenager and a female biologist, which I think is a unique twist. However, that show is also on hiatus until after the holidays. (They’re killing me here!)

The 4400 – this is summer run series on USA. Very intriguing plot, and I think, kind of unique. Rather than being aliens, the 4400 are humans taken from different times in history taken to the future and altered for an as yet unknown purpose and then returned all at once in a ball of light to present day. I love that this one is on in the summer when everything else is re-runs. It’s gearing up for its third season and I’m on pins and needles waiting.

Smallville – Okay, not exactly Sci-Fi, but close and it’s definitely one of my fav’s. Not only is Tom Welling (Clark Kent) hot, but so is John Schneider (Clark’s Dad). But really it’s the WB, so of course it’s full of hot actors. However it’s not just the hotness of the male actors that keeps me watching. When it first came out five seasons ago, I actually scoffed at it. But I ate crow, because I love the show. The writers have done a great job of getting into the pull of good and evil on Lex, the inner-struggles of Clark as he deals with betrayal, secrecy and abnormality. And it’s always fun.

I could probably keep going, but I really think these are the core favorites currently airing. If you aren’t a sci-fi fan, and your curious. These are a great place to start. I know I’ve probably missed dozens of other shows that people would claim as the best of the best. But to me this is it. Cream of the crop. Enjoy!

Live long and prosper,

Monday, December 05, 2005

Suckey weekend

I’m so bummed! I came down with the flu on Friday night and had to miss the Rob Thomas concert. How suckey is that? I did see him in St. Louis in April this year, but I’ve been dying to see him again. He is such an incredible musician and writer.

I gave my ticket to my good friend Angela, so at least it didn’t go to waste. Angel said the concert was awesome of course as was Anna Nalick’s portion. I just keep kicking myself for missing it. To top it off, she said his thighs were as beautiful as ever. Yes, I’m actually saying it. Rob Thomas has the best thighs I’ve ever seen on a guy – and I’m not the only one to say so. And, he has the whole rocker stance down so they are just perfect. Angel said Lindz was taking bites out of them. (Not for real, we’re not the psycho stalker type.) So not only did I miss Rob’s incredible music and amazingly sexy voice, I also missed his incredibly sexy thighs. Double suckey.

I’m determined to see him in concert again though, so I’m watching the tour schedule. Honestly, have talent? Will travel. That’s what road trips are all about, the concerts. His would have been my last show for the year, but summer is not far away, I’ll have to pin my hopes on more music then.

Stay well,

Friday, December 02, 2005

Rockin' out Country style

Howdy Bloggers, I would have posted this last night, but it was too late when I got home to think clearly. Last night Angel and I saw Keith Urban in concert. Little Big Town opened for him. They’re really incredible. Their current single, “Boondocks”, is one of my favorites.

Keith performed for 2 hours and he rocked. I know he’s a country artist, but that man has got rock in his blood. In fact, if he plays his woman like he plays his guitar, Nicole Kidman must be in heaven. He wails on that guitar. In fact, Keith’s probably one of the best guitarists around. You’d think that would be accomplishment enough, but then he plays the Ganjo, banjo, sitar, drums and piano too. If I had just the amount of talent he holds in his pinky alone….

Keith’s quite the showman and really energetic. He was all over the stage, even jumped on a wire suspended in the air and rode it out over the audience to a small stage at the other end of the arena. It really felt like a great big jam session. He and his band members played around a lot, playing little bits of this and that and showing off their skills in between numbers. He covered a lot of material too, including some of my favorites like “I Just Wanna Cry Tonight” and “But for the Grace of God”.

It’s amazing how the concert experience has changed with the times. I go to a lot of concerts and they all have great pyrotechnics or video screens or something, and that’s certainly more advanced than it used to be. But what caught my attention last night was the fans. Fifteen years ago I saw Garth Brooks in concert at the same arena. He had just as much energy, maybe even more and it was a great show. The fans were ecstatic, waving all their Bics and Zippos in the air. It was a sea of lighters and we were darn lucky the fire extinguishers didn’t go off. Last night though, there were only a couple of lighters. Instead it was a sea of luminous phones. There were a few glow sticks, but mostly it was people’s phones glowing as they waved them over their heads. Some were probably even recording. I had to laugh. I can’t imagine what we’ll be waving in another fifteen years. Anyway, the concert was awesome. Probably one of the best I’ve seen. If you have a chance to see Keith Urban in concert, go. You won’t regret it.

We didn’t get out until well after 11pm and then got lost trying to get out of the bottoms and back onto I-70. After getting turned around a few times and crossing the Kansas border needlessly, we got back on track. It was funny though, so we had a good laugh. We don’t usually have that problem, but traffic got rerouted leaving the show. Tomorrow night we get to try it again. We’re headed out with Lindz to see Rob Thomas and Anna Nalick.

Keep on rockin,

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wrestle Mania

I went with my sisters and three year old niece to watch my nephew, Adam, wrestle last night. We paid $4 a person (a little pricey in my opinion) and found seats while the teams warmed up. I think wrestling is the only manly sport that you absolutely can not look cool while playing. They all wear these horrible little spandex suits that none of them would touch with a ten foot pole in any other environment. Then they strap on head gear that would make a brace-face cringe with sympathy. To top it off they get out in front of a crowd and put themselves in positions with other guys that they would never dream of off the mat. How can you look cool or manly doing any of that? However, I have to give them props, because despite their non-cool look they definitely work hard for their sport and that IS cool.

I haven’t been to a wrestling match since I watched my older brother wrestle for the same team eighteen years ago. (OMG!) I have to say, it wasn’t any more impressive this time around. I admit I don’t know a lot about the sport. I only have a vague knowledge of the way they earn points in a match, but I DO know when you’re pinned and down for the count.

The first few matches were the big boys and they move much slower, grappling like bears and only going down for a few seconds at the end of the match. Then they brought in the skinny boys and man do they move fast. They were more fun to watch simply because they’re flipping each other like flapjacks. Through all of this, the three year old is cheering and clapping and more or less suffering toddler anxiety attacks through each match. I think she was more animated then the entire cheerleading squad put together.

Adam finally came up around match six. Now, this is his first real match. He’s trained hard every day and he’s just killed himself in the gym for an hour before the match to lose a pound and a half so he’ll make weight. He gets in the ring, makes his move – and gets pinned in the first thirty seconds.

I felt so bad for him, but he handled it well. He shook hands, walked off the mat and said ‘Guess he was ready for that move.’ I guess what makes me proud of him is that he didn’t let it keep him down. I know he’ll stick with this. Plus, he’s only a sophomore. He’s spent months working out with the team and wrestling his teammates. His first practice match with a senior, he told me he ‘got his butt handed to him.’ That may be but, I know given time, he’ll be the one handing out butts to the other team.

Go Adam, you rock!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's Snowing!

Brrr! It’s freezing outside! I am not ready for snow. I know, there’s only a dusting and it’s only sticking to my deck, but it’s SNOW. Don’t get me wrong, I love a white Christmas – but that’s it. After that it’s just a pain in the proverbial tushie.

The glare of sunlight glancing off the snow’s somewhat brown surface as it lines the streets nearly blinds me. Not to mention the slippery streets that bring out the best of the worst drivers in town. There’s nothing like black ice hidden so innocently by the fluffy white stuff to tie up the highway like a double knotted pretzel. Then there’s the scraping of the windshields and the shoveling. I hate shoveling. Good thing I have a nephew that likes to earn a few bucks. He can shovel to his little hearts content.

Really, the only way to enjoy a good snow is at home, curled up in front of the picture window with a good book and a cup of cappuccino. I’m even okay with the electricity dropping for a short time, as long as I don’t have to go anywhere, but that seldom works out. I work in the caves and I’m only minutes away from work. If the electricity goes at home, it’s still on in the caves and since I’m closest, I still have to go to work. That means no curling iron, hairdryer or hot water. YUCK! However you can’t turn back weather anymore than you can time, so I simply bide my time until spring when I can get prepared to complain about summer.

Yet - despite all the things I hate about snow - I'm still awestruck by the amazing beauty, originality and science displayed in each tiny flake. They may be wet, cold and miserable, but they're also fantastic displays of the depth God put into His creation. It didn't matter to Him that you had to use microscopes to see the intricate parts of His work. He didn't care that most of us would never see that far into the depths of His creation. But when you do, when you have a chance to look deeper, you'll find that even the minutest part is a masterpiece of beauty. From the inner workings of a molecule to the far reaches of space to the everyday snowflake.

Here's to skipping the whining and taking a deeper look.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Surviving the Holiday

Well, I survived the holiday. It’s funny how a four day weekend can make you more tired then a solid week at work. I had more fun then I would at work though, so I gladly opt for caffeine this morning.

Thanksgiving ended up being a fairly small affair this year, we only had eight for lunch. The food was great and I only had to handle the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy. Everyone else brought the sides and pies. However, I was left with a mountain of dirty dishes that I am just now climbing out from under. (Mostly because I procrastinated horribly Friday and Saturday - terrible, huh?)

Friday was a recovery day. I was REALLY lazy. I absolutely refuse to shop on Black Friday. I hate the crowds and the violence. (Mostly mine, because by the time I’ve fought traffic, parking, crowds and rudeness, I’m ready to get violent.)

Instead I went with my two sisters to see “Just Friends”. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I actually liked it a lot. Ryan Reynolds was adorable and it was very funny and heartwarming. They use a lot of physical comedy, but everyone needs some of that occasionally.

Saturday was another lazy day; the only thing we did was watch movies. (I have mini-TVs for eyes now. I watched SO much TV this weekend with my family.) I went with Angel to see the new “Pride and Prejudice”. I LOVE IT! I’m a big Jane Austen fan, so I’m always both excited and wary to see Hollywood take on one of her stories. But I think this one turned out really well. It’s definitely going into my DVD collection. I think Donald Sutherland was an inspired choice for Lizzie’s father. I wasn’t sure about their choice for Darcy when I saw the previews, but he was actually a perfect fit. He’s very swoon worthy.

Sunday I spent with my nieces and nephews and cleaned up the major mess in my house from hosting Thanksgiving. I also installed a new writing program and finally feel the itch to write again. I’ve been too busy and distracted to focus on my novels, but the bug is back so maybe I’ll get in the groove again. At least until Christmas interrupts me. Thankfully I’ve got most of my shopping done already.

Hears hoping you survived the holiday,


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, it's nearly one a.m. and I'm still up cooking for tomorrow's lunch. My brain is getting fuzzy and I get slap-happy when I'm this tired, so all that's coming to mind is this cheesy little poem I wrote. So read, laugh or shake your head and groan, then go have fun with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving again – Hurray!
Time for turkey and dressing,
And more food than we can endure.
Yep, it’s Thanksgiving morning.
I baked the turkey all night
And now the scent fills the house.
And before it hits the table
We’re snitching bites by the ounce.
We’ve got homemade mashed potatoes –
(Not yams, not even candied.
Angel detests them you know,
So the yammies got whammied.)
We’ve got seven layer salad
Cranberry-orange salad too.
Then there’s the dinner rolls with butter
I’m running out of room – Whew!
Hold your horses, here come the pies.
Do I want pumpkin? Pecan?
Do I want whipped cream or ice cream?
Mmm-Hmm, pile it all on!
I feel just like that stuffed turkey
I’m too full to even move.
That’s when I stop and remember
How my family has improved.
They’re the best, couldn’t ask for more.
Then God sent us little kids,
And their parents soon joined them.
He blessed our family, God did.
It’s on days like Thanksgiving
That it’s easy to forget,
The reason for the Holidays -
It’s not the food that makes it.
It’s the love and the warmth we share,
Spending time with our loved ones.
It’s the thanks we feel in our hearts
For all the things God has done.
So Happy Thanksgiving to you,
To everyone of your kin.
Give Thanks to God for everything,
Then let the eating begin.
I told you it was cheesy! Now go eat more turkey!
Happy Thanksgiving,

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Rocking the Goblet

I may be 28 now, but that hasn’t stopped me from being a huge Harry Potter fan. Well, not as huge as some, but I do love the series. Goblet of Fire is my favorite so far, so I’ve been looking forward to the movie immensely. Last night I made it my birthday party and six of us girls went to see it. (I say girls but we range in age from 23 to 39.)

I loved it. I liked the first two movies, they were fun. The third was even better, but Goblet of Fire just totally rocked. Of course there’s a lot of stuff they couldn’t really cover due to time constraints, but I was impressed by how well it flowed despite all the omissions. It was hysterical and yet creepy in all the right places and even sad. (I’ll admit it – I cried when Harry brought back Cedric Diggory, both when I read the book and when I watched the movie.)

The actors have really grown with the film series and they’re rolls are really becoming quite rounded. I love the chemistry among the cast, I honestly couldn’t name one person I would cast differently, and that’s pretty rare for me. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort was pure genius.

If you haven’t seen any of the films, give them a chance. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the books (although I highly recommend them.) J.K. Rowling’s characters are anything but flat. You’ll be amazed at how much you find in common with a young wizard in training.

I’m already dying to go back and see it again on the big screen, despite the price gouging. I’ll fork it over for Harry any day.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Another year older...

As of 6:20 tonight, I will officially be another year older. It feels strange to be 28, but more in the sense of actually saying the number than feeling any older. To be honest I don’t really feel any older than I did 10 or even 20 years ago. Does that seem strange?

To me it seems like our souls are born one age, and no matter how old your body is, your soul always feels and sees thing from a certain maturity. I’ve been told I have an old soul, and I guess in a way that’s kind of true. I have always been ‘mature for my age’ as so many like to say. But at heart I think I’ll always be 17. In fact, I’m more of a teenager now, then when I WAS a teenager.

I did the responsible thing in school, got the 4.0, did Student Council and never tee-pee’d or forked anyone’s yards. (Although I know a few who did.) At the time I would have been terrified of getting caught, terrified that I would disappoint someone and be thought of badly. Somewhere along the line, after I graduated, that suddenly didn’t seem like such a big deal. I mean, I don’t want to disappoint my loved ones or be thought of badly, but I suddenly don’t care so much about image. I freely admit to being a boy band lover – especially N’Sync, I’ve seen them in concert five times in five different states. I like being silly and spontaneous with my friends and I don’t censor every thing that pops into my head before I say it. (That may or may not be a good thing, but it’s the truth.)

In short, I let myself have fun. Safe fun - but fun none the less. I’m more daring now too. As a kid, I always chose truth over dare, but now days; I might just take that dare.

I think what changed for me was my view of life. I suddenly saw it for all its exciting possibilities and experiences. Opportunities that had to be taken or lost forever. I discovered that fear should be a motivator to change, not a shackle to contain. That pushing beyond your fears and expanding your horizons is exhilarating and fulfilling beyond belief.

I still have all the same emotions and feelings from 20 years ago, but if anything, these years have given me a different perspective on life. Here’s hoping it only gets better.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Walk The Line

I saw “Walk the Line” with my girlfriends this weekend and I loved it. I admit I’m drawn to movies about musicians more than most, but “Walk the Line” is right up there with “Ray”. It’s just a great movie period.

I knew some of Johnny Cash’s songs going in. The big ones, like “Ring of Fire”, “Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison”. I didn’t however know anything about his personal life or the rise of his career. It was very moving. As love stories go, it’s got all the right stuff, but it’s really so much more than a love story. It’s moving and funny in all the right places and yet still gritty where it should be, too.

Besides being a really personal look at the life of a legend, it was a great slice of history too. I tend to forget, that Elvis and Johnny Cash, June Carter and Jerry Lee Lewis, were peers. They were all rising stars at the same time on the same Sun label. It was so cool to watch their interaction in the film and to realize that they all became incredible legends, each one in their own right.

The acting was well done too. Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favorite actors. I think he’s one of the best in Hollywood right now, but he really outdid himself as Johnny Cash. I think he and Reese are both looking at Oscars this year. It was nice to see Reese in a more dramatic role. She has a great deal of talent as well. It was amazing how well they both handled the musical aspects of the film. A lot of movies the actors just lip-synch, but Reese and Joaquin not only sang, but they sang WELL.

I think this one will definitely end up in my DVD collection. Be sure and check it out.


Friday, November 18, 2005

A new addiction

Ah, the ballet. For many, The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. But I had only seen it once, in high school, performed by a student troupe. It was rather lackluster. Last night changed all my preconceptions about ballet.

Angel and I had front row seats to see Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. It was a one night only engagement and I loved it. First of all, just being in the grand old theater makes me feel special. (Don’t laugh, it does!) But when the curtain goes up and the music begins I feel energized.

The dancers are truly amazing. The strength and grace that they exhibit is truly inspiring. Now, I’m not a dancer. Not even a ‘dance-when-nobody-can-see-me’ kind of girl. I can’t do it. I don’t know how to dance and I have two left feet. However, I know that the work and commitment professionals put into their craft is immeasurable. And it showed last night. The dance of the Russian couple was incredible and the Arabian dance couple was so graceful, even sensual in a way.

What surprised me even more was how well they actually told the story without words. It’s really cool how just a small gesture or movement can express an emotion so clearly. The Magician was quite funny and really lent a comedic relief to the art that I hadn’t expected.

So now that I’ve experienced a real ballet, I’m addicted. I want to see Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle…. I had no idea that I would be that entranced by ballet, but I was and I think I’ll be seeing men in tights in a whole new light from now on.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Unanswered prayers

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like, if you had received something you’d longed for terribly? I heard Garth Brook’s song, Unanswered Prayers on the radio and it really caught my attention. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered about some of my own ‘unanswered prayers’. (And let me be clear, I believe God answers ALL prayers, sometimes it’s just that the answer is ‘no’. Let me also say, that He has answered YES more times than I could ever count. So, please don’t think I’m complaining.)

As I thought back on the things I had pleaded for and didn’t get, I realized just how different my life could have been. The first thing I really remember wanting was a certain boy I knew to like me. In fact, for years I thought someday we would finally fall in love and get married right out of high school. That didn’t happen. Am I sad about that? NO. He’s a wonderful person and good friend, but my desires were childish and naïve and we would never have worked out. In fact I’m downright thankful now that it never came true. What blows my mind is how very different my life would have been if I had been married at 18 rather than still single at 28.

The second thing I’d hoped for was to go to college and become a doctor. From the time I was five I knew that’s what I wanted to be – then my senior year came along and suddenly I didn’t know what I wanted to do. All those years of praying to be able to afford medical school and now I was just confused about my future career goals. I ended up passing on a college degree all together. My friends went on to college and I stayed home and got a job. I took a few classes, but somehow I just knew college wasn’t right for me. Thank goodness I discovered that too, because instead I had the opportunity to take in and help raise three of the most beautiful babies in the world. I learned what it was (to a small degree) to be a single mom. I still had my parents to help, but I shouldered their care and financial support. Now their family life is more stable and they don’t need me in the same way, but I wouldn’t have missed those years for anything. If I had gotten my desire to go to college I would have missed that joy. Now that I know myself better, I realize I could never have been a doctor. Although I love to help people, I couldn’t have handled the stress and pressure. I don’t have the right personality.

What amazes me looking back however is although I missed out on what I thought were really necessary and important desires, I actually ended up gaining life experiences that were worth way more. Things I didn’t even know to hope and pray for in high school and yet now am so thankful for.

I still find myself hoping and praying for certain things to come true, but I’ve learned that life doesn’t end with the death of a dream. New dreams are born in their place. I suppose some dreams may never die in me. I still hope to someday meet Mr. Right, but for now I’m just grateful that “some of God’s greatest gifts were unanswered prayers”.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Music for your ears

Yay, I have new music! I look forward to the little brown packages on my porch, probably more than anything. I do most of my music shopping online, so the boxes always signify something exciting.

My most recent purchases, have included some classical, a little rock and roll and a whole lot of country. I have a pretty broad taste in music, but I think these selections could be enjoyed by a lot of you, so I thought I’d share them.

Top of the list is Il Divo’s newest release. You may have heard of them on Oprah last year when Simon Cowell introduced them as his newest group. Their first CD was incredible. They have amazing voices and their harmonies are outstanding. Best of all it’s a classical sound without being overpowering. Even opera haters will find something to like here. Their latest CD is a Christmas album and I love it. Everyone else in my office seems to like it too. (Which is a good thing since it’s going to get played a lot.) They cover O Holy Night, Ave Maria, Silent Night and lots more. You can hear samples of the album at:,,3147734,00.html

The next on my list is Dierks Bentley’s new album, Modern Day Drifter. Dierks has a great voice, the kind that slides through your veins and makes you feel warm all over. Best song on the album in my opinion is “Come a Little Closer”. Gives me chills. There are lots of good tracks though from the funny – “Domestic, Light and Cold”, to the upbeat and catchy “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do”. He’s definitely a rising country star. You can hear Dierks Bentley at:,,3204244,00.html

Next is Bon Jovi’s Have a Nice Day. Their newest release is fun, catchy and feel-good. The title track is my favorite, but all of them are worthwhile. I especially like the duet “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” with Jennifer of Sugarland. They rock together. In fact, they did a show together for Crossroads on GAC. Watch for the replay, it’s well worth it. You can hear Bon Jovi at:,,3405460,00.html?src=search&artist=Bon+Jovi

Last but not least is the Soundtrack from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. The music is very moody and classical, yet in no way depressing. It was written by Jocelyn Pook and features the voices of Hayley Westenra and Andreas Scholl. This is the kind of music you chill to when you want to relax or just need to think. You can hear the Merchant of Venice Soundtrack at:

So, what are you waiting for? Go check these out and tell me what you think. I’d love to know if others enjoy these as much as I do.

Happy Listening,