Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Today marks one of my favorite holidays. There's just something about dressing up, getting candy, and crisp, cool weather that make me smile with glee. And today is particularly wonderful because a cold front is supposed to blow in, bringing with it the weather that makes fall my favorite season. So Happy Halloween to one & all. May you enjoy the day as much as I do!

And happy anniversary to my grandparents, who celebrate 50+ years today.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Two Prayer Requests

I have two dear friends who are in need of your prayers. You may recall me telling you about baby Jacob Pike, who was born at 30 1/2 weeks. He's had a little set-back in the past week. He had been upgraded from the NICU to a private room on the neonatal floor but experienced abdominal swelling and was readmitted to the NICU for observation and testing. I have not heard anything from Jen about the results of those tests. I'm hoping that no news is good news. But in the meantime, please keep the Pike/Willingham families in your prayers.

Also, my voice teacher is experiencing some tough times right now. She is a recent newlywed. And her husband has had some health problems since returning from some late summer vacationing. Initially, he believed he had a ruptured disc in his back. But an MRI showed this was not the case. The pain has since moved around quite a bit. He was admitted to the hospital last week for severe pain. While an official diagnosis has not been made, the doctors have mentioned the possibility of bone cancer. Facing cancer is particularly difficult for them as both of them have lost spouses to cancer. Please pray for the Tull family.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Peace and Quiet

What a great weekend we've had. Although Derek has been on call, it was a relatively uneventful weekend, which means we actually got to see each other for more than five minutes! But with a quiet schedule for me until the end of the year, that should be the case for a while. Aside from getting to spend some quiet, quality time together, I spent a better part of the weekend cleaning house. Finally...the house is back up to my standard of clean. For six weeks, I wasn't able to do much in the way of cleaning. You take for granted every day the ability to lift and/or push/pull things that weigh more than 10 lbs. At least, I know that I did. So while I was on post-op restrictions, I wasn't able to run the vacuum cleaner. While I wouldn't ordinarily complain about this, after a while, the metropolises of dust bunnies really start to get to you--well, they do if you're a neat/clean freak like I am. Derek was kind enough to "clean" a few times, but it's just not quite the same. And now the house is all nice & clean again. You know, there really is nothing like that feeling of having a clean house. At least, for me anyway.

Now that that's done, I can finally get to the around-the-house to-do list, which has grown quite long. I am already able to cross one thing off the list--I temporarily organized my rehearsal corner in the craft room (see photo left). Ah, accomplishment! If we tackle one to two projects a week, I think we can actually get everything else accomplished before the end of the year. Here's the list:

  • Install new toilet flapper in master bath
  • Install task lighting in craft room
  • Install tile backsplash in kitchen
  • Paint interior walls
  • Clean out closets in extra bedroom/offices
  • Organize Derek's office
  • Clean/organize garage
  • File the mountain of paperwork
  • Take clothes to Goodwill
I'm sure we've missed a few things on the to-do list. But just these few items should keep us busy from now until the end of the year. And what a terrific feeling to have all of these things accomplished!

So for the next few months, we'll be enjoying the peace and quiet of house projects. I find all of these things very relaxing. Perhaps because the ability to cross them off the to-do list is cathartic. But that's probably because it feeds the neat freak in me. And that's okay.

I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fall Signals Change

Just as the season is changing here in Texas, it seems appropriate that my blog layout have a little makeover, as well. I cannot guarantee I'll stay with the new layout. I'm honestly not sure whether I'm all that fond of it, but it will do for now until I have more time to do some more searching. Meanwhile, feel free to let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Audition Announcement

On behalf of my friend:

I need actors. Kaufman County Civic Theatre (I know, I know, it's a silly name) is producing the Radio Show version of It's a Wonderful Life for our Christmas show this year. I am Directing. The rehearsal schedule will be REALLY light. Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Nov. 7 through the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and then Mon, Tue, Wed (if needed), and Thur. the following week leading up to opening December 1.

Shows are December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, & 17.

Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00pm. Sundays at 2pm.

I'm having open auditions tonight at the theatre in the Old City Hall in Terrell, 115 N Adelaide. Hope to see you there.

Marty

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ahhhh...

Finally...I have a much-anticipated break from the go-go that has been my life the last several months. All of my singing engagements have come to a close. I might have a random job here and there, but long commitments are done for the year. And honestly, I'm looking forward to the break.

Lots of other updates to give, so I'll do it this way:


Car stuff - my car is now in the shop. If all goes well, it should be home by the weekend. Yeah! My insurance company has been so fabulous. In the end, a clause in our collision policy allowed a waiver in deductible. So even though I'm without my car for a few weeks, we are not out any money. And the insurance company is left to fight the battle of cost recovery without us. Yeah!

Audition results - I got my official "you didn't get anything" notice from the opera this week. Honestly, I'm a lot more disappointed than I thought I would be. I felt confident there would be something for me this season, but obviously there was talent well beyond mine. So...it's on to another audition but not until January. I have much to keep me busy between now and then, though I'm not ready to tell you about it just yet.

Concert - Last night's Chorale was concert was fabulous and very well-attended. I'm anxious to hear the recording. Thanks to everyone who came to hear us. I think we did you all proud.

Anniversary - all in all, it was a very nice weekend. Derek and I enjoyed an evening in on Saturday. I cooked for the first time in a very long time. And we actually lit the candle on the table. With the two of us always on the go, romance has kinda gone too...no time, you see. But it was nice to be able to take a moment and not have any interruptions. And, as usual, he completely went against the gift-giving plan and went completely overboard. But he wouldn't be Derek if he didn't!

See you in the funny papers

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Anniversary Reflections

It's hard to believe that six years ago today we said "I do." It's safe to say that we didn't believe everyone who said "marriage is hard work." But over the last six years, we've learned, as every couple does, that they were right--marriage is very hard work. As the years fly by, you realize that it's a lot harder to be that cute newlywed couple that everyone talked about. Romance often gives way to reality. There are days when you wonder why on earth you thought marriage was a good idea. Then there are other days when you wonder how you got so lucky to have such a wonderful spouse. I think this poem sums it up best:

You know we've been married a while
because we speak more of home repairs than romance.

When we talk about being hot,
it's usually something to do with the thermostat.

Candlelight means there's a power failure,
and a great night in bed usually means
we managed to get some good sleep.

But in the midst of the humdrum,
I catch a look at your eyes
and see the eyes of the one I fell in love with.
And in your voice, I still hear the whispers
of someone newly in love.
And in your hands, I feel the caress
that has always made me melt.

Life isn't always fun or exciting or wonderful...
but you always are.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Free Concert on Sunday

In honor of Mozart's 250th birthday, the Irving Chorale will present a stirring concert of reflection, including "Laudate Dominum" from his Vesperae Solennes De Confessore, K. 339 and the entirety of his Requiem. The Chorale will be joined by the voices of the Plymouth Park United Methodist Church Chancel Choir. The choruses will be accompanied by professional orchestra and under the direction of Jason Chavarria, music minister of PPUMC, and Harry Wooten, artistic director of the Chorale.

This free concert will be presented on Sunday, October 22, 2006, at 7 p.m. at Plymouth Park U.M.C. in Irving. Click for Map

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ha-ha for the Day

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.

Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey," died peacefully at the age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.

They put his left leg in . . . and then the trouble started.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Heart My Insurance Company

Well, it's been a week since the little fender bender with the underage driver. So I figure it's about time for an update. I filed a claim with their insurance company, who had a hard time reaching the policy holder. Apparently, there was some kind of coverage issue to be discussed. After several days, they were finally able to speak to the couple about their son's accident and their coverage. Ultimately, my rep with their company told me to file on my uninsured motorist policy. While the claim had not been denied by them, he believed it ultimately would be. So I called my agent on Monday and subsequently my carrier. By yesterday morning, my company had prepared a full accident report, damage estimate, and repair estimate. And by yesterday afternoon, they had contacted my garage of choice, also one of their preferred shops, who called me to make arrangements to tow the car. Wow, talk about fast. So while the whole accident & having to file on my UID policy is a pain (since I'll have to pay a deductible & wait for who knows how many ions to recover it), I've been very impressed with the service I've received from The Hartford. I only hope the shop is as quick about repairing my car as my insurance company has been about getting everything in order!

It's the Little Things

The most interesting thing happened to me on Sunday while shopping at Sam's. Derek and I were in line to check out. This lady approached me and said, "I just want to thank you for wearing that." She gave me a big hug and continued, "I just heard from my son in Iraq. It means a lot for you to wear that shirt."

My aunt Robin sent this shirt to me while my cousin Matt was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq in the Green Zone. On the front is the caption "Support Our Local Troops," while on the back is a list of everyone in the company who participated in the tour. While Matt is now home, Derek's cousin Isaac is now in Iraq. Thus, I continue to wear the shirt because I firmly believe our support of the troops is important. We may not all agree about the war. In fact, it's safe to say that a majority of the US thinks we should come home. However, whether or not I agree with our troops being stationed in Iraq (or anywhere else in the world) does not affect my support of their service. Wearing a shirt telling others is certainly the very least that I can do.

So please, do your part. Show your support for US Servicemen (and women). I cannot think of one who is not proud to serve, to protect, and to defend. We should be thankful for their undying support of this country and of the rights and freedoms their service affords us.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

All's Well That Ends Well

Had my audition with The Living Opera on Sunday. Yep, I have a story. Ultimately decided to sing the Vivaldi "Alleluia" and Sondheim's "One More Kiss" from Follies. Since I knew I would sing the Sondheim piece and I was given the option to do so, I hired my own accompanist. It's such a crap shoot to go to an audition and depend on the hired gun. Most of the time, it works out alright, but I have those stories where it didn't. Anywho. On with the story.

So I start with the Vivaldi b/c I really want to do the best on the Sondheim piece. While the Vivaldi is showy in that it's all technique with the runs, the Sondheim really shows off the singer's ability to interpret and sing a very lyric line with lots of vocal control. If you know anything about the Baroque time period, you know that most of the pieces are AB sometimes ABA. Anyway, I got to the B section of the piece & completely forgot how it went. Ultimately, I repeat the A, which works for about two bars before it becomes plainly obvious that someone has screwed up. I stopped singing in hopes of recovering, but I suddenly didn't recognize the accompaniment at all. So I said, "I'm sorry. I'm going to have to stop." And then I turned to my accompanist to quickly choose a place to pick up. Ultimately, I recovered and sang the end of the piece flawlessly but I hate that I had to stop & start. I ended the audition beautifully. "One More Kiss" was absolutely flawless and was certainly well-received by the panel of judges. So...all's well that ends well.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Whoops...She Almost Did It Again

Each Friday, the Dallas Morning News posts its new Pet-of-the-Week candidates. You may remember that Dori was in the running more than a month ago & ultimately won. Earlier this week, I remembered that I hadn't checked for last week's entries. (While I don't always vote, I do like to look each week.) As I was scrolling down the list of potential candidates, I see a familiar face--Dori. Yep, she managed to make another appearance (and almost won again--who wouldn't vote for that cute face again?!). Naturally, this was a different picture (shown). I recall sending it after I thought the first picture had been rejected by the screeners as one not fit for the weekly stroll of candidates.

So, for those of you who also check the Pet-of-the-Week candidates each week, no, Dori's mommy was not trying to suggest that Dori is a diva and deserves more than one week's celebrity. Clearly the people at DMN don't get in a hurry to post photos & thus pet parents, like me, are led to believe their previous submissions have been rejected & thus send more, potentially cuter, photos of their beloved four-legged children. And because the people at DMN likewise do not check for duplicate entries--albeit with different photos--you may end up with cute critters who make the stroll more than once. So thanks to everyone who voted for her again; we're kinda glad the win went to the little dachsund.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Big Fat Raspberry to Today

So what do you get when you add one to thirty? A big fat raspberry. Yesterday was great. Couldn't have asked for a better monumental birthday. Heard from lots of friends, some were even a surprise. Got gifts, flowers, balloons, a yard full of toilet paper, good food. Like I said, I can't complain. Got up today feelin' pretty good.

Then....

On the way to work, I got shmucked by a stupid teenager in a hurry to get to school who decided stop signs aren't really meant for stopping & heads aren't really meant for turning to look both ways. Thankfully, no one got hurt--at least, at this point, it seems like we're all in the clear. I may be sore tomorrow, but for now, I'm fine. So, afterward, I was feelin' pretty sorry for myself, right? Right, 30 + 1 = a really sucky day. But then I started thinkin' about the kid who hit me...and here's where the story begins--Reader's Digest version, of course.

I'm driving down the street minding my own business. Out of the corner of my eye, I see this white car coming at my driver's side door. I think, "wait, what's he doing there? He's supposed to stop. Why's he not stopping? He's gonna hit me. Oh crap...." (All of this taking place in a millisecond, of course) BAM...SCREECH...all quiet. "Am I okay? Nothing hurts. I think I'm fine. Time to get info. Stupid idiot." Get out of my car to go get insurance info. Walk up to the car & see that it's two teenagers. Great. They're not white either. Great. (No offense to anyone, but insurance statistics show that those most responsible for causing claims on uninsured motorist policies are not white.) I'm wondering whether they're going to have insurance when I ask for it. Yep, thankfully, they do. Take the card & go back to my car to copy down info. DPS officer happens upon the scene & stops to assist. Checks on us to be sure we're unhurt. Assesses damage. Asks questions. Helps us get pertinent info. At this point, we figure out that the kid has no driver's license. Not only that but he has no i.d. at all. He volunteers, "my dad doesn't know I drive the car to school." Bummer for you, he's gonna know now. "I have to call Rowlett PD before either of you can leave." They get there quickly. Get information from both of us. Kid gets ticketed for driving without a license. Plus, his car gets towed to impound because there's not a licensed driver who can remove it from the accident scene. The kid is still late for school & gets taken there by the cops.

So I chuckled all the way to work thinking...man, that kid has to sit at school all day knowing that he's going to be in some serious trouble when he gets home. Not only was he driving the car without parental consent, but he hit someone & was at fault in the accident because he ran a stop sign, he got a ticket for driving without a license, and he's the reason the my-dad-doesn't-know-I-drive-it-to-school car got towed to impound. All in all, I would say this day cost him--and subsequently his parents--some serious cash.

Yep, maybe this day didn't suck so bad after all. At least I didn't have all that 'splainin to do!

For the Girls

Today's song lyrics are for the girls. Both tunes are snappy & very catchy. Toe-tappers, ya might say. Carrie Underwood's song just cracks me up. The first time I heard it I thought, "wow, what girl hasn't wanted to do this to the guy who decided he'd play the field!" And it still makes me smile every single time I hear it. While The Wreckers' tune is catchy & the harmony tight, the heart of the story is a lot more sad. Put to a sappy melody line, it would certainly make ya cry. But the story's very familiar to any girl who's dated a guy who can't make up his mind just how much he likes you but doesn't want to let you go altogether. Havin' his cake & eatin' it, too, so to speak. Meanwhile, you're left to wonder at what point he's going to choose someone else & leave you to "pick up the pieces."

So, ladies, these are for you. Enjoy

Before He Cheats

Right now he's probably slow dancin' with a bleach blonde tramp,
and she's probably gettin' frisky
right now, he's probably buyin' her some fruity little drink cause she can't shoot whiskey
Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool stick showing her how to shoot a combo

And he don't know
That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped up 4-wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats

Right now she's probably up singin' some
white-trash version of Shania karaoke
Right now, she's probably sayin' "I'm drunk"
and he's thinkin' that he's gonna get lucky
Right now he's probably dabbin' on 3 dollars' worth of that bathroom polo

And he don't know
That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped up 4-wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights
slashed a hole in all 4 tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats

I might saved a little trouble for the next girl
Cause the next time that he cheats
Oh, you know it won't be on me!

Ohh...not on me..
Cause I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped up 4-wheel drive
carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights
slashed a hole in all 4 tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.


--Carrie Underwood

Leave the Pieces

You're not sure that you love me
But you're not sure enough to let me go
Baby, it ain't fair
You know you just keep me hangin' round
You say you don't wanna hurt me
Don't wanna see my tears
So why are you still standin' here
Just watchin' me drown

And it's alright
Yeah, I'll be fine
Don't worry 'bout this heart o' mine
Just take your love and hit the road
'Cause there's nothin' you can do or say
You're gonna break my heart anyway
So just leave the pieces when you go

Now you can drag out the heartache
Baby, you can make it quick
You can get it over with and let me move on
Don't concern yourself with this mess you left for me
I can clean it up, ya see
Just as long as you're gone

And it's alright
Yeah, I'll be fine
Don't worry 'bout this heart o' mine
Just take your love and hit the road
'Cause there's nothin' you can do or say
You're gonna break my heart anyway
So just leave the pieces when you go

You're not makin' up your mind
It's killin' me
You're wasting time
I need so much more than that

Yeah, I'll be fine
Don't worry 'bout this heart o' mine
Just take your love and hit the road
'Cause there's nothin' you can do or say
You're gonna break my heart anyway
So just leave the pieces when you go

Leave the pieces when you go


--The Wreckers

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Birthdays

Birthdays are the tolling of
A bell that marks the coming of
A time of festive joy and love,
A time to treasure life and love.
So come and celebrate with me
The circumstance that makes me, me:
The moment when I came to be,
And what I now have come to be.

--Author unknown

Birthdays--generally, I have no qualms with birthdays. I usually manage to make mine last well beyond a week by the time I catch up with all of my friends and family. Since this year marks a "monumental" birthday, I would rather spend my birthday under a rock, pretending it doesn't exist. Particularly when I got up this morning to find my house toilet papered (thank you, David & Olga) and my yard littered with signs proclaiming my "big" birthday. So in the light of the fit of side-splitting laughter I've already had today, I thought a moment of reflection might be better since I'm clearly not going to be under a rock today. Plus, my quote-a-day calendar says

Cheerfulness brings sunlight for the mind,
filling it with calm and reassurance,
and lasts far longer than amusement's quick frantic burst.

So my cheery reflections are thus: I am truly blessed to celebrate my thirtieth birthday. Beyond the blessings of years are those of wonderful family and friends, who love and support me in everything I do. Thank you all for making each and every day a special day.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

One Down...

So, yesterday's audition--went. Funny how I always have some kind of funny story to tell after an audition. To start the whole thing off, I was late to my audition. This never happens. I'm usually at least 10 minutes early. And I left in plenty of time. Knowing that it was TX-OU weekend, I opted to go George Bush to Irving from Rowlett. I figured I would avoid all the football traffic that way. Haha--this would have been a good plan if the good folks at NTTA hadn't decided to do construction on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., shutting the westbound lanes down to one lane from Preston all the way to 35. Suck! Thankfully, I got there & people were congregating in the hallway. I waited about 5-10 min and Steve called my name. Nope, they hadn't been waiting on me. Overall, I think the audition went alright. My friend Gary Okeson was the hired accompanist so I was very pleased to know I would have a capable person driving my pieces. Sang "Green Finch" from Sweeney Todd first. Got all done and a conversation with one of the panel members goes something like this

{guy} Do you have anything more in the pop style? Less legit?
{grasshoppa} No, I'm sorry. I don't. I brought "Summertime" as my second piece.
{guy} Okay, well, let's try that and see how it works.
(Sing first 16-ish bars)
{guy} Thanks.

Yeah, so I was a little confused by this request for more pop style. The audition posting was thus

Please prepare 2 contrasting musical theater or country/folk type songs.

If you wanted musical theatre more in the pop style, say like Wicked! or Rent, then you should say so in the audition posting. Oh well, as I'm learning with each audition, there's always something new to add to the memory bank. This lesson would be to ask more questions about the types of pieces they were really looking for.

So...on to the next audition. I can only hope it goes better or is at least sans any strange comments.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Quote of the Day

The Church is a society of sinners - the only society in the world in which membership is based upon the single qualification that the candidate shall be unworthy of membership.
-- Charles C. Morrison

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Consumer Warning

To my friends, family, and other blog readers:

To follow, find a discourse on why, at all costs, you should avoid doing business with Zales Consumer Credit. Zales Consumer Credit, managed by Citi, provides the credit services for Zales Jeweler. You see all of the ads, "Apply for our card & get xx months of interest free/payment free financing." The ads are enticing, yes? Who wouldn't be interested in spreading out the cost of a major purchase, like jewelry, over an extended period of time without penalty of interest? We sure bought into it. But I am here to strongly encourage--no absolutely yell at you--DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH ZALES CONSUMER CREDIT!!!!! Say no to the card!

Why? Allow me to give you the Reader's Digest version of our year-long battle with Zales Consumer Credit. Last October, we made a purchase. When we realized that it did not qualify for the advertised payment/interest deferment period--yes, that's right, it didn't qualify for the advertised program--we returned the purchase for a refund. Subsequently, we repurchased the items, along with two additional pieces, in order to qualify for the advertised program. When we received our billing statement with these transactions, things were amiss. Rather than issuing a credit for the return, the credit center posted a second charge for said amount. We called. No problem, we'll issue you a credit. They posted one credit to our account. This still leaves one erroneous charge pending for the return that was made. We called again. This time, no one at the credit center can help. The problem had to go to the investigations department, and we had to fax documentation of the transactions. In January, the second credit finally posts & the account is finally correct. Right? Right.

Sadly, I wish the story stopped there. In March, the credit center posts a charge to our account in the amount of the return. We called the credit center to tell them of the error and ask why this happened. "Yes, we know about it. The store called and said it mistakenly reposted the charge to your account. You should see a credit in about two weeks." Anal retentive, obsessive compulsive person that I am--I check the account regularly--okay, every day. A month later and still no credit for the erroneous posting. We call the credit center again. Again, the problem is sent to investigations and once again we have to send the same documentation of the return that we sent to the same department in December. Mind you, each time it goes to investigations, "it can take up to 60 days to process your request." In the meantime, I faithfully check the account to see if the credit has been issued. Sixty days later, no credit. More phone calls to the credit center--each time speaking to someone further and further up the chain of command. Another round of investigations, however, no request for documentation. August--still no credit. Another phone call. September--no credit. October--no credit. Another phone call. And those of you who know me know how angry I am at this point. No, I'm beyond angry. Get a supervisor.

{idiot} "I understand, and I wish I could give you a credit, Mrs. Fox. But I am not authorized to do that. All I can do is send this to the investigations department, along with all of the notes I have taken."
{grasshoppa} "You don't understand. This same issue has already been sent to your investigations department four times. And it has yet to be resolved. We have been dealing with this issue for almost a year. Do you know what happens when we get to a year? We accrue finance charges."
{idiot} "I'm sorry, Mrs. Fox. This is all I can do for you."
{grasshoppa} .... (trying to gather rational thoughts)
{grasshoppa} "Fine. Send it to your investigations department for the fourth time. But you owe me the credit, and I'm not paying it or any finance charges that might be assessed."
{idiot} "I'm sorry. I can't give you the credit. And there is a possibility the finance charges cannot be reversed. I'm not author..."
{grasshoppa} "I UNDERSTAND YOU'RE NOT AUTHORIZED. Send it to your investigations then." (very short pause) "Is there someone in investigations I can speak with? They already have all of this information on file, and I can save them a lot of time and get this taken care of a lot quicker if I can speak to someone."
{idiot} "I'm sorry. You can't. They're a non-phone department."
{grasshoppa} (Right. That's convenient) "Fine. Send it to investigations then. But what I want you to do is cancel the account. I'm not paying the balance. And you let your superiors know that I'm very unhappy, that I never intend to do business with you again, and that I intend to tell everyone I know not to do business with you."
{idiot} "I'm sorry. I can't give you the credit, even if you deserve it. And I can't cancel your account. I will make a note that you're unhappy..."
{grasshoppa} "What's your name?"
{idiot} "Rob."
{grasshoppa} "Last name?"
{idiot} "I can't tell you that."
{grasshoppa} "Okay, Rob. How about an identification number?"
{idiot} "I have an operator number."
{grasshoppa} "Okay, what's your operator number?"
{idiot} (sighs) (gives me his operator number)
{grasshoppa} "Is there an address to which I can send a complaint about the investigations department?"
{idiot} "No. But we do have an address for complaints about our services."
{grasshoppa} "What's the address?"
{idiot} (sighs) (gives address)
{grasshoppa} "Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?"
{idiot} (sigh) "Yes."
{grasshoppa} "Good. I'll also be lodging a complaint with them." (pause) "Is there anything else you can do for me today?"
{idiot} "No, I'm sorry. All I can do is send this to investigations...."
{grasshoppa}(Click)

So I rant and rant about this to Derek, who had already spent an hour on the phone with Rob-the-Idiot before I spent the fifteen minutes to get told he could do nothing. Once I finally calmed down, we both came to the same realization. When we spoke to the credit center in March, they said the post was because of a store error. We had worked with the store manager after being told this in March. So we decide to go back to the store manager today to see if they could expedite the process. In theory, the store manager has this resolved. It still has to go to investigations, but rather than waiting up to 60 days, we are supposed to know in 5 days. We'll see if this gets fixed once and for all. Given their track record, I figure we'll be calling them again in a few months...and that phone call will be through our attorney!

Learn a lesson from us--DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH ZALES CONSUMER CREDIT!!!! If you have an account, watch it like a hawk; pay it off; and cut up your card!

{Sidebar: Actually, the real problem is not just Zales Consumer Credit. It's with their managing company--Citi. We have a consumer account with Home Depot, as well. Guess who manages those accounts? Citi. Have we had problems with that account? Yep. Has it taken more than one call to the credit center to get the error fixed? Yes. Has it been fixed once and for all? Not exactly. But the balance is at least what it should be. Only the coming months will tell if they get it right permanently. So....before getting any store card for those great financing deals, check to see who manages those consumer accounts. If it's Citi, RUN LIKE HOLY HELL!!!!}

Busy October Weekends

While the weekdays are still pretty restful, my October weekends are anything but. I have two auditions in the next two weekends. This weekend, I'll be auditioning for The Winner at Lyric Stage. This piece is a world premiere, so I know very little about it aside from the basic plotline. I'm ignoring a birthday next week, though my friends and family will not let me. So throw birthday festivities in the mix. Next weekend is the annual audition for The Living Opera's upcoming season. The following weekend is the Chorale concert...and add my wedding anniversary in that weekend for fun. There are a few local theatre shows I would like to see with friends and several dinner dates to make. Like I said, the weekends are busy. But I'm glad to begin to get back to a schedule I recognize! (And that I feel well enough to do so)

I'm very nervous about both auditions but particularly the one this weekend. My voice teacher has been out of town the last two weeks. Thus, I have been all on my own to both choose and work up audition pieces. Needless to say, I've picked ones with which I'm pretty comfortable. Thankfully, she returns this weekend, so I'll have one lesson to work the two pieces I've chosen for next weekend's audition and I can work my solo piece for the Chorale concert.

She's Everything

She’s a yellow pair of running shoes
A holey pair of jeans
She’s looks great in cheap sunglasses
She looks great in anything
She’s “I want a piece of chocolate”
“Take me to a movie”
She’s “I can’t find a thing to wear”
Now and then she’s moody
She’s a Saturn with a sunroof
With her brown hair a blowin'
She’s a soft place to land
And a good feeling knowin'
She’s a warm conversation that I wouldn’t miss for nothin'
She’s a fighter when she’s mad and a lover when she’s lovin'

She’s everything that I ever wanted
And everything I need
When I talk about her I go on and on and on
'Cause she is everything to me

She’s a Saturday out on the town
Church girl on Sunday
A cross around her neck and a cuss word cause it’s Monday
She’s a bubble bath and candle
"Baby, come and kiss me"
She’s a one glass of wine and she’s feelin' kinda tipsy
She’s the giver I wish I could be and the stealer of the covers
She’s the picture in my wallet
She’s the hand that I'm holdin' when I’m on my knees and prayin'
She’s the answer to my prayers
She’s the song that I’m playin' and

She’s everything that I ever wanted
And everything I need
When I talk about her I go on and on and on
'Cause she is everything to me

She’s the voice I love to hear
Someday when I’m 90
She's that wooden rockin' chair
I want rockin' right beside me
Everyday that passes I only love her more
Yeah, she’s the one that I'd lay down my own life for

She’s everything that I ever wanted
And everything I need
When I talk about her I go on and on and on
'Cause she is everything to me

--Brad Paisley

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Baby Pike Update

For those of you interested in Anthony Jacob's progress, I spoke to Jennifer on Monday. Jacob is doing extremely well. He's been on room air since the weekend. He's eating well & gaining weight. Everything is completely normal, so no preemie worries at this point. Jennifer & Tim thank you for all of the prayers and ask that you continue to pray for little Jacob as he works on growing enough to leave the NICU for home, which is still many weeks away. I'm going to visit on Sunday, so I'll amend this post with pictures b/c I hear he's the cutest baby ever...then again, this was from his mom so I'll let all of you be the judge!

What's Up With All the Song Lyrics???

I'm sure the observant among my faithful blog readers have noticed a recent rash of song lyric postings. Have I gone sentimental on all of you? Perhaps. Is it intentional? Yes. For whatever reason, I've been more tuned into lyrics recently. I don't know if it's because I was in the midst of helping my brother pick wedding music or what. But for whatever reason, I began to really listen to the lyrics to some of the country top 40. Thus, when a song really struck a nerve, I've posted the lyrics. Some make me cry every time I hear them. Some have a very special meaning. Others simply make me smile. As I continue to be in this poetic observance period, I'll post more song lyrics. Too mushy for you? Don't read them. Hear one you like and don't see it posted? Let me know about it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Broken Road

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

--Rascal Flatts

Mozart Requiem - Mark Your Calendar

In honor of Mozart's 250th birthday, the Irving Chorale will present a stirring concert of reflection, including "Laudate Dominum" from his Vesperae Solennes De Confessore, K. 339 and the entirety of his Requiem. The Chorale will be joined by the voices of the Plymouth Park United Methodist Church Chancel Choir. The choruses will be accompanied by professional orchestra and under the direction of Jason Chavarria, music minister of PPUMC, and Harry Wooten, artistic director of the Chorale.

This free concert will be presented on Sunday, October 22, 2006, at 7 p.m. at Plymouth Park U.M.C. in Irving. Click for Map

Monday, October 02, 2006

When Adults Behave Badly

In all my years of watching football, never have I witnessed such an asinine display of childish and very dangerous behavior as I watched unfold yesterday during the Cowboys/Titans game. For those of you who've lived under a rock the last two days, here's the scoop. Early in the third quarter and immediately after a Cowboys touchdown, Titan defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth kicks Cowboys center Andre Gurode in the face--not just once but twice, the second blow leading to a gash requiring at least 30 stitches. Anyone who saw this post-play action unfold likely screamed at the t.v. like I did because there was no provocation for this ridiculously "asinine behavior" (in the words commentator of Daryl Johnson). Naturally, a flag was thrown for unsportsmanlike conduct. Haynesworth, obviously thinking that he'd done no wrong in throwing a shoebottom full of turf spikes in his opponent's forehead, throws a big ol' two-year-oldlike temper tantrum by stripping off his helmet & flinging it down on the field just before he gets in the ref's face & proceeds to give him the what-for. Tell me folks, do we really want our children idolizing professional sportsman? Because with behavior like this, it reminds me why I've quit being a loyal fan & virtually never turn on a game...ever! I think the real icing on the cake for me is Haynesworth's day-after commentary:

"What I did out there was disgusting," Haynesworth said. "It doesn't matter what the league does to me. The way I feel right now, you just can't describe it."
Yeah, well, I'm glad you've had difficultly clearing your conscience overnight and all, but really...where the h-e-double was your sportsmanship yesterday? I cannot think of anything that could be said or done on a ballfield that would provoke such an assault on another human being. Makes me wonder how you deal with difficult situations off the ballfield. Do you beat your wife too, Mr. Haynesworth?? Quite frankly, I think he should be not only be permanently suspended from the game but also brought up on criminal charges. That behavior goes beyond ridiculous & shouldn't go unpunished by a court of law...NFL fines & suspensions are not good enough in cases like this! An example should be made.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

From: Dad

Look at the two of you dancing that way
Lost in the moment and each other's face
So much in love you're alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world
I was enough for her not long ago
I was her number one
She told me so
And she still means the world to me
Just so you know
So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything
Life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

How could that beautiful woman with you
Be the same freckle-face kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
Someday you might know what I'm going through
When a miracle smiles up at you
I loved her first

--Heartland