Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cartoon Weekly?

Well, it's not a cartoon, but it's still pretty darn funny! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Save the Date: Uptown Broadway

In conjunction with Lake Highlands U.M.C. Music Ministry's Festival of Music Series, soprano Susan Fox, mezzo-soprano Whitney Dewell, and selected chancel choir members, accompanied by the talented Scott Ayers, will present an afternoon program – Uptown Broadway – on Sunday, November 8th at 3 p.m. Come hear some of your all-time favorites and a few new ones too. You are sure to leave with a spring in your step and humming a tune!

Sanctuary, Lake Highlands U.M.C.
9015 Plano Rd., Dallas, TX
Sunday, November 8, 2009
3:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Afternoon Funny

Derek & I were shootin' the breeze on the phone this afternoon:

D: The vet's office called a little earlier. Dori's dry food is in.
S: That's good. She was almost all out.

{A little later}

D: Well, I'm at the vet now.
S: Are you goin' to get tutored?
D: Hahaha, you're real funny!

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I crack myself up sometimes, I'm just so darn funny. (And for those of you who have no earthly idea why this is funny, "tutored" is the word we use in front of the critters when we're talking about going to get "fixed.")

Thursday Round-up

The last week has been another busy one. The weekend flew by in its usual fashion - way too much to do and not enough time to do it all. I got laundry washed & dried, which was an accomplishment. However, it remains on the loveseat in a crumpled heap. Wrinkled clothes anyone? *Ooo, ooo! Me, me!* What is it with me & the laundry? It's definitely a hate-hate relationship. It's one of the many reasons I'm thankful for a very roomy walk-in closet. I can leave a mess in the floor, close the door, and no one is the wiser. Well, I guess you are now. *wink*

Sunday, I was gone all day long. It was a marathon day really. I sang two services, dashed out to grab lunch, and headed back to the church for an afternoon planning meeting for Advent music for the kids. When you look at the calendar, it's hard to believe that we're but a mere six weeks from the start of Advent! *shudder* We wrapped up the meeting to attend a recital - one piano, four hands. It was amazing! Unfortunately, I had to duck out of the recital a tick early to run a rehearsal. Ya know, I'm not a great conductor. It's not my gift, know what I mean? But I can muddle through when necessary. It was definitely muddling, let me tell you. When it was all said and done and my day had finally ended, I went home and crashed on the couch. And I do mean crashed.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned here that the "big boss" is retiring at the end of the month. That means there are lots of parties and gatherings, and, of course, I've been roped into putting together a little scrapbook. In my spare time. *snicker* Actually, of all of the books I've done for people retiring from my office, this one has been the easiest to put together. I decided that simple was better on this one. I hope that's the right call. *shrugs*

Throw in the middle of all that a little working out and time in the practice room working on recital music and time in the craft room scurrying to get some last-minute cards made and you are now all caught up. So ... basically, I've been consumed by laundry, music, and memory books. What about you??

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nine Years Ago Today

We said, "I do."
Happy anniversary, babe -
I love you!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

German Shepherd Rescue Closing

On October 31, a German Shepherd rescue group called Camp Wolfgang (Ennis, Texas) is closing down because of family issues. The folks at Camp Wolfgang do not need or want donations; they simply MUST place all of the dogs. They have nearly 200 dogs that must find a foster or be adopted before October 31, or they will have no choice but to euthanize them all. I am shocked by this and I hope you are too.

All the dogs are vetted, spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, and well cared-for, and many have had training. Adoption fees are $75.00 for individuals or free to verifiable rescue groups.

Current dogs: (approximate)

120 German Shepherds
2 Akitas
1 Anatolian/Great Pyrenees
4 Purebred Rottweiler
1 Great Dane/Lab
1 Boxer/Mastiff
1 St. Bernard/Akita
1 WolfDog
45 Other mixed breeds

If you cannot help by fostering or adopting, YOU CAN STILL HELP!!! Please copy and forward this information to everyone you know. If we all forward this, chances are good that many of these dogs can be saved! If you know anyone who can adopt, accept a dog into their rescue, or help place these dogs, please contact Neisha Livengood, Kennel Master at Camp Wolfgang.

Neisha Livengood
phone: 214-755-1627
Camp Wolfgang
6234 FM 879
Ennis, Texas 75119

Thanks to everyone for anything you may be able to do to help these dogs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cartoon Weekly: 3

Welcome to this - the third edition - of Cartoon Weekly where we examine my (sometimes sick) sense of humor. And off we go....

Here we are with a throw-back to childhood. Any of you remember the Care Bears? Oh how I begged for them for Christmas and birthdays. I had Sunshine Bear, which is kinda funny given that I am NO cuppa sunshine in the mornin'. I also had/still have Care Bear sheets. While lots of junk from the 80s is making a comeback, I haven't seen these guys yet.

This Rose is Rose cartoon seemed particularly fitting given all the hulabaloo over health care going on right now. (As you can see, I prefer the humorous approach to serious issues. *wink*)

Bizarro has done it again. This cartoon series never fails to make me laugh at the mundanest of things - much like Seinfeld. I do believe that this one made me spew my morning tea on the particular day it arrived in my Google Reader.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wrangling Kids

I would like to thank all of you who have weighed in on my dilemma with the kiddos in my choir. You have all provided some wonderful insight and ideas. Adn I have discussed many of these with the Minister of Music, who has worked with children for many more moons than I. She was pleased that I had come to her so that we could formulate a plan to use both when the two choirs are together and when they are separate. Consistency is likely going to be the biggest key to our success.

To begin with, we are going to employ a Time Out box in both rooms. A child will get one warning about no-no behaviors. Any subsequent misbehavior will land them in Time Out for as long as it takes for them to sit still and quiet at which time they will be allowed to return to the group. We have not had to employ any type of disciplinary action before now, so we are hoping the introduction of the Time Out box will be successful. Perhaps we won't have to use it very often. BUT at least there is an acceptable means of employing discipline should it be necessary.

I am also proposing that we begin a reward-based program in November. It will be a two-fold program. The children will be divided into teams (a mixture of ages on each team). They will receive points for good behavior and lose points for poor behavior. (Think Harry Potter & the different school houses.) At the end of the semester, we have a party; the winning team will be served the special treat (usually cupcakes or sundaes) by the losing team. In addition, there will be weekly awards for individuals. Each week at the end of class, the kids will select a Nice Neighbor who will get a special reward (like a pencil or toy or something) for being kind and helpful to others.

So we are both addressing misbehavior and encouraging good behavior. I think that this two-fold system has some promise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Awesome Birthday

Wow - what a fabulous birthday weekend I had! I just can't say enough about how wonderful my friends & family are - each and every one of you made this birthday super-special; THANKS!

Friday I got to see my bestest gf Jamie. Getting to spend time with her was such a wonderful birthday treat. Funny thing about us: no matter how much time has passed since we last spent any significant time catching up, it's like it was yesterday. And we can waste away gazillions of hours talking and laughing and ... well, just being us. We've lived within 100 miles of each other for a coupla years now, and we're just now getting around to actually seeing each other in person. Which is particularly funny when you consider that we've spent most of the last 10 yrs separated by several states and even an ocean at one time and now that we live so close we can't get it together!

Saturday I went shopping with my neighbor friend Kelli. I had some North Park Gold and some coupons to spend. We had a terrific lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. (Have you tried the (seasonal) pumpkin cheesecake? OMG - to die for!!!!) And then we headed to North Park for some shopping. We both came away with lighter wallets and some terrific finds. We returned home to the boys who had been out picking up goodies for my birthday dinner. And what a fabulous dinner it was! They tried out a local butcher shop that they'd been eyeing for some time. Oh my, those were the best steaks I've had - so flavorful and tender and, of course, cooked to rare perfection. And Kelli made the yummiest au gratin potatoes. The boys grilled some asparagus for our "something green" - one of my rules for a healthy dinner. We paired our meal with a bottle of Freemark Abbey cabarnet that we picked up in Napa back in '07 & have been cellaring. It was such a terrific compliment to dinner! To top it all off, we had tiramisu from our favorite local Italian joint run by my friends from back home. Couldn't ask for a better day!

Yesterday part of my family came to church with me, where I sang The Lord's Prayer as a special surprise for them. Then we headed home for a family birthday gathering. My brother & SIL came over, along with my aunt & uncle and their four kids who I haven't seen since the summer. I made two roasts, and we had the usual fixings. Mom made a fabulous GF strawberry cake - by far the best strawberry cake I've ever eaten. YUM-E! It was a wonderful afternoon of visiting with family. And mom & Granny hung around after we sent the rest of the family on their way and did the dishes that wouldn't fit in the first load of the dishwasher (I was happy to wait for it to finish & load the rest, BUT when good help offers...) before heading for home themselves.

All in all, turning 33 wasn't so bad. In fact, I'd say it was smashing!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to me (cha-cha-cha)
Happy birthday to me (cha-cha-cha)
Happy birthday to me ....
I can't believe you're thirty-three!!!!!

Super-cute chicken illustration by Anna Wight

Friday, October 09, 2009

Open Letter

Dear Starbucks:

You have rained on my parade. Stolen the sunshine from my cloudy day. Snuffed the wind beneath my wings. I go to treat myself with a (high-calorie) birthday drink and am sad to discover that you no longer offer the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Why? WHY?

Starbucks, I don't think I love you anymore

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Got Pointers???

I can't recall whether I've ever officially announced that I am now one of the children's choir directors at ye ol' paid church job. So. Yeah. I'm now a children's choir director. (You: Are you kidding?? You don't even LIKE kids! Me: I know! But I kinda have a soft spot for this lot.) My choir consists of about 15 children in grades K thru 2nd grade.

I came into the program as an adjunct, for no better word, last fall during Advent. It was sold as a temporary gig, but it became quite obvious that the program had grown such that a full-time second director was necessary. So I wasn't surprised by the invitation to stay on as an assistant for the remainder of the year. I rotated between two choirs following whatever schedule had been set out by the director for that rehearsal time.

The younger choir responded so well to me that the director decided to make this my full-time obligation this year. When I began as an assistant, I was terrified. But that didn't hold a candle to the idea that I now had an ENTIRE choir ON.MY.OWN.OMG! I had no idea how I was going to entertain, much less teach, these kids ANYTHING - nevermind a SONG or *gasp* songS. But these kiddos have a real love for music and absorb songs like a colony of sponges. In our first rehearsal, we learned not one but two songs and by week number two had them both down pat. So we've been adding motions over the last several weeks. I really couldn't be more pleased about that.

But here's the dilemma. I have some real behavioral problems in this group. I have a helper who is an absolute Godsend. But sometimes, like this week, there needs to be one of us for every child just to keep their attention focused on the task at hand and away from using their neighbor as a punching bag (yes, that goes for the girls too)! Those of you who work with kids this age (5-8) know what I'm talking about. So, here's my question to you, how do you do it?? Big question no. 1: How do you lovingly correct behavioral issues? No. 2: How do you enforce the rules? No. 3: How do you gain their attention and keep it?

If we can figure out some way to address the behavioral problems in a way that is deemed acceptable in a church environment, I think the attention problem may solve itself. Or I'm hoping it will. I don't recall having this problem last year with these kids. I'm not really sure what has changed. We have a few new faces, but otherwise the group is the same. Perhaps now that I've been there for a year, they feel more comfortable challenging my authority? Last night, I tried coming dressed in my "big people work clothes" in hopes that they might see me more as a teacher and authority figure. But that seemed to make no difference over the casual attire I'd worn for the several weeks prior.

One thing that may be playing a role is that we do not have a parent in this room this year. Just my helper who is in high school. And they see her more as their play-buddy from child care. So that could explain part of the problem. The one week we were fortunate to have a parent in the room, the kids did a little better. Also, the kids are coming from a "Bible study" just prior to choir rather than family dinner in the gym w/ their parents. Perhaps this study time is not structured enough.

Overall, what I would really like to see is a sense of respect for authority regardless of who that authority is - whether it's me or the other director or a parent. We just don't have that respect this year.

So ... weigh in on this. What do you think? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cartoon Weekly: 2

It's time again to take a glimpse into the ol' noggin and see what makes me giggle. Are you enjoying this series so far? Shall I continue? Or is it a tosser?

I really love this one from Bizarro. Perhaps because my friends all swear that I will one day become "the cat lady." LOL! But this is just a clever spin on the adage, don't you think?

I make this joke with Derek now - that he would get more exercise if I took to hiding the remote. But this is an even better idea!

The dog and I are the only people willing to eat lima beans at our house. And Dori can be caught doing a similar happy dance when I make them. Funny!

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's Beginning to Look ...

a lot like fa-ll ... everywhere you look!

I'm loving the crisp mornings and the cool afternoons. Can't say that I'm all that wild about going to work and coming home in the dark, but hey, you take the good with the bad, right?? And I'll take the nice weather and lovely colors any day. You know who else is excited? Dori. Yep. She's all a-wag these days. Say the word "walk" in front of her and she all but wiggles right out of her skin.

All in all, it was a very nice weekend. I went to a stamping party, got to visit the parents at their house for a change, came home to a clean house thanks to my sweet husband taking it upon himself to clean the kitchen and vacuum the front of the house where we hang out the most, made the trek to Sam's for some necessities, visited with a girlfriend I haven't seen in a while, caught up on the laundry, and put out the Halloween decorations. I didn't get around to washing my car, but I guess that worked in the end, wouldn't you say? What with all the rain we're supposed to get this week. *wink*

I also got some time in the practice room. I always manage to program some tough stuff on my recitals. And this one coming up in November is no different. It's going to be lots of fun, don't get me wrong, but I have LOTS of work to do. Despite the fact that I've pulled four songs from rep I already know. Still lots of room for improvement on those. And a few of the new pieces are particularly challenging. It should be a great program though, so mark your calendar if you haven't already!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Things: Installment 29

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since this is the first Friday in October, I'm dedicating this week's post to to the topic.

Things About Breast Cancer

Today is Lee National Denim Day. According to their website, it is the single largest one-day fundraiser for breast cancer research.

Today I'm wearing jeans in honor of Lee National Denim Day, as well as pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is the single largest grassroots network of survivors and activists and has raised over $1 billion for research since its inception in 1982. It is also the single most recognized source of fundraising for a cause.

I am one of millions who has been touched by breast cancer. My maternal grandmother is a 32-yr survivor. My paternal grandmother is a victim.

I have not had a BRAC analysis. For now, I do not intend to.

I am due for my first mammogram in 2 years - when I'm 35.

It is estimated that 1,910 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

A healthy lifestyle and regular exams are key in prevention and early diagnosis. So think twice about eating that fast food so often or making an excuse to skip the gym day after day. Choose health over convenience.

Most importantly, get regular physicals and do regular self-exams. It saved my grandmother (and Derek). It just might save you too!