Back in One Exhausted, Twitchy Piece

But first, when I signed online a few moments ago, I saw that I'd been awarded this award by mein Freund, RW at 1 Step Beyond. How like him to do this when I'm away and can't thank him on-the-spot. The catch is that I'm supposed to turn around and award it to 10 other people, but that will have to wait until I've rested up a bit and have kicked back a few belts until I no longer know how completely exhausted I am. I think my MP3 player has more charge left on it than I do right now. Thanks to all of you who still came around here and left your comments while I was away and especial thanks to Joel for perfecting that lemonade recipe with me.


Enjoy These While I'm Gone

Planet Hiltron is a site dedicated to fake celebrity photos. These are from that site. This is what I think certain celebrities would look like if they were from Oklahoma.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Ashlee Simpson

Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones

Jennifer Aniston

Johnny Depp

Britney Spears

Larry King

Nicole Kidman

Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen

Sharon Stone

Pamela Sue Anderson

Tom Cruise

That's All!


Memories of the Magic Kingdom

This is what Disneyland in California looked like when my family made our first trip in 1956 only a few months after it opened (for more vintage photos visit Dave's exhaustive site). I was five and I remember having a hard time going to sleep the night before ("We're too excited to sweep!"). When my mom woke me up it was five in the morning. I clearly remember her dressing me and the four of us (Mom, Dad, my brother and myself) getting in the car while it was still dark, which only added to the excitement. About six miles down Ventura Blvd. (this was before the 101 freeway was put in), we stopped to eat pancakes at a diner in Camarillo, then it was off to Disneyland, which in those days was about a four-hour drive.

My memories of the Park that day, although few, are fairly vivid.
  • My dad took me into the Main Street theater to watch the old Steamboat Willy cartoons.
  • My brother and I had our silhouettes made.
  • We rode the omnibus.
  • I got sick and hurled on the tea cup ride.
  • I screamed in hysterics at the witch in the Snow White ride.
  • I loved the House Of The Future and demanded to see it twice.
  • I begged to go on the Dumbo ride and then got sick.
  • I screamed in hysterics on the Jungle Boat ride.
I must have been a load of fun that day.

I remember that we stayed at the Peter Pan Motor Lodge that night and drove home the following morning. It was the first time I'd ever stayed in a motel or hotel and I thought it was a great adventure; the little soaps fascinated me.

Throughout the following years it was a tradition to go to Disneyland every year and as I grew, I watched it grow. I have so many memories of times spent there that I can't always remember which trip was which. Here's a compilation of memories in no particular order:
  • The first time my parents let me loose to explore the park on my own. I think I was 13.
  • Grad Night with Deni. We got separated somehow and I spent the entire night alone and miserable.
  • Smoking pot with Sammy on the Monsanto ride.
  • Memorizing the theme from the GE Carousel Of Progress.
  • Stolen kisses on the Peter Pan ride.
  • Smoking pot with Sammy on the Sky Tram.
  • Getting pretty damned queasy with Jackie on Space Mountain.
  • Joel's first Disney trip at the age of two.
  • Micah's first trip and him continually breaking away, causing me to chase after him through the crowds.
  • Really detesting the Small World ride, but having to go on it for the kids' sake over and over again.
  • Joel's first experience of the Pirates ride (I'd forgotten about the two hills).
  • Sitting in the pavilion in New Orleans Square while my dad's band performed there one full night. I was as proud as could be.
  • Micah's second trip and him continually breaking away, causing me to chase after him through the crowds.
  • The first time I turned Joel and Micah loose to explore the park on their own (sweet relief!).
  • Being really pissed off when they took out the People Mover.
  • The first time I ate a pineapple spear in 100+ degree heat while waiting for the Tiki Room to open.
  • Many exhausted drives home, fighting to stay awake while my friends inhaled helium from the balloons and spoke like munchkins.
  • My last trip 10 years ago, which was also with Joel when I lived in California.
Our itinerary says that we'll be leaving the house around 4:00am tomorrow, but that's really just tonight for me. When we return I'll share pictures.


Summers with the Beach Boys

No, I never knew the Beach Boys, although I currently know—and once knew—people who did.. one of those two degrees of separation things. But I've gone to three Beach Boys concerts, two in California and one in Colorado.

During the late 1970s and into the '80s they played at the Ventura County Fairground, which is situated right on the beach at Surfer's Point, many number of times, but because I wasn't a great fan, I never went. But in the summer of, I think, 1983 some friends took me with them to my first Beach Boys concert...


Another Reason Why I'm Going to Vienna

England's University of Leicester has released a study on the top 10 happiest countries on the planet. It's highly subjective, of course, but it makes sense to me.

Austria came in at #3.
Population: 8.2 million
Life Expectancy: 79 years
GDP Per Capita: $32,700
"Another Alpine hotbed of happiness, Austria also boasts beautiful scenery and a surprisingly rich cultural scene. Like many of the world's happiest countries, it boasts a strong health-care system, as evidenced by the long average life expectancy of its citizens. Strict environmental regulations are starting to pay dividends," says Oskar Hinteregger, of the Austrian National Tourist Office. He credits the country's happy mood to its relaxed atmosphere, efficient public transport system, and general cleanliness. Austria does have some poverty, though: nearly 6%.
  1. Denmark
  2. Switzerland
  3. Austria
  4. Iceland
  5. Bahamas
  6. Finland
  7. Sweden
  8. Bhutan
  9. Brunei
  10. Canada
The United States came in at #23.
"The frustrations of modern life, and the anxieties of the age, seem to be much less significant compared to the health, financial, and educational needs in other parts of the world."

Filtered Light Effects

When I was a child, my mother must have rolled down the shades in my bedroom at nap time. There has always been a certain kind of light that, when I walk into a room and recognize it, I instantly want to lie down and sleep. In California I decorated my bedroom to create this kind of diffused lighting with old-fashioned shades rolled down only halfway behind ecru lace curtains...



I put our Osterbaum on the kitchen table this year.
It would look prettier if the grass outside was green though.


Passing Through the Monolith

"The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible."

Arthur C. Clarke
December 16, 1917 - March 18, 2008

If only he could write about his journey. But then, maybe he already did...


Unprotected Text

If this isn't the height of ridiculous I don't know what is.

It seems that 62% of London has suffered injuries running into lamp posts, bins and other pedestrians due to texting on their cell phones while walking. The brilliant solution? Let's put big white pads on the lamps. What's next? People, trees and pedestrians? What the flippin' f**k? How about a little self-accountability, people? I don't even know what to say about this, but I think this commenter was spot-on:

"One has to think that a better approach would
be to put sharp spikes on the posts."

John Miller, Foster City, California, USA


I Can't Make Peace with St. Patrick

It was much easier when I was younger, when I wasn't obsessed with history and my family tree. It was simple. On St. Patrick's day I wore green to school so that I wouldn't get pinched. By the time I was in high school, I asserted that I didn't need to wear green, because I was one-half Irish and wore the green every day of my life in these moss green eyes.

In the 80s I began listening to and performing traditional Irish music, quickly casting aside the music of my immigrant relations, like "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" and "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen". When I introduced the music of The Chieftains to my mother, she flatly stated, "That's not Irish music. Kenny Baker -- that's Irish!" And no matter how hard I tried to convince her that those songs were written in America, she remained adamant. Until I wrote "Nora, Sweet Nora", that is, and played it for her, a song I wrote in honor of her Irish mother. But she still said that she didn't like, "That Irish Irish music" because it was too pagan.

My problem with St. Patrick begins with the fact that he wasn't even Irish. He was, in fact, English (this is not to imply that I have a problem with the English. As I've said before, I love England and have even lived there). The Irish Celts had a nasty tradition of crossing the Irish Sea by night to steal away robust young men while the villagers slept. In the 4th century the 16 year-old Patrick was one of these unfortunate young men. When he arrived in Ireland, then known as Hibernia, he was sold into slavery and worked for six years as a shepherd. He later claimed that he spent all of his time alone on a cold mountain praying and that God finally spoke to him, telling him to escape Ireland and return home. Why he would need God to tell him to do this is a mystery to me.

Back home in "Jolly Olde", Patrick entered the priesthood and worked his way up to the position of Bishop. When in his 40s, God once again spoke to Patrick, telling him that he was to go back the people who kidnapped him and save their pagan souls, which is what he did. He built some 200 churches and converted the Irish, using their ancient symbols such as the shamrock. Once the symbol of the female trinity (Maiden, Mother and Crone), Patrick said that it really represented his holy male trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost).

There is the common belief that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, but in truth there are and never have been any snakes in Ireland due to geographical vagaries. The serpent was a powerful symbol to the ancient Celts, representing wisdom. I'm afraid the only snakes Patrick destroyed were the traditions and beliefs of the Irish people. Long before the white man decimated the traditions of the native Americans, those of the ancient Celts were already sacrificed in the name of Christ.

During the Elizabethan wars in Ireland in 1562, Elizabeth I, queen of England issued an edict that any Irish harpers or pipers her soldiers came across were to be hanged instantly, with no trial and no questions asked. For some 800 years, the English oppressed their neighbors over the Irish Sea, forbidding them to own land in their own country (it was seized and given to English lords), vote for their own leaders, or go to school in their own cities. That's why it strikes me as rather peculiar that the Irish celebrate St. Patrick at all, seeing as how he started the whole mess.

Being half-Irish myself, I know well enough that we are a paradoxical lot. We are mystically spiritual, though not always particularly religious. Our Christian rites are laden with pagan symbols. We are both brooding and cheerful. We can despise another clan, but will spend days in celebration when we are united by a marriage. I love the Irish part of me, of what the Clarks and the Elys passed down through the family gene pool, but The celebration of St. Patrick converting us heathens will always baffle me.

Bombs Over Tulsa

It was a fine weekend. Saturday evening was spent at Ville's, where we drank some Bass Ale, ate way too much junk food, made up a record number of jokes and plays on words, and played with their Wii. It was just what I needed. Today was a lazy day with much napping in front of the telly.
  • Did you hear the one about the F-16 that dropped a 22-pound dummy bomb on a Tulsa apartment complex on Friday night? No? Read all about it at the Tulsa World. They say the FBI and their various counterparts are investigating, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that we'll never hear another thing about it.
  • How about that commercial for the Mirena IUD? It states that women who qualify for it are, among other things, " a stable relationship". What the heck does that mean? Why does it matter, who's going to decide this, and by whose criteria?
  • That damned 16-day pledge drive on OETA is finally over. I know they need to do these things, but 16 days? And it took up three full weekends. Still, they aired some really great programs and they did keep the Britcoms on schedule. As a matter of fact, all we missed was Masterpiece Theater, which was in the midst of The Complete Jane Austin when the pledge drive began.
I guess that's it for tonight.


My Guilty Pleasure - Top Chef

The new season started last night and this time the setting is Chicago, which is well known for its prowess in the world of food.

This post isn't going to be a critique, because RW at 1 Step Beyond, who lives in Chicago, is doing a better job and is much more qualified than I in that department. I want to talk this morning about some of my first impressions of this season's crop of contestants...


Fact versus Mythology

I can't tell you how many emails I receive from people who have mistaken fiction for truth --either from naiveté or by blatant disregard-- where the life of Mozart is concerned. In all the time that I've had this blog (going on six years now), I've never written about this and it occurred to me that some of my readers might actually enjoy reading this. Let's start at the very beginning.

Mozart's Name
Mozart was baptized January 28, 1756 at St. Rupert's Cathedral in Salzburg as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. The first two baptismal names, Joannes Chrysostomus, represent his Saint's name, following the custom of the Roman Catholic Church. They result from the fact that his birthday, January 27th, was the feast day of St. John Chrysostom. Wolfgangus is Wolfgang, adapted to the Latin used in the parish register. The composer used Wolfgang in German-speaking contexts, being the name of the his maternal grandfather.

Theophilus comes from Greek and is variously rendered as "Lover of God" or "Loved by God". The familiar form Amadeus is the Latin version of this name. Theophilus was a name of Mozart's godfather, the merchant Joannes Theophilus Pergmayr. Mozart's father Leopold announced the birth of his son in a letter to the publisher Johann Jakob Lotter with the words, "The boy is called Joannes Chrisostomus, Wolfgang, Gottlieb", Gottlieb being the German translation of Theophilus. From 1770 Mozart called himself Wolfgango Amadeo, and from about 1777, Wolfgang Amadè. He seldom used the name Amadeus, and then only in jest.

Mozart was never called Wolfie. His nicknames were Wolferl, Wofl and Wolfgangerl. Likewise, his wife Constanze was not called Stanzie, but Stanchen and Stanzerl.

Mozart's Manners
Having grown up as a guest performer in the highest royal courts of Europe, Mozart could hardly have been the brat that Amadeus portrays. Leopold must have schooled his children on courtly protocol and etiquette, otherwise he the family would not have been invited for repeat visits as was the case with the Hapsburgs of Austria. The 18th century had strict codes of conduct, especially when appearing before the crowned heads of any given country. To imagine Mozart, whether as a child or as an adult, acting like a tantrum-throwing ass would never have cut the mustard with Leopold Mozart, who wanted nothing more than to make a good impression wherever the children performed. It would have appealed even less with the royalty and aristocracy. I'm not saying that Mozart's manners in his home, or at private parties were always at their peak --he is reported to have had a serious silly streak-- but while at court or in the presence of someone with which he might have wanted to curry favor, Mozart would have been on his best behavior.

Mozart's Ease of Composition
I have long maintained that to assume that composition came to Mozart as easily as dashing off a grocery list is insulting to his powers as a master of composition, theory, harmony and counterpoint. In his own words he states, "Moreover it is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied."

Did Mozart Have Salieri's "Darling girl"?
Caterina Cavalieri was indeed court composer Antonio Salieri's mistress, and while she sang the part of Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction From the Seraglio), there is no evidence at all that Mozart and Cavalieri were any more that colleagues.

Antonio Salieri - Friend or Foe?
Now we come to the real meat of the situation. It’s true that Mozart believed Salieri to behind some of the intrigues against him at the court, but to pin him as the sole instigator of all of them would be naïve and affords Salieri far too much power. Vicente Martín y Soler, a Spanish composer in Vienna, later proved to be far worse than Salieri ever was with his backstabbing and slander of Mozart. While others bad-mouthed Mozart and won disfavor, Salieri was much too clever to fill his sovereign’s ear with petty gossip and tittle-tattle. His cunning was more subtle: he simply saw to it that Mozart's music was not placed upon the royal music stand, thus ensuring ignorance on the emperor's part concerning what music was popular with the public. Thus, Joseph II had no way of knowing how popular Mozart actually was. Salieri was a busy man, writing an impressive number of operas that were very well-received in the capital and teaching many pupils. He was famous and wealthy and enjoyed job security. He would hardly feel threatened by Mozart. There were a number of composers waiting behind him in a line of succession in which Mozart wasn't even at the bottom. I doubt that Salieri ever feared losing his post to him.

In Amadeus, Salieri is shown to be the reason why Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro played only 9 times. Actually, that was quite a run in Vienna! More importantly, Salieri wasn't even in Vienna at the time of the opera's production. He was in Paris producing one of his own.

Leopold I, after ascending the throne after Joseph II's death in 1790, "retired" Salieri from his duties at court. Mozart and Salieri then became friendly colleagues. Mozart was invited to dinner parties with Salieri and his mistress in Cavalieri's house. On October 14, 1791, Mozart wrote, "At 6 o'clock I called in the carriage for Salieri and Madame Cavalieri and drove them to my box... You can hardly imagine how charming they were and how much they not only liked my music, but the libretto and everything. They both said it was an operone [grand opera], worthy to be performed at the grandest festival and before the greatest monarch, and that they would often go to see it. Salieri listened and watched most attentively, and from the overture to the last chorus there was not a single number that did not call forth from him a bravo! or bello! It seemed as if they could not thank me enough for my kindness... When it was over I drove them home...". Salieri also paid his respects the day before Mozart died. Not long after Mozart's death his two sons studied with Salieri. Salieri was a beloved teacher to many notable composers, including Schubert, Beethoven and Liszt.

Drunken Pauper
This is a subject that has been written about in so many books that no serious lover of Mozart takes it seriously any longer. There simply is no evidence to support it. In fact, all the evidence suggests otherwise. Mozart had a domestic staff, his eldest son was enrolled in a prestigious boarding school in the country, and his wife went to the spa at Baden-bei-Wien (where Mozart kept a second apartment) for extended stays. A pauper who had to pawn his furniture as shown in the movie could hardly keep up these expenses. As for drunkenness, I will simply present you with a list of what he composed in the last year of his life, a year fraught with illness and excruciating pain:
  1. Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge (song), K.596
  2. Im Frühlingsabfang (song), K.597
  3. Das Kinderspiel (song), K.598
  4. Dance music, K.599
  5. German Dances, K.600
  6. Dance music, K.601
  7. German Dances, K.602
  8. Contradances, K.603
  9. Dance music, K.604
  10. German Dances, K.605
  11. German Dances, K.606
  12. Contradances, K.607
  13. Fantasia for mechanical organ, K.608
  14. Contradances, K.609
  15. Contradances, K.610
  16. German Dances, K.611
  17. Per questa bella mano (aria for bass), K.612
  18. Piano Variations, K.613
  19. String Quartet in E-flat, K.614
  20. Vivano felici (for solo voice & orchestra - Lost), K.615
  21. Andante for mechanical organ, K.616
  22. Adagio & Rondo for glass armonica, K.617
  23. Ave verum corpus, K.618
  24. Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt (Cantata), K.619
  25. Die Zauberflöte (opera), K.620
  26. La clemenza di Tito (opera), K.621
  27. Io ti lascio (aria for bass), K.621a
  28. Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622
  29. Laut verkünde unsre Freude (Cantata), K.623
  30. Nun, liebes Weibchen (comic duet), K.625
  31. Requiem Mass, K.626
I doubt that a drunk in the last agonizing year of his life could produce such a body of work.

The Pauper's Burial
Mozart's funeral and burial were arranged by his friend, patron and masonic brother, Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who followed the Josephine burial reforms at the time. Amadeus enacts what must be an accurate portrayal of these burials of the middle, merchant and educated working classes. To us, the sight of a body being dumped into a communal grave seems unimaginable, but in 1791 it was common; about 85% of Vienna's population was buried in this fashion. It had nothing to do with being poor. In fact, Mozart was given a second-class burial, which was paid for by his masonic lodge.

What Killed Mozart?
This subject is still hotly debated, and there is a great deal of speculation. Mozart's death certificate is cryptic at best, so all I can tell you is what did not kill Mozart:
  1. He was not poisoned by Salieri.
  2. He did not work himself to death
  3. He did not drink himself to death
  4. The masons did not murder him
  5. His pupil, Franz Süssmayr did not poison him
  6. His wife did not poison him
The most widely accepted theory is that he died of kidney failure due to infection, which was compounded by secondary infections and perhaps rheumatic fever. The practice of bloodletting is believed to have further weakened him. It is recorded that a streptococcal epidemic had invaded Vienna at the time, killing a number of people. This, too, cannot be ruled out.

Don't get me wrong. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Amadeus. It did and still does introduce people to great music, which is wonderful, but it was never meant to be a biography of the life of Mozart. Unfortunately, too many people would rather watch a movie than crack a book, and this is the reason why the real Mozart remains shrouded in mythology.



The Perfect Text for My Piece

Many thanks to Valerie Kisling, a soprano in the Stillwater Chamber Singers, for sending me the following poem, written by The Immortal Bard...

Handling the Heat

During the last season of Top Chef I commented on Anthony Bourdain's Top Chef blog about how I'd love to see him in action in the kitchen sometime. Well, last night I got my wish and it was nothing short of brilliant. He didn't let me down. He was every bit as self-effacing and snarky as I could ever want, although I thought at one point that he was going to have a heart attack. Or a nicotine fit.

Those steaks looked great, by the way!


Call For Poetry!

I am about to begin work on a piece of music for the Stillwater Chamber Singers' 2008 Christmas concert and am looking for a text. Below, you will find a listing of what I need.

  • I will not accept schmaltzy Christmas/Yule/Winter sentiments having to do with snowmen, Santa and his elves, blinking red noses and etc.

  • Likewise, I'm not looking for overtly Christian images like baby Jesus coming to die for our sins. Sacred poems are good, but don't preach.

  • Celtic and other folk-inspired poems are great, but don't make them too esoteric.

  • I'm very drawn to the idea of the focus being on Mary and her experiences, thoughts and feelings.

  • It's helpful if there is some rhyme involved, but it's not mandatory. Structure, however, is necessary. I find it difficult to work with free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness poems.

  • There is no money involved. If the piece is performed, you will be credited in the program as the poet. That is all. I'm making nothing off of it, just like you.

  • On the off-chance that it did make money someday, you would be contacted and the proper legal steps would be taken to ensure you received your royalties.

  • You will own the copyright of your poem and will be free to use it however you wish. I am only "borrowing" the text for this particular piece.

  • You must be okay with me altering the text a bit to adjust it to the demands of music composition.

  • It shouldn't be too long, but neither should it be too short. It will be divided into three movements, so you might want to keep that in mind.

  • You don't need to be a published writer or poet. Some of the best texts come from unpublished writers!

The Insomniac's Watercooler

1 Step Beyond: "I am willing to take the chance. There are people who sit back and watch, and then they feed off of the ground you covered. I'm not afraid to look stupid, or have to look back and say "what was I THINKING?" I jump. I'm not sure it's always a good idea... but I wouldn't trade my personal search, even with all its drek, for anybody else's."

Dear World: "I must admit I prefer Shakespeare's comedies! His tragedies are great works, but they don't have the kind of wit about them that makes his comedies so enjoyable."

Hairshirt: "So, even though some people say that Saturday Night Live is now like that girlfriend you'd love to break up with but can't because the apartment's in her name and you can't afford to move out so you keep on sleeping with her even though you have to fake your orgasms, I'm going to celebrate it by appropriating the SNL brand of humor as my own."

T-Town Tommy: "Unaware that her remarks to 50 supporters were being taped, [Oklahoma] Rep. Sally Kern offers a shocking anti-gay tirade." (Welcome to our nightmare. - Steph)

Things To Say: "Somehow I never pictured my rock idols needing hip replacement surgery. I suppose the solution is to find a new idol that will stay forever young (or at least until after I'm dead)."

Simon Sez: "These boys comfort and ground me. I roll over and hug Buddy as he tucks his head next to my chest – and I fall asleep to the constant of his snoring – I drift off to sleep next to my boys. Ah the love of a good furry man!"


Ma Non Troppo

Hey! I think I smoked pot with them! Of course, we didn't inhale...

I can't believe that it's Friday already. I don't know why, but the weeks are going by faster and faster around here...


I See You Rolling Your Eyes

Yeah, I know. But look at it this way: since I can no longer rearrange the furniture, I have to expend that creative urge somehow. Speaking of creativity...

Project ONEway really pissed me off tonight. Both Rami and Jillian got screwed right up the patoot. And why? Because Posh Spice judged according to what she'd, personally, like to wear rather than on the merits of these fine designers in the context of Fashion Week. This wasn't her personal shopping trip after all. It was all so effin' predictable, wasn't it?

I admit that Christian is a prodigy and I admit that I never really liked Jillian's designs (I loved her black coat though. If I were 25 again I'd wear that in a heartbeat). Hell, I even admit that I wanted Rami to win because he's nice, classy, sensitive and humble, but I really thought Jillian deserved to win tonight, and I believe Rami should have come in second. In my opinion, Christian's line was beautiful, but black on black, flouncy tops, skinny pants, big belts, big hats, though nice once or twice, became a honk-shoo after about the 4th garment.
  1. Black dress cinched at waist, black hat
  2. Black pants, black top cinched at waist, black hat
  3. Black pants, black top cinched at waist, black hat
  4. Black pants, black top cinched at waist
  5. Black pants, black top cinched at waist
  6. Black pants, black coat, black hat
  7. Black pants, black top cinched at waist, black hat
  8. Black skirt, tan top, black hat
  9. This is where it finally started getting interesting: Black pants, black & tan tops cinched at waist, black hat
  10. Tan pants, tan top cinched at waist
  11. Tan & taupe dress cinched at waist
  12. Tan & taupe feathered gown
You can see them here. Just click through the pictures.

Oh well, at least I'll never have to hear him say the word "fierce" ever again.

As for my last post about Spring and all that, we're in a winter storm watch and are expecting snow today.


Feeling Good

Sorry I've gone a little absentee over the past week. Between working on another site for the university music department, watching the primaries, and rediscovering my passion for reading, I haven't been able to come up with much to write about. Besides this, I've been feeling great. With my THS levels finally balanced (after two full years of synthroid modification and remodification), I'm feeling like I'm 35. True, some days that's more like 55, depending on how I treat myself the day before, but I figure that 55 is still two years younger than my actual age, so I have no room to complain...

Despite the erratic weather, it appears spring is just around the corner. I'm waking up to bird song every morning and the lawns are slowly coming back to life. The Bradford Pear and Redbud trees are full of buds, which means that in the next couple of weeks there will be explosions of purple and white blossoms everywhere. It also means that I'll be pulling out my eye drops again, but who cares? I love winter, but I'm looking forward to warmer days and sunlit rooms.

Art: "Feeling Good" by John Lennon


Still a Californian After All

I'm watching the Storm Tracker news on channel 4. I watch as a tornado touches down, destroying a barn and a group of trees. In the space of a minute it covers a full mile as I start wondering if I should get my shoes ready to put on in case the sirens go off. Downstairs, Nettl is in the midst of an animated and jovial conversation with her ex and his fianceé, as well as Heather and Nathan. I go downstairs...


The Art of Doing Nothing

You may think I'm silly, but today was one of the happiest days of my life. Really. And nothing happened. At all. Nettl and I spent the day reading, I in my chair and she lying on the bed.

Nettl is currently reading The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama and I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. When we read together it's almost like reading two books simultaneously because every 10 minutes or so one of us will say, "You have to hear this!" and then read something aloud to the other.