Take your daughter to vote

>> Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Today was just like any ordinary day. I got up this morning around 6:00 a.m. and got ready for work, took the girls to school and then drove to the office for the usual day. After I got off of work at 3:00 I drove to the high school to pick the girls up, as usual. Most generally, I get there a few minutes before the girls make their way out of the building, so I sit in the car and listen to my music, (most often Mozart, of course), and wait until they get there. Today, as I saw Lauren making her way out of the building I observed that she had a huge grin across her face. I thought that perhaps someone had just said something funny to her, or something really exciting had happened to her at school. So when Lauren got in the car I inquired, "What's the big grin about?" And you're not even going to be able to imagine what she said, "I'm just sooooo excited because I'm going to vote!"

Lauren turned 18 in September, and one of the very first things that she did was register to vote. I'll never forget the day she received her voter ID card in the mail. She literally jumped up and down like a kid in a candy store! I'm not kidding. This girl was that excited over it! Today when we pulled into the parking lot of the Stillwater Airport, (our polling place), she jumped out of her seat and flew out the car door. When we got into line she was still grinning from ear-to-ear. She proudly walked up and presented her ID card and signed her name. Then she told the man who handed Lauren her ballot that she was a first-time voter and asked him if he could explain to her what she needed to do. The woman sitting next to him looked up at me and smiled and said, "We need more young people who are as excited about voting as her!" Needless to say, I was proud of her, as I am always.

When we arrived home she changed into her uniform for work and proudly donned her "I Voted" sticker on her shirt. As we walked out the door she was still grinning as she exclaimed, "I just exercised one of my Constitutional rights! I now have a voice in this country!" Her enthusiasm was contagious and it gave me pause to think about the times when I have taken that right, my voice, for granted, and not exercised it as I should have.

From now on, when it comes election time, I will remember the enthusiastic smile on the face of my eighteen-year-old daughter, and perhaps it will cause me to remember what a joy it truly is to exercise my right to vote.


Food for thought

>> Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Having once been a minister's wife for eighteen years I learned a few things about gatherings which involve food. During our potluck lunch at work today I made a pronouncement from the voice of experience. I stated that in my years as a minister's wife I learned that the worst food is found at wedding receptions, and the best food is found at funerals. It's true. And the reason being is that for the most part, wedding reception food is catered, institutional, cookie-cutter, everyone-has-the-same-thing-on-their-plate food. On the other hand, food prepared for funerals is food you'd find at a church potluck. It's Mom's homemade coconut cream pie, special potato salad, that green bean casserole that everyone's Aunt Mabel used to make, and church-lady fried chicken. It's comfort food, food with soul, given and prepared from the heart with special attention, care, and love.

I found out today that this group of realtors can throw a potluck that can rival any Southern Baptist church, (Probably because most of the realtors in our office are women, AND Southern Baptists!). I think that it's time for me to get out some of my old church-lady cook books and dust them off.


The frustrated teacher in me

>> Monday, October 2, 2006

In the last several years I have discovered that I have a gift. When I was in college I majored in vocal performance and church music, and purposely avoided getting my teaching certificate because I really had no interest in teaching. Now, I fear that I may have made a mistake, and that my first love really is teaching/mentoring.

I love to teach private voice students, but thus far have had little success in gaining students in this area, so I have sought out and found another place in which to exercise my teaching skills and do it in a way that is creative, interesting, entertaining, and interactive. I have discovered MySpace. Yeah, I know... MySpace is the Devil, but hear me out before you close your mind.

MySpace is a place dominated by young people who are out looking for entertainment, networking, and plain having a good time. So I figure that if I can't get them to come to me, I'll go to them.

Running a close second to music is my love for history. No, actually, it's probably a tie. I love history every bit as much as I love music, and when the two are combined, I am in my element. So here's where I've used MySpace to get my foot in the door and reach young people with my two loves--classical music and history. I portray, historical/musical characters on MySpace, using authentic voices and introducing them to music, history, and the real people behind the music/history. And the amazing thing about it is that it's extremely successful!

I portray three different characters, all having an association with Mozart, and with one another:

All three characters are extremely popular on MySpace and interact with Mozart as well as others in the MySpace "realm". The kids love it, and I have a great time doing it.

Who said that history can't be fun?


No One Like You

>> Sunday, September 24, 2006

I like your eyes.
I like your nose.
I like your mouth.
Your ears, your hands, your toes.
I like your face.
It's really you.
I like the things you say and do.
There's not a single soul
Who sees the skies
The way you see them.
Through your eyes.
And aren't you glad.
You should be glad.
There's no one, no one
Exactly like you.

Happy Birthday, you...


Reflections on a Friendship

>> Sunday, September 17, 2006

For some reason, I'm not exactly sure why, a certain person has been in my thoughts for several days. I first met him in the fall of 1999 when I began my graduate work at OSU. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on him that he and I were going to have a great relationship, but I had no I idea what he would come to mean to my life and how deep a friendship we would cultivate.

I've known this person for over seven years now, and in that seven years he has seen me go through a tremendous amount of turmoil and upheaval in my life. Indeed, he was the first one to know of my feelings for Steph, for it was on a cold and snowy February afternoon that I ran to his office in the Seretean Center, and with tears streaming down my cheeks, confessed to him of the forbidden love that would tear my life and the lives of my family apart. He sat and listened without judgment, but with tremendous concern for me and for the impact that a love like this would have on me and upon my family. Then when there was nothing else to be said, he threw his arms around me in an embrace and said, "Welcome to my side of the fence, darling!"

Since then, Allen Scott has been there beside me through every major event in my life. When Steph was so ill with ear infections that she couldn't get out of bed and I had to go to Texas to get my grandmother, Allen called to check on her, making sure that she was alright. When news got out of my mother's death, Allen came to our home with food, comfort, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. In fact, Allen was the only person during that time who gave in such a manner. He repeated the same gesture a little over a year ago when Steph's mother died. Allen was there for me with support and friendship when I went through the hell of losing my children. He was the one who encouraged me to keep going when I didn't feel as if I had any resources of strength or perseverance left. He has been there beside Steph and me in our sorrows and our triumphs with his encouragement and amazing sense of humor, class, and style. Allen served as the chair of my graduate committee, and during my tenure at OSU, on two different occasions, I was blessed to sit under his instruction. Without Allen Scott, the world would know a whole lot less about Anna Storace, for it was Allen who encouraged and inspired me in my research on her. He was present at the party that was filmed and made into one of the scenes in Mozartballs. (Of course, he would be the one opening the champagne!) Allen has always been there to support and encourage me whenever I perform. He came to see me in the role of Katisha in The Mikado, when my own voice professor couldn't find it worth her time to come, and when Steph and I gave our screening party for Mozartballs, he was one of the most excited, most enthusiastic members of the audience, staying well into the wee hours of the morning to again, discuss the implications of this film upon Steph and my lives.

I can name on one hand the people who have been this important, and this close to my life. Each have contributed in profound and in different ways. I have been blessed to have people like these, who have loved unconditionally, who have supported and encouraged, and done it all without thought of themselves or what was in it for them. And among them is Allen, who will always be regarded as one of the dearest.


Into every life...

>> Friday, September 15, 2006

Yeah, I know, a little rain must fall. But sometimes it's just damned inconvenient and a pain in the ass. Last night, Steph and I took Lauren to Tulsa for an interview with a representative from St. John's College and then out to dinner with my dad and his wife. The drive there was pleasant enough, although Steph really wasn't feeling well, and had been in an irritable mood earlier, (Tylenol III works wonders in such instances).

The interview went well, and Steph and I were so proud of our girl, who looked so professional and smart all dressed up in her suit and heels. She was articulate and intelligent, and we sat at a nearby table and gloated like only two proud parents could. Afterwards, we met my dad and Mary at The Olive Garden in Utica Square Mall, and had a really great time with them. After we got into the car and started pulling out of the parking lot, however, I realized that things were not all right with the car. It has been giving us indications for several months now, that a belt was going out, but we've just not been in the financial position to take it in and have it looked at. We thought, mistakenly, that we could keep nursing it along and that it would be okay. Well, last night, in the middle of the highway, just out of Sand Springs, it died. It just died.

Fortunately I was able to coast the car onto the shoulder and call my dad on Lauren's cell phone, and he came out to get us. Much to Steph's dismay, we had to leave the car sitting on the side of the road, near an overpass outside of Sand Springs as Dad drove us home to Stillwater.

There is a silver lining on this rain cloud, however. Micah has graciously offered to drive out with Steph to Sand Springs and get the car, tow it back with his truck, and if it is truly the engine belt, fix it. And if we're lucky, it will cost us a tank of gasoline, the rental price of a U-haul tow dolly, the cost of an engine belt part, and a couple of beers. Ah well!


We will never forget

>> Monday, September 11, 2006


Ready for some music

>> Sunday, September 10, 2006

I've got the itch again. It has been nearly four months since I've done any serious singing and I'm ready to get back to work! Chamber Singers begins rehearsals on the 17th and I'm frothing at the bit to get started. We're doing the Faure Requiem along with some other Romantic Period pieces for our first concert in November. I'm excited, too, because my daughter, Lauren will be joining us for the November concert. Mark needed to pad the group up a little for the Faure and invited Lauren, along with a few others, to join us for the one concert. She seems pretty excited about getting to sing with us.

In other musical news, I have a couple of new voice students and a possibility for a new piano student. AND the DVD version of Mozartballs is due out very soon! Can't wait for that because there are 17 minutes more footage of Steph and me, as well as me singing at the Masonic Temple in Guthrie. Waiting on pins and needles!


Ready for some music

I've got the itch again. It has been nearly four months since I've done any serious singing and I'm ready to get back to work! Chamber Singers begins rehearsals on the 17th and I'm frothing at the bit to get started. We're doing the Faure Requiem along with some other Romantic Period pieces for our first concert in November. I'm excited, too, because my daughter, Lauren will be joining us for the November concert. Mark needed to pad the group up a little for the Faure and invited Lauren, along with a few others, to join us for the one concert. She seems pretty excited about getting to sing with us.

In other musical news, I have a couple of new voice students and a possibility for a new piano student. AND the DVD version of Mozartballs is due out very soon! Can't wait for that because there are 17 minutes more footage of Steph and me, as well as me singing at the Masonic Temple in Guthrie. Waiting on pins and needles!


You never know

>> Monday, September 4, 2006

This evening Steph opened her email and found a letter from a publisher of music books in Italy. They found this picture that I took of Steph in the window of Mozart's music room in the Figarohaus a year ago and thought it was so beautiful that they want to use it for the cover of one of their books!

It's probably my very favorite photo of the entire trip, and most certainly one of my favorite photographs of Steph. I just can't believe that someone else found it as beautiful as I do. And I'm not even a photographer!

It just goes to show that you never know what life has waiting for you around the corner.


How the mighty will fall

I started to write a blog entry of my own on the subject of Rev. Ted Haggard and his escapades with a male prostitute in Denver, (not to mention the purchase and usage of methamphetamines from the same said male prostitute/masseuse), but when I found THIS ONE I realized that this says it all.

All I need to add is that, in my opinion, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. And uh, Pastor Ted, I don't recall Jesus ever saying anything about homosexuality, but I DO recall his condemnation of adultery.

"I bought it but I never used it...". Yeah right, Pastor Ted. I recall someone else saying that they smoked weed but they didn't inhale. We're not that stupid.


A year ago today

>> Saturday, September 2, 2006

Steph and I were traveling by train from Vienna to Salzburg to continue filming for Mozartballs. When we arrived in Salzburg and checked into our hotel, I decided to turn the TV on to CNN International and catch up on some news from the states. Our filming schedule in Vienna had been so hectic that we didn't have time to catch up on anything. When I turned the TV on, we heard the reports coming in from New Orleans of the disaster left by Hurricane Katrina. That evening we joined Larry Weinstein and the rest of the crew at the Stieglkeller restaurant, which was across the river and up the Festungsgasse. We were exhausted from the past few days' shoots, but the good food, good fellowship, and good Stieglkeller bier gave us the strength to carry on!

If we thought the past days were hectic, they were nothing compared to the next day ahead. It wasn't so bad for me, but for Steph, it was grueling. Steph and I both filmed at the hotel, (my profile photo), and then Steph was filmed all over Salzburg including the Mozart family grave, the Mozart Wohnhaus, and then after changing into his Mozart clothes, all over the Kapitelplatz, and the Festungsgasse. We didn't arrive back at the hotel until around midnight. Having had nothing to eat since lunch, we decided to walk down the street from the hotel to a little wurst stand, and get something to bring back to our room.

The next day was an off-day and after sleeping in, we awakened, dressed, and went to have a light lunch at a hotel restaurant and beer garden, not far from our hotel. I don't remember what Steph had, but I had the most delicious potato soup I think that I've ever tasted! After that, we returned to our hotel and napped before we dressed and then walked over the bridge to the old town to do some browsing and shopping for gifts to take back home to the kids.

We walked the ancient, cobblestone streets of Salzburg, held hands, and dreamed of the day when we would return to Austria as ex-patriots, living in Vienna. After we spent a couple of hours strolling through old Salzburg, we met our English friends, Liz and Nigel in front of Mozart's Geburtshaus, and had a joyous time meeting them face-to-face for the first time. We bought some drinks and sat at a table in the platz and talked for a while before we all walked together to an old restaurant where Mozart, Haydn, and other Austrian notables were known to have frequented, Zum Mohren. (Steph is fond of telling everyone that when one goes to the restroom, one can touch the ancient Roman city walls while taking a dump.) Our dinner with Liz and Nigel was fabulous, and we parted wishing that we could have more time together. It's our hope that one day we will be able to go to visit them in England, and then all travel to Salzburg together!

The next morning we awakened and packed our bags for the return train trip back to Vienna. Our return trip was not nearly as pleasant as the trip to Salzburg, because the porter ripped us off out of our first class ticket compartment! Seeing that we were Americans, and two women traveling together, he pulled the "I-don't-understand-English-well" routine and tried to tell us that our tickets were not first class tickets, and that we would have to pay twenty Euros more each to upgrade them to first class or go and sit in business class. Steph and I were too exhausted to argue with him so we gathered our luggage and moved, grumbling that if Gerhardt had been with us, this wouldn't have happened.

We arrived back in Vienna worn out, but needing the day to debrief and have some time alone, together in the city we loved.


Okay, this is too cool

Steph and I have just come home from an evening of dinner out and shopping, something that we've not been able to do with one another for a couple of months since Steph has been so swamped with this huge web design project. Anyway, while we were out, we saw an outfit, a puce skirt and top that I couldn't pass up. Now that I'm working as a front desk receptionist in a real estate office, I need some nice looking clothes so I felt justified in buying it. But even more exciting is the fact that I have dropped TWO SIZES in the last two months!

This is a picture that Lauren just took of me wearing my new outfit! I'm starting to get a waistline again! Hooray!!!


Kindness and Patience make all the difference

>> Thursday, August 24, 2006

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians, chapter 14, verses 4-7
It has always struck me as odd and hypocritical that those who boast the loudest about their "relationship with the Lord" can be among those who are the least patient and kind. Such would be the case for my most recent former employer, Dr. "JD". Here was a man who boasts of how active he is in his church, how he teaches a junior high boy's Sunday School class, and talks to his patients about how "the Lord" created us, and yet he is one of the most impatient, unkind, boastful, arrogant, and rude human beings that I have encountered in a long time.

I have a new job now. I work as a front desk receptionist/secretary at a local long-established realtor's firm and the difference is like night and day! There isn't even any comparison. It's an office of mostly middle-aged women, all with various backgrounds and experience. Some are regular church-goers, I'm certain, but none of them broadcast their "faith in the Lord". All are successful realtors, and depend on the work I do to keep them successful. I have been there on a three-quarter time basis (8:00 to 3:00) for just under a week now, and I already feel like "one of the girls". From day one I felt accepted, needed, valued, and welcomed. They have been patient and kind with me while I am in the learning phase. They don't have unrealistic or demanding expectations. They treat me with consideration and respect, and as a result I am learning the job much quicker and easier. In less than a week I have shown excellent progress and I am gaining speed, accuracy, confidence, and skill by the day. I never feel nervous or jittery, never feel as if I'm going to have a panic attack, and no one has ever made me cry, (and if they did, my office supervisor, Denise, would rip them a new one). The days seem to fly by and I find, for the first time in a long time, that I really enjoy my job. I can thrive in such an atmosphere.


When love is forever

>> Saturday, August 12, 2006

One of the greatest things about the belief in reincarnation is the fact that when Steph and I tell one another that we love one another forever, it doesn't simply mean in the future. We know that we are already living it. Forever is past, present, and future. I have loved, I love, and I will love this soul forever. And to me, there is nothing more comforting nor secure than knowing that I'm always loved and that I will always love.

Today's Musical feature is Mozart's Andante & Variations in G major, for piano (four hands), K. 501


Taking some time to heal

>> Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm not one to give up on anything, nor am I one to say "die", but there comes a time when one realizes that it's time to throw in the towel. My new job did not work out, not because I didn't like the work, not because I wasn't learning and doing well, but because my boss was such an arrogant, impatient, abrasive and abusive jerk that I went to work every morning with knots in my stomach, and came home ill. I have been in such a state for the last two weeks that I have hardly been able to function. At first I thought it was me, and that I just needed to buck up and get with the program. He seemed great at first, but as time progressed I began to see a different side of him, and yesterday, when he flew into a thither over a minor mistake that one of the receptionists made, and then proceeded to rip the heads of every other staff member off and shit down our necks if we so much as looked in his direction, I knew that things in that place were not cool. I came home for lunch in tears and proceeded to announce to Steph that I could not take this any longer, and then I had myself a quiet little panic attack. My heart started pounding, I couldn't stop crying, I could hear the blood "whoosh" through my ears, I was nauseated, and I had a raging headache. Steph called Ville over at Express Personnel and told her that I was not going back in for the afternoon and explained why.

This morning, very early, I called in sick to Express Personnel. Today I plan to see the doctor to get a note telling them that I cannot continue at that job and why. It's not worth my health. Ville has already re-opened my files and is looking for a new job for me. In the meantime, we're doing well. We now have steady income coming in from Steph's web design work and at least for a couple of months we're going to be okay until Ville can find something else for me. And while she's looking, I'm going to take some time to help Steph with this current web project as well as do some healing things for myself, like finish this book about Mozart that I got for my birthday and learn to play my new guitar!


Mozartballs to be featured at the Okie Blogger Roundup

>> Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Okay, I admit it... I had to swallow hard when Steph announced to me only a few minutes ago that it was official that Mozartballs would be showing at the Okie Blogger Roundup on September 23rd. I'm a little nervous about this one!

I apologize for the lack of entries over the last couple of weeks. I have been stressed and exhausted during this period of training and getting settled into my new job. I like the job, but it is a bit stressful and demanding at times. I'm starting to settle in better now and I'm feeling a bit more confident. I've also been busy building my two new My Space sites. One is my own personal My Space site, and the other is one that I've created for Nancy Storace. They've been a fun, creative diversion for me.


Busy Weekend

>> Monday, July 24, 2006

It was a busy weekend, but restful nonetheless. Heather returned from spending a few weeks with her Dad and with her, Nathan, who will spend the next three weeks here before he goes back to Wichita to begin school. In only six weeks he has grown taller than his Dad and has gained muscle across his chest and in his arms! He is no longer a boy, but a young man. It was good to see them both. I really didn't realize how much I have missed them.

Today I begin my last week at my old job and on the 31st I start full time at my new job. I'm ready. The transition between the two is fatiguing and I'm ready to leave the past behind. Saturday I did laundry and commented that this would be my last load of scrubs. At my new job I wear regular street clothes and a lab coat. I feel rather professional!

Tomorrow is Heather's 16th birthday, so I'm taking her out this evening after work to get her birthday present. This weekend she's having a party with some of her friends, so the house will be filled with noisy teens! Oh joy! And BTW, happy belated birthday to my brother!


This marriage

>> Saturday, July 8, 2006

I found a text which describes perfectly what I have found and celebrate in my own life with the love of my life. This text has been artfully and sensitively set to music by Los Angeles composer, Eric Whitacre. It is most definitely worth a click to listen.

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.

May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.

Kulliyat-i-Shams 2667


Let tyrants shake their iron rods

>> Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Independence Day used to be one of my favorite holidays. When I was a child I loved the family cook outs at the lake, fireworks, patriotic music playing on the stereo, and all the hype surrounding the 4th of July. But now, in light of the war in Iraq, the political and social unrest in our nation, and the lack of respect that our government has for our Founding Fathers and their desire to establish a new kind of nation built on freedom, equality, and liberty for all people, I find myself at a loss as to how and if I should celebrate this day at all.

It seems that our nation has lost its zeal for liberty and that we have traded it for the zeal for conquest, acquisition, and conforming others to our way of thought, belief, and life. We have become no less tyrannical than the British against whom we rebelled in the 18th century. We have become the enemy we decried, and I stand and watch with fear and sadness at how so many other nations of the world hold us in such disdain.

Today I will celebrate with my family in the usual manner. We will grill hamburgers outdoors and Lauren and I will light sparklers in the back yard and then we'll all pile into the car and drive to the lake for the annual Lion's Club community fireworks display. It's tradition. And even though the tyrants are once again shaking their iron rods, and the tyrants happen to be our own government, I will still celebrate the principles on which this nation was established. And I will pray that we will return to those principles before it is too late.

Let tyrants shake their iron rod,
And slav'ry clank her galling chains;
We fear them not; we trust in God,
New England's God forever reigns.

Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton, too,
With Prescott and Cornwallis joined,
Together plot our overthrow,
In one infernal league combined.

When God inspired us for the fight,
Their ranks were broke; their lines were forced,
Their ships were shattered in our sight,
Or swiftly driven from our shore.

The foe comes on with haughty stride,
Our troops advance with martial noise;
Their veterans flee before our youth,
And generals yield to beardless boys.

What grateful off'ring shall we bring,
What shall we render to the Lord?
Loud hallelujahs let us sing,
And praise his name on ev'ry chord!


The Birthday party

>> Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tomorrow I turn 46. For some reason, I really wasn't looking forward to this birthday, and I'm really not sure exactly why. Perhaps it was because before I learned the things I did about what was going on with me physically, I was feeling old and fat. I felt I was consigned to a future of watching myself grow older and fatter. However, when Dr. English gave me a new lease on life and new hope that my fears did not have to turn into reality, I began to look more forward to this birthday. (I lost three pounds this week!)

Last month I asked Steph if I could have a birthday party this year. I don't remember when was the last time I had a party for my birthday, but it was a long time ago, long before I knew Steph. Steph being the party animal that she/he is, was more than happy to indulge me, and she/he began to plan the menu, (which changed considerably after I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic). The party was last night. As per our parties, the house glowed with candlelight, the back patio was transformed into a garden paradise, there was music that Steph downloaded on the computer that reflected my personality and played all night, plenty of good wine, and of course a spread of food to die for. (All very healthy, I might add!) The hit of the evening seemed to be the lettuce wraps! Everyone raved about them, and they were gone in minutes. The house was filled with the smiles and laughter of my dearest friends and family and a wonderful time was had by all. Among the gifts I received were several bouquets of flowers, a beautiful photograph of an Oklahoma sky with a full moon taken by my friend Jaeson's father, framed, matted, titled and signed by the artist, a lovely picnic backpack complete with wine bottle cooler, wine glasses, plates, knives, forks, and spoons, a cutting board, cheese knife, cork screw, and napkins from Ville and her husband, Beau, and a gift certificate for a pedicure from "A Cut Above" salon from Lashell. But the big surprise of the night came from Steph and Joel--a beautiful, red finished, Fender nylon stringed, classical guitar! I don't know how to play the guitar, but I've wanted to learn for years! It came as a complete surprise, and as I sat there running my fingers over the glossy finish, I cried. It is one of the most beautiful and truly touching gifts I have ever received.

Thanks to my love for a truly lovely night, one I will treasure for the rest of my life. Now I will always remember my 46th birthday as one of the best!


Love them for who they are

>> Thursday, June 22, 2006

Upon reading the following quote by Thomas Merton, I have been meditating upon what it means for me and what it means for those whom I love.

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." - Thomas Merton
If you know anything of my background, you know that I grew up in a very conservative, evangelical Christian home where conformity and following the rules were the keys to love and acceptance. It wasn't until well into adulthood did I encounter the person who would not only challenge my notions of what love is, but who would, for the first time in my life, demonstrate true, unconditional, sacrificial love for me. It was in my relationship with Steph that I learned unconditional acceptance was the first step towards unconditional love. Steph was the first person who loved me for who I was without having to make me over into someone else. She celebrated even the most "challenging" aspects of my personality and took those as only a part of the whole person, a person who she found to be beautiful, intelligent, loving, and fascinating. Her way of loving changed my life, and transformed my way of thinking and being. As a result, I am a much better friend, spouse, mother, and person. And as I implement this kind of love into my relationships, I find that I am more at peace with myself, with others, and with my creator.
It is not necessary for me to understand why people are who and what they are, but it is essential that I love and accept them for what and who they are without placing my expectations and reality upon them, or making them over into who or what I believe they should be. This isn't always easy, but it is something that I strive to achieve in all of my relationships.


That's my girl!

>> Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lauren made the front page of the Stillwater NewsPress for winning a $2500 college scholarship from Discovery card. We knew the article was going to run in today's paper, but we were blown away when it showed up front page!

Way to go Lauren!


My son

>> Friday, June 9, 2006

Change is inevitable, most especially when it applies to teenage boys. Over the past several months the changes in my 14-year-old son, Nathan, have been quite dramatic. Literally overnight it seems he has transformed from an awkward, gangly, boyish adolescent into a tall, strapping, handsome young man, and with those changes come the changes in his needs.
Only two years ago, after I obtained emergency custody of all three of my children, Nathan was the one who clung to me the most. The damage inflicted upon all three of them from a physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive step-mother seemed most pronounced in him, although the girls were obviously damaged as well. It took Steph and me a good year of tender and consistent parenting to reverse the adverse affects of three years of that woman's abuse upon all three of them. In Nathan, the abuse revealed itself in numerous ways--he was clingy, cried easily, was unable to concentrate for long periods of time, he was insecure, moody, and lacked confidence. He also suffered from stress induced anemia, a chronic condition of chapped lips brought on by a nervous compulsion to lick them, and chronic fatigue.

Over the last two years all three children have healed and blossomed from insecure and damaged kids, into healthy, happy, beautiful young women and a handsome young man. And although the girls have entered a time in their lives when their needs for their mother are more pronounced, it is Nathan who seems to have grown to the place where his needs for constant fathering outweigh his needs for constant mothering. His father, having divorced the woman who abused Nathan and his sisters, now lives in Wichita, Kansas, about 100 miles from here.
So today marks another transition in my life. My son is moving out to spend the last four years of his childhood with his father. Last night was a little difficult. I went up to Nathan's room to see if he was nearly done packing, and of course I was met with the usual pig sty. He was indeed nearly finished and I couldn't hold back the tears. As I stood and cried, Nathan gently held me in his arms. (He's over a head taller than me now!) I told him that I understood that this was the best thing for him, that he needed to go and live with his dad right now, but that it was hard. He said he knew it was. I told him that I loved him. He said that he loved me too. I made his favorite for dinner last night--cheeseburger macaroni, (homemade, NOT Hamburger Helper), and then he came in our room and cuddled up to me on the bed watched a movie with me and talked with Steph and me. He will leave with his father late this afternoon, after I get off of work.
I know this is the best thing, but I can't help but be a little sad.



>> Tuesday, June 6, 2006

I've been watching in amusement at the hoopla over 6-6-06. Yesterday I heard on the news that hospitals are reporting that pregnant women actually had labor induced on June 5th to avoid the possibility that their babies might be born on this date, and others are going into hiding for fear of the "evil energies" that surround the cursed day. They're even releasing a new version of "The Omen" today.

Well people, my answer to that is "thoughts are things", and that you get whatever you create. If you believe so strongly that there is some sort of evil curse attached to this number then you're probably going to create whatever it is you believe so strongly. As for me, I'm don't give a rat's arse, so it isn't going to rock my world. So have a happy day everyone!


The new scapegoat

>> Saturday, June 3, 2006

If one has any knowledge and understanding of world history it is easy to look back and see certain patterns which have developed and played themselves out within the world's societies over and over again. One can gauge the maturity of a society in the way it copes with difficulties and how it goes about solving those difficulties. One of the patterns that has been displayed over and over again by the world's societies is the "blame game". Societies and nations who can't own up to the fact that the problems which exist within that society are of their own making must find a scapegoat, someone or something to blame for all their ills. This tendency to blame has displayed itself over and over again in societies such as ancient Babylon, Rome, Medieval Europe, and the Far East. History has repeated itself over and over again in events and atrocities such as the persecution of Jews and Christians by Rome, the enslaving of others by virtually every society on earth, the persecution and slavery of women by virtually every society on earth, The Crusades, The Burning Times, The Inquisition, The Salem Witch Trials, Red October, The Holocaust, The Cambodian Killing Fields, Genocide in Bosnia and countless other events in which individuals and groups of people have been blamed and persecuted for various ills in their societies.

Today in the United States we face a host of difficulties including skyrocketing health care costs, exploding fuel prices, poverty, racism, illegal immigration, joblessness, the bankruptcy of the Medicare and Social Security system, the war in Iraq, terrorism, a skyrocketing divorce rate, teen pregnancy, a failing public education system, record inflation... The list goes on and on and it's frightening. And once again our society is pointing fingers looking for something or someone to blame.

In the aftermath of World War I, Europe found itself in a very similar economic and social crisis and in this dark time, sometimes described as the Second Dark Ages, a leader arose promising Germany and virtually all of Europe, a new dawning of economic prosperity and peace. But first, in order to achieve such prosperity and peace, they had to rid themselves of the undesirables, the vermin of society, those who, in Adolf Hitler's opinion, sucked society dry and kept them from prosperity. At the top of his list of undesirables were the Jews, but this list didn't stop there. Among them were gypsies, Polish, Czechs, and Homosexuals. We know much today about the Holocaust and how over six million Jews were murdered by Hitler and his fascist Nazi regime, but little or nothing is mentioned about the thousands of homosexuals who were tortured, forced to endure medical experimentation upon them, and murdered in the very same atrocious manner as their Jewish counterparts. Why are they not mentioned? Why is this segment of Holocaust history virtually ignored? Could it be because as a society we still believe that perhaps they deserved it? Could it be that homosexuals are the last minority group that exists in which it is still socially acceptable to blame, to persecute, and upon who we now dump all of our society's ills?

On Monday evening, June 5, 2006, President George W. Bush will address this nation, not concerning the war in Iraq, not concerning the fuel crisis, not concerning skyrocketing health care costs, or any of the other serious ills that cripple this nation, but rather, the President will address us concerning the issue of gay marriage, and the Federal Marriage Amendment, which if passed, will be the first time the U.S. Constitution has ever been amended to intentionally discriminate against an individual or group of individuals. To me, this is a very frightening first step in the direction of outright criminalization of homosexuals as a group, and points to a very disturbing trend in our nation to point fingers and blame a group of individuals for all of our nation's ills. In an era when a number of Western nations in Europe and also Canada, homosexuality has not only been decriminalized, but in many nations gay marriage has been legalized, it is frightening to see my own nation return to the fascist fear mongering, blame, and outright hatred of Hitler's Nazi regime. This president is using homosexuals as a group to deflect the nation's attention from the real issues and thus deflect the blame from himself and the government, and he will use whatever means he has at his disposal to do so, even if it means the stripping of rights and freedoms from a group of individuals through the amending of the Constitution.

Reason number 63 why Steph and I plan to leave this country as soon as we are able.


Memorial memories

>> Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times I spent with my Dad watching World War II movies. Dad has always been a lover of history, most especially WWII. When other family members, ie my mother and younger brother got sick of watching war movies or trekking Civil War battlefields (I've probably seen almost every one--most certainly the major ones and even some of the minor ones), it was always me who would stay up and watch The Great Escape, with him, even if it was the tenth or so time that I'd seen it.

Yesterday, being Memorial Day, and a day that The History Channel devoted almost entirely to WWII, I watched a special broadcasting of several episodes of Steven Spielberg's WWII series that he and Tom Hanks produced for HBO in 2001, Band of Brothers, the story of Easy Company, the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Paratrooper Division. I found myself remembering those times spent laying on the couch while Dad would lay on the floor, a pillow rolled up under his neck, watching some WWII flick that we'd both seen at least a dozen times. Most generally he'd fall asleep. He could probably quote every word of every line and every time we'd watch one, he'd have to explain to me, once again, where the battle took place and when, (even though I remembered from the last 100 times he told me). I recalled the time that he took me to the theater, when I was seventeen, to see A Bridge Too Far, about the efforts of allied troops to capture a series of bridges in Holland, culminating in the failure to capture the final bridge at Arnhem, costing the allies tens of thousands in casualties and setting back the allied effort to reach Berlin by several months. Only a year later I would travel to the Netherlands and see that bridge and take a photograph of it to take back to my Dad.

It might seem strange to you that this rather feminine "girly girl" would be as involved in this interest as I was with my father. Other than the fact that I share his love for history, I believe that it was the only real mutual interest that my father and I had, and for the most part the only real, quality time that I spent with him. I treasured those times with him and still do. My Dad and I have had and continue to have our share of sharp and even bitter disagreements. But one thing remains constant no matter what--if he were to call me up and ask if I'd like to watch a WWII flick or trek another Civil War battlefield with him, I'd be there. It's just something special between Dad and me.

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Lied for voice and piano, Das Traumbild, K. 530


One of those days

>> Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's been one of those days when I haven't done too much. Well, actually I've done a lot. I vacuumed the stairway and the entire downstairs, cleaned spots on the carpets, cleaned our bathroom, dusted the living room and our bedroom, and cleaned the kitchen. So I guess I've done a lot more than I give myself credit for.

My musical feature for today is one of my very favorite Mozart works, and is considered one of Mozart's very finest operas. The role of Zerlina, almost surely, was composed for Anna Storace, as she was slated to return to Vienna in 1788. However, due to the escalating war with Turkey, Emperor Joseph could not afford to pay her the salary she demanded and contract negotiations fell through. It is unfortunate, for Anna would have made the perfect Zerlina!

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Don Giovanni, K. 527


School's out for the summer

>> Friday, May 26, 2006

Today was the first official day of summer vacation with the exception that both the girls have to return to perform in tonight's graduation ceremonies. Heather is singing with the Pioneer Chorale and Lauren playing in the band. On June 9th, Heather goes to spend the summer with her dad and Nathan officially moves out to go and live with his dad. He will start high school next year in Wichita, Kansas. Lauren will be a senior and Heather a junior. It won't be long and they'll all be up and out of the house! Lauren has plans to spend a year in France with the foreign exchange program before entering college, so next year we'll have only Heather, who will graduate in 2008.
They're not babies any longer!

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, K. 526


Our Love Is Here To Stay

>> Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's very clear, our love is here to stay,
Not for a year but ever and a day;
The radio and the telephone and the movies that we know,
May just be passing fancies and in time may go.

But oh, my dear, our love is here to stay,
Together we're going a long, long way;
In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble,
They're only made of clay;
But our love is here to stay.

Happy 5th Anniversary, Mein Lieb!

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Serenade for Strings in G major, Eine kleine Nacht Musik, K. 525


A brand new toy!

>> Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Steph's new computer arrived late yesterday afternoon! It was like Christmas around here when the Fed Ex guy arrived! We all ran to the door whooping and hollering, shouting "It's Santa Claus!" He had a big grin on his face.

This computer is amazing... 17 inch digital flat screen monitor, an incredible sound system, and more space for all kinds of cool programs than you can imagine! Dude! We have a Dell! Steph stayed up all last night transferring files and installing programs. She's still not finished and probably won't be for a while.

More good news is that I get the old computer, which will be perfect for me. Steph is really the one who needed a new one with all the web design jobs she's been getting lately. Her old one was purchased Christmas of 1999, had only 8 gigs of hard drive. It's amazing, with all the programs and web designing that Steph did, that it lasted this long. But Steph is an incredible trouble shooter and kept what was a very temperamental machine in beautiful working order--although there were many occasions when I would hear a string of explicatives emanating from our bedroom. " You FART-KNOCKIN' *&#$##@ piece a shit!!" That usually meant that Windows "Titanic" 98 had frozen, most usually when Steph had just finished a long entry on her blog or in the middle of designing a web page, and she hadn't remembered to hit "Control S". I don't know how many "enemas" it's had, nor how many times it has been completely re-formatted--more than either of us can count. We would always say that if something ever happened to that computer, we'd be up shit creek. So she held it together with "duck tape", and it made it through until Joel bought this new one for her, knowing how much she needed it.

So here's to the old HP, which will continue to serve us well, I'm sure. And thank goodness for Joel, the hero of the hour, who has shown his love and appreciation in a very generous and tangible way.

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Lied for voice and piano, An Chloë, K. 524



>> Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Today's musical feature is the subject of today's blog entry. Mozart's most haunting and in my opinion, most beautiful of all his Lieder, is his Abendempfindung, (Evening thoughts), K. 523. It was composed in the summer of 1787, during a time in Mozart's life when he sensed that things were beginning to unravel. With his English friends, including Nancy Storace, leaving earlier in the year, the loss of his father, and his popularity in Vienna waning, he felt, perhaps, an impending doom. It would only be three-and-a-half years later that Mozart would succumb to his final illness on December 5, 1791, at the age of thirty-five.

This particular Lied is especially close to my heart, as it is the piece that I sang in the film Mozartballs, and is featured in the DVD release this summer. Click here for German text along with the English translation.


Bravo's commitment to diversity not as strong as it's commitment to the dollar

>> Monday, May 22, 2006

Over the last several weeks as I've tuned into every episode of Top Chef on Bravo, I couldn't help but notice the commercial sponsors. One of the most prominent sponsors is eHarmony.com, a popular online dating service founded and operated by Dr. Neal Clark Warren, a Christian minister/psychologist formerly associated with James Dobson, founder and CEO of Focus on the Family, one of the most notoriously anti-gay, and bigoted organizations in existence in the United States. Focus on the Family is the parent organization of Exodous, an ex-gay organization that deals in "reparative therapy" and encourages gays who can't control their homosexual urges through celibacy and prayer to submit to castration (read "Ranchhand's" story).

What has intrigued me the most about this particular sponsorship is the fact that Bravo has "come out of the closet" regarding their commitment to "diversity". I have been impressed with such programming as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy which has unapologetically promoted the bridging of the gap between the gay and straight communities by showing the gay community to be made up of sensitive, talented, and helpful individuals who are about a whole lot more than just sex. They have also featured many gay individuals in programs such as Top Chef and Project Runway, as well as programs like Boy Meets Boy, and Gay Weddings. And lately they have been running ads about their commitment to diversity using Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez. With these things in mind, and knowing of eharmony's blatant and unapologetic discrimination against gays, I was surprised and appalled to see that they were one of the leading sponsors for programs like Top Chef and even Queer Eye.

I emailed BRAVO and shared with them my concerns and questioned if their commitment to diversity was as deep as their commitment to making big bucks off of their bigoted sponsor. I received the standard automated response and the commercials still remain. So I'm here asking you, my readers, to register your thoughts with BRAVO concerning this obvious hypocrisy, and let them know that you demand that they quit talking out of both sides of their mouths. Either you're committed to diversity or you're not. You can't ride both sides of the fence!

Today's musical feature is Mozart's A Musical Joke, K. 522


More dreams of Vienna

>> Sunday, May 21, 2006

Steph and I have been working towards a dream of moving to Vienna in 2008, a dream that Steph has had for over twenty years and a vision that I only seriously bought into last summer after we traveled to Vienna together for the filming of Mozartballs. It has been so real for Steph that she is manifesting her day dreams into her dreams at night. I had not yet started doing that until last night when I had a dream of us in Vienna that was so vivid and real that I actually believed in my dream that we were there and I was genuinely disappointed when I awakened to find that it was only a dream.

You know what they say about dreams. "A dream is a wish your heart makes," and my heart is dreaming of Vienna.

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Piano Sonata for Four Hands in C major, K. 521


The lowest common demoninator

>> Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sometimes Steph and I like to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation in the afternoons. However, the only channel that plays it at this time is Spike TV, a television station that caters primarily to teenaged boys and young, straight men. Given the previous descriptor, you can only imagine what the programming must be like.

Lately I've been disturbed more than usual by the commercials that appear on Spike--commercials for violent horror flicks such as Hostel, and the newest from-the-dregs-o'-hell offering, See No Evil. Then there are Spike's commercials which depict scantily clad nymphs touching one another all over and sitting in provocative and inviting positions, women making sexual advances on other women--encouraging voyeurism, and sex mixed with violence in almost every depiction. It's an appeal to the basest in the male, testosterone-ridden nature, the lowest male common denominator, and literally sets my teeth on edge.

I find me asking myself "what happened to the women's movement for God's sake?" In the 1980's women wouldn't have stood for crap like this! Have we slid so far back that we've literally gone back to the cave? If Spike is any indication, then yes, we have, and it's really scary. I fear that the next generation of women have no idea what they are facing, and it frightens me for them. It seems that we passed this precious, hard-won, golden baton, entrusting them with something that women for generations before them have fought for diligently with their blood, sweat, and tears, and this new generation of women, in their indifference for what was won for them, have dropped it.

It's time to get back on the wagon, ladies, before it's too late.

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Lied for voice and piano, Als Luise die Briefe, K. 520


Wednesday Wheee!

>> Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tonight I don't have to do any taxi-cabbing. Lauren doesn't have to work. No one has a concert. I don't have a meeting or a concert. Everyone is home. So to celebrate, I am kicking back with a few Margaritas, enjoying Steph's famous burrito bar for dinner, and watching the first half of the Top Chef finale.


Today's musical feature is Mozart's Lied for voice and piano, Die Alte, K. 517


Things my mother taught me

>> Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day holds mixed feelings for me, as my mother passed away five years ago this coming June. Combine that with the fact that I lost three years worth of Mother's Days when my ex and his now ex-wife moved my children out of the state to get them away from me and my "sinful lifestyle", then you can see why Mother's Day might be somewhat painful for me. I got my children back two years ago when it was revealed that their step-mother was physically and emotionally abusing them, so this will be the third Mother's Day that I have had with them since then. However, it still holds some painful and lonely memories. The first Mother's Day without my mother was also my first Mother's Day without my children.

How I got through those painful years is a mystery to me. I attribute it to the strength that my mother instilled in me. My mother, for good or for ill, was quite stoic and possessed an inner strength and determination that she passed on to me. I learned by watching her, how to face pain and adversity with strength and dignity, and I will always be grateful to her for that. As a tribute to my mother's inner strength and beauty, this Mother's Day I am listing the things that my mother taught me that have made me a better person:

  • She taught me the value of a good education.
  • She taught me how to be a warm and gracious hostess.
  • She taught me how to cook and about the importance of balanced nutrition.
  • She taught me how to be a nurturer.
  • She taught me how to set a beautiful table.
  • She instilled in me the value and importance of the arts.
  • She laid for me a strong spiritual foundation.
  • She taught me the value of womanhood.
  • She taught me the importance and value of sacrifice.
  • She showed me how to demonstrate compassion.
In loving memory of Iris C. Erwin, August 30, 1934 through June 20, 2001.

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Rondo in D for Horn and Orchestra, K.514


In Transition

>> Saturday, May 13, 2006

For you women out there who have gone through labor and delivery, you will know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that at this point in my life I feel as if I am in transition labor. It's the shortest, yet most painful part of labor and it is usually the point where you're looking around the room for the person who did this to you so that you can grab them by the throat, rip off their head, and shit down their neck. There is nothing you can do but wait through it. You can't make it stop. You can't change your mind. You can't bear down or push. You just have to lay there, stay as calm as possible, and get through it. People are standing all around you telling you that you're doing great and don't worry, it's almost over and you're thinking to yourself, "Easy for you to say, JERK!" I feel trapped, stuck, uncertain, unable to move. I'm ready for this part to be over!

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Mentre ti lascio, o figlia, aria for bass & orchestra, K. 513


Top Chef

>> Thursday, May 11, 2006

Last night we watched the latest four episodes of Top Chef with our friend, Jacey. She brought over a bottle of Chardonay and we sat on the bed and watched while the whole group piled in on Tiffani, the redheaded bitch whom everyone loves to hate because she's a back-stabbing liar who pretends to be full of "humility" and "integrity". It was amazing how the camera made Stephen look like such an asshole, and kept Tiffani from looking as bad as she really was. It just goes to show how easy it is for the media to manipulate our thoughts. Stephen won my respect when he admitted that he had come off arrogant and that he had learned a lot about himself and his attitudes through watching himself on camera. He very sincerely apologized to Candice, with whom he had a 37 minute argument earlier in the season, for putting her down and making her feel inferior. He seemed genuinely sorry, and it took a lot of class for him to admit that he was wrong in front of everyone. Tiffani on the other hand, got defensive and ran out of the room when she was accused by others in the group of turning burners either off or up in an effort to sabotage her competitors. I don't know if she did what they accused her of, but they all seemed pretty confident that she did.

The finalists are Harold, Dave, and Tiffani, who are going to Las Vegas for the finals, which will be aired in two parts. I hope that Harold will win, but fear it will be Tiffani. I love Dave, but I'm afraid that his emotions will get the best of him.


Wrung out, literally

>> Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Last night Steph and I went to the Chamber Singers' end-of-the-year party at conductor, Mark Lawlor's home and we had a great time! This is an intelligent, articulate, and artistic group of people who enjoy good food, good wine, good conversation, and good music and we enjoyed every moment we spent there. However, after we returned home, both of us were hit with a terrible case of what we call "the bads". It hit me first and then a couple of hours later, Steph. Both of us spent the better part of all night in the bathroom, with poor Steph so miserable and distended that she couldn't breathe. We're thinking we had some kind of an adverse reaction to something we ate, not that it was bad food, but that it had something in it that didn't agree with either of us. So this morning I had to call in sick from work so that I could recover and re-hydrate after the night's onslaught.

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Six German Dances, K. 509


Chamber Singers take on Bach

>> Sunday, May 7, 2006

There is a reason why I don't like to sing Bach but I couldn't exactly put my finger on it until the Stillwater Chamber Singers started rehearsing for this concert. Bach is damned difficult! I daresay this is our most challenging concert yet! In addition to Bach, we're performing some pieces by Handel, Lotti, and a French motet by Sweelinck. And this time the orchestra is top notch and the guest Tenor soloist, Kim Childs, returns to grace us with an incredible performance in the Bach Cantata no. 78, Jesu der du meine Seele.

Today's musical feature is Mozart's Canon in three parts in F major, Heiterkeit und Leichtes, K. 507


What does it feel like?

>> Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Our film, Mozartballs, premiered in Toronto this weekend at the Hot Docs film festival to a packed house of 500 viewers. Reports are that it was a smash hit. The audience loved it and they loved us and our story. We received a phone call from a friend who asked what it felt like to be "stars". I said that I didn't know yet because I'm still here in the middle of Oklahoma! My life hasn't changed--yet. But I get the sense that it won't be long now...

Today's Musical feature is Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 25 in C major, K. 503


Silence is golden

>> Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Today the members of the Stillwater High School Gay/Straight Alliance are participating in the National Day of Silence, a protest in support of the millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons who are forced to remain silent about who they are by a society that is hostile towards them. Both of my girls are participating and have taken an oath of silence for the day. It begins as soon as they step onto the school property, and ends when they return home. Fliers will be distributed on the high school campus explaining it, and the participants will wear special shirts and buttons identifying themselves as a participant.

Yet another reason I have to be proud of my kids.


Weary Pamina

>> Tuesday, April 25, 2006

For those of you who know the story of Mozart's The Magic Flute, this post will probably make sense to you. I am at a point in my life when I am feeling a bit like Pamina when she sits herself down and begins to sing, Ach! Ich fühls est ist verschwunden!

I'm weary. I'm tired of working a dead-end, go-nowhere job that doesn't pay shit, working to build somebody else's dream and not appreciated for it. I'm sick to death of living on a shoestring budget and not being able to provide for my children in the way that they really need.

I'm fucking tired of always having the rug pulled out from underneath me, just as I'm feeling as if I'm finally gaining some footing. I'm tired of knowing that there is something else out there that I'm supposed to do and accomplish, but I can't ever seem to get there because the path to it is endless. What the fuck is going on here?


We still remember

>> Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Eleven years ago today, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, was bombed, killing 168 men, women, and children. Until September 11, 2001, it stood as the single most deadly terrorist attack on American soil.

Our thoughts are still with the survivors and families of those who perished.


Couldn't have said it better myself

>> Friday, April 7, 2006

A copy of the following letter to the makers of Kotex feminine products was posted in the bathroom of my workplace the other day. I found of copy of it online and couldn't resist posting it. In my current state of bronchial irritation, I nearly died of a coughing fit from laughter. This woman said it in a way that most women probably would if they had thought of it.

Dear Kotex,

I recently noticed that the peel-off strip of my pantiliner had a bunch of "Kotex Tips for Life" on it. Annoying advice such as:
  • Staying active during your period can relieve cramps.
  • Avoiding caffeine may help reduce cramps and headaches.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep you hydrated and feeling fresh.
  • Try Kotex blah blah blah other products.
Obviously the person behind this was someone who has never possessed a functioning pair of ovaries. Go ahead and tell a menstruating woman TO HER FACE that drinking 6-8 glasses of water will help keep her feeling fresh. See what happens and report back. I'll wait here. While you're at it, dump out the coffee at work and remove the chocolate from the vending machine. I guaran-damn-tee that the first responders will be females who just ovulated.

Look, females don't need or want tips for living on feminine hygiene products. Younger girls are already hearing "helpful" crap like that from their elderly relatives. Veteran females have already concocted their own recipes for survival, most containing alcohol.

Printing out crap advice while sneaking in ads for the brand THAT WAS ALREADY PURCHASED is just plain annoying, not to mention rude and enough to send a girl running to the Always brand. Mostly we'd like to forget that we even need these products. It's not a fun time, but DO NOT try to cheer us up by adding smiley faces or bunnies or flowery cutesy crap to your products or the packaging. Put the shit in a plain brown wrapper so we can throw it in our carts discreetly and have it blend in among the wine and chocolates. There is nothing more annoying than having a blinding pink package announcing your uterine state to everyone in the dammed store. The ultimate goal of your product should be functional invisibility at every stage, including the point of purchase. So take your tips for living and shove them up your ass. (Try drinking six to eight glasses of water to make you feel fresher while you're doing it!)

Ovarily Yours
Miss PMS


Musical illustrations of life

>> Sunday, April 2, 2006

My kids grew up in the 90's, in the middle of the era of the animated movie musical. I swear that every time Disney or Don Bluth put out a new animated film, we not only took the kids to see it, but as soon as the video came out, we bought it.

The songs in these films, just as in a Broadway musical, serve as audio illustrations and enhancements to the story line. As I began to recall and identify some of my favorite songs from these films, I realized that they were all songs that I related to, that had meaning for me, and in a very real sense serve as illustrations of events in my life, or at least of my thoughts and emotions, if not my real life. The following are a list of some of these songs and the event(s), and/or emotions that they illustrate.

  1. "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tail, 1986: This song became very popular and was played on all the radio stations. The first time I heard it, I cried. I had been married for four years, but I knew I wasn't with the right person and that "somewhere out there" was the one I was supposed to be with.

  2. "Once Upon a December" from Anastasia, 1997: When we took the kids to see this film, I was mesmerized by the haunting music and lyrics of this song. Since I was a small child, I had experienced foggy memories of a life not in this time or place and I couldn't make sense of it. I knew what Anya sang of when she sang, "Things my heart used to know, things I long to remember...". It was only two years later that I met the person who would help me remember the things my heart used to know.

  3. "Once Upon a Dream" from Sleeping Beauty, 1959: This film debuted the year before I was born and has always been my very favorite Disney animated film. And the song illustrates exactly what I felt when I found Mozart on line, in May of 1999.

  4. "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast, 1991: The opening scene of this film was my life until May of 1999.

  5. "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, 1992: This song became my life beginning in May of 1999. I've flown on the magic carpet, and now I can't go back to where I used to be...


April's Fool

>> Saturday, April 1, 2006

One of my very favorite cards in the Tarot deck is The Fool. He is traditionally depicted as a traveler carrying a small bundle with a little dog following close behind. Notice too, that he is looking up as he is just about to step off of a cliff!
I must admit that I have felt like The Fool a number of times over the last several years! However, it looks as if my fool's journey is near it's end, as I ready myself to walk through the doors to a new phase. I'm glad, too, because blindly stepping off of cliffs is scary!


Happy Birthday Papa Haydn!

>> Friday, March 31, 2006

Today is the 274th birthday of 18th century composer, good friend and colleague of Mozart's, Franz Joseph Haydn. Born in 1732, Haydn was considered one of the greatest composers of the classical era and is considered to be the father of the string quartet. Mozart composed six string quartets in his honor that are known today as "The Haydn Quartets", and loved Haydn as a mentor and a father.

Happy Birthday, Papa Haydn! We love you!



>> Thursday, March 30, 2006

I hate it. I never had it as a kid, but instead, had my first asthma attack on the night that Nathan and I came home from the hospital after he was born. The doctor told me then that it was "trauma" induced due to the emergency cesarean and the stress of Nathan's being sick when he was born. And since I've moved back to Oklahoma, it has only gotten worse.

Spring and fall are my worst allergy seasons, therefore my worst asthma seasons. Whenever I have an attack, it feels as if I'm being stabbed multiple times in the back. If I move or try to breathe, it only gets worse. One of the worst attacks I ever had came a few years ago when I came down with bronchial pneumonia after my master's recital. It was the middle of the night and I felt like I was having a heart attack. It scared poor Steph nearly to death.

So far, this asthma season has been worse than I've had in a few years. I had an attack last week that kept me home from work. Today, I'm feeling very tenuous, like if I move too quickly, it's going to hit. There are little twinges and hints that it's there, as if there's an evil monkey on my back, poking and teasing, just letting me know he's there. The little jerk!


It comes in Fives

>> Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tagged again!

  1. What were you doing 10 Years Ago?
    I was living my parents' dreams for me, and hating every second of it.

  2. 5 Years Ago?
    I was a graduate student, divorced, in a new relationship with Steph.

  3. 1 Year Ago?
    Pretty much what I'm doing now, and getting ready to be in Mozartballs.

  4. Five snacks you enjoy:
    Butter Finger candy bars
    Tortilla chips and salsa
    Gummie Bears
    Potato chips and cottage cheese

  5. Five songs you know by heart but wish you didn’t:
    Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
    The Old Rugged Cross
    Ald Lang Syne
    The Song that Never Ends
    Any hymn in the Baptist hymnal

  6. Five things I would do with a LOT of money:
    Pay off my debts
    Buy some new clothes
    Get some good health insurance
    Move to Vienna
    Help people

  7. Five things you would never wear:
    Any perfume by Elizabeth Taylor
    A diamond engagement ring (I prefer my garnet, thank-you!)
    A thong (That would just be too scary!)
    Heels any higher than two inches
    Polyester double knit slacks

  8. Five things you should never have worn:
    Those church lady bib dresses that made me look like a school marm
    My first wedding gown
    Knit stirrup pants
    Those stupid hair bows that went with the bib dresses
    The sweater that my ex bought me from Focus on the Family

  9. Five things you enjoy doing:
    Singing in the Stillwater Chamber Singers
    Entertaining guests in our home
    Fine dining
    Anything with Steph

  10. Five bad habits:
    Drinking too much Dr. Pepper
    Eating too much chocolate
    Asking questions in the middle of a movie
    Spending too much time on Beliefnet
    Can be argumentative

  11. Five people who must fill this out:


When The Sand Runs Out

>> Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I had to take Liz's car today to run an errand, and she had a CD in her player by a group called Rascal Flatts. Now mind you, I'm not a country music fan by any stretch of the imagination, but the lyrics to one particular song so intrigued me, that I had to post them on my blog.

I spent the morning at an old friend's grave
Flowers and Amazing Grace, he was a good man
He spent his whole life spinnin' his wheels
Never knowin' how the real thing feels
He never took a chance or took the time to dance
And I stood there thinking as I said goodbye
Today is the first day of the rest of my life

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
And learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out

'Cause people do it everyday
Promise themselves they're gonna change
I've been there, but I'm changin' from the inside out

That was then and this is now
I'm a new man, yeah, I'm a brand new man
And when they carve my stone they'll write these words
"Here lies a man who lived life for all that its worth"

I'm gonna stop lookin' back and start movin' on
Learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here

Go out on a ledge, with out any net
That's what I'm gonna be about
Yeah I wanna be runnin'
When the sand runs out


Toasted Mary on white

>> Thursday, March 23, 2006

I've heard the claims of how people see Jesus' face on a tree trunk, the image of the Virgin Mary on a rock, and even Satan in the billowing smoke of the burning World Trade Center on 9/11, but this takes the grilled cheese sammich! It seems that as this woman bit into her grilled cheese sandwich ten years ago, she stopped herself from consuming the rest of it when she observed that the image of the Virgin Mary was browned into the toast.

Yeah right!

I only wish that I'd thought of this one, because she sold it on Ebay for $28,000! That's a pretty great return for a partially-eaten, stale, ten-year-old grilled cheese sandwich, don't ya think? Talk about laughing all the way to the bank! This lady was probably saying "Hail Mary" and laughing in the same breath!


She's growing up

>> Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My children aren't babies any longer. I've known that for a long time now, and I accepted that reality long ago. However, today a new reality comes into play. Now I must start to prepare for the day when my eldest leaves home. I wasn't quite expecting this.
Today Lauren and I are meeting a gentleman for dinner to discuss her going to France for a year as an exchange student. This is something she has been dreaming of since she was a child, and now it looks as if her dreams are turning into reality. (Lauren is certainly one of those people who, when she has a dream, she manifests it into reality, even if it seems impossible.)

Next year is Lauren's senior year in high school and after graduation, she hopes to leave on the exchange student program for the year following, delaying college for a year. She believes, however, that the delay won't hurt her, but on the contrary, will only enhance her college experience. I agree. The only trouble I have with it is the fact that she'll be so far away for so long. "It's time to let go, Mom", keeps ringing in my ears. "She's not a baby anymore." She'll turn 19 while she's in France. And by the time she returns, she'll be nearly 20. *sigh*

Still, I couldn't be more proud, nor happy. My daughter is setting out to live the life that she has always desired. She has worked hard and will continue to work hard. She's an incredible young lady.


Making Peace

>> Saturday, March 18, 2006

My brother, who is a Southern Baptist minister came to Steph's and my home today. What took place in the span of about three hours is nothing short of miraculous. Healing, forgiveness, and a chance to begin again, all transpired in our living room.

Monte has been wrestling with God and in that wrestling he got, for the first time, what Jesus meant when he said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind, and love others as you love yourself for this is the whole law."

  • It's not about dogma.
  • It's not about correct doctrine.
  • It's not about tradition or what we've always believed to be true.
  • It's about love.
  • It's about relationship.
  • It's about the condition of the heart.
We talked.
We hugged.
We cried.
We asked one another's forgiveness.

We moved on.

He told us about a trilogy that he has just finished reading that helped bring him to this point in his spiritual journey. They're by Brian McLaren, entitled, A New Kind of Christian, The Story We Find Ourselves In, and The Last Word and the Word After That.


Celtic, but not Irish

>> Friday, March 17, 2006

Since today is St. Patrick's Day, I felt I had to write the obligatory entry on my blog and get it over with. Usually on this day, I prepare a special meal of corned beef, cooked cabbage, and Irish soda bread, and serve it up with a good brew. However, this is a tradition that my kids are more fond of than anyone else, and since they're at their dad's for spring break, we're going out for Mexican food this evening. LOL! And since I'm Scottish and not Irish, I really don't give a rip about it anyway!

Perhaps I'll make my Irish dinner for Cinco de Mayo!


Project Runway withdrawals

>> Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's Wednesday night and I'm flipping through the channels looking for something to watch. I need a fix! Where's Andraé? Santino? Heidi?

I'm just going to have to make it work!


Music Survey

>> Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I got tagged again, but this time it's a survey about my favorite classical music. This was a really difficult one guys! (I added the German Lieder category, btw). And since Steph stole all of the people that I could tag, the buck stops with me. Notice too, that with me, it's all about the Germans!

  1. Symphony:
    Beethoven's 9th, The Choral Symphony

  2. Piano Concerto:
    Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K491

  3. Violin Concerto:
    Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K216

  4. Concerto for any wind instrument (flute, clarinet, oboe, horn, etc):
    Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K622

  5. Concerto for two or more soloists:
    Mozart's Simphonia Concertante for Violin and Viola, K364

  6. Overture or other short classical work (less than 12 minutes long):
    Mozart's Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro

  7. Piano Sonata:
    Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 6 in C Minor ("Pathètique")

  8. Other unaccompanied:
    Bach's Suite for Unaccompanied Cello No. 2

  9. Sonata with accompaniment or other music for only two instruments:
    Mozart's Sonata for piano and violin in E minor, K304

  10. Trio:
    Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 4 in D Major, Op. 70 No. 1 ("Ghost")

  11. String Quartet:
    Mozart's String Quartet in C Major, No. 19, K465 ("Dissonance")

  12. Other Quartet:
    Mozart's Adagio & Fugue in C Minor for String Quartet, K546

  13. Quintet:
    Quintet Opus 114, "Trout", Franz Schubert

  14. Other chamber music:
    Mozart's Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major, K493

  15. Latin choral work (Mass, Requiem, Stabat Mater, etc.):
    Faure Requiem
    Mozart's Solemn Vespers, K339
    Mozart's "Great" Mass in C minor, K427
    Mozart's Requiem in D minor, K626
    Orff's Carmina Burana
    Bach's Mass in B minor

  16. Choral work in a language other than Latin:
    Brahms' Deutsches Requiem
    Handel's Messiah

  17. Opera:
    Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro

  18. Classical work composed after 1950 (other than movie music):
    John Rutter's Gloria

  19. Classical work composed before 1650:
    Motet: O Domine Jesu Christe, Tomas Luis de Victoria

  20. Classical vocal work:
    Mozart's concert aria, Ch'io mi scordi di te? K505

  21. Lieder:
    Mozart's Abendempfindung, Trennungslied, An Chloe, Das Traumbild
    Franz Schubert's Du bist die ruh
    Johannes Brahms' Zigeunerlieder, Wie Melodien
    Beethoven's An Die Ferne Geliebte
    Franz Liszt's Es muss ein Wunderbares sein
    Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder

  22. Movie Score:
    Maurice Jarre's Lawrenece of Arabia

  23. TV Theme:
    Howard Goodall's Psalm 23 (Theme from The Vicar of Dibley)

  24. Song (Rock, Blues, Country or other):
    La Chanson De Vieux Amants by Jaque Brel, sung by Judy Collins
    Dream a Little Dream of Me, sung by Mama Cass

  25. Guitar or Lute, classical:
    Rodrigo's Fandango

  26. Goofy novelty song:
    Benjamin Britten's arrangement of the English folk song, Oliver Cromwell

  27. Bonus (anything you'd like to add that wasn't on the list):
    Ravi Shankar/Andre Previn: Concerto for Sitar & Orchestra
    Queen Latifah's The Dana Owns Album (Jazz)
    Any Rachmaninoff piano concerto
    Canteloube's Chants d' Auvergne
    Handel's Lascia ch'io pianga from Rinaldo



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