Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Way Back Wednesday - The Hudson Brothers' Razzle Dazzle Show

Since this is the last Way Back Wednesday of 2008, I've decided to be a little silly. Here is one of my favorite Saturday morning television shows from 1974 - I was 12 years old.
The Hudson Brothers were an American music group formed in Portland, Oregon in the 1970s and consisting of Bill Hudson (the father of Kate Hudson), Brett Hudson and Mark Hudson (a writer for Ringo Starr and Aerosmith). As a pre-teen, I was totally in love with the Hudson Brothers, especially the baby, Brett.

They starred in The Hudson Brothers Show, a TV variety hour Wednesday nights on CBS starting July 31, 1974 to August 28, 1974, followed by The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show on CBS Saturday mornings, from September 7, 1974 to August 30, 1975, in a half-hour format. Amazingly, Video Service Corp. released the complete Razzle Dazzle series on DVD on June 17, 2008. (I don't own it yet, but it's on my wish list!)



This album, entitled "Totally Out of Control", was their first under the direction of Elton John and partner Bernie Taupin. It's a great power pop album loaded with hook-you-in melodies and typical sugar-pop lyrics - perfect for the budding teenager. This is the only Hudson Brothers album I own - may parents found it for me the Christmas of 1974 and I still have this old LP.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Do We Have to Live with Stupid People??

Some days I really hate being an American when I'm put in the same category as the idiots who think "Obama the Magic Negro" is okay in our society.

RNC Chair Chip Saltsman, you should be ashamed of yourself!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Why Can't There Be Peace?

According to the New York Times:
GAZA — In a third straight day of deadly air strikes against the emblems and institutions of Hamas on Monday, Israeli warplanes pounded targets in Gaza including the Interior Ministry while the Israeli Army declared areas around the beleaguered enclave a “closed military zone.”

With another year coming to an end, why can't there be peace in the world?

The World Today


The World Today

It starts with a cyclone - Myanmar is dead
As the global financial crisis closes in
Then China is shook loose from its hinges
While Iraq still bubbles on
Afghanistan caves still hide the threat
And the Israel-Palestine hatred continues
Post-election violence in Kenya, what can it mean
Beijing Olympic Games could not distract the violence
Bhutan has its first ever elections
While the USA elects the historic 44th
Does Iran really have nuke capability
As Finland enters the world of school shooting deaths
Out with Fidel, in with Raul - nothing changes Cuba
Although France's first lady is now a lovely pinup star
Explosions rock in Turkey - and not the Thanksgiving kind
As Mumbai, India suffers its version of 911
Bangkok is controlled by airport occupations
And shoes are a threat to our decider-in-chief
My children never knew the untethered freedom of roaming a neigborhood or ajoining countryside
My grandchildren will have less freedom still
In many ways we are more advanced
But I'd take those simplier times over today in a single minute

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Inaugural Poet

I have always wanted to be a writer, but here is one writing job I'm glad I don't have! Check out Christopher Buckley's post at the Daily Beast. Buckley has written a blog post entitled "There Was a Young Man Named Obama."

Today's post is about Elizabeth Alexander who has been tapped by Obama to write an inaugural poem on January 20th.
I’ve written speeches for politicians, but I cannot imagine the pressure of having to come up with poetry to be read aloud in front of everyone on the planet.

Excellent article! I love Buckley's work!

Thankful Sunday


For this week's Thankful Sunday, I am thankful for:


**Having my entire family together for the Christmas session. Gathering at my parent's home on Wednesday night was a magical time indeed.

**Having extra time to spend with my hubby. He works so hard and has very little time off, but I'm enjoying his extended vacation.

**Having extra time with my youngest daughter while she is off from school. We have several writing projects we are working on together.

**My mother-in-law feeling better. She has been under the weather for almost 2 weeks, but has finally turned the corner and is feeling some better. I plan to take her to the doctor tomorrow for a check-up.

**I'm glad my mother-in-law got to spend time with her oldest son (and and his wife life one town over, but they don't visit as often as she would like) and she got to talk with her middle son (he and his family live in Georgia). We spent all of Christmas Day with her, so this made her happy.


^^**One thing I am not thankful for is the way my niece acted during Christmas. I realize she is missing her mother (my sister died almost 4 years ago), but she did everything in her power to make my parent's Christmas miserable. I know she is hurting, but why did she have to take it out on her grandparents???**^^

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Scarpetta

I am halfway through the new Patricia Cornwell book Scarpetta - the 16th book about fictional Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta. This was a Christmas present from my wonderful hubby and I have spent a lazy Saturday afternoon with my nose in the book.

I must say this book is much better than the last 2 or 3 in the series. I have been disappointed with the last few books, mainly because Cornwell switched from 1st person narrative to 3rd person. So far, this book is holding my interest! Here's the book trailer - check it out for yourself!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Burn After Watching

Okay, I just lost 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back. Hubby and #3 daughter wanted to watch Burn After Reading. They both saw it in the theater and loved it, so they wanted me to watch. I was more interested in reading Scarpetta (which I'd gotten for Christmas), but when they asked me to turn the light out, I was left with no choice but to watch the movie.

The acting was great - I love George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand - I just didn't understand the storyline. I thought it was silly, but then again, who am I??

Maybe this is one of those films I'll have to watch a few times before I like it - that happened for me with Pulp Fiction and Snatch; now I love both these films.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Story

A perennial favorite in our home is A Christmas Story, the 1983 film based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of Jean Shepherd, including material from his books In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories.

The movie takes place in the late 1940's in the fictional northern Indiana town of Hohman (based on real-life Hammond, IN). 9-year-old Ralph "Ralphie" Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants only one thing for Christmas:
"an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle (BB Gun) with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time."
Between run-ins with his younger brother Randy (Ian Petrella) and having to handle school bully Scut Farkus (Zack Ward), Ralphie doesn't know how he'll ever survive long enough to get the BB gun for Christmas. The plot revolves around Ralphie's overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to his owning the precious Red Ryder BB gun: the fear that he will shoot his eye out.

In 1997 TNT began airing a 24-hour marathon dubbed "24 Hours of A Christmas Story," consisting of the film shown twelve consecutive times beginning at 7 or 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and ending Christmas Day. Although our family has owned the DVD for many years, we always have the TV tuned to TNT on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, making A Christmas Story the background of all our holiday activities.

Starring:

**Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker - the film's protagonist, a nine year old imaginative dreamer
**Darren McGavin as The Old Man (Mr. Parker) - Ralphie's dad is at the center of the Major Award vignette, and is depicted using colorful nonsensical invective. His first name is never revealed.
**Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker - Ralphie's mom is the primary dispenser of the oft-repeated phrase, "You'll shoot your eye out." Her first name is never revealed either.
**Ian Petrella as Randy Parker - Ralphie's younger brother, who will not eat his meatloaf
**Scott Schwartz as Flick - Ralphie's friend, who learns about tongues and cold metal the hard way

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lost

In order to keep my mind off the fact my family will be celebrating a 4th Christmas without my sister, I have been Lost. Not lost as in can't find my way home, or can't find the right path. Lost as in Lost the television series.

I never watched Lost when it first premiered, then I tried to watch it during its second year, but I didn't understand the storyline. Now, thanks to Netflix, I can watch Lost from the beginning and understand everything that is going on.

So to keep my mind from wandering to dark places, I've been watching marathon sessions of Lost for the past few days. And nights - it's almost 1:00 in the morning and I'm still awake. I guess the island is calling me to one more show ...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fireside Coffee

I finished up my Fireside Coffee Mix this weekend - it goes in my gift bags every year to family and friends. I really don't have a cut and dry recipe, but I use the "1 cup-of" ratio:

Fireside Coffee

--1 cup of instant coffee
--1 cup of hot chocolate mix
--1 cup coffee creamer
--1 cup of sugar

Mix well and add to decorative jars. Add a gift tag that says:
"Add 1 - 2 heaping teaspoons full to a mug of boiling water. Enjoy!"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

Solstice actually means "the sun is stationary," because the sun rises and sets in the same spot for a few days. During the Winter Solstice we experience the longest night and shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere).



Of course, there are many predictions that claim the earth will be destroyed during the Winter Solstice of 2012. Is it really the end of the Mayan Calendar, or will the Winter Solstice be aligned with the Milky Way? Guess we really won't know until after the holiday season of 2012.


(Art by Kristine's Canvas)

Tagged Again

I've been tagged again - this time for a picture meme from Natalie at A Little of This, A Little of That. These are the rules:

Go to the 6th picture folder in your documents.*Find the 6th picture in your 6th folder.*Pray that you remember what it is about.*Blog about it.*Tag 6 people to do the same.

Technically, my 6th picture folder is full of internet photos I've been collecting for a book I'm writing. The book is called The Baby Bones and here is the 6th picture in that file:


Since my family photos are mingled with my internet photos, I went to my 6th family photo album and here is the 6th photo - a picture of Elinore and Weehawk, 2 of our 5 cats (kittens in this photo). Elinore and Weehawk are named after characters from our favorite animated film, Wizards by Ralph Bakshi.



Because it's the holiday season and I have so much still to do, I'm going to wait until later to tag 6 people. Merry Christmas!!

Thankful Sunday


For this week's Thankful Sunday, I am thankful for:

**Having finished my Christmas scarves and hats just in time for the holidays.

**Having finished my Christmas Memory booklets I've been working on for my family (this is a collection of all my Christmas stories from 12 years of writing for the Mercer's Magazine).

**Knowing all my children will be together at my mother's house on Wednesday night. Last year we were missing one and I felt a whole in my heart.

**The health and happiness of my entire family.

The Riches

Another new series my Hubby and I discovered is The Riches starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver. Although the show was canceled after only 2 seasons, these 2 seasons are worth watching.

The Riches is excellently written and is a storyline like no other on TV. It is about a family of Irish Traveller con artists and thieves - Dad, Mom and 3 kids.

If you get a chance to see The Riches, you won't be sorry.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Now On To Hats

I finally have my Christmas scarves finished - 14 in all!! Now I'm working on matching hats for my daughters, mother and mother-in-law. Although I love knitting, I may not pick up a pair of knitting needles until waaaaaaaaay after Christmas!

House is in the House

Okay, in trying to take my mind off all the insaneness of Christmas, Hubby and I got the first 2 discs of House season 1 from Netflix today. Awesome - that's all I can say right now.

We never started watching House when it first premiered, but my oldest 2 daughters keep recommending it to us. So Hubby queued them up and the first discs have arrived. We've only watched 2 episodes so far, but AWESOME!! I guess better late than never!

And can I add, Hugh Laurie is scrumptious!!

Sleep Deprivation vs. Kitty Humor




Okay, you know you're sleep deprived when watching the cat get freaked out because you're opening and closing the tray on the DVD player is hilarious! Must...go...to...bed...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Farewell Myrtle

Okay, so I know it's the holiday season and I know emotions can run hot and cold, but I've spent the last hour crying over the death of a fictional television character!

Myrtle Fargate was the shoulder everyone from the fictional town of Pine Valley cried on. Eileen Herlie joined the cast of All My Children in 1976 and she was a regular until her last episode on June 23, 2008. Herlie died on October 8, 2008.

On today's episode of All My Children, they had a grand farewell to Myrtle. Zach Slater names a room at the casino in honor, the "Fargate Carnival Room". Zach - my favorite character - is played by Thorsten Kaye. Hubba hubba!!

This is the only soap opera I watch, and I've been watching since 1976. I have to have my daily dose of Pine Valley.

"The angels are on your side."
These are the last words we hear Myrtle say, recorded from her last show, and repeated at the end of today's episode.

Easy Homemade Lip Balm


Easy Homemade Lip Balm

-2 tsp. beeswax (chop or grate it, then measure)
-2 1/4 tsp. jojoba oil (you can also use olive oil or sunflower oil)
-about 6 drops of peppermint essential oil (or any flavor you like - I also like lemon and grapefruit)

Melt wax and jojoba oil together in a microwave, in 10 second incriments. Stir to combine. When thoroughly blended together, add essential oil. Pour into your containers, filling only half way - I like mini tins, but you can also buy empty lip balm tubes. Keep reserved mixture melted; after a few minutes, top off the containers with the rest of the mixture. Let cool for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

To make your lip balm glossier, just add a tab more oil, up to a total of 3 teaspons. You can experiment to get your lip balm the way you want it.

The Birds Barbie


Oh, I've gotta have one of these!!!

In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, gave us a tale of terror not soon forgotten in his film “The Birds.” Dressed in a re-creation of the stylish green skirt-suit worn by the film’s ill-fated heroine in an iconic scene, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” Barbie® Doll celebrates the 45th anniversary of the acclaimed film. From the doll’s classic ensemble to the perfectly painted expression to the accompanying black birds, every aspect captures the film’s infamous appeal.





The Birds is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. All rights reserved.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Hitchcock likeness are trademarks and copyrights of The Hitchcock Trust.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thanks, Baby

I felt so crappy last night, I didn't want to cook supper. So, my super sweet hubby decided to cook for us - homemade tacos! I must say they were yummy!! Thanks, baby!

I hope this cold, or virus or whatever, is over quick because I still have so much to do before next week. The older I get the faster time flies by!

Christmas Traditions

Here are some Christmas traditions our family had when the girls were younger:

1.) Santa's kiss - I always kept a cheap tube of bright red lipstick in my medicine cabinet. Every Christmas Eve - after the kids were asleep - I would coat my lips with red and then kiss each girl on the cheek. On Christmas morning, Mommy or Daddy would point out the Santa kiss and the girls would be so excited.

2.) Magic Reindeer Food - On Christmas Eve before bedtime, the girls would go into the front yard and sprinkle a trail of Magic Reindeer Food to attract the reindeer. The Magic Reindeer Food is simply rolled oats and white glitter mixed together. The glitter helps the reindeer see the lawn and the oats give them something to eat. Luckily for parents, the trail melts into the lawn with the first rain or snow.

3.) Presents from Santa - We always wrapped all the gifts from Santa and each girl had a different kind of wrapping paper. This way, we could hide presents all around the tree, but still know which girl got which present.

4.) Presents in the tree - This was a tradition in my hubby's family, so we adopted it for our own. We typically hide smaller packages up inside the tree branches. The girls enjoyed finding new presents throughout the tree. The problem is, I always seem to forget one present and we find it when we are taking the tree down. My family is always excited to see who will get the "forgotten" present every year.

5.) Coal from Santa - We actually had a round tin box full of coal. At one time or another, each of the girls received this "coal from Santa" in their stockings. I still have this tin of coal safely tucked away - hopefully to use on my grandchildren.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Way Back Wednesday - A Christmas Carol

Although there have been many film versions of A Christmas Carol over the years, the 1938 version remains my favorite. Starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene and Kathleen Lockhart as Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit, this movie is an annual favorite for my family. Terry Kilburn played little Tiny Tim and a young June Lockhart played one of the Cratchit daughters. Leo G. Carroll had the role of Marley's Ghost. Although this movie has been digitally remastered with the addition of color, I still prefer the black and white verison of this wonderful movie.



After the 1938 version of this classic, Scrooge (1951), is my favorite. Released as A Christmas Carol in the United States, it is one of the most well-known film adaptations of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. It starred Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Also starring in this film were George Cole as a younger version of Scrooge, Mervyn Johns as Bob Cratchit, Hermione Baddeley as Mrs. Cratchit, Kathleen Harrison as Scrooge's charwoman, and Michael Hordern as Marley's Ghost. This film was narrated by Peter Bull.



Another family favorite is The Muppet Christmas Carol, the first Muppet movie produced after the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson. It was released in 1992, the same year my youngest daughter was born. This is a great movie to introduce A Christmas Carol to children. Although the movie takes exaggerated liberties with the original story, it is fun to watch and the catchy songs are easy for children - and adults - to sing to.





An updated version of A Christmas Carol is scheduled for release in November 2009. The film is written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, and stars Jim Carrey in a multitude of roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge as a young, middle-aged, and old man, and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge. The 3D film will be produced through the process of performance capture, a technique Zemeckis has previously used in his films The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snowman Humor

Today is a snow day, so I thought Snowman humor was appropriate!




Thanks Kevin - you made me laugh!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Throw Them Shoes

I want to throw my shoes at President Bush - can I, can I huh??????

Bath Bombs



Bath Bombs

--1 cup cornstarch
--1 cup citric acid
--2 cups baking soda
--1/2 cup Epsom salt
--1/2 cup sea salt
--2 tsp. water
--1/2 tsp. borax
--1-2 tsp. essential or fragrance oil
--2 tbsp. of a light oil like jojoba, coconut or grapeseed
--optional a few drops of a soap safe dye or food coloring (or you can leave plain white)

Sift the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well to remove clumps. Set the bowl aside.

Put the water into a squirt-type bottle and add the borax. Be sure to add the borax before you add the other ingredients! It won't completely dissolve. If you're adding color, add it here. Next add the fragrance or essential oil and the vegetable oil. Shake well so that the whole mixture becomes emulsified - it will be a creamy, slurry-like mix.

Now it's time to make the bombs. You must go slowly through this mixing of the wet and dry ingredients - you don't want the bombs to be too wet (making them fizz and swell) or too dry (making them crumble and fall apart).

While whisking with one hand, squirt a few drops of the liquid into the center of the dry ingredients. It will immediately start to fizz. Start mixing right away with the whisk - this stops the fizzing by incorporating the liquid into the rest of the dry ingredients. Keep adding the liquid slowly, stirring continually, until all ingredients are well incorporated. The mixture should be fairly thick.

Testing the bath bombs: The mixture should be like wet sand - just barely wet enough to stick together. Pick up a half handful of the mix and squeeze it together. Does it clump into a ball and remain in a ball shape? This is good and you can begin molding the bath bombs. If they're still too dry, use your spray bottle of water to add just a bit more water. Just a bit! It only takes a few sprays of water to make a big difference.

If the mixture is too wet, it's harder to fix. You can add a bit of salt, cornstarch, or more baking soda and citric acid (at a 2:1 ratio). This is why it is better to start out stingy with the wet ingredients.

Molding the bath bombs: I use small metal tins as molds (.5 - 1 ounce size) to mold the bath bombs. There are molds especially made to enable you to make perfectly round bombs, but I try to use what I have on hand. Pack the mixture tightly into the tin and scrape the top with a knife. Let it sit for a minute or two, then tap the edge of the tin onto the cookie sheet. The tablet should drop out without too much effort.

Gently lay the bath bombs onto a paper towel lined plate or cookie sheet. They will still be a little soft, so they must set overnight. Then your rock hard bath bombs are ready for the tub.

To give as gifts, wrap each bath bomb in colorful cellophane or plastic wrap.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boo - Hiss

Boo - hiss - boo - hiss - it's that time of year again! No, I'm not talking about Christmas holiday or the New Year, I'm talking about the season finale of some of my favorite television shows.

Tonight I lost 2 of my all time favorite: Dexter and Californication.

The season finale of Dexter has Rita and Dexter finally married, Deb has her Detective shield, Miguel Prada is dead and his brother Ramon has come to terms with his life, and all the story lines are wrapped up. So, what's to come with Season 4? Well, we know Rita is having a baby, so Dexter will be a real father at some point during Season 4. Will he be able to rein in his killing tendencies once he's married? And what is it that makes normal rational people root for a serial killer like Dexter?


The season finale of Californication finds Karen moving to New York for a new job, but Hank and Becca are remaining in California. Becca and Damien have made up, so this will probably be a big story line for Season 3. How is Hank going to handle being a single father? How will Karen stand to be away from Becca? Because Becca is my favorite character, I look forward to seeing more of her in 2009. And what about Charlie and Marci (cokey Smurf)? Will they get back together?

Both of these shows have been picked up for new seasons, but they have only stated they will return in 2009 - not when in 2009.

Here's to a speedy return of Dexter and Californication !!!!

Thankful Sunday

Tracy from Seaside Enchantment gave me the idea for this blog post. She does a weekly post entitled Weekly Blessings where she lists what she is thankful for each week. I have followed her posts for several weeks, and now I'm inspired to do my own weekly blessings. Thank you for the idea, Tracy!



This week, I am thankful for:

*** Having my Christmas scarves finished. Now I'm starting on hats for my 3 daughters.

*** My 5 new grand-puppies, even though they will be sold in 2 months. They are soooo cute!

*** My youngest daughter is feeling better. She was under the weather for about 3 days. Glad you're better, sweetheart!

*** My wonderful hubby - no particular reason - just his constant attention and unconditional love. I love you, baby!

*** My warm home and all the bills being caught up. This takes a load off my mind.

*** The excitement and joy of the upcoming holiday season.

*** And I'm always thankful for my 3 beautiful, healthy daughters! They are my heart and soul!

12 Days of Christmas

This is something I learned last year from the pastor I worked for. I was reminded of the meaning of this song by an email from a friend.

The 12 Days of Christmas

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.




The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.






Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.






Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.





The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.





The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.






The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.





Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.






The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.





Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.






The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.






The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.







The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.



Thanks, Kevin, for reminding me of the meaning of this song.

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone