Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dove's Evolution of a Model

My sister, Delirious, just posted a statement about beliefs regarding ideal weights for women. I thought I would include this video from Dove as an educational tool for those who believe....shall we say...a certain way. Food for thought. Pardon the pun.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Suprise Present from My kids

Last year, my kids surprised my wife by staying up all night and cleaning. They surprised me with a very cool rapier.
This year, they outdid themselves. For my wife, Utah Jazz shirt and hoodie, and for me a gas grill, pictured below. I won't go into a full list of everything we got this year, but this was definitely unexpected and awesome.

I even broke it in already, on Sunday, cooking up some beautiful steaks. The only problem is, it cooks so evenly, I have to relearn how to cook!
Our Biggest gift to the family was to finally replace our 15- or 16- year old TV, that was so fuzzy you couldn't read all menu items or, more importantly, scores for Jazz games.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why Good Pets Attack...?

We were just trying to keep her warm....!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feeling Much Better Now

Just a quick note again.

My Missus went to a doctor Monday who told her to go back on a medicine she had taken before. She doesn't like taking this because it causes her to gain weight. That's why she was looking for new medicine in the first place. Unfortunately, everything else makes her feel so bad she lost 17 lbs. in just over a week!
The long and short of it is that she feels much better now, and can actually eat a meal. In fact, we are almost ready for our Christmas Eve dinner now.
Thank you to all of you who kept her in your prayers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Calling for Prayers

Those of my readers who are not related to me (whichever one or two you are) don't know my wife, Ladybug, but all my siblings and other family may not be aware that she has been very sick lately. She eats less all day than mom or dad eat in one meal. That should tell you how bed this is. And for those wondering, no, it is NOT anorexia. She has stomach problems which have been playing havoc with her appetite and weight, etc. In the last week, I think she has probably lost at least 10 lbs.
I am very scared right now, and am asking all of you to keep her in your prayers. The doctors still don't know how to help her, and she is going to be scheduling an upper G. I. to see if they can find out anything more. Please pray that not only will the doctors be able to find out what to do, but that she will be able to find a way to eat what she needs to maintain her health and strength.
Thanks - Giggles

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Than a Casual Obsession...

Just a quick post here. I love food. No. Really. LOVE food! But even with that being said, I never had a food obsession until I discovered SUSHI!
This past Friday, I went to a sushi bar which in the past was on my "decent sushi" list. The chef at the bar was hilarious! He was Chinese, and about 22-25 or so, and was a sushi ARTIST! He fixed me some of the best stuff I've ever had! I barely even touched my soy sauce, because the sushi was so good without it!
I find myself thinking about sushi during the day. At odd hours, I swear I can taste shoga (pickled ginger used as a palate cleanser with sushi). I adore wasabe, though I've never cared for horseradish any other way. And don't get me started on raw fish. People who don't eat sushi can't understand this. I prefer raw tuna and salmon to the cooked version! And not all sushi is raw fish. Eel (yumm - especially the sauce- eel sauce RULES), crab, shrimp, and octopus (YUMMY, though I am told by this past sushi chef that it is 80% cholesterol).
For Christmas or Birthdays for some time now, friends have given me Sushi gift cards. Don't get me wrong. Mexican food is my first love, and will always hold a special place in my . . . heart? And Italian food is beautiful too. I love Chinese, Korean, Southern, Soul, French, you name it. But what do I yearn for when the month is dragging out? What do I start craving when my stomach is empty? What do I spend more money on than all the fast-food meals I've eaten all put together?

Take Your Best Shot!

I've definitely taken my share of shots. As a youngster, I had shots all the time for my allergies. I had shots for the ear-infections caused by the shots for my allergies. I've had my share. but even so, If I get sick, I ask for a shot. I know that most of the time, I won't feel the needle, and I will get better faster.

In the last few weeks, I've had several shots--one for the flu, one for the swine flu, and one filled with antibiotics for my cough. now I'm sick again (feels like flu), and I wonder If I should go get another shot. It just makes me angry that with that many shots, I still managed to get sick. it also makes me want to avoid diabetes. Not to mention the fact that i have to wonder about those sickos who are shooting up out there. At least I don't worry about my oldest daughter in that respect--she hates needles with a passion!
Oh well, time to go take my pills (one of the reasons I prefer shots!).....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Early Worm!

Keeping with the theme of the pattern of some of my latest posts, I'd like to start by reminiscing about a sibling....

My brother Stick used to have a notebook in which he wrote quotes he had collected over the years. One of these quotes went something like this: "It has not yet been determined whether or not the early bird enjoys the worm as much as the late bird enjoys the extra sleep." (Source unknown)

I have been living my life lately in line with this sentiment. But, unfortunately, not from the bird's point of view! it has come to my attention, as I have tried to work late hours while still getting up early enough to get to my morning job on time, that neither of the above statements is particularly enjoyable for the WORM!
Think about this poor little guy....if he gets up early, the early bird gets him. If he gets up late, the late bird gets him. He's pretty much worked over either way. He stays up all night, simply because the late bird is out, then he has to watch out for that weird bird that actually likes to get up early!
So what I have decided is that things would be much better for me if I could just teach Night School. Sleep in later, still have most of the day to be creative/productive, then go to work.
Just recently, I started teaching voice at the local college. I have eight full-time students, and two half-time students. This means nine hours of teaching a week, on top of my regular teaching career. Add to that three hours commute per week, and the five hours I spend at the prison, and it mean I don't see my family much of the week.
We are starting the last week of the semester Monday (okay, tomorrow, since it is after midnight...). about half of my students have informed me that they are either changing majors, or are going to take voice from the head of the vocal department next semester. I don't blame them, I wish I could take lessons from him, too! This means that I will have a 50% reduction in my paycheck from the college for the next three months, but I have decided that since it also means I will have one less day of teaching each week, it might not be so bad after all.
So here I sit, at 12:20 a.m., contemplating lack of sleep...."to sleep. Perchance, to dream...." (Wm. Shakespeare)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ho Ho Ho!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Look! Up in the Sky!

INKLINGS posted something today that really got me thinking. She was wishing our brother, Twist a happy birthday and telling stories about him growing up. I am 13 years his junior, so I don't remember any of what she posted. I remember him returning from his LDS mission to Yucatan the night before we were to move to another state. I remember him attending college in that other state. I remember forgetting to relay his message to my parents one night that his car had broken down and he needed them to come get him (I don't think he waited more than three or four hours...). I remember his briefcase and his cat, and the days my dog tried to ruin both in various way (usually trying to eat the cat or pee on the briefcase). I remember going with the family to his wedding (and being scared clean out of my wits by all the older people).
But mostly, I remember having a not-too-small amount of hero-worship regarding both him and our other brother, Stick. Both of these brothers were already past high school before I was even out of elementary. Both of them served LDS missions. And both of them have always known more about some really cool stuff than I have ever even heard! And they didn't just know stuff, they DID it! I've never jumped off the roof holding nothing but a sheet. I NEVER found the hidden "room" in our big house. I have eaten frog legs, but I didn't actually kill, skin, and cook the frogs! I mentioned on Inklings' blog that I've always felt a little left out.
As I grew up, Stick and I shared a room, and as mentioned in another of my posts, he even let me drive his car (he taught me how to drive a standard--or should I say stick?). Most of the cool things I mentioned wanting in another post, I see them using first. I don't have to have everything they have, but some of the things sure make my wallet itch!
Now, don't get me wrong, I love my sisters! Delerious and I shared a room for about the first four years of my life, and I have many fond memories of times we shared over the years. I even went on Inklings' honeymoon! I was 1 year old at the time, and suffered from earaches, so that made for an interesting trip, but how many sisters out there would do that (BTW, Inklings, thanks for not letting Dee Ice come on MY honeymoon like he always threatened he would!). And Nene and I have more fun when we get together than most people would find anywhere else!
For those who don't know, I am the youngest in my family, and have always heard how spoiled I was (am?). This may be true, but I guess after dealing with the rest of them, my mom was just tired of worrying! I am sure that if I had been able to spend all day in the hills eating frog legs, perhaps she would have worried a bit more about me, too! Regardless, Twist, I hope your birthday was special. And to the rest of you, thanks for giving me enough heroes to look up to that I didn't need too many anywhere else!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Make$ the World Go Round

My brother Stick used to have a bumper sticker which said, "He who dies with the most toys WINS!" The true irony was that the bumper it was stuck to was an old orange Buick Opel. He swore by that car (and I believe, sometimes AT it). It was able to jump start bigger, newer vehicles many times. I drove that car to most of my senior year of high school, and even I have fond memories of it. Later, I saw that same slogan on a NO FEAR T-shirt, but slightly altered: "He who dies with the most toys still DIES."

Unfortunately, somehow, I have managed to buy into the whole propaganda. I seem to need material possessions to make me feel better. This last month, we have been getting a load ready to take to the D.I. (which for those reading unaware of this, is a thrift store started by the LDS church). We aren't even finished putting things together, and my truck bed is so full the guards at the prison where I volunteer sometimes have an apoplexy thinking there may be an inmate hiding in there somewhere.

There are obviously things we have to have in order to live, and some things that make our lives much more comfortable, but I worry sometimes that I may be too materialistic. Then I wonder: if I were wealthy, yes, i would have a nice house and good cars, and stock the house with some great "toys," but would I really feel the need to continue buying? If my life were smoother, would I have the compulsion to look in the Wal-Mart $5 DVD bin/rack every time I walk past? Would I feel the need to even spend more time and money than required to purchase my food, hygiene products and cleaning supplies, etc.
I know that the love of money is the root of all evil, and that being possession-minded is wrong, but I can't seem to help myself. I make more money than I ever thought I would, have more debt than I ever thought I could, and spend more than I ever thought I should, but I still gather and hoard whatever I can. Boy do I hoard. I have so many books, my shelves are too small now, and the books are in piles on the floor, which means, of course, that I will have to buy bigger and better book-shelves. My CD collections is divided into stacks located in at least 4 or five different locations (other than the CD drawers which can't hold all of them).
When do we reach critical mass? When is enough ENOUGH? When will I finally have enough of the things that I really want? And when will everyone quit getting cooler things, making me want to run out and spend even more? The saddest thing is, by the time I can finally get everything I want, I'll probably be too old to really enjoy it. Either that, or I'll decide that's when it's time to simplify my life. Alas, will ironies never cease? I'm just glad that darned bumper sticker wasn't true.....was it?

No Flying Piggies!

I went to the doctor on Monday because I woke up with a really bad cough. I was thinking the whole way there, "Oh great! Now I have swine flu, and I'll miss a whole week of school or more!" The tests came back negative, so he pumped me full of antibiotics and gave me a prescription.
While I was there, I had him give me a cortisone shot in my wrist to ease my carpal tunnel symptoms. I had forgotten just how much those shots hurt. Anyway, three days later, I still have the cough, but it's better, my wrist still hurts, but it's better. I used to hate shots (just like my oldest daughter still does), but now I usually ask for them!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Blog

For all my family and faithful followers, I have started a new blog, titled "Riter's Bloque." This new site is for all of you who enjoy writing prose. Sorry, no poetry in this blog (unless it's a quote, etc.).

I hope this will be as fun as I hope it will be....!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Musical Pillows?

So I have been missing more sleep lately than usual, due to getting home late from our school musical practices and performances. This is fairly normal. What isn't normal, is the fact that I also have classes in the evenings at the college.

Today, while GIVING A VOICE LESSON, I actually FELL ASLEEP WHILE PLAYING THE PIANO! Alright, I really just drifted off for a second, but still. My student didn't say anything, so i don't think I was taking a nap or anything, but I suddenly found myself telling her something about the song. That isn't bad, but the fact that what i told her made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE WHATSOEVER, could be. She didn't comment, but I sat there for just a second trying to figure out what it was I had dreamed for that fraction of a second that I felt was important. Then I realized it was just nonsense, so went on with the remainder of the lesson.
I've learned my lesson, though. From now on I will try harder to get enough sleep so I don't skijh mremnv o n oenjng ouiel gopn  pfinfkb...zzzzzzzzzzzzz...............

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nick Vujicic - One of My Heroes

I've been watching Nick for awhile now. I would love to meet him some day check out his website sometime. Life Without Limbs

Goodbye, Uncle Pat

A Riddle for You

Both of my brothers have received rejection notices from publishers for their books. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the publishing world, so I thought I'd lend a hand here. So, I have a riddle for you.You are preparing a script for a new movie you know will be a huge hit. You want the Hollywood execs to approve the script for immediate production. Here are the rules:

Your movie is a murder mystery.
Your main characters include:   A Judge, a lawyer, a police detective, a clergyman, a gay couple, and a prostitute.
In order to sell your script quickly, who was the victim? Who is the murderer? Why did they do it? 
I already have the answer, and am trying to think like a Hollywood Bigwig. Impress me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Windfall Leaf Me Alone!

So I spent several hours in the last week outside in my yard with my leaf-blower. Several hours, and I am not even close to being finished yet. At least all the leaves are now on one side of my yard, even though they are all in a big pile. Sorry, a BIG pile. Oh, excuse me, A GINORMOUS PILE! I always wanted a wall next to my sidewalk, but this isn't exactly what I had in mind.

  The problem is, I only have one tree. It is a cottonless cottonwood, so the leaves are big, but that isn't the problem either. The main problem is I have no fence around my yard, and neither do my neighbors. The neighbors with 18-20 cottonwoods around their house. THEIR lawn looks pretty good. They do have a riding lawnmower that basically vacuums up the leaves, but the main reason their lawn looks so good is that all their leaves blow across the street into MY yard!
These are good people, but it annoys me to have to clean up after THEIR trees every fall. I don't even want to clean up MY leaves, but now it takes me days of working, and about a dozen leaf bags before my yard looks normal again. Oh well, since the previous owner of this house used the CHEAPEST PVC available for the irrigation system and did NOT install drains, I keep having my lines break, so I don't actually have a LAWN anyway! The plus side is that if I could put a fence around my yard to keep the leaves out, it's already to zero-scape....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Homage to the Humor of Euripides!

Euripides put up a blog recently that I found quite amusing. Well, here are my (hopefully witty) Choral Responses to your own humor.

Only the most intelligent can truly laugh at themselves….boy, I am brilliant, then!

Q: How many Liberals does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One and only one, and he’ll change everything else while he’s at it, whether it needs to be changed or not, but don’t ask him for proof of citizenship.

Q: How many Socialists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: All of them. Duh, they’re socialists!

Q: How many Communists does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: One, provided he can provide proof to the government that the bulb NEEDS to be changed, submit the proper forms to the proper person in the proper way at the proper time, then wait in line behind the 6,000 other people in his city who need light bulbs changed before him.

Q: How many Gay Rights Activists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two, but they know the conservatives will try to pas a law denying their religious rights to change it together.

Q: How many Conservatives does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. Obama already changed it without even asking whether or not it SHOULD be changed!

Q: How many Regular American Citizens does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: None, the government WANTS to keep them in the dark.

Q: How many Bloggers does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: Too many to count—Just one to change it, but then innumerable hosts of readers to comment on whether or not they liked how he changed it, and countless others saying that he did it wrong, and providing suggestions for better light bulb changes in the future

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Next?

Okay, I'm not a political activist by any stretch of the imagination, but I was so disturbed by something this week, that I have to say something.

There is a man who is somewhat a celebrity in the carnival world who is trying to, basically, become a lizard or snake. He has tattooed his body with scales of varying sizes, shapes and colors, has shaved all the hair from his head (or more--don't know, don't want to know), and has had subcutaneous ridges implanted in his face surgically to make him look more reptilian. He has file his teeth down to points and had oral surgery to give him a forked tongue. He looks rather freakish, however much he may have come closer to achieving his goal.

Another man has had surgery to GIVE HIMSELF A CLEFT LIP! He then had that enlarged, and has surgically implanted little receptacles for whiskers, so he can look like a cat (or lion--who cares?).

My point, good readers (both of you), is that however bizarre these men may appear, they are still men. Nobody in their right mind would believe that the first guy is really a lizard or snake. In fact, he still has his arms and legs....a true snake man would have rid himself of these unseemly appendages. Nobody would really believe the second guy is a cat. He could even alter his eyes, but he is still a man.

Now, for (as Paul Harvey would say) "the rest of the story." The lesbian daughter of Sonny and Cher has decided that she wants to be a man. Really? Now, my question is... If her "partner" wanted a man, why did she become a lesbian in the first place?

But what really gets me is that the Hollywood TV reporter interviewing her (I refuse to call her "him") was buying in to all this baloney! This is when I realized that Hollywood is either completely clueless, or is in league with other forces to destroy the sanctity of marriage and family. This is all going to be building in the press and on TV and in movies (just wait, I'm sure one of those terribly popular teen shows will start having trans-gender characters) until they can start saying, "See? It's not a same-sex marriage, because now she's a man!" 

This individual is not the first, but here is the thing: this non-gendered person has surgically removed her breasts and uterus, and says she is now a man.....Wait a second. My mother had a mastectomy, my wife had a hysterectomy. That doesn't make THEM men, now does it? Of course not. This person also said she couldn't wait for the hormone injections to kick in so she could start shaving! That should be the kicker right there! Men don't need artificial hormones to be men, and NO MAN WANTS TO SHAVE! Young girls want to shave (their legs), but men do NOT want to shave their faces. We'd have beards to our knees if women could put up with it!

This person had what sounded like such a great quote on the TV show. She said, "Gender is between the ears, not between the legs." Wow. What a sound byte! The only problem is, the quote is wrong. Gender is in the genetic makeup of the individual, not in their choices. What is between the ears? Preference. Nothing more. In some cases, perhaps not even that much.  

Okay, so what does all this mean? I'll tell you--it is an insult to every truly gendered person out there. Not to mention the fact that there are in our town a couple of individuals who were born hermaphroditic. This is a huge insult to them as well. They actually were born with multiple genders, and in some cases, the doctors forced the parents to make a choice (a choice which didn't always come out right). People who take away their gender are a slap in the face to those who wish they could have had only one to start with.

So now what happens? Do we have to start having extra restroom facilities? One for male, one for female, one for lizard-boys, one for non-gendered individuals, one for those who don't fall into any category? It's time to get real. I once pretended I was a superhero. It wasn't real. I couldn't fly. Isn't it time to stop pretending?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

MoTab Broadcast

I took my family back to the tabernacle today. This time we went to watch a broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. This was a very enjoyable trip, and put some spring back into my step. 

I sometimes find that I wither a bit, musically speaking. When this happens, I need a good concert to perk me back up. But I also feel a little isolated where I live, so trips like this become necessary. I may even make it through the rest of the semester, now, but, if not, I will seek another opportunity for some musical nourishment!

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Tobacco Products Marketed to Kids

New Tobacco Products Marketed to Kids

Big T

I am appalled by the newest tactics of the Tobacco industry! They now have products that resemble mints and toothpicks, among other things. If I was producing a harmful substance, and tried passing it off as innocent-looking consumer products, I would not only be hounded in the press, but would probably be arrested. Yet these financial giants continue to create products designed to look harmless and inviting to kids, and they are treated like they are kings!

The Twin Towers came down on Sept. 11, 2001, killing many people, including American citizens. Immediately, the U.S. went to war with terror. Whether or not you agree with how that war was handled, it was necessary. Yet, tobacco kills more Americans every year than could even FIT in the World Trade Center! Where is our nation’s war on tobacco?! Where is the outrage?! Where is the justice?! No justice, just lobbying money lining the pockets of the lawmakers. Be honest—is that summer mansion really worth the lives of all those people who voted for you? Is that private jet really worth the lives of thousands? You don’t have to be a man (especially the women), but try being a caring human being!

When will the politicians of the world take a stand against their own greed and do something about this death industry?! When will they stop worrying about the dozens of people killed by assault rifles or whatever, and start REALLY caring about the millions killed by tobacco? And now they want to make it look like CANDY?! Are you freaking kidding me? What idiot decided THAT was okay? And if by the 1,000,000,000,000 to 1 chance that moron is reading this blog post, don’t respond, just go stare at yourself in the mirror for a few hours until you can no longer lie to yourself—that is, if you can stand the sight of that monster on the other side of the glass! Quit killing us and go get a REAL job!

When will the citizens of the world realize what a scam this whole industry is?! I guess most people are too caught up in the failed mind-set of looking sexy, or cool, or are too enslaved to the momentary rush given by artificial stimulants to pay attention to the fact that they are being slowly killed! This wouldn’t upset me so much if it not for the fact that they are spouting their cancerous poisons into the air I breathe as well! If I want to die young, I’ll quit my job, buy a life-time supply of fried chicken and EAT my way into an early grave, thank you!

And when was the last time a smoker was ticketed for littering? Your butts are everywhere! If most people toss a candy wrapper out the car window, they are looked down on for contributing to the world’s waste, or are given a citation. Yet smokers can toss their butts on the ground, and everyone looks the other way? In fact, there was at least the common courtesy once of the question, “Do you mind if I smoke?” That no longer exists. Smokers just step outside the door and smoke in the entryway! Come on, people! Those of us who DO want to live forever have to walk through that! Do I mind if you smoke? YES! Do you mind if I pass gas? It is healthier, and it SMELLS BETTER!!

You want to kill yourself off? Do it with some self-respect and go learn to fly a plane, or go sky-diving, or base-jumping. Get a snake pit and dance in it. Strap a rocket engine to the top of a Ford Pinto and see how fast you can go out in the desert. Just don’t make this world a stinking ash-tray, while killing the rest of us off with you! Besides, with all the flu viruses going around, my lungs are bad enough as it is!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

CREDO by Choral Responses, 2007

To bring BEAUTY to life, we will be:

The VOICE for those who cannot speak,
The HEART for those whose feelings fall,
The HANDS for those whose arms are weak,
The SONG of love that fills us all.

Monday, October 12, 2009

All State Choir

Last weekend, my oldest daughter, my wife and I went to All-State Choir. Our clinician was the esteemed director of choral music at Westminster Choir College, of Ryder University, Dr. James Jordan. Dr. Jordan was very fun to watch, and kept moving so quickly I barely had time to assimilate new information before he was presenting new ideas in new ways to the choir.
There were over 700 voices involved in this choir, and Dr. Jordan continued to exclaim how amazed he was that they could produce the sounds they were creating. He was taken by the personal connection this choir was able to forge with him, each other, and the music, even though it was so prohibitively large. 
The music was astonishing, and the kids memorized it all before even meeting Dr. Jordan, which also astonished him. They had spent countless hours on their own, then more hours in area rehearsals before gathering at a northern school for three hours on Thursday evening, all day Friday, and for a couple of hours on Saturday. The concert was held in a rather famous hall, with a rather famous organ. 

During the rehearsals, at one point my daughter was called up on stage to help with a demonstration. I had to snap some pictures of that, then later, stole a shot with the three of us together. Dr. Jordan stated that he will remember this experience for the rest of his life. I know I will as well. My daughter told me that she isn't even upset about missing Homecoming anymore. She is only sad that the experience of All-State didn't last longer. I share that sentiment.

The Grieving Maiden

I drive past this mountain on a fairly regular basis, and always look for the maiden. One legend tells that she died because of grief over a dead lover, but most believe that was a story made up to get sightseers to stop. Regardless, I always look for her as I drive north. This day, she was pulling a veil up over her.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the eye of the beholder . . . .

I thought quite a bit this last weekend about beauty. I attended a rehearsal and concert (which I will describe in more detail in a later post) that had some very beautiful music. One of the things we did in preparation for the concert was audition soloists. There were several teachers there to narrow down the soloists for the director to have an easier choice. While some of the soloists were not as prepared as they should have been, and others clearly lacked the "chops" to carry the solo, none of the auditions were of the bleeding-ear variety.
The thing that amazed me, however, was the fact that the other directors were more annoyed than I that this audition did not produce the mind-numbing beauty they were hoping to get. As I ruminated on this state of affairs, during the course of the rest of the weekend, I found myself becoming jealous, at times, of my colleagues who work in larger school districts, and are able to experience music on a grander scale than my little town can achieve. Then I began to feel sorry for them.
You see, they have reached a point at which beauty has become commonplace. This is not to suggest that they do not enjoy their work, nor am I implying that they are not (nor should not) reach for ever-increasing levels of mastery and expression. I am simply saying that the beauty which they enjoy on a daily basis, yet find lacking, brings me to tears of delight once or twice a year.
I brought this up today with the inmates I direct. They get it. We do not fully appreciate the beauty around us until we are in a place where it is not always apparent. Yes--I know there is beauty around me, even in my little town. Visual beauty abounds in our area of the country, and on the faces of the young people I teach every day. 

I marvel at times that these simple children, with their simple voices and innocent hearts are capable of such breath-taking sounds as they produce sometimes. We continually say how amazing it is that we are able to take two dozen or so girls in our auditioned choir--most of whom would be placed in the beginning choirs of any large school--and in ten months turn them into an ensemble that receives the praise of the community, other directors, and their own peers.
I see beauty. I, like my colleagues, sometimes take it for granted. But  I still see it (and hear it). I strive for it. And I will try to recognize it more often. Perhaps, in the end, that will be enough. To quote myself from the end of every concert:

"May your days, like mine, be filled with beauty and music."

Monday, October 5, 2009

All the Backyard's a Stage

Our drama teacher decided to build his own amphitheater in his backyard. This is the back of it. You can see the hill sloping upward on the other side of the door. His Bro-in-law did most of the stone and stucco work. The cement pieces making the floor were taken from the river! The fireplace is a real, working one. Quite the nice little piece of work!

Shadowy Hills

A shot taken while driving up the Freeway. Thought is was a cool sight, Just pointed my camera-phone out the window and clicked.

Winter Lane

This is a painting from Nene's upstairs room. It is one of mom's. Thought you might like it. This was taken with a camera-phone, so please be forgiving....

Westminster Chorus - Choir of the World 2009

The Westminster Chorus wins the Pavarotti Trophy and the Choir of the World title at the 2009 Choir of the World festival in Llangollen, Wales. Songs: 1. Lux Aurumque 2. Shenandoah 3. Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel

Need I e-laborate? 
Westminster Choir College

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Crutch in Time

My youngest daughter recently hyper-extended her knee just a bit in a soccer game. She is okay, so far, but has to use crutches for a week or so. The Dr. told her he will see what it is like later this week, and that he may need an MRI (Which I told her is better than an MRE) to see if any damage was done. We borrowed some crutches from one of my wife's co-workers, and they were a little old, meaning they hurt my daughter's armpits. Well, a little foam, a little fleece, and a couple of shoelaces later, and here is the result. I never claimed to be a seamstress, but they are functional. Good for a giggle at least. My older daughter says they look like mailboxes.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Giggles' Travels

Nene got me thinking nostalgically. I started looking through some old pictures from Europe, and thought I would share a few of them with you. In Switzerland, we landed in Zurich, went to Lucerne, then on to Italy: Laga Lugana, Verona, Venice, Rome, Florence, and Pisa. We finished by visiting the French Riviera, staying in Nice, and spending a day in Monaco, before flying out of the Nice Airport. What a trip. I've misplace the pics from France, but will find them.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

I've noticed that lying comes very easy for some people. I once worked (for 1 1/2 weeks) for a prominent auto dealer in our state. The trainer was one of the top five car salesmen in the nation. He was able to get commitments from people in the grocery store to come in for test drives. He would call random numbers and do the same thing over the phone. He wasn't the most ethical person I've ever met, and the whole sales floor mirrored that lack. But he did say one thing that has stuck with me.

He said, "You will see that anyone will lie to you. It doesn't matter who it is. Your neighbor will lie to you. Even your bishop will lie to you. When you ask them what car they would like, they will answer that they are only 'just looking' in order to keep you from bothering them. and they won't think of it as a lie because you are 'just a car salesman' and don't deserve the truth."

Just the other day, I caught a student in a fairly big lie. The beauty of it was the fact that I caught him at parent-teacher conferences with his mother right there. She was considerably upset at him, and I had to keep myself from laughing out loud.

It never ceases to amaze me, though, how many people will lie, and, again, how easily some of them do it. Granted, I don't always tell THE WHOLE TRUTH, but there are times when I feel that can be cruel. I, for instance, have never told any kid they can't sing. Even if they can't. Part of this stems from the fact that I believe they can learn to sing if they work hard and long enough. I just won't be around to see some of them reach that goal.

I know it would be incredibly naive of me to believe that everyone is capable of being honest, but it does still shock me when people lie so readily to me, especially when the lie is so blatantly obvious and stupidly presented.

Oh, well, at least I may still get to keep laughing...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Snows of the New Winter

I was in the Northern part of the State earlier, and saw this. Just thought I'd capture the image. Sorry, the image is not as good as what my nephew takes, but it's still a nice view!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is one of the best High School Women's Choirs I've EVER heard. Leave it to the State of TEXAS to come up with this! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spicin' Things Up a Bit

While chatting with my siblings, the suggestion was made (alright, I was the one who made it) that I should spice up my blog a bit. Well, here goes!

Mr. Giggles' Breath-Stealing Picante Sauce

5 Quarts Stewed Tomatoes
30 Jalapeno Peppers, Chopped
30 Serrano Peppers, Chopped
1 Bundle Green Onions, Chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
1 TBSP Crushed or Minced Garlic
3 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Limes, Juiced

LIGHTLY toast Peppers on a cookie sheet, to activate heat.
Blend Tomatoes in a blender for about 1-3 seconds to reach desired chunk size.
Combine all ingredients in a LARGE POT (big enough to hold it all....), making sure to add in the order listed above. By adding the Lime juice last, you not only add the flavor, but the citric acid will help clean the pepper juice from your fingers.

Cook over Low Heat, stirring constantly, for THREE HOURS, or until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Pour into bottles. Don't bother sealing the bottles. Give two or three of them away, and the remaining bottles will disappear before you can blink. Serve while still warm, refrigerate everything else AFTER the bottles have cooled (set them on a towel and cover them with a towel).

This recipe will give you a picante sauce that some people will enjoy, and others will not be able to eat and breathe at the same time. If it gets too hot, just eat some more. It will only be hot when you STOP eating! Enjoy! Bwahahahahahaha