I was killing time this morning, and decided to listen to some old Simon & Garfunkel. (Is there any ‘new’ Simon & Garfunkel? LOL) Anyway, I remembered that one of Mom’s all-time favorite songs was “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”, and I began reflecting how that song really really did sum up her spirit and attitude when I was growing up, and it’s how I remember her: Feelin’ Groovy! No matter what difficulties she might have experienced, she always had such a beautiful outlook on life, and loved living.

The next song on my playlist was “Hazy Shade of Winter”, and I had to laugh, because that song really is more my outlook on life! Nowhere near as optimistic as my mother, but will a little hope still in there amidst the cynicism.

Since I’ve not posted in a while, I thought I’d just share the two videos, side-by-side, in case some random viewer would like to walk down memory lane with me. 🙂


My parents never let me go to concerts when I was a teenager. They were strict, and probably for good reason. However, as a result, I never got to see any of the really good bands until I was an adult. And honestly, most of them are still pretty awesome! I’ve seen KISS, Mötley Crüe, Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Alice Cooper, Heart, Joan Jett, Robert Plant, and several others since I’ve been a ‘grown-up’. And they were all still really good. Especially Alice Cooper! He was fantastic!

So, when we heard that Van Halen was coming here to Austin, Alex promised he’d get me in. He made good on his word, and even though I’ve been battling a very nasty bout of bronchitis, I decided to go last night. After all, the bronchitis will eventually pass no matter what. And Eddie Van Halen has had half of his tongue removed due to cancer, for cryin’ out loud! So who knows how many more opportunities I might have to see the best guitarist in the world? I’d also not been to the Circuit of the Americas yet, so it just seemed like a good plan.

The opening act was Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and he was great. I’ve always liked him, love his lead singer, and in general they put on a good, mellow show. And then Van Halen took the show, with flashing lights and rock-n-roll thunder! It was awesome! Until David Lee Roth tried to. . . I’m not sure what to call it. . . sing? At first we thought maybe his mic was messed up. But no. It was totally him. To say that he sucked would be too kind. It was really painful to watch and listen to. I mean, this guy used to be the stuff rock-n-roll legends and fantasies were made of! But clearly, those days are GONE. And the onstage magic between David and Eddie was completely missing. (Perhaps that was because DLR feared if he got to close Ed might clobber him with his guitar and put him out of his misery?) It was almost like the Van Halen guys got together to jam, and some crazy person jumped up on stage and started jumping around and pretending to sing while changing clothes all the time. (Gaylon even said “I would have thought he was sick or something, but he kept jumping around up there . . .”) I cannot begin to express our disappointment.

We felt really bad for the rest of the band. Eddie, Wolf and Alex ROCKED! But DLR. . . paraded around the stage like a drunken monkey, changing clothes and trying to deliver some sort of slapstick comedy lines that were either unintelligible or just not funny. At all. His voice is shot, and it seemed to us that he couldn’t even remember half of the lyrics. And the ones he did remember, he either mumbled or spoke. Sort of. Like I said, it was downright painful.

The night was not a total loss, however. Eddie absolutely brought the house down with his guitar solo at the end! Of course, he played “Eruption”, but he played a lot of other stuff, too, including a Happy Birthday tribute to their mom, who would’ve been 100 years old yesterday. Alex was awesome on the drums, and it was cool to get to see Wolf, even though they didn’t really highlight him much.

Anyway, as a tribute to the glory days of rock-n-roll yore, here is a video of how I remember Van Halen. Enjoy!

So, it’s 3:00 a.m. and I am luxuriating in the silence of my house, surfing the internet and reading about all the various and weird things I never have time to investigate during daylight hours, and I found this really cool video that I wanted to share.

We just watched the movie “Frozen” for the first time a couple of nights ago, and I have to say, I loved it! I found it to be sweet, inspiring, and fun. It didn’t follow the Cinderella plot line, yet true love won out! (Not to take anything away from the Westleyan True Love that we all remember from the Princess Bride, of course.)

Anyway, back to that really cool video: I loved the song “Let It Go” in the movie, and I also love Vivaldi. So, the idea of taking “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and merging it with “Let It Go” seems like a stroke of pure genius to me. (I used to have a friend who would blend “Carol of the Bells” with “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, and that was fantastic, as well!)

AngelsPlayingViolinYou knew it was coming.  I’ve blogged about movies and cookies already, so music couldn’t be too far behind. 😉  I have two things to say about Christmas music.  First, I do love the traditional stuff, and quite a bit of the modern songs, as long as they’re not too ridiculous. Second, Christmas music should never be played until after Thanksgiving.  Period. I know a lady who was born and raised in Germany, and she said they considered it very bad luck over there to play Christmas music until December.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I hope it is, and wish it was true here.

Anyway, I think music is one of the most powerful forces in the world. It can take me back to a memory faster than almost anything! So it makes perfect sense to me that music is such an integral part of Christmas. I like to think those first Herald Angels, some two thousand years ago were singing hymns of pure joy!

Because we begin this season with Advent, I want to mention some “prepare the way” sort of songs first.  The most obvious being “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel“, which I never tire of.  My favorite version of that is by Enya.  So haunting! I also really love “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence“. I think that may just be one of my favorite songs. Ever. And I think that the song “Mary Did You Know?” could probably go in either category, but either way, I love it.  (I know that there are some people who think it’s sacrilegious, but I disagree.)

I have several Christmas songs I really love, as I mentioned in my first post.  I think my all-time favorite is “O Holy Night“, and my favorite version of it is by Christan Raxter.  I think I have a copy of him singing it on disc somewhere. . . I also love “Carol of the Bells“, because the rushing crescendo really seems to catch the frenzy of the pre-Christmas days.  The shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, parties, wrapping, and so on.  Enough activity to spread out all year, packed into a few short weeks!  Trans-Siberian Orchestra does my favorite version of that one, although Christan used to do a variation of it where he combined it with “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” that was absolutely amazing!

As far as modern-style, or secular, Christmas songs, I guess my favorite one is “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)“, by John Lennon. I also really like “Hard Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton! One that always makes me cry is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas“.  I don’t really care who sings that one, as long as it’s someone along the lines of Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby. 😉  And I don’t think I would be able to celebrate Christmas without “Christmastime Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi.  If you don’t recognize this title, I’m sure you’ve heard it.  It’s the song at the beginning of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

There are so many others that I really enjoy, and look forward to hearing every year. I would really learning what songs you love best. Leave me a comment and let me know your favorites! 😀


When my daughter turned one, we threw a small, family party for her, and fed her chocolate cake.  She promptly smeared it all over her face and high chair!  We laughed, and took pictures. (What else?)  Then, for the next year, she would sing a little sing-song chant, and we had no idea what she was talking about.  It sounded like “HAP-uh-day”.

Well, DUH!  On her second birthday, when we brought out the cake and presents she immediately started singing “Hap-uh-day”, and we suddenly realized that she had been trying to sing “Happy Birthday” all that time!  Her enthusiasm for birthdays has not diminished in the last twelve years, either.  Today, she is FOURTEEN.  Wow.  I can’t believe it.  And, she is my baby, so that means that the child-rearing chapter in our lives is truly rushing toward it’s close, which saddens me greatly.  However, today, we celebrate!

And it’s working out so nicely, because there is a concert/dance at our church tonight, and we are going to set up a table just for Abby and her friends, and I will furnish it with the Birthday Girl’s favorite homemade Italian Cream Cake. 🙂  So, she gets to hang out with all of her friends and dance to a live band, and all I have to do is bake a cake.  What a deal!! 😉

My great-aunt called me last night, and when I told her our plans, she said “Did you say ‘Dance at church‘?”  I said, “Yes”.  She told me my great-grandfather, James Russell Hamilton, would have been scandalized!  I said “Weren’t y’all Baptist?”, and she said “Oh, yes.  The non-dancing kind.  The no-card-playing kind!”  She went on to explain to me that the first deck of cards allowed in their home was when her older sister, Alma’s, husband, John Kane, brought a deck inside the house!

I told her that being able to dance at church was one of the perks of being Catholic!  She was quick to assure me that my great-grandfather was very strict, but they didn’t mind, because he was so kind, and didn’t push his beliefs on others.  I said I thought he sounded very cool, because my dad really didn’t have any beliefs to push on anyone.  She agreed that her dad was, indeed, very “cool”.  😀 I sure wish I had met him.

Anyway, our “little” birthday girl is going to have a lot of wonderful suprises today, and it should be a great evening.  L’Angelus, a Cajun Band, is performing tonight at our church, and she will have lots of fun.  We all will!

Happy Birthday, Abby!!


I enjoyed this so much, that I just had to share.  Somebody took a lot of time and effort to flawlessly create this wonderful dance video.  It has it all: Fred Astaire, Patrick Swayze, Jame Lee Curtis, Irene Cara, Kevin Bacon, John Travolta, Gregory Hines, Gene Kelly, the incomparable Mikhail Baryshnikov, and even Jay & Silent Bob, from movies as diverse as the Rocky Horror Picture Show, White Nights, Singin’ in the Rain, Footloose, and Grease, and then some.  It made me smile, a lot.  🙂  🙂

And now, for the part of 2009 that really didn’t personally concern me.  Macabre as it may sound, the part of the Oscars that I most enjoy is their tribute to the stars that have died that year.  Well, this year, I found a list of those who left us this year, and decided that some of them were worth mentioning here.  I think it is a true sign that I am getting older that I actually knew who more than half of the people were, and even had an opinion on most of them.  Not that my opinion matters much, but I do remember many years in which I had no idea who all those people were who had died, or why anyone would care.

So, I am categorizing them in my own way:  The “Greats” (Those who really made a difference for this world, and often risked their lives in doing so, or who just lived that long), The “Too-Young-To-Die” (Those who should have lived a few more decades, at the very least), The “Well Known and Loved” (I think that one is pretty self-explanatory), The “Rich and Powerful” (again, self-explanatory, except that these may not have bee so well-loved, at least not by yours truly!), and The “Not Well-Known-But-Important-Anyway” (maybe not household names, but still famous in their own right).  There is, of course, some overlap, but I’m generalizing, so please allow me some discrepancies.


Marek Edelman (Last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis); Harry Patch (Last surviving British trench soldier from World War I); Millvina Dean (Last survivor of the Titanic); Maria de Jesus (World’s oldest person, age 115)


Brittany Murphy (Actress, age 32);  Chris Henry (Bengals, age 26); Stephen Gately (Irish Pop Singer, age 33); Andy Kessler (Skateboarding Pioneer, age 48) Michael Jackson (Superstar, age 50); Dolla (Roderick Anthony Burton II) (Rapper, age 22);


Roy E. Disney (Nephew of Walt Disney); Patrick Swayze (Actor; and he could qualify for “Too-Young-To-Die”, as well); Farrah Fawcett (Actress); Ed McMahon (Sidekick on the Tonight Show); David Carradine (Actor, Martial Artist);  Dom DeLuise (Comedic actor, director); Bea Arthur (Actress); Natasha Richardson (Stage and screen actress, qualifies for “Too-Young-To-Die”, as well); Paul Harvey (Broadcasting Pioneer); Ricardo Montalban (Actor);

RICH AND POWERFUL (Well-Known, but Not Necessarily Well-Loved)

Oral Roberts (Evangelist); Edward KennedyWalter Cronkite (Legendary Anchorman);


Don Hewitt (Creator of 60 Minutes);  Les Paul (Guitarist & Inventor); John Hughes (Director of “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”, two of my favorite movies); Billy Mays (TV Pitchman); Jack Kemp (Congressman and NFL quarterback);  Dave Arneson (Co-creator of the game Dungeons & Dragons);  Alan Livingston (Creator of Bozo the Clown; former president of Capitol Records who signed the Beatles and Frank Sinatra);  Millard Fuller (Habitat for Humanity founder)

I felt very sad when Farrah Fawcett died, and I think I actually grieved when Michael Jackson died.  No, I was not a huge fan, and I really never cared for much of his music, at least not anything he did after “Thriller”.  But growing up, Michael Jackson was as much a part of our lives as school, or dinner.  He was everywhere, and everyone knew him.  Listening to his songs that came out in the early 1980’s brought back so many very good memories.  How could I not grieve?  And, like him or not, he was freakishly gifted.  And finally, for what very little it’s worth:  I do not, and never have, thought he was a child molester.  If you want to know my reasoning behind that (and I would be shocked if anybody even cared!!) then email me, or leave a comment, and I’ll explain.  I also loved Dom DeLuise.  He was just somebody you wanted to hug!  And finally, I felt a tremendous amount of sadness when Paul Harvey died.  I knew his voice as well as my own father’s, and probably welcomed it more.

So, tomorrow is a new year, and a new decade.  Thank God!!!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! There is so much horror in our world, I am grateful to have at least one day out of the year to just focus on blessings. I am grateful, most of all, for my Husband, my Children, and my Mother. Running a very close 2nd are all of my wonderful and amazing friends who have supported, comforted, and lifted me up in prayer over this past year. I would surely be in a padded cell by now, if it weren’t for them!

We are headed out in a couple of hours to our friend, Tiffany Galozzi’s home, where we are going to enjoy her wonderful cooking and hospitality. Woo Hoo! Then, tomorrow, we start decorating the house for Christmas, and finish the day up at the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert down in Greenville.

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