Friday, February 27, 2009

Pixar rumors

Could it be true? Could there be a sequel to Monsters, Inc.? Wouldn't that be wonderful to see Boo and Sulley reunited?

I do agree with several of the commenters, though. The movie that really does scream for a sequel would be The Incredibles. How awesome to see Jack-Jack use his powers some more!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Busy week continued

Whew! Made it through the soup supper last night. Nearly every drop of my chili was gone. I used the soup starter from Mrs. Grass. I just added hamburger, canned tomatoes, and kidney beans. Delish!

So the crazy week continues, but the worst days are over -- I think. Tomorrow night we're off to a wine tasting event out in Genoa.

It turns out I am NOT playing piano for church Saturday night! Yay! So Saturday my folks are coming in and we're all going to go see Hannah's play. Tech week is wearing her out, but it's good for her.

For part of the play, she's a tourist, so they can have tourist-related props. She wants to bring my digital camera as a prop and use it to actually take pictures of her friends during the performance. Not too bad of an idea, really, but I will need to show her how to shut of the flash, first. Don't want to temporarily blind anyone.

Sunday morning Hannah "gets" to read her confirmation essay aloud in church. Her Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding". She wrote a nice essay but opted not to use my suggestion which was something along these lines:

I play a lot of video games and when I'm stuck and need help, I use a game guide or online FAQ to help me know what to do. The Bible is like a game guide or FAQ on how to live your life. When life gets difficult and we need help, we should 'lean not on our own understanding' and turn to God's Word for direction.

Get the idea? I think it would have been a nice analogy, but what do I know?

Post Script:
9 more days until solo contest
22 more days until Disney!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Band practice: or how I learned to stop worrying and love the clarinet

Okay, so I'll never love the clarinet. Especially after being subjected to the squeaking and squawking of no less than SIX beginning clarinet students. Oh, there were supposed to be seven, but one was a no-show.

Speaking of no-shows....

That pretty much describes my first night of practice with the band solo kids last night. The number of participants was down -- way down. I think there were about 40 kids two years ago and there were close to 35 kids last year. This year I think the number is closer to 25.

But the numbers in band at our school are also down. In a way, that's good. The kids who really don't want to be there are gone, so the kids that want to be there can do a better job. In fact, the director told me that his 6th graders have undergone an amazing transformation of improvement lately. When he asked them if they had any reason why, every kid said it was because two kids dropped out of band. Interesting....

Anyway, it was a long night of rehearsal last night, which involved us getting moved to three different rooms over the course of the evening. Frustrating, but given we had so few kids, we really stayed on schedule for a change.

The band director only made two kids cry, which is, I believe, the same number as last year. There was a second year trumpet player who was doing just fine, but who just got flustered when playing with the piano. I may extend the offer to do some extra practice with him since he's so close to doing a great job. The other kid really was quite far behind the others in his group. Again, he got flustered, but in this case, he really didn't put in any of the work he needed.

That being said, it's a pretty good crop of kids this time around. Nearly every one of them is very close to being ready, with only a few minor things to work out in their songs. There's always the fun of the beginning students who are soooooo nervous and who struggle to count rests so they come in when they aren't supposed to.

We have one more big practice next week. We'll see how much better they are then.....

New six word motto for America?

We are too big to fail.

I don't know that I agree. What do you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The storm is starting

It's all starting to get crazy. Friday night was the Disney gig -- what a blast! We sat through a presentation about the DVC and then danced the night away with Minnie and Mickey. We even got to meet Tinkerbell! How fun!!

Saturday morning I braved the snowstorm to accompany a high schooler for her flute solo. It took me a lot longer to get to the HS, so I was grateful that the judge was running late. I had wanted to take the kids to a science expo in the afternoon, but I just didn't want to go out in the snow. Saturday night was piano at church followed by the "marriage celebration".

Sunday morning was more piano at church -- what a blast! It's a joy playing with such talented musicians. Then we had a lovely lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup. My children claimed that they didn't like tomato soup, but we had tomato basil soup from Progresso. Yum!

Hannah had play practice tonight. She has play practice every night this week. Friday night is opening night. She said that she's already tired but she loves it.

Dave, Michelle and I had our pizza and a movie night. We watched "The Iron Giant". If you haven't seen this film, I highly recommend it. It was a pleasure to watch. We usually watch a Disney film, but I pointed out that this movie was directed by none other than the super talented Brad Bird -- director of another movie we all love -- The Incredibles!

Stay tuned for the next chapter in my saga of staying sane for the next two weeks. By March 8, we'll be back to normal and counting down the days until Spring Break!

Friday, February 20, 2009

3 things

What I wish I could do tonight: Watch the entire Lord of the Rings DVD trilogy back to back.

What I ought to do tonight: Practice the piano for band contest.

What I will actually do tonight: Meet and greet at the Disney Vacation Club. I probably will fit some piano practice in, too.

It's so easy to tell my posts from Maria's isn't it?

A Holding Place for Memories

As I age I have been thinking back and remembering the past more and more.
In some cases, all I have left of people and places are their memories.
My mother was an accredited flower show judge and we always had fresh flowers and arrangements in our home.
One thing she did was make a huge grapevine wreath from vines in our 639 Sycamore home's yard.
She took the wreath and filled it with dried flowers.
From then on whenever we had a flower from a special occasion (prom, wedding, birth, death...) we would add a flower from that occasion to the wreath.
When we shared my mother's possessions, my sister got the wreath and it is beautiful in her home.
Lisa is in 4H and wanted to do a dried flower wreath. We bought a grapevine wreath at a craft store and added flowers that I gathered from my mother's home and had boxed until I knew what to do with them. She also used a fresh floral arrangement from my aunt and uncle that I have been drying for two years. That together with a few of our memory flowers and now we have a memory wreath of our own! it is pictured above. Thank God for my mother and her talent and great ideas. What a joy to be able to continue her tradition by beginning one on our own!
“The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ahh Memories... A Blast from the past!

Rick found this in his Shakespeare collection.
Thought you would all enjoy this.
Steve... really causing a problem ...all those years ago
and still today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top Chef prediction for tonight

Yay! It's Top Chef night.

I'm afraid that it's going to be Fabio's turn to pack his knives and go. But there will be some serious cheering in my house if Leah gets sent home!
I do hope Carla is still around when the night is over.

It makes me a little sad to think that the season is so close to being over. After tonight there will only be four chefs left.

Suggestion for the day

From the library suggestion box:

"Develop a system that warns people about possible offensive material in novels. Cracker Barrel does it -- you can too! Thanks!"

Sure, while we're at it, let's develop a system for warning me when a suggestion in the suggestion box might make me roll my eyes! Spleesh!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Move over Top Chef

Because you're about to be Chopped!

Well, not really. Sunday night, instead of getting 7 hours of sleep, I stayed up to watch a rerun of Ted Allen's new show on the Food Network. I'll be reviewing it so that you can save the time of watching it yourself.

The premise has potential. They start with 4 chefs. Each chef has to prepare a 3 course dinner; appetizer, entree, dessert. May the best chef win.

But here's the twist. Each chef has only 30 minutes to prepare each course and they are given a basket with mystery ingredients that they must use in their dish. And after each course is prepared and presented to the judges, one of the chefs is -- CHOPPED!

Kind of hard to explain, but here's how the episode I watched went. The four chefs were given their basket of ingredients. All I remember is that it had bran flakes in there with a few other things. So they have 30 minutes and cook like crazy. They serve the dishes to the judges. The judges eat, talk to the chefs and make a decision. They call the chefs out and the losing dish is in front of them, but with a cover on. Ted Allen reveals the losing dish and that chef is out of the competition. It's like the quick fire challenge on steroids.

Then it's on to round 2. The chefs get new baskets with new ingredients and get another 30 minutes to cook. Dishes are eaten judged and another chef is chopped. So they finally get to dessert and it's the last 2 chefs and the winner gets $10,000.

Conceptually, I think the show works. Where it fell short was in execution. (Do I sound like a Top Chef judge or what?)

First off, Ted Allen is too nice. He tries to be so serious and dramatic, which doesn't seem to me to fit his personality. They of course take a commercial break before they announce the losing chef from each round and Ted says "who will go on and who will be --CHOPPED?" It just doesn't work coming from him. I've seen him as a judge on Top Chef and he just doesn't have that Anthony Bourdain persona that the show needs. It's like he's trying to be the chairman from Iron Chef, but I'm not buying it.

Second, Chopped has a lousy soundtrack. Top Chef has a great soundtrack! Actually, I can barely remember the music from Chopped. Don't underestimate the power of a good soundtrack.

Next, I have a problem with the way they reveal the loser from each round. They have the losing dish on a plate covered with a metal dish. To reveal the loser, they remove the cover. Why draw attention to the losing dish? Wouldn't you rather see the winning dish? I guess that's just me.

Last, and this probably why the show won't have the popularity of other cooking reality shows, each episode starts with four chefs and is down to one at the end. It's not enough time to care about the competitors. Why should I care who gets chopped? I've only known that person for a few minutes.

At least on the Food Network Challenge the competitors are all on for the entire show, allowing you to get to know them better -- and there's only one challenge, not 3, and they usually know what the challenge is, so they are prepared to excel.

With the limited cooking time and the mystery ingredients, the competitors don't have much flexibility in what they cook.

For all these reasons, this program will not go into my regular TV watching lineup. It will be -- CHOPPED.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

3 day recap


For once, I was excited about work again. All the final pieces of my "Hats off to Lincoln" contests are falling into place. It will be over soon.

I came up with an idea for a grant. It will be a lot of work, putting a grant proposal together, but it will be good for me to try something new.

I started writing an article about marketing. I'm going to try to get it published in the ILA Reporter or some other library mag.

I was interviewed by a reporter from the Daily Herald about our Playaways.

LOST was fantastic! Confusing, as always, but I don't care.

Team Rainbow is finally gone from Top Chef! Carla and Fabio are still around (yay!), but I fear their days are numbered. Hosea is finally starting to sweat - ha!


Work went by quickly. Got my photo taken by a Daily Herald photographer. I'm still waiting for the article to appear.

Parent teacher conferences were good.

The Office was great -- I [heart] Andy!


Day off from work! The girls and I went to the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, had lunch at Portillo's and went to see Coraline. We tried to go ice skating, but open skate was closed due to a hockey tournament.

The kids had a video game fest while Dave and I watched the movie Pearl Harbor. Well, Dave watched it, I half watched, half read a book: X saves the world. I only paid attention when the actual bombing was going on and actual historic events were happening. I could care less about the love triangle between Josh Hartnett, Ben Afflec and whoever the girl was. Dave says I should watch Tora! Tora! Tora! He says I would like that better than Pearl Harbor.


So far I've done nothing but a little laundry, hemming a pair of pants, and going online. I think I should make an attempt to go outside since it's sunny, but I just want to read.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ignorance can be bliss?

Are you an agnotologist?

What's going on? Normally, we expect society to progress, amassing deeper scientific understanding and basic facts every year. Knowledge only increases, right?

Robert Proctor doesn't think so. A historian of science at Stanford, Proctor points out that when it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases.