Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pianos, Cats, and Dr. Seuss

My good friend Joe (can I call him a good friend?  I mean I don't really know him, but I do think he's wonderful and very talented and funny and comes up with some wonderful ideas and things to say) wrote a blog post the other day that inspired me to walk down memory lane to my wee years.


My piano teacher when I was four lived around the corner from us. About two or three houses down? Her name was Mrs. Grueber.  She was an older lady, probably in her forties, but maybe younger (at four years old it's hard to really tell how old people really are.)  Mrs. Grueber wore glasses with a sparkly chain.  Her house was cozy, made even cozier by the many cats that she owned.  Back then there weren't limits like there are now.  Yes, she was a cat person.  And so was I.

Her many cats would pop in and out, most of them quite shy.  If I was lucky, she'd find one after our lesson so that I could pet it.  Soft, long fur.  Mesmerizing eyes.  Mysterious.  Independent.

Mrs. Grueber let me sing while I played. "Snug as a bug in a rug".  C-D-E-F-E-D-C.  Was that it?  And poor Mrs. Grueber when I learned "I've got, a date to-night... I've got-ta look just right... So boys, that's where my money goes... My... mo-ney... goooooes."  I still remember it.  I will probably always remember it.

Mrs. Grueber had lots of books.  Her children (son and daughter) were all grown up and in College), so they (those precious, elementary books, sat around as memories of simpler days.  She introduced me to Dr. Seuss.   She had found me eyeing them at her house and knew that I loved to read.  She also knew that my library was limited to a small handful of books, namely Jack and the Bean Stalk and The Pied Piper of Hamilton and a special book of nursery rhymes (that one I still have).   So she came over one day to drop off some Dr. Seuss books, and one of the books she gave me was One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.  I read and read and read till I got it right. I remember being fascinated. It's still my favourite book, and yes, I have passed it on to my little ones.

It's the little things in life that make it oh so sweet.  Thanks Joe, for that reminder.



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Google offers more layout options for bloggers

Now I can be just as stylish as I want, whenever I want.  Thanks Thanks Blogger.

Way cool and not a moment too soon, Blogger template designer is now offering us bloggers some great new layout options.  That's just what you see here.  One of the hundreds of layout options offered.

What can you do?
  • Change themes, 
  • placements, 
  • layouts, 
  • backgrounds, 
  • colors, 
  • widgets, 
  • number of columns and where you want those columns to be
  • modify column widths
  • more more more.
It's definitely worth the play around.  Got questions or want to find out more?  Just go to this link.  It's a drag and drop designer's dream come true.  And if you're into css, well you can add that as well.  The options are a plenty.  

Their motto:  Express Yourself.
And that's exactly what I intend to do.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Judy Holliday Saturday Night Videos

Judy Holliday, starlet, singer, beauty of an era long gone but not forgotten.  Judy was born in 1921 and graduated high school in 1938.  Her IQ?  it was pretty high.  1721.  Not bad for a beautiful lady.  

Too young to go to University, she became a switchboard operator.  A normal job for a girl in those days.  (Truth be told, I secretly wanted to be one myself.)  What no one knew, not yet anyway, was that she was a terrific script writer, and a far out singer.  

She soon got the career she wanted.  Prove herself, she did; on screen, off screen, and on Broadway.  

Here's a bit of Judy Holliday for your reminiscing pleasure.


For more on Judy Holliday, here's a useful link: Judy Holliday Bio

To hybrid or not to hybrid

"To hybrid or not to hybrid.  That is the question."

I am going to first say that shopping for hybrid cars is more exhausting than shopping for cars in general.  And any of you who have shopped for a car at any point in your lives will attest to the fact that it can spin your head round and round and that perfect car calls out to you and you start to go crazy and really can't make any sort of decision right away.  It's akin to the feeling you would have after flying in an aeroplane for half a day.  The difference is, if you're in an aeroplane, you could be going on vacation in which case you have something relaxing to look forward to, which with a new car, I suppose that could be like having something relaxing to look forward to, but then there's customs to get through, long lines of customs until you get to your final destination: the all inclusive resort. 

So anyway, I decided to do my homework last night.  It's a nifty thing to be able to go online and shop for cars and see what's in stock at your local and surrounding car dealerships, complete with photos, specs, price, ability to offer a quote, value your trade-in, the whole lot.  I'm glad I did.  This made me prepared to some extent and I was able to ask pertinent questions and look as though I knew what I was talking about.  I went onto the car lot feeling pretty self assured.

I left feeling even more assured (notice I switched self assured to just assured).  I knew what I wanted, a hybrid, same as when I came into the Ford lot.  I wanted to look at the Ford Fussion and the Ford Escape hybrids.  Both nice, but the Ford Escape Hybrid blew me away.  The only thing I didn't like about it was that I wasn't used to the fact that the break looked and felt like a break pedal but was really a button, like a computer keyboard key, and so your foot needs to act like a finger.   This was weird.

The cost?  35,000 US dollars minimum.  And they would NOT make a deal on the hybrids because there weren't that many made and they are desirable (nah-duh).  Well I can tell you one thing, unfortunately hybrids were out of my budget.  =(  So what to do?  What to do?  There were no other hybrid cars I trusted or that were worth having that would accommodate five children that were growing adult sized by the minute.  (Did I mention my 10 year old daughter wears a size 8 1/2 woman's shoe?  Same size as me?)  Yeah, I need a decent size, and I need a decent price.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is that a hybrid you're wearing?

"Is that a new hybrid you're wearing or are you just happy to see me?"

see end of post for photo details

We are a two car, six person, four pet, family. One of our two cars is 13 years old. Yes and it's about had it. It's been a great car, but alas, it has seen better days. Fixing it would cost quite a bit and would end up nickling and diming us for the next couple of years. Mind you it could become good as new, but at a price, and a price well exceeding the value of the car.

Right now it's.... resting. In the driveway. Alone with nature. Looks a bit as though it's out to pasture. It's quite a shame really.

It's the car that big daddy uses. It's his pride and joy. Was his pride and joy. Now big daddy is forced to drive a minivan. This is making him cranky. This is making him feel very tired. And mama hasn't gotten out of the damn house for about a week now.

On the one hand it was okay timing. The youngest three are on spring break. The oldest gets a car ride in the morning. So it's just one kid to worry about in the afternoon which big daddy can't get off work to pick up so auntie is kind enough to pick up pepito.

On the other hand, mama can't take the little ones anywhere special because not only does she not have her car, because big daddy's using it, but now she has to hold on tight to every penny for... well, whatever it's going to cost, whatever the decision may be; not to mention the three little ones will be going back to school next week. Big daddy don't want to drop them off in the a.m. because that would make him late for work. And of course big daddy can't pick them up either, especially with two different schools and pickup times to worry about. And big daddy can't get dropped off and picked up because he needs to go from store to store and whatnot.

Now, mama can go get herself a loan, but wait, mama doesn't like debt and mama doesn't have a "job". Papa can get himself a loan but mama doesn't like debt. This is where things get difficult, ones belief system up against family needs.

Then mama has an idea. Mama can get a moped (via the tax returns) with two double side-cars rigged to the sides. Or better yet, she can rig four train-cars to the back of her new moped.

Mama smiles. This could work.

Then mama starts thinking about safety. Mama decides she'd rather wear a new car than an ambulance. And soooo...

Mama's going to borrow her sis' car tomorrow and go shopping, for a hybrid, in stock. Mama's got it narrowed down to four possibilities. Mama's going to cry when she has to shell out the bucks she stashed in her bra drawer, but I'm sure that won't last long. The next time you see mama, she's gonna be wearing a new car and a new smile. And yeah, sure, I guess she'll also be happy to see you. (But no sucking up okay, I mean it's just a new car and sure she'll look so great in it that you'll want a ride or to borrow it, but sucking up doesn't work with mama. She knows all about sucking up so she'll just make you go clean your room.)

I'll keep you posted.

Above photo found on a fantastic blog post I ran across that's very much worth a check out: Skimbaco Lifestyle: Ford Fusion Hybrid in Cleveland Night

Search for hybrid cars

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The iPad Why I'll buy one

You've all heard about it and most probably have seen the videos. But are you going to get one? I think I'm going to and here's why.

    •  iPads are thin.
    • iPad is small- a tad smaller than a regular piece of paper.
    • iPad is lightweight (which means no more lugging around my laptop, cause lets face it, my arms have better things to do than to get weighed down by a laptop, it's battery, and it's power chord.
    • iPad is white, and I really really like something that is white and fresh looking. 
    • iPad won't heat up my lap.
    • iPad is cheaper than a laptop and does all the same things.
    • iPad has really cool features that I use or really want to use.
    • iPads are customizable.
    • There's just something about an iPad.  The more I look at an iPad the more attracted I am to it.
    • You can touch the iPad. Yes, yes, yes, you can.  It's a lovely thought, isn't it?  Think of the freedom.  You don't have to worry about not touching your screen.  For those of you who like to get your hands into things and, damnit, touch that screen to point and poke at, the iPad screen is your oyster.

    • iPad is flippable, tunable,  tap-able.  iPad is doable.
    • iPad has an on-screen keyboard, if you want it there, it's there, if you don't, it won't be.
    • you can watch movies on it.
    • you can read books on iPad. And yes, flip the pages and watch them flip, like way cool.
    • you can listen to music on it.
    • you can hook it up to your tv.
    • you can be connected to the internet and your e-mail and your stuff any time any where.
    • you can you can you can.
    • iPad has a stand.
    • iPad has accessories.
    • iPad is awesome.

    • Did I mention it was touchable?  And cool?

       And if you think that's all, guess again.  If you're a woman, it has a plethora of other useful uses.  You've seen it, you've ooed and ahhhed at it.  ... Let's watch it again, shall we?

      click here for iPad features

      Friday, March 5, 2010

      Dido friday night

      I have to say, when Dido became popular, I wasn't around the music scene. NPR took up most of my time, along with other noises more HGTV related. I have to say, I have as of late discovered that I was really missing out on a lot.

      Music has the tendency to heal in ways that nothing else can. There's always some that get you good no matter what mood you're in or what's going on in your life. In fact music has a way of aiding through life's many transformations and stages; and most of us know this. We know this because songs remind of of times in our lives, of people, of places, events. Music triggers memories we would have otherwise long forgotten. And that's exactly what Dido's music does to me.

      Oddly enough, Dido (pronounced d-long I, d-long o, or die-doe) sings to the kind of music that seems to remind of things and times that aren't necessarily associated with her music. Her voice is reminisce of Sarah McLaughlin, reminds me of things that are, things that were, things that will be; even when she sings with MnM and other artists that you wouldn't think she'd pair up with. Dido has that kind of voice, that kind of universality.

      Search MP3 Downloads for Dido

      Thursday, March 4, 2010

      Vivaldi, Happy birtday

      If you didn't already know, today is Vivaldi's birthday.  A day to definitely celebrate.  At least for me and clasicial music lovers everywhere.  Though I have to say, I'm more than sure that people who would never consider themselves fans of classical music would say that they indeed enjoyed Vivaldi.  And I'm willing to bet that most everyone has heard Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" at least one of them, at one point or another in their lives.

      Vivaldi has a way of cutting to the chase, while at the same time embellishing the details of nature and life, details that are both obvious and simple, and therefore, at least in modern times, tend to be overlooked.  One can't help but be moved emotionally, mentally, spiritually.  There is something grounding about his music as well as something that releases one's heart and inner inhibitions.  His music is refined yet raw, raw in the sense that it speaks to the centre of one's being. It is methodical while at the same time fancy free.  Vivaldi's music tugs at the heartstrings of even the manliest bear.

      Happy birthday, Vivaldi. Cheers to you.  *clink-clink*

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