Friday, January 30, 2009

Music for My Movie Meme

Here's a fun exercise that Sisterfilms put on her blog FilmAching. Let's see how it goes. Like SF, I am going to keep the Christmas music out of it, since I have so much that this would become either a Christmas movie or something too, too ironic for words.

So, here's how it works:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc). 

2. Put it on shuffle.

3. Press play.

4. For every question, type the song that's playing.

5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.

6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits:

Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley by Lonnie Donegan

Waking Up:

Missing by The Roches

First Day of School:

Sufferin' by Gordon Bok

Falling in Love:

Tuba mirum from Mozart Requiem in D Minor, Berlin Philharmonic, von Karajan, soloists

Fight Song:

Paint me, Redoute by June Tabor

Breaking Up:

Waltz Down the Aisle from Anything Goes


Mending Wall by Robert Frost, read by the poet

Life's Just OK:

The Lady is a Tramp by Frank Sinatra

Mental Breakdown:

I'll Take My Sorrow Straight by Iris DeMent


I'm Walking Behind You by Frank Sinatra [this is really funny since I don't drive!]


Safe at Anchor by Kate Wolf

Getting Back Together:

The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Co.)

Birth of Child:

The Homestead on the Farm by The Carter Family


Bill Morgan and His Gal by Priscilla Herdman, Anne Hills and Cindy Mangsen 

Final Battle:

World in Union by the South Wales Burma Star Male Voice Choir

Death Scene:

Walk Down by the Water by Bill Staines

Funeral Song:

The Me I Used to Be by the Austin Lounge Lizards

End Credits:

The Twa Sisters by Dorothy Fourbister, collected for The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (i.e. the Child Ballads)

Well, what this proves is that I have a fairly eclectic music collection. I have to say this probably doesn't work as well with Windows Media Player as it would if I had an iPod. I ended up just pressing the "next" button a random number of times without looking. Let me know in comments if you play and where.

Friday Five: HGTV Edition

RevGalBlogPal Will Smama tells us: 
As some of you may know I am in the midst of my first home purchase. It is a new-build and so some of the fun was picking out upgrades and major decor items to my taste rather than walking into a previously owned home that needed to be upgraded room by room (pink and teal tiles in the bathroom, anyone?). As much as decorating is not my thing, I did try to embrace the moment because just how many times do you get to have a do-over on kitchen cabinets/floors/countertops?

And so, my questions to you this fine Friday involve your home past, present or future...
1) If you could, what room in the place you are currently living would you redo first?
The dining room/sunroom. It's a wonderful room in many ways, but since it also serves as the main entrance, some sort of clever rearrangement is needed. This is more a matter of "an eye" which I don't have, rather than money.
2) What is the most hideous feature/color/decor item you have ever seen in a home?
Too many to count, but to stick with one of my own homes -- our previous house had 2 layers of brown plaid wallpaper in the kitchen (sort of a glen plaid, therefore quite dense, not much white or cream in it. That kitchen had seven windows but always seemed dark until we got rid of that wallpaper. (The people from whom we bought the house seemed to like brown.  A lot.)
3) What feature do you most covet? Do you have it? If not, is it within reach?
At least a 1/2 bath on the second floor, for guests, and it would be nice for us too. We'd have to give up some of the extensive closet space but it would be doable, were it not that adding a bathroom costs way too much money.
4) Your kitchen - love it or hate it? Why?
Love, love, love it! Even the aqua tiles with purple trim (so 50s! You can see it in the picture above.) I love the spaciousness, the light, and the counter space and good number of cabinets.  I might like new flooring someday but even that is OK. 
5) Here is $10,000 and you HAVE to spend it on the place you are living now. What do you do?
If I could do that 1/2 bath for that (which might be possible given this economy), I would. Otherwise I might buy some furniture and replace at least one room of carpet with hardwood flooring.
BONUS: Why do you think there was such a surplus of ugly bathroom tile colors showcased in all homes built from the 1950's right through the early 80's?
Different tastes? Our house was built in 1951, and we have the aforementioned tiles in the kitchen, which I think are nicely funky. Then in the bathroom we have salmon and black. Not pink and black, salmon, which is very hard to decorate around as far as towel colors go. The floor tile there is shades of pink or salmon and blue, just to complicate things further. On second thought I might spend some of the $10,000 replacing that floor, which is not in tip-top condition anyway.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Five Cabin Fever Edition

It's Friday again, and over at RevGalBlogPals Singing Owl tells us:

Here in snow country we are settled in to what is a very long stretch of potentially boring days. The holidays are over. It is a very long time till we will get outside on a regular basis. The snow that seemed so beautiful at first is now dirty and the snow banks are piling up. Our vehicles are all the same shade of brownish grey, but if we go to the car wash our doors will freeze shut. People get grumpy. Of course, not everyone lives in a cold climate, but even in warmer places the days till springtime can get long. Help! Please give us five suggestions for combating cabin fever and staying cheerful in our monochromatic world?

Well, I'm in Snow Country too. We had about a foot or so last weekend; you can see the results above. (Onkel Hankie Pants is supervising while Brother #3 is snowblowing our driveway.) So here are my suggestions:
1. Get a dog. Or just borrow one, volunteer for dog-sitting, or even just accompany a dog-owning friend on walks. The dog will get you out of the house when nothing else would. Benefits may include better health, happier attitude (sunshine!) and time for meditation.
2. Pay attention to those "Calendar" sections in the local paper. I hope you live in as nice a place as I do, where there is always a free lecture to attend, a performance of some kind, or a public breakfast, lunch or supper.
3. Organize your living space. The "cabin" won't seem quite as small if it's tidier and you can find things.
4. Go to church (for those of us for whom this is optional!), participate in adult education or Bible study or making stuff for others, volunteer.
5. Count your blessings. A warm(ish) house, blankets, quilts and comforters on the bed, a roof that keeps the snow or rain out -- these are not to be sneezed at, and not everyone has them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Five: Take Me, Baby, or Leave Me

Songbird over at RevGalBlogPals has this question for us today (you can go there to see a YouTube video of the song, as I'm using Chrome which doesn't seem to take to them very well):
Although written by a young man, this song from "Rent" became an anthem for women of a certain age ready to be taken on their own terms. Maureen and Joanne love each other, but they are *very* different.

Whether it's new friends or new loves or new employers, what are five things people should know about you?

I'm not planning any new loves, but for the rest of you:

1. I'm an introvert. Really. Way over on the edge of the Myers-Briggs scale on I (as well as on N, F, and P). It takes me a while to make a new friend.
2. Because of (1), I'm also a bit of a Bartleby and when faced with a new experience my first reaction is often "I would prefer not to." However, when I am forced into one, I usually enjoy it, unless it involves rollercoasters. So keep pestering.
3. I am tidier than I used to be, but I still tend to shed shoes, books and coffee cups everywhere.
4. I have a good memory and know a lot of reference books and websites, which causes some people to think I know everything there is to know. Believe me, I don't.
5. Please, don't ask me to watch "reality tv."

These are some of the things about me that aren't likely to change.  What are yours?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tagged Again: The Movie Meme

Sisterfilms tagged me for this one. She didn't think I could come up with 20 movies - HA! I actually had to substitute some because the original choices didn't have any quotes listed.
The Rules:
1.) Pick 20 of your favorite movies.
2.) Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie.
3.) Post them  for everyone to guess.
4.) Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed and the movie.
5.) NO GOOGLING/using IMDB search functions.

You may post your guesses in comments. Consider yourself tagged if you feel like it!  Here goes:

1. "We shoulda rented a car."
    "We have my pony."
    "Your pony is an old nag."
2. "Dear?...Dear?...What is your first name?"
3. "Sometimes for your own sake, Red, I think you should've stuck to me longer."
   "I thought it was for life, but the judge gave me a full pardon."
  "Ahhh, that's the old redhead. No bitterness, no recrimination, just a cool swift left to the jaw."
4. "My, she was yar."
5. "That's a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken."
6. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room."
7. "I thought all the nuts went home on Labor Day."
8. "Frankly, you're beginning to smell, and for a stud in New York, that's a handicap."
9. "This is no time for Schopenhauer. This is important."
10. "And the magic word: Julie Andrews!"
11. "Jane Austen and I have so much in common. Neither of us can endure mess."
12. "The cleaning lady will untie you in the morning."
    "I hope she's pretty."
13. "Guns, yes. It's essential we're armed. Here's yours."
     "Is it loaded?"
    "Yes. It's a present from Margate. It fires a stick of rock."
14. "Come in, sit down, take it easy. What's the trouble?"
     "If you must know, something fell on my head."
    "When, infancy?"
15. "I liked you better as a bum."
     "I can't help what kind of people you like."
16.  "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you."
17. "The only reason I get up in the morning is to see if my luck has changed, and it never bloody has."
18. "Anti-wrinkle cream there may be, but anti-fat-bastard cream there is not."
19. "I had a farm in Africa."
20. ""Are you trying to say you're ... jilting me?"
     "W-well, that's a very heavy word, Merle. It's a very heavy word. Let's just say that we're...uncoupling."

Bonus points: #2 and #3 have something in common. What is it? And #3 and #4 have something in common too; what is it?

Monday, January 12, 2009

The New Gadget: Wish List

It's perhaps very wicked of me to be posting a wish list so soon after Christmas. After all, I received many wonderful gifts, many of which people thought of all on their own. But occasionally I am asked what I want, and I usually can't think of anything on the spur of the moment. So, I decided to put up this list for my nearest and dearest, and also I suppose that the things we want may say something about us.

In attempting to do this, I had some trouble until I discovered "Blogger in Draft." If you are using Blogger, and your layout page says "Add Page Element" you are not using "Blogger in Draft." Actually, my layout page was missing the Add Page Element button and it was in searching for it that I found out they are now (in BiD) called Gadgets. It is not easy to get to Blogger in Draft. Go to the bottom of the page, click "About" and then click "Features" and keep scrolling down till you get to it. Then you'll need to say "Make Blogger in Draft my default" or something like that.

I'll blog about something else later.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I've Been Tagged for the Meme of Tears

     Kaye Barley, who joins my blogroll today, has tagged me for the Meme of Tears. Kaye is a fellow DorothyLer, like me a reader of mystery stories, and lives in North Carolina. Later this year, I'll be a guest blogger on her blog, which is a scary thought given some of the other guests she's lined up. Here's the meme:
What's hit you on an emotional level and made you cry? An event, a book, a movie, a TV show - any or all of these?

     It's not really that hard to move me to tears. My father, in one of his more printable salty sayings, used to tell me, "Your bladder is too close to your eyeballs."  My daughters tease me about my propensity to choke up at movies, at church, or while reading or telling a story. Sometimes I can't even fully explain what it is that touches me, though I hope it has something to do with empathy.

     I'm surprised that the list of examples didn't include music, the surest way to make me cry.  It can be just the sound, or something in the words of a song, or the memories the song evokes, that trigger the tear ducts. I'm a sucker for cherub choirs, bands playing patriotic music (a severe handicap when I was in the Women's Army Corps!), and a lot of other music. Most recently, I was moved to tears (virtually outright sobbing!) when I heard a recording of my daughter Sisterfilms singing KoppĂ„ngen.  I've blogged about this song before [December 4, 2007] and it's definitely a favorite, but normally I can hear it sung without crying. Sisterfilms had sung it in church on the first Sunday of Advent (while I was still 1500 miles away) and with one thing and another I didn't get to hear the recording till after Christmas. Sisterfilms' voice ranges from tenor to mezzo-soprano, but she sang this squarely in the alto voice. I happen to feel that the alto and baritone voices carry more emotion than the soprano and tenor, and perhaps that's why I prefer them. Sisterfilms is also particularly good at conveying emotion in her singing, and she really outdid herself with this one.  If I had been present for the live performance, I don't think I would have wept as much or even at all, since I would have been nervous for her, but I heard that several people in church were also moved to tears that day.

Books often move me.  Even after many readings both silent and aloud, I cannot read the two episodes of the death of Jack the bulldog in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books without crying. (The first time they only think he is dead; his return turns on the waterworks too). The book that most recently choked me up is Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon (or Temeraire in some editions).  The first in the Temeraire series, it's set during the Napoleonic Wars, much like Patrick O'Brian's sea stories, except that in this world, there are dragons who have been domesticated and form Aerial Corps for the warring countries. The dragons can speak, and form close attachments with their handlers/captains, and usually vice versa. But the hero, Will, and his dragon, Temeraire, discover one dragon who is sadly neglected by his unworthy handler. The scene of the neglected dragon's death, when Will forces the handler to visit his dying dragon, and the depiction of the dragon's pitiful gladness at some attention from the handler whom he loves despite all, had me reaching for my handkerchief. (One cannot use tissues whilst reading this type of book).

I'll stop there, although I could certainly come up with a movie, an event, or even a TV show that has caused me to weep. If you would like to reflect on this meme, consider yourself tagged, and let me know in comments if you play. And don't forget to check out Meanderings and Muses!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Five: Pancakes

The very fortunate (you'll see why in a moment) Sophia at RevGalBlogPals writes:

Last week Sally gave us a beautiful, spiritually reflective Friday Five, so it's time for something light and fluffy (literally). It's inspired by the fact that as I write this my dear spouse TechnoGuy, with the assistance of daughter Ladybug, is making a batch of chocolate chip pancakes with two Christmas presents. One is the Knott's Berry Farm mix which came along with jam, boysenberry syrup, and biscuit mix from my aunt (we ended up with two sets, since my parents passed theirs on to avoid sweet and carb-y temptation). The other is the large size Black and Decker electric skillet he was thrilled that I got him online -- our trusty wedding present normal size one still works at going on 20 years, but the Teflon is getting worn, and he wanted more cooking space. So pull up a chair to the kitchen table and tell us all about your pancake preferences.

1. Scratch or mix? Buttermilk or plain?
If anyone is nice enough to make me pancakes, I'm not fussy. But my preference would be scratch, buttermilk pancakes, or even better, aebleskiver (the Danish spherical pancakes; the recipe I use contains buttermilk). Buckwheat pancakes are nice once in a while as well.
2. Pure and simple, or with additions cooked in?
Generally I'd just as soon have plain ones with additions on the side. But when I was small my father used to make corn pancakes -- just mixing drained, canned corn into the batter -- and those were really good. And I've had wild rice pancakes that were yummy too.
3. For breakfast or for dinner?
Sure, and why not for lunch?
4. Preferred syrup or other topping? How about the best side dish?
Well, of course Maine maple syrup, Grade B, is what I prefer for regular pancakes. For aebleskiver, brown sugar or jam. I like the bacon and sausage we get from our local farm meat market; if I'm elsewhere I would buy Nueske's bacon from Wisconsin or whatever the local goody is.

5. Favorite pancake restaurant?
The Danish-American Fellowship aebleskiver breakfasts in Minneapolis! For some reason I usually don't order pancakes in restaurants.
Bonus: Any tasty recipes out there, for pancakes or other special breakfast dishes? Bring 'em on!

The thing about aebleskiver is that you do need a special pan. It looks like this:
There are fancier versions available, but this is the kind I have. A knitting needle or skewer is also needed for turning the pancakes. Here's one of the recipes, from the Danish-American Fellowship Cookbook. It's credited to Hanne Poulsen and says "This is the recipe used for the Aebleskiver Pancake Breakfasts at the Danish-American Fellowship"

4 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour
8 eggs
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Separate all eggs and whip egg whites. Put buttermilk in mixer. Mix all dry ingredients with the flour, then mix all at once into the buttermilk, including the egg yolks. Fold in egg whites and two tablespoons of melted butter. Bake in monks pan (aebleskiver pan) in oil, turn half way to bake and keep turning until fully baked.
This photo is from a Google(tm) Images search that led me to a new-to-me blog I'll probably keep reading, Walking the Berkshires. Thanks!
I should note that the first batch usually doesn't come out all that well for us, but keep going. If you don't want quite so many pancakes, you can halve the recipe easily enough. So, now if you see an aebleskiver pan at a rummage sale, you'll know what to do with it!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking Backward Meme

Singing Owl had this meme, which is to look back over the preceding year of blog posts and excerpt the first sentence of the first post for each month, then see if there's a pattern. So here are mine:

JANUARY: Well, I've already broken my New Year's Resolution about blogging, but my excuse is that yesterday was Sisterknits' last full day with us before she headed back to City of Lakes today.
FEBRUARY: Which Wife of Henry VIII Are You? The picture has disappeared and I can't remember!
MARCH: Here we go again! The snow started, as predicted, about 10 pm last night. 
APRIL: Another Friday Five: How has God revealed him/herself to you in a:

1. Book: I haven't been doing a lot of spiritual reading lately, mostly mysteries and some non-fiction dealing with economics (in a fairly superficial way).
MAY: Sisterknits said I'd better do a blog post before I take off, so here it is.
JUNE: Last week the Friday Five was about garage sales, and today we actually went to some!
JULY: Also Friday Five, since I was away from computer July 1-3, so: 1. Barbeque's or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?)
Not to me -- barbecues are usually at home or someone's home, and picnics are at a park or similar place. But, today we actually ate at an old-school drive-in with picnic tables, real cherry cokes, and deep-fried cheese curds! (Something you can't get in Maine.)
AUGUST: It was the Friday Five, so here's my first answer: ) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
Since I am not ever the driver, I amuse myself pretty much all the time I am in a car -- in this case I would look at the workers, be glad I'm not working as a flagger for $8 an hour, and perhaps try to amuse the driver, if necessary!
SEPTEMBER: Yes, today everything came together perfectly and we took my birthday boat ride.
OCTOBER: Perhaps you've heard of the "Curse of the State Quarters." I'm beginning to think there may be a curse connected with my collection of coffee mugs! 
NOVEMBER: This morning began around 6:30 am when Rusty decided it was time for people to get up.
DECEMBER:It's a bit late in the day here on the East Coast, but I'm still going to start this out so that there will be a story and song suggestion for each day up to December 24th.

It's surprising how many times it was the Friday Five that got me blogging, when it wasn't necessarily the first day of the month. I think the pattern is that I have not been assiduous nor imaginative enough about my blog. That's a good resolution for this year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Five: Beginnings and Endings

Sally at RevGalBlogPals posted a beautiful Celtic Mandala, a New Year's Prayer from the Iona Community, and an invitation to list five things we treasure from the past year and five things we look forward to in the new one.  I'm using an unfamiliar computer so I can't clip and paste her post, check it out! In the meantime, here is my response:

Five Things I Remember/Treasure from 2008:

1. Spending Christmas with all three of our children for the first time in a few years.

2. Hearing Cordeliaknits preach at the church which was our home for so many years.You can hear it too, by going to and clicking on the "Sermons" tab.

3. Having several opportunities to see Onkel Hankie Pants perform -- as one of the fathers in The Fantasticks, as Marcellus in The Music Man, and best of all, as one of the jurors in Twelve Angry Men and Women -- showing that he is excellent in dramatic parts as well as in musicals!

4. Having SonShineIn stay with us for a month of much-needed rest and recreation last spring -- as with most adult children, it had been a long time since we'd spent more than a couple of hours together. What a gift!

5. Last but not least, as always, Sisterfilms! Her nearly-daily phone calls where we discuss everything and nothing, her thoughtful blogs and the school papers I get to proofread, the chance to spend time with her this Christmas, and especially hearing her sing at church -- in person on the Sunday after Christmas, and via recording, her singing of Koppangen on the first Sunday in Advent.

Things I Look Forward to in 2009:

1. There's no place like home! I'm still enjoying my trip to City of Lakes, but in a few days I'll be returning to Maine. I'll miss Sisterfilms and my other friends and relatives here, but I'll be glad to be back with my husband, my dog, my cat, and my own stuff! 

2. OHP will be appearing in February in Bell, Book and Candle -- one of my favorite plays/movies and he's doing the Ernie Kovacs part. I'm sure after that he will give me more opportunities to enjoy his acting skills.

3. I'm hoping more of our friends and relatives will make the journey to Maine to visit with us! Other folks who've moved there complain about too many visitors, but we haven't had an excess yet.

4. Doing more reading, writing and reviewing and maybe even finding a new book club that will encourage me to read more serious fiction.

5. Buying, cooking and eating more healthy local foods, and walking Rusty to burn off the calories!

Happy New Year to everyone!