Tuesday, April 29, 2008

AI Top 5: Diamonds in the rough?

Neil Diamond night.... Folks thought maybe Mr. Diamond's stuff would redeem Jason's performance from last week, but even with *2* chances, I think he failed miserably. Both of his songs (Forever in Blue Jeans and September Morn) totally hurt me to listen to. At times he sounded like he was trying to just copy Neil's version and it just didn't work. I really think it's his time to leave.

I thought David Cook nailed both of his songs (I'm Alive and All I Really Need Is You). He is so smart to pick songs most people aren't familiar with, so they aren't comparing him to anyone else. Either one of those songs could be on the radio today. As much as I love me some Brooke, I think David C. is the one to take it all.

Brooke: Sweet heavens, I just can't figure out what is happening with her. She is not the same person who started this thing. I'm a Believer was not one of her best performances... it seemed very forced and just not as natural as I know she can be. But I Am, I Said was much closer to the Brooke I love. There's something about her and that piano that just works. The judges all noticed it, too. I was relieved to see they thought her #2 song was a good one.

David Archuleta... I'm sorry. But I'm getting a little tired of him and the over-the-top praise he keeps getting. (Well, Simon did label his first song, Sweet Caroline, as "amateurish".) Every time he grins, I keep seeing Alfred E. Neuman's face. He may be able to sing the telephone book, but I just don't see him as really being all that marketable. I think he'd be better off doing musical theater. I just didn't care for the way he changed around either the first song or America.

Syesha had another nice night. Hello Again was ok for me. Sorry, but I have junior year of high school memories of that song the way Neil sang it and any other version just doesn't do it for me. Now the other song, Thank the Lord for the Nighttime, was totally new to me and she sounded great on it. Funny that the judges all thought the same thing about how she does so well with songs that showcase her personality and acting ability.

My favorite(s) of the night: David Cook and Brooke (aww, it rhymes).
Who I wanna wave bye-bye to: For the love of all that is holy, Jason!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend in bullets and a few links

Typical weekend of "stuff" here:

  • Friday night was Celebrate Recovery. Brian wasn't here, but was in the air on his way home from a trip to the Washington, D.C., area (left Thursday morning, landed back in Sacramento at 11pm Friday). Because he is usually the in charge of running PowerPoint for the worship/lesson portion, he had to find a replacement. That was an easy task. But then I arrive to find out that this week's worship leader was sick and the other worship leader was taking over for him. Only problem was, he was the one who was going to run PowerPoint. So I wound up getting recruited to do that. Ordinarily, I would be singing with him, as I am on his worship team (a fairly new assignment I just accepted this week).
  • The other glitch in Friday night occurred because this was the last Friday of the month, meaning we were having our monthly CR dinner beforehand (beginning at 5:30 instead of the usual 6:30). It's normally not a big deal, especially when there isn't a parental unit missing from the equation. But this week, Emily had rehearsal for Annie until 5pm. I had to pick her up, drop off my food at the church, take her back home, and then drive back to the church. I didn't make it there until 6. To say I was feeling a little stressed would be slightly understating things.
  • Saturday was filled with our usual ball games. Thankfully , the boys' games overlapped so that we were only at the field for a little over 2 hours instead of the typical 4. I still managed to get too much sun on my face. One of these days I will remember the sunblock.
  • In addition to the games, our neighborhood was also having a garage sale. There really was no way for us to get ready for it or really participate, but one of my neighbors did let me stick a few things I had in the garage over at her place. Someone bought the kennel that Rory was shipped to us in, and that was the extent of my luck. Halle sold one of her GameCube games and a doll stroller/playpen.
  • Brian and I went shopping for things for the RV and house late yesterday evening. We bought some string lights for the back patio (need to go back and get one more set) and some indoor/outdoor carpet for it. Didn't have as much luck with the RV stuff. We may try to get to Camping World tomorrow if we have time. We're planning on doing another overnighter this weekend after Noah's ball game Saturday, so really do need to work on getting the motorhome more fully stocked.
  • We went to Fenton's Creamery for lunch after church today. Mmmm, mmmm. Thankfully I remembered from our last trip how huge the ice cream portions are and ordered a "small" rather than a "regular" scoop of ice cream.
  • After we got back, I made a trip to the commissary. While I was gone, Brian was washing his truck and using the power washer on the house and back patio. I pulled into the driveway to see Noah and his friend Beth giving Campbell a bath in the front yard. (Yes, it is warm enough to bathe the dogs outside... in the 80s.) I convinced Emily that Rory needed a bath as well. I will try to post some pictures of that tomorrow or one day this week.
  • Laundry was the other main chore of the day. I have some needing to be switched around right now, in fact.


And now for the links:
  1. I may be the last person in the blogosphere to mention this blog, but just in case you've somehow missed it... You *must* read the story of Angie and Todd Smith's baby, Audrey. (Todd is one of the guys from the group Selah.) Just go back to the first post in January and read all the way up to now. It's only 38 posts, but I guarantee you will not be the same person when you finish. The latest post from Friday has a beautiful slideshow set to a song that Angie and her husband wrote. I challenge anyone to watch it and listen and have a dry eye when she/he is done. Of course, if all their story does is just make us cry, then we've completely missed the point.
  2. Anyone else love Pioneer Woman's recipes?? I must have a list a mile long of her recipes that I want to try. The latest is her risotto. I don't think I've ever had risotto before, but her recipe sounds just delicious. I also am dying to try Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I'm it

I was tagged by my friend Jim today. I'm supposed to list seven random facts about me and tag 5 people who read my blog to do likewise. So here goes:

  1. I can touch my nose with my tongue.
  2. I'm not a big coffee drinker; I only drink it socially (like less than once a month) and then it must be black... no cream, no sugar. My Starbucks order is always hot chocolate.
  3. I am a voracious reader. Nothing better than time on my hands and a good book to read.
  4. I have horrible eyesight and wouldn't be caught without my contacts in. I even sleep in them so I can see if I wake up in the middle of the night.
  5. I never had a real job until after college, and even then my first job was as a cashier at Venture (a Target wanna-be).
  6. I am really looking forward to our time in California coming to a close. Unfortunately, that's at least 2 years from now.
  7. My first car was an Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser (station wagon). I bought it during my senior year of *college*. (That's for my daughter, who seems to think being 16 means she should have a car at her disposal.)
I tag Jenny, Sandy, Rick, Shane, and Carrie.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Andrew Lloyd Weber night

Okay.... tonight's AI featured songs by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Love his stuff. I have the movie versions of both Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Cats. (Of those, Joseph is by far my favorite.) Have watched Phantom of the Opera; Emily has the soundtrack on her iPod, and just saw it on Broadway a couple of weeks ago. Evita? Eh... not really one of my favorites. My exposure to Jesus Christ, Superstar is limited, but I am familiar with a couple of songs from it.

So going into tonight, I tried to imagine what songs the finalists would choose, or what songs I thought would work for them. I had Carly pegged, and I think she totally rocked with the title song from Jesus Christ, Superstar. Actually, tonight went pretty well for most of the gang except two: Brooke and Jason.

Poor Brooke. I knew this would be a tough night. If she'd only called me, though. I think I could have helped her out. I really think she would have fared much better if she had taken on "I Don't Know How to Love Him." (That's another song from Jesus Christ, Superstar, for the uninitiated.) Yvonne Elliman sang this in the movie; here's the clip from YouTube.

And Jason. Gee whiz. What was he thinking? I totally agreed with Simon when he said it was the longest 2 minutes of his life. I'm not sure what song Jason could have picked. But not Memory!

Syesha wowed me with a song I'd never heard before (One Rock and Roll Too Many). She could definitely make her living in theater.

David A.... interesting choice with Think of Me. Rearranging it as a pop ballad definitely worked for him, though. Before the show, I was picturing him singing Any Dream Will Do, from Joseph. That, or another song from the same show, Close Every Door. (Links are of Donny Osmond; the first is an actual clip from the movie.) But he didn't ask my advice, and I guess this time it didn't hurt.

I enjoyed David Cook's handling of Music of the Night, but it didn't wow me. It was nice to see him do something other than rock, though.

Favorite of the night: Syesha
Who should go: Jason or *sob* Brooke

Monday, April 21, 2008

The unbearable lightness of being random

Just random observations and happenings for you today:

  • I think the grocery stores are employing some kind of aversion therapy (aside from rising prices... youch!). At the commissary the other day, every single time I reached for an item, I got shocked. Too bad it didn't stop me from buying the stuff... I guess the aversion therapy didn't work. Just annoyed the heck outta me.
  • It was a crazy busy week of running back and forth and here and there last week. This week promises to be more of the same. Between baseball practices, Emily's play rehearsals, AWANA, and music lessons, there is always somewhere to be and go.
  • Tonight we have the chance to see Trout Fishing in America here on base (FREE!). Just have to get Noah away from his baseball practice early enough.
  • Major spring cleaning around here this past weekend. Brian and I worked on the garage together and it is SPIFFY. Our back porch/patio area is rockin', too. Still need to take a backhoe to the boys' room, but not sure how to get it in the house and up the stairs. I don't even want to think about a certain teenager's room.
  • Trying to plan a major road trip back east (Missouri/Alabama) for June... experienced RVers tell us we won't be able to drive as many miles in a day as we would like to. They say no more than 3-400 miles a day. That will mean almost 6 days of driving each way with no time for sightseeing. :( Oh well, perhaps later on in the year we will be able to do a sightseeing kind of trip.
  • Halle and I went to see Nim's Island yesterday. It was a pretty good movie. I'd like to read the book now and see how it compares. I have heard the movie was fairly true to it. Jodie Foster was fun to watch as an agoraphobic adventure novelist, and Gerard Butler was quite endearing as a widowed marine biologist raising his 11yo daughter (played by the always-adorable Abigail Breslin) on a remote island in the South Pacific.
  • I wish someone would invent a dust-repellent I could spray over my entire house. I cannot get rid of the stuff. It is back 10 seconds after I wipe it away.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Miles to go before I sleep

Yep. I have to pick up Emily from the airport in Sac tonight after 11pm. Her flight from NYC is supposed to land at 11:18. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for her luggage and can get by with the free 30 minute parking. If not... oh well.

Got a free CD in the mail today. Matt Maher's Empty & Beautiful pre-release CD arrived and is already loaded into my iTunes. I just need to plug in my iPod and update it now. Many thanks to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for announcing this freebie.

Looking forward to tomorrow night's American Idol. I haven't heard yet what the theme is... I'm very curious. Last week's results were quite surprising. I can only imagine what this week will bring.

Read a really good book last week and have been meaning to mention it here, but I kept forgetting. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah is the story of two girls who become friends in the 8th grade and how that friendship grows and changes as they go through life. If you grew up in the 70's/80's/90's, you'll find yourself reliving scenes from your life as you are reminded of the music/tv/pop culture of the times. Kate and Tully's unlikely friendship, forged as outsiders in their school, spans over 30 years. We see them make tough choices, bad choices, impossible choices... And in the end, you will feel as if you knew both of them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Girls' day

Brian is off on a TDY to Cincinnati; Emily is in NYC with her choir; Joel and Noah just left with our neighbors to go see the Giants play the Cardinals in San Francisco. That leaves just Halle and me here for the day. We haven't fully planned our day yet, but know that after church, we want to hit Olive Garden for lunch. With it just being the two of us, we shouldn't have the usual wait for a table as we do when it's 5 or 6 of us.

We might take in a movie, or start one of the jigsaw puzzles we got at Christmastime. As much as the house needs cleaning and laundry needs doing, I want to avoid it unless she has something else she wants to do that doesn't involve me. Today will be her day.


Yesterday was full of "stuff." I had a ladies' breakfast at church at 9, but both boys also had baseball games. Joel's game was at 11:25, which meant I wound up leaving the breakfast early to get us to the fields. Noah's game was at 1. We were at the field from 11am to 3pm. Halle and Joel walked home with the neighbor's older daughter about 45 minutes or so into Noah's game. When all was said and done, I had sunburned arms. Thankfully the redness has faded today. I've got to remember sunblock for next time!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Roughing it... NOT

OK, internets..... I've been holding out on you. But it's not my fault. I was under strict orders not to say anything until we had a chance to experience the wonders in store for us with this baby:

This, my friends, seems to be the answer to our dilemma of how leave home for more than a day without needing to kennel the dogs or pay for 2 hotel rooms. She is an Allegro Open Road 35QBA (I gotta come up with a name for her). We made the decision to bring her home the day before Easter, but didn't actually get her until the 27th. Brian told me to hold off on the announcement until we got to break her in.

Well, we finally got our chance this past weekend. It was a whirlwind affair, trying to get ready to go.... what with 2 ball games to get through Saturday before we could even begin to leave. Somehow we managed to get it together enough to take a short trip about 40 minutes away to Lake Solano. See Brian drive:

We only had time to spend one night, what with baseball season and all. We are hoping for at least one more overnight trip somewhere else close by in May, and then maybe we will be able to do a 2- or 3-night stay for Memorial Day weekend. The kids had a blast, and we enjoyed ourselves a bit as well. We did discover that we will have to tweak the sleeping arrangements on the next trip so that the person who wants to sleep the latest isn't on the sofabed, but the dinette bed instead. It made moving about for the earlier risers (namely me, but the other 4 in the family as well) very difficult, since the sofabed takes up the entire width of the coach when it's pulled out.

Here are a few sights from Saturday and Sunday:

I am sure we will have lots of stories to share about all this... especially if I can't convince one small pony of a dog that she can do her business (what some humans call "paperwork") some place other than in her own back yard. Yes, my friends: we have a "holder." I'm glad we were gone for less than 24 hours. She was happy to come home and went straight to work as soon as she hit the back yard.

Yep... stories. We'll have 'em.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Death in the Family

My children experienced their first taste of death today. Thankfully, they were somewhat prepared for it. Summer (our pet rat) had seemed poorly for the last week or two and yesterday her activity level dropped considerably. We told the kids we didn't think she'd last past the night. Noah woke up at 4:30 this morning and checked on her... by his report, she was still breathing. I didn't think to check her until I got back from taking Emily to school at 8. She was gone. Of all the kids, Noah took it the hardest. He talks a good game, but he has a sensitive heart.

We waited for Brian to come home in the afternoon and he and the kids took her to a quiet spot and buried her. I would have gone, but then I would have felt like I should have sung a funeral song for her and I wasn't sure what an appropriate one would have been: When All of God's Ratties Get Home, Precious Ratties, Cheese Perfect Cheese, Precious Lord Take My Paw....?

Anyhow, that's life here. Looking forward to hump day tomorrow. I've had a tough time getting back into the swing of things after that week off, but tomorrow is a new day and we *will* get back on track!

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