A Day In The Life


Happy Haunting!
October 30, 2007, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Family, Life in the South

My family has always celebrated Halloween with costumes, popcorn balls, caramel apples and loads of other goodies and good times. Even though we lived in the boonies, my parents took us trick or treating to a few houses in our very rural neighborhood. The thing I remember most is that country neighbors generally gave out homemade treats which were so much yummier than store bought candy.   As we grew older, we usually had Halloween hayrides and hot dog roasts.  And, of course, lots of ghost stories. 

My nieces were born in 1994 and 1996.  My sister carried on our family traditions with her daughters as long as they lived in the little town where my sister and I grew up.  I had such fun going trick or treating with the girls.  MC and HM are all older now and they no longer live where I do.  I miss their cute, little girl costumes and all the Halloween fun and excitement I shared with them. 

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This is MC and HM in their Halloween finery in 2000.  Most of the time their costumes were handmade or put together from thrift shop finds, but HM saw this “50’s girl” outfit in Walmart and she just had to have it.   My sister tried to talk her out of it because it doesn’t even really look like something from the 50’s, but HM couldn’t be persuaded.  A pink satin poodle skirt trimmed in feathers with a sheer feather-trimmed top just made her little 4-year old heart go pitter patter.  MC wanted to be a “blues brother” although I don’t remember how a 6-year old knew what a “blues brother” was.  Surely she hadn’t seen the movie.

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Isn’t she too cute for words?!!! I’m not sure what the significance of the arm and hand positioning is, but…….

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whatever big sister did, little sister had to imitate.  Awwww…. she’s such a cutie, too!

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Happy Halloween!!!



Don’t Leave Home Without Them!
October 28, 2007, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Africa, Jasper, Odds and Ends

Candid Karina wants to know what our security blankets are; the things we can’t leave home without.  So…..here goes…….

Taking my purse and one or two giant bags filled with school supplies, materials, music and the like, is a given when I leave home every morning.  I can’t even imagine leaving my ‘bags’ behind.  Their contents are absolutely essential to my day. 

I have to be wearing some earrings.  Can’t leave home without ’em.  These are three of my favorite pairs.

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 On the rare occasion that I forget to put my earrings on, I feel out of sorts for the entire day.   Seriously, if I forget my earrings, my students remark about how ‘different’ I look.  I wear earrings when I mow the yard, carry out the garbage, exercise, whatever.  The only time I take the earrings off is when I go to bed at night. 

I gotta be wearing a watch. Can’t leave home without it!

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I travel to three different buildings within my school district every day. Keeping track of my time is imperative. I have three watches so that I’m never caught with a dead watch battery and no watch to wear.   Summer vacation means leaving that watch off and no schedule.  Ah!  What sweet freedom that is……..

Now, I leave my precious babies behind every week day morning, but it is a very hard thing to do.  Jasper has the forlorn, neglected doggie look down to a tee.  He sits on the front porch step or behind the front door screen looking out and puts on his pitiful face and it just about breaks my heart.  He really turns on the drama when I have to go on a weekend choir trip.  And leaving him at the kennel really makes me sad. 😦   Africa sometimes sits and watches me leave, but most of the time I honestly think she could care less.  That’s a cat for ya!  She does love to snuggle in my lap when I get home though and so does Jasper which is why I have to eat so much to keep my lap so nice and wide….ha!

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Now, boogie on over to Candid Karina’s and check out some other folks’ security blankets.



Another One Bites the Dust
October 27, 2007, 9:01 pm
Filed under: Music, School Buzz

Well, another junior high all region audition day has come and gone.  Nine of my junior high students made all region choir which puts the total this year at 18 ( nine senior high students made all region choir on October 13).  Not bad, if I say so myself!  Sixteen junior high students auditioned today.  Competition in the girl’s voice parts was brutal.  A total of 221 young ladies auditioned for a spot in the alto section of the all region choir.  I had two altos who made the cut one of whom is Tiggerlane’s  lovely daughter, Amber.  A total of 235 young ladies auditioned for a spot in the soprano section and three of my sopranos made the cut.  All four of my young men who auditioned made the all region choir.  All in all a very good day!



Embarrassing Moments
October 25, 2007, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Family, My Life

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Your first question might be: Who are these people? Your second question would have to be: why are these people purposely acting like complete idiots for a picture?  The answer to the first question:  my brother, myself and my dad.  The answer to the second question can be found in this post .  The only excuse I have is that we completely lost it after surviving my sister’s wedding day.  Which brings me to the topic for this evening’s post: embarrassing moments.

Let’s face it.  We’ve all had moments in our lives when we wished the floor would simply open up and swallow us.  Or maybe we wish that we could rewind time and erase some hideously embarrassing ordeal that we found ourselves mired in.  One of those moments for me occurred during my sister’s wedding when I wept and sobbed through a song that I was supposed to be singing.  I can only be thankful that the ceremony was not captured on video. 

A second thoroughly embarrassing moment in my life happened when I worked for Toys R Us.  At the time, I lived some 1,200 miles from my family in Arkansas.  I had recently gone through a very painful and frightening marriage and divorce.  I was in poor financial shape when I was hired by Toys R Us so my mom, who is an extraordinary seamstress, made me a nice wardrobe of professional attire suitable for my new career in business.  One of the outfits she made was a full black skirt with a waistband paired with a white blouse and a red tailored jacket.  This is the outfit I was wearing for my embarrassing moment.  On the day in question, I was working in my office.  I was called to the cash office at the front of the store to take care of a deposit.  Before heading in that direction, I visited the ladies room.  I then proceeded to the cash office, signed off the deposit and put it in the safe.  I visited the customer service area, spoke to the department head then went to the sales floor where I spoke to several customers.  I made a side trip into a store room to check on a product that I had noticed wasn’t on display.  Then I sauntered over to the bicycle sales area.  While doing a quick inventory of the bicycles we had on the floor, I received a page over the store intercom.  I answered the page at the desk in the bicycle area.  A very kind, albeit giggling, employee informed me that my lovely, full black skirt was tucked into my pantyhose.  Yep, I had been running around all over the store with my white panty- pantyhose-covered rear end showing.  That incident sort of gave new meaning to the word ’embarrassing’. 

I’ve also had some embarrassing moments in my second career as a teacher.  Two that immediately come to mind involve some colorful language on my part. 

The ideal situation for a choir director would be to have an accompanist at the piano while the director is working with the students on their choral music.  Unfortunately,  I am usually playing the piano while directing the choir and teaching.  Because I am basically performing two jobs at once, I don’t like to use piano benches.  I prefer chairs with rollers which make it much easier for me to stand up quickly when needed.  I can stand up and push the chair away with the backs of my legs which gives me plenty of room to bend over slightly playing the piano with my left hand while conducting with my right.  This manuever may sound somewhat complicated, but I have it down to fine art.  One day I had pushed the rolling chair back somewhat further than I realized so that when I tried to sit down again, I misjudged and just hit the front edge of the chair seat.  The chair rolled out from beneath my rear and I sat down hard on the floor hitting my chin on the piano keyboard as I passed it by.  I said a bad word.  Loud.  In front of my students.  They all collapsed in laughter, but I was mortified.  I picked myself up and continued the rehearsal, but my former students (this happened almost nine years ago) still love to remind me of the day I said s–t in front of the choir. 

The first year at the school where I currently teach, brought another embarrassing moment.  I was describing a character in a madrigal feast script to my senior high choir.  I actually read part of the character description then looked up at my students and continued talking about the knight who did ‘dastardly deeds’.  Yep, you guessed it.  I didn’t say ‘dastardly’.  I don’t believe I’ve ever enunciated a ‘b’ so clearly.  Again, my students collapsed in laughter while I stood red-faced in front of them.  Again, my former students love to remind me of my colorful language.

We’ve all been there so at the very least I gain comfort from knowing I am not alone.



Blast From the Past
October 22, 2007, 10:04 pm
Filed under: My Life

I spent part of the evening looking through my high school senior memory book.  How many of you have one of those?  I graduated high school in 1976 which was a unique graduation year with the United States Bicentennial celebration in full swing.  Needless to say, our senior class colors were red, white and blue.  Our class flower was the red carnation and our class moto was, “Life has many endings, but every ending is a new beginning.”  I was the valedictorian of the Class of ’76.  Instead of giving a valedictorian address at commencement, I sang our class song, “The Times of Your Life.”  Remember that song?  Paul Anka sang it.  I think it was featured in a Disney movie and I know for sure that it was used in Kodak commercials on TV.  “Good morning yesterday….you wake up and time has slipped away.  And suddenly it’s hard to find the memories you left behind, remember….do you remember?  The laughter and the tears……”  It’s a nice song.  I can still sing the whole thing from memory.

My favorite movies were What’s Up Doc?, The Stepford Wives, and Mahogany.  Any of those titles ring a bell?  Barbra Streisand and, I think, Ryan O’Neal starred in What’s Up Doc?.  I can’t remember who was in The Stepford Wives.  I’ll have to add that one to my Netflix list.  Diana Ross played a fashion model in Mahogany.  My favorite book was “Eagle in the Sky” by Morris West.  I can’t remember that book at all.  Favorite TV shows were “Welcome Back Kotter”, “Family”, “Saturday Night Live”, and “Petrocelli”. 

My Uncle Bill, a deputy sheriff, was killed in the line of duty in April of my senior year.  Uncle Bill retired from the Air Force after serving two tours in Vietnam.  He came home to Arkansas, became a deputy sheriff and was killed by a bullet fired from a .38 caliber pistol while serving divorce papers.  He was 42 years old.  The repercussions of Uncle Bill’s death are still evident today in the lives of his five children and his wife.  It was a tragedy that rocked the foundations of my family.   Twenty-five years later, my dad died on the same date in April that my Uncle Bill was killed. 

My parents gave me a round trip ticket to Los Angeles for my graduation gift.  A friend and I flew to LAX on Delta Air Lines from Dallas/Ft. Worth.  The total cost of our round trip flight was $143.00.  My friend and I stayed with my great aunt and uncle who lived on Albany Street in downtown LA.  We did all the usual touristy things including Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Santa Monica pier, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive and so much more.  We had such a blast!  We also drove to Las Vegas in my second cousin’s Cadillac convertible and spent two days and one night exploring that city.  While in Los Angeles, we saw Chicago in concert at Anaheim Convention Center.  Our tickets for that event cost $7.50 each. 

The final pages of my senior memory book have “The Future” as a heading.  I have Monte Carlo, Monaco, listed as my future dream trip.  That trip is still a dream and as an adult I can think of several places I’d much rather visit!  My career plans were to become a professional singer and to have a career in business.  I definitely fulfilled the business career and I suppose I could call myself a professional singer though not on the grand scale I envisioned as a teen.  Last, but not least, my goals were “To give of myself to others.  To sing.”  I have to say I’ve  done a pretty good job of achieving those goals. 



The Things I Do For Blogging
October 21, 2007, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Odds and Ends

Our host with the most for this Fun Monday installment is Willow Tree and he wants to see our clothing art.  Or is it artistic clothing?  Regardless, (insert boo’s and moans here) I don’t have a digital camera so……I had to scan my actual T-shirt in order for you to see the graphics on it.  Needless to say,  I do not wear a youth size small so I had to do two scans for you to get the full effect. 

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This is the artwork on the T-shirt that all three of my elementary choirs wear when they perform. I did the design myself then sent it to the very awesome T-shirt company I use where their graphic design folks did a bit of tweaking with the font and letter positioning.   Holly Harshman is the name of the elementary school. 

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And Harmony Stars is the name of my choirs.   The complete choir uniform is this T-shirt tucked into black pants with black shoes on the footsies.  



Close, But Not Quite
October 19, 2007, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Odds and Ends

I think Glenn Close is a superb actress. She has been nominated for many awards and has won quite a few, but the Oscar has eluded her thus far.   I have a difficult time understanding that.   Remember Fatal Attraction ?  Close’s portrayal of the demented Alex Forrest was brilliant.  Her madness leapt off the screen to become a pop culture morality lesson for philandering husbands.  Close was nominated for Best Actress in 1988 for the Fatal Attraction role, but Cher won the award for her performance in Moonstruck.  Moonstruck is definitely on my long list of favorite movies and Cher was wonderful in the film, but, in my humble opinion, Glenn Close was a far better choice as Best Actress.  And who can forget the stoic Jenny Field in The World According to Garp ?  Another fantastic performance by Glenn Close for which she received a nomination in 1983 as Best Supporting Actress .   Jessica Lange got the Oscar nod that year for her work in Tootsie.  Again, Tootsie is a great movie, but I honestly can’t remember what Jessica did that merited her an Oscar.  Glenn Close also received Best Supporting Actress nominations for her roles in The Natural (1985) and The Big Chill (1984).  She was nudged out in both those years by relatively obscure actresses, Peggy Ashcroft and Linda Hunt. 

One of my favorite Glenn Close roles is the Marquise de Marteuil in Dangerous Liaisons. 

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I really like this film and it is loaded with great performances.  John Malkovich is perfect as Vicomte de Valmont.  I’ve never thought of Malkovich as being sexy or even particularly goodlooking, but I can’t imagine another actor doing a better portrayal of the cynical and dissolute Valmont.  Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz, Uma Thurman and a very young Keanu Reeves round out the cast along with Glenn Close.  And Close is just….magnificent.  Her face is so expressive that at times the very clever dialogue is rendered unnecessary.  From the palpable boredom in her eyes during the opening dressing scene to the lonely tears that streak through her ruined face paint at the end of the film,  Close’s features tell the story of seduction, revenge and betrayal in a far more passionate manner than the most descriptive of words. 

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Once again, Close was nominated for Best Actress in 1989 for her performance in Dangerous Liaisons.  Jodie Foster won for The Accused.  Foster was powerful in her role, but Glenn Close was….I can’t think of a better word….magnificent.