Friday, December 31, 2010

One Last Message

I posted this on the Manilow UK Message Board:

Just to let my friends here know, I'm not planning on coming back to this message board. I've enjoyed cyber-meeting those of you who have been kind enough to include me as one of your friends. It's time for me to move on with my life, and letting go of some of the things that have kept me progressing this year.

My best wishes to everyone, including Barry and the Stiletto family.

Jessica DiCorleone aka Dawn Bushman

New Year's: Look Not behind Thee

Excellent story for our time!

One Voice

If you've heard the song, if you know the song, then you'll understand why I'm referring to it.

Munds Park Church Helps Stranded Motorists

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Customer Service

This is what one airline did for it's passengers traveling at Christmas.

100 Grandchildren

Between children, grand-children, great grand-children and 2nd great grand-children, this woman has at least 100 offspring. Hopefully they'll record her stories, I'm sure she has a lot to tell in her 98 years of life.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

The last three Christmases have been somewhat depressing, so I wanted to do a little bit of cheer this year. I finally got the music corner set up over the summer with the faux vintage stereo box, so I figured out how to get it to play from my iPod, which I had a bunch of Christmas songs on.

I had the music playing in the background, and this display set up in my dining area. And before you ask, yes that is a bookshelf in my dining room. If you know me well, you know I'm a big reader, so I actually have shelves in almost every room on my home. The exceptions are the two bathrooms and the kitchen (they are all too small or there would be shelves in those as well).

It was a fun evening, Mom brought over the unprepared food and we baked and cooked in my kitchen. While we waited for the food, we sat in the livingroom and enjoyed the music and chatted for a little bit.

By the time we were ready to eat, I had told her about Barry singing in Oslo. Of course I had to bring out my laptop and show her. LOL. The first part of our meal was spent eating at the table watching Barry perform on my laptop. Once his performance was finished, I turned the Christmas music back on.

All in all, it was a really nice evening, and Mom seemed to enjoy herself quite a bit. Especially the part where she leaves and doesn't have to take dirty dishes home to clean them. :-)

We did exchange gifts, neither of us had time to make up cards, so we just handed our unwrapped gifts to each other. We laughed at how bad we've gotten over the years, compared with how big the Christmases were when I was a kid. Maybe one of these days I'll pull out the pictures and post them, we waited until Christmas Day and Robin and I would sneak to the tree before Mom and Dad got up to see if we could figure out what we had gotten from Santa.

My sister, Robin, and I had some laughs about that earlier in the day when I called her at her home in Oregon to wish her a Merry Christmas.

And to all of you, a very Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Barry

I doubt he reads my blog, but if Barry Manilow happens upon it, this one's for him.


Friday, December 24, 2010

The Blessings of An Amish Christmas

I had never thought about it before, but how do the Amish celebrate Christmas?

Here's your answer.

The Blessings of An Amish Christmas

The Christmedley

This song woke me out of a sound sleep going through my head back in 1993. Last year I spent 3 days recording it. It's not perfect, but it's as close as I'll come in the near future to seeing it recorded. This performance, as well as the arrangement, I've kept in the public domain.

The full story of The Christmedley is here.

It is available for free download on iTunes here.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to everyone.

SNC - Christmas Can-Can

SNC= Straight No Chaser. If you're looking for something light and funny, this is great!

A Barry Merry Christmas

One of Barry's fans made this, I think it's very cute and well done. I know, I know, my Mother calls him Woodstock and my family thinks I'm nuts, but I just can't help melting from the baby blues he's got.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Gap Widens Between The Rich and Middle Class

Given the economy, I wasn't surprised by this.

Wealth Gap

Mobile Christmas Orchestra

Congratulations - Updated

To Barry Manilow. Now that I'm on Winter Break, I'm finally catching up on a few things and saw some of the video from his performance in Oslo. He was invited to be a part of the festivities surrounding the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded in absence to Liu Xiaobo, who is imprisoned in China. I'm sure performing for this was a goose-bump moment for him, it would have been for me.

Here's the link to the video, it's not embed-friendly. UPDATE: I would like to update this with a new link. Just prior to Barry's performance, the two co-hosts read the words of Liu Xiaobo. To me, it gives an even deeper meaning to Barry's first song he performed, Could It Be Magic.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Data To Sink Your Teeth Into

Well... not literally.

The numbers are in for the U.S. Census, showing that we have slowed in population growth, which is something that happens during recessions and depressions.

Here's what it means to Arizona:

Census Results: 1 More Congressional Seat

Now, for some economic data. It's not all bad for Arizona, however if you're in the public education sector (particularly K-12) then you are in for a world of hurt.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


No, I'm not talking about food, I'm talking about a social bookmarking site. From the sounds of the article I'll be linking, it may get sold. Whether it remains free to use, however, will depend on the buyer. In the meantime, be sure to back up your bookmarks and tags, if you use it. I've already done so with mine.

There is an alternative popping up that is listed in the comments of the article. We'll see if it becomes anything promising.

Yahoo Isn't Killing Delicious


His name is Richard Elliott and he IS the organ king!

Christmas Caddyshack

I'm glad he seems to have a sense of humor, and isn't trying to kill the rabbit.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

Wow, what a week it's been, full of highs and lows.

Let's see.

Monday: I left work and headed straight for Safeway. You see I needed a rotisserie chicken for Tuesday night. After a little bit more shopping, I went home and finished my homemade gift for the white elephant gift exchange, also to be on Tuesday.

Tuesday: I had a party to go to! It was the first of what was supposed to be four parties, but you'll find out what was next as you read along. The party was a graduation/Christmas party for the writing class I take on Tuesday nights. I love this group of ladies I'm with, and I feel comfortable sharing my work with them.

The evening was festive and wonderful. We had foods that had something to do with our writings, hence the rotisserie chicken. My story is a takeoff of Pride and Prejudice. Since I had been asked to bring a main dish, this was how meats were prepared in Jane Austen's day. We exchanged gifts and talked about our family traditions at Christmas.

Wednesday: I had a crazy day at work, so no time to make the present for the gift exchange for party #2 that evening. This party is for a group I am involved in called ANWA. It stands for American Night Writers Association, and is for LDS ladies who like to write, whether it be music, poetry or actual stories. Wednesday evening was wonderful as well, with everyone talking about all kinds of different things, including some fantastic news of one of the ladies' manuscripts was accepted by a small publisher!

The menu that evening called for snacks, so I went to Costco and found large, round pumpkin pies there, and a 3 pack of heavy whipped cream. Yum. The food was delicious, some of us read something from our writings, and while my white elephant gift was lacking somewhat, everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.

Thursday: Thursday was a "night off" of sorts, meaning I didn't have any parties to attend, however the nurse at my school and I had already signed up for the Friday treats at work the next morning, so I was back at Costco, picking up more food. Pumpkin pie #2 was picked up, among other things, as I still had two unused cans of the whipped cream left. I also picked up some really yummy looking cinnamon rolls from their bakery.

Leftovers from Tuesday night's dinner were used that night. :-) I received a phone call from a member of my Ward (Church) asking me to come to an impromptu dinner hosted by the Primary (children) from my Ward. I said I would try to make it, it sounded fun!

Friday: I got things inside the school from my car (most of the food and bottled water was left out in the car overnight) and set up in the staff lounge before I had to take care of business in the computer lab and then go outside for my hour of crossing guard work. The weather this week had been really mild in the mornings, kind of strange in December.

I came back in afterwards to grab some of the delicious egg and hash brown stuff that the nurse had made in a crock pot and brought in after I had already gotten to work. I heard there were some arguments over the cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pie. Oh dear.

I left work a little early (I actually had accrued more hours because of computer issues after school) and was able to go out to my Insurance Agent's office to bring over the signed paperwork for my new insurance policies. I changed companies when I bought a new car over Veteran's Day weekend (I'll post that some other time). I didn't realize they were a 30 minute drive, but that was okay.

I made it back to my neighborhood just in time to go to the impromptu party (three out of the now five parties I would be going to in a week) I got the call for Thursday. It was soooo darling! There were readings and piano solos before the children combined to make a nativity scene, complete with a young lamb.

After eating a delicious meal of chicken noodle soup and strawberry shortcake, I went home, unloaded the car, and crashed for the rest of the evening.

Saturday: I tried to sleep in, honest, but I was awake by 7:00. My Father's passing had been on my mind since Wednesday night's party, and it started to hit on Saturday. It was roughly the four year anniversary since we took my Father off of life support. This coming Monday will make four years since his passing. I was tired and depressed.

I managed to make it to my hair appointment to style my hair for the two parties I had that evening to attend. Yes, I said two. Both my work party and Ward Christmas party ended up on the same evening. I had already signed up to bring food for the Ward Christmas party, and I needed a white elephant gift for the work Christmas party. I told my stylist about the week I was having, and she could see I was already exhausted. She recommended that I purchase some professional product (shampoo and conditioner) that was on sale, so I went for it. I didn't have time nor energy to make the gift I had planned on.

After the hair appointment, I picked up some food for Rachel, before making yet another trek to Costco to get (yes) another pumpkin pie. I still had one more unused can of whipped cream left. Besides, from all accounts, the pies were a hit with everyone. I took a breather before putting on a nice blouse (silvery grey) and black skirt and black dress jacket. I used the Manilow purfume I had purchased last year in Las Vegas (at the HIlton) and put on some makeup.

I made it a little late to the Ward Christmas party (it started at 6:00) and the line for the food was wrapping around the cultural hall in the church building. There was no way I was going to get any food, but I did bring in the pumpkin pie and whipped cream to the table for people to get a slice. It looked like they were already running low on desserts, and I'm sure only one large pie didn't cover everyone, but at least it made a dent. I met and visited with friends (who liked my looks for the evening) before leaving for the work Christmas party (it started at 6:30, but I had already told them I would be late).

I went to the work Christmas party, which was held at Rosita's on Guadalupe and Dobson Roads. If you live in the Phoenix area, this is a GREAT restaurant. Yumm. We had the white elephant gift exchange while waiting for the food to be served. It turned out the product I bought and wrapped up was quite a hit with the other ladies (it was, after all, Biolage). It was one of the items stolen the maximum number of times. I was really glad I didn't wrap a puzzle and call it good.

A chicken chimichanga later and I was headed home (with leftovers) for a good night's sleep.

Today, I was in basket case mode, which had a few people worried, until I explained the upcoming anniversary of my Father's death. After the block I excused myself and left and went home.

One thing I will say. I do have some new found respect for the celebrities who go out all the time. I'm not much of a party person (I am a Virgo after all), so the energy it takes to prepare and attend a party generally wipes me out. Five parties in five days almost did me in. Almost. With a little planning and a lot of help from my friends, however, it turned out really well.

Happy holidays, and a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Some traditions are just fun to keep. When I was a kid, my parents used to load my sister and I up in Dad's pickup truck (this was before seat belts and car seats) where I would be next to Mom, if not on her lap if I couldn't see. We'd go on these car rides, all over town, particularly around the desert area. I'd always try to stay awake, but usually would be asleep by the time we got home. I have later found out my parents did this on purpose, on those nights when we just wouldn't go to sleep.

Branching from that, at Christmas time, we started taking car rides around to see the Christmas lights. This is something I still do today. I love taking car rides around town to see the light displays. There used to be some really good ones in Gilbert, sadly with the tanked housing market, a lot of the homes that used to go all out at Christmas time are either cut back or not at all. I guess it's just a sign of the times we now live in.

This man, however, is retired and able to really put on a show:

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I like watching Jon Stewart. Yeah, I admit it. LOL.

I thought I'd watch a show from this last week, when one of the commercials caught my attention. It's for a musical called The Book of Mormon. The problem? It's written and created by the guys who created South Park. Irreverent would be a word for it.

Their plot is this: They are taking two Salt Lake City boys who, at the age of 18, get sent off on a mission to Africa where they find themselves ill prepared for the poverty and hardships the African people deal with as a part of life.

There's just one problem with this: it's completely false. The even bigger problem than this: the men creating this obviously don't know that yet.

For starters, missionaries leave home when they are 19, not 18.

The writers also assume that life in Salt Lake City doesn't prepare you for what's out there. There are more non-Mormons in Salt Lake City than there are Mormons in Salt Lake City.

The writers also do not understand that while missionaries are never 100% prepared for where they serve (this includes the rest of the world, folks), that doesn't mean they can't handle what's going on. It's the work of God, not man. It also does not mean the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) are not going to be there to help them out.

In fact, speaking of serving missions in Africa, what these guys don't know that I do, is I have good friends (my former Stake President and his wife) are currently serving in Africa. In the Congo. Would you like to see their blog talking about it?

Another Favorite From Mannheim Steamroller

Los Peces en el Rio

Put A Little Love In Your Heart

It's that Scrooged time of the year. I love it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010