Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Attention Blues Fans!!!

International Blues Challenge -- Memphis, TN
Thursday, February 1 - 3, 2007

See this woman? This is MELISSA SIGLER.

I have the great privilege of calling Melissa my friend, my sister, and my inspiration, not to mention my favorite Blues Mama and Zydeco Cajun Hot Tamale!! She's competing in the Solo/Duo category of the International Blues Challenge, which is an annual event put on by The Blues Foundation. She earned the honor of representing the Music City Blues Society, which is our local organization here in Nashville. Incidentally, the motto of the MCBS is: If you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul! Naturally, we're members, since Hubby is a rockin' blues & boogie piano man from way back.

If you have any opportunity whatsoever to catch Melissa on stage in Memphis, DO IT. JUST DO IT. You will *NOT* be sorry. Melissa is a consummate entertainer, gifted songwriter, and has a voice like rich, smoky velvet. Further, she has attitude, and a sense of humor, which are just a few of the many things I love about her.

We here in Music City will be eagerly awaiting our Chanteuse's return; we completely expect her to blow the competition away and probably receive offers of all kinds to run off and leave us, but I promised to personally whip her ass if she tried. ;) She was appropriately intimidated. lol

So, go see my girl! Buy her CDs!!! Avail yourself of the unique opportunity of getting to say you knew her when, because, and trust me on this, this woman is going far.

Break a leg, Miss Sigler -- but *not* literally. I can't lend out my crutches just yet!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Crazy-cool videos from bored graphic artists

Trust me, it's well worth your while to check out these videos!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Or, as Steve Martin once sang: R - A - M - B - L - I - N...........apostrophe! :D Does anyone else remember that? From "Let's Get Small"? I have *all* of his LPs -- and yes, it's *that* Steve Martin, if anyone's asking.

Anywho, this is a ramblin' post today. Can't find just one subject that's occupying my thoughts today, so I just want to make some random statements/observations/etc.

First, I GOT MY CAST OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't even tell you how FREE I feel now! After a month -- that's right, people -- ONE WHOLE MONTH -- of not being able to drive, not being able to go downstairs in my own house, or basically not being able to leave the house unless some gracious person was willing to drive me, I'm finally FREE AT LAST!!!!! So far, I've used my freedom for good -- I've been to the grocery store (with hubby), and to church today to attend a meeting for all the teachers in the Religious Education program. (Hubby & I teach preschool & kindergarten.) Tomorrow I plan a wild day of going to church, then out to lunch with the GLBT+Friends group, and then home to prepare for our turn to host "Dinners for 9". That's a deal set up by the Fellowship Committee that matches up, from those who indicated interest, 9 people to have a meal together in someone's home each month, rotating through all of the group members. Today I've already put together my utterly fabulous (I have witnesses!) Vegetarian Chili, so tomorrow won't be so stressful.

We signed up for Dinners for 9 not really knowing what to expect, or who to expect, for that matter. We live a good distance from our church, and there aren't a whole of other members who live out this way, so just getting to know those near us was benefit enough. But it's turned out to be a lot more fun than we imagined! The people in our group range from their mid-30s to their 80s. We have four educators, three of whom are college-level, one of whom is a Driver's Ed teacher! Then there's the retired Psychologist, the nurse, the college administrator, and the Special Ed teacher. My hubby is a consultant for our state's Public Service Commission, and is currently serving on a couple of task forces requested by the Governor. I am currently not working. But, just to be different, we actually have 10 in our group, because we have a hubby who decided to join in with his wife without having signed up, so we have a more round group than usual.

These folks are all becoming good and better friends. We're discovering a great variety of things we have in common and are talking about keeping our little group together in the future, though we're supposed to change up each year. Nothing says we can't have our own little dinner parties in addition! At first I was nervous about this, about making a commitment to be with people regularly that I didn't know very well, but I overcame my innate reserve when it comes to certain kinds of social functions, and I've had a marvelous time. I'm so glad we did this. I know I've gotten more out of this than anyone else, and I'm grateful for the opportunity.

One thing our church is good about is putting people together, and gently challenging our comfort levels. I can't believe all the things I've gotten involved in with this group -- I've never done things like this before, and I'm so happy to be able to participate in meaningful ways for meaningful purposes. One of our greatest sources of pleasure has become our Religious Education class. There are usually about 10 children in our class, and most are regulars. We get the unique privilege to get to know these little people just as people -- not as our children, or our nieces/nephews, etc. And they get to know adults they can trust who are not part of their immediate families, which, I think, is very beneficial. I know that, as a child, I could frequently tell other adults things that I could not tell my own parents. Or maybe other adults would view my emotions differently, more positively, than my own parents did. It's my belief that children always need unrelated, trustworthy adults in their lives, and I'm happy to serve that purpose for these kids.

New topic: Do any of you use social bookmarking services, like I'm way hooked on that one myself. If you're interested, look for the email address associated with this blog to find my bookmarks.

I've been playing with newsfeeds lately, and have discovered a whole wealth of fascinating information just a click or two away. In fact, I read *YOUR* blogs via Feedreader, if you have a feed. The only thing that really bites is that I can't comment via the feed -- which is why you may not have seen a lot of comments from me lately. I read you -- don't think for a minute that I don't!

One reason I'm really enjoying this whole feedreader experience is because I can glance, very quickly, through lots of stories and choose the ones I want more details about without having to search & search for the info. My near-favorite feed category is "Lifehacks" -- i.e. tips and tricks for how to better live your life in almost every aspect. (No, this isn't some kind of Amway thing -- just good, practical, and sometimes unusual advice on life issues of all kinds.) Also, having it all aggregated cuts down on wasted surfing time. I wish I had jumped on this bandwagon sooner, but, better late than never!

I miss knitting, and hope to get back into it. "Just pick up your needles and some yarn!", you say. Oh, if it were only that easy. I have tons of everything I could possibly need when it comes to knitting supplies, but what I don't have is motivation, or enough motivation, maybe. I find cool patterns, I have cool yarn, but I don't have cool initiative. I also have wrist and thumb issues, which I know to be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for the wrist, and think the thumb problem is something like DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis. Hubby had that himself, and was treated first with cortisone injections, and then surgery, which relieved the pain completely. I see the same ortho that treated Hubby in two weeks -- this is also the doc that took care of my leg, so I medically-love him anyway. I don't want surgery, necessarily, but I do want my right hand to quit giving me a hard time, so I'll trust the doc to decide the best thing. Maybe THEN I'll be able to get my knitting freak on. And take some more classes, too.

One thing I haven't blogged about yet is reconnecting with some family members whom I haven't been in touch with for more than 20 years. I have a cousin who is one year older than I am, though her father and my grandfather were brothers. I guess this either makes us second cousins or first cousins, once removed. I don't know the difference -- do any of y'all?

Anyway, after my uncle died in December, I was speaking with my aunt about genealogy. She got in touch with one of her cousins, who then sent me the entire family tree, all the way back to 1768!!! I had no idea anyone had this information until this distant relative emailed it to me, so it was quite a joy for me to receive. But, that's not the best part.

The same evening that I received the genealogy data, I received an email from that one-year-older cousin, out of the blue. I had no idea anyone knew where she was, so it never occurred to me that we might reconnect. She was so happy to find me, and said she'd missed me like crazy and loved me to pieces and really hoped we could get together soon. Well, I cried with joy. (I'm like that, y'all -- wayyyyyyy sentimental) I wrote her back right away and told her that I felt exactly the same way and couldn't wait to see her. I also went back and found some old family pictures that dear Hubby had scanned and placed online for us a while back that I shared with her via email. You would have thought I'd given my cousin the Taj Mahal! That's because she and her sister had absolutely no pictures of themselves when they were children, and I did!!! SEE?!?!? That's why it's good to be a packrat sometimes!

That very weekend of our virtual reunion, Hubby and I dug out all of the old family pics we had, and we began to sort and scan them. I have no clue how many photos we ended up handling that weekend, but every single one of them has been shared with every family member we could get an email address for, including great-grandchildren, and far off relatives we didn't even know we had. Now my cousin calls me several times a week and also calls my brother, who is equally as thrilled to be back in touch with these girls. We are trying to figure out a time/place to meet up as soon as possible. The next step will be to try to put together an all family reunion. I guess the older you get, the more family can matter.

Bottom line? I feel a lot more at peace with myself and the world being reconnected to half of my ancestry. Now, I need to go back before that dude in 1768 and figure out if we're royalty or something. Surely we have some hotshot in our past that left us an estate and title somewhere, don't you think? I've practiced my Queen-with-a-purse-on-her-arm-and-long-gloves-while-wearing-a-dignified-if-large-tiara wave for as long as I can remember, so I'm ready to assume my responsibilities as (Insert fancy title here) Suzanne of (Insert royal sounding estate name here)hamshire. Just be sure I get staff with that. That's all I'm saying.

Another love of my life is the Fine Tuning channel on XM radio. They play THE most eclectic mix of music I've ever heard, other than when I have filled a 51 disc CD changer with CDs and put it on random play. One minute it will be "Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairy"; the next it will be Frank Zappa. Now, you tell me, can it get much more diverse than that??? I just wish I could download XM channels/music to my brand new MP3 player.

Oh! I get to actually enjoy it now!!! Now that I can walk again, I need to load up my brand new Christmaversary present from Hubby!! (Our anniversary is 12/20, and we decided that we'd celebrate that and xmas together on the 20th, since we usually visit family at the holidays anyway) I haven't wanted to even look at it yet because it just killed me that my newly adopted and goingverywell,thankyou walking regime was interrupted by le broken leg. But, now I'm no longer encumbered, so I need to hop to it, as it were. Before you even say it, yes, I know I do not have the strength or stamina that I had built up to before the fall, but I am determined not to lose the progress I'd made. I was so happy today to put on a pair of "real" (i.e. not having to have bell bottoms) pants that I had just been able to get back into and find that I have not gained any weight during this month, even though I've basically been sedentary the entire time.
This was a huge relief, which I'll go into at another time.

So, that's the news/ramblin' from near the Cumberland Dam, which may or may not give way at some point in the future. I hope all of my blog friends out there, and my non-blog friends, too, have a lovely week and have every good thing occur for you and yours. Keep the faith, mah peoples! Life is good, even if it does a damn good act of concealing that fact from us sometimes.

Love, and peace!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

OK, wrong gender in the pic, but you get the idea. I'm in thought these days, probably because I have little else that I can effectively do until this walking cast comes off. PLEASE let that be tomorrow when I see the Ortho doc again!

What am I thinking about, you ask? (You DID ask, didn't you?) Everything. Everything, all swirled up and conglomerated into a blur of questions and ideas. One of my biggest, lifelong questions revolves around a working life. I have never been able to identify any one, or even any 10 things I'd like to do for a living. I don't understand how colleges and universities, let alone parents and students, expect a person (young or older) to choose just one area in which to specialize. I started college at age 16 through a dual enrollment/advance placement program with my high school and the local community college. I thought I had to choose a major, so I chose "Business Administration". I had absolutely no information about what "Business Administration" involved -- I just thought it was the most logical choice to utilize the skills I thought I possessed at the time -- great math abilities, decent writing abilities, communication abilities, etc.

But the reality is that I had no clue what kinds of jobs even existed, much less what it took to do them. Mostly, I guess, this is because no one bothered to counsel me in any way when it came to schooling, other than these two examples: 1) the Dean of my high school, who knew my father who had just passed away from cancer, tried to talk me out of dual enrollment, because he thought it was too much for a kid to handle, and 2) my journalism instructor quit speaking to me when I had to resign as Copy Editor of the newspaper because I had to get a job that took me out of school most of the day (a work/study program) and made it impossible to take the required class to continue that position. Now, my grades were good (obviously), I had more than enough credits to graduate from high school, and I figured that, the sooner I got a "real job" and completed college, the better off I and my family would be. So, I bumbled through choosing my classes, and, even though my grades were good and all that, I couldn't make myself finish. It was soooooooooo boring, and there didn't seem to be any alternative, because I just simply didn't know any better.

Fast-forward to the present: I am currently unemployed, partly by choice, but also partly because I have no idea what to do with myself, I have not completed a formal education, and, frankly, I'm petrified of returning to work. Why am I petrified? Because I don't think I can handle the pressure. I have tried to have a positive attitude, to take into account that I would not be the only breadwinner, that I would probably enjoy getting out on a more scheduled, regular basis, that I'd enjoy (and my hubby would be very relieved, to say the least) having more income, etc. etc. etc. But none of those thoughts allay my fears.

I'm sure we've all been in those jobs where we did a lion's share of work for little credit, and were expected to perform absolute miracles with very little assistance. I feel sure we've all been in places where people took advantage of our good will and work ethics, and didn't give us the opportunities for advancement or recognition we know we deserved. I do realize these are common and virtually universal aspects of working, and I know that I deserve no special treatment on this, or any other, front. But in my mind, returning to work means being at the mercy of someone else and surrendering my peace of mind. I feel the drone-buzz even thinking about it -- like the blood is being sucked out of my body and replaced with cotton or something equally light and unsubstantial.

Am I just selfish? Am I just lazy? Am I just stupid? Am I unrealistic? Am I 'damaged goods'? This is what I wonder.

How did you know when you found your calling in life? Or did you ever find one? Did you choose the wrong one? I'd love to hear some discussion around these topics.

Peace, y'all.

Friday, January 19, 2007

This tickled my funny bone today

Link here for lots more of these.

Another great find through Enjoy! :)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


In the over 10 years that I've been surfing along the information superhighway, you would have thought I'd have gotten bored by now. But no, far from it. I have fallen victim to the addictive powers of Newsfeeds/readers and I'm warning you now -- if you haven't fallen prey to these time-suckers, RUN, do not walk, to the nearest exit and do something productive! There still may be hope for you!

Like anyone else who spends much time here, I've read about RSS feeds for quite a while, but, until the last two weeks, I'd never subscribed to a feed. Actually, I really had no idea what a feed was, though I did gather that it was something that notified you when there was update to some kind of story or site. Due to my profound ignorance, I couldn't understand just how this supposedly simple syndication technology would be anything useful to me. But I have seen the light!

I have about a dozen categories into which I sort my feeds. They are: blogs, cooking, entertainment, fun/funny, health, interesting, knitting, news, shopping, tech, tips/tricks/advice, travel, UU/religion/spirituality, and work-related. Into those folders filter blurbs and full pages from probably 200 different sites now. And I'm still subscribing/discovering new feeds! Today I tried out a site where you could create a feed address for a page that doesn't have a feed already, but I'm not a programmer, and I haven't been as successful as I'd like to be yet. I'm going to keep working on it, though -- I'd love to be more informed about this kind of technology.

Now StumbleUpon is the way I discover some of my feeds to begin with. This is a site/tool that will, by clicking the Stumble! button, will take you to new websites that seem to correspond with your likes, set up on your profile. As you are taken to the new sites, you have an option to vote thumbs up or thumbs down for each one, which helps StumbleUpon to further refine your next sites. Not that every site I've visited is something I would want to revisit -- some of them are either really weird or really stupid, but, by & large, it's been a good experience.

My leg is still healing, but I'm anxious to be done with it. Here's a weird, possibly TMI tidbit -- brace yourselves! My calves have always been well-defined, though not mannish -- just muscular. Well, after just 3 weeks of little use, I can actually pinch about an inch of so of the skin on back of my right calf! Just 3 weeks! I had no idea I could lose this much muscle mass in such a short time! Now I *really* can't wait to get outta this thing and resume my walking! I guess I'll have to have some physical therapy, huh? I'm guessing that might involve using ankle weights or the weight machines they use in gyms, and maybe a balance board, too, but I really have no basis for my guessing. Keep your fingers crossed that next Thursday will be the end of my imprisonment. :)

Over and out for this evening. Peace!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Greetings and salutations

Well alrighty then! This is my new blog, and this is my first post. As some of you know, this is my second blog, as I've closed my previous one. I felt that my old blog served its purpose for a particular period of time, and now that things have improved a great deal, it's time to start again.

One of the purposes of starting a new blog was to be able to be myself here. So, let me introduce myself. I'm Suzanne, 44, happily married, and living near Nashville, TN. I have no children of my own, but my hubby has two grown children and four grandchildren. I also have two nieces and two nephews of my own, and a handful of step-nieces & -nephews. There is also my late husband's niece, and now her brand new daughter who comprise most of the children in my life. The other kids who keep me busy are the preschool and kindergarteners in the Religious Education class hubby & I teach at the UU church where we belong.

And, without further ado, this is me:

Nice to meet y'all!