Friday, February 27, 2009

A Weekend at the Lyric

"I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland. Woody Allen

It is finally Friday, Hooray!  I have a wonderful weekend in Chicago with my guy.
I have never been to a Wagner opera, but everyone says this is the one to see.  I am really excited.

Not only do I get to see the opera on Saturday,  Steve procured tickets for the backstage tour of the Lyric.  That should be absolutely fascinating.

I am a very fortunate woman!

Now for hockey,  the Fighting Illini are playing in the CSCHL tournament today at 1:30pm  
Go Illini!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Good Read

Last night I was reading a book that i am enjoying quite a lot.  It is not a big important book, or a piece of literary genius.  It is a quite little romance book that my daughter recommended to me.  

I am enjoying the characters, the setting and the writing is quite good for a romance novel.  Now I happen to like a well written romance.

One of the chapters was set in Scotland and this beautiful little poem by Robert Burns was used in this chapter.  So here is the poem:  Red Red Rose
O my luve’s like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my luve’s like the melodie

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.


A fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

   So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

    Till a’ the seas gang dry.


Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

O I will luve thee still, my dear

While the sands o’ life shall run.


And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!

 And fare-thee-weel awhile!

And I will come again, my luve,

Tho’ ‘twere ten thousand miles.


O my luve’s like a red, red rose,

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my luve’s like the melodie

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent Begins

So I keep getting the old standard, "hey you've got something on your forehead"  today.  And this from people who know I am Catholic and that once a year I do indeed go to the Ash Wednesday mass!   

For all those who don't know why,  here is a little explanation!  I love Ash Wednesday, I love the whole Lenten season, with Easter being the culmination of it all.

So laugh if you will,  I will keep on going,  just as our Vice President, and proudly display my ashes!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What a weekend!

And the Oscar goes to.....

Slumdog Millionaire!  My pick!

My favorite thank you speech of the evening was by A. R. Rahman. "All my life I've had a choice between hate and love, and I chose love, and now I'm here," he said. 

I loved this film, and I love the music of A.R. Rahman.  I have seen several films that he did the music for.

I was a bit annoyed at the young male presenter who could not get the name correct!  

I loved seeing Danny Boyle and his Tigger impression!  He is a great director.

I was happy to see Kate Winslet win best actress and  Sean Penn for best actor. 

I thought the show was wonderful.  I could have had more Hugh Jackman! He was amazing as host.  While I enjoyed seeing the past Oscar winners for best actress and actor,  I could have done without the rather sappy  introductions , this is how wonderful you are, of the nominees.  I would rather have just seen the evidence by showing clips from their films.

All in in all I thought the show was fabulous.

On another event of the weekend,  I saw the opera Rappaccini's Daughter,  at Krannert  with Steve.  I have to say I think the set was absolutely amazing.  The make up and costumes were outstanding and the music was beautiful.  

Friday, February 20, 2009


"Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits." Satchel Paige

Well I am really glad it is Friday.  I am in need of a weekend!

The Fighting Illini are at home hosting Iowa State Friday and Saturday. These should be good games  and with only one more home game against ISU after the CSCHL tournament, hockey season is about to draw to a close. Five of our players were at the World games as part of Team USA.  We missed them and lost at home last weekend, which has not happened in a really long time!  You have to go back 10 years to see the Illini shut out, which happened on Saturday.  But they are representing the USA admirably.

So I am at the games, then at Krannert Center on Sunday afternoon with Steve to see Rappaccini's Daughter (opera).  Then the Oscars sunday night with Regena and her friends. Regena is going to have yummy snacks!  

I am feeling pretty upbeat after getting the results of my current blood work.  No cholesterol drugs for me! So I am really looking forward to some fun and rest this weekend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New and Exciting Blog

"The stuff that dreams are made of." Sam Spade The Maltese Falcon

A new and exciting blog has been started.  It is all about films and filmmaking.  A very special person that I know has started this blog.  I am so excited to begin reading about films.

I love movies! 

Been to the movies lately?  What have you seen?  Anyone seen all the nominated films by the Academy of Motion Pictures for best picture?  What is your choice?

The nominees are :  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (while I enjoyed the film I don't think it is best picutre worthy)

2. Frost/Nixon  (haven't seen it yet)

3. Milk  (haven't seen it yet, but certainly planning on seeing it soon)

4. The Reader (haven't seen it)

5. Slumdog Millionaire  ( a fabulous film and obviously my choice for best picture!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February Funk

What may be done at anytime will be done at no time.  Scottish Proverb

It is a gray February morning in Illinois.  I am stuck in a February funk!  Now I know how many things I have to be grateful for,  I am truly grateful,  but I cannot help this February funk that hits me every year!

The wet gray morning did remind of Scotland, but the mist didn't seem to bother me there.
I found this great Scottish proverb ( okay I am just trying to find ways to get out of this funk), and it got me to thinking.  I have been procrastinating a lot lately!   I need to do a lot of things around the house. I need to pick up a book and sit and read for hours, after I get all the work done around the house.

February has been the month that has brought a few life altering events for me. I guess that is why I get the February funk. 

That being said,  I have a wonderful man in my life now, who treats me better than any man ever has. So I try to concentrate on all the good in my life in the present moment. I have a great trip to the Lyric Opera coming up at the end of the month,  which is good, because that is the weekend my mom died. I can mix the sad with some happy.

I am truly looking forward to March, birthdays, spring green, getting out in the yard, and seeing the end of winter!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Valentine

Okay so I should have waited a few hours to do the Valentine blog.  

I just received the most wonderful, beautiful gift from my Valentine, a singing valentine.

The CU theater group dropped in at 8:20am while I was having coffee and a little bit of cherry yummy cake. Imagine how surprised I was!  They gave me a white rose and a little bag of chocolate kisses and then proceeded to say this was from Steve White.  They sang Can't Help Falling in Love with you and they did it beautifully.  It brought tears to my eyes and my colleagues that got to work early this morning heard a lovely serenade!

I highly recommend hiring this group for singing valentines.

So I thank Steve from the bottom of my heart and here is a little bit of Elvis

Happy Valentine Day

"We loved with a love that was more than love." Edgar Allan Poe

Now doesn't that just make you want to pick up a volume of Edgar Allan Poe and read!

Now for Valentine's Day.  Where did this day come from? Has it gotten over top commercialized.
Who cares!  It is a time to think about the ones you love.  Love should be celebrated each and every day and cherished.

For a little Catholic knowledge on who St.Valentine was visit this site.

For once I am really looking forward to Valentine's Day.  For me it involves cooking a lovely meal and then music on Saturday,  and a lovely supper out with Chocolate on Sunday!  And all this with a man I adore.  How much better could the weekend be. 

 Oh yes and I am going to the Illini Hockey game with my good friend this evening. Hope Friday the 13th isn't bad for my favorite hockey team.

So Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and *die*. The storybooks are *bullshit*. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and *get* in my bed! Ronny Cammareri

As I pulled out of the driveway this morning, the air was cool, the sky was black and as I looked up I saw an amazing site.  The full moon was hanging in the sky over the cornfield at the end of my street.  It was brilliantly bright white, with a gossamer cloud just floating by.  Well I was absolutely moonstruck.  A strange feeling of hope and calm and peace filled my soul.

Since I was moonstruck, I began to think of one of my favorite all time films, Moonstruck.  With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I started to think of my favorite movies of love.

Top 5

1. Moonstruck

2. Dr. Zchivago

3. Casablanca

4. It Happened One Night

5. Love Actually

okay 6

When Harry met Sally

What are your favorite films for Valentine's Day?

Here's is one of my favorite scenes: Moonstruck 

Monday, February 9, 2009

The times we live in

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.   Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

When I was looking around for a quote the other day, I happened on this one from A Tale of Two Cities.  It made me want to pick up the book and read.  

I feel like I am living in the best of times and the worst of times.  Just when I feel so happy with most things in my life, my family, the entrance of Steve into my life, my job- oh wait that is one thing that i worry about. 

 Oh I love the job and am happy, but with the financial worries at the University and weekly e-mails from the Chancellor about furloughs,  with my favorite stores closing, and the news of the failed economy and the refusal of certain members of congress to realize that something new has to happen, soon, if we have any hope for fixing the situation; I put my job on the worry list. The cost of everything is up and of course I just got my statement of assessed value on my house and of course it was raised (not that anyone would pay that amount in this market) which means, of course the property taxes will raise, again.

Seriously, I try not to worry, but I am pretty much alone here with all these things to think about.

I really do feel fortunate to have 3 delightful, intelligent children, a fabulous father, a sister and niece who are willing to listen to me drown on,  the most wonderful man ever to spend time with, an abundance of fine friends, who are always there with good advice and open ears.

So I think I will go pick up my copy of A Tale of Two Cities.  I suppose things could always be worse!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Waiting ....

"One had to take some action against fear when once it laid hold of one." Rainer Maria Rilke

Okay, so yesterday, February 5, 2009, fear was trying its best to take hold of me.  But, I refused to let it control me.

Regena and I dropped Janet off at the airport just before noon.  We watched her go through security and watched as she walked off to her gate.  She was smiling and waving and I was trying to control my emotions.  I mean I really didn't want to just break down and cry incessantly at the airport!

I dropped Regena off at work and went to work myself.  I tried very hard to concentrate, but it really was no use.  I left work and did an errand, then picked Regena up.  It is very hard to say goodbye to one of your children, when you know you won't see them again for 41/2 months!

Steve came and took Regena and I to Krannert Uncorked and a glass of wine and some munchies later, I was distracted, but just a little.   We had a nice turkey dinner at home and I watched a movie with Regena.  I began to fall asleep at the end of the film, but sleep was elusive. I knew I would not feel at ease until I had heard from Janet. 

I got an e-mail this morning.  She is in Dublin, waiting.... to fly to Edinburgh.  I will be happy once she is in Stirling, at her flat and I can be in contact with her more!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fun the Scottish Way

What an exciting evening I had at the Burns Night Dinner!  I tell you the Scots know how to have fun.

The start of the evening was cocktails.  I of course opted for a scotch, neat.  Steve had a glass of red wine ( after all he was driving later!)

Then came the Host's welcoming speech, which was short and sweet, and then the entrance of the Pipe and Drum regiment, bringing in the flags, playing God Save the King, Scotland the Brave, and then the Star Spangled Banner.  That was just the beginning of the fun.

The soup was served,  Cock-a-Leekie, soup that is.  While it wasn't entirely authentic, as I really didn't see any leeks in the soup, it was delicious and served with Queen Victoria scones.

Then came the Address to the Haggis, listed below, given in Scottish dialect with English translations on our programs.  Then the Haggis was piped in,  a piper played, another carried the Haggis and a third followed, parading it around the room.

Each table was served a Haggis and we passed it around and enjoyed Haggis and Bashed Neeps  (that is smashed turnips for the non-Scot).

Then came the supper, roast lamb with mint jelly, smashed potatoes with cheddar cheese and herbs, and green peas. Then some rich trifle sort of dessert, which was really like strawberry shortcake!

A red and a white table wine was enjoyed by all at our table.

The woman next to me was scheduled to give the Immortal Memory Speech. She did a marvelous job. You see she is from Glasgow, and there is nothing like hearing a Scot give a speech!

We had Scottish Country Dancers that danced for us, then we were invited to join in the Friendship Waltz.  Now with the recent knee injury, and the fact that I was wearing heels, I begged out of the dancing,  but it was fun to watch.

There was more entertainment by the Pipers and two of the men danced the Highland Fling for us.  

Then it was time for the Toast to the lassies, which was incredibly funny and witty.

Then the Reply from the lassies, which was equally witty and entertaining  

There was more dancing. I would have liked to join in on the Gay Gordons ( a terrifically fun dance), but wasn't sure the knee would hold up.  I was invited to dance by a man in a kilt ( i am sure that will never happen again), but had to turn him down.  Hey, if i was going to dance it would have been with Steve! Next year, I promise not to have a knee injury and to join with Steve in the dance.

Then the closing of the evening, everyone made a large circle ( all 250 people!) held hands and joined in singing Auld Lang Syne ( Scottish dialect!)

Not sure I have ever had so much fun at at dinner party in my entire life. 

 Address To A Haggis 

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

Aboon them a' ye tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:

Weel are ye wordy o' a grace

As lang's my arm.


The groaning trencher there ye fill,

Your hurdies like a distant hill,

Your pin wad help to mend a mill

In time o' need,

While thro' your pores the dews distil

Like amber bead.


His knife see rustic Labour dight

An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

Like ony ditch;

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Warm-reekin, rich!


Then, horn for horn, 

they stretch an' strive:

Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,

Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,

Are bent lyke drums;

Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,

"Bethankit!" 'hums.


Is there that owre his French ragout

Or olio that wad staw a sow,

Or fricassee wad mak her spew

Wi' perfect sconner,

Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view

On sic a dinner?


Poor devil! see him ower his trash,

As feckless as a wither'd rash,

His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,

His nieve a nit;

Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,

O how unfit!


But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,

The trembling earth resounds his tread.

Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

He'll mak it whissle;

An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,

Like taps o' thrissle.


Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o' fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies;

But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,

Gie her a haggis!

The Translation

Fair is your honest happy face
Great chieftain of the pudding race
Above them all you take your place
Stomach, tripe or guts
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm

The groaning platter there you fill
Your buttocks like a distant hill
Your skewer would help to repair a mill
In time of need
While through your pores the juices emerge
Like amber beads

His knife having seen hard labour wipes
And cuts you up with great skill
Digging into your gushing insides bright
Like any ditch
And then oh what a glorious sight
Warm steaming, rich 

Then spoon for spoon 
They stretch and strive
Devil take the last man, on they drive
Until all their well swollen bellies
Are bent like drums
Then, the old gent most likely to rift (burp)
Be thanked, mumbles

Is there that over his French Ragout
Or olio that would sicken a pig
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust
Looks down with a sneering scornful opinion
On such a dinner

Poor devil, see him over his trash
As week as a withered rush (reed)
His spindle-shank a good whiplash
His clenched fist.the size of a nut.
Through a bloody flood and battle field to dash
Oh how unfit

But take note of the strong haggis fed Scot
The trembling earth resounds his tread
Clasped in his large fist a blade
He'll make it whistle
And legs and arms and heads he will cut off
Like the tops of thistles

You powers who make mankind your care
And dish them out their meals
Old Scotland wants no watery food
That splashes in dishes
But if you wish her grateful prayer
Give her a haggis!