Monday, November 29, 2010

The Rockettes

My company did a bus trip to see the Rockettes in Providence, and I signed up Hubby, my Dad and I. We all got on the bus at 9:15am and drove down to Providence for the 12pm show. We got there a bit early but that was okay. The theater where the show was being performed was gorgeous.....all gold leaf and red......very ornate. I had never seen the Rockettes on stage, and I was very impressed with how beautiful the whole show was. And of course, the Rockettes were unbelievable. At the end of the show, they did a living nativity that was quite impressive as well. After the show, the bus brought us to Providence Place Mall, where they had a variety of restaurants to choose from. We chose the Cheesecake Factory. Mmmmmm! The ride home seemed long, but they played a movie and we relaxed all the way home. It was a nice finale to our Thanksgiving weekend. In a couple of weeks, we take another bus trip to see A Christmas Carol on stage. I love the holidays!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After

Thanksgiving Day was exactly what this day should be....a blessing. We spent it with the people nearest and dearest to our hearts. There were 24 people at my Dad's Thanksgiving table. Naturally, we forgot to take a lot of pictures, but there were a few. Laura and Emily had a wonderful time together. They colored, they played with Emily's little people toys and Emily astounded us with her gymnastic abilities. (see video below) Dad set the room into one looooooooooong table. It worked out great....we were all able to get in and out of our seats without anyone having to crawl under the table. (only a very few of us are still able to do that!)
John was the head turkey honcho. Dad cooked the turkey, but John carved it. The turkey (the one on the counter, not my brother) was about 25 pounds. And of course Dad had to make an additional turkey breast "just in case".
The real highlight of the day was the slide show. My Dad found a couple of old slide carousels and it turned out to be pictures of us when we were kids, my parents, my aunts and uncles and grandparents. We laughed ourselves silly over the clothes, the furniture, the wallpaper and appliances of the 50's and 60's. It was so much fun to see those old photos again.
Here's the video of Miss Emily doing her tumbles....and a guest performance by Laura doing a backbend.
video

Monday, November 22, 2010

Studio Session

Hubby and I got the chance to take our music into a real recording studio and record one of our original songs. We met a friend named Dave Gaudet, and when Hubby found out that Dave had a 24-track recorder, he asked Dave if we could come over and record the song. Dave was happy to comply, and we visited "Bittersweet Studio" a couple of Sundays ago. It was a pretty cool experience. 24 tracks means that each vocal and each instrument can be recorded on a separate track and then mixed anyway we wanted - to make the recording sound the way we wanted. Hubby recorded a "rough cut" on the guitar, and then he and I each recorded two tracks of our voices. By combining all four voice tracks, it sounded like more people were singing....but it's all me and Hubby! Then Hubby played a bunch of different instruments, each on different tracks. If a mistake was made in the singing or playing, we could start over, or keep one track and do another to see which one was best. We could even combine two tracks, or "punch in" at a certain point, re-sing one little section, and "punch out" again. It wasn't very stressful, because we knew that whatever we messed up could easily be done over again. After we were done recording, Hubby and Dave played with all the settings until they go the sound just right. And boy, did Dave make us sound good! We joked around that he had a "Don't Suck" button on there, and I really think he did!
When we finally had it the way we wanted, Dave burned it onto a CD for us. This CD is part of a special project we're working on, and can't be revealed until a later date.
I'll be sure to post the finished project when it's done.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Countdown to Turkey Day!

Only three more day until Turkey Day! Thanksgiving really is my favorite Holiday. It's better than Christmas cause it's less stressful (no gifts to buy and wrap.....no decorating, etc.) BUT....it's pretty much the same as Easter.....and somehow I like Thanksgiving better. I don't know why. Anyway - the best thing about Thanksgiving is getting together with family. A lot of them I don't see very often.......so getting togther at Thanksgiving gives us time to visit and chat and enjoy each other's company. Of course, the food is paramount as well. We have the usual Turkey and fixins......and then a few other things that are unusual. Like pork stuffing and banana fritters. The pork stuffing is a French tradition.....I have no idea why we have banana fritters except that years ago my aunt loved them, and even though she is now gone, it has become part of the tradition. I have so very many things to be thankful for......way too many to count......so I'll list my top ten. 1. I am so thankful for the most amazing, loving, romantic and understanding husband in the world. I hit the jackpot with this one. 2. I have children that I'm so very proud of. Each is unique, each is special and each holds a very special place in my heart. 3. I'm grateful for wonderful "significant others" for my children. They are good partners for my children, and I love them as if they were my own. 4. I am the proud memere of the most adorable grandbabies that anyone could ever want. They are smart and cute and funny and happy. Kudos to their Moms and Dads for raising these wonderful babies. 5. I'm so very thankful for a Dad who has always been one of the best Dads imaginable. He was a "hands-on" father long before that term became popular. He has always done right by us kids, and continues to be involved in our lives. I love him so much! 6. I'm grateful for brothers and a sister who are also good friends to me. It's great that we can hang out together and enjoy each others' company......often laughing our heads off at the antics we got into as kids. 7. I'm thankful that throughout this recession, we've all been able to continue working. I'm amazed that there's not one person in our family who is not working . I'm proud that everyone is self-sufficient and able to care for themselves. 8. I love that I have friends who I've kept in touch with over the course of the years. I met all these friends when the children were young and we were involved in sports and Girl Scouts and PTA. I'm thankful that we've all made the effort to keep in touch. 9. I'm grateful that Hubby's family loves me like one of their own. It's not always easy to find great in-laws, but in my case I've been lucky. 10. I'm thankful that.....though we are by no means rich..........Hubby and I have enough money to go on some adventures. We both love to explore new places while we enjoy each others' company. I'm grateful that we get to do that. Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

When do you give them the ax?

Do we all still send out Christmas Cards? In this age of technology, I can imagine lots of people are turning to e-cards to save time and money. But there's nothing like a good Christmas card, ya know? And my favorite cards are picture cards. I love getting cards from friends and relatives with cute pictures of their kids and pets and families. When Hubby and I got married, we decided to send out picture Christmas Cards just for fun. We each donned a Santa hat and took our photo, then sent them out to our nearest and dearest. The tradition has lived on. Each year we try to take a decent picture while we're on one of our adventures, and send it out at the holidays. The question now is.......who should we send the cards to? Our own kids, who we see often? Distant family? New friends? Old friends? Co-workers? Sending them to co-workers can be a slippery slope. If you send them to the one co-worker you're really good friends with, do you have to send them to all your co-workers? Should I send a card to the former co-worker, whom I haven't seen since 1992? Because she sends me a card and photos of her kids and a Christmas newsletter every year? Part of the consideration is that the cards come in packs of 20. Right now there are 38 people on our list. If I want to add very many more, I have to cut some people or pay another $14.99 for an additional 20 cards. I'm going to have to work on my list.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No new post for almost a week.

Hmmmmm.....no new post for almost a week. What's up with that? Not too much to post about I guess. And feeling a bit down in the dumps. I'm tired of working on Saturdays. I want to have a regular weekend again. Although....Hubby did read my mind - seriously - and take me to the beach on Saturday afternoon. The waves were crazy.....don't know why. The fried dough place is closed for the winter. Sunday was a busy day. Hubby played piano at the Java Room while I read the Sunday paper. And Hubby's kids came over for Thanksgiving dinner/belated birthdays. It was nice to see our grandson again. And back to work on Monday.....where things are getting worse and worse with the one person in our office that causes all the trouble. I'm seriously thinking of looking for a new job.....even though I like the job itself and everyone else I work with. I just don't think I can stand coming home aggravated every day anymore. I did some online Christmas shopping...but now I'm stuck, cause I haven't gotten answers from the rest of my family about what they want. I ordered my Christmas cards but haven't had time to pick them up. I'm not looking forward to Thanksgiving as much as I used to cause my Mom won't be there. I need an attitude adjustment.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why I should shop ONLY online.

I had a 1/2 day this morning, so after doing all the wifely things- cleaning, laundry, etc. - I figured I'd go out and pick up a couple of things I'd seen on sale for Christmas. Usually I am diligent about shopping only online at the holidays. But it's still 6 weeks before Christmas and it's a Wednesday morning. How bad could it be, right? I did actually pick up a few things for really cheap......er....inexpensive. But there was one other thing I was looking for. It's a specialty item, and I did look online. I found what I wanted, but the shipping would be $10. I hate paying for shipping and usually find a way around it, but there was no way around this one. So I figured I'd check out the price at a local store and see if it was worth ordering it online and paying for the shipping. I drove to the plaza where I thought the store was, and nope....not there. I went into one of the other little stores and asked, and they said it had moved to the next town. Great. Did I want to drive to the next town? I was already into this excursion for about 15 minutes, so I decided to go for it. Of course, driving to the next town involved traffic, lights and construction, which is what I usually try to avoid by shopping online. I pulled into the plaza the gentleman had directed me to and.........the shop wasn't there. I had to park the car and go into another little shop, and they confirmed that the shop was in the next plaza. So I got back into the car and went to the next plaza. Finally, there was the store. As I suspected, the prices were about 100% more than what I'd seen it for online, so I drove back home......cringing at the waste of time and gas. Of course, when I looked online again, I could not find the item! Where the heck did I see it? Which website??????? I should have just ordered it when I saw it and saved myself lots of time, money and aggravation.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quiet on the Set

Hubby is a musician, and he's written about a dozen original songs that we play out here and there at the open mics. We decided we wanted to record one of those songs. But the local recording studios charge from $35-$50 per hour to record. At one of the local parties that a bunch of musicians were attending, Hubby met up with Dave Gaudet, who told him he had a 24-track digital recorder. It was "music" to Hubby's ears. He asked Dave if we could come over and record our song, and Dave was happy to do it. It was a completely new experience for me. I've never recorded a song before. But this was really cool. Each section of the song is recorded on a separate track. Hubby started out with guitar, and recorded the whole song on the guitar. Then he did some percussion on a two different tracks. Then we added vocals, each of us singing on another track. And finally, Hubby did some piano. The idea being, each track is separate, so if you mess up on something (which we did) you can go back and re-do just one track....or even part of a track. You can even experiment with adding some extras - such as harmonies or different instruments - and take them off if you don't like them. This week, Dave will "mix" the song, and then send us an MP3 copy of it and see how we like it. Whatever we don't like, we can go back and re-do or just have him re-mix it. Stand back ........the duo of Karen and Tag are on their way.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Making Pies with Emily

We finally got around to making pies with the apples we picked when we went to the Apple Farm with Emily. I have one of those peeler/corer/slicer machines, which kids Emily's age just love! Works much better than the adult having to do all the work while the child sits there impatiently waiting to help. She did a fantastic job of rolling out the dough.
Flour, flour everywhere!
Everyone was very proud of our pie.
video

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plimouth Plantation

I had a rare Saturday off this past weekend, and Hubby said I was in charge of planning something for us to do. I had been wanting to visit Plimoth Plantation for a while, so this seemed a good opportunity. Plimouth Plantation is a recreation of a pilgrim settlement from 1620. There are re-enacters that stay in character as they answer questions about the way of life in pilgrim times. The entire settlement consists of about a dozen "houses" - which were the sorriest little hovels I've ever seen in my life. The settlers at Plimouth Plantation didn't have much.....only whatever they brought over with them on the Mayflower. They were still very dependent on England for a lot of the things they could not produce in America. Some of the settlers had to go back and forth to England for supplies twice a year or so....each journey taking up to six months.
Inside the house, which was maybe 10x10, was a bed, a table, maybe a dresser brought over from England. The most astounding thing to me was that the fire was simply in the corner of the room with no boundaries, no fireplace or anything, and the children slept on the floor at night.
There were only a couple of cows that were brought over from England for the whole community to use. Everything was shared.
Women would make bread 12-15 loaves at a time for their family (which means that by the time the bread was done, they were eating bread that had been around for almost two weeks).
They had to build a fire in this bread oven, keep it going for about two hours so the stones got really hot, then clean out all the fire and ashes and put the bread pans in and seal the door for the bread to bake.
They made some kind of coating for the inside of the walls, to keep the cold air out. They kneaded the clay with their feet right inside the house and then put it up on the walls with straw.
After going through the Pilgrim settlement, we went down the road to the re-creation of the Indian houses. The Indians had two houses, one for summer and one for winter. The winter house was large and airtight. The whole big extended family, three generations, stayed together in the winter house. There was really only place for them to sleep, as they spent most of their daylight time out of doors.
All the re-enacters at the Indian settlement are real Indians who were very informative about the way their ancestors lived.
In the summer, the Indians lived in smaller summer houses. Each family of mom, dad and children had their own house.
After leaving Plimouth Plantation, we went over to see the famous Plimouth Rock.
Yes, that's it. You can see it through the opening at the bottom of the monument. It's quite unimpressive.
And finally, we went over to see the Mayflower. This is a replica of the original Mayflower, or how they believe it was based on ships made at that time.
I was quite impressed with the courage and fortitude these Pilgrims must have had to come over from their own country, travel in the hold of what was nothing more than a cargo ship, and start a new life in a land where there was nothing.