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Since Friday, I have attempted to grab bits and pieces of the three disc DVD of the HBO miniseries, JOHN ADAMS.

I am on the fourth part, and Ambassador Adams just completed his first meeting with King George… I cannot imagine being the first USA ambassador to The Court of St. James immediately following the Revolutionary War! The moment was incredibly intense, yet there was an air of honest sincerity.

The actors portraying Adams, Abigail Adams and Jefferson were superbly cast, and the detail to accuracy throughout the series is much to my liking.

I have always loved the early relationship between John & Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. They were dear friends, and the movie captured their devotion, humor, and intimacy beautifully during their time together in Paris.

It is a very touching moment watching President Washington’s inauguration on this Memorial Day. How far we have come since that day in April.

I am so enjoying this miniseries, which I am finding quite remarkable.

Paul Giamatti

as

John Adams

John Adams

Laura Linney as Abigail Adams; Abigail Adams

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It is 8:40 on the last evening of May, and the long, extraordinarily fun-filled weekend has come to a close.

From last Friday evening until an hour ago, Jose and I have been non-stop, and how wonderful it has been! Though I am short on sleep, I feel refreshed, not drained.

I had anticipated making this day one of absolute quiet, and not leaving the house; however, we received an invitation to the Lockhart home for a 4:00pm cookout. With schedules running crazy, I have not seen Valerie for several months, and Mike has been only a few “hello’s” when he has arrived to pick up Sophie from a lesson. Jackson picked up Sophie this past Friday so I was finally able to see him.

We had the best time, as always, and after a delicious dinner, we sat on the patio chatting. Eventually, a water-fight broke out with the teenagers, and the three adults survived with nary a drop!

We returned home, and I decided to water the plants since the skies were clear, and beautiful. We had threats of thunderstorms for this day, but the skies indicated nothing. Not more than fifteen minutes of watering the plants, the wind picked up and the skies clouded over… and the deluge began.

Jose was in the basement and called down to see if he would like to walk to Speedway for a slushie. He bounded up the stairs, and saw the heavy shower.

He laughingly turned to me, saying, “You’re such a dick!”

Thus ends the weekend, and begins the first official day of summer!

From HISTORY CHANNELS: This Day in History

May 31: General Interest
1859 : Big Ben goes into operation in London

The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high St. Stephen’s Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, for the first time on this day in 1859.

After a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster–the headquarters of the British Parliament–in October 1834, a standout feature of the design for the new palace was a large clock atop a tower. The royal astronomer, Sir George Airy, wanted the clock to have pinpoint accuracy, including twice-a-day checks with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. While many clockmakers dismissed this goal as impossible, Airy counted on the help of Edmund Beckett Denison, a formidable barrister known for his expertise in horology, or the science of measuring time.

Denison’s design, built by the company E.J. Dent & Co., was completed in 1854; five years later, St. Stephen’s Tower itself was finished. Weighing in at more than 13 tons, its massive bell was dragged to the tower through the streets of London by a team of 16 horses, to the cheers of onlookers. Once it was installed, Big Ben struck its first chimes on May 31, 1859. Just two months later, however, the heavy striker designed by Denison cracked the bell. Three more years passed before a lighter hammer was added and the clock went into service again. The bell was rotated so that the hammer would strike another surface, but the crack was never repaired.

The name “Big Ben” originally just applied to the bell but later came to refer to the clock itself. Two main stories exist about how Big Ben got its name. Many claim it was named after the famously long-winded Sir Benjamin Hall, the London commissioner of works at the time it was built. Another famous story argues that the bell was named for the popular heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt, because it was the largest of its kind.

Even after an incendiary bomb destroyed the chamber of the House of Commons during the Second World War, St. Stephen’s Tower survived, and Big Ben continued to function. Its famously accurate timekeeping is regulated by a stack of coins placed on the clock’s huge pendulum, ensuring a steady movement of the clock hands at all times. At night, all four of the clock’s faces, each one 23 feet across, are illuminated. A light above Big Ben is also lit to let the public know when Parliament is in session.

Having gone to bed at 3:00am Sunday morning, I was up, and moving right along by 7:ooam.

12:30pm, Jose and I headed to Delco Park in Kettering for the first event – Jill Cordonnier’s graduation party. It was great to see her parents, Mike & Joan Cordonnier, as well as Jill’s boyfriends, one of my favorite theatre tech geniuses,  Jackson “Jack” Gallagher.

After approximately thirty minutes, we departed for our next event and arrived home by 1:45pm to head next door for the cookout.

As always, it was an absolute thrill to be in the company of some of the most wonderful neighbors in the world. I was blessed with wonderful neighbors (Herndons, Fortners and others) while growing up in Elwood, Indiana, and I have been more than blessed with the kindest, most hilarious neighbors here in Kettering. Kay Moore, and her family Don, Laura, Jozi and Kelley Parker, and the Stephensons – Bob, Chris, Henry and Frank and I sat around the table and howled.

Jose left with Branden Witten to go to a grad party while I remained next door. Due to crossed-wires, we got off to a late start for Old River Park and Carillon Park; therefore, we postponed the canoeing, and went straight to Carillon Park for the concert and fireworks.

Man, oh man! I was not prepared for the enormous line of cars!

I got to see a ton of people, and had a nice, long conversation with Myra Michaels. The Pollocks arrived, missing the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s SOUTH PACIFIC medley. We sat behind the Kress family, and enjoyed the fireworks, and the light show and bell music from the carillon.

SPECTACULAR!

You really should read this Dayton Daily News article: Carillon’s Heritage Festival makes history by featuring new bell system.

When the fireworks ended, I chatted a bit with Amy Kress, and her parents. The Pollocks, Brandon, Jose and I walked all the way back to the NCR parking lot where we stood talking for a good thirty minutes.

Now, I sitting up in bed with my laptop, cooled off from the refreshing shower. Jose is spending the night with Brandon.

I am finally ready to sleep!

But what a WONDERFUL day this was! Many thanks to all those wonderful friends who contributed to making this a fantastic day!

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And the weekend continues…

After leaving Wright State University’s production HELLO, DOLLY (see previous post), I chatted with Mother en route home. By 6:00pm, Jose and I were to two of our scheduled grad parties for Megan Weyrauch and Ryan Crouch.

We had a blast at both parties!

I got to spend time with the Weyrauch family and their guests – 95% of which were Fairmont band students.

They had a dunking tank in the back yard which was gathering much interest from the teens, as well as the trampoline, volleyball and food.

Megan was quite involved in the Fairmont music department – alto saxophonist, choir, show choir, and musicals.

This past marching season, Megan served as one of the marching band’s field commanders.

Megan is a beautiful young lady, and when you know her parents, Jim & Sherrie, and sister, Kaitlin, it is obvious why  this young lady is so special.

Megan will be heading to Wright State University this fall to study nursing.

You can visit her this summer at Kettering’s popular family joint, Magic Castle.

We left the Weyrauch home around 7:00pm and ventured back to our neighborhood for the Crouch party. Whereas the Weyrauch home was filled with band students, the Crouch yard was bulging with choir students – a completely different mix.

Ryan, like Megan, has been a super duper music trooper at Fairmont. Ryan was primarily involved with the choral program, but was also a noted piper! Ryan was in symphonic chorale – where he served as section leader and sometimes, student conductor; Fusion (vocal jazz) in which he sang, arranged, and often led rehearsals; show choir; and the musicals.

At graduation this coming Thursday evening, Ryan will conduct the senior choir in their final choral salute to their high school careers.

Ryan will be attending Bowling Green State University this fall, major in music education – choral.

I chatted with Ryan a bit – which is funny because I see him for 90 minutes each week, and we always have plenty to chat about.

I finally sat at a table with choir students to chat with Ryan’s girlfriend, Alex, and continued to give Bobby “Booby” Symes a difficult time.

Jose joined me at this table, and the Haas men proceeded to entertain their perspective halves of the long table.

Around 9:00pm, I joined several of the adults – John & Felicia Crouch, the Parretts, Tracey Witten, and a new couple I did not know – Rich & Bonita Palmer. Bonita looked familiar to me, but I could have passed her in the frozen food aisle at Kroger and still remember her face.

FINALLY… it was discovered that the three of us had not only been at Ball State together, but we three had been in the music department and marching band! We sat there for a good hour laughing about so many of our antics, and fun from BSU school department days. Rich had gone to school with Warren Central HS friends, Troy Allbright, and Shelley England – friends from Mid-America Music Clinics, and BSU, and Bonita had gone to high school with David Hall, another Mid-America camper and BSU music buddy! It was such a blast!

After the Palmers left, I sat chatting with the choir parents, and had a great time. However, I was appalled when I checked my watch and it was 1:00am!

Once we arrived home, I began preparing the potato salad for Sunday’s 2:00pm cookout at the neighbors. By 3:07am, I was finally in bed.

7:00am hit like a led pipe across the head, and I could not sleep. After the morning ritual, I prepared the potato salad, chatted with Jose, and sat down briefly to write this post.

At 12:30pm we will head to Delco Park in Kettering for Jill Cordonnier’s graduation party.

Jill began studying piano with me when she was six years old. Her feet did not touch the ground.

Around her fifth grade year she began studying saxophone along with piano, and developed into a fantastic threat to those in the Centerville Bands.

However, Jill’s main goal was to serve as field commander for the Centerville High School Band… and this she did for two successful seasons!

Jill has also been quite involved with the high school’s musicals – working on sets, or crew, and playing in almost all the pit orchestras. Jill’s dad, Michael, is the technical director, and manager for the Performing Arts Center at Centerville High School.

Jill, like Katie O’Neill (from previous post), has been like a daughter I never had.

This fall, Jill will enter Bowling Green State University, majoring in environmental management.

By 2:00pm, we will have returned home to join the Moore-Parker family for their annual cookout, along with our neighbors directly behind us, Bob & Chris Stephens. I always look forward to this gathering, as much as I do any Hoosier family gathering.

Around 4:00pm, or so, we will walk to the other side of the high school for a graduation party for Christina Suther, a marching band pal of Jose’s. Christina’s older sister, Vic, was one of my social studies students at Kettering Middle School.

Now, this is where the schedule becomes a little murky.

At some point we will end up at Old River Park for some canoe time, and then on over to Carillon Park for the Carillon Park Band, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the fireworks! I just am not certain of the time we will venture the 3 minutes north to the south edge of Dayton!

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46 years ago, Ball State’s Emen’s Auditorium opened…

46 years ago, the Ball State Singers were born…

46 years ago (this September), I was born…

46 years ago (this September), BEWITCHED premiered on television…

and…

46 years ago, HELLO DOLLY premiered on Broadway!

This afternoon, I was reminded of why I love the show so much! Wright State University’s theatre department produced another Stuart McDowell masterpiece with two so many outstanding performances by individuals, and a tight ensemble.

Of course, I was exceptionally proud of Will Hutcheson who played Barnaby…

…and Katie O’Neill who played Dolly Levi!

These two talents have evolved into incredible performers, and I cannot wait to see their careers flourish when they hit New York City this fall!

I have never thought of the main production number, “Hello Dolly” as a tear jerker, but it hit me this afternoon… much clapping and wiping away a few tears because I was so proud of these two future stars!

Thank you, Stuart McDowell, and the entire company of WSU’s HELLO DOLLY, and much love to Katie and Will!

The day seemed to drag… I felt drained, and exhausted for no apparent reason. I accomplished little until it was time to teach – and that perked me up, greatly.

Jackson Lockhart came to pick up Sophie from her lesson, and we shared some great laughs.

After teaching, Jose and I ran to Lowes to check out stone for some border work in front of the house, then to Walmart and Meijer, and Chinese for supper. We picked out some movies at Family Video and returned home by 9:00pm.

Our neighbor boy, Kelley, joined us for the remainder of the evening, and is spending the night with Jose. I retreated to my bedroom with my three DVD set of HBO’s mini-series, JOHN ADAMS. I finished the first two parts (at 2:00am), and I cannot wait to finish the remaining four parts. What an incredible man, and even more, what an incredible lady – Abigail Adams! Wow!

Tomorrow I will accomplish some items around the house, then see HELLO DOLLY at Wright State University @ 2:00pm, and then hit two high school graduation parties – Megan Weyrauch and Ryan Crouch.

Monday night one of my adult students introduced me to my first Lady Gaga song, “Bad Romance.”

When I was finished teaching, I sat at my computer and looked up the video on YouTube. Wow! What a great song!

I had heard of Lady Gaga, but was not completely familiar with her body of work. I began reading about her, and am so impressed with her story! A professional musician that studied composition at NYU’s Tisch! Impressive! And she is only 24 years old!

I think my son, and some of my students are surprised that I have become knowledgeable of Lady Gaga’s music. However, I am as impressed with her theatrics as much as I am her music.

In some ways, she reminds me of Madonna in the early days of her career. I am interested to see where this young lady’s career takes her.

Will she have the career longevity of Madonna?

Tuesday night, the cast of the hit television show, GLEE, performed “Bad Romance.” Here is an interview about the making of this particular scene.

And here is the GLEE 2010 TOUR recently in Phoenix, Arizona.

I haven’t been this excited over an artist since I discovered Bon Jovi two summers ago… yes, it was late in life!

I finished teaching this evening and asked Jose if he would like to go to Hothead Burrito for supper – of course, this met with a resounding, “yes!”

On the way, Jose commented that he needed to get his hair cut. I suggested that since it was a little before 8:00pm, the styling salon next to where were heading for supper might be open. And it was.

A tall, voluptuous blond, resembling the lovely Kristen Chenoweth, came to the counter to take Jose’s information. She was adorable.

Jose returned to where we were seated in the waiting room while the steaming stylist went to sweep up her area. Jose looked at me and said, “Wow! She’s nice. But she is pretty old for me.”

“Well,” I said, “maybe she is a coyote.”

Jose looked at me, puzzled, and asked me what I said. I repeated it.

And then, I knew I had screwed up. Jose began to explode with laughter… “You mean, COUGAR! Not coyote.”

Yes… that was the term I had heard before… cougar.

Why is it that we parents… ah… never mind…

I cannot believe I have slipped into my old pattern of not blogging! I was so good about blogging, and then the past few days I have been lazy – an for no good reason.

It has been a typical week at the Haasienda – teaching, watching documentaries, walks, gym time with Jose and the neighbor boy, Kelley, and playing with Flyer and Logan. I have been battling low energy, again, this week, and it is driving me up the wall.

Tonight is the Fairmont concert at the Fraze Pavilion for the bands. Since my Beavercreek students have all rescheduled this evening’s lessons, I will be free to attend this concert.

Thursday, there is nothing major on the docket.

Friday, after teaching, I plan on going to see HELLO, DOLLY at Wright State University. Several former students are leads in this production, and they are seniors. Hopefully, my friend, Suzanne Grote, will be able to sneak away from family to see the show with me.

Saturday will be busy – two graduation parties, and a canoe expedition at Old River Park with several family friends.

Sunday is the annual cookout next door with the Moore-Parker household – one of my favorite events of the year! We may try to work in some more canoe time, and then the fireworks later that night. Generally, downtown Dayton offers fireworks, as well over the Memorial Day weekend.

Other than that, it is a typical Spring day at the Haasienda.

I now have red impatiens in pots on the front porch, back deck, and scattered in places around the front corner fence. I am behind in getting flowers out, and felt bad since my neighbors next door have this beautiful setting!

I finished up around 3:00pm, showered, ate a salad for my late lunch, and then took a nap for 45 minutes. I taught a lesson, drove Jose to youth group, ran to Meijer for lettuce, bananas, and Wild Berry Aloe Vera Juice.

Finally, I got to catch up with my dear friend, Jeffrey Carter. Jeff is one of my favorite people in the world, and we tend to play hit-and-miss or telephone tag. He has an exciting, full-filling, often crazy schedule, and I am always hesitant to call him for fear I am interrupting a lesson, meeting, or rehearsal. So, I generally send an email, and he lets me know when his open times are.

Tonight was perfect because he was returning to St. Louis via Amtrak from the Conductor’s Guild board meeting held in Chicago. We spent a good hour catching up. He will be out of town the next four weekends – Kansas City, Philadelphia and New York (he will get to see Angela Lansbury in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC), and I have promptly forgotten the other two locations (argh!).

Now it is time to go pick up Jose, and return home to settle in for the fourth installment of AMERICA: THE STORY OF US.

My high school English/Advanced Composition teacher, Darren Paquin, just sent this beautiful prayer! Man, does it speak volumes!

THE KNOTS PRAYER.

Dear God :
Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind

Erase all the will nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart .

Release me from the could nots and the would nots that obstruct my life .

And most of all, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all the “am notsthat I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought, that I am not good enough.

Amen.

Author Known to God.


This morning was a tiring, but invigorating walk!

At 9:50am, I set out with Flyer while chatting with Mother on my headset.

For those who live in Kettering, I walked:

  • through the athletic fields to Far Hills
  • crossed over to Windingway
  • turned south on Ridgeway
  • then took Stonehaven to West Stroop
  • followed West Stroop
  • headed back North on Lenox
  • took east path on Windingway

In an hour, I took 10,499 steps and traveled 4.47 miles – up hills, down hills, and through some of the most beautiful scenery in Kettering. I had been down parts of Ridgeway, but never through the portion that made me believe I was walking in the foothills of the Smokies! It was absolutely gorgeous! If any of my neighbors in the area are looking for a GREAT hike/walking route, Ridgeway is the route!

I was huffing and puffing in a few places, but it was all well worth it. Poor Flyer, however, was dragging! I should have taken a water bottle, but my intent was to only go about a mile or two, not much more than 5,000 steps.

At one point, I was somewhat confused being so unfamiliar with this part of the neighborhood. I knew I was not completely lost, but I was not certain of my exact location. It was strange to be in one’s own neck of the woods and to feel so foreign… but exciting, too. And the homes, and scenery were gorgeous!

I think I am going to run out to get some potting soil, and some new pots for the impatiens I bought from a Centerville band student. I will put them in some pots and set them on the deck and front porch.

After that, I hope to relax on the deck with my laptop. However, I would really like to return to Old River Park for a another canoe trip!

I will teach a few lessons tonight, take Jose to SIGNS youth group, grab some groceries while hopefully connecting with Jeffrey Carter as he returns to St. Louis from Chicago on AmTrak.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday!

If you live in The Miami Valley of Ohio, please take time to visit the many sites under the management of Dayton History, beginning with Carillon Park. Other sites associated with Dayton History are:

  • Hawthorn Hill, the home of Orville Wright
  • The John Patterson Homestead
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar home
  • Old River Park

Dayton has such a rich heritage, and there are many wonderful sites in which families can absorb our history.

What a fun evening Jose and I shared at Old River Park and Deeds Point.

At 6:00pm we pulled into Old River Park. The park first opened on June 3, 1939, for NCR employees and their families under the leadership of then-Chairman of the Board, Colonel Edward Deeds. Now, the wonderful family setting is under the management of Dayton History.

Old River Park features include:
•    Miniature golf course
•    Oversized checker boards
•    Shuffle board
•    Croquet
•    Horseshoe pits
•    Volleyball
•    Kids’ playground
•    Two miles of walking paths
•    Stone cooking grills
•    Concession stand
•    Boat rentals for use in the 1.5 mile scenic, historic lagoon
•    Early 20th century themed music piped throughout the Park

Thanks to a very generous Christmas gift from a student’s family – a two year membership to Dayton’s Carillon Park and Dayton History – our admission to the park was free (canoe rental was $5).

Jose and I immediately hopped into a canoe, and had the best 45 minute time on the lagoon!

Now, 35 years ago my Little League Baseball team won the city tournament, and Rick Kendall’s dad sponsored a canoe trip for the entire team and all family members at Turkey Run State Park. I was in a canoe with my mother and birth father, and let’s say it was an adventure! Sugar Creek was up due to heavy rains, and it was a while before we could set off in the canoes.

As the Jolliff canoe moved swiftly in the rapid current we saw a HUGE boulder in the river with word, “DANGER”, spray-painted in large letters. I can still remember seeing preceding canoes dodging the boulder. Not us! We took the boulder head on – up and over. That was our first family-float-session. We managed to finally swim over to the shore to hop back in the canoe.

Later… not much later… I encouraged my birth father to steer our canoe under low hanging limbs. To a ten year old boy, it was all a part of the adventure. As we maneuvered under the huge limbs, we neared the end of the obstacle course. I ducked under the last limb. My mother ducked. My father did not.

Once again, we floated.

Back to 2010.

I was a bit apprehensive for the first few minutes in our canoe. My weight seemed to give the canoe a some unsteady moments. However, after about ten minutes, I relaxed and enjoyed the remainder of the 45 minute ride along the lagoon – but I always had my eye on the shore!

At one point I spied about five large turtles sunning themselves on a huge tree that had fallen into the lagoon. We edged the canoe gently toward the tree, but the turtles all escaped upon our arrival. And boy, did they move fast. As I was steadying my camera, Jose was steadying the canoe – right into the tree! Fortunately, we did not have a recreation of 1975!

The remainder of the ride was peaceful, and enjoyable, with many laughs that often accompany anything Jose and I do. I did manage to capture a photo of one obliging terrapin resting on a fallen tree.

Following the canoe ride we walked around the park and played a little miniature golf.

At the bridge, we watched a mama turtle and a VERY tiny baby turtle. At one point, to the gasps, and shrieks of several children watching, a very large carp came up to the baby turtle and gulped the little creature whole! However, within seconds the little fellow was spit right back out.

Jose and I traveled down Brown Street through the little village near the University of Dayton, stopping to eat at Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

Since it was still nice and bright outside at 8:15pm, we drove over to historic Deeds Point where the Mad and Great Miami Rivers converge, directly across from downtown Dayton. The last time I was here was for the 2003 Centennial of Flight celebration. While we were there, Jose posed cheerfully with the life-size statues of Wilbur & Orville Wright.

Before turning south to return to Kettering, we drove through McPhearson District to see where I first lived when I moved to Dayton twenty years ago.

My first place was an old Victorian townhouse at 120 McPhearson.

18 months later I moved right around the corner to 18 Floral Avenue. The upstairs bathroom had once been a bedroom, and the wide plank floors were beautiful. The shutters opened to reveal a picturesque view of the Dayton Art Institute!

We took our time winding through various streets, finally arriving home around 9:15pm.

What an enjoyable three hours my son and I had!

Below are more photos of Old River Park and Deeds Point, as well as information about Old River Park!

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Entry to Old River Park is free to Dayton History members. Others can enjoy Old River and Carillon Historical Park for one regular Dayton History admission price ($8 per adult (18-59), $7 per senior (60+), $5 per student, and children under 3 free). Admission can be purchased at either Carillon Historical Park or Old River Park.

For more information, please call 937.293.2841 or visit Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton Ohio, 45409.

The weather has been unpredictable in the Miami Valley. Yes, we have been drenched for days, but the forecast is never quite “right on.” Some days we were told to expect storms, or rain showers, and nothing. And then there were times when no precipitation was predicted and we got drenched.

Today, I thought about hitting the Cincinnati Zoo, one of our favorite haunts. However, the skies, starting out dull, and cloudy, turned to bright and sunny. Within moments, they were cloudy once again and looking as though they would overflow at any moment.

So, I did some reading, watched a Netflix documentary on In Search of Beethoven (was not that interesting), a documentary on China’s Forbidden City, and some episodes on America’s Turning Points in the 19th Century.

Jose and I are getting ready to head down to Old River Park, and then maybe trek over to Deed’s Point and the park area. I have not been there since the 2003 Centennial of Flight, and that was just before Jose arrived.

Other than that, a relaxing, peaceful day with fresh air coming through the windows and birds singing.

There must have been some rain showers throughout the night as the streets and walks were wet. I only woke between 4:30am and 5:30am, but don’t recall hearing any rain.

By 7:30am, the sun was shining, and the birds warbling merrily. I took Flyer out for a brief walk, tried to call my friend, Jeff, who was en route to Chicago on the train, and busied myself with all sorts of tasks this morning.

I researched a little on adoption issues, and then hurried in to take a quick nap before showering, and preparing to teach my first lesson.

I will teach until 6:00pm, then hurry up to ACTION for on-going training. That will finish up around 10:00pm.

There is absolutely nothing hectic on the family docket this weekend. Saturday shows no sign of rain – whereas earlier in the week it did – so we may finally reach Old River Park!

Today is the final day for seniors next door at Fairmont. I wrote my annual last-day note to some seniors. Jose’s digital design class is having a party with the seniors – a three hour party. He was all excited for the party and made several pans of brownies last night.

Other than that, there is so little to report. Just an ordinary day in the Miami Valley at the Haasienda on Shroyer!

Yesterday afternoon, I took Jose out to the front yard to help me measure the length in front of the shrubs where I want to put a little stone wall just a foot or so off the ground. I handed Jose the end of the tape measure, and walked to the opposite side. I then asked Jose what the measurement was.

He looked down, searchingly, looked up at me questioningly, and re-examined his end, and realized, I had the measurement on my end. I was howling to see his expression!

Last night I finished teaching around 8:00pm, and Jose and I went to Hothead Burrito for supper.  Ahh… I love their burritos. They are not that different from the famed Chipotle – but the prices, and discounted coupons are certainly different! We returned home, and I settled down with what I had taped of THE MIDDLE and MODERN FAMILY – they are two of my new favorite shows.

This morning, after another three hours of being wide awake from 4:00am-7:00am, I met my friend, Bill Hetzer, for breakfast at First Watch behind Towne & Country Shopping Plaza. From 8:30am until 11:15am, Bill and I, discussed politics, religion, family life, military life, our sons, house projects, music (current and past), musical theatre, and anything else that seemed of interest. This is my best therapy – meeting Bill for breakfast! Now, I just need to figure in a time to meet Kay, as her laughter and smile are both infectious, and I do tend to behave myself much better when I am with this Hetzer family member. With Bill, all behavioral bets are off.

We finished inside First Watch, and then moved outside to finish our conversation in the parking lot by Bill’s car. Grant it, lunch time at the feeding trough was upon us, but some of the incoming diners were quite rude as they prepared to park. Some would drive up, put their car into neutral, grip the steering wheel and lean forward as though to urge us on our merry way. Bill, or I, would wave them on, or indicate we were still chatting.

One gal drove up in her maroon limousine-esque vehicle, and was quite disgusted that Bill and I were talking. For some reason, she was intent on parking where Bill’s car was currently resting. Several times she even nudged us with a toot of her horn to which we waved her on. Had it been winter, or raining, we would have quickly ended the conversation for those more advanced in years, or mommies with children. However, it is the most gorgeous day – and it was already nearing 70-degrees. This lady drove around several more times, and would pull up behind where we stood. Finally, she decided that a parking space, directly opposite, and slightly closer to the door, would suffice. I began to wonder if for some reason she had scattered a late husband’s ashes where we were standing. Eventually, the aggravated lady un-wedged her supple girth from the driver’s side (without the “pop” sound trapped air makes upon release), and moved toward the door, calling to her waiting friend that “those two guys…” I had to chuckle… I am sure her frame had been the model for the 1939 World’s Fair sphere that served as the exposition’s centerpiece, later the seed for Disney’s EPCOT symbol for the world.

Bill and I, while inside, had just been talking about the things in life that matter to us, as well as the minute items that simply waste too much time on our individual journey. I told Bill that the offended/offensive woman would probably be exasperated the remainder of her day, and complaining about “those two guys who…” to any one who wished to share in her misery.

After departing from one of my favorite souls on this earth, I ventured on to CVS to pick up my prescription. As I entered the pharmacy section, there sat a lady who I guessed to be in her late seventies, or early eighties. By seeing her walker, and the way she was seated in the chair, I could see she was not in the best of physical health – but her spiritual health, and attitude toward life appeared to be Olympian! I smiled, and was greeted by the most generous, welcoming smile that could make a bishop forget his prayers. Several times our eyes met, and I attempted to match the warmth in her smile.

Some day, in forty years, I hope I am just like that darling soul in CVS – not an old lady on a walker – but an older gentleman with a healthy attitude, and healthy spirit – and hopefully, a healthy body and system. As I was leaving Kroger next door to CVS, I saw the lady scooting across the parking lot on her walker. Her car was not parked in the handicap space in front of CVS, the pet store, or Kroger – but out in the middle of that huge parking lot. As she maneuvered her walker, taking careful steps, she smiled at people passing by her – some not even noticing – as well as the air around her… her life’s composition was sung silently, but the depth of her joyful melody thundered for all who could feel the vibrations.

This CVS lady made my day!

Yesterday was quite nice.

It began at 2:30am when I woke after three hours of sleep – something I have experienced for several weeks. I returned to sleep around 5:00am and barely remember Jose coming in to tell me he was heading to school.

I went for my doctor’s appointment, and the news was good:

  • He was very pleased with my blood work and some of the tests, especially as a diabetic – he said he felt I was in very good shape, health-wise
  • The triglycerides and good cholesterol are good – yes, the triglycerides are slightly above normal but he said that is still very good for a diabetic and that he doesn’t treat the triglycerides until they are over 500
  • The only concern was with my LDL (bad cholesterol) – diet and exercise for the time being
  • The endocrinologist had my A1C @ 7.2, and the doctor’s was 7.4 – he said he would like to aim for low 6’s by the end of summer
  • I am being scheduled for more tests – an EMG and an X-ray – on the nervous system due to the tingling in the arms, shoulders, neck and head
  • We discussed waking up in the middle of the night, and he thinks it might be something with hypoglycemia – my sugar has been low several times in the morning – between 64 and 80. So he said that when I wake up he wants me to check my sugar and to eat a snack and see if that helps.
  • Other than that, I am to exercise more upper body, keep walking 10,000+ steps a day, and keep up with the diet.

Good stuff, I’d say!

Whew!

I returned home, took a nap (my reward for a healthy report), taught some fantastic lessons, had a bite to eat with Jose who brought home a container with fish and potatoes. The previous evening he brought home some ham load which was delicious.

We ran a few errands, and then settled in for the evening – me watching GLEE, and Jose watching something else, all the while joking that he, too, was watching GLEE.

By 11:30pm the Haasienda was shutting down – a little early for us. However, I woke twice (that I recall), but readily went back to sleep.

This morning I was wide awake at 6:30am, feeling somewhat refreshed.

At Noon, Mary Tarlano will visit for an update on my home study.

I hope to get some writing in, as well as an arrangement for a student’s upcoming baccalaureate.

By 3:00pm I will be teaching, and will have late dinner. Hopefully, this evening I will be able to walk around the neighborhood as there is an evening event in Trent Arena that will close the walking track.

Despite the grey skies, the birds are joining in a cheerful chorus!

While waiting to see the doctor Tuesday morning, I watched the health-net television and one of the health-food experts guided viewers through the process of making Stuffed French Toast.

This is the recipe that I actually remembered!

STUFFED FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • skim milk
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • baguette bread (whole wheat)
  • strawberries
  • blue berries
  • cream cheese (fat free)
  • syrup (sugar free)
  • powered sugar
Mix milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and eggs.
Mix cream cheese with sliced strawberries and blueberries.
Slice your bread in squares.
Dip for thirty seconds in batter.
Put a healthy glob of the cream cheese/fruit on each slice, and then make a sandwich with two slices.
Put in buttered pan or griddle for about three minutes on each side or until slightly toasted.
Set on plate with more fruit.

Read PLAYBILL’s article on the collaborative direction about Hal Prince and Susan Stromman…

Prince and Stroman Unveil New Musical

This downtown Dayton-make-over sounds incredible! What renewed energy!

Read the Dayton Daily News article:  Downtown makeover plans target housing, entertainment

5 Foods that Boost Your Mood

One of my “babies” is currently appearing in one of her final performances on the Wright State University Theatre stage.

Katie O’Neill is starring in HELLO DOLLY! in the much coveted role of the darling, meddlesome “Dolly Levi”.

Through the years, Katie has done a fantastic job as

  • “Hildy” in the Muse Machine production, ON THE TOWN
  • “The Witch” in Fairmont High School’s INTO THE WOODS
  • “Mrs. Potts” in the Muse Machine production, BEAUTY & THE BEAST
  • “Alice Beane” in Wright State’s TITANIC

I am so happy for Katie, and cannot wait to see her descend the staircase just like Carol Channing first did 45 years ago!

Congrats, Katie O’Neill! I am proud of you… and as always, know you are loved!

Very funny!

“Top Ten Signs You Have a Bad Stockbroker”
10. Uses the opening bell as alarm clock
9. Tells you to put all your money in his pants
8. Each time he goes on the trading floor, he gets tased
7. He can guarantee you a billion zillion percent return
6. His advice — buy low, get high
5. Every time you turn on C-SPAN, he’s testifying
4. Your projected retirement age is 97
3. Every time you mention NASDAQ, he says, “Gesundheit!”
2. Your BP Oli stock divdends are paid out in Greek drachmas
1. He says his name is is Bernie and he can only talk for three minutes

Karen Carpenter said it best with…

Since the early morning it has been a steady shower here in Kettering. The skies seem forbidden of allowing the faintest glimmer of sunshine through. Jose did a great job on cutting the lawn yesterday afternoon, so the rain will refresh the lawn, and some of the plants I transplanted last weekend.

Have been busy doing nothing but business stuff today, and working with Rita who looks after my studio items. The agenda for tonight’s ACTION board of directors’ meeting is completed, and now I am hoping to do some items around the house.

Yesterday was fun doing yard work with Jose, and then relaxing to some movies on Netflix. I drove Jose to youth group, and then ran some errands. Since he did a nice job on the lawn he had a 12-inch sub waiting on him from Subway.

I settled in with some work while watching AMERICA – THE STORY OF US on The History Channel. The series has not been holding my interest as much as I thought it would. Last week I paid scant attention to the show. Last night, I watched the segment on The Statue of Liberty, and then began paying attention when during the history of Henry Ford thinking they would feature the Wright Brothers… nothing. Grrrr….

Tonight I will finish teaching and hurry to ACTION for the board meeting, and then return home and head to the gym with Jose.

Several neat videos from THE HISTORY CHANNEL:

Wright Brothers First Flight

Wright Brothers First Flight – Part 2

Orville Wright – 1909 Test Flight at Fort Myer

Until viewing 9/11: IN PLANE SIGHT, I was not familiar with The Northwood Document… incredible!

OPERATION: Northwoods

Wow!

I am relaxing with my laptop on the hospital table in my bedroom, watching a Netflix documentary, 911: In Plane Site. Very interesting documentary on the Pentagon’s attack during 9/11.

Last night sleep was not easy to come by last night. Prom nights always seem to keep me awake since I heard those hideous sirens in May 1998. I always have my worry-scope up and running during this time of year with great concern for our young folk.

I woke often throughout the night but was lulled back to sleep with the gentle music of the wind chimes above the deck outside my bedroom window.

This morning at 7:30am I rallied from bed to accomplish some items around the house. By 10:00am, I heard my neighbor, Don, outside mowing, and hopped into a higher gear. I hate to begin any loud yard work until I know the neighbors next door are up, and moving (at least the adults). I am always certain that my neighbor, Bob, who lives directly behind me is always up before the sun rises, waiting to pounce on the first blade of wayward grass that is courageous enough to rise above other blades nearby. Bob The Lawn Guy (his own company) is my inspiration in lawn care. I do not posses the talent, nor degree of passion as Bob, but I have grown through the years. Now that no privacy fences separates our yards, I find myself struggling to keep the yard even in better condition, and I still fall short.

I trimmed areas of the front yard with the weed eater, edged the sidewalk, and then used the blower to clean up. That took a good hour or so. Jose will hopefully get the yard mowed before the rains hit.

The day is dull, slightly chilly, and rain looks as though it could begin dropping at any moment.

I have laundry and sweeping to do on my list, as well as some writing and gym time pushed into into what I am still attempting to maintain as a relaxing day. I am certain Flyer would love to take a jaunt around the neighborhood so that she can take in some of the recently sprayed shrubs, light/telephone poles, fire hydrants, etc.. She wears herself out just in the first quarter of our walks as she dodges from scent to scent, and before long her enthusiasm and energy have both waned; her tongue drags on the ground, and her ears seldom pop up with each unfamiliar sound.

The wind has increased, and the wind chimes are now sounding an impromptu score.

Jose has ventured out to the yard to start the mower, and hopefully the clouds will hold on a little tighter to the impending droplets.

Tonight, as I crawled into bed, I discovered one of my favorite movies, PLEASE DONT EAT THE DAISIES is on. This is just a delightful romp with Doris Day, David Niven, and Richard Haydn – best known as “Her Max Detweiller” in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

As I located the channel, Doris Day was having dinner with her husband, Niven, just moments before she began singing a few lines of “Que Serra, Serra.”

As a child I can remember watching THE DORIS DAY SHOW, and loving the opening credits where Ms. Day sang “Que Serra, Serra.”

I could not find the version from PLEASE, DON’T EAT THE DAISIES, but did find one from the television show.

This evening I arrived at the Carter home around 4:45pm so I could take some photos of Amanda & Vanessa before their dates, Patrick & Kevin, arrived. The girls were absolutely beautiful in their dresses!

After a round of various poses, we all headed to The Greene where the quarter met up with some other show choir students, including one of my private students, Zach Pollock. They gathered on the grand staircase of Books & Co. for group and couple shots. The customers were also enjoying themselves as several stood off to the sides watching the photo op!

We walked the young folks to Brio’s where they were to dine, and the adults walked on over to Mimis Cafe. I had never been to Mimi’s, and it was a great meal at a very reasonable price.

I had the best evening with all the parents – even though my child was not amongst the prombies.

Here are some photos of the kids preparing for the big event!

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Agnes Mooreheard!

Correctly, and quickly guessed by my friend, Sue Branson.

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Agnes Robertson Moorehead (December 6, 1900 – April 30, 1974) was an American actress. Although she began with the Mercury Theatre, appeared in more than seventy films beginning with Citizen Kane and on dozens of television shows during a career that spanned more than thirty years, Moorehead is most widely known to modern audiences for her role as the witchEndora in the series Bewitched.

While rarely playing leads in films, Moorehead’s skill at character development and range earned her one Emmy Award and two Golden Globe awards in addition to four Academy Awardand six Emmy Award nominations. Moorehead’s transition to television won acclaim for drama and comedy. She could play many different types, but often portrayed haughty, arrogant characters.

Moorehead was born in 1900 in ClintonMassachusetts, and later shaved six years off her age by claiming to have been born in 1906.

In 1923, Moorehead earned a bachelor’s degree, with a major in biology, from Muskingum Collegein New ConcordOhio, and while there she also appeared in college stage plays. She later received an honorary doctorate in literature from Muskingum, and served for a year on its board of trustees. She then pursued post-graduate studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, from which she graduated with honors in 1929.

Moorehead died at the age of seventy-three in 1974.  She is entombed at Dayton Memorial Park in Dayton, Ohio.

Moorehead bequeathed her 1967 Emmy Award statue for The Wild Wild West, her private papers, and her home in Rix Mills, Ohio, to heralma mater Muskingum College. She left her family’s Ohio estate and farmlands, Moorehead Manor, to Bob Jones University in Greenville,South Carolina, as well as some biblical studies books from her personal library. Her will stipulated that BJU should use the farm for retreats and special meetings “with a Christian emphasis,” but the distance of the estate from the South Carolina campus rendered it mostly useless. In May 1976, BJU traded the Moorehead farmlands with an Ohio college for $25,000 and a collection of her library books. Moorehead also left her professional papers, scripts, Christmas cards and scrapbooks to the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

In 1994, Moorehead was posthumously inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Guess who...

Yes! The weekend is almost here!

I have a few lessons to teach this afternoon, and then on-going training at ACTION Adoption from 7:00-10:00pm.

Saturday will be a day or writing, and maybe some yard work as long as I don’t over do it. I trimmed shrubs out front Thursday evening, and then raked the cuttings. I was ready for a nap after 30 minutes of fairly easy work. I will hopefully chat with my dear friend, Jeffrey Carter, in St. Louis during the morning.

I plan to get some walking time in providing there is no rain. As always, Flyer will love this. If not, I may head over to the indoor walking track at Trent Arena.

Will take prom photos of the Carter twins Saturday evening, and then enjoy a nice dinner with some wonderful friends. Jose has percussion from 9:00am until 9:00pm Saturday, so I will have time for writing, and spending time with friends.

Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend!

The week was good, but seemingly long.

I am now, once again, a part of the Facebook community after finally convincing Facebook security that I was the legitimate DLJH. I have, however, received a number of comical notes from friends regarding my supposed trip to Drayton, Scotland!

As usual, I was wide awake at 4:15am – something I have been experiencing the past several weeks.

It is time to eat breakfast, feed the pets and get ready for Magsig Middle School’s career day.

I found this site which looks very interesting… have not explored it, yet!

Dayton History Books On-line

This was a slightly busy, yet relaxing week. Despite the heavy rain and thunderstorms throughout the first half of the week, we had mild temperatures. Many times we were threatened with rain, or storms but they by-passed us.

The students were great this week – hard working, and really digging into some good material.

Jose has been busy with marching band percussion until 9:00pm most nights this week, yet we have managed to have some ample quality time together.

I have done a fairly decent job this week with maintaining some good walking time! Flyer has really been enjoying these neighborhood journeys. Tonight, she found a tennis ball, and was delighted to carry it, and then grab it when she tossed it front of her. It certainly made her trip more festive.

Today I had three visits to the doctor to draw blood to see how the new medications are working. The last time, I had to be “stuck” twice but I kept my humor… needles don’t really bother me.

Tomorrow morning I will spend time with Magsig Middle School students in Centerville to discuss the performing arts as a career.  I will have a few hours before teaching to eat lunch, and maybe grab a walk through the neighborhood. After several hours of teaching I will head to ACTION Adoption for training.

Saturday, Jose will have marching band percussion rehearsal from 9:00am-9:00pm. I am planning on working in my study the largest part of the day. I will be at the Carter home by 5:00pm to see the twins as they head off to the Beavercreek prom.

If there weather holds out Sunday, I would like to head down to Old River Park with Jose and grab a canoe to enjoy the 1.5 mile historic lagoon. We had hoped to hit ORP the past few weekends but in-climate weather prevented us from doing so.

Other than that, there is just not much to report.

Tonight as I was ending my last lesson, Joyce Carter, the mother of one of my voice students, asked if I would be watching MODERN FAMILY and THE MIDDLE. I learned these are two comedies that are an absolute riot.

So, as I settled down with my salad, and watched the last fifteen minutes of THE MIDDLE, and am finishing up a second episode before MODERN FAMILY begins.

I am sitting here howling at THE MIDDLE – an ABC sitcome!

What a funny show!

Patricia Heaton, who played “Debra” on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, is in this sitcom, and as always, she delivers a fantastic performance. The children are cracking me up.

Now, I am ready for MODERN FAMILY… am enjoying this evening!

The cast of MODERN FAMILY

Neat article about President Richard Nixon’s grandson, Chris Cox, the son of Ed Cox & Tricia Nixon Cox.

You can read the full article: Chris Cox, Nixon Grandson: \’Wherever We Go People Say That My Grandfather Was Their Favorite President\’

Chris Cox, left, and his parents, center.

Originally published in PLAYBILL.

By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson
11 May 2010

Doris Eaton Travis
Doris Eaton Travis

Doris Eaton Travis, the former Ziegfeld Follies dancer who inspired 21st century audiences with her pluck, good will — and fancy footwork — at 12 of 13 annual Easter Bonnet Competition performances for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, died May 11 at the age of 106, according to Tom Viola, executive director of BC/EFA.

Ms. Eaton was thought to be among “the last of the Ziegfeld Girls” — as were known the bejeweled ensemble of women who graced the stage of the New Amsterdam Theatre (and elsewhere) in producer Flo Ziegfeld’s revues in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Eight decades after her initial bout of fame, she again found an audience on the stage of the New Amsterdam. She danced for a 1998 audience when she appeared with four other graying Ziegfeld veterans in the first Easter Bonnet fundraiser at the theatre, then newly restored, on West 42nd Street.

“She was truly our good luck charm,” Viola told Playbill.com. “In 1998, at 94, she was in incredible shape — in amazing shape. We brought her back every year, and she would dance in the opening number. She taught Sutton Foster how to dance ‘The Black Bottom,’ she danced with the ‘Cagelles’ from the previous revival, we celebrated her 100th birthday on stage, she appeared with the cast of Billy Elliot.”

Ms. Travis had lived recently with her nephew Joe Eaton and his wife outside of Chicago. She previously lived in Norman, OK, where she ran a horse ranch with her husband for 40 years.

Viola told Playbill.com that she took ill Sunday and was taken to the hospital to be rehydrated and was released, but was brought back to the hospital on May 11. She was reportedly talkative in the car, then chatting with the nurses about being a Ziegfeld girl and having just returned from the Bonnet Competition in New York City.

She slipped away quietly, without incident, at the hospital. Viola said, “I’ll bet the sound of the extraordinary ovation she received on stage at the Minskoff just two weeks ago today was ringing in her ears.”

Doris Eaton was born March 14, 1904, in Norfolk, VA. Four of her seven siblings would eventually go onto the stage, including sisters Mary and Pearl, who were also Ziegfeld Girls, and brothers Charles and Joseph, though Joe, disliking show business, left the theatre at a tender age. For a short period in the early 1920s, the three Eaton girls were famous enough that their heart-shaped faces graced the covers of celebrity magazines.

Mama Eaton encouraged the stage ambitions of her children early on, and ambitious older sister Evelyn pushed her brothers and sisters to achieve. Mary, the family’s greatest beauty, was the most famous, headlining the 1926 musical Lucky and receiving top billing with Eddie Cantor in Kid Boots. Pearl split her time between acting and choreographing, becoming quite accomplished at the latter.

Doris Eaton took her first step on Broadway in the 1917 play Mother Carey’s Chickens. She got her big break in the serendipitous manner often seen in Hollywood films. Her sister Pearl had been employed to rehearse a group of dancing girls for a road show of the Follies for producer Ned Wayburn. Doris tagged along to watch.

“During the break, Mr. Wayburn came over to give Pearl some instructions and he kept looking at me. He finally said, ‘Who’s this?’ Pearl said, ‘It’s my youngest sister, Doris.’ ‘Can she dance? I’m looking for somebody to understudy Ann Pennington on the road.’ Pearl knew Pennington’s routines and knew my capacity and she said, ‘She could do that. But, Mr. Wayburn, she’s only 14 and I don’t think her mother would let her go on the road.’ He said, ‘You tell your mother I want Doris to do this and she can travel with her and I’ll pay her mother’s way.'”

Young Doris was the youngest girl featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1918. She also appeared in the 1920 edition of the Follies.

“Florenz Ziegfeld, to us and our family, was just a delightful person,” she told Playbill.com in 2004. “My sisters Mary and Pearl, my brother Charlie and I all worked for him, and he treated us just beautifully, almost like a father. When I went with my mother up to his office, he was always gentlemanly and kindly. He was sort of a quiet person. He was always well-groomed, sort of natty.”

Ms. Eaton modestly admitted she was never the star of the family. Still, she had her moments. She executed a rhythm tap dancing routine in the 1928 musical Cross My Heart which stopped the show cold every night. In the 1929 show The Hollywood Music Box Revue, she introduced the song “Singing in the Rain,” months before Cliff Edwards would deliver it in the film “Hollywood Revue.” And then there was that love affair with Nacio Herb Brown, the composer of “Singin’ in the Rain” and many other standards.

The Eatons’ heyday was short. Offers from both Broadway and Hollywood dried up with the arrival of the Great Depression. Suddenly, the fabulous family business was finished. The clan didn’t handle the reversal in fortunes well. Charlie, Mary and Pearl all battled alcoholism. Glamorous Mary married “three drunks in a row,” as her brother Joe put it, and died of severe metamorphosis of the liver in 1948.

“Ballet dancing and the theatre was really my sister’s whole life,” remembered Doris when discussing Mary in 2004. “It was something inward with her. With Pearl, she liked it but it was a job. With me, it was just a job. I never had stars in my eyes about the theatre.”

Pearl also ended badly. She died in 1958 in her Manhattan Beach apartment, the victim of a bizarre murder which remains unsolved. The sturdy and cheerful Charlie fared best at carving out a long career, often joining Doris as half of a dance team. He died in 2004.

Asked why she survived the seeming tragedy of being shut out of show business while still in the bloom of youth, Ms. Eaton said, “I reached the age of 32 and I took a good look at myself and said ‘What’s going on here? This is nothing. This is not life.’ I went back to church and began to study and find myself. I got some inner strength from that.”

Ms. Eaton left show business, but later became the owner of 18 Arthur Murray dance studios in Michigan, which she operated for 30 years. She also ran a horse ranch in Oklahoma with her late husband, Paul Travis, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma at the age of 88.

In 2003, she published “The Days We Danced,” a frank biography of her family’s history on and off the stage—a tale replete with glory and heartbreak in even amounts.

Ms. Eaton took her last bow April 27, during the opening number of the 2010 Easter Bonnet show. She rode onstage in a giant Easter basket, giving the initial impression that she could no longer walk. But Ms. Travis brought the audience to its feet when she rose to her own feet and took center stage. Steadied by two shirtless young male dancers, she executed a kick or two and thanked the audience for the love they had shown her over the 12 years of her appearances at the Bonnet event. She then headed into the wings under her own power.

This is a really neat article about Broadway producers.

Take time to read What does a Broadway Producer do? Over 100 Producers respond.

The article can be found at THE PRODUCER\’S PERSPECTIVE

A producer is a rare, paradoxical genius: hard-headed, soft-hearted, cautious, reckless, a hopeful innocent in fair weather, a stern pilot in stormy weather, a mathematician who prefers to ignore the laws of mathematics and trust intuition, an idealist, a realist, a practical dreamer, a sophisticated gambler, a stage-struck child.  That’s a producer.

– Oscar Hammerstein II

“I dreamed a dream, a silent dream of a land not far away where no bird sang, no steeples rang, and teardrops fell like rain.

I dreamed a dream; a silent dream. I dreamed a dream of a land so filled with pride that every song, both weak and strong, withered and died.

I dreamed a dream – No hallelujah; not one hosanna! No song of love, no lullaby.

And no choir sang to change the world. No pipers played, no dancers twirled. I dreamed a dream; a silent dream.

Awake, awake! Soli deo gloria! Awake, Awake!

Awake my soul and sing, the time for praise has come. The silence of the night has passed, a new day has begun!

Let music never die in me; forever let my spirit sing!

Wherever emptiness is found let there be joy and glorious sound.

Let music never die in me; forever let my spirit sing!

Let all our voices join as one to praise the giver of the sun!

Awake, awake!

Let music live!”

By Joseph M. Martin

Sometime before the sun was scheduled to rise, the rain began, coming down pretty hard. When Jose left for school at 7:45am, I could hear it pounding on the deck outside my bedroom window. Finally, at 9:10am, it has subsided. The skies are grey, and the wind blowing steadily. The backyard, however, is beautiful with a lush green; the tree branches, heavy with moisture, bow low.

I have about ten emails that require my response, and am waiting on several more to confirm items before I can respond to the ones already waiting on my response.

I have several things to prepare for this week, and must get moving.

Storms are likely throughout the day, but we are assured that there will be moments throughout the day when the sunshine will peak through!

Tools ‹ The Play-Wright Flyer Guy — WordPress.

Here are some photo from my family in Fowler, Indiana. Pictured are my sister-in-law, Stacia, and my nephews, Parker (4), and Freddie (2).

One of my newest favorite books is HOUSES OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS.

Some day I would love to travel, seeing as many of these homes. My all time favorite is the Ford Mansion in Morristown, New Jersey.

Here are some other homes….

On National Geographic Channel I am watching SEARCH FOR NOAH\’S ARK. I can remember as a child watching a documentary on Noah’s ark being discovered at the movie theater in my home town around 1973. Of course, I also went to see another movie on Bigfoot.

So far, this movie is unfolding nicely, and I hope there is evidence of an actual ark.

Here is one website: NoahsArkSearch.Com

Another article of a more recent find this past April is: ARTICLE: Noah\’s Ark Found!

Some photos:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.”
–– Ralph Waldo Emerson

A weekend of hacking, planning and prepping, cleaning, and all sorts of other mundane, yet slightly invigorating tasks. I still cannot log into my Facebook account, and this is most aggravating.

Sunday I clicked on an icon in my start-up menu, having completely forgotten it was there. It was Microsoft Office OneNote.

Microsoft Office OneNote is a software package for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. While OneNote is most commonly used on laptops or desktop PCs, it has additional features for use on pen-enabled Tablet PCs, in environments where pen, audio or video notes are more appropriate than an intensive use of keyboards.  OneNote notebooks are designed for collecting, organizing and sharing possibly unpolished materials, typically for projects usually targeted at publishing in some way. Pages can be moved inside the binder, annotated with a stylus, word-processing or drawing tools. Users may add embedded multimedia recordings and web links. OneNote’s file format (.one) is proprietary. One of OneNote’s innovations is the integration of search features and indexing into a free-form graphics and audio repository. Images (e.g., screen captures, embedded document scans, or photographs) can be searched for embedded text content. Electronic ink annotations can also be searched as text. Audio recordings can also be searched phonetically by giving a text key, and can be replayed concurrently with the notes taken during the recording.

I am still learning the program, but have thoroughly enjoyed getting organized through this incredible tool.

This week, and next contain particularly busy days. While working on the Wright Brothers’ musical, I am also preparing for Magsig Middle School’s career day, which I have thoroughly enjoyed in previous years. I have a few items to touch up on the presentation, and then I am good to go. Thursday is an endocrinology  appointment for my diabetes.

The following week I have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, and a home visit from an ACTION Adoption Services case worker to prepare my home study.

And I am also adjusting to the new schedule of trying to master 10,000 steps (walking) per day. For the most part, the slightly new diet is very agreeable, and I am loving the fact that my appetite is greatly diminished – especially where meal portions are concerned.

There is not much more to report here. I am behind in starting my writing for the day as I have been doing other odds & ends.

I have not seen Harvey, the white squirrel newly moved into my neighborhood. For several mornings, Harvey has scampered down the tree outside my study to look in on me. He will position himself on the tree and fence, and stare in through the window. I did happen to capture him on film the Saturday morning.

“I am convinced that attitude is the key to success or failure in almost any of life’s endeavors. Your attitude-your perspective, your outlook, how you feel about yourself, how you feel about other people-determines you priorities, your actions, your values. Your attitude determines how you interact with other people and how you interact with yourself.” Carolyn Warner

Betty White was the host for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE this past weekend, and was an absolute hit…

Betty White on SNL…

Over the past year or so, I have become a fan of Joel Osteen. For me, he is very similar to Dr. Robert Schuller and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale – full of positive thinking!

Here are some of my favorite messages…

Joel Osteen – Get Out Of The Boat

If You Believe, All Things Are Possible

Become A Better You – Interview

Erma Bombeck has been one of my favorite authors, and humorists since I was in the fourth grade.

Here are some quotes and videos….

A friend doesn’t go on a diet because you are fat.

A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday.

A friend will tell you she saw your old boyfriend – and he’s a priest.

All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.

Anybody who watches three games of football in a row should be declared brain dead.

Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they’re not trying to keep up with you.

Being a child at home alone in the summer is a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you.

Car designers are just going to have to come up with an automobile that outlasts the payments.

Children make your life important.

Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?

Do you know what you call those who use towels and never wash them, eat meals and never do the dishes, sit in rooms they never clean, and are entertained till they drop? If you have just answered, “A house guest,” you’re wrong because I have just described my kids.

Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.

For some of us, watching a miniseries that lasts longer than most marriages is not easy.

For years my wedding ring has done its job. It has led me not into temptation. It has reminded my husband numerous times at parties that it’s time to go home. It has been a source of relief to a dinner companion. It has been a status symbol in the maternity ward.

Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club. You’re not out of it until the computer says you’re out of it.

God created man, but I could do better.

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.

House guests should be regarded as perishables: Leave them out too long and they go bad.

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.

How come anything you buy will go on sale next week?

Humorists can never start to take themselves seriously. It’s literary suicide.

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.

I have a hat. It is graceful and feminine and give me a certain dignity, as if I were attending a state funeral or something. Someday I may get up enough courage to wear it, instead of carrying it.

I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up.

I haven’t trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I’ve never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.

I never leaf through a copy of National Geographic without realizing how lucky we are to live in a society where it is traditional to wear clothes.

I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms: “Checkout Time is 18 years.”

I was terrible at straight items. When I wrote obituaries, my mother said the only thing I ever got them to do was die in alphabetical order.

I was too old for a paper route, too young for Social Security and too tired for an affair.

I will buy any creme, cosmetic, or elixir from a woman with a European accent.

I’ve exercised with women so thin that buzzards followed them to their cars.

If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.

If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.

In general my children refuse to eat anything that hasn’t danced in television.

In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.

It goes without saying that you should never have more children than you have car windows.

It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.

Like religion, politics, and family planning, cereal is not a topic to be brought up in public. It’s too controversial.

Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery.

Most women put off entertaining until the kids are grown.

My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

Never accept a drink from a urologist.

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

Never go to your high school reunion pregnant or they will think that is all you have done since you graduated.

Never have more children than you have car windows.

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

Never order food in excess of your body weight.

No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.

On vacations: We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.

Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.

One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child’s name and how old he or she is.

Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time.

People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing.

Allow for room to grow.

Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me. It’s gossip.

Someone once threw me a small, brown, hairy kiwi fruit, and I threw a wastebasket over it until it was dead.

Sometimes I can’t figure designers out. It’s as if they flunked human anatomy.

Somewhere it is written that parents who are critical of other people’s children and publicly admit they can do better are asking for it.

Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago.

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.

The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.

There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo.

There is one thing I have never taught my body how to do and that is to figure out at 6 A.M. what it wants to eat at 6 P.M.

There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

There’s something wrong with a mother who washes out a measuring cup with soap and water after she’s only measured water in it.

What’s with you men? Would hair stop growing on your chest if you asked directions somewhere?

When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911.

When humor goes, there goes civilization.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me”.

When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.

Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother.

Why would anyone steal a shopping cart? It’s like stealing a two-year-old.

Youngsters of the age of two and three are endowed with extraordinary strength. They can lift a dog twice their own weight and dump him into the bathtub.

PBS Documentary – Erma Bombeck: A Legacy of Laughter…

ERMA BOMBECK: A Legacy of Laughter


Erma Bombeck quotation video…

A Mother’s Day message from First Lady Michelle Obama… (from WhiteHouse.Gov)

Dear Friend,

There’s no way I could ever measure all that my own mother has done for me. She is my rock. She pushes me to be the best professional, mother, wife and friend I can be.

As a mother myself, I’ve come to realize that being a mom isn’t always easy and that no one can do it alone.

My husband understands the many challenges facing today’s mothers and their families. His Administration has taken steps to level the playing field and ease the burden.

The first bill the President signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure that no women face the same discrimination and injustices that Lilly did after 20 years on the job. When women make less money than men for the same work, families have to work harder just to get by.

The President signed an Executive Order creating the first-ever White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Federal agencies take women and girls into account in their daily work and to ensure that our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons.

Through the Let’s Move! Initiative and the President’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity, we’re helping to provide parents with the knowledge and tools they need to make healthy choices for their children and teach their children to make healthy choices for themselves.

This week, we are celebrating Women’s Health Week to promote steps women and girls can take to lead longer, healthier and happier lives.

Mother’s Day is about showing our gratitude for the mothers and mother figures who have influenced our lives. The President and I would like to extend our warmest Mother’s Day wishes to all of the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends who have inspired a child.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Michelle Obama

I woke this morning, for the first time in several weeks, with renewed energy, and not the first bit of sluggishness. Despite the grey clouds that shrouded the Miami Valley this morning, I was determined to have an enjoyable day, filled with writing, reading, walking and spending time with Jose.

Around 9:30am, after accomplishing a good deal, I received an email from Facbook requesting to verify a change of password. I had not changed my password!

From a previous experience last October, I knew that I was being hacked.

However, this was to quickly become a little more complicated.

As I attempted to change my Facebook password to secure it, I was suddenly logged out of my email account on SBC. I logged back in, and discovered I had no contacts remaining in my contact folder.

Then a call from a Beavercreek friend alerted me to the fact that an email was being distributed from a slightly altered email address, claiming I had been mugged in Scotland! While I was on the telephone with this friend, another friend, currently living in England, called to say she had received an email (and probably wondering why I was not visiting her being so close!).

I was quickly discovering that even having reset my email password four times, someone was still breaking into my email account and sending out bogus messages regarding my financial distress in Scotland. Incoming emails were being moved – right before my eyes – to my “trash” folder. Jose had sent me the URL to my Facebook site, and we both watched as his newly arrived email was deposited into the “trash” file.

I began juggling several items at once, and by 2:30pm had most things wrapped up.

My on-line banking, Sprint, Time-Warner and Facebook had all been hacked. Fortunately, everything except Facebook, is safe. As I was juggling items, the hacker completely changed my email address into Facebook, and now I cannot even make a claim that I have forgotten my password to have it sent to my email – that original email address no longer exists to gain entry into my account.

Major UGH!

I have been seriously hacked in my email accounts and my Facebook account. Facebook says I no longer exist! Ugh… it is a mess!

As a child, my grandmother frequently reminded me that she shared a birthday with President Truman, and that her 21st birthday was dually celebrated with VE Day!

So here is a birthday tribute to one of my favorite presidents (don’t worry Mr. Lincoln, you are still the top dog!)…

President Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953

President Truman, and “The Boss” – First Lady, Bess Truman

Harry & Bess Truman on their wedding day

President Truman, an accomplished pianist, with Jack Benny

The Truman Home in Independence, Missouri

President Lyndon Johnson signs The 1965 Medicare Act as former president Harry Truman, Bess Truman and Lady Bird Johnson look on.

The graves of Harry & Bess Truman at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence

What a picture!

Two of my favorite guys – Harry Truman and Winston Churchill

One of my favorite photographs of all time… the Trumans.

Today, May 8th, my grandmother, Donna M. Clary-Barmes, would have been 88 years old.

Here are some photographs of my grandmother throughout the years she blessed so many lives… especially, mine.

Donna Clary in 1st grade; approx. 1929-1930

Donna with her older brother, Ronald Monroe Clary (1921-1936)

Donna with her younger sister, Joyce Ann Clary-Riser.

Donna’s senior portrait, 1940; Summitville High School, Indiana.

My grandparents (Donna Clary & Leroy Barmes) in 1941 before their 1943 marriage.

My grandmother with her parents (Mary Belle Jones-Clary, Garrett Clary) and sister, Joyce; 1962.

Four generations: Belle Clary, Diana Barmes (my mother), myself, Donna Barmes; December 1964.

Donna with her parents, Garrett & Belle Clary, and her sister, Joyce Riser. 1967.

My mother, Diana, and my grandmother, Donna. 1990.

Grandma Donna, 1990.

Donna Mae Clary Barmes

8 May 1924 – 27 June 1992

I discovered this photo of Mary Todd Lincoln. I had never seen this photograph, supposedly taken in Springfield, 1860.

My dear friend in St. Louis, Jeffrey Carter, is always a few steps ahead of me with technology (and a score of other things that raises my admiration and respect for him), and I figured out how I can write a blog post on my Word Press account and get it to post simultaneously on my Facebook and Twitter sites!

So much easier!

The lilac bush, which offered more than 140 large bouquets given away, was still full. The lovely blooms have finally died off. However, the clematis is blooming around the front yard corner-fence.

I am hoping to paint the front yard corner-gate, wagon wheel, bench, and mailbox. We have some nasty weather approaching, so this paint session will have to wait.

This has been a particularly long week. Not a bad week, mind you, but one that just felt terribly long – one that dragged.

The doctor suggested I split my medication in half as I have been battling extreme fatigue. Hopefully the half dose will help me maintain the usual amount of energy that carries my full day.

I have done little this week that amounts to what I would call a successful week, but I do feel rested. I have walked nearly two miles each day, and am hopefully with renewed energy, I can at least accomplish 10,000+ steps each day, or 5 miles. My waist does seem to be reducing, and I am wearing shorts I have not worn in several years… progress. The medication does seem to reduce my appetite which is a blessing. My meal portions are much smaller, yet I do feel full!

Tonight, after teaching private lessons I will teach a pre-adoptive course at ACTION Adoption.

Saturday I will hopefully accomplish some work, and attend one of the two productions of [title of show], produced by some students at Wright State University. If the weather permits, I would like to hit Old River Park’s canoes with Jose.

May 8th would have been my grandmother’s 86th birthday, and each Mother’s Day I always remember her fondly by playing, “Red River Valley,” one of her personal favorites.

I have no idea what Sunday holds beyond a Mother’s Day call to Mother.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and please don’t forget to wish all the mothers you know a “happy Mother’s Day.”

What Makes 100%?

What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%.

How about achieving 103%?

What makes up 100% in life?

Here’s a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

If:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:
H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

And
K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But ,
A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

And,
B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T
2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G
1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.
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