“Never In Denver” CD Release

January 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm (Musings...)

Concert in Ebensburg 2007 David Tauler (guest musician) and NID, Nuc, Amanda, Chris and Posido

My darling daughter, Amanda Joy is a singer.  She is part of an indie jazz group called, “Never In Denver.”  They have been working for about 3 years on an album.  It has been released!  I am including links so you can preview the songs.  No pressure to purchase the album, I just want to share with my friends this great music.

I am so proud of her.

http://www.neverindenver.com/   (Their home web page)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/windmills/id416245154?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/neverindenver

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Empty Rooms

January 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm (Musings...)

Amanda left for school in 2000 and except for visits home, doesn’t live here anymore.  Brent left in May 2009.  Tess died on Sunday.  Now the house really seems empty.  Crabby Max (the cat) doesn’t count because he spends most of his time sleeping in cubby holes, corners and sun-spots.  He comes for a petting a few times a day, but otherwise I don’t see him.  Darling DannyO works long hours.

Tess' dish and toys...

I am going in circles in and out of my empty rooms — they are filled with memories.  I talked to Tess all day long ~~ I didn’t realize it until she was gone.   The answer IS NOT to get another animal, adopt a child, fill my schedule with more stuff.   I am a hermit by nature and I like my alone time.   The answer is to behave my way through this time in my life.  Probably by next week, I will be ready to move forward with joy.  I’ve got painting, sewing and jewelry projects that need to get done.  I’m going to give myself until the end of the week to grieve 24-7.   Then I’m going to paint, sew (wait until you see my newest ideas!), bend wire and string beads. 

Until then, I’m going to give myself permission to be sad.  Tess’ dish and toys will stay in view until I’m ready to put them away 😦

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How Do You Say Goodbye??

January 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm (Musings...)

Faithful Friend

 

2010 ~~ Tess's last summer (wide smile 🙂 )

It is 4:15 a.m.  I am sitting in the TV room with darling DannyO.  Tess died at 2:54 this morning.  She had been declining, I knew that.   I just thought we’d be bribing her with treats, lifting her back legs for her, carrying her up and down the stairs for a few months longer.  Yesterday she wouldn’t eat, except for a treat or two.  She couldn’t climb the stairs.  Danny carried her up to our bedroom, where she has her night-time blanket, at about 10:30.  I spent some time loving on her, telling her it was okay for her to go when she needed to.  We both fell asleep.  At 1:00, something woke me up.  It was Tess, breathing laboriously.  She had soiled her blankets.  I ran down to get Dan.  We sat with her as she struggled to breathe.  At 1:40 we called our vet friend, Tim to ask if there was anything else we could do.  (Thank you for answering and understanding!)   He said “no.”  He planned to come this morning to put her down if she was still alive.

Her favorite sleeping position

As her breathing became more shallow, she was still recognizing our voices.  We realized she was trying to stay alive because we were talking to her.  We turned off the lights and crawled into bed.  Within 10 minutes she died.

Her "bedtime" blanket

How do you wrap 13 1/2 years of unconditional love into one tome??  You can’t.  Memories flood through my mind.  Like the time she chewed Dan’s brand new, I mean, just out of the box, tennis shoes ~~ just one shoe.  She always had to have a “gift” in her mouth for us when we came home… sometimes two!  Her puppet was her favorite present…  She would “whisper” for a treat.  I spent my days stepping back on her until I got the sweeper out.  Then she would make herself scarce ~~ she was afraid to be swept.  When it was bedtime (9:30 in her book) she would stand by my chair and sigh, really loudly, until I went to bed.  She licked tears away.  She greeted Brent and Amanda with so much love, her body would quiver.  She loved to hear the name “Papap.”   She’d run to the window when we said “Papap” was coming.   She loved to stick her nose into holes… you never knew what she would find!!   Tess barked at the squirrels on the bird feeder ~~ once for one treat ~~ that’s how she rolled!!   She was fiercely protective of us, always ready to bristle if she thought we needed protected.   She loved bites of lunchmeat, cheese, grapes, the crusts from pies, pizzas… pretty much anything we ate, she ate.   Tess was #12 on my “100 things” list.

The last picture I took of Tess -- 1-11-11 ~~ via cell phone

How do you say goodbye?    The memories of the unconditional love she gave us envelopes me like the blue blanket we lovingly wrapped her in one last time early this morning.   Sweet friend, we will miss you 😦

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My Living Room Drapes ~ Cheapskate style!

January 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm (Sewing Projects)

I have blogged before about the coldness of our living room.  We moved the TV to a smaller, warmer room.  It will take thousands of dollars to replace all 20 windows, which have lost most of their R-factor!  I am also a miser, well, except for buying shoes, but that is a blog for another time 🙂  I priced window treatments for the 10 lower windows, triple-lined, 95″ long panels.  The price was, well, in the high hundreds!  The problem with making the drapes from scratch is the fabric, for the three layers is also cost-prohibitive. 

Enter my creative brain and sewing skills.  I purchased 5, 84″ triple-lined ivory panels at Big Lots for $15.00 each.  I purchased two more unlined 84″ panels in an ocean blue color with a lattice-type pattern stitched into the drape for $12.00 each.  I took apart all the hems in the ivory panels and the hem and side-seams in the blue panels.  I cut the blue panels into 28″ pieces, marked the ivory panels 71″ down and attached the blue panels.  $100.00, two days, 8 hours, three naps, 5 eye breaks later, VOILA!! 

Now I must add a lining to the bottom of each panel, but I plan to simply use hem-tape… maybe next week.  I can already feel the difference!  We will see how they work this weekend… temperatures are supposed to get into the single digits!

The pile of drapes -- deconstructed!

~~ All Finished ~~

 I wish I had the $$ to purchase beautiful, custom drapes, but there is something so satisfying about using my creativity and skills to make something beautiful… and they ARE beautiful!

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100 Things

January 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm (Musings...)

My young blogging friend, Tabitha Studer (see her blog link, Team Studer in my blogroll) made a list of 100 thing that made her happy/that she loved.  I took the challenge.  Believe it or not, it wasn’t that easy!  I came up with the first 25 or so immediately, but I needed to become very reflective, very introspective to come up  with the remaining 75.  I spent 24 hours with my journal by my side and as I thought of things, I wrote them down.   Here is my list.  Except for the top 10, they are in no particular order.   I have a new appreciation for what TRULY makes me happy.  I am indeed blessed.

  1. My salvation
  2. Darling DannyO
  3. Precious Amanda
  4. My boy, Brent Daniel
  5. My MacArthur study Bible
  6. Sewing Machines
  7. Watching the birds at their feeder
  8. Coffee
  9. My painting book library
  10. Silver wire
  11. a happy room painted yellow
  12. Tess … (and crabby Max)
  13. Ice Cream
  14. Juel’s great advice
  15. a warm wood fire
  16. ESPN
  17. my creative brain that never shuts off
  18. Sunday Soup
  19. Heather Jill
  20. Daddy’s voice
  21. my piano
  22. fun red hair highlights 🙂
  23. Shopping … with the click of a mouse
  24. Amanda’s singing
  25. naps
  26. water with lemon
  27. watching football
  28. my Ipod
  29. Bath & Bodyworks lemongrass sage lotion
  30. dark chocolate
  31. lunch with Jana
  32. the smell of a pumpkin spice candle
  33. apricot roll
  34. my “Shark” steam cleaner
  35. rehearsing EBC’s contemporary choir
  36. “Creative Souls/No Rules” Monday nights
  37. supper with Dave, Shelly, Mark, Debbie and darling DannyO
  38. TJ Maxx
  39. Spanx
  40. the color of the sun filtering through autumn’s leaves
  41. Grandma Amelia’s rose bush
  42. the way Brent says, “Hey Mom!”
  43. Amanda’s hugs
  44. tomato soup
  45. a fresh tomato sandwich
  46. shoes ~~ any will do 🙂
  47. my teapot collection
  48. old photographs
  49. my new laptop
  50. remembering Grammy’s “it be otay” phrase
  51. my prayer journal
  52. EBC
  53. singing 🙂
  54. NCIS
  55. cousin Mikey’s niagara wine
  56. loaded baked potatoes
  57. a hot, hot shower
  58. Pilates
  59. eating supper while watching TV with darling DannyO
  60. anything  pink
  61. a little bling
  62. a garage door opener that works!
  63. Allrecipes.com
  64. a sparkly, clean house
  65. tapioca pudding
  66. the warmth of a down comforter
  67. Marlene’s pizza
  68. watching a snowstorm
  69. lists
  70. playing the piano while Amanda sings
  71. getting a package
  72. rummaging through a goodwill store
  73. the scent of the air after a summer rain
  74. a sweet tangerine
  75. pumpkin pie
  76. my art studio
  77. morning sunlight streaming through clean windows
  78. sleeping in
  79. the E-trade baby commercials
  80. pink popcorn
  81. no clutter
  82. balancing our checkbook to the penny
  83. NASCAR, baby!
  84. the snowflake necklace my Momma gave me
  85. Judge Judy
  86. meandering through a fabric store
  87. reading the last few pages of a book ~~ first
  88. Psalm 139
  89. snow tires
  90. Sheetz wild berry smoothie
  91. HD
  92. my dishwasher
  93. Mally’s eyebrow tamer
  94. my snowman collection
  95. eyes working together (literally)
  96. Big Bang Theory (TV show)
  97. soft, thick socks
  98. a great neurosurgeon 🙂
  99. my fabric collection
  100. painting

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Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

January 17, 2011 at 10:31 am (Singing)

I have been singing since I was three years old.  I don’t know what memories my sisters have (I know some aren’t happy ~~ and I’m sorry for that), but my remembrances are mostly fond.  Dad pushed us to be the best we could be.  I was involved in high school musicals, college musicals, a college group called, “Sound Investment.”  I wanted to sing on broadway.  I auditioned for “Truth” but was too afraid to make the trip.  When I quit college (Dad lost his job in the mines), I came home and joined a family group, “The Christian Diplomats.” 

Singing at New Germany Grove

Playing "Lucy"

 
I was known as a “dramatic soprano.”  That is basically a person with a very loud voice 🙂  Seriously, though, I defined who I was greatly through my voice.  I got married and  had children.   Amanda started to sing and I stopped.  I, instead facilitated her.  I never wanted her to feel she was competing with me.

Last Chorus Concert I accompanied

For 13 years I accompanied the Central Cambria choirs, facilitating young people to sing.  It was such a rewarding experience.
 
Something happened along the way… my voice deteriorated.  I think several things caused this to happen:  the natural aging of my body, my MS, and the fact that I didn’t exercise my gift. 
 
Today I am taking a voice lesson.  I have three requests… that he help me “contemporize” my voice, that I regain, even gain more vocal flexibility, and the ability to control my vibrato.  I don’t know if any of this is possible, but, hey, if I don’t try, I won’t know!!

Singing with my family

All I know is that somewhere along my journey, I’ve lost confidence.  I want to be able to sing again, to sing beautifully, and to enjoy the process!!  I will report on my progress.

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My Fabulous Meatloaf

January 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm (Recipes)

It is cold and very snowy here in western Pennsylvania.  One of my favorite winter “comfort” foods is meatloaf.  I must admit I don’t make it as much as I used to.  It was an inexpensive meal when my darling children lived at home.  Yesterday I dug out my recipe ~~ from a cookbook my Aunt Agnes gave me the year I was married, 1980.  I have made a few additions/changes to the recipe and the following is my 2010 version.  Even though it is very easy to make, it is fabulous!  The Piquant sauce adds a sweet/sour flavor to this already perfect masterpiece!!

Melodye Joy’s Meatloaf

  • 2/3 cup dry bread crumbs (I have been using “Panko,” a Japanese breadcrumb ~~ my new favorite, but you can use regular bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I have been buying the “meatloaf” mixture, veal, pork, beef, but you can use ground beef)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 small onion, grated (I prefer to grate, that way there are no onion pieces, only the flavor)
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1 8 oz. can stems/pieces mushrooms, drained
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash pepper
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, cubed into smallish pieces

Line 9×13 cake pan or glass baking dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil (cuts down on the mess).  Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl, soak bread crumbs in milk; add meat, beaten eggs, onion, carrots, mushrooms and seasoning.  Grab a pair of disposable gloves if you want to ~~ I do!  Mix well.  Begin to shape.  Tuck cubed cheese into the center of the loaf.  It will be sticky and messy.  You don’t have to be perfect!   Slide into baking dish ~~ re-shape if necessary.  Cover with piquant sauce.  Bake approximately 1 1/4 hour, uncovered.  (Check at 1 hour, but I like cooking for 15 more minutes to be sure 🙂  ).

Piquant Sauce

  • 3-6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard

Combine until smooth.  Pour over meatloaf.

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Pink Popcorn

January 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm (Musings...)

A am a sugar addict.  There!!  I’ve said it!!  I control my weight by eating very badly, in that I count calories, not food groups.  So, if I decide to have an ice cream cone for lunch… that is my lunch!!  Hey, my kids are grown up and living away from home so I don’t have to make sure they have “balanced” meals.  I blame my addiction on my mother.  Doesn’t everyone blame somebody?? 🙂  Seriously, my mother used to buy candy and hide it.  Our goal was to find it!  Debbie was the absolute best candy-finder!! 

This pink and white popcorn is one of my  guilty Christmas pleasures.  It is only available this time of year.  I picked up the last bag of the season.  Guess what I’m having for lunch???

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Back to Normal

January 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm (Musings...)

I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge, but I’m glad Christmas is over.  This holiday celebrates Jesus’ birth.   Our tree was beautiful, Christmas Day was so much fun ~~ I will blog my Peach French Toast recipe another day (our tradition!).  However, I do not like the clutter that IS Christmas.   The day we put our tree up, darling DannyO and I decided to switch rooms.  We moved the TV room to a warmer place in the house.  The 20-window room, which can get cold, is now my office/music room.  Yesterday the last of the decorations were taken down and we took the 12-foot tree out the front door.  Today I cleaned… and cleaned… and cleaned…  My house is happy.  It can breathe!

My New Office

 

A View From The Balcony

The piano is against the stairway wall.  Ignore the pink chair.  I will be covering that in a shade of carmel corduroy or shantung in the near future.  I am using my Grandma Amelia’s kitchen table as a desk.  I am surrounded by light and peace in this room ~~ even though it gets rather cold in the dead of winter!

A view from the doorway

 

Darling DannyO's Man Chair

We have crammed some big furniture into a small room, but it is a happy room 🙂 .  Dan hung my primitive green shelf and we are surrounded by photos and artwork (some by me!)

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Creative Reflections of 2010

January 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm (Decorative Painting, Jewelry)

I didn’t think I had a very creative year until I started to compile pictures for this blog!   I don’t always take pictures of things I give away (a very bad habit I need to correct) so these will just be a “snapshot” of my year.  I progressed in my decorative painting and grew by leaps and bounds in my jewelry-making endeavor.  I haven’t opened an Etsy shop… that is one of my 2011 goals. 

The very interesting thing about my MS is that I do not have “intention tremors” when I shift to my right brain to create.  I can only work in short periods of time because my right eye “flips” and I see double ~~ focusing is an important part of my art! 🙂 

All in all, I am happy with my 2010 creativity.  I have lots more to learn and much to do…

"Bonnie's Necklace" I created this for a lady, using her grandmother's, mother's and aunt's jewelry.

I love working with memory wire!

 

The more bling, the better 🙂

"Psalm 139"

Santa Plate

My very favorite purple earrings !!

My very own design ~~ "I Sing"

A happy teapot ~~ My Design

From an art seminar I took

My little snowman design for my friend, Jana

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