Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pictures from the AI5 Finale were all very purple or orangey, so I couldn't help myself, I had to play with a few. This first one is a screen capture just as the camera changed from looking out into the audience to a close up of Clay. Then, I adjusted the color. The next three were run through an add on filter I have for Photoshop Elements 4 called "Virtual Photographer".

It's amazing how many of these screen captures are showing up on all the boards, I hope we get more actual photographs this week when the entertainment magazines come out. Last Wednesday's AI5 finale received a tremendous boost by Clay's appearance. The buzz buzz buzz is encouraging for the reception of Clay's sophmore album. I think it will be a smash hit, it is so patently obvious the world is just tapping their feet.....waiting.

This last picture is just put through a Photoshop Elements filter called "dry brush", I kind of like the effect.

Technorati tags:

Monday, May 29, 2006

All this talk about Clay's hair has me thinking about some of the various versions. I don't believe I have ever posted in a "like or dislike" the hair conversation because I really don't care, but I guess I do have favorites. Right now it's tossup between the new Claydo and the Jukebox Tour hair. So, I thought I would revisit one of my Jukebox tour concerts and add some of the video I took. Hmmm, probably the most memorable was Columbus, where I not only enjoyed the concert immensely and was in my home state for the first time in years but I won a Meet and Greet. The video can be seen in Marhaven's Favorite Videos - See the link on the sidebar to the right.

Here is my meet and greet blog. All my concert blogs are posted below, I brought them all over from a different site, so they are at the bottom of May.

Marhaven's Meet & Greet in Columbus...All Pictures are Clickable

8/9/05 - This is the day of the "longest drive". I have to make it from Vienna, Va to Columbus, Ohio in time for my meet and greet. My concert companion has decided to keep her car as she will be going on to Musikfest after Columbus, while I will go down to Lancaster, Ohio for a couple of days. She will now join me in Columbus in a couple of days and go on to Michigan and Indiana with me from there. So, I'm on my own for the long trip and it starts out rainy....a long day, I navigated heavy fog on a mountain top, lots and lots of trucks....was in Va, Del, Pa, WV and Ohio before I arrived at the fairgrounds.

Meet and Greet - OK, now first I have to say that I am one that has stated she didn't care if she got a M&G at all, and to some extent I still do think they are an artificial way to meet someone....but it does give you an opportunity to stand right next to the guy, make direct eye contact, get a little body contact (hand shake, hug), exchange a couple of words, have your picture taken with him and get something autographed. Although I got the standing next to and the eye contact in Greenville, I wasn't about to pass this up!!!

They lined us up outside in the heat and humidity (so we would smell fragrant for Clay would be my guess) and when it was time they brought us through the venue and lined us up outside again at the back. The buses were there. Mary was wandering around talking on a phone, lots of security guys. There was a podium along side of a chain link fence and they lined us up in front of that, it was very organized. Mary stood beside the podium and Nick alongside. You handed your camera to Nick who would take the picture and your object to be signed to Mary.

Here is Clay walking across to the M&G area - nice of him to "dress up" for us. He looks very cute, huh?

I took a few pictures as we got closer to the podium......here is one. I love how casual and relaxed he looked.

Now, they do run you through as quickly as possible. I handed Mary my Clay calendar and had to explain I didn't want him to sign the picture, but on the white, calendar, part. We got that straight, I handed Nick the camera (neglecting to adjust the zoom, which is why you will see Clay and I up close and personal...in a sec. Nick takes one picture, that's it, if you don't like it, too bad. Clay asked my name and I mumbled something....I think it was the right name, it appears correctly on the calendar, although he did ask how to spell it and we discussed why someone would spell Cindy Cyndi....LOL. Then, when he was deciding where to sign I said well, you can sign on the 24th as that is my birthday and so he did, but I wish I hadn't done that, I hadn't meant to, it just slipped out....cuz then I got a couple Happy Birthday's before we were done!! Marhaven hates having birthdays. And, he signed it Happy Birthday, Cindy....So, then, I move over for the picture, he puts his arm around me and Nick shoots the pic. A security guard then becomes your companion and you are ushered back into the venue.

My overall impression of non-concert Clay was of a very sweet, kind and gentle man. Someone we would hand our daughters over to in a heartbeat.....and those that are young enough, someone to hope to find for ourselves someday. It was a great experience.

So, that was my meet and greet....short, but very sweet!!! And, here is our picture.

The concert....oh, yeah....we were here for a concert!!! Well, it was wonderful. I am puzzled at times how he just seems to get better...it is clear Ohio loves Clay - the noise was overwhelming at times. And, as usual, he reacts to the enthusiasm and really gets into it. I truly fell in love with A Thousand Days in this concert. He put everything he had into it and it was obvious he loves the song and now I do too.. Just a spectacular concert.

Technorati tags:

Saturday, May 27, 2006

"I have no idea why my new owner sits and stares at this screen all day"

Thought I'd take a break from watching a certain video over and over. I've been taking pictures of my cats - boy do I love digital cameras, you just click away - no film to develop and waste. Woo Hoo. Not that my pictures are any better, just that I have a lot more, LOL.

Having gone without a cat for a couple of years it is fun to have a couple in the house again. These two cats, one adult and one little 4 week old orphan look a lot alike, they both have blue eyes. The adult is surely a full blooded seal point Siamese and has all the typical Siamese characteristics, brilliant blue eyes, thin lanky body and a "monkey" tail that seems to have a mind of it's own. "Baby" seems to have some ragdoll in her and at this point, about 7 or 8 weeks old I think she is going to retain the blue eyes. Yeah!!

Jasmine is very regal. Well, she's a diva, actually. It isn't hard to get a picture of her looking great because she poses all the time. But, she's also a scamp and gets into her share of trouble. Adding the tiny kitten to the household at first just did not work. There was 2 or 3 days of hissing and flicking of that Siamese tail. After all, she has just found her new home...what was this insult??

What has been so amusing is that "Baby", from day one....all of 4 weeks old has NEVER backed down. She hunches up her back, flicks her tail and launches herself at Jazzy, who at first just stalked off in horror. Things have calmed down a bit and now we often see this.

I do feel like Baby has put some Jazz back in Jazzy. They have marathon playing sessions, taking turns chasing each other full speed through the house. I had forgotten what fun a kitten can be.

"This spinning thing is making me dizzy"

"Bring it on, Big Guy, I can take ya"

"Whoops, How did I end up on my Nose?"

"I can do Pushups too"

"Wasn't me that pulled the tablecloth off the table..."

Hope you enjoyed my kitties.

Technorati tags:

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sometimes Words Are Just Not Necessary.....

Technorati tags:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I’m speechless. One of the facets of Clay Aiken that I admire is that there ARE so many facets. Every time you turn around, a different look appears - the look might be in his attitude, his sense of humor or in his hairstyle of the moment. No two pictures are ever the same, he is a photographer’s dream come true. Check out the pictures of Ryan Seacrest, for example, they all look the same - he is one dimensional. Not so with Clay.

Last night Clay stole the show from Kat and Taylor. Not completely, it was their night, but his small segment was without a doubt, one of the funniest skits ever done on AI and will be repeated over and over. The absolute water cooler moment. It was brilliant.

The way Clay treated that young man with such dignity turned what could have been an embarassing moment into a very tender and memorable one. Michael, is obviously a huge fan and to get to meet his idol and sing with him on stage for a few seconds was priceless. Ryan was going to pull him to the side immediately when Clay came out, but I was glad to see Clay stop Ryan and let Michael continue. And, I was equally as glad to see Ryan finally come and get Michael and put him on the stool so we could better concentrate on the new look and the wonderful voice!!!!

Wow, the talk buzzing, buzzing, buzzing about the “new look”. What is it about Clay’s hair that gets people in such a tizzy. It’s just hair. His new hair style makes him look like John Lennon, some say.....but I saw a little Harry Connick, Jr. In there. Reminds me of this album cover, a little....what do you think??

Did I say yet that I thought it was brilliant. Oh yes, I did and it certainly bears repeating. I think this was a gutsy, risky move, a thumbing your nose at the gnats move, a snarky and wonderful skit that has undoubtedly won Mr. Aiken a few new fans. I can’t wait for the album, I hope the rumor (and I feel it is a big rumor) that it might be here by mid July is true. This appearance just has to be followed up on promptly.

Hopefully, those fans who were concerned the album, because it will contain some re-makes of 70's and 80's songs, will now relax. I refuse to use the word “covers”, I hate that word as it seems to infer kaoroke versions of old, frumpy songs. Michael Bolton, no offense to his fans, just produced an album of Frank Sinatra songs. Feel free to call that album a cover album....I will just whip out my old Sinatra LP’s if I feel the need to hear “My Funny Valentine”. No, Clay is going to find some gems that will be adapted to suit his marvelous voice and he WILL knock our socks off. He always has, since the first time we saw the little nerd stand in front of Simon Cowell and announce that he was the next American Idol.

He certainly is.

Technorati tags:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Just a quick, drive by post. An update to the jukebox to celebrate Clay's last performance on American Idol. We understand there will be another appearance tonight and I have a feeling this is going to be something special. Very Special.

More tomorrow.

Technorati tags:

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Christmas in May. Well, why not. It is a beautiful day here in Arizona although it is starting to peak over 100 degrees and it's almost time to get outta Dodge.

Thought I'd share a couple of pictures and a video from the Joyful Noise Tour. Because I was house hunting, I took the opportunity to visit Raleigh, Charlotte in NC and Columbia in SC during December of 2005. My son is being transferred, probably at this point to Charlotte, and I wanted to take a look at the areas so I could have a better idea where I might want to move to be close enough to be able to see the family frequently.

I arrived in Raleigh, spent a couple of days looking at neighborhoods and then drove down to Charlotte and did the same thing there. Well, low and behold, it's December and there are three Joyful Noise Tour concerts - Columbia, Charlotte and then Raleigh. So I drove down to Columbia for the first concert. Funny how there happened to be concerts that fit into my travel schedule. Not.

It was cold. Checked into the Marriott, I hadn't signed up for any preparties so this was one of the first times I really felt like I was "on my own". The Marriott provided transportation to the concert, which was only a few blocks away. I could have walked, but did I say, it was cold.

Arriving at the concert I found myself sitting next to someone I knew from a Clay Aiken message board, on the other side was a very nice young lady who says she met me in Greenville the year before. Two seats ahead of us were the two gals who were doing a cell cert. A cell cert is when you share a concert via your cell phone with many other people, or just one. The quality is usually pretty poor, but it's great fun!! A gal in front of me swore she had met somewhere before....so much for being alone. The concert was beautiful, as usual.
This is one of the concerts where the young man playing the role of Tommy was ill and we had a stand-in, who did an excellent job with very little time to prepare.

I loved this venue, it reminded me of the millions of old auditoriums we have all been in - at school, church, small community theatre. The floors squeeked, the chairs rattled but the music was, as usual, supurb. Everyone in my section had a marvelous time, it was sublime. In fact, I was on such a high, I forgot it was cold and walked back to the hotel.

Here is video from the Columbia concert for your entertainment- turn off the jukebox in the sidebar on the right before you play the video.

One final endorsement before we move on to Charlotte - the Marriott has the most comfortable beds and linen I have ever run into in a hotel. And, I've been in quite a few, I travelled a lot for the company I worked for and stayed in lots of hotels of the Mariott class....this one was the best!!!

Next morning I had to crawl out of that magnificant bed and head up to Charlotte where I did have plans to meet up with some internet friends. I stayed at the Holiday Inn and, at the counter checking in, ran into a gal I had definately met at the Greenville concert the year before and five of us ended up looking for a place to eat. We wandered by this soul food place and ended up deciding to give it a try. We were in the South, after all. I was a little disappointed in my collard greens, they were a little bitter. Years ago I had a friend, who now that I think of it, was born in NC somewhere, who used to make collard greens and they were never bitter. The place was Merts, Heart and Soul and is a well know soul food restaurant. There were Clay fans all around us, including some of the people from the night before in Columbia.

The Charlotte Bobcat Arena had just been completed in October and was behind our hotel - right in downtown Charlotte. Downtown Charlotte has changed dramatically since I was last here right after Andrew came lashing through. If I was still working I think it would be a great downtown to work in, lots of restaurants, shops, just a lot of ambiance.

After our soul food experience we walked over to the arena and got settled in our seats for another wonderful concert. I had locals all around me this time and it is always fun to watch the faces and see the reactions of Clay's more casual fans. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

A Couple of Pictures from the Charlotte Concert.

Next morning I headed up to Raleigh, where there was a huge preparty planned. I got there just in time. The ONLY person I knew this time was my seat mate from Columbia. I was supposed to meet up with someone at the preparty who had a front row ticket for sale, but we never connected although it seems people knew we were looking for each other, LOL. Clay's mom, Faye Parker was at the preparty and there was some entertainment and an excellent luncheon.

Pictures are Clickable

After the preparty I hightailed it over to the motel, which was right across the street from the venue. Now, I hadn't hooked up with my gal with the ticket, so I thought I was going to have to use my original ticket, which was fine, first row of the risers - but they changed the configuration after I purchased the ticket so I was further back in the arena then I had originally thought. I figured, if I could get on the floor, I could find her....of course security said no, but whoops - sorry, gotta keep your eye on a Clay fan with hopes of a better seat. LOL. Long story short, I did find her, she is an amazingly nice person and was afraid I wouldn't like the seat because it was all the way to the right. Duh, in the first row!! I did have some restricted view of the cookie making scene as far as Beverly and Tommy, but I could see Clay ok.

What an amazing concert. If you scroll down to earlier blogs, you will find a video of "Star of Bethlehem" and more about the concert.

Here is a video I took of Don't Save it all for Christmas Day. My angle was bad, but most of it is pretty good, except for the few seconds when the girl beside me stood in front of me for a second. I love when he pulls "Beverly" over at the end and sings the last few notes to her.

Turn off the jukebox in the sidebar on the right before you play the video.

Hope you enjoyed the Christmas concert in May.

Technorati tags:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Digital Scrapbooking Tips

Yesterday I went over some of the why's of moving from conventional scrapbooking to digital scrapbooking. Today I thought I'd ramble on about what makes up a digital scrapbook page.

Papers - In conventional scrapbooking we go to Michael's or a scrapbook store and plunk down 59cents for a colorful piece of 12 X 12 paper which becomes the base of our scrapbook page. With digital scrapbooking you have many more options. You can download papers that other scrapbookers have designed, or you can download ANYTHING that appeals to you (as long as it can be sized to a 12 X 12 format. I recommend always using the 12 X 12 because if you want to resize your pages you can easily resize to 6 X 6 or 8 X 8 to fit into an album or picture frame.
The paper for this simple Clay page was actually downloaded from a graphics design place I found. It's really fabric. I couldn't find the site again if my life depended on it, but if you search around you can find lots of ideas for paper. Search on graphics and textile. This is what the base of the Clay page looked liked before I added anything.
Be on the lookout for patterns that appeal to you. Most images on the internet can be downloaded. Or, you can photograph tree trunks and the stucco on a building to use as backgrounds, load them into your graphics program, resize them, play with color, etc. and when you are happy with results, save your new background paper. You can scan all kinds of things, look for texture by crumpling tissue papers - I haven't tried it yet, but place a tee shirt with a logo you like on the scanner and see what develops. Use your imagination (I usually fall way short on the imagination and creative design parts).

To make a heritage page for my mother I scanned an old Harpers magazine I had saved as it was from the month of her birth, May 1914. No, I didn't buy it new. It wasn't 12 X 12, so I resized it so the height was 12 inches. This left a gap on the left which I filled in by cropping a sliver of the right edge of the scanned magazine. Now, of course, that didn't fill the gap, so I just stretched it out to fit and I thought it was a nice texture and contrast to the magazine itself. I have another magazine from my dad's birth month and I can't wait to do that one.

Experiment with the background papers, it's a lot of fun and the possibilities are endless. Yesterday there was an ad on my e-mail page for Dover Publications inviting me to join to get free designs - I checked it out and this is one of the freebies - I will probably lighten it up a little, but I thought it was pretty. Love the colors.

Pictures - This one is self explanatory. I will say, viewing the internet sites and magazines I have purchased the trend seems to pick one picture and create the page with that picture as a focal point. I tend to overload the page with pictures, a holdover, I guess from physical scrapbooking. Visually, the one picture page is probably more effective but I have SO many pictures, lol. In the end, the choice is yours - it is your scrapbook!!

Embellishments - What scrapbookers call embellishments translates to clipart when you cross to the digital side. Maybe the "clipart" has been embellished a little, but it is just a picture, in the end. It can be something as simple as a staple, a brad or a piece of ribbon. In the case of the Clay page above, the raffia and buttons are the embellishments. You can create tags - such as this one or just something simple like this - These last two I printed on cardstock and used in my conventional scrapbook.
These are examples embellishments/clipart that can be used on your pages.

On the sidebar to the right I posted a link to the top 50 scrapbooking sites. You will find lots of useful information, freebies to download, galleries of completed pages to give you inspiration and lots of nice kits to download at reasonable prices. Look for the freebies to get started, tho!! Have fun.

Technorati tags:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Digital Scrapbooking. My DIL scrapbooks. She had a Creative Memories Party a couple of years ago and I went and bought some supplies thinking I would start a Family Heritage album....and I did start, but stalled because 1) I wasn't happy with the results (as it turns out, it was the Creative Memories method I didn't like) and 2) I didn't like "pasting" original old family pictures in the album.

I could have done one of the grandkids, but DIL had that one sewn up, and very nicely. So, when I realized I had a lot of momentos stored up from Clay concerts, I started a scrapbook with that theme. Did one for 2004 and one for 2005. I like them, they are great reminders of wonderful trips and people I met.

I had already been creating some of my "embellishments" on the computer, but one day I picked up a magazine on digital scrapbooking and I don't think I'll be going back to the conventional, physical way. Here's why:

1) Your pictures and/or pages are truly "archival". If you store them on the internet, or archive them on CD's or DVD's, they will last forever. I don't care how "archival" scrapbook paper is supposed to be, the books are much more vulnerable than digital scrapbooks.

2) With digital scrapbooks, they can be shared with all family members - and golly, even complete strangers who drop in to my blog or website. If you do a physical scrapbook, you only have one...and it likely will get shabby with repeated viewings.

3) Digital scrapbooking for my Family Heritage allows me to scan an old photo and put the originals away for safekeeping. I highly recommend, even if you aren't going to scrapbook your old pictures, that you scan them and store them on disk. Mine date back to tintypes and they are fading. I can see a huge difference over the past 25 years. Another thing I highly recommend is to write in pencil on the back of the picture who is in the picture. Your kids aren't going to remember.

So, with all that to ponder over, I did a page this morning using a picture I liked of my grandaughter spitting. Basically, what you need to do is pick a paper - like this one -

then you add your picture


and some more embellishments

and this is the result.

(click on picture)

Next post I will add some links for internet sites that will help you get started. These sites have freebies to download, kits you can purchase, help pages, message boards, and galleries of scrapbooking pages MUCH better than mine to use for ideas. I recommend Photoshop Elements, Digital Image Suite or Paint Shop Pro software. There are programs dedicated to scrapbooking, I am not too familiar with any of them, but my gut feeling is they don't allow you to be as creative - in otherwords, they offer you templates and you plop your pictures in.

Technorati tags:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We all remember Season 2 of American Idol....how we felt Clay was robbed. I think it is about to happen again. AI is a Reality Show, not a singing competition. Do I think the votes count? Sure, it gives AI an idea how America feels, but when it comes right down to it AI chooses the winner.

Grassy knoll, anyone? Yeah, I guess so. But what was with the three contestents being dead even last night? I don't buy it, just don't..Taylor has (supposedly) been far ahead of everyone every week and all of a sudden it's equal? Of course, all my information comes off the internet and we know how valid that can be. Or, it could be phone line overload again - yes, that is probably it. (Insert slapping oneself on the head emoticon here).

I think Taylor has been the most consistent of the two and deserves to win, but last night I was watching his face when Ryan showed the numbers and I think he suspects what's going to happen. I hope I am wrong!! I wish they would just let the votes fall where they may (after opening up enough phone lines so everyone can get through) then do their very best to help both Taylor and Kat put out an album that suits their voice and style. Guess I'm dreaming, huh.

One more week to go. Then, Survivor is over, AI is over, The Amazing Race is over. What are we going to do with ourselves. Oh, that's right - Last Comic Standing and another Rock Star coming up for the summer. Lots of fun.

Signing off for now. Again, I hope I am entirely wrong and Taylor wins!!

Technorati tags:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Taylor Hicks is no Clay Aiken, but he is entertaining and I have enjoyed watching him this season. I laughed so hard last night when he left Paula twirling on the catwalk. Taylor seems so comfortable and confident on stage that I have never "worried" about him like I've done with other contestants I've liked. This is probably because of opening the show up to older contestants and perhaps, although absolutely no fault of Taylor's, unfair to the younger performers. AI should make up their mind if this is a talent show to find new, young, untried talent - or just a reality show.

I haven't found any video for last night, but here is Taylor doing "Something". Please turn Clay's song off in the Jukebox in the sidebar to the right before you click on the video.

Kat is a beautiful young lady with a gorgeous voice and what appears to be stage fright. She just loses it sometimes. Whole pieces of songs get lost or misplaced. I thought her "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" last night was spectacular. Someone asked me if I liked it better than Kim Locke's version and I can't answer that question. Kim's version was Kim's and last night Kat did it her way. Just beautiful. She seems to sing better sitting on the floor, what's up with that?

The judges song choices were right on, as much as I hate to admit it....and "Hello", was Simon kind of.....well, nice last night? Nah!

I suspect that whether Taylor wins or comes in second, it doesn't matter if they allow him to do the kind of album that suits his sound - as they did with Carrie. I hope they do, it is a sin what they did to poor Bo. Kat is the one they will probably push into the mainstream. Shouldn't have any trouble getting a beautiful song out of her in the studio and who knows, maybe the tour this summer will put her more at ease. Or, maybe TPTB have had an epiphany and realize you can't put the proverbial square peg in a round hole. In other words, let the kids make the kind of album that suits them. Pfft on the popstar thing.

Sorry, Elliott is forgettable. Seems like a nice guy, but I predict he will go home tonight. Simon gave him the kiss of death last night.

The song that comes up first in the Jukebox today is A Thousand Days. I ripped the audio from a video I took at Clay's Jukebox Tour concert in Merrilleville, Indiana last summer. Here is a yousendit if you would like to download it.

ATD - Merrillville

Technorati tags:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beanie Babies and Clay Aiken. Two of my more "enthusiastic" interests over the past few years. By enthusiastic I mean, while I am an avid reader and have always read and always will read, I don't spend time on the internet tracking "stuff" down, nor have I ever stood in long lines for a new book. I've done both of those, and more, for Beanie's and Clay Aiken. The beanie baby craze started on the internet. The supply was far below the demand in the beginning and people started searching for the little critters on ebay and on-line specialty stores. It became known there was a scarcity, the furor rose and the craze evolved. It was like the stock market. People actually thought they would get rich. Buy up all these beanbags, put them in the attic, and someday they would be worth a fortune. Ty Warner is the only one who became rich. I didn't get in on the beginning, my dtr-in-law brought me a little red lobster they had gotten with a McDonald's happy meal, I said, "What is this", googled and spent the next couple of years tracking down the next little cat or bear. That is "Frigid" the Penguin above. And, that is Clay Aiken in a penguin suit, below.

During a business meeting I once went to, a friend and I went shopping and found a couple of Beanie treasures. She wasn't as avid as I, said she was buying them for a niece (sure) and when we got out to the car and I offered her a couple of tag protectors (heaven forbid the tags would get a wrinkle or the clack should skip, if you know what I mean). She had a laughing fit and said I was the only person she had ever known who carried tag protectors when she travelled. What? You say, what is a tag protector? Read up on the importance of tags here.

About Beanies - Tags

During the most intense stage of the craze, Princess Diana died and Ty issued "Princess" a purple bear honoring Diana. All proceeds from the sale of the beanie would go to Diana's personal charity. We used to go to Beanie Baby shows and I personally stood right next to a man who admitted to having paid $400 for Princess and was lamenting they were going for only $50.00 at the show.

I got my first Princess Beanie Baby at the Hallmark store located right under my dentist's office. A cap on one of my front teeth had come off and I was on my way over for repair. Passing by the Hallmark I saw the mass of people and, knowing what was up, ran inside to get in line to secure the coveted $400 beanie. For $6.95, yet. Running upstairs, late to my appointment, I flashed a toothless grin at the receptionist and said "Look what I got downstairs", the hygeniest wandered by and was interested in my news, the doctor's wife came to get me to take me into a room and got a wicked gleam in her eye when I said "Princess" "Downstairs", the prep gal got the news while she was getting me (quickly) ready for the dentist. I sat there for awhile thinking it was awfully quiet...all of a sudden I opened my eyes and there stood my nice dentist - "Are you the one who emptied out my office?" as he brandished the drill in my face - well, I made that last part up, but for a moment my life passed before my eyes. LOL.

Some similarities between Beanie Babies and Clay Aiken, based solely on my own experience and/or "enthusiasm".

...Beanie popularity started on the internet, Clay had a huge internet fan base almost immediately.

...People stood in long lines and made friends in front of the Hallmark stores. They slept on the street for days when it was known a new shipment was due at a particular store. It was usually the same people, so you got to know them. People stood in long lines for Clay tickets and books and heaven only knows my DIL and I not only slept on the street at Hollywood and Highland to see Clay on Ryan on Air, but we drove down from San Francisco to do it!

... People drove long distances when they heard of the elusive "Seaweed" or "Peace" in another town. You don't want to know how many miles I have driven or miles I have flown to see Clay perform.

...Websites sprung up all over the place for beanie collectors. I am willing to bet Clay websites and blogs exceed the total number of all other AI contestants many, many times over.

...E-Bay was a beanie baby magnet. Buying and selling of beanie babies was huge. Try putting a Clay Aiken item on e-bay and watch the bids come in!!

...Beanies are a "real" toy. By that I mean that they weren't created with the mighty dollar in mind. They weren't born out of a movie or a tv show, they were just cute stuffed toys a child could love and collect. They aren't advertised on TV. Clay Aiken is also the real deal. Someone who just wants to sing and entertain and work with his charities. There is no artifice about him, he is who he seems to be. Comfortable in his own skin and unpretentious. And, sometimes I think he's full of beans!

Because of being on the Clay boards, I gave away the first batch of "extra" beanies to a childrens hospital in California. A member of the board was doing some charity work for the hospital and I asked her via PM if they would be interested in beanies, she checked and they would. So I met her at the preparty for the show and we loaded beanie babies into her trunk. I had no idea who she really was, LOL. We have since attended many concerts around the country together.

Now, some might saw "enthusiasm" is not the right word...that perhaps it should be "obsession", but I don't really think so. I'm glad I got over the beanie baby craze, one can only house so many of the darn things. However, - my traveling to see Clay in concert included many side trips to see historical sights, visits to all kinds of places I might never have seen. I drove through the Smokies and Appalachia last summer. I drove through Wheeling, West Virginia and Martins Ferry, Ohio which were founded by ancestors. I visited my father's grave in Lancaster, Ohio and visited the Zane Grey Museum in Zanesville. I was at Clio and Kettering and others. The fair in Indianapolis gave me both Clay and Keith Urban - there was a campground right on the fairgrounds and I spent an extra day just visiting the fair. God, I really want an Alpaca, LOL. To cap it all off, I drove home to Arizona on the famous Route 66. Now, how can that be anything but good?

A Link to the official Beanie Baby website - a nice safe place for your children to be on-line. Beanie Babies

Technorati tags:

Monday, May 15, 2006

I took a stab at farming once....sorta. Several years ago I bought a mini-farm. It was an old mobile home (circa 1972) but situated on 3 beautiful acres. This was what I thought I always wanted, elbow room (tm Daniel Boone)....or did I?

As I am currently selling my house in Arizona and anticipating moving to North or South Carolina (depending on where my son's final job offer lands us). I browse Realtor.com looking for my next home. The kids have to live near his work and good schools, but I can get a little further from town. I don't want to move again after this, I have moved so many times in my life.

So, what do I want? Let's go back to the mini-farm, which should have been ideal...

Pro's - Elbow room, chickens, goats, wonderful fenced garden area, riding my mower around looking cool, koi pond, roses, lots of grassy areas, birds up the wazoo.

Cons - Maintenance on old house, having to spray 90 fruit and nut trees (I didn't do it), having to maintain the koi pond, the roaming dogs that came to eat my chickens. Man, I hated those dogs with a passion.

Now, evaluating this data, I think what I am looking for is:

A newer house on one acre, with zoning that will allow for a couple of chickens should I have the urge again. I really enjoyed wandering out and collecting my morning egg. And that fertilizer is great for the garden. Fencing to keep out stray dogs. A few fruit trees, two apple, an apricot or peach and definately a lemon tree. Dwarf size, so I can spray without calling in professionals. Low maintenance will be the major issue. Because I have to do it!! That is the main lesson I learned on my mini-farm....while there will be help on occasion, be prepared to do it all yourself most of the time.

Here are a couple of digital scrapbooking pages that show my favorite parts of my short time mini-farm.

Click on pictures to see full size

Judging from what I am seeing on Realtor.com I stand a chance of finding the perfect place.

Technorati tags:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Florence Rosella Darling

My mom was a farmer's daughter. She was the 11th of 12 children born in a beautiful old farmhouse in Lancaster, Ohio. Her father's family came to the US around 1850 from Baveria, Germany. Their name was originally something like Direling or Drierling but was Americanized to Darling. In school mom was always called "Darling Rosie". I only have one reference to the original emigrant, Phillip Darling who "came to New Orleans in 1850 and died of yellow fever". There was a yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans and it is probably impossible, at this time, to find record of him. His son, Gottleib drove stage coach for awhile and finally settled into farming in Lancaster, Ohio. In fact, the original Darling farm in Lancaster was a stage coach stop and there are huge kegs and whatnot in the basement walls. Gottleib's son, Edward married Anna Josephine Netuschill, whose parents emigrated from Austria to escape religious persecution. And Anna and Edward were my Mom's parents.

You know how your parents always say things like "I walked three miles to school when I was a child" - usually in response to your asking to be driven two blocks to school??? Some years ago, my mom, my sister and I went back to Lancaster for a family reunion. We were at the farm and then went for a drive. In a little bit mom said - "Oh, that's my grade school". My sister and I looked at each other. "Mom, you walked all the way from the farm to this school". Sometimes your parents aren't exagerating.

Mom and my Dad were....well, I would have to say...an odd couple. She, the farm girl with siblings to spare, and my Dad, a spoiled only child of a spoiled only child.....well, he wasn't full of himself or anything, just raised in an entirely different environment. The marriage lasted over 50 years and there are 6 of us kids. Unfortunately, they also smoked together for 50 years and it did both of them in, Dad in 1983 and Mom in 1994.

The picture of Mom above was taken when she was about 17 or 18. It is a black and white photo but hand colored by Mom herself. I have several that she did and they are quite beautiful. Here is another one, actually my favorite picture of my Mom and Dad. He was a pretty handsome, dude, don't you think? LOL

There is a lot more to the story, of course....but I just wanted to post a little about my Mom since this is Mother's Day and I miss her.

Technorati tags: