Monday, October 31, 2005

The Current Song at my House

My father has an amazing memory for advertising jingles and old boy scout songs. I was reminded of that fact the other day when I heard my charming siblings singing this tune, that he had taught them. It is to be sung to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

I wear my pink pajamas in the summer when it's hot.
I wear my flannel nighties in the winter when it's not.
And sometimes in the springtime, and sometimes in the fall,
I jump between the sheets with nothing on at all!

It's amazing how this song sticks in your head. I've been trying to refrain from singing it at work today.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Visiting Africa

Once a year, my family "visits" another country for a day. We get music, costumes, and decorations from the country, make an ethnic meal, and read about the country. This year, we did Tanzania. Here's Anna with the lower half of her life-size drawing of a giraffe: My mother used flowers, coconuts, and plantains to decorate the table:
Cooking up a storm:
The littlest African:
The whole tribe:
It was so much fun!

On a side note, we had a hilarious incident when John, in full costume, had to go outside to get something out of his truck. Just as he went out, two teenage girls were walking by! Oops.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ever Wondered What It's Like to Clean a Stadium?

Whether the team wins or loses, the stadium has got to be cleaned from top to bottom for the next game, and it is no small job. If you've ever considered joining the "facility services crew" or you're just curious about how many pounds of peanut shells they pick up after a game, read this.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Newest Left Behind Movie

The third movie in the Left Behind series came out this week. I watched it last night and thought it was excellent. My only complaint is that it should have been longer. Parts of it moved awfully fast and didn't develop the story quite enough. It was still great though, and I enjoyed seeing how the writers have developed the characters in the three movies.
(You'll notice that I paid almost no attention to the baseball game last night. Watching a new movie sounded a little more fun than witnessing the Astros getting creamed.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Trouble With Pumpkins

Please meet our happy scarecrow, who gets to come out each fall and smile at the world. Next to him is our surviving pumpkin. There was another pumpkin, but it rotted a few days after we set it out! We are a bit frustrated with our annual misfortune with pumpkins. This happened last year too. All our neighbors say, "Oh, our pumpkins last all fall!" Ours rot after a week. Maybe it's because our porch gets full sun and becomes really hot. John says maybe the pumpkins are frightened by the scarecrow. Who knows. I came home from running errands on Saturday and could smell bread baking as I walked up the front sidewalk, since the door was open. That is, I could smell it until I got too close to the pumpkin! Then I decided maybe we should enter a fall decoration contest and submit an entry for "Pumpkin with Greatest Stink."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Local Frenzy

The Astros fever has been something remarkable to observe the last couple of days. Here's another great message-on-a-sign, that I saw yesterday in front of a bar:

"Chicago, You Have a Problem."

There's also the skyscraper downtown that has certain offices lit up at night so it makes a huge star on the side of the building! And let's not forget the lady I read about yesterday who was hanging big paper bees from her trees (for the "killer B's," the nickname for all the Astros players with names that start with a B.)

Topping the list is the phenomenon of massive crowds of people flocking to Academy to buy NLCS champions T-shirts! The lines were winding back and forth all over the store! Just in case you're wondering, I only know this because I accompanied my friend who's more of a fan than I am and wanted one of those T-shirts.

I think it's funny to see how many people are so excited even though they didn't even like baseball a month or two ago!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This May Be Going Too Far

I saw a sign in front of a Catholic church this evening that said (and I'm dead serious here):

THE LORD HEALS BROKEN HEARTS. GO ASTROS. WE BELIEVE.

I rest my case.

World Series Suspense

The Astros' very first World Series is so close!! But, it's not as close as everyone hoped it would be yesterday. It's pretty amusing to read the news reports. I see words like "heartbreak," "gut-wrenching" or "staying alive" depending on where the reporter is from! Our whole city seems to be on the edge of its seat to see if the Astros can pull it off or not. I think a lot of people are turning into over-the-top nuts about it, but I do agree that's it's exciting.

My favorite quote from the news is this one, talking about Pujols' astounding home run: "It also immediately silenced a sellout crowd that had been on its feet and cheering. 'I've never heard 43,000 people shut up like that before.'"

Sniff, sniff :-(

(just kidding)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Large Families

I read an article on Fox news the other day about the Duggar family. They just welcomed their 14th child! Part of me agrees that this is definitely newsworthy, but on the other hand, it really shows how unusual large families have become in our country. There was a time when it wasn't at all unusual to have lots of children. I think it's really sad that so few people think children are a blessing anymore.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Snow" in the South

If you, like me, think that this is what winter should look like and have never quite gotten used to the lack of winter in the south... ...here is the answer!!! Now, for just $36.95, you can have your very own snow light machine, and have a white Christmas again. Somehow, I don't think it will be quite the same, though. Not when it's still 65 degrees outside. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Croatian Dance Photos

John and I had a great time at our Croatian performance last Saturday. Our whole family ended up going, so my father took a few pictures. We did nine dances, and they went well, except for one dance where part of our group forgot they were supposed to be in the first circle! They came running up in the middle of it. Oh, well, I guess we don't want to be too perfect! My mother says our group always looks really happy during our performances. I'm not sure what that says about our dancing ability, but at least it's obvious we're having a great time!

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Birthday Concert

My mother's birthday was this week, and she asked us to give her a concert with all our different instruments. It was quite a long concert! She also asked us to each sing a solo, which was a somewhat traumatic experience for some of us. My solution was to play the guitar while I sang because I don't have a very loud voice, and when I sing with the guitar no one can hear me very well! We did have a fun time, though, and Mama said she really enjoyed and appreciated it. Here's a sample of our performances. First, the infamous nose flute: (don't ask) The cutest dulcimer player around:
The tonette virtuoso:
Do not be confused; this is John's mandolin solo. He asked me to play along because he said it would make the song sound better. Then, he gave me specific instructions to play quietly so as not to drown him out. John: "Maybe you should stand over there while you play." Me: "I beg your pardon!"
Anna and Seth played a beautiful tune on the recorder and bowed psaltery. They did a great job and everybody liked it. Those instruments sound great together.
That's it for this year! This is becoming an annual tradition on Mama's birthday. She's going to sit around and watch all the videos when she's eighty.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

New Guestbook

Drum roll, please. I've just added a guest book, and this is your big chance to be the first to sign it! Just click the link on the left. I thought this would be a fun spot for people to give ideas for the blog, send me a message, or just say Hi!

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Croatian Dancing

John and I haven't had any dance performances for a while, since there really aren't very many festivals in Houston during the summer with it being so hot. Our dance group, Houston International Folk Dancers, has a Croatian performance at a Slavic festival this Saturday, though. I love the Croatian music because it's so happy and lively. We are doing fairly simple dances, but one of the ladies came up with some great staging and choreography to make it more interesting. I hope we can pull it off without mishaps! We'll be performing nine dances, then doing a few with audience participation (hopefully!). If you're bored on Saturday, you should come enjoy the festivities! It will be held at the University of St. Thomas in Jerabeck Athletic Center. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. There will be cultural and food booths for each nationality, and performances of traditional song/dance as follows:

10:00 am Traditional Slavic Mass honoring Sts. Cyril and Methodius
12:00 pm Procession of Slavic Countries Welcome Greetings by 2005 Festival Chairman Marian Kruzel
12:15 pm National Anthems and greeting from each country; American, Croatian, Czech, Polish and Ukrainian
12:30 pm Presentation of Queen and Princesses
12:40 pm Dance, music and singing: Polish Folk Ensemble "Dunajec"
1:30 pm Czech KJZT Youth Group from Damon
2:00 pm Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish School featuring ethnic Polish singing and dances
2:30 pm "Polonia Austin" University of Texas Polish Folk Dancers
2:45 pm "Houston International Folk Dancers" performing Croatian dances (that's us!)
3:30 pm SOKOL Czech Gymnastics Group
4:00 pm Juravli Ukrainian Dancers of Houston
4:45 pm P.O.L.K. of America
5:45 pm Dance, music and singing: Polish Folk Ensemble "Dunajec"
7:00 pm Festival Closes

Sunday, October 2, 2005

The Horn Player Strikes Again!!!

Life has been pretty ordinary for me since the hurricane, and my creative juices have been a little dried up, so I thought this would be a good time to revisit the all-time biggest hit of my blog: the one-man-bicycle-horn band! Just in case you missed it the first time (back in April), or if you haven't laughed much yet today, this is your big chance!