Thursday, December 31, 2009

You Give Me Wings ...


Song: Bach Cello Suite 001 in G Major

'Winged Figure', By Abbot Handerson Thayer
(Image courtesy of

There are many ways to say it, but here is mine ...

As 2009 draws to a close … I find myself thankful … not reflective … nor looking ahead … but instead, rather content to just be … [have to say that again] … I am content to JUST BE … and that has been a long time coming indeed.

I also find myself truly thankful for my many, many blessings … most especially the wonderful people that I am so fortunate to have present in my life … some of you physically, others mentally, emotionally or spiritually … some of you all of the above. You lift me up, in ways beyond your ever knowing … you give me hope … you give me wings … and on rare ocassions: you even make my heart sing. I could not imagine a world without you in it.

So God bless you, one and all, as this remarkable decade draws to a fitting close. What the future holds: only Heaven knows … but we, each of us, have a part to play. And so, I pray for ALL of you (even those just passing by): may Good Health be yours, may Hope be ever present in your lives, may Peace light your way and may much Happiness and the ever elusive Joy fill your days. God Bless and Happy New Year 2010!

Sending all my best your way,


P.S. And surprisingly – for the first time ever -- I don’t think that I will have a hard time writing '2010' … for some reason, it seems as if I have somehow been waiting for 2010 to come along, and now that it is finally here: I am eager to greet it … go figure? : )

Monday, December 28, 2009

Heaven touched the Earth today ...

Sunset from my bedroom balcony ... 12/28/2009 ...
A fitting pre-cursor to the close of a remarkable decade ...

[All images copyrighted @ December 2009 ... Michelle C. of]

[All images copyrighted @ December 2009 ... Michelle C. of]

[All images copyrighted @ December 2009 ... Michelle C. of]

[All images copyrighted @ December 2009 ... Michelle C. of]

[All images copyrighted @ December 2009 ... Michelle C. of]

[All images copyrighted @ December 2009 ... Michelle C. of]

[All images copyrighted @ December 2009 ... Michelle C. of]

1/19/2010 Finally found a photography class that is reasonably priced and covers topics I'm interested in exploring.  It's a month long evening course with some weekend field trips, but you get hands on experience with the pros.  There's even a final exam and I get a certificate at then end.  I can't wait!  : )  Hopefully, some much better photos are coming your way ... [A new lens for Christmas 200x and not fully understanding depth of field implications for this news lens ... coupled with not wanting to miss this incredible sunset ... and hence not swapping the lens out for a lesser magnification ... resulted in the lack of cloud detail seen in these photos ... I could kick myself now, but what can you do?  Live and learn ... emphasis on LEARN!  ; ) ]

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day ... "Boxing Day is December 26, the day after Christmas, and is celebrated in Great Britain and in most areas settled by the English (the U.S. is the major exception), including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand." (source

(image removed)

I had almost forgotten about this holiday ... but a news story caught my eye today and reminded me of this holiday celebrated in Great Britian since mid 1800's:  Boxing Day.  It is one of the few 'Bank Holidays' recognized by "recognized since 1871 that are observed by banks, government offices, and the post office." (source, but the origins and meaning of this holiday run deeper.

Despite the name, 'Boxing Day' has absolutely nothing to do with a boxing match, gloves, and two individuals going at one another ... sorry to disappoint.  : )  [Don't feel bad, when I lived over in England, for a time, and first heard of this holiday:  my first image was of a boxing match as well. ]

'Boxing Day' is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages.  Servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but were subsequently given the day after Christmas off.  Supposedly, as the servants would line up to depart, their masters or employers would present the servants with boxes of gifts.  Today, the this tradition has evolved to where common people (you and me : ) often present those who provide services (i.e., mail carriers, tradesmen, porters, doormen and others) with gifts the day after Christmas.

Another possible association of this holiday tradition includes the fact the church would open its collection boxes (placed throughout churches to collect donations for the poor) and distribute the contents to the poor the day after Christmas, December 26th, which also the feast day of St. Stephen ... a decon and martyr dedicated to caring for widows and the poor. (source

For more info on St. Stephen see:
Life and images of St. Stephen painted by Rubens and other masters
Catholic Encyclopedia, for St. Stephen
St. Stephen suffered martyrdom in Jerusalem about the year 34. He is reckoned as both the first Christian martyr (the protomartyr) and as one of the first deacons.

So ... now you know what 'Boxing Day' actually is and IS NOT. Feel enlightened in some small way, perhaps?  : )

Well ... most everyone I know is out shopping and exchanging gifts today.  I sent my people (i.e., Ken ... he actually likes to shop and get deals ... NOT me?!)   out to do the after Christmas shopping and gift exchanging.  : )  And  me?  I am still in my comfy PJs, with a nice cup of tea, enjoying the crystal clear view of the snow capped mountains (in the distance) from my balcony.  [Kids wish some of that snow would make its way over here to where we are ... but that may yet happen ... predicted a chance of snow this upcoming Tuesday.]

Ah (take a nice long sip of soothing warm liquid) ... this is the life!  : )  Joyful, joyful day to you!  Enjoy the 'Second day of Christmas', leading up to the Feast of the Epiphany.  God Bless!


P.S.  Here are some of our Christmas Day photos (and making Christmas cookies) 2009.  Today was 'clean up all the boxes' day for us  : )

(slide show removed)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

'Angels Entertaining the Christ Child', By Marrianne Stokes
(Image courtesy of

Let All the Earth Rejoice and Be Glad!

Merry Christmas Everyone:

His Peace, Light and Blessings
to you and yours!

Song: Hark The Herold Angels Sings, Music By Edward Shippen Barnes Performed By, 'Straight No Chasers' 

'An Angel', By Sir Edward Burne-Jones
(Image courtesy of

P.S.  Heard that Texas is getting hit with a bunch of snow ... "Been snowing all day?!"  Said my sister, Kris, not 30 minutes ago.  Weird?!  So stay safe you all driving to and from Christmas Eve services and celebrations.  I'll be praying for the same.  God Bless!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some Christmas Tunes ...

(Photo courtesy of my eldest daughter : )

Here is the Christmas Songs list:

They have an 'Old Time Favorites' list too:

Even a 'Bah-humbug' list, but I'm not gonna post that one ...

If you have time and you're in the mood for some holiday cheer check it out!  Some good songs.

Enjoy!  : )


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lacrimosa Requiem (W.A. Mozart)

This is so hauntingly beautiful ... Enjoy!

Q:  How many of you know what the instrument directly behind the saxaphone is around the 2:00 minute mark?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Christmas Card to YOU ...

  [Click on Image or Words to go to Artmagick Album to view card inside.]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Grown-up Christmas Wish'?

Song: 'Grown-up Christmas List', By Michael Buble

Sitting on Santa's Lap (Never subjected my own kids to this?!)
[Maybe I'll go sit on Santa's lap and get of photo of me to post here? : ) ]

All the hustle and bustle of this busy time of year ... 

So easy to get caught up in the all of the drama and must haves .... must dos of the season ....

Well, my strategy this year has been to: 1) TRY to keep it simple; 2) focus on doing family things; and 3) wait until THE LAST  POSSIBLE SECOND to shop -- I truly, truly dislike shopping ... I'd rather go to the dentist ... no joke!  : ) 

But hey, our tree is up.  I've done some on-line shopping and I sent Ken out to brave the crowds for most of the rest of it.  We went to see the 'Nutcracker' Ballet  last weekend ... and this week, we will take our daughters to see Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas' (I've always loved the movie ... you know, the one with Bing Crosby and Danny Kay).   Bethany and Erynn Jeanne went caroling with Girl Scouts at a retirement home in the neighborhood just yesterday,  so I'd say we're making the most of the season.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Company performs 'The Nutcracker' Ballet

This evening, while toying with 2 boxes of Christmas cards -- and trying to decide if I REALLY want to send out Christmas cards this year --  the song (a remake of an old song?) 'This is My Grown-up Christmas List', sung by Michael Buble came up on Christmas CD shuffle. This particular song got me to thinking:  What would my 'Grown-up Christmas Wish' be this year, 2009?

How about you? 
Q: What would your 'Grown-up Christmas Wish' be this year?

Me ... well, I'm still pondering ... I'll get back to you when I finally decide .... :  )

Late P.M.  I've got it ... my 'Grown-up Christmas' wish that is .... I was going to wish for a legacy of peace and understanding among all ethnicities, cultures, and faiths ... but the latter wish seems intangible, almost insignificant, when compared another real issue facing the United States of America:   Political Apathy and Moronicness!

[Been awhile since I've written about politics ... so I figure that I'm due!  If you're not up for hearing me rant, best skip on down to the end ...]

I've finally got my 'Grown-up' Christmas wish:  that the citizens in this country will actually 'grow-up' and become truly involved in the political processes of this country ... that is, beyond complaining about and trivializing real issues.

The future of our country and the legacy we leave to our children IS NOT HOPELESS ... and unfortunately 'tiramisu' (if you know me, you know what I mean here) won't fix what ails us!

Most of you wanted 'CHANGE' ... some of you even GOT OFF YOUR AXX and actually voted for it -- what a novel concept?! Well, I've got news for you: your duty as citizen is NOT JUST TO COMPLAIN ... Not just TO VOTE, BUT TO BE INFORMED (quite frankly, if you're not going to be truly informed: I'd just as soon have you keep your butt at home, texting and facebooking and NOT VOTE!).  Furthermore, your responsibility as a U.S. citizen is TO STAY INFORMED, each and everyday thereafter, not just to be informed on the day you vote.

As a citizen of the United States of America you should know the issues: don't just REACT TO THE HEADLINE BLIPS fed to you by 'Big Brother Media'. If you CAN READ: pick up a dang newspaper or a politically themed magazine-- and preferably more than one. Watch an ACTUAL news program (yes, news programs STILL EXIST ... they're not antiques or relics of your parents' past) ... and watch even more than one news program (so as to get a more balanced perspective) and THEN DO SOMETHING TO EFFECT CHANGE: contact the people that represent YOU, 'the people' ... tell your senators, representatives and other elected officials what you want (I.E., COMPLAIN TO THEM IN MEANINGFUL, TANGIBLE TERMS) and then follow up on what you ask for.

If ACTUALLY CARING about the issues facing my country, my country and the legacy that we leave to future generations is 'INSANITY' then let me at it!!!!!!!!!!  GENERATION A (FOR APATHY) can keep your DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CONCRETE OR POSITIVE 'sanity' and laugh till the FACEBOOK 'EXCEEDED ALLOWABLE POST CHARACTERS LIMIT' COWS COME HOME.

I DARE YOU to actually do something besides complain! Start by finding out who your state senators are (you have 2) and who your representative in the U.S. congress is. Then, GIVE THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS A PIECE OF YOUR MIND (I.E., COMPLAIN TO THEM IN MEANINGFUL, TANGIBLE TERMS). Here are some helpful links to get you started:

What Can I Do to Impact the Political Process?

To those of you who actually stay informed on the issues and get involved: GOD BLESS YOU! You are what helps to keep this country from making its final swirl down the proverbial drain.

Okay, now that I've gotten that off of my chest ... maybe now, I will take a deep breath and make a wish for my earlier noble sentiment (after all, the only way my wish will ever happen is with ALOT of wishes and prayers ... and I do pray all the time!).  ... So, I close my eyes and make my wish ... "This Christmas, I wish for a for a legacy of peace and understanding among all ethnicities, cultures, and faiths here on this rapidly spinning blue planet called Earth."


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Toccata & Fugue in D Minor

J.S. Bach ...

Haunting ... but beautiful.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Insanity ...

Currently struggling with this ...

Insanity is  "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  ~Albert Einstein

Trying to find the equation that works for me ...

Sometimes, I think that ignorance truly is BLISS!!!!!!?????!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Exploring ... Dec. 5, 2009

What I did yesterday afternoon ....

Song: BWV 1001_IV.Presto, Performed By Lara St. John

[link to album disbaled]

Just me and my trusty old camera, exploring the Pacific Northwest.  Peaceful ... mystical ... magical ...

The falling leaves, changing colors, crisp cool air ... the preparation for winter ... anticipation ... frantic frenzy ... the smell of a warm wood fire ... followed by serene calm as setting sun lays all to rest.

Congrats Longhorns!

(Image courtesy of Yahoo sports)

You're heading to the BCS National Championship ...

I didn't see the actual game, myself, but I happened to see this photograph, with accompanying caption on Yahoo Sports "Texas Survives!"

Guess Texas managed to pull off a last second field goal which put them in the lead, by a SINGLE POINT?!

But hey, a win is still a win.    : )
As I whisper "Happy for you University of Texas!" Ican't speak the latter sentiment too loudly because my husband is still in mourning for his University of Florida Gators.  The Gator did not pull off a win against Alabama today; hence, U of Florida will not be heading to the BCS Championship game  : (   A disappointing outcome --from my husband's perspective-- but such is life.  You roll with the punches, eh?

Anyone need a room reservation in Pasadena?

Friday, December 04, 2009

On Mortality ... Aging and Death

'The Temple of the Mind', By William Pinkham Ryder
(Image Courtesy of

A friend of my says that he is "being forced to reconcile my own mortality."

He recalls, as he watches his father lie in a hospital bed and struggle with recovering from cancer surgery, that "not too long ago he was my age." My friend's illusion of "always being 17" is beginning to crumble.

It IS hard to watch someone that you love suffer and grow old. My paternal grandmother, Dorothy Jeanne, turned 90 this year. She's always been a feisty, independent woman. I've always admired her spirit and sense of adventure. She's been a very important role model, of sorts, for me ... but I hear, in her voice, as we talk these days (on the phone) the tiredness and the frailty setting in. At first, it made me sad to see this remarkable woman begin to fade and slowly slip away. But then, she'll recall some amazing little detail of a time long since past ... something that I, myself, had almost forgotten ... and in that moment I am reminded that the body is but a vessel to house the soul and the mind.  The body is but ours to borrow during this brief journey called life. And though the body may change, eventually growing old and slowly beginning to fade away ... I firmly believe that the mind and soul are eternal.

I take particular comfort in this saying of Jesus:

"And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

—Mark 10:13-16


As we age and our bodies begin to fail, we re-enter that state of child-like innocence and dependence ... and maybe it is that very state that makes us worthy to at last enter the kingdom of heaven ... or whatever you happen to believe in.

Eastern philosophy holds that we should not mourn aging and death. Decay of the body is a natural state. Rather, we should mourn when a soul is born; for life is the hard part. Death is a life's --well led -- reward.

Take heart, Paul. Age IS a state of mind. Some are old at twenty.  Some never grow up. Some are born middle aged ... others, in middle age, are given a chance at rebirth and begin seeing life for all of its infinite possibilities and in doing so, they become wild and free (child-like) and remember how to just be. Close your eyes, Paul, take a deep breath and just be ... the rest will come to you in due time.

May peace fill your heart and light your way.  Enjoy your time this weekend with the precious lights of your life.  : )

God Bless!

Song: 'With Arms Wide Open', By Creed

P.S. I am so relieved to hear that your father's prognosis is good and that he is out of the ICU.  I will keep praying for you both.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

'Head of the Demon'

I found ArtMagick on Facebook.  Seems they had some insight into a painting that I was quite puzzled by ...

'Head of the Demon', By Mikhail Vrubel (Image from

It turns out that this painting was done to illustrate a poem, titled: 'The Demon' (published posthumously in 1842), by the Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. The poem tells of a demon (dark angel?) who falls in love with a mortal woman.  Here is the link to a site containing other works by Vrubel as well as the poem:

(see post for Monday, January 19, 2009)

This poem is a fascinating read and in keeping with my other latest pursuit, Dante's 'Inferno' (i.e., creepy ethereal).

Let me know what you think ...

I, personally, feel sorry for the demon in this poem.  To me, if he ... the demon... is capable of feeling love, then he has something in him yet that is worthy of redemption ... does he not?  I don't think that our Creator ... God .... is vengeful ... on the contrary, I believe that He is merciful, patient, loving and kind.  I believe that He has hope for ALL of us ... and even where there exists only a spark of His divine light, therein lies the chance for redemption.

P.S. For those who worry about all the dark matter that I seem to be reading lately ... I have finished up one of my 7 other reads and have begun a new book about God, the Bible, and finding the God of the Bible (Old Testement) in the world of today.  The book is titled:

"Where God Was Born: A Daring Adventure Through the Bible's Greatest Stories" (P.S.) (Paperback)

~ Bruce Feiler (Author)

It's a very insightful and surprisingly action packed read.  Hard to put down once I get going  : )  Adds balance to my reading repetoire ... Happy reading!   -M

Monday, November 30, 2009

Update on Reading Dante's 'Inferno' ...




Inscription over entryway to Hell, Dante's 'Inferno'

'Inferno', by Franz Von Stuck (Image courtesy of

Dante's 'Inferno' is proving an interesting and challenging read. Kind of puts the fear of Hell and damnation back into you ... although, truth be told, I have a very different view on what Hell is and is not. Still, what a fascinating mind the author of this epic poem has; he also displays perhaps a bit of self-righteousness in his assembling of his cast of characters for appearance in his 'Inferno.'

I'm nearly at the end of the 'Inferno' right now. My reading 7 other books at the same time makes the read go a bit slower. It is hard to read this epic poem at night as well --when I do most of my reading-- as I have a very vivid imagination.  Thus, reading the 'Inferno' at night sometimes gives me the CREEPS!  Creepy or not, however, I feel almost compelled by an insatiable curiousity to read right on to the very end of this 'Divine Comedy' ... Although, thus far, I've not yet seen much comedy in the pain and suffering of others in Dante's contrived Hell.  I am told that the word 'comedy' had a much different meaning in Dante's time.

'Dante and Virgil in Hell', by William Bouguereau (Image Courtesy of

Knowing a bit of history helps, but I did have to do a bit of background reading on Dante in order to understand some of the people that he (the everyman) meets along his journey through Hell. I'm learning quite a bit about allegory through this read. It is also interesting to me how Dante weaves so much Greco-Roman Mythology into his City of Hell. I'll share more as I go along ... I wish I knew someone else who was reading this at same time.  This would be a rather fun read to converse on.

I am also most eager to know more of Dante's beloved Beatrice ...

'Dante and Beatrice', by Marie Spartali Stillman
(Image courtesy of Art

The number "3" has always had a peculiar significance in my own life. Having delved into reading Dante's "Divine Comedy":   I have to think that the number three was significant in Dante's life as well.

12/30/2010   Just now looking back on this ... I never really did follow-up on this, did I?  I need to do some more writing on this fascinating work, don't I? Okay: a follow-up is now officially on my list of "things to do."  Interestingly enough, I was flipping through an art book today and I discovered that Sandro Botticelli  did the original illustrations for Dante's "Divine Comedy".  These illustrations, completed between 1402-1405, were done with pen and ink and something called 'silverpoint'.  I thought the discovery of the artist behind the "Divine Comedy" illustrations was rather serendipitous. I so enjoyed Botticelli's many splendid and varied works when I visited Italy a few years back.  It intrigues me that this talented artist also did the illustrations for what has now become one of my favorite reads of all time.  So now that you know who the artist was behind the illustration for the "Divine Comedy" ... You too can impress your friends with your brilliance ; )

Saturday, November 28, 2009

'Some Like it HOT' Spicy Bean Soup

'Alleluia', By Sir Edward Burne-Jones
(image courtesy of

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can finally say it:  MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

One of my favorite times of year.  So cheerful and festive ... a time of reawakening
of goodwill among men.

[This breathtaking painting reminds me of the beautiful Angel Gabriel that sits atop our tree each year.]

Song: Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley

We took our left over smoked turkey legs (from the Thanksgiving Day bird) and made a delicious bean soup for dinner tonight.  Perfect, easy meal to offset overeating on Turkey Day.  : )  We're also trying to set up our Christmas tree tonight -- or at least get started -- so an easy meal is just what we needed.  If you're interested, here is the recipe, with photo courtesy of Lauren:

[note: photo is misleading: this is truly a soup.]

'Some Like it HOT' Spicy Bean Soup

2 cans pinto or chilli beans (NOT drained)
2 can Amy's Lentil bean soup (NOT drained)
1 can black beans (drained)

1 can petite cut tomatoes (NOT drained)
2/3 cup Soy Sauce
1 and 1/2 cup Red Wine (cab, shiraz, merlot, etc. ... just not concentrated cooking wine -- use less if this)
2 cups water
3 tbsp. olive oil (EV is best)
1 or 2 finely chopped serano peppers (1 gives moderately spicy ... but 2 is best in my book : )
1/4 of a medium purple onion

1 to 2 tsp. of salt (salt is a funny thing ... some like it a lot, others not so much. Just add one tsp., then add more --as you desire-- to taste. Note: the Soy Sauce already provides a sound salty base ... so don't overdo!)

3-4 turns fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped bacon (I prefer turkey bacon) or cubed dark meat turkey legs or ham ( I add just a little for flavor: we eat a lot of vegitarian, but if you love meat add 2/3 cup or more as you so desire)

Bring to a low boil and then cook over medium heat for at least 50 min. Some stoves run hotter than others, so if the soup is boiling wildly turn it down to med-low. Reduce to low and let simmer for another 10-15 min. to bring temperature down for eating. Serve over rice.

Enjoy!  I'm off to finish helping with the tree ...


P.S.  Okay has everyone, in my extended family -- except for me --  already got their tree up now?!  You all have way too much drive, time and energy!  : )  Think next year: I'll just pull out my Charlie Brown tree and beat ya'll to the finish.

Late p.m. ... okay our 'Charlie Brown' Tree is up.  Still working on setting up the 9 ft. artificial douglas fir that somehow manages to come out of 52" x 12" x 13" box each year (i.e., requires a lot of 'fluffing' and repositioning of branches and twigs).  Lights and decorations will have to wait until tomorrow.  We wrapped things up around 8 p.m. and watched the 'Polar Express' movie (Animated with Tom Hanks) while sipping hot coaco.  Fun!  Hope you and yours had fun setting up your trees, etc. as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Supersonic Anyone?

I know:  I'm supposed to be packing!  Need a break though: I hate packing, way too many decisions to make.

While I'm taking a short break, I happen see this press release ...

"The first F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant touches down at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on Sunday, Nov. 15. The supersonic stealth fighter will immediately begin test flights that will lead to hovers and vertical landings in the coming weeks."

(PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company)
Now this looks like a fun one to work on.  Miss the excitement.  Something to think about as I contemplate finishing up my Master Degree.  Wonder what it's like to fly one of  these?!?  Used to regularly fly fighter jet simulators as part of my job.  I was great at the flying part; was not so hot on the landings.  ; ) 
Back to packing ... joyful day to you!

A Prayer ...

'A Prayer to God', By Louis Welden Hawkins (Image Courtesy of

Recently found out that another friend of mine has a father with cancer.  Never easy news to get or digest.  You want to empathize ... and be sincere, but there is no way of really knowing, or feeling, what those impacted by this terrible news truly feel.  Difficult. 

One thing that I can do, however, is to pray.  I truly believe in the power of prayer.  I've personally seen it work too many times not to believe.  So, I have begun praying again. 

Times like these remind me, that I have so much to be grateful for ... that my own personal problems pale significantly by comparison to someone who is now in position to take on the fight of their life ... and to those who will fight by their side.

Times like these remind me how important connections are ...

God Bless you Paul and your father.  Know that I'll be storming Heaven for you!


"The pursuit of knowledge is a joy, often producing unexpected treasures along the way. If however, I had to choose between faith and knowledge: I would not hesitate to give up knowledge. For without my faith and a direct connection to a Creator, I would be but an empty shell that would quickly shrivel up and simply blow away in the winds of nothingness." ~Me 11/17/09

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dante's 'Inferno' ... To Read or Play?

In keeping with my honest efforts to give the poet's another try ... I am planning on (finally!) reading Dante's masterpiece, 'Inferno' ... the epic poem which I seem to know so very little about.  I'm tired of being in the dark on this ... there are so many allusions to this epic poem ... epsecially in art -- which I am also trying to come up to speed on.  Witness, for example, this chilling painting ...

'Pablo and Francesca', by George Frederic Watts (Image Courtesy of

So anyway, I'm on-line looking for info on buying this book [ 'Inferno' is actually the first part of Dante's 'Divine Comedy'] or perhaps even finding a copy on-line to read ... At the very top of my search return is the following -- I KID YOU NOT(!!) :

"Dante's Inferno Demo Announced
23:06 November 11th, 2009

529 Views - View related homepage

To be released this December

Electronic Arts the upcoming December release of a PS3 and X360 demo for Dante's Inferno, a third-person action adventure adaptation of the medieval epic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The demo includes the entire opening level and two cinematic movies. The game is in the works at EA Redwood Shores, the studio behind Dead Space. Dante's Inferno will be available in North America beginning on February 9, 2010 and in Europe on February 12, 2010."

Apparently, Dante's famous work will now be reduced the realm of the gaming industry?  Culture for the masses?  Looks interesting, no?  Perhaps, I should just wait and play the game?  : )

[ Here's the official game site ... if you're interested:  Dante's Inferno Official Game Site .  The graphics on this are astounding!  Creepy!  Too realistic ... I wouldn't want to visit. ]

I wonder ... would Dante Alighieri be flattered that his beloved work was being turned into a computer game, or revolted?  Well, if nothing else, the game may provide some interesting insights into the interpretation of this complex poem? What do you think? 

Life is full of interesting surprises ... embrace them!

Peaceful day to you and yours.


P.S. 11/15/2009  I found a copy of  'The Divine Comedy' in paperback today ... I start my read tonight.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

'The parade of colors enters the Memorial Amphitheater'

Song: 'Torch of Freedom', By Restless Heart

Written By, Michelle C. @2009
(2:00 a.m.)

Freedom is no abstract notion; it is rather the life blood of this great nation in which we, as Americans, are privileged to live and thrive.

Freedom is a hard won right. It is a gift given by those who have so bravely served in the past. It is a gift preserved by those willing to serve in our armed forces today.

Yet, it is so very easy for Americans to take for granted the many freedoms that we, as Americans, have in this day and age of unsurpassed and exoteric technology. We often forget the roots of the hard won freedom that we now enjoy. We forget that without our freedom there would be no United States of America as we know it today.

Therefore, let us pause today to reflect upon this most cherished gift of freedom. Let us then go beyond reflection and express our gratitude with action. Let us make our heartfelt appreciation known to the brave men and women of our armed forces: to those who have served, as well as to those who are currently serving. Let us also express our thanks to those who support those who serve: the family members of our military personnel.

May God continue to bless America, land of the free and home of the brave. May her freedom continue to ring for many generations to come. And may God bless all Veteran's, past and present, this Veteran's Day 2009 and throughout the upcoming year ahead.

My Dad (above photo: as Major;
next photo is his early enlistment at age of 18)

I am so grateful for my father and for his distinguished 23 years of service in the United States Air Force, and for my husband who served four years in the United States Army. A heartfelt thanks to both of my grandfathers who also served in the armed forces during WWII.

Two of my uncles have also served in Vietnam:  Denny and Bruce.  Thank you both.  Your service is truly appreciated!

To father's of friends I have known, thank you for your long careers of service in the United Air Force:  Mr. Bob W., Mr. Bob M. , and Mr. Harry W. 

And to Bruce W... -- wherever you are-- for your service in the National Guard.

To friends I have known in the past, Pat and Troy, who I have heard --via Kathy and Eileen -- are currently serving: a heartfelt thanks to you as well. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers for your safety and the safety and well being of those that you love.

To those that I have had the pleasure of meeting on many flights to and from Texas: among those Lt. xxx and SSgt. xxxx, a sincere THANKS to you too! (Put you guys in my book Lt. Bravo and SSgt. Pitts ... don't worry, you guys are the good guys.  : ).

All of you are in my ongoing thoughts and prayers. God Bless!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ft. Hood Memorial Service Honors 13 Fallen Soldiers

I was able to watch the broadcast of the memorial service held at Ft. Hood today. It was a fitting tribute for the 13 who gave their lives that tragic day ... just a few days ago ... Nov. 5, 2009. Ten were men and three were women, ranging in ages from just out of high school to retired and recently re-enlisted. One was an expectant mother, expecting her first child.

President Obama gave a moving eulogy. He said that these thirteen fallen soldiers were brave men and women ... and that they like so many other soldiers were "Americans who had been called to answer an extraordinary call to serve their comrades, communities, and their country."

"Men and women from many races, faiths, and stations of life united to accomplish a common goal: preservation of the freedom that we know and have come to cherish. "

"But here is what you must also know: your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched. Their life’s work is our security, and the freedom that we too often take for granted. Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – that is their legacy.

Neither this country – nor the values that we were founded upon – could exist without men and women like these thirteen Americans. And that is why we must pay tribute to their stories."

These soldiers, and those who continue to serve, inspire us and remind us what it truly means to be an American. May God bless the families who have lost Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Sons and Daughters. May He grant them comfort in their time of need. May God also bless America, its leaders, and those who continue to serve our great nation in order to uphold the freedom that we so cherish.

Song: 'Amazing Grace', By 48th Highlanders Pipes and Drums

For further info on the Presidents speech visit the White House Blog:

As much as this tragedy truly saddens me, it does --hopefully-- serve as a reminder to those of us left behind, that we should stop and look beyond our own little bubbles of concern ... look beyond ourselves to the greater world beyond us and to those LIVING in it.  We all have it within us to aspire to something greater ...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

National Championship countdown ... It's getting closer!

GO TCU HORNED FROGS!  Most impressive ... a non-BCS team, not just in the top 10, but the top 5!

Song: 'We are the Champions'


"Horned Frogs Leap into top four of BCS

Mike Huguenin College Football Editor

For the second week in a row, Alabama and Texas switched places in the BCS standings, with the Tide this week moving up to second and the Longhorns falling to third.
Florida remains No. 1, and the Gators and Crimson Tide will meet Dec. 5 in the SEC championship game. Texas is in the driver's seat for the Big 12 South title, and the top three teams are far ahead of the rest of the BCS field.
Here is the BCS top 12, with the school, its ranking last week, its spot in the coaches' poll, its spot in the Harris poll and its BCS computer average. A bonus: We've included NCAA strength of schedule (SOS), which is not part of the BCS formula..

Team (LW) Harris Coaches Comp. SOS

1. Florida (1) 1st 1st 1st T-18th

2. Alabama (3) 3rd 3rd 2nd 24th

3. Texas (2) 2nd 2nd 5th T-39th

4. TCU (6) 4th 4th 4th T-45th

5. Cincinnati (5) 5th 5th 3rd 73rd

6. Boise St. (7) 6th 6th 6th 100th

7. Ga. Tech (10) 7th 7th 7th 56th

8. LSU (9) 11th 11th 8th T-28th

9. USC (12) 10th 10th 11th 44th

10. Iowa (4) 12th 13th 9th T-28th

11. Ohio St. (16) 8th 8th T-13th 33rd

11. Pitt (13) 9th 9th T-13th 12th

Iowa's loss to Northwestern dropped the Hawkeyes from fourth to 10th in the BCS standings, and TCU was the beneficiary. The Horned Frogs climbed from sixth to fourth, with Cincinnati remaining in fifth.
Boise State is the lowest of the six unbeatens, at sixth in the BCS standings.

TCU remains the highest-ranked team from a non-Big Six league. A non-Big Six team is guaranteed a BCS spot in two ways. One is if it finishes in the top 12; the other is if it is ranked in the top 16 and its ranking is higher than that of a conference champion with an automatic berth. This week, the Horned Frogs are higher than any team from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten and Pac-10. "

And so the drama continues ... (whatever will men do when college football season ends?)   I must say, I am a bit relieved -- that Texas and Alabama flipped, putting Texas at number 3 now.  I don't want the National Championship to wind up being University of Florida vs. University of Texas ... have enough drama in my personal life already?!

But way to go TCU! (from my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas)  Horned Frogs rock!  Hard work pays off, no?!

The final games are up and coming.  Texas has had a whimpy schedule so far this far this far this year.  Oklahoma was probably their hardest game.  A&M is this weekend, but doubt they'll give Texas a real game?  Never know:  it could happen.  According to Ken, U of Florida has to face Alabama in the weeks ahead ... a sort of SEC championship.  He says that whoever wins that game will probably wind up playing Texas for the National Championship.  So basically, unless Texas screws up:  they're in.  Must be nice!  We'll see what happens.  That is one of the things that I DO LIKE about college football -- vs. pro; the fact that the unexpected can and often does happen.  Guess, I'll just keep biting my finger nails for the next few weeks -- just figuratively, course!  : )