Sunday, November 20, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Monkey Man

Partly Cloudy Hi 73 Lo 55 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly Cloudy Hi 53 Lo 35 for Northern Kentucky, USA

Song of the Week: Kind and Generous, Natalie Merchant

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of my favorite time of year, but as all 12 of you know, work has been so hectic and stressful for me. One way I have been trying to combat the blues has been to listen to music- jazz and classical instead of my beloved talk radio shows. One afternoon this past week I listened to NPR and they played some music that I really liked by a group called Hem... The announcer mentioned the group members... Gary Maurer, Steve Curtis, Sally Ellyson & Dan Messa. Huh...whadyaknow... I had a dear friend a lifetime ago named Gary Maurer... back in high school...I wonder if he is one in the same. So, of course I "Googled" him... and found a picture of the band... wow... my old friend, Monkey Man... The rush of fond memories...There was a group of us that used to hang out in his basement everyday after school, listening to music, discussing music and the artistic value of videos (way back in the day many music videos did have artistic merit), smoking cigarettes, comparing Surrealism to Expressionism, drinking coffee, and discussing the world and our place in it, occasionally working on homework. It was always the same group in one form or another- Jimi and Rodney and Pam and Scott and Robert and Sophia and Adam and Butch and Carl and a revolving door of others. Gary's mom was always so sweet to us. She would always say to anyone that would listen, "Gary's going to be a rock star." I always thought that was so cool, that his Mother was so supportive of his dreams. I believed her, Gary and Jimi (another artist) were talented beyond their years already. As I remember, his guitar of choice back then was his Fender Stratocaster. There were a couple of bands over the years that were formed- one was pretty good and they actually played a few parties. After we all graduated from high school, we all stayed in touch for the first couple of years of college, but then slowly drifted apart. As I recall, after Gary graduated high school, he moved to New York City (pre Mayor Rudy Giuliani days) to study music and his first months there were staying at the YMCA. I always thought that was really move from a little suburb of Cincinnati, a place that Mark Twain once reportedly said, "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times." In any event, I had some wonderful times with these folks and think of them very fondly. Most recently I received several emails from Jimi during the 2004 elections and they were heated and at times ugly, but Jimi made a comment about that time being the most formative time of his life. At the time of our correspondence, I didn't really acknowledge what he wrote, but in reflecting on his statement now, Jimi was right. It was a turbulent time for me- the on again off again animosity I feel towards my mom stems from those days (without valid reason, mind you), but that circle of friends as well as a few others really kept me grounded. God we had fun!

So Gary and his new music brought me a sense of calm and I thank him for that. Hearing his name made me remember all the great times we all shared. Best concert ever- Talking Heads Stop Making Sense Tour. Worst movie to see on Christmas Eve - Scarface....

I have no idea what else is in Monkey's life, but I wish him happiness and success for all his days...

So now with fond memories floating in my head rather than self pity, I want to share with you all the things that I am thankful for. I love Thanksgiving. I love Christmas and I expect that since this is my favorite time of year, my posts through the end of 2005 will revolve around them in one way or another. Indulge me please and let me know if I forget anything and if I do, please do not take offense as it is 3:30 in the morning and I'm bound to forget something.
  • My husband. Of all the people on this planet, he has given me so much. He is the kindest gentlest soul you will ever meet and I'm fortunate to call him my best friend, my love, my reason for living and Natalie is singing for him.
  • God's grace
  • My family- mom, grandparents, brother, sis in law, my nieces and nephews I'm grateful to be born into this dysfunctional family of mine. I wouldn't trade one of them... no... not one........
  • Michael's family- the other dysfunctional family in my life.
  • My beautiful nieces and nephews
  • Our friends, close and distant
  • Planes Trains and Automobiles
  • Our cats--- all 5 of them (oh.... she's one of THOSE people...)
  • Long drives in the country with Michael
  • Long walks in the woods with Michael
  • My ability to laugh at my own stupidity
  • Being born in the greatest nation
  • Jean Schmidt's balls: Congresswoman from right across the river
  • U2
  • fond memories of old friends
  • our home
  • air shows
  • Kentucky bourbon
  • My purple room
  • lava lamps and Japanese lanterns
  • Michael's Thanksgiving dressing
  • My grandmother's sarcasm
  • My grandfather's gentle soul
  • My brother's moodiness
  • My mother's laugh
  • My mother in law's melodic voice
  • My sis in law's better than Martha Stewart ways
  • Old people moments
  • Michaelisms
  • I'm glad I was able to meet Michael's father
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Ketel One Cosmopolitans
  • Laughing until my stomach hurts
  • The ability to cry for joy
  • The ability to cry freely at the playing of our National Anthem
  • The fact that my sis in law has more gray than I do
  • Monet
  • GW
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • popcorn
  • a healthy fear of carnies
  • Jimmy Stewart
  • Yul Brynner
  • Cary Grant
  • Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame
  • good neighbors
  • new friends
  • A Christmas Story
  • our men and women in uniform, past and present

2 small pieces of advice for this season of giving:

  • Take time to thank as many folks as you can that wear a uniform... from policemen to firemen, to EMT's to nurses and doctors, to our military.
  • When shopping make a truce (Michael and I do this every year when we go Christmas shopping) to not get nasty or short with each other or others. We go through a checklist of sorts.... ***don't get impatient when sitting in traffic or trying to find a parking space- it's inevitable, so why get upset?, ***smile and make eye contact with all sales help, wish them Merry Christmas- chances are you are the first soul that has been nice to them all day. (discussing lack of quality sales help is not the issue here.. bringing good cheer is) ***smile and make eye contact with other shoppers and when possible wish them a Merry Christmas (especially the impatient ones).

I promise you, although awkward at first, if you follow those 2 simple rules, every single time you go out -- your holiday season will be that much nicer. Yeah, you do occasionally get the Scrooge that will never lighten up, but just say BahHumbug AND Merry Christmas to them. People do get it and chances are they will start to think of the true meaning of the season as well...

I leave you with this. Click on the link below to view a moving slideshow. Remember there will be so many of our finest that won't be home this season. If you can, set up a table with a card(s) for your family and friends to sign. There are countless ways to get cards and letters to our soldiers... make room in your home so we remember that they are still there...

This presentation is dedicated to those who will "stay the course." They know that if we do not, it is our children or their children that will have to finish or even repeat what we have started and those who have sacrificed so much will be all for not.
Courtesy of GCS Distributing

[U.S. Representative Jean Schmidt] told her new colleagues of a phone call she had just received from freshman Ohio state Rep. Danny R. Bubp of West Union, a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. "He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," said Schmidt, of Miami Township. "Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body that we will see this through." By Malia Rulon Cincinnati Enquirer Washington Bureau

Here are a couple of places I wanted to share with you:

A must see for all you Paris Hilton fans and a train wreck for those of us that can't help but stare when confronted by... well... you'll see... Her facial expression never ever changes...
Peru 2005 November
Native Eye

you've been so kind and generous
I don't know how you keep on giving
for your kindness I'm in debt to you
for your selflessness, my admiration
and for everything you've done

you know I'm bound...
I'm bound to thank you for it

you've been so kind and generous
I don't know how you keep on giving
for your kindness I'm in debt to you
and I never could have come this far without you
so for everything you've done

you know I'm bound...
I'm bound to thank you for it

I want to thank you
for so many gifts
you gave with love and tenderness
I want to thank you

I want to thank you
for your generosity
the love and the honesty
that you gave me

I want to thank you
show my gratitude
my love and my respect for you
I want to thank you

I want to...

thank you
thank you
thank you
thank you
thank you
thank you


My oldest niece went to her first dance earlier this month (with a group of girlfriends). I can hardly believe it.

Michael and I go for walks at the Boone County Arboretum. This was the last of the fall color.


Saturday, Michael and I toured Buffalo Trace Distillery . The following photo is of a wood sculpture made on site from a 300 year old sycamore tree... impressive use of serious manly power tools.


Barrels of Buffalo Trace Bourbon... This was barrelled 12/30/99.


Buffalo Trace offices.


Buffalo Trace Campus.



chrys said...

Good stuff as usual Cathy! That's some niece - really beautiful already. Good shots. The list idea is a nice way to remember good things when you job feels like a tank full of tarantulas! Good Morning

Peakah said...

Great Photos!

Thanks for the patience reminder when shopping this season, those are tips I need to remember!

Have an excellent Thanksgiving!

chrys said...

If you don't come back RERUN

Jedi Master Rob said...

Fun post. Maybe we could catch a Hem show sometime.