Friday, October 31, 2014

Straight No Chaser

Several years ago I saw a PBS special featuring an a capella group, Straight No Chaser.  We so enjoyed the special that we made arrangements to go see them when they were in Arkansas City.  Unfortunately, a snow storm kept them from making their concert and we were unable to attend the alternate one.

Several weeks ago I noticed they would be here on October 30, and we decided to attend.  It was a great performance!

To strictly sing a capella is not an easy task, but this group has it mastered.  Not only do they sing perfectly pitched, they also use their voices for percussion.  At times it was hard to remember that they are unaccompanied.  Don and I enjoyed trying to figure out which singer was the "percussionist" per song!

This group is a multi-talented collection of men who went to Indiana University, but now live throughout the country and practice via Skype.  How that works I cannot imagine.  How does one plan choreography in a conference call?   Somehow it works, as they are in perfect sync, both chorally and choreographically.

We had a great night with Straight No Chaser.  See them when they are at a theater near you!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Cleaning Bug

I have been waiting for the cleaning bug to hit me.  It used to bite at least once a year, but lately, it has taken a few years off.  Unlike most bugs, I usually feel better after a bout with it.  And finally Friday night, it suddenly struck.

And in an instant, all of the items I have held onto for years because I just couldn't stand to part with them are not that important.  I have even decided to part with my wedding pottery.  I still like it, but so many pieces have been broken, I can only put together a few full place settings.  Upon checking eBay, I discovered that they might sell for some nice money.  So . . . why not?  Christmas is coming :)

Some of my cabinets are more organized than they have ever been.  The problem is it takes a long time to go through them, but I am hoping the bug sticks around.  Our "tepee full of crap" will be much nicer because of it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Colors of the Pecos

We were lucky to catch the leaves in their full splendor.  Rather than tell about it, I will show you!

What a difference blue sky makes!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Balloon Festival

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival began the year I left for KSU, and I had never seen it until the fall my mom was dying.  But Don had never had the opportunity.  For that reason we left the cabin for 24 hours to partake in the festivities.

But before we could go to the Festival, we were up early to get a view of the Blood Moon and the full lunar eclipse.  It was slightly hazy in Albuquerque so Don's pictures were not nearly as crisp as he would have liked.  Once I get them downloaded, one will go here . . . but that could be awhile!

Then an hour later we were on our way to watch the mass ascension of balloons.  Since it was windy, they had to delay the start of the event, but within an hour, up launched the first balloon.  Unfortunately, the skies clouded over, which affected the colors of the balloons, but we still got a few shots that were pretty.

The first balloons at dawn, one lit up by its burner

Some balloons had rather interesting shapes

Wouldn't it have been pretty if the sky had been blue?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Roads to Quoz

When Diana gave her father the book, Roads to Quoz, by William Least Heat-Moon, her thinking was that it would be a good book to read as he was preparing to enter retirement (some four years ago, or so).  At the time, neither of us had time to read it, so it sat on the shelf.  I knew someday I would pick it up . . . and I did, just before our trip to the cabin.

Having never read anything by William Least Heat-Moon, but knowing he was a good writer, I did not know what to expect, but I assumed it would be good.

My first thought as I began the book was how I wished I could write like he does.  He uses a wide spectrum of vocabulary, from edification, vagaries and vagrant (all within the same sentence) to every "q" word you could possibly think of (Quinquagesima, quintessences, quisquilious and quidnunc, for example).  Then he connects those words in a poetic, rhythmic way that makes reading such a long book a pleasure.

No, this is not a fast read.  But then, I don't think it is supposed to be.  The subtitle is "An American Mosey," which is how it is intended to be read.  Basically, he writes about several trips he has taken through various parts of the United States, detailing some of the stories he was told during his travels.  He has learned the art of storytelling well, and if one likes reading about the oddities and vagaries of small-town America, this is the book for you.

Although the book is long, it could be read in sections, but I found it enjoyable just to sit down, read a bit, fix some tea, and read some more.  And within a week, I had finished its 550+ pages.  Highly recommended for those who love beautiful words put together to tell a story.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Our tailgate group has become quite the extended family.  And we are extending even more. We have three of the next generation with one more due in February.  And now we have a wedding!  In typical style, I thought it would be fun to have a shower for the bride and groom, and the only day we knew would work was Octoberfest day.  So we had quite the celebration!

The instructions to everyone were to bring something purple and a recipe.  We wanted Victoria and Kip to wear a dirndl and lederhosen, respectively, but we knew that would be out of the question.  So when we were at the Leinenkugel brewery and saw t-shirts that looked like a dirndl and lederhosen, we had to buy them.

Then it occurred to me that Willie needed in on the action.  I arranged for him to drop by, which he did, and he took the obligatory photo with the bride and groom, her family, and others.

When Anne arrived, she brought along a lovely purple veil for Victoria to wear, which she very sportingly did.  Kip wore his gray Leinenkugel German Octoberfest hat, which I hope he keeps for future Octobfest tailgates.

We brought the steins for the beer that we purchased in Wisconsin, most of which came from New Glarus.  Kip received a six-pack of Totally Naked, Victoria's favorite brew, though we also had Two Women, Spotted Cow, Staghorn, and others for those who thought Totally Naked was a bit risqué!

The only thing missing was the Octoberfest music (I had it but forgot to play it) and Kenneth in his lederhosen.  He said they are a pain, but I think the pain is in his waist where they are probably a little tight.  Anyway, Don had his Austrian hat to set the mood.

As guests ate their brahts, bierocks, German potato salad, fruit salad, apple or pumpkin cakes, and Reuben roll-up appetizers and a kielbasa dip, Victoria and Kip opened their gifts of purple KSU plates and napkins, a KSU rug, a car flag, a purple New Glarus fleece, two coffee mugs, a candle with a purple glass holder, and several items I did not see.

The day was capped off with a big Wildcat win.  What a great day for all of us!