Considering all the fires that are currently burning in my area of Southern California, I decided that the only song appropriate for a Monday meme at a time when rain is very much needed would have to be "Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters who, by the way, are from a suburb of Los Angeles.

Can you say irony?

Lyrics | Carpenters lyrics - Rainy Days & Mondays lyrics

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This week's movie topic is all about The Great Outdoors...

Share on your blog movies all about living with nature and then link back to The Bumbles. And don't forget to visit your fellow participants!

On with the show!

The Cowboys (1972): I've never been a fan of cowboy movies, but since this one was filmed in and around my dad's hometown of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and my grandmother loved to tell the story about how she had lunch with John Wayne after he and his crew came into the town's bank one day, I decided to watch it.

Turns out that the movie is actually pretty doggone good, partner! Even for someone like me who isn't particularly fond of the genre. This movie is also notable because it is the only one John Wayne ever made in which his character is killed!

Cold Mountain (2003): Always a sucker for a movie about the Civil War, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Nicole Kidman was fabulous, but Renee Zellweger absolutely stole the show with her performance! I love Ruby's down-to-earth approach to life and her creative problem solving skills.

Whether it's portrayed through farming or characters riding through the snow in search of loved ones, this film is packed with images of the great outdoors. Heck, there's even a little bit of the age old struggle of man against nature in the film's theme!

White Fang (1991): Loosely based on the novel by Jack London, this film tells the story of a young man who goes to Alaska to take over his father's mining claim. When Jack first arrives in Alaska, he sees a beautiful young dog/wolf hybrid owned by a native who uses him for work. Jack, the city boy, disagrees with the man's treatment of the dog but can't do anything about it. Later, however, when the dog has been sold to another man who plans to train him to fight, Jack rescues him. With a little work and patience from Jack, White Fang learns to trust him and the two develop a lifelong friendship. Lots of beautiful Alaska scenery in this one.

Heidi (1937): By far my favorite of the old Shirley Temple films! I have no clue where it was filmed -- it seems unlikely that the outdoors scenes were actually shot in the Swiss Alps -- but wherever it was, the place was beautiful.

This is a heartwarming tale of an orphaned girl who goes to live in the mountains with her grouchy grandfather, is taken away from him by a mean old aunt who "sells" her to a wealthy family whose daughter is paralyzed and needing companionship. In true Shirley Temple fashion, Heidi works her magic on everyone she meets!

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While I've been busing growing another neck, my buddy Thom has been getting and sharing awards! Because he's such an all-around nice guy (and maybe because he feels sorry for me just a little bit), Thom has shared three awards with me:

Thank you for honoring me with these awesome awards, my friend. I'm going to pass the torch on to some more bloggers who deserve to share them, too." This time, though, instead of making a list of people to share with, I'm going to invite my readers who also blog to grab one, two, or all three of the awards for themselves. I believe in sharing my wealth!

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Here we go . . .

what are your most common nicknames?

I don't really have a nickname, unless you consider that my favorite uncle has always called me by my middle name and that Thom calls me Zip.

what is today's weather?

Currently, at 4:14 AM in my part of Orange County, California, it is 75 degrees F with an expected daytime high temperature of 90 as the day progresses.

where did go on vacation this year?

I didn't take a vacation this year; I retired instead.

what did you do there?

I played Farm Town on Facebook a lot and had surgery.

where did you stay?

Either at home or in the office at our business. The accommodations at home are more comfortable when the weather is hot, so I've stayed in the luxury of central air for a few weeks.

what job do you do?

It would be easier to tell you what job I don't do. I don't do windows.

describe where you live.

I live in a city that is swallowed up by two others that are much more famous: Anaheim (home of Disneyland) and Santa Ana (once voted the "Great American City"). Garden Grove is best known for its annual Strawberry Festival and for being conveniently located near everything else that is important.

what do you usually do on weekends?

The same things I do on week days -- work.

what food hits your 'bliss spot'?

Spinach cooked just about any way you can imagine.

what drink really does it for you?

Coffee with hazelnut cream

describe the first friend that comes to your head.

The Amazing Egyptian Dude (aka my husband)

what was the last restaurant you went to?

I think it was Red Robin, but I don't remember for sure.

where would you like to live if you had unlimited moneys and nothing stopping your dreams?

Somewhere in the mountains between Pagosa Springs and Silverton, Colorado.

what is the likeliness of you achieving this dream home?

Not likely at all -- the Amazing Egyptian Dude balks at the idea of touching snow let alone living in a place where it is a daily part of life for several months of the year.

what do you like to do in your spare time?

Read, crochet, play with the cats, crossword puzzles, and watch documentaries

what's your favorite genre for TV programs?

My favorite TV programming is on PBS because it's mostly documentaries; on network television, though, it would have to be the talent competitions like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.

what's your favorite genre for music?


what's your favorite song that's sad?

I've got a whole list of them here: Songs to Cry By.

what's your favorite soppy film?

A Walk to Remember

how about your favorite chick flick?

Right now it's Music and Lyrics; however, it changes every few days.

what are you looking forward to at the moment?

A reduction in the swelling at the incision site of the surgery I had on Friday morning.

what are you dreading at the moment?

The swelling not going down and having to make a trip to Urgent Care to get it checked.

how would you describe your personality?

Sheesh, these questions are quite random, aren't they?! Anyway, I'd describe my personality as friendly and easy to get along with.

if you had a personality eraser, what part of yours might you erase?

The stubborn parts.

you are given $5000 to spend in 1 day, what do you do with it? remember, no limitations!

Providing, of course, that it has been invented, I'd buy a robot that does the laundry. If one isn't available, then I'd use the money to buy some gold as an investment.

what is your biggest fear?

That my husband will die before I do.

I am home. I am tired, and I am sore, but I am home.

Surgery went well, although I really did have to fight to get to come home yesterday instead of spending the night in the hospital. My newest battle scar is located at the base of my throat. I can't tell exactly how big the incision is -- my best guess is that it's somewhere between 3 and 4 inches long. Where the purple squiggly line is, there was a drain that was removed this morning. In place of the drain tube is a nifty little hole that the doctor filled with antibiotic ointment. Notice all the blue "shadow" in the crease above the incision? That shadow is actually swelling and bruising. The whole neck is swollen and bruised.

The good news is that only the right half of the thyroid was removed because the initial lab results showed a benign form of cancer. The tissue is still undergoing additional testing, so the final results won't be in for another few days; however, the surgeon didn't see anything that made him believe removing the left side was necessary.

The always Amazing Egyptian Dude earned props -- lots of them -- when, despite being utterly exhausted, he hauled himself to the market last night to get me some Diet Dr. Pepper and Butter Pecan ice cream. A tall glass of Diet Dr. Pepper on crushed ice did wonders for my sore throat. Chewing is not easy because it involves using the muscles in my neck that have been cut, so soft and squishy foods like soup and jello are it for a couple of days. Oh, and Butter Pecan ice cream!

I gots a owie. I'm sore. I'm tired. But I'm ok, and I'm home.

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Carleen we go!

1. He was a rather strange fellow, but I liked him anyway.

2. Winter is what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend is an Amazing Egyptian Dude.

4. I am not very comfortable at the moment to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be disgusting, especially when you've got a drain with blood in it hanging around your neck.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was the Amazing Egyptian Dude to thank him for going to the market to get me some Diet Dr. Pepper even though he is completely exhausted.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing as little as possible, tomorrow my plans include absolutely nothing and Sunday, I want to do even less than on Friday and Saturday!

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This week's list is inspired by one of the Podcasts that I had listed on a previous Thursday Thirteen (am I a great salesperson, or what?). Maybe the people at Stuff You Missed in History Class should start paying me for pimping their podcasts! While playing catch-up on my work, I was listening, for like the third or fourth time, to a podcast on the history of presidential debates. This time, though, I was struck by the truth of a comment that one of the hosts made about how television changed voters' reactions to the words they heard.

The first televised presidential debate took place between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Just a few days before the event, Nixon had injured his leg and developed a staph infection so that by the time he went before the camera and the television viewing audience, it wasn't hard for people to see that something was wrong with him. The power of the image over the word was fully realized in this debate when voters who watched it on television said that Kennedy won, yet people who had heard the debate on the radio declared Nixon the winner! The television viewing audience focused on the image, whereas the radio audience focused on the words.

Most of us know at least a line or two from some of history's greatest speeches. But now I can't help but wonder if those famous lines would be as memorable if we had heard them on television and seen the orator's delivery of them. With that in mind, my list is of Great Speeches and where possible, I've included an image of the orator and the most famous line(s) from the speech for your consideration. Do you think we'd still remember them if we had seen rather than heard or read these great words? Or in the case where the speech was originally televised, would the words have had the same impact on us if we hadn't seen the facial expressions and body language of the orator?

1. Patrick Henry: March 23, 1775
Complete Speech

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable -- and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

2. Abraham Lincoln: June 16, 1858
Complete Speech

"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South."

3. Winston Churchill: June 18, 1940
Complete Speech

"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

4. Franklin D. Roosevelt: December 8, 1941
Complete Speech

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack."

5. Martin Luther King, Jr.: August 28, 1963
Complete Speech

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!"

6. John F. Kennedy: January 20, 1961
Complete Speech

"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

7. Queen Elizabeth I: August 9, 1588
Complete Speech

"We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field."

8. Abraham Lincoln: November 19, 1863
Complete Speech

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

9. Chief Joseph: October 5, 1877
Complete Speech

"Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."

10. Robert F. Kennedy: April 4, 1968
Complete Speech

"I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black--considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible--you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization--black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another."

11. Ronald Reagan: January 28, 1986
Complete Speech

"We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them……

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'"

12. Malcolm X: April 3, 1964
Complete Speech

"The question tonight, as I understand it, is 'The Negro Revolt, and Where Do We Go From Here?' or 'What Next?' In my little humble way of understanding it, it points toward either the ballot or the bullet.

[. . .]

The black nationalists aren't going to wait. Lyndon B. Johnson is the head of the Democratic Party. If he's for civil rights, let him go into the Senate next week and declare himself. Let him go in there right now and declare himself. Let him go in there and denounce the Southern branch of his party. Let him go in there right now and take a moral stand -- right now, not later. Tell him, don't wait until election time. If he waits too long, brothers and sisters, he will be responsible for letting a condition develop in this country which will create a climate that will bring seeds up out of the ground with vegetation on the end of them looking like something these people never dreamed of. In 1964, it's the ballot or the bullet.

13. Franklin D. Roosevelt: March 4, 1933
Complete Speech

"This is a day of national consecration. And I am certain that on this day my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impels. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; and the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone."

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Carleen is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Before I start, I have to confess that the "photo" which is the subject of today's post is not mine. You'll understand why in just a few seconds!

Tomorrow, I will have the ninth surgery of my life. It's not because I think that spending time on a chilly stainless steel table in an eerily smelly sterilized room is the ideal way to spend a couple hours of spare time that I will embark on yet another surgical adventure. Trust me, I can find plenty of better ways to keep myself occupied! Nope, the time has come to remove yet another malfunctioning part of my body so that it will no longer interfere with those parts that do work as they still should.

The surgery itself isn't a big deal as far as operations go. In fact, compared to some of the others I've had, this one is as simple as a trip to the grocery store. The only hitch in the get-along, as my Papa used to say, is that the shopping list has a huge question mark right in the middle of it.

The right side of my thyroid gland (see "photo" to locate it) has a nodule about the size of grape on it. It moves around when touched and when positioned just right, can actually make it difficult for me to breathe or swallow properly. A needle biopsy taken several months ago showed changes to the cells in the fluid contained within the nodule, prompting the doctor to warn me about the big C -- cancer. The biopsy didn't get enough of the fluid or cells to determine which type of cancer, but that doesn't really matter because the nodule and the portion of the thyroid to which it has attached itself have to come out of my neck.

So tomorrow morning, my very own Dr. Oz will play slice and dice on my throat. He will remove the right half of my thyroid gland and send it off to the lab for analysis to determine just what those changed cells have done to it. Based on the results and what he sees, he will determine whether or not to remove the rest of the gland before stitching me back together. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me whether I have half a thyroid or none at all when all is said and done. I care more about making sure that what remains works the way it should and has none of those funky changed cells in it!

The surgery is supposed to be an outpatient event, and I anticipate being home in the early afternoon. There is, however, a slight possibility that I will have to stay in the hospital overnight -- something that will make me a very, very unhappy camper should it come to pass! I'll do my best to post a Twitter update as soon as I am able but if I disappear for a couple of days, you'll know that it's more than likely because I ended up having to stay at the hospital.

**Source for the "photo" -- I couldn't use my own thyroid gland because, well, I'm not about to slice open my own throat to get a bird's eye view not even for a blog post!

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Jientje from Heaven Is in Belgium, the creator of this meme, writes: "As long as people have been around, they have tried to communicate with each other. As a means of getting the message across as clearly as possible, idioms and sayings have found their way into our language. Now, because "a picture paints a thousand words", I thought it would be nice to make this a new photo challenge. The idea is to choose an idiom, or a saying, ( even slang is allowed) and illustrate it with a picture.

My theme for the week is cats.

Here we go!

If someone is in the catbird seat, they are in an advantageous or superior position. By virtue of his superior handsomeness and unbeatable charm, Marlowe lives in the catbird seat! Well, until Maggie, the undisputed Queen of the World, comes along to put him in his place, that is.

Something that is the cat's pajamas is excellent. In this case, the something is actually someone -- three of them. From left to right, my cat's pajamas are: Rania, the niece who visited us from Egypt; Iman, our daughter who followed in her mother's footsteps and married an Awesome Egyptian Dude (mine is Amazing, hers is Awesome); and Basma, the tortured teenage niece who is my travel partner and bestest buddy -- when I don't have to harass her about school, that is!

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Random Thought #1

Ok, this isn't really random, but since I didn't have the chance to answer some questions that Thom asked me a couple of days ago, I figured that I would tackle them today in this post.

Why is it only during certain times? Why isn't this done every day? The "sawm" means that, and I'm only going to use drinking here, can't be done between sunup and sundown so between then you can drink? Ramadan Kareem Means? and on the photo Mubarak is for?

Actually, Thom, we can fast at anytime, but fasting during Ramadan is mandatory for everyone who is physically able. Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an, the Muslims' holy book, was first revealed, so it's a really special and important time.

In spite of the lunacy that we see on the news from some Muslims, our religion actually cautions us to maintain a middle of the road stand and to avoid extremism of all kinds. For example, a story relates that when a man visited his brother's household, he noticed that his brother's wife appeared neglected. When Salman asked his sister-in-law what was wrong, she replied that her husband, Abu Darda, had taken up fasting every day and praying all night. As a result of his well-meaning religious zealotry, Abu Darda was neglecting his wife and family. No Muslim is allowed to go such lengths as to neglect his worldly responsibilities for religious "extra credit," so to speak. Salman convinced his brother to stop fasting every day and praying all night by reminding him that this family had rights on him that he had an obligation to fulfill. When Salman related the story to Prophet Muhammad, he approved of the way the situation had been handled by the brother and cautioned all Muslims to avoid such extremism.

To understand the no eating, drinking, etc. rule a bit better, here's a nifty link to a PDF file showing the actual fasting times for the month. The fast begins about 30 minutes before the Fajr prayer (the first prayer of the day) which, for today, was at 4:52 AM; the fast ends with the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib, which today comes at 7:26 PM. Total fasting time for the day? Rounding up or down as needed for convenience, it looks like this: start at 4:30 AM and end at 7:30 PM for a total of 15 hours. During these 15 hours, the no food, drink, etc. rule applies. In the hours after the Maghrib prayer until 30 minutes before the next Fajr (dawn) prayer comes, we can eat, drink, and generally be merry -- oh, and sleep a little bit so that we can function the next day when we can't eat or drink again, LOL.

Random Thought #2

The pro-op visit with Dr. Oz went well, and now I am just waiting for the hospital to call and let me know what time I need to show up at the hospital on Thursday morning. I've already done my Mostly Wordless Wednesday post with most of the details, so you'll have to sit on pins and needles (lookie there -- an idiom for Jentjie!) until it launches automatically at 12:01 AM on 8-26. Ooooh, I like being mean!

Random Thought #3

Why is it that just when you express gratitude for an easy summer, the weather changes and it turns hot? This is what the Amazing Egyptian Dude calls giving myself the "evil eye." I swear, just a couple of days ago I was saying how glad I was that we had had such a pleasant summer, how the weather had been much cooler than normal, and how we had saved a considerable amount of money because I hadn't needed to run the a/c very often. And then . . .

I start hearing the lyrics to an old Elvis song:

Lord almighty,
I feel my temperature rising
Higher higher
Its burning through to my soul

[. . .]

Ooh, ooh, ooh,
I feel my temperature rising
Help me, Im flaming
I must be a hundred and nine
Burning, burning, burning
And nothing can cool me
I just might turn into smoke
But I feel fine

Except that I don't feel fine -- I feel hot! And I feel sorry for the Amazing Egyptian Dude who is fasting and hanging out in our warehouses, where it is always at least 10 degrees hotter inside than out.

Lesson learned on this one? Keep my big mouth shut and avoid those evil eyes!

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From the first time I heard John Denver sing "Rocky Mountain High" back in 1973, I have been a fan. Even when it wasn't popular or cool to like John Denver in my high school days, it simply didn't matter to me -- the man had a way with words and music that touched me like only a few other artists ever have. But the one thing I admired most about John Denver's music was the fact that at a time when the generation gap was growing ever wider and communication between parents and their children was becoming increasingly difficult, my family found a young, talented, and vibrant artist whose music we all enjoyed listening to together. That didn't happen very often back in the 70s!

While I miss hearing new compositions from John Denver, I am forever grateful for the legacy of music that he left for the world. Today, my selection is one of my favorite of his songs, "This Old Guitar." I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.


This old guitar taught me to sing a love song
It showed me how to laugh and how to cry
It introduced me to some friends of mine
And brightened up some days
It helped me make it through some lonely nights
Oh, what a friend to have on a cold and lonely night

This old guitar gave me my lovely lady
It opened up her eyes and ears to me
It brought us close together
I guess it broke her heart
It opened up the space for us to be
What a lovely place and a lovely space to be

This old guitar gave me my life my living
All the things you know I love to do
To serenade the stars that shine
From a sunny mountainside
Most of all to sing my songs for you
I love to sing my songs for you
Yes, I do, you know
I love to sing my songs for you
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~ Brought to you by Jori and Diane ~

On December 5, 2008, I wrote about rediscovering an artist whom my mother loved one night when I couldn't sleep. The video that I am going to share today is the piece that actually reignited that spark. This week, it's Ella Fitzgerald who moves me.

Of Fitzgerald, Johnny Mathis said, "She was the best there ever was. Amongst all of us who sing, she was the best." From those early days on Harlem streets to the upper stratosphere of musical fame, Ella Fitzgerald's life was the quintessential American success story. Through fifty-eight years of performing, thirteen Grammys and more than forty million records sold, she elevated swing, bebop, and ballads to their highest potential. She was, undeniably, the First Lady of Song. (source)

Today's video is a clip from a movie made in 1938, the year before my parents were born. A young, beautiful, and vibrant Ella achieved her first hit with this song. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!


A-tisket A-tasket
A brown and yellow basket
I send a letter to my mommy
On the way I dropped it

I dropped it
I dropped it
Yes on the way I dropped it
A little girlie picked it up
And put it in her pocket

Not a single thing to do
She went peck peck pecking all around
When she spied it on the ground

She took it
She took it
My little yellow basket
And if she doesn't bring it back I think that I will die

Oh gee I wonder where my basket can be
(So do we, so do we, so do we, so do we, so do we)
Oh dear I wish that little girl I could see
(So do we, so do we, so do we, so do we, so do we)

Oh why was I so careless with that basket of mine?
That itty bitty basket was a joy of mine!

I lost my yellow basket
Won't someone help me find my basket
And make me happy again? again

(Was it red?) No, no, no, no
(Was it green?) No, no, no, no
(Was it serese?) No, no, no, no

Just a little yellow basket
A little yellow basket
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