Dianne from Good Mourning, Glory is taking a break, so hats off to Amanda for hosting this wonderful meme during her absence.

From the time I first heard him singing the train songs of Jimmie Rodgers, I have loved Merle Haggard. It was 1969, and I was just ten years old when my dad brought home Same Train, Different Time. So in tune with the American character is he, that I tell everyone to really know America, you must listen to Merle Haggard and pay attention to his lyrics. One of these days when the Brain is more cooperative, I plan to write a paper on the topic. Until then, I'll just have to content myself with a melodious voice and some of the most powerful lyrics ever written. Just in case you want more of the Hag, check out the tribute to him on the acclaimed PBS series, American Masters.


The warden led a prisoner down the hallway to his doom
I stood up to say good-bye like all the rest
And I heard him tell the warden just before he reached my cell
'Let my guitar playing friend do my request.' (Let him...)

Sing me back home with a song I used to hear
Make my old memories come alive
Take me away and turn back the years
Sing Me Back Home before I die

I recall last Sunday morning a choir from 'cross the street
Came to sing a few old gospel songs
And I heard him tell the singers 'There's a song my mama sang.
Can I hear once before we move along?'

Sing me back home, the song my mama sang
Make my old memories come alive
Take me away and turn back the years
Sing Me Back Home before I die

Sing Me Back Home before I die
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Random Thought #1

I've been itching to change my blog template for a very long time and even added myself to a professional designer's incredibly long queue last summer. Unfortunately for me, that designer made some significant life changes, before my place in the queue came up, and is no longer designing blog templates. Despite hours of scouring the web for just the right freebie template, I haven't had any luck. Maybe out of sheer desperation for a change, I will resort to using Blogger's new design your own template feature thingy. Has anybody used it yet?

Random Thought #2

All three rescue kittens are still with me. Wilbur, the runt of the litter, is quite attached to me and with each passing day, I get more attached to him. This is exactly what I (and the AED) was afraid would happen. With such an adorable creature shadowing my every move, how could I possibly give him up?!

A few days ago, I sat on the couch to fold some laundry. Before I even had a chance to get myself and the laundry basked situated comfortably, I was surrounded by fur monsters. In the photo at the left are Dolly (top left), Charlotte (top right), Templeton (bottom left), and Maggie (bottom right). Wilbur isn't in the photo because he had buried himself in the warm clothes in the basket. Even with four "assistants," I didn't get much laundry folded for a while.

Random Thought #3

For anyone looking for an awesome iPhone speaker dock, let me recommend the one that Altec Lansing makes. I am incredibly impressed with the company. Let me tell you why.

The AED bought me this speaker dock for my birthday last year. I love, love, love this speaker! But when I brought home my new iPhone and tried to put it in the dock to charge, the darn thing didn't fit. All I could think of was that I would have to shell out another couple of hundred bucks for a new speaker dock when the one I had worked just fine. Being cheap, I quickly trashed that idea and began surfing Google to see if others who had the dock experienced the same problem. What I discovered was that Altec Lansing had a fix -- and a free fix to boot!

The new part arrived yesterday, and now my new iPhone fits perfectly in the speaker dock. How's that for a company standing behind its products? Go, Altec Lansing!
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I liked Amanda's idea of choosing a general theme to describe what's moving her this Monday, so I jacked it -- but at least I am honest about my thievery!

In the wake of a miserable last week, I've decided to give in and surrender to the forces beyond my reach that wreak havoc in my life. I've come to the conclusion that sometimes it's better to actually lose the war because in doing so, one is forced to come to grips with one's weaknesses and limitations and to find a way to work with, through, or around them. Such is the case with my cluster headaches and seizures. And so, Brain, you win this time! With white flag in hand, I surrender to the power of your electrical impulses. For today, at least. . .

White Flag by Dido

Sweet Surrender by John Denver

Surrender by Elvis Presley


Today's random thoughts aren't completely random; they are things that have been stuck in my head for a few days and now need an escape. Lucky you!

Random Thought #1

After three years of flawless duty, I retired my iPhone 2G and bought a 32-gig iPhone 3GS last Friday. The decision to retire the 2G didn't come easy -- it works fine and does everything that I need it to do when I need it done. However, with the launch of iPhone 4, I learned that Apple would no longer support my trusty 2G, leaving it stuck with an outdated operating system. Considering all the nifty things that the iPhone OS4 is supposed to impress me with, it didn't make sense to hang onto what is now an outdated phone.

I know that patience is a virtue -- one that I need to work more seriously on improving in myself -- but waiting for an iPhone 4 was not on my agenda. Yes, it is the newest model and thus offers more time before becoming outdated like the 2G, but both Apple and AT&T have a backlog of orders for them. Besides, there's an issue with the antenna and reception and signal strength with the 4 that doesn't exist with the previous models. And seriously, what was Apple thinking in making both the front and the back of the phone out of the glass that is usually only on the front? I'd be terrified of cracking the darn thing because since it is so new, couture cases aren't readily available for it yet. And a lady has to have an awesome case for her iPhone!

So far, I'm thrilled with the new phone. Although I'm still in the process of adding wallpapers, music, and apps, what I have put on the phone so far works like a charm. But best of all, the newest Apple operating system, which I LOVE, is compatible with the 3GS! Now my gorgeous phone displays the wallpaper at all times, makes videos, and lets me organize apps into folders for a relatively clutter free screen. Oh, the joys of technology!

Random Thought #2

The rescue kittens are ready for new homes. Honestly, I have never given away kittens before and have no clue how to go about doing it. I posted on Facebook that they were ready for forever homes, but the only response I got was from dear friends who (1) live in different states and (2) already have enough pets. The AED says to put them on Craigslist, but I am concerned about the weirdos who thrive there. Any suggestions on how to get the word out that I've got three litter-trained, affectionate, purr machines in search of loving homes?

Random Thought #3

I think that a tribe of dirt-tracking ghosts lives in my house. Honestly, with only the AED and I at home these days, I am amazed to find that I can sweep and mop on Monday morning and find the ceramic tiled floors that the AED insisted we need looking like they haven't been touched for weeks by Tuesday afternoon! At least with the rugs (commonly called "Persian" carpets, but ours came from Egypt), I can attribute the need for daily vacuuming to the cats because they roll around and play on them and leave behind traces of their antics in the form of hair. But the ceramic tile? Where does all the dirt come from?! It's time for a seance to out the ghosts who seem to think that I need to go through life with a broom and mop attached to my hips!

Random Thought #4

I have the sweetest husband ever! For the past week, I have been in the throes of a cluster headache cycle with some of them being so intense that I now understand why this type is called the "suicide headache." With headaches coming several times throughout the day and lasting anywhere from 10-15 minutes to several hours, life hasn't been a lot of fun these past several days. Twice last week, I was completely down for the count and unable to go to the warehouse with the AED. Both times, he came home with a gift that he knew would make even a cluster headache seem inconsequential -- ice-cold Coca-Cola in a tall glass bottle. What a guy, and what a lucky woman I am to have him!

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Dianne from Good Mourning, Glory is taking a break, so hats off to Amanda for hosting this wonderful meme during her absence.

In honor of America's birthday, I chose one of my favorite Elvis Presley songs, "American Trilogy," from the Aloha from Hawaii satellite TV special that aired way back in the days when I was a teenager. You know, back in the days when only the government had satellite TV and were generous enough to share it with Elvis and his fans for a couple of hours. . .

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Thanks to Thom for sharing another meme; I love these things!

1. Do you feel that you need to keep repeating yourself when talking to a particular person?

Well, considering that the Amazing Egyptian Dude has lost a significant portion of his hearing and isn't exactly consistent about wearing his hearing aids, I spend an inordinate amount of time repeating myself when talking to him. One of these days he will wear his hearing aids on a regular basis, I just know it!

2. It's July. Do you have anything special planned?

Ummm . . . I consider living pretty doggone special. That's about all that I have planned for the month.

3. Who is your big celebrity crush?

I'm not really into celebrities, and certainly not enough to have a big crush on one.

4. Tell us about a local restaurant you are sure we'd love.

Mas' Islamic Chinese restaurant in Anaheim, California, is our favorite place for dining out. The best thing about this restaurant is that it is always packed with patrons that make up a mini United Nations. In addition to the Muslims who fill the place because the owner, a Muslim from China, follows our dietary laws and doesn't serve pork, you'll find Jews who keep Kosher dining beside California hippie types who are seated next to a group of college kids whose antics entertain the elderly couple sitting across the aisle. I have never ever been to the place when it wasn't, at the very least, nearly packed to the rafters.

5. Tell us about the shyest person that you deal with regularly.

None of the people whom I deal with regularly are shy -- at least not when they are around me!

6. What is your vision of heaven and hell?

One is good and the other ought to be avoided?

7. What is your neighborhood like?

Like most neighborhoods in Southern California -- filled with single family dwellings that have green lawns and cars in their driveways.

8. What's your favorite cook-out food?

Shish-kebab or steak -- I can't decide which I like better.

9. When was the last time that you saw fireworks?

Disneyland is just down the street from my home, so I see fireworks every night at 9:35 during the week, and a second display on Saturday and Sunday. God bless the Mouse House!

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Post about 5 favorite things from the past week. It can be anything that tickled your fancy: favorite quotes, posts, happenings, scriptures, recipes, pictures, great internet finds, etc., etc. Be as detailed as you like, the more detail the more fun for those of us visiting. Susanne, the hostess, just asks that it be kept family friendly. To see entries from other participants or to play along, click here.

1. Ant bait.

Yes, ant bait! Every summer for the past five or six years, our home has been invaded by gazillions of little black ants. It has gotten so bad that I no longer rely on the calendar to tell me when summer has "officially" arrived because the ants have already alerted me. Since our animals are used to eating when they please and not when we please, they have food in their dishes at all times. That is, they have food available to them at all times until the ants arrive. Thanks to Google, I discovered that we had been dealing with the situation in all the wrong ways -- indoor and outdoor sprays, boric acid, salt, chili powder, etc. Those methods kill only those ants with which they make contact, leaving the queen and the rest of her tribe to wreak havoc. Enter the ant bait. The AED went to Home Depot and bought 2 dozen of the little suckers to put throughout the house. We may see a stray ant or two now, but the cats and dog can have their feed dishes back without me screeching about the yards of ants invading them. Ah, the joys of ant bait!

2. The World Cup.

Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, ESPN, and my nifty new computer with its awesome monitor, I have missed only two of the World Cup games, and I missed those only because I couldn't wake up to watch them. As the series moves into the quarter finals, the excitement mounts worldwide. In just a few minutes, I will be watching Holland vs. Brazil and rooting for Holland because they are the underdogs of the match. This weekend will be filled with fireworks, literal and figurative, both on and off the soccer fields in South Africa and my home. Soccer rocks the world!

3. Whiskers on Kittens.

The three rescue kittens that I've been taking care of for the past three weeks have genuinely brightened our lives. It has been so long since we had a kitten around the house, and there is truly nothing like a kitten to keep a person on her toes! These little guys are discovering things in my house that I didn't know were there and have managed to locate, and play with, every single dust bunny that escaped the broom or vacuum. With kittens around, life is too short and way too much fun to worry about dust bunnies anyway!

4. June Gloom.

Here in Southern California we have a weather phenomenon called the June Gloom. In a nutshell, it's a cloudy and overcast condition that lasts well into the morning and sometimes throughout the day. The best thing about the June Gloom is that it keeps our summer temperatures under tight control and prevents it from getting too hot. Thankfully, the gloom has given us temperatures in the low 70s for the past two weeks. What could be better than a summertime temp that doesn't require the A/C?

5. Life, Liberty, Good Coffee, and the freedom to enjoy them.

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To see other entries and/or play along, click here.

1. When it's quiet, the cats are either asleep or up to no good.

2. Probably because it's true, I haven't blogged in what seems like a month.

3. My heart is working as it should.

4. I don't have many family or friends with birthdays in July.

5. In the town where I was born lived a man who sailed the seas. And he told us of his life in the land of submarines.

6. The ability to make me laugh when I don't think I can is something I really love about my significant other / friend.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to catching up with my podcasts, tomorrow my plans include organizing the office and Sunday, I want to enjoy the shish kebab that the AED plans to BBQ!

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Header from samulli
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In honor of America's Independence Day celebrations coming up this weekend, I wanted to celebrate the American Character with a list of interesting things about America and Americans. Here goes nothing!

1. 27% of Americans believe that we never landed on the moon. So how did Michael Jackson come up with the Moon Walk, then, huh?

2. Louisiana has 2,482 islands. Although with the BP oil rig disaster, they are disappearing.

3. There are about 500,000 detectable earthquakes in California each year. No wonder mine is the Rock & Roll state!

4. Jimmy Carter was the first US president to have been born in a hospital.

5. Our Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Socialist. Put that in your tea bag and steep it!

6. In the middle of the Mojave Desert, fifty miles from anywhere, is a phone booth. Why? Nobody remembers!

7. There are 140 towns and cities in America that have the word CHRISTMAS in their names.

8. Taft, California is home to the largest oil producing field in the lower 48 states.

9. Iced tea was served for the first time in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair. Now, it's a staple across the South.

10. The oldest capital city in the US is Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was founded in 1610.

11. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

12. Until 1796, there was a US state named Franklin. Today we call it Tennessee.

13. Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, was afraid of the dark.

Happy Thursday,

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