25 Days and 25 Different Versions begins Now

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Two sisters of mine and I love the song, “O Holy Night”. Earlier this week, one of the sisters and I were going back and forth with emails about which performer’s version of “O Holy Night” was the best version. Thanks to the email exchange, my sister introduced me to a new performer’s versions.

Point of clarification, the performer is not new. He has been around for years, and his voice is very well known on Broadway. However, though I recognized his voice, I had never before heard his version of “O Holy Night” until my sister shared it with me. (I’ll share his version later this month.)

This morning, I pulled together 25 different performers singing “O Holy Night”. While singing to myself I though, “Why not share these versions with the blogosphere? Share a little holiday cheer.” Continue reading

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Different and Opinionated

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Today is an active weather day, here in the Southern US. Days like today fill me with excitement, curiosity and wonder. It is a dream of mine to become a storm chaser, if only for a day. Weather has always fascinated me, and I suspect it will continue to fascinate me until my dying day.

As I keep tabs on the radar, my weather radio and the skies, I am also aware of the fact that we are all different, and we all have our own passions. Weather is one of many passions for me. It’s a safe passion, in the sense that talking about weather rarely ignites heated debates or controversy. But, I have other passions. And, my other passions do ignite heated debates, controversy and even annoyance. (Then again, perhaps I am annoying – period.)

One day I’d like to write a book. There are many authors out there who make a living writing humorous books about their opinion of this, that and the other. Folks who agree with the authors may find the books entertaining and worth reading. Folks who do not agree with the author may find the books annoying and idiotic. Actually, folks who do not agree with the author may avoid the books entirely.

By blogging, I hope to humorously spark something within the readers. Even those who read just one of my entries and never come back, mean something to me; because, what I wrote either sent them away (perhaps for good) or tweaked their interest to read more posts. Though I’d like to tweak everyone’s interest, I know I have the power to annoy, and I’m OK with that power. (I do wish I could find a nifty costume to go with the power of annoyance.)

I watch the stats tied to my blog. I’m certainly not the most read blog in the blogosphere, but I do get hits; and, I think that counts for something, though for what I’m not sure. And, I find blogging has similarities with Facebook, as Facebook users often use their status to express a random thought or opinion. Plus, one may post an article they found interesting on his/her Wall. I find it interesting to see which posts receive the greatest responses. In addition, I find it interesting to see which posts are ignored.

A couple of days ago, I posted an article on Facebook about a South Park episode that triggered a response from a radical Muslim group in New York City. If you are interested in the New York Times article, click here. Not surprisingly, many people didn’t respond to the post. And, those who did respond ended up debating the abortion issue, which was off the mark, topic-wise. Still, this South Park thing concerns me greatly. I was pleased to come across Jon Stewart’s take on it, and I encourage you to take a look, too. [Jon Stewart Show, South Park]

I don’t have a problem with being different or opinionated. Quite the contrary, I believe differences lead to enlightenment and being opinionated leads to dedication. (Leads to dedication? Dedication to stubbornness? Anyway . . .) Thank goodness for the men and women of our country who are opinionated enough to fight for this country. And, maybe I contradict myself when I mention folks fighting for our country, while mentioning I am bothered by radical groups fighting in the name of their religion. Still, being threatened because of a cartoon makes no sense to me.

I have my own strong religious beliefs, but I am not going to kill someone for depicting symbols of my faith in a comical and perhaps disrespectful manner. Nor am I going to remain silent when I have a strong opinion about something. But, as I tell my boys, I will use words (very loudly) not hands. And, as trite as it may sound, hands are for helping not for hurting. (However, if you are going to take some of my ice cream, please don’t be shocked if I pop your hand. We all have our limits, eh?)

I believe the reaction by one radical group over a South Park episode is cause for alarm. In part, because it was over a CARTOON and the threatening undertone came from folks on our soil. As Jon Stewart noted, the warning came under the shadows of the World Trade Towers – rather, where the shadows of the, now collapsed, Towers once covered. America is a melting pot, and Americans share in the freedom of religion and the freedom to be free of religion. We are all able to speak our mind on views that matter to us, and we have used our voices non-violently for centuries.

Though my fear probably would have resulted in the same action, I’m sorry Comedy Central decided to censor the original South Park episode. Moreover, it makes me mad the radical group threatened Matt and Trey. Why not call for a boycott or peaceful picketing? It makes me sick how extremists, regardless of the faith or cause they represent, ruin it for those of us who like to play together nicely in the sandbox, even when we disagree. Now, please excuse me. I have to get back to the weather, because there is a storm front approaching and I want to go chase it.

Hiding the Junk

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Behold, the junk drawer.

Today, I am going to share my thoughts with you, as well as what is in my junk drawer and what is behind door number one and door number two. Yes, today I risk sharing too much, though perhaps I crossed that line long ago. I have such a hard time focusing on one thing at a time, and my busy mind is starting to prevent me from falling asleep easily. On the surface, I like to have things organized and tidy. I do not like having clutter around the house, in my car on my desk, etc. Nor do I like clutter in my head, yet it my head seems to be a permanent residence for clutter. If you were to come to my house on any given day, you would find a relatively clean house. Wait a minute. I just looked around me, and well – I do see some clutter. UGH! Looks like I have even more tasks to tackle today. *sigh* I digress.

Generally speaking, the surfaces in our house are cleared of clutter. Because we have two dogs, you would be hard pressed to come to our house and not find clumps of dog hair on the floor or dust on the mantel, etc. I try to vacuum the house every week, and I try to dust the house and clean the bathrooms at least once a month. I don’t clean windows, nor do I mop our vinyl floor. My husband will mop the floor approximately twice a year, which I appreciate. Based on my cleaning efforts, our house is – as I said – relatively clean. However, there are a few places in this house where I fail miserably on lack of clutter and organization. And today, I have decided to come out of the closet. Though cleaning and organizing the closet is a better use of my time.

Behold, our junk closet.

I submit to you my first example of a chaos and clutter: our junk closet. This closet is in our dinning room/kitchen area. We keep the dog food bin [not pictured]  in this closet, as well as bags, batteries, paper products, broken toys, old phones, candles, etc. I have tried organizing this closet on two separate occasions: while nesting during my first pregnancy and during a PMS surge of frustration caused by the clutter. Evidence of the prior organization attempts is no longer – well – evident. I have given in to my junk closet, as now I simply try to keep things relatively easy to find, when needed. And, I am thankful for the fact that the junk closet has a door, making it easy to ignore the chaos and clutter.

Behold, our linen closet.

Next, I submit to you my second example of my poor organizational skills: our linen closet. What a mess, eh? And, by mess, I am referring to the way the items are literally stuffed in the closet. Sometimes, I will close the door in an effort to stuff the items more firmly in place. Much like an overstuffed car trunk or suitcase, which requires you sit on top of it to close, our linen closet needs an extra push to close completely. What bothers me most is the fact that much of what is in the linen closet is no longer needed or used. I could easily take the blankets and sheets to Goodwill or MUST, so those who need these items can have these items. Why don’t I clean out the closet? Well, I have tried. Some of the blankets have emotional ties, and I can’t help but wonder, “What if I need these sheets one day?” It’s ridiculous. Some of the linens in the closet haven’t been used in over a year. I highly doubt I will ever ‘need’ much of what clogs the closet.

Oh, and if you look closely, you will see Kyle from South Park.  (Second shelf going down, by the yellow sheets, face down.) One of my siblings gave me all four characters of South Park for Christmas several years ago. Why do I still have these stuffed characters? I haven’t a clue. Maybe I think they will  be worth something one day. I can see it now, I’ll bring them to the Antiques Roadshow and gasp in amazement, as they inform me the four  South Park characters are worth half a million dollars. Wow. What a moment. Yes, I most certainly should keep those four characters. My husband and I are going to be rich! Or not.

The closets and junk drawer give us a place to hide things. We are able to keep various items we believe we will need one day, but we can keep them in a place that doesn’t interfere with our day to day living. Well, the junk closet is opened daily at our house, when we feed the dogs. Our dogs are great companions, so I’ll accept the chaos of that closet for the sake of the pooches. So, although the outside may appear nice and neat, with tidy counter tops, table tops and mantels, what is in the closet may tell an entirely different story. And, if we actually took time to go through the junk drawers and closets, I am certain we would find more junk than anything else. Why is it we hold on to junk? The junk doesn’t just fill our drawers and closets, it fills our minds. Throughout my day, I have thoughts in my head that do nothing but create chaos and clutter. Typically, the chaos and clutter comes from thoughts of insecurity, paranoia, anger, frustration, etc. In an effort to shut out these negative thoughts, I might turn to food. And, just like an extra push is needed to close our overstuffed linen closet, I become overstuffed with food and need an extra tug when trying to fasten my jeans.

When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers gave us grades based on how clean we kept our desks. She would go around on a weekly basis, checking to see if our desks were neat and organized. She made the comment that she could tell a great deal about a person based on how tidy a person kept his/her desk. Her comment stuck with me, and I always made sure my desk was organized and clean. Even as a kid, though, I thought the joke was on my teacher. If she ever came home with me and checked my dresser drawers or closet, she would be appalled. I knew how to give an appearance of organization and neatness, but I lived a life of chaos and clutter behind closed doors. Nowadays, my dresser drawers and clothes closet are in better shape. Still, I have a great deal of work with regards to the junk drawer and closets, which is apparent in the pictures I shared. And, I have work to do regarding the clutter and chaos in my head. Perhaps, if I start working on one, the others will follow naturally. Stick around, ‘after’ pictures could be right around the corner.