10 things I learned after joining a Senior Citizens Choir


You're never too old to sing.

You’re never too old to sing.

1. Just because you’re older, you can still have fun. This choir puts on hats, cowboy scarves, Berets, necklaces, and whatever costume fits the songs. The choir director is a bubbling, optimistic person. The piano player finds joy in the music, and rarely makes a mistake.

2. Age is just a number. You can learn a new musical interest when you’re quite old. Look at Mick Jagger: he fills stadiums!

3. You will meet people with all kinds of life stories: retired army heroes, teachers, nurses, musicians, rich and poor people. Some really enjoy retirement, and other’s have a harder time living on a pension.

5. There are all kinds of old age diseases, but the secret is to just ignore them and keep going. It’s all in the attitude. Find joy in something, like singing and it won’t bother you as much.

6. Even if you’re old, you can sing for others and they will appreciate it. Giving to others never goes out of style.

7. Even if people are older, they are still concerned about the performance. How they sound, look, and stand. One choir woman in particular, always dresses beautifully, wears makeup, and cares about her appearance. If you’ve lived a good life, it shows on your face. This lady is 87!

8. You’re never too old to want a solo, duet, or quartet. There are no shortage of volunteers for this.

9. The repertoire is older songs, but I recognized every one of them. Enough said!

10. There is a chance I may someday sing at a current member’s memorial service. Just keep going!

Move Live Tour: Derek and Julianne Hough: A Review


I decided to attend the “Move Live Tour” featuring Julianne and Derek Hough. They are the talented brother and sister act that are from “Dancing With the Stars.” Julianne used to be a dancer on the show,  but stepped up to be a judge last year.

I love watching Derek each season, but it’s something else to watch Julianne dance with him. It’s a treat to watch him masterfully dance with professionals. It reminded me of the Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire movies.

Julianne is as good as he is, and she has a fantastic voice.

Their show sold out the Palace Theater in Columbus, Ohio which holds hundreds of people. The audience was primarily women of all ages, sizes and shapes. During the show the Houghs kept engaging the huge audience, and made it feel like we were a part of the show. They even got the crowd up on their feet to dance.

Derek and Julianne started the show coming out on their huge staircase set, music playing and lights flashing.  The set changed with each number. They had a group of talented dancers accompanying them who were just as limber, energetic, and easy on the eyes. There’s something refreshing about youthful energy.

The show went from traditional to modern dancing. They even did a few dances emulating Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They also shook their booties in a most entertaining way. The skill and artistry was present throughout the show.  My favorite duet with the Houghs was a dance they did on “Dancing With the Stars”. (If you’re a viewer, it was the dance done with the children imitating their dance moves.  ( They did it without the kids in this show, but it was still terrific.)

Toward the end, Julianne sang some great ballads wearing unique costumes. One of my favorites was a dress that lit up with all kinds of lights and reflected back and forth between audience and the stage.

During parts of the show, Derek came out and shared some pieces of advice. I suspect it was while they moved around the set and changed costumes.

Julianne and Derek Hough

Julianne and Derek Hough

My favorite was when he said, ” if you don’t feel confident with a skill go out and try it. You may not be great, but you will get better. If you wait and wait  you won’t get better.”

The show lived up to its name, and kept moving. If it’s coming to your town, go see it. You won’t  regret it!

Philip Seymour Hoffman: How could drugs kill someone so smart?


I am a movie fan, and I really admired Philip Seymour Hoffman. I’ve watched his Capote more than once, and have enjoyed him in other movies. When I heard he died from a drug overdose I was shocked. I’d seen this man on the PBS show Charlie Rose, and he’d always impressed me as an extraordinarily thoughtful and intelligent person. He really delved into his characters. 

I really shouldn’t have been that surprised. For a brief time, I worked at a drug and alcohol facility and talked to a lot of addicts. I have to say some of them had sad stories about growing up, but some of them weren’t like that at all. Some of them were people you would never imagine would become addicted to substances.

I think being human makes us all vulnerable to wanting to feel better. 
It’s just so sad. What a waste of humanity.
Rest in peace Mr. Hoffman.

I’ve been out of touch with some TV and it’s probably a good thing! Yuck


no-cable-tv

no-cable-tv (Photo credit: hjl)

Some of the TV shows on cable television are shocking. I started watching some tonight while I tried to crochet. I figured I could listen and figure out what I was doing at the same time. It really didn’t work.  I ended up ripping out my crocheting, but I realized TV has come a long way. A long way downwards.

I won’t pretend I don’t watch TV, and  that some of my choices aren’t  terrific.  I seem to like competitions and weight shows.  I am a regular viewer of Jon Stewart and the Colbert show.  I used to watch the news shows, but they are just people repeating the same things over and over. The news isn’t too good lately anyway.  Talk about a rehash fest.  It’s nothing like the newscasters of old who actually seemed qualified  to comment on the World’s events.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Tonight, I listened to Kim and  whoever Khardasian live in Miami.  They eat at fancy restaurants, and run around being famous.  I won’t even tell you what they were discussing on the show tonight. It was too gross.

The husband of one of the sisters seems as dumb as a box of rocks. However, I guess he’s smart enough to live with the Khardasian’s and just play. He doesn’t seem to have a job or anything like that. He also was harassing his girlfriend (a Khardasian)  because she weighed 115 pounds instead of 95. She hadn’t taken off her “baby weight” yet. Yes, they have two children, of course, they’re not married.  I am guessing they deserve each other.

I know the Khardasians are wildly popular and have tons of followers on Twitter. Why is this? They are attractive girls, but exactly what do they do?  I guess their show gives the viewers a chance to pretend they’re famous for doing absolutely nothing. What would it be like to have all that money?

I realized that I must be out of touch with society if this is what is going on in real life. Are people really acting like this?  This TV watching was even worse than the Fox channel which I didn’t think was possible.

Then I watched ( and listened) to  some other disgusting shows. They weren’t trying to be reality shows.  Writers actually write this stuff. Are they high on drugs or drunk when they do this?

All they were talking about was sex. How to do it, and who to do it with, what positions to use. They also loved describing body parts. It reminded me of a sophisticated version of sixth grade jokes.  I didn’t get much of a story going on here. Many of the characters were shallow, superficial, and not very likable.

I didn’t get any inspiring type of messages, or positive feelings.
One of the shows I do  watch is “Shameless”, but some of the stuff is getting to rank for me. I will probably keep watching it because there is enough good acting  going on to keep me interested. They do touch on some issues.  Some of the story lines turn me off. (An Indian with a sexual perversion problem, a daughter using her mother to help her have a baby.) Maybe I’m missing something.

Am I just getting old, or has the morality of society really gone down the tubes. It doesn’t seem that we can get much lower than this.

I’m thinking maybe I’d be better off without TV.   But, like many people, I am addicted.  I guess that makes me no better than Kim and her sister taking Miami or whatever they were supposed to be doing.

What do you think about TV?

Dr. Phil’s show is sordid, but sometimes nuggets of wisdom emerge


An icon illustrating a parent and child

An icon illustrating a parent and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate to admit this, but I do sometimes turn on the Dr. Phil. TV show.  It’s really sordid. Sometimes,  I wonder if his guests are merely actors pretending to be real people.

I didn’t fully watch his show today, but at the end of the show, he had  a psychologist on who had some good tips for listening to your kids.

Listening to your kid’s concerns and problems is one of the most important thing a parent can do.  It’s called paying attention to them.

Remembering the chaos that surrounds children makes it sometimes difficult to give them your full attention. Fulfilling their physical needs sometimes takes precedence over their emotional ones.

Today’s parents have to be exhausted. Both parents, or only a single parent,  have to work full-time jobs to make ends meet. Some parents are working more than one job. I can’t imagine how hard it would be today. Gas prices, food prices, and all those valid problems.

I think cell phones, computers, I-pads and all that technical stuff has to make it even harder to talk to your kids.  It bothers me when I’m out somewhere, and people are paying more attention to their phones than their kids. It’s a little frightening. Some of those kids have forlorn expressions on their faces.

What really bothers me when  both parties, the child and the parent, are busy on their communication devices. Then, they don’t seem to be together at all.

Tips for listening to your kids

Put all that stuff aside when your kid is talking to you. Fully look at the child. One thing the psychologist pointed out is that children can read your body language and your facial expressions. They’re going to pick up on whether you’re really listening.

Do reflective listening. See if you can tell how the child is feeling. Reflect this back by saying, “I know you’re feeling hurt, or I think you’re feeling…… Don’t make it phony. (I had a friend who always used to say, “I hear you.” Finally I asked her if she’d gotten that expression in her graduate course.).

Be supportive. I think that’s also important. Try to see their side of things. Then discuss it with them. You may not agree, but at least know how they’re thinking

What do you think? How do you listen to your kids? Please don’t do it holding your i-phone!

Imitation of Life: We’ve come a long way: A movie about racial differences and independent women


Imitation of Life (1934 film)

Imitation of Life (1934 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to see how far our society has advanced since 1934, watch “Imitation of Life.” The prejudice of the time is reflected in this movie.  It also tells a story about  women trying to make it on their own.

The story revolves around two women, Beatrice Pullman (Ms. B), a white woman,  portrayed by Claudette Colbert, and Delilah, a black woman,  portrayed by Louise Beavers.  They both have two daughters, the same age, but Delilah’s daughter is light-skinned and desperately wants to pass for white. She’s figured out that in 1934, life’s a lot easier in the white world. Fredi Washington, a black actress, gave the character believability.

Ms B is a widow with a young child Jessie, and Miss B. is trying to make a living selling maple syrup on the Boardwalk. She offers Delilah and her young child, Peola, a room in her house in exchange for Delilah’s  housekeeping. Although they have an almost equal friendship, Delilah’s total devotion to Ms. B might bother you. In one scene she is rubbing Miss B’s feet and telling her how important it is for her to find love. (Why doesn’t Miss B tell Delilah she should find love too?)

Miss B is delighted when she tastes Delilah’s secret family recipe for pancakes. She knows Delilah’s pancakes will sell better than maple syrup.   She decides to open a restaurant featuring Delilah’s pancakes,  then markets her mix and they both make a lot of money. Ms. B. offers Delilah 20% of the company. (This seems hardly an equal partnership.)

After they get rich off of Delilah’s recipe, Ms. B meets a potential husband, Steve Archer (Warren William) at a posh party she throws in her fancy New York apartment. Delilah and Peola have to sit outside the party dressed in their finery. You can feel Peola’s heartbreak.

The plot surrounds the girls upsetting their devoted mothers. Peola doesn’t want anyone to know she’s black, so she doesn’t want her mother hanging around. Jesse Pullman (Rochelle Hudson) plays your average sweet rich ingenue. Let’s just say that she takes a shine to her mother’s boyfriend. That’s all I’m going to reveal.

Although this movie will embarrass you at times,  it’s worth watching.

This movie was recommended for Best Picture in 1934. It didn’t win.  Why would it? It was about independent women and friendship between a black and white woman. Miss B eventually shows Delilah more concern and caring, but we know who is the most valuable person.

Although these actors are all long gone, their performances still hold up. It’s really amazing when you think about it.

I caught in on AMC, but it is sold on Amazon. I understand there is a version with narration, that explains what life was like in the good old bad days.