Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Music Education 101:
Ray Charles

We are serious music lovers in our house. If you're a regular visitor here or at my husband's blog, you're very aware of this. We are very eclectic in our musical tastes. I was raised on good ole fashioned Country and Western music, in addition to Southern Gospel and Elvis Presley. As a teen, I delved into the music of the 60's, particularly the Beatles and the Beach Boys, in between staying in touch with what was going on on the current Top 40. Then I met a wonderful man who introduced me to things like punk, heavy metal, rockabilly, and the blues. Music has played a pivotal role in our lives and we've made a conscience effort to expose our children to all types of music. Currently, one of our favorites is Ray Charles. The kids just love his music, and being a pianist, I'm envious of his talents on the piano.

Here's a little background on Ray Charles.

Ray Charles Robinson was born in September 1930 in Albany, Georgia to Aretha Williams and Bailey Robinson. The family moved to Greenville, Florida soon after Ray's birth. Aretha and Bailey never married and he went on to have 3 other families, thereby leaving Aretha to raise Ray and his younger brother, George, on her own. George drowned in a laundry tub when Ray was five. Ray witnessed this incident and it had a profound effect upon him. Sometime after, Ray started to lose his vision and was completely blind by the age of seven. There was never a definitive reason for his loss of sight, however some sources attribute it to glaucoma. Aretha sent Ray away to a school for the blind and deaf in St. Augustine, Florida where he learned to play various musical instruments as well as compose music. At the age of seventeen, he moved to Seattle, Washington and signed his first record deal with Swingtime Records and had his first hit four years later with "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand". A year after Ray's hit, he signed with well known Atlantic Records. Ray had many hit songs during his middle years of success, becoming one of the first artists to "crossover" from Top 40 to jazz. Ray's foray into Country and Western helped bring prominence to the genre. Later on in his career, he made cameo appearances in films and on television. He has performed for presidents, campaigned for peace, and supported the American Civil Rights Movement. Aside from the dozens of Grammy's he's won, he's accumulated many other awards including being among the first set of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Kennedy Center Honors just to name a very few. Much deserved tributes to him include a bronze sculpture of him in Albany, Georgia and a post office named after him in Los Angeles. At the end of his life, Ray was significantly involved in the making of the biopic, Ray going so far as to hand select the actor who eventually played him in the film. Unfortunately, Ray passed away before the film opened. Lucky for us, he lives on through his music. Here's but a taste of his abundant talent.

The song that brought him national attention: "I Got a Woman"

A song that my children go nuts for: "Hallelujah I Love Her So"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Man of the House

I am not sexist. What I mean is that I don't believe that men and women have defined roles in a relationship. It was wonderful last week to come home each day after a hard days work to a home cooked meal prepared by my adoring husband during his vacation, but I did not expect him to cook a meal every night, nor do I expect him to do the laundry or mop the floors because he's home during the day. Now, if he feels moved to do so, I'm very much appreciative, but it's not something I expect him to do, nor do I expect him to take care of the yard. I know of a lot of couples where the female takes care of the "inside" of the house, while their husbands take care of the "outside". I feel that a relationship is give/take, an equal partnership. I may mow the yard, you can dust my piano, as long as the jobs get done, it's irrelevant who does them. There are no "male" jobs or "female" jobs. That being said, I do believe that there are certain things that men should do within the home. In specifics, two things. One, they should kill any and all sorts of insects and rodents, disposing of their remains. And secondly, they should empty the garbage. Now, honestly, I could do both of those things, if I absolutely had to, but I don't, so I won't. I can proudly report that tonight, my son, became the man of the house. Some sort of red waspy thing got into our home, no doubt because the boy left the stinking door open, but I digress. Anyhoo, as I am short of stature, it's hard for me to reach up to the ceiling to kill the nasty things, but tonight I managed to put the thing out of my misery. It fell to the countertops, and I covered it with a folded paper towel. I called the boy, he came, smashed his hand down on top of the paper towel making sure it was really dead, and he faithfully obeyed as I told him to dispose of the waspy thing. He complied so nonchalantly as if it was expected of him. And it's to the point where I don't even have to tell him to empty the garbage, it gets full, he empties it. Ahhh, he's been taught well. (By me of course :), only kidding, I know full well, his Dad has taught him, and very well I must add!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vacation... Sort of

For the next week or so, I'll be mostly offline because my dear, sweet husband is on vacation. So, I'll be hanging out with him instead of you, my peeps. We don't have as much time together as other couples do, so I'm gonna enjoy having him home with me every night. Woohoo! So, behave, talk amongst yourselves, and I'll see ya in a week or so....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Many of you have asked how my back is doing and I can happily report that I'm almost back to normal. I say almost cuz my husband would be the first to tell ya that there's nothing "normal" about me, so I should say that I'm about 90-95% better. I'm still sleeping on the couch, but I'm also sleeping in the bed now and my pain has diminished greatly. So, many many thanks to all of you who asked about me, I truly appreciate your concern. Thanks!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Spring has Sprung!

This is one of my favorite times of the year. The breathtaking beauty of God's creation is in abundance. My own yard is bursting with color.

My crabapple tree in the side yard...

A closer view of the blossoms on the crabapple.

Blossoms off of my japanese cherry tree in the front yard...

My favorite tree, it's an old-fashioned magnolia tulip tree...

Get outside and encounter the glory of God!

Friday, April 04, 2008


I'm thankful that I cannot remember a time when African-Americans were denied basic freedoms. Things that I take for granted: voting, drinking from any water fountain, choosing any seat on public transportation, attending any hospital, going to any doctor, choosing a vocation, or even being able to love another. It is incomprehensible to me to think that these things not only happened occasionally, but were a way of life. One of my very best friends is African-American and to think that if we lived in another era, we would never even met, let alone be friends is depressing. Add to that the fact that these types of things happened in our parents era, is again baffling. I grew up believing that it was okay to be friends with black people, and that they were no different that I, except when it came to dating. I was always told not to bring home a black boy, now I find that disgusting. I have made a conscience effort to teach my children that we are all God's children, that there is no difference in skin color, ethnicity, or religion. God loves us all, so why can't we see each other the way God sees us?

I believe this country has come a long way in the area of race relations, and yet we still have a ways to go. But I wonder, in this the year of the fortieth anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. what would he think of where we are as a nation? What would he think about this presidential election and that for the first time there's an African-American running who actually has a chance of winning. I pray for the day when every person is treated equally, a day when there's no need for affirmative action, and there's an end to racial profiling. I, too, share Dr. King's dream and pray that it's fulfilled if not in my lifetime, then in my children's.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I'm Fruity!

You Are Fruit Flavored Gum

You are quirky and independent. You don't tend to follow any one style or rule book.

You are a mix and match type of person, and you draw inspiration from many sources.

While you're definitely a bit unusual, you get along well with other people.

You're eager to welcome anyone into your world. You are not judgmental at all.

You form close bonds with your friends, and your relationships tend to be very secure.

You hold firm to your beliefs and values, and you don't let anyone talk you into compromising them.

Hattip: Jen