Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Rousing, Rhyming, Riveting Birthday Romp

My favorite person in the world
happens to be this birthday girl.

She understands my every thought,
agrees with me more oft than not,
respects my shifting paradigm,
and likes to hang out any time.

She's there for me when I'm alone,
and never asks me to atone
for unintended deeds or slights
that keep her wide awake at nights.

She finds my taste in clothes divine,
is thrilled when I am feeling fine,
is never jealous of my life,
and sticks with me through storm and strife.

Her brain and mine are just in sync;
sometimes I'll tell her what I think,
and it's like she already knew.
She understands me through and through.

But what I like the very best
is how I never have to guess
what she would have me do or say.
She lets me know that I'm okay.

We're kindred spirits, that's for sure.
I'll never turn away from her.
And she won't turn away from me.
We're close as close could ever be.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, birthday girl,
of all the people in the world,
you are my very favorite one...
with these kind words, my poem is done.

(Okay, I'll lay it on the line.
Her name is quite the same as mine.)


P.S. Here is a very cool thing...My sister just told me (in her comment on Family Victories, the post just before this one) that she wrote me a birthday blog today! Little did she know I'd be writing one for myself.  =D

Anyway, I'm excited!! The fact that it's only her fourth post in slightly less than a year lets you know what a unique and amazing event this is. Possibly miraculous. (Don't get me wrong, she's a great blogger, just not a prolific one.) I was asked not to read it until today, so I'm heading over to check it out right now. Since she didn't leave a link in her comment (only her blog address), feel free to hop on over with me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Host of Family Victories

Avid Laker fan (aka Big Daddy) invades son's apartment to watch Lakers win Western Conference championship.

Mission is handily accomplished, much to the delight of rabid Laker fans everywhere.

Two eldest sons now feel a need to "win" at something, too.

Sadly, ping pong is the only game in town this night.

Tomorrow, Heather the Great will taste personal victory as she conquers her 1/2 marathon!




(Publication of this photo = eldest sons' reward for striking mocking poses when their blog-obsessed mother was taking important, historical photos...)
Supporting evidence: 
intentionally foolish facial expression
erroneous placement of body in relation to the table


Friday, May 29, 2009

Button, Button, Who's Got A Blog Button?


Hope you'll head on over to my sidebar on the right, GRAB my blog button, and plant it smack dab in the middle of your own sidebar. Nothing would make me happier than to see Diana's cool creation (custom made especially for Sue's News, Views 'n Muse) on your blog. And I bet nothing would make Diana happier either! (Well, on second thought, there are probably one or two things that might make her happier.) 

Okay...probably innumerable things, but that's not my point. My point is that having you put my button on your blog would make. my. day. 

I've also changed up the colors a bit on this old template, and I hope you like the slightly new look. At some point, I may even get a custom header. I know...It's shocking. Granny Sue is branching out...expanding her sensibilities...broadening her horizons...(getting sick of the status quo).

Sheesh. If I get this excited about a blog button, imagine how I'd feel if I went all out and had a complete blog makeover? It might be more than my cardiovascular system could take.

So maybe I'll sorta limit myself to the header idea for now. 

And then decide to just stick with the blog button.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Hats, Hero Worship, and Horticulture

My Gardener

My favorite day is Monday.
That's the day the gardener comes.
I love to watch him pull the weeds
And plant chrysanthemums.
Sometimes he cuts back our front hedge
Or prunes my climbing tree.
I watch him out the window,
And he turns to wave at me.

He doesn't use a broom to sweep.
He uses a machine.
Just like a white tornado,
It blows all our sidewalks clean.
He waves again before he leaves
And hums a happy hum.
But I wish he'd take his gloves off once
and show me his green thumb!

Photos courtesy of Heather, ©2009; All rights reserved

PS. Keep a lookout, giveaway winners...The books are in the mail!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Long and Winding Road...Home

The long and winding road

that leads to your door

will never disappear

I've seen that road before

Don't leave me waiting here

Lead me to your door 

We had a wonderful time with my parents, but life beckons, and
there comes a time to take the long and winding road home...

So thanks, you two, for hosting all of our brood and loving us so well.
 We look forward to seeing you at the Newport Beach reunion in July!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Matters: One Last Tribute

Couldn't close the door on Memorial Day without sharing this picture with all of you. I had saved it carefully to use with my last post, then couldn't access the photo because I was out of town. So I am accessing it now. And making sure you get to access it, too.

I love this reunion picture for three reasons:

1. It reminds me very much of the daughter of one of my dearest friends. (Can you see the resemblance, Linda?) 
2. It reminds me of motherhood, my favorite subject. 
3. It reminds me to be grateful for every sacrifice made by those who serve our country. And their children.

If I could, I'd give her a 21-gun salute. And all of her compatriots, too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

America the Beautiful

I visited my parent's ward today, where one of the topics was learning from the past. This seemed an appropriate subject for Memorial Day, made more so by the fact that the speaker was a veteran, who clearly had intense feelings about both our country and those who fight to defend it. He expressed particular concern about what he viewed as a continuing failure of world leaders to learn from the lessons of history, a reality I have also noted with no small measure of trepidation.

This failure by leaders in exercising the humility necessary to learn from the past disturbs me greatly, but my intent this morning is not political in nature. Rather, I would like to pay tribute to generations of brave Americans who have given their all to establish and maintain our nation. Their patriotism, spirit of sacrifice, and devotion to duty have upheld and sustained us through generations of struggle and conflict, much of it engendered by human weakness and demonstrated inability to learn from past mistakes. Given our imperfection as human beings, we can predict with some certainty that global strife will continue to be with us, and I find comfort in the knowledge that men and women exist who are willing to put themselves on the line in serving a cause they hold greater than themselves. And for those citizens who are not career military, I am grateful that, when push comes to shove, Americans have repeatedly shown the courage and fortitude needed to defend the virtues and values we hold dear.

I sincerely thank every one of them: those who have stood for us before, those who are standing for us today, and those who will inevitably stand for us in the years to come.

Fittingly, the closing song for sacrament meeting was America the Beautiful, and the words resonated strongly with my feelings:

Oh, beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,

who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life...

Beautiful, indeed.

One last and rather hopeful thing that occurred to me...So many voices today are raising concerns about the socialization of our country, and to be honest, I am concerned as well. But even stronger than my concern is my unwavering faith in the American people, who I firmly believe are capitalistic at their core, in the most fundamental sense of the word. Just as soldiers and diplomats have found it nearly impossible to change the engrained tribal cultures, behaviors, and predilections of men and women in the Middle East to match our own, so will any group or individual who tries to change the long-held and deeply rooted nature of the American people run into difficulty. I find this incredibly reassuring, and whatever peace I feel during this period of economic and political strife in our country is founded in my incontrovertible belief in two entities:

(1) the essential character of our citizens (after peeling away the layers of entitlement and complacency), and

(2) the Divine Peeler of Layers Himself.

In other words, I still think there is good fruit beneath some of the rot we have seen and are seeing. I have to believe, when the chips are down (and they are falling all around us), that we are and will continue to be patriots. Overly optimistic? Perhaps, but optimism is the life blood of our nation...and too much of it has been spilled to turn back now. These words pretty much say it all:

Oh, beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years

thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears...

And so I remember other patriots, too, on this Memorial Day weekend...not only those who have served our country well in the military, but those mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers who have sent them...who have stood by, supported, and feared losing them for the simple and not-so-simple-at-all reason that they feared losing something they held even more dear: their God-given freedoms and privileges as American citizens.

May every one of us resolve here and now to hold these inalienable rights sacred, and may we ever honor those who fight for them, at home and abroad.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Winners ALWAYS Prosper!

Before I list the winners of the drawing for my 200th post anniversary book and stationery giveaway, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you who read Sue's News, Views 'n Muse. It wouldn't be nearly as fun for me to muse, expound upon my views, or even indulge my muse without anyone to share these thoughts with, and I am more grateful than you know for my little blogging audience. (Besides that, your comments make my day!)

And so, with no further ado...the winners of Awaken Your Spiritual Power: The Fairy Godmother Isn't Coming are...(drum roll)...(fanfare horns)...(confetti and streamers)...

1. Jen (who also wins the Junky Heirloom stationery)
2. Joyful Noise
3. McAuliffe Bunch
4. Fiauna
5. Karen
6. K2Cole
7. Furious Mom
8. Natalie
9. VK
10. Kathy55439

Congrats to all of the winners! The only thing I need now are your email addresses. (You can find mine by looking in my profile.)

And again, thanks for participating!!


Friday, May 22, 2009

The Golf Widow

Here I am once again--devoid of husband and sons--the proverbial Palm Springs golf widow. Every day that we spend here begins the same way...early...with the men in my life making muffled noises in the hallways and bathrooms as they prepare for 18 holes of golf at a different one of their four or five favorite courses in the area.

I am always awakened, not by their muffled noises but by the occasional and apparently unavoidable bursts of boisterous laughter, followed by equally loud attempts at "shushing" one another. I believe the vigorous shushing disturbs my sleep even more than the belly laughs.

It's all good, though. The golf widow knows how to entertain herself. She chats with her delightful folks, settles in with a savory book or two, hits up a few people in blogdom, and monopolizes her parents' computer creating inconsequential posts of this nature--all the while looking forward to the golden moment when her men come home from the golf wars, rosy with comraderie and sunburn, each one attempting to shout the other down as they regale her with stories of well-hit balls, perfect drives, and birdies. (No sand traps, lost balls or bogies allowed, please...except for the "other" guy's, of course!)

Add to this delectable brew the memory of past years spent in exactly the same way, and you end up with one very happy golf widow/proud mom, drinking in the rewarding and dearly familiar elixir of desert air and family bonding...of life and love and time-honored tradition.


PS. Today is the last day to comment here and get in on my "200th post anniversary" book and stationery giveaway. I will be drawing the winners' names at random tonight at 11:59 PM and announcing the results tomorrow morning. Good luck, all...and thanks for playing!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning...!

Okay. Adam came in second on American Idol, but the forces of nature have joined in a collaborative effort to help me rise above the AI blues. (Aiding them in that worthy goal is the fact that I do like Kris and wish him well.) Not that I wouldn't have preferred Adam, mind you...

And yet I've got a beautiful feeling everything's going my way, though the corn isn't as high as an elephant's eye. In fact, there's no corn whatsoever. Only a lovely view of the mountains and a vineyard across the way. (I think I can make do.)

Today my vacation-deprived husband and I will turn our car...and our gathering at my parent's home in Palm Desert for a reunion with our children and grandchildren. One son will actually ride with us, while another will be driving in from Tucson later tonight. My daughter and her husband plan to join us on Saturday, and my eldest son and his family will arrive for Sunday and Monday, completing our growing group.

Nothing in this world brings me more happiness than having all of my children together under one roof, so my heart is light and my spirits high. Adding to this general feeling of well-being and anticipation is the fact that my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance, kicks off its new season tonight. I feel a little bit like the proverbial kid in a candy store. (Too bad I'm still on my cookie diet...which, by the way, is actually working!)

And Oh, What A Beautiful Day!


PS. If you haven't already, don't forget to scroll down and enter my book and stationery giveaway by commenting on the 200th post, aka Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo. Last day to enter is tomorrow (Friday).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Go, Go Glambert - Mad World Meets Ain't No Sunshine

It will not even be possible to talk about the American Idol finale without making one glaringly obvious point: The concluding song, No Boundaries, is arguably the worst piece of music (and I use the word loosely) ever written. And I am in no way exaggerating. The recycled climb every mountain, ford every stream (rip-offlyrics gave new meaning to the word "trite," with the sound of music (pun intended) definitely missing. Even Adam couldn't make that clunker into a Cadillac (or even an old Ford), though he gave it a valiant effort. 

I felt actively sorry for Kris, whose less glossy presentation of No Boundaries made its fatal flaws all the more obvious. (He had to be wishing Idol had shown *some* boundaries and chosen just about anything else.) No wonder he sang flat for much of that performance. He was simply trying to match the topography of the song he was dealt. And it wasn't a pretty ride. (Neither was Adam's, for that matter, but at least he stayed on the road.) By all rights, Kara DioGuardi should be thoroughly ashamed of herself, but the amazing truth is that she actually seemed proud of her efforts. In fact, she appeared to be...thrilled. Which puzzled me to no end, by the way.

Equally puzzling was Simon's criticism of Mad World, which was pretty much flawless in my book. I also enjoyed Kris's piano-man rendition of Ain't No Sunshine, a Bill Withers tune that suited his voice and style perfectly. Cowell gave that round to Kris, but I'm calling it a near draw, with a super-slight tilt towards Adam.

Next came the producer's choice numbers, which are always a bit of a crap shoot. In the past, these choices have been less than predictable, and they ran true to form last night. When Seacrest said Lambert would be singing Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come, I seriously thought Adam's goose was cooked. It was hard to imagine him going there, to tell the truth, but he surprised me. Not only did he go there, but the dude arrived in style. In fact, he could have been singing at the Harlem Square Club on "go a little glam" night. And the judges agreed.

Kris was given What's Goin' On, a song by Marvin Gaye that DioGuardi called "socially conscious." Kris probably called it "my worst nightmare." Okay, maybe it wasn't his worst nightmare, but I did kind of groan in his behalf. I love Marvin, but the whole thing came off as "Sam Cooke light," and I think the selection put Allen at a disadvantage. While he did a pretty good job performing it, you can only do so much with a one (or maaaybe two)-trick pony of a song. This time, I think all the judges agreed that the round went to Adam.

Of course, we've already discussed round three but that went to Adam too, not because it sounded good but because he could sing it. Such as it was. Geez. Crikey. It's been four hours now, and I'm still shuddering with distaste for the whole No Boundaries exercise. What was Idol thinking? Was it in Kara's contract that she would get to write the finale? I sure hope so. At least that would make some sense of the horror and give us all a bit of closure.

I really like Kris Allen a lot, and I won't be surprised if he gets a career out of this, but my American Idol pick is Adam Lambert. Do I think he'll win? Maybe.

If enough of his fans voted for two hours straight, like I did. 
(I can't believe I just admitted that...)


PS. If you haven't already, don't forget to check out my giveaway post (the one just before this one). Simply make a comment there, and you'll be included in the drawing.

PPS. Quick note on Shawn Johnson taking Dancing with the Stars:  No way!!! I'm completely surprised by this one, and I attribute it entirely to her fantastic freestyle and Gilles' fairly lackluster one. Flashdance?! (Say what??)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! 200th Post Giveaway

On the illustrious occasion of this, my 200th post, I am officially announcing my second book giveaway!

Beginning today and for the next three days, simply post a comment below (naming your favorite of my last 100 posts), and you will qualify to win a copy of my second book. The resident organizer of all things (yes, that would be my husband) is threatening to donate an entire boxful of this literary masterpiece in order to clear out our garage, so this is not a great sacrifice. Having said that, I'm told it's a pretty good read.

The title is "Awaken Your Spiritual Power: The Fairy Godmother Isn't Coming," and I will be drawing 10 winners at random from the comments section below. Those who follow my blog will be given two chances to win, so if you haven't signed on for the ride as yet, this is the perfect time to do so! What's more, if you mention my giveaway in your blog and provide a link, your name will go into the pot an extra time, making you a triple threat to win.

NOW FOR THE EXCITING BONUS: The very first person whose name I draw will also receive a set of papergild notes (in the color of your choice) from Junky Heirloom. Go take a look at the colors and drool a bit, if you like. I love them so much I am buying a set or two for myself.

Good luck to everyone! You have until Friday, May 22nd at 11:59 PM to respond. I will announce the winners Saturday morning.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Totally Terrific Todd, A Tribute


I'm not exaggerating when I say that my youngest son, Todd, is totally terrific. It would also not be far off the mark to say that he has, at various times in his life, been totally terrifying. Have you ever heard of those Type T personalities (so identified by Dr. Frank Farley of Temple University), who scare their parents within an inch of their lives on a regular basis? I think the Toddster just might qualify. What I mean to say is that being careful has never been his stock-in-trade. For instance, the first time he ever went skiing, he insisted on flying down a black diamond slope. I think you get the idea...

Happily, with age and maturity has come the ability and inclination to channel this adrenaline-seeking energy into more positive things. (Type T personalities often become explorers, inventors and the like.) This really fits, because Todd is starting a summer research job for the University of Arizona's Oncology Department even as we speak. In fact, he will likely get his name published in a medical journal for the work he's doing. Pretty cool, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of what Todd is up to these days. Having finally figured out what he wants to pursue (the ever-challenging and grueling but oh so prospective-mother-in-law-pleasing MD), he is hurtling through his undergrad studies at warp speed and preparing to apply to medical school in March of next year. This preparation includes classes with names I can't even pronounce, let alone spell (okay, that's an exaggeration because I can actually pronounce and spell pretty much anything), along with a few extracurricular activities such as volunteering in the emergency room, being preceptor for a Physiology professor, and serving as a research assistant for the Oncology Department. He's even getting paid a stipend, which impresses lab-challenged people like me. He's also maintaining a 4.0 at the U of A, not that I'm bragging or anything. (All right, maybe I AM bragging, but who wouldn't? This guy is doing some pretty incredible things.)

Here are a few of the other pretty incredible things about Todd:

1. pretty incredible good looks (he might argue this one)
2. pretty incredible luck with the ladies (proving me right re. #1)
3. pretty incredible athletic abilities (basketball topping his list)
4. pretty incredible brain power (magical mystery memory)
5. pretty incredible debater (even gives me a run for my money)
6. pretty incredible sensitivity/perception (when he goes there)
7. pretty incredible humor (always funny...not always appropriate)
8. pretty incredible zest for eating (loves his food, a family trait)
9. pretty incredible drive (or lack of same, depending upon interest)
10. pretty incredible people skills (he can feel ya)
11. pretty incredible crisis composure (fish hook story...don't ask!)
12. pretty incredible ability to forego sleep (quite handy in an intern)

Also incredible is the fact that I could make this list very much longer. However, I will refrain, because we wouldn't want Todd to become incredibly big-headed.

Oops. Too late. 

(just kidding

sort of


Love you, Todd. You are a wonderful son, and we're lucky you came our way. As a child, you were such good company your mom (lovely woman) couldn't bear to send you to pre-school, and that quality hasn't changed. Hope your birthday treats you as well as you deserve, and we can't wait to see you this weekend!
P.S. Keep your eyes open for two deliveries to your door today. And you might want to take a look in your checking account, too!  =)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Writer's Born

photograph by Heather Murry Anderson ©2009; all rights reserved

photograph by Heather Murry Anderson ©2009; All rights reserved

a writer's born
©2003 Susan Noyes Anderson; His Children; Karisma Press

head bowed
hand clenched
brow furrowed
body benched
feet tapping
shoulders hunched
mind in motion
paper scrunched
dawn to dusk
night 'til morn
one more time
a writer's born

Photograph by Heather Murry Anderson ©2009; All rights reserved

Photograph by Heather Murray Anderson ©2009; All rights reserved

PS. If you missed yesterday's post entitled "A Work of Art," (similar to this one but about a little girl) be sure to take a look at it...The photography is pretty amazing.

Also, this is officially my 200th post, but the giveaway won't be announced till Tuesday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Work of Art

photograph by Heather Murry Anderson ©2009; All rights reserved

A Work of Art
©2003 Susan Noyes Anderson; His Children; Vantage-Point Press

A little girl
A laugh, a sigh
A sparkle in
A soft, blue eye

A little shy
A little bold
A secret kept
A story told

A hand to hold
A lock to curl
A daisy chain
A skip, a twirl

A little girl
A woman's start
A work of grace
A work of art

photograph by Heather Murry Anderson ©2009; All rights reserved