Thursday, November 29, 2007

Step Aside, Angelie ......

Paula Abdul said that if she is unable to conceive a child naturally that she will consider adopting.
Abdul said, "With medical technology these days, I could have children by myself using a donor. But I would rather be in a relationship so the child has a father to help instill core values.
"If it’s meant for me to have children naturally, I absolutely will. I love kids, I really do. And kids love me. I’m so open to the idea of adoption. But, again, I would like to be able to share the raising of the children."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Whirlwind! - Part 2 - Day 2 (Continued) & Day 3

This post is the continuation of Whirlwind - Part 1 - entered last week.

We were fortunate to get tickets for the Radio City Music Hall's "Christmas Spectacular" featuring The Rockets. Each troupe consists of 36 dancers who go through their meneuvers with the precision of a Swiss clock. They perform 4 shows a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year along with the Christmas touring casts.

We were jazzed to see the historic show (75th year) in it's home venue.
(Click on a pic for a larger image)


Christmas Tree chandelier installed for the 6 week run of "Christmas Spectacular".

The Radio City Orchestra performed Christmas favorites before the show.
The group was raised and lowered on a hydraulic lift and provided the music for
the event.

It was mandatory that we have a pic of the Dancing Panadas from one of the scenes
in "Christmas Spectacular".
The famous Rockettes 'kick line' drew applause from an appreciative audience.
The backdrop is a huge LED computerized screen which provided the scenery from larger than life ornaments to twinkling Christmas trees with amazing clarity.

"The March of The Wooden Soldiers" is a tradition that dates back farther than the first time I saw the show in the late 1950s. This scene was done in a fast cascade back in those days but was executed with incredible exactitude in slow motion when we saw the show last week.
A real crowd pleaser.

A bus tour around NYC. The bus' movements were programmed in synch with the LED projections providing quite the illusion of driving in New York City.

"Dancing Santas" - combined live action with projections on the LED screen.

Santa's Toy Shop

"The Living Nativity," the re-telling of Jesus Christ's birth, that is now the Spectacular's penultimate number. It's now full of beautiful pageantry -- including those famed live camel and sheep -- but doesn't feel too somber or so religious that it may offend non-Christians.
We were quite surprized that the scene was still included considering the current
political correctness consciousness.

Curtain Call

Us - at our seats after an incredible 90 minute show.

The Great Organ


After the show, a brisk walk downtown to Penn Station and a train ride backto New Jersey - later that evening, "Noises Off" once again - we enjoyed it so much
the previous evening, we went back for a second helping.


Day 3 - Muhlenberg College, Allentown PA
Our niece, Michelle, was eager to show us her college campus, so we
decided to fly our of Allentown instead of New York. We packed up our
bag and drove across the Great State of New Jersey (it began snowing quite heavily on the drive) and got the tour.
It was freezing cold by the time we reached the school - we did a Chinese Fire Drill
and took the above pic - and darted back to the warmth of the car.

The Commons at Muhlenburg College

Sister Maryann, Niece Michelle & Us

Following the tour, we flew back to Central Florida -
but only after the place was de-iced -
ending our whirlwind weekend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

20 Months .... and THAT Much Closer to Social Security

........the story of our lives .... and anyone adopting from China.
And so, it's 20 months today - it was 9 months when we started this journey. But we are thankful for all those friends (and several blogsters who have become friends) for their continuing prayers, encouragement and support. We have met many on the same slow boat as ourselves and we hold each other up.
Blessings to all those in the waiting room with us ...... it'll all be worth it in the end.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Clean-Up

Thanksgiving Morning

Thanksgiving morning - Just got out of bed and put on a pot of coffee -
12 friends coming over for the Thanksgiving feast today.
If the weather holds up, we'll celebrate outdoors on the porch
near a tiny patch of woods in our yard.
Sugar & spice turkey and glazed ham on the menu along with
an assortment of goodies that the guests bring.
Time to get cooking.
Happy Thanksgiving, Blogsters.

Give thanks...........

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Suggest a caption by leaving a comment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Whirlwind! - Part 1

Just returned from a weekend trip to the New York/New Jersey area - the purpose of the jaunt was to see our nephew, Sean, in his high school play "Noises Off" (a play within a play - the title refers to the British equivalent of "Quiet on the set", a phrase used by stage & film directors.) We both love live theater & concerts and several times during the show, I had to remind myself that I was watching high school kids, they were doing so well - so well that we went back the 2nd night of the run.
(Click on a pic for a larger view)
Nephew Sean in "Noises Off"

The guys in the cast of "Noises Off" clowning for the camera.

Ready to board the train into NYC on Day 2 of our "Whirlwind".

At the Madison Square Garden Theatre where we saw a performance of Cirque du Soleil's "Wintuck" - compared to the company's other productions, this one was so-so.
Great for the kids.

A view of our schnozes at the Empire State building.

At the semi-famous Angels Fountain @ Rockefeller Center

Be - at the skating rink @ Rockefeller Center.
The Christmas tree was being decorated and was surrounded by scaffolding.

Outside Radio City Music hall where we saw a performance of the Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes.
Pictures of the performance in "Whirlwind - Part 2" in a few days.....

In the courtyard at St Francis Church NYC, a block from Penn Station.
I laid on my back for this shot.
NYC Library

Don hams it in Times Square

A street market just off Times Square

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just Pray ..............UPDATE

Many blogsters are on the prayer line for Sandra Sheldon. Sandra's agency, Bethany (ours as well) posts the following on their 'Discussion Forums' portal on their main site .....
Bethany Christian Services appreciates your concern and prayers for the family that is in China with the recent tragedy. We have been contacted by multiple Congressional Offices as a response to your phone calls and emails. At this point, we request that you do not call your congressional representatives as they report it is not helping the offices work on the issue at hand. We have connected with the appropriate people in an organized fashion and are working diligently on behalf of this family in need. What we ask from families right now is for prayer. Thank you for your concern and cooperation in this delicate matter.
(The following is from Catherine's blog ..... she states it so well ....
This week we learned of a very sad situation in China that I am sure many of you are aware of. A couple travelled to China and met their daughter Hannah on Monday, November 5th. Sadly earlier this week the husband went into a diabetic coma and passed away.China is allowing the adoption to continue but the American government is unclear at this time as to whether they will issue a Visa to allow Hannah to enter the United States. Americans are being urged to contact the congressmen in support of Sandi and her longing to bring Hannah home. She has lost her husband already and we don't want her to lose her daughter too.As a Canadian I have tried unsuccessfully today to contact the American government so I'm going to a Higher Power and asking you to do the same. I have been praying for Sandi and Hannah all week and am now asking that you join me in praying that Sandi will be allowed to bring Hannah home with her to the United States.I was going to post information here for Americans as to where they can contact but I read here that the Senator's office received more than 1,000 calls this morning and they are working on a solution. Once again the international adoption community has rallied behind one of it's own. Thank you for all who contacted the government but we have now been asked to stop as they're working on a solution.But, please don't stop praying. God is bigger than any government!!
So ...... just pray ..... mom's name is Sandra Sheldon. God knows who she is .... please pray for her and her daughter, Hannah ....................
Sandra & Hanna are coming home!!!! Phone calls, e-mails, prayers and the efforts of the blogging community all came together to make it happen. Please continue praying for Sandra and her life as a single mom. She has some extraordinary adjustments to make. Bloggers are a good group! Amen!
..........and here's the latest......they are home!
Sandi Sheldon and her daughter Hannah are finally home.
"We waited so long," Sandi Sheldon said. "She's a joy. She's really kept me going this week."
Sheldon's week has certainly been an emotional one. After she and her husband, Dennis, flew to china to adopt Hannah in late October, Dennis suddenly died of diabetic shock. Then, the U.S. government blocked Sandi from returning with her daughter because her family status had changed. It took some hard work from some in China, and U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers, but mom and daughter are back in
"I want to thank [Mike Rogers.] Words can not express how I feel," Sandi said. "I want to thank everyone who prayed for us and tried to help us."
Sandi's brother Darryl said the family is overjoyed to have her back. They anxiously waited for her at Capitol City Airport with a lot of anticipation.
"We are a close knit family," Darryl Hill said.
Dennis spent a week with his new daughter in
China before he died and that's something that keeps family members going.
"Denny-berger - that's what we called him," Linda Sustaiti, Sandi's sister said. "It's sad he's not here to share in this enjoyment, but he did get to spend time with Hannah."
Sandi said Dennis always loved Children.
"He was a wonderful man," she said.
Now Dennis' memory can be found in the happy little girl that has a new life in America.
from WILX, Lansing, Michigan
A trust fund has been set up - any Fifth Third Bank will accept your donation.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

90 Minutes With the Queen

Songstress Dana Owens took the stage @ Hard Rock Live Orlando where her larger-than-life presence bestowed generous gifts of song upon her admiring subjects who accepted graciously and pleaded for more. Her entourage included keyboards, a brass section, 3 backup singers, 2 percussionists and a partridge in a pear tree. The band had the audience in a frenzy prior to her entrance and when she appeared, she wore a bespangled black sweater and black pants, indicating that the evening would be quite casual and full of fun. She was happier than a puppy in a roomfull of rubber balls to perform to the less than full house and didn't let the energy down during her 90 minute set.Better known as 'Queen Latifah', Ms Owens went from jazz, to blues, to funk, to rap, to movie music and standards - as smooth as velvet and edgy as a bread knife - she covered them all. "I'm Gonna Live 'Till I Die" opened the evening with her brass section punctuating the kicks of the song and was followed by many of the pieces from her "The Dana Owens Album" & "Travelin' Light" projects.
She had fun bantering with the audience and featured various band members and hot, hot, hot backup vocalists who did duets and riffs as if they were the featured act. But the Queen was always there to take back the spotlight and display the incredible range of voices. Phoebe Snow's "The Poetry Man" was performed with a sexy smokiness that could get milk from a crowbar. "Georgia Rose" was a poinant moment as Ms Owens sang of a woman weighed down by racial issues followed by "I Know Where I've Been" (from "Hairspray") as contrast to the previous offering. "Mercy Mercy Mercy" & "Baby Get Lost" were two of the evening's showstoppers.The Queen had her subjects in the palm of her hand and our front row seats helped make the evening a larger than life one. Long live the Queen!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Diva Cleans Up

A friend sent me this - could be Diva's brother.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Want Ad for Female Performers in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra:
Must have long legs - capable of playing violin or singing opera riffs while running through audience wearing 4 inch stiletto boots (without falling off said boots) - ability to execute above during extreme laser & pyro demonstration - must have all the right moves & display aptitude for severe hair thrashing.
Want Ad for Male Performers in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra:
Wear your tux and play your instrument/sing well.

The sold-out crowd at the 10,000 seat Jenkins Arena in Lakeland witnessed one of the most technically extravagant concerts that the sleepy town had ever seen. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra came to town with a light show capable of sucking enough electricity from the town's power company to leave it in 'brown out' during the concert. Al Gore would have had a hissyfit. Lasers (powerful enough to bore a hole in your skull) abounded, pyro of every manner punctuated musical swells and the band played their instruments like they were mad at them for being ugly. Of course, this is their act and the audience showed it's appreciation with standing ovations several times during the 2 1/2 hour show (no intermission).

The program consisted of their first work "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" followed by selections from their 2 other Christmas pieces as well as their "Beethoven's Last Night" project. The group is famous for taking classical and traditional themes and doing heavy metal arrangements. This unique blend featured the "Queen of the Night" aria from Mozart's "The Magic Flute", "Pachlabel's Cannon", and other operatic and symphonic themes.

You can't turn on the radio at Christmas without hearing their piece "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" featuring themes from "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" & "Carol of the Bells". Along with it's inclusion in the main section of the program, the piece also served as their encore as the lead guitarist and the violinist were strapped into a harness and elevated on a lift as they played their socks off while gas jets shot flames into the air from the stage. The leader encouraged the audience to stay on their feet and give an ovation to the fire department.

We were exhausted! How do they do it night after night? We sure got our 50 bucks worth for the ticket price and the band donated $10,000 from the evening's proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. We were happy to turn back the clocks that night as we were in high gear after a spell-binding performance.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's A God Thing

If you have been following our story, you'll remember that while we were on vacation in September, we were made aware of several "Children of Promise" (children with correctable impairments) for whom we wrote letters of desire to adopt 2 of about 10. We were not referred to either due to our log-in date (someone else with a LID before ours was given the referrals). Then, our agency countered back with several children who did not 'make the cut' the first time around. One was a little boy with a deformed hand that I could have snatched right up and brought home from China. After we prayed, we realized that Joanna Mei would be revealed to us at a later time, but I felt heartbreak for the little guy, like I was turning my back on him.

Well, I found out today that the boy has been adopted and his new parents will be picking him up soon. Thank you, God, for your provision for this very deserving child!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Temps in the 50s Last Night - Yes! .......

......and THESE Central Floridians are doing the Dance of Joy!