Saturday, July 30, 2005
For the past three days I have been attending something I like to call Handbell Camp. The real name, however, is Concordia Summer Ring. This is the 14th year Concordia University has put on this event. I will quote from their brochure:
"Three days of handbell events for ringers, directors and their families. A hands-on experience designed to cultivate strong ringing skills, musical understanding and leadership."
First I will explain that Concordia University is a private Lutheran college located in the hills of Irvine about 30 miles South of where I live in Lakewood. The campus is beautiful and gets a lovely breeze every day because it isn't too far from Newport Beach. Lutherans are BIG on handbells. This college has a major handbell program and some music majors devote themselves to this instrument. Then upon graduation they can go anywhere in the country and become a music director at a church which majors in handbells.
Three people on the staff put on this event. They are Herbert Geisier, Nick Hanson and Nancy Jessup. Every year they bring in a professional from the handbell world to teach workshops and speak to us. This year they brought Kermit (yes, you read that correctly) Junkert from Philadelphia. He is the conductor and artistic director of the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble. He is also the vice president, sales and marketing for Schulmerich Bells in PA. He is an author of books and videos about handbells and has served on committees. Now, all this sounds dry but he wasn't dry and boring at all. This man has a quick, wry sense of humor and his workshops were not only informative but fun as well. If the photo placement comes out correctly, this is Kermit on the left speaking to us before leading his advanced handbell group in their two numbers.
I went to this event with Dorinda, the handbell
director from our church. That is her holding some bells on the right. Last year we both went to this event for the first time along with Lisa, the handbell director for the choir from the school where I aide at. Lisa wasn't able to attend this year.
The program began Wednesday morning with registration at 8 AM in the Concordia University Center.
Here is a picture of a really nice marble statue
of Jesus as the Good Shepherd outside the center.
Another picture is my reflection in the window of the center (it is not a mirror, the sun was reflecting off the window just right). You can see that behind me is a lovely grassy area with trees.
Inside the center the front portion of the stage is dominated by pipes for the pipe organ. Herb Geisier did play this for us on the first day. Just beautiful.
Up on the stage were two long rows with four complete sets of handbells. The college donates their bells to this event and other people who volunteer to bring their bell sets, the foam they sit on and the coverings for over the foam. So not only were there bells in the center but in several other locations on the campus.
After check-in we were all invited on stage and got to pick out which bells we wanted to play. We then proceeded to "cold read" music. Now, for most of the people there this is not a problem. For people who are new to handbells it can be overwhelming. Last year, I was totally lost. This year I was a little better. But here is the problem for me ... I don't read music. Yes, that's correct. So you may ask, "how did you get to play handbells then?" I was told when we first started up the handbells at our church that one did not need to know how to read music. If you can count, you can play handbells. Well, to a certain extent this is true. For someone like me who is just playing in a small group, in a small church, it is fine. But if you are going to play in a large group, a more "professional" group you had better know how to read music!
While we are going through the music the different people who work there (mentioned above) go around and see what level you are (we are all wearing large name tags around our necks). Then after reading/playing music twice in the morning, after lunch you are placed in one of three groups; beginning, intermediate and advanced. Last year, much to my shock and surprise, I was placed in the intermediate group and I struggled. I was tense and nervous because on the final day each group plays two numbers in front of everyone else and whoever comes in to listen. Very intimidating to me. This year I was again placed in intermediate and I was much more relaxed. I have gotten better this last year and once I study and mark my music it comes a bit easier to me.
So the event on day one consisted of a reading session (mentioned above), an overview of Bell Mastery taught by Kermit, brief technique review, another reading session and then lunch. You can purchase your meals there at the college. Dorinda and I brought our lunch each day. She wasn't able to stay late both days and so I bought dinner there. The food is very good.
After lunch we were given our group assignments and we went to our various locations to practice our two pieces. This is were those donated bells in various locations come in. The conductor for our group was Nancy. She is one tough teacher but she really brings out the best in you. She does not believe in counting out measures even from the earliest stages of practice (gulp!). After this one hour practice we went to a workshop of our choice, another practice session and then dinner. After dinner we had one more workshop we could go to. So the first day I was there from 8 AM until 7:30 PM. Take in travel time on the 405 and it was a long day.
Speaking of travel on the 405. The first day I left at 6:50 AM and was getting off the freeway in Irvine at 7:30. Had time to stop for coffee and everything. The drive home wasn't too bad. Second morning, though ... completely different story. We did not have to be there until 8:45 so I left at 7:30. What a mess. I was driving alone so could not use the carpool lane. It was a long, slow, frustrating trip down there. I really thought I would be late but I got there at 8:45 and they started late so I was really on time. But I was frazzled from the trip. No time for coffee that morning. Trip home was again not bad because it was later in the evening so rush hour was over. Friday morning I picked up Dorinda in Westminster at 7:55 AM and we got to use the carpool lane. Made all the difference in the world. Passed all the slow traffic and got there at 8:30 with time for coffee. So much more relaxed. But the drive home. What should only take 30 minutes took two and half hours. The freeway was one big parking lot. The event ends earlier on Friday so now we are in rush hour traffic. Even the carpool lane wasn't going anywhere. I was dropping Dorinda off to meet someone and it took an hour an a half to get to that location. The original meet time was 5:30 and we got there at 6. I decided not to get back on the freeway and so took surface streets home which took an hour due to construction on said surface streets. This is why I don't like driving anymore!!!!
Thursday, Day 2 (this is getting long!) Group photo and announcements, practice group, workshop, lunch, reading session (this one was really frustrating because the music level was 4 which is difficult. My level is like 2), workshop, practice group, dinner, workshop and workshop. Very long day made even more long by that early morning drive. I was exhausted physically and mentally. There is a lot of information to be absorbed in the brain and ringing bells can be hard on the neck, shoulders and wrists. The bells I ring are medium in size and weight, so it's not too bad. Even though this event is demanding, I can say it is worth it because I come away with so much information which will hopefully make me a better ringer. It stretches me.
Friday, Day 3 begins with the practice choir, workshop, lunch and then more practice. This afternoon we all perform in the grand finale. I can see why I am not in the beginners choir. They are truly beginners who don't even know how to hold or ring a bell. The level of music our intermediate group played was 3 and 3+. I played in the back row and only got lost a little bit in the middle of the first piece but found where we were after a couple of measures and got back in. The woman in front of me who played the same notes was really good so I knew if I wasn't playing, those notes would still be heard. My camera has a movie record function on it and so Dorinda recorded our two numbers for me. Dorinda was in the advanced group and I only got part of one of her numbers before the memory stick wouldn't hold more.
So, there you have it. What I have been up to the last three days. Exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating, stretching, overall ... a good experience. Will I do it again next year? If I'm still playing handbells, probably yes. I have much to share with Lisa from school regarding our bells and I'm sorry she wasn't able to attend this year.
Next adventure - Paul and I are planning a trip down to San Diego on Monday and Tuesday to visit the San Diego Zoo and the Midway. Report and pictures of that trip will be next week. Also, the weather has cooled down here. It is in the mid 80's and little humidity. This, I can take :)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
This last week we have had hot and humid weather. The remnants of Hurricane Emily that came ashore over Mexico several days ago is now being sucked into our area making for some really interesting thunder, lightning and rain out in the desert, mountains and Inland Empire. So on the way up the mountain we had a little rain. We got to camp and could hear thunder in the distance. We were at camp about 40 minutes. We drive through the mountain/resort town of Wrightwood to and from camp. Driving on the way to camp Wrightwood was dry. Leaving, the town was drenched. They must have had a severe cell dump a cloudburst of rain on them. Water was running down the streets and the dry creeks had water in them. We ran into some rain going down the mountain and driving along the Cajon Pass. Then again more rain, at times heavy, in Diamond Bar. While we were under the clouds and in the rain, it was cool. As soon as we came out from under, it was hot. It was really interesting.
We stopped at Bob's Big Boy in Diamond Bar to have lunch/dinner on the way home. We did not have time for lunch as we had to have Jennifer back at camp by 2. We made it at 2:13. So Jennifer got a leftover burrito from lunch up there and went off to join the rest of staff welcoming the new campers in for the week. Before that we had taken all her stuff and dropped it off in her dorm room.
The rest of the week will be busy. Either Monday or Tuesday I will run some errands and I want to see the movie March Of The Penquins. Then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I am attending a Summer Hand Bell Ring at Concordia University in Irvine. More on that later.
I have some pictures of the camp where Jennifer is working I took last October when the ladies from our church went there for a Women's Retreat. The first one is of the kitchen where she is working. The second is a shot of one portion of the dining room area, the third is a picture of Jackson Lake. This is a public lake but the camp is permitted to use part of it for boating. The final picture is of one small area where cabins are located.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Tuesday I pretty much spent recuperating from my previous days trip to Disneyland and that night I went to hand bell practice at church. Wednesday Jennifer (who is home on vacation, she goes back to camp tomorrow) and I went out on a little shopping trip and Thursday I stayed home in front of the fan. Yes, it is hot and humid here just like most of the country. More humid than normal for So.California.
Friday I met my long time friend Jerri for lunch. We have known each other since 4th grade! We ate at Bubba Gumps down by the Long Beach Aquarium. We shared a bucket of peel and eat shrimp. Afterwards we walked around the park area for a little bit.
Today my friend and neighbor Peggy and I went to a "tea" at Locke And Noble Tea Company. Actually it is in the backyard of an historic home in Fullerton called the Noble House. Four times a year this family puts on a free tea according to the seasons. Most of the teas are held in their yard except for the Christmas tea which is held in their home. They prepare a lot of the food ahead of time. The servings are small for the most part but you do get a full pot of tea and scones and clotted cream are always served. Today we had chilled brandy apricot soup, lavender bread, white chocolate chip scone with the clotted cream and jam, chocolate propiteroles, shortbread and bananas foster. This sounds like a lot but you only get a small cup of the soup and one each of the items. But it is enough and so, so good! The only thing they ask is that you tip the young people who serve you. They also sell things from their home. They have many tea and turn of the century things for sale arranged in their living room and a couple of their bedrooms. This family would some day like to open a tea shop. Oh, and yes they sell bagged tea also.
Peggy and I have been going for a couple of years now. I originally heard about this from Rebecca who goes to my church and is a friend of Jennifers (she is also the one who got Jennifer into Civil War Reenactment). The family is just now getting around to putting out a cookbook with the recipes in a three ring binder. Then each tea you go to you can purchase the recipes for things offered at that tea to add to the binder. The cookbooks will be ready in December. Another thing they do is put on a for real high tea, full course event usually in March. That event costs money, usually $25. These events are themed. One year it was themed around Jane Austen and they had someone there who talked about Jane Ausen. Another time the theme was The Titanic and as people came in they were given the name of someone who actually sailed on The Titanic. At the end of the evening you found out if you survived or not. They served the actual tea menu of The Titanic. I have never attended one of these events due to the cost, but I sure would love to one of these times. Also people really dress up in period costumes for these high teas.
I did not take my camera with me because I took pictures last October when we went. But now I wish I had because there was a large group of women there who are connected with a Victorian fund raising group for an historic house in Santa Ana. They dress up in turn of the century costumes that they have made. Beautiful dresses, hats, the whole nine yards. I have even seen men attend these teas dressed in costume. It really is a lot of fun. So, anyway, here are some pictures from last October.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
It started with a 7 AM breakfast with Bruce and his friends from South Carolina. They had come out here just for the weekend to celebrate the 50th on the 17th. Bruce has known Gail for many years since their days participating in the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Gail came with her husband and their son who happens to be Bruce's godson. Bruce and JD spent the whole day together on Saturday as JD had never been to Disneyland before. And considering Bruce knows Disneyland like the back of his hand (or better) which better person is there than him to show a first timer around?!
The family left on a shuttle to catch their flight home at 8 AM and Bruce and I headed over to the park. Because Bruce no longer drives I was able to park in his hotel parking spot for free. That was nice! The first thing we did was go to City Hall so Bruce could get his birthday sticker and then throughout the day various cast members would wish him a happy birthday. For his birthday I had given him a shirt I found at the Disney Outlet Store and I had one also so we both wore our matching shirts. We got a lot of comments about them. A few people thought we worked there!
Then we went and got a fast pass for Space Mountain. This ride has just reopened after a long rehab and that rehab was well worth the wait. That ride is the best it has ever been. We also went on Small World, Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit's Toon Spin, saw ASIMO the robot, went to DCA and did Tower of Terror, Screamin (BIG roller coaster), Crush Turtle Talk, and the movie California Dreams. By now it was 3:30 and we were hungry so we left the property and went across the street to McDonalds and took our food back to his room. There we ate and watched the news and enjoyed the air conditioning for about an hour.
At 5 PM I went back to the park and went into the special 50th Anniversary exhibit and looked at everything and watched the movie they had done about the history of the park (very well done). Then I walked around Main Street and got a spot on the curb for the parade. After the parade I remet Bruce and we went over to the hub to see if we could get a good spot for the fireworks show. That was to start at 9:25 and it was now 7:30 and there was no good spot left. This is a fantastic show and people get spots hours in advance. So we went over to the Carnation Plaza area and sat on some chairs and ended up with a side view of the show. It was interesting seeing it from that angle, but I would never sit there again.
After the show we headed over to Rivers of America for Fantasmic. Bruce knows a good spot and we were able to wait there until 10:30 PM when that show started. It has been a couple of years since I last saw it. It is a really terrific show. Afterwards we sat and waited for the crowds to thin out and then left the park and called it a day. Bruce is planning to go home later today and I got home last night at 11:45. Paul and Jennifer were still up so we talked a bit and I took a shower and then hit the hay. I didn't get up until 9 AM. That's the longest I have slept in for ages.
It was quite crowded at the park. Bruce said it was more crowded yesterday than it was on Saturday or Sunday. We think some people were scared off by talk of large crowds and decided to come on the 18th. So that was really the only down side.
I did not take my camera as Jennifer took pictures when we were there in June. Bruce took pictures and will post them on his blog. When he does, I will insert a link here (edited to add link 7/20). I took a picture of him with his camera standing next to a picture of Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo. That will give you some idea of the shirt I am talking about.
So, all in all a very good day. Jennifer is enjoying her time here at home to sleep in and basically do nothing. She is planning to go to Bible Study tonight and spend some time with her friends. I am going to hand bell practice.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Well, I have had a busy couple of days. Yesterday Paul and I drove up to camp to pick up Jennifer. She has the next week off. We left home around 3 PM and got into Wrightwood at 6:30 PM. The traffic was heavy in some areas. We ate at a new restaurant in town called Grizzly Cafe. It was really good, very cute and a very nice gift shop attached called the Golden Acorn. Wrightwood has needed a place like this to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner for a long time. After eating dinner we went on to camp where we had to wait for Jennifer to finish her chores and get her things together. We had a nice time visiting some folks we know up there. We left around 9 PM and got home at 11 PM. But it was much later than that before we all got to bed.
Today Jennifer was invited to the wedding of a couple from our church. I drove her down to Laguna Beach as she is not familiar with the area and it gave us a chance to catch up. While she went to the wedding I walked around town for a while and I took some pictures of the area which are above. I then walked over to the area of the wedding/reception and discovered that I could stand above it all and take some photos so I have posted those above too. Rebecca who sometimes leaves comments here is the lovely young woman holding the orchids. I was very pleased with that picture!
After leaving the wedding around 2:30 PM we headed over to Monica and Tim's place along with some other friends of Jennifer's and then we went to see Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. This is a movie Jennifer was really hoping to see while she was home. We all had a bite to eat at the food court next to the theater before the movie. We really enjoyed this film and found it to be a lot of fun. Jennifer and I got home around 7:30 after enjoying a really nice day.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
This morning I took Metro Rail into Hollywood for a ceremony on Hollywood Blvd. giving Disneyland a special star called Award of Excellence. This ceremony occurred at 10:40 AM and Bob Iger, the incoming CEO of the Disney Co. and Michael Eisner, the outgoing CEO said a few things as did Johnny Grant. (One of the pictures posted here shows all three of them) The Disneyland Band started things off by marching in and later about 40 or characters from the park came out and stood on either side. The star was positioned in the entrance way to the newest Disney store which is next door to the El Capitan Theater. It is called Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store. Inside you can sit and have a small lunch and/or ice cream sundaes or cones. They also sell merchandise unique to this store and DVD's of Disney movies and TV shows. It is very nice. I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch and a scoop of Rocky Road ice cream which was really good. I am going to try and put lots pictures here on this post. I just don't know where they will all end up getting placed, but I think you will be able to figure them out. All in all it was fun and I enjoyed myself very much.
After I finished my lunch I walked around the area a little bit. They are doing work on the Highland shopping area. This is already fairly new so I really can't figure out what they are doing to improve it. It looks fine as it is. These pictures I have posted are all over the place and have even gone down into my previous post so I am just writing to fill in space. Turns out if you are using Internet Explorer then they look OK.
Edited July 16. I went in and changed something in my format. Looks OK to me now in both Netscape and IE.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
On another topic, my brother has decided to start a blog also. Here is a link to his blog
My brother's blog site
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Yesterday evening, July 11, I attended the 14th annual Long Beach City College Pops Concert led by Dr. Gary Thomas Scott. This is the first time I have attended this concert. It consisted of two parts.
The LBCC pops band played for the first part. This band consists of people in age from middle schoolers (one of the band members is a teacher and he brings some of his students in to play and get experience) and a couple of people in their 90's! The second part is when The Band of The California Battalion plays. This is a recreation of a Civil War era band and Dr. Scott also leads them. This band is very good and Paul and I heard them at the Memorial Day celebration we went to at Forest Lawn in Long Beach.
The concert went from 6 PM to almost 8 PM. The pops band played music from the movie The Incredibles, a music medley from movies, a couple of marches, a music medley in tribute to Ray Charles and finishing up with a medley from Meredith Wilsons' Music Man. They were very good. Then there was a break while the Civil War band set up and then they played for almost an hour. They are very good and Dr. Scott is very good and funny and the band does schtick behind him. They play recreations of instruments from the Civil War era and even have three actual Civil War instruments. Here is a link to their web site. It is sponsored by LBCC and even though out of date gives you a pretty good idea of what they are about. LBCC has a new web master and is going to be updating this site.
Civil War Band
Also pictured is a shot of the quad area of the college and one of the many rabbits that populate the campus. Rabbits have been there for generations. I remember them from when I went to classes back in the early 80's. This is also the school that Jennifer is currently attending.
Tonight I will be attending an OASIS class. I'll tell you about that tomorrow.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Today I went to have my teeth cleaned. I go to the same dentist as my friend Jan. You can read about her experience there in this blog:
Jan's dental experience
My experience was the same ... I also had the hot hand treatment and I watched Animal Planet on the TV screen on the ceiling. Also, I did take the free cookie with me which I enjoyed after lunch.
From there I went to the Disney Character Warehouse in Fullerton. This is a great place. It is a clearing house for unsold, out of date, or over stocked items from the Disney Resort. They also sometimes have things from Disneyworld there. I have gotten so many neat things at really great prices there over the last few years! Next week sometime I will be posting a picture of my brother and myself in matching shirts I got there. His birthday is next Monday and we will be at our own Disneyland 50th anniversary on that date; his birthday and 50 years ago our parents took us to Disneyland when it opened to the public. But more on that next week. Have to keep you coming back!
Saturday, July 09, 2005
CHOC WALK 2005
I am participating in the 15th Annual CHOC/Disneyland Resort Walk in the Park, and I need your help. As a walker, I'm trying to raise as much money as I can to help the children of CHOC. Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) is a very special place where any child can receive the medical attention they need, regardless of their ability to pay. Last year, the CHOC/Disneyland Resort Walk in the Park raised over $820,000 to help pay for this medical care and this year our goal is $1 million! This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the 150,000 children who visit CHOC each year. Any support you can offer is greatly appreciated.
I participated in this event last year and raised $251. I am going to try and double that this year. I am posting here a couple of pictures from last years event. If you wish to donate, below is a link to the page where you can sponsor me. I will repost this link on occasion as it will disappear from this page into my archives. My ID name is wendygirl.
My Choc sponsor page
I am now going to work on uploading images from the fair into my online Epson Album. This will take awhile as we only have a dial-up connection. I will post a link later today when I finish.
Regarding the flavor of the squash. Not bad. Kind of mild and sweet.
Friday, July 08, 2005
So, today I went to the Orange County Fair. I took a ton of pictures which I will upload to my Epson Album sometime tomorrow. I will probably have to break them down into categories. I tried some different things ... trying to be artsie. I even got some reflective pictures.
Above are just a few things you can see at a fair, including my must have every time I go (and yes, I know it is not on Weight Watchers!) ... the chocolate cream puff.
The fair opened today and from 10 to 11 AM the parking and admission was free. The weather was not too hot and there was a nice breeze. I got there around 9:20 AM and stood in line at 9:30 for the gates to open at 10. I left at 7 PM and the drive home was not too bad. All in all it was a very nice day and considering it was free, well that was cream on the puff!!!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
The saga of the strange backyard plant has come to an end. Today we cut the gourd from the vine. The picture on the left shows it after it was cut down. We then weighed it on an old scale from Paul's Mom's side of the family. It weighed in at a little over two and half pounds. Then a little while ago we cut it in half. We are in the process of cooking it. Half number one we are boiling. Saturday we will try baking the second half.
We think we may have cut it too early. It may not be totally ripe. I did a google search and we think it may be an Autumn Butter Cup, but that is a big maybe. We are going to save the seeds and try this again next summer and see what happens. I'll let you know how it tastes.
Tomorrow I am planning to go to the opening day of the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa. Between the hours of 10 and 11 parking and admission is free. We shall see how many other people have the same idea! The weather has still not gotten really hot so now would be a good time to go. Depending on when I get home I will either post tomorrow night or sometime Saturday. I am planning on taking my camera and will try to get interesting shots. And for you Rebecca, I will see if I can get some reflections!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I haven't been doing much the last couple of days so decided to post some more pictures of cool cars I saw last Saturday. For several days the picture feature on Blogger was down due to a bug but now it is back up and running.
So, tomorrow we are going to pick what we now think is a squash from the large plant in our backyard. I will take pictures of it when we cut it open and let you all know what it turned out to be.
The plant itself is dying. Frankly, it is a mess and a sad picture of its former self. We have been having cloudy damp mornings lately and mildew has infested the leaves. So after we cut the squash off we will pull up (and down from the tree) what is left of the plant. It has been fun and interesting.
For something to do today I went into the school I work at and cleaned out some drawers. These are large flat drawers full of posters and other things that we post on the walls during the school year. These four drawers over the course of the past year had gotten all mixed up so I put them back in order. I felt really good, like I accomplished something worthwhile. I also went to Kohls Department Store and got another pair of navy blue shorts (my old ones have had it) and some patriotic socks. Because it is after the 4th, these were on sale.
Daughter is having an interesting time of it up at camp. If you wish to read her blog, here is a link to it.
Almost finished with the final book in the series of Abrams Daughters by Beverly Lewis. I have loved these books and will be sorry that it will soon be over.