Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A "Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop" Marathon!

Delve into the archives of CyberSnoop--and arm yourself against internet hoaxes and urban legends!

I realize I've slipped once again into gross neglect of this blog. Yet, my creativity seems to be at an impasse at the moment. What to do?

Well, it dawned on me that I have a wealth of stuff in Ye Olde Archives of "Notes in the Key of Life"...stuff that some of my legions of readers (yes, I'm being silly) may have never read. So why not borrow a trick from Hollywood and take the re-run route?

Dear readers, I give you the links to a whole bunch of "Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop" features.

What in the world is CyberSnoop?

This feature originated when I was Darren Marlar's co-host on 101QFL. I honestly don't remember which one of us came up with the idea, but we were both fed up with getting e-mails that paraded as truth when they were either outright lies or crazily exaggerated.

We decided I'd take on one internet rumor/e-mail hoax per week as "Cindy Swanson, CyberSnoop."

There was never any lack of fodder for CyberSnoop. It seemed one or the other of us got at least one questionable e-mail a week...and often my listeners or co-workers would toss one my way.

Soon, I began to develop a kind of radar for e-mail garbage. I could smell a fake e-mail a mile away. Relatives got a little annoyed at me for de-bunking the forwards they assumed were for real and blithely sent my way (well, didn't they pay attention to the CyberSnoop motto about checking it out BEFORE you hit the "send" button?!?:))

I even did the feature on Beth Warden's syndicated radio show in Canada, as "Cindy Swanson, CyberSleuth" (Beth thought that sounded nicer than "snoop").

So here you go...

Links to some of the CyberSnoop features. And don't forget CyberSnoop's motto: Don't forget to check it out BEFORE you hit that "send" button!

--The Case of the Dead Comedian: I find out if there was any truth to the rumor that comedian Sinbad had suddenly died

--The Case of the Stolen GPS's-Are robbers stealing people's GPS's and using them to find their homes and break into them?

--The Case of the Drug-Soaked Business Card-Are criminals in the United States using businesses cards soaked with a drug called burundanga to incapacitate female victims?

--The Case of the Faulty Flip-Flops--Did Chinese-made flip-flops sold by Wal-Mart cause chemical burns on some consumers’ feet?

--The Case of the Facebook Forward--Is Facebook going to delete your account if you don’t forward a particular message?

--The Case of the Colossal Canine-Are those pictures of a 7-foot-long Great Dane for real? (You can also listen to an audio version of this one here.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Are you ready for my latest beauty discovery?

Being a woman of "a certain age," as the French put it, I'm always on the look-out for things that might make me--well, look better.

As you get older, you can either pretty much give up ("OK, I'm getting older, there's no hope of me looking pretty, so from now on it's comfortable clothes, really short hair and no make-up for me"), OR you can refuse to "go gently into that good night," to quote the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

For me, this doesn't mean trying to look like a 25-year-old, but it DOES mean using every weapon in my arsenal to look as attractive as I possibly can.

So are you ready for my latest discovery? Here it is:

Velcro rollers.

I have my sister Beverly to thank for this. Bev tries to wash her hair when she has some time to hang out at home. After washing, she sets her hair in velcro rollers, then lets it air dry. She then styles her hair as usual.

Bev has always said this gave her hair body and style that lasted much longer and better than using a curling or straightening iron alone.

Experts agree

Interestingly, I started seeing this same wisdom in beauty and fashion magazines. A while back, Vogue devoted a whole article to the advantages of "setting" your hair. In a recent InStyle magazine, model Cindy Crawford suggested using Velcro rollers.

Remember when our moms or grandmas use to go to the "beauty shop" once a week, and their hairstyle lasted an ENTIRE week?!

Now, I wash my hair more than once a week, but I don't have to wash it as often as I did when I was young. And I'm now a believer--setting your hair in rollers really DOES help your hair keep it's style and volume much longer than using a curling or straightening iron alone.

Plus, letting your hair air dry as much as possible is much healthier for your hair and if you're eco-minded, it saves energy too!

I'm a convert

I decided to try it. I invested in some velcro rollers (Wal-Mart and Sally Beauty Supply seem to be the least expensive places to buy them, but the Dollar Tree has some small ones if you want a curlier style.)

I was amazed at the lasting effect the curlers have. My hair retains its shape and volume all the way until the next washing--even though I do use a curling iron to touch it up and give it shine.

How I do it

You need time to do this, so it's definitely not for you if you wash your hair every morning before heading out to work.

I wash my hair when I know I have a few hours to be at home. I towel dry, and because my hair is pretty thick, I blow-dry it till it's about 50 per cent dry.

I then roll my hair all over in the velcro rollers. Mine are pretty big, so if you drop by my house when I'm wearing them, you'll get a good laugh. (I'm sure the FedEx man will too, after he gets over his initial shock.)

I give it a good spray with hairspray, and then go about my, reading, whatever. Lately the weather has been so nice that I've sat out on my deck reading or listening to music and let the breeze and sunshine do its job.

After taking them out

After taking the rollers out, I'm always amazed at the bounce and volume. However, I touch it up with a curling iron, simply because the iron gives it more shine than the rollers alone.

If I do this routine at night, I just take the rollers out before going to bed and style with my curling iron as usual in the morning.

It doesn't seem to matter what you do with it after taking the rollers out. The style lasts until the next washing.

I like it so much that I plan on getting some smaller velcro rollers for when I want a curlier do.

If you're not sure how to set your hair on rollers (but if you're my age, you probably are!), here are a couple of online tutorials you can check out:

--This lovely girl shows how to get volume by rolling dry hair with velcro rollers

--I love this lady's quirky personality and focus on femininity. Apparently she has several videos you can watch that show her curling techniques.

There are lots more tutorials on YouTube, some by professional stylists.

Good luck if you plan to try it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Sweet Pain of Being a Die-Hard Cubs Fan

...or in my case, being married to one

My friend Tara, whose husband Joe is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, wrote this on Facebook today:

I love my 7 year old's optimism: "Mom the Cubs are almost in first place. If they can stay in first place long enough, they'll make the playoffs!!" Oh, it's going to be a long summer.

I had to laugh. Having been married to a die-hard Cubs fan for over 30 years, and being the mother of two more, I can SO relate.

The Friendly Confines

See that picture? You may think it's just a photograph of a baseball field, but oh no, it's SO much more.

That picture of Wrigley Field will strike a chord deep in the soul of every true Cubs fan. That diamond is the scene of a plethora of emotions experienced only by a baseball enthusiast who fanatically supports a team. Right now, it's a tremulous, yet undying sense of joyful anticipation.

The soundtrack of my marriage...

The soundtrack of my married life has not been provided by a particular musician or band. At least from April through September, it's been the sound of ambient stadium noise and the voices of announcers from Harry Caray to Steve Stone to Ron Santo--commenting in tones ranging from desultory and casual ("beautiful day here at the friendly confines") to wildly and frantically excited ("It might could IS!!!" "Cubs Win! Cubs Win!")

Riding in the car with my husband anywhere? Forget music. If there's a Cubs game on, that's what we'll be listening to.

Years ago, in a particularly good season for the Cubs, WGN's theme music coming in and out of the games--and on TV, as the credits were rolling--was Van Halen's "Jump." My husband is the furthest thing from a rock music fan, but I'll wager that if he ever hears that song, his heart leaps a little bit.

I know I can never hear its closing strains without also hearing a voice saying, "This has been a presentation of WGN Radio. Any reproduction without the express written consent of Major League Baseball...",etc.

Hope springs eternal...

Through the years of being repeatedly disappointed by the Cubs, my husband has learned to temper his emotions regarding the team. Yes, he'll gripe about their losses, but at the end of the summer, once he knows the Cubs are out of it, his attitude is one of quiet acceptance.

Despite never winning the World Series, the Cubs have brought him the kind of enjoyment and pleasure that is the seasoning of a well-lived life.

In April, hope springs in the heart of a die-hard Cubs fan as sure as the daffodils lift their sunny golden faces to the blue Illinois sky. That hope is as fresh and naive as that of Tara's 7-year-old son.

So let the fun begin. And if the Cubs don't make the play-offs?

There's always next year.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why I love Andrew Peterson--and sort of a belated Easter post!

"...the early Christians... didn’t need faith to believe Christ’s resurrection like I do... They saw him. They ate fish with him. They walked and talked with the man who just a week ago was strung up like a criminal and dead as a doornail. For them it wasn’t blind faith. And that’s why the word spread like wildfire. Hundreds and hundreds of people laid eyes on the one human being since the beginning of time who kicked down Death’s door and made it out alive again."--Andrew Peterson

I've blogged about Andrew Peterson before. I've had the privilege of interviewing him a couple of times, seeing him in concert, and reading his richly imaginative fantasy books, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten.

But I have to talk about Andrew again today, because my daughter just let me listen to a song from a future CD, Resurrection Letters, Volume One (typical of Andrew's quirky, humorous approach to life, Resurrection Letters, Volume Two, was released first.)

Andrew is a poet. His lyrics are lovely and poetic, but deeply infused with Scripture and meaning. If your soul responds to such things,as well as to a rather folksy musical style, you will also love Andrew.

The song Elizabeth had me listen to was "Risen Indeed."

Had I heard it before Easter, this would definitely have been my Easter post, because both the song and Andrew's accompanying post celebrate Resurrection Day beautifully and profoundly.

In his Easter Sunday post, Andrew writes:

I long to see him face-to-face. I long to put my hand in his side, and touch the scars. I want to thank him and to worship him without this confounded veil between us. Just fighting to believe can make you weary, and faith is hard to hold. But we are given moments of reprieve. Easter comes around and the pews are full of every-Sunday sinners and once-in-a-blue-moon saints. The ice melts. The daffodils glow like little suns. We remember the earth-shaking fact of the resurrection of Jesus, and hope comes galloping in from the east, trumpeting the tune of victory.

You can scroll down Andrew's post to hear "Risen Indeed." I love how he struggles with tears as he sings certain parts of the song.

Christian singers are human, flawed sinners. I don't ask them to somehow be better or holier than the rest of us. But it sure is nice to find one who is "the real deal."

Andrew Peterson's faith is obviously unashamed and genuine. I'm a fan.

" I write this on Easter morning, when I think of the pain and death and sorrow that surrounds me and my community, I believe it, because I have seen a light the shadow cannot touch. I have seen healing, and unexplainable faith; I have seen quiet mercy stop evil in its tracks.

...The stories are true.

Let wonder infect you."--Andrew Peterson

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Ultimate Blog Party 2010!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Welcome to my blog!

My husband Doug and me

It looks like I returned to blogging just in time! Quite by accident, I found out that this (April 9th through the 16th) is the week of the Ultimate Blog Party 2010.

If you're just now visiting "Notes in the Key of Life," let me extend a warm welcome to you!

Me with my adorable grandsons, Payton and Josiah

Confession: I just blogged earlier today for th
e first time since February 19th. However, I'm feeling the return of the urge to blog, and it's very cool that the UBP is happening right now.

My 30-year-old son Jonathan and my daughter-in-law Daylyn

My blog is an eclectic mix of information, inspiration and just plain interesting stuff. It reflects my Christian faith and my love for my family, including my awesome husband, my three grown children and my adorable little grandsons.

I am a voice-over artist and currently unemployed radio personality (scroll down to read more about THAT.)

Check out the sidebar for archived posts on a variety of subjects. Enjoy!

My 27-year-old son Justin and me

You'll also find my take on some of my favorite things--like fiction, especially Christian fiction, and my favorite TV shows, like "Lost" and "Biggest Loser," and current events that catch my interest.

Me and my 23-year-old-daughter Elizabeth

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope it won't be your last visit!

Prizes!--Lots of wonderful prizes are being offered through the Ultimate Blog Party. One that I would love to get: the 30 dollar Sephora gift certificate being offered by Transparent Mama.

P.S. Please do leave a comment with a link to your blog! Click on the "Notes from You" to leave a comment.

At a crossroads

"Without faith it is impossible to please God..." Hebrews 11:6

Wow! My first blog post in ages.

So much has happened since I last blogged. In early March, I was let go from the radio job where I've worked for a lifetime...29 years.

It was both expected and unexpected. Ever since the station was sold to another company in May a year ago, I've anticipated that this day was coming at some point. Nevertheless, when it did happen, it was swiftly and unexpectedly.

Now, at the age of (mumbling under my breath), I'm truly at a crossroads. I'm looking for another job, hopefully in the field I love.

Never have I been more aware of my need for God's guidance and direction. Since my dismissal from the radio station, I've seen his hand already, assuring me that he's there and that he cares about me and my future. (What a humbling thought--the God of the Universe cares about my life.)

I really don't know what the future holds, but it's actually a freeing feeling to give it to God.

So, blogging again...

Funnily enough, my current situation has made me turn back to this blog. Well, I do have more time on my hands at the moment, although I'm still doing voice-over work. So whether anybody cares to read it or not, I think I'll be blogging more now. We'll see.

I close with the following lyrics to Francesca Batistelli's "Letting Go," which really resonate with me. This is exactly how I feel:

My heart beats, standing on the edge
But my feet have finally left the ledge

Like an acrobat
There’s no turning back

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me, and my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go

This is a giant leap of faith
Trusting and trying to embrace
The fear of the unknown
Beyond my comfort zone

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go

Giving in to your gravity
Knowing You are holding me
I’m not afraid

Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
Feels like I’m falling and this is the life for me
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