Monday, July 30, 2012

Go to sleepy, little baby: the backstory of a lullaby


Since my three children and two grandsons were tiny, I’ve been singing them a lullaby:

Go to sleepy, little baby
Go to sleepy, little baby
When you wake, we'll patty patty cake
And ride a shiny little pony

That was all I knew of the lullaby, which I could vaguely remember my mom singing to her own children and grandchildren. I found myself personalizing it:
Mommy loves her little Jonny (or Jussy, or Lizzie)
Mommy loves her little Jonny Mommy loves, she kisses and she hugs
Oh, Mommy loves her little Jonny…
I did the same with my grandchildren. I never thought they paid much attention to what I was singing as I rocked them to sleep.

But one time I was rocking Josiah, when he was very young, and I started singing the personalized verse. Suddenly, Payton, who was just a toddler, joined in, “Nana loves her little J.D. (our nickname for Josiah),” and sang it word perfect!

Obviously it had sunk in during the many times I rocked him to sleep. I loved it. :)

Where did it come from?

Well, the other day I got curious. Where had this lullaby originated? There was a “Go to sleepy little baby” in the movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, but it wasn’t the version I knew.

It took me just minutes to discover that the lullaby I know originated with TV host Judy Canova. It was the song she sang just before signing off of her show, back in the 1940's and early 50's. I even found some mp3s of the song…and lyrics! There are a lot more lyrics, and I plan to learn them.

If you're curious, here's a little clip of me singing a few lines of the song...

For me, this lullaby is the essence of my mother’s love for her children, and my own love for my children and grandchildren. As long as there’s a little one to rock to sleep, I’ll be singing it.

*Pictured are Tiffany Manning and her adorable baby girl, Gianna

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Life Lately (in Instagram)

My daughter Elizabeth and me

I'll just admit it.  So far, this hasn't been my favorite summer.  But there have been some definite highlights, like the one I'm experiencing right daughter Elizabeth spending a week with us.

She just lives a couple of hours south of us, but between her job as a Clinique salesperson and her studies at Illinois State University, she doesn't get home nearly enough for my liking.

Anyway, since I've been somewhat lax about posting lately, I thought I'd share some phone pics with you!

I love to listen to my daughter play the piano!

The two of us had lunch at Chipotle today...she's thinking about trying a gluten-free diet, and we found at that Chipotle is amazingly gluten-diet friendly!

Elizabeth won a door prize at a radio event.  It was mostly stuff for our dog!
A shot of the Rock River, which runs through our town

My handsome hubby at the wheel

In front of a mic at the radio station where I work

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Front Porch Photo Shoot

I think I've decided that I'm the best person to take pictures of myself.  I took all the pictures in this "front porch photo shoot," and I think they turned out decently.  I wanted to pose with some of our potted plants and hanging baskets to complement the floral top I'm wearing.

I also wanted to show my "face o' the day," especially the eye make-up look I came up with.

All the eye make-up prodcuts I used were ELF, except for the mascara, which is Clinique High Lengths.  My daughter Elizabeth, who is a Clinique associate, gave me a sample of this mascara, and as soon as I can afford a full-size tube, I'm getting it!

The ELF shadows I used were a light pink under the brow, and a charcoal one on the lid and in the crease.  (Sorry, not sure of the actual names.)

I always start my eye make-up look with ELF eyelid primer, then a swoosh of a neutral shadow to set it, before applying the rest.  It ensures that my eye make-up stays put all day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The debt I owe John Glenn


I posted this several years ago, but today is John Glenn's birthday, so I figured it's a good time for a repeat!--CS

Today is the birthday of astronaut/U.S. Senator John Glenn, and that got me thinking about how a brush-with-fame moment launched me (appropriate wording, eh?) on my journalism career, at the tender age of ten.

The year was 1967--five years after Glenn's orbiting the earth in "Friendship 7." Astronauts were heroes to kids my age...bravely and literally going where no one had dared to go before.

My parents were missionaries in Beirut, Lebanon, and I was a student at the American Community School there (having spent the first year and a half of my education in Lebanon at a British school, Manor House.)

John Glenn was visiting Beirut to tend to some business dealings he had there at the time. (My memory is foggy, but I think it had to do with PepsiCola or some other soft drink). Someone persuaded Glenn to put in an appearance at the American Community School, and he was to appear at an all-school assembly.

The appearance would be in the form of a sort of press conference. Two kids, a boy and a girl, would be chosen from each grade to get their chance at "interviewing" the former astronaut. I was the girl chosen from my fifth-grade class. We sat in chairs on the stage, facing Mr. Glenn.

Actually, each of us would be allowed to pose just one question to Mr. Glenn, but we could form our own questions. Mine: was he ever scared or nervous when he was in outer space?

For the first time in my life, I realized the thrill of asking a famous person a question, having that famous person treat my question as valid and worthy of answering, and having them reply well.

Many times in my career in radio, I've been one of several reporters at a news conference at which the focal point is someone quite famous. I'm not naturally an aggressive person, so it takes some nerve to ask a question loudly and clearly enough to let it be known that this is my moment, my chance to ask my question.

How will the person respond? Will he/she deride the question or de-value it in some way? That's always a possibility. So it's great to hear the person say something like "Great question," or even just to hear them go on to answer it in solid and substantial fashion. Especially when it may be a tad controversial. And I'll admit, I've gotten a little thrill as I think, "This is going to sound great on the radio." And I'm even gratified when I see it on TV later, and realize the sound bites used were from the reply to my question.

John Glenn treated a little ten-year-old girl's question with respect and consideration. He admitted to being nervous and even a little lonely in space--but went on to say that he was so busy working the controls and doing his job, that he had little time to dwell on such things. At least, that's how I remember his reply.

I had always loved reading and writing, but that experience was a turning point for me. I had discovered the thrill of asking questions and getting answers.

From then on, I interviewed everyone from fellow students to siblings and relatives. I spent my junior high and teen years with a portable tape recorder always at hand. I was a reporter and then an editor on my high school newspaper staff, and then my college newspaper staff. From there, it was a short hop to radio news, which I've been doing for over 25 years now.

I still love interviewing. I love satisfying my curiosity by delving into other people's stories and, with my questions, guiding them in the process of revealing their thoughts and feelings.

So, happy birthday, John Glenn. And thanks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

From the Archives: When was the last time you wrote a letter?


"Will this fading generation... also be the last to write letters? Messages crafted by hand rather than bits of binary code? Writing that carries emotions rather than emoticons?

"...Think of letters and the mind falls on Paul of Tarsus, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Austen, Mark Twain; on love letters written during the American Civil War, or letters written to a parent by a frightened soldier at the battlefront..."--
Catherine Fields, The New York Times

(originally posted June 28, 2011)

Today is Long Letter Day, billed as "a time to stop and write that long letter to an old friend."

Which begs the question, does anybody write letters anymore? Should we? Why?

I myself can't remember the last time I wrote a letter. E-mails, sure. Texts just to say "I love you" or "I'm praying for you." But a letter?

This New York Times article by Catherine Fields, "The Fading Art of Letter-writing," opens with Fields' description of the regular letters she gets from her 75-year-old aunt in England.

Fields writes:

"A good handwritten letter is a creative act, and not just because it is a visual and tactile pleasure. It is a deliberate act of exposure, a form of vulnerability, because handwriting opens a window on the soul in a way that cyber communication can never do. You savor their arrival and later take care to place them in a box for safe keeping."

Some of the many letters my mom wrote to me when I was in Bible college in the late 70's--I saved all of them!

As a Bible college student, far away from home in the late 70's, my mother's regular letters were a lifeline. There was no e-mail, no cell phones, so these loving, chatty missives were like cherished gifts showing up in my otherwise-empty student mailbox.

My husband and I were apart for some two months prior to our marriage in 1978. Somewhere in my house are the letters we exchanged during that time--sweet, naive, romantic and probably somewhat cheesey expressions of our love. Do modern couples have this testament to their devotion?

Apparently there are those in the younger generation who are trying to revive the art of letter-writing. Letter-writing clubs like this one are springing up all over the world, where members meet just to put pen to paper to "go back to the old-fashioned way of sending their regards."

Witness blogs like ("where the written word lives on"). Blogger and written-word advocate Samara O'Shea writes:

"...there is nothing—not a text message, not an IM, not a Facebook status update—that competes with the emotional connection made through a letter. Handwritten or typed, snail-mailed or handed over—doesn’t matter. It’s the time you take to choose your words carefully and write them down that becomes a tangible testament to how much the other person means to you."


I doubt that I'll start conducting all my correspondence by snail-mail. But I do feel the urge to bring letter-writing back into my life, at least occasionally!

What about you? Do you ever write letters? Do you enjoy getting them? Do you think it's an art that needs to be preserved? Let me know!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Think on these things

Calligraphy by Michael Noyes

So much bad news.

Yesterday in the area where I live, the body of a little newborn baby boy was found among the trash at a recycling center.  My heart hurts...with so many couples longing for a child, someone considers a baby just so much trash.

The Penn State scandal shows perversion and abuse of innocence can be allowed to go on unchecked. People that are in power, that are in a position to stop it, simply look the other way.  How many children could have been spared if Penn State officials had done the right thing?

So much political turmoil.  What's going to become of our nation in the next few years?  Will we lose the essence of what America is all about?

We can't ignore tragic, frightening or ugly events...nor should we bury our heads in the sand.  But there is an antidote for every child of God.  Phillipians 4:8.

 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

[I love the calligraphy above, by Michael Noyes (you can purchase that print on his site).]

I'm committing that verse to memory and have made it my life verse.

As a radio news person, I have to often call on that verse for comfort and hope when the news gets too ugly, sad and depressing.

And I want my life to be about highlighting all the good things in that verse.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is There An Expiration Date on Beauty?

On the blog The Online Stylist, blogger Amanda Start is responding to an article in which some magazine fashion guy named John Januzzi questions how long people should people should continue style blogging. Januzzi is quoted as saying:
“Everyone out there has some kind of expiration date. What happens when a personal-style blogger wakes up and she’s 35 and not the cute 20-year-old girl in Brooklyn anymore?”
Granted, Januzzi was talking specifically about blogging. And mine is not really a style blog. But his remarks struck me as extremely age-ist and frankly, ignorant. I wrote this comment on Amanda's post (and by the way, Amanda took issue with Januzzi's comments as well):

"Expiration date"? Absolutely not!

That cute 20 year old is not going to "wake up one day" and be 35...she's going to evolve in the space of 15 years, and most probably be better and more beautiful at 35 than she was at 20. (Unless she takes the route of excessive alcohol, tobacco and tanning and makes herself old before her time, of course.)

I'm in my 50s, and determined to be the best "woman of a certain age" that I can be.  I'm one of MANY over 40 bloggers who still care about beauty and fashion.

 My friend Patti writes a blog called Not Dead Yet Style, and she hosts a blog link-up called "Visible Monday," so titled because women of our age often think we have to accept being invisible.

 Does that guy really think women should stop caring about these things because they're maturing?  Hogwash!

That sounds like a bunch of age-ist nonsense to me.

Even the most gorgeous 20 year old is getting older by the minute.  At some point she'll have to decide if she wants to just let herself go, or make a conscious decision  to be the best woman of ANY age that she can be.

Yes, it means accepting flaws that aren't going to go away.  But it also means putting equal focus on inner beauty as you do outer beauty.

What do you think?

Again, Januzzi was talking about style blogging. But I'd love to know what you think. Should women put themselves on the shelf, beauty and fashion-wise, when they get older? I'm still boggled that he implied that 35 is in any way old, by the way. Sheeesh.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting: Retro Style

I have a board on Pinterest devoted to Retro Style. I love the styles of yesteryear, especially when they would fit right in today! Enjoy...

I would totally wear seamless hose...I think they're adorable!

Pencil-thin eyebrows notwithstanding, Greta Garbo's elegance is timeless.

Let's not forget the gents!  Cary Grant was amazing, so sophisticated...makes me wish men still wore hats.

How amazing is this silk derby hat?  It looks like it could have been worn aboard the Titanic.

Very Gatsby-esque...and I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this kind of style when the movie comes out!

I'm participating today in Oh, How Pinteresting, hosted by the Vintage Apple!

Click on the icon...and DO leave a comment, please!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Visible Monday: Why I'm Taking Pictures of Myself

Those of us who are my age all remember when women decided at around 40 that they were done trying to look attractive. They spent the rest of their days in polyester pants and shapeless tops. Not for me.

I often take a pic of myself in my car, just before I leave for work--when the look is fresh (my neighbors may think I'm crazy!)
Believe it or not, there was a time when I really didn't know what I looked like.

This was a period of several years, in fact.  I was some 50 pounds heavier than I am now.

I knew I was fat.  I could tell that by looking in the mirror.  But I had no grasp on my actual appearance.  I kind of had no body image at all.  I really couldn't close my eyes and imagine what I looked like to others.

I tried not to be photographed.  This was before digital cameras, before people were taking pictures left and right, so it was relatively easy to disappear when a camera turned up.

When you're fat, you tend to only look at yourself in the mirror from the neck up, and even then you may not realize just how fat your face is--I know I didn't.

Fast forward to the present.  I am still overweight, but I have a clearer image of what I look like.  I see the faults--the ones that can't be changed--and the things that can and should be changed.

After my sister gave me a bunch of her clothes, I texted a pic of myself to her when I wore them

Awakened by blogs

At some point, I made a conscious decision to do everything within my power to be the best woman-of-my-age that I can be, physically and otherwise.

I think it really began in earnest when I was unemployed for a while, and I started watching make-up and hair tutorials and following fashion blogs.

I enjoyed them immensely and learned a lot, but there was just one problem.  The blogs and tutorials were pretty much all by young women.  Let's face it--young women have a leg up in this whole beauty thing because they ARE young!

So I was delighted to discover blogs by women closer to my own age, some even older, who were determined not to just lay down and die when it came to beauty and fashion.

Most of those blogs are ones that take part in the very bloghop I'm taking part in today...Visible Monday,  hosted by Not Dead Yet Style.  I love the title of that blog, and I love the subtitle: "how to look authentic and beautiful in our middle years."

I was actually wearing a pony tail in this pic--not sure how it didn't show up in this pic, but it wasn't a good look for me!  I felt it made me look frumpy


These are women who are determined to look their very best, regardless of their age, size...whatever.

At first, I was hesitant to post pictures of myself "modeling" an outfit I put together.  I'm no expert on style, and I'm certainly not a model.

But reading these blogs has energized me.  I am more conscious of my appearance, the image I present to the world--in a good way! Those of us who are my age all remember when women decided at around 40 that they were done trying to look attractive.  They spent the rest of their days in polyester pants and shapeless tops.

Not for me.  I'm far from I said, I'm all too conscious of my flaws...but there are some I can work on!

Taking pictures of myself

Although I don't blog or publish all (or even most) of them, I've started taking a picture of myself most  days.

It's amazing how helpful it is.  I've found things that I wouldn't have noticed in the mirror, and I take note of it.  Things like..."Cindy, you laid that top eyeliner on a little too thick."  "A ponytail is not a good look for you."  "You need to blend that blush better."  "Those shoes didn't really work with that outfit." "Wearing eyeliner on your waterline makes your eyes look smaller."

I used this outfit for a Visible Monday several weeks ago
I don't mean hating on myself...we're talking constructive criticism.

Of course, they're not all negative.  I can also see the things that ARE working--colors that suit me best, styles that are more slimming than others, etc.

Texted this to my mom, who wanted to see how my latest hair-coloring turned out

I don't know how long I'll keep doing it, but for now these self-portraits are proving helpful.

I'd love to know how you feel!

Please share in the comments section whether you're trying to evaluate your appearance more, and what you're doing.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I'm linking up today with Visible Monday--click the icon below!

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