Since Apr 6, 1999

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I found Free Republic in January of 1998 when the Monica Lewinski story broke. Boy, those were exciting days on Free Republic! I lurked for over a year before I got the nerve to register and post. I admit to having an every day Free Republic habit.

I have been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man and we have three great kids, who are now 20, 22, and 24. They all voted in this last presidential election (for Dubya, of course)! My son is in ROTC and has joined the Army.

I have been a 5th grade teacher's assistant for the last 16 years, a job which I love. I teach a class of the eleven brightest students accelerated math which in their case is late sixth grade - early seventh grade Saxon math. In the afternoon, I am part of a federal program that we call Summit where we tutor at-risk kids and try to keep them from becoming tomorrow's drop outs.

For fun I chat with friends online, cross stitch, play Pinochle and Bunco, put together jig saw puzzles, gaze at stars with my Celestron 8 telescope, and read (mainly historical fiction).

I am a rabid Lord of the Rings fan. The first time I read Tolkien's Trilogy was in the early 1970s and I have reread the whole thing every five years or so since then. In my opinion, these books are the best work of fiction ever written, bar none.

I have seen Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King far too many times to count. Even though I read the books first, I am not in the least upset by the changes that Peter Jackson made to the story when he created these epic films. I think that all three movies are just perfect! While Frodo and Sam's trek towards Mordor is very exciting in the book, it might have become a bit tedious in the movie if a few exciting incidents hadn't been added. Peter Jackson, who I view as a genius, added a lot of excitement to the films with these changes.

I also think the casting for The Lord of the Rings was superb! I can't think of anybody who played a role in these films that isn't just perfect for their part. Elijah Wood IS Frodo Baggins. And who else but Ian McKellen could be such a convincing Gandalf?

My favorite character in this tale, the one I would most like to emulate in my daily life, is Samwise Gamgee (played by Sean Astin). I am an "Ardent Admirer of the Everlasting Devotion and Loyalty of Samwise Gamgee towards his best friend, Frodo", a title that I have chosen on a Lord of the Rings board that I frequent daily.

Brad Dourif plays Grima Wormtongue, and I think that the lines he says when he is talking to Eowyn, the Lady of Rohan, are delivered with an awesome amount of talent. If I had to choose the actor/actress whose acting abilities I most admire, I would have to choose Brad.

The character whose prowess as a warrior I most admire is Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom. The man is just a fighting machine! I loved the rate at which he was shooting those arrows, even as they were retreating at Helm's Deep. His manner of jumping on a horse is most extraordinary as is the way he slides down a starcase on a shield at Helm's Deep so he doesn't have to stop shooting at the orcs. He also has almost superhuman vision and hearing.

"Legolas, what do your elf eyes see?"

If you are a Lord of the Rings enthusiast and would like to discuss the books (or the movie), please feel free to email me anytime at I am always interested in discussing this subject with another serious fan!

My favorite birthday present this year....

Since discovering the joys of downloading music on Napster (now I use KaZaA), music has become an important part of my life. Thanks to Lawgirl, who turned me on to them, I have become an avid PfR (which stands for Pray For Rain) fan! The first song of theirs I ever heard was "Forever" and its beauty took my breath away. Unfortunately for those of us who love their music, the group broke up in 1996. The members of the band are still making music, but not together. It's a crying shame because their music is fabulous!

Even if one doesn't take into account the lyrics, PfR's music is beautiful! The harmony, the instrumental accompaniment, the variety; even without the lyrics the music is fantastic! Then add in the message they are trying to get across.....WOW! I would highly suggest if you haven't heard this group and would like to hear something refreshing and innovative, give them a try. Like me, you might be pleasantly surprised!

My favorite PFR songs are "Life Goes On" and "Forever", but I also really like "Do You Want to Know Love Tonight?", "Last Breath", "Closer", "Blind Man, Deaf Boy", "Falling", "It's You Jesus", and "Merry-go-round" a lot. I think everyone who is a Beatle fan ought to hear PFR's remake of "We Can Work It Out". I am a huge fan of the Beatles but like the PFR version every bit as much as, or maybe more than, the original song. Christian music has come a long way since I was a kid!

Please click on the song titles above
to hear a small portion of each song

Another favorite group of mine is Lifehouse. This Los Angles band's first album, No Name Face, went platinum very quickly after its release in 2000. Their second album, Stanley Climbfall came out in 2002.

Jason Wade, the band's lead singer, almost didn’t become a musician because he was interested in becoming a martial arts expert. His parents were missionaries and the Wade family lived all over the world. He didn’t pick up his mother’s guitar and start playing until his parents divorced when he was 12. When the Wades divorced, Jason poured his heart into poetry. Poetry eventually became lyrics to melodies he’d composed in his head.

I found Lifehouse because of a young Christian man who posted to Free Republic's "A Day in the Life of President Bush" thread. He was asked what kind of music he listened to and among those groups he listed was Lifehouse. I did a search on Grokster and downloaded "Hanging by a Moment" and was instantly hooked. Jason Wade's beautiful, distinctive voice paired with his haunting lyrics (he's young and admits that he doesn't know all the answers - hm...I am not young but don't either; maybe that's why I like his music so much) really struck a chord with me. His whole first album is my favorite "song" and always will be.

My current (and probably permanent) favorite song on No Name Face is "Somebody Else's Song". I also really love "Trying" (check out the change of pace at 2:06 into the song, it's great!), "Only One", "Quasimodo", and "Breathing". Jason Wade is extremely talented and only 21 years old. Hopefully he will be making music for a long time to come.

One group that will always be one of my favorites is U2, led by the infamous Bono (birth name Paul Hewson). I don't much like his politics, but man can he sing! Paul was originally nicknamed "Bono Vox" by a friend. That meant "good voice" in cockeyed Latin. Paul later shortened it to Bono, which is what he's known by to this day. (Paul who?)

U2 released its first album, Boy (one of my favorites), in 1980. Bono's lyrics tackled subjects like faith, spirituality, and death -- subjects generally avoided by most rock stars. Their second album, 1981's October, witnessed an open embrace of Christianity, especially in songs such as "With a Shout" and "Gloria" (Oh, Lord, if I had anything Anything at all, I'd give it to you). Of the four band members, only Adam Clayton wasn't an admitted Christian. Bono, The Edge, and Larry joined a religious group in Dublin called Shalom, which led all three to question the relationship between the Christian faith and the rock and roll lifestyle. After nearly throwing in the towel on U2, they decided it was possible to reconcile the two and continue making music without shedding their personal beliefs.

U2 has been making music for a quarter of a century but I never paid any attention to them until almost two years ago. During the 80s, disco music made me tune out the popular music of the day and I began listening to country music. When I tired of that I quit listening to music altogether (except for an occasional oldie) and I tuned into talk radio instead. Then the summer before last, a friend of mine mentioned how much she liked U2 and talked me through downloading Napster and Napigator. The first U2 song I heard was "One" and that made me anxious to hear more. I hungrily downloaded every song of theirs I found (I have 172 of their songs saved to my hard drive) and a lifelong U2 fan was born.

My favorite U2 song changes almost daily because there are so many wonderful ones, but right now it's "In a Little While". Among my other favorites are Discoteque, Summer Rain, One, Kite, The Fly, Lady With the Spinning Head, Bad, Walk On, and Spanish Eyes. You can't imagine how hard it is to limit it to just ten favorites!

An early picture of U2....

Now a little about my favorite actor.....

(look at those socks!)

"Hi! Mellow Greetings, Yookie Dookie!

Recently I "discovered" Cary Grant (also thanks to Lawgirl) and started watching his movies. I love how I can turn on one of his films and be sure that there won't be any violence or bad language. How refreshing! Cary Grant's always impeccably dressed and quite the gentleman. He acted in seventy-two films and I have finally seen them all! To see which Cary Grant movies are playing on television this month, check out this schedule.

Cary Grant (whose real name was Archibald Alexander Leach) was born on January 18, 1904 in Bristol, England. His life story is an interesting one. (follow the link to his autobiography)

The movies that Cary Grant acted in are so varied that you are sure to find one that you really identify with and like. A few of them openly supported the war effort at the time (World War II), some were mysteries, some were comedies, some were just love stories. I have yet to see one that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed.

Among my favorite Cary Grant movies are...
  • This is the Night (1932)
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • Gunga Din (1939)
  • The Awful Truth (1937)
  • My Favorite Wife (1940)
  • The Woman Accused (1933)
  • Kiss and Make Up (1934)
  • Ladies Should Listen (1934)
  • When You're In Love (1937)
  • Enter Madame (1935)

Another one of my very favorite actors is Mel Gibson (whose real name is Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson). Though introduced to US audiences as an Australian actor, Mel Gibson was actually born in New York state and emigrated to Australia in 1968.

I haven't seen very many of Mel Gibson's films, but The Patriot, Brave Heart, and Signs have been enough to convince me that there's something very special about this man who is open about being a conservative, even though it's a sure way of making it a difficult thing to get work in ultra liberal Hollywood.

"...the only way to maintain a
moderate sum of happiness in this
life, is not to worry about the future
or regret the past too much."
--Mel Gibson

Braveheart (1995)

The Patriot (2000)

The Bounty (1984)

Another group whose music I love is BNL. They are a very talented Canadian group who write songs that are fun to listen to while at the same time their lyrics are clean and refreshing.

Barenaked Ladies, except for the fact that they chose a really stupid name for their group, are fantastic! There's a story behind how they chose that name but I am not sure if it's fact or fiction. This is what I heard....

Once this little known band were performing at a dive right next to a strip joint. People kept coming into the establishment where they were playing by mistake and asking if this was where the barenaked ladies could be found. After pointing them towards the next building several times, the group got the brilliant idea of changing their name to Barenaked Ladies so that they could answer yes to that question.

Some favorite BNL songs are "Call and Answer" and "Pinch Me".