Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

I haven't seen any of the movies she mentions and I can't stand Lesley Stahl. Oddly, I always thought the song had to do with forgiveness, but it seems I was all wrong. It's about remembering.

Written by Peggy Noonan. . .

Days of Auld Lang What?
The origin of the New Year's anthem—and what it means to us.

You know exactly when you'll hear it, and you probably won't hear it again for a year. The big clock will hit 11:59:50, the countdown will begin—10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4—and the sounds will rise: the party horns, fireworks and shouts of "Happy New Year!"

And then they'll play that song: "Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?"

It is a poem in Scots dialect, set to a Scots folk tune, and an unscientific survey says that a lot of us don't think much about the words, or even know them. The great film director Mike Nichols came to America from Germany as a child, when his family fled Hitler. He had to learn a lot of English quickly and never got around to "Auld Lang Syne": "I was too busy with words like 'emergency exit' on the school bus," he told me. "As a result, I find myself weeping at gibberish on New Year's Eve. I enjoy that."

The screen and television writer Aaron Sorkin, who this year, with "The Social Network," gives Paddy Chayefsky a run for his money, says that every year he means to learn the words. "Then someone tells me that's not a good enough New Year's resolution and I really need to quit smoking."

"Auld Lang Syne"—the phrase can be translated as "long, long ago," or "old long since," but I like "old times past"—is a song that asks a question, a tender little question that has to do with the nature of being alive, of being a person on a journey in the world. It not only asks, it gives an answer.

It was written, or written down, by Robert Burns, lyric poet and Bard of Scotland. In 1788 he sent a copy of the poem to the Scots Musical Museum, with the words: "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, has never been in print." Burns was interested in the culture of Scotland, and collected old folk tales and poems. He said he got this one "from an old man"—no one knows who—and wrote it down. Being a writer, Burns revised and compressed. He found the phrase auld lang syne "exceedingly expressive" and thought whoever first wrote the poem "heaven inspired." The song spread throughout Scotland, where it was sung to mark the end of the old year, and soon to the English-speaking world, where it's sung to mark the new.

The question it asks is clear: Should those we knew and loved be forgotten and never thought of? Should old times past be forgotten? No, says the song, they shouldn't be. We'll remember those times and those people, we'll toast them now and always, we'll keep them close. "We'll take a cup of kindness yet."

"The phrase old acquaintance is important," says my friend John Whitehead, fabled figure of the old Goldman Sachs, the Reagan State Department, and D-Day. "It's not only your close friends and people you love, it's people you knew even casually, and you think of them and it brings tears to my eyes." For him, acquaintance includes, "your heroes, my heroes—the Winston Churchills of life, the ones you admire. They're old acquaintances too."

But "the interesting, more serious message in the song is that the past is important, we mustn't forget it, the old has something for us."

So does the present, as the last stanza makes clear. The song is not only about those who were in your life, but those who are in your life. "And there's a hand, my trusty friend, and give a hand of thine, We'll take a right good-will draught for auld lang syne."

To Tom Coburn, a U.S. senator from Oklahoma, the song is about friendship: "I think it's a description of the things we lose in our hurry to do things. We forget to be a friend. We have to take the time to make friends and be friends, to sit and tell stories and listen to those of others."

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana said he always experienced the song as celebratory and joyful until something happened in 2004. Mr. Daniels was running for office, and it became a new bonding experience for him and his father, who followed the campaign closely: "He loved my stories from the road." The elder Daniels died unexpectedly in August, "50 days short of my election as governor." At a New Year's party, the governor-elect heard the song in a new way. Ever since, "I hear its wistfulness."

Lesley Stahl of "60 Minutes," enjoying one of the great careers in the history of broadcast news, thinks of childhood when she thinks of "Auld Lang Syne": "I see New Year's Eve parties going way back, all the way back to when we were little kids and you had to kiss someone at midnight and you had to sing that song." She interviewed Mark Zuckerberg recently. "Maybe in the age of Facebook you don't lose old friends," she says. "Maybe it's obsolete." Maybe "they'll have to change the song."

For the journalist and author Marie Brenner, the song didn't come alive until she moved from her native Texas to New York City, in the 1970s. That first New Year's in town, "Auld Lang Syne was a revelation to me. . . . I thought, this is beautiful and maybe written by a Broadway composer, by Rodgers and Hammerstein." She saw people singing it "on the street, and at a party in a bar downtown." There was "this gorgeous moment when everyone seemed to know the words, and people looked teary and, yes, drunk." They played the song back in San Antonio, "but it took me coming to New York to really hear it."

The song is a staple in movies, but when I asked people to think of the greatest "Auld Lang Syne scene," every one of them had the same answer. Not "When Harry Met Sally," not "Out of Africa," not, for film buffs, Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush." The great "Auld Lang Syne" scene in cinematic history is from "It's a Wonderful Life," which Mr. Sorkin puckishly describes as "Frank Capra's classic tale of an angel who takes up the cause of a progressive in order to defeat a heartless conservative. It's possible I'm misinterpreting the movie, but the song still works."

The scene comes at the end of the film. Friends surround George Bailey, recently rescued by an angel. Someone bumps against the Christmas tree and a bell ornament makes a sound. George's daughter says, "Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings," and George looks up and winks. "Thanks, Clarence," he says, as the music swells. God bless the baby boomers who discovered that film on TV after their elders dismissed it as Capra-corn.

Tonight I'll be at Suzie and Joe's, with whom I worked at CBS News in auld lang syne. I'll think of some who won't be entering the new year with us—big, sweet-hearted dynamo Richard Holbrooke, and Ted Sorensen, counselor to presidents, whose pen was a terrible swift sword. I'll take a cup of kindness yet for them, for all the old acquaintances in this piece, and for the readers, for 10 years now, of this column. We mark an anniversary. Thank you for being in my life. Happy New Year.

[This article is found at WSJ.]

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lemon cake and revival

I'm baking a lemon cake.  It smells so good in the house.

Revival.  The coming revival.  Yr, basically it's a great and mighty moving of the Holy Spirit (God) across the land touching hearts and minds.  There have been a few revivals in history.  I guess the most recent one was in the '70s and I kind of remember it.  In my high school there were a few Jesus freaks and they were part of that revival.  Before that, in the early 1900s there was one called the Azusa Street Revival.  It went on for three years.  The denomination that my church belongs to is an outgrowth of that particular revival.  

God decides when revival will come but we're supposed to be prepared for it whenever it happens.  We're supposed to pray about it in advance.  And we should be studying the Holy Bible and know what is in it.  Everyone has an opinion.  But opinions are like noses - everybody's got one.  So a Christian ought to know what the Bible really says so we're ready to apply it when the chance comes.  This one I just memorized, "Jesus said, 'You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.'"  Wow.  It gave me pause for thought and I figure the verses that stick in my mind must be for me.

Revival starts within the church.  Believers get tired or stale or lukewarm or just move away from godly living.  First they get "revived."  From there it spreads like fire to those outside the church just like Pentecost (when the fire went into the upper room where the apostles were) which was at first just for the Jewish people, but it spread to the Gentiles.

You can't quote me on this as I could be mistaken, but I think God can also bring up a new generation that is part of a major revival of faith.  I think this is very possible and even likely.  In the Bible, one generation equals 20 years. 

And also, revival is preceded by bad times, spread of corruption, and moral depravity.  I think we're there?

It's exciting to think there could be a revival in my lifetime.  I'd like to see it and be part of it.  Since I inadvertently played my pastor's sermon over the loudspeakers in Zumba dance, I've had full blown conversations about church, religion, and God break out in a small group who attend class.  I don't start it, but I listen and sometimes comment.  I've found out one gal in my front row leads a Catholic church youth group. I think God is stirring things up around me.  He's telling me to be awake.  Awake.

I hope I explained it okay.

Oh.  And my husband, I hope will be part of it.  Lately he's been coming to church.  I mean, like even more than twice in a row.  And last Sunday he wore a nice white tailored shirt.  Yeah, no kidding.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Hate the resolutions.  My husband likes to needle me and ask me what my New Year's Resolution is because he knows I'll get really mad.  Resolutions.  Bah!  People never keep them.  Mike once said his resolutions are three: 1) Eat more, 2) Watch more t.v. 3) Exercise less.  Haha!  Now that's the spirit.

Secretly, I might have one or two this year.  1) Pray more.  2) Study the Bible more. 3) Be the best Zumba instructor I can be. 4) Take an active part in the coming revival.

But now why should I stop there.  I should 5) Be a better wife.  6) Be a better mother.  7) Practice being a friend.  8) Keep house better.  9) Cook more.  10) Read more.

Alrighty.  Getting depressed now.  May as well throw in 11) Be a better daughter.

I did have a really nice talk with my dad tonight though.  That's something.


Why did I hang up my white camisole top in the closet.  I'll never find it there.  Tonight I found it though.  I could have worn it sometimes if I knew where it was.

I had friends over.  I mean, it wasn't Jehovah Witnesses knocking on my door.  Let me say it slow.  I had friends over.  Wow.  Two at once.  Two with shiny hearts and bright minds and faces I like to look at.  How could I meet two people at once whom I like.  It's a minor miracle.  A Christmas miracle.  Perhaps Zumba was by divine appointment.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

An epitaph

"Are the things you're living for worth Christ dying for?"
Epitaph of Leonard Ravenhill

I want to remember this one.

Tonight, finally, I have "Sabor A Melao" memorized.  Aaaaah.  Yes.  I do it over and over.  I wonder when will I ever get this down.  Then suddenly it all clicks.  It's not a fast dance.  Looks cute, but is actually quite slow.  Barely warms me up.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Tomorrow we're taking the day off of homeschooling.  Saturday, Mayela might come over and bring some tamales.  And she gave me a small Christmas gift in class and so did Rose and Tina.  Awfully nice of them.  Awfully nice.  I was very surprised.

Nine more days to practice three new routines.  Wanna start the new year with a bang.  Maybe I'll do a 'bring a friend, get in free' deal.  I need to do something special to draw in those New Year's Resolution People who will come three times then quit.  Hmmmm.   Gotta think.

I edited a song.  Used Audacity to deleted a foul word.  I think I did a fair job.  I have to test it out on some unsuspecting people.  There's a blip, but it's only a half a second long.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So happy

My blood pressure is lower than my sister's. And I'm four years older than she. Noony noony noony! Nanny nanny nanny! Lalalalala! And she's making me doubly happy because she's mad about it. She said so. She said she suspects the blood pressure taker machine was out of calibration. Hehe!

Her Zumba teacher is off galavanting (skiing somewhere) so my sis says she's getting fat and flabby from not dancing. She's littler than I am but weighs more because she's got so much muscle. Fat, my eye.

Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas is four sleeps away. My sister says it needs some decoration but now I'm kind of attached to it the way it is.  The present is to him from her and her family.  She's tends to be very organized and orderly.


I hate it when everyone is in bed and I don't get any more emails.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bella video

Ivan measured her and she's 13 hands. He estimates she'll grow to 15 hands. A hand is four inches.

To pet a horse

I got home from church and said, "Let's go pet Bella. She's laying down." So we walked over, opened the gate, walked to her, and she never got up. It is incredible to pet a laying down horse.

She's growing exceedingly beautiful too. Ivan and Doug came by yesterday just to see how she was doing and to admire her. I think next year she's gonna win a prize at the fair.

For Christmas I asked for a portable ballet barre. I hope I get it! I want mirrors on the wall too. I found some at Home Depot for a very good price. The study can double as a dance studio. We're so lucky it has smooth flooring already. I practice with just a door mirror right now and that's not much mirror.

I'm trying to upload a video of Bella running and it's going very, very, slowly.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Zumba is going well. I have another couple incidents to report.

I've been dancing a long time and hip circles are no big to me. I've got some cabbage patch hip circles in my warm up and some low hip circles in the second song. They're very good for your body and always a hit with new people. Well, last Tuesday I had about 15 students and four were new. One was quite vocal. She was woohooing and having a great time. I like it when they do that because I'm not much of a woohooer.

But that night they got so boisterous during the hip circles! The new women were so boisterous that I blushed. My face turned bright red! The ladies were going to town with the hip circles! My front row Zumba VIPs (my regulars who like front row) all noticed my face. Haha! They said, "Liliana's blushing!"

The second curious thing from last week is the boisterous lady yelled "Pull in your stomach!" Good golly, I was mortified. Was my stomach sticking out? I almost had a heart attack at the thought that my stomach could be hanging out far enough to warrant reprimand in front of the whole class. The two women in front of me both looked down at their own tummies and then each other. It was so funny. I just smiled because I did not know what to do. My husband said if she does it again he's gonna come down there himself and kick her out! Hehe. Well, she did the same thing Thursday night. This time I realized she was saying it to the whole class as encouragement, not to me although she is almost directly in front of me. Told my husband how perplexed I was, and shoot, he used to do aerobics and he said she's probably taken lots of aerobics because in those classes whenever they do abs the instructor loudly reminds class to pull in their stomachs. So, mystery solved.

The last thing is I had a complaint from one student that two other students were too loud. I suggested she move to the other side of the row and I told her I'm not going to say anything to them and she was not too happy with me. I mean, what do I do? Tell them to quit having so much fun?

I got a save though because a real sweet gal, Rose, talked to them and asked them to quiet down a bit and they took it very well. Whew. Thank you for that. The other lady seems to have forgiven me now. She didn't talk to me after class the first night. I got the cold shoulder. That's okay.

There are all kinds of personalities that come to Zumba class. It's an experience. I guess I should get used to being a mother hen sometimes. Another thing outside my comfort zone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

She's a Christian

Well, if there was any doubt before, there isn't any now.

Tonight at Zumba I got to chitchatting to people and forgot to turn on my listening music playlist. So I rushed right at 5:30pm (I start right on the dot), fumbling around without my glasses to get my dance music started. My boom box was connected to the huge, ginormous roller rink speakers, but my Zumba playlist was not selected. Yeah.

I went to bed last night listening on my iPod to one of my favorite sermons by my pastor. I do this often. (I tell my husband I'm going to bed with Pastor Mike. Haha!) However, I forgot to take it off that playlist. So it comes on over the speakers. What's the title of this particular sermon? From the speakers his voice booms and fills the roller rink:

Islam and the Anti-Christ 


Then he tells everyone turn to the Book of John.  Not John in the gospels, but 1st John.  And so on and on for the longest 30 seconds in my life. Then I got it switched to "Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)" by Bob Sinclar and Cutee B.

Welp.  It is what it is.  Nobody left!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We made the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Usually mine are so flat. Always flat. This time we left the dough in the fridge for two days because I didn't feel like baking them and it seemed to make them thicker and better. I've always admired people who have thick chocolate chip cookies.

Husband fell on the concrete last night. He went allll the way down. It was dark and son left the furniture mover on the ground. We were walking to the truck. Husband was fine though. Not even a bruise. I don't know many 69 year olds that can do that. He knows how to fall. I saw him in slow motion and I knew sure as I was standing there that he was calculating what was the best position to hit the concrete. Man, he's good. I wanna be just like him.

Have a new bellydance cooldown for Zumba. It's not even a dance. It's just static stretching - hamstrings, calves, gluts, quads, etc. Nice for a change. I abandoned the "Whatcha Say" cooldown because it was too fast and there was one move that wasn't in good time with the music. If I'm having trouble getting it then the class will. Have one minute of the salsaton memorized.

We filled bags and lit them for the Luminaria on Saturday. We enjoyed it. There was lots of help this year and we spent literally only 15 minutes lighting luminarias. That's a first. And the weather was the mildest of all the years we've lived here and done Luminaria. I didn't even need a coat. In past years I've had to wear my ski outfit (which I've never gone skiing in) and my winter coat over it.

I have a dream for next year. I'm collecting music and I want to put together a one hour Zumba class with Christian Latin/International music. I'm not going to tell anyone of it until I'm ready. So far I've collected 35 minutes of danceable Christian music. Found two choreography routines I like. I didn't know there was so much Latin gospel music out there. I'm gonna put together an hour of dance, do a demo, see if people come. If they do, okay. If they don't, okay. Let's see. Think I'll shoot for June. It'll be a challenge to learn two new dances per month for my current class and also learn a whole new set of different routines for a separate hour. I'm going to the Zumba Toning workshop in February.

We had two young men in church ordained this morning. It was, how do I say? Intoxicating. Yeah, it was intoxicating see them answering a calling. I'm so happy for Laura. Her son is one of them. I like him very much. Why is it so many men who go into ministry are so darn likable.

Monday, December 06, 2010


Went to the doctor to get Zovirax for the herpes simplex type1 that was attacking my lip. I got to walk around all week and teach class with a giant scab on my face. So nice. Good thing I saw the doc too because although it was too late to use it for the scab on my lip, as soon as the lip one went away another started on my nose. The medicine worked on that one and it didn't break out! Thank you, Lord.

My blood pressure (BP) was 112 over 60. Pretty good!

Zumba is going well. My Saturday class is still small; six people last week. But it has a good vibe and I like it just as much as the larger weekday classes. It's a wonderful thing to see people gettin' into it and knowing the routines without having to look at me 100% of the time. When I look out at class and we're all dancing in sync it's very cool! Also, last Saturday I forgot my place in a routine and I looked at class and they were all doing it correctly. I took their cue and got right back into it. I loved it! I was happy. Also notable, at the last class I had no stomach ache, no retching, no having to go to the bathroom 10 times before class. Amen to that. I get a wee bit anticipatory before we start, but that's within the realm of normal. We like the realm of normal.

I haven't put up a photo for so long. Here's a camel. He lives in New Mexico. She, I mean. We petted her and she was so sweet and gentle. Her feet sink into the ground. That's what camel's feet do.

I had a Zumba song that I introduced on November 16. I tell ya, I had the impression no one liked it. The very first day we went through it - at the end there was dead silence in the room. You coulda heard a pin drop. Okay, I says to myself, maybe it's because it's new. We'll do it a few more times, see if they warm up to it. It's a song by Ivy Queen, reggaeton genre. We did it seven times and I decided to rotate it out. First day we don't do it, two people ask why we didn't do it and said they missed it. Sheesh kabob! I told them, ifns you like a routine you gotta let me know! You gotta clap or say something to me otherwise I'm trying to figure out if peeps like it or not. Haha! Live and learn.

I'm practicing a new cooldown routine this week, then I have two salsas I'm going to learn. One is a traditional salsa and the other a hotter "salsaton"; a blend of salsa and reggaeton. I felt guilty when I put my first playlist together back in August, that I had not a single salsa routine. Whenever people think of Latin music the first thing they think of is salsa. I looked and looked and did not find any salsas that moved me. When it rains it pours. Now I will have two at once!