Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tune for Tuesday

Today’s tune for Tuesday is my favorite Christmas song. I enjoy Christmas songs, especially because you hear them just at a month at a time (more may just be too much!). My mom used to always play a Johnny Mathis Christmas, which was always good. I own Christmas CD’s by Elvis, Jewel, and Chicago. I just found out that Weezer just came out with one; I will definitely have to get that. Monster Ballads Xmas is also on my wish list. This one features 80’s hair bands, which I have to admit I still enjoy. Since I heart the 80’s, my very favorite Christmas song should come as no surprise.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid has been played many times in the past week (much to the chagrin of my oldest son- “Not this song again!”).
This song was released in 1984 and was recorded specifically to raise money for relief in Ethiopia. Bob Geldof assembled the group of popular British and Irish musicians for this recording. Musicians included Sting, Phil Collins, Paul Young, George Michael, and members from Duran Duran (sigh), U2, Culture Club, Bananarama, Spandeau Ballet, Kool and the Gang, and many others. I was a major Duran Duran fan when this song came out, so I loved it then. Despite my being a rocker girl, I still adore Duran Duran. I can’t help it. C’mon, it’s Simon Le Bon and John Taylor! They are still dreamy…:0) I still buy their albums and attend their concerts.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. I’m looking forward to some major family time in the next few weeks, so I will not be blogging regularly until after the new year. Happy holidays and a happy new year to you all!
Enjoy “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Friday, December 19, 2008

Poetry Friday

Welcome to Poetry Friday! Author Amok is hosting today. Visit Laura's site to see some wonderful links to poetry. The Midwest is being pummeled with snow. My oldest son woke up to ask if he had school today. I replied with the answer he was waiting to hear, "No, it's a snow day!" He ran and hugged me. The narrator in my original poem wasn't so lucky...


A Snow Day by Kelly Polark

A snow day! A snow day!
Angels in a row day!
A snow day! A snow day!
Bake some cookie dough day!

A snow day! A snow day!
Watch our dad snow blow day!
A snow day! A snow day!
Drink some hot cocoa day!

A snow day! A snow day!
Watch a video day!
A snow day! A snow day!
Turn on the radio day!

What did the radio say?
No schools are closed today?
I guess it’s an OH NO! day.
If you haven't already, check out another winter poem of mine in this month's issue of Stories for Children magazine. Click here to read it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tunes for Thursday

I had so much fun perusing Christmas rock videos on YouTube that I thought I’d throw in a few more tunes this week. These aren’t my favorite Christmas songs, but they have a few things in common. 1. They are both by artists that were popular in 1990. 2. They are the same song, "Jingle Bell Rock." 3. The first one is by an artist I didn’t care for when they were popular, but I do like this Christmas song. The second song is by an artist I did like in the eighties/nineties, but this video makes me cringe.
The first song is "Jingle Bell Rock" by Nelson. Nelson is a band with two brothers, Matthew and Gunnar, who had a hit in 1990 called, “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection.” I actually saw them in concert this year with my mom. We went to see Great White, LA Guns, and Nelson. Good bands, not great bands, but they were playing in a cornfield about twenty minutes from us, so we went. It was pretty fun, and we had our picture taken with Gunnar and Matthew (don’t ask me which is which). They were nice guys. If you have ever seen The Suite Life on Disney Channel, picture Zack and Cody 25 years from now.
They don’t have a video, so just take a listen to "Jingle Bell Rock" from the Monster Ballads Xmas album (which is seriously on my list this year!).

The next video is "Jingle Bell Rock" by Billy Idol. Billy Idol is cool. He has a sneer like no other, and I love the song, “White Wedding.” He was a major Mtv staple of the eighties. So I thought this would be an awesome version of “Jingle Bell Rock.” It is probably the video that turned me off to it. I like to think of Billy as a tough, lip curling rocker. This 2006 video just makes him look like a goof, and it looks like he’s had a little work done, too. Actually, his vocals sound good in the song, he just looks silly in the video! If you like the song, Billy has a whole album of Christmas songs titled, Happy Holidays: A Very Special Christmas Album.
Here it is!


Honestly isn’t just a Stryper song. I have been nominated for the Honest Scrap Award by my blogger buddy, Christy. “Scrap means left over, discarded material. Many times truth and honesty are discarded material, considered fragments and left over. This award is for people that tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will. There are 2 guidelines for receiving this award. One, you are to list 10 honest things about yourself. Make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep. Two, present the award to other bloggers.”
Ten honest things about me are –
1. I am an honest person, but sometimes I say nothing instead of telling it like it is to avoid conflict.
2. I’ve cried every day since my dog died.
3. Before I go to bed at night, I have to put my hand on my kids’ backs to make sure they are breathing.
4. No matter where I go or for how long for vacation, I am always glad to return home. I am a major homebody.
5. I have a stack of magazines two feet high that I still haven’t read and have to go through.
6. I know I am overprotective of my children and that I need to let up. But I hover anyway.
7. My husband and I have had our fair share of medical tests and procedures with my daughter (one being she had her kidney removed last year). We take her to specialists throughout the year. She’s one tough little girl.
8. My husband drives me crazy sometimes, but I’m crazy about him :0). I suppose that could go for my three children, too!
9. I had a cookie for breakfast today.
10. I think I’m addicted to Facebook.

There you have it. I tag Shelby, Kim, Adrienne, Ann and Samantha .

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tune for Tuesday

The rock/ska band, No Doubt, reached mainstream success in 1995 with their album, Tragic Kingdom. I remember getting that CD for Christmas that year and playing it over and over. My favorite song from the album is “Just A Girl.” Today’s tune is by No Doubt. “Oi To The World” is No Doubt’s contribution to A Very Special Christmas 3 compilation. Proceeds from this album go to Special Olympics International. The very successful Special Christmas series has raised more than $55 million for Special Olympics. The California punk rock band, The Vandals, originally recorded "Oi to the World;" their friends, No Doubt, covered it with great success.
You may recognize the lead singer of No Doubt as Gwen Stefani. Gwen is an awesome vocalist and all around good role model for girls with her successful music and clothing career and her stable family life.
I’ve been having fun checking out rockin’ Christmas tunes this week, so I’ll have a Tune for Thursday this week as well. Next week’s Tune for Tuesday will be my favorite Christmas song.
But first check out No Doubt!

Um....Thank You?

The holidays are upon us. I’ve been busy, busy, busy purchasing gifts for loved ones. It’s hard to find that perfect gift sometimes. But you try. Or not. Have you ever gotten a gift that made you cringe? Giggle? Run away? Tell me the funniest (or strangest) gift you have ever given or received. Here’s my story…
When I was in fourth grade, my parents let me have a pet rabbit. He was a beautiful black bunny that I named Ziggy. What does a rabbit have to do with Christmas? Nothing, unless you are in my crazy family. During my childhood, my older sister, Denise, and I usually didn't exchange gifts. But one year (I was probably ten) she wrapped up a small little box just for me! My parents were so touched. I was so touched.
I opened it up excitedly. What, oh, what did my big sister pick out for pesky little me? I tore open the lid of the little box. ACK! It was full of rabbit droppings! We went from "Aaaawww to Ewwwww!" My mom said, "That wasn't very nice!" That was certainly what you would call an unexpected gift. I think I was just shocked. Looking back, I am surprised we didn't laugh more about it, because my parents both have good senses of humor.
About ten years ago when I was a teacher, a coworker had a rabbit. I asked her if she could please bring me some rabbit droppings....(I'm sure she thought I was nuts, but I did explain the story). We were all at my mom's celebrating Christmas, and I gave my sister a small, beautifully wrapped gift full of you-know-what! :0) This time we did all burst out into laughter. Because little tiny poops are funny (as long as they aren’t on your shoe).
My sister also blogged about this blessed Christmas moment here. There are slight inaccuracies, but the hilarity is the same. What is the funniest gift you have encountered?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Poetry Friday

Welcome to Poetry Friday. Today's host is Wild Rose Reader. Please stop by her site to find some wonderful poetry links!


TREE TOPPER by, Kelly Polark

Yule tree,
Oh, Christmas tree.
Balls of glass, childmade stars,
Shining jewels lead to an angel
On Earth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Puppy Love

Puppers was my first dog ever. During my childhood, my parents thought we were not home enough with our busy lives to give a dog a proper home. I still longed for a dog. As soon as my husband and I moved out of our first apartment, we started looking for a puppy. We stopped at a place to look for the perfect pup, just to look. We saw a little black puppy pawing at a chain in her kennel. She was a terrier/poodle mix. It was love at first sight. We played with her, and she got so excited she tinkled a little on the floor. We thought it was so funny! (Though she did ruin our carpets in our first home, because she continued to do that when someone came home!) We were actually on our way to a party downtown so we couldn’t bring her home that night. We put money down and picked her up in the morning. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car with her wriggling on my lap, tears streaming down my face because I was so happy I finally had my own dog.
Puppers became a focal point of our life. People would think we were crazy, because we went on and on about her. We were overprotective of her. We even threw her a birthday party when she turned one-complete with a kegger and a birthday cake that said “Happy Birthday, Puppers.”
We then got a friend for Puppers, a miniature pinscher named Goofy. They played a little bit, but they always seemed to coexist rather than be buddies. (Goofy also got a birthday party when she turned one!) We then moved into our current home and added three children to their lives. My husband would bring one of the baby blankets home for the dogs to sniff, before the baby and I would come home. When each baby was around six months old, the baby always liked to grab the dog bones on the floor. Puppers would then tug ever so gently, and the baby and Pups would play a little game of tug of war.
With three children in the house, the dogs, of course, were not the focal point in our lives as they first were. But they continued to be an important and loving part of our family. We take them on our family trips. They love to run and run when we go to my inlaws’ vacation home, which has a lot of land for them to explore. They enjoy going up north to my family’s cabin. Puppers once even jumped in the lake when my son stumbled into it. Dogs just have pure genuine love for their family, and the love is definitely reciprocated.
This past weekend, we had to put our sweet Puppers to rest; she was 12 ½ years old. She was becoming more and more ill in the past four months. In October, we took her to a university hospital, who told us she most likely had cancer. A tumor on her neck was small then, but grew to where she couldn’t swallow last week. Her last few months were very good though. The doctors put her on steroids to make her last months more comfortable. I am thankful I had those last few months to love her and prepare myself a little bit for the inevitable. She was such a great dog. I miss her.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tune for Tuesday

Today’s Tune for Tuesday is by the band, My Chemical Romance. This New Jersey band formed in 2001. I first heard (or noticed) My Chemical Romance in December of 2006 on the radio. The song was “Welcome to the Black Parade.” My then 7 year old son and I agreed that we liked the song. I purchased it on Itunes, and we played it over and over. As you know I am quite fond of music so therefore love to watch music videos. A few months later I DVR’d a block of My Chemical Romance videos that was on the Fuse music channel. One of the music videos was for the song “Famous Last Words.” That became my favorite MCR song, and it is my third most played song on my Ipod. My Chemical Romance is one of the few bands that I like that I haven’t seen live, so I hope to catch them next time they tour.
As I searched the internet for information about the band, I noticed that the band has a blog, too! And the lead singer, Gerard Way, is a Star Wars fan. Plus Gerard is the author of a graphic novel titled The Umbrella Academy. Cool.
Check out “Famous Last Words.”

Analyze This

On last week’s blog, I showed this writing sample for Shelby to analyze. She sent me a very thorough step by step explanation. I thought I would write her summary. I was very impressed by her analysis! Thanks again, Shelby!
“Overall, the writing sample reflects an intelligent individual who is happy, healthy, and optimistic. The clear script with controlled pressure is a sign of good physical health. The most prominent details are the upward slant and consistent spacing between words, indicating that the writer has ambitious goals and dreams, and a positive outlook on life. The writer also has a need for privacy, when appropriate. The medium lower loops as found in the lowercase y and g indicate that while the writer is usually active and productive, there is also a need for relaxation and recharging of batteries. The wrapping of the crossbar in the K found in the signature suggests a warm, affectionate individual. The position of the signature in relation to the body of the text indicates honesty and reliability. In conclusion, the writer expresses a joy in living and a belief that things will always get better. There is a strong desire to accomplish many things, so feelings of frustration may surface at times. The writer is a confident, well-balanced individual whose unending ambition can lead to great success.”

Her analysis was pretty much on target. I am a glass half-full person. I am determined, but can get frustrated at times (how can’t you with the competitive business of writing?). I do truly feel that perseverance will lead to a goal accomplished. I am extremely affectionate with my family and hope my friends consider me to be warm and loyal. I also like to get things done, then need to recharge, too (AKA nap). Excellent work, Shelby!

Did you notice I have the I’m Buying Books for the Holidays banner on the right? When we go to a child's birthday party, I usually make sure I have a book with the gift. I didn’t usually do that with the adults on my list though. This year I have been purchasing books to help boost the economy in the publishing world. Mother Reader has some great ideas to pair a book with a gift for the holidays. Here are a few ideas:
1. A biography or autobiography of a musician with a CD or Itunes gift card.
2. Any dinosaur book (I love Jane Yolen’s) with a plastic or stuffed dino.
3. A DVD of a movie (or movie tickets) with a copy of the book it is based on.
4. A cookbook with a gift card to a grocery store
5. A book on going green with a reusable shopping bag or energy saving light bulbs

You get the picture! My ideas are very general, Mother Reader has lists and lists of great ideas with specific titles. Check it out!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poetry Friday

I am a newbie to Poetry Friday, so thank you for allowing me to participate in this Poetry Lovefest! Today's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Mommy's Favorite Children's Books. Come check out all the cool poetry links for today!

My tree is up. Snow is on the ground. I am bundled in a sweater. Winter weather is here! During the holidays, I so enjoy gazing at all the beautiful lights on houses as I drive from place to place. It seems to make my night driving a little more cheerful, a lot more bright! My hubby put lights up along our house a few days ago.



Lights twinkle at me.
Vibrant colors shine the way.
They welcome me home.


Our Polar(k) Bears

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Three Things

1. The picture above is a handwriting sample. Shelby offered to analyze it for anyone that posts it on their blog and lets her know! Thanks, Shelby! I wonder what my handwriting says about me!
2. Thank you to Adrienne who tagged me in a meme. The meme challenge is to give a one word response to the questions stated below! If you would like to join in, I tag YOU!

Where is your cell phone? car
Where is your significant other? garage
Your hair color? brown
Your mother? laughing
Your father? basketball
Your favorite thing? kids
Your dream last night? interesting
Your dream/goal? published
The room you’re in? cozy
Your hobby? music
Your fear? death
Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
Where were you last night? home
What you’re not? neat-freak
One of your wish-list items? Juicy
Where you grew up? Illinois
Last thing you did? kissed
What are you wearing? sweater
Your TV? huge
Your pet? dying
Your computer? laptop
Your mood? tired
Missing someone? sometimes
Your car? gas-guzzler
Something you’re not wearing? watch
Favorite store? SuperTarget
Your summer? fast
Love someone? many
Your favorite color? green
When is the last time you laughed? today
Last time you cried? dog

3. Lastly, I have a poem in this month's issue of Stories for Children magazine!
Check out Winter Woes! I love the illustration!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tune for Tuesday

Today’s Tune for Tuesday is “The Kill” by the band 30 Seconds to Mars. This alternative rock band is fronted by Jared Leto. His brother, Shannon, plays the drums, and Tomo Miličević jams on lead guitar. You may recognize Jared Leto as an actor from the old series, “My So Called Life” or movies such as Alexander or American Psycho. Not many actors can crossover to music, but I believe that Jared is one of the few that accomplished this. Jared’s smooth vocals make him one of my favorite singers in the music world (and he’s not too bad to look at…). I saw 30 Seconds to Mars in concert in during their “Welcome to the Universe” tour in 2006. The band labeled it as an Environmentour as they tried to be green even using vegetable oil to fuel their tour bus.
“The Kill” is from 30STM's second album, “A Beautiful Lie.” Not only is it a cool song, but the video is pretty sweet, too. The video portrays elements from the movie, “The Shining.”
Presenting “The Kill”