Monthly Archives: September 2013

Where Do You Meet Your Friends and Neighbors?


Hello! I am posting about a TRIO OF AWARDS that I have been extremely

negligent on writing a huge and warm thank you to for the nominations!

I wondered where you run into your friends? Also, sometimes those

busy neighbors that are right there in your apartment building (me),

communities and towns? I loved posting awhile back, about the places

in Delaware that I run into great people, like the Delaware Community

Market, the weekly Wed. evenings and Sat. morning local Farmer’s

Markets and I also, see people from my old neighborhoods at the

grocery stores.

I had a great grocery store in my elementary years called Szarka’s,

we would collect empty pop bottles, turn them in for pennies and

proceed to buy “penny” candy. I loved the colorful sugared candies

on a necklace, I loved the brightly colored “dots” on long strips of

paper, and I loved the red hots in a box for only 10 cents. I had a

nice and special 6 years in Bay Village, Ohio where the “hot” spot

to run into cute male baggers who would carry your groceries out

at, Heinen’s! Well, this is not just a rambling introduction to memory

lane, my friends! I have a burst or two of news to tell!

First, and foremost, Heinen’s Grocery Store is adding a downtown

location in Cleveland, Ohio! It is going to be in an old, beautiful place

with high ceilings and also, a rotunda style ceiling that is just an

awesome sight! Any Cleveland residents or visitors to there, we have

of course, the Indians who are doing quite well, the Browns who are

not doing so well, we have one of the finest Art Museums ever, and

there is this great place to hear all styles of music, Jazz and Blues,

in the Flats!

My second purpose to this post is to recognize some recent award

nominations that have been given to me! I am always very happy to

see these, feeling everyone likes to hear good things about their

writing and way they create their posts. I am not as quick at writing

these, since I want to pick the newest or most favorites of my recent

readings and add them to a list of NEXT receivers of the awards.

My friends and “felow neigbors” in the blogging community are also

very special to me always in my heart and on my mind, too!

Thank you to the following people who wrote and nominated me for

these awards:

Jonathan Caswell! He is on the list of 15 nominees below! He is truly

able to pick up another award or two that “belsbro” has given me

for nominations!

Jonathan nominated me A FUN ONE AWARD: “Opposites Attract Blog Award”

and it came from this blogger’s site:

and this fine gentleman who is quirky and witty nominated me for


The nomination awards for “Awesome Blossom” and

“Because You’re Fantabulous” can be found on his blog!

Here is a list of people who deserve to be read and recognized!

Please feel free to post your http:// and how to reach you,

since my library computer is rather an “antique!” The following

people may choose from the ABOVE THREE AWARDS!!

1.  For art, music, culture along with photos and poetry:

2.  For vintage pin-up postcards to original thoughts and writings, like

his recent post on General Stonewall Jackson check out:

3.  With a recent post entitled Vision (Journeys of Yesterday) poem

and faith featured, read:

4.  From personal stories about in-laws, Jewish faith, pups and her special

memory of her parents’ relationship, read:

5.  I enjoyed her recent Pity Party tracks, including “Lonely Boy” song by

the Black Keys:

6.  You will enjoy reading this young man’s story about “The Hostel in the

Forest: The Incredible Experience.”

7.  I like a young man who admits to his awkward experiences! (I mean I am

older and admit to being rather witless with the opposite sex!):

8.  Elizabeth has been around for awhile as my friend, she shares my midde

name as her first! She has outstanding goals featured in her personal journey

and a “Phoenix” story that I read recently and was amazed!

9.  An Irish “lad” who features lovely poetry, dreamy photographic scenery, too:

10.  Where in the World is …?” He includes amusing stories and artistic license

infringement issues, ha ha!

11.  France and Melanie with an accent on the first “e” which my library computer

is a “pain” at times with adding these things! She writes an interesting blog:

12.  Original poetry written by this person on my October post, check that out

and the other intriguing writings on:

13.  Jonathan Caswell who has been a good friend for quite awhile, we are like

team mates, he reblogs my “best” or close to good, at least (smile!) posts:

14.  A woman from Wisconsin caught my eye with her catchy stories, right from

the first read:

15.  Naomi has an awesome collection of stories with gorgeous photographs,

including my recent favorite one, “Streamlined,” about a futuristic designed

Belgium train station!

The Beauty of Languages


baklava (Greece layered, nut laced with honey dessert)

escargots (French for snails)

falafel (Arab specialty)

tacos, tamales (Mexican, Spanish)

sushi (Japanese raw food)

scones (British or Scottish quick bread or cake)

croissants (French pastry)

pizzelles (Italian cookies spiced with anise)

gefilte fish (Jewish fish)

Origins in different countries…

My name is Robin Elizabeth. When I was going to middle school

Spanish class, we had to choose the closest name to our own in

a list of Spanish names. I used “Roberta” for those three years,

sorry if this is your name (I have a lovely nice British girlfriend

with this name!) But I was ready for a change in high school! I

marched up to Mr. Donaldson’s desk  saying, “Senor Donaldson,

por favor, may I change my name to my middle name? It would

become ‘Isabella!'”

Well, how did this subject come up? One of Mom’s very nicest

neighbors has the first name of Isabel. I told her when I met her

that in Spanish that is “Isabella” and if it were looked up in a

translation dictionary for theEnglish version, it would be

Elizabeth. Did she know Elizabeth was a special, unfortunately

‘barren’ woman in the Bible, who is visited by an angel who

fortells that she will “bear fruit” and becomes the mother of

John the Baptist?

We talked about how foreign languages are the originators

of our English language and that our everyday vocabulary

includes a lot of foreign words or “roots” from foreign

countries. We are indeed a “melting pot” of languages,

so many different reasons why we use the words we do!

I wrote a few of the international foods that I would not

have known about nor tasted them, unless someone had

introduced them to me.

Isabel was fascinated and asked if I knew of any other “roots”

of words or where they came from? I told her the beautiful word,

“pavilion” comes from the French word pappillon, which is a

butterfly. If you notice large pavilions look a little like wings that

are spread downward.

My Grandmother Paula Hilmida Mattson used only a few German

words sprinkled into her language, but she definitely could cook

the special pastries of her country. (kuchen, spaetzle, and the

lovely combination of Spritz cookies and Pfeffernusse.

My Grandfather Walter William Mattson spoke very clear English, he

learned it quickly once he immigrated here from Sweden. Both my

mother’s parents came over as teenagers and met on a street corner

in New York City. That love story is in one of my older posts…

I think you probably recognize most foods that are from other countries.

I used to like international festivals, more so than individual ones. They

had such a “smorgasbord” of delicacies to choose from, the delicious

scents and smells intermingling as they wafted through the air.

Something new to me, recently, was an introduction to the exotic world

of bubble teas! Also known as “pearl milk tea” or “boba milk tea.” This

tea-based drink was invented in tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan in the

eighties! Wow! Took me long enough to discover their delicious and

chewy tapioca pearls and sweetly rich teas!

What have you learned recently about your heritage, any foreign foods

that you have recently been introduced to or any that are passed down

for generations? Also, are there any interesting stories attached to taking

a foreign language? Thanks for reading and hope to read about your

different beautiful languages or unique delicacies!


Are You Ready for October?


I am so ready! Ravens, owls, pumpkins, scarecrows and colorful

leaves! I enjoyed pulling out my tub of decorations and having my

grandson, Micah, “direct” where items should be placed! We were

setting October things out early for his cousins. I will have some

coming (possibly 4) for an overnight on Sept. 28th. Then they can

see the seasonal extravaganza! We put batteries in all of the

flashlights and we can play hide and seek in the dark.

Micah, age 4, loves these “boo bells” that are metal about 6″ in

diameter. There is an orange sparkly ball and a black sparkly other

ball. They clang!  They have the letters “Boo!” on them. He also liked

pulling out the stack of picture books to add to the September ones

in a pile on the end table.

Micah’s favorite books are the hard cardboard ones that have shapes

of the season, (the pumpkin is round, the witch’s hat is a triangle, etc.)

and colors of the season. I am sure you can picture the joys of all the

colors of “treats” included!

“The Biggest Pumpkin Ever” is another favorite October book, written

by Stephen Kroll and nicely illustrated by Jeni Bassett. There is an

interactive one titled,  “Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate.” We chant

the words in this book to a slight tune. If you need the words; they are

surely on the internet! Finger play songs are my specialty!

My favorite book is called “The Nutty Nut Chase.” It has all kinds of

cool characters, like “Hickory” and “Pecan.” They are squirrels! Then

there are other helpful woodland critters, like “Badger,” “Hedgehog,”

“Littlest Rabbit,” “Mole” and “Blackbird.” This book is written by

Kathryn White and has such sweetly drawn illustrations by Vanessa

Cabban. There is also a sad part with namecalling of poor “Hedgehog.”

He is left out of a game, since one of the critters calls him a “prickly

cannonball!” It gets resolved in the end, of course!

I like to post about the upcoming month, letting my readers and fellow

bloggers aware of some of the October facts that I have discovered.

I hope this is an interesting read for you today!


4th-  There will be a New Moon (rising!) Hippies will know that


6th-  The 2013 Old Farmer’s Almanac advises to “drill holes in

window boxes 1/4 – 1/2″ holes to drain every six inches.” Mums

and zinnias still shoud be going strong during this month.

7th- Child Health Day. Celebrate and encourage any children

who you may know or be related to, to have regular doctor

annual physicals and dental check ups. Also, healthy diets

with plenty of fruits, vegetables and water daily.

9th-  Leif Erickson Day. This Nordic Viking’s discovery of what

is now known as North America,

14th- Columbus Day. The post office will be closed, no mail

delivery, lots of sales here in the U.S. and also, library closed!

18th-  Full Hunter’s Moon.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says for “best flavor, suggests digging

up horse radish during the full moon.”

And also, today celebrate Alaska Day!

20th-  My friends, Felda and Jason, will have their adorable second

child, baby Zachary, baptized in their Catholic Church. I will be going

to the service and attending my first baptismal filipino celebration

party with my oldest daughter. I included this to ask, if you pray, to

include little “Zachie Poo” and his big six year old sister, Kridia Dawn,

in your prayers. I will post about this event after it occurs!

24th-  United Nations Day. My parents were convinced they were always

“helping the world” when they ordered their UNICEF Christmas cards!

I think this day would be a great one to remember to pray for all the

nations in the world. I have a bookmark with each of the continents

stuck in my Bible, it has me praying in alphabetical order. This may, or

may not, something you may be interested in tryin

25th-  Nevada Day.

(Also, from 25th until ten days later, I will be on vacation! Yeah!)

October 31st is Halloween or Hallowed Eve.

November first is considered the result of the hallowed evening

turning into “All Saints Day.”

Strange, you know “Oct” indicates “eight” or “eighth” so an octopus

has eight legs, an octagon has eight sides. But this October is the

tenth month due to rearranging from Roman calendar to the new

way we do things.

I hope we all make it to be octogenerians! (or older!)

Instead of October poetry, I chose a different direction to go with

the word and how you can find it in only four movies, where the

word October is in the first place position.

1.  “October” (1928).  A Russian movie, based on John Reed’s “Ten

Days That Shook the World” book. It is a historical movie that

includes the massacre that was around St. Petersburg bridges.

2.  “October Man” (1947).  A British movie that is a suspenseful

mystery and character study. It is based on Eric Ambler’s book.

3.  “October Sky” (1999).  American movie that is featuring how

a real boy who heard and saw the film footage of the famous

1957 Sputnik space event and how he chose to use this historical

event to guide his life. Homer Hickman, Jr. grew up in a West

Virginia coal mining town, where his father was a coal miner and

was dismayed at his son’s “dreams” of space. He builds rockets

with some of his friends. This movie (and the next listed) are the

only ones I have seen. The cast of famous actors include Jake

Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern. This was a very heart-

warming movie. Homer goes against his father’s wishes and

also, accomplishes a better life. Including writing the book,

“Rocket Boys.” I would highly recommend this movie!

4.  “Octopussy” (1983). This is the second British movie in the

list. Roger Moore plays spy and agent, James Bond. Maud

Adams plays the sexy lead character whose name is the title

of the movie.  I remember feeling it was an entertaining and

adventurous action movie. I will always prefer Sean Connery

as “007,” though! (Louis Jourdan also a cast member, is a

famous French actor who my mother always thought was

“suave and debonair.”

If you would like to look up an October favorite short poem

and add it in the comments, please feel free! Enjoy the

wonderful month of October with all of its beautiful colors

showing, at least here in the northern mid-western states.

Has Canada already had their gorgeous trees changed, by


What Do You Consider “Rude?”


This is a short rant about an administrator at our dear Ohio Wesleyan

University who snapped at me, as I held her door and made what I

considered a friendly and social comment. Let me know if you think

I was out of line!

To let you know a few definitions of the word “rude” I chose

three sources. When you write “rude definition’ on this computer

at the library, it automatically gives you the first one, no source


rude, (adjective): offensively impolite or ill-mannered.

(The second definition describes “a roughly made or done…”

like I would call a roughly hewn wooden piece of furniture.)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists rude as:

“Not having or showing concern for the rights or feelings

of other people.” says rude is “discourteous or impolite,

especially in a deliberate way.” Their example applies by

saying “a rude reply.”

I went to the library on OWU campus, since for some reason,

an electrical problem on a sunny day? the Delaware County District

Library was closed with a hand printed sign saying it would reopen

the following day. So, I like to walk, turned around and walked back

past my apartment building and proceeded to enter the college’s

library. I sat in a quiet area where only two people were studying.

I wrote a few emails and composed my “Pain” story. I was in a great


I got up when “closing time” arrived, walked towards the exit. On

busy days, during finals, the young college student manning the desk,

told me that they stay open ‘a lot later.’ I said, “Thank you for getting

me signed in on the computer!”

As I walked away from the desk and headed towards the door, I

noticed a woman briskly walking towards the door, so I held it open

for Her.  Whoosh! A huge, hot draft of air came into the entrance

and as the woman wearing a long-sleeved tan suede-like jacket, a

bright blue silky shirt with a bow tied at her neck, and brownish khaki

slacks passed by me. (No “thank you for holding the door” given.)

These are the “critical” words I said first.

I need you to be honest about how they may sound:

“Wow! This sure has turned out to be a hot evening! You may wish

to take your jacket off!” (As I took off my lightweight sweater worn

in the frigid cold library after she had passed through the door


Here is her (I consider “over the top MEAN”) reply.

The two sentences brusquely spoken were:

“I would appreciate it if you would keep your comments to yourself.

What I do with my clothes is none of your business!”

I will tell you that I shut my eyes tightly for a quick moment. Her

response took my breath away and along came a sweet college

female student, who was following a few steps behind us.

This young woman asked me kindly, “What did she say? You look like

she slapped you across the face!”

I told her what I said and what her two lines were delivered with a

crisp and firm voice. She said, “Oh, don’t mind her! She is an

administrator here and she is rude to everyone!”

I wondered how that looks to her coworkers. I also wondered if

she had good work reviews. This behavior may have put me in

my place. It was not a very good PR move on her part, I felt.

I talked later on the phone to my Mom who wears lightweight long

sleeved cotton shirts in pastel colors or white all summer long. This

is due to her embarassment of her skin eczema. She said that the

woman’s comments were too harsh in response to my jovial, outgoing

comments. She said sometimes when she is asked why does she wear

such attire, even in the summer, she will reply honestly about her

condition. But she did add,

“You know me! I am always happy to impart some information and no

subject is too personal or off limits! But maybe this woman has a

reason and gets sick of that kind of comment. But, I will tell you she

was acting like a “B” and wanted to squash you like a bug!”

What do you think? Was she just having a “bad day?”

(Other than I should learn how to keep my big mouth closed!)

There’s Pain in Our Differences


A friend of mine often says, “Thank God for our Pains!” It reminds her

of “being alive!” She says that we should be grateful for the pain in our

knees, hands or other areas of our body. “We are lucky to have those

body parts…” Well, I really had to think about that while up in the

aerosol room on Friday, grumbling because I had just hit my shin on

a metal rack!

Understanding differences in how men and women are, often comes

up in my writings. I have spent hours on end, trying to figure out why

I have had my history with men! When I was reflecting back, I thought

of how in education they say boys learn differently from girls. They

have research to back up this, that girls have better communication

skills due to the area of the brain that is used is more highly developed.

While boys are great in math and science, girls are better in reading

and writing, especially while collecting facts and putting them into words

into a paper. For over thirty years, at least! there have been studies to

help emphasize the differences betweent the sexes in their learning

and genders’ weaknesses, so that we can improve our teaching

approaches. Bridging these “gaps” can make us not only better learners,

but also better partners in our relationships!

Of course, this was very helpful in my approaches in teaching my own

three children (girl-boy-girl, birth order) and also, in my classroom. I was

a Language Arts teacher, first in middle school. I liked projects, I knew

that the boys liked to put their “hands on” approach to these, those

props held while presenting papers, really helped them relax. If I had

a month of mysteries, with the different kinds of spelling, writing,

English composition and current events, say for October lessons,

I encouraged making paper mache masks, posters and any other

three dimensional projects that suited the book they had read.

Two of my favorite presentations were boys that had put together

a “radio show” to demonstrate their reading of “War of the Worlds.”

It was quite different from the famous one that you have heard of!

Also, the young man who made a paper mache heart to talk about

the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, “The Telltale Heart” and his little

tape of an actual heart beating heard behind the words he told in

his report: Awesome!

Anyway, understanding how we learn, how we feel (pain, included)

and what we both need are very important to help our relationships.

Relationships, I often say, are the reason I wrote this blog,  because

they truly “reveal our hearts.” Most research of the sexes, determine

vast differences in the way we do those three important areas, learn,

feel and need.

I have to put this musical “shout out” to Billy Joel! I have used the

song, “Tell Her About It” many times in arguments or let’s put it nicely,

“discussions” with men. Love through words can really make a huge

difference in bringing people who love each other back together.

Equally important, through that hands on approach, men feel that

showing affection through actions is important. Men would like to

have more sex and women would like to have more romance in

their lives!

As far as pain studies and research go, new strides are being made

at understanding the differences between the way men react to

pain and women do.

Here are the different versions of the definition of pain:

1.)  Physical suffering associated with disease, injury or other bodily


2.)  Harmful stimulus that a basic bodily sensation results in the

characteristics of physical discomfort.

3.)  Acute mental or emotional distress. (otherwords, grief.)

4.)  The care and effort in accomplishing something like taking

great “pains” to make someone feel better or get something done.

5.)  Someone or something that annoys or is troublesome. (Men

are a ‘pain in the neck!’ or she’s a real pain!)

Very new studies in how we are able to cope and react to pain have

been uncovering startling differences between men’s and women’s

thresholds. Sure, for years, we thought women were able to handle

pain better due to the gender specific fact that women carry and

give birth to babies. Also, side note: I often wondered why my exes

seemed like “babies” when it came to any sickness or pain. Probably

not done a study on that yet!

Humans need pain! I found this out by reading on the subject of pain

recently. My daughter, some of you who have followed me for the

past year, may remember deals with rheumatoid arthritis. She has

had it since a child, hence its JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis).

She has been in case studies at Ohio State and also, Children’s

Hospital since she was 11. She has more white blood cells than

red blood cells, usually, she also has the joints of a person over

65 years old. She still ran on the soccer field and when benched

due to her not always being the “best,” chose her senior year to

go onto the Cross Country team and made it into the top ten in

the district meet. (OCC) She is not a “whiner” nor does she mention

this to new dates. I called her a “hero” in an essay contest and we

had our picture taken and put in the Columbus Dispatch contest

in her high school years. When other teens didn’t want to get off

their butts from their computer, gaming and other areas of their

lives, she worked at Kroger’s as a cashier at 15, ran and also, did

not use it as an “excuse” to get out of anything!

Pain alerts us to danger and injury. If you touch something sharp,

hot or painful, this will trigger an electrical signal and releases

chemicals from cells in your fingers, racing up nerves of your arm,

to the area of the brain. To be technical, the thalamus and midbrain.

These are involved in sensory perception. The sensation goes to the

neocortex and the limbis system which gives us the type and intensity

of the pain. Memory and emotion assign us a “level of pain” on

how it registers and we react. If our memory is more painful we may

react differently to somethingwe have already experienced.

Someone, for example, who has had a hammer land on their foot

previously, may react with excruciating pain. The past memory

exacerbates it, making it seem even worse than the person who

for the first time, has a hammer land on their foot.

I get very upset when I bump or bash my legs. I am much more

likely to bruise, that knowledge makes me try so hard not to do

the bumping, but this morning, I rammed my leg on an open

cabinet! I almost screamed in frustration! I could see the bruising

and also, see redness and the future of broken capillaries. That

is my fate, I can look back at my Dad’s bruised, black and blue

veins on his legs and I can look at my Mom’s when I am in the

bathroom with her. We never recouperate from those bumps

and bruises. I tried to sit down and put ice on my leg, sat and

did “mindful chewing” and ate my breakfast. I know that it

will not be bad, in comparison to other’s daily pain nor should

I dwell on it too much. That is life in my body. But this led me

to write about the subject today!

Here is a reference on this subject, Allan Basbaum, PhD. who is

the chair of the anatomy department at University of California,

“Pain signals that are repeated over and over can eventually

cause physiological chemical changes that make nerve pathways

ultrasensitive. Once that happens, your brain interprets pain impulses

traveling on them as more intense and harder to regulate and


This is sad, because pain messages may become embedded in your

central nervous system so that your brain may keep sending them

** Even when they no longer exist! This is distressful to those with

fibromyalgia. Those pathways in your neurosystem, have developed

into extremely sensitive places where the slightest ache is intensified.

This explains also why women are the ones more likely to have this

and also, fill up the pain clinics. There is a different brain structure

that is like a wall where the pain is processed. Studies have found

the brain structures that help control consciousness, emotions, and

pain processing differ between the sexes. The women’s wall is thicker,

in the brain area studied, female patient who suffer frequent migraines

specifically. Along with the fact that only male rats are used for drug

studies, we have still a long way to go to discover sex appropriate drugs

to “cure” or “treat” different ailments. Only after the 1990’s have we

begun to start tracking the differences in the way sexes react to drugs.

This is directly shown through the difference in the way women have

heart attacks and strokes and men do. We are beginning to understand

that heart attacks and cardiovascular disease strikes the sexes differently.

As we get older, we all will need to adjust to the differences in the way

the sexes age, get diseases and how to handle them. While it may not

seem important to the younger readers, it is important to us all in society

who have parents, elderly relatives and friends, too. The ways we differ,

in our communication, effect us in the workplace and at home. We need

to understand that men feel useful if they are the ones who are fixing,

earning and doing. That is the way their gender, from childhood on, is

developing. It is out of their control! If you read about counseling or have

been through marital counseling, one of the most often heard phrases is,

“But I show her I love her by working hard, I come home, mow the yard,

and doing other chores. I am showing her I love her through my actions.”

Women, also often breadwinners, will emphasize the other side of love,

through emotions, by saying they express their love through telling their

partner that they appreciate this or that, they “remembered” their spouse’s

favorite meal to make or scent to wear. Communication is learning how

the other person thinks and feels.

Sympathy towards the other person’s aches and pains of growing older,

will go a long way towards staying connected, showing you care and

warming up your relationship. I am going to give you a few suggestions

of how to do this while we are all going through one pain or another

in this life. Take a bath or shower together, give back, foot or other

bodily parts massages, and try something new together that is enjoyable

to get your minds off the pain. It will help you to bridge back to your

younger selves to learn how to dance, go to the Y and swim, take cooking

lessons (remember to find a healthy cook since we do need to be careful

with our bodies as we age!) and take leisurely bike or walks through parks,

enjoying the scenery. Hold hands, watch t.v. on the same sofa, not your

separate areas or Lazy Boys!

Lastly, we knew our brains were different between the sexes, but who

knew how different?! I am sure that this contributes to that thought we

came from different planets!


Weighty Subject


My Mom raised her shirt to show me while she was in the bathroom,

I was putting on a dab of makeup for dinner. She said, “Look at my

abs, Robin!” I looked at her loose skin that is spread across her petite

body and said, “They look great, Mom, what have you been doing

to get those?” She replied, “I remember Jack LaLanne, do you

remember him? He was a good motivator for exercise and good


When I looked up Jack LaLanne, he had lived from 1914 up until

2011. Quite a long life with some very extra special motivations that

included good and peppy words, toning and lifting weights. He was

ahead of his time!

I repeated my question to get Mom ‘back on track’ and said, “So, what

have been doing differently to create those abs, Mom?”

Mom pondered for a moment and said, “I pick up leaves and stones off

the sidewalk, I lift my legs when I walk the dog in the dark, like I am

marching to get this flab off the back of my legs. Then, I sometimes

will do arm stretches and touch my toes. The dog thinks I am nuts!”

I smiled warmly at my mother who I absolutely love so dearly, hoping

against hope that she will be here for many more years. I told her one

thing I remembered her emphasizing during my college years of eating

pizza and “pigging out” on all the junk foods she never allowed in our

household, like ‘ho ho’s, twinkies, glazed honey buns,’ and the salty

treats from the machines in the basement of our dormitory. I would

frame the junk food in the terms of my form of “rewarding studying”

and “getting down to business.”

“Mom, where did you hear that phrase ‘tuck in your tummy and

pretend there is a string on the inside of your belly button pulling it

towards your back’?”

She looked at me, “Didn’t Richard Simmons say that on his television


I responded, “I am not sure he had his own show, but I will check on

that after dinner… he was a guest often on talk shows and he was

quite a character!”

Oh, by the way, Richard Simmons was born Milton Teagle Simmons

in 1948 and is now 65 years old. He is still featured in commercials,

some movies and he is a big facilitator for dancing and exercising to

the “Oldies!”

She said, “Oh, he was so funny in those short shorts! Only Twiggy

looked good in those kind of outfits!”

This subject, weight, is a challenging one. It is a sensitive topic. I am

often afraid to approach it. With my daughter in law who still struggles,

at age 27, to lose her “baby weight.” To my best friend, Jenny, who gets

worried now that she is retired, that she will get heavy. I remind her of

how loving she was when I gained during my forties, due to worries,

menopause and not having a busy sex life. I remind her that my Mom

was cruel and would give me zweiback crackers and cheese while she

would make my ex-husband huge roast beef sandwiches upon our

arrival from traveling up Rte. 4 to Vermilion.  I keep the subject light

when some of my table mates make fun of my quinoa and brussel

sprouts meal that tastes like General Zso’s (Cho’s?) delicious Chinese

food. (My daughter uses red wine vinegar, sesame seeds and roasts

the brussel sprouts in olive oil. I am not sure other than red pepper

flakes, what spices she uses.)

But the subject of weight comes up so often, I had to broach it with

you! I had to ask, what are your weaknesses? What are your best


I love walking and talking along the paths in parks, miles can go by,

not worrying about the pace, but somehow it slides by. I enjoy hiking

trails that are up steep inclines and I wish, personally, that I didn’t

have to work in the hot, hot warehouse where I do eat anything, but

at what “cost?” It seems so strenuous, I always wonder, silently,

“Will I last for as long as I would like my Mom to last? I would like

to be here on Earth for years and years, for my grandkids’ and great

grandkids’ sake!”

Should we worry less and just enjoy life?

I am glad to have my Mom to give me a light hearted take on the subject.

The Fair: “It’s not over till the cows (or horses) come home!”


This is a tale of a large county fair, where the person who is writing,

had many chance encounters with special people she has met along

the road of life here in Delaware, Ohio. This includes ones who have

entered or crossed paths during her twenty six years of living here.

This encompasses interwoven stories of diverse backgrounds and

lengths of time spent knowing such persons. The extent of the depth

of  these relationships has become strong enough to feel like they

have become “family” to me!

The 2013 Delaware County Fair started on Sat. Sept. 14th and runs

through Sept. 21st. It includes two major races, one which is considered

part of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing; The Little Brown Jug Race.

My guy friend and I chose to go on Tues. “Senior Citizens’ Day” for

only a $2.00 admission. The whole place was lit up due to our evening


We went to see the beautiful race horses in the “Million Dollar Barn.”

They were brushed and groomed to look beautiful and they seemed

rested for the next day or two’s races.

We then proceeded to view the simple, but loved 4H horses in their

stables. Each horse, no matter its background or pedigree, looks so

wise, so knowing of your interest and they seem to give you a piece

of their thoughts through their soulful eyes gazing at you. I feel this

way when I look into the eyes of many animals, including cows, which

some say are smarter than they are given credit for!

Wednesday was the Fillies Run or the Jugette. Today was the Little

Brown Jug Race. Each of those, I have attended a few times, even

placed a few bets, over the years, for under $20. Sometimes have

accompanied some big spenders and admittedly almost “gamblers”

in the past.

This time, we were all about visiting and looking, seeing the sights

and of course, indulging in a few fair treats. I took some brightly

colored pictures of the Midway, including the ferris wheel and the

carrousel. Unfortunately, both sets of grandkids went on the rides

over the weekend, since Tuesday is, alas, a “school night!” (I was in

Cleveland, both to see my Mom and also, my first Maid of Honor,

which could not be rescheduled to a different time! We had a blast

and it was great talking about BGSU, my first husband who Patrice

adored, (but later booed and hissed at the sound of his name!) We

remembered a lot of the good old days of being young and carefree

in the 70’s.  Patrice invited me to meet in the Winton Place apartment

tower in Lakewood, rode up to peek in the expensive “Pier W”

Restaurant, went on a lovely walk and had delicious German pastries

with coffee with her boyfriend. Joe had been a professor, years ago,

at our college.) So, I missed going to the Fair this year with my kids

and grandkids. I did get some phone picture messages sent over,

sent by my son’s wife of their children.

On to who we ran into…

I have spoken of my three coworkers who have become quite close

friends, who were born in the Phillipines. We ran into Felda, her

husband Jason, her daughter Kridia Dawn and the new addition to

their family, “little Zachie Poo!” I have written about attending a fun

and lovely filipino baby shower, with all the unique foods, dancing,

games and karaoke. Now, here was the newly arrived “Prince Zachary!”

I got two perfect pictures of them, while we were chattering away,

telling them to go check out the delicious, mouth watering walleye fish

sandwich, whose stand is located along the front of the grandstand.

It is priced very reasonably, for only (still) $6 for three filets folded onto

a large white bun, with a slathering of tartar sauce. Jason said Felda

would love that since she is “from the sea like a mermaid”  He was

interested in my description of their other special which is a layered

balogna sandwich with onions and he loves pickle relish. Kridia

was begging for a corn dog and the baby, lucky lad, is still basking

on his mother’s milk. Last, but very importantly, Felda told me about

Zachary’s christening date at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Oct. 20th.

I will be sure to attend the after party with loads of their traditional

filipino food, along with some American dishes thrown in.

We ran into one of my youngest best friends and her husband, along

with extended family sitting at a picnic table. Julie was one of those

girls who would find out what we were eating for dinner, then my

daughter and she would figure out whose house had what they

wanted to eat. I was very happy to meet her husband, since my

daughter had gone to the wedding with a date, not in the wedding

party, so I was not invited. Julie’s mother, Betsy, and her father, Mike,

were so happy to see me, giving me hugs and talking about wishing

that “these kids weren’t so popular, having too many guests, etc.”….

and I “let them off the hook” saying,

“No worries! Someday, Felicia will get married and then, we will have

the same mental anguish and conflicts.”

I took a few moments to look at their honeymoon photographs in Punta

Cana. Lovely couple and wonderful future ahead, Julie and Sean!

When we had digested our sandwiches, we headed towards my

standby, the ONLY place that changes their oil often on busy days that

makes mouth-watering funnel cakes and a whole dollar cheaper than

the other places. I have been getting the walleye sandwich at the one

place and this funnel cake was a “find” that turned out to be the best,

for over twenty six years! We could not believe that the elderly couple

weren’t there at either stand, times have been hard on their health.

We did know the couple behind the counter at the funnel cake stand,

also, located in ‘prime’ grandstand aisle location. Mike and Tammy

were there! I asked how did they know these people who have a

Pennsylvania Dutch heritage recipe? They said they had answered

an advertisement posted in the fair board office, thus had been

hired and I told them, “You are so lucky! You could have been placed

in a concession stand that sold below par funnel cakes! My stubborn

brother, Randy, bought one at another stand, literally as defiance to

his big sister’s fair food experience and wisdom. He had a few bites

of mine, in comparison, melting in his mouth, and now, defers to my

wise choices when he comes to Delaware fair. It didn’t work out this

year, due to an artistic project at the Kalahari, up by Sandusky that

he is working on.”

Mike reminded Tammy that we had met at the library, he works at

the warehouse with me. He had told me over the past five years of

Tammy’s battle with cancer. I felt badly that recently he was told by

his surgeon, he needs to have back surgery. Just sad to hear how we

find ourselves, growing older and “falling apart!”

Speaking of health, we saw my good and dear friend of all the years

I have lived here in Delaware, my first babysitter, who encouraged

me to quit teaching and stay at home for almost nine years. Sue

looked wonderful! Her other gal friends had included me out to eat

at the “1808” restaurant, where they had been squeezing boobs,

all in good fun, due to Sue’s breast cancer remission news. Well,

needless to say, I had to take a look at her again, remembering that

her “new boobs” were in place. We have opposite schedules where

she is up with the crows and I am working until she goes to bed,

practically when the last child gets picked up from her day care. We

hugged and I felt her hair that is not quite as bristly as it was the last

time I saw her. We were reminiscing about standing by the rides,

watching our own little children, her Kersten and my Felicia. It was

fun and yet, she did look like she was a little fatigued. I asked her

how she REALLY was? She said, “It takes every ounce of my energy

to watch the babysitting kids, and this was a long day, Robin.”

We hugged and said, those famous words, “We will have to get

together, soon!” and “Give me a call, sometime!” But, with Sue,

I know we mean it!

I steered my male friend, who had to go get the fried vegetables,

over to the Hoover’s Fudge concession stand. “Meet you back

here in a few minutes, right?”

I got my favorite, maple walnut fudge in a box, a deal as far as I

am concerned. I cut each pieced into halves and make it last

almost two weeks! I don’t eat any since I had the funnel cake

and have wrapped half of it up and put into my large denim


When we started walking towards the front of the fairgrounds,

I told him that my two favorite fairs other than Delaware’s are

the Circleville Pumpkin Festival and the Lancaster Fairfield County

Fair. And, of course, being a show off, I told him that the movie,

with Robert Redford in it, “Brubaker” was filmed at the Fairfield

County Fair.

My guy friend said, “Maybe we should check out one of those

other fairs and try their food!”

Winding down, we sat to listen to some bluegrass music at one of

the smaller stages around the fair. Everything seemed the same,

glad to find out that both elderly couples are still living who I have

frequented their stands more than a quarter of a century, telling

all who will listen to me, “This is the best _________!” Wishing I had

a second stomach, so I could have bought some of Weldon’s

homemade ice cream because it is better than Graeter’s, which

is a Cincinnati original and you can now purchase in Ohio groceries.

On Friday, the 4Hers will pick up their projects, (my kids did this plus

scouting) and the animals will be taken home. The last day of the

fair, rides, food and the crafts made by children and adults not

affiliated with 4H will still be up to see, there will be a final concert

and fireworks. I will be over at my oldest daughter’s house where

we will have a cookout and watch the display from her back yard.

When county fairs really wind down their season, I get a little

wistful, means that Autumn really is here!

Is there a regular place you go to visit, be it a place in nature, family

reunion, or amusement park that you attend or visit annually?

If so, you may be feeling this nostalgic feeling of closing the door to

Summer and moving on into Fall. Please share where it is that you

look forward to visiting or staying every summer! Did you make it,

was it a grand old time? I liked going to the lake at least every month

this summer, the county fair and also, to some of my favorite central

Ohio parks.

Hope you had a chance to see Thursday, September 19th’s Full

Harvest Moon! I will be leaving the library  soon and hope it is a clear

night like it was last night, for viewing the moon!

Oh, and as far as the “till the cows come home” reference; cows

are known for their slow moving and languid ways. If you have to

wait for the cows to come home, you may be waiting quite a long

time! I included horses, since that is part of what makes our fair

unique and exciting! They are much more faster paced than those

cows are! I enjoyed guessing the day the cow would give birth and

petting a calf of another cow, too.