Monthly Archives: January 2014

Chop Suey

Standard

I remember a bygone day of listening to musicals

on my parents’ stereo. There was a Chinese love

story, called “Flower Drum Song.” This was taken

from a book written in 1957, made into a musical

by the famed duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The

film version was done in 1961, with Gene Kelly

playing a stage director. Themes of assimilation of

Chinese immigrants into our American culture, a

teenager’s rebellion, and an intergenerational

family living in China Town was popular on Broadway.

As time passed, it left the stages of Broadway and off

Broadway, until it was rewritten and made into a newer

production in 2002.

The same songs were kept with ‘tweaks’ in the character

development. It has been awhile since I have heard this

musical but some of the songs were very enchanting!

I sometimes wonder, how this would hold up to the

test of time!

Does anyone remember “Flower Drum Song?”

The real recipe for a Chinese dish of Chop Suey may

include meat(s), eggs, a starchy sauce, with vegetables.

These can include thinly sliced carrots, celery, bean

sprouts and other Asian vegetables. I would like to

have a bowl of this right now!

Another musical I was captured by the story behind

the book,”Anna and the King of Siam.” On stage, it

became “The King and I.” Yul Brynner did a wonderful

acting job in this, as did Deborah Kerr, in the movie

version. This was based on the autobiographical story

about a nanny for the king, who does fall for her over

time. They never ‘consummate’ their relationship but

are friends, conversationalists and until he passes

away, the one woman the King admires for her ‘brains!’

Anyway, “Chop Suey” was a fun loving song in the first

musical that I listed. This is going to be a post that

includes the many ways ‘chop’ or ‘chopped’ can be used.

This began, on a winter’s night, while my two grandsons

were over visiting. I was watching on my tiny, old t.v.

(it has a VCR unit in it!)on one side of my apartment the

show, “American Idol.” I enjoy watching this more than

“The Voice,” “The Singing Bee,” and “America’s Got Talent.”

This year, with Harry Connick, Jr. playing a bit of the

‘tough judge’ role, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, is

going very well! I have seen at least three young singers

who I would choose, without further training or coaching,

to be my “next American Idol.” There is a lot of raw

talent out there in America (and the world, too!)

While watching this, my two grandsons were across the

room watching on my bigger flat screen television two

shows. They were alternating between Nick, Jr. (which

has some of the younger one’s favorites like “Diego,”

“Blue’s Clues,” and “Bob the Builder.”) He will honestly

watch other shows, like “Dora,” and the girly ones with

me, too. The older one is starting to like Disney’s

‘teen-oriented’ shows and will study how to date, how to

tip a bucket over a person’s head and she will still

like you. With other silly premises and pranks that

those shows have. I wish I could tell you that it is

above his head, but I do remember my brothers and I

watching, “Beach Blanket Bingo” and other Annette

Funicello with handsome actor, Frankie Avalon movies.

We seemed to enjoy the rather silly plotlines and the

innocent sexual innuendoes, along with the flirtatious

atmosphere of people barely clothed. (That was made back

in 1965!)

I exclaimed about one of the younger female singers

who had done an excellent performance of singing

Adele’s song, “Chasing Pavement.” I said,

“That young girl has some ‘chops’ on her!”

When Skyler came over to see what I was talking

about, he half kiddingly said, “I like pork ‘chops,’

but what are you talking about, Nana?”

I came back with,

“Well, in Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts

says, “‘Chop’ off her head!”

And Sky, teasingly went along with this word play,

joining in with more,

“My Mom ‘chops’ apples and my Dad ‘chops’ onions!”

Micah came over and noticed our voices being animated,

wondered,

“Do you mean that ‘chops’ can be for food? I thought

you were talking about karate ‘chops!'”

Skyler says, “I wish you could make us some ‘chopped’

steak and enjoy it with some ‘chopped’ peppers.

I replied,

“In the month of February, you will learn about George

Washington who was so honest he confessed he was the

one who ‘chopped’ down the cherry tree.”

He scoffed and shook his head,

“I already knew that, Nana!”

I thought a moment and said,

“I bet you didn’t know that a ‘chop shop’ was a

car garage that takes stolen auto parts and fixes

cars up to be resold for a profit!”

The all knowing Sky answered,

“Since you never play video games, you probably

don’t know about Grand Theft Auto!”

I came back with a feeble attempt, I was losing

this battle of words…

“When I used to want to get my hair cut, a botched

up job would make me say my hair got…” (pause)

and Sky finished the thought,

“‘Chopped!'”

I told Skyler since my show was back on, that the

only way I had heard of ‘chops’ in the musical

world was when someone really belted out a song,

gave it their all and it came out sounding wonderful.

That the use of ‘chops’ was a compliment. I promised

I would check Wikipedia to give him the root meaning

of how this word came about…

On Urban Dictionary, the slang term, ‘chops’ means good

singing ability or singing talent; he/ she can truly

sing. Here, I thought that there may be a little bit of

a reference to the fact that in the olden days, when

men grew their sideburns out, they were called, ‘mutton

chops.’ Thinking that almost went with the throat area

where belting a song out would come. I did find that

this did get included in the free online reference

dictionary where the jowls of a person are meant to

indicate the ability of a jazz artist or musician to

sing loudly and well. There was another reference to

Louis Armstrong, who could sing well and use his

musical ‘chops’ in playing the trumpet, too.

Lastly, as I will call my grandson tonight to tell

him my findings, I thought of my youngest brother

pecking away on the piano, practicing (you may have

guessed the ending!):

“‘Chop’ Sticks!”

Feburary Means “Love, love, love”

Standard

Thomas Kinkade paints romantic and beautiful pictures,

which fill me with a deep sense of ‘home’ and ‘comfort.’

I get a true sense of Serenity, when I study his cottages

in quaint settings. One of his ‘artistic signatures’ is

to include warm, golden lights shining out of windows,

like ‘beacons’ leading us home.

In Thomas Kinkade’s autobiography and through personal

interviews, he shares his memories. While other children

were heading home from school in the winter, he would be

trudging home to a dark, empty house. He would look into

windows, along his walk home, to behold ones which held

such warmth and light. He remembers he would have moments

of envy and longing.

Thomas Kinkade wished to be living in those homes. His

mother was a single mom. The tables ‘were turned’ and

she would be the one coming home to a house where Thomas

had turned on all the lights to greet her. Here is a great

quotation for February from this sensitive, creative artist:

“To be romantic is to allow yourself to fall in love

with life. Experience it fully, openly, passionately

and purposefully.”

FEBRUARY

2/1/64- Fifty years ago today, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,”

(sung by the Beatles, or Fab Five) topped the charts!

On January 31st, 2014: the Chinese New Year was celebrated,

making this the Year of the Horse. February starts their

New Year! Happy Lunar New Year, China!

February 2-

Groundhog Day.

“Candlemas,” also called Feast Day.

This day commemorates the Presentation of Jesus Christ

at the Temple (or presentation of our Lord at the Temple.)

Celebrated by Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox and

Eastern Orthodox Catholic churches. It is the first

Feast of 12 Great Feasts.

As you know, whether you live in the U.S. or not, we have

had a rather ‘bitterly cold’ beginning to our year! We may

wish that the Groundhog would NOT see his shadow! Cloudy

days mean he would not run and hide. This folklore means

an Early Spring may come! “We love you, (Spring!) Yeah,

yeah, yeah!”

February 2nd is also Super Bowl Sunday!

Feb. 6-

Waitangi Day (New Zealand)-

This date commemorates a founding treaty that was

signed in 1840. It was called the Treaty of Waitangi.

Feb. 7-

Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sochi, Russia.

The Winter Games run until February 23, 2014.

2/9/64- Fifty years ago today, Ed Sullivan Show’s first

appearance of the Beatles. When Ed Sullivan saw them in

Europe, he observed the audiences being huge. (Stockholm

had an amazing turnout for their concert!) Ed Sullivan

compared their popularity to Elvis. He arranged with the

Beatle’s manager, Brian Epstein, for three consecutive

Sunday performances. The arrangement also meant the group

would get Top Billing but ‘bottom dollar.’ They were paid

a very small amount for their performances on this show,

with over 73 million viewers’ watching!

The Beatles’ arrival to the United States on Feb. 7th,

was greeted with a group of (estimated) 4000 fans. This

number seems rather low; by today’s standards of famous

fans and crowds. I remember my adult babysitter, Mrs. Boos’

teenaged daughter, Diana wept when she attended the Beatles

concert and also, when she watched the Ed Sullivan Shows’

four consecutive weeks’ performances. (Mrs. Boos told my

brothers, ages 5 and 7, while I was 8 1/2. Later, when

Diana went to Kent State University, she took me as her

sister for “Siblings’ Weekend.” These few occurrences

were Big Time Events in my growing up years!)

Fifty years ago later, a ” Grammy’s Tribute to the Beatles”

will be aired on CBS network, (Channel 10 in Columbus, Ohio).

Julia Roberts made this special announcement at the Grammy’s.

February 11-

Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday.”

February 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday

Ash Wednesday

The Lenten Season begins

February 14-

Valentine’s Day.

Full Snow Moon tonight.

Will this help kindle your romance or turn it wild?

A quotation suitable for Valentine’s Day from Thomas

Kinkade:

“Doing a small, loving thing with beautiful ‘panache’

can be as romantic as committing a heroic deed.”

Do you remember those days when you decorated a shoebox

with colored paper, folded hearts cut out so carefully

and adding doilies or heart stickers, too? Then, you may

have held your breath, when you came home from school,

opening and reading (sometimes) personal messages. Hoping

perhaps for a special hand written note, with ‘love’ in

its meaning…

Cherished thoughts of Valentine’s Days Past sent your way…

February 15-

National Flag Day of Canada.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

February 17-

Presidents Day

(United States’ government holiday,

means no postal service, banks and

the public libraries are closed.)

February 22-

George Washington’s birthday.

“Heritage Day” which is the given name for

celebrating the Founder of the United States.

In folklore, both Abraham Lincoln and George

Washington became known for their honesty.

We have “Honest Abe.”

We have these famous coined words for George,

as a boy, “I cannot tell a lie, Father, I chopped

down the cherry tree!”

Soon, this short month will fly by and we will be

blessed with warmer climates here in the Mid West

U. S. and all those countries even with us on the

globe, who are shivering in the Winter months!

February 24-

Flag Day or “Dia de la Bandera,” is Mexico’s day of

celebrating their flag.

Funny and Amusing Commercials

Standard

On Wednesday, January 29th, there will be a special

on television that will give us previews to those

ever popular and much anticipated commercials for

products shown during the Super Bowl on February

2nd, 2014. Until then, the advertising during the

Grammys’ Awards Show was awesome and featured a

wide variety of products and themes!

There were several commercials that I enjoyed during

the airing of the Grammy Awards Show. The ones that

caught my eyes will be quickly summarized on this

extra-short post! Yeah, I noticed I used more than

2000 words to summarize the almost three hours of

television on Sunday night. Sorry about that! I even

edited some of my favorite parts, too!

The Yellow M & M got shot by a tranquilizer gun!

What is going to happen? See the commercials during

the Super Bowl and check out if he comes back to

life or what happens while he is ‘under?’

The Puppies Commercial? What were they advertising?

They are the newest part of Anheuser Busch’s ad

campaign called, “Puppy Love.” So cute and adorable!

I do know there is a Kitten Super Bowl, 2014 on the

Hallmark channel. It is supposed to be the ‘greatest

showdown of felines” starting at noon in our part of

the country on Super Bowl Sunday. Everyone loves sweet

and silly antics of little ‘critters!’

The one with Arnold Swarzenegger, with the Bud Light.

He is silly, he is definitely funny sometimes like when

he played a pregnant man and when he was in “Twins” with

Danny DeVito! He is “up to something!” He is exercising

and getting in shape, wearing a silly headband like the

famous Jane Fonda used to wear on her workout videos.

The sweet, funny and handsome trio of actors from my kids’

favorite show, “Full House” are all together in an ad.

They have a very funny line, “Don’t you think we ought to

be looking for somewhere else to live one of these days?”

or “Should we really be living together still?” John Stamos

is one of those dark, handsome men I “would not kick out of

bed for eating crackers!” He is the spokesperson for Oiko’s

Greek Yogurt and that is the ‘reason’ for their reunion!

I love the Dunkin’ Donuts advertisement, where the young man

accidentally declares his love, when a female coworker opens

up a box of Dunkin’ Donuts! I think the New Cookie Dough

donut and the other sweet treats look delicious. That is one

of my main ‘sweet tooth weaknesses!”

I love Olay’s new Slogan: “Your Best Beautiful.” It is a

natural way to attract people to their products. And, yes,

I have known a man or two who used their Olay lotion!

I also enjoy watching Sofia Vergara, as the Cover Girl

commercial features a new theme: “The Making of a Bombshell.”

I like the Lincoln Mercury car advertisement with the classic

icons of Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Katherine Hepburn and

others who have been known to drive a Lincoln Continental.

The theme of “The Next Generation” of classics, includes

the Navigator.

I enjoyed listening to Michael Jackson’s musical, “Wanna Get

Something Started…” while Sony is advertising their products.

John Legend made a classy car commercial with “Made to Love”

song, for the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

Master Card included a musical personage in Justin Timberlake

and the exciting promise of his visiting the rare one (or ones)

who may use their card. This new ad campaign is called,

“priceless surprises.”

I think that the funniest part of the Grammys Show was when

they placed Terry Bradshaw and the Halftime Team, featuring

Pepsi as the sponsor. It was aptly labeled, “The Grammys’

Half Time Show!”

Are you getting excited for the Super Bowl game on Sunday?

Have you planned out your menu, (it was a post awhile back

that I started the month with…) and what activities or

possible competitions you can add to your party or gathering,

like a Chili or Soup Cook-Off?

Late Grammy Awards’ Report

Standard

For two long days, (well I did work on Monday) I got

excited to write and present my Grammy Awards’ news

report, along with my personal impressions of the whole

program. I walked, at noon, to the library, to find there

were 9 people looking in the windows. No sign saying, “The

Delaware County District Library is Closed” was posted.

Nor, were there any signs of life inside. I turned around

and placed my returned movies in the box and said, “Oh

well! I can live without a computer for a day!”

Then, yesterday, I worked, and not wanting to endure the

below zero temperatures again, decided to drive to the

library. It was closed, with a handwritten sign saying,

“The Library is Closed. It is a Level Two emergency.”

No, it did not add, “Robin, you should go home and relax!

Quit stressing about your posts, your commenters and what

you wish to publish!” It was quite understated in its

message!

You have seen the beautiful dresses, heard a few of the

special duets and groupings but you have not heard my

scintillating commentaries about the Grammys’!

On the Red Carpet, in order of appearance I will let you

in on my fashion commentaries and opinions. I was there,

‘on the spot,’ (on my love seat in my pajamas, with popcorn,

chocolate and a caramel mocha coffee to keep me fortified!)

Here are the special news about clothing and what insightful

word that some passed on in their Red Carpet Interviews.

Katy Perry was wearing a gorgeous Valentino gown, with

gauzy layers that held musical notes from an Italian Opera.

She was lovely with her hair up, a braid wrapped around her

bun. The colors were creamy white with black notes on a flared

skirt. She talked about her new account with “Cover Girl”

which she feels she has ‘made it’ by getting chosen to represent

the makeup line. There was a whimsical feeling to the fluffy

netting layers on this dress! Also, Katie mentioned that later,

during the awards show, she was going to be ‘channeling Stevie

Nicks’ in a song that could be otherwise labeled, “Which witch

is which?” (See my later in sequential order, review of her

song but *spoiler alert* I did NOT like it!)

One of my favorite characters who happens to sing, is Cyndi Lauper,

who sported a short, bright red hair style and lovely figure still

in tact, wearing black tights to her ankles, a black cape with

gold filigree netting at her neckline and simple, gold flats on her

cute, tiny feet. I will always hold her in high regard, loving her

song, “True Colors.” My oldest daughter could probably name a few

more ‘hits’ that wild woman has sung with her distinctive husky

voice. It is an endearing sounding voice, with such pixie-like

behavior shown by Cyndi, on the Red Carpet.

Keith Urban was wearing a down to earth, black suit with gray

dress shirt. He said that his song that he was going to perform

would be “Cop Car” with African American country music upcoming

star, Gary Clark, Junior. Keith gave Gary a huge compliment by

saying he was a “soulful cat.” (Love that image and nice comment!)

Pink was wearing a lovely and sexy, red, shiny dress. I would

say it reminds me of the “mermaid dresses” that sometimes you see

in wedding shops. Her short punked up light blonde hair do looked

very stylish, along with her dangling glittery earrings. She did

not wear a necklace with this, choosing her beautiful neck and

upper bodice area to be bare.

Taylor Swift wore a chain mail dress, sheer around the neckline

and shoulders, but very modest. The shimmering gold with silver

reflections was like one from the retro period of the fifties,

with a belt at the waist line. She had diamond earrings and she

was nominated for the song, “Red.” (She did not win Best Album

of 2013.) She was laughing at the replay by someone on the Red

Carpet of how her friend, Jennifer Lawrence, from “Hunger Games”

and “Winter’s Bone,” had been ape-ing behind her back (making

faces) and taking her pictures, too, at the Golden Globes earlier

this month. She did say she was wearing Gucci and also, that she

wished to thank her friend, Jennifer for her friendship.

Neil Patrick Harris, who has performed in musicals, likes to sing,

was looking very handsome on the Red Carpet. His news was that

after the television series “How I Met Your Mother” ends (it will

have had over 200 episodes), he plans to be in a musical titled,

“Hedwig and the Angry Itch.” His tuxedo appeared to be made of

black satin, with a black leather lapel. I thought his open, white

collar was a switch from his sometimes overly formal attire.

Madonna, came in with her son (adoptive) David. She gave him credit

for choosing her fashion statement this Sunday evening. She wore a

sharp, black tuxedo suit, wearing a white dress shirt and so did he.

They both had hats that reminded me of the old Boy Scout leaders. Wide

black brims with felt material and a satin ribbon around the band.

Someone else called her hat a black Amish styled one. Madonna

mentioned she was wearing ‘mouth metal’ which was glittery like

it held diamonds in a braces foundation. Not sure why, maybe her son

was wearing actual braces? It made her voice muffled, too. Odd and

quirky but she still looked radiant with long shoulder length blonde

hair and red, glossy lips. She looked wonderful despite her manly

attire.

Ryan Secrest looked ‘snazzy’ in his black tuxedo with the rare

bow tie around his neck. His crisp white shirt and his hair style

made the look complete.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis looked nice and gave us a fun commentary

with talking about toilet papering, throwing chips on their band

bus, going wild about the upcoming Super Bowl. They are Seattle

Sea Hawks’ fans.

Kevin Hart, comedian and recent movie star in a new comedy just

out, called, “Ride Along” and upcoming movie on February 14, in

time for lovers and friends to see. It will be called, “About

Last Night.” He was with Ice Cube in the first movie, still in

theatres. He was talking on the Red Carpet, excitedly about

Beyoncé’s upcoming musical performance with her husband, Jay Z.

When Juliana, who was interviewing him asked him if he had

any “Diva request” on the movie sets or behind the camera,

Kevin Hart said, “I don’t do Diva demands! I am a guy!”

Willie Nelson wore simple black with his two braids and

looking quite dandy.

Yoko Ono, with her son, Sean Lennon, both looked about the

same as they have lately. Sean has a beard and is still

thin and lithe. Yoko likes to wear black suits, this is

her traditional garb over the years.

Robin Thicke looked wonderful and he was channeling Frank

Sinatra in his dapper appearance. His tuxedo was made of

black velvet, with satin lapels. Ryan Secrest had to look

to find out the label and tell us, the listeners, who he

was wearing. Robin T. was wearing Armani. He had on a pair of

dark sunglasses, talking very smoothly. I am so excited when

I hear him say that his portion of the ceremony will be a

performance with Chicago group members! (I loved this ensemble,

stick with me. . . I will be getting to this later!)

And Now, the 56th Grammy Music Awards held on Sunday 1/26/14.

#17 time Grammy Award winner opened the show with a provocative

dimly lit, Beyoncé. She was in an outfit acceptable for ballet

or in a Broadway production, like “Chicago,” when the jail

women are wearing barely anything and hanging in different ways

on the jail cell bars. Beyoncé was on a chair, hanging backwards

putting her legs up in the air, singing. Her black outfit and

black fishnet hose had shimmer and glitter on it, so the lights

caught it while she performed. She had chin length blonde hair

that looked crimped or permed. Yes, her legs did spread in many

different positions.

There were several people that noticed this, and, on Monday, were

giving me their opinion that the show should not have aired at 8:00

on a Sunday night. I was quiet about it, thinking that my parents

would have called it an “Art Form.” Possibly due to my exposure at

a young age to both the Cleveland Art Museum and the Broadway play,

“Cabaret,” with Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli, I would not have been

too upset with grandchildren seeing it. Seriously.

The song, Beyoncé sang, was “Drunken Love.” She did say words like

“I’ve been drinking, I’ve been thinking…” Along came from the

back of her, Jay Z, singing the rest of the song, with rap melody,

there were plenty of bleeps, and he was wearing a classic black

tuxedo. They have a baby named, I believe they spell it, “Bleu.”

LL Cool J, the emcee host gave a great introduction after Beyoncé

and Jay Z’s musical performance. He said, (paraphrased) these

nicely phrased words:

“The force of music is universal. We have performances from Japan,

Australia, and other international connections. We have two young

men from Liverpool, too. We are going to make beautiful noise, make

history with some pairings of contrasting musical artists, too.”

Pharrell Williams and Anna Kendricks started the awards by listing

the Best New Artist nominees as:

James Blake

Kendrick Lamar

Kacey Musgraves

Ed Sheeran (I like his song, “Daydream”)

And the winner of Best New Artists was for the song,

“Tonight is the Night,” sung by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis!

I liked this duo, because of their simple acceptance speech

and admire that they “did it on their own independent label,

no one wanted to take them on!” (Bet some ‘heads will roll’

over that mistake!)

I enjoyed Lorde. She is an attractive, black haired ‘raven’

who is not too fancy in her appearance. She looked nice, but

not memorable. She sings, “Royals” which includes lyrics about

the British Royalty. The words include “we don’t care..” about

their news and such, including that “we drive Cadillacs only in

our dreams.” She came out of ‘nowhere’ and did later take the

Best Pop Solo Performance Grammy home.

Hunter Hayes sang a song with a powerful message against Bullying.

Saying things in support of outcasts and rebels. There were famous

current musicians’ quotations flashing on a white screen with black

letters. (Some were Stevie Wonder, Johnny Depp, Lady Gaga, and more.)

Hunter sang about “anyone who dares to be different, do something

different, trying so hard.” He also sang, “Listen for a minute…

Sticks n’ stones do hurt, words cut deep.” I believe the song is

called, “Invisible.” His final words of the song are, “Someday

you’ll look back and all this pain is going to be ‘invisible.'”

That message of ‘you’re not alone,’ is a wonderful one that did

pull at my heart strings.

Katy Perry came out onto a stage that did look like Halloween,

she had warned us she would be looking like a witch! The scenery

had a crystal ball, a full moon, women in black. Katy’s outfit

had a red ‘glow in the dark’ lit up tube top. It was almost like

a red bra. She had a purple gauzy net skirt on. The women who

danced around her, appeared to look more like streetwalkers, than

fellow witches. The song’s theme, not sure of the title, was

“Don’t Make Me Your Enemy.” The end of the song had Katy ‘burning

at the stake’ with flames rising around her. I did not feel her

voice sounded as good as it has in the past, nor did she have the

great and bold singing (as she promised to sound like Stevie Nicks!)

When Pop Duo or Group nominees came up I did feel that Pink’s

“Just Give Me a Reason,” “Stay,” sung by Rihanna, “Blurred Lines”

that Robin Thicke sings, and “Suit and Tie” with Justin Timberlake

and Jay Z have all been over-played on one of my newer radio

channels, “Sunny 95” or ‘94.7.’ I was happy that I recognized them,

and like the one that won, “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk and Pharrell

Williams. The most talked about hat was on Pharrell Williams, some

calling his brown hat, a Smokey the Bear hat!

Steve Coogan, a British actor and comedian announced the presence

and upcoming performance of two musicians he honors: Sir Paul

McCartney and Ringo Starr. His joke was, “I’d rather announce for

these two blokes than the whole lot of the Jonas Brothers.”

Steve Coogan is in a movie with Judi Dench playing the mother who

gave him up for adoption, “Philomena.” My AARP movie reviewer says

that this is the best older actors’ movie and plan to see this soon.

Joining them on stage was Dave Grohl, to sing a newly released song,

“Doom and Gloom.” I have to tell you the truth. It is a little like

the songs on Paul McCartney’s “Wings” group albums. Nice, fun, and

jazzy, but not memorable. Sorry, that is this humble reviewer’s take

on their new song! Dave Grohl comes from the Eurythmics’ group.

They did win the Grammy Award for BEST Rock and Roll Song with

it, though! So, hope you take a chance to hear it, give me your

honest feedback on it, please. Was I too harsh on my old ‘Faves’?

I felt that John Legend singing with the grand piano was great

and Taylor Swift, also, did an admirable job at the piano, too.

There were some humorous interplays between the different

musicians and I started to write them and stopped. I wanted to

just ‘be in the moment.’

Martina McBride and Zac Brown, (one who is Spanish reggae style

singer and the other Country Western) came out to give a special

tribute to two “Late greats” who were fine country artists and

legends in their time:

George Jones and Ray Price. “We lost two great legends in 2013.”

Daft Punk wear robot space outfits, with helmets that reflect

light so you cannot see in, not possible to identify these two

men. They were given credit for some technical lighting and

also, for that synthesized sound of music, or as one announcer

called it, “cyber music.” There were a few running jokes about

these two and when they got up to receive the award, someone

else spoke for them. I enjoyed the extraordinary assembly of

Niles Rogers, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder!! This was

much better than I expected! It resembled, if one closed your

eyes, Earth, Wind and Fire’s sound style! Very rhythm, blues

with an upbeat tempo! I hope you stayed awake to hear this

collaboration. The Daft Punk ‘cyber-robots’ were there to

add their own sound and lights display, too.

In the country music section of the program, a great group

of men gathered! I just have to say, I love these guys!!

Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Blake

Shelton. This was an awesome collection of songs. Three songs

were blended together (which I hope that my friend who writes

about Country Music, featured and reviewed.) I used to enjoy

the group “The Highwaymen,” sad that Waylon Jennings and others

have left us to join that band in the sky. Here are the songs

that they put together to perform:

“Highwayman,” “I’m proud to be an Okie from Muscogee” and “Mama’s

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” Many rockers in the

audience stood up and the spotlight, cameramen caught them singing

and dancing to this group of four men.

There were many more performers and nominations. There was Steven

Tyler, Metallica, Rolling Stones, Nate Rouse, Black Sabbath, Sara

Bareilles, Justin Timberlake, Julia Roberts and more in the audience.

My last review, taken out of order is my favorite performance of

the evening: Robin Thicke and Chicago.

There songs were accompanied by the trumpets and horns of Chicago

group. They sang, “Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?” with “Saturday,

In the Park…(I Think It was the Fourth of July)” along with “In the

Name of Love,” and Robin Thicke’s song, “Good Girl.” (“In the Name of

Love” lyrics: “I wish I could sing it to you, Time marches too quickly

Doesn’t matter where we go…”

The very pleasant and memorable duet with Sara Bareilles with Carole

King should be listened to, if you are like me, a product of the 70’s!

It was a long, musically enjoyable Sunday evening, which I really wanted

to post about before you saw the news, but weather did not permit me to

do so. Library was closed two days in a row!

Let’s Go on a Picnic! Sunshine Award Nominations

Standard

In the midst of many feet of snow, while growing up in

Cleveland, Ohio, my mother and we, three kids, would

have fun, snow days! The best things came out of those

special moments. It was a time of childhood wonder, warm

cookies being baked, sometimes a tent in the dining room,

(sheet draped over the cherry wood table) or sometimes we

would have a ‘summer’ picnic!

Here is the Menu for my desired picnic on this wintry,

breezy day! Come on! Go into your pantries, you may

surprise yourself with what you may come up with! There

may be cans of baked beans, there may be a can of German

potato salad or those vinegary but sweet, three beans

concoction. If you are a ‘health nut’ be aware, this

writer got up and made 100% whole wheat pancakes, took

some confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon and a dab of real

butter, then “pretended” by closing my eyes, that I

was at the Delaware County Fair, eating a huge elephant

ear!

PICNIC MENU: COME ONE, COME ALL!

Barbecued Chicken

Cole Slaw

(I will make a purple cabbage slaw, with crumbled

blue cheese, pecans, cranberries and a sweet and

tangy dressing.)

Potato Salad

(I love red skinned potatoes and a little bacon thrown

into this creamy mayonnaise based dressing on it.)

Cold, tart Lemonade

(Okay, you may bring a margarita mix, that is also

‘sunshine-y!’)

Spinach Salad with red or purple onions, with a

lot of healthy vegetables, like radishes included

Brownies

(Caramel or Peanut butter with a good vanilla ice

cream)

Cookies

(My favorites are butter frosted ones. They could be

decorated with bright yellow frosting and have a happy

face of M and M’s on it!)

And Muscle Headed will bring lemon sorbet or gelato!

This is also a wonderful post about unique, quirky and

talented fellow bloggers! I am honored to be nominated

for The Sunshine Award by the blog, “Be Good!” Her Second

Award Nomination of 2014 post is on January 22, 2014.

“Be Good” can be found at:

http://reservedlove.wordpress.com

She has been around my blog for awhile, pressing the ‘like’

button and generally, a great friend! This Sunshine Award

gave me several directions to write about and you may wish

to just skip my morning’s coffee and sugar content-driven

spellbinding list of Sunshine subjects!

Hope these “qualify” for my ten things you wished you knew

about me:

1. “Sunshine on my Shoulder” (Makes Me Happy!) by John

Denver.

2. I love ‘The Sunshine State,’ Florida and their ocean

views!

3. Have a sunny outlook on life!

4. I have a sunny disposition, it really helps when times

are hard. But, you know, my WORST days are probably better

than some people’s BEST days!

5. I don’t like my eggs Sunny Side Up! I like them cooked

on both sides.

6. Bright, brilliant, shining, hot SUNSHINE is so lovely!

7. Welcoming people with a sunny greeting, goes a long way.

8. Lasting friendships bring sunshine on gloomy, cloudy days.

9. “The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow” or the next day…

(“Annie” musical number may be corny but it makes me smile!)

10. “Sunny Skies…” my oldest daughter called me last Spring

after I had just sung on my cell phone voicemail this song

from “Sesame Street.” I have her hysterical laughter caught

forever on my voicemail, when it asks me to delete it I just

push the #9 and save it. She says a message back, “Mamacita,

you are a silly, silly woman and I love your silly self! Call

me back, when you get a chance!” If you ever come visit,

I will share some of my own Silly Mom messages! She has one

where she says, “Sorry I missed your call, honey, but I was

heading towards the bathroom and dared not turn around to

search for my phone!!”

My girlfriend, Jenny, who lost her mother when she was in

her twenties, says, “Save that forever. Sometimes, I forget

how my Mom’s voice sounded like.”

Here are the Sunshine Award, 2014 nominations!

There are rules about posting the logo/clip art for the

Sunshine Award, listing (at least) ten fellow bloggers to

nominate for their own Sunshine Awards. Add ten things that

are about yourself, sharing with us.

I hope that sometime during this picnic, we have someone

with a stereo to play,

The Beatle’s song, “Here Comes the Sun.”

Check out “Be Good’s” post from 1/22/14 for official rules.

Food for Thought:

1. Celeste writes about plant based diet, so bring

us some healthy brownies or treats, please!

http://honkifyourevegan.com

2. The Novice Gardener Gorgeous photos, recipes

and bits of philosophy thrown into the mix.

http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com

3. Timi (I am Africa and No, You Can’t

Touch My Hair). Thanks for sharing some lively

and funny thought, with sprinkles of wisdom, too!

http://livelytwist.wordpress.com

4. Luanne, Writer Site: You can read to us

some of your memoir (or others you have

been studying.) You will sit at the head of our

picnic table!

http://writersite.org

5. Muscle Headed: You can bring the lemon gelato!

Can I put you down for chicken, too?

http://muscleheaded.wordpress.com

Photography plus more:

6. 50’Lux:

http://50lux.com

Great contrast in photos with city-scapes and

diverse people featured.

7. Tracy (Wanderlust): Travel to New England and discover

original off-the-beaten path photos, along with her

wonderful perspectives on life!

http://tllsci.wordpress.com

8. Sherry La Chelle: There’s always a party around

with music, dancing and fun with Sherry along!

Beautiful photos!

http://travelspirit333.com

http://sherrylachellephotography.com

Soulful Spirits:

9. A man who features philosophy, beauty in nature

and life:

http://euzicasa.wordpress.com

10. Glorialana, my goddess friend who featured a lovely

turquoise and gold elephant representing

me!

http://glorialana.wordpress.com

11. Belinda: Dealing with illness with grace

and courage:

http://busymindthinking.com

12. Jonathan shares All!

http://bythemightymumford.wordpress.com

‘Laughter is the Best Medicine:’

13. beth, who shares her own brand of sunshine with

her kindergartners and other wild, caring stories.

http://ididnthavemyglasseson.com

14. Rebecca who has her own dictionary!

Laugh and snort your coffee through your nose

with this gal!

http://ladyornot.com

15. Modern Philosopher Maine guy with great

resume, writing all kinds of silly and fun

adventures. Creativity plus!

http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com

16. Evil Squirrel has you thinking and

analyzing, enjoying his perspective with

great illustrations (comics by E.S.)

http://evilsquirrelsnest.com

17. Cupid or Cats, so much energy and

fun here!

http://cupidorcats.wordpress.com

You Got Me Thinking…

18. Brenda: Haikus, fairy tales and delightful

photographs!

http://friendlyfairytales.wordpress.com

19. Fergus and the Druid gives us lonely but hopeful

poetry with personal level of feelings.

http://fergusandthedruid.wordpress.com

20. Bullying Prevention (who has been such a great

guy, managing blogs and speaking out against

injustices! Also, you gave me that Dragon’s

Loyalty Award and one other one, I owe you big

time! Smiles, Robin)

http://terkinn.wordpress.com

21. Mama Bear Musings, I like her way of weaving

natural scents, aromas and thoughts into her writing.

http://mauldinfamily1.wordpress.com

What are you bringing to share at our Picnic?

Character Study #1: “a picture of Joe”

Standard

I finished a couple of books recently that helped me to

decide that I need work on developing characters. I was

amazed at some of the examples. I was riveted by the way

the authors added details, gave some definitive qualities

and built in some ‘quirks’ or sources of interest.

I like to listen to people when they tell me about their

family. Their loved ones bring “glow” to their words. I also

have written many love stories, shared by my simply asking,

“How did you meet your girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, spouse

or lifelong companion?”

These stories fascinate me.

The characters that are harder to develop are the ones of

your imagination. The words need to bring life to them, they

need to have some kind of resonating characteristics that help

make them appear in the reader’s mind. They can be based on

real people, too.

These can be your ‘springboard’ to developing characters.

There are four different homeless people who I run into around

town, in a variety of settings. I would like to describe them

first as I see them, then add some substance and a “back story.”

I will imagine where they came from, why they are on the streets

of our small town and hope to make them come alive.

The way they talk, walk, act, little details and interesting

features are already apparent from more than three times we

have had our paths cross.

“Pieces of a Puzzle = A Whole”

I will try to put their pieces together in a completely different

way from my usual ‘glowing,’ positive observations of people, in

general. I will give you some facts and try to fill in some

background.

The first person I chose to do a character study will be a

tall, 6′ 3″ man who spent many hours over the summer, in the

coolness of the library. He would use his allotted 160 minutes,

if there were no waiting lines or ‘reservations’ made.

He had sandy blonde hair, longish and covering his collar.

Our paths crossed only on Saturdays and Sundays, since his

minutes were used up by the time I was out of work M-F.

I will call him “Joe” and his dog, Max would be leashed and

attached to the bench outside the library, around 9 a.m. on

Saturdays, noon on Sundays. We would be in the small crowd,

awaiting the doors to open.

Joe would go straight into the library and get Max’s silver

stainless steel bowl filled with water from the men’s restroom.

Joe would pat Max’s head, if there were someone young nearby

he would allow his dog, a mixed breed, to be petted. Max was

a tannish brown (caramel) color with short hair. He had a

boxer type head to be petted. Joe used the dog’s name, saying,

“Good dog, Max!”

I did not engage in conversation with this man, watching him

and sometimes even seated by him. I did know that he was

wearing similar clothes, a worn pair of jeans, a plain, no

logos or adornment, t-shirt and he had a red bandana on his

forehead, holding back, what looked like rather dirty hair.

Max also had a red bandana around his neck, which touched my

heart when I noticed this pair.

Joe’s hiking backpack was filled to the brim, tied tennis

shoes attached to one of the straps. He wore brown, worn

leather sandals on his feet on most days. Joe was homeless.

This became more evident each time I saw him.

Joe seemed like a ‘traveling man.’ I liked to imagine that

he would have enjoyed the seventies with his long, flowing

hair. The red bandana seemed to be a possible motorcycle

rider emblem. He did not have any tattoos on the exposed

skin when he took off his rather heavy duty coat, (saved

for a blanket?) in the cool air-conditioned library. He

did not need a pillow if he had that coat!

I hope that he found, by the end of the summer, his way

back to where he wanted to be. I hope the destination

became clearer, as he studied pictures of other areas.

I caught him using maps on the computer of southern states,

thought:

“That’s it! Become a ‘beach bum!'”

Then, another time, I glanced forwards to the next row of

computers and I saw a beautiful and serene mountain photo.

It had bright blue skies, sunshine and tall pine trees.

Those towering trees reminded me of the Western coast

up north, like Oregon or Washington. Or Canada. Or the

Upper Peninsula. I hope he headed towards the warm, sandy

beaches, (no offense to those other states but it gets

frigidly cold there and this young man, Joe, and his

very patient and calm dog, Max, need a hot place to call

“Home.”

It would be excellent to think that Joe’s long lost family,

including brothers and sisters, would somehow contact him.

I never saw him using Facebook and only saw him once on

the “courtesy” telephone by the restrooms. He seemed to

be getting directions.

Joe, to my imagination, was dissatisfied with the restraints

of a polished life. He did not want to pursue the direction

his parents sought for him. He was too carefree, yet sensitive,

to stay in the place he grew up. He didn’t want to disappoint

those that had raised and loved him. He had his own path to

follow. I would like to think he knew how to draw or sing,

that he might, with the right “patron saint” find a craft

or talent to provide his dog and he a life, a home and a

way to be proud once again.

I have known or recognized the other three homeless men and

one woman, visibly from a distance. I have been an apartment

dweller, walking resident, for about eight years now. The last

three, the familiar people, have been around town. There have

been times I considered giving them something, especially

when I have come across them, in the big dumpsters in Mingo

Park or my apartment building. I have refrained, not because

I could not “spare a dime,” so to speak, but due to the fear

of their pursuing this hand-out on a more regular basis.

One man is often outside of Walgreens on a bench, one is more

prominently located in Mingo Park and the last one is more of

a variable, the female, who spends time on the campus of Ohio

Wesleyan University. Sometimes, this woman is sharing her

sandwich or crackers with the squirrels. She makes clicking

and tongue noises at them, reflecting their own behavior.

She is good at catching their attention!

The woman is the most likely to find somewhere to go this

winter.

I worked in a battered women’s shelter, where if we were

“full” and no room available, we would find women with

children a place to stay in homeless shelters. This was a

‘truth’ that someone shared: Women are more easily placed,

less likely to become belligerent, fight or cause problems

in shelters. This was stated by a director and a social

worker, both with more experience than I had.

The Andrews House in Delaware, is a public office building

that once was the Case Hospital. Hiram Andrews built it in

1845.

It houses six community social service agencies. It has

six bunks in a loft for homeless people. This has a big

waiting list, I have heard. The Andrews House serves twice

monthly free meals for those who wish to attend.

No questions asked.

My church, First Presbyterian, serves meals on the two

weeks that don’t have meals available at Andrews House.

I am wondering this freezing and incredibly agitating

day, where do the homeless go?

Which reminds me of that sweet and powerful anthem,

(a folk song from the sixties),

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

This song was written by Pete Seeger in 1955 with only

three verses. Joe Hickerson added a circular round

with extra verses. Pete Seeger was the first of many

international musician and singers who performed this

song. I always loved Peter, Paul and Mary’s version

with their incredibly blended voices.

My variation that I thought of, with Joe kept in mind,

(I substituted ‘young men’ for the original version’s

word, ‘husbands.’)

“Where have all the young men gone,

Long time passing?

Gone for soldiers everyone.

Oh, when will they ever learn,

when will they ever learn?”

I just thought the verses suited my pondering about

what choices brought Joe to Delaware, Ohio and then,

due to the bitter cold weather, where did he go?

Unraveling Threads and Intertwined Lives

Standard

This is such a wonderful day! It may be cold on the

outside, but I am feeling all warm and fuzzy on the

inside! We were finished with work at four o’clock

and we all felt like ‘prisoners being released!’

Or as one young fellow coworker exclaimed, “There’s

light outside! This feels like school’s out for the

summertime!” We chuckled along with him, amused by

his enthusiasm. The elderly security guard and I

exchanged a knowing glance.

After I warmed up my car for a good ten minutes to

get the temperature to come up to ‘cold’ the car

thermometer that I assume measures the outside

temp, read “9 degrees.” Not at all registering

the ‘wind chill factor’ outside.

I was concerned when I spotted a young man from

work, walking away from town, so I pulled over

and stopped. His name is Cody, he said, as he

so graciously thanked me before I even took him

anywhere.

I told him that I was only on my way to the library

and that I used to take a nice young man named David

home. I began to tell him about how my youngest

daughter, Felicia, was friends with the singing group

that he was in. That their name was “Team KNYCE.”

He was nodding his head and smiling before I got any

farther. He knew David and had heard the group play

at one of the VFW’s. I asked, mainly out of curiosity,

“How did that audience respond?”

The group includes an eclectic musical style with

some rap but have a little rhythm and blues, with some

hip hop music woven in, too.)

Cody laughed a bit, “I know what you are getting at!

There was quite a mixture of ages and levels of

appreciation there!

But a good crowd of local followers were also there.”

I told him that I had been so happy about their tour

last summer, wondered how they all were? I told him

I have known Josh Moore, the lead singer, since he was

in middle school with Felicia.

By the time we got to his grandmother’s house and he

offered me $5 (of course, I declined this generous

offer!) we had become closer than if we had worked

across from each other all week. Cody is a new heavy

bulk worker. I told him to “Hang in there, with the

job! Or at least until what your chosen field comes

around. The pay isn’t too bad, in this tough economy.

Oh, and say ‘Hi from Robin to the boys,’ if you

remember to, next time they are singing here locally.”

(This story makes more sense when you check out the

rap group Team KNYCE and my story, “Local Musicians.”)

Here are two stories that have had conclusions recently

that some of my faithful readers may be interested in

hearing the results. The oldest ‘loose end’ I traced

a lead and got a response back. I had written “Chasing

Shadows of the Past,” about a long ago student who my

mother had taught, had been to our home and become a

friend to me, later a pen pal.

His name was on a bulletin board around Veteran’s

Day, (my gosh, how time flies!) and my Mom and I

had gone to the front desk of the senior apartments,

found out this man’s room number and taken along her

dog, Nicki, along for the trek to the assisted living

wing of the building.

Just to fill in folks who may not have heard about

this, we had thought that the age of the man in

the picture made him a cohort of my mother’s age,

but we had hoped that he had a son my age with the

same first and last name. It had turned out to be

a rather nice conversation with the ‘wrong’ man!

He did give us the lead of another man with the

same last name, but a different middle initial.

This man was living in Mentor or Medina, he said

and was a doctor. Apparently his mail was going to

his son’s and vice versa, both living in the same

area.

Well, I left a message on Facebook on the page

that allows visitors and onlookers. It was not

answered. I waited until I had time over the

next visit with Mom, Thanksgiving, to try and

get a phone call made, using a local phone

directory. I found a doctor’s office with this

man’s name attached to it. I left a voice message

on their answering machine, mentioning that possibly

my mother had been his teacher, her name is rather

unusual, Mrs. Oldrieve.

I did not bother to leave my Mom’s phone number

since she may totally blank out, forget our quest

for her old student and everything would be for

naught!

Anyway, on this brisk, freezing cold Winter’s

day, I received a very pleasant message on my

cell phone. The man who graduated from Westlake

High School, had my mother for both Spanish

and World Literature classes, who had exchanged

several letters and visited for a few holidays

to talk presumably to her, but also including

me, left me his details!

The details included his family’s phone number.

Jim is married and has two grown children. He was

very warm in his message and requested that we all

wait until Spring, when he would enjoy coming over

to sit outside with Mom, Nicki, his wife and me.

I eagerly look forward to uniting my Mom with one

of her favorite students, exchanging life stories,

revelations and engage in a lively conversation. It

was very fun having that open-ended ‘maybe?’ out

there for awhile, since I still have two of his

pictures, one his senior high school and the other

one from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The last loose end is from a recent story about

work safety and a recent ‘rant’ about administration

in my distribution center.

I am not sure if there was a personal visit from the

Fire Chief, if there was someone sent from their

department or if just a phone call took care of my

‘problem!’

The action was carried out over the weekend!

There is no longer a black trash bag over the

only direct EXIT sign in an area delineated or

named the ‘bomb shelter.’ I work above this

circle where the pallet riders pick up flammable

fluids in cases and aerosol cans in bulk. I am

usually above, filling hampers with aerosol cans

that are being sent out in singles or six packs.

With such flammable products, I had been concerned

about the exit sign being covered and the door

having a sign that said, “Do Not Use This Door

As An Exit.” This had been going on for a month

now. We had an opportunity with that safety

meeting for me to mention this dangerous

situation…

here

The door has been newly painted red!

It has a sign posted, “For Emergency Only,

Alarm Will Sound When Door is Opened.”

Sometimes, I found out, you have to ‘rock that boat’

to get some waves (or actions!)

A poster on my college dorm wall held an appropriate,

short, but sweet message that seems rather apropos:

“Behold the turtle!

It only makes progress,

by sticking its neck out!”