Monthly Archives: November 2014

December Wonders

Standard

Making your spirits bright and your home fires warm,

makes me think of our Winter’s blustery cold and the

upcoming holidays. There are several directions your

faiths and belief systems may go- Kwanzaa, Chanukah,

Christmas or other ways. You may not be living in a cold

climate, you may be in the exact opposite of my location,

being greeted daily with warm sunshine, gentle breezes.

Wherever you are, I try to write a monthly newsletter to

keep up with various customs, cultures and faiths.

Please feel free to add in the comments section, a special

family tradition to make this interactive and meaningful.

 

Thomas Kinkade’s ‘healthy habits’ message for December is:

“Take care of your body, keeping your

body running the way it is supposed to

can be effective in lifting your spirits.”

(12/2001)

In a December issue of Prevention Magazine,

there was a list of “7 Foods to Keep You Healthy.”

I took the list and added a few personal favorite

ways to use these in the Season of Peace:

1. Eating almonds over the holidays will add some

much needed Vitamin E.

2. Serving different peas or beans, not only add

extra fiber to our diets, fill you up more, but also

give you a great source of Zinc.

3. The special addition to carrots, sweetens your

salads or grated can be added to various casseroles

(even mac and cheese), along with Vitamin A.

4. Mushrooms, cooked or raw give you Selenium.

They can be used in dips, stuffed caps or in gravies.

5. Drinking tea, either black or green, boosts your

antioxidants. Over a warming cup of tea, sprinkle a

dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to create some festive

flavorings.

6. Tomatoes give you Vitamin C, which can be so great

at fighting off colds. I like to have them in salads, but

also enjoy the way you can stuff them with crushed

croutons and Italian flavorings. Nutritionists advise

heating tomatoes releases more of its healing power.

7. Yogurt, which you can include in desserts, sauces and

dips gives you those probiotics that we all need, especially

as we get older.

 

DECEMBER

Birthstone:  Turquoise or blue peridot gemstone

Flower: Narcissus

I think of Poinsettias, when I think of December.

 

There are so many new and old books of Christmas,

along with other December holidays. This is a book

which can bridge any personal choices: “Rabbit’s Gift,”

by George Shannon and Laura Dronzek

(Harcourt Children’s Books) Snowfall, blue skies with

the beautiful effect of snowflakes and a message of hope.

 

December 6-

Full Cold Moon.

Full Night’s Moon.

 

December 7-

Pearl Harbor Day

and

Remembrance Day:

Wherever you live, take some moments to

honor your heroes. Those who serve and

protect us and our freedoms deserve our

meditation and gratitude.

 

“Believe in a Higher Being.

Believe in others and yourself.

Believe in miracles and wonders.”

(Author Unknown)

 

December 14- Quarter Moon.

 

15- Bill of Rights Day.

 

December 16th (sundown)- 24th:

Happy Hanukkah!

 

18-

This is the 50th anniversary of the Pink Panther

theatrical short featuring Pink Panther harassing

his foil/enemy. These characters are the creations

of Fritz Freleng. This won the 64th Academy Award

presentations in the department of “Animated Shorts.”

 

Definitely, this is a reminder that December is the time

to enjoy, laugh and be playful. Pink Panther was so silly

and fun.

 

22- New Moon.

 

December 25th- Christmas Day.

Many religions celebrate Christ’s Birth,

Rejoice and Follow the Stars wherever your faith

takes you.

“December is a time

of celebration and joy.

A time of promises kept

and Love reborn.”

~ Flavia, 2003.

 

26th- First Day of Kwanzaa.

This is a festive celebration of African American

community, culture and faith. This continues

until January first.

Boxing Day- Canada, U.K., Australia and NZ.

 

Many people shop for the following holiday

season (2015), finding bargains and gifts for

the coming year.

 

28- First Quarter Moon.

 

December 31st-

New Year’s Eve.

“Another fresh new year is here. . .

Another year to live.

To banish worry, doubt and fear,

To love, laugh and give.”

~ William Arthur Ward

(American Writer, 1921-1994)

 

May you and your family enjoy many experiences of

happiness. This final month of the year arrived far

too quickly! I hope you find ways to make December

stretch, savoring these special moments. Include some

meditation to help you to relax and not get too stressed.

For me, nostalgia arrives as I take out the ornaments

and decorations of Christmas past.

May this lovely time of year fill your senses with joy and

wonder in the simple things.

Most of all, wishing all of you to experience feelings of

Hope and Peace.

 

 

 

Loss of a Fine Crime Novelist: age 94

Standard

Famed detective crime novelist, P. D. James passed away peacefully

in Oxford, England on Thursday. This was in America, Thanksgiving

Day- Phyllis Dorothy James White lived from August 3, 1920 until

November 27, 2014. I had always been fascinated by Phyllis’ personal

life details. She had some similar paths which I had taken, eldest of

three children and having been on her own for quite some time. Her

husband, Ernest C.B. White and she had married while she was 22

years’ old, so had I.

From her father’s civil servant position, to my father’s government

job, the differences became much more apparent when she grew up

to age 16. Phyllis left school at the Cambridge High School for Girls,

choosing jobs at hospitals. When her husband went off to join the

war, (WW II) she had children. The obituary says she had two girls

along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I had just mentioned to someone in my comments’ section that P.D.

James had re-imagined a sequel to the wonderful “Pride and Prejudice,”

with Jane Austen’s characters, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, having become

estranged from her sister and husband, they were arriving through the

woods to a Ball planned. Murder in the forest, led her sister’s husband

to be accused while Elizabeth worked on solving the mystery. This

was on PBS “Masterpiece Theater,” in October, I believe.

While Phyllis’ husband was a doctor, Phyllis became a medical

administrator with the National Health Services in England. Phyllis

took three years to write her first book, “Cover Her Face,” which may

make some take comfort in their own writing and publication pursuits.

Her next three crime novels, focused in on medical terminology, hospital

setting and procedures.  In 1963, “A Mind to Murder” had these medical

details, along with 1971, “Shroud for a Nightingale,” which had realistic

plot line, and the last medically based novel, “The Black Tower,” included

the hospital setting. Certainly, Phyllis D. James White utilized her 19

years of being an administrator to her advantage in crime-solving.

 

P.D. James wrote thirteen novels about murder and mystery, seven of

those books became part of “Mystery!” series episodes on PBS. Adam

Dalgliesh, her most familiar character, was a Detective of Scotland Yard.

His introspection and inner poet made this him a complex and intriguing

man.

When her husband, Ernest, died, she was only 44 years old and she spent

the next 50 years beloved by family but never remarrying.

 

We shall all be mourning the loss of P.D. James. We may be happy that

her life was filled with many years of successful parenting, writing along

with contributing to England’s National Health Service with her fine

even-handed administration.

 

A life well led, she included a sense of humor in her personal interviews.

P.D. James’ favorite line was that from childhood on, after hearing the

old Nursery Rhyme of,  “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty

had a great fall. . .” Phyllis said, “When I first heard that Humpty Dumpty

fell off the wall, I immediately wondered, ‘Did he fall or was he pushed?'”

 

How fortuitous, or showing quite some premonition, to the craft of her

morbid story-telling. P.D. James was one of my favorite female authors

who could draw me into her webs of complex characters and dynamic actions.

Her ability to continue pursuing learning, outside of schools, along with her

accomplishing so much after leaving academia at age 16, all make P.D. James

a fascinating woman who should motivate us all.

 

Sweaters and Thanksgiving Thoughts

Image

When I opened my drawer full of sweaters to search for the ones with

Autumn colors, I ended up having to empty the whole drawer onto my

bed. I could not seem to find the one with its patchwork appearance.

Although, as a preschool teacher I had several turkey pins, along with

some orange, brown and tan sweaters, there was always this special one

I wore and called it my Thanksgiving sweater.

 

While I looked at my wide collection of fall and cold weather offerings,

I was smiling since some of them were getting pretty ‘raggedy,’ while

others were less in style. I started thinking about sweaters and their

characteristics.

This

is

when

I had

an epiphany:

Sweaters are like our family members.

While you are thinking about the upcoming celebratory feast, you may

have some positive thoughts and you  may have some misgivings,  too.

I hope you will see some of the anthropomorphic references in this poem,

of sorts and I also hope it amuses you.

Wishing you a wonderful gathering of family and friends. I hope it is an

extra special time, with pleasant memories of past holidays spoken of

and cherished, too. Those who have gone on and had their unique places

in your family festivities, hope you will have some of the elderly guests

share some more of their own personal memories of the loved ones.

I also admire the idea of going around the table and all sharing their

reasons for being thankful. This family tradition is often part of our own

ritual. I have been lately asking the little ones, “What was your favorite

part of this year, so far?” I like to try and remember them, to put in their

personal albums, which include their photographs and memorabilia we

have collected along our ways. (Tickets for movies, zoo or museums, as

well as menus and maps. I have a few of their drawings included, too.)

 

“Sweaters and Family”

November 24, 2014

 

Sweaters come in all colors,

They come in all sizes, too.

Sweaters can be quite worn

and scruffy looking,

While some may be in

brand new condition.

 

There are the loud ones,

and there are low key

kinds of sweaters.

 

Each has their place,

both

old

and

new.

 

There are those scratchy ones,

who seem to always irritate you.

There are those sweet, dear ones,

who can ‘do no wrong.’

They never grow old

nor out of style.

 

Some are so big and stretched

while others are such pint-sized.

There are the lumpy ones which have

lots of pills,

there are the smooth, soft ones, too.

 

There are the old, familiar ones

and the surprising ones who

unexpectedly turn up.

Those especially nice ones

appear out of nowhere

to discover and include

around the holidays.

 

When rummaging around in your

sweater drawers or storage tubs,

keep in mind how much you love

them all. . .

 

You certainly would not wish to

ignore them

or discard.

Even those

who are

unraveling

a bit.

They are an integral

part of colder

seasons

and

you

may

as well save them

for next year, too.

 

by Robin O. Cochran

 

Do you have a favorite story about sweaters?

If you wish, I would enjoy reading about some of your family

traditions. . .

 

 

Youth Ruled at the AMA’s on 11/23/14

Standard

If you have been around my blog awhile, you may know I have always

enjoyed the splendor and elegance of watching people on the Red

Carpet. I ‘made deals’ with my parents to be allowed to stay up and

watch the Academy Awards and the Kennedy Center Awards, as well

as the Miss America beauty (and talent) show. I thoroughly enjoyed

the AMA’s which stands for the American Music Awards. I know you

already have seen some of the beautiful dresses and attractive tuxes,

along with some of the performances. . .

Here is a summary of my viewing pleasure with some details which

may support what you watched, if you are one who enjoys this, or may

disagree with what some of the newscasters and entertainment emcees’

may say.

On the RED CARPET:

Here is my list of my favorite nine FEMALE performers or award

presenters’ attire.

1. Fergie (of solo performer and Black-Eyed Peas’ fame) wore a classic

black Halston dress, with a silver belt around her waist. It cinched in

nicely and what made her my favorite? Her special story she shared

with the E commentator, Juliana G., she talked about her two year

old son, who is also her husband, Josh Duhamel’s . He is currently

loving his guitar and drum set, while his favorite song is (and Fergie

sang it so sweetly), “Row, Row, Row Your Boat. . .” Being kind on

the inside and beautiful on the outside made me really smile and

vote for Fergie to get ‘Best Dressed.’

2. Heidi Klum, who is not only a past model, but a mother and one

of the coaches on the clothing design show. Also, she is one who is

very open and funny, just a special and talented woman. Her dress

had ‘cut-outs’ which showed her shoulders and a little bit of her skin.

The colors of her gown made it unique- pink, black, gray and white

geometric designs. If you have ever seen her interview children on

her talk show, she has a real knack, as good as Art Linklater. That is

saying something!

3. Kate Beckinsale was a presenter but is one of those famous women

who make you feel she is both classy and genuine. She did not appear

the least bit in a hurry, as she embraced and talked to the interviewers.

She wore a sexy, (Deep V-d neck) white dress. I feel she is ‘timeless,’

wearing the Kaufman Franco dress.

4. Julianna Hough is a country singer, dancer and actress. She is presently

employed as a Judge on dance show. She wore a vibrantly colored red,

pink and orange-ish colored dress which showed a mature side of this

young lady. (She was in a serious movie, along with the remake of

“Footloose.”) I think she is open and honest, while having dated Ryan

Secrest, she did not let interviewers ‘dig up any dirt’ on him, then or

now. She also is protective of her family and particularly, her brother

who still continues to dance on the show. She is sporting a short hair

style, with blonde highlights, this evening was wearing it ‘slicked back.’

5. The woman in Yellow, the only one all night. She was gleeful that

she was unique, while looking stunning. Her name it Rita and is from

the Broadway production of “Finding Neverland,” arriving with Matthew

Morris, who was the chorus teacher in “Glee,” while having been in

musicals for quite some time now.

6. Taylor Swift, gorgeous in a copper-bronze shimmery dress, which she

took the skirt off and made it shorter, while performing her song, “Blank

Space.” I enjoy all of her new album, which has ventured into the Pop/Rock

genre and away from Country Music. She holds her stories and weaves them

into her songwriting, which I deeply admire this multi-talented young lady.

Her short, wavy with a little curl in her hair style really made a big change in

her appearance since the last awards ceremonies. Her performance was my

second most favorite of the entire evening.

7. Nicki Minaj shocked me, no not by being daring or rebellious, but by being

such a stylish fashionista. Nicki is not known for this! Her more reserved, classic

look was in a black dress, with long, straight black hair. She has been known to

have wild hair dyes and sometimes showing up blonde. If she has not used her

distinctive and raspy voice, I would have possibly not identified her.

8. Mary J. Blige looked very attractive in a black fishnet, lacy styled top of her

overall black dress. The black lace was sexy yet not revealing, while there were

sequins sprinkled on this dress.

9. Selena Gomez, looking very mature, with pretty solid black satin dress from

the front, while from the back, it was squared off and totally backless to her

waist. She sang one of her songs, very nicely. I did not write it down, but I did

see on our television set at break time, an overview of all the performances,

with hers featured.

One Direction won my favorite dressed and fun filled group award, on the

Red Carpet. They allowed us to see their meeting with Kate and William, while

one of the men admitted he pointed out, “Nice bump,” to Kate. They won the

following awards, but if you wish to add another you can do so in the comments’

section! They wore black slacks and varied patterned black shirts. No matching

each other for this British group. They mentioned, “The UK,” in conversation,

too.

1. “Best Pop Song.”

2. “Best Pop Rock Album.”

3. “Entertainers of the Year.”

While they are far behind in their ages, much younger but energetic and so

much fun also, I cannot help but say I adore the group of Australian ‘lads’

known as, “5 Seconds of Summer.” Although the song is not uniquely theirs,

since it has been performed by others, I enjoyed their version of, “What I

Like about You.” I got up and danced to their riotous and lively song, which

had the entire audience joining in. They are like the Ramones, started out

in a garage band practicing together.

The A Capella group which starts with P and has a lot of strange letters behind

it, (somewhat like Punxatawney Groundhog, which I can never spell correctly

either!) stopped and won my heart with their in prompt singing of,

“Santa Claus Is Coming  To Town.” Wow! This is probably from the A Capella

television show, which I don’t watch, sadly.

They sure did give Bruce Springsteen a ‘run for his money,’ which is really a

high compliment from me. Their blended voices eliminated any need for a

band accompaniment.

“E!” channel also had an homage to Boy Bands, showing the old photos

of New Kids on the Block, Boyz 2 Men and the fairly recent Jonas Brothers.

(Of course, our generation would have begun the homage or tribute to

all male singing bands with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and you

know the rest of the long list of entertainers who began the “Boy Bands.”)

It was a great way for those in their 30’s like my own two older children

to remember the period of time when these bands came to be. They were

passing the baton on to “One Direction,” Imagine Dragon, “5 Seconds of

Summer,” and “One Republic.”

I also liked Julianna G. who intervied One Direction asking them a great

question: What would you be doing if you had not joined a band?

One of the ‘lads’ mentioned being a teacher before, had completed his

college, another mentioned he would have liked to become a fireman and

the last one who spoke, was acting a little loopy, falling backwards off

the “E” stage platform which caused Julianna to say, ever on her toes,

“Things would be kind of ‘off kilter’ or you would not be the same,

without your musical group, would you?”

The Four Men I admired their clothing and fashion styles were:

1. Neo, who is ‘hip hop’ I feel. You may challenge this and let me know.

He was not on the singing parts I watched, so I am talking off the top

of my head. Neo looked sharp in a black suit and his words warmed my

heart. He embraces all musical genres saying that he admires country

stars and feels they are ‘humble’ and also says ‘rock and rollers’ are also

genuine and give to us all. Neo wore an Anthony Franco suit.

2. The GQ Cover model, actor in two famous and recent movies, who

played the character, “Gus,” in “The Fault is in Our Stars,” is gorgeous.

He also is popular in the movie, “Divergent.” This young man had a

unique short jacket and shirt, along with unmatched pants. It was all

put together in a way he described as from the past.

3. Brantley Gilbert, accompanied by a woman I should know with the

first name of Amber, looked great with his fashionable look. He is a

nice looking country musician who said to the interviewer, “I don’t feel

that fame will ever change me.” He went on to say he feels he is still

the same man under the expensive clothing.

By the way, Luke Bryan won the award for “Best Country Male Artist.”

He looked nice, but not on my short list of best dressed, accompanied

by a female who I should recognize named, Caroline.

4. Matthew Morrison is always attractive and wore a nice suit. I felt

this awards ceremony did not try to blow us away with wild costumes,

except during performances.

An announcement was made that Katy Perry will be performing 4-5

songs at the Super Bowl Intermission. There is a website set up, where

you may vote which songs she should choose to sing.

 

Here are some outstanding performers who did not win any awards

but I feel should be checked out:

1. Ariana Grande who trills like a beautiful songbird, accompanied by

a saxophone. This solo performance was simply lovely.

2. Ella Henderson wowed me, with her 70’s folk song voice, which had

some bluesy and throaty characteristics. She has been compared, which

is a huge compliment to Ella, to Adele!

3. Iggy Azalea, who was ‘discovered’ or sponsored by the hip hop/ rapper

known as, “T.I.” I did not particularly love her rapping song, nor the one

she did with JLo, but I can hear she is versatile and is a beautiful woman.

4. Charlie XCX, who did the song from the movie, “The Fault is in Our Stars,”

which is over-played, (but my three granddaughters love her, almost as

much as they did Idina M. who sang, “Let It Go,” for the movie, “Frozen.”)

Her song that is silly but catchy is called, “Boom Clap (Sound of my Heart)

which really does remind me of “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies and also,

the song, “I Think I Love You,” by the Partridge Family. Charlie XCX

is young and also does a little more racy song about not liking school

and uses a vamp, sexy style while singing, “I Just Want to Break the

Rules.” (Reminds me of several of the songs from my teenaged years.)

 

I am always pleased to listen to “Imagine Dragons” and they have been

at all the musical awards shows of 2014. I liked their 2013 song which

won awards, “Radioactive,” but strongly recommend your listening to

their newly released (and first performance on television) song:

“I Bet My Life,” which starts out quietly, like a hymn, soulful and

intuitive, building and becoming a stand-up party anthem. Wonderful

and worth checking this one out. I would have liked to replay it again,

but do know this will be on all the radio stations and will set records.

 

My favorite duet, which was nicely and sweetly intertwining the older

musician, Wy Clif Jean, with the younger one named “Magic,” who is

famous for his song, “Rude.” How it starts out, was so clever! Magic

began the duet by singing the he wishes to “Marry that girl… for the

rest of my life,” and is asking for permission. Wy Clif Jean’s deeper

and throatier voice responded just like the father of a young woman

would, “No, you will not marry that girl and keep her for the rest of

her life…” Then, of course, the song goes into, “Why do you have to

be so rude? I’ll marry her anyway.” Outstanding performance and

my Favorite one of the night. (Taylor’s would be my Second Fave.)

 

Sam Smith, will be my Third Pick for Favorites of the Evening.

This man wrote the song that many performers have sung, he is

to be given credit for creating a classic. It is reminiscent of many

people’s all time favorite song, “Stand by Me.” Sam’s song is titled,

“Stay with Me.” He acknowledges his favorite artist who sings his

song is Ed Sheeran. I have featured Ed S. as one of my new 2014

favorite singers, and I do like his version of Sam Smith’s song.

Sam has a high falsetto voice, which is heart-wrenchingly and

hauntingly beautiful.  Sam Smith won Best Pop Male Artist. His

newest song, also one to check out is, “You Say I’m Crazy.” I did

feel his duet last night with the new song was exciting and good.

 

Lourde won her First AMA award for “Best Pop Female Artist,”

for her song last year, 2013: “Royals.” She just completed the

soundtrack for the movie, (Hunger Games), “Mockingjay.” The

song with her bizarre and gloomy performance was not nearly

close to how I felt about her fun and mocking song about the Royals.

 

Trying to get this in before everyone goes to watch the news and various

entertainment shows tonight. Let me know if I missed a great one

who performed or looked outstanding…

 

Moral Dilemma

Standard

This is a situation that is meant to allow you to question and

think about your own reactions and decision making.

It was used on a job application where 200 applicants were

in ‘competition’ for the same position.

 

I hope this will lead you to a higher level of Enlightenment:

 

You are driving in your car on a wild, stormy night.

You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people

waiting for the bus.

 

1. An elderly lady who looks as if she may be about to die.

2. An old and good friend who once saved your life.

3. The perfect man or woman (if you are single) one you

have been dreaming about.

 

Which one would you choose to offer a ride?

There can only be one passenger in your car.

 

This once was used on a job application to

determine future employees’ morals and ethics.

 

You could pick up the elderly lady since she is going to die,

thus you should save her first.

You could take the old friend since he or she saved your life.

You own him or her this favor.

You may never get another chance to be able to find your perfect

dream man or woman, however.

 

The candidate who was supposedly hired out of 200 Applicant

had no trouble answering this question.

Think hard and long, since this may be your best Life Decision

you make today!

 

The Winning Candidate for Job Application simply said:

“I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the

lady to the hospital.

I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman or man

of my dreams.”

 

Moral of the Day:

“We gain more if we are able to give up on our own thought limitations.”

 

 

 

Murder with No Remains

Standard

Sometimes, despite all the pleasant thoughts of the day, we find ourselves contemplating

some dark and dangerous ones. I was so intrigued at work, watching my good friend and

coworker, Mark C. emptying the combustibles into certain designated large metal barrels.

These containers are sometimes full of gasoline type liquids, never to be mixed with other

ones. He wears a rather strange goggles contraption (a mask with a filter in place), helping

protect his lungs from gaseous vapors. Other containers have fluids taken from a variety of

damaged containers. Liquids that remove dirt and stains, flammable cleaning components,

along with others which are oil based. I have written a rather awful, atrocious story here.

In all fairness, “Sweeney Todd” and “The Little Shop of Horrors,” along with many other

gruesome tales have rumbled around my mind. Setting my story partially in the warehouse

where I daily work, along with the rural country areas, is what textbooks for writing say,

“Use what you know.”

 

I used to travel down roads to remote homes, with my teaching assistant, Karen, for our

bi-annual visits with families. I hope these elements help to make my story seem ‘real.’

 

One eerie and chilling day, we went to a one-main-street (if it had been out West, you

could have called it a “one horse”) town. This was a small blink of a place, where no one

appeared to be home.

On her home visit form, the mother had suggested if she and her child weren’t in their

trailer, to venture down the lane to another location. When a hound dog howled, into the

soundless air, just as we both noticed someone peeking out from behind their curtains,

we both jumped! We each exclaimed the feeling of the town being “haunted” (her reaction)

or “This could be a Stephen King setting” (my reaction).

This may be the ‘seed’ that was planted, as part of my ‘inspiration’ which germinated into

the following macabre story.

 

By pressing “Publish,” this holds my own original thoughts and I would appreciate if you

would contact me, before you re-blog this. Here is a piece of my own wicked mind.

 

“Murder with No Remains”

Weary from working with the various poisonous smells, pouring different liquids into

the huge funnel, Mark got into his truck. He had a lot of responsibility facing him upon

his return to his home. He turned on the radio station to Mansfield’s 93.3 which plays

mostly ‘easy listening’ music.

He was trying to drown out the demons in his head. He was slightly irritated by the

incessant chattering of the girl that works above him in the Aerosol Room. The Bomb

Shelter was a dark and cold dungeon of a place, where there was little warmth to comfort

him. Mark was trying to figure out why that woman even bothered to talk to him.

 

His train of thoughts had been keeping him company all day,

“I mean, she gave me her phone number almost a year ago. When I didn’t use it to call

her, couldn’t she get the hint?”

She was not his type. . . Too talkative and self-centered.

” I think she should just walk out on me, like the other women in my life. I just wish she

would walk on by me, like the people usually do.”

His further thoughts remembered her recent comment to him,

“‘You represent the Gold Standard for me to hold men up to.'”

“Ha! I am sure this is not what most people would think if they were to read my mind. . .

Strange, but most people thought he gave off such a trusting ‘vibe.’ It has not gotten me

very far in this world, me with the boy next door look,” his thoughts smoldering in embers.

 

Then, his thoughts transferred to another subject. A regular occurrence that may have

come today; the wonderful Schwan truck. Oh, how he loved entering the freezing cold

garage to find his designated location for Schwan food products to be stored- filled with

his favorite foods. On the cooler he left a check taped to the top, to cover the amount for

the products that he and Mother would consume.

 

“I hope they had enough of the Peanut Butter Crackle ice cream and did I order two or

three boxes with fried chicken breast strips? I will get the fire started in the fireplace,

go get my shower and hopefully, Mother will hold off on her wanting something. That is

what I hate about going home. The first bell I bought for her. It should have been ‘good

enough’ for her. But, no, she insisted that it was too ‘tinkly-sounding’ and ‘more like one

rung in children’s church school.’ So, she made me go purchase a large cow bell, which is

most annoying. I feel like she overdoes her bell ringing and wish she would realize how

hard my days are.”

 

“I have the edges of a migraine headache coming on,” Mark thought. He turned the silly

song with Tony Orlando and Dawn singing, “Knock Three Times on the Ceiling,” off.

 

“Ah-h-h! Peace and quiet.”

 

Suddenly, a deer ran out in front of Mark’s truck, which caused him to squeal his

skidding tires, along with sliding on the icy road. Dodging the path of the deer, he

stopped on the precipice of a large ditch.  Mark watched the deer gracefully bound

over the snow fence that ran along the other side of the ditch.

 

“Good thing I got those new tires at Goodyear,” Mark sighed in relief.

 

Then his mind wandered off to Mother again. He smiled a kind of sickly smile, he

was a little amused with the thought of ‘poor helpless Mother,’ lying there ringing

her big, old cow bell and no one to answer her frantically, desperate clangs.

 

“Wonder how long it would have taken for someone to go to the house, after

my death, if the deer had impaled me, through the truck’s windshield?”

 

Sometimes, after four hours of having to run up the stairs to help her, getting her

things, Mark felt like he could strangle her.

 

Mark’s guilty conscience brought him up short, out of the gloomy thoughts that

often accompanied any thoughts of work or home. The migraine’s pain throbbed

his head and he was nearly nauseous,

 

“Not sure if I am about to throw up because of the near death experience or

because of the thoughts of Mother being left alone. . . no one to bring her food,

no one to change her Depends, no one to clean her body and turn her in the

middle of the night so she would not have any bed sores.”

 

It would be days before his sister would come by, since she had given up helping,

never able to fulfill Mother’s request to the perfection that Mark had gotten her

accustomed to.

 

If there were a song playing and his head didn’t hurt too much, he felt that the

one which encompassed his caregiving skills would be,

“Nobody Does It Better.”

 

“Hmm… what is that James Bond song?” As Mark drove down the country lane,

with the rocks making abrupt bumps pounding into his brain, he pondered on

what the movie where James Bond had had this in the beginning.

Later, while he had completed all of his household duties, Mark sat by the fire and

opened up the last book of a trilogy he was reading. When the first clang of the cow

bell of the night came, he knew what it meant. He went into the kitchen and scooped

up one scoop of ice cream into a bowl. He grabbed the little spoon he used to feed

Mother. This was one he had bought for his nephew who used to visit. Then, later,

his grandnephew had used it. This was the best one to feed his Mother. Nothing

fell out of her mouth this way. Mark hated to have to change her clothes again, so he

grabbed a new bib to put on her.

“Like a little bird,” Mark thought of the way her old, wrinkled and puckered mouth

opened up for her bites.

By the time the migraine pain pills were working on his headache, he had heard

the bell’s ring 8 times. Something shifted in Mark’s mind, something creeped into

his thoughts. The fire had made him think of the leaves piled up outside, where

he could add a few pieces of lumber to them. He could make a huge bonfire.

As he walked up the steps, Mark plodded slowly.

“If someone could read my mind now, they would not believe what this quiet

man holds inside himself. I have thought of times where I could use the rat

poison from the barn in Mother’s food. I have thought of an easier way, I could

let her slide down under the water, looking away and ‘accidentally’ she might

drown. I imagine a phone call diverting my attention from her, explaining this

was all an accident.”

Oh, there is one other way I contemplate all day long. It would be the best way.

I have this planned out in details.”

 

Mark felt a lift in his mood, jubilant that the release would be in less than an

hour.

 

Mark’s step was lighter and he started to almost run up the stairs to Mother’s

bedroom. The time flew quickly by, as he smothered her with the pillow. He

counted the allotted time which he had studied and practiced in his mind. He

wrapped her up in the blanket. Such a tiny package and light weight to carry. Then,

once again he made sure she was not moving, unrolled the bundle to check. He

decided to kiss her one more time on her cool, papery cheek.

 

The body was light as a feather, as he ran down the stairs.

When he got to the bottom, he unwrapped her one more time, took her dental

plate out of her mouth. He stopped to think about what he could do with it.

He scolded himself for not figuring out this detail ahead of time,

“Would it melt?”

Then, Mark got his coat, gloves, hat and scarf on. He was ready for this, it was

long overdue.

 

He picked her up roughly, “After all, she can’t feel a thing now.”

 

As he hurried out the door, he started to whistle. It was strange but not one bit

of guilt slipped through his mind. His mood was lifting, part of his daily torture

was over.

Mark built the bonfire, stacking tinder under the logs, since he was uncertain if

the leaves were dry enough to ignite.

 

Everything fell into place, not one bad move. The rest was a ‘piece of cake.’

In the later hours of the night, he would get up. Mark had set his alarm clock. He

knew how long the fire would rage, how long it would take till the bones would

snap and become mere splinters, ashes and soot.

 

He had ‘cremated’ his dog, when Buddy had passed away. He remembered how

long it had taken him to get over the death of his faithful hunting hound dog.

Somehow, he didn’t feel he would have any problems getting over the death of

Mother.

 

Sifting through the ashes, he found little bits of bones, he put these into the first

large freezer ziplock bag. The burnt chips were easily gathered, using his gardening

spade and put into bags. He had barely one and a half bags full of her remains.

He laid down to sleep a restful couple of hours more, jumping up when the alarm

went off. Made his toast and coffee, packed his lunch box and left on time. There

was blissful silence in the house.

 

Mark turned on the rock and roll station while he drove into work, tapping his hand

to the driving beat of AC/DC and feeling quite rejuvenated.

 

At the security check point,  he opened his lunch box to show Len, the Security Guard,

the top layer of his lunch box. He did not bother lifting the sandwich, apple and chips.

Instead of his food items lying upon his usual blue freezer pack,  they rested on top of

Mother.

 

When the Aerosol Girl went to her first break, he walked over to his lunch box, took

out his drink and opened it. He rustled around his lunch box to find his straw. He took

a long draw through the straw of Coca Cola. He then took the can, along with the two

ziplock bags over to the large drum of  most toxic chemicals. He had left the large

funnel set carefully on top. He put the pop down and opened the first bag, the ashes

drained easily through the funnel, siphoning down smoothly. When the little brittle

pieces of bones came, he grabbed the straw and poked them through the hole in the

funnel. He had chosen the barrel with full contents, took the lid and screwed it shut.

He hammered it a bit to make it ‘secure.’

Mark  went over to his desk, grabbed the labels that indicated both “Toxic” and

“Flammable” with its skull and crossbones image.

Mark plastered the two large stickers on the blue metal barrel.

“All that is left of Mother is ‘goo,’ he thought.

He went back to work in his small area of the warehouse, whistling.

Tomorrow, since it was a longer day. . .

He would come home and report Mother wandering and missing.

 

He imagined his sincere, most innocent expression on his face as he would

pronounce the words,

“I don’t have a clue where she may have gone off to.”

 

From his pocket, as an after thought, he went to a second big container,

unscrewed the lid and shoved her dental plate into it.

After that, he dumped a few extra jugs of the oily solution into it.

 

With a resounding thump of his hand, not unlike a pat on the top of his coon

dog’s head after he chewed up one of Mother’s slippers, he finally went back

to his daily procedures.

 

“The End”

 

 

 

A Great Saturday Surprise!

Standard

My good friend, Mark Bialczak, received many photographs from

my cell phone, transferred to his cell phone via this new-fangled

process of picture messaging. It is incredible that first of all, I

have a cell phone. Second of all, I am pretty adept at taking pictures

with my phone and third of all, I met someone through wordpress

who wishes to share some pieces of my family life with others.

So, please tomorrow or the next day, check out Mark Bialczak’s

posts and then, you may not need to see pictures on my posts,

you will start to ‘picture’ me leading my life.

 

Thank you so very much, Mark, for taking this task and making

my life, through my photographs sent to you, become ‘real.’

Now, some of you will visualize the loved ones in my life, as I

write about them. I will continue to be a picture-less blog,

trying to paint pictures with my words…

 

Here is where you may wish to meander over on 11/22/14 or

someday in the future. You will find a man who is caring, great

writer and journalist, who shares information about music,

sports and entertainment. Mark also shows you fun images

of his family life and friends, too. They may be bowling, eating

out or listening to a concert. During many of the months of the

year, you may see Mark golfing. Oh, and definitely his walks with

the fine dog, “Ellie B.,” impart bits of folksy wisdom, Americana

and neighborhood unique features, including decorations and

parks. I will see you over there, commenting and spreading

our connections and forging a strong  friendship. (Many of you

already know him and are frequent commenters, too.)

 

You may find my friend and hero here:

http://markbialczak.com

 

Surrounded by wonderful family members and friends, I am truly

blessed. The photos he chooses, the way he presents them is up

to Mark. Truth be told, I had a very hard time limiting what I

sent. It was like something had come loose with in me, pouring

out my need to share my photographs. I have over 100 on my

phone, so sending him 20 left me scratching my head, trying to

figure out which would give you a true picture of me, alogn with

wishing to share my grandies. So, there may be a photo of the

two precious “M & M” girls. There will be at least one Mom photo

with me. I also had mentioned the three dresses I could wear to

a wedding, so there may be a picture included of my daughter and

I with the Clippers stadium in our background.

 

Here are some photos I did not send to Mark:

Powell’s water park, called a “Splash Pad.”

Creek walks.

Flashlight walks.

Park play times.

Winter snow scenes.

Ducks in the creek.

Pool side antics.

Sky lighting his first match to light a candle. (Age 9)

Micah wearing just his underwear. That kid likes

to be unclothed!

All six children, after thoroughly washing one pair

of glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth after each turn.

Capturing fuzzy photos of their taking turns and

being very patient.

Cupcake family days, where we celebrate a birthday

of one of the adults during months there are such

occasions. Otherwise, it is bring whatever you feel

like eating over to my son’s house, where there is a

big back yard, trampoline, wagon and sometimes

a bonfire going on. . .

Our family picnic, just my children and grandies

which is generally at Delaware State Park, upper

dam pavilions.

 

There is one special wish I would like to pass

on, like a “torch” given to Mark for this special

gift of his posting some of my photos:

 

“With your light, it can be done.”

Spanish version:

“Con tu luz, si se puede.”

(Carlos Santana, 2014)

 

“Many thanks  to all.”

“Muchas gracias a todas.”