Monthly Archives: April 2015

News from “Home”

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uAny time I was away from home, or my parents were away from my brothers and

me, we would hear ‘news’ to keep us connected. Many times, receiving a postcard

or a letter at Girl Scout (or in brothers’ case, Boy Scout) camp, we would feel their

love and be comforted. It is hard to imagine those days, no cell phones, no land-

lines allowed to be used unless by a camp authority figure, usually in case of

emergency, and the line when “Mail Call” came seems a little like when soldiers

get letters from home.

Mom had an accident on Sunday. The day Rich got back from Boy Scout camp

and hiking the “Buckeye Trail” helping Skler to earn the “Buckeye Trail” badge

after driving the hour to my house, then the almost 3 hours to Cleveland, he had

to rush to the hospital. Poor guy! Randy and his out of town art projects ‘gets him

off the hook’ and my being too far away to be a faithful responder, makes it his

position.

Rich left me a series of texts and then, one voicemail on my cell phone. Mom

had not eaten much all day, was taking care of some cleaning project around

her living room. Somehow, managed to have her head down low enough to

lose her balance, and didn’t have the energy to get off the floor. The place

she stays at has an ’emergency pull chain’ in every room, but she did not get

on her knees and crawl. The dining room takes ‘attendance’ and sent someone

to check on Mom. She crawled to the door, it sounds so dramatic.

Rich said she was so embarrassed about ” all the fuss” and wished they had

just helped her up and let her have some sips of her cold coffee. This would

have given her some energy, then knowing she missed dinner she said,

“I would have either heated a microwaveable dinner or made a sandwich.”

She was taken in an ambulance (I cringe at the cost, but oh well!) to the

hospital. She went through a ‘battery of tests’ Rich did not delineate them all

but a CT-Scan and X-rays were included. No head or brain damage, just two

ribs broken. Nothing but over the counter pain killer and a reminder for her

to take her two medicines. One is the new medication for slowing down the

process of Alzheimer’s. Randy and I don’t think she has this, she has dementia,

but we go along with it. The other one is her thyroid medicine. She is not very

good at being responsible, thinking a tablespoon of peanut butter, some juice

or milk, coffee and yogurt are enough to keep her going all day. There isn’t a

lunch program and the cafe which used to serve snacks closed due to low

amount of resident customers. She has a 5:30 p.m. dinner which she has been

so excited for getting to know a lot of people since they switched it from being

‘assigned seating’ to ‘Open seating.’

My Mom’s letter she wrote Sunday, before the accident had three jokes and

a few stories to share here. I like to think of this as ‘hump day,’ where working

people feel the rest of the week is going downhill, since we are now ‘over the

hump.’

These jokes are not her usual age related jokes. Joyce, her California friend,

who is affectionately known by friends and family as, “Pooky,” sent some

political stories which leaned too mush in one direction. I hope the fun of

reading a few light-hearted ‘religious’ jokes will not offend you. They may

lean a little on the traditional roles we may stereotype, but they seemed

harmless to me. I read these at lunch, then tucked them into my pocket to

share on the computer to my blogging friends.

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“One Sunday morning, a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it was

time to get ready for church.

His response was, “One, they don’t like me there and Two, I don’t like them.”

His mother replied, “I’ll give you two good reasons why you SHOULD go to

church! One, you’re 59 years old and Two, you’re their pastor!”

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“The Usher”

“An elderly woman walked into the local country church. She did not attend her

church often, since she had poor eyesight and had to rely on friends for a ride.

A friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps.

“Where would you like to sit?” The man politely inquired.

“The front row, please. I am able to see better there.”

The usher asked her if she would like to have a Large Print Bible and the

woman declined the offer,

“I like to be able to hear and listen carefully to the Bible passages, so

sitting closer is the best for me.”

The usher was a little worried and told her, “You really don’t want to do that,

since the minister sometimes goes on and on, during the sermon, M’am.

There have been people who fall asleep sometimes.”

The woman was indignant, “Do you happen to know who I am?”

“No,” he nervously told her.

“I’m the minister’s mother.”

The usher asked anxiously,

“Do you know who I am?”

“No,” she replied still rather huffy.

“Good,” he answered and quickly walked away.”

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“The Best Way to Meditate”

“A priest, a pastor, a Muslim and a Guru were discussing the best positions

for meditation or prayer.

They had been friends for years, living in the same town, and trying to meet

the changing needs of the community.

They met monthly, rotating from home to home, since they were interested

in having an ecumenical gathering and were making plans over coffee, tea

and snacks.

While this solemn conversation was going on, a telephone repairman was

working on the priest’s phone line.

“Kneeling is definitely the best way to show you are respectful to God while

you pray,” the priest stated.

“No,” insisted the pastor, “I get the best results standing with my hands

outstretched to Heaven.”

The Muslim spoke,

“We face East, kneel and lean our upper body down prone showing our

submission to Allah. Jewish people have been known in their history, to

also face East.”

“You are all wrong,  The most effective position for meditation is lying

down on the floor. Or sometimes I will cross my feet, sit on the floor and

still my mind.”

The repairman who had been avidly listening to the lively discussion,

could not contain himself any longer.

“Hey, guys,” he interrupted, “The best prayer results I ever have had

was while I was hanging upside down from a telephone pole!”

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Smiles and hugs sent your way.

If you have a funny story, joke or something to say,

please feel free to do so!

I

Don’t worry, be happy!

May’s Month of Merriment and Awareness

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The movie and musical, “Camelot” includes a song which brightens my spirits.

It is the classic, “The Lusty Month of May.”  It has some light-hearted elements

of naughtiness included, with blaming Spring, flowers and aromas found in May

for some misbehavior.

There seems to be a significant number of songs with the words, “merry, merry

month of May” included on lists you find on the internet. You might enjoy finding

a favorite May image and quote for yourself to enjoy.

This is a monthly list of memorable activities and historical dates for your

entertainment and making it interactive by your adding noteworthy or significant

May dates in the comments section.

I would like this to continue as an international series for each month.

.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MAY, 2015 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May’s Gemstone: Emerald

May’s Flower: Lily of the Valley

May First- “May Day”

According to Irish tradition, yellow primroses scattered on your threshold

will protect your home from “troublesome spirits.”

I enjoy memories of making baskets or bouquets of spring wildflowers to

place on neighbors’ porches, ringing the doorbell and running. As a mother,

I lived in a single story apartment building, so would help my children make

bouquets of tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinths wrapping them in wet

paper towels.

The kids loved knocking on doors of the apartments where we knew elderly

people lived. It they were not home, they would leave them tucked in their

screen doors to find.

As a preschool teacher, I think making braided placemats and colored paper

baskets were fun activities to celebrate May. We would use donations of simple

silk flowers which would not wilt nor fade after a few days, adding them in the

baskets. Parents liked the finished projects and sometimes remembered and

shared their own “May Day” memories.

Did your parents ever tell you about holding a long ribbon or rope and winding

it around a May pole? This seemed very intricate and must have been fun while

listening and dancing around the May pole.

May 2-

The Kentucky Derby Race.

The race has 3 year old thoroughbreds “running for the roses,” as part of

the Triple Crown tournaments.

Mint juleps, anyone?

The new “Avengers: Age of Ultron” movie will be released today. I am proud

they use Cleveland, Ohio as a place to film downtown views, along with the

Plum Brook NASA facility, (Sandusky, Ohio.)

May 3-

Full Flower Moon.

Until I was putting these monthly calendars together, I was unaware

the each month’s Full Moon had a Native American name, one which

Old Farmer’s Almanac also uses. Jules and I connected on this subject

and I am thankful for this connection. She has a few different blog sites.

http://julesgemstonepages.wordpress.com

May 5th-

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

This was the date of the Battle of Puebla, where the country of Mexico

won against French control.

Get your festive colors out!  Try on a Mexican sombrero and eat Mexican

food, introducing it to children and grandchildren. Enjoy this Internationally

celebrated day.

Margarita, anyone?

Another choice for honoring Cinco de Mayo is to plant ‘Mexican Hat’

plants, (Ratibida columnifera). These lovely perennials are both easy

to grow and drought tolerant. The bright golden and scarlet Mexican Hat

flowers attracts birds, bumblebees, and butterflies.

May 8-

On a serious note:

This is the 70th Anniversary of VE Day. Please fly your flags and give

respect for the servicemen who helped to end the European campaign

of WW II. We honor all those who serve in any war, skirmish or protecting

our world.

It is also “Truman Day” celebrated in Missouri.

On a lighter note:

I admire and enjoy these two older but brilliant actors, Diane Keaton

and Morgan Freeman, who will be an “AARP-approved” movie release

of, “5 Flights Up.” They portray a couple who have decided to move

out of their home and into an apartment, I believe.

Another AARP ‘news update,’ was that Twiggy, at age 65, will be the

“UK face” for L’Oreal Paris products. I like her looking so beautiful,

with a mid-length hair style. She will always be my ‘image’ for the Bob

hair style I enjoyed as a younger woman.

May 9-

The Season Opening of Cedar Point Amusement Park, Sandusky, Ohio.

This is a higher costing place to take your family, but still a lot of ‘bang

for your buck’ in the atmosphere of going high above lush gardens on

the Sky Ride, looking out at the three sides of Lake Erie which this ‘point’

sticks out into. Along with a rich history, which I have written a whole

other post about, from when it began to entire renovation of the Hotel

Breakers. You also can ‘camp out’ if you get your reservations in for

their campgrounds. (I worked there for two different summers of my life,

one where I had just finished high school, 1974 and the bicentennial

where the Big Ships came into Lake Erie ports, 1976. I had a ‘blast!’)

May 10-

Happy Mother’s Day to all those women who played a mother’s role

in young people’s lives.

Do you want to hear the total breakdown and estimates of last year’s

Mother’s Day purchases?

$3.65 billion spent on jewelry.

$2.35 billion spent on flowers.

$780 million spent on greeting cards.

If you have a favorite Mother’s Day memory, please share this with

all of us.

May 12th-

Haagen Daas ice cream parlors will be giving out free single scoop

cones of ice cream, gelato or sorbet. Yummy! Look up the closest place

and indulge in this treat.

May 16-

Armed Forces Day.

This is a day to honor those who have served around the world, so

please fly your flags proudly.

Definitely not over the hill, Debra Winger celebrates her 60th birthday

today. She was born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in 1955. I liked her in the

‘tear jerker’ 1983 movie with Shirley Maclaine in “Terms of Endearment”

and the romantic serious movie, “Urban Cowboy,” with John Travolta.

May 18-

New Moon.

This is a little ditty or country expression:

“Eat leeks in March,

Garlic in May.

Then the rest of the year,

Doctor can play.”

On this date, May 18, Canada celebrates Victoria Day. I enjoyed reading

and writing about Queen Victoria on a post called, “A Flower Cart Vendor

and a Queen,” written on May 20, 2014.

May 19-

Pete Townsend turns 70 today. Yet, Pete is still musically challenging himself.

We may enjoy and listen to a new orchestral version of the Who’s classic,

“Quadrophenia,” released next month in June, 2015.

May 20th-

This may be the night you DVR or stay up late. It will be the last David

Letterman Late Show. When he ‘signs off,’ there will be multitudes of

famous messages and guest stars. Wishing David L. a happy retirement!

May 22nd-

National Maritime Day.

This just calls out to me, “Head towards large bodies of water!”

Enjoy boating or swimming. . . to celebrate. Find local sources of

water and learn something about how it contributed to historic

settlements nearby there.

May 23rd-World Turtle Day

Since 2000, people around the world have

celebrated this day for turtles. It started as

a ‘sounding the alarm’ to increase respect for

and knowledge about one of world’s oldest

creatures.

The co-founder with Marshall Thompson, Susan

Tellem, of American Turtle Rescue (ATR) expresses

this in such an eloquent plea:

“These gentle animals have been around about 200

million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a

result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction

and the cruel pet trade.”

A fellow blogger, Barb, and her husband have been part

of this wonderful ‘saving turtles’ project. She posted about

this last year.

http://silverinthebarn.wordpress.com

Here are some suggestions to consider:

~ Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop; it increases

demand from the wild.

~ Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they

are sick or injured.

~ If a tortoise is crossing a street, pick it up and gently place

it on the other side in the same direction it was headed.

~ Write legislators about keeping sensitive habitats preserved.

~ Report cruelty or illegal sales to a local animal control shelter.

~ Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise less than 4 inches long,

which is illegal throughout the U.S.

Check out:

http://Tortoise.com or Facebook.com/AmericanTortoiseRescue

May 24-

Whit Sunday.

Pentecost which in some religions represents the 7th Sunday after

Easter where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Disciples.

Celebrities John C. Reilly and Rosanna Cash celebrate their

birthdays today.

This is John C. Reilly’s 50th birthday.  I felt John did an outstanding

performing and singing job in “Chicago” film version. He ‘blew me away,’

in this entertaining musical. He portrays a ‘fall guy’  taken advantage of,

by a young starlet. The song is called, “Mr. Cellophane.” The sense of

the song is how he feels invisible. John’s new project is a comedy movie,

performed with his friend, Will Ferrell in, “Border Guards.”

Prepare to laugh out loud.

This date is Rosanna Cash’s 60th birthday.  I think if you have not listened

to her album and song, “The River and the Thread,” you may wish to do this

for her birthday. It was considered to be the “Most played ‘Americana record’

of 2014.” This fact was published in the May/June “AARP” magazine. My very

favorite song, which brings me to tears on this album is sung by a marvelous

collection of musicians, including John Prine and Kris Kristofferson .The song

is called, “When the Master Calls the Roll.”

May 25th-

Memorial Day Monday.

Hope most of you will have a three day weekend, since this

is Memorial Day weekend here in America. We celebrate by

having picnics, beach or pool parties, eating lots of barbecued

foods, potato salad, cole slaw, kale and cabbage salads and

delicious cold or frozen desserts.

Even though it runs from June 1- June 7th, this is the time to be

looking into weekly passes for what some simply call, “The Memorial.”

The 40th Memorial Golf Tournament’s pass is priced at $173.00. If

you are a golf fan, this is not that bad of a price to be able to be

among the leading golfers of the world for the entire week.

Hideki Matsuyama won the 2014 PGA Memorial Tournament.

I was only able to attend the Memorial golf classic once although it is

held very close by, in Dublin, Ohio. Jack Nicklaus, who brought this

event and helped to get the course made in Ohio said of Hideki, who

was only 22 when he won with a 3 under par of 69, that you will be

seeing this golfer for years to come in international golf tournaments.

May 31- Orthodox Pentecost.

This date is considered to be significant as the day the Holy Spirit

descended upon the Disciples.

Please include any special dates we need to remember in May.

Wishing you a bunch of flowery, happy May days, my friends.

Touchy Subject

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When my Mom was 16 years old, she went to live for the summer at her Aunt

Dot’s and Uncle George’s apartment above their pharmacy in Rockport, MA.

She was happy to sometimes work downstairs at the soda fountain, but liked

even better working at the candy counter. My Uncle George’s first cousin,

Roger Tuck, was the candy maker. (I have met people who stopped in to buy

boxes of Tuck’s Candy, along with having some shipped across the country

too.)

My Mom also didn’t mind watching the rambunctious identical twins, Eddie and

Johnny. My Aunt Dot and Uncle George had three children, the twins were the

last boys. They were what their elders called, ‘full of piss and vinegar.’ Mom felt

they were adorable four year old’s. My Mom, you see, was 12 years older so

she played with the twins, helping provide companionship and occasionally,

supervision.

My Aunt Dot was a teacher, so during the summer was free to keep track of

the little ‘hoodlums.’ They look really cute in black and white photographs.

When my Mom’s cousins reached their twenties, they were both in college but

chose to go serve during the Vietnam era ‘skirmishes.’

My Cousin Eddie was a medic, who went on to become the pharmacist who ran

“Tuck’s Pharmacy” on Bear Skin Neck. He took over after Uncle George retired.

My Cousin Johnny emerged a completely different person. He had been studying

liberal arts degree in California where he got married while in school. He was a

‘sensitive soul,’ who never quite got ‘back on track.’  He decided to join the local

artists who lingered on the wharves and piers, setting up their easels. Johnny got

a studio apartment and created paintings which resembled anguish and terror.

in broad impressionistic, impassioned strokes.

How two identical twins could have such different experiences is due to their

unique temperaments and also, to where they ended up in the service. Being

a medic meant Cousin Eddie did not often have to shoot or kill people. His life

was in danger, he was trained to kill but he did not experience what Johnny

went through. Ed waded in the swamps from place to place, got bit like Johnny

by mosquitoes and other living experiences were similar. But Johnny had to

fear enemies who were hiding in the jungle, he had to kill ones who came at him,

springing out of places, scaring him and forever altering his life.

Cousin Johnny came back to California to school and wife. He displayed severe

psychological changes in erratic behaviors, making it nearly impossible for his

wife to stay with him.

It was during my 16th summer, when I was 15 years old that I came to live in the

apartments above the pharmacy. The soda fountain had been discontinued but

I mainly had the fun opportunity to work the candy counter. I also helped stock

shelves, sold cigarettes and magazines. I did not handle the prescriptions, my

Cousin Ed insisted only he or Uncle George did this.

When I was helping set the table for my first meal with Aunt Dot and Uncle

George, my dear Aunt Marie came in pouring sweat. She worked in the next

town, Gloucester, at Gorton’s fishery.

There was no air conditioning, just fans at her factor. Which I do contemplate

while I am working in the summer at the auto parts warehouse. I think of her

being able to do this, helps motivate me some days. (Aunt Marie worked for

20 years there, after Uncle Pete died, until she reached 65.) She went off

into her apartment, humming as she passed us, to wash up and change for

dinner.

The phone rang and shortly after that, Cousin Johnny arrived. He wanted to

see his Cousin Rosalie’s daughter, Robin. We had met while I was young and

I had felt his emptiness and sorrow. He just was one of those, had he been able

to carry a tune, he would have ‘sung the blues.’ He wanted to take me for a

walk after dinner, to show me the different things and places within walking

distance. He was 12 years older than I, so had been home for about 4 years

from what they simply called, ‘the war.’

Johnny asked me at the end of the walk, what I thought about certain songs,

certain art periods. I told him I appreciated his taking the time to ‘show me

around.’

We decided to get a pop out of the cooler in the shop and go out to the edge

of the wharf. We hung our feet over the water and he told me a little bit of the

terrible things he had visioned and experienced while in Vietnam.

Cousin Johnny asked me if I were ‘grown up’ enough to hear about death?

I told him that I had been reading “Red Badge of Courage,” “Moby Dick,” “The

Scarlet Letter” and I had finished “Dr. Zhivago.” All had adult themes and there

were episodes of pain and anguish in each. These stories included heartbreak.

I told him I could handle adult subject matter.

He told me about his coming back and he said, “I f – – – ed up, Robin.” I waited

for him to give me details, but he only elaborated by saying a word I later came

to understand, “alienated.” He had alienated his wife, had alienated the other

soldiers in his combat missions and had been dishonorably discharged due to

his psychological disconnect from what he was assigned to do.

I gave him a hand to hold, felt very responsible and adult, while I told him, “My

parents don’t believe in Vietnam.” He nodded and said, “They are right, it

is the wrong place to get involved in and we won’t solve their problems.

What would they do if your brothers decided to not listen and follow orders,

if they were drafted?”

I reminded Johnny I was just going into my sophomore year, Randy would be

a freshman and Ricky was still in middle school. As a family, we had talked and

discussed Vietnam. We were like so many other families, watching it on the

news daily.

My parents felt that my brothers should decide on their own, when the time

came, but would support their going to Canada, if this war kept on going. I told

him we hoped and prayed it would be over by the time the ‘boys’ each turned

18. Turned out, the draft ended before they reached that age.

Johnny started crying. It was such an unusual thing. I had seen my Dad cry a

few times, but he was the only male adult I had ever seen weep. This made

an indelible impression on me. I did not have a tissue or a purse, nothing but

an arm to throw around him.

My only words were, “Everything’s going to be okay, Johnny.”

I was relieved when we started walking home. We walked holding hands, he

swung mine and tried to make jokes. Telling me a few ghost stories and other

Rockport legends. I asked for his opinion on LIzzie Borden, since this was a

question I had written in my journal to find someone to talk about the Salem

witch trials and specifically Lizzie B.

I was happy when I was in my 20’s to know my parents were heading to go

to Rockport, to attend Johnny’s wedding. They took photographs and I liked

the flowers and casual dresses the bridesmaids and bride wore. He got married

to another hippie/artist and they later had  a boy and named him Nathaniel.

I had to smile since we had discussed Nathaniel Hawthorne, along with Boris

Pasternak.

Thank goodness, he did not name him “Boris,” I felt.

I hoped Johnny and his wife would be happy, since I could tell he was not

able to handle what he had seen. His coping skills were not solved through

counseling, smoking pot or time passing.

I was off at college when they married.

Things did get rocky, but I will not go into any more on that story.

“AARP” magazine was focused in their May edition on the 40th anniversary

since the Vietnam war ended, 50th anniversary since the first troops were

sent off. The title holds a phrase, “For those who were there, the memories

of those bitterly divisive years live on.”

(The truth about the dates is that we got involved in the 1950’s with

Indochina and Vietnamese conflicts.)

There are quotes from dedicated war heroes, ones who believed in what

they did to protect the people of Vietnam from Communism.

A U.S. Army Specialist, Fourth Class named W. Paul Coates was there from

1965 to 1967. He uses the movie, “Born on the Fourth of July” to illuminate

or explain how the ‘bad side’ was, but he felt at age 17 that he was “Doing what

John Wayne did. Only instead of fighting the Japanese, it was the Vietnamese

we were going after.” He also admits,  “I didn’t  fully understand it.”

There are many ‘sides’ and balanced parts of this article. An example of a

civil rights worker who was arrested while protesting in Washington D.C. in

August, 1965:

“Let me tell you why we civil rights workers were so against the war. The

federal government was not providing any protection of democracy in

Mississippi, yet it told us we had to go 10,000 miles away to protect

democracy in Southeast Asia. We weren’t buying it.”

(Miriam Cohen Glickman.)

UPI Reporter, Joe Galloway tells a harrowing story about our own U.S. Air

Force dropping two cans of napalm on the troops due to poor visibility in

the jungle. He describes this:

“I felt the fire on my face immediately. I looked and there were two guys

dancing in the fire, screaming.

I don’t know what got into me, but I ran into the fire. I grabbed the feet of this

kid, and as I pulled him up his boots crumbled . . .”

(Graphic details omitted.)

“For years I was haunted. How can I explain it to somebody who hasn’t been

there? You live with it. You carry so many ghosts. I thought for a while they’d

drive me crazy.” (He witnessed the 4 day “Battle of la Drang in November, ’65.

Galloway was awarded a Bronze Star for valor as a civilian. He is also the

co-author of the book, “We Were Soldiers Once. . . and Young.”)

There are many different points of view shared, one which is particularly

poignant and meaningful is told by U.S. Navy Chaplain, Ray Stubbe.

He served at Khe Sanh during the 77 day siege of the base in 1968:

“I went out to Hill 881 South, near Khe Sanh, on a Sunday in 1967 and

held a little worship service. . . .”

(He talks about his sermon but what really had an impact on me is his

description of the state of the soldiers and how they would go out of their

way to help each other and pull each other out of harm’s way.)

“The Marines were all lined up, and they were really raggedy. Clothes were

rotting off. These were like 19 year old’s, 20 year old’s, and so different in

many ways. Yet they were all Marines, and they took care of each other.”

Chaplain Ray Stubbe continued in the interview:

“This became even more evident later on, in the battles- – how they would

dash out in the middle of incoming and drag a total stranger who had been

hit. It goes beyond camaraderie. It’s like they were a single organism.

Theologically, I can use the term ‘love’ . . . they really loved each other, by

how they lived and what they did.”

The article included more opinions and memories. This, interestingly enough,

is a quote from Colin Powell. He later served as our Secretary of State:

“While back at home, the country seethed with controversy over the war. I

do not recall a single discussion on its merits among my fellow officers all the

while I was in Vietnam. Questioning the war would not have made fighting it

any easier.”

(Colin Powell served as a U.S. Army major in Chu Lai in 1968.)

The years we were involved are written and sketched on many historic and

human ledgers, the end is considered to have been in  April, 1975.

The beginning starts in the fifties, goes into more full swing in the sixties,

continues into the seventies.

I would never spit or defame someone who put their ‘life on the line’ for our

country and others, to preserve what we felt was necessary. I am one who

is respectful and believes my Cousin Eddie did just fine under the duress

of working in the medical units. I feel my Cousin Johnny never did get quite

adjusted to what he had seen, heard and experienced for the four years of

his military service. It is not my place to express too much, but to say that his

ending was not a very happy one. Let’s leave it at that.

Have you been aware of the anniversary dates coming up and passing from

the Vietnam War Era?

Never Too Old to Try Something New

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There is always something ‘funky’ and unique about foods I have never heard

of before. I am sure many times I have been offered a bite of something by

first, while young, my parents, later by friends and coworkers. I enjoy having

been included in International potlucks and look forward to going to summer’s

International festivals, too.

You may ‘chime in’ with something you have recently heard of or even better

yet, taste-tested.

These are healthy and interesting additions to include in your Spring and

Summer feasts.

~Try adding instead of Salt; suggested flavors of-

Lemon juice.

Lime juice.

Vinegar.

Pesto.

Sriracha.

Low sodium versions of Soy, Tobasco and Worcestershire sauces.

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I have heard of these, but still have not tried:

~Adzuki Beans.

~Matcha.

~Hemp Milk, Cashew and Almond flavored.

~Kalettes.

Okay, this is the first on this list I have actually tried and enjoyed. It is also

called, “baby kale.”

~Freekeh.

~Chia Seeds.

Not to grow ‘hair’ on cement or pottery shaped items but to eat and be

nutritious, too. I have tried this along with Flax seed sprinkled on my salad.

It adds texture and interest. I did not feel it changed the flavor either.

Quinoa has been around, but recently I tried the Red Quinoa and found it

to have a more complex flavor, changing the ingredients more than the other

kinds I have tried.

**************************

Fremented foods are still “In:”

Kimchi.

Miso soup is now being served in a variety of offerings, at Panera Bread.

Sauerkraut.

Kombucha.

My daughter left me two bottles of cranberry kombucha, which she merely

explained, “These are more ‘your style,’ Mom. They are too sweet.” Not in my

mouth nor in my mind, did this appeal to me. I wrote about the television series,

with Minnie Driver, whose character had these bottles and jars of this. I know

at least one fellow blogger, Barb, (Silver in the Barn blogger) who enjoys this

extremely sour, fermented and healthy beverage. I just can sip on it for about

three sips, which I picture my Mom telling me to take ‘three bites’ when I try

foods. Still have the first of two bottles, barely sipped on.

*************************************************************************

What is “Back In”?

Eggs

Milk

Coconut Oil

Butter

All of above foods and oils, never left my so-called “balanced diet.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is New in Herb Gardening?

Basil comes in Many Varieties!

I knew about the Italian and Genovese basils.

Sweet basil may be grown for Pesto.

Thai basil has a sweet anise flavor.

Holy or Tulsi Basil is used in Asian food flavoring. It is both

pungent and clove-like in flavor.

Purple-hued Opal Basil is being used in garnishes and to add

color to salads.

Lemon basil is citrusy and may be used in infused vinegars and

perfect match for seafood.

Another basil suited for seafood and salads is Lime basil.

Cinnamon basil is full of a hearty and spicy flavor suited for stews

and other dishes.

Little leaves or Pistou and Fino basils are filled with an intense

aroma. They also give a sweet and spicy flavor, along with having a

softer stem than most basil plants.

All of the above varieties of basil can be grown in pots placed in a

sunny spot. Pick any basil while they are young, which makes a fresh,

creates a more aromatic and delicious flavor.

What have you recently tasted which was new, refreshing or delicious?

Had you realized how many basil plant varieties were available?

Cheery Thoughts

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Looking forward to the weekend, hoping all of you in blogland will be having

a terrific time. It will be chilly here. I am concerned about my grandson’s Boy

Scout camping out adventure with his Great Uncle Rick, my youngest brother.

My oldest daughter and I went shopping, flying down aisles, since she had a

list and we were on a ‘mission.’

We bought long underwear and thick socks on ‘clearance racks.’ We bought

a collapsible bowl and a set of reusable silverware on a clip for my brother,

she bought both for her son, Skyler. We found a camping mat to keep my

brother’s sleeping bag dry. (There is a prediction of rain.)

Carrie has a mat for under Sky’s sleeping bag.

We found this cool backpack, which the leader and pack had suggested

others to purchase, which has a removable plastic collapsible 2 L. water

bottle inside. She bought this backpack since Sky’s bookbags are all very

heavy weight. This was purposefully made for hiking; lightweight and has

some padding on both the straps and the actual part of the backpack

which leans on the person’s back. (I hope you can follow this round-about

explanation.)

We bought some Field and Stream pants which will ‘wick’ the water, should

Skyler get soaked on their three mile hiking adventure.These super pants

can be unzipped and become shorts. They cost a ‘pretty penny,’  which I

did suggest handing the receipt to his Daddy, to have him consider splitting

the costs. If we had gone to the Boy Scouts of America store, many of the

items would have been double the cost. We shopped at Meijer’s and Kohl’s.

This post is partly to explain about my family’s plans for the weekend,

along with some extra fun ‘weekend’ or ‘escape messages’ given.

I like to let you know, since there are gaps in my posting and commenting.

Just to say, my Saturday and Sunday will be spent with “left behind younger

brother,” little Micah.

To get some things ready for our fun times, I picked out two great movies

from the library. (We have seen the only kids’ movie at the Strand theater,

here in Delaware, Ohio.) I found three Franklin the Turtle library books, along

with buying at Kohl’s (yesterday) one stuffed turtle. If you have never stood at

the check-out and seen the “Kohl’s Cares” different books and stuffed animals,

you may wish to check these reasonably priced items out. The books I got from

the library saved me money but the turtle (as are all of the “K. C.” products)

priced at $5. This will be Micah’s “camping at Nana’s toy and new compaion.”

My own brief summary of Kohl’s Cares for Kids:

The proceeds from sales go to health and education initiatives in communities

where the purchases are made. Kohl’s is giving back to the local people who

are purchasing and supporting this cause.

There is a fun article titled, “What Living in Paradise Taught Me,” by Amanda

Walkins on “Huffington Post.” This caught my eye. Many times on our work

days, when someone asks someone else, “How are you doing?” or “How are

you today?” I was ‘taught’ by a sweet twenty-three year old coworker who has

gone on to ‘better things’ (I hope!) to say, “Just another day in paradise.” So,

of course this article intrigued me.

Amanda W. spent time in Roatan, Honduras working in a legal association,

leaving Washington, D. C. behind her.  I like one of her opening sentences:

“Anyone, anywhere, can cultivate the calm that vacationers and expats like

me famously find in the tropics.”

Here is a break down of her five topics which were her paradise lessons:

1. “Electricity is Over-rated.” Power outages must happen there in the tropics

often and this place made her feel like she was ‘living off the grid.’ Meaning

no laptop, iPhone or Kindle sometimes available for usage.

Her final sentence in this #1 topic is a great lesson for us all:

“But when I’m faced with no electricity, I remember to breathe, reflect and

listen to the waves and the wind.”

~*~ We could always listen to the wind, in Ohio, I thought.

2. “Make do- – It’s fun!” Apparently, in Honduras staples like bread or milk

or tomatoes, along with chicken may not be available to purchase.

She mentioned this for #2:

“I’ve learned to get creative. Thinking of new culinary concoctions is a

favorite pastime.”

3. “Needs are Different from Wants.” When you live simply she suggests

in an area which is impoverished, you can get away with hole-y pants,

worn out clothes and stains, too. This is just what happens to people.

Here is Amanda’s summary of her thoughts on #3:

“It’s liberating to realize that I don’t notice what anyone is wearing,

what type of phone a person has or whether or not someone owns a

vehicle.”

4. “Time Shouldn’t Dictate Life.” Oh yes! I need to embrace this one,

I thought. When you feel like you have to ‘schedule everything in your

life,’ you may wonder where time has gone.  Tourists and the islanders

tend to be laid back and relax, feeling no pressure to finish things in

a hasty manner.

She tells us all:

“When the sun rises, a new day begins. When it sets, a new night begins.

It’s that simple.”

Her final topic or lesson~

5. “Trust these Words.”

She is quoting another author, Karen Blixen:

“I know the cure for everything- –

Salt water. . .

In one form or another.

Sweat, tears or the salt sea.

There’s nothing that

One or all of those can’t fix.”

*****************************************************

~*~ Here is my P. S. ~*~

*******(Post Script)*******

I like to drink different teas.

Have you ever tried “Yogi” tea?

I received in just this past week

Four Important messages.

I felt they were a lot like getting

************ Fortunes **************

Yogi message # ONE:

“Where there is Love,

There is no Question.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yogi message # TWO:

“Travel light,

Live light,

Spread the light,

Be the light.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yogi message # THREE:

“An attitude of

Gratitude

Brings opportunities.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yogi message # FOUR:

“I am beautiful,

I am bountiful,

I am blissful.”

I truly hope one of my Yogi Tea messages

or one of the Paradise lessons will be

extra meaningful to you.

Enjoy your weekend and hope the Boy Scouts

don’t end up sleeping in the parents

and leaders’ vehicles!

Tough Decisions and “Ultimatums”

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The song, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” came out in 1973, performed by the rock

‘n roll “shock” artist named, Alice Cooper. I happen to enjoy many of his songs,

especially, “Only Women Bleed.” This is a post about setting limits, deciding

where to draw your line in the sand and ‘ultimatums.’

Do ultimatums ever work?

Think back to when you may have been in charge of children, as a parent,

aunt, uncle or presently, you may be living this nightmare. Oh, “Welcome

to My Nightmare” is another favorite of Alice Cooper’s song play list.

Here are some examples when I took a casual poll of my coworkers. They

were ‘all about it,’ when I introduced the subject matter.

I told my tablemates about some examples of poor discipline, which come

back to ‘haunt’ me when my kids get together and start talking about their

own children’s ‘behavior problems.’ Then, they will launch into the time my

son, Jamie, had been up on the roof hanging out, his window opened on to

a level of roof. I had told him sternly, “You better get in here!” when a couple

of the babysitting kids had ‘told on him.’ He had taken his ‘good, ole’ sweet

time coming in.’ I had been rounding up the kids, sending groups into the

bedrooms, preparing for our Tuesday at the Pool time. Jamie got ready after

everyone else was. I just loaded everyone up, making sure they each had

their ‘book bags’ which stored their flip flops, towels, snacks and snack money.

While we were driving, I used a very casual voice,

“I forgot to pay a traffic ticket so we will need to stop at the police station.”

When we arrived, I told them,

‘”This will only take about 10 minutes, everyone hold hands and follow

me into the station.”

When I saw a big wooden bench along the wall, I pointed to this and had

them all sit down. They were excited about the pool, so good manners were

being used, directions were being followed. I explained to my coworkers that

if there was ‘bad’ behavior on the way to the pool, they would have to sit out

the rest of the time period until the next break was over. Everyone always had

their library books in their book bag, so they were supposed to read, parents

knew this and the kids abide by these rules.

I walked over to a wall with a plate glass (looked like it was bullet-proof) window,

where there was a woman sitting looking at a computer screen. There was a

circle at about my forehead level, with a metal grate covering it. There was a

button on the circle.

I leaned into this metal-grated circle, pushing a button, asking if an officer may

talk to me about something. The woman looked at me, saw my determined look

on my face and went to get someone. When a young man came out, he politely

asked,

“Is there a problem, m’am? May I help you?”

I leaned in close and whispered,

“I am a single mother of three children and babysit these other

children to support my family. My son over there in the red t-shirt,

decided after lunch to go out on a ledge by his window, a level of

our roof. The house we live in is old and this is unsafe, besides

being a bad example for the other children I watch.”

He nodded and gave me a pressed lip smile,

“I gotcha covered, m’am. What’s his name again?”

“Jamie.”

The police officer took my son into the basement where there are apparently

only a couple of holding cells. The Delaware County Jail is not located ‘in town,’

but is out on Rte. 42 North.

The officer must have given him ‘some talking to,’ because Jamie came back

with a teary eyed face. He did not even wipe them off in front of the other kids,

even though he always felt he was ‘cool’ and they looked up to him.

Everyone at the table felt this was a great example of discipline. I am not sure

it was, but it certainly worked.

The times I ran around the house with a big hair brush make my three kids

laugh out loud, since this was never with babysitting kids as ‘witnesses,’ nor did

it ever end up with a spanking. We usually ended up on the sofa or the ‘guilty

party’s’ bed, talking about the way my Dad would say these words:

“This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.”

I have a friend who has been telling her boyfriend, for some time now, they

need to “Get more serious or break up.” She has an inner voice telling her

that he is in a ‘comfort zone,’ where he may never live in the same house.

I have posted about ‘Peggy and Tim’s Love Story,” before, but this happened

to touch a nerve with her today. Peggy told all of us this ‘threat to take action,’

just happened a week ago on a Saturday night:

“Tim, you and I need to decide where we are going to live in the future. I

would like to live in your house and sell my house. I think we would enjoy

living out in the country together. Do you think we could place a time limit

of by the end of summer?”

When I had written about them, I had mentioned they had lived apart for

fifteen years. Tim has never married, Peggy has been divorced for 20

years.

Peggy look worried, “Do you think Tim will break up with me?”

This was my serious answer,since everyone else was chewing their food and

looking down at the table or up at the “Price is Right,” television show.

“Peggy, if this is what you want and he decides against living together, will you

be able to go through with not being a couple?”

I took a breath and continued,

“Think about this carefully, Peggy. Every time you both take off on a trip on

his motorcycle, to Lake Erie, every time you have had a week of vacation, you

have decided together where you will travel to. He makes good money, is very

generous, you share so much together. I will always remember when you were

at Micheli’s Tavern for St. Patrick’s Day, 2012 or 2011, where you were trying

to figure out which song you would sing together for karaoke. Your heads were

leaning together and you had the big playlist book on the table. Bill, (my guy

friend) and I pointed to you both and said, ‘That is love.’ I still envy your easy-

going way you work things out. Are you certain that you want to give up 15

years because you feel as you are growing older, you want him in the same

house?”

Here are some other important decisions and ‘ultimatums:’

One of my coworkers wants her husband to stop smoking in both their

vehicles. She said,

“When he can wait through a two hour movie, why can’t he wait until we

arrive at the grocery store, 1/2 hour car rides and other short trips?”

When we looked at her and asked,

“Have you given him an ultimatum?”

Stephanie answered, “Well, no. . .”

Another person offered up a situation with her daughter and son-in-law.

She mentioned that they are planning on moving to a place where no

pets are allowed. They are at odds with each other, since the man doesn’t

want to give up the dog, but he has nipped at their younger kids’ feet

and toes before.

We felt the dog might be best placed at another family member’s house,

since this will be hard on the father to give up his dog.

We then had a discussion about this lawyer who advertises on Channel 10,

who is part of a law firm, where he talks about using ‘clout,’ and ‘giving results.’

This made us come up with the solution that is one all parents have to come

to, eventually. We made a list of general steps or guidelines:

“What is the root of the problem?”

“Do you mean business?”

What will be your follow through?”

“What will make the most impact?”

“What will get results?”

“What will be the most effective tool to wield?”

“What will be your last straw?”

We talked also about intermittent rewards which can be effective, letting

someone know you appreciate what they have done and rewarding ‘baby

steps,’ too.

I mentioned ‘grounding’ and ‘time out’ for punishment, which some people

agreed they were good ideas, but one person said,

“Grounding my teenager” was more of a punishment to Me!”

Then, I had to laugh, as I was again thinking of my punishment for Jamie’s being

up on the roof. The table asked me what was making me chuckle? I told the

group,

“It was never the same situation, each one had to be met with an action,

sometimes the punishment went with the crime and others did not. Jamie was

the one who liked to ‘test my limits,’ but sometimes the episodes were funny.”

They all wanted to know another story, so I will tell you when I was a teacher

I was tickled to have ‘snow days,’ but as a babysitter, I was not. So, when it

would start snowing, I would watch the weather. I sometimes would put my

kids to bed, with the television on quietly. Jamie one time came down and

asked, “Mom, is it a snow day?” I didn’t want him to know, since that might

mean he would want to stay up. I treasured my ‘peace and quiet time.’

Later, when I went up to bed, I looked in each room, I liked to kiss them one

more time. (Although we had extended book reading, songs and prayers

every night, this was a special kiss meaning I knew they were tucked into

bed, safe and sound.)

Well, this particular night there was no Jamie in bed.

I told them, “That little dickens!”

I went downstairs and examined the coat rack, Jamie’s coat was not there.

I put my coat, boots, hat and scarf on, walked out onto the porch. There

were his footprints, evidence of a boy on the loose!

I tried to follow them but they went down a gravel alley and were not as

distinctive as when he was walking down the sidewalk. I turned around

and went home. I put the kettle on and made some “Sleepy Time herbal

tea,” to quiet my nerves. (Celestial Seasonings brand of tea.)

One half hour later, there was a knock on the front door.

I had put on a bathrobe over my flannel pajamas and opened the door.

There was a policeman with Jamie. This was nearly six months after the roof

incident. It was not the same young man, this was even scared me with his

grim look on his face.

“Did you know your son was not home, m’am?”

“Yes,” I said in a trembling voice.

“Well, he broke curfew and here is his ‘ticket.’ ”

I did not say a word, but in my head I was praying it was not a ‘real’ ticket.

“I appreciate your bringing him home, officer. He certainly won’t do this again!

Right, Jamie?”

Jamie looked nervous, but I was a little concerned that there was no evidence

of any tears. He shook his head, “No, sir.”

I did not bother to tell the officer about his summer episode, nor did I tell him

I was trying my best as a single mother to control his curiosity without killing

his enthusiasm.

When I closed the door firmly, locking it and bolting it, I turned to see his tears

start pouring out.

“Mom, I just knew it would be so quiet, the stars would be so bright and the

snow was so beautiful.”

I just hugged him.

The group all said I was a ‘marshmallow.’

Have you ever had to set limits or give an ultimatum to anyone?

Don’t you love the idea of being, “No More Mr. Nice Guy (or girl)?

“Super Powers”

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While the temperature was 77 degrees last Saturday afternoon, my oldest

daughter, one of her boys, Micah, and I had headed off to Blue Limestone

Park.  Although we like to play with Micah, we were relieved to see a couple

of boys running, climbing and jumping on the ropes and parts of the Big Toy.

We sat down on the bench of a picnic table in the shade. Carrie had had a

long hike on Friday, over the Delaware Dam, with Micah and her boyfriend.

They had been out in the windy day, thinking nothing of sun protection.

**Side track for one moment:

I think we need to have a commercial with a name brand of sun protection,

where an athlete asks another one, “Do you wear SPF 30 or SPF 45 while

you are out in the sun?”

Then, while they are running the one being asked answers,

“When I remember. . . I wear SPF 30.”

Then, like the new V-8 commercials, instead of getting hit up side of the head,

the advertising ‘geniuses’ need to come up with an appropriate gesture or

comment which would be like saying, “Duh!”

I did not say, “Duh,” or any kind of “What were you thinking?” to my oldest daughter,

since she was displaying a red face and chest.  Micah’s face looked ‘rosy.’

On Saturday, Carrie was wearing a pretty hat, lotion on her nose and had

“learned her lesson (the hard way)” and had put lotion on Micah too.

He has sensitive skin so it was probably a baby lotion brand.  Her face and

chest were ‘beet red’ due to sunburn and not embarrassment.

** Back to the park.

While we watched Micah approach a rather tall, gangly and skinny boy. Silently

I wondered at his courage. We know he really prefers to play with kids his older

brother, Skyler’s age. (Ten and a half years old.)

We cannot convince him to go up to little kids from age 5 to age 7. We both try

to encourage finding kids his own age, since he is six and in kindergarten.

The boy Micah was attempting to engage in play could have been 9 or as old

as 12 years old.

His grandmother was standing against the only tree around, while we were sitting

under the shade of it.

I asked the woman,

“How old is your son?” (I never assume or assign “grandmother-hood” to

anyone!)

She turned towards us, while Carrie and I ‘scooched over’ on the picnic bench

to make room for her to sit down saying,

“He’s my grandson of 7 years old and his father is 6′ 6″ !”

We both gasped in unison, since the boy definitely will be a ‘string bean’ and

the potential of his height astounded us. Carrie told the woman,

“He is tall for his age. I expected since Micah’s Daddy is 6′ tall he would be tall,

but he won’t be as tall as your grandson!”

We then introduced ourselves, learning the grandmother’s name was Beverly.

I mentioned to her that her grandson certainly was a very nice looking boy who

seemed quiet and calm.

Micah was loudly asking him,

“What ‘Super Powers’ do you want to have? I am choosing to be able to become

invisible and also, to be like a chameleon.”

The boy just looked at Micah.

Micah turned on his ‘charm’ and said,

“That’s okay, you don’t have to have any ‘Super Powers’ just yet!”

The grandmother looked at us and seemed to feel we could be trusted with an

important piece of information about her grandson.

“Ian nearly died, had to be resuscitated when he was a baby. Turns out he is

our ‘miracle baby.'”

We asked her questions and she provided answers.

“Ian was born with four defects in his heart. They have opened his chest and

repaired 3 of the 4. This was very serious and we have chosen to tell Ian he

can do whatever he wants to do.”

Beverly went on to explain using an example,

“In the middle of Winter, his older sister and brother were dropped off at Big

Walnut Skate Rink, over in Sunbury, (Ohio). Ian wanted to go immediately to

a store and buy his own pair of roller skates. I told him we could do that.”

She leaned over, like she was imparting a secret,

“We had to go to three different stores, until we found roller skates in the sports

section of Sears. That boy made me hold his hand and we went up and down

the driveway, eventually down the sidewalk and around the block. We did this

with thick coats, gloves and scarves on. It was Winter, for God’s sake!”

We looked upon Ian, who suddenly seemed more fragile, knowing his ‘back story,’

and my daughter asked,

“Do you worry about his falling or hurting himself? Does he have to be told not

to run too fast?”

I got a few tears, which I blame the wind on. Getting a tissue out of my purse,

I silently wondered about Ian’s imaginary play times, when he was alone.

Did Ian wish for ‘Super Powers?’

All of a sudden we looked up. All three women together, as one.

The shrieks were what caught our attention.

The sight was heart-warming to us all, too.

Micah and Ian surprised us by coming down the bumpy slide.

Ian’s legs were wrapped around Micah, both boys grinning from ear to ear.

Micah shouted out to us, “We are a super sonic train!”

You betcha’ that boy got blueberry pancakes, with lots of blueberry syrup and

whipped cream, too.

When we splurged and went out to eat at Bob Evans later.