Category Archives: ballet

Bits and Pieces


The Nutcracker book sits in my pile of Christmas and seasonal books,

along with Rudolph, The Night Before Christmas and other holiday

books. I include snowmen, gingerbread boy (and man), along with the

little dog Spot, in my menagerie of characters and stories yet to read

as the month progresses. I like for my once a year ‘treat’ for adult

choices, “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry. There are plenty of

pieces of great literature to treasure, while helping to lift your spirits,

calm your soul and fill your mind.


In Columbus, “The Nutcracker” ballet is performed annually. I have

the details for Cleveland’s performances since it is exciting to note

their location:

Playhouse Square is the SECOND largest unified Arts Complex in

the United States! Wow!  My youngest brother took his wife to see

the Russian Ballet company perform, dancing their beautiful and

lively parts of the grand seasonal extravaganza. (Lincoln Arts Center

is the number one arts center in the U.S.)


Have you heard the R & B singer on the winter and holiday Glade

commercial? He turned 25 yesterday. His name is Kevin Ross, who

has been interviewed by several journalists, along with being in the

“Essence” magazine. He was a student and graduate of Berkeley

School of Music, he had a project where he had to perform, which he

chose Stevie Wonder to sing. The performance was outstanding,

he has been listed as a “Motown record artist.”

You may wish to check out other songs by Kevin Ross, but his soulful

voice soars into the upper registers and won my heart in his “My

Wish for You,” which keeps on going if you download it… to sing

the often mentioned but never less meaningful words of,

“Let there be peace on earth.



I love to walk in nature, despite my occasional grousing, to see frozen

waterfalls. There is one quite close to my home, less than a half hour

drive at Hayden Run Falls, off Hayden Run Road in Columbus.

The Hayden Run Falls is a part of Grigg’s Reservoir and Nature


Another close to my ‘neck of the woods’ waterfalls display is at the

Indian Run Falls in Dublin, Ohio. There is a short (3 miles) loop

where you can walk past a waterfall, look over a small ravine and

also, see the Veteran’s Memorial for Dublin veterans. The flags

displayed there are international and I think it is worth the walk.


I dislike repeating myself, but walking in the brisk winter air will not

give you a cold! It is invigorating and if bundled up properly, with a

warm set of layered clothing, scarf and hat on, you will find it rather

fun. It also will be enough exercise to take off a few of those extra

pre-holiday and holiday calories, too!

Here are a few more locations where the waterfalls are fabulous and


Cuyahoga Valley National Park~

Brandywine Falls one of Top Ten in the U.S. visited National Parks.


Old Man’s Cave, where there are Upper Falls and Lower Falls trails.


In Michigan, the falls are abundant. I enjoyed in the U.P. the tannin

(looks like flowing whiskey) colored falls. The tall, tall pine trees lend

their sap to the coloration.

I am sure you know of a few in your area that are simply breath-taking

and would be happy to hear about them!


Two special quotes from the man who paints miracles upon canvas:


“When you live in the light of unfolding miracles,

There is always a future, always a hope.”


“The points in Life

where what has happened

and what you have done


Move you forward

and significantly shape

the person

you are,

Those are your miracles.”

~* Thomas Kinkade *~


Time is of the Essence!


“Perfect Timing”

by Robin Cochran

Plane arrivals and departures,

cannot always be counted on.

The precious view from a distance

of a loved one’s approach, forgives

the inaccuracy in timing.

Dance recitals, a couple who share

their dance moves in a seamless

and singular motion.

Comedy sketches, where the comic

can deliver the powerful ‘punch

line’ with impeccable timing.

“Care packages”, sent with love,

just when you are about to get

homesick. (Away at camp or school.)

Mail arrival, when the letter and

written correspondence cheers you

up and out of a blue mood.

Money enclosures, arriving just in

time, to keep your checking account

out of the ‘red!’

Meeting someone new, either at work or

out in public, almost an ‘other worldly’


Theatre stage actors, delivering their

lines with power and strength, grasping

the audience in their timing.

New loves, when everything falls into

place, from the very first moment.

(“Across a crowded room…”)

Florist deliveries, full of pleasure and

wonderful scented arrangements that bring

apologies, in their arrival.

Musical partners or groups, who match the

beats and harmonize, while performing.

Unexpected phone calls, from distant and

long lost friends, filling in the gaps.

While moving out of or into a house,

people showing up, just when you needed


Every time a hug is received…

Chores, completed within a certain rhythm

and gleefully unexpected moments.

Two cars, meeting at the same destination

arriving at the same time.

Send in the troops, the necessary back up

force while energy and strength is flagging.

Arrival of a new baby, whenever, however

unexpected it may be.

Jobs, where being there at the right place

and the right time.

The two acrobats, one ready to release from

the bar, the other ready to catch.

Home run ‘hits,’ football ‘goals,’ and other

sporting great moves!

Meals, while juggling varied dishes,

completion results in all at the same time.

Encouraging signs given, when least expected.

Some may call them, the Hand of God, Karma,

Kismet, Zen or Serendipity.

When has something in your own life, seemed

to be perfectly timed?

Light Summary of the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony


As in Olympics’ Closing Ceremonies go, I thought

the country of Russia, did an outstanding job!

The presentations, that were centered on their

heritage and culture, were moving, dynamic and

lovely. I am full of adjectives like “innovative”

and “evocative!”

It was called “A Tribute to the Arts.”

I enjoyed the artistic features of Marc Chagall

as one of the Russian artists.

I almost could not find the spelling of the other

artist who was mentioned, I did not recognize the


It sounded like “Malcheck” or “Malaczech.” Once I

studied the wonderful directory of Russian artists,

I did recognize him to be: Kazimir Malevich. Well,

I was close! (Smile!)

Malevich was an avante garde artist and his paintings

were used for inspiration in the dance performances

and the mural like artwork on the field. He lived from

1878- 1935, as a Polish descendant Russian.

They featured black fish swimming around to form

the classic Olympic circles on the ground, This

glowed like shimmering silver rings. This was

carried out through people moving, carrying fish

fins to create the whole display.

There was some humor in that during the Opening

Ceremony, there was a ‘glitch’ where one of the

circles didn’t light up. I think the inclusion of

this display was to balance out the mistake of

the original ceremony. During this portion of the

Closing Ceremony, they had 62 pianists playing.

The fantastic upside-down village floating above the

field with the bright and lively painted design of

one of Marc Chagall’s pieces was delightful. I have

had some acquaintance with his work, since my parents

usually sent UNICEF cards featuring his designs. His

use of a dove to represent Peace and also, the Holy

Spirit at Christmas, is well known. One of Chagall’s

famous pieces, “I the Village,” shows his child-like

and dreamy artwork. His pieces may bring the observer

to smile, as if it were their own memories of some

imaginary times. We have put together, as a family, a

couple of his pieces into a picture puzzle, over the


Chagall lived from 1887 until 1985. Since he later

moved to France, Chagall is considered a Russian-

French artist.

Someone asked, as a commentator, “Why was the village

upside down?” the answer was seemingly that Chagall

viewed the world as ‘upside down.’

I enjoyed the bold colors, dramatic dancing people

who wore wings, looking like Chagall’s doves or birds.

The ethnic, country Russian music was reminiscent of

the cultural music featured in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

This musical was set in Tsarist Russia, 1905.

There was a dramatic tribute to the Opera and this

utilized the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet dancers. This

was a beautiful exhibition of talent and skill.

There were floating dancers and gymnasts, similar

in the Cirque du Soleil type performances.

I was left with the impression of looking at Life

from a different lens. I am sure that this positive

impression, promoted by the Russian government, was

meant as propaganda.

The image of ‘Freedom of Expression,’ through their

“Tribute to the Arts,” shown during the 2014 Olympics

Closing Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia was simply ironic.

A list of my personal basket of holiday books


Sometimes it is so wonderful to have the chance and special

opportunity to spread my interests and hope that it may help

someone to purchase a gift or find a book at the library that

I have recommended. I had my little M and M girls over early

on Saturday morning, their parents were heading off to a

funeral of a parent of Trista’s friend, Jennifer.

I had already invited them to my Christmas work party at

the Advance Auto Distribution Center #23, where we had a

lively, interactive time. We sat with the assistant to the

CEO of our local D.C., Ted, his wife with their son and


My young granddaughters felt one of the best parts of coming

yesterday, was spinning on the seats that are attached to

our dining area tables. The tables are circular, the chairs

at the larger tables being in the number of 6 (this is why

you hear of my telling stories of my four or five “table

mates” but there were also, tables of four available.

We peeled our coats off, saving our table and headed off

to play games, (Plinko, taking a Nerf ‘gun’ and hitting

different ornaments on a tree to win a prize, BINGO, a

fishing game and a version of the bean bag toss using

fabric covering with polar bears on them into the holes

in a wooden ‘corn hole’ game.) They received a ‘slew’ of

prizes, listened to holiday songs, gaily and ably sung by

an elf, Santa Claus and Mrs. Santa Claus. Some shyness from

little Makyah was shown, so I was included in the photos

taken with Santa, with my sitting on his knee holding Kyah.

Marley chattered about liking Barbie’s and Baby Alive clothing

lines. They both received gifts from Santa on Saturday.

(Marley had received a Baby Alive for her fifth birthday,

from her generous Grammie Chris, Trista’s stepmom

and father.)

Then, while listening to a movie about Christmas,

talking to the girls and to Ted’s family, I decided I

would come home and list all the books in my large woven

basket of Christmas books. I am including a short fact

or two about each, including which child of mine may

have received it as a gift. I recommend highly, not just

because I am a reader and lover of books, but because I

know my grandchildren make a bee-line over to this book

collection, looking like they are pretending to read each

word, pointing to them and “saying what they think it says.”

I will repeat this in simple terms: “Give books for a

lifetime of wonderment!”

1. Jan Brett’s “The Gingerbread Baby,” 1999, with gorgeous

pictures by the author. You can access Jan Brett online and

print off ABC’s with little creatures like hedgehogs and

owls, along with coloring pages and more! Jan Brett was

very generous in her writing personally back to me, while

I was composing a longer paper about her books while taking

Master’s courses at OSU. My preschool classroom had all the

areas in the room made from her website, we hand colored them

for the reading area, book area, etc. so primary grade teachers

would love all the reproducible products for free here!

2. This is an older book by Jan Brett, 1992, “The Trouble

with Trolls,” given to my oldest daughter since she has always

been very keen on fairies and their fantasy worlds! This book

has a hedgehog that is a good pet for a troll. The borders of

all Jan Brett’s books are very detailed and include the

heritage of the country the story takes place. She traveled to

each of the places to research and I forget her African tale,

but it is wonderfully illustrated and told.

3. “The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy,” by Jane Thayer and illustrated

by Lisa McCue (1985). Text was written quite awhile ago, in 1958,

she renewed her copyright in 1974. This is an old fashioned wish

of a boy who wanted to have a dog, but told from the point of

view of the adorably illustrated puppy!

4. “Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise,” first written in 1992. I

love this forward message about if you purchase this book,

where the monies or proceeds will go:

“A bear’s share of the royalties from this book sale will

go to Don and Lydia Freeman Research Fund to support the

psychological care and research, concerning children with

life-threatening illnesses.”

Corduroy is a special bear that really speaks to my sense

of nostalgia, especially in his first book.

5. “The Shiniest Star,” is my oldest book ever. I received it

as a toddler, it has no age on it, just a note from my aunt

and uncle as a gift for Christmas. It was written by Beth

Vardon, illustrated by Charlot Byj. (That is how it is

written, not misspelled or miscopied!) It has 3 characters that

resembled my siblings and me. There is “Crewcut” who is my

brother Randy, there is the littlest angel, my younger

brother, “Touslehead” and there is a dark haired girl,

named “Pigtails.” The way it goes, the youngest is the one

whose star is chosen to shine on the manger where Jesus

was born. It is a sweetly written, simply told tale, with

a lot of artwork that folds out. (An ‘early’ pop up book.)

6. “The Polar Express,” (1985), written and illustrated by

Chris Allsburg, who you may know from the movie made of this

book, and also, “Jumanji” was written by Allsburg, then made

into a movie. We have bells that represent the bells the

children riding on the train to the North Pole receive. The

are allowed to ring them during parts of the book while I

read to them. It talks about “believing in Santa Claus.”

This book won the Caldecott Medal award for Children’s

Literature. Used to be able to read this in school, not

sure if you are still “allowed?”

7. “The Christmas Kitten,” (1988) written by Virginia Holt

and illustrated by Turi MacCombie. This book is very simple

and cute, representing it is better to have a living gift.

8. “Robin Finds Christmas,” (1961) written by Molly Brett,

It was published first by the Medici Society, Ltd. of London.

Later published by U.S. Marian Heath Company, Sudbury,

Massachusetts in 1966. I received it from my Aunt Marie

who lived in Rockport, Massachusetts at the time of its

U.S. release date. It has a precious story with the prettiest

pen and ink with watercolor illustrations!

9. “Wonder” given to Felicia by her girlfriend, Charlie. It is

a little book with the famous Mary Engelbreit illustrations in

it. It was published in 1992.

10. “The Fir Tree,” based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian

Andersen. This is a definite favorite, with a Christmas theme

included. Illustrated by Diane Goode, 1983.

11. Another book illustrated by Diane Goode is that of,

“The Nutcracker,” with the story of the famous ballet entitled

by the same name, 1983. I took my three children to the nose-

bleed section with binoculars (not opera glasses!) to see this

ballet. All three still think that was one of the most special

adventures of those seven years on my own, using my babysitting

money to give them some ‘culture’ and fun, along the way!

12. “The Christmas Day Kitten,” 1976. This is one of my favorite

books, by a great English author and veterinarian, James Herriot.

It is illustrated by Ruth Brown. This amusing tale is about a

kitty named “Buster” who becomes part of a family which has

already three basset hounds! Buster becomes known as a

“retriever cat” upon which the 3 bassets are not one bit

impressed with! It was given to my oldest daughter, at age 8,

by my dear brother, “Uncle Rick.”

Here is the last one for this post, making it a “Baker’s Dozen”

of 13 books to look for!

13. “Spot’s First Christmas,” (1983), written and illustrated

with some cute and humorous drawings, by Eric Hill. There are

several books about Spot and his poor, seemingly single dog

Mom, “Sally.” My grandkids try not to fight over this too

much, each wanting their “fair turn” at pulling down the flaps

on this book. I only have these three books, including “Spot’s

First Day of School” and the first of the series of Spot books,

“Where’s Spot?”

On the last word of the subject on books today, my oldest

daughter, Carrie, gave me a lovely brown book, beautifully

embossed with gold letters and the lines on the side of the book.

My copy of “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, given to

me for a special Christmas gift is treasured by the thought

and time that went into it. Books are wonderful gifts for

children, then when they give you one in return, you feel

your “job of being a parent is returned.”