Category Archives: books

Mark My Words

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There are so many ways we leave our ‘marks’ upon others’ lives and

upon some small part of the world itself. It may be through your

writing, you have touched someone’s mind and heart. It may be by

your creating a painting, taking a photograph,  preparing a special

food dish, making something old, ‘new’ again for someone or. . .

I found the word, “mark” in the dictionary and would like to share

what meanings it has, along with a few expressions that include

various forms of the word, “mark”in them.

 

The definition for ‘mark’-

noun:

1. A visible trace or impression, (line or spot).

2. A symbol, name or other identifier.

3. A name, logo or other indicator.

 

verb:

1. To mark a visible trace or impression, (spot, line or dent).

2. To form, make or depict by making a mark.

3. To supply with natural markings, (a tiger is marked by stripes.)

 

My favorite use of ‘mark’ is the one I used in the beginning. It means

to contribute to others by making our ‘marks.’ This means leaving

our legacy and how we helped make an impression upon another’s

life. There are many books in the library which are ‘marked’ as either

psychology or philosophy. They contain the current meaning and

suggestions for leading a ‘purposeful life.’

 

I enjoyed a pastime in high school and college, along with many

years of going to my youngest brother and  later in life, my two

daughter’s races. The excitement and anticipation of the races,

builds almost like a ‘frenzy,’ when I picture their putting a foot

into a wooden block to ‘mark’ their place.

 

Then, an announcer says these dramatic words:

“On your mark. . .

Get ready,

Set,

Go!”

There are other races, such as cars, horses and drag racing, where

the word, “Go!” are accompanied by a gun shot given to ‘mark’ the

beginning of the race.

 

I have had many dogs in my life, both female and male, ‘mark’ their

territory. This was especially noticeable with my parents’ male dog,

Nicky, who would do this while we were walking in the woods, once

we ‘disembarked’ from their small RV, (actually a Transvan). Nicky

would like to sniff all the other places animals had been ‘marking’

their own parts of the woods.

 

In concert and symphonic band, our musical teacher and director

would ask us to use a pencil to ‘mark’ our parts. Where I sat, I was

in the woodwinds area, with the clarinet section.

 

Since I was always a ‘second row player’ I needed to ‘mark’ a harmony.

Rarely was I able to ‘mark’ the melody.  In marching band, we would

have to count our steps, playing different marching songs, along with

a few popular songs peppered into the mix. We would find our place

on the field or our ‘mark’ before we would perform or make a pattern.

 

If the truth be told, I rarely played the first two games of the season.

I would march trying to be accurate in the precise places I needed

to be. Finally, in the third football game I would be confident in the

way I marched and could play my clarinet.  Two guys, Armin K. and

Mike C., were the only players who ever commented or noticed. Of

course, I had my clarinet in my mouth and looked like I was playing!

 

A side note, I love details about grandparents, so hope you will

appreciate my Grandpa Mattson who would call my clarinet, a

“licorice stick.” This is a popular slang term which some in other

countries may never have heard! I want to tell you I still have my

wooden Selby clarinet and can ‘wet my reed’ and perform simple

songs and scales.

 

If you have a story about music and remember ‘marking’ your place

or listening to the metronome during piano lessons, please share.

 

The younger Mark Ruffalo, with Jennifer Garner was one of my

youngest daughter’s favorite Mark’s in the film, “13 Going on 30.”

My oldest daughter followed, “New Kids on the Block,” band for

a short ‘minute’ and liked Donnie’s brother, Marky Mark (also his

claim to fame was wearing Calvin Klein jeans. We listened to his

band, “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s” version of the Beach

Boys’ song, “Good Vibrations.”

 

There are countless other “Mark’s” such as Mark Harmon who

was a ball player, actor in movies and continues to be in “NCIS.”

 

There was “Mark Anthony,” who Shakespeare focused on, as

well as his being a part of history.

 

Our great American author, Mark Twain left his ‘mark’ upon our

country’s literature. He shared remarkable stories of life upon the

Mississippi and going out West. His wry perspectives of the times

he lived in, along with honest character portrayals made a ‘mark’

upon my thoughts and writing, too.

 

I am sure you can think of other famous Mark’s to add. . .

 

There are many who enjoy the dramatic colors and designs of a

young teenager’s graffiti.  They leave their own distinctive ‘mark’

under bridges, overpasses and other cement or brick walls. I don’t

mind graffiti, as long as it is not upon a historical monument, in

a cemetery where respect should be displayed or designations of

being a member of a  ‘Gang.’

 

I enjoy when my grandchildren take colored chalk and leave their

less than permanent ‘marks’ on sidewalks and the driveway. They

may ‘mark’ their place while playing hopscotch, by putting a rock

down on a square.

 

I did not see this in the definition but do think that ‘marking time’

can be a little like ‘sitting a spell.’ It could include putting slash

‘marks’ on a piece of paper, wall or even ‘marked’ by etching into

a stone wall. The ‘marks’ in prison or concentration camps can

make me weep.

 

When I buy a paperback book at a garage sale or the library

book sale, I don’t ‘value’ some of them as I should. If it is one

of those ‘beach’ or summer reading books, I may ‘mark’ my

page I left off reading by bending back a corner of the page.

Are you guilty of this ‘bad habit?’

 

In our ‘defense,’ sometimes it is easier than getting up to

find a piece of paper or a classy bookmark.

 

Book ‘marks’ can be such lovely decorative gifts. I have my

favorites in my ‘good’ books, which hold or ‘mark’ a special

passage I will read and re-read again. I have a silky one,

a cross-stitched bookmark, a metal one with a pearl-like

decoration and I have one which is in the shape of a paper

clip with a butterfly on the tip.

 

I have marked many passages in my Bible, since I received

it upon my high school graduation. The book has ‘marks’ and

underlined places. Tucked into the pages, there are several

pieces of paper with scribbles made by my children during

church.

 

One is quite funny, a ‘bunny ballerina’ by my oldest daughter

when she was 4 years old. The other is quite serious, drawn

carefully by my youngest daughter at around 8 years old of

Jesus on the Cross.

 

Although it is a name and therefore capitalized, I do like another

part of the Bible, which is in the New Testament which goes like

this: “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

 

I have to close this multiple usages of the word, “mark”

with something I really enjoy.

 

Are

you

ready

for

the

BEST

use

of

‘mark?’

 

I absolutely love going to a store where it has many large signs

after the ending of each season.

These all say, “Mark Down Prices.”

I like the neon yellow, neon orange and even neon green signs

found in different departments.

 

Now, even better than the ‘Markdowns’. . .

are the ‘Slashing Prices!’

 

 

Plant A Seed in a Child’s Mind

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I have a simple philosophy on children of 5 and 6 year old age.  I

believe these sweet little ones go into kindergarten as ‘babies’ and

come out of this period of time as, ‘school kids.’ I have seen both

Marley who attends one elementary school in kindergarten and

my grandson, Micah, who attends another elementary school in

the same level of education grow ‘in leaps and bounds.’

 

Every book their parents or I read to them, suddenly have become

‘brand new’ and they see such interesting new things in them. It is

almost like being ‘re-born.’  When it comes to understanding the

way children are ‘different’ or ‘unique,’ it really helps to watch the

changes first hand. I admit with my ‘pack of three’ being raised

with others I babysat, they were not given as much individual

attention. This becomes apparent when I am typing away the

‘bright’ quotes I can honestly listen to and apply to the six of the

grandchildren.  But, to tell you the truth, the kindergartners have

my full attention.

 

Take a week ago, when my grandson, Micah, was asking me about

my apartment. When did I move there? Why do I have my kitchen

table in the living room? Do I like having to do my laundry in the

laundry room?

 

About a month ago, my granddaughter, Marley was not totally

satisfied with looking at her own photo albums. She had a big

stack of them, since I put the 36 photo albums together each

season, for each individual grandchild. Marley has over 7 albums

to study and check out. She asked me first to look at her Daddy’s

baby photo album and then, moved on to her Aunt Felicia and

her Aunt Carrie’s. I was not asked too many questions, but I saw

her study each photo and it took her over an hour to move on to

ask me her next ‘request.’

 

Finally, she wanted to see my three “wedding dresses’ albums.”

This is how she named them. I told her I have only one photo of

the first wedding dress, so I showed her it. I told her “Aunt Carrie”

has the rest of the first wedding party photos. She is the ‘oldest’

and the only girl from this first marriage, I explained to Marley.

I really felt most of the photographs of her relatives would ‘mean

more to her’ than her brother, Marley’s Daddy.

 

She studied the three wedding dresses intently. She finally asked me

why I married each of my three husbands. I tried to make a ‘joke,’

telling her my patent answer to adults who ask me this question,

“This was my way of being a ‘serial monogamist.'”

For some reason, Marley looked like she really understood this

to be a cynical or sarcastic comment and used her scolding voice

to say,

“Nana, I am asking you a serious question: Why did you get married

more than once?”

 

My answer was a combination of “love” and “hope.” I gave her a

big hug for asking and told her,

“Your Daddy and Mommy will  be like my own parents, they found

the right match and will put effort into keeping their family together

and happy.”

 

When it comes to teaching young children about the variations of

life,  sometimes their lessons may come from viewing children and

families at the beach, grocery store or church. Up until they go to

school, they may think their family unit is just fine. My youngest

daughter asked her Dad years ago to come to special events, but

she found that I was her ‘constant’ and her ‘home.’

 

A valuable book with lessons, which could be a ‘tool’ to open a

discussion about class levels and economic differences has been

recently published.  It is called, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

The author of this delightful book is Matt de la Pena. The

illustrations are created by Christian Robinson.

 

You may already know the lessons held within this book, but it

has a rich diversity of subjects with a little boy who questions

what is around him. There is an element of ‘Life doesn’t seem to

be fair’ to him, in his questions.

 

The subject of why children don’t have as many choices of clothing,

backpacks, coats, shoes and those things are often brought up after

some time spent in kindergarten has passed. This book would help

to give a picture to children of a whole different lifestyle, while it

also is done lovingly and beautifully.

 

There are places which address the subject of what children may

like to have new clothes and other things for their first day of school.

Some ‘Big Box Stores’ have bins where you may purchase glue sticks

for your own child or grandchild, along with tossing some into the

bin. There are places where you can go to get new coats, as well as

other nice new things, ‘vouchers’ for new shoes and backpacks. They

may be held at your county fairgrounds or they could be passed out

at a local charity location. It is nice to hope that each child can start

the school year, with a ‘level playing field,’ so those students who

have less in their household income can still feel ‘pride’ in their

back to school clothes and other accessories.

 

The new book, “Last Stop on Market Street” started a great

discussion with my grandies. They were interested in knowing if

I knew such and such, did this child have the same situation as

the little boy in the book? I think this book would be almost better

to present before they go off to school. It would help for those who

have more than others, to be careful not to judge nor ask too many

questions.

 

I would label this book a ‘break through’ book, one which is rare to

find with a powerful, but gently expressed, understated message.

 

As a boy is leaving church with his grandmother, he sighs in relief,

he feels like going outside is ‘freedom.’ He has probably wriggled

and twitched, feeling confined in the church.  The boy named C.J.

holds his grandmother’s hand while she holds an umbrella over

the top of their heads.

 

The two head off to a bus stop. There is mention of this being

their weekly procedure or routine. Not everyone has a car, a

house or food every day. There is a subtle way of letting the

reader and listener of the story find this out.

 

As he looks out a window of the bus, C.J. sees a friend in a car

with his father.  After the car zips on by the bus, C.J. wonders

aloud,

“Nana, how come we don’t get a car?”

 

Later, he notes a young man listening to a digital music player

and he displays the classical example of  kid’s  ‘I want. . .’ or

wishing for something obviously out of the grandmother’s

budget.

 

Each time his Nana responds with positive words. She makes the

bus ‘come alive’ for C.J. as if it were a ‘dragon.’ She reminds him

of the bus driver’s ‘magic’ trick he plays when they get on the bus.

She mentions that the young man playing a guitar on the bus,

is entertainment enough. A blind man teaches C.J. a lesson on

senses. There are wonderful elements in this book which you

will become enchanted with, too.

 

The colorful illustrations display a myriad of views of the

community on the outside of the bus, as they pass different

sights.

 

The lesson of life being full of excitement without any technical

devices or modern conveniences is not told directly but indirectly

shown through the unfolding tale.

 

As they get off the bus, C.J. wonders why they always have to go

on Sundays to the soup kitchen for their meal. This will help

open a discussion with children or grandchildren.  In this lovely

book, it reminds us that in the “Land of Plenty”  or America, we

may not always have neighbors, friends or people living one

short block over, with as much as we have. There is a sense of

global understanding, in the diversity of characters and culture

in this book.

 

A children’s book reviewer, Julie Danielson, expressed this:

“It’s not often that you see class addressed in picture books in

ways that are subtle and seamless, but in “Last Stop on Market

Street,” the affectionate story of a young boy and his grandmother

does just that.”

 

There is a new Valentine’s Day book to recommend. It is one of the

bunny books by author Jutta Langreuter and illustrated by Stephanie

Dahle.

“There’s No One I Love Like You.”

This German author has a series of “Little Bear” books and there

are a few in her native language, too.  One which looks interesting

and magical in its illustrations with German expressions  is called,

“Frida and die Kleine Waldhexe.”

 

If you have a favorite book for children and wish to include it,

please feel free to tell us about the book and its message, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humor Comes in All Sorts of Packages

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Sometimes there are things you may “think,” but you would never

put into words. You may even admire the one who seems to have

listened to that impudent ‘voice in your head.’ You may, on the other

hand, cringe and think, “Oh no! That is way too blunt!”

 

Comedy is often built around those ‘cringe-worthy’ moments.  I

laugh at movies, which if someone were to actually DO the things

which are depicted in the movies, I may actually display a face

full of horror.  I may be outwardly ‘aghast’ but I also might be

laughing on the inside, too.

 

In Shakespeare’s time, his plays often added humor sometimes

displaying a bit of ‘sauciness.’ While taking a high school English

‘mini-course,’ we studied Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” The school

administration encouraged our teacher, Mr. Billman, to send home

parents’ permission slips before we read and discussed this rather

controversial book. It makes me smile a little to think we needed

permission to read this bawdy collection of tales. They are considered

‘classics.’ This book has been on some lists for ‘book-burning,’ too.

 

When the history of ‘drag queens’ is studied, you learn that the

ones who were “dressed as girls” became called, “drags.” While

those who were wearing men’s (otherwise known as ‘boys’)

clothing were named, “drabs.”

 

Women dressed as men, sometimes in the most interesting

situations. In the movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously,”

Kevin Costner’s character has a ‘male’ friend, a photographer.

Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress in her male role.

 

In the movie, “Yentl” Barbara Streisand portrayed a young man

in this Jewish story. It was unusual in that it was considered to be

a “romantic musical drama comedy” movie released in 1983.

 

In the more recent 2012 movie, Glenn Close depicted the main

character and title role in, “Albert Nobbs.” She was nominated for

Best Actress in this movie, along with Golden Globe and SAG’s

but did not win in her fascinating portrayal of a man.

 

Women were not often ‘allowed’  in stage productions, due to the

impropriety.  So, the original ‘drag’ performers were considered

‘normal,’ while performing in traditional plays. Their wardrobe

choice would fit the role they were playing. This made men wearing

women’s clothes, considered ‘appropriately attired.’

 

In the making of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life, in the movie,

“Amadeus,” there are several scenes where the fine, classical and

renowned musician is carrying on with people of questionable

sexual orientation.

 

Funny. how when the black and white movie, with Tony Curtis,

Jack Lemmon and the gorgeous, Marilyn Monroe cane out in 1959,

no one made a big deal about men hiding in women’s clothing,

from the Mob. The same theme came into play, in the television

series, “Bosom Buddies.” This resulted in giving us the famous,

funny and talented actor, Tom Hanks.

 

There are many other examples of men dressing up like women

which makes the audience laugh.

 

Why does it bother some people then, to go and see a Drag Queen

or a comedy performance with men dressed as women? I guess

this is up to each person’s level of Comfort Zone.

 

There may be some of Mary Nolan’s humorous comments listed

in this post which you may not like. You may even consider them

‘distasteful.’ I hope you will laugh instead. But, at least I gave you

‘fair warning’ of the content in the remainder of this post.

 

I edited out a few of this transgender Columbus native’s raunchy

descriptions of famous people and left the more ‘palatable’ ones

here.

 

There is something to be said about bluntness and edginess. I am

one who doesn’t believe in censorship. What I hear in a comedy

sketch or stand up routine performed in a local tavern, bar, film or

comedy club is usually off-color but comical, one way or another.

 

I have to admit, I may like ‘shocking’  or ‘bawdy’ content. Now, be

honest: Have you ever laughed at “Bridesmaids,” “American Pie”

or “There’s Something about Mary?”

 

This is not “R-rated”nor even “PG 13,” so hope you find something

to laugh out loud about. But if not, this is fine. Humor is like food

and other ‘tastes:’ To each his own!

 

Each of these comments were published in the January, 2015,

“Outlook” magazine.  These are taken from Mary Nolan’s column,

“Reading is Fundamental.” The main readership of this monthly

publication  comes from  the culture of Ohio’s  LGBT  and  Ally

community. You can find this in the lobby of our Delaware County

District Library and other central Ohio locations. It is free to all.

 

1. About John Boehner-

 

“Hey John, skin cancer called and it doesn’t want you either!”

 

2. About Taylor Swift- (appearing with the Victoria Secret models

in her own white outfit, circlet of white feathers on her head and

angel wings):

 

“It’s like the cast of “Glee” gang-banged a bag of sugar-coated

rainbows and the offspring was the most nauseating collection

of happy teen angst.”

 

3. About Kim Kardashian-

 

“I’m all for big (“a- – – -“) behinds, but this girl makes Ohio

bottoms look slightly less hungry.”

 

4. About Nick Jonas- (appearing in a photo without a shirt on):

“Nope, not gonna try to read this one except to say that he was

talentless in the group, Hanson.”

 

5. About Johnny Manziel-

“Nice work in that first start. Helen Keller did a better job of

finding the mark.”

 

6. About Mike DeWine- (on the subject of legalizing same sex

marriage):

“Fiscal responsibility apparently stops when it comes to a couple

of queens getting hitched.”

 

7. About Sherri Dribblelipz-

“I’m all for French broads and their hairy bodies, but for Christ’s

sake, would it kill you to take a weed whacker to them pasty white

airplane pillows? It’s like this: whatever happened to Baby Jane?

I don’t care!”

 

8. About Rosie O’Donnell-

“She’ll huff, she’ll puff and she’ll blow all of your interest in her

out the window.”

 

9. About Suze Ormon- (financial advisor)

“I’d rather get stock advice from the guy who sells drugs in a gay

bar bathroom stall.”

 

10. About Jesse Tyler Ferguson-

(From “Modern Family,” where he is the thinner man in the gay

couple and has red hair):

“For the love of everything unholy, flesh colored beards have never

been and never will be attractive!”

 

11. About Bianca Del Rio-

“Bianca calls her bit the “Rolodex of Hate.” It’s more like the

“Rolodex of Repeat.” She’s had the same material for her entire

40-year career! Speaking of which, Bianca, what were the 70’s

like?”

 

I used to listen to RuPaul, a famous Drag Queen, actress and

author. She made the rounds on talk shows and often appeared

in comedy skits. You can see him in such family movies as,

“The Brady Bunch Movie” and “Brady Bunch Sequel.”

His two books were published and had good sales.

RuPaul’s two books are called,

“Letting It All Hang Out” (an autobiography)

and “Workin’ It.”

 

Here are three RuPaul quotes for you to read:

 

~”When you become the image of your imagination,

it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

 

~”If you don’t love yourself, how the H- – – you gonna

love someone else?”

 

~”We all come into this world naked.  The rest is all drag.”

 

Viva le difference!

 

Soul Food

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There are so many versions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which

really is a great collection of books. I felt happy when my youngest

daughter  started  reading,    “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”

She would have a big smile on her face, arriving at the dinner table,

taking each individual story and reading it as a daily devotional.

 

She would excitedly share about the impact in the story collections

of one life upon another. This, along with her two years of studying

as a confirmand, which is one getting ready in our Presbyterian

Church to be confirmed. . . all of the pieces were falling into place,

with her faith.

 

Here was a young girl, who at age 11, feeling pain in her joints;

already. My daughter was diagnosed at age 12 after being tested

and a surgeon wanting to cut into her knees. We chose to research

more and found out she had JRA. This is the acronym for Juvenile

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Felicia was diagnosed using blood samples,

at Children’s Hospital. She was ‘taken under the wing’ of a lovely

and giving physician named, Dr. Gloria Higgins.

 

If anything, Felicia could have quit playing soccer, would never

have pursued in high school, cross country and could have not

been so eager to learn in school. Her energy and her determination

earned her 10th place in the OCC for our high school in long

distance running. She enjoyed being a cadet journalist and “Girl

on the Street.” There were times I would accompany her to the

mall where she would take her microphone and ask questions

like,  “What are you buying for your significant other, Sir?” or

“What is the most popular toy in the store?” to a salesclerk or

busy manager. She would happily exclaim over the loud speaker,

the morning announcements ,

 

“Good morning, Hayes High School, this is Fox Oldrieve giving you

the news today.”

 

Let’s go back to elementary school, before she knew pain or had a

‘care in the world.’ She wrote an essay that won her third grade

class’ assignment on the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. She did

this once more and wrote an essay that won her fourth grade class’

assignment. The amazing thing to me was she also won the whole

school’s award two years in a row. She was asked to speak in front

of Ohio Wesleyan University’s annual MLK, Jr. breakfast. My secret

wish was for her to pursue this and become a newscaster. . . She did

study dual majors at University of Dayton in Communications and

Marketing. No, she is not in journalism.

 

Her goal is to help others in their pain management, encouraging

them to be careful of what they eat. Healthy choices for her and

she has documented what causes negative joint reactions in her

hands (knuckles), knees and her jaw bone. The way she helps

herself to feel less pain is gluten-free, no milk products, no

sandwich meats or other salty and less natural foods. We shall

see if she finds her dream of this come to fruition. This is not

what my focus is today.

 

Anyway, the books got her through difficult times, challenging

circumstances. When some people, coworkers and friends, start

to complain about aging and their aches and pains, I try not to

say this thought out loud:

 

“My daughter was told by not only Children’s Hospital but also,

due to her being a participant in an OSU study on rheumatoid

arthritis, she had the joints of a 65 year old at age 12.”

 

Here are two motivating quotations, written by John Caulfield,

taken from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II:”

 

~ One ~

“Her essay about the wedding ring was short. Kerr wrote,

‘Things are just things- they have no power to hurt or to heal.

Only people can do that. And we can all choose whether to be

hurt or healed by the people who love us.

That was all.

And that was everything.”

 

~ Two ~

“And so I wait.

I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to my feet once

again. So that I can start a new path, my own path, the one

that will make me whole again.”

 

Besides chicken soup what can we do to help strengthen our immune

systems?

There is always such diversity in lists given by different resources.

There are so many various food sources, also being cleverly labeled

as, “super foods.” A tag that this past ten years has labeled those

foods that give us healthy bodies and provide us rich sources of

“anti-oxidants.”

 

Using some of these ingredients will help you stay healthy on

the outside, your body will hopefully battle the daily coughs

and sneezes we are all assaulted with, in elevators, in cubicles

and in the library sitting next to someone you wish you could

say, “Next time, when you feel miserable and sniffly, would

you please stay home?”

1. Ginger-

a. Soothes upset tummies.

b. Relieves muscle pains.

c. Helps your vocal chords (voice to speak)and prevents coughs.

 

1. Chili powder of chilis-

a. Warm your mouth and ‘innards.’

b. Clear congestion.

 

3. Garlic-

a. Antioxidants boost your immune system.

b. Helps heart and lowers cholesterol.

 

4. Mint

a. Helps with colds and fevers.

b. Mixed with smashed peas, minted peas are getting popular.

c. Sipping on mint green tea, adding another antioxidant, lemon is

a great way of combining forces.

 

Tasty Alternatives in Soups:

~ Homestyle chili with Mexican spice, cumin, garlic, other seasonings

and flavorings both vegetarian or meat/beef style are very good for

us. Also, nice to have a big crock pot of this, so you can pack a few

meals up and be ready for work. (White bean chili is a new favorite.)

~ Garlic soup using sweet potatoes and cauliflower, with curry and

ginger spices.

~Also, some recipes for soups are adding cinnamon, paprika and

bay leaves.

~Roasted pepper and cheddar cheese soup includes cilantro, basil,

garlic and cumin.

 

One last ‘brag’ about my youngest daughter who handles her pain

and sometimes ‘suffering’ in silence and shows grace. I entered her

in her junior year of high school in a contest by the Columbus Dispatch,

“Who Is Your Hero?” She ‘won’ along with two others, in a three way

tie, the newspaper took a picture of the two of us, we won two tickets

to see Dustin Hoffman in “Hero,” first run movie and it was nice to

receive copies of the first page of the Arts and Entertainment

section from so many people in Ohio.

I mentioned something like this:

“At the end of the day, there are teenagers who would use any excuse

to get out of sports or work, but my daughter has a part-time job, is

involved with extracurricular activities and doesn’t complain. There

are many people around her daily who have ‘no clue’ of what she goes

through. It is nice when we are relaxing to sit downstairs while we

have a fire in the fireplace. But as she gets up, she winces. That pained

face moves me. When her stepdad offers to help her up the stairs, she

takes him up on the kind offer. You know that is when it really hurts

to know what she hides most of the time.”

 

What challenges do you overcome daily?

(Spiritual, emotional, seasonal, physical, mental or other?)

 

 

 

Sleeping and Music

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When people say it is best not to go to bed angry, I can understand

their logic. There is a saying, often quoted, derived from the Bible,

“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” I used to have a hard time

sleeping, while young,  if things were unsettled or unresolved in my life.

Recently, I read another way of looking at this,  a different perspective

being:  Why ‘battle it out’ while tired? Instead why not go to bed and

‘sleep on it?’

While we are sleeping, many neurons keep on firing in our brains.

Many people come up with book ideas, song lyrics or other creative

thoughts, along with going, “Ah ha!” and waking up refreshed and

having a whole different outlook on their life or problems. I know a

few people who have had a pad of paper and pen or pencil on their

bedside table, sometimes called a ‘night stand.’ The brain still practices

music, it is still active while we are still and deep in our REM mode of

sleeping. Instincts sometimes keep our mind alive, while we have a little

baby in our care, whether we are a parent, grandparent or babysitter.

Animals are on ‘guard,’ while we may be more sorting through our fears,

re-thinking and processing, our cautions may even become ‘fixed’ and

we may solve a way out of our danger, at hand.

While our bodies are slowing down, our metabolism also is slowing.

We have growth and cell repair sources released while we sleep.

Something scary that researchers are now filling us in on is that

those who are more likely to get Alzheimer’s and dementia are people

who have gone through most of their adult life, lacking sleep, this would

apply to nurses, doctors, air traffic comptrollers and others who have a

busy and hectic schedule, allowing less sleep and rest in their lives.

 

Some positives gathered from several sources gained from our deep and

tranquil sleep:

Mathematicians solve algorithms and problems while sleeping.

Scientists figure our solutions, structures and finish ‘their daily work,’ in

their sleep.

When we make mistakes, our mind rolls the process around in our head,

we are much more cautious, an example given, when we approach a slick

piece of ice on a road, after we have had an accident.

 

We may have our best songs that we sing and our best pieces of art,

while creative minds were finishing their projects, organizing and

composing.

Leading me into the next subject. . .

There is a musical milestone that we past last February: 100 years of

ASCAP.

Many songwriters don’t get the money from our downloading ‘free’

music. This organization was created in 1914, representing currently

over 1/2 million songwriters. It ensures the rights to make money while

others may sing their songs.

I have known two local groups who write their own music, who joined

ASCAP.  Team KNYCE (a trio of rappers with some blues and jazz

influences) and Morgan Treni, who wrote all of her own songs on her

Fall, 2014 release of her Essays album. A group that plays locally folk

songs, whose advice I sought about this subject, also all are members.

 

The American Society of Composers, Authors  and Publishers is a long-

standing organization who has famous members, including Irving Berlin.

This is a world wide organization and it is emphasized by mentors of

musicians to join this, to protect your music. When performers sing the

Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas,” his heirs will get checks. It protects

performers who sing their own songs. Although artists get royalties from

sales of albums, there was a time when famous musical composers would

die, virtually ‘penniless.’

 

Just for your interest, I found out the estimated sales of the song, “White

Christmas” make it the most sung and highest number of all time, as over

50 billion song copies sold , with the second most being Elton John’s,

“Candle in the Wind,” at 33 billion copies sold.

 

The President of ASCAP is the well-respected and likable Paul Williams.

I was amazed when I saw him speaking recently on television of all the

wonderful songs he wrote. I enjoy his sense of humor, along with in the

past, numerous guest starring parts on television shows. Here are just

a few examples of Paul Williams’ songs:

Three Dog Night sings his song, “Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song.”

The Carpenters sang his song, “Rainy Days and Mondays.”

The theme song for “Love Boat” still brings Paul Williams some royalty

checks, as it repeats and reruns on television.

 

ASCAP President Paul Williams (composer and singer) says it is very

frustrating how many sources on the Internet ‘try to steal music’ and not

allow the original artist or songwriter to get their ‘cut’ or ‘share of the pie.’

An example of how many songs are streaming was 7 million streams of

one Lady Antebellum song in a short period of time, losing quite a lot of

money for the group and composer, too. Taylor Swift was interviewed

about ASCAP, saying she was pulling her songs off of “Spotify.” Garth

Brooks and Billy Joel were also outspoken while being asked about this

landmark anniversary of the organization. They mentioned Pandora,

as another source which is a concern of theirs, allowing access to songs

without paying for them.

 

So, when you listen to “The Music in Me” (written by keyboardist Bias

Bochell, of the Kiki Dee Band), “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel)

and Stevie Wonder’s “Dance to the Music,” you may not get these free

anymore.

There are some artists, musicians and composers standing up for their

rights, in the face of the internet. We will see if the songs that are pulled

off, will still reach the popularity level that others which are free and

available.

As fellow bloggers and writers, we must admire their integrity and

believe in their right to having their music kept original and protected.

 

Patricia Cornwell was a 1975 high school graduate. I graduated in 1974

which makes me feel like we could have been friends. My brother, Randy,

was a ’75 graduate so I hung out with a lot of his friends. She is an author

I deeply admire. I was interested in knowing how she reached her level

of writing and productivity. Her most recent book, “Flesh and Blood,”

was published in November, 2014.

 

I enjoy her murder mysteries that often dwell upon the forensics found in

the coroner’s office. Ms. Cornwell says her favorite book for years, one she

carried around everywhere, was titled, “The Inner Game of Tennis.” She

has been a tennis player yet never became a professional tennis player.

She suggests there is much to find in the book about life. She also slyly

mentioned in AARP magazine, that she may not play like a pro, but she

has through her writing and recognition been able to make friends with

Billie Jean King. Timothy Gallwey wrote this book Patricia admired and

studied.

 

Although she does not mention sleep and creativity, I imagine she would

say she discovered some of her best plot lines while sleeping. I contemplate

how rest can prepare you for reaching your own personal goals.

Patricia Cornwell on her personal motivation:

“After reading the book, “The Inner Game of Tennis,” I made it my ambition

to pay attention and not live a fear-driven life. When I sit down to write, I

remind myself to stay in the moment.”

 

J.M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan,” is often quoted:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able

to do it.”

 

Sometimes, as in Peter Pan, it is fun to be child-like. In “Downton

Abbey,”

Elizabeth McGovern portrays the character, “Cora,” Countess of Grantham.

In her personal life, she may not be so serious, as exhibited by this quote:

“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

 

Hmm. . .Or is this possibly a ‘slam’ on those who tend to act immature,

even as adults. . . up to your own interpretation.

Threads

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For those of us who are approaching winter, there are some moments

when we may wish to start a large puzzle, work on a craft or read a

book with deeper meaning. After all, the media ‘invented’ the idea of

Summer Books, which always seem like “Beach Books.” They consist

of fun reads, some adventures or romance but generally not expected

to make it into the Classic books area of the library.

While gathering things, somewhat ‘ahead of time,’ preparing for my

Thanksgiving trip to see my Mom and family up North, I put a box of

old wooden spools of thread into a bag. Or rather ones that used to

have thread on them. I added one of my books from the discards

pile at the May Library Book Sale, in coordination with the Delaware

Arts Festival, thinking that I may get a chance over the four days “on

holiday” to bury my nose in a book. The spools will go to my brother’s

future artistic projects. He utilized another set of these antique

wooden spools in a colorful multi-media project, finishing it with

a shiny paint spattered glaze over it. I love the circular shapes within

the circle of  his shimmering presentation of what I would describe

as the “cosmos.”

 

While talking about thread, I don’t wish to go on too many tangents.

 

Do you remember when we would say, “Nice threads?” Sometimes,

I remember saying this to someone with a tie-dyed shirt or a pretty

patch-worked maxi-skirt. Was it applicable only to certain kinds

of clothes or anyone who we may have thought looked “nice?”

Interesting, since we also use the word “threadbare” clothes, for

those which may be considered ‘raggedy’ or worn out. These are

‘bones of contention’ sometimes, when a spouse may wish to keep

a favorite, softened by time item of clothing. The other spouse

may wish to throw it in the ‘rags’ heap.

 

 

Now that I am getting older, I sometimes have to close one of

my eyes to “thread” a needle. I also recently purchased a package

of needles that remind me of the Large Print Books’ section where

I tend to get some of my ‘reading for pleasure’ books. Rarely do I

find ‘classics’ in this area. I pondered this once, “Do they think

that while I am losing my eyesight, I am becoming ‘dimmer’ in

my brain cells, too?” In this same vein, my “threads” of thoughts

can become quite twisted or knotted up, needing someone to

help unravel them.

 

When a spider creates his web, the intricate woven pattern looks

like snowflakes at times. Sometimes, I think of it as gossamer

“thread” and am amazed at how strong its hold is. Especially,

when in someone’s attic, as it catches in your hair. It is definitely

sticky, which makes sense to catch the bugs or flies for the spider’s

meal.

 

While the use of ‘threading in and out’ is less often used than the

expression of ‘weaving in and out,’ I have heard this used.

 

Can you think of other ways the word, “thread” is used?

 

I especially admire the Native Americans who used almost every

part of an animal, one way or another. Using creatures’ sinew

to sew with a needle created from its bone is surely a testament

of their creative and utilitarian minds. I cannot imagine trying

to poke through the fur or animal hide to create clothes and

jackets. It would have been easier to just throw the fur over their

shoulders like a blanket or poncho. That is how I picture my

way of ‘roughing it.’ The daunting task of creating homes out

of materials from the natural world is incredible to me also.

 

I have 15 different wooden spool brand names with the prices

varying from 15 cents to a quarter. I studied and grouped them,

even noticing the colors or as they are labeled, “shades” can be

over 1000 in their number. The variety intrigued me, as I hope

or felt it may a few of my readers. All of the 15 brands are made

in America. I would be interested if anyone in another country

would tell me where their thread in their sewing basket or junk

drawer was made.

 

When you ‘whet’ someone’s interest in a subject, you don’t

wish to leave them “hanging by a thread,” so here is my list:

1. Clark’s brand.

This is interesting because it was originally on its own, but you will

see a spool with two brands who must have become connected. On

this post, I decided would be presenting what I have, not what I

looked up on the internet. I did not research any of these companies.

Details on the Clark’s wooden spool include, “Cotton” and “O.N.T.”

and the “shade” number of 278 on one of several of these. The “Size

50” is on this brand.

2. “Belding Corticelli” brand.

The words are not together, but circle the spool, some on the

‘top’ and some on the ‘bottom.’

“Bel-waxed”

“Mercerized”

“Cotton”

and the expression, “Fast to Boiling.”

Several of this brand, with the price range given of 15 cents, 19 cents

and 25 cents.

The shades are stamped into the wood, ink pressed to show “1707”

on one, for example. The “Size 50” is also on this brand. All of these

gave the length of “125 yds.” of thread.

3. “Sea Island Thread Mfg. Corp.”

The words, “None Better” are stamped into the wood on one end.

The length on this bigger sized spool is “700 yds.” It is labeled,

“Mercerized Cotton.” (Unlike the other spool where the words

were separated and not contiguous.) This is mentioned to be,

“Made in New York.”

4. “Standard- Coosa-Thatcher Company” is also labeled on

the other end of the spool as “S-C-T”

There is no marking of its shade, color, or length but I am

happy to tell you this was made in “Chattanooga, Tenn.”

5. “Richardson’s .”

“Mercerized Sewing Cotton,”

(Size 50)

100 yards

“Fast to Boiling.”

This singular spool has the word, “Shade 1788,” on it.

6. “Fruit of the Loom.”

40 yds.

(Size 50)

“Mercerized” (no mention of cotton on label.)

“Fast Color”

*Would we today call this ‘color fast?’*

7. “Dandy” brand.

This label is the only one which presents a blend of,

“Cotton and Polyester”

Made in U.S.A. is stamped into the wooden spool’s end.

“Mercerized” is again not connected with the source of

the thread’s ‘material.’

“Boil Fast”

*Doesn’t this fascinate you? How can one expression, “Fast

to Boiling,” be attributed to one kind and then, this shorter

one be given?*

There are two facts about the “Dandy” brand which are not

included on any other of my spools, “Left Twist” and “Two

Cord- 1200 yards.” This is a longer/taller wooden spool.

8. “Ball’s Best” brand.

This was made in South Willington, Connecticut.

“500 yards”

“Cotton”

(24) May be “shade” number?

Gardiner Hall Jr. Company.

“Sole Man’ers”

*(Was this meant to be used on soles of socks or shoes?)*

9. “Coats” brand.

“Super Sheen With Silicone” on a shiny paper circle on top.

125 yds.

“Mercerized”

“Boilfast”

(50)

19 cents.

Shades are “169” “70” and “57-A”

On the bottom of the spool, where there isn’t any shiny label,

stamped into the wood is: “J + P Coats.”

10. “Lily” brand.

“Mercerized.”

50 yds.

Cotton boll symbol on the paper label.

“Boil – Fast”

11. “Radium” brand.

“1 oz.”

“Three Cord”

“Mercerized Cotton”

“Color 1169”

12. “Aunt Lydia’s” brand,

“American Thread Co.”

“Button & Carpet”

“Extra Strong + Smooth”

“Shade 830”

13. “Empeco” brand.

“Mercerized Thread”

“Manufactured by Max Pollack Co. Inc.”

Made in “Mills Groton, CONN”

“700 yards”

Color “518.”

14. “Coats + Clarks”

(At last, we have both companies joined together.)

Time has gone past, since this big spool is labeled

to cost, “39 cents” and has details, such as:

“Dressmaker’s Spool”

“Made in U.S.A”

(50)

Color or shade is “86-B”

15. “Talon” brand.

“Mercerized.”

325 yds.

“29 cents”

“Made in U.S.A.”

“Colorfast” (at last!)*

15. “Star” brand.

“100% Polyester”

40 yds.

“American Thread Co.”

“CONN”

(An area code is given, but is faded. Possibly 06905 or 08905?)

“Will-Boil”

Three different spools have these color numbers:

“484” “553” and “020”

The three have varying length of thread:

“40 yds.” “125 yds.” and “150 yds.”

“Mercerized Cotton”

I enjoy learning about the crafts and hobbies of fellow bloggers.

Do you tend to carry out the same kinds of activities or do you

change them, as the season changes?

This post began with my getting out some things to go visiting;

along with sorting out the spools from my crowded sewing basket.

I accomplished the chore of cleaning up and writing this post about

‘threads’ due to those wooden spools. My little grandchildren used

to play stacking games with them, as if they were uniquely shaped

building blocks. Remembering their tall towers of spools make me

smile. Then, the giggles of when they all came tumbling down.

I imagine children in the past doing this playful use of spools, too.

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in Translation

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When I arrived at Mom’s, I mentioned that I had a project for her to do. I wished to

have her mind challenged, trying her ‘hand’ once again at translating. I borrowed an

adorable book from my grandson, Micah, called:  “Bear Says Thanks.” This has been

already translated into Spanish on the bottom of each page. I was hoping Mom would

enjoy this little idea and tell me a little bit about how things that rhyme in English,

as this is written with a nice cadence and lovely blending of words, turn out when put

into another language.

(If you are just dropping by, my Mom taught World Literature and Spanish to high

school students for 30 years.)

 

The Spanish title of this book is easily translated with no changes in meaning:

“Oso Dice Gracias.” If you would like to find this book, written by Karma Wilson and

illustrated with charming animals who gather for a feast. Perfect Thanksgiving book,

with the meaning of gratitude and friendship themes easily understood by a 3-4 year

old. The illustrator, Jane Chapman, captures sweet expressions on the various creatures

of the woods, along with the playful sense of humor.

I had taken white 3 x 5″ cards and carefully covered the given Spanish translation, using

yellow Sticky Tack to keep the cards over the words, without ruining my grandson’s book.

 

Mom decided to give me a short tutorial in translation, reminding me of several rules

of language since I had had about 6 years of Spanish, along with one year of French. I

was not too bad while teaching a non-English speaking student while fresh out of

college, in my sixth grade class. I was always much better listening and comprehending,

as in my travels to Mexico and Spain. I also was fairly adept at reading Spanish, just have

a hard time speaking in complex sentences. She reminded me that there are sometimes

words that may change according to the ‘sex’ of the person. Her example of this was:

“vieja” would mean an older woman and “viejo” would mean an older man. When you

learn beginning Spanish, I remembered “amiga’ was my girlfriend, while my guy friends

were “amigos.”

Mom said this book in English has “beautiful flow of words,” which is difficult to capture

when translating it.

Here is an example of the English words that Mom found challenging.

“I’m back from a stroll

from the old fishing hole

(and it later rhymes again with ‘pole.’)

The words ‘fishing hole’ are already complicated becoming: “pescaria.” This is an all-

encompassing word for all things that are fishing related.

 

Here are the list of animals in the story:

(Mom was easily able to translate all but the Raven, Wren and Gopher.)

Badger  =  Tejon (It needs an accent on the “o” Mom told me.)

Wren  =  Chochin (It needs an accent on the “I” Mom mentioned.)

Owl  =  Buho  (The “u” needs an accent to emphasize the first syllable, Mom said.)

Mouse = Raton (The “o” gets an accent.)

Gopher = Taltuza

Hare = Liebre

Raven = Cuervo (I thought this was part of an alcoholic beverage. Smile!)

 

**Mole  =  Topo

This was very confusing to us both.

We peeked at this name, which both Mom and I made a comment about “Topo Gigio,”

a puppet. I had forgotten this little character in both Spanish and Italian plays until I

heard the word, “Topo” which I immediately blurted out, “Gigio.” Mom sagely nodded

her head, when I said the last part. She told me this was ‘puzzling.’  We both thought

that  “Topo Gigio” was a mouse! Why in this book is the word for mole, “topo” while

the word for mouse sounds like it is a rat, “raton”?)**

 

 

Mom did not easily translate the following phrase, so I let her ‘cheat’ and ‘peek.’

In English, “smiles real wide.”

In Spanish, “y de oreja a oreja sonrie.” This means a smile that is ‘cheek to cheek.’)

 

The friendly tone and playful words of:

“There’s a flap and a flutter

and a flurry in the den,

when in flutters Owl, Raven and Wren.”

(Karma’s lovely flowing words.)

Mom read and re-read those words, she was uncertain how to translate the “f” words.

Mom refrained from saying her own “f” word!

In this case of the different animals arriving there are several different words used to

describe the motions.  Even in English there are a lot of words you may use for one word.

 

“You need to be careful,” Mom told me, “when you are choosing a word with a distinct

meaning. We want to carry out the flavor, intent and feeling of the author’s writing. You

would not wish to offend anyone, either, while translating words from one language to

another.”

This children’s book, “Bear Says Thanks/ Oso Dice Gracias” was overwhelming for Mom,

to change into Spanish. We still don’t feel we did as well as the examples given on each page.

“We didn’t do this simple, but meaningful book justice,” Mom exclaimed.

 

The last page where all the animals gather has a considerate Bear apologizing because

he doesn’t have any food to bring to the feast. The different animals have gathered to

commune together and break bread.  All of them tell Bear, ‘his gift’ is to tell them stories.

This is what makes him special.  There’s no need to bring anything to eat, since each one

has brought more than enough to share.

What a beautiful lesson given with charming pictures which could be a book your

family will treasure.

 

Mom said that the way a person may choose a tense or a synonym may be the same

as people writing a paper in English. We may choose ‘lovely’ and another may choose

the word, ‘beautiful.’ We may use the word, ‘sparkly’ while another may use ‘shiny.’

She made a funny comment that I had to immediately write down so I would not forget.

She even used a little ‘saucy tone,’

“Different strokes for different folks.”

Mom went on to emphasize the meaning behind the words we choose depends not only

on the context of the sentence, but also upon the tone used.  Here is another “Momism:”

“Our different experiences color our reactions to things. We need to use reverence and

respect towards the culture of the country whose language you are translating from or

into. This is important whenever we try to translate someone else’s writing.”