Category Archives: China

Premio Dardos are like Cupid’s Arrows sent to me

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This gift from Kim was extraordinary, since I had been feeling a bit

behind on my reading, posting and keeping up with my blog. It just

seemed like the familiar friends had all produced so many pieces of

literary genius, I was not ever going to get through all of their posts.

So, being nominated for the Premio Dardos just made my day, my

week and my Valentine’s Day, too.

 

The meaning behind this award nomination is to give people awho

form of recognition to fellow bloggers who are striving to touch the

world through their writing. The word, “premio” means prize or reward.

“Dardos” means darts. Spanish spells it one way, while I believe the

Italian form would be “primio.”

 

How easily I could picture my friend Kim playing Cupid sending me

darts of Love into my heart. This act of kindness warming my heart

to accept and include everyone with this radiance and light.

 

“Chronic Conditions and Life Lessons” is the title to Kim’s

blog but there are so many layers to this lovely woman who is

a blessing to all who meet or read her. Please check this out:

http://kimgosselinblog.com

 

You know those candy hearts that have messages?

 

The Necco Company has been making Sweetheart candy hearts

with imprinted messages since 1901!

 

Instead of passing candy through the imaginary internet

connection we have made through our blogging, I would

like to share my ‘fortune.’

 

I chose four Chinese fortune cookies at the International Film

Festival, celebrated on Baldwin Wallace University campus over

last weekend, to nibble on during the movies.

 

Don’t you love how these little folded bits of  crunchy sweetness,

provide you with the Chinese characters for words? I think this is

such an interesting part of the paper inside your fortune cookie. I

am not sure you could learn the language through this process of

eating cookies though.  One of the four words I could have learned

to copy the intricate letters or characters was:

“Cucumber.”

 

The little slips found tucked into your dessert cookie display

‘your lucky numbers’ and then share a piece of philosophy

with you.  I used to save these and put them in one of my

Chinese bowls with designs of flower gardens and pagodas

painted in pretty blue and white. These little bits of wisdom

may remind you of the old movies with the Chinese detective

who would intone the beginning words of what he had deduced

to be the crime’s solution,

“Confucius say . . .”

 

Just a short ‘sidebar’ about Detective Charlie Chan, who was

created in fiction by Earl Derr Biggers after a trip to Hawaii.

Biggers was inspired by an actual Chinese police officer who

served in Honolulu and loosely based his character on a man

named Chang Apana.

 

Biggers’ first book was called, “The House without a Key.” The

first Detective Chan characters were portrayed by Asian actors

from 1926 until in 1931. These films were not as popular as the

next ones produced with a Swedish actor named Warner Oland

who played the benevolent, wise and intelligent detective. The

movie series Warner Oland performed in continued until 1937

when he passed away.  The parts of his last movie  had already

been filmed also included the character of Detective Chan’s son.

The actor who played his “Number One Son” (as the character

would call him) in many of the movies, Keye Luke, completed

the movie which had scenes already filmed with Oland. If you

wish to learn about the next series of Chan films that started in

1942, which actor portrayed him,  along with any Charlie Chan

television series, you may investigate further on your own.

 

I would like to share some choices for you to consider your

‘future’ or fortune from. Instead of the candy hearts saying,

“You’re Sweet,” “Be Mine,” or  “You Rock,” I found each of

these to be particularly meaningful to me.

 

Aren’t these ‘fortune’ forecasts wise and wonderful?

 

1. “When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars.”

 

2. “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”

 

3. “You will always be prepared for the future, but never forget

what you’ve learned from the past.”

 

4. “You are a person of culture.  Cultivate it.”

 

I used to love the white and yellow candy Sweethearts the best. The

yellow tasted like bananas and the white tasted like cinnamon.

 

Here is a List of  the Nominees for the special Premio Dardos Award.

I call them my “Baker’s Dozen” (13 fine blogs). You are special since

you are new, haven’t been awarded by me before and like my posts!

1. Priyan for new music:

http://priyanrocks.wordpress.com

2.Khorhmin for social commentary and prose:

http://projectprose.wordpress.com

3. A mixture of thoughts and pictures. I liked the funny parts,too:

http://oh2bhuman.com

4. I liked the different emotions shown in she writes of life:

http://myselfexpressions.wordpress.com

5. Holley tells it like it is at:

http://chasingdestino.com

6. Photography with prose at:

http://michaellarose.wordpress.com

7. Fun and makeup tips at:

http://misssophiablog.com

8. Shelley has been around the world and into some ‘fine messes,’

showing humor at all times:

http://honeydidyouseethat.wordpress.com

9. Everyday Zen, meaning simple and deep messages given:

http://rainbowsutra.wordpress.com

10. Yolanda has deep discussions generated by interesting subjects:

http://ygmcadam.wordpress.com

11. Leslie is writing music, always sharing a good time at:

http://swo8.wordpress.com

12. Sheila shared recently her personal romantic story about her life

but I go visit her for the dogs, especially Red:

http://redrantsandraves.com

13. It is nice to finish this baker’s dozen with an international woman

named Lis. You will find photography, art and poetry on her blog at:

http://liska11.wordpress.com

 

Those who are nominated are not expected to write a post if you are

not interested in this process.

I just wished to share my “Premio Dardos”with some bloggers who

I haven’t awarded before.

Kim who nominated me, suggested giving 15 nominations away, along

with finding the logo of the award located on her blog site listed above.

 

Thanks to all those who picked up a ‘lucky fortune.’

Let me know if you have any of the predictions come true or if any of

their messages meant something special to you.

 

Hope your Valentine’s Day is spent with someone special and if you

don’t celebrate, hope there is a treat of some kind for you very soon!

 

You Are Special to Me!

Baldwin Wallace site: 2015 International Film Series

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You better believe I was excited to be asked by my sister in law,

Susan who is a Dean at Baldwin Wallace University to attend

two of the many diverse international films shown over this

past weekend. The series was held from February 6 – 14th.

The two movies were so disparate they don’t even seem to

belong in the same world we live in. One was more factual

and sad in its depiction of culture, class structure and society.

The other was one that left you feeling strong, independent

and yet vulnerable to feelings about relationships. Both had

a similar thread of how choosing the ‘right path in life’ can

make a difference in life’s outcomes.

 

The Chinese film was called, “Tian Zhu Ding,” which translates as

“A Touch of Sin.” There were four ‘acts’ with true stories embedded

within the plot. The news stories were results from tragic incidents.

The film ends by circling back to a few of the main characters. Each

individual portrayed a character who either committed violence or

were affected and changed by the actual happenings.

 

The countryside setting in the beginning of the movie displayed

beautiful snow-capped mountains and the outside of a coal mine.

There are many struggling people in this remote town. Someone

is offended, and ultimately angered, by the owner of the mine.

You do not find out until another section of the movie how far

this man will go as he takes out his revenge.

 

Part of this true story includes two men being shot and killed

going down the mountain on their motorcycles. It looks to the

observer to be a possible ‘hit job.’ I think this part of the first

story gives the viewer the sense of,  “Life is futile.” This random

act of violence against the two men just made this section of the

film feel more desolate.

 

The town tries valiantly to display a friendly and positive reception

for manager and his wife. A noisy, discordant band, cheerleader-like

people wearing costumes and one loud, angry and discontented man

await the arrival of the mining company boss, who is also part of the

royal family. The main problem making the miner seethe and stew

is that if the family can afford a plane which arrives on the runway

where the gathering is prepared to entertain them, then he feels the

manager should pay the workers better. The disparity between the

classes seem to be the root and meaning behind this part of the film.

 

Later after the film, there was a reception where one of Baldwin

Wallace University professors said they do have unions in China.

She speculated possibly not in the rural provinces, though.

 

The small town’s welcoming committee and reception is declared

over by the manager and the crowd disperses. There were a few

people who shook hands with the manager and tried to ingratiate

themselves with him. His wife doesn’t shake hands but smiles and

appeared aloof. The royal manager of the coal mine ends up beating

the upset man with only his wife and his pilot as witnesses. This

is due to his having embarrassed the royal manager by expressing

his disapproval of the way the mine was managed.  Being ‘called out’

by a subordinate on his wealthy habits in front of the group threw

him into a rage.

 

This poor soul is so badly injured he must go to a hospital.

 

The second story is one where the injured, malcontent man visits

a woman who he has loved since he was young. You can see from

their facial expressions how much they care about each other. She

has been married for some time. She stops preparing dinner and

leaves one of her sons in the kitchen doing his homework. The

film never shows the two in any of unfaithfulness. The viewer

assumes it is unrequited love.  It appears they have never followed

through with a physical affair. The woman won’t leave her husband

but does explain to the man she has known her whole life that she

has loved him since young. She would go with him, if only he would

change. She says he will never amount to anything, only in Chinese

translated into English subtitles.

 

There is a possible theme of redemption in the beginning of this

story. The audience may feel there could be hope for this man who

is distraught and not taken seriously in his coal mining job. It seems

like the man is thinking about changing his ways. He does have a

wife, it is revealed and she is going to have to live with the haunting

vengeful acts he chooses to commit.

 

Unfortunately, he is angered by this hardened  position of his

childhood sweetheart. He goes on to commit atrocities, killing

more than four people. The scene where he gets his rifle and goes

to the royal palace is almost unbelievable. It made me feel like I

was watching a Quentin Tarantino film. This true news story is

not given a date or time but the review and article about the film

describe this as an actual murderous series of events.

 

The married woman in this story will re-appear in the fourth story.

 

The third story is one with a couple of young people. The central

character in this ‘act’ is one young man who is trying to get out

of the coal mining town. He has a friend he contacts using his cell

phone, who affirms there are more jobs in the big city. The friend

upon his arrival calls a man who comes to pick him up in a fancy

car. He is taken to a place of entertainment where young people,

both men and women, are given costumes to wear.

 

They are paraded in front of potential ‘buyers’ of their ‘human wares.’

One strange element is a shortened version of an Army uniform with

the bellies of the young girls displayed and they do ‘march in’ and

the visitors sit on rows of couches ogling them.

 

The clients may buy ‘time’ with the youths or buy ‘acts’ performed,

(implied but not seen.) This becomes sad since the two attracted to

each other, spend time while they have a day off from work. They try

to act like a normal couple on a date. There are smiles and moments

where you have the belief, or hope this may be the first happy ending

of the three stories shown so far. They spend time looking at things at

a local market, see statues of Buddha the young woman is interested

and the ‘boy’ purchases one about a foot tall.  They go to a parking lot,

where they sit in someone else’s car, kissing while the Buddha is shown

left on the hood of the car as rain begins to fall upon the windshield.

There are symbolic meanings to several parts of each story.

 

The girl reluctantly tells the young man she has a three year old

daughter. She poignantly express when you work in the ‘sex trade’

you really don’t believe in love anymore. Her mother is raising the

little girl.

 

This ends the first half of the 3rd story. . .

 

There is another young woman who is working in a public sauna.

This place is where sexual favors can also be bought. She is ‘only a

receptionist’ she tries to explain her employment position three

times to a couple of men who are trying to persuade her to engage

in paid sexual favors.

 

Both these stories come to violence. In the first one, the young

man throws himself over a balcony many stories high in the city.

He had just gotten off the phone with his mother complaining he

had not sent money since he left the coal mine. You sense he had

hoped to find a good job and make enough money to send home

to support his mother. This compounded with the disenchantment

with the city, the reality and rejection of the young girl sends him

into making his final choice.

 

The second story in this section of the movie, has the accosted

young woman lashing out with a knife and attacking, defending

herself against the two male potential rapists. The word, “no” and

slamming the door three times against them did not stop their

attempts to change her mind.

 

Once the man is bloody with several stabs into his chest and arms,

the other man runs away. She leaves the establishment in bloody

clothing and is seen wandering out on the road leaving the city in

the dark.

 

The last story shows the woman from story number two having

left her husband to become a ‘preacher,’ in the form of a street

performer. She must have decided the violent rampage of her

childhood love was a turning point. There aren’t any explanations

for the film’s character’s actions.

 

Sometimes, there was silence in many scenes.

Conversation seemed more to move the pieces of each story

along rather than connect people together.

 

The performance play has a religious revival tone to it. The main

female entertainer is asking members of the audience to come

forward and ask for forgiveness. The message in this seems to be,

‘Your actions will help you to find your path in life.’

 

The wife of the disgruntled coal miner who killed the royal couple

(who also managed the coal mine) in their palace is present. Along

with the young woman from the sauna. She had just come from a

“Fortune 500”  company (displayed on the sign by the tables of

job interviewers). In this scene, the young girl has shorter hair,

wearing a simple outfit. This is not thread bare, but the attitude

of the female interviewer shows disdain towards her. She didn’t

have the necessary qualifications, both educational and experience,

to get the position. She walks dejectedly with her head looking at

the sidewalk out of the building and heads towards a park.

 

Following the sound of the play leads the unemployed woman to

come across a performance upon a small stage set up in the park.

 

There is a feeling of hope amongst the participants in the play.

Their exuberance is catchy and they seem to impart a purpose to

their presentation. Several aimless people have wandered upon

the colorful scene.

 

The city onlookers listen to the motivational messages given.

Those who have felt like life has become too daunting and

overwhelming. It ends with an open-ended optimistic sense

of well being.

 

I would say the fourth story’s theme is about redemption.

 

This Chinese film was every bit as violent as any of ones made

in the United States. I had a preconception that it would show

resolutions made and more detailed explanations given for the

intense situations in the four stories. The outline of the plot lets

the viewer know there will be “four shocking and true events.”

 

The way the stories are ‘strung together’ doesn’t make it easily

understood.  If you don’t play close attention, it might be hard

to determine each character as they are not always wearing any

distinguishing clothing.

 

If I had been at home watching this on a DVD, I would have

rewound it more than once.

 

If any movie is possible to remind you of this film to one of ours,

I would say, “Crash.” That film took several story lines where they

converge into situations. Characters were loosely drawn and then

acted and reacted to the events in each movie. This Chinese film,

“A Touch of Sin,” is reminiscent of the way lives unravel and

become disconnected.

 

The director named Jia Zhangke has written and directed two

other films that a reviewer considered, “Masterpieces.”  They are

called, “The World” and “Still Life.”

 

A movie reviewer for the magazine, “The New Yorker,” Richard

Brody says, “This is one of the best and most important directors

in the world.” In a brochure for the film festival, others label it as

“daring,” “poetic” and leading the country of China, after the real

life crimes, into a period of “self-examination.”

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese reception with various dishes of

noodles with vegetables, sushi rolls, egg rolls and fortune cookies.

There were some kind of custard wrapped desserts which some of

us wondered if this were a contribution of ‘cannolis’ representing the

Italian food.

 

Since the last movie we saw was from Italy.

 

I listened and was humbled by deep thoughts the Chinese movie

drew out of professors and visitors.

*I would not recommend watching this powerful movie due to its

feeling of hopelessness and despair.

 

Here are a series of thoughts I wrote down before I compiled

this into a ‘review’ on “A Touch of Sin:”

1.  A diabetic injects himself with insulin and proceeds to eat

noodles.

2.  The only two pieces of art work were a beautiful Tiger and

the Mother Mary holding Jesus. The costumes of the band

players and the different plays within the film were gorgeous.

3. Taking justice into his own hands, the one who was beaten

by the royal who managed the coal mines, was accompanied

by waving a wall hanging of a tiger over his rifle.

4. Discontent/Dissent/Inequality of the masses was a recurring

theme throughout the film.

5. A “Fortune 500” company is in the 4th section of the film

and it is titled, “Oasis of Opportunity.”

6. The three languages spoken in China are given as Mandarin,

Shanghai and English.

7. Everyone, at every level in the film, has a cell phone and

modern technology is apparent throughout despite poverty

in the mining village.

8. The scene with a man whipping his horse was upsetting.

9. Taking justice in their own hands seems to be the way

those who felt their lives were unfair was their only way

of equalizing their lives.

10. Smoking occurs in buses, trains, restaurants and hotel

rooms.

11. Men dress as women to entertain in the fourth story.

12. The movie left me feeling very dissatisfied and discontent.

*No violence was taken on my part.

 

 

“Viaggio Sola” is called, “A Five Star Life.” It actually is not the

same meaning as the Italian title would be, “Traveling Alone.”

This is a fun spirited Italian movie about a woman who is one

of those ‘mystery shoppers’ or ‘customers’ to elegant and formal

hotels around the world. The time she is in an Asian country

watching on the veranda a lovely belly dancer while sipping wine

and looking across at a man also a guest at the hotel is an example

of escaping reality.

Her own apartment is sparingly decorated.  Her sister is married

and has two girls. Her brother-in-law plays for the Italian symphony.

She takes her nieces out to eat once in the movie, along with making

reservations of adjoining rooms for their accompanying her on a

special trip.

The girls like checking the mattress for bed bugs, counting towels

and the other parts of the reoccurring list the women orally goes

over as she types the answers into her laptop.

The girls ‘act up’ and use toilet paper in the bathtub which brings

out the character’s lack of understanding children’s impulses. She

yells briskly at the girls, which later one of them can’t go to sleep

and ‘wants to go home.’

The voice over narrator throughout this film is telling the elements

of a proper “5 star” place.

There are amusing times when the main character is disembarking

from a trip to greet a good guy friend at the airport,  where she offers

to ‘cook dinner,’ which he makes a disdainful expression which is

comical, like a, “You know you don’t know how to cook!” look.

While at his apartment, you notice he has candles and nice cooking

utensils as he prepares her a meal.

 

There are a few monkey wrenches thrown into the Italian film’s

plot line, which I won’t reveal because I do recommend this film.

 

It is beyond the simple story drawn here. It is not at all negatively

completed as the similar George Clooney film, “Up in the Air” was.

That movie ending was quite disconcerting, since I saw a future in the

romance being shown between George’s character and an airline

hostess.

 

In the Italian film, “A Five Star Life,” you will see gorgeous scenes of

the following international cities:  Paris, France, Gstaad, Morocco,

Berlin, Germany and China. Each has lavish hotels and delicious meals

displayed to wish you were the person hired to critique and be pampered.

 

 

 

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Waffle Mornings

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Throughout my childhood, there were moments in time which are

treasured. Seems a little ‘simple’ or holding little ‘value,’ but our

mornings where my Mom and Dad were not going to work nor

preoccupied with their lives, were extra special. The old waffle

iron being pulled out, placed on the counter, close by to the sink

and all the ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder and soda,

milk, butter and eggs being lined up meant this had the glowing

potential of becoming a morning of serendipity. Those mornings

are permanently engraved in my mind with the cross-hatched

imprint of homemade waffles. Mmm! My Aunt Amy always sent

us a nice bottle of maple syrup from Chardon, Ohio.

This past Thursday morning, while many families were finishing

their preparations for their Thanksgiving meal and others were

on the road traveling on crowded byways and arriving at their

destinations Mom and I were getting our breakfast prepared.

We cooked up in the toaster, four store-bought frozen blueberry

waffles, put butter  on each one, allowing them to melt into those

little square pockets and poured some real maple syrup over them.

Mom and I settled in for a huge treat, it was the morning of the

annual event:

The 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mom and I enjoyed so much of the floats, musical presentations

and the marching bands. She is often amazed and surprised with

the unique balloon floats, which she exclaims and pronounces so

many of them, “my favorite one of all!”

I have a few notes down, which Mom supervised, since she felt she

should have her hand in their choices. After all, she probably has

seen a few more than I have over all the years. Although, I did remind

her that her treats on Thanksgiving morning were baking up some of

those orange glazed and vanilla frosted cinnamon rolls by Pillsbury,

not usually did she have time for waffles on Thanksgiving. Although,

there was one year that I got rather annoyed at my brother, Randy,

my Mom and Dad for being side-tracked by the Waffle House on a

Thanksgiving Day… but that is all in the history of our family, no

real need to dwell on that!

It has been 40 years of having Hello Kitty in the Macy’s parade. It

has been 45 years since Royal Caribbean has been part of the parade.

We took a moment to discuss and remember my Mom’s father and

her step-mother, who we were told to call “Aunt Vergene,” having

their honeymoon on a Royal Caribbean cruise. They has quite some

adventures with trips to places all around the world, their favorites

possibly being the Alaska trip and the Scandinavian one where my

Grandfather was able to see the fjords. (My Grandmother had passed

away long before their marriage and trips, since this is important to

my family history and the fine example of love shown by both of them.)

Mom liked the Peter Pan musical presentation, with children from the

Broadway production. There also was a commercial about the current

upcoming television production to be seen on December 4, 2014. The

cast includes Minnie Driver and Christopher Walken. I thought the

previews looked quite good and think J. M. Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan

is always a timeless treat to watch.

Mom worried about the underdressed New York City Rockettes and

yet, thought their little ‘bathing suits with gift bows’ were ‘cute.’

I am not sure what Meghan Trainor sang, need to go check: “Lips

Are Moving.” Mom said she liked that Meghan looks like a ‘nice,

healthy girl,’ and she also did not ‘mind the style of her singing.’

It was a rocking and rapping song, which was pleasant sounding.

In the little bits of her comments, she told me,

“I always love pink flamingos, they make me smile!”

“I remember the Sea World in Florida, this float captures all the

colors and beauty of the sea.”

“I love the movement and impressive activity of this band, along

with its music.”

“I remember this group, what are they called?” I answered her,

“This is the KISS band with Gene Simmons as the lead singer.”

“Oh, this is nice to hear their songs.” (The medley was a nice one,

which I may add, I was impressed that there was only one tongue

presentation. I read in the papers, the next day, there were ‘no rules

or restrictions formally given to the members of KISS.’)

 

We were both surprised that Paddington the Bear had his first time

appearance in 2014. This British icon so sweetly floated as a balloon

with his familiar blue coat, big, red hat and suitcase in hand. He looked

like he was ready to rush off and enjoy a wonderful day in England.

Paddington is one of the most recognizable children’s book characters.

It was fantastic to see him join the Parade. Next year, in 2015, will be

released the bear’s first full-length animated movie, produced by the

Weinstein Group. Not only fun and sweet memories attached, but it

never hurts to have some advertising for the upcoming movie.

During the commercials, Mom was enthusiastic about the upcoming

holiday release of Stephen Sondheim and others’ “Into the Woods,”

movie musical. With Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendricks,

and Johnny Depp playing the character of the Wolf, she was wishing

to go to see this at the theater. She waited about five minutes, with

a serious look on her face, which usually accompanies an abstract or

somber thought. I could relate to her fears expressed in this comment,

“Although, I am not sure I could sit for two or more hours without

having to use the bathroom.”

We decided we could wait until the library has this, possibly in time

for my July, 2015 vacation. We have been making a rather long list of

current movie releases, hoping to be able to watch them next summer.

The most outstanding and magnificent dancers, we felt were the Beijing

Traditional Dancers. Their float was financed and backed by the “Sino-

American Friendship Association (or Organization). It included lots of

color and the Great Wall of China in the design of the float.

I would say the ‘close second’ place Float of the morning was the one

which held the Cirque D’ Soleil crew of jugglers, athletes, dancers and

performers called appropriately: “Dream Seekers.” This float was

touted as the ‘biggest float of the parade.’

Sabrina Carpenter sang on the Pirate Ship with playful words, “I’m

Ready to Fly,” which is a beautiful song with her voice exhibiting

dulcimer tones. I will need to check her out sometime soon, to see

or better yet, hear her other songs she sings. She is young and was

born on May 11, 1999. I am giving you a prediction:  Sabrina will

go far in the musical world!

A funny but serious group of “48 Mammas” were dancing to the

song, “We’re Not Going to Take It.” They were promoting the great

message of being Against Ageism. They were all representing the

controversial subject of age discrimination. There were some dancers

who had walkers, others who had canes but they were a lively group.

Mom leaned over towards me saying,

“They may be representing those who are disabled but they would

not be able to endure the pain of walking the whole course of the

parade, if they were truly ‘handicapped.'”

There is a group I hope you have not heard of, but you may already

know of this extremely ‘cute’ and ‘popular’ British singers: The Vamps.

We thoroughly enjoyed this pleasant singing young band. The young

people along the parade route were screaming, as if they were the

famous Beatles of the 60’s. Since they are out of England, they have

not appeared, as far as I know, on any of our 2014 award shows. Not

yet! Their float was futuristic, with a Hess brand truck launching a

rocket.

The newest balloon float, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger,

along with the Spiderman entry would be so fun to go and see the

early morning balloon ‘blowing’ pre-Parade moments. I think if I

lived closer to New York, (oh, and had extra money to ‘blow’) I sure

would take my grandchildren to this special ceremony and watch

the preparations. This was mentioned by the announcers of the Macy’s

Thanksgiving Parade as a valuable and memorable family time.

 

Of course, many children get excited each year to see the final float

with reindeer and Santa Claus. It means it can’t be long till Christmas!

 

It may seem rather strange to celebrate holidays with television events,

but those mornings where my own three children and I would get all

wrapped up in blankets, eating waffles or sweet rolls, while watching

the annual parades are priceless memories.  After all, television was

something that kept my generation, the first to be able to really watch

all the parts of the world right out of our own living room, happily

entertained. It is hard to explain this phenomena, where many of my

grandchildren take for granted their ability to view the world from

their computers and cell phones.

 

It was very enjoyable to see the 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with

my Mom this year through her ‘fresh’ older eyes. Along with pleasant

promises of the next event to celebrate:  the Annual Parade of Roses.

 

 

 

World Views

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When people give me a film recommendation, I take this with a ‘grain of

salt.’ There are so many different interests, particular patterns to people’s

choices in what they choose to watch. This is true of television, movies,

theater, music and cultural events. There are some universal choices that

almost everyone enjoys once in awhile. International movies, where the

cinematography and images are breath-taking and fantastic, are ones that

I am thrilled to receive from someone I admire and pass on to others, too.

My friend, Beth, who writes about all kinds of international subjects,

along with her home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan and her little ones

that she teaches, included “Vivan Las Antiopodes” as one of her posts.

Here is her blog:

http://ididnthavemyglasseson.com

We have some kindred sisterhood, which I admit I have been close to

several other bloggers along the way, with similar tastes and interests.

Beth has a reason for her interest in Australia and grandchildren, yet

even I am sometimes surprised at such details as liking the same kind

of ice cream that we have connections beyond what I generally find in

my community and home town.

So, to get this movie, I had to mention my interest to the librarian,

who got online to seek whether it was located in our own library or

a part of our district library in Delaware County. Nope! It was from

Greene County, Ohio, the town of Xenia, where this film was sent for.

I watched it and took notes. I then re-watched it while eating dinner

the next night. It is awesome, beyond description in its simple theme

of how across the world, we are all similar. It is complex, in its terrains

and cultural differences. These four cities, chosen because they are

exactly diametrically opposed on the globe, are called, “antipodes.”

If you watch this, the picture gradually slants from the one place to

glide effortlessly, circuitously into the other one. It is hard to explain

but it shows the world on its axis, so to speak, literally turning from

the one location to the next. The dizzying effect is exhilarating!

 

Then it is philosophical, here in my own words, I try to explain the

effect this film had upon me:

 

“We are all mankind.

Look at us, trying to eke out existence where there are few resources.

This is for the desert and sparse land where hardly any green exists.

Where there are miles between homes, across divergent tundras of land.

Trying to make our way among a crowded city, winding between others,

taking care not to enter the personal spaces, but sometimes colliding.”

 

I felt the movie has themes that are universal, no need to try to interpret

or have the languages translated. Why worry about the subtexts? Just

watch this movie for all the reasons Beth mentioned, along with this

short summary of textures I tried to capture in words. There are so many

dimensions, you will see this if you check out Beth’s post on this, too.

 

Swans

Birds

Giraffes

Farmers

Workers

Shearers

Sheep

 

Joy

Dances

Ukulele

Expressions

Discordant tones

Musical instruments

Melodic chants

Staccato “coos”

Dissonant

Calm

 

Round

and

Round

 

Sparse

Simple

Solidarity

Separate

Solitude

 

Fluid

Flows

Frost

Foliage

Fields

 

Round

and

Round

 

Carts

Riders

Walkers

Bicyclists

Complicated

Intertwining

Rickshaw

Vehicles

Trucks

Cars

 

Stark

Rocky

Barren

Beauty

Splendor

Horizons

Grassy

Beach

Lush

 

Men

Women

Diversity

Young

Old

 

 

 

 

Weekend Updates

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I am excited to tell you that my Filipino friends, Jason and Felda, safely arrived

back from their extended vacation. As she was arriving at work, we all hugged

her and asked how things went. I was pleased that she brought me a couple of

treats. (They are wrapped candies and these layered cookies with cinnamon and

sugar on them.) She told me to meet her outside work, on Monday, because she

was going to give me something no one else was getting! When we left work, she

gave me a pretty, new t-shirt from Hong Kong.

While we ‘got one back,’ we will have to say goodbye Friday, to Mary Jane. She will

leave on Saturday morning heading off to the Philippines. (She is from a different

island from our mutual friend, Felda, she met here in the U.S. In fact they have

different dialects, unique ‘clicking sounds’ that vary from one part of the islands

to another.) It has been three years since M.J. visited her family and she was so

excited to spend time with her family. Unfortunately, James, her husband was not

able to take time off from his government post. M.J. will use the same airlines, also

one that curves around Russia, not entering any of their air space.  By going out of

its way, the plane circumvents any possible dangerous disasters or attacks.

Felda showed me gorgeous photographs of Kridia Dawn, snorkeling in clear blue

water and her hands are outstretched to touch:  sharks! I was curious about the

experience but she said these sharks have little teeth and don’t eat anything but

plankton. The kinds of sharks could be sand tiger sharks, goblin sharks, or whale

sharks that are considered ‘safe’ to swim with. I will have to check which one she

may have allowed her daughter and husband to swim with.

The baby, “Zachie Poo,” was passed around and held constantly. He is toddling

around holding onto hands and surfaces. (I have written about his baby shower,

when Felda was expecting him, along with this precious and affectionate baby’s

christening.) Felda’s mother adored Zachary, which was very nice to have taken

those memorable photographs to show him when he grows up.

I was saddened, when Felda privately told me that her Aunt, her mother’s older

sister, had had a heart attack the day they left. I was very concerned about her

hospitalization. In the long time past, I had posted that Felda’s nephew, Vincent,

had not lived past age 8, since the Philippines’ hospital requires money up front

and he had a serious blood disease. He had some transfusions, provided by our

coworkers’ collections, along with her St. Mary’s Catholic Church donations for

his continued health care. There were many of us, trying and scrambling to figure

out how to ‘beat’ the system and the clock on his life.

Felda told me that her mother had put a ‘lien’ on her house, as collateral for her

sister’s hospitalization and surgery to repair her heart. I wrung my hands, teary-

eyed, wishing I had more that I could do for them. Felda told me that she will

ask at church again, for any helpful donations towards this situation. Felda told

me to explain to my fellow bloggers, that their health system is not like ours. We

need to feel blessed that we have a more open system for admissions at our own

hospitals. You don’t hear too often of little ones being turned away, like her cousin

Vincent was.

Other news, my friend and coworker, Tina, went to court with her case being

reduced to simply one that requires community service for her  “hit and run”

incident with a security guard at her work. They also received, as a family, from

their church a substantial donation towards a much needed vacation.

Tina was able to take her daughter, her husband, (for those who don’t follow

my posts about my coworkers and friends too closely, he has threatening

cancer), her oldest daughter and two of their grandkids to Gatlinburg,

Tennessee last week. She was back, tanned and refreshed from her vacation.

No repercussions other than court costs, so they are not going to have their

budget too stretched by the unfortunate accident or incident.

I think this will set a lot of sympathetic commenters’ minds to rest! I was

relieved that the court did take Tina’s remorse and stressful home situation

into consideration.

My coworker and friend, Mark C., who I admit to having a ‘crush’ on, recently

confided that his mother has not been out of his house, for over 2 years. I had

not pictured her being in such failing health.Mark told me, this is due to her

serious illness and aging process that she is going through.

Although, you know I am an “open book,” Mark is not. I thanked him for this

most recent revelation. It helps explain some of the “why?” he has never called.

I kept his very neat note, which was to recommend the trilogy of Frank McCourt’s

books.

By the way, Mark is the one I gave my cell phone number in November to call me.

I had suggested if he should ever need to talk or wish to eat out with me, “Dutch

Treat,” to let me know. . .  (Do we still say this?!)

I told him recently, “Friends can wait until circumstances allow more time. You

can call me anytime, if you wish to have a someone to lean on.”

This coworker, Mark, is a truly gentle, soft-spoken man; more than a ‘gentleman.’

This is a lot different from my friend, Amy’s situation, since her Roy has taken

advantage of her. That book’s chapter is NOT closed, by the way!

Peggy fell off her ‘center rider’ while attempting to do ‘heavy bulk.’ She is one of

the two ‘aunts’ that I am friends with, who have a niece that is my oldest daughter’s

very best friend. She recently turned 60 and is still happy with her independent

man, Tim. (Almost 15 years of living in separate homes, but still ‘together.’)

Peggy’s sister texted me back and forth, about her progress at the hospital. While

there, she had a CAT-scan and x-rays on her head. Peggy came back after just 2

days’ off, since the doctor didn’t write an excuse for ‘light duty.’ I worry about

her not waiting, since inside her head I am sure it is slowly healing.

And now, the Grand Finale!

My biggest update for the week is after I had long day on Monday. . .

I was very dismayed to see over 20 forces, police, sheriff and helicopters, all over

the place in Delaware. They were on a serious search for a “dangerous”carjacker.

I could not proceed home across the railroad tracks on London Road. There were

three police cars blocking the railroad tracks on either side.  I had to turn left and

head north on crooked Curtis Street. I had my eyes bulge out of my head, my

hands shaking like a leaf and knees nearly knocking, when I saw armed men!

They had flak vests on, looking into dumpsters, into the unused warehouses and

the ones that still have windows in them, along this curvy road.

They were looking for a fugitive from Franklin County, who had stolen someone’s

car.  The owner had enlisted someone close by where the car was taken, to chase

their own car! There was a kind of ‘chip’ that would determine the car’s location,

then once the police were called in, it became a cross country and across-county-

lines car chase.

When I arrived at the library, the librarian looked up the television news to show

me the progress the whole search was managing. We had a discussion about the

way the one helicopter was diving down and then up again. We wondered what

possible reason they would have SWAT teams included.

There literally were men with rifles out, going around the corner within yards of

the cars that were being sent this direction! There were black dogs, also German

Shepherd dogs, with their harnesses leading them into and out of warehouses

along this stretch.

When I got around the curves, I saw a nice, local man who walks around town with

a Panama hat and a Hawaiian shirt strolling along by the Re-Store Shop.

I wanted to stop him, tell him to, “Watch out!” But I thought better of it. He was in

his own little ‘time warp’ and didn’t want to give him a ‘buzz kill.’

 

Did any of this remind you of the distorted headlines that those crazy “Saturday Night

Live” comedic newscasters give? I did not make any of these many exciting things

happening around here, enough to make a zany comedy show…

Hope this leads all of us into a Normal, Usual, yet Fun Weekend!

In “his” shoes

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I was ecstatic! I could give my oldest daughter a nice pair of shoes, either

Fila or Dr. Scholl’s work shoes, and get any pair of either brand for just

one dollar, for myself! Don’t you love BOGO? (Buy one, get one for $1 is

almost as good as free!)

At the beginning of last week, I had purchased a pair of Fila Memory Foam

Utility Work shoes, for her,  at Kohl’s and guess what?

Unfortunately, they lasted only 4 days! While working at her place of

employment, Kroger Warehouse, she wore those poor ‘suckers’ out!  So,

getting my Kohl’s credit card a credit added back on, thanks to the wonderful

Kohl’s return policy, and (sad face here), giving back my $10 Kohl’s bucks

back, we headed over to Meijer’s.

 

Dr. Scholls Company was created by William Matthias Scholl, a podiatrist

from Chicago, Illinois. He started his company in 1906. It is now owned

by the British, who manufacture the United State’s designed foot-wear in

China.

My oldest daughter has money, but like me and other parents out there,

puts her children first.  It is just a plain old ‘fact of life!’  I was, like her,

needing a good pair of shoes. I hadn’t had a new pair for hiking or exercise

shoes, since my good friend, Bill, had given me a ‘forced’ pair!  He had

tricked me into going into a store, looking presumably for himself. This was

over 3 years ago, during the ‘Day Trips’ period of our friendship time.  That

beloved pair of Dr. Scholl’s shoes is made of brown suede leather with pink

edging and pink smooth leather stripes near the heels. Those dear shoes are

starting to fall apart from wear! There are stitches coming out and the nice

comfort ‘support’ system is definitely lacking any ability to pad the ‘bounce’

in my feet.

(By the way, I had one of my 10 photo albums of Bill’s and my trips, over at

the dentist’s office. Since staff were considering a team-building trip. I

recommended going down south on I-71 to a great corner of three states.

Madison, Indiana, Carrollton, Kentucky and Clifty Falls, Indiana, also the

Ohio corner meets up, where you can see the two state’s rivers from near

Carrollton, up on top of a gorgeous overlook. Seeing that confluence of the

two rivers, is an amazing sight! There are regatta races in Madison, so we

were able to see cool speed boats. I would recommend the restaurant at

Butler State Park, (where you can climb to see the confluence of the Ohio

and Kentucky rivers.) It is appropriately named, “Two Rivers.” There are

lovely natural sculptures and artwork in their dining room. You can see out

walls of windows, into the forests of this national park.)

 

Anyway, I need to tell you about my ‘affair’ with Dr. Scholl. I have had

his shoes upon my feet, for many years. As a server from age 15 until into

my forties, I wore his shoes. To help fill in gaps in my economic budget,

I could always serve people and make a small salary and big tips.

I can tell you Dr. Scholl ‘really gets me!’ (And my feet!! ha ha)

My new tan shoes have the adorable name of “Nikki.” They have orange

edges and laces, along with cute little tab things to hold my laces in

place. I cannot wait to walk to the library in them, oh I just did! They

felt so light and I felt so bouncy in them!

This is not a silouquiy on Louis Vuitton shoes, nor is it a rhapsody about

other high heel stiletto’s.  I have not gotten into tall shoes, for several

years. I have 3″ heels that are pulled out of my closet, in their protective

box, dragged out to put on, for forced situations where comfort and its

sister, durability, are not appropriate. The last time I got dressed up

was for going to that place, the LC Pavilion, where my youngest daughter

had to parade down the runway, with the likes of one famous Bachelor

and another wild and friendly Bachelorette. It was a Central Ohio fund-

raising event called, “A Date to Remember.” I believe my idiotic shoes

may have been made by Rampage company. It is definitely youth oriented!

Now, when I was in my twenties, I did not mind the look of Dr. Scholl’s

while I waited tables and served others, at Cedar Point’s Breakers’ Hotel,

the two country clubs, on to the North Olmsted German restaurant where

I wore lederhosen with my Dr. Scholl’s! And at my last job, I wore them

with a brown four star (****) apron at Cracker Barrel.

Dr. Scholl’s “comfort technology,” includes this wonderfully soothing

and cushioning gel pad at the heel.  No ‘heel spurs’ for me, so far!

The gel cushion ‘technology’ includes what they describe as a, “Gel dome,”

to absorb shock and provides cushioning comfort, with adjustable laces

for easy removal of shoes.

Definitely, in my teen years, I had several coworkers try to make fun of me,

using their teasing tactics. They ended up using those insistent singsong

chants!:

“Those Dr. Scholl’s shoes were made for Grandma’s, Robin!”

 

I ignored the intentional ‘jabs,’ and laughingly joked back,

“I haven’t met a grandmother I haven’t loved!”

 

Another job and different episode of teasing I responded by saying,

“My grandmother is quite comfortable in “his” (Dr. Scholl’s) shoes

and so am I!”