Category Archives: country living

Summertime Serenade

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This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It will be my “encore” serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

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.

 

 

 

Joyful, Cheery Sounds

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On my way into work this morning, while there was frost on my

windshield and rear window, I blasted my heater and I was once

again, thankful for the warmth and the sound of the air coming

out with a whoosh! The radio was playing one of the most cheery

songs, with a country twang in her voice, Brenda Lee was singing,

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The radio announcer was

using a pleasant, vibrant sounding voice, “Good Morning and let’s

all say, ‘Happy 70th Birthday to . . . Brenda Lee!'”

The first recording of this rocking song was in 1958, written by

Johnny Marks, for Decca Records.

 

While driving behind the school bus, the air brakes squealing and

the door opening on London Road,  to admit busy and excited

high schoolers, (yes, I am up that early!) I felt the movement in

my feet tapping to the music on the radio and the emotions of

the students, too. I usually wish I weren’t ‘stuck’ behind a school

bus, since this means two stops on London Road, along with the

longer stop at the railroad where we ‘catch’ the train, having to

wait for it to pass by. The train whistle blew, the steam was puffing

out of the ‘chimney’ and I felt the rumbling of its approaching

and then listened to the rattling of the clickety-clack.  That is how I

would describe the repetition of the sound.

 

Once I got into my building, several people call out my name, some

who are going off to sleep, (third shifters) and those who are on my

own shift, greeting me. These are happy people since our bosses

had decided to pack our day with ‘heavy’ work and include our half

day’s worth of work we usually do on Friday and complete it today.

This means a three day weekend! Hurrah!

 

At first break, I told my two friends, Tammy and Karen, about Brenda

Lee’s birthday. We agreed the song was still a popular one, the way

it has a lot of joy and glee in its words. Then, Tammy told me she has

been enjoying listening to Harry Connick, Jr. and Lady Antebellum’s

Christmas albums. Karen stated she loves her older albums, now on

Cd’s which include those familiar voices which bring nostalgia into

her home and heart. She likes Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Burl

Ives.

I started making a list in my head, of the songs and people they were

talking about and decided to also, include some of my own personal

favorite songs and carols, along with some memorable sounds of the

holiday season. This is a compilation of some of my favorites, along

with some coworkers’ suggestions:

SONGS:

1. Harry Connick, Jr. singing, “Sleigh Ride,” which begins with the

words,

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

Ring, ting tingling too…” (Thanks to my friend, Tammy.)

 

2. Dean Martin singing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,”

which was written in 1951, by Meredith Wilson.

 

3. Bing Crosby singing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” This

makes me sad, thinking of those who are in the armed services who

may not make it home for Christmas. The thought of the Bob Hope’s

USO holiday celebrations overseas for years and years, quickly cheers

me up again. This tradition carries on still through the help of the

USO.org. There was a lovely photograph of Idina Menzel with some

military families representing the USO. I hope the troops have a lot

of fun and the jokes make them laugh out loud, like Bob Hope would

wish this to go. “Thanks for the memories, Bob!”

Here is a short schedule of locations they are expected to be

entertaining the troops:

Dec. 7-16, 2014:  Japan, Guan and Hawaii, with the Dallas Cowboys

Cheerleaders.

Dec. 13- Clare Bowen (Hostess) at Tinker Air Force Base,  Oklahoma.

Dec. 16- Anthony Hamilton (Host) at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Jan. 3 – 9, 2015:  Robert Irvine (Host) at Japan and Okinawa.

(Thanks to my friend, Karen, for reminding me of both Bob Hope

and the USO, along with Bing Crosby and Dean Martin’s songs.)

 

3. Whitney Houston singing the hymnal carol, “Do You Hear What I

Hear?”

(Thank you to Melvin, my coworker, who suggested this version but

I enjoy Carrie Underwood’s ‘take’ on this lovely song also. )

Here is a bit of the history of the song:  It was written in 1962, by a

married couple who were moved by seeing children on the streets

of New York City (babies in strollers) and what the lamb might have

heard in the manger scene. This was on the cusp of the Cuban Missile

Crisis, which is why there are words imparting a message of Peace.

The lyrics were written by Noel Regney and the music was written by

his wife, Gloria Shayne Baker.

 

4. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Happy Xmas/War is Over,” which

begins with the words, “So This is Christmas.” It was written in 1971,

with tongue in cheek, by John and Yoko, in protest to the Viet Nam

War. It is also said they were thinking of their future children and

what children would ‘inherit’ in the world, with war still going on.

(Their son, Sean Lennon, was not born until 1975.)

When this song was produced, the voices of John, Yoko, the Plastic

Ono Band (with instrumentals) and the Harlem Community Choir

were beautifully blended together. The flip side of this single was

called, “Listen, the Snow is Falling.” The cover of this is ‘vintage’

looking in sepia brown and beige, with the children’s choir, ages 4-14,

included on it.

This song was also played a lot, after John Lennon was murdered on

December 8, 1980; 34 years ago this week.

*This is one of my own personal favorites.

 

5. Nat King Cole singing, “The Christmas Song,” also recognized as,

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” This lovely song was written

in 1944, by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

*Another of my favorites, since my parents played this on their stereo.

 

6. Bruce Springsteen’s version of the old classic song, “Santa Claus Is

Coming to Town.” This is the 2nd oldest song on the list today. It was

written in 1934, by John F. Coats and Haven Gillespie. It was presented

for the first time on the Eddie Cantor’s Radio Show. Later, in 1935, it was

also recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Band. My parents listened to this

version on the stereo and radio.

*I love the way Bruce ‘rocks this one out!’

 

7. My friend Cheryl thought the carol, which to her sounds like it belongs

in a church with a choir, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” sung by

Julie Andrews, is her favorite song of all time.  This hymn was written

by a Unitarian minister, Edmund Sears, in 1849. He lived in Wayland,

Massachusetts. There are various versions of music to go with his

moving words.

Here are a few unusual ones to share with you:

Sergio Franchi sang this in 1965. He was an Italian opera tenor, who

died in Connecticut.

Eric Burdon and the Animals used the music from “The House of

the Rising Sun,” to accompany these lyrics.

Stefan Borsch, (Sweden) performed this in his native language.

The Lettermen performed and put this on a Christmas album in

1987.

Darryl Hall and John Oates included this in a Christmas album.

Anne Murray sang this in 2001, which I feel this would be simple

and beautifully done.

Josh Groban, who is known for singing operatic style, sang this in

2007. He does a fine performance of the song, “You Lift Me Up.”

 

Cheryl is feeling much better about her grandson’s recent death,

since she enlarged a favorite photograph of Christopher when he

was only 6 years old, with her mother, his great-grandmother. She

likes to say often, “Christopher is up in Heaven with my Mom.”

Last Christmas, you may have noticed, Cheryl had me write down a

short message/poem she had written in memorial of her mother’s

fifth anniversary of her death. We are close to one another in the way

we get emotional and are sentimental. She is my one coworker who

cried and held my hand, while we watched the first Inauguration of

President Barack Obama. If you did not read the one night I wrote,

“I have to go,” over and over on a post, you may not know that her

grandson died in his sleep, due to his weakened body, his having both

a combination of the flu and a cold. The autopsy of this fine 23 year

old graduate of Delaware High School and Columbus State student

will not be completed until after the first of the New Year. Cheryl takes

comfort that he had put up his Christmas tree the day of his death and

had also called her to tell her he was putting on some special family

ornaments she had given him when he turned 21.

 

Here are special sounds that are permanently etched into my own

memories:

1. A fire in a fireplace crackling. The logs making a ‘thump’ when they

fall into one another. There is peaceful serenity in listening to a fire.

2. A little child whispering in your ear. This almost makes the hairs

on my arms stand on end. It is magical, whatever words are told.

3. The ‘clink’ of a crystal or glass against another one, while a toast

is being given. The sound of the repeated ‘clinks’ at weddings, to get

the bride and groom to kiss, makes me smile.

4. Dogs bounding towards the door, barking or yipping loudly,

announcing the arrival of guests.

5. The door slammed. I imagine those who have little children saying

to themselves, “Oh, how annoying…” and following this with a lecture

to their children, “We never slam doors in our house.” Somehow, one

day it will come to this, you will wish to hear the door slamming with

the following sound of the words, “Mommy/Daddy. . . I’m home!”

Trust me on this.

6. Baby lambs in the country kitchen of my first babysitter, Mrs. Auble,

“Baa-ing” or ‘bleating’ for their milk bottles, followed by the slurping

noises of their drinking and pulling on the bottles, furiously tugging.

7. Hearty yells.  Across sledding hills, neighbors greeting each other

across streets and yards, and the one voice, that would bring you

running home for lunch (summer) and dinner (winter).

8. Leather boots or rubber boots crunching through the snow. The

sound of the crunch makes you stop talking and ponder in wonder.

9. Birds chirping and singing despite the weather. They always seem

to not be concerned with the cold, brisk air. Their songs echoing in the

early morning air. (Particularly, for me, the cardinal’s message.)

10. The sound of a familiar voice coming across the air waves, now

on cell phone. Back then, on a heavy, black rotary dial phone, of

loved ones (grandparents) far away.

 

Those are my carefully chosen Top Ten “sounds,” will you please let us

know what sounds make you happy, particularly around the holidays?

You may mention a song or a personal memory. . .

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Eclectic Tastes: A Quartet of Choices

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When you hear this comment, “Life is sweet,” I bet you would not have pictured it

coming from Billy Idol. He showed gratitude for his family, roots and his fans. I was

in awe of the interview, felt I finally understood him. I remember when I first saw him,

on MTV, seeing his punk hair style and his sneer. I never was repelled by his appearance

and every one of his 14 major hits were beloved by me. I did not see him as ‘sinister’ or

mean looking but saw him as confident and defiant.

I am grateful that Billy Idol lived to reach age 58, which is what I am for another month.

I am so happy he is exploring a ‘comeback,’ which is not quite true, since he never left

the musical scene totally.

Billy Idol was born to middle class roots, in England. He respected his parents but he

could not follow their paths of being a professional, his mother was a nurse nor a

businessman selling power tools, like his father. Instead he decided to chase his dream

of being in a rock band. His comment, which is a little ‘explicit,’ but true of his tastes

goes like this, “If you cross rock and roll with punk rock, you get a cross-pollination

bastard type of music: mine!”

Bill Broad, Senior died in August, they had made peace and there was no animosity

between them. He had not financially supported his son, Billy, but he did love him.

It was mutual respect, shown in the interview, which captured my interest. Also, his

mentioning the power of what a teacher said to him, negatively, that impacted his

famous name, “Billy, why do you have to be so idle?” He just changed the spelling,

with a positive twist, becoming an ‘Idol’ in more than name only.

My favorite song is, “Eyes Without a Face,” since I could slow dance to this, while

thinking about its meaning. The other ones you will recognize, include:

“Rebel Yell”

“White Wedding”

“Dancing with Myself”

Re-make of “Money, Money” which he made his own a great rendition.

What happened to him during the 90’s?

He had a serious motorcycle accident in 1990.

This brought him down. Far down.

In 1994, he overdosed at a night club. This bad action on his part, saved his life, ultimately.

It brought him back on the path to recovery. It made him want to have purpose.

I will look forward to hearing new songs, since Billy Idol has always been in my eyes,

a True Showman.

 

 

Another person who has caught my interest lately, is Jenny Lewis. She is age 38, many of

you have already heard of her, let alone heard her unaware it was she delivering the music.

She has a fun style, light-hearted style of singing. She is familiar in many ways, since she

has been around for awhile. One recent radio song, “Just One of the Guys,” makes me smile.

It became a big hit almost instantly, according to a DJ on my way to Cleveland over Labor

Day weekend.

Her life has been all about music, being a ‘backstage daughter’ to a group that performed

in Las Vegas, “The Voyagers.”

When she was young, she was the cute, attractive girl who had her first kiss in a movie

called, “Wizard,” with Fred Savage. She admits, they were just kids and grew up together.

 

When you used to hear the song  for Toys-R-Us, there was a popular upbeat lift to the song,

with Jenny Lewis singing that she was a Toys-R-Us ‘kid.’

In her live shows, she likes to build rapport, she has a lyrical tone to her voice, reminiscent

to some of my all-time favorites like Carly Simon, Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

Jenny sings like popular and current,  beautiful voices found in Colbie Caillat and Ingrid

Michaelson.

In Jenny Lewis’ ‘wheelhouse,’ there will be one you will relate to. I liked “She’s Easy, But

She’s Not Me.” It is not the way you think of ‘easy,’ she is defining it as not very deep.

So Jenny is saying in her lyrics, ‘I may not be easy to understand but I am worth it.

The other girl may be easier to figure out; but she’s not Jenny.’

Her album, “The Voyager,” is worth a peek. Here are the two rcent girls

I recommend, “Colbie Caillat’s songs, “Bubbly” and “Try.”

I recommend, “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am.”

 

With the name of “Keb’ Mo,” you could possibly mistakenly picture a rapper or a

younger man, but this man is a three time Grammy winner who plays the Blues!

What inspired his newest album, at the age of 62? Marriage counseling! He and his

wife were going to therapy and he realized, while thinking on the way home from

a heavy session, how love is a struggle and you have to keep putting work into it.

In his deep thought, you can find his heartfelt passion for his wife. He feels that

love is important after all to fight for, continue but it is typical blues material,

when you hear that “Love hurts.” Marriage has been a ‘battle field’ subject matter

before but this man’s interpretation was ‘new’ and interesting to me.

Keb’ Mo and his wife, Robbie Brooks Moore live in Nashville. They participated

in an intense weekend of counseling. This became the theme for his new album,

“BLUESAmericana.”

He addresses commitment, love, pain, changes, and forgiveness. Relationship

‘stuff’ that he admits they had avoided for years, in an “AARP Magazine” article.

When Keb’ Mo started out singing, he used the name of Kevin Moore. He adopted

his bluesy stage name in his early 40’s to allow listeners to see his dedication to

the subject of the Blues. He is not changing hit style, just created a whole new

batch of songs with, “If Somebody Hurt You,” a gospel-driven tune with zappy

sound and divulging roots of pain.

In “Move” and “I’m Gonna Be Your Man,” you will see how love made him a

renewed and changed man, with upbeat tempo, good lyrics. These songs

include Moore playing a variety of guitars and includes some organ ‘grooves.’

Sam Chamon’s song, “That’s Alright,” will be familiar to you. The rest are all

new and exciting. I have to laugh at his attitude, when his wife worried what

“people might think.” He said so aptly, “Honey, this is not a business for caring

what people think!” Humor, gospel, upbeat, sad and you have Keb’ Mo’s music.

 

If you don’t know Patty Griffin, you need to listen to her! She has a relatively

new album called, “American Kid,” on New West Records. She is one you can

easily listen to again and again. I am confident, if you are like me, who embraces

a wide variety of musical tastes, you will enjoy this one! Patty is bluegrass and

country, a combination that is a pleasure to listen to.

You also have heard of her long-time boyfriend, Robert Plant. He is embracing

his “mountain roots,” while accompanying Patty Griffin on this album. Plant

co-wrote, “Highway Song” and added musical touches and arrangements to

“Ohio.” This is a great combination of two musical talents. (If you wish to

listen to Robert Plant check his popular songs, “Net Worth” and “Rainbow.”)

If you want to know a song that is unique and has a lot of character, try:

“Wild Old Dog.” It is about the sad story of someone dropping off a mangy

old dog on the side of the road. If he had turned around and looked at the

car leaving him behind, it may have reminded you of “Old Yeller,” Chuck

Yarborough, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, music critic fame says. No,

instead there is a different way of taking this song:

“He tore off running

Like we’d set him free

And just disappeared right in front of me.

God is a wild old dog.”

(Which reminds me of an English high school teacher, weirdly enough, who

had us write a poem about dogs and God.)

Can you believe this prolific artist, Patty Griffin, probably already has another

album out called, “Silver Bell?”

 

Dave Mason played with the group, Traffic. In 1967, the band was formed with

Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Dave is a songwriter/artist whose

song, “Only You Know and I Know,” for his newest album. In the old days, he

had written, “Feelin’ Alright” for Joe Cocker. What a great song that was!

He has played with Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix, among many other

legendary musician icons.

His group while recently featured on a talk show includes first name basis

singers, he introduced simply as, “Debby, Bonnie and Friends.”

Check out the songs, “Sad and Deep As You” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

I enjoyed this philosophical perspective in his saying, (I did not use a tape

recorder, so this is the ‘essence’ of what I heard him say):

Quite simply, the songs are about human relations and that’s never going to

change. Colors change, seasons change, clothing styles and time passes.

This changes, that changes.

But leave that shirt in the closet long enough, it’ll become fashionable again.”

 

What are you listening to, lately?

 

Hot off my comments section. . . more hard cider ‘news!’

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I heard from two partners and cider makers from the Mad Moon Craft Cidery.

Their names are Joshua and Peter. They were very kind to ask me to come on

down to participate in their Inaugural Batch bottling days! I wanted to share

with you, their newest flavors:

 

** Caramel Apple**

(Doesn’t that sound yummy?)

 

and

What a great creative combination of

ale (HOP) and cider:

 

*!* *!*  cHOPwired hopped cider  *!**!*

 

Of course, plenty of you enjoyed reading my post called, “Raise Your Glass to

Hard Cider!” but you may have not realized there is an open invitation to check

out this great destination place.

I am sure you may look up the Mad Moon Craft Cidery, to find out their hours,

along with contacting them to clear the way for a group visit. Meanwhile, I got

very excited to hear of the invitation but mentioned how busy I will be for the

next few weeks.

 

Here’s my Busy Schedule for which becomes my ‘excuse’ for lack of partying at

the Hard Cidery.

1. I will be working for two more weeks.

 

2. I will be heading North to see my Mom, from October 24th – November 2nd.

We have follow up appointments from my last visit’s three doctors, in July, ’14.

 

3. October 31st will be having fun at my Mom’s Senior Living apts. at their annual

Halloween Party, with apple cider, cinnamon and apple spice donuts and cupcakes.

We will wear some kind of combination of hats and bright attire. (Last year, I wore

my pumpkins shirt, Mom’s peach straw hat with silk flowers on it, she wore a black

velvet hat and a black and white striped shirt, which to her made her a “Zebra!”

 

4. November 1st, Mom will turn 86!

 

 

It is almost the weekend, I hope you have lots of wonderful plans and enjoy your

time. If you are in the mid-west, hope it isn’t too rainy and you can find some crisp

apples, crunchy leaves and imbide in a glass of hard cider!

Let me know if you are heading over to Mad Moon Craft Cidery, maybe I will clear

some time to join you!

September 17th is Doubly Worth Celebrating

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September 17th celebrates two special days for everyone, especially Americans.

Both of these events can be loosely based on the fruit of an apple. . .

First of all, on this historic day in 1787, our Constitution came into “fruition.”

Sometime much more recently, we have delegated a day that doctors ‘approve

of,’ while teachers are happy for their pay ‘bonus.’

I am stretching this ‘fruity’ tie a bit, aren’t I?

Today is known to as both, “Constitution Day” and “Eat An Apple Day!”

There have been some politicians from both parties making the rounds

in the news and in a wide variety of locations, celebrating the United States

Constitution.

Teachers may have planned to serve apple cider, discussing how apples are

pressed to make this delicious drink. Or maybe they had children or middle

school aged young people chopping up apples and serving them with some

caramel dip or sprinkling cinnamon on them. They may have ‘gone all out’

in their celebrations of the apple, by having some students learn how to

make pie crust. I remember as a preschool teacher, finding this to be as

good as making play dough.

Since many people get the Constitution confused with the Declaration of

Independence, I will give you a ‘third grade’ review of this fine document.

The Constitution of the United States is the ‘supreme law’ of the land in the

U. S. of A. It is a set of rules that are enforced by the three levels of the

government. We have the Branches of the Legislative, Executive and the

Judicial levels.

The Constitution was originally written and created in September, 1787 but

did not get accepted, approved or ‘ratified,’ until June 21, 1778. In 1789, what

is called the “Bill of Rights” was added.  There are 7 articles with the #s 4, 5,

and 6th ones discussing the relationship between the States and the Federal

Government. This includes the rights and responsibilities of the now fifty

States. It discusses or defines the concept of Federalism in the articles.

Unlike other countries’ forms of Constitution, our amendments are not

inserted into the original document but are added at the end.

Here are some fun books to look up and read to children from Grades

Fourth through Eighth Grade:

“Our Constitution Rocks,” by Juliette Turner.

“We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution,” by David Catrow.

“Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution,” by Jean Fritz.

 

Here are some fun songs, starting with one that is a ‘chant,’ using

arms and hand motions:

1. “Apple Tree”

“Way up high in the apple tree (Raise your hands up in the air.)

Three little apples looked down at me. (Hold up three fingers and can be dramatic

using your eyes and eyebrows lifted.)

I shook the tree (Pretend to shake your trees!) as hard as I could

Down came the apple. . .

M-m-m

M-m-m

It was good!” (You may rub your tummy to demonstrate!)

(Anonymous)

 

2. “Apple Tree”

(You may listen to this on a 4 minute ‘track’)

“Swing with me,

Underneath the apple tree.

We will swing,

We will sing,

Till the dinner bell.”

(Doesn’t it seem to need ‘ring,’ here?)

To and fro we will go,

flying to the sky.

Happily, merrily,

Up we swing,

With the birds we fly.”

(Author Unknown)

 

Now for some adult versions of songs with the name of apple

in the group or song. You will recognize most of these, which

you may be excited to know there are plenty more in a list on

the internet!

3. Doris Day’s lovely song, begins with a stanza about her true

love, Johnny leaving her and she is sitting by her lonesome:

“The apple tree

The apple tree

The apple tree,

Still sitting under the apple tree

With nobody else but me.”

 

(Why do I remember this as, “Don’t go sitting with nobody else

but me;  under the apple tree?” Memories play ‘tricks’ on me!)

 

4.  Louis Armstrong’s song, “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

5.  Dionne Warwick’s song, “As Long As There’s An Apple Tree.”

 

6.  The Ink Spots’ “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

7.  Alice Cooper’s song, “Apple Bush.”

 

8.  An American Country Music Band in 2002 was called, “Hot Apple Pie.”

 

9.  Bob Applebaum’s song, “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree.”

(Isn’t this guy cool, has apple in his name, too!)

 

10. Jake Owens’ song, “Apple Pie Moonshine.”

 

Which is interesting, since this Friday, to ‘kick off’ our Fall weekend, I have written a post about

fermented apple cider. I really enjoy the flavor of “Angry Orchard,” hard apple cider made in

Cincinnati, Ohio. There is a new trend brewing apple cider, although the practice has been around

since the Mayflower ship brought the Pilgrims here, and even before then. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critter Lovers

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My Mom and Betty White adore animals of every species and support their

lives with their extra money. My Mom has always been part of the ones who

would donate to any and all causes for animal preservation, prevention to

cruelty and local humane societies. They both use their humor and their

love of animals to ‘keep on going.’ Betty White is often on talk shows, in

movies and recently Hallmark featured her in a movie about a woman who

was waiting for her husband to come back from WWII. It is called, “The

Lost Valentine.”

 

Both women, although far apart in their professions, my Mom and Betty,

were widows and kept on their toes, with causes and interests. Betty has said,

she would have retired long ago, except that she wanted to continue to be able

to donate for animals’ rights. Both of these over 80 year old women, Mom and

Betty, live purposeful and meaningful lives.

 

Oh, and if you didn’t know this; both women ‘love’ Cleveland! You may see

Betty White performing and cracking her audiences up in, “Hot in Cleveland,”

on TV Land on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. (Ch. 38- Central Ohio time)

 

If you were to live in Cleveland area, here are some extraordinary animal

supportive entertainment projects being carried on, forwarded from last

Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, via Mom.

Everything from hummingbirds’ research and studies, which you may be

willing to observe and participate to “cat karaoke night,” are included in

this list of 10 upcoming events or fundraising projects!

 

1.  On Friday, September 262014: The group named,  “tails from the city,”

will hold “Karaoke for Cats,” at Paddy Rock Superpub.  This is located at

16700 A. Lorain Road. The group will take questions or donations at:

http://tailsfromthecitycleveland.org

 

2. The Northeast Ohio Circus Boycott Committee can be found on Facebook.

This organization promotes animals living in their natural environments.

They believe that animals should not be made to perform, should be able to

utilize their natural instinctive behaviors and not trained behaviors. Forcing

animals to perform is considered, “mistreatment.” There also is a phone

number for this organization: (440)-213-6342.

 

3. There is a New APP for smartphones that will inform the public of how to

help orphaned or injured wild animals. Free guidance can be found for the

group, Animal Help Now or

http://ahnow.org

 

4.  Do you want to show your appreciation for animals with a variety of

t-shirts with slogans?

The two organizations support animals:

http://sunfrogshirts.com

http://SmolasRescueRailroad/rescue

 

5.  This is so cool! Did you know humane societies and animal shelters collect

package weight circles from Purina Pet Food bags and products? Apparently,

Purina is like the Campbell Soup labels for education program and will reimburse

different non-profit shelters by their receiving labels for dogs, cats, bunnies, and

other domestic animals.

 

6. The National Audubon Society is asking for information about the hummingbirds

in your area. They are offering a free APP for people to contribute to their study of

hummingbirds:

http://hummingbirdsathome.org

 

7.  The Volunteer Vets and Valley Save-A-Pet organizations in Cleveland, Ohio are

working together by offering free spaying and neutering surgeries for dogs and cats

of low income owners. This outstanding joined forces group helped to perform more

than 1200 surgeries last year. Their program is titled, “Have A Heart.” They request

the participants fill out income guidelines and the animals be younger than two

years old and at least 35 pounds. If you wish to participate or donate:  Please Call:

(440)-232-CATS (2287)

 

8. September 21st the Annual Rainbow Bridge Walk and Run will begin at 1 p.m.

to honor and remember pets who have passed on into heaven. This is located in the

North Park, 3595 Grafton Road, Brunswick, Ohio.

Details for the Rainbow Walk can be found at:

http://rainbowbridgewalk.com

 

9. The Medina Pet Pantry is accepting pet food donations, leftovers from animals who

have died or newly purchased at: 6335 Wedgewood Road, Medina, Ohio.

 

10. Going along with the #s 8 and 9, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio

will be holding their Pet Blessings service in remembrance of beloved pets who are living

and also, ones that have passed on, October 5, 2014 between 1-3 p.m.  More details at:

http://stpatrick4u.net

 

If you are an animal lover, you may already know about the fantastic veterinarian and

author, James Herriot. I loved his longer, autobiographical adventures for anyone from

middle school and older. They are rich in English countryside, customs and anecdotes.

Here is his beautiful list of books, which I have treasured for years:

1. All Creatures Great and Small

2. All Things Bright and Beautiful

3. All Things Wise and Wonderful

4. The Lord God Made Them All

There are several more, including The Best of James Herriot but I am not sure, unless

you are a parent whose children adored animals and you were in the juvenile books area,

that some of you are aware of these special and meaningful story books. Each is illustrated

beautifully and my own children chose one of these to focus on in their growing up years:

1. Moses the Kitten (1984).

This was our first James Herriot book we invited into our home.

2. Oscar, Cat About Town.

3. Only One Woof.

4. The Christmas Baby Kitten.

This is kept in our Christmas book collection huge basket.

5. Bonny’s Big Day.

Horse lovers, this is about a special horse!

6. Blossom Comes Home.

People who have affection towards those doe-eyed cows, should

check out this sweet story.

7. The Market Square Dog.

 

There may be more books, your own personal animal stories you may wish to share

in our comments and responses. We all like animals, it is a true fact, babies and pets

are sometimes what bring smiles from even the ‘grouchiest’ people!

 

I will be shortly walking out of the library to see one of the biggest horse parades in

the United States. (Delaware, Ohio at 3 p.m. on September 7th.) I will be running into

a number of my friends, church members and neighbors. I will be sitting on a curb

soon, enjoying the community sense of fellowship and high expectation. In the past,

there have been diverse costumes, including Native American, (some represent the

history of this area, as descendants of the Mingo tribe), KISS band member look-alikes,

old-fashioned period costumes, Servicemen and women, Amish men and women with

their bonnets on, guiding their wagons and Clydesdales.

I will keep my eyes peeled, my camera ready to capture the horses with my coworker

and friend Amy, her ex-mother in law and daughter, riding together as a Trio entry in the

parade. The parade committee and guest judges will be choosing Best of Show, Most

Unique and other categories of winners for varied entries in this annual parade.

I have written about Amy’s horses, Spirit, Lokie and Sapphire. I have not been sure of

which ones they will be riding, one in all turquoise, another in all golden colors and the

third one, still up in the air, as of Friday. This means the headdress and blanket under the

saddle are of a chosen color, all in the ‘regalia’ of horse finery!

 

I am wearing this cowgirl on a horse, fall colors shirt, you can see in my avatar photo. No pants

today, since it is quite sunny and pleasant. Will be sitting on West Winter Street, with some

members of the family waving at the cowboys, cowgirls and children who are in this

All Horse Parade.

Supposedly, it is still considered, “The Biggest All Horse Parade East of the Mississippi!”