Category Archives: elementary school

Tackling Life Through Film

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Life is gritty,  it is messy  and mistakes happen often.  There are no

‘easy’ paths to take nor do you expect things to always fall into place

in the real world. The film, “Boyhood,” which tackles reality of life in

relationships and many dimensions of everyday families has been

well received. You may have heard that Richard Linklater wrote and

directed this original screenplay.  Instead of using different actors to

portray time passing and people aging, he used the unique process of

gathering all the same people together to make this film, year after

year.  It took twelve years to make, “Boyhood.”

 

The beginning of each school year is carefully documented with

the different locations the family has moved to, along with the

ever changing wide variety of characters in each segment.

 

Two children who share the story’s childhood are played by his

daughter, Lorelei Linklater and newcomer, Ellar Coltrane. The

reoccurring character roles for a period of twelve years. You see

Lorelei acting like Britney Spears in her famous song, “I’m Not

That Innocent.” The adults who portray their parents are played

by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. This endearing movie just

may possibly win the 87th Academy Award’s “Best Picture of

the Year.”

 

Here are some of the themes displayed in this ground-breaking

film:

Love

Marriage

Children

Divorce

Family

Bullying

Finding your passion

Elementary School dynamics

Moving to other homes/schools

High School dynamics

College education

Photography

Empty Nest

Religion

Music

Art

 

Relationships

Connections

Forgiveness

 

When my good friend, Gary, who writes for a living on the staff

of the “Columbus Dispatch” asked me to let him know what I

thought about the movie, “Boyhood,” I may have responded a

little bit late at night. I wrote him a rather long text about my

feelings about the movie. Overall, I told him, along with my

youngest daughter and my brother, Rich, I would give this a

three * * * rating out of four * * * *.

 

There are very interesting aspects to this movie, one is how

the mother really tries to help her children lead a successful

life, while still making poor relationship/marriage choices.

Oh boy. This is actually my story being played on the Big

Screen.

The first husband ends up the ‘best of the lot.’ There are times

you feel he is really ‘on the ball,’ showing he cares by being very

articulate and expressing how much he wants to know his two

children, son and daughter’s thoughts. He engages in a serious

sexual conversation, which did not embarassess me at all. It

was so reminiscent of both my parents it startled me. This is

quite disconcerting, since we are open-minded and say just

about anything, my brothers and both my parents, when my

Dad was alive. My Mom is still a ‘hoot’ because she is about

the most modern woman I know, except possibly Betty White,

who also is above 80 years old. She just turned 90, right?

 

The sad element of the story is mentioned in my one word

use of “Bullying” in the list of different reoccurring themes in

the movie. Poor Mason, never seems ‘to catch a break.’ His Dad

cares about him, but gets preoccupied with his musical career.

Ethan Hawke does an excellent job singing, having also written

some of the songs they all sing in the movie.  He is used as a

scapegoat by his mother’s second husband and is bullied by her

third husband. He manages to get through several of the moves,

jobs and choices by just ‘sliding,’ playing a kind of  ‘slacker.’ But

underneath the surface, Mason is the central character you are

rooting for throughout the movie. He is a deep thinker, an artist,

with a camera, a daydreamer, and he makes it to college, winning

a silver medal and scholarship.

 

Does this encompass too much revealing information? No, I will

reassure you, it is the slow unwinding of the story, as if it were

a book you were reading chapter by chapter. The summary on

the book jacket (or in this film,  the DVD case) doesn’t tell you

the whole story.

 

Will you like it? I hope so.

You will need to set aside time, take breaks and I feel take time

to digest the story. I had to rewind the film since the changes in

his elementary years are NOT designated, “One year later.” You

have to ‘keep up with the film,’ pay attention to how quickly the

girl develops and seems to be a ‘brat’ until she becomes more

confident in her own ability to be independent.

 

Patricia Arquette is amazing. I felt her world. I felt her needs

and her interests. I felt her ‘weight of the world,’ trying the very

best she could to make wise choices, leaving bad, abusive man

behind. Her mother is well portrayed and the woman that her

first husband gets married to is interesting. Her parents also

come into the story line, making a unique impact on the kids’

lives, too.

 

When the movie opens, the boy Mason is lying in a yard with green

grass under him and a brilliant blue sky above him. The song which

starts this out is Coldplay’s song, “Yellow.” It is really perfect and

sets the tone for the movie viewer. The soundtrack includes many

famous musicians.  I would like to entice you by sharing some of

their names here. As mentioned, original music is introduced in the

movie, too. (Ethan Hawke wrote several songs, one the family all sing.)

Lady Gaga sings two songs, “LoveGame” and “Telephone.” Bob Dylan’s

song is. “Beyond the Horizon.” The Black Keys, Gotye, Foo Fighters,

Kings of Leon, the Beatles and Mason’s father’s (Ethan Hawke’s)

interpretation of their split up. I would like to see his own rendition

of the way the Beatles’ solo careers should be put into one album.

 

“Crazy” sung by Gnarls Barkley is a fantastic song. Had not heard

this version before. “Deep Blue,” sung by Arcade Fire band, with Ken

Butler and William Butler being part of the group of musicians and

lyricists who wrote the final song played during the credits was

outstanding.

 

I rewound the final song, with some tears going down my face. It is

a touching story, with all the traits of true storytelling genius. The

way Richard Linklater and his whole crew, team and actors worked

together on this made this an impressive movie. I took note even

the first song being called, “Yellow” and the last song, “Deep Blue,”

seemed like they handled the details perfectly.

 

The 87th Academy Awards Ceremony will be on tonight. Neil

Patrick Harris will be the host. If you watch television, you

have seen the ‘hype’ for many of the films. I have seen almost

all of the ones in the best picture, actor and actress categories.

If you wish to see my reviews or summaries, I have written of

“The Theory of Everything,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,”

“Big Hero 6,” “Gone Girl” and “Unbroken.”

 

I shall be watching it, along with the pre-show Red Carpet on,

“E!” channel.

 

Will you be watching?

If so, do you have your any favorites?

 

 

 

 

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. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lara’s Blue Rose

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When Lara ‘graduated’ from her Schulz Elementary School, to

head off into what is now Willis “Middle School,” I talked to her

about finishing well in fourth grade and how proud of her I was.

The family all were very excited about her test scores and the way

she had handled school thus far.

If you grew up in the period where sixth grade was the year you

advanced to Junior High School, that is the way it when my

children, ages 28, 32 and 34, were young. They went from

fifth grade ‘graduation’ to Willis Middle School, where it was

sixth through eighth grades. Then, the last child, only stayed in

middle school for sixth and seventh, advancing to Dempsey

Junior High were she went to eighth grade. Have I confused you

yet?

What grade does your small town or big city school system

“change up” or move on, passing from elementary to a different

school?  What label do they give to the next level of education?

 

Lara’s birthday celebration was held in June, reaching the ‘big’

milestone of a ‘two digit’ number: 10! I gave her clothes for her

birthday and a craft kit to make a variety of jeweled and braided

bracelets.

 

Recently, Lara found my latest name pictures that I had drawn,

used pen and ink then ‘coloring’ in the letters, decorative items

and the little children in the pictures, with watercolor. She asked

me about the one I had done for a past friend, a mother of three

children now.

She wondered if the baby was going to like it, when she grew up?

This comment came due to the fact the baby was in a basket. She

noticed this was different; instead of my usual design that includes

an active child or a resting child. I like to make the child around 4

or 5 years old, since that is about when they will notice the framed

picture on the wall, with the letters of their name included in the

design.

I had not wanted to make Lara sad, but I told her the baby was in

“Heaven,” that she had died last year. I went on to tell her how I

came to make this picture for someone I really knew much better,

in the past.

I ran into this woman, who once a long time ago, in her high school

years, had decided to volunteer at a nursing home that I worked at

as an Activities Director. This young woman, Michelle, became quite

involved with the program. I became involved in her life. She was

living with her grandfather, but she liked when we had lunch in the

summer months and for us to run by the hospital to see her mother,

Fay, who worked at the little coffee shop there.

Along with my picking her up and dropping her off, for after hours

events and trips, we went by my house one day. I ran in and asked

my oldest daughter if she had any dresses Michelle could wear. Our

nursing home was ‘strict’ and as long as we were in the building,

we weren’t allowed to wear pants. The Director of the nursing home

also liked the female volunteers to wear skirts or dresses, too. I only

had my son, Jamie and one other young man, volunteer in the four

years I was in activities. They were asked to wear khaki pants or

dress pants, plus a collared shirt. No t-shirts allowed!

I also rummaged through my closet and allowed Michelle, to check

out a variety of clothes, then we bundled these and Carrie’s up into a

garbage bag, for her to go home and try on.

 

When I ran into Michelle at Mingo Park, I hugged her, as I always do.

This is a habit to greet all the many young people that have come and

gone from my life.

I had been pleasantly happy and amused when my coworker, Felda,

had often mentioned that she had a ‘best friend’ she met at Goodwill,

who was named “Michelle.” (Never using her maiden name, just her

married last name.)

Soon, I “met” her at the parties held by my friends and coworkers

from the Philippines. They insist we call them Filipino and they love

us to try their foods. Michelle and I have sat together at the baby

shower for Zach, his Christening Party and also Felda and Jason’s

house-warming party. I take my grandsons, who share a babysitter

with Felda’s kids, if they wish to go. Recently, my M & M girls have

chosen to attend Kridia Dawn’s birthday party and other functions.

 

We were in ‘touch’ but Michelle had never shared with me about the

loss of a baby, until we were at the park in early July. She and her

husband were with their 3 children. They were running around with

my two grandsons, Micah and Skyler who were also having fun on

the playground equipment.

 

Michelle showed me pictures of a healthy baby girl, full term, who

weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. She was named, “Katie Mae.” She had fair skin,

like her sisters Lily and Anna. Also like her blonde brother, William.

The children had held their new baby sister, last summer. Michelle,

who started to cry throughout this visit, told me that Anna had

kissed her sister many, many times. Lily was happy to help get

diapers and bring her blankets. William had held the baby for a

minute then had asked to have her given back to her mother.

The baby cried a lot after she came home from the hospital with

her mother.

Lara was absorbed by all of this, she and her brother Landen, had

been a ‘family’ once with a Dad name Kevin and their mother,

Trista. The parents got divorced, my son met Trista when Lara

and Landen were preschoolers and married her.

Lara has been a wonderful ‘big sister’ to Jamie and Trista’s girls,

the M & M’s. This, along with two more brothers, from her Daddy

Kevin’s second marriage.

Lara wanted to know why the baby died?

It is hard to explain, but Michelle says the baby got a red rash on her

second day home from the hospital, she worried and called the doctor’s

office. The doctor’s nurse called back to suggest a different formula.

She suspected an allergic reaction. The parents went out and got new

formula, this time the 2nd night at home, was filled sadly, with the

baby’s shrieks.

They bundled their children into their clothes, wrapping little Katie

carefully up.

She just seemed ‘tender to the touch,’ Michelle explained.

At the hospital, they were in the waiting room for quite some time,

but once inside one of the E.R. rooms, the intern was very kind

and blood was drawn. He thought it may be an allergic reaction

but was concerned about the way the baby was shrieking, not

wanting to take the bottle, the redness and rash was bright and

splotchy. He prescribed a baby’s antibiotic, sent them home.

There would be a call the next day, the diagnosis possibly of a

blood disease, a different prescription to pick up.

The baby went to sleep quietly, eerily, after first being held by

each parent. Katie looked solemnly into her father’s eyes. Next,

Michelle held her carrying her to bed. She says Katie “searched

her face.” She remembers Katie studying her eyes.

There are many photographs, but the one that stands out most

to me, is heart-wrenching. They managed to capture Katie looking

straight into her Daddy’s eyes. It was a profile image, which is so

precious.

This was her third night at home.

Michelle nodded her head when I exclaimed,

“Katie is looking at him like, ‘Why can’t you make me feel better?!'”

This was the last picture they took of Katie. She died on her

fifth night of life.

(The coroner found cause of death to be, “Undetermined.”)

 

Lara wants me to make her a new name picture, it has her

name in ‘cursive’ with a blue rose above it, with cheerleading

pom pom’s on the sides, a football with Cleveland Browns

written below it, with an ice cream cone, one scoop of mint

ice cream and one of vanilla. She was adamant about the blue

rose.

I will share what I found out about blue roses. I want you to

know, all of you literary people, that I right away visualized the

scene in “The Glass Menagerie,” where Laura is called, “Blue

Roses,” by the brother and by the visiting ‘gentleman caller.’

This is due to her having pleurosis, which I thought was ‘pleurisy.’

Wikipedia says Tennessee Williams’ real life sister was named

“Rose” but did have ‘pleurosis.” I remembered the blue roses’

reference from that 1944 play.

Then, I looked up the way that genetic engineering has created

blue roses. In the past, blue roses were ‘made’ by putting white

roses into blue food coloring or sprayed by a blue vegetable dye.

 

I had made pictures in the past years of Lily, William and Anna’s

names years before. I delivered Katie’s to Michelle’s family, on

Sunday night. The three children, Katie’s sisters and brother,

wanted me to see their bedrooms and their toys.

In the picture I made, I had added a pink rose above Katie’s head

on her little blanket and one on where the blanket crossed her

chest, there are blue forget-me-not’s in the grass and a white

bunny lying by the basket. There are tall sunflowers and tulips

in other places on the picture. I had included a sun bonnet, with

purple violets hanging on one of the tall letters.

I mentioned to Michelle and Kevin, quietly, that I lost two babies

before they were born, one at 4 1/2 months and one at 4 months.

My children and I had a tradition that I started the year the last one

died, which includes reading a special book to and putting an angel

ornament on the Christmas tree for each of their 2 ‘lost siblings.’

I told them once I had been to hear a country gospel group, The

Greens, sing at Ohio Wesleyan University, in Gray Chapel.

One of the sweetest songs I heard that night was called, “There’s

A Rocking Chair In Heaven.”

We nodded, words left unspoken.

We hugged.

School’s Out for Summer!

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My two preschooler grandchildren had ‘graduation ceremonies,’ both

feeling mighty proud of themselves. They will be proceeding onward and

upward, to kindergarten! This happened last week, before my busy trip

taken to Cleveland, Ohio for Memorial Day weekend.

It was a fun event for Marley, since her preschool had a family picnic

held at Blue Limestone Park last Wednesday.

For Micah, it was a formal ceremony on Thursday evening, with his mother

and brother attending. Micah’s father was sick, barely able to get out of bed.

The only one in the household of four who was able to outwit the flu, or flee

from the sickness, had been Skyler.

Since I was heading to Cleveland to see my Mom, I had mentioned to the whole

family that I hoped the children would help to decorate my Mom’s corkboard

or bulletin board. I regularly ‘collect artwork donations’ so this was just

a ‘reminder notice,’ via texting.

When I had asked the children to help make ‘Get Well’ cards for my mother,

they were very cooperative. The parents all said the children expressed

concern and sent loving wishes for their Great Grandmother.

Marley made one with hearts, rainbows and some swirly lines. Micah made

his with an alligator in a swamp.

Marley’s picture had lots of “M’s” made into hearts by adding “V’s” to the

bottom of the “M’s.” She explained the process to me when I stopped by.

When I asked her to please add her name to it, since she is quite good at

writing her name, she put her little hands on her hips and told me,

“Don’t you know? I am out of school for the summer! I don’t have to do

any homework!”

I didn’t say a word.

Marley’s Mommy, my daughter in law, Trista piped up in a loud voice,

“Marley!”

Then she displayed her stern “Mommy look” on her face, peeking around

the corner at us at the kitchen table.

Marley picked up a crayon and added her name to her colorful artistry.

Micah, while at his home, had used watercolors and had had his Mom add

the word, “Alligator” with an arrow pointing to the area of the paper

which represented that critter. Then, Mom had printed, “Get Well, Great

Grammie O.!” Micah’s signature left a little to be desired (in clarity),

under the message.

Again, I did not say a word.

Makyah’s artwork came off my refrigerator since she had been napping at

the time of my visit. It had curly cues and little attempts at letters,

with some “M’s” included. It was mostly in purple and pink hues. She is

three and my Mom knew this was her ‘best work!’

Skyler had recently written a book report, which he felt Great Grammie O.

would enjoy reading. It had a drawing of Dr. Seuss, along with the words,

“Hop on Pop.” I thought the drawing and report would brighten her day and

said just that to Sky. He hugged me a lot, I hugged him back. I felt bad

that he had been the only ‘well’ person in the household, possibly he may

have wished for more fun and excitement. He was getting ready to head to

a friend’s when I stopped by.

Lara and Landen had also included their own personal messages, along with

handwritten cards. Both had expressed concern about my Mom’s hospital stay,

including different little symbols of this in their artwork. A thermometer

and a red cross on one’s card and a hospital gurney (or it could have been

a bed, I didn’t ask!) Lara can write in cursive, although it is not part of

her school curriculum. She had made very elaborate letters, saying this

sincere message,

“I love you, Great Grammie O!! I hope you feel better and your leg will

heal soon!! Get Well Soon! Love, Lara.”

I had stopped by, the week preschool had ended but the older ‘school kids’

had until yesterday, May 28, 2014, to complete their year out. They were

probably yelling and hooting a lot, celebrating that marvelous feeling of:

“FREEDOM!!”

Oh, how I remember how the endless days of summer seemed to stretch before

us, when we heard the final school bell ring and we rushed out the school’s

doors into Summer! Doesn’t that make you feel nostalgic?

When I was a teacher, the principal one year, over the loud speaker in

our Middle School, played, “School’s Out for Summer!” Alice Cooper’s

“escape anthem” was released in 1972! I remember the year it came out,

thinking this is a perfect way to celebrate getting out of school!

When I read the special message that was given to Lara, on her last day

at Schultz Elementary, I got teary eyed. Lara’s venturing onward into

Willis Intermediate School. She had a “Clap Out” and also, Graduation

Cake from completing her five years at the school. The next building

will house the Fifth and Sixth graders from Smith, Schulz, Conger,

and Carlisle Elementary Schools. It is a “Big Deal” to be moving ‘up

in the world!’

I am sure you will enjoy the following poem that was given to her parents,

with the poem typed on colored cardboard, a flower with a picture of the

child as the center of the flower.

In this case, Lara. It is a message that also applies to her, since the

words encompass so much in their simplicity.

It was a beautiful, endearing message from Lara’s teacher to her and her

Parents.

Mrs. Travis had been her teacher, from Fall until Spring. It was more than,

“Congratulations on Graduating Grade School!” The poem is a treasure to

remember, one that you may wish to believe in its powerful words, too.

“I’ve worked with your flower,

And helped it to grow.

I’m returning it now,

But I want you to know…

This flower is precious,

As dear as can be.

Love it, take care of it,

And you will see…

A bright new bloom,

With every day.

It grew and blossomed,

In such a wonderful way.

In September, just a bud,

January~ a bloom;

Now a lovely blossom,

I’m returning in June.

Remember, this flower,

As dear as can be,

Though rightfully yours,

Part will always belong to me!”

Signed,

Mrs. Travis

A Leader in Her “Field”

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Alice Waters has been advocating for natural farming and gardening,

since the seventies. She has been best known for her support of local,

organically grown food choices. She is considered the “Mother of the

Farm-to-Table Movement.” Her vision includes having children become

part of gardening projects and creating sustainable garden school

programs for schools.

Alice Waters is responsible for the opening of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse

back in 1971. She was considered avante garde then, with a vision and

a mission!

Alice has put into action another equally valuable program while

supporting her beliefs. I was excited to learn something new about

this innovative woman’s spreading a healthy message in wider and

more expanded ways. Reaching out to schools and city children is

a great move right now.

Thousands of United States’ classrooms have become part of Alice

Water’s “Edible Schoolyard Project.” Students, ranging from younger

ages, in elementary schools and beyond, are learning how to grow

and cook ‘real’ food. I do realize that there are a lot of ‘country kids’

who have known this all along!

Alice’s goal is to ‘plant the seed’ of healthy and wholesome living

in this next generation. She believes that this is such a worthy

cause to ‘fight for.’ I just wanted to help her along and champion

her cause!

I had just written about our local Delaware Community Market’s

plot of land, where last year children in gardening gloves and

work aprons dug into the dirt and planted seeds and seedlings.

Their goal had been to “grow a pizza garden.” I hoped by passing

this idea on, it would become a way for families and communities

to connect children. Making the chores of weeding and gardening

more fun as a team with a goal in mind. Especially if their focus

was on the finished food items.

I had suggested for Cinco de Mayo, to start a “Taco Garden.”

While sitting in the doctor’s office today, I saw March, 2014’s copy

of “Prevention” Magazine with information about Alice Waters. This

is yet another resource on this subject to introduce to some who may

have not heard of her. I enjoy all the delicious and nutritious

recipes that are ‘good for you,’ every time I get a chance to read

this magazine.

The “Postscript” for the magazine has a photo of Alice Waters and

the article is entitled, “A New Harvest.” Tall green plants, with

sunflowers and trees behind her, with her smiling profile captured

my attention.

To find out more, please check out Alice Water’s website:

http://edibleshoolyard.org

Hope the weather won’t be too chilly in your neighborhood, that you

may get out to take a lovely hike and enjoy some Spring flowers!

I am hoping to have a grand time touring among the artists, crafts-

persons and artisans with their displays and booths tomorrow at the

Delaware Arts Festival. I enjoyed my walk to the library, noting all

the Ohio Wesleyan Alumni filling the local restaurants and walking

about town. Wonder if there are many who were rowdy and remember a

wilder time?

Maybe in the seventies, while Alice Waters was ‘preaching’ about

subjects that only hippies who lived on communes and people who

lived on farms were interested in. She was bandying around words

like, “ecological,” “natural fertilizer,” and “sustainable.”

I have mentioned to a few of my friends who complain about all the

rain and wind, expecting to see the 30 degree mark possibly along

with the Full Moon tonight:

“Come on! It is Spring until June 21st, expect incredible weather

changes!”

On the other hand, I hope that all the ones who have had drought out

West with fires, too much rain or tornadoes, and other truly dangerous

weather conditions, through it all…

You have been safe and sound.

Old and New Thoughts of Spring

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I have an old (1960’s) Kate Greenaway Birthday Book, which I feel

is like my old autograph books. It holds the birthdays of my old

elementary friends. Do I write many of them still? No, but when

I look at this, I believe I was ‘rich’ and happy beyond compare,

with special friendships.

Here are three March and April sayings or expressions that were

written by who is listed as, “Mrs. Sale Barker.” They are in my

treasured book, illustrated by the pen and ink with light pastel

colorings done by the artist, Kate Greenaway. (Published in London

and New York, the Frederick Warne and Co. Ltd.)

It is followed by a two other authors who will uplift you and also,

give your spirit courage and strength.

One–

“Upon the grass, beneath the bright Spring sunshine,

There sat a gentle, pensive little maid;

The soft spring air just breathed

a perfume near her,

‘I bring the kisses of the flowers,’ it said.”

Two–

“Little airy, fairy sprite,

Flying in the air,

Dropping blossoms to the earth,

Scattering flowerets fair.”

Three–

“Sweet are the hedges close to the stile,

Laden with blossoms of May;

Sweet sings the river that murmurs below,

The whole of the happy Spring day.”

Four–

Ralph Waldo Trine wrote a quote, which I

absolutely love the ending**

“He who remains cheerful in spirit

and sees only the good side of all things,

Who never allows himself to be spiritually

downcast

but keeps his head high and

courage in his heart…

**He sets in motion

those fine, still powers,

which make every step through life

easier for him.”

Five–

The author of a variety of genres, including his

newest thriller, “Innocence,” recently shared his

thoughts on the subject of happiness. If you read

some of Dean Koontz’s biography, you will find a

very challenging childhood where sadness is a

part of many of his memories. For this reason,

Koontz’ quotation adds depth and power to his

beliefs:

“Happiness is a choice. That sounds Pollyanna-ish,

but it’s not; you can make it or not.

Readers over the years say what they love about my

books is that they’re full of hope, and that’s the

way I see life.

If you always dwell on what went wrong in the past

it’s almost hopeless.

So, I just don’t dwell.”

I am off to pick up my granddaughters soon, to spend

a 24 hour period of raucous fun! The M & M girls are

part of my pleasantest current moments. No visits to

the library tomorrow to write…

Hope you enjoyed the ‘offerings’ today, a day ahead of

Sunday!

This is my “Tribute to Sunday” and the Blessings it

unfolds in all of us and for all of us!

Music goes ’round and ’round

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I was so excited to have a great First Friday with my best guy

friend, Bill! You can check out probably over a dozen stories

about the ‘Man Who Knew My Daughter First!’ We have good food,

deep conversations and ‘pick up where we left off’ thoughts,

at our monthly gatherings. We had poor weather, gusts of up to

37 miles an hour (meteorologist, supposedly, “fact”) so we did

not go walking around downtown Delaware, Ohio.

We started right into Bill’s favorite subject, Music!

I am a rather musical person, a mediocre history of attempting

to play the clarinet for over 8 years, in all forms of ‘bands.’

I was a member of the Pep band, Concert band, Symphonic band,

Bay High marching band and both North Olmsted’s elementary and

Bay’s middle school bands. I know music, can “Name That Tune,”

many times over, but I have a ‘tin’ ear when it comes to

actually playing the clarinet from memory or using my left

hand on the piano!

Bill introduced me to a bright and witty singer from Australia.

On Youtube, on his cell phone, sitting in his car, that is!

Her name is Courtney Barnett. She has a huge following from

the UK and America, but is an international ‘star.’ She is

funny, irreverent, including lyrics that are just so far out

you may burst into laughter. She uses a ‘dead pan’ voice,

seemingly without any energy, but her creativity makes it

exciting, anyway! Bill was sitting in my parking lot a half

hour early, never letting on he was there, listening to her

song called, “Avant Gardener.” This young and talented singer

was born in 1988. She has been ‘around’ the musical circuit

since 2011. I feel her cleverness outweighs my ‘need’ to hear

a beautiful voiced song of perfection. Her lyrics included

her yard being a mess, supposing neighbors may think they run

a ‘meth lab,’ all in a video you may find on youtube with a

group of tennis players lobbing balls all around her.

When we got on the road to dinner, we talked about work. I was

disheartened by a really ‘poor monthly review’ at my dear old

Advance Auto. It all arose from my saying three weeks’ ago,

as I was leaving, off the clock, to a manager who exclaimed,

“You are leaving at only 8:30 A.M.!” (We usually work, while

it is a regular schedule, four nine hour days and a four hour

Friday. I had worked only from 6 a.m. until then. Two and a

half hours.)

I exclaimed, using what I felt was a rather light hearted tone,

“Yeah! I have to go to the bank and withdraw savings lately to

pay my bills.”

But, really, this is considered the slow period, where we work

less. I know this, going on six years there… I was not

really complaining! I like our slow times, since if you have

followed me since last summer, we usually work 10-11 hours in a

grueling hot, non-air-conditioned warehouse. I store up my extra

overtime money. I save it like a squirrel and his ‘nut’ but I

don’t like having to dip into it so regularly.

At my monthly meeting, I heard that this said manager had gone

into his Friday meeting complaining that he needed people like

me to work with his department. Why didn’t I volunteer to help

them out? Why wasn’t I a “Team Player?” They are ‘cheap’ at my

company and don’t hire temps in receiving area, where they

are scrambling to add merchandise, preparing as they annually

do, to get ready for the Rush Season! Cars are repaired in the

Spring, Summer and Fall!

But our Winter has held on to us, this year, particularly.

I have only been asked once to work over, personally, for the

department of receiving. I told them that I had a special once

a week lunch waiting with my best girlfriend, Jenny, who is a

retired teacher. I even go so far as to add, that I get treated

to crab salad on croissants or German Chocolate pancakes with

a gooey, delicious cream cheese ‘syrup’ concoction. I could

NEVER give up my afternoons with Jenny, (unless heading North

to Cleveland over Easter weekend to see my Mom, for example.)

In my review, prepared by my boss’ boss, I was given ‘average’

scores almost all the way down. The only compliment given,

despite my ‘production rate’ of 106 % and my quality control

‘score’ of 100 %. (Where we can get a 95 % in the first area

and a 98 % to be “acceptable” and get our raise.)

I was quite dismayed to see my monthly review was not present

on my boss’ desk, where I make between a 2.8 to 3.0 (perfect

‘score.’)

I read aloud, “2.2? Why?”

He said, I was not volunteering for other areas of overtime,

I was not volunteering to be one of the two positions on the

safety committee, and that I had been ‘complaining’ to someone

recently.

This was not like my best two young bosses in my lifetime

history of reviews.

Jake would have said, “You do an awesome job of going wherever

we tell you to go!”

Katrina, (whose grandmother passed away so that is why she was

not here to do this monthly review, one on one…) said just

last month,

“You are a positive person who helps others and keeps us all

feeling better being here.”

I had never heard quite these simple, but encouraging words in

my very positive years of teaching annual reviews. I had told

first, Jake, who was in his twenties, my first boss at the

warehouse, meaning every word:

“You are the best boss ever! I love the idea of potlucks and

your monthly meetings are very short and helpful.”

Katrina was given the same level of compliments, after I

received hers. It was a mutually beneficial experience for

the two of us.

I was ready to weep at my almost below average review!

Bill told me, in his warm and helpful way, to ignore Mike’s

comments, to move forward, and try to volunteer for something

more. I told him that I had written in the comments’ section

of the review that I was willing to be trained to do “E-Comm”

and to learn how to pick orders in the “Master Mod.”

(E-commerce is one where you pick what someone who logged onto

Advance Auto orders for their home or car. Master Mod is what

we call this new structure that you have to pick specialty

orders in a master module.)

Bill said, “That should do it!”

But, ever the worrier, I told Bill,

“We have our annual review this month! If Mike does it, I

may not get my raise! What should I do, if this happens?”

Bill, who was a bins manager, shipping manager and has

worked there for 41 years since he was only 20 years old,

suggested I just let it go. I would ‘keep my job.’

I wanted to go above him, find someone who would look at

my hard job work record and reward me. He and I hope to

have my immediate boss’ review. But, so far, she is back,

but the other guy is doing them!

Here is another musical connection that we made! We both

used to listen to Nickel Creek. I listened since my kids

were teenagers. He had listened because he had heard a

recommendation from Allison Krauss. This young group earned

five Grammy awards and have five albums out.

I told Bill they have been playing since they were very

young, having been trained in stringed musical instruments

by the same fine teacher. They are now, in their thirties,

but, when they started, were only around 8-10 years old!

Their first ‘gigs’ were playing in a pizza place in Carlsbad,

California.

I would wish you to listen to their earlier, very sweet and

melodic voices that are accompanied by guitars, violin and

even a mandolin! I also encourage you to listen to Nickel

Creek’s newest album, “A Dotted Life.” In it there is a

wonderful song called, “Destination.” Ironically, it was

featured on CBS Today (Saturday, April 5, 2014). You can

watch the show or check out their songs on youtube. I also

liked the fact that they are coming ‘back’ after a seven

year hiatus. They had felt burned out after all the years

playing together. This trio will break your hearts, with

the tugging of the stringed instruments. They will rouse

you with joy, sounding like angels harmonizing. The song,

“Destination” has the only female, featured singing. The

song, “Rest of my Life” has one of the male voices being

chosen to lead the song. The names of this fine group are

Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins and Chris Thile ( The mandolin

player; along with the others knowing all kinds of stringed

instruments.)

In our conversation, Bill and I talked about his friends,

Denny and Rick, who play together with their guitars and

sing. Bill has sung and played since a teenager and got

some of his musical talent from his parents, but also liked

rock and roll in his little high school band. He has many

talents, including art and the ability to understand the

challenging subject of philosophy. He is my ‘zen’ and I

(he says) am his ‘rock.’ Bill told me that Denny and he

were working on some of the popular Everly Brothers’ songs.

He said, “All I Have to Do… (is Dream)” was one they really

harmonized well on. I asked him if the three of them were

going to ‘play out,’ anytime soon? He told me it may just

be Denny and he playing together at local spots.

An interesting set of facts, how our lives have been tightly

intertwined for years is, I have known Bill’s friends forever!

I knew Ricky and Danny first from Denny. Denny and his wife,

Cathy, have a son, Shawn, who I babysat during those ‘stay at

home’ years.

They set me up with a man named “Danny” who I call, “Daniel”

in my month of dating 3 Dan’s. I have known Rick and Danny,

also, through my four years as an Activities Director at a

nursing home. I knew their parents, was there at both their

memorial services and funerals. Interestingly, I didn’t notice,

but Bill was there at them, too. Denny and Cathy’s son, was in

my son’s kindergarten class. Three of Bill’s children have known

two of my children… since the 90’s!

Not only does music go ’round and ’round, but life seems to,

also!

The final song, I wish to impart with you, has been recently

sung on “American Idol” television song, by Alex Preston. He did

an outstanding job in his performance! This is One Direction’s

“Story of my Life.” The words are running constantly through my

head, at work, as I walk and sometimes right before I settle in

to sleep. For some reason, despite the fact that I feel it is a

‘rushed song’ with some lack of real emotional ‘connection’ to

the audience, I love it! The way it is sung, is like a recitation

of life, including a difficult love affair. The Irish-British

band has had the song playing since October, 2013. It resonates

with me, on a deeper level, due to the lyrics.

Does anyone else find this to be true?

What songs are you listening to recently that have touched you,

to the very core?