Category Archives: family restaurant

Making Father’s Day Plans

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At work, yesterday, we were talking about fathers. We really don’t know

what kind of pressure they had, in the past. We feel men and women

have a combined amount of stress, due to financial difficulties, low

wages, high cost of living, and raising families is not a ‘easy job.’

The song that came to mind, was the “Under Pressure” one with

both David Bowie and Queen singing it. Can you believe that came

out in 1981? And we were calling it a ‘newer song!’ Later, in 1982,

the group Queen performed this solo, on their album called, “Hot

Space.”

Also, someone volunteered the ‘older’ Dolly Parton song, “9 to 5.” We

all liked that movie, which is more of a support of women but the guys

said it was the only one they could think of, agreeing with Tammy, that

we are ‘behind the times!’

Guess what? We found out this is a 1980 song, so only one year before

the other song we came up with, representing marriage and parenthood

stress. We may need a newer song to suggest you listen to, to help you

feel that we have understood the way life has become even more hectic

than when we were growing up!

They felt the lyrics expressed how we all have to pack a lot into

our days, especially those who have families. Juggling many tasks,

meetings after work, sporting and other activities that children

need parental guidance and support can all lead to crazy moments.

My good friend, Bill, calls those days when people are raising kids,

as the “hunter/gatherer” stage. I know somewhere along the way,

one of my commenters disagreed with this terminology, not sure

what alternative, they did suggest a better way to describe the

way life is in the fast zone!

Lastly, we were discussing how we didn’t understand our parents

until we got older, had children and even, sometimes wish we had

had more time to just relax and enjoy them. Knowing time is so

precious, not able to stand still and really listen and pay attention

to what their important pieces of advice are. I remember thinking

that “I knew it all,” especially since I had graduated in elementary

school education, so I already ‘knew’ what children needed and

all.

Boy, did I get a huge splash of freezing cold water, a big dose of

reality!

There are NO manuals or instructions that explain how it is to

be a parent!

This post is in honor of fathers, along with mothers, who work as

a team to raise their children, doing the best they can, as much as

possible!

I have a good friend, who shall remain nameless, who still wished

she had more time to talk to her mother. I still wish I could ask my

Dad’s advice on more things. I would like to just listen to him again.

He could go on and on, rambling, if he liked. I would relate to the

desire to have someone to pay attention to, much more now. Now

that I am alone.

When asked, “What are you doing for Father’s Day?” I received an

interesting summary of choices. I hope you will add some present

and if you wish, some past ways you celebrated Father’s Day.

Charlene hangs with us, watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful”

from 1:45 until 2:00 pm. She is on her lunch break, so during the

commercial breaks we ask her, “What did we miss during the first

fifteen minutes of this half hour soap opera, we have become rather

attached or ‘addicted to.’

She said she plans to take her four year old son, Ian, to a big box

retail store, where he usually insists on buying his Daddy a card

and a gift. I wanted her to trace his hand and make a homemade

card, she says he won’t do that! Ian is a ‘force to reckon with!’

Charlene’s husband, Chris, works here, so we like to ask about

what he will be rewarded with for ‘His Day.’ She added that she

will cook one of his favorite meals, lasagna, garlic bread and a

dinner salad. It takes a lot of time to prepare it, having learned

the ‘hard way, ‘ from Christopher’s mother, the ‘true Italian way

to prepare this dish.’

Keith, whose daughter, Ashley, spent this past year in a haphazard

thrown together home-schooling adventure turned 13 this past week.

She is staying home, making a Cool Whip ‘concoction’ with crushed

Oreo cookies for Keith’s Father’s Day. He also had been happy to

hear that she was going to clean up the kitchen, dust and vacuum.

She may take off for the swimming pool, but this work was promised

to be completed by the time he came home today (Friday). By the

way, she failed seventh grade and will be taking it over again. Many

of my ‘regular’ commenters, will remember how I worried a lot about

the way Keith was handling it, how I had to step away and basically,

wash my hands of it. (Background information available on Keith

and Ashley post. )

Tammy’s father, who has had heart surgery, knee surgery and also,

still takes a lot of medications is 83 years old. His wife is in much better

shape, Tammy’s mother is ‘on the ball.’ For Mother’s Day, Tammy and

Mike (“Fencepost Buddies” love story post) had her parents, her sisters,

brothers, nieces and nephews over for a huge potluck/picnic. It had

ended up inside, but they are crossing their fingers to have it outside.

They purchased bags of mulch and will be putting this around her

mother and father’s flower beds, plants and trees. That will be their

gift, plus hosting their large, extended family on her side.

Melvin was ready to tell us all about the great barbecue that he and

his handicapped girlfriend helped to prepare dishes and a skinless pig

roast for a paid graduation party. Their catering “earned them more

that two weeks at Advance Auto, all in nice, crisp 100 dollar bills cash!”

Melvin’s used to being a cook in the Army, also for his large family.

The family is mainly out East, which he and his girlfriend are heading

that direction so, other than cards, there may only be the “trip out East,”

as his Father’s Day gift. They will be taking from June 20th until June 28th

to travel there and back, driving. He hopes to connect to some of his old

Army buddies, but nothing like their huge reunion last year, in MA.

We were trying to persuade him to open up a restaurant or catering

business, but Melvin thinks it would be too stressful on his girlfriend.

Trevinal and his wife, who I wrote about his taking nursing classes,

to get ahead in their life together. His father used to work at Advance

Auto D.C. #23, too. He is retired and when he did, he passed on the

advice to his son, to try and find a better job. Trevinal sits at our table,

laughs at our ‘old age’ jokes and is in his thirties. (I wrote about his

being designated “Special Education” while growing up, how he is

going to Columbus State and now has a 3.5 average every semester!)

Their love story is ongoing, first a good career, children next…

They are celebrating with his mother and father by taking them to

Ryan’s Steakhouse, which is a buffet style restaurant. They have some

plans to help trim trees, mow the lawn and  his wife plans to bake a cake,

too.

My friend, Mark, whose mother lives with him, told me today that he

plans to take her to his father’s gravesite, they will plant live flowers and

also, take home the Memorial Day wreath, they had left a couple of weeks

ago. He is the one who I gave my telephone number at Thanksgiving and

we have stalled out in the dating area of our friendship. Sort of ‘back to

square one.’ I like him a lot and will hope someday it may mean more to

him, too. Meanwhile, fun to have a man to flirt with, once in awhile!

One who has a home, computer and is not homeless, like I meet at the

library! Ha ha!

I have offered tonight and tomorrow night to watch grandchildren and

have plans to give cards to my son and my oldest daughter’s man for

their special day. I have decided that “Nana sitting” is enough, so won’t

be enclosing money this year for Father’s Day!

Work equity sounded like a great way for people to help their Dad’s out,

along with saving money. It is a trend across all income levels, giving

time is always an excellent way to show you love someone!

I will be posting about the Poll I took that was on the subject of which

television show featured your favorite Dad, father figure or male role

model, tomorrow!

I was surprised at the results at break, lunch and after work, with my

coworkers choices. It may or may not amuse you! It brought back a

few good nostalgic memories.

Let me know, “What are you doing for Father’s Day?”

 

 

 

Book Review: “Pioneer Girl”

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A woman who wrote a memoir, titled, “Stealing Buddha’s

Dinner,” (2007) has used what is called the ‘working

title’ from “Little House in the Prairie.” Originally,

Laura Ingalls Wilder had written “Pioneer Girl,” on

her rough draft of her first book to be published.

There is a former Purdue professor, Bich Minh Nguyen,

born in Viet Nam and who immigrated to Grand Rapids,

Michigan who has written her second book, this time

a novel inspired by the life of Rose Wilder Lane.

When Ms. Nguyen discovered that Rose had traveled to

Viet Nam on an assignment for a magazine to put a

feminine perspective on the Viet Nam war, she felt

a common bond with Rose. Ms. Nguyen was compelled to

write about a fictionalized part of Rose Wilder Lane’s

life. She incorporated some details, by having the main

character and narrator, named Lee Lien, discover the

common ties between the real journalist named Rose and

the fictional character named Lee.

I found that this book has a fascinating way of drawing

you into Lee’s life. She has completed her education,

but comes home to live with her mother and grandfather.

For the time being, Lee Lien has decided to help run

the fictional Lotus Leaf Café.

This restaurant is an Asian, mixed with fusion, place

in a strip mall in Chicago, Illinois. Lee’s mother is

portrayed as a pushy and domineering woman, while her

grandfather is given a gentle, sympathetic personality.

In an interview, Ms.Nguyen, the author, says that it

was quite a challenge to mesh the real life character

with “an alternative reality.”

I have found myself drawn to immigrants’ stories. I

have shared that my own mother’s parents met in NYC,

one a Swedish immigrant and the other a German one.

The way Ms. Nguyen shares that she never felt very

comfortable in Michigan and always wondered why her

parents stayed there, since they could have sought a

different part of the country. She did finish her own

education in Indiana, part of the Midwest, but has

moved in the past year to the San Francisco Bay area.

Here is a quotation from Ms. Nguyen,

“I’m a Midwesterner. We sort of believe you should

grow where you’re planted. So it was hard to leave.

It took me and my husband a long time to make this

decision.” (She, her husband and two children, ages

two and four years old moved in July, 2013.)

She feels that moving to the West coast is like a

dream and it is more home to her now, too.

I felt that this book would be a great one to share

with people who don’t feel like they belong, if they

were Asian descent, if they were adopted and to help

come to terms with becoming part of American culture.

A great part of researching Rose Wilder Lane, beloved

character and daughter of the “Little House” books

series, was to discover that she became such a

renowned journalist and novelist that her numerous

publications have become enshrined in the Herbert Hoover

Presidential Library!

What a fantastic legacy, as the daughter of Laura Ingalls

Wilder, to become a famous journalist and author, in her

‘own right.’

I think this meant a lot to me, having been such a fan of

L. W. Ingalls’ books, to know what happened to her daughter,

Rose Wilder Lane.

As a last explanation for combining her own roots with the

life of R. W. Lane, author, Bich Minh Nguyen states:

“I was interested in the idea of mythmaking and the idea

of trying to find one’s story.”

As writers, we all try different ways to combine our own

lives, weaving them into our stories, along with wishing

to create ones that are mythical and meaningful.

You may find your “muse” in another person’s life story.

Hope this book will inspire you.

Cliff Notes

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All day in the area I was working, I would bump into

a member of the Cycle Count department. His name is

Cliff and we have been friendly coworkers. We have

our lockers nearby and he is approximately ten years

younger than I. He is a ‘good family man’ who I have

admired the way he interacts with his boys.

When Cliff took his family on a trip out West, their

goal was to see all the states from here to the Grand

Canyon trip last summer. Cliff had chosen to take both

his weeks in a row which included the four weekend days.

This meant a rather long and extended time in the car,

but I was sure they would have an awesome time.

When Cliff came back, he was reluctant to brag. He knew

that I had been up at Mom’s, not any real vacation plans.

But I certainly reassured him, asked to see any travel

photos he may have had on his cell phone, at break time.

I was happy for his three boys and wife, too.

One neat family traveling activity, that brought some

memories back and nostalgia flowing, was Cliff’s family

played ‘car games.’

He told me they still like to play an alphabet game

and a license plate game in the car. When the boys

have participated in these for about an hour a day,

Cliff says he asks if they want to play their own

games, with headphones on. He says, it makes him

feel good that they don’t beg to do this all the

time. You can tell, he enjoys ‘together time’ with

his wife and sons.

When I was talking to him recently, Cliff and I were

discussing the movie, “Brave,” and how at first, even

at age four and a half, Micah (my youngest grandson)

was unsure how ‘cool’ it would be. He even said,

“That movie’s for girls, Nana!”

Cliff noted that it all depends on how he, as the father

of boys, approaches things. He shared that any time the

boys tend to make a comment, hesitate or indicate they

are prejudging something, he will bend over backwards,

saying, “We have to try this!” and I just knows it

will be good!”

We discussed in short snippets, as we were working,

about how society has transformed young people into

being overly conscious of ‘what people will think.’

I did say that this probably isn’t as “new” as we

like to think!

Cliff shared his positive attitude adding that,

“It is all how you approach things!”

He got his two boys who are in middle school and

one who is a high schooler to watch the movie,

“Brave.” Cliff said that his wife and he had really

wanted to see it at the movie theater. He said,

that by admitting he wanted to see it, the boys

when asked wanted to join them.

At Christmas, one of the gifts he purchased was

the Wii game for “Brave.” He says it is ‘great

fun!’

I like Cliff, think he is a great father and

husband. I asked him what he was going to do to

celebrate Valentine’s Day, in barely two days?

He was so enthusiastic, glad I even asked such a

question. He is taking the family to Cincinnati,

where they have reservations for two nights

consisting of two rooms, side by side. The plan is

to leave straight after work, on Friday. They have

their bags packed and are raring to go!

“The boys will stay next door,” he winked, “if you

know what I mean.” They were going to the perfect

place for people who are ‘sick’ of the snow!

They were heading off to the Newport Aquarium

on Saturday morning. They plan to stop on their

way south through Columbus at either a Bob Evans

or the Cracker Barrel south of ‘C-town.’

I was also applauding his idea of what to do on

Sunday morning. He has reservations at a nice

restaurant for their ‘brunch.’ It will be an

overall special occasion, with some privacy

and alone time, included. He also has plans

to stop on their way home at one of the big

Outlet Malls. Each member of the family will

use their own extra money or allowance, he

let me in on this fact.

What really pushed me into writing this post,

was not just to let guys know that it is very

thoughtful to think ahead about holidays.

Another reason was because I found out more about him

in the few hours he was ‘in my way,’ counting products.

He wanted me to tell you that his wife is named, “Joan.”

But for “forever and a day,” his parents and he have

called her, “Joanie.” Not her parents though!

When I asked him why?

Cliff answered, “Ever since Cliff Clayban was a character

on the hit television series, ‘Cheers,’ I have been kidded.

Sometimes, it has been about delivering mail, sometimes

about drinking every night at a bar, (which he assured me

he doesn’t do this, thinks it is ‘wrong’ and ‘not good for

building a strong marriage.’)

He loves to hunt with his boys, sometimes go on long walks

with one of them, with their family dog. Cliff also enjoys

the way he gets to know his boys, individually, on separate

hiking trips. This he does, sometimes, with his wife and

sometimes, not.

So, what happened to cause him to change the name “Joan”

into “Joanie?”

Oh, wait, I thought I had it!

Cliff saw my ‘light bulb come on’ and asked,

“Come on, Robin, why do we call her ‘Joanie?'”

I got excited and said, “Joanie Loves Chachi!”

And I continued,

“Then, the both of you have to live the life

of a television character!”

That show, by the way, was a spin-off from the long

lasting, “Happy Days.” It lasted with Erin Moran and

Scott Baio playing the leading roles, only from 1982

until ’83.

Didn’t make too much of an impression on many

people. Small viewing audiences didn’t choose to

watch and help make it last.

That show came out the year that Cliff graduated

from high school and met his wife, Joan, at the

local bowling alley in Marion, Ohio. They had fun

roller skating, bowling, hiking and swimming. they

liked going to Delaware to the Drive-In movies on

Cheshire Road.

Cliff says they got married at age 20 and smilingly

added,

“And we didn’t look back!”

The last part of my Cliff story is about the curious

habit that he has had since very young. He is passing

this habit on to his trio of boys.

He loves cartoons!

He rents or borrows cartoons from the past, including

Bugs Bunny, Coyote and the Roadrunner, and Mr. Magoo.

His favorite one that he spent two summers ago was

watching with his boys, every evening for one hour of

together time, excluding weekends was, “Johnny Quest.”

Cliff stopped from going any farther and his whole

demeanor changed. He gave me an exaggerated sad face.

I asked, “Oh no! What happened? Did your computer stop

projecting the Youtube copies of ‘Johnny Quest’ onto

your big screen television?”

Cliff shook his head.

I cannot help myself, when someone is silent, I have

to guess the reason!

“Is it too immature for the boys’ age now?”

Cliff looked at me like I was crazy!

“No! For some reason, I cannot find it on Youtube

anymore! So, no more ‘Johnny Quest!'”

“What happens now?” I wondered.

I got quiet, as if in mourning the passage of time

or the loss of a loved one.

I kept on picking my auto parts and putting them

into the five hampers I was pushing on the rails.

Finally, as if he knew my impatience or curiosity

was getting to me, (I have a face which doesn’t

hide my emotions.)

Cliff announced his proud decision:

“We watch ‘Scooby Doo!'”

I can just visualize those ‘men:’ two in middle

school, one in high school and one who is

supposedly the ‘adult’ in the group.

The father who wants to make his boys laugh.

A rather wonderful gift, indeed!

Fully Engaged vs. Disengaged Parenting

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While eating at a family restaurant, Bob Evans, last Friday evening

my friend and I noticed a group of people that were related at the

next table. I am going to say they probably were a family but their

meal did not “look” like a family meal. Both my friend and I placed

a “judgement” on their dining out together. We were watching off

and on, throughout the meal how they acted towards each other.

There were two children and two adults, a man and a woman who

ordered their meal and then proceeded to ignore their children.

The children were surpisingly quiet but they colored, fidgeted and

yet were not disruptive. One girl got under the table, only about

five years old, the other one, a boy, who may have been seven or

so, mentioned to his parents, “Sophie is under the table.”

What were the parents doing? Both were either checking emails

or writing texts the entire meal. I heard only a few words uttered

towards the children, “Behave yourself!” and “Get out from under

that table, Sophie!”

When the children were messy, the father sharply and rather loudly

told his “wife?” partner, date, who would know since they just didn’t

seem to “act like a famly!”

“Will you get that ketchup off Stevie’s face?” and

“Sophie, act like a lady!”

Then, when partner did not respond, said, “For Pete’s sake, Stevie,

don’t you feel the mess on your face? You have ketchup all over your

chin!”

I remarked to my friend, “I wonder if they still adhere to those archaic

words,

“Children are best to be seen and not heard!”

Then, we launched into a discussion about my recent grocery store

experience. There was a woman who was almost frantic in her arm

movements and facial expressions. She was rushing with two kids

in her cart. One of those carts that have a car with seats in it that

fits children who are pushed along with the groceries. When she

got upset, had stopped to study some products and out popped

one of the children, out of the cart, she grabbed the little tyke’s

arm and proceeded to give a quick smack on his rump.

While doing this, she said these famous words that many parents

used to say, ‘ This will teach you to stay in the cart! You better

learn how to act in a grocery store!” Of course, the child may have

been exaggerating his “hurt” but he did let out a bellow!

This promptly was accompanied by another smack on his behind.

I am not saying this is “bad” nor needing social services’ attention!

I just would like to share a novel idea that my oldest daughter came

up with.

My daughter went to a store around here called the Dollar Tree. She

bought three coupon holders that have different sections in them.

My grandsons were only 3 and 6 when she decided that going to

the grocery store meant if she were going to get exercise, going

up and down the aisles, then her two boys needed it, too. While

at home, she gave each child a pair of safety scissors and gave

them some coupons to cut. She always gets a set or two from

my “bag” that I get at my apartment. People are always throwing

them away. The 3 year old used t draw circles with his crayons for

the products he would like to look for. Now that he is four years

old, he cuts the ones he likes. (Toddlers do need extra time to cut

because this is usually a hand over hand activity.)

Also, my daughter will cut the names off the cereal boxes, like

Cheerios and Raisin Bran to give them to put in their coupon

holders. My one grandson likes to write down ideas while watching

t.v. at night, when he sees commercials.

What is all this time spent with the boys doing? It is engaging their

interest in a rather tedious and boring activity. They enjoy this! They

don’t realize that grocery shopping is a “chore.” They think it is an

adventure!

If you are from somewhere else, or have no idea what a coupon

holder is, it is a sectioned off folder that is about the size of a wallet.

The sections have fruits and vegetables, cereals or breads, frozen

foods, cleaning products, etc. I am sure they vary but it has a big

rubber band attached that keeps it all closed up until needed to

be looked at.

While at the doctor’s office, when I would take literally my own

3 children plus 4-5 extras (my babysitting crew) I would bring a

backpack with little books, tablets and drawing materials. I would

also show the older kids how to make those dots on a page that

you can connect to make squares and put your initial into. My

six grandchildren have seen this way of making up a game out

of nothing. The youngest, age 2, doesn’t know how to do it, but

she will watch and sometimes her older sister, Lara, will call it

a “team effort.”

When there are some parents who say those other archaic words,

“Act like a lady!”

I am always wondering do they mean one of these fine women who

were leaders, innovators, strong examples, or professionals?

Somehow, the words don’t apply to Annie Oakley, Amelia Earhart,

Gloria Steinhem, Clara Barton, Madame Marie Curie, Eleanor

Roosevelt and I would think that sweet as she was, even Mother

Theresa would say, “Please don’t define me as a lady, don’t give

me a label like that!”

Lastly, I am going to strongly “pan” a new television show. If you

have not seen the new show, “Mom” please don’t waste your time!

It has two fine actresses who are also funny comediennes, Anna

Faris and Allison Janney. If you have never seen West Wing, then

you missed a great show and Ms. Janney was a wonderful part

of why I enjoyed it. She has also been in a number of movies,

including what is a sweet story, “Juno.” Although it has teen

pregnancy in it, it has nothing else similar to the new t.v. show.

“Mom” has a story line where the grandmother (Ms. Janney) of the

family was a teen mother, she drank, did cocaine and engaged in

other poor habits. Her daughter, (Ms. Faris) was also a teen mom,

who drank, she is currently a server at a restaurant where she is

having an affair with her married boss. The youngest female, a

teenager who finds out she is pregnant in the first show, has a

fairly nice boyfriend who is kind of a hippie, who may make a

good father. But, my main fault with all of this is, don’t we want

to become better than our parents? Don’t we want the best

possible for the children? And last, but not least, doesn’t anyone

think that this is not funny subject matter? AT ALL?

I realize they think they are trying to improve their lives by going

to AA. I would never make fun of nor discredit this in any way. I

definitely spent some time in AA meetings, Alanon and Alateen

with my children. (My children’s father is a working alcoholic

and I wanted to know all about it, tried counseling and those

forums, too. I believe in alcoholism being a family disease, was

trying to prevent it!)

I also am not making fun of teen pregnancy, my daughter in law

had two children while young (19 for the first and 21 for the second)

and I love her and those kids. But, guess what? I know for sure she

is going to promote abstinency, later on, birth control and waiting

for each stage. From her experience, she wishes she had had more

time to grow up herself before having children.

The show is to me another example of disengaged parenting.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the couple in Bob Evans and the distraught

and harried mother in the grocery store had some perspective

that helped them see, it is only a very short and finite period of your

life that you can parent.

Please consider this:

It is never a waste of time to invest your moments with your children

(nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighbor’s children…)

with the best intentions.