Category Archives: heart of gold

Life and Death: Basketball and Christmas

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A unique and special idea for those children who are disabled, with illnesses and

cancer is to celebrate Christmas in July.  There was a Hallmark movie, called,

“November Christmas” that also follows the concept that “Life is too short. . .”

From babies to a specific college freshman basketball player named Lauren, who

have dealt with cancer and deadly diseases and illnesses, we are sending out our

heartfelt wishes for healing and relief of pain. Wishes for families to keep up the

valiant work in making their lives comfortable and meaningful. This post is not

meant to depress readers, but to show how much others are willing to extend

themselves to make special ones ~ young people’s lives~  dreams come to fruition.

 

Brian Rutledge has property set up in Ohio, where he has “Santa’s Hideaway Hollow.”

His friend, from Mecca, Ohio, B. B. Simons arrived in July with his own rendition of

the Tow Mater, (the red truck which has a country accent), in the children’s animated

films from “Cars.” His Tow Mater had a large furry white beard that caught children’s

eyes. Their hearts and hopes to see Santa, fulfilled by Brian’s large-framed Santa,

dispensing not only “Ho Ho Ho’s” but a grand and festive meal, ice cream treats and

other wonderful holiday ‘treats,’ such as red tubular ‘balloon hats,’ with white tubular

‘beards,’ blown by one of the numerous volunteer elves.  Children wore these, along

with visiting a ‘nails and beauty’ salon, where colorful nails with glitter were ones

that little girls and boys displayed.

The red clad volunteer ‘elves’ arrived on horseback, in golf carts and other means of

transportation for this event, where three large tour buses with over 300 hundred

people, families and children unloaded. Some were shy, some were outgoing and

dancing to the beat at the drum circle, where a parent of two special children who

include one with  battling sickle cell anemia and hydrocephalus were there.

Toys and gifts given by donations from others, are specifically labeled, since Santa

Brian remembers the children who have come here a few times, along with messages

sent ahead from guests’ adult members, making sure the gifts fit the little ones’

requests. Santa’s Workshop is filled with wonder and excitement by all who enter.

 

The song, “It’s a Small World” (After All), reflects the true meaning of this place and

the holiday spirit.

 

There is a young college freshman basketball player, named Lauren Hill, who has been

battling a serious case of terminal cancer, found in an inoperable mass in her brain.

She came to Ohio’s Mt. St. Joseph University, fully intending to be a basketball ‘force

to reckon with,’ but her aggressive cancer has caused the NCAA to give permission

and there is a special game to watch, nationally played on Fox Sports today. It is held

at 2 p.m. so put Lauren and her team in your thoughts and prayers. The Cincinnati

location of Xavier College basketball courts, with Hiram University versus Lauren’s

team causes me to hold my breath and heart in a pinch. I just felt so much emotion,

reading this in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday November 2, 2014.

The part that grabbed me and would not let me stop from writing this post, was the

doctors and family did not even expect Lauren to be able to wait for  the originally

scheduled November 15, 2014 game. Special arrangements between her Coach, Dan

Benjamin, and Hiram’s girls’ basketball Coach Emily Hays, plus the permission of

the NCAA meant this is like a ‘last wish granted’ to Lauren.  Everyone working to

make this ‘happen’ deserve: “Thanks!”

 

Go Mt. St. Joseph University Girls’ Basketball!

 

For those who are professionals in hospitals and doctors’ offices, all those who teach

and touch these young peoples lives, through paid positions and volunteering, all

are ones who get a ‘Big Thank You’ for making a difference in these families’ lives.

The ones who leave money to Hospice and “Make A Wish” foundation, along with

cancer research programs, also are in our hearts and minds.

 

Life, death, Christmas and basketball…

 

White Lace and Promises

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There once was a girl who was from a different elementary school from my children’s

school. There are five elementary schools, hers was Conger, my kids went to Smith.

She lived across the street from us, she became ‘fast friends’ one summer, when she

found out my youngest daughter was going to Willis Middle School in the fall with

her. We had just moved in, when they met on the sidewalk. Soon, the two girls were

inseparable. They would go down to the pool, they would go to Blue Limestone Park

and travel around the neighborhood, upon their bikes.

This girl is named Holly, my daughter is Felicia. They would call each other up, on

land line telephones. I look at my same land line phone, set up in my current apt. and

remember that there was a chair in our foyer, this white telephone with its gold edges

and push button numbers was one I have a photograph with Felicia talking to the girl

who lived across the street. Why weren’t they visiting, instead of on the phone? I am

not sure but this was an age when ‘grounding’ occurred, sometimes as the meted out

punishment.

Soon Holly would call up and ask what we were having for dinner, she liked the way

I ‘grilled’ the hot dogs in butter in a skillet, the way I used a can of spaghetti sauce,

(Hunts brand, mushroom sauce) adding oregano, basil and onion salt. She thought

it was fun to come over and eat dinner, sometimes lingering around in the back yard

with Felicia, pretending they were acrobats and other imaginary circus players on

our wooden ‘gym set.’ Often, one or the other home would be the place they had a

‘sleepover.’

These two friends went through high school, joining soccer and basketball together,

along with their separate interests. Felicia quit soccer, to become a Cross Country

runner, Holly became a cheerleader. They shared a lot of common thoughts and

goals. They both were runners-up, or ‘contestants’ for Homecoming Queen, their

senior year. They shared a great graduation party held at the Delaware County

Fair, where the cost of $200 was divided up amongst five good and solid friends.

All five girls went off to college, staying in touch, going and visiting each other’s

campuses.

The first of the original five friends is getting married today. I have to choose

between three dresses to wear, my youngest daughter wishes me to wear the

longest, new dress. It is a sleeveless dress, with cream, pastel peach, tan and

black details geometric dress. She helped me choose it a young people’s

clothing store, called “Forever Twenty-One.” I have a beautiful autumn mid-

length dress I wore at my son’s wedding six years ago. It has a brighter fall

colors palette with a lovely sweater I could wear over it. I have only worn it

twice. Once on a date and possibly today. The third choice of dresses is a

right below the knee dress, with more ‘pizzazz’ which I have never worn;

like the first choice. It has a jeweled burnt orange diamond that makes my

bodice area look more fuller, with the way it creates folds on both sides of

the diamond. It has the deepest autumn colors which includes swirls and

paisley designs. I went from the pastels in the first, the medium tones in

the second and the deeper ‘jewel’ tones in the last one, with a brighter

orange, olive green and cream background. Each one I will probably wear

gray or tan hose, black velvet pumps and they are about 3 inches high. I

don’t like the brown purse, brown set of shoes I tried all three on, although

you would think they would ‘match’ the fall colors, the black outlines in

each dress seems to need black shoes and purse.

My best girlfriend, Jenny, and I were discussing the 3:30 wedding and

the evening reception. It is not going to start much past 5:00 since even

the longest wedding would not go on that long. She left the length question

unanswered, as a good friend she just said, “Wear whichever you feel you

look best in. Don’t worry about the length.”

After looking at George Clooney and recent bride, Amal’s wedding photos,

studying the guests, I saw no one except the bridal party wearing long

dresses. It put doubts into my youngest daughter’s reassurances about the

sleeveless dress, the first choice I described. Since today’s high may be too

cool to take off the sweater chosen for this dress. (Black with black with gold

edged buttons.) I have a burnt orange colored stone necklace for the two

other dresses, which was made by an artist, looks very stunning with v-neck

dresses, as the two mid-length and knee-length dresses.

My youngest daughter is not a bridesmaid in this wedding, not sure of who

was chosen, since I will find out when I go to the wedding. Felicia was chosen

to read the quotation taken from the end of the 2001 “Love Actually” British

movie. It is meaningful, powerful and brings tears to my eyes. About airports,

greetings and partings, how the world changed for some from 9/11/01 World

Trade Center bombings, but how people still embrace and have hope for Love.

 

White lace and promises, most may remember is taken from that all-time

favorite wedding song of the 70’s through today by the Carpenters:

“We’ve Only Just Begun.”

Memories of a friendship that traveled over the years, through thick and

thin, to transformation of closeness and dear friendship to where they are

right now, Felicia will have a special and meaningful place in the story.

 

It will be forever changed when Holly marries Nate today on October 4, 2014.

They dated for four years, they have been engaged for a year now and own a

home together.

Best wishes for happiness to the Bride (who is like a daughter) and Groom!

Makes me hum the song, “Through the Years,” which Kenny Rogers sang.

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!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Quest for Forgiveness

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I watched the movie, “Philomena,” at home with all the lights turned out. I

usually like to watch movies with someone. I had reserved this at the library,

for my good friend, Jenny, and I to watch. Her aunt died, unfortunately, and

they were going to be away. Although I mention her death, it is something

that Jenny and her family have chosen to view as ‘for the best,’ due to her

declining health and age. Just so you know.

 

I was by myself absorbing a piece of history, a time where there were some

“edges” to the kindness, found in religion. Judgment went hand in hand with

the predicament that Philomena got into. There was a sad part of this movie,

which will not ‘ruin’ it for you, that must be talked about.

 

Since no one was there, to discuss and ponder with, after the movie ended.

You will be my person I go to, who may contemplate what bothered me about

the movie. I wonder why some people who take on positions, like a particular

nun in Philomena’s life, have to be so cruel?

 

The man, Martin Sixsmith, who was a journalist and someone who liked to

write about ‘straight news,’ was assigned a ‘fluff piece,’ or so he thought. He

ended up becoming involved with a woman’s life, which ultimately changed

his life.

Martin Sixsmith wrote a book that was published in 2009 called, “The Lost

Child of Philomena Lee.” I will recommend this, before even reading it.

When life slows down in my ‘day job’ at the warehouse, (busy summers, less

so, in the winters) I will be getting this book out of the library to read.

My grandchildren will soon be back to school, so less busy times ahead in the

evenings for me. I will enjoy reading this fine story, despite my knowing its

ending. The details that are given within books, images and evocative incidents

resonate so much more when the words weave their tale.

The story of how Philomena gets pregnant is brief. It is a fleeting, emotional

choice; yet it shows her affection and interest in the young man. There are many

times in her life, she may have regretted this moment. Overall, it did not dampen

her outward spirits. Philomena is such a positive source of light and laughter.

She reminded me of the zany character of my Great Aunt Marie. Philomena has

‘gumption!’

She tells most of her stories to Martin with levity, without too many complaints.

She does hide her shame and her inward remorse, for what she did. She admits

to saying the rosary and going to confession many, many times, over the years.

It is when her son would have turned 50, that she mentions it finally to her own

daughter, she raised in wedlock. Her daughter is catering an event for Martin’s

fiftieth birthday, that is how the story begin. . .

 

She was a teenager, taken to stay at a home for expectant mothers. The nun’s

emphasis of their being “unwed mothers” is stressed in a negative fashion.

 

Parents trying to connect with their child they put up for adoption, adults who

were put up for adoption and anyone who enjoys a good, heart-wrenching story,

will all enjoy this movie. I am sure you will find meaning in the book, too. After

all, it inspired a wonderful and well-received movie.

 

Thousands of Irish-Catholic adopted children, raised to adulthood, are still

trying to find their ‘roots.’ They are wanting to find their heritage and their

families. The reasons for the secretive records are disclosed in the book and

the movie.

The ‘nunnery’ she was sent to live until her child was born, was named, Sacred

Heart. It held a serious (sanctimonious) attitude towards ‘sin.’

The expectant mothers were supposed to work, for their ‘room and board.’ They

had to do this 5-6 days a week. Philomena’s job was laundry, by hand, with lye

soap. Scrubbing their skin off their young hands, under rough and hot conditions.

 

One self-righteous nun, Philomena remembers, was cruel in her expectations

of these young women who were away from their families and homes. Sadly, the

head nun’s attitude was expressed, “Atonement is required for your sins.”

Not that these girls, didn’t go to Confession as often as possible!

 

The babies were only allowed to be seen once a day by their mothers, if their work

was done.

 

At one point, I was bawling, tears streaming and sobs ensuing. There was a place

on one of the simple cots they slept on, if Philomena stood on it, it brought back

the memory of her son being taken away in a car. His face is pressed to the window.

 

You know this, from the very beginning:

Philomena didn’t want to give up her baby boy.

 

The story from beginning to end, includes a lot of fun and silly parts. Martin’s

teasing Philomena and Philomena’s assessments of life, people and situations

all are so special, warm and happy. You will carry the part that Judi Dench

portrayed, this amazing woman, who did become a nurse and did try to lead a

righteous life, in your head for days. It has taken me since Friday, to put into

words, the way I came to love Philomena.

 

Judi Dench did not win an Academy Award, nor was Steven Coogan nominated,

but this movie is stellar.

 

Judi Dench did an outstanding job in her 2013 portrayal of this indomitable lady.

“Philomena” will steal a piece of your heart.

The meaning behind kisses

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My coworker and friend’s words stopped me in my tracks yesterday.

Amy said, “Roy doesn’t kiss me.”

I turned to look at her, my beautiful and lively horse-backing friend,

owner of Spirit and Lokie.

I have worried about her, since the beginning of the year, when her

divorce was finalized. She has been a single woman trying her ‘wings’

lately, with a man named Tom and another named Roy.

Her grown children have been more on the side of her ex, even despite

the fact that he is the one who has notably, in over 25 years of marriage,

had affairs.

Twelve years ago, he had children with another woman, for Pete’s sake!

Amy allowed the twins to visit at her home, living proof of his rampant

unfaithfulness. She would have tolerated this forever. She was a believer

in marriage and its lasting forever, ‘for better or worse!’

This last time, her husband had chosen a woman who was a neighbor,

who had been a so-called ‘friend.’ This would have been my ‘last straw!’

Only after this ‘other’ woman ‘made’ him get a divorce to marry her, was

Amy released from a private ‘hell’ that she had been in, for so long. It is

hard for her to know what to do with her new freedom.

Men have been coming ‘out of the woodwork’ to ask her out on dates.

She has been enjoying all the attention. I have been happy for her, listening

to her different stories.

So, what was this about kissing?!

I thought every man who dated a woman, would eventually kiss them!

Roy has been in her life for about 5 months, the brother of the stable

owner.

Roy is a past rodeo cowboy and his photograph shows a sturdy, thin

attractive Clint Eastwood type. Amy likes him a lot more than the Tom

guy.

I have been listening to her ‘soap opera,’ for many months, while most

of the other order fillers have begun to ‘tune her out.’

Or worse, make fun of her, behind her back!

I have ‘been there, done that,’ as far as my dating history and failed

relationships.

So I understand the need to validate behaviors along with needing a

‘listening and sympathetic ear.’

“Amy!”

I used my stern voice to exclaim,

“What in the world are you talking about? You have had multiple dates

with Roy! You go to Indian Lake and stay in a cabin with him!”

She looked at the ground, saying,

“I was afraid you would lecture me about this! He never kisses me.”

I answered in an upset tone,

“Well, I think about Julia Roberts’s prostitute role, explaining to Richard

Gere’s character, how people aren’t allowed to kiss on the mouth, no

matter how much they pay their prostitute.”

(“Pretty Woman,” movie reference.)

I added hastily,

“You are not one, of course!”

Amy looked sheepishly at me,

“I was really hoping you were going to give me an example of someone

who did this, who was intimate with you but still preferred not to kiss!”

I could feel my brow creasing, my furrow between my eyes deepening

with my concern and caring for her. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings or

make a hasty judgment about Roy, but. . .

“No, haven’t experienced this one before, Amy! I honestly have had only

one man who didn’t like to open mouth kiss, but that didn’t last long.

Sorry, as time went on, it got annoying kissing someone like I did my Dad

and brothers!”

And I knew this would not be what she wanted to hear but I had to add this:

“Amy, you need to back away from Roy. There is something seriously wrong

that you two have slept together and never kissed!”

Amy came to Roy’s defense,

“But Robin, he gives great foot and back massages!”

I told her that once my ex-husband and I broke up, I dreamed about being

kissed. I wanted those lingering, sweet trembling moments that would make

my knees quiver and shake!

I even had daydreamed and pictured special kisses, where my soul would

glide into another’s soul, finally knowing what the concept of “Being One”

would mean!

I also wondered aloud,

“Don’t you want the silky, sexy kisses which turn into passionate, arousing

ones?”

My brothers are very different in their hugging modes, one is a sideways,

pat on the back or shoulder kind of guy, while the other gives great, warm

bear hugs. Both love me and are my best guy friends in the world! I did not

want to go into past men in my life or details. It is best to keep the

past in the past.

I told her my personal thoughts about ‘romance.’

“I feel slow dancing and passionate kisses are foreplay!”

I saw her shoulders drop and she turned to what she had been doing,

since her job is to count products in the bins, (Cycle Count department.)

I passed her with my long hampers, filling them with cords, wipers and

other longer items. The line was going the other way, away from Amy.

When it came time for break, she was happy again, telling me that Roy

had her to do something with him later that night. She felt that he was

going to do something special.

She thought, maybe they would talk about the lack of kissing.

“Maybe he is a ‘germaphobe?'” she wondered.

I nodded my head and told her the most validating thing I could think

of at the time,

“Whatever floats your boat, Amy. Remember to always be true to

yourself!”

 

Have you ever been in a relationship where one of you didn’t like to kiss?

Was there any psychological or meaningful reason for this?

I could give Amy some explanation, if I were better prepared!

Or is it like I fear? That this is a way to put distance between them, like

a wall between them? Is Roy doing this so that Amy isn’t bound to him?

I worry about her being ‘used’ by someone who is not appreciating her

the way she deserves to be.

Raising the Bar

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Happy 40th Anniversary to you, Dear Bar Code! Can you believe there is even

a day of celebration for this invention? I am laughing at this!  I just saw this on

a poster at Advance Auto, where I was clocking out from work.

I used my picture badge, with my bar code, to ‘wave’ in front of the time clock.

I was trying to fathom how bar codes have made our everyday  lives ‘easier.’

I can think of how it has made my shopping experiences ‘easier.’

Besides, bar codes do help me at work, due to making accuracy much easier to

check.

Grocery bar codes, first known as GSI linear coding, were initiated in 1973

in Troy, Ohio. A year later, the UPC codes became literally a universal way

of coding products.

On June 26, 1974, the first bar codes were ‘stuck’ on Wrigley’s gum packages!

If you are the type who wishes to toast an anniversary, you may wish to try

something with Crème de menthe, since their first brand of gum was mint!

I am one who would rather have mint chocolate chip ice cream or if it were

available 12 months a year: Peppermint Stick ice cream! It has a creamy,

more vanilla-mint flavor than the strong peppermint flavor of those iconic

light green Wrigley’s packages of gum.

Or you may indulge in a cupcake with green food dye and mint flavored

frosting. A chocolate one would be my good friend, Jenny’s flavor to choose.

Mine would be to make a vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting with just a

smidge of peppermint flavoring added. Yummy!

Last, but not least, while in Cleveland this weekend, my grandchildren asked

to have McDonald’s milk shakes. Micah loves chocolate, my daughter got one

of those also. My oldest grandson, Skyler, asked for a strawberry one. While

we were ordering, we weren’t sure why they are again offering their green

minty “Shamrock” milkshakes?

We wondered what got this back on the menu, long past St. Patrick’s Day?

Do you know why McDonald’s around Cleveland, (I have not checked out

locally, so don’t want to generalize this phenomenon!) are offering these at

this time of year?

Are there some Irish festivals in the summertime inspiring the company?

Do people complain loudly, after St. Patrick’s Day, about their short term

offering of this delightful shake?

Have I gone far enough ‘left field’ that I may venture back on the path to

finding reasons to celebrate UPC bar codes?

I came up with a short list, no references need. No website that I went off

and looked this up on…

Robin’s Short List of “Why Bar Codes Have Improved Our Lives:”

1.  Self service lines in “box stores” and grocery markets alleviate long lines.

Thanks for those UPC bar code digits, we are able to scan our own products

and “go on our merry way!”

2.  Scanning codes sometimes may ‘catch’ sale items much better than using

‘human-applied sales labels.’ This is a pet peeve of mine, when I find something

that is ‘supposedly on sale’ and the clerk ringing it in, sometimes doesn’t seem

to catch the sale. But, with the ability of scanning bar codes, there have been

less ‘errors’ at some of the places that used to just stick a colored dot on products.

3. When products that are on sale ‘run out,’ I like to ask for “Rain Checks.” This

UPC bar code helps make the rain check ‘more valid’ and ‘usable’ due to its

accuracy. Also, handwritten out, most people can copy numbers from a label.

4.  A problem with our bar codes at work is, that sometimes we are needing to

check the last 2 digits and sometimes even the last 3 digits, since Receiving and

Away departments have ‘dyslexic’ workers, or so it seems to the Bin Order

Fillers who find lots of errors where we are supposed to have ‘Pick Ready’ bins.

5.  When I am up in the Mezzanine area, I am able to wear an armband held

small computer. It is called an “RF” which has a Blue Tooth scanner attached to

my pointer finger. I use my thumb to press the side button to shoot a laser at

the product’s bar code label. (Most people like it on their middle finger and

simply press their pointer finger on the scanner button.)

This is a much better device, than the one I used to have to use in Heavy Bulk.

That contraption involved listening to a operated ‘order’ where it would

give you a five numbered area to go to.

The five numbers were usually double digits, this took a lot of my brain power

Often, I had a headache at the end of the day! It did ‘like’ my voice, usually more

than my fellow coworkers who had made their template in an unnatural voice,

then using their ordinary, regular toned voice they would try to ‘confirm’ their

orders… The voice in their earpiece would say, “The number you are trying to

confirm doesn’t exist” or “Please say the number again.” I cannot even remember

the irritating repetitive words, sometimes my coworkers would give me their

headpiece, which definitely ‘would not recognize my voice commands.’

So bar codes were originally a ‘pain in the patooty’ at  my work! I did not like

the way they would tell me to go to “49-13-22-6-2” which meant row 49, look

on the 13th rack, go over 22 bins and go up to the top shelf (6th shelf) and

pick two products.

Now, when I use the Blue Tooth ‘finger scanner’ or the ‘gun scanner’ on the

tablet sized “RF” I can simply point, press and if the product is wrong, I

will ‘back order’ it. This is much to the chagrin of the Cycle Count people

who have to come and find out why someone stocked the wrong product

or put the right product in Timbuctoo! I checked the spelling on that one,

folks!

How does the bar code effect your area of work?

Do you feel it improves your shopping experience?

Is there some other area of your life this happens to help you out?

As I leave the library, I will be signing off my computer, taking my bar coded

library card to check out some movies for the week…

Happy Monday to you all!

P.S. The wedding event of my year was one of my top 3 favorite weddings I have

ever been to! I loved seeing all the grandchildren in their new and nicely colorful

‘dress up’ clothes.

I enjoyed how much fun my Mom had, with many special moments where little

ones gave her hugs, along with her being allowed to reminisce to her content.

The weather was absolutely lovely and there was a time, after bubbles were

blown, food and delicious cake from Fragapan Bakery, were eaten, faces painted

and the smallest ones allowed to dip in a baby pool, while the older ones were

escorted by my brother, designated “Life Guard” to Showse Park Beach, only

two houses down from the wedding.

Time spent with the lovely bride, my niece, and her sweet and terrific husband

was wonderful. So many memories of times where we were mentioning our

fireworks off the beach below my parents’ cottage, sparklers lit off the deck

and just so many more memories.

I am blessed that my youngest brother chose a woman with children with

ages close to those of my own. Holidays and gatherings, they could pair up

in play.

Innumerable activities since they became part of our family.

Thus, my niece was only 6 and my youngest only 4, when my little brother

married my only ‘sister’ in law.

Everyone reveled in the casual atmosphere, showing such playfulness at the

lake cottage. The ‘Tent wedding,’ otherwise labeled on our invitations as

“Come to a BBQ Wedding and Reception!”

 

 

Peace, hope and safe travels

Standard

I had just got off the phone from talking to my good and oldest

friend, Patrice, (that I still stay in touch with), who was preparing

for her annual trip to Charlevoix, Michigan. We both say sometimes

we should just call it, “Camelot.” Bill and I traveled up there once, to

see her sister’s renovated Castle Farms. The town is beautiful, with

Lake Charlevoix and the special houses that look like mushrooms are

there, too. The Castle is so breathtakingly Princess-like I complained

when we had to leave!

We did venture North ward to the Upper Peninsula, the locks, great

waterfalls, the towering evergreens, and Lake Michigan, too. I did

stop complaining, I think I was just missing my Patrice, who is

a source of comfort and joy. We saw all kinds of other fantastic

sights!

Pat had packed up her bags, shipped her papers and medications

up to Charlevoix, had completed a few different doctors’ visits,

and was relaxing. Pat’s sister, Linda, would be coming to take

them to the airport and she patiently listened to my nervous

energy and anxiousness about my Mom. She gave me comfort that

she had put my Mom on their church’s Prayer Chain, earlier in

the week.

We sang a little bit of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” to cheer us both up.

She’s ready to leave soon. My car is packed, ready to go. Stopping

to call her before I go post this story about Mom and plans made.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina, this has become Pat’s yearly routine.

She has only once come back to Long Beach to find roof damage, no

serious side effects that could be compared to the year the hurricane

disaster hit the gulf coast.

since she hates and fears the potential

She has always, ever since I met her freshman year in college,

imparted heavenly peaceful feelings to me. She is my ‘Zen.’

Patrice was my first and only “Maid of Honor.” We’ve shared

a lot and has known my Mom since 1978. Both her parents died,

while she went to live down there, taking care of her Mom first,

then her Dad. Living in their retirement home, now.

She gave me a lot of reassurances and reminders of how ‘spunky’

and ‘strong-willed’ my mother is. I am prepared to see her in a few

short hours.

Mom had been a little strange, had hurt her leg, twisting it a

little as she got out of the “Whistle Stop” restaurant booth.

My brother and I had decided to see what the place that had taken

over the old Cahoon Winery would look like, what their food would

be like and found the atmosphere and the prime rib dinners very

satisfying. Mom did not recognize it, due to its internal changes

but the outside, she had exclaimed,

“Dad painted this in acrylics, didn’t he?”

It was one of the many paintings my Dad had decorated the house

with, before my brother started to paint ‘real art.’

My brothers had said the twist that had produced pain and a

slight limp, would be ‘just fine,’ only a muscle strain and

not even a bruise on Easter, when I was with her in the

bathroom, looking at Mom’s leg.

I had sent cards, reminding her to use a heating pad. I had

added another suggestion to alternate with a bag of frozen peas,

and ‘Make sure you elevate it!’

When I had to leave on Easter, she had reassured me that she would

be okay and I hugged and kissed her. I always am torn between seeing

my grandchildren and children, and the possibility that Mom may be

not as well the next time I go up there.

As I was leaving, she told me she was not used to putting her feet up

to relax on her sofa. There is a nice, soft ottoman that is part of

her living room set.

Then, recently, I was filled with some trepidation, when my brother

called during a work day. He had left a message saying he had called

an ambulance, met my Mom at the hospital.

She ended up staying the three days, that allows to have her Medicaid

‘kick in,’ along with having a battery of tests. Not many medications,

not really any results.

They did not understand why she was ‘lethargic’ and rather

‘non-responsive’ but once the I.V’s kicked in, she had ‘rallied,’

was renewed and ‘herself’ again.

I should be grateful for small mercies, knowing that she could have

had something more seriously wrong. There is a knot by her knee,

that is healing. She will have ten days of therapy, visiting in

her senior living apartment.

I talked to Mom for an hour this week, she shared with me a sort of

funny explanation. She knew my brother was coming to get her for

dinner, she had fallen asleep taking a nap. She was wearing a t-shirt

and underwear. When the knock at the door came, she had called out,

“Who’s there?”

My brother had answered, so she thought the quickest way to get to the

door was to ‘crawl.’ This is her explanation of what she did.

Yup, Mom crawled to the door to greet my brother, on her knees.

That ‘set off alarms, in my mind,’ too!

My brother said,

“It’s locked, Mom!”

She replied,

“I’m on my way, just a minute!”

She stretched and unlocked the door, remaining on all fours.

He looked at her, then looked at her dog, Nicki, who was sitting

beside her.

I am sure this was quite a shock to his system!

Nicki usually is nervous when people come in, ‘whimpering.’ Even

familiar people and family members. Mom moved to a chair, climbing

on it to sit down.

Anyway, with much reassurances that she was fine, he called

downstairs and found that my very polite mother had received

three days in a row, calls from the front desk, asking if

she was ‘all right.’

Each time, my Mom had said “I’m fine, thank you,” hanging up.

They did not ask why she didn’t go to the dining room nor did

they offer to send her up a dinner. This will be discussed in

the later part of June, when my brother can be there, along

with staff and the social worker. The ‘protocol’ was told to

us, that if someone did not come to the dining room, (without

cancelling their dinner, as sometimes people do to eat out with

their family) they would send someone up to check on them.

This is why my brother my Mom had appeared lethargic, almost

comatose and delusional! She probably had eaten a tablespoon of

peanut butter and endless cups of coffee. She is not one to

convince easily to use the microwaveable meals and other food

items that we put in her refrigerator.

By the way, Mom’s little dog is staying with her ‘sister’ who

is a half dachshund and half beagle, nine years younger, her big

brother, Hamlet, who is a golden retriever and her huge sister,

Fiona, who is a Newfoundland, at my brother and sister in law’s

house, across the street.

My brother and sister in law, are heading this weekend to Bethany

Beach, Maryland. They will be taking the big dogs, Hamlet and Fiona,

leaving the little ones, Nicki (my Mom’s shih tzu) and her other

one, she had to give up to move into the senior apt., Bella for

my brother to watch, take care of and feed. I look forward to his

coming over after he works, plays volleyball or tennis, along with

his other activities. I picked up a few movies, older ones for Mom

and I to watch and action ones where the three of us will watch.

I am filled with less trepidation, just sadness, because I am

not sure how Mom will “be” over the weekend. I had sent a couple

of “Get Well” cards this week. Unless she made it to the mail box

she knows from my big letters on her white board on the kitchen

wall and her calendar over the sink, “Robin will be here for

Memorial Day weekend, on May 23- May 26.”

I saved the rather amusing “Mom’s version of what happened before

she got taken in the ambulance” for you to possibly chuckle at!

In her recounting of the crazy, cuckoo, some would say, “Did you

lose some of your marbles?” moments, I gathered that she was not,

in the least, embarrassed about her state of undress, when greeting

my brother.

By showing a fine sense of humor, she had told me, ‘right off

the bat:’

“Hello, Robin! I am fine, I was in the hospital and got a few

meals along with tests. I hate to tell you this, but I would

not have passed the ‘dining room dress code’ the other day,

when your brother came to get me to take me out to dinner! I

had no pants on!”

Last summer, the signs to enter the dining room had first said,

“No shorts allowed in the Dining Room.”

I had inquired of the seating hostess, “Why did this happen? Surely,

no one would wear ‘short shorts’ in the dining room.”

I had ‘capri shorts’ on which ‘passed inspection’ for dining that

summer evening.

She had leaned over and whispered to me,

“A few gentlemen came to the dining room wearing boxer shorts!”

She had added in a rather horrified tone,

“And one’s overlapped fly, didn’t exactly overlap!”

Later last summer, 2013, apparently someone had come in their

bathrobe to dinner!

A new sign had been posted upon my next monthly visit:

“Proper Attire Required in the Dining Room.

NO shorts.

No pajamas, robes, boxer shorts or otherwise

bed clothes allowed.

Men and women must wear pants.”

I laughed (back then) when it had become such a wild and long

list, almost like the silly Jean Kerr’s “Please Don’t Eat the

Daisies” book where she had forgotten to tell the children in

the New York apartment that request.

I had stopped worrying about my Mom’s mental state when she made

that joke about proper dining room apparel. But, when she said

she wanted to ‘do all the things we usually do, like go to the

grocery store and eat out, at least twice!’ I had become rather

concerned. Hopefully, she and her walker will be just fine and

we will have a grand old time up in Cleveland, ‘tooling around

like we usually do!’

Hope you all have a happy Memorial Day!

Hope there are lots of good times with family or friends.

A few moments of meditation and memories for loved ones, too.

Enjoy your three-day weekend!

May it be safe and peaceful.