Category Archives: high school

Truth or Dare?

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Who would think a pack of gum would get me thinking of my pre-

teen years?  When overnights would include such fun and exciting

games as, “Truth or Dare?” The gum is made by the Wm. Wrigley Jr.

Company, Chicago, Illinois  60642. Its label says, “RPM 5 Gum.”

It has “Truth or Dare” (some space and on another line), “Play and

You Could Win.” This gum product tastes like a citrusy-fruit flavor.

I would say it has a sour ‘front’ flavor changing into a sweeter ‘after’

flavor. It contains some not great’ sounding ingredients given as:

Soy Lecithin, Phenylketonurics and Phenylalanine. I am unsure of

what these would do to you, if you ate pack after pack, let alone

chewing to get the flavor then discarding it, as I do.

 

The clever side of the gum pack says:  “Post your truths. Share your

dares.”

 

The inside of the pack has a number which can be logged in to

“5TRUTHORDARE.COM” If you do so, you are entered to win

possibly a “$10,000 Adventure” or “One of 100,000 Instant Prizes.”

I seem to be going on a lot about the package facts, but here is the

fun part of the pack of gum,

Each stick of gum has a golden wrapper with 3 different choices.

I decided to write down just two gum sticks’ worth of choices:

1. The first stick of gum that I chewed from this pack had these

three choices on its golden wrapper:

a. “Dare:  Record five different sounds made with this gum

wrapper.”

My reaction, you may be able to talk muffled through it,

you may be able to attempt whistling (like a blade of grass)

with it between your lips or you could just crinkle it and make

scratchy sounds from the wrapper.

b. “Truth:  If you were granted one wish what would you

ask for?”

*** This is up for grabs if you wish to answer this in the

comments section…***

c. “Dare:  Visit five places today that you’ve never been to.

Post pictures at #5TruthOrDare.

***If you have some extra time to spare after reading this,

please fill us in on five places you have never been to, that

you would wish to go.***

 

2. The second piece of gum that I chewed, after lunch had

these three choices given:

a. “Dare:  Do as many push ups as you can in one minute.”

***Sorry, I did not ‘take this dare!’

b. “Truth:  What foods have sent tears streaming down your

face?”

***I will ask you, do you wish to answer this one?***

c. “Dare:  Drop what you are doing and play air guitar.”

Okay, I did this intentionally by Melvin, since he is one

of the crazy people who would not make fun of me. So,

I stopped him up in the Mezzanine, filling orders and

pushing our carts, he was coming from one direction in

a row of products, I was coming from the opposite way,

facing him. I got in front of my car so he could see me,

I leaned forward with my air guitar and then, to be more

dramatic, I got on one knee, closed my eyes and held it

above my head.

Then, I calmly went back to behind my cart and continued

forward. When we got together in the middle of the aisle,

Melvin being the ‘cool dude’ that he is, looked at me and

smiled then he said,

“So Robin . . . Was that Santana or Jagger?”

(I sure did want to hug him for this great comment, which

completed my Dare so well! I mean, I could not have asked

for a better reaction!)

 

At slumber parties, as my friends and I got older, we liked to

try and slip out of the house. Sometimes, it was quite innocent

and we would sit out in the cool, damp grass, whispering.

Other times, we had asked a group of guys to come by, which

would involve a little bit of logistics and stamina. There were

times the guys would be later or not even show up. We never

necked or made out with the guys. We may have held hands or

gotten a hug. We would tingle with anticipation for what kind

of moves the guys would make on us?

These were much anticipated and filled with excitement, just

to get this attention and level of participation and interaction.

 

When I reached high school age, my parents liked us to come

home, so it was rare to get to have sleepovers or go somewhere

else. My favorite parties, (have probably shared this more than

once), were marching band, science club and theater after parties.

The drama group was more likely to be wilder and have some of

those “Truth or Dare” situations. I always smile when I think of

the times when the marijuana joints were passed over my head

or the chivalrous guys would say I didn’t have to carry out some

of the more sexually oriented ‘dares.’ It was a fun way to pass the

time and I did do two dares after I reached 16 years old. The first

entailed going in a closet with a boy for, “__ Seconds of  Heaven.”

I have heard people say how many seconds their friends would

count out loud, but I swear my friends counted to “Seven.” Does

not sound like very long. . . Was it due to rhyming with “Heaven?”

 

I do remember playing ‘tricks’ on girls in their sleeping bags at Girl

Scout camp. One was we would get hot water dipping one of their

hands into a container. Supposedly, sometimes people would then

‘pee’ in some age groups. We did not have this happen. Ever. We

also took a person out of our tent, using three girls to help us and

put her in another bunk bed in another platform tent. Switching

beds was hilarious, we thought, at the time! Our ‘dares’ seem rather

tame now. The common things we liked to do at slumber parties

were to fix each other’s hair, practice make-up skills, call up boys

and usually hang up, prank call other people and play with the

mystical Ouija Board, calling for Spirits to come forward. This

would raise the hair on my arms. We liked listening to music,

practicing our ‘dance moves’ and watching late night movies.

 

In answer to one wish I would make: Good health for my whole

family. (Hoping longevity would accompany this unspoken wish.)

 

In answer to the five places I would like to go:

1.  England, Ireland and Scotland.

2.  California; Driving across the country.

3.  Hawaii or an Island cruise.

4.  Canada; More around the whole country, not just

where I have been to. (Niagara Falls, Toronto and Quebec)

5.  Australia and New Zealand.

 

What do you remember being your bravest “Dare” that you took?

Were there any memorable ‘antics’ or ‘challenges’ you did not take

but someone else did?

Joyful, Cheery Sounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johnny Marks, for Decca Records.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

would describe the repetition of the sound.

 

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

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

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

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

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

This means a three day weekend! Hurrah!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ives.

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

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

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

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

with some coworkers’ suggestions:

SONGS:

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

words,

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

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

 

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

which was written in 1951, by Meredith Wilson.

 

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

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

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

USO holiday celebrations overseas for years and years, quickly cheers

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

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

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

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

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

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

entertaining the troops:

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

Cheerleaders.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Hear?”

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

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

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

married couple who were moved by seeing children on the streets

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

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

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

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

his wife, Gloria Shayne Baker.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ono Band (with instrumentals) and the Harlem Community Choir

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

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

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

included on it.

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

December 8, 1980; 34 years ago this week.

*This is one of my own personal favorites.

 

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

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

in 1944, by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

version on the stereo and radio.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

moving words.

Here are a few unusual ones to share with you:

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

died in Connecticut.

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

the Rising Sun,” to accompany these lyrics.

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

The Lettermen performed and put this on a Christmas album in

1987.

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

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

and beautifully done.

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

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

 

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

since she enlarged a favorite photograph of Christopher when he

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

old graduate of Delaware High School and Columbus State student

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

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

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

ornaments she had given him when he turned 21.

 

Here are special sounds that are permanently etched into my own

memories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

the bride and groom to kiss, makes me smile.

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

announcing the arrival of guests.

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

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

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

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

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

Trust me on this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

loved ones (grandparents) far away.

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Story Part 2

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I ended up wearing the first dress. It fit right in with the evening reception, along

with my youngest daughter’s insistence it was more ‘current’ than the other two!

I would love to share Nate and Holly’s love story with you, since it has been awhile

since I have shared a love story. If you have time, I have about 30 other ones in

my past writings! They cheer me up, as it is interesting to know how people met.

 

Nate and Holly knew each other since the fourth grade.   They say they  ‘went out’

or ‘were going together for about a minute!’ This was shared by the minister during

the ceremony. She said she was ‘charmed’ by how Nate told her that he ‘spent the

next eight years trying to win her back.’

 

About 6 years ago, they ran into each other in a local saloon, the Back Stretch, where

several of the Delaware High alums of 2004 were gathered. Nate really knew that this

might be one of his last chances to catch Holly. So while talking to her, he leaned over

and whispered, “That girl over there keeps hanging on me, could you pretend you are

my girlfriend and kiss me?” The minister chuckled, when she told the congregation

gathered, some like me, who did not know this fact. She even slyly added something

like what a great line and how wonderful that this worked.

When her sister was getting married, my daughter Felicia and Holly were bridesmaid

and Maid of Honor. Holly asked if she could bring Nate, even though he had only been

on a couple of dates with her. Megan said, “Sure, if he REALLY wants to get to know

us, this would be the perfect setting.”  Megan and Breck got married in a late summer

outdoor wedding, they had been high school sweethearts. They have a little one year

old boy who rode down the aisle after the flower girl with a boy who must have been

a three year old cousin, pulling him in a wagon.

Nate had mentioned to Megan at the wedding, something like, “What’s not to love

about your family? They like dancing and drinking and so do I. He fit right in, Megan

told us in her Matron of Honor speech.

Here are two of the beautiful speeches, almost poetic in their simple loving meaning.

The first was read by a good friend of Felicia, who was in her Confirmation class and

brought his very cordial wife.

Matt read:

His hello was the end of her endings,

Her laugh was their first step down the aisle,

His hand would be hers to hold forever,

His forever was as simple as her smile.

He said she was what he was missing,

She said instantly she knew,

She was a question to be answered,

And his answer was, “I do.”

(no author given)

 

This is the lovely passage at the end of the British cast  movie.  Felicia and I have

watched this for the past 13 years since 9/11/01. The meaning of love everywhere

entranced us, the Christmas Spirit is present throughout, and it has a little PG-13

action, so it isn’t one you would show anyone under that age. Colin Firth, Hugh

Grant, Liam Neeson and others are outstanding. As well as a sweet actress who is

played by Martine McCutcheon. She adds to the romantic tone of the movie, in

this international story, as the aide to the Prime Minister. Emma Thompson and

Alan Rickman have a different kind of love story in this movie, married with one

of them participating in a ‘dangerous’ flirtation. Their story has a really funny

element, where one of their children plays a ‘lobster’ in a feast. I love the song,

which creates a bittersweet tone in their stressful lives, sung by

Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now.” If you wish to listen to it, the 2000 version

shows an ‘older and wiser’ songstress singing about ‘not really knowing love

at all,’ with a grand orchestration. This newer version is more textured and

was chosen specifically for one of the scenes, where Emma’s character is

rather frustrated with her life. The Colin Firth story has a maid/housekeeper

who is not able to speak English, which creates comedic episodes, with clever

subtitles in it.

 

Felicia read:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the gates at

Heathrow Airport. General opinion is starting to make out that we live in a

world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that.   It seems to me that love is

everywhere.   Often, it is not particularly dignified or newsworthy,  but it’s

always there- – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives,

boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the twin towers, as

far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages

of hate or revenge- – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a

sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

(Hugh Grant, playing the character of the Prime Minister, speaks these words

while you see people greeting, embracing and parting with hugs from all kinds

of international cultures, shown in their apparel.)

 

The reception was held in the second floor of the Clippers Stadium, so I do have

photos of Felicia and me, with the background behind us of the baseball diamond.

The place was cold, it is heated by radiant ceiling ‘pipe-like’ things. I got my popcorn

which the bag said, “It all started when he popped the question.   Holly and Nate,

October 4, 2014.” There is a dug-out café, also Tansky’s Grille and other interesting

parts of this location. When the sun went down and the lights of Columbus lit

up, it was simply the perfect, idyllic location for an Autumn wedding. The couples

came up the stairs from the first floor, while the DJ and announcer called out

first the couples where they were bridesmaids and groomsmen, then the Matron

of Honor, (sister of the bride, Megan) and the Best Man (brother of the groom.)

We had ‘ordered’ when we ‘R.S.V.P.’d’ our meal which mine was a grilled chicken

breast with a balsamic dressing, a tomato butter, freshly cooked green beans

and pasta in a garlic sauce.

 

I met some people I didn’t know at other tables, but knew the family of Doug

and Lisa, along with their children who are grown and out of college. They

each had a date, Lisa’s younger sister is planning a wedding next year and

her fiancé was encouraging her to ‘take notes,’ along with showing a little

excitement for the next wedding in their family.  I met and exchanged my

phone number with a woman in her fifties who likes country music, goes

to different activities and mentioned a reasonably priced concert coming

up in Columbus. I mentioned I love movies and going out locally, since I

tend to like to have one or two drinks and worry about sleepiness while

driving back from Columbus. Unless I could pre-arrange staying with my

youngest daughter in what is now called, “Olde Towne East.” We will see

if Pat calls me, since I was not as enthusiastic about a Thursday concert,

the one that is low cost.

I spent a lot of time with the bride’s grandmother, Ginny, who has been

a good friend for more years than the two children knew each other. She

and I met at a nursing home, where I was the activities director for over

four years. She was the home’s hairdresser, so we teamed up with her

bringing down people to the activities room, along with my assistant and

I, had coffee and donuts along with a weekly craft time. It made me feel

‘good’ for my own self, but not so much for the current residents, ones

who lived there after I was hired up at the preschool with the special

needs little ones. She told me that basically they didn’t collaborate or

work their schedules around her clients’ scheduled days (she works as

a part-time hairdresser, only twice a week.) Of course, it is a bittersweet

thought when she compliments me this way: “It never was the same

after you left! Lori, (my assistant) moved on to drive the disabilities van

and the city wide system bus.”

I got up and danced with the bridesmaids to a nice Chicago tune, then

pulled Ginny up to the dance floor for “Twist and Shout.” I ended up

leaving after ten o’clock, while the night was still ‘young’ and lively!

It had been a perfect day for a wedding, after all.

A little rain is supposed to bring you luck, along with the sun popping out,

when the couple came out of the church, bubbles floating around their heads.

The wedding party boarded a trolley car which whisked them somewhere

not divulged, to take photographs and begin their celebrating a marriage

I do believe will last.

It began at such an innocent age allowing time to grow, develop and

become true love.

 

 

 

 

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.

Fantasies

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Not sure the Grimm brothers would wish to be considered descendants from an

“elite line of criminal profilers” known as simply, “Grimms.” The character, Nick

Burkhardt, is very popular in the television show with that name. It is a combination

of mystery, suspense, horror and fantasy. I have watched this from its premiere, with

bated breath waiting for the next episode to begin. Nick’s character partner is named,

Hank Griffins, who is part of knowing Nick’s ancient history. The story revolves with

ancestry references and a fictionalized heritage besides. Hank is a good and trust-worthy

partner. This history allows him to ‘see’ and ‘fight’ by engaging in battle with all sorts of

strange creatures. The fantasy television series first appeared three days before the

holiday, Halloween, in 2011.

The other side characters in “Grimm” include a woman, Fuchsbau Rosalee, who is

able to use pharmaceuticals, including herbs and natural ingredients needed to be

‘antidotes’ and ‘potions.’ She is the “Fox,” among the characters. The Wolf,” is also

once the ‘big, bad wolf,’ but has learned to control his transformations, unless he

is angered, his character’s name is Monroe.

A very popular episode with my fellow coworkers at my warehouse is one that engages

the character of the Filipino fairy tales, the terrifying, ‘aswang.’ Felda, Mary Jane and

their families gathered to watch this “Grimm’s” episode that aired on March 7, 2014.

It came up again in conversation, with the new Fall Season starting soon. Next Friday,

another “Grimm” show will be presented. The March scary Filipino fairy tale involved

a popular character played by a Clevelander, a Padua Franciscan High School graduate.

In the television series, his name is Sergeant Wu. As Sgt. Wu, his character was an integral

part of the way the case against the “aswang” was solved. In real life, Cleveland born Reggie

Lee, could have headed off to Harvard. His parents, who were from the Philippines, would

have been so ‘proud of him.’ He chose instead to dabble in the dramatic art of acting,

at the Cleveland, Ohio Greenbrier Theater and Cleveland Play House.

 

Make sure you check out “Grimm” for fulfilling your need for fantasy crime scenes!

 

There is a rather new “fractured fairy tale” written by a woman named Helen Oyeyemi,

who has written a re-telling of the traditional, “Snow White.” Her book titled,  “Boy,

Snow, Bird” is her newest book. This is a tale with the main character being a bi-racial

eight year old girl and her ‘badly behaving’ secret friend.  Ms. Oyeyemi’s history of

wondrous books includes her first book published called, “The Icarus Girl.”  This tale

wove African and Western cultures together in an international mythology.  Her second

one was called, The Opposite House.” Her third book, “White is for Witching,” sounded

intriguing, too.  While on the cover of her “Boy, Snow, Bird” book there includes “Mr. Fox”

as her most recently published before this one. If you wish to hear why the secret friend

of the 8 year is old is ‘wicked,’ you may check this out.  The playfulness of the book, is

shown in the mother being called mistakenly, “Boy.” While her daughter is called, “Bird.”

The rat-catcher, involved in the plot, adding comic relief. It is published by the Riverhead

Publishing Co. Its bright lime-green colored cover, captures your eyes like ‘eye-candy.’

It has a rose-covered vine winding around the title. . . like a sinister snake.

 

This is not a fantasy, but it is certainly inspiring to watch. Check out YouTube for a

community of Amish people constructing a barn. I always think of that fantastic

mystery, police story and cultural movie, “Witness,” when it comes to the artistic

‘barn-raising’ scene filmed in this Harrison Ford movie. The way it is constructed in

such a beautiful, poetic and fluid way is just goosebump raising for me. So far, there

have been over 2 million ‘hits’ of watching this Raising of an Amish Barn.

 

Here is a quotation that wraps up this post that is about the television series,

“Grimm,” some creatively constructed fairy tales by Helen Oyeyemi and

the Amish community spirited barn-raising:

 

Charles Dickens’ quotation:

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this:

that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a

thing created is loved before it exists.”

Double Dip Treat

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Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings Found Daily

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In an Australian photographer and filmmaker, Hailey Bartholomew’s

documentary, “365 Grateful,” you will find blessings. This, of course,

is referring to there being 365 days or chances to show your gratitude.

You will start to believe in possibilities and living on the ‘sunny side of life.’

A woman inspired by Hailey, named Lori Portka, embarked on her own

project, “A Hundred Thank-You’s.”

 

Do you see how this ripple effect can keep on going?

 

Lori Portka had not been painting since she was younger.

She was in tenth grade when a personal tragedy struck.

She gave up her love of art and beauty, in ‘one fell swoop.’

 

By viewing Hailey’s documentary, something loosened up inside her.

This moving and visceral film helped to put her back on a better path.

She chose to put her hidden and deeply rooted sorrow to better use.

To think she had quit her passion, back in her 15th year of life, to carry

around her anger, denial, hurt, and pain is so sad, to me. Her refusal to

experience true happiness until her thirties made her original loss, deeper

than ever.

 

Actions speak louder than words. Such ‘trite’ words, but they can make

you decide that there is more to life than mourning.

‘You are alive,’ Lori finally felt.

 

She started to take delight in her favorite parts of her daily routines.

She was inspired by nature, yoga, traveling, animals and friends.

She had not pursued art as her primary focus, in going to museums or

any other attachments to it.

 

Those were of her past life.

Lori had obliterated all of it from her life.

 

What started her thinking about her own way of handling being grateful,

was to decide she would paint, create and give 100 art pieces away.

This project became her motivation to engage in life, art and spreading

happiness to those who she wished to ‘thank.’

The ones who had ‘touched her life in a beautiful way,’ received their own

unexpected joyful gift back.

 

Lori Portka can be found at LoriPortka.com,

Listen to these words from a changed woman,

“I feel like I am on the right path, doing what I am supposed  to do.

Art feels like home to me.”

Consider finding your bliss, spreading it around by engaging some lucky

participants in your activity or ‘craft,’ and discover how the gifts come

back to you, in unexpected ways.

Lori was a former counselor and educator, she became a fine artist.

One who had stopped painting due to that particular, personal  loss.

You may feel inspired by the film, or Lori’s thank you project, or some

other impetus, that will get you started.

Feeling again, enjoying simple things that sometimes are more meaningful

when you realize, in one moment, your ability to carry out those tasks,

could be swept away.

Loir’s art now pours forth, boldly expressing her joy. Each image is filled

with saturated pastels, paints, chalks and inks. The bursts of color and

vibrant patterns remind me of several artists. But to compare to others,

sometimes is not a necessary part of feeling the emotions rendered by

the artist. It sometimes, in my mind, takes away the individuality of each

artist’s heart and soul.

Lori Portka’s quote for the day can become yours:

“I make artwork that is a reflection of gratitude and joy to the world.”

 

What is your passion or how do you find your ‘bliss?’

Will sharing it broaden and expand your life and horizons?

Will it bring happiness to someone else?