Category Archives: hospital

Baldwin Wallace site: 2015 International Film Series

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You better believe I was excited to be asked by my sister in law,

Susan who is a Dean at Baldwin Wallace University to attend

two of the many diverse international films shown over this

past weekend. The series was held from February 6 – 14th.

The two movies were so disparate they don’t even seem to

belong in the same world we live in. One was more factual

and sad in its depiction of culture, class structure and society.

The other was one that left you feeling strong, independent

and yet vulnerable to feelings about relationships. Both had

a similar thread of how choosing the ‘right path in life’ can

make a difference in life’s outcomes.

 

The Chinese film was called, “Tian Zhu Ding,” which translates as

“A Touch of Sin.” There were four ‘acts’ with true stories embedded

within the plot. The news stories were results from tragic incidents.

The film ends by circling back to a few of the main characters. Each

individual portrayed a character who either committed violence or

were affected and changed by the actual happenings.

 

The countryside setting in the beginning of the movie displayed

beautiful snow-capped mountains and the outside of a coal mine.

There are many struggling people in this remote town. Someone

is offended, and ultimately angered, by the owner of the mine.

You do not find out until another section of the movie how far

this man will go as he takes out his revenge.

 

Part of this true story includes two men being shot and killed

going down the mountain on their motorcycles. It looks to the

observer to be a possible ‘hit job.’ I think this part of the first

story gives the viewer the sense of,  “Life is futile.” This random

act of violence against the two men just made this section of the

film feel more desolate.

 

The town tries valiantly to display a friendly and positive reception

for manager and his wife. A noisy, discordant band, cheerleader-like

people wearing costumes and one loud, angry and discontented man

await the arrival of the mining company boss, who is also part of the

royal family. The main problem making the miner seethe and stew

is that if the family can afford a plane which arrives on the runway

where the gathering is prepared to entertain them, then he feels the

manager should pay the workers better. The disparity between the

classes seem to be the root and meaning behind this part of the film.

 

Later after the film, there was a reception where one of Baldwin

Wallace University professors said they do have unions in China.

She speculated possibly not in the rural provinces, though.

 

The small town’s welcoming committee and reception is declared

over by the manager and the crowd disperses. There were a few

people who shook hands with the manager and tried to ingratiate

themselves with him. His wife doesn’t shake hands but smiles and

appeared aloof. The royal manager of the coal mine ends up beating

the upset man with only his wife and his pilot as witnesses. This

is due to his having embarrassed the royal manager by expressing

his disapproval of the way the mine was managed.  Being ‘called out’

by a subordinate on his wealthy habits in front of the group threw

him into a rage.

 

This poor soul is so badly injured he must go to a hospital.

 

The second story is one where the injured, malcontent man visits

a woman who he has loved since he was young. You can see from

their facial expressions how much they care about each other. She

has been married for some time. She stops preparing dinner and

leaves one of her sons in the kitchen doing his homework. The

film never shows the two in any of unfaithfulness. The viewer

assumes it is unrequited love.  It appears they have never followed

through with a physical affair. The woman won’t leave her husband

but does explain to the man she has known her whole life that she

has loved him since young. She would go with him, if only he would

change. She says he will never amount to anything, only in Chinese

translated into English subtitles.

 

There is a possible theme of redemption in the beginning of this

story. The audience may feel there could be hope for this man who

is distraught and not taken seriously in his coal mining job. It seems

like the man is thinking about changing his ways. He does have a

wife, it is revealed and she is going to have to live with the haunting

vengeful acts he chooses to commit.

 

Unfortunately, he is angered by this hardened  position of his

childhood sweetheart. He goes on to commit atrocities, killing

more than four people. The scene where he gets his rifle and goes

to the royal palace is almost unbelievable. It made me feel like I

was watching a Quentin Tarantino film. This true news story is

not given a date or time but the review and article about the film

describe this as an actual murderous series of events.

 

The married woman in this story will re-appear in the fourth story.

 

The third story is one with a couple of young people. The central

character in this ‘act’ is one young man who is trying to get out

of the coal mining town. He has a friend he contacts using his cell

phone, who affirms there are more jobs in the big city. The friend

upon his arrival calls a man who comes to pick him up in a fancy

car. He is taken to a place of entertainment where young people,

both men and women, are given costumes to wear.

 

They are paraded in front of potential ‘buyers’ of their ‘human wares.’

One strange element is a shortened version of an Army uniform with

the bellies of the young girls displayed and they do ‘march in’ and

the visitors sit on rows of couches ogling them.

 

The clients may buy ‘time’ with the youths or buy ‘acts’ performed,

(implied but not seen.) This becomes sad since the two attracted to

each other, spend time while they have a day off from work. They try

to act like a normal couple on a date. There are smiles and moments

where you have the belief, or hope this may be the first happy ending

of the three stories shown so far. They spend time looking at things at

a local market, see statues of Buddha the young woman is interested

and the ‘boy’ purchases one about a foot tall.  They go to a parking lot,

where they sit in someone else’s car, kissing while the Buddha is shown

left on the hood of the car as rain begins to fall upon the windshield.

There are symbolic meanings to several parts of each story.

 

The girl reluctantly tells the young man she has a three year old

daughter. She poignantly express when you work in the ‘sex trade’

you really don’t believe in love anymore. Her mother is raising the

little girl.

 

This ends the first half of the 3rd story. . .

 

There is another young woman who is working in a public sauna.

This place is where sexual favors can also be bought. She is ‘only a

receptionist’ she tries to explain her employment position three

times to a couple of men who are trying to persuade her to engage

in paid sexual favors.

 

Both these stories come to violence. In the first one, the young

man throws himself over a balcony many stories high in the city.

He had just gotten off the phone with his mother complaining he

had not sent money since he left the coal mine. You sense he had

hoped to find a good job and make enough money to send home

to support his mother. This compounded with the disenchantment

with the city, the reality and rejection of the young girl sends him

into making his final choice.

 

The second story in this section of the movie, has the accosted

young woman lashing out with a knife and attacking, defending

herself against the two male potential rapists. The word, “no” and

slamming the door three times against them did not stop their

attempts to change her mind.

 

Once the man is bloody with several stabs into his chest and arms,

the other man runs away. She leaves the establishment in bloody

clothing and is seen wandering out on the road leaving the city in

the dark.

 

The last story shows the woman from story number two having

left her husband to become a ‘preacher,’ in the form of a street

performer. She must have decided the violent rampage of her

childhood love was a turning point. There aren’t any explanations

for the film’s character’s actions.

 

Sometimes, there was silence in many scenes.

Conversation seemed more to move the pieces of each story

along rather than connect people together.

 

The performance play has a religious revival tone to it. The main

female entertainer is asking members of the audience to come

forward and ask for forgiveness. The message in this seems to be,

‘Your actions will help you to find your path in life.’

 

The wife of the disgruntled coal miner who killed the royal couple

(who also managed the coal mine) in their palace is present. Along

with the young woman from the sauna. She had just come from a

“Fortune 500”  company (displayed on the sign by the tables of

job interviewers). In this scene, the young girl has shorter hair,

wearing a simple outfit. This is not thread bare, but the attitude

of the female interviewer shows disdain towards her. She didn’t

have the necessary qualifications, both educational and experience,

to get the position. She walks dejectedly with her head looking at

the sidewalk out of the building and heads towards a park.

 

Following the sound of the play leads the unemployed woman to

come across a performance upon a small stage set up in the park.

 

There is a feeling of hope amongst the participants in the play.

Their exuberance is catchy and they seem to impart a purpose to

their presentation. Several aimless people have wandered upon

the colorful scene.

 

The city onlookers listen to the motivational messages given.

Those who have felt like life has become too daunting and

overwhelming. It ends with an open-ended optimistic sense

of well being.

 

I would say the fourth story’s theme is about redemption.

 

This Chinese film was every bit as violent as any of ones made

in the United States. I had a preconception that it would show

resolutions made and more detailed explanations given for the

intense situations in the four stories. The outline of the plot lets

the viewer know there will be “four shocking and true events.”

 

The way the stories are ‘strung together’ doesn’t make it easily

understood.  If you don’t play close attention, it might be hard

to determine each character as they are not always wearing any

distinguishing clothing.

 

If I had been at home watching this on a DVD, I would have

rewound it more than once.

 

If any movie is possible to remind you of this film to one of ours,

I would say, “Crash.” That film took several story lines where they

converge into situations. Characters were loosely drawn and then

acted and reacted to the events in each movie. This Chinese film,

“A Touch of Sin,” is reminiscent of the way lives unravel and

become disconnected.

 

The director named Jia Zhangke has written and directed two

other films that a reviewer considered, “Masterpieces.”  They are

called, “The World” and “Still Life.”

 

A movie reviewer for the magazine, “The New Yorker,” Richard

Brody says, “This is one of the best and most important directors

in the world.” In a brochure for the film festival, others label it as

“daring,” “poetic” and leading the country of China, after the real

life crimes, into a period of “self-examination.”

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese reception with various dishes of

noodles with vegetables, sushi rolls, egg rolls and fortune cookies.

There were some kind of custard wrapped desserts which some of

us wondered if this were a contribution of ‘cannolis’ representing the

Italian food.

 

Since the last movie we saw was from Italy.

 

I listened and was humbled by deep thoughts the Chinese movie

drew out of professors and visitors.

*I would not recommend watching this powerful movie due to its

feeling of hopelessness and despair.

 

Here are a series of thoughts I wrote down before I compiled

this into a ‘review’ on “A Touch of Sin:”

1.  A diabetic injects himself with insulin and proceeds to eat

noodles.

2.  The only two pieces of art work were a beautiful Tiger and

the Mother Mary holding Jesus. The costumes of the band

players and the different plays within the film were gorgeous.

3. Taking justice into his own hands, the one who was beaten

by the royal who managed the coal mines, was accompanied

by waving a wall hanging of a tiger over his rifle.

4. Discontent/Dissent/Inequality of the masses was a recurring

theme throughout the film.

5. A “Fortune 500” company is in the 4th section of the film

and it is titled, “Oasis of Opportunity.”

6. The three languages spoken in China are given as Mandarin,

Shanghai and English.

7. Everyone, at every level in the film, has a cell phone and

modern technology is apparent throughout despite poverty

in the mining village.

8. The scene with a man whipping his horse was upsetting.

9. Taking justice in their own hands seems to be the way

those who felt their lives were unfair was their only way

of equalizing their lives.

10. Smoking occurs in buses, trains, restaurants and hotel

rooms.

11. Men dress as women to entertain in the fourth story.

12. The movie left me feeling very dissatisfied and discontent.

*No violence was taken on my part.

 

 

“Viaggio Sola” is called, “A Five Star Life.” It actually is not the

same meaning as the Italian title would be, “Traveling Alone.”

This is a fun spirited Italian movie about a woman who is one

of those ‘mystery shoppers’ or ‘customers’ to elegant and formal

hotels around the world. The time she is in an Asian country

watching on the veranda a lovely belly dancer while sipping wine

and looking across at a man also a guest at the hotel is an example

of escaping reality.

Her own apartment is sparingly decorated.  Her sister is married

and has two girls. Her brother-in-law plays for the Italian symphony.

She takes her nieces out to eat once in the movie, along with making

reservations of adjoining rooms for their accompanying her on a

special trip.

The girls like checking the mattress for bed bugs, counting towels

and the other parts of the reoccurring list the women orally goes

over as she types the answers into her laptop.

The girls ‘act up’ and use toilet paper in the bathtub which brings

out the character’s lack of understanding children’s impulses. She

yells briskly at the girls, which later one of them can’t go to sleep

and ‘wants to go home.’

The voice over narrator throughout this film is telling the elements

of a proper “5 star” place.

There are amusing times when the main character is disembarking

from a trip to greet a good guy friend at the airport,  where she offers

to ‘cook dinner,’ which he makes a disdainful expression which is

comical, like a, “You know you don’t know how to cook!” look.

While at his apartment, you notice he has candles and nice cooking

utensils as he prepares her a meal.

 

There are a few monkey wrenches thrown into the Italian film’s

plot line, which I won’t reveal because I do recommend this film.

 

It is beyond the simple story drawn here. It is not at all negatively

completed as the similar George Clooney film, “Up in the Air” was.

That movie ending was quite disconcerting, since I saw a future in the

romance being shown between George’s character and an airline

hostess.

 

In the Italian film, “A Five Star Life,” you will see gorgeous scenes of

the following international cities:  Paris, France, Gstaad, Morocco,

Berlin, Germany and China. Each has lavish hotels and delicious meals

displayed to wish you were the person hired to critique and be pampered.

 

 

 

Originality is a Plus

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I have always enjoyed quirky, unique characters. I have had a lot of friends

who could not be ‘pigeon-holed’ into any certain group. One thing or another

led us to each other, some for a season, like a poem says, and others for Life.

I have very eclectic taste in my television and movie watching, as well as my

book reading. It takes only something different to pull me in!

 

Here are some criteria: eclectic characters, different settings, weird or unusual

plots, mysterious going’s on, along with some humorous qualities. In other words,

‘one of a kind’ television or movies.

 

I prefer the descriptive words, “Unique” over “Cute,” any day of the week!

 

When the show (or movie) is over, you may feel like you had a visit with distant

family members, who you will ponder upon for awhile. If the show really captures

your heart, you may miss the people when they are gone. . .

 

Examples from the past include, “Barney Miller,” “Taxi,” “Seinfeld,” and “I Love

Lucy.” When we remember Robin Williams, we can think of his earlier t.v. show,

“Mork and Mindy.” Ray Walston created an alien in “My Favorite Martian,” but

no one could do improvisational comedy and ‘wing it,’ like Robin Williams.

 

The “Mary Tyler Moore Show” along with its spin-off, “Rhoda,” included a

lot of diverse persons, along with strong female roles. For a mild, kind and

dry humored, soft-spoken man, I loved, “The Bob Newhart Show.” (Both of

them, in fact!) Bob, in his farmhouse Inn,  had some strange neighbors, 3

handymen (were they Darryl, Larry and Larry? Who remembers this trivia

fact? Let me know!), the dentist and his wacky receptionist in the first show.

Both wives (from the 2 shows) were beautiful and very patient with good ole’

Bob. Many fell in love with them, wondering how he managed to capture each

of them.

 

I liked movies like the Thin Man series, along with ones starring Charlie Chaplin

and Errol Flynn. Way too many of the ones from the black and white era, up to the

newer color ones, to list my ‘favorites of all time!’

 

For comedic variety shows, I enjoyed the “Carol Burnett Show” and “Rowan and

Martin’s Laugh-In.” Each one had a purpose: the first was to entertain families

and the second one was to be a ‘sign of the times.’ Many iconic quotations had their

roots in these shows. They managed to attract many famous comedians, for guest

appearances on both of these shows. Totally different styles, but both met my quirky

and strange criteria.

 

More recent favorite t.v. shows featuring quirky characters were:

“Northern Exposure,” “Still Standing,” and “Gilmore Girls.”

 

I finished one whole season of Robin Williams, with Sarah Gellar playing his character’s

daughter,  in “The Crazy Ones.” If you wish to see funny, then you want to go with the

‘best’ comic in his time. The episodes with the baby ducklings, promoting roasted coffee

and McDonald’s ‘feel good’ commercial which their father/daughter advertising agency

made were all hilarious. Now that he is gone, many of us will value the talent, energy and

unique ‘crazy’ characters, that Robin William created.

 

I have some favorites that I have wondered if anyone else out there is watching currently,

on their televisions?

1. I  have been watching and enjoying, on Sunday evenings, “Last Tango in Halifax.”

This PBS story that unites two outrageously different families in marriage, via two

characters who knew and loved each other over 50 years ago, is quite addicting.

The older couple is unsure which home to live in after marrying, one of their

children murdered someone, in self defense, there is a gay woman who longs for

her soul mate, another woman to fall for her, and other plot twists. The scenery

and the dialogue are quite interesting!

 

2. I have been watching and laughing at Amy Poehler’s writing and her brother,

Greg Poehler’s acting in, “Welcome to Sweden.” This is on regular television on

Thursday evenings. A bonus is Lena Olin, in the cast. Greg plays an accountant

who marries a gorgeous blonde Swedish woman and had to find a job, among

other things, in Sweden.

 

3. I have my dental hygienist and my youngest daughter watching, “Hart of Dixie.”

If you start on the first show, it explains how someone from the North, from a big

hospital  ends up in little “Bluebell” town. The characters are played by fairly

familiar actors/actresses, Rachel Bilson, Tim Matheson, with two handsome men

playing a lawyer named George and a bar keeper named Wade. The character of

the black mayor is well done, along with an uptight but sometimes sweet and soft

as a marshmallow is named Lemon.

 

4. “The Goldbergs” is hilariously about the 80’s. It is like another kind of “Wonder

Years.” It has George Segal, who always will be part of my favorite memories of an

ensemble cast in, “Just Shoot Me.” He plays a grandfather living with the family.

I like the intergenerational ‘feel’ to this show.

(In “Just Shoot Me,” also were comedians, Wendy Malick and David Spade.)

“The Goldbergs” is told from the ‘nerdy’ son’s perspective who has a big ‘jock’

brother and a popular big sister. He has different problems, with girls, with his

interests and sometimes within his family. The plot line that is a good example of

funny stuff is when the son wants to make a film, his dad being cast as, “Alien Dad.”

He requests lots of bottles of ketchup and other different stuff to help him make

this. His father has to adjust to this idea, it is a tough one, he is more accustomed to

his older two’s interests. In the end of each show, as this one does, you find out there

are ins to each episode to the climate of the times, like “Say Anything” movie, the

boy uses a big boom box, to help get a girl’s attention. In another episode,  how he

studies the movie,”When Harry Met Sally” to try and understand girls. The message

he gets from it is one that will bring chuckles.

 

5. On Hallmark Channel, I have fallen for “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” and now

must wait a season for the continuing story. There are mail clerks, one boss and

the staff need to read letters that come down the shoot/chute from the Lost Mail

Department. Each letter holds a story, not all love ones, either. They have been to

different parts of cities, using partial labels on envelopes and other ways and means

to track down one or both parties on the envelope. It reunited a couple, it brought

death to someone who had hoped the other was alive, it brought parent with child

together, etc. The way I got started is, I had read the scripts were by the author of

“Touched by An Angel.” I also saw that good old Rhoda, from the “Mary Tyler

Moore Show,” Valerie Harper, was guesting in the first couple of shows. The main

boss was from the show, “Ugly Betty.” (My mother liked this one, due to the Spanish

connection and liked the way America Ferrara’s family used their heritage in their

decorating and there were sometimes chances for Mom to practice using her own

Spanish.)

 

6. When they come back there are a few female-driven shows, with interesting topics,

along with great ensemble casts like “New Girl,”  “The Mindy Project,” and “Rizzoli

and Isles.” My Filipino friends like the show with Cloris Leachman playing a silly and

forgetful grandmother in, “Raising Hope” and also the three families in “Modern Family.”

I still enjoy the show with Patricia Heaton in, along with the husband who played the

janitor in, “Scrubs,” in the show about mid-American incomes, homes and families:

“The Middle.”

 

I called my two friends who are dear to me, that have battles with depression, which

can sometimes lead to addictions last night. I asked them each had they heard about

Robin William’s death?  One said, “I’m good, at least for today. I know you are worried

about me. When Robin Williams decides this world is not where he belongs, it makes

you consider whether you need to stay here anymore. But, I’m good.”

The other one answered with a little sob, she was not so good. She had heard the news,

immediately knew I would be wondering whether she was taking it well, coping with

her life, as it is a struggle for her. She stopped her moment of crying, I could hear the

‘wheels spinning,’ and she finally let me in on her thoughts,

“I think I won’t take my medications tomorrow and clean the bedroom and bathroom,

then do the laundry. I need to ‘feel’ and action will keep me moving forward.”

 

If you would like to talk about Robin Williams, your favorite movie or anything, you

may do so.

 

If not, I had the idea of sharing our favorite television shows, current or past. . .

 

What are you watching on television that may be of interest to all of us? Do you

mind giving us an example of a plot or story line?

 

 

 

School’s Out for Summer!

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My two preschooler grandchildren had ‘graduation ceremonies,’ both

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

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

taken to Cleveland, Ohio for Memorial Day weekend.

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

held at Blue Limestone Park last Wednesday.

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

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

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

from the sickness, had been Skyler.

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

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

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

a ‘reminder notice,’ via texting.

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

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

concern and sent loving wishes for their Great Grandmother.

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

his with an alligator in a swamp.

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

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

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

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

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

any homework!”

I didn’t say a word.

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

“Marley!”

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

the corner at us at the kitchen table.

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

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

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

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

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

under the message.

Again, I did not say a word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a friend’s when I stopped by.

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

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

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

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

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

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

sincere message,

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

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

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

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

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

“FREEDOM!!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in the world!’

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

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

child as the center of the flower.

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

words encompass so much in their simplicity.

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

Parents.

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

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

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

“I’ve worked with your flower,

And helped it to grow.

I’m returning it now,

But I want you to know…

This flower is precious,

As dear as can be.

Love it, take care of it,

And you will see…

A bright new bloom,

With every day.

It grew and blossomed,

In such a wonderful way.

In September, just a bud,

January~ a bloom;

Now a lovely blossom,

I’m returning in June.

Remember, this flower,

As dear as can be,

Though rightfully yours,

Part will always belong to me!”

Signed,

Mrs. Travis

Peace, hope and safe travels

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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.