Category Archives: ice cream

Is It Too Soon?

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Really, is it too soon?

 

Can we all laugh and joke about the subject a bit?

 

We are in the midst of it. . .

In the thick of it. . .

Knee deep, chin deep and over our head in it. . .

 

Yes, right.

Snow.

Chilly Weather.

Sub-zero temperatures.

Relief on the horizon.

 

I enjoy wordplays and this one just jumped right at me.

In the middle of the night, literally.

 

When the snow plow was noisily scraping the ice off the

Ohio Wesleyan Parking lot, when a big chunk somehow

bounced off my bedroom window pane.

 

Wish that chunk were like my good middle school friends,

ones who would break out of their houses, give a ‘chink’ or

‘clunk’ at my window on the second floor of my house.

 

Wish it were my Romeo, who would make me fly to the

window and ask,

“Why are you Romeo?”

(Aside: You do know that the words,

“Whereforth art you Romeo?

Means,  “Why are you a Capulet?”

or “Why are you my enemy?”

Right?)

 

Know this is not so esoteric or meaningful. It was written

as the hour passed three a.m. and I was to get up at 5 a.m.

 

It is all about “Chill.”

 

Hope you enjoy the way my mind played with the letters

and the meaning of this word.

 

Fog can give me a chill.

 

It produces an icy thought.

 

Chills going up and down my spine are both thrilling and

frightening. It can be eerie and baffling, too. Some things

create emotions which give one person chills, while another

one won’t react or show stimulation in their fear zones.

 

definition of “acrostic” is given to mean a poem or other form

of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line

spells out a word or name.

 

Acrostics of alphabet using the theme of Winter, drew a wide

collection from my mind.

 

I numbered each one so I could ask you if you liked any of

these, you may refer to them by number.

Or feel free to use another word as a “springboard” and make

up one of your own.

I chose to use the singular letters adding up to the word:

 

C

H

I

L

L.

 

Let me know if any of these give you ‘chills.’

 

1.

Clouds

Hasten

Icy,

Lacy

Lakes.

 

2.

Clouds

Help

Icicles

Linger

Longer.

 

3. This one I doubled the letters, “CCHHIILLLL!”

(Br-r-r!!)

 

Creeping cold,

Heaping helpings,

Icy igloos,

Latticework licks,

Liquid lightning.

 

4. Again, double the letters, double the challenge:

 

Crisp crystals,

Intricate Icicles,

Lightly laced,

Lazy liquids,

Hilly heaps.

 

5. This one was one that uses a slang meaning of “ice”

or “to be iced.”

(Just in case this doesn’t translate to another language; it means

‘kill’ or ‘to murder.’)

I like to think of it as a dramatic, yet simple way of expressing

ending a love affair:

 

Cold

Heart

Iced

Love

Lost.

 

*The above five little playful uses of “chill” letters are my

own creations. Please give me credit for the silly word

sets of acrostic poems, if you should wish to use them.

~reocochran thanks you!

 

When my kids were going through middle school, they used

this often expressed combination of two words. It is a friendly

and caring expression, using the word, “chill,” in it:

 

“Did you forget to take your ‘chill pill?'”

“Boy, that man needs to take a ‘chill pill!'”

 

In the seventies, we probably didn’t create or originate the way

my friends and I would use this word:

“Hey, ‘chill’ out!”

“You need to ‘chill,’ man!”

This meant to let the other person know in a non-threatening

manner, to calm down or relax.

 

Isn’t it funny how we may ask someone to “refrigerate something”

for us, but if we have something special, we may ask them to “Put

it on ice” or “This needs to be chilled before serving.”

I sometimes forget that red wines are supposed to be served at

room temperature, while leftover wine usually is placed in the fridge.

 

When you think of an icy situation, you may wish to handle it in

a different manner than a chilly situation. I feel that “icy” people

are very much frozen and cannot change. Somehow, though, I

feel there is more ‘lee- way’  in ‘chilly’ people. Any thoughts on

why?

 

When it is really cold outside, we all wish to bundle up. We

may wish to serve warm soup or sip on a hot drink.

Why do we love to make big pots or Crock Pots of something

that is hot, sometimes meaty and nutritious? This is due to

wishing to create warmth throughout our body.

But, wait. . .

Tell me this. . .

Why is one of our favorite toasty warm meals called, “Chili?”

 

When my grandchildren, who I nickname and often call my

“Grandies” whisper in my ear, it tickles my fancy. It gives me

little goosebumps and it makes me warm all over. This gives

me sweet and innocent ‘chills,’ too.

 

When a man is wishing to be romantic, or is a special part of

my life, he may whisper in a theater, the ‘chills’ are more of

a sensual and arousing kind. Maybe it is due to Pavlov’s

theory of using an impetus and an outcome. It is like such a

wonderful prelude, beginning to what may come later on.

 

My favorite middle of the night thought about “chill” was this

funny one. It is a ‘great rhyming word for First Graders.’

 

Have I got you thinking about “chill” or “chills?”

 

Did you think of a five or six word collection that creates

an acrostic for either of these words?

 

Last but not least, do you forgive me for bringing up this

‘touchy’ subject while Winter may circle back and freeze

us out?

 

I saved it until I saw Spring was just around the corner.

 

We are going to have a “Heat Wave” this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Murder with No Remains

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Sometimes, despite all the pleasant thoughts of the day, we find ourselves contemplating

some dark and dangerous ones. I was so intrigued at work, watching my good friend and

coworker, Mark C. emptying the combustibles into certain designated large metal barrels.

These containers are sometimes full of gasoline type liquids, never to be mixed with other

ones. He wears a rather strange goggles contraption (a mask with a filter in place), helping

protect his lungs from gaseous vapors. Other containers have fluids taken from a variety of

damaged containers. Liquids that remove dirt and stains, flammable cleaning components,

along with others which are oil based. I have written a rather awful, atrocious story here.

In all fairness, “Sweeney Todd” and “The Little Shop of Horrors,” along with many other

gruesome tales have rumbled around my mind. Setting my story partially in the warehouse

where I daily work, along with the rural country areas, is what textbooks for writing say,

“Use what you know.”

 

I used to travel down roads to remote homes, with my teaching assistant, Karen, for our

bi-annual visits with families. I hope these elements help to make my story seem ‘real.’

 

One eerie and chilling day, we went to a one-main-street (if it had been out West, you

could have called it a “one horse”) town. This was a small blink of a place, where no one

appeared to be home.

On her home visit form, the mother had suggested if she and her child weren’t in their

trailer, to venture down the lane to another location. When a hound dog howled, into the

soundless air, just as we both noticed someone peeking out from behind their curtains,

we both jumped! We each exclaimed the feeling of the town being “haunted” (her reaction)

or “This could be a Stephen King setting” (my reaction).

This may be the ‘seed’ that was planted, as part of my ‘inspiration’ which germinated into

the following macabre story.

 

By pressing “Publish,” this holds my own original thoughts and I would appreciate if you

would contact me, before you re-blog this. Here is a piece of my own wicked mind.

 

“Murder with No Remains”

Weary from working with the various poisonous smells, pouring different liquids into

the huge funnel, Mark got into his truck. He had a lot of responsibility facing him upon

his return to his home. He turned on the radio station to Mansfield’s 93.3 which plays

mostly ‘easy listening’ music.

He was trying to drown out the demons in his head. He was slightly irritated by the

incessant chattering of the girl that works above him in the Aerosol Room. The Bomb

Shelter was a dark and cold dungeon of a place, where there was little warmth to comfort

him. Mark was trying to figure out why that woman even bothered to talk to him.

 

His train of thoughts had been keeping him company all day,

“I mean, she gave me her phone number almost a year ago. When I didn’t use it to call

her, couldn’t she get the hint?”

She was not his type. . . Too talkative and self-centered.

” I think she should just walk out on me, like the other women in my life. I just wish she

would walk on by me, like the people usually do.”

His further thoughts remembered her recent comment to him,

“‘You represent the Gold Standard for me to hold men up to.'”

“Ha! I am sure this is not what most people would think if they were to read my mind. . .

Strange, but most people thought he gave off such a trusting ‘vibe.’ It has not gotten me

very far in this world, me with the boy next door look,” his thoughts smoldering in embers.

 

Then, his thoughts transferred to another subject. A regular occurrence that may have

come today; the wonderful Schwan truck. Oh, how he loved entering the freezing cold

garage to find his designated location for Schwan food products to be stored- filled with

his favorite foods. On the cooler he left a check taped to the top, to cover the amount for

the products that he and Mother would consume.

 

“I hope they had enough of the Peanut Butter Crackle ice cream and did I order two or

three boxes with fried chicken breast strips? I will get the fire started in the fireplace,

go get my shower and hopefully, Mother will hold off on her wanting something. That is

what I hate about going home. The first bell I bought for her. It should have been ‘good

enough’ for her. But, no, she insisted that it was too ‘tinkly-sounding’ and ‘more like one

rung in children’s church school.’ So, she made me go purchase a large cow bell, which is

most annoying. I feel like she overdoes her bell ringing and wish she would realize how

hard my days are.”

 

“I have the edges of a migraine headache coming on,” Mark thought. He turned the silly

song with Tony Orlando and Dawn singing, “Knock Three Times on the Ceiling,” off.

 

“Ah-h-h! Peace and quiet.”

 

Suddenly, a deer ran out in front of Mark’s truck, which caused him to squeal his

skidding tires, along with sliding on the icy road. Dodging the path of the deer, he

stopped on the precipice of a large ditch.  Mark watched the deer gracefully bound

over the snow fence that ran along the other side of the ditch.

 

“Good thing I got those new tires at Goodyear,” Mark sighed in relief.

 

Then his mind wandered off to Mother again. He smiled a kind of sickly smile, he

was a little amused with the thought of ‘poor helpless Mother,’ lying there ringing

her big, old cow bell and no one to answer her frantically, desperate clangs.

 

“Wonder how long it would have taken for someone to go to the house, after

my death, if the deer had impaled me, through the truck’s windshield?”

 

Sometimes, after four hours of having to run up the stairs to help her, getting her

things, Mark felt like he could strangle her.

 

Mark’s guilty conscience brought him up short, out of the gloomy thoughts that

often accompanied any thoughts of work or home. The migraine’s pain throbbed

his head and he was nearly nauseous,

 

“Not sure if I am about to throw up because of the near death experience or

because of the thoughts of Mother being left alone. . . no one to bring her food,

no one to change her Depends, no one to clean her body and turn her in the

middle of the night so she would not have any bed sores.”

 

It would be days before his sister would come by, since she had given up helping,

never able to fulfill Mother’s request to the perfection that Mark had gotten her

accustomed to.

 

If there were a song playing and his head didn’t hurt too much, he felt that the

one which encompassed his caregiving skills would be,

“Nobody Does It Better.”

 

“Hmm… what is that James Bond song?” As Mark drove down the country lane,

with the rocks making abrupt bumps pounding into his brain, he pondered on

what the movie where James Bond had had this in the beginning.

Later, while he had completed all of his household duties, Mark sat by the fire and

opened up the last book of a trilogy he was reading. When the first clang of the cow

bell of the night came, he knew what it meant. He went into the kitchen and scooped

up one scoop of ice cream into a bowl. He grabbed the little spoon he used to feed

Mother. This was one he had bought for his nephew who used to visit. Then, later,

his grandnephew had used it. This was the best one to feed his Mother. Nothing

fell out of her mouth this way. Mark hated to have to change her clothes again, so he

grabbed a new bib to put on her.

“Like a little bird,” Mark thought of the way her old, wrinkled and puckered mouth

opened up for her bites.

By the time the migraine pain pills were working on his headache, he had heard

the bell’s ring 8 times. Something shifted in Mark’s mind, something creeped into

his thoughts. The fire had made him think of the leaves piled up outside, where

he could add a few pieces of lumber to them. He could make a huge bonfire.

As he walked up the steps, Mark plodded slowly.

“If someone could read my mind now, they would not believe what this quiet

man holds inside himself. I have thought of times where I could use the rat

poison from the barn in Mother’s food. I have thought of an easier way, I could

let her slide down under the water, looking away and ‘accidentally’ she might

drown. I imagine a phone call diverting my attention from her, explaining this

was all an accident.”

Oh, there is one other way I contemplate all day long. It would be the best way.

I have this planned out in details.”

 

Mark felt a lift in his mood, jubilant that the release would be in less than an

hour.

 

Mark’s step was lighter and he started to almost run up the stairs to Mother’s

bedroom. The time flew quickly by, as he smothered her with the pillow. He

counted the allotted time which he had studied and practiced in his mind. He

wrapped her up in the blanket. Such a tiny package and light weight to carry. Then,

once again he made sure she was not moving, unrolled the bundle to check. He

decided to kiss her one more time on her cool, papery cheek.

 

The body was light as a feather, as he ran down the stairs.

When he got to the bottom, he unwrapped her one more time, took her dental

plate out of her mouth. He stopped to think about what he could do with it.

He scolded himself for not figuring out this detail ahead of time,

“Would it melt?”

Then, Mark got his coat, gloves, hat and scarf on. He was ready for this, it was

long overdue.

 

He picked her up roughly, “After all, she can’t feel a thing now.”

 

As he hurried out the door, he started to whistle. It was strange but not one bit

of guilt slipped through his mind. His mood was lifting, part of his daily torture

was over.

Mark built the bonfire, stacking tinder under the logs, since he was uncertain if

the leaves were dry enough to ignite.

 

Everything fell into place, not one bad move. The rest was a ‘piece of cake.’

In the later hours of the night, he would get up. Mark had set his alarm clock. He

knew how long the fire would rage, how long it would take till the bones would

snap and become mere splinters, ashes and soot.

 

He had ‘cremated’ his dog, when Buddy had passed away. He remembered how

long it had taken him to get over the death of his faithful hunting hound dog.

Somehow, he didn’t feel he would have any problems getting over the death of

Mother.

 

Sifting through the ashes, he found little bits of bones, he put these into the first

large freezer ziplock bag. The burnt chips were easily gathered, using his gardening

spade and put into bags. He had barely one and a half bags full of her remains.

He laid down to sleep a restful couple of hours more, jumping up when the alarm

went off. Made his toast and coffee, packed his lunch box and left on time. There

was blissful silence in the house.

 

Mark turned on the rock and roll station while he drove into work, tapping his hand

to the driving beat of AC/DC and feeling quite rejuvenated.

 

At the security check point,  he opened his lunch box to show Len, the Security Guard,

the top layer of his lunch box. He did not bother lifting the sandwich, apple and chips.

Instead of his food items lying upon his usual blue freezer pack,  they rested on top of

Mother.

 

When the Aerosol Girl went to her first break, he walked over to his lunch box, took

out his drink and opened it. He rustled around his lunch box to find his straw. He took

a long draw through the straw of Coca Cola. He then took the can, along with the two

ziplock bags over to the large drum of  most toxic chemicals. He had left the large

funnel set carefully on top. He put the pop down and opened the first bag, the ashes

drained easily through the funnel, siphoning down smoothly. When the little brittle

pieces of bones came, he grabbed the straw and poked them through the hole in the

funnel. He had chosen the barrel with full contents, took the lid and screwed it shut.

He hammered it a bit to make it ‘secure.’

Mark  went over to his desk, grabbed the labels that indicated both “Toxic” and

“Flammable” with its skull and crossbones image.

Mark plastered the two large stickers on the blue metal barrel.

“All that is left of Mother is ‘goo,’ he thought.

He went back to work in his small area of the warehouse, whistling.

Tomorrow, since it was a longer day. . .

He would come home and report Mother wandering and missing.

 

He imagined his sincere, most innocent expression on his face as he would

pronounce the words,

“I don’t have a clue where she may have gone off to.”

 

From his pocket, as an after thought, he went to a second big container,

unscrewed the lid and shoved her dental plate into it.

After that, he dumped a few extra jugs of the oily solution into it.

 

With a resounding thump of his hand, not unlike a pat on the top of his coon

dog’s head after he chewed up one of Mother’s slippers, he finally went back

to his daily procedures.

 

“The End”

 

 

 

Rolling with Laughter

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Coworkers are my source of humor and constancy in my daily routine.

We tend to miss each other over weekends, sometimes I feel it is due

to our being ‘displaced’ from our lines of preferred professions. All of

my fellow table mates at lunch and break were in other jobs before they

came to work at the warehouse.

When Melvin went off to Massachusetts, the week seemed to drag

forever.

 

This week, just the first three days already, have been hysterical. He

regales us with tall tales of lobster 3 or 4 times eaten daily. He is also

teaching us more and more about the Army life he led.

 

You may remember a long ago post about Melvin being raised by

parents from an island. By the time they came to America, they had

chosen Massachusetts as their home. I think the link, “cous cous” may

connect you to that story. . . We feel this is an interesting ‘thread’ that

connects the two of us. Since my Mom’s parents were both immigrants,

meeting on a street corner in New York City, but choosing to live in

Connecticut. My Grandpa’s father had chosen Massachusetts, where

my Grandpa went to school and his sister lived there, once adults.

Grandpa had moved away from there to go to the engineering or

‘technical college’ in New York City. He knows we both like many of

the New England specialties, too.

 

Melvin had been a good student in school. He decided to go into the

Army to get a ‘free education.’ Instead, he found his true interest or

“calling” in cooking. He did not go to culinary arts institute. He went

to Germany while in the Army, where he had an amazing time learning

about German food preparation. Then, he followed this with his next

tour of duty being spent on the Army base in Hawaii. Where native

fresh fruits are part of the daily Army diet. He excitedly described to us

at break today, they are also cut specially into shapes like lotus flowers

and birds, presented on the platters as ‘garnishes.’

We pursued this culinary specialty subject awhile, “Not in Officer’s

Club, but Mess Hall grub has garnishes?”

“Yes,” Melvin intoned then elaborating, “The different things you

can create varies from vegetables to fruits. A large melon, zucchini,

radishes or apples you make sliced criss-crosses, blanch them in

boiling water and quickly place them in icy water. The hot water gets

them to open up like a lotus blossom.”

He added, “Did you know that the Army never adds new amounts

of a food to an older dish?” (You know how while at a buffet or a

salad bar, they add more potato salad to the old? Nope, this NEVER

happens in the Army dining room!)

 

So, Melvin brought me the delicious German wine last year, which

he mentioned that in Germany at Christmas, the shops downtown

have little tables of treats and ‘shot glasses’ of drinks. They also warm

their wines and give out tastes of these. He contributed to my sense

of ‘culture’ while I shared this with my Mom and family last year.

Mom said a toast in German, which was one about health and love.

(My Mom’s mother was born in Germany. She told me to thank

Melvin. He had bought this on the Rickenbacker Air Force base,

as a gift to me. So thoughtful, you can see why he is a ‘keeper,’

when it comes to friends!)

 

Another morsel he shared with us was of an Army skill he acquired

while in Germany. He informed us they would bring in huge blocks

of ice and there would be one skilled ice sculptor who would create

lovely centerpieces for Army banquets at holidays. He apprenticed

and learned this amazing skill.

Again, we asked Melvin, “Do you mean ordinary Army enlisted men

would have banquets with carved ice decorations on their tables?”

We were incredulous. I am hoping there may be some enlisted men

from the past, who will confirm this outlandish ‘story.’

Really, please let me know. . .

“Yes,” Melvin looked and sounded like he had the Bible and would

“solemnly swear that this was the truth, the whole truth, so help

him God.”

Melvin then proceeded to tell us about mountains, ski cabins and

other etchings in his German ice sculptures. Then, he decided to

mention how he created elaborate Hawaiian ice sculptures with

volcanoes, trees and ocean waves along beaches. He had learned

how to, sculpt detailed floral arrangements out of ice. We wished

he had photographs but we believe his stories.

 

So, when Melvin got back from Massachusetts, we listened to how

he and his ‘my lady’ had lobster omelets, lobster rolls and lobster

linguini. He emphatically repeated this annoying part (we were

jealous, that is why we were annoyed), “I ate lobster 3 or 4 times

a day!” Upon repetition,  we still did not roll our eyes, since he was

entertaining us quite brilliantly. Never a dull moment at the good,

old warehouse with Melvin around.

 

Melvin’s accent had changed over his one week “Back home, out East.”

He vocalizes the sound of his “r’s” to “h’s” so his car was a “cah.” You

could close your eyes and imagine a Kennedy speaking. He sounds so

“cultured.” We tell him he should take his “lady friend” to England

and get their full ‘edification.’ Come back with a British accent. Then,

being the dramatic ‘ham’ that he is, he put his little pinky out and

pretended to hold a tea cup and saucer. He attempted an imitation

British tea party, exclaiming “Cheerio, my deah ones, we need to

order some crumpets and scones.”

 

Melvin told us how offended he was McDonald’s thinks “frappes”

sound like “frapays” while most New Englanders know “frappes”

rhyme with “wraps.” The real ‘frappes’ are delicious old fashioned

milk shakes made of real ice cream and whole milk, with flavors with

real chocolate syrup or real whipped cream. It makes me think of the

rants that began with this funny question, “Don’t you understand the

words that are coming out of my mouth?” from the two movies, with

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in “Rush Hour’ (one and two.)

 

Whenever Melvin opens his mouth, we laugh. He is full of spirit, likes

to tease and pull your leg. There is always a chance,  at any moment,

for his voice to  become high-pitched and indignant about something.

This is what he calls his “Ohio homey’s” slang and attitude.

 

The story Melvin finished with was about his days of being the Head

Cook at the Marysville Penitentiary. He claims that at any point in

time, you could run into a sister of a male inmate, while she is in

the female cellblocks. Or a mother! There was a special occasion,

where the Warden had arranged for a comedienne named, Monique,

to entertain the inmates. She is a known African American stand-up

comic, who uses ‘blue’ (vulgar) humor in her sketches and anecdotes.

Melvin smiled wide, snorting while remembering some of the skits

or jokes she told.

Melvin finally stopped laughing and  said, “The Warden got up from

his seat in the front of the room, apparently unaware of her type of

humor, with a bright red face, looking down as he walked to the back

of the room, quietly exiting. Everyone clapped and hooted, encouraging

this Monique to ‘carry on,’ with her crass jokes.”

 

I had a chance to change the subject at second break and told my

good friends that yesterday was the 51st anniversary of Push Button

Telephones. (I had already decided to post about the serious subject

of Malala and her Nobel Peace Prize.) So, you are finding this fact

out a day later than my coworkers!

 

ATT first presented these new phones to Pennsylvania residents on

November 18, 1963. The original Push Button phones had only ten

buttons, while in 1968 they added two more buttons (#) and (*). This

squared off phone replaced my favorite old fashioned  rotary phone.

Going along with the raucous humor and our improved mood, since

it was our Melvin’s long-lost return, we used our fingers to squeeze

our noses, to make our vocalizations to sound nasal and together

we imitated one of the greatest comedians ever, Lily Tomlin, by

chanting:

“One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy” and so forth, making the funny

character of the old time operator from variety shows of the 60’s

of “Ernestine,” come back alive. Tammy and I were rolling while

Melvin, who is a great imitator of voices, was pretending to be

the character.

 

In honor of Melvin, though, I will tell you his favorite singer is not

who you would expect. If you remember my post, “Someone Saved

My Life Today,” you may remember Melvin loves Elton John, so

does his girlfriend. The songs he says are ones that get him up and

dancing are:

“Honky Cat” and “Crocodile Rock.”

Melvin is one ‘hep cat’ who knows how to ‘jive!’

 

Spots Make Me Dotty

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I was looking for my favorite umbrella, which is black, with little spots all the same

size, in all kinds of colors. I loved that it had an overall bright look to it, along with

the main color of black mellowing it out. I felt dressy and fashionable with it, never

‘gaudy,’ despite its colorful polka dots of lavender, bright pink, turquoise, yellow, lime

green and orange. I retraced my steps and while doing this small town tour, popping

into the library to check its lost and found, stopping at the coffee shop on the corner,

going into the gas station, where I sometimes set my umbrella down to open one of

the refrigerator cases. Finally, going up the stairs of my apartment to ask the manager

if anyone had turned it in. I started thinking of the dozens, no more than that! Lots of

ways we use spots and dots in our everyday lives.

 

So, let me get us started. . .

When you get into a ‘jam,’ you are in a ‘spot.’  If it is a financial ‘spot’ you are in, you

may ask someone to ‘spot’ you some money. You may even ask a friend, “Can you loan

me a ‘spot’ of cash?”

 

Mom mentioned, as I was telling her about my lost spotted umbrella, over the phone,

“Stars are mere dots in the sky.”

I asked her if she remembered my old Reader book about Jane and Dick, didn’t they

have a dog named, “Spot?”

She replied, “Since Spot is one of the most common names (in the U.S.) to give a dog,

it may have been named, ‘Spot.’ I don’t remember.”

Do you?

 

It made me smile when she reminded me to tell my ‘blogging friends,’ that my brother’s

spotted Dalmatian was named, “Galaxy.”  When he wanted her to come, he would say,

“Come on, Gal.”

Wordplay is always something our family enjoys.

 

The children’s animated film, “101 Dalmatians” really had a lot of ‘spots’ in it.

Do you like spots on dogs?

 

Did you ever see ‘spots?’ Did this experience cause you to faint?

 

Many times, when thinking about food, you may imagine spots to be ‘bad,’ as when a

banana has ‘brown spots’ or an apple has ‘soft spots.’ Those darn mushy fruits make you

dislike ‘spots.’ I have a ‘soft spot’ for pineapple, which while choosing it, you do wish

the outer layer of green with brown triangles, to ‘give’ a little, showing it to be soft and

sweet inside, along with being ripe.

 

When I think of a positive way of thinking about ‘spots’ I change it to ‘dots’ and I do like

those chewy candy “Dots.” I also like the dark chocolate saucer-shaped candy with white

sprinkles on them which are called, “Nonpareils.” I used to buy a strip of white paper with

different pastel colored ‘spots’ or dots, made of sugar for pennies.

 

When I think of an ice cream with spots,

I think of chocolate chips or nuts sprinkled on it. One of my youngest daughter’s favorite

ice creams is Graeter’s Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream. My younger brother, Rich, just

tried and enjoyed “Blue Moo Cookie Dough Ice Cream” at UDF.  “Spots” placed on vanilla

ice cream in a cone become “eyes” in some children’s minds. Have you ever eaten

an ice cream cone with “eyes” on it? I used to order these for my children at Friendly’s

and also, our local Dairy Depot or Dairy Point with my ‘grandies.’

 

My favorite dress of all time, was one my Mom hand sewed. With its fabric being

called, Dotted Swiss, it was a light peach color. Those white soft, tufted spots

made me feel quite happy wearing and looking at it. The texture was one which

enticed me to smooth it down, running my hand across the surface, while sitting

in church.

 

When you have a ‘blemished record,’ you may have a spotty record.

(But you also could have a ‘checkered’ past.)

 

The positive thing about having those raised acne ‘spots’ or ‘zits’ as a teenager is,

you may have nice moist skin now, which appears young for your age.

 

Another set of ‘spots’ on your face, while we were growing up, would cause some

alarm, since it could be measles.

 

“X” marks the Spot, which is what is one of the best parts of a Treasure Map.

Have you played this with your children or grandchildren?

 

While driving in your car, you need to remember to check your blind ‘spots.’

 

Other ‘down’ sides of spots are when you have used the wrong dishwasher

detergent and your beautiful pieces crystal has ‘spots’ on them. The labels

to almost all of these products claim to produce “Spot-Free” dishes, silverware

and glasses.

 

In games, spots are often featured. There are ‘spots’ of white on black Dominoes.

The double colored spots in Candy Land, mean you get to travel past two of those

colored spots. You must beware, there is a sticky spot on the game board, too.

 

The saying, “Leopards never change their spots,” generally means that people

are also not likely to change.

 

In Art,  a technique of painting spots or dots next to each other, making it look

from a distance like they are connected is called, “Pointillism.” George Seurat made

this a famous way of painting, along with  Paul Signac. (Late nineteenth century.)

The style of making spots on canvas is a branch off the larger art category or genre

labeled,  “Impressionism.” When I was teaching Language Arts in middle school,

there was a fantastic, creative art teacher who connected art with music. She played

the Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, where it goes “Da da da daaah!” Those pounding

notes on the piano, brought the children to make dabbing splashes of spots on

their paper in art class to create their own pointillism examples. I enjoyed hanging

these up along the hallway, leading up tomy class for parents’ Open House Night.

These turned out awesome, as was the period she had paired sunflowers of Van Gogh

with the music of Electric Light Orchestra.

 

You may get into some ‘tight spots.’

Hope they are as fun as getting into a crowded VW or an old phone booth with your

boy or girlfriend.

 

Freckles look like the cutest ‘spots’ ever on the faces of red-haired children.

 

Young animals often have faint spots, like the robin on the white feathers under

the beak. The fawn, like Bambi, has white soft spots on their coats.

 

In England, at a British tea party, you might hear someone ask you,

“Would you like a ‘spot’ of tea?”

 

When you think of Lawrence Welk, do you think of polka dots?

 

When someone cooks a great country dinner with all the fixings,

you may exclaim, “This dinner really hit the ‘spot!'”

 

On a stage, there are certain “spots” that actors stand on, so the

lime lights will light them, while they deliver their lines. A director

may yell, ‘Everyone get on their spots!”

 

In marching band, you march to create patterns and it is very important

to ‘stay in formation.’ The band director may also yell, “Everyone get on

your spots.”

 

When I think of iconic “spots” I think of Lucy with a black and white

spotted skirt and Minnie Mouse, with her red and white spotted skirt.

 

When you think of a sore “spot,” you may picture your muscles or a canker

sore on your mouth. But, you also may think that someone talking about

a particular subject is rubbing a ‘sore’ or ‘touchy’ spot.

 

 

 

The Ink Spots may entertain you with one or all of these

songs:

“If I Didn’t Care”

“I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”

“I’m Making Believe” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“The Gypsy” their # 1 song.

By the way, they were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame in 1989.

 

What tight or tough “spots” have you been in during your life?

For fun, what is a spot you like to head to on vacation?

Or please give us another example of the word, “spot.”

 

Finally, did I make you slightly ‘dotty’ over the usage of the word, “spot?”

Would you mind sharing about the bright “spots” in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life and Death: Basketball and Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

that little girls and boys displayed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

the holiday spirit.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

make this ‘happen’ deserve: “Thanks!”

 

Go Mt. St. Joseph University Girls’ Basketball!

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Life, death, Christmas and basketball…

 

What a Riot, Maxine!

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When I quote some ‘words of wisdom,’ as dictated by the wild and carefree Maxine,

I seem to have more viewers and more fun comments than almost any other posts.

If you have ever seen the drawings and read ‘her’ witty sarcasm by the artist and

writer named, John Wagner, you will be able to ‘picture in your head,’ how Maxine

looks. Sometimes she has a hat with a flower sticking out of it, other times a ‘beret.’

I like her dark sunglasses and her extra curly white hair, with red earrings peeking

out, on her earlobes. I like her dog with his pointy ears and his silly cross-eyed looks,

sometimes his eyes are just ‘askance’ or expressing skepticism of his owner, Maxine.

Sometimes she looks cranky, other times ‘cross,’ but no matter what her appearance,

I will nod my head, sometimes snigger a little,  knowing she understand growing older.

 

Interesting, isn’t it? That its a man who writes these and draws Maxine with such a

unique character and personality,  in such simple strokes. I cannot help myself, I think

of some of my Mom’s apartment neighbors, table mates and her friend, Pooky.

I must admit, my Mom is NOT a cranky woman. . . but she does wear red lipstick, a

hat upon her (thinly haired) head and a smile on her face. There are at least 12 choices

of hats in her coat closet; maybe more! She has Easter hats, a red, white and blue hat,

fall hats, felt hats and ones that look like she is heading out to garden. She has a mirror

by the door, to look at herself, determing which one is the ‘perfect’ match for the day.

 

Are you ready for some fun!

Do I hear you cheering for Maxine?

Here she comes, both ‘barrels’ loaded and ready to give it her ‘best shots!’

 

1. Morning

“The only thing preventing me from smashing my alarm every morning is

the fact that it is my cell phone!”

 

2. Aging

“I finally figured out what I want to be when I get older. . .

YOUNGER!!”

 

3. “Bad Girls”

“There’s a certain age where you can no longer use the term:

‘Good Girl gone Bad.’

“It’s more like,

‘Her old ass should know better!’

 

4. Stress…

“My Doctor told me to start killing people.

Well, not in those exact words. . .

He said I had to reduce the stress in my life. . .

Same thing really!”

 

5. Cooking fantasies…

“I read recipes the same way I read Science Fiction.

I get to the end and I think, ‘Well, that’s not going to

happen!'”

 

6. A better place…

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone just

would take a ‘chill pill.’

It would get even better, if some of them choked on it!”

 

7. This is so true…

“My day starts backwards.

I wake up tired,

and go to bed, wide awake!!”

 

8. Musings…

“Why isn’t the number 11, pronounced, ‘onety-one?'”

 

9. More musings…

“If 4 out of 5 people ‘suffer’ from diarrhea, does that mean

that one out of five enjoys it?”

 

10. Recreation

“I’m thinking of going roller skating (insert your favorite

dangerous sport… skateboarding, skydiving…)

I could use a couple weeks in a hospital to rest and recuperate.”

 

Of course, you may use your own form of recreation but I usually

choose wine or desserts to help me feel better.

What helps ‘float your boat?’

 

 

Have a fun-filled weekend!