Category Archives: keeping yourself entertained

ABC Award Post

Standard

Thanks to Mark B., I have another awards post to write!

I appreciate when my fellow bloggers give me nominations

for such great awards. I am one who likes the extra ‘pats

on the back,’ along with the evidence that someone, out

there, finds something in my writings.

You may check Mark’s blog for his well written movie

reviews, personal stories and a fine post for the

“ABC Award.” This stands for Awesome Blog Content.

http://markbialczak.wordpress.com

I have been working on my list of ABC’s that were supposed

to reveal even more about myself than anyone would ever

wish to know.

Instead, I am going to list using the alphabet, the names

of authors that I have read, enjoy reading and have interest

in their styles, genres, information and fictional stories.

If you survive my convoluted way of accepting my Award,

through my own way of following rules, you will find some

people’s blogs to read that I highly recommend and have

not included in any of my recent awards’ posts. Some are

almost ‘brand new’ to me, too!

Robin’s Recommendations of Authors in ABC Order:

A is for Alcott, Austen and Angelou.

B is for Ray Bradbury, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert

Browning and Frank Browning.

C is for Catherine Cookson, Stephen Crane and Lewis Carroll.

D is for Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

E is for Janet Evanovich.

F is for F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Ian Fleming.

G is for Paul Gallico and John Grisham.

I enjoy Sue Grafton’s books, that coincidentally are written

according to the alphabet! She started with “A is for Alibi,”

and I am a big Kinsey Milhone (her protagonist character) fan!

H is for Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dashiell Hammett, Alex Haley,

Langston Hughes and Joseph Heller.

I is for John Irving, Washington Irving and Henrik Ibsen.

J is for Erica Jong.

K is for Ken Kesey and Stephen King.

L is for Jack London, Harper Lee and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

M is for Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Mead, Herman Melville,

and Toni Morrison.

N is for Nietzsche, Robert Nathan and John Nichols.

O is for Edwin O’Connor and John O’Hara.

P is for Robert Parker, Edgar Allan Poe and Boris Pasternak.

The P Ladies I enjoy are Sara Paretsky an Jodi Picoult.

Q is for Anna Quindlen and books about Queen Elizabeth.

R is for Nora Roberts and Christina Rosetti.

S is for Shakespeare, Salinger and Steinbeck.

T is for Thoreau and Twain.

U is for Ulysses, Updike and Uris.

V is for Voltaire and Kurt Vonnegut.

W is for William Wadsworth and Alice Walker.

X is for Xeroxing the best of authors’ quotes.

There is an author named, Xu Xi, who wrote “Unwalled City.”

No, I did not read this person’s book.

Y is for Yeats and You.

Z is for Zelda Fitzgerald and Paul Zindel.

Here are the ‘new to me’ bloggers that you will enjoy

reading and finding out more about these folks:

1. Michael’s Poetry is interesting and varies daily

in subject matter. Originality is his forte!

http://purpleplatitudes.wordpress.com

2. It has been awhile, I think, since I have given

Marylin a nomination. As my mother grows more forgetful,

I search and find comfort in Marylin’s helpful articles

about Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Her own personal letters

to her mother are very uplifting.

http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com

3. I have become closer acquainted with Cindy and really

wish you would go check out her beautiful sharing of her

trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The post I enjoyed was one

filled with gorgeous arches, called, “Los Hermosos Arcos

de San Juan.”

http://cindyknoke.com

4. For artistry, photography and splendid writing, please

check out Stacy Alexander:

http://artecalifornia.com

5. There is beauty in this country living blog, with spunk,

courage and the photography captures a friendly place to be:

http://hotrodcowgilr.com

6. Either she has re-vamped her blog, or I have not realized

that Soul Gatherings has been on my list of places I like to

read that long… for faith and ‘food for thought check this out:

http://soulgatherings.wordpress.com

7. Be With Us spreads joy and also, shares their handcrafts. I

enjoy when there is the puppy named Kerby, who is so sweet and

there are little captions of his thoughts. I have nominated this

blog, a long, long time ago. They are due for an update!

http://cloudsncups.wordpress.com

8. I have missed a few posts of this fine writer, but will

be checking her out more in the future…

http://waitingforthekarmatruck.com

9. Ajay, you have such wisdom and peace in your posts.

http://ajaytao2010.wordpress.com

10. Eda or Denisa Aricescu who shares poetry in another

language with photographs. You will find after translating

them, wondrous messages…

http://rosedeny.wordpress.com

Congratulations to the nominees of the ABC Award!

Hope you found an author or two that you have enjoyed in

my ABC list and also, find a current author and participant

in our blogging world!

Happy Reading!

“Raise Your Glasses…”

Standard

I am thinking that you may already know that this Thursday is the 80th

celebration of the repeal of the Prohibition Law, or the 18th Amendment.

On Dec. 5th, 1933, the law which banned alcohol sales in the U.S. was

repealed, or the 21st Amendment to the Constitution took effect.

Most of us don’t need an excuse to have a little party in this honor! I found

a few interesting places in Cleveland, Ohio, that are going to go “all out”

with their remembrances of the ‘speakeasies.’

I did not know that during Prohibition, since there was a lot of homemade

and “bad” alcohol being served, that the drinks were made with fruit juices

to cover up the flavor! We consider this sometimes a way to enjoy our drinks

without too much alcohol flavor coming through. But the origins of some of

the drinks, like Manhatten’s and Old Fashioned’s is attributed to this era.

Another reason why we may add soda or pop to our drinks may be due

to our having a ‘sweet tooth.’ Some people during this prohibition era,

would order a soda and the bartender would “slip in alcohol.”

Not to be confused with the expression, “slipping one a mickey.” This

predates the Prohibition, by thirty years. It is credited for being around

in 1903, when a man named Mickey Finn, a bar owner in Chicago, Illinois,

allegedly gave his customers drinks in his bar, laced with barbituates.

This  drugging patrons would allow the staff to rob them.  Also, not to be

confused or mixed up with “date rape” drugs, which came years later.

There’s an entirely different purpose to that drug being added to alcohol,

as you know, unfortunately from actual news reports and incidents.

We had bottled Canadian whiskey smuggled into Ohio, one article recalled.

I learned some of my facts from the column, “After Dark,” in the

Cleveland Plain Dealer mentioned. Canadian whiskey was easier to get a

hold of if you had the money to pay for the importation of it. It was also

considered more reliable than “moonshine” or the other homemade

liquors circulated during this period when factories were not allowed to

produce liquor legally.

The Society Lounge is ‘turning back the clock to the classic cocktail era.’

They already started tonight with their special drinks list that boasts of 48

exciting mixes, including names of drinks ranging from Moscow Mule,

Mai Tai, Dark and Stormy to Singapore Sling. I remember working in the

seventies at a place in Westlake, Ohio called Lord Nelson’s serving drinks

that had those wild names attached. On Thursday, this lounge is having a

“private soiree.” All week, excluding Thursday, they will have complimentary

appetizers. Too bad, I worked in Delaware, Ohio today and am now 2 and 1/2

hours away from “Happy Hour” at the Society Lounge! Both Thursday and

Friday, including the “private party” will have live bands to entertain the

special guests.

A place that has been around since 1893, opened by an Otto F. Moser, is

called the Wonder Bar. It is especially appropriate to have a “Repeal Day”

celebration there. It stayed open during the Prohibition time, with the ‘back

door’ policy going on, I imagine. (Or ‘under the table pay-offs’ to the cops!)

There is a long, 40 foot beautiful and classy wooden bar with great vintage

design and woodwork shown. All those classic cocktails will be featured at

this ‘gin joint’ that has been around the block a few times (or over a hundred!)

Now I know why they came up with those strange concoctions! I always

wondered about the creative names, too.

The 21st Amendment was the one that “fixed” up and got the party started

so traveling over to the Prosperity Social Club would be a good direction to

go since it opened only five years after the repeal, in 1938. The “Prohibition

Repeal Party,” as this place is calling their Thursday night occasion, is going

to feature The Hollywood Slim Band. It will include performances of songs

during the 30’s through the 40’s. They will be serving up plenty of those

fancy, flavored drinks along with the era’s food dishes, too.

Speakeasy, is a destination spot to find the owner, Sam McNulty with his

staff and the bartender wearing period clothes along with pre-Prohibition

customers recommended attending in appropriate attire. This place will

have a jazz band playing tunes, ‘to boot.’

Not too far from my Mom’s apartment in Westlake, Ohio, the bootleggers

had a heyday with delivering booze behind the White Oaks, in the woods.

This is a place that has been around since 1928. We used to consider this

a special occasion to eat out there, with the white tablecloths, napkins

and fresh flowers on the tables. White Oaks was ‘too expensive’ for our

family, except once annually.

We may have made an exception, going out for a drink would have been

something nice to do this Thursday. Going somewhere that holds a few

memories of the dining room ambiance and the delicious, melt in your

mouth yeast rolls, too. The photograph of Elliot Ness over the bar would be

a great sight to see, since I had never known about him, in the “olden” days

while eating with my parents. I would not have recognized him then.

I am not even sure my parents knew about the woods and the illicit

activities associated with Prohibition at the White Oaks.

I will have to ask, next time I am up there, in that “neck of the woods!”

I cannot write a post about alcohol without giving these two warnings.

Don’t drink and drive. (Call a taxi, please!)

Drink responsibly.

The song, “Raise Your Glass” is not one of the thirties or forties, but a

current song, sung by the woman named “Pink.” If you get to partying,

after you have listened to some “oldies,” I suggest you check this song out!

Fence Post Buddies

Standard

My friend and coworker, Tammy, likes hearing about all the love stories

and my blog. I have bad news, folks, my friend Anna got fired! (She did

not use swear words, but assertive words and mouthed off to a clerk,

another coworker wrote a report, and she is fine looking for a “better

job.”) Due to our table being less crowded and a few absences, I have

a treasure of a story to share for you!

Growing up next door to each other from elementary throughout their

childhood, teen age and young adult years, Tammy always considered

Mike, her neighbor and brother of her best friend, Mary,  a good friend.

She knew all the details of their lives, where they vacationed, when they

had a small tragedy, when they got their haircuts and lots of intricate

patterns and habits one learns from being neighbors for years. She always

knew what their family was ‘up to’ and sometimes got to tag along, since

she was the youngest and last one left of her siblings in her family at

home.

Sharing a lot of good times, laughs, playing games and hanging out,

Tammy knew Mike, she says, (at least in elementary school) “like the

back of my hand.”

Tammy and Mike’s sister, Mary, were good friends from kindergarten

on. Mike was only two years older, so he was included in their inside

playtime. He was sometimes enlisted to play the “Daddy” in their

playing house and even, when it was a cold and boring winter day,

would allow himself to be the groom “Ken” doll for Tammy’s “Barbie.”

He also was chosen to be the “tester” of new recipes, concoctions

and helper in preparing things in the kitchen. There were times,

(rare indeed), that he would help set up a tent in the dining room, lie

down on blankets and chat with the girls. In junior high school, he

allowed himself to practice dancing with the girls.

I interrupted the flow of Tammy’s story,

“Wait! Did you say he played the groom and you the bride with your

dolls? Is that why you two have never married?”

Tammy laughed, “You are going to need to listen to the WHOLE story,

Robin! There’s more to this and why we never tied the knot!”

She recommenced telling her love story to me, saying that they were

living in a housing development, where there were side by side houses,

some looking like cookie cutter editions of the others. On the other side

of Mike and Mary’s house, new neighbors moved in during their middle

school years and they were from hence forth, called the “rowdy boys.”

Mike’s personality changed, partly from his older age and mainly due

to these boys’ influence. He was suddenly choosing to use squirt guns

or even buckets of water, to soak the girls while they were playing in the

yard. The girls were “telling on Mike” more and more.

One day, while they were in seventh grade, the girls had their one piece

bathing suits on, slathered Coppertone suntan lotion and were lying on

Mary’s patio in the bright afternoon sun. All of a sudden,the girls heard

some catcalling and rude comments from the boys on the other side of

the privacy fence. Then, there were tomatoes being pummeled over

the fence, landing on the patio and one even splatting on Tammy’s chest!

This was not funny! The “pranks” were getting carried away and the joke

was not a game anymore!

Poor Mike got “told on” and got a paddling by his father that evening.

Tammy said she never heard nor knew if the rowdy boys next door to

them faced any consequences. That fall after summer ended, Mike

was told by his father to join either junior high football or consider

running. He needed to get his energy out on something more productive

than the neighbor boys, who Mike and Mary’s father called the “trouble

makers!”

Every summer for a few years, the “tomato war” was mentioned as a

poor choice for the boys, the patio even had some reddish stains that

darkened like blood stains on the concrete. It was a reminder of the

change, also, in Mike. He was from that fall on, a “jock.” His haircut

was a sign of being in sports and during the seventies, a rare sight

to be seen. He was starting to get a stubble on his chin and chest hairs,

Tammy noted.

In junior high through high school years, the neighbor girls joined

chorus, choir and later, Glee Club. They were also members of Key Club,

a Kiwanis sponsored leadership club. Mike was president when they

joined and Tammy says, “a little bit of his ‘coolness’ rubbed off on us,

too. He also was very protective of me, as well as his sister, Mary.”

The front yard metal fence that separated their yards, now tended to

be where they would lean and talk. Mike would be getting home from

sports and hopping out of his old “beater” car, would see Tammy and

shout a big “Hi!” to her. If she had been to a party or on a date, they

would chat and review their lives for a short while. She looked up to

Mike now, listened to his opinions on who was a “good guy” and

who was a “stoner,” “loser” or “not worth wasting your time on”

guy.

They also, by the time Mike was in senior year, spent time talking

about their futures, dreams, college and plans. Tammy said she never

flirted nor did Mike hint at any interest in her, other than as a friend.

Neither hinted at each other being “good dating material.”

The year Mike went off in the fall to OSU to live in a dormitory, Morrell

Tower, Tammy said they were sophomores. Mary’s family never asked

Tammy to go to see the dorm or campus. Mike was not coming home

until Thanksgiving, she felt a twinge of regret but nothing really

noticeable. Two years later, when the girls graduated, Mary had chosen

Marion Technical College to study beginning nursing courses and Tammy

entered the same place to begin studying stenography, communication

and business coursework.

One hot summer evening, Mike was coming in from a day at football

camp down in Columbus, when he saw his sister and Tammy over in

her front yard. He stopped to say, “hi!’ and noticed the girls were all fixed

up and they told him they were heading over to a local Marion bar, called

the “O.K” but it was called, “O.K. Corral.” This was in the days where

you could drink something called, “3.2 beer” and you needed to be

18 or older.

Later in life, Mike told Tammy,

“Your hair looked like burnished copper, long and brushed, halfway

down your back. I noticed it being silky and even though I would never

had told you this then, I wanted to bury my hands in that hair!”

(Hot, huh?!)

He also told Tammy years later,

“When I looked at the two of you, I always used to see ‘two sisters’ but

on that evening, I saw my sister with an attractive stranger. My heart

gave a flutter, but I did not focus too long on it. Tired, went on in,

grabbed a beer and joined my Dad on the couch watching the Indians.”

Tammy remembers, though, a different look passing over his face, she

swears she noticed! She turned to his sister, Mary, and made a smart

remark, they both rolled their eyes and giggled.

She remembers his noticing the secret words whispered about him,

actually thought that they were saying he was a sweaty mess or some

other rude comment and stomped off. Tammy remembers he slammed

the front door behind him. He doesn’t remember slamming the door,

she says.

“At this point in my life”, Tammy says, she was thinking he was a foreign

person to her, enigmatic and godlike. He was an OSU football player

and she was (in her mind) ‘only a business tech student.’

When we went off that night, for some reason I did feel more confident

and I led a much better social life that summer. Mike noticed but said

not a word!

I started to date a member of a local band, he was dark, long haired and

very sexy looking. We spent a lot of time making out, sometimes in the

front of my house. We were lucky, I felt that there were no front lights

on the garage. We had so much more in common, music since I liked

seeing, and his band. I became a “groupie” and followed him to other

towns, with Mary and her boyfriend, at the time, too.

Fast forward two years later, the guy ended up going with his band

to California along with a blonde chick he noticed in his group of fans.

Mike was home from college senior year for Christmas. He had spent

the past two summers staying around Columbus, living with groups

of male students in big, ancient houses. Mary and I never went down,

not even once, to hang out with Mike and his pals. They were happily

dating other men in their classes.

Tammy recounts, “I remember it being their turn to invite us over for

a pre-holiday meal and it was just our parents and the three of us

present. Sometimes, in the past, it was more of an Open House and

we would bring dates to each other’s houses. People in the neighborhood

would be invited. We sang Christmas carols around their upright piano,

we played games of Charades. We had an odd number of people so

it ended up the team of us “kids” versus the parents. It was joyous and

I felt so at peace, I felt like we were all family. It settled down into my

heart and I felt a little differently towards Mike over this evening.

Mike had changed, he had longer hair, he was wearing older, more

raggedy blue jeans and a cream colored sweater. I thought he looked

very handsome. He no longer looked just like a “jock” or the brother

of my best friend. I thought, “if I ran into him somewhere else I would

want to dance with him or talk to him.” She went on…

“He didn’t look like anyone I had ever dated. He looked nice, REALLY nice!

I felt ‘butterflies in my stomach’ and I could not look directly into his eyes.

I was afraid he would be able to ‘read my mind!'”

Tammy told me she felt “Oh no! I am attracted to him!”

“I saw Mike head off to his room, as we were leaving and I asked if Mary

could come spend the night.”

My parents looked at us funny, we were in technical college and it had

been years since we had had a sleepover, but said, “Fine.”

Tammy confessed she had feelings for her friend’s brother and Mary

was very excited! She confessed to Tammy that she had always hoped

they would become sisters.

Although Tammy had older siblings, she also had the same feeling

about Mary, that they were ‘lifelong friends and sisters for life.’

It took almost six more years from then, Mike moved into his own

Columbus apartment, got engaged and his heart broken.

Tammy went from one man to another, always hoping that Mike

would notice that he had feelings for her, it was very similar to that

familiar 1991 song,

“Saving the Best for Last.” (Sung by Vanessa Williams. Please listen to

those lyrics if you haven’t heard it for awhile! So appropriate to this

almost frustratingly long back and forth interplay between Mike and

Tammy!)

I also like the song, “Patience,” by Guns N Roses, that seems like it

would  apply also to this relationship.

This couple has never married but they had cosigned for a lovely

house in the country (in a place called “Big Island” in Ohio.) They

have lived under the same roof for over 24 years and next year,

they just may celebrate that 1/4 of a century with a big party.

I could not believe that Mike’s bad engagement caused him to say

he would NEVER get married!

I have my fingers crossed that at the 25th anniversary of their life

they began together may be finalized in marriage. My happily

ever after wish has been told to her on more than one occasion.

These good, steady long enduring friends, have grown up, shared

a life where their beautiful house is where their families celebrate

the holidays. They have never had children. Tammy muses,

“Maybe that might have brought Mike to his knee to ask for my

hand in marriage.”

I like to point out that old expression,

“NEVER SAY NEVER!”

Work Fun

Standard

Do you have a job that is kind of boring? Mine is! I tend to

make up little games with the stores we send Advance Auto

products to while I am filling the hampers. If I have five to

fill I am less able to play a number or letter game.  If I have

1 or 2 (only a few areas fill only that small amount of totes)

I use the store numbers and “wave” sheet to play games.

Let me know when this short post is over in the comments

if you play any games at work!

C’mon and share, you know you want to!

When we start our day our “wave” sheet starts with the letter

“M” and goes all the way to “W.” The evening shift bin order

fillers start with “A” and usually go to “L.”

So, here are some ways I remember where I am at on the wave

sheet:

Wave M E = medical examiner.

Wave P B = peanut butter.

If I am filling totes A and C~ I think AC/DC band.

If I am filling A and D ~I think A and D ointment.

If I am filling totes with the letters B and E, breaking and entering

come to mind!

If I am filling B and C~ I think B. C. which means before Christ.

If I am filling A, C, and E totes, I think of the vitamins A, C and E.

If I run into store numbers close to anyone in my family that doesn’t

have a number that is in the first 6 months of the year, I will be able

to translate it into their birthday. If born in June or earlier, since it

is a four digit number, I cannot do the birthday “game” with theirs.

Example:

When packing a hamper to ship to store # 1285 I think of my youngest

daughter’s month and year of birth.

There are many more combinations of numbers and hampers with letter

placement so my brain still is focusing on not missing the correct tote

or labeling it incorrectly.

There are big chunks of time when I actually whisper the numbers or

letters so that the eyes and the mouth are using two areas of concentration.

This happens early in the day, especially when we start every Friday at

6:00 a.m. And then, on Mondays, when we usually go way past 4:00 p.m.

My brain is fried almost after our last break that ends at 2:00 p.m.

All of these things “go to the wayside” when a coworker comes along or

is across the rolling rails (rollers that run on a conveyor belt.) When two

coworkers are just about 5 feet away, one going the same direction as

you, then you tend to chat and hope (and pray) you don’t throw products

or pack products in the wrong hamper! Quality Control will be filling out

a report on your errors and soon, your boss will be coming by with a sheet

with your errors delineated and you have to sign or initial it! Oops!

This is the first job in my life where I get a good work out and my steps

have been measured by an engineer once a year.

I also feel this is the first job of my life that reminds me of school where

you were waiting for snack time (break time), lunch time and recess!

I am sure this is kind of a boring post but it is also one that I have thought

may get “spiced up” a bit with WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF

FOCUSED OR ENTERTAINED AT WORK?