Category Archives: making a change

October’s This and That

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When I have a few odds and ends, loose ends which need to stop unraveling, I usually

post a “this and that” summary. It is a little like when you go to a garage sale, flea

market or thrift store, some history and strange things may show up.

First of all, this is more of a serious subject. When I wrote my slightly negative review

of the movie, “August: Osage County,” you may remember that I said the movie had

one ‘saving grace?’ It was in the calm, interesting Native American housekeeper.

Little did I know that she would turn up missing just a week after my article was

posted. Her real name is “Misty Upham,” and she has been missing a week. There

have been people ‘close to her,’ mentioning that she has had some financial trouble,

along with being depressed. Her father filed a “Missing Persons” report on October

6, 2014.

Here is a brief biography of Missy Upham. She was born July 6, 1982. My daughter

was born in 1980 and son in 1981, which makes my heart stop, worrying about this

young woman. She could be a classmate or friend of theirs. . . Missy walked out of an

apartment in Auburn, Washington more than a week ago. She was born in Kalispell,

Montana and went to school in Auburn. This is located about 20 miles south of Seattle,

WA. Her biggest acting award was for a movie called, “Frozen River,” where she won an

Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female Actor. She made a series of Native

American television movies, “Skinwalkers,” “Dreamkeeper,” and “Edge of America.” She

played a recurring role in the t.v. series about polygamy called, “Big Love.” She had a role

in “Django Unchained.”

I certainly hope nothing happens to her. I know this is rather unusual but I plan on

keeping Misty Upham in my prayers…

Note: Family and friends are convinced her death was not due to depression. They

believe Misty’s views on Native Americans, may have caused her to get in ‘trouble’

and get murdered. They don’t believe she would commit suicide. I am sad that this

happened to someone who had talent, intelligence and died too young. So sorry

to have to add this, too. (Friday October 17,.)

 

In the Summer of 1986, a man from Tuxedo Park, New York traveled to England.

He had been invited to visit the Palace to dine with the Prince of Wales . This man

was named, James Brown Potter. (I wonder if he was related to Beatrix Potter?)

Anyway, he moved in some fancy, ‘high society’ circles, where he was used to

wearing what they casually called, “an evening suit.”

When he went to an English tailor, J. B. Potter was impressed so much with the

design of a shorter black jacket, on display.  The jacket had a refined look and he

felt distinguished while wearing it to dinner with the Prince of Wales. The satin

lapels were what set it apart from other suits. Later, the added satin, grosgrain

stripe along the matching black pants and a cummerbund were part of the final,

complete “Tuxedo,” otherwise known as a “Tux.”

This was found in the Tuxedo Park ‘archives’ of the local community news.

When J.B. Potter came back to America, he had a New York tailor create this suit,

which he labeled, a “Tuxedo.” In the Fall of 1986, at the Autumn Ball held in New

York City, a man named  Griswold Lorillard, wore the American design of the

styled suit jacket. This is where many people noticed and  commented about

his “Tuxedo”  jacket.

And here, I had imagined someone had visited Antarctica, viewed penguins and

got the idea from their dapper appearance!

 

In an AARP article that comes out in a newsletter, filling in ‘gaps’ of information

during the off months that “AARP Magazine” is not published I found several

famous people who have been diagnosed with Diabetes (Type 2).  I feel this is

an ongoing concern for my good friend, Pat, along with other friends. I think

knowing how others handle their disease can be helpful and encouraging. When

anyone doesn’t feel ‘alone,’ it is good to spread this around. My youngest girl,

who deals with ongoing arthritis, started out at age 12, which helps her to feel

better when she reads about others and their techniques in coping with this

physically debilitating disease. So, in this vein, hope you may find this helpful

to know of some famous people over 5o coping with Diabetes, type 2.

Since 1995, Larry King was diagnosed. He eats many small meals, includes

30 minutes of daily exercise and is careful monitoring his foods.

Patti LaBelle has written three books about Type 2 Diabetes, including some

delicious recipes and light-hearted suggestions. Can you believe her exercise

includes walking her 20 dogs? This would take ME all day, taking only 2 at

a time…

Tom Hanks was diagnosed in 2013 with diabetes and works out, eating healthy

foods. His wife, Rita Wilson, likes to go out on walks with him. Did you know

they met on the movie set of “Volunteers?” It is a funny movie and I had to get

it out from the library to remember this one!

Sherri Shepherd, dropped 40 pounds when she decided to handle her diabetes

starting with a serious weight loss. She has written a humorous book about her

challenges and includes recipes for this particular diet of low carbs and  no white

processed foods and sugar.

Billie Jean King, tennis professional, has been an active spokesperson for Diabetes

and supports fund-raising by appearances on television and in person. She is given

credit for raising public awareness on the subject.

Paula Deen admitted that she was diabetic, after she had many books published

having desserts and mashed potatoes included. She has made significant efforts

speaking and addressing the foods she used to support. Paula has also changed

her famous fat, sugar and butter-laden recipes making them more healthy. She

went through a big controversy over this unfortunate situation and another

situation which does not pertain to diabetes. She admits to still struggling with

what she calls, “stress eating.”

Ben Vereen, the dancer/actor, has been dealing with his diabetes since 2007.

He believes there are “opportunities for a better life.” His positive attitude,

along with continuing exercise, diet and awareness in his regimen have helped

him immensely.

 

Last night I watched a fantastic episode of “Madam Secretary” and I wish to

recommend it again. I had included it on the (at the time, Upcoming Fall

Television shows)  new shows to watch. Then, I had recently commented on

someone’s blog that I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It turns out this

man made an effort to convince me, through comparing it to the excellent writing,

cast and ensemble, “West Wing,” television series. I decided to give it a second

chance, which involved a Chinese young woman seeking asylum in America. It

was a really fascinating plot, it kept me wondering what the Secretary of State

would do.  Whether she would agree to having her stay or send her back. I won’t

ruin this plot for you, since it was a good and satisfying ending, the way it played

out. There was a diplomacy issue, a treaty to sign, involved also. Well acted by

many of the famous people in this cast.  I especially like the marital dynamics

between the leading role of Secretary of State played by Tea Leoni and her nice

husband, played by Tim Daly,  as supportive, sympathetic and understanding.

If you remember “Frasier,” you may also know and recognize Bebe Neuwirth,

starred, off and on, as Frasier’s ex-wife. She came across as  a  ‘mean’ or ‘witchy’

woman in one of the scenes on Sunday’s current show she is part of, but you find

out more about her reasons for being this way. I like when a show takes the time

to include character development.

I am still watching, “Forever,” and “Scorpion.” I am giving up on the quirky plot

lines of “The Red Band Society.” My regular television shows seemed to have

very exciting Season Premiere episodes, catching my interest and keeping me

a faithful viewer.

 

What’s new in your area of the world? Anything bothering you or causing you

concern?

 

If you have a new show you would like to recommend, please let us know. We

still have time to catch up on t.v. shows, by watching on the channels’ websites.

 

 

 

 

Wipe the Slate Clean

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Do you remember when you were a child in school? Were you ever this young?

Just kidding!

Have things changed since the days you were in ‘grade school?’

Children, in the old days, would be assigned ‘cleaning the blackboard’ on the

classroom’s job or chores chart. That meant to erase the whole board, followed

by the activity of taking the erasers outside and clapping them together. I used

to like this ‘after school’ job. I would see the dust rising from the erasers being

pounded together and be filled with a sense of accomplishment.

I also enjoyed this chore,  since sometimes the teacher would talk to us, along

with let us choose something from her treats jar or a stash she had in one of

her drawers.

When I taught sixth grade, the first year was 1979-1980. The “Board Cleaner,”

was how I wrote this particular chore on a magnet. Each of the children would

rotate this, with other ones such as “Line Leader,” etc.  I would also have a small

bucket, to have the student fill with water. Using an old towel or ‘rag,’ the child

would wipe the remains of the dust off. It was a nice feeling, for me as a teacher,

to see that ‘clean slate,’ at the start of the next day.

Imagine your bad times, past hurts or difficult periods in your life.

Write them down on a blackboard in your head.

List them, one by one, remembering the pains, trials and sadness.

Take your mental ‘eraser’ and carefully, slowly rub each one of these away.

Rub the eraser up and down, or if you prefer, side to side. Make sure that all

you see, at the end of this mental exercise, is a hazy blur of grayish black.

Now, take a dampened rag and get a small stepladder, or if you are back in

time, a child’s wooden stool. Use the wet rag to clean all the remaining chalk’s

powder and blurred images off. If you need to, turn the cloth inside out.

Finish this process mentally, along with your imaginary blackboard.

You now have a ‘clean slate.’

Picture, if you will, the best times of your life.

Make a list of places, faces and beautiful images.

It is possible, I have done this process, in my head, too.

You can ‘re-invent’ yourself.

You may become a renewed person.

Your positive energy can ‘re-charge’ you and make you whole again.

Believe in unlimited possibilities.

 

Somehow, move into the present.

There are no ‘time limits’ or penalties, in this.

There are no ‘school bells’ going off.

There is no need to do anything but leave the board behind you.

Proceed outside.

Breathe in, breathe out.

You are free of the painful past.

How will the story of your life continue from here on out?

 

I have had friends who have asked me,

“How did you bounce back?”

In my case, I had a sense of purpose, to raise my children and make

their lives as positive and happy, as possible. I could not take any

more time on my own dissatisfaction or depression, I would not

dwell on what choices led me to the places I went. I just knew I had

to start over. I chose a town in Central Ohio, a college town, you know

it as Delaware, Ohio.

My parents were in Cleveland, later in Vermilion and my ex-husband

lived in Cincinnati, later in Dayton.

It was a halfway point, between the two cities, letting me able to make it

in either direction, without too many hours on the road.

I chose this place to ‘start over.’

I knew it was my children’s and my ‘new beginning.’

I knew absolutely not one soul here.

I later found some high school friends who had chosen to live here.

One was my children’s high school Biology teacher, another a swimming

and gymnastics instructor, and another followed me here, after her own

divorce.

If you have caused someone else’s heart to break, let it go.

Try not to cause any more heartbreak, try not to crush or break a

child’s spirit.

Any mistakes you have made, learn from them.

Always think that there are more chances in life.

I believe in multiple chances or opportunities to start over!

Another way to handle strife and tough times is an interesting one,

that editorial cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey gives in an article in the

December, 2013 issue of “Prevention” magazine. M. Ramsey’s

suggestion is to look at your life and remember the “terrible twists”

that happened to you. He personally likes to list his own negative

occurrences and then, see them in a positive light.

Here are some examples found in the article called, “True Grit.”

“The way to get through tough times is to start with advanced gratitude.”

M. Ramsey’s list of Life’s negatives matched with happy outcomes:

1.  His first job after college was as a high school janitor.

The job led him to his future wife, the daughter of a fellow janitor.

2.  The recession forced him into part-time work.

Getting laid off gave him the time to start 2 new careers;  in book

illustration and radio.

3.  Melanoma diagnosis.

His cancer diagnosis helped him to decide to organize a series of

races to raise melanoma awareness.

4.  People who did not believe in him.

All those naysayers were just ‘ill winds beneath his wings.’

Great words to live by, quoted from Marshall Ramsey:

“A good analogy is if you’re canoeing downstream and you hit a rock,

it can either sink you or push you in another direction. If you choose

the other direction, it’s a blessing.”

Advanced gratitude is explained in this article as:

“The ability to identify and appreciate the bad events in your life because

of what you’ve gained from them.”

M. Ramsey gives these steps and you may find more details in the article,

if you wish to look up “Prevention” magazine, 12/13.

This process is a three step one, which includes changing your perspective.

First, establish a gratitude ‘baseline.’

Then, retrain your own brain. Tying thoughts of

stressful events in your life may even change your neural pathways.

Reminding yourself that good things come out of difficult times, may

just pull you through the bad times.

Remember the hard stuff.  What have you gained from sorrow, losses or

sadness?

There were studies listed and other experts in different emotional

areas covered, including Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Rick Hanson, and

Dr. Richard Tedeschi.  These authorities have done research and written

books on the subject of “Who am I? What kind of future do I want?

What makes sense to do with my time now that this event has stopped

me in my tracks?”

I have heard someone on television talking in my past about how we can

create our own destiny, change the course of time, and I have come up

with many times, the image of a blackboard with writing on it. Lots of

thoughts cluttered on it, sometimes I have made lists on it, but always

I like the satisfaction of wiping the figurative blackboard clean.

Starting today with a clean slate, just fits my notion of a happy beginning!

Green Choices for a Better World

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One summer morning of my 16th year, after eating a delicious large breakfast

with my Aunt Marie, she said we had a ‘chore to do.’ We were in my Aunt

Dot’s kitchen in Rockport, Massachusetts.

I put some beat up tennis shoes, raggedy jeans shorts and a dark t-shirt

on. Aunt Marie wore a red bandana over her golden hair, with a blue pair

of, what we called then, “pedal pushers” on and a red light weight blouse

on.

We stashed, in the ‘boot’ of  Aunt Marie’s little red, sports car, paper bags

of recyclables, a large box of technical equipment, that had a few television

parts and cords thrown in.

On the way to the area of the city dump, Aunt Marie explained about

composting and recycling. She also told me something I had never

thought about and here is the ‘gist’ of her lesson:

“Out on this Eastern seaboard, we have limited space, we’re very concerned

about the Atlantic Ocean, mercury’s effect on our fish, gas and oil discharges

from fishing and recreational boats. We want to make sure we all have a

clean place to live and swim in.” (This was 1971.)

We were heading up a great hill, to where there were various sizes of sheds,

dumpsters and piles of discarded items. This was my introduction, seeing

this process in ‘full swing,’ to thinking more about environment and ecology!

My Aunt Marie had me grab the box, while she took two armfuls of paper bags,

and we headed towards the designated areas. Technical equipment, including

cords, cables, computer screens and ‘motherboards’ were in a large shed.

If one wanted to ‘shop’ in amongst the discarded equipment, you were not

going to be prevented. They actually encouraged recycling and re-using.

We then took the glass bottles to an area, with a lot of shelves, and a woman

sitting in front of a small table with an old calculator figured out our pennies

earned and gave us money for the soda bottles ‘returned.’ The glass jars that

were from spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, and other condiments did not receive

monetary payment, but I already became aware that recycling these would

preserve the local environment.

Over forty years ago, when Bay (Village) High School held fundraisers

for different clubs, associations and team sports, we would collect bottles,

cans and newspapers. I have a photograph of myself, with a felt pink hat,

resembling Annie Hall or some other cultural style leader, so I thought!

I am wearing a ‘maxi”length beige coat, and am in front of the truck Science

Club would rent. We were piling newspapers, magazines and other paper

products. I am with some of my good ‘geek’ friends. Although, not included

in the yearbook photograph, we girls are laughing at the ‘boys’ who were

pawing through the “Playboy” and “Esquire” magazine donations.

We were equally aware of the environment and the financial value of this

monthly fundraiser. Unlike I am as an adult, who is reluctant to volunteer,

I was always in the midst of such functions. As a member of Science Club,

Thespians, Publication staff and Marching Band, along with the certain times

of year, (as a Girl Scout), we sold donuts in the Autumn and cookies in the

Spring, I volunteered. Although only in the photos of Science Club in my high

school yearbook, was I featured.

When I think back on those times, I felt involved and essential in many

ways. I also found out, over time and conversations, this was more rare

than not, from my friends who I met in later years.

I wonder, do you remember being involved in ecological, environmental

volunteering or fundraising during your school years?

It is a pleasure to feature some local and global “Green Choices” available

recently, here in Central Ohio.

It is not as “helpful” as volunteering, but it feels good to share that we

are still in this together, trying to make ecologically ‘correct’ choices!

The founder of a local skin care company, “Juicy for Sure,”  Valerie

Dupree, talked recently. She was suggesting trying products that are

free of chemicals, such as paraben and phthalates. (Not sure what this

is, but I rechecked spelling twice!) Her company features body care

products made from natural sources. They are unscented and stored in

glass containers. A reminder given, those stored in plastic packages are

more likely or are believed to create chemical ‘contamination.’ The

natural skin care company, recently added a new men’s lotions line.

They claim many of their products “leave no greasy ‘after-feel.'” There

was a Worthington, “Green on the Green” function that my youngest

daughter attended, believing that what she puts into her body and onto

her body, directly affects her outbreaks of eczema and inflammation of

rheumatoid arthritis.

You may also purchase “Gardener’s Lotion” and a sweetly scented

body lotion, “Dew Drop.” My youngest daughter is not involved in this

business and would not purchase any scented products. Look for these

products and more online, at Juicy for Sure. Their skin care line promises

“artisan crafted,” “eco- conscious” products while feeling “luxurious.”

Solar panels have been considered great conduits to natural forces for

quite some time now. There is a local Central Ohio, Columbus-based

company who won a recent award for being one of the top 3 National

winners in the “Green Homes” category. The quarterly “People and Planet

Awards” find eco-conscious companies and hand out different categories

of awards. The name of this national nonprofit, sustainability organization

is “Green America.”

Kevin Eigel, who is the President of “Ecohouse” will use the $5000 award

to help fund a solar installation for a co-op building called, “Third Hand.”

Ecohouse. com is one that I am proud to list as nearby. I wish I could build

a home having Kevin’s company install solar panels on my roof.

My Dad was very interested in having solar panels on their retirement

cottage in Vermilion, Ohio, believing in both the wind and sun as being

important natural contributors of energy. I have to admit, they did not

complete this project.

Soybeans in Iowa were recently researched in a study found in “Food

Chemistry” journal. The foods we ingest are very important to know

more about, as our society and world has changed the processes. The

study tested soybeans grown from seeds that were genetically modified

(GM) to be resistant to the herbicide, Round Up.

Thirty-one different Iowa farms were participants in this study. The

results found that GM soybeans contained significantly higher levels

of  the toxin, glyphosate. This is one of the main chemicals found in

Round Up.

Of course, this is the reason to ‘buy local,’ as often as possible, from

farmers who use natural ways to grow their soybeans.

I am learning more about being aware of non-GMO soybeans and other

vegetables.

Organic foods are the best ones to put into our bodies. Also, they have

found there are higher levels of good ingredients in naturally grown

soybeans, higher levels of protein and zinc, along with lowered levels

of saturated fats.

Global recognition is my final thrust in this going green article. There is

an international rise in sun-generated power in the United States, Italy,

Germany, China and Japan.

They were named as countries producing more than “10 gigawatts of solar

products” to promote a greener economy.

In India, villages are switching to solar power, also. Their environmental

‘watch group’ is called, “Earth Hour.”

IKEA, Scandanavian produced furniture) has sold over $10,000 worth of

solar panels to 17 British outlets. England is aware of the reason for using

solar energy to generate warmth and heat.

Peru is also starting to install solar panels in a National Photovoltaic

Household Electrification program. This began last July, 2013. (Boy, I

had to check the spelling three times on that mouthful of words!)

The conclusion of this varied report that included personal experiences,

research on soybeans, solar panels and local companies that have been

shown to incorporate natural products is to encourage more awareness

in your area of the world.

There are so many parts of our lives that we ignore or procrastinate

in. I recycle paper, glass, cardboard and plastics. At work, our

boxes get put on a cardboard line, which compacts them into

flat smashed ‘boxes’ that get picked up by a recycling company.

Our discarded plastic goes in another location, where it is collected

and corded together with its compaction process, too.

What kind of changes are you already making to help make your area

of the world a better place?

I am interested in any new ‘green’ products, natural foods that have

more nutrition that you would recommend, and any other suggestions.

What are some changes that you have made to become more involved?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uplifting Messages for Everyday Lives

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Serving people and volunteering reflect how culture has shown a

history of caring and pulling together in times of adversities

and strife. The valuable message and “roots” come from all faiths

and can be found in various examples.

Spurred on by my recent “Spire” newsletter from the First Presby.

Church, in Delaware, Ohio’s message:

“Mission work that is carried out by churches and other organizations

makes a difference in the lives of people all around the world. One

purpose of mission work is to help those who are hurting in whatever

way is appropriate to their specific situation.”

I could not help reflecting on the different levels of helping others

that I feel I have done and will try to add more to my own sense of

purpose in life. I wondered if I could investigate and find some

history in the United States, of being positive ‘lights’ and doing

good works.

Native Americans have always viewed the concept of helping each

other, as beneficial and calling it a “give away.” The process

is described as choosing a special gift to impart at a helpful

time.

This is a long-respected tradition, honored among most tribes.

The Pacific Northwest and Canadian Indian tribes have something

called a ‘potlatch.’ I found that the Chinook tribe was one who

originated this process, but if someone is more knowledgeable on

this subject, please feel free to ‘pitch in’ and help me explain!

Native American traditions are enduring, meaningful and loving.

There are traditional ceremonies held by other tribes as “Give

Away Ceremonies.” What helped me to understand better why they

do this, is by realizing that Native Americans don’t place a

“value” on individual property or money. They feel that if there

is anything that another person should need or will benefit the

other family, then one should ‘give away’ that item. Not having

personal “ownership” of the land and its creatures is also

included in Native Americans’ belief systems.

Other people consider when they are giving time, money or energy

towards a cause as ways we are “paying forward.” Eastern cultures

include “karma” (or “kharma”) and “kismet” as reasons one may

wish to engage in positive actions. What ‘goes around, comes

around,” does not mean that there is not respect and value in

those caring actions!

Another way we may explain the process of helping one another

could be as “giving back to the world.” You may hear this come

out of famous people or philanthropic projects.

Powerful actions, to positively impact and support one another,

crosses across the world in so many other dimensions. Churches

send out their teams out for rescue and retreats, sometimes

labeling this, “Mission Work.” Serving others helps both the one

who is setting out on a mission, and the ones who are on the

receiving end.

My family’s three children engaged in community church functions

called, ecumenical peace camps and ecumenical youth groups.

It is appropriate to view this subject on a Sunday, but every

day is truly the way you carry out your faith or spiritual

expressions in respect to your God, Allah, Mother Nature, Higher

Being or your own personal inner beliefs. Agnostics and atheists

give with open hearts and hands, through their acts of kindness.

Witnesses to 9/11, Katrina, floods and famine relief, Red Cross

and other ways that people are constantly reaching out and going

beyond their everyday actions (and comfort zones) are so inspiring!

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that

no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

John Mc Mullin, who writes for a ‘healthy and better life’ local

magazine and other noteworthy journalism endeavors, tweeted:

“I can accept my wheels coming off the tracks as long as I trust

parts of my self know how to put my wheels back on the track.”

Another tweet by John:

“When the anguish and pain of what we think we know becomes

overwhelming, only then are we willing to explore what we don’t

know.”

I enjoy so many blogs with their famous quotations and photos,

I also revel in poetry. This local woman, Jennifer R. Harbor

shared this poem, (purposely written in lower case letters…):

“i am

not this Body

not these thoughts that consume me,

not these feelings that find me,

not these beliefs that drive me,

i am

not this used flesh scarred by existence,

i am

infinite spirit, limitless energy, borderless space,

i am the light of ancient stars

i am eternity expanding,

i am

not this Body

i am

radiant Light, living only to

Transcend this vessel

of eyelashes, fingers, lips, toes…”

JRH, 2007.

Unraveling Threads and Intertwined Lives

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This is such a wonderful day! It may be cold on the

outside, but I am feeling all warm and fuzzy on the

inside! We were finished with work at four o’clock

and we all felt like ‘prisoners being released!’

Or as one young fellow coworker exclaimed, “There’s

light outside! This feels like school’s out for the

summertime!” We chuckled along with him, amused by

his enthusiasm. The elderly security guard and I

exchanged a knowing glance.

After I warmed up my car for a good ten minutes to

get the temperature to come up to ‘cold’ the car

thermometer that I assume measures the outside

temp, read “9 degrees.” Not at all registering

the ‘wind chill factor’ outside.

I was concerned when I spotted a young man from

work, walking away from town, so I pulled over

and stopped. His name is Cody, he said, as he

so graciously thanked me before I even took him

anywhere.

I told him that I was only on my way to the library

and that I used to take a nice young man named David

home. I began to tell him about how my youngest

daughter, Felicia, was friends with the singing group

that he was in. That their name was “Team KNYCE.”

He was nodding his head and smiling before I got any

farther. He knew David and had heard the group play

at one of the VFW’s. I asked, mainly out of curiosity,

“How did that audience respond?”

The group includes an eclectic musical style with

some rap but have a little rhythm and blues, with some

hip hop music woven in, too.)

Cody laughed a bit, “I know what you are getting at!

There was quite a mixture of ages and levels of

appreciation there!

But a good crowd of local followers were also there.”

I told him that I had been so happy about their tour

last summer, wondered how they all were? I told him

I have known Josh Moore, the lead singer, since he was

in middle school with Felicia.

By the time we got to his grandmother’s house and he

offered me $5 (of course, I declined this generous

offer!) we had become closer than if we had worked

across from each other all week. Cody is a new heavy

bulk worker. I told him to “Hang in there, with the

job! Or at least until what your chosen field comes

around. The pay isn’t too bad, in this tough economy.

Oh, and say ‘Hi from Robin to the boys,’ if you

remember to, next time they are singing here locally.”

(This story makes more sense when you check out the

rap group Team KNYCE and my story, “Local Musicians.”)

Here are two stories that have had conclusions recently

that some of my faithful readers may be interested in

hearing the results. The oldest ‘loose end’ I traced

a lead and got a response back. I had written “Chasing

Shadows of the Past,” about a long ago student who my

mother had taught, had been to our home and become a

friend to me, later a pen pal.

His name was on a bulletin board around Veteran’s

Day, (my gosh, how time flies!) and my Mom and I

had gone to the front desk of the senior apartments,

found out this man’s room number and taken along her

dog, Nicki, along for the trek to the assisted living

wing of the building.

Just to fill in folks who may not have heard about

this, we had thought that the age of the man in

the picture made him a cohort of my mother’s age,

but we had hoped that he had a son my age with the

same first and last name. It had turned out to be

a rather nice conversation with the ‘wrong’ man!

He did give us the lead of another man with the

same last name, but a different middle initial.

This man was living in Mentor or Medina, he said

and was a doctor. Apparently his mail was going to

his son’s and vice versa, both living in the same

area.

Well, I left a message on Facebook on the page

that allows visitors and onlookers. It was not

answered. I waited until I had time over the

next visit with Mom, Thanksgiving, to try and

get a phone call made, using a local phone

directory. I found a doctor’s office with this

man’s name attached to it. I left a voice message

on their answering machine, mentioning that possibly

my mother had been his teacher, her name is rather

unusual, Mrs. Oldrieve.

I did not bother to leave my Mom’s phone number

since she may totally blank out, forget our quest

for her old student and everything would be for

naught!

Anyway, on this brisk, freezing cold Winter’s

day, I received a very pleasant message on my

cell phone. The man who graduated from Westlake

High School, had my mother for both Spanish

and World Literature classes, who had exchanged

several letters and visited for a few holidays

to talk presumably to her, but also including

me, left me his details!

The details included his family’s phone number.

Jim is married and has two grown children. He was

very warm in his message and requested that we all

wait until Spring, when he would enjoy coming over

to sit outside with Mom, Nicki, his wife and me.

I eagerly look forward to uniting my Mom with one

of her favorite students, exchanging life stories,

revelations and engage in a lively conversation. It

was very fun having that open-ended ‘maybe?’ out

there for awhile, since I still have two of his

pictures, one his senior high school and the other

one from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The last loose end is from a recent story about

work safety and a recent ‘rant’ about administration

in my distribution center.

I am not sure if there was a personal visit from the

Fire Chief, if there was someone sent from their

department or if just a phone call took care of my

‘problem!’

The action was carried out over the weekend!

There is no longer a black trash bag over the

only direct EXIT sign in an area delineated or

named the ‘bomb shelter.’ I work above this

circle where the pallet riders pick up flammable

fluids in cases and aerosol cans in bulk. I am

usually above, filling hampers with aerosol cans

that are being sent out in singles or six packs.

With such flammable products, I had been concerned

about the exit sign being covered and the door

having a sign that said, “Do Not Use This Door

As An Exit.” This had been going on for a month

now. We had an opportunity with that safety

meeting for me to mention this dangerous

situation…

here

The door has been newly painted red!

It has a sign posted, “For Emergency Only,

Alarm Will Sound When Door is Opened.”

Sometimes, I found out, you have to ‘rock that boat’

to get some waves (or actions!)

A poster on my college dorm wall held an appropriate,

short, but sweet message that seems rather apropos:

“Behold the turtle!

It only makes progress,

by sticking its neck out!”

Justin and Torrie’s Love Story

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I could have titled this, “The Good Guy,” a best friend love story. Or I

could have given it a more interesting title, “The Layered Man ‘Wins’ His Girl.”

I have a difficult time deciding how to give a title and this is a very important

skill, I admire those who do such a wonderful time of catching my attention,

leaving some intrigue to help the reader to finish the story, find the meaning

in the title, too.

Since kindergarten, Justin had always liked Torrie. She was his best friend.

They never wanted to ruin their friendship by “taking it to the next level.”

Justin told me, “We never wanted to ‘go there.'” (No romantic moves were

made throughout all their school years.)

When Torrie came home from college, she had gotten married to a classmate

and chosen to have a Justice of the Peace wedding. From the moment that

Justin ran into them at their small town grocery store, he did not like the

guy at all. In Justin’s opinion, the way the guy looked and acted was like

a “bum.” He was concerned about Torrie’s poor choice in a partner and also,

worried about their relationship. When he went home and talked to his

mother, she told him,

“It is out of your hands, now.”

While they had been teens, Torrie and Justin leaned on each other during

heartbreaks. They had built a bond, but while Torrie had been away, Justin

had chosen to start working at the distribution center. I ran into him,

(almost literally!) while I was learning and wearing a neon training vest,

in heavy bulk. I had learned how to drive the pallet rider, load it with

the different heavy products such as struts and pipes, but was rather

challenged in my backing up skills. To get things to shipping, you literally

had to back into a lane, lower the fork lift and ‘drop’ the products. I

cut corners and had close calls, but one day, while Justin was nearby, I

backed up and hit another loaded pallet. My two different contacts, one

near and the other far, (since I could not adapt to bifocal contacts)

were to blame!

A lot of products got knocked off, along with a hamper of car parts fell.

Justin hurried over, he has the clarity and steely eyed look of Paul

Newman’s eyes. Deep and abiding blue. He had a sympathetic look, helping

reload the pallet, saying not to worry and other very kind things. While

he helped me for almost twenty minutes, he for some reason, shared the

above thoughts about Torrie.

He told me, along with the fact he had lost touch with her, except on

occasion to hear she had two children, was struggling to do her nursing,

along with her raising her girls. These snippets of news came from his

mother and friends who would run into Torrie.

Justin told me when he was straight out of high school, he had enjoyed

the elements of riding around on the equipment, moving pallets full of

incoming products, and wrapping the outgoing products using a wrapping

machine. He was adept with the job, gave a lot of time and attention

to his responsibilities and by 2009, risen to be the shipping clerk.

His next step, recently achieved, was being in 2013, the shipping

supervisor. This payscale jump has helped him with the ‘rest of his

story.’

When he told me about finding out about Torrie’s second child’s birth,

his jaw clenched and he said that he had to bite his tongue not to

tell his mother, he didn’t really want to hear anymore about Torrie’s

life.

This was soon changed.

A woman that I work for, may have mentioned somewhere along the way

in my work stories, Debbie, came up to me last week. She works in the

area called, Cycle Count. So, if I am in the pick to light area, and

a product is missing from the bins, I will push a series of buttons

that indicate, “back ordering.” Well, within minutes, this sends what

I call an ‘alarm’ but I am sure it is not accompanied by a sound of

an alarm, but one member who has been there for fifteen years, Debbie

arrives. This is nice, since the next pass down the lane or zone, will

mean I have a filled bin to pick from. This actually helps me with my

‘rate’ or time it takes to go up and down.

Debbie is about five years older than I am, saying that she hopes to

retire in about three more years. I have shown her pictures of my

grandchildren and she has shown me her daughter’s children and

grandchildren. I was particularly glad when she started to tell me

about her granddaughter who is in her late twenties. The daughter

has lovely reddish brown hair, her children all having brown eyes.

Then, her granddaughter has reddish brown hair and bright blue eyes.

Her three great grandchildren all have blue eyes, she showed me

their photos along the way, but had not ever shown the father in

any of her photos. Apparently, in 2011, her granddaughter, Torrie,

got fed up with being a busy nurse, mother and wife with a husband

who was a video game fanatic, rarely keeping a steady job. When he

lost his Pizza Hut delivery job, she decided to make a clean break.

Debbie said that summer, while pushing her daughter of three and

holding her six month old on her hips, she ran into her old and

dear ‘best friend ever,’ Justin. He was being the ‘good guy’ that

he ‘always was’ by taking his niece and nephew to the park. They

were 7 and 9, Debbie told me. They could run and play by themselves

at the park, while he chatted and offered to hold the baby so that

Torrie could put her three year old on her lap to swing together.

I perked up right away, I mean I had only known of two other Torrie’s

in my life!

One had been a sweet actress in my senior high play I directed, “Take

Her, She’s Mine.” The other one, had been a character in a love story

told to me in the summer of 2009, by Justin.

I asked her, “Was this man’s name Justin?”

She said, “Oh, you might know him on the shipping floor since he is

the supervisor. I didn’t realize you may know my granddaughter’s

husband.”

I asked, “How did it come about, since I thought she was single?”

And that is how she told me about running into each other, at the

Mt. Gilead State Park. How their ‘destinies’ were to become joined

by being each other’s best friends in the beginning and now, were

married. Debbie told me a few more details about her granddaughter

as I tried to continue to fill my orders, she followed me down

my zone. She told me that she had insisted on paying for a ‘big

wedding’ like she had always wanted. That the six month old was

about nine months, held in someone’s arms but the three year old

great granddaughter had been the flower girl and a cousin had

been the ring bearer. They had married in the Spring of 2012 and

have the littlest girl, in 2013. I admired the photograph, now

feeling very connected to their love story.

I could not have imagined when I heard the beginning of their love

story, told me by the considerate, sincere and quiet Justin in 2009,

that I would be hearing a happy ending.

This ‘happily ever after’ shone strongly in the faces of each member

of this family, like a shining beacon.

Debbie’s family portrait held the strongly bound lives of three

sisters, a loving mother, Torrie and father (stepfather), Justin.

What would you do if you suddenly were rich?

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Songs that have the words, “All I Want for Christmas” or “I’m Dreaming of a White
Christmas” make me think of the times that while on a trip, in our family, we would
“dream” or ask the question,
“What would you do if you were given a million dollars?”
Since I have posted a few stories that are more for those of one faith, I would like
to extend this question, broaden it to:
“What are your dreams and how would you make them come true, if money were no problem?”
I think I would right off the bat, give to my children each $100,000. I would hope
that they would understand that Mom cannot give all of the money to them! But, that
would provide a good start to their savings and since they have jobs, maybe they would
be satisfied with the helping hand out.
I would quit Advance Auto D.C. right away! I have been feeling my fingers getting numb
and think that my legs, body, etc. need to have an “easier life after fifty!”
I don’t complain, but when given a chance out of there, I would seize it and not look
back, except to keep in touch with some of my favorites, like Tammy, Melvin and Darryl.
They make me laugh, get me to relax and enjoy my lunch and breaks.
I would like to move to an apartment with two bedroom, furnish one with twin beds, like
Felicia and I had when I first moved into my present situation. I would furnish the
second room with a full or queen size bed. I would like an apartment like my ex-husband
has, with a pool nearby and a patio with a sliding glass door to the outside. I would
plant flowers and some tomato plants, too.
I would live on $30,000 or $35,000 a year, using the rest of the money as a combination
of saving and giving. I would be careful and choose the charities or projects that
deserved my donations, carefully. I would get a simple job with health care coverage.
I do believe that it is a good idea to “tithe” and I would do this to my faithful
and caring First Presbyterian Church. I would pray for insight and inspiration about
my choices.
I might consult someone who is in financial planning to ensure I make wise choices
about my savings and spending, too.
I think it is important to donate time and energy to projects. I am a big fan of Habitat
for Humanity and have volunteered only once (so far) for this in my town.
I should do it more regularly!
Money would allow me to have more time!
I am not sure if I could get a Monday through Friday position, but would try to find
a place that desired my abilities enough to accommodate that “dream,” too.
I would like to listen to live bands more!
I would get a computer and get my Wi-Fi turned back on!
You would still only see or hear from me once or twice a day, since I would like to
be able to spend more time volunteering at my grandchildren’s schools.
I would like to travel, far and wide, over hill and dale…
I would like to move my mother down here, but as my sister in law, Susan, has pointed
out, Cleveland is the “Mecca of Nursing Homes!” and she has settled into her very nice
apartment with plenty of Randy’s artwork there and the close proximity to brothers is
a plus, too.
I would spend more time driving up to visit her on the weekends! I would bring little
ones to visit and we would explore the area more, while I am up there!
This is all to say, that I am overall very happy with the skeleton of this dream, I
have my family, my apartment, my car and my job, so I am thankful for my blessings…
I would just expand my world a little bit, with the extra money, but being mindful to
keep most of the money in savings for the different bends and twists in Life.

Let me know what your dreams would be, if “money were no object!”

And I cannot help myself, when the child asks for “his two front teeth” as All He
Wanted for Christmas! (Do you believe that could really be all he wants? Smiles!)