Category Archives: Mexico

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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In a recent article, I read about someone who designed a “Pizza

Garden.” This inspired me to suggest you grow a vegetable garden

focusing on your children’s favorite foods.They will be more likely

interested in the garden’s outcome, if they enjoy the idea of what

it will end up in, in a prepared dish.

Since today we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought of some

vegetables that would be wonderful to include in a Mexican dish.

For next year’s Cinco de Mayo, grow a “Tacos Garden!”

In my son’s garden, he grew red, yellow, and green peppers, hot

red chili peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions,

corn, watermelons and pumpkins.

Last year, my son and his wife ‘canned’ the red, green and yellow

peppers and onions by being given small batches a quick dunk in

boiling hot water. Waiting for them to cool and then, freeze them in

large freezer quart Zip Lock bags, pressing them to remove all the

air bubbles.

I call this process, ‘flash freezing,’ but not sure if they told me this

or if it is really the correct label.

There may be a more accurate way of describing and naming this

process. My son and daughter-in-law chose to chop onions and

put them in freezer bags. They also used the method of scraping

the kernels off their ears of corn, where they could then boil them,

cool them and pack in freezer bags.

I think you may find how many seconds you boil each food item on

the internet, since they said you don’t want to boil any of the items

too much or they will be ‘mushy,’ when you defrost them.

For a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta meal, you could defrost onions, corn,

and choose your favorite peppers. While waiting to get olive oil,

in a skillet, nice and hot, finely chop up onions and the peppers.

When you have lightly browned the vegetables, set them aside.

If you use a pre-packaged taco seasoning, I recommend the

lower salt ones available.

If you already have a natural pack, or spice jar, prepared with

your favorite taco seasonings, add some of this to the skillet

with the appropriate amount of hot water.

The oil from the onions and peppers will be fine, if you don’t

get it too brown, or black. (Yikes!)

I like to use 80% lean beef, but have used cooked chicken cubes

or ground turkey.

If you are a vegan, you may find some recipes for using other

thickening agents.

On one of my last year’s comments, Celeste had added a link

which will help you out.

Some suggestions were to use tofu, eggplant, kidney beans and

other kinds of beans. If you do this, you may wish to use a soft

shell taco or tortilla.

I like to also top the meat with sliced tomatoes, but if you have

canned diced tomatoes, you may wish to use these.

Drain, of course, and add to the meat, once it has been cooked.

I usually make guacamole, purchase sour cream and low salt salsa

to add for extra spices.

You may vary this informal recipe, but the main focus I wished to

impart was,

This is the time to start planning your vegetable garden!

Having children get involved, is so much more fun and easily

done, when you call the garden, a “Pizza” or “Tacos” garden!

This idea was used in a public area by the Delaware Community

Market. There was a nifty, helpful article called,

“Growing Pizza in Delaware,” by Deena Kloss, in the July, 2013

edition of the free magazine, “Natural Awakenings.”

Here is a list of spices, that the children in the Delaware

gardening “Kids’ Club” planted last year, in the early part

of June:

1. basil

2. parsley

3. tomatoes

4. peppers

5. onions

The “Kids’ Club” was led by garden volunteers, Bob Sullivan-Neer

and Master Gardeners, Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas.

They also produced radishes, snap peas and arugula in raised

garden beds.

An amusing sight in the community gardens is a pink painted

step ladder, that got too ‘rickety’ to be used as a ladder. Some

purple morning glory vines were flowering last summer. They are

such a lovely sight!

Another interesting and fun way to ‘recyle’ old and no longer

useful household items included a wooden head- and footboard,

painted bright yellow. Some old wooden pallets, buried partially in

the ground, then, filled with dirt became literally a “flower bed!”

Brightly colored zinnias were popping out, making the kids happy,

last year, to pick bouquets for their parents. I like portulaca, since

you can pinch the dying seed pods and save to plant again the

following summer. They are quite hardy and colorful.

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I have added updates throughout this post about children’s

input in gardening.

I babysat my four grandchildren last Saturday night while their

parents had a much needed dinner out and a movie. The kids

were put in ‘charge’ of drawing or listing, foods that would be

ones they would like to grow in their garden.

My son had used individual art pads, using a ruler to add some

lines under the area their drawings would go.

I thought of another way of doing a garden art project, could be

to give the kids old gardening catalogs, scissors, glue sticks and

allow them to practice their cutting and gluing skills.

The grandchildren were excited about the project, which did help

me to keep them occupied for almost an hour. The littlest one,

age 4, Makyah decided that her scribbling free form vegetable

garden was rather hard to explain. I asked her if she would like

me to write her special vegetables, fruits and flowers down on

the lines provided. I also praised (of course!) her lovely use of

colors and designs.

I asked Kyah what the yellow swirls were and she labeled them,

“Corn.”

I wondered what the big bushes of green were and she said,

“Lettuce.”

She had purple stuff, which I asked if they were purple cabbage

and I remembered, too late, a valuable lesson:

**Note:  Never, ever try to guess what children’s drawings are!!

Kyah looked quite impatient and annoyed at me, scolding me,

“No, Nana! Can’t you tell those are flowers?!”

I asked if she knew what kind they were and in a rather superior

tone she said,

“Daddy will know what kind!”

Both Lara, age 10 1/2, and Landen, age 9, drew beautiful and

elaborate gardens with details. They needed some help with

spelling, but the finished projects were awesome.

Marley, age 6 1/2, was very excited about her drawing, stayed

the longest at the table, with her hands covering some of her

drawings, too.

Children will get excited as the plants grow and change. My

older grandchildren say their very favorite ones that came out

of last year’s garden were:

Corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes.

They mentioned having fried potatoes with onions and since

their mother doesn’t like onions, they told me,

“Daddy makes Mommy her own ‘batch’ of fried potatoes for her

breakfast!

Last but not least, you may remember that their garden produced

a ‘minor miracle’ last Fall!

Exactly 6 pumpkins, just in time for Halloween!

(One for each member of the family, parents included.)

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“Yo espero que tengan a muy bueno dia y hasta la luego!”

Sorry, I am not sure why the ’tilda’ on the 2 “n’s” did not appear!

I am not positive but I tried to say in my ‘rusty’ Spanish,

“I hope you had a very good day and see you when we meet again.”

Abrazos y besos.

Soul Food

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There are so many versions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which

really is a great collection of books. I felt happy when my youngest

daughter  started  reading,    “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”

She would have a big smile on her face, arriving at the dinner table,

taking each individual story and reading it as a daily devotional.

 

She would excitedly share about the impact in the story collections

of one life upon another. This, along with her two years of studying

as a confirmand, which is one getting ready in our Presbyterian

Church to be confirmed. . . all of the pieces were falling into place,

with her faith.

 

Here was a young girl, who at age 11, feeling pain in her joints;

already. My daughter was diagnosed at age 12 after being tested

and a surgeon wanting to cut into her knees. We chose to research

more and found out she had JRA. This is the acronym for Juvenile

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Felicia was diagnosed using blood samples,

at Children’s Hospital. She was ‘taken under the wing’ of a lovely

and giving physician named, Dr. Gloria Higgins.

 

If anything, Felicia could have quit playing soccer, would never

have pursued in high school, cross country and could have not

been so eager to learn in school. Her energy and her determination

earned her 10th place in the OCC for our high school in long

distance running. She enjoyed being a cadet journalist and “Girl

on the Street.” There were times I would accompany her to the

mall where she would take her microphone and ask questions

like,  “What are you buying for your significant other, Sir?” or

“What is the most popular toy in the store?” to a salesclerk or

busy manager. She would happily exclaim over the loud speaker,

the morning announcements ,

 

“Good morning, Hayes High School, this is Fox Oldrieve giving you

the news today.”

 

Let’s go back to elementary school, before she knew pain or had a

‘care in the world.’ She wrote an essay that won her third grade

class’ assignment on the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. She did

this once more and wrote an essay that won her fourth grade class’

assignment. The amazing thing to me was she also won the whole

school’s award two years in a row. She was asked to speak in front

of Ohio Wesleyan University’s annual MLK, Jr. breakfast. My secret

wish was for her to pursue this and become a newscaster. . . She did

study dual majors at University of Dayton in Communications and

Marketing. No, she is not in journalism.

 

Her goal is to help others in their pain management, encouraging

them to be careful of what they eat. Healthy choices for her and

she has documented what causes negative joint reactions in her

hands (knuckles), knees and her jaw bone. The way she helps

herself to feel less pain is gluten-free, no milk products, no

sandwich meats or other salty and less natural foods. We shall

see if she finds her dream of this come to fruition. This is not

what my focus is today.

 

Anyway, the books got her through difficult times, challenging

circumstances. When some people, coworkers and friends, start

to complain about aging and their aches and pains, I try not to

say this thought out loud:

 

“My daughter was told by not only Children’s Hospital but also,

due to her being a participant in an OSU study on rheumatoid

arthritis, she had the joints of a 65 year old at age 12.”

 

Here are two motivating quotations, written by John Caulfield,

taken from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II:”

 

~ One ~

“Her essay about the wedding ring was short. Kerr wrote,

‘Things are just things- they have no power to hurt or to heal.

Only people can do that. And we can all choose whether to be

hurt or healed by the people who love us.

That was all.

And that was everything.”

 

~ Two ~

“And so I wait.

I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to my feet once

again. So that I can start a new path, my own path, the one

that will make me whole again.”

 

Besides chicken soup what can we do to help strengthen our immune

systems?

There is always such diversity in lists given by different resources.

There are so many various food sources, also being cleverly labeled

as, “super foods.” A tag that this past ten years has labeled those

foods that give us healthy bodies and provide us rich sources of

“anti-oxidants.”

 

Using some of these ingredients will help you stay healthy on

the outside, your body will hopefully battle the daily coughs

and sneezes we are all assaulted with, in elevators, in cubicles

and in the library sitting next to someone you wish you could

say, “Next time, when you feel miserable and sniffly, would

you please stay home?”

1. Ginger-

a. Soothes upset tummies.

b. Relieves muscle pains.

c. Helps your vocal chords (voice to speak)and prevents coughs.

 

1. Chili powder of chilis-

a. Warm your mouth and ‘innards.’

b. Clear congestion.

 

3. Garlic-

a. Antioxidants boost your immune system.

b. Helps heart and lowers cholesterol.

 

4. Mint

a. Helps with colds and fevers.

b. Mixed with smashed peas, minted peas are getting popular.

c. Sipping on mint green tea, adding another antioxidant, lemon is

a great way of combining forces.

 

Tasty Alternatives in Soups:

~ Homestyle chili with Mexican spice, cumin, garlic, other seasonings

and flavorings both vegetarian or meat/beef style are very good for

us. Also, nice to have a big crock pot of this, so you can pack a few

meals up and be ready for work. (White bean chili is a new favorite.)

~ Garlic soup using sweet potatoes and cauliflower, with curry and

ginger spices.

~Also, some recipes for soups are adding cinnamon, paprika and

bay leaves.

~Roasted pepper and cheddar cheese soup includes cilantro, basil,

garlic and cumin.

 

One last ‘brag’ about my youngest daughter who handles her pain

and sometimes ‘suffering’ in silence and shows grace. I entered her

in her junior year of high school in a contest by the Columbus Dispatch,

“Who Is Your Hero?” She ‘won’ along with two others, in a three way

tie, the newspaper took a picture of the two of us, we won two tickets

to see Dustin Hoffman in “Hero,” first run movie and it was nice to

receive copies of the first page of the Arts and Entertainment

section from so many people in Ohio.

I mentioned something like this:

“At the end of the day, there are teenagers who would use any excuse

to get out of sports or work, but my daughter has a part-time job, is

involved with extracurricular activities and doesn’t complain. There

are many people around her daily who have ‘no clue’ of what she goes

through. It is nice when we are relaxing to sit downstairs while we

have a fire in the fireplace. But as she gets up, she winces. That pained

face moves me. When her stepdad offers to help her up the stairs, she

takes him up on the kind offer. You know that is when it really hurts

to know what she hides most of the time.”

 

What challenges do you overcome daily?

(Spiritual, emotional, seasonal, physical, mental or other?)

 

 

 

Unique December Facts

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“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

The good news is December has been declared Bingo Celebration

Month! I used to love it when my family would play this, with

guests. Sometimes my cousins, sometimes neighbors, we would

be out on the picnic table with our chips and our Dad would be

the one to spin the wire caged wheel and pull out the wooden

balls with the letters, “B,I,N,G” or “O.”

Did you know this is an ‘ancient’ game? It has been around since

the 1500’s.

I used to love being the “Caller” for Bingo at the Arbors Nursing Home,

while my residents were always happy to call out, “Bingo!” The young

volunteers would run over and give them their quarter. When the whole

card got filled, we would start all over again. The reward for a filled card

was one dollar bill. This was a big exciting reward to the folks who lived

there.

 

On a much more solemn note, December 16, 1944 was the day the big

“Battle of the Bulge” was carried out.

 

The Official End of WWII was on December 31, 1946.

Peace on Earth, Good will to Men.

 

Did you know every day of the month has a food item?

 

DECEMBER DAYS OF FOOD (Beverage or Other):

Dec. 1- National Pie Day.

Eat A Red Apple Day.

 

Dec. 2- National Apple Pie Day.

 

Dec. 4- National Cookie Day.

(Every day is this one for me! smiles)

 

Dec. 5- Repeal Day ~ Prohibition Day (U.S.).

National Sacher Torte Day.

(In Vienna, Austria a man named Franz Sacher created this

delicious chocolate, light cake or torte, in 1832.)

 

Dec. 6- National Gazpacho Day.

(Associated with Andalusia, part of Spain, but its roots go back

into Arab and other ancient times. Cold, savory soup, made of

raw vegetables.)

Also, National Microwave Oven Day.

(I do appreciate this electronic invention.)

 

Dec. 7- National Cotton Candy Day.

(Why is this in our winter? Is this for places who have fairs and

festivals in December?)

 

Dec. 8- National Chocolate Brownie Day.

Dec. 9- National Pastry Day.

Dec. 10- National Lager Day.

 

Dec. 11- National Noodle Ring Day.

(This is hard to find its roots, but mainly described as

a circle of noodles with a cheese incorporated into it,

attributed to Germany.)

 

Dec. 12- National Cocoa Day.

 

Dec. 13- National Ice Cream Day.

(Why, again, are we eating ice cream in the cold weather?

This must be made up by people in warmer climates.

Also, National Violins Day.

 

Dec. 14- National Bouillabaisse Day.

(I enjoy this savory, warm soup. It originated from fishing

villages in France. Marseilles may have been its first place

of origin, with three kinds of fish and Provencal seasonings.)

 

Dec. 15- National Cupcake Day.

 

**Dec. 16- National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!!**

Woo hoo!

 

Dec. 17- National Maple Syrup Day.

(This would be the perfect day or excuse to make pancakes

or waffles!)

 

Dec. 18- National Suckling Pig Day.

(This comes from mainly Chinese cuisine, but there are some

references going back to Roman times. This is a very young

pig, which has a lot of collagen in its skin, hard to ‘crisp up,’

while it is considered a delicacy.)

 

Dec. 19- National Hard Candy.

(What is your favorite hard candy?

My Dad’s was either horehound or cinnamon drops.

Mom’s was butterscotch drops. My favorite flavor is found in

either the caramel flavored Nips or Werther’s candies.)

 

Dec. 20- National Fried Shrimp Day.

(This makes me think of Louisiana cooking with crawdads or

prawns. This would be prepared as Shrimp Creole. I enjoy

the butter sauce with garlic infusion:  Shrimp Scampi.)

 

Also on the 20th- National Sangria Day.

“Ole!”

(You probably already know this is my Mom’s favorite wine

to sip on at bedtime, using a small juice glass. I have a

Spanish toast on another post…)

 

Dec. 21- National Hamburger Day.

Going from the red meat to fruit…

National Kiwi Fruit Day.

 

Dec. 22- National Date Nut Bread.

 

Dec. 23- National Pfeffernuesse Day.

(This traditional German spice cookie covered with powdered

confectioner’s sugar is one that takes me back to my Grandma’s

kitchen. It reminds me of the flavors of gingerbread cookies.)

 

Dec. 24- National Feast of the Seven Fishes.

(This comes from Italy, which celebrates the Wait or Vigil for

the Baby Jesus, by serving fish from the Mediterranean Sea.)

 

Also, National Egg Nog Day.

(I like this use of nutmeg, heavy cream and Irish whiskey or

other alcohol. Mom likes the non-alcoholic milky drink from

United Dairy Farmers.)

 

Dec. 25- National Pumpkin Pie Day.

(Just in case you didn’t get enough of this holiday pie at

Thanksgiving.)

 

Dec. 26- National Candy Cane Day.

Dec. 27- National Fruit Cake Day.

 

Dec. 28- National Chocolate Candy Day.

(Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter also celebrate

this national holiday- just being ‘facetious.’)

 

Dec. 29- National Pepper Pot Soup Day.

(There are recipes for this Jamaican cuisine along

with one from Philadelphia.)

 

Dec. 30- National Bicarbonate of Soda Day,

(Thank you for this Baking Soda Day. I like to use this

special rising ingredient in many baked goods, but can

taste it the most in homemade biscuits.)

 

Dec. 31- National Champagne Day.

(Say a toast to “Auld Lang Syne”  and Happy New Year, 2015!)

 

The research on some of these food items is not complete, but I did

look up the ones I did not know where the foods originated in. If

you would like to share a favorite family traditional food item in the

comments section, we would enjoy hearing about them. Thank you!

 

 

 

Tear-jerkers: Memorable plus Meaningful

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While discussing my recent movie reviews that were less than favorable, my friends

were suggesting I make a list of memorable and meaningful movies I would still

recommend despite sad, unusual or discouraging endings. This will help you to get

a better idea of my movie entertainment tastes and interests. Hopefully, this will

also spur some additions or explorations into movies you have not yet experienced.

 

I think that I may have overdone my expressing ‘dislike’ for “Gone Girl.” In the past,

while a younger and more adventurous woman, I may have hung on tightly to the

‘roller coaster ride’ of this fine, well-received movie. After all,  Jack Nicholson was

hugely entertaining in the suspenseful thriller movie, “The Shining.” Rosamunde

Pike was chilling in her portrayal of Amy, in “Gone Girl.” Reminds me how I did

enjoy Glenn Close’s psychotic character in 1987’s “Fatal Attraction.”

 

Lastly,  I hope to shed some light on the subject of movies, for ‘drop-in’s’ or new

visitors to my posts, who may think I am all sunshine and happy endings only!

 

Here is my List of Favorite Movies which are varied in subject matter, ‘genres’

and widely spaced in their production and release dates. They include ‘gooey’

love stories, star-crossed lovers,  along with ‘gory’ and intriguing plot lines.

 

1. “Deliverance,” a fine movie which featured great performances from both Ned

Beatty and Burt Reynolds. It was not pleasant, but it was informative and held my

interest throughout this feature. I am sure it won awards, too.

 

2. “Dr. Zhivago,” which probably did win an award for best song, “Lara’s Theme.”

If you loved this one, it may have been because you cherished the book, too. Julie

Christie was gorgeous, the scenery was captivating and I could not take my eyes off

of Omar Sharif. The historical element and the details were perfect, along with the

war-torn, epic love story.

 

3. “Diary of Anne Frank.” (No need to explain why this movie was significant. Along

with many of my mother’s friends thinking they chose exactly who should play this

role and Millie Perkins did an excellent job in the 1959 classic. The 2009 mini-series,

for television was a good one, to help bring awareness to another generation.)

 

4. “Casablanca,” made me fall in love with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

This iconic love story included historical features and another war story.

“Play It Again, Sam,” although a friend informed me, it never was included in the

movie. It is implied by both the main characters asking for him to play  the song,

“As Time Goes By,” more than once. It became a common expression, most young

people even know where it (sort of) comes from…along with Woody Allen using it

later,  in his film title.

 

5. “Flowers in the Attic,” recently remade, done well for television. This is an example

of a fascinating, dark subject, including incestuous behavior. It was a great book with

a well written script. Louise Fletcher, who did an outstanding performance in this

movie, also portrayed Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

 

6. “Love Story,” which brought my Dad and me together, reading it, first in the Reader’s

Condensed Version, which came to our house. Then, he went right out and bought the

full  hard book version. Our whole family went to see the movie, knowing we would need

tissues, enjoying Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal, in their roles.  “Not a dry eye in the (movie

theater) house.”

 

7. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which I jokingly say is to blame for my vastly

inappropriate husbands. Paul Newman and Robert Redford played the bank robbers, who

up until the very end, did not use guns to hurt people. The last freeze-frame of the partners,

coming out of their hiding place, to the Mexicans shooting their guns, is unforgettable. I

also, surprised my parents, by taking our Encyclopedia Brittanica out when we got home,

finding the “Hole in the Wall Gang” article there. They had thought it was a fictional story,

and later, proud of the efforts of both Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s philanthropic

projects: “Newman’s Own” foods (sauces, dressings and other products) and “The Hole in

the Wall” children’s ranch for those disadvantaged kids, other benefits like scholarships

available.

 

8. “Saving Private Ryan,” which is another sad story but it is more realistic than most

war stories. I point this out due to my brothers and others who enjoyed John Wayne’s

versions of war while growing up. The Viet Nam movies, such as “Apocalypse Now”

and “Born on the Fourth of July,” include violence, drugs, Agent Orange and some

powerful, memorable characters.

 

9. “Brian’s Song,” which won a few awards, I am sure. Brian Piccolo, along with

his best friend made sports and cancer a household subject to talk about. If it could

happen to a young, vital athlete, it could happen to . . . anyone.

 

10. “Flowers for Algernon,” which had the futuristic subject of how drugs could

potentially raise a person’s I.Q.  If you never saw this one, it is very well done. This

makes you appreciate the way science fiction can be gently inserted into a movie,

without being overdone. Matthew Modine plays the man with retardation, in the

newer 2000 version,  Cliff Robertson was the fine actor to watch in,  “Charly.”

Both were based on the short story, “Flowers for Algernon.”

 

11. “Clockwork Orange,” which was a book I was required to read in high school. Our

class went to see the movie together. It is not everyone’s “cup of tea,” but it was a break-

through movie with fantastic performances by a young Malcolm McDowell and directing

by Stanley Kubrick.  Anthony Burgess’ science fiction book was disturbing, but has

significance and meaning. Visualizing the book did not match how powerful the film was.

Our classhad great discussions after viewing this, about what personal rights criminals,

particularly juveniles, deserve. Where the boundary of “Big Brother,” (government and

courts) also begins and ends.

 

12. “Romeo and Juliet, ” which broke the ground rules of lack of male nudity prior to

this movie in the 70’s. I think you may know why anyone would like all versions of

this movie, since it is considered ‘classical’ to love Shakespeare.

 

13. “West Side Story,” with the Hispanics and Caucasians fighting over their areas

of the city or ‘turfs’ among rival gangs. A beautiful love story, with music and great

choreography. The movie’s ending could disappoint you, if you did not know it was

based on #12’s book and movie themes.

 

14. “Out of Africa,” which was absorbingly written by Isak Dinesen. It has Robert

Redford, Meryl Streep, many British actors and the scenery is outstanding. What a

magnificent love story!  The ending made my Mom and me weep in July, while we

watched this for our ‘umpteenth’ time. What I could not get over, this recent viewing,

was how young the two leading actors were, when they made this movie.

 

15. “White Fang,” other Jack London stories, have the naturalistic side of ‘survival of the

fittest,’ along with beautiful Alaskan and other frontiers featured. The 1991 movie, with

Ethan Hawke was ‘panned,’ by critics, given the “Rotten Tomato” award.

 

16. “Dallas Buyers Club,” AIDS and Matthew McConahey, along with the wonderful

supporting actors and actresses, made this a rich, intelligent, humor-sprinkled movie

about a serious subject. I liked Jared Leto’s sympathetic portrayal of a transvestite.

 

17. “Philadelphia,” with Tom Hanks. Need I say more? Fantastic movie, need your

tissues but I watched it again recently, it still ‘holds up’ to the test of time, my gauge

or ‘thermometer.’ Wide variety of actors, along with exploring our fears of HIV and

Aids in a movie. Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Philadelphia,” is hauntingly beautiful.

 

18. “Fargo,” the Coen brothers have done funnier, (“Raising Arizona” with Holly

Hunter and Nicholas Cage) but this one is the ONE that hangs in my mind, lingering.

If you were to compare it to anything else, in the way of ‘thrillers’ they would ‘pale.’

Great writing skills! Frances McDormand is excellent in capturing the Minnesota

accent and delivering a pregnant police woman realistic, classic  lines. William H.

Macy and Steven Buscemi are outstanding in their quirky parts.

 

19. “Steel Magnolias” had Julia Roberts dying. What else do you need to know? Many

famous actresses, including Dolly Parton, Sally Fields, and Shirley Maclaine bring

the comic relief. Good support from the male actors in this movie, also.

 

20. “Terms of Endearment,” with Shirley Maclaine, Jack Nicholson. Debra Winger

is dying. The family dynamics and the careful writing is a good combination, realistic

and gritty at times. Jeff Daniels plays the husband, who is not likable, a switch from

his typical roles.

 

I did not add a lot of old, classic and Iconic movies, since I know there are much better

critics of these, so please share… (like “The Count of Monte Cristo” or “In the Name of

the Rose.”)

 

What melodramatic movies do you enjoy, despite not always being popular with the

critics?

How do you like to escape into movies? Through romance, drama, action or historical

fiction or ??

May Flowers

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May, 2014

Monthly Calendar Time is Here Again!

Sending you bunches and bouquets of May flowers.

Flavia, poet and artist shares these words with all of us,

“Our time on earth is woven of infinite moments,

Each holding a promise and its own exquisite beauty.”

The flower for May: Lily of the Valley

The birthstone of May: Emerald

How appropriate that one of the sweetest, yet most delicate

flowers, with its tiny cups give us the fragrance for the

month! The color of green, is bursting in every direction

which makes the gem of the month, Emerald, also appropriate.

May 1st-

May Day is celebrated with live flower baskets or little

braided, woven paper baskets with tissue flowers, placed on

the porch of someone, a neighbor, possibly elderly… then,

press the doorbell or knock on the door and run! If you are

old enough to have been taught this custom, let me know!

(Oh, did you ever wrap ribbons around a May Pole?)

This is also, National Day of Prayer.

Also, in Mexico, it is considered their celebration of

Labor Day.

May 2nd-

This is in memorial to the first major protests of the

Viet Nam war or skirmishes. This took place 50 years

ago, today in:

New York Times Square, over 1000 people gathered.

San Francisco, Calif. over 700 protestors gathered.

The other locations where there were reports of this

were in Boston, Mass., Seattle, Wash. and Madison, Wisc.

May 4th-

Orthodox Easter

May 5th-

Get out and celebrate with a margarita, Sangria

or Cerveza!

!Cinco De Mayo!

The Battle of Puebla Day (Mexico) remembered.

May 8th-

Victory in Europe.

Veteran’s, we salute you for your service!

May 11-

Happy Mother’s Day!

I have composed a humorous, but respectful list

of what some may consider qualities or ‘jobs’

or the many “hats” that mothers wear:

1. Sit down at the kitchen table and ‘shoot the breeze.’

2. The kitchen smells like “home.”

3. The beloved story teller and keeper of traditions.

4. Lunch, snacks and dinner-maker.

5. Chief ‘bottle washer.’

6. Big giver of hugs and kisses.

7. One who gets ‘away with’ licking her fingers and

smoothing your hair!

8. Singer of bedtime songs, teller of bedtime prayers.

9. Source of unconditional love.

10. Hemmer, mender and sewer.

11. Nagger: “Don’t forget your boots, lunch…”

A nicer way of putting it, “Reminder” of things.

12. Rules maker and enforcer.

13. Chores list maker and giver of allowances.

14. Tooth Fairy and other magical moments.

15. Phone home.

16. Homework Officer.

17. Schedule Secretary.

18. Nurse.

19. Taxi service.

20. Knows our flaws and bad habits, but would

be our defender till the end!

May 14th-

Full Flower Moon.

May 17th-

Armed Forces Day.

Raise your flag, salute veterans and our current Army,

Air Force, Navy, Marines and other Armed Forces personnel.

Delaware Arts Festival. Downtown, for about

four crossroads and two blocks, art, music,

fun and neighbors circulate, purchase and

admire original artwork. Creativity abounds!

Festival food is also available! Yummy!

The Delaware County District Library takes

advantage of the large crowds and has their

Annual Book Sale, fundraiser on this day, too.

May 18-

Whit Sunday, Pentecost.

May 20-

Victory Day in Canada.

Victoria, Canada.

May 22- National Maritime Day.

May 26- Memorial Day

In the United States, we celebrate by having a three day

weekend, filled with parades and memorials for the ones

who have gone before us. We honor not only the military,

but go to the gravesites of our loved ones who have passed

away. We place plastic, silk or living flowers on those we

have loved’s graves. We put flags on the graves of ones who

served our country. I remember enjoying being in the Marching

Band, playing John Phillip Sousa marches. The song, “Taps,”

sometimes is the final, somber song at the cemetery played

on this Memorial Day.

In the United Kingdom, they celebrate with a Spring

Bank Holiday.

In the small book, with precious illustrations by

Joan Walsh Anglund, called, “Love Is a Special Way

of Feeling,” (1960, Harcourt Brace and World, Inc.)

“Love is a special way of feeling.

It is the safe way we feel

when we sit on our mother’s lap

with her arms around us tight and close.”

Flavia adds a quotation,

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

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

I like to include a few thoughts along with the calendar,

which I hope makes this post both meaningful and interesting.

I also am aware that the world celebrates many more holidays

and welcome some suggestions or additions in the comments’

section. Thanks for contributing to May’s Monthly Post!

Feburary Means “Love, love, love”

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Thomas Kinkade paints romantic and beautiful pictures,

which fill me with a deep sense of ‘home’ and ‘comfort.’

I get a true sense of Serenity, when I study his cottages

in quaint settings. One of his ‘artistic signatures’ is

to include warm, golden lights shining out of windows,

like ‘beacons’ leading us home.

In Thomas Kinkade’s autobiography and through personal

interviews, he shares his memories. While other children

were heading home from school in the winter, he would be

trudging home to a dark, empty house. He would look into

windows, along his walk home, to behold ones which held

such warmth and light. He remembers he would have moments

of envy and longing.

Thomas Kinkade wished to be living in those homes. His

mother was a single mom. The tables ‘were turned’ and

she would be the one coming home to a house where Thomas

had turned on all the lights to greet her. Here is a great

quotation for February from this sensitive, creative artist:

“To be romantic is to allow yourself to fall in love

with life. Experience it fully, openly, passionately

and purposefully.”

FEBRUARY

2/1/64- Fifty years ago today, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,”

(sung by the Beatles, or Fab Five) topped the charts!

On January 31st, 2014: the Chinese New Year was celebrated,

making this the Year of the Horse. February starts their

New Year! Happy Lunar New Year, China!

February 2-

Groundhog Day.

“Candlemas,” also called Feast Day.

This day commemorates the Presentation of Jesus Christ

at the Temple (or presentation of our Lord at the Temple.)

Celebrated by Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox and

Eastern Orthodox Catholic churches. It is the first

Feast of 12 Great Feasts.

As you know, whether you live in the U.S. or not, we have

had a rather ‘bitterly cold’ beginning to our year! We may

wish that the Groundhog would NOT see his shadow! Cloudy

days mean he would not run and hide. This folklore means

an Early Spring may come! “We love you, (Spring!) Yeah,

yeah, yeah!”

February 2nd is also Super Bowl Sunday!

Feb. 6-

Waitangi Day (New Zealand)-

This date commemorates a founding treaty that was

signed in 1840. It was called the Treaty of Waitangi.

Feb. 7-

Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sochi, Russia.

The Winter Games run until February 23, 2014.

2/9/64- Fifty years ago today, Ed Sullivan Show’s first

appearance of the Beatles. When Ed Sullivan saw them in

Europe, he observed the audiences being huge. (Stockholm

had an amazing turnout for their concert!) Ed Sullivan

compared their popularity to Elvis. He arranged with the

Beatle’s manager, Brian Epstein, for three consecutive

Sunday performances. The arrangement also meant the group

would get Top Billing but ‘bottom dollar.’ They were paid

a very small amount for their performances on this show,

with over 73 million viewers’ watching!

The Beatles’ arrival to the United States on Feb. 7th,

was greeted with a group of (estimated) 4000 fans. This

number seems rather low; by today’s standards of famous

fans and crowds. I remember my adult babysitter, Mrs. Boos’

teenaged daughter, Diana wept when she attended the Beatles

concert and also, when she watched the Ed Sullivan Shows’

four consecutive weeks’ performances. (Mrs. Boos told my

brothers, ages 5 and 7, while I was 8 1/2. Later, when

Diana went to Kent State University, she took me as her

sister for “Siblings’ Weekend.” These few occurrences

were Big Time Events in my growing up years!)

Fifty years ago later, a ” Grammy’s Tribute to the Beatles”

will be aired on CBS network, (Channel 10 in Columbus, Ohio).

Julia Roberts made this special announcement at the Grammy’s.

February 11-

Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday.”

February 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday

Ash Wednesday

The Lenten Season begins

February 14-

Valentine’s Day.

Full Snow Moon tonight.

Will this help kindle your romance or turn it wild?

A quotation suitable for Valentine’s Day from Thomas

Kinkade:

“Doing a small, loving thing with beautiful ‘panache’

can be as romantic as committing a heroic deed.”

Do you remember those days when you decorated a shoebox

with colored paper, folded hearts cut out so carefully

and adding doilies or heart stickers, too? Then, you may

have held your breath, when you came home from school,

opening and reading (sometimes) personal messages. Hoping

perhaps for a special hand written note, with ‘love’ in

its meaning…

Cherished thoughts of Valentine’s Days Past sent your way…

February 15-

National Flag Day of Canada.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

February 17-

Presidents Day

(United States’ government holiday,

means no postal service, banks and

the public libraries are closed.)

February 22-

George Washington’s birthday.

“Heritage Day” which is the given name for

celebrating the Founder of the United States.

In folklore, both Abraham Lincoln and George

Washington became known for their honesty.

We have “Honest Abe.”

We have these famous coined words for George,

as a boy, “I cannot tell a lie, Father, I chopped

down the cherry tree!”

Soon, this short month will fly by and we will be

blessed with warmer climates here in the Mid West

U. S. and all those countries even with us on the

globe, who are shivering in the Winter months!

February 24-

Flag Day or “Dia de la Bandera,” is Mexico’s day of

celebrating their flag.

December Around the World

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This is an exciting month for many people around the world! I hope

you  will find some interesting facts about holly or other news here,

along with some important dates to remember. My Mom told me that

she and Dad liked to decorate the mantel over the fireplace, with yew

branches.

I always feel there is a sense of wonder, magic and celebration in the air!

DECEMBER

2nd~  New Moon

“To have a project prosper, start it during the new moon.” Old Farmer’s

Almanac, 2013.

Hanukkah which started on November 28, 2013 lasts eight days. This

would mean that (I think) it would end on December 5, 2013, counting

the beginning day.

7th~  Pearl Harbor Day

Remembering the bombing of Pearl Harbor and how sad we felt when

our own “territory” was attacked.

12th~  National Poinsettia Day

While in Mexico, U.S. Minister Joel Roberts Poinsett (who died on this day

in 1851), came across a striking native plant. He later introduced the

plant in the United States. It became known as a Poinsettia, named in

his honor for bringing it to our attention. We love the bright pink, red

and white flowers using them to decorate around our house for the

holidays. Mom loves the pink ones the best.

17~  “Full Cold Moon”

“When ’round the moon there is a “brugh” (sounds like “bruff”)

The weather will be cold and rough.” Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2013.

Wright Brothers Day is also celebrated on Dec. 17th.

21st~ Winter Solstice

After today, the days get lighter meaning there will be more daylight

from this day onward. Celebrate by sowing lettuce seed in a pot. Or

you could try your hand at planting a window herb garden.

Place in a sunny kitchen window.

25th~ Christmas

“The holly’s up, the house is all bright,

The tree is ready, the candles alight.”

Written by German composer, Carl August Peter Cornelius (1824-74).

26th~ Boxing Day in Canada

Also, Kwanzaa begins its celebration on December 26th.

31~ New Year’s Eve

Enjoy this last night of 2013 and the beginning of new adventures and

dreams around the world…

May Peace On Earth somehow, magically reign!

I always enjoy watching the different cultures shooting off firecrackers

and having parades with dragons, along with so many other traditions

on the television shows. I have found that HGTV and PBS have some

interesting focuses on New Year’s Eve.

Out in the country, be careful when shooting off your guns into the air!

Here is a section on planting for the woodland creatures and for using

holly in decorating, too:

Old fashioned wished to “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” resound

from my post to yours! Here are some facts about Holly (Ilex). It may be

considered evergreen or deciduous. They offer a variety of leaf types, dull

or glossy, shades of green or blue-green. Sometimes they have yellow or

white “splashes.”

Grow a few with broad, pointed leaves such as Chinese holly (I.coruta),

along with others that feature narrow, oval leaves such as inkberry

(I.glabra).

A type known as “ferox” (I.aquifolium) is also called Hedgehog holly and

has spiny edges.

I hope I have these facts correct from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2013.

If you are botanists, please feel free to give any needed amendments!

In our old house, I loved to cut different evergreen branches and holly

sprigs to decorate in vases, baskets with a hidden dish containing water

and even a wooden bucket by the hearth with the varieties mentioned.

The natural presentation of holly adds such a lovely scent to your rooms.

An arrangement can be made with different types to contrast and add

dimension, plus the bonus of the red berries to brighten it up. Arranged

in any kind of container you can imagine provides some extra oxygen to

the indoor environment, too.

Scents to enjoy during this month: Seasonal Aromatherapy!

*Spicy or pungent scents*

1. Evergreens boughs and branches.

2. Cranberry strings draped on branches of your trees.

3. Oranges with cloves stuck into them.

4. Cinnamon brooms or pine cones in a basket.

5. Hot mulled apple cider or eggnog with nutmeg.

*Sweet or yummy baked goods scents*

1. Sugar or Spritz cookies, so sweet and buttery, too. I like mine iced!

2. Gingerbread cookies (Don’t forget to read the Gingerbread Man or

Gingerbread Baby (I like Jan Brett’s version best.) books to little ones!)

3. Anise flavoring (licorice tasting) in Pfefferneuse (Germany) and

Pizzelles (Italy).

4. Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Butter Nut (made

with pecans) Balls melt in your mouth! These are coated with powdered

sugar on them.

5. Kuchen (Germany), fruitcake or coffee cake. What is your family’s

breakfast holiday treat? My Grandmother made kuchen, my Mom

made those cinnamon rolls with orange glazed icing that you could

squeeze from a tube.

*Tangy and Cheery Scents*

1. Oranges in jello or in the toe of your stocking hung by the fire.

2. Grapefruits to be sectioned, balancing some Vitamin C in your diet.

3. Warm cocoa with marshmallows in a big pot on the stove when you

come in from playing in the snow or taking a walk in your boots.

4. Popcorn to string on your trees and happen to be popped into one’s

mouth, too!

Whether you believe in Christmas or any of the hoopla attributed to it,

it is hard not to think of the history of such figures as:

Father Christmas

Santa Claus

Kris Kringle

Saint Nicholas

and if you have any interest in looking them up and providing more about

them on your own posts, go for the countries and when they began to be

observed.