Category Archives: museum

Lighthouses and Sailing Away: July, 2015

Standard

I arrived up on Lake Erie last Friday. It has been a marvelous week with my

“Mamacita,” who is such a dear one and a blessing.

I enjoyed the anticipation, the way I looked more closely at the scenery

and have enjoyed relaxing and being lazy, once I got here. We went

grocery shopping shortly upon my arrival.

We always have plenty to eat with my Mom insisting on buying cookies,

chips, dip, wine (Sangria) and ice cream in at least 3 flavors.

We have plans today to visit my niece and her husband, living in my

parents’ retirement home. They were married Summer of 2014, with a

tent on the side yard and all the family present.

The family picnic (Saturday, July 3rd) will include newly arrived guests,

Skyler, Micah and my oldest daughter, Carrie. They drove up last night

and we had fun visiting and hearing about their week, since Mommy was

on vacation..

Other ‘picnickers’ will be both brothers, Mom, niece, her husband, baby

Jackson, older junior high daughter, Vaya, and my sister in law.

Mom’s and my  ‘food assignment’ was being in charge of bringing dessert.

After carefully looking over the bakery, rows of frozen desserts while

debating which ones would like our choices, we bought our offerings-

frosted red, white and blue cookies, (an instant hit with the children),

strawberries we cut up last night and added sugar to make a syrup

overnight, can of real whipped cream, angel food cake and a package

of “short cakes” which each person can choose their cake base, take

a scoop of strawberries, add vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream.

My brother is bringing corn, watermelon and sister in law made a potato

salad. My niece and her husband are making hamburgers and hot dogs.

My other brother bought free range chickens to barbecue on the grill.

We have our bag of sunscreen, sunglasses, Mom’s special necessities,

two towels, my bathing suit and sundries packed and ready to go.

Tonight, there will be fireworks all along the lake. We will see the boats

go towards the East, then will see them head back West.

The Lake makes me think of the 12 lighthouses, bordering the Northern

edge of Ohio.

Here is a list, not in any particular order of their locations along the coast,

of a dozen scattered lighthouses along Lake Erie. . . some with memories

attached:

1. Vermilion Lighthouse.

This town is where my parents chose to live from the late 80’s until 2011,

when my Mom moved into her Senior Living Apartments. Now my niece

and her husband live on an appropriately named, “Edgewater Drive.”

2. Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse.

I have been to Fairport Harbor Beach, as a child swimming with my family.

3. Port Clinton Lighthouse.

I have toured and seen this beautiful memorial and museum on the island.

4. Huron Harbor Lighthouse.

We used to go to a little Episcopalian Church there, while growing up in

Sandusky.

The church was along the waterfront, across from the lake side of the

street.

5. Toledo Harbor Lighthouse.

While I attended Bowling Green State University, in B.G., Ohio, I visited the

Toledo Zoo and was invited to eat in a restaurant along the Toledo Harbor.

On another occasion, I enjoyed a second  harbor visit. A boyfriend and I first

spent time wandering around the art collections and gardens at the Toledo Art

Museum.

Then, having completed this fantastic day, escape from studying and  school

projects, we spent a luxurious dining experience in a waterfront restaurant.

Memories of such beautiful sea- or lake- side evenings, wherever you may

have visited, include so many senses touched or ignited. Anytime when you

can look out upon the vast, dark sky, while spying distant ships, stars and a

shining beacon of light, blinking off and on, rotating to protect the harbor, you

will be moved.

I hope sometime in your life you have been to a lake, an ocean or spent an

evening on an island.

I hope the beauty and majesty of lighthouses is part of your memories. . .

6. Ashtabula Lighthouse.

7. Marblehead Lighthouse.

Another childhood memory, where I was with my parents and my father’s

coworkers.

It has a funny sense of my mother’s annoyance and slight jealousy of one

of his secretaries. I have written this in a post about jealousy ‘at any age.’

8. Old Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.

9. Cleveland Harbor Lighthouse.

It is strange, but I know I have seen this lighthouse many times, but there is

no ‘imprint’ upon my memory bank. I have seen fireworks from a park nearby

here.

The ships are large, looming in this busy harbor, there are more restaurants

along the “Flats” than on Cleveland’s downtown lake’s edge.

10. Conneaut Lighthouse.

11. South Bass Island Lighthouse.

This is one of several islands, from Sandusky Bay to Kelley’s Island,

South Bass, Port Clinton and others… A wonderful and worthy scenic trip,

reasonably priced.

12. Lorain Harbor Lighthouse.

This one is a large lighthouse that has been one where we have sat along

the beach to watch at night. The area is well kept, has a refreshment stand

where Mom and I bought ice cream and heard first a reggae band, then a

Hispanic group sang and played. My Mom and I danced to the Spanish

music, while she tried to sing the lyrics.

On Maine Historical Society Website, I found a book by Henry Wadsworth

Longfellow. It has a collection of poems,”The Seaside and the Fireside.”

This anthology includes 8 poems about the Sea with 12 about sitting and

dreaming by the Fire.

One of Longfellow’s famous and beloved poems,

with just three passages shared in this post,

the opening, middle and closing one, below:

“The Lighthouse

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(1850)

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,

And on its outer point, some miles away

The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,

A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.”

. . .

“And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,

Through the deep purple of the twilight air,

Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,

With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!”

. . .

(After the middle, there is a sea bird that crashes into

the glare of the lighthouse, dying and the dramatic

poet, H.W.L., mentions Prometheus chained to a rock.)

. . .

“Sail on!” it says,

Sail on, ye stately ships!

And with your floating bridge the ocean span.

Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,

Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!”

The End.

(You may view this, in its entirety, but I chose the most

beautiful passages, in my mind’s eye.)

Last year’s music news of 2014, spoke of a ‘comeback album,’ for one of

my all-time summer favorites: Christopher Cross.  It is hard to believe his

album, titled,” Sailing,” has been out and sailing along into the sunset,

since 1979.

Did anyone listen to this album, since this post originally was published

in 2014? I have missed any of the singles on this, while listening to the

radio, daily and on longer trips to Mom’s.

I am quite content with his older one, which features lovely lyrics.

In “Sailing,” there are poetic words of paradise, tranquility, miracles

along with innocence, with canvas dreams.

“And if the wind is right, you can sail away to find serenity.”

Another passage near the end…

“Dream and wind carry me and soon I will be free.”

The Arthur movie, with the song, “The Best that You Can Be,” won Chris

Cross, an Oscar in 1981, he has been often in Germany performing, along

with on stage with country groups, like with “Alabama.” A couple years’ back,

“Lemon’s Theme” was written for the discontinued comedy television show,

“30 Rock.”

I am excited by the 2014, “The Secret Ladder,” album but have not heard

any newer songs attached to this. On Wikipedia, it lists a 2013 album by

Christopher Cross.

All I wish to express here is a combination of expectant excitement and

pleasant feeling of being swept away, if not on a sailboat, possibly an inner

tube, down a cool and easy river.

Christopher Cross singing his upbeat songs, using his fantastic, smooth

voice will be something  I still have to look forward to, someday getting to

hear the newer songs.

If only in my dreams…

I hope this spurred on memories of sandy beaches, water experiences by

a body of water; stream, river, lake or ocean.

If not, a pool is a nice cooling off place to suggest. . .

Did you ever have an emotional experience, almost magical or spiritual,

while you were by some form of water?

If you would like to list something you did or plan to do to celebrate the

holiday, please know I may not respond until July 5th or 6th, once I get

back home. . .

If you have already liked this post, written last year and then edited to

include new baby boy, Jackson, my grandsons Micah and Skyler, their

Mommy having a 2015 vacation all week, then don’t feel bad not pushing

“Like” button once again. I am thankful for this re-blogging, since some

of the details remained intact. Others, I updated. . .

Have a fantastic Fourth of July, if you are in the U.S.

If not, hope you are having a wonderful weekend!


Go Forth: Go MOMA Art! Go Golden Globes, and Go Bucks!

Standard

Tragedy struck us through our worldwide connections and in our own

personal, creative bones. We felt the shattering pain and anguish.

Many areas of the world are in our thoughts and prayers.

Especially France.

 

Please allow me to cheer you up with some ‘pieces’ of France being

shown on display here for all of us to view. . .

 

Go Henri Matisse:

Be Inspired!

 

This may not be appropriate but there is beauty to celebrate still.

The Museum of Modern Art has a fantastic collection of Henri

Matisse’s last pieces of artwork. The curator of MOMA gave us

a glimpse of the fine examples of his cutting with scissors and

designs. These were made at the end of his 84 years in life, when

he had become nearly an invalid, not venturing out very often

into the world. The curator told CBS Sunday Morning reporter,

Matisse continued sharing and

expressing himself through:

“Reducing colors to the essentials.”

Later, the curator who is giving a tour of the new exhibit of

Henri Matisse, lets us know where she stands about those who

may be stuck inside,

“An artist should never be a prisoner . . . or set away from the

outside life.”

Do you remember making mosaics out of cut paper? Do you

also remember how much fun it was to fold a paper in half

and produce a heart or a pumpkin?

I remember how wonderful it was to make little cuts into the

heart and make it become quite detailed and adding scrolls

and curlicues.  Try this with red or pink paper, making the

same kind of cuts you made while creating snowflakes.

 

One of the major cut paper works Matisse made was of a

great big mural of swimmers, some were diving, others

intertwined and still others, heading off into the pool of

water, solitary gymnasts.

 

Henri Matisse grew up bin the textile district of France.

Some of his cuttings became ones out of thin, sheer fabrics.

He hired assistants to pin the cut paper or fabric pieces up on plain

sheets of paper, giving directions to how they should be arranged.

There are black and white photographs capturing the over seventy-

year old man starting and planning this new way of expressing

himself, having put down the paintbrushes by this time.

 

Henri Matisse’s paper designs were incorporated into a lovely book

called, “Jazz” which if full of jazz musicians and musical notes. He

was commissioned to produce images that the onlooker becomes

absorbed into, viewing players and instruments of the musical

scene. You can almost hear the jazz notes and rhythms through

the flow of the brightly colored impressionistic designs. They are

modern and yet, so timeless found in the 1947 book. In the 1985

and 2003 editions, with fewer artistic representations, are ones

which were introduced by famous people. The circus and theater

were also influential in his imaginative portrayals of musicians.

 

Go Golden Globes:

Be Entertained!

 

I won’t tell you who will look the most beautiful nor will I

concentrate on the two amusing and beautiful hostesses for

this grand affair. I will tell you my personal favorite movies

and the song I will hope to hear winning Best Song. I will

choose the best actor and actress in both the dramatic film

arena and  the always odd combination of comedic/musical

presentations.

 

 

Best Actor in a Dramatic Film Role~

**I would hope that Eddie Redmayne would win this Best Actor

Golden Globe award.

“Theory of Everything” has the fine skill of transforming Eddie

Redmayne into a very debilitated Stephen Hawking. It is a very

upbeat and triumphant movie and Eddie’s ability to make you

believe he is actually suffering from ALS is incredible.

Although there are many worthy actors for this category, I felt

portraying Stephen Hawking in a believable manner was the

most challenging character role to fulfill.

If I were to choose others, “Selma” leading actor David Oyelowo,

Benedict Cumberbash would also get ‘nods’ from me.

 

Best Actress in a Dramatic Film Role~

Many would say Rosamund Pike is the one who really created

an eerie rendition of the main character in, “Gone Girl.” I would

agree she really portrayed this despicable character well.

I would also like to say if Amy Adams had not just won last year’s

award, (she was nominated for two movies last year) for “American

Hustle,” she may deserve this honor for the movie, “Big Eyes.”

I have not seen Julianne’s double movie roles in “Still Alice” and

“Maps to the Stars” but just watched her in the 2013 movie, “What

Maisie Knew,” which was a four star movie role. She played an out

of control musician from a rock band, who loves her daughter,

Maisie. The character is not able to grasp what is needed to carry

out her role as a mother. It was a very good and interesting role

for Julianne. I will try to see the more recent two movies that were

nominated for her performances.

**Overall, in my own experience, I would choose from my ‘gut’

reaction and hope that Reese Witherspoon wins for her role in

the movie, “Wild.”

 

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Film:

Emily Blunt in “Into the Woods” is my favorite in this category.

(I wish James Corden could win, but this may not be his year.)

 

Helen Mirren is loved by actors, critics and audiences, so she

may win the Golden Globe in this category for her wonderful

character shown in “The 100 Foot Journey.”

 

 

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Film:

I would say that Michael Keaton will win, he is the “favorite,”

for his role in (what I consider a dramatic/fantasy role) in the

movie, “Birdman.”

I think that Ralph Fiennes did a great job in the Budapest Hotel

movie and that Bill Murray showed humor and depth in his role

in “St. Vincent.”

 

2015 Prediction:

The song I liked the best was from the recent 2015 movie, “Unbroken,”

while the credits are rolling. The song and dramatic musical score

are haunting and beautiful. This movie is outstanding, telling the

true story of Louis Zamperini. It is very emotional and worthy of

winning Best Picture of the Year in 2016.  Bill and I saw this two

days ago and found it to be a powerful story of the triumph of the

human spirit. It will probably win for Best Director, Angelie Jolie,

Best Movie, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

Best Film of 2014:

“Boyhood,” took 12 years to make. It filled two entire pages in the

“Cleveland Plain Dealer” about the way Richard Linklater directed

this movie, choosing to follow a boy for twelve years starting when

he was little. It will win due to its being a ‘First of its Kind.” I have

myself on a ‘wait list’ at the library for this one. I want to watch it

at home, stop it, pause it, rewind it, since I will enjoy the story of

this boy’s life unfolding.

 

I felt this way about both the two other serious movies I saw since

2015 started. They came out late in 2014. “Theory of Everything”

shows motivation and strength of character. The reality of ALS,

after Stephen Hawking was told he would only live two years after

this disease started racking havoc on his body, then living past 72

years and hopefully going strong. An amazing and powerful story.

 

“The Imagination Game” shows Alan Turing overcoming prejudice,

obstacles and using his genius mind to ‘fight’ the Germans. This film

proved science and knowledge can be fascinating subjects for a movie.

 

Best Songs from 2014 Movies:

I cannot choose, I love both of these singers and songs.

Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye singing, “Mercy Is” from the movie,

“Noah.”

John Legend and Common singing, “Glory” from the movie,

“Selma.”

 

 

In the Category of Animated Films, I would choose “Big Hero 6”

since my grandsons learned about compassion from this film. It

was a fun children’s animated movie where the idea of creative

thought is also presented.

For artistry and creativity, (yet not so entertaining for children),

I would recommend “The Book of Life.” This colorful and very

intriguing film had scary designs that resembled voodoo images,

but would be great for older children. This could inspire art projects,

too. The others in this category were all entertaining including “The

Lego Movie.”

 

 

 

 

Go Buckeyes:

Get Motivated!

 

Ohio State University is playing the championship game on

Monday night, so this may be the last of my posting. I will

head home after work, take a nap and hope we win over the

Oregon Ducks in the College Championships!

 

 

 

 

Cleveland Musician Returns

Standard

I would have liked my early Christmas gift to have been to go this

Thursday,  December 4, to see the J. Geils Band play with Bob

Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I had seen J. Geils at the Agora

in Cleveland with my good friend who had “rockers” for parents,

way back when. The ‘front man,’ Peter Wolf, has a new album

coming out in 2015. Let me be one of the first to let you know

this incredible news.

If Peter Wolf had had his way, he would also have included the late

great Bobby Womack on it, since he also is a former Clevelander.

You may or may not have known Bobby Womack passed away last

June, aged 70 years old. A fantastic singer and also a great one to

join and collaborate with others.

This will be the return of Wolf’s music, after a five year hiatus from

creating. But Peter Wolf never stopped performing. His schedule is

quite busy. His last album, “Midnight Souvenirs” is worth another

“listen,” since his habit of asking other artists to join him included

Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynne and Neko Case. What an outstanding

group and I need to listen to the 2010 album more.

Peter Wolf had not been back to Cleveland since 2005, when he

had performed a tribute to Sam Cooke. That particular night and

memory was shared with Chuck Yarborough of the Cleveland Plain

Dealer. There were Solomon Burke, Elvis Costello and all of Sam

Cooke’s brothers singing with Aretha Franklin. The infamous song

rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come” was their group-shared

performance. “The Blind Boys of Alabama” were part of this great

soulful evening, too. I wonder if this is filmed in its entirety and if

can be found on Youtube?

Peter Wolf mentioned his enjoying meeting the Cleveland famous

newscaster and journalist, Jane Scott. He said she was ‘dear to

their hearts.’ (Some may have read a post where I mentioned that

Michael Heaton, Patricia of “The Middle” fame’s brother went to

school with me. He is working on a documentary of all those many

rock and roll musicians who remember Jane Scott.)

Wolf also mentioned another performance stage location in Richfield,

which is called the “Coliseum.”

Pete Wolf’s small little comment,

Cleveland “means so much more than that Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame.”

Peter is eluding to the fact that J. Geils Band has not made it into

the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (yet.)

Since 1967, with memorable hits such as “Centerfold” and “Freeze

Frame,” along with the slightly silly song, “Love Stinks,” the Band

certainly should someday be handed this reward. Their longevity

alone, in its variations along the way, should give Peter Wolf his

earned recognition with the entire past ‘cast’ of the Band. His solo

career is a fine collection of musical albums, too.

 

It made me smile a bit, when Peter Wolf’s recent Plain Dealer

interview made it seem like Bob Seger and the Silver Bullets

Band are young ‘whippersnappers,’ compared to the longer

running band, J. Geils Band. Bob Seger’s group is part of the

2004 inductees of the R and R Hall of Fame.

An interesting memory of a past major concert that played in

Detroit really made Peter Wolf’s point of age and time being

fickle to those who deserve recognition:

 

“The first time we played Detroit, it was the J. Geils Band,

MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges and Mitch Ryder and the

Detroit Wheels.”

 

Guess who was the opening act?

Bob Seger.

 

(The reversed roles doesn’t bother Peter Wolf, ever gracious to his

fans and Cleveland.)

 

Peter Wolf’s band will be the lead-in  or ‘warm up band’ on Thursday.

Both bands are in my list of favorites of all time, so wish I could

travel North on this day, but really I don’t want to use a vacation

day on Friday.

And if I danced all night, I definitely would need the day to

recuperate.

Do you remember the J.Geils Band and did you ever go to see them

live? Would you prefer Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band over

J. Geils?

Is there a group who you follow and enjoy listening to, who has not

made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Spots Make Me Dotty

Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ways we use spots and dots in our everyday lives.

 

So, let me get us started. . .

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

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

me a ‘spot’ of cash?”

 

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

“Stars are mere dots in the sky.”

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

have a dog named, “Spot?”

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

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

Do you?

 

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

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

“Come on, Gal.”

Wordplay is always something our family enjoys.

 

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

Do you like spots on dogs?

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

sweet inside, along with being ripe.

 

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

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

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

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

 

When I think of an ice cream with spots,

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

in church.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

alarm, since it could be measles.

 

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

Have you played this with your children or grandchildren?

 

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

 

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

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

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

and glasses.

 

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

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

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

 

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

are also not likely to change.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

with the music of Electric Light Orchestra.

 

You may get into some ‘tight spots.’

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

boy or girlfriend.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

“Would you like a ‘spot’ of tea?”

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

may yell, ‘Everyone get on their spots!”

 

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

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

your spots.”

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

songs:

“If I Didn’t Care”

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

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

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

“The Gypsy” their # 1 song.

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

Fame in 1989.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trio of 2014 Children’s Books

Standard

When parents get book order forms from school, sometimes it can be overwhelming

and also, stressful when they have a limited budget. I remember my three kids bringing

home their school picture order forms, their sports group picture forms and then, on

top of all this, Scholastic book order forms. Of course, all school book fees, new clothes

and shoes, sporting equipment also came during the same time of year.

Occasionally, my Mom and Dad may have dropped a check off in the mail, which would

cover some of the items mentioned. I had child support for two of three children, along

with a carefully budgeted babysitting fees from my clients’ list. All of the five children

I watched stayed with me for the seven years I watched them, who were from parents

whose careers were either as professionals or a combination of positions. I could count

on them paying me regularly on Fridays. I had typed up a babysitting contract which

included paying me for sick days or times their children stayed home. Also, for vacations

they chose to take. If I ever needed to call them to ask them to use one of my  ‘back up’

babysitters then I would not get paid, same if I chose to take a rare vacation. I think I

‘called in sick’ on only three occasions in the  7 years, 9 summers  watched their kids.

When we were closely tied like we were, they would tell me when their vacations were

planned. We also would try to have seasonal family gatherings where we would get

our schedules in ‘synch,’ planning sports, extra curricular activities like gymnastics

and jazz dance classes, karate for the kids who chose this outlet. All 8 children, mine

included, took swimming lessons the same 6 weeks, usually in August, hoping the

water would be nice and warm in the morning.

I am rambling a bit, to tell you that my own children fit a lot into their budget.  I did

not expect to receive 5 x 7″ school pictures nor have the joy of seeing the choices of their

Book Fair. My oldest daughter pointed out that the Book Fair is during Parent-Teacher

conference time so you have extra time on your hands. Also, a little bit of pressure to go

wandering around with the kids to check out the books. I reminded her that the boys

have library cards like the three of ‘them’ (my own children) had from early years on.

I also would tell their teachers this, including what I thought was a valuable lesson,

which was to choose books and return them regularly allowed my kids to have many

more books, choosing far more than what we would need to have in our home. She

listened and told me they each were told they could choose one nice book to keep.

The boys, Skyler and Micah, already have a nice collection of hardback books in

their bedroom.

My daughter in law has the children’s book shelves in the play room, which means

they can sometimes need to be reorganized and cleaned up. She allowed the four

children to choose a book, with the two oldest, Lara and Landen, picking chapter

books.

The two little girls, M & M, each chose a book. I felt the ones I was most interested

in viewing would also be the ones you would be curious to hear about. I will include

Micah’s to round this out with a boy’s choice. This ‘trio’ of enjoyable selections is

a collection of picture books that were so endearing and entrancing. Along with one

that is quite dramatic!

 

1. “Flora and the Penguin” is a 2014 book with 40 pages, written and illustrated  by

Molly Idle. Last year, she won the Caldecott Honor for a wordless picture book called,

“Flora and the Flamingo.” The flamingo and little girl dancing in the different scenes

was quite beautiful and artistic.  Makyah chose the newer book since she loves the

movies, “Happy Feet,” and “Happy Feet Two.” It is one which will appeal to both boys

and girls, ages 3-5 years old. The author, Molly Idle,  mentioned the quote, “Actions

speak louder than words.” Since Makyah is the ‘baby’ in her household at age 3, I felt

this was a wise choice. She can tell adults or her siblings, what the pictures mean to her,

using descriptions and  her vivid imagination, to tell her own story about Flora. At her

preschool, Kyah is learning how to find her own voice, letting others know what she

thinks.

 

 

2. “The Iridescence of Birds,” a Newberry Medal winner, written by Patricia Mac Lachlan,

was chosen by 5 1/2 year old kindergartner, Marley. This is a 40 paged hardback book

which has a wonderfully illustrated story about Henri Matisse. The book has the small town

in Northern France, where the little boy and young artist grew up. It is winter and Henri

feels it is cold and dreary. The pictures show shades of grays in the gloomy scenery.  In the

true story of his life, Henri’s mother paints plates. Henri’s mother has him help her to set

out plates which radiate colors. His life brightens up when he puts fruits and flowers out to

inspire her painting. Rainbows shown in the book are like a prism (to his life) has been

added to every scene. Glorious!  This story of Henri Matisse’s young childhood is like an

‘ode’ or warm ‘homage’ to his mother. It is like we should give credit to her for inspiring

Matisse to create his impressionistic masterpieces of color. Of course, I love the birds.

Hadley Hooper is the artist who has brilliantly illustrated this book to match the tone

of the story told in simple prose.

 

3. “Draw!” by Raul Colon was chosen by Micah, my 5 year old kindergartner. I am sure

his eyes were attracted by the bold and vibrant illustrations done by Raul Colon. This

book is 40 pages long, which begins with a boy in his room with a sketchbook. He had

read a large book about Africa. He becomes immersed in the world of being on a safari.

He uses paints and an easel to create drawings from his imaginations. They are of very

lifelike animals- elephants, zebras, lions and a very angry rhino. The scenes seem to come

alive and seem inter-active. He ends the book by showing his drawings to his classmates

in school. This book is appropriate for young adventurous children of  ages 4-8. I also

was excited to find out that “Draw!” is not about guns being “drawn” since over the

phone, I had heard its title, mistakenly picturing it to be a Western.

 

What are some of your favorite children’s books that are more recently published?

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Days of Remembrance

Standard

For the week starting April 27, 2014 until May 4, 2014, the United

States has set aside time to remember the people who were killed,

survived and helped rescue the Jewish and other ethnic groups that

were affected during WWII time period.

We have designated this week as National Days of Remembrance of

those who were ‘martyrs’ and ‘heroes’ of the Holocaust.

On this evening of Sunday, April 27th, in respect to the 27th day

of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, until the evening of Monday, Israelis

mark those moments in time, through prayers and thoughts of those in

the Holocaust. The term, “Yom HaShoah” is given for this period of

reflection. This was the time where protesting people were engaging in,

what is called, “The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.” If anyone is affiliated

with this, through family members and are more informed on this practice,

please feel free to add to the post, in the Comments’ Section. Thank you!

On January 27, 1945, troops entered a concentration camp in Germany,

where they found 11,700 prisoners. This camp with its gas chambers

and other horrors was called Auschwitz-Birkenau. Other camps, where

many people were tortured and killed, later surfaced and became known,

once the war in Europe ended.

In May, there will be a celebration of Victory in Europe, for WWII’s

ending. I have already made sure to include this day on my May Monthly

Calendar post. I cannot believe how time has flown and another month

has passed already!

My Grandmother Paula Haller Mattson came from Germany, immigrating

while a teenager. She denounced the behavior of Nazis and many times

denied her heritage, during the thirties and forties, since there was

more common knowledge here in the United States, even than in Germany,

at the time. She practiced English and did not sound “German” during

her adult life. She was a waitress at the Waldorf Astoria, where she

liked to say, “I waited on Kings and Queens, the Rothchild’s,

Vanderbilt’s and Presidents.” I believe she wanted to be part of our

country, assimilating more than her cousins, Elaine and Clara.

When I got married, my second and third cousins, came to my first

wedding. I noticed a distinctive difference in their accent, although

my Grandma had already passed away by then. Family was always important,

but becoming an American citizen, was equally special to my Grandma M.

The movie, “The Sound of Music,” told through the Von Trapp Family

Singers’ escape from Germany over the Alps’ story. This popular movie

depicted the foreboding atmosphere of the upcoming takeover and war.

More serious films, like “Schindler’s List,” which told about the

sympathy of other cultures towards the Jewish people are interesting

and deeply realistic.

Of course, reading history books, visiting the great Holocaust Museum in

Washington, D. C. and seeing documentaries will give you more accurate

pictures of the drastic takeover by Adolf Hitler of the German peoples

and troops.

When my brothers would watch Saturday morning movies, such as ones that

had John Wayne and others in them, my parents tried to discourage any

glorification of war, in their young minds. My Grandmother M. would get

angry when my brothers would play Americans against the Germans,

Cowboys versus the Indians and (from their cartoon views of “Rocky and

Bullwinkle”), somehow my brothers came up with the idea of American Spies

against the Russian Spies espionage ‘game.’ All of these were forbidden around

my grandparents’ house, along being within earshot of my parents’ house.

Being an English, World Literature and Spanish teacher, my Mom was pretty

strict in her use of language. One word we were not allowed to use often,

and it had to be very important to do so, was the word, “Hate.” She was

taught this by her mother, that most things in Life, can be expressed as

“not pleasant,” “dislike strongly,” or “prefer not to.” It is a great way

to raise children to be more open minded, whether it to be trying a new food,

learning about a different culture than one’s own or meeting unfamiliar

people. It is another way to show ‘remembrance’ and ‘respect’ to all

things, peoples and thoughts.

I like the way in “South Pacific,” the character played by John Kerr

sings, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” This song is in reference

to prejudice is a learned experience, taught by the ones closest to the

children or young adults. Only after researching this song, did I find it was

considered very “controversial” and “downright inappropriate” for musical

stage productions.

Interestingly enough, it was also labeled, promoting “Communistic agenda!”

I am proud that the authors of the lyrics, Rodgers and Hammerstein, the

producers, directors and actors all said that they were ‘in it’ due to

the way it expresses these emotional viewpoints. I listened to this, along

with a lot of major musicals, in person, at theatres and on the stereo, where

my parents placed a stack of records to listen to, during relaxing, ‘television

restricted’ periods of weekends or ends of workdays.

Of course, I am going to be honest about this, teens learn ‘prejudices’

from their peers, even when you (as parents) have done your ‘darndest’ to

prevent them from this.

There have been people who are ‘brainwashed’ even as adults. Don’t think

my kids are, or ever were, “perfect!” Or that I didn’t have to ‘straighten

them out’ a few times!

Even professionals, pastors and teachers hold views that are bigoted and

close-minded. I had a family member who felt the Bible “said” the “Tribe

of Abraham,” meaning people with African heritage, were meant to be slaves.

I was appalled, argued when I was once involved in a holiday discussion,

home from college on Winter Break. My parents and brothers stood on my

side, basically telling the person to table the debate.

When the Viet Nam War or skirmishes began, my brothers were close

to Draft Age. My parents seriously (sorry, if this is going to bother

you), thought about relocating to Canada! Enrolling my brothers in

college, during this time may or may not have prevented draft, but

draft ended before they needed to be concerned with it, personally.

A song which includes, “How can people be so heartless? How can people

be so cruel?” was one of my favorite songs, sung by Three Dog Night.

It is called, “Easy to be Hard,” (1969).

We still have ‘enemies.’

We still have ‘hate.’

I hope you will take some moments in this next week, to reflect and

remember the Holocaust and other people who are continuing to be

scapegoats and persecuted in the world, sometimes with the governmental

support of a country.

Adding to this post, on Monday April 28, 2014.

Will you please keep those who endured the twisters in the states of

Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, those who lost family members, and those

who are hospitalized in your remembrances and thoughts this week?

So far there have been 17 deaths in these three states. There was a

little four year old girl, who was swooped up, carried a distance

and had her legs crushed… I hope you will be including her in your

thoughts and prayers, too.

Another twister came through on Monday night into April 29th, 2014.

The states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee had houses and

properties destroyed, along with unfortunately, 11 deaths.

All of these areas have had people volunteering to assist the people

who have had to leave their homes, along with sifting through the rubble,

looking for people.

Thanks for reading some more about this tragic weather situation!

Collectibles and Memories

Standard

Coins, stamps, trains, toys, dolls, books, antique or

Matchbox cars, comic books, glass menageries, art, music,

or salt and pepper shakers… all have a common denominator

of being sought after, collected and sometimes, even being

part of a traveling Americana museum collection. What do

you seek out, cherish and collect?

When I was young, there were dolls with the name of Betsy

and Cathy. Did you ever have a “Betsy Wetsy” or a doll

named, “Chatty Cathy?” I always enjoyed the magazine

called, “McCall’s.” Inside this women’s magazine, my Mom

after reading it cover to cover, would allow me to cut

out and paste onto cardboard, a paper doll named Betsy

McCall.

The popular paper doll named “Betsy” soon had her mother,

father, cousin, friends and pets added to cut out. The

fashions on these dolls was always of interest to me,

too.

Can you believe I had an album of over 60 magazine

issues’ worth of Betsy McCall, carefully cut out and

pasted onto cardboard and put between sheets of plastic

film?

I tried to sell it, hoping to make some money on the

album. Alas, no one wanted to purchase this. I gave it

to an antique shop, where the man had been so helpful,

showing me current values of items using the internet,

Craigs’ List and e-Bay.

This shopkeeper, Henry, is the husband of one of the

‘cafeteria ladies’ where my kids attended school. Due

to heart and health problems, Henry lost his career of

being a race car mechanic.

Henry was always honest and sympathetic to my concerns

of giving up things. He sometimes purchased items, close

to “auction” or “market values.”

He was such a sweetie, not getting upset, as I carted

boxes into his shop. I ended up giving him quite a few

items, including NASA ash trays and a book of matchbook

covers. He had found a ‘lucrative’ buyer, splitting

costs with me, as he would send them off via UPS, then

receiving payments through the mail.

I kept only one album of matchbook covers of Ohio places

that I had actually been to. Apparently, it is quite rare

to find matches sold in their little folded-cardboard

state or the staple taken carefully out of the cardboard

packet and kept in albums. I did not keep any matchboxes.

These used to be, in my basement, in a large fish bowl on

the bar. We had a “Max and Erma” or “TGI Friday’s”

theme.

Henry had paid for a lot for the few dolls I had, a

couple of my Mom’s gifts of dolls to my daughters.

He also had given me good advice on what to save in

my tight “new” space in my one bedroom apartment.

I think about stopping in to re-buy the different

items that may still remain on his shelves, since I

have more money these days, after 8 long years of

pulling myself out of debt.

Long and boring story, you may have heard this before.

My ex-husband had stopped paying bills and debt incurred.

(Three years of his unemployment just didn’t keep the

bills paid, while I worked as a teacher and server at

Cracker Barrel.)

But, what would I do with my reclaimed items? Do I

really need more clutter to collect dust with? I am

happy with my choices, overall.

I still have the Little Women, Madame Alexander dolls,

two Ginny dolls, a Tammy doll, an Alan and Skipper doll,

plus her adorable little sister doll, Tutti.

I have no regrets!

Collectibles in my birds’ collection were few and far

between. I ended up saving less than ten of them. The

ones who were given to me over all the years, robins,

cardinals, blue jays and roosters were sold for $1-$3

at my huge “Moving Out of the House Sale.”

I am surprised and proud that I have a Lenox robin and

a Hummel/Goebel robin, too. Instead of big cabinets

with much too many odds and ends tucked inside, I have a

little black, wooden-edged box, about 2′ by 2′ in size,

with four glass walls, a mirror on the bottom set on top

of a dresser.

This holds the littlest and sweetest items from my ‘olden’

days of antiquing with my parents and brothers.

When I saw an old article tucked into a book about Betsy

McCall, it made me nostalgic for that album. I wanted to

at least give it “tribute” in a post. It is interesting

to find out that the first Betsy McCall paper doll was

illustrated on a page of the magazine in May, 1951. The

first doll was designed by Ideal Toy Co. in 1952. She

was a 14″ doll with a vinyl head and what is called, a

“saran” wig. The doll was marked, “McCall Corp.” on her

head and on the back, labeled “Ideal Doll P 90.”

In an auction, the Ideal Betsy McCall doll with her

little tag still attached to her wrist, sold for $210.

Later, in 1958 (I would have been 3 years old by then),

an 8″ Betsy McCall doll was made by a company called,

American Character. Several other Betsy McCall dolls

have been made since the 50’s and even into the 90’s.

My friend, Bill, collects rare finds of guitars and

other musical instruments. He is no longer a band

member, but still plays a variety of musical styles,

which includes flamenco Spanish songs, old style

country music, and rock and roll.

My brother, Rich, collected miniatures of porcelain

dogs and a horse. He still has them in the same Ethan

Allen shelving cabinet, from childhood. This also has

a fold down desk, in his bedroom with his wife. He

never became a veterinarian. (He’s a professor of

education, addressing special needs, with Master’s

degree students.)

My other brother, who aspired to be a pharmacist,

collected mortar and pestles. His are probably long

gone. (He has accomplished a lot with his career of

murals, sculptures and other art pieces.)

What dreams did you have when you were young that

caused you to save or collect particular items?

Did you put together and paint model airplanes and

suspend them on threads from the ceiling of your

bedroom?

Nostalgia comes in many forms,

all such wonderful memories…