Category Archives: non-gender specific

Bidding Adieux to the Old Year

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As we bid ‘adieux’ to the Old Year, 2014, we may reflect on this past

year and see some great things happened in the world, along with

our personal lives. This post won’t dwell on the many negative news

items that took place across the world. My recent conversation I had

with my good friend, Patrice, where we discussed the economy was

full of hope. She is a moderate Republican but found Pres. Obama

has “helped the economy,” citing some personal ways it improved.

Especially for the businesses of her family, who saw an upswing in

purchasing pizzas at her brother in law’s pizza chain, along with her

sister’s Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan having much continued

success. Pat shared good news with her family’s investments in stocks

and bonds, showing profitable and significant increases. The U.S. stock

exchange and business world has not been this secure since Clinton’s

administration. (This can be confirmed in the business pages of the

New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch.)

 

I don’t really wish to quote statistics, just the positive slow, gradual

upswing in the economy as something good to report.

 

While talking with members of our warehouse, several mentioned

the Obamacare (health care and insurance) situation seems to have

‘finally straightened out.’

 

While talking with my artistic brother, Randy, we were on the ‘same

page’ thinking that the renewal of ties with Cuba is a positive way to

bring trade. Also, influencing the political climate of country south of

us, which we have had past problems with. Hoping this will lead to a

better future connection. While this may be ‘common knowledge’ I

found the fact the leader of Cuba is one who has chosen to lead a ‘gay

lifestyle’ hopeful,  since this may mean that there will be less civil unrest

and hateful reactions to people of different life choices.

 

It also seems to reflect a ‘gentler’ means of controlling his country, less

than we had from Fidel Castro. Back in 1963, Fidel Castro had made

quite a mean statement about Cuba’s gay community and their ‘tight

pants’ and wishing to display ‘girlie’ acts in public. Since 2012, there

have been annual Cuban “Kiss-In’s” which is the gay community’s way

of standing up to the controlling leadership in a non-violent way. Even

getting a positive ‘nod’ from the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro,

for the United States reaching out to Cuba with an olive branch.

This was all compiled by myself: having attempted to confirm various

sources of information.

 

I will hope Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro, will help lead his

country from communism into socialism. They may label themselves

‘socialistic,’ but the cruel army regime exists there still. I can ‘dream’

of Cuba’s someday becoming a Democratic country, where people’s

votes will be counted.

 

It is totally fine with me, if this positive outlook is challenged with

big doses of reality. I am “open for debate” in my comments section!

 

Thomas Kinkade, 2001:

“I believe that adding light to the canvas of our daily existence is a

simpler process than we often make it out to be. I believe it really is

possible to think and act in ways that shine more radiant joy in our

lives and the lives of those around us.”

 

From my old Children’s Anthology, which featured ‘brownies’ who are

like little sprites in the night:

“In January, when the snow

Lies on the hills and valleys low

And from the north the chilly breeze

Comes whistling through the naked trees

Upon toboggans long they ride,

Until the broadening light of day

Compels them all to quiet their play.”

(Written and Illustrated by Palmer Cox.)

 

My post-Christmas special memories of this year, 2014:

*~ I loved having my Mom be happy and healthy in body

and spirit. She was entranced by the Elf doll which was

a bright and cute girl, with red ‘velvet’ skirt with white

trim, with green and white striped hose and red pointy

shoes, with bells on each toe. She exclaimed each time

she spied it up on the edge of a rocking chair back.

*~ I found the most giving souls were the two six year old

Kindergarteners, among my grandies.

Little Marley could not open her gift before I opened her

purchase of a white painted sleigh bell with its top hat and

cheery face, making it a cute little snowman ornament.

Marley slipped a bracelet into my coat pocket, which she

had made from a craft kit given to her by Santa. I did not

‘discover’ this string of red, black, pink and yellow stars until

I got home, putting my mittens back into my pockets.

 

Micah had used his Secret Santa school “pocket savings”

from his home piggy bank to purchase a wide variety of

little dollar gifts. Mine was a head band which had a pair

of reindeers on the ‘antennae.’ This was the first time I had

seen this head adornment; usually the two ‘antennae’ are

antlers! I wore it proudly around to both families’ Christmas

events. I also had two children request a photo taken with

them on. Quite a thoughtful and fun gift, Micah!

 

The ‘true spirit’ of giving was in both these little ones’ hearts.

 

Do you have any thoughts about the political climate or post-

holiday memories you wish to share?

 

Grown-Ups Here

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We are all “grown ups” here, I hope! I realize there are occasional young

people that are part of the blogging community that may wander in and

read one of my posts. There are ones who are as young as high school or

college who may stop by. I believe anyone who is logged into wordpress

or have their own blog are able to hear about a wide variety of subject

matters, or make the choice to ‘move on.’ I also think everyone should

read other posts, just in case the first one is just not your ‘cup of tea.’

Today, I am not trying to ‘start something,’ nor wishing to add too much

controversy in your lives. I don’t wish to shake you up or create drama

that you aren’t interested in.

I am hoping for a conversation about relationships.

The working relationship between the characters of Boothe and Temperance,

in the television series, “Bones,” had a great quotation that I will try to paraphrase

to give its essence:

(Boothe to Bones)

“Our perceptions are always colored by what we want to believe and hope for.”

I will share just some recent things that have caused me to ‘draw conclusions’

on the subject of couples.

Everyone has read or seen the subject, “Signs You Need to Break-up,” on the

television, in articles and on talk shows. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, all have

their opinions and judgments.

I always hope you (my friends and family) will know and make that choice on

your own.

There are times, though, that you may feel as a good friend or family member,

that you have a right to express your opinion. You are my ‘family’ of sorts and

I wish to share reasons I would ‘give up’ rather than ‘fight’ to stay in a rocky

relationship.

You sometimes know, instinctively, when you have heard a person tell you about

someone who seems a little bit “off” or “wrong” for that friend.

Here are some strange and real examples observed or told to me by friends.  .  .

When You Know Things Are Going Wrong or

When You Need to Dis-Connect:

1. Calling one of the members of your ‘couple’ (spouse/partner) “Selfish.”

This is something that I could not believe someone said recently around me.

In this case, I would need to find out why that person was being considered

‘selfish’ and tend to think the one who is ‘name-calling,’ may not be meeting

that other person’s needs.

2. Using derogatory comments, with possible swear words, in a group or

family setting.

In this time, I was at a play area, where the person said this to the other one,

in a loud voice, while children were playing near by.

This would be, truly, a cause for leaving someone. Sorry, I don’t play around

with ‘maybe’s!!’

3. When you walk into a home, where the people are not great-grandparents,

and there are two Lazy-Boy’s, side by side, with an end table in between.

I am wondering how long have these people been living on parallel chairs,

with no bodies touching?

4. One participant in a relationship, who is not open for any counseling nor

discussions about improvements. There is a big, final door shutting on this

couple, I hear about at work.

5. Shorter version, not open to friendly (not nagging) suggestions and gets

hurt and insulted ‘easily’ by the other member in the couple.

6. One excuse after another, even when there is no financial nor scheduling

challenges, for having a ‘date night’ and time away from children.

7. One excuse after another, for months on end, with no physical or emotional

reasons behind these excuses, (unfounded excuses) for refusing any kind of

intimacy.

I would recommend the frank and explicit film, “The Sessions.” Our library has

it, it is about a man who is a parapalegic who has sexual healing sessions with a

physical intimacy counselor, played by Helen Hunt. It is very touching, I cried. I

felt that someone who is fully capable of having romance, will realize that it is a

gift to be able to do so.

This was brought up in a painfully honest, step by step movie, on how to get the

‘spark’ back into your marriage, in “Hope Springs.” It is not, in any way, funny.

But so honest and brutally true of some couples with their lives on hold, for

whatever reason. (Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep and Steve Carrell, in a

serious role as a counselor.)

8. In a shorter version of #6 and #7, one person ‘putting distance’ into a

relationship. There is something wrong, this needs to be fixed before it is

irreparably repaired or broken.

9. No ‘big’ secrets kept between members of a family.

10. There is an uneven distribution of ‘power’ or ‘control’ in the couple.

This can be quite upsetting, when you see one or both covering up this

but other times, the truth slips out. Control and abuse are both forgivable

situations for separation or divorce, in my mind.

(Not going to worry about the Bible, since there are not any passages to

support this. It is okay to leave if your partner leaves ‘first’ and you don’t

need to follow. This is the only example of infidelity being a reason for

leaving, that the Bible addresses. No words about if the person is being

abused, emotionally or physically.)

They fester, rot and eventually tear apart the foundation of trust and love.

There are many ways to have a wonderful relationship and it is no one’s

business but the two of you, unless it is a confidential, impartial member of

the clergy, physician, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist or member of the

medical field.

My friend, Melvin, is not embarrassed to talk about how his girlfriend has

undergone different surgeries, outcomes of having cancer in her internal

‘private’ areas. He doesn’t broadcast them, but when she had a colostomy

bag, due to her having colon cancer, she and he dealt with this. When she

had an ileostomy, due to having something go seriously wrong with her

urinary tract, they managed to get through this, too. She has improved her

health, taken steps to have both chemo and radiation, so now the “stoma’s”

are the only physical remainders of her having both urine and fecal ‘bags.’

Melvin once confided in me, that he and his girlfriend have found ‘ways

around the different complications’ to ‘express their love for each other.’

After 15 years together, that is wonderful and admirable, that they realized

that they still needed to feel physically connected.

We have had a few comments back and forth, last summer when I brought

up that I was contemplating intimacy with a man I had dated for over a month.

I was hesitant, I gave a few humorous examples of how three women plus

myself had told on our more embarrassing parts of ‘growing older.’ That post,

with different stimulants, varied physical challenges ended with one of the

women sharing a strange and uncomfortable position. Anyway, hope that it

is okay to tell you that I agree with Melvin.

There should be ‘no limits’ to the ways you would engage in closeness, with

another person. As long as Both Parties are comfortable and agree. If there

are parts that are not satisfying, then being open to changing the parts but

adding something else to enhance the happy feelings and connectedness

one feels while engaged in romantic activities. When there are physical

challenges, “there are always alternatives for both parties involved,” my

friend Melvin shared with me.

After we talked out in the parking lot, Melvin asked me if I felt like we

should not have ‘stepped into this area of discussion,’ being friends and

coworkers. I felt very blessed and happy by knowing them. Melvin’s girl

friend and he were able to overcome their obstacles, working like a ‘team.’

I told him I had high hopes to have someone who treated me with the

same respect and consideration that the two of them expressed for

each other. They were ‘blessed’ for this union of lives together. I am so

happy that Melvin kept with Diane, despite these physical challenges.

Melvin then reminded me Diane no longer has them, since they hung

on, through it. He said,

“We may be not married, but we treat our feelings like ‘vows,’ and the

one about ‘for better or worse,’ continues to apply to us.”

 

I ended the ‘personal space’ dialogue by saying,

“Of all the things my parents talked about and what I learned from their

own personal lives, sex is not the weirdest topic covered!”

He burst out laughing and we got into our own separate cars. Happy to

have an open-minded friend to share some personal moments with, once

in awhile.

Summer, 1924: Whimsical Children’s Poems

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The book that I referenced for Father’s Day, 2014, included a poem

about an inquisitive boy who became a father. The gist of the poem

was about curiosity and the wonders of the child, who grew up into

his role of Father.

This book that I love to look at, has a deep azure blue cover, with gold

lettering and pictures, engraved on the binding and above the title of

the book. I wrote about these details before. . . so I will introduce once

again, a ‘found’ book from the discarded pile of the library.

The book’s title is, “Fancy’s Hour,” written by Norman C. Schlichter,

published in 1924.

 

I have never told you about the Dedication Page, which I feel is so

charming:

 

“TO ALL CHILDREN

Sure Guides

in

The Kingdom of Fancy”

 

Here are two late Summer poems to rejoice and enjoy childhood memories.

The first one is about another name for “Pinwheels.”

 

“Whirligigs

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

Turning in the sun,

Light of foot, happy-eyed

After you, we run.

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

Laughing in the wind,

Tight we hold the little sticks

Unto which you’re pinned.

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

We and you are one.

All you have to do is turn,

We need only run.”

 

This reminded me of how when little toddlers have colorful

pull toys, like that one that ‘popped’ little balls up into a clear

ball, those ducks with rubber feet that flapped, ‘slap, ‘slap’

upon the sidewalk, and the joy of sparklers, too! I think that

as adults we forget how we liked to hear repetitive verses.

That sing song sound of words, makes it wonderful to chant!

 

“Song for Sleep Ears

 

Where runs the river,

Where rolls the sea,

There go the lovely boats

In which I’d like to be.

 

Some with gentle winds are sailing

Some with storms are rocking,

Some in bays are lying still,

Like an idle stocking.

 

Some with masts, and some with none;

Empty, full they’re going

Where the sea waves roll and toss,

Where are rivers flowing.

 

Cozy beds in every boat

For little ones like me;

Light I’d sleep upon the river,

Deep upon the sea.”

 

After a busy day of running around, finally children lie down to hear books,

stories of poems like this one. I used to read, “Wynken, Blynken and Nod”

to my children. I also enjoyed, “The Owl and the Pussycat,” to relax them,

telling them to close their eyes and listen to the rhythm of the words.

I enjoyed, last of all, this reminder of boats. I liked to sing the bedtime

song, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”

It takes a special kind of author to create and choose to write poetry for

specifically children in mind. It is a challenge and requires a unique ‘ear’

and talent for what would capture their minds with magical words.

Little ones enjoy the words, as they sink into their pillows into dream land.

 

Creativity “Toy” Celebrates Its 54th Anniversary

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On Saturday, July 12th, good old “Etch-A-Sketch” will celebrate the

54th anniversary of its creation in America. In France, they may add

one more year to this number, as the inventor, Arthur Granjean, had

this toy named, “Magic Screen,” and was ready to manufacture it in

1959. Interestingly enough, the Wikipedia gives credit to a French

man named, Andre Cassagnes. How did I learn of Arthur Granjean

and his “Magic Screen?” A poster that was on a friend’s wall, told

of the creation of the Ohio Art company’s product.  Supposedly,

according to the Clement’s “news and views” poster, Granjean took

his invention to the Nuremberg, Germany toy fair.

Arthur Granjean chose to sell the idea, for which we in the U.S.A.

should be grateful for, since many of us have enjoyed trying to get the

two different knobs to go the way we imagined!

I looked up the current prices, since this is still being sold at many

Big Box stores, like Walmart. The prices vary, from as much as $22.93

to as low as, $15.59.

I am happy to tell you that my two grandsons have one “Etch-A-Sketch”

between the two of them. When I asked my daughter-in-law, Trista, she

said they “had one but it ended up left outside and got moisture caught

inside.”

While I went around asking coworkers about their experiences with the

“Etch-A-Sketch,” I learned of a few frustrated ‘artists’ and listened to

their favorite things to ‘draw’ using this tool.

I had some comments about this toy, their expectations of the ‘toy,’

and some musings about, “What this new generation would think of the

toy?”

We all agreed that it may be considered, ‘boring’ to today’s standards,

due to its lack of technology.

Also, we found out, almost EVERY person I asked over the age of thirty,

Sketch!” It became one toy we could say was, ‘non-gender specific.’ Also,

I heard some humorous thoughts about it, as far as whether one gender

was ‘better’ than the other at creating pictures. There seemed to be a

little ‘competition’ on this point!

One friend mentioned that they can be quite artistic in presentation

and recommended looking up the website, to view some of the elaborate

designs and pictures that artists had rendered. I found out while looking

at these beautiful creations, that the stuff that makes the pictures can be

actually ‘drained out’ to allow the picture to become permanent! I also

found this to be comforting to know, since there were times my brother,

who was outstanding at making his “Etch-A-Sketch” come alive! Now I

know that if someone does this ‘now-adays’ they can preserve the pictures.

Here are some funny comments that I heard from my fellow warehouse

workers:

1.  Tammy said,

“My favorite designs to make were checkerboards on my Etch-A-Sketch!”

 

2.  Melvin, (ever the tease and comedian) said:

“I created colorful rainbows on my Etch-A-Sketch!”

When I gave him my ‘stern teacher look’ he folded and told me that one

of his best pictures he ever made on it was:  “A dragon!”

 

3.  My male friend, who I hope someday to be more than friends, told

me that he had ‘trouble making many things on his Etch-A-Sketch.’

Mark added,

“My favorite thing was to try and make a house, but I could not make a

slanted roof, so I made it a square one. Then I added windows and a

door, also a sidewalk. I was very proud of that accomplishment, since I

am not an artist.  Another thing I liked to do, was to grab my younger

sister’s Etch-A-Sketch and try to shake her picture away! I was a ‘brat!'”

 

4.  Robin said very enthusiastically,

“I remember having one of those! I liked to draw lines and squares. I made

one time a square snowman!”

(I told you that she was my ‘twin’ according to Melvin, even though her hair

is short and blonde. It sticks out like feathers everywhere and she is very

up. She reminds me of the woman on the “Drew Carey Show.”  This wild

character’s name was ‘Mimi Bobeck,’ played by the actress, Kathy Kinney!)

 

5.  Joe, one of the shipping guys, mentioned an interesting fact that had

eluded me, that he thinks it was “one of the toys that everyone got.” He

could not remember what the advertising for “Etch-A-Sketch” looked like

nor could he remember a ‘jingle’ or tune.

Everyone that was at our second break, hearing Joe. They all agreed,

“Slinky” had a cool song that went with its toy. Some wondered why

we could not visualize the advertising on commercials for this toy?

Joe added:

“I loved the sound of what seemed to be metal filings or sand ‘swishing

around’ in that toy!”

 

6.  Charlene, my fellow ‘soap opera’ addict, during ‘second break’ watching

the show, “The Bold and the Beautiful” said her favorite ‘activity’ using her

Etch-A-Sketch, was to ‘create mazes.’ Wow!

 

7.  My brother once ‘drew’ a horse on his Etch-A-Sketch, for which I wish I

had a photograph of this memorable artwork!

 

8.  I cannot remember any creative endeavors so complicated as a horse or

a maze, but I did learn how to make ‘circles.’ My best pictures and favorite

drawings were of roses with tightly ‘twirling inner petals and then looser,

ruffled edges on the outside.’

 

9. Chuck, passing by and being ‘flip’ told us all that he liked to make pictures

of,

“Starless, moonless nights. I made completely black pictures, starting from

the left corner, going back and forth, until it was covered.”

 

10.  Mary Jane, says that she had a ‘coveted’ toy, “Etch-A-Sketch” while she

lived in the Philippines as a girl. She shared this with many of her cousins,

liking to see how they would make their pictures. Then, she says,

“I would take it home and practice, practice, practice!”

The next time she saw her cousins was during a special holiday.

MJ expressed her satisfaction and joy at demonstrating to her family

and cousins her best drawing:

“I made a table with dishes on it and the plates held food. Some were

little circles and others were lines back and forth. Then, I described

our ‘feasts’ with the different homemade dishes, like ‘adobo,’ ‘lechon,’

and ‘pancit palabon.'”

M.J. said her uncle actually clapped! This made her smile, remembering

this special moment.

Note: Traditional Filipino meals include rice dishes, which were her “little

circles.” Then, Mary Jane explained her “back and forth things she

drew were their homemade noodles.”

That was my personal favorite story about “Etch-A-Sketch!!”

 

Are you inspired yet?

What was your favorite or best design that you made on your Etch-A-

Sketch?

If you didn’t have an Etch-A-Sketch, did you visit someone who did?

Have you ever seen a special design that stood out in your memory,

created on one of these ‘toys?’

 

 

 

Cliff Notes

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All day in the area I was working, I would bump into

a member of the Cycle Count department. His name is

Cliff and we have been friendly coworkers. We have

our lockers nearby and he is approximately ten years

younger than I. He is a ‘good family man’ who I have

admired the way he interacts with his boys.

When Cliff took his family on a trip out West, their

goal was to see all the states from here to the Grand

Canyon trip last summer. Cliff had chosen to take both

his weeks in a row which included the four weekend days.

This meant a rather long and extended time in the car,

but I was sure they would have an awesome time.

When Cliff came back, he was reluctant to brag. He knew

that I had been up at Mom’s, not any real vacation plans.

But I certainly reassured him, asked to see any travel

photos he may have had on his cell phone, at break time.

I was happy for his three boys and wife, too.

One neat family traveling activity, that brought some

memories back and nostalgia flowing, was Cliff’s family

played ‘car games.’

He told me they still like to play an alphabet game

and a license plate game in the car. When the boys

have participated in these for about an hour a day,

Cliff says he asks if they want to play their own

games, with headphones on. He says, it makes him

feel good that they don’t beg to do this all the

time. You can tell, he enjoys ‘together time’ with

his wife and sons.

When I was talking to him recently, Cliff and I were

discussing the movie, “Brave,” and how at first, even

at age four and a half, Micah (my youngest grandson)

was unsure how ‘cool’ it would be. He even said,

“That movie’s for girls, Nana!”

Cliff noted that it all depends on how he, as the father

of boys, approaches things. He shared that any time the

boys tend to make a comment, hesitate or indicate they

are prejudging something, he will bend over backwards,

saying, “We have to try this!” and I just knows it

will be good!”

We discussed in short snippets, as we were working,

about how society has transformed young people into

being overly conscious of ‘what people will think.’

I did say that this probably isn’t as “new” as we

like to think!

Cliff shared his positive attitude adding that,

“It is all how you approach things!”

He got his two boys who are in middle school and

one who is a high schooler to watch the movie,

“Brave.” Cliff said that his wife and he had really

wanted to see it at the movie theater. He said,

that by admitting he wanted to see it, the boys

when asked wanted to join them.

At Christmas, one of the gifts he purchased was

the Wii game for “Brave.” He says it is ‘great

fun!’

I like Cliff, think he is a great father and

husband. I asked him what he was going to do to

celebrate Valentine’s Day, in barely two days?

He was so enthusiastic, glad I even asked such a

question. He is taking the family to Cincinnati,

where they have reservations for two nights

consisting of two rooms, side by side. The plan is

to leave straight after work, on Friday. They have

their bags packed and are raring to go!

“The boys will stay next door,” he winked, “if you

know what I mean.” They were going to the perfect

place for people who are ‘sick’ of the snow!

They were heading off to the Newport Aquarium

on Saturday morning. They plan to stop on their

way south through Columbus at either a Bob Evans

or the Cracker Barrel south of ‘C-town.’

I was also applauding his idea of what to do on

Sunday morning. He has reservations at a nice

restaurant for their ‘brunch.’ It will be an

overall special occasion, with some privacy

and alone time, included. He also has plans

to stop on their way home at one of the big

Outlet Malls. Each member of the family will

use their own extra money or allowance, he

let me in on this fact.

What really pushed me into writing this post,

was not just to let guys know that it is very

thoughtful to think ahead about holidays.

Another reason was because I found out more about him

in the few hours he was ‘in my way,’ counting products.

He wanted me to tell you that his wife is named, “Joan.”

But for “forever and a day,” his parents and he have

called her, “Joanie.” Not her parents though!

When I asked him why?

Cliff answered, “Ever since Cliff Clayban was a character

on the hit television series, ‘Cheers,’ I have been kidded.

Sometimes, it has been about delivering mail, sometimes

about drinking every night at a bar, (which he assured me

he doesn’t do this, thinks it is ‘wrong’ and ‘not good for

building a strong marriage.’)

He loves to hunt with his boys, sometimes go on long walks

with one of them, with their family dog. Cliff also enjoys

the way he gets to know his boys, individually, on separate

hiking trips. This he does, sometimes, with his wife and

sometimes, not.

So, what happened to cause him to change the name “Joan”

into “Joanie?”

Oh, wait, I thought I had it!

Cliff saw my ‘light bulb come on’ and asked,

“Come on, Robin, why do we call her ‘Joanie?'”

I got excited and said, “Joanie Loves Chachi!”

And I continued,

“Then, the both of you have to live the life

of a television character!”

That show, by the way, was a spin-off from the long

lasting, “Happy Days.” It lasted with Erin Moran and

Scott Baio playing the leading roles, only from 1982

until ’83.

Didn’t make too much of an impression on many

people. Small viewing audiences didn’t choose to

watch and help make it last.

That show came out the year that Cliff graduated

from high school and met his wife, Joan, at the

local bowling alley in Marion, Ohio. They had fun

roller skating, bowling, hiking and swimming. they

liked going to Delaware to the Drive-In movies on

Cheshire Road.

Cliff says they got married at age 20 and smilingly

added,

“And we didn’t look back!”

The last part of my Cliff story is about the curious

habit that he has had since very young. He is passing

this habit on to his trio of boys.

He loves cartoons!

He rents or borrows cartoons from the past, including

Bugs Bunny, Coyote and the Roadrunner, and Mr. Magoo.

His favorite one that he spent two summers ago was

watching with his boys, every evening for one hour of

together time, excluding weekends was, “Johnny Quest.”

Cliff stopped from going any farther and his whole

demeanor changed. He gave me an exaggerated sad face.

I asked, “Oh no! What happened? Did your computer stop

projecting the Youtube copies of ‘Johnny Quest’ onto

your big screen television?”

Cliff shook his head.

I cannot help myself, when someone is silent, I have

to guess the reason!

“Is it too immature for the boys’ age now?”

Cliff looked at me like I was crazy!

“No! For some reason, I cannot find it on Youtube

anymore! So, no more ‘Johnny Quest!'”

“What happens now?” I wondered.

I got quiet, as if in mourning the passage of time

or the loss of a loved one.

I kept on picking my auto parts and putting them

into the five hampers I was pushing on the rails.

Finally, as if he knew my impatience or curiosity

was getting to me, (I have a face which doesn’t

hide my emotions.)

Cliff announced his proud decision:

“We watch ‘Scooby Doo!'”

I can just visualize those ‘men:’ two in middle

school, one in high school and one who is

supposedly the ‘adult’ in the group.

The father who wants to make his boys laugh.

A rather wonderful gift, indeed!

“Brave” is an Outstanding film

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I rounded up a lonely grandson yesterday, after I left the

library, with my blogging time ‘used up.’ Micah’s brother,

Skyler, was at his Dad’s house, while Micah was with his

own Dad at my oldest daughter’s house. Micah and I chose to

watch the animated children’s film, “Brave” after much debate.

We got it at the library, so that worked out for Nana’s budget!

We had already all the mattresses in my apartment out, since

I had a movie night with my youngest daughter, Felicia on

Friday night.

Micah and I went up the front steps to the third floor, he

likes to ‘check out’ the triangular way the ceiling ‘peaks.’

We looked at a few doors, checked out the storage area, where

there is usually discarded items from college students coming

or going, not locked up but right inside the door, where a

poster says, “Free items.” We looked, he more intently than

I, at a lamp. It had a brass post and the base was well taken

care of, needing solely a lampshade. When Micah asked, “Do

you want it, Nana?” I could not help but smile at his sweet,

handsome brown, long lashed eyes! They looked quite serious.

I replied with a question, “Where would I put it?”

He is 4 1/2 years old, but sometimes Skyler’s wit and insight

have brought him to a different place in his thinking. He is

so funny at times but his reply reflected also, his preschool

teacher’s positivity:

“That’s a good question, Nana!”

Anyway, he used my mail box key downstairs, basement level,

where I live, to find that I had a new magazine. He studied

it, said, “This is Felicia’s!” Yes, (it was the Women’s

Health” magazine), with Evangelina from Lost t.v. show, all

buffed up and her behind having an arrow pointing to it,

with the words, “This is a nice butt,’ or something like

that! I was glad he did not read that because that is an

annoying little caption for a women’s magazine to put on

its cover! I would not mind if they said, “Look what her

exercising has done to her, post-baby boy!”

Anyway, we went into the apartment and took our shoes off

and Micah was filled with joy, “Come on, Nana! Let’s see

who can bounce the highest!”

I asked him if he, Tigger or I would win a bouncing contest?

He answered, “Tigger, of course! You are a silly Nana!”

When we had worn off a few calories and Micah was apparently

able or ready to sit still a bit, I asked him what would

he like to do while I popped popcorn and made cocoa for the

two of us? He said he would check out the “boys’ drawer.”

This is not the way I labeled this drawer in my antique

dresser that is filled with table linens, candles and

what most people would store in their breakfronts. Skyler

initiated this location when Micah was too little to

reach the top drawer, placing these tiny pirate ships,

a baggie of the posts and sails, the little Pirates of

the Caribbean “fleet” of three ships plus the cast and

‘crew.” Also, he dragged out the alligator that I bought

for Sky, who left it wisely at my apt. instead of taking

it home. Micah’s was used to ‘beat” on things outside

and the squeaky noise is no longer there along with it

looking rather raggedy for a rubber toy. He brought out

a flashlight out of the little telephone table with my

real white rotary telephone that makes dialing tones

with each finger pulling the dial around. He “took a

call” from Great Grammie O. while I finished up with

2 Little Debby’ chocolate heart shaped cakes, one for

each of us. This may sugar him up just in time to drop

him off at his mother’s when she is arriving home from

work, I chuckled and thought!

We got the pillows cushioned so that our backs were up

against the love seat, then we put our non-spillable

food items on our lap trays. The cocoa for Micah was

put into a thermos with cold milk to cool it, mine was

placed beside me on the floor, we were ready for the

movie to start!

“Brave” is a Pixar Animation project that had a very

kind dedication, after the credits rolled, that said,

thank you and in memory of Steve Jobs. The order or

sequence of his assistance in their association may

not be exact! I did not take notes, as I did while

watching a cartoon with Mom about the Cat like Zorro.

It said dedicated to our mentor, friend and partner.

I thought that was a cool dedication.

The story of the movie is about a young girl, Merida,

growing up, being given “Lessons on being a Princess,”

from her mother, the Queen or Eleanor. You must be

mannerly. You need to follow certain guidelines. You

should strive to be perfect. You must not put weapons,

(her Dad, the King, gave her a bow and arrow for a

birthday gift, while young) on the table! Just remember

to smile! These are all said to prepare her for being a

wife someday and in her role as Princess.

Here is one line I tried to remember from all these

lessons:

“It’s marriage! Not the end of the world, Merida!”

There are 3 main male contestants. One is portrayed as

a simpleton. Another is thin, wiry and has blue and purple

paintings. like tattoos on his face and body. He reminded

me of the Scot, Braveheart. The last one was a country

farmer’s son, a little bit heavy but brawny, too. None of

the three looked like “Disney Princes.”

The princess, Merida, at one point in the movie escapes

the competitions, chooses to run into the forest seeking

a witch in a hut built into the mountains. She is an

interesting, funny witch, reminding me of the character

that was in “The Princess Bride,” played by the zany

Carol Kane paired with Billy Crystal’s character. Both

perform ‘magic’ and this 1987 film, directed by Rob

Reiner, still stands the ‘test of time’ in my eyes

about Princesses being able to break molds and be their

own true selves.

Merida asks for a spell to “change her fate.”

What the witch in this tale does, is rather unusual,

giving the girl a potion to give to her mother that

will help them to compromise and get along better.

There is a warning attached to this potion, that the

mother and daughter need to “mend their bonds” and

there is a reference to a large tapestry hanging in

the castle that has a rip in it. That this must be

mended to make the family complete, once more.

The magic potion turns the mother into a bear, one

of the enemies that have already been presented to

be mortal to the clans. Their is a mysticism to this

and a legend about the bear that is their ‘enemy.’

We find out that there is a Prince inhabited in the

large, ferocious male bear. Eleanor, the Queen, has

her spirit in a kindly bear who rolls her eyes, and

there are amusing parts with her trying to get the

situation resolved. Ultimately, Merida and Eleanor,

have to find their way back to being loving and

understand each other. I won’t reveal the interesting

and rather complicated ways this is carried out. But,

a hilarious part is when the triplet toddler red-haired

little brothers of Merida, get a hold of the potion and

become baby bears made Micah roar with their antics!

The messages about communication and how it breaks down,

once Merida grows into her teens are very realistic. The

mother, “Mum,” as Merida calls her, is tightly wound and

stressing more the importance of being a lady than the

daughter wants to follow. It had principles and practices

that could be applied to any time period or any family.

Still centuries past the time that this represents and takes

place, where clans come to the kingdom, from out in the

country and other kingdoms to ‘fight and win’ the Princess’

hand in marriage.

Here are the elements that were interesting and

culturally influenced by the Scottish ancestry presented

in this film. I had to explain them to Micah and put the

film on ‘pause.’

1. There is a different accent, the brogue of the Scottish

heritage that caused Micah to need ‘translations.’

2. will o’ wisps: they are magical orbs that lead Merida

several times through the forest, safely home or back to

find her mother, who later is transformed into a bear.

These luminous balls of light are beautiful guides when

Merida is needing help, mystical in their appearance. One

time, when describing them to her mother and father, her

Dad gets upset. Her mother tells Merida that her father

‘does not believe in magic.’

3. clans, legends and the Stonehenge Rocks all had to

be explained to Micah.

4. Micah enjoyed the bagpipes and the kilts on the men.

There were two episodes that could be considered PG rated,

since one time a man in a kilt who doesn’t like another

man’s clan, turns around and flashes the man, you as an

adult realize he is not wearing underwear. I think my

grandson thought he was just showing his ‘behind.’

Another time, for I an obscure reason, there were a

few men who lost their kilts but had longer tunics

on, as they all walked away, you could see three men’s

naked behinds. Lots of humorous parts to keep children

and adults, alike entertained.

This is a beautiful, fanciful and engaging animated

children’s film. I would give “Brave” four stars ****!

Boys and Girls love this “new” fad!

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I think many of you have already been introduced to this new “fad”

that is being consumed, exhibited and created by those elementary

and older children out there! It is called around our town, “silly

bands” or “Silly Bandz!” I was excited to discover who is the one

given credit for this new hot trend:

“The trend seems to have hit the area in the summer and quickly picked

up when kids went back to school. Credit Michigan father and inventor,

Cheong-Choon Ng for the hundreds of little bands clogging your vacuum

cleaner.” (Laura DeMarco, Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter.)

This father, Mr. Ng, made his first loom about three years ago, (2010),

using pushpins and encouraging creativity and crafts at home. The

family project, thanks to YouTube videos, became “viral” among the

younger generation. Interest has exploded!

I was going crazy last Fall looking for these colorful bands in different

stores around Delaware, finding them in Walgreens. The kits can be

found in different places, like Michael’s, an arts and crafts store, and

learning stores along with Big Box stores, such as Walmart and K Mart.

Cheong-Choon Ng, has sold over one million kits marked as Rainbow

Loom bracelets.

Boys like to wear these, too. I was surprised to see my grandsons

sporting them last summer on their wrists. I thought about the day that

I had painted my only son’s toenails a bright blue when he was about 4

years old, due to his complaining about my spending time with both

his oldest and youngest sister doing same thing. I think he liked the ‘feel’

of the polish going on, the way I recited the “Little Piggy Goes to Market”

sing-song rhyme. He also liked that individual attention that we, as

parents, sometimes forget how every child likes that, no matter how

small the action is.

Looking back I remember, how horrified my ex-husband was to see those

bright blue toes sticking out of his sandals! I really “went off on him,”

sorry to say!

“Do you really have a homophobic fear that your son will like blue toenail

polish forever? And what if he does decide he likes to fix himself up in a

different way than you expect: what would you really feel?”

I proceeded to give him a serious reminder of how much he loves his son,

no matter how he would turn out!

I am liking this fad, due to its whimsical and non-gender specific nature.

I am also, secretly, (“Shhh! Don’t pass this on to you know who!) since my

grandsons are going to my ex’s over ‘break’ in December. Maybe, possibly,

with some co-conspirator action on my oldest daughter’s part, I may just

send them off to his house with nail polish AND rainbow silly bands on

their wrists AND ankles!!

Long live the Rainbow Connection (Kermit loves to sing this)!

Let’s support gay pride and their rights!

After all, a MAN and FATHER created these. He is laughing his way all

the way to the bank! Ha!