Category Archives: serviceman

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

Standard

February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

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

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Happy Moments

Standard

Here are some funny jokes that have children and all ages involved

in them. They will hopefully bring you a chuckle and some cheerful

thoughts to get you through the rest of the week. These came from

Pookie, my Mom’s good friend in California. Mom circled a few of

the  jokes on the pages and added her own wording.  I trust her

editing and typed them pretty closely to how she had these.

These are story ‘jokes’ where it may actually sound like they are

written by me, but they are not. I think it is fun to insert myself or

people I know into them.

1.  The Facts of Life:

“On the way home from a Cub Scout meeting, my grandson

innocently said to my daughter,

“Mommy, I know babies come from tummies, but how do they get

there in the first place?”

My daughter tried to change the subject, not quite ready to ‘break

the birds and the bees’ speech’ out at such a late hour with her 10

year old and 5 year old listening in rapt silence.

When she had ‘hemmed and hawed’ awhile, my grandson said in an

exasperated tone,

“Mom, it’s okay if you don’t know the answer, just tell me so!”

2.  A Military Story:

“Just before my friend’s son was deployed to Iraq, he sat his 8 year

old son (her grandson) down and broke the news to him, as gently

as possible, under the circumstances,

“Jimmy, I am going to be away for a long time but will keep in touch

with you, as much as possible.”

His son asked him, looking worried,

“Where are you going?”

Suddenly the friend’s son thought, ‘Oh no, I must not make him

worry,

Maybe he thinks I am dying… After all, just a few months’ ago, his

uncle had passed away…

“Jimmy, I am going to a far off country called, Iraq.”

Jimmy looked at his father like he was crazy and said,

“Don’t you know there’s a war going on over there, Dad?”

3.  Famous People Story, Kid’s Perspective:

“One afternoon a few years ago, Paul Newman was visiting the “Hole

in the Wall Gang Camp” for children stricken with cancer, AIDs and

blood diseases.

When a camp counselor spotted the actor with his wife, Joanne

Woodward, he pointed the couple out to his table of children,

‘That is the man who made movies and is a famous movie star

with his beautiful wife. Have you ever noticed or seen his picture

on salad dressing bottles?’

The kids all gave the camp counselor ‘blank stares.’

He tried once again to let them know about the importance to this

camp Paul Newman and his wife’s philanthropic project meant to

the kids,

“This couple came up with the idea for this camp so you could come

and enjoy the outdoors. Have you ever seen his face on any lemonade

cartons?”

Finally, a little eight year old girl perked up,

“How long was he missing?”

4.  God’s Problem Now:

“A man was at his wife’s graveside service, talking and thanking

people for coming to the funeral, despite it being such a stormy day.

He was speaking to the minister who had been so supportive to him

and his family.

All of a sudden, a massive clap of thunder rang through the gray clouds,

followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning.

This was followed by even more rumbling thunder in the distance.

The elderly man looked at his pastor, calmly saying,

“Well, we know she made it!”

5.  An “Aw-w-w!” Moment:

“I was waiting in the reception area of my doctor’s office, when a

woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the outer room.

As she went to check the elderly man in, over at the receptionist’s

desk, the man sat there alone and silent. His head was down, either

sleepy from his drive there or not feeling well.

Just as I was thinking about making small talk, hoping to brighten

his day, a little boy across the room slipped off his Mommy’s lap.

He walked timidly over to the older gentleman and placed his hand

over the top of the man’s.

He looked directly at the man and said,

“I know how you feel. My Mommy makes me ride in a stroller, too.”

6. Last one, hope this makes you smile. . .

“A group of us were chatting, while my oldest daughter was nursing

her son, (my grandson), Micah.

A 3 1/2 year old cousin, my son’s youngest daughter, went over to

my daughter…

She was quite curious and started asking questions,

‘What ‘cha doing?’

Carrie said, ‘I am feeding your baby cousin, Micah.’

‘What’s it taste like?’

Carrie responded, ‘Like milk. Like the stuff your Mommy puts in

your bedtime bottle.’

(She was still getting a bedtime bottle, soon to be a sippy cup instead.)

She was intrigued by the whole process, waiting to watch Carrie burp

Micah. When Carrie tucked herself back into her nursing bra, the last

comment ‘brought the house down,’ of the family gathering of adults

and children bursting into huge laughs,

‘My Mommy has two of those, but I don’t think she knows

how to use them.'”

My real family news, all joking aside:

Today, Lara is singing at Willis Middle School with the Chorus

singers. I am excited to be going to my first grandchild’s Middle

School program. I hope they will sing holiday songs. I will let you

know tomorrow. (12/17/14)

Tomorrow, in the later evening, Skyler, Micah and my oldest girl,

will do our annual tradition of seeing the lights at Alum Creek State

Park, which used to have just the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” now

has many wonderful displays. This display has gradually expanded

each year since my own three children, my parents and I would take

them. My parents had a Trans Van, which was a great way for the

kids to have a snack, their pajamas on, and get to see both sides of

the presentations. While you drive, you can tune into a local radio

channel that has the songs that go with the displays.

Dad was a ‘big kid at heart’ and loved listening to my children exclaim

in excited voices, “oooh!” and “aahh!” We would also enjoy going to

see Santa Claus across the street at Cross Creek Camp Ground. My

parents liked to sometimes stay there in the summer in the guest lots.

This probably excites me even more than the grandkids and my oldest

daughter. I pay for the ‘treat’ which goes to a worthy cause. They

are happy and do pipe up with their own little exclamations, like their

Mom did, when she was a girl.

What is your favorite family tradition?

Do you like to go out in your vehicle and look at Christmas lights

and decorations? Is there a special neighborhood that you like to

so see annually?

Patriots’ Day: Solidarity

Standard

There is a quotation being volleyed about called, “The Slurry Walls of Life.” I

received it twice now. Once, from someone far away, but a U.S. citizen, and the

second time I read this was in our September church newsletter. Neither time

was an author given credit. This upsets me, almost like I am ‘pirating’ someone’s

thoughts. If you happen to see this, with an author attached, please let me know!

I hope these words will hold something meaningful to give to you,  a few days

ahead of  the actual Patriots’ Day.  This quote comes exactly as I received it, no

editing or changes made.

 

I think on the actual day of 9/11/14, I will be silent. . .

 

“As horrific as 9/11 was, it could’ve been even worse if not for a 30 year old

engineering feat. Reaching some 70 feet underground, a 3 foot thick concrete

structure called a ‘slurry wall’ surrounded the base of the World Trade Center

complex. Designed to prevent the Hudson River from flooding the basement,

this wall prevented New York’s subway system from flooding and countless

additional people from dying on September 11, 2001.

 

A ‘slurry wall’ is constructed by pouring a thick, goopy mixture of powdered

clay and water into a deep, narrow trench. The solution coats the sides,

preventing water and soil from collapsing the trench. Pipes are then inserted

through the slurry, and concrete is pumped into the trench, pushing the slurry

up and out.

 

At the World Trade Center, the concrete formed such a strong wall that even

two airplanes and the falling towers didn’t fracture it. Part of the ‘slurry wall’

stands at the 9/11 Memorial site, a symbol of resilience.

 

Sometimes God uses life’s ‘slurry’ to make us stronger than we ever thought

possible. We might wish something yucky hadn’t happened- – until we discover

it was part of what sustained us, making us resilient and enabling us to rise out

of the destruction and death to an awe-inspiring new life.”

(Author Unknown)

 

This much I could research, that the original ‘slurry walls’ construction, under

the World Trade Center, were supervised by a man named, Arturo Lamberto

Ressi di Cervia. This building supervisor passed away at age 72 in August, 2013.

He lived almost 12 years past that day of sadness, to see this job become the

base of the Memorial. The construction workers need to feel satisfaction in their

awesome work on the ‘slurry walls.’

 

Arturo Lamberto Ressi di Cervia’s professional crew poured the walls of support

that survived the crashes. Construction supervisor, Mr. di Cervia, must have

felt a little better that his workers’ wall held back further destruction and may

have prevented more deaths.  Although, it is nearly impossible to be proud of

your accomplishments, in the midst of death and sorrow.  Acknowledgment

to the crew only seems ‘right’ to do, as to ALL the workers who came to the

rescue of the ones injured, helping to unbury the living and the ones who died

on this horrific day. Rescue dogs wore themselves out, helping to find so many

‘buried’ people.

 

There is a fine article (not containing the above quotation) from a man named,

David W. Dunlap, written about the construction of the ‘slurry walls.’ Dunlap’s

article was published on 9/11/13/ in the New York Times:

“Looking to a Wall that Limited the Devastation of the World Trade Center.”

 

Children’s Need to Fly

Image

Here is a fantastic quotation by Helen Hayes,

The American actress who my parents admired

from the movie, “A Farewell to Arms.”

She lived from 1900 until 1993:

“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put

one foot in front of the other.

But when books are opened, you discover you have wings.”

 

I shop at our local “Global Village Shop,” found at 27 N. Sandusky St.

in Delaware, Ohio. I know many of the retired individuals, some

from churches, who volunteer to work or ‘man’ the cash register.

I bought some stationery, where the monies from this colorful

note paper will go to somewhere in Africa.  I am proud to

say; We have the only Fair Trade certified

collection in Ohio.

 

On the back of the paper, it has another great idea about the World

of Children. It includes all the letters of the English alphabet:

I hope you find this a lovely collection of words to inspire and help

our children:

 

“ALWAYS BELIEVE IN CHILDREN

In their Abilities,

Brilliance,

Courage,

Dreams,

Energy,

Future,

Gifts,

Humor,

Innocence,

Journey,

Kindness,

Learning,

Magic,

Needs,

Outlook,

Potential,

Questions,

Reach,

Success,

Talent,

Uniqueness,

Victories,

Wonder,

eXcellence,

Youth,

and

Zest.

Believe in all the promise and possibilities children hold.

It’s as simple as ABC.”

(Author Unknown)

 

Chasing Shadows of the Past

Standard

While studying the photographs on the Veteran’s Day board at my

Mom’s senior apartment building, I pointed to a tall, gangly looking

young man wearing an Air Force uniform from the WWII era. I asked

Mom if she recognized the name of the man. She looked at his face,

then the name and said, “I think I knew him!”

I turned to her and saw a rapt emotion covered face. I told her that I

had asked about the name of the man not if she knew the man. She

asked what did I mean by that? I told her that one of her favorite

Westlake High School 1971 graduates shared the first and last name

of the man, but the picture resembled him. I exclaimed with some

verve in my voice,

“That resident of Westlake Village Senior Living Apts. may be the

father of the young man from your World Lit and Spanish classes!”

She looked at me, kind of a funny expression, “Well, that would still

mean I may have met his father, too!”

We headed off from the main part of the building towards the “C”

building part. This is the area where the residents may have some

form of disability and more challenges in their daily living skills.

As we headed off on our “wild goose chase,” Mom, her dog, Nicki

on her leash, (patient saint of a little dog,) and I down the quiet

corridors towards the door I reflected back on the numerous times

over the years where Mom would cross paths with her students. Some

had ended up living in Vermilion (where Dad and she had retired),

some were living in Westlake, and we would see them in shopping malls

and stores around the western suburbs of Cleveland.

This particular student, who may or may not be one of her students,

had been one of MY favorites, too. He had gone on to Cornell University.

Jim had come home over holidays and during my four high school years,

I had written to him, along with my Mom’s enclosed letters. When I went

off to BGSU, I heard he had moved on, gone to medical college somewhere,

but we had lost touch. Mom had more new favorites to write to. I have only

his high school graduation picture, had his old address at Cornell, and did

not carry his torch once I met my first husband on my first day of college.

I thought of how paths twist and turn, criss and cross, I had some bubbles

of hope float up to greet me.

A silly song, kind of old but a “goody” starts out,

“Slow down,

You move too fast.

You’ve got to make the morning last,

Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones,

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy…”

Song, “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” otherwise known as “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Written and performed by the legendary folk music duo of Simon and

Garfunkel, 1966.

I had the true feeling of “Anticipation,” another great song, by the special

songstress, Carly Simon. She sang this song the year the young man, my

Mom’s past student graduated, 1971.

We went to a door of a man who had a flag and another copy of the young,

handsome uniformed Air Forceman’s photo on his shelf outside his door.

This shelf is one I like to decorate for Mom, using some of my seasonal

decorations. I am glad to remember the servicemen around the world

who dedicated their lives to their countries.

I hesitated for a moment, then decided to knock. I heard a waverly and

faint, frail sounding man’s voice ask,

“Who is it?”

I said, “My name is Robin and my Mom lives in B building. We were

wishing to talk to you.”

The male voice gave a little louder reply,

“Wait a minute… I am coming!”

When the door opened, a tall, handsome but much older, slumped version;

a “shadow of the man in the photograph” answered the door.

I launched into my introductions, telling him enthusiastically that we were

hoping he was the father of a man my Mom had taught. I identified which

high school, the one that is only two streets over, in the same town as her

senior apartments was. He repeated the words,

“Westlake High School… my son attended one in another suburb of

Cleveland. He named it.”

I said that his name, James, with his last name was the same as one of my

Mom’s “favorite students.”

He leaned against the wall by the door, having forgotten, I imagined a cane

or a walker in his rush to open the door. He was very pleasant and regretful

of being the “wrong” James or Jim.

I looked at him, decided to give him a big hug for those thoughtful words,

and he imparted some information that may or may not be helpful on

the further investigation to where in the world is Jim or James…

When my son moved to Medina or Mentor, I forget which city, he would

get his mail mixed up with another man with the same first and last name,

who was a doctor.

This new “lead” on the man in my memories and my Mom’s held some

possibilities. We both thanked him very much, he seemed reluctant to

have us go. We mentioned we hoped to see him sometime in the future.

I took his whole name with the middle initial added to it, thinking that it

may be able to be traced or followed with a little internet help.

I have not done this yet.

I am a little afraid, maybe might seem like a “stalker” but I have a little

glimmer of hope. You know why, don’t you?

Maybe, it will be kharma or kismet…

I can always hope this may lead me to my happy ending.

VJ Day

Standard

This is more of a pensive post, than a celebratory one. I have some

sad, serious thoughts when I reflect upon Hiroshima, not so much

on the deaths that started it. Pearl Harbor was an attack that we

could not ignore!

Two servicemen who served in different times have been very close

to me. One, an ex-husband, who served in the aftermath of Viet Nam

told me he sobbed while walking the eerie halls of the museum at

Hiroshima. The sight of a melted doll hit him right in the gut. We

didn’t just kill enemy infantrymen… the white silent cloud of the

atomic bomb left its message and it had a huge impact on Japan.

The second serviceman was a proud WWII veteran, decorated hero.

He also was moved to tears when he read a book about the mass

devastation. It was the only time I ever saw a tear in Sarge’s eyes,

except at the death of his sweet wife Alice.

Sarge’s feelings clouded his judgment, they made his right vs. wrong

opinions soften and change. The hard back book he read, title not

known by me, his friend and confidante, made him feel “ashamed.”

He said these powerful words, “The number of civilians that the

Japanese killed was low, the military attack killed thousands. Our

bombing of civilians in Hiroshima was a vastly higher toll of death.”

On Victory in Japan day, may there be peace in America and that show

of force may have mattered. It HAD to have mattered!

Let’s think of the Japanese internment in America and the loss of Japan

Town in California, where people had to pull out of their homes,

businesses and be transported to an environment similar to a Nazi

concentration camp. Thank God, no one was “gassed” here on our

precious land.

Another viewpoint, but also one held by two retired servicemen

who saw the remains of that day. One in a book and another in a

museum, that held a doll of some Japanese child in a display case.