Category Archives: sex differences

Mystery about a Sister

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Be prepared to read about a woman’s story, one which may or may

not have been relevant and meaningful to the musical world. I feel

there is a true basis and possibility that she made a big difference in

how her famous brother became who he was. I have to admit, I was

on my  own personal “movie fest” over the weekend. Originally I was

thinking, I would just post some of my favorites and give short film

critiques.

 

Somehow, this evolved into something ‘bigger’ than I expected. It

was time-consuming and yet, I felt like a private investigator with

her mind open and ready for understanding and analyzing the facts.

I looked up, using different sources, to find out more about this

fascinating woman.

 

Now that I may, or may not, have your attention, I will tell you the

riveting movie that led to my research.

 

MOVIE REVIEW:

“Mozart’s Sister,” a French film which needs you to read the sub-titles.

 

In the movie,  which came out in 2011, Rene Feret is the director

and a young actress who is his daughter, Marie Feret, plays the

sister to her character’s famous younger brother. Historical details

that were  discerned through research shall follow this summary of

this fine movie.

 

First, here are three splendid comments from famous reviewers,

starting with one who’s deceased.  Roger Ebert, “Chicago Sun-Times,”

was always one of my favorite reviewers. He is such a trustworthy

man to recommend movies.

(Of course, many of you will recognize his name and the television

show which I used to enjoy- “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”)

 

Here is what Roger Ebert said of, “Mozart’s Sister:”

“Marie Feret is luminous.” (in this role.)

 

David Noh, “Film Journey” says:

“A triumph!”

 

Ronnie Scheib, “Variety” Magazine:

“A treat for classical music lovers and cinephiles alike.”

 

What was a turning point in this movie which motivated me to

investigate and research?

What happened to make me seek the truth?

 

When Leopold Mozart, father of Maria Anna (also referred to as

Marianne and affectionately known as, “Nannerl”) tells his only

daughter when she is interested in writing musical compositions,

“Harmony and counterpoint are not understood by women.”

 

Of course, this caused me to say indignantly to my television screen

which was innocently displaying the film,

“That’s outrageous!”

 

Big sister, “Nannerl,” is helpful to toddler brother, “Wolfie,” and

helps him practice his keyboard lessons on a harpsichord. This

baroque instrument is lovely sounding. The scales and other early

beginning lessons are closely supervised by their father.

 

At age 5 or 6, “Wolfie” is paraded in front of wealthy families and

is also given an audience with royalty. He is a cute boy and shows

great potential and musical aptitude. The film shows Wolfgang

using creative interpretation of the music and dramatic arm

flourishes. He was supposedly beginning to write his own musical

compositions at age 4 or 5.

 

In the beginning of the movie,  their coach’s wheel breaks after

going over a rut in the country road. It is late and the Mozart family

stays in a nearby nunnery. It is interesting to note that there are

two sisters living there. Their story emphasizes the difference in

the way male and female genders were treated in this period of time.

The two girls have been shuffled and taken away from the palace,

being raised by nuns.

 

At one point, there is a name mentioned of the two girls’ brother,

who is being raised to be a ‘Royal.’ The part that Maria Anna plays,

and is asked to carry out a charade, is to transport a letter to their

brother, if the Mozart family should be ever happen to appear at

Court. Anna Maria treasures this new friendship and promises to

keep the letter safe and take it to their estranged brother.

 

This movie would engage someone who has been enjoying the inner

workings of the staff and upper class levels or tiers of British society

on the PBS show, “Downton Abbey.” Although this is a whole other

period of time, there are still the ideas of class structure and family

expectations being expressed. Definitely, it is an eye-opener in both

the film about the late 1700’s and the television series of the 1900’s.

Traditions and historical details about clothing, customs and roles

women and men played also are featured in both of these storylines.

 

At the end of the film, there is not much said about Nannerl’s  being

anything but helpful to her brother.  There are no illusions that she

may have helped Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart compose his greatest

works.

 

In the movie’s middle,  there is a nice romantic interlude, where

Maria Anna disguises herself as a boy, in a white-haired wig, to give

the hand written letter to the young Monarch from his sister. They

use the young man’s title in the film as ‘Louis XV.’ This story becomes

a very sweet part of the movie. I will not tell you about how it unfolds,

hoping you will someday pursue viewing this one. I will say it depicts

Nannerl’s character as having spunk, showing independence and also,

her romantic side.

 

Before the credits roll, there are a few sparse details given. The written

lettering after the movie ends mentions Maria Anna helped to write

some of her own sonatas as a young woman. It mentions she helped

Wolfgang transcribe his first writings, since he scribbled them. There

is a subtle undertone of the possibility that she was his ‘muse.’  As his

sister, she may have written (created) some of his early works.

 

The movie has places that explain traditional upbringing of “fine young

ladies.” The women are encouraged to wait on men, not to further their

education. Maria Anna tries to ‘rock the establishment.’ Her mother has

disappointment and her father shows anger for her independent streak.

She doesn’t wish to follow the social order of the period. I was rooting

for her, all the way!

 

RESEARCH:

If you enjoy history and reading about a famous person’s family,

you may enjoy this part of the post. . .

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from January 1756 until December,

1791. There is confusion about why he died at such an early age of 35.

 

He was the son of a musician and teacher of music, Leopold Mozart.

His mother was named Anna. He was born in Salzburg, which later

became part of, or known as,  Austria. Wolgang’s father and mother

had seven children, only two that lived beyond infancy. The oldest

living child was a daughter named Maria Anna, nicknamed, “Nannerl.”

There were four years between the two children, sister and brother.

 

When Wolfgang was 3 years old, his sister was learning her lessons,

which included language, music and reading. She was practicing

with her brother close by her side. Later, she would be by his side,

while he was the one leading the lessons. This relationship lasted

probably all of their childhood. “Wolfie” was her little shadow,

trying to do everything she did.

 

There is a notebook that Leopold made for Maria Anna, which is

known as “Nannerl’s Notenbuch” or also written as, “Notenbuch

fur Nannerl.” In English, this was “Nannerl’s Music Book.” This

amazing composition book demonstrated the first lessons that

Leopold gave to her, along with her brother. It consists of only

(originally) 48 pages, now only 36 pages remain.  This book has

her father’s exercises for her practicing beginner harpsichord

pieces. This also included anonymous minuets and some of her

father’s  original  works.  Two composers,  Carl P. E. Bach and

George C. Wagenseil, had their pieces transcribed as passages

in this musical exercise book.

 

In 1982, a man (just a coincidence) named Wolfgang Plath

studied the handwriting within the Notebook and attributed

the variety to consist of five different handwriting samples

or sources. There are evidences of the collaboration between

Leopold, the father, and his son, “Wolfie.”

 

Leopold took his family touring around countries and the cities

of Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. Maria Anna Mozart was

born in 1751 and lived 78 years, until 1829. When she became a

young lady, it was considered inappropriate for her to continue

to publicly play the harpsichord, piano or sing. Up until she was

18, Maria was part of her musical touring family. A biographer

considered her to be a great singer and an,

“Excellent harpsichord player and fortepiano player.”

 

Sadly, there is no mention about Nannerl being a conduit, or

letter transporter, between the sisters raised in a nunnery and a

member of Louis XV’s “Court” or “Royalty.”  This was the main

part of the plot I enjoyed in the movie I reviewed earlier.

 

At age 18, Maria Anna went home to Salzburg with her mother,

to teach musical lessons and stay at home. The following reason

was mentioned in one source,

“This was due to her being of marriageable age.”

 

Wolfgang and his father both wrote letters to Maria Anna which

some have been saved. Wolfgang during the 1770’s, was touring

in Italy and mentioned Nannerl’s writing musical compositions

and Wolfgang goes so far as to ‘praise her musical works.’

 

There are no references in her multiple letters from her father

to any of her own musical compositions in his correspondence.

 

An interesting note (and slightly salacious fact) is mentioned

in some of the biographers’ notes about Maria Anna’s and

Wolfgang’s close, intimate relationship. When they were young,

they developed a “secret language” and they had an “imaginary

kingdom.” They pretended they were married and carried out

their positions while playing together, as “Queen” and “King.”

 

There are a few indications and there is evidence of Wolfgang’s

using sexual wordplay which he used in other letters to his

lovers or girlfriends. This can be found also in the words he

chose and were included in his writing to his sister. One

historian considers this to be a ‘strange relationship’ for a

sister and a brother.

 

As an aside, my two brothers and I would play ‘house’ but

we would not have myself be the “mother” and one of my

brothers be the “father.” We would instead play that one of

the brothers was the “father” and other brother and I were

his “children.” Like the old television show, “Family Affair,”

where the uncle has “Buffy” and twins “Cissy” and “Jody.”

(I used to love this show, with Sebastian Cabot playing the

butler/nanny and Brian Keith playing the bachelor uncle.

did you know it ran from 1966 until 1971?) Or I would play

the ‘mother’ role and the brothers were my ‘kids.’ We usually

had company or neighbors over.  Once in awhile, they would

‘marry’ one of my girlfriends, or once in awhile, I would ‘marry’

one of their guy friends. I mention this to confirm that I would

also think it strange that the siblings played ‘Queen and King’

together over a Kingdom.

 

A sad note about Maria Anna’s independence shown in the

movie, “Mozart’s Sister.” This is not to be found anywhere in

any biographies or any letters. She is shown to be subservient

to her father, allowing him to forbid her to marry a man named,

“Franz d’Ippold.”  They were both young, he was a Captain and

a private tutor. When he proposed, there is an implication she

would have liked to say, “Yes.”  There is a letter in the family’s

collection where her brother, Wolfgang, tried to persuade her to

stand up to her father. Ultimately, Maria Anna was ‘forced’ to

turn down Captain Franz d’Ippold’s proposal.

 

Years went by, Maria Anna was allowed to marry at age 32, when

asked by a man named Johann Baptist Franzvan Berchtold  “un

Sonnenburg.” They were  married in 1783.  Listen to the “fun” life

Maria Anna participated in:  She became the wife of a widower

with five children she helped to raise. She had three more of her

own children with Johann. When she had her first born son,

she named him Leopold. Her father insisted on taking the her

only son to raise him in Salzburg at his home. The biography

doesn’t mention her mother’s role in this drama. From 1785

until he died in 1787, Leopold Sr. wrote letters and in a journal

telling about his toilet training Jr. and teaching him how to talk.

 

There was no mention of the boy’s illness nor a reason why he

should not have been raised as a baby until age 2 by his own

mother.  There is some speculation for her father’s thinking he

would raise another musical prodigy. Since he felt he was the

reason Wolfgang A. Mozart turned out the way he did.

 

After all, Leopold Mozart, Sr. did write and publish a violin

music textbook.

 

SUMMARY:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known for his classical

musical compositions, which included over 600 works.

They include symphonies, concertos, operas and choral

music.

 

Beethoven, while young, lived in the shadow of Mozart.

During his early years composing his own original music,

he was constantly compared to Mozart’s body of work.

 

Composer, Joseph Hayden said of Mozart’s legacy:

“Posterity will not see such a talent in another 100 years.”

 

Wolfgang A. Mozart married Constanze and had two sons.

He died at the early age of 35 years old.

His magnificent “Requiem” was never completed.

His music is still revered and considered the best in classical

music.

 

Maria Anna was never given any credit (that I could find out

about) for her influence on her brother’s music nor were any

of her musical compositions published. The book, “Nannerl’s

Notenbuch” is not considered to be anything but her lesson

book to practice and play music using the hand written

exercises.

 

I need to see the movie, “Amadeus,”  (again) to see if there

are any musical or notable references to his sister. If you

have a good memory or recently seen this, let me know in

the comments whether there is mention of Anna Maria

Mozart please.

 

I strongly recommend, “Mozart’s Sister” as a film to savor

and enjoy, while wishing the story line really happened.

 

Truthfully, being an older sister myself, how could “Nannerl”

NOT have had an influence upon her little brother, “Wolfie?”

 

Either way you look at this famous musician’s life,

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made a huge impact

on the musical world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

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An article by Cecelia LaPointe, who refers to “Two-Spirit”

which addresses and rekindles awareness of Native Gender

identity, was in the Ohio “Outlook” magazine. This was my

resource which I used finding great Christmas music lists

and an article about Bette Midler in December.

 

In November, Cecelia came to OSU campus to host a poetry

workshop and speak on racial identity and the “Two-Spirit”

existence. Ms. LaPointe has also visited Columbus during

both Native American Heritage Month and Trans-gender

Awareness Week. (Two opportunities I missed last year to

feature in my monthly calendar.)

 

Indigenous communities of Native Americans use the “Two-

Spirit” label to denote gender variations within their people.

In the world, they consider Europe and American cultures

“binary” genders. “Two-Spirits” become a third or even fourth

gender among native societies.

 

“Two-Spirits” are denoted or designated from birth, through

a ritual. This belief of a person embodying masculine and

feminine spirits, two ‘identities inhabiting a single body’ is

not considered ‘weird,’ ‘strange’ or ‘inappropriate.’ Instead

the Native Americans ’embrace’ the different way of life.

 

Two things mentioned in this essay about Cecelia and her

tribe’s belief in what sets these particular people known as

“Two-Spirits” apart:

1.) They dress and change their choice of who they are from

day to day. They are not all ‘one way’ in their feminine or

masculine clothing.

2.) They may choose to carry out tasks or labor, not dependent

on their outward appearance. Gender roles are not delineated

or dictated in the “Two-Spirit” existence.

For example: A person could go out on a hunt or go to war, but

at other times may dress in women’s clothing and carry out

domestic chores. Women could become  ‘warriors’ or chiefs

over their native tribes.

 

Interestingly, according to Ms. LaPointe,  “Two-Spirits” were

not only tolerated, but they were ‘revered.’  For instance, they

were well respected and considered, ‘powerful.’ They often were

given special roles such as healers, mediators and counselors.

 

There are instances where bigotry of “Two-Spirits” has been

carried out. When historians bring up the arguments of their

contributions and respected positions it is to counterbalance

those who say Native Americans are “transphobic.”

 

Sometimes, Natives would bring up “tradition” as a reason to

exclude people who chose to carry out their ‘birthright’ as

“Two-Spirit” people.  They would be acting close-minded to

the long history of the revered members of their tribes.

Ancestors of Native Americans were not against “Two-Spirit”

people, elders were often of this delineation.

 

Ms. LaPointe brings up Spanish missionaries as those who

planted the ‘bad seeds’ which germinated prejudice against

“Two-Spirited” people. “They (Two-Spirit) were essentially

the first victim in the campaign of colonial violence against

the native population of the Americas.”

 

Ms. LaPointe considers herself of  ‘mixed descent’ and feels

she is part of “both cultures, both worlds.” She grew up in a

Detroit suburb and lives in the northern town of Manistee.

She travels to her reservation in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula)

regularly. She is a descendant of the Anishinaabekwe Tribe,

native of the Great Lakes region.

 

Cecelia LaPointe says her reservation is very small yet it is her

“home.” This is where she goes to be with family members. Some

of her own family members hold leadership positions within her

tribe. It is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Being

located far from the city means it is a positive place for her to

retreat. It is also good since. . .

‘There is less influence from the dominant culture there.’

 

Ms. LaPointe reaches out to others, through her writing

and public speaking. By going to college campuses, she

can share her poetry and also, her viewpoint where the

students may be encouraged to be ‘themselves.’ She hopes

to reverse the history of discrimination against both the

Native Americans and also, those who are filled with what

they call, “Two-Spirit.”

 

There was a wonderful piece of artwork that accompanied

this article in “Outlook,” November issue. It has the artist,

George Catlin’s (1796-1872) painting called, “Dance to the

Berdache.” This was drawn while the Sac and Fox people

of the Great Plains were engaging in a ceremonial dance to

celebrate the “Two-Spirit” person.

 

Here is a part of a poem that talks of her emotions,

“Poem: Ajijaak Dodem Anokil

It is so precious,

Those tears on my hands,

Covering my face,

This grieving is beautiful,

You see we had felt those knives turned inward

On ourselves,

On our family. . .”

 

You may wish to check out Cecelia Rose LaPointe’s poetry

or speaking schedule and other special events at:

http://www.anishinaabekwe.com

 

My youngest daughter and I recently saw, “The Imitation Game,”

which depicts an underlying sadness within the main character.

It is a true story about Alan Turing, a genius. He was the inventor

of a de-coding machine that ‘beat’ Germany’s war coding machine,

“The Enigma.” This British machine helped the Allies win World

War II against the Germans.

 

Apparently, Alan Turing was a man who faced accusations and

there were parts of the film which eluded to his sexual preferences.

This movie brought up the problems that people historically have

faced (and are still overcoming).  The end of the movie has details

about large numbers, unfortunately, of people who were thrown in

British prisons, due to their homosexuality.

 

The actor is one I enjoy as “Sherlock” on PBS and also, has been

in the “Dr. Who” British television series. His name is Benedict

Cumberbatch. You can see him in more than one 2013 Academy

Award nominated movie, since he played in “12 Years a Slave”

and “August: Osage County.”

 

The woman who befriends him and who is very talented in

decoding and helping with the Turing Machine, is played by the

wonderful actress, Keira Knightley. My favorite role she has

played was in, “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are many more

films to see her in.

 

After the movie, when I talked with my youngest daughter who had

cried (as I did, too) during some of the tender and intense parts of the

film, we both agreed upon deep emotions we have in common.

We also share values my parents and siblings embrace.

It is hard to understand why anyone would be so offended by

someone’s personal choices.

 

Sadly, the United States has had many different areas where

numbers of people who chose to be ‘different’ from what some

may perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream.’ Obviously, numerous

people are still either bullied or face judges in court rooms.

 

Persecutions in the United States have been appalling and we

talked about our abhorrence of this.

 

No country is totally ‘innocent’ of negative practices of prejudice

and persecution. “Racial profiling” has been a problem within our

extended family.  (My oldest daughter’s father of little Micah is

bi-racial. Mainly, since 9/11/2001, he has had taunts and threats

due to his outward appearance. In his younger years, he says at

least in Delaware, Ohio, he found people wanting to be his friend

throughout his schooling and working years.)

 

The numbers of those imprisoned, at the end of the movie, were

such that we just shook our head and looked at each other through

teary eyes, in disbelief. Felicia asked me, “How can anyone feel

they have the right to judge someone else?”

 

This article about Native Americans and “Two Spirit” individuals

was saved in my WordPress drafts.  It helped me to feel that there

is a positive force to include gays and lesbians within the Native

tribes. Their ‘explanation’ or interesting philosophy towards people

who choose to follow two different genders created new thoughts

in my mind. Mother Nature has some unique qualities which I

embrace, sometimes intuitively.

 

Of course, I have mentioned before. . . I have hope for our future

in the possibility that all peoples can accept and embrace our

differences.

 

Written in Memoriam of Alan Turing, scientist, original computer

inventor and mathematician who committed suicide at age 41, a

few weeks before his 42nd birthday in  June, 1954.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Alan Turing a post-humous “pardon” in

2013 for his criminal charges and offenses.

 

Celebrating with Buckeyes

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I could ‘subtitle’ this post: “Partying with the Younger Crowd.” We

were going to a big Sugar Bowl party.  I was excited to be included

by my youngest daughter. I would be rooting for Ohio State Buckeyes

to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. Both my brother and my friend

who works at the Columbus Dispatch at the Sports Desk felt we had

little chance of winning but both texted me frequently over the eve.

 

I was the D.D. for the after New Year’s Eve party celebration in the

basement of a fun, pizza serving bar called “Zeno’s.” My youngest

daughter and I were coming off a high from just having watched a

finely written and acted movie called, “The Imitation Game.”

 

We had followed my junk food movie snacks up with a stop at Ruby

Tuesdays for a nice, healthy salad bar.  She is one of the healthy,

gluten-free, fresh ingredients, low sugar, group of smoothie-drinking

vegetarians who sometimes include fish or eggs in their diets.

 

We found first rate Columbus parking, in a No Towing area. Unlike a

late arrival friend who had to literally walk a mile to the bar!  (Later,

we drove her back and discovered she was not kidding!) We waded

through the first packed floor of varied ages. I noticed there were a

couple of men I would have to stop with me and flirt with them. We

sallied forth to our destination. There were only a handful of fellow

workers from the restaurant. I was the one who spotted the string of

white Christmas lights and plugged them in, I checked out the three

steps in the women’s bathroom, leading upward from the sink to sit

on a ‘throne.’ When I later reported this bizarre restroom, I was told

by a tall, lanky man that the same situation is set up in the men’s

room.  He had me imagine men stooping down to not hit their heads

on the short ceiling level. Standing up has its down sides, at times.

 

I ordered a seltzer water with a slice of lime in it from Jessie, a

patient barkeep. We were amidst the fellow servers of an upscale

restaurant, where they had all worked New Year’s Eve. Their one day

off having planned and gathered extra money to reserved their own

‘place under the sun’ or ‘spot under the rafters’ of a stomping and

exuberant crowd of Buckeyes upstairs. We became more excited as

our numbers increased. I like to develop characters and watch other

people so here are some of my impressions of the young people.

 

There was one older woman who had had no children and was their

appointed “Mother Hen” named Mary Beth. There was a man in his

forties with a nice head of hair, a Steve Martin look-alike. Barry stayed

involved in the Beer Pong activities, writing competitors’ names and

scores on a paper taped to the painted cinder block wall.

 

Here is a list of real names, inspired by Famous People:

1. Mariah- She is wispy and sweet, telling people about their ‘aura’s’

and their ‘spirits.’ Wait for the most unlikely love story to be shared

by her and a man named, Grant. Mariah says the surprise ending was

more on her part, than his. They have plans to marry next year, 2016.

 

2. Whitney- She is a petite, blonde young girl who is also matched with

an equally unlikely man who is possibly the polar opposite of her.

She is so open and forthcoming, hugging me immediately upon being

introduced by youngest daughter. Whitney is a server who brought the

next party-goer who sounds like he walked out of a soap opera. . .

 

Chance- This thirty year old man is tall, has his head shaved close in

a nice way like a service man. He looks like he belongs in a computer

lab. He was quiet and polite, his conversation and stationary stance

unusual amongst the sports fans. In over four hours, he spent barely

moving except to jump up and down for joy at any progress the Bucks

were able to make. He stood still and tall, his shoulders slim and his

waist narrow, hands in his pockets. He probably is composing a musical

or writing a book in his head. I was unable to break his ‘code of silence.’

Imagine this, who can get almost anyone to blab their life’s secrets.

 

4. Gabriella (aka “Gabby”)- Dark wavy hair, engaged with the ‘boys’ in

Beer Pong, winning at least two rounds. She was bubbly and warm,

hugging many people in the room. She appeared like a soccer player

in her build and like several of my daughter’s outgoing friends.

 

5. Grant- He shared a funny love story which melted my heart. I sure

do love men who are open and not guarded. He did describe himself

as a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd’ in high school. I shared about my Science Club

group and my view of being rather ‘nerdy,’ too. He has thick wavy hair,

was wearing a sweater. Not the typical red or gray OSU t-shirt party-goer.

 

 

Now, for the Exotic Names:

1. Yonida- born and raised through her toddler years in Albania, she is

very “American” in her word phrasings and her appearance. She is a

close friend of my youngest daughter, the two of them meeting at a

Fourth of July (2014) party. Although Yonida works at another upscale

restaurant, everyone in this crowded basement with the big screen t.v.

and one woman bartender bar had invited a few extras. Yonida liked

the idea of my getting them in the tunnel, Whitney, Yonida and Felicia,

to take a picture. Since the hallway was brick with wooden paneling

and held a few photos of OSU greats, including Woody Hayes.

So, as most young people do, they decided to ‘look tough’ and pose in

this rugged setting. It is the hall directly under the Zeno’s bar.

 

2. Jose- The older bus ‘boy’ who helps the waitstaff by clearing tables

and makes jokes that get the servers rolling. I think it is the Spanish

accent, we had a long and convoluted conversation with my usage of

Spanish phrases interspersed with English. How do you say, “party?”

Fiesta!

 

3. Zeke (Ezekial) came from New York, learned from one of the best,

(the upscale restaurant’s owner of several unique and individual

restaurants) how to be a hand-crafted, fresh-flavored Chef. He reminded

me of my son, the one who cooks for Son of Thurman, here in Delaware.

Zeke admitted to two of Felicia’s friends and to me, “I have a crush on

your daughter.” He is not Italian or Greek but has the dark, brooding

look and is actually Jewish in descent, but not in practice.

 

4. Jade- She does not want to be a server forever, she proclaimed this

as soon as we started chatting. She is a petite, long-haired sensitive

young woman who thinks she wants to be a teacher someday. She has

two years of art college and has a Yoga Instructor license. She is one who

admires my youngest daughter’s business acumen and wished she had

completed her art college. She will go back and get a Bachelor’s degree,

she says in teaching Art. I believe in her, I can see the potential of her

truly making her ‘mark’ in the world. I told her there are many children

who need art, since it is one of the most fun places to be, especially those

who don’t ‘test’ well or are floundering in their reading skills. She told me

that she is worried (as so many of my fellow bloggers are) at the way that

schools take funding away from worthy projects and subjects such as Art,

Music and Gymnastics. Literature is not always valued as it should be.

You can tell, I spent a lot of time talking to Jade! She was an ‘old soul.’

 

Love Story:

“First Impressions Mix-Up”

 

Grant led with the simple truth of, “I guess you must believe in the fact

that people should not judge a book by its cover.” He went on to say that

Mariah seemed very confident, ‘clique-ish’ and ‘snobby.’ Grant gave me

what he considered a ‘valid’ example,

“I sat beside her one entire day of orientation and she did not even turn

her head in my direction. Not even once.”

 

Grant told me, when I told him I had a smart, funny son who sometimes

was like him. I mentioned that Jamie is quiet until you get to know him.

This helped Grant to open up more to say,

“I guess it is true, we sometimes ‘carry a chip on our shoulders,’ maybe

due to actions of others, that remind us of someone from our past. I

was predicting and stereotyping since she is ‘drop dead gorgeous.'”

“Mariah seemed to look right through me,” was another response,

he shared with me.

 

Before I share how these two got together, I will contrast Mariah’s image

of Grant. Mariah felt he was,  “stuck on himself” and “almost arrogant.”

She does not remember ever sitting next to him at orientation. She is a

little embarrassed to be asked about her memory of their restaurant

orientation. It is part of what people ask her now that they are engaged.

She admits, she may have been ‘distracted,’ since she was ‘getting over

someone else.’

 

Mariah is an out-going young attractive woman, who may have intimidated

Grant. Grant is also a nice looking young man who is very intelligent but may

have a negative self image.

 

It was funny since Grant also exuded confidence and was polite as to call me,

“Miss Robin,” along with calling the other older server, “Miss Mary Beth.”

 

So, here is the hilarious and simple way the two young people found each

other as told by Mariah:

“Three months after we had worked together, Grant was standing by the

coffee station, cleaning all of its parts in boiling water. It was the end of the

shift, I approached Grant and said verbatim,

“Hey Grant, do you want to come to our rolling party in the PDR?”

 

“Grant stopped what he was doing, looked at me intensely (Mariah still talking)

and said,

‘Did you say ‘robot party’ because I am IN!!  And where is the PDR?'”

 

Mariah rolls her eyes, glancing at Grant who is talking to Zeke.

“Honestly, how can a man work as a server for OVER Three Months

and not know about rolling silverware or the Private Dining Room? I

was just using a fun tone trying to get him back there to join us in

rolling silverware!!”

 

Grant told me his version,

“So, I am already cleaning an area, while the girls are supposed to be

rolling silverware, and Mariah asks me to a party. What was I supposed

to think? I got excited, maybe she was into science fiction and would be

having a robot party. I was serious. No, I had no clue about when they

go into the Private Dining Room their abbreviated way of saying this. Nor

did I know about their calling this process,  a ‘party.'”

 

Grant felt she was so friendly and cute, standing there that he went

back to the PDR and sat right next to her, asked her several questions

about where she grew up and her high school, this helped finally to

‘melt the ice’ between them. They fell for each other after that.

 

Mariah saw him as a very articulate and interesting man, someone

who would be a nice change from the athletic guys. She felt ‘bossed

her around’ and were ‘very pushy’ in their personal behavior. She

finished the story with her own warm summary to me,

 

“It’s a shame because we lost three months to spend time together.

But, for me (Mariah), the lessons are:

‘Everyone has an interesting potential,’ and ‘Don’t be closed to

opportunities to connect.'”

The end or beginning of Grant and Mariah’s Love Story.

 

The end of my well spent four and a half hours can be summed up as

having been engaged in lively discourse and rowdy team spirit. I had

eaten six (or 8?) wings, half were medium hot wings and half were

pineapple teriyaki.

A young man, not named above, had a few so I lost count of my basket

numbers.

I had a few sips of my youngest daughter’s mixed drink, but had a 2nd

water with lime and hydrated. It was surprisingly hot in the basement.

Some were playing beer pong, some were swearing, others were shouting

in their excitement (we won by a very close score) and when a manager

stood by me, I exclaimed,

“You have an incredible work group gathered here, this shows such a

great team spirit. I get the feeling you all become ‘family’ and a lot has

to do with the leadership, an equal amount has to do with such amazing

people you chose to be employees.”

He smiled and nodded. Then Greg said,

“The corporation is run by someone who worked his own way up through

the ranks. He is very encouraging of self-growth and hopes everyone will

find their own paths.”

 

I hope you had a fantastic New Year’s Eve! The sports ‘after party’ was

a great outing. I enjoyed the time with family, friends and Mom this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double Dip Treat

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Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

Loose Remnants

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I am writing a short post to let you know that I will be going on vacation up in

Sunny Cleveland! I enjoy Lake Erie, my Mom’s company and my brothers and

sister in law, who all fit in visits or invitations for me to accompany them to a

meal out. This means that I may get a chance to use the public computer that

is located in the Pub. I can listen to the sound of men playing poker, women who

gather in the a.m. to do “Wi” exercises or possibly have to wait for the entire

week for the woman who is addicted to “Candy Crush” and “Farm Hero Saga”

games!

I have a funny and interesting ‘library intrigue’ that you may be curious to know

about! My good coworker friends and happily married girlfriends are always

probing for any little morsels of ‘single-dom’ that I may share with them.

This one almost ‘takes the cake’ for winners! A woman who I met in AAUW, was

my editor of my (I was President) monthly newsletter and became a close friend

since 1993, got divorced in 2009. Her husband is always waving and looking

at me at the library. I smile and nod, being cordial and polite. I would never look

twice at him, “Joe’s” not my ‘type’ at all!

Last Thursday, as I was hurrying out of the library, to pack up and get ready to leave

after work on Friday for my super wedding extravaganza weekend, “Joe” handed me

a note.

Now, if you have ‘followed’ me for awhile, I have received offers for many things, in

the months that have passed since my youngest daughter ‘left me’ to live in Columbus

with her laptop! I have had an invitation to go out for a “fast food dinner,” followed

within an hour of the invitation, by a wife standing behind him, her  hands on his

shoulders, saying, “Are you ready to go now, dear!” Really! The ‘nerve’ of some people!

He must have meant very fast food!)

I got invited t join a nearly homeless man at Open Mic night at Roop’s. I still talk to

this man, Chad.

I had received a longer letter from someone named “Roger,” who had explained why

he was probably not the ‘right man’ for me, saying he had run one of the bowling

alleys here in town, had moved to Florida and was interested in taking me out to

eat using a gift card that he had received from his daughter in the mail that week.

(I forget, was it Father’s Day? a holiday?)

I was offered a Pupperoni (yes! for dogs!) stick which the man meant to be handing

me a Slim Jim! and other silly antics that somehow I provoke out of men!

This one, though, took me by surprise.

I went out to the car and opened Joe’s note that was carefully folded in two. It held

a short but neatly written note, asking if I would find a “different venue” for continuing

a conversation, choosing a place where I would feel comfortable and the last line

shocked me a bit!

It said, “And if you are feeling frisky, it can be at your house or mine.” It was signed

with husband of my good friend, who moved first to Dublin, Ohio while divorcing her

“Joe.” Then,  when her son graduated from college,  she moved out to Sacramento.

Now, she has chosen to live in Las Vegas, where her son got transferred.

Of course, I know lots of sordid details of their marriage, none of them appealing to

me, in the least!

Now, if it had been the ‘randy’ firefighter who had showed his hose, demonstrating

his prowess to over 50 lovers all across town, various professions, including a female

gynecologist. If it had been my acquaintance’s ex-husband, Jerry, I may have said,

“If you have your shots records, plenty of condoms and a plan to ‘wine and dine’ me,

Maybe I will go with you!” (Sorry, acquaintance who is a distant ‘friend’ since I don’t

feel I owe you anything, in the way of manners!) Additional information: Just kidding!

I am meeting a mutual friend of this couple, “Joe” and his ex, tonight for a coffee and

dessert. I may show her the note, since it is hardly of much interest to my children or

other family members. Someone needs to give me an opinion. I am ‘torn’ whether or

not to let my long distance close friend know about the note. Maybe she will laugh?

Maybe it is still a sore subject? My friend, Jenny, will let me know and I bet it will

be advice to:

“Keep your mouth shut, Robin!”

Talk to you soon, hope you have a grand and exciting week!

I will have some moments where I will try to sneak onto that one computer at

Mom’s Senior Living Apartments!

Happy Fourth of July, too!

 

 

Super Bowl XLVIII Menu

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The Next Great Excuse to Party On! February 2, 2014

I have made a fairly comprehensive list of all the

delicious choices to have at a smorgasbord or potluck

event! I hope you will consider hiring a teenager to

supervise the younger children, purchasing juices in

non-staining colors like white grape juice or apple

juice, other finger foods that are not on the following

list to serve, if you allow children to tag along with

their adult parents.

I also encourage to plan ahead and have two areas, if

possible, to have the Super Bowl football game playing.

One, of course, will be for the diehard fans that don’t

like too much commentary, chatting or just aimless

conversation! I am a big fan of the commercials, the

sometimes great but always entertaining Half Time Show.

I am not so much of a follower of the blow by blow football

plays, so I would hang out with the aimless conversers,

and don’t lecture me, but usually the women who are in this

group!

You can make a menu and divide these choices up or you can

contemplate the audience of guests, check your budget and

figure what is best for all out of these scrumptious choices!

1. Guacamole dip and tortilla chips. I love black bean tortilla

chips! I also like hummus… there are many dips that are natural

and have elements of healthy ingredients to include. Veggies to

dip in these could also be set out.

2. Jalapeno poppers. I love the smell of these, for some reason

these spicy little things get my mouth salivating, when I smell

them baking in the oven.

3. A huge submarine sandwich, cut into 3-4″ slices. This can

include all sorts of deli meats, cheeses, vegetables and a

sprinkle of Italian dressing. Mmmmm…!

4. Pizzas! Endless choices here.

5. A crock pot of chili can be served with side toppings,

such as sour cream, grated cheeses, chives or onions, and

tortilla or Frito chips. I also think an inexpensive side

can be a pan of hot dogs and hot dog buns.

6. Baked Potato Skins. Again, some of the side toppings

used in the chili suggestions can be used, along with

bacon bits and peppers.

7. Meatballs in tomato sauce or barbecue sauce

or Small wieners in a chili/grape jelly mix prepared

ahead in a crock pot. Another hamburger possibility,

but is kind of messy, is sloppy joes.

8. Deviled Eggs. This is sometime, in some areas,

a tradition for any and all family/friends’ gatherings.

9. Bacon Wrapped jalapeno poppers or bacon wrapped

water chestnuts with a maple syrup glaze. Yummy!

10. Quesadillas and the different side ingredients.

11. Cheese dips or cheese balls. Crackers or bread

sticks are good, along with those tortilla chips.

12. Chicken Wings! With sauces on or on the side.

I like mild Frank’s Hot Sauce prepared in a pan with

a tablespoon or so of butter, then each piece dipped

and baked. Once out of the oven, a good blue cheese

dressing with celery sticks to “cool” off your mouth

served on the side.

What’s your favorite dish to eat?

What’s your favorite dish to bring?

Here are some All Star Football Players’/Broadcasters’

Favorites that are recommendations from an article I saved

from January, 2012.

1. Steve Young recommends Bean Dip.

2. Terry Bradshaw recommends his family’s Ribs and Beans.

3. Roger Staubach’s choice is Chili.

4. Vince Young recommends a Short Rib Chili.

5. Dan Marino’s Pasta Bolognese.

6. Barry Saunders suggests Chocolate Cookies.
(Hey, in my list above, I forgot desserts!)

7. Brett Favre serves Jambalaya at football

gatherings.

8. Mike Ditka recommends having Pork Chops.

9. Jerry Rice suggests Sticky Honey Wings.

Mainly, enjoy and have fun! Hope you have a little

friendly rivalry. I hope that you will drink and

imbide responsibly. If you have to work the next

day, take care and be prepared to get up for work,

maybe with protein and/or your needed ‘after drinking

remedy.’

Please have a designated driver, if you intend

to get carried away!

There’s Pain in Our Differences

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A friend of mine often says, “Thank God for our Pains!” It reminds her

of “being alive!” She says that we should be grateful for the pain in our

knees, hands or other areas of our body. “We are lucky to have those

body parts…” Well, I really had to think about that while up in the

aerosol room on Friday, grumbling because I had just hit my shin on

a metal rack!

Understanding differences in how men and women are, often comes

up in my writings. I have spent hours on end, trying to figure out why

I have had my history with men! When I was reflecting back, I thought

of how in education they say boys learn differently from girls. They

have research to back up this, that girls have better communication

skills due to the area of the brain that is used is more highly developed.

While boys are great in math and science, girls are better in reading

and writing, especially while collecting facts and putting them into words

into a paper. For over thirty years, at least! there have been studies to

help emphasize the differences betweent the sexes in their learning

and genders’ weaknesses, so that we can improve our teaching

approaches. Bridging these “gaps” can make us not only better learners,

but also better partners in our relationships!

Of course, this was very helpful in my approaches in teaching my own

three children (girl-boy-girl, birth order) and also, in my classroom. I was

a Language Arts teacher, first in middle school. I liked projects, I knew

that the boys liked to put their “hands on” approach to these, those

props held while presenting papers, really helped them relax. If I had

a month of mysteries, with the different kinds of spelling, writing,

English composition and current events, say for October lessons,

I encouraged making paper mache masks, posters and any other

three dimensional projects that suited the book they had read.

Two of my favorite presentations were boys that had put together

a “radio show” to demonstrate their reading of “War of the Worlds.”

It was quite different from the famous one that you have heard of!

Also, the young man who made a paper mache heart to talk about

the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, “The Telltale Heart” and his little

tape of an actual heart beating heard behind the words he told in

his report: Awesome!

Anyway, understanding how we learn, how we feel (pain, included)

and what we both need are very important to help our relationships.

Relationships, I often say, are the reason I wrote this blog,  because

they truly “reveal our hearts.” Most research of the sexes, determine

vast differences in the way we do those three important areas, learn,

feel and need.

I have to put this musical “shout out” to Billy Joel! I have used the

song, “Tell Her About It” many times in arguments or let’s put it nicely,

“discussions” with men. Love through words can really make a huge

difference in bringing people who love each other back together.

Equally important, through that hands on approach, men feel that

showing affection through actions is important. Men would like to

have more sex and women would like to have more romance in

their lives!

As far as pain studies and research go, new strides are being made

at understanding the differences between the way men react to

pain and women do.

Here are the different versions of the definition of pain:

1.)  Physical suffering associated with disease, injury or other bodily

disorders.

2.)  Harmful stimulus that a basic bodily sensation results in the

characteristics of physical discomfort.

3.)  Acute mental or emotional distress. (otherwords, grief.)

4.)  The care and effort in accomplishing something like taking

great “pains” to make someone feel better or get something done.

5.)  Someone or something that annoys or is troublesome. (Men

are a ‘pain in the neck!’ or she’s a real pain!)

Very new studies in how we are able to cope and react to pain have

been uncovering startling differences between men’s and women’s

thresholds. Sure, for years, we thought women were able to handle

pain better due to the gender specific fact that women carry and

give birth to babies. Also, side note: I often wondered why my exes

seemed like “babies” when it came to any sickness or pain. Probably

not done a study on that yet!

Humans need pain! I found this out by reading on the subject of pain

recently. My daughter, some of you who have followed me for the

past year, may remember deals with rheumatoid arthritis. She has

had it since a child, hence its JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis).

She has been in case studies at Ohio State and also, Children’s

Hospital since she was 11. She has more white blood cells than

red blood cells, usually, she also has the joints of a person over

65 years old. She still ran on the soccer field and when benched

due to her not always being the “best,” chose her senior year to

go onto the Cross Country team and made it into the top ten in

the district meet. (OCC) She is not a “whiner” nor does she mention

this to new dates. I called her a “hero” in an essay contest and we

had our picture taken and put in the Columbus Dispatch contest

in her high school years. When other teens didn’t want to get off

their butts from their computer, gaming and other areas of their

lives, she worked at Kroger’s as a cashier at 15, ran and also, did

not use it as an “excuse” to get out of anything!

Pain alerts us to danger and injury. If you touch something sharp,

hot or painful, this will trigger an electrical signal and releases

chemicals from cells in your fingers, racing up nerves of your arm,

to the area of the brain. To be technical, the thalamus and midbrain.

These are involved in sensory perception. The sensation goes to the

neocortex and the limbis system which gives us the type and intensity

of the pain. Memory and emotion assign us a “level of pain” on

how it registers and we react. If our memory is more painful we may

react differently to somethingwe have already experienced.

Someone, for example, who has had a hammer land on their foot

previously, may react with excruciating pain. The past memory

exacerbates it, making it seem even worse than the person who

for the first time, has a hammer land on their foot.

I get very upset when I bump or bash my legs. I am much more

likely to bruise, that knowledge makes me try so hard not to do

the bumping, but this morning, I rammed my leg on an open

cabinet! I almost screamed in frustration! I could see the bruising

and also, see redness and the future of broken capillaries. That

is my fate, I can look back at my Dad’s bruised, black and blue

veins on his legs and I can look at my Mom’s when I am in the

bathroom with her. We never recouperate from those bumps

and bruises. I tried to sit down and put ice on my leg, sat and

did “mindful chewing” and ate my breakfast. I know that it

will not be bad, in comparison to other’s daily pain nor should

I dwell on it too much. That is life in my body. But this led me

to write about the subject today!

Here is a reference on this subject, Allan Basbaum, PhD. who is

the chair of the anatomy department at University of California,

“Pain signals that are repeated over and over can eventually

cause physiological chemical changes that make nerve pathways

ultrasensitive. Once that happens, your brain interprets pain impulses

traveling on them as more intense and harder to regulate and

suppress.”

This is sad, because pain messages may become embedded in your

central nervous system so that your brain may keep sending them

** Even when they no longer exist! This is distressful to those with

fibromyalgia. Those pathways in your neurosystem, have developed

into extremely sensitive places where the slightest ache is intensified.

This explains also why women are the ones more likely to have this

and also, fill up the pain clinics. There is a different brain structure

that is like a wall where the pain is processed. Studies have found

the brain structures that help control consciousness, emotions, and

pain processing differ between the sexes. The women’s wall is thicker,

in the brain area studied, female patient who suffer frequent migraines

specifically. Along with the fact that only male rats are used for drug

studies, we have still a long way to go to discover sex appropriate drugs

to “cure” or “treat” different ailments. Only after the 1990’s have we

begun to start tracking the differences in the way sexes react to drugs.

This is directly shown through the difference in the way women have

heart attacks and strokes and men do. We are beginning to understand

that heart attacks and cardiovascular disease strikes the sexes differently.

As we get older, we all will need to adjust to the differences in the way

the sexes age, get diseases and how to handle them. While it may not

seem important to the younger readers, it is important to us all in society

who have parents, elderly relatives and friends, too. The ways we differ,

in our communication, effect us in the workplace and at home. We need

to understand that men feel useful if they are the ones who are fixing,

earning and doing. That is the way their gender, from childhood on, is

developing. It is out of their control! If you read about counseling or have

been through marital counseling, one of the most often heard phrases is,

“But I show her I love her by working hard, I come home, mow the yard,

and doing other chores. I am showing her I love her through my actions.”

Women, also often breadwinners, will emphasize the other side of love,

through emotions, by saying they express their love through telling their

partner that they appreciate this or that, they “remembered” their spouse’s

favorite meal to make or scent to wear. Communication is learning how

the other person thinks and feels.

Sympathy towards the other person’s aches and pains of growing older,

will go a long way towards staying connected, showing you care and

warming up your relationship. I am going to give you a few suggestions

of how to do this while we are all going through one pain or another

in this life. Take a bath or shower together, give back, foot or other

bodily parts massages, and try something new together that is enjoyable

to get your minds off the pain. It will help you to bridge back to your

younger selves to learn how to dance, go to the Y and swim, take cooking

lessons (remember to find a healthy cook since we do need to be careful

with our bodies as we age!) and take leisurely bike or walks through parks,

enjoying the scenery. Hold hands, watch t.v. on the same sofa, not your

separate areas or Lazy Boys!

Lastly, we knew our brains were different between the sexes, but who

knew how different?! I am sure that this contributes to that thought we

came from different planets!