Category Archives: Spain

Unique December Facts

Standard

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

The good news is December has been declared Bingo Celebration

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

guests. Sometimes my cousins, sometimes neighbors, we would

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

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

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

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

the 1500’s.

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

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

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

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

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

there.

 

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

“Battle of the Bulge” was carried out.

 

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

Peace on Earth, Good will to Men.

 

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

 

DECEMBER DAYS OF FOOD (Beverage or Other):

Dec. 1- National Pie Day.

Eat A Red Apple Day.

 

Dec. 2- National Apple Pie Day.

 

Dec. 4- National Cookie Day.

(Every day is this one for me! smiles)

 

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

National Sacher Torte Day.

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

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

 

Dec. 6- National Gazpacho Day.

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

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

raw vegetables.)

Also, National Microwave Oven Day.

(I do appreciate this electronic invention.)

 

Dec. 7- National Cotton Candy Day.

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

festivals in December?)

 

Dec. 8- National Chocolate Brownie Day.

Dec. 9- National Pastry Day.

Dec. 10- National Lager Day.

 

Dec. 11- National Noodle Ring Day.

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

a circle of noodles with a cheese incorporated into it,

attributed to Germany.)

 

Dec. 12- National Cocoa Day.

 

Dec. 13- National Ice Cream Day.

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

This must be made up by people in warmer climates.

Also, National Violins Day.

 

Dec. 14- National Bouillabaisse Day.

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

villages in France. Marseilles may have been its first place

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

 

Dec. 15- National Cupcake Day.

 

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

Woo hoo!

 

Dec. 17- National Maple Syrup Day.

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

or waffles!)

 

Dec. 18- National Suckling Pig Day.

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

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

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

while it is considered a delicacy.)

 

Dec. 19- National Hard Candy.

(What is your favorite hard candy?

My Dad’s was either horehound or cinnamon drops.

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

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

 

Dec. 20- National Fried Shrimp Day.

(This makes me think of Louisiana cooking with crawdads or

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

the butter sauce with garlic infusion:  Shrimp Scampi.)

 

Also on the 20th- National Sangria Day.

“Ole!”

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

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

Spanish toast on another post…)

 

Dec. 21- National Hamburger Day.

Going from the red meat to fruit…

National Kiwi Fruit Day.

 

Dec. 22- National Date Nut Bread.

 

Dec. 23- National Pfeffernuesse Day.

(This traditional German spice cookie covered with powdered

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

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

 

Dec. 24- National Feast of the Seven Fishes.

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

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

 

Also, National Egg Nog Day.

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

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

United Dairy Farmers.)

 

Dec. 25- National Pumpkin Pie Day.

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

Thanksgiving.)

 

Dec. 26- National Candy Cane Day.

Dec. 27- National Fruit Cake Day.

 

Dec. 28- National Chocolate Candy Day.

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

this national holiday- just being ‘facetious.’)

 

Dec. 29- National Pepper Pot Soup Day.

(There are recipes for this Jamaican cuisine along

with one from Philadelphia.)

 

Dec. 30- National Bicarbonate of Soda Day,

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

special rising ingredient in many baked goods, but can

taste it the most in homemade biscuits.)

 

Dec. 31- National Champagne Day.

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Lost in Translation

Standard

When I arrived at Mom’s, I mentioned that I had a project for her to do. I wished to

have her mind challenged, trying her ‘hand’ once again at translating. I borrowed an

adorable book from my grandson, Micah, called:  “Bear Says Thanks.” This has been

already translated into Spanish on the bottom of each page. I was hoping Mom would

enjoy this little idea and tell me a little bit about how things that rhyme in English,

as this is written with a nice cadence and lovely blending of words, turn out when put

into another language.

(If you are just dropping by, my Mom taught World Literature and Spanish to high

school students for 30 years.)

 

The Spanish title of this book is easily translated with no changes in meaning:

“Oso Dice Gracias.” If you would like to find this book, written by Karma Wilson and

illustrated with charming animals who gather for a feast. Perfect Thanksgiving book,

with the meaning of gratitude and friendship themes easily understood by a 3-4 year

old. The illustrator, Jane Chapman, captures sweet expressions on the various creatures

of the woods, along with the playful sense of humor.

I had taken white 3 x 5″ cards and carefully covered the given Spanish translation, using

yellow Sticky Tack to keep the cards over the words, without ruining my grandson’s book.

 

Mom decided to give me a short tutorial in translation, reminding me of several rules

of language since I had had about 6 years of Spanish, along with one year of French. I

was not too bad while teaching a non-English speaking student while fresh out of

college, in my sixth grade class. I was always much better listening and comprehending,

as in my travels to Mexico and Spain. I also was fairly adept at reading Spanish, just have

a hard time speaking in complex sentences. She reminded me that there are sometimes

words that may change according to the ‘sex’ of the person. Her example of this was:

“vieja” would mean an older woman and “viejo” would mean an older man. When you

learn beginning Spanish, I remembered “amiga’ was my girlfriend, while my guy friends

were “amigos.”

Mom said this book in English has “beautiful flow of words,” which is difficult to capture

when translating it.

Here is an example of the English words that Mom found challenging.

“I’m back from a stroll

from the old fishing hole

(and it later rhymes again with ‘pole.’)

The words ‘fishing hole’ are already complicated becoming: “pescaria.” This is an all-

encompassing word for all things that are fishing related.

 

Here are the list of animals in the story:

(Mom was easily able to translate all but the Raven, Wren and Gopher.)

Badger  =  Tejon (It needs an accent on the “o” Mom told me.)

Wren  =  Chochin (It needs an accent on the “I” Mom mentioned.)

Owl  =  Buho  (The “u” needs an accent to emphasize the first syllable, Mom said.)

Mouse = Raton (The “o” gets an accent.)

Gopher = Taltuza

Hare = Liebre

Raven = Cuervo (I thought this was part of an alcoholic beverage. Smile!)

 

**Mole  =  Topo

This was very confusing to us both.

We peeked at this name, which both Mom and I made a comment about “Topo Gigio,”

a puppet. I had forgotten this little character in both Spanish and Italian plays until I

heard the word, “Topo” which I immediately blurted out, “Gigio.” Mom sagely nodded

her head, when I said the last part. She told me this was ‘puzzling.’  We both thought

that  “Topo Gigio” was a mouse! Why in this book is the word for mole, “topo” while

the word for mouse sounds like it is a rat, “raton”?)**

 

 

Mom did not easily translate the following phrase, so I let her ‘cheat’ and ‘peek.’

In English, “smiles real wide.”

In Spanish, “y de oreja a oreja sonrie.” This means a smile that is ‘cheek to cheek.’)

 

The friendly tone and playful words of:

“There’s a flap and a flutter

and a flurry in the den,

when in flutters Owl, Raven and Wren.”

(Karma’s lovely flowing words.)

Mom read and re-read those words, she was uncertain how to translate the “f” words.

Mom refrained from saying her own “f” word!

In this case of the different animals arriving there are several different words used to

describe the motions.  Even in English there are a lot of words you may use for one word.

 

“You need to be careful,” Mom told me, “when you are choosing a word with a distinct

meaning. We want to carry out the flavor, intent and feeling of the author’s writing. You

would not wish to offend anyone, either, while translating words from one language to

another.”

This children’s book, “Bear Says Thanks/ Oso Dice Gracias” was overwhelming for Mom,

to change into Spanish. We still don’t feel we did as well as the examples given on each page.

“We didn’t do this simple, but meaningful book justice,” Mom exclaimed.

 

The last page where all the animals gather has a considerate Bear apologizing because

he doesn’t have any food to bring to the feast. The different animals have gathered to

commune together and break bread.  All of them tell Bear, ‘his gift’ is to tell them stories.

This is what makes him special.  There’s no need to bring anything to eat, since each one

has brought more than enough to share.

What a beautiful lesson given with charming pictures which could be a book your

family will treasure.

 

Mom said that the way a person may choose a tense or a synonym may be the same

as people writing a paper in English. We may choose ‘lovely’ and another may choose

the word, ‘beautiful.’ We may use the word, ‘sparkly’ while another may use ‘shiny.’

She made a funny comment that I had to immediately write down so I would not forget.

She even used a little ‘saucy tone,’

“Different strokes for different folks.”

Mom went on to emphasize the meaning behind the words we choose depends not only

on the context of the sentence, but also upon the tone used.  Here is another “Momism:”

“Our different experiences color our reactions to things. We need to use reverence and

respect towards the culture of the country whose language you are translating from or

into. This is important whenever we try to translate someone else’s writing.”

Originality is a Plus

Standard

I have always enjoyed quirky, unique characters. I have had a lot of friends

who could not be ‘pigeon-holed’ into any certain group. One thing or another

led us to each other, some for a season, like a poem says, and others for Life.

I have very eclectic taste in my television and movie watching, as well as my

book reading. It takes only something different to pull me in!

 

Here are some criteria: eclectic characters, different settings, weird or unusual

plots, mysterious going’s on, along with some humorous qualities. In other words,

‘one of a kind’ television or movies.

 

I prefer the descriptive words, “Unique” over “Cute,” any day of the week!

 

When the show (or movie) is over, you may feel like you had a visit with distant

family members, who you will ponder upon for awhile. If the show really captures

your heart, you may miss the people when they are gone. . .

 

Examples from the past include, “Barney Miller,” “Taxi,” “Seinfeld,” and “I Love

Lucy.” When we remember Robin Williams, we can think of his earlier t.v. show,

“Mork and Mindy.” Ray Walston created an alien in “My Favorite Martian,” but

no one could do improvisational comedy and ‘wing it,’ like Robin Williams.

 

The “Mary Tyler Moore Show” along with its spin-off, “Rhoda,” included a

lot of diverse persons, along with strong female roles. For a mild, kind and

dry humored, soft-spoken man, I loved, “The Bob Newhart Show.” (Both of

them, in fact!) Bob, in his farmhouse Inn,  had some strange neighbors, 3

handymen (were they Darryl, Larry and Larry? Who remembers this trivia

fact? Let me know!), the dentist and his wacky receptionist in the first show.

Both wives (from the 2 shows) were beautiful and very patient with good ole’

Bob. Many fell in love with them, wondering how he managed to capture each

of them.

 

I liked movies like the Thin Man series, along with ones starring Charlie Chaplin

and Errol Flynn. Way too many of the ones from the black and white era, up to the

newer color ones, to list my ‘favorites of all time!’

 

For comedic variety shows, I enjoyed the “Carol Burnett Show” and “Rowan and

Martin’s Laugh-In.” Each one had a purpose: the first was to entertain families

and the second one was to be a ‘sign of the times.’ Many iconic quotations had their

roots in these shows. They managed to attract many famous comedians, for guest

appearances on both of these shows. Totally different styles, but both met my quirky

and strange criteria.

 

More recent favorite t.v. shows featuring quirky characters were:

“Northern Exposure,” “Still Standing,” and “Gilmore Girls.”

 

I finished one whole season of Robin Williams, with Sarah Gellar playing his character’s

daughter,  in “The Crazy Ones.” If you wish to see funny, then you want to go with the

‘best’ comic in his time. The episodes with the baby ducklings, promoting roasted coffee

and McDonald’s ‘feel good’ commercial which their father/daughter advertising agency

made were all hilarious. Now that he is gone, many of us will value the talent, energy and

unique ‘crazy’ characters, that Robin William created.

 

I have some favorites that I have wondered if anyone else out there is watching currently,

on their televisions?

1. I  have been watching and enjoying, on Sunday evenings, “Last Tango in Halifax.”

This PBS story that unites two outrageously different families in marriage, via two

characters who knew and loved each other over 50 years ago, is quite addicting.

The older couple is unsure which home to live in after marrying, one of their

children murdered someone, in self defense, there is a gay woman who longs for

her soul mate, another woman to fall for her, and other plot twists. The scenery

and the dialogue are quite interesting!

 

2. I have been watching and laughing at Amy Poehler’s writing and her brother,

Greg Poehler’s acting in, “Welcome to Sweden.” This is on regular television on

Thursday evenings. A bonus is Lena Olin, in the cast. Greg plays an accountant

who marries a gorgeous blonde Swedish woman and had to find a job, among

other things, in Sweden.

 

3. I have my dental hygienist and my youngest daughter watching, “Hart of Dixie.”

If you start on the first show, it explains how someone from the North, from a big

hospital  ends up in little “Bluebell” town. The characters are played by fairly

familiar actors/actresses, Rachel Bilson, Tim Matheson, with two handsome men

playing a lawyer named George and a bar keeper named Wade. The character of

the black mayor is well done, along with an uptight but sometimes sweet and soft

as a marshmallow is named Lemon.

 

4. “The Goldbergs” is hilariously about the 80’s. It is like another kind of “Wonder

Years.” It has George Segal, who always will be part of my favorite memories of an

ensemble cast in, “Just Shoot Me.” He plays a grandfather living with the family.

I like the intergenerational ‘feel’ to this show.

(In “Just Shoot Me,” also were comedians, Wendy Malick and David Spade.)

“The Goldbergs” is told from the ‘nerdy’ son’s perspective who has a big ‘jock’

brother and a popular big sister. He has different problems, with girls, with his

interests and sometimes within his family. The plot line that is a good example of

funny stuff is when the son wants to make a film, his dad being cast as, “Alien Dad.”

He requests lots of bottles of ketchup and other different stuff to help him make

this. His father has to adjust to this idea, it is a tough one, he is more accustomed to

his older two’s interests. In the end of each show, as this one does, you find out there

are ins to each episode to the climate of the times, like “Say Anything” movie, the

boy uses a big boom box, to help get a girl’s attention. In another episode,  how he

studies the movie,”When Harry Met Sally” to try and understand girls. The message

he gets from it is one that will bring chuckles.

 

5. On Hallmark Channel, I have fallen for “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” and now

must wait a season for the continuing story. There are mail clerks, one boss and

the staff need to read letters that come down the shoot/chute from the Lost Mail

Department. Each letter holds a story, not all love ones, either. They have been to

different parts of cities, using partial labels on envelopes and other ways and means

to track down one or both parties on the envelope. It reunited a couple, it brought

death to someone who had hoped the other was alive, it brought parent with child

together, etc. The way I got started is, I had read the scripts were by the author of

“Touched by An Angel.” I also saw that good old Rhoda, from the “Mary Tyler

Moore Show,” Valerie Harper, was guesting in the first couple of shows. The main

boss was from the show, “Ugly Betty.” (My mother liked this one, due to the Spanish

connection and liked the way America Ferrara’s family used their heritage in their

decorating and there were sometimes chances for Mom to practice using her own

Spanish.)

 

6. When they come back there are a few female-driven shows, with interesting topics,

along with great ensemble casts like “New Girl,”  “The Mindy Project,” and “Rizzoli

and Isles.” My Filipino friends like the show with Cloris Leachman playing a silly and

forgetful grandmother in, “Raising Hope” and also the three families in “Modern Family.”

I still enjoy the show with Patricia Heaton in, along with the husband who played the

janitor in, “Scrubs,” in the show about mid-American incomes, homes and families:

“The Middle.”

 

I called my two friends who are dear to me, that have battles with depression, which

can sometimes lead to addictions last night. I asked them each had they heard about

Robin William’s death?  One said, “I’m good, at least for today. I know you are worried

about me. When Robin Williams decides this world is not where he belongs, it makes

you consider whether you need to stay here anymore. But, I’m good.”

The other one answered with a little sob, she was not so good. She had heard the news,

immediately knew I would be wondering whether she was taking it well, coping with

her life, as it is a struggle for her. She stopped her moment of crying, I could hear the

‘wheels spinning,’ and she finally let me in on her thoughts,

“I think I won’t take my medications tomorrow and clean the bedroom and bathroom,

then do the laundry. I need to ‘feel’ and action will keep me moving forward.”

 

If you would like to talk about Robin Williams, your favorite movie or anything, you

may do so.

 

If not, I had the idea of sharing our favorite television shows, current or past. . .

 

What are you watching on television that may be of interest to all of us? Do you

mind giving us an example of a plot or story line?

 

 

 

Cleveland and the World Sports

Standard

This is a great day for sports around the world. The beginning of “Le

Tour de France,” the Sprint Cup, following NASCAR rules at Daytona

Beach, the continuation of the World Cup FIMA Soccer rounds, and

last but not least, I have to hope that the Cleveland Indians will ‘rally’

and win against the Kansas City Royals.

I will be seeing KC Royals vs. Indians game, down in the nicely positioned

Progressive Field, hoping that the local Clevelanders are ‘wrong’ and that

we won’t experience any more ‘stage fright!’ We lost last night’s game,

with the score of 7-1, in our game against the Royals. We went into our

July 4th game, with some good statistics. Our Tribes held a .543 average

winning percentage of 83 wins to 74 losses.

I am looking forward to the firecracker display over Progressive Field,

with my brothers and sister in law. One in the group, complaining that

the music of KISS will be accompanying the fireworks. I am hoping my

presence alone will help us win! (Ha ha! This little Cleveland native, who

was baptized in Parma, Ohio, will have to cross her fingers, just like the

rest of the fans!)

I was sorry to read that the 22 year old Brazilian soccer player,  Neymar,

was seriously injured with a broken vertibra, changing the chances of his

team. The four goals he managed to accomplish in the first 3 World Cup

matches, has created a stronghold of youth who are very disappointed.

The Brazilian ‘hero’ will be still admired, kids will continue to be proud

of his accomplishments and be hopefully inspired by his abilities.

In Leeds, England the Tour de France started, a tradition since 101 years

ago. This race, as you know, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded, goes

from England through the countries of Belgium and Spain, circling through

France. In the first leg or “Stage” the candidate favored to win, is Mark

Cavendish, who has had 26 times won this victory. It goes from Leeds to

Harr0gate, where his mother was born.

The other possible winners of the Tour de France are Chris Froome, (29 year

old from Kenya, raised as a Brit), from “Team Sky” and 2 time Champ, Alberto

Contador, (31 year old from Spain) from “Tinkoff-Saxo Bank” team. Or you

could wish to see the Italian, Vincenzo Nibali or one of the other Spanish

contenders, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez. I like to watch the

bicyclists, but mostly watch the unusual terrain and scenery. The cobblestones

and the different summits, throughout the European countrysides are so

beautiful to see. Many of the challenging roads that the cyclists tackle are ones

from the beginning race, since 1903.

Following NASCAR rules at the Daytona International Speedway, there were

two laps that had to be postponed due to weather. The setting is one that my

coworker, Kent, loves to watch with his wife. They have been down, almost

every year for the past twenty to watch! I am sure there are a few of you who

may choose this sporting event to watch over the sedate 181 miles of the first

“Stage” of Le Tour de France! It ends on July 26, 2014.  Much faster, right?!

On the last note for this post, my Mom has been a ‘trooper’ throughout all

of her Dr. appointments, the most painful being the podiatrist. She has had

to soak her toes in vinegar water, painting them all except her left big toe,

with a liquid to prevent any infection or fungal growth. The poor left toe,

which was infected, had to have its toenail removed, then we are carefully

drying it, putting a Band-Aid on it, and allowing it to ‘scab over.’ Gross

details, but important to let all of those know that are caretakers, to keep

an eye on your elderly family member’s toes. This could have led to an

infection that may have got into her bloodstream, leading to her heart. We

all tend to think of the teeth and its possibilities of gum disease, but feet

are also important to take care of.

I want to share something special about my Mom, every day is filled with

little moments where she looks so filled with wonder. I think that losing

some of her memory means that she ‘hears’ things that she exclaims,

“I never heard that bird’s song  before!”

Or when she sees some colorful flowers in a garden or in a bouquet at

the bank,

“I have never seen such a gorgeous collection of flowers before!”

These are what carry me through some of those moments when she is

childish and refuses to carry out Dr.’s instructions! It helps to remember

that I was once rebellious and annoyed my Mom, no end!

Go Mom!!

Go Tribe!

5 Cheers for Sesame Street!

Standard

I went to see “Sesame Street Live!” with my oldest daughter,

who turned 34 years old and my youngest grandson, Micah.

It was amazing, filled with little lessons, dancing and singing.

I could not believe that the “Letter of the Day” was “M” and

later, we found out, in their performances, the “Number of

the Day” was “5.”

“M”icah who turned “5” on February 27th was thrilled! I was

speechless, trying to concentrate on capturing a photo of the

flashing lights that were saying, “5, off, 5, off, 5!”

I finally got those three 5’s in a position that their red

color stood out, in contrast, from the deep blue of the

surrounding framework of the stage. Then, again, capturing

our special, favorite characters, when they weren’t moving

quickly, jumping or gliding across the stage, was my next goal.

Micah was shouting, “There’s Elmo!” and “There’s Grover!”

When we weren’t laughing, looking across Micah’s head, my

daughter and I were grinning from ear to ear. Carrie said,

“I hope that Grover comes down the aisle, Micah, so you

can give him a hug! I wish I could give him a hug, too!”

Turns out, she would have had to crawl over or run over,

multiple little tykes to get to Grover. Micah was able to

maneuver and squirm through, (hopefully not pushing too

much!) to get a big hug from not only Grover, but Cookie

Monster, too. It was dark and several rows away from us,

but we saw him do this both times.

The crowd was very responsive to any suggestions to clap

or answer questions. There were a few songs that I would

like to mention. One I loved the imagery of the whole cast

of Sesame Street with their yellow slickers or raincoats

on, with video images of cookies falling from the sky,

and the song was, “It’s Raining Cookies!” (To the melody

of “It’s Raining Men!”)

Another song was one I had covered as one of my favorite

children’s songs, in a post about attending Lara and

Landen’s elementary school for Grandparents’ Day. It is

called, “Sing a Song.” The line that is so simple but

sweet that tugs at my heartstrings is “Don’t worry about

whether you can sing or not….” and has the lines,

“sing it loud, sing it clear!” This was very nicely acted

out and the whole gang did it very well in the show.

My favorite special moment was when Bert and Ernie were

sitting side by side on a bench. Chaos was happening

all around them, characters running around in circles,

music and dancing. They were sitting quietly watching.

It was a lovely moment, indeed. I love those two guys!

Do you remember the Golden Books post, where an author,

who had been the editor of Golden Books shared lessons

learned by reading or being read to Golden Books? Sesame

Street is part of the Golden Books’ line of books.

These book and television show characters are very much

part of my family! My children and grandchildren all have

their beloved books but by far, their favorite book is

“The Monster at the End of This Book.” In the ending, the

monster ends up to be, “lovable old Grover.”

I felt that there were valuable lessons in the show I saw

with my daughter and grandson. Here are some of the morals

and values imparted through songs and interactions.

I thought I would do a version of lessons I gathered

from going to see the “Sesame Street Live!” show.

Lessons that “Sesame Street” Teaches (or Taught) You:

1. Give back anything you “borrow” or take something.

Elmo “borrowed” a little girl character’s fairy wand.

2. The words, “I’m sorry,” go a long way in making

forgiveness easier. The person should be gracious, in

return. The little girl could tell Elmo didn’t mean to

be ‘bad’ and she answered back to his apology,

“Everyone makes mistakes!”

3. Be kind to one another. When Big Bird is doing laundry

for the messy duo of Bert and Ernie, he is cheerful and

there is a song that makes you feel that helping someone

out makes it easier to do chores.

4. Everyone is ‘lovable,’ even a Grouch! I was very

impressed when the Grouch stuck his head back into his

trash can, but he pushed upward and did a dance with

just his legs showing.

Micah exclaimed, “How cute is that?”

Both my daughter and I hugged him at the same time after

that ‘precious’ comment!

5. Every day is special! You may have a special word, letter,

number or feeling that is shared. They may talk about

“being friends.” The characters may talk about “sharing.”

Sometimes it will be a serious subject but it will always

end with it all working out okay!

6. Learning is fun! If you wish to learn Spanish, you can

recite the colors, red is “rojo,” white is “blanco,” blue

is “azul,” green is “verde,” and yellow is “amarillo.”

When you learn to count, the Count will use his best

Dracula voice, making it another way to enjoy numbers.

7. Singing and dancing should be part of your everyday

routines. I already mentioned the “Sing a Song,” but

do want to emphasize it is very hard to be ‘grumpy’

or ‘blue’ if you are dancing to the music!

8. Whenever possible, cookies can save the day! If

you are vegan, you can choose a healthier recipe, but

always remember that cookies make children smile! They

make them want to eat all their dinner, too!

Works for adults, too! For my Mom, ice cream is her

choice of ‘treats,’ to motivate her to eat her broccoli!

9. Owls truly are the birds of wisdom. The old, gnarly

tree on the dark scenery set with stars shining in the

sky, had a male owl wearing glasses. Also, there were

three little baby owls who popped their head outs out

of the tree’s knot holes. The characters asked him for

advice, which he intoned in a somber, scholastic way.

10. Families everywhere love their children. The way

they used the number five was to have five penguins

who went behind the curtain, coming out in different

international costumes. One time, the penguins wore sari’s

and silk sashes (Asian/Indian), another time they had long,

blonde braids with horned helmets (Scandinavian), the

maracas and straw hats with frayed ponchos, (Spanish/

Mexican) and other cultures were represented. The audience

cheered quite often during this presentation, along with

clapping five times.

It seems I am always telling you about something that is

very exciting and fun, happening to me, my family or my

friends. This is one thing that I cannot help doing,

sharing happy moments and imparting small ‘bits of wisdom’

gained along the way. I wish to bring you smiles.

Now, this last part is to be saved and savored for April

First. You will understand this to be my early ‘trick.’

After the program, we found our way behind the stage,

looking to get a photograph with my oldest with her ‘hero,’

Grover. We thought this would be a ‘full circle’ moment,

since that was one of the first books I had read to her,

including Grover. Once we were backstage, I requested

this usher to find out if there were any job applications.

I really was motivated to become a member of the traveling

“Sesame Street Live! entourage.

The man who hurried over, was still wearing this tall,

lanky yellow outfit, his “Big Bird” head of his costume in

his hands. Micah didn’t seem the least bit surprised.

My daughter could not believe that I was going to leave our

Delaware, Ohio home for 28 years. I was so enthusiastic that

I asked for a pen, then starting to fill in the past

employment section, right on the spot!

Can you believe I figured out a way to be around people of

all ages, dancing and singing, along with the great aspect

of traveling the country included in my future paychecks?

I mean, this would be a far better experience than joining

the circus!

Let me be the first to tell you, pre-April Fool’s Day:

“Surprise!!”

Did I have any of you thinking I would follow through on this

dream of ‘fame and fortune?’

Bad Art!

Standard

I am fascinated by this story about an art museum that

displays ‘bad art!’ As my Grandmother Oldrieve had an

uncle, so he would be my Great Grand Uncle, with the

well known name of Alexander Calder. I am often asked

about this truly simple, huge, ‘numbered print’ on one

of my apartment walls. I mean, it takes up a lot of

space. It is the size of a movie theater poster.

Almost everyone thinks,

“A child could have drawn that!”

or

“Why on earth, Robin, do you have that ugly thing on

your wall?”

If you will please imagine six circles, black, red and

blue, with long straight lines coming from each of them,

some straight and a couple crooked. That is the fine

art print, worth over $1000.00 (at last checking in the

70’s) of my distant relative, Alexander Calder. It is

the size of a movie theater poster. Huge!

You may know that Calder ‘invented’ or ‘created’ the

idea or concept of statues and mobiles blended together

to become, ‘stabiles.’

Many famous examples of this are displayed outside of

museums and in downtowns in cities across America and

internationally. The cities of Stuttgard, Germany and

the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art have fine

examples of these combination statues and mobiles.

The other international museums that feature Calder

are in Venezuela, the Netherlands, Paris, France,

and Madrid, Spain.

Closer to home, can be found in the city of Grand

Rapids, Michigan and Montreal, Quebec. Our National

Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C., has a whole room

of Calder’s creations. I don’t feel his paintings or

prints are really interesting but the larger pieces

are very exciting and unique. My family saw the one

in Chicago, Illinois when I was in middle school. My

artist brother, Randy Oldrieve, has made a living

creating sculptures, paintings, murals, logos and

prints.

My oldest daughter, Carrie Crain, is also a gifted

artist.

I have my own style of ‘dinky art,’ which I am hoping

would not make it into the MOBA.

The idea or thought behind the Calder print, I have no

clue.

I have told people that my numbered print may increase

in value or not. I think it looks like circular balloons.

I wish they were ovals. I wish there were squiggly

lines instead of those odd straight lines! If it has

to be simple, let it be ‘cute,’ I think!

Anyway, the Museum of Bad Art, or MOBA, may have wished

to include this print, since unless you saw the ‘Calder’

signature at the bottom, you would think it was ready to

go into a dumpster.

Which the curator, Michael Frank, of MOBA, says many of

their displays came about from trash pickers saving the

homemade art pieces. Others came from donations, garage

and yard sales and thrift stores. The critique or type

of verification for ‘bad art’ is all rather depending

on the viewer. After all, “Beauty is in the eye of the

beholder.”

Where is this MOBA to be found? In a sunny-sounding

place called, Summerville, Massachusetts. There is a

movie theatre on top of this museum of art. Yes, makes

sense to delegate the artworks considered ‘bad’ or ugly,

to the basement!

Most people would not want to buy or look at these

paintings or other pieces of artwork regularly.

In fact, the museum’s reason for existing, since 1994,

is given as:

“To celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be

displayed or appreciated in no other forum.”

A tour guide or ‘docent’ gives further explanation:

“Bad art is still art. It is sincere. It is one of a

kind.”

They will not accept the mass-produced artwork, such

as paintings on black velvet, no attempts to reproduce

famous artists’ pieces, and no dogs playing poker!

There is a display of diverse subject matters, unique

perspectives and really strange depictions.

Why do they feel this art is valid? Because artists

are trying to communicate. This MOBA is to celebrate

the expression of people who are yearning to be artists.

They may even pour their hearts out on their creations,

not realizing they are not attractive.

Sometimes: Not to anyone!

When people try to donate paintings or pieces to the

museum, the ones who are in charge, including Michael

Frank, determine whether it is a ‘fake.’ If it is

intentionally produced to be ‘bad,’ they feel they can

‘see right through those.’

Interestingly, their stored art pieces are quite large,

enough to share the wealth of bad art, sending exhibits

as farflung as Taipei, Taiwan. The circulating exhibits

are quite popular. Murals, collages, some that need

repaired, adding Christmas lights that have burned out,

all can be part of someone’s idea of a fun day at a

museum.

In my own mind, I came up with an explanation for why

I would be interested in going to Summerville, or if

a visiting exhibit came to the Columbus Museum of Art.

I think we all are like ‘deers in the headlights’ or

viewers of accidents on the side of the road, we just

cannot tear our eyes away. The art may be like a “train

wreck” but we may still be curious to see the contents.

The bad products of sincere people, may just be your

‘cup of tea.’

At the very least, you may wish to view the strange

and imaginative pieces online…

March into Spring

Standard

This is the fastest, it seems, that time has passed to

get to my next monthly post! I found out that this month

is considered National Kidneys Month. If you are over 50,

they suggest to get from now on, an annual urine screening.

A Poem for those worms that will soon be lying around on

sidewalks and parking lots, due to March’s heavy rain:

“Hurt No Living Thing”

by Christina G. Rosetti

“Hurt no living thing.

Ladybird nor butterfly,

Nor moth with dusty wing,

Nor cricket chirping cheerily,

Nor grasshopper so light of leap.

Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,

Nor harmless worms that creep.”

In that second line, I have always wondered, did

Christina mean a ladybug or a bird that was female?

Certainly, she would be proud of St. Patrick, who

led the snakes out of Ireland, in legendary form,

by playing his pipe.

MARCH

1- New Moon.

Just a sliver…

I am afraid I may have misled you, no one pointed this

next error out in my February post…

2- Texas Independence Day

and… the 86th Academy Awards Show, with Ellen G. as host.

4- Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras time, celebrate since some

will be fasting soon for Lenten Season.

5- Ash Wednesday.

I have, from childhood on, liked the simple act of

receiving ashes on my forehead. Having been raised an

Episcopalian, we still followed the Roman Catholic Lent

period. We ‘gave up meat on Fridays’ and decide which

certain food, chocolate, pizza, fries, donuts or ice

cream… to give up. This was usually whichever was the

biggest ‘sacrifice’ for the days leading up to Easter.

9- Daylight Savings Time begins by setting our clocks

ahead, thus losing one hour of sleep, at midnight.

Also, on this date, fifty years ago, the first Mustang

car rolled off the assembly lines in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Ford Motor Company the debuted Mustang car at the

World’s Fair, 1964. It was forecasted to be only 100,000

needed but in a mere 18 months, they had sold and reached

the 1,000,000 mark! I have to admit, my Mom became a

rather ‘cool’ person in our eyes and her high school

students’ eyes, too. She purchased one of these Mustangs

in what we called “pea green color.” All 3 of us learned

how to drive that car in the mid-seventies, making us

rather ‘groovy!’

15- Andrew Jackson Day, Tennessee.

16- Watch out for Full Worm Moon!

Also, the Jewish faith celebrate Purim after

sundown.

17- St. Patrick’s Day.

Don’t forget to wear Green so you won’t get pinched!

Celebrate by eating corned beef and cabbage, have a hot

coffee laced with Irish Crème, or have a frosty mug of

green ‘brew!’ If you are on the ‘rich side of life,’

purchase some Jameson’s Irish Whiskey!

20- Although we have been hoping this could come

earlier, after our long, extended weather, this

is the First Day of Spring!

When I saw recently a photograph of a windmill and

tulips, it made me think how Holland is represented

in their Springtime with this image. I happen to

also enjoy the cherry blossoms that are photographed

in Washington D.C. Hope all the countries are able

to enjoy a wonderful season, whatever it is in your

area of the world!

I also think about poor elderly Don Quixote, confused

and tilting at windmills… All for the sake of his

deep, abiding love of Dulcinea! I have always liked

that music from “Man of La Mancha.” Miguel de Cervantes

is an author I should have included in my ABC list!

The lesson I learn from Don Q. is that no matter how

old we get, we need to remember, there is no age limits

set for discoveries, learning and facing challenges.

Two more quotations to add to our month of March.

Taken from the book, “Lightposts for Living, The Art of

Choosing a Joyful Life” (2001), by Thomas Kinkade:

“Blocking off space for the important concerns of your

life, will do wonders for your sense of peace and harmony.”

This could have easily joined the suggested renewal of

Spring (and Green post) quotes.

Dorothy L. Sayers,

“We have come to that still centre

Where the spinning world

Sleeps on its axis,

To the heart of rest.”

Final thoughts and interpretations of the messages

shared this month:

“Be calm.

Find your focus.

Follow your heart.

Make time to be refreshed.

In the ‘River of Life,’ which may become high and

full of water,

With our melted snow and continued Spring rain,

Get rested up for soon…

Life will be rushing along into

its most active time of year!”

reocochran 3/1/14