Category Archives: suggestions

Summertime Serenade

Image

This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It will be my “encore” serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Standard

In a recent article, I read about someone who designed a “Pizza

Garden.” This inspired me to suggest you grow a vegetable garden

focusing on your children’s favorite foods.They will be more likely

interested in the garden’s outcome, if they enjoy the idea of what

it will end up in, in a prepared dish.

Since today we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought of some

vegetables that would be wonderful to include in a Mexican dish.

For next year’s Cinco de Mayo, grow a “Tacos Garden!”

In my son’s garden, he grew red, yellow, and green peppers, hot

red chili peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions,

corn, watermelons and pumpkins.

Last year, my son and his wife ‘canned’ the red, green and yellow

peppers and onions by being given small batches a quick dunk in

boiling hot water. Waiting for them to cool and then, freeze them in

large freezer quart Zip Lock bags, pressing them to remove all the

air bubbles.

I call this process, ‘flash freezing,’ but not sure if they told me this

or if it is really the correct label.

There may be a more accurate way of describing and naming this

process. My son and daughter-in-law chose to chop onions and

put them in freezer bags. They also used the method of scraping

the kernels off their ears of corn, where they could then boil them,

cool them and pack in freezer bags.

I think you may find how many seconds you boil each food item on

the internet, since they said you don’t want to boil any of the items

too much or they will be ‘mushy,’ when you defrost them.

For a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta meal, you could defrost onions, corn,

and choose your favorite peppers. While waiting to get olive oil,

in a skillet, nice and hot, finely chop up onions and the peppers.

When you have lightly browned the vegetables, set them aside.

If you use a pre-packaged taco seasoning, I recommend the

lower salt ones available.

If you already have a natural pack, or spice jar, prepared with

your favorite taco seasonings, add some of this to the skillet

with the appropriate amount of hot water.

The oil from the onions and peppers will be fine, if you don’t

get it too brown, or black. (Yikes!)

I like to use 80% lean beef, but have used cooked chicken cubes

or ground turkey.

If you are a vegan, you may find some recipes for using other

thickening agents.

On one of my last year’s comments, Celeste had added a link

which will help you out.

Some suggestions were to use tofu, eggplant, kidney beans and

other kinds of beans. If you do this, you may wish to use a soft

shell taco or tortilla.

I like to also top the meat with sliced tomatoes, but if you have

canned diced tomatoes, you may wish to use these.

Drain, of course, and add to the meat, once it has been cooked.

I usually make guacamole, purchase sour cream and low salt salsa

to add for extra spices.

You may vary this informal recipe, but the main focus I wished to

impart was,

This is the time to start planning your vegetable garden!

Having children get involved, is so much more fun and easily

done, when you call the garden, a “Pizza” or “Tacos” garden!

This idea was used in a public area by the Delaware Community

Market. There was a nifty, helpful article called,

“Growing Pizza in Delaware,” by Deena Kloss, in the July, 2013

edition of the free magazine, “Natural Awakenings.”

Here is a list of spices, that the children in the Delaware

gardening “Kids’ Club” planted last year, in the early part

of June:

1. basil

2. parsley

3. tomatoes

4. peppers

5. onions

The “Kids’ Club” was led by garden volunteers, Bob Sullivan-Neer

and Master Gardeners, Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas.

They also produced radishes, snap peas and arugula in raised

garden beds.

An amusing sight in the community gardens is a pink painted

step ladder, that got too ‘rickety’ to be used as a ladder. Some

purple morning glory vines were flowering last summer. They are

such a lovely sight!

Another interesting and fun way to ‘recyle’ old and no longer

useful household items included a wooden head- and footboard,

painted bright yellow. Some old wooden pallets, buried partially in

the ground, then, filled with dirt became literally a “flower bed!”

Brightly colored zinnias were popping out, making the kids happy,

last year, to pick bouquets for their parents. I like portulaca, since

you can pinch the dying seed pods and save to plant again the

following summer. They are quite hardy and colorful.

*******************************************************************************

I have added updates throughout this post about children’s

input in gardening.

I babysat my four grandchildren last Saturday night while their

parents had a much needed dinner out and a movie. The kids

were put in ‘charge’ of drawing or listing, foods that would be

ones they would like to grow in their garden.

My son had used individual art pads, using a ruler to add some

lines under the area their drawings would go.

I thought of another way of doing a garden art project, could be

to give the kids old gardening catalogs, scissors, glue sticks and

allow them to practice their cutting and gluing skills.

The grandchildren were excited about the project, which did help

me to keep them occupied for almost an hour. The littlest one,

age 4, Makyah decided that her scribbling free form vegetable

garden was rather hard to explain. I asked her if she would like

me to write her special vegetables, fruits and flowers down on

the lines provided. I also praised (of course!) her lovely use of

colors and designs.

I asked Kyah what the yellow swirls were and she labeled them,

“Corn.”

I wondered what the big bushes of green were and she said,

“Lettuce.”

She had purple stuff, which I asked if they were purple cabbage

and I remembered, too late, a valuable lesson:

**Note:  Never, ever try to guess what children’s drawings are!!

Kyah looked quite impatient and annoyed at me, scolding me,

“No, Nana! Can’t you tell those are flowers?!”

I asked if she knew what kind they were and in a rather superior

tone she said,

“Daddy will know what kind!”

Both Lara, age 10 1/2, and Landen, age 9, drew beautiful and

elaborate gardens with details. They needed some help with

spelling, but the finished projects were awesome.

Marley, age 6 1/2, was very excited about her drawing, stayed

the longest at the table, with her hands covering some of her

drawings, too.

Children will get excited as the plants grow and change. My

older grandchildren say their very favorite ones that came out

of last year’s garden were:

Corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes.

They mentioned having fried potatoes with onions and since

their mother doesn’t like onions, they told me,

“Daddy makes Mommy her own ‘batch’ of fried potatoes for her

breakfast!

Last but not least, you may remember that their garden produced

a ‘minor miracle’ last Fall!

Exactly 6 pumpkins, just in time for Halloween!

(One for each member of the family, parents included.)

*************************************************************************************

“Yo espero que tengan a muy bueno dia y hasta la luego!”

Sorry, I am not sure why the ’tilda’ on the 2 “n’s” did not appear!

I am not positive but I tried to say in my ‘rusty’ Spanish,

“I hope you had a very good day and see you when we meet again.”

Abrazos y besos.

Mystery about a Sister

Standard

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Wisdom

Standard

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is

like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

(William Arthur Ward, American writer, 1921-1994)

There is something called a ‘Gratitude Challenge’ going on around

the world. There is an organization called “Kindspring,” which

brought together 11,000 people from 118 countries. This site is

at:

http://kindspring.org

This is great since it includes a ‘start up kit’ which is designed to

help community organizations sponsor their own challenges.

Apparently, each location has their own philosophy and ways to

promote gratitude. Whenever this happens to find its way to my

own reading material, I like to spread the happiness around to

others like you.

Gratitude has helped unlikely businesses like banks.  In Canada,

there have been four of the bank called TD, where they turned

their ATM’s into “Automatic Thank You” machines by providing

high value personalized gifts to the longest lasting customers.

This is to thank them for their loyalty to the bank. Any business

can be creative in showing appreciation in meaningful ways to

their customers.

I liked this quotation from the ‘grateful kickstarts’ in November,

2014 “Natural Awakenings” magazine:

“As with any new skill or habit, gratitude needs to be exercised

until it becomes second nature. Simply writing a page a day in a

gratitude journal or saying a morning ‘thank you’ prayer can help

maintain the momentum.”

 

Showing appreciation to strangers always makes my heart feel

warmer. Those unexpected ‘gifts’ or smiles are so welcome in

this busy life. Our family members also deserve some of this

shared gratefulness for their special ways that make us feel

loved. Sometimes, (I am guilty of this) we are kinder to those

we don’t know than those who are close in our daily lives. We

often take them for granted.

 

I get motivated by other’s thoughts and words so hope you will

find something meaningful in one of these three participants’

in the “Gratitude Challenge:”

 

>Lisa Henderson Middlesworth shared,

“I have started a gratitude journal that I write in every day. When

you run out of the ‘obvious’ blessings, it makes you dig deep and

see all the small things. I commit to do my very best to never take

anything or anybody, good or bad, for granted.”

 

>Colleen Epple Pine shared,

“A town can be such a blessing. Neighbors always pull together when

there’s a tragedy or natural disaster. The boundaries diminish and

yards become one. . . we eat in each other’s kitchens, supervise each

other’s children, share a vehicle and generally watch out for each

other. I believe it is God’s way of reminding us that we’re one family

and each of us provides the strength and foundation for the other.”

 

>Joanie Weber Badyna shared,

“My losses have given me an inner compass by with I live my life.

While I would not wish the tragedies I have experienced on anyone,

I am eternally grateful for the blessings. I do not waste time, and I

know how to love without fear.”

 

I like how each shows their own way of handling this challenge.

No one is ‘right’ or ‘better’ but all are powerful parts of a movement

for change.

I feel this is personal and hard to open up to share my inner gratitude

and what changes I will make. I related to the first woman, Lisa.

 

Robin’s challenge:

I need to be better at finding the ‘good’ in every one I meet.

I would like to be more open to showing my appreciation to

those who may not always be nice.

I am sure it will improve their outlook, as well as my own.

This is due to recently my youngest daughter pointed out,

I tend to be overall positive, but sometimes will say things

like, “I wish that server would bring me another cup of

coffee” or “I would have liked more tissue paper in the gift

bag from that specialty shop.” In both cases, I did not say

anything or let the person serving me know my complaint

or wishes. I didn’t even notice this within my own character,

which is odd. I know this sounds ‘self-serving’ to ask for

these things, but really you are showing more gratitude to

the one helping you, which makes them feel ‘valuable’ my

daughter said.

 

Then, it all made sense. I think being grateful is also letting

others join in, making them feel part of this good feeling. By

being able to let others know when you are uncomfortable you

can potentially prevent having to rant later about not having

things turn out like you expected. Putting your expectations

out there prevents passive aggression. Also, being nice and

friendly is a part of the whole kismet or karma/kharma circle.

This is also known as ‘paying forward.’ I want to tie this whole

gratitude challenge in with the happiness project, which I have

already written a post about.

 

Do you feel this is difficult to tell your own personal gratitude

challenges?  Are you willing to ‘put it all out there?’

Musical Notes

Standard

When David Letterman took over for Johnny Carson, it was not a

pretty sound heard around the country, possibly the world. There

were four letter words, profanity being blurted out and there was an

inexplicable sadness for ‘losing’ the off stage private person, on stage

hilarious man. Who could replace Johnny?

My parents  were open-minded  and would routinely enjoy ‘new’ things,

which meant they eventually watched, “The Jay Leno Show” and “The

Late Show with David Letterman.”

There was a night owl lurking in both parents, even while completing

their careers, they were ‘stout’ and ‘devout’ late to bed and during the

week, early to risers.

Now, retirement changed this but that is another story!

I was flabbergasted that TONIGHT will be the LAST Christmas show

with David Letterman where he features the fabulous (‘dahling’) woman

known to many as “Darlene Love.” You must have heard her singing, even

if not on this show, but David’s Late Show band leader, Paul Shaffer,

was the one to have discovered her and encouraged David to have her on

his show, particularly singing (should I say, ‘belting out?’) this marvelous

song,

“Baby, Please Come Home for Christmas.”

She came in short hair, blonde hair, long and wavy hair, sometimes even

crimped hair, she changed her octaves over the 18 years of being the one

who heralded in the Christmas season’s last week before evening show.

 

David Letterman has declared her (or ‘dubbed her’) the Christmas Queen!

 

There is someone or something that brings Christmas into your heart,

if you follow the tradition to celebrate this holiday. . .

Who or what makes the holiday come true?

David Letterman sometime almost 30 years ago said,

“It’s just not Christmas, without Darlene Love on our show.”

 

If you cannot listen tonight, don’t have DVR to save this momentous

occasion, then find her and look her up on Youtube or listen to her one

one of Phil Sceptor’s brilliant Christmas albums, recorded in 1963…

Sending a Little Sunshine to You

Standard

Here is a collection of things that produce happy thoughts,

along with a few quotes that hopefully will brighten your

day.

Drew Barrymore is so funny, sometimes in a quirky awkward

way but also in a beautiful and soulful way. Here is a book

she has written having taken photographs of hearts and

including them for all to see in, “Find It in Everything.”

Her words are well worth putting on your refrigerator:

“Hearts are my beacons. . .

Whenever and wherever I

see the heart shape, a smile

spreads across my face.

The heart has an unbeatable

romance when you discover

one where you least expect it.”

 

This made me think of the movie, “Titanic,” with Celine Deon’s song,

“My Heart Will Go On.”

 

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine- –

and shadows will fall behind you.”

~ Walt Whitman ~

 

Winter brings a change in moods and outlook, so here are a few more

ways to enjoy your days and find brighter moments.

1. Listen to upbeat music. Move with the music and dancing will give

you some extra energy and motivation. Also, it is FUN!

 

2. Walks with dogs or friends, a partner or spouse, with hand held,

warm scarf, mittens or gloves and a big parka, crunching through

old leaves or new snow… Just petting an animal or hugging a pal,

can be extra special to include. I have had friends who say they

need 4 hugs a day!

 

3. Add a potted plant to your office space. This has been found to

make people more productive and less stressed. The reason is

scientific: The plant reduces airborne dust, adds moisture and O2

to small spaces. It is also known to filter out harmful pollutants.

 

4. Placing vacation photos in strategic spots, can open your mind

to the times when you were happy and relaxed. “Gazing at a happy

moment from the past, can improve your present outlook.” In

other photos, choose ones of family and great memories together.

 

5. Staying hydrated with a slice of lemon or infusing your water with

berries, can certainly add a twist to your taste buds and improve

you in more than one way. Our daily ‘slump’ in the afternoon, is not

just due to wanting a nap or aging! We need to remember to add H2O

to our daily habits.

 

6. Fruit flavor sorbets and other refreshing choices can help be your

saving graces, helping ‘save the day.’ Chocolate and coffee have those

anti-cancer elements along with giving you some extra ‘pep in your

step.’

 

7. Just as a potted plant in your office or bathroom can improve a

location in your house or workplace, a bouquet of those grocery

store flowers can make your dining room a pleasant place to be.

I am sure there are many gardeners that can attest to their bringing

a bouquet of their garden’s flowers has brightened many people’s

days. A shut-in or elderly person will respond with such a big smile,

it will be a day-brightener to you, as well.

 

8. Sunrooms, atriums, public places that have sunny places are so

wonderful to help you feel better. I enjoy the Columbus, Ohio

Franklin Conservatory, at least two times in the winter. My Mom’s

senior living apartments has a greenhouse with three cozy chairs

in there. You can often see a couple of people sitting in this room

that is attached to the art room. Also, it is a nice place to snip and

weed, feeling useful. There are sometimes people sitting in the

art room, putting together a puzzle, with the greenhouse room’s

double doors open so they may benefit from the sunshine and

plant’s energy given.

There are also other places at no cost to visit. Let me know if you have

a few that I may include…

 

9. Herbs and spices can enliven your life, bringing some vigor into

your appetite and their scents can exhilarate you, too. I love the

scent of tangy patchouli or Italian herbs like basil and oregano.

The scent of peppermint is a great one that can invigorate too.

It is also great to calm and create better muscle relaxing in your

stomach, not only soothing it, but enhancing its function.

 

10. Colorful fabric will change your room and change your own

perspective while wearing brighter hues. It is a simple way of

sprucing up,’ along with being a fairly reasonable way of changing

your décor or wardrobe. Add a dash of color, while the skies are

gloomy and gray, your mood lightens without too much fuss or

bother. I enjoy looking at decorating magazines, paint and fabric

swatches, merely ‘dreaming’ about a change, makes me happy.

 

Here are a few musical ‘suggestions.’

1. I just discovered a man named Andrew McMahon, who sings in a real earthy voice,

gravelly and reminiscent of some of my old rocker favorites, along with Neil Diamond.

His song that mesmerized me was, “Canyon Moon,” which begins with lyrics about

a dissatisfied woman, “Somewhere on a cold October.” His debut solo album, having

been in bands but not on his own… is titled, “Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.”

**Wow!**

2. If you are wishing a little sunshine, here is one of my favorites, “Little Darlin’s!”

The Beatles’  in “Here Comes the Sun.”

Always a big wow, when I hear the tinkling beginning guitar strands and only one

man, from Kentucky, ever called me, “little darlin’.” (Alas!)

 

 

What little sunny things make your mood cheerier?

 

 

 

 

 

Hot off my comments section. . . more hard cider ‘news!’

Standard

I heard from two partners and cider makers from the Mad Moon Craft Cidery.

Their names are Joshua and Peter. They were very kind to ask me to come on

down to participate in their Inaugural Batch bottling days! I wanted to share

with you, their newest flavors:

 

** Caramel Apple**

(Doesn’t that sound yummy?)

 

and

What a great creative combination of

ale (HOP) and cider:

 

*!* *!*  cHOPwired hopped cider  *!**!*

 

Of course, plenty of you enjoyed reading my post called, “Raise Your Glass to

Hard Cider!” but you may have not realized there is an open invitation to check

out this great destination place.

I am sure you may look up the Mad Moon Craft Cidery, to find out their hours,

along with contacting them to clear the way for a group visit. Meanwhile, I got

very excited to hear of the invitation but mentioned how busy I will be for the

next few weeks.

 

Here’s my Busy Schedule for which becomes my ‘excuse’ for lack of partying at

the Hard Cidery.

1. I will be working for two more weeks.

 

2. I will be heading North to see my Mom, from October 24th – November 2nd.

We have follow up appointments from my last visit’s three doctors, in July, ’14.

 

3. October 31st will be having fun at my Mom’s Senior Living apts. at their annual

Halloween Party, with apple cider, cinnamon and apple spice donuts and cupcakes.

We will wear some kind of combination of hats and bright attire. (Last year, I wore

my pumpkins shirt, Mom’s peach straw hat with silk flowers on it, she wore a black

velvet hat and a black and white striped shirt, which to her made her a “Zebra!”

 

4. November 1st, Mom will turn 86!

 

 

It is almost the weekend, I hope you have lots of wonderful plans and enjoy your

time. If you are in the mid-west, hope it isn’t too rainy and you can find some crisp

apples, crunchy leaves and imbide in a glass of hard cider!

Let me know if you are heading over to Mad Moon Craft Cidery, maybe I will clear

some time to join you!