Category Archives: summer

Summertime Serenade

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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

Fun Clothesline Poem

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I have to admit this is not mine, nor is the author identified. It is one

where the memory of clean, gently blown sheets with the brisk, stiff

texture makes this poem worthwhile. I hope it is evocative of olden

days when your mother or grandmother, (father or grandfather) put

clothes on a line, using wooden clothespins and maybe, the image

of those undulating sheets will give you a smile or two:

 

Clothesline Poem

 

“A clothesline was a news forecast,

To neighbors passing by,

There were no secrets you could keep,

When clothes were hung to dry.

 

It also was a friendly link,

For neighbors always knew

If company had stopped on by,

To spend a night or two.

 

For then you’d see the ‘fancy sheets,’

And towels upon the line;

You’d see the ‘company table cloths,’

With intricate designs.

 

The line announced a baby’s birth,

From folks who lived inside,

As brand new infant clothes were hung,

So carefully with pride.

 

The ages of the children could,

So readily be known

By watching how the sizes changed,

You’d know how much they’d grown.

 

It also told when illness struck,

As extra sheets were hung;

Then nightclothes and a bathrobe, too,

Haphazardly were strung.

 

Clothes off of the line before dinner time,

Neatly folded in the clothes basket. . .

And ready to be ironed.

Ironed?

Well, that’s another whole other subject.”

 

My son and his wife, hang their summer laundry on a clothesline,

using the big plastic (non-rustable) clothespins. They also have

had clothing line disasters, since they have two big dogs, along

with my daughter in law’s Dad’s Great Dane. These dogs running

around have been known to create some havoc with old-fashioned,

but ecologically sound way of drying their laundry. There are only

a few things better smelling than clean, air- and wind-dried laundry.

The clothing, towels and sheets used to smell like sunshine!

 

Let me know of any memories this brought forth… thanks for

sharing!

 

 

Aside

These four simple quotes are meant to bring you some bright thoughts along with

your daily walk in life. Finding meaning in any one of these will make me feel good,

passing on some gems I found.

Please let me know what is bringing you special smiles around where you live lately.

 

~* There are 1440 minutes in  a day. Remember to use them wisely. *~

 

~* “How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” *~

(John Burroughs)

 

~* “Every leaf speaks bliss to me,

fluttering from the autumn tree.” *~

(Emily Bronte)

 

~* “Winter is an etching.

~* Spring a watercolor.

~* Summer an oil painting.

~* Autumn a mosaic of them all.” *~

(Stanley Horowitz)

 

This just reminds me of James Taylor’s song that begins with those memorable lyrics:

“Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall,

All you have to do is call. . .”

“You’ve Got A Friend.”

 

Simplicity While Seasons Change

Real Food

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It is officially the weekend! Hope that most of you are also having time off

from work. I do feel bad for those who are weekend ‘warriors’ or have to

go into a job, while others are off. It all balances out, I suppose. My oldest

daughter is one who works weekends, gets a couple of weekdays off, along

with my son. Both are busy parents and partners with someone who is the

one who is home over the weekend. While during the week, I may keep a

healthy eating balanced ‘diet,’ on weekends; I enjoy ‘splurges!’

My friend and I walked to Dairy Point, to get our ‘end of summer’ meal

there. Mine is a hot dog with onions, pickles, relish and mustard, fried

mushrooms with ranch dressing to add more calories and dip into and

a sundae. This place roasts nuts, they have what they call, “The Nut

House,” as part of their business. This will let you in on why I get so

excited to go there, (remember that I like butter pecan ice cream?)

I usually ask for their hard ice cream in the butter pecan flavor, a big

dose of hot caramel, real whipped cream, a cherry on top with roasted

salty pecans added over the top. This was my meal. No apologies, to

the ones who don’t eat animal by-products nor the ones who are possibly

dieting…

 

I love this quote that is attributed sometimes (accidentally) to George

Carlin, the comedian. It is actually taken from the book, “The Vision of

Buddhism: The Space Under the Tree” by Roger J. Corless:

 

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to

satisfy your hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”

 

In order to ‘redeem myself’ and make myself not feel too guilty about my

innocent ‘splurge,’ I am going to let you in on some healthy and yummy

foods to snack and enjoy over the weekend!

 

Here are some appetizing and delicious natural food products that can be

purchased in your local grocery store or Trader Joe’s may have another

equivalent, more fresh choices available, too.

1. Sabra.  Have you tried this brand yet?

I love the Classic Guacamole with healthy fat, fiber and Vitamin C.

 

2. Wholly Classic Mild (or you may try a spicier blend) of Salsa.

I like blue corn chips to dip into this and feel the tomatoes and

flavors are almost as good as homemade salsa. In this healthy

snack, there are only 10 calories in the salsa, but keep in mind

the word:  moderation when it comes to the chips!

 

3. Triscuit’s have a great line called, “Hint of Salt,” which makes

this a good one to add a slice of low sodium cheese or peanut

butter to make it complete.

 

4. Here’s another cheese to try on those Triscuits, woven crackers:

Kerrygold Reduced Fat Dubliner cheese. This is made from milk

from grass fed cows, smooth texture with 1/3 fat.

 

5. Another choice of cheese is Vermont Creamery Fresh Goat Cheese.

I love this natural, lower fat cheese with the flavor of sourness, like

it is made out of sour cream.

 

6. My youngest daughter and I had an antipasto box and added hummus

with sliced carrots and cucumbers from Opa’s Greek Restaurant, located

across the street from my apartment to watch a movie. We felt self-righteous

and healthier than our usual buttered popcorn and chocolate candies, we

usually buy to eat when we are sitting on a mattress in my living room floor.

We watched the movie that Beth recommended, so I must write a review soon

on the movie. Coming Soon at a blog near you!

 

7. A delicious and acquired taste that was shared with me by a friend, is the

Kalamata Olive Spread that supplies good olive fat and that tangy flavor of

olives. I enjoy this on pita corners, supplied by the Opa’s Greek Restaurant

or spread directly on a thick slice of cheese.

 

8. Planter’s Nuts has come up with a great new product called, “Nut-ration

Heart Healthy Mix.” This can be a great protein snack that meets some of

your salty taste buds’ needs! (Hint: 50% less sodium than their other cans

of mixed nuts.)

 

9. If you are one, like one of my old boyfriends, who likes to have pizza to

‘chow down on,’ you may wish to try Amy’s brand, which has a whole wheat

kind of crust or Amy’s Pesto Pizza, with has less saturated fat and sodium,

along with baking it will bring out the fresh taste, you can also add some of

your garden herbs and vegetables. You may find this brand either in the

general frozen foods’ aisle or you may need to look for Amy’s in the healthy

frozen foods’ section. In our local Kroger’s, I found several variations of

this name brand in a separate area of the store, close to the produce

department.

10. Since I mentioned deep fried mushrooms, on my lunch menu today, I

should offer a healthy alternative: “Alexia Mushroom Bites with Roasted

Garlic and Olive Oil.” They are a non-greasy yet tasty substitute. I like to

add a low fat ranch dressing, which if you haven’t tried Cindy’s Kitchen

brand, their product line offers Fresh Buttermilk Ranch. Yummy!

 

When I mentioned that my youngest daughter and I viewed a movie,

while eating the antipasto and hummus with vegetables, I would also like

to include in this post a recipe for:

“Spiced Chickpea Yogurt Dip”

Serves 12 people.

a. Rinse and drain 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas.

b. Add to food processor, with 6 T. of 2% plain Greek-style yogurt,

2-3 T. of fresh lemon juice, 2 T. of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 tsp.

minced garlic and 1 and a 1/2 tsp. Moroccan seasoning (McCormick

has this, along with other shops sell different variations).

Season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

c. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

(Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.)

Serve with pita chips, corners or crudités for dipping. Or as I

mentioned, we chose to add carrots and cucumbers.

 

Which, by the way, the fun walk and lively conversation, along with the

tasty treats, were ‘way’ worth it the calories and ‘danger’ to our arteries!

Yet, definitely not ‘worked off’ on our 1 mile walk home.  My friend chose

a chili dog, a peanut butter shake and also a side dish of French fries. No

ranch, just ketchup.

 

Have fun any way you can this weekend!

Closing with a ‘real’ quote from great comedian/philosopher, George Carlin:

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music.”

 

 

 

Celebrating Kool-Aid in Nebraska

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In 1927, Edwin Perkins created the powdered flavored drink mix known as

Kool-Aid. It is now produced by Kraft Foods Company. The second weekend

of August, the town of Hastings, Nebraska celebrates its seventeenth year of

Aid Days.” The Festival has what is called “The World’s Largest Kool-Aid”

stand there. This is where you may pick up a free dated, reusable memorabilia

Souvenir Cup. This is refillable all day. You may also, purchase collectibles for

the 2014 event, online now.

There are all kinds of activities, fun things to do, a fair atmosphere with plenty

of food concession stands to celebrate Kool-Aid’s invention.

I liked using Kool-Aid for lunches, during the years I was a ‘stay at home/baby-

sitting’ Mom. I would always serve juice and milk for breakfast. Then, I would

serve milk again for my three kids, at dinner-time.

If there was anyone who brought something else to drink or share a beverage,

we would enjoy this variation. Occasionally, there were mothers who would

supply ‘juice boxes’ or jugs of lemonade, for our swimming pool outings, to save

money at the Mingo Pool Snack Bar. I would bring 8-10 snack baggies for all

the kids, including my 3.  There was always the drinking fountain, if thirsty.

I liked while growing up, visiting my neighbors or on overnight stays at  a

friend’s house, where Kool-Aid was served. To the best of my knowledge, we

never had any served at home. My parents were rather strict: water, milk or

juice, except on weekends. We would then have one bottle of Cotton Club

pop, with our pizza on Friday or our dinner on Saturday. Then, back to the

‘routine’ of drinking milk, juice or water on Sunday.

While traveling, my parents would bring instant coffee and Tang, the orange

juice concentrated powdered drink, along. My Dad liked to remind us that,

“Tang was what the astronauts drank up in Space!” We would have those little

boxes of cereal, that came in 8 or 10 packs, eating a box ‘dry’ with a cup of

Tang juice for breakfast. My parents would use the hot water from the tap

and make their instant coffee. We were used to this, our only special kind

of breakfast would be one time the whole week of vacation, we would head

to IHOP. We loved the International House of Pancakes! My co-workers

and I mentioned that there were so many of them, down South, less up

here in the North. I always chose this erudite dish of lemon butter crepes.

My brother, Randy, would have a stack of pancakes with boysenberry sauce,

while my brother, Ricky, would have eggs, bacon and toast with lots of butter

on it. My Dad was a fan of having every kind of food available for breakfast,

steak, eggs, pancakes or French toast, with grits and gravy on the side. My

Mom liked the crepes suzette with boysenberry or blueberry on it, with bacon.

I have wandered off Kool-Aid, but am meandering back. While on road trips,

my kids today bring those different instant single use packets that you add to

bottled water. They don’t make Kool-Aid nor do they usually serve sugared

juices, unless they are 100% juice, which is naturally sweetened. They serve

milk at 2-3 of the meals my grandchildren eat, although one of my little ones

has a lactose allergy and she gets almond milk, unsweetened with her meals.

 

As I am typing this, I think about those Kool-Aid packs in multiple colors

and flavors, “Just add one cup of sugar…” and it is ‘just pennies per serving.’

The song that they should play at the opening of the Kool-Aid Days Festival

should be, “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, from 1969!

 

Now, I cannot go any farther without asking, how many of you read,

“The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” book? This was written in 1968 by

Tom Wolfe.

How many of you used Kool-Aid to dye your hair?

What are your Kool-Aid memories?

In “his” shoes

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I was ecstatic! I could give my oldest daughter a nice pair of shoes, either

Fila or Dr. Scholl’s work shoes, and get any pair of either brand for just

one dollar, for myself! Don’t you love BOGO? (Buy one, get one for $1 is

almost as good as free!)

At the beginning of last week, I had purchased a pair of Fila Memory Foam

Utility Work shoes, for her,  at Kohl’s and guess what?

Unfortunately, they lasted only 4 days! While working at her place of

employment, Kroger Warehouse, she wore those poor ‘suckers’ out!  So,

getting my Kohl’s credit card a credit added back on, thanks to the wonderful

Kohl’s return policy, and (sad face here), giving back my $10 Kohl’s bucks

back, we headed over to Meijer’s.

 

Dr. Scholls Company was created by William Matthias Scholl, a podiatrist

from Chicago, Illinois. He started his company in 1906. It is now owned

by the British, who manufacture the United State’s designed foot-wear in

China.

My oldest daughter has money, but like me and other parents out there,

puts her children first.  It is just a plain old ‘fact of life!’  I was, like her,

needing a good pair of shoes. I hadn’t had a new pair for hiking or exercise

shoes, since my good friend, Bill, had given me a ‘forced’ pair!  He had

tricked me into going into a store, looking presumably for himself. This was

over 3 years ago, during the ‘Day Trips’ period of our friendship time.  That

beloved pair of Dr. Scholl’s shoes is made of brown suede leather with pink

edging and pink smooth leather stripes near the heels. Those dear shoes are

starting to fall apart from wear! There are stitches coming out and the nice

comfort ‘support’ system is definitely lacking any ability to pad the ‘bounce’

in my feet.

(By the way, I had one of my 10 photo albums of Bill’s and my trips, over at

the dentist’s office. Since staff were considering a team-building trip. I

recommended going down south on I-71 to a great corner of three states.

Madison, Indiana, Carrollton, Kentucky and Clifty Falls, Indiana, also the

Ohio corner meets up, where you can see the two state’s rivers from near

Carrollton, up on top of a gorgeous overlook. Seeing that confluence of the

two rivers, is an amazing sight! There are regatta races in Madison, so we

were able to see cool speed boats. I would recommend the restaurant at

Butler State Park, (where you can climb to see the confluence of the Ohio

and Kentucky rivers.) It is appropriately named, “Two Rivers.” There are

lovely natural sculptures and artwork in their dining room. You can see out

walls of windows, into the forests of this national park.)

 

Anyway, I need to tell you about my ‘affair’ with Dr. Scholl. I have had

his shoes upon my feet, for many years. As a server from age 15 until into

my forties, I wore his shoes. To help fill in gaps in my economic budget,

I could always serve people and make a small salary and big tips.

I can tell you Dr. Scholl ‘really gets me!’ (And my feet!! ha ha)

My new tan shoes have the adorable name of “Nikki.” They have orange

edges and laces, along with cute little tab things to hold my laces in

place. I cannot wait to walk to the library in them, oh I just did! They

felt so light and I felt so bouncy in them!

This is not a silouquiy on Louis Vuitton shoes, nor is it a rhapsody about

other high heel stiletto’s.  I have not gotten into tall shoes, for several

years. I have 3″ heels that are pulled out of my closet, in their protective

box, dragged out to put on, for forced situations where comfort and its

sister, durability, are not appropriate. The last time I got dressed up

was for going to that place, the LC Pavilion, where my youngest daughter

had to parade down the runway, with the likes of one famous Bachelor

and another wild and friendly Bachelorette. It was a Central Ohio fund-

raising event called, “A Date to Remember.” I believe my idiotic shoes

may have been made by Rampage company. It is definitely youth oriented!

Now, when I was in my twenties, I did not mind the look of Dr. Scholl’s

while I waited tables and served others, at Cedar Point’s Breakers’ Hotel,

the two country clubs, on to the North Olmsted German restaurant where

I wore lederhosen with my Dr. Scholl’s! And at my last job, I wore them

with a brown four star (****) apron at Cracker Barrel.

Dr. Scholl’s “comfort technology,” includes this wonderfully soothing

and cushioning gel pad at the heel.  No ‘heel spurs’ for me, so far!

The gel cushion ‘technology’ includes what they describe as a, “Gel dome,”

to absorb shock and provides cushioning comfort, with adjustable laces

for easy removal of shoes.

Definitely, in my teen years, I had several coworkers try to make fun of me,

using their teasing tactics. They ended up using those insistent singsong

chants!:

“Those Dr. Scholl’s shoes were made for Grandma’s, Robin!”

 

I ignored the intentional ‘jabs,’ and laughingly joked back,

“I haven’t met a grandmother I haven’t loved!”

 

Another job and different episode of teasing I responded by saying,

“My grandmother is quite comfortable in “his” (Dr. Scholl’s) shoes

and so am I!”

 

 

Summer, 1924: Whimsical Children’s Poems

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

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

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

his role of Father.

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

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

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

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

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

published in 1924.

 

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

charming:

 

“TO ALL CHILDREN

Sure Guides

in

The Kingdom of Fancy”

 

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

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

 

“Whirligigs

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

Turning in the sun,

Light of foot, happy-eyed

After you, we run.

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

Laughing in the wind,

Tight we hold the little sticks

Unto which you’re pinned.

 

Whirligigs, whirligigs,

We and you are one.

All you have to do is turn,

We need only run.”

 

This reminded me of how when little toddlers have colorful

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Song for Sleep Ears

 

Where runs the river,

Where rolls the sea,

There go the lovely boats

In which I’d like to be.

 

Some with gentle winds are sailing

Some with storms are rocking,

Some in bays are lying still,

Like an idle stocking.

 

Some with masts, and some with none;

Empty, full they’re going

Where the sea waves roll and toss,

Where are rivers flowing.

 

Cozy beds in every boat

For little ones like me;

Light I’d sleep upon the river,

Deep upon the sea.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

song, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”

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

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

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

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