Category Archives: sunshine

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

Hopes for the Future: Sunny Skies

Standard

A 14th Century mystic poet named, “Hafiz” gives us this cheerful

message today:

“Even after all this time,

The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe me.”

Look what happens

with a Love like that.

It lights up the ‘Whole Sky.'”

 

Here is some ‘food for thought,’ in a much more serious tone:

“If we use our fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and

exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful

and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations. The

heat of the sun’s rays represents an immense amount of energy, vastly

in excess of water power.  The sun’s energy controlled to create lakes

and rivers is for motive, purpose and transformation of arid deserts

into fertile land.”

~Nikola Tesla, September 9, 1915

 

Solar energy became popular years ago, but a recent report mentioned

and gave ‘credit’ to President Jimmy Carter’s administration in forming

close relations with the D. O. E., which is the Department of Energy.

I follow Greenpeace and have been posting on this subject with updates,

from time to time.

 

There is an acronym for India’s governmental energy program. I may

have informed you of some of their solar home systems. The ‘newest’

fact I found was there are 150,000 families in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal,

Vietnam and South Africa actively participants of SELCO.

 

Solar solutions are followed by a “Solar Foundation” here in the United

States, where “so far, its operations include 13,000 plus megawatts of

cumulative solar energy.”  This amount  which the average layperson,

myself included, might think were rather ‘low’ in its numbers.

 

Interestingly enough, my instinct to guess this to be ‘not much to speak of,’

really has the capacity to serve 2.2 million American homes.

 

The Solar Foundation carries out a solar job census of solar workers, which

gave a remarkable number of 143,000 solar workers in the U.S. This has

increased in numbers since 2012 by 20%.

 

Pioneers in solar advocacy formed by two men named Daniel Yergin

and Neville Williams have been working to increase awareness on two

blogs.

They are a great ‘resource’ on the subject of solar power.

You may wish to check them out at:

http://danielyergin.com

http://sunpowerbook.com

 

Neville Williams’ first book was called, “Chasing the Sun.” President Bill

Clinton said of Williams’ book:

“I really loved your book. I made everyone in the Clinton Foundation

read it. It’s terrific.”

 

The late Sir Arthur C. Clarke said of  “Chasing the Sun:”

“A fascinating account of the author’s odyssey to promote solar

energy in the developing world.”

 

 

Here is something to be ‘proud’ about they tallied up the states which

have the best usage and most actively working with solar energy.

The Top 10 States in the U.S. are:

1. California                      6. Massachusetts

2. Arizona                         7. Hawaii

3. New Jersey                   8. Colorado

4. North Carolina              9. New York

5. Nevada                        10. New Mexico

 

Since President Obama came into office, there have been 550 new

major solar project. Sixteen of these have been permitted on federal

land with over 6,058 megawatts generating capacity. If you look back

at the total number given previously, this is about 50% of the solar power

presently available in the U.S. These are huge ‘strides’ or progress in

pursuing energy generated by the sun. This is in great part to realizing

the importance of other resources than gas or oil, thanks to collaboration

between both political parties.

 

The newest Neville Williams’ book is titled, “Sun Power:  How Energy

from the Sun Is Changing Lives Around the World Empowering America

and Saving the Planet.”

 

Quite a lofty goal which all of us around the world can appreciate.

 

The hope for the future is to have more common usage by people

everywhere. By becoming a leader in solar power, our country could

become a major catalyst for global, political and economic change.

 

This is one more quote to bring you smiles:

“Solar power is the last energy resource that isn’t owned yet- –

Nobody taxes the sun yet.”

~Bonnie Raitt

 

 

 

Hospitality

Standard

Hospitality comes in all forms, sometimes simple and warm, other

times it is elaborate and luxurious. There are times in our lives,

each one has its ‘benefits’ and comforts, too.

 

My ex-sister in law, Linda, was such a special woman. She was so

kind and thoughtful. We had her up a few times for holidays, but

as she had invited us numerous times, we felt compelled to go her

direction- to Roanoke, Virginia. We were excited since we had at

the time six children, three of his and three of mine. Yet, we were

given a ‘vacation reprieve,’ while my parents were taking my two

girls and a boy, his other sister and her husband, were taking his

two boys and a girl. They were both heading in different directions

with the children, one to the far western part of Ohio for my parents

to where their ‘home camp site’ part of the Good Sam camping club,

and the other three were heading to a farm out by Johnstown, Ohio.

They were going to help pitch in with pigs and also, dunk in a spring

fed pond to wash the smell and dirt off, enjoying ‘country living.’

 

Linda had sent me a questionnaire; really!  Smiling right now at her

sweet questions, asking me to rate some of her favorite and practiced

dishes, letting her know which ones I would like her to prepare for

our meals. This way, she had thoughtfully and carefully planned all

the meals and had competed her shopping, too. Mike told me he loved

ALL of her home cooking, so not to worry about checking back with

him. She also asked in this fun and interesting quiz, what activities I

liked, what treats I enjoyed snacking on and other hospitable questions.

 

Upon our arrival, we found a lovely fruit basket in her guest room. It

had (at the time, I felt this way) ‘exotic’ fruits like starfruit and kiwi,

along with apples, pears and tangerines. I had told her I didn’t like

bananas, unless they are greenish, never any brown spots on them.

So, Mike who loved his bananas ripened, no such luck for him!

 

We had brought her a stone carved into an angel for her garden.

Linda was so thrilled and we felt we could not have brought her

a better gift. This is how a generous and caring hostess greets her

guests and makes them feel so welcome.

 

On our pillows, I had three Lindt dark chocolate balls. No, at this

time I had never tried them, but when asked which candy I liked in

my Easter basket (yes, this was a true question!) Linda found out I

liked the white chocolate bunnies, the dark chocolate covered coconut

eggs, and the milk chocolate maple eggs. I would switch with my two

brothers until I had the combination I enjoyed most.  (The second

night she put a Heath bar on my pillow and on and on, until we left

after a four day visit. Back to the plain old house, with the bustling

children there. Shoot!)

 

When we went into her newly furnished bathroom, she had placed

the exact color of towels she had seen in our own bathroom. I had

‘assigned’ Mike an olive green and I had lilac or lavender colored

towels at our house together. I had always felt if I ever had more

than one bathroom, I would decorate with a basket of violets and

those colors. Linda had bought a large bath towel, hand towel and

two wash cloths, in the colors from home.

 

As you can guess, we had delicious meals, went to many scenic

places, along with a beautiful mansion to eat our dinner at. It was

set off the road, quite a step back in history to the elegant antebellum

period of time. This is the period between the 1812 war and the Civil

war. I like to think of “Gone with the Wind,” when I reminisce about

this lovely place. The meal was delectable, with our being able to

choose one, two or three meats for our meal. My ex, Mike, being tall

and lanky, able to eat as much as he wanted order the three meats’

meal. Linda ordered pork and I ordered chicken. The other meat

was beef.  We had dressed up, full of expectation, which we were not

disappointed in this at all.

 

When I was growing up, my Grandmother Mattson, liked to make

desserts. Her German heritage helped to prepare yummy breakfasts.

We would usually have a simple meat, vegetable and sometimes a

bread or potato. My Grandfather had changed her into a Swedish

chef, for meals and a gourmet streusel, rum balls, Black Forest cherry

cake or German chocolate cake would be our reward for eating a

well prepared meal, but healthy for our lives. We still don’t prepare

our daily meals with many complicated recipes or sauces.

 

When we would arrive, my Grandmother would be given a gift,

my Mom called it her “hostess gift.” She emphasized respect, love

and never arriving at someone’s house, ’empty handed.’ Often, the

gift was flowers. Sometimes, it was a bouquet, often it was a potted

plant of lilies, tulips, or daffodils in the Spring, burgundy or golden

mums, if it were Autumn. Late summer, my Mom liked to pick out

sunflowers, along with asters. Sometimes, these could be found at

roadside tables, along the country back roads from Cleveland to the

town of Middletown, Ohio.

 

Mom often would give my Grandma a pretty tea towel, candy and

if she had baked cookies, those were stored in a tin for them to open

after we left. Once, my brothers got into that tin and boy! Did they

ever get in trouble!

 

When my parents retired the hospitality became less structured, it

was now Lake Erie casual dining experiences, find your beach towels

on the fence or in the linen closet. When they moved from the suburbs,

the antiques got shipped to an auction house, barely any were saved.

I was asked, but I had decided on Early American or Colonial period

having been raised in a Victorian style home, I was anxious to choose

a different way of decorating. Sometimes, I do wish I had saved some

of the special pieces, but then when I moved to my little apartment,

it would have been bittersweet parting at such a late date from them.

 

When we were on our way to my parents, we would use our landline

phone to call theirs. “Leaving now, see you in about 3 hours.” We were

not ones to carry on much conversation. Even now, when I call my Mom,

she immediately asks, “Is everything all right, Robin?” or “Are you okay,

dear?” (This works for all of us, since she and Dad named us all with “R”

in the beginning, it is quite a silly thing to hear her go through the names,

including my Dad’s, too.)

 

Upon leaving the last highway and getting onto Baumhart Road, our

labrador retriever mutt, Toby, would howl.  He knew the lake was out

there, wanted the window open to snort and sniff. He would walk on

top of people to get to the window, but usually even in the dead of

winter, we would ‘humor’ the good ol’ boy.

 

If it were Summer, my Dad would hear us honk about three times, as

we passed the Showse Park beach area. He would get up off his lounge

chair, go to the back of the house, grab these spongy things called,

“noodles” and usually for fun, had a Life Preserver over his shoulder.

This man was so ecstatic to have company, more than you would ever

know if you had been his friend at work or in the church we went to.

 

Dad would have either croquet set up or the net for badminton or

volleyball. If anyone mentioned a different preference, Dad was on

top of this, so excited to be able to play with the kids. You may have

read awhile back, my Dad gave up his childhood play time pursuits

at age 11, to start working to help pay rent and take care of his own

mother. His father had been in the war, was in Cincinnati Veteran’s

Hospital.  Being retired was like Heaven at the end of years of being

‘on top of things.’

 

The formal ‘bar’ my Dad had had, with all kinds of liquor, the “Old

Mr. Boston’s” book of bartender’s recipes and the side dishes of olives,

onions, cherries and orange slices were gone. The Beach retirement

life style meant you could grab a beer, pop, water or wine cooler from

the three full bags of iced up beverages in the huge coolers kept under

the picnic tables on the carport.

 

Food was sandwiches, available 24/7, with various delicatessen meats,

cheeses and condiments in the drawer of the refrigerator. If anyone

showed up who wished to get a frozen lemonade and make it in a

pitcher or stayed a few days and wished to make some Sun Tea,

all the ‘fixings’ were here. There were steaks, chops, salmon and

hamburgers in the freezer. If my brothers wanted to take the time

to fire up the gas grill and prepare them, all of us were overjoyed.

Otherwise, Mom and I would make potato and macaroni salad in

the early cool hours of the morning and were quite content with

nibbling on snacks, cookies and an occasional piece of meat or

cheese.

 

Relaxed dress code, shirt optional.

Wow, this was the simple and warm hospitality I had mentioned

in that first paragraph.

 

Please share some of your favorite places you have gone, where

hospitality was special to you. Oh, since I didn’t cover the whole

gamut of Southern Hospitality, please pitch in with some details!

 

 

Cleveland and Ohio Ties

Standard

Some notes and quotes of interest will be included in this collection

of Ohio and Cleveland ties. I enjoy trying to find newsworthy articles

that may enlighten others from different areas of the country or world.

Hope you find something which is ‘new’ and interesting here to read

and think about. The subject matters range from three famous people

who led purposeful lives, one which was cut short and covering the

diverse subjects of advertising, music, art and solar energy.

 

Please let me know which little tidbits you found here may have

meant something to you.

 

 

My Mom is the one who planted many seeds of literature, language,

art, nature and music in her children and students. My Dad was the

one who taught me lessons about science, space, philosophy, history

and religion. Curiosity was an area they both instilled in me.

 

At my Mom’s Senior Living Apartments for several months family

members and actual residents had their artwork on display. It was

interesting how many different abstracts, photographs, needlepoint

and other fabric-based art pieces were presented. There were still

life’s, which included one of the best detailed watercolor art I had

seen in a long time. This golden orange train was one that caught

my eye, almost every trip down to the dining room during the

months from October until December, 2014.

 

The picture of the train, another of an outdoors scenery, along with

the preciseness of his watercolors drew me in. I had to know more

about John N. (Jack or “Franz”) Keeler.  He resided in Westlake,

Ohio up until his death in 2012.  His wife, Betty, is still a current

resident at the senior living apartments where my mother lives.

 

It is a fascinating history of a man who served his country during

WWII’s European front years,  as a member of the U.S. Army Air

Corps. He came home to pursue art and advertising, his own choice

of opening one of the first in America’s merchandising (advertising)

agencies. The name he gave his agency was, “Point of Power,” and

his client list was famous. His clients included Alcoa, Carling Black

Label beer and Chevrolet. His unique, detailed artwork is beautiful.

 

It would have been nice to have met the man, Jack or ‘Franz” Keeler.

Since he lived a long and purposeful life of  92 years. I would have

liked to know more about him. What helped him to choose using his

art through advertising.

 

 

One of Otis Redding’s last public appearances was on a popular radio

station in Cleveland, Ohio. Can you believe Otis would have only been

74 years old had he lived beyond his shortened life of 26 years?

 

The Cleveland radio station was playing a December tribute to this

musical legend who died in a plane crash in 1967. When I heard the

list of songs Otis Redding had already produced in just 26 years of

living, I tried to picture what a huge impact and the ‘body’ of songs

we may have been able to hear from Otis had he lived a longer life.

Here is Otis Redding’s list of popular songs:

“These Arms of Mine”

“Try a Little Tenderness”

“Satisfaction”

“(Sittin’) On the Dock of the Bay”

 

The words the radio announcer sent out to us, December, 2014

gave me a chill and left a haunting impression. He described Otis

Redding as a personable and likeable guest back visiting their

radio studio, in 1967. These words spoke volumes when the radio

announcer added,

“Otis (left us and ) got in that great bird to Heaven.”

 

Conan O’Brien talks about many national sports teams, including

the Cleveland Browns football team and basketball team, Cleveland

Cavaliers. Even though he is from Massachusetts, he often mentions

Ohio. I was putting on some “Burt’s Bees lip balm, when I overheard

him being quoted as saying about “Burt’s Bees,”  in an interview.

Conan included some fun quips:

“Mind your own bees’ wax.”

“Just showing her the birds and the bees.”

 

Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz created from their candle

business, along with combining leftover bees wax,  the company,

“Burt’s Bees,” which came out of Maine in the 1980’s and was

later purchased for a huge amount of money in 2007, by Clorox.

 

As far as I know from another article I looked up about Conan,

he is legally able to officiate at weddings and did participate in

marrying a gay couple in his home state in 2011. He is such an

interesting and intelligent talk show host, also one who displays

a keen sense of humor and compassion.

 

This is not directly from Ohio, but is being shared by this Ohio

native, from me to you.

Another word being used instead of “circular” lately is,

“Curvilinear.”

 

Another set of facts not coming directly from Ohio is how

awareness of solar energy is found available while driving up

and down rural country roads of Ohio. Solar Energy is also a

part of our local political debate. You can see the large white

(to me, innocuous) solar windmills more and more across the

countryside. For some reason, they are often ‘boycotted’ and

are being considered a ‘nuisance’ in the eyes of some beholders.

 

I like this famous quote from the inventor of electricity and

Milan, Ohio native:

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy.

What a source of power!

I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal

run out before we tackle that.”

~Thomas Alva Edison, 1931.

Announcements

Standard

Just making an informative post today. No special editing or elaborate

historical references. A plain old piece where I tell you some things and

hope something new or needed will give you a smile or help you to be

informed.

 

Tomorrow, Monday February 16, 2015:  There will be a Grammy’s

Tribute to one of my favorite uplifting singers of all time:

Stevie Wonder. The famous names and artists expected to be there

at this live performance are remarkable and legendary. Just in case

you didn’t know this wished to fill you in on the musical evening.

 

Yesterday, Saturday Februrary 14, 2015: I went from the library into

a white out storm, which was totally unexpected. I stopped by the

local Strand theater and checked to make sure they would be open

at the 5:00 p.m. show time. Yes, they were surprised Delaware, Ohio

was on a Level Two Snow Emergency and that the library, as was all

the city agencies and offices were closed.

 

I went to see “Sponge Bob Square Pants: Sponge Out of Water”

children’s animated film with my grandkids and my oldest daughter.

Marley, Makyah, Skyler and Micah, with Carrie, all thought the film

was funny. Especially, since we have all seen the regular cartoons on

television. There were at least ten other adults there, 5 couples, who

were not there with children who showed signs of amusement and

one couple lingered through all the credits, as my family so often

does this.

 

It has Sponge Bob’s regular voice, which critics have complained of

his whiny, high pitched voice. The kids don’t mind his voice and did

the critics expect him to lower it for a full length feature film? I laughed

at Antonio Banderas who plays a pirate during the real people sequences.

I was also smiling at the seagulls who sing the song from the t.v. series,

which drives the pirate crazy.

 

The funniest and best part of the film was that Sponge Bob could not

count on his friends, Patrick and his boss, but became a ‘team’ with the

little guy, Plankton. He is usually his enemy but showed a ‘softer side.’

The movie emphasized ‘teamwork’ and Plankton, throughout most of

the time he was working together with S. B., called it “T.M. work.”

 

At the end, everyone goes back to their original character roles. I wanted

to tell those who love squirrels, Sandy is usually a squirrel under water

with a scuba diving helmet on. She is a positive, friendly squirrel friend

of all the show’s animated characters. She goes a little berserk when the

Crabby Patties aren’t available at the Bikini Bottom restaurant. Up on

land, with real living people, she becomes a real squirrel breathing air.

There is a weird role of a dolphin and time warps and time traveling but

I liked the film. My oldest daughter liked it, too. The couple who were in

their thirties, no children, next to me were roaring! They were literally

and repeating some of the corny jokes and lines of the movie, too!

 

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Sponge Bob Square Pants was a

Marine Biologist with a sense of humor when he started the series,

writing most of the original stories in 1999. He now has a team of

comedic and creative members to keep the stories interesting, as

well as relevant.

 

 

As far as the little M & M girls spending the night, we had dress up

with crowns, bumblebee outfit, jewelry, make-up, and the flower girl

dress. We read a whole collection of six Beatrix Potter books, along

with a few of the Christmas books. We ate Cutie oranges/tangerines

and snacked on chicken nuggets and french fries. We had pancakes

for breakfast and they didn’t like the vanilla yogurt with the kiwi

slices, blueberries and strawberries in it.  Even when, I Nana tried to

rinse the fruit off.

 

I will keep you all informed about work. My ophthalmologist is still

going to be working on my excuse letter. I will call them during the

week to see if the final draft is completed if they don’t call me soon.

 

My son and his coworkers had a busy night on Valentine’s Day, with

several people like I was, driving through the snow to pick up the kids

and then, we walked downtown through the snow to the theater. My

oldest daughter gave me a delicious meatball wrapped with a biscuit

treat, which my M & M girls weren’t the least bit interested in trying.

So glad the restaurants and theater were allowed to stay open, for

their Valentine’s Day customers.

 

By the way, the Strand was showing “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and I

think it was sold out. A perfect way to celebrate love and romance,

if you liked this book or the theme of the movie. Kids and I were

just fine enjoying silliness and nothing too upsetting at the kids’

movie.

 

Hope you all have a great week.

Take care and God bless you

for all the kind and thoughtful comments.

 

 

 

 

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

Standard

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

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

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

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

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

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

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

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

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

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

sources I choose to consume.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

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

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

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

Groundhog Day.

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

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

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

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

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

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

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

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

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

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

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

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

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

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

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

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

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

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

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

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

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

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

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

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

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

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

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

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

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

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

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

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

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

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

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

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

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

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

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

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

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

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

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

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

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

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

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

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

Feb. 18-

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

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

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

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

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

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

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

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

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

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

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

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

Fun Clothesline Poem

Image

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!