Category Archives: Sweden

Originality is a Plus


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

‘one of a kind’ television or movies.


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

of them.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

and strange criteria.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

unique ‘crazy’ characters, that Robin William created.


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

on their televisions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

and the dialogue are quite interesting!


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

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

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

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

other things, in Sweden.


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

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

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

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

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

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

as a marshmallow is named Lemon.


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

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

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

I like the intergenerational ‘feel’ to this show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

he gets from it is one that will bring chuckles.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Middle.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

may do so.


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


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

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




5 Cheers for Sesame Street!


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

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

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

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

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

the Day” was “5.”

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

speechless, trying to concentrate on capturing a photo of the

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

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

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

surrounding framework of the stage. Then, again, capturing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

maneuver and squirm through, (hopefully not pushing too

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

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

but we saw him do this both times.

The crowd was very responsive to any suggestions to clap

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

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

of Sesame Street with their yellow slickers or raincoats

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

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

of “It’s Raining Men!”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite special moment was when Bert and Ernie were

sitting side by side on a bench. Chaos was happening

all around them, characters running around in circles,

music and dancing. They were sitting quietly watching.

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

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

who had been the editor of Golden Books shared lessons

learned by reading or being read to Golden Books? Sesame

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

These book and television show characters are very much

part of my family! My children and grandchildren all have

their beloved books but by far, their favorite book is

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

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

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

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

and values imparted through songs and interactions.

I thought I would do a version of lessons I gathered

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

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

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

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

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

forgiveness easier. The person should be gracious, in

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

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

“Everyone makes mistakes!”

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

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

there is a song that makes you feel that helping someone

out makes it easier to do chores.

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

impressed when the Grouch stuck his head back into his

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

just his legs showing.

Micah exclaimed, “How cute is that?”

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

that ‘precious’ comment!

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

number or feeling that is shared. They may talk about

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

Sometimes it will be a serious subject but it will always

end with it all working out okay!

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

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

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

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

Dracula voice, making it another way to enjoy numbers.

7. Singing and dancing should be part of your everyday

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

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

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

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

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

always remember that cookies make children smile! They

make them want to eat all their dinner, too!

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

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

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

tree on the dark scenery set with stars shining in the

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

three little baby owls who popped their head outs out

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

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

10. Families everywhere love their children. The way

they used the number five was to have five penguins

who went behind the curtain, coming out in different

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

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

blonde braids with horned helmets (Scandinavian), the

maracas and straw hats with frayed ponchos, (Spanish/

Mexican) and other cultures were represented. The audience

cheered quite often during this presentation, along with

clapping five times.

It seems I am always telling you about something that is

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

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

sharing happy moments and imparting small ‘bits of wisdom’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

including Grover. Once we were backstage, I requested

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

I really was motivated to become a member of the traveling

“Sesame Street Live! entourage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

employment section, right on the spot!

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

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

of traveling the country included in my future paychecks?

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

the circus!

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


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

dream of ‘fame and fortune?’

The Beauty of Languages


baklava (Greece layered, nut laced with honey dessert)

escargots (French for snails)

falafel (Arab specialty)

tacos, tamales (Mexican, Spanish)

sushi (Japanese raw food)

scones (British or Scottish quick bread or cake)

croissants (French pastry)

pizzelles (Italian cookies spiced with anise)

gefilte fish (Jewish fish)

Origins in different countries…

My name is Robin Elizabeth. When I was going to middle school

Spanish class, we had to choose the closest name to our own in

a list of Spanish names. I used “Roberta” for those three years,

sorry if this is your name (I have a lovely nice British girlfriend

with this name!) But I was ready for a change in high school! I

marched up to Mr. Donaldson’s desk  saying, “Senor Donaldson,

por favor, may I change my name to my middle name? It would

become ‘Isabella!'”

Well, how did this subject come up? One of Mom’s very nicest

neighbors has the first name of Isabel. I told her when I met her

that in Spanish that is “Isabella” and if it were looked up in a

translation dictionary for theEnglish version, it would be

Elizabeth. Did she know Elizabeth was a special, unfortunately

‘barren’ woman in the Bible, who is visited by an angel who

fortells that she will “bear fruit” and becomes the mother of

John the Baptist?

We talked about how foreign languages are the originators

of our English language and that our everyday vocabulary

includes a lot of foreign words or “roots” from foreign

countries. We are indeed a “melting pot” of languages,

so many different reasons why we use the words we do!

I wrote a few of the international foods that I would not

have known about nor tasted them, unless someone had

introduced them to me.

Isabel was fascinated and asked if I knew of any other “roots”

of words or where they came from? I told her the beautiful word,

“pavilion” comes from the French word pappillon, which is a

butterfly. If you notice large pavilions look a little like wings that

are spread downward.

My Grandmother Paula Hilmida Mattson used only a few German

words sprinkled into her language, but she definitely could cook

the special pastries of her country. (kuchen, spaetzle, and the

lovely combination of Spritz cookies and Pfeffernusse.

My Grandfather Walter William Mattson spoke very clear English, he

learned it quickly once he immigrated here from Sweden. Both my

mother’s parents came over as teenagers and met on a street corner

in New York City. That love story is in one of my older posts…

I think you probably recognize most foods that are from other countries.

I used to like international festivals, more so than individual ones. They

had such a “smorgasbord” of delicacies to choose from, the delicious

scents and smells intermingling as they wafted through the air.

Something new to me, recently, was an introduction to the exotic world

of bubble teas! Also known as “pearl milk tea” or “boba milk tea.” This

tea-based drink was invented in tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan in the

eighties! Wow! Took me long enough to discover their delicious and

chewy tapioca pearls and sweetly rich teas!

What have you learned recently about your heritage, any foreign foods

that you have recently been introduced to or any that are passed down

for generations? Also, are there any interesting stories attached to taking

a foreign language? Thanks for reading and hope to read about your

different beautiful languages or unique delicacies!


Great Aunt Marie’s Love Story


I had a wonderful 16th summer up in Rockport, Massachusetts. I was a candy clerk

at Tuck’s Pharmacy where my Great Uncle George and his wife Great Aunt Dorothy lived

upstairs. I simply called my great uncle, “Uncle George” and my great aunt, “Aunt Dot.”

My other house mate was Great Aunt Marie. She was much younger than the couple

mentioned. She was 16 years older than my mother! I will tell you that my mother was

42 and so, Aunt Marie was 58 years old. She was a former beauty queen!

Aunt Marie and I were the best of pals when I was off work and she was off work from

her job at Gorton’s Fish Factory. She would come in singing and greet me. I sometimes

would leave her a note that I went off with my friend, JoEllen, who lived in Rockport and

was in her senior year in high school. We would sometimes go to a nearby quarry or one of

the many wonderful beaches along the coast.

Aunt Marie would take a lemon from the refrigerator and cut it in half. She kept the other half

for the next day. She used 1/4 of the lemon to add to her sweetened tea, the other half to scrub

her hands and cuticles daily. “This ritual,” she told me, “started when I was married to your

Uncle Pete.” My antenna went up and I waited patiently for her to tell me about him. My Mom

had filled me in on some of the details but I wanted my Aunt Marie’s “embellishments!”

My Mom had always been enchanted by my Aunt Marie and now, I had become so attached to

her and  enjoyed her stories! Everywhere we went, even as far as Gloucester, everyone knew my

Aunt Marie. She had won, in her twenties, the crown title of “Miss Cape Ann.” She had also gone

on to be in the running for Miss Massachusetts! She was one of thirty finalists but never made it to

the ‘real finals of that beauty pageant.’  I am not sure if they stopped at twenty contestants on the stage

or if her memory of the numbers had faded. This would have been in the days of radio shows!

But there, in all its glory, was a huge almost 3 foot tall silver Trophy in her special antique curio cabinet

with the leaded glass doors!

I was waiting for her love story first and her pageant story second!

Aunt Marie got a misty eyed look over her face when she mentioned Uncle Pete. She usually was silent

about him. She said that he had been sitting at a diner in Gloucester, a typewriter propped right on the

table, eating scrambled eggs, toast and bacon. He had a jaunty hat on his head and looked so rugged

and handsome that while Aunt Marie was chatting to her good friend, Elizabeth, she tried to catch his


“I raised my voice just a little octave higher and louder, trying to still sound sweet and genteel.”

(This is true, my dear Aunt Marie almost sounded British at times, not the typical New Englander!

She had come over as a baby when my Grandpa Mattson had come over as a teenager from Sweden

with their whole family. His accent was entirely different from Aunt Marie’s.)

Anyway, she stopped rubbing the lemon on her fingers and took her shoes off. She got a wash cloth,

filled the sink up with bubbles and hot water, then came back to the bed where I was perched. Aunt

Marie was so sentimental and she was not looking sad while she told this tale. She proceeded to wash

her feet and add a thick lotion to them, along with a pair of white cotton socks, telling me her story.

“Your Uncle Pete stopped typing to hear my voice, I could just tell I was getting his attention and making

an impact!”

I inquired with anticipation, “What were you wearing, Aunt Marie?”

This is an important fact if you are a young woman of 16 years old and have seen the beautiful wardrobe of

a “legend” in your personal life. I always coveted some of Aunt Marie’s fancy clothes and told her often that

she had a closet that would compare to a movie star. I had already been in high school drama for 2 years

and felt that her style and grace equaled many movie stars! If you saw her when I was 22, 6 years later, you

would not believe she was 64! She is in many of my first wedding pictures because the photographer just loved

her looks!

My Aunt Marie walked over to the closet and brought out a pretty light mint green filmy blouse (she had auburn

hair like my mother’s with green eyes: this would be so perfect to bring the eyes out!) and showed me a flared

skirt that was a pastel floral one, it reached below her knees.

She said, “I had my hair back from my face with a pink scarf so while we drove around the countryside that day,

Elizabeth was the driver, I didn’t have my hair go haywire!”

I gave a little sigh, said, “That was a perfect outfit! It would compare to Audrey Hepburn’s in “Roman Holiday!”

Well, finally she got to the details of when Pete got up and leaned over the booth from behind her head. She said,

“I always wondered if he was being coy about his looking at Elizabeth while he chatted with us!”

His conversation revolved around “What had they been up to this fine Saturday morning?” along with,

“What were your plans for the afternoon?” and finally, “Are you two beautiful women going to the dance tonight

at the square in Rockport, by any chance?”

Each time they answered, “Not much” or “We don’t have any plans.”

But, my Aunt Marie being born gutsy, burst out at the last question, “Only if you will meet us by Tuck’s Pharmacy!”

Pete answered, “Why certainly! I could pay for you gals’ ice cream sundaes, if you like!”

She continued to tell her love story about the much older newspaper journalist who asked her to “live in sin!”

She also said, “No, thanks!”

She did manage to get a proposal after only 2 months of dating and handholding with no romance allowed.

Aunt Marie has told me that she was proposed to and asked to live with at least 25 men over the course of her

life up until this conversation!

When they married, she moved into his large house and she helped him to rent some of the rooms. She would

cook when she got off work and clean on weekends. She said that her habit of singing in the morning and also,

at bedtime were, “some of Pete’s favorite moments. He would grab me around the waist and swing me around to

the music on the radio. If it were a slow song, we would just sway back and forth. He would make me swoon all

over again!”

Aunt Marie told me that Uncle Pete was a “creative type” and had been around the world, she felt fortunate to have

him as her husband. She did not fuss over his drinking every night whiskey ‘straight up’ nor did she get upset that

he went downhill earlier than she would have liked. She felt the compensation of having been “well loved” made

up for his “sickness.” He died only ten years after they married. They never had children nor did she ever consider

another marriage proposal again.

(The pharmacy although run by Uncle George Tuck as the pharmacist, his brother Roger made candy and ice

cream for which I have met people who remember how delicious those treats were. By the time I worked there, in

the summer of 1972, the soda fountain no longer existed but I sold candy there behind the glass cases. Of course,

the ice cream was there when Aunt Marie met and was courted by Uncle Pete. It also was there when WWII ended

in Europe and Mom was serving up the lots of celebratory ice cream cones then.)

Double Honored: Liebster Award



Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I have mostly English and Scottish on my Dad’s side and on my

Mom’s side, Swedish and German.

I was told by my Father, while rather young, “the English were

tough on the Irish, so ‘Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day!'”


Anyway….. the real reason I am back

writing a post is:   Ta- Dah!

I was nominated for a Liebster award!!  It came yesterday from a

wonderful traveller who shares his road with his wife. They met on

a singles’ cruise. Right up my alley, a story of love and romance with

an adventure included!

You may find out since globalexplorer1 told me already! Mike did not ask

me to keep it a secret either!

Here is the blogger who recently became a follower of mine and likes

my stories! (He hasn’t read the really embarrassing ones yet! Haha!)

His Blog is named Applecore, they are living in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

He is a native of the Pacific Northwest, there may be some cool stories

about growing up there, too! (someday?)

He accompanies his travels with beautiful, breath-taking photographs!

They have written about Taxco and travelled to other very interesting

places in Mexico recently. You should check out this blog and be amazed!

Mike answered his own questions that really were funny and he listed

me on a well rounded list including vegan food experts, transplanted

bloggers from California to Spain and one who lives in Seattle. There is

a blog listed with kid friendly recipes. Great post, so go see his nominees

and add them to your list!

I hope if you don’t mind I will stay with my own list I made the beginning

of this past week. I appreciated the whatsinthebox nomination and now,

the globalexplorer1 nomination, also. Please check out my list of fellow

bloggers that I nominated! I love more than those on the list so I hope if you

continue to stay with my blog, that you will see the wonderful followers who

comment very thoughtfully, teach me things and  also “straighten me out” if I

need to be!

I answered some sexual questions given me when the first nomination came

in and I hope that is enough exposure for quite awhile! Thanks again!

Smile and have a great beginning of the week!

Oh, and WEAR GREEN!! Don’t want to get pinched (or do you?)

St. Francis makes a fine name for a Pope


I was very pleased to hear about a down to earth, South American

(Argentina) cardinal making his way up to become a Pope. You have

probably heard a lot about his helping the poor and reaching out to

beggars in his lifetime.

Having a grandmother from Germany who loved Catholicism and

had her own rosary beads, I knew a little about being a Catholic.

My mother has become more and more a resident in the past,

although she does fine in her senior living apartment up on the

West side of Cleveland. She enjoys having her 5 table mates for

dinner, whose lively conversation includes usually has some gossip

to repeat to me about the people who live in that place.

She also does well at taking care of her “best friend” Nicki, her

dog, which is a mixed breed little fur ball! It has some shih tzu in

her breeding.

My Mom has taken to watching the Catholic channel and will write

me some of the homilies she has heard on recent television programs.

She is not a devout Catholic, more of a follower of God through what she

interprets with her heart and mind.

This new habit of watching the Catholic services and listening to their

sermons and homilies stems back to or is more of a reference to her

childhood lessons from her mother.

My parents always believed in taking us to church, which we all have

become varied followers and believers of God. My two brothers and I

have approached religion in about three different ways. But we all respect

that  each individual needs to have their own personal beliefs. I took my 3

children to church almost every Sunday from their baby years through their

high school years.  We said bedtime and some meals were accompanied by

prayers. Only 1 of 3 of my grown children goes to church currently.

Anyway, this is all leading up to tell you that I have always loved St. Francis

of Assisi due to a pretty plaque on my grandparents’ wall.

I am sure this was due to my grandmother who was born in Germany and

followed her own mother’s Catholic faith. My grandfather, her husband, was

born in Sweden, followed more of an agnostic practice. But from time to time

he would say to my Dad as we drove out of their driveway, “Drive like a


Both my Dad and Grandpa Mattson would ask this question when a

scientific theory came up or my Christian aunt and uncle were there

debating things, “How BIG is your GOD?” (Meaning, do you feel God

encompasses all religions and faiths, along with loving all people?)

The St. Francis plaque,  in my memories,had a handsome, gentle looking

man with a white cloak on with a dove on his shoulder, a deer overlooking

his other shoulder and little creatures at his feet. These animals including

a squirrel, chipmunk, mouse, and a bunny rabbit. I loved St. Francis of Assisi’s

peaceful countenance. I also loved the prayer that accompanied this picture.

I am sure most readers will recognize the very powerful and sweetly sounding

words and see why they mean a lot to me.

These words are from the first part of the St. Francis of Assisi prayer:

“Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace

Where there is hatred, sow love…

injury;  pardon…

doubt; faith…

despair; hope…

darkness; light…

sadness; joy…”

It finishes the prayer with more finite words and you can find it on

the internet but the last part does not have as much meaning to myself.

I love the open minded interpretation to the beginning of this prayer.

More recently, in this century, St. Francis was also given the credit for

believing in the environment. Pope John Paul II (Nov. 29, 1979) declared him

the Patron of Ecology. I also like it that St. Francis was the one who thought

that animals should be in a Christmas Creche or Nativity Scene.

Whenever you see the Pope’s name he chose, know that no other Pope has

chosen the name of Francis before.  Remember the prayer and its universal

meaning and the animals and ecology that are attributed to Saint Francis.

I find it comforting to know that the new Pope has chosen such a humble

follower of God as his namesake!

True Life Fairy Tale: Love American Style


My next generation story is about a hardworking son of John, the stone mason.

He loved school like his father, he studied books and politics. He became an

engineer and also worked as an insurance agent. He lived in New York City,

there he stood in his spare time passing out Socialistic pamphlets. His Swedish

heritage made him feel that sharing was the way of the future, making us all

brothers and keepers of each other.  He was an agnostic and did not use God

as his reason for being.

On that streetcorner one day, passing pamphlets a humble waitress from the

Waldorf Astoria watched this Swedish tan, tall, blue-eyed man. There was

passion in his eyes and he was so different she could not take her eyes off of

him. He saw her standing there,  sweet, round-faced and warm smiling German

woman that she was. When she listened to his speech twice, he moved towards

her, could he explain it better? Did she need help understanding?  She shook

her head and with every ounce of her young courage she inquired, “Will you

have coffee with me?” (My grandma and grandpa)