Category Archives: team-building

Celebrating with Buckeyes

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I could ‘subtitle’ this post: “Partying with the Younger Crowd.” We

were going to a big Sugar Bowl party.  I was excited to be included

by my youngest daughter. I would be rooting for Ohio State Buckeyes

to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. Both my brother and my friend

who works at the Columbus Dispatch at the Sports Desk felt we had

little chance of winning but both texted me frequently over the eve.

 

I was the D.D. for the after New Year’s Eve party celebration in the

basement of a fun, pizza serving bar called “Zeno’s.” My youngest

daughter and I were coming off a high from just having watched a

finely written and acted movie called, “The Imitation Game.”

 

We had followed my junk food movie snacks up with a stop at Ruby

Tuesdays for a nice, healthy salad bar.  She is one of the healthy,

gluten-free, fresh ingredients, low sugar, group of smoothie-drinking

vegetarians who sometimes include fish or eggs in their diets.

 

We found first rate Columbus parking, in a No Towing area. Unlike a

late arrival friend who had to literally walk a mile to the bar!  (Later,

we drove her back and discovered she was not kidding!) We waded

through the first packed floor of varied ages. I noticed there were a

couple of men I would have to stop with me and flirt with them. We

sallied forth to our destination. There were only a handful of fellow

workers from the restaurant. I was the one who spotted the string of

white Christmas lights and plugged them in, I checked out the three

steps in the women’s bathroom, leading upward from the sink to sit

on a ‘throne.’ When I later reported this bizarre restroom, I was told

by a tall, lanky man that the same situation is set up in the men’s

room.  He had me imagine men stooping down to not hit their heads

on the short ceiling level. Standing up has its down sides, at times.

 

I ordered a seltzer water with a slice of lime in it from Jessie, a

patient barkeep. We were amidst the fellow servers of an upscale

restaurant, where they had all worked New Year’s Eve. Their one day

off having planned and gathered extra money to reserved their own

‘place under the sun’ or ‘spot under the rafters’ of a stomping and

exuberant crowd of Buckeyes upstairs. We became more excited as

our numbers increased. I like to develop characters and watch other

people so here are some of my impressions of the young people.

 

There was one older woman who had had no children and was their

appointed “Mother Hen” named Mary Beth. There was a man in his

forties with a nice head of hair, a Steve Martin look-alike. Barry stayed

involved in the Beer Pong activities, writing competitors’ names and

scores on a paper taped to the painted cinder block wall.

 

Here is a list of real names, inspired by Famous People:

1. Mariah- She is wispy and sweet, telling people about their ‘aura’s’

and their ‘spirits.’ Wait for the most unlikely love story to be shared

by her and a man named, Grant. Mariah says the surprise ending was

more on her part, than his. They have plans to marry next year, 2016.

 

2. Whitney- She is a petite, blonde young girl who is also matched with

an equally unlikely man who is possibly the polar opposite of her.

She is so open and forthcoming, hugging me immediately upon being

introduced by youngest daughter. Whitney is a server who brought the

next party-goer who sounds like he walked out of a soap opera. . .

 

Chance- This thirty year old man is tall, has his head shaved close in

a nice way like a service man. He looks like he belongs in a computer

lab. He was quiet and polite, his conversation and stationary stance

unusual amongst the sports fans. In over four hours, he spent barely

moving except to jump up and down for joy at any progress the Bucks

were able to make. He stood still and tall, his shoulders slim and his

waist narrow, hands in his pockets. He probably is composing a musical

or writing a book in his head. I was unable to break his ‘code of silence.’

Imagine this, who can get almost anyone to blab their life’s secrets.

 

4. Gabriella (aka “Gabby”)- Dark wavy hair, engaged with the ‘boys’ in

Beer Pong, winning at least two rounds. She was bubbly and warm,

hugging many people in the room. She appeared like a soccer player

in her build and like several of my daughter’s outgoing friends.

 

5. Grant- He shared a funny love story which melted my heart. I sure

do love men who are open and not guarded. He did describe himself

as a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd’ in high school. I shared about my Science Club

group and my view of being rather ‘nerdy,’ too. He has thick wavy hair,

was wearing a sweater. Not the typical red or gray OSU t-shirt party-goer.

 

 

Now, for the Exotic Names:

1. Yonida- born and raised through her toddler years in Albania, she is

very “American” in her word phrasings and her appearance. She is a

close friend of my youngest daughter, the two of them meeting at a

Fourth of July (2014) party. Although Yonida works at another upscale

restaurant, everyone in this crowded basement with the big screen t.v.

and one woman bartender bar had invited a few extras. Yonida liked

the idea of my getting them in the tunnel, Whitney, Yonida and Felicia,

to take a picture. Since the hallway was brick with wooden paneling

and held a few photos of OSU greats, including Woody Hayes.

So, as most young people do, they decided to ‘look tough’ and pose in

this rugged setting. It is the hall directly under the Zeno’s bar.

 

2. Jose- The older bus ‘boy’ who helps the waitstaff by clearing tables

and makes jokes that get the servers rolling. I think it is the Spanish

accent, we had a long and convoluted conversation with my usage of

Spanish phrases interspersed with English. How do you say, “party?”

Fiesta!

 

3. Zeke (Ezekial) came from New York, learned from one of the best,

(the upscale restaurant’s owner of several unique and individual

restaurants) how to be a hand-crafted, fresh-flavored Chef. He reminded

me of my son, the one who cooks for Son of Thurman, here in Delaware.

Zeke admitted to two of Felicia’s friends and to me, “I have a crush on

your daughter.” He is not Italian or Greek but has the dark, brooding

look and is actually Jewish in descent, but not in practice.

 

4. Jade- She does not want to be a server forever, she proclaimed this

as soon as we started chatting. She is a petite, long-haired sensitive

young woman who thinks she wants to be a teacher someday. She has

two years of art college and has a Yoga Instructor license. She is one who

admires my youngest daughter’s business acumen and wished she had

completed her art college. She will go back and get a Bachelor’s degree,

she says in teaching Art. I believe in her, I can see the potential of her

truly making her ‘mark’ in the world. I told her there are many children

who need art, since it is one of the most fun places to be, especially those

who don’t ‘test’ well or are floundering in their reading skills. She told me

that she is worried (as so many of my fellow bloggers are) at the way that

schools take funding away from worthy projects and subjects such as Art,

Music and Gymnastics. Literature is not always valued as it should be.

You can tell, I spent a lot of time talking to Jade! She was an ‘old soul.’

 

Love Story:

“First Impressions Mix-Up”

 

Grant led with the simple truth of, “I guess you must believe in the fact

that people should not judge a book by its cover.” He went on to say that

Mariah seemed very confident, ‘clique-ish’ and ‘snobby.’ Grant gave me

what he considered a ‘valid’ example,

“I sat beside her one entire day of orientation and she did not even turn

her head in my direction. Not even once.”

 

Grant told me, when I told him I had a smart, funny son who sometimes

was like him. I mentioned that Jamie is quiet until you get to know him.

This helped Grant to open up more to say,

“I guess it is true, we sometimes ‘carry a chip on our shoulders,’ maybe

due to actions of others, that remind us of someone from our past. I

was predicting and stereotyping since she is ‘drop dead gorgeous.'”

“Mariah seemed to look right through me,” was another response,

he shared with me.

 

Before I share how these two got together, I will contrast Mariah’s image

of Grant. Mariah felt he was,  “stuck on himself” and “almost arrogant.”

She does not remember ever sitting next to him at orientation. She is a

little embarrassed to be asked about her memory of their restaurant

orientation. It is part of what people ask her now that they are engaged.

She admits, she may have been ‘distracted,’ since she was ‘getting over

someone else.’

 

Mariah is an out-going young attractive woman, who may have intimidated

Grant. Grant is also a nice looking young man who is very intelligent but may

have a negative self image.

 

It was funny since Grant also exuded confidence and was polite as to call me,

“Miss Robin,” along with calling the other older server, “Miss Mary Beth.”

 

So, here is the hilarious and simple way the two young people found each

other as told by Mariah:

“Three months after we had worked together, Grant was standing by the

coffee station, cleaning all of its parts in boiling water. It was the end of the

shift, I approached Grant and said verbatim,

“Hey Grant, do you want to come to our rolling party in the PDR?”

 

“Grant stopped what he was doing, looked at me intensely (Mariah still talking)

and said,

‘Did you say ‘robot party’ because I am IN!!  And where is the PDR?'”

 

Mariah rolls her eyes, glancing at Grant who is talking to Zeke.

“Honestly, how can a man work as a server for OVER Three Months

and not know about rolling silverware or the Private Dining Room? I

was just using a fun tone trying to get him back there to join us in

rolling silverware!!”

 

Grant told me his version,

“So, I am already cleaning an area, while the girls are supposed to be

rolling silverware, and Mariah asks me to a party. What was I supposed

to think? I got excited, maybe she was into science fiction and would be

having a robot party. I was serious. No, I had no clue about when they

go into the Private Dining Room their abbreviated way of saying this. Nor

did I know about their calling this process,  a ‘party.'”

 

Grant felt she was so friendly and cute, standing there that he went

back to the PDR and sat right next to her, asked her several questions

about where she grew up and her high school, this helped finally to

‘melt the ice’ between them. They fell for each other after that.

 

Mariah saw him as a very articulate and interesting man, someone

who would be a nice change from the athletic guys. She felt ‘bossed

her around’ and were ‘very pushy’ in their personal behavior. She

finished the story with her own warm summary to me,

 

“It’s a shame because we lost three months to spend time together.

But, for me (Mariah), the lessons are:

‘Everyone has an interesting potential,’ and ‘Don’t be closed to

opportunities to connect.'”

The end or beginning of Grant and Mariah’s Love Story.

 

The end of my well spent four and a half hours can be summed up as

having been engaged in lively discourse and rowdy team spirit. I had

eaten six (or 8?) wings, half were medium hot wings and half were

pineapple teriyaki.

A young man, not named above, had a few so I lost count of my basket

numbers.

I had a few sips of my youngest daughter’s mixed drink, but had a 2nd

water with lime and hydrated. It was surprisingly hot in the basement.

Some were playing beer pong, some were swearing, others were shouting

in their excitement (we won by a very close score) and when a manager

stood by me, I exclaimed,

“You have an incredible work group gathered here, this shows such a

great team spirit. I get the feeling you all become ‘family’ and a lot has

to do with the leadership, an equal amount has to do with such amazing

people you chose to be employees.”

He smiled and nodded. Then Greg said,

“The corporation is run by someone who worked his own way up through

the ranks. He is very encouraging of self-growth and hopes everyone will

find their own paths.”

 

I hope you had a fantastic New Year’s Eve! The sports ‘after party’ was

a great outing. I enjoyed the time with family, friends and Mom this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Saint” Karen

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My friend, Karen P., was a one-to-one aide at my special needs school, long before I

‘nabbed’ her to become my teaching assistant. She had what I call ”the patience of Job,”

with a little child (age 3) with autism. With this child she worked by using both sign

language and verbal cueing. She learned also, through workshops and the therapists, to

use positive reinforcers. His special pleasure was playing with tractors. Casually, you may

have heard the word, ‘fixation,’ when his parents talked about his tractors. He was quite

an independent child, which was hard to explain to his parents that his ‘shrieking’ was

not because of his being ‘rebellious.’ I would consider Justin’s intelligence level to be

found somewhere on the Asperger’s Spectrum; as ‘higher functioning.’

 

When I think of friends, I remember that old Girl Scout song, which was a ’round’ which

repeated itself. It goes like this:

“Make new friends, but keep the old,

One is silver and the other is gold.”

 

The nine years I had dear “Saint” Karen by my side, in the ‘trenches, and sometimes

taking all the dirty work, quite literally, make her my Gold Standard of Friend. You will

think we are quite ‘sick in the head’ when I tell you that we still roar with laughter about

one Christopher who threw chairs across the room, we felt he was ‘possessed!’ We were,

in our private moments , just barely able to contain ourselves. Our favorite way to make

light of Christopher, was to say to one another,

“We know that face will be on the “Wanted” posters in the Post Office one day, we just

know it!”

Also, the dirty work, was meant (by me, I reassured her when she came to be my assistant)

to be split fairly. When there were diapers which needed to be changed, we took turns.

But another ‘sick’ sense of humor moment was when “Miss Karen” was stuck with ‘her turn’

AND THE BOY HAD DIARRHEA.

But apparently Jonathan did not just do it in his pants. It went down his leg and into his

cowboy boots! When the expression is “Up to your neck in ‘shit,'” for Karen it had been,

“Up to her armpits!” Poor Karen did not feel well the rest of the day, like she could not

seem to get the odor off her hands. She was incessantly washing until she took the vanilla

air freshener spray and soaked her clothes and hands with it.

 

I would like to tell you a short history of Karen’s life, since she overcame a lot of tragedies

to come out wonderfully.  She taught me many things more than I was able to teach her.

At age 8, Karen lost her mother to an accident. Three of her grandparents were deceased,

the one who was left, did not want her. She was raise by her two elderly aunts. When her

Dad came back and forth into her life, she had to adjust to a wide variety of women, his

alcoholism,  and some verbal abuse. She always ended up calling her aunts, begging them

to come and save her.

She got good grades, wore clean but plain clothes. She met her husband, her only “love

of her life,” while going to community college to be a nursing assistant (STNA). He was

at a bar, he was ogling her, sometimes making loud comments and trying to get her

attention. She was 19 years old, she certainly wasn’t attracted to this wild motorcycle

man,  who appeared much older than she, at the time. The summer she met him, he

pursued her, found her almost each time she and her friends were out in Marion, Ohio.

Karen used a dramatic way to describe Dan: “He was relentless!”

Karen is strong willed, she claims to have broke him of his ‘pool gambling habit’ and

his drinking. Dan, on the other hand, gives her credit, saying that a ‘good woman like

Karen’ can cure anything. They have been married for forty years, raised three kids

and three grandkids.  A fourth grandchild, from their son and his wife, was born this

year. So, this was a new beginning for their adventures, continuing the family saga.

 

On Friday, October 24, 2014, we got together and laughed until we cried. We ate

at the local restaurant, Old Bag O’ Nails. We had numerous refills on our beverages

and ate our ‘fish and chips’ slowly.  We had been apart for 2 years, trying to adjust

our busy lives and schedules to fit our friendship in.

 

Here are some of the subjects covered while we were there for almost four hours:

 

1. Grandchildren, of course.

 

2. “CSI” and cast changes over the years.

 

3. Hilarious episode of “According to Jim,” when both men’s clothes were blown off

when the water pipes in basement explode.

 

4. My divorced husband, what he was ‘up to.’ (She had been with me through 9 years,

through thick and thin,  and only one year, while I was single.) Still no car, working

close to his apartment. Got online PhD in Religion.

 

5. “Camel toes,” when the younger teachers taught us what this expression meant.

 

6. Condoms. My first “Secret Santa” gift as a single woman, in multiple hues and sizes.

 

7. Changing over from my old way of wearing “granny panties,” and our trip to Victoria

Secret. (We had multiple shopping trips for supplies, but our trip to Tuttle Mall was

our favorite.)

 

8. Barney, my famous bachelor gym teacher, who showed up my first Single Spring

Break, in a bathing suit, with a towel and a bottle of baby oil, in hand. We ‘cracked up

all over again when we remembered his announcing, “I’m your cabana boy, Robin.”

I had insisted all the female teachers,  some who were in their twenties,  go out

with me dancing once a month. Somehow, when we ran into Barney, they fell in

love with him. (He looks a lot like Tony Danza, seriously.) Karen was sorely

disappointed in the fact we are not still in ‘touch.’

 

9. The ‘girls’ insisted we attend the football game when Barney coached the

opposition; our main rival. He was on the sidelines when his team played

“our school’s” team.

The Speech Language Pathologist and Trina, who talked me into drinking before

the game. We ran into the Superintendent and hugged him. We ran into 2 parents

and also, a school board member. We found the other girls in the bleachers,

climbing over people to get to them.

 

10. Which of the ‘girls’ have gotten married, which have babies and who is still

single, besides me.

 

Karen will always be my “Hero.”

 

Fred Rogers, Presbyterian minister and the nice man wearing the sweater on,

“Mister Roger’s Neighborhood:”

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility.

It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’

Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people, my heroes.”

 

 

Patriots’ Day: Solidarity

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There is a quotation being volleyed about called, “The Slurry Walls of Life.” I

received it twice now. Once, from someone far away, but a U.S. citizen, and the

second time I read this was in our September church newsletter. Neither time

was an author given credit. This upsets me, almost like I am ‘pirating’ someone’s

thoughts. If you happen to see this, with an author attached, please let me know!

I hope these words will hold something meaningful to give to you,  a few days

ahead of  the actual Patriots’ Day.  This quote comes exactly as I received it, no

editing or changes made.

 

I think on the actual day of 9/11/14, I will be silent. . .

 

“As horrific as 9/11 was, it could’ve been even worse if not for a 30 year old

engineering feat. Reaching some 70 feet underground, a 3 foot thick concrete

structure called a ‘slurry wall’ surrounded the base of the World Trade Center

complex. Designed to prevent the Hudson River from flooding the basement,

this wall prevented New York’s subway system from flooding and countless

additional people from dying on September 11, 2001.

 

A ‘slurry wall’ is constructed by pouring a thick, goopy mixture of powdered

clay and water into a deep, narrow trench. The solution coats the sides,

preventing water and soil from collapsing the trench. Pipes are then inserted

through the slurry, and concrete is pumped into the trench, pushing the slurry

up and out.

 

At the World Trade Center, the concrete formed such a strong wall that even

two airplanes and the falling towers didn’t fracture it. Part of the ‘slurry wall’

stands at the 9/11 Memorial site, a symbol of resilience.

 

Sometimes God uses life’s ‘slurry’ to make us stronger than we ever thought

possible. We might wish something yucky hadn’t happened- – until we discover

it was part of what sustained us, making us resilient and enabling us to rise out

of the destruction and death to an awe-inspiring new life.”

(Author Unknown)

 

This much I could research, that the original ‘slurry walls’ construction, under

the World Trade Center, were supervised by a man named, Arturo Lamberto

Ressi di Cervia. This building supervisor passed away at age 72 in August, 2013.

He lived almost 12 years past that day of sadness, to see this job become the

base of the Memorial. The construction workers need to feel satisfaction in their

awesome work on the ‘slurry walls.’

 

Arturo Lamberto Ressi di Cervia’s professional crew poured the walls of support

that survived the crashes. Construction supervisor, Mr. di Cervia, must have

felt a little better that his workers’ wall held back further destruction and may

have prevented more deaths.  Although, it is nearly impossible to be proud of

your accomplishments, in the midst of death and sorrow.  Acknowledgment

to the crew only seems ‘right’ to do, as to ALL the workers who came to the

rescue of the ones injured, helping to unbury the living and the ones who died

on this horrific day. Rescue dogs wore themselves out, helping to find so many

‘buried’ people.

 

There is a fine article (not containing the above quotation) from a man named,

David W. Dunlap, written about the construction of the ‘slurry walls.’ Dunlap’s

article was published on 9/11/13/ in the New York Times:

“Looking to a Wall that Limited the Devastation of the World Trade Center.”

 

The “C” Word Messages

Image

All

deserved

Life

NOT

Death

 

No

Age

Race

Religion

Culture

Income Level

Fill-in-the blanks

Discrimination

 

. . .

 

All

affected

One

Way

Or

Another

 

Divided

We

Fail

 

. . .

 

First

comes

the

Verdict

 

CANCER

 

No

One

Is

Left

Un-Touched

 

. . .

 

Fear

Fear

Fear

Anger

Frustration

Confusion

Questioning

 

. . .

 

“The ‘WHY?'”

 

Why my Mom’s Mom?

Why my Grandma M.?

~ Paula ~

 

Why my Children’s Grandpa?

Why my Mom’s Husband?

Why my Dad?

~ Robert ~

 

Why my Daughter in Law’s Mom?

~ Cricket ~

 

Why my Daughter in Law’s Step-Mom?

~ Chris ~

 

Why did both of my best friend’s Mom’s

have to leave us?

 

“Why Me?”

 

. . .

 

Fellow Bloggers

 

Coworkers

~ Terry ~

~ Jean ~

 

Neighbors

 

Friends

 

Loved Ones

 

Famous Ones

 

. . .

 

Light

Up

The

Fires

 

Cell Phones

Bic Lighters

Flames

 

. . .

 

Support

Write

Your

Checks

 

Donate

to

Science

Research

 

. . .

HOPE

Laughter

LIFE

. . .

 

“Take a Stand”

“Stand Up

For

Cancer”

 

. . .

“United

We Stand”

“Divided

We Fail”

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

09/05/14

 

Last night, all the regular television channels aired, “Stand UP 2 Cancer.”

I felt moved to collect some thoughts in free form poem today.

My highlights of the show were Will Ferrill’s

Silly Ron Burgundy newscast,

with his asking,

“Why Cancer?”

“Why not Capricorn?”

(or any other

astrological

sign?)

Sofia gave

a tribute

to

those

who

are

or

were

the loving

caretakers.

Heartfelt

messages

from

around

the

World.

 

Please list

your

loved

ones

Names.

What touched you in the fight against cancer?

What are some of your fears?

Silence is okay.

 

. . .

 

Musical selection for Today:

“Tears from Heaven,” sung by Eric Clapton

“Calling All Angels,” sung by Jane Siberry and KD Lang

“The Rainbow Connection,” sung by Kermit the Frog

(associated with animals crossing the Rainbow Bridge)

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,”  sung by “The Hollies”

 

 

 

 

Bureaucracy

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This will be an angry post, one where frustration sometimes is best

relieved by venting! It can be about the fact that it’s quite challenging

to get a hold of an actual human being on the phone! It can be your

own disappointment or disgust at the way businesses seem to give you

the ‘run around!’

I can only hope you will add to this, with your own examples of

“Bureaucracy!”

(There is a reason why there are so many people throw the word, “idiocy”

around! Also, I do know there may be some people who may mention the

dreaded word, “politicians, ” too.)

Tomorrow will be my smiles and chuckles post. . .

 

I would like to start the ball rolling with a look at a small example of how

business in my workplace, at the good ‘ole warehouse, is run.

Last Monday, while about 20 people were lining up to ‘clock in,’  at our

time clock there was an obstacle to walk around to get to the clock. It is a

small ‘vehicle’ or ‘cart’ that has an engine, which the ‘bosses’ scoot around

on.

It would ‘crack you up,’ to see them get on one of these, only to go about 30

paces, to get to another office or to use the rest room.

In each of these cases, no one else is allowed to ‘touch or move them.’

On last Tuesday, at the morning meeting, a fellow coworker mentioned that

whoever is parking their little mode of transportation in the way of the time

clock, was actually ‘breaking a safety rule.’

Then, my friend added, it is unsafe, due to the way people have to ‘clock in’

and then try to get out of the way of the next person in line. ‘There isn’t any

room to do this safely.’

Then, he mentioned that someone ‘almost tripped over it!’

Well, what do you know?!

That darn cart was once again parked in the location directly under

the bins order fillers’ time clock. I wish to note, at this time, I never get

in this long line, no patience for such nonsense. I enter the hallway by

the lockers, ‘clock in’ where there is usually only five people getting

their last sips of coffee, filling their water bottle, or something like this.

It is located by the break room.

No one blocks the break room!

Anyway, at the morning meeting on last Wednesday, one of our immediate

bosses, (one is for heavy bulk fillers and the other regular ‘bins’ order fillers)

made a proud announcement,

“We sent out a memo to whoever is leaving their cart by the time clocks.”

(In this case, he meant an ’email.’ There are no more memos, unless the

boss’ boss prints out an email and checks it for any facts that may not be

disclosed to us, (‘paeans.’) By the way, how many people would have put

an ‘o’ in that? Since everyone says ‘pee-ons’ I struggled with the spelling!

Out of practice!

On last Thursday, the cart was moved, presumably due to the ‘efficiency

and effectiveness’ of the email!

Another minor example of ‘Bureaucracy,’ came in a rather smelly way!

I went away to my Mom’s on June 27th and arrived home on July 6th.

I had a grand time, some challenges but overall, a nice escape from my

everyday life.

When I arrived home, I smelled an odor in the hallway, quickly sped up

to get into my apartment, presumable to be in my old, familiar, cinnamon

and other kinds of homey smells. (I love Yankee Candle Company’s scent

of “Home Sweet Home,” use it in my candles, warmers, and in my car, too.)

Oh my!

It was my apartment that truly stank! Yuck!

I quickly went to the nearly empty fridge, it held only pleasant condiments

and the baking soda box held any of the odors. No spoiled foods, check!

I then ran into the bathroom, and as I got there, I was splashing in the

hallway! The carpet was soaked and yes, it smelled horrific. Like a dead

animal, no none of those in evidence!

I called my apartment manager’s phone number, leaving a message.

I went out into the hall, stopped across the hall. The friendly woman, who

is still nameless, since my good friend, “Bo” and daughter “Amyah” moved

out, I have not attempted to know this one. I miss the grandmother friend

and her granddaughter, too. (I gave her a lot of my Dad’s porcelain light-

houses and other nice things, like a ‘throw’ blanket with the 12 Lake Erie

lighthouses on it.)

The neighbor opened her door, asked me had I been gone long? She had

noticed my absence and admitted to smelling my odor. She also told me

that her air conditioner pipe from the upstairs (floors 2 and 3) had somehow

gotten clogged. The overflow or pressure had leaked into her apartment,

hallway and into her bedroom, too. She said this happened on June 30th,

that the manager had provided a fan to dry it, would be cleaning her carpet

sometime around July 11 or 12th.

I was ‘freaking out!’ That meant he clearly knew others were having this

problem and had not bothered to knock and check around to see if there

were other instances of this. Just while I was talking to her, Pete called.

He lives on the second floor with his wife, Nancy. It is not like he is off

the premises, surely he would have smelled this, since they are supposed

to vacuum the halls and wax the chair rail in the hallway.

I approached this with caution, remembering my Mom’s favorite expression

for handling irksome circumstances:

“You can attract more positive responses with honey than with vinegar.”

(There are variations on this but this is how she would say it.)

I told Pete, that I had come home from vacation and found my apartment

very ripe smelling, think it has to do with the water heater leaking or the

air conditioner pipe. He said he would bring me a fan.

I called my oldest daughter, she came over. I was sure I would have a fit,

if someone would not be there to keep me from over-reacting!

I boiled tea for the two of us, I lit about ten candles around the apartment.

I put a little of my vanilla scented lotion inside my nostrils.

When Pete came down, he knocked and then opened the door. He did not

admit to me that there was any odor. (I miss my old landlord, Ron, he would

have sympathized and also, maybe offered to help find out the root of the

problem.)

Pete said, “I will have to call a maintenance man tomorrow. He is also good

with the electrical stuff. He can check your heater and air conditioner.”

Carrie was walking in, saw my look and asked me to come in the hallway

while Pete set up the fan to blow air into my wet carpet and then he opened

the doorway to the ‘electrical stuff.’

Carrie ‘admonished me:’  “Don’t use your teacher look or your teacher voice,

Mom! But you may ask him if there are any avenues to proceed to, if it were

an ’emergency,’ mention that mold is not healthy for you to sleep in.”

I re-entered my apartment, almost knocking him down. Pete was going to

leave! I had to take a short breath not to let my steam blow!

“What would you do if this happened to yours and Nancy’s apartment?

Would you think there may be a solution that could be chosen tonight?”

 

(Inside my head I was yelling,

“So I won’t have to sleep knowing that there is water with possible mold

or e-coli, lying inch thick in my hallway!!”)

Pete asked me twice in quick succession, had I run my air conditioner

while I was on vacation?

Each time, I answered, “No.”

I am not sure if that would have somehow made it ‘my fault’ that the air

conditioner’s condensation had run into my apartment, but he seemed to be

focused on this point. Now, later, I wonder if I had it so that it would run

while I was gone, would that have somehow alleviated their responsibility?

 

An emergency plumber came that night.

 

I am thankful that he said to Pete, “This place smells disgusting! It would

be hard to sleep with this in the hallway!”

He said to me, “Maybe you could spend the night at your friend’s apartment,”

looking at my 34 year old daughter. (God bless his heart!)”

He also explained how there is a perpendicular pipe, that had filled with

mold, where the condensation from others’ air conditioners siphons down

into this. Normally, going into a drain. I was glad he explained that the

whole thing was ‘not your tenant’s fault’ to Pete.

In this case, as I talked to my coworker the next day who also happens to

live in my apartment building, he feels that Pete should have offered to

pay something towards a motel room. Another coworker says, he would

have insisted on getting the carpet cleaned and suctioning off the water,

too.

I have a good thing to tell you! My carpet did get cleaned on July 1oth,

so I only had to live with the stench for Sunday through Thursday nights.

Another good bureaucratic occurrence is to be announced.

I got a refund from the Cable company!

What? You heard me right!

I called them to tell them I did not get my Time Warner Cable Channel

Guide for the months of June or July! I wondered if I needed to go to

the Post Office and ask for a trace on it? The first woman that I talked to,

used a businesslike tone, saying that they were no longer publishing this

lovely television guide, that was quite a bargain for less than $3. It had

the look of a magazine, with at least ten pages of colored paper, then the

rest of it, in black and white newsprint. I would pore over that, circle and

use two different colors of highlighters, too!

When I did not get a significant explanation nor confirmation of the bill

being changed, since I had sent both June and July payments by this time,

I asked for a manager!

I used a plaintive tone, almost whiny, but was almost beside myself, really

upset about this. I wanted to know if there had been written notice of its

discontinuation? I wished to have an explanation why this happened? I

wondered was I the only person who felt it was well worth paying for this

monthly guide?

The manager was like a psychiatrist, she had a bell-like tone to her voice,

very sympathetic, kind and saying, “Oh, that is too bad!” and then, “Oh,

I can understand how important this was to you!”

I actually got a $30 refund, she felt this was well worth using her power

to use “discretionary funds.”

She was looking at my years of being an “Outstanding customer,” and

telling me she did not want to lose me, that I was “Valuable” to Time

Warner Cable!

I may have to call HER next time something else goes wrong, somehow

she imparts some warmth and love to the whole ‘bureaucracy’ and gives

me hope after all!

Let me know you worst case scenarios with bureaucracy and I will kindly

impart my “Oh, that is too bad’s” to each and every one of you! I have a

good feeling that this post may help you ‘vent’, ‘rant’, and you will feel

much better!!

Fellow bloggers ‘therapy’ begins when I hang my ‘shingle up!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Full Moon

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In my monthly June post, I let you know that the name for the Full Moon

this week is called, Strawberry Full Moon. On Wednesday, as I walked

my youngest daughter out to her car, since we had spent awhile having

dinner, along with watching a movie it was getting late. It was dark, but

there was a brightness in the sky. I let out an excited, “Look at the moon!”

Together we gazed at it, she giving it more than a passing glance, knowing

that the sky holds a little extra meaning to our family.

We hugged each other tightly, arms wrapped around each other.

We noted it was looking bright and lovely in the cool night air. There has

been a neat way that the clouds seem to spread, dissipating into wisps,

around the moon.

The warm daytime temperatures and the cooler night air has created great

‘cloud cover.’ Last night, the moon was showing its shiny, gray-pocketed

face for all to see.

I found several strawberry messages to share with you. I do so love the

sweet and a little tart taste of strawberries! Do you love them, too?

In the following “Camp Song,” we used to sing at Girl Scout camp, there

is a reference repeated about strawberries. I remember this song, like

the ‘back of my hand.’ I have sung it to my own three children at their

bedtime, more recently to my grandchildren. This is one of a few that

have strawberries in their lyrics!

The New Christy Minstrels used to sing this and my parents had it on

one of their albums. I did not initiate singing this song while away at

camp. This song, “Today,” must have been popular enough for a camp

counselor to have memorized and shared with us. It is sweet with a

guitarist, sitting with it on his or her knees, strumming along to the

melody.

Sitting around a campfire, from ages 11 until age 18, I used to sing it.

I enjoyed ed’ camping trips with the local Bay Village Boy Scouts,

taking down the tents that were canvas off the platforms at Camp Hilaka.

This would be in the Fall, in Richfield, Ohio.

When you read the lyrics, you may not think that Juliette Gordon Low,

the founder of Girl Guides, later known as Girl Scouts, would have

approved! There is the repeated verse with ‘wine’ included!

” Today”

 

“Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine,

I’ll taste your strawberries,

I’ll drink your sweet wine.

A million tomorrows shall all pass away,

‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine. . .

Today.

Oh, I’ll be a dandy or I’ll be a rover,

You’ll know who I am, by the song that I sing.

I’ll feast at your table,

I’ll sleep in your clover.

Who cares what tomorrow may bring?

I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory,

I can’t live on promises Winter to Spring.

Today is my moment and now is my story,

I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing.

(Repeating…)

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine,”

Of course, another very popular song that includes, the word,

“strawberry” in it is: “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the Beatles.

Here is a fun list of different references to Strawberries:

1. Grandmother’s homemade strawberry jam

2. Aunt Amy’s freezer strawberry jam

3. McDonald’s strawberry and crème pies (2 for $1.59)

4. Strawberries and cream

5. Strawberry shortcake

6. Strawberry Shortcake and her Friends. (dolls)

7. Strawberry Cool Whip

8. Strawberry shakes

9. Strawberry malts

10. Neopolitan has chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream

also, what we call ice cream cookies.

11. Strawberry Skittles, the red ones are my favorites!

12. Strawberry Twizzlers

13. Strawberry pie, with fresh strawberries and a glaze over it.

(Served with big dollops of whipped cream!)

14. Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine

(Don’t drink too much, sickeningly sweet, not fun coming up!)

15. Suave brand shampoo, Strawberry Shampoo and Conditioner

16. Strawberry lip gloss

(I used to put this on my lips, during high school. I got some

compliments for this habit. Also, used it to kiss the envelopes

to my college boyfriend, future first husband, signing off with

“Sealed with a Kiss.”)

Instead of focusing on the Friday the 13th, I hope you enjoyed this!

I am sure there are many more songs, memories and fun things

you may have thought of, hope if this triggered any interesting

stories, you will share them with us!

 

 

All Kinds of “Fixes”

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In their third album, “X & Y,” songs and lyrics by Coldplay, there

is a lovely song called, “Fix You.” The British rock group was

founded in 1996. Two college friends, Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland,

started together having met at University College, London, England.

Their group, also, includes Guy Berryman and Will Champion.

The breakdown of the musical group, Coldplay’s talents goes like this:

Guy Berryman is on acoustical guitar, Jonny Buckland plays percussion

instruments, Chris Martin is talented on the piano and Will Champion

plays the piano, also. They have contributed to the writing of many

of the group’s songs together.

The song, “Fix You,” has a slow, sweet pace with some sadness in the

lyrics. It is about someone who is broken, who doesn’t ‘know their worth.’

The singer is expressing the desire to fix that person. I find it a song

that ‘haunts’ me.

I almost included this song in my “Homeward Reflections” post. I felt

that my poem, partly inspired by the Simon and Garfunkel song, “Homeward

Bound,” could have been a ‘bookend’ to “Fix You.” (The album, “X & Y,”

came out in June, 2005 in the UK and Europe.)

Only the lyrics held me back. . .

I was a little bit disturbed by the implied arrogance of the title.

Also, the idea that someone felt capable of ‘fixing’ anyone other than

themself.

Probably, I was a little brought ‘down’ by my own personal inner feelings

of having possibly chosen, in past relationships, ‘broken people.’ Some

sense of inadequacy naturally derived from several failed marriages.

Was I saddened because this made me examine these feelings again?

Am I one who likes to play God and “fix” others?

I wanted that post to be positive and upbeat, so I left the Coldplay

song, “Fix You,” out of the post.

While talking to others, since that ‘home’ post, I found they thought

that I may be misinterpreting the words of the song.

I am also intrigued with analyzing the different ways that we use the

words, “fix,” “fixing/fixin’s,” and “fixed.” I have upon reflection,

decided I don’t like the lyrics, but still absolutely adore the song

by Coldplay’s artists, Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland (and others) in the

lyrics’ credits.

My favorite parts are the beginning stanzas and the repeated (3 x)

refrains.

Here are those ‘pieces’ and help me to understand what “fix you,” means

in this song:

“Fix You

“When you try your best,

but you don’t succeed.

When you get what you want,

but not what you need.

When you feel so tired,

but you cannot sleep.

Stuck in reverse…”

(“Tears” stanza)…

(“You’ll never know what you’re worth” stanza)…

Refrain:

“Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And I will try to fix you.”

The definition of “fix” includes the ideas of

Repair,

Mend,

Prepare,

Make whole,

and many more definitions.

In my favorite part of looking at a word, I like to engage in ‘word play.’

It helps me to think in terms of lists of uses of “fix,” “fixing,” “fixin’s”

and “fixed.”

This may be challenging to understand if you are used to another language!

This also may confuse you, but variations of the word, “fix,” can be shown

in both negative and positive connotations.

POSITIVE uses of the words that have a root word of “fix:”

1. “fixer-upper” house- one that someone would purchase, make it better by

putting their hard efforts into. It is usually a first home, but sometimes

fixed up to become a rental or ‘turn around’ home. (Real Estate.)

2. “Fix-o-dent” can be quite helpful to keep elderly (and toothless) persons’

dentures in place. (Personal Hygiene.)

3. “fixin’s”- In the south, sometimes in the ‘hills’ people consider this

the delicious side dishes that go with the main meal. Cracker Barrel had

a section with this label for quite some time.

I especially like the expression, “all the fixin’s.” (Food Preparation.)

4. “fix up”- When you are getting fixed up to go out, your appearance

usually is improved!

Example: “My, you certainly look ‘fixed up’ for the party!”

Other variations can include, fixing one’s hair, makeup, and adjusting

your clothing.

Example: “She ‘fixed’ the length of her dress to cover her knees.”

5. “fix”- To prepare a dish or dinner.

Example: “My friend ‘fixes’ a great lasagna!”

6. “fix”- To set up a date, match-make a friend.

Example: “I ‘fixed’ my brother up with my high school friend.”

7. “fix”- To mend or repair, in the way of making whole.

Examples:

a. “I will do whatever it takes to ‘fix this’ and make you feel

comfortable.”

b. “He told her that he would ‘fix’ their relationship by building

her trust.”

8. “fix” or “fixed”- To have won the lottery or inherit money. Be ‘set.’

Example: “That family if ‘fixed’ for life!”

9. “fix” or “fixed”- To be focused on a goal. (Personal Development.)

Example: “He was ‘fixed’ on the Prize.”

10. “fix” or “fixed”- Body parts replaced or repaired. (Personal

Appearance.)

Examples:

a. “She had her eyes ‘fixed’ by laser surgery.”

b. “The famous actor had his facial structure ‘fixed’ after

the accident, through plastic surgery.”

11. “fixed”- A short term used when an animal is neutered,

spayed or castrated.

Example: “I had my dog ‘fixed.’

12. “fixin'”- When one is planning to be married or do an action,

they may express this as, “I’m fixin’ to get hitched!” (Slang.)

My personal bias, interpreting this definition, is that we should

have animals fixed, if we are to help with preventing over-

population of animals. Breeders are allowed to interpret this

usage as negative, since they may wish to produce champions or

make money selling ‘pure breds.’

NEGATIVE uses of the words derived from the root word, “Fix:”

1. “fix”- A person may use this word when ‘in a jam,'(or bind) or

otherwise need someone to bail himself/herself out of a bad situation.

Example: “I’m in a fix.” (Personal Behavior.)

2. “fix”- To repair something broken, attach two parts together with glue,

other things that “need to be fixed.” (The positive result of fixing,

done well, is its counterpart, the whole item.)

3. “fix”- To comply with a teacher or employer’s request to “Fix this.”

This means a mistake or problems lie in the presentation. (The positive

result of fixing this, may mean a better grade or a raise!)

4. “fix”- Need to have a drug, caffeine, sugar, tobacco or other mood

enhancer.

Example: “I need my caffeine ‘fix’ or I won’t be very productive.”

(Slang term, “I need a fix,” can be very negative…)

5. “fix”- This takes on a sinister meaning, in politics, hidden agendas

and mobster movies.

Example: “You better ‘fix’ this!”

(Interpersonal Relations.)

6. “fix”- In certain situations, meaning to change or ‘throw’

something.

Examples:

a. “The fight was ‘fixed.’

b. “School test scores have been found to be ‘fixed’ and may have to be

retaken.”

c. “The player ‘threw’ the game by fixing the bets based on a losing

score.”

7. “fix”- In slang or colloquial usage, can mean revenge or vengeful

thoughts or behaviors.

Example: “That’ll ‘fix’ her!” (Personal Behavior.)

8. “fix”- To adjust an item of clothing that needs to be.

Examples:

a. “Fix your fly!”

b. “Her bra straps would not stay up, so she had to continually

‘fix’ them.”

Both examples are easily turned into positives, when the person

adjusts their clothing item! (Personal Appearance.)

As far as the song, “Fix You,” goes, I feel that no one should think

they are solely responsible for another person’s decisions. I found

this out, through Al-Anon and also, marriage counseling. Accepting

and adjusting to the choices your partner makes, will help you to

stay together. Only when you feel that you cannot do so, then if

the other person doesn’t want to change and adapt to your ways,

then you may need counseling or separation, to reflect on whether

or not it is worth changing for the other person.

Certain phrasings don’t go over well with me, since I feel that in

most relationships the couple needs to work together to make decisions.

I prefer Kahlil Gibran’s image of two cypress trees, neither in each

other’s shadow. Here is a passage from the 1923 book, “The Prophet.”

This is how to be part of a couple, in marriage:

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you…”

(Several passages follow)…

“And stand together, yet not too near…”

“The oak and the cypress grow

Not in each other’s shadow.”

When you leave a comment, please let me know if you think the intention of

this song, is positive or negative. Is it just me that worries about an

unspoken sense of negative control of the other’s being?