Category Archives: temperament

All in One Day: Thank God for Small Favors

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From being called, “honey chile'” (which is a short cut for “honey

child,” with a Southern twist) to “m’am,” Wednesday was quite a

unique day. I expressed myself, much to the chagrin of my boss

and boss’ boss about work and it seemed like I might have to be

looking for another job.

 

It was “one of those days!”

 

The upswing were the nice labels given to me, they brightened

my mood and took me outside of my own discomfort and nervous

feelings, too. But. . . this didn’t happen to me, until the end of an

extra long day.

 

This would have been nice to have landed on February 2nd, where

the imaginary day would have played out like the actor, Bill Murray’s

day did in the movie, “Groundhog’s Day.” I would have loved to have

been in the young woman’s shoes in the fun and new Hallmark film

shown on television, “I Do, I Do, I Do.” The woman gets to have so

many ‘do-overs’ that she learns to dance, a foreign language and

manages to marry the ‘right’ man in the end.

 

No, my week started with us paper-picking, which is a tedious

process that you fill hampers with car products which normally

you get to see lights lit up which I smile and say, “Pick 1- A” and

then put one of the products under the light into the “A” tub.

 

The ‘system’ was down. It was a long day. As I was turning in my

indirect time sheet which is like a daily log of the up’s and down’s

of my workday, explaining ‘time gaps’ by saying I was ‘cleaning’

which may entail drying a stack of wet, snowy hampers before I

could use them or ‘research,’ which means checking if the stocker

put the right products into the correct slot.’ My most used one is

called, ‘warehouse,’ while I may have to open packaging of eight

scented air fresheners to place one in the bin, or may have to

count out sets of 24 that the stocker dumped out of the boxes,

which is a Royal Pain, when the stores are having rush orders of

asking for 72 or 96 in my six hampers I am pushing along, while

filling on a line.

 

Anyway, after handing in my answers to the ‘Essay Test,’ I was

told I was going to have to start using a wrist computer with a

Blue Tooth feature, which would tell me orders across a screen

and it weighs between 5 and 6 pounds. This may not be a big

deal with some of my younger and possibly bigger coworkers,

but it is strapped onto my left forearm and there is a gadget

which you attach to two of your fingers to scan with. This is used

in a work area that I often mention is not “Pick to Light” but it

involves pushing a cart where you place four hampers up and

down rows in a place called the “Mezzanine.” I have used in this

area for the past six years a Tablet with a scanner. I like this,

since I can play imaginary ‘store keeper,’ scanning products and

placing them into bins.

 

The Tablet, unlike the arm computer, is put on a rack attached

to the cart and has large writing,. You can see the next product’s

location, as you push the cart down the aisles. This is one of

the ‘fun’ places I finish many of my days in a few of the zones.

On our short Fridays, Melvin and I try to beat each other by

running around corners.

if you have ever read, (yes, Mike Lince has often said this is

like a Lucille Ball show, where the center character is me!)

 

I was upset, but managed to say, “Okay, if I must learn this

new tiny printed screen and heavy weighted thing placed upon

my arm, I will try my best.”

 

Two days later, since I did adapt emotionally well to the blue

tooth computer (not so well to the numbness of my thin arm and

wrist area) and was doing fine in what companies consider MOST

importantly: My performance rate was at a 95%.

 

The manager decided to burst my newly found ‘bubble’ and add

on Wednesday; a FEAR. Yes, folks, Robin is afraid to go back to

Heavy Bulk.

 

I am one of three people left in the Bins Order Filler position since

I arrived six years ago. When others have been used and abused by

being asked to daily “cross-over” and “help” heavy bulk, I had done

my eight weeks’ training, failed by running into racks and tipping

pallets of stock over by bumping them in the shipping lanes and had

to be written up with three warnings.

 

My old boss, Jake,  the one I have declared “my very best boss ever,”

(over any teachers, principals or superintendents) due to his ability

to stay calm and be such a patient leader to a variety of people.

He is gone, off to a better position, but he was there during that

disastrous summer fiasco!

 

Jake had finally written me up for the third time, taken a photograph

of the ‘ding’ in a metal rack left and let me stay permanently in the

area of Bins. Now, if you stayed with me through that Hemingway-

esque description and length of run-on sentence, I will tell you I said

to my current boss, and then my boss’ boss,

“I hate my job!”

 

As I dragged my feet down the long walk from Building One to

Building Three later in the day, my coworker, Nick, slowed down

on his center riding pallet rider, the very one I never hoped to

drive again to say,

“Hi Robin! What’s going on, I never see you looking at the floor

as you walk. “(I am not making this up, he is such an intuitive

and kind young man, I have really asked him more than once,

“Do you have a divorced father or widowed grandfather who

would like to casually date me?” He always smiles at this kind

of compliment to him, too.)

 

I rolled my eyes and told him,

“They are really pushing me to cross-train or retrain again and

thinking about placing me in Heavy Bulk with the likes of you!”

 

As I talked to him briefly, I went into my plastic Zip Lock bag

and found the new Juicy Fruit Starburst Gum with tangy cherry

flavor to hand him three pieces. This is an ongoing ‘help keep

the young people around,’ ploy and he gave me a broad smile

in return,

“Thank you so much, Robin!”

 

When I mentioned my appalling and inappropriate employee

behavior to my best friend, Jenny, after work on my cell phone,

she said,

“Oh no! Robin you cannot talk to your bosses like that!

You will get fired!”

 

I answered her, my best friend and retired teacher I dearly love,

“Jenny, you would not last a day in this job. I have adapted, I have

stuck with each request for six long years and I am going to try to get

a better work excuse out of Heavy Bulk from my ophthalmologist.”

 

She replied, “This will just get them to start writing you up over

and over again, until you have enough ‘Points’ (you can get up

to 10 before being fired) to get legitimately fired. Your talking

in such a disrespectful way will get you terminated.”

 

My attitude to the whole thing was to say in response to my

long-time friend of over 20 years, approaching 25 was to say,

“I don’t care anymore.”

 

So, I went above my boss’ boss to the newly positioned CEO

on Wednesday. Ted was someone we have all known who has

risen from the ranks of Order Filler in Florida, having taken

business courses and getting a Bachelor’s down there. To be

finally receiving a Master’s degree (online coursework) and

being recognized for his leadership and good work ethic.

 

I asked Ted a simple question:

“How do I get my eye doctor to write me a prescription you

and others will understand? I have submitted one that has

explained I had narrow eye glaucoma, have had laser surgery

and now wear contacts to help me see the tiny bar codes on

the products and to the best I can with these, see far down

the lanes in the Pick to Light and the Bins area in the Mezz

and the Green Bins areas. It says plain as day in my files,

written with the idea of driving a fork lift and pallet rider,

that I cannot see out of one of my eyes well enough to back

up into shipping. It expresses these two elements: Robin

lacks depth perception due to her monovision.”

 

Ted studied me, he is a fair man, after all. He then put his

hands into a prayer ‘posture,’ and asked,

“Could you get your ophthalmologist to write a clearer

prescription which describes our different equipment?”

 

Exasperated, I told Ted that I would try but added that

he could look up My Summer from Hell, that I spent in

the Heavy Bulk radiators, struts and tailpipes area and

how I was ‘wrangling stuff far bigger than I was’ and how

I lost my Summer bonus, because I was not able to drive

backwards in the narrow lanes on the shipping floor.

 

Ted listened, I give him that.

Again he repeated that I needed a more specific excuse since

“everyone” was being cross-trained back into Heavy Bulk.

 

As I left, I mentioned this fact,

“When I interviewed for this job, I was told I would just

be in the area of the bins and never drive abt equipment. I

did give this a ‘shot’ and failed miserably. How is it that

two of the last older colleagues may use knee surgery and

shoulder surgery to count as good excuses but when I

am afraid of hurting others, using equipment I am not

very capable of handling, due to the safety concerns you

would think that my eyes would be every bit as ‘good’ an

excuse as theirs. . .  I will call Dr. Pappas, leave a detailed

message and hope for the best.”

 

When I left work, I was discouraged. I have really tried

there. I went into the library this time driving directly

there and not parking in the front lot of my apartment

building, trudging here and back by foot. I just wanted

to read and post an upbeat message on Thursday or

Friday. No complaining or ranting.

 

Into my second hour of writing my Premio Dardos post,

I was asked while immersed in my writing by two young

men a question. I had to ‘shake off my dream world of

blogging’ and listen. They looked rather upset and worn

around the edges. One was in a ball cap and the other was

holding two skate boards,

“M’am, would you be able to give us a ride?”

 

I glanced at my neighbor, a woman who is a nurse who is

doing online training, often in the library. She looked at me,

raised her eyebrows, her head turned towards me, back of

her head towards the ‘boys.’

 

I told them I was blogging, needed to be here about an hour,

but afterwards I could drive them. I pointed outside through

the glass partition that separated the computer room from the

lounge chairs and cubicles that people tutor students in and

also, set up their private laptops to do their work,

“If you want a ride, I will try to do what I can as fast as I can,

so you may only have to sit out there for 45 minutes. Where

am I taking you?”

 

Their response reassured me it would only take me 15 minutes

out of my way and it was an older, more familiar territory to

me. Sometimes I just use my ‘gut’ and I did this time. I used

to live there on this street, where the corner had a bakery and

a hair dresser, side by side with a leather works shop. It was

more of a positive way to end my day, than to focus the whole

time on my dumb job problems. I probably wrote distracted

and shortened comments on Wednesday to my fellow bloggers,

since I was really fuming inside. (The repeated rant I kept

carrying in my head, interrupting my writing flow was,

“How much more of this can I take, Lord?”)

 

As the young men walked away, I noticed one has droopy

drawers, which is what is still considered fashionable among

some of the teens around Delaware. It looked like Kanye and

sometimes other rappers still think it is okay to wear, too.

 

The nurse looked at me and asked pointedly,

“Do you KNOW those boys?”

 

I replied, “No, but my son used to ask people for rides,

sometimes still relies on others for them.”

 

She grabbed my arm, not too tightly but more of a warm

touch,

“Honey chile’ you should not give boys or men you don’t

know rides. I will pray for your safety tonight.”

I looked at her computer and saw she was finished with

her program and she handed the headphones back into

the computer room aide. I told her thank you and I did

appreciate her caring about me.

 

I decided to finish up and leave the computer room, go

to the bathroom and give the ‘boys’ a ride. I looked at

them with the one boy having his cap pulled over his face,

slouching in one of the leather chairs while the other, who

had asked me looked up expectantly, asking, “Are you ready

now?” He nudged his skate boarding partner and told him

to get ready to go. I found them waiting outside the women’s

restroom, probably figuring I was making a ‘go at leaving

without them, ‘ but I never purposely go back on a promise.

 

I went to my car and they stood outside while I unlocked it,

asking if I minded their smoking one cigarette while it warmed

up. I didn’t mind and made a joke telling them I had to take a

few moments to clear a seat in the back of the car, adding that

when I had gone to Cleveland to my Mom’s I was given a few

odds and ends to put into my own crowded apartment. I tell

many people about my using the trunk as a kind of ‘shed.’

 

When they got into the car, the one who has asked for the

ride and had been in ‘charge’ of the skateboards said such

a nice compliment,

“Thank you, m’am, we asked probably a dozen people, men

and women in the library and finally were about to give up

and we saw people in the computer room and there you were,

being so kind to us. We would have waited, it got so cold all

of a sudden. Hope you didn’t rush on account of us?”

 

I asked their names, the one who was the speaker of the two,

more outgoing and friendly said,

“My name is Hudson and he is Shane, we went to high school

and have also gone to the JVS. (This is shortened version of

Joint Vocational School, where high school students learn

a variety of skills.)”

 

I told him, “I paint children’s names but have only painted one

‘Hudson’ for the past thirty years and never painted a ‘Shane.'”

 

Shane perked up in the back, looked at my eyes on him through

the rear view mirror. He told me that it was taken as a nickname,

from a movie his grandmother liked, that his real name was

Richard and that Hudson was really named William.

 

I told him I loved the movie, “Shane,” had he seen it?

 

Shane told me he had more than three times watched it with

his grandparents and had made his friend Hudson watch it, too.

 

When I told William that his name was really a nice one and

that Kate and William are making their royal rounds in the

world. Why didn’t he stick with this name? He responded by

saying he ‘hated’ to be called, “Billy” or “Willy.”

 

I told him Will Smith was a cool guy and he carries his name

well.

When I asked what jobs they were going to work in or what

were their hopes for the future, William/Hudson told me he

had learned to cook at JVS and that Richard/Shane had taken

computer classes and was having a hard time finding a job in

that area.

I told Hudson that my son is a morning kitchen manager and

cook at Son of Thurman and it is a great paying job with a good

work environment setting. Explained how James has been in

wonderful places after he finished JVS, like learning how to

be a ‘sous chef’ under a European, German chef and has been

a kitchen manager for another restaurant, as well as plenty of

other ‘worse’ paying and poorer atmosphere places, too.

 

Hudson exclaimed excitedly,

“I know I have heard of James! He is a friend to one of my

older brothers!”

 

All of a sudden, this was a ride meant to be had. It was one of

the best moments of my week. I am getting teary eyed as I type

this, just thinking if I had said, “No, I don’t give rides to strangers.”

 

When I got into my darkened one bedroom apartment, I turned on

ivory colored decorated warmer of scents that my friend Jenny gave

me for Christmas, switched on  the lights on my little tree with birds

and nests, with red and white calico ties on the branches and gazed

at my dining room table in the living room with the burgundy runner,

burgundy covers on my chairs and the lovely pewter candle sticks, with

three large Valentine’s Day cards and several small ones

from the grandies on the table, suddenly. . .

 

“all was right with the world.”

 

 

 

 

* Musical selections:

Here are a few songs which crossed my mind later.

1. “These Days,” by Foo Fighters.

2. “One of These Days,” sung by Emmylou Harris which

talks about being a woman and finding peace.

3. “One of These Days,”  Tim McGraw’s version is about

being bullied and finishes with such a poignant, touching

line, “some day you’re going to love me.”

4. “One of These Nights,” by the Eagles.

5.”These Days,” sung by Rascal Flatts.

6. “These Days,” performed by Jackson Browne.

7. The way people connect in our small town of

Delaware reminds me of John Mellencamp’s song,

“Small Town.”

 

*Art suggestion:

If you would like to see an adorable drawing of a child

throwing up fallen leaves illustrated by Mary Englebreight,

check out this by writing, “Thank God for Small Favors,”

it comes up with a special picture.

 

 

 

 

“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.”

 

 

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!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creek Walk: Blue Limestone Park

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My only three granddaughters and I went on a special Creek Walk at Blue Limestone

Park on Saturday afternoon on June 14, 2014. Why note the date? It is the one where

I truly felt I changed their sweet, little lives. I asked if they would prefer, as we drove

past the beautiful new Big Toy, gym equipment installed at this ‘ancient park’ to play

there?

The unified answer was, “No, Nana!” The M & M girls, who are only 3 and 5 years old,

sang those lovely words out loudly. As they finished, their soon (next week) to be 10

year old sister, said these heart-warming words to this humble, nature-loving ‘hippie’

from the seventies,

“Nana, we look forward every year to being able to explore along the creek, cross over

the rocks and go under the train tunnel!”

Lara made me burst in pride, looking in my rearview mirror at her, my little step-

granddaughter, who is mine as well as others’. I said in reply,

“Thank you, Lara! This means so much to me!”

She came back instantly,

“You are the ONLY one who does this with us!”

Landen had gone off to be with the other two grandsons, Micah and Skyler, into the

land of video games and boys’ interests at my oldest daughter’s house. I was having

a good time, this day, with the ‘promise’ given at the onset to get ice cream cones

for three out of four of us, while Marley, whose ‘tummy hurts’ when she eats dairy

foods, will either choose a sherbet or a cookie, at our local place.

What did we find on our walk?

We found the light shining so brightly through the train trestle that I could not

capture through my camera lens, the brightly lit yellowish green still Spring like

branches and silhouettes up ahead of our journey. I took pictures of Lara, carefully

placing each foot upon the next rock, one by one, telling us behind her, of which

ones were ‘wobbly’ or ‘rocking back and forth.’

I helped my other two, sometimes having to hold their hand, putting my foot in

a simple sneaker, down into the clear and rushing creek water. They were filled

with a different kind of trepidation, I sensed a change in their development from

last year’s walk. They were more aware of the ‘danger’ of falling onto rocks and

the sense of imbalance to the stones. They had had more recent bumps and bruises,

evidenced on Marley’s shin and Makyah’s cheek. Little light bluish bruises, which

each carried their own story.

When we reached the place where they have to lean on the cold, damp wall of the

trestle, built of blue limestone rock, the oldest, Lara, was in the lead. She asked

why there would be mud up here, on the ‘shelf?’

I told her that sometimes the waters must have been higher or the wind roaring

through the tunnel, had brought mud upon the place we were walking. I also

told her the truth,

“Nana doesn’t really know the answer to that question, just a guess!”

When we got to the other side of the tunnel, to me, it is like a ‘fairy land.’ We saw

birds swooping, cheerily greeting our arrival here I saw so many branches of trees

leaning in, roots rising up and then arches created by low slung trees, bent into

bows. When they were under an arch, I asked the trio of girls to turn around.

They immediately did, knowing my camera was ready to capture this moment.

Lara, placing her arms around both the girls, showing the living definition of

‘sisterhood.’ The light filtering through the combination of hues of deep green,

light yellowish green and shadows made an entrancing photograph.

Mentally, I noted, three copies need to be made.

You see, I may not share the photos of my adventures with you, but I make

miniature albums of 36 pictures for each of the six grandchildren. They come

and take one of the recently made ones, sit and look them over. Their parents

make cd’s and videos on their cell phones, while I make the picture books that

let them know what seasonal adventures ensued during the past months.

Once in awhile, lately, the five year old, Marley has been curious about my first

husband, their “Poppi” who they did not realize was married to me, ‘once upon

a time.’ She asks to see photographs of our wedding, our days of young parent-

hood, raising her Daddy and her Aunt Carrie. Marley was thoughtful, again,

yesterday. She asked,

“Did you bring my Daddy here, when he was a little boy?”

I told her,

“Yes! In those days, there were tons of tadpoles or pollywogs, in these little

ponds that are back here, behind the big lake. The kids would bring buckets,

even ones I babysat, and we would all explore this area. Your Daddy, when

he was in 6th grade was allowed to come here on his bicycle and fish in the

Blue Limestone ‘lake’ that really is a ‘quarry.'”

I asked, as we climbed over a fallen tree, the little ones studying a spider,

bright, almost ‘neon’ green moss, and some little toadstools growing on the

side of it:

“Do you want to know what a quarry is?”

They all three listened as I explained how the Ohio Wesleyan University and

other buildings around their hometown had blue limestone that had been

‘mined’ from first the big ‘lake’ and then, later the smaller holes that became

other ‘lakes’ surrounding where we were walking beside.

We reached a ‘break’ in the trees, walked to the edge of the creek, finding in

the dirt, hoof marks of deer and also the smaller prints of raccoons and one

set of bunny tracks. I gathered them together and we all ducked under a low

slung branch, pointing across the creek, the separated undergrowth, the

path where the deer ran through the woods. We also could see, with a little

turn of our head, an opening where you could see the blue-green, almost

turquoise colored water of one of the more shallow quarries. I pointed this

out, saying:

“Your Daddy, Aunts Felicia and Carrie liked to swim in that ‘pond.'”

Oh boy! What a “can of worms” I did not foresee opening, with that remark!

I am sure you can guess, they wanted to go right across that creek and jump

into that smaller quarry!

I reminded them that their parents had bought a YMCA pass to the pools,

both indoors and outdoors. That, in those days, the possibility of algae and

other more dangerous bacteria were not so common. After all, this would

have been over 20 years ago!

They are such respectful children, allowing me to side track them, letting

them to think about taking off their shoes to dangle them in the creek

water.

I had them wipe their faces first, arms next, systematically going from

the top of their bodies to their feet, when we got back to the car. Then,

we carefully placed their special little mementos of their creek walk on

the passenger seat of the car:  wild lilac flower branches, three hickory

nuts that had been cracked open, halved neatly to reveal an inner design

that Lara found fascinating, the other younger ones chiming in that they

also “needed one of those!” and the wild daisies for their mother.

Then, having cleaned up, we ran down or rolled down, depending on

our age, the hill leading to the place where we would cross the parking

lot and play on the Big Toy!

Later, while sitting and savoring our treats, we were gazing, all four of

us, westward. There were first appearing, cotton candy blend of pink

and azure blue billowing clouds, then an orange-ish golden hue, and

finally a fire igniting across the sky.

When we got home, we all looked up at the waning Full Strawberry Moon,

the clear dark sky lit up with its presence. I said out loud, “Thank you,

God for this beautifully perfect day!”

Lara, who attends church more often than not, with her local father’s

mother, (Grandma) exclaimed: (I am not making this up!)

“Amen!!”

 

 

 

A World Set Apart

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First impressions, in my profession as an Early Intervention Specialist,

included the homes we visited, the families we met, the therapists’

teamwork, and how to integrate appropriate lessons for babies from

age 3 months up until they turned 3 years old.

I was hired to perform the role of ‘facilitator’ or teacher. I enjoyed

every minute of those two years, from Fall, 1999 up until Fall, 2002.

I was busily transferring and evolving from my four years of being

an Activities Director into an EI Specialist. I was taking under-

graduate courses at Columbus State University, learning what were

the principle educational practices, strategies and current techniques.

Although a parent of three ‘typically developing’ children, helped

to prepare me, I had never been a teacher of this particular age level.

When I met Hunter, it was August, 1999. I was still in the “Orientation

mode” of my new job. His mother was going through a divorce, attractive,

living in a beautiful home where her daughter, April, was all things

‘girly,’ including ballet, My Little Ponies and her Princess-themed

decorations in her bedroom. April was like a ‘ray of sunshine’ for both

her mother and brother. She immediately made a positive impression on

us, by showering a lot of love and hugs on her baby brother. Hunter

would not smile or watch her, but he seemed to kick more while she was

in his presence. (Not developing ‘eye contact’ is a primary sign of

Autism.)

Rhonda’s son was quite the opposite from April, in his developmental

stages. Rhonda described his not wanting to breast feed, some failure

to thrive reactions to not wanting to suck on a bottle, either. She

told us she had felt overwhelmed, until she tried her 10th type of

bottle nipple and binky (or pacifier.) The baby had cried constantly,

reminding her of a friend’s baby who had colic.

Hunter, when we met him at age 3 months, was not outgoing, not responding

to many stimuli, it seemed. His overall, ‘outward’ appearance was of a

beautiful baby boy. Hunter was eating, sleeping and crying sometimes, but

being her second child, April instinctively had ‘known’ something was

‘wrong.’

Hunter’s physician had recently handed her a Morrow County flyer about

the building known as Whetstone River Family and Children Center and

its services within. It outlined a series of questions, that if your

child were not doing these age appropriate actions or stages of baby

development, there may be concerns. A nurse would come to the family’s

home and carry out the next step of the process of identifying needs

for treatment. The pediatrician recommended Rhonda call the nurse’s

phone number on the flyer. She set up a home visit where the nurse could

check out the baby’s weight regularly and help with some of her feeding

concerns. She also highly recommended calling the Early Intervention

phone number that was also included in the pamphlet.

In my new ‘place of work’ our building ‘housed’ offices for Social

Workers, Therapists, Big Brother/Big Sister Program, four classrooms

of integrated learning with typically developing children as ‘peers’

and children with varied special needs or delays. There was also, a

daycare center and two Head Start classrooms.

At the time, (Summer, ’99) the special needs adults were also located

within the building with a great group of one to one aides. Their ‘leader’

was Rita and her ‘assistant leader,’ Barb. They were busy receiving orders

for caning chairs, folding hats for Steak and Shake restaurants and other

special business orders for hand woven wine baskets from up on Lake Erie.

Walk-ins would ask for woven baskets of all sizes, once they viewed the

lovely examples. This whole ‘workshop’ ended up being moved to a

different location.

During the school year, Rita and Barb continued to teach the young

adults, education lessons in subject matters along with “Life Skills”

lessons in a classroom in our building. The site of Whetstone Industries

was a much better place, since the business had grown in leaps and bounds.

I studied and learned about two different programs that were being used,

in schools and learning centers to help bring out children with Autism

and ones who are considered “on the Spectrum.” I was able to understand

the positive and negative aspects and results of an ABA program versus

a Floortime Program. ABA is based on simple tasks, giving a reward and

then moving to another task. The A represents the first action and the

B is the reward, while another application of the A will be given. It is

actually a lot like B.F. Skinner’s behavioral analysis programs. (Not

that children are like ‘salivating dogs!’) Consistency, as in all actions

and lessons involving children, is very important in this ABA program.

Floortime was another program that seemed to reap benefits with children

with Autism. This was more of a freeplay, with some guided decisions made

by the one to one aides, playing with some ‘agenda’ or plans made for the

child.

Both ABA and Floortime were involved in Whetstone’s approach to learning

within a ‘center based’ grouping, involving only the children who were

tested and identified with Autism. These same children would also, spend

time within our classroom. Often, we would start our Early Intervention

class with freeplay, anyway, so that went along with Floortime, while

as long as the children seemed to be participating or at least, not

screaming, they would stay in our group setting. We would have story

time, circle time, crafts and fine motor activities and center time.

After two years of being an EI Specialist, I chose to apply to be one

of the Preschool Special Ed teachers at Whetstone. I felt very lucky

to be chosen, since I was in 2002, 47 years old. I would have to be

interviewed and selected for the Master’s degree class at OSU, while

I did have a coworker find she could just apply to Ashland University.

I was hoping to go to Marion’s branch of OSU, while some courses would

take me to ‘main campus.’ The thought of driving farther north, since

I already was making a 45 minute drive daily to Mt. Gilead, did not

thrill me, to go to Ashland… it would have added another 45 minute

drive away from home.

If you are a parent or teacher,you may know other ways that are

currently practiced. The new studies, through research that scientists

and doctors conduct includes something called, “Affinity Therapy.”

There is a Dr. Palfrey, who has been studying and recording research

on this new practice.

To summarize progress in the two years I worked with Hunter:

We had found that Hunter was one who responded to his home visits

and group sessions well. He was helped by our suggestions to his

mother, Rhonda, who started to take him to public places, before

the crowds would gather, enrolled him in a Food Study program at

OSU, where they try to break food habits that have been established

by the family. Rhonda really missed him, since she could only watch

outside the glass windowed/mirrors, but Hunter was, at age 3 years old,

being given ABA style lessons in incorporating more of a variety

of foods. The children we met in our EI classroom, and later, in

my Preschool classroom, with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, would

tend to not eat foods with any kind of texture or colors. Bland

and soft were their foods of choice. The OSU program was ‘free’

since Rhonda applied for a scholarship, and Hunter ‘passed’ his

overnights for 5 days, being ‘let go’ before the whole week had

been used. Rhonda was shocked to see how quickly he adapted to

the regimen of trying foods, admitting that when Hunter ‘shrieked,’

she would ‘cave in’ to his wishes. She had worried about his

starving ‘to death’ for the 7 days. She was able to hug him and

give him a bedtime story, but all the rest of the time, she was

an observer on the other side of the mirror! He was able to join

a preschool classroom, full time after one year of a split schedule

where Hunter went to a classroom of children with Autism, in the

morning and in the afternoon an integrated special needs one. He

went on to kindergarten, with his IEP including a one to one aide,

and later, in third grade the one to one aide was discontinued.

While watching CBS Sunday Morning Show, (5/4/14), I was happy to

learn more about new ways children and adults were responding with

therapies, interventions and techniques concerning Autism. The people

who are on the Spectrum, were also being discussed. I had heard, from

a person who writes about her son, on a blog, that he was using a

facilitated computer program. She had shared that he was able to

express himself, by typing his thoughts on the computer. She says

he is a ‘typical’ hungry, self-centered teenager!

The Sunday interview was with a couple, Ron and Cornelia Suskind, who

had discovered their son’s life had been influenced and ‘directed’ by

his watching Disney classic animated children’s movies.

The book to read on this is called, “Life, Animated.” It is interesting

to know their son, Owen’s story. Ron told the interviewer (and at home

audience) that his son was a perfectly normal baby, from birth until

age 3 years old. He became withdrawn and silent, all of a sudden, without

any known reason. No doctor or specialist can explain, but he was in

his own little ‘world.’

Ron and Cornelia found that he was soothed and comforted by watching

Disney animated children’s films. They were used to his silence and

did many things to enhance his life. Owen had nutritionists, therapists,

and strong emotional support. The physical and occupational therapy

lessons included giving him a sense of balance, sensory perception

and overall health. Speech therapy was not able to draw results with

his oral participation.

One day, Owen blurted out a complete thought while watching a movie.

His father, Ron, grabbed a puppet of Iago, using an ‘actor’s’ or

character’s voice, so as not to scare him and to keep him engaged

in talking. They had their first conversation ever!

Owen has helped his parents to understand that he learned how to

sound out words and read, by reading the credits at the end of the

films they showed him repeatedly. He mentions the ‘grips’ who are

the background people who help get the sound recorded.

Other lessons he learned were on how you should feel, live and act.

The characters that Owen related to the most were not the leading

‘heroes’ but their sidekicks.

Owen can imitate the sounds, accents and tones of voice of different

characters he would view in the films. His favorite one is that of

Merlin, when he is transformed into a fish, in “The Sword in the

Stone.” This film, Owen says, gives you the message to:

“Try new things in the world.”

Both Simba, (“Lion King”) as an adult and the Beast in “Beauty and

the Beast” taught Owen to:

“Be brave and overcome obstacles.”

Explaining the character, Aladdin, Owen expressed these thoughts:

“Aladdin wants to show he is more than a nobody. (Implying, as

a person with autism, who was silent for a long time, he felt

like a ‘nobody.’) Aladdin was a ‘diamond in the rough.’

Owen attends college and has a girlfriend now. He has opened

a “Disney Club” where the young adults watch Disney movies

and discuss their feelings, lessons learned and the ‘moral of

the stories.’ His parents observed Owen, recently, being the leader

of this college extracurricular activity, with tears in their eyes.

The CBS program, did record this and it is really wonderful to see

how confident Owen is in front of a classroom of his peers. The group

sometimes watch movies together, along with sing the Disney songs.

They feel welcome and part of their own group.

There is, by the way, a great documentary called, “Autism is a World,”

about a college student who liked to play with spoons and water, while

she was a child. This routine ‘reward’ was used to get her through her

studies and education. The real person, now an adult, is Sue Rubin.

This fascinating film includes footage of Sue inside a college classroom.

It was Oscar nominated, back in the early 2000’s.

Another interesting character, a real woman who created intricate ways

for cattle and livestock to travel through different patterns before they

got slaughtered is, Temple Grandin. She studied the way cows moved, from

childhood on. She is a person who would possibly be considered to have

Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a high level of intelligence but still a

person with Autism. If you see the movie, “Temple Grandin,”it is a very

moving story, leaving you with a profound respect for people who have

the courage to work with children who have this and those who have it, too.

There is a wonderful tribute to Temple’s mother. If you did not catch the

Oscars when Temple stood up to proudly show the world she was autistic, you

missed a great moment in time! Claire Danes gave an outstanding performance

as Temple and Julia Ormond did an awesome job as her mother.

Temple is also an author of several books and an engineer, besides being a

professor. Her incredible story should be encouraging to people who are

afraid their relative may not be able to succeed. Temple Grandin did,

despite her challenges as a person living with Autism.

she

was an educated scientist and professor of animal husbandry at Colorado

State University. Her mother’s perseverance and determination gave her

the keys to learning, using flash cards.

My teacher assistant, Maggie and I had prepared a wonderful place

for children and babies to come and be ‘tested’ by the therapy team

consisting of a Physical Therapist (and her PTA), an Occupational

Therapist, (and an OTA), a Speech Therapist and a Child Psychologist.

Once we did initial family and child assessments on Hunter, we had

recommended his coming with his parent or parents, to WRFCC.

The first names of the ones who I came to know and love were Phillip,

Savannah, Elijah, Leslie, among many…

It was only the beginning…

The Man Behind, “Happy”

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I like to serve breakfast for the M & M girls, while they sit

and watch “Dora the Explorer” and “Bubble Guppies.” This is always

before we head off, with bellies full, for adventures! I sat on the

other side of the room, watching my little dining room television,

sipping on my coffee and eating my hot breakfast.

I like to reflect on this t.v’s history and share with you, it

includes being in my youngest daughter’s old bedroom in the house

we sold, along with her University of Dayton dorm room! I was

watching, CBS Sunday Morning. The next guest ‘up’ for an interview

was Pharrell Williams.

The girls jumped up, luckily with no waffles and syrup dripping all

over them, to dance to Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy.” I had not

read much about his background, so I was thrilled that they were

going to share personal details about someone who I have admired

since the first Awards’ ceremony held in 2014, along with his

participation in the Beatles’ 50th Anniversary Celebration.

This interview held genuine ‘gold nuggets’ to share about his life!

If you caught the broadcast, this may remind you of how far this

man has come! Another great interview, with Oprah, shows more of

his sincere and humble side. The cameras ‘roll’ while he cries

tears of joy, watching how people all around the world, take their

video cameras (or cell phones) and film themselves dancing in the

streets to the song he wrote, “Happy.”

Pharrell was 41 when he was honored to be chosen to write the

theme song and perform for the “Despicable Me 2” movie. The first

animated children’s film has a great story line about children in

an orphanage and a ‘grumpy’ irritated man and his ‘minions.’ These

adorable children and ‘minions’ bond, long before the older man

realizes how much he cares about the three little ones. I have

covered the first movie in another post but look forward to seeing

the second one, in DVD form.

Pharrell had been singing for quite some time, from early childhood

up through his high school years. He released his first single in

2003 and his first Cd, in 2006. His childhood friend, Shay Haley and

he had formed a band, “The Neptunes.”

It had not worked out at first. Maturity and disparate personalities

held their progress back.

He also has a partner, Chad Hugo, who together they labeled their

production team currently as, “The Neptunes.” They produce hip hop,

soul and R & B musical style record albums. They also have

come up with fashion designer labels, selling clothes that reflect

their unique style.

Now, Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams and Shay Haley perform as a

group called, “N.E.R.D.” playing rock, funk and hip hop music.

In 2006, Pharrell was noticed and making friends with famous people

like Justin Timberlake. But he still felt his Cd just sat there,

‘spinning its wheels.’

He really wasn’t ‘discovered’ until he sang, “Happy!” I like the

rhythm and blues, easy-going tone that resembles a combination of

Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra. Any age will enjoy this pleasant

song, no matter what genre you usually listen to.

His fashion statement, wearing a Smokey the Bear hat in all the

Awards shows, became popular. Some people feel that “anything

Pharrell touches, turns to gold.”

His story goes back to a spotted high school career of C’s, D’s

and F’s. He was friends with someone who he tried to ‘play out’

in a band, under the name of “The Neptunes.” Shay and his musical

struggles were not horrible, but he was not an ‘overnight success,’

as he had hoped. The friend and he parted ways, before his solo Cd

came out. Now, they are inseparable. Changes had to occur, within

himself.

When he completed his Cd in 2006, Pharrell wondered what was

wrong? Why didn’t he just make it ‘big time?’ He was not in the

current frame of mind, he was a little depressed.

Pharrell Williams felt his first solo Cd was a ‘failure.”

After much thought and consideration, he chose to become a better

person. He set aside his ‘ego.’ He felt by studying greats, giving

specific credit to Stevie Wonder, it helped him to figure out why

others were successful.

Pharrell saw that Stevie Wonder’s songs carried uplifting messages

and were of a positive nature. Deep contemplation is part of his

new persona. He depicts a calm, thoughtful man in interviews.

This is apparent in his carefully chosen words to answer questions.

The song, “Happy,” floundered until he ‘took it to the streets,’

letting others jump and dance around, while he sang and did the

same. It is a real experience, authentic in its tone. Pharrell’s

video for the cover song, “Happy,” was completed in November, 2013.

He doesn’t mind being called, “The Happy Man.”

There is a little bit of philosophy and introspection by Pharrell

Williams of his ‘sudden’ fame. How he feels about the hard work it

took for him to get to where he is today. Seven years from the first

Cd’s release:

Pharrell considers himself, “so thankful.”

He feels nervous to try and analyze, “Why?”

He considers himself “lucky” and feels his “stars have aligned.”

His words impart newfound ‘wisdom’ to those who have dreams.

Pharrell seems to show a mixture of faith and deep thinking,

along with allowing the universe to flow around us.

“Don’t try to figure out how to make money.”

In other words, do what you love and enjoy. He gives

the thoughts to go after what you wish, but don’t

have expectations of how it will come about.

If you should happen to find things fall into place,

’embrace it.’

“And don’t give yourself too much credit–

because it is not all you.” (I love this one!)

Pharell W. used a metaphor in his parting thoughts:

“It’s not the kite– it’s the air.”

American Idol, my favorite singers

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I have never posted about the “American Idol” television

show before. I have followed it since the first season,

and have usually decided who ‘deserves’ to win by now. I

have some favorites, just in case you have caught this

year’s show.

I would encourage you to drop in when it is down to the

top five singers, because this year has an amazing amount

of talent and interesting characters, too!

My very favorite singer is due to his outward appearance

that is similar to an attractive, younger version of the

famous singer, Meatloaf! Caleb is an outstanding rocker

that has the personality and voice to take him all the

way! His song, last night, “rocked the house,” drawing

a standing ovation and many positive comments from the

judges.

Caleb sang, “Pressure in Time,” which you may or may not

recognize from Rival Sons’ band. The driving beat, great

vocals and no hesitation shown by its performer caused

me to vote for #13.

Majesty Rose is a unique, quirky preschool teacher that

has a sweet look, along with a solid voice. She sang the

song, “Tightrope,” well and her makeup and ‘look’ showed

a ‘total package!’

Malaya is also an individual I enjoy due to her bursts

of enthusiasm and great, positive attitude. I was so

happy that she chose a ‘current’ song, which is also

popular on the radio. Recognition should help her get

some votes! It was Bruno Mars’ song, “Runaway Baby.”

M.K. may be the prettiest woman on the show, who likes

to cover her beauty with a backwards’ ball cap. She

is a very good singer, although she is going for the

androgynous look, which may hurt her in the end. She

sang, “Satisfaction,” not to be mixed up with the

Rolling Stones’ “Ain’t Got No Satisfaction.”

Jena (who pronounces her name similarly to a friend of

mine who spells it “Gena.” Anyway, it is a long ‘e’

sound in the beginning syllable.) She has an eerie,

spine chilling, tingling sound to her voice. I could

not turn my eyes away from her when she sang her song!

She sang one of my favorites of this generation,

“The Scientist,” that Coldplay performs. She was easily

the strongest female contender.

Ben, a red haired young man sang a fantastic version of

“Folsom Prison Blues.” He has a good voice and charisma

but not enough to match some of the other contenders,

I fear. His choosing Johnny Cash, made me pay attention,

though! I have always been a Johnny Cash fan.

I like a ‘nerdy’ guy who tends to not look at the camera

nor the speakers, judges or Ryan Secrest. He has an

excellent talent and knows about eight instruments to

play. His voice is different but in a wonderful way!

Alex Preston may be the next American Idol, (although

I would like to see Caleb and Majesty in the top 5)

due to his incredible ‘takes’ and individuality on

singing songs. He chose, “Beautiful Mess,” by Jason

Mraz. The only negative comment came from the judges

that his song performance was ‘too perfect to be a mess!’

I won’t be giving you updates too frequently, unless a

lot of my fellow bloggers and friends turn out to be

huge Idol fans and we have some fun in our written

exchanges!

I hope you will let me know, if you are a fan of the show,

which ones you are favoring, too!