Category Archives: uplifting

Summertime Serenade

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This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It will be my “encore” serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

Bob Dylan Revelations

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You know your audience, especially as you grow older. Who will

listen to your singing, if not the ones who grew up listening and

singing along with your songs. I was so proud of my copy of the

February and March combination of “AARP Magazine.” I am

one who studies the cover, reveling in another famous face being

on the cover. This one has Bob Dylan. He expressly called and

asked to be interviewed saying he wanted to make this his ONLY

magazine interview of his newest  album, (oldest song choices.)

 

Bob Dylan looks intensely inside the magazine with deep blue

glowing and warm eyes. He doesn’t seem as old when you see

him in the photographs. The interviewer chosen for this special

time spent together talking, asking and answering questions is

Robert Love. This special assignment was one he will remember

for the rest of his life, an “exclusive” no one else is going to get.

 

At 73 years old, he is only a little over a dozen years older than

I am. With his sunglasses on, you may not expect him to have

such clear eyes. Those piercing blue, “bedroom eyes” on page

28 of the magazine will stop you in your tracks, man or woman

as the viewer. He was born to be a balladeer and storyteller,

through his ability to sing, connect with people and last through

all these years, coming to one of his Grand Finales.

 

Haunting, lyrical, beautiful and classical.  Everyone sings some of

the old songs, ones our parents knew and sang. Tony Bennett

captured Lady Gaga, making her his Queen or Princess over the

course of their recording sessions.

 

The songs Bob Dylan has chosen are only Ten in number. I will

get this album and listen to it, believing in his ability to carry

this off.

 

First, let’s listen to Bob Dylan’s own personal list of favorite singers

and musicians. Well, he added other people he respects for their

contributions to the world:

1. Frank Sinatra

2. Irving Berlin

3. Jimmie Rodgers

4. Billy Graham (for his ability to fill great stadiums and preach it,

along with Bob Dylan saying he feels, “Amazing Grace” is one of

his favorite songs of all time.)

5. Chuck Berry

6. Shakespeare

7. Johnny Mercer

8. Mavis Staples

9. Nancy Sinatra

 

Of his own favorites he has sung, Bob Dylan claims the best he ever

sang and ‘worthy of being considered someday a classic’ is:

1997’s “Love Sick,” which won three Grammy Awards, including

“Album of the Year” for “Time Out of Mind.”

Why is it magnificent? (My word, not the interviewer’s.)

He answers this, “The center theme is given as ‘it’s not dark yet, but

it’s getting there.'”

 

This is deep, you may wish t0 think about why the world is getting

darker. He went on to tell Robert Love if there were any other

profession he would have chosen to go into it would have been

to ‘do it all over again as. . .’

“A school teacher of Roman history or theology.”

 

Did you know that Darius Rucker sang a song Bob Dylan began and

had written most of the lyrics of? This old song, “Wagon Wheel,”

was completed by “The Old Crow Medicine Show” team of writers.

 

Here is Bob Dylan’s songs from his newest album, “Shadows in the

Night.”  These ten songs he considers Classic and Timeless. He calls

them clearly defined as part of the beloved American Songbook:

1. “I’m a Fool To Want You.”

2. “The Night We Called It a Day.”

3. “Stay with Me.”

4. “Autumn Leaves.”

5. “Why Try to Change Me Now.”

6. “Some Enchanted Evening.”

7. “Full Moon and Empty Arms.”

8. “Where Are You?”

9. “What’ll I Do?”

10. “That Lucky Old Sin.”

 

These song are ones you may have heard at your grandparents, you

may have heard on your parents’ stereo or maybe in your dreams.

I have heard almost all of these, know the lyrics and can sing along

to the words, my parents used to listen to these on the radio, as

we traveled down the road to visit my grandparents or going to

my aunt and uncle’s house. There is one I have included in a post

before. (“Some Enchanted Evening” from the musical, “South

Pacific.”) They may not be recognizable by their titles, but the

first notes will “call” to your soul, your heart or bring back a

memory.

 

Bob Dylan has written over the years, “dozens” of songs that

were made famous and performed by other artists. Here’s

just a few:

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” performed by The Byrds.

“The Mighty Quinn,” by Manfred Mann.

“I Shall Be Released,” by The Band.

 

I have never been to a Bob Dylan concert. For this, I am sad.

 

If you wish to read an intelligent man’s thoughts, listen to him

describe his roots and childhood, you will want to read more.

He is very articulate, descriptive and emotional. I felt like Bob

Dylan, himself, was sharing a pot of coffee with me and talking

directly with me! How smart and creative was Dylan? Well,

imagine this. . .

Bob Dylan has written, sung and performed all of these songs

before the age of 25!

~ “Blowin’ in the Wind,” (written in 1962, released in 1963 on

“Freewheeling Bob Dylan,” album.

~ “Mr. Tambourine Man,”

~ “Like a Rolling Stone.”

 

Speaking of “Rolling Stone,” I will tell you I have read their

magazine over many years. They have captured sides and

dimensions of Bob Dylan. You may wish to read their past

interviews to find out more about him, but this older and

wiser sounding Bob Dylan, in the “AARP Magazine” which

is Feb./March edition, is wondrous in its surprises, ones I

have left for you to find, ponder on and treasure.

 

Quick perceptions which I have not totally given yet to you

from my perspective. Bob Dylan is…

a. One of my favorite Legendary Singers.

b. Humble.

c. Grateful.

d. One of his famous appearances, winning a Presidential

Honor Award,  he walked around the room, greeted others

who were so excited he was there (other honorees), shook

hands, completed the ceremony then politely and quietly

exited.

 

To read the actual interview, the words Robert Love chose to

describe and the questions he asked and talked with Bob Dylan,

check the complete article on:

http://aarp.org

 

Did anyone ever get a chance to see his own personal gypsy

caravan?  Did anyone ever see the Rolling Thunder Revue, of

1975?  This was immediately after he produced, “Blood on the

Tracks.”

Do you know the stars that traveled around the country in this

fine group of musicians?

Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn, T-Bone Burnett

and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott with Bob Dylan.

 

Would you please share your favorite Bob Dylan song?

 

 

 

Announcements

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

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

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

informed.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

the city agencies and offices were closed.

 

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

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

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

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

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

were not there with children who showed signs of amusement and

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

does this.

 

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

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

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

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

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

which drives the pirate crazy.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

comedic and creative members to keep the stories interesting, as

well as relevant.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rinse the fruit off.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

oldest daughter gave me a delicious meatball wrapped with a biscuit

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

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

their Valentine’s Day customers.

 

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

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

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

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

movie.

 

Hope you all have a great week.

Take care and God bless you

for all the kind and thoughtful comments.

 

 

 

 

Growing Older, Maxine Style

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Maxine, who is drawn and imagined by a man named John Wagner,

is one of my ‘go to’ posts and I admit to including some other jokes

and stories to help me fill in the blanks in my own creativity! Mom

and her good pen pal friend, Pooky, from California think she is a

hoot! I have other Senior Citizen articles my Mom stores up in her

apartment, sometimes one is so funny, she cannot resist sending

tucked into her own personally written correspondence. This is

NOT a Maxine list but reminds me of her ‘style!’

 

Growing Old is the Best Reason for Living!

1.  NO one is really wishing to spend hours on the road,

so you do not have to worry about being kidnapped.

 

2.  In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released 1st.

 

3.  NO one expects you to run. . .

Anywhere.

 

4.  People call at 9 p.m. and apologize, they ask. . .

“Did I wake you?”

 

5.  People no longer view you as a “hypochondriac.”

 

6.  There is nothing left to learn ‘the hard way.’

 

7. Things you buy now,

you won’t wear out!

 

8. You can eat Supper at 4 p.m. and catch those

Early Bird specials.

 

9. You get into heated arguments. . .

about pension plans.

 

10. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

 

11. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who

walks into the room.

 

12. You sing along with elevator and mall music.

 

13.  Your eyes won’t get much worse.

 

14. Your investment in health insurance is finally

beginning to pay off.

 

15. Your joints are accurate ‘meteorologists’ than the

National Weather Service.

 

16. Your secrets are safe with your friends. . .

because they can’t remember them (either!)

 

17. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to

a manageable level.

 

*18. You cannot remember the end of any of your

favorite movies or television (repeated episodes) shows.

This really helps when the ‘surprise ending’ comes along!

 

*19. Everything seems to be a glass half full, taking each

day as a special ‘new’ adventure!

 

*20.  You make good, solid friends in grocery store lines.

You even make plans to see each other next week same

time, same location! (Or you know all the library computer

lab fellow users.)

 

*Funny thing, my Mom could not find the last page of this

serial jokes list, so I made up some fun ones that hopefully

reflect my own “Glass half full, positive outlook on life!”

Robin E. Oldrieve Cochran, (1/9/15).

 

Which one of these 20 reasons to enjoy growing old, are ones

that made you laugh or reflect your feelings about aging?

 

Hope this brought a little light and smiles to your day…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bits and Pieces

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The Nutcracker book sits in my pile of Christmas and seasonal books,

along with Rudolph, The Night Before Christmas and other holiday

books. I include snowmen, gingerbread boy (and man), along with the

little dog Spot, in my menagerie of characters and stories yet to read

as the month progresses. I like for my once a year ‘treat’ for adult

choices, “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry. There are plenty of

pieces of great literature to treasure, while helping to lift your spirits,

calm your soul and fill your mind.

 

In Columbus, “The Nutcracker” ballet is performed annually. I have

the details for Cleveland’s performances since it is exciting to note

their location:

Playhouse Square is the SECOND largest unified Arts Complex in

the United States! Wow!  My youngest brother took his wife to see

the Russian Ballet company perform, dancing their beautiful and

lively parts of the grand seasonal extravaganza. (Lincoln Arts Center

is the number one arts center in the U.S.)

 

Have you heard the R & B singer on the winter and holiday Glade

commercial? He turned 25 yesterday. His name is Kevin Ross, who

has been interviewed by several journalists, along with being in the

“Essence” magazine. He was a student and graduate of Berkeley

School of Music, he had a project where he had to perform, which he

chose Stevie Wonder to sing. The performance was outstanding,

he has been listed as a “Motown record artist.”

You may wish to check out other songs by Kevin Ross, but his soulful

voice soars into the upper registers and won my heart in his “My

Wish for You,” which keeps on going if you download it… to sing

the often mentioned but never less meaningful words of,

“Let there be peace on earth.

 

 

I love to walk in nature, despite my occasional grousing, to see frozen

waterfalls. There is one quite close to my home, less than a half hour

drive at Hayden Run Falls, off Hayden Run Road in Columbus.

The Hayden Run Falls is a part of Grigg’s Reservoir and Nature

Preserve.

Another close to my ‘neck of the woods’ waterfalls display is at the

Indian Run Falls in Dublin, Ohio. There is a short (3 miles) loop

where you can walk past a waterfall, look over a small ravine and

also, see the Veteran’s Memorial for Dublin veterans. The flags

displayed there are international and I think it is worth the walk.

 

I dislike repeating myself, but walking in the brisk winter air will not

give you a cold! It is invigorating and if bundled up properly, with a

warm set of layered clothing, scarf and hat on, you will find it rather

fun. It also will be enough exercise to take off a few of those extra

pre-holiday and holiday calories, too!

Here are a few more locations where the waterfalls are fabulous and

awe-inspiring:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park~

Brandywine Falls one of Top Ten in the U.S. visited National Parks.

 

Old Man’s Cave, where there are Upper Falls and Lower Falls trails.

 

In Michigan, the falls are abundant. I enjoyed in the U.P. the tannin

(looks like flowing whiskey) colored falls. The tall, tall pine trees lend

their sap to the coloration.

I am sure you know of a few in your area that are simply breath-taking

and would be happy to hear about them!

 

Two special quotes from the man who paints miracles upon canvas:

 

“When you live in the light of unfolding miracles,

There is always a future, always a hope.”

 

“The points in Life

where what has happened

and what you have done

converge,

Move you forward

and significantly shape

the person

you are,

Those are your miracles.”

~* Thomas Kinkade *~

 

100 Pieces of Paul Simon’s Life

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Celebrating 50 years of performing, writing and contributing to our

mental psyche, Paul Simon recently spent three hours, 180 minutes,

to help elaborate for a new exhibit at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall

of Fame. There will be a small piece of this exhibit shown at the

Cuyahoga Community College (CCC), sponsored by the R and R Hall.

Paul Simon was inaugurated into the R & R Hall of Fame when he

was part of the duo of Simon and Garfunkel, then later he was doubly

awarded, as a solo artist of majestic proportions.

The curator/archivist, Karen Herman said Paul Simon was very

generous with his time, completely answering the interview questions

expanding on them and allowing the entire tape to be included in the

new exhibit.

What will you see there?

Here are several of the 100 new items that interested me and captured

my imagination:

1. A 1957 hand written letter from Art Garfunkel to Paul Simon, while

he was away at summer camp. Who out there knew they were friends

from such a young age? There is a postmarked envelope and personal

letter with messages in Art’s young handwriting to his friend. This life-

long friendship was ‘news’ to me. I knew they collaborated and sang

together as Simon and Garfunkel, but did not know they both attended

prep school and were close through all these years.

2. The first guitar that Paul ever owned. This is an acoustical guitar

made by “Stadium.”

3. The lyrics written in his own hand of his best-selling song, “The Boxer.”

The CCC has many other parts of the special exhibit about the writing of

this famous song. There was an interesting ‘tid bit’ that when Paul was

writing the song, he inserted the vocal bridge of, “Lie-la-lie” originally

and fully intending to substitute using words, adding them later. Once

he completed the passage, it ‘stuck,’ remaining in the song.  Paul left

the song as is, after practicing with Art and going ahead with recording

the bridge within the song. (I am wondering, is this how we got that

‘riff’ or ‘bridge’ in the song, Mrs. Robinson, that goes “Coo, coo, ka chu?”)

4. Photographs abound in the exhibit. Personal ones, like his sweet but

serious face as a toddler in 1943.

5. Did you know Paul had enrolled as a DRAMA student (not Music!)

at the Queen’s College in New York City, NY? I studied this photograph

of Paul’s college sophomore year, picturing him as a dramatic actor,

seeing him as one who may have made Robert DeNiro or Dustin Hoffman

envious.

6. I have more than 3 two-sided 45 records, including Sound of Silence,

Only Living Boy in New York, Cecilia, Bridge over Troubled Water, The

Boxer and Mrs. Robinson. The only one on exhibit at the R & R Hall of

Fame is, “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard.”

I ponder donating my 45’s… naw!

7. Paul’s Grammy Records, all are on display. Donated to the R & R

instead of having them collect dust on shelves or be displayed in his

home set of cases.

7. The notes, handwritten on a notepad with the lyrics and sound

development for his album, “Graceland.” In this interview, Paul gave

us insight into his own personal writing style. He always writes his

songs music first. This surprised me, when Paul shared this processing

information of songwriting. I pictured his writing his lyrics first. They

are so poetic and meaningful, one could then imagine trying to place

the piano or instrumentals into the pieces. He also shared that he does

not always put his ‘best material’ into the first line of his songs. He feels

it is important to ‘build the drama and meaning’ as the song progresses.

By the way, Paul Simon’s unique musical combination of South African

and Zulu-Western, along with including Zydeco and Tex-Mex sound

influences, made his album an international success. The voices of many

friends appear on tracks in this album, including the Everly Brothers

on the title track, “Graceland.”

Female singing artist, Linda Ronstadt, performed with Paul Simon in

the lovely song, “Under African Skies.” The controversy behind this

album brought attention to our united stand against apartheid with him.

 

 

The part of the installation of Paul Simon’s body of musical artistry

which will travel, is going from major city to city. This will come to

museums and other public viewing areas, which will include an

admission charge, going back towards the Cleveland’s upkeep of their

entire building that embodies almost all genres of music, which have

had influences on each level, including rock and roll. There are so

many international exhibits, which I would recommend taking more

than one day to view. Paul Simon’s exhibit alone is considered to

need half an hour to 45 minutes to listen and absorb the information

given. As far as the CCC exhibit, Songwriters and musicians may be

happy to study the details of one song, “The Boxer.” There are images

of New York, the tickets for performances, the notes and personal

memorabilia attached to this iconic legend of a man, Paul Simon.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit will cover 1500 square feet.

 

 

Incredible Excuses for Sick Days

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The Harris Poll performs a national online poll of 2203 hiring Managers and Human

Resource Department’s Professionals and 3103 workers. This was carried out this year

from August 11 trough September 5, 2014. You won’t believe some of the strangest

set of “poor excuses” ever!

 

Here are the TOP TEN most unbelievable, but true, excuses for calling in sick:

 

1.  I just put a casserole in the oven. I need to stay home to take it out.”

2.  I had to have some plastic surgery; it needed ‘tweaking.’

3.  I fell asleep on the toilet, my feet and legs fell asleep and this caused

me to fall and break my ankle.

4.  I was at the casino all weekend- still ahead, so won’t be in on Monday.

5.  I woke up in a good mood. I didn’t want to ruin it by coming into work.

6.  I had a “lucky night” (if you know what that means) and didn’t know

where I was when I woke up.

7.  I got stuck in the Blood Pressure machine and can’t get out in time

for work.

8.  I had a gall stone, I just want to allow it to heal holistically.

9.  I caught my uniform on fire when I tried to dry it in the microwave.

10.  I “accidentally” got on an airplane and am leaving the country.

 

When I use Number Five, I call it a Mental Health Day (to myself) but

I use the ‘too sick to come to work’ line.

 

The HR Department personnel and the Managers mention that

1 in 5 employers can tell a ‘fake’ excuse and have fired employees

for their lying to them.

28% of Call In’s compared to 32% Call In’s last year, 2013.

I was not able to understand this statistic. Sorry!

 

 

Do you mind sharing one of your most imaginative excuses?

Hope this list gave you a chuckle or got you smiling today.

They sure were wild and crazy, laughable and lame.

In the ‘good old days’ the regular excuses were:

“I am a little under the weather”

or

“I am feeling queasy.”