Category Archives: youngest child

Mark My Words

Standard

There are so many ways we leave our ‘marks’ upon others’ lives and

upon some small part of the world itself. It may be through your

writing, you have touched someone’s mind and heart. It may be by

your creating a painting, taking a photograph,  preparing a special

food dish, making something old, ‘new’ again for someone or. . .

I found the word, “mark” in the dictionary and would like to share

what meanings it has, along with a few expressions that include

various forms of the word, “mark”in them.

 

The definition for ‘mark’-

noun:

1. A visible trace or impression, (line or spot).

2. A symbol, name or other identifier.

3. A name, logo or other indicator.

 

verb:

1. To mark a visible trace or impression, (spot, line or dent).

2. To form, make or depict by making a mark.

3. To supply with natural markings, (a tiger is marked by stripes.)

 

My favorite use of ‘mark’ is the one I used in the beginning. It means

to contribute to others by making our ‘marks.’ This means leaving

our legacy and how we helped make an impression upon another’s

life. There are many books in the library which are ‘marked’ as either

psychology or philosophy. They contain the current meaning and

suggestions for leading a ‘purposeful life.’

 

I enjoyed a pastime in high school and college, along with many

years of going to my youngest brother and  later in life, my two

daughter’s races. The excitement and anticipation of the races,

builds almost like a ‘frenzy,’ when I picture their putting a foot

into a wooden block to ‘mark’ their place.

 

Then, an announcer says these dramatic words:

“On your mark. . .

Get ready,

Set,

Go!”

There are other races, such as cars, horses and drag racing, where

the word, “Go!” are accompanied by a gun shot given to ‘mark’ the

beginning of the race.

 

I have had many dogs in my life, both female and male, ‘mark’ their

territory. This was especially noticeable with my parents’ male dog,

Nicky, who would do this while we were walking in the woods, once

we ‘disembarked’ from their small RV, (actually a Transvan). Nicky

would like to sniff all the other places animals had been ‘marking’

their own parts of the woods.

 

In concert and symphonic band, our musical teacher and director

would ask us to use a pencil to ‘mark’ our parts. Where I sat, I was

in the woodwinds area, with the clarinet section.

 

Since I was always a ‘second row player’ I needed to ‘mark’ a harmony.

Rarely was I able to ‘mark’ the melody.  In marching band, we would

have to count our steps, playing different marching songs, along with

a few popular songs peppered into the mix. We would find our place

on the field or our ‘mark’ before we would perform or make a pattern.

 

If the truth be told, I rarely played the first two games of the season.

I would march trying to be accurate in the precise places I needed

to be. Finally, in the third football game I would be confident in the

way I marched and could play my clarinet.  Two guys, Armin K. and

Mike C., were the only players who ever commented or noticed. Of

course, I had my clarinet in my mouth and looked like I was playing!

 

A side note, I love details about grandparents, so hope you will

appreciate my Grandpa Mattson who would call my clarinet, a

“licorice stick.” This is a popular slang term which some in other

countries may never have heard! I want to tell you I still have my

wooden Selby clarinet and can ‘wet my reed’ and perform simple

songs and scales.

 

If you have a story about music and remember ‘marking’ your place

or listening to the metronome during piano lessons, please share.

 

The younger Mark Ruffalo, with Jennifer Garner was one of my

youngest daughter’s favorite Mark’s in the film, “13 Going on 30.”

My oldest daughter followed, “New Kids on the Block,” band for

a short ‘minute’ and liked Donnie’s brother, Marky Mark (also his

claim to fame was wearing Calvin Klein jeans. We listened to his

band, “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s” version of the Beach

Boys’ song, “Good Vibrations.”

 

There are countless other “Mark’s” such as Mark Harmon who

was a ball player, actor in movies and continues to be in “NCIS.”

 

There was “Mark Anthony,” who Shakespeare focused on, as

well as his being a part of history.

 

Our great American author, Mark Twain left his ‘mark’ upon our

country’s literature. He shared remarkable stories of life upon the

Mississippi and going out West. His wry perspectives of the times

he lived in, along with honest character portrayals made a ‘mark’

upon my thoughts and writing, too.

 

I am sure you can think of other famous Mark’s to add. . .

 

There are many who enjoy the dramatic colors and designs of a

young teenager’s graffiti.  They leave their own distinctive ‘mark’

under bridges, overpasses and other cement or brick walls. I don’t

mind graffiti, as long as it is not upon a historical monument, in

a cemetery where respect should be displayed or designations of

being a member of a  ‘Gang.’

 

I enjoy when my grandchildren take colored chalk and leave their

less than permanent ‘marks’ on sidewalks and the driveway. They

may ‘mark’ their place while playing hopscotch, by putting a rock

down on a square.

 

I did not see this in the definition but do think that ‘marking time’

can be a little like ‘sitting a spell.’ It could include putting slash

‘marks’ on a piece of paper, wall or even ‘marked’ by etching into

a stone wall. The ‘marks’ in prison or concentration camps can

make me weep.

 

When I buy a paperback book at a garage sale or the library

book sale, I don’t ‘value’ some of them as I should. If it is one

of those ‘beach’ or summer reading books, I may ‘mark’ my

page I left off reading by bending back a corner of the page.

Are you guilty of this ‘bad habit?’

 

In our ‘defense,’ sometimes it is easier than getting up to

find a piece of paper or a classy bookmark.

 

Book ‘marks’ can be such lovely decorative gifts. I have my

favorites in my ‘good’ books, which hold or ‘mark’ a special

passage I will read and re-read again. I have a silky one,

a cross-stitched bookmark, a metal one with a pearl-like

decoration and I have one which is in the shape of a paper

clip with a butterfly on the tip.

 

I have marked many passages in my Bible, since I received

it upon my high school graduation. The book has ‘marks’ and

underlined places. Tucked into the pages, there are several

pieces of paper with scribbles made by my children during

church.

 

One is quite funny, a ‘bunny ballerina’ by my oldest daughter

when she was 4 years old. The other is quite serious, drawn

carefully by my youngest daughter at around 8 years old of

Jesus on the Cross.

 

Although it is a name and therefore capitalized, I do like another

part of the Bible, which is in the New Testament which goes like

this: “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

 

I have to close this multiple usages of the word, “mark”

with something I really enjoy.

 

Are

you

ready

for

the

BEST

use

of

‘mark?’

 

I absolutely love going to a store where it has many large signs

after the ending of each season.

These all say, “Mark Down Prices.”

I like the neon yellow, neon orange and even neon green signs

found in different departments.

 

Now, even better than the ‘Markdowns’. . .

are the ‘Slashing Prices!’

 

 

Soul Food

Standard

There are so many versions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which

really is a great collection of books. I felt happy when my youngest

daughter  started  reading,    “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”

She would have a big smile on her face, arriving at the dinner table,

taking each individual story and reading it as a daily devotional.

 

She would excitedly share about the impact in the story collections

of one life upon another. This, along with her two years of studying

as a confirmand, which is one getting ready in our Presbyterian

Church to be confirmed. . . all of the pieces were falling into place,

with her faith.

 

Here was a young girl, who at age 11, feeling pain in her joints;

already. My daughter was diagnosed at age 12 after being tested

and a surgeon wanting to cut into her knees. We chose to research

more and found out she had JRA. This is the acronym for Juvenile

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Felicia was diagnosed using blood samples,

at Children’s Hospital. She was ‘taken under the wing’ of a lovely

and giving physician named, Dr. Gloria Higgins.

 

If anything, Felicia could have quit playing soccer, would never

have pursued in high school, cross country and could have not

been so eager to learn in school. Her energy and her determination

earned her 10th place in the OCC for our high school in long

distance running. She enjoyed being a cadet journalist and “Girl

on the Street.” There were times I would accompany her to the

mall where she would take her microphone and ask questions

like,  “What are you buying for your significant other, Sir?” or

“What is the most popular toy in the store?” to a salesclerk or

busy manager. She would happily exclaim over the loud speaker,

the morning announcements ,

 

“Good morning, Hayes High School, this is Fox Oldrieve giving you

the news today.”

 

Let’s go back to elementary school, before she knew pain or had a

‘care in the world.’ She wrote an essay that won her third grade

class’ assignment on the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. She did

this once more and wrote an essay that won her fourth grade class’

assignment. The amazing thing to me was she also won the whole

school’s award two years in a row. She was asked to speak in front

of Ohio Wesleyan University’s annual MLK, Jr. breakfast. My secret

wish was for her to pursue this and become a newscaster. . . She did

study dual majors at University of Dayton in Communications and

Marketing. No, she is not in journalism.

 

Her goal is to help others in their pain management, encouraging

them to be careful of what they eat. Healthy choices for her and

she has documented what causes negative joint reactions in her

hands (knuckles), knees and her jaw bone. The way she helps

herself to feel less pain is gluten-free, no milk products, no

sandwich meats or other salty and less natural foods. We shall

see if she finds her dream of this come to fruition. This is not

what my focus is today.

 

Anyway, the books got her through difficult times, challenging

circumstances. When some people, coworkers and friends, start

to complain about aging and their aches and pains, I try not to

say this thought out loud:

 

“My daughter was told by not only Children’s Hospital but also,

due to her being a participant in an OSU study on rheumatoid

arthritis, she had the joints of a 65 year old at age 12.”

 

Here are two motivating quotations, written by John Caulfield,

taken from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II:”

 

~ One ~

“Her essay about the wedding ring was short. Kerr wrote,

‘Things are just things- they have no power to hurt or to heal.

Only people can do that. And we can all choose whether to be

hurt or healed by the people who love us.

That was all.

And that was everything.”

 

~ Two ~

“And so I wait.

I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to my feet once

again. So that I can start a new path, my own path, the one

that will make me whole again.”

 

Besides chicken soup what can we do to help strengthen our immune

systems?

There is always such diversity in lists given by different resources.

There are so many various food sources, also being cleverly labeled

as, “super foods.” A tag that this past ten years has labeled those

foods that give us healthy bodies and provide us rich sources of

“anti-oxidants.”

 

Using some of these ingredients will help you stay healthy on

the outside, your body will hopefully battle the daily coughs

and sneezes we are all assaulted with, in elevators, in cubicles

and in the library sitting next to someone you wish you could

say, “Next time, when you feel miserable and sniffly, would

you please stay home?”

1. Ginger-

a. Soothes upset tummies.

b. Relieves muscle pains.

c. Helps your vocal chords (voice to speak)and prevents coughs.

 

1. Chili powder of chilis-

a. Warm your mouth and ‘innards.’

b. Clear congestion.

 

3. Garlic-

a. Antioxidants boost your immune system.

b. Helps heart and lowers cholesterol.

 

4. Mint

a. Helps with colds and fevers.

b. Mixed with smashed peas, minted peas are getting popular.

c. Sipping on mint green tea, adding another antioxidant, lemon is

a great way of combining forces.

 

Tasty Alternatives in Soups:

~ Homestyle chili with Mexican spice, cumin, garlic, other seasonings

and flavorings both vegetarian or meat/beef style are very good for

us. Also, nice to have a big crock pot of this, so you can pack a few

meals up and be ready for work. (White bean chili is a new favorite.)

~ Garlic soup using sweet potatoes and cauliflower, with curry and

ginger spices.

~Also, some recipes for soups are adding cinnamon, paprika and

bay leaves.

~Roasted pepper and cheddar cheese soup includes cilantro, basil,

garlic and cumin.

 

One last ‘brag’ about my youngest daughter who handles her pain

and sometimes ‘suffering’ in silence and shows grace. I entered her

in her junior year of high school in a contest by the Columbus Dispatch,

“Who Is Your Hero?” She ‘won’ along with two others, in a three way

tie, the newspaper took a picture of the two of us, we won two tickets

to see Dustin Hoffman in “Hero,” first run movie and it was nice to

receive copies of the first page of the Arts and Entertainment

section from so many people in Ohio.

I mentioned something like this:

“At the end of the day, there are teenagers who would use any excuse

to get out of sports or work, but my daughter has a part-time job, is

involved with extracurricular activities and doesn’t complain. There

are many people around her daily who have ‘no clue’ of what she goes

through. It is nice when we are relaxing to sit downstairs while we

have a fire in the fireplace. But as she gets up, she winces. That pained

face moves me. When her stepdad offers to help her up the stairs, she

takes him up on the kind offer. You know that is when it really hurts

to know what she hides most of the time.”

 

What challenges do you overcome daily?

(Spiritual, emotional, seasonal, physical, mental or other?)

 

 

 

Celebrating with Buckeyes

Standard

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bidding Adieux to the Old Year

Standard

As we bid ‘adieux’ to the Old Year, 2014, we may reflect on this past

year and see some great things happened in the world, along with

our personal lives. This post won’t dwell on the many negative news

items that took place across the world. My recent conversation I had

with my good friend, Patrice, where we discussed the economy was

full of hope. She is a moderate Republican but found Pres. Obama

has “helped the economy,” citing some personal ways it improved.

Especially for the businesses of her family, who saw an upswing in

purchasing pizzas at her brother in law’s pizza chain, along with her

sister’s Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan having much continued

success. Pat shared good news with her family’s investments in stocks

and bonds, showing profitable and significant increases. The U.S. stock

exchange and business world has not been this secure since Clinton’s

administration. (This can be confirmed in the business pages of the

New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch.)

 

I don’t really wish to quote statistics, just the positive slow, gradual

upswing in the economy as something good to report.

 

While talking with members of our warehouse, several mentioned

the Obamacare (health care and insurance) situation seems to have

‘finally straightened out.’

 

While talking with my artistic brother, Randy, we were on the ‘same

page’ thinking that the renewal of ties with Cuba is a positive way to

bring trade. Also, influencing the political climate of country south of

us, which we have had past problems with. Hoping this will lead to a

better future connection. While this may be ‘common knowledge’ I

found the fact the leader of Cuba is one who has chosen to lead a ‘gay

lifestyle’ hopeful,  since this may mean that there will be less civil unrest

and hateful reactions to people of different life choices.

 

It also seems to reflect a ‘gentler’ means of controlling his country, less

than we had from Fidel Castro. Back in 1963, Fidel Castro had made

quite a mean statement about Cuba’s gay community and their ‘tight

pants’ and wishing to display ‘girlie’ acts in public. Since 2012, there

have been annual Cuban “Kiss-In’s” which is the gay community’s way

of standing up to the controlling leadership in a non-violent way. Even

getting a positive ‘nod’ from the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro,

for the United States reaching out to Cuba with an olive branch.

This was all compiled by myself: having attempted to confirm various

sources of information.

 

I will hope Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro, will help lead his

country from communism into socialism. They may label themselves

‘socialistic,’ but the cruel army regime exists there still. I can ‘dream’

of Cuba’s someday becoming a Democratic country, where people’s

votes will be counted.

 

It is totally fine with me, if this positive outlook is challenged with

big doses of reality. I am “open for debate” in my comments section!

 

Thomas Kinkade, 2001:

“I believe that adding light to the canvas of our daily existence is a

simpler process than we often make it out to be. I believe it really is

possible to think and act in ways that shine more radiant joy in our

lives and the lives of those around us.”

 

From my old Children’s Anthology, which featured ‘brownies’ who are

like little sprites in the night:

“In January, when the snow

Lies on the hills and valleys low

And from the north the chilly breeze

Comes whistling through the naked trees

Upon toboggans long they ride,

Until the broadening light of day

Compels them all to quiet their play.”

(Written and Illustrated by Palmer Cox.)

 

My post-Christmas special memories of this year, 2014:

*~ I loved having my Mom be happy and healthy in body

and spirit. She was entranced by the Elf doll which was

a bright and cute girl, with red ‘velvet’ skirt with white

trim, with green and white striped hose and red pointy

shoes, with bells on each toe. She exclaimed each time

she spied it up on the edge of a rocking chair back.

*~ I found the most giving souls were the two six year old

Kindergarteners, among my grandies.

Little Marley could not open her gift before I opened her

purchase of a white painted sleigh bell with its top hat and

cheery face, making it a cute little snowman ornament.

Marley slipped a bracelet into my coat pocket, which she

had made from a craft kit given to her by Santa. I did not

‘discover’ this string of red, black, pink and yellow stars until

I got home, putting my mittens back into my pockets.

 

Micah had used his Secret Santa school “pocket savings”

from his home piggy bank to purchase a wide variety of

little dollar gifts. Mine was a head band which had a pair

of reindeers on the ‘antennae.’ This was the first time I had

seen this head adornment; usually the two ‘antennae’ are

antlers! I wore it proudly around to both families’ Christmas

events. I also had two children request a photo taken with

them on. Quite a thoughtful and fun gift, Micah!

 

The ‘true spirit’ of giving was in both these little ones’ hearts.

 

Do you have any thoughts about the political climate or post-

holiday memories you wish to share?

 

Laughter with Others

Standard

When my Mom gets her large package of humorous emails, she

likes me to read them aloud to her. Some of these she has already

sorted through, deciding which ‘belongs on Robin’s blog,’ while

others she has ‘censored’ or marked ‘just plain stupid.’ I read her

all the Thanksgiving funnies, throwing them into my folder to

save for 2015, while I found a few that were for men to make fun

of women and some of women to make fun of men. It made sense

for me to publish them as a whole, saying this thought:

“Can’t we (girls and boys) all just get along?”

 

This is for the Ladies’ First:

1.

“A man came home from work and found his three children outside,

still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and

20 wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

The door of his wife’s car was open and so was the front door to the

house. There was no sign of the dog.

When he entered their home, he found an even bigger mess.  A lamp

had been knocked over and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

In the family room, the t.v. was loudly blaring on the cartoon channel.

The toys and various items of clothing were strewn everywhere.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the

counter and the refrigerator door was open wide. The dog food had been

spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table and a small pile

of sand was spread by the back door.

The man of the house walked quickly through the rooms, scanning for

any signs of his wife. He climbed up the stairs to the second floor,

getting nervous, almost frantic. He stepped over toys and more piles

of clothes. . .

He was worried that she might be ill or that something serious may

have happened.

When he got outside the closed bathroom door, there was a small

amount of water. At last! Some sign or explanation!

When he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more

toys thrown over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and there

was tooth paste smeared over the floor length mirror and on the walls.

When he rushed out of the bathroom into the next bedroom, he found

his wife curled up in bed in her pajamas, reading a paperback book.

 

He looked at her bewildered and had to rein in his voice from his

impulse to yell at her,

“What happened here today?”

She looked at him and smiled,

“How was your day?”

He ignored the question and repeated his own question.

She gave him a big smile then and answered,

“You know every day when you come home from work and you ask

me ‘What in the world do you do all day?”

“Yes,” her husband answered in an incredulous voice.

She answered,

“Well, today I didn’t do it.”

 

This is for “idiot” bosses, either female or male:

2.

“People gathered for a goodbye luncheon for an old and dear

coworker who was leaving the company due to ‘downsizing.’

As we were leaving the restaurant, the manager commented

cheerfully,

“This was fun. We should do this more often.”

The comment was met with stunned silence. Not another

word was spoken.

The coworkers all just looked at each other, with that ‘deer in

the headlights’ stare.

We got into our cars not knowing how to take the comment.”

 

This is for the Men, who so to speak, get the ‘last word in.’

3.

“During a recent woman’s medical examination, a British doctor

says,

“Your heart, lungs, pulse and blood pressure are all fine.

Now, let me see the part that gets you ladies into all kinds of

trouble.”

The woman started to take down her knickers, but was stopped

by the doctor interrupting this procedure by saying,

“No, no! Just stick out your tongue!”

 

This is for all of us coffee drinkers, who could not maintain our

sanity or attention to details without it. Thanks, Maxine!

4.

“I don’t know what I’d do without my morning coffee. . .

probably Twenty-five to Life in the state penitentiary.”

 

This is for all of those who enjoy little tyke’s who say the ‘darndest

things:’

5.

“A minister was presenting the Children’s Sermon and asked the

children if they knew what the word, “resurrection” was.

Asking questions in front of the whole congregation, with only

the kids up in front,  may lead to some ‘dangerous’  or ‘sketchy’

answers, but this one really does take the cake!

Finally, after the children were restless and looking around and not

answering the minister, one boy raised his hand. He pronounced his

answer loudly and clearly:

“I don’t know what ‘resurrection’ is but I do know that if it lasts more

than four hours you are supposed to call a doctor.”

 

Laughter and tears ensued, rolling in the aisle commenced. . .

 

It took over ten minutes for the congregation to settle down enough

for the Adult Sermon to be preached.”

 

In this post I have written today, although I feel the jokes are quite

amusing,

I wish to let you know they each have a stereotype in them.

You know I believe in fairness, equality and making everyone feeling

comfortable here

on this blog. . .

I usually worry about these things, edit and make them fit everyone

and never show a lack of respect for most people. I even have had to

apologize.

Sorry, this time. . .

I am going to “Let it go.”

 

A little church humor

Standard

When you usually think about church you may not include funny

memories.  I can remember being a single mother in Lancaster,

Ohio at the Presbyterian Church with two little ones in tow. I would

use a little ‘bribery:’ “We will go out to eat at (choose one of the

following choices) Bob Evans, Frisch’s or Jolly Pirate if you only

behave today.”  I would also include some behavior allowances for

crayons and scribbling on church bulletins and donation envelopes.

 

I have fond memories of my being at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church

in Bay Village, as a teenager. I remember our minister, Reverend Lynch,

would include the comic strip, Peanuts’ philosophy. There is a book,

“The Gospel According to Peanuts.”  I also liked his use of humor when

he would refer to other comic strip characters like the Wizard of Id,

Dagwood and Blondie.

 

Hope these chuckles bring some smiles and I hope that you will also

throw in any humorous memories of church in the comments part

of this post.

 

“This Sunday in a Midwest city, a young child was ‘acting up’ during

the morning worship service. The parents did their best to maintain

some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle.

Finally, the father picked the little cherub up and marched sternly

down the aisle on his way out.

Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called out

loudly to the congregation,

“Pray for me!”

 

I would like you to visualize this cute picture of carolers, one upon

the other’s shoulders, almost like the Bremen Town Musicians.

They each have their mouths wide open and above them, upon a

balcony, is a family of music ‘listeners.’

Here is the ‘punchline:’

“The Hickory Knoll Church carolers were always ready to make

necessary adjustments.”

 

“Six year old Angie and her four year old brother were sitting

together in church. Joel giggled loudly, sang a song with lots of

enthusiasm and talked out loud,

“Who’s going to stop me?”

His big sister had had enough. Angie pointed to the back of the

church,

“See those two men standing by the door?

They will!

They are the ‘hushers!'”

 

This last one reminds me a little of my waffles post.

“A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin and David.

The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity to give a lesson on morals.

“If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have

the first pancake. I can wait.'”

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said,

“David, you be Jesus.”

 

Hope you have a relaxing, fun-filled and spiritual day.

Spots Make Me Dotty

Standard

I was looking for my favorite umbrella, which is black, with little spots all the same

size, in all kinds of colors. I loved that it had an overall bright look to it, along with

the main color of black mellowing it out. I felt dressy and fashionable with it, never

‘gaudy,’ despite its colorful polka dots of lavender, bright pink, turquoise, yellow, lime

green and orange. I retraced my steps and while doing this small town tour, popping

into the library to check its lost and found, stopping at the coffee shop on the corner,

going into the gas station, where I sometimes set my umbrella down to open one of

the refrigerator cases. Finally, going up the stairs of my apartment to ask the manager

if anyone had turned it in. I started thinking of the dozens, no more than that! Lots of

ways we use spots and dots in our everyday lives.

 

So, let me get us started. . .

When you get into a ‘jam,’ you are in a ‘spot.’  If it is a financial ‘spot’ you are in, you

may ask someone to ‘spot’ you some money. You may even ask a friend, “Can you loan

me a ‘spot’ of cash?”

 

Mom mentioned, as I was telling her about my lost spotted umbrella, over the phone,

“Stars are mere dots in the sky.”

I asked her if she remembered my old Reader book about Jane and Dick, didn’t they

have a dog named, “Spot?”

She replied, “Since Spot is one of the most common names (in the U.S.) to give a dog,

it may have been named, ‘Spot.’ I don’t remember.”

Do you?

 

It made me smile when she reminded me to tell my ‘blogging friends,’ that my brother’s

spotted Dalmatian was named, “Galaxy.”  When he wanted her to come, he would say,

“Come on, Gal.”

Wordplay is always something our family enjoys.

 

The children’s animated film, “101 Dalmatians” really had a lot of ‘spots’ in it.

Do you like spots on dogs?

 

Did you ever see ‘spots?’ Did this experience cause you to faint?

 

Many times, when thinking about food, you may imagine spots to be ‘bad,’ as when a

banana has ‘brown spots’ or an apple has ‘soft spots.’ Those darn mushy fruits make you

dislike ‘spots.’ I have a ‘soft spot’ for pineapple, which while choosing it, you do wish

the outer layer of green with brown triangles, to ‘give’ a little, showing it to be soft and

sweet inside, along with being ripe.

 

When I think of a positive way of thinking about ‘spots’ I change it to ‘dots’ and I do like

those chewy candy “Dots.” I also like the dark chocolate saucer-shaped candy with white

sprinkles on them which are called, “Nonpareils.” I used to buy a strip of white paper with

different pastel colored ‘spots’ or dots, made of sugar for pennies.

 

When I think of an ice cream with spots,

I think of chocolate chips or nuts sprinkled on it. One of my youngest daughter’s favorite

ice creams is Graeter’s Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream. My younger brother, Rich, just

tried and enjoyed “Blue Moo Cookie Dough Ice Cream” at UDF.  “Spots” placed on vanilla

ice cream in a cone become “eyes” in some children’s minds. Have you ever eaten

an ice cream cone with “eyes” on it? I used to order these for my children at Friendly’s

and also, our local Dairy Depot or Dairy Point with my ‘grandies.’

 

My favorite dress of all time, was one my Mom hand sewed. With its fabric being

called, Dotted Swiss, it was a light peach color. Those white soft, tufted spots

made me feel quite happy wearing and looking at it. The texture was one which

enticed me to smooth it down, running my hand across the surface, while sitting

in church.

 

When you have a ‘blemished record,’ you may have a spotty record.

(But you also could have a ‘checkered’ past.)

 

The positive thing about having those raised acne ‘spots’ or ‘zits’ as a teenager is,

you may have nice moist skin now, which appears young for your age.

 

Another set of ‘spots’ on your face, while we were growing up, would cause some

alarm, since it could be measles.

 

“X” marks the Spot, which is what is one of the best parts of a Treasure Map.

Have you played this with your children or grandchildren?

 

While driving in your car, you need to remember to check your blind ‘spots.’

 

Other ‘down’ sides of spots are when you have used the wrong dishwasher

detergent and your beautiful pieces crystal has ‘spots’ on them. The labels

to almost all of these products claim to produce “Spot-Free” dishes, silverware

and glasses.

 

In games, spots are often featured. There are ‘spots’ of white on black Dominoes.

The double colored spots in Candy Land, mean you get to travel past two of those

colored spots. You must beware, there is a sticky spot on the game board, too.

 

The saying, “Leopards never change their spots,” generally means that people

are also not likely to change.

 

In Art,  a technique of painting spots or dots next to each other, making it look

from a distance like they are connected is called, “Pointillism.” George Seurat made

this a famous way of painting, along with  Paul Signac. (Late nineteenth century.)

The style of making spots on canvas is a branch off the larger art category or genre

labeled,  “Impressionism.” When I was teaching Language Arts in middle school,

there was a fantastic, creative art teacher who connected art with music. She played

the Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, where it goes “Da da da daaah!” Those pounding

notes on the piano, brought the children to make dabbing splashes of spots on

their paper in art class to create their own pointillism examples. I enjoyed hanging

these up along the hallway, leading up tomy class for parents’ Open House Night.

These turned out awesome, as was the period she had paired sunflowers of Van Gogh

with the music of Electric Light Orchestra.

 

You may get into some ‘tight spots.’

Hope they are as fun as getting into a crowded VW or an old phone booth with your

boy or girlfriend.

 

Freckles look like the cutest ‘spots’ ever on the faces of red-haired children.

 

Young animals often have faint spots, like the robin on the white feathers under

the beak. The fawn, like Bambi, has white soft spots on their coats.

 

In England, at a British tea party, you might hear someone ask you,

“Would you like a ‘spot’ of tea?”

 

When you think of Lawrence Welk, do you think of polka dots?

 

When someone cooks a great country dinner with all the fixings,

you may exclaim, “This dinner really hit the ‘spot!'”

 

On a stage, there are certain “spots” that actors stand on, so the

lime lights will light them, while they deliver their lines. A director

may yell, ‘Everyone get on their spots!”

 

In marching band, you march to create patterns and it is very important

to ‘stay in formation.’ The band director may also yell, “Everyone get on

your spots.”

 

When I think of iconic “spots” I think of Lucy with a black and white

spotted skirt and Minnie Mouse, with her red and white spotted skirt.

 

When you think of a sore “spot,” you may picture your muscles or a canker

sore on your mouth. But, you also may think that someone talking about

a particular subject is rubbing a ‘sore’ or ‘touchy’ spot.

 

 

 

The Ink Spots may entertain you with one or all of these

songs:

“If I Didn’t Care”

“I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”

“I’m Making Believe” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall” (with Ella Fitzgerald)

“The Gypsy” their # 1 song.

By the way, they were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame in 1989.

 

What tight or tough “spots” have you been in during your life?

For fun, what is a spot you like to head to on vacation?

Or please give us another example of the word, “spot.”

 

Finally, did I make you slightly ‘dotty’ over the usage of the word, “spot?”

Would you mind sharing about the bright “spots” in your life?