Category Archives: zoo

Questioning My Heartbreak

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The post today would have been on something else.

It would have been articulate and worthy of reading.

It would have been on subjects esoteric or philosophical.

I set the previous subject on the ‘back burner of my mind.’

This is such an ancient topic,

old as the people who first

walked the Earth.

 

Heartbreak.

 

Why, oh why did you have to call?

 

I was so deep in slumber and in a good place.

I have tried to block you from my mind.

When I thought I was so ‘over’ you,

I ‘unblocked’ your cell phone number.

 

Why did I do this?

Because, I would want to know. . .

If something bad happened to you.

 

Do you remember the poem

I had written where I talked

about I would rather do this

or that; than be with you?

 

Could you laugh

as I mentioned

I would rather

be in a cage

with monkeys?

 

Did you get the least bit

teary eyed when you

realized I was serious?

 

Just when my Life is on course.

You know how to turn my heart

topsy-turvy, my world upside down.

 

No, I am not involved with anyone.

But, how dare you think it is okay

to call so early in the

morning!

 

Isn’t it at all possible,

for you to imagine,

I may have

someone

special by now,

sleeping beside me?

 

Isn’t it possible,

that I may have

danced the night away

and needed to sleep

some more?

 

Couldn’t it be,

am out of the country,

with my long lost

soul mate,

on a wonderful

cruise?

 

Traveling

far off countries

mentioned

in my hopes

for us?

 

Might I have not wanted

to stay in my dream land,

content to have warmth

and positive thoughts

to greet my day?

 

Every old love lost

and heartbreak song

was written by someone

who had hopes dashed.

 

I don’t want to have you

lingering on my mind.

 

When I am in a good place,

secure and confident

I will somehow have

a partner to share

our lives together.

 

Tried it a few times,

not desperate yet.

 

Even if she were dead,

you chose to go back

to an ex-girlfriend.

 

Didn’t your family,

my family,

and

I

try to tell you how we fit together?

Better than ‘two peas in a pod?”

 

You may regret,

Never listened.

Never again,

I won’t regret.

 

So, Go!

Please- – Go!

 

Stay out of my phone,

my mind

and

my dreams.

 

I am not channeling Adele or Taylor Swift’s rants.

This is my non-poetic prose. Just trying to let it go.

Trying to keep on my happy path. Shining light on

and soon to be sharing the “Cinderella” story with

my “M & M” granddaughters, ages 4 and 6. Hope

they will not be counting on a fairy tale, but better

yet:  A real and everlasting love. Like my parents

had and my grandparents had. This is my wish.

~Robin Elizabeth Oldrieve Cochran, 3/14/15.

 

P.S. I did not answer his phone call. I deleted his

message. He is not dead; nor in the hospital.

Enough to let me be content.

 

What is your favorite heartbreak song?

I love Neil Diamond’s, “Solitary Man.”

Sending a Little Sunshine to You

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Here is a collection of things that produce happy thoughts,

along with a few quotes that hopefully will brighten your

day.

Drew Barrymore is so funny, sometimes in a quirky awkward

way but also in a beautiful and soulful way. Here is a book

she has written having taken photographs of hearts and

including them for all to see in, “Find It in Everything.”

Her words are well worth putting on your refrigerator:

“Hearts are my beacons. . .

Whenever and wherever I

see the heart shape, a smile

spreads across my face.

The heart has an unbeatable

romance when you discover

one where you least expect it.”

 

This made me think of the movie, “Titanic,” with Celine Deon’s song,

“My Heart Will Go On.”

 

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine- –

and shadows will fall behind you.”

~ Walt Whitman ~

 

Winter brings a change in moods and outlook, so here are a few more

ways to enjoy your days and find brighter moments.

1. Listen to upbeat music. Move with the music and dancing will give

you some extra energy and motivation. Also, it is FUN!

 

2. Walks with dogs or friends, a partner or spouse, with hand held,

warm scarf, mittens or gloves and a big parka, crunching through

old leaves or new snow… Just petting an animal or hugging a pal,

can be extra special to include. I have had friends who say they

need 4 hugs a day!

 

3. Add a potted plant to your office space. This has been found to

make people more productive and less stressed. The reason is

scientific: The plant reduces airborne dust, adds moisture and O2

to small spaces. It is also known to filter out harmful pollutants.

 

4. Placing vacation photos in strategic spots, can open your mind

to the times when you were happy and relaxed. “Gazing at a happy

moment from the past, can improve your present outlook.” In

other photos, choose ones of family and great memories together.

 

5. Staying hydrated with a slice of lemon or infusing your water with

berries, can certainly add a twist to your taste buds and improve

you in more than one way. Our daily ‘slump’ in the afternoon, is not

just due to wanting a nap or aging! We need to remember to add H2O

to our daily habits.

 

6. Fruit flavor sorbets and other refreshing choices can help be your

saving graces, helping ‘save the day.’ Chocolate and coffee have those

anti-cancer elements along with giving you some extra ‘pep in your

step.’

 

7. Just as a potted plant in your office or bathroom can improve a

location in your house or workplace, a bouquet of those grocery

store flowers can make your dining room a pleasant place to be.

I am sure there are many gardeners that can attest to their bringing

a bouquet of their garden’s flowers has brightened many people’s

days. A shut-in or elderly person will respond with such a big smile,

it will be a day-brightener to you, as well.

 

8. Sunrooms, atriums, public places that have sunny places are so

wonderful to help you feel better. I enjoy the Columbus, Ohio

Franklin Conservatory, at least two times in the winter. My Mom’s

senior living apartments has a greenhouse with three cozy chairs

in there. You can often see a couple of people sitting in this room

that is attached to the art room. Also, it is a nice place to snip and

weed, feeling useful. There are sometimes people sitting in the

art room, putting together a puzzle, with the greenhouse room’s

double doors open so they may benefit from the sunshine and

plant’s energy given.

There are also other places at no cost to visit. Let me know if you have

a few that I may include…

 

9. Herbs and spices can enliven your life, bringing some vigor into

your appetite and their scents can exhilarate you, too. I love the

scent of tangy patchouli or Italian herbs like basil and oregano.

The scent of peppermint is a great one that can invigorate too.

It is also great to calm and create better muscle relaxing in your

stomach, not only soothing it, but enhancing its function.

 

10. Colorful fabric will change your room and change your own

perspective while wearing brighter hues. It is a simple way of

sprucing up,’ along with being a fairly reasonable way of changing

your décor or wardrobe. Add a dash of color, while the skies are

gloomy and gray, your mood lightens without too much fuss or

bother. I enjoy looking at decorating magazines, paint and fabric

swatches, merely ‘dreaming’ about a change, makes me happy.

 

Here are a few musical ‘suggestions.’

1. I just discovered a man named Andrew McMahon, who sings in a real earthy voice,

gravelly and reminiscent of some of my old rocker favorites, along with Neil Diamond.

His song that mesmerized me was, “Canyon Moon,” which begins with lyrics about

a dissatisfied woman, “Somewhere on a cold October.” His debut solo album, having

been in bands but not on his own… is titled, “Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.”

**Wow!**

2. If you are wishing a little sunshine, here is one of my favorites, “Little Darlin’s!”

The Beatles’  in “Here Comes the Sun.”

Always a big wow, when I hear the tinkling beginning guitar strands and only one

man, from Kentucky, ever called me, “little darlin’.” (Alas!)

 

 

What little sunny things make your mood cheerier?

 

 

 

 

 

Spots Make Me Dotty

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trio of 2014 Children’s Books

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When parents get book order forms from school, sometimes it can be overwhelming

and also, stressful when they have a limited budget. I remember my three kids bringing

home their school picture order forms, their sports group picture forms and then, on

top of all this, Scholastic book order forms. Of course, all school book fees, new clothes

and shoes, sporting equipment also came during the same time of year.

Occasionally, my Mom and Dad may have dropped a check off in the mail, which would

cover some of the items mentioned. I had child support for two of three children, along

with a carefully budgeted babysitting fees from my clients’ list. All of the five children

I watched stayed with me for the seven years I watched them, who were from parents

whose careers were either as professionals or a combination of positions. I could count

on them paying me regularly on Fridays. I had typed up a babysitting contract which

included paying me for sick days or times their children stayed home. Also, for vacations

they chose to take. If I ever needed to call them to ask them to use one of my  ‘back up’

babysitters then I would not get paid, same if I chose to take a rare vacation. I think I

‘called in sick’ on only three occasions in the  7 years, 9 summers  watched their kids.

When we were closely tied like we were, they would tell me when their vacations were

planned. We also would try to have seasonal family gatherings where we would get

our schedules in ‘synch,’ planning sports, extra curricular activities like gymnastics

and jazz dance classes, karate for the kids who chose this outlet. All 8 children, mine

included, took swimming lessons the same 6 weeks, usually in August, hoping the

water would be nice and warm in the morning.

I am rambling a bit, to tell you that my own children fit a lot into their budget.  I did

not expect to receive 5 x 7″ school pictures nor have the joy of seeing the choices of their

Book Fair. My oldest daughter pointed out that the Book Fair is during Parent-Teacher

conference time so you have extra time on your hands. Also, a little bit of pressure to go

wandering around with the kids to check out the books. I reminded her that the boys

have library cards like the three of ‘them’ (my own children) had from early years on.

I also would tell their teachers this, including what I thought was a valuable lesson,

which was to choose books and return them regularly allowed my kids to have many

more books, choosing far more than what we would need to have in our home. She

listened and told me they each were told they could choose one nice book to keep.

The boys, Skyler and Micah, already have a nice collection of hardback books in

their bedroom.

My daughter in law has the children’s book shelves in the play room, which means

they can sometimes need to be reorganized and cleaned up. She allowed the four

children to choose a book, with the two oldest, Lara and Landen, picking chapter

books.

The two little girls, M & M, each chose a book. I felt the ones I was most interested

in viewing would also be the ones you would be curious to hear about. I will include

Micah’s to round this out with a boy’s choice. This ‘trio’ of enjoyable selections is

a collection of picture books that were so endearing and entrancing. Along with one

that is quite dramatic!

 

1. “Flora and the Penguin” is a 2014 book with 40 pages, written and illustrated  by

Molly Idle. Last year, she won the Caldecott Honor for a wordless picture book called,

“Flora and the Flamingo.” The flamingo and little girl dancing in the different scenes

was quite beautiful and artistic.  Makyah chose the newer book since she loves the

movies, “Happy Feet,” and “Happy Feet Two.” It is one which will appeal to both boys

and girls, ages 3-5 years old. The author, Molly Idle,  mentioned the quote, “Actions

speak louder than words.” Since Makyah is the ‘baby’ in her household at age 3, I felt

this was a wise choice. She can tell adults or her siblings, what the pictures mean to her,

using descriptions and  her vivid imagination, to tell her own story about Flora. At her

preschool, Kyah is learning how to find her own voice, letting others know what she

thinks.

 

 

2. “The Iridescence of Birds,” a Newberry Medal winner, written by Patricia Mac Lachlan,

was chosen by 5 1/2 year old kindergartner, Marley. This is a 40 paged hardback book

which has a wonderfully illustrated story about Henri Matisse. The book has the small town

in Northern France, where the little boy and young artist grew up. It is winter and Henri

feels it is cold and dreary. The pictures show shades of grays in the gloomy scenery.  In the

true story of his life, Henri’s mother paints plates. Henri’s mother has him help her to set

out plates which radiate colors. His life brightens up when he puts fruits and flowers out to

inspire her painting. Rainbows shown in the book are like a prism (to his life) has been

added to every scene. Glorious!  This story of Henri Matisse’s young childhood is like an

‘ode’ or warm ‘homage’ to his mother. It is like we should give credit to her for inspiring

Matisse to create his impressionistic masterpieces of color. Of course, I love the birds.

Hadley Hooper is the artist who has brilliantly illustrated this book to match the tone

of the story told in simple prose.

 

3. “Draw!” by Raul Colon was chosen by Micah, my 5 year old kindergartner. I am sure

his eyes were attracted by the bold and vibrant illustrations done by Raul Colon. This

book is 40 pages long, which begins with a boy in his room with a sketchbook. He had

read a large book about Africa. He becomes immersed in the world of being on a safari.

He uses paints and an easel to create drawings from his imaginations. They are of very

lifelike animals- elephants, zebras, lions and a very angry rhino. The scenes seem to come

alive and seem inter-active. He ends the book by showing his drawings to his classmates

in school. This book is appropriate for young adventurous children of  ages 4-8. I also

was excited to find out that “Draw!” is not about guns being “drawn” since over the

phone, I had heard its title, mistakenly picturing it to be a Western.

 

What are some of your favorite children’s books that are more recently published?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagination Gone Wild

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Monkeys and the moon are such amusing subjects for children’s books. I have

always loved, “Curious George” and his adventures. I also treasure the worn-out

copy we have of “Goodnight Moon.” There is an old classic, “Moon Man,” that has

been made into a sweet and warm video (2012.) It was beautifully animated by

German filmmakers.

 

This is based on Tomi Ungerer’s 1966 book, “Moon Man.” The author narrates the

film. If you have not read Tomi Ungerer’s books before, I would recommend, “The

Three Robbers” or “Allumette: A Fable,” to incorporate imagination and action

from a fine illustrator and author. Tomi Ungerer is famous for his ability to write

in three languages and is often quoted. There are a series of his posters with the

famous quotes available to view online.

 

Recently I have found a unique and short article that was about “Goodnight, Moon.”

I had never read Margaret Wise Brown’s biographical details and was very much

dismayed to find out that she died at the young age of 42 years old, having suffered

from a ruptured appendix. Her “Runaway Bunny,” is another all-time favorite among

my three children. I have not read it as much to my grandchildren, since it is indeed

the ‘perfect’ book to read to one’s own children. If the bunny is going to run away,

the mother rabbit will become all the things that are needed to stay by the bunny’s

side. (A sail on a boat, a flower in a garden, etc.) She passed away in 1952, having

left us with such beautiful illustrations and stories.

 

They have recently published a new collection of previously never-seen-before

lullabies written by Margaret Wise Brown called, “Goodnight Songs.” I cannot

wait to see this book, hoping to savor the eloquent words that she chooses to

use, along with hoping for more of her beautiful artwork shown in this book.

 

Did you know recently, there are numerous ‘copy cat’ books of Margaret Wise

Brown’s “Goodnight Moon?” There have been several versions of her classic tale

springing forth recently. The article I found gives this a spin by describing them as,

‘a host of imitators.’ This seems like a more polite version of what I would call

these plagiarists, stealing someone who is no longer here to ‘sue them’ over her

original theme!

 

Here are some of the amusing titles of those who have done “take-off’s” of the

“Goodnight Moon” book:

“Goodnight iPad,” where the newest technology is part of the book’s theme,

including a lot of cords in the child’s bedroom.

“Goodnight Nanny-Cam,” which is poking fun at modern parents who have

installed this to keep watch over the Nanny. One of the lines includes this,

“A bilingual nanny who was whispering hush.”)

Beyond what you would wish to have children listen to, the parody of the

book takes an adult direction in, “Goodnight Keith Moon.” Yes, there is a

line from this book going for laughs of a more seriously cynical kind:

“Goodnight rock stars, goodnight pills.” (Or is this sarcasm?)

What will they think up next?

 

Wonder if they make much money on these parodies? I am a ‘fan’ of “SNL”

parodies, but not sure how I would feel with the children’s books parodies

on my bookshelf?

What do you think?

 

There are a few adorable little clues to the 2012 children’s animated film, “Moon

Man,” I wished to share. This movie is only 95 minutes and has the man in the moon

coming to earth as a pale (moon colored gray/light blue skinned) man. He is bored up

on the moon, so he catches a ride on a comet’s tail. The imagination goes wild, with

the lovely flowers and the unique way the artwork incorporates colors. (The owl is

purple, moose is blue, and there are so many flowers the moon ‘man’ who looks

like a boy to me, needs to sniff. The commentary is subtle about humanity and will

reach your conscience about the environment and how we treat ‘aliens,’ too.)

The sad part of the book is how our President sees him as a ‘threat to our world.’ It was

released in February, 2014. It was interesting to hear Tomi Ungerer’s voice. He was

born in Strasbourg (1931) and moved to the United States in 1956, at age 25. He has

moved to Ireland, where he lives today.

Double Dip Treat

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Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Global Advocacy

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Today is World Humanitarian Day, declared by the United Nations in 2008, to give

tribute to ones who died in the 2003 bombing of the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad.

On that day, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq was killed,

Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others who were not in any military personnel duty,

but were public servants. These ‘voiceless victims” gave up their lives. This honors

all those who are negotiators, compromisers, and humanitarians who chose such lofty

goals as World Peace as part of their life’s purpose.

 

World Humanitarian Day, August 19th,  is a wonderful result of collaboration

between countries. The country where Sergio Vieira de Mello originated, Brazil,

along with Switzerland, France and Japan helped to steer, then ‘table’ the draft

of the resolution. International foundations worked tirelessly to promote this

and it came about six years ago.

 

Donations, to UNICEF, an organization that has Sudan at the top of their ‘needy’

countries’  list are welcome. They ask this to be done in honor of this celebration

for the victims of crimes against humanitarians and their families.

 

A meaningful expression that I found while looking this up was:

“Light up your map” by supporting and sending money to UNICEF, with “our global

advocates” in mind.

 

Humanitarian. What an inspiring and amazing kind of person.

 

I hope this post will encompass this theme, along with including my own

observations and something recently discussed among my grandchildren.

After we watched Fievel, in his original role in the animated children’s film

from 1986, my grandsons were talkative. Lots of subjects came out of this

movie, my introduction to the fact that they had immigrants in their family

tree, from my side of the family, (their mother’s side) from Germany, Sweden,

Scotland and England. Then, one of the two boys, has African as one fourth

of his blood, while the other boy has many overlapping countries from his

Daddy’s and Mommy’s sides, of the German, Swede, Scot and English tribes.

While we were happily going all over the subject, they mentioned that their

Mimi and Poppy had the song, “Somewhere Out There,” as part of their wedding

music. This is the theme song from the movie, “An American Tail.”

In my oldest grandson’s memory, he came up with “Coming to America,” as a

song he had learned from his music teacher at school. I was amazed, that he put

these two songs together. Since this song is also about immigration. I mentioned

that it is one of my all-time favorite songs, sung by Neil Diamond.

They, of course, said, “Who?”

I didn’t even try to get them to recall who he was, since that would mean a whole

other discussion.

Just for your information, this song came out before, “An American Tail,” the

children’s film about immigration. “Coming to America,” was on the soundtrack

for the movie and album, “The Jazz Singer” (1980). The album’s hit single, made it

to the top of the charts, in 1981, making Diamond’s sixth ‘hit single’ at the time.

The theme of the song is to embrace the history of immigration, starting from

the 1900’s up until today. Interestingly, one of the lyrics’ passages includes his

repeating, “They’re coming to America… Today! They’re coming to America…”

When Neil Diamond performs this song live, he substitutes this audience

participation phrase, “Stand up for America… Today! Stand up for America…”

 

When we talked about their own heritage, my oldest grandson asked why is it

that he had overheard this question while recently at the zoo,

“Why don’t people talk English? If they can’t talk English, they should go back

to where they came from!”

I was looking at him, hoping and praying he would not reveal that it was

anyone he knew that said these rather ‘hateful’ words.

The next thing Sky said surprised me. He had apparently been thinking for some time

about the comments. This was only two weeks’ ago, when his parents had taken both

boys for an employee appreciation day at Zoombezi Bay, part of the Columbus Zoo.

Skyler said, “If people feel more comfortable talking to each other, then it should

be okay to use their country’s language, don’t you think, Nana?”

I smiled and said,

“My Filipino friends talk English with their spouses and almost always with

their children, too. But you know Felda and her two children, Kridia Dawn

and Zachary?”

The boys looked serious and nodded.

The youngest one piped up,

“Maybe they like to hear their Mommy speak her language if she sings songs.”

(Felda does have a beautiful voice, they had heard it at one of their many parties,

because part of the ‘games’ is to sing karaoke, adults and children, too.)

“Exactly! Good job, Micah!” I exclaimed.

I continued to explain why my good Filipino friends use their ‘homeland’s

language:’

“Felda wants her kids to know what her language was, so they will recognize

some words, each time they travel back to see their grandmother there in the

Philippines.”

Skyler got pensive again, my ‘serious thinker!’

“I am so glad you live close to us. By speaking Filipino with their grandma,

this would make her so happy, wouldn’t it? Do they talk on the phone or

Skype with her?”

I think my grandkids are all so ‘tech-savvy’ I forget about this new ‘age’ stuff.

“Yes, I am sure they do. But I will ask about this, I have seen them Skype at

work, for Felda’s or Mary Jane’s mother’s birthday together. I don’t know why

they would not Skype with the children to see her and share with her, at home.”

I was winding down on this subject and added this comment,

“They sit separately at work, while eating lunch and on their breaks, to

chatter happily and quickly about their personal lives.”

Skyler mentioned that it would be ‘cool’ to be able to have a hidden spy code

language, to talk to your friends in.

I agreed,

“So, when people say these things, I think they may be misunderstanding why

the ones who are using another language are doing this. A different reason may

be,  they are overhearing visitors from another country or ‘foreigners.’ Just like

we like to travel, someday I hope you will go to another country. You may wish to

use the language of that country but you may look for someone who understands

English. When foreigners visit, they seek out our cultural places, like museums

and zoos. Sometimes, there is no one who knows their language but there are

special headphones and language tapes, to help them to understand what they

are seeing. ”

 

It was funny how Micah was taking this all in, which is unusual. He interrupted

my final statement to interject,

“What do you think about when people ask me if my Daddy is a terrorist? Are

they trying to be funny? It makes him so mad!”

Micah’s Daddy’s father is black. For some reason, even when he wears his hair

in an ‘afro’ or braids, people think he looks like someone from Iraq or Iran. I

tried not to smile because he’s made some jokes about trying to go to the airport

and being held back, if he were ever wishing to travel internationally. He will use

a Robert Kline kind of comment, “I just picture the guards taking me down, then

I am lying on the floor using my Ohio accent, telling them I was born here!” I know

he doesn’t think it is funny and under the comic words, he is hiding his pain.

“It is not meant as an insult. If anything, the best way to answer people about

this, is to say, “Of course not! That’s my Daddy!”

I also told Micah that being able to see humor in such things and make light of

them, will carry him far in life.

 

Skyler summed this all up in one fantastic phrase, which he admits may have

come from the children’s animated movie, “Tarzan:”

“They are part of us. We are part of them.”

 

Referring to the song Phil Collins wrote for “Tarzan” (1999):

“You’ll Be in My Heart.”

“Why can’t they understand the way we feel?”

(The gorilla mother singing to human baby, Tarzan)

“They just don’t trust what they can’t explain.

I know we’re different but deep inside us,

We’re not that different at all.”

 

 

As far as language, it is true that~

I wish my Grandmother Mattson had taught me some German.

I wish my Grandfather had taught me some Swedish.

I watch that one television show, “Welcome to Sweden,” just to learn a few phrases.

I know my Dad learned a little Scottish and used a few phrases that are more ‘slang’

than anything else.

 

Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God.”

 

Who do you consider a great humanitarian?

Do you feel we need to be more or less understanding to others, when it comes

to language barriers?

Be honest, we can learn from each other’s points of view.