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My Blog

July 2014

Worth an ARM and a LEG

Well good morning to all.  What a lovely, sunny day here in the Niles, Illinois area.  I have prepped for todays performance at the Niles Historical Museum and am ready to roll!  Every time I go through my prep papers...I laugh over and over again at some of the crazy things about Jack Benny.  What an entertainer.  So, if you are looking for something to do...come on out today and enjoy an hour of fun as I take you back in time.  2:00 at the Niles Museum. 
As for today's blog, I decided to write about the phrase "It will cost you an arm and a leg". 
How many times have we referred to something that was way too expensive...or way over the top as to how much we would want to spend and have used the phrase...that will cost an arm and a leg!   I have always been intrigued as to where certain saying come from and why they became so common of a phrase. 
Well, this particular phrase was one I should have known it origin...especially since I am a painter.  You see....long ago, and I do mean LONG ago, photographs were not yet in use...so a portrait would have been painted by an artist.  Of course the artist would be paid for their work, but the cost of the portrait depended totally on the appendages that needed to be included. 
As an artist and an artist in the Helping Artist Program with DecoArt...you would think that this would be one that I would have heard somewhere along the line...but no....I have leaned about this much later in m painting career, You see, one of the most difficult things to learn to paint are hands/arms and legs.  I myself tackle these appendages from time to time.  Well, because they are so difficult to paint...artists of the times charged extra money if you wanted to have arms or legs in the portrait.  When you look at a portrait from long ago...they are generally done with out the extra appendages, hence, making them more affordable.   Now they say that this could just be a fallacy..I think it should be the case.  I find some things just more time consuming and needing much more accuracy.  there is much more study and practice that goes into doing hands than the average person may think.. 
Well, at any rate...when something costs an arm and a leg...it plainly means a fortune!  And well...some of those works of art are exactly that...they are worth their weight in gold...including their arms/hands and legs. 

Danger Calling!

Good morning.  Another Saturday has arrived.  I am all ready and my stories are lined up for the Alzheimer center.  Tomorrow is Jack Benny...so if you are able to join me...come out for an afternoon of entertainment at the Niles Historical & Cultural Center on Milwaukee Ave. in Niles.  Program begins at 2.  It is free and there will be refreshments.  I am looking forward to sharing my love of Radio Talk shows and one of the greatest comedians of our time. 
As for today's bog...It is about Cell phones.  There has been much speculation over the dangers of cell phones.  Most people pooh paw it!  But I have always had some apprehension over this modern convenience.  It especially came to the fore front over reading a recent incident about a ten girl who fell asleep with her cell phone under her pillow and the phone burned up.  Fortunately the young girl was unharmed but the phone literally burned up to an unrecognizable stage.  The pillow and its case and the mattress were also quite singed. 
There has also been quite a bit of controversy over whether the phone can cause brain cancer.  A cell phone emits radiation....do you keep you head stuck next to your microwave?? No, that would seem quite silly, but, many never give their cell phones this same type of look.    So, I started researching these facts...and then...out of nowhere came the thought of my friend who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I sat here stunned for a moment...remembering that often she will tuck her cell phone into her bra.  I had to then see whether anyone else has been diagnosed with breast cancer that did the same thing...and the answer was YES!!  The doctors cannot completely say that the cell phone in the bra caused the cancer...but that the cells that were affected laid in the parameters that the cell phone was placed.  Odd coincidence?  Hmmm..I wonder! 
I know that when I have held a phone to my head...and believe you me..it is not often.  I can feel the heat that it emits.  I rarely, if ever carry my cell phone on my body....and that does drive my family and friends nuts!  I do not believe that such a small thing should be such an important factor in my life!  I can call someone back.  Because of rising costs many today ONLY use their cells phones and have opted not to carry a regular phone in their homes.  They are on them constantly! 
As for the burned up cell phone...according to the company...they say that there is a warning in the manual to keep the phone in a place where it can get proper air circulation...well...okay...shouldn't that be on the cover page in bold print?  How many people read those manuals cover to cover...and especially the young kids who are toting those phone around like it is an additional appendage. 
As a general rule, you'll want to avoid carrying your phone ANYWHERE p\on your body. Keep in mind that the most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, they say  is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that proximity.

This could be the modern day "Dial M for Murder"!    

They have even attributed carrying cell phones in men's pockets for lower sperm count.  For men especially show carry their phones in their pockets or by their hips are susceptible to liver, kidneys, colon and bladder problems.   This also applies to women who carry them in the same pockets and hips as well.  There was a also studies done showed a lowering in bone density. 

There have been studies done that showed the while in the uterus...babies are more susceptible to behavioral difficulties to to the pregnant mom carrying her cell phone next to their bodies. 

I don't know about you...but the more I read..the more afraid I become of that little rectangular object that emits radioactive rays. 
Have we really become so in need of having people know our exact where about 24 hours a day?  How I lived for all those years with out a cell phone...I will never know...but I do know it indeed was less of a hindrance.  Now...don't get me wrong...I think that there are times and places for the cell phones.  Read up on their dangers and how you can avoid them.  Be smart and be aware.  That new phone could be damaging you or someone you love by not being smart about it...Funny how many refer to them as SMART phones...I guess we need to become the SMART...SMART phone users.


Fond Fishing Memories

Good morning to all.  Well, Friday is here once again.  the weather is a bit cooler..and the storms appear to be on the horizon.  A full weekend ahead.  Anyone looking for something to enjoy...come on out to the Niles Historical and Cultural Center on this Sunday and enjoy my "Love in Bloom" program.  The life and loves of Jack Benny is a wonderfully, informative program.  From history to humor and love...this man was one of our real gems of his time. 
Hope to see you there!
As for todays blog, I decided to talk about fishing.  Since I was a young girl...fishing has always been part of my life.  Having grown up without a father in my life...you wouldn't have imagined that it would be...but I started to babysit pretty early in my life.  I babysat for three boys that lived down the street.  I easily secured the job because no one else wanted it.  the boys were quite the handful!  Their nonstop antics kept my on my toes constantly.  The one amazing thing that came out of that job was that I became included into the family as one of them.  I can remember being asked to tag along on picnics...even when I wasn't babysitting.  We would often go fishing.  In fact, if my memory serves me well, I caught my very first Bluegill on one of those trips.  I have never been one of those girly girls who was afraid of touching a worm....in fact, much later in life, I put crickets on the hook for my husband who didn't want to touch it.  Their was always something about that calming time by the waters.  The rippling that occurred when you cast out your line and the line sank and only the bobbin was visible.  I could sit there for hours anticipating a nibble.
I know that my mom was petrified of worms and such and I loved scaring her with fake worms.  One time she flew across the seat of the convertible when I came out of the bait shop holding this great big fake worm.  I found it most amazing that later in life...she, herself took up fishing.  She even had pictures taken of her holding the fish.  I have to laugh just thinking about it. 
I know that  many years ago, I used to pack up a picnic at dishing gear and head off to Axe-Head lake.  It was off of Touhy and River Road in Park Ridge, Illinois.  We would arrive early in the day, I would bait their poles and they would fish for the entire day.  It was such a memorable time for me.  We would break and play with a Frisbee or with our badmitton set...but mainly...we just fished. 
At one point, my eldest daughter got more and more into the fishing and so one trip that my husband and a friend went on, decided she would tag along.  They went up to Busse Woods to go fishing.  She caught one catfish after another.  She literally put those two guys to shame with all that she caught...they didn't catch a single fish.  I remember when they cam home and they told the story.  The guys just shook their heads in amazement over her good fortune.  Well, I saw that she took after her mother. 
One year we rented a houseboat on Lake Barkley in Kentucky and I spent hours fishing along side of the boat. One fish after another got hooked and no matter where I moved my pole, my husband would stand next to me.  He figured for sure that would give him the best chance of catching one...but they just seemed to like my bait better. 
One year, when I asked my red hatters to write down some suggestions of what they might want to do on events...one of the ladies wrote down that she would like to go fishing.  It was plausible for me...but not something any of the other ladies wanted to do...unfortunately, she passed away before I had the opportunity to go fishing with her. 
One time, we took our granddaughters fishing...the youngest was too young...so the eldest granddaughter and I went down to the pier to fish off the pier while my husband watched the little one.  There she stood, pink Barbie fishing pole in hand...bobbin in the water and the bobbin began its bob...she was so excited...I reeled in my pole and instructed her what to do.  I was as excited as she was....this was her first catch!  I am not sure she really got the idea that when the fish actually got pulled up out of the water that it would be alive....so this minute she pulled it up out of the water and saw it wiggling and jiggling around...she threw the pole out into the water.  That was that!  Fishing was not going to be her sport of sports!  But most recently, I saw that my youngest granddaughter went fishing and didn't seem the least bit affected by the fish.  There is hope after all. 
I haven't been fishing in quite some time now...the opportunity just hasn't arisen.  Each time I pass Axe-Head lake during my travels, a deep sigh comes out.  As I glance over those waters ...memories of days gone by and peace floods over me.  I thought that as time passed and as I advanced in age...I would find more time to enjoy those moments of quiet and solitude....but instead...I am busier than ever.  I guess that is a good thing.  I have not slowed down...I am still running the race!

"Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes...Friend or Foe?

Good morning to all.  Well, Thursday has quickly resurfaced once again.  I have had a full few days of the week and a full weekend approaching.  Performances on the weekend to prep for.  Sunday is open to the public, so if you are looking for some fun, free entertainment, come out to the Niles Historical and Cultural Museum and listen to my "Love in Bloom"  The life and loves of Jack Benny.  Don't forget to introduce yourself to me!  I would love to meet you in person.  As I sit here this morning I am amazed, as always, at the sound of the birds.  What a gift that we receive each morning.  Natures music indeed. 
Today's blog is about the phrase "Little Miss Goody Two Shoes"  I have always comprehended this saying to the person who portrays them self as the all time perfect person.  The one who does no wrong...yet behind the scenes is the person who will stab you in the back with a smile on her face.  It is done like she is doing you a favor and has your best interest at heart!  What a joke this can be, and how often it happens to the innocent naive individuals. 
I always wondered where that saying came from, so upon a quick search, I discovered that it came from a child story book from 1765,  Imagine something from so long ago still in our verbiage today!   It is said to comes from the title moralistic nursery tale called The History of Goody Two-Shoes, which was supposedly written by Oliver Goldsmith, and  published in 1765 by John Newbery, one of the earliest London publishers of children's stories. The name Goody was supposedly a common name for a married woman.  Goody owned only one shoe. When she was given a pair of them, she was so pleased that she showed them to everybody, saying "Two shoes". The phrase now refers to a self-righteous, smugly virtuous person.
righteous?  I sit back and see the delusions that they live in.  The perceive themselves to be infallible.  They have deluded themselves into believing that they can do no wrong.  They never apologize when they do...but have the uncanny knack of putting themselves on pedestals.  The are the illusionist of their time.  The are the magicians...the can make things appear differently than they actually are and always to their benefit!  The Goody is their capes of deception.  Like a magician...they pick you out of the crowd and convince you that they are honest and have nothing up their sleeves...while instead, they have plenty up the sleeve.  They take advantage of others fairness and honesty.  They steal ideas and thoughts right before your eyes...all the while pretending to be your friend.  The use your good nature to the tenth degree.  They are the type of person who makes themselves appear as the "MAGNIFICENT" in the end. 
Shoes"  in my life...past and present.....BEWARE!  Whether you are an acquaintance or a best friend...I have read the manual!  I have had my eyes opened up for me.  I can now see beyond the illusion.  What a tangled web we weave...,When first we practice to deceive!"
It seems that the "Little Miss Goody Two Shoes" has engaged in this practice.   Like a spider spinning her web...simple things can become tangled and messy. 
I must say, that I am so sorry for these people.  That they feel they must walk over another human being and smile while they do it...but I suppose these type of people have always existed in our world and always will.  This might sound quite cynical...but unfortunately, the truth.  The expression "Watch your Back"  didn't come out of no where! As well as The Straw that broke the Camel's back!   One of the earliest published usages of this phrase was by Charles Dickens.....where he says "As the last straw breaks the laden camel's back", meaning that there is a limit to everyone's endurance, or everyone has his breaking-point. Dickens was writing in the nineteenth century  
Well, we now see it is not new News...it is as old as time...Deception. Illusions, Falsehoods are so close...we can taste it. So to my readers.... Beware, Be Smart, Be Safe!!...there are " Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes" everywhere!

It's the Booby Prize...called BREAST CANCER!

Well, Good afternoon to all of my readers.  I have been amiss from writing....I apologize...some things have been weighing down on me and I think I am finally ready to deal with it.  This past week I found out that my friend has breast cancer.  It has spread to her lymph nodes and she is in the process of additional testing and seeing a surgeon.  I have been there to help her in these trips as the need is arising.  That is not the problem.  It is just the whole overwhelming CANCER thing!  I am not pointing out one cancer over another...all cancer is devastating, but I am disturbed with some of the remarks that some people make. 
My blog was titled the BOOBY prize for a reason.  I told her and she laughed...I was happy to get a chuckle since this is such a sensitive area and with the somber news...I sometimes think a bit of levity helps...as long as you know that the person will laugh with you. 
For a woman...one of things that we grow up with wishing for are breasts.  I can remember as a young girl actually doing exercises that might enlarge them...yes it was the old hand to elbow, criss cross position that you would pump so that the muscles would make your breasts move.!  Looking back now...I must say..how silly it all was.  There were the days of training bras...really?? I am not quite sure what we were training them for?  Then the teen years came along and you measured your beauty by the size of your breasts...because that was all the boys seem to notice! 
I remember the trouble it was when I first started to wear a bra and couldn't get the darn thing snapped unless I put it on backwards, then when it was snapped, I twisted around and the put my arms through it.  My boy cousin somehow found out about it and one day while in the pool, he unsnapped the top of my two piece....there were other boys around and boy, let me tell you...I had the darndest time trying to put it one.  Especially since it didn't have a snap, but instead, a hook.  Breast seem to be the defining factor. 
Breasts hurt when your period was coming and when you were pregnant...they really hurt!  Then came the necessity part...the reason for breasts...breast feeding...well, let me tell you...back in my day...I tried so hard...and there were no such thing as lactating nurses back then.  I just couldn't get enough milk to make my child happy...so I gave up.!  Second child came around...well, I tried again..only this time I got a horrible abscess in my breast.  Now, If the heavy breasts were not enough...now they felt like they were on fire and tender to my own touch....try letting a baby take their try at that!! 
Later on, I tried bras that have wires in them, elastics that I am allergic to....you break out in rashes and sores.  I am not seeing the value here!!
Well, as time went on...I met more and more women who dealt with breast cancer, mastectomies, lost their lives because of this so called "BOOBY" prize called cancer. 
I myself have numerous mammograms...or properly I would term them as "slamograms".  because I had an aunt with breast cancer and I myself have shadows that they carefully watch.  It is a horrible affliction! 
I wondered where the term Booby prize actually came from.  When I looked it up A booby prize is a joke  prize usually given in recognition of a terrible performance or last-place finish. A person who finishes last, for example, may get a booby prize such as a worthless coin. Booby prizes are sometimes humorously and jokingly coveted as an object of pride.
Well, let me tell you...Cancer is no object of pride for having breasts! 
My friend has an amazing attitude and has already asked me to shave her head before chemo starts....she just doesn't want to have to go through the day by day loss of hair that she saw her mother go through!  She shared that she will have a double mastectomy and that will be that!  Someone she knows told her that if she does that...she won't look normal.  God bless my friend...she took a breast into her hand and while shaking it up and down said "I've never introduced myself to someone saying (hello, my name is ####)"  I almost fell to my knees laughing.  How true it is....our breasts do not define who we are....but oh....that BOOBY prize called CANCER will!  It will define our future....if we are strong enough to beat it.   I am amazed at the strength of the woman who fight.  The support system that they have...and they are not BRAS!!   They are the people like us...the ones who care, who hold hands, who see each others souls through their eyes.,,,not anywhere below the neck. 
Many years ago, I read an amazing story about a nurse who name was Rene Cassie.  She was given a recipe to make a tincture from 4 herbs that supposedly cured breast cancer...along with other cancers as well.  There are many books out there and many deceptions as well as to the form of herbs.  Rene Cassie was jailed and ridiculed, but continued her fight against cancer treated many.  Finally, she was able to market the availability of the herbs as a liver detox.  Much of her valuable information has been destroyed....but the recipe lives.  If you are reading this and are curious and want to read more...I suggest you read about Rene Cassie...her formula was called ESSIAC...her sir name spelled backwards.  See what you think....I am not promoting anything...I am simply sharing what my journey on breast cancer has taken me to.  I have always been the type of woman who will look in all directions for help and for answers. 
I will be their through this so called "BOOBY PRIZE" with my friend...I will help fight this monster with her...and pray and pray.  I cannot run for this cause because of my arthritis...but I will surely put it out there somehow!  A story, the twist behind the bra...the so-called "BOOBY PRIZE".

The CROSS on the Wall

Good morning to everyone.  Sunday is here already.  It seems like the weekends just fly by.  I had a seminar yesterday and used Kwik Wood to design a Halloween piece.  A lot of fun and putting the old noggin to work.  I used a blank unfinished Rooster tuned on its side to create the piece.  I loved the way it turned out! You would never guess it was just a flat piece of wood.  I will post a picture of it on The Wonderful Wizard of Art Page as well...here it is.   
As for today's blog, I decided upon a cross.  I was setting up in the church basement yesterday for the seminar, and on my way to the kitchen area...there on the wall was a cross and it immediately caused a flash back in time. 
You see, growing up, in my grandmother's home, she had a cross hung in each of the bedrooms.  Now, this was not just any cross...it was a last rites cross.  It was probably 2 inches deep and the cross on the top slid off the base and reveled items in the hollowed section of the back of the cross.  It had a slit at the top where the upper cross fit into to stand.  Inside of the back of the cross were the items needed if the priest came to the house on your death bed.  There was some holy water and a couple of candles that also fit into these holes that were cut out.  I don't think that they were ever used...at least not while I was alive.  
It just hung there over the bed and it was what we knelt down and looked at as we recited our nightly prayers.  Well, I used it for more than that!  You see, I thought it was a great hiding place! As a kid...everything seemed like a big mystery to me when it came to religion.  Everything in church was in Latin and the sacristy was this forbidden area in the church that only the clergy got to see.  The cross on the wall was interesting to me because again, everything wasn't out in the open. 
one would ever think of looking for anything in a cross.  Actually, I didn't know if anyone even thought about the fact that a cross would open like that.   I hid the most deepest darkest thoughts behind that cross. 
When I got married, I wanted to have a cross like that and hang it over our bed.  My husband refused.  He had this crazy belief that you couldn't hang a cross...that to him it represented hanging Jesus all over again.  Well, needless to say, we never hung a cross. Now that my mother has passed, and she had whatever Grandma owned...I had wondered about that cross.  Silly now, some 50 years later...I wouldn't mind having that cross.  I don't even know whether they even make them any more.  I am not even sure whether such an item would even be used during last rites. 
Well, I may not have the cross, but I do own the plaque that my grandmother had hanging in the kitchen of The Last Supper.  There was never a time when that wasn't part of the décor.  Things were a lot different back then.  Your religion was always on display!  I know that my grandmother was born here in America and I guess that Religious Freedom meant exactly that!  they were proud to showcase their religion.  Times have changed....people have changed and surely the freedoms have changed.  When I look at the difficulty that I encounter just with story telling.  There are so many limits as to what I can and cannot say, it is a shame.  Being politically correct was a nicer way to say....you cannot participate in religious freedom.  I guess it is similar to that cross.  There are still things that are kept hidden from the naked eye. 

Social Gatherings or is it Anti-Social?

Good morning to all.  Another weekend is here.  It is already on the second half of July...where oh where does the time go?? Today I have a paint in with my guild, so there is a lot on the agenda today.  It will be a pleasurable day of painting and friends. 
Well, onto today's blog.  Last week or so, the Hallmark channel was running Christmas shows all week and one of the shows was about a young man who worked for his father in their department store. The young man was in charge of the toy department and chose not to order one of the hottest toys that was out there for the season under the belief that children should enjoy toys that uses their imagination...in essence, an old fashioned toy.  that really started me to think back quite a bit.  When I was visiting my daughter and family, the children had to be reintroduced to the old games.  Today, technology has swept over the nation to the point of idleness within their minds.  Oh yes, they are texting and watching dvd's and movies on a whim...but when it came to gathering around a table and playing a game and talking and laughter...it took old Grandma here to introduce the concept.  Or...should I say...reintroduce them.  It took a deck of cards at first.  Well, first there was a search for one...and then I had to send the eldest to the store to buy a deck...really???  Anyway, once the cards were purchased and removed from the box, I then proceeded to explain a card game called garbage.  They sat around all evening and played the game....including the boyfriend and another friend.  It was such a pleasure to see them laughing and talking and sharing stories.  The next night out...I had brought along a set of Farkle dice.  If you don't know what Farkle is...then just look it up...I find it similar to the dice game of Yatzee.  We played that all evening together.  We laughed, talked, and kidded around.  I asked them where some of the games I had bought them years ago...the answer was..."IN STORAGE"!  Great place for them!?? 
I started to think about my 4th of July.  There were 6 adults here at the house.  We ate, conversed and then played games.  We played Farkle.  Left, Right, Center, a card game called Crowns...which by the way...was a blast.  The evening swept by as we joked around and enjoyed each others company.  Today, I see way too many of our youth engaged in their phones...the word "BORED" is thrown around constantly. 
When I look back into the past, I remember how we played and played hard!  We had a jump rope that entertained us for hours, card games were always a hit, board games came a close second.  Games like Monopoly and Risk were 2 of my favorites.  There was ghosts in the graveyard for outdoors...I loved seeing it on the Bachelorette the other week, when the bachelor Chris and his family did it at the end of their evening.  It was awesome!  We played tag and statue maker.  We sat and talked...or we went for walks.  It is a much different world these days and I honestly must say that it is, in my honest opinion, up to the parents to stop looking into THEIR phones for entertainment and start interacting and play with their children. 
I must tell you, being a grandparent is one of the most rewarding positions in life that I have ever been granted!  The opportunity to be with my grandchildren is such a blessing.  To laugh and play and introduce them to new things...perhaps not new to me, but certainly, new to them!  I want to hear about their lives, their hopes and dreams for the future.  I am not saying that there isn't time for television or a movie.  That is something that can be special as well, but shouldn't be the main focus of their day. 
I was having breakfast with my husband and we began a discussion about this.  I had to really think hard about my childhood and the TV.  In summer...I was up, ate breakfast and was out the door to play.  I, of course didn't text my friend...I went over and hollered out the names at the window..."can you come out to play?" I couldn't even remember lunchtime.  I thought hard about it as well.  The best I came up with was I just went home when I got hungry or we ate at each others houses.  We were out until the street lights came on...and then we were allowed to be out as long as we were on the steps of the porch or in someone's yard.  And all we did was tell our parents who's house we were at.  And then we did things like tell ghost stories.  We new each other.  We played with puzzles on rainy days. In my day, there were no VCR's, DVD's or cable TV.  To go and see a show was a rare occasion.  
Today, when my windows are open, there is silence outdoors.  the loudest sounds that I hear are the twittering of birds and not the squeals of children's laughter.  
social media.  There is no interaction face to face.  When I stop and look around...everywhere I look, people are at tables with the faces in their phones.  They are not even conversing at the table together...totally crazy!!  I challenge you...go somewhere and look around.  People go to the zoo and a majority of their time is spent on their phones.   It is a shame when you go to a movie and they have to tell you to please do not use your phone....even for texting.  Can you imagine that you don't have 2 hours to yourself?  Are you that locked into your phones that you cannot take the time away to enjoy yourself and your friends?  I am worried about what the future may bring.  I think that the young man in that department store in the movie had the right idea....we need to return to some basics. 

PLOP, PLOP, FIZZ, FIZZ

Good morning to everyone.  Promising day ahead for me.  Looking forward to a nice lunch with some friends.  How much better can it get?  Tomorrow is a paint in for my guild, so I will need to gather all the supplies necessary for the day as well.  The weekend is a performance date...so I will need to gather some stories together for that as well. 
As for today's blog, I had done some reminiscing about old jingles.  It is funny how we seldom use that word today.  But when I think back on them, some of them still resonate with me.  The Alka Seltzer jingle..".Plop, plop, fizz, fizz...oh what a relief if is" was definitely one of the top jingles in my opinion.  Especially the commercial and the little guy"Speedy" with the alka seltzer hat! Originally, his name was "Sparky" but was changed to fit it's description of speedy relief.   I laugh today when I see some of the things they deem as commercials...nothing quite compares. Alka-Seltzer was marketed for relief of headache, heartburn, and hangovers while neutralizing excess stomach acid. It came out in 1931 by Dr. Miles Company and was later sold to Bayer. 
When I was a kid...I remember Alka Seltzer came in a long tube like bottle with a turquoise blue label.  It had a screw on top.  In fact...it was a perfect container to save quarters in.  I just happen to have a couple of them from those days of old!  And they are filled with silver quarters.  Later it came in a foil packet. 
I remember wanting the upset stomach medicine....but not really wanted to drink it.  I enjoyed the fun of watching that effervescent circle fizzing up the half a glass of water...but not enjoying drinking it.  I know that I drank it down very quickly...just to get it over with. 
Later on, they made a cold medicine which worked well...at least for me.  It was the best darn cold med around.  I could always depend on it, especially when I had a sore throat...but then boom!, one day it was gone forever.  It seemed that kids were buying it for some type of high.  Who comes up with these ridiculous ideas  Consequently, I were subjected to medicines that weren't up to helping my cold!
I remember the other commercials that came out for the Alka Seltzer.  One was about "One spicy meatball" and Alka Seltzer gave relief. Another one was "Try it...you'll like it!" and another was "I cannot believe I ate the whole thing".  Whatever came later on in commercial may have been rememberable, but nothing beat the original Speedy!  He was as cute as can be.  Today when I see some of the commercials...I sometime question where the marketing brains are?  I suppose it is because we are so much more "sophisticated" these days...but I sometimes see some of the commercials and think..."How dumb or insulting!"  
If you go to a pharmacy today, you will still find Alka Seltzer...So many that you will probably spend a good amount of time sorting through them all to figure out which one will work the best for your symptoms.  Back in my day, there was just the "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" kind....and the enjoyment of watching it.    

Brach's Candy

Good morning to all.  I really had to take a closer look at the clock to see whether it was still morning.  I am usually on the computer and have the blog posted in the mornings...today, life just seemed to get in the way and consequently, I am a posting the blog a bit later.  I am determined to get out to pick up a newspaper today since I see that the article that I was interviewed about has been published and would certainly like a copy or two.   If you are in the Niles, Illinois area on July 27th...I will be performing Love in Bloom....the life and loves of Jack Benny at the Niles Historical and Cultural center at 2:00.  They are accepting reservations now for this free event.  I love doing this program and look forward to meeting any of my followers on that day. 
As for today's blog, I decided to write about another place in Chicago's history.  It is the Brach Candy Company.  Not only does it have a place in my mind, but also in my own family history.  You see, my aunt worked for Brach's for many years.  I remember as a child her bringing home some of the candies.  I am not sure whether the employees were able to purchase candy at a special price or whether the candies were the mistakes that often happen on the line, but as a kid...the only thing I really cared about was that there was this amazing free candy. 
Through all the years, I always remembered my Aunt Honey working there....and it was many, many years later in my life when my mother shared the fact that she worked at Brach's as well.  I believe she told me she was just out of High School when my Aunt, her sister got her a job there on the candy line.  Funny, how when I imagine a candy line...it brings to my mind, the picture of Lucy and Ethel on their comedic clip at a candy company.  My mother didn't stay there long...she moved on to working for Woolworth's, but my aunt stayed there for quite some time.
When I look back at Brach candy, I can remember that I had 2 favoites...one was the chocolate stars and the other was their chocolate covered cherries.   
I always remember growing up and always having the Brach candies in the house.  I remember about 25 years ago making a special turkey cookie using the Brach chocolate star for the turkey as well. 
Another all time favorite of mine was their tri-colored coconut squares.  There were a heavenly treat for sure. 
The history behind it's closing is interesting....the factory was at 401 Cicero Ave. in Chicago.  That would have meant my mother and my aunt would have taken the Armitage Bus to Cicero and then the Cicero Bus down to get to work.  My Aunt never drove, so I know that had to have been the only way for her to have gotten there.  My mother drove later on in life...but I am sure not after high school..so the bus was more than likely their transportation to and from work.  It seemed that Brach's  changed hands a couple times and was eventually sold to Ferrarra Pan Candy Company.  That was in 2012.  In the meantime, the original Brach building remained empty.  The factory was famously filmed as Gotham Hospital in the 2008 film The Dark Knight and destroyed by a bomb set off by The JOKER.  The older red brick building in the background was the original factory.  When I look back in time...it seems like so much of our history gets torn down and rebuilt.  It makes me want to grab my camera and start taking pictures of what is left here today...for the future generations.  When I have the opportunity to recall or remember something...it is pretty sad that I sometimes cannot go out and find it still there.  Nothing lasts forever...unless it is in our minds and hearts.  As for Brach candy, we can still find it...it is a different company that now manufactures it...but it is still there.  I am not much of a candy eater these days, the fact being that I am a diabetic, but when I do want a taste of the old days...a piece of Brach candy should fill the bill. 

Snuggies...originally underwear!

Good morning to all.  What a beautiful day.  The temperatures here in the Niles area are to hit maybe 70 today.  I know that most would be BRRRing about now, but I think it is a nice relief from the heat! 
Well, speaking of BRRing...that brings me to today's blog.  When I was a young girl, I remember that my grandmother had another one of those words that no one else seems to know.  The word was Gochki.  When it was cold out...she would tell me to put on a pair of Gochkis.  I am sure you are now wondering what that was.  Well, gochkis were a pair of half long underwear.  They only went to the knees.  Back in the 50's and early 60's during the cold weather,. girls were not allowed to wear anything but skirts or basically their uniforms to school...at least where I went to school.  You could wear a pair of pants underneath your skirt to get to school, but once there, the pants had to come off.  You couldn't wear any long underwear like the boys!  So, there was a pair of long underwear...I called them OLD Lady Uunderwear....that were a very pale pink or beige and made of very soft cotton type material.  They were as ugly as sin and went down to just about your knees. But in the dead of winter, you can be darn sure that I wore them.  I remember being so careful once in school of how I sat down, because the last thing I wanted anyone to see was my underwear sneaking out from under my uniform.  Between the knee highs and the snuggies....that was their official name, I managed to stay warm. 
Today, the word snuggie immediately brings to mind the new invention of a blanket.  But snuggies were originally a pantaloons type underwear. 
I struggled a while to remember what they might have called them back then, because Gram had her own secret language that she passed on to me.  It seems that they still make them! 
I was totally amazed to find them.  The Vermont Country store carries them along with various other Senior clothing stores. 
Funny how our attitudes seem to change as we get older.  We don't seem to quite care as much about how something looks, as long as it suits the need. 
I was quite pleased to be able to locate them and I believe I may order a pair or two for the upcoming winter.  I guess nowadays, I can wear both of my snuggies on a cold winter's night.  One under my pajamas and the newest one...the blanket type over me. 

Surpise...it's in the Cracker Jack Box!

Well, good morning to everyone.  The week is progressing and rain appears to be headed here again.  The temperature has dropped substantially....I believe today's high is expected to be 67.  An odd temperature for July.    The weather all the way around this year has been on everyone's tongues.  This certainly has been an unusual year, weather wise. 
Well, today's topic takes me back in time.  When I was a child, I remember the thrill and excitement over the purchase of a box of Cracker Jack.  As a kid, the thrill could have just been the treat of the candy coated popcorn and peanuts, but the Cracker Jack box also contained a surprise in the box as well.  I can remember so many of those little trinkets.....but the time I remember the most was when there was a chance of winning a diamond ring!  Yes, the diamond ring!  The boxes were marked special advertising the ring giveaway.  I cannot believe how many of them I opened, hoping and dreaming to be the winner.  Alas, it never can to fruition!  Even though I never won  the ring, I had gotten plenty of plastic rings and decoder rings!  I remember being excited over finding a boot charm once inside.
I started thinking about those days and then about how the taste at one point changed. 
I equated the treat with baseball...and wasn't really sure why.  When I researched it...it dawned on me...the song "Take me out to the ballgame" had lyrics that stated..."Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks" in it.  As I began to read about Cracker Jacks, I also learned that it was a Chicago company as well.  I guess as children, we don't really care that much about those sorts of things, but as an adult...I love that it's history is from here.  I love that it got it's name because when someone tasted it...said that it's a "crackerjack"  Meaning it's taste was excellent. 
It was also interesting to learn that it changed the company's name from   Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein to The Cracker Jack Company in 1922 after the song "Take Me Out to The Ballgame" was written in 1908. 
Them there is the history of the little sailor boy and his dog on the front of the box.  Sometimes we just don't think there is any significance of these types of things...but as it turned out, the little boy was a nephew who passed away at the age of eight. The sailor boy image acquired such meaning for the founder of Cracker Jack that he had it carved on his tombstone, which can still be seen in St. Henry's Cemetery in Chicago.  I suppose that another trip to a cemetery is in my near future.  When I shared this with my husband this morning...the first thing he asked was if that was in my day's agenda.  LOL...I am too predictable sometimes....I told him that first I had to locate the cemetery.   As for  Sailor Jack's dog, it was a jack russell  stray dog that the family had adopted.  A very close and personal story seems to have been on the packaging of Cracker Jack. 
The company eventually was sold to Borden.  Remember Borden?  I suppose that will be another day's blog!  Then it turned hands over to  Pepsi in 1997.  That is a bit of a funny...since originally, there was a bidding war between Borden and Lay in the beginning and Frito Lay belongs now to PepsiCo. 
sold popcorn at 113 Fourth Avenue, now known as Federal Street, in Chicago beginning in 1871.  It is said that it was served at the Chicago World Exposition, but there is no true documentation on this. 
This is a product that officially was boxed with prizes in 1912.  That it a long time for a product to still sit on our shelves.  I often wonder whether kids today are as excited over getting a box of Cracker Jacks as we once were?  I know that since those days, other products came out because of it...other products were used to replace it, but the public demanded the original.  Sometimes...nothing replaces the original...no matter how hard one might try.  Well, you don't have to take me out to a ballgame to enjoy a box of Cracker Jacks...I might just have to stop and pick up a box at the store...just to see what kind of prize is inside! 

Remembering Chewing Gum

Good morning to all.  An extremely gloomy day here in the Niles, Illinois area.  Looks like we are in for some more storms.  It was a wild and crazy weekend.  The Rodeo in Wauconda was great...but very wet.  The arena was just one BIG mud hole.  We were caught in a light rain, but fortunately the main storms waited until we were out of the fair grounds.  An amazing evening with the red hatters once again.  .  A very full weekend, to say the least, so as much as I attempted to sit and blog...it just missed the mark. 
Well, today's blog is about chewing gum.  I have no idea what possessed me to think about chewing gum machines, but I was thinking about how I haven't seen them around for quite some time.  I can remember those old machines that had handles on them and once your money was inserted, you pulled that knob and down dropped the gum. 
For me these days, gum isn't part of my life and hasn't been for about 30 years.  Once I got dentures, the only gum in my mouth belongs to me...LOL. 
I remember though, growing up and remembering how gum was a part of everyday life and I started thinking about all the different gums that there were. 
Bazooka was probably one of the first gums that I ever had.  I remember as a kid, I enjoyed that gum because of the jokes inside the wrapper.  I remember how well you could blow bubbles with it as well.  In fact, when my husband turned 50, and I threw a back to school party where all the guests had to come dressed as a school girl or boy, we played games and one of them was a bubble blowing contest with the Bazooka gum.  That was a riot to see...let me tell you!  The other gum that was one of my favorite growing up was Fruity Stripes.  It was so cool to see come with stripes on it.  The best part was that it had fruit flavors, and there were 5 different flavors in a pack of gum.  The only problem was that the flavors didn't last long...so you landed up chewing a whole lot more than the average gums. 
Juicy fruit was another of my favorites.  It wasn't until teen years that the cinnamon flavored gum became a favorite for me.  Dentine cinnamon was perhaps my favorite as an adult until gum chewing exited my field of things to do. Of course, by that time, gum chewing was to keep your breath fresh...not really what you thought about as a kid. 
I remember years ago reading that chewing gum was something you did to stay thin.  I believe back then the article I read said that the acting of chewing created certain juices in your stomach that aided your digestion. 
I also started thinking about the price of gum.  Back when I was a kid and we had those old pull handle vending machines, gum was 5 cents a pack.    A gum ball was obtained for a penny.  I remember those old red gum ball machines and hoping to get that special yellow with green stripe gum ball because if you were fortunate enough you would get a prize from the store owner.  I don't think that I ever got one of those special gum balls, but I do remember all the praying I did when I turned that handle 360 degrees! 
Gum wasn't the only thing that you got by chewing gum, because by the time I began old enough to start saving the wrappers, I knew that I could make things.  The biggest thing back then was to make gum wrapper chains.  Sometime we made them into rings, key holders or belts.  I read that the Guinness World book of records states  the longest gum wrapper chain, officially measured at 78,550 feet.   
There is a lot of things about gum that we can all remember...but the one most single thing I remember most is parents telling you not to "CHEW LIKE A COW"!   

It's Bird...It's a plane...NO..it's The kid next Door!

Well good morning once again.  So far, it is a nice day here in the Niles, Illinois area.  There are thunderstorms predicted to roll in this evening and into tomorrow afternoon.  Praying hard that they end early in the day tomorrow.  My red hat group is expecting to kick up our heels at the Rodeo tomorrow night.  Can't wait to watch the show!
As for today's blog, it is about when I was a young girl.  Superman was a television program that it seems every boy in town enjoyed watching.  I myself enjoyed seeing Lois Lane and Clark Kent.  The superman part was a bit far-fetched, but the hero idea was something to aspire to. 
I didn't really think that a television show would be something that would lead you to try something...although statistically, that would explain commercials...now wouldn't it!  It is, I suppose, a fine line between the two. 
As I sit and think about how we must be so specific in directions today, I think of are we really that incapable of common sense?  I recently saw a label on a piece of children's clothing that gave washing instructions, and it said to first remove child...REALLY??? 
That of course made me look back in time to when I was young.  I had a neighbor who loved to watch Superman.  One day, he decided that he too, could be superman.  He went and tied a towel ( I think it was a towel....if my memory serves me correctly) around his neck and decided that he was now superhuman.  Now he lived on the second floor of a story apartment.  His uncle lived on the first floor.  Thank God...because his test for human powers happened outside of his Uncles first floor window.  He must have climbed up on something, opened the latch on the screen window.  Back in my day, the screens didn't push up...they pushed outward on a hinge.  He somehow propped himself on the ledge and just like superman soared forward out the window.  Just below the window, was a concrete patio and thank goodness that his jump put him far enough past the cement toward the grassy area.  He flew straight down.  Luckily...I believe there were just some scrapes and bruises. 
I couldn't imagine what he was thinking!! 
The other day, I was discussing this with my husband and he said that he did a very similar thing with some of his guy friends when they were young!  He said that instead of a towel or sheet they used their parka's.  REALLY?  I just don't comprehend this sort of ideas. 
I did some research on the Internet and see that there were many young boys who seemed to have done exactly the same thing. 
It makes me wonder...when does common sense kick in?  Where is the line between reality and fantasy begin and end?  At what age?  Is it more of a problem for male or female?  What is the draw?  When I look back at that young boy who jumped...I realize now, that may have been the end of his life.  Was it the programs fault?  I know that when I was in college...I did a report on violence in cartoons.  In my report, the most violent at that time was Tom and Jerry...I believe it was every 10 seconds a violent act occurred.  Is it really humor?  Do we really expose our children and let's face it...adults to that?  I have to say that I think the time for more family television is here.  Family time around the table is here.  Family game night should be what entertains our children.  
The other day, I was shopping in Walmart and noticed a few girls running around hiding behind end caps and such with guns in their hands...not real ones of course...but looking for their targets.  REALLY??  I could not believe my eyes.  Am I just that old and our of sync with reality?  Where do we go from here?

Ever Heard of Bebki's??

Well, good morning to all.  It seems as though it will be a gorgeous day here in Niles, Illinois.  I am looking forward to getting a lot accomplished today...hopefully!  I have been on the go for the past couple of days.  I got to meet up yesterday with my friend who is going through cancer.  She looks and acts GREAT.  Bless her heart!  We had a lot of laughs and it was so good to see her. 
So, today's blog is about my Grandmother Pearl and her usage of the English language....or not really.  Sometimes, when I go back and remember things from my childhood...it can be a bit disconcerting, because when I don't remember everything about something...I have usually a word for something that was what my Grandma had called it.  I can remember the first time I asked my husband to please bring me my hoppies.  My husband, stop and stared at me like a deer with its eyes in a headlight.  I said "my hoppies"...."they are in the bedroom"  and still the stare remained.  For some reason, my grandmother evidently made up the word HOPPIES for House slippers.   It sort of makes sense...doesn't it?  Well, I never knew that they were call houseslippers..my whole life they were referred to as hoppies.  So the last few days, it has been quite a search for me looking for something that we used when I was a child and the only word I can remember was we used it when we had BEBKI"S.  Oh, Grandma...where in the world did you ever come up with some of these terms???? 
I remember when I was growing up at home and you would get these little bumps in the gums in your mouth...which grandma called "bebki's", she would make us use this pink powdered stuff that you would mix with warm water and swish it around in your mouth.  I remember that you couldn't or shouldn't drink it.  It had a pleasant smell and taste as well, although a little on the chalky side.  Compared to some of the other medicines we had to take, this one was a pleasure.  I remember it being in a jar, and the best to my knowledge, it had somewhat of an aqua colored label around it....but that was all I could remember....aside from the fact that it worked. 
Well, how in the world do you research something that is called BEBKI'S??  Well, I started breaking down the problem into different things like mouth sores, mouth ulcers...and eventually, I found what I was looking for.  It seems that others were looking for it as well.  They described it in the same manner as myself, so I knew that I was on to the right product.  Turns out the name of the product is Vince Gum & Mouth Care-Oral Rinse Powder.  And to top that off, they still make it today.  I hadn't thought about that in so many years. 
When I finally found it....the bottle looked very different than what I had remembered, but of course I am going back 50 years ago.  Also, I found it to be VERY expensive as well. I found the history behind it...it seems  that in the late 1800s, the field of medicine, especially in the deep south, depended for the most part on the very few trained physicians and even fewer hospitals. Healthcare was dependent on home remedies and the very few community doctors that were able to make house calls. Founded by Tharp Spencer Roberts, born September 9, 1873, Monticello Drug Company had its fist roots planted in rural Georgia. Tharp received his early apprenticeship in medicinal training under W. F. Monroe, pharmacist and owner of Wachovia Drug in Valdosta, Georgia. He became certified by the Board of Pharmacy for the state of Florida as a registered pharmacist in conformity with the act of the legislature entitled to regulate the practice of pharmacy on the December 28, 1898. Before the age of 25, he was able to purchase an existing drug store of Jefferson County, Florida called Monticello Drug  and then the rest is the Montelcello History.  It has been passed on through family generations.  There are other products manufactured by this company...but the Vince Mouthwash was the one I remembered so well.   It might be expensive and probably not heard of very often...but what a find it was for me.  They also manufacture other products that were interesting to read about...and the history as well.
   I cannot say that I have really experienced any type of mouth sores in most of my adult life, but what a good thing to know about or have around, just in case I do. 
As for Grandma....God bless her.  She was the best woman I ever knew.  She had an answer and a word for everything.  The words may have been a little off, but the treatments were always spot on. 
I would love to hear if anyone else ever heard of Bebki's or remember using Vince's Mouth powder. 

My Grandma and Ovaltine

Good morning to everyone.  I hope that you week is coming along well.  Hump day is here.  There is only 2 more days after this till the weekend.  I am looking forward to this weekend.  My Red Hat group will be attending a rodeo.  This will be a first for many of them!  It is exciting to be able to introduce something new once again to the ladies. 
Well, as for today's blog, I was thinking a lot about some of the things that my Grandma used to believe in and Ovaltine came to mind. 
For those of you that are new to this blog, I was predominantly raised by my grandmother and so if I go back in time...it is usually sparked by some memory of her.  We were recently in the store and my husband noticed the Ovaltine on the shelf.  It was like he found an old toy.  He was so excited to see that jar and immediately pointed it out to me.  I looked at him with that "Really" sort of look!  I told him it has always been on the shelves.  I suppose this must have been a new aisle to walk down.  Well, anyway, it brought back memories of long ago. 
When I was young, my grandmother used to make us a cup of warm Ovaltine as a nighttime drink.  Having that wonderful chocolate drink was such a special treat.  It was just like having a malted milk....which by the way, was similar to what a malt was back in the older days until someone decided to try adding ice cream to it. 
Grandma believed that it put a bit of meat on your bones.  She didn't believe that it was healthy is you were too skinny as a child. I can remember when my cousin lived on the second floor and had 2 children and one of them was too thin...at least that is what Grandma thought.  So in the nightly routine, Grandma would add a raw egg to his Ovaltine.  She believed this would bulk him up.  Now that I look back on this, it is almost a little comical that later in life...he chose to be a raw food cook. She must not have been that far off, because  Mariusz Pudzianowski cited malted milk as being the key supplement in his successful strongman career.
Well, anyway, back to Ovaltine.  As I researched it...I discovered that it originally was advertised consisting solely of "malt, milk, eggs, flavored with cocoa," the formulation has changed over the decades, and today several formulations are sold in different parts of the world.
I also discovered that Ovaltine was manufactured right here in Villa Park, Illinois.  The factory has since closed, but the Villa Park  Historical Society maintains a permanent exhibit of Ovaltine advertising and memorabilia. The old factory was converted to loft apartments keeping the original floors and wall exposed.   this is going to have to go on my "Must See" list. 
If you are old enough, you might recall the old radio show "Little Orphan Annie" or perhaps "Captain Midnight" who were sponsored by Ovaltine.  If you saw the movie The Christmas Story" you would have seen "Ralphie"  collecting proofs of purchase and sending off for the "secret decoding ring".  This was how is was back then.  We collected labels back then for many products. 
Ovaltine continued it's use in my home which continued the tradition.  From the time I was married, I carried Ovaltine to make when I had my cousins spend an overnighter and then for my daughters and subsequently for my granddaughter.  It has been years since I have had an Ovaltine drink at night.  Perhaps the time has rolled around again and a visit to the store for some Ovaltine may be in my future. 

Siblings Parted

Good morning.  Another day has arrived.  I am always grateful when my eyes open in the morning and I know that I have been blessed with another day.  Yesterday gave me quite a bit to think about.  It was another marathon of holiday movies on the Hallmark channel.  I suppose this must be to celebrate Christmas in July.  I cannot complain, since I become unindated with work come the holidays, I love being able to work and enjoy watching these types of shows.  It brings so many memories and thoughts to mind.  I know I said that I wasn't going to write about Christmas just yet, but the more I watched the programs, the more sentimental I became.  These movies provoked a plethora of feelings and emotions, thoughts and wishes. 
So, today's blog is about a hope and a wish and also a dream.  It is about families getting back together.  I watched a show yesterday about 2 sisters who were torn apart. It seems the one sister landed up marrying the other sisters boyfriend.  Then that sister chose to no longer have anything to do with her.  There was another scenario playing to it's side about a man who lost his wife and had 2 sons and didn't share anything about their deceased mother because it was just too painful for him.  As the show progressed their was, of course a revalation made for both parties and a solution as well. 
I thought about how much I wished that things like that truly were possible.  Many times, people will ask me questions about siblings, and I cannot really answer the questions.  You see, I never had a sibling and don't really know what that is like.  My husband also never had any siblings...so there was no in-law siblings for me as well.  What I do know is that I had 2 beautiful girls who I raised and enjoyed their closeness and from time to time their fights.  I remember when they were young, making them make up and tell each other that they loved one another.  I didn't want there to be distention between them.  I assumed that there was normal sibling rivalry, an occasional disagreement, but in the end, I believed in my heart of hearts that there would always be love.  I believed that LOVE conquers all.  That is yet to be seen.  It is my hope that maybe someday....that will be the case.  I would like to live long enough to see that...but if I don't, then I pray that when I am gone....that will be the case. 
I had 2 girls and both were my life.  They were just a little over 1 year apart.  Growing up...they always had each other.  As they got a little older and I learned to sew...I made outfits to match.  They probably hated it...but oh my goodness...they looked so cute together. 
They shared everything.  They shared their clothes, toys, friends and just about everything you could think of.  As they grew older, they each developed their own individual personalities and separate friends....yet they still shared. 
As the years went by, I tried hard to keep the family together. Come Christmas, I would call a special family night to decorate the tree.  We all had hats with our names on them to wear, Christmas music trailed throughout the house.  All the boxes of Christmas decorations came up from the basement and decorating the tree began. 
At my bridal shower, my cousin made me the most beautiful paper mache and lace bride doll as a centerpiece for the table.  I couldn't bear to let of that doll, so I took off the veil and turned the tuilling into angel wings and took the braiding and turned it into a halo and viola...the top for my Christmas tree.  Year after year, that angel graced the top of our tree.  The girls took turns each year with the honor of placing her atop the tree.  My husband would lift whichever daughter to the top so she could have that honor, while the other daughter then received the honor of placing the first ornament on the tree.  It just about killed my one year when a squirrel got into our attic and destroyed her. I got a new angel, but it never quite seemed the same...and neither did the family.  It seemed shortly after that, trouble arose in our house and caused our daughter to part ways with all of us. 

Years have gone by and I know that we think of her often, some days more than others.  As I watched the movie yesterday and saw that the one sister reached out to say she forgave and then they both forgave and hugged and moved on with their lives.  I couldn't help but dream that this  could happen for my two children.  I know that one of the girls has reached out to her sister without success.  I am so saddened that so many years have gone by and that there has been no reconciliation.  I know that I would love it to be the way that it used to be...and if not...at least a new chapter to life. It is a shame when life goes by and those who you hold in your heart, for whatever reasons, are captured there and can't seem to reverse the process. I am constantly reminded of my daughter and those 2 young girls who once were the best of friends.  I remember the house being filled with their laughter and sometimes tears.  Their squeals of joy and moments of caring.  How does that vanish?  A question that I ask myself over and over again?  Not to mention a question I pose to God continuously.  I trust Him and that SOMEDAY...even if I don't get to see it...there will once more be 2 sisters who can express their love to each other.  I wonder if she remembers the Christmas' we shared together.  The traditions, the memories, the love that we held for each other.  I pray that deep down in her heart she knows. Somehow...she must remember...She HAS to remember. 

Stick Your Tongue Out to Detect Your Health

Good morning to everyone.  Well, today is the beginning of a new week and also puts an end to the holiday weekend.   I hope that everyone remained safe and healthy.  I got in a lot of work sitting on the couch and doing a lot of hand sewing.  There is always a lot of work to be done.  Fortunately, I was entertained at the same time watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.  I LOVE Christmas!  Watching those movies were quite inspiring for me.  A lot made me look back in time and realize the changes that have occurred through the years.  I thought of writing about Christmas, but decided it was just a bit too early to venture in that direction.  I received a call from the Niles Historical Cultural Center to firm up the details on my appearance coming up this month.  I will be appearing there on July 27th at 2:00.   The program is "Love in Bloom"  The life and loves of Jack Benny.  If you are out and about in the Niles area, come out and enjoy and afternoon there with me.  This is perhaps one of my favorite programs to do.  It tells the unrevealed facts of an Illinois man and his love for his work and family.  This man went from Vaudeville to radio to television and still kept an amazing connection to his family.  So, come on out and spend a bit of your afternoon with me.  If you know me...GREAT!  If you have never met me...please come up and introduce yourself.  I always look forward to meeting a reader. 
Now, onto today's blog.  It is today's topic because the past few days, I have not felt well, and consequently stuck my tongue out in the mirror and did not like what I had seen.  Now, I bet you are questioning my doing this.  Let me explain.  You see, many years back, I had a group of us who met on a weekly basis.  During the 7 years of meeting, we chose to study different forms of diagnostics, along with meditations and various holistic health and healing measures.  One of these was tongue diagnostics. 
If you are a bit older and remember going to the doctor, or perhaps see an older television program, one of the first things a doctor asked you to do once you were seated on the examining table was to stick out your tongue.  REMEMBER?? 
Well, it seems that today, the thing that most physicians do is look at your chart instead.  We learned though our studies about how a healthy tongue should look and how an illness can change that.  The tongue is actually diagramed out to show where specific parts of the body are effected.  The type of color can also determine different things as well as the coating that is on it. It can be a tell tale sign of problems.  
When my eldest granddaughter was just a baby, and there were some serious problems with her breathing, I continually pushed the doctor into having an exray done of her lungs.  I kept instisting that there was a problem and he, I think was insulted with my trying to tell him his business.  He got so frustrated with me, he finally let me take her for the test. The results were staggering.  She evidently had swallowed some amniotic fluid which collected into a somewhat of a pocket in her lungs.  He hated to admit it...but I was right!  He prescribed a really strong antibiotic which in turn caused her to get thrush...a thick white coating all over her tongue, which I had to clean off continuously with hydrogen peroxide.  
biotic.  This morning, my tongue is still not right....but is improving, as well as the visits to the bathroom.  I think I am on the mend and will not need a doctor visit...which would have probably ended with antibiotics and more distress on my intestines. 
Today, it is becoming more and more of a popular thing to be using probiotics and I question why.  You see the advertisements for all the Activa, and the yogurts all over the place.  The active cultures that are needed.  Why is this now such a problem?
A probiotic is an organism which contributes to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. A probiotic is also referred to as the "friendly", "beneficial", or "good" bacteria which when ingested acts to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and help fight illness and disease.
People who have compromised immune systems often have trouble and could benefit from their use.  Stress is another attacker to the immune system...so..if something appears and your stress levels has been amped up...this might also be helpful
Well, back to the tongue. There are many books on tongue diagnostics.  It is recommended to brush your tongue.  Yes, they have tongue brushes!  Our mouth is the only place where we can easily see our insides. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners will look at the tongue as one of the first steps toward a diagnosis. One of the reasons that the tongue is so capable of providing an accurate portrayal of the state of the body is that the Epithelial layer in the mouth is replaced every 2-3 days, so shifting malnutrition, deficiencies, and unhealthy conditions are reflected constantly.
The coloring, the shape, the coating, splitting, notching canal mean something.  I must say, studying this diagnostic technique is an interesting approach to helping to keep myself on track.  I am not a medical doctor, but I am open to other means of natural and holistic treatments and this is one of the best ways to watch myself on a daily basis.  There is plenty of books and charts on tongue diagnostics...pick one up one day and read one if this is something new to you.  I am sure glad I did this last night....I believe I just saved myself a visit to the doctor today.  Something I ate a number of days ago, evidently didn't agree with me and really caused some havoc.  I let it leave naturally and then stopped it.  Hope this not only helps open your eyes, but has you open your mouth, stick out your tongue and say AHH!!


The Truth on Paint Brushes

Well, good morning to all.  Another Sunday rolled around.  It is very gloomy here in the Niles, Il. area.  It certainly looks as though we will be in for storms today.  I have been couch bound  as of yesterday.  It seems that so far today...it will continue that way.   I was hoping to get in some painting yesterday, but a continued intestinal bug has caused a change in the plans.  I still worked, only switched my gears to some hand work.  It seems that  there will be more of the same today.
Well, today's blog was inspired by a visit in Texas.  I had taken the family to a historical farm where they were celebrating Dairy Month.  It was a really fun day...although the heat was a bit much for me...I believe we were around 100 degrees.  We toured the Nash home.  The children were able to churn butter and make ice cream and even milk a goat.  We went on a hay ride around the grounds and ended the visit with a milking demonstration of a cow.  I was very interested in this travel program that educates the audience on dairy farming.  I must say, I was surprised to find out that different milking cows give different quantities of milk.  I  conversed back and forth with the gentleman giving the lecture and found out one amazing tidbit.  Being an artist, I was a bit taken back when he said that "Camel Hair" paint brushes were made with the hair from inside a cows ear.  It boggled my brain and left me wondering whether it was true or not.  I couldn't imagine that a man who was in charge of education would make such a kerfuffle.  
That meant one thing...I needed to research this out.  It seems that there is a lot of controversy over this particular fact.  The more I researched it, the more interesting it became.  I really never stopped to think about where the brushes came from...I just knew that there were different standards and types of brushes.  I knew that some where better for particular types of paintings and the difference in prices were staggering. 
So, I landed up finding out that Camel Hair brushes are NOT made with camel hair.  Some speculated that a man who created that particular brush's name was camel...but I could validate that.  I found out that brushes came from squirrel, goat, bear, mink and many more types of animal hairs.  From sight to sight I traveled.  You see, I am the type of person that would resemble a dog with a bone. 
I finally decided to go to a brush company whom I  trust and have used and love their brushes by the way.  The name of the company is Scharff and there I found some trustworthy information....at least in my opinion.  And to top it off...I was educated about paint brushes. 
The company stated that camel hair brushes were made from various leftover hairs.  It is what they considered a good school grade brush. 
The KOLINSKY brush was made with the finest red sable hair which is said to perform with great spring and is used for acrylic and watercolor painting.  I also learned that there are various types of red sable hairs which comes down to where in the world the sable comes from.  Squirrel hair brushes seem to hold the most amount of paint and leave a smooth, streak free stroke.  That of course interested me.   Ox hair brushes are great for mops...and no, not the kind that are used for floors...mops are a type of brush that artist use to blend and soften.  The hairs are much softer.  A bristle brush comes from the hairs of the ear of a pig, and is used with oils or lacquers.  And there are also synthetics.  It was quite an interesting read and very detailed information.  Unfortunately, it didn't say anything about cow hair specifically...but I assume that in the making of camel hair brushes...the loose term of various left over hairs could include the hair from the inside of the cow.   
I enjoyed the day at the farm and the questions it posed in my mind.  Amazing how one topic can lead into another and for me...always a new thirst for knowledge.  I know that in Wisconsin, there is a dairy museum that I visited many years ago.  I had learned that latex paint was made from milk.  It seems that cows supply more that we could imagine.  The gentlemen giving the lecture in Texas informed us that because of the drought in Texas the cows were now having to give powdered milk.....LOL...a good joke I thought!!  He then proceeded to inform us of the parts of the cow....there was the front end of the cow, and the back half was called the "UDDER" end!  Well I have to say, in the end...it was "UDDERLY" thought provoking and entertaining.   

My Inside Scoop About Casino's

Good morning to everyone.  I hope you all had a happy and safe 4th of July.  I spent the day with friends.  There was food and games to fill the day.  Truly a day that I am grateful for.  I found out last night that at least two of my roses were in the 4th of July parade yesterday...I am not sure about the third.  I received a note from a friend who saw them and commented on them...so I was pleased that they made it to the parade.  She shared with me that they handed out maps of where all the roses will be located for people to tour them this summer through fall.  I will have to make it over to the Chamber of Commerce to get one. 
Well, today's blog is about gambling in the casino's.  Growing up, I don't ever think I had recalled all the hub bub about gambling and casino's...I think that the closest we had ever come to that must have been playing cards for nickels, dines and quarters.  I did hear about Las Vegas...but honestly, it was more about the showgirls than the gambling end of it. 
I remember when I was a senior in High School, I had become close with one of the sisters...her name was Sister Kingnetta.  I always wondered where in the world they came up with those names.  Anyway, we stayed friends after I had graduated.  She often came to my home through the years, and I, in turn had gone to her families homes.  At her family home, in the basement, I was introduced to my first slot machine.  Somehow, they had bought the real deal and had it to enjoy in the house.  It was my first time of putting in a coin and pulling down that lever.  It was okay for me for about the first 10 minutes and then I was bored.  I didn't quite get the attraction...but I thought maybe it was because I wasn't really gambling for money.  They reused the same coins over and over. 
Well, May years later, my mother moved to Reno, Nevada.  The first time we went to visit, my mother decided that she wanted to take me out for a mother daughter night.  We went to a Casino that her husband worked at.  It was the Fitzgerald.  My mom gave me a roll of coins and we started at the machines.  I was never so bored in my life and I wasn't even gambling with my own money.  I landed up going to the bathroom...where they had a pretty nice lounging area with a couch.  I sat down on the couch and nodded off.  I later caught up with her in time to go home. 
A few days later, my mother watched my girls, and my husband and I went out on the town...once again to a Casino.  Maybe it would be different with my husband....NOPE...We walked around the casino and watched as people were hustling and busting around us and the sound of coins falling down and the spinning of the slots surrounded us.  Then it happened...right in front of us a woman had a seizure.  She fell to the ground right in the middle of her gambling.  The minute I saw this I immediately started to search for help.  I looked around to find some security person.  Upon finding one, and leading hi to where she was, I was astonished to see that while this woman was convulsing, people were stepping over her to use her machine!  I was appalled!  Later, upon returning to my mom's,. we shared what had happened at the Casino.  Her husband proceeded to tell us that the scene we witnessed was just part of the gambling scene.  He shared stories of people who were so afraid to leave their machines that they actually urinated and defecated right there.  If that wasn't disgusting enough...he then shared a story about a wife and her husband who were out on the gambling floor having a nice evening when at one point, the husband wasn't feeling that well and decided he would go to the room and lay down a spell..  They wife stayed on the floor and continued to gamble.  Well, it seems that at one point, the woman's husband started to have a heart attack while in the room.  He dialed for help and when help arrived, he had died.  They searched for his wife and upon finding her and sharing the devastating news, she chose to stay on the floor and gamble...because, well, he was dead anyway.  After hearing those types of horror stories, the idea of going to a Casino never really appealed to me again.  When friends of mine talk about going to them, pictures of the stories shared by my step father race through my head.  I have a hard time with it all.  I would rather gamble on whether I get a good meal or not at a restaurant or see a good play.  I must say, I did enjoy the beauty restaurants and the marvelous buffets that they used to have.  The amazing ice sculptures always captured my attention.  My mother, later on worked at Circus, Circus and I loved seeing the shows.  I used to enjoy taking the girls to the alley of games and having them have their faces painted.  I remember one time, they had their faces painted and felt so amazing, that when we got home, they didn't want to wash it off...so they slept in the makeup.  I took pictures of course, and when I look back at those pictures, I have fond memories of the Casino's, but surely not for the same reason that most people would have.  I guess you might call me..."The Play it Safe "  kind of girl.  And that's okay.  I have my types of enjoyment...I just will never count that in as one of them. 

The meaning to The Star Spangled Banner

Good morning to everyone.  Happy 4th of July.  I want to share with all of you my readers who I am.  I am an AMERICAN. Growing up in Chicago, I was raised by my mother and grandparents.  Both of my parents were American born as was my grandparents. Growing up, there were hints of our Polish heritage here and there, but when asked the question..."What nationality are you"?  the answer was always the same..."AMERICAN".  I was raised as an AMERICAN.  I may have a Polish heritage attached, but I am an AMERICAN through and through.  When I met my husband, he asked what nationality I was...when I answered that I was an American...he said "NO, not where you live...but who you are."  My answer was the same.  "I AM AN AMERICAN"  That was hard for my husband at that time to understand, being that he was born in a camp in Germany during WWII.  His parents, who were both from Poland,  had been captured and placed into a work camp.  They met there, were married there and my husband was born there.  When they were sponsored to come to America, their first home was Kentucky and then Chicago, Illinois.  They lived in America...followed the rules, became citizens...but yet they were different than my family.  They clung to their heritage...more than likely because it had been stripped away from them.  As for me...I had always known the FREEDOM of this country.  I was proud to be an AMERICAN.  Now, don't get me wrong, they were proud of this country, but Poland was their home in their hearts.  I think my husband felt that way because of his parents. 
As a storyteller, I tell many stories of war.  I have programs that cover the Civil War, Camp Douglas, Vietnam, WWII and more.  I even cover the Revolutionary War, which is not a common program in this part of the country.  I love the little details that are there for the taking if we just take the time to find them. This is my take or my story that I had heard. 
As for the background of the Star Spangled Banner, there was a man, a lawyer by the name of Francis Off Keys , author of our national anthem. He was a lawyer chosen to bargain for trade of the captured prisoners during the Revolutionary War.  They were held as prisoners on a ship.  The admiral he struck up the deal with told him that it really didn't matter, because in the matter of a few hours the British would take over Fort McHenry and the war would be over.  Every man and gun and all gun powder was ready to destroy the Fort if we didn't lower our American Flag. 
Francis watched the war in action as the bombing began at twilight, all through the night and ended at dawn.  All the while...he supposedly answered the prisoners of where the flag was and what was going on. 
So, today, on July 4th, I share what I have heard and pray as those men prayed for that flag to remain standing.  
OH SAY CAN YOU SEE, BY THE DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT......(that was the question posed to Francis)  WHAT SO PROUDLY WE HAIL AT THE TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING.  (That flag....did it make it?  Is it still standing?)  WHOSE BROAD STRIPES AND BRIGHT STARS , THOUGH THE PERILOUS FIGHT, WERE SO GALLANTLY STREAMING.  (Oh the 13 stripes and stars that stood for the colonies that wanted their freedom from the British).O'ER THE RAMPARTS WE WATCHED, WERE SO GALLANTLY STREAMING (the ramparts...the flag stand or pole...there was our flag, still standing up....leaning at an odd angle, but still not touching the ground) WITH THE ROCKETS RED GLARE, THE BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR (This tells us the way that the sky lit up as the bombs and gun fires blasted across the waters to that fort and all those who were in it).  GAVE PROOF THROUGH THE NIGHT...THAT OUR FLAG WAS STILLTHERE...(Our flag had made it through the night!  The pieces of the flag were in shreds, the pole had been hit numerous times, and men grabbed the rampart and held it up.  When those men were killed, another group took over and kept that flag up...amongst the dead below them...giving anchor to the flag.)  OH SAY DOES THAT STAR SPANGLED BANNER YET WAVE (A final answer to the prisoners who prayed for that flag to stand) O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE(That was what had happened...the patriots had won). AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE (that is the men who died to hold that flag up and the men that fought to hold up that flag.  Brave, indeed).
I don't know about you, but for me, I have a much greater appreciation of that song.  It now resonates in m heart greater than ever before.  Those colors of red white and blue represents freedom.  Stand and give it honor.  Think about those words as you sing that song.  Allow that imagery to ring through you of how it was fought for and gave us the freedom we so desperately wanted.  We declared the independence and won it.  I don't know about you, but my Banner will wave today, for my country, for those who have fought, lived and those who have died, for those who still fight, and for me. For me....because I am an AMERICAN! 
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