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My Blog

March 2014

Chemicals...Can We Do Without them?

Good morning to everyone. Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  As I watched the sunrise this morning, I was so thrilled to see a small patch of green grass peeping through on my neighbor's lawn.  The sun is so bright and glorious this morning that even the birds are twittering on the window sill feeder.  Too bad that they are predicting a possible 1-3 more inches of snow for tomorrow night into Wednesday. 
I am really so over this winter.  Chicago is 254% over it's normal for snow.  I cannot believe this crazy winter. 
Well, today I considered what my blog would be about.  After some consideration, I decided that I would share with you an event I just held with my red hat group.  It was called Go Green.  Now, our ladies are all over the age of 50, so needless to say, we have lived a bit of time on this good green earth.  It was totally amazing to me the education that we all need to learn concerning products that we use to clean our homes.  Each woman was asked to bring 2 products that they normally use in cleaning their home.  When we sat around with the products in hand, I proceeded to read off a list of 8 dangerous chemicals that we should avoid and have them see whether any of them were in their cleaning products.  They were amazed at what actually was in the products and then even more amazed when I read off the list of the dangers that each one poses to our health. 
They are as follow:
.  Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Di ethylene glycol found in window cleaners depresses the nervous system.
  • Phenols found in disinfectants are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe; it has been shown to biodegradeslowly into even more toxic compounds.
  • Formaldehyde found in spray and wick deodorizers is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen.
  • Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners damage mucous membranes.
  • Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.
  • Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver. The list could fill a book. And it’s a book that would include thousands of other chemicals — some so dangerous that they’re found on lists of chemicals associated with Superfund toxic waste sites and in the toxins section of the U.S. Clean Air and Water Acts.
  • I continued on with some of the items that are dangerously used so precariously. 
    Things like hand sanitizers.  I work as a told painter and represent Deco Art and used their Americana paints.  Hand sanitizers is one of the things that I used when I mistakenly forget to put my used paint brush into water..or a student leaves one sitting out and the paint dries as hard as a rock on the brush.  A few coats of the sanitizer on the brush will pretty much remove all that hardened paint right off.  Not quite the thing I want to constantly use on my hands! 
    And then there are baby wipes
    Here’s a label for a popular brand of “natural” baby wipes:
    Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Maleic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)
    by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as part of their s been linked to cancer and allergies. And the artificial fragrances used in baby wipes may lead to allergies or allergic reactions.  We just become so accustomed to what the commercials on TV tell use to do..that we don't question it.  I don't know about you, but I remember when my children were babies, we got by fine with out them.  We evidently weren't as germaphobic as today.  The problem is, in my opinion, that we need to be chemicalphobic.  We need to know that many of the new homes being constructed or materials put into older homes contain chemicals that may be causing serious problems to our health.  Almost every uses bleach to disinfect and yet hydrogen peroxide will do as good of a job.  It is time to look back and see what our grandparents did to keep their homes clean. 
    One big offender that I encounter on a daily basis is air fresheners.  Whether they are spray, standing or plug ins.  I cannot be in a place that has them.  They are totally toxic to me.  I showed the ladies a few examples of ways to easily freshen and decorate your rooms, easily and inexpensively.  One way, was I cut up a lemon and places it in a jar with some cinnamon sticks and another with some mint.  I explained that they could substitute either the fruit or the herbs.  They could use orange, or limes, rosemary, lemon balm...even sprigs of lavender. 
    For the winter months, I cook some bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and allspice...often times I add some orange peels and let that simmer and permeate the air.  Don't you remember walking into your grandmothers house after she just baked a pie or bread?  How wonderful those natural smells were?  Freshly baked cookies or some simmering applesauce on the stove.  Why are we so quick to buy chemicals to do what nature has already provided us with? 
    We then moved on to a lavender spray for ironing.  It isn't really a starch, but helps with the ironing and to top it off, the scent of lavender on your clothes pose as aromatherapy all day long.  What better way to spend a day in your clothes?  All it takes is water (I used distilled) cornstarch and a few drops of (ESSENTIAL) lavender oil.  Why not any kind of lavender scent?  Because you don't want chemicals.  Do you really want to walk around all day long smelling that?   I think that we need to realize that we are responsible for what we use and what we allow ourselves to be surrounded by.  
    I don't know about you...but I enjoyed the good old days.  the days when we freshly squeezed an orange for breakfast...pulp, pits and all.  Nothing we get today compares to that.  When I make Iced tea...artificial lemon juice does't compare to the squeezing of a slice of lemon.  Not to mention that it not only tastes good, but also that the smell of it as it squirts it flavor into the tea permeates the air and my fingers as well.  Delicious!   
    I must say, the girls and I used coffee grounds and some olive oil to exfoliate our hands, cleaned off dirt from a table I just picked up at a Good Will store to paint with baking soda and oil....and then used oil and vinegar to replenish the worn areas.  We enjoyed the delightful smells of lemons, lavender and even eucalyptus and learned that even us old dogs can learn new tricks.    

    Tick Tock went the Clock

    Good morning.  We are on day one of SPRING ahead.  Here in the Chicago land, the sun is shining brightly.  The birds are at the feeder munching away, and other than this pesky rash, I thoroughly expect this to be  good day! 
    As for today's blog, I began to think about time and the spring forward and fall back...how unusual, that as a child, I never seemed to pay any attention whatsoever to it.  One day, was just another day.  But now it a whole different story.  My body doesn't become acclimated to the change immediately....you would think...really what is the big deal.  oftentimes, we stay up an hour later or lose sleep because of a million other reasons, but psychologically, it seems to be a difficult transition for many. 
    I thought that the whole world changes their clocks the same as we do...but to my surprise, on a visit to Shipshewana, Indiana, I realized that they never change their clocks.  When I go to spend the day there...I have to try to remember what time it really is there. 
    This perplexed me and encouraged me to find out why.  The answer is that  the federal government doesn't require U.S. states or territories to observe daylight saving time, which is why residents of Arizona (except for residents of the Navajo Indian Reservation), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands won't need to change their clocks this weekend. Other states could soon follow suit, or mandate permanent Daylight Saving Time, or even do something else entirely.
    Around the rest of the world the observance of Daylight Saving Time is also very much a luck of the draw. Most North American and European nations observe it, while most African and Asian nations do not...go figure.  There are differences that have occurred in Russia and other countries as well.

    So...my question was...how in the world did all this get started and who started it? 

    The answer points to Ben Franklin. His use of "early to bed...early to rise"  was the culprit. Hi reasoning was about the economics of it. 
    It wasn't until World War I that daylight savings were realized on a grand scale. Germany was the first state to adopt the time changes, to reduce artificial lighting and thereby save coal for the war effort. Friends and foes soon followed.
    The answer to my countries question is answered with: The United States standardized the yearly start and end of the time change, and it was up to  the states that chose to observe it.   And of course the timing has changed more recently as well. 
    So, there it is the answer to the perplexing question...at least in my mind. 
    And as long as I am on the subject of clocks, I thought I would take that a step further as well. 
    Growing up as a young girl, I lived with my mother and Grandmother.  Now my Grandmother must have just loved clocks.  Not just the ordinary ones that tell time, but any unusual clock that made a sound or noise.  She had clocks the birds whistled, ticked loudly, and cuckooed.  I even remember the one cat clock with the moving tail.  Well, as I look back...I begin to understand my love of collecting...it had to have rubbed off on me.   The one thing about Grandma's clocks were that they were all just a little off on their timing...oh, not minutes, but seconds.  I can remember when the hour would hit...the moment went on and on...It would always begin with the cuckcoo clock then onto the music making clock, the birds would chorus in and the bonging would start.  It was almost like a symphony being played, every hour on the hour.  If you needed to know when the hour was...in my home...you never missed it. 
    And oddly enough, Grandma seemed to know somehow...WHICH hour it was.  I can remember entertaining young men in the living room.  We would be watching a movie...or chatting and Grandma, who rose way before the crack of dawn was already retired for the evening.  Well, at 10 P.M. when the Orchestra began, you could hear the sliding of the bedroom louver door...and Grandma would chime in :Any descent young would go home now!"  I was embarrassed to death by it...yet those were the standards Gram set and it was by the clock!  Needless to say, the evening was ended by the tic tock of the clocks. 
    Many years have gone by, and the one thing I just recently acquired was the Cuckoo clock.  I don't know how to set it...there are no instructions that came with it.  I need to get it to a clock repair store and put it on the wall.  It will be nice to hear that sound again.  Although it won't have any other chorus' to join in, but it will still chime out a pleasant memory. 

    A Pill That is Hard to Swallow!

    Good morning to all.  The first day of the weekend.  I wish I could say that on this the 8th of March things are looking brighter, but I cannot. 
    The past week weeks have been rough ones with friends being seriously ill and in the past couple days I have had the husband of a dear friend pass away from cancer.  My condolences to all of the family and friends of the Braun family.  It has been a battle with cancer and Jim Braun the warrior,  lost the battle.  God rest his soul and comfort his wife and family.  They are a God filled family and I know that they will get through this together...but difficult, non-the less. 
    Then last night I received the news that my friend Debbie Laneene and her family lost her mom last evening.  This was the confusion battle of Alzheimer that took her...long ago into a deep sleep...and this princess never woke up...until she finally received the kiss from death.  May she rest in peace and may God watch over her family during these trying and difficult times.
    So, if you think that wouldn't be enough, last night I hosted a Go Green event with my red hat group and at the end of the evening, about 11 at night, I broke out all over my body with a horrendous rash covering almost all of my body.  After reviewing the items that went into my mouth...and realizing nothing new was in the mix, I was left to believe that perhaps it was the newest medicine that I started 3 1/2 weeks back.  It is the sort of med that takes 4-6 weeks to kick in, so I thought maybe it just built up to enough in my system to cause the breakout.  I proceeded to take bendryl for the itching and rash and attempted sleep.  I woke up this morning itching like a son of a gun and the rash had spread even more and reddened quite nicely.  I then had to call the dr. and discuss the possibilities which landed up to be the medicine.  He needed to do something quick to stop this...so he told me in 20 minutes to go to the drug store and pick up the oral meds.  Once I arrived, I discovered that I was given the steroid that shoots my blood sugars through the roof...I am diabetic.  I now will be on High Alert and drink more water than what is found in a lake to try to keep the blood sugars from putting me into a coma or hospital...which ever might come first.  So, needless to say, this is not been the greatest of weeks or the way to start my day. 
    So, I will now address the subject of drugs.  I am one of those people who is so allergic to drugs it is more hazardous to take them than sometimes not!  For anyone out there who has the same sort of reactions, you will understand.  All the contraindications on this FDA approved medicines 99.9% do more damage than they do help....at least for me.  I have one of the most sensitive bodies and the weirdest reactions to medicine.  I have told dr.s that this or that has happened to me...and of course their responses are always...that is not on the list...or you need to give it an addition month or two....REALLY??  I remember when I first took Bextra and Viox.  They told me that the reactions I was having were not valid because they were not on the list....well...guess what?....they are off the market...and why???  You got it...some of the reactions I had on day one.
    I wish that the doctors of today would learn as rule #1 that they need to LISTEN to what the patient is telling them without filtering it.     No one knows what type of pain the person is having unless they are having it as well...so LISTEN!  PERHAPS ALL ARE NOT AS IN TUNE WITH THEIR BODIES AS I AM, BUT, I think that it might be because they hear that it can't be and are talked into it.  You know how your body feels right and when it doesn't...trust your self and fight for yourself.  I once did a study on Kieaseology and found it to be an amazing test of allergic reactions.  What is good for you as an individual and what its not.  I guess it is time for me to go back to the art of muscle testing again.  I will have my husband try the test on me when he gets home.  There are a number of Naturpathic and Chiroractic doctors that use it in the diagnosis of a patient....I wish the average doctors would give it some validity.   It purely a strength muscle testing while holding and food or chemical in your opposite hand.  If something is not good for you, then you don't have the strength in your hand to resist when someone is applying pressure on it,  A clear cut test to determining what should to into your mouth or on your body.  If you have never heard or tried it...now is the time.   The worst part of this for me today is missing a meeting with my painting guild.  I am the VP and had plenty on my plate to do there.  I feel terrible letting my chapter members down, but today, I have no choice in the matter. Well, I hope the rest of the weekend turns out better and perhaps, though my mishaps, you may have learned something.

    Unexpected Presents

    Good morning.  I hope everyone is doing well.  Weekend is almost here.  The sun is shining and it is expected that we will no longer have 1 digit weather...life is good.  Now if we could just get to no weather under 30, I would be even happier. 
    Today's blog is about receiving or giving unexpected gifts.  I don't know about you, but the pressure for gift giving can sometimes be overwhelming.  I pay great attention in the gift or present I give a person.  I try hard throughout the year to remember if they have said they liked something, or that they needed something.  It is just as much pleasure for me to get the right gift as it is for the person receiving it.  I despise when I hear people say "Oh he/she is so hard to buy for"  Really???  sometimes could it just be that you haven't looked or that you don't pay attention? 
    And then there is the unexpected gifts.  The ones you buy someone or give someone, just because.
    I just recently bought something for a friend because it is so perfect for her.  I cannot wait to give it to her and get her reaction.  She sews purses and loves what she does.  Back when she turned 60, we through her a purse themed party.  It was a riot.  As a storyteller, I even wrote a program called the girl and the purse.  I put together a collection of purses from the time you are a teenee tiny girl through the years and how it changes along with your life.  So when I was in a store and found a coffee mug with purses all over it and one with purses that actually spells out BAGS I had to get it for her.  Not because it is a birthday or Christmas....but a just because gift.  I think those types of gifts are so special.  I have been on the recipient side of that giving and am always so touched when that happens.  It says that you are important in that persons life. 
    An amazing gift to me, came at my birthday.  Aside from a gift, a dear friend made me a birthday dinner.  In my whole life, I had never had a birthday dinner.  During my married life with children, I always made the birthday person their favorite request for their birthday dinner...yet I had never had one.  That one year...someone dear....out of the blue made one for me.  I was touched to tears.  Someone thought that much about be to be so caring and loving.  I will never forget that moment in my life.  Unexpected and a real treasured gift. 

    Well, another story that I want to share with you is just so amazing.  At least it is to me.  It is about the opening of your wallet along with your hearts. 

    There was a family who had been burned out of their home.  This was just before Christmas, and all of the children's Christmas presents had all gone up in flames.  Now, not only did the family have no where to live, no clothing, no food...there would be no Christmas for the children.  It just so happened that this was a family from my husbands school, so I got on the phone and on the computer and got in touch with my friends.  Well, I must tell you...I had items pouring in left and right.  Now, it turned out that the family was picked up by family members out of state and in a flash they were gone...and there I was with all of this food, clothing and gifts.  Well, I had a friend who was collecting for another family in dire straights and thought okay...I packed up my van full...and was going to meet them to give them the items.  It was a bad winter day and the side door to my van was frozen shut and the it was the only spot I had room for the microwave someone had given me.  Well, I thought...maybe they can come and pick that up.  So off I went with a car full of love!  I transferred it all to their car to take to their family and then explained about the microwave.  They said that they already had gotten one donated...and I thought..well, there will be someone else I can donate it to. 
    When I got home, my telephone answering machine was blinking and upon listening to it ...I understood God's plan in this.  It was the social worker from my husbands school who had another situation where one of the young workers there had gotten her nieces and they were in a one room boarding house  and had next to nothing.  When pressed about what she and the children needed...the only thing she asked for was for the children and a microwave to warm up food for them.  Well, lo and behold...there was the reason.  Now, it was great...I had the microwave...but gave the rest to another needy family...so back I was contacting my friends.  Well, my friends contacted their friends and so on and so forth....You know how emails travel.  One day soon after, I received a phone call from a woman...asking if I was who I was.  Upon my yes reply, she proceeded to tell me that she got this email from a friend of a friend of a friend and that their company wanted to help this family out.  She asked for a list of things that they might need.  I asked whether it was alright if I emailed her a list of little girls sizes and other things.  The social worker had arranged for a larger place with a minimal rent, so they could move...but they only had one blow up mattress...that was all.  The children came from Florida...were abused, and had nothing for the Chicago winter.  This was December. 
    Now others were dropping off things at my home....even perfect strangers brought gifts.  I had a table set up in the living room for wrapping unwrapped gifts.  Boxes of food and items for the home.  Some gave me money to buy things they needed.  I bought things like dishes, silverware, towels. 
    Then the unbelievable present came.  that woman that called me, called me again to say that they had collected $2,000.00..yes, $2,000.00 to help them out.  Now the reason behind this was, their boss who owned the company said he didn't want them to spend their money on gifts for him....he had enough of everything he needed and if they wanted to do something...to do it for someone who needed it.  She asked if she could forward on our emails to him to show him what they were doing in his honor...well, if you thought this was amazing...WAIT....the man then read the story and donated furniture from another of his businesses for them and a truck to deliver everything in on Christmas Eve. 
    Two days before Christmas, I dressed up as Mrs. Claus, and went to the apartment. which was bare to the bone.  My husband and I had bags of gifts for the children for Christmas morning that we told the young girl to put in a closet while I talked with the girls in another room.  I had selected some of the wrapped gifts and had them in a Santa bag and explained to them that Santa was so impressed on how good they were...he sent me down ahead of him with some special gifts.  Their eyes were as big as saucers each time I pulled a wrapped gift from the bag and handed it to them.  The youngest was 3 and each time her name was called, her little hand shook when she came close to take the present.  And when I pull out a stocking for the young girl who was their Aunt...she was only 21 years old, she just began to cry.  She was overwhelmed by it all.  Inside her stocking were gift cards for groceries and sundries and watch and some bath supplies. 
    When I left that day, I truly understood the meaning of an unexpected present.  I understood how amazing people can be.  And mostly, how God works.   There is something to be said about the gifts from the heart.  When all we hear are bad and negative things in the news...we need to hear about how those presents are all around us....paying it forward is just as rewarding as the receiving.   


    Cloud Factory

    Good morning to all.  Hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend. As I sit here this morning I am amazed at the beauty of the clouds outdoors.  There seems to be the softest of pink glow within them today.  Just beautiful!  It made me think about how we perceive things.  As a child, I, no different than other children, would look up at the sky and the clouds and try to see the shapes of things and people in the clouds.  We didn't think too much about how they were made or even why they were there.  We just just looked and enjoyed the possibilities.  It is funny, how when we get older...everything changes.  Oh, I still think that we look for the shapes, some of us know the types of clouds and what they mean.  We can detect whether a storm front is headed our way or whether it will rain or snow by the alignment. 
    As I sit here today watching them, I  cannot help but contemplate all the times I have gazed up at them and enjoyed them, but today, it made me connect with them so some reason.  It as though the clouds tell a story.  Well...I am a story teller...so any guesses as to why I would go there?  But really!  I started to think about the colors and the moods that clouds would have.   Grey/black clouds...impending weather.  They create the sense and moods of dreariness, cold, impending doom.  Pink gives me the sense of sweetness, softness and dainty.  The puffed up white clouds are happy and playful.  I have had visions of heaven over them, especially when the sun rays stream from behind them as though there were another world beyond. 
    When my daughter and family moved to Wisconsin years ago, along the highway, they told my granddaughter as they approached the borderline, that the stack that was emitting puffs of steam was a cloud factory, I thought it was pretty clever.  Each time I approach that area, even years after they moved away, brings that precious idea back to me.  My granddaughter often shared how when she was in school and looked out the window...she could see the cloud factory at work. 
    When I started to paint, I never really gave clouds all that much thought.  Clouds to me, were just clouds...but now as 30 plus years have gone by, clouds are really important in a picture.  It's shape, formation, whispiness and color can make or break a picture.  It sets the tone for how one will see the rest of the picture....the same as clouds make or break our day and moods. 
    There is no one way to paint a cloud...to me, they are very much like a snowflake.  Each on is different from another and the movement in the air is continually shape shifting the clouds. 
    One day, after a discussion with a lawyer, giving me some final closing on what was hanging over my head with the death of my mother, I got into my car to drive to a friends home.  As I was driving and the sun was setting, there was the most beautiful sunset in front of me.  The colors of the sky were spectacular....but it was the alignment of the clouds in front of those colors that told the story.  I felt in the moment, as the clouds created a secondary shelf to another world that perhaps it was a sign.  As though in that moment, my mother was telling me that all would be okay.  That I could finally have some closure.  And so that is the way that I choose to perceive that scene.  A beautiful ending.   
    As I sit here and write this it brings to mind the song by Joni Mitchell.
    Bows and flows of angel hair
    And ice cream castles in the air
    And feather canyons everywhere
    I've looked at clouds that way

    But now they only block the sun
    They rain and snow on everyone
    So many things I would have done
    But clouds got in my way

    I've looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    It's cloud illusions I recall

    Seems to me that we all look at clouds and they connect us to something.  Whether it is love, death, fairytales.  They say behind every cloud, there is a silver lining.  Perhaps the silver ling is the pure and simple joy of our imagination.  The story it tells us or the feelings it gives us.  It tells me to keep my head looking upward.  To keep dreaming, to keep imagining...that's what makes life so full of creativity and joy.  So, my friends, I will be paying closer attention to the clouds and cloud factories....and continue making dreams and pictures...whether they are in my mind or on a canvas.  I hope this blog today, makes you stop and take a look.  Whether you look up or back in time...did clouds ever speak to your soul? 

    When a door closes and another one opens

    Good evening, it seems that today has simply gotten away from me.  I must say, part of my day was spent reading the newest book I ordered about Carol Burnett.  I have to say in advance...I will be able to put together one awesome program with this woman's life.  She not only is funny and talented on stage, but a great writer.  It shared some stories with my husband this evening and had him in stitches.  I love when I can become so invested in a project. 
    Well, today's blog will be a bit short since the day is about ready to place it's head down on a pillow..and I to join and ready to join it. 
    I thought about how fortunate I am to have such amazing opportunities in life.  Some of them have been hard and difficult to get through, but in the end each of those difficulties have left me with so many blessings. 
    One of the difficult things in my life was my education.  It took me until I was 30 years of age to go to college.  I started out with the thoughts of becoming a teacher...my friend convinced me to go into bio engineering and while taking all those math and science classes, I discovered that I wanted to become a forensic examiner.  Well, through all the twists and turns, turned out that I carried a straight 4.0 (A) average.  Upon the next sign up for the next semester...with money in my hand...the rains came in Chicago...the Big one where everyones home was flooding.  Not only did my home flood...the roof began leaking in 3 places and to top that...when we removed some of the paneling in the basement, discovered that the support beams of the house were going.  The money in my hand went towards the needed repairs and I went to work.  Once I was at work family members health caused me to work and do care giving.  Years went by...I continued to work and do health care when the family member passed away.  we purchased a new home, got all settled in and I finally returned to school.  I was in school a whole 2 months, when a daughter came home pregnant.  The situation was not the best one could hope for.  The man....and I use that term loosely, choose to not be participatory in the situation, so I stepped up to the plate, and took care of my daughter and the baby...which meant giving up school once again.  Today, that lovely baby is almost 18 years old.  Is an excellent student, amazingly funny, charming and caring young lady.  I never regretted a moment of what I gave up.  I received so much out of those opportunities.  I especially made a bond beyond all bonds with my granddaughter.  This week we were texting back and forth over the book she was reading...Pride and Prejudice...and was doing a project on it for school and called to bounce off ideas with me on the subject.  How cool is it, that a young girl would discuss something like that with her grandmother.  I felt so blessed on 2 counts.  One, that she even thinks to call me like that and secondly, that she knows that I can converse on that level with her.  Sometimes one door closes and another one opens.  I am so glad that I was ready to change directions when I did.  That I followed my heart...and gained another's heart as well. 
    sometimes when I question why things happen...when I question God's plan...I know that there will always be something behind the next door.  I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to Sarah.  You are my heart and my soul. You are an inspiration to me.  You are my pride and joy....no prejudice there. 
    I hope that if you, my readers, are ever faced with a difficult moment or decision in life...go with what your heart says. It may be the best decision you ever make.    

    Remembering When and Who

    Good morning to everyone.  Hope you have a fun filled weekend ahead of you.  As for me...it is indoors and painting.  The snow outside is upon us once again.  I already see it on the top of my car out the kitchen window.  I am currently painting soap....yes, soap.  It has been fun creating designs on the tops of the bars.  It is a step by step procedure that begins with sanding, then sealing, painting, then more sealing .  Hoping it will be a fun thing for selling at the holidays.  In my opinion, a great little hostess gift.
    Well,  I have really been into the recycling of things lately...I am also working on turning old t-shirts into hanging works of art.  I purchased a number of canvas' and a number of old shirt to frame over the canvas for men.  Finding the right shirts have been fun as I rummage through the men's racks at the thrift stores.  Our holiday show at The Grove is going to have a Man's Cave section and I am thoroughly excited over making new products. 
    Well onto today's blog.  I have been contemplating some new programs for storytelling.  I recently was hired to do my Love in Bloom (the life and loves of Jack Benny) and it was very well received as always.  I have been in search of other stories like that and decided on a few that I think will pose to be interesting.  They are people of my childhood.  First, there is Shirley Temple.  With Shirley recently passing, I thought doing a story about her life would be fun and interesting since she lived such a phenomenal life.  From movies to politics to being a diplomat.  As a child, I remember watching her and continued to love her movies even to this day.  I have shared them with my children and grandchildren.  I can remember back when I was a child, dreaming that I would be the next Shirley Temple as I sang her songs over and over again on the front porch of my home.  Grandma would allow me to open the living room window which was next to the front porch so that I could hear her on the record players.  I had all the albums...I can still see those swirled clouds that were in the center of the album.  I spent countless hours singing "on the good ship lollipop".  Years later, as I really got into radio talk show programs, I was amazed as she told the story of The Blue Bird. She was sweet and innocent and something to look up to. 
    The next character I have chosen in Carol Burnett.  I no sooner opened her autobiography and was thoroughly engrossed in it.  Her stories are touching and amazing.  She was such a phenomenal comedian.  Her life was no easy street and her accomplishments were many.  I remember her skits on her comedy shows and just roar in laughter.  From the Q & A's with the audience to her skit as Scarlet O'Hare from Gone with the Wind where she donned on the curtain rod and drapes.  Of course no one will ever forget the wash women routine.  It was always a hoot to sit and enjoy her infectious laughter. 
    I must say, choosing who do write stories and programs about has been a bit difficult.  There are so many wonderful people that I have had the pleasure to enjoy watching over the years.  I find it quite intriguing to uncover the stories behind the scenes.  One person I had enjoyed through the years was Fred Astaire.  There was never a whole lot that you heard about this amazing hoofer.  I wondered about his personal life, his dance partners, etc.  It seems that the world has always paired him with Ginger Rogers, yet she was surely not the only dance partner he had..so I thought him to be a good subject as well. 
    The only downside to when I get an idea...is that I cannot stop.  I have found books on various characters that I think will make tremendous programs...and so now all the hard work and research begins.  As a storyteller, the first thing I feel I must do is have heart and curiosity for the subject to really start to dig my teeth into it.  With the snow outside today and more of it expected...I will spend some time reading and researching as I begin another journey. 
    I love taking a trip down memory lane.  Seems to me, that so many of the greats came from back when I was young and even from before then.  I am grateful that I lived with my grandmother and had the opportunity to be exposed to those shows and characters.  To have learned to appreciate that type of showmanship.  There is something to be said about the past and their standards and morals in the movies.  We didn't need to see blood and gore, nor sex on the screen.  We were wisped away to a dreamland.  Taken places that were fun and beautiful.  Exposed to lifestyles that were something that one could aspire to.  If there was drama behind the scenes..you were unaware of them.  There weren't tabloids everywhere blasted innuendos about what they wore, how much weight they had or didn't have.  The were the mysterious character on the big screen.  It didn't create judgments on the individuals, but allowed you to judge the quality of the films or show without any preconceived notions.  I am not sure about you...but I have read critics reviews about a show and then thought they were insane.  If they hated the show...turned out often times that I loved it, and vice versa. 
    So, in essence, I believe that I am recycling movies and their stars as well through storytelling.  Bringing them back to life so to speak.  Uncovering their background and making the public remember when. So get ready public...more programs are on their way.  I would love to hear from you my readers who you might want to hear about.  Was there anyone in the past that has resonated so deep within you that you would enjoy hearing about in a program?  Just shoot me a note in the comment box...I would love the feedback.  Enjoy the day.  Talk to you tomorrow.  
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