Thursday, December 31, 2015


So many folks believe being on the computer is a waste of time. While the computer can be overused there are many posts that definitely add to one's life. 

This week Nancy, one of my favorite people, announced she would no longer be posting. I respect her decision but will miss her positivity. So just in case she really drops out of my daily reading, I wanted to share one her most recent shares from the Random Acts of Kindness Blog. 

Do me a favor and pass it along...
  We all can be a little kinder in 2016. 

"The world needs more people who are willing to step out and have the courage to be kind. Here are 16 ways you can be that person in 2016  By Kelsey Gryniewicz

  1. Year of Kindness Box: Create a New Year's tradition. On the first day of the new year, start a Year of Kindness Box. Throughout the year, fill up the box with: compliments you received, thank you notes, moments of kindness you witnessed, acts of kindness you did, inspiring quotes, etc. Then after the year is over, review the contents!
  2. Smile: According to an article from Psychology Today, "Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness."
  3. Create a Gratitude Journal: "A five-minute a day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. That's the same impact as doubling your income!" From Happier Human
  4. Three Compliments: Each day, compliment the first three people you talk to.
  5. Send a Letter to Your Future Self: Go to and write yourself a letter. Pick a date in the future... a week from now, a month from now, even ten years from now and write an encouraging note to yourself. The site will send you your letter on the date you specify. Congratulate yourself on losing weight or finishing that homework assignment. Tell yourself that everything is going to be ok. Remind yourself that you are awesome and you make this world a better place just by being you. Maybe even give yourself a cool new nickname?
  6. Set a Kindness Reminder: Schedule a daily kindness reminder on your phone. When it goes off, think of a random person. Then, send them a positive message (text, email, social media post, phone call, letter, etc.)
  7. 52 Thank You Notes: Express your gratitude for the people in your life, write one thank you note every week to a different person: Need a quick thank-you note format? Check out The Five Minute Thank You Note.
  8. A Kind Twist on Happy Hour: Invite a group of people you know (friends, family, coworkers) to the happiest of happy hours and spend one hour doing acts of kindness for others. Need ideas? Check out this list of 50 Pay-It-Forward Ideas.
  9. Positive Sticky Notes: Carry a stack of positive sticky notes with you wherever you go. Post them when you're somewhere that needs a little bit more kindness.
  10. Morning Kindness: Before you get out of bed, focus on kindness. Think of a kind motto for your day or text a positive good morning note to a friend.
  11. Volunteer: Each year, think of one cause you care about or a group in your community that could use some help. Schedule a day on your calendar to volunteer or help that cause. Bonus: Volunteering has some serious health benefits!
  12. Beautify Your Surroundings: Spend 10 minutes picking up litter in your neighborhood, park or other commonly visited locations.
  13. Kind Body Image: Place positive body image sticky notes on dressing room mirrors.
  14. Coupon Fairy: Save unused/unwanted coupons and put them next to relevant products next time you're at the grocery store
  15. Self-Kindness: Do one kind thing every week for yourself. Enjoy a treat you love, exercise, eat a healthy meal, or do something you love and rarely have time to do.
  16. Be Kind to the Earth: Research ways to be kind to the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are seven ideas to get you started."
    For more ideas you can always visit: RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


 The Arkansas Arts Center has always been a happy place for me to enjoy the arts and their present Smithsonian exhibit did not disappoint. Our America THE LATINO PRESENCE IN AMERICAN ART/ Nuestra America, LA PRESENCIA LATINA EN EL ARTE ESTADOUNIDENSE will be in Little Rock until the 17th of January. 

72 Latino artists with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican roots were chosen to exemplify contemporary and modern art. The Civil Rights movement of the  60's and 70's served as a catalyst to create the collective term 'Latino' throughout our country.

Included in the exhibit are examples of abstract expressionism; activist, conceptual and performance art; and classic American genres such as landscape, portraiture and scenes of everyday life." 

Amalia Mesa-Bains
 An Ofrenda for Dolores del Rio, 1984 
Although we weren't allowed to photograph the work, the Art Center's pamphlet provided these photos of works with topics of tradition, labor, acculturation, immigration, emotions, neighborhoods, etc...

This modern ofrenda (altar) is done in pink with a sand floor dedicated in memory of a famous actress, Amalia Mesa Bains. The ofrenda concentrates on her likes and desires. Photos are traditionally included in an 'ofrenda.' 

Scherazade Garcia's Dominican York treats the difficulty of immigration and being accepted and dreaming of a different less violent world. 

el Tamalito

Roberto Chavez felt this young fellow's looks mirrored the look of so many youth in the barrio.  

Xavier Viramontes
                                                                                                                        Chicano labor was the backbone of the California growers. I remember the cost of produce skyrocketing as laborers  demanded safe, fair working and living conditions.  Gracias a Dios for the United Farm Workers movement. ¡Viva la Raza!

Joseph Rodriguez's Carlos from Spanish Harlem, indigenous roots of Judithe Hernandez' Reina de la Primavera,  Emilio Sanchez's portrayal of the neighborhood grocery store along with many others added to the latino fabric all of which gave the visitor glimpses into the latino presence and its importance in our  lives.

The Arkansas Arts Center also provided related opportunities to attend a Tertulia (Party), lecture, UALR film series and interactive projects.  A big Gracias and kudos for bringing these important cultural additions to its community.

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit, there's still time and
 ADMISSION is free. It's a win win...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


As they say there's no day like a snow day and it's time for yours truly. LITERALLY snow has impeded me from returning to the End of the Rainbow Valley as scheduled. Perhaps a foot of that white stuff will cover the Coulee region and be awaiting my return from Arkansas sometime this week. In the meanwhile I am taking advantage of the inclement weather and staying where it's warmer and less white. 

BUT the real reason I am taking a 'Snow Day' to celebrate is that I surpassed 75,000 views yesterday on this blog Life in the End of the Rainbow Valley. Thanks for taking the journey with me whether you are a daily visitor/ just an occasional visitor.

Can't wait for another day off when I reach 100,000 views! 

Monday, December 28, 2015


As I've previously mentioned I really appreciate good, fresh food, especially food I wouldn't normally prepare/have at home. So when Little Rock friends suggested a new contemporary addition to Little Rock's Asian dining scene, (owned by Jerry Barakat who I remember from many moons ago from his original middle eastern food endeavor, The Terrace in west Little Rock's Breckenridge Plaza)- Anyhow, I was stoked to join my friends at
located in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood on Kavanaugh. I am assuming the namesake is after the ska band of the 90's known for its positive lyrics.
One can never have too much positivity these days...

The restaurant offers an upscale ambience where the diner can choose to sit at the long Sushi bar and watch dinner being made/be seated in the main dining area. We opted for the latter.

Our gregarious waiter suggested we take advantage of the Bloody Mary/ Mimosa bar. Not a huge fan of tomato juice (must be all the tomatoes we grow) I was the only one of the group to go Mimosa. The server brought a flute of the bubbly to the table and off we all went to the drink mix island of possibilities.
Bloody Mary Bar
Not being well versed in drink mixing, I was at a bit of a loss and could have used some quantity and combo suggestions for my Mimosa. The red of the raspberry and pomegranate sauces looked good with a cherry for good measure. Did I have to add orange juice? 

Sundays offer a brunch menu (the tea pancakes sounded interesting) in addition to robata, slowly grilled charcoal foods and of course, sushi. Our table decided on two appetizers, a well seasoned battered calamari with mango and cilantro and steamed mussels with lemon grass in a thai basil chili coconut sauce. 

Kemuri Roll
I opted for the Kemuri Roll after having read a couple reviews on line highly recommending it. 
You know me being about presentation so   aesthetically this choice was way too busy for me. I am not a purist but Japanese to me is about simplicity.
Kemuri Roll piece
The Kemuri roll consisted of tempura tuna, blue crab, cream cheese, mango, jalapeño avocado, crab stick and 3 sauces. The sushi pieces were not mouth size bites. Easily adjustable for the chef.

We added a tasty variety with the Kemuri combo (pictured below) and the brunch omelette.

Our table's dessert of choice was a Capucchino Jar. I wish I had had room for it. 

So, would I go back and give it a second chance?

Absolutely, creativity for the palate offers a new dining experience and the conversation time with old friends always adds to the positivity of that experience. Give it a try and let me know your favorites.

Friday, December 25, 2015


FOTO FRIDAY this week involves our  friendly challenge with our neighbors.  You may remember the neighbor's 6 ft Babes in Toyland guard figure who's been changing outfits for the seasonal holidays thanks to an overzealous prankster, yours truly. 

Well, last week I received notice that by dusk that day there would be a new outfit for the Valley Guard and to think "Nutcracker Suite. "

Since we had just had our mile walk that day to the mailbox we waited until sunlight the next day to check out the transformation. 

Well, let's just say the neighbors outdid themselves. Actually I was told the Mrs. con-curred the outfit idea and it was the Master of the house who was the designer. Feast your eyes on "Mary" Christmas.
Honey , you never looked so good!

Her garland boa even lights up at night. Now that's impressive. I can only imagine what January playoffs will inspire...

So have you ever had friendly antics with neighbors/ friends?
       Always awaiting you to share and add.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Angels walk among us every day but a very special one in our family received her real wings late Tuesday afternoon. They say you can pick your friends but you don't pick your family. Well if you were able to pick in-laws (mishpocha) my brother Marc lucked out and so did we when he married into the Cohen family. 

Matriarch Leaine Cohen, 91 years young went into hospice just a couple of days before our Mom and even shared the same hospice nurse. Leaine was fortunate to be able to stay in her home and daily be visited by her caring children, grandchildren and friends.  Sonny, her loving husband of 60 years passed a year ago and his caretakers continued Leaine's daily care. 

This photo was taken mid August when my daughter Lori invited Leaine, who she called her 'Bonus Grandma', to be among the family girls to go wedding dress shopping. Leaine would lean over towards me and compliment her favorites. That's the way she was, always concentrating on the positive.  Every time I saw her she would say, "I sure hope I can be at Lori's wedding. I would love to be there." 
We all knew May was a long way off...  
Leaine was the perfect Grandma exuding unconditional love. She always filled me in on the grandkids's going ons. She never hesitated to add what a 'good' kid they were. 
Grandchildren surround Leaine last Father's Day at Honor Thy Father
photo courtesy of Ben Lewis
She would say the very same thing about her 3 children, Jerry, Perry and Terri. And you know what? She was right. They had learned by her caring example and were always there for her too.   

Below are beautiful insights by Leaine's two daughter-in-laws recently shared on FaceBook. 
Perry's wife Jana wrote:   She was a sweet mixture of Southern, German and Jewish. Her Southern soul loved her fig trees, persimmon trees and country steak and yellow rice. Her German work ethic kept her working with her family at the Little Rock Foot Clinic well into her 80's. Her Jewish spirit was passed with pride into all of her children and grandchildren.

Jerry's wife Susan: "How lucky am I to have someone, that makes saying goodbye so hard."Winnie the Pooh
Even though you were 91 years young, we simply did not have enough time. We love you, we will miss you and we will take care of each other.  Good-bye Leaine Cohen

Amen to that. Thankfully she has left such a lovely legacy in all of her family. And we all shall say,  "May her memory be a blessing."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


It's not the first time I've returned home SMOKY from a bonfire but it was my first time to celebrate the Winter Solstice doing so and purposely standing out in 20 degree weather. Hey, I was raised in the South, we hibernate when it gets in the 40's. 

You see another another couple invited us to join them and journey across the river Saturday evening to the Minnesota side of the Mississippi to enjoy the solstice celebration on an organic farm, Hoch Orchard & Gardens on this 'crisp' evening. We bundled up in our winter gear and off we went to see what we would see...

I have to admit we were really the only ones that enjoyed the bonfire for any length of time as the additional two dozen hardy smart souls stayed inside the operations building which houses a kitchen area and distilling equipment along with walk in storage. 

Inside the operations building there awaited us an amazing home cooked local dinner buffet provided by the Hochs and their staff.

Duck, stewed wine venison, buttered baby potatoes, baked squash, cabbage with horseradish, pork and for dessert apple crisp and a mulled wine. 

Another first-cabbage with horseradish

We ate at communal tables and sat on chairs and crates. Across from me sat a Dad and his second grade son from La Crosse who I might add highly recommended the apple crisp.

20 yrs organic farming experience, Jackie left the Med Tech world

Jackie Hoch welcomed us to not only eat and taste test their orchard wines and ciders but most important of all 'visit.'

 I'll admit I spent time visiting with their international interns from Spain and France whose desire to improve their English and further organic farming knowledge intrigued me. They came on student visas and take an Ag course at the U of Minnesota as part of their internship in addition to working on the farm. Fascinating to come across continents to study organic farming, huh?

Hoch wines and cider were not only available for tasting but purchasing as well.  Their orchard fruit trees include apple, apricot, cherry and plum in addition to growing blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.  Honey, juice, vinegars, jelly and sauce also fill their cooler cases.

The original fruit trees were planted in the 40's but very few of them are still around. High density planting of some 50 varieties of fruit trees has taken place in the last 15 years. About half of the 90 acres is dedicated to the orchard with about 10,000 trees.
aerial pic courtesy of web site
 Hoch Orchard has been a family farm since the 50's but it was in '97 when their present owner, grandson of the hobby farmer,  returned with Ag degrees to convert the farm practices to a real organic sustainable orchard, not an easy feat in our Midwestern climate.

How organic are they? Apples are cleaned and packed on the farm. No ripening agents, growth stimulants, waxing, shellac nor post harvest pesticides are used. To help with pest control chicken, duck, geese and pigs are also raised and rotated through the garden beds and orchard. 

We had a great time being introduced to Hoch Orchard and look forward to an open house visit/tour during a warmer season. This is a working farm and one needs to call ahead, not just drop by as the deer gate will most certainly be closed. Hoch products can be found at area farmer markets and CSA's are also now a possibility.

I have to admit the sky was beautiful, great local food and company and most important of all we came home with a piece of Hoch Orchard, Ice Cider to commemorate the Winter Solstice of 2016.

*To learn more about the Hoch Orchard and Gardens you can click on their site:HOCH ORCHARD & GARDENS

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Don't fall off your chairs. You know I don't post on the weekends but consider this an exception. Anyhow, today I hope to get the word out regarding community action.  I will continue reposting this because the message is that important.

It's time for communities everywhere to let their voices be heard that we will not be ruled by words nor actions of hatred. This is supposed to be the season of wishing Peace for all mankind.

For every hater there are many more lovers that need to be heard. This week a news story broke re: an individual, a Christian librarian in a small Arkansas town who decided to order a hijab, the female Muslim head covering, and wear it to show her solidarity with the Muslim community. It's not easy for an individual to take such a bold stand. She quoted a 1930's German Pastor's poem albeit a different version as there have been many versions. Below is a 1950's version. The message is the same.

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
Last week Justice Communities of Arkansas published a letter to the community and their words speak for themselves. Please share this entry so other communities may also do the same regardless of denomination/ religious affiliation.  We are all people and share the same planet. 
Read on: America Vigil plan  6 pm in Little Rock this Monday, December 21st.  If you live in the area, join them. No matter what, do something for your community. Post this blog entry on your media sources, send it to your religious leaders to show we need not act alone as individuals. Every community across our country needs to be doing something.
HERE's the link to copy and postRISE ABOVE OUR FEARS

Friday, December 18, 2015


FOTO FRIDAY: THE UNEXPECTED PACKAGE welcomed me home earlier this week. There sitting on the kitchen counter in a much bigger box couldn't be the mail ordered pair of tights/could it?

Surprised I was indeed to see the return address of a former UW-L work colleague. Inside was a letter of explanation as to its contents... a frame for a special photo of my Mom, a memorial stone/s, a ceramic dreidl for my collection, a freshly baked challah for sustenance and a baby blue felt bag with an appliqué of a dove and the word "peace". 
What more can one wish for besides the feeling of PEACE ?

Since I very rarely know who is reading my blog, I do now know another one of its followers. SO very unexpected, thoughtful and appreciated. 

To all of you "Thank YOU" all for your kind words, wishes and actions these past months during my Mother's decline.

How about spreading the joy of some surprise you received this holiday season?  It can be posted and you can share this link and be your surprise for the giver.

Did you catch last week's FOTO FRIDAY'S:SIMPLE BEAUTY?
Always awaiting any FOTO FRIDAY pics to add. 
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Unbelievably it's been a month already, a month since we buried Mom. A month filled with daily reminders of her being gone. Besides my own personal thoughts, extra hugs, phone calls and beautiful cards, there were the gift donations. Donations of prepared foods for my Dad and monetary donations to various charities/ causes. Over two boxes of Thank You notes, over 50 handwritten notes. But it's not the quantity I'm writing about but what the process of writing them has meant to me.

Mom was always the correspondent, the one to do the secretarial chores. It seemed natural for me as the eldest and daughter to offer to take over the thank you's and Dad didn't even hesitate letting me. 

What this entailed this past month were daily phone calls from Little Rock. After the mail arrived Dad would call with the news of whom he heard from that day. Sometimes he would even be opening the mail as he reported and reminisced of how they knew the individuals. Lifelong stories of friends who intersected their lives.  

Needless to say the calls, the time spent on the phone with my Dad and the process of thanking the kindnesses of family and friends  has been cathartic. 

You'll have to bear with me if I've shared this story before about how much mail arrives daily to my childhood home but I did speak about it at Mom's Celebration of Life. You see my folks's  mailman commented, not really complaining about the quantity of bulk mail he delivers there exceeds the quantity of their entire block. Why? Because my Mom gave to every charity under the sun and we all know that each donation generates at least 4 more mailings per month, right?  

So yes giving thanks has been cathartic, being appreciative most of all for the memories and the good these donations continue to do  - a reminder especially at this time of the year to give. 

Please give to your favorite cause/s and smile with the knowledge Hildegard would appreciate you taking over her job and making sure we also keep the postal service in business. Do excuse me as I have two more thank you's to write for donations to Hadassah and Mom's Bridge House, two of her many lifelong loves from lifelong friends... 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


The very best part of the Holiday Season is getting together with THE Girls. And what could be better than to have a day full of those people that share one's life? Tuesday, yesterday was that day. It involved more pre-planning than usual for change of clothes, gifts and timing for the day. BUT you all know it's worth it when you are doing something you want to do. 

The day started early as usual( I can't help it, I'm a morning person) but it was a special activity of finishing up the Grinch Fruit Kabobs to bring for the Jazzercise Christmas Party's Potluck. Yep, the grape is the Grinch's head, the banana slice the fur part of his hat, the strawberry tip the hat's body and the mini marshmallow its pompom. All held together by a toothpick. They did look cute but try finding uniform/ small fruit at their time of year to make it look symmetrical. I 'potch'kied more than necessary but as one of my friends said it's the artist in me.

Instructor extraordinaire
First stop was Jazzercise class where our instructor Debbie had her Christmas routines and an outfit to accompany them. Debbie has 35 years under her belt as an instructor and is the epitome of one of this month's song's lyrics which states "Do what you love and love what you do." 

What an assortment!
And we took her holiday cheer onto the morning class's potluck afterwards where we had some 30 folks donating to the soiree with food and a gift exchange of socks. Isn't it amazing how there can be so many items with no duplicates? 

We eat healthy too.

We exercise hard so we can also eat well. There were different serving areas for appetizers, hot dishes, salads and of course, desserts.

This is the first time we had a sock exchange and there certainly are a lot of fun socks out there nowadays. Only one snowman duplicate.

We really appreciate our instructors so we use this opportunity to bestow our thanks too with gifts. 
Jenny and Debbie our a.m. instructors

 I  found these great Suessical hats on line after seeing them last year in Little Rock  (thanks Kaye) and knew they had to hit the La Crosse scene so I had to have two for our instructors. 

Debbie's also entering a new decade so she got both Christmas and wonderful birthday gifts.

Early afternoon had me heading home to change, catch up on some correspondence before heading back to town to co teach some English with some lovely amigas. One just had a baby and we are still having class in her home. The kids loved the leftover Grinch Kabobs. We will have a 2 week break and got some very big hugs with wishes of Feliz Navidad and Prospero Ano Nuevo. Love these gals. Sorry no pic. :(

The Happy Bookers strike again... our hats didn't stop bobbing
I arrived at 6:30 on the dot for my Happy Booker's Christmas party at a Tapas restaurant and you guessed it I had the Suessical hats for this group. I swear every single table in that restaurant must have stopped by to compliment us on our whimsical hats. We were the entertainment. 

We laughed a lot, caught up on our lives and had our traditional book exchange where we roll die to choose a wrapped used book. Then there's a lot of stealing as we roll for our preferred favorites with a lot more laughs. The 10 minute playoff was never ending. They are all good books so there are no losers... I ended up with "Unbroken."

 I think it was my early morning choice of my red shoes that should have been the indicator of the "perfect" day that would ensue with the girls. AND lo and behold the restaurant's Christmas tree was decked out with miniature red high heeled shoes no less. Were we at the perfect place or what?

It's always perfect when you are surrounded with friends. Blessings to you all this Holiday Season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Last Tuesday I was caught off guard and I made a not so wise decision. If my daughter/girl friends would have done what I did, I would have reamed them out starting with the question "Are you crazy?"

So what happened?  I had about 20 minutes until I had to go teach so I had just run inside the store to check on a particular product. It would be a quick stop. Unfortunately, they didn't carry the brand I needed. I had to go anyway, I had 10 minutes. It was almost 5 o'clock, the sun had set and it was dark. There's the setting.

Anyhow as I am getting in my vehicle and closing the door, I hear somebody talking. I start the car and am double checking traffic as I back up and there on the other side of the car is this guy walking towards my car with his hand up in the air. I open the passenger window to hear what he needed. He's wielding jumper cables and wants to know if I could give him a jump. I told him I only had 10 minutes to get to my class but where was he parked? 

He points to the upper deck area of the lot and says it's a black truck. Not thinking I say okay.  I drive in the direction where he's pointed. As I get closer, I can see a truck with its hood up. It dawns on me the area is not well lit at all... If I turn around now, I could just leave but the guy has already walked up  behind my car so through the still half opened passenger window I ask him what side his battery's on.  I know, I know this whole situation is not smart. There's absolutely no one in the vicinity. Double stupid.  I'll just pop the hood and stay in the car but he can't find the hood's release switch. Shoot, now I have to get out. He still fumbling for the latch, unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth. "Here, I'll get it." I quickly find the release switch, prop the hood up. It's so dark I watch as he ignites his lighter to see the battery terminals and I quickly head back in the car. Stuff is running through my head like why didn't he ask some guy to help? I watch way too many HGTV movies...
I have left the car running. I hear him attach the cables to my car then it takes longer for his.

 I am 'really' ready to go. I check my mirrors. No other soul is in sight. I see him get in his car, listening for his engine to turn over.  His lights give a little flicker, but no sound. Dang. (My passenger window's still half open. ) He's counting. He gets out, goes to reconnect the cables on his end, gets back in his car tries again, the lights come on a bit longer and I hear a little more noise this time. But no luck. Dead. He explains he's had battery problems all week but it always starts.  One more try even after a longer wait. Nothing. I apologize, "I really need to get to class" because I do but also because I am scared. "Sorry" I utter, "I really need to go, good luck."

Gosh I am sorry about more that just having to leave. I am sorry to have been in that predicament/ even feeling that I should have just originally answered I couldn't help and left when he asked me. So why am I telling you about this foolish lack of judgement? 

Well in all the hubbub of the season it's easy to not stop/ think/ want to be a good samaritan. I think all women feel vulnerability and more on guard when alone. Whether it's just walking alone down a street/whatever. Men don't have to think think twice about walking to their car in a parking lot. Yes, nothing happened but it could have... All I'm saying is don't do what I just did.
Don't be sorry, be safe....

Monday, December 14, 2015


Our new neighbors had no clue what they were in for when they asked if the plastic soldier standing guard on the hill across from their barn was ours. You see our last neighbors had moved their life sized toy soldier off their front porch when they put their house up for sale. He has since stood as sentry roadside braced to a tree.

It was obvious the new neighbors were pleased as punch to hear soldier boy wasn't ours and from their comments the poor 6 foot bronzy plastic figure Babes in Toyland look a like would be demoted to the dump. Dang. I had been dying to dress him up as Uncle Sam for the Fourth of July.  Natureman had convinced me otherwise as he felt we should get to know the new neighbors before committing a prank...

Gee willikers. Now they had mentioned this thorn in their side. What to do? Fess up. Well, I just told them I was really looking forward to dressing the soldier for the holidays." which was received by a less than enthusiastic bewildering look and a "Uh, okay."  I do have to mention that a couple weeks later I noticed Soldier Boy was donning a huge pair of google eyes and NO, I did not place them there. Game on.

I couldn't wait for October to get here so Soldier Boy could transform into a cow. His big hat was an issue so I created a mask for the cow and stretched the kids' s ole cow costume on as best as I could. The story was he was dressing up as a cow to catch the cow rustlers. Humor me. It took a good week before the neighbors asked me if I knew when/how Soldier Boy had become a cow. In November Soldier Boy not so mysteriously became a turkey, what else? 

Hair wasn't on for this Rebbe's hat.
December rolled around and it seemed the obvious choice would be- No, not Santa but a Chasid, a very religious orthodox jew, a black hatter. Who else would find his way to the middle of nowhere? 

A young friend, Asher, was commissioned to make me a black duct tape hat but in the meanwhile I combined a stocking cap & black foam board for the big brimmed hat, black shawl for hair albeit missing in the pic, black yarn for a beard and long sideburns and gold wire ribbon for his spectacles.
His greeting card reads "OY to the world." Since you well know how meshugenah( CRAZY)  the world is acting! And yeah, I must be living proof with these outfit changes. Anyhow-
October was very mooving...
November Gobbler

SHALOM and all our best
wishes for a Happy Holiday Season from the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Friday, December 11, 2015


FOTO FRIDAY: I can't take credit for today's FOTO FRIDAY as this pic was taken by my future son-in-law Evan. He asked me for my camera at the Thanksgiving dinner table and proceeded to snap a pic of one of the table roses through his water glass. 

I have a strong suspicion this guy will bring a lot of beauty into my daughter's life. What more could a mother wish for?

Have you been keeping up with the HOLIDAY MISCHIEF?

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Did you know the once bottom of the middle class income for a family of 4 was $48,00 and now 67% of our population lives on less than that? A lot of folks are living on the edge, one car repair/illness away from living in poverty.

The other day I started hearing the seasonal radio calls regarding requests to help family/ friends have a better Christmas. Two $100 gift certificates are gifted to a specific grocery store and a local chain store with a huge seasonal Christmas supply of toys. These stories are of folks who are struggling to make ends meet all year round, not just at Christmas. Whether it's a family of 5 / 2 they all receive the same help. As I have reached this senior status I have learned equal is not always fair. I think about that a lot...

I probably have mentioned before how my generous my Jazzercise group is throughout the year and how we also participate in a similar type Christmas gift program by adopting a needy family or two. The family's Mom submits a wish list for her family including herself. 
Not many tags are left to claim... 
Our instructor creates the gift tags with the desired items to don a small artificial tree where those interested in participating can choose a tag/two and gift those items.The class size has grown so much  this year we might even have three families who will be celebrating a better Christmas. Since there with so many tags these requests were placed first on a large bench so we could view the items easier. This different placement allowed more of us to congregate around to view the tags. The requested items ranged from hygiene products, specific clothing sizes, gas cards to video games, etc...

I was eyeing a couple tags when I heard one of the gals (actually one of our 'wealthier' class members) comment on one of the tags I was considering, "Can you imagine asking for scrapbooking supplies? Those aren't cheap." I was taken aback. 'Privilege' couldn't speak any louder. Are we so privileged that we can't understand the need of a "comfort" i.e. hobby/interest? These folks don't have disposable incomes. OK, you know my resolve to not be silent. I looked her straight in the eye and said, "I am sure she wouldn't ask for it unless she couldn't and or wouldn't buy them for herself." I then picked up the scrapbooking supplies gift tag with hopes this Mom will actually have some time to enjoy them.

A Mom will have scrapbooking supplies under her tree this year
My heart is heavy as I think of all those who won't be helped this holiday season nor throughout the year for that matter... We should really have 4 seasons of giving. May we recognize our privilege.