Son’s Introduction to Idiocy 101 at College

Our oldest son decided to serve our country in the Fall of 2009.  After his high school graduation, he was whisked away in early August with other young people who had decided to join the USMC.  After his successful 4 years in the military were finished, he enrolled in college via the Post 911 GI Bill and is now a freshman at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio.


We skype with him pretty much every Sunday afternoon, an NFL game usually playing in the background.  So far, he’s spent most of his time studying, working part-time at the on campus Veteran’s Affairs office, and hanging out with extended relatives from his Dad’s side of the family.  This past Sunday he asked, “Oh!  Have you heard about the latest scandal at OU’s campus?”  We hadn’t heard about the latest scandal.  Suffice it to say, it was a  “Welcome to Idiocy 101″, college-style, for our son.

Two weeks ago, the president of Ohio University, Dr. Roderick McDavis , issued an ALS ice bucket challenge to the  Student Senate President, Megan Marzec.   Ms. Marzec decided to do a bucket challenge but not for ALS.  She had a video made of her pouring a “blood” bucket over herself while declaring that Ohio University should join a “Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” movement against the nation of  Israel.  Ms. Marzec actually used red-food colored water, not real blood.

In her video, she shared “student” concerns about genocide in Gaza and it’s occupation by the Israeli State.  Then she urged Dr. McDavis and Ohio University to “divest  and cut all ties” with Israeli Academic Institutions and businesses.  She said that the bucket of blood represented thousands of murdered and displaced Palestinians.

Ms. Marzec made her video on September 2nd.  The Student Senate, later that same day, sent out a Tweet via Twitter to apologize for Senate President Marzec’s video, and then another tweet  to state that their goal is to represent all students on campus and their views.   The Wednesday after this video was created and aired, 4 Jewish students decided to speak out at a Student Government meeting  and stage a filibuster,  asking  for Marzec’s resignation from the Student President position.   Marzec asked for student Rebecca Sebo, President of Bobcats for Israel(the Bobcat is the mascot of Ohio University) to stop her filibuster so other students at the meeting could speak in an orderly manner.  Sebo refused to stop and three other members of Bobcats for Israel also began to speak and join the filibuster.  Marzec then warned the 4 protesters that if they didn’t stop they’d be arrested for disrupting the meeting.  University Police were called and they gave the 4 protesters a 2 minute warning to stop their filibuster.  The 4 students refused to stop speaking and were arrested, taken to the campus police station and charged with disruption of a lawful meeting.   On September 12, Hillel International, a nationwide Jewish campus organization, has called upon Ohio University to apologize to the 4 students who were arrested: Rebecca Sebo, Max Peltz, Gabriel Sirkin, and Jonah Yulish.

OU Bobcats

My son’s take on all of this hubbub is that the students who were protesting at the Student Senate meeting shouldn’t have been arrested.  Perhaps they should have followed the protocol that is used when one wants to speak at a Student Government meeting, Roberts Rules of Order, etc.  However, stating their desire to have the Student President resign-that’s an offense where they needed to be arrested?

Ms. Marzec made a major error in her video.  She said she was sharing “student” concerns.  No, she was stating her “own” concerns, and perhaps if she’d made the video stating that it was  her own opinion,  and not say that all 17,000 students held her same views on Israel and Gaza and Palestinians, then perhaps her video blood bucket challenge wouldn’t have been so offensive.

In hindsight, if a University President, in a spirit of goodwill and bonhomie, asks one to participate in an ice water challenge to raise funds for a charity, than wouldn’t it be best for all at said University to honor the President’s request?  The consequences of honoring President McDavis’s original challenge would have been nonexistant.  Student President Marzec showed a lack of common sense in answering a simple request/challenge by turning  a fun way to help a charity into an immature rant that was gross and offensive.

How invested is Ohio University in the nation of Israel?  I don’t know and I don’t care!  If the University was misusing students’ dollars to pay for lavish vacations for professors or for President McDavis, or if there was a major cheating scandal happening at the school, or even bullying going on, or lousy cafeteria food-those are the types of items I would anticipate a Student President and Student Senate to be concerned with, not what is going on in a nation very far away from Athens, Ohio.   Idiocy 101; it happens in real life, and unfortunately, on college campuses.


Research for this blog provided by:  “Ohio University divided over Student Senate president’s blood bucket challenge”, by Karen Farkas, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sept. 16th, 2014.

“Ohio University Asked To Apologize Following Arrest of Pro-Israel Students”, by Stephen Adkins, University Herald, Sept. 15th, 2014.




My Movie Shelf Tag

I was honored this week to have been “tagged” by blogger Christina Wehner.   I enjoy reading Christina’s blogs  because  she writes interesting pieces  about classic movies, musicals, old books, and the great American Songbook; all topics that I enjoy learning more about!

How does a Movie Shelf Tag work exactly?  Here are the rules:  Answer each question and then tag 5 other people to participate in the Movie  Shelf Tag.  Previous blogs have mentioned that it is a good idea to tell the person who tagged you when you put up your post so they can find it and read  your answers.  If you want to turn it back into a Book Shelf Tag, feel free to do so.  Just substitute the words book for movie and watch or see  for read.

1.  Is there a movie that you really want to see but haven’t because you know it will make you cry?   The Joy Luck Club.  I’m a mom of twin daughters and any movie that has a flashback of a mother having to abandon her twin baby daughters in order to flee the invading Japanese in Kweilin-Oh I’m just tearing up writing this answer!!!!!!!!

Heart-breaking scene from The Joy Luck Club

Heart-breaking scene from The Joy Luck Club

2. Pick one movie that helped introduce you to a new genre.    Film Noir was a term created by the French to describe stylish films coming out of Hollywood that were about the criminal underworld.   Stylishly filmed stories, with anti-heroes and femme fatales(dangerous women), and many started being produced during and especially after World War II.   Murder, My Sweet is the film that introduced me to this genre.   A Raymond Chandler novel,  this excellent  movie was made in 1944 starring Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, and Anne Shirley.  Excellent direction by Edward Dmytryk.  Powell was wanting to shed his clean, All-American boy image and this role did the trick.  Clair Trevor is great as the sizzling femme fatale and Anne Shirley is the cynical, yet more wholesome of the two women in this movie.   The plot is simple, then gets twisted up: Private detective Philip Marlowe(Powell) has been hired to find ex-con Moose Malloy’s missing girlfriend, Velma.

Murder, My Sweet

3.  A movie that you want to re-watch.  Since I love classic movies and like to convince my kids  to watch them with me, one is currently waiting on our dvr: D.O.A.  Made in 1950, starring Edmund O’Brien.  He’s Frank Bigelow, an insurance agent.  He’s been mysteriously poisoned, only has 3 days to live, and is determined to find out who’s poisoned him and why!!!  It’s a tense film,well-acted, well-paced.  If you’ve only seen the remake from 1988 that starred Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, you really should see the 1950 original.    DOA

4.  Is there a movie series(or tv series) that you saw and now wish you hadn’t?  When our oldest(who will be 23 soon!!) was a newborn baby and needed those 2 am feedings, TVLand became my friend.  I liked watching Dobie Gillis, but there was another sitcom that was aired that I suffered through, The Patty Duke Show.  Identical cousins???? Really?????????? American and British????????  Ridiculous fluff and how could ABC have foisted that on the American public????  My apologies to Ms. Duke(an otherwise fine actress.)

Avoid this one!

Avoid this one!

5.  If your house were on fire and all of your family and pets were outside and safe, which movie would you run back into the house and save?     The Searchers-John Wayne gives one of his best performances in this film.  His character is a tormented man.   Tormented by the unspoken love he has for his sister-in-law.  Tormented by the anger and revenge seething inside of him towards the Comanches who have  killed this sister-in-law and the rest of her family and kidnapped her two daughters, later killing the older one and keeping the younger one.  Tormented by the search he has undertaken  to find that child.   Tormented by  racism.  If he finds the child, should he let her live? She’ll have been fully assimilated into the Commanches by now, or is there  a small chance that she can revert back to civilized life?  A very nuanced performance by Wayne, and great support from Ward Bond, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Natalie Wood, and many others who usually acted in director John Ford’s movies.  Bonus: the  beautiful outdoor scenes of the West, their vistas  shot in glorious technicolor.

The Searchers

6.  Is there one movie on your movie  shelf that brings back fond memories?  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  A fun musical romp that our  entire family loves.  My 3 daughters have watched it and rewatched it and each has their “favorite” brother.  My sons have all enjoyed Russ Tamblyn’s scene as baby brother Gideon, meowing like a cat in order to lure his girl out of her family home but only succeeding in luring out her town boyfriend!  It’s fun to hear my kids rewatch it and share which song is their favorite and they’ve now learned about and watched  other films that Tamblyn, Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Jacques d’Amboise, and Jeff Richards have been in.  In fact, when they watched West Side Story for the first time, they kept calling Russ Tamblyn, “Gideon” instead of “Riff”!

Seven Brides for SEven Brothers

7.  Find a movie that has inspired you the most.  I was a teacher before I started my stay at home mom career with my 7 kids.  So, it’s not surprising to say that teacher films inspire me.  It’s hard to pick just one, so here’s a list of some I enjoy: Good-Bye, Mr. Chips, To Sir, with Love, The Blackboard Jungle, Up the Down Staircase, Stand and Deliver.






TBBJUp the Down Staircase

Stand and Deliver

8.  Do you have any autographed movies?  No.

9.  Find the movie you have owned the longest.  A VHS of Aladdin.  My husband and I saw it when our oldest was a mere baby.  I bought it for his future viewings.  Now it seems especially poignant as it contains the wonderful voicework of the late Robin Williams as the Genie of the lamp.    Aladdin

10.  Is there a movie with an actor( or by a director) that you never imagined you would watch or enjoy?  Our oldest is a Will Ferrell fan and he kept telling his Dad and I to watch the comedy film, Stepbrothers.  Hubby and I kept putting it off and finally, when our oldest was home on leave from the Marines, we gave in and watched Stepbrothers.  I had to overlook the foul language and some other antics, but did find it funny.  My two favorite scenes: when the two adult stepbrothers are whining about missing shark week because  Dad has taken away the tv as a punishment, and when Dad, finally exasperated with these two grown men’s lack of maturity, spanks them!       Stepbrothers

Here is my list of blogs that I have tagged for either the Movie Shelf or Book Shelf  Tag.

Nerd in the Brain-excellent blog written by an extraordinary homeschooling mom who’s philosophy is that Life is about Learning.

Classic Movie Night-a nice blog that gives great information daily about classic movies not to miss and lists of entertainment industry folks who would be or are, celebrating a birthday; great pictures with this blog, too.

TitusLive-Titus Benton is a really cool guy.  A former youth minister to our oldest when we lived in Florissant, MO.  When we moved to Rolla, he also moved to a new ministering job near Houston, TX.  An excellent writer (he’s published 2 books!), a great speaker, and a heart to helping Missions overseas and in this country reach their goals, check out a great blog where you’ll be inspired and challenged how to give back to your world, your community, and often get great tips on raising teens.

Vienna’s Classic Hollywood-a sweet blog about classic movies that I enjoy.

Lancelot Schaubert-a gifted young man, married to a sweetheart of a girl, who’s family we’ve known since she was a mere 7 year old!  Recently transplanted to Brooklyn from Joplin, MO.  A servant’s heart with a flair for writing, editing, and a ton of other literary doings.  Author of an innovative photonovel, Cold Brewed, a film noirish story, shot in and around the Joplin, MO area.




Ray Rice, the NFL, and My Opinion

My neighbor co-hosts a sports talk show on ESPN”s Mid-Missouri 107.3 FM on Mondays, from 5:00-7:00 pm, Central time.  He and his co-host began their time discussing the latest fracas to come out of the Ray Rice issue and the NFL.  My neighbor was asking for women fans of football to call in and give their opinions.  I was too busy at that moment slaving away in the kitchen making my family’s supper but decided for today’s blog, I would chime in with my two cents about this whole issue.           espn

If you recall or even if you don’t, here’s a recap of all the furor that has erupted.  February 2014, a video was released by celebrity news website TMZ, and  then the national news media, that showed Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, dragging his unconscious fiancee out of a casino’s elevator.  That video released a deluge of uproar.   Rice was suspended from playing for 2 games by  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Rice, and the former fiancee Janay Palmer, now his wife, entered into counseling, and Rice did court-ordered Community Service projects for the city of Baltimore.  All was quiet, Rice apologized for what he did, the team was behind him, the coach was behind him, and even at some of this summer’s public practices, many fans attended who were behind Rice and his return to the Ravens.

Janay and Ray Rice at a Press Conference following the release of the first video.

Janay and Ray Rice at a Press Conference following the release of the first video.

Baltimore Ravens

This past weekend, TMZ released a video that showed Rice punching his fiancee inside of that casino’s elevator, her being knocked off of her feet, hitting the back of her head on a handrail, and hitting the floor, unconscious.  With that now out in the public to view, the NFL Commissioner announced that Ray Rice would be on an indefinite suspension and the Baltimore Ravens cut him from the team.

I don’t support domestic violence, whether it be physical and/or  mental cruelty; men beating their wives or wives beating their husbands. (Hey-that does happen unfortunately.  Check out the 1993 made for tv movie if you don’t believe me!)  My brother was raised that you don’t hit girls.  My husband was raised with that standard, too, and we’ve raised our own 4 sons with that rule.

What Ray Rice did was wrong.  He knows that and so does his wife.  They’ve gone through counseling, and I pray that their marriage can heal despite this incident receiving new attention thanks to TMZ and their need to drag an offense out into the public spotlight.

The NFL, in the past, would issue 1 or 2 game suspensions for players who were proved to have committed domestic violence acts upon their spouses.  If the charges were reduced or dropped, then penalties were reduced or dropped, accordingly.  In August, a new policy was announced by Commissioner Goodell: a 6 game ban, unpaid, for first time offenders.  For second-time offenders, possibly a life-time ban from the NFL.

The NFL saw that first video clip.  What did they think happened in the elevator to result in an unconscious woman being dragged out of it?  One of my son’s, when we discussed it, did say that maybe she had been drunk and passed out and maybe that’s why the NFL gave only a 2 game suspension to Rice.  If she had passed out due to over drinking, surmise it to say that perhaps the video would have shown Rice tenderly carrying his fiancee out of that elevator instead of the dragging method that he used.

I think that the indefinite suspension of Rice is harsh.  If the NFL has this new 6 game ban for first time offenders, than that is the punishment that should have been meted out to Rice.  With what has been now issued to him not only punishes him for perpetuity, it also punishes his family.  Hasn’t his wife been punished enough?  Now the income for her family has been dropped to nil.

People make mistakes and Ray Rice crossed a behavioral line that was a huge mistake.  He committed a crime against a woman that   promised to join him in marriage, and has since married.  He lives with that regret daily, especially with this new video release.  I think Commissioner Goodell should announce the indefinite suspension be for 6 games, and that any team in the NFL who is struggling this early in the season should hire Rice.  Janay Palmer Rice has publicly stated that she has forgiven her husband.  Why can’t the NFL?

Research acknowledgement for today’s blog: Michael Martinez and Priscilla Riojas, CNN, Wed., 9/10/14

My Classic Movie Pick: A Farewell to Arms

My movie pick for today is part of  the World War I  in Classic Film  Blogathon.  Please visit Movies Silently  and silent ology to read all of the fantastic bloggers and their posts about  films that have WWI as a major backdrop.

WWI Blogathon

A Farewell to Arms is a very famous novel written by Ernest Hemingway.  Chances are you read it in high school or college, or just read it on your own since Hemingway was and still is considered to be one of modern America’s best writers.   I have read For Whom the Bell Tolls but Farewell hasn’t made it to my reading roster yet; I need to remedy that!

A Farewell to Arms, poster 1

The plot of this 1932  film  is pretty straightforward.  Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, and I won’t add anymore but suffice it to say that it’s a Hemingway novel and there won’t be a rainbows and pots of gold type of ending.

When I watched A Farewell to Arms a couple weeks ago I was impressed by the acting, the direction,and the cinematography.  The cast of this movie, at the top of their game, : Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes as the ambulance driver and nurse who fall deeply in love, Adolphe Menjou as an Italian doctor, a rival for the love of the nurse, Jack LaRue as a gentle priest, Mary Philips as another nurse who distrusts all men.

I like Gary Cooper’s roles in films but I usually would just associate him with playing the “Aw, schucks, Ma’am” kind of guy, who is a good man with a calm, laid-back manner in dealing with  others.  He played such men in Sergeant York(another WWI movie!), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Ball of Fire, and Meet John Doe.   In A Farewell to Arms, his  characterization was a revelation to me about  his acting abilities.  His Lt. Frederic Henry is an American who is tired of his life in the states,  he wants some adventure before settling down, so as WWI begins, he decides to serve as an ambulance driver for the Italian Army.  Frederic does his job well, works hard, and wants to play hard.  He finds a compatriot in searching out bars and women with a doctor, Major Rinaldi(Adolphe Menjou).  There is a fine scene illustrating this when the two men are seated at a table in a bar, examining a young lady’s leg  with no objections from her.

Rinaldi and Frederic checking out those legs!

Rinaldi and Frederic checking out those legs!

Cooper’s Frederic changes emotionally  when he meets Catherine Barkley(Helen Hayes).  He falls in love, and when they are separated he is desperate to find her, to be with her for the rest of his life.  He even deserts the army to find her, despite the consequence that could cost him if he’s found.  At the film’s end, when at last he’s reunited with Catherine, the tears flow and it is a bittersweet reunion that alternates between hope for the world and the new life Frederic must now live.

Frederic and Catherine know they love one another

Frederic and Catherine know they love one another

Getting back to Catherine's side

Getting back to Catherine’s side

Helen Haye’s, a petite woman when contrasted with Cooper’s height, seems very fragile.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons she was cast in the film.  She gives Catherine a heart of compassion which we see when she comforts  another nurse who has been  dismissed by the stern head nurse for becoming pregnant.  We see Catherine’s steely resolve to do her duty and to not get involved with another soldier after her fiance has been killed in another battle.  We then see that resolve melt away to nothing when she spends an evening with Frederic and love has claimed her heart once again.  We ache for her when she has left the nursing post, has moved to Switzerland to await the birth of her baby, and all of the letters she has written to Frederic have been returned, due to Major Rinaldi’s jealous meddling; she collapses under the stress and heartbreak at the town’s post office when she is handed back all of those letters.

All alone in Switzerland, writing all of those letters to Frederic!

All alone in Switzerland, writing all of those letters to Frederic!

Adolphe Menjou, is fine as the doctor turned Major.  He is an affable guy, but one we can boo and hiss at when due to his jealousy over Frederic and Catherine’s relationship, he arranges for all of the letters from Catherine to Frederic to be sent back and not forwarded.  Later, with remorse, his Major Rinaldi tries to convince the awol Frederic to come back into the army, and when the Major realizes that Frederic is desperate to find Catherine, Rinaldi reveals that she is in Switzerland.

Trying to convince Frederic to re-enlist before revealing where Catherine is.

Trying to convince Frederic to re-enlist before revealing where Catherine is.

Rinaldi is getting jealous!

Rinaldi is getting jealous!

Jack La Rue, who I had only previously seen play a mafia-type leader in the British film No Orchids for Miss Blandish, was a surprise to me, too.  He is a priest who recognizes the love that Frederic and Catherine have for one another.  Instead of trying to counsel them to just be friends and wait until the war is over to pursue a deeper commitment to one another, he movingly and sweetly performs a wedding for them in Frederic’s hospital room.  It’s a tender and moving scene, with the Priest intoning the Latin words of the Wedding Mass.

The Priest announces he'll marry them.

The Priest announces he’ll marry them.

Mary Philips plays Helen Ferguson in only a few scenes, but a key one is when Frederic confronts her as to why Catherine quit the nursing post and where is she?  Helen is strong in her resolve, keeps her dislike for Frederic alive, by refusing to tell him where Catherine is but gleefully adding to his worries by admitting that Catherine left due to her pregnancy with his child.

Frederic, Catherine, and Helen, who still hates men!

Frederic, Catherine, and Helen, who still hates men!

Director Frank Borzage, who I  assumed was from another country-wrong!   He was a former silent movie actor turned director, born in the USA!  His directing skill is evident in the way he got his actors to give such outstanding performances and his scenes of the war were appropriately chilling and unusual.  I found some scenes unusual in that the way they were framed and shot, at odd angles; one scene showing a soldier outstretching his arms as if copying the same position of Jesus’s arms outstretched  on the cross.  From my research, I discovered that after Borzage gave up acting to focus on directing, one of the directors he studied and did some work with was F.W. Murnau, famed German director who specialized in the Expressionist Movement in German Films, and then carried that with him to Hollywood.  That influence had to have given Borzage the ideas for these scenes.  Another interesting scene, Borzage aided greatly by his cinematographer, Charles Lang, is a point of view series of what Frederic is seeing as he is flat on his back, being wheeled into a hospital in Milan.  Charles Lang did win the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for this film.

A Farewell to Arms is available to see via streaming on Amazon, either through their instant rent program or through your Roku Box(that’s how I was able to call it up and watch it for free!)  One could buy it through Amazon or TCM’s Shop.  Netflix has A Farewell to Arms, but it is the 1957 version that starred Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones.  As much as I like Hudson and Jones’s bodies of work throughout their acting careers, I find the version they starred in  a bit draggy at times.  The 1932 version with Cooper and Hayes flowed much faster.

For a look at love during the midst of a horrific war, have your kleenaxes handy, get yourself a dvd of A Farewell to Arms!!

AFTA ending poster



My Ohio Vacation, or How I Lost my Child!!

I grew up in the Northwestern  Ohio city of Defiance, in the flat, farming area of the state.  I can identify soybean fields and corn fields with ease.  The phrase knee high by the 4th of July was burned into my brain! (Farmers want their corn to be that high if it’s going to be a good crop.)   Thanks to a huge glacier thousands of years ago,  riding bikes and hiking in this part of the state  are  an easy hobby to attempt for the outdoor enthusiasts;  no hills, not much anyhow, anywhere.



Soybean fields

Soybean fields

OH maze

I like to take some time in the summer to visit  my roots.  To visit  my parents, my brother and his wife and their  kids and the relatives  that still live in Ohio.   Dear husband’s mom and brother, and his wife and a married niece and a nephew also live in Ohio.   With our oldest having received his honorable discharge from his 4 year commitment to the United States Marine Corps and his moving to Athens, Ohio to attend Ohio University, this past week was the perfect time to take   our homeschooled youngest with me( youngest is 11 years old) for a week-long visit to Ohio.

We left Rolla on Monday morning at 8:30.  My quest to leave earlier was thwarted by a recalcitrant car battery in my chosen vehicle, husband’s go to work Cadillac.  After he charged and worked on the car, it started right up and we were off.  Driving past St. Louis’s downtown and the Arch, my Ohioan relatives and friends all asked me about the troubles in Ferguson, MO.  Some knew we had lived near there in a neighboring suburb.  One person joked that I had to drive through smoke as all of St. Louis was burning.  Thanks national media for making many across the country think that all of St. Louis was rioting and burning.


Across Illinois farm country we drove  east.  Living in South Central Missouri, where the Ozark Mountains begin, I tend to forget how flat the flat lands are!  It’s sort of nice to be able to see so far around one in all directions when driving cross country.  When we reached Terre Haute, Indiana(High Land in French, I informed the 11 year old) we had a lunch break and then on we drove, past Indianopolis and then, finally, we crossed the state line into Ohio.


The longest part of this drive was getting to Columbus, the state capital, and getting to Highway 33 which would lead us to our destination, Athens, Ohio.  Athens is near West Virginia and the land  is very hilly as it’s along part of the  Appalachian Mountains.  Husband and I are pleased that our son has chosen Ohio University.  It’s nice that our son has relatives right there and  he has it already set up with Grandma to do his laundry at her place;she’s been stocking up on the microwave popcorn!

My parents drove to Athens  from Defiance on Tuesday,  to give my oldest a lounge chair that they didn’t want anymore and he was glad to put it in his new apartment.  After a nice tour of Ohio University’s campus, a steak dinner with my parents, 2 of my sons, and my husband’s  family,  it was on to Defiance on Wednesday morning.

My dad, who does woodworking and house remodeling, wanted to drive north to communities near Wooster, Ohio to pick up wood stain he needed for a woodworking project, and he also wanted to take my sons and I to a restaurant, Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen, which is popular with Amish and non-Amish customers.  We programmed our GPS machines for Wooster  and off we went…my parents in their car, the 11 year old and I in the Cadillac, and my oldest in his Malibu.  We were  puzzled at first because  the GPS’s all had us head south into West Virginia! My  oldest son explained that in order to pick up Interstate 77 when leaving Athens, OH, the closest point to pick it up is in West Virginia, then take it north to your destination.  We stopped to get gas and then headed out, 3 cars caravanning to the Wooster, Ohio area.    West Virginia

25 minutes into our drive north, I asked my 11 year old a question.  I glanced back and assumed he was asleep under his sleeping bag.  He had been stretched out on the back seat with the sleeping bag over him when we stopped for gas in West Virginia.  I asked him another question and still got no response.  I decided to move the sleeping bag and when I did, I discovered that there  was no one in the back seat of the car!!!

Oh did I feel awful!  I knew that he must have gotten out of the car at the gas station back in West Virginia!!  I took the very next exit and using my cell phone, was able to relay to my parents and oldest son that I had accidentally left the 11 year old  at the gas station!!  My parents agreed to wait at that exit, as there were some small stores  nearby that they could explore, and my oldest son followed me back to the gas station.  I was able to use google on my cell phone and get the gas station’s phone number and call them.  They assured me that my son was in their store.  I told them I was on my way back to get him.

As I parked the car and ran into the store, I was expecting my son to be in tears or to be in an angry mood, but he had a big smile on his face!  He  gave me a tight hug and said, ” I knew you’d be back for me, Mom!  Don’t feel bad!”  I thanked the store employees for watching my son and asked my son if he wanted a treat.  “Beef Jerky” was his request and I bought him some.  Then we got back into our cars and drove back to the exit where my parents were waiting for us.   My Dad told my 11 year old  that from now on when traveling with me,  he should always hold my car keys at all rest stops, restaurants, gas stations, etc.!!

We made it to Wooster and the Amish area of Ohio.  We ate a delicious lunch at Mrs. Yoder’s.  We also stopped at a general store popular in the area, The Ashery, where my son picked out salt water taffy for a midweek treat.  He did manage to bring some of it back to Missouri for his older siblings to enjoy!  After a sudden thunderstorm and Amish buggies slowing our trip down a bit, we made it to Defiance by 7:00 that evening.

amish Ohio

The rest of our visit was very nice and it was good to see relatives.  I even was able to meet with some former highschool classmates for lunch one day-a very fun, and very talkative visit!

Sunday came and that meant it was time to drive back to Rolla, Missouri.  Our oldest drove back to Athens for his college classes would begin on Monday.  The youngest son and I listened to a radio preacher,  Pastor Bucus Sterling III at Kettering Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.   Pastor Sterling preached an excellent sermon from the book of Exodus about Moses being on the mountain, the Israelites getting doubtful that Moses would ever return, and their turning to Aaron for an idol to worship.  That sermon helped set the tone for a great day of travel; good weather, good roads, no accidents to slow us down.  We were able to return to Rolla at 5:45 that Sunday evening.

Lessons I learned from this trip are that family is so important.  Keep the lines of communication open via the phone, skype, facebook, but especially try to make the efforts to see loved ones in person, even if it can only be once a year.  When traveling with a child, make sure he or she hangs on to your car keys when stopping for gas, food, restroom breaks, sightseeing trips, etc.!!




My Classic Movie Pick: Marty

Ernest Borgnine, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 95, had a long and successful acting career.  I first saw him when I was a kid watching  reruns of  the situation comedy McHale’s Navy.  My own kids knew him as the voice of Mermaid Man on the silly kids cartoon show, Sponge Bob Square Pants.    Borgnine could play dramatic roles well, often playing a tough guy or bully.  In Marty, my classic movie pick for today, Borgnine got to play a sweetheart of a guy and I think it was closer to his real life persona.  It was a great part for Borgnine and it also won him the 1955 Academy Award for Best Actor.

Marty poster 2


Marty Piletti is a 34 year old butcher who lives in the Bronx area of New York City.  He is a hard-worker, who has been saving up his pennies and is thinking about buying the butcher shop from his boss who wants to retire.  Marty wants to  expand the shop into a small supermarket like he’s been reading about.   Marty lives at home with his mom, Teresa, as his other siblings are all married and have families and homes of their own.  He has a group of pals, Angie (nickname for Angelo) being his best buddy.  They often go out as a group to a bar, or to the fights or a wrestling match.  The one thing they have in common is that none of them are married; not one of them has a girlfriend.

Marty and his mom, Teresa

Marty and his mom, Teresa

Marty and Angie, hanging out after work

Marty and Angie, hanging out after work

Marty at work

Marty at work

One day at the butcher shop, some of the female customers tease Marty about getting married. Later at home, during dinner, Marty’s mom begins to pester him about getting married.  She urges him to go to the Stardust Ballroom for the evening because she overheard Marty’s cousin, Tommy, say that the Stardust is full of “tomatoes”!  She keeps on with her badgering, telling Marty that if he doesn’t get married he’ll die without a son!   At that, Marty erupts at his mom, and tells her that he’s a fat, ugly  man and has nothing that women want!   As the evening goes on, Marty decides to go to the Stardust and gets Angie to go with him.

Trying to explain why he's not married yet

Trying to explain why he’s not married yet

At the  Stardust, a man approaches Marty.  He offers to give Marty $5 if he’ll take his blind date off  his hands.  The man smilingly explains that he  has run into a girl he likes much better and that the  blind date is a plain, boring girl.   Marty chastises this man for wanting to dump his date in such a fashion and walks away.  He then learns that the man has  found another to take the $5 and Marty follows this fellow out to the balcony where the blind date  is waiting.  Marty steps in and rescues the girl from the embarrassment of being dumped by her date.  The girl cries on Marty’s shoulder and he shares with her his own experiences of being “dumped” by dates.  The girl agrees to dance with Marty and tells him that her name is Clara Snyder, a 29 year old chemistry teacher from Brooklyn, who still lives at home with her parents.   Pretty soon, Marty and Clara are having a nice time, dancing with one another, and then they leave the Stardust for a bite of food and some coffee at a local diner and continue to talk and get to know one another.   Marty even brings her by his home to meet his mom!  After that meeting, Marty escorts Clara to her house and they both agree that they like one another, that the date turned out great, and that they both want to see each other the next night, perhaps they’ll go to a movie.  Marty promises to call Clara on Sunday.

Dancing with Clara

Dancing with Clara

Consoling Clara about being dumped

Consoling Clara about being dumped

Walking and talking the night away

Walking and talking the night away

Clara meeting Mom

Clara meeting Mom

Two more sub-plots give Marty more stress in his life.  One, his Aunt Catherine lives with her son, Tommy and his family.  Tommy’s wife, Virginia, and his mother, Aunt Catherine, dislike each other and that makes for a lousy home to live in.  Tommy pleads with Marty and Aunt Teresa to invite Aunt Catherine to live with them.  After Aunt Catherine moves in, she tells her sister, Teresa, that if Marty ever marries, what will happen to her?  Will she, Teresa, be kicked out of her home by Marty and his new wife?  This negative thought creates in Teresa a skepticism and coldness when she meets Clara for the first time.  Second, Angie feels threatened by the fact that Marty could have found love and if he marries, it will break up their brotherhood, break up their friendship.  Angie cruelly tells their pals that Marty wants to date a real “dog”.

Cousin Tommy and his wife, Virginia

Cousin Tommy and his wife, Virginia

With these two added stressers in his life, Marty hesitates to call Clara back and she, in turn, grows despondent as she watches Sunday night television with her parents, assuming she’s been dumped again by a man.

Clara convinced that Marty won't call her back

Clara convinced that Marty won’t call her back

Will Marty call Clara?  Will Marty be able to get mom to accept Clara?  Will Tommy, Virginia, and Aunt Catherine have a better relationship?  Will Angie learn to like Clara?  To find out the answers to these questions, you have to seek out Marty and view it for yourself!

Marty is available to purchase or instant rent via Amazon.   Marty is also available to buy via Turner Classic Movies shop.  Several clips from Marty have also been put up on Youtube.   For a sweet, lovely film that isn’t afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve and shows a realistic look at searching for love, check out Marty, soon!

Borgnine with is Best Actor Oscar, and Grace Kelly

Borgnine with his Best Actor Oscar, and Grace Kelly

Directed by Delbert Mann, Produced by Harold Hecht and Burt Lancaster, Screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, United Artists, 89 minutes.

Cast: Marty-Ernest Borgnine, Clara-Betsy Blair, Mom(Teresa)-Esther Minciotti, Angie-Joe Mantell, Aunt Catherine-Augusta Ciolli,Tommy-Jerry Paris, Virginia-Karen Steele.  Marty
























A Death and Riots and Looting, in my Former Community

Readers of my blog may remember that my family moved to Rolla, Missouri 3 years ago, in June of 2011 due to my husband finding a new job here after a 16 month lay-off.  We moved to Rolla  from Florissant, Missouri, where we had lived for 19 years.  Florissant  is the largest suburb of North St. Louis County, 25 minutes north of the Gateway Arch, is what I usually told our relatives.

St. Louis's Gateway Arch

St. Louis’s Gateway Arch

Sunday night after we got home from a  Family Night at  Splashzone, hosted by our church, Greentree Christian, I turned on the news  to catch the weather report for Monday and I learned that Ferguson, Missouri, the suburb just to the south of Florissant, was having riots!  People were looting stores along West Florissant Ave.- a major thoroughfare that connects these two suburbs.  My husband and I were in utter shock at the scenes that were being shown on the tv.  We learned that a QT(QuikTrip for you non-Missourians,  is the most awesome gas station/convenience store ever known to man) was looted and set on fire and that when I awoke on Monday I learned that it had burned to the ground!  Thankfully, the employees saw the looters coming and were able to hide in a back room and then escape; they first  put on spare jackets they found in that back room to  hide the fact that they were wearing QT shirts, and then they  got out and ran to safety as the building was being set on fire!

The QT on West Florissant Ave., Ferguson, MO set on fire by looters.

The QT on West Florissant Ave., Ferguson, MO set on fire by looters.






Why all of this mayhem, violence, and destruction?  It stemmed from the death of a black teenager, 18 year old  Michael Brown,  who lived in the neighboring suburb of Normandy, Missouri,  who was shot by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday, August 9th, at 2:15 pm.  There are conflicting accounts as to what exactly happened and St. Louis County Police have been called in to conduct the investigation for the Ferguson Police Department.   I also heard today  a report that the FBI has also been called in and that the US Justice Department will be keeping a watch on the investigation’s outcome.

A tragedy playing out in Ferguson, Missouri.  A community of 21,000, mostly middle-class Americans who work hard, want their children to be educated, for their children to grow up and reach their potential in life.  A community that was started in 1894 by a Mr. William B. Ferguson, as a train station for the Wabash Railroad.  In 1904, a streetcar line was installed that led from Ferguson to the city of St. Louis and this helped the train station town expand, becoming one of the first suburbs in St. Louis County.    A usually peaceful community, known for a really nice Farmer’s Market, some great parks, Victorian houses, and now known for utter violence and chaos.

I got onto facebook last night and the posts from friends who live in Ferguson were sad and scary.  Many had  a sleepless night. Merely one or two or three blocks from West Florissant Ave., where the looters were doing their evil deeds,  are many neighborhoods, inhabited by innocent citizens who could hear the looters, the gunshots being fired, and then the police sirens and the  helicopters flying overheard, shining lights into their backyards.  Florissant friends were on facebook offering to let friends in Ferguson, if they felt it was safe to even leave their homes, to come and stay with them overnight.  Friends in St. Charles County, where the Missouri River meets the mighty Mississippi, were offering their homes,too,  as havens from the violence and danger.

With the dawn of Monday morning, the damaged buildings were like an open wound in the community; broken glass lying in the stores, and across their thresholds, goods ransacked and gone, the QT smoldering, even the WalMart that I used to shop at was looted, probably only an 8 minute drive from our first home in Florissant!

Sunday night, Aug. 10th, protesters yelling at police, prior to the riots and looting.

Sunday night, Aug. 10th, protesters yelling at police, prior to the riots and looting.

One Ferguson business wasn't harmed as the owner and employees put up a human barricade.

One Ferguson business wasn’t harmed as the owner and employees put up a human barricade.

 The QT on the morning of Monday, Aug. 11th, Ferguson, MO

The QT on the morning of Monday, Aug. 11th, Ferguson, MO

I feel very sad and disheartened by all of what has transpired these past 2 days.  Someone posted on facebook a passage from the bible, 2Timothy 3: 1-5: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people  turn away!”  I read that passage  and thought it an apt description of those that decided to take advantage of what was meant to be a peaceful vigil on Sunday night, in honor of Michael Brown and turn it into the worst possible thing: to turn it into a night of violence, selfishness, and destruction.  Even Michael Brown’s family issued a statement pleading with  the looters to stop and go home, but that plea fell on deaf ears.

Tonight, a meeting was held in Ferguson with religious leaders in the community, the local NAACP chapter, and concerned citizens.  I didn’t watch the meeting as it wasn’t aired live to Rolla area tv stations as it was to those in St. Louis area proper, so I will have to tune in to the news tonight for reactions to the meeting.  I did learn that the Galleria, an upscale St. Louis Mall shut down early tonight due to fights breaking out there!

Please pray for Ferguson, Missouri not just for today but for the days to come.  Pray for the family of slain teenager, Michael Brown, that they will be able to get the answers that they are seeking about their son’s tragic death.  Pray for the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael.  Pray for the mayor, city council, religious leaders, civil rights leaders.  Pray for the law enforcement employees from all over the St. Louis region who have been called in for back up to help Ferguson’s police department.  For all of these groups, pray for wisdom, discernment,protection, a spirit of community to grow again, for there to be brotherly love again, and forgiveness, and for peace for Ferguson, Missouri.  Thank you.

Women praying in Ferguson, MO

Women praying in Ferguson, MO

Sign at a protest in Ferfuson, MO

Sign at a protest in Ferguson, MO


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