Cool Stuff, Fun, History, Kids, Life, Observations, People, Trivia

Classic Culture Reference of the Day

In so many of the new kids’ cartoons there are classic culture references that the kids (and probably many adults my age) just don’t get, and when I see these I am compelled to ask my kids, “Do you know why that’s funny?” 

Today my son and I are were watching “Courage the Cowardly Dog”.  There was a scene where Courage and a Bigfoot got in a food fight, and at the end of the food fight they both had piles of fruit on their heads and skirts made of bananas and were dancing the samba.  I said something like “Ha ha, Carmen Miranda!”  and Ben said something like “Huh?!” so I made him watch this video because I feel it is my responsibility to teach him everything I can possibly think of.


Ben and I were at the bank drive-up ATM today and I was telling him “Now, when you’re at the ATM be sure to keep your car doors locked, and look around to make sure nobody is sneaking up to take your money, etc. etc.” and he said “Yes, I know, that’s the third time you told me!”  I think I’ll make him watch this video a couple more times just so he doesn’t forget who Carmen Miranda is.


Watch the video, then try not to sing and dance.  It’s impossible, the samba is irresistible!   La la la la la chica chica boom chic!! Boom ch’boom boom boom ch’boom…

Baffled, Food, Life, Miscellaneous

Tea…and a Tornado?!

First, I would like to apologize for having only one photo of anything from my interesting day.  But, I’m writing about it anyway!

Today I went to the Gardner House Bed and Breakfast in Stayton for afternoon tea with my mom and two friends.  You can see the Gardner House menu and information here.  We sat in a lovely parlor with a fireplace and had the “Light Tea”, which included a fruit cup, savory tarts, tea-size sandwiches and desserts, and the Gardner House Blend Tea (Ceylon black tea with vanilla, spices, and dried fruit).

The 6-inch savory tarts were marvelous.  The server brought 2 of the “Oregon Smoked Gouda with Caramelized Onions and Prosciutto”, and 1 each of the “Oven Dried Tomato with Goat and Mozzarella Cheeses and Kalamata Olives” and the “Roasted Bell Peppers with Gruyere Cheese in Brown and Wild Rice Crust”.  We each took of quarter of all 3 varieties.  The Smoked Gouda tart was my favorite, and is their most popular.  The fresh fruit cup included melon, grapes, pears, starfruit, and pomegranate seeds.

For sandwiches, we each had a tiny cheesy puff with a tuna mixture, a cucumber mint, and an egg salad.  All of them were absolutely delicious (and I don’t even eat egg salad!)!  For sweets, we had a star-shaped chocolate shortbread cookie, a pretty gingerbread apple cake with a dollop of hard sauce, and a chocolate-dipped English toffee chunk.  These came to our table on one of those adorable tiered china serving plates, which I just love.  I think I love them because they only come out on special occasions and always hold wonderful noms.   The china on the table was in different rose patterns, which I also love.  Happy!

The spiced tea was very nice and Christmas-y and even better with a little bit of sugar, which came in a glass bowl with a silver lid and a tiny silver spoon decorated with a teapot.  We each got our own little teapot full of tea, and mine was pink.  Afternoon tea is so cheerful and festive!  I highly recommend the Gardner House – wonderful food and nice service, and they have pastries you can buy to take home.  I couldn’t resist the Lemon-Glazed Lavender Scone to eat for my breakfast tomorrow, and I got a Pain au Chocolat and a Sugar Bun as well, ostensibly for other members of my family. 




So, we have had record rains the last few days and a lot of wind.  On the way to Stayton (15-ish miles from my house) we came upon a large tree that had just fallen across the highway.  A few non-official looking men were working at cleaning it up and we had to drive around it on the left shoulder of the road.  An emergency vehicle was coming towards the area and we assumed the tree had just succumbed to the the wind and rain.  We didn’t find out until the middle of our tea-time that a tornado had come through.  A TORNADO.  

The tornado zipped through a little town called Aumsville, near Stayton, and caused a lot of damage.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt.  You can see photos here and an article here.  The photos of the plumbing company/barber shop building are incredible, the tornado just stole the roof and left the rest.  It’s like you’re looking into a doll’s house.  Now, to those of you who live in, say, Kansas this may seem like business as usual.  But we live in Oregon.  We don’t have tornadoes.  I think Ms. Melinda Smith said it best, as quoted in the article noted above:

"Suddenly, it got really dark and really quiet," Smith said. "I noticed a lot of stuff in the air across the street. There were a couple trampolines and sheds flying above the roofs. I told myself, ‘That’s not normal.’"

Well, it certainly isn’t!

Cool Stuff, Fashion, History, Life, Memories

Monday Memories

I thought I’d start a “Monday Memories” series to put down some sort of random memories that pop up in my brain here and there.  I’d love to hear some of yours, too!

I heard the name “Heidi” yesterday and it reminded me of a girl who took care of my sister and me during the summer one year when our mom had gone back to work to sell real estate.  (This was around 1980 or 1981, when the real estate market had unfortunately bottomed out.)

Heidi was 17 years old and she was a wonderful babysitter.   She was very pretty and had an old pickup to drive us places, which we thought was extremely cool.

The clearest memory I have of Heidi is that she had a purse that looked like a rolled up magazine.  It was a plastic clutch style to hold under your arm, and you couldn’t tell it was a purse.  I had never seen one before and she had gotten it on a trip somewhere, so I couldn’t get one.  But, I just found some beautiful models and more info about them online at StyleWithAnna!   This site just gave one away, but I missed it. :’-(   You can buy them at Clutch For Cures, and I also found a vintage model on eBay.  I’ll have to start saving immediately to get one!

Aging, Baffled, Health, Life, Miscellaneous, Observations, Poetry

The Rime of the Ancient 40-Year Old Person

Based on Part 1 of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The mirror – it startles me.

Skull or Lady in Mirror

It is an ancient, common tale,

And we do not like to think

That our lustrous hair and lovely eye

May someday be extinct.

Our big bright eyes were open wide,

And we were cute and thin;

We did not fret, the mirror showed

Pink cheeks and glowy skin.

It held us there in happiness

“Yes, I approve,” it said.

And thoughts of aging gracefully

Were put into our heads.

It holds me now in disbelief,

I gasp when I stand still,

And catch a glimpse of how it shows

Its lack of kind goodwill.

My heart is sinking like a stone,

I cannot choose but hear,

And thus cackles that shiny fiend

“You’re not the same, my dear!”

Then I was cheered, my face had cleared,

Of spots and pimply beasts,

Below though, they were lurking,

To get me while I sleep.

The sun is up now in the east,

Out of my bed I crawl,

And see a face reflected that

Just isn’t me at all!

Higher and higher every day,

My expectations loomed.

I’d diet, I’d fuss, I’d stay for hours

In the exercising room.

Frustrated, I pace back and forth,

Red in the face, I sigh.

The scale, who is not my friend,

Shows me an all-time high!

“I’ve worked so hard, I do not know

What gives, for heaven’s sake?”

And thus goes on the ancient rhyme

From night until I wake.

Now a storm-blast, not a smile,

Assails me when I think,

That I’m NOT aging gracefully,

The opposite, I think!

I’ve sloping masts and dipping prow,

I’ve crow’s feet, lines; I’m pudgy.

These thoughts just make me want to eat

Some pie, or something fudgy.

I should turn back, loud roars the snack,

(I ate it, now it’s quiet!)

And now there is a misty fog,

My vision’s getting blur’y.

The eye doctor said “It’s just age,”

And told me not to worry.

It really seems just yesterday

That I was seventeen.

No shape of what I used to be

The mirror is all between.

The mirrors are here, the mirrors are there,

The mirrors are all around:

They mock and laugh, and roar and howl,

My self-respect is down!

At length did sneak the wrinkles,

Through the years they came;

As they had been a horrid smell,

I curse them, but in vain.

I ate chocolate to comfort me,

Chubby and plump I grew.

My jeans did split with a thunder-fit;

But I would not buy new!

And a good dose of denial came by,

“You’ll be fit again!” did follow,

But every day, I was still plump

In sadness I still wallow.

In mist or cloud, in sun or gray,

Age perched to stare at me;

While overnight, I’d think each morn,

It multiplied times three.

“God save thee, ancient lady,

From your loss of self-esteem! –

Why look’st thou so?” — “I’m old, and lo!

I bought the hundred-dollar cream!”

~Noelle Marier  ©2010

Life, Mental Illness, Observations, Rant

Why Are the Mentally Ill Expected to Advocate for Themselves?

Consider this: Someone you love very much is driving down the road on a routine errand.  It has gradually gotten darker outside.  Suddenly, a truck driving without headlights veers across the road and smashes into your loved one’s car.  Your loved one couldn’t see it coming, and could do nothing to prevent the crash.  The truck speeds away into the night.  Your loved one, while seriously injured, manages to find the cell phone and press the speed dial.  You barely hear that your loved one has been in an accident and the location of the crash.  You drive to the scene and see your loved one trapped in a crumpled automobile, both legs fractured, blood gushing from a large wound where his or her head cracked the windshield.  Your loved one is confused and doesn’t know what happened.  Your loved one sees you and, expecting a loving response, cries “There’s something wrong!  I’m bleeding!  I can’t feel my legs!  I can’t move!  It hurts!  Please, please help me!” What do you do? Do you stand and stare at your loved one while he or she sobs uncontrollably and begs for your help? Do you walk up to your loved one and, instead of calling 911 or rushing to comfort, say to him or her, “You need to think more positively.  Why are you acting this way?  There’s no reason for you to be so upset!” Do you then scold your loved one, insisting that it is his or her responsibility to figure out what’s wrong and fix it? Do you expect your loved one to extricate him- or herself from the situation and drag him- or herself to the hospital while in excruciating pain, before he or she bleeds to death? When your loved one continues to plead for your help, do you ignore the cries, turn away, and leave your loved one in agony and feeling rejected and unloved? OF COURSE NOT!! When you hear your loved one’s cries, you drive as fast as you can to reach him or her, calling 911 on the way, giving them the exact location of your loved one’s car, demanding that the paramedics hurry!  When you get to your loved one and you hear his or her sobs and cries for help, your heart breaks – you rush to the wrecked vehicle to hold your loved one and try to comfort him or her.  You pray out loud; and assure him or her that you will always be there and that you will do everything you can to help.  You cry with your loved one because it hurts you to see him or her in so much pain.  When the paramedics arrive, you explain to them what your loved one has told you and make sure they are doing what needs to be done.  You ride in the ambulance as it careens toward the hospital, because you can’t stand to leave your loved one’s side for even a moment while he or she is going through this ordeal.  If your loved one lashes out at you or behaves strangely, you aren’t offended because you understand that he or she is confused and in pain.  You stay at your loved one’s side in the hospital and pay attention to every detail of the doctor’s words and your loved one’s treatment.  If your loved one isn’t healing, you insist that the doctor do something about it.  You don’t mind watching over your loved one’s care, because you know he or she isn’t capable of doing it alone.  Your know your loved one needs help. Now consider this: Someone you love very much is moving along is his or her daily life routine when things gradually begin getting darker.  Suddenly one day, your loved one crashes.  Your loved one couldn’t see it coming, and could do nothing to prevent the crash.  He or she begs for your help.  You come to talk and see your loved one broken, bewildered, and in pain.  Your loved one doesn’t know what is happening.  He or she, expecting a loving response, cries “There’s something wrong!  It hurts!  I can’t control my life!  I can’t move!  Please, please help me!” What do you do? Do you stand and stare at your loved one while he or she sobs uncontrollably and begs for your help? Do you walk up to your loved one and, instead of rushing to comfort, say to him or her, “You need to think more positively.  Why are you acting this way?  There’s no reason for you to be so upset!” Do you then scold your loved one, insisting that it is his or her responsibility to figure out what’s wrong and fix it? Do you expect your loved one to extricate him- or herself from the situation and find his or her own help, before his or her health and life completely deteriorates? When your loved one continues to plead for your help, do you ignore the cries, turn away, and leave your loved one in agony and feeling rejected and unloved? Consider this: Why is someone with a mental illness not as worthy of attention as someone with a physical illness or injury?  Why do we tell someone having mental problems to “buck up,” “figure it out,” or “stop behaving that way”? Would we tell someone with severe physical injuries that they are weak because they need medication or other medical treatment?   Would we blame and berate them for not making themselves better? Why, then, are the mentally ill expected to advocate for themselves?

© 2009 Noelle Marier

Life, Mental Illness, Observations

Mental Illness and Medication

I was just reading the Bipolar Disorder blog on “”  and found an article called “Christianity vs. Psychology – Opposing Views?”   It addresses from a biblical point of view the idea that Christians shouldn’t take medication or get treatment for mental illness.

Many people believe that those with mental illness are to blame for the disease that plagues their lives.  These people would show compassion to someone with a birth defect or cancer, or go out of their way to encourage and help a person with any other chronic illness, but would condemn a person suffering from depression or bipolar disorder for taking medication that allows them to function comfortably and effectively.

Diabetics need to take medicine to stay alive and healthy.  Would these people who say taking medication for mental health is wrong also deny medication to a diabetic, or refuse to take someone with a broken leg to a hospital for treatment, or tell a cancer patient he can’t have chemotherapy?  It is cruel to blame the mentally ill for their disease, just as it would be ludicrous to blame a child with cerebral palsy for his disease. People with mental illness should be shown the same concern that one would show to anyone with a chronic physical disease.

The article is at

This post is a lead-in to my next post.


Kite Man

Hey, does anyone know where I could find a video of the Kite Man commercial put out by Pacific Power in Portland, OR in the 1970s?  It was a public service announcement aimed at preventing electricity-related injuries due to kite flying.  To this day when anyone says “Ever?” I shriek “NEVER!!” in my head, and when I hear the word “frogs” I immediately think “I like frogs!”   I want to show the video to my children so they will understand me better…!


I just found the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial (the one with Donny Most from Happy Days) on YouTube and showed it to my son – “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!  You got peanut butter on my chocolate!”  I also still hum the “Reese’s PEAnut Butter Cup” jingle when I eat a Reese’s.  And we didn’t even have a TV when I was growing up – we had to watch the neighbor’s TV.  My sister and I must have watched the neighbors’ TV more than I remember!


Why do we remember these unimportant tidbits from childhood and not the more important things?  I was listening to “Radio Lab” on NPR the other day.  The consensus was that our brains are supposed to keep significant details in storage, and fade out the insignificant ones while we sleep.   Maybe I’m just not collecting enough significant details to replace the insignificant in the closets of my brain.  Maybe the closets of my brain are like the closets in my dear grandma’s house – so stuffed with silly things that you couldn’t fit another thing in. 


I cook bacon for my son’s breakfast every morning lately.  The bacon smell swirls stubbornly in the air and won’t go out the open doors and windows.  It refuses to be slurped up into the bathroom fan or filtered out through the fan over the stove.  When I open the door after coming home from taking Benjamin to school I’m enfolded in a bear hug of bacon.  But, it reminds me of my grandparents’ kitchens, and that’s one of those significant, important, comforting memories.  I love that memory, so – hooray, bacon!  And hooray for anything that brings a significant thought out of storage.