85 gannon

(credit: Discovery Channel) All other photos by Marylin Warner

(credit: Discovery Channel) All other photos                             by Marylin Warner


Dear Mom,

This time last year, during my monthly visit with you I brought some Super Bowl cookies from the bakery. You happily munched on the football-shaped cookies, but kept asking, “Now, what’s this for?”

Tomorrow is another Super Bowl Sunday. No, Mom, your great-grandson is not playing in the Super Bowl. Gannon is only 8, but he’s our favorite football player anyway. If we want to whistle and yell, “Yea, Irish 85!” it’s okay.

February is the shortest month, but it’s packed with special dates. Today, Feb. 3rd, is not just Super Bowl XLVII, it’s also the birthday of Sesame Street’s Elmo. Feb. 3rd, 1959 is known as The Day The Music Died, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson all died in a plane crash.

As a reminder, Mom, here are some February birthdays of people you admired: Charles Lindbergh on the 4th, Rosa Parks on the 5th, and Charles Dickens and Laura Ingalls Wilder on the 7th. And to kickoff long celebrations, February 10th ushers in the Chinese New Year—the Year of the Snake.

Our blog post last week, “Helping the Healing,” received numerous well wishes, funny and serious comments, and helpful suggestions from our readers and other bloggers. February is the International Friendship Month, and on your behalf I thank all these friends for their responses.

To return the favor, I’m including some information and websites that might make life easier for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, their caregivers and families, and for parents and grandparents with infants, children, and pets (yes, pets!) who have trouble sleeping.

First, Diane MacKinnon is a medical doctor, writer and life coach who has generously allowed this site to list a free download, “Pitfalls Caregivers Fall Into and How To Climb Back Out.” This is superb, and I highly recommend it!

Next, these two CDs are carefully chosen and created lullabies set to the sounds of heartbeats. For fussy or frightened children, for confused dementia or Alzheimer’s victims or tired caregivers, the lullaby music played in the background is a big help.

For canines–puppies adjusting to new families or for older dogs or those needing soothing music–the canine CD is excellent.

And for something yummy:  at my Thursday meeting with friends, we stumbled on an unusual, delicious mid-day drink that caregivers might enjoy after a difficult day.

It’s hot tea, Spiced Chai Latte with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Just enough spice to warm, inspire and reward you!  So good.


Finally, not to take sides on the Super Bowl…aw, forget it, I am taking sides. First, I’m married to a third generation Colorado native, so my first choice would have been the Broncos. But my second is the Ravens, for two solid, non-football reasons: First, as an English major, how could I not be impressed by Baltimore’s connection to Edgar Allan Poe: “…quoth the raven, nevermore…” Come on, how often does football have a literary connection?  Second, in this year’s Super Bowl we have two brothers coaching…different teams. Jim Harbaugh is the coach for the 49ers, and his younger brother John Harbaugh is the coach for the Ravens. Speaking as a second child, a must-try-harder kid, I have to cheer for John.

"...quoth the raven Nevermore..." --Edgar Allan Poe.  Go, Ravens!

“…quoth the raven Nevermore…” –Edgar Allan Poe.            Go, Ravens!


Filed under celebrations, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren


  1. juliabarrett

    As usual, wise and wistful. Will you be taking your mother football cookies this year? Wish I’d thought to make some. Year of the Snake, eh? As my grandmother would say – that’s good luck, a year to get the creative juices flowing. Despite Edgar Allen Poe, and the fact I would normally be a Ravens fan, the ‘Niners are in the ‘Harbowl’ so therefore I am cheering for the ‘Niners!
    I feel sorry for the parents– whichever brother loses.
    Thanks for the wonderful links, Marylin.

  2. You’re very welcome, Julia. I’ve been following your ghost-in-the-house posts (sooo good, but DO NOT go into that basement again!) and maybe the soothing Spiced Chai Latte might help?
    (You are such a wonderful writer, Julia!)

  3. I listened to the canine CD and made it a favorite. I will have to “see about” how to purchase it. Very dry with same repeat melody but apparently that is what dogs like or at least it calms them. Interesting post. As for the football thing. Well I hope your team wins-oh yes the Ravens with the younger bro as the coach. I don’t give one wit about football. I am very different .I realize that- not to like football. Why it’s almost a cardinal sin here in Texas.

    • If I’m going to cheer for a team, it has to have more than typical football appeal. The Ravens also have a player who was the actual young man featured in the movie based on the true story, BLINDSIDE, starring Sandra Bullock. THAT would have me cheering for the Ravens, too, if I didn’t already have the two non-football reasons for cheering for them.
      I found the canine CD unusual, too, but a friend with an arthritic old dog swears by it.

  4. What a lovely and helpful post, Marylin. I also LOVE spiced chai tea…I drink it with dinner every evening.:) Thank you for the wonderful resource links…I know they will help others.
    And one day, Marylin, we will meet in person.:) Are you part of the PIkes Peak Writers? There is a half day writing workshop/seminar on Feb 23…I’m signed up to go and really have to check out their website..I’m not a member yet.:)

  5. I can’t believe we live in the same city, Vivian, but can’t get together yet! For several years I attended Pikes Peak Writers, but then Pen Women and my own writing workshops and classes conflicted, and now I have another commitment for the 23rd. Maybe we should plan to meet in a grocery store?
    p.s. For this Spiced Chai tea they add frothy skim milk, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Quite a combination!

  6. Another spiced chai tea lover here, though I’m not a fan of snakes. 😉

    • Oh, I’m not a fan of snakes either, Carrie. We have two long garden snakes (each is 2’+; I didn’t know they could grow that long) and year after year they, and their little snakes, come back to taunt me. I don’t mind them; I just don’t like to be pulling weeds and have one slither in front of my hand without warning. But my husband swears they’re good for the garden, even if not for the gardner.
      Try adding frothy warm milk, cinnamon and cayenne to your spiced chai tea, and prepare for a taste sensation!

  7. Being in SF Bay Area all I have to say is Go 9ers!!!

  8. Don

    Just a wonderful post Marilyn – a joy to read. I’ve been watching all the excitement around the Super Bowl and I can understand it. In South Africa we get like that around the big events with soccer and rugby. We kind of become a little mad. I don’t fully grasp the rules of American football but I don’t miss the Super Bowl. I find it incredibly exciting, but all those breaks – that’s a bit annoying, but then, as I said, I don’t fully grasp it. Enjoy the game, and again thank you for your post, such a treat.

  9. Yay Superbowl …. I suppose, who am I to be trite about a game of wee guys padded out to be big guys ……..and who have a break every 5 minutes only kidding, enjoy Marylin But having seen a bit of this I think I’ll stick to Six Nations A Man’s Game (and Jeri Ryan likes to too, soooo )

    Another superb post and maybe I will try and get that cd for Lacey Mae who still seems to be having problems through the night. Just recently watched the movie on Rosa Parks life although I was aware of her before that, but ‘inner Strength’ is what you show every week dealing with your Mom’s illness, so you to are a heroine too

    Have a great time in front of the telly xxx and enjoy the fish and beans

    • I’m glad you saw the movie on Rosa Parks, Tom; her life story is amazing, one of the American tales we are truly proud of.
      If you can get that CD for Lacey–or maybe they have the same type of CD where you are?–you might see a difference. The background heartbeat supported by the calming music has a long, soothing effect. And while the canine version is kind of monotonous, I have a friend that swears it’s even more effective with her 7 and 10 year olds when they’ve had a bad day at school, etc.
      I really wish you, Lacey Mae, and her wonderful family the best in helping her get past these night tremors.

  10. I didn’t know the brothers were competing coaches. Funny, that. I will be in the studio and not watching, but I hope they have themselves a great time. I hope you have a great time too. Enjoy some of that tea and those football cookies! Thank you for another lovely post. Cheers!

  11. Pingback: “A Poem for Superbowl Sunday” « GoodOleWoody's Blog and Website

  12. As usual, a lovely and helpful post. Blessings

  13. Canine CD, who knew? I bet it helps because music soothes the soul, whether you’re human or not.

    • I know, Milka, but according to friends, their younger children really liked the baby CD, while the canine CD in the background calmed down the ones in 3rd and 5th grade. But you know, it’s probably like a purring cat curled at the foot of your bed, soothing sounds that help you fall asleep.

  14. I’m in the same boat as Milka, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a canine CD. I’ll have to check it out.
    It’s also my youngest brother’s birthday today as well.
    I hope you bring your mom more of the Super Bowl cookies. 🙂
    Go Gannon Go – Score a touchdown!

    • Thanks, Tracy. Actually, she really likes regular cookies now, especially sugar cookies and snickerdoodles, so it doesn’t matter if they’re Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, or birthday cookies.

  15. Jane Thorne

    Marilyn, what a lovely writer you are. I sat here reading and it was like I was sitting in your kitchen having a cup of Chai (delicious) and a good catch-up natter…thank you J

  16. Gannon

    Mor-Mor ….. I see my picture

    I dont like snakes. but grace does.

    • Hi, Ganno-banno! Thanks for writing a comment. Such a strong, handsome #85 football player you are, but like you, I’m not crazy about snakes.
      Remember, though, how Grace was afraid of snakes for a long time and wouldn’t even go near them at the zoo. Then she had Grandpa take her a little closer to the glassed in exotic snake pen, and then even closer the next time, and how she isn’t afraid.
      Love you lots and lots, Gannon! Mor-Mor

  17. Molly

    I want a special Chai drink!! Wonderful post, AS USUAL!!!!

  18. I had no idea Elmo’s birthday was this month – thanks for sharing. Brayden will be thrilled to know that! As for rooting for the Ravens, I can see your point and your strategy, but this girl’s a 49er fan all the way – even if we did lose. Oh well, good game. And for an afternoon pick-me-up, chai tea latte with cinnamon and cayenne – sounds tasty! 🙂

    • Tell Brayden to sing Happy Birthday to Elmo…again, again, and again…until you make a cake with candles for the little red guy.
      (Now aren’t you sorry you’re going to tell him?) ;=)

  19. I love chai latte’s. LOVE them But I’ve never heard of trying them with cayenne pepper! I am definitely going to have to try that out soon. 🙂

  20. I liked your Spiced Chai Latte. A hot drink with a little kick. Perfect.
    I watch the Superbowl with my husband just to see the commercials. We really didn’t care who won, but we did root for San Francisco. (We love both cities. So, a tough call.)
    Thanks, Marilyn, for the reminder about February being International Friendship Month.

  21. petit4chocolatier

    Wonderful and fun post!

  22. dianabletter

    That is funny about the brothers, Marylin. It reminds me when my daughters played for opposing basketball teams. At games I’d cheer and then counter-cheer for each side!

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