Tag Archives: The Blob


Norman Rockwell's "Marbles Champion" ~ if you think girls can't do certain things, you need to change a second look.

Norman Rockwell’s “Marbles Champion” ~ if you think girls can’t compete with boys, you need to rethink that.

Rockwell's "Big Decision" ~ the catcher has a different point of view than the coach

Rockwell’s “Big Decision” ~ the catcher has a different point of view than the coach. Below, the perspective from the “High Board” is different than from the side of the pool.

High board

“Running around like a chicken with its head cut off” isn’t just a simile for a frantically busy person. It’s also an actual description.

When I was eleven years old, a farmer knew that my mother had been raised on a farm, and as a gift he delivered to our house a fresh chicken for our dinner.  It was a very fresh chicken.  Still alive.

In our back yard, he quickly balanced the chicken on a board, lifted an ax and cut off the chicken’s head. The chicken body ran like crazy.  We had a tall picket fence enclosing our big back yard. It was painted white. By the time the chicken dropped, there were very few pickets that didn’t have streaks, smears or spatters of blood. (You can thank me for not having pictures of this.)

The farmer used our garden hose to spray the fence while my mother plucked and cleaned out the chicken. That night our family had fresh fried chicken for dinner, but I didn’t eat any of it. The fence still had faint stains, and my mind still saw the running chicken.  It was a long time before I realized what my mother tried to help me see: the chicken incident, like many things in life, was a matter of perspective.  To her, it was a generous gesture from a farmer bringing fresh chicken to a former farm woman who was probably tired of store-bought frozen chicken.  I couldn’t understand how my mother, who wouldn’t let me see THE BLOB movie, let me watch a chicken run with its head off.

Henry David Thoreau said, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”  And C.G. Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”  I doubt they were referring to chickens, but possibly they were encouraging us to understand ourselves through our perspectives.

The quote I think applies most to Mom’s perspective about things that were thrown her way in life is by J.M. Barrie: “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”  My mother had the amazing ability to appreciate people and their good intentions, even if they caused her to change her plans or do more work.

Even before my father’s Alzheimer’s and then her own dementia, my mother was not a naïve Pollyanna. She was an intelligent, perceptive, strong-thinking realist who stood firm when necessary. She was also a good listener with a kind heart and open hands to help others. And she knew how to keep life’s chickens in perspective.

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Tracy Karner has a superb post on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), effective for changing a number of problems by establishing a more hopeful perspective.


A replica of vanGogh's "Three Sunflowers in a Vase" on an easel.

A replica of van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase” on an easel.

My husband Jim is 6'2"--and he is walking the path to the 80' tall art replica in Goodland, KS. (which should also give you a new perspective of the importance of art in small Kansas towns) These photographs by Marylin Warner

My husband Jim is 6’2″–and he is walking the path to the 80 ft. tall art replica in Goodland, Kansas (which should also give you a new perspective on the importance of art in small Kansas towns) These photographs by Marylin Warner



Filed under art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Henry David Thoreau, Kansas, lessons about life, lessons for great-grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations

Horror Movies

Dear Mom,

I doubt that you remember 1958, when the original movie of THE BLOB was shown at the theater. I was nine, and even though some of my friends were allowed to go and see it, you said no. I was too young, and prone to a vivid imagination and nightmares, you said, and I didn’t need to see a movie that was  so scary. I was allowed to go to the other movie–I don’t even remember what it was–but not to THE BLOB.

After I got my popcorn, I slipped into a seat in the back row of THE BLOB. It was Steve McQueen’s debut leading role, but I don’t remember him. I do remember the old man on the screen who watched a blazing mass crash to the earth, and how I cringed as he went over to the crater of bubbling red and jabbed it with a stick. When he held it up to study the slimy oozing mess, it crawled down the stick…and on to his hand.

I dropped my popcorn and screamed, and then I jumped when I felt the hand on my shoulder. Your hand. You didn’t smack my shoulder or jerk me out of the seat. You nodded toward the exit. The look of disappointment on your face said it all, and I solemnly followed you out of the theater.

Even though it was for only a few minutes, I still remember the sights and sounds, the eerie music and the escalating fear of the movie. That’s what scary movies do best, and the bursts of surprise and fear are the trademarks of horror. Once I was old enough to appreciate good horror and suspense, especially psychological horror, I went to lots of horror movies. On very rare occasions you’d go to see one, too, like the time I took you to see ROSEMARY’S BABY. (I still remember you telling me after the movie that Rosemary’s hair was too short, though it was probably easier for a pregnant woman to take care of, but you’d never heard of a pregnant woman craving a raw chicken to gnaw into. You also said  that, in your opinion, ROSEMARY’S BABY wasn’t near as good as THE SOUND OF MUSIC.)

I won’t be reminding you of THE BLOB or ROSEMARY’S BABY, Mom, and when we talk on the phone I won’t tell you  about the sad and terrible thing that  happened here in Colorado two days ago. It still has me upset, how a theater full of movie goers in Aurora went to see the opening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, but it turned out to be a very real, horrible, dark night for them. A young man who called himself The Joker randomly killed a dozen of the people in the audience and wounded more than fifty more. All of us watching the news account–and especially the police who responded to the crises and the medical personnel who rushed to the hospitals to help those who survived the attack–will probably never understand why a person would do such a horrible thing. Those who survived the attack, and the friends and families of those who did not, will struggle with nightmares that plague them for the rest of their lives.

When I was a child, Mom, you were right to take me out of a movie I wasn’t old enough to see or understand.  But no one was old enough to experience, witness or understand what happened in Aurora. It was real life horror at its worst,  without mothers’ hands on viewers’ shoulders, guiding them away from the danger.  Through the years I’ve seen you respond to heartbreaking, tragic events. When there was something you could do to help, you helped. When there was nothing you could do, you  would fold your hands, bow you head and silently pray for everyone involved.  The list of those needing prayers in this case would be very long, and I think it would include The Joker’s family, too, because you would also understand their sorrow and grief at the damage he’d done.


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, movies, readiness for certain movies