Friday, January 30, 2009

Harry and Brookside Park, Now The Cleveland Zoo

Harry liked to ride his bike as a kid and my mom used to walk down there as a teen--it was then called Brookside Park.

When we were kids, it had animals in cages. Here are some pictures that were taken back then of the bears in the cages. Their exhibit is completely different now.

I remember when the zoo got flooded it wiped out all the reptiles they had. I felt bad about that because I liked the snakes. Monkey island was always fun. Did you know most monkeys don't like to go in water? They lived on this "island" of rock. It's pretty high with water all around it in a mote. That is one thing that is still there today.

Another area of Brookside Park that is still part of the zoo today is water fowl lake in the center. They used to have a "Children's Farm" where kids could hold rabbits and guinea pigs. I was sort of afraid to hold animals when I was little because I was afraid they'd poop or pee on me. I always liked petting furry creatures though. They also had goats and I remember one day a goat started grabbing someone's hat.

One time, my dad and I took a couple of his grandkids to the zoo. It was a very fun time! Here is a picture from that day. This is when my dad still had his hair! Brookside Park has gone through many changes over the years to become the Cleveland Metropark Zoo today.

In dad's later days, I always invited him to join Gerard and me when we went to the zoo. I knew he couldn't walk all too much, but they have big chairs chairs that we could rent to push him around in. I figured we could just do a section one day and then another section a different day. I know he would have enjoyed seeing all the changes and the animals, but he needed to be close to a bathroom and was afraid if he went out he wouldn't make it in time, even though he had the incontinence pads, he just didn't want to chance being embarrassed. It's too bad though, because it would have been such a fun time.

On the Red Pine Mountain blog, Mountain Woman invited her readers to write a one-page essay about a familiar place so I wrote about the Cleveland Zoo. Here is the link if you'd like to read about how it is today: Red Pine Mountain. For current zoo pictures, visit my other blog at and scroll down to the bottom for a zoo slide show. There's also one on the sidebar over there too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Harry's Commentary On Abortion

In cleaning out my dad's house after he died, it was like a treasure hunt--I never knew what I would find. Dad was always opinionated and called things like he saw it without holding back. Tact was not his strong suit; that was my mom's specialty. Dad always saw things as black or white. In his eyes, things were either right or wrong. The first section of the paper Harry read every day was the comics. Sometimes, he even made comments on them. Below is one I found that he even saved. It's The Wizard of Id from the PLAIN DEALER back when President Clinton was in office. As you can see, he taped his comment to it at the bottom:

(The comic is a bit hard to read but the king says, "Your beloved King has eliminated crime in the parks." How'd you Do it? Hooray!
King replies: "I legalized mugging.")

How many people do you know who would take time to do this and then save it? Just thought this does give us something to think about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Contest Winner, Abelle in the Philippines Reviews "My Funny Dad, Harry"

Abelle was the winner of my book give away contest at Happy Birthday, Dad Contest.

She started reading "My Funny Dad, Harry" as soon as she picked it up from the post office on Friday afternoon and finished it Sunday night. She has posted the following review on her blog and has given me permission to post it on my blogs as well. I love getting good reviews and hearing that my book has stirred up fond memories for others about their loved ones. Here is what she wrote:

The book was written by Karen Arlettaz Zemek, Harry’s daughter, in his memory.

‘Tatanda ka rin’ (You’ll be old too someday).

This is what my youngest sister always tells me when I get irritated with things my grandmother does. Sometimes I try to understand her, but there will be times that I just can’t. An old mind and a younger one sometimes don’t agree.

The book, My Funny Dad, Harry, is written in diary style. Karen did a good job in telling things about her Dad and their family starting from her younger years up to the last days of his father. The book made me realize that there are things we thought about older people but really don’t understand – especially why they like to do things their way when it can be done a lot easier. Harry was a picture of a man who values hard work.

Funny, but with a heart. There are parts that made me smile and there are also those that made me cry. Maybe because I can relate to some of Karen’s experiences that it made me remember memories from the past and things in the present. There may be stories about cats, but it only shows more of what a caring person her dad was – both to people and animals. If he were alive today, I am sure Harry will be active in campaigns about recycling as what I learned with what he did to the empty orange juice cartons, cat food containers, litter boxes and papers from junk mails (photos are shown in the book).

My Funny Dad, Harry speaks of love, caring, values, sharing and a lot more. The author included some photos in the book which were chosen by heart for they show special events and memories of their lives.

Learning the life that Harry lived, there’s no doubt why Karen has become the person she is – one with a generous heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you Karen for sharing your family’s life through this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book. A story about a simple man (and family) that will surely touch lives of many.

Abelle shares some interesting information about her family too on her review post which you might like to see I provided the link to her blog, Only In Silence so you can hop over right to it.

See for more customer reviews or how to order.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tashabud Got It For Christmas and Reviewed It On Her Blog!

Tashabud, at Tasha's Take got "My Funny Dad, Harry" as a Christmas present from her sister-in-law. In her post, she wrote the following review of my book which she gave me permission to post here:

The book touches on Karen’s life with her mother and her foster siblings, but mainly it talks about her father, his many cats, and his funny peculiarities, which, at times, frustrated Karen. If you’re looking for a G-Rated, wholesome kind of reading material that touches the heart and so close to home, this book is for you. You’ll not read any cuss words or sexual innuendos, either. I like this book for these reasons and because it deals with a real life story that happens to be the life of one of my blog friends. If your interest is more into big action, drama, sex, and explosive fireworks then this is definitely not for you. You’d be disappointed.

Thanks, Tashabud, for taking the time to write this nice review about my book and posting it. I'm glad you liked it!

See for more customer reviews or how to order.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Harry Would Have Liked This One--Daisy The Curly Cat!

Writer's Workshop: Pay Tribute to Your Favorite Blogger

My dad always read the comics first in the paper and whenever he found one he thought was especially funny or applied to something in our lives, he'd point it out to me to read. I know he'd tell you to be sure to read "Daisy, the Curly Cat's blog.

If my dad was still alive, he would enjoy the Daisy, The Curly Cat done by a cat who makes up comics, riddles, puzzles and models clothes. Although my dad would probably have thought dressing up your cat is silly, I think he'd be reading Daisy's blog every day just like my husband and I do since he loved cats and humor. Daisy also has a brother cat, Harley, who is learning things from Daisy and is also in the comics and dresses up.

Daisy's blog was nominated for the best pet blog, but didn't win so one of her blogging buddies Skeezix the Cat, made the above award for her and said others could display it on their blogs too so that is why it's here. If you haven't visited Daisy's blog yet, please do. It's great! Her mom is a very talented lady who combines photography with funny dialog.

Let me know what you think of Daisy the Cat in the comments. Are you one of her fans too?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

10 Early Posts in Review From 2008

I hope you take a little time to look at some of these you missed because I think they are some of my best posts of 2008. I encourage you to click on any of the tags under the posts to bring up other related posts for that topic or check my archives. Also, the search box works very well at the top of my blog if there's a particular topic you are looking for. I just started this blog in April of 2008 and so I realize many of you would have missed out on these so I thought I'd do a little summary here listing what I think may be of interest to my current readers:

Heartwarming, Emotional, Humorous
This is one of my first posts of one of my earliest book reviews.

Foreword of "My Funny Dad, Harry"
I posted this to share about why I wrote this book.

The Jeep and Our Dog, Brownie
This is my favorite post of all--you must see this one! It shows what fun we had as kids and the best jeep ever! No motor, just simple fun. Also the neighborhood kids enjoyed it with us.

Bio of Harrington Arlettaz, My Funny Dad
I wrote this because one of my readers mentioned they would have liked to have had more background on my dad so here it is!

Harry's Tips to Make Things Easier For Himself
This lists some of the problems my dad encountered as he aged which I suppose many others have as well. I thought it may be helpful.

Things Dad Made For Us Kids
I post this because I want to encourage dads (and moms) to make things for your kids. Believe, me, those are the things I remember most and still appreciate to this day!

Kitten Krazy Uses Many of Harry's Things
This is the first post that I got a comment on so I include it in this list.

Cat Sanctuary Where Cats Rule
Cats were a huge part of my dad' life so I know he would have liked this place a lot! It's an entire house just for cats. The only ones in cages are those needed medical attention. Most share a room with other cats and they have people coming in every day to pet them and play with them.

Giraffe Note Holder
This was a popular post with 7 comments. It is something anyone who has a computer could use but was only up for a couple days before my next post, so perhaps didn't get as many views as most of my others so am including it here.

My Wedding Day
This is one of the few pictures I have of me with my dad and it was a big day for both of us so am including it here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Makes A Nice Gift!

It's so easy to make a mistake in my checkbook. I do online banking now and both our checks are automatically deposited so I do not go to the bank every week like I used to. When I got a nice cash Christmas/Birthday gift from one of my bosses, I went to the bank to deposit it in my checking.

First off, I gave the teller my deposit slip but forgot to give her my money . . . oops. She was very nice and simply asked if I had the money. I quickly pulled it out of my coat pocket and gave it to her, thanking her for being so nice and not saying, "Give me the money you dumb woman." Then she mentioned that I had two overdrafts on my account. I was shocked! She was very nice, again not calling me stupid or anything and told me which checks were overdrawn, both I had written. She said she'd waive the fees which were $35 each for a total of $70!

Good thing I had some cash to deposit so I had to go to the bank. Who knows how long before I would have found out about this otherwise.

I couldn't get back to the office fast enough to reconcile my checkbook. It was longer than I thought that I had done this (time goes so fast) and I found not one, but two numbers that I simply copied down wrong. One was the balance when I carried it forward to the next page which was a $100 error and the other was an incorrect amount for my phone bill which resulted in a $32 error.

I am so grateful to her for waiving the fees and today will be taking her a little gift to show my appreciation-an autographed book of "My Funny Dad, Harry" and a decorative Christmas boot with some chocolate covered pretzels and my PNN card letting her know where she can read about what a nice teller she is.

Although I made stupid mistakes, which happen, because of them, I received a blessing and in turn can be a blessing to someone else. Little acts of kindness can really make someone's day. How about this for a New Year's Resolution: Be kind to someone each day and try not to do so many stupid things!

Happy New Year!

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.