Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Word of the Day



1) to shut with force and noise
2) to dash, strike, knock, thrust, throw, slap down, etc., with violent and noisy impact
3) Informal. to criticize harshly; attack verbally


1) a violent and noisy closing, dashing, or impact
2) the noise so made
3) Informal. a harsh criticism; verbal attack

Slam Poetry
Informal. a competitive, usually boisterous poetry reading

[Origin:1650–60; slamra to slam]

As you know, I consider myself a poet. Now those who read my work might agree or disagree. Yesterday I discovered slam poetry.

It has been suggested that poetry should be added to to the British Olympics. The original Olympics included potery, theater, arts... Athletes made good warriors but thinkers were required for leadership, a truth that seems lost on modern society.

Enter Slam Poetry, already a competitive event, it is like a cross between stand up comedy and poetry reading. Poets perform their own original works. Each round permitting approximately 3 minutes on stage.

Go to YouTube and check it out. If you thought you never liked poetry, this might change your mind.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Word of the Day

koan - koh-ahn


1) A puzzling, often paradoxical statement or story, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening.
2) A nonsensical or paradoxical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating.

[Japanese koan : ko, public + an, matter for consideration, legal case; earlier koũ-an gōngàn public proposal.]
Nice to be seeing something that doesn't automatically go back to Latin. I kind of wonder what MChin is though. Would that be anything like the cleft in a person's chin? Otherwise known as a dimple?

I have no great paradoxical or philosophical questions today.

Today I start back on my school year teaching schedule. Two families that start back today have not confirmed. One child might still be with her father in Florida since the schools don't start back till later this week (and some of them next week). The other family??? We will see. I send out emails to everyone (whose address I have). I don't intend to do group classes this week since it is first week back. Groups will resume next week.

I pulled my chairs off the scaffolding yesterday. I still haven't sanded up there. I'll get the other plaster to that point and then sand my way back to the top and paint while the chairs are still-once again in place.

I'm looking for ideas for behind the toilet in the master bath. I've tried a couple different stands but the problem there is that we went ahead and put in a tall toilet since that bathroom is meant to be handicap accessible. The toilet is too tall for the stands. Now I'm thinking some decorative wooden shelves or a beveled mirror. A mirror would capture and throw around what light is in the room. That bathroom has only a very small window (though it has ample vanity lights). It is very nice being able to get up in the night and just a very short trek to the bathroom. Surprising how much simple things like that mean after age 50.

Today I will be taking back the latest "behind the toilet" stand. I'll keep an eye out and eventually perhaps I'll find the perfect thing for that spot.

Yesterday I got some of those blue rubber (look like koosh balls) dryer balls. Has anyone else tried them? They are supposed to fluff your clothes, shorten drying time, and eliminate static cling. Of course when I got home and was reading the package they recommend 4 - 6 for best results. That ends up like a $30 investment at $10 for two balls. I don't go through $30 in dryer sheets in a decade. On the other hand, if clothes really do dry faster (am running first load right now with the two balls I got) and IF I could train the family to set the dryer for less time then with rising energy costs they could conceivably pay for themselves. I'm actually seeing my contribution to the family gift exchange for this year. *evil chuckle* They are supposed to last for years.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Word of the Day

juxtaposition juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn


The act or an instance of placing two items side by side, especially for comparison or contrast, or the state of being so placed.

[French juxtaposition : Latin iuxta close by + French position, position
(like we couldn't figure that one out), from Latin (so what time? early? late?) positio, position-, placing, position, from positus, past participle of ponere, to place.] (Well that clears it all up nicely)

OK so today's word has nothing to do with anything. I just think it is a cool word.

This week I've moved my plastering to the south wall of the loft (and select other places while I've got my super grungy plastering/painting outfit on anyway). The house has 15/12 pitch roofs which means the place where wall meets roof peak is way up there. So, I have one section of scaffolding, then on it four solid wooden chairs, and on them a kitchen step stool. It's real solid but still a tiny bit scary. When I return home this evening, I plan to turn off the heat pumps (hopefully the house will be cool enough to do this) and sand the top of the wall.

On a side note, I saw a bit of movement from the corner of my eye and turned my head to see a skink lizard on the arm of the sofa where I sit, sunning himself in front of mum's big window.

Once I've sanded the top of the wall, I can remove the chairs from the scaffolding (they take up lots of space) and finish plastering the rest of the wall (or as much as I can reach from the scaffolding). I figure I'm still maybe a week away from painting. I'm working on several areas at once so I can paint a lot while I have the roller wet and all. I'd much rather do a large section and then throw away the roller than keep doing little areas and cleaning the rollers each time.

The skink has moved to the seat cushion. It is really a good thing I am intrigued rather than freaked out by things like wild lizards running loose in the house.

Along with all the plastering and painting I've been working on the last few weeks, it is now time for a new work year to start since my teaching year coincides with the school year. I've been up to my eyeballs in trying to schedule students, working out the fee structure for the new year, printing out new lesson forms, brochures...

Needless to say, I'm not doing much writing. I think I managed one poem last week (or maybe that was the week before) and there is another niggling away in the recesses of my mind. I just need to focus and let it work its way out of the mists into the light. Both my novels are on the back burner but not forgotten. Ideas for three more are teasing me too. I had meant to compile facts, character sketches, timeline... for one of them, Still Waters, and then write like a maniac the month of November, participating in NaNoWriMo. Now, of course, we have a wedding mid month so I think trying to write 50,000 words that month might be an unreasonable expectation. I've got a file of Novel Ideas and I just keep stashing ideas there for future reference.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Word of the Day


plural eulogies

1) a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, esp. a set oration in honor of a deceased person.
2) high praise or commendation.

[1585–95; eulogia and Middle Latin eulogium.]

Perhaps it isn't proper to eulogize a horse. I want to tell you about him, just the same.

Sunshine Kypchak, son of Walker's Prince T
breed - American Bashkir Curly
age - 25

Kippy was 5 years old when he came to live with us. I had cut my reading teeth on Walter Farley's Black Stallion series and had always wanted my own Big Black.

Kippy was no Big Black. Kippy barely reached 14 hands. He was a dark red roan overo pinto. In the summer when his coat was short and sleek he looked lavender out in the sunshine. He was heavily curled. In the winters he would be completely covered in poodle curls. Even in the summer his coat would wave across his shoulders. His main and tail were filled with ringlets.

Kippy had the sweetest disposition of any horse I've ever known. He enjoyed being petted. I could lead him around by hand with no rope or halter. I could crawl under his belly and pluck flies from his scrotum. He was never skittish and had no vices. He didn't appreciate being ridden but if you carried a crop he was a docile saddle horse, even around mares in heat.

For the last couple years Kippy has been failing. I've had to feed him warm mashes. No matter what I did, I couldn't keep weight on him. We feared we would loose him last winter.

July 18, when I went out to feed him, he didn't come to the gate. I hoped I was wrong, but my heart knew that he wouldn't be coming to the feed bucket any more. I went down to the barnyard to check on him and at first I thought he was already dead. Closer examination revealed he was still breathing. I covered him with a wet sheet to try and keep him cool then went and made necessary phone calls.

Within two hours of my finding him, it was all over.

If good horses go to heaven, Kippy is there, knee deep in clover with his own herd of mares.


I've decided to change my focus a bit. I find that right now my life isn't real conductive to writing humor though there is something going on that could produce lots of humor blogs but the party of the second part wouldn't be amused by the party of the first part reporting on public forum.

So I am going to make this primarily a writing related blog, at least for now. Word of the Day kind of stuff. Yeah, I'll still slip in snippets of my life (trying very hard never to mention the party of the second part). Might even be slightly funny at times. Hope y'all won't be too disappointed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Death On the Farm

Today we are burying my old horse. There is no humor to be found in this but it is something that deserves to be noted somewhere.

Saturday, June 7, 2008



transitive verb (the objectionable kind of verb)
Past participle and past tense: mesmerized
Present participle: mesmerizing
Third person singular present tense: mesmerizes

1. to spell bind; enthrall
2. to hypnotize

[After Franz Mesmer (1734 - 1815), Austrian physician.]

Franz Anton Mesmer, a visionary eighteenth-century physician, believed cures could be effected by having patients do things such as sit with their feet in a fountain of magnetized water while holding cables attached to magnetized trees. He then came to believe that magnetic powers resided in himself, and during highly fashionable curative sessions in Paris he caused his patients to have reactions ranging from sleeping or dancing to confulsions. These reactions were actually brought about by hypnotic posers that Mesmer was unaware he possessed. One of his pupils, named Puysegur, then used the term mesmerism (first recorded in English in 1802) for Mesmer's practices. The related word mesmerize (first recorded in English in 1829), having shed its reference tot he hypnotic doctor, lives on in the sense "to enthrall."

Wow. so I'm starting to get a mental image of a future dictionary entry:
To write endless posts on arcane topics, poking fun at English conventions and Latin forms.

Hey! I heard that! It COULD happen.

OK so what mesmerizes me? Well today it has been horse racing in general, Belmont Stakes in particular. I've spent the afternoon on YouTube watching horse races and tributes to great racers such as Secretariat and Man of War. In less than an hour Big Brown will try to add his name to an exclusive list of Triple Crown winners. Only eleven horses have managed to take the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes since 1919 when Sir Barton became the first Triple Crown winner. In my lifetime there have been only three Triple Crown winners; 1973 Secretariat, 1977 Seattle Slew, and 1978 Affirmed. Since then, eleven horses have won the first two legs only to go down to defeat in Belmont's grueling mile and a half.

Half an hour now till the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes. Will we have a new Triple Crown winner this year? I'm at Momma's with no TV but my computer is tuned to ESPN. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dictionary Rantings



1a. idle chatter
1b. talk intended to charm or beguile
2. a parley between two groups, especially European explorers and representatives of local populations

[Portuguese palavra, speech, alteration of Late Latin (after 11 PM) parabola, speech, parable.]

Wait a minute! I thought we studied parabolas in Algebra and they were kind of like rounded ended "v"s that appeared in certain kinds of graphs and could be pointing in any direction. *runs to check on this theory* Oooooh, I love it when I'm right.

Wikipedia says...

In mathematics, the parabola (pronounced /pəˈræbələ/, from the Greek παραβολή) is a conic section generated by the intersection of a right circular conical surface and a plane parallel to a generating straight line of that surface. A parabola can also be defined as the locus of points in a plane which are equidistant from a given point (the focus) and a given line (the directrix).

A particular case arises when the plane is tangent to the conical surface. In this case, the intersection is a degeneratestraight line. parabola consisting of a

The parabola is an important concept in abstract mathematics, but it is also seen with considerable frequency in the physical world, and there are many practical applications for the construct in engineering, physics, and other domains.

OK so I'm a little frustrated because it doesn't trace it back to Late Latin or early Latin for that matter. All right then, here we go, FreeDictionary gives us...

[New Latin, from Greek parabol, comparison, application, parabola (from the relationship between the line joining the vertices of a conic and the line through its focus and parallel to its directrix), from paraballein, to compare; see parable.]

OK so now we're dealing with "New Latin". Would that be Latin that hasn't passed its "use by" date? Or maybe like "new potatoes" it hasn't laid around long enough to develop a thick skin? I realize this may feel like hair splitting [the act of creating split ends] but these distinctions must be important or why would the various dictionaries bother to mention them? Clearly it isn't enough to simply say "Latin". Oh well, it's all Greek to me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Word of the Day



1) A medicine whose effectiveness is unproved and whose ingredients are usually secret; a quack remedy.
2) A favored but often questionable remedy.

[From Latin nostrum (remedium), our (remedy), neuter of noster.]

Always cracks me up, the languages where words have gender that has nothing to do with any gender realities that we are now aware of. Reminds me of the old email forward about the computer's gender.
A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computadora"), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is impossible to understand for everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval;

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine ("el computador"), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem;

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer you could have gotten a better model.

So... Last evening my kids came over for my birthday. I made an experimental cake with xylitol instead of sugar. The cake was dry but I think that was cause I over baked it as I set the timer but then failed to hit the start button. I made chocolate (single layer) and then topped it with cream cheese and got sour cherries packed in water and made my own yummy cake topping with more of the xylitol. It was pretty awesome, despite being dry and the best part is, I am not sick this morning after eating it. I think I've finally found something I can eat, that my family won't turn up their noses at, that won't make me sick. It is too expensive to have cake every week but then, I'm not used to desserts. I'll be quite happy with something once in awhile. I guess I'll be making another cake in two weeks though cause that will be Kiddo's birthday. Maybe try an angel food cake with this stuff.

My mother-in-law wouldn't take any home with her after. She claimed that it is because she isn't supposed to eat sugar. Maybe that was the real reason and maybe it wasn't. She said it was good. My kids seemed to like it. I'm having another slice for my breakfast and I still like it.

Oh, and why did I chose nostrum for today's word? Well, the "xylitol" is a suspect substance, at least in my eyes. I can't eat sugar and don't trust the substitutes. I figure the jury is still out and personally don't want to volunteer to be the guinea pig. But once in awhile I want to be able to eat like other folk. My birthday was one of those occasions. So to paraphrase Marie A... "Let me eat cake" at least occasionally.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me



1a) the day on which a person was born
b) figurative the day on which something began
2) the yearly return of the day on which a person was born, or on which something began

This is from my giant two volume dictionary. That's all. No Greek. No Latin. Not even pidgin English. Soooo, I dug a touch deeper and backed up to birth which has a big long definition which I'm too lazy to type in and which anyway, I figure everyone who reads my blog pretty much knows what birth is anyway. So what did it give me for fancy roots?

[Middle English byrthe byrth)]

Reckon my early European ancestors handled that one without help from the Romans. I went to my little free Translator and it doesn't offer Latin so I tried Italian and birth = nascita, birthday = compleanno, Greek γενέθλια which really isn't very useful since I ducked out of Greek after learning the first four letters of their alphabet (αλφάβητο) which I have forgotten in the interviening years.

So anyway, this is my rather long winded way of saying that today is the 21st anniversary of my 30th birthday. Nah, don't bother with the math. I'll only ever admit to 30 anyway.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Sunday Afternoon

A couple Sundays in a row now I've had dinner with my daughter and we've done something after we ate. Last week we shopped. I'm not much of a shopper. I kind of need someone to hold my hand cause I really want to walk in, go straight to the item I need, buy it and get out. She on the other hand seems to enjoy shopping. I suspect the babies were switched at the hospital.

This week we ate then stopped at PetCo for dog food. Two bags of dogfood, two bags of dried grass (rabbit food, not the illegal stuff), 5 realistic looking fake plants, and 3 fish later we headed for the Montessori school to introduce the fish to their new environment and unload everything that wasn't the dogfood.

While there her phone rings and it is a former student inviting her (more like reminding her AGAIN) to a recital in Chattanooga at 3. Her current teacher is my former teacher who I've not seen in several years. Four of the students were beginners in our program who Sugar and I taught at different times before moving them on for more advanced training. The recital was fantastic. R has a reputation for driving her students to incredible heights. One of our former students graduated this year and will be going into a pre-med program but still playing the violin (she turned down a Vanderbilt music scholarship). She was the star of the recital. Her little sister was just as good. Another is already getting scholarship offers from universities and plans to major in viola. The fourth is maybe 7 and already playing advanced music with a high degree of musicality.

So that's how I spent my day.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


OK so here I am back at Momma's like I am every weekend. It's 4:45 PM and we are eating the meal that's too late to be lunch and too early to dignify with the name supper. Just for the record the other meal earlier was also between normal meal times.

Anyway, L's clock suddenly starts bleating from the other room. The same freaking alarm clock I turn off every Saturday afternoon. Can't help wondering though. Why would the alarm clock go off in the middle of the afternoon? Well, this time around the clock is blinking from a power outage and seems to believe the time is 12:03 which is still an odd time to have the alarm going off.

For the record, today I've gotten five containers out of the fridge for good. Two were leftovers that I combined into a new dish with the addition of a little canned soup and cheese, one was leftover bean salad, two were jars of applesauce and spaghetti sauce that had gone moldy. So while I've not washed any dishes (hey, I rinsed off or put to soak all the dishes we've used), I did do my part towards cleaning out the fridge. Anything from this meal left on Momma's plate will become dog food or compost.

And that's all the news that's fit to print. *grins*

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Retrospect

I have two children, Sugar (32) and Kiddo (28). Yeah, I know that given their ages it stretches the imagination a bit when I say I'm 30 but just remember that I was a child bride.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I love my kids but I'm finding the less I'm around them, the more I savor the times we have together. I can't help regretting that we didn't keep the doors locked when their father and I moved to the new house. I tried real hard to leave their stuff behind in the old house but their dad let them move it into the new house. Heck, we didn't even have the roof on when they were walking around in the upstairs bedrooms figuring out how they wanted to arrange their furniture. As I type this, Kiddo is asleep in the room above me.

Sugar lives with an elderly woman in town. Between teaching at Montessori and seeing that B has the help she needs, Sugar is kept pretty busy. Sunday she and I took time to just be together. We ate at a Chinese buffet and went and dug flowers out of a lady's yard. NO, we didn't steal them. *grins* We visited with the lady for maybe an hour, oohing and aahing over her handwork and then came home to have time with both Sugar's grandma's and assorted other family members. Kiddo came home for a short time (snuck away from work, he did), so I got to see both my offspring yesterday as well as having some time with Momma.

Momma was back in her right mind by yesterday and having a good time.

Twas a good day. My mother's day gift from the kids was a totally cool drum. Yeah, I know, most moms receive flowers or chocolates but I'm special. My kids got me a cool drum with a lizard on the head.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Weekend

Here I am, back at Momma's. It has all the makings of a long weekend.

I'm reminded of back when the children were young and Mrs. Brown was still our neighbor. We would go to visit her and take her small gifts from the kitchen or garden. I'd sit and listen to her stories. What comes back to me now are the stories she told of her husband's advancing dementia.

She said, "He'd sit out there in the lawn and point across the road carrying on about how they were rolling up that field and just carrying it off."
She said, "He doesn't drive any more. The last time he drove he swerved to avoid a truck that wasn't even there. I thought if he is seeing things that aren't there, is he seeing things that are?"

Momma is having mini strokes and they are more pronounced than they were. We think three this week. This morning she sits on the sofa snoozing. Between sleeps she says odd things.

"I think I've got it all messed up."
"If we avoid the lake we can go wherever we need to."
"There's a lot of people out there, are we going to church?"
"Someone's going across the lake." (which would make sense if there was actually someone out there in a boat)
"Now, is it time for me to start getting ready to go home?"
"Maybe I'm going to have to walk home, I don't know."
"Now that tall tree down there has a tree growing out of the side of it."
"I don't believe I want to walk on that lake."
"Who passed by me? Someone just passed by me."
"I don't know how we're going to when the time comes. They haven't done anything to get it ready." I look at her blankly confused. "When we walk, they haven't done anything. I guess we'll figure it out when the time comes."

God grant me the ability to laugh where others might cry, the tears to cry when I should, and the wisdom to know which I should do when.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Politically Correct

My brother, who was born in Kentucky, informed me it is no longer politically correct to call him a hillbilly. He says from now on when he has to declare his ethnicity on legal (or illegal) forms he is going to put down Appalachian American.

I've given this a lot of thought. I live in southern Appalachia but I wasn't born in the South. I reckon from now on, just to be politically correct, I'm gonna list myself as a Damnyankee (all one word). I've been told (by honest to God Southerners) that a Yankee is one of them consarn Northerners and a Damnyankee is one of them consarn Northerners who fergot to go back. Yep, that's me alright.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Looking Back

I was just over at Regurgitated Alphabets and now I'm eating a bit of humble pie. If you want to know more, go read her posts about Joe C. Anyway, she has set me thinking, remembering.

Ya'll know I'm a teacher. People who watch me work with these kids say I have so much patience. I remember back to when I lost my patience completely. (I'll save my rant about the "p" word for another post.)

I remember the year I fired one of my employers. Actually one of Sugar's employers since she was the one teaching the two little boys. Sugar is a really good teacher. She has a heart for the kids and a knack for reading right through their little games.

So she gets this little kid in for his first lesson and he doesn't want to do what she asks and says "I'll throw up." She looks at him and says "Fine, just be aware that after you throw up you will be cleaning it up because neither your mother or I will do that for you." The kid decided not to throw up after all.

Then a few weeks later she was sick and I got the kid. She had told me about his little power play and I was ready. The kid gets angry at one point in his lesson and starts slamming his violin around. Now, you don't abuse violins in my presence. I don't take it kindly. So I took it out of his hands and told him very firmly that he would not behave like that. I really don't remember a lot of what went on after that but the kid was behaving badly and his mother took him out of the room for a bit of hands on persuasion then brought him back and told him to apologize to me. Well he didn't want to do that. So I ended up on my knees in front of him with my arms over his shoulders just so he couldn't disappear. He finally spat out "I'm sorry." and I said "No you're not. I can't accept that apology." I ended up telling him that I loved him too much let him behave so badly. By the time the lesson was over, he had broken and cried, then apologized and I had hugged him and assured him he was forgiven.

The next week Sugar asked me what I had done to him because he was a changed boy.

We worked with him and his brother for several years, trying to help them overcome their anger issues. This was all well and good and they really did make good progress. Problem was, we couldn't completely counteract the influence of their parents.

During the years we taught them, Sugar went off for three months of training and I had all her students as well as my own. Once during that three months the mother went completely off on me. When I went home that day I thought she had quit and I'd never have to deal with her again and honestly, I wasn't unhappy about that. I spoke with Sugar on the phone and she begged me to not pitch them, that the boys needed us and so we had to put up with the mother. I came to understand that about once a month this mother would go off on Sugar, leaving her bawling her tender little heart out.

So Sugar came back from her training and resumed her teaching schedule, including these two boys. Again the mother went off on her one evening and she came home bawling her eyes out. I'd had enough. I told her she couldn't teach these boys any more. I called our music director and asked her to phone this mother and let her know that we would not be teaching them any more. The momma gets the phone call, calls me, I stand firm, tell her she's made Sugar cry for the last time, Sugar cries some more. She has finally reached the point that she doesn't want to take them back either. That night I had to take Kiddo to a recital that his teacher is playing on (making it required). Sugar has been crying and doesn't feel like going out publicly so reluctantly I leave her home alone. Fast forward to 11 PM. I am coming up my rural driveway and see headlights coming out. Think I panicked? You bet your booties I did. The oncoming vehicle pulls even with me and stops, guess who? The mother says she was just talking to Sugar and doesn't seem at all upset. My blood pressure is off the charts by now. I practically pull into the front yard and race into the house. My daughter is near fetal position on the floor and has obviously been crying for hours!

The next day the mother phones me and spends hours, using every argument in the book to try and get us to take them back. She is obviously accustomed to getting her way. She hasn't reckoned with me though. You can usually push me pretty far. I'm a bit of a pussy. BUT... There comes a point where I not only won't be pushed any farther, but I will push off in a direction you don't expect.

So, the time came when I had been pushed too far. It is possible I would have let them come back if the woman hadn't come out to the house and battered my daughter for hours while I was off with her brother. Don't mess with my babies.

I feel bad for the kids. I know that we were an influence for good in their lives. Maybe, though, the mother needed that lesson. Maybe that lesson will somehow filter down to the boys and they will be better for it.

OK so there wasn't much humor in this once you get past the kid threatening to throw up, but that at least is still as funny to me as it was the first time Sugar told me about it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Regurgitated Meme

When my friend Jennifer over at Dust Bunny Central did a Meme I thought "cute" and was glad she didn't tag me. This time though I got snuck up on by Edna Lee of Regurgitated Alpha Bit fame. If you don't already read either of their blogs, get your butts in gear and go enjoy. They both make me smile a lot. My life has been unusually crazed the last few weeks and my poor blog has gone begging so I don't know if I have any readers left but here we go. I'll be trying to get around and catch up on all your blogs shortly.

I did the work this morning offline since my internet was seriously down. Sure hope Word doesn't cause wild font effects when I paste it over.

First things first:

The Rules

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago was the pause between storms. My youngest turned 18 and got his first real job. My teaching studio was at its height and both my daughter and I were teaching five days a week, my son had a half dozen cello students and we had two other part time violin teachers. I had spent the year before running back and forth to Momma’s after she had a mastectomy and then broke a hip, but she was better and not needing me every weekend. Daddy didn’t have his first stroke till a year later.

Ten years ago I had a year to breathe and enjoy life. My husband and I bought matching backpacks and after a lifetime of insisting that camping required a picnic table and flush toilets, I took to the wilderness like a possum takes to ripe pawpaws. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

Feed the horses (twice).

Finish making my breakfast smoothie.

Leave early enough to get to Verizon and find out why my PC card is refusing to connect me to the internet.

Get my April bookkeeping done and take deposit to bank. (I’m only about 30 days behind on that)

Try to find a source for Edna’s divine almond champagne.

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, the sugar free chocolate I make. mmmmmmmmmm

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Quit my job.

Run away from home.

Travel the world with my favorite travel partner.

Self publish my poetry and novels even if no one ever read them..

5. Three of my bad habits:

Insisting I’m right. (Well duh, of course I’m right.)

Grooming my finger nails with my teeth.

Engaging in devious acts to get my own way. (Well after all, I’m right.)

6. 5 places I have lived:

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Bethany, Kentucky (Yep, I was an orphanage kid but that’s a whole nother story.)

Spring City, Tennessee

Norfolk, Virginia

Oldfort, Tennessee (Which I still maintain should be two words not one, and come on, you know I’m right.)

7. 5 jobs I have had:

Clerk – Local feed store two days a week.

Violin Teacher – Still doing this, still self employed.

Early Childhood Music Teacher – Fancy way of saying I do music classes for little tots and their mommies. I also do this two days a week at a Montessori school.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer – Hey, it’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it.

Home Educator – Again a fancy way of saying I kept my kids home from school and taught them myself. Must have worked out OK cause they both graduated cum laude and are gainfully employed in the same fields (or nearly so) they got their degrees in.

OK so I had to stretch it to make 5. I could put in novelist but since I’ve not finished my first novel yet I thought that might be stretching it a bit far.

8. 5 People I want to know more about:

DaForeigner / Rob at 1 Day at a Time Yeah I know I’m way behind in my reading. I’ll get there and catch up somehow.

Bob at Cranelegs Pond I always love reading your short humorous clips. Makes me realize how far short of funny I fall.

Tree at Decedent Tranquility I'm loving your story and your art. Hopefully I can get there soon to catch up. I think I'm maybe two weeks behind now.

Camphor at Mostly Harmless I love you girl. I get a few minutes I'll look for you over on GTalk.

Glenda at Glenda's Musings Welcome to blogspot girl. I know, this is a heck of an introduction but hehehe here you go. Tag. You're it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Other Blog

I have this other blog (or two or ten) *points at sidebar links* that I write in pretty frequently, pulling much of my material from either the dictionary or other vocabulary book. Since it isn't really intended to be humor I don't have to think about what would be funny or amusing so it's a lot easier to come up with stuff to write. Once in awhile though, it wanders off into humor. I can't seem to help myself. Yesterday I was doing my Word of the Day post and I reckon I just had a momentary psychotic break or something cause I ended up with what to me reads like a humor post. I'll copy it here and y'all can be the judge of it.

Word of the Day


Plural gravamens or

The part of a legal charge or an accusation that weighs most substantially against the accused.

[Medieval Latin
(as opposed to Old Latin, Middle Latin, or Pig Latin) gravamen injury, accusation, from Late Latin (anytime after 11PM), encumbrance, obligation, from Latin gravare, to burden, from gravis, heavy.]

Now I have to be honest, when I saw this word my thoughts wandered down dark paths. I visualized a caveman being whacked with a club and becoming a graveman. From there I made a connection in my mind to my niece's gecko that if it is carrying eggs is gravid therefore a gravamen would be a pregnant man like that Trans fellow that has been in the news and was it Arnold S. who made a movie where the man was implanted with a baby? Anyway, from there my imagination flow wandered off to the gravel pit where the gravel version of northern Europe's bog men has recently been discovered perfectly preserved by his submersion in gravel all these centuries. Then there are thoughts of having fits of mania associated with graves. Some words just won't quit.

Then I come to the Latin roots and gravis = heavy and indeed Latin with all its various forms would be a heavy burden to bear. I'm so glad my parents chose to be born in America where we just have English. Really, think about it. What if English was like Latin. OK so we'd have Plymouth Rock English, Early Colonial English, Late Colonial English, Revolution English, Early Expansionism English, Gold Rush English, Middle Expansionism English, Pre-Civil War English, Civil War English, Post Civil War English, (which would overlap with) Late Expansionism English, Dust Bowl English, Pre-Great War English, Post-Great War English, Pre-WW2 English, Post-Pearl Harbor English, Post-War English, Pre-Television English... I could go on (and on) (but then I think I already have). Each would be enough different to necessitate serious reeducation if you wished to read the works of say, Hawthorne or Longfellow. Shakespheare would undoubtedly be completely out of reach except to serious scholars. And people think it is hard to learn English now.

So it's another beautiful day and what do I have to be thankful for? I'm seriously thankful that English has evolved very very slowly.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend at Momma's

I arrived at Momma's house Friday evening, usual time.

She says, "How'd you know to find us here?"

I say, "This is where I find you every weekend."

She says, "I don't think so."

I say, "This IS where you live."

She says, "Not much."

Yep, we were off and running on a great weekend.

Saturday I take time for a shower and when I come out she is missing. I round up her good cane and head up the drive. When I get to the top of the rise she is heading up the next rise four cottages away. I see she has picked up a walking stick from the porch. I call out, "You think you've walked far enough?" She stops and looks around a bit then starts on. I'm thinking "Crap, she's walking home." (664 miles according to Yahoo Maps) So I decide to go back to the house, give her time to walk up maybe near the cemetery where Daddy is buried then pick her up with the car, take her to see his grave and bring her on home. I take the cane back to the house, wait a little bit then head out in the car. I get over the rise and there she is at the bottom of the other side of it, headed back home. She gets in the car and I back it to the house.

She carried that wooden walking stick around the house the rest of the day. That would be a real nice walking stick for when she walked home. At one point she mentioned she hadn't seen her mom and dad and the children in quite a long time. I didn't bother to remind her that her parents are long gone and her little brothers and sisters are old like her and about half of them have passed on.

Supper time she says, "Well, I guess it's time for me to be walking home."

I just looked at her and said, "You can't go yet, you've not had your supper."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Down on the Farm

It’s a real nice day down on the farm. The daffodils and yellow tulips in the round-about planter are still real pretty despite the torrential rains we’ve been having. Azaleas are starting to bloom. Maple trees are showing pale green and that odd orange color of early spring that precedes their dumping great volumes of pollen into the air. The redbud trees have reached the peak of perfection. The dogwoods are opening up to become balls of white.

Of course we know what is right around the corner. Today’s high is supposed to be 69 but by Monday they’re predicting a high of 49 with a low of 35. Hello dogwood winter. Every year it does this, regular as clockwork. We have more or less spring (this year spring has been pretty long lasting) and then some super nice weather fooling folks into setting out tomatoes and peppers then boom! Winter descends on us with frost nipping the buds from the fruit trees and blackening those poor tender vegetable plants. Then it warms back up. You really believe this time, you buy more tomato plants, pack your winter clothes in the old cedar chest and get out your shorts and tank tops. Boom! Blackberry winter hits and it will be cold all over again.

Here in the southern tip of the Appalachian mountains, blackberry winter is pretty much the official end of spring. One day you’ll be shivering under a wool comforter and the next it will be hot as that place the tent meeting evangelists used to rant about when you were a kid and forced to sit hours on a hard metal folding chair under a brown canvas tent with the only breezes supplied by ladies vigorously fanning themselves with those cardboard fans that advertised the local funeral home.

You have to wonder if there was some kind of implied message there. Fan so the heatstroke don’t get you but you’re gonna die anyway and when you do call this number and we’ll take care of your body while your soul roasts if you haven’t made your way to the front to cry a long time and get saved, sanctified, and petrified, praise the Lord!

The preacher would intersperse his rantings with loud insucking of wind. “Don’t find yourself, haaaaaack on your deathbed, haaaaaaack breathing, haaaaaaack your very last, haaaaaaack unrepented, haaaaaaack and God says to you, haaaaaaack you done had your chances, haaaaaaack at the summer camp meeting, haaaaaaack but you have committed, haaaaaaack the unpardonable sin, haaaaaaack of turning your back, haaaaaaack one too many, haaaaaaack times, haaaaaaack and now it’s time, haaaaaaack to face your maker, haaaaaaack a sinner, haaaaaaack in the, haaaaaaack hands, haaaaaaack of an angry God! Haaaaaaack…

But for now it's spring and it is beautiful. Gram’s little mystery shrubs have tiny leaves that will soon be big enough to identify what her daughters have planted there in her garden. Today would be a mighty fine day to go up on the sundeck and lay naked on the dark grey tile floor and soak in the warmth both from the sun above and from the dark tiles beneath.

I reckon I’d best make the most of this day cause as we all know, winter is about to descend on us again.

Note: I added the picture and it made the fonts go crazy. Darned if I know. I'll just pretend it adds charm to the post.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lion King Easter

I play the violin in my church orchestra. For a couple months now I’ve been listening to the studio recording of the Easter musical feeling rather confused. Now mind you I attend a big Southern Baptist church. So why is the Easter musical about the Lion King? Was it some kind of reference to C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe? I mean, we are right down the street from a huge Pentecostal university and folks in our church do get a bit enthusiastic some times and stand up with their hands in the air and looks of rapture on their faces. Maybe calling Jesus the Lion King was some kind of Pentecostal thing.

Anyway, in rehearsals we barely touched this piece of music because the publisher had sent an older orchestration that didn’t match up with the choir parts. Finally last Wednesday night it was pretty much do or die time. The choir director had sent the conductor an email (which he copied for us) with instructions on how to cut up the orchestration and reassemble it to match the choir. Now our wise conductor always trusts implicitly the cut and paste directions that come to us from above so he was sitting with the CD going, choir book in one hand and a cut down score in the other, checking to see if it actually would work.

This was my chance! I sidled to where I could look over his shoulder at the choir book and guess what, the CD group were singing “Worthy is the Lion King” but the choir book said “Worthy is the mighty King” Whew. I sure felt better. Granted it is obvious the Nashville singers all need glasses but at least the First Baptist choir wasn’t going to go to hell (and maybe drag the orchestra with them) for singing Lion King music for Easter Sunday.

So fast forward to Sunday morning. I’m playing my violin and there is our choir in their green robes and all singing “Worthy is the Lion King.” I’m happy to report that God didn’t strike the church with a lightening bolt from above.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What's in a Name?

Jen posted her "What's in a Name" and I thought I might ought to do one for Wamblings and maybe for ChameLeon. So, here we go. Maybe I'll get motivated and write a REAL post later.

What Wamblings Means

You are very charming... dangerously so. You have the potential to break a lot of hearts. Maybe.

You know how what you want, how to get it, and that you will get it.

You have the power to rule the world. Let's hope you're a benevolent dictator! Yeah, right.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. Well, I try anyway.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated. In my dreams.

You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want. Master might be too strong a word for it. But new skills do come pretty easy to me.

You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way! Whoa! I wish.

You are full of energy. You are spirited and boisterous. Yes, yes, and maybe.

You are bold and daring. You are willing to do some pretty outrageous things. True.

Your high energy sometimes gets you in trouble. You can have a pretty bad temper at times. High energy, yes. Bad temper, not really.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. Most of the time. You'll notice that this is in direct opposition to the preceding one. Maybe because I'm a Gemini?

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily. Generally true.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is. *grins* I have my days.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing. Again true.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long. Hey, I'm working on it.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start. All right already. I said I'm working on it!

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people. Ummm, which world would that be?

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts. *grins*

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals. Yes, yes, and no. I suck at interpreting signals.

You are deeply philosophical and thoughtful. You tend to analyze every aspect of your life. What can I say? I'm a deep thinker.

You are intuitive, brilliant, and quite introverted. You value your time alone. *blushes*

Often times, you are grumpy with other people. You don't appreciate them trying to interfere in your affairs. You have a problem with that?

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong. Awe shucks.

You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know. In my dreams.

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do. Who me?

What ChameLeon Means

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily. Sounds about right.

You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind. True.

A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable. Duh!

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out. ummmm, maybe.

Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia. Well, business isn't exactly blooming but I love to learn. Maybe I should go back to school.

Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person. And you're just noticing this?

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. Doesn't make sense to shoot low.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
Hey now, I think this was in the last list.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.
Sheesh. Me?

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated. This is starting to get redundant.

You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want. See what I mean?

You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way! Enough with the knocking people down rhetoric already.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone. That's more like it.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together. Sometimes it is hard to know if this is an asset or a liability.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together. Ping!

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. OK been there already.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily. But once I do get worked up, watch out.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is. Yeah, yeah.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life. HEY, who you calling fat?

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you. Oh great, now I'm not only fat, I'm solid too. Next you'll be calling me a Polish peasant.

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself. Not guilty of the first count but seriously guilty of the second.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people. Still trying to figure this one out.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts. *gets carried away*

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals. Sheesh. Give it a rest.

It's really a bunch of bunk, but it's fun. OK so some of it actually accidentally fits. *grins*

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Bunny

Gotta love holidays that revolve around sugar laden sweets. Yesterday my boss at the Montessori school gave me a German (presumably) chocolate bunny.

B: I know you can't eat chocolate but I gave these to all the other teachers and didn't want to leave you out.

Me: Ummm, thanks, I'll enjoy sniffing it. *opens bottom of foil wrap and sniffs*

B: Maybe you can lick it.

Maybe I'll give it to my chocoholic daughter or better yet, I'll take it to the niece who takes care of Momma. After all, Sugar got one from B.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Vocal Minority

I apologize up front for the fact that there will be no humor evident in today's blog.

Usually I think through what it is I want to say and then type it out in Word, tweak it, play with it, post it, edit it some more...

Today I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I can't even find black humor in the situation I am writing about.

I just read a post on another site about the murder of Univ. of NC student body president, Eve Carson. The motive for her murder was plain and simple robbery. A tragedy for her family and for all who knew her or who are now robbed of ever knowing her in the future.

Enter Fred Phelps and his hate filled Westboro Baptist Church. They plan to picket this girl's funeral. Not because she was gay or belonged to any of the other groups they are against but simply because they see it as a way to grab more media attention for their cause.

These people are sick. They give all Christianity a bad name with their hate filled antics.

Today I had lunch with my friendly academia nuts. It was mentioned that a group was getting together to go picket Westboro. Now on one hand I like the idea and would love to be a part of it. On the other hand, isn't that just giving them yet another platform to spread their message? If the media would refuse to give these sickos any air time at all, how long would it take them to give up and stay home? So, if we go picket them, thereby giving them more media attention, aren't we just playing into their hands?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Going Shopping with Mil

I don’t much like to shop. I never really have. When I brave the stores I usually know exactly what I want, go straight to that aisle, pick it up and head for the register. Not that shopping with a friend can’t be amusing, but in general I don’t enjoy shopping. I don’t like shopping for food. I don’t like shopping for clothes. I hate shopping for presents that the person who will be receiving it probably doesn’t really want but which you are obligated to buy anyway. OK so that is a whole ‘nother rant that I will maybe save for next December.

My mother-in-law lives in my basement. When she first came here she didn’t have a car, having just moved from the Hawaiian Islands. She didn’t know her way around either. She loves to shop. She not only loves to shop, she loves to take things back to the store a few days later. I knew that her side of the family had made discount (read that junk) shopping into an art form but I didn’t really have any idea what I was in for that first time I brought her to town to get her driver’s license so that she’d be able to register her brand new used car (silly state laws).

So I pull around to her apartment on the down hill side of my house and open the car door for her like a good little chivalrous daughter-in-law. She is carrying a Walmart bag with a plastic storage container with a broken top. Surely I won’t mind stopping by Walmart while we’re out so she can return it. It clearly wasn’t made well. Fine.

We do the DOT thing (couldn’t actually get her license that day because of some paperwork issue) and head towards Walmart but she mentions that she wants to look at wild bird feeders. Fine, no problem. We stop by Lowes cause I know the wild bird feeder aisle is real close to the front door and I know she walks slightly faster than the South American Three Toed Sloth climbs. Oh! Let’s look at showers. (We don’t yet have the shower installed in her apartment at this point.) Reasonable request. Fine, we head for the back of the store. She stands in front of the showers just looking. While we stood there looking at showers, somewhere in South America a sloth picked and ate a four course meal. While we are in the back of the store we stop to look at toaster ovens. She had one in Hawaii that was perfect. She could even bake little cakes and pies in it. She looks over the selection; rejects them all since she really wants one exactly like the one she left behind. We finally head for the wild bird feeder aisle where we repeat the stand and stare routine. I point out a style I particularly like, it being squirrel proof and all and she stares unblinking. She is perhaps memorizing the pattern of rivets holding together the metal shelves? I point out a few more nice ones. I point out a cheap one. I point out some that hang directly on the window glass. I suggest that she can have mine (I can always buy new ones). We finally leave.

OK so who doesn’t love Walmart? Well, besides me. She returns her broken plastic container and mentions that Walmart would have wild bird feeders. Yes it would but… OK so they are far far away from the customer service desk, practically on another planet. No problem, we can walk there. Fine. While we walked across the store and stood in the wild bird feeder aisle, I am sure our South American Three Toed friend found a wife, consummated his relationship and then took a long nap. I pointed out several nice choices, squirrel proof, cheap, suction cups, big, little. Gahhhhhhhhhhh! I again offer her mine. (I can always buy more some day when she isn’t with me.) While we’re in Walmart we should look at toaster ovens. *sigh* OK Fine. They have a really nice one with a rotisserie attachment and two racks and the front glass curves out to give it a touch more space inside. I go to another aisle and find a cake pan, open an unopened toaster oven box, dig out the toaster oven since naturally the one she was interested in wasn’t on display. I demonstrate how nicely the cake pan fits in the toaster oven. She decides the cake would burn on the sides and she really wants one exactly like the one she left behind. Just like mine. OK so I have nothing against new appliances. I buy the new toaster oven. She can have my old one. Eventually I got her out of the store.

Did I mention, I don’t much like to shop?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Momma Said I Had Big Feet

Momma said I was a poet,
Even though I did not know it.
Her proof was my feet did show it
She said they were Longfellows.

This made little sense to me,
My feet are not long, you see.
And poetry was not my game
At rhyming I was awfully lame.

My feet did grow,
Good under standing,
But poetry I thought
pushes it Demanding.

I studied poets while in school
(My teachers seemed awfully cruel).
They tried to teach me to use meter
move (But I’m not a meter reader).

Of metaphor and simile
(a poem is something like a tree?)
I tried to keep my writing free;
Nope, poetry was not for me!

And vey, oy vey, the need to rhyme;
Though it happened from time to time,
I could not rhyme consistently
My pained results were quite the crime.

But then I learned of repetition,
Repeated words and lines;
Repetition I could manage,
Yes, I love sweet repetition.

Repeated lines don’t need a rhyme;
Repeated lines don’t need a rhyme.
They naturally sound quite alike.
Repeated lines don’t need a rhyme.

And so perhaps Momma was right,
And knew whereof she spoke,
In poetry I’ll take delight
Even when written as a joke.

As musicologist Peter Schickele has created PDQ Bach I perhaps need to create my own bad poet on whom to blame my light hearted thumbing of my nose at the conventions of good poetry. I hereby dub this poem the recently discovered work of PD Crock.

If you like my whacked out poetry (or even if you hate it) check me out at I am The Tuesday Poet! A new poem each Tuesday. Come on over to be impressed, jeer, leave me nasty notes about needing to take poetry lessons, whatever. Y'all come home with me now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting It Right

Sometimes I get it right, even when I do it all wrong.

Sunday we celebrated Sugar’s birthday. She is now officially two years older than I am. She claims the math is a bit confusing but then, she is blond. I have always maintained that from age 30 on it is a woman’s prerogative to be any age she wants. If my daughter chooses to continue getting older, who am I to stand in her way?

She came over and cooked a lovely dinner with her boy friend’s help and a little chopping and dicing from me to speed things along since I hadn’t actually eaten a meal since noon the day before and was ravenously hungry.

Kiddo had already made the required angel food cake (of course from scratch) and chocolate syrup and was thawing out strawberries. He also made home made ice cream. (I told you I got it right, my boy knows how to cook.)

I took my life in my hands (I have genetic immune deficiency and can’t eat sugar) and had some of the ice cream, cake, strawberries, and chocolate syrup. No doubt I’ll be paying for that all week but I’ll just keep reminding myself it was totally worth it.

I have to say, that was the BEST chocolate syrup I’ve ever eaten in my life! Turns out he made it with coconut milk! OMG it was GOOD! After lunch, I just had to try my hand at making some that would actually be safe to eat. After all, there were left over strawberries crying out for a chocolate bath. I dug out the last can of coconut milk from the cupboard (note to self – buy more), and a box of unsweetened chocolate and honey cause while I can’t eat sugar, I can eat moderate amounts of honey, and ginger. Yep, that was the other secret ingredient. Now, I didn’t really read the directions, after all, I’ve been cooking for the last 30 years give or take a few. I dump the coconut milk in a pan on the stove, stir in the ginger, soon as it comes to a boil I dump in the blocks of chocolate and keep cooking till it is melted. So what happens? The oil separates out of the chocolate and I have a glob that tastes nothing like what my lovely son made. About then I go back to the recipe, discover I wasn’t supposed to boil the chocolate. He mentions that he used semi-sweet chocolate, minor details… I put my gloppy mes in the mixing bowl and whip it with additional honey (since mine wasn’t near sweet enough). Result, I have this beautiful soft fudge stuff. A touch to thick for dipping strawberries in without warming but beautiful and yummy. It still doesn’t taste like his but it is good and I’m real satisfied. In spite of doing it wrong, I got it right!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Good Fortune

Sugar and I work at the same school on Tuesdays and Fridays. Fridays after the children have had their lunches and laid down for nap time she and I head out to a restaurant. One week she pays, the next I do.

Today Sugar and I ate at a little Chinese / Japanese restaurant in town. We had bento boxes which we shared, she got sashimi and I had vegetable tempura. Now in a bento box you get a salad, soup (miso with bits of wakami and tofu and green onions floating in it), four pieces of california roll, two little things that I don't know what they are but they taste best as soon as they come from the kitchen and not so good after they've gotten cold, sticky rice, and whatever you ordered (tempura, sashimi, sushi...)

So like I said, we got vegetable tempura and sashimi. Last time we went we did the sushi and the sashimi but the sushi comes in large pieces that are difficult to cut in half with chopsticks. The sashimi has two pieces each of four different kinds of fish, raw of course. The sashimi is easy to share. The tempura you just have to pick and choose your favorite pieces and hope that they aren't also the other person's favorites (unfortunately her tastes correspond to mine).

At the end of the meal they bring you a plate with orange slices. This time after the waitress took away our dishes the host brought us another plate of orange slices, either because we're special or maybe they got a really good deal on oranges this week. We were about full enough to roll out of there by then. We get our fortune cookies and I make up a new superstition that you have to eat half the cookie before reading your fortune so the fortune will stick. So I eat half my cookie, pull the fortune out of the other half and here are my lucky numbers. YAY! I flip it over and the other side is BLANK! OMG WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Well, I'm flipping out, cause this isn't the first time something like this happened. Last year across town another Chinese restaurant gave me a cookie that didn't even have a piece of paper in it at all. I thought I was probably going to be hit by a truck when I stepped off the sidewalk or something. I mean, how long does the rest of your life have to be to merit a fortune? I hand the blank fortune to Sugar and she flips it over to the side with the lucky numbers and above them it says "Luck is coming your way." Whew! That's better. Maybe I'll live after all. Maybe I'll even have a good life and good fortune. Maybe the publisher I'm sending my manuscript to will get a fortune cookie that says Publish ChameLeon. Is that how the universe works?

Monday, March 3, 2008

My Unweekend Weekend

This was one of those oh so rare weekends where I didn't go to Momma's.

Saturday I went instead to Chattanooga for a writer's conference. I hadn't submitted any of my work for critique but I went anyway just to learn. It was awesome! Would have been even better if I'd actually submitted some of my work.

You know, I seem to go through life ass backwards.

Take my writing. A few years ago I started writing poetry furiously. At the height of this I was writing up to five poems a day every day. Did I know anything about poetry? Heck no but this fact didn't even slow me down. Did I think I even liked poetry? Well, not really. Sure and I had memorized a few pieces growing up, 'Wreck of the Hesperus', 'Little Orphan Annie', Paul Lawrence Dunbar's 'Song of Summer'. Yep, that's the lot of it if you don't count Dr. Seuss books and nursery rhymes. There were the other things that I had to memorize for school but I figure they don't count since that wasn't voluntary.

If you had asked me "Do you like poetry?" I would have said, "Heck no." (and then recited one of the three above mentioned poems)

So what makes me think I can be a poet now? I went to this workshop and was the lone non-academic in my group. There was one "masters level" student near my age. The rest were barely out of their acne years. But I read their poems. Mine are just as good. Well, naturally some of mine really suck but heck, so did some of theirs.

A lot of what I've written has no rhyme or reason. I've also experimented with forms. You know, prove you are a worthy musician by performing classical so that you can then perform avant-garde. Looking through my new copy of 'The Best American Poetry of 2006' I don't find any Sonnets, no Triolets, no Terza Rimas. Yay, I don't have to write that stuff. But sometimes it is fun to write it anyway.

I think my poetry may never escape the fact that I am a musician. I have a miserable tendency to write songs. Not in the modern sense either. More often than not I hear Corelli in the background of my writing.

Have I ever read any modern poetry? Well, not yet but I bought some books Saturday and mean to start. Do I think this reading will have a big affect on my poetry? *shrugs* Not really.

I have decided, I will be the Grandma Moses of poetry.

Sample poem:

To Write a Pantoum

A poem can be so very hard to write,
Such crazy rules there are to plague my path.
I try and try and try with all my might
Mayhap I should trade poetry for math.

Such crazy rules there are to plague my path
Repeat this line in the right place and time
Mayhap I should trade poetry for math.
It’s hard to get the proper lines to rhyme.

Repeat this line in the right place and time,
Don’t let it run away and have its fun.
It’s hard to get the proper lines to rhyme.
But when you do you’re proud of what you’ve done.

Don’t let it run away and have its fun.
These rules can make you crazy while you work.
But when you do you’re proud of what you’ve done.
Such pride there is in mastering the quirk.

These rules can make you crazy while you work.
Yet working it all out can be a feat.
Such pride there is in mastering the quirk.
The satisfaction of a job complete.

Yet working it all out can be a feat.
So mightily I struggle with the task.
The satisfaction of a job complete.
That in the finished work I’d like to bask.

So mightily I struggle with the task.
I try and try and try with all my might
That in the finished work I’d like to bask.
A poem can be so very hard to write.

Yep, I'm well aware it sux but it was fun to write.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sex Education

When my kids were little we got an old Tennessee Walking Horse Mare. Turns out the fellow had lied about her age and when we got her papers she was 23. I wanted to breed her once or twice so I'd have young horses on the place. Instead of simply paying a stud fee somewhere, I went out and bought a stallion. Yep, really did.

I loaded the kids and the golden retriever in the van, hitched my brand new horse trailer to the back and headed for Oklahoma to buy this young stallion that I hadn't even seen a picture of.

OK so call me crazy.

So I get there and this little horse is so much prettier than how they described him so I'm relieved. We load him up, and head home, a two day drive.

Is this a good place to mention that my dog refused to go to the bathroom in rest areas? By the time we would pull into a campground for the night she'd be sitting with her legs crossed and desperation in her eyes.

We get home and turn Kippy out on the pasture and Donna Rose comes in heat instantly. Lord only knows how long its been since she saw an intact male horse. According to the registry she'd had one colt at age 4.

So Kippy is a young stallion, age 5 and he is ready to go.

My daughter who must have been about ten or so walks up to me and with a look of complete disgust on her face says, "What's that pink thing?" I explained what it was. She says, "Well can't he put it away?" So I explain that he can't make a baby horse if it is put away. She says, "Well I don't like it." End of discussion.

My son who is maybe seven comes up to me and says "What's that?" So I tell him. By now it has occurred to me to use anatomically correct language. He says "Oh" and wanders off. End of discussion.

A few days later one of them asks, "Do they make a baby horse each time they do that?" I told them that it took practice to get it right. End of discussion.

And that's how my kids acquired their sex educations.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rules of Writing # 5

Rule 5. Start as close to the end as possible.


Do butchers have to go to some kind of school to certify for jobs at grocery stores? I think the meat packer at my local grocery must have flunked Poultry Organs 101.

Saturday Sugar bought a tub of chicken livers at the local market. Now what would you expect in such a container? Chicken livers, nu? Of course it did have the required chicken livers but...

This morning I am rushing around, getting ready for work, packing a lunch... I have my head poked in the refrigerator when I see this tub of chicken livers and remember that I was supposed to cook and bring them today as on Tuesdays I teach the same place she does. (I move around, she doesn't.) So one by one, I'm forking these babies out, dredging them in seasoned flour, dropping them in the skillet. I get near the bottom and there is a misplaced organ. A heart to be exact. Now, I'm no biologist, but I do know the difference between a liver and a heart. They look nothing alike.

So it leaves me wondering. Did the local meat packer flunk Poultry Organs 101?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Weekends With Momma

This week my weekend arrived a day early. The school where I teach on Fridays was having an in-service day so right after my Writer’s Guild meeting I headed straight to Momma’s getting here around 10 PM.

L_ told me how much better Momma was that day, showed me things she has done around the house, the new package of adult disposable pull ups in the cupboard…

So, middle of the night Momma came out to the living room, not to visit, just to sit. Now granted it was a bright moonlit night. I could see clear across the lake and that is more than I can see today since it has become socked in with fog.

Last weekend Momma started a little singsong thing. My weekend kind of went like…

“Found a penny, found a penny, found a penny, Where’d you find it? On the floor, on the floor, on the floor.” “What are you doing, what are you doing, what are you doing?”

”I’m fixing breakfast.”

”Found a penny, found a penny, found a penny…”

This weekend the sing song was back though there was less of it. Today’s theme was “I want to go HOME!” She has spent the day wearing a winter coat. It’s 75 degrees inside!
”It’s getting time to head home.”
”We are spending the night here.”
”I want to go home.”
”L_ will be along later.”
”I don’t know the people who live here.”
”This is the house Daddy built you.”
”I don’t know if the man moved in here or not.”
”You live here with L_.”
”I want to go home.”

This afternoon she picked up her purse, a bag with some belongings, and her Bible and headed out the door. I asked, “Where are you going?” She says, “I’m going outside.” When she didn’t come back in after a bit, I went looking for her. She had walked out her driveway, headed for home. The home she remembers is in Michigan. Heck of a walk! I went out and took her four footed cane to her, gently took her by the arm and turned her around, got her headed back towards the house. I wasn’t dressed for the cold so came back in and watched through the window. She made her way back in and I fixed her supper.

“I want to go home.”
”We’re going to sleep here tonight.”
”It’s getting late, we should go home.”

“I want to go home.”
”We’re going to sleep here tonight.”
”It’s getting late, we should go home.”

“We’re going to sleep here tonight.”
”What I want is to get into that car and head home.”
”This is your home. The home you remember in Michigan doesn’t exist anymore.”
”There’s a disagreement in what constitutes home.”
”We are staying here tonight.”

She’s finally engrossed in a nice old movie. Perhaps by the time it’s over she’ll be ready to go to bed. I know I will!

My Personal Recipe

OK, so I found this over at Jen's. hehehe. Maybe over at another of my blogs I will try it out with one of my other names. Should be fun.

The Recipe For Wamblings

3 parts Enchantment

2 parts Delight

1 part Prosperity

Splash of Allure

Serve over ice

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bad Hair Day

The last week I've had all kinds of problems typing. Well, not all kinds. Mostly just one kind. My "e" didn't want to type. Now have you ever counted how many "e"s you type in a sentence? Sheesh, the little buggers are everywhere!

This morning I decided to vacuum my keyboard. Now I've done that before with the result that my laptop is missing its F9 key. No great loss. I have never used an F9 and am not really sure why they even put them on the keyboard. Seems like they could trade in most of that row for smilies or something really fun like a key that would tell you what everyone within a 100 ft. radius was thinking or show you the latest movie download or maybe turn the monitor into a giant camera. I don't know, seems the geeks could come up with something useful for that useless row of keys.

Anyway, at least when the vacuum cleaner was swallowing keys, it didn't decide to chew up "e". So this time I play it smart. I put a brush attachment on the end of the hose cause while I might not be the brightest star in the universe, neither am I a mental black hole. I start running the vacuum brush across the keyboard and these little hair ends start poking up around the keys. I pull and break them off if they won't come up (which most of them won't) then I vacuum some more. Repeat, repeat, repeat. More bits of hair and even fluff come up and so I keep removing it and vacuuming and removing till finally I don't see any more strange stuff coming up.

Guess what! My "e" works. Fact is the whole keyboard works better.

So now you know what to do if your keyboard gets stubborn. Just make sure you use the brush attachment cause there are worse keys to lose than F9.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


OK so what is the deal?

If I told you how many years I've been married you might be able to figure out that I'm lying about my age when I say I'm 30. Fact is my 31 year old daughter says the math doesn't work for her at all any more.

Suffice it to say I've been married rather a long time. Now you would think that somewhere along the line the husband would have figured out some truths about me.

I don't like ice cream. I didn't like it yesterday and I'm not going to like it tomorrow.

I really can't eat sugar. It makes me sick. I get nasty migraines that require overdoses of Excedrine which causes other problems.

If I say I want one popper or one biscuit then I want ONE popper or ONE biscuit.

I like flowers. I like flowers attached to plants best but I also like cut flowers even though it seems a shame to watch them die.

I have a skewed sense of time. I can have your birthday present bought and wrapped but when the day rolls around I may not make a connection between the date and the significance of the date.

Care to guess what I received for Valentines Day? *pops more Excedrine*

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dust Fairies Take Two

OK, at the recommendation of a good friend I have completely gutted my story beginning. I was relying too much on tell and not enough on show. So here is the first 1015 words of the new version. Let me know what you think. Is it better? Worse? Should I give up and stick to music? (I don't know what to do with the formatting here. In the edit window it shows all the paragraph indentations but the preview window has some paragraphs indented and not others.)

Dust Fairies

Grandfather is dead. His solicitor found me hiding out in Scotland, researching Scottish ancestry for my next book, and generally trying to avoid the media hubbub stemming from Simone’s death.

We picked up the promised tickets at the airport in Glasgow and headed for Alderney. It wasn’t till we were settled in the hired car and headed out towards Grandfather’s manor that Jason finally began to spill the thoughts he’d been chewing on since I’d told them.

“Grandfather was rich?”

“I suppose you’d say so.”

“But he never did anything for us.”

“Perhaps not directly, but he did pay for my education.”

“But you haven’t seen him since you were little?”



I took a deep breath. I’d never told them what I remembered of my early life. “There was trouble between Simone and him.”

“Why would he hold that against you, against us? He’s never even seen us.” He turned his face to the window and rode in silence several miles. “What’s wrong with us Mom? Dad, Simone, Grandfather; why don’t they want us?”

Justin grabbed Jason around the neck and rubbed his fist in his hair. “It’s your goofy looks. Folks take one look at you and run the other way.”

Jason grinned and punched his mirror twin in the shoulder as we passed between the gateposts and started up the tree lined drive.

The house appeared deserted. No one answered our ringing of the bell. Justin tried the knob and the door opened easily. The years seemed to melt away as I led the way across the hall, through a parlor turned library and into Grandfather’s study.

The room was even darker than I remembered. Medieval paintings and archaic weapons still graced the walls. There seemed to be even more shelves than I remembered and all were loaded with weapons and pieces of steel armor tucked between leather bound books. A fancy pipe stand atop his roll-top desk held seven pipes, some obviously well used and others decorative.

I sat down in the heavy arm chair and gave myself over to memories, borne on wings of pipe tobacco impregnated leather.


“When I grow up I’m going to be a knight.” Laramie stood in the chair, holding up Sir Teddy so he could also see the painting of Sir George slaying the dragon. “And you,” he looked straight at Larissa, “will be the princess.”

Grandfather leaned back in his desk chair as he tamped tobacco into his pipe and set match to it, drawing air until a thin wisp of smoke ascended like a prayer offered on some heathen alter.

Larissa stretched on tiptoe to reach the worn copy of Castles and Crests from its place on Grandfather’s bookshelf, between Sir Mallory’s Le Morte Darthur and a steel gauntlet. Hugging it to her chest she carried it to Grandfather and laid it in his lap.

Grandfather reached down to the little girl, lifting her up into his lap. Motioning to Laramie to come stand by the chair, he laid the pipe on a little stand on his desk and allowed the book to fall open to its accustomed place. His finger traced lovingly the lines of his family crest.

“This is your heritage, children. The outer shield of Azure was earned by Stanwick in 1056 for his part in putting down the Stoneyford rebellion. Azure is the color of strength and loyalty. The small griffins bespeak valor and vigilance. In 1181 Laird Stanwick of Stoneyford sent eight sons to the aid of Richard the Lionheart, valiant knights every one. This,” his finger lovingly traced the red scarf that crossed the shield, “knight’s scarf is gules to represent military strength. The sons of Laird Stanwick covered themselves in glory. Three gave up their lives in battle for their Duke.”

As Grandfather’s finger moved to the next element, Larissa took up the family history. “The seventh son of Laird Stanwick performed for Duke Richard a task of valor that was rewarded with the Lordship of Ald’ney,” she stumbled over the word, “and the inner green shield of hope, loyalty and love and with the flag of Ald’ney in the corner.”

“Vert, Princess, vert.” Grandfather took up the tale. “The crest of Alderney contains the lion of courage so this symbol was added to the center of the shield. This is your true heritage, little ones, remember it always.”

History lesson over, Grandfather closed the book and laid it on his desk. “Off to play now, Minikins.” Larissa slid from his lap and headed for the nursery, followed closely by her brother.

* * *

The vision was so real that I rose from the chair and turned to follow the children from the room. Only then did it hit me that a bookcase now stood where the door should be. I stepped back into the former sitting room to discover more bookcases where I remembered the primary door to the nursery. One could imagine the door had never been there, that my twin and I had never lived in this house, never spent happy hours together in our large playroom just off the study and parlor.

“Boys, help me move this bookcase.” I had to see if the door was really there. Was I ever really that little girl spouting off family history like Justin reciting baseball statistics?

Moving the heavy bookcase away from the wall had been about all that we could do, but behind it was the door, just as I remembered. The oddly shaped door knob was missing, leaving only a hole. The ornately carved trim I remembered around the door had been removed.

I took a deep breath and stepped towards the door. Silently it swung toward me. Startled, I stepped back, frightened by the momentary sense of a lingering presence, beckoning me to enter.

I turned to the boys, tempted to run, but they were already absorbed in Grandfather’s eclectic collection of antiques.

What ghosts waited beyond that door? Two tentative steps and I stood looking into the old playroom. Dust motes floated aimlessly on a stray sunbeam.