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Friday, December 23, 2011

May Your Days Be Merry And Bright

May your Holiday Season be full of light--in your heart, in your home, and in the eyes of all those you love.  Thank you for your kindness here at the Dept. in your constancy, your humor, and your never-surprising intelligence.

You are one of the Lights Of My Life. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Defender Of The Language Is Alerted To Internet Idiocy And Idiom Inconsistency: Bad Grammar Never Takes A Holiday

Once again, it's time for the Defender of The Language to answer a few questions from devoted fans and Readers.  Let's start it off from a fan of the Defender who signs herself Miss M. of Western Reserve,Ohio.  She writes:

Dear Defender, I'm sure you are not a fan, let alone a user of Facebook, but allow me to vent my spleen regarding a universal spelling error I see on that site every single day.  Whenever someone wants to express how cute or precious something is, they type "Awe" or, even worse, "Aweeeeee," which I read as Aw-eeeeee, in two syllables, the last one being the letter E drawn out like some huge scream. Can't we do something about this?  I mean, how hard is it?  Come on, people!  The word is "aww," and it's really not even a word.  It's more of a phoneme, really. This really, really gets me. Can you help? Please? And hurry.


Oh, my.  Miss M., this is indeed aggravating, and I share your irritation at this faux pas.  You are, obviously, correct that the word "awe," which means "wonderment" is sadly abused over and over again on social media sites and in text messages when its simple counterpart "aww" is intended. I suspect its misuse is widespread in traditional writing as well. The reason is not important, is it? It may never be known. We just want this dreadful egregiousness to stop (along with so very many other irksome things).  Your concern is noted, affirmed, and now further publicized.  I shall, along with Readers here, concentrate more energy into educating the masses regarding its foul existence and swift remedy.

Next we will hear from a Reader in New York.  Jake has not disclosed his city or town of residence, so let's pretend he's from Rensselaer!  He emails:

Hello from New York!  I know you often talk about sayings/idioms in your posts, so here's a question about that.  One that really puzzles me is "The proof is in the pudding." Lots of people say that, but I saw one reference that said the real saying is, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." Can't they both technically be correct? Isn't the first one pretty much implying that the proof of whether or not the pudding is any good is whether or not you can eat it? Do you get what I mean?  Thanks.  I think you're great.


Jake, thank you.  The truth is that the original idiom is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." This very old English proverb's origins date back many centuries, back to when the meaning of the word "proof" was somewhat different than it is now. It may also refer to an entirely different kind of pudding!  During the medieval times, puddings were more like sausages--savories, not sweets. They contained blood, offal, and were stuffed into animal entrails to be steamed or boiled. It's been postulated that this proverb may refer to the safety of said pudding:  whether or not it was cooked long enough could only be determined or "proven"/tested by eating it.  If those who ate it did not become sick, then it was a good pudding.  This example helps to illustrate the earlier meaning of the word "proof," which was "test." Now if you go back to the idiom in its shortened form, it doesn't make much sense at all. Even the way you explained it, it still leaves a lot of mystery. Proof of what? What pudding? It's all very vague. Better to use the complete version and make a total analogy and sound more erudite in the bargain!

Finally, we have this Language Alert! from Defender Fan Alicia.  She did not tell us where she lives at all in her email.  I've assigned her the homebase of Benkelman, Nebraska.  She chortles:


Defender, I absolutely love, love, love what you do! And I have to show you this. I was searching the Internet for a recipe for an appetizer to take in to work, and I came across this review.  It is the absolute epitome of obliviousness when it comes to...well, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.  Here it is, word for word. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  (But I laughed.  A whole lot.  SORRY!)

"As always, Alton makes something EXACTLY the way I wanted it to taste! It tastes like the best spinach and artichoke dip I've ever had and have tried desperately to find it again in restaurants, homes, or cookbooks....AND I'VE FINALLY GOT IT! Am making it in a bread bowl to serve chilled at a HUGE outdoor party tomorrow...I know its going to be a HIT! I made mine exactly as he states (except I used jarred artichoke hearts but I made mine slightly less fat by using reduced fat sour cream, reduced fat cream cheese, and half and half regular and reduced fat mayo....you dont taste ANY difference or lack of something. EXCELLENT! Thank you Alton!"

Someone needs to know what the word "exactly" means, right?  And are you still waiting for the other part of the parentheses? I know I am!  Have fun with this one.



Dear, dear, Alicia.  Really, you shouldn't have. I counted six basic mechanic/usage/grammar/punctuation errors alone, and that does not include the bothersome idea of cold spinach artichoke dip or the idea that she is substituting a cadre of low- or no-fat ingredients for this appetizer which is clearly supposed to be an indulgence.  I also did not count errors in logic in this tally.  I wish I could share your mirth; I honestly do, but this recipe review is a sterling example of what I must battle every single moment of every single day.  I cannot rest.  I cannot falter.  I must defend The Language, for its marauders never cease.

Thanks to Miss M., Jake, and Alicia for their questions and Language Alert.  For the Defender Fans and Readers, don't forget to submit your questions and/or Language Alerts to Nance here at the Dept. of Nance via email by using the clickable link in the sidebar.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

In Which I Do Not Grouse, Piper Almost Gets Doused, And The Tree Gets Soused (Seemingly, Anyway) And What Have You All Been Doing?

Not sure if you're aware, but it's December now and The Holidays are Imminent. 

I know, right?

This year, as you can imagine, I have Way More Time, and as a result, I am All Over It.  My tree went up last weekend, my shopping is 99% done and wrapped, and my Serenity Level is...well, goes without saying.  Way different than The Old, Working Nance. Do I still think that Christmas = Work? Yes, I do.  The difference is, this time I can make Christmas my only job.  What a luxury!

Anyway, couple of things:

~*~ While out shopping at a Retail Haven For The Upscale, I turned the corner in one store and almost ran directly into one of those Bigass Humvee Strollers. (You know the type--upholstered and uparmored and flagrantly expensive and ridiculous.)  I instinctively looked up at the Pusher to apologize.  She was about forty, dressed head to toe in winter white cashmere and a rabbit fur vest.  Her manicure cost more than my car.  She wasn't even looking my way, so instead I looked to the denizen of the stroller.  In it were two Schnorkies--Yorkie and Schnauzer mixes.  They stared at me with a bored, arrogant look, as if to say, "That's right, a stroller.  Got something to say?  I didn't think so. Now get the fuck out of our way before Mumsy calls security."  I wanted so badly to stick around and wait for the very no-nonsense lesbian couple who I had been chatting up earlier in housewares to discover this...tableau, but I had other shopping to do.  Besides, if I stood there much longer, open-mouthed and gaping, I was afraid I'd dry out.

~*~ Never in the history of the Dept. has the Christmas tree been without adventure of some kind or another.  Watering the tree is always an awkward job, what with the low-hanging branches, shifting the tree skirt, Cattens grooming my hair as I lie under the tree, and maneuvering the water pitcher, all as I keep a couple of fingers inside the stand to monitor the water level while I pour.  "Geeze," I commented to Piper the other day while I tipped the pitcher against the boughs, "this tree is taking a ton of water!"  As I emptied the pitcher entirely, suddenly Piper jumped backward.  A small pond was rapidly growing beneath the tree, sprouting one significant tributary headed toward the coffee table.  I had missed the interior of stand entirely--somehow--and was cheerfully and studiously pouring water down the stand and onto the carpet below.  Thankfully, Rick and I had just emptied a bottle of Old Vines Chardonnay 2006, which I rescued from the recycle bin*, and now I use it to water the tree far more accurately.

*It was a Christmas Miracle!

So, how are all of your Holiday Preparations coming along?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign: Is It Just Me, Or Is Advertising Hilarious Anymore?

On Sunday we had a mission:  work pants for Rick.  Anyone who thinks that women are picky about pants needs to go shopping with my husband for his Work Jeans.  We went to several stores and he tried on approximately eleventy hundred pairs of jeans in about thirty-two different cuts and sizes and labels, all of which had problems.  I meekly pointed out a few other types, but let me assure you from the charred and smoking stump which used to have my head attached to it that they are not the kind of pants/jeans that he wants to just wear for work!!!  Okay?

As you can imagine from the above, I realized that I could...er...take some time for myself and wander around a bit to look at...other things in the vicinity.  I spotted this sign in the men's department and got a bit confused.  See what you think: 
Maybe it's just the Mom In Me, but when I see the words Lightweight Training Pants, I think "teaching toddlers how to use the potty." This is further reinforced by the phrase below: "Duo Dry Technology." What are diapers doing in the men's department!?  ("Champion" ones, or no.)  Then I looked at the rack under the sign.

Nope.  Training Pants referred to these--regular old sweatpants.  You know...come to think of it, I never did think to look inside of them to see if they had a little spot for some Depends.

After our ordeal had ended (without pants, it must be noted), Rick rewarded my forebearance with a stop for ice cream.  Nearby was this strange little...shop:

Why, here you can buy your Hoover and your anaphylaxis! Or, do you open the door and immediately get sucked in to a giant ball of pollen and...oh, I don't know...peanuts?  This store--oh, excuse me, WORLD--suffers from an identity crisis of vast proportions, for if you can see the small sign in the lower left, it helpfully offers "Sewing Machine Repairs & Sales" as well.  (And please, do not ask me what that horrifying thing is on top of the place.  I didn't even notice it until I looked at the photos at home.)

You know, if I had not felt mollified by a little peanut butter, chocolate, and vanilla treat, I might have been really upset that VACUUM & ALLERGY WORLD was closed.  Getting sucked into a vortex after hours of fruitless ManShopping would have capped off my week pretty well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A House Is Made Of Walls And Beams But A Home Is Built With Love And Dreams Screams: Why I Might Be Pureeing Thanksgiving This Year

Thanksgiving 2011.  Above the snowy tablecloth, heads are bowed in gratitude.  One by one, each person speaks a blessing--something for which he or she is thankful this holiday.  It is Nance's turn next.  She lifts her head; her eyes become misty and her lip trembles slightly.  Her hand reaches for a piece of cutlery.  "I...I...I am grateful that my house has not made me kill myself.  Yet."

Why is it that Things go wrong and fall apart in bunches?  Consider:

Monday afternoon, the refrigerator repairman is in my kitchen on his cellphone and my guts are in a knot.  Sunday night, after over two hours of buzzing in two-minute intervals, my side-by-side gave up. So, Rick and I loaded up all our chilly comestibles into laundry baskets and trucked everything to the tiny basement fridge and crammed it in. When I brought home the turkey, I had to use brute force to get it in there.  Mr. Repairman has now made two trips to his truck, each time carrying a wire-sprouting thingamajig.  More on that later.

Earlier this month, my garage door opener...didn't.  I needed to go someplace, pushed our inside button and...nothing. So, I did what everyone would do in this situation.  I pushed it eleventy million times really, really hard and screamed the Eff Word.  Hard to believe, but this did not work.  "Oh, did you simply take your key and go in via the service door?" you may be asking calmly and rationally.  And I would merely answer you with my teeth gritted in kind, "Oh, would that be the service door blocked by Sam's loveseat, some sheet metal, a fishing rod, a bag of fertilizer, and a basket painted with cow spots?  Certainly."  And then, because I am too short and too weak to first reach the lever and then try to pull it hard enough to open the non-functioning door after climbing over all that crap, I found my way to my car and used the button inside of it.  IN THE PITCH-DARK.  BECAUSE...

The electricity in the garage is inexplicably not working either, so there were no lights working inside when the service door blew shut.  That would explain why the pump on the pond also stopped aerating the water, resulting in a fishkill.  Goodbye, Johnny Depp, who we raised from an egg, and Garbo. I will miss you both. Sigh.

Monday, I was also waiting for the chimney sweep. Our fireplace, instead of making our house a toasty, inviting space worthy of a Christmas card, instead renders it a horrific scene worthy of a fire safety film. It belches smoke into the living room as if hoping to turn us all into hams and bacon. At 9:30 he appeared and, for some reason, simply stood on the porch. Period. Then I realized:  he had been ringing the doorbell for a while. The doorbell that had, until today apparently, worked just fine. 

What is happening?  In the past six weeks alone, my computer has refused to acknowledge even a casual relationship with my printer, my car battery completely died, the dual zone wine refrigerator capriciously becomes single zone, and I'm not sure, but I think my crockpot is plotting against me for Christmas Eve.

So, back to The Refrigerator Issue.  But you already know that he didn't have the part on his truck--they never, ever, ever do. And even when The Part comes Tuesday, there's no guarantee that it will fix the problem--something about a relay and a locked-up compressor--but, as Repairman Tim said, it's worth a shot, but, hey! Eight years is what you can expect to get out of refrigerators these days anyway, so it's about right. WHAT?! I wanted to beat someone up! This fridge is a wuss, an eleven hundred dollar, stainless steel, ice and water in the door WUSS.  Its teeny little almond-colored predecessor in the basement is twice its age, half its price, no-frills, and still going strong. WHAT A LOT OF FUCKING BULLSHIT.

But what I said was, "Thank you so much for fitting me in today and tomorrow. I really, really appreciate it.  See you tomorrow."  And then Rick and I went to the appliance store last night to pick out a possible replacement and get the final slot on the delivery list for Tuesday.  Because the way things have been going, we don't want to take any chances.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Art Of Being Nance: We Might Need To Put A Call (Or A Text Message?) Out To Jesus

I find myself singularly uninspired and hugely unmotivated lately.  This leads to massive amounts of Leisuretime Guilt.  It is difficult to reconcile myself with this New Lifestyle.

But I press on.

Mindful as I am with my Tragic Neglect of this space, I will flood it now with a variety of Thingies for your perusal.  Such as:

(-)Yesterday while out on errands, I saw this sign on a church:  NEED A MAKEOVER?  CALL JESUS!  I don't think I'm being deliberately obtuse when I say that I really don't get this exhortation.  Yes, I do infer that it means a spiritual makeover, probably, but why "call" Jesus?  Do I just holler?  Can I punch in 1-800-JESUS on my cellie? Or is there a Latino Clinique representative who rented the sign, maybe? "Oh, Jesus, I don't know. I'm just tired of the same old look. Can we sort of freshen me up a little with a more peachy lip and maybe a moss green eyeliner?"

(-)I am on Day 3 of a Monumentally Huge Headache Of Titanic Proportions.  No idea why.  So...Rick decides to use the leaf blower for eleventy hours.  Clearly, this is Purgatory.  Tomorrow, if my headache is gone, I will be reevaluating my life and considering entering a convent to atone for my (obviously) considerable sins, unless it is too late, in which case I'll say hello to a few folks for you.

(-)What has happened to me?  Some of the following are true! 
1.  I voted for a republican in the last local election.
2.  I own an iPhone.
3.  I have a secret Twitter account.
4.  Ditto Facebook.
5.  I own leggings and wear them in public.
6.  I send text messages.
7.  I ordered beer in a restaurant.
Which of these are you willing to believe of me and shatter all of your Nance Ideals?  Oh, the HORROR, I know!  But I have a good explanation, and you shall have it, for each and every one that is A Fact.

And just so that you can rest easily...

(-)I went on a private tour of the Cleveland Museum of Art this week, with a lovely cocktail party immediately following.  My financial planner and sometime boss (for whom I do some freelance writing) invited Rick and me.  It made me a little ashamed that I had not been there in so long, but renewed my pride in our wonderful museum and its collections. I immediately resolved to drive in one day soon and spend several hours wandering and enjoying the paintings and furniture.  I am not much on sculpture or armor or sarcophagi although there are plenty of those there.  I am also anxious to again prove that I can, indeed, view art and not embarrass myself by crying at it, like I did at the Vermeers in Washington, D.C.

I think I told you about that, didn't I?  Sigh.  (But...his brush hairs were right there and everything!)

This headache...what a bitch.  Send me your drugs. STAT.

Monday, November 07, 2011

I Have Decided To Use My Power For Good (But Just This Once)

As you may recall, last year I was pleased to bring you news of Joan's Legacy: Uniting Against Lung Cancer and its annual benefit.  This worthy cause was founded to honor the life of Joan Scarangello, a writer at NBC News, who fell victim to lung cancer in 2001 despite never having smoked in her 47 years.  In 2010 Brian Williams donated an auction lot of six autographed ties--the reason I got involved--and they ended up selling for about $5000.

(That's a lot of money for ties, especially for the Hermes with the penguins on it. And to think I described it as a faux paisley print--11 February 2010...sigh. Pre-HD, though.)

But it's nowhere near what is needed to combat the Number 1 Killer Cancer in the United States.  This scourge is the world's deadliest cancer; an estimated 157,000 Americans are estimated to die from lung cancer this year - more than colon, breast, and pancreatic cancers combined.

More than 220,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, but only 16% of lung cancer is being diagnosed at its earliest and most curable stage.  Like Joan, sadly, many of its victims are misdiagnosed and the cancer is too far advanced to effect a cure. 

That's why aggressive research and awareness are so desperately necessary. 

To that end, Joan's Legacy: Uniting Against Lung Cancer announces its Strolling Supper with Blues and News, hosted by Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw.  Another silent auction will be held and, while there will be no ties, the slate of offerings is impressive.  Along with a set visit and seat in the Director's chair at The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, it includes:

*Hanging out on-set at The Big Bang Theory, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report
*Autographed memorabilia from Lady Gaga and Santonio Holmes
*Vacations at Costa Rica, Cancun, and Cape Cod
*Vespa scooter in your choice of color
*Designer wares by Coach, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Betsey Johnson
*A Longer Shelf Life:  Your name as a character in a future Sue Grafton novel
               AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

This year, there is also online bidding--it begins November 9th.  Click here to go and see all the items and reserve prices.  That way, you don't have to go to New York; you can just sit at home in your tasteful jammies, pour a glass of Chardonnay, and use your mouse and your credit card to get some early You-Know-What shopping done.  (You didn't hear That Word from me. Not here, not now.)  And then you can bask in the toasty glow of Altruism.  Helped along by the Chard, but whatever.
The Dept. is honored and proud to use its powers on the Interwebs for the Greater Good, even in this small, small way.  For even more information, and a chance for a little bit more of BriWi--you'll recognize the tie, an old favourite of his--you can watch this short viddy:


Thank you.  And, for your handy-dandy convenience, use the clicky graphic at the top of my sidebar anytime to jaunt directly to the Joan's Legacy auction site.  With your help, Joan's Legacy can be a cure.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The DoN Indulges In A Little Bit Of "Pop Culture" (Which Is What We Prefer To Call It In Public)

One of my little adjustments still in the works is timing dinner.  Since I often have all day to plan and make it, the whole meal can be immediately ready when Rick walks in the door at the end of his workday.  Problem is, he's not usually ready to eat it, having just had his lunch a mere four hours earlier.  Since I am not a luncher myself (and breakfast is only coffee), the schedule makes plenty of sense to me, but I'm flexible.  So we use the time to chat, cook a little together, and sometimes, as was the case a few days ago, watch a little TV.

Rick likes to watch Dr. Phil.  He finds the drama of other people's issues to be relaxing since they allow his/ours to pale by comparison.  Also, Dr. Phil is great for mocking.  His downhome Texas sayings, which he passes off as Psychology For The Masses, allow us to riff on and on.  Our favorite one to hybridize is always, "Just because the cat has her kittens in the oven, that don't make 'em biscuits."  Go ahead, try it.  Like this:  Just because the dog has her puppies in the garage, that don't make 'em Volvos. The possibilities are endless, and you can make a great game out of it.  Sometimes, we like to get a little R-rated, but you can always decide on your own rules.

But, I digress.

The other day, we tuned in well into one of Dr. Phil's earnest and sincere diatribes directed toward some blonde woman whose boyfriend was the problem. Here's an approximation of how the scene went:

Dr. Phil(already in mid-lecture; stern and earnestly intense)  ...but all those are relationship issues.  Those we can deal with later.  Right now, what I'm hearing you say is that he put his hands on you.  In anger.

Blonde:  Yes.  (nods; looks down)  Yes he did.  But I love him, Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil:  I don't care about anything else right now.  I want you to hear me on this, loud and clear.  You got that?  You don't ever let a man put his hands on you in anger.

Nance (in Dr. Phil voice)  Now, if he's frustrated, that's different.  That's a Frustration Issue.  That we can deal with.  Let him go ahead and put his hands on you then.  Or if he's just crabby.  He can put his hands on you then, too. But not. In. Anger!

Rick:  Yeah, I don't get that.  Isn't him beating her up a relationship issue, too?

Nance:  And is it ever okay for a man to put his hands on a woman, so to speak?  (again, a Dr. Phil voice)  Now, if he puts his hands on you when he's just feelin' silly, why that's okay!  Or when he's plumb nuts!  Tell him go ahead!

Rick(in a Dr. Phil voice) But never on the face.  That's just Not Okay.

End Scene.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Thinking And Teaching And Retiring

When I was a little girl, my mother used to tell me that I think too much.  While I'm not sure what would prompt that admonition, I do know that it continued long into my teen years. 

These days, when the weather here in NEO has turned cooler, greyer, and wetter, I am prone to introspection.  My tendency is also to cocoon.  Piper and Marlowe don't do much to discourage this behaviour; they're drowsy and inclined to curl up on my lap or in their beds and only animate themselves if I am up and busy.  There is always a Project, or Light Domestic Goddessing, or Something To Do.  I have some writing jobs, paid and pro bono, the latter for charities and people I care about. When I do go out for errands, the cats are accusatory and reproachful upon my return.  Only when they see I am staying home for a while do they accept me back into their good graces.

I'm often asked if I have regrets about retiring.  The short answer is No.  My dear Aunt Shirley, herself a retired English teacher, counseled me way back in July to take a short trip the week school started.  "You'll need to be away," she said knowingly.  "Trust me. You don't think you'll miss it, but you will.  You need to be away when it starts back up so you won't feel strange."  Well, I didn't and I don't. I left at just the Right Time for me.

I am often asked if I miss Teaching--in my mind, a different question entirely.  The answer is very complicated, so I usually answer, "Oh, sometimes."  My teacher friends never ask me.  They already know. 

I do not miss the Not Teaching part:  incessant record keeping, phone calls home to parents of highschoolers, labyrinthine office procedures, unreliable copy machines, being informed that the internet is down via email, baffling administrative protocols, and the constant disrespect by government--and, oh hell, let's throw society in there, too--at every level. 

But every so often, I do miss the Teaching part.  I treasured being the Giver Of Literature to my students.  It was with true reverence that I gave them the work of Walt Whitman (America's first hippie); that I introduced them to the genius of Miss Emily (Dickinson).  Who else will enlist empathy and champions for poor, motherless (for all intents and purposes) Holden Caulfield? Who else will defend the honor of Edgar Allan Poe and beg the students to look, look deep into his eyes before they read his work, before they dismiss him as some drunk crazy who married his teenaged cousin?

And I miss working with Creative Writing students the most. Words and writing are my passion, and there was an electric satisfaction, a sort of inspirational symbiosis that occurred when I sat down in conference with my writers those many years.  I felt simultaneously rejuvenated and drained by them. It was a glorious paradox, and those decades were Golden Privilege.  This year, Creative Writing is not even offered, and it breaks my heart.

So much of Teaching--True Teaching--is a Gift. I have it, I gave it, and I got it in return.  Like many gifts, it wasn't always perfect, and there were times when I wondered if the recipients were deserving. But let's not belabor the metaphor.  Or...think too much about it.

Instead, I have a little jaunt to get ready for and some PR stuff to write.  And the head of cauliflower in the crisper won't clean, cut, season, and roast itself as part of tonight's dinner.  It might be a good idea to update our Cellar Inventory, too. Allow me a small indulgence:  to leave you with my good friend, Walt.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There Once Was A List From Nantucket...The Dept. Is NSFW

One idyllic afternoon on the Lake House deck, my sister Patti and I were entertaining our mother, St. Patsy, with bad language (mostly me) and philosophy (largely Patti).  It was the kind of discussion that started innocently enough and soon became wide-ranging and free-flowing and all sorts of other participial hyphenated predicate adjectives.  You know?

Anyway, there was alcohol involved, so....

We were three older chicks sitting around bitching when I made the boozy pronouncement that "Life is too short.  It's time to cut a lot of stress loose.  More than half of my life is over.  It's time to live." (Hey.  I didn't say it was profound.)  This is when my sister introduced her List.

Oh, not That List.  Although, Patti is plenty self-actualized and I'm sure she has one.  And not one of those groan-inducing Life Lists that have taken over the Interwebs wherein bloggers all join virtual hands and help each other realize dreams big and small, like "Be a clown for a day!" and "Knit my own hammock" or "Fly a hovercraft."  Life Lists are inspired by Bucket Lists but are so much more POSITIVE!!  Well, Patti's List is inspired symphonically by the Bucket List and is called...ahem...The Fuck It List.

A true Fuck It List is a lineup of stuff that we are legitimately still concerned about.  Now, however, we have laid it out and asked ourselves the sterling question:  WHY?
And the answer is--you guessed it--Fuck It.

For example:  I have, in our thirty years of marriage, beseeched, pleaded, exhorted, and admonished Rick to let me know when he was using a ladder to go on the roof or to clean the gutters.  I would stand at the bottom and hold said ladder, I explained early on, for safety's sake.  About fifteen years ago, I gave up that crusade and settled for "At least let me know when you are going up there so that I will look out now and then to make sure you're not lying on the ground for too long if you fall." Now, Fuck It. He still rarely, if ever, tells me he's going to use a ladder. If it's not important to him, why should I get so calisthenic over it and lose valuable Serenity Time? 

The idea of the Fuck It List is life-changing for me.  It's all about acceptance as well as rejection.  It works for people,  it works for relationships, it works for everything:  Why are you sweating that?  Why are you so invested in it?  Why are you the only one who cares? If you cannot provide cogent, grounded, valuable reasons for these questions (known as the Why Filter of the Fuck It List), then something needs to go on the FIL.

I cannot begin to tell you how many things I have run through the Why Filter of the Fuck It List since I have been retired from teaching.  It's as if that part of my brain had been dormant or atrophied.  Why didn't anyone tell me about this sooner?  Have you all been keeping this from me on purpose? 

Better yet, what's on your Fuck It List?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

I Think I'd Still Keep Joe Biden


David Gregory:  Welcome, panel.  The Washington Post this morning noted a growing unrest among the Democratic Party faithful:  the president's poll numbers are dropping in almost all major categories.  His coup this spring in finding and killing Osama bin Laden didn't bounce him in national security, his jobs plan is, for all intents and purposes, dead on arrival, and even likeability numbers are in the basement.  (snickers)  It seems no one even wants to have a beer with the guy.  So now the inevitable rumors have begun.  We saw it a few weeks ago with even Dick Cheney suggesting Hillary Clinton should run in 2012.  What do you think, panel?  Is there room for a challenger from the left?

Chuck Todd:  Well, look, David.  We're seeing the same thing here as we're seeing with the republican field.  The American voters just aren't happy with who's out there.  There's a softness to the slate of candidates available overall.  No one's really speaking to them, personally.  That's why we're seeing someone like Governor Chris Christie--

David Gregory(interrupting)--But I'm talking about the Democrats here.  They have their candidate.  They have the incumbent president.  He's supposed to be their guy.  The party supports the one who's already in the White House.  That's the rules of the game.  Doris?

Doris Kearns Goodwin:  But we've seen this before.  Before the Civil War when the country was so fragmented, so roiled up with dissent.  There were any number of political groups, all clamoring for their pet causes, whether it was the Natives who wanted to do something about the influx of immigrants or the Know-Nothings who--

David Gregory(interrupting)--How about this woman who calls herself merely Nance?  She's recently burst onto the political scene and has all but threatened to challenge the president for the nomination.  We know very little about her, but it's clear that that's about to change.

Erin Burnett:  There's not much that we know about her, but pretty soon, we might.  Or we might not.  That much we do know.

David Gregory:  She's a blogger, and her blogs serve as a sort of manifesto of her politics.  She's liberal, pro-union, pro gay marriage, pro agriculture, pro animal rights but eats beef, and (laughing) would definitely object to most of my ties.

Chuck Todd:  Look, David, like it or not, this Nance candidate--or potential candidate--has something to say and has, already, for the most part, said it.  And said it to one of the largest audiences this country has, the Internet.  She's already reached, perhaps, her target demographic in a pointed and meaningful way. If she's who she says she is, all she has to do now is declare and raise her money.  But she'd better do it soon because just like with Chris Christie, it may already be too late.  This Nance, whoever she is, needs to--

David Gregory(interrupting)--And that's all we have time for.  See you next Sunday on Meet the Press.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why Can't A 300 Pound Avocado Come Hurtling Down At Me From Outer Space? And Other Imponderables (Like How Mitt Is Middle Class)

Probably I should make this a terribly cerebral post.  After all, I have enormous amounts of time in which to think and become Deeply Informed.  My Plain Dealer is read thoughtfully and deliberately each morning, and I am following The Politics again, albeit somewhat haphazardly, lest they disrupt My Zen.

Oh, but let's not, as they say, Go There.

Instead, I think I'll just shake loose a few errant Thought Nerfuls and set them free.

~*~Back in 1979 when Skylab's doom was forecast and we all were warned of its imminent plunge to earth, I was a junior at Bowling Green State University.  This, as I am wont to constantly remind my children, was well before the Interwebs and Cellular Phones, but not before alcohol, so pretty much the entire university prepared for this event by hosting dorm parties.  We all designed and wore hats--ostensibly for protection ha ha--and made huge targets and Welcome Skylab! signs.  This week's recent overhyped Newsworthy Event regarding the entrance of space junk the size of a bus into our atmosphere held no cache or thrill for me. I didn't even wear a headband.  On a related note, here are some places that I wish the NASA Space Junk had hit:  1. WalMart HQ; 2. republican National Committee HQ; 3. Atlanta's airport (the only place to lose my luggage and delay me, twice) 4. Congress (but get Sherrod Brown out first).

~*~Avocados, The World's Most Perfect Fruit and my Culinary Crush, are a ridiculous $2.50 each at the local grocery store.  At a warehouse club, you can get five for about eight bucks. Still insane.  I was reading a food blog the other day and saw a farmer's market sign in California that said "Hass Avocados $1 EACH" and almost wept. I feel like part of the reason avos are so unreasonable is because of Beneful Dog Food.  This brand includes a variety called "Healthy Fiesta" which includes avocadoes.  How ridiculous. No dog, even if it is a Mexican hairless or a chihuahua, eats avocadoes or needs them. The Beneful people are buying up avocadoes, thus needlessly creating a demand which, in turn, is raising prices for me.  Hey, Beneful. Knock it the hell off!  Who the hell do you think you are?  Dogs eat meat and, in the case of the Golden Retriever who lived here for six weeks, the occasional door. Lay off my avos.

~*~Okay, I lied.  I am going to get A Little Political.  But just a teensy bit.  You know, Mitt Romney has been running for president professionally now for, what, eight years? Ten? Whatever.  He wants It really bad. He also has the John McCain Disease of being whomever and whatever the situation calls for at the time. He just cannot help it.  Even though Mitt said, "I think the American people recognize that we're at a point of crisis and they want to hear the truth. And they can tell when people are being phony and are pandering to an audience, and you'll see that in politics. You're not going to see that in my campaign"; he also turned right around and said this, calling for a tax policy that will help "the middle class. It's not those in the low end; it's certainly not those in the very high end. It's for the great middle class -- the 80 to 90 percent of us in this country."  There's just one problem:  Mitt really isn't one "of us" as he said.  His net worth is estimated at between $190 million and $250 million.  That one is right up there with his "I'm also unemployed" joke. Speaking of jokes, (fill in name of republican debater here).

~*~I read a blog yesterday in which someone used the following in the same post:  I could loose a lot of blood.  and  "Are you going rouge?" (said to someone doing something against the rules).  I almost screamed.  Seriously.

I'll let Nancy pun her head off with that last one.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Just Don't F*#k With Someone Who Served Thirty Years In Public Education. (Y'all Gotta Run More Game Than This)

One more Garage Sale Story, this one not nearly as endearing, and then I promise to put them on hiatus.

Saturday--the final day of the sale and traditionally Not A Big Day, either money-wise or crowd-wise--was making us a bit crabby.  The weather had been gloomy and threatening rain, and we spent the whole first hour without a single person (or car!) anywhere near the sales on our street.  My brother, a compulsive record-keeper, consulted The Notebook, which told us that last year's Saturday had sucked bigtime as well.

At that moment, a woman in her late sixties with a shellacked coif and a rather prissy air about her approached the cashier table.  In her arms she carried two scarf and hat sets, a hooded quilted faux down vest, and a black knit stocking cap.  She set them down and...

Nance:  Hi.  Let's see what you've got there.
Woman(in a petulant, Sarah Palinesque voice) Well, before you start, this vest has a spot on it.
Nance:  Really?  Where?  It's brand new.  See?  The tag is still on it.
Bob:  Yeah. My daughter put that in this sale, and I know for a fact that she never even wore it.
Woman:  Right there.  See?  (points to a fading water spot)
Bob:  That looks like a water spot.  Anyway, that's a thirty-dollar vest, and you're getting it for three dollars. 
Woman:  Well, and this knit hat here.  It's all stretched out already.
Nance:  That is also brand new.  See how it's attached to the scarf by the plastic tab?  Besides, it's not a stocking cap.  (turns it inside out) See here? See the lining? It's not made to stretch like a regular knit hat.  That's the style.
Woman:  Well, we go to these sales and buy up all the warmer things to send them off to the poor Indian children on the reservation.  I'm sure they don't care about what's in style, poor little things. (pauses and puts bottom lip out; pouts)  They only want to be warm and not freeze.  Poor things.
Nance:  Well, ma'am, those brand new hat and scarf sets are only a dollar each.  The vest is brand new and it's only three dollars.  You got the stocking hat out of the Five Items For A Dollar bin.  There's a pair of hand-knitted leg warmers in there, by the way.
Bob:  We'll throw in the single hat for nothing.
Nance:  That's five dollars, then.
Woman:  The poor little cold Indian children don't care if things are brand new or not.  They just want to be warm, bless them.  Poor things.
Nance:  I understand.  And you're getting a great deal for five dollars.
Woman(sighs, frowns, shakes her head, pouts; takes out her wallet and a five.)  Well, you're not much of a bargainer.
Nance:  No, ma'am.  You're not.  That's five dollars even.  Thank you.

And I did not offer her a bag.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Never Too Late To Learn Something New (Or To Buy My Punch Bowl--Please!)

Over the weekend I was rusticating at my brother's lake house a couple counties downstate.  He has a lovely vacation home in Amish Country, and the community there has a twice-yearly garage sale.  He told me about it a little over a year ago and urged me to start gathering up things in my house to put in his sale.  I go gather up my mother (St. Patsy) as well, jam everything in my car, and spend the weekend at the lake peddling my crap, visiting with St. Patsy and Bob, watching people and making a little wine money.  Bonus:  a blogpost.

Bob and I love to watch what people will buy, how they will try to bargain you down on a fifty-cent item, and try to figure out why, after over a year and three sales now, my brand new punch bowl will not sell, even at the low low price of only five dollars.  (I've had it with that goddam thing--I mean it. Next sale, I'm marking that puppy up to ten bucks. Fuck 'em.)

We have a goodly amount of Amish customers--Mennonites, too, and here's what we've learned:  1.  They will bargain, gently, on items of beauty or luxury, such as my strawberry crockery or faux depression glass; 2.  They buy sporting equipment in the spring; 3.  They do not generally buy plastic kitchen items; 4.  They will buy dishes or silverware in vast quantities. 

This year, a young Mennonite girl bought a pink plaid skirt from me after looking interestedly at--and touching--my black lace peignoir set.  For a long time.  Shortly after that, the following occurred:

Amish buggy pulls up.  Inside are two twentysomething Amish women.  One alights and begins browsing.  She is either heavy or pregnant.  After a time, she chooses one 12"X12" mirrored tile marked $2.  She shows it to her companion in the buggy, who nods. 

Amish shopper:  (approaching our cashier table)  Would you take less for this?
Bob:  No.  In Home Depot, a store, you would pay at least five dollars for that.
Amish shopper:  All right. I will take it then.  (carefully hands over a one and some change)
Bob:  Can I wrap that for you?
Amish shopper:  No.  That's okay.
Bob:  Thank you.

Amish shopper leaves.  Goes to buggy. Conversation occurs with its occupant. Amish shopper turns back around, clutching mirror, looks unsure.  Looks back at us. More conversation.  Occupant points to us.  Shopper starts back slowly.

Patsy: Oh no. Maybe she's not allowed to have that.  Maybe she has to return it.
Nance: Here she comes.
Amish shopper:  (looking up at sign above our heads) I would like a...Pepsi.
Nance:  Oh.  Would you like regular or diet?
Amish shopper:  I...I...(hand to mouth; looks from one of us to the other)...don't know.  Which one is best?
Bob:  Well, the regular Pepsi has a lot of sugar.  The Diet has no sugar.
Amish Shopper:  Well then, the Diet sounds best.
Nance:  That will be fifty cents, please.

With that, she handed over the money and carried both the mirror and the can of Diet Pepsi back to the buggy and her companion as if both were precious treasures.  Once inside, she stowed the mirror and opened the can.  And as they urged their big brown horse to life, I had a glimpse of the Amish women tipping back that Diet Pepsi inside their buggy.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

On The Road Again: Sexy Ice Cream, Sexy House, And Hillbilly Stonehenge. You're Welcome

On Saturday Rick indulged me and took me out for a Ride.  We didn't have any real destination in particular, which is my favourite kind of Ride.  It was 97 degrees outside--NEO's typical September Summer Blast--and I just wanted to get out of the house and Drive Around awhile and see what I could see.  Deep below my whimsy ran the insidious undercurrent of A Hidden Agenda:  Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream.  We ended up there after a time, and I was richly rewarded with a scoop each of lemon blackberry sorbet and rhubarb chevre frozen yogurt.  Rick had two scoops of caramel sea salt ice cream.

Needless to say, it was all downhill after that.  Case in point:

Along the road (some road, who knows which or where, really) I saw what looked like a spare, dilapidated, faux colonial made of cardboard residing behind gargantuan hunks of sandstone, in picket-like formation.  It was astounding and absurd.  Immediately, I turned to Rick.

Me(assuming he had seen it) Wow.  They have some big rocks.
Rick(cringing and grinning) Um...what? Who?
Me:  No, really. Back there.  That horrifying house.  Didn't you see the big rocks in their yard?  It was like Stonehenge.
Rick:  No, I didn't. 
Me:  Well, they were huge. And really, it was completely ridiculous. Enormous pieces of sandstone, all along, in front of their house. Entirely out of proportion and character. They needed to be taller or the house needed to be shorter.  The house was a dump. A hillbilly haven. You really should turn around and go back and look at it. 
Rick:  I'm not going to do that.
Me:  It was hideous.  I cannot imagine what possessed them to put those in their yard.  It was unbelievable.  I'm...I'm...I'm just done talking about it.
Rick:  Thank God.

Second case, and this one was in our downtown area.  This mystifying sign caught my eye immediately, and I made Rick circle back and sit through two traffic lights so that I could get a picture.  If I had not already had my Orgasmic Ice Cream, I would have needed it for a reward after seeing this:

SEXY HOUSE 4 SALE ONLY     !
And then, inexplicably, in the lower right hand corner, is the picture of a...
German Shepherd.  (Oh, do click to enlarge.)

Which, for those of you scoring at home, is a DOG.  Which may or may not be sexy, for sale, only, or named "House."

We are two more bottles down in the wine cellar.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Revolution Has Begun

There is a deep and profound undercurrent of fear in this country.  Many of its citizens worry that, one day, if we aren't vigilant and don't make note of what's going on, we will be Taken Over.  Oh sure, at first it seemed as if They were here to help us, to provide for us, to make our lives easier.  Then, we came to depend upon Them for various products that we use in everyday life.  Now, They've started to turn on us.  And it's scary.

I am, of course, talking about Cows.

Don't feel embarrassed if you were caught unawares; if you sit there now thinking, "Holy crap! I thought she was talking about the Chinese or the Saudis or the banking industry or the republicans!"  You are not in the minority.  Not everyone has a Cow Alert in his or her Google Newsreader (although he or she should, clearly).  Trust me, this is an Alarming Trend that has begun to develop in the past year, and I have followed it with increasing...er, alarm.  Allow me:

Exhibition A:  A gang of thug cows broke into a residence in Arkansas last winter and, after stealing food intended for the family pet and generally wreaking havoc, they collapsed in a mud-and-manure orgy and had to be removed by authorities.  Later, the cleanup crew hauled out a wheelbarrow full of their muck.  The pictures are harrowing.

Exhibition B:  Think Ames, Iowa, and what comes to mind?  The republican crazyfest known as the Straw Poll, where candidates can literally buy votes with barbecue tickets and country music concerts?  Well, yes, but add this.  In an all-out stampede, one pregnant cow led Authorities on a two-hour chase before she was finally sedated enough for capture and transport.  Did I say sedated?  That would be a vast understatement.  This renegade bovine was shot with "four darts during the two-hour ordeal, each one carrying double the amount of tranquilizer that normally would be required to sedate an animal."  This raging cow actually swam the river twice after sedation, prompting more shots.  And she's reproducing.

Exhibition C:  Now to Florida, where a cow mysteriously escaped from its pen near a construction site and crossed into traffic, confounding drivers and diverting Authorities from undoubtedly more pressing criminal matters in this Miami area suburb.  Resisting attempts to corral it, the cow repeatedly ventured onto walkways and near thoroughfares, finally roped into submission by a somewhat heroic construction worker who credits his hunting expertise and proximity to cattle for his success in restraining the animal.  Tied inauspiciously to a nearby Bobcat vehicle, the cow appeared docile, awaiting its next opportunity.

Exhibition D:  Bella, the YouTube Sensation Cow, (what? You never heard of her?) is perhaps the most insidious of all of the DangerCows.  In July of last year, she was among a dozen cows headed for a slaughterhouse who got loose when the truck she was in crashed.  She hid out in the woods for about a month, evading capture despite all the publicity surrounding her case.  Posses were out on the hunt for her, sightings abounded, and she became Michigan's Most Wanted.  Finally rounded up, Bella was unused to civilization.  She had Gone Native, and actually charged at humans.  About a month later, she had a calf.  (They are Replicators. It's all part of The Plan.)

Exhibition E:  This seems like such a Feel-Good Story About Cows, but do not be fooled.  Oh, sure, on first read it is a lovely Winter's Tale about firefighters coming to the aid of a poor, sad cow named Annibel, who had fallen through the ice on a freezing cold pond.  We can all say, "Oh no! Poor moocow! How scared she must have been, all slipping and sliding on that ice like Bambi, and then to suddenly fall in that horribly cold water, just like BlueLips Leo in Titanic! How terrible for her!"  But we would all be foolish (and obviously too addicted to NetFlix and film references).  Instead, we should be looking below the surface (sorry, inadvertent pun) of the story here and see the Dangers that lie beneath (again! sorry!).  There are two things which are very telling:  1.  This quote:  The cow's owner, Lois Ramsey, said...she thinks watching the other cows is what prompted 5-year-old Annibel to wander out on the frozen water.  2.  And this one:  Annibel wasn't the only life the Fire Department saved. The cow is pregnant and is expected to give birth within the next two weeks.

I think we all can see what's going on here.  THE COWS ARE TAKING OVER.  BY FORCE AND BY SHEER NUMBERS.  AND THEY ARE COMPELLING EACH OTHER--HERD MENTALITY, PEOPLE!--TO DO IT.

Even more frightening, it's not just here. They are taking over everywhere.  Bossy, Scary Cows are in Europe, terrorizing the tourists and locals alike.  People are being trampled, bitten, and hospitalized by these cows who, as one Authority says, know "exactly what they are doing" and they have warned people not to even look them in the eye.  Walking, a common European traveller's pastime, is now fraught with peril.  Even the police aren't safe, as in Ireland, where a rampaging pregnant cow knocked down members of the Garda and went for the crowd.  And no one in Germany can really be sure where Yvonne is, or what she may be planning.

Let me tell you, it is truly a Sad Day for me.  The Rose-Coloured Scales have fallen from my eyes when it comes to cows.  Now, when I read this story and watch the accompanying video, I no longer smile and chuckle.  I fear for kindhearted Duane Button.  I cringe when I behold the cow's sudden and coldly assessing gaze at the camera.  And I am fearful of what that last bellowing moo may portend.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: I'm Thinking Of The Word "Handbasket"

Oh, Texas.  You've already given us so very, very much.  But like Typhoid Mary, you keep giving and giving and giving.  Now you want to give us your governor...again. 

Been there, done that.

Rick "Secessionist" Perry has such a devoted following--see above--but he comes with a little baggage.  None of that matters to people like this, however, a woman whose MyTwitFace profile my sister Susan had occasion to "research" and thoughtfully copied, pasted, and sent me, and which I reproduce faithfully here:

 'I am 39, married to Jonathan, have 4 kids, Kaitlyn, Tucker Dean, Daniel, and Ben. I am a Registered Nurse. I am attempting to homeschool Daniel. My interests include family, "religion," politics, couponing and stockpiling, camping.'
 'Conservative/Tea Party/Constitution!' 

I just bet that's her sign.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Joy Of Six

The Dept. of Nance is six!

I know.  I share your astonishment.  I, too, thought that by now The Authorities would have dismantled this site for its shameless refusal to Have A Central Theme And Purpose, or for its unmitigated temerity in acting so contrary to most Online Tendencies in not simply fading away and becoming a Twitter feed or a commercial repository in its host's desire to Brand Herself, thus hoping to score a mention on the Today Show or in TV Guide's Hot List.

Oh, wait. My other site already got both of those things.  Sigh.  And I'm still not famous?  WT--?

Anyway, the Dept. is six, and in six years, I've covered a lot of territory.

With SIX You Get Eggroll:  Rick, Sam, and Jared all provide me with a great deal of blog fodder.  Being the only woman in the family of three huge men, at least there is that tradeoff.  These days, the boys live out on their own.  When they do come over--and at the same time--it's exhausting.  I'm thrilled and grateful that they are each other's best friend, but the constant ribbing and riffing is like being part of an Abbot and Costello/Lenny Bruce routine.  They toss me around like a beanbag, defy my MomLogic, and exchange dubious glances with their father, who is largely no help at all. I have No Idea why I had all these children.  Here are a few of my favourite posts about all this Madness:  If You Are Ever Invited To DinnerAnd That's What's Known As Relativity; I Ain't A-Scared Of You!; and Premature EjacYULEation.

SIX Feet Under:  Here at the Dept., I've even dealt with the subject of death a few times, and that's one I'm not entirely comfortable with. I will be vastly annoyed by my own, I'm sure, especially if it inconveniences me, such as if it occurs when I am not suitably dressed, not wearing makeup, or if it causes me to do anything unseemly, like make an inappropriate noise or facial expression.  I prefer the old cinematic deaths wherein the woman can lie in her bed and look pathetic and wistful, then flutter her eyelids a few times and sigh while her Significant Handsome Male holds her pale, manicured hand.  Aside from all of that, though, here are a few posts wherein I did chat about The Grim Reaper, in a very Nanceian way:  If A Blogger Falls In The Forest;When Walt Whitman Said "To Die Is..."; and Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

SIX A.M.:  For all six of the years I've been writing at this site, I've been teaching English and Creative Writing I and II at a "large urban public high school with a significant minority population."  I set alarms to get up, but my internal clock got me up by 6:15 every morning.  All this summer, I still get up before seven, even without Piper and Marlowe tugging at my hair and nudging me to fill their dish.  I wrote quite a few posts about my days at The Rock, as it was known before the New Place was built, and it's a bittersweet look back.  My Dept. Faithful will no doubt remember some of these:  It's A Perception Thing; Ahhh, Youth; Of Edgar And Literature And Abraham Lincoln; Somewhere In Here There's A Great Pun...; Hostage Crisis Ends Without Bloodshed; and Flamingoes: They Don't Teach You This In Teachers' College.  That last one...well, every teacher should read it when he or she is feeling like Society's Whipping Boy, which is all the time these days.  Kind of a good reminder.

Concession Road 6:  This phrase won't mean anything to you, but it brings a smile of recognition and satisfaction to me.  That stretch of asphalt lies in Ontario province, Canada, and is home to one of my favourite wineries, Cattail Creek. Rick and I discovered it when it first opened and we were hooked.  Thus began our love affair with Ontario's wines.  We laugh now when we think back to our initial foray into a winery:  we walked in, looked around, were immediately overwhelmed and intimidated, and walked out. Finally, we took a tour of a winery which included an instructional group tasting, and our obsession was born. Right now, we have a pretty well-stocked cellar, and you might want to do a little Time Travel and Tasting here:  A Taste Of My Vaca-hic-tion; Day 2, So Much Wine...; and I Don't Look At It As Wine....  There has been so much more wine, and so many new wineries have opened up since then; I just haven't described them.

The SIX O'Clock News:  I've been a news junkie for most of my life.  My father read the paper religiously, even reading it aloud to my mother as she cooked dinner. We watched the news at six and discussed it during and after meals. And I was a papergirl back in high school. I delivered the local paper to 43 customers seven days a week, reading one as I tossed its companions into front and side doors all along the route. Politics--well, that goes without saying. Our local Cleveland news at six is horrendous. I wait for Brian and his tie at six-thirty, but I wander among CNN, MSNBC, and HLN all day when I'm home. And if I'm not on a break from NPR, I grab that in my car.  What can I say?  It's an addiction, as you can tell from:  I Need The Cronkite 12-Step Program; If There's A Law Against This,Then...; Christmas Kickoff...Complete With Crocs And A Six-Pack; Extra! Extra! Read All About It!; In Which I Worry Whether I Am A Bad Person; In The End, It's All Politics; and It's Called Priorities, America.

SIX Degrees of Separation:  Often, I have lamented the distressing reality that is my life in Minutae, Ohio Northeast.  I have Zero Chance of ever seeing anyone of note in the local establishments.  This does not stop me from writing about them here. Here at the Dept., I can freely discuss my decades-long relationship with Daniel Day-Lewis, my on and off dalliance with Johnny Depp, my puzzlement over my attraction to Hugh Laurie, my devotion to the President (only a couple get the capital P), and my List.  Oh, the List.  It's been overhauled as of late, but the top spot is still...well, we can talk about that later.  (You've got one, right? Oh, everyone should!) To dish, start clicking up: DoN Takes A Look At Her Cabinet; DoN Weighs In On Infidelity; The List; Politics Make Strange...; O! Whatever Should We Do Without Men?; and Why Daniel Day-Lewis And Ohio Are Really Irritating Me, to name a few. 

And those are only SIX things that the number SIX made me think of.  We didn't even get into cows, bunnies, polar bears, stupid smackdowns, fashion, food, grammar, or oh, so very many things that I feel are under the purview of this, the Dept. of Nance

It has been my very great pleasure to host you here.  For those of you who have been here for all SIX years, you hold a Very Special Place In My Heart.  For those of you who have arrived because you found one of my comments elsewhere and became curious, or who read me and comment even though Blogger is tedious, or who are former students and colleagues and family and friends, you also hold a Very Special Place In My Heart.  Thank you.  Now, please, won't you all have some cake? You're certain to find one that you'll like.

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