Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Dept. Of Nance Is Eleven

The Dept. of Nance is Eleven! Trust me; that is far more astonishing a fact to me than it is to you. The Very Idea that I have been yammering on here for that long is almost as Crazy as the Notion that People Still Read Me. And often have Things To Say right back.


And so very Nice.

Eleven itself, as a Number, does not bring to mind anything I can use as a Theme, so I shall borrow a tired old construct and use the letters of the word ELEVEN and yada yada from there.

E is for Eternity. As in how long the Olympics from Rio seem to be lasting. This blog has seen SIX Olympics, starting with the Turin (Italy) Winter Games. I am absolutely certain that the Rio Summer Games are Eleven times longer. Rick has already complained that he cannot come home from work and unwind by watching Dr. Phil because our local NBC affiliate insists on having 90 minutes of news instead. And results are all over the Interwebs and aforementioned news, so unless the event is live, there is no point watching anything time-delayed. We already know the outcomes.

L is for Lists. I've done lots and lots of them on dozens of topics, both here and over at my now-defunct blog that I used to co-write with Jared, Stuff On Our List. Between the two of us, we've listed favourite pies, cakes, Christmas music, and most-hated songs played on the radio. We listed ways to turn around a bad day and Stuff That Is Dead To Us. In 2010 I listed my Five Most Dangerous Food Nemeses, and in 2016, they are still the same. But The List--you know The One--has changed a bit. I think it's almost time we Revisit that in another whole post.

E is for Elections. The Dept. of Nance is normally Very Political. While I make no secret of my Party Affiliation (Strenuously Democrat), I am so disgusted and disappointed in my country this year that I generally have refrained from The Politics this go-round. I have long decried The Wisdom Of The American People as nonexistent. This presidential Election proves it via the entire republican party and the media who had a major hand in creating its nominee, as well as the party faithfuls who continue to support and countenance him, even while they denounce his statements and sentiments. That they would sacrifice their entire country and its people in the name of a party victory or affiliation is revolting. And lest anyone think I am equating the republican nominee with the Democrat in any way, let me be clear: I'm With Her. And like Senator Sanders, I'm sick and tired of hearing about her damn emails. And all of it has caused me to break my Self-Imposed Ban Against Using The Eff Word. So there's That.

V is for Victory! The Dept. of Nance has long celebrated books, authors, poetry, poets, and all manner of writing and reading. It was with the Most Profound Sadness that I wrote about the deaths of some of my favourite authors like JD Salinger, Arthur Miller, and most recently, Harper Lee. Another Great Sadness was my inability for the past two years or so to read books. I mourned this loss so keenly; books were always a huge part of my life. Well, as of June, I'm back to reading as before! I'm so happy. And the book that broke the spell? My old reliable that I reread every June, Gone with the Wind.

E is for Eating.  In the early years of this blog, I wrote often about the protracted and terrible dramas our family enacted when trying to decide What To Have For Dinner. Unfortunately, though the characters are reduced by half, these skits are ongoing. Both Rick and I are bored with food a great deal of the time, and we are ashamed to say so, knowing that there are vast populations of the world going hungry. I try to snap myself out of it and, in bursts of Culinary Energy, create marvelous entrees to great admiration, but then back into the Slough Of Suppertime Despair I go.  Perhaps I need to take a Vitamin.

N is for Necessities.  When I first began writing here at this space, my Necessities Of Life were high heels, red pens, coffee, and martinis.  And, of course, the migraine drugs.  Now my Necessities Of Life still include the migraine drugs and coffee, but that coffee is half-caff.  I've pretty much traded in my martinis for wine because these days, I'm a very cheap drunk.  And I still have all my high heels, but I only visit them in the upstairs closet, like trophies in a case.  As far as red pens, I do all my editing and commenting on documents in a computer program, so those are another relic of a previous life.  (A friend just asked me, upon hearing that school started here this week, if I missed it. All things considered, the answer is still No. )  So, what are my New Necessities Of Life?  Migraine Drugs, Coffee, Wine, ... oh, that last one.  Such a Toughie.

Let's enjoy some cake whilst we mull it over.  Happy Eleven, Everyone.  I think there's enough.

image via Bing/Pinterest


  1. Seriously? Where did THAT time go?

    Congrats on making it to 11! I used to read a number of blogs, but the list dwindled over the years and now you're it. (No pressure.) I like that everyone here has a working a brain and isn't afraid to speak up on any subject. It's always interesting, thoughtful, and, when fitting, funny. I look forward to new posts and to reading everyone's take on the subject du jour. Keep up the great work. Coming here brightens my day. XXOO

    1. LaFF--I know, right? Eleven years...POOF!

      And, wow. I'm your Only Blog? Well, I am awfully flattered, truly. Thank you very much. I do work hard on every post, which is why it sometimes takes me So Long to put one up. I have to have Something Valuable To Say, and I do want to write it well. It means a great deal that you come here in appreciation of the Product and its...Byproducts! And it's so gratifying to know that what I do here (We do here) brightens your day.

      Here's to Eleven more. XXOO

  2. Congratulations, Nance! Your 11 years of outstanding writing, which keeps us entertained and makes us think is truly amazing! I am grateful for you, the Dept. of Nance, and really all your blogs to date.

    Olympics--Some phenomenal events, but they always go on to long. The after Olympics wrap-ups with Ryan Seacrest are particularly painful. I don't watch them, of course, but they're preempting what I really want to see!

    The List--Somehow I missed The List. I sincerely hope you will revisit it. (I'm thinking about mine right now. Hmmm.)

    Eating--Heck, I'm a food blogger and I fall into that pattern! I think the summer heat makes it far, far worse. Life without wanting to use one's oven is challenging!

    Victory--Oh, that makes me so happy to hear, Nance! I still struggle with it at times. A really good epic novel is always a good bet though.

    Necessities--Alcohol and chocolate top my list. Although I don't indulge in either daily and rarely overindulge, I do like having them as options to make my life happier.

    The only thing I miss about teaching--still years later--is the eagerness of youth, how their minds work, and the comic factor they often offered. Well, I miss all the good kids--and even most of the kids with behavior problems were still good kids. My former students are grownups with kids of their own and some are grandparents no doubt, but I still see them in my mind's eye as third-graders. ;-)

    I'm glad you got enough cake for all of us! Plus, I'm happy that virtual cake is always gluten free, at least to me it is.


    1. And somehow I just slipped by commenting on Elections ... probably because I'm in the same state as you are about them. The candidate that is beyond discussing, describing, etc. has just announced a rally here in our lovely Fredericksburg on Saturday. I am genuinely concerned about damage, violence, etc. that may result. We do not have the resources to deal with anything like that.

    2. Shirley--So nice to see you here! Your kind words are very much appreciated. I am blushing, really.

      Every so often, I miss the fun of The Brian Williams Tie Report, but obviously its time is past. Some of my best writing is over there, and when the national news story hit, the brief burst of "fame" I had was fun. Jared just inquired about us doing a post together before I run out of alphabet letters, so we will be teaming up here very soon for a list post, I'm sure.

      Chocolate (Really Good Chocolate) has become so prohibitively priced now that I am Doing Without. I always have a bigass Hershey bar with almonds hanging around for Desperate Times (like my jar of Nutella), but I'm becoming less and less needful of it.

      You know, as far as summer food, I could eat corn on the cob and tomatoes all summer, but this summer's tomatoes have been tasteless--a real tragedy. No matter if they are my sister's, mine, or from any farmstand, they have been lacking. And Rick needs meat (so do I, of course, at some point, or protein), so that menu is not practical. Even my basil (for my famous pesto) has been off.

      And it's not just me. Others agree that these things are lacking in flavour.

      RE: Teaching. Yes, I do miss the Best Things about teaching. The kids, the fun, the thrill of introducing something new, talking about The Best Books--those will always be poignant memories for me and things I remember fondly. But overall, those things kept getting drowned in the Lousy Things, and judging by what I read and hear, the Lousy Things are only getting more intense. Oh, it was never the Teaching and never the Kids.

      I cannot wait to hear your List. And I am loving that Virginia is BLUE.

      Thanks again for your kind words and continued readership.

  3. Congratulations! I came to your blog only recently, so I'm glad you will be carrying on!

    1. Bridget--Thank you. I'm glad you joined me here, and happy I found your pleasant spot as well. We seem to have quite a few things in common.

  4. My goodness, 11 years old! Your blog will soon be entering puberty, and we all know how that is going to go!

    But in all seriousness, you are a wonderful, thought-provoking writer who enriches the internet with your very presence.

    I look forward to each and every one of your posts.

    I am so glad to have you in my life! You took the time to help me out at a rough time, and I will never forget your kindness. Even though we have not met in person, I do consider you a friend.

    Thank you!

    1. Gina--LOL!! I didn't even think about Blog Puberty. Great line, and 100 points to you for that, my dear. (You're moving up on the Leaderboard!)

      Thank you so much for your compliment on my writing. It means a great deal coming from you, a fellow English Person, and one who makes a living writing.

      And your gratitude is kind and lovely and appreciated. I think of you as My Friend as well, and because of that, I was only too happy to help in any way that I could.

      And I would do so again.


    Entertainment... I think I first visited your site in 2007 and have never left. You entertain me with stories about your kitties, Z the wonder dog, your Canadian border forays for wine, your shoe collection and how you despise crocs,and various and sundry other topics that keep me interested and returning to the Dept. year after year..I loved the story of Rick jumping out of the shower to catch the mouse that was annoying you. Without bothering to dress he walked out on your back deck and dispatched the mouse to the trash bin. That's when I asked if you were sure the lonely widow next door wasn't throwing mice into your basement at 3 A.M....

    Laughs..We certainly have laughed over the years, haven't we? Did we miss anyone we should have made fun of? The tea party folks with their misspelled signs (DON'T MORGAGE MY KIDS FUTIRE). Remember the little Asian kid with the sign that read (WE R HARD WOrKING PEEPLE) ? I commented that she probably worked in their restaurant all day which made her a HARD WOKING GIRL). We took a few shots at Sarah Palin and her kids, Trac, Tric, and Truk...We did not let Mitt off the hook with his "Binder full of women." Remember the woman who took us so seriously when we carried on about the damn kids ringing our doorbell on Halloween in the middle of Jeopardy and wanting all of our peanut butter cups? By the way, what happened to your very valuable feature called "You may also enjoy"? I loved going back through the years and rereading your thoughts and your fantastic commenters opinions. I miss that.

    Enlightenment... You have taught us so many things about our English language. Proper syntax and spelling and run on sentences etc. (Now don't get out one of your red pens and correct my comment..No Fair!) The Defender was always on duty to help with our questions. Remember when I wanted to be in the Olympics as a Synchronized Swimmer ? You told me I first had to take the Esther Williams Pledge of Allegiance and then explained the difference between swam,swim and swum,.You said it was absolutely necessary for me to know these things in order to join that prestigious group. You also mentioned that I would have to buy a 50 gallon drum of Hair Spray.. Seriously, Nance,you taught me so many things I didn't know about writing. Thanks for that!

    Violins..As in our dear friend, Gilda Radner ,or shall I say, Emily Latella, and her famous remark about Sax and Violins on television. And Soviet Jewelry..and all the other causes dear Emily embraced. She never quite had it right and we remarked on that often over the years... We would quote her and then sigh that famous sigh "Never mind."

    Evolution...When I first started to read your posts, you were a very dedicated Honors English Teacher and I was a little intimidated by that. I thought perhaps you were judging our remarks. But you soon set us straight on that. No red pens on your pages. Just write what you were thinking and let it flow. You, yourself, wrote words like eleventy and set our minds at ease about correctness. Over the years we were in the classroom with you. Remember the kid with the bread? I said he had some crust..And when I made fun of "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" you asked me why I didn't appreciate "For I have known them all already, known them all: Have known the evenings,mornings,afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." You made me appreciate those lines. Thanks again! Now you are a retired lady and your posts are just as interesting as ever. I enjoy hearing about the Garage sales at Cinnamon Lake and your trips to Gettysburg and Canada as much as I liked finding out what you were talking about when you were mentioning the students voicing fricatives. What? What the H is a fricative?

    Now...We are all still here with you. The same readers who were commenting years ago are still here, and I hope we are still around when you celebrate 15 years..



    1. Dearest Nancy--First of all, your "You Might Also Like" clickies are back! I never noticed they were gone until you said something. And then began my Temperamental Journey deep into the HTML and CSS coding of my template, the various forums online, and then it hit me--I knew what had happened, and with one little adjustment to Settings, bam! I'm glad you said something; I do want them there.

      As to the rest of your very lovely and complimentary comments, I am beyond flattered and touched. You are such a devoted Member Of The Dept., and a valued contributor and friend. That you remember so many things over the years that we shared is deeply validating. All writers want not only to be read, but to be remembered and valued. I feel so grateful and gratified to be a part of your life.

      We've had a wonderful run so far, and we have a long way to go. I'm ready for more; aren't you? XXOO

    2. Nancy again--Thank you for mentioning "Prufrock" also. That one line is enough to bring tears to my eyes, it is that beautiful and profound of a poem for me. I am reminded that I am not reading enough poetry, and there is truly no excuse for that. Sometimes I forget too much the former Honors English Teacher in me. (But my next book is "The Great Gatsby"; he will bring me right back.)

  6. A very big CONGRATULATIONS!!! I came rather late to the party, but I read every single post in your archives when I did. Yes, I was that interested in what you had to say over the years.

    And a very big HOORAY from one book lover to another who has finally found her way again. I read a lot of books and I reread three certain books every year. Interestingly enough one of them is "Gone With the Wind." Another is the book I consider my "spark" book. A book that I first read in fifth grade. And it still holds my interest. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" made me the reader I am. And the third is Barbara Kingsolver's "Poisonwood Bible."

    I look forward to more years of enjoying your blog.

    1. NCmountainwoman--Wow. Thank you very much. I'm beyond flattered to hear that you dug so deeply into the Dept. when you first arrived. I'm proud of my writing here, so that means a lot to me. Thank you again.

      And OH MY GOODNESS! "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is a seriously special book to me as well. It was recommended to me by our town's librarian, Miss Mamie, and I read it in awe. I loved, loved, loved it. I own it (in hardback, of course; I own no books in paperback unless they are unavailable in hardback) and reread it yearly as well. Like you, I think it helped create the reader--and, in some ways, the person--I am today.

      I look forward to seeing you commenting here. Thank you for joining us. And I enjoy reading you as well.

  7. Woo hoo! I love any event that involves cake - so thanks for having an anniversary! I had to go check out your List - and I have to agree that Charlize belongs at number one (I hope she won't move in your updated list). We were just talking about how hot Michelle Pfeiffer was in the Fabulous Baker Boys - whew!

    I'm so glad you got your reading mojo back. I don't know what I would do without books in my life. Especially these days - I'm using them as a Retreat from Real Reality. I used to have such a simple life - I'm not sure what happened.

    The Politics is just boggling right now. It truly is the train wreck that I should, by all that is right and holy, avert my eyes from, but I just can't. Wide Eyed Amazement - that's me.

    Here's to your next 11 years!

    1. Bug--What is it about cake that, whenever I see/hear/read about one, I HAVE TO HAVE SOME? I never feel that way about pie, even though it is my preference among the two.

      Charlize has never budged from my Top Spot on The List. I've since taken Scarlett Johanssen off of it, and cannot for the life of me figure out why she was ever on it. Might have been the Mouth. I've got to get Rick to think about his List again, so tonight, now that the Olympics are finally OVER, we can chat about it. I'm sure Clooney is still on it.

      You know, this year has been a Hellish One for almost everyone I know. 2016 can just Get The Hell Out as far as I'm concerned, and take its bullshit with it. I'll be glad to see it go. Bring back 2014, which, if I recall, was an awesome year overall. Maybe not the winter, but my fortunes were spectacular.

      Have to tell you--I forced myself to try your beloved Crochet. I am having fits with it. Cannot figure out how to HOLD THE DAMN YARN comfortably. I am a committed and habituated knitter, and I'm sure that is part of the problem. But I keep trying.

      Anyway, thanks for being a regular reader and commenter. And for having faith that, in 11 more years, I'll be here still.

  8. Dearest Nance,

    Though I have had a few spates of not commenting over the years (due to extreme work-study overload, mostly), I do read all posts that I may have missed when I have time to catch up again. Midnight confessions: When I have not commented in a few months, it does not mean that I don’t read your posts; it just means that I hate having to post a flippant one-liner just to acknowledge my presence as a “blogfan.”

    And speaking of which, I am truly up to my elbows right now on fall semester prep and needing to hire 2 new instructors to fill the gaps for people who very nicely quit on me a week ago.

    But... I must make some effort for this occasion, so here are my....

    Random Thoughts for your “Eleventy” Anniversary

    *Sometimes I will pop over to your blog and just browse through your archived posts and re-read them for a little perk in my day. Or to catch up, bit by bit, on the first year-and-a-half before I had the good fortune to become acquainted with The Department.

    *I miss Stuff on Our List. I get why you had to discontinue it, though. Another blog is just another upkeep item. Glad that you continue the list concept in the Department, in any case.

    *Loved my honorary duty as “Vacation Poster” for the B.W. Tie Report (July 2008):

    *Though I rarely comment on it, I always check out your very entertaining sidebar stuff: Booze Talking, Zen, Bunnies & Clink the Glass. Re: ‘Zen’ and ‘Bunnies’: You could definitely get a job writing snappy captions for pictures.

    *Though we rarely comment to each other, I do feel a special kinship to your regular commenters here on the blog.

    *My Current Necessities of Life: Red pens, coffee, wine, and ... the perfect tennis shoes for the 1-mile round trip jog to the classrooms they assigned me for the fall semester. Oh, and to that you can add: Nerves of Steel. Campus Carry, thanks to our governor, Gregory F*ckbutt Abbott III, is now officially in effect. Since the law does not permit us to ask students if they are carrying a weapon, my future office appointments with students will take place in the campus Starbucks, where several people will be able to witness my tragic death by a bipolar student with an axe to grind and, of course, a legally concealed gun. If anything happens in the classroom, however, you will have to find out about my demise on the news media, which will likely not bother to report anything since mass killings are now so commonplace.

    Not wishing to end on a tragic note, I would just like to say... The Department is a Necessity for all of us who read and comment here. What would we do without Our Nance?


    1. Dear Catherine/Ortizzle--Thank you for such a lovely Comment, full of kudos and remembrances. I miss Stuff On Our List as well, but Jared's commitment to writing is still capricious at best. He is now writing poetry more often, tucked in when he can among work, Zydrunas Management, his workout schedule, and Netflix. I'm probably going to tag him in soon for an Alphabet Post.

      Now and then, I do miss the Brian Williams Tie Report, if for no other reason than the workout it gave me. And when the High Times of it hit, I enjoyed that, too, even though they did not lead where I hoped they would.

      Finally, due to being Out Of The Profession, I never did think about the full ramifications of students being allowed to carry guns, and when I read your chilling paragraph about holding your office hours at a public place, I felt a spike of real fear for you. Because, of course, this is an absolutely plausible scenario, and I absolutely hope that you do, forever now, hold your student conferences in public places, even though it could put more people at risk than just yourself OH MY GOD WHERE DOES THE MADNESS ALL STOP?!?!?!

      Please, please, PLEASE dearest, how many more years until you join me in Retirement Bliss?

  9. Congrats on Eleven, that is amazing. I am with her too!
    Hugs to you Nance. I have not been reading you for long but have enjoyed the posts I have read so much.

    1. Meredith--Thanks, and I thought you might be! I'm glad to welcome you on board as a Reader and Commenter. I hope you'll be both for a long time.

  10. Who the hell let you onto the internet? That does it, I'm writing my congressman.

    1. Bart Man--I've been on The Internet longer than you've had a drver's license! Nice to see you; it's been a long, long time.

      Make that a LONG , LONG, L O N G time.

    2. Bart--Oh, hell. Make that a dr*I*ver's license. Lying in bed & tapping out replies on a tablet. Sigh. Did NOT catch that in time.

    3. Ran into T-Brown at my sister's wedding reception back home and, OF COURSE, the topic of YOU came up and she mentioned this little corner of the inter-weds on which you were lurking so I thought I'd check it out. Good stuff. I'll be tuning in regularly.

  11. Happy belated!! Sorry I missed it but I love your List! How have I never seen that before? Now you've got me thinking! I'll have to start my own. I'll report back soon. And sorry for the choppy sentences! WTF?

    1. Rose--LOL. Thank you. You've got some time before I do a List Revisited post.

      And as for the choppy sentences, you get a huge pass from me. A few things are happening in your life right now, including prep for back to school. How well I remember Those Days. Here's to a Smooth Transition, if possible.

  12. I was thinking about Gone With the Wind today, and how much I love it, and how horribly racist it is. Then I started thinking about the film, "The Philadelpha Story", and how much I love it, and how horribly sexist it is. It is so difficult to remove art from its own time and place, isn't it? It's not defensible to love such things, if one were to look beyond the art of them and just at the words. Does that even make sense? I've had a dry spell of my own, reading wise. 2 books that I wanted to read, and just could not get into them, so I gave up. Finally sucked in by Margaret Atwood's "The Heart Goes Last". Whew.

    1. J@jj--What a terrific point for discussion.

      I think it IS terribly important to look at Art, especially, as a product of its time and overall in its context. It's like listening to your great-grandfather who still calls Asian People Oriental or Black People Colored. They are sometimes a product of their times and they cannot change now. Literature is written In Its Time, and it cannot go back and change now.

      In the case of some more flexible elderly people, of course, they do Get On Board most willingly and adopt more culturally sensitive descriptors. Others merely push on and have the philosophy that It's All Just Words and So What?

      Reading...who would think it gets to be such a Perilous Thing? I feel somewhat comforted by knowing I Am Not Alone, but distressed that others are suffering the same vagaries of concentration and loss of a steadfast and companionable hobby that I know is so satisfying. Let's hope that we can both stay with reading again and continue to enjoy its many rewards.

      And thank you again for such a provocative and interesting point to discuss and mull over.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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