Monday, December 17, 2018

Happy Holidays From The Dept. Of Nance

May you be filled with Good Cheer this Holiday Season...
one way or another.

See you in the New Year--

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Friday, December 07, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For: A Little Sunshine Is A Dangerous Thing

Today one of the worst possible Nance Domestic Equations occurred, and put simply, It Was Not Good. It set into motion a chain of events that became frantic, manic, and so far-reaching that it just may cancel Christmas here at The Dept. as we have heretofore known It.

I was unready for this Perfect Storm, and when the maelstrom was upon me, I was already so in the thick of it that I was powerless to stop it. The momentum of my astonishment, anger, dismay, and industry carried me on until I was literally too spent to continue. And when I now ponder a Christmas tree and its worky luxe...I feel I might take to my bed (ah! if only I had a fainting couch!).

What on Earth were the Terrible Factors in this Equation, you ask? What Horrific Elements conspired to bring about such Disastrous Results?

Here they are:

Bright Sunshine Streaming Into My Kitchen
I Had A Rag In My Hand
Rick Was Not Here (To Stop Me)

It was, in a word, scary.

I was like a woman possessed, a Whirling Dervish of Windex, a Tasmanian Devil of the Dishrag, and a Hurricane of Scrubbery. I cleaned in a fever-dream; the sun mocked me ceaselessly, showed me everything.

The broom in my hand swept me into the dining room where the sunlight sparkled on cat hair in the corner, just out of reach of the vacuum. I traded in my wet rag for a dry one and a can of Pledge, knowing they would lead me to the leather furniture and more tables and shelves in the living room. It would be Eternal, Endless, Infinite. Would Rick never, ever come home? Would the sun never set?

Would I die?

On and on it went. I vacuumed. I unloaded the dishwasher. I emptied wastebaskets. I dusted and tidied the desk in the office. Hysterical, at one point I even considered bathing a cat. At that moment, I knew Things Had Gone Too Far. I had to, somehow, rein myself in. I realized I had not eaten all day. Was I delusional?

I went to the kitchen to forage for a snack. It looked beautiful--so clean and perfect. And...dim. Suddenly, I realized that it wasn't so sunny anymore. I took a look out the window and saw a milky sky with gathering grey clouds. And felt myself relax. It was over.

I am exhausted.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Three Dog Head Kind Of Day

Zydrunas, granddog
We had quite a bit of outdoor work to get done yesterday, the one day that was going to be dry, calm, temperate, and on a weekend. Those days have been so rare this fall that we knew we didn't dare squander it. While Rick cut down and bundled the dried fountain grasses, I raked and used the leaf blower in our backyard, which is completely landscaped and has a little pond. Let me tell you, I found out speedily that I am terrible at using a leaf blower. Add that to an ever-growing list which also includes painting, backing a car in or out, and--oh forget it. Do I really want to enumerate my weaknesses?

It was energizing to be outdoors and not shiver. The sun came out unexpectedly, and I found that I did have the stamina and strength to use my Garden Weasel Garden Claw and put my herb garden to bed properly for the winter. Once again, I used my own fresh parsley, thyme, tarragon, and rosemary from it for my Thanksgiving dinner. Now, it has earned its rest.

That sunshine really put me in a FeelGood Mood, you know? And getting all that Big Work out of the way in a pretty expeditious manner did, too. I decided to make a comfort food dinner, even though I would need to run to the grocery store for a couple of items.

On my way there, a junky blue pickup truck was slowpoking along in the lane ahead of me. I sighed and tried not to feel impatient. Suddenly, a huge dog head appeared from the passenger side window. I smiled and forgave the pickup truck. Nothing brightens me up like a dog head sticking out of a car/truck window. Nothing.

I zipped into my parking spot--furthest from the store; empty in front of me so I can pull through--and zoomed right to the aisle I needed when I heard, "Oh, hey! I thought that was you, Pretty Lady!" One of my favourite employees, Tiffany, wanted to chat me up about how well she was doing in college and how her son was getting along in fourth grade. "I have a B in Stats and a B+ in Biology headed into finals. And Noah is doing awesome right now! No more notes home about his behaviour!" She is another Happiness in my Ordinary Days.

On my way out of the parking lot, I got behind a woman who just could not make her move to get out into traffic. She sat there and sat there--forever, it seemed--until a line of four cars was strung behind her. Plenty of opportunities to pull out came and went. Still we all sat there in our cars, waiting. I thought I would scream. Instead, I played Pink's "What About Us?" at top volume (and ironically).

At a red light shortly thereafter, I was treated to a Double Dog Head in a Chevy. These looked to be twin basenjis or some similar breed, and they each had on a jester's collar.  They bounced around the back seat, trading windows and poking their heads out, sometimes both from the same one.  And I swear that they were smiling. I smiled back. How could I not?

It was a Good Day.


TECH NOTE, COMMENTS: I began moderating comments in order to allow anonymous ones as a courtesy to non-Google account commenters; however, so far I've only gotten spam. If that remains the case with this post, I'll revert back.

Friday, November 16, 2018

TGIF: The Piece(s) Of My Mind Edition

It's anyone's guess what will happen with this post. I'm winging it, just like Blogger and Feedburner seem to be with my subscribers and commenters lately. More on that later. How is everyone? Feeling Blue in The Good Way? Do grab a nice beverage and/or a snack and settle in. Let's begin.

T is for Transitions: And Ticked Off. I'm angry that Blogger is denying any and all Commenters without a Google account. I could allow for Anonymous commenters, but then you'd have to pass the dreaded Captcha, which has gotten nearly impossible. Additionally, I get overrun with spammers. I've started to work with WordPress, but unless I want to pay for their service (which I don't), it's very limiting, clunky, and not very customizable. I am also aware that my email subscribers are suddenly not getting my posts via Feedburner, also owned by Google (who owns Blogger). It's apparent that I need to make some changes, but...I really don't have the energy.

G is for Giggles: Saw this decal on the back of an SUV the other day. Luckily, it was in a parking lot, so it wasn't a danger to photograph it. I found it very refreshing and self-actualized.

I is for Involved: It's so satisfying and encouraging to hear from so many people that they became much more involved in this midterm election process. I had family members who canvassed, phone-banked, put up signs, and wrote letters. I heard from friends who had never before done any campaign work, but this year they went door-to-door or stuffed envelopes. AND! You'll be glad to know that I flipped two red voters to blue. It's astonishing what some Actual Facts and Turning People Away From Facebook And To Credible Information Sources can do. (And some Disgust Of 45*.) Sadly, due to gerrymandering in Ohio, it is not a lot of help, steps. I continue my activism, now writing to voters in Mississippi for their special election, and awaiting any opportunities for Georgia's governor's race.

F is for Fall? What Fall?: I know many of you are reading this in the Icy Tundra that is your neighborhood or workplace. Did any of you ever get to open your windows to the Autumnal Zephyrs of October? Or even September? Or, like me, did you have your windows closed, airconditioning blasting because throughout September it was in the upper 80s and 90+ with matching humidity which continued through the first week of October, followed immediately by rain and temperatures in the 40s and 50s, at which point you turned on your furnace? I swear, I opened all of my windows to "Fall" one time--on a 50-degree day--solely to air out because I could not take feeling like I had been on a Perpetual Airplane anymore. And now, sn*w. Just. Stop.

Okay! Let's see what happens once I put this Out On The Interwebs. As always, I'm everso glad to hear from All Of You.

Monday, November 05, 2018

In Which I Am Both Part Of The Solution And A Small Brown Bunny--And You Can Be, Too!

Oh, hey.

October...let's just say that it was a Month Of Juggling Priorities. Among the many Worthy Things clamouring for my time and attention, this spot never even cracked the Top Ten. Life, you know?

This morning as I strode down my driveway for my daily walk, I noticed a fat brown rabbit hunkered down in my front yard. Its ears were lying along its back, and it was still and calm. It was making no attempt to camouflage itself right there in the middle of the grass, and it didn't move at all as I walked past it and went on my way. I made a conscious effort right then to take a few deep breaths, then hit my pace to get my miles in.

Northeast Ohio is finally full of gorgeous autumn colour, and despite the precarious condition of the sidewalks I traverse, I make sure I look around and completely enjoy and appreciate it. The red is particularly stunning right now, and there are Japanese maples and burning bushes that are calendar-worthy. I've lived in this neighborhood for thirty-three years, and this is the first time I've ever noticed the brilliant almost-magenta oak tree only about five blocks away. Even the gold and orange foliage seems illuminated against the perpetually damp, slate-grey skies we've been under these days.

I'm sure you know that one of the things I've been busy with is The Politics. For months now in the run-up to this midterm election, I've written personal letters to voters in Ohio, Nevada, and Arizona; I've made phone calls to voters in critical states in pivotal districts; I've made small donations to candidates here in Ohio and in Texas, Georgia, and other races whose candidacy I believe in (primarily women); I've taken a voter to the polls, texted voters; and, I voted early. Before all of that, I've been keeping up the pressure as a member of the Resistance since, well, you know when.

It can sometimes feel like a lot. Most of the time, it feels incredibly Empowering. Being part of The Solution always does.

Another good reason To Be Part Of The Solution was eloquently stated in Georgia the other day by Oprah Winfrey. I don't want her as a celebrity president--I think another reality show is most definitely not what we need--but she is an inspiring speaker and makes a damn good point here:

"For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn't have the right to vote, and you are choosing not to vote -- wherever you are in this state, in this country -- you are dishonoring your family. You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering and their dreams, when you don't vote."

If you are a Woman, your ancestors were denied the right to vote. If you are Black, your ancestors were denied the right to vote. If you are Native American, your ancestors were denied the right to vote. If your ancestors were not property owners, they were denied the right to vote. You know what? All of you, probably, had ancestors who were disenfranchised.

I've done everything I can. Now I'm going to take a lesson from that brown bunny in my front yard (still there, now nibbling a bit of grass) and be calm and still. I'm working on tangible projects of Kindness--knitting for Operation Gratitude--that feel relaxing and gratifying.  Not hurrying around, not letting the stress win--those are Daily Objectives.   My friend Shirley would prescribe Practicing Radical Self Care.

Sounds good to me.

Monday, October 08, 2018

What's My Hurry?

For a little while there, I considered taking October off. The weather has been downright shitful, the Politics has been too, and I'm Over It All. But backing down means The Terrorists win, so here I am. I feel like I've been frightfully busy, flinging myself all over the place here in NEO (motto: Don't bother doing your hair; we specialize in heat, humidity, and rain--what Autumn?). How can I have so damn much to do when I'm Retired?

I hurry a lot. It's hard for me to do things in a measured, unhurried way. I think it has a lot to do with when I was teaching and always, always multitasking--doing a million things between classes, like giving kids makeup work before class started, trying to go to the bathroom and still be on time to class, running off a quiz or test at a copy machine that was not broken down, making a quick parent phone call, or grading a few papers so that I wasn't so inundated by all 120+ a day. Everything was rushed, and it became a way of life. It's hard to suddenly slow down after thirty years of hurrying.

And with children--I'm speaking of my own sons--doing things quickly was, at times, a saving grace. It stopped fussing and crying. It appeased hurt feelings. It forestalled toddler tantrums and sibling fights. And, as a Working Mom, hurrying kept kids on The Sacred Schedule. I'm sure so many of you understand that benefit.

Now, however, hurrying isn't really all that necessary, but I still find myself doing it. I start looking at blocks of time in my day and thinking about how I can shoehorn stuff in. How I can combine a bunch of errands and how early I can get them all done so that I can do a ton of other stuff so that I can...what? It's insane. It makes it really hard to unwind. And sleep.

Free time still feels like a sin to me--a selfish indulgence. Why? I worked hard and I earned it.

I have all day most days to vacuum, to plan and prep dinner, to do any number of the little Domestic Goddessing tasks that tuck into the nooks and crannies of my days. But old habits, as They say, are hardest to break.

So I am determined to form new ones: to take deeper breaths more often; to drive more slowly and with less gritty determination; to enjoy the lulls in my day rather than fret about them; and, to read some poetry every day.

And another jaunt North is in order. Getting Away is different than Running Away, don't you think? Things will definitely slow down then.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cleaning Out The Cranial Clutter; Will You Hold The Dustpan, Please?

Time for a little Cleanout of my Cranial Clutter. Let's see what I can sweep out of the old cerebellum.

~*~Anniversary. Somehow, in all the Goings On of August, I completely forgot that the Dept. Of Nance had its 13th Anniversary. It's true; I've been writing here since 2005. I almost cannot believe it myself. Sometimes, I hop into my Wayback Machine (read my archives) and take a look at my life when I was teaching, in my forties, and raising teenagers. And I laugh and laugh at the things I Said I Would Never Do, many of which I am now doing routinely. Oh Life, how you smack us around and teach us to Be Humble!

~*~Eff Word. This week, my hair finally allowed me to go pick out new glasses, which I gladly did. The young woman (probably about twenty-five) who assisted me at the cheapo eyeglasses place was friendly and fun. As we chatted about Being Female and Our Vanity, she dropped two Eff Words, never batting an eye, zipping right past them with nary a concern. Another associate seated within earshot didn't even flinch. I am a Huge Fan of The Eff Word, but there is a Time and a Place, and that? Not It.

~*~Insomnia And Obnoxious Theme Song. I'm currently in the throes of another bout of Insomnia. Sigh. Sometimes when I can't sleep, I watch a few late night episodes of the original Will & Grace show, and I have to tell you, that show's theme song is absolutely the worst. Ugh. Nothing but hard-driven piano that sounds like it is being played by perhaps Herman Munster on crack. It's abusive. Why so awful? Why? I don't know what I feel sorrier for, that poor piano or my ears.

~*~Videotapes. I finally made myself clean out the cabinet housing our now-nonexistent videotape collection. Is it Really A Thing that the Black Diamond Classic Disney videotapes are worth money? And that the Fox Original Star Wars Trilogy Boxed Set is valuable too? Because I have the latter and five of the former. And they are available. Aside from that, I had Sam hook up the old VCR and I watched a few hours of the boys when they were little. My immediate response was to be overwhelmed with so much love--and an odd feeling of sadness. They were So Little. They looked so fragile to me. I hope I Did The Right Things. I know I always wanted to and tried to.

Catch me up in Comments.


Friday, September 07, 2018

Of Politics, Books, And Grocery Store Serendipity

The time I normally set aside for The Resistance was not enough this morning, thanks in large part to the Kavanaugh hearings and, of course, to the recent anonymous editorial published in the New York Times. Its author, claiming to be a part of a whole other resistance, doesn't impress me one whit. Spare me and the entire country your big effing courage, buddy, and really Do Something rather than sneak a few papers off a desk. You are nothing but Part Of The Problem.


A couple of hours, many emails, letters, and phone calls later, I was ready to pack the car and head down to DC and tell a few people something about themselves in person. Also, I was pretty sure I could use a few hugs from Senator Sherrod Brown and maybe from Representative John Lewis, National Treasure. Instead, I did what I always tell my sons to do when they're stressed out: do something constructive.

I decided to clean out my bookshelves yet again and donate some more of my languishing hardbacks to the annual library book sale. I got the idea from grocery shopping.

Earlier this week at the grocery store, I ran into a former student. Rather, she stopped me in the dairy aisle where I was dawdling without any purpose whatsoever because I sort of half-assed my list and couldn't remember if I needed any yogurt or butter. "Hey, Mrs. D! How are you? How have you been? Do you still love retirement?" she chirped.  I almost didn't recognize her because--and this is sad--she looked so happy.

"Oh, sweetie! It's so good to see you!" I greeted her in return.  And I meant it. I had never seen her smile so much. It was obvious that she was doing well.

"I feel I need to tell you that I don't work here anymore. I went back to school. I finished and got my library science degree. It's so awesome, and I work right here in town at the library! I love it!"

Why she felt she needed to tell me that, I don't know, but I was truly glad that she did. We talked a bit longer about her life and her job, and then I mentioned that I had some books I wanted to donate. "Drop them off anytime," she told me.

So, back to me cleaning out my burgeoning bookshelves. I already knew I was going to get rid of my set of Andrew Greeley books on principle alone. Then there were a half-dozen more that I knew I'd never read again, so in they went. It was tough, because back in the eighties or nineties, the fad was to take all the jackets off your books so as to streamline the look of your shelves. I had to really stare at the spines. Some of my books are vintage; some are old carpentry and drafting books of Rick's and his grandfather's. And I have a lot of books. But nothing prepared me to find, way on the bottom shelf, a copy of a certain ghostwritten book by a certain political person who shall remain nameless. And rather than donate it and validate its garbage, I did this:

I call it Art:  No Deal

Afterward, I did what every self-respecting Democrat would do, I recycled it. Burning books? Please. Let's not, as they say, Go There.

I did, however, temporarily set aside one page--it was before the opening page of chapter one. It contains a partial quote from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt, former real President of the United States. It does not quote it completely or even correctly (big surprise), but I will:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.--(23 April 1910)

The irony is stunning.

I am part of the Resistance. Since 20 January 2017.  And I will keep striving for as long as necessary.


Monday, September 03, 2018

Politics And Precious Cargo In The Prius

Scene opens on the interior of Nance's car, driven by Rick.  Nance is seated in the passenger's side.  Rick's phone sounds, signaling the arrival of a text message. He picks it up and...

Nance: (outraged) Excuse me, but are you going to risk our lives and look at your phone right now?

Rick: (calm, eyes on the road) Nance, I was just--

Nance: (undeterred) Is my life so trivial to you that you're willing to risk it for a text message? Especially right here, where all those Trump voters come rushing out of that side road right there! Without even looking.

Rick: (sighs; pulls onto entrance ramp) How do you know that they're all Trump voters? You've got to stop being so judgy about everybody just because of where they live.

Nance: I know that they are. You know it, too. Everyone around here voted for him.

Rick:  That house there, with the Register To Vote Here sign, also has a Sherrod Brown* sign in the yard.

Nance And Janet Garret* and you're deflecting. The point is, I would prefer you remember that when you have me in the car, you are transporting precious cargo. (thinks for a moment; smiles wickedly) As a matter of fact, from now on, I would really like it if you would start calling me Precious Cargo. Or PC, if you'd prefer.

Rick: (grins; accelerates into traffic) Okay, Precious Cargo.

End Scene.

*fine Democratic candidates for office; I am in love with Senator Sherrod Brown and have been forever.

bumper stickers

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Two Things

1. At the doctor's office, I sat waiting for someone to come in and put a new dressing on my infected shoulder wound. In bustled a young health aide, who, after finding the necessary supplies with some irritation, turned to me and said, "Okay, I'm gonna put a new bandage on your shoulder now." She stepped closer, saw the wound, and her eyes widened. "Damn! Oh, no. Sorry for the bad language. But oh my --what did you do? Turn around; watch your face. I'm gonna put the gauze on and then I have to use tape." We laughed, and I waited as she applied the pads of gauze and then, as promised, the tape. She applied one, then two; on the third strip, "Bam!" she said triumphantly and stepped back to survey her work.

2. I had to go to the warehouse club today to pick up a few Necessaries. In the specialty bread aisle, I got bogged down behind an elderly lady who was kind of In The Middle Of Things, having wandered off course. Suddenly, I heard It. There was no mistaking the sound, either. Nothing else sounds like that, really, when there's not little kids around trying to be funny or someone with a balloon or something. This lady absolutely had farted. Or worse. And it was loud. She just stood there with her cellphone, very nonchalant. Moments later, she turned to see me and let me pass. I sort of held my breath and moved along. About five minutes later, there she was again, blocking my path at the dairy cases, phone in hand again. Standing stock still. And...I heard it again! How is this possible? Is she just a Serial Farter? Is it an app or a text alert sound that one of her grandkids put on her phone and she can't change it? I know it's Not Just Me; I only heard it when I was near her. What is going on?

Any goofy stuff in your days lately?


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Your True Hero, Scabs And All

"Here," said the gods of Irony, "because you have been trying valiantly to be A Good Girl and stick to your Wellness Regimen, and because your hideous haircut has finally begun to Grow Out Into A Decent And Presentable Style, we are going to Screw With You."

And so it was that Tuesday, on my brisk walk, I fell face-down, full-length on the sidewalk. And in case you haven't ever done that, it really, really hurts.

Walking in our neighborhood is no mean feat. Our tree-lined sidewalks are a mishmash of old rocky concrete, recent cement, and original sandstone full of holes, waves, and sometimes grass; many of them are lifted by the roots of innumerable old trees that may or may not be around anymore. And an ongoing gasline project has introduced The Sidewalks That Are No Longer There, which are uneven mounds of dried mud and gravel allsorts. I try desperately to keep my eyes on my path, but after a while, I have to look up or I get dizzy.

The first thing I thought of once I reckoned with my sudden fall was my teeth, which a quick assessment told me were all there and intact. I carefully rolled onto my side and attempted to get up--slowly--so I could see if I had any injuries that would keep me from getting home on my own. I was lucky; aside from being scraped and bloody, nothing was broken or sprained. Once I got home--two blocks away--I could more fully see what I was working with:

1. Bloody--but not split--upper lip and philtrum
2. Scraped chin and cheek
3. Two scraped knees
4. One scraped elbow
5. Bloody skinned shoulder
6. Damaged prescription sunglasses
7. Wounded pride and vanity
8. Confirmation that Exercise Is Bad

It is important here to note that I Did Not Cry.

Not even when I realized that, for the next Eleventy Thousand Days, I will have a scabby upper lip and look like a female Hitler. I even kept a medical appointment FOR THE SAME AFTERNOON. IN ALL MY INSANELY BLOODY GLORY. And pain.  (Holy crap am I sore.  Everywhere.)

And people say There Are No More True Heroes.

It is to laugh.

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Monday, August 06, 2018

The Greatest...Because I Say So

One day late last week I stepped out of the shower and I heard a fanfare of music; then a stentorian voice blared from the television in the bedroom. "Broadway's greatest musical is coming to Cleveland!" it announced. Immediately a list of contenders ran through my mind--none of which interested me, I might add, since I am not a fan of musicals--and I waited to hear the title, just out of Idle Curiosity. When the announcer finally did speak the name of The Musical, I was completely floored; there was not a single chance I'd have ever guessed it to be Broadway's Greatest, and I made up my mind to ask my mother, St. Patsy, Film And Musical Maven, her opinion.

So I did. I gave her the scenario and then gave her three guesses. Hers were stellar and completely plausible.

They were also, like all of mine, wrong.

I told her the answer, according to the commercial, and she was outraged. "Well, that's just ridiculous! Who said that's the greatest musical? I can only name one song from it!" And from there we both began naming all the other Better Musicals and the wonderful songs that came from them. Obviously, Broadway's Greatest Musical was NOT coming to Cleveland after all.

So, in the spirit of that dopey ad campaign that thought it could decide What Is The Greatest Of All, let's just declare what we think Is The Greatest in these random categories below. You don't have to explain your choices; just own them!

The Greatest...

1. Pasta Shape
Farfalle (Bowtie)

2. Vegetable

3. Ketchup

4. Book
To Kill a Mockingbird

5. Band
The Beatles

6. Ice Cream
Häagen-Dazs Coffee

7. Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis

8. President
Abraham Lincoln

9. Poem
Tie: Annabel Lee and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

10. Candy
Peanut MM's

There!  These things are The Greatest because I say so. Now you can say so, too, in Comments. (Oh, and the Greatest Broadway Musical, according to that ad campaign? Hello, Dolly. Yeah, I don't think so, either. )

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Monday, July 30, 2018

What It's Like To Be All Of Me: Television

When I read a book or watch television or listen to the radio, my Internal English Teacher, Writer, and Editor immediately report for duty. It's incredibly exhausting, dragging these people around with me constantly. I wish they'd go away. They make my life a constant trial, like having that itchy tag in the back of your shirt when you're impossibly occupied and can't do a thing about it. Or like when your neighbour suddenly and inexplicably hangs wind chimes, and you never get another quiet evening out on the patio ever again. Or when you feel like you have something in your eye, but you absolutely cannot see what it is, let alone get the damn thing out. These Alter Egos endlessly alert me to little faux pas in grammar, spelling, mechanics, and usage in both written and spoken language. Why? Why? It's not like I can do a single thing about them other than Despair and Lament, Wail and Gnash My Teeth, and otherwise Moan and Fret about the downward spiral of The Language and The Intellect Of Our Country.

It's a good thing I Drink.

Here's a couple of examples from TV:

A week or so ago, one of the cutest on-the-spot reporters for the local Cleveland news affiliate was on the scene of a pretty big fire that included an explosion. Brandon--that's his name--was standing in the foreground of the devastation, and here's how part of his segment went:

Brandon: As you can see, Sarah, the building is a total loss, and there's damage to the property beside it as well. Several other neighbouring fire departments had to be called out to contain the blaze.

Sarah: Oh my. What about casualties? Was anyone hurt?

Brandon: Well, there is some good news there, Sarah. The people inside weren't there.


Sigh. It's a good thing I love Brandon. It really is.

This next one is from a commercial for a legal team. For some reason, lawyer commercials are particularly bad at mechanics and grammar. "We" try to have my phone ready to snap a picture every time one comes on.

thought I'd better obscure the phone #

How in the hell is a dead person going to call for a free legal consultation? Just who are these people marketing to? WHAT IS HAPPENING OUT THERE? AND WHY MUST I ALWAYS BE ALERTED TO IT?

Am I alone in this? Share your Irks or at least make me feel better in Comments.

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Monday, July 23, 2018

No Wine Left Behind

Just when I thought I couldn't take It anymore--It being my scary bad Haircut, the unrelenting Heat, the constant Barrage Of Badness out of 45*, and a lot of Extraneous Crap that would not stop Fraying My Edges and provoking the Control Freak In Me--it was suddenly time for our Jaunt to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. Even though we had just zipped up in May for an event at our favourite winery, we were still determined to make our usual Summertime Visit.

I'm so glad we did.

We've made so many, many friends there that it feels like home to us. After checking in with Tim who owns the little inn where we always stay, we drove to a nearby winery to grab a bottle of a deep, smoky Meritage to sip later that evening on our balcony. The suite's balcony is nestled in among the branches of a stately, primeval redwood, whose fronds shade us and give us lovely privacy, yet provide enough glimpses of the beautiful garden below.

Our two days of wine tasting (and wine buying!) were not only fun, but they were illuminating. Rick and I both love to learn about all the aspects of winemaking and winery operations. We tasted wine from the tanks, wine that was still being coaxed out of bottle shock, and some wines that were experimental in the way that they were produced. You'll be happy to know that I proposed marriage a fourth time to my favourite winemaker (and was accepted!), and his daughter now refers to me as her second mother.

But it still didn't get me the last of the Sauvignon Blanc out of his library that I really, really wanted. Not this time. (But I did score some more of their 2015 Merlot, and they were kind enough, upon hearing that it was our 37th anniversary, to gift us a bottle of their sparkling Blanc De Noir. Gorgeous stuff, both of those.)

Despite the fact that we bought a ton of wine in May, we bought another ton. "The American dollar is really great right now," said my winemaker husband's Other Wife. "You're practically getting this for free!" Sounded good to me. (Or, as my American husband Rick always says, "It's only money; I'll just make more!") And...what if that Petit Verdot or Cabernet Franc or Savagnin or...all of it was gone next time we came? I don't need Regrets. Not when it comes to Wine; there are so many in Life already.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Dipping A Toe Back In

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No matter who said it (and the disagreement about its origin is brisk and ongoing), Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I've missed writing here. I've missed sharing Stuff In General with others. I've missed the Shape it gives to some of my Days, however vague that Shape may have been. So I'm going to sort of pick up where I left off, but follow much of my own Retirement Philosophy here, including the objective of Streamlining.  For example:

I've already tossed most of my Sidebar Elements, which were worky and cluttery. Links are now on a separate page, tabbed up top. I've had to eliminate Anonymous comments because they were all--without exception--being left by spammers. Blogger (owned by Google), as I said before, has disallowed Open ID commenters. If you don't have any one of a number of Google accounts, you'll either have to open one or I'll lose you as a commenter. This is upsetting, but I can't do anything about it.

My posts might be shorter.  I might not labour so painstakingly over them.  I might try to stop being such a Gold Standard Perfectionist.  Seriously, I might.

Your support, encouragement, and empathy in Comments on my last post gave me a great deal of help. So did the continued reading of your blogs (and others'). And so did the time away.

June was a very odd month.  I felt a little like a jar of mayo--kept refrigerated and only allowed out for short amounts of time lest I get too warm.  July is not proving to be all that much better.  Thank goodness for early mornings and very dark sunglasses, or I'd never get my walks in (sans le makeup,  the victim of a Very Bad Haircut).

It's feeling pretty good to Be Back.  Catch me up in Comments.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Thinking Hard

Since we last chatted, Not Much has happened or Lots has happened, depending upon your Perspective. Here's a Quickie Rundown:

1. The Nativity Wreck finally disappeared from view about two weeks ago. Finally, NO Xmas decorations sully my neighborhood!
2. I caught a misspelling on The Dr. Phil Show. (A graphic spelled the word provocative as provacative.)
3. The winery party we attended was lovely. We won the drawing, a lovely crate of six select single-vintage reds.
4. Lake season has started, and I caught the first fish.
5. An ongoing gasline project in our neighborhood is noisily disrupting my life and my daily walks; our sidewalks are in ruins.
6. We met new friends at the party in Niagara-on-the-Lake and plan to keep in touch.
7. I have participated in my last garage sale at my brother's lakehouse. Too much work for not enough enjoyment.
8. I completed two more knitting projects, and continue a square a day on my mitred square blanket.
9. Knitting is really my therapy, but it aggravates my neck-shoulder condition. Looks like I have to restart PT.
10. I've been thinking of shutting down the Dept. of Nance.

That last one is the big one. And believe me, I've been thinking awfully hard about it.

My original mission behind this blog was to Practice What I Preached to my Creative Writing students, that writers write. And I wanted to keep my skills limber in order to keep up with them, a truly gifted group year after year. I also wanted to maintain my own strong voice so that I didn't unintentionally adopt any of theirs or anyone I was reading as I taught the American Masters to my literature students. As time went on, I also enjoyed having a platform to discuss issues with my lively and engaging commenters and to bring small cultural ironies into focus in an almost Seinfeldian way. Politics--an important part of my life and one of my main interests--was also a big part of this blog. There was a great deal of energy here during the Bush 43 years and...well, now Politics is beating me up. I work as a political activist every morning--on the phone to Congress, online sending emails, clicking to sign petitions, reading to stay informed--and so much of it is soul-crushing. That is the hardest thing for me right now: if I don't write about Politics here, I feel like a traitor; if I do, I feel overwhelmed.

Honestly, I don't know what the hell to write about at this point. Many of my Original Commenters have drifted away. Maybe I bored them? Maybe they've moved along to other venues, (perhaps facebook!) or simply traded online time for realtime activities, like going to the gym or running 5Ks or any other death-cheating pursuits (can you imagine?). I miss them. I like the back-and-forth with Commenters. Blogging is a Community; responding to comments and having a regular conversation in Comments is what I like the most. I can't imagine not doing it. For me, it works.

I value all of my Commenters, and I respond to them all in Comments. I love it when conversation occurs among them. It's important to me to acknowledge that they bothered to respond to my writing. (Unfortunately, Blogger is wreaking havoc on this platform at present, and is no longer allowing "Open ID" sign-ins. A workaround may be to use Anonymous as your sign-in, then sign your name at the end of Blogger blog comments.)

So, I have some Thinking to do, and I will continue to do it. I have to think about what Purpose this blog has for me, if any, and whether or not it will be A Good Thing In My Life. I've been writing here for thirteen years! It's hard to suddenly say That's It. But if it doesn't provide a positive Purpose, then I have to let it go.

I know I'm not the only blogger who has thought about this. Perhaps some of you can offer some wisdom to help me with this decision as I sort it all out.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Today, I Feel Like A Genius. Read This And You Will Feel Like One, Too.

We join a Cleveland Sunday news show already in progress...

Robin: And today is National Jelly Bean Day! The sweet little treat is thought to be the invention of a Boston candymaker. His popular candy was sent to Union troops during the American Civil War. How about you, Ryan? Do you like jelly beans? I have to say that myself, I like Jelly Bellies better than jelly beans.

(Camera cuts to shot of Ryan the weatherman, standing in front of the map. For a moment he looks terribly confused; his mouth opens, then shuts. He glances at the camera, then looks over at the anchor desk.)

Ryan: Aaah...Jelly Bellies and jelly beans are the same thing. Jelly Bellies are a brand of jelly beans, Robin.

Robin: (voice heard, off, brightly) Oh wow! You learn something new every day!

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Settle In With Some Fries And Let's Ketch...Er, Catch Up

It would seem I'm a Terrible Virtual Friend and Correspondent. So many days have drifted by and here we are with nothing more wonderful than a Catch-Up Post from me.

Get it?  Catch Up--Ketchup?

Oh well...I tried.

Spring Has Sprung! As I tap away on my keyboard, it is a Blissfully Sunny 75 degrees outdoors. My windows are open, I feel uplifted, and I'm even barefoot right now. My walk was sprightly and pleasant. Crocuses are smiling at the sun, buds are on trees, and the guy down the street was out mowing his lawn. As I leaned over our neighbor's fence to give treats to their dogs (The Boys, as I call them), I took note of their forsythia just beginning to show bright yellow blossoms. My chives are up and ready to be snipped for baked potatoes tonight, and my oregano and tarragon are starting to come on. And, looking closely, I spot a fine sprinkling of dill which has nudged up through the mulch. Hooray!

I Am The Champion! After a grueling season rife with injuries to my marquee players, my perseverance paid off and I beat Sam in the Championship Round of our NBA Fantasy League. I had an impressive record of 18-3 with an 11-game win streak. And I was the only woman in the 10-team league. My knowledge of the NBA is bordering on the obsessive at this point. Once a student, always a student.

Undecorator Update. As of today, very few Christmas Decoration Sloths in my orbit have taken down their decorations, most egregious being the Nativity Wreck on my street and the mailbox wreath three blocks north. I've decided to Be Grateful that none of the offending decor is an inflatable.

Knitting Pathology. I started a mitred square blanket with the intention of A) using up a lot of yarn that was given to me and that I had bits and pieces of; B) focusing on Knitting As Therapy, and; C) having an ongoing small and easy project that wouldn't give me fits and didn't have a date certain for necessary completion. It all sounds Just Perfect, right? Well, baloney to that.

First, I found little mini-skeins of very pretty yarn on sale that I thought, "Oh, that would be so lovely to fill in squares on the blanket project" so I bought a load of them. Then I knitted a couple of different projects that used bulkier yarn, and I really loved that, so when I found a bunch of it at a ridiculously low price, I bought that. And then I decided that I would set A Square A Day as a Knitting Assignment for myself, which is completely reasonable, and then every day I keep an eye on the clock, wondering when I'm going to have some unbroken time to sit down and knit my square. All of which is Completely Counter to what my Original Intentions were. I swear, I am a Horrible Project most of the time.

Looking Forward. Last Saturday, our mail was exciting! In it was an invitation to a release party being thrown by our favourite winemaker in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. We were verbally invited last October, but hadn't given it much thought again until the invitation showed up. Luckily, we were able to book a room at our usual inn, and we can't wait to go and taste the new wines before they are released to the general public. We've developed some very nice relationships with so many of the wineries and winemakers there that every time we open a bottle, it's like reliving a memory.

I do so hope that Spring has shown up where you are.  We here in NEO will be back to the 40s and low 50s in just a couple of days, but this gift of Fleeting Spring has been a much-needed tonic.  And that is, after all, what Spring is all about:  rejuvenation, reward, and renewal.  I'm storing this up until Spring comes again To Stay.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Help Me To Help You To Help Me: My Moneymaking Idea To End The Madness Of Holiday Sloths

This idea is my gift to you.  Please make it happen and keep all the profits!
Dearest Readers, let's all check our calendars together, shall we? It is April; we can all agree upon that. Can we all agree, too, that in the past, oh, let's say...three months, we've had lots of holidays pass by, including the well-known New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Easter? Certainly a couple of those are Decoration-Worthy for some of our More Festive Neighbors. Yet, some of them are still Stuck--Irretrievably, it seems--in Christmas Past.

Case in point: the photo below is one I took on my walk a few days ago. Sadly, it is on my very own street, and as of this writing, its status has not changed.

Nativity Wreck:  The Wise Men were smart enough not to show up.
And until a week ago, a lighted wreath (illuminated 24/7) hanging out of a second story window was still a prominent feature of the front of this home.

Unfortunately, this Serial Offender is not the Rogue Holiday Decoration Sloth.  On my walk, they are everywhere.  And proud!  Like this home several blocks from my own.

Sometimes this is still lit up when I pass by in the morning!  Fun!
What's really mystifyingly egregious are the Christmas wreaths still left hanging on front doors and on mailboxes, which are hanging right next to the doors, under cover of the porch.  HOW HARD IS IT, EVERYONE?  JUST REACH OUT AND GRAB IT AND BRING.  IT.  INSIDE.  WITH YOUR MAIL.  ANY DAY NOW WOULD BE GREAT.


So, here's my idea for a moneymaking business.  All you need is a van or a small pickup truck, an extension ladder, and a good supplier for sturdy cardboard boxes in various sizes.  Very No Frills.  A client calls and says, "Look.  I don't want to Undecorate my house.  All the festivity of November/December that translated into ten tons of tchotchky dripping from my home has now become a nightmare to me in February EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE HAD DOZENS OF VERY DECENT DAYS WITH NO SNOW AND TEMPERATURES ABOVE FORTY.  Please come and do it for me."  So, the Undecorator comes, strips all the Holiday Crap, and packs it into sturdy cardboard boxes.  He or she places the boxes either into a garage, shed, or into the home (no stairs will be climbed, and no lifting boxes overhead to put them up on shelves will be done, ever; the homeowner must place boxes into final storage).  Finally, the Undecorator presents the bill, takes payment, and it's over.  For all of us.

As far as looking for new business, please.  I could have found you no less than six new clients in a one and a half-mile radius of my own home, happily placing flyers, dreaming of the days when Christmas was really over well before Easter arrived.

So, what do you say?  Can you make this happen for me?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

They Are Students; They Are Victims; They Are Change--Ready For The Revolution

Is it almost Every Day now? Because it feels like almost Every Day--that almost Every Day a school is On Lockdown, or there is a School Shooting, or we're in the Aftermath of a School Shooting. It feels sad and hopeless, yet I'm full of outrage and anger and motivation, like I have to lift a wrecked car off of my child in order to save him.

I was more than midway through my teaching career when Columbine happened in 1999. Despite teaching in one of Ohio's "Big Urbans," I doubt one of us ever imagined a single one of our students capable of a mass shooting. Some of our kids were in and out of juvie, several had incarcerated parents, and to find more than a handful in class with the same last name as both parents (or their single parent) was relatively unusual. A high percentage qualified for free or reduced lunch. Many lived in public housing. The odds were stacked against so many of our kids, yet the idea of a Columbine-like event at our high school of 2000+ was unthinkable.  We were largely ignorant as to the profile of the typical adolescent mass shooter, and we were never given any education, even after the incident.

After it happened, the school district immediately tightened security. All exits would remain locked; teachers would be posted at the doors, admitting no one except through the main entrance (and no, we did not get hazard pay).  Students and staff were photographed for I.D. badges, to be worn on a lanyard around their necks at all times, which the kids found ridiculous and irritating. I reminded them that we were a huge school of three floors, three buildings, and that outsiders had sneaked into our school plenty of times. Besides, it wasn't costing them any money.  "This is stupid!" they protested. "The Columbine shooters were Columbine students!"  The discussion pretty much stopped when one student said, "The I.D.'s are so they can identify our bodies."  I retired in 2011, tossing my I.D. badge into the trash can.

Six months later, I joined a community of bloggers trying to grieve the losses of more than twenty grade school children at Sandy Hook by "writing it out". And astonishingly, two short months after that, and about fifty miles from my home, a terrifyingly disturbed boy walked into Chardon High School and murdered his classmates.

Incredibly, I still have so many of the same Outrages, Questions, and Sadnesses today. Because of Inaction. Because of Unwillingness. Because, it seems, of Abject Cowardice by the same politicians and, overwhelmingly, the same political party. Do they not have Children? A Sense Of Humanity? A Soul?

I know that so many of you share my feelings. And I hope you have had a chance to watch and listen to the empowering and encouraging speeches given by the young activists at the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. They are inspiring and moving. (Just search "March for Our Lives speeches" on YouTube). These Parkland teens have benefitted from a rich program of the arts and debate and a school system that helped them understand critical thinking and verbal expression. Add that to their ready use of social media platforms, and a true Movement was born. The most vital part of the speeches--aside from their obvious emotional impact--was the idea that they stressed VOTING FOR CHANGE. Tables were set up at these and sibling rallies to register voters and to provide information regarding voting. This injects more momentum to the already-inspired women and minority voters and candidates who have scored seats locally and statewide, building to a Blue Wave in the midterms.

Before I end, I want you to meet Parkland survivor Sam Fuentes. As she took cover from the shooter, a bullet tore through her leg, and shrapnel chewed into her face. Pieces of it behind her eye and cheek will remain there forever, like the memories of her ordeal. She had to post pictures of her injured face from her hospital bed and screen shots of her bleeding body being loaded into the ambulance to try and silence social media trolls and pro-NRA conspiracy theorists. She watched her friend Nick Dworet die, and it would seem her struggles with PTSD are likely far from over. Despite all of this, she took the stage on Saturday and read a slam poetry-styled speech, displaying the humanity and authenticity that is sorely lacking in Washington, D.C. Her courage and conviction, in the midst of becoming physically and emotionally overwhelmed, should inspire us all.  Please watch and listen;  you'll be so, so very glad that you did.

protest sign

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Meme: Love It/Hate It

Yikes! Almost two weeks since my last post. Lots of excuses, but let's leave them be and jump right in with something that makes it easy to Get Back At It (the It being writing a blogpost).

Quicky Monday Meme: Love/Hate Relationships

1. What song/kind of music always makes you feel good/irritated?
     80s music always makes me feel good, and so does Tina Turner or Earth, Wind, and Fire.
     All country music irritates the hell out of me.  All of it.  All the time.

2. What are among your best/worst traits?
     A few of my best traits are empathy, tolerance, and my ability to organize.
     My worst traits are impatience, impatience, and probably impatience.

3. What food did you used to like but now you don't?
     I used to like ham, sloppy joes, and fish; I don't anymore.

4. What book did everyone else love but you didn't?
     Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
     Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

5. Fill in the blanks: I love my ______, but I hate (its/their/the)______.
     I love my cats, but I hate their hair.
     I love my country but I hate what the republicans are doing to it.
     I love my blog, but I hate how worky it sometimes feels to keep up with it.
Your turn in Comments.


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Who Knew Salad Could Be So Racy? Sign Language Saturday On A Tuesday

Photo Dept. of Nance

Great sense of humour over at the ad agency in charge of the layout of this ad, which arrived in my mail today for a local grocery store.

Too bad it's the Baby Spinach that's "washed & ready to enjoy."  What a missed opportunity.

Monday, February 26, 2018

It Started With The Coffeemaker

On Saturday, Rick repaired--again--my coffeemaker. I'm inordinately and irrationally fond of this coffeemaker, a Cuisinart drip model circa 2004-5, and I refuse to let it go. When I first discovered it was leaking a month ago, he took it apart and replaced a hose. My Gratitude and Joy were boundless. Last week, when it started leaking again, all Rick did was to mildly berate himself for not replacing both hoses when he had the thing apart the first time, and set about taking it apart again. This time, unfortunately, the repair was more difficult and tedious.

Lucky for him, my own tasks took me in and out of the kitchen so that I could check on his progress help. On one of my sojourns through his work area, he asked me to hold the light so that he could use both hands to maneuver the circuit panel/board back into place and put everything back together.

But it wouldn't all fit back in. I watched my husband's face carefully for clues: was my coffeemaker terminal? did he really know what he was doing? was I going to have to get dressed and do my hair in order to go get coffee in the morning? WAS LIFE AS I KNOW IT OVER?

My search of his features yielded nothing. His expression was one of Placid Determination and Quiet Concentration. Clearly, I was going to have to Get Involved.

"Maybe you should just untie that bigass knot in the cord there," I suggested helpfully. "It seems to be holding up the whole shebang."

"It's not that."

"Okay." He moved around a lot of wires and cords and the panel/board thing. He tried a couple more times to get it all to fit. He looked at a piece of plastic that fit on the back near the power cord. It was obvious that my expertise was necessary here. I thought carefully about Strategy, Tact, and the cost of Marital Counseling.

Then I decided to speak up anyway. "Hey, Rick? Maybe they just tied that knot in that cord because of some UL regulations about cord length or something. You know? I feel like--"

And suddenly, right in front of me, Rick was screwing the bottom onto the coffeemaker. Just like that.

"Hey!" I said. "You got it! Yay!"

"Yep," he said. "Nance, that knot in the cord is there to keep the panel from being yanked all the way out."

"Oh. Well, you could have said that from the beginning! Why didn't you say that before?"

"I just thought about it."

I boosted myself onto the kitchen counter to keep him company while he finished up. We needed to test the coffeemaker to see if it worked and to see if it would leak again. "And how did you do all this tedious, frustrating work without swearing? If it were me, I'd have been a few Eff Words deep and then some."

"Because every time you hear me swear while I work, you think something's wrong. And then you worry. So I learned not to do that."

For a moment I was floored by this.  It showed a depth of understanding and concern that truly touched me.  It showed that Rick had listened to me over these many, many years!  "Wow," I said.  "That's really true, and I very much appreciate that, but okay, hold on. Of all the fantastic advice I've given you in all the years we've known each other, what percentage of it would you say that you've actually listened to?"

Rick held the coffeepot up to eye level to measure its contents before pouring it into the machine. He plugged the coffeemaker in, flipped the switch, and without turning around said definitively, "Seventy percent. Your coffeemaker is working."

My heart was full. I was so happy! As soon as that red light came on and I heard the sound of water successfully burbling through My Precious Coffeemaker, I almost gave Rick a pass on his preposterous answer. Almost. "Seventy percent! That's ridiculous. No way is it seventy percent. I'd put it at forty percent, tops. Especially if you figure in follow-through, like when I say you should ice your leg or take a naproxyn or stay off screens after 9PM. And you don't."

"Look under here when I lift this up," he said. "See if you see any water." He carefully raised the coffeemaker, and I craned my neck to see beneath it. A few drops of water were collecting on the newly-replaced hose. A wire clamp dangled, too. I reported these to Rick, who sighed patiently. "I can't believe I forgot to put the clamp back on after all that."

"Don't burn yourself. Be careful. Why don't you wait until it cools way down? It's easy enough just to put the clamp on, right?" I leaned over to provide Support and show Concern, so much so that I almost fell into the sink. I needn't have bothered; by the time I had expressed my Profound Sentiments, Rick had unscrewed the bottom of the unit, replaced the clamp, and started to screw it back in place.

"Why don't more people take my advice?" I asked him. "I'm not talking about the people on TV; I know they can't hear me when I tell them what to do. More people need to do exactly what I say. And immediately. Everything would be better."

"Maybe a lot of people do take your advice. They just don't tell you about it."

A final check of the coffeemaker proved successful. Hopefully, I'll have another fifteen years of Good Service and Good Coffee from it.  I'll let you know.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Free For All Friday: Some This 'N That Bric-A-Brac Gets Thrown Out (And It's Not Even Thursday)

Let's have a bit of This 'n That, which also happens to be the weather forecast for NEO. Please don't mistake that for A Complaint; I can look out and see grass in the Dept. front yard, and yesterday it was 58 degrees. Today, although it is a full twenty degrees colder, we are not anticipating sn*w, so...Good News.


Here's some Brain Bric-a-Brac I need to download (or is that upload?  I always goof that up):

1. Teacher Tuesday On Friday. I feel like the cumulative IQ of Our Nation is dropping precipitously, thanks to 45* and the moronic spew he emits as well as the elevation of the ninnies who elected him. Everywhere I look I see errors in...well, everything. Not too terribly long ago, I read this comment online: You really nailed it on the head! This individual obviously customized the well-known idiom You hit the nail on the head, which is already perfectly fine and makes more sense.

I also would like to clarify the meanings of the words in this group: pique, peak, peek, also found misused online. Here they are, used correctly in sentences.
The new cat toy didn't pique Webster's interest one bit.
It's not like Fabio is at the peak of his career.
I'm ready to give you a sneak peek at the new me.

2. A Discontinued Product Is Back! Way back in 2011, I lamented and cursed the demise of Reynolds Plastic Wrap. It was such a great product, mainly because its box had a slidey little cutter thing that made using the wrap so easy. Well, it's back! I wish I could take credit for its return after a seven-year hiatus, but I cannot. Instead, I will chortle in my joy and hope that some other Discontinued Products That I Miss will return as well (Oil of Olay facial bar soap, hear my plea).

3. Monday Meme On Friday: Quick Fact Rundown.
~*~My fantasy basketball record right now is 14-3; I have the second-best record in the league (and am the only woman).
~*~I watched Big Little Lies on HBO Now and was enthralled by the acting but stressed out by the stories. So good!
~*~I'm feeling so much better that I have been Primary Snow Shoveller here at the Dept.
~*~I started another knitting project and sorted stash yarn for yet another.
~*~I have Thrown Out Thursdayed even more stuff.  (And discovered moth damage in my yarn. Sigh.)

Check in, won't you, in Comments?


Friday, February 09, 2018

As Seen On TV...Almost

Scene opens on Living Room. Dinner is over; it is approximately 7 PM. Rick is in his chair. Nance enters from the bedroom where she has just changed into her pajamas and heads past him to the small trunk where she keeps blankets. She draws out a patchwork quilt backed with flannel and heads to the couch. Out of nowhere, both cats trot over to her, waiting.

Nance: Holy crap, do you see this? It's ridiculous. (curls up on couch, spreads out comforter, and both cats jump up onto it, with enormous orange cat claiming her lap)

Rick: (chuckling) Well, that's what you wanted. You wanted a cat to keep you company and be on your lap.

Nance: I know, but this is all the time. Every single time I sit down. (orange cat begins snoring) And now, I can't move. I simply cannot move.

Rick: Nance, it's a cat. You're bigger than he is. Maybe not by much, but you are. If you need to move, just move. You know he'll come right back.

Nance: That's not nice. Piper knows he's fat. But I hate to bother him when he's not feeling well. He's been so stuffy lately.

Rick: I know. I can hear him over the TV.

Nance: (getting fussy)  Both cats rushed me, and now I can't move. I want this light off, and I can't reach it.  (sighs, then brightly)  You know what I need? I need The Clapper.

Rick: You what? The Clapper?

Nance: Yeah. That thing for old people. Then I could just clap this light off. It would be great!

(Rick is looking at her with increasing suspicion and disbelief. He is not sure if she is serious or, at this point, even sane.)

Nance: (continuing excitedly) What would even be better is if The Clapper could multitask. Like, right now, I can't reach the light. But I also can't reach my water, my phone, or even my iPad. What if The Clapper could get those things for me? Now that is something I really need.

Rick: (in the spirit now) It could clean the shitboxes for you, too!

Nance: I don't really mind that job. Litter has come such a long way that it's almost nothing to do it. But if The Clapper could put my jammies on me and wash my face every night while I just sit here on my couch under my blanket, I'd take it!

Rick: How about if it just finds your Chapstick?

Nance: (big sigh) Yeah. For sure...that, too.

End scene.

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