Back in time

April 4th. My daughter made her debut on Earth. A tribute will follow soon.  Her birthstone is the diamond and I chose this year to give her my diamond earrings.  It’s a win/win.  Continue reading


Little peeves and boredom

When I was in school, there were typewriters.  When I took Typing I in high school, there were two rows of nail breaking manual typewriters and one brand new IBM Selectric with the miraculous interchangeable bouncing brass ball eliminating the need for a movable carriage.  It was great fun to watch those trained on the manual to constantly slap the left side of the IBM and the IBM trained students to type over that last letter making a black hole in the paper until he realized he didn’t hit the carriage return.  The instructor sounded a lot like my piano teacher in regard to my nails.  Cut them.  Period.  Anybody remember carbon paper?  Some things about the good old days were not good by anyone’s definition.

Few people owned a typewriter at home.  Huh? They did?  Well, the Murphys didn’t.

In Typing I adn Typing II classs, error fre speed was teh gol.  Of cours during any tests or dayly wok and error was a error was error, circled adn Caculated euqally against a perfict scor.

In all other classes, any work handed in whether daily, tests, essays, whatever, errors in grammar and spelling as well as penmanship, margins, ink blotches (must be ink, no pencil), cross-outs, and overall poor appearance were considered errors and reduced the overall grade in some way.  Content and comprehension were only part of the grade.  No typing.  You were given your paper back and received an incomplete for typing — unacceptable.  The room for Typing I and II was for teaching typing not for use for other classes’ papers even if the room was empty.  Period.  It’s as if the staff conspired in the smoke filled break room to beat those lessons in communicating properly in the King’s English into our little mush filled heads whether the paper was in biology, math, or social studies.

As it is in any situation in which one is working for approval — the students’ perspective of education — one fails from time to time to understand why these people are being so flippin’ (there’s a g on the end of that, young lady!) picky!!  Grade my english in English class and leave it alone in Biology!  Sorry. Note from the 50 year class reunion in 2018. The biology teacher, Mr. Unverferth, attended. I told him he corrected my english on an exam and did he take off points? “I couldn’t help it.” Being a confirmed grammar nazi myself, I finally understood.

Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all if indeed learning is by repetition.  The spoken word hides many errors which are glaring on the page.  People whose educations included not just phonics in the elementary grades, but relentless grammar and spelling correction throughout all 12 grade levels are sharply aware of the consistent misuse by various multiply degreed people such as those know-it-all-I’m-too-good-to-talk-to-you engineers upstairs at HTI and doctors, from whom we expect more.  To make excuses on the basis of one’s main function vs. the trivia of details misses the point.  As for HR people reading an application, they want to be able to not only read it but in most cases, to see that the applicant can spell and formulate a coherent thought on paper.  Let me share some common examples made by the aforementioned professionals whose Lotus Notes I regularly corrected, not only spelling but language comprehension that should have been ingrained prior to post high school education.

There, their, they’re/ its or it’s / your and you’re / crisis vs. crises / to, too, two / hear, here / bare, bear / be, bee/  raise, raze / who’s, whose /and the list can go longer.  You get my point.  They’re not typos all the time and spellcheck does not catch them.

Another that I hear from the media, including anchors who are reading what they or some other professional has written and should have had proofed before the broadcast is the confusion with pronouns — he and I versus him and me.  I was taught a simple trick.  How do I contact newspaper editors, scriptwriters and otherwise self proclaimed and highly paid communicators on international satellite with this easy solution?

Pop out one of the pronouns and restate.  Example:

He and I went for a ride.  (correct)  “Him and I” sounds silly when you pop out the I and say: Him went for a ride.  Sam went for a ride with he and I.  (popular amongst the media but incorrect)  Pop out one of the pronouns and say it this way:  Sam went for a ride with I.  Sam went for a ride with he.  Instead say Sam went for a ride with him or with me.  “Him and me” is correct.  A more natural expression is that Sam went for a ride with “us” unless using “him” clarifies which him I’m talking about.  In that case, using his proper name is smoother and eliminates a natural need to point.

Somehow the use of  “he” or “I” sounds more proper and sophisticated.  “I” is correct on the end of a sentence instead of “me” only when a verb would follow it if the sentence were extended.  Example:  “She plays piano better than I (do)” is correct.  “She plays piano better than me” is incorrect.  If you extend it with the implied verb you end up with “me do” or “me does.”  Pretty simple.

One other misuse is of the word “only.”  The word applies to whatever it’s in closest proximity with.  Oops, I just ended a sentence with a preposition.  I never liked the clunky alternative.  Neither did Winston Churchill.  So maybe that one is a sign of progress since my handy-dandy dictionary declares it an acceptable natural order.  (Whew)

Did we have fun?  Okay, okay, it’s raining, the Buick is making a funny sound and is grounded so I can’t run around and cold call with resumes on $2.59 for a gallon of gas and I am bored.  I don’t lack for things to do.  I have to make a few trade decisions with my Scottrade account, organize papers and notes, and start another blanket.  I have an interview tomorrow and hopefully at least a test with another company which already has my application and is holding a job fair.

SO! …. have a great few days.  I’ll let y’all know more job search news when I know more unless something just has to be said.

I’m Off to See the Doctor

(to the tune of “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”)  Because because because because … I’m O-O-O-OLD!

Friday afternoon’s visit wasn’t that bad.  If only it ended there.  The cholesterol numbers came down enough to impress him but still need work.  So he increased the dosage.  He administered the obligatory kudos on the exercising, the fish oil, and the niacin in conjunction with the statin.  It’s a good thing it’s working since I told him in July that if he didn’t find a generic, that I would just have to die.  “Keep it up.”  Yeah, yeah, thanks, doc, but I gained 3 pounds.  See Grumpy frown.

Up ahead, specifically Nov 15, is the mammogram, an X-ray on some sore ribs he couldn’t explain, and a bone density test.  If only it ended there.

Preparation for a mammogram may include but is not limited to:

  • placing the body part inside the open door of the freezer, shutting the door, and pushing against it for several minutes
  • laying on the cold garage floor and having a neighbor drive your car onto said part, putting it in Park, and coming back later to see how you are doing
  • invite a strange man off the street to look at you stripped to the waist, stand there for a full minute, then ask him to send another stranger in exactly a year.

Next comes the one Katie Couric is so proud of — the colonoscopy.  My doctor is blond, young (they’re all young to me), blue eyes, and unfortunately for him, blushes easily.  He wanted me to have this one last year based on my age and my dad’s colon cancer history (heads up, kids–you qualify).  The insurance last year didn’t consider it part of a physical, but this year’s insurance calls it preventative.  Yay.

“So, doc, I suppose you want to schedule the Star Trek on me this year?”  He’s busily writing notes.  “Why do you call it that?”

“Searching for Klingons where no man has gone before.”

This man has a good sense of humor.  He shakes when he laughs and turns deliciously red.

I figure if I’m going through all this, I get to have a little fun.

Post script: I cancelled the colonoscopy due to further insurance screw-ups.  I’m soooo sad.

Who me? Cook?

I love it when it’s fun.  Being pressured to cook 3 times a day every day is not my idea of fun. But, if you visit me, and, because I love you, I will make the effort and do a decent job of it–unless–if Stan is willing, he cooks.  I have been known to ruin food now and then on purpose to keep him cooking.

Mom had a "hoo-munguss" garden.  We’ve discussed this before.  Her garden is why I don’t have one and will be one of the first to die in a famine.  Deal with it.  She canned.  I don’t.  How can I without a garden?  (duh)  She was the one with the 100 tomato plants! I never liked home canned stewed tomatoes anyway.  So there.  I prefer the varieties found in the stores.

That reminds me of one of her favorite dishes she made with her home canned stewed tomatoes.  Everyone in the family liked it but me.  Its name is a word I haven’t heard before or since.  I think she made it up.  Rictumditty.  Under my breath I renamed it rectumdodo. Saute onions in a frying pan.  Assume the frypan was laced with bacon grease.  Add cheese.  Velveeta?  Not sure.   I’ve slept since then.  Smear this around for a while and pour on the stewed tomatoes.  Add seasoning, salt and pepper being most logical.  Pour over a slice of toast.  Say yummy.  Or not.

Everything else she cooked was blue ribbon wonderful.  Wait.  Add oyster soup to the Sunday night black list.  But everything else….a big okee dokee.   We would unwittingly embarrass Mom at potlucks.  For you southerners, that’s a carry-in.  "Which is yours, Mom?"  "EEuuu, that pie is green!!"  The cook is probably within earshot.

Meal prep started out on the wrong foot in my marriage.  Stan worked in the family furniture store no more than a mile and a half from the house.  I worked 20 miles away at 3M in Hutchinson, got off at 5:00 which puts my arrival at home around 5:30 or later.  On the day the furniture store is open until 9:00, he got the 5:00-6:00 supper break.  I walk in the usual time. He’s been sitting in the living room a half hour already, and asks me "what’s for supper?"  I give up. What’s for supper?  That happened once.

When the babies came, I stayed home with them, which guaranteed I was the chief cook and bottle washer.  Getting preschoolers to eat is sometimes a challenge.  What they need is seeing the parents, particularly the daddy, relishing every bite and telling the mommy how wonderful this is. Why wasn’t this happening?  "We had this last week."  or  "I had this for lunch."  Randy, eat.  (Little boy sad face). 

My mother-in-law was a great cook.  There was a different meal every night and by golly, the same time every night.  When I worked at the store, she came up to me and asked how in the world I worked to 5:00 and had dinner on the table at 6:00?  I didn’t.  Try 8:00. 

Many times Mom cooked a large quantity of something that wasn’t dependent on the clock since Dad worked on the property until sundown.  Whatever she cooked was eaten until it was gone if it took 3 or 5 nights.  Things like pea soup with ham, or chicken and dumplings.  So from the start, Stan and I had different historical approaches to meal planning.

We’ve adjusted.  He cooks a lot and he’s better at it.  However, now and then, I get in the mood.  Last week I made chicken soup starting with a whole bird.  From the store–don’t even think I bought a live one!  It was so good, I’m doing it again this week.  Yesterday I made my signature rainbow rotini salad.  Both of these will be eaten for suppers and lunches until gone or frozen for future use.

It was fun.  This time.  I may do it again.  Maybe.  Don’t hold your breath.  It could be a phase.