Friday, April 18, 2014

Random Quote Friday

"Patriotism can be good or bad. Knee-jerk patriotism can be very bad. I'm patriotic...but I love my country the way I love a friend or a child who I would correct if she was going the wrong way. Who I expect the very best from."

~~Emmylou Harris, "What I've Learned," Esquire,June 2004
P is for Patriotism

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Random Quote Thursday

"I would not have done anything differently.

All of the moments in my life, everyone I have met, every trip I have taken, every success I have enjoyed, every blunder I have made, every loss I have endured has been just right. I'm not saying they were all good or that they happened for a reason--I don't buy that brand of pap fatalism--but they have been right. They have been...okay. As far as revelations go, it's pretty lame, I know. Okay is not bliss, or even happiness. Okay is not the basis for a new religion or self-help movement. Okay won't get me on Oprah. But okay is a start, and for that I am grateful."

O is for Okay

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Numbers Game

When I was in high school, I practiced an amateur and adolescent form of numerology, something loosely adapted from a bit in a women's magazine. (A magazine I probably skimmed in 1984 at the laundromat while my grandmother stood nearby using quantities of bleach that would likely require HazMat clearance were she to use them today.)

I remember that the system assigned numerical value to each letter (based on its place in the alphabet--so A was 1 and Z was 26) and you figured out a person's numerical essence (or whatever) by adding up the letters in his or her name and then adding all the digits together and repeating until you were left with one digit. So, for example, the letters in my name added up to 276 and 2 + 7 + 6 =  15  and 1 + 5 = 6. So, my number was six.

There was, I think, some sort of chart in that long-ago article to indicate which numbers were more "compatible" with one another, but I never really paid much attention to it and instead developed my own (self-serving) system that reliably backed up whatever it was I already believed about the person whose numbers I was running. The fact that Mr. High School and I shared the same essential number was proof of both our supernatural connection and the validity of this style of numerology. (Later, though I had mostly outgrown my personal numerological compulsions by that point, I couldn't help myself from boiling Hubby down to his numerical essence and reasoned that a "4" would be compatible with a "6" because we were both "even" numbers.)

I compulsively ran the numbers for myself and every crush I had for several years along with numbers for my friends and their respective crushes. I do not use that term "compulsively" lightly. I did it so often that I memorized the numerical position of every letter of the alphabet and to this day, that useless bit of trivial knowledge still takes up space in my brain, which is why when I saw the "M" on my calendar this morning for today's post, I thought to myself, "M is 13 and 13 is halfway there."

M is for Mumbo Jumbo

Monday, April 14, 2014

Insert Witty Title Here

Like many of us, I have grown more and more aware of the possibly catastrophic coming effects of climate change over the past ten or so years. This past month or so, though, I have read or watched a variety of particularly sobering reports--about the ways in which climate change and its effects are not only meeting the dire predictions of the past ten years but surpassing them at truly terrifying rates.

I was not entirely sure what to do with my increased panic level (other than let it keep me up all night, which it actually has on several occasions) and like a lot of people (but not so much like myself), I ended up posting a Facebook status (or two) about it.

One of them was this:

"There is no more pressing issue that we face as a nation, as a SPECIES, than climate change. We can no longer afford the luxury of willful ignorance and profit-driven denial. If your elected officials are not making addressing climate change a priority, elect new officials. Educate yourself and vote accordingly--for the sake of all our children and grandchildren."


To which I would now like to add: Of course, the choices we make as individuals are very important and can make a difference in environmental issues of all kinds, but we are past the point where we can rely on the good choices of individuals to make the sort of difference that needs to be made. Things need to change--and quickly--on a national and global level. They need to change in a way that can only be made possible by legislative and regulatory measures.

Stumbling down from the soapbox now. For anyone interested in more information or links to the things I have been reading and watching, please feel free to email me at

L is for Legislature

Contact information for your Senator can be found here, Representative here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Out On A Limb

A few years ago, Third Niece asked me about the difference between first and second cousins and what the heck could first cousins "once removed" or "twice removed" or whatever possibly mean?

This was something I was unclear about myself so I went out wandering in the wilds of the internet and found a site that explained it concisely and even had a handy-dandy chart that did not make me want to bang my head against my desk. (I'm somewhat chart averse.) Predictably, I have never been able to find that site again--even though I've spent a good hour or so today looking for it.

With the birth of First Granddaughter last fall coming a week before the birth of Fourth Nephew, and lots of other assorted cousins and aunts and uncles around, all these connections have been much on our minds every time any particular group of us gathers in the same room. Here is the simplest way I've been able to boil down my multiple website search of the subject:

A first cousin is someone with whom you share a grandparent.

A second cousin is someone with whom you share a great-grandparent. (Your grandparents are siblings, in other words. A second cousin is the grandchild of your great aunt or great uncle.)

A third cousin is someone with whom you share a great-great-grandparent. (Your great grandparents are siblings, your grandparents are cousins, and your parents are second cousins.)

And so on...

When it comes to "removals," this refers not to death or divorce or disinheritance (as Third Niece suspected when she was eleven), but to the number of generations between degrees of cousin. For instance, my father's cousin is my first cousin once removed and she is my children's first cousin twice removed. My father's cousins children are my second cousins and they are my children's second cousins once removed. My father's cousin's children's children would be my children's third cousins, but my second cousins once removed.*

It all seems relatively simple when I'm typing it out on the computer screen in my quiet office. Trying to explain it out loud while some of these cousins and second cousins and first cousins once removed are scrambling under foot and darting in and out of the conversation is a much more difficult thing--and I love every minute of it.

K is for Kin

 *Uh, I think.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Masked Mom Original From Way Before She Was Masked Or A Mom

I have been stringing words together for fun and entertainment (and occasionally spite) for as long as I have known how to string letters together into words. I also have the slightest packrat tendency and as a consequence, a startling amount of those words remain in my possession in some form or other.

For instance, I have a manila envelope labeled "Guts of Mickey Mouse Notebook" which holds the earthly remains of several spiral notebooks that I once kept in a yellow three-ring binder that had Mickey Mouse on it. I began writing stories in these notebooks in around the 4th grade. The front fell off the binder mid-way through my freshman year of high school. The back fell off the rings when my youngest child was five or maybe six. I slid everything that was left into the manila envelope about eight years ago on a day when Daughter-Only and First Niece were having fits of hilarity at the (wholly unintended) sexual innuendo in a story I called "A Fun Time" that I wrote when I was nine.

Tonight, I share a fifth grade story I have zero recollection of writing--though the autobiographical slant to this fictional piece is undeniable--especially to anyone who is familiar with how often I was the "new child" in class. Undeniable--and sort of hilarious.
(In order not to wear out the S, I, and C keys on my keyboard, assume all errors below to be [sic].)

The original in all its misspelled glory. From the 1978-'79 school year.

Trouble Makers
     One day in a school in Kentucky* some children met on the playground. These particular children loved making trouble. The oldest group was Mark McDonald he made sure everyone did what they weren't supposed to do. There were many other children. Mildred B. was one of the best trouble makers. But, one who was even better was Amillia C. There were many more of them. They called themselves T.T.M. which means: Triple Trouble Makers.
     One time a new child came to class. Her name was Candy. On the first day she really liked the T.T.M. Because they were acting very nice. But on the next day she found how they acted. Oh, dear there was a terrible argument. In the end Candy wouldn't even go near the T.T.M.
     To finish the story I'll tell you just T.T.M. does. There are a number of rotten things.
     First, they taugt people to dislike other people. Another bad thing is cheating and stealing just about anything they could get there hands on. Plus they took anything and everything that they could get for free.
     So you see, they are truly Triple Trouble Makers!
J is for Juvinilia

*For what it's worth, I was never the "new child" in a class in Kentucky. In fact, as far as I know, I'd never even been through Kentucky and I haven't been to Kentucky to this day. Not that I've got anything against Kentucky, of course.