Thursday, August 28, 2008

New word uses

I guess I should be adjusting by now; the rules for word usage have become so fluid it's difficult to keep up.

Using something differently from its normally accepted or intended way is REPURPOSING.

A person's influence or demeanor can be IMPACTFUL on someone else.

A television commercial said (I swear) that AARP is a name you can trust.  

How did it come about that we "book" a room, "take" a meeting, or "hit" a 9 iron (well, I guess for a few golfers that actually does happen)?  

Finally, I've been in the car quite a bit, listening to the radio.  Has anyone else noticed that many people don't enunciate all the syllables of their words--especially when talking pretty fast?   Sometimes multi-syllable words end up as mush.  There are those, I'm sure, who would say that as long as the listener understands, it doesn't matter.  They are likely some of the same people who think it doesn't matter how words are spelled, as long as we know what they meant.  Sorry, mark me down as someone who cares.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I thought the Do Not Call List was a wonderful thing.  For a number of years, the only solicitations I got were from charities (exempt from the list) and a few from companies already providing me with services (satellite television, phone companies, etc.).

Lately, however, I've noticed a resurgence of calls.  I don't know what's happened, but somehow some companies have gotten around the "List."  I used to laugh when I had a message left on my machine saying, "We can save you hundreds of dollars on your credit card balances."  As if anyone knew anything about my credit card balances.  I was sorely tempted to answer or call the number they left and ask them just how they planned to go about saving me all that money--just to listen to them squirm.

Today I happened to answer a call telling me that the warranty on my vehicle was about to expire and I would get no more notices--ha, ha.  I've had this same message on my answering machine several times.  This time I pressed #1 to reach a representative.  Without saying hello, he asked about the years of my vehicles.  Gosh, I would think that if he knew my warranty was lapsing, he'd know how old they were.  When I told him as much, he grouched about how I should have pushed #2 instead and hung up on me!

I guess there must be a few people who respond to telemarketers otherwise they would not be in business, but I have no patience for their intrusion.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Enjoying the bounty

A while back, I wrote about my father-in-law's garden.  It has grown into the most beautiful garden he has ever had.  We spent most of yesterday helping to take care of some of the gorgeous corn crop.  They have a system for freezing corn that makes it so we can enjoy the fresh taste for a long time.  It is sooo much better than canned or purchased frozen corn, it is hard to believe it is the same vegetable.  All my grandkids (heck, I think pretty much all the great grandkids) love it.  They are always excited about having some of "Grandpa's corn."   We finished and froze 83 pint bags yesterday.  Hubby's mom and dad had already done 38 bags, and there are lots more ears in the garden!  

That same day, my father-in-law picked three buckets of green beans (these are just two of the buckets).  These are not the first he's picked either.  He picked a bucket of tomatoes, but already has several buckets they are using to make salsa today--along with the peppers and onions from the garden.  

What a wonderful time of year!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Borrowing ideas

We were very lucky when I taught 6th grade.  Our science curriculum had a big emphasis on outer space and space technology.  It was fun to teach, and the best part was our fabulous field trip in the spring.  An hour's bus ride away is the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, built in the middle of an elementary school.  It was constructed--and is run--by the man who had the vision in the first place.  It has grown over time, and is always the most exciting, intense field trip we took.  It was a wonderful incentive for good work.

It is an amazingly high-tech simulation, where students take on the roles of officers on space ships.  It was loosely based on the Star Trek series, and still has a little of that feel.  What makes the simulation special is the reality.  Students all have duties--all of which are important and any one of which may be essential to the completion of the mission.  They have to make decisions, judgments, choices, and these direct the course of their mission.  Will they do the things that they need to do to be successful?  Will they have problems they don't know how to solve and suffer the consequences?  Can they work together?  Can the Captain effectively lead the crew?  Can they consider alternatives for decisions?  It is a wonderful feeling when the mission is completed successfully and the entire crew (class) cheers with joy.

Now that I've given some background, I'll get to the point.  Because my friend (who retired when I did) now works there, I still sometimes stop by their website and read the blog of the creator of this fabulous place.  I found some real gems there a day or two ago, and I'm borrowing a few to share.  I don't know if Victor made these up (he could have, he is that clever), or if he borrowed them from someone else.  I figure it's okay if I give credit where it's due.

1.  Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

2.  I read recipes the same way I read science fiction.  I get to the end and think, "Well, that's not going to happen."

3.  Have you noticed  since everyone has a camcorder in their car these days, no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?

4.  All of us could take a lesson from the weather.  It pays no attention to criticism.

5.  According to a recent survey, men say the first thing they notice about women are their eyes.  And women say the first thing they notice about men is that they're a bunch of liars.

6.  Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession.  I've come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

7.  Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

There are more, but I'll let wander there if you like.  It is a very cool place.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Bragging...

I'm back from South Carolina and time with the family of my second/youngest/baby son.  He knows that he is my "baby" and there is nothing to be done about it.  No matter how highly educated he is, or how many grown-up responsibilities he has, nothing can change that simple fact.  When one has just two boys, more than 8 1/2 years apart, the youngest is always going to be the baby.  

He and his wife, and my two fabulous grandchildren, will be in SC until July 2009. Then they will move to Florida.  It will be a lovely place to visit, but we were so hoping to have them closer--at least west of the Mississippi.  Not to be I guess.

These are the other two of my six grandchildren.  As you can tell, the 10-year-old is very adept at not getting his picture taken.  
Ryan is a thinker.  He is tall, slender, smart, sensitive, and always hungry.  A trip for ice cream worked to get a couple of pictures.

Alexia likes to have her picture taken.  She is 4, sweet, funny, talkative, and loves all things princess and/or feminine.

They are terrific kids and fortunately I get to see them again in October--more frequent flyer miles for me.  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Greetings from Columbia

I didn't want to miss Sky Watch Friday so here is a shot of the clearing skies in Columbia, South Carolina.  Yesterday was rainy all day, but today the clouds are higher and clearing.  I get sort of directionally challenged here, but I think I was looking mostly north when taking the picture

It's the kind of day we had yesterday that makes everything here so green.  We'll enjoy the rain or the sunshine--whichever comes.  Join the Sky Watch Friday, it is very enlightening.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rainy day fun

I'm in South Carolina with my son's family for a week.  We try to make sure to see the grandkids several times a year.  I want them to understand that I'm the favorite grandma.

It rained all day today, my first full day here.  My hair-cutting 4-year-old granddaughter was still able to go to her swimming lesson because it was an indoor pool, but her 10-year-old brother's lesson at the outside pool was postponed.  We spent some of the day showing grandma how Wii Fitness works: yoga, balance, and aerobics.  I did fairly well for my first time; my Wii Fitness age is 15 years younger than my real age--and I didn't even cheat.  Of course I did the most basic skills at a beginner level.  The 10-year-old (and his mother) does the expert level in several things.

The 4-year-old and I played Candyland, the Disney princess version of Memory (matching game), and Hungry Hippos each several times.  We watched Enchanted (because grandma hadn't seen it), and talked and talked.  Well, more accurately, she talked and I listened and made appropriate comments.

We're hoping the rain lets up tomorrow so we can spend some time outside.  But, just in case, there are lots more games in the closet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cycle of life

Here is a fun example of the cycle of life.  I'll be busy and driving my 300 mile commute later today, so I'm going to check in with something clever and thought-provoking.  I wish I could take credit for thinking of it.
Success is...
At age 4 success is not peeing in your pants.
At age 12 success is having friends.
At age 16 success is having a driver's license.
At age 20 success is having sex.
At age 35 success is having money.
At age 50 success is having money.
At age 60 success is having sex.
At age 70 success is having a driver's license.
At age 75 success is having friends.
At age 80 success is not peeing in your pants.

I hope that isn't too PG rated for any of you gentle people, but since there are lots of "mature" ex-teachers out there, I know you've seen and heard much more.  I just thought this was amazingly true.  We talk about the cycles of life and this just seemed a nutshell version.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Getting away

I've been out of reach of Internet, cell phone towers, even mothers and children. Hubby and I went camping for a couple of days in one of his favorite places. I hated to miss Sky Watch Friday, so in its honor I did take a picture Friday morning. It just didn't get posted until now.

This is the hill on the east side of the reservoir (where we were fishing) as the sun was setting.  The fishing was starting to get better as it got a little darker.  We had fun doing a little catching, but released all we caught.

A few minutes later, I turned to the west and got this lovely sunset. Not too bad considering I was using my little point-and-shoot camera, I had a fishing pole in one hand, and hubby was scooting me back to the truck while I could still see where I was stepping.

It was a relaxing getaway, no hurry to go anywhere, cooking outdoors (or not), an amazing view of stars, then a gentle rainstorm.  The only sounds were the wind in the trees, birds, and us.   

It's okay to be back to civilization because day after tomorrow I head to my son's house in South Carolina to play with grandkids for a week.  Watch out, more bragging is bound to be ahead.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Phone Crazy

I went shopping today--mostly just wandering and looking.  I needed a couple of odd things and I got them, plus a couple of pairs of shorts, and a couple of summer shirts.  If I'm going to spend two or more hours in more than 4 stores, I must buy something.  Isn't that some sort of unwritten rule?

Anyway, what I did notice today was about every third person was talking (or listening) on a cell phone!  Old, young, male, female, I've never noticed so many.  There was a table with a half-dozen teenage girls around it and three were using phones.  (I assumed they weren't talking to each other).  I heard a guy asking his wife what she would do if he brought something home, and heard his incredulous response, "You'd throw it away?"   I heard mothers giving instructions to children at home; a young mom pushing a stroller with one hand, carrying a child on her hip with the other, and talking with the phone propped on her shoulder; and a girl like recounting like whatever like happened like whenever.

I was wondering how people managed to communicate when they weren't immediately accessible and, ironically, as I was parking in Kohl's lot, my phone rang.  My son in South Carolina wanted to confirm a planned trip in October and tell me that my 4-year-old granddaughter (the blonde in my slide show) had decided she wanted shorter hair and used the scissors to get it started.  I can't wait to see the pictures.  

Then, just as I got inside the store, Mom called to check in and ask about a zip code she couldn't find. So one minute I was chuckling under my breath about how everyone needed to be talking to someone...and, boom, I was one of them.  To heck with owning stock in Exxon, I want Verizon, Sprint, AT&T--that's where the action is.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More perks that come with age

I'm adding to the post by dellgirl about the perks of being "older."  Hers reminded me that I had seen an even longer list of the "benefits" of aging.  
1.  Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
2.  You enjoy hearing about other peoples' operations.
3.  You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
4.  You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
5.  You sing along with elevator music (I'm very guilty of this).
6.  Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
7.  Kidnappers are not interested in you.
8.  You find you can live without sex, but not without glasses.

She listed the best ones, but I thought we could use the entire list.  I have some more fun quips about growing older, maybe I'll add them when I need a post but don't have much to say (it's that manageable supply of brain cells I think).

Monday, August 4, 2008


I wonder if I'm the one who is odd (actually I'm pretty sure I am, but that's for another day) when it comes to friends.  If one watches television, the way friendships work is not the way mine do.  Take for instance SEINFELD.  Elaine, George, and even Kramer walk in, take things from the refrigerator, eat from the cupboards, all without asking.  Think of other television shows when best friends never knock, know everything about your wardrobe, your love life, even your attitudes about other people.  Are they normal, am I, or is it somewhere in between?

I have a couple of different types of friends--none of whom would waltz into my kitchen unannounced and take food.  1)  I have friends from my youth:  kids (huh? oh, people) I grew up with and have history with, even though I don't see them often.  When we do get together there is enough in our pasts to keep us connected.  2) I have friends from work: colleagues, people I saw daily and grew to admire and appreciate.  I think they can be more transitory, because as work changes so do your connections, but some friendships are worthy of cultivation.  3) I have had friends from neighborhoods, but again, if someone moves away, those tend to slip away too.

My husband and I have no real friends in common, no couple friends.  When we do things with other couples it is usually family members, although growing up in a small town, classmates and cousins are sometimes the same people.  Are we unusual?  Abnormal?

Wait, maybe I don't want an answer to that.  

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Shopping like a man

I'm just "camping" here in hubby's small apartment.  I only have a few clothes, not planning to be here long.  However, my mother was invited to speak at a reunion about her great grandmother.  My sister brought Mom the 230 miles, she stayed with my brother and his family, and my only excuse for not going to hear her was my lack of appropriate attire. I've already heard the stories about my amazing pioneer great great grandmother, but I wanted to support Mom.  And since there are lots of clothing stores nearby, it was really no excuse at all. 

The problem was that I got all this information not quite and hour and a half before she was scheduled, and I knew it would take about 20 minutes to find the reunion location.  So I dashed to the nearest clothing store (it happened to be Ross), grabbed 5 pair of nice pants in two sizes and headed for the dressing room.  One pair fit well so I kept them and started for the shirts.  That was more difficult because I can't wear certain colors (browns, oranges, yellow, lavendar) without looking awful; I wanted something not too casual, but a little relaxed, not too bare, but not too hot.  I found a light-weight shirt with three-quarter sleeves in a bright blue and I was out of there.  I fought through the traffic back to the apartment, cut off the tags and put the clothes on, and tried to fix my hair (some day I'll blog about my trials with hair).

I made it and was able to support Mom, thereby earning several valuable points.

I was telling my brother about my shopping and he said, "So you shopped like a man."  I had to laugh because he was right.  But, he pointed out, a man wouldn't have tried the pants on in the store. He would have taken them home to try on and then sent the rejects back with his wife.