Monday, December 31, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Today's the day I purge some detritus off my hard drive. In a file labeled "Bobby Personal" I found a Word document titled "Good Ideas." I had no recollection of what it contained, not suprising since the date I put it there was 6/7/2007. I find the best way to get rid of things is to delete them sight unseen; if I look at each item, I will find a dozen reasons why I should keep it.
However, "Good Ideas" got looked at and just maybe if I pass it on to you, I can safely let delete it. I would certainly give credit to the person who came up with these good ideas if I could, but unfortunately I didn't save that part. Nevertheless, good ideas always should be passed on, don't you think?
Easy Deviled Eggs - Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, and cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done. It's an easy clean up.
Expanding Frosting - When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar/calories per serving.
Newspaper Weeds-Away – When you start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Then wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go, cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get
through some gardening plastic, but they will not get through wet newspapers.
Squirrel Away - To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.
Flexible vacuum - To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
Measuring Cups - Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry the cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
Good-bye Fruit Flies - To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small
glass fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
Get Rid of Ants - If you use chalk lines where the ants are coming in, they won't cross it, so I think this is even BETTER - as we need ants to aerate the soil and clean up dead bugs as they are great scavengers!! Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it and carry pieces home, but because they can't digest it, it kills them. It may take a week or so to stop the ants, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
A decade ago I found this list and have enjoyed using it so much that I'd like to share it with you again for 2013.
1. I will reread a book that I loved as a child.
2. I will finally read that classic from high school that I’ve been avoiding.
3. I will find a book of poetry and read some aloud.
4. I will spend an hour in aimless browsing at a library.
5. I will read a book written in the year I was born
6. I will create a journal and keep notes about the books and magazines read.
7. I will assemble a list of my favorite people and send them my ideas about
books (favorites, recent reads, and the like)
8. I will read a book to a child.
9. I will gather a few friends and read a play out loud
10. I will read a book on the history of my town.
11. I will read a book written from a political point of view totally opposite my own.
12. I will read a book about a place I’ve never been.
13. I will reread a book that I just didn’t “get” when I was eighteen.
14. I will read a book written by a non-American.
Monday, December 17, 2012
I was interested to learn that you have changed your major, moving out of the engineering field and into the science field. Neuro-science, I think you called it. Your poor old grandma, who always was much more interested in people than in things, is pretty much out in left field when it comes to understanding that kind of study. Regardless, I know you will do well. I asked you what you intended to do once your academic training was finished and you said, “Probably some kind of research.” This letter is to give you a suggestion.
But first, I need to tell you a little bit about me that you don’t know. I don’t tell everybody, because they will think I am weird. But here’s the scoop. I see faces. I suppose finding faces started out with your great-grandma telling me to look at the lady in the moon. Yup, I saw her! If my sis and I were bored with nothing to do and if it was a lovely day with nice puffy white clouds, she would suggest that we go out and find faces configured in the clouds. So from an early age I was predisposed to see faces.
But – and here’s where I want you to not think me weird – I tend to mostly see faces in linoleum flooring used in bathrooms. In our house on Greenwood we remodeled the master bathroom and I picked out a very pretty blue and white piece of flooring that when laid, looked like a tile floor. However, the minute I sat down to use the commode, I found every fourth tile to have a face looking at me. I knew it was simply a random pattern repeated stamped ever so many inches or feet. But those faces looked back at me. To say it was a bit disconcerting is an under-statement. I tried to get your grandpa to take the time to look at the face when his turn in on the commode came, but he never even tried. He had previously told me that when he started MIT he went in with the intention of becoming an architect, but shortly his professor told him to change to engineering because he had absolutely no imagination. So frankly, I don’t think he’d ever have seen a face in a floor, even if he had tried.
In our little apartment here in Mira Loma we have a bathroom floor that really isn’t conducive to having faces, but it does have tiles. One time I DID see a face in it but I’ve never seen it a second time. Which is really too bad because it was the face of a handsome man. Nevertheless, looking for him does give me something to do while I….(harrumph) sit.
....................................... from your loving grandma.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Mother always thought white signified total cleanliness - and if a choice had to be made in colors, such as when colored kitchen appliances came into being, Mother always opted for white and made sure we knew why she was choosing it. "White always makes your kitchen look so clean," she would say. Trendiness was not a consideration; cleanliness was.
So my underpanties were always white, and my first training bra (although we didn't call them that in those days) was also white. I was inadvertently brainwashed into thinking that I was making a choice of my own free will when I marched up to the cash registers to pay for my white cotton underwear. And I did it for years, always feeling very clean and very virtuous.
So I was thunderstruck when, back in the early 1970s, Jim Sanderson, who wrote very helpful newspaper columns about recovering from divorce and whom I read faithfully in my efforts to recover from my own unhappy split, made this trenchant pronouncement: "Ladies, the first thing you need to do it get rid of your utility underwear." He was talking about white cotton panties and encouraging us to go out and buy ourselves some lovely feminine underwear, silky and ranging in colors from the palest pink to the hottest red. He said it was a start to making us feel better about ourselves. Oh, I ran to the store and grabbed up pink, blue, lavendar, yellow, red and black silky underthings, and some in wonderfully sheer lace.
Today, I still cannot look at a pair of white underpants without mentally pointing a finger at them and saying "Ugh, utility underwear!" It may look funny for a happily-married 73 year old to be standing at the counter buying lovely soft, silky and colorful underwear, but at least no one is ever rude enough to say to me, "Oh, are you buying these for YOURSELF?" Let them think what they want. I simply no longer wear utility underwear!
Now here's what this new blog is all about: I feel honor-bound to advise you that yesterday I went to Target and bought 10 pairs of white cotton utility underpants! I can hardly believe I did such a thing! I am quite sure Jim Sanderson, wherever he is, is turning over in his grave, or if he's still with us and writing in some other newspaper, is horrified!
But there is a good reason I did it. I am not a shopper; actually I hate shopping for anything and for such a thing as mundane undergarments that goes double. So of course I always wait until I am desperate, at which time I MUST buy what I need. And yesterday's foray to Target was a must. The awful laundromat here at the adult complex where we live had all but cremated my lovely little dainty wearables over time, and with the elastic not functioning any more and the nylon of the panties now stiff as medieval armor, I was desperate enough to go shopping.
But Jim, the racks of lovelies were all but decimated by Santa Claus, I suspect. There were a few thongs left (don't even imagine a 77-year old in a thong!). What WAS available were....yep, you guessed it, only white utility underwear. I refuse to get my knickers in a twist over a shopping glitch, so I grabbed a pack of ten on sale for 50% off and against my druthers paid for them and went home. There was no way I was going to go from store to store among the throngs of Christmas shoppers for exactly the right kind.
I probably will have these ugly white things for the rest of my life, since the laundromat will never damage them. Yes, I will miss those little lovelies that Sanderson wrote so authoritatively about, but so be it! I'm guess I'm really past the age of being too particular.
77 will do that to you!
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Although technically I MIGHT still be able to read a book in 2012 that would bump one of these off the list, at the rate my life is moving that probably isn't going to happen. So here they are - my 10 favorites. Not all are fine pieces of writing, but they appear here because I liked them, sometimes for the subject matter, sometimes for the story and sometimes because the encompassed all three: good writing, good story and good subject matter. And they are listed in no particular order. My biggest surprise, however, is discovering Willa Cather so many years after I had to read "My Antonia" in 10th grade. I remember nothing about that one, but her "Archbishop" book has certainly put her on my list of very readable authors!
Alice I Have Been - Melanie Benjamin
Six Exceptional Women - James Lord
Waiting with Gabriel - Amy Keubelbeck
Monday, December 3, 2012
He was such a cute, smart and verbal tyke. His use of the King's English, seemingly so advanced for his age, made everybody laugh. One afternoon in 1959 when he was about three I walked into the front yard and found him standing near the sidewalk in his little red wagon with the end of the garden hose in his hand. He was using the nozzle as a microphone to interview the neighbor kids as they came by. Another time I got a phone call from a neighbor a few doors down, advising me that Sean had just knocked on her door, telling her that he was selling tickets to the Billy Graham Crusade and did she want to buy one so she could be saved. She could hardly explain to me what had transpired because she was laughing so hard.
But his language wasn't always this precise. He hit a period in his threes where he tested word-building and my patience. He was my first child; everything he did was a surprise to me, so imagine my shock when he turned to his friend Calvin one day and out of nowhere said, "You are a big poo-poo head!" Because I like to think that we, his mom and dad, were fairly free of major epithets in our day-to-day living, I was sure he hadn't picked this kind of language up from us. Nevertheless, when he said this - and soon other similar verbal descriptions - I just had to turn my back so he wouldn't see me laugh. I was sure it was a stage and it too would pass, though I could see that he probably would need a little help from me.
Our nation's 2001-2003 poet laureate Billy Collins wrote about this very thing in
and sauntered off the beaches into forests
working up some irregular verbs for their
first conversation, so three-year-old children
enter the phase of name-calling.
Every day a new one arrives and is added
to the repertoire. You Dumb Goopyhead,
You Big Sewerface, You Poop-on-the-Floor
(a kind of Navaho ring to that one)
they yell from knee level, their little mugs
flushed with challenge.
Nothing Samuel Johnson would bother tossing out
in a pub, but then the toddlers are not trying
to devastate some fatuous Enlightenment hack.
They are just tormenting their fellow squirts
or going after the attention of the giants
way up there with their cocktails and bad breath
talking baritone nonsense to other giants,
waiting to call them names after thanking
them for the lovely party and hearing the door close.
The mature save their hothead invective
for things: an errant hammer, tire chains,
or receding trains missed by seconds,
though they know in their adult hearts,
even as they threaten to banish Timmy to bed
for his appalling behavior,
that their bosses are Big Fatty Stupids,
their wives are Dopey Dopeheads
and that they themselves are Mr. Sillypants.
He also must have had a Sean in his family!
I personally think a book of Billy Collins' poetry would be a marvelous gift to give at Christmas. And to be honest with you, his poems are about the only kind I understand. And really, really enjoy.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
And just as I’ve eaten the last bite of Turkey, so I’m letting November go. It was a good month: a little rain but which hopefully was a harbinger of more to come, a pretty heavy social schedule with lunches and birthday meals in abundance, and a paucity of doctor visits, which is always a nice thing to happen. The cars have been running well (I say that with crossed fingers), projects were finished and decisions were made on Christmas gifts. Old friends were contacted, new friends made, and everyone except the Turkey seems to be in a good place. (Well, it is too, actually, but you know what I mean!)