Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mistakes happen

It is inevitable that anyone who writes is going to make some sort of mistake in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

I get paid to find the mistakes in grammar, spelling, and punctuation and other style issues in manuscripts written by physicians and other health care providers, as well as those written by my own husband, and I am reasonably good at it. Yet, I often later find mistakes in things I have written for this blog (and other stuff as well) that I simply did not see when I read the post for the “umpteenth” time before finally uploading it.

One of the most embarrassing mistakes I made occurred  when our boy was applying for a grant to attend the Vocational-Technical school: I spelled his name wrong on the application papers and we had to begin all over again, which caused some delay in the grant. So I get it that “mistakes happen.”

A few years ago, two young men, Jeff Michael Deck and Benjamin Douglas Herson, who called themselves “The Comma Bombers,” wrote a book about their cross-country quest to persuade the creators of signs with errors in them – signs of all sorts but mostly signs in businesses -- to fix the signs. Sometimes they were able to persuade the business owner to fix the sign, and sometimes not. 

And sometimes they took it upon themselves to fix the sign without permission, and once when they did that, they ended up in a spot of trouble. They corrected an apostrophe on a historic hand-painted sign near the Grand Canyon and were sentenced to a $3,000 fine and a year's probation by a federal judge.

Which brings me to a recent mistake I saw. One of our town’s best and brightest decided to add her personal opinion about someone to the back wall of one of the businesses in town. I say “her” because I am guessing this was a teenaged girl. I dunno, it just seems like something a teenaged girl would do.

I was walking the Mollynater down the alley behind the building when I happened to see this:

Which resulted in some laughter when I came home and told Richard about it. 

That in turn, led to what happened at the conversation we had yesterday. I had read on the National Public Radio Web site that guinea pig is being promoted as a good source of meat in South America because, among other things, it has a small carbon footprint and a good conversion ratio of food to meat, is economical to feed, is small, and easily housed. Groups like the Heifer Project, which tries to provide sustainable food sources for impoverished people in undeveloped countries, has added guinea pig to the list of animals it provides in South America.

I had guinea pigs as pets when I was a kid, and I remember them as delightful little animals. I like guinea pigs. In fact, not all that long ago I talked about getting a guinea pig for a pet.

Richard wanted to know if I wanted to start raising guinea pigs for us to eat.

Honestly, could you kill and eat a guinea pig?

Sure. Why not? I like chickens, and I killed them and ate them. I like ducks, and I killed and ate them. I have killed rabbits. Yeah.  I could kill a guinea pig and eat it.

He looked at me with a very straight face and said, 

“You’re a heartless bicth.”

And then we laughed and laughed.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Do you hear what I hear…

In some areas in the eastern part of the country there will be an emergence of the 17-year periodical cicada this year, if it hasn't started already.

Missouri is also home to this particular insect, and the last time there was a fairly large emergence was  in 1997. It was not very loud at our house because there was a great chunk of open land between us and the woods.

However, I cleaned houses then, and the noise at one of the houses, which was surrounded by woods, was quite deafening. I did not envy that family very much. The wife said the noise was making her crazy, and she was very grateful to have a job in town.

The sound they make is very different from the low-pitched buzz saw sound of the other kind of cicada that we hear on hot summer days.

The people who know these things say that our turn will come again next year. Even so, a few of these insects do emerge every year…

 ...looking very much like an alien life form.

This evening, in between the noise of big trucks and cars on the highway, I can hear the high, thin sound of a couple of them in the big oak tree by the house. It's not bad at all... sort of a soothing sound offering a little bit of competition to the "wind tunnel" tinnitus in my left ear. Not sure what it will be like here next year though.

Monday, May 13, 2013


My father, who is 88 years old, normally calls me on Saturday mornings at about the same time, so I usually organize Saturday morning so that I will be sure and be here when he calls. This past Saturday, we had decided to go to Town to have a meal in honor of Mothers Day at about the time he would normally call, so I decided to call him before we left.

He answered the phone and started talking about how he was waiting for my brother to come and pick him up for church. When he got up, he thought it was Sunday and that my brother was coming, so he had gotten  dressed in his Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes and waited… and waited… and by the time I called him he was beginning to worry that my brother was not coming.

I explained as gently as I could that it was Saturday, and of course he was rather upset and frustrated at himself for getting the days mixed up.

“Boy, am I ever dumb” he says.

“No Dad, you are not dumb. You are almost 89 years old and this sort of thing happens…

I made light of the fact that he had forgotten it was Saturday and tried as best I could to smooth it out for him and assure him that he wasn’t going crazy.

I don’t know how much good I did. I suspect he fumed at himself for most of the rest of the day.

Fast-forward to this morning. I went to the post office to buy a roll of “Forever Stamps” because the postal service is continuing to hemorrhage money and the cost of a postage stamp is forever going to increase. I intended to pay for the $46 roll of stamps with the $100 bill I had in my money pouch. Only when I went to pay for it, I had some $20 bills but no $100 bill.

The only recent purchase I could remember was buying a card for my uncle who was recovering from an operation. Had I mistakenly given the clerk the $100 thinking it was $1? Had I accidently dropped the $100 in the store when I was getting out the $1 and change and not seen it?

Had I not zipped the money pouch all the way when I set it down in the car? Had some of the money slipped out and worked its way under the seat?

Came home and searched under the seats. I did not find the $100 bill, but I did find a card for a 2007 appointment at the urology clinic for the former owner of the car.

I tossed the wad of old receipts and notes from the car on the dining room table along with other assorted notes and receipts and stuff that has collected there. Richard tried to console me.

I started going through the scraps of paper and putting them in the trash, and then noticed a receipt over by the fruit basket and took a look at it. I had purchased a pair of athletic shoes on May 4. Paid $100 cash.

I have not forgotten that I bought the shoes – the ones am currently wearing have just about fallen apart. I have twice used coated fine cord designed for sewing leather to sew the seams that have come apart, and every time I put them on I think, “Should I just give up and start wearing the new ones now?”

I totally forgot how I had paid for them. What state am I going to be in when I reach 88? It’s a little bit scary.

Monday, May 06, 2013

A little bit of Henbit

Not too long ago, when it really did feel like Spring….

and life was bursting forth with vigor…

and Sprinter (spring + winter) had not made an appearance with light snow in some areas and some rather chilly temperatures, and…

it had not started raining again (which we really are not complaining about after last Summer’s drought) and brought a soggy halt to yard work, although the yard has been growing with glee…

Judy arrived at aerobics on a Monday morning feeling very pleased with herself that over the weekend she had finally finished weeding the strawberry bed but grumping at the volume of Henbit she had had to pull up…

Did I know Henbit? she asked.

I had to admit I did not. What garden we have is grown in half whiskey barrels, which cuts down on the weeds.

I could, however, tell her all about Lambs Quarters and how good they are to eat.

Not being one to not know something that someone thinks I might know about, I dug out my Wild Edibles of Missouri after I got home, and sure enough, there was Henbit and it is good to eat as a potherb and in salad
And I wondered around my yard looking for it and could find none at all.

However, I did find some growing somewhere else...

And I think it is is rather pretty.

So I told Judy about it and suggested she pull her weeds and eat them too.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Much ado about nothing…

Three slatted sections that once were the fold-up frame of a futon bed have taken on new life as barricades to keep the dog confined on the porch on these mild spring days until a prefabricated dog pen we bought can be arranged under the walnut tree.

Although she has definitely found her voice, and is somewhat noisier now than when she left the animal shelter and came home with us in late November, she is not a yappy little dog. We are very grateful. I visited some friends Sunday who have a miniature Pinscher. They threw her outside when I arrived and she barked just about continuously for the 90 minutes I was there. I don’t know how they stand it.

At any rate, we have come back from our morning walk, Miss Molly is resting comfortably on the porch, I have settled down in my chair and am working away... and all is well.

And then suddenly it isn't. A barrage of frenzied barking shatters the peaceful morning. She has gone ballistic.

I heave myself to my feet, order my knees to cooperate – they seem to stiffen up after I have exercised and then sit down – and I make my way out to the porch to judge the scale of the threat we might be facing.

I expect she is barking at a squirrel or perhaps a chipmunk. But she is not staring up into the trees, she is staring down the driveway.

I look down the driveway in the direction she is staring. Now that I am there to appreciate her vigilance, the volume increases.

Look Out! Alert! Danger!

A box turtle is about to cross the driveway.