Saturday, June 30, 2012


Gerald and I attended a recent fundraising event for Sherrod Brown and the hosts were former Senator John Glenn and his wife Annie.

As if that weren't excitement enough, the keynote speaker was Martin Sheen. I have been a fan of Martin Sheen since I first saw him in the movie The Subject Was Roses; Sheen originated the part of Timmy in the Broadway play and reprised the role in the movie. I followed his career from marvelous movies such as Badlands, Catch-22, That Certain Summer, Wall Street, and Apocalypse Now to the television series The West Wing.

Sheen has also narrated numerous documentaries, directed, lectured, and started theater companies.

Introduced by Senator Brown, Sheen gave a rousing speech. My favorite quote from his speech: "Arrogance is ignorance matured." [Later, rushing home to the computer, to check the source of the quote, I expected that the quote was borrowed, but I was enormously pleased to learn that it is an original quote of Sheen's.]

In addition to his acting, I appreciate his activism, passion, and commitment to causes which I share!

I was able to shake hands with him, but not able to have him autograph his newest book Along The Way which he co-authored with his son Emilio Estevez. As I was standing behind the rope line, a woman shoved past me, nearly knocking the book out of my hand. As I tried to maintain my place in line, she said, "I have something I want to say to him." I would not yield my place in line. She circled behind me and was suddenly on the other side of me. As Sheen shook my hand, she interrupted and said, "I just wanted to tell you that I wished you were my President when you were on The West Wing." Sheen responded graciously and continued greeting others. The obnoxious woman seemed very pleased with herself and I said, "As if he hasn't heard THAT said to him a MILLION times." She asked, testily, "What's that mean?" I said, "I had a book for him to autograph and you said that ridiculous cliche; he was probably embarrassed FOR you!" She said "Well!" and turned and left, obviously irate! I was just irritated that she had caused me not to get an autograph!

Below is a letter from Sheen.

Hello, Sue,

I’m Martin Sheen. You know me best as an actor, but I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and early on in life decided I wouldn't sit on the sidelines when it came to issues of economic and social justice. When a true leader crosses my path -- one who doesn’t just talk about progressive values but embodies them -- I act. And I hope you will, too, by supporting Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

Sherrod is dedicated to the middle class, to seniors, and to women and families. He doesn’t work for the special interests -- he works for the middle class people who make Ohio great.

We place a sacred trust in our elected officials. We expect them to stand up with courage and conviction for the things we believe in.

That’s exactly what Sherrod has done. He showed up on Day One a fighting progressive who cared first, last, and always about Ohio’s working families -- and that’s the man he remains today.

I played a President on TV who could change the debate with a single speech. But in real life, it doesn’t work that way. In real life, it’s up to progressive fighters to protect the vulnerable, hold the special interests accountable, and defeat a right-wing agenda so radical no screenwriter could conceive it.

Sherrod is one of those fighters. I hope I can count on you to join me in standing with him.

Thank you,

Martin Sheen

CLICK HERE to see the book review of Along The Way.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I am still trying to break my habit of prefacing conversations with "ANYWAY". Family and friends are gently assisting me. Les reminded me about an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Robin was overusing "um" and "but" on television and Ted's students had a drinking game whenever Robin used the word, the students would have a drink; Robin got even by continually using the words on television. That trick wouldn't work with my group, because they are mostly non-drinkers.

Since writing my "ANYWAY" article, I've received the following contributions from others who shared "fillers" they hate to hear:

"Otherwise", "For example", "For some reason", "For the most part", "In general", "Something like that", "So", "You know", "Like", and "Whatever."

A person of my acquaintence continually starts sentences with "The reason being...".

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I am very sad--I just learned of the death of Nora Ephron--I feel as if I've lost a friend.

"How could the person who wrote Silkwood also have written When Harry Met Sally?", Les just asked.

I agree; the breadth and scope of her work was extraordinary; among her accomplishments:


With the remembrances published today, I have learned that she was also an exemplary mother, wife, and friend.

I have appreciated Nora Ephron's work since first reading her book of essays Crazy Salad. It was heartening to watch her recover from her divorce from Carl Bernstein and to write the roman a clef novel Heartburn. I oftentimes thought that the quote "Living well is the best revenge" could be applied to her. Bernstein was a major celebrity after co-authoring All the President's Men. Somehow, it gave me satisfaction that her career far eclipsed his.

R.I.P., Nora.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Anyone who knows me knows that I always say that John Lewis is my all-time hero. In 1961, John was one of the original Freedom Riders. From 1963-1966, he was the Chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), of which I was a member. On August 28, 1963, at age 23, he was an organizer and speaker at the March On Washington where Dr. King gave his I Have A Dream speech. He was beaten, nearly to death, on March 7, 1965, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the March From Selma to Montgomery. That day will always be remembered as "Bloody Sunday". The scars from his skull fracture are still visible today.

John Lewis was one of the so-called "Six Leaders of The Civil Rights Movement". The others were:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whitney Young
A. Phillip Randolph
James Foreman
Roy Wilkins

Lewis was the youngest and the only one still living.

John Lewis survived many brutalities and in 1986 he ran for Congress and is serving his thirteenth term as the U.S. Congressman from Georgia's Fifth Congressional District. He has served his constituents diligently and continues the fight for the rights for minorities, women, seniors, veterans, labor, and sexual orientation.

Along with John, I am deeply concerned about the efforts to deny voting rights to minorities, seniors, the poor, and young people. Fortunately, we were able to expose and defeat the attempt in Ohio to deny voting rights. However, in several other states, there are campaigns to deny voting rights.

Below is a letter from John Lewis I wish to share.

"Dear Sue,

This is deeply personal for me.

As you know, I’ve been marching and preaching and fighting for voting rights for over 50 years. Today, we’re seeing a deliberate and systematic effort on the part of Republican officials to prevent minorities, seniors, the young, and the poor from casting their ballots.

Republican Governors like Florida’s Rick Scott and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker are trying to steal this election even before it takes place.

Voting is precious, almost sacred. It’s the most powerful instrument that we have in a democratic society. We need to move quickly to launch voter education programs and counter the powerful interests that are endangering our basic rights.

Too many courageous people have fought to secure the vote. Don’t let it be taken away:

Thank you,

John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis
Georgia's 5th District

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Between the fields where the flag is planted, there are 9+ miles of flower fields that go all the way to the ocean. The flowers are grown by seed companies. It's a beautiful place, close to Vandenberg AFB. Check out the dimensions of the flag.

The Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions, as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars, comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants, with 4-5 flower stems each, for a total of more than 2 million flowers.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Watching Jeopardy! the answer was: name the Greek god who wore winged boots or a designer scarf.

Gerald and I answered simultaneously, both saying, "What is Hermes?" However, Gerald pronounced it "HER-MEEZE", like the Greek God, and I pronounced it "AIR-MEZ", like the scarf!

The difference in association!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


In a conversation with my nephew, he asked, "Remember when we used to watch the July 4 Fireworks Display from your roof?" I said, "We haven't done that in years." He said, "I was telling the kids about it and how I shimmied up the tree." I asked, "Do kids still climb trees?" He said, "I'm sure mine haven't." He said, "I remember Uncle G shimmying up the tree too." I said, "I don't think Gerald will be showing the GRANDS how to shimmy." [the "GRANDS" refers to the grand nieces and nephews]

The roof is on the porch of the "West Wing" of the house and it was a delightful place to watch the fireworks display.

I said, "We just climbed out the window." He said, "You told me I had to climb the tree." I responded, "Oh, I DID not, I would have been worried about the liability." "He said, "Liability, Schmilability, in those days we didn't worry about anything!"

"Can we come to watch the fireworks display from the roof?", he asked.

Gerald said, "We need to have the roof repaired." I said, "That's a lame excuse; YOU don't have to climb the tree; we can go out through the window."

He said, "No, the roof really does NEED to be repaired; I have the estimate right here."

Saturday, June 23, 2012


An acquaintance said, "You're the only person I know who refers to your grand nieces and nephews instead of saying great niece or nephew."

I said, "But it's only logical that they are grand; after all, they are the granddaughters or grandsons of my brothers which would make them my grandnieces and grandnephews."

The person said, "I guess that's logical; how do you explain great grandparents?"

I said, "Because you wouldn't say grand grandparents; that's why I say, "My five-great grandfather came from Ireland, etc.; the great differentiates generations."

The acquaintance asked, "So do they call you grandaunt?" I said, "No, they just say Aunt Sue, but they refer to me as their great-aunt." "Then why don't they say grandaunt?" I answered, "Probably because it's so widely used to say great."

I have GREAT grandnieces and nephews now! My brother's granddaughter has a child! Oh, no! He's a great grandfather! I am a great grandaunt.

We are officially OLD!

There's no connection between this and the song Isn't It Grand?"; it's just a cute title for the article. I just happen to love the Clancy Brothers!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Les made the best German Chocolate cake--EVER--for Gerald's birthday! I have been making German Chocolate cakes from scratch for Gerald's birthday since 1969 and they've always been good. Les has been making them the last several years and each time they've also been good. Les greased and floured the pans the same way as usual, but when he started to release the cakes from the pans all three layers were stuck to the pans. (We are blaming the use of "old" Crisco) He did everything he could think of to get the layers to release, but one layer was torn apart into three sections; the second layer had some some chunks remaining in the pan and the third layer had just one piece adhering to the pan. I said, "Make extra filling!" We pieced the first layer together and added the filling; we camouflaged the second layer with filling and on the top layer, we heaped on the filling!

Julia Child would have been proud of us!

That damned cake got rave reviews. We had six guests for dinner and each had a piece of cake and I sent pieces home with some people! Gerald asked, "Why were you sending my cake home with people?" I said, "Because it's so rich we can never eat it all and I'd have to throw some away." He asked, "What did Les do differently--the cake was better than usual?" I said, "We only make it once a year!"

Les finally told Gerald about the Crumbling Cake and our artwork.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


A niece called and is planning a family event; when I asked how I could help, she said, "You could bring one of your signature dishes."

Signature dishes? How clever of her to use flattery to achieve her goal--adulation always works--with me! I asked, in a quasi-humble tone, "Which dishes?"

She rattled off the following:

9-layer salad
banana split cake
macaroni salad
layered pudding cake
ham rollups
Hershey's cocoa cake
chicken and noodles
red velvet cookies
hickory nut cake

When I told Les, he asked, "All that?" I said, "No, she said I could bring just ONE dish."

He said, "You know very well that you're going to take more than ONE dish!" I said, "No, this time I am not!"

He wondered aloud, "Don't I have to make macaroni salad for your friend's birthday next week?" I said that I planned to do that. He said, "Let's kill two birds with one stone--she can have her birthday salad early --and you can take YOUR signature dish!" [That's a little caustic humor as it is actually Les' signature dish--and not mine--as I have not made it for years.] The recipe comes from the old Helfrich's Market. When I was a kid, my father would get groceries on Saturdays and he would bring home cold cuts and deli items; Mother did not have to cook on Saturdays. Mother said that Helfrich's macaroni salad was better than hers and my father asked for the recipe, but they would not divulge it. A friend's mother went to work at Helfrich's and we were able to "acquire" the recipe!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I attended the Fayette County Historical Society Civil War Program at the Fayette County Museum. The Ulysses S. Grant Homestead Association from Georgetown, OH, which maintains the boyhood home of Grant, provided the program which celebrates the life, history, and legacy of Lieutenant General Grant during the Civil War and as the eighteenth President of the United States. The displays regarding the daily lives of soldiers, weapons, and photographs of Grant were very interesting to me, and the performers, attired in their woolen Civil War style uniforms on a hot summer day, were especially impressive.

Lieutenant General Ulysses Simpson Grant was performed by Michael Miller of Georgetown, OH. Grant, born in Galena, OH, moved to Georgetown, OH, when he was 11 months old and resided in Georgetown, OH, until he went to West Point. It was good to see someone of the correct physical stature playing Grant: during the Civil War, Grant was 5' 7" and weighed between 135-150 pounds. Mr. Miller's portrayal was a fitting homage to Grant and when Miller completed his speech, he said, "If there are any questions, I would be glad to answer."

I stood and asked, "Yes, General Grant, I have a question: would you comment on your General Orders Number 11?" Mr. Miller looked stunned and replied, "I'm sorry, I don't know about that; could you tell me what it is?" I said, "Yes, it's your Orders where you expelled the Jews from your war zone and you expelled them as a class because of smuggling."

It was actually exhilarating to hear the shocked intake of breath from members of the audience and the titters as people looked to see the questioner. [I love debates about history!] I continued, telling that Grant had been upset by rampant smuggling, but that he had unfairly singled out Jews to punish, when his own father Jesse Grant was also known to be smuggling during that time! I said, "You might want to read the new book on the subject." He asked the title and I said, When General Grant Expelled The Jews." Someone close by, within my earshot, said sarcastically, "Did she write it?" A school classmate of mine, Alice, said, "Oh, Phyllis knows what she is talking about--you can be sure of that!" [Thank you, Alice!] My nephew Michael was with me and he whispered, "She had to go to school with you since she called you Phyllis."

Within half an hour, the moderator of the program came to the microphone and commented about General Orders 11. [It was great to know that someone actually cared enough to go quickly to Google, to check my assertion!] When the moderator said that President Lincoln had "overruled" Grant, I said, "Actually, the President RESCINDED the orders!"

After the program, I went to speak to Mr. Miller and compliment his "grace under pressure". His "significant other", who sometimes portrays Julia Dent Grant in performance, said, "That's the first time in 15 years that he's ever been stumped!" Mr. Miller asked how I became an expert on Grant. I said, "Oh, I'm not, I'm much more interested in Sherman."

Several people approached me and said that I should join the Historical Society. I said, "I'm a Lifetime Member!" I guess I should attend more meetings.

The book I mentioned, When General Grant Expelled The Jews, by Jonathan Sarna is on my birthday wish list!

CLICK HERE to read the article at by Jeff Jacoby entitled When General Grant Expelled the Jews.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


At a restaurant buffet this evening, I saw a Vietnam veteran eating alone. As he was salting his watermelon, I approached him and said, "Hi." I extended my hand; he set down the salt shaker, wiped his hand on his pants leg, and I said, "Thank you for your service." He saw my dinner companion and he asked, "Was your dad in the service?" I said, "He's my friend and yes, he was in World War II and Korea and he was awarded the Silver Star." The man said, "Wow." and waved to Kit.

When my friend got up to get dessert, a young woman approached him, offered her hand and said, "Thank you for your service, sir." She said she'd heard my talking to the vet at the table and she told us that her husband is a Marine and he's in Afghanistan and she just wanted to say thanks. The sweet young woman's name is Jeannine.

I can't help it; I love it when I throw the proverbial pebble in the pond and see the ripples!

I like the quote with the graphic: "Whatever you do, do it with the knowledge your actions will come back."

Monday, June 18, 2012


My brother Norman says that I overuse the word "egregious". I defend myself by saying, "Well, some things ARE just egregious; no other word suffices!"

Do you remember in The Princess Bride when Inigo tells Vizzini, "You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means"?

The word was "inconceivable".

Sometimes I feel that way about people using words; I think that they don't know the meanings of the words.

I compiled a list of overused words:


I especially enjoyed the article from The Seattle Times about "banished words and phrases". I agree that they should be banished.

CLICK HERE to read the article.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


At Rockwell, a fellow Manager, Mike, asked me to look at an anonymous letter he received which concerned one of his supervisors who was a female. When he gave me the letter, he said, "You're not going to believe this catty letter"; he assumed the letter was from another female. He was seeking my advice about how to handle the allegations contained in the letter.

Part way through the letter, I screaked, "I KNOW who wrote this!" Mike asked, "How can you tell?" I answered, "I know of only one other person that we know who would use one of these words." Mike asked, "You can tell from just one word?"

I leapt up from the chair and told Mike to come to my office. I said, "As a matter of fact, I have something else he wrote where he used the word." Mike asked, "It's a he; it's one of your guys?" I said, "Yes, it's a HE, but he's your guy!" Mike asked, "How do you know something he's written?" I said, "All Managers receive copies of all grievances which go to the Third Step in the grievance procedure." Mike asked, "You mean you actually read those?" I said, "You're supposed to read them and offer comments." Mike said, "I can't believe that you remember a word he used." I said, "I commented to him about the word." Mike wondered, "Why would he do this?" I said, "Jealousy, anger, envy, fright; pick one; he probably thinks SHE might get a promotion."

When Mike confronted the man, he told him that he'd sent the letter to Plant Security to have fingerprints on the letter compared to his, which were on file. Mike had not done any of that, but the man didn't know that! The man confessed!

What was the word?


How many people do you know who use the word GLEAN?

Saturday, June 16, 2012


My brother asked, "Do you remember the grammar book we had in school?"

I answered, "The Harcourt College Handbook."

He asked, "Is that the gray one with Shakespeare on the cover?"

I answered, "No, the gray and red one is the Plain English Handbook; Mrs. Craig handed out those in the 7th grade; the Harcourt is blue."

He asked, "I wonder if they're still published?"

I said, "I still have mine; you could probably get them from Amazon."

He asked, "Remember when you let out that scream when somebody said "have went"?"; if I hear "like I said" one more time, I'm going to kill someone; as you would say, that's my bete noir."

I said, "Just tell them to go online to learn the difference!"

"No, I want to hit them on the head with a book!"

I said, "Just quote Mrs. Craig: "never use "like" in place of "as" to introduce a clause"; that's the rule."

I hope Mrs. Craig knew how influential she was--and is!

Friday, June 15, 2012


At an Arbitration, I was representing our Company with the case of a male Supervisor from our Company accused of sexual harassment. When the Company attorney saw the complainant, he made a crass remark: "I can't believe he would even look at her, let alone harass her." That offended my feminist sensibilities and I said angrily, "Sexual harassment is all about power; I would have thought that an educated person such as yourself should know that!" (My voice was dripping with sarcasm.) The attorney said, "You should remember which side you're on." I answered, "I know which side I'm on; if I didn't believe him, I can assure you I would not be here defending him!"

The complainant was dressed very demurely, and sans makeup. I was dressed in my usual conservative clothing. Arbitrators must be agreed on by the Company and the Union by an elimination process, and the Company attorney and I knew the Arbitrator's background and history of arbitration decisions. At a break, our attorney commented that he didn't think it was going well for us.

During that break, we were in a vending area, and I was drinking a Coca Cola. The Arbitrator asked, "Where did you find that--there's only Pepsi here?" I said, "I brought it with me--one can never trust that there will be Coke!" I was close enough to see that the Arbitrator was wearing a lapel pin with "Shiloh" on it. I knew that it would be inappropriate to talk about the case outside the hearing room, but I also wanted to use every advantage to influence him. I pointed to the pin and said, "We have a niece named Shiloh." He said, "The pin is from my church--the Shiloh Baptist Church--it's right over there", as he gestured toward the window. I walked to the window with him and I admired the church from where we were standing on the third floor of the building. The arbitrator chuckled, and asked, "How does she feel about being named after a Civil War battle?" I leapt at that opportunity and said, "Oh, no, they're very religious; it's another name for Jesus." He looked at me curiously and skeptically I thought, and said, "I've never heard it's another name for Jesus." I said, authoritatively, "Oh, yes, in Genesis, where it foretells the coming of the Messiah, it says, "When Shiloh come"; that refers to Jesus." He smiled broadly and said, "I'll have to look that up when I get home." I answered, "Or now--we had to swear on the Bible." He smiled again but he didn't do that, but called us back into session.

The attorney, who had listened to the exchange, and was obviously still irritated with me, said, "You shouldn't have been talking about religion." I said, "With that lapel pin, he was showing his religion!" He said, "Still..."; I didn't let him continue, but I said, "I'm here defending a Supervisor accused of sexual harassment and the aggrieved is sitting over there looking very demure, so I just let the arbitrator know what wonderful Christians there are in the Company!"

The Arbitrator found in our favor. I sincerely hope it was decided on the merits of the case, but I do admit to being a shameless manipulator!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Les and I were watching the new series Longmire and we both liked it, but agreed that it seems derivative of Justified which stars Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant became a favorite of ours after seeing him in the series Deadwood. Les said, "Look up laconic the dictionary and you'll see that guy Longmire's picture." I answered, "Or taciturn." Les asked, "You've been waiting to throw that into conversation, haven't you?"

Neither of us recalled seeing the actor Robert Taylor, who plays Longmire, previously. We went to our "friend" IMDB and learned he'd been in The Matrix which meant that Les had seen him before but I hadn't. [Am I the only person who has NOT seen The Matrix?] We also learned that Taylor is from Australia. I told Les that Australians say "Uh-stralia" whereas we say "AW-stralia"! From Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, to Simon Baker--every Australian I've heard interviewed--pronounces it that way.

I guess Mr. Taylor can use the name "Robert Taylor" because he's Australian, or perhaps, because the other Robert Taylor is deceased. I don't know all the rules, but I believe that performers must register their names with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and if there's already a performer with that name, one has to change his name; e.g.: Michael J. Fox had to add the "J" because there was already a Michael Fox registered. My favorite is Stewart Granger, who was born with the name James Stewart!

Others who had to change their names:

Vanessa Williams became Vanessa L. Williams
Nathan Lane was Joseph Lane
Michael Keaton was Michael Douglas
Although Albert Brooks changed his name, his original name was not of another performer, but was Albert Einstein!

See the story link HERE.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


In my BLOG article "THE THREE OLDEST LIES IN THE WORLD--UPDATED" (January 22, 2010), I wrote about the joke with that title, and then I added 50 lies which I had compiled during my 40 years in the workplace. I will be adding to the list: "Pencil you into my Blackberry" which was supplied by The Urban Dictionary.

May 30: Pencil you into my Blackberry

1. Having no intention of following thru on a date or promise.

2. A sarcastic way of accepting a date.

3. Accepting a date only to mock the requester.
Raul: Hi Jess, will you go to Hooters with me on Friday?
Jess: Sure, let me just pencil you into my Blackberry!
Raul: Really?!
Jess: Ew, no!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This week, in dissidence with a friend, I learned that we have disparate opinions about friendship.

As a teenager, I was greatly influenced by reading Emerson's essay Friendship. In the intervening years, whenever the subject of friendship arose, I would blithely say, "I follow what Emerson wrote", and offer a quote or two. I decided to re-read the essay to see if I actually do follow what he wrote. You can read the essay in its entirety by CLICKING HERE.

Below are quotes which, as a teenager, I underlined in my copy of Emerson's Essays:

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud."

"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage."

"Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo."

"The only way to have a friend is to be one."

"Who hears me, who understands me, becomes mine, a possession for all time."

"Our intellectual and active powers increase with our affection."

"Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed."

"The laws of friendship are great, austere, and eternal."

"Every person alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins."

"A friend, therefore, is a paradox in nature."

"I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them."

Oh, my, the difference between callow youth and maturity! I was so idealistic, so serious, so sure! I still agree with Emerson, and I'm still idealistic but I'm not as serious or sure!

My mother always said, "You're lucky if, in your entire life, you can count all your true friends on one hand." I always thought, "But I want more than FIVE friends!" As usual, Mother was right!

Monday, June 11, 2012


A friend mentioned that she hated the scent of Ciara perfume as a horrid teacher had worn it when she was in school. I told her that I felt the same way about White Shoulders. When I was a girl, OLD LADIES wore it! Whenever there was a gathering where there were a number of mothers, I called it the White Shoulders miasma!

Most people who know me know about my obsession with perfume. My life work should have been as a a perfumer (or as the French say, a Nez, which means "nose" in French). Making perfume was my junior high school science project. My mother and I continued to make scents after that, but none which we wore. We used them for potpourris, sachets, and rose water for recipes! Jean Ann Miller won the science project with her knowledge, drawings, and scuptures of horses.

When I smell someone's perfume I usually do not forget it. Perfume is my favorite gift to give. I wore the same scent, L'Interdit for 30 years, until it was discontinued (see BLOG "L'Interdit" from July 7, 2011). My dream/fantasy is to own the formula, go to the House of Caron and have it blended just for me! After L'Interdit, I tried all the other Givenchy perfumes, all the Caron perfumes, all the Dior perfumes, and all of the Yves St. Laurent perfumes, Hermes, Gucci and others. I even tried "old" perfumes: Arpege, Chantilly, Bal A Versailles, but Gerald liked only L'Interdit on me! What to do? I had to settle on Chanel No. 5 which he approves.

With each new fragrance I tried, the little-used bottles ended up on my mother's dresser, as everything smelled good on her! She wanted the new ones; she didn't like OLD LADY PERFUMES!

When I was growing up, my mother's favorite perfume was Nuit de Noel, (see BLOG "NUIT DE NOEL" from July 5, 2011), but she wore less expensive ones like Wind Song ( I still remember the song with the Wind Song ad: "Wind Song stays on my mind"). My best friend's mother wore L'air du Temps which I thought was very elegant. She also had Arpege, My Sin, and Chantilly on her dresser. I remember the ads always had My Sin by Lanvin. The mother of my sister-in-law Sheila wore Shalimar. My friend Cammy and I would sniff and apply all the perfumes at the Lazarus perfume counter and take home the scent cards. I couldn't buy the expensive L'Interdit but I said, haughtily, "It smells better than Joy!" Joy by Jean Patou was advertised as "the most expensive perfume in the world". Cammy wore Tabu and as my sister-in-law Betty sold Avon, I wore Cotillion. Other girls at school wore L'Aimant and other Avon scents.

Below are introduction dates of OLD LADY PERFUMES:

1921 Chanel No. 5
1922 Nuit de Noel
1925 Shalimar
1927 L'Aimant
1930 Joy
1932 Tabu
1941 Chantilly
1945 White Shoulders
1947 Miss Dior
1948 L'Air du Temps
1952 Wind Song
1953 Youth Dew
1957 L'Interdit

I started the list with the best and ended with the best!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


As if I needed another reason!

The day after Memorial Day, I went to Walmart to buy flowers for the cemetery for next year. I only put live flowers on my mother's grave and buy artificial ones for the other graves we decorate. I always buy the artificial flowers after the holiday and put them in the basement. I do the same thing after Christmas.

At Walmart I loaded 13 arrangements in my cart and took them to the check-out.

I don't like it because Walmart has short belts and no dividers at their check-outs. (I see that as a deliberate strategy to screw us!) I always demand that the clerk allow me to place everything on the belt prior to the start of totaling so that I can watch the tally. Walmart makes many errors. (I see that as deliberate, also!)

The first arrangement rang up at the regular price. I stopped the clerk and asked her if the flowers were marked down; she called somebody else (not a Manager) who said that they weren't marked down. I asked for the Manager. The Assistant Manager came and said they weren't marked down. I said, "Then I don't want them." Leaving the flowers on the belt, the cart beside the belt, and with several people lined up behind me, I walked out.

As I've written before, I DO have the Walmart District Manager's number on Speed Dial, and I called to ask if this was a local policy or company-wide! When he told me that the flowers were not considered "seasonal", I told him that they were last year and that I was going to K-Mart! I called K-Mart and yes, I'm going to spend the money on gas to go to Chillicothe, because the flowers are so damned expensive, and even with the cost of gas, I will still save money. THANK YOU, K-Mart!

Les said that Walmart probably has my picture posted in the corporate office! He also said that I am petty and childish, but, he knows me so well!

NOTE: Spell Check corrects the spelling of Walmart; I checked the spelling of Walmart and although it was formerly Wal-Mart, the hyphen is no longer used.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


At Rockwell, in the 1980s, my Department had marvelous carry-in dinners. At one, I had invited the Quality Control team to join us. One of the Managers was Fred Davidson and he brought cheesecake which was delicious. He told me it was his mother's recipe. I asked for the recipe and it was definitely New York-style-Jewish cheesecake. Each time I made cheesecake after that I used Fred's mother's recipe. After the contract was completed at Rockwell, I lost track of Fred.

One day, in the 1990s, Scott, our niece Robin's husband, said he would like to make cheesecake and asked to borrow my spring-form pan and my recipe.

When he saw the name on the recipe he said, "That's funny--that's the name of our new Quality Manager at work." I asked, "Do you know where he worked in the 1980s?"

Yes, Fred Davidson, was in Washington Court House. One day, I saw Fred in Kroger and he said, "It's a small world; how did a big-time Manager like you end up in Washington Court House?" I laughed and told him that I'd spent my whole life here! I asked, "How did a big-time Quality guy like you end up here?" He said that he had custody of his daughter and that she wanted to have a horse, so he decided to accept a job in a rural setting.

My sister-in-law Carol, who is Korean, called me to tell me that her girlfriend, Jeannie, who is also Korean, was dating the "nicest guy" from work and that he knew me. Yes, it was Fred Davidson. Fred Davidson, a Jewish guy from New York, was dating a Korean gal in Washington C.H.

I loved the incongruity!

I said, "Tell her his mother makes the best cheesecake!"

Friday, June 8, 2012


At a fundraising event today, we spent time with one of the campaign interns (go-fers) whose name was Chloe. I said, "I like Chloe." She beamed, thinking I meant her name. I pointed to my neck and said, "Sniff; I'm wearing Chloe perfume." She said "Oh, that is so ironic."

Well, I do have Chloe perfume, but I was NOT wearing it. I was just having fun with her.

Chloe is one of the numerous perfumes I bought while trying to find another perfume to like after my signature perfume L'Interdit was discontinued. It's a lovely bottle now setting on my mother's dresser.

Another anecdote: as Gerald and I were sitting with Chloe, another intern, a young man, joined us. We were waiting for our shuttle to take us from the venue back to the headquarters. There were huge vases filled with flowers and one of the waiters dropped a vase and the glass shattered. I asked, "Oh, don't you just hate when that happens?" Gerald, Chloe and I laughed; Chloe's counterpart looked at us strangely. I said, "The poor guy; they'll probably dock his pay." The oh-so-earnest young man said, "Oh, I don't think they would do that." I said, "I was being funny." Chloe said, "Everything she says is funny!"

Thursday, June 7, 2012


So, Les and I were watching the finale of Harry's Law and Kathy Bates started singing a song which neither Les nor I knew. Later, we heard the same song over the final scene, from a male voice. Les asked, "Is that Leonard Cohen?" I said, "It doesn't sound like him but the song sounds like something he might have written, but I have all of Leonard Cohen's records and I don't remember that song."

TO THE COMPUTER! It's Tom Waits! Les said, "Another person who CAN'T sing." I said, "But I like the song." Tom Waits name was on several lists of my "The 5 Greatest Living Songwriters" BLOG article.

The song, Take Me Home is from the soundtrack of the film One From The Heart, which was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I thought I'd seen everything Coppola directed. NOPE!


The musical score by Tom Waits was nominated for the Academy Award for 1982. Crystal Gayle (YES, Crystal Gayle) sang the song Take Me Home.

Sometimes we travel a circuitous route to discover a treasure!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I was thrilled to see President Obama award the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award.

As the president said, many of these people directly affected our lives.

How proud I am to see the following recognized:

John H. Glenn, our former Senator and astronaut

Madeleine Albright, our first female Secretary of State

Toni Morrison, our first African-American Nobel Prize winner for Literature

Bob Dylan, my all-time favorite rock/folk/poet

John Paul Stevens, Liberal on the Supreme Court

John Doar, civil rights activist

Dolores Huerta, co-founder, along with my hero Cesar Chavez, of the United Farm Workers

Please CLICK HERE to read the biographies of the winners.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Oxford University published its list of last year's Ten Most Irritating Phrases:

1. At the end of the day
2. Fairly unique
3. I personally
4. At this moment in time
5. With all due respect
6. Absolutely
7. It's a nightmare
8. Shouldn't of
9. 24/7
10. It's not rocket science

While those are excellent, following are ones which family and friends tell me are irritating:

I'm just sayin'
Game on
Let's do this
No problem
In these trying economic times
You know what I mean
My bad
Don't go there
Do more with less
Threw him under the bus
It's all good
It is what it is

I'm sure there are more to contribute. BRING IT ON (please forgive that!)

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Along with "AIR QUOTES", my brothers and I share dislike for the following symbols:

1. The "OKAY" symbol. It takes longer to make the symbol with thumb and forefinger than to say it aloud.

2. The "HIGH FIVE" gesture is out of date. I love it when I see someone put their hand up to do it and nobody responds.

3. The "FIST BUMP" is passe. My brother said, "By the time you see middle-aged white guys doing it, you know it's passe."

4. The "THUMBS UP" gesture should be reserved ONLY for Roger Ebert. The "WAGGING THUMBS UP" is especially annoying!

5. Fortunately, I have not seen the "HIP BUMP" recently; perhaps it died a gracious death!

6. The "WINK" is usually seen used by old men and little kids who have just learned to do it! Cute on kids, disgusting on old codgers!

7. The "PEACE SYMBOL" is too 1960s!

As I've written before, my brother hates the use of "air quotes". Someone told him that he'd used them since he was a teenager! My brother responded, "I'm surprised you have any fingers left or that somebody hasn't broken them off!" I doubt that the contemporary has used the annoying habit that long.

In my investigation, I learned that the first documented use of the term "air quotes" was in 1989; the length of time the annoying gesture has been around is unknown but the use of "air quotes" became widespread in the 1990s.

Steve Martin famously used "air quotes" in comedy routines and Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies used them.

Although my brother detests it, I find the habit merely annoying, but I do have questions:

1. What is the purpose of air quotes? I have gathered that users want to show emphasis but quotation marks in writing aren't used for emphasis; italics are. They should be using "AIR ITALICS"!

2. Don't the users think that listeners would comprehend their meaning from emphasis in their voices?

3. Don't the users think the recipients are intelligent enough to know that their comments might be sarcastic, disbelieving, ironic, euphemistic or any other emotion they want to impart?

4. Don't the users realize if they are actually quoting, they should say "Quote"?

5. Do they think they're cute?

6. Don't they want to be taken seriously?

A friend who also detests "air quotes" sent me a video clip of Monty Python And The Holy Grail where the character Tim The Enchanter is warning King arthur that "death awaits you with nasty pointy teeth." My friend wrote: "See--it's the first use of the dreaded air quotes."

Les said, "This MUST be your last tirade about air quotes." and then he started doing his impression of the famous Victor Borge routine about verbal punctuation marks!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Yes, Les and I were glued to our TV sets to watch the National Spelling Bee Finals.

I am re-running SPELLING BEE (from June 2, 2010), my BLOG article in honor of all "twitchy little freaks" (myself included).

QUETAPENS is the 2012 National Spelling Bee finalist's word.


If you were ever in a spelling bee, I'll bet you remember the word you "went down on"! I know that I do.

I was at a Home Interiors party and the hostess introduced the Demonstrator as Rosemary Drummond. Rosemary thanked her cousin who was the hostess and then she said she was so happy that her mother Hazel Caplinger was there and she introduced her. My mind immediately stirred: "Rosemary, Rosemary, ROSEMARY CAPLINGER!" Yes, it had to be the SAME Rosemary Caplinger who "spelled me down" in the Spelling Bee when I was thirteen!

I could not concentrate on the party, because all I could think of was that this was THE Rosemary Caplinger who had defeated me!

I ordered something and handed my sheet to Rosemary to figure the amount. I waited until everyone had finished and then I said, "Spell JARDINIERE!" She asked, incredulously, "What?" I said, "I believe you won the Spelling Bee by being able to spell JARDINIERE!" She said, "I don't remember!" How could it be that she didn't remember my humiliation? She laughed and said, "But I DO remember the word that I went down on!" Of course she would remember THAT word!

I said, "J-A-R-D-I-N-I-E-R-E, jardiniere", just the way it's supposed to be done in spelling bees! Mrs. Caplinger spoke up and said, "Her son's a good speller too." Insult to injury!

My brother Les and I love to watch the National Spelling Bee but he calls the contestants "Twitchy Little Freaks"; I tell him that I was also a "Twitchy Little Freak" at one time!

Friday, June 1, 2012


Recently, I was speaking to a woman about her husband being in a nursing home and I said that she probably had met our niece Laura because her husband is a resident on the wing where Laura works.

The woman said, "I thought I knew all the girls."

I said, "She works the early shift and she also works a lot of overtime." The woman asked me to describe Laura and when I did, she said, "Oh, you mean Laura."

She was pronouncing it "LAH-RUH" and I was saying "LORE-UH". I said, "They pronounce it like LOR-UH." She answered, "Well, that's not right." I answered, "Well, that's how it's pronounced in the movie and the song." "Well, I've never heard it pronounced that way!" I said, "I think Frank Sinatra was considered the epitome of pronunciation and he sings it LORE-UH."

The woman still adamantly said I was wrong. I even spelled it for her. I said, "Your pronunciation is like Lara in Dr. Zhivago." I could hardly believe her insistence and wondered why it was important to her. I gave her some other examples of "AU" pronunciations, such as "Taurus," "Laurence Olivier" and "caucus", to no avail. The woman just shook her head.

I called Laura's mother and said, "Pronounce your daughter's name." She said, "Norma". [Obviously I should have been specific.] I said, "No, the other one!" Of course she said "LORE-UH."

I called a friend and said, "Pronounce your daughter's name." She said, "LORE-UH." My friend said she loved Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie and Little House On The Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder, and that was the reason she chose her daughter's name.

Les asked, "How about Lara Logan?" Oh, my, she pronounces it LARE-UH, unlike Lara Spencer!