Friday, May 31, 2013


After reading the article "GAVOTTE", about Carly Simon's song You're So Vain, my brother commented, "Did you notice in the lyrics that it was scarflette when she sings "His scarflette was apricot"?" I said, "I'm sure the lyrics show it as scarf." He said, "Look at MetroLyrics." (CLICK HERE to see the lyrics)

I checked MetroLyrics and all of the other sites showing the lyrics and all had it as "his scarf it was apricot". Only MetroLyrics showed "his scarflette was apricot".

My brother said, "It would be so appropriate for her to use scarflette, because he would be wearing a little scarf."

In checking Google, I learned that the word scarflette is not found in any dictionary although there are numerous pictures of scarflettes. (See) As it is a non-existent word, there is no pronunciation given, but we decided we liked "scarf-lette" rather than "scarf-let", although it would have been impossible for Carly to have said "scarf-lette" in the timing of the song, and in listening carefully to the song, it sounds like "his SCARF was apricot." We like SCARFLETTE!

I asked, "Do you realize we have just spent half an hour discussing whether she used scarf or scarflette!" Obviously we are detail-oriented.

I just checked sheet music sites and the sheet music shows it as "scarf"!

Les, ever acerbic, said, "Maybe you'll just have to call your friend Carly to verify!"

Thursday, May 30, 2013


My Red Hat Ladies group went to Fusion, the Japanese Steak House, in Grove City. Before going, as I was checking to get a map, I read the restaurant reviews and the overwhelming majority of the 23 comments were negative. Among the criticisms were:

"awful, awful, AWFUL!"
"adult Chuckie Cheese"
"obnoxious music"
"tacky and classless"
"horrible service"

I suspected that the few favorable ones had been posted by the restaurant's management as self-defense.

One of our group had been there previously and exclaimed about how fantastic it was. I told Les, "I'll make up my own mind." She also mentioned that the lunch portions were small.

The restaurant lived up to its BAD reputation. As I had heard that the lunch portions were small, I decided to order an appetizer. I had eaten guoza(left) and negamaki (below)at other Japanese restaurants and as I like to try new items, I chose "Lava Bites", which was advertised as crab in tempura batter and deep fried. It was limp and soggy and very unsatisfying. I ordered the Hibachi lunch which included salad, soup, noodles or rice, and a vegetable and 2-meat main course.

The soup was warm (not hot), watery stock, with 3 paper-thin slices of mushrooms, and some chives floating in the liquid. I tossed my noodles into the soup. The salad consisted of all spines of Iceberg lettuce with nothing else in it except a ginger dressing. The shrimp, scallops, and vegetables of the main course were too salty, probably because mine was cooked last and it had all the soy sauce residue from the grill!

The music blaring from the loud speakers was a gangnam style and very annoying.

The "chef" was not as "entertaining" as ones I've seen in other Japanese Steak houses. At least he knew the difference between sashimi and sushi. (CLICK HERE to see the article Sushi vs. Sashimi)I asked him to explain the difference, because in the drive from Washington Court House, I had explained the difference but I thought some of my "Ladies" in the car pool doubted my knowledge! I'm glad I hadn't mentioned nigiri and maki.

The only GOOD thing: they serve Coca Cola products!

I won't be going back there, but I'm not mean enough to post my review on their internet page.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


In reading my BLOG article "LADYBUG CANAPES", a fellow movie lover asked, "What do you think are the best food scenes from movies?"

I said, "Well, of course Big Night ranks as the Number 1!"

She said, "No, that's about preparing food, what about ones like the food scene in Tom Jones where they're eating?" I laughed and said, "I thought that was a FOREPLAY scene!"

She said, "Make this one of your Top Ten Lists!"


Big Night
Tom Jones
Babette's Feast
Julie and Julia
When Harry Met Sally
Like Water For Chocolate

and how could I ever leave out the spaghetti-eating scene in Lady And The Tramp?

Les just said, "Don't forget Mr. Creosote in Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life!" (see below)

See fellow Blogger Matthew Schoch's list.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I told Les that I didn't have a vocabulary extensive enough to express/convey how much I HATE the person I wrote about in "OLD AGE AND TREACHERY". He asked, "How about execrate?" I said, "I think that means to curse or swear." I Googled the Online Dictionary and found that yes, indeed, Les was right AGAIN, and execrate can be used as a synonym for hate: it means "to loathe intensely "as well as "to swear or curse." Since we love nuance: hate means "to dislike intensely" and loathe means "to look down on contemptuously". Love the nuance!

Among other synonyms for HATE:


I meant the verb, not the noun!

Monday, May 27, 2013


by Roger W. Hancock

Red is for Bravery;
blood shed in sacrifice.
Freedom came with lives the price.

White is for Liberty;
freedom's purity.
Life be free from God's decree.

Blue is for Justice;
as vast as the sky.
Over freedom's land to occupy.

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.

In tradition, on Memorial Day the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I saw this cartoon on Facebook and I was immediately reminded of a friend of mine who had four locks on both her front door and back door. When I asked her about it, she answered nearly the same way as the person in the cartoon did: "If a burglar tries to unlock the doors, he'll be locking two doors at the same time!"

I asked, "What about the windows?"

Saturday, May 25, 2013


My brother has some good lines--I call them "throwaway lines". Unfortunately, sometimes I neglect to jot down what he's said.

Recently, I called home and asked, "Is Gerald there by chance?"

Without missing a beat, Les answered, "Yes, but I think it's BY CHOICE, not BY CHANCE."

Recently, we were watching a television talk show and a panelist, exposing a phony, self-effacing manner, commented that he "wasn't book smart"; Les immediately quipped, "Maybe he's magazine smart!"

Some other recent throwaways:

Les asked, "If quitters never win and winners never quit, who's the moron who said we should 'quit while you're ahead'?"

Once, disparaging myself about something I had done, I said, "Boy, do I feel dumb!" Les said, "Being honest is always a good thing!" Another time, in answer to a different self-deprecating remark of mine, he answered, "It's allright to feel the way you are!"

Friday, May 24, 2013


When an item is donated to our local Goodwill store and it isn't able to be identified, it's turned over to me to see if I can solve the mystery and identify the function of the item.

With my crew of "experts" (husband, brothers, friends), the items are usually identified but recently there have been a couple of items which nobody in my group of associates can offer a guess, let alone identify.

See pictures of some of the "mystery items":

# 1 It's obviously a measuring device; but for WHAT?

# 2 This chrome object has a top which unscrews to reveal a small space, holes in the top that something attaches to, and the bottom part twirls around; for WHAT is it used?

# 3 Obviously something goes into the holders, but WHAT?

# 4 This item has a label affixed; I looked on the internet and the manufacturing company is still in business; I sent a picture and asked if they would identify it!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


At one of my husband's family reunions, two young, female family members got into a hair-pulling, knock-down, slapping kind of fight. One of the two was Gerald's favorite niece and the other was the wife of one of his nephews.

I was sitting at one of the picnic benches with several of Gerald's relatives. There were a number of children playing and one of the children threw rocks at the other kids. I saw what had happened and I started to get up to confront the situation, but I saw that the mother of one of the children had seen what had happened and went to the child who threw the rocks, and took the rocks away from her hand. The mother of the rock-thrower saw the woman with her child. That mother of the rock thrower weighed approximately 110 pounds and the mother of the other child weighed approximately 200 pounds. The rock thrower's mother did not make any attempt to determine what had happened. She screamed, "You DON'T put your hands on my daughter!" The other mother said, "You should've been watching your daughter." The 110 pound one shoved the other one, hit her, jumped on her and knocked her to the ground. There was hair-pulling and slapping until Gerald intervened.

As you might imagine, the party broke up shortly thereafter.

One of my sisters-in-law called later and asked, "Can you believe what happened?" I agreed and she continued the conversation and defended the actions of the one who had started the fight. I said, "She was totally wrong!" She responded, "I can't believe you're taking that other one's side." I said, "I'm on the side of what's RIGHT; she had no business assaulting the other one for doing what she should have been doing; paying attention to her BRAT!" My sister-in-law continued, "She had no right to put her hands on the child." I said, "In a situation like that, someone must be the parent!" She answered, "She should have gone and gotten the mother." I said, "I have two brothers who are both blind in one eye, so I think it was important to stop that brat from injuring the other kids."

My "taking sides" caused animosity for quite some time. Although the rock-thrower's mother is Gerald's favorite niece, he also agreed she was wrong. The niece called and said she'd heard that I had said she was wrong. I said, "Yes, you should apologize; I was getting up to confront the situation but she got there before I did; all she did was take away the rocks; if it had been me, would you have assaulted me?" She answered, "Of course not!" I said, "Somebody has to be the adult--the parent--and since you weren't there, she did the right thing."

I continued, "I would have had you arrested for assault!"

The niece and her supporters were upset with me for some time. The rock-thrower and her mother didn't attend family reunions for a number of years and the victim's mother and her children have never attended another reunion. The rock-thrower is graduating from high school this year and the other child graduated last year.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


As a person who lived through a tornado, my heart goes out to the people in Moore, Oklahoma. If you would like to donate to help those families, please go to: or call the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS.

CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article "THE CYCLONE" which recounts my family's ordeal.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


A friend's son posted the attached cartoon on his Facebook page. I responded:

"GAVOTTE--the best of both worlds!"

I knew that his mother would appreciate it because she and I have shared how we love the line in Carly Simon's song You're So Vain:

"You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte."

After writing two BLOG articles about misunderstood song lyrics (see "MONDEGREEN" and "MY BOYFRIEND'S BACK"), several people told me that they thought that the line was:
"As you watched yourself go by it!"

There has been much speculation that the song is about Warren Beatty or Mick Jagger, but Carly has always refused to divulge the information. At a charity auction, Dick Ebersol paid $50,000 for Carly to whisper in his ear the identity of the subject of the song. Ebersol never revealed the name either.

gavotte: "a medium paced French dance, popular in the 18th century, marked by raising, rather than sliding, the feet.

My friend commented, "Don't you just love her rhyming gavotte with yacht and apricot?"

Monday, May 20, 2013


I frequently remark that I can make a meal for myself just with appetizers. Sometimes when I go to restaurants I just order an "appetizer sampler" instead of a meal. I love rumaki, stuffed mushrooms, potato skins, fried zucchini, mozzarella sticks; the list goes on and on!

A particular favorite appetizer in my family is ham rollups. At one of our Christmas parties, one of my nephews approached me and breathed in an exaggerated manner and said, "I ate 54 ham rollups." That year Les and I had made more than 1,000 ham rollups and all were eaten! I have made them with numerous kinds of vegetables, such as green onions, celery, and pickles, but my favorite is made with asparagus, but everyone else favors green onions (see recipe below).

In the movie Mermaids, Cher plays a single mother rearing two daughters. In the movie, Cher's character does not cook, but she prepares artistic appetizers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, much to the chagrin of her daughter (played by Winona Ryder), who wants to have a "normal" life. (see clip below)

In the movie Another Stakeout, the character portrayed by Rosie O'Donnell made appetizers resembling penguins, by using hard-cooked eggs and black olives. She also created armadillo-shaped meatloaf!

My friend Gretchen and I adore ladybugs and we have a nifty little collection of ladybugs. Today I was checking out gluten-free recipes on the internet because a friend who is coming to dinner on Friday is on a gluten-free diet. I was excited when I found the recipe for "LADYBUG CANAPES"!

When I showed the site to Les, he said, "OMG, is Winona Ryder coming for dinner? Lock up the silver!"


16 slices boiled ham (rectangular shape)
16 green onions (the thinner the better)
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 16 equal pieces, and softened
Place boiled ham on paper towels and blot dry. Spread cream cheese onto slice of boiled ham.
Place green onion with white part at top and trim bottom to fit the slice of ham.
Roll TIGHTLY and then cut into slices. Arrange attractively on tray.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I won an Employee Suggestion Program award because I designed a tool for the ease of operation for one of my employees (see attachments). My brother Duke machined it for me.

One of the jobs in my section was to install nuts into a difficult location, and the guys doing it would have raw, bloody, thumbs because they had to PRESS the nuts into place, without wearing gloves. There was also much waste because of the hardware falling out of the employees' grip.

Duke made ONE tool for MY guy on my shift; within two days my counterpart on the other shift was complaining to me about my "pampered pieceworkers", because, of course, MY guy just had to show off how "his boss had taken care" of him! I asked Duke to make another tool.

Soon, I was shocked to learn that a Time Study had been ordered because the use of the "shop aid" might lessen the time required on that job element. Fortunately, my guy performed the work during the time study and he made sure that it took LONGER to do it with the tool! Thus, my tool was not incorporated into the job breakdown because the other method was faster, but, of course my employee kept using it! However, I later learned that my duplicitous colleague had submitted the request for a Time Study as part of his Employee Suggestion in an attempt to try to claim it as HIS "cost-savings"! [I should write another BLOG article about DUPLICITY!]

I still received the money for the suggestion because I included documentation in my suggestion of the number of times employees had gone to the Medical Department to seek first aid for their thumbs and keeping employees productive was a cost-savings! Because I included that tidbit about employees not being injured, the suggestion was forwarded to the Medical Department for verification and the Medical Department informed the Engineering Department that the tool needed to be implemented for all employees to use as a safety measure. The tool was then listed as a "shop aid" which all of the employees who performed the job "should have available for use".

I gave one of the tools Duke had made to the millwrights to copy for the other employees to use. Their Manager said my tool was "too fancy" and they made ones of less sturdy materials. My worker said he wanted to keep the one I had made for him, and I took the other one home with me. Someone asked, "Did you get a patent?" I answered, "No, one must sign away all rights to inventions while employed by the Company."

To be eligible for salary increases, each management person must have turned in three cost-savings suggestions per year which had been implemented. I never had a problem accomplishing that. That same "duplicitous colleague" had the chutzpah to ask me if I had any other ideas he could submit! Each year, starting in September, male colleagues would begin begging me to give them "ideas" to submit because evaluations were completed by October 31 and they had not submitted their suggestions. I hate to use generalizations, but most men I knew in management were LAZY!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


After my most recent caviling about the overuse of clichés, I heard a friend say, as she was talking about making a decision, "I was standing on the corner of Bitter and Sweet, and...." When she finished her sentence, I said, "Hey, I really like that!" She said, "But it's an old cliché!" I answered, "How can it be a cliché if I have never heard it?" She said, "My mother used to say it and there's a book and a movie called The Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter and Sweet." I told her I hadn't heard of either one. I have ordered the movie from Netflix. (See video from You Tube). It is about the disgraceful internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Just my kind of thing, don't you know?

I've written before about my family's pouncing on clichés and changing them, thus our family motto, "Where there's a will, there's a relative." (CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article THE CLICHE POLICE) My New Year's resolution was to limit any cliché usage!

I realize I do like some clichés and I usually preface the usage by saying, "As Mother used to say....." I said recently to my brother, "I gave it a lick and a promise," and we both laughed. Mother used to add a little "oomph" to some of hers: to "He didn't have a pot to piss in," she added "or a window to throw it out of!"; to "Calling the kettle black." Mother would say, "That's like the pot calling the kettle black ass!"

Friday, May 17, 2013



1. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind-of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Light than Kay.
17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Malls" routing option.
18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word that was said?
20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
22. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey, but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.
23. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


On the new series How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life), I heard Brad Garrett's character say, "Do me a solid", and I didn't know what it meant. Later, that night, I heard Letterman tell that Dennis Rodman had asked Kim Kong Un to "Do me a solid."

I said to Les, "If this is a new slang phrase it must be six months old by now and the really cool people have quit using it already!" Les said he'd heard it before and it meant "to do a favor".

I looked on the URBAN DICTIONARY (CLICK HERE) and the first known source actually came from Seinfeld in a 1991 episode The Jacket.

Obviously, I had heard the phrase before because it was used in the movie Juno which I saw; it must have just "gone over my head" at that time! It was also used in the movies Half Nelson and Derailed, which I did not see.

I WON'T be throwing that phrase into any conversation!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I'm sending my BLOG article "THE THREE OLDEST LIES IN THE WORLD" to the URBAN DICTIONARY to let them know I've added their latest phrase "IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN" to my collection. CLICK HERE to read the blog article.

It won't happen again:

The phrase that people say to their boss when they know that they have messed up and their boss has yelled at them. This is the acceptable response apart from "sorry" that should be used when apologizing to a boss. The harshness of the reason can vary from being late to shredding a court case report. The result is always the same: the accused, embarrassed and flustered, the boss, pissed off, saying "it better not" and the rest of the workers staring at the accused.

Boss: Hey Gary, have you seen the Johnson Parking ticket case? It was on my desk.

Gary: Was it on the same corner that is the shred pile?

Boss: Yes, have you seen it?

Gary: I kind of shredded it.


Gary: But it was on the shred pile.


Gary: Sorry Mr Stevens. It won't happen again.

Boss: It better not.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Les, Gerald, and I are fans of William H. Macy. I claim that I "discovered" him in the movie Fargo and have followed his career since. In looking at ImDB, I see that I, in fact, saw him numerous times before my supposed discovery, in such films as Searching For Bobby Fischer, Benny & Joon, Somewhere In Time, Mr. Holland's Opus, Shadows And Fog, and Ghosts Of Mississippi, all of which I watched. I also saw him in numerous television shows. Obviously those roles did not have as large an impact. His range is impressive as he can portray high drama, broad or subtle comedy, and voiceovers for animated movies. Along with David Mamet, he created the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City and has directed and acted in Broadway plays. He has appeared in more than 60 movies and numerous television roles since 1978.

Macy stars in the Showtime series Shameless and the character he plays, Frank Gallagher, certainly is shameless! We are eagerly awaiting the next year of the series. I said I was tempted to subscribe to Showtime, because of Shameless and Nurse Jackie, starring Edie Falco, being on there. However, we get both of those series from Netflix.

I've written previously on my BLOG about our "festivals". We choose a director, actor, or genre to honor and spend the month viewing those movies. In the past we have had festivals honoring the directors Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, and Michael Powell, and the actors Ed Harris, Gene Hackman, Meryl Streep, Barbara Stanwyck, and numerous others.

This month we are having the William H. Macy Festival at our house. We have 10 movies, which we haven't seen, scheduled to arrive from Netflix.

Les asked, "How could there be that many we haven't seen?" I said, "That's because we haven't had a festival!"

A friend said she didn't know Macy and when I described him, she said, "He must be a little like that Steve Buscemi." I said, "No, he's more like David Strathairn, but we've already had festivals for both of them!"

Monday, May 13, 2013


We rarely have a "bad" meal at our house, but tonight was one for posterity!

I keep "convenience" packages in the freezer to use for those days when I haven't gotten to the store. Some of Stouffer's "entrees", such as the enchiladas, are acceptable. Les asked, "Which will it be tonight: pork and beans and wieners or this lovely addition?" As he held up a package, he read aloud this description: "BBQ SAUCE & BONELESS RIB SHAPED PATTIES." He shrieked with delight, "This sounds like McRibs--RIB-SHAPED PATTIES!" "Then he said, sotto voce, "In the fine print it says made with chicken, pork and beef." I said, "That's not exactly kosher combining chicken and beef." Les asked, "What about the pork?"

Gerald was able to eat his portion, but after one bite of the RIB SHAPED PATTIES, I pushed it aside. I am NOT a persnickety eater so it must be really bad for me not to be able to eat it!

Later, my brother Norman called and said that he was fixing his famous pork chops and potatoes. I said, "I'll be right out there!"

When I arrived, I said, "All the way out here, I was trying to think of the perfect word to describe your RESCUING me from the world's worst meal; your phone call was FORTUITOUS!"

When I got home, I told Les about saying "fortuitous". He asked, "Don't you think using fortunate rather than fortuitous would have been more nuanced?" NUANCED? I was ready to scream, but obediently went to the OED to see the difference between fortunate and fortuitous!

FORTUNATE means having unexpected good luck or fortune.
FORTUITOUS means happening by chance or coming or occurring by accident.

NUANCED? Sometimes I could slap him for always being right!

See the article from Richard Nordquist: CLICK HERE

So, Norman, your rescuing phone call was FORTUNATE for me!


4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons flour
4 small, 1-inch thick pork chops
1/2 pound potatoes, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Set aside. Reserve bacon fat in skillet. Place flour in a bag with salt and pepper to taste. Add pork chops and shake to coat with flour. Reserve any remaining flour.
Add coated pork chops to the skillet and brown on both sides. Remove pork chops. Add potatoes and garlic to the skillet and sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and rosemary to the skillet and sauté all for 2 more minutes. Add any reserved flour and stir well. Add wine and scrape up brown bits for flavor. Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Return chops to the skillet. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, turning over the pork chops one time. Stir in the vinegar. Pierce the potatoes to make sure they're thoroughly cooked. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I seldom read The Reader's Digest but when I would pick up a copy in a doctor's waiting room, I always enjoyed the section Laughter Is The Best Medicine.

My mother used to say that she couldn't stand to be around old people because all they did was talk about their illnesses. I might discuss a health problem with my husband or brothers, but with anybody else, I always say: "I'm fine."

We were brought up to be deniers. I called my mother "Cleopatra--the Queen of DA-NILE (DENIAL)!" I can recall when my mother was lying in bed after her knee replacement surgery and the Home Health nurse came to pay a visit. My mother was very depressed (although she denied it) and the nurse, Hannah, asked, "How are you, Mrs. Shirkey?", and I could see my mother, wincing in pain, answer, "I'm fine, how are you; why are you here?"

After my accident, Gerald had to bathe me daily. We would stand in the shower and I would hold onto the bar as he would bathe me. I was in tremendous pain, but one morning, I looked down at my soapy body and I had never seen so much lather in my life. I started giggling and heaving, but Gerald thought I was crying out in pain. "Sweetheart, are you OK?", he asked. I said, "I'm fine; I look like the Abominable Snowman!"

"I'm fine" and humor have gotten me through some difficult times in life!

Friday, May 10, 2013


On CBS' Sunday Morning, there was an adulatory segment about Mark Harmon.

It's too bad they didn't interview his sister Kristin. I doubt that her comments would be glowing.

Kris had been married to Rick Nelson and they had four children: daughter Tracy, twin sons Gunnar and Matthew, and son Sam. Kris had numerous problems, both physical and emotional. In 1987, two years after Rick Nelson's death, Kris entered a drug rehabilitation program; she requested that her brother Mark care for her thirteen-year-old son Sam while she was in treatment. Her other children were grown.

Instead, while Kris was in treatment, Mark Harmon and his wife Pam Dawber brought a lawsuit to take custody of Kris' son Sam. It seemed like a fait accompli for the Harmons until the court ordered that Mark Harmon and his wife would be required to submit to drug tests because Kris' attorney said that he would produce witnesses to testify against them, especially about Dawber's drug use.

Interestingly, their suit was dropped.

Kris Harmon is an "American Primitive" painter and Jacqueline Kennedy admired her painting called When The Kennedys Were In The White House, and wanted to buy it. At the time, it was reported that Kris told her, "It's always been yours", and gave it to Mrs. Kennedy.

Kris' autobiography Out Of My Mind recounts her tumultuous life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Les and Gerald repeatedly ridicule me because I will say that I didn't get something, or do something, because I would need to go "clear across town" to do it. Les will emphasize the "clear": "Poor thing--she has to go CLEAR across town!"

If I'm at Kroger, I don't want to make a trip to the bank the same day! Yes, it's only 2.8 miles, but it takes at least 7 minutes!

I never used to think about the price of gasoline or about the time it took to do things, but now I think about both! I used to just "hop" in the car and GO, GO, GO! I can't believe I used to LIKE to "shop"; now it's a "dreaded job"!

I dislike it when I hear people blame their behavior on being, or getting, "old", but I guess I'm also turning into a crotchety "old" person!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Yesterday, at lunch with a friend, I told her that I'd heard we were supposed to have two new restaurants in Washington Court House: a Japanese one at the old Oscar's location and an Italian one beside the Goodwill store.

She asked, "Did you just say EYE-TALIAN?"

I said, "Oh, Hell, no, and if I ever do, I want you to shoot me!"

She said that she pronounces it EYE-TALIAN!

I said, "I'm afraid if I'd ever heard you say that, I would have asked you if you were from EYE-taly!"

She said others had corrected her.

I said, "I've written about that and other pet peeves on my BLOG under the CRINGE columns!"

There is a third restaurant opening named ALBERT'S CUISINE. Les laughed and said, " They're trying to French-ify the name to make it special; I dare you to go in and ask to meet AL-BEAR!" You know that I shall!

These CRINGE-worthy additions are spelling errors a friend saw at work:

APPOINTNENT (for appointment)
REFERALL (for referral)
SALSBURY (for Salisbury)
AULDI (for Aldi)
WEEK (for weak)
DELICOUSE (for delicious)
DISCOLORD (for discolored)
TATERS (I guess that's for potatoes)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


When I was a teenager, one of the great pleasures we had at school was circulating "Slam Books". They were created by using a stenographer's notebook, and on each page, there would be a question and when a person completed answering all the questions, the Slam Book would be passed to another person to complete. They were called "Slam Books" because one could SLAM another person or opinion! That rarely happened because the questions were mostly innocuous, such as, "What's your favorite color?", "What do you think about Sandy and Gary together?", "What's your best subject?", "Who's better--Elvis or Pat Boone?", "What are you wearing to the prom?", "Do you want to go to college?" There was seldom anything thought-provoking, challenging, or controversial, but it was fun!

For several years, Sandy, our class trend-setter, started a new Slam Book at the beginning of the school year. She started the books in the 8th grade and I can recall filling out the last one, when I was a senior, and feeling highly sophisticated with my answers. I asked Sandy where she had gotten the idea and she said a pen pal from California had told her about them.

At one of our class reunions, Sandy brought several of the Slam Books for us to see! The Time-Capsule feeling to see how much we changed and also how much we didn't change (Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose) was enormous!

At that reunion, while he was reading one of the Slam Books, a fellow classmate, Mike, screamed with delight and said, "Phyllis, look what you wrote for one word which describes you!" I looked and my 16-year-old self had written ICONOCLAST! He said, "I had never heard the word before you used it but there has never been a time in my life when I heard the word that I did not think of little Phyllis Shirkey." I said, "I wish I'd known SESQUIPEDALIAN then!"

After that reunion, I asked my friend Patty if they had had Slam Books at her school. When she said that she'd never heard of them I told her that she was a big-city, sophisticated, Indianapolis girl and they probably had real entertainment there, but we had to make our own entertainment in Podunk, Ohio!

For Patty's birthday in 1993, I gave her a Slam Book. It was replete with vapid, as well as provocative questions. I had members of my family complete half the book and then Patty circulated it among her family and some friends, with her comments being the last of the entries. She made copies of the answers.

Today, I am enjoying re-reading those entries, especially from a number of people we've lost. I'm going to make a copy and send it to my nephew so that he can see HOW he's changed and hasn't changed since he was 16, now that he's a cosmopolitan, man-of-the-world!!

My grand-niece (now age 16) told me that they used to do Slam Books in MIDDLE SCHOOL; of course they would be doing now, what we did in HIGH SCHOOL, because they are so advanced! (See examples of today's Slam Books from Google.)

CLICK HERE to see another blog about slam books.

Les said, "That's Retro Facebook!"

Here's a sample page from Patty's Slam Book.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Les asked, "Remember Dan Imel?" I hadn't thought about him in years. Imel was a newscaster on WBNS Channel 10; he was the first host of Chiller Theater and High Road To Adventure, for which he won 2 Emmys. Dan's passion in life was travel and he started his own travel agency in Columbus.

One day in the 1970s, Gerald and I were Christmas shopping at Lazarus Downtown and Gerald said, "There's Dan Imel." Striding toward us was Dan Imel and he looked very dapper, wearing a Chesterfield overcoat and he was short! Gerald said, "Hi Dan", as if they were old friends. Dan offered his hand and as they were shaking hands, Dan acted as if we were old friends and asked, "It's good to see you; how are you doing?" I was taken aback by his friendliness and I said, "We're just up here from Washington Court House Christmas shopping." He said that he always saw the signs for Washington Court House on his way to Cincinnati. I told him he should stop sometime although it wouldn't be a high road to adventure. He laughed at the reference to his television program. He complimented me on my perfume and asked the name and said he'd like to buy some for his wife. We exchanged a few more pleasantries and he thanked us and left.

Dan Imel was a "minor" celebrity but it was pleasant that he was exceptionally nice.

Because of Les' asking, I "Googled" Dan Imel and I learned of his death in 2012. His obituary stated that he spent his life doing what he loved: traveling the world and enjoying his family.

CLICK HERE to see his obituary.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


A friend, knowing that daffodils are my favorite flowers, sent me this beautiful message. Also, please see my BLOG article from 2010: DANCING WITH THE DAFFODILS IN SUCH JOCUND COMPANY:


Saturday, May 4, 2013


I encouraged my brother to go to Goodwill on Wednesdays because it is 25% off everything in the store for "Seniors Day"! After he went, he called and told me he wouldn't go back there because the books were in "disarray".

Since then, I began volunteering at Goodwill on several days, sorting and organizing, and placing the books in some kind of order.

My system isn't the Dewey Decimal System, but I have the books organized by different categories: non-fiction, cookbooks, self-help, instructional, religious, audio books, and sections I call "popular writers". These are writers I have never read, but since I have seen so many of their books donated, I can only assume that they must be "popular". Among those writers are Stephen King, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell, Nora Roberts, David Baldacci, Dan Brown, and Danielle Steele.

But then I had 10 books together by an author I did not know named Ellis Peters. Since there was that large number of books, I thought, "In which category shall I place these?" As I read the dust jackets, I came to learn that the author, Edith Pargeter, used Ellis Peters as her nom de plume. She was obviously quite a famous English writer of mysteries and historical fiction. Methinks, "Ah, yes, she goes right next to Agatha Christie!"

I kept the hardbacks and paperbacks separate because that's the way Goodwill had them organized. I think it is logical that they should be combined by categories, but it was actually much easier to keep them separated; I gave in to expediency!

Books for children are now in the front of the store where the toys are kept. There are also quite a number of audio books and movies for children.

It is unbelievable the number of Reader's Digest Condensed Books, Harlequin Romance, and Silhouette books which have been donated. I have never understood why someone would want to read a "condensed" book! A woman in the store with whom I spoke, thought that the Condensed Books were serials and were continued in other volumes. She asked how one would know which one to buy "next". When I told her that they were shortened volumes of complete books, she had my same reaction.

Of the more than 1,000 books, I found only 10 "classics": 1 Shakespeare (which I have), 1 Jack London (whom I detest), 1 Emily Dickinson (which I bought for a friend), 1 Daniel DeFoe (which I have}, 1 Daphne de Maurier and 1 P.G. Wodehouse (although not "classic" in my opinion; where else could I "stick" them?). I was especially thrilled to see one by my all-time favorite author Thomas Hardy. My sister-in-law was very appreciative when I presented her with two books by Pearl Buck, which she did not have. She said, "WOW! Pearl S. Buck hardbacks WITH dust jackets." They were not First Editions, but nonetheless, she was pleased.

Since having the books organized, I now just do perfunctory rearranging on Wednesdays.

My brother said, "You just want first crack at the books!" Of course, he's partially right. Now he can go to the store on Wednesdays and get books for 25% off $1.99 for hardbacks and 25% off 99 cents for paperbacks!

If anyone would like to volunteer at Goodwill, please stop by the store at 1827 Columbus Avenue and ask for Crystal, the Manager (she's the one in pink in the picture). Along with Crystal and me is the Assistant Manager Sherry.

Friday, May 3, 2013



NOW I have a name -- "CRUTCH PHRASE" -- for the target of the activity I indulge in when I'm at a meeting, speech, reading articles, and sometimes, just in a group of people: I make notes of the cliches, bromides, chestnuts, old saws, platitudes, banalities, trite and hackneyed phrases that I hear and read.

How many BLOG articles have I written about the yawn-inducers? See "THE CLICHE POLICE" here or go to the search box on this page to view: 18 "CRINGE" articles, "FAMILY MOTTO", "IT IS WHAT IT IS", "A FRIEND IN NEED", PATTY'S P-U-YUK FILE", "THE RULE OF THUMB", "WRITER MANQUE", and "HACKNEYED".

Just yesterday someone said, "every nook and cranny" and I grabbed a pen and paper and then I read it in a BLOG!


An overworked figure of speech, such as, inter alia, "at the end of the day," or "it is what is," "thinking outside the box," or "leverage our resources." Crutchphrases are a common refuge of speakers who have difficulty articulating ideas or concepts without reflexively using jargon and cliché. Often relied upon by powerpoint-user speakers who simply repeat what is already printed on the Powerpoint slide.

The use of a crutchphrase is often an open admission of an unwillingness or inability to think, let alone use language effectively.

"At the end of the day," the speaker droned, "we have to think out of the box if we are to successfully leverage our resources." Note the split infinitive.

"But," protested a listener, "you're not making any sense at all, you're just babbling a bunch of crutch phrases!"

"It is what it is," replied the speaker, retreating to the safe territory of a crutch phrase.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


"Old age and treachery beats youth and skill every time." is the punch line to a number of jokes one can find on the internet. The complement to it is: "Bullshit and brilliance only come with age and experience."

As all cliches and bromides are true, I am hoping this one is also true. I know that I have the old age component on my side, and now I hope I also have treachery in dealing with a situation involving a manipulative, cunning, and deceitful liar.

Everybody lies. I have lied to get out of situations, and to spare hurt feelings, but I know that I have never told a malicious lie or told a lie to get another person in trouble; I have never lied to hurt someone.

I do not use the word "evil" casually, but I have witnessed genuine EVIL two other times in my life (I wrote about one incident in my BLOG article "BUZZ"), and now, sadly, I am witnessing evil once again.

My wise brother says, "Just ignore it."

How can one ignore EVIL?

My wise husband says, "Leave it alone."

How can one NOT confront EVIL?

I need to talk to my wise friend. What will she advise? OK, PB, what do you think?

I am trying to be introspective; I am trying to project ahead (a week--a month--a year) to evaluate just HOW important the current situation would seem in retrospect.

I'll paraphrase the quote usually attributed to Edmund Burke: "All that is needed for evil to triumph is that good women do nothing."

How the Hell can I do nothing?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Previously, I wrote about my new addiction to audio books (CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article "MY LATEST ADDICTION"). After I finished several audio books from comedians and humorists (e.g.: Tina Fey, Steve Martin, and David Sedaris); several ones from "serious" authors (such as William Butler Yeats reading his poetry); now I've settled into listening to "instructional" ones.

At Goodwill, I hit a bonanza and I now have 5 new (used) tapes to enjoy!

I am currently listening to Disc 6 of the 7-disc set of Crucial Conversations, which, according to a blurb on the package, was a New York Times best-seller. That I had not known that fact is indicative that I either have not kept abreast of the best-seller list, or that I wasn't very impressed at the time.

Listening to Disc 2, I learned that in a current, personal situation, I have been "withdrawing" rather than confronting an issue.

I could have just listened to the 2-minute YouTube video instead of listening to the 7 tapes!