Sunday, January 31, 2016


Last week, at a gathering at our house, my friend Vivian and I were reminiscing about how great our school lunches were--I know that kids today find that unbelievable--but we did have good lunches.  Staples such as beef stew on biscuit, creamed dried beef (yes, that's SOS--shit on the shingle, folks), and pineapple upside down cake were delicious and I still make those dishes. Fridays were meatless because of the Catholic kids, but the tomato soup and peanut butter sandwiches were great; the peanut butter had honey in it.  To this day I still serve cottage cheese with peaches just the way it was presented in those little dessert dishes.  Vivian recalled having sandwiches which were just lettuce and butter about an inch thick slathered on the bread.

Mrs. Elliott (Jackie Elliott's mom) and Mrs. Houseman did the cooking every day during my 12 years at Bloomingburg School. The only thing they did not cook well was navy beans--we called them "bullets"--because they were hard.  Mother said that they didn't have time to cook them until they were "done";  I always took my lunch on "Bullet Day"!

I can recall sitting in study hall and the potato washing machine made a a rumbling noise. I am now amazed that those two women were able to cook all that food in the time allotted to them.

As a grown-up I called Nina Elliott to ask her how they fixed the pineapple slices with the lime Jell-O;   here's the secret: remove all the juice from a can of pineapple; pour lime Jell-O into the can and refrigerate until set. Push the pineapple and Jell-O from the can and slice;  add a dollop of mayonnaise on top.   I asked, in disbelief, "So you did that with all the cans of pineapple; enough to serve the whole school?" She merely laughed and said that it was an easy dessert to prepare.

One day I asked Les, "Remember Perfection Salad? We had it all the time at school." He said he did not remember it. A survey of the other brothers resulted in one saying "Yuck!" and the other having no recollection.  I said, "I think I'll make it." I went online to get the recipe and I made it. It is absolutely disgusting.  See the picture and the recipe.

Perhaps my memory of school lunches is fallible.

Perfection Salad


1 cup boiling water
1 (3 ounce) package lemon Jell-O gelatin
2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

Pour boiling water over jello in bowl.
Stir until jello is dissolved.
Stir in vinegar, veggies, salt, and cold water.
Pour into mold, chill until firm.
Serve un-molded on chilled plate, topped with a generous dollop of mayonnaise (family tradition of the last 30 years or so demands that you use Best Foods mayo brand;  never Miracle Whip).
If preferred, use 1/2 cup celery and 1 cup grated carrot.
You can use sugar-free jello for a diabetic/low carb version of Perfection Salad. Sometimes lemon jello is difficult to find - we've sometimes used lime instead.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


While dining with my "Lunch Bunch" group, (I named it the WILD LUNCH BUNCH--hey, I'm a Sam Peckinpah fan!) one of the participants reached across and took some of the pineapple I'd ordered as a side dish.  I was so shocked that I was--hold on, now, I know you won't believe it--but I was SPEECHLESS!  She didn't ask IF she could have some, she just reached across and took not ONE piece, but several pieces!

Yesterday, at a different restaurant, one of our group went to the salad bar and brought back some sunflower seeds.  This same woman who'd helped herself to MY pineapple, reached over and took some sunflower seeds from the plate!  The woman was obviously shocked and said, "There's plenty on the salad bar."  The woman replied, "Oh, I just wanted a few.", as if that were some justification for her bad manners.

The woman is from Massachusetts but has spent more than twenty years living in our community.  My brother quipped, "Obviously she's not of the Boston Brahmin set!"  I answered, "OK, I admit that I'm impressed with that Oliver Wendall Holmes reference!"

HOW should one handle this awkward situation?  I looked online and was surprised to learn that this peculiar behavior is a prevalent problem. I  have been seeking advice about how to handle the quandary.

My husband said that I should take her aside to tell her the behavior is offensive.

In relating this episode to my friend Vivian, who sometimes joins us for lunch, she told me that if it happens with her, the woman would have a broken hand!

Another friend said that I should have summoned the waitress to tell her to bring a side dish to the offender and make sure it's added to her bill and not mine.

When I related the incident to my brother he laughed and asked, "What would Annie Sullivan do?", recalling the food scene where Annie Sullivan disciplined the young Helen Keller who had been going around the table taking food from the plates of others.  See the scene from YouTube:

Friday, January 29, 2016


As all my friends and family know, I consider myself to be THE Queen Of Coupons. In that position, I am respectful of the clerks in the stores and also of my fellow shoppers.  

 I pride myself on my own efficiency; I always have all of my coupon-items together; I make sure that my coupons have not expired; double-check that if it's a "buy 2" then I have two, etc. These actions are just common-courtesy.

I know how I dislike being behind a troublesome shopper and I try to avoid being THAT kind of person.  Last week, I was in line behind a Coupon Witch! She was obviously organized with an impressive loose-leaf binder filled with coupons. I could tell the Couponer had a great deal of pride in her shopping ability. The clerk began to process the fistful of coupons and at least three of the coupons were expired, several were supposed to be used to purchase two or more of the same product, and one showed on the register as the product not having been purchased. The Couponer had to dig a jar of Planter's Peanuts from the already-bagged items to have it re-checked; the size was incorrect. 

The Couponer said, breezily, "I'm off my game today; I'm not used to shopping on Monday and I got the kids with me."

I was enjoying the Witch being caught in her duplicity, and, uncharacteristically of me, I had refrained from commenting during this episode. The clerk demonstrated considerable tact and after she had patiently finished with the customer, I said to the Couponer, "You should watch Extreme Couponing on The Learning Channel; it shows you how to avoid these pitfalls."

The woman had the chutzpah to REPEAT her lame excuse by saying, "Oh, I was just off my game today." Because of that I was compelled to comment.  I said, "That game must be called Cheating Kroger; I would think you'd be embarrassed doing this in front of your children!"

I am glad that there was a cart between us because if looks could kill, I would be a dead woman! The word she used about me rhymed with WITCH!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


"Tout sonne mieux en francais.":  "Everything sounds better in French."

I have never used the phrase "Pardon my French..." because I think it sounds rather inane, but I have an acquaintance who uses the phrase repeatedly. Any number of times, I have asked, "Parlez-vous Francaise?" but she does not seem to comprehend my sarcasm.

However, I was interested to learn the background of the phrase. See the article from GRAMMARPHOBIA below.

Although the article does not mention it, I believe there is another reason for its usage, and that's because of animosity toward the French.  For example, my brother, who was stationed in France in the service, always had negative things to say about France and the French people. On the other hand, I am an unabashed Francophile!

There are numerous examples of terms which imply that the French have unsavory habits and lack of morals. For example: we know that a "French maid" is supposedly naughty; "a French letter" is an old term for a condom; "French kiss" means gratuitous use of the tongue; "French postcards" was an old term for pornography; "The French Disease" was a name used for herpes; "Taking French leave" means leaving without thanking the hostess or saying goodbye and also for being AWOL; "French gout" was a term for syphilis; and "Frenchified" has the connotation of being untrustworthy or effeminate!


Pardon my French, revisited

Q: Have you ever looked into “pardon my French”? I think it would make an interesting, and perhaps titillating, item.

Robert A. Simon, a novelist, librettist, and New Yorker critic, seems to have been the first person to use “pardon my French” in writing to excuse swearing or other questionable language.

The earliest example of the usage we’ve found in a search of Google Books is from Simon’s 1923 novel Our Little Girl:

“ ‘Hell, you don’t want anybody to impress you!’

“Mrs. Loamford stiffened. Harper noted the reaction.

“ ‘Pardon my French, Mrs. Loamford,’ he apologized.”

However, similar expressions have been used since the mid-1800s, soon after English speakers began using the term “French” euphemistically for bad language, according to written examples in the OED.

We’ve found even earlier examples of “pardon my French” used literally to excuse the use of a French expression in conversation, either because the listener might not understand or because the usage might be taken as pretentious.

Here’s an example from Randolph, an 1823 novel by John Neal: “I do not believe that I am yet ‘une fille perdue!’ Pardon my French. You know that I am not very ostentatious of such things.”

The earliest example in the Oxford English Dictionary of “French” used for bad language is from Adventures in New Zealand, an 1845 book by Edward Wakefield: “The enraged headsman spares no ‘bad French’ in explaining his motives.”

The dictionary’s first citation for an expression similar to “pardon my French” used to excuse questionable language is from Marian Rooke, an 1865 novel by Henry Sedley: “Excuse my French.”

The latest Oxford example uses “pardon my French” to excuse an attack on another kind of bad English—academese.

In the May 12, 2005, issue of the New York Times Book Review, a book is described as “a welcome change from theory-infected academic discourse, pardon my French.”

The adjective “French,” of course, has been used in a negative way in English for hundreds of years.

A 1503 citation in the OED, for instance, refers to venereal disease as the “Frenche pox.” The French, naturally, referred to it as the mal des Anglais. Touché!

And “French” has been used since the mid-18th century to describe racy novels and pictures.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


My subscription to the Sunday edition of The New York Times expired. I admit that I am addicted to the "Sunday Styles Section".  

While at the grocery on Sunday, I picked up a paper. At the cash register, the clerk rang it up but picked up the paper again and looked at it. She asked, "This really costs this much?" I answered, "Yes.", but actually not knowing the price. She asked, disbelieving, "Isn't it just a newspaper?" I replied, "But it's the BEST newspaper in the world." She looked at the paper again. She said, "I can't believe a newspaper could cost that much."

I said, "Well, they have to send it all the way from New York!"

She asked, still disbelieving, "Is it THAT good?"

I said, "There's a reason that it's known as the the paper of record!"

She said, "Man, it must be good!"

When I got home, I told Les about the exchange and he asked how much the paper cost.  It was then I recalled that I hadn't even looked at the price, despite all the talk between the clerk and me.  

I yelped, "SIX dollars; am I out of my mind?" I went on the website to have it delivered once again at a much lower cost!  What a bonus:  to "welcome" me back, I will now receive the Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday editions for one price!  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Today, someone told me the following story:

A legendary, local, wealthy farmer and businessman went to New York City;  he was dressed in bib overalls, flannel shirt, and work boots. He went into a chichi restaurant and was declined service. The man then proceeded to tell the maitre d' that he was going to fire him. When the maitre d' asked how he was going to do that the man answered that he was going to buy the restaurant that same day with cash!

I burst out laughing and said, "That's apocryphal." The person kept insisting that he knew it was true. I asked, "Were you there?" He answered, "No, but so-and-so told me." (He mentioned another prominent local person) I asked, "Was that person there?" He answered, "Well, I've heard it from more than one person."

I said, "I've heard that same story attributed to Bob Evans, Dave Thomas, and the owner of the King Ranch!"

Les said, "It sounds like a B-movie plot line!"

[I wrote the original BLOG article in 2012 but I am repeating it because I heard the story repeated AGAIN, but this time it was about a different local person.   When I told Les he drolly asked,  "I wonder just how many local, wealthy, businessmen-farmers there are who go to New York CITY to fancy restaurants?"]  

Monday, January 25, 2016


My nephew Mark and his wife Kim were visiting today and my sister-in-law Carol served a delicious soup of turkey, beef ribs, and sausage combined with cabbage, corn, peppers, and other vegetables.  My brother Neil asked, "Didn't Mom call this slumgullion?"  I said, "I think Mother's version was a concoction of rice, tomatoes, and corn with chili seasoning."  

The dictionary definition of SLUMGULLION is:  "a cheap, unsubstantial stew".  All of the online recipes for slumgullion call for macaroni, tomatoes, and ground beef.   Les said, dismissively, "Hell, that sounds like goulash!"

I said, "Carol, this is more like GAZINTA;  you know, everything GOES INTO the soup!"

Sunday, January 24, 2016


After reading my BLOG article about the Scrape-A-Round my friend Mona Lisa told me I should re-post this old BLOG article:

I have nice leather gloves in black, blue, and brown which I wear to weddings, funerals, and for other dress-up occasions. I also have a pair of purple suede gloves which I wear to Red Hat Lady events in the winter. I don't wear any of my nice gloves often because I lose gloves so easily. The remainder of the winter I wear the one-size-fits-all stretchy gloves. I have them in various colors: different shades of black, brown, gray, blue, and red.

Each year, when the winter sales are on, I stock up; the gloves are usually about 50 cents apiece then. I carry at least four pairs of these gloves in my glove box and whenever I see a kid without gloves, I stop and hand a pair of gloves to them.

I began doing this years ago when I noticed that at the end of our street there were kids playing outside in the winter not wearing hats and gloves. This was the house where my nephew said "The Spider People" lived. When I asked him why he called them that he said, "I think they have webs in their hair!" (see BLOG article about THE SPIDER PEOPLE). I went to the Dollar General store and bought hats, gloves, and scarves, returned and handed them to them. Within a week I saw one of the same kids without gloves.  I bought more gloves and gave the gloves to him; they began calling me "The Glove Lady".

One time I saw one of the girls wearing mismatched gloves. That's when I decided to carry only black gloves, even though I know that there are different shades of black. Those children have since grown up and moved, but I still see a lot of kids without gloves.

I no longer buy hats and scarves; thank heavens for hoodies; every child seems to wear a hoodie nowadays.

The great thing about the stretchy gloves is that they can be worn on either hand. Right now, in my glove container at home, I have seven LEFT-HAND gloves;  all of these are nice--some designer--leather gloves. Why do I keep them? Do I hope to have them reunited like some long-lost lover? There's an organization named ONE COLD HAND which seeks to help people reunite their gloves or trade with others. I can envision my lonely-hearts type advertisement: "Lonely, size 7, left-hand, saddle-brown, sheep leather, Burberry glove with cashmere lining, wishes to be reunited with right-hand mate!"

I would think that statistics would show that more right-hand gloves are lost because there are more right-handed people, but read the article from The New Yorker (HERE) about a woman who collects lost gloves. She said that maybe it's only in New York, but she has found more left-hand gloves than right-hand gloves.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


We have used the same mailbox since we moved here in 1984 and it has served us well.  I had the eagle painted on the mailbox as a present to Gerald.  I notice that the mailbox could use new paint;  I'll do that in the spring when the fence is re-painted.

When the flag is in the up position, and to lower it, it must be raised up and then put down.  When the flag is down, it needs to be lifted and then it automatically falls into the slot which holds it in the upright position.

That's the way mail boxes and their flags were all of my life but I think that newer mailboxes have simpler methods of lowering the flags.

After the post office eliminated overtime for mail carriers, we have had numerous new mail carriers to take the place of the regular mail carrier on his day off;  the alternate carriers are usually young people.

It is rather amusing to see young mail carriers struggle to figure out the technicalities in lowering the flag.  Should I go out to show them?  Not until it's warm weather!

Friday, January 22, 2016


Several winters ago, I looked out a window and saw my friend Gretchen scraping my windshield. When she showed the scraper to me I exclaimed, "I must have one of those!"  Gerald went on-line and ordered two;  since then we have given scrapers to several people.  It is the Scrape-A-Round and it is advertised "the world's best scraper" to which I agree.

Today, I performed a Good Samaritan deed.  A young woman parked beside me was trying to remove snow and ice from her car just by using her hands and she wasn't even wearing gloves!  I said, "Here, let me show you my wonderful scraper;  I see that you have rear-window defroster;  you should turn it on."  She said, "My car is brand-new and I don't have anything in there to use."  She asked where I had gotten the scraper and I showed her the inside label and she copied down the information and said that she was going to order one.  I said, "You better order two because you'll want to give one to somebody else!"  I also handed her a pair of one-size-fits-all stretchy gloves and she said, "Oh, no, I can't take those."  I told her that I had several pair in my car as I always buy a bunch after winter to be able to give them out, mostly to kids I see without gloves!

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Last evening, at a gathering at our house, I posed the question, "Tell me, are any of you the only one at your house who can do certain things?  For example, I am the only one here who is qualified to tell whether milk has turned bad."

Both my husband and my brother will bring a jug of milk to me and ask if it is "good";  I then sniff it and oftentimes taste it, but I alone evidently have the wherewithal to make the determination of its being safe to consume.  My brother will ask, "Do you think this is blinky?"  (BLINKY?  That's what our mother always said about milk.  As some of my mother's usages are sometimes not found in dictionaries, I decided to look;  the Merriam-Webster definition:  "dialectal:  slightly sour, used especially to describe milk and beer").

My husband, sensing a small degree of sarcasm stated, "But, sweetheart, you have supreme abilities!"

Our friend Vivian concurred that she is also the only one at her house with the supreme ability to ascertain the condition of milk.

Our friend Judy said that she is the only one at her house who obviously has the ability to install a new roll of toilet paper or paper towels.   Vivian said that she is the only one at her house who knows the "right way" to install the paper products.  I told that my friend Patty also possesses that unique ability.

Several weeks ago, I had told another person about my supreme ability to decide the worthiness of milk and a few days later, she asked, "Sue, will you smell my milk?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Today, I was to meet my "Lunch Bunch" at Wendy's.  While waiting to order, I spoke to a couple in front of me.  The man is 35 years old and the woman is 55 years old (yes, THAT, in itself, is an interesting story, perhaps for another article).

A clerk behind the counter asked the man, "Did you ever have any kids?"  The man, very diplomatically answered, "No, we were never blessed."  The clerk continued, "Didn't you want to have any?"  The discomfort level of the couple was quite obvious.  However, the woman answered, "I can't have any children."  And yet, the clerk persisted and asked, "What was the problem?"

Despite my being outraged by the clerk for her causing the couple such embarrassment, and the fact that hers was totally inappropriate behavior for her workplace--and for her lack of common courtesy and common decency--her continuing the questioning was just going too far, and I felt compelled to intercede.    I asked, "Why is it you want to know?"  She blithely answered, "Oh, we worked together."

Although I was astounded by her lack of  logic in thinking that because she'd worked with the man that it was proper to be asking such a personal question, I was more offended by her lack of propriety in asking in such a public place.  I answered, "Well, he and I worked together also but it is VERY inappropriate for you to be asking these personal questions."

I told the couple that I had had to face those kinds of stupid questions for the first ten years of my marriage but then I read in Dear Abby the perfect comeback to inappropriate questions which is by responding  'why is it you want to know?',  but I swear this is the first time a person hasn't shut up!" Of course the clerk heard that exchange and she acted miffed!

I joined my group at our table and when I told about the incident it was interesting to hear about similar examples from them.  I debated whether to complain to the manager about the clerk's unseemly behavior but the consensus of the group was to "let it go".

Later, in recounting the encounter to my brother, he asked, "And did anybody tell you that it wasn't any of your business?"

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


It happened AGAIN to me:  the awkward moment when a person repeats a word or phrase to let me know that he/she thinks that I have misused or mispronounced a word.  Some of the ones which I have personal experience of people doing this:  my use of:  peridot,  chamomile, clematis, deign, demonstrable, banal, and then BETWEEN YOU AND ME.

I actually had someone TRY to correct my saying "between you and me" by asking:  "Shouldn't you say between you AND I?"  I answered, "Perhaps you do not realize that the use of a preposition--between-- requires that one use the objective case which requires using me rather than I."

On Book Notes I saw Mary Norris, the author of the book Between You And Me:  Confessions Of A Comma Queen.  Although Norris describes her job as "a page OK'er", she is a copy editor and proofreader extraordinaire at The New Yorker, a periodical renowned for its high standards of accuracy, fact-checking, and grammatical correctness.  Others have described her as the "prose goddess" and "comma queen".
She is very humorous with the serious subject.  She wrote:  "My fondest hope is that just looking at the title you will learn to say fearlessly 'between you and me' (not 'I'), whether or not you actually buy the book and penetrate the innards of the objective case."  Oh, yes, I DO penetrate the innards, Mary!

Monday, January 18, 2016


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era and a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. His lectures and dialogues stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.

Today marks the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. This milestone is a perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK DAY OF SERVICE empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.

Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live creating the Beloved Community.

The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and teachings into community action. That service may meet a tangible need, or it may meet a need of the spirit. On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through service projects.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994.  Since 1996, the annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service has been the largest event in the nation honoring Dr. King.

I shall be volunteering at community service and attending a King celebration in Columbus.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Recently a friend asked, "Have you noticed the use of the word GUEST rather than CUSTOMER in stores and restaurants?" I said that I had not noticed.

But, last week, having had the pleasure of dining out three times and doing lots of shopping, I was struck by the fact that the word "guest" was used at all the restaurants we patronized.

In two department stores,  I noticed that what was formerly called the "customer service desk" is now named "guest services".

Despite what the Grammarphobia (see here) article states, if I am paying for a service then I do NOT think I'm a guest!

Friday, January 15, 2016


A friend and I were discussing the spate of strange names which celebrities and others are inflicting on their children.  My friend said that she'd read an article stating that people with unusual names were more successful.    (See the article "13 Surprising Ways Your Name Affects Your Success":13+surpising+ways+your+name+affecs+your+succss)

She and I were then trying to out-do each other by telling the strangest names we'd heard.  I asked, "Have you ever heard of Zoltan?"  As she is one who can top me on trivia, she blithely answered, "Oh, Mariska Hargitay's brother is named Zoltan."

One of my workers was named Zoltan. Although Zoltan was his first name, he was called "Joe" but I had seen Zoltan on his check.  One day I asked him, "Did your parents escape the Revolution or were you born there?" He looked amazed.  He answered, "You KNOW about the Revolution?" I said, "Of course, why wouldn't I?" He said, "You're the first person who ever even knew that Zoltan is Hungarian, let alone know enough to discuss the Revolution."  I said, "Well, I'm a lover of history but that was current events when I was a girl!" He asked, "How OLD are you?"

I told him that I remembered the horrific images of the Russian tanks going into Hungary and about Cardinal Mindszenty having asylum at the American Embassy. He said, "I'm named after the Cardinal!" I said, "So that's where Joe comes from!" He said, "I can't wait to tell my dad that you know the Cardinal's name!" Joe said that he was born in Hungary but his family was able to escape and they had relatives in the United States.

He couldn't believe that I knew about Hungarian food;  I told him that I loved roulades. Several days later he brought delicious fruit roulades which his mother had made for me. I wish I had gotten her recipe! The roulades I was referring to were meat roulades, but I didn't tell him!

Sometimes I'm embarrassed by my knowledge of trivia and I didn't want to tell Joe that the reason I knew that Zoltan is Hungarian was because Jayne Mansfield's son is named Zoltan and her husband Mickey Hargitay was Hungarian!

Raspberry Meringue Roulade

This delicious dessert is rather like a rolled-up pavlova, and will make a fabulous finale to any mealtime. It's simple to make and extremely versatile because it can be filled with any fruits of your choice.

Serves: 8

5 large egg whites
150g caster sugar
2tsp cornflour, sieved
Icing sugar, to dust
1 x 284ml pot Waitrose Double Cream
250g raspberries

Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Line a 33x28cm Swiss roll tin with baking or silicone paper, leaving a 5cm overhang.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar, a little at a time, until the meringue mixture is stiff and glossy. Whisk in the cornflour.
Turn the mixture into the prepared Swiss roll tin using a palette knife or spatula and spread it evenly to the edges. Cook for 1 hour, then cool in the tin.
Turn the meringue out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper sprinkled with sieved icing sugar and peel off the baking paper.
Lightly whip the cream to soft peaks and spread over the meringue, leaving a border of about 2.5cm on the long side farthest away from you.
Scatter the raspberries evenly over the cream, then carefully roll up. Place the roulade on a serving plate, join-side down. Serve sliced, with extra fruit arranged around it or a raspberry sauce.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Recently I went to meet with my friend Vivian at the beauty shop she uses.  She introduced me to another customer there whose name is CECILIA.  I told the woman that I had only known of one person named Cecilia and she was the wife of a man with whom I'd worked in the 1970s. This woman IS the wife of the man with whom I'd worked.   Someone there commented "Small world."  Of course Washington Court House is NOT a "small world" but it is interesting that we have never had any chance meetings in a community with population less than 30,000 people.  

Of course I began singing Paul Simon's Oh, Cecilia to her!  It is great to have a friend like Vivian who always joins in with my impromptu singing!  As this Cecilia is near my age, she was NOT named for the Paul Simon song, but I told Cecilia the following story which was one of my BLOG articles years ago:


In a store, the clerk serving me was named "Cecilia". Naturally, I began to sing Oh, Cecilia. The clerk said, "My grandpa always sings that to me." Knowing right then that I was probably close to her grandpa's age, I said, "He must be a Paul Simon fan." As I thought about the next line of the song, I realized that it was hardly appropriate for a grandfather to be singing to a granddaughter.  I asked her, "How much of the song does he sing to you?" She answered, "Just the name." Relieved at knowing that Grandpa had not sung any of the risque lyrics to her, I asked her if she knew the rest of the song; she said she'd never listened to it.

I thought, "NEVER listened to it? If I were named Cecilia, and I knew there was a song with that name, I'm sure I would've listened to it!"

I debated with myself about continuing, but surged ahead, "Well, you're probably named for St. Cecilia." She said, "I've never heard of that." I said, "She's the patron saint of musicians."

Undeterred, I continued, "There's a couple of poems by famous poets about St. Cecilia you could google."

This reminded me another clerk named Laura and when I sang a snippet of the song Laura to her, she said she'd never heard the song and she thought I'd made it up! When I asked her if she'd ever seen the movie, she asked WHAT movie.  She then asked who was in it and when I said, "Gene Tierney" she said she'd never heard of HIM.  How could anyone named Laura not know about the song and movie?

The lack of curiosity by people is a constant source of amazement to me!

However, there is hope: my favorite store clerk is named Soren and he was also pleased when I asked if he were named for Kierkegaard and he said that his parents are existentialists! That made my day! I always try to get in Soren's line at the store!

Les asked, "What is it with you and clerks?"

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I have always subscribed to the words of Alice in Alice In Wonderland  as I am  
"CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER!" as is my friend Patty.

Read a recent e-mail from Patty titled 

Why, oh, why do people just "accept" things that deserve to be questioned AND answered?  You and I have a curiosity that just has to be answered when questioned.  What is wrong with other people?

Chuck and I have a new friend, a pharmacist at Meijer's named Wei.  She loves us and we always get hugs from her.  She is a wonderful girl and prides herself on getting the very best deals on our prescriptions.

She and her sister and parents came here from Taiwan many years ago.  She went to school here.  Recently she got married.  We were thrilled for her because her husband sounds great and she thinks she can talk him into staying here for their future.  As a pharmacist she makes triple the salary here as she would in Asia.  Her husband came here for school also.  She had told me that he was also Taiwanese.

A few days ago I asked what her husband's name is and she said "Bernie"!    Anyone, other than you and I, would have let this ride, but NOOOOOOOOO.  "BERNIE?"  She and Chuck were chatting away and finally, I couldn't stand it.  I asked, "Why did she name him Bernie?"  Wei started laughing. It seems as if his mother was a big fan of Sesame Street.  She decided to name him after Bert and Ernie!  (I'm glad she didn't name him "ERT"!)

Curiosity continues:

This morning we attended ball games of three of the grandkids.  In the last game a mother and 3 gorgeous little 4-year-old triplets walked in front of us to go to the concession stand.  I have only seen one other set of triplets in my life (I took their school pictures).  I told Susan I was going to ask their names when they walked back.  Casey said to me, "MiMi, that is embarrassing!" and he moved two bleachers over so he wouldn't hear me ask her.  Well, of course I asked her.  When Casey came back I asked if he wanted to hear the names.  Of course he said yes.  Payton, Piper, and PRESLEY! Elvis is even alive in triplets!

{NOTE:  I wrote a BLOG article about Patty's grandson Casey who became an Elvis impersonator at age 10!}

This is my response to Patty:

Patty, How I LOVE this!  Recently, I was asked HOW I find so many things to write about for my BLOG and I replied that I actually TALK TO and LISTEN TO people!

Interestingly, a woman who worked at K-Mart was named PIPER and I naturally (well, it's natural for you and me, Patty!) asked her if her dad had had a crush on Piper Laurie!  She was THRILLED that I asked because her dad did indeed name her for Piper Laurie.  (And how do I know she was "thrilled"? Because she told me she was thrilled!)

One of Geralds's great nieces is named PEYTON;  I know someone with a grandchild with the PAYTONJ spelling.  I also know someone who has a grandchild named PRESLEY!

I had a guy who worked for me whose wife was named JEFF.  I asked if her father had had a crush on the actress JEFF DONNELL.  His wife sent a note to me and told me it was "neat" that I knew who Jeff Donnell was!

You notice that I always expect that a "crush" is involved.  It's probably because I was ALMOST named DIANA LYNN. Mother had told Bode that he could name the next child but Mother never expected that after FIVE boys, she would have a girl!  Bode had a crush on the ingenue actress Diana Lynn!  Mother always hated naming "after" or "for" anyone and said she wouldn't name me after an actress!

Every time I have met someone of my generation named Diana, I always ask the middle name and nearly every time it has been LYNN!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


In the recent UPDATED edition of the OLDEST LIES, I predicted I would have SIXTY by the end of the year.

Since November of last year, a friend had been strung along with illusory suggestions of a job possibility which was accompanied by numerous excuses from the person misleading him.  He was told yesterday:


That has the dubious honor of being the Number 59 OLDEST LIE!

Interestingly, during the conversation in which the friend shared Number 59, he unwittingly provided Number 60:


With this rate, I predict I'll have 100 by the end of the year!

Monday, January 11, 2016


I was watching Book Notes and the person being interviewed was the author of Clementine, which is a biography of Mrs. Winston Churchill.  During the question and answer period, an audience member wondered if a story about Winston's being a keen observer were true.  As a child Winston realized that his mother, the beautiful American Jenny Jerome, was having an affair because before she left for a meeting, Winston noticed that she had a "run" in one of her stockings;  when she returned, the run was on the opposite leg. 

My aunt "Tim" always wore dresses and high heels while my mother, her sister, was in "Blue Bell Jeans". I remember that those jeans had a zipper in the side pocket and a button at the waist. Trust me, most mothers did not wear jeans in the 1950's. My mother would be outside, working in the garden or playing with us kids, while my aunt would be in the house, playing with her "gee-tar".
Aunt Tim had quite an array of stockings and they all had seams up the back of the stockings. Tim weighed less than 90 pounds ("soaking wet" as we were fond of saying) and my mother said that seams were supposed to make the calf look larger, while seamless stockings were supposedly slimming.  Some of Tim's stockings had interesting designs at the back of the stocking, above the heel.  One day, as she was walking across the floor, I noticed that she had one stocking with diamonds on it and the other one one with hearts.

I told my mother about the difference and she said, "Go tell her she can't get a flush that way!" I didn't understand the remark as I thought that "flush" meant embarrassment and I replied, "But she WILL get a flush when I tell her that!" Mother laughed and went inside with me and said, "Tim, do you have any spades or clubs on your stockings?"  
Mother told her she might want to change her stockings but Tim said that one of her "diamond stockings" and one of her "heart stockings" each had a run in it and she didn't think anyone would notice that she had worn mismatched stockings. 

Mother told her that I was the most OBSERVANT child in the world. [Okay, brothers, you and I both know she actually said "NOSIEST"!]  I wish I had known the Winston Churchill story then!

I remember the first time I wore nylon stockings was when I was 13 years old and I had to be "dressed-up" for my grandmother's funeral.  My sister-in-law helped get me into a garter belt and I remember the box holding the stockings, was lined with tissue paper.  The box stated that they were "15 denier" and I was lectured to be careful wearing them but I felt oh-so-grown-up!  However, 
I was very relieved to get out of them.  Fortunately, by the time I was a regular stocking-wearer, there were panty hose!

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Gerald's niece Carrie posted this cartoon on Facebook.  It is indicative of the differences between men and women.  I file this under the category:  "MEN--CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT 'EM--CAN'T KILL ALL OF 'EM"!

I wrote that Gerald and I were fortunate to receive several gift cards as Christmas presents but deciding WHERE to go was a problem.

This is a typical conversation between Gerald and me:

SUE:            "Do you want to go to Red Lobster, Olive Garden, or Bob Evans?"
GERALD:   "I don't care."
SUE:            "How about The Rusty Keg or The Willow?"
GERALD:   "It doesn't matter."
SUE:            "Then let's go to Chillicothe;  I'd like to go to Ollie's also."
GERALD:   "I'd rather stay in town."

Saturday, January 9, 2016


If I am guilty of uttering platitudes, euphemisms, myths, or other BS, please admonish me!

I cringe at funerals when I hear people say things like "She's better off now.";   "He looks so natural.";  "He's in a better place.";  or "Things happen for a reason.".  I want to scream at the perpetrators, "NO! Things do NOT happen for a reason!"

I suppose they think their words are comforting, but their words make me want to scream at them, but I don't.  I think of a cliche "Wrong place, wrong time." to comfort myself and to prevent my screaming!

Being an inveterate list maker, I just compiled a list of the some annoying platitudes:

1.   Good things come to those who wait.
2.   It was meant to be.
3.   Time heals all wounds.
4.   Such is life.
5.   Forgive and forget.
6.   It is what it is.
7.   What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
8.   We must agree to disagree.
9.   Look on the bright side.
10. Have a blessed day.

A friend ends his lengthy telephone message with the silly phrase "BE WELL.".  I told him that it almost makes me vomit.  He said he thought it was "clever".  I told him, "I think the word you are searching for is platitudinous rather than clever!"


Friday, January 8, 2016


Yes, it's that time of year again; time to post my HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELVIS greeting.

JANUARY 8, 1935: Elvis would have been 81 today if he had lived!

As a teeny-bopper, I was the world's most devoted Elvis Presley fan. When I was thirteen, I even went to the beautician Evelyn Evans to have my hair cut like Elvis'. My bedroom was completely covered with Elvis Presley pictures. Every time a new song was released, several of us Elvis fans would listen to the record over and over to be able to write down the lyrics to be able to sing along. My greatest artistic achievement was to sing along and gyrate as Elvis did when he sang Trouble from the movie King Creole. As the years passed, I would always watch his god-awful movies and buy whatever records were released, and I never lost the love for him, but by the sixties I was "into" folk, protest music, and jazz and although I went to see him in concert in 1973, my passion had subsided. I attributed it to "growing up". In 1973, we went to Graceland and stood outside the gates and took pictures of the gates, but this was before his death and the tours; after the tours started we went to Memphis to see inside Graceland. I was disturbed because his grave marker has "Elvis Aaron Presley" and I know that's wrong because it's really Elvis Aron Presley as the Aron rhymes with the middle name of his twin Jesse Garon Presley. I bought the commemorative stamps and sent out "first day cancellations" on January 8 to my fellow Elvis fans.

Several years after Elvis' death, my brother called me on January 8, and said, "Hey, they're having an Elvis trivia contest and you should call in and win." I tuned in and one had to be the 3rd caller; the questions were very easy but I couldn't get through to answer. Then a question came which nobody called to answer. I dialed the number and answered the question, "What was Elvis' serial number in the Army?" I answered, "U.S. 53310761." The DJ asked, "How on earth did you know that?" I told him that after Elvis was drafted, there was a girl group--The Threeteens--which had a song entitled "Dear 53310761" which I have, and then I proceeded to sing the song! I also told him that there were at least 25 songs recorded ABOUT Elvis. I also told him that it was "U.S." rather than "R.A." because "U.S." is used for draftees and "R.A." is used for enlisted people. I think that was entirely TMI as he then told me about my prize and shut me down.

What did I win? ALL of Elvis' records! Of course, I already had all of Elvis' records. I gave them as a present to my brother who is also an Elvis fan.

Now I have an "Elvis shrine" at Christmas: I have a tree full of Elvis ornaments which I surround with Elvis collectibles.  One of my favorite decorations is an Elvis Christmas stocking which is shaped like Elvis' white satin jumpsuit pant leg and boot. It has a button when pushed plays "Blue Christmas". I send Elvis Christmas cards to all of my friends who are also Elvis devotees.  I'm sad that I never met him.

In 2015, a new set of Elvis stamps were offered.  I said, "How appropriate that they are FOREVER stamps!"  I sent letters to fellow Elvis aficionados postmarked on August 16.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


In yesterday's BLOG article, I referenced my ongoing list of THE THREE OLDEST LIES IN THE WORLD.  Below is my original article followed by additions:

The old joke:

1.  The check's in the mail.
                                     2.  I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.
                                     3.  I'll still respect you in the morning (oh, I cleaned it up                                             for my readers' consumption;  I've been known to tell                                               the actual lie in private conversation).

The following are actual lies and excuses I have heard during my career and I am embarrassed to admit, I've actually uttered some of them myself:

4.   We're family here.  You're a part of the family!
5.   It's in the Contract (Handbook).
6.   John said, Sue said (he said, she said, they said).
7.   It's only a cold sore.
8.   I'm not that kind of girl.
9.   It was OK when it left my area.
10. But that's the way we've always done it.
11. They're working on it (it's on order).
12.  It can't be hot--I don't have them yet.
13.  If you do this, I promise I won't ask you for anything else.
14.  They told us that in Orientation.
15.  This won't hurt anyone.
16.  We're here to work as a team.
17.  I 'll get back to you (I'll put it on my list, I'll make a note of it, I'll take
a look at it).
18.   I don't usually do this on the first date!
19.  We're an equal employment opportunity employer.
20.  No, we're not hiring.
21.  You'll be promoted on merit.
22.  You'll be let go according to your evaluation.
23.  I promise I won't tell anyone (I know how to keep a secret).
24.  It'll never happen again.
25.  I'll have the part there before the line goes down (The part will be there in
the morning).
26.  A.O. Smith has a quality department.
27.  We have a just-in-time system (Just-in-case)
28.  I don't have any extra people.
29.  I'm not the regular crew chief.
30.  It's not in the specs.
31.  It's an ongoing process.
32.  It's not on my breakdown (it's not my job, I'm not paid to do that).
33.  The warehouse is only a half-hour away.
34.  It's logged in (it's in the Macro).
35.  I'm just a temp.
36.  Yes, these are safety glasses.
37.  It didn't get this way overnight-it's not going to change overnight.
38.  Figures don't lie (but liars can figure).
39.  We'll do lunch.
40.  Don't call me-I'll call you.
41.  I'll see you after this appointment.
42.  You're looking good.
43.  He's the same as all the other customers.
44.  It's not good--but what will they take?
45.  My Grandmother died--(5 or 6 times).
46.  I was absent because of jet lag.
47.  I thought that you were going to take care of it.
48.  I love him like a brother.
49.  It's worked for twenty years--let's leave it alone.
50.  I just got here (I've only been here 5 minutes)
51.  I'm late--because of: car trouble, alarm clock, traffic ticket, my wife didn't
wake me up).




53.  I'll pencil you in to my Blackberry.
54.  You're not in the system.
55.  It's at the Lab.
56.  Will advise.
57.  It was a scanning error.

And the one from yesterday's article:


No doubt I'll have SIXTY by the end of this year!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


A friend and I were reminiscing about things we used to do to earn extra money.  I told about Gary Smith's paying me to write book reports for him every six weeks.  Gary was a year behind me in school and I did this for four years.  After Mrs. Craig had told him that she didn't believe that he had written one of the book reports, Gary told me that I needed to write "C" book reports for him.   I archly replied, "I don't know how to write poor book reports!"  Gary said, "Misspell some words or something."  I told him that he could misspell some words when he copied the report!

After starting to work, I knew several people who had problems getting up to go to work.  After watching the Judy Holliday movie Bells Are Ringing, I was inspired to offer my services to call people to waken them!  The business in the movie was named "Susannahphone";  I called mine "SUZYPHONE"!

When I asked my clientele why they didn't just use an alarm clock, they all invariably responded that it was very easy to turn off a ringing clock but they had to physically arise to answer the telephone.  I was astounded that the people would actually pay me to call them!

I maintain a list of the OLDEST LIES IN THE WORLD which contains excuses people use, and one person actually used the excuse that "Sue didn't call me" as his reason for being absent.  I reminded him that he had not paid his bill for two weeks and that I had had to discontinue my "service"!

Years later when I was in management, I would call people who had not called in as absent;  nearly always they had just overslept.  I heard one of my favorite people, Diana, tell others, "There's nothing worse than hearing Sue say "Good morning!" and you know you've overslept!"

Tuesday, January 5, 2016



Monday, January 4, 2016


My friend Carol and I were having lunch and she said that she was going to have a pedicure and I told her that even though I had always wanted to have a pedicure, thought it seemed very self-indulgent.  I told her about when my husband and I were on our honeymoon and we were snuggled together and as I slid my foot against his calf, he asked, ""Sweetheart, aren't you going to take off your house slippers?"  As I was NOT wearing house slippers, I realized that I should have taken advantage of the "spa day" that my girlfriends had suggested and had those calluses removed.

Carol said that I should definitely indulge myself and I accompanied her to the salon where I was pampered.  Here are the results:

When my brother saw my feet, he asked, "WTH is that?", referring to the length of my toes.

I told him that I must be either GREEK or CELTIC as my second toe is longer than my big toe. See the diagram of ethnicity based on feet:

While having the treatment I shared the story from an old BLOG article entitled BAREFOOTIN':

I am always barefooted in the house. Yeah, I know, "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl!"

One evening, we had eight people for dinner to have some of Norman's famous soup Caldo Gallego. One of my friends brought her four-year-old daughter. The child was bored and restless and I took her to the family room and showed her the toy box, but she was soon back in the dining room playing underneath the table.

Suddenly, I felt the unmistakable feeling of someone sucking on my toes. I SCREAMED and jumped up and there was the little girl, peeking from underneath the table, just giggling and laughing hysterically. Her mother, with great aplomb, asked, "Were you sucking Sue's toes?" Everyone screamed with laughter and I didn't know if it was from my reaction, or from the blase, matter-of-fact method the mother used to elicit the information. Obviously, toe-sucking was not a recent development in the child's repertoire! The little girl was still giggling and her mother said, "Don't do that!" I thought, "OMG, I've had my shoes off for hours and my toes must be filthy!" but I didn't say anything!

Do I think the mother handled it correctly? ABSOLUTELY!

Sunday, January 3, 2016


At least once a week while watching Jeopardy!, I will screak at the television, "WHY don't they tell them HOW to dress?"

After seeing numerous inappropriately-dressed contestants (mostly women) the contestant on December 16 was probably the worst example as she was wearing a see-through top and one could easily see the bra underneath her top as well as her noticeable cleavage.  See picture of TIOMBI:

It is astounding to me that the program producers would not tell the contestants HOW to dress in a flattering manner as the number of unflattering ensembles worn by contestants is shocking.  One of the Tournament Of Champions finalists was regularly wearing SLEEVELESS tops and it looked as if her huge arms were exploding from her armpits.

See my recent BLOG article ALEX TREBEK'S COMEUPPANCE where the contestant Talia Levin was wearing a sheer blouse and displaying inappropriate--and unflattering--decollatage:

Another contestant was actually wearing peace symbol earrings and the Final Jeopardy question was "peace symbol", but she missed it!

Saturday, January 2, 2016


The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals.

There are the familiar ones: a HERD of cows, a FLOCK of chickens, a SCHOOL of fish, a GAGGLE of geese and a PRIDE of lions;  however, a MURDER of crows (and their cousins the ravens and rooks), an EXALTATION of doves, and presumably, because they look wise, a PARLIAMENT of owls,  are more unusual terms.

Now, consider a group of BABOONS: they are the loudest, most aggressive, most obnoxious, most dangerous, most viciously aggressive, and least intelligent of all Primates, yet, what do you think is the collective name for a group of baboons?

Yes, it's a CONGRESS, and yes, I frequently refer to our national legislative body as 


To see 10 Peculiar Collective Nouns,
Click Here.

To see Odd Names For Animals, Click Here.

Friday, January 1, 2016


Today, on Sunday Morning on CBS an opinion piece was given by Faith Salie called On A First Name Basis;  it concerned the appropriateness of young people addressing older people by their first names.  I disagree with her conclusions.  See here:

Last year, during Thanksgiving dinner at our house, a young person who was a guest, immediately began calling several older adults by their first names;  several of these people are actually older than his own grandparents.  I find such behavior to be unseemly and dreadfully poor manners.

Afterwards I told him that it was totally inappropriate for him to begin calling these strangers by their first names rather than by Mister and Mrs.  He told me that I was very old-fashioned and that he called EVERYONE by their first names.  I asked, "Did you call your teachers by their first names? Do you call your doctor by her first name?"  He answered, "No, but they are professional."  I answered, "The people you were addressing are also professional and deserve your respect NOT because of that but because they are old enough to be your damned grandparents!"  I told him that one of my husband's teachers had been a frequent guest at our home but I would NEVER call him by his first name although he is less than 10 years older than us, he still is accorded the respect of being MISTER!

I asked him why he also kept saying their names repeatedly.  He said that was an old trick to be able to remember the names of people he'd just met.  I replied, "Oh, yes, I also know that trick, but you should have been saying Mister or Mrs."

I told him I felt sorry for him that he had been reared without learning to be respectful. He said that ALL young people are this way.  I said that was a gross generalization and that I would be willing to bet money that I had family members as young as he who would NEVER speak that way to older people.

He said, "They never said anything."  I answered, "Of course they wouldn't because the first rule of good manners is never to embarrass others."

I said, "Here's some advice:  HOW to know whether to call older people by their first names is when you say Mister of Mrs. and THEN those people tell you to call them by their first names;  that's when you have permission."

I found from consulting the internet that it is a common problem with young people.