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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stuffed...

According to my informal research while watching movies set in the 1950s, "Go stuff your bra" was a major insult at the time. It was a reference to someone's lack of body development. (If only they knew that as of 2014 many Hollywood types have had their implants removed and a smaller size up top is considered chic. But let's get back to the topic at hand. I run a G-rated or sometimes PG blog here and I don't want to shock you awake from your turkey coma by discussing boobs so early in the morning. And you thought a post entitled "Stuffed" would be about post-Thanksgiving full stomachs. Fooled you again!!!) Anyway, the bra-stuffing punch line led me to consider how I sometimes throw things into my sports bra, which gives a whole new meaning to stuffing a bra.




Women's clothes often do not include pockets. (Men's clothes always have pockets.) Maybe fashion designers assume women will carry a purse large enough to house anything and everything she might need (and whatever her dog, boyfriend, kids, family, friends and strangers might need on a given day, too). So pockets in women's clothes apparently are deemed unnecessary. I agree about the purse assumption. My purse is chock-full of the necessities, plus lots of other items for "just in case" scenarios. But there are times when I don't carry my purse. If these times coincide with times I'm wearing pocketless pants or shorts, what's a gal to do? I'll tell ya.

Every day I walk for exercise. I don't bring my purse and my shorts have no pockets. It's freeing not to have to lug a giant purse but still, I might need a few things while I'm out. If I'm walking for exercise I'm wearing a sports bra, which can house a few small items in addition to housing the parts it is designed to hold in and up. The elastic around the bottom of the sports bra ensures that things won't fall out. They stay just where you put them and are easy to find, unlike when I dig around in my purse, wondering if it has a trap door where my keys are hiding.

This bra-stuffing idea first occurred to me over the summer while I was at the beach with the kids. We chose a few special shells to bring home with us. Not planning ahead, I didn't have a bucket with us and I wasn't clutching my purse as I stood calf-deep in water. What to do if you don't have pockets? Stuff your bra, of course!

(I actually think this concept has been germinating in my brain for years, ever since I learned that in Spanish, the words for "purse" and "pocket" are the same: bolsa, which means bag. And a pocket really is a small bag, one that happens to be attached to your pants, so this is all quite logical.)

Anyway, a sports bra can hold quite a bit without anyone knowing anything unexpected is in there. I have tossed in lip balm, money, my driver's license, keys, tissues and shells. There are limits, of course. Let's say you need both your hands to push a stroller or hold your phone while walking your dog--I don't advise sticking your umbrella in your bra. No, I'm not concerned about weird stares you'd get by having an arrow shape pointing off your chest. I'm concerned only that the elastic in your sports bra would be stretched out to the point of no return if an umbrella were kept in there. And then you'd have to go buy a new sports bra and you'd be mad at me for telling you the old one could hold an umbrella which led to your needing to buy a new bra. I'd feel badly and I'd feel compelled to accompany you around for a while, holding your umbrella for you, just to redeem myself. And I've got things to do. So please, just believe me now--don't put the umbrella in there. We'll all be happier.

But lots of small things can fit in a bra. I think it makes excellent sense and since you're probably already feeling like you have too much to carry and do (simultaneously), just do what I do. Stuff that bra. Bras may not be a new invention, but carrying things in them is going to be the big new trend once word hits the street. Purses won't go the way of the dinosaur but it's nice to have an alternative for the times when you don't want to lug your bag.

Bras: the latest hands-free device. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

We are Thankful...


Recently I won an important argument. Yes, I’ll share details. It went like this:

Fun me: I should make a Thanksgiving banner to hang out front. Thanksgiving doesn’t get enough attention as far as decorations. It’s squeezed in between Halloween and Christmas and people don’t decorate for it. (It could be that they’re waking up at 2am on Thanksgiving to start cooking and they don’t have time to decorate. This is not me, by the way. 2am is sleep time.) But really, think about it. People decorate for Halloween. People decorate for Christmas. Thanksgiving? Not so much.

Responsible me: Decorating is fun, yes. But there is plenty of cleaning to do around here. Boring chores galore. I don’t think making a banner is urgent. That pile of dishes is almost touching the ceiling.

Fun me: Yawn, yawn. Dishes and chores can wait. After all, they have been ignored around here plenty of times and it’s not like they threw down their dirty dish cloth and screamed, “I’m out of here!” (Actually that would be welcomed. If chores simply left because I was ignoring them it would help me out…)

Responsible me: Is this just an excuse for you to ignore chores and do something you like?

Fun me: (shocked) I am so misunderstood! It is not about my selfish preference to make art. I am being selfless, thinking only about how ignored Thanksgiving must feel.

Responsible me: This isn’t procrastination?

Fun me: You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Responsible me: You swear you’re going to do the dishes later?

Fun me: I made no such promise. And shhhhhh. I’m trying to brainstorm designs for this banner.

Responsible me: I give up. There’s no point in arguing with you. You win. Get your craft on.

Fun me: I’m so glad you’ve decided to be reasonable about this. You’ll love my banner!

Responsible me: Yeah sure, fine, whatever. I have to go to bed. You’ve given me a headache…

Fun me: No problem. I’ll stay up and get stuff done while you sleep…Now where’s my hot glue gun?
 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Animal Behavior


If you read my recent post about the Isetta (what do I mean “if?” Of course you did! And you loved it, too!), you will recall my mentioning the illustrator Richard Scarry. Maybe I’ll call this Scarry Week here on my blog, because I’m about to mention him again. (Note the extra “r” in his name. Scary week—with one "r"—was Halloween week. This is different…)

Scarry illustrated many children’s books (more than three hundred). Some illustrations were playful and cartoony, but his talent went beyond cartoons. He painted beautifully and realistically, which you see in illustrations like this, from I am a Bunny:

 

I like Scarry’s illustrations of fall from his book Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever (yep, that’s the whole title):


We don’t burn leaves like this now, but why haggle over details? Look how charming it is to see the bear rake leaves:


I think bears get too much of a bad rap. Everyone warns that they’ll break your car windows to get your picnic basket (pick-a-nick basket if we’re talking about Yogi Bear). But in some parts of the world, as Scarry has shown, bears are responsible creatures that rake their own leaves and even wear clothes when it gets extra cold. That hibernation story must be an urban legend…


And check out the turkey:

 
He seems like a very competent driver. Both wings are on the steering wheel. No texting and driving for that turkey…

I know I’m not the first person ever to say this, but we can learn a lot from our animal friends...

Monday, November 24, 2014

And The Green Plants Grew All Around, All Around, And the Green Plants Grew All Around


(Well, that’s the longest title I’ve ever given to a post! If you don’t know the song I was referencing it's a classic folk song, “The Green Grass Grew…” and you must check it out online.)
 
You’ve probably been on the edge of your seat, wondering why I haven't blogged about the community garden lately.
 
You see, I’ve wanted to make sure you were good and ready for an update. If I yap about it every day, you wouldn’t be as excited by the updates. Plus, I’ve been a little busy. The school year is a non-stop sprint when you have school-aged kids!
 
So let's back up a minute. Over the summer we expanded our community garden. Some of the new garden beds are growing with major gusto. Here are a few photos of some of the beds. I’m not always sure what’s growing in them (as in the photo below) but I still find it exciting to watch things grow:
 
 
Since I haven’t been at the garden as much in the last few months, I notice major change when I do pop in to see what’s growing.
 



 
This weekend I spent some time in the garden. It was a beautiful day: not hot, not cold—just right. Butterflies and hummingbirds meandered through while I was visiting. People wandered in and we chatted. Radios blared from the street a few feet away. The siren wailed from the fire station. But even noises like that don’t disrupt the serenity I feel at the garden. All the sounds blended into a vibrant soundtrack and I felt happy and alive while I was there. It feels like a modern day town square, the crossroads of a neighborhood, filled with activity. But it’s also a harmonious place where you can just be. Somehow the garden is simultaneously humming busily and breathing peacefully. 

Because it is Thanksgiving week here in America, let me say that I am so thankful for this garden…I give my garden bed water, the rare haircut and occasionally I dig some coffee grounds into the soil. I give it some care, but it gives me back so much more. And I am grateful for what it brings to my life…

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Isetta and Drive-a


(The first draft of this post was written on Nov. 23, 2011; It finally was posted on my blog on Nov. 23, 2014. Three years later. I feel a little silly that it sat unfinished for that long. It’s true that I get all gung ho starting projects and that I sometimes don’t finish them. Three years seems like a long time to let this post marinate. Of course not when I compare it to the age of our planet…)

 
‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving,

with much cleaning to do,

but Sarah was gazing online

at cars that looked like shoes.


 
It’s true. Thanksgiving (2011) is tomorrow and I do have tons of cleaning to do before people come over. But I’m procrastinating. I mean, I’m doing important research on my blog post about the Isetta. Do you know it? It’s a teeny, three-wheeled car from the 1950s and 60s. I love things from this era and this is no exception.



 

Before I go any further, allow me to do a mini Italian lesson. (I used to be fairly fluent in Italian and I studied there when I was twenty-one.) Please pronounce it like this: EEE-set-tuh. Not, I repeat not, like this: EYE-set-tuh. In Italian the “I” has an “eeeee” sound. When you start sharing facts about the Isetta with your friends, you want to pronounce this correctly, right? (On a related note, Iran and Iraq are not pronounced “EYE-ran” and “EYE-rack.” Talk to any person from Iran or Iraq and listen to how they pronounce it!)


My mom likened the Isetta to the cars Richard Scarry drew, which is right-on! Here are two of Scarry’s illustrations that remind me a lot of the Isetta:

  






 
 
 

(The photo above must have been a later incarnation, with four wheels. But its top remains mostly glass, like the earliest models, and like Scarry's illustrations.)
 
Of course, Scarry illustrated books in the 1960s, and Isettas are from that time period so the similarity makes sense. My appreciation for items from that time period comes from the rounded shapes used in a lot of designs from the ‘50s and ‘60s, from toasters to cars. Compared with cars of today, ‘60s cars had a lot of glass and chrome, rounded edges, and a more playful, less boxy look.

Isettas are were not the only microcars developed in the 1950s and 60s. (Microcars are exactly what they sound like: cars that look like they were shrunk in the hot water cycle.) Microcars were developed in Europe after World War II, when small vehicles were in demand because of their fuel efficiency. But today I’m focusing on the Isetta. Their small size (only 7.5 ft long by 4.5 ft wide) and unusual design make Isettas intriguing. But what really fascinated me about Isettas was that they opened at the front, like a refrigerator. An Italian company named Iso SpA, which built refrigerators and motor scooters, made its first foray into car design in 1955. Their engineers decided to use elements of what they already made, and when they combined an engine from their scooters and a door from their refrigerators, the Isetta was born. (Oh, how I love this charming backstory!)

 
Isettas were known as bubble cars because of their curved body style and almost all-glass tops. There are other bubble cars, including the one, below: 
 
 

In the 1950s Isettas were built in various countries including Spain, Germany, France, Great Britain, Belgium, and Brazil. In 1954, the French company VELAM acquired a licence from Iso to make a car based on the Isetta. Iso had sold the body making equipment to BMW, so VELAM developed their own body but used the original Iso engine. The VELAM body was rounder and more egg-like than Iso's Isetta.

 


In 1955, Iso licensed the Isetta to Romi, a Brazilian company. With each new manufacturer, the body style changed slightly. Some companies chose to elongate the car so that more people could fit into it. Other companies made their microcars pointy or squarish. But for me, the original Isetta design wins in cuteness and originality.


In 1962 manufacturing of the Isetta was stopped. Among other factors, competition from the VW Beetle and Fiat created less demand for the Isetta. The Isetta’s seven year ride was short but this unusual car has not been forgotten. Today small cars are in demand due to fuel prices and a growing concern about the environment. Fuel-efficient cars, electric cars and hybrids are popular. I’d like to think that the Smart Car has picked up where the Isetta left off. It’s small, it’s very different-looking and it’s fuel-efficient. Did I mention cute? (No, I don’t drive one, nor do I work for Smart Car!)


I’m a good driver but I don’t understand much about how car engines work. I am convinced a really fast hamster is running through a wheel under the hood to power my car. Even if I know very little about how cars work, I’m intrigued by the design of cars from the 50s and 60s. Cars had such unusual design features back then: exaggerated lines and curves and true personality. And some had really fun, pointy tail fins!


This is only somewhat related to our chat about the Isetta, but I did spot a tuk-tuk on the streets of San Diego a few years back. It too is three-wheeled, small and efficient. I was shocked to see it!




That’s why I’m keeping my eyes peeled, people. I’m always on the lookout for something unusual and I feel it’s my calling to share my observations and photos with you. Fear not: this won’t be my last post about vintage cars or unusual sights. I’m on it…
 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Til We Meet Again...


A little more than a month ago I wrote a serious essay about death and life. Although I planned to post it immediately, I didn’t. Instead I let it sit for a while until I felt ready to post it. Here’s what I wrote:

Mostly my blog is a collection of funny (true) stories and craft projects but sometimes life serves up something very serious and I feel a need to work it out in my blog. Why talk about death in a blog? Is it too personal of a subject? In some ways, yes. But it’s also a universal theme. Instead of avoiding something that we all witness and mourn, maybe we can share experiences and be supportive of one another because we all go through this.

This fall three people I knew died within eight weeks. That is a lot. Life and death are on my mind these days. In late August we learned that our former neighbor John passed away. We’d lived across the street from John for nine years before he had to move to assisted living. He was the neighbor who inspired me to be a great neighbor. The second time I ever spoke with John was on a Wednesday, trash day, and he was bringing trash cans up the driveway after collection. He was doing this for the entire block. John did this every Wednesday. It was his way of being a good neighbor. That stuck with me. He did this for years before his health worsened. Nearly two years ago John moved to assisted living. He was in his eighties and his body and brain were not in prime shape anymore. So his death was not a complete shock but it was still sad. We went to John’s memorial service to support his kids, whom we know. He was a wonderful neighbor and I feel grateful to have known him.

The second death this fall was the hardest. My husband’s godson Keil died in late September, after a nearly four year battle against bone cancer. He was only twenty-two and his youth makes his death so hard to try to accept and understand. The cancer started in his knee. At age nineteen he had most of his leg removed. There were lots of stays in the hospital. The cancer spread. He had surgeries. Yet things seemed to be looking up even a few months ago, and this gave us a false sense of hope. But cancer is a sneaky creature and it quietly crept into Keil’s abdomen. They tried again to treat it but it was too late. In September we learned that Keil had only a few weeks to live and we made reservations to fly up to see him. When Keil took a turn for the worse a few days later, Hubby made a last-minute trip to see him. We didn’t know whether Keil would live long enough for us to use the tickets we’d bought to see him the following week. But he did. That kid was a fighter. It was awful to see him in a bed in a hospice facility, medicated and unconscious. But we also cherished the chance to see him one last time. We held his hands and talked to him about all kinds of things, telling him our favorite memories from his childhood. We had hours with him that day, and late that night we told him we’d return the next morning. But he passed away overnight. Somehow I was shocked. A living, breathing, warm-handed young man with soft hair and a pulse was now dead. We were so grateful that we were there to support him on his last day. His family is coping as well as they can. They are surrounded by many friends and family members.

We flew into town for Keil’s memorial service. There were lots of tears. This young man did not live as long as he deserved. In this country, where we have excellent medical care, it’s easy to assume we will have many decades of life. At first it felt impossible to accept the unfairness of it all. But it’s slowly sinking in. And the memorial service seemed to help many of us to heal a little bit. There’s no way to wrap up this loss with a bow and make it okay. But I see moments of catharsis. Keil’s younger sister spoke about her brother during the service. She shared funny memories, and everyone laughed. There’s some healing in laughter. It helped us to remember Keil’s humor. His friends spoke at the reception, telling amusing tales about Keil. It was so moving to listen to a bunch of 22-year-olds pay tribute to their friend, a guy who made them feel more comfortable in their own skin, who made them see that they were okay, human warts and all. I marveled at the maturity of Keil’s friends, who visited him in hospice. I don’t know if I would have been able to handle seeing a peer so close to death when I was twenty-two. But his friends visited, again and again. That alone shows the kind of impact Keil had in his short life. He deserved a longer stay here but in the time he had, Keil brought laughter to those around him, and made a difference to people.

Keil’s final battle shared the same timeline as my great aunt Kay’s last weeks. She’s the extraordinary woman who celebrated her 104th birthday this August, which my daughter and I attended in Canada. In the weeks after Kay’s birthday, I received emails from her daughter about her health. There were some medical concerns and at one point she was eating only a little each day. Some emails suggested there were only a few days left, but at one point her doctors predicted she’d make it into the new year. Ironically, as I stepped out of the church after Keil’s memorial service, I received an email with the news that Kay had passed away in her sleep that morning. The timing of the news felt significant, as Keil and Kay both began their final laps at the same time. I felt sad that she had passed, but this felt different from the horror of Keil’s passing. The contrast struck me again and again: Keil’s life was unfairly cut short, while Kay’s life was exceptionally long. Both people have inspired me in different ways.

I’m still grappling with all this. It takes time to make peace with someone’s passing. It’s easier to accept death if it happens to someone who had a long, happy life, like John and Kay did. It’s different coming to terms with someone whose life was cut short. But going to Keil’s memorial service helped me, and it appeared to help the others who came to honor him. Keil’s parents, sister and other family members seemed to find comfort in being around others who love and miss him, and in laughing about the funny times and the good memories. And it is cliché, but it did remind me to be present, to treasure the moments and the connections with people. It reminds me to call those I love and to tell people when they inspire me.

Keil’s untimely death led his friends to become closer at the end. They’ll miss him, always. But as I told one young man at the reception, he will make other close friends in his life because he has felt how important it is to connect with others. This young man will be a true friend to others and will have other good friends in his life. It’s awful when we lose someone but attachment to others is part of what makes us human, and part of what it means to live a meaningful life. I’ll miss John, Keil and Kay, but I feel so fortunate to have known them all…                                                                                  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Twister Dress


 


Have you played Twister lately? For me it’s been a long, long time. In fact, this game was completely off my radar until last fall, when I saw some kids playing Twister at a party. If it’s been a while, let me refresh your memory: Twister is the game that asks you to weave your body into a knot as you simultaneously put your hands and feet on different colored circles. I took one look at the Twister floor mat and decided I wanted to make a dress inspired by the game. I decided I’d use the bright colors used in the game against a white background so they colors would really pop.

Here is my initial sketch:


This is a photo of my creation in progress:



And here it is, finished:



It took a left turn at some point and veered a bit from my initial design. But then again, initial designs are not carved in stone. They are a jumping-off point and if you come up with a more creative idea after the initial sketch, that’s great.

I used hundreds of plastic buttons and hot glue to transform an ordinary white sundress (thrifted) into the magic you see here.

In case you haven’t been into a craft or fabric store lately, you’d be amazed at how many delightful buttons there are: many shapes, colors, sizes and designs. I am not the first person to put buttons onto clothes as decoration. But I think it’s a fun idea and an imaginative way to bring color and pattern to clothes. I’m here to put the fun into the function of buttons.  

I love wearing something that involves an unexpected element and hundreds of buttons seem to qualify as unexpected. This dress also scratches my itch to use lots of color.

Let me know if any of your clothes could use a little more button pizazz. My hot glue gun is ready!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Special Delivery


Earlier this year I discovered a piece of the past that has loads of charm and a good back story. That’s all it takes to pique my curiosity.

Have you ever heard of Mailsters? Officially called Westcoaster Mailsters. They were three-wheeled vehicles used for mail delivery in the USA in the 1950s and 60s.

I discovered these darling little cars quite by accident while in a post office I’d never been in before. (As you may know, this is how I find many blog topics: by stumbling upon something intriguing.)

This model was from 1966, after various modifications to the original design had been made:


 
I love the design of anything from the 1950s and 60s: the rounded corners of things made in that decade make everything look friendlier. There’s something so charming about the design itself. It looks like an adorable toy! It reminds me a bit of another vehicle that has fascinated me for years: the Isetta. (I actually once drafted a blog post on the darling Isetta but it’s been on back burner for a while. Three years, if we want to split hairs. I’ve been a little busy…Perhaps this post will kick me into gear on the Isetta post!)

Like most inventions, the Mailster was created in order to save effort and time, and therefore money. Some carriers rode bicycles to deliver mail but most walked. By driving Mailsters, which could carry 500 pounds of mail, postal carriers could cover more ground in less time than they could on foot. In their heyday (1966) there were approximately 17,700 Mailsters in use.

Below is a photo of a 1955 Mailster, before they were designed with doors:

 
Although it looks like a large toy, the Mailster could travel as fast as 35 miles per hour. Drawbacks to the design included the fact that it only took three inches of snow to render the vehicles unusable. Another issue was the Mailster’s likelihood of tipping over if it rounded a corner too quickly. One carrier even complained that a large dog tipped over his Mailster (the dog must have shared my take that this was a toy). Eventually Jeeps replaced Mailsters because the US Postal Department needed reliable vehicles. I get that. But for the fun factor, I cast my vote with Mailsters.

 

Doppelganger Strikes Again



I think it takes a certain amount of guts (or insanity?) to take photos of oneself within a minute of getting out of bed and voluntarily post them online. So let me pat myself of my brave back. Either that or I’m a slave to comedy, willing to show the world my least flattering photos, all in the name of a laugh…Might be both.

Anyway, I awoke this morning and glanced in the mirror and suddenly I saw Conan O’Brien staring back at me from the mirror. Was I still dreaming? No. I was awake, noticing that Conan and I are twins!


 


 
(If you’d like to create your own Conan moment at home, put a little mousse in your hair and wear it all day and then go to bed without washing your hair. You may wake up with your very own Conan hairdo! I can’t guarantee that your resemblance to him will be quite as astonishing as mine (she says modestly), because you may not have Conan’s and my freckles. He and I both have Irish heritage and you can’t manufacture that with a little hair product. Of course, the similarities end there. I think he’s seven feet tall or something. I am not. He is a man and I am not. He gets paid a trillion dollars a second to entertain people on tv. I love to make you people laugh—for free! But this morning, for a few minutes, we were twins, and I’ll just savor that for a while…)

Realizing that my hair had a lot of potential for fun this morning, I gave it a bit of a shake and came up with this, my impression of Little Miss Muffet, who was scared by the spider:

illustration by Mark. A Hicks








 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

With a little sculpting my hair morphed yet again. I  call it The Smurf:




 
 













And last, but definitely not least, is Conan’s impression of my impression of a smurf…




Enjoy, folks!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Questions? Yes. Answer? Not so much!


The letter Q may be a little underappreciated. Until now.

Earlier today I was scanning  the alphabetical list of all the blog posts I have written in the last (almost) six years. I had no posts whose titles started with K or Q. I remedied the lack of K titles. (V, X and Z were left out as well, but I’m only human and I don’t plan to write five posts today. It is Saturday, after all!) I’m all about the fairness so I am in the process of crafting four new blog posts, odes to four underused letters.

(Before I launch into what surely will be the most mind-blowing thing you will read today, let me pause and marvel at how many words exist that start with Q. I looked at a website that lists words for Scrabble games and there are a lot more words that start with Q than I realized. That having been said, how many do I really need? Some are ridiculously long and confusing and let’s face it—pompous—words that I don’t need to use. Simple is sometimes best. So I’ve pared down the hundreds of words I found to a few that are useful and interesting and in a few cases, amusing. (At least that’s my goal.) Below are some words that start with Q (not in alphabetical order). Feel free to add them to conversation, just for kicks:

Thoughts on the letter Q.

And its sidekick, u.

Don’t even try to write a word in English that starts with Q, unless you invite its best friend U along.

Quagga (the extinct animal I did a report on in 6th grade. It was related to the zebra. It’s kind of amazing to realize what I remember from nearly 30 years ago. Sadly, I have very little use for this information and I gladly would trade my ability to remember the quagga for the elusive ability to remember what I walked into the other room to get. If any scientists or hypnotists out there can do something to my brain and can swap out quagga for something more useful, please submit a comment and I will get back to you right away about the swap. If I remember.)

Quotidian (daily)—Words that do not get quotidian airplay in my life: quarantine and quicksand. (Although as a child I saw quicksand in cartoons and feared that quicksand might be around every corner. It was dangerous--to be feared and avoided!)

Quinoa (a grain that has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years). It is healthy and has fiber and protein in it and goes with lots of foods. I find it bland. Very bland. Be sure to season it somehow.  Hubby ate it in great quantities a few years ago, which led to my teasing him about his quotidian obsession with quinoa, of quorse!)

Quiz (a short test, possibly involving less pressure than a full-length test, or its big sister An Exam—and if the quiz is given in Math class, it may involve q words like quotient, quantity, quadrilateral and quadruple. If you did not study you may find yourself in a quagmire (predicament).)

Loquatious (What one of my 7th grade teachers called me. Fancy word for chatty!) (True, this word does not start with Q but it gets an honorary mention because it is memorable and uses the Q.)

Quiet (something I am not.) See previous word.

Quarrel (old-fashioned-sounding word for fight. Verbal rather than physical. Therefore it lacks the previous word, quiet. Is it just me or are a lot of these Q words related to one another? Hmmm.)

Stacey Q (A singer I really liked when I was 13 in 1987. I’m sure you’ve noticed that things make a big impression on you when you are 13. You don’t like things--you LOVE them. That’s why I remember this all these years later.) *Stacey Q starts with S, not Q, but she gets an honorable mention because how many people have Q as their initial, even if it is a stage name? This is a fun pop culture reference. Maybe you’ll use this information about Stacey Q while playing Trivial Pursuit one day. If it helps you win, remember me. If you feel compelled to send a thank you in the form of food, please remember that I like milk, not dark, chocolate.)

Quimby, Ramona (fearless heroine of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, which I LOVED as a child. Ramona put ears and whiskers on her Q so that it would look like a retreating cat. She always did things her own way, which I dig. Like the Q itself, she was unusual.)

If you don’t like quiche, you may feel queasy if pressured to eat it, and you may want to quell the queasiness with a quick quest for the pharmacy. Make a query about the availability of an anti-queasiness medicine. If they are sold out, play some Stacey Q music (see above reference) in a quiet room.

Quintessentializing—really? Now someone’s just showing off. This was in the Scrabble words list online. Has there ever been a Scrabble board with this 16-letter word formed upon it? I doubt it. Let’s keep to the words that we actually might use in conversation.

Queen, quote, quail, quaint, quartz, quad (six useful words beginning with Q. See dictionary if you need definitions. I’m getting tired of typing definitions. Quite tired!)

Quill (feather used with ink for writing before one of the best inventions ever was created: the Sharpie). Quills were sometimes used to write quatrains (a stanzas of four lines).

Quack (useful word with two definitions. In its verb form it is the noise a duck makes. In its noun form it means idiot pretender giving medical advice without any experience).

The Quintessential Dinah Washington (Quintessential meaning the best example.) This was an album my roommate played a lot nearly twenty years ago, which I grew to love.) She was a blues and jazz singer with a voice full of soul. One of my favorites of her songs is “Baby, You’ve Got What it Takes,” a duet with Brook Benton (1960), which reached the Billboard Hot 100. If you haven’t heard it, please finish this post then immediately go to YouTube and listen.

Now, I realize that not everyone on the planet cares to read blog posts that may come off as lists of words. Am I quixotic (too idealistic) in thinking you might find all this informative and amusing, too? (Obviously, I am not among those who dislike lists of words. Remember, I named myself Freckle Faced Word Woman when I started this blog. I LOVE words! We are so lucky that we have so many to use, to describe all the nuances in life.)

Well, I don’t know about you but all these tongue-twisting Q words have tired me out. I’m signing off to go have a quick rest. I wish you a quality day!

 

Kindness to K Day


And now for a Random Stuff moment: I have no blog titles that start with the letter “K.” I have been blogging for nearly six years. This post is #322. And never have I entitled a post with a word that starts with K? This madness must stop. Yep, today’s the day to celebrate “K.” (Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book. I’ll go with that.)
There are lots of good words that start with K.
I could recite them for you all of today.
Without K what would I call my knees?
And my piano would have no keys.
With no K there would be no Kewpie,
Kermit the frog or Kabuki.
There would be no kittens, kilts or kites,
We would have no knitting or kisses goodnight.
We’d miss out on the word “kerplunk,”
We’d have no ketchup in which fries could dunk.
No kind kangaroos could sing karaoke,
No boards in Karate would be broken.
With no K I couldn’t keep kebabs in my kitchen
And Kansas and Kentucky would go missing…
Radio stations west of the Mississippi would start with a blank
And what would you put in your kerosene tank?
With the keyboard I’d have no knack,
And nothing to put in my knapsack.
No kimonos, kachinas, kale, keys or knolls,
no kettles and kilowatts, and no Kaiser rolls.
We would have no koi and have no Kaftans.
K would be kaput all through the land.
This cannot be.
So I offer this plea:
Let’s celebrate our friend K
Starting today.
It took six years to start a blog with a K
But elegant, graceful K, today is your day.
Today is the day we honor the K!
 
 

 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happiness is...


...Meeting my baby nephew on Saturday. I'd thought of him every day for eight months, thinking positive thoughts for him, dreaming of the day we would meet the newest family member. We didn't know his gender until he was born. My sister and brother-in-law wanted the surprise, and so we took to methods other than the ultrasound machine to predict his gender. I used the tried and true method of gazing at my sister's adorable bump. She was carrying high, I decided, and with complete certainty I jotted a note, predicting the baby's gender. I sealed and kept the note in my wallet for more than three months, so that upon meeting the baby, I could produce my prediction with a flourish, and graciously accept people's compliments about my genius gender-prediction techniques. Well, I was wrong. The baby was not a girl but instead, a darling little boy with a dash of brown hair. It seems my gender-predicting career may need to be rethought. I'm 0 for 1. But it's all good. I knew that we would fall madly in love with the baby and that gender would have no bearing on our love. Mom predicted the baby would be a boy because he moved so much in utero. That method of analysis did not sway me, because when my mom was pregnant with my sister, my sister behaved like a break-dancing, Rockette-aspiring, head-spinning contortionist, and she was a girl.

When I got the message that a baby boy had been born overnight I did feel surprised because I was so certain that he was a girl. But within a second my surprise turned to absolute joy and I cried with happiness on the Friday morning he was born. It was one of the happiest days I've ever had, the day I learned that I have a baby nephew, perfectly healthy and strong and full of life and hope. Despite the tough time my poor sister had while growing their baby, the little guy is a champ. He's so tiny but he already has a huge place in my heart. His clothes look like doll clothes. His face is perfectly-formed. His tiny feet are the size of my thumb. He's amazing.

My sister and brother-in-law are such a good team. They are sharing the care of this tiny wonder, and they are exhausted, but they are hopelessly in love with this little guy.

I think I need another date with my sewing machine. After meeting my adorable nephew I need to get out some fabric and make a red cape because my new calling is to be Super Aunt to this beautiful, tiny but mighty, wonderful, super boy...