Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Spring and Fall

to a young child

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

(Dis)Harmonies of the Universe

Cousin A and Cousin B play well with each other, as does Cousin A and Cousin C….but Cousin B and Cousin C in the same room together? Five minutes until the cat fight.

You love Friend B. You love Friend C. You love them so much, you just know an outing with Friend B and Friend C will increase the fun exponentially. After an afternoon of tap dancing between the two, you wonder what you saw in either one of them, and don’t even like yourself that much.

Today's True Story:

The socks, warm out of the dryer, are jumbled on the bed to be matched. They are fairly worn socks, and seem to have faded at different rates. Sock A doesn’t match Sock B, but Sock C looks like a perfect mate to either Sock A or B.

How does that (not) work?

Friday, November 16, 2007

City Life

17 years ago my husband took a job in Louisville, Kentucky. I planned to follow him in two months, thank goodness, because after a week he discovered Louisville (cars! people! traffic!) was not for him. He came home.

For years after that every time I had to wait briefly behind a car parked in the middle of a downtown street while its driver popped into the local bank to do a little business, I said thank you, Jesus.

Except for the UPS truck, I haven’t noticed any middle-of-the-road parking lately. Our little town has grown. Even so, traffic is rarely snarled. Still, even here, jams can happen, as noted by this report from the most recent Board of Supervisor’s meeting:

Representatives from the Browning Civic League asked for a progress report on the county's efforts to get rid of hogs in the streets of Browning. Board president Robert Moore said the county would try to eliminate the problem and would be able to give a report at the board's next meeting on Nov. 26.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Secret: The Dark Side

Ellie told me that when she was young, her mother and stepdad decided a pet would give her something to love and would also teach her responsibility. Without asking her, they bought her a hamster. Ellie hated the hamster. It smelled bad, wasn’t at all cuddly, and she had to clean the cage every day, which sometimes she forgot to do, and then she would get in trouble. Every night she wished that hamster would die. One night she went to bed, hating the hamster as usual. “I really wished the hamster would die,” she told me, “and I could feel it, here.” She was holding her stomach and laughing. The next morning: stone cold dead hamster.

Years later her friend Tandy was going though an unpleasant divorce that was dragging on. Each day Tandy came to work with a new injustice to complain about. The day came when Tandy ran through her litany of grievances and then said, “I wish he would just disappear.”

“Maybe," Ellie said, “but you're not feeling it.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The (Real) Secret

It's never to late to change your mind.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blind Belief

she: I haven't been able to find the digital camera. I decided to look in the cabinet for the umpteenth time before I took on the trashed-out room upstairs. I took out the box in the front. I took out the box. I. took. out. the. box.


she: the camera box. In the front of the cabinet. The camera wasn’t just chunked in the cabinet. It was in the box. The camera box. Where it’s been the whole time…

He: …violating your principles of organization.

Monday, November 12, 2007

LIFE: H6w Many T5mes Is It Just This Easy? EASY????

Today the dog ran across my key board. Don’t tell me this hasn’t happened to you. A couple of boxes opened on my screen and I did what my computer genius always tells me to do. I x-ed out of them. I didn’t even read them. When I began typing again, my o’s appeared as 6s on the screen. A gh6st had taken 6ver my computer. I carried the lapt6p t6 my c6mputer genius. Take my word that he is a very smart man. He discovered k’s were 2s and i’s were 5s. An evil, ev5l gh6st was in the machine. I finally understood my friend’s high-maintenance daughter. I wanted to run thr6ugh the house, screaming and pull5ng at my hair. Instead I hid out upstairs. My computer genius opened up a screen keyboard, and went exploring. After some length of time, he told me he had fixed my problem, though he was a bit chagrined about saving the day.

You already guessed it, didn’t you? The dog had pressed the Num Lk key.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Face Value

she: I don't know why dogs will eat food off the floor better than they'll eat the same food out of a bowl.

he: Nor will you ever.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Terms of Engagement

The dogs tie one on over the food bowl.

Me, legging my foot into the fray: We don't want any fighting around here.

The dogs separate.

He: The 1st Rule of Fight Club--make sure the referee isn't around.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Better Living Through Chemistry, Modern Angst, or I Think They Have Medication For This

Did you know you can use dishwasher detergent to take stains out of clothes? You have to be careful, because it can leave little white spots on your apparal. Bleach, I think.

So if you use liquid drain opener (who knows what is in that) in your drain, and later you open your dishwasher and there is a bit of fluid in the bottom of the dishwasher, and you know water from the drain can backflow into the dishwasher, if you decide to wash the dishes will the liquid drain opener and the dishwasher detergent combine to form a toxic gas THAT WILL KILL EVERY LIVING THING IN THE HOUSE?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Right Tool For The Job

My day job is cooking and cleaning the house...but let's not go there, too many historical discussions for today. Mr. K leaves for work at 6 a.m., and is home for lunch at 12:00 noon on the dot...unless it's five minutes earlier. Lunch is our big meal of the day.

Morning is my best (maybe the only) time for thinking, thus trying to write. Or doing anything else for that matter. So mostly I try to write. Wait a minute, I've gotta check my email.

Blasted internet.

Oh. At any rate, lunch is the onliest job I feel I have to do, and on a regular schedule, at that. Actually it is the only job I do on a regular schedule. You haven't read my startling and insightful first novel yet, have you? See what I mean?

When I try to write and cook at the same time, it doesn't always work out so well for the lunch part.

Today I am cooking peas in the crockpot. Now I am home and I can cook peas on the stove top in much less time. Why am I using the crockpot?


Now, please excuse me, those lucid morning hours are flying past.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


We recently swapped brands of dog food, and we got several cases where the cans were bent, which was bad enough, but what I really hated was when the can lid would not open all the way. These cans often had blips where the can opener skipped two places, on OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE LID. When that happened the lid would not detach, and you could destroy the tines on a whole set of forks futilely trying to pry one side loose. The lid would only open like it was hinged, half of it digging into the dog food, half of it up like a protruding, up-side-down guillotine blade. Then you had a space of say, oh, an inch and a half to wrestle out dog food that was four inches deep in the can, trying to avoid sharp, slicey edges that would slit your knuckles and remove ounces of your flesh from your hand, all the while flinging hunks of wet dog food everywhere. What should have taken three minutes could gobble up at least twenty minutes of your time, but only if you didn’t count scrubbing the kitchen walls or the trip to the emergency room.

When I complained to my vet, he made good on the bent cans of dog food. Even better, he showed me the safe-edge can opener he had just started using this year. He liked it so much, he got one for his house.

Folks, I know this is twentieth century technology, but I live in a small town and do not like to shop. Plus I just do most things like I did them yesterday, and so replaced a defunct opener with another just like it, but new. I had not tried this new fangled gadget. I immediately rushed out and bought this one:

The blade fits against the can and disconnects the whole top, rim and all. No sharp edges. It’s worked every time on every can, though I did have to have a little seminar to teach Mr. K how to use it.

And here’s the deal. Every time I use this can opener, I am solaced and coddled. I am happy. Really happy. Would every time I open a frigging can make me so happy now if it had not been so hard in the past?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reality: 21st Century

Remember that great old 7th grade science conundrum? If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make any sound?

After plunging even more deeply into the Giant Forest of the Blogosphere during this NaBloPoMo month, I must wonder:

If you live your life and nobody snaps a picture and posts about it on the web, are you really alive?

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Stove, She Is Dead

Repair Guy says she is even older than he suspected.

A moment of silence.

Mrs. Scartissue's Diary of Housekeeping

Repair guy is coming today. I washed the stove down and mopped the floor. Then I remembered…there is a back-of-the-stove. Opps. We got this stove in 1994. I am sure in 13 years I’ve cleaned behind it, but if I did, it was so long ago, I had forgotten it could be done. If this were last week, I would have some really creepy Halloween decorations.

A'hem...Here Is My Great New Badge


Sunday, November 4, 2007


After the stove-top biscuits, I talked to my appliance repairman, making sure it’s in our best financial interest to have him make a service call for a gas stove that’s at least twenty-years-old. Try lighting the pilot with a match, he said. I tried. It worked, and so the non-lighting pilot is easily repairable and the stove still serviceable.

Here’s the deal. I could have made the biscuits in twenty minutes in the stove, after all, by lighting the pilot on my own. 45 minute biscuits on top of the stove: genius or lack of imagination?

At any rate, I do have the gas stove and apparently will have for a while. If the electricity goes out I can light my stove eyes with a match, but cannot light the pilot on the oven (the oven needs the click click click that only electric juice can provide)….so, if we have an ice storm or wind damage to the electrical lines, I CAN MAKE BISCUITS ON THE STOVE EYE.

So maybe the slow biscuits are merely experience, which often looks like genius to the uninitiated.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Will and Way

Saturday is Mexican Restaurant Day. I don’t cook lunch, and we dine in the late afternoon, so sometimes I like to cook breakfast. Today I was willing to make (and clean up after) biscuits. I got the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt out of the pantry. I took down my big blue bowl from its shelf. I turned the dial on the oven…click, click, click, click, oh yeah, I remember, something’s crinked with the pilot ignition on my twenty-year-old gas stove, click, click, click. No oven.

We do have McDonald’s and Burger King, but sometimes Mr. K gets massive indigestion if he eats their biscuits…we suspect a confluence of his allergy to anything with a brain stem and lard. Fast food was out, but I still wanted biscuits, so:

I stacked two of those little pan grates (you know, the ones over the gas stove eyes that pans sit on…do they have a name?) over a stove eye and greased an iron skillet. I made my biscuits thinking this could be one of those episodes that resulted in no food, a messy kitchen, and other horrors I had not imagined or I would not have even started this process…in other words, a genuine learning experience. But I WANTED BISCUITS. Actually, a biscuit, but you can never make just one.

I spent the next forty-five minutes stacking and unstacking skillets (I used a lid on the biscuit skillet) on the stacked grates. Cooking in the oven takes about 20 minutes. Eventually, voila, hot, fluffy biscuits. Only the center one had a burned bottom, and that was because I had gotten impatient and unstacked when I should have left stacked.

Biscuits, with a soysage and an egg, and we had happy Saturday breakfast.

“A cooking genius,” Mr. K crowed.

Sometimes what looks like genius to others is just a desire for something and the willingness to risk making a big fat mess in order to get it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

This Is So Not My Century: the credit card

Lucky for me, I have a few 20th Century survival skills. I’m not talking about canning my own food, writing with pen and paper or playing solitaire with actual cards…I’m talking about being proficient with the telephone.

Take for instance the saga of our credit cards. We have an old account that we’ve used since the company offered us a secure computer-use card that it later upgraded to an everywhere card, along with a cash-back program. Recently the same company came out with a card with an even better rewards program, and my husband, computer savvy since the mid-eighties, opened the new account on-line. Our cards never arrived, though on Saturday our pin number was in the mailbox.

Tell them we haven’t received our cards, he told me, interrupting me while I was engaged in serious computer pursuits, either exploring the wild blogosphere or racing through the 3,000s in Free Cell.

I’ll call, I said. I reached for the phone.

You just don’t want to admit you’re computer inept, he said, relieving me of my computer and the burden of business.

He sent them a note explaining the situation with the new card.

On Monday he discovered our old faithful credit card had been canceled ‘for security reasons,’ which makes life somewhat problematic since we’ve gone all computer and credit card to transact financial exchanges.

I called. I talked to Heather. She told me our card had been canceled for security reasons, and new ones would be issued soon. She didn’t know anything about a new account. I called again. I talked to Rachel. She told me what Heather told me. She did say I could have new cards expressed mailed. I called again. I talked to John. He explained the bank wasn’t changing our accounts, just the numbers, and he also changed the numbers on the new, missing cards, and said all of the newly numbered cards would be here in seven to ten days. He could indeed express mail my card from the old account with the new number, but Mr. K would have to request express mail for his card. Fat chance. Mr. K’s telephonically inept.

On Thursday, Mr. K discovered that charges on the closed account (or closed number) showed up after the account was closed, and that we were double charged for those items. Now I had the opportunity to make friends in India, who were very polite and called me m’am. If they had lived nearer to us, I might have invited them to supper, since I’ve also retained the 20th century skill of cooking at home.

With several strokes of the keyboard on Saturday, Mr. K had created chaos in our calm little household, and given me the opportunity to make new friends at our credit card bank through-out the next week. You might ask if Mr. K and the bank created this problem, why wouldn’t Mr. K be the one to fix it? How 21st century of you. If Mr. K learned to talk on the phone, he might expect me hone my computer skills, and I’m so busy preserving the past, frankly, my dear, I just don’t have time. Do you know they have a million games of Free Cell now? This just might be my century after all.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

This Is So Not My Century

so, I got this picture (is that an avatar?) on my profile...but my profile does not show up on my blog(s).

so, I signed up for NaBloPoMO, but...how do I direct folks here, to my blog, and also get my cute button?

and I gotta wash the dishes.

this does, too, count for a post.

POSTDATE: I DID IT!!!! Now off to learn rocket sciencetry.
Hint for the day: My Learning Process
Try, fail, try, fail, call your friends, get them confused, try, fail, wring your hands, whine a lot, try again, call you friends again, get them more confused, try, succeed...Wait...that worked???!!!! oh, those dishes....
and stay tuned tomorrow for the credit card embraglio.
and why did my enter bar quit working in the middle of this post?

Hey...I fixed the double space deal by looking at the html. Imagine that. Rocket sciencetry here I comeeeeeeeeeeee