Friday, January 30, 2009


Yesterday, my primary care doctor gave me the results of all the tests they took last week. Apparently, I am disgustingly healthy for a woman of my age. The blood pressure is medicated to a reasonable level; the cholesteral is humming along at normal; the blood sugar is good.

Anything else, he asks me. Well, I've got this pain in my wrist that started in November when I took out the birdbath with the riding lawn mower.

So I got sent down to x-ray-not that they expect to find anything, but just in case. Monday, I call in to their automated line and get the results on that. Meanwhile, I'm to wear the wrist bracers—which I wear to ward off carpal tunnel—all the time. Make that as much time as is practical. I'm not about to wear them while showering, etc. Also, I get some heavy-duty meds for the pain (Celebrex) for the next couple of weeks.

Tomorrow, if Lloyd feels better, we will be on the road to Omaha. I'll try to remember to take the camera this time so I can take a few pictures.

The word of the day for January 30, 2009 is "healthy" — Pronunciation: \'hel-thē also 'helt-\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): health·i·er; health·i·est
Date: 1552
1: enjoying
health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit : well. 2: evincing health [a healthy complexion]. 3: conducive to health [walk three miles every day…a beastly bore, but healthy — G. S. Patton]. 4 a: prosperous , flourishing. b: not small or feeble : considerable.

Our quote for the day is from Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936), British author. Generally Speaking, “On Sentiment,” (1928):
It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam.



Monday, January 26, 2009

OX, and Happy Chinese New Year

Happy New Year of the Ox.

Took Speedy to the vet Saturday for his annual immunizations. He took it pretty well, but he does not like to take the heartworm medicine. It probably isn't necessary for Speedy to take the heartworm medicine year-round. Still, it's easier for me to remember to give it to him once a month without trying to remember if this is a month he doesn't need to take it. Besides, the medication keeps him from picking up other parasites as well. The flea and tick medicine is a liquid that absorbs through the skin. He's not so unhappy to get that, except he knows that he gets it the same time as he has to take the pill for the heartworm.

My quarterly physical is Thursday. I'm hoping that I will also get a clean bill of health. Then Lloyd and I have the dentist next month, and Lloyd to the podiatrist the month after. It's a never ending round. Not quite as cheerful as the monthly holidays we used to have at school. January was New Years; February, Valentine's and Presidents' Days; March, St. Patrick's Day; April, Spring and Easter; May, Mothers' Day; June, Graduation. As July was outside the school year, we didn't get Independence Day, but we celebrated all the same. August got no holiday, but is often depicted as a day on the seashore. September was Back to School; October, Halloween; November, Thanksgiving; December, Christmas (now the p.c. Winter Holidays). Now the greeting card companies are inventing holidays, and Congress keeps declaring this week as Pickle Week or National Internal Combustion Machine Day. The disadvantages of having so many celebrations is that they get lumped together like St. Ursula's 1100 virgins.

Practicing Hindus have so many gods to choose from, they apparently have the same trouble with holy days. I keep sending the fellows from InfoSys (who are from India and mostly nominal Hindus) holiday greetings for whatever pops up in BeliefNet. One of them wrote back to say that he never knows what holiday it is unless he happens to be off that day anyway.

The word of the day for January 26, 2009 is "ox" — Pronunciation: \'äks\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural ox·en \'äk-sən\ also ox
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English oxa; akin to Old High German ohso ox, Sanskrit ukṣā bull, and perhaps to Sanskrit ukṣati he moistens, Greek hygros wet — more at humor
Date: before 12th century
1: a domestic bovine mammal (Bos taurus) ; broadly : a bovine mammal. 2: an adult castrated male domestic ox.

Our quote for the day is from Jon Cleary, author, b: 22 November 1917, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, High Road to China:

The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.



Sunday, January 25, 2009


Wonderful things are brought to light when one is looking for something else. While digging out all the books in the house to catalog in LibraryThing, I have found the Eighth Grade grammar book I had thought lost forever. Plain English Handbook by J. Martyn and Anna Kathleen Walsh guided us lost and wistful, nearly-adult hopefuls through grammar and usage of the English language. With this book, if you write a coherent sentence, I can diagram it, and anyone with the least comprehension can understand what your sentence means. The collary to that is that if your sentence cannot be diagrammed, it is not coherent by definition.

Mrs. Deutsch taught us English with strict attention to composition and spelling. There were no exceptions to her rules. One did not chew gum, not even out in the hallway. She would collar you and drag you into her room to spit out the offending wad into the waste basket. As I have mentioned before, she would sing "Sixteen Tons" as she ambled up and down the aisles between desks during tests.

The word of the day for January 25, 2009 is "coherence" — Pronunciation: \kō-'hir-ən(t)s, -'her-\
Function: noun
Date: circa 1580
1: the quality or state of cohering: as a: systematic or logical connection or consistency. b: integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values. 2: the property of being
coherent [a plan that lacks coherence].

Our quotation is from Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), French essayist. “Of Friendship,” The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 28, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580):

What are these essays but grotesque and monstrous bodies, pieced together of different members, without any definite shape, without any order, coherence, or proportion, except they be accidental?



Thursday, January 22, 2009


Not that it's really any of my business, but what did Michelle Obama's Inauguration ballgown rejects look like? The one she wore is a lovely dress. Still, Mrs. O seemingly had a difficult time moving the train from under her feet. It didn't hamper her moves for long, though. It looked like she and President Obama enjoyed all the dancing and parties.

There will be many who deride Mrs. O for her fashion sense. Hey, we all can't be Jackie Kennedy, and thank goodness. From the many photos of Mrs. O taken during the campaign, she has solid middle-class sense of fashion. She probably heard my mother's fashion advice: Wear clothes tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady. Horizontal stripes will make anyone look fat. More than one pattern or texture look busy and detract from the wearer. Wear colors that minimize either a sallow or ruddy complexion.

The last time I dressed up for an event was Cybil and Ryan's wedding, a year ago October. The dressy pantsuit that I wore was comfortable, but the pretty shoes were not. I haven't worn heels higher than 1" since about 1990. It's suprising how much difference a half-inch makes.

The word of the day for January 22, 2009 is "fashionista" Pronunciation:
Function: noun
Etymology: 1

fashion + -ista (as in Sandinista)
Date: 1993
: a designer, promoter, or follower of the latest

Our quote for the day is from Gilda Radner (1946 - 1989):

I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My son-in-law tells me that he has been teaching my grandaughter to tell jokes. Apparently she hasn't quite gotten the hang of it. Part of this is probably because they didn't start with Why did the chicken...? No, this is what he started with:
Barack Obama, after his first full day of work, dismissed all his aides so he could finish a few loose ends and just sit and savor his new position. After a while, he got thirsty. He decided to go down to the White House kitchens rather than calling down and disturbing the staff from their well-earned rest. Once in the corridor, he saw that a soda machine had been installed just a few steps away from the door to the Oval Office. Immediately, he delved into his pockets for the wherewithal to get a Coca Cola.

He was appalled to find there was no change.

Perhaps this a bit subtle for a five year old. She has been telling this joke, but substituting George Washington for Barack Obama—both achronistic and surreal. I suppose I will have to call and teach her a few elephant jokes to counteract Ryan's nonsense.

The word of the day for January 20, 2009 is "inauguration" — Pronunciation: \-,nȯ-gyə-'rā-shən, -gə-\
Function: noun
Date: 1569
: an act of
inaugurating ; especially : a ceremonial induction into office.

Our quotation is from Robert Frost (1874–1963), U.S. poet, Reply to invitation from President-elect John F Kennedy, NY Times 15 Jan 61:
If you can bear at your age the honor of being made president of the United States, I ought to be able at my age to bear the honor of taking some part in your inauguration. I may not be equal to it but I can accept it for my cause—the arts, poetry—now for the first time taken into the affairs of statesmen.


Monday, January 19, 2009


Ryan and CybilCybil and Ryan came down from the KC area Friday stayed over night. They played with the dog, watched Batman cartoons (their choice) and went shopping with me Saturday morning.

No telling what Ryan wants Speedy to do here.

Actually, Cyb (she's my shopping enabler) and I went shopping while Lloyd napped and Ryan stayed at the house and worked on a new D&D scenario for their gaming group. I bought her a cast-iron skillet and a laser toy for their cat.

Lloyd had gone for a checkup by his Primary Care physician Friday morning. Although he got a good report, he was very morose because I had driven him in my car instead of his. He thinks I am lording it over him because he can't find the keys to his car. Well, I put them away for good reason. His driving skills are deteriorating from lack of use as well as the Alzheimer's. The last time he drove, my teeth were on edge the whole time.

Anyway, we went out to Riverside Park late Sunday afternoon - in his car (but he asked if I would drive, so I said "Sure"). That seemed to make him happy. He agreed that he would wait for the weekend to go to Omaha to see his elder daughter, so that I can go with him. As he doesn't remember the last couple of times we have gone to Omaha, I am developing a reluctance to go in the future.

WOOHOO! The count meter is over 1000 today.

The word of the day for January 19, 2009 is "random" Pronunciation: \'ran-dəm\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, succession, surge, from Anglo-French randun, from Old French randir to run, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German rinnan to run — more at run
Date: 1632
1 a: lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern. b: made, done, or chosen at random [read random passages from the book]. 2 a: relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence [random processes]. b: being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence [a random sample] ; also : characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements [random sampling].

Our quote for the day is from Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer (as it is the 200th anniversary of his birth). quoted in Julian Symons, The Tell-Tale Heart: The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe, pt. 1, ch. 12 (1978). Broadway Journal (1845):

Their hotels are bad. Their pumpkin pies are delicious. Their poetry is not so good.



Thursday, January 15, 2009


Jeanie says that in Britain legally they couldn't terminate my employment while I was on leave. Well, technically they can't fire me here while on leave, either. Actually, I wasn't sacked, but fell victim to a real comedy of errors. First Boeing decided to sell our division. Our division management found a buyer so we could be a stand alone company—Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.—owned by Onex, a Canadian holding company.

Those of us with a certain amount of time-in-service and at least 55 years old were allowed to retire from Boeing with a Boeing pension and retirement benefits (health insurance, very important here as there is no National Health in the US). However, Spirit would transition those of us who wanted to work for the new company into their workforce with our Boeing “hire date,” thus giving us the same salary, benefits and retention ratings. I thought that sounded good: get paid a pension and a salary and get the same benefits as though I'd been working at the new company for 25 years.

The catch for me was that I had to be in hospital (surgical removoal of intra-uterine cancer, which was uneventfully successful, thank God) when the actual change-over happened. Before the changeover, I asked specifically if being on leave of absence was going to mess up things for me. Representatives from both old and new companies assured me that there would be no problem. I was to set things up on-line for my retirement, and nothing would happen until I “pressed the button” to start retirement when I got back to work. Everything else was to happen seamlessly. When I received the doctor’s release, I would go through Medical for their release, and then back to work at Spirit.

So I got my doctor’s release and went through Medical, who said they would see the paperwork through the Leave of Absence Office. At the badge office, I exchanged my Boeing badge for a Spirit badge.

On Monday morning, I went in to work. The time charge system would not allow me to enter my time. My boss had a pointed conversation with the Payroll people, who fixed things. The next Monday, I went out at lunch to feed Lloyd. When I came back, the computer was locked up; I couldn’t get it to respond. Off I went to the Boss, who has a few pointed conversations with several offices. He came back and said, “Looks like you aren’t employed at Spirit. Boeing retired you, and as you were on leave, Spirit didn’t pick you up in the “snapshot” of employees to transition.” The humor of the situation was not apparent at the time. Before I left work that day, I had been reinstated.

Although my computer access was up and running the next day, it took them two weeks to get the financial aspect sorted out. I ended up with a “Day One” hire date, but got all my benefits except my vacation/sick leave, which Boeing cashed out, rather than reserving as with everyone else. It took Spirit more than a month to get all my computer systems reinstated. So now I am doing the same job, for the same boss, at the same desk as three and a half years ago.

The word of the day for January 15, 2009 is "termination" — Pronunciation: \,tər-mə-'nā-shən\
Function: noun
Date: circa 1500
1: end in time or existence : conclusion [the termination of life]. 2: the last part of a word ; especially : an inflectional ending. 3: the act of terminating. 4: a limit in space or extent : bound. 5: outcome , result.

Our quote for the day is from Gaius Sallustius Crispus (c. 86–35/34 B.C.), Roman historian. Jugurtha, LXXXIII:

It is always easy enough to take up arms, but very difficult to lay them down; the commencement and the termination of war are not necessarily in the same hands; even a coward may begin, but the end comes only when the victors are willing.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Here's a lesson for you. Don't change direction in the middle of a doorway—especially if the door is heavy and the latch plate is at elbow height. I was headed into the ladies' restroom at work when this happened. I don't normally make an abrupt u-turn at that point, but the floor was flooded, and I stepped right into the puddle. After managing a three-cornered tear in the elbow of my favorite dress and scraping a fair amount of skin from my forearm, I noticed that someone had put a sign on the door listing a trouble ticket number. The reason was not mentioned in the note. Before going back to my desk, I added "FLOOD" in large letters to the notice.

The fellow at the next desk wanted me to go to Medical. I refused. There's no way the company quack is getting his fingers on me for a minor scrape. Been there, done that, had the album signed. I've had to wait over half an hour to get blood and dirt cleaned out of scraped knees while they x-rayed my sprained foot. When I had my gall bladder attack, they called my husband to drive me to hospital. When I came back from my leave of absence after the last surgery, they assured me all the paperwork would be done without any more problems. They didn't mention that they had managed to terminate my employment while I was on leave of absence.

The word of the day for January 13, 2009 is "laceration" — Pronunciation: \ˌla-sə-ˈrā-shən\
Function: noun
Date: 1597
1 : the act of
lacerating. 2 : a torn and ragged wound.

Our quote for the day is from Mason Cooley (b. 1927), U.S. aphorist. City Aphorisms, Fourteenth Selection, New York (1994):

Most self-laceration is more noisy than painful.



Sunday, January 11, 2009


I've been having a quiet day. I had a piece of chocolate cake with ice cream (yes, I know I said I was off chocolate this year, but it is my birthday, so sue me. I can be off chocolate again tomorrow) at lunch time. We'll have steak and potatoes for supper. Lloyd gave me some cash for a present, which I promptly blew on a couple of DVDs—The Storyteller starring John Hurt. I remember watching these on television and thinking that I ought to record them.

I've been trying to decide if I want to catalogue my tapes and DVDs on LibraryThing. Probably not, as I am already up to 550 books, only about ten percent of which actually belong to my sister, my husband or the kids. A couple of hundred years ago this would have amounted to an amazing treasure. Of course, they didn't have sound recordings then, either. They had to tell their own stories and make their own music—act out their own dramas, make up their own gossip. What a bunch of softies we are!

The word of the day for January 11, 2009 is "nascent" — Pronunciation: \ˈna-sənt, ˈnā-\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin nascent-, nascens, present participle of nasci to be born — more at
Date: circa 1624
: coming or having recently come into existence [a nascent middle class] [her nascent singing career].

Our quote for the day is from Jean François Lyotard (b. 1924), French philosopher. repr. In The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979, rev. 1986). “Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?” Critique, no. 419 (Paris, April 1982):

A work can become modern only if it is first postmodern. Postmodernism thus understood is not modernism at its end but in the nascent state, and this state is constant.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009


One of my friends recently sent me a joke about a hypothetical "survivors" show. I've never been a fan of this sort of show. For one thing they aren't about real life at all. They have a camera crew with the participants who can help if any real trouble surfaces. The contestants invariably come off as greedy above all else. Filmed reality usually turns out to be stupider and meaner than anyone in their right mind would want to be. The only thing worse is the "Jerry Springer" type show where the participants have taken the fun out of dysfunctional by berating/assaulting/battering one another in public for problems that make no sense to non-participants, but the audience eggs them on to escalate the violence.

This reality show business all got started when writers got organized, asking to be better compensated for their work. Not that it's the writers' fault that the producers decided the television public doesn't tune in to well-scripted (not to mention witty) programs. It's apparently too much effort to produce a Carol Burnett Show or M*A*S*H or Maverick or even Mr. Ed. We do get a lot of police drama. In the evenings there's a CSI for everyone. But I still find myself looking at TVLAND and NICK AT NIGHT, because they show cogent, reasonably intelligent programs to which an old fogey like me can relate.

The irony of this dearth of script writers is that reality show participants are now hiring writers (at below union scale) to write "natural, witty" repartee that can be dropped into the participants on-air "conversations".

The word of the day for January 7, 2009 is "survival" - Pronunciation: \sər-'vī-vəl\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Date: 1598
1 a: the act or fact of living or continuing longer than another person or thing. b: the continuation of life or existence [problems of survival in arctic conditions]. 2: one that

Our quote for the day is from Virginia Satir (20th century), U.S. family therapist and author. As quoted in The Winning Family, ch. 16, by Louise Hart (1987):
The recommended daily requirement for hugs is: four per day for survival, eight per day for maintenance, and twelve per day for growth.



Monday, January 5, 2009


The day is clear, but cold—only 28F this noon with a light breeze. First day at work this year. Those who have been working short work weeks here will all be back at work full time next Monday. Yes, I wrote my password down, just in case, but found I didn't need it. Everyone who crossed my path so far today has received a cheery "Happy New Year." Most of them returned the greeting heartily.

Someone propped a duster on its handle in my co-worker Vic's chair. Apparently this was because Vic is out with the flu instead of in his rightful seat. I added a smiley face on the dusting cloth to make things more realistic. Unfortunately, the duster is neither as congenial nor as knowledgeable as Vic. The consensus is that we would rather the duster have the flu.

At lunchtime, when I got home to feed Lloyd and Speedy, the dog did not meet me at the door as usual. When I got to the bedroom there was a lump under the coverlet next to Lloyd. Obviously the dog knows where the warm spot is. I had put his t-shirt on this morning as it was so chilly. He doesn't like to wear it though, and tries to wriggle out of it. Let it be noted that once the shirt is on, he stays out longer. In fact, he ran outside while I was fixing his lunch bowl; barked a couple, three times; ran back inside; shook himself as though he were wet and ran back outside. By that time, both Lloyd's lunch and his were ready. So I fed them both and came back to work.

The word of the day for January 5, 2009, is "revert" — Pronunciation: \ri-'vərt\
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French revertir, from Latin revertere, v.t., to turn back & reverti, v.i., to return, come back, from re- + vertere, verti to turn — more at
Date: 15th century
1 : to come or go back (as to a former condition, period, or subject). 2 : to return to the proprietor or his or her heirs at the end of a
reversion. 3 : to return to an ancestral type.

Our quote for the day is from Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), U.S. president. Letter, March 27, 1940, to Governor Henry Horner of Illinois. The Roosevelt Letters, vol. 3, p. 310, ed. Elliott Roosevelt, George G. Harrup & Co., Ltd. (1952):
You and I ... are convinced of the fact that if our Government in Washington and in a majority of the States should revert to the control of those who frankly put property ahead of human beings instead of working for human beings under a system of government which recognizes property, the nation as a whole would again be in a bad situation.

Horner had written FDR to inform him that the Illinois Democrats urged him to run for a third term as the only hope to continue the liberal orientation of the government. FDR responded that certainly a liberal ticket was necessary but that he was not indispensable to its success.



Saturday, January 3, 2009


I spent a couple of hours this morning taking down our outside Christmas decorations. I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather today, because they need to be down by Epiphany for good luck. (The woman who made up that superstition had a bunch of whiny children to get out of her hair while she took a well deserved post-holiday rest.) All of the inside decorations are also ready for the basement except for Lloyd's Santas that stay all year round and the Christmas tree. Lloyd says he wants it to remain because it is such a cheerful thing; therefore, it is no longer a Christmas decoration.

Putting the decorations away is usually an easy thing for me. Of course, there are alway pine needles that somehow make it to August by lurking in the pile of the rug, but most everything else can be folded and boxed in a couple of hours. If it takes longer than that, I say start pitching it.

The word of the day for January 3, 2008 is "superstition" — Pronunciation: \,sü-pər-'sti-shən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English supersticion, from Anglo-French, from Latin superstition-, superstitio, from superstit-, superstes standing over (as witness or survivor), from super- + stare to stand — more at
Date: 13th century
1 a: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. b: an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition. 2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary.

Our quote for the day is from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832), German poet, dramatist. Wilhelm Meister’s Travels, Reflections in the Spirit of the Travellers (1829):
Superstition belongs to the essence of mankind and takes refuge, when one thinks one has suppressed it completely, in the strangest nooks and crannies; once it is safely ensconced there, it suddenly reappears.


Friday, January 2, 2009


A quiet New Year's Day—not that I expected anything else. We went to bed around eight on New Year's Eve and woke up about five-thirty New Year's morning. If anyone set off fireworks or firearms during the night, I did not hear them.

As I had spent most of New Year's Eve getting everything cleaned up for the new year—an old superstition, if you will—most of Thursday morning was spent watching the Rose Bowl Parade with Lloyd. That's the first time I've done that in years. It's the first time he's done that in years. Of course, I had a book in one hand: the usual way that I watch television.

Lloyd has never come to grips with me being able to do other things while I read. Once a long time ago, we were in bed watching tv. I had my head on his shoulder, reading. To tease me, he bent his arm so that it lay across my eyes. I said nothing, as I could see the book perfectly well underneath his arm. When I came to the end of the paragraph, I turned the page. He almost freaked out as he was expecting a quite different reaction.

This New Year's we had roast pork tenderloin, left over from Christmas; black-eyed peas, for good luck; corn bread and spinach for dinner. It was delicious if I do say it myself. I hope you all had a quiet holiday and wish you all good things for the coming year.

Our word of the day for January 2, 2009 is "
somnolence" — Pronunciation: \'säm-nə-lən(t)s\
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
: the quality or state of being drowsy :

Our quote for the day is from Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 99, Houghton Mifflin (1906):
The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night.