Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hollywood Dark

In the house in which I grew up, we kept all the snowboots and galoshes in a basket on the floor of the hall closet. Hats, scarves, and mittens were kept in another basket. Nobody "owned" anything; there wasn't "my" hat and "my brother's" mittens. It was all just a-jumble for anyone's taking.

In the basket with the snowboots and galoshes, which were worn over one's shoes, were bread bags. Specifically, Hollywood Dark bread bags. Hollywood Dark was a light brown bread my mother considered more nutritious than everyone else's Wonder bread. Hollywood Dark bread bags had the logos on an orange background; Hollywood Light, which we occasionally ate if the store was out of Hollywood Dark, had them on blue. Wonder bread was out of the question.

When worn with snowboots, the bags went over one's socks to keep one's feet dry inside the boots. With galoshes, bread bags went over one's shoes to make putting on the galoshes easier. We pushed the tops of the bread bags down inside our boots, because, as far as we could tell, we were the only kids who did this, this wearing of bags inside boots, and somehow we felt vaguely as if this could cause trouble.

At some point, the bread bags and communal winterwear baskets disappeared from my life without my even noticing. At some point later, Hollywood Dark also disappeared from my life, replaced by whole wheat bread from the Pepperidge Farm Outlet store. And shortly thereafter, my childhood home disappeared from my life, replaced by two houses, one my mother's, one my father's.

I've never seen Hollywood Dark bread again.

break away
phrasal verb
1. To separate or detach oneself, as from a group.
2. To move rapidly away from or ahead of a group.
3. To discontinue customary practice.
"break." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 14 . 2006.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Good for the soul

I confess to the following:

On my calendar, on the little square for this coming Tuesday, it says in cheery letters: AMERICAN IDOL! 8 PM! And then I drew a star. And then I gave the star a smily face.

I adore American Idol. It is my not-so-secret vice. I can discuss it at length. All four seasons.

Don't like it at all? Find it so much sludge? It's beneath you? I care not one

The least bit; an iota.
[Middle English, amount, from Old English wiht.]
"whit." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 14 . 2006.

Two hours this coming Tuesday. And two hours this coming Wednesday. Goodbye, football season. Hello, American Idol season.


Often, when my daughter wakes from her nap she is quite


Sullenly melancholy; gloomy.

Dictionary definition of morose
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

The Gold Diaper goes to...

I'm changing the youngest this morning. One of his medications has a side effect that makes his diapers more, well, challenging. And then wee lad is feeling a mite better (YAY!), so is frisky, which makes the process even more complicated because he keeps moving and turning. So I finally say "Honey, STOP moving!" And he stops moving, looks up at me, and says, "Momma, it not about winning. It about having fun."

Ahh... diapertime as an opportunity to use a sports

A much used expression that has lost its freshness and descriptive power.
"cliché." The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. 13 . 2006.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Busy is a state of mind

I was busy today. I took the oldest to school, did some routine household chores, walked on my treadmill, took the youngest to the hospital for this week's appointment, ran to the barn to watch the oldest take a driving lesson (as in horsedrawn cart), dropped the youngest at home with my husband, dropped film off for developing, hit the grocery, picked up the photos, and came home.

And then I read this article on the AP wire that begins:

HOUSTON -- A Houston firefighter took a promotion test 12 hours after giving birth because fire officials wouldn't bend the department's policy to allow a postponement.

Beda Kent gave birth to a healthy baby daughter at 9 p.m. Tuesday, slept for about 2 1/2 hours and then took the Houston Fire Department captain's exam at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

which made me feel a bit like a

1. One who shirks work or responsibility.
2. One who tries to evade military service in wartime; a draft dodger.
"slacker." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 13 . 2006.

Wrong answer, @#$%&!

So, I just called my son's doctor's office to check on the prescription refill I called in this morning. You see, I just noticed this morning that the bottle of my son's medicine said "O refills remaining" on it. If I didn't see that, I would have called the pharmacy, pressed 1, the prescription number, and 1 to confirm and picked up his medicine after 12 pm today. But, I hadn't noticed that the bottle said there were no more refills.

Anyway, I call this morning, left a message re: the prescription refill, and waited to hear something. I called this afternoon to make sure they got my message and to check if they had called it in yet (because we all know that sometimes, the doctor's office forgets to call and tell us this kind of stuff). I called and said exactly this:

Me: Hi, I'm calling for my son--just to see if you guys got the prescription refill I called in this morning. *with a smile on my face*

Psycho Receptionist: No. We wouldn't have gotten it that quick.

Me: Oh, okay. I was just wondering since he ran out yesterday. No biggie.

P.R.: You shouldn't have waited until the last minute!

Me: *gasp* Who the hell are you talking to? Are you having a bad hair day or something? Do you talk to all your patients this way or am I the only one today that you felt like abusing?

P.R. Ma'am, I was simply saying....

Me: You weren't simply saying anything. Is this an advice hotline? I dont' think so, so I didn't need your stinkin' advice. Also, I wouldn't have waited until the last minute if I had at all noticed that the bottle said no refills left. But I guess I'm just too busy wiping butts, cleaning up, being a chauffer, and being abused by the likes of you to have noticed that, huh? *CLICK*


So, I get into my van and drive over there. Too bad for her, I'm about 5 minutes from their office. I get there, park, get out of the car, and enter the building. You should have seen the lady's face!! She knew who I was before I said a word. The look on her face was great. I mean, people stare at me anyway, but she turned a nice shade of "crap, the gig's up" that just made my day. I smiled at her and asked to speak to the office manager. Ahhhhh... lookie here, LOVEY! I don't eat poop sandwiches. Good day.

Consequence: n. Something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition.

Dictionary definition of consequenceThe American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. More from Dictionary

I Am On the Verge of Posting

Having grown up in the Southern part of the U.S., there are many regional words and phrases that I have heard over the years. Some I use, some I don’t and some I have lost in my travels over the years. One that I will never stop using is


  1. To direct one's efforts or attention; concentrate: We fixed on the immediate goal.
  2. To become stable or firm; harden: Fresh plaster will fix in a few hours.
  3. Chiefly Southern U.S. To be on the verge of; to be making preparations for. Used in progressive tenses with the infinitive: We were fixing to leave without you.

"fix." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 12 . 2006.

Here, much like in France, we don’t care very much for the last consonant of a word so this would be pronounced and spelled fixin’. The choice between “fixin’” and “about to” is no choice at all. I have no doubts that even if I were elected President of the U.S.; my


  1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of an inauguration.
  2. Initial; first: the inaugural issue of a magazine.


  1. An inauguration.
  2. A speech given by a person being formally inducted into office.

"inaugural." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 12 . 2006.

address would go something like this:

I’m fixin’ to faithfully execute the office of President to the best of my ability.

Tlazocamatl for tomatl!

After blogging yesterday and discovering an unexpected word origin, I called my husband.

"Did you know tomato was originally tomatl?"

My husband, a native of Mérida, Yucatán, México, did not. He recognized the ending sound, though, and correctly guessed the origin as

A term applied to some members of the Aztecan or Nahuan sub-branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family, indigenous to central Mexico.

Often the term Náhuatl is used specifically with reference to the language called Classical Náhuatl, which was the language of the Aztec empire and therefore used as a lingua franca in much of Mesoamerica from the 7th century AD until the late 16th century, at which time its prominence and influence was interrupted by the Spanish conquest of the New World.

However, it also serves to identify a number of modern Náhuatl dialects (linguistic variants, some of them mutually unintelligible) that are still spoken by at least 1.5 million people in what is now Mexico.
"Nahuatl language." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2005. 12 . 2006.

Other food words for which we need to say thank you to Native American peoples include succotash, pecan, avocado, cocoa, chile, chocolate, guacamole, barbeque, and potato. My favorite though is squash, originally askootaskwash in Alonquian, meaning fruit of life.

More English Words of Native American Origin

Tlazocamatl is thank you in Náhuatl.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Keeping up with Jack McCoy

In the evenings, I like to watch Law & Order reruns, which are available pretty much from 7 pm onward if one flips channels. I like the original version the best, but I will take SVU or CI in a pinch. Recently I decided just sitting on the loveseat while watching was, well, a waste.

So I bought a secondhand treadmill from Play It Again Sports. Now I can walk my way to justice. No longer will I be a

couch potato
noun, slang
A person who spends much time sitting or lying down, usually watching television.
"couch potato." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 11 . 2006.

Instead, I'm going to be a treadmill

1. A widely cultivated South American plant (Lycopersicon esculentum) having edible, fleshy, usually red fruit.
2. The fruit of this plant.
3. Slang. A woman regarded as attractive.
[Alteration of Spanish tomate, from Nahuatl tomatl.]
WORD HISTORY Among the greatest contributions to world civilization made by the early inhabitants of the Americas are plant foods such as the potato and squash. The tomato, whose name comes ultimately from the Nahuatl language spoken by the Aztecs and other groups in Mexico and Central America, was another important contribution. When the Spanish conquered this area, they brought the tomato back to Spain and, borrowing the Nahuatl word tomatl for it, named it tomate, a form shared in French, Portuguese, and early Modern English. Tomate, first recorded in 1604, gave way to tomato, a form created in English either because it was assumed to be Spanish or under the influence of the word potato. As is well known, people at first resisted eating this New World food because its membership in the nightshade family made it seem potentially poisonous, but it is now is an important element of many world cuisines.
"tomato." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 11 . 2006.

What to do?

My son received this Burl Ives CD (as requested) for Christmas. It contains many folk tunes and my son adores it. One of the tunes is called The Lavender Cowboy. This song makes me pause, for while it isn't exactly homophobic, it certainly is


Mocking; jeering.

Dictionary definition of derisive
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Now, If I could only find the Burl Ives album I had as a child, I'd replace this one if at all possible. Here are the lyrics to my favorite song off that album:

The Whale

(spoken) Here's a song about a whale
with a most amazing appetite.

In San Francisco town there lived a whale
Who ate pork chops by the pale,
By the pill-box, by the suitcase,
By the bathtub, by the schooner.

Her name was Sara and she's a peach
But you can't leave food within her reach
Nor nurse-maids, nor Airedales,
Nor chocolate ice cream sodas.

She eats a lot but when she smiles
You can see her teeth for miles and miles,
And her adenoids, and her spare ribs,
And things too fierce to mention.

So what can you do in a case like that?
what can you do except sit on your hat,
Or your toothbrush, or your grandmother,
Or anything else that's helpless.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chomp Chomp

We started with zero dogs. Then the oldest saw a litter of pups the shelter had at an adoption fair at a shopping center, and Pep came home. Then my husband saw a dog sitting on Death Row in a neighboring county's animal control for five months, and Salsa came home. And then my little Sirens began to sing in the backyard, and soon enough Pinochet showed up, lured by the barking songs of sleeping on couches, a third of an acre fenced in, and all the Meaty Bones dog treats a dog could want. In fact, they have so many Meaty Bones (with tarter-reducing action!) that their teeth are a dazzling white as if overbleached with Crest Whitestrips. Their teeth flash in the sunlight as the three dogs laze about in the grass.

On a person, though, I find such stark whiteness of teeth vaguely

"disconcerting." Antonyms. Answers Corporation, 2005. 10 . 2006.

It just isn't natural. Add in the faux-glow of self-action tanner, and it's enough to

make my flesh creep
also make one's skin crawl
Cause one to shudder with disgust or fear. This idiom alludes to the feeling of having something crawl over one's body or skin. The first term appeared in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1727): “Something in their countenance made my flesh creep with a horror I cannot express.” The variant dates from the late 1800s.
"make one's flesh creep." The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992. 10 . 2006.

Just not long enough...

There are so many things that I've been meaning to ask my grandmother. We're not close, but we have some type of connection, albeit a weak one. I've never had a meaningful conversation with her. I've never asked about my ancestors--the ones that she knew. I never asked her about the woman who my mother and I are named after. I never asked her about my grandfather--about what kind of man he was. I've never seen pictures of her as a young woman. There is so much that I haven't said to her. But she doesn't have much time left. My mother called me this morning and told me that my grandmother had 6 months to live. She has cancer and it's eating her alive. I hate it. We weren't close, but she's my mom's mom and she loved me in her own way. She once asked me to name my daughter, if I were to have one, Hannah--after her mother. I wish I could have fulfilled that one thing she asked of me.

I'm a mess. My grandmother, the woman that is a fast walker, always busy, and quite witty is so weak and I wish her peace and comfort. I love my grandmother in my own way and I feel that now.

Defeat: tr. verb
1. To win victory over; beat
2. To prevent the success of; thwart
3. To make void; annul

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. More from Dictionary


I have just moved and I am staring at boxes. I have more boxes than I have room. I should be unpacking them but I am not; because the boxes

overwhelm me.
tr.v., -whelmed, -whelm·ing, -whelms.

-To defeat completely and decisively: Our team overwhelmed the visitors by 40 points.
-To present with an excessive amount: They overwhelmed us with expensive gifts.

"overwhelm." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 10 . 2006.

Monday, January 09, 2006

News to me

Many familiar words have secondary meanings with which I am unfamiliar. Many of those secondary meanings are seemingly inexplicable.

Exhibit A:

1. A cake made of sweetened cottage cheese or cream cheese, eggs, milk, sugar, and flavorings.
2. Informal. Photographs of minimally attired women.
"cheesecake." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 10 . 2006.

What? Since when?

Now, THIS is a hot photo.

What a disgrace!!

This morning, I got a package from UPS. I opened it only to find the contents mangled. I was angry, to say the least. It looks as if UPS BADLY damaged my package, notified the sender of the damage and lied to them to tell them it was only cosmetic damage (to the outside of the package), and repackaged it.

I opened up the box from "TCO"--had no clue who that was. I order freebies all the time and I enter contests, too, so I thought that maybe it was one of those things. It was a "little blue box". THE "little blue box", except it was a destroyed, partially wet, bent jewelry box. No woman wants to see THE blue box mangled all to hell like that! So, here I sit with the package still on my kitchen counter, jewelry untouched, as I can't bring myself to look at that carnage any longer.

Appalled: adj. Overcome with intense feeling, as of amazement, horror, or dismay.

Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition. Copyright © 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Ooooh Aaaah Ohhhh

Partly Cloudy

Feels Like 69°F*
Updated Jan 9 03:00 p.m. ET
UV Index: 1 Low
Wind: From SW at 6 mph gusting to 16 mph
Humidity: 44%

It's just too beautiful to be inside today. I've cleaned my car, read on the back steps, had a picnic. I love days like today, when the weather is

1. (of weather or climate) Free from extremes; mild; or characteristic of such weather or climate.
2. Not extreme.
"temperate." WordNet 1.7.1. Princeton University, 2001. 09 . 2006.

* 20.56 Celsius

Sunday, January 08, 2006

humina humina humina

Heaven's Gate

People's Temple

Pottery Barn

1. Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person's basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs.
2. The application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as an advertising campaign or repeated suggestion, in order to develop a specific belief or motivation.
"brainwashing." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 08 . 2006.

Dear Pottery Barn:

You can't have my soul money, no matter how many of your holy books catalogues you send me.


I'd have to be hypnotized by Mamoo the Great before I'd spend $149 on a mass-produced, rush-seat farmhouse chair.

Must... Raise... Blood... Sugar...

For reasons that aren't quite clear to me, The Fates decided to allow me no more than 37 minutes of sleep last night. I exaggerate, of course, but only very slightly.

Needless to say, I am tired. It's not even noon yet, and I am already calculating what time I can crawl into bed tonight. Days like this call for copious amounts of

trademark name
Cheerwine is a soft drink produced by the Carolina Beverage Corporation of Salisbury, Nort Carolina. It has been produced since 1917.

Cheerwine is fairly unusual amongst sodas for what the company calls its "cherry taste and rich burgundy color."

Cheerwine is available in most of the southeastern United States, from southern West Virginia south to Florida. However, as of late 2002, the beverage is now also distributed in Norway through Oslo-based American Marketing. There are plans to expand distribution to the rest of Scandinavia in coming months. In April of 2005, other regions of the United States began to bottle Cheerwine; mainly through Pepsi distributors. The first area outside the traditional market area was Quincy, Illinois. Other areas added recently include Burlington, Iowa; Duluth, Minnesota; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"Cheerwine." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2005. 08 . 2006.

Cheerwine is a taste that, once acquired, stays with one. The company even has a craving support group on their website. There's also an unfortunate plug for the American Red Cross which makes one briefly mistake the image of bubbling soda for blood.