Monday, January 28, 2008

Dancing to "Houston"

Ten years ago, my husband and I still went square-dancing and round-dancing. Understanding the caller against all the background noise was a challenge for me. Did the caller just say "circle eight" or "circulate?" Round-dance was even worse. The round-dance cuer called out dance figures such as "grapevine" and "twisty vine" and "butterfly box" over a soundtrack of show tunes, often with vocalists.

I could have sworn that one of her favorites began with the phrase, "You said." After about a year of trying to puzzle it out, I asked my husband, "You know that song that starts out 'You said?' Well, what comes after that? What is it that 'you said?' "

He was stumped, so I hummed a few bars. "Oh, that! They're not saying 'you said.' They're saying 'Houston!"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mom Hits the Male on the Head

The other day my husband complained to Mom, "I don't have any idea what you're talking about."

Mom shot back, "That's because you're not listening."

Mom will be 99 in April.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rose Bowl Remembrance

In 1964, we were living in Pasadena, CA, while my husband was attending grad school. A college friend came out to see the University of Michigan play in the Rose Bowl. We had bleacher seats along the route of the Rose Parade. The parade began with a cavalcade of palomino horses, each rider carrying a large American flag. Everyone seated in the bleachers began standing up, whereupon a crabby guy started yelling, "Down in front! Down in front!"

Another crabby guy yelled back, "Stand up, Buster! Them's the American flags!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stepping Up to the Plate

Every holiday before we all sit down for dinner, we start arguing about who will say grace. This Christmas was no different. Seven adults, one teen-ager, and our five-year-old grandson stood with hands joined while the adults tried to foist the task of grace off on one another and the food sat waiting.

"How about you?"
"Not me. You're better at this."
"Don't look at me."
" Me either."
"Well, somebody's got to."

Our grandson spoke up. "I can say grace," he announced. And he did.

"Our hands we fold,
Our heads we bow,
For food and drink,
We thank you now. Amen."

He's in pre-K at First Baptist School. Obviously he's learning something there.

Something Fishy

Yesterday's traffic report...

Police are ticketing drivers in the anchovy lane with too few passengers.
My guess: anchovy lane = HOV lane

Friday, January 11, 2008

Brown hawks! How wonderful!

I was telling my haircutter about the birds and other wildlife in our backyard.

"All we have is a pair of brown hawks, " she said, with a little moue of disgust.

"Brown hawks! Wow, are you lucky!" I exclaimed.

She made a face. "Well, I don't like them. They dig holes in the yard."

"Wow! Hawks that nest underground! They must be quite rare," I enthused.

The scissors stopped mid-snip. "Just what are we talking about here?" she asked.

Turns out my exotic brown hawks were nothing more than a pair of ground hogs.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Banning Alarm Clocks

Yesterday I heard it on NPR--

The French government is considering banning alarm clocks.

Turns out that what they actually said was:

The French government is considering banning GM crops.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I'm a dangerous person in the kitchen. When a major cookfest is underway, I draw an imaginary Line of Death across the kitchen floor and warn the dogs not to cross it. But the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune seek me out, even when I am preparing a feast for those I love.

The holidays are fraught with peril. Too bad that most recipes require the use of a knife. I should be required to get a license in order to have access to knives. I inevitably miss and nick my finger, or worse. On Christmas Day, I needed brown sugar for cookies. I put a plastic bag of frozen sugar in the microwave. Must have hit 2 minutes instead of 20 seconds. Reached in without looking. ZOWIE. My finger won't be healed until mid-January, at best.

This morning, reaching for something in the fridge, I stood up and banged my head on the closed freezer door. And not for the first time, either. My husband shook his head in wonderment. "Well, after all, " I said, "we've only had this refrigerator for 12 years."