Tuesday, August 31, 2021

M is for...

           It starts with a good idea. You take a meal to a friend who was in a terrible accident.  And, if you live in Joniopolis, here’s what happens:

          She tells me she had to see a doctor to take a cognitive test. They asked her to name 60 words in 60 seconds, that started with M.

          And I wondered, could I do this even without a bump on the head? I mean, that’s a lot of words and the clock is ticking. You’d better not pick megalomania, multilingualism, mischievousness, or microbiological, right? Because those would each cost you two seconds, easily. Now you’re down to 48 seconds and you’ve only said four words.

          Flash forward to 1 pm that night.  I cannot sleep a wink because I’m watching the clock to see how many M words I can come up with. I’m trying for single syllables, so I have mom, man, moo, mat, cat, bat, sat, fat--- wait--- I’ve started rhyming!

          I start over. Can you use homophones? Can you say might and mite and would they know that’s two different words?  Mane, mein, and main? How about mind and mined, or Mat and matte? You could take this whole test and only get half credit!

          Then I wondered if you could get extra points if they make a story. Morris Mouse made magical miracles, miffed Millicent Mole, maybe murdered monstrous Martha Moose, momentarily married mild Maggie Marmot, moved merrily (minus money), Missouri-bound.

          Hours. Hours I took to concoct every possible way to pass this test, until morning, which starts with M as well. And now I’m pretty sure I need my head examined. Mercy!

But I promise my books are not filled only with M-words. Find ‘em all here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Viking Rock

          Okay, this is not about a Viking rock band. It’s about the time I went panning for gold, which I described two weeks ago.

          What I didn’t mention is that I found a treasure: A rock upon which an ancient Viking drew a cartoon! Well, it’s more like a tiny pebble, less than an inch wide.

          But it still has a hieroglyph or a petroglyph or SOMETHING on it. I think a Viking used a ball-point pen, myself. Our eldest son is a geologist and he said it’s possibly plagioclase feldspar. Something about one mineral filling in the cracks of another. But what does he know?

          I say it’s a drawing, and this is my attempt at showing you what I saw:

          Basically a Viking with a bushy beard, a big, round nose, a horn hat, and muscular biceps. Actually, this one appears to be a waiter Viking with a towel over his arm, perhaps standing on a skateboard.

          So this ancient Olaf or Sven was not only showing us what Vikings do in their off hours, but that they had streamlined food service for quicker delivery. And you thought “fast food” was a modern thing.

          Equally fast is the delivery you’ll get when you order one of my books!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Is it Possible to Underhear?

          We all know what it means to overhear. Well, I would like to underhear. And what I’d like to underhear are the songs St. Bob sings at full volume, whenever they pop into his head.

          Mind you, these are not legendary hits everyone loves. These are obscure songs from a zillion years ago, most of which nobody knows. The latest offerings have included Mississippi Mud, Put Your Shoes on Lucy (Don’t You Know You’re in the City), The Race is On, Way Out on the Windswept Desert (complete with yodeling), Kalijah, Buttermilk Sky, and Short Fat Fanny.

          One of my friends has a husband who does the same thing. These guys have matched up on the above tunes and more: May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose, You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd, and She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft.

          Bob could be the all-time world champion on Name That Tune, except it isn’t airing anymore, and he’s a game show guy, so thus ineligible. He can hear one note of intro to some song, and not only tell you the title, but who recorded it and in what year. He also knows every word, and can imitate the drummer doing a solo halfway through.

          How is there enough time on earth to learn the ins and outs of every song ever recorded?  Maybe he has a photographic memory, but for sound. What would that be called?  How about annoy-ographic memory?

          I will, concede, however, that he has a lovely bass voice and all the guys in the church choir try to sit by him so they can follow his lead. Either that, or he’s teaching them Short Fat Fanny.

          He’s also my cameraman when I record a Youtube Mom video. Check ‘em out for life hacks, tips, and motherly advice!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Gold and Chocolate

           Ever been panning for gold?  Well, it happens that just half an hour from my house, kids go to Sutter’s Fort on field trips. Yep, the Sacramento area is where gold was discovered in 1848, triggering the Gold Rush.

          Better yet, dear friends of ours have a mountain home on Miner's Ridge, with three lakes atop piles of tailings. These lakes are just crying to be panned for gold. (Okay, you can’t hear the cries, but you know thar’s gold in them thar hills.)

          Turns out you can’t just shake a pan of gravel. There’s a technique to this. Luckily, our friends showed us how it’s done and we sat there chatting as we scooped up sand, swished it around, and looked for glimmering flecks of gold. “Oh, there’s a cute one,” my friend and I said a few times, selecting rocks we liked. AND I’M SURE THE PROSPECTORS SAID THIS SAME THING WHEN THEY COULDN’T FIND ANY GOLD, EITHER.

          Then this morning I was shamelessly raiding my husband’s birthday jar of trail mix for the M&Ms, and decided to pour a bunch into the lid, then shake it so the M&Ms would show up.

          Oh my gosh—I’m panning for M&Ms! And it worked!  See? Everything you learn has a purpose. I just hope there isn’t an M&M Rush when word gets out.

Speaking of words, check out my Youtube Mom videos (there are hundreds online) where I tell you amazing life hacks and DIY tips!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Unwelcome Wagon

           There used to be a lovely slice of Americana, where women would drop by the homes of new people moving in, and bring them all kinds of goodies, gifts, and coupons. It was called the Welcome Wagon.  Alas, these in-person visits are no more, though the company still does online marketing, mail, and telemarketing. (Isn’t this a bit like your favorite candy shop turning into a car warranty store and then calling you every day?)

          Anyway, lots of folks choose to do it themselves. In our family, the kids know --and think it’s the law, possibly-- that if someone moves in, they get a plate of cookies. I also like to recommend good local merchants, restaurants, and such. It’s neighborly. It’s nice. Right?

          So I saw a moving van down the street and decided to pop over with a plate of goodies the next day. As I arrived, a man came walking down the driveway, so I hurried to meet him. I introduced myself and said, “I thought I’d bring you some cookies. Welcome to the neighborhood.”

          He took the plate without a word, got into his pickup truck, and drove off. Whaaat?  Why didn’t he go inside and ask his wife and kids to come out and meet the new neighbors? Or at least take the cookies into the house, instead of just driving off with them?


          It’s mighty suspicious. And what person--myself excluded-- could eat an entire plate of 16 cookies all by himself?  Surely he would take them inside to share, maybe grab a couple of them for the road, and then leave.


          It’s mighty creepy. Not sure it’s as creepy as a woman driving by later to check things out, spy, and see if he’s still there. But we’ll find out.

And yes, this incident later appeared in my book, Golden. Sometimes art imitates life.