Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Grammar's Underwear

           It’s been a while since I’ve griped about grammar, so I’m going to share some of my biggest peeves with you. See if you share my same sighs. Or size.

          First, it’s the lend and loan confusion that seems to be increasing. “Can you loan me ten bucks” should really be “lend me ten bucks.” (Although with today’s inflation, you should probably ask for twenty, not ten.)

          I loaned her my book, you can loan him a pen, here—I’ll loan you my car, my brother loaned me this jacket… on and on.  People act as if the word, “lend” is nonexistent. But lend is the verb and loan is the noun. You lend a loan.  And sometimes I guess you lend alone as well.


          This sign reminds us to add "ly" in such situations. I must admit to defacing a few signs with my black Sharpie, in similar fashion.          
          Next is the less and fewer problem.  I was in Sephora the other day and saw a makeup brand that claimed less wrinkles. Sorry, I will never buy that brand. It should say “fewer wrinkles.”  Less describes an adjective. Less expensive, less difficult, less colorful, less bulky, less exciting.

          Fewer is the word so many people really want, when they’re using “less.”  Fewer minutes, fewer people, fewer miles, fewer problems, fewer costs, fewer pounds, fewer years.  Fewer modifies nouns.  Fewer wrinkles, unless you worry about grammar like I do.

           There, their, and they're. We see these used incorrectly on social media posts, billboards, just about everywhere:


            But on an ad for educational software? C'mon.   
            Your and you're still stump some folks. But again, on a junior high sign? We live in sad times.
    
            Finally, I still cringe when people put “at” at the end of a sentence. Let's see where we're at. Where should I call you at?  Where is your car at? These should all become “Let's see where we are.” “Where should I call you?” and “Where is your car?”  The at is already implied by the word, where, so adding it to the end of the sentence is redundant.
          I have considered opening an email account called neverendwith@ but can’t decide if all the explaining will be worth it.

          Okay, I have vented. Thank you for lending me your ear; I now have fewer worries and less stress.  We can all have more peace, wherever we are.

          Time to order Christmas gifts—my book, “A Little Christmas Prayer” is ideal for everyone. And inexpensive, too. Find it right here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Cake Mistake

           Oh my gosh. Just last week I showed you how to make a great fake cake, and now I’m showing a ghastly real one.

                  Seriously, if I hadn’t told you it was a cake, you’d have thought it was some kind of geode, right? Or maybe some winter sludge under someone’s car.

          But no. It’s a German chocolate cake for our eldest son’s birthday. Actually the cake turned out fine. But I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and decided to write “Richie” on top. 

          I promise my house is not a furnace, yet the lettering melted as if I’d held a blow torch on it. Nicole asked if I had used glue.  Yes, I said. White Elmer’s Glue. (!!!)                                                                         


          St. Bob wondered if I was grouting the cake. 

          But our son is a great sport and was happy to blow out candles and enjoy it anyway.

          And, just so this post isn’t completely devoid of information, I will tell you that German chocolate cake isn’t even German. It was invented in 1852 by a U.S. baker named Samuel German (with a hard G). But once printed in the newspapers, everyone pronounced it like the nationality.

          So… Happy Birthday, all you November folks. Eat up!

And it’s time to grab 10 or 15 inexpensive gifts for teachers, friends, hairdressers, you know the drill. My book, “A Little Christmas Prayer,” is perfect for everyone (and perfect for any budget)!

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Fake Cake

          Yes, this is exactly as it sounds. I’m going to show you how to make a fake cake. It’s so easy you’ll be stunned. In fact, you can also watch me demonstrate it on one of my short Youtube Mom videos. 


            No, I am not a diabolical prankster who wants to torture my guests with a yummy-looking cake they can’t eat. I simply want a showy centerpiece to go under the tall cake stand I bought.

            I made mine white so that I can decorate it for every holiday, but you could also tint it brown to look like chocolate frosting, or pink, or whatever color you like.

             So how do you do it?  Basically just two ingredients. Start with a cardboard or plastic bucket. Dollar stores are great for this.  Make a lid from other cardboard, and glue it on the top.  Now purchase some Drywall Joint Compound from the hardware store. This will be your “frosting.”

            I might add that you’ll want to take the compound home in your trunk, because when I put it on the passenger seat, it was so heavy that my car thought it was an unbuckled person, and it went ding, ding, ding all the way home.

            When you open the bucket of white compound, you’ll see that it looks and feels exactly like frosting!  Just slather it on, make swirls, pipe it, or whatever you choose. Now let it dry and voila! You have a fake cake. You’re welcome.

            But enough of this fakery. My books are absolutely real and can all be found right here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Sweet Dreams

        Someday I’m going to get pulled over for swerving in the vicinity of ice cream or candy shops, and on the news it will say, “She was driving at a glucose level of 15.8, which is twice the legal limit…”

          Okay, I really have no idea what the glucose numbers would actually be, but I do know that if my blood is drawn it can double as chocolate syrup for a sundae.

          At a check-up I was telling my doctor about my face plant fall, and he said I need to turn on the lights so I don’t break something next time.  “Otherwise,” he said, “you could end up in a nursing home. And they don’t have desserts in there.”

          “I could have someone bring me desserts,” I suggested.

          “You’re missing the point of the story,” he said.

          “So you say,” I told him, “but that factor could play into my decision.”

          He sighed.

See?” I said. “We’re both patient. Get it? You’re the adjective and I’m the noun. Fine, fine, I’ll keep the lights on.”

 I didn’t tell him that when Bob and I drove up to my Seminary class door the other day, I commented that the lights in my classroom were on, and Bob said, “But no one’s home.”

Hey, lights on or not, you can watch my Youtube Mom videos here.

         

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Ultimate in Multi-Tasking

           I kid you not, I just read that a guy just played the saxophone for nine hours during his own brain surgery. This is more than multi-tasking. It’s ultima-tasking, if you ask me.


          Not only that, but he’s not the first musician to do this during the removal of a brain tumor. Six years ago a South African musician played the guitar, and ten years ago an opera singer sang the whole time.

          Wow. I must admit that I can do none of these things not having brain surgery, so kudos to these amazing musicians.

          In all cases, the doctors wanted to make sure no neurological functions were affected during the procedure, so they did “awake surgery” so they could tell.

          But it raises questions, doesn’t it? First of all, why are musicians getting brain tumors? What if some of these musicians play the timpani? Or the tuba? A violinist could put out someone’s eye with that bow.

And if it isn’t just them, how can you measure, say, a construction worker? A horse jockey? A dancer?  An electrician? A doctor himself?

I guess it could work with artists, but what if they’re realists and the team just thinks they’re modernists?  Imagine if Picasso had had this surgery.

What if it’s a comedian and he just isn’t that funny? Or he’s funnier than ever and gets everybody doubled over laughing so hard they can’t do the surgery?


          Clearly we all need to hurry and become expert as something portable. But I’m betting they’ll tell the accordion players it doesn’t work with them.

Hey—maybe you can read my books while in surgery! It’s certainly worth a try.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Mirror, Mirror

           Women have a love/hate relationship with magnifying mirrors. We all want one so we can see our faces super duper close, but then we gasp and shriek, aghast at what we see.


          You’ll have pores that look like the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. Except you won’t feel tranquil.


         
         You’ll see tiny hairs that look like telephone poles. Could a bird perch there?

          It’s like a microscope. Do you REALLY want to see the cells of your veins?  Isn’t this why skin is opaque in the first place?

          When you look into a magnifying mirror, you see things no one else will ever see.  And, if you choose older friends, they’re even less likely to see.    

This was one benefit of wearing masks during Covid. At least the bottom half of our faces was covered and we saved all kinds of money on lipstick.

 
          I say we chuck the magnifiers and see if there are minimizers. Meet up with friends on a sunny day when everyone’s wearing sunglasses and you’ve got it made. 

Put down that mirror that makes you frown, and pick up one of my books, which will make you laugh. You can find them all on my website. 😊

         

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tattoops

         Have you ever seen a tattoo that wasn’t there? Aha. Both St. Bob and I did this within the same week.

          We were in an elevator with a woman who had multiple tattoos on her arms and legs.  Bob turned to her and said, “What kind of snake is that on your arm?” 

         She held her arm out, and said, “That’s not a snake; it’s a ribbon.”

           Not only that, but it carried a very un-snake-like message: “Fear not, I am with thee: be not dismayed.”  (Isaiah, by the way.)

          I can’t decide if she was curt or courteous or curious, but she got off on the next floor, thank goodness.

          My mis-reading of a tattoo was even worse, however. I was in the nail salon and the woman beside me had a tattoo on the back of her hand. It was a lot of little jagged lines and I figured it must be some kind of art or maybe some writing.


           I leaned over and just as I was opening my mouth to ask, “What does your tattoo say?” I realized it was her veins!  HER VEINS!  Can you imagine how embarrassed we both would have been if I had asked that? I would have had to chase her out to the parking lot, apologizing, and buy her lunch. Not only that, but I would have had to switch nail salons. And it’s extremely hard to find someone who’s really good and never says anything stupid.

Embarrassment has launched many a story for me; check out my books and my Youtube Mom videos here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Ker-splat!

           Here’s my wish. I wish the face plant would go extinct. This time I was heading out to teach early-morning Seminary, and was creeping quietly through the dark house so I wouldn’t wake anybody up. But I misjudged the distance and crashed through the doggie gate onto the wood floor. Head first. I got a bloody nose and bruised ribs, but this is the lingering proof on my chin when I go out in public:


          Yes, it is a purple bruise on my chin, as if I’m trying to grow a soul patch.


Or I’ve been in a plum fight.

I had been carrying a new pair of shoes, which went flying. And, which Mickey, our Chihuahua/Terrier, immediately recognized as new. This means they do not belong in the picture and must be barked at.


          So, she’s barking and growling at the shoes while I am lying on the floor bleeding and in shock. But nevermind the human; it’s the shoes that need attention.

Neither Bob nor Nicole could hear either of us because they had sound machines on.  So they didn’t leap to my aid, not by the bruise of my chinny chin chin. Maybe I should start wearing a helmet everywhere I go.


          But I did manage to hobble to an upright position, drive to the church, and teach a class just a few minutes later. I can only imagine what the 20 teenagers thought as I stood before them, looking like I had just crawled out from a car wreck.

I should have told them I’ve simply got to quit doing Mixed Martial Arts.

But you can avoid these kinds of household accidents by sitting still and watch my Youtube Mom videos here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Happy-ish Anniversary

         St. Bob and I had an anniversary not too long ago, and once again I marveled at the seemingly sad state of marriage when I went shopping for a greeting card.

          First of all, the anniversary cards are located right next to the sympathy cards, and seem to be written by miserable people.


          Most of them are apologetic. I know I never tell you how much you mean to me, but…

          Or afraid to commit to too many compliments.  You and I are a pair, aren’t we? Wishing you a Happy Anniversary!

          Some wallow in gloom. We’ve stuck together through all the storms, the hard times life gives us, those moments when the world looks pretty bleak…

          Or they dodge the issue entirely by making lame jokes. Two sloths “still hanging in there,” or two frogs, one of which says, “I’d croak for you.”

          Finally I find one that raves about the perfect partner, the amazing luck at finding him, and the love and excitement that builds every day. Oh, wait. That was a blank one, so I wrote it myself.

You can find my books right here. Come to think of it, they make wonderful anniversary gifts!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Get Up and Go

           Here’s why St. Bob gets that title. He has been the best sport in the world, for letting me disguise him as object lessons for my Seminary class of 20 kids. For those unfamiliar with this, my new volunteer position at church is to teach early morning religion classes to teenagers. They attend at 7 a.m., before going to high school.

          When studying the 23rd Psalm, I thought I’d dress him as a shepherd. Then I thought, “No-- I don’t want him to be a shepherd; I want him to be a sheep!” I found a black sheepskin jacket at a thrift shop, and attached long ears. He came in and told some corny dad jokes about sheep.

           Then, when teaching Proverbs, I dressed him as a fortune cookie. I had replaced all the regular fortunes in a box of fortune cookies, with Proverbs, and asked him to hand them out. Wish I’d used foam rubber for the costume. I think the cookie would have looked better. Live and learn.

          The latest get-up was wrapping him in a huge roll of paper so he could be a giant scroll like the ones Isaiah wrote on. I wrote Hebrew lettering inside (which doesn’t show in the photo). He came in jiving to “Soul Man” on his phone, and asked if that was what I wanted him to be. I said, “No—I wanted you to be Scroll man!”

          I have no idea what costumes lie in his future. But I’m guessing the guys are all thinking, “I hope I don’t marry a woman who asks me to do this,” and the girls are all thinking, “I hope I marry a man who would do this for me.”
He's also the cameraman for my Youtube Mom videos. He truly deserves a Great Hubby Award!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Had Any Acorns Lately?

           I live in northern California. So did hundreds of Native Americans 3,000 years ago, and their grinding rocks are all over the place, even in people’s yards! Here’s a photo I snapped on a recent walk:

           These granite slabs were the perfect place for them to grind acorns into meal. I can just picture them gathered together to prepare food and, of course, chat. 

Having tons of oak trees about is a bit like living in a nature museum in France, where there are tiny French berets all over the ground.

It made me wonder: Why don’t we eat acorns? You see virtually every other nut for sale, but not acorns.


          I have done the research for you, and here’s the answer for your inquiring mind. Acorns contain a bitter tannin that can be toxic to humans, horses, cows, and dogs. BUT… you can leach them with water to make them edible. How do you do this? You peel them, grind them in a blender until you get a fine powder, then soak them in water again and again until the water remains clear.

          Indians had no blenders, so they dug a shallow pit near a creek, then spread the flour in the bottom of the pit. Then they’d pour water over it until it was sweet.

          Now you’re ready to go acorn crazy. You can use this flour for pancakes, baking, or mush. Keep the flour in the freezer.

          Just don’t tell the squirrels where to find it.

You can find all kinds of cool recipes on my Youtube Mom channel. Not for acorns, but lots of other fun treats!

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Bending: The Rules

        Like many tall people, I occasionally throw my back out. Okay, not with the trash. But I pull muscles and my doctor has told me to stop bending over.

          Simple advice for most, but not if you have dyspraxia. Remember I told you about that here?  I’m genetically klutzy, and what most coordinated people never consider is that I drop things more often than they do. A lot more often. I even put my cell phone on a chain so I could catch it.


          Only now I have to leave the item where it landed. Drop my keys? Gone forever. Drop a towel? Oh well.  Drop a jar lid? Better get some plastic wrap.

          Within a week I predict my floor will look like a teenager’s bedroom. All kinds of objects will be cluttering the ground and I will risk life and limb to weave through the rubble.


          There is only one up-side to this, and it’s for our dog, Mickey. Every day she prays that we will drop food on the floor that will stay there, and that she can gobble up. Now her prayers have been answered.

          Check out my Youtube Mom videos full of great life hacks (except for the above mentioned problem).

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Bristling Over This One

           What kind of bristles does your toothbrush have? Soft? I knew it. This is because every dentist in the entire world recommends soft bristles. I think this unanimous opinion could stretch to the outer limits of the universe as well.


          So WHY DO TOOTHBRUSH MANUFACTURERS CONTINUE TO MAKE MEDIUM AND HARD BRISTLE?

          I cannot believe this is cost effective. Who is buying these broom-bristle products? Witches? Walruses? How many of them actually shop at drugstores?

          And yet, there the brushes are, hanging on the rack every time you go to purchase a new one.  Taking up space. Demanding their own bar code.

          I can’t fathom a sensible person tearing up their gums when dentists tell them not to. Rebellion can only go so far, you know? Self harm should be the limit.

          And that’s my two-cents-worth for the American Dental Association. You’re welcome.

          Hey, check out my YouTube Mom video here, about how to easily clean up your tube of toothpaste!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Your Name in Lights

 St. Bob’s name pops up everywhere.

 




          But the latest surprise appearance was in the SKY!  Clouds actually spelled out Bob Hilton. I didn’t grab the camera quick enough, but you can still make out a few letters:

          I’ve never seen such a thing before. Bob, of course, shouted, “No—I’m not ready yet!” as if this were a sign that he was coming home.  And then, in true St. Bob fashion, he added, “I just bought a new cartridge of printer ink!”

          Presumably to print my articles and manuscripts. Check out all my books right here!



Tuesday, August 16, 2022

If Shoes Could Speak

         I’ve been thinking, lately, about drug dealers. Not all of them, but the specific sub-set of dealers who throw tennis shoes over power lines to announce that this is the place where cops can find them. I mean this is the place to buy drugs.


          We’ve all known about this “secret” communication for decades, right?  Yet you still see relatively new sneakers tossed high over electric lines for all the world to see.

          And it makes me wonder several things. First, how can anyone afford to hurl a pair of sneakers up over the lines, losing them forever? Have you priced sneakers lately?


          Second, how long does it take before the shoes catch on the line? I can picture drug dealers standing in the middle of the street—in the night, I assume—tossing and tossing and tossing until the shoe laces finally catch the line. It looks very hard to do, much harder than making a basketball shot from the foul line. I’m wondering if this might eventually become an Olympic event.


          And how long do laces last in the sun and rain?  They’re biodegradable, remember. If thick lawn furniture breaks apart after one summer, how long can a shoelace last?  What if they fall on your windshield and cause a wreck? 

          Maybe drug dealers are not Phi Beta Kappa types, after all. Maybe, if they were smarter, they would have gone into baseball pitching or shot put. Then, at least, they could have kept their shoes.

If you can afford to toss your tennis shoes away, you could probably purchase ALL of my books right here!