Thursday, January 31, 2019

Is it football or is it foot-ball?

American Football In A Nutshell
The way it is

Which one is it? Which is the REAL football?

Of course, we know the authentic American football we know, but some may not love (which is me).

Super Bowl is coming, and many rejoice. Some already know and care that the LA Rams and Boston New England Patriots will be facing off.  

The excitement happens with each team as they slam and smash, leap to intercept, and cruise into end zone, with the obligatory end zone dance.

We all know people like that. 

Oh, yeah.

They may/will have Doritos on the table with some sort of beer (American maybe) in the cooler. There will be chips/crisps and dip (French onion), tortilla chips and guacamole, and maybe a vegetable platter. Faces may be painted in team colors. Oh, and don't forget the strange over-sized foam finger.
Most Valuable Player

For me, that day is only for the commercials. And, whenever there is one of these clever commercials, the players are hanging around waiting for them to be over.

But is it foot-ball?

world cup soccer quotes
No, it isn't for me.  The real foot-ball (called soccer here) came from Europe. The World Cup has action that doesn't stop, so much so that there are rarely any commercials. 

When we were visiting family in Switzerland (2014), red with a white cross was prominent everywhere. At the AirBnB where we stayed, we watched each game with German commentators. But we didn't need any help understanding the action. It was awesome.

Pubs are filled with shouting fans, team colors flood the streets, and sometimes, too often sadly, disputes can break out in the stadium. 

Russia vs. Egypt 2019
 But in watching this game where action never stops, we see players who are passionate and in top physical shape.

England supporters celebrate an opening goal at the Lord Raglan Pub in London during a World Cup match against Tunisia.
The photos says it all.
Fans don't leave to get beers/lager/ale, but are watching every play. 

I don't know about most bloggers, but this foot-ball is the real one, the one to watch.  

Players get hurt, no avoiding that**. But that is another post, a very sad post, coming up.

**Injuries in any sport are inevitable, but in any style football they are frequent and some serious. Whether it is devastating or one that allows a player to continue, every fan has watched a player being taken off the field.Over the years in American football, head injuries had resulted in brain damage.  This is also the case in FootBall/soccer and especially Rugby.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Oscars and Esoteric-icity

Oscar time is on the horizon, with all its flash and glamour. The red carpet has been vacuumed and shaken out, light bulbs tightened, egos spit-polished, and statuettes lined up.

Enthusiasm here has waned considerably. Thank you, Lord, for DVR and the remote. I will read and my dear one will work on Sudoku until we can speed through the profundity spewing from those more knowledgeable than the rest of the world. 

The thing is that it does not matter at all which are the movies many have enjoyed, but the movies that hold the most meaning and assuage the politically correct need.

(Man, I just read the above paragraphs and I AM IMPRESSED with the sentence structure and vocabulary used. This deserves an Oscar.)

Such verbosity is a result of reading this blog, Word Splash with Joanne Faries .  In her blog, Joanne has chosen some excellent quotes from some superb directors: 

Samuel Goldwyn, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, and 

film critic Pauline Kael.

These talented people clearly state what movies should do. 
And, they should know.

Please visit Joanne Faries' site.

From pastels...
Pastel jewel tones.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Apocalyptic Survival Kit

Moving Hell
Will it never stop?

Finding another box to unpack has become routine in this house; then there is a moment of discovery and/or disappointment.  With big sighs or sadness, the box is either unpacked or closed up to be pitched out.  When will  this stop, I ask.  When. Will. This. Stop?


This was one of the many strange boxes, hidden in garage rafters, where dust and mites had settled.  Movers followed blind orders and brought this one to here. On the lid were words written in our son’s peculiar handwriting, with his peculiar humor.

“If Zombies or commies or Red Chinese attack or Christmas 2013: Break the seals and open.  Open and prepare your body for Thunder Dome (That is probably the new law).”

I did open the lid, but all the warnings did not come to fruition. Written upside down (for the unfortunate opener) were directions:

(on one side) “These are for laundry, tourniquets, and needless hangings” with an arrow pointing down.

(next side) “Done cleaning? Make your broom do double duty to kill zombies.” Arrow pointing down.

(Last side) “ Instrumental video

Strangely, contents of the box were missing only the broom, but included two binoculars.  But it did include some awesome knives, which were apparently a present for his father that Christmas.  

Our son has grown to have a successful life and career, but has maintained his peculiar sense of humor. 

This is a re-post of April 2016 when we were moving stuff accumulated for 27 years.  We are still finding boxes because we got tired of all the destruction and mayhem.

Our son is an excellent writer. Who knows? Maybe someday he will create boxes such as this one and sell them on eBay.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sliced White Bread

Is white bread healthy?

There were two colors in Clara's rural county: white and tan .  And there were two religions: Protestant and Catholic. There were four Jewish families, all of which served an important role there: two doctors, two funeral directors, and a family who owned the main clothing store.

This had been the normal order of life for decades, but then it alllll tilted. Clara noticed that in 1964, as the two doctors were getting old that the balance of the county was changing.  

Two new doctors moved to this small sliced-white bread community, and they were not white or tan.  Dr. "Garcia" and family were from Mexico and, Dr. "Varma" and family were from India. While they all spoke perfect English, they didn't sound "right". Both doctors fared well enough, since they were needed and didn't offend anyone.

But, oh dear Lord. Clara realized that their children lived a solitary hell in school, play yards, and walking to and from school. They had no friends, except those who had been different enough to take the chances of being one to them. 

Clara reached out to the girls and created a circle of friends from her own. She was one of the "different enough" people and this group were ones who functioned at a higher intelligence level. By this time in their lives, Clara and her friends had spent their entire lives being a part of their own different world.

What ever happened to those children? Clara don't know. After they survived high school, those dear ones went away and didn't even return home.

Five decades later, Dr. Clara and her other Doctor friends returned to a class reunion. As far as they could tell, not much had changed.

This is a classic white bread recipe, and so easy! The loaves bake up incredibly tall, soft and fluffy... the perfect white bread!

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Whole Wheat. Is it really good for you.
<img src="pumpernickelbread.png" alt="Sliced pumpernickel bread on a wooden board">

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Wanted: actors who are....

Lines and lines of commercials pass across the screen of our television in a never ending stream, most of them telling me to buy this brand of laxative, buy this type of adult diapers, buy this car, and it never stops. But this is not the purpose of this post.

No, I am wondering about auditions casting calls, and what are the requirements regarding the actor.


a male, ages 40ish, six ft., 180-190 lbs.,  rugged face, mean with furrowed brow, dark eyes, a few scars, black/dark hair, mercenary image, a tattoo or more, not bad looking, knows how to use a gun, possibly sociopath tendencies.  

maybe a few more males of same; facial hair, balding, body builder, unattractive, spits, toothpick in mouth

a female, 40ish, medium height, dumpy female body type, unattractive, hooked nose,  fine mousy hair, drives a 1992 or 1999 Toyota Corolla, wears Alfred Dunner, unpleasant nasal voice, sings off-key, willing to look like her mother.

maybe another female, who may look much the same.

a male, mid-teens, thin/scrawny, 5' 8", 110 lbs., acne, greasy-needs-a-haircut, wears a nerdy plaid shirt un-tucked, broken fingernails, black rimmed glasses, awkward, slouches and doesn't make eye contact.

maybe a few more males like this. About the same description.

a female, mid-teens, snotty and obnoxious, chews gum, trendy clothes, nice legs, big earrings, blonde streaked, Fire Blaze lipstick, slouches with crossed arms, says "" and " big deal" a lot, must be good at rolling eyes.

maybe a few more females of same type, but with Honey Pink lipstick and Licking Lavender lipstick, purple or blue streaked hair, rainbow stripes knee-length socks or Steve Madden Troopa Combat Boots.

Whatever agent who can fulfill these requirements must have a large client list. 

I do not fit in any requirements. Dang.

GEICO has the best commercials.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Maze of a Small Town

My Grandmother and Grandfather Cardiff with their four daughters (Mom on the left).
The faces of my mother’s hometown all look familiar, as if there is a mold somewhere which makes each family member.  A distant cousin has the same nose as my aunt, and the way someone smiles calls up the memory of a long dead parent. 

When I visited my mother, we went out to the local restaurant frequently.  We always planted ourselves where Mom could see who entered and where they sat.  All it took was for me to ask:  “Mom, who is that lady?  Do I know her?”

I know my grandmother is the tall girl in the back, but...

Mom would lean back.  “Well.  That woman is Lydia Roberts.  NOW her maiden name was…..and her mother was….”  The twists and turns of births, marriages, and deaths plus maiden names and odd events that happened down through the years led deeper and deeper into a maze of genealogy. 

Mom knew it all.  All the names and relationships, all the side events that make small-town life interesting, and all the history of decades past were imprinted in my mother’s mind. 

 My grandmother was the same, and I would guess that there was an oral history of telling family lines at Sunday dinners, funeral memorials, and births of new generations.

Mom, who is the lady on the right?

My mother traced back through to the early 1800s, and then, “…NOW Orley Jenkins came here from Kentucky at that time.  BUT his mother’s family—the Jones family—were from Wales.  What was her name?  Lizzie?  NO.  Margaret, that’s her name…”   

She would pause then, glanced at the woman who was eating her fried catfish and coleslaw.  “Oh.  No, no you don’t know that woman.”

I had gotten lost at the second turn in the maze, but I didn’t dare interrupt Mom.  When Mom was weaving her journey through over 100 years of people, it was best to let her find her way back to me. 

This blog post is part of two families who merge when my parents meet and marry. "Roads Run Both Ways" is a way of recounting their lives.  You can find this collection at Susan Kane, Writer, where the most recent post is shown. 

My parents, Irma and Bud Peck in back; Donald, Robert, Bill, Mary, and me

Dad, Aunt Helen, Uncle Bill, and Grandma Peck

Monday, January 14, 2019

Who Is in Charge?

Cheezburger Image 6163257856
I am.

Who's in charge here? I have heard that question in so many voices, situations. 

Sometimes I am in charge, good or bad. I gladly ceded that responsibility now that I am retired. For twenty years and six-hundred students, I was in charge. 

Parents, we were/are in charge. For feeding, clothing, and all sorts responsibilities for our children, we were/are in charge.

Paying bills, having the oil changed, finding lost items, etc.--we adults: we're in  charge.

Given all that, some of the most amazing I'm in charge here people are children. They have no power, no reason to believe that they are in charge. 

Even though you and I know that a child should not be in charge in critical areas,  they are in the sweetest and most amazing ways.

(The longest video is the last one. The others are less than a minute )

A three-year old taking charge here, maybe

Expressing himself to one he loves

Helping mommy 

Who in charge here?  Both.

There are many elements in all lives when exasperation leads to a  real question:  Who is in charge of me?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Squeaky's Big Send-Off

Are You Trapped in the Real Estate Hamster Wheel?
Oh, well.

Squeaky died sometime in the night.  Scotty said that he noticed when the hamster wheel suddenly went silent.  Oh, well.  It was his time.

Scotty had always been pragmatic about things in his life.  Lose a favorite Wheel Box car?  Oh, well. It'll turn up somewhere.  Dropping a slice of pizza?  Oh, well. Just brush it off.  So when Squeaky's little ancient hamster heart stopped beating, Scotty and I (as the paternal unit) both thought about how to give him a suitable burial.

Scotty had been into Vikings after watching "How to train your Dragon" for the twentieth time.  "Let's throw a Viking funeral!" Alright, we can do that, no problem. But I didn't know what I was saying.

Scotty retrieved a canoe/barge made of popsicle sticks at church camp last summer. We put Squeaky on a pile of twigs layered on the water craft.  After pushing the funeral barge out in the swimming pool, Scotty used the "Hunger Games" bow with a burning marshmallow at the point of the arrow aimed at the barge.  

Again and again.  

When the canoe finally caught fire, it initially went up in flames and the thing burned before hisssssing out and sinking, leaving a singed marshmallow sticky Squeaky floating on the top of the water.

Oh, well.  

I managed to scoop Squeaky from the failed Viking send-off with the pool skimmer.  What now?

Scotty had watched some warrior movie where the slaughtered hero was placed on a funeral pyre.  "Let's do that, Dad!"  So we did.

We lay out some sticks criss-crossed to form a good solid structure on the patio, and carefully placed Squeaky on it. Scotty used the Kingsford wand lighter to get a good burn going on the bottom layer.  But, with us being novices at funeral pyres, the whole thing collapsed, leaving Squeaky lying on the concrete surrounded by embers.

Oh, well.  

I didn't know how we were going to give Squeaky a big send off.  But, Scotty, being the boy scout he is, had an idea which made me wince and cringe.  It made sense, but man....really?

I pulled out the old rusty Coleman barbecue and built a pyramid of Kingsford guaranteed-to-light charcoal briquettes.  Scotty placed Squeaky on the center above the coals, using my brand new set of BBQ tool set.  Then he performed the Kingsford lighter ritual and got the coals going.

At first, it seemed that Squeaky was finally heading to his fiery hamster Valhalla.  But Noooo.

Squeaky had some sparks here and there, but clearly the charcoal was not ready.  It developed a nice white ash like briquettes do.  But that was it. Instead, the odor of grilled Squeaky told us the truth.

Oh, well.  

By this time, Scotty had had enough.  "Let's just bury it."  He retrieved a shovel from the garden.


Oh now, what will he ask? A pine box?  What do I say? Odin, please help us. Thankfully, Scott dropped the dead hamster into the dirt and covered it up.

"Dad?  Can we go to Lucille's BBQ?  Mom has a coupon for free appetizers."  He wiped a charcoal streaked hand across his nose.  "I'm kinda in the the mood for ribs, aren't you?" 

My daughter Mary's hamster Max died on the first day of middle school. Mary wept, indicating that she should stay at home for a day of mourning. Didn't happen. In a rare moment of kindness, my son John placed Max in a shoe box and buried it in the backyard with all the other deceased pets. Mary did go to school, but has insisted over the decades that she never recovered from the loss. At 32 yrs, she still mourns the loss.

I wrote this in 2014 and exhumed it. I felt it needed a more elaborate resurrection. It was fun to write. 

Well, then indeed.

How (Not) To Have a Viking Funeral
A good Viking funeral

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Food of the Gods

Selection of Lindt chocolate truffles
Swiss Chocolate
Chocolate: Say the word and watch the heads nod.  Coffee/caffeine: Would you like a cup of coffee? and heads will nod again.

Aroma and taste
Why is there such a connection to such appreciation?

Theobromine* is basically in both coffee and chocolate. It has something to do with taming the alkaloids.  Note the two differences in the molecular formula.

Theobromides in Chocolate
Chocolate= C7 H8 N4 O2  Caffeine= C8 H10 N4 O2

Chocolate and Caffeine are close cousins, if not siblings.  God created both. Both came from the New World. God meant for man to consume them. Go out now! Buy some. 

Now, for some tea, a gift from the Far East. 

Tea= C10 H12 O5 Ca N2 Na2 2H2O

How to make a perfect cup of English tea
I have NO idea what all the above means. Do not believe for one moment all these numbers and elements that I know how to read them. My husband can, but was not interested.

Note for tea drinkers: the molecular formula is much more complicated, as it contains so many variations, with unique and delightful stuff in it. All the variations make no sense to me either.

*Go to this site. It is about a 13 year student in England who worked this out.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Disobedience by A.A. Milne

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother
Though he was only three.
James James said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he:
"You must never go down
to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me."

James James
Morrison's Mother
Put on a golden gown.
James James Morrison's Mother
Drove to the end of the town.
Said to herself, said she:
"I can get down
to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea."

King John 
Put up a notice,

James James
Morrison Morrison
(Commonly known as Jim)
Told his 
Other relations
Not to go blaming him.
James James
Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he:
"You must never go down to the end of the town
without consulting me."


James James 
Morrison's mother
Hasn't been heard of since.
King John said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
King John
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
"If people go down to the end of the town, well,
what can anyone do?"

(Now then, very softly)
James James
Morrison Morrison
Took great
Care of his Mother
When he was only three

"Mother ," he said, said he,

"You must never go down
to the end of the town,
if you don't go down
to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me."

A.A. Milne

I sincerely hope the art can be seen. Let me know if it doesn't. How silly, of course I will see that. Ignore that.