Monday, May 25, 2020

Thankful For Found Items

Why did Blogger develop a "new" Blogger  (which I HATE, by the way) and still only offer seven very basic fonts? I would change to Wordpress or something, but I wouldn't even know where to start to do that, and who's to say I would actually like it any better? All I can say is there are enough changes in the world right now, and having Blogger throw their hat in the ring was really not necessary.

I'm NOT thankful for the Blogger changes, but I have other things for which to be thankful, so on with this week's Ten Things of Thankful:

Four day work weeks. I am working Tuesday through Friday this summer, and let me say, I could get used to that.

When your day off is Monday, and Monday is a holiday, then you get Tuesday off, too.

I lost a checkbook this week, and I thought my name was mud, but after frantically searching for it, calling the bank and reporting that it was either lost or stolen out of my car, my husband found it that evening in the outside pocket of my lunchbox. In all honesty, I didn't even realize the lunchbox HAD an outside pocket, so I surely don't remember sticking the checkbook there, although I did check the INSIDE of the lunchbox several times, hoping the checkbook would miraculously appear. What a relief that it was found!

I'm thankful for the poor customer service guy at the bank when I called. I was pretty sure I was going to burst a blood vessel in my brain in my panic over the checkbook being AWOL, and he was very patient with me and even waived the fee to have the checks stopped until I either found the checkbook or someone tried to pass the checks.

On May 22, another anniversary of the Joplin tornado passed (9 years now, although it sometimes seems like yesterday). We haven't had anything more severe than thunderstorms and hail so far this year. It's highly unusual that we haven't had a tornado warning yet this spring, but I'm cool with that.

I'm thankful for barbecue chicken breasts on the grill.

I'm thankful my husband already had the chicken on the grill when a veritable monsoon came through. He hunkered under the deck and managed to stay reasonably dry, the lid was on the grill so the fire didn't go out, and the chicken didn't burn while he was unable to tend to it.

That last one counts as three thankfuls.

Okay, this is really weird, and the takeaway here is that the house isn't haunted, so that's the thankful. My husband and I spent the holiday weekend at the lake house. Not long after we arrived, I went into the laundry room and found a piece of paper lying on top of the washing machine. No one has been here since we left two weeks ago, and I had no recollection of putting a piece of paper there (of course, I didn't remember where I put a checkbook earlier in the week), Then when I unfolded the paper, I saw that it was a charge slip. Remember the kind that was filled out by hand, then the clerk put your credit card in a small machine, laid the slip on top of it, and slid a roller over it to make an imprint of the card on the strip? THAT kind of charge slip. It was signed by me with my maiden name and the phone number I grew up with, and when I looked closer, I saw that it was dated January 8, 1979. The hair on my arms was literally standing up, I was so freaked out. It was my mom's birthday (she passed away almost 4 years ago), and I had about decided she was behind it, just doing something to mess with me, when I remembered that I had found some old jeans and overalls from when I was in high school at my dad's house a couple of weeks ago and had brought them to the lake house to show my daughter and see if she would like them. This credit card slip must have been in the bottom of the old Casual Corner shopping bag that they had been stored in and fallen out when I emptied the bag to wash the clothes. Mystery solved, Scooby! My mother may or may not have been behind it, but she sure would have enjoyed me trying to piece that puzzle together!

Look at the price for that blouse.
Look at the price for that blouse!

Stay home if you can. Wear a mask if you go out. Shop local. Wash your hands. Don't get haunted.

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Well, That Week Went By Quickly

Blink! Week over.

I made a vow when my kids were born that I would never wish their lives away by saying things like "I can't wait until they're old enough to...". And I don't want to wish MY life away, either, by saying things like "I hope this week goes by quickly." But this week went by quickly in spite of that, and now it's time for another edition of Ten Things of Thankful. Here are my thankfuls:

1. My baby nugs started back this week at school! They haven't all returned yet for a number of reasons, including several who don't come during the summer because one or both parents are either college students or teachers, but it was a joyous reunion with the ones who were able to be there! We played and danced and sang. There were tents made out of blankets, dress up fun, rides in the bye bye bus, and a wee little bit of playground time on the two occasions this week that there was a break in the RELENTLESS RAIN. I love my baby nugs so very much! 

2. I am thankful for the actors (especially women) who are appearing on television without benefit of hair stylists and make up artists during the pandemic. They look perfectly normal and I find that perfectly perfect. I wish this trend would never stop. Wouldn't this be a boon for everyone's self esteem? 

3. I'm thankful for John Krasinski's web series "Some Good News" on YouTube. If you haven't caught this series, then do yourself a favor and watch this episode:

I cried, but they were happy tears.

4. I'm thankful that my toilet healed itself. It was shrieking every time it was flushed, and the Google told me it needed a new fill valve. Now, I'm a pretty fair plumber, and it's not difficult to replace this, but we have an over-the-tank shelving unit that would have to be emptied and the shelf moved in order for me to get to the tank and replace it, and it wasn't something I was looking forward to doing. Thank you, toilet fill valve!

5. My daughter has returned to her apartment in Fayetteville after two months at home with us. I am grateful for this time we've had with her, but my heart has a lonely place in it since she left.

6. I'm thankful the Food Network had the brilliant idea of having Amy Schumer and her husband Chris (a chef) do a cooking show together while they are sheltering in place. Check out "Amy Schumer Learns To Cook," unless you aren't an Amy Schumer fan because you think she's raunchy (she is, and that's one of the reasons I love her).

7. I'm thankful that wearing a mask when out means there is no need for make up. 

8. My Easter Sunday coronacut is growing out and looking less, I don't know, desperate? 

9. I am thankful for blister bandaids. I wore a pair of shoes to work on Friday that I really need to get rid of. They rub a blister on my heel every time I wear them. I keep them because I paid more for them than I should have, and I wear them because I kept them. Dumb all the way around. Someone tell me it's okay to forget about the money and give the shoes awayyyyy!

10. I took down my kitchen curtains today while doing ant eradication (long story). Naturally, I didn't think to take a picture of the window with the old curtains in it, but imagine hunter green and white gingham that went all the way to the windowsill, and there was a pair on each window, held back with ties. They were also lined. They matched the kitchen, and I didn't dislike them, but after I pulled them down, I got the bright idea to make new curtains from a pair of vintage, hand embroidered pillowcases, and I think they turned out pretty well. Plus, they make the kitchen about a hundred times brighter!

Lewis doing his part to impede the ironing.

Nora helping me with the sewing....


What can you be thankful for today? 

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Thankfuls From My Coronacation

My coronacation came to an end this past week when I returned to work Monday. Not complaining, just a fact. I had SO MANY PLANS for writing and reading and craft projects and home improvement projects and Dyanne improvement projects over the course of the break, and I. DID. NONE.OF.THEM. 

I did participate in the A to Z Challenge again this year, and that's truly the only accomplishment I made during the 6 weeks I was off work. My bad. Feel free to check out  my A to Z posts. They are not my best work.. Apparently, I write better when I'm juggling work and life than I do when I have all the time in the world.

Now the Prodigal Ten Things of Thankful co-host is back, and here's my corona list of thankfuls:

1. I was very grateful that the child development center where I work shut down when it did. I felt like a cat on a hot tin roof that last week, when cases were popping up all over the US. I literally have small children coughing and sneezing DIRECTLY INTO MY FACE at work, and I am not exaggerating, although I wish I were.

2. My husband, daughter and I have stayed at the lake house throughout this coronacation, and we've had such a nice time! We've cooked big meals, made big messes, and watched many, many shows on various streaming services.

3. My 85 year old dad had a colonoscopy this week (just routine). I wasn't thrilled about him having it done RIGHT NOW, but he wanted to get it over with (it had been rescheduled from March, when I insisted he cancel it right before the hospital canceled all non-emergency procedures). The little community hospital where we were followed all the safety precautions, we were in and out in a couple of hours, and he was pronounced fit as a fiddle. We also enjoyed take-out burgers from the White Grill that we cheerfully waited over half an hour for because they were so busy. Worth it.

Holding all the stuff my dad had in
his pockets (and his mouth, if you look closely).

4. I have cranked out quite a few masks during this time and have taken my time-per-mask from two and a half hours to 20 minutes, not counting the machine acting up or the needle coming unthreaded or a cat grabbing the thread as it leaves the spool.

Finn, the seamstress' helper (not).

5. I raised my baby sour dough starter to an adult, found out making a loaf of sour dough bread is a huge time commitment (and huge pain in the ass) and turned Jane Dough over to my husband, who finds making bread a Zen-like experience. (I do make bread fairly often, but I DON'T find it Zen-like and just want the end product, so I use the bread machine to make my dough and do all the Zen work for me).

6. Further to the Zen (or not) experience of bread making, I used the bread machine to make sweet roll dough that made amazingly tender and delicious cinnamon rolls that I took to work and shared (I was out of milk and had to use cream in the dough and in the frosting, so that might be one of the reasons they were so decadently tender). Meanwhile, my husband has been working for two days on homemade bagels that are currently in the oven and smelling heavenly. We balance each other out.

7. Amazon has not let us down! I feel like singing, "Oh, ho, the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street" every time a package is delivered. Not sure why I get so excited, since I have only ordered one item (an Asian-featured baby doll to add to my classroom), but I still get excited by a delivery!

8. My daughter has tempted me nearly daily with photos of kittens available for adoption, but I have been able to stand firm. It's not easy, but I've done it.

9. Much cleaning done this week at work to get ready for my little nugs coming back next week, including making sure all the toys are clean and sanitized. It also gave me a chance to organize paperwork and files, clean out cabinets, and power wash the winter grime off the outside equipment (a very rewarding and satisfying job, although I was soaking wet and had a maple tree seed stuck to the lens of my glasses when I was finished). Ready for my babies to come back to me!

We may have collected a few too many binks... 

10. Y'all, I made a new friend during the A to Z Challenge! As we at the TToT know, there ain't nuthin' like a blog friendship, and I'm hoping I am able to entice her to join our hop. If she takes the bait, please give her lots of bloggy love, and Clark, don't scare her 😂 If you're out there, Nancy, please join the party!

There are thankfuls everywhere. What are yours?

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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Z is for Zoo

My husband is not a huge fan of zoos, but he will humor me and go on occasion (when you have kids, you kind of have to go to zoos, don't you?). 

It's not a long list. We've been to the Santa Barbara Zoo (built on a hill above the ocean and the best smelling zoo you'll ever go to), Tulsa Zoo, Omaha's Henry Doorly zoo (amazing gorilla exhibit), Oklahoma City Zoo (in the dead of winter, while our son was interviewing for medical school), the Zoo at Grassmere Park in Nashville (one of the prettiest, with gorgeous bamboo-lined paths), Swope Park Zoo in Kansas City (also went there on my first grade field trip), and the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. 

Dickerson Park Zoo isn't very big at 55 acres (most bigger zoos are at least 100 acres). but it's a nice little zoo that was started in 1923. It was expanded in the 1930s by the Works Progress Adminstration (my dad remembers going there as a little kid), but little was done to it after that until the late 1980s, and over the next 20 years, the zoo was improved to the little gem it is now. It has a terrific river otter exhibit in the North American area. They also have a raptor rehabilitation program where you might see an injured bald eagle that is undergoing treatment before being released.

In 1984, the Halloween Spooktacular was launched. It was begun in an effort to get more people to the zoo during the slower fall season and held in the days leading up to Halloween. Decorations were set up throughout the grounds, the zoo stayed open into the evening, and kids could come to the zoo in costume and trick or treat.

We took our kids when my daughter was around 3 and my son around 7. The only real downside to the evening was that the animal enclosures weren't lighted, being as visiting a zoo is ordinarily a day time activity, and it was difficult to see the animals.

The exception was the giraffe house. During the day, the giraffes are outside, but in the evening (and in cold weather), they go inside their (very tall) house, and you can go inside and see them. What makes this even better is that the giraffes are really quite close to you when you're inside the house.

The four of us were watching the giraffes when one of them came to the edge of his enclosure and stretched his neck as far as he could to look at my husband. They stood there, man and giraffe, each marveling at the other. My husband would tip his head to the right, and the giraffe would mirror him. He'd tip it the other way, and the giraffe would do the same thing. It was a cute moment.

"I've never been this close to a giraffe before," my husband said, eyes still locked on the giraffe's. The words were no more out of his mouth when the giraffe quite suddenly went, "ACHOOOOOOOOOOO!" directly into my husband's face.

As we howled with laughter, my husband slowly turned towards us. His glasses were utterly and completely coated with a film of giraffe snot.

It was the best zoo visit EVER!

Zoo Animals :: Dickerson Park Zoo - Clip Art Library
One of Dickerson Park's giraffes. A lot of velocity can be
created from the lungs all the way up that neck and out the nose.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Y is for Y Things

Some things about things that start with "Y":

My favorite color is yellow. I never wear it, because it makes my skin look like cheese, but my living room and family room are both painted yellow. It's sunshiny and it makes me happy.

I hate the term "YOLO," but it's true.

I buy yeast by the pound, but when I realized I was running low on it, it was unfortunate timing that it was right as the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and clorox wipe hoarders were clearing the store shelves, and they got the yeast, too. After the restaurants had to close, several of them sold their grocery deliveries that they still received, and I scored a one pound bag of yeast and a 25 pound bag of flour for $10. 

The Try Guys are one of the best things on YouTube. Watch this episode, where they each try to bake a cake with no recipe.

Yams are yams and sweet potatoes are sweet potatoes, and I don't like either of them.

I like to think of yogurt as healthy pudding. 

I have always been a big fan of The Flintstones and of Seinfeld. I have used the phrase "yada yada yada" before, but I've never once said "yabba dabba doo". Until now, I guess.

The Flintstones' Is Coming to MeTV — Watch Fred's Announcement ...

What I know about poker would fit on the head of a pin, but thanks to my many years of playing Yahtzee as a kid, I at least know what beats what.

This is a yak, made by the sweetest, happiest boy I think I ever had in 18 years as a pre-kindergarten teacher. It never fails to make me smile.

I have never mowed a yard in my life. 

Yikes, y'all! One more letter, and the A to Z Challenge will be over for another year!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

X is for X-code

FEMA developed a marking system for use by search and rescue organizations when there is a disaster. It was first widely used after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has continued to be a standard for disasters since. 

On May 22, 2011, the "X" system was used in the aftermath of the Joplin tornado.

A  (usually) red diagonal line is spray painted outside the doorway of a structure (if there's enough structure for a line - sometimes, they have to be creative about this step) as the search and rescue team enters the building to search it. When they exit, they make a second diagonal line to form an "X" and add the date and time to the top quadrant, any hazards to the right quadrant, and the number of bodies found inside (two numbers with a slash between them designates that the count includes dead bodies). In the left quadrant is shorthand for the rescue squad doing the search. Vehicles are also searched and marked with an "X."

Creativity at work. The front door is actually lying on the ground just beyond the framed
window that is on the left side of the photo. The "X" is on what was left of an inner wall.
(This was the dance studio that was my daughter's second home for many years.)

Not sure why it was searched twice.

I hope you never have to see these X's in person.

A severe thunderstorm just passed through our area with strong winds, hail, heavy rain, dangerous lightning, and the potential for tornadoes.

Happy spring! 

Monday, April 27, 2020

W is for Wax

W day, w day...wuh... wuh... wuh... weather... wink... winter... winston... winstons taste good like a (pum pum) cigarette should... ooo, candy cigarettes! I haven't had those in--STOP! wuh... wuh... wuh... wicked... wuh... wuh... wuh... watermelon... I really need to pee, but I don't want to get up... wuh... wuh... wuh... weasel... pop goes the weasel... geez, that's a cruel toy for kids... wuh... wuh... wuh... work...water... weight - ugh! don't want to think about that... wuh... wuh... wuh... wax... wax lips... wax bottles with syrupy juice in them... we used to chew the wax when we finished the syrup to get every drop... wuh... wuh... wuh...

Such is the thought process of an A to Z Challenge blogger at 4:00 a.m., desperate for a topic, but it worked:

Many years ago, when I lived in Nashville, I knew a fellow who was a studio musician. He was very tall, probably close to 6'5" - lanky and leggy.

He had twin boys, and around the time I knew him, they were preschool age. 

As is not unusual for preschoolers, one day, the boys wanted to "help" their mom by cleaning the house. Imagine how cute they must have been, pretending to scrub the parquet floor of the entry hall! It also kept them quiet and busy for some time (probably TOO quiet...).

Fast forward to later that same day, when their dad came home from a long day at the studio. After kicking off his shoes in the bedroom, he headed out of his room and across the house in his sock feet. As he crossed the entry hall flooring on his way to the kitchen, his feet went out from under him, and next thing he knew, he was lying flat on his back on the floor.

It seems mother's little helpers had found and used a can of furniture polish to "clean" the parquet floor. It took quite a bit of REAL cleaning to remove all the waxy residue and return their temporary indoor skating rink to an entry hall floor.

Have you ever been coating a pan with cooking spray and, unbeknownst to you until you stepped on it and your foot slid, overshot the pan and gotten some of the cooking spray on the floor? And as you grabbed the edge of the counter to steady yourself, you let out a sigh of relief that you saved yourself from completely wiping out? Whenever I do that (and that's more often than I care to admit), I think about this little story of the furniture wax, and now you will, too!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

V is for Village

It was late afternoon, and they were hopelessly lost, having apparently taken the wrong road when they reached an unexpected detour after exiting the highway, hoping for a short cut to avoid a traffic jam.

"If we had just stayed on the highway, we would have been through that little kerfuffle and been well on our way," the woman chided her husband. 

"But we never would have seen all this brush and this fine gravel road," the man responded. "When was the last time we saw a house, anyway?" he asked, glancing quickly at her before returning his eyes to the narrow, rough roadway.

"Oh, my, it's been nearly an hour or more," his wife answered, looking at her watch. "What a desolate place this is! No wonder there aren't any homes out here! Besides, where on earth would you go for groceries or gasoline? We haven't seen any such thing since we left the highway."

The sun was quickly getting lower and lower in the sky, and they were each, silently, concerned, but neither said a word, not wanting to worry the other.

"Once it gets dusky," the man said, "we should be able to see lights from a house somewhere out here, and we can head towards it and ask for directions."

"That's as good a plan as any," his wife replied, and she scanned the horizon for spots of light in the growing darkness. 

She must have dozed off for bit, because she awoke to the car slowing; she glanced over at her husband and saw him gripping the steering wheel tightly as he braked the car. Looking up, she saw they had entered a small village, no more than a dozen or structures visible against the night sky. 

"Is it abandoned?" the woman asked, but before her husband could answer, a single light came towards them, swinging slightly. As it got closer, they could see a cloaked figure carrying what appeared to be a lantern. Other figures followed, and they surrounded the car as the man brought it to a stop.

The woman opened her mouth to speak, but her husband reached over and squeezed her hand, hushing her, but as the figures loomed over their car, she opened her mouth once again in a silent scream as the doors were wrenched open and she felt herself being dragged out into the darkness.

Friday, April 24, 2020

U is for Under

Because you needed to see this.

In order of appearance:

Nora "I Want Nothing To Do With This" Pearl
Lewis and Finn, together


I has toe fluff

I not fat, I fluffy

I soooo pretty

Look at mah toe beans!

No hatz! No hatz!

Imma outta here.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

T is for Too Much Time On My Hands

I was going to write a post about things I did today for "T," but it was a pretty dull list.

I had a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast.

I took a really long walk to what should be a crowded shopping district, but I was the only one there.

At Branson Landing

I found a wondrously misspelled word on a sign.


I saw a daddy Mallard duck guarding a very hidden mama Mallard duck as she sat on a nest.

Daddy on the left. Mommy tucked under the
grass on the right. Not a pond, just a low
place in a yard down the street after lots of rain.

I got a picture of our 5 itty bitty baby house finches that are in a nest made in the wreath hanging on the front door.

Mama was fussing at me from a tree.

And those were the highlights of my day. Imagine what I left out....

Instead, I decided to make hats for the cats, because when you're under a stay at home order, you find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, and even I have to admit there's a limit to how many episodes of "Friends" I can watch in a week.

I didn't have a pattern for the hats, because I couldn't find any free ones on the interweb, and I wasn't about to pay for one. But winging it is how I've gotten through the A to Z Challenge up to to this point, so why stop now?

I made a tiara for Nora Pearl (I could have stopped at that and called it "T is for Tiara," but I had a lot of yarn and a lot of time).

Princess Nora Pearl

She was not thrilled, but she did tolerate her tiara for about 15 minutes before she shook it off.

I made a beanie for Lewis. I had to put a chin strap on it, because he dodged it when I was trying to size it on him, and I knew he wouldn't leave it on long enough for a picture without one.

Watching me with interest before
I involved him.

I was correct.

Lewis trying to shake off the hat.

Had to be QUICK to get this.

Finn was minding his business, sleeping on the bath mat in a dark, quiet bathroom, when my daughter and I descended on him and made him wear the beanie.

He was the unhappiest model of all, but instead of shaking it off, he simply fell over.

Fell. Over.


Did I waste a ridiculous amount of time doing this?


Was it worth it?

A thousand times yes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

S is for Some Day

Some day

we will go back to work

and to school.

Some day

we will eat in restaurants

and talk

and laugh.

Some day 

we will go to parties

and stores

and sporting events

and concerts.

Some day

we will crawl out of our homes

and blink like moles

as we venture out.

Some day

we will begin a new normal,

but will we ever again feel safe 

and sound?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

R is for Roll Tide

I was living in Nashville and met a girl at my apartment complex swimming pool named Donna, and we became friends. We were very different; she was 7 or 8 years younger than I was (and I was 29), had never gone to college, was from Alabama, and worked for a dentist, but we hung out together at the pool and had a good time. 

By the time fall rolled around, things ended badly for her with the dentist (don't dip your pen in the company inkwell, especially when the inkwell is married), and Donna moved back home to Alabama. She begged me to come down for the Tennessee v. Alabama football game (probably the biggest rivalry in the SEC), because her brother could get us tickets. It wasn't my burning desire to do this, but Southwest Airlines was doing a promotion called "Fun Fares," and a flight from Nashville to Birmingham was only $19 each way, so I told Donna I would come.

I was always under the impression that Donna was from Birmingham, but she was actually from a tiny little town about 45 minutes outside of Birmingham, and lived in a mobile home with her mom and various cousins and siblings.The house was buzzing with people when we got there, and the moment we walked in the door, one of her cousins announced that Donna's brother had had to give our tickets to someone else. The reason for this, I found out, was because her brother was a bookie and the game was sold out, so why give away tickets for free when you can scalp them for a lot of money, right?

Donna told me not to worry about it, that not all the cousins who had tickets would want to go, but naturally, after we got to the stadium Saturday morning and met some of her cousins in the parking lot, there were no extra tickets. I was REALLY ready to call it a day and go home, especially after we heard the sounds of the game already starting.

"We'll just walk up to the stadium and see if we can tickets there," Donna said. I hadn't come prepared to purchase tickets to a football game that I wasn't excited to attend in the first place. I was a poor working girl, after all, and Donna had told me we were getting free tickets. I told her I couldn't pay more than face value ($20) for a ticket, and that's generally not the going rate with the scalpers who stood outside the stadium. 

We saw men holding tickets up as we got closer to the gates, but they wanted considerably more than face value, so we continued walking until a man shouted to us as we passed by, "You got tickets? You got tickets?"

"No," Donna answered, then asked, "How much?"

"Twenty dollars each, I can get you in," the man said.

"We don't have that much money," Donna told him. "We only have a twenty dollar bill."

The man hesitated, then said, "Okay, follow me." As we trotted along behind him towards the gate, Donna whispered to me, "Do you have a twenty dollar bill?" and fortunately, I did. As we neared the turnstiles, the man turned to us and said, "Give me the money."

Donna turned to me, "Give him the money."

I looked at her, then pulled a twenty out of my pocket and handed it to him. 

"Go on through," he said, nodding at the turnstiles, and we watched as he handed the woman taking tickets my twenty dollars as we walked through the turnstiles and into the stadium.

Once we were safely inside the stadium, we turned to each other and laughed. Donna led the way to the area where her cousins were sitting, but the problem was WE DIDN'T HAVE SEATS BECAUSE WE DIDN'T HAVE TICKETS. Donna plopped down in the aisle and chatted with her family, but rule follower that I am, I was sure we were going to get in trouble for blocking the fire exit and be asked for our ticket stubs and then have to go to some kind of stadium jail, and I was nervous and anxious to move. We sat there for most of the second quarter before I convinced Donna that we should move on (although I must note that there were dozens and dozens of people doing the same thing we were - apparently, the turnstile scam was lucrative). We walked around the edge of the field and watched halftime, then Donna suggested we go ahead and leave. Yes, please!

We found a little restaurant with outdoor seating in a beautiful courtyard, and we had a delightful afternoon, eating lunch and listening to some live acoustic music (ironically, it turned out to be someone I knew from Nashville). The rest of the weekend was uneventful, but I was more than ready to get on that plane and go home. 

I didn't stay friends with Donna, not because of this experience directly, but we were too different (my brother was an accountant) and lived too far away from each other. And while that UT/Alabama game was my first SEC football experience, it didn't end up being my last, because nearly 30 years later, I started attending games when my daughter started attending the University of Arkansas, and I think of Donna and our $20 game every time I walk through those turnstiles. Woo Pig Sooie!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Q is for Qtips

Last night, I was lamenting to my new (and very organized) bloggy friend Nancy (she does THE MOST amazing crafts with paper that are truly more like art, and you don't even have to be crafty to love her projects - go by Heart to Heart Soul Creations and see for yourself!) that I had not come up with a topic for today's A to Z Challenge post. She, of course, had hers planned ages ago. She threw out a couple of words. Quiet. Quickly. I jokingly countered with Q-tip.

It's 8:00. I have had no "Q" epiphany today, so Q-tip it is.

In 1923, according to the official Q-tips website, a fellow by the name of Leo Gerstenzang saw his wife sticking wads of cotton to the ends of toothpicks and got the idea to manufacture cotton swabs. He founded the Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company to market baby care accessories.

Let's stop right there. The company he formed to produce the cotton swabs was for the manufacturing of baby care accessories. When he saw his wife wrapping wads of cotton onto the toothpicks, was she using them on a BABY?! I think we can all be glad ol' Leo stepped in and put a stop to that.

The product was originally called Baby Gays, because they made cranky babies happy. My guess is this is a first-hand observation by Leo, due to the fact that his baby's mother was no longer jabbing the baby in the ear with a toothpick. The website "TriviaHappy:)" writes that the swabs were made by hand, then dipped in boric acid to sanitize them, and they were advertised as being great for babies' ears and nostrils.

Is sticking boric acid in a baby's ear safer than sticking a toothpick in there? I'm not sure there's a good answer to that.

In 1926, the label was changed to Q-tips Baby Gays. The company eventually dropped the "baby gays" part of the name and became known just as Q-tips. Incidentally, the "Q" stands for quality and "tips," obviously, stands for the cotton tip of the stick.

Hollywood make-up artists began using Q-tips for make up application in the 1950s. Aren't you glad that (a) you can use a Q-tip to clean mascara smudges out from under your eyes and not have to use a makeshift toothpick wrapped in cotton to do that and (b) they don't use boric acid any longer to sanitize the swab?

At some point, doctors agreed that sticking Q-tips inside ears was not a good thing and would cause more harm than good (still better than a toothpick), so every box now has a warning not to use them inside your ear, but seriously, is there ANYTHING that feels better than using a Q-tip to clean out your ear? 

One more thing that Q-tips are good for: art.

I may not be as crafty as my friend Nancy, and I found this on Pinterest and didn't make it up myself (although what I found was a painting for sale on Etsy, and I turned it into a preschool craft project), but here's a fun project:

I drew a couple of stems with a marker on blue construction paper. I took a second sheet of paper and cut holes in the paper over the top of each stem, then we made dots within each circle with a Q-tip dipped in white paint. When you lift away the sheet, you have a dandelion picture! I think the pre-k version is just as nice as the Etsy version!

Etsy on the left, preschool art on the right.

In conclusion, next time you reach for a Q-tip, say a little thank you to baby Gerstenzang for taking one for the team and being the reason you're not stabbing yourself in the ear with a toothpick wrapped in cotton.