Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Sorry, folks. The images here aren't rendering properly. The image seems to be missing, although the code is correct. I've also seen that it doesn't work on other people's blogs, either.

Where you see an ugly black box, there's supposed to be an image of a little black pirate flag.

Test yourself by clicking the link (in hard-to-see white text) at the bottom of the beige box.

My pirate name is:

Mad Anne Flint

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Babe-isms Gone Wild

An Apologia

For some weeks now, I've been avoiding this particular post, because I have not been able to figure out how to structure it. You see, much of the joy that issues from the mouths of babes is heavily context laden, and it's always spontaneous. It's fair to say that many times, "you hadda be there" to understand why statements [or misstatements, as is often the case] are worth recording. So, having confessed that I cannot figure out a framework with which to weave these bizarre locutions together, I hope my Gentle Reader(s) will grant me license. I am sure that the final product will be gibberish, and will prompt the audience to say to me, as one of my esteemed professors once so tenderly did, "You have failed to achieve art."

So be it; let the babes speak for themselves and illustrate the regular but unpredictable fun we have around here.

The Babe-isms

The following treasure trove of nonsense was committed by Tyke over the last two months:
  1. [Blowing his nose] "Mom, I think I have overactive snot glands."
  2. [Of a strange little scarecrow decoration on top of a snow-measurement pole] "What is that little puppet thing with a pumpkin head? Oh, I know. It's a scarecumber!"
  3. [With no context whatsoever] "I have a wide variety of elbows." And later, "You have baseball arms!"
  4. "Get off my touritary!"
  5. Said "Cari-ba-bi-en" instead of "Caribbean"
  6. [Matter-of-factly, in reference to a girl about age four in a cashier's line who was chewing something, and whose father asked her what was in her mouth, to which she replied "It's a paper towel"] "She's eating paper because she's going to be a model. That's how they stay thin."
  7. [Of other kids in the car taunting him about how his hair looked] "Who says you can't have a lefty comb-over?"
  8. [Of the speed limit] "We're going six-ta-buh!"
  9. [Of snacks in the car] "I'm afraid I'm gonna have to convigate the chips!"
  10. "Mom, is there a school for the uneducated?" (I give him a long, cold, hard look.) "No, I mean, a school for people who don't want to be educated?"
  11. [Of a recent dream, in which he stood on top of clouds] "I wasn't very heavy. Maybe half an ounce. Not very poundy."
  12. [Of the challenge of eating ice cream in hot weather] "Soft ice cream is harder."
  13. [Of some minor charaacters in the play "Annie"] " . . . the butlers and butlesses . . ."
  14. [Of a hair clippie] "Where's the whore? I mean, the hair?"
  15. [Of a business sign missing letters] "Eeeww, it says European Odors." Older brother: "No, it's European _otors, as in 'Motors.'"

R., friend of older brother, in car: "Elephant Butt National Park?"

S., older brother's girlfriend [While in Yankee Candle flagship store, sniffing some bizarre bath soaps shaped and scented like ice cream scoops, and putting one up to my ear] "Mrs. L., Mrs. L., listen to this!"

Not to disappoint, there are more! But when I look at them, I cannot remember the context that made them amusing. So I will have to query the perpetrators, and return to this hodgepodge in yet another installment.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dumb and Dumber

Sometimes it just feels good to 'fess up to one's own foolishness. It provides a little balancing perspective, thus helping a person not be so mean to other folks by laughing at, taunting, or talking behind their backs. Deride not, lest ye be derided.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the car with G, Tyke, and S on the way to the ice-cream capitol of our area. I knew I did not have any cash for the transaction, so we stopped at the bank. This was a Sunday, and of course the bank itself was not open, but I assumed I would go to the ATM in the separate vestibule. I went to the outer door, and to my surprise, it was LOCKED.

I was miffed, and once back in the car I started hurling diatribes about how stupid and inconsiderate it was for a bank to lock up its ATM on the weekend, and what were they thinking, anyway??!!!

And gently, from the back seat, G said, "Mom, I think you're supposed to use your card to unlock the door."

I glanced in the rearview mirror and immediately saw a card slot, big as life, directly to the right of the door handle.


After that, we got some money.

Monday, November 14, 2005

More Glasses Problems

Ah, the ongoing saga, uh, goes on. As if it weren't enough irritation to have glasses whose lenses pop out randomly and unprovoked (see post of May 24, 2005 ), I've invented a new irritation. But at least I figured out the cause.

Since a recent visit to a warehouse store where I bought a large number of cube-shaped tissue boxes, I've noticed that my vision is worse. Hmmmm.

It seems that I've been spraying my lenses with lense cleaner, then wiping them with a facial tissue instead of a lens tissue. Well, technically I guess I'm not supposed to use facial tissues because my lenses have a couple of expensive, fancy coatings on them. Anyway, I noticed that every time I would "clean" the glasses, I would put them back on and they seemed worse and more smeary than before. Why, why, why?

The other day after putting the glasses back on, I picked up the tissue box and looked at it carefully (something I could never do if I weren't wearing the glasses; I am truly blind as a mole). And in small print on the BOTTOM of the box it says, "with lotion."

So instead of cleaning my glasses, I've been applying lotion to them! DUH! I could not believe it. I deliberately never buy tissue with lotion. I hate tissue with lotion! Who knows what's in it? But somehow I didn't see the detail when I bought those boxes. And, bleah! I bought them at a warehouse store, so I have loads of them. How dumb. I guess it's off to the store to get a dedicated box of tissues just for the glasses.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Nowhere

I am not the sort of person who is uneasy alone. I greatly enjoy solitude, and am not a scaredycat flibbertigibbet when it comes to being alone in a home of any size at night. So imagine my surprise as I was minding my own quiet-alone-working-intensely-on-the-computer business Tuesday when I heard a strange tapping toward the front of the house.

Now it is embarrassing to me to admit at this juncture that over the past week we have discovered a change-of-seasons Mouse Problem. Sunday night we had quite a lively attack, involving a critter rain (yes, a mouse fell out of a blank-behind-the-cabinet space and flew into the kitchen) , and so I figured the rodents were just normally racing around or destroying whole 2 x 4s within the front walls, where we know they reside somewhere above the kitchen ceiling.

But the noise escalated from tapping to gentle knocking, from knocking to whacking, and I realized there was a real Human Bean out on the front porch. People who know us don't normally come to the front door, so if it's not a pizza delivery, a front door noise is potential cause for alarm. But it might have been a roofer leaving an estimate.

Louder it got, and my heart started to race. I jumped up from the sofa and grabbed the phone in case of 911, and went up near the door, where sure enough through the little top windows I could see that the storm door was being held open. I was momentarily stumped, since I knew I had locked the screen door just a couple of days ago and hadn't opened it again. Then I realized that Honey had put the storm glass in the door over the weekend and had not re-locked it. Horrors!

Now I had to make a decision. Could I run out the side or back door faster than the perpetrator could chase me down some tricky stone stairs? Should I call my neighbor first and give her the play-by-play, so she could be a witness if I were murdered? Should I have my neighbor call the police? Should I call 911 right now? Would I be an idiot if I did so, and have to pay the poor police for a prank call?

I decided to creep up to the fisheye peephole just as I started to hear the main door lock being tried. It's not an easy door from the outside, so I figured I had some time. What I saw on the other side, however, did not slow my heart rate.

There seemed to be an older man, perhaps in his 60s with a full head of grey hair, leaning in on the door handle. He had thick, long out-of-fashion glasses. He huffed and puffed, and was clearly distraught. He wore a plaid flannel shirt over another plaid shirt, and the effect was altogether dishevelled. Great! I thought. There's a deranged old man breaking into my house!

But something about the whole scene was weird. So instead of running out back or calling 911, I used a menacing voice to shout, "Who is there and what do you want?"

A small, out-of-breath voice answered. "This is B. L. I am looking for the F.s' house."

At that point, my knees almost buckled, and I was immediately both humbled and ashamed. For I recognized the name L., and the name F., and although I was still truly near fainting, I had the presence of mind to realize I had to open the door and undo my angry voice and beg for forgiveness fast.

Just two days before, my neighbor, Ms. L. (who does not take the name of her husband, Mr. F.) had driven by and stopped to chat when she saw me at the mailbox. In the car was an elderly lady, whom she introduced as her mother, visiting from Maine. The lady proudly stated her age as 81. After a few pleasantries, they drove up to Ms. L's garage.

The person breaking down my door had not been a man in his 60s, but a woman in her 80s. When I ran outside to reassure her and apologize, she was off the porch and a few steps on her way up toward our dangerous, busy street. She explained that she had "gone out for a walk down to the main road" and become a bit lost on her way back to the F.s' house. She was definitely out of breath and somewhat disoriented, but slightly welcomed my redirection and apology. I waited to see where she went, all the way up to the F.s' house.

And so, my friends, here is what it comes to: I am a mean, yelling paranoid who terrifies old people.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

. . . And the Results for Tyke

Oh, man! You see the differences between generations. At least he got 10% of my Dixie. But I still don't know who is responsible for that Upper Midwestern!

I wanna know who's responsible for this test. I mean, like, what is WRONG with you people? Do you not know that Valley Girl is a whole major region of America? Gag me! I am, so totally like, 50% Valley Girl and 50% Dixie. The test is inaccurate, 'z'all ahm sayin'.

It just came to me. The Upper Midwest? Garrison Keillor? Oh, no! We'll have to stop listening to Prairie Home Companion!

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English

25% Yankee

10% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

For his part, the Tyke wonders where the Dixie and U. Midwestern came from, too. And, just for the record, he was born a Brit. He keeps saying that he wants to speak like a Briton. (It would be fine with me if he didn't speak like a wurzel--that is, a southwesterner from Bristol, where he was born. He would be saying "fink" instead of "think," and "fur'een" instead of--get this--"thirteen.") So we are an enunciatorily, dialectically, regionally dysfunctional family. Evidently, there's a lot of explaining to do. Tyke wants to take the test again, giving opposite answers, to see what he'll be.

All this tangled mayhem reminds me of Robin McNeil's book, which I recently read, entitled Do You Speak American?

I reckon.

What Kind of English Do You Speak?

This is just too bizarre. I know for a fact that I speak much more Dixie than reflected here. Or at least I think in Dixie.

And there is absolutely nowhere for the Upper Midwestern to have come from, except two years in Chicago and six months in South Bend, Indiana. Or hanging around a couple of kids in my college dorm 'way long time ago who came from Minnesota. They said "Paaap" for "Pop." But I don't say "pop" at all!


Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English

25% Yankee

15% Dixie

10% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

Y'all oughtter go there and gitcher own disappointments. Me, I b'lieve ahm gonna go get me some leaf. (To you who do not speak North Carolinian, that means COLLARD GREENS! Not them other kinda leafs.)

Help me. I need a diction coach! If my mother were alive, she'd disown me, y'all. And to my shamed ancestors, believe me, I still loves me a Scooter Pie and a RC Cola. And a mess o'leaf.