Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Reminiscences

My very first Halloween was when I was about 4. We had just moved out from Kansas City to San Diego for my dad’s work and were staying with our friends the Dearmans. It was the night before, and I remember Mrs. Dearman yelling at me and her two boys to shut up and go to sleep or there would be no trick-or-treating. I remember having fabulous dreams of witches on rooftops. But I have NO recollection of going out the next night. None. Odd.

I got glasses when I was in first grade, and from that point on, I couldn’t wear any kind of Halloween mask. It just wouldn’t fit over my glasses, and my glasses wouldn’t fit over a mask. I could have the pretty princess dress, but couldn’t wear the pretty mask with the makeup, crown and earrings that were part of it.

Later on in grade school, my friend Debbie and I would pool our treats and divide them up evenly as to “good stuff” and “ordinary stuff” and I don’t remember ever being limited on how much candy I could eat at any time. My treats were mine to do with as I chose. Sure didn’t pass THAT one on with MY kids!! Their stuff was put in a big bowl on top of the fridge and doled out sparingly.

When I got braces, I was almost at the end of my trick-or-treating career, but not quite. But I still had to pick out all the gooey stuff and gave it to Debbie in exchange for less sticky stuff. I hated doing that, but I was a GOOD GIRL and didn’t want to compromise my very expensive orthodontic work.

And now my kids are grown and gone and we answer the door on Halloween to an ever dwindling group. It’s just not that safe anymore, which I find incredibly sad. I’m glad there are more community and church events with a safer place for the kids, but it’s just not the same.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 2012 Book Report

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly 

This is the first book in the Magical Cat series. Picked this one up on a whim in Raley’s and thoroughly enjoyed it. What’s not to like: it involves murder, books and cats. ‘Nuf said.
Kathleen is disappointed in love and moves to a new town and a new job in a library. She’s adopted by two cats, Hercules and Owen, who turn out to have magical powers. With their help, Kathleen solves a murder and meets a potential new love interest in a handsome detective. I really look forward to more in this series.
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Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout

I never get tired of these books. I’d seen the TV adaptation of this book, but had never read it. Even though I knew “who dunnit” it was still a very enjoyable read. Nero Wolfe’s long lost adopted daughter from the Balkans shows up in this country and gets into trouble at the fencing studio where she works. Of course Archie falls in love with her, and plans on calling Wolfe “dad”. And of course it doesn’t happen. But the murderer is caught and all is well in the end.
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America By Heart by Sarah Palin

I read Palin's book, “Going Rogue” several years ago and it pretty much cemented my hatred for politics. I love Sarah Palin, but really hate the atmosphere of the political world. This book had wonderful info and words of wisdom from great American leaders past and present. I absolutely love this country and wish the best for us all.
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An American Son by Marco Rubio

I know, another political book. But I truly admire Marco Rubio. I was fascinated by his family history. I had to skim some of the political stuff. Just can’t believe the crap that was done to him by his own party. I look for good things to come from him in the future.
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Murder Past Due by Miranda James

This is another “first” in a series: Cat in the Stacks. And again, it was picked up on a whim at Raley’s. This time the protagonist is a man, who comes back to his home town after his wife dies. He doesn’t plan on any emotional attachments, because they are too painful when they end, but is adopted by a Maine Coon cat that he names Diesel. (Maine Coons are enormous, BTW. Always wanted one, but probably couldn’t afford the food bill.) Charlie works in the archives of the local college, where he’s all by himself mostly. Which is the way he wants it. But slowly, people in the town creep into his life and he finds himself getting involved against his will. Then a former school bully from Charlie’s past is murdered. Diesel’s presence helps Charlie deal with the fact that like it or not, Charlie is once again involved with people on an emotional level.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Family Words

Growing up, there were words and phrases used in my family that no one else used. I never really thought about them until I was much older. They were just a part of my life. They were mostly German in origin, and once I really started thinking about them and where they came from, my grandmother was long gone and I couldn’t ask her anymore. I had to do some research in my German/English dictionary and Google translator. I also consulted my brother, who is fluent in German.

“Schlook” was a term I heard a lot as a kid. I’d have a soda and maybe my mom would say “Hey, can I have a schlook of that?” Or I would say the same to my brother. Or someone would offer a person a schlook of something. The word is spelled “schluck” and means “sip”.

There was a heavy duty metal cart on wheels that lived in our garage and had all manner of cleaning supplies and rags piled on it. It was called The Hoodlum Cart. Q: Where’s the silver polish? A: It’s on the hoodlum cart. Q: Do we have an old toothbrush? A: Look on the hoodlum cart. The original word is from old German: hudelum. It means disorderly. And the hoodlum cart was certainly in disorder. 

“Saboola” was from a rhyme that my brother and I made up when we were very little. It went like this: “Hallelujah, hallelujah. Mashed potatoes and saboola.” And this is my spelling of the word. My grandmother said saboola meant onions. This is the one I had to ask my brother about, since his resources were greater than mine. This is what he wrote me: Saboola could actually be a morphed form of the German for onion, which is Zwiebel (pronounced suh-VEE-bool).  Could easily be that somewhere along the line somebody forgot the middle syllable, and came up with suh-BOOL-uh.

Now for words from Marv’s family. Of German origin, and again, the spelling is phonetic:
“Kanuppled” and Katiltered”—both mean askew, bent, awry, etc. “My fender was all kanuppled up.” “You put that bedspread on all katiltered.”  Here is my brother’s answer:  The German word is Knuppel, which means bat or cudgel, so if something is knuppelt (or geknuppelt), it is battered or beat up.  Same thing with getiltered; the ge- prefix and -ed (or in German simply -t) ending is just a past tense construction, so any verb can fit in the middle: getilted, ge-this-ed, ge-that-ed. 

The last phrase I have is from my family (with my spelling). This was said whenever someone went somewhere: “I’ll river.”
This was usually said first by the person leaving, and then whoever was nearby would respond in kind. This was said for YEARS. Many times I was the person responding. I had no clue why this was said and I didn’t think to ask. It was just a traditional saying as far as I knew. I don’t know how old I was before I finally realized this was actually the French phrase, “au revoir,” intentionally mispronounced as a joke.  I felt SO DUMB. Up until then, I would always have this little mental picture of someone sailing down a river in a tiny boat…I kinda miss that…

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hijinks in Fresno

OK--there were no hijinks. I just said that to get your attention. I didn't have a prepared blog ready this time, so I'll just babble about  being in Fresno.

This recent visit to Fresno was a bit different. Did a few new things; did a few familiar things; took some naps. Naps have become VERY important to me! Lia's now in preschool 3 mornings a week, which means getting up a bit earlier to fix breakfast. After Sarah leaves to take Lia to school, I tidy up the kitchen and then lay down for an hour or so. Makes a BIG difference! I still droop in the afternoon, but I can usually lay down in the front room with a movie on and Lia will play around me for a while. Of course, she tells me every so often, "Grandma! You've been sleeping a LONG TIME!"

Lia's been struggling with allergies, so there hasn't been as much outside play as other times. Also, it's still been stinkin' HOT here! But she's been much more into having books read to her, or even "reading" them herself to one of her stuffed animals. With me doing the voice of the stuffed animal...

I got to watch "Ratatouille" in Cantonese...good thing I've seen it several times in English. Lia would tell me what was going on in the movie, as if I'd never seen it before. Very cute. Her comprehension of Chinese is pretty good, I guess. There were a few places in the movie where Lia would say she didn't understand all the words. I told her as she got older, she'd learn more.

I found an easy crochet pattern for granny square slippers, and made a pair for Lia during this visit. She was totally delighted with them. Only problem with granny squares...they have holes in them....little toes have a tendency to peek through. I told her the slippers would work better in winter when she'd have socks on. Sarah requested a pair for herself...

And what would a trip to Fresno be without visiting A Book Barn, the most wonderful used book store on earth? While Lia was in school one day, Chris took me there. Love that place!!

Fresno water gives me..."issues" I always use bottled water when I'm here. Even with the filter on the faucet in the kitchen, I still have..."issues". Each morning I empty the ice trays I've filled with bottled water and refill them so I have ice the next day. But I will say this: my hair never looks so good as when I've washed it with Fresno water. I guess whatever is in the water that gives me..."issues"...makes my hair look GREAT!

We did a little shopping last night and will do the same today. Good visit all-in-all. Tomorrow I go home. And even though I'm almost beyond tired, I know when I call to let Sarah know we got home OK, I'll hear Lia in the background and wish I was with her...♥