Category Archives: Stories

A Rose by Any Other Name

The narrator of one of my current books announces early on that she and her husband have several nicknames for their 5-year old son: Chicken, Peach, Cutlet, Noodle, Sweet Pea. As the book goes along, she uses these nicknames frequently and it made me think about how much I use nicknames.

My daughter has had many nicknames over the years: Pooter, Babycakes, Babylet, Honeybunch, Punkin. My animals have many as well: Rhiannon, Rhianny-boo, Rhi Rhi, Guinevere, Gwen, Gwenny, Gwenner. Nimue, Nimmers, Nimeray, Zorro, Zozzo, Zodder.

I also have nicknames for a lot of my friends – Abster, J-fer, JuJu, Bob-o, Jaw… the list goes on.

I only have two nicknames given to me (that I know of): She and Verily Sherrilee. “She” is from when my baby sister couldn’t say Sherrilee and it kinda stuck.  And, of course, Verily Sherrilee was bestowed on me by my fellow baboons here on the trail.

Are you a nickname giver? Or a nickname receiver?  Let’s hear some of them.

Family Day

Twenty-three years ago today, a little bundle with a shaved head was put into my arms.

I was half-way around the world, in a hotel in Hufei, China and there were five other bundles being handed off to five other sets of arms at the same time. We spent 8 days in Hufei while all the last bits of paperwork were filled out, signed, stamped and copied (the copier only took one page at a time and after 45 minutes had to sit for a bit to cool down).  Then we headed off to Guangzhou where we had 2 more days of paperwork, but this time U.S. paperwork.

Then the group broke up; Baby and I flew to Hong Kong for an extra day, taking a long taxi drive to the Stanley Market to get a few trinkets, including a Chinese chop with her name carved into it. Then we said goodbye to China and took the long flights to get back to Minnesota.

Most of you know that we celebrate this day every year (usually by going to The Melting Pot). We used to call it “Gotcha Day” since that was when we “got” each other, but when Child was about 10 she announced that she preferred “Family Day”.   She said that “gotcha” made her feel like a package being picked up at the post office.  So now we have Family Day.  Some years we do cards, although never gifts.  I already have the best gift.

Do you have a family tradition that needs re-naming?

Oven Graveyard

My range/oven is dead. After never giving me a minute’s grief in 27 years, it has given up the ghost. The technician came today; two of the three needed parts are no longer made. I can send the board to be “rebuilt” but it’s only a 50/50 chance that it can be fixed and I’ll be without my oven for at least a month.

Got any good appliance shopping advice?


Stamping Heaven

Even though it was Saturday, I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had directions to Canterbury Downs already printed out, a fully charged phone for photos and a huge wad of one dollar bills.  That’s right – time for my favorite stamp show!

I don’t really need to go to a stamp show. Let’s face it, I already own more stamps and paper and ribbons and ink pads than any normal person needs.  All the companies represented at the stamp show have websites (and you know I have them all bookmarked).  But there’s something about being at a convention full of your hobby/passion, surrounded by folks just like you, who understand your desire to see the stamps and paper up close and in person.  And who get all your stamping jokes.

The Early Bird line (for those who purchased their tickets ahead of time online) queued up pretty early. I showed up 20 minutes before opening and was about 40th in line. They actually counted down the last 10 seconds on the sound system before opening; for those of you thinking it, yes I did yell along with the others during the countdown.

This is the stamping show that’s I like best; there are several of my favorite companies there and almost every booth does a “make `n take” (unlike that other not-as-good show that was in town last month). I had my dollar bills in my pocket so I was ready whenever there was a free chair to make a sample; most make `n takes are $1 but a few are $2.  I spent about 5 hours at the show, made 12 cards, chatted with folks either at tables or in line.  I even met the designer who made a 6 x 6 calendar template especially for me back in February!  Didn’t win a door prize (no surprise there) and blew my budget (no surprise there either) but had a glorious time.

What kind of mud does your pig like?

Independence Times Two

As the parent of a 23-year old, I am constantly reminding myself that it is my job to raise her to be independent and that it’s her job to grow up and forge her own path, separate from mine. Knowing this and living with the reality are two completely separate things.

We have two traditions on Fourth of July – the small neighborhood Tangletown Parade and the larger Richfield Parade. The first is walking distance from our house – kids on decorated bikes and trikes, dog with red and blue bandanas do a short parade down to the park where there is music, food and games.  Richfield has a more traditional parade with politicians, marching (& riding) bands, some military and local businesses.  And, of course, candy for kids.

I was a little disappointed when YA got up early and then started talking about going to the Mall with her boyfriend, but then I reminded myself that I could go without her and it would be OK. So I was surprised when she said she wanted to go to the neighborhood parade (and happy).  Of course, then it poured rain and neither of us went.

As I was getting ready to go to Richfield, she told me that the boyfriend still wasn’t ready and she wanted to go to the parade with me. Woo hoo!  Two stadium chairs, ice water, phones and umbrellas (which protected us from the sun and eventually the rain) and we were on our way.  It was a fine parade, with some planes flying in formation (a first) over the parade route three times and a giant grocery cart (also a first).  About 75% of the parade had gone by when the rain started and YA said she still wanted to stay until the end.  So we sat in our orange stadium chairs under our umbrellas and continued to wave our little flags at the remaining paraders.

It was nice to spend the day with her, especially after I had steeled myself to do the parades alone. I guess I have a year to steel myself for the next Fourth of July.

Have you ever had to declare YOUR independence?

The Fugitive

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

I came across an entertaining article recently called “30 Illegal Things Practically Everyone Has Done”   The following is a list from that article, though I’ve edited it by combining some items, and adding the language in italics.

-using public WiFi

– using a fake name online

– downloading music (w/o paying), movies, TV shows

– drinking underage

– playing poker with friends  ($2000 or more revenue)

– eating something before you bought it

– sharing your password

– using your cell phone while driving

– not updating your driver license when you move

– sharing medication

– jaywalking

– smoking marijuana

– not getting a license for your dog (or cat, in some cities)

– possessing a permanent marker (in Florida and NY)

– writing “disturbing” material (I don’t think this blog counts)

– littering, esp. throwing away a cell phone

– driving over/under the speed limit

– turning right on red, or rolling through a stop sign

– driving through a red light in the middle of the night

– doing a u-turn when it’s illegal

– rolling through a stop sign on your bike, biking on a sidewalk

– not wearing a seat belt

– public intoxication, OR drinking in public (out in the open, away from a bar or restaurant)

– making a meme  (Heck, I still don’t even understand what a meme is.)

Let’s have a little contest – we don’t necessarily need to know WHICH of these illegal things you’ve done, but I think we’ve all done some of them.

How many of these illegal actions have you accomplished?

Any good stories that come to mind?


I looked through the vendor booths at the hand bell workshop I am attending and noticed a book series about murder mysteries and whodunits that take place in bell choirs.  The size of the print (large) and the cover art didn’t suggest a lot of literary merit, but I guess there must be a market for such books. One of Dorothy Sayers best books is about a death involving church bell ringers.

This made me think about expanding the series to include other groups and professions.  What about Death at the Elks Lodge  or The Venomous Inkblot?   

Think of some mysteries that could be written about your job or group. Motives, victim, perpetrator, weapon, method? Be creative!