Category Archives: Stories

A One-derful Year

Today’s post comes to us from Occasional Caroline.

I believe I’ve created a thing. At least I think it deserves to be “a thing” and to the best of my knowledge I thought it up.

Once per decade, beginning at age 21, we each have a full year of being “one-derful.” Twenty-onderful, thirty-onderful, etc.

Whenever anyone I know achieves a one-derful age, I urge them to invoke, acknowledge, and bask in it throughout the year. Many look at me oddly, but I think it should be a thing, celebrated by all. The “Golden Birthday” is a thing but I like my invention better. For one thing, Golden is really only celebrated on the actual birthday; if you were born early in a month, you’re too young to appreciate it when it happens to you. Never an issue with one-derful birthdays. Anticipation of a one-derful birthday can help take the sting out of entering a new decade; when you have a “significant” birthday, you’re only a year away from a one-derful one.

I rest my case.

What have you invented?

A Head Full Of Connections

Often when I am alone and my mind is free to wander, I am drawn to make connections between things I observe and things I know. Hisstarstorical things. Cultural things. Sometimes something I see or hear will trigger a question of etymology. I see a word or name in a new light and wonder, what’s the association there? Why are cantaloupes named for the call of the wolf? What does porcelain have to do with pigs? How does lactation fit into galactic? (It all goes back to the Milky Way) Is there any link between taxicabs and taxidermy? (There isn’t. Different root.)

I was out walking and happened to see an advertisement that used the word POSH. A widely held and completely unsubstantiated explanation of its etymology is that it originated with British sea voyage to India and that the most desirable staterooms were, on a round trip, “Port Out, Starboard Home”, and that this acronym was stamped on tickets of passage in purple ink. The problem is thaposht, though many souvenir tickets still exist in scrapbooks and museums, not a single one is so stamped, not in purple or otherwise. And who would such a stamp inform? The passenger would know what they had reserved. The crew would surely know the stateroom’s orientation by its number.

Like many etymological theories, the real origins of posh are speculative but a late nineteenth century dictionary of Romany (gypsy) terms lists “pash” as describing a dandy. By the early twentieth century, P. G. Wodehouse used it in its currently understood sense in a story, suggesting that by then it had entered into common parlance.

So, that’s a glimpse at what goes on inside my head when I am by myself.

What goes on in your head? Any favorite etymology?


You’ve all heard my theory of the presidency. Anyone who wants to be president is automatically disqualified by that desire.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that a former president was of the same opinion, so much so that he wasn’t even a candidate at the 1880 convention that nominated him.

Political cartoon lampooning the 1880 convention
Political cartoon lampooning the 1880 convention

The book I’m currently reading has this quote:

“I have so long and so often seen the evil effects of the presidential fever upon my associates and friends that I am determined that it shall not seize me. In almost every case, it impairs if it does not destroy, the usefulness of its victim.”

James Garfield

Who would YOU like to find out agrees with you?

Lego Ore Boat

Look at that massive block carrying masses of taconite. Efficient. Cost effective. Where is the curved grace of a classic ore boat?


Industry once designed for aesthetics as well as purpose.

Can a photographer discover poise and rhythm in industry today?


Wait until you see the Lego bank under construction near me (future blog).

What floats your boat this week?

A Case of the Giggles

Today’s post is written by Jacque.

Last week I was visited by a case of the giggles. The giggle incident was almost worthy of the Mary Tyler Moore episode in which she gets the giggles at Chuckles the Clown’s funeral.  Several friends were horrified.

When Lou and I arrived home from Arizona February 2, it was abundantly clear that while we were away, the mice did play in three drawers of the kitchen. Immediately I cleared out the drawers, then washed everything in them.  Lou set the traps.   These mice were wily!  It took 2 weeks to catch the first one in the knife drawer, a pink, sleek, healthy specimen which had apparently thrived in its makeshift home.


However, there was still evidence of mouse life appearing in the empty drawers. Lou reset the traps.  Nothing happened for several days, then one morning the bait was gone yet the trap was not sprung.  Then last Saturday I opened the plastic lid drawer to check the trap line to find the trap vanished, the drawer strewn with mouse blood and droppings.  An event had occurred.  The picture of the scene is what you see above.


I started to giggle and could not stop.  Giggling, I called to Lou to come look, then he started laughing.   Still giggling, we searched all the places we could access that might hold a mouse attached to a trap.  Nothing.

That evening I hosted my Open Studio Group and Potluck—a group of artists that gathers once a month to work together on projects, laugh, and entertain each other. I told my mouse story, giggling hysterically.  They were horrified.

“I can’t believe you are laughing!” one of them said.

“I know. I can’t help it.” I replied lamely, still giggling.  “I am like Mary Tyler Moore at the funeral of Chuckles the Clown.  It’s gruesome, not that funny, and hysterical.”

What gives you the giggles?

Exceptional Taste

Today’s post is written by Occasional Caroline.

I’m not the least bit exceptional, except, possibly for being exceptionally ordinary. I’m overweight, but so are 26.1% of Minnesota adults; nothing unique about that. I’m short; common trait. I’ve been married to the same man for nearly 48 years; I guess that stat is fairly unique, but at this stage, it’s pretty mundane from the inside looking out. I have children and grandchildren who are the lights of my life, but to you, they would seem pleasant, though not exceptional. I can’t sing or play any instruments. I have no artistic talent. I am a world-class “appreciator of the talents of others,” a worthy, but not particularly notable trait. My only somewhat out-of-the-ordinary characteristic is that I have rather eclectic taste in “stuff.” Many people (including my beloved children) find my taste and predilections “interesting,” but they certainly don’t covet any of my stuff or aspire to acquire similar stuff of their own. I am extraordinarily fond of some of my possessions, in particular one that is no longer with me  —  the late, great upside-down Christmas tree, that I lamented in a reply to tim’s “what is your signature” post two weeks ago. Here are a few of my favorite things.

Do you have a quirkiest object?


Wise Words

Today’s post is from tim
I sent a blog into Sherrilee and it got lost and rather than being able to find it due to my computer breaking and not having access to those files I thought about responding and in responding it Dondonde me that the punchline is that when I type stuff up it’s just kind of a quick off-the-cuff flowing commentary on what’s going on in my brain at the moment have you been able to tell…
The book that we’re reading in BBC nightingale starts out with a great first line not just memorable like they call me Ishmael but a great first line says something to the effect of marriage teaches you what you want to be an award teaches you what you are I hope to have memorable quotes that I can pass on as a legacy when I’m gone
something more than the fact that I miss spell the word form
every time every time every time
friend of mine just commented on the fact that her dad died and how difficult that was and it occurred to me that my dad left me with the number of sayings that I treasure and while I may not be the mark twain or Albert Einstein to be quoted by the world it would be nice to be remembered with a couple of meaningful sayings to pass on

are used to “Dr. Wayne Dyer from your Aronian zones and his quotation of the Declaration of Independence…”All experience has shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer-while evils are sufferable -than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

that’s a true statement but those Declaration of Independence guys got a little wordy didn’t they?
what’s your favorite meaningful saying