Category Archives: Words

A Surfeit of Words

For many years our Great Leader (Dale) used current events as a springboard to fun blog entries. Unfortunately the news these days is so depressing that it’s hard for me to get excited about using it as inspiration.  Until today, that is.

Merriam-Webster’s “Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” has added 300 words, including a two-letter word that people have been waiting years to use: OK.

“For a living language, the only constant is change,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary evolves to keep up with English as it is used today.”

Some of the others words include: twerk, beatdown, sriracha, bitcoin, emoji, sheeple, yowza, macaron, zomboid, frowny and puggle.

I know, I know – English only got where it is by changing over the centuries, but I still get eerie shivers down my spine when I hear words like “frowny”.

What words give you the creeps?


I Scream, You Scream

Over the weekend, PJ got me going when she said “I can think of worse ways to go than death by ice cream.” It reminded me of the time we had talked about death by rhubarb and Clyde actually found a book entitled exactly that. (It was awful!)

So I went looking for death by ice cream titles. Didn’t find exactly that, but found plenty that were close enough.  Here are a few:

Ice Cream Murder (A Sprinkles Cozy Mystery) by Jennifer Martin
Death with a Cherry on Top by Molly Dox
Chunky Raspberry Fudge Murder by Penelope Manzone
Death by Chocolate Sundae by Constance Barker
Triple Dipped Murder by Gretchen Allen
Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake by Sarah Graves

I requested a couple from the library – you never know, maybe I’ll find a new author I need to follow.

But while I was searching around, I found this:

National Ice Cream Death Museum, Derbyshire
Perhaps the most unusual display anywhere in Britain, this small but lively museum is devoted to major accidents, deaths and disasters caused by ice cream, from the great M65 pile-up of 1981 (caused by a discarded vanilla tub, on which a lorry skidded) to the case of the Sussex child who swallowed a wooden ice cream spoon in 1967 and still walks around happily with it inside. Anyone who has any new ice cream disaster to report should ring their Cones Hot Line (sic).
( 1998)

I couldn’t find any indication that the museum is still open. I can’t even confirm that there was a great M65 pile-up of 1981 or that a Sussex child swallowed a wooden ice cream spoon in 1967. But it’s fun to think about.

What’s the most interesting museum you’ve ever been to?

Sherlock Bones

You all know I’m a little obsessed with all things Sherlock Holmes. I don’t usually go looking for Sherlock but occasionally Sherlock comes to me when I’m not paying attention.

Last week I was looking for something else and stumbled across Sherlock Bones and the Missing Cheese, a children’s picture book.  In that same foray I discovered that there is a video out there also named Sherlock Bones with a terrier starring as the illustrious detective.  I also discovered that there is a series of books pairing Sherlock with Elizabeth Bennet, another character who has lived on past her initial publication.  All of this took about 5 minutes!

The Missing Cheese book was at the local library, the Sherlock Holmes and Elizabeth Bennett is in paperback for a price I’m willing to pay on Amazon.  Unfortunately the video is more than I’m willing to pay.  I’m working to find it on some other library.  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, the children’s book has great illustrations and the story line is fun, however, the poetry itself leaves a little to be desired. But in the category of new ways to portray Sherlock Holmes, it gets an “A”.

Tell me about a favorite character, or an author you follow loyally or a series you can’t get enough of.

Silence of the Canes

I’m a chatter – I freely admit it. No life stories, but a comment for the cashier, a quick quip for others waiting in line with me, hello to the librarian. Normally I pick raspberries with my BFF Sara.  We chat away while we pick and if there are folks on the other side of the canes, we usually talk with them a bit.

This year schedules just didn’t coincide so I ended up at the raspberry patch on my own. I was sent down a long row of canes with just one lone gentleman on the other side.  He had just started as well and we were picking at about the same speed.  We even, by unspoken agreement, shared the “in between” space.  Sometimes he would pick berries from the middle and sometimes he left them for me.

But he didn’t chat. I asked just a few questions to see if we could find some common ground:

VS: What do you do with all your berries?
H:   We spread them on cookies sheets and freeze them?
VS: Me too.  After I make some jam.


VS: Where are you from?
H: Northfield
VS: That’s convenient.  (berry patch is in Northfield)


VS: Are you here alone today?
H: No, my wife is here.


Three hints are enough for me. Clearly he didn’t feel the need to chat, so I left him alone and we continued to pick silently.  His wife eventually showed up and they outpaced me although even as they got farther away from me I could hear that they weren’t speaking to each other either. So at least it wasn’t me.

Did your folks tell you never to talk to strangers?






On Thursday evening I sat down to write Friday’s blog post when I noticed that there was a new post submitted by our dear, absent leader.  I read through it. It was rather long and somewhat odd, the draft of minutes for a meeting at his work.  “Well”, I thought, “this is interesting. I don’t quite get it, but how nice he submitted it”. There was no header photo or question.  tim commented on Thursday about the “bait and switch” that our dear leader often used when writing posts, so perhaps this was something of the same.

I excitedly contacted VS and asked her to take a look and give her opinion. She thought that it was an error,  and that he had mistakenly submitted something to us that should have gone somewhere else.  She emailed him and he responded to let us know she was correct. He thought he was submitting his draft minutes to another Word Press account, but submitted it to the Trail instead. I deleted the errant post.

I recently encountered glaring errors in an evaluation I wrote several months ago that I have to submit to the court.  I usually can trust my clerical staff to make necessary corrections when I proof read so that I don’t have to proof read it a second time, but the person who typed this particular evaluation was new to the process as well as to my handwriting when I edit. There were spelling errors that I know I asked her to correct that were not corrected before the report was uploaded into our medical records system. An entire paragraph was in the wrong place. My usual transcriptionist and I sat down and made the necessary corrections and entered an appended report into the system. Both versions will go to the court, and I will have to explain on the stand why there are two versions of the report. Nothing changed except the spelling errors and the location of the paragraph,  but it is embarrassing all the same. I wish I could delete the whole thing like I did the errant post from Thursday.

Tell about your errors and mishaps and  “oops” moments.

Hoighty Toighty

I have connected with several members of my mother’s family over the past four years, both in the US and in Germany. The family name is Bartels, which is a patronymic name that is short for Bartholomew in German.  My Grandfather Bartels and his two brothers and four sisters all settled in Minnesota in Rock and Pipestone counties in the early years of the 20th century. They all lived within 20 miles of one another.

The name is properly pronounced BARtels, with the emphasis on the first syllable.  When my grandmother married my grandfather, she changed the pronunciation to BarTELS, which she considered more posh.  She was a city girl from Hamburg and considered my grandfather’s family too rustic for words.  It  only served to distance her from the family, and caused some hard feelings. After all, they were all in the same boat and were all starting over in a new country.  It didn’t much matter what you might have had over there, since now you were over here with not much. Grandma considered herself superior because she spoke formal German, not Plattdeutsch.

We have the same issue here with a German-Hungarian family with the last name of Lefor.  It is rightly pronounced Lefor, (like leper). The more hoighty toighty members of the clan pronounce it LeFOR, as though they are French.  They all live in the same county, and it is quite amusing.

I like the words hoighty toighty. I don’t know its derivation, but it sure captures a concept.

Who do you know who is hoighty toighty? Why do you think they do that? What makes you think well of a person?



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.