Tag Archives: Featured

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?

 

 

Sky Wonder

Although it peaked Sunday night, Aug. 12, the Perseid meteor shower sounds like something worth staying up for this week.. Found this piece on Space.com:

“According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, the Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year; and in 2018, they’ll be the best shower of the year. During the Perseids’ peak this weekend, spectators should see about 60-70 meteors per hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour. The meteor shower’s peak will be visible both the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13, Cooke said, but he’s inclined this year to lean toward the night of Aug. 12-13 for the better show.”

We plan to go out Sunday or Monday night after 10:00, find a darkish spot in the country, and follow these guideline I heard at the above website:

– take a comfortable chair or sleeping bag for viewing

– New Moon will set before midnight, allowing for more darkness

– find a spot where you can take in as much sky as possible, with as few lights as possible

– wait ½ hour for your eyes to adjust to the dark (avoid looking at cell phone, as the bright display can prevent your eyes from adapting)

– if you need a light, use one with a relatively low intensity and a red filter

– the show starts around 10 p.m., with #s of meteors gradually increasing as dawn approaches

Have you ever gone out of your way to view an astronomical wonder, or an earthly one?

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Boat?

I’m not a big graphic novel fan but I couldn’t resist Teenboat: Angst of a Teen, Thrill of Being a Boat by Dave Roman.  The main character literally turns into a boat – sometimes at will, sometimes by accident.  Fascinating.

You can choose to become an inanimate object at will. What will you choose?

 

 

Tomato Personality Types

Well, the garden season is at its height, and, of course, Husband and I are assessing our current varieties and planning next year’s garden.  We just can’t help ourselves. We’re certifiably nuts.

I have been scrutinizing our tomato varieties closely. The header photo is of three Brandyboy tomoto plants (a hybrid) and one San Marzano paste tomato ( an heirloom) planted in front of our house. They are about 6 feet tall, and are wonderful exemplars of their varieties.  The Brandyboys are terrific. I am very unhappy with the other eight San Marzano plants we have, since they are suffering from blight. I spray with fungicide weekly, but it is getting away from me, and I need to find another paste tomato variety next year that is more dependable and more disease resistant and isn’t so much work.  Heirlooms are not very disease resistant. The photo below gives a better idea of their height. The tomatoes are the plants farthest on the right.  The pole beans in the foreground are at least 7 feet tall.

I want a hybrid paste tomato. I want disease resistance. The question is determinate or indeterminate.  I never really quite knew what those terms meant until recently,  and I was delighted to find out that I could use the terms for describing people’s personalities.

Determinate tomatoes produce lots of nice, smaller tomatoes, but stop growing at about 4 feet, and then stop producing any more fruit. They may or may not need staking or supporting cages. They are often really good in shorter season areas. We used to grow them in Winnipeg.  They were short but produced well.

Indeterminate tomatoes absolutely need staking or other supports.  They never stop producing fruit or growing taller and wider until it freezes.  Our Brandyboys and San Marzanos are indeterminate, and the plants are enormous.  They are, even now, producing flowers and fruit.  I have the cages supported with bungee cords and stakes to keep them from tipping over.

I have decided to grow Brandyboys again next year, along with a few San Marzanos and a hybrid indeterminate variety named Gladiator.  It will be an experimental year.

What kind of tomato are you? Determinate, indeterminate?  Hybrid, heirloom? What kind of tomato do you want to be?

 

Woeful Wednesday

I don’t know why, but for the past month or so, Wednesdays have proven to be the most exhausting and problem-filled days of the week for me.  Everyone seems to go into crisis.  I get more phone calls.  Coworkers need more things from me.  Administrators are around more.  Things get hectic at the regulatory board of which I am a member, so I get many emails from the office needing immediate replies.

I typically don’t dread any day of the week, but I am starting to dread Wednesday.  Even Monday is better.

Which day of the week, month of the year, or holiday could you do without?  Which do you welcome?

Helpful Hints When You Travel

I ran across a little book belonging to my father INSTRUCTIONS  for AMERICAN SERVICEMEN in BRITAIN 1942.  It was issued by the War Department, Washington, DC.  It is a delightful little manual for good relations when you visit Great Britain.  I feel like I should send it back to Washington so they can reread it. Here are some of the headings:

NO TIME TO FIGHT OLD WARS

BRITISH ARE RESERVED, NOT UNFRIENDLY

DON’T BE A SHOW OFF

THE BRITISH ARE TOUGH

AGE INSTEAD OF SIZE

REMEMBER THERE’S A WAR ON

BRITAIN, CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY

WASTE MEANS LIVES

KEEP OUT OF ARGUMENTS

BE FRIENDLY, BUT DON’T INTRUDE ANYWHERE IT SEEMS YOU ARE NOT WANTED

IT IS ALWAYS IMPOLITE TO CRITICIZE YOUR HOSTS; IT IS MILITARILY STUPID TO CRITICIZE YOUR ALLIES

I think this is a nice quote ” When you see a girl in khaki or air force blue with a bit of ribbon on her tunic, remember she didn’t get it for knitting more socks than anyone else in Ipswich”.

Well, that sort of sums up a lot, doesn’t it.

Do you have any advice to add to the list? 

Camp Baskerville

As many of you know, I am fond of Sherlock Holmes stories. Not the first fictional detective, he is the most popular and has the honor (sometimes dubious) of having been written as a character more times by authors NOT his original author than any other character.  Sherlock also holds the Guinness World Record as the “most portrayed movie character” – more than 70 actors in more than 200 films!

 

So I was intrigued when I learned that Park Square Theatre was doing The Hound of the Baskervilles this summer.  From looking at the website I could see that Holmes and Watson would be played by women and it didn’t look like it was being billed as a serious production.  A woman playing Sherlock didn’t bother me; if Ghostbusters and Dr. Who can be women, why not the most famous fictional detective.

Park Square is known for occasionally messing with your expectations but I was really unprepared for the audacity of the production, the sheer silliness. There were just five actors; if you’ve ever read or seen Baskerville, you know there are many more characters than that.  Normally this bugs me a little when actors play multiple roles, but I quickly got over it and in fact, they used it for comic fodder.  At one point towards the end, the actor playing Lestrade and Henry Baskerville did a “half and half”, turning from one side to the other – hysterical.

There was a lot of laughter; a few times so much so that I needed to wipe my eyes. Of all the different ways that I have seen or read Holmes, I have never experienced him as “camp” and I loved it.

If you have the chance, the production is playing for another week or so and I highly recommend it.. ESPECIALLY if you’re a Holmes fan.

When have you ever laughed until you’ve cried?