I’m here to help you with holiday gift ideas


Your mother hopes you are not, but if you are like me, you are starting to make a list for your Christmas shopping right about now. For others of you, it’s still too early; after all, there are still four full days left to shop. I understand. You enjoy the Christmas Eve ambiance at the mall: a festive version of the zombie apocalypse but with holiday lights, shopping bags, and pepper spray.

If you prefer online shopping, I’d like to share a few gift ideas from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue. In spite of its German name, it’s a U.S.-based company. I have no association, affiliation, alliance, or other alliteration with this company. In fact, I’m hoping they do not attack me for posting pictures of their products in this post.

The Aviator's Duck Down Hat

 The Aviator’s Duck Down Hat – the perfect gift for that aviator in your family who needs to duck down. “Captain, it’s the Red Baron. He’s going to shoot. Duck down now!”

The Better Winter Driving Cap

The Better Winter Driving Cap – for that driver in your life who is hoping for a better winter or possibly has a better winter than you do.

The Flying Fortress Gunner's Gloves

The Flying Fortress Gunner’s Gloves – for your three-fingered flying friends. (This is what happens when you don’t wear your duck down hat.)

The Keep Your Distance Bug Vacuum

The Keep Your Distance Bug Vacuum – for those who prefer to use electric shock to catch and release their insects. PETI (People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects) had one word for this device: stunning!

The Learn to Play Banjo

The Learn to Play Banjo – for the obsessive-compulsive person in your family who actually wants to learn how to play the banjo rather than use it to fill up that empty space in the closet.

The Marshmallow Shooter

The Marshmallow Shooter – for the busy mom who has a lot of TV shows to catch up on and is being annoyed by her children asking for a treat. “Marvin, stop your bellyaching. Stand over there and open your mouth. There. Now leave me alone. There are some matches in the kitchen you can play with.”

The Weed Whacking Golf Driver

The Weed Whacking Golf Driver – perfect for your wacky multi-tasking golfer who likes a well-trimmed golf course. Whacks both balls and weeds.

The Widemouth Weekend Bag

The Widemouth Leather Weekend Bag – for your widemouth loved one. It’s the gift that has his or her name written all over it.

You can find more gift ideas at http://www.hammacher.com/



(Disclaimer: Hi, Mr. Hammacher Schlemmer! Happy Holidays! This is all in fun! Please don’t sue me!)

Try not to think about roaches


There's a reason you hear that scary music in the background. (Photo courtesy of Wired.com; scary music courtesy of yearstricken's brain. Try listening harder if you can't hear it; I can.)

I’ve been giving some thought to cockroaches lately. (Notice that I didn’t begin as I so often do with something like, “Roaches are on my mind.” That is too creepy, and I would then plant a disturbing image in your mind that would be very difficult to get rid of, especially if you have ever seen Planet Earth: Caves on the Discovery Channel or on video. If you kept your eyes open during the scene in the cave that was filled with millions of roaches feasting on bat guano, you probably slept with a can of RAID beside your bed for at least a week, or possibly for the rest of your life, if you’re like me. We don’t have a lot of bat guano lying around in our bedroom, but roaches will eat just about anything. And for all I know, as I lie in bed, I may very well look like a pile of bat guano. It’s one of those questions that I find hard to ask my husband.)


Why am I using up my limited number of brain cells thinking about roaches? I blame it on my first grade teacher at Ascarte Elementary School, Mrs. Severe. (Yes, that was her real name; and no, she was not severe.) She has always been my favorite teacher because she taught me to read. During that time, the public school system provided education starting from first grade, not kindergarten. In the fall of the year I turned five, mother felt it was time I started school. She had put up with me all day for five years; now it was someone else’s turn. So, the school allowed me to start, with the proviso that I had to keep up.


Although my sister was 18 months older, she was one grade ahead of me because she was born in the middle of the year, and I was born in the beginning.  However, just as she wanted to keep a wide space between us when we shared a double bed, having just one grade between us was not wide enough for her, so she skipped a grade. We always attribute that to the fact that she is smart, but I vaguely remember that it had something to do with “cooties.” Mine, I believe.


But back to roaches. I lived in Okinawa, Japan for a number of years, so I am familiar with the small, scurrying kind, as well as the large, flying ones. But recently I read this article about the leaproach. This roach can leap a distance of 50 times its body length, has “extreme” bulging eyes, and its favorite food is grasshopper poop. Which leads to the important question: why I am obsessing over a leaping roach that lives in South Africa?


Maybe watching all those horror movies as a child created the need for the adrenaline rush that can only come through an adventure in which I face terror (or peek through my fingers at it) without backing down. Right before I am overwhelmed or overtaken, I escape and live to tell about it. Now, when I read an article about something that can scare or startle me, like leaproaches, my imagination takes over. Sure that peaceful-looking field, humming with grasshoppers, looks like a nice place to take a walk. But, folks, there are tens of thousands of roaches in there. Don’t look now, but they’re starting to leap! Somehow I always escape, finish reading the article, and not only live to tell about it, but live to write about it as well.


Are you dealing with the loss of imaginary friends this season?


I am. As you may or may not know or care, I once had 265,194 imaginary Facebook followers. I checked in on them on Friday, December 16, at 2:28 p.m. and all seemed well. Tragically, one day later, they were gone.


Saturday morning, I woke up early and made coffee, confident that my tribe of imaginary followers had grown by the thousands during the night. I was even thinking of having a contest to let my readers guess when I would reach half a million. After checking the news on my computer, I reached for my phone for my Facebook follower fix.


At first, I didn’t believe it. Not one FB follower! I kept refreshing the website, expecting them to be there for me. Not having a Facebook account had lulled me into thinking I would always be popular on Facebook. When they weren’t there, I wailed, “Why me?” When that brought no response from my husband, I wailed louder. He, however, is used to my wailing and  didn’t even look up from his laptop.


Crushed by the loss, I called out in my most anguished voice, “The whole world is against me!” At this point, my husband looked up from his apparently-more-interesting-than-me laptop and pointed out that most of the smaller countries are neutral, so my statement was not technically true. He may have meant well, but I was not going to let logic or reason cheat me out of my imaginary sorrow.


Normally I do not eat chocolate early in the day nor do I recommend it. That is a slippery slope, friends, a dark chocolaty slope, almost bitter but still sweet, with extra chocolate drizzle on top. However, the magnitude of grief from losing that many imaginary followers drove me straight to the box of chocolate truffles that my husband bought for our anniversary. That plus another cup of coffee assuaged my pain, and I was able to move on. I did inform my husband that I might not be able to do any dishes on Saturday. Or cook. I still needed time (and chocolate) before I could look at my site stats again.


Losing over a quarter of a million followers isn’t easy; however, when they are imaginary, it is easier than I imagined.


I’m over them now. I know they’re out there, pretending to be friends with someone else. If you see them, say “hi,” and tell them I miss them.



Sunday morning storytime


Michaela is the girl I would have been if I had been born in a fictional family. We are a lot alike. The main difference is that I have real memories and real pictures of my childhood. She doesn’t. All she has are stories. Linda Sue, who is smart and pretty, is her sister. Here is one of Michaela’s stories that she asked me to write down.

I’ve always been the early bird of the family. One of the chief advantages of that is being able to eat my cereal in peace and put just as much sugar on top of it as I please. Linda Sue, on the other hand, always sleeps in if she can.

In Sunday School, they taught us that a woman’s hair is her crowning glory. Apparently there were no crowns left when it came my turn; all I got was straight, brown hair. Linda Sue got the crown — long, wavy blond hair like the angels have. To keep it from getting tangled and matted while she slept, she always braided it before going to bed.

The first time I cut her hair for her was early on a Saturday morning. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I couldn’t have picked a better day. Mother had to spend most of the day helping grandma pack up boxes because she was going to move into an apartment. She left before Linda Sue woke up and didn’t get home until after supper. My stepdad, Mr. Frank, never paid much attention to either one of us. All he cared about was my bratty little brother, who is his son.

I don’t know where I got the idea to cut her hair. I surprise myself sometimes with my ideas. When I crept into the bedroom, Linda Sue was sleeping with her mouth open as if she were surprised too. Each of her braids had a good inch and a half of hair below the rubber bands, so I held each one gently, cut off the bottom part, and put about an inch of her glory in my pocket. Doing both braids only took a few minutes; the hardest part was trying not to laugh. Mother was gone and everyone else was still asleep, so I ate breakfast alone. After adding extra sugar on my cereal for good luck, I finished up by drinking the milk out of the bowl. Then I went to the empty lot on the block behind our house and threw the hair out for the birds to use in building nests for their baby birds.  That was something that Linda Sue had read in a book, and for about a week, she would take the hair out of her hairbrush and throw it outside on the lawn, like a princess throwing her gold to the peasants.

On Saturdays, Linda Sue didn’t usually undo her braids until evening when we took our baths. When Mother got home, she ran the bath water for us, but we bathed ourselves. Back then, Mother washed my hair, but Linda Sue did her own. Mother never noticed anything until she started combing out my sister’s wet hair.

Two years ago, Linda Sue cut her bangs by herself and did a terrible job.  Mother told her to never, ever touch her own hair again with a pair of scissors, or else. In the midst of combing Linda Sue’s hair, Mother stopped and said, “Linda Sue Branson, have you been cutting your hair?”

“No, mommy,” she replied truthfully. No one believed her, including me.

“Well, somebody’s cut it; it’s all jagged at the bottom.  I told you about this Linda Sue; you are not to cut your own hair.”  Mother was starting to squint, which meant trouble. Use of your full name while squinting put a capital “T” on that trouble. It would always start with a list of grievances we had caused her. I was hoping she didn’t get going in that direction because her list of grievances against me were much longer, and I didn’t want to be dragged into this, even though I had done it.

Linda Sue, who cried easily, started whimpering, “But mommy, I didn’t cut my hair.”

“Linda Sue, if you didn’t cut your hair, then somebody else did.  And if somebody else did, then you would’ve known it.”

You had to admire that kind of  reasoning. That left me off the hook in her mind, but not in Linda Sue’s. Mother sent me for the haircutting scissors, which sent Linda Sue into a real sobbing fit. She hated to have her hair cut. She had read Rapunzel and wanted hair that went all the way down to the floor.  I came back trying to look duly chastened from witnessing the evil deed committed by my sister. I, at least, had learned the lesson: never cut your own hair.

She wailed and managed to sob out, “Michaela did it, I know she did.”

Mother, who had already decided that Linda Sue did it, was fed up with her whining and said, “Stop it, Linda Sue. I don’t want to hear another word about it. You will not be able to play after school for a week.”

For once I was the good sister, and I hoped that Linda Sue had learned her lesson. She hadn’t, because three weeks later, I did it again.

For some reason, a wall had gone up between Linda Sue and me.  Whenever we were alone she would say, “I hate you.”  She wouldn’t walk to school with me anymore or even let me step into her room. In Sunday School the following week, I was so glad the story was about how Jesus was falsely accused.  When the teacher asked if anyone knew what it felt like to be misunderstood and unjustly accused, I raised my hand and looked over at Linda Sue.  She just sat there glaring at me.

The second time I cut her hair, I did it in just the same way. I was in the middle of my second bowl of sugary cereal when my little brother woke everybody up.  He had peed the bed and was crying, which woke mother up.  She wasn’t too happy with him and was never very happy in the morning before her coffee.  She decided that if she had to get up early on a Saturday morning when she should have been allowed to sleep in, then everyone else should get up, too.  She proceeded to bang the linen closet door, yell at my brother to get his wet things off, and talk as if he were hard of hearing. Then Mr. Frank woke up. He must have thought that even the neighbors were hard of hearing.  Within just a few minutes, everyone on the block must have  known that neither of them enjoyed getting up early on their day off.  Mr. Frank helped David with his bath.

The first thing mother said to me when she came into the kitchen and saw the sugar bowl next to the box of frosted cereal was, “Michaela, I’ve told you a million times that you don’t need sugar on that kind of cereal. Throw that away right this minute.”

It’s no use arguing with mother in these cases. All the starving children in China couldn’t change her mind.  So I dumped it out and tried to quietly sneak out of the kitchen while she clanged around making her coffee.

“Get right back here, young lady, and wipe that table off.  There’s sugar everywhere, and I’m sick of it.”

It was a wonder mother hadn’t died yet of all the things that made her sick, but in order to prevent the early death of either of us, I meekly came back to wipe it off.

“Michaela, come here. What’s that in your pocket?”

I couldn’t believe that mother could see through my clothing.  I had fooled her too many times sneaking things out in my pockets.  All I could think of was that maybe Linda Sue’s crowning glory was now glowing and shining around my pocket just like the halos around all those angels in the picture Bible. But it wasn’t the hair she saw. It was the scissors.

“Come here, I said.  What are you doing with those scissors?”

I knew exactly what to say. Mother had told us not to tear the inner liner of the cereal box with our hands. It always tore straight down, and the cereal would come out in a burst of oats or corn or wheat spilling onto the table and into the cardboard box.  “And what is the good of that?” mother would holler. “It’s good for nothing, but the roaches, that’s what!”  Use scissors, she told us, and cut straight across so the cereal pours out like God intended. I might have convinced her that I had the scissors for that purpose if Linda Sue, the accuser, had not come into the kitchen just then.

I don’t know what it is about angry parents. Once they get fired up, their five senses are enhanced and suddenly they smell, feel, hear, and see every little thing. Mother stood there a moment looking hard and close at Linda Sue, and her eyebrows started to pull in together like she had a stitch in her forehead.

“May I go outside now, mother,” I asked in my most simpering voice.  I even used “may I” instead of “can I,” which my mother insisted was bad grammar.  But even good grammar couldn’t save me.

“No,” she said with her eyes in narrow slits.  Then to Linda Sue, “Come here and let me see your hair.”  Maybe I had taken a little too much this time because her braids did look a lot shorter. Linda Sue grabbed them, and she could tell right away that some of her glory had departed. There was a lot of yelling, and after the scissors were retrieved from my pocket, my charitable offering for the poor little birds was also discovered.

The spanking was worth it, though, because Linda Sue had to have her hair cut again to make it even.  That was all I have ever wanted anyway, to make things even.

As a child, I tried to practice safe smoking


When I grow up, I want to smoke like that.

The first time I smoked a cigarette, I inhaled. After I stopped coughing and wiped the tears from my eyes, I inhaled again. That’s what seven-year-old children do. Or at least, that’s what my seven-year-old self did. I have a strong compulsion to finish what I start; something I learned at the dinner table. (See here for that story.) Some people think I am persistent; some think I am stupid. I try to see both sides of an issue, so I agree with both.

Although I received a 25-cent weekly allowance, it didn’t usually last very long. To feed our addiction to chocolate, my best friend, Terry B., and I collected coke bottles to redeem for cash. At one or two cents a bottle, we needed just a few to buy a five-cent candy bar. That’s why I cannot speak too highly of chocolate; it made me the recycler that I am today. Persistent, with fluffy hips.

Terry and I were regulars at the local convenience store. I think it was a 7-Eleven, but it could have been a Circle-K. (Ask my sister, she’s the keeper of memories in the family.) At some point, we decided to buy some cigarettes. As impossible as it sounds today, back then children could run to the store to buy cigarettes for their folks. We either pooled our allowances or saved up coke bottle money because we had enough money for a pack. At that time, probably around 25 cents.

One of us lied to the clerk and said the cigarettes were for a parent. I think it was Terry because this is my side of the story and she’s not here to contradict me. She brought the matches and we headed straight for the ditch.

In mid-century America, everyone smoked cigarettes. Movie stars inhaled and exhaled their glamour, neighborhood gossip flamed up as their small fires burned on women’s lips, and their smoke rings floated above our heads like forgotten halos. What was not to like about smoking?

At some point in that ditch, however, I stopped inhaling and put the cigarette out. I much preferred chocolate and still do.

Unprompted, I confessed to my mother that I had tried smoking. The business about how we got the cigarettes was left unmentioned. She seemed unfazed and only smiled when I said, “Don’t worry. It was mentholated.” In my muddled mind, I thought it made a difference.

At 17, I began my five-year smoking career. My father was long dead by then, and mother said she would rather have me smoke in front of her than behind her back. In mother’s muddled mind, she thought that made a difference.

For several years in a row, I got a carton of Winston cigarettes in my Christmas stocking: my reward for being an honest child. Had I shown an honest interest in bank robbery, she probably would have included a stocking cap and possibly a small revolver.

Mother was muddled but she meant well. Like me. And maybe, like you.

(picture on loan from:  http://www.mimifroufrou.com/scentedsalamander/)

Why I am not an arsonist


I struck up a friendship with Terry B.

At seven, I realized  that arson would not be a good career choice. My best friend, Terry B., who shared my early fascination with trouble, introduced me to the delights of wooden matches. My parents didn’t smoke, and we didn’t have a gas stove, so I didn’t see many matches. The ones we used to light birthday candles were those flimsy paper ones that require a grownup type of skill to light. You had to pinch the paper stem between your thumb and middle finger, hold the match head down with your pointer, and then draw it across the striking surface. If you didn’t pull your pointer away quickly, you could burn yourself.


Wooden matches, however, are easy enough that even seven-year-olds can use them. Their small fingers can hold the end of the wooden stick, strike across the long strip on the side of the box, and create the wonder known as fire. One box provides hours of fun. Strike a match and watch it burn. Next, see how far down you can let it burn before you blow it out or drop it and step on it. Play chicken doing this. Put several matches together and light all of them from one match. And those are just a few possibilities.


But you can only watch so many matches burn before you yourself get burned out on it. The next step is to watch something else burn.


The street we lived on sat on the edge of the housing area, and the alleyway behind our house ran parallel to a drainage ditch. My sister and I took a shortcut to school through the ditch, and children often played there. Sitting in the dirt among the weeds was the perfect place to study the properties of combustion.


We began with the debris we found in the ditch, mostly paper trash. Then we moved on to dried leaves and small plants. El Paso has a dry climate so there was hardly ever water in the ditch. Any fires we started had to be small enough to stamp out with our feet or smother in dirt.


One afternoon, we experimented lighting up an entire bush. Like all of our ideas, it seemed reasonable at the time. The dry bush ignited another bush, and soon we had a small blaze that we could not control. In our eyes, it seemed we had set the whole world on fire. We threw a lot of dirt and sand at the bushes, which was very helpful in making us dirty, but not so helpful in extinguishing the fire. Had there been a wind, I would be telling an entirely different story. Something about my life at reform school.

Children, ditch those matches!


In those heart-stopping moments watching the disobedient fire, I imagined the fire spreading to our houses, leaving our neighborhood a pile of ashes. It’s a wonder that some all-powerful grownup (one who could see through windows) didn’t notice the smoke and call the fire department. Had that happened, I knew the consequences. I would not be seeing much of the Mickey Mouse Club and my bottom would be very sore.


The fire eventually burned itself out, and so did our desire to play with matches. We never misused them again. We just used them as they were intended to be used. For cigarettes.

The six-year-old criminal


An early run-in with the law ruined my smile. I'm the sullen one on the right.

When I was a child, I had a knack for getting caught. It never held me back, though. Trouble interested me and punishment was the price I paid for pursuing it.


Terry B., who lived on the corner of our block, was my best friend because we shared this same interest. In the summer, we were just this side of feral, in the sense that we played outside from morning until just past dark almost every single day. During the day, we found food where we could; everyone’s screen door was unlocked and every mother had large jars of peanut butter and jelly to spread on white bread. And Kool-Aid. Always a pitcher of Kool-Aid.


Where I grew up, children were expected to play outside. My mother, like every other mother on the block, never posed “Why don’t you kids go outside and play” as a question. They meant it as a command, one that we were happy to obey. While they made coffee cake and wandered back and forth to each other’s house to drink coffee, smoke, play cards, or gossip, the kids had the whole wide outside world to themselves. Our moms had to holler us back for dinner, but as soon as that was done, we joined our tribes outside until the darkness came and one of our parents hollered us back for good.


In my sixth summer of freedom, Terry and I decided it would be fun to switch people’s mail. We knew all of the neighbors, knew which houses we could go in, and which to avoid. Our next-door neighbors, the Coles, were an older couple. We were fond of Grandma Cole and her delicious cookies, but we had to eat them on the porch. Her husband liked to hold little girls on his lap, and even though our mothers never spelled it out, we understood and stayed away from him.


One afternoon, after the mailman made his delivery, Terry and I went to several houses and took the mail. We couldn’t get everyone’s mail because many of the mailboxes were too high to reach. In spite of the inconvenience, which seemed a marked lack of consideration on the part of our neighbors, we mixed up the letters and re-delivered them. Then we were off to our next adventure. Probably something involving matches.


Not once did we consider that we were doing all of this in plain sight, that most mothers were at home with the curtains and the front door open. Terry and I lived in a world of our own choosing, and all those adults with their watching eyes weren’t a part of it. Once the sun went down, we returned to their world, but daylight belonged to us.


We had telephones back then, the kind that were tied to the wall. Neighbors called my mom and told her what we were doing. She called my daddy and he called the police.


Yes, the police.


They arrived at our house right around suppertime. I don’t know if my empty stomach led me back home or someone was hollering about dinner, all I remember is the police car in front of our house. My daddy walked out of the house to greet the officer, and then called me over and made me confess what I had done.


I don’t remember a single word of what was said that summer evening. I probably cried, and if I did, my daddy held me.


Daddy just wanted to teach me a lesson or two. He did. I never messed with people’s mail again. It took me longer to learn the other lesson: the same broad daylight that made it so easy for me to find trouble was what made it so easy for grownups to find troublemakers like me. We roamed the neighborhood creating kingdoms, fighting wars, lighting fires, and creating as much mayhem as we could get away with, but the grownups were there, invisible, ever-present, and, it seemed at the time, ever-seeing.








Don’t answer the phone! It’s the zombie apocalypse calling


This is what happens when you DON'T have a Facebook account

I have zombies on my mind this morning. Not literally, of course, because if I did, they would eat my brains, and this post would be full of nonsense.


Hmm…let’s give Mr. Awkward a minute to go away.


Okay. Yesterday I reported that my phone had 209,727 followers from a Facebook account that I don’t have. This morning it is 226, 336. That’s about 692 followers added per hour, or 11.5 added every minute.


Troubling, isn’t it? Particularly those .5 followers. What happened to their other .5?!


I think it will all become clear in a minute.


  • Someone (probably Mark Zuckerberg, the King of Facebook) is offing followers. (It’s a privacy issue, and he is working on a fix. In the meantime, watch your back.)


  • He needs a place to hide the bodies somewhere on the internet.


  • Sometimes he cuts the bodies in half because the internet wires get clogged, and they won’t fit otherwise.


  • He needs to put them somewhere on the internet that no one would think to look; a place on the internet no one goes. My blog is the perfect place.


  • I use to have a Facebook account, but now I don’t.


  • Mark Zuckerberg hates me and is out to punish me.


  • He’s sending dead followers to my account.


  • All that deadness is festering, slowly turning my so-called Facebook followers into zombies.


  • They are infecting other phones through my phone.


  • They are spreading throughout the world.


  • They are eating people’s brains through their phones!



Wikipedia posted this zombie choir singing songs from the Wizard of Oz

I’m sure that it has already started. More and more people with phones held tightly to their heads are walking around in their pajamas during the day in that slow death walk favored by zombies. It’s got to be the zombie apocalypse. How else do you explain what happened to their brains?


(TIP: When you answer your phone, if you hear the Wizard of Oz playing in the background and someone singing “If I Only Had a Brain,” hang up the phone!)

My iPhone has 209,727 Facebook followers


It may happen sooner than you think

I’m afraid.

I’ve always been close to my iPhone, so I thought we had a good relationship, one built on mutual trust. But last Saturday, when I checked my WordPress account on my iPhone, I learned that it has a secret life on Facebook. I took a screenshot as evidence. Here is an enlarged picture:

164,335 Facebook followers!  I was beside myself, which is rather convenient when you want to have a conversation with yourself.

I: How did it get that many followers?

Myself: It has that two-way camera, and you walk around the house at night with nothing on but your winter pajamas and your robe!

I: Do you think it’s taking pictures when I’m not looking?

Myself: Probably. And remember, it has a built-in recorder.

I: Do you think it’s revealing all my secrets to the world?

Myself: No, you’re already doing that on your blog.

When my daughter came over, I showed her what I had found, and we deliberately talked about it in front of the phone. I hoped to shame the phone into removing its Facebook account and stop using my WordPress account to garner followers.

But, friends, it has gotten worse. Look at the screenshot I took last night:

Already up to 207,216 followers. That’s over 42,000 new followers in just two days. This morning the number was up over 2,000. At this rate, by March of next year, every single person on Facebook will be following my iPhone. World domination will follow.

I need your help, kind readers. You see, I don’t have a Facebook account. That’s why I’m afraid.  I am not on Facebook as yearstricken or under the name my mother gave me. Don’t laugh. Not everyone in the world is on Facebook. There are at least two tribes in the Amazon that don’t have any members on Facebook yet.

Would you please go to your Facebook account and see if there are any photos of a somewhat mature woman in a burgundy down-filled robe? If there are photos with her robe open *blush*, you may see blue pajamas with these very cute moose on them. Kindly remove the photos. If my phone insists on having an account, I don’t want it luring people in and gathering followers with risqué photos of me. That’s not the proper path to world domination.

Thank you for your help.


Yesterday I had a flare-up and needed an IV


Hurry! The woman needs an IV and she needs it now!

Yesterday I was reading a blog and came across a sentence about an “alternate lifestyle.”  No doubt, the writer meant “alternative lifestyle.” Alternate in that context would mean rotating or taking turns; alternative, used with lifestyle, means an unconventional or nontraditional choice.


But because I really can’t help it, I started imagining a lifestyle where two people alternate.


“Okay, honey, now you are me, and I am you.”


“Whee, that was fun, now I’m me, and you’re you!”


“Let’s try it again.”


“Whoa, this alternate lifestyle is life-changing!”


After I amused myself for a while, I checked out the author of the blog. It was I, which is good grammar but it sounds wrong because “me” is what we always hear.


Yes, I was the blogger who typed alternate instead of alternative. The same blogger who is sometimes a slug, sometimes the Texan Word Slinger, sometimes a mouseburger, and sometimes other personas yet to be revealed. That may be the true “alternate lifestyle,” although maybe it’s multiple personality disorder. (I’ll leave the resolution of that argument to the slug and The Texan Word Slinger.)


As you know, from this previous post, I suffer from blog blindness. It’s chronic, intermittent, non-life threatening (so far), and incurable. Yesterday, I had an acute flare-up. So bad, in fact, that I needed intervention.

I needed an IV.


I corrected the problem last night, right after I got the IV: Alternate + IV = Alternative.