I pick my nose


Even if the world isn't, my nose is straight.

I am a small woman, no taller than 5’3″, of slight build but wide in the hips. At the end of my torso, as you would expect, I have two legs, each one divided by an odd, lumpy knee.

My hair always liked being brown, until recently. My forehead needs a lot of space to think and furrow, so it told my hair quite emphatically, “Thus far, and no more.” Because so much skin is showing and I am modest, I wear bangs. Along the edges of my ears and forehead, the hair is experimenting with gray.

My eyes wear green, flecked with gold and brown. They don’t like make up because when they cry, they don’t like to make a mess on my cheeks. I admire anyone who considers those around them and tries to keep things tidy. No one has shown me as much of the world as they have, so I try to be kind to them and wipe their tears when they are having a bad day.

My jaw looks determined because it is. It has a lot to say if people would just listen. They don’t, so it is determined to keep shut unless someone really wants to know. We’ve enjoyed a lot of chocolate together.

My two front teeth are close, even though one is almost a year older. Some of the others arrived later and never learned to stand straight in a line. I’ve never held it against them. I’m attached to all of them and had a hard time two years ago when one them cracked under pressure. We couldn’t save it.

But my best feature is my small, straight nose. It is the leader of my face, breaking through the air like the prow of a small ship, the first to feel the cold, the first to bear the heat of the sun, and willing to help hold my sunglasses, all day if need be. My nose always gets there first, but it’s never proud. Day after day it brings me gifts; just yesterday it was the aroma of roses. And when I least expect it, it surprises me with brightly wrapped memories of my days as a child when I came home to the smell of freshly baked bread or broke through the surface of the water to see my mother beside the pool, lathering on lotion under the hot, summer sun.

I like all the parts of me, but if I had to choose my favorite, you can understand why I would say, “I pick my nose.”

World domination: Not for rats


Rodents are on my mind. Not literally, although if they were, that would mean my brain was cheese. And if I had a cheese brain, it would surely be Swiss: not very sharp and full of holes. That in turn would give new meaning to the term “Cheesehead,” which refers to a fan of the Green Bay Packers. Which reminds me: We are the World Champions!


Did I mention that I had caffeine this morning?

Okay, back to rodents. I had two epiphanies this week related to them.

The last name is Burger. Why do you ask?

First, a confession. Up until now, I have been unable to describe myself in one word. In interviews and team-building exercises, I shyly stutter and stammer something about being slightly silly, but sentient. (I tend to alliterate when I’m nervous or upset.) But on Thursday, the word I’ve been searching for my entire life was revealed to me; it is “mouseburger.” Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that no one cared enough to tell me about it. It’s been around since at least 1971. But then, I’m used to that sort of thing. That’s what happens when you are “a drab, timid, or unexceptional woman.”

The song Nat sang that wasn't about me

If I had to describe myself with a song, it would be Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” except that I would have to remove the prefix –un and replace it with the word “so.” Ironically, no one usually remembers Irving Gordon, the man who wrote the song.

As proof of my forgettability, I offer the following. A number of times, I have been introduced to someone (let’s call him Nat and let’s say he has an incredible silky baritone voice and should really be a singer, but he’s not because he’s at the kind of gathering I attend). We chat a bit, say goodbye, and then I run into him later at another gathering. On being re-introduced, Nat will invariably say, “Hi, I don’t believe we’ve met.”

Okay, maybe that’s happened to you once or twice. But don’t start feeling smug yet. When my children were in high school, I met a woman I’ll call Lethe. The school was small, so we’re not talking about thousands of parents. We met at a school concert and talked a bit. The next time I saw her, someone asked her if she knew me. No, she didn’t believe we had ever met. Then it happened again. And again. Yes, three meetings after the initial introduction. She seemed to remember everyone but me. So, don’t try to tell me you are more forgettable. I am drabber, more timid, and more unexceptional than you. So there. I win. Mouseburgers don’t usually win, so this totally makes my day.

This makes me want to rename my blog “Mouseburger” with the tagline “The tale of a mousy woman.”

The second epiphany came while listening to a story on NPR about rats working to free a fellow rat trapped in a cage. You can read or listen to it here. When a rat hears a caged rat in distress, it tries to help it get out. I know what you are thinking. Yes, Lassie could have been played by a rat. “Jimmy, help Lassie out of that rat trap, I think he’s trying to tell you something.”

Rats are sympathetic or empathetic – no one knows for sure because no one can clearly define the difference between the two. So, are they going to rise up in solidarity, form unions, and bring down this great nation of ours while corporations are left with nothing but boxes and boxes of greenbacks to dry their tears? I think not. Read the following and you’ll understand why.

Not only will rats frantically work to free their trapped cage mates; they will do so even when there’s a tempting little pile of chocolate chips nearby, the study reveals. Instead of leaving their pal in the trap and selfishly gobbling the candy all by themselves, rats will free their cage mate and share the chocolate.

Rats are all heart and no brain. World domination belongs to those of us who know the value of chocolate. In other words, Blogmate, suppose you are trapped in your blog and you can’t get out. So you whine about it. I will try to help you. Why? Because I am a sentient being with empathy and/or sympathy for other whining sentient beings. But, I will not share my chocolate. Why? Because I’m not a rat.

It’s been a good week. I can now describe myself in one word, and more importantly,  I can explain why I cannot share my chocolate with you.

Investors, forget blue chips. World dominators invest in chocolate chips!

The night I didn’t hear Pink Floyd’s music


A couple of months ago, a good friend at work invited me to a concert. She had planned to go with her husband; in fact, he was the one who bought the tickets. However, he was delayed on a business trip and couldn’t get back in time. He is a huge fan of Pink Floyd, and the concert was a tribute band playing all their songs.


If I had a list of least liked types of music, the genre that includes Pink Floyd would be at the top, but I decided to go for three reasons. First, I like my friend, and I like spending time with her. Second, the invitation included dinner. Yes, free food. It’s amazing the things I will do for a free meal. I only put this as the second reason because I thought it would look bad as the first. And third, the city orchestra would be playing with the band. So, how bad could it be?


After a lovely Chinese meal, we headed over to the local performing arts center. It looked like Woodstock but for fluffy people with less hair, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. I, on the other hand, dressed up because the orchestra was playing. One wears a dress and heels to such events.


We had good seats in the middle of the aisle in the middle of the auditorium. We had to skooch past an older couple who were also dressed up. When I say “older,” I mean older than me. Ancient to some of you. They were probably in their eighties. I suspect they were season ticket holders and were lured in, thinking the orchestra would be doing Pink Floyd light. They sat to my left.


The first song was introduced by the soft sound of stringed instruments, which always makes my heart sing. So with happy heart and full belly, I settled down into my seat for an evening of delight.


Then wouldn’t you know it, the minute the band began to play, someone turned on a whole array of power tools. I could hear an electric drill, a jack hammer, and, oddly, a leaf blower, or maybe it was just someone banging on the furnace. And it happened every single time the band began to play! Every. Single. Time. I couldn’t hear their music because of all the noise.


The concert also included a light show. In other words, they showed lights. Flashing lights with grainy videos behind and around the band. Just for fun, they would suddenly turn the lights on the audience, temporarily blinding us. The people in charge of the lights were having a lot of fun because they did this repeatedly. Sometimes they’d leave the lights shining in our eyes for a long time. I kept waiting for a voice to boom out, “And where were you on the night of August 15th?” But, of course, that didn’t happen, or if it did, we couldn’t hear it because of the power tools.


I felt sorry for all the people who paid good money to hear Pink Floyd’s music and missed it because some selfish people needed to do repairs in and around the concert hall that very night. Everyone put on a happy face (this is the Midwest), and I didn’t hear any complaints. The dear couple to my left spent a lot of time looking at the concert brochure and whispering to each other.


I had a really good time that night because I was with my friend. Also, we had a good meal together and got to hear the orchestra play bits of music. And I absolutely loved the ending. The repairs were apparently done and they turned the power tools off. I stood up and clapped for that like everybody else.

Floyd's pink power toolkit


A Word is Born


I love the little book The Elements of Style for two reasons. First, it offers great writing advice, that I have often been tempted to put into practice. But more importantly, the author’s name is Strunk. If I had not been blinded by the kindness, faithfulness, funniness, and handsomeness of my husband, I would have married someone with a more interesting last name, something like Strunk.  Teacher Strunk has such a nice sound, although if you say it very fast several times, it begins to sound like teacher’s drunk.

Ancestry.com says the name comes from Germany, the place that also gave us Colonel Klink. Another name I wish was mine.  The Germans are also responsible for the pattern of vowel change in some of our irregular verbs like drink, drank, drunk and shrink, shrank, shrunk. But whatever happened  to the trio of  think, thank, thunk? Down in Texas we thank about things like that, and when we notice that we don’t think anymore, we say, who woulda thunk it?

But back to that tantalizing name, Strunk. Why has no one coupled the content of the book with the author’s name and coined a verb to describe the act of revising and perfecting a composition?

(strink – /strɪŋk/ verb, strank (past tense), strunk (past participle) — to apply the principles of The Elements of Style to a manuscript or composition)

Yearstricken: (passing the essay back to the student) You need to strink this.

Student: But teacher, I strank it last night.

Yearstricken: (growing more alliterative by the moment) Strink harder! Only the student who has strunk sufficiently succeeds and scores an A.

Thunk! The sound of me coining a word.

I Can Bring Manufacturing Back! Now With Bacon!


Geniousness runs in (from?) our family. I, more than the others (whom I still love dearly), have blinding insights. How do I know that? When I share these insights, people close their eyes until I’m done speaking. (Note to reader: What follows is brilliance at it’s shiniest: if you close your eyes, you will miss the opportunity of a lifetime!) (Note to self: lay off the parentheses.)

After watching this video on TED about making plastic from waste materials and reading this article about harvesting stem cells from fat, I realized that I could bring manufacturing back to America.

Here is my big idea: Stem Cells from Waist Products!

I will build extra-large factories with individual work stations equipped with a recliner, remote control, large screen TV, and laptop.  Workers will have unlimited access to tastes-just-like-real-food stuff (now with extra bacon!). Their job will consist of just sitting and manufacturing future stem cells. Thanks to the food industry and their liberal use of corn syrup in 99.9% of all of those products they like to call food, we can create abdominal fat faster than you can spell triglycerides.

How are these jobs different from most other jobs? Well, sitting around in work stations talking, watching YouTube, and checking Facebook every 15 minutes will actually be in the job description. And, hold onto your love handles, it’s a renewable resource! (Look at me, all green and sustainable.)

Right now I’m working on some recruitment slogans:

  • Come Grow With Us
  • We Let Everything Go to Waist  – That’s the Way We Roll
  • Manufacturing is Back and It’s Big – You Can Be, Too
  • Flesh Out Your Future
  • Clean Your Plate and Dominate
  • Our Employees Have Nothing To Lose and Everything to Gain

I could go on, but I see that some of you have your eyes closed.

F-word Fatigue (Part One)


Half a century ago, the Boomers (at that time more like little Poppers) came up with two culture-changing ideas: let it all hang out and tell it like it is. People today take this first idea way too literally. Have you seen how much is hanging out of people these days? We’re starting to look like a nation of vending machines what with our front and back coin slots.


We Poppers were young, hip, and oh-so-uncensored when we began telling it like it was. We needed the f-word in our shock and awe campaign to overthrow the establishment and bring peace, love, and drugs to the world. And did we ever bring the drugs. If you have enough of them, you really don’t care about the other two. Mission accomplished.


So, the f-word. Go here and type it in the search bar. You’ll see that after a bout of popularity in the 1800s, it went bankrupt, started hanging around sleazy bars, singing for food and sleeping in dark alleys. Now, it’s a celebrity, the kind who is famous for being famous. The kind whose face and body parts are plastered on every magazine in the checkout counter and who keeps appearing on the front pages of newspapers who should know better.


That’s why I have f-word fatigue. Every other noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, and interjection is being replaced by some form of this word. (Thankfully, no one uses it as a preposition or conjunction yet, but please keep this a secret, or it might change.)


In the future, will we all speak F, formerly known as English?  Or as they say in F: In the f, will f all f F, f-ly f-ed as English? This will cause people to run around saying WTF all the time, much like they do already. Maybe the future is already here and I just need new glasses.


Over half a million words are languishing in dictionaries, waiting for someone to adopt them. Do your part, take some home, put those puppies on a leash, and let them chew somebody’s leg or pee on their shoes. Or take pictures of them and post them on the internet. The f-word is a dog that has had its day. It’s time to put it down. 

What Part of the 99% Are We?


In America, 99% of us fall into the lower portion of the first pyramid. More and more of us are falling faster and faster to the bottom, losing our jobs, our homes, and our future on the way down. We need change.

But we’re only about 300 million people out of nearly 7 billion in the world. And very few of us fall into the lower portion of the second pyramid. We’re part of the developed world, the upper 20% that consumes between 60%-80% of the world’s resources.

Those of us who are part of the 99% in the first pyramid look at the 1% above us, wondering how and why so much wealth and power ended up in their hands. Maybe we think about how nice it would be to shake loose some of the change in the pockets of the super rich. And maybe, just maybe, all of the billions below us on the pyramid are thinking the very same thing about us.

Change is good for us. Change is good for all of us.

Go here and here to think about change.

Eight Life Lessons from Driving Miss Crazy


1. Nobody likes a tailgater unless your vehicle is stopped, your tailgate is open, and you’re serving hot dogs and hamburgers. (Although I’d really prefer chicken.)

2. Some babies need a binky in their mouths at all times; you do not need a cellphone stuck to your ear at all times. Try sucking your thumb instead.

3. Don’t weave back and forth; this isn’t a loom or hair salon.

4. Don’t pick your nose. It’s hard for the rest of us to see you struggling that way. Perhaps you have not heard that most car windows are not opaque. Learn this.

5. Remember the song “Where is Thumbkins?” Remember Mr. Tall Man? Well, when it looks like everyone in your rearview mirror is singing that song and showing you Mr. Tall Man, remind yourself that most adults no longer sing that song. Maybe something else is going on, like your driving.

6. Don’t speed up when someone tries to pass you. Maybe that’s why you keep seeing Mr. Tall Man. (Review lesson #5.)

7. Learn car language: a blinker means please, a horn blast means watch out, many horn blasts mean I’m this close to ramming into your car, and a loud crash means I rammed into your car, but I have insurance, do you?

8. When someone’s blinker is asking you to please let them in, be nice. Even if we are going to a dead-end job, most of us prefer to arrive at work alive.