Now & Then
Or: Till death us do part
Peg of the North writes: “My husband and I had a good laugh this morning, reminiscing about a Valentine’s Day more than 25 years ago.
“We had three preschool-aged children at the time. For Valentine’s Day, I received a gold watch. I asked if it was waterproof, which I thought was a necessity, given that I was either washing dishes or bathing children incessantly. It was not. I volunteered to exchange it, but he said (a bit too quickly) that he would exchange it for me.
“The next day, he called on his lunch break to say that he was at the store and had picked out a nice replacement watch for me. But, he added, it cost 100 times what he paid for the first watch.
“‘Oh, ______ , don’t spend that much!’
“‘Well, I have to confess,’ he said, ‘the first watch cost $1.50.’
“‘Buy it!’ I said.
“Flash-forward 15 years. ________ came home on Valentine’s Day with a dried flower arrangement that could have been bought at the Walgreens up the road. Our daughter, in high school now, took one look at it and said: ‘Dad, don’t EVER buy Mom another gift without first consulting me!’
“P.S. I love the online Bulletin Board!
“P.P.S. In his defense, my husband’s gift-giving has greatly improved, thanks to our daughter’s intervention.”
Sleepless from St. Paul (in Minneapolis): “I had a bit of a shock last week. On the first page of the obituaries, I discovered that seven of the 12 listings were my age or younger. Is this a hint that I should put shopping for mortuary plans on my to-do list?
“Some of the milestones I have crossed in recent years:
“When I was 51, I was older than the president of the United States.
“I am older than George Harrison was when he died.
“At age 47, it occurred to me that I will probably never date again. This really isn’t mandated by age. It is more of a conscious decision. It just seems to require too much effort.
“Some older milestones:
“At age 37, I was the same age Tom Kelly was when the Twins won the World Series in 1987. Tom Kelly seemed like a gruff old man at the time, but he was just 37 years old.
“At 42, I was older than any player in Major League Baseball. That one really, really freaked me out.
“Going back further:
“At age 24, I was older than any of the Beatles when they appeared on ‘Ed Sullivan.’ To me, that was the first time I felt that I was getting old.
“If there is one silver lining to the Trump presidency, it is that there is someone older than me back in the Oval Office.”
The unkindness of strangers
Katharine With One Dog Only: “Gas Pump Conversation While Visiting Wisconsin:
“Guy at Pump 9: ‘What breed of dog is that?’
“I at pump 10: ‘He’s Belgian Malinois crossed with Lab.’
“Guy: ‘That ain’t no Belgian!’
“I: ‘Half Belgian. The other half is Lab.’
“Guy: ‘There’s no Belgian in that dog. Ya got took.’
“I: ‘Um, well, have a good rest of your day.’ <Gets in car.>
“Guy: ‘Ain’t you even gonna argue? Don’t got much spirit in Minnesota, do ya?'”
Writes joegolfer: “We did some hiking while vacationing in Arizona recently and came across this pair of saguaros.
“I’m a gardener and definitely believe a plant can have a personality, but these two take the prize. Photo captions immediately came to mind, although most were too political for this blog. However, I’m sure BBers will be able to come up with some doozies.”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Sandy writes: “Subject: Fake news or flash back . . . or forward . . . or?
“My brother purchased this St. Paul paper (Wisconsin edition) on Monday, February 13, in Spooner, Wisconsin. Notice anything a bit off?
“We had a good laugh over it. Maybe it’s a collectors’ item?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Every Pioneer Press is a collectors’ item!
Unclear on the concept
Or: Everyone’s a copy editor (responsorial)
Tuesday’s Bulletin Board included a note from Aggie Girl: “Mary Hunt’s syndicated column provided a great demonstration of something that drives me crazy.
“The article was about homemade cleaning solutions, and along the way it stated that ‘none of these have any chemicals in them.’
“Um, yes, they do. Everything has chemicals in it. A quick look at the recommended ingredients showed they included vinegar (acetic acid solution), baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and bleach (chlorine solution). All of these are chemicals, unless they have vastly changed the definition since my last chemistry class.
“I see this fairly often; there seems to be this idea that ‘chemicals’ are man-made and bad, while anything that is ‘natural’ is good. Argh!
“At the very least, the article should have said something like ‘there are no hazardous chemicals’ — though we could certainly debate whether chlorine is a hazard. It would have been more accurate than saying ‘no chemicals.’”
We presently heard from Helena Handbasket: “Here is a Mary Hunt story about chemical reactions that should validate Aggie Girl’s concerns shared in today’s BB. Amusing yet frightening.”
Our pets, ourselves
Arwen of Inver Grove Heights: “Subject: Thinking cat.
“After living with a member of another species for a while, it becomes clear that there’s a mind in there — thoughts, feelings, opinions, reason — and that in order to get along well with one’s cat, dog, horse, or whoever, one must sort of project one’s own mind into the mind of these other beings and try to figure out what they are thinking.
“This is especially true for Annie-Cat, who (though she’s probably firmly within the bounds of feline behavior, if you jumble it up a bit) is the strangest cat that I, personally, have ever seen. She gets into sudden, often-contradictory moods. In one of these moods, conscious thought seems to be turned off in favor of all synapses firing at the same time. Then she goes dashing from one end of the house to the other, which lots of cats do, so that’s not particularly strange. But the other day when she was doing this, she seemed to forget me and suddenly became afraid of me. She stopped in mid-dash, turned sideways to me, arched her back and her tail and puffed her tail up to its maximum 3-inch diameter, looking fearfully at me all the while.
“She has done this before, but I thought she was playing. This time, I realized she might be serious. So I spoke to her sweetly and made familiar noises: ‘Hey, kitty, it’s just me, calm down, brrp brrp.’ (The latter is a sound I’ve made to her since she came to live with me. It mimics a trilling sound that cats sometimes make in their throats.)
“She calmed down a bit, but then went flying through the house once again. Once more she came back, arched, puffed and staring.
“I spoke sweetly again: ‘Hey, kitty! Is you scared? Oh, poor, poor kitty. It’s only me. See? Just me. Calm down, kitty, kitty.’ While I was speaking this way, I could see my cat begin to relax and realize who I was. Then she suddenly flopped on her side and her tail slowly subsided to its normal diameter. ‘See, kitty? All OK now,’ I said in a sweet, calming tone.
“It’s so interesting to me that I can talk to this alien being and she actually sometimes listens — and even, sometimes, does what I ask. It’s a challenge to figure out how to interact with her, but there’s definitely communication going on. It gives me an indescribable feeling of entering completely into otherness and still remaining myself.”
Our livestock, ourselves
DebK of Rosemount: “Subject: It’s spring!
“And I’m not talking weather!
“This evening, Dad went down to do sheep chores (which he’s been doing because he wants to spare me, now that the butcher has been scheduled) and reappeared within minutes to report that one of the ewes had produced a fine little ram lamb. Clarence wasn’t turned in with the ewes until late November, so no lambs (of his) should be arriving for another two months! And Dad, being little concerned about watching for signs of approaching labor, completely missed the fully developed udders. Yes, this isn’t the only early arrival we’ll have. Of course, I have nothing ready — ewes haven’t been given pre-natal vaccinations, my equipment isn’t organized, etc. What an operation!
“For what it’s worth, my prime suspect in the matter of these unexpected arrivals is Fritzie, Clarence’s son and one of last spring’s lambs (and, on a decidedly unpleasant note, one of the rams who will be relocated to the freezer later in the week). Like father, like son!
“I’m beginning to think Dad and I aren’t cut out for this shepherd business.”
Now & Then
Eos: “I used my OXO salad spinner tonight. Within moments, I was 5 years old, spinning my top.
“It is THAT EASY for me to go back 65 years.”
The highfalutin diversions
Virtual Jigsaw Puzzles Division
Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “Like many other BBO readers, I am becoming addicted to Poet X of PDX‘s puzzles on Jigidi.
“Reasons ‘virtual’ puzzles are better than ‘real’ ones:
“(1) I can do them on my computer at work (this is allowed when things are slow);
“(2) puzzle pieces don’t get lost, hidden or eaten by pets;
“(3) pieces are all right-side-up in both ways (you don’t have to flip them over from the dull cardboard side, and the top/bottom orientation is also a given);
“(4) I don’t have to cover it up or move it when I’m not working on it. I try to ignore the timer because I am exceedingly slow, even when I hit the pause button — but who cares?”
A new one from Poet X of PDX: “From the Walker Art Center two years ago, a memorable piece of art. Puzzle site has not allowed me to create new puzzles for over 12 hours. I’m suffering withdrawal.”
This ‘n’ that
Mrs. Patches of St. Paul: “First, to Poet X of PDX: Yes, I follow your puzzles, too. But I must say the one of the doily with so many small pieces was . . . torture. I managed the edge and the center . . . then finally gave up in screaming fits! I like the puzzles and have put many out there myself, but I do them for relaxation!
“Secondly, this ad from a major jeweler has it all wrong:
“The two things I want for Valentine’s Day are the love of my husband, Pat, and as many more years with him as I am allowed!”
BULLETIN BOARD ADDS: Not to mention that, as in approximately 83 percent of all uses of “only,” it’s in the wrong place.
What the advertiser wants to say is: “SHE WANTS ONLY TWO THINGS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY.”
Out of the mouths of babes
Mother of many in Woodbury: “We lost our yellow Lab, Breeze. Soon after, grandson Macky, who is 5, and his mom were pulling into a parking space, and Macky said: ‘Look, Mom, there’s a dog like Breeze! Maybe it is Breeze.’
“His mom reminded him that Breeze was in heaven with God.
“His innocent reply was: ‘Maybe it’s God’s car!'”
Band Name of the Day: The Doozies
Website of the Day, from Double Bogey Mike: It’s a car! It’s a plane! It’s … somewhere down the road?