Archive for April, 2010

Cosmic Door Prize


2010
04.30

If you are a writer, or if you are employed as a copywriter by a large company, people sort of assume you know everything about grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules. There are rules?

In a perfectly ordered world, I’m sure that would be true. And I also believe that in some companies you will find those big-brained self-righteous know-it-alls who can tell you whether you use “media” or “medium” without even looking up from the latest issue of Contemporary Copywriter.

I am not that person.

When people come to my desk to ask about punctuation or grammar or the plural of stadium, I sort of break out in a  cold sweat. I was once called to our director’s office to explain when to use “that” or “which,” and I tried to make a good argument, but hell … the guy has eyes. I am not sure how I got back to my own desk. I don’t remember the trip.

I don’t remember anything I learned in school, sadly, and probably only graduated because my dad had paid my tuition in full and the nuns were sick of looking at me. I can’t tell you when to use “who” or “whom,” and I wouldn’t know an adverb from an ashtray. I never know if I feel well or if I feel good, and I can’t remember whether it’s “effect” or “affect.”

Fortunately, a lot of people have covered these issues in handy little books which I keep on a shelf by my desk. I bought these books long before the internet was a happy part of my life, and I use them often. Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” often saves the day. Same with Patricia O’Conner’s “Woe Is I,” or the Associated Press Style Book, which is sort of like my bible.

I think the ability to write good or well (not sure which and I don’t want to look it up and lose my concentration) is my cosmic door prize. Everything else was already taken, so I got this.

I’ve never been good at anything else. I don’t know anything about fashion or design. I don’t know how to knit or sew or refinish furniture. I am not good at sports; I do not understand the basic concept of baseball. Baseball?! I can’t sing or dance; I have no sense of rhythm, and I can not clap in time to music, even when everyone around me is doing it. I am incapable of figuring out the square root of anything, and I haven’t balanced my checkbook since … ever.

So writing is what I do, and (fortunately) writing is what I love. But don’t ask me about the difference between “farther” or “further,” and don’t ask me to diagram a sentence for you, because that never made sense to me. Don’t ask me if “lunchroom” is one word or two, and don’t expect a well-thought out answer if you ask me to define a mixed metaphor. Get your own books.

But if you need a paragraph cleaned up or a letter written, give me a call.

Welcome to the World.


2010
04.30

Welcome to the World, Gabriella Rose

Shake Your Booties.


2010
04.29

You’d probably have had to live through the disco years to get the reference, but I’ll try to tie it up for you in a moment. I had an entirely wonderful entry written (in my head) about Heather being in the hospital and awaiting the birth of her daughter, but as luck would have it, the baby got here before I even hit the power button.

Isn’t that just like babies? They don’t know a thing about time!

Mother and baby  and father are doing well. Baby (as yet unnamed) is 8 lbs 2 oz, 22 inches long, and healthy. All other details seem insignificant at this writing: She’s here and everyone is goofy with happiness.

There was a song called “Shake Your Booty” that was popular during the disco era. I admit it: I loved the disco years. Those were MY years. I loved the music and the rotating mirrored ball and the stovepipe jeans and platform shoes and the afro hairstyles and the furry vests and peace signs. I think everyone was happy during that era, or possibly stoned, though you couldn’t prove it by me because my idea of “night life” has always ended about 8:30 PM. But I lived through the disco years, newly divorced and wild in the streets, and I’m glad for every minute of it. A good time was had by all. I’ll leave it at that.

But my point about the disco years was this: When I thought of Heather all week, eager to have her baby, I thought about how fun it will be to have a new addition to the family. When I think of babies, I think of booties. When I think of booties, I think of “Shake Your Booties,” a song whose words I have changed just for the occasion. Don’t ask me to sing it to you, but you should know I kept the best part: “Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booties.”

Congratulations Heather and Mike and new baby and all of us who eagerly awaited her arrival and who will love her forever. We’re glad you’re here. I hope Heather is home soon, being a mom at last and shaking those booties.

Spam What Am.


2010
04.26

I’m pretty much on the fence about the death penalty except when it comes to spammers, and then I’m adamant: Drag them out into the streets and shoot them like the rabid mongrels they are.

It’s safe to say I’m sick of them.

I don’t read spam messages, but I find dozens in my mailbox each day, and I sift through the ponderous pointlessness of the subject lines just to make sure I’m not trashing something important.

If you are in the business of spamming, which is not a business at all but a public nuisance of the highest order, let me say this: I am not interested in purchasing life insurance, discount cruise packages, roofing OR siding, summer sandals, new sofa cushions, sexy sundresses or the history of WW2, especially if I have to go online to do it. I am fortunate to live in a town with actual stores that sell shoes, books, roofing and insurance. My feeling about shopping is this: If I need something, I’ll go find it. It will not have to find me.

Nor am I interested in “sexy elite singles” or services that guarantee that I will only date “rich handsome men,” and I am not interested in sex slaves from Asia or “lonely but married” women. I AM a woman, and I am neither lonely nor married, and I am certainly not interested in raunchy photos of you, ostensibly taken while your husband was off pursuing the American, Asian, Greek or Japanese dream. If you are married and lonely you need to find a job and a good therapist, but please leave me out of that dismal equation.

I am perplexed by long pleas written by someone for whom English is not even a third or fourth language. The wording is sometimes comical and sometimes lyrical: “It would be lovely if you write me or marry,” one said, though I suppose if I did marry, I’d soon be off that mailing list. “Shoes as to run,” another ad promised, “shoes as to fly.”

I actually DID fly last May, in an alley behind the downtown Holiday Inn, but only for a very short moment before I landed face down in a  puddle. It’s highly overrated, miserably embarrassing and painful, and so I would pass on those flying shoes. I apparently have my own.

I am not interested in a new cable provider, but I know where to find one if I need it, so please go away. I am not diabetic or in need of a glucose meter or heart monitor, and if I wanted a law degree I’d probably go to a local college and try to get one. I never entered Canadian or Irish or German sweepstakes, so I doubt I won, and I am not sending $3500 to Nigeria so that you can send me $1 million from a mysterious benefactor that you neglected to name. I am not in the market for online drugs including Viagra, oxycodone or imitation (or real) Blue Heaven, which apparently is no longer just a song.

I do not wish to increase the size of any of my body parts.

Quite the opposite, in fact, so I was intrigued by a subject line from three separate senders this morning, all with this special offer: “Let us shed those unwanted pounds for you!”

Well, sister: please do!

I’ve been a dismal failure in that area, and if someone out there wants to take on the job, I’m all for it. Please shed them as quickly as possible and get back to me when the job is done. The sooner the better.

Then we’ll talk about those sexy sundresses.

Earth Day Birthday.


2010
04.24

I am happy that my Earth Day falls on my birthday each year. I can’t say my birthday falls on Earth Day, because I was here for about 22 years before Earth Day came along, so you see my point.

Anyhooo, April is my favorite month. The snow is gone, the lawns start to green up, trees begin to bud, and the raspberry bushes in the yard start to get those tender green spears on them. April is beautiful. The slush has vanished; some nice person picked up all the MacDonald’s cups and dog poop left from last winter, and you can smell the earth again. Beautiful!

I like birthdays, too. Especially my own, when I don’t have to buy presents but I GET presents. Life couldn’t get much better than that. Birthdays seem to get better with each year, and I don’t remember ever having one of those anxiety-filled years like turning 30 or 40 or 50. Or even 60. I’m not saying I never had one of those years; I’m just saying I don’t remember it. Sometimes I don’t even remember how old I am, and will dig out a calculator and figure it out one more time. (Answer: Old.) I think that is a good thing, though I’m reminded of Eubie Blake’s comment: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

I didn’t actually know that Eubie Blake said it (I would have guessed George Burns) but you know, Google is our friend.

So this year’s birthday was filled with happy surprises and good times. (No new baby yet, though. Heather’s doctor told her to come back on Monday. Geez, the guy is doling them like he made them himself.) But I tell you this birthday stuff as an excuse to mention my two friends named Tracy.

Upon reading of my lack of a timepiece, Tracy Blue sent me an exquisite silver watch that had been in her family for many years. I love the thing. It’s analog. You wind it up! The best part, of course, is the magnanimous thought behind it; the care that went into such a present, and the reminder of the joy of good friends.

My other friend, Tracy White, left presents at my desk, too: a note pad with a Penelope-looking cat on it, and a beautiful gentle wind chime with a small brass bell on the end, which reminds me of our days in Buddhism classes. (Lest you think I’m a Buddhist, let me disavow that notion right now: I’m interested but I’m too lazy. It’s just like dating: I might like to be, but I don’t really want to do all that work.) Again, the joy of a good friendship; the beauty of the presentation, the happy feeling of getting a gift.

There were plenty more gifts and surprises and phone calls from friends far away. I hope I am half the friend most of my friends are to me. I’ll write about those birthday presents at another time, but for now I used those two as a segue into something else.

I need a friend named Tracy Red.

I mean, did you see those names? Tracy Blue? Tracy White? A gal couldn’t make this stuff up.

So if you know a Tracy Red, please have him/her call me to see if we could work out some kind of friendship thing. Then I could bandy those names around in everyday conversation: “Last night I went to a movie with friend Tracy. Not Tracy Blue and not Tracy White, but Tracy Red.”

Oh, the patriotism of it all.

I did a Google search for Tracy Red, and he/she is out there, but I hate to just contact someone out of the blue and ask them to be my friend. It just smacks of the pathetic. I can already do that in more ways than Google could name.

So if you know TR, please put us in touch.

I’m just sayin’.

A Pie To Plotz For.


2010
04.21

“Sadie, try this sandwich. You’ll plotz!”

Geez, I loved that line the minute I read it in a book. I always wanted to use it. But I’m not Jewish and I didn’t know what “plotz” meant, so I looked it up before I used it here, just in case. It simply means to faint or get weak-kneed, sort of like I do when I see Sayed on “Lost.”

Oy, that Sayed. I could plotz.

(My iMac apparently is not Jewish, either, because it keeps changing the words to “plots,” which is an entirely different thing.)

Anyway, I’m keeping this brief tonight because something urgent just came up: Two episodes of “Modern Family” which I must not miss. Oy, that Cam. A girl could plotz!

So here’s a quick and easy and really good summer dessert recipe that I sort of made up. A few years ago I won third place in a pie contest at work, but before you go plotzing all over the place, I should mention that there were probably only 3 pies in the entire contest. Still…. third place! Score!

PJ’s Tropical Pie

1 Graham cracker or vanilla wafer crust
(If you’re ambitious you could even bake a real crust, but honestly, that is why God created grocery stores)

Filling:
1-20 oz can of crushed pineapple (do not drain)

1 small box of vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding

A handful of coconut (Just throw some in. It’ll work.)

Handful of crushed graham crackers

Some fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, etc. Maybe 1/2 cup.

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

1/2 pint whipped cream (you won’t need to add sugar but you could)

You could buy a large container of Cool Whip instead, but come on …. Cool Whip?

Pour the pineapple into a large bowl. Sprinkle the dry pudding over it and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the coconut, graham cracker crumbs, fruit, nuts, whatever you want in there. Add the whipping cream and mix it up. Refrigerate a few hours and serve.

(For the contest, I sprinkled toasted coconut and a little orange zest over the top, but that’s just me: pretentious and show-offy.)

Someone reminded me today that I should categorize my posts here, and I guess I will do that. Another day. I also want to add links to some of my favorite sites, but honestly, that’s like technical work. I’ll have to figure all that out later.

Meanwhile, no news from the mother-to-be, so I’m hoping tomorrow is the day. For now, I’m off to the couch.

Oy, what a day I had today!


Baby On Board.


2010
04.20

Not me, of course. (Think about it.)

My niece Heather is going to have her first baby any day now. Possibly today. For all I know she’s having it right this minute, a thought which makes my toes curl, and not in a good way.

I’ve asked her to hold off until Thursday so that I can share a birthday with this precious baby, but Heather’s not in a mood to bargain. She’s feeling miserable. Her hands and feet have swelled, she’s having trouble sleeping, and she says she’s waited long enough. In an e-mail exchange yesterday, she wrote “I hope I have a baby with a reasonably small head,” and then added “and a doctor who will drug me heavily.”

While I am agreeable to a baby with any size head, and drugs to enough to make Heather feel no pain, I hope she gets her wishes, and I hope the baby gets here soon. I can’t wait to see her. I’ve never been a great-aunt before, either. (The “grandmother” title was snapped up right away by the mothers of Heather and Mike, so I’m having to settle for great-aunt, which makes it seem like “Hulda” should come right after that. Later I intend to convince the baby that having three grandmothers is perfectly acceptable: two serious ones and one hipster grandma. Though in my case it might actually come to mean hip-replacement grandma, but we’ll deal with that later. One medical event at a time.

This is the first baby in our family in almost 30 years. (What a long time to wait!) Heather and Mike are going to be fabulous parents. They’ve been married several years, are completely attuned to one another, and seem to be following in the long-married tradition set by both sets of their parents. They have good jobs, a beautiful home, they run marathons and entertain friends and support their families. They’re the kind of young folks who make their parents (and aunts) proud.

I very well remember the day Heather was born. I was stunned to see her behind the glass at the hospital — she was so beautiful. I had never been overly fond of babies, so was not expecting that rush of love that I felt when I saw her screaming in that pink blanket. I remember that her dad stood next to her, weeping with happiness. I’m not sure which thought touched me more. Then came more beautiful babies: Courtney, her brother Mike, and niece Katie. Seems like they were babies and then suddenly toddlers and then teenagers and then to college, off on their own with new lives. (How does that happen so quickly?) And then the weddings: Heather and Mike, Courtney and Joe, and soon Katie and Eric. Mike is still the family bachelor, but he’s young and making his way. Great kids. Fun, kind, bright, involved, interesting. How fortunate we are!

So I eagerly await this new baby, and hope there will be many more. Meanwhile, I hope Heather can hold off for just two more days (how hard can that be?) but if not, I hope the phone rings soon with the happy, happy news.

Congratulations, Heather and Mike!

Go Be Nice.


2010
04.19

Our moms used to say that, and they were right.

Sunday marked the beginning of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, a time to thank local volunteers for the work they’ve done throughout the year, but also to encourage others to jump in and do something. You’re probably already a volunteer of sorts even if you don’t know it: If you’ve ever donated to a cause you believe in, or given used items to a homeless shelter or gave a dollar to someone who looked like he needed it, that makes you a volunteer. If you ever held a door open for the person behind you, or smiled at someone on the street, said hello to a stranger or gave someone the fourteen cents they needed to pay their grocery tab in the line ahead of you, you’ve got the volunteer spirit.

But there’s so much more that is needed, and so much more we can all do.

If you live in a town of any size, there is probably a soup kitchen or food shelf that needs your help. Obviously the most urgent need is for money and food, but if you can’t donate that, how about donating some time? You could help cook or serve lunches or dinners, or help with cleanup. If you’d rather work anonymously, you could help sort food and stock the shelves.

Most shelters need help collecting and sorting hygiene products like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, shaving supplies, diapers, etc. I once spent several afternoons matching up new stockings from a crate the size of a railroad car (no kidding) at a local shelter, which I have to admit was a lot of fun for someone with that kind of brain: this goes with this, this goes over here, this one goes with this one… I’ve also filled plastic bags with hygiene products, sorted and bagged diapers, filled backpacks with school supplies, and folded and stuffed envelopes for a local shelter. Most of this was done on lunch hours, since I’m sort of stingy with my time and lazy after work.

Which brings me to something that’s so helpful and yet so simple you don’t even have to get off the couch to do your good deed: Telecare Friends. It may be called something different in your town, but you can call a local shelter or a United Way agency to find out. Ask around: someone will point you in the right direction.

Here’s what you do for Telecare Friends: Sit on the couch (or wherever your phone is) and call an elderly person or shut in and ask how they’re doing. Then you replace the phone in its cradle and go back to your ironing or 43rd rerun of “Two and a Half Men.” It’s important for the person on the other end of the line to know that someone is checking on them to make sure they’re okay, that they’ve eaten dinner, that they’ve taken their medication, and that they are still part of the world for that day. Honestly, if it were any easier, you could do it while you’re sleeping. (I think I once did, but that’s another story for another day.)

Local animal shelters would love to have you show up and volunteer some time. Bring your kids and friends and let them help socialize the kittens, or take some of the dogs for a much-needed walk. Adopt a pet if you can, and help a lot of animals at once: the one you take home, plus the ones who will take his or her place in the safety of the shelter until they find a new home, too.

Your local hospital could probably use hospice volunteers, too. You might work in the hospital, delivering breakfast trays or simply sitting with a dying patient, or help families at home with respite care, allowing them a few hours to get away and take care of family business, go shopping, or even out to a movie to help recharge their flagging spirits.

If you don’t have time or money to spend at a shelter or charitable organization, you can do simpler things closer to home. For one thing, all that junk you have in your closets? Someone could use it. If it’s wearable or usable and still in working order, someone else can use your old coffee pots, sweaters, blankets, socks, sheets, toasters, pots and pans, flatware and hot-doggers. Call a women’s shelter or a homeless shelter and ask if they’ll take them. You won’t be refused.

Or you could make dinner for an elderly person or new parents in your neighborhood. (Better yet, invite them to your home for a meal.) Help a neighbor with gardening, raking, or snow removal. Offer to watch someone’s kids while they run errands, or pick up groceries or medication for a neighbor while you’re running errands. Visit a nursing home and chat with residents. Bring cookies to a busy family with kids. Carry in the mail for someone who has trouble getting to the mailbox. Make time to chat with a neighbor. Sometimes a listening ear can make all the difference.

It’s so easy. Find someone who needs help and help them. Find the need. Fill it.

My friend Rick once said that he doesn’t have to look very far to realize how fortunate he is. I think most of us could say the same thing. (Not about Rick, but you know.)

And while I would love for you to believe that I stay home nights reading Camus, I am nothing if not honest: I don’t. I don’t even know who he was or what he did. The only thing I know for sure is that like Mr Lettman’s, his name is not pronounced the way it’s spelled. But as serendipity would have it, one of the cheap novels I’m reading opened to a page with this lovely and appropriate Camus quote: “I am like them, to be sure. We are in the soup together.”

Go be nice.

Bright Lights, Big City


2010
04.18

(The bright light turned out to be the sun. We’re from Duluth.)

If there’s one thing that can get my adrenaline going (and my doctor will be so glad to know there is at least one thing) it’s the prospect of sifting through someone else’s castoffs. But first, a snippet of conversation from a recent doctor visit where I informed Dr H I would no longer take a recommended drug for a sleep disorder:

Dr H: “Okay, but I’d feel better if you were sleeping with someone.”

PJ: “Me, too.”

Okay, so where was I? Oh, yes. Other people’s junk. My dear friends Jean and Dave picked me up yesterday morning and we headed to Minnesota’s capitol city, St Paul, home of an annual antique show and flea market (sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart) and the state fairgrounds. St Paul is also home of Garrison Keillor, though we didn’t stop there, uninvited as we were.

The flea market covers acres and acres of sellers and their wares. I frankly have no concept of an acre, so maybe it’s just one acre, or a half, or 10. But it’s a LOT of ground, not laid out in any order I could determine, so we walked and walked and walked. The weather was perfect: sunshine, a warm breeze, no jacket required. Such treasures! While the attraction for me is postcards, paper ephemera, kitchen tins and utensils, Jean’s siren song is robots, certain glassware and old toys for granddaughter Nightingale, and Dave is drawn to old films and magazines and toys from childhood. We didn’t buy a lot, but if I had an unlimited budget, I could have filled the car.

We were also drawn to kettle corn and cheese curds. We are Minnesotans.

I saw a few sets of those 1950s plaster fish with bubbles over their heads. Seems like every bathroom I can remember from childhood had those fish on the wall: smiling carp or pink goldfish, perhaps, with two or three bubbles over their heads. I almost bought a few for my sister Kim, who has some on display in her guest bathroom. But you know, there’s a fine line between  a small collection and an obsession, so I resisted the temptation. How many plaster fish can you hang in your bathroom before people start getting a certain idea about you that may not be true? You might be out with friends, let’s say, and throw an “I really like roosters” line into a dying conversation, and the next thing you know, every available surface in your home is covered with roosters.

I’m just sayin’.

So I left the fish, left the thousands of intriguing postcards and the overpriced spice tins, and just looked. There were a lot of lookers, and it seemed the vendors weren’t so interested in selling, which takes some of the pressure off. It was fun to chat with them or hear them bargaining with other buyers. Mostly it was just another “great Minnesota get-together,” like the fair, with so many of us happy to see bright sunshine and green grass again.

From parking lot and back: 6,677 steps on my pedometer.

Afterwards we were off in search of Half Price Books, one of my favorite places. And here’s where I rant about technology, which so often seems like a great idea but somehow falls flat, like those scratchy-sounding cell phones that cut out when you’re trying to hear someone, or the “out of office” assistant on my computer at work that never seems to assist quite the way I request.

(Early Thursday afternoon I was talking to someone at work who wished me a happy weekend. “I see you’re taking tomorrow off,” he said. “How’d you know,” I asked, and he said “I just sent you an e-mail and got your ‘out of office’ message.”)

Gaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

But this particular rant is about an idea that so appealed to me: The the gentle and patient all-knowing help of a GPS system … a soothing female voice skillfully guiding us to the front door of Half Price Books with such startling accuracy that we didn’t even need to lift our heads to watch for a road sign. But although it’s a great idea, it didn’t seem to work quite the way my imagination had led me to believe, and while Jean and Dave are way more savvy and patient, after the fourth  “recalculating” word from the thing, just one more right turn to end up where I was five minutes ago, I would have been willing to fling it into oncoming traffic.

People are still useful for some things, I’m happy to say, and we can still read maps. We gave up on that store and went to the one in Maplewood, which happens to be my favorite HPB location anyway, and spent a lot of time in the company of good books. I bought a bagful. Afterwards we had dinner at Chili’s and drove back to Duluth.

A perfect outing with perfect friends. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Life is good.

OMG — I Need A Watch.


2010
04.16

It was so fun to come here this morning and find all your notes. (Thank you!) It occurred to me that if I want that to happen again, I have to write something else. I went into a mild brain freeze for a few minutes (okay, hours) and then decided to just tell you about my day.

But first, this: A certain Mr Lettman left a note asking if there was a cat filter on this site for people “like him.” I would like to go on record as saying that there IS nobody on earth even remotely “like him,” so it was a lot of work to get that filter installed for just one person. I wrote back that yes, the filter was up and running, and he should be receiving his 5,000 cat pictures any day now. Mr Lettman happens to be my boss, and you know what they say: When the boss says jump…

But back to my story.

A few days ago a young man at work had spilled something on his chair, and was trying to pick it up with a lot of packing tape wrapped around his hand. “You need a whisk broom,” I said, and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized he wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about. He looked a little puzzled. “Is that like a Swiffer,” he asked?

“Yes, I thought, “It’s just like a Swiffer… from 1840!

This happens to me a lot. I forget many of my coworkers were born the year I bought these jeans, so they don’t always get what I’m talking about. (And vice versa, I should add, like when they talk about RSS feeds or setting up tabs in InDesign.) I enjoy it a lot, most of the time, but I realize I am now on the other side of the generation gap.

A whisk broom, by the way, is a small hand-held straw broom people used to use to clean off the upholstery and …. oh, forget it. They’re not coming back.

So today I was off in search of a watch. (I’ll wait a moment until the laughter subsides.) I guess the advent of the cell phone means people don’t wear watches much anymore, unless it’s one of those show-offy expensive kinds that businessmen like to flash around. But I don’t have a cell phone, and all I wanted was a small inexpensive watch with actual hands and a sweep second hand. I had one in my purse for years and it stopped working, even with a new battery, so I want to replace it. I was in Walgreen’s, a great place to buy anything at any time, and asked the guy at the camera counter where the watches were. His eyebrows shot up. “We don’t actually sell those anymore,” he said, “but there may be some left in Cosmetics.”

They don’t sell watches?

Walgreens is going to hell.

It was like asking for  a button hook or a poultice for my carbuncle. I think he wanted to laugh, though I’ll admit to a small dose of paranoia. In Cosemtics, the young salesperson said “Well, we had some but the batteries are all burned out and now they’re 75% off but I don’t really know where they are.”

So then I went to my REAL favorite store, Goodwill. I found a bin filled with cheap watches of all makes. Most were digital ones for kids, and a “Hello Kitty” one caught my eye but it seemed beyond redemption. Apparently little kids are as hard on watches as I was. So off to Salvation Army, then across the bridge to Goodwill and Salvation Army stores in Superior, and, alas, no watch for Old Lady Jackson.

Maybe I’ll find one tomorrow. I’m going with some friends to the annual flea market at the fairgrounds in St Paul.

Maybe I’ll find some collar stays, too.

So that’s it for today, though I need some practice at this so thought I’d post a freebie for Mr Lettman: