Thursday, December 31, 2009

Maybe It Was One of Our Best Years.

I was going to say that 2009 wasn’t one of our better years. It began with major vehicle problems which nearly drained the bank account. We managed to get down to sunny Tucson near Sage Words, son#3 to warm up but then the job we hoped to get didn’t pan out.

Just as we began to rally, Geezer had a heart attack leading to open-heart surgery and that was terrifying. I actually lost him for about a minute but when I screamed at him he recognized the tone and knew he’d darn well better come back to me if he knew what was good for him. Seeing him open his eyes and look at me was the BEST thing that’s happened to me since we met 43 years ago; even tops the wedding.

We were reminded that we have the BEST family when all the kids, their wives, our brothers and sister,
my Dad and Lady B., the nieces and nephews and other relatives we haven’t seen in years began calling, mailing and showing up on Chica and Sage’s doorstep. We even had messages from our children’s in-laws! Then the cards began to arrive from RV friends, old school mates, and former employers. The smiles they brought to Jim’s face were the BEST medicine for both of us. Eventually, he was well enough to get back to home and begin recovery.

Because of his surgery, we were connected with a program which allowed me to have my eyes treated and I can see fairly well again. While I won’t have my vision completely corrected, it has stopped deteriorating for now. Maybe not the BEST outcome but I’ll settle for not going blind!

Sadly, in September, son #1 and his wife decided they were not a match and our Lone Duck was on his own. He’s now here in Tucson, trying to make the BEST of his own heart problems. He has plan
s and dreams that I hope will soon begin to work out for him.

In October we found a job doing exactly what we wanted to do when we set out on our 2nd Life’s journey 5 ½ years ago. We were able to tell stories and entertain children at a Halloween Pumpkin farm. It was one of the two BEST Workamping positions we've found. There we met a co-worker who offered us a space for the winter on her property at the BEST price around, a few dollars and friendship.

(October also brought with it the latest round of mechanical mishaps but it's BEST if I don't bore you with the details.)

After a magical Thanksgiving spent with the family, Dad, and a dear friend from way back, we were surprised by an
early Christmas present. The kids decided we should have a new TV - the same one we’ve been unsuccessfully saving for these past two years. Did I mention we have the BEST kids around?

With that expense taken care of, we decided to do something very unlike us. We spent the money we
’d saved on something we really wanted but absolutely did not need. We bought a Garmin GPSMAp 60cx. The Geez got a fantastic deal on it on “Cyber Monday” and we have been happily tramping around the desert for a month finding Geocaches and getting much needed exercise. We've begun to make new friends with yet another interest in common. We even took two sons out to experience the new sport last week and may have gotten one of them hooked.The BEST fun we’ve had for years.

Chica took me shopping and bought me not only a couple of pairs of new jeans (I had forgotten they make new jeans) but an over the shoulder boulder holder from Victoria’s Secret no less! She told me that although the tag on the TV said "to Mom and Dad" on the tag, we all know who’s TV it really is. So she wanted to give me a present that was just for me! A DIL who knows how to score brownie points with her MIL, that one! (actually the other two are no slouches either) We had the BEST day together.

I've been reflecting on the year gone by and realized there were some pretty good things about it. So Patient Reader, for some insane reason, I, who have not blogged since October, am going to attempt the January NaBloPoMo challenge. I haven’t had a lot of luck getting through these things before for one reason or another. (Wouldn’t you know I’d pick one of the longest months to try it again?)

The theme is BEST. Yep, just BEST. So I decided that although I do not believe in New Year Resolutions, the New Year, with better health and improved sight, might be the BEST time to jump start my writing again. But please help me out by leaving comments when you read whatever I manage to come up with. I need motivation and your thoughts will be the BEST writing prompts I could receive.

Heh heh you could start by telling me what song you think was the very BEST ever done by my favorite group.
Happy New Year !

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Latest in Fashion

Two Supermodels showing this year's Yarntangler Couture.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Whole New World!!!

I owe a huge apology to a lovely group of little girls, teenagers, two handsome young men, and some terrific women with great senses of humor I met about three weeks ago.

Jim and I went to Willcox, AZ to do a craft fair at Apple Annie's Orchard. (fantastic apple pancakes and sausage but scrumptious cider too). I sold quite a few of my scarves ,hats and other crocheted items and had a great time. What really made it fun was when I began asking some of the browsers if I could take their pictures "modeling" my wares. Almost everyone (or their parents) gave me permission to take a picture and use it on my blog. I told them to watch for it last week so they could see their pictures. Then I didn't get the blog posted.

When I got home, I discovered that I was about to have my long awaited laser procedures on my eyes. It came about very suddenly and couldn't have been more timely as both eyes were giving me even more trouble after the outdoor weekend in Willcox.

So now after having the right eye (I was legally blind in that one) done on Monday and the left eye done on Thursday, I am on the way to recovering a pretty good amount of my vision! Until I'm completely healed I have some pretty blurry days, but this is so exciting after a year of having it rapidly diminish. Trying to sort everything out on the computer is a bit daunting right now.

As well as trying to figure out when to wear my glasses or my sunglasses over the past week, we also had to move the RV to Buckelew Farms, west of Tucson, to tell stories at their haunted corn maze for the month. So it's been a very hazy time around here for the past two weeks.

But hang in there all you gorgeous model, I'll get that fashion show up in a few days. And I hope you all are enjoying your BFF bracelets because you are all my best friends forever.

See ya down the road,
(that means more than usual this week)

PS There's a new button on my site that I put up before all this happened. Please click on it to help the Literacy Council. Better yet, choose one of the other options when you get there. And give a child a book this Christmas.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So what if he can't spell...

...he sure can cook!

This recipe arrived yesterday from one of my favorite readers. He is a creative cook as well as a creative speller. With no intention of embarrassing him, I present it to you exactly as I got it.

home made chicken fiehetas(?)

take a plain pre cooked rotissery chicken from the store
and shred the breasts put it in a bowl beside the stove
in a skillit or on the flat griddle slice red bells and onions splash them with oil and simmer them on a medium heat till they start to fall apart warm your tortillas and add your chicken as soon as the chicken has warmed up serve with guac dip

take a big bite and wipe your chin
enjoy Jme

Now, I'll bet you shook your heads over the spelling but be honest, you had no difficulty understanding how to make this dish, did you? As long as you understood it you can cook it- right?

There is a whole school of thought that says free spelling should be promoted. After all, just who said there was only one way to spell words in English let alone Spanish words like fajitas! Just a bunch of supposedly learned men(rarely women) who wished to impose their rules upon the rest of us. And even they couldn't agree.

Take for instance this information most of which comes from "Written Dialects" by Kenneth Ives. (Scrabble players take notes some high point words in this.)

"In 1876, the American Philological Association adopted 11 new spellings, and began promoting their use:
ar catalog definit gard giv hav infinit liv tho thru wisht

Then, as Ken Ives notes, "Also in 1876, an `International Convention for the Amendment of English Orthography' was held in Philadelphia, during the Centennial Exposition. This developed into the Spelling Reform Association."

In 1879, the British Spelling Reform Association was founded. In 1886, the American Philological Association (which had earlier proposed 11 new spellings) came out with a list of 3500 spellings.

In 1898, the (American) National Education Association began promoting a list of 12 spellings. They were:
tho altho thru thruout thoro thoroly thorofare program prolog catalog pedagog decalog.

The Simplified Spelling Board was founded in the U.S. in 1906, and had a list of 300-plus spellings. One of the founding members was Andrew Carnegie, who donated more than $250,000 over the next several years. The Simplified Spelling Society was founded in the U.K. in 1908, as a "sister" organization.

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt also promoted simpler spellings. Initially, he ordered the Government Printing Office to use the Simplified Spelling Board's 300 or so proposed spellings. This order was issued on August 27, 1906 (while the U.S. Congress was in recess). There was resistance from the Government Printing Office and others who were to carry it out, and when Congress re adjourned that fall, they set to revoke Roosevelt's order.

Congress ... voted, 142 to 24, that "no money appropriated in this act shall be used (for) printing documents ... unless same shall conform to the orthography ... in ... generally accepted dictionaries."

Thus, it ended up that simplified spellings were used only in written items coming from the White House itself, and at that, only 12 were used. "

Take another look at those lists of words. How many are still spelled that way?

In another work Ives wrote:

As early as the 1870s, the Chicago Tribune began using reformed spellings. Joseph Medill, editor and owner, was a member of the Council of the Spelling Reform Association. In 1880 the Chicago Spelling Reform Association met at the Sherman House and read letters approving the Tribune's efforts.

About 50 years later, under Medill's grandson, Robert H. McCormick, and editor James O'Donnell Bennett, the Tribune began a new effort. This "practical test of spelling reform" started in January 1934, and continued for 41 years, with various changes.

An unsystematic list of 80 respelled words was introduced in four editorials over a two month period, and used thereafter in the paper, which had the largest circulation in Chicago. On January 28, "advertisment, catalog," and seven more "-gue" words were among those shortened. The February 11 list included "agast, ameba, burocrat, crum, missil, subpena."

{YT note: I noticed Sage got a bunch of junk mail last month while I was staying at his house. Included were catalogs, cataloges, and catalogues!}

On February 25, "bazar, hemloc, herse, intern, rime, sherif, staf," were among those introduced. On March 11 an editorial reported that "short spelling wins votes of readers 3 to 1."

On March 18, the final list included "glamor, harth, iland, jaz, tarif, trafic." An editorial that day, "Why dictionary makers avoid simpler spellings" claimed that they dare not pioneer, "prejudice and competition prevent it."

On September 24, 1939, the list was reduced to 40, but "tho, altho, thru, thoro," were added. Addition of "frate, frater" came on September 24, 1945. Changing "ph" not at the start of a word to "f" came on July 3, 1949, with "autograf, telegraf, philosofy, photograf, sofomore."

My mother always wrote tho and of course I picked it up from her. Naturally, the Sisters of Mercy and later the Sisters of St. Joseph disagreed. I learned to write though on school papers but I still frequently use tho in letters.

My father, Old Newsie, the newspaper editor, presented me with two books when I was in high school, the Chicago Tribune Style book and the New York Times Style book. They often disagreed with each other, yet many Americans learned to read and spell by reading those newspapers. I got in trouble for using some of the writing advice given by those esteemed authorities too, because he often proofed my term papers for me. To make matters worse he still edits things I write and lets me know when I've broken a spelling rule. (And we won't go into contractions will we Dad? It's a losing battle when the language can't control it's usage.)

The debate over the spelling of the English language has been going on for close to 130 years and that does not include the sub topic of English English vs American English. It's really quite fascinating to read about and you can by clicking here. See which side of the aisle Mark Twain was on.

But my question today is simply this (and yes I know we aren't supposed to begin a sentence with but; at least we weren't supposed to in the olden days):

Would Jme's fiehetas taste any better if they were spelled

Fajitas ?

I'm hungry.

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Due to Technocal Difficulties

In my never ending quest to get Ramblings to look the way I'd like it to, despite the fact that I don't know what that is, I'm trying new "stuff" again. So we'll see what the next few days does to the appearance of Ramblings. It may change radically or it may stay the same.

My problem is that half of what I do means exactly squat to me until I hit the "submit" button and then go see what I've done. Sometimes, to my absolute amazement something totally unexpected happens and I like it.

My header up there was one of those things. I found the picture (somewhere- don't ask, I couldn't tell you) and then worked for about an hour to get the wording to fit in the right spot and not get swallowed up by the trees. For the life of me I couldn't make that happen and I finally clicked on "Apply" when I got it to a point I could stand for a few days. When I clicked on "view blog" there it was - exactly the way I wanted it. How did that happen?

More often than not I detest the results. Take a look at this whole page for example. Go ahead and scroll all the way down to the bottom. (insert Final Jeopardy music here) All the way. Did you see that vast area of blankness? Of course you did, how can you miss it? I really hate that.(I also hate the fact that I've been trying to use music to underscore a point since last fall and I still haven't managed to do that even though others have tried to show me how.)

At first, I thought if I simply write longer blog posts the problem would take care of itself and I wouldn't have this long right hand side bar dangling off the bottom like Baja California. Well, that sure didn't work. All I got for that was wordy silly posts with a longer pigtail dangling off the right sidebar like Baja California!.

Then there are the add-ons. Everyday I see attractively laid out blogs that include buttons and widgets to take me to other interesting places. I would really like to include a few of those. I'd like to proudly proclaim my two or three affiliations and I'd love to add a button that would mean a few cents to feed hungry children and adults or provide a child with a book. But I can't. If I could even figure out how to add them, all they would do is extend Baja to somewhere in the Antarctic region!

Heck! even the ones I have on there now are not producing anything. We (meaning Geezerguy, Clancy, and myself) bought into this whole Ad Sense idea back in November. All three blogs are on one account which is supposed to produce a tidy sum for us. All our readers have to do is click on and read the ads. Yeah right! So far I have made exactly $5.99! They send you a check when you hit $100.00!

But I'm always up for a challenge. So today I added a thingamabob that will tell me who's looked at my blog. I am already having second thoughts and it's not even published yet. I may be setting myself up for a big disappointment if no one, in fact, is looking! I don't even know how it works! It's sort of the same thing as a counter which I rejected for the same reason but this one is supposed to get Ramblings out there to new readers on other blogs too. (Nuts! I just realized that means I have to add an avatar to the Blog catalog because no one clicks on those blank heads.)

The thing is, I do know what I need. I need a three column format which gives me space for all the doodads I want to decorate the blog . The problem is that I don't want to pay for one and most of the free ones look like they should be used by either some big corporation or a funeral parlor. The few that I might consider are full of code which I can't fathom at all. Is it really too much to ask for some wonderfully artistic ,creative person to come up with something pretty but not too pretty, feminine but not girlie, modern but not OMG! designs which are both free and easily understood, by someone who doesn't know html from HGTV??

I can hear my brother, Denis laughing at me all the way from San Jose. He is a superb Web Content Manager and Database Developer (among other techie titles) who labored patiently with me for weeks-nay months, to produce a Web site when we first began our storytelling back in 2003. He did it for me as a birthday gift and all I had to produce was the content and a few dollars to buy a domain. But once he had it up and looking wonderfully, I was too dense to learn how to actually do anything to it. Because of that, he was the one who had to take time from his busy work week to add a picture or change a date for us.

Denis and I both fell ill within a short time
of each other a few years ago and between us were out of action for several months. Denis is back in full swing and has not ceased his busy work schedule with his own company Triumph Research Group. Our Storytelling focus changed from the original plan and we rarely do school programs any more but I still direct people to Under The Story Tree when they want to see some of our history programs. I do point out that it's hopelessly out of date (and we disabled the contact page) but it helps to add to our credits a bit and gives you a chance to see us with a few less gray hairs in my case or shorter beard in Jim's.

By the way, it should also be noted that while I may be a techno peasant, Denis, the Geek, who stated "Content is King" has not posted a second blog after his big announcement 3 months ago so I don't feel so bad about my lack of bells and whistles. At least I have content; trivial, foolish, and mundane it may be but my friends and readers seem to like it! And I guess that makes me King...Queen... Empress? Yeah! Empress Yarntangler, that's me.

See ya down the road,
Empress Yarntangler

OMG!!!!!! Can you believe this?? I write this whole long silly post about how I never get things right. I make a BFHD (big fat hairy deal) about how my post is always too short and the side bar extends way beyond it and guess what? It doesn't happen! Don't ask me why? This is the very first time I didn't have a Baja effect on my blog!

Of all the stupid&^%$#@*(&!$!!!

Denis, Stop laughing! I really can hear you from here! And as for the four Cumberland boys...I am your mother - show a little respect or at least compassion!
Jim, turn around. Do you really want me to look at you like this all day?
Dad, never mind. If I can't figure it out there's no way I can explain it to you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Someone Else's Words

Geezerguy and I are busy getting prepared for a possible Halloween story telling opportunity coming up this fall. If it happens, it will be lots of fun and I'll tell you all about it and take plenty of pictures. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

In looking for some new material I stumbled across this. It has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween stories but it it sure can tell a story. I thought my RV friends and my boys, particularly LD would like it.

I'll be back soon.

See ya down the road,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Could Prince Charming Ever Be Bald?

I finally broke down this morning and sent some money to
Classmates because they kept sending me notices that I had more than a dozen signatures in my guest book. Now, I've been a "member" for a few years but because I never kicked in the $$$ to become a Gold member I never knew if those guest were long lost girlfriends.

Or worse old boy friends! Heck, maybe there was a long ago someone who has been pining over me for almost 45 years. Was it Tom? Dick? Harry? Wait... I never went out with Harry, my sister did. How about Bill, Rusty, Joey, Don, Emil, or any one of several Bobs?

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly happy with the boyfriend I married. The Geezer and I have been blissfully (they say ignorance is bliss -right?) married for 41 years. Not bad, of our circle of friends back in the day, only Peggy and Glenn and we have stayed married. Well, at least to each other.

But before Jim and I got together, [which by the way, never happened until we were in college, although we both attended St. Joseph's High School in North Adams, MA for 3 1/2 years], I didn't miss too many dances or movies. Most of our families did not encourage "going steady" so we "played the field" We all came from big families, so our friends all had brothers or, in a real pinch, our brothers had friends! ( I did go steady for two weeks- right up until the morning, at church, when he told me he was going to become a priest!)

But what if....?

Dreams of the Everyday Housewife
(which I am definitely not!)
(but thanks to Glenn Campbell anyway)

She looks in the mirror and stares at the wrinkles that weren't there yesterday
And thinks of the young man that she almost married
What would he think if he saw her this way?

She picks up her apron in little girl-fashion as something comes into her mind
Slowly starts dancing rememb'ring her girlhood
And all of the boys she had waiting in line

Oh, such are the dreams of the everyday housewife
You see ev'rywhere any time of the day
An everyday housewife who gave up the good life for ....

A better life!

So there I was, for the umpteenth time trying to talk myself out of sending in my money even though today I could save big bucks for a year because of a special deal. Suddenly, I got yet another mystery person signing my guest book. So I did it. I also signed up for my Grammar school Class from St. Mike's in Levittown just because I could.

Turned out that 5 of the hits were from the same two people. But then there were some from some others I barely remembered and one that I was really curious about. Only one was from a boy and I had no idea who he was!

So I spent this morning sending very general catch up letters, trying to avoid sounding like I was bragging but also trying not to sound as dull as I sometimes think of myself. Then I sent off a few feelers of my own to people I remembered but only a couple of them went to men. Neither of those were old boyfriends although one of them could have been if he'd ever glanced in my direction!

I was almost done when I came across one more person. I simply had to send him a quick note because in my storage box in California there is still a picture of him in my album. On the back it says "Love, Billy". We were in 3rd grade!

Now, the next thing that Classmates wants is a picture. I'm not so sure about that. After all, we girls all know there may be a few extra pounds or gray hairs these days, I'm not worried about that. If, however, the aforementioned Tom, Dick, Harry, no not Harry, Bill, Rusty, Joey, Don , Emil ,or any one of several Bobs is, in fact, still dreaming of me, would it be fair to destroy his fantasy?


See ya down the road,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Name Game

"Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble." Dennis Frakes

My full name is
Marceleine Ann Mary Hoye Cumberland. I was named for my maternal Great Grandmother whose name was Marceline Vaness. Do you see any difference between us? No? Unfortunately, neither did my Dad when he filled out the birth and Baptismal certificates and gave me an extra e (look for it, you'll find it). No one has ever spelled my name (in)correctly ever since. It took 6 different diplomas before I got one from my high school a year after I graduated that had my name on it.

Ann was my Dad's mother's name. I love the name Ann. It's simple and unpretentious and has no e at all. Oddly enough, my Aunt who has exactly the same middle name, tries to dress it up all the time with one. When I was about 15, I decided that the minute I turned 18 I was going to court and legally change the order of my names to Ann Marceleine because I was so sick of people spelling and pronouncing my name wrong. After the huge battle I put up over my diploma, however, I decided to just stick with my uniqueness.

I chose Mary as my Confirmation name. In our diocese, we were confirmed in 2nd grade, long before we had any real idea of what it was all about. I really, really, really wanted my Confirmation name to be Rose because I almost worshiped my 2nd grade teacher, Sister Rose Marie. About half the girls in my class said the same thing. But Sister told us we couldn't use her name because we had to take a Saint's name and she insisted she wasn't a saint. (I suspect that she is now even if she hasn't been canonized.) So almost all of us took some form her second name instead. I chose Mary because I had a lovely Aunt Mary and Mom knew it would please her too. ( As fate would have it, one of my daughters-in-law is named Rosana, a Sister-in-law is Rosemary, and my Step grand-daughter-in-law is Rose! I even have a niece named Amanda Rose.)

Oh well I don't ever use Mary anyway, they don't even ask for it at church.

The Hoye came from a long line of Irishmen from the Emerald Isle, with a slightly bluish tinge of Scot in them. In fact, there's even a tiny Island at the tip of Scotland called the Isle of Hoye.

Cumberland was the gift given me by Geezerguy. Whenever one of my 4 sons or their Dad does something silly I remark "You sure can tell he's a Cumberland". This refers back to a line in my college history book about "George and his son, the Bungling Duke of Cumberland." This always got a laugh for me and the DILs until the day Jim retorted "Maybe so but you chose to become one!" Now the boys all thank him for the perfect comeback!

So now you know who I am legally. But I've had a lot of other appellations over the years.

Since I got out of school I rarely ever use Marceleine. Now I'm mostly known as Marcie. Of course, I don't get too picky about the spelling of that one and I have seen it written as Marcy, Marci, and by a Japanese pen pal long ago as Mar-C. I've also sighed and gotten used to being called Marsha, Marcia, Marie, and Maria.

My Dad,
Old Newsie, was of course, well known in our community. On many occasions when I was with him, someone would attempt to introduce me to another person. They would naturally, stumble on my name and simply say "...and this is...uh... Charlie Hoye's Daughter." I seriously considered having that printed on a T-shirt until I realized that Scrabblebuff would probably borrow it all the time!

Once married, it really became absurd when Jim joined Dad in the news business. The same small town selectmen who had forgotten my name for years, would now introduce me as
"...uh...Jim Cumberland's wife...uh...Charlie Hoye's daughter"!

One of my favorite names is Mom, closely followed by Hon, Sis, and Daughter.

Jim and I began telling stories about eight years ago and have been using Taletellers on business cards and as our on-line screen name for sometime. We get a kick out of how many times we meet up with other RVers that we've chatted with on forums for years but known only by user names. Suddenly they realize "Oh you're Taletellers! and then identify themselves by their alter egos.

We performed and taught at a Children's history camp as Charlie McCormick and Mrs. McCormick ( as the school marm, I didn't even have a first name) for two years because no one could use their own names.

I began using Yarntangler in another life when I began an on-line group of miniaturists who also enjoyed knitting and crocheting hats and scarves for children's charities. I wrote short short stories for our forums, as well as published patterns and news for the group. It seemed the right name to use when I began blogging.

Today I got an email from a gal who's been reading my blog for over a year and also reading my comments on my favorite RV forum Workamper News. Jim and I both post there under Jim and Marcie but our profile comes up as Taletellers. She had just realized I was me! Actually, she said "I just figured out you were you!"

I'm glad she got it figured out! Now if I could just get it straight.

See ya down the road,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Merci beaucoup, Messieur Camus

NaBloPoMo, (National Blog Posting Month) is an on-line organization which promotes the discipline of posting a blog every day of the month. A suggested but not mandatory theme is announced and the participants begin the exercise. They begin with a widget that says they are participating and end with one that says "I did it" to decorate the blog. Many people achieve their goals, indeed they manage it consistently month after month. It is a noble idea and one I have tried to achieve and have even suceeded with twice since last November. It is kind of fun challenging myself to write 30 essays on the same theme word and see how many different directions I can go. The best part is reading comments when folks get a kick out of what I come up with. But the fun stops when it begins to become a chore.

I first began this endeavor at the suggestion of Jaimie Hall Bruzenak, a person I always thought of as my friend and sometimes mentor. Okay, okay, she still is, but Jaimie has a lot more stick-to-it-tiv-ness than me. And even she doesn't blog every day! While I may try to take her up on another suggestion sometime soon, today I am officially giving up this particularly frustrating pursuit of words for the sake of deadlines.

I am not a quitter! I have simply decided that there is some Cosmic Force out there that has possibly read my blogs and realized, as I have, that the ones worth reading are not the ones I write while waiting for the last stroke of midnight to sound on my digital clock. To this end, my Mystical Muse, Joan, who in life never was shy at telling me when I was not writing well, has found ways to signal me when it's time to do something else. This summer she's outdone herself!

But her latest ploy effected not only me and my August quest of 30 "Tomorrow" blogs but everyone here in the RV park. In one of the only real storms of this monsoon season, about an hour after I posted my last entry, she convinced the Monsoon FX department to direct a lightning bolt right into the park and fry the main Wi Fi tower and the entire system! We just got a reasonably strong signal back today.

In The Myth of Sisyphus written in 1942, Albert Camus "introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values..... The final chapter compares the absurdity of man's life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a rock up a mountain, only to see it roll down again." Thanks to Wikipedia for this info.

I've begun to think that writing to order and writing even minimally well is an example of absurdity -for me. Other, much better writers seem to thrive on this exercise and I applaud them for it and read many of their blogs. I, need to think, and stew, and discard far too long to make real ideas come alive. I find myself stressing over a 500 word post that's not really what I'd like to be writing about. Then I realize that once again I have discovered the perfect tool for procrastinating. By the time I've finished the blog, I've run out of time for writing anything else. And so I've joined my Greek cousin Sisyphus in an absurd amount of frustration.

Camus's essay concludes,

"The struggle enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."Okay Sisyphus, this is me happy, what about you?

I may try the challenge again someday-after all they give away prizes in November- but for the time being I think I'm going to stick to having fun and being happy and posting a blog when I have something to say.

See ya down the road,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This and That and Immortal Words

We have finally come home to our motor home. Actually, we did that on Monday and then spent most of yesterday trying to put things away and get ourselves comfortable. We are still at that today. I replaced the usual couch cover with a plain white fitted sheet and felt the temperature drop instantly. A couple of colorful pillows at either end dress it up.

The problem was that the really hot weather did not hit until just after Jim got sick. So we had not striped our living area down to the bare essentials before moving into Sage and Chica's air conditioned house. Normally we are traveling or working during the summer and the RV doesn't have such a "lived in" look. There was so much clutter we couldn't find places to put stuff away. I even took four bags of whatever-possessed-me-to-buy-thats to the thrift shop.

Hint: If you are going to get yourself stranded in Southern Arizona for the summer, DO NOT pile afghans and extra fabric on the couch or chairs! Nor should you hang all of the crocheted scarves you are making for fall and winter sales, from all the cupboard handles!

So, as you may have noticed, I missed yesterday's blog. I am not all broken up over it. No matter how often these crazy people in Arizona tell me , "but it's a dry heat". It's still a HOT HEAT!!

I missed a blog? Guess what? In the immortal words of Rhett Butler, "Frankly, my dear I don't give a $%#@!"

Today, we both goofed off and I spent a little while by the fan catching up with other people's blogs. I also went to check out my new followers and was pleased to discover a few surprises.

Aimee Lee is a young mom who knows the alure of yard sales and thrift shops. But she doesn't stop with buying neat stuff . She uses it to make even neater stuff!

At first sight, Bianca Jolicour's blog seemed an odd mix with mine until I remembered when I dumped on all of you last week. I suspect she picked up on my depressed mood and linked from that. But here's the thing: Bianca is a student and I suspect one of Clinical Psychology. She has some very important things to say in her blog and if any of you have teenagers or teen aged grand kids, I urge you to read her blog now.

And so that's how I spent my day. Oh where's my blog?

Well, folks, as Scarlet O'Hara would say;
" I'll think about that tomorrow.

Tomorrow is another day."

See ya down the road,

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Will Follow Him

I will follow him.
Follow him wherever he may go,
And near him, I always must be
For nothing can keep me away, he is my destiny.

I will follow him,

Ever since he touched my hand I knew,

There isn't an ocean too deep,

A mountain so high it can keep,

Keep me away,

away from his love.

I love him, I love him, I love him,
And where he goes,
I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow.

He'll always be my true love,
my true love, my true love
from now until
forever, forever.

I will follow him,

Follow him wherever he may go,

There isn't an ocean too deep,

A mountain so high it can keep,

Keep me away, away from his love...

I love him
Oh yes I love him
I'll follow
I'm gonna follow
True love

He'll always be my true love, my true love
Now until forever

I love him, I love him, I love him,

And where he goes,
I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow,

He'll always be my true love,
My true love, my true love,

From now until forever,
Forever, forever...

I will follow him

Follow him wherever he may go,

And near him, I always will be

For nothing can keep me away, he is my destiny.

There isn't an ocean too deep,
A mountain so high it can keep,
Keep me away,
away from his love.

Happy Anniversary Jim
I still love you more than yesterday and less than tomorrow

(with gratitude to everyone from Little Peggy March to Marjorie Main)

See ya down the road,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

All Our Tomorrows

Just about now, give or take a few minutes, 41 years ago, Jim and I were on our way from our wedding rehearsal to his parents home for a rehearsal party. We were stopped at a red light, in front of Dave Lewis's Garage, when an extremely inebriated guy in a pickup truck plowed into the back of our Volkswagon beetle.

Dave called the police and came to help us remove our rear bumper from the pickup's grill. When the cruiser arrived, they got there just in time to prevent the driver and his equally drunken son from from getting physical with Jim and Dave. Jim, you see, had taken offense to the names the father was calling me and the language he was using while screaming about how it was our fault for stopping in front of him!

The officer, who knew us, and knew we were getting married in the morning, put the two offenders in his car while Dave pushed the truck onto his side lot. The policeman told us they would definitely spend the night in jail to sleep it off but advised us that if we wanted to press charges we'd have to be present in court on Monday morning.W e were young (boy were we young!) We were in love. We were leaving on our honeymoon.

We were stupid! While I chalked up my splitting headache and nausea that evening to pre- wedding jitters, it turned out later that I had injured my neck that evening and the vertabrae had fused, causing me back problems ever since.

But at the time we didn't think it was a big deal. Our younger brothers managed to make the back of Jim's VW look okay despite the lack of a bumper. They even took it and washed it and gave it a hot wax. (which the idiots managed to ruin the next day by writing "Just Wed" all over it in menthol shaving cream- removing the wax and the finish for all time. It still said "Just Wed" when we finally-traded it in for a roomier MGB)

Everyone was making such a big deal and there was so much noise and my head was aching. Every time I tried to get something to eat Mom 1 or Mom 2 would call me away to meet someone else. Finally, my dear friend and bridesmaid, Peggy, dragged me into the bathroom, sat me on the floor, and brought me a plate of food. She gave me some aspirin and I began to feel better.

When Jim's Mom literally threw me and my family out of the house at 11:30, so there would be no chance Jim might see me a moment after midnight, he followed to say good night. I begged him to just jump in the car with me and elope right then and there. He hesitated for a couple of minutes and then said, "They'd never forgive us."


He gave me a hug, grinning over my shoulder at my Mom who was laughing at me and whispered,


See ya down the road,

Saturday, August 1, 2009


The August NaBloPoMo theme is Tomorrow. I have never had a better opening than this one.

Tonight August 1,2009, Geezerguy and I were privileged to attend the Senior Noncomissioned Officer Induction Ceremony at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ. There 106 men and women, all of whom chose to serve our nation, were commended for their attainment of the rank of Master Sergeant.

Jim and I sat there proudly and humbly listening to these Americans, one of whom was our son, Sage Words, proclaim their reason for being there.

The Airman's Creed

I am an American Airman.
I am a Warrior.
I have answered my nation's call.

I am an American Airman.
My mission is to fly,fight and win.
I am faithful to a proud heritage,
A tradition of Honor,
And a Legacy of valor.

I am an American Airman.
Guardian of Freedom and Justice,
My nation's Sword and Shield,
It's Sentry and Avenger.
I defend my Country with my Life .

I am an American Airman.
Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind,
I will never falter,
And I will not fail.

Below you'll see one of the leaders of tomorrow.

Jim, Master Sergeant (select) Cumberland, and Me

Thank you for serving.

See ya down the road,

Friday, July 31, 2009

Okay, I Confess, It Was Me

So, when you turned on your computer today how many jokes and games did you find in your in box? How many did you really want to delete? How many came from someone you hold dear and, of course, it says send it back ? How many of you sighed and added yet another silly bit to cyberspace? (I wonder if, in 50 years, people will be worrying about filling up cyberspace with cyberpolution)

I am pretty selective about the stuff I forward. I never send anything political. I do send things that support the troops and veterans, because they are people not statements. I rarely forward warnings because most of what I get, I check with Snopes and find are not worth the effort it took to type them. Sweet stories get forwarded to people I know enjoy them and hopefully I'm not annoying any who don't want them. Really funny jokes are sent only to family members and friends who I know like particular kinds of humor. (I used to have three girlfriends, including an aunt, with very similar senses of humor who sent me somewhat edgy? risque? raunchy? jokes that made the over 65 set laugh. Now I'm down to only one of these gals and I don't get them to pass around as much any more, sorry Rhino Mom, it's up to you now.)

Some of those quizzes and memes that have been showing up lately have been good for a few minutes of play time. Once you've done the thing you wonder what so and so might answer so okay off it goes. But most of the stuff simply elicits an "Oh not, not another one of those!" Then you silently call down computer plagues on the one who started the darned thing in the first place; the Anonymous One who began it all. Have you noticed that there is never any credit given to that individual who was responsible for so much time wasting?

Well, today, that changes. After putting off writing a blog to play two games and take three personality quizzes, I put a new spin on a tired computer game and sent it out to all my blogger friends in my personal email list. I had decided that I was going to try to make the ubiquitous game of Travel Scrabble as it is called lately, work for me. So I added a twist and hit send. Yes. I started a traveling computer game. I'd say "so sue me" but some one probably would! This left me with only about half an hour to come up with a blog for today so here it is.
Yarntangler's Blog Scrabble

So, I've been getting these word games forever and none have ever come back to me with my own entry on it. (which is good) But I got to thinking that if I'm going to join in the fun I'd like to see some return that would also be fun. So I decided to start my own game with a new wrinkle. If you have a blog why not use that in your entry? By doing that you will be inviting new readers everywhere to come and visit your sites. If you don't have one that's okay too. Just add a word, send it out to your friends and then visit the blogs on the list. We all love new readers, especially those who leave a comment.

Note: This is a FIVE letter word game.

Rules: You cannot add letters. You can only change one letter. You can only use English.

Add your entry to the bottom after you hit forward .

Send it back to the person that sent it to you, plus 10 new people. (or everyone you know with a blog)

The best word to begin this is of course

BLOGS Marcie Tucson 7/31/09

Feel free to copy and send this to all of your blogger friends. But be sure they all send me a copy too or what's the point? I really do read every blog I get told about and try to leave comments on them all. I've found some really cool sites by blog hopping and I follow many of them.

Oh, and don't make your word change in the comments send it to me by email .... yarntangler at gmail dot com ....or link to me if you use it as a meme.

(I'll let you know after a week or so if I got joiners or deleters.)

See ya down the road,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back to Normal?

An odd thing happened to me this past month. I got lost. Not simply misplaced or confused but totally and completely lost.Usually, I am fairly well controlled and able to deal with a crisis-while it's going on- it's only after everything is over and everybody is okay that I react. I've been complimented many times on how strong I appear and how everyone can depend on me for a supportive hug or a witty remark to lighten a scary moment or even a time of mourning.

I suppose that's to be expected. I raised four precocious sons who each gave us moments of abject terror that could not be apparent to them. At 2 1/2 years old Lone Duck, who was supposed to be taking a nap, managed to unlatch a window screen and crawl out on a porch roof four stories high. An observant neighbor nearly broke down my door and went tearing up the stairs to coax him back into the house. At 9 he contracted Acute Swimming pool Sinusitis and was in critical condition for eight days.

Jugglesorcerer wanted to be a stunt man like Lee Majors, from the time he first went to school. He got to know the first names of most of the emergency room staff in two hospitals by the time he was 13. He burned off his right eyebrow, lashes and a good bit of his red hair one time trying to blow up a GI Joe compound by applying a match to a can of Fix a Flat! Then in the Air Force he became a Combat Still Photographer. That career field did little to ease my mind but he came through without a visible scratch that he's ever told me about. Since then I've heard about further hair raising capers he was involved in because he's too big to spank anymore.

Sage Words, while he was still a toddler, escaped the backyard on the outskirts of El Paso and wandered into the desert. He curled up in the shade of a culvert (subject to flash flooding) and probably fell asleep. Later that afternoon, a long haired, hippy looking guy on a motor cycle, riding nearby, had trouble with his bike . When his engine stopped, he heard Sage crying and found him in the wash. He put him on the bike which incredibly started right up and brought him out to the highway where he encountered police cars searching for the boy.

Skooba... my youngest child managed to get hit by a car not once but twice while riding a bicycle. The first time he sprained his ankle badly and landed on crutches. The second time, he broke the talus bone in his ankle and landed on crutches. But he survived to adulthood despite all attempts to the contrary. This past year he dropped a motorcycle engine on his foot and once more landed on crutches. We are hoping that he has better luck with cars but after blowing a head gasket on his way to Arizona, we are not counting on it.

Through all of this I was able to navigate the pathways with humor, optimism, and a closed door.

Jim had surgery on his lung back in the early 80s to remove a "spot" Cancer? Tuberculosis? It turned out to be a Valley Fever spore. I had to be strong and cheerful for the kids sake and for his too as he recovered from a very painful operation. In 1994, he had 4 heart attacks in one week . Out of sheer pigheadedness, he stayed alive and I stayed on top of everything. Two of my kids were in the military and managed to come home. Another was with his then wife, suffering from a miscarriage and Skooba was still in high school. During the three weeks he spent in ICU, I was hanging in there. Then they sent him home with a low grade fever. Two days later he was back in ICU with gangrene in his leg. He almost lost the leg at the hip and would have if I hadn't insisted something was wrong. I had a very low point that day but rallied and we got through it.

They sent him home with orders to carry a bottle of nitro at all times and he did. But in 15 years he never opened a single bottle. We watched what we ate but we got complacent. On June 15th he began having chest pains and ended up back in the hospital. I've already told you everything that transpired and he's doing fine. In fact as I type this, he just left to go buy milk - his first solo trip in the car.

But I realized this past week that I have not been doing half as well as he is. I have been marking time, in comfortable surroundings at Sage's home. While Jim was in hospital, Sage Words and Skooba handled just about everything from securing our motor home to dealing with paperwork and getting our Satellite TV service put on hold. They walked my dog and drove me all over town. When Skooba went back to Seattle, Lone Duck arrived and cared for his Dad like the CNA he once trained to be. And I sat there holding Jim's hand, overseeing his meds and diet but allowing the "Boys" and Chica to make all the decisions, appointments and arrangements for most of the month.

I couldn't manage to write a word of my book, I cheated on a couple of blogs and then for some reason I left it up to my dog, Clancy, to get my words out in her blog because I couldn't.
I realized I didn't have any idea what I would have done if Jim had not made it and our 2nd life had ended.
I've spent the last week or so alternately praying and berating myself for being weak. I was embarrassed that Chica was doing things I should be doing. I even watched as Sage came home from a long day at work and then made dinner for his dad and me, while Chica was away for her AF Reserves duty. Then I began to worry that I was suffering from depression. I wallowed in that for a day or so and then got mad-at myself. After a good talking to, I convinced myself that it was okay to let them take care of me too for a few days. I'd put in my time and I deserved one crisis when it was someone else's turn to deal with it all. I Put Jim in charge of his own meds and told Sage to get the dishes done -after I made dinner. Then I slept in late on Sunday morning - on purpose.

Two days ago I came to. I woke up. I realized our 2nd life had ended on June 21st, ironically the 5th anniversary of it's beginning. However, with Jim's open heart surgery our 3rd life began. I decided I/we had to start living again.

Jim won't be up to any heavy work for awhile and I'm still sorting out a whole new set of hassles over my eyes, so neither will I. But we still have to eat and pay the bills and those SS payments don't allow for many extras. So we are now officially back to work! Not as stressful yet but maybe a bit of a brain strain.

We began (Sunday) contacting some festival coordinators about returning to our Tale Telling roots and performing at fall and winter events. Jim decided to put the Skinny Santa on hold and tell stories both original and adapted from Victorian times as a Dickensian character in his frock coat and bowler. Although we already have one interested events coordinator, we have no commitments. But we are actively seeking them out. I've also sent an application and $$ to a craft fair at an Apple festival in September in order to begin marketing my "Skinny Skarves" and "Crocheted Necklaces".

It's not a big deal, but for whatever it is worth, I'm back.

See ya down the road,