surnames, oh how they interest me

I recently finished a book called Pillars of the Earth, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story transpires during the Middle Ages in England. One of the fascinating things about the book was watching names evolve. Common sense explains a lot of our surnames, but until this book, I'd never given it much thought. As I read I was fascinated time and time again with the development of surnames. Back when there were fewer people, they described a person by where he lived or his work or something else, and gradually dropped the in-between words. John the cook. John Cook John the bishop. John Bishop John the fisherman. John Fisher John the shepherd. John Shepherd John the weaver. John Weaver John who reads. John Reader John who is strong. John Armstrong John by the hill. John Hill John the cart driver. John Carter John the wagon driver. John Waggoner / Wagner... Read more →

money trivia

I read these little statistics on Get Rich Slowly and found them mildly fascinating. I am soooo not normal. If I ever have $104 in my purse, something is up, like I'm travelling or about to make a "cash only" purchase. Here are some stats: 96% of women carry a purse or a wallet. (I'm normal). 61% of men carry a wallet, while 6% use a money clip, and about 20% carry cash loose in pockets. (Gordon's normal, so are most of the men I know). The average purse or wallet contains about $104. (I'm so not average). 13% of American adults use a piggy bank, while 28% collect change in a jar.(What? Only 13% have a piggy bank? I have a lovely pink piggy bank and it stays pretty well stocked with coins. That's how I pay for all my little things. Since only 13% have piggy banks, I... Read more →

the new seven wonders

Years ago in Junior High, I did an essay on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I think I still have it. Bozo-brain teacher gave me a B-. It was easily an A. Anyway, the "wonders" of the world have always intrigued me. Last year I learned there is another list being compiled. This list is the New Seven Wonders of the World. I quickly cast my votes and encouraged all my family members to do likewise. I thought it was a cool way to influence history. Well, today they released the winners of the New Seven Wonders contest. Of course these don't replace the ancient seven wonders, the are merely newer. There were 21 contenders for the prize. I'm mildly disappointed by some of the results. As you'll see, only three of my choices made the cut. The contest has been in the making for at least six... Read more →

you deserve to know

I copied this directly, I am only reporting what I read. "Boogers are mucus (myoo-kuss). Mucus is the thin, slippery material that is found inside your nose. Many people call mucus snot. Your nose makes nearly a cupful of snot every day. Snot is produced by the mucous membranes in the nose, which it moistens and protects. When you inhale air through your nose, it contains lots of tiny particles, like dust, dirt, germs, and pollen. If these particles made it all the way to the lungs, the lungs could get damaged and it would be difficult to breathe. Snot works by trapping the particles and keeping them in the nose. After these particles get stuck inside the nose, the mucus surrounds them along with some of the tiny hairs inside the nose called cilia. The mucus dries around the particles. When the particles and dried-out mucus clump together, you're... Read more →

last words

This is the last of earth! I am content. ~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848 See in what peace a Christian can die. ~ Joseph Addison, writer, d. June 17, 1719 Is it not meningitis? ~ Louisa M. Alcott, writer, d. 1888 Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy. Spoken to her husband of nine months, Rev. Arthur Nicholls. ~ Charlotte Bronte, writer, d. March 31, 1855 I'm bored with it all. Before slipping into a coma. He died 9 days later. ~ Winston Churchill, statesman, d. January 24, 1965 Now, oh Lord, set Thy servant free. ~ Nickolaus Copernicus, astronomer, d 1543 Trust in God and you need not fear. ~ Jonathan Edwards, theologian, d. 1758 Never heed! The Lord's power is over all weakness and death. ~ George Fox, founder of the... Read more →


I like trivia. These are some of the latest things I've learned. I hope they're all true as I hate it when someone corrects me. Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible. Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. Ohio is the only US state without a rectangular flag. Ohio's flag is a pennant. Swans are the only birds with penises. (Don't ask me. I don't get it either.) Teeth are the only parts of the human body that can't repair themselves. The first graves in Arlington National Cemetery were dug by James Parks, a former Arlington Estate slave. He is the only person buried in Arlington National Cemetery who was also born on the property. The only active diamond mine in the United States is in Arkansas.... Read more →


A - Animals. I love them. B - Bran Flakes, my new vice. C - My maiden initial D - Dogs, Lucy and Bear E - Elaine, a friend I had lunch with F - Forsythias, I miss forsythias. G - Gordo, my Babo. I appreciate him. H - Heaven, won't that be nice! I - Indifferent, my emotion of late J - Johnny Cash, he's been on my mind. K - Kathleen is Hannah's middle name. When she was 6 weeks old we met a vicious Kathleen and Gordon hasn't liked the name since. L - Lacy our cat, may she rest in peace. M - Mena, my home town N - New medicines, I'm sleeping too much because of them. O - Orangutan, I have got a good orangutan story but I'm too embarrassed to tell it. P - Paint, what color shall we paint the living room?... Read more →

traffic circle

Rachael and Deborah had orthodontist appointments this morning. I chose a sunny window to sit and think profound thoughts. The profound thoughts eluded me, but I enjoyed a reminder of the past. From the forth floor window, I looked down at the traffic circle below. I'd never looked down on the dreaded traffic circle. Before moving here, I'd never encountered a traffic circle. I have friends who will drive blocks out of their way to avoid a round-a-bout. I joke that when I'm driving through a traffic circle, I close my eyes, accelerate, and hope for the best. This morning as I looked down on the traffic circle, I remembered one of my earliest traffic circle experiences. I was taking my foster daughter, Angel, to the dentist; a dentist in this same complex. I approached the traffic circle with significant trepidation. Gordon had prepped me on traffic circle protocol; the... Read more →


As usual, I'm not guaranteeing accuracy, but here's some interesting trivia. The word "listen" contains the same letters as the word "silent". "Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order. 55% of people yawn within five minutes of seeing someone else yawn. Reading about yawning makes most people yawn. Did you yawn when you read that? The term "devil's advocate" comes from the Roman Catholic Church. When deciding if someone should be sainted, a devil's advocate is always appointed to give an alternative view. The word 'news' did not come about because it was the plural of 'new.' It came from the first letters of the words North, East, West and South. This was because information was being gathered from all different directions. Alma mater means bountiful mother. The most common name in the world is Mohammad. The term, "It's all fun... Read more →

hairy heartburn

Trivia. A Johns Hopkins University study found a correlation between babies born with lots of hair and their mothers having heartburn while they were pregnant. Evidently, a hormone that relaxes the bottom of the esophagus - thereby causing heartburn - is also influential in fetal hair growth. I love snippets of information like this. My heartburn pregnancy was Stephanie. She had a good amount of hair. Read more →

just trivia

I read this trivia today. I won't vouch for its accuracy. - "Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and "lollipop" with the right. - Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable. - No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple. - "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt". - Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. - The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. - The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are spelled the same whether they are read left to right or right to left. They are called palindromes. - There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous. - There... Read more →

why is it?

Have you ever noticed these things in the movies? --All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread. --It's easy for anyone to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down. --The ventilation system of any building is a perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building without difficulty. --The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris. --People on TV never finish their drinks. --A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds. --During all police investigations, it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once. --Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning, even though... Read more →

in the news

Interesting things that grabbed me from the paper today: -- By 2024 NASA plans to have a base on the moon. Yes, a place where astronauts will live. Now that is way out there.... The things that are possible. Wow. -- Queen Elizabeth's English is changing. Since becoming queen in the 1950's many of her speeches are on film. AND there are people who analyze the Queen's speech patterns (and make money from it, no less). These "researchers" can prove that her speech has changed. In the past she would have said "citae" or "dutae." Now she says city or duty. I wonder if she is watching too much American TV. -- In Johannesburg South Africa, a prisoner Vaselined himself up really slick-like and escaped out a prison window between bars. He was apprehended later. Imagine that, sliding between prison bars. -- I am a minority. Over 80% of married... Read more →

for kicks

(Me, 1991) This is fun. It's a name the first thing to cross your mind sort of thing. 1. Yourself: fun and simple 2. Your partner: upright 3. Your hair: frumpy 4. Your mother: warm 5. Your father: private 6. Your favorite item: prayer/writing journal 7. Your dream last night: Oh it was not a good one. I was infected by a disease by a doctor from my hometown. However he wasn't the villain. This horrible lady (she was sort of like Cruella DeVille), kept hunting me down and giving me electric shocks. Poor Dr. Stephens was getting the shock treatment too. I've tried all day to analyze this dream, all to no avail. 8. Your favorite drink: Coffee in the morning, water thereafter 9. Your dream car: perhaps a Honda Odyssey; I don't dream much about cars. 10. The room you are in: bedroom 11. Your ex: Kent (This... Read more →

back from arkansas

Rachael, Hannah, and I are home from Arkansas. We went for US Thanksgiving. There wasn't enough moola to go around for Deborah and Daddy, so Deborah offered, yes, she really volunteered, to stay behind. She was totally into the idea of having her daddy all to herself. It was pretty precious. In my ideal world, Gordon and Deborah would have been with us. But it worked out very well. They had a good time in Edmonton while the other girls and I had a good time in Arkansas. The weather in Arkansas was thrilling and invigorating. It was around 60 degrees. My brother and I stay pretty warm. He said Mama's living room was auditioning for hell, which explained why it was so hot. I found myself a couple of times in shorts and a t-shirt, lying on Mama's front lawn, looking up at the sky enjoying the weather I... Read more →

you probably don't know...

Some things about me that you may not know (probably don't know) and that may raise lots of questions in your mind. I am a very nice person and my background isn't as shady as these things may suggest. Be amused. -I've had seven surgeries. Not bad for a healthy person, eh? -I had a warrant out for my arrest in Wyoming. -I have been threatened with jail two times; once in my hometown, once in Vicksburg, Mississippi. -I smuggled Bibles into Vietnam and China. (Me in Vietnam, 1991) -Oh yeah, I was threatened with jail in China too. The officer was carrying an AK47. I got caught smuggling Bibles. -I've thrown-up in many public places and not always in a bathroom. -The muscle that controls throw-up doesn't work on me. -The most scared I've ever been was when Stephanie nearly drown when she was four or five. I didn't... Read more →

i love fall

Things I love about fall: 1) the colors 2) the smell of decomposing matter 3) crisp mornings 4) bringing out the flannel pajamas 5) back to school 6) apple pies 7) fresh vegetables 8) fall decor; pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn 9) the crunch of leaves 10) shorter days 11) candy corn 12) warmer clothes 13) the return of soups and chili Read more →

the boll weevil

In 1915 the Mexican boll weevil invaded Alabama destroying 60% of the cotton crop of southeast Alabama. Farmers faced financial ruin and the community economy was at stake. Desperate for a crop that would withstand the boll weevil, farmers turned to peanuts and were rewarded with unexpected prosperity. The citizens recognized what at first appeared as tragedy, the destruction of their cotton crops, was instead the best thing possible for their economy. In gratitude they erected a monument to the boll weevil. In Enterprise, Alabama the monument still stands and its inscription reads: "In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity..." When I read the story of the boll weevil monument, I was reminded of two things. 1) All things are working together for my good, and 2) what is intended to harm me, God will use for good. (Romans 8:28... Read more →

teddy roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt loved to sing. He was a very good singer with a deep voice. One day he told his friends how he looked forward to heaven because he imagined a great choir there. "There will be 10,000 sopranos, 10,000 altos, and 10,000 tenors. It's going to be tremendous," he told them. "But Mr. President," someone asked, "what about the basses?" He replied with a smile, "I'm going to sing bass!" Read more →

100 things i love

summer rain songbirds cotton dresses comfortable shoes living simple country kitchens hardwood floors willow furniture recycling junk into treasures knowing God is in control old stuff fresh flowers flea markets puppy breath a clean house a place for everything and everything in its place soft instrumental music Americana decor reading on cold evenings God's grace first big snowfall white chocolate brownie from Moxies quality bed sheets scented candles animals second-hand stores flannel pajamas quiet time with Bible and prayer the feel of Lucy's forehead fat babies a full pantry writing visiting in my mom's living room baby yawns quilts manicured lawns fall and winter cooking braided and rag rugs a good joke ocean, river, and waterfall sounds my siblings Hannah's sense of humor Rachael's responsible ways Deborah's notes transparency of others walking Lucy fall smells Gordon's affection Mama's comfort Gordon's wisdom Stacie's comfortability reading a good book blog comments Christopher's... Read more →

these girls are twins

These girls are twins. Really they are. "While very rare, the phenomenon is not unknown, though it does entail a very particular combination of circumstances at the moment of conception. First, both parents must be of mixed race. Second, the twins must be fraternal (each conceived from a separate egg fertilized by separate sperm) as opposed to identical (both conceived from a single egg and sperm). Third, each sperm and egg must carry the genes for a particular skin color (i.e., black/black or white/white). The odds against it are indeed a million to one. " (copied from www.urbanlegends). The amazing conception happened after two eggs were fertilized at the same time in the womb. Both Kylie and her partner Remi Horder, 17, are of mixed race. Their mothers are both white and their fathers are black. According to the Multiple Births Foundation, baby Kian must have inherited the black genes... Read more →

ireland trivia

I've wanted to visit Ireland for a number of years. Stacie, Diane, and I have talked about visiting the Emerald Isle together, but that won't happen in the foreseeable future. So for now, I visit Ireland vicariously through trivia. - 34-40 million Americans claim Irish ancestry. Irish ancestry is second only to German. - Ireland is half the size of Arkansas. - In some places in Ireland it rains 90 inches a year. That explains why it's so green, eh? - In the 1600's Protestant English and Scottish families settled in Northern Ireland to bring Protestantism to the Irish. This was when religious tensions began. Still Northern Ireland is more Protestant and Southern Ireland is predominantly Catholic. - St Patrick was kidnapped from his home in England and spent six years as a prisoner of the Irish. As a prisoner he was taken far from civilization to be a sheep... Read more →

painting with tampons

Before moving to Canada, I had very little exposure to other cultures. I had a hard time understanding accents and I'm still weak in this department. As a newcomer, I often found myself in embarrassing conversations where I didn't understand. I will share one such embarrassing conversation. I met a man who had just moved to Edmonton from French-speaking Quebec. He was a painter, so I called him for an estimate. He came and we discussed ideas. He became very animated and started shooting off various ideas quicker than I could process. He clearly wasn't just a painter, he was an artist. He wanted my walls to be a piece of art. He suggested using a tampon. I didn't fall off a turnip truck yesterday, so I knew I must be misunderstanding his thick accent. He must have seen on my face my struggle to understand. He asked me to... Read more →

more u.s. and canadian differences

I will continue my US and Canadian observations. My mom pointed out the language differences. There are many of those, way too many for me to address. But I will tell a few of my favorites. When I was brand new to Canada we went to a home of friends that Gordon loved dearly. I really wanted to make a good impression. As the lady was working on the meal, I asked if there was anything I could do to help. She asked me to set the "serviettes." I had never heard the word serviette before. Nervously, not wanting to look like a country bumpkin, I turned and quickly studied the table. The only thing I noticed absent were napkins. Hoping desperately that I was right I added the napkins to the table. That day I learned what serviettes are. They are napkins. Later, that same visit, I was told... Read more →