Anniversary — this day on the last day of 2006

This day in history in 2006, I started my blog. It wasn’t named “a-muse-ing” at the beginning. It had some other title which I don’t even remember. I started the new year with a main writing goal: to be published and paid for my writing by year end. I am pleased to say that sitting on my desk is a framed (thanks to my husband) copy of my first writing check. It is dated November 20, 2007—yes, I just made it! You might find the following information amusing. They have directly impacted my life tremendously.

1909: The Manhattan Bridge opened. I don’t remember this.

1948: Donna Summer, singer was born in Boston, MA. I have fond memories of roller skating to her disco tunes many years after that date.

1957: First New Year’s Eve Party in Disneyland. I have fond memories of going to Disneyland, but not on New Year’s Eve.

1969: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes starring Kurt Russell is released in theatres. I have fond memories of watching movies, but I’ve never seen this classic.

1984: The nation’s first mandatory seatbelt law goes into effect in New York. I have fond memories of putting on my seatbelt in the back seat of my mom’s yellow Ford Pinto Station Wagon, only it was never in New York and it was years earlier. It didn’t stay on for long, on extended trips (trips over 15 minutes), because I would crawl back into the way back and pretend to sleep.

In 2006, Time’s Person of the Year was “You”. I was you then too.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, if you were born on December 31st, you are “impulsive, and emotional in the affairs of the heart, and you need love and devotion to make you happy and contented.” I wasn’t born on December 31 and don’t know anyone who had been born on that date. Although I always thought it would be cool to be the first baby born in the new year. Too late for that one.

2008 is a leap year because it is divisible by four, you can say, a leap year is every four years. Or it’s another day to eat ice cream and watch Brady Brunch reruns.

What are you going to do with that extra day this year?

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24 Hours until my blogging anniversary!

On December 31, 2006, I ventured out into a new world, a blogging world. I chose wordpress because I didn’t know what I was doing and they were the most idiot proof. I didn’t know what I would write or who would read my blog. For the first month or two that didn’t matter because no one was reading my blog!

I tried different types of writing, and although I ended up with a touch of humor, my most popular blog post wasn’t humorous really. My most popular post since I have started blogging has been Why I need to lock her in a tower which was my frank opinion on the rush to make little girls not so little anymore. While I would love to believe it is read so much because it is relevant and well-written, I’m afraid it is frequented because there are so many perverts in the world looking for “tweens” and “thongs”–both words which are mentioned in that post.

Anyway, grab a container of Ben & Jerry’s and celebrate my 1 year anniversary tomorrow with me!

Non-meme, meme

Everyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I am not a meme gal. I liken them to chain letters (see Fears of Memes )

However, because I am approaching my one-year anniversary of my blog, I decided to do a non-meme. No one is tagged, no one must participate, and no one tagged me in the first place. So here goes: 

1. If you could change your name, what would it be? This is such a hard question, because there are so many names I would love to be. When I was 8, I named all of my dolls “Guadalupe”. I loved the way it rolled off my tongue. I then went through a “Jacqueline” phase. I was “Jessica” for awhile as well. My writing name now is really my changed name so to speak. It is my first two initials and my maiden name—a secret revealed.

2. What is the worst name someone has called you? My kindergarten teacher called me “motor-mouth” and that devastated me. I have been called other more fragrant words since then; however, that one still stings. Why is that?

3. If you could meet someone famous, who would it be? This is too difficult a question. Of people who are currently alive: Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith, Julia Roberts, and tons of other people that I can’t think of right now. Of people who are deceased (because this is my non-meme and I can do what I want) Gandhi,  Lucille Ball, Grace Kelley, Princess Diana, and tons of other people that I can’t think of right now.  

4. How do you like to travel home? In a covered wagon 

5. What kind of phone to you have? rotary 

Papyrus Card

Once upon a time, I decided that I could become a greeting card writer. This was shortly after I started my blog almost 1 year ago today (more on that later). I had read about a greeting card company that needed humorous greeting cards. I considered myself to be moderately comical and thought that I might earn some easy cash.  For days I slaved over catchy little greetings for retirement, new baby, and birthday cards. At last, after compiling (30) 3 x5 cards with the best of rjlight, I sent my envelope off in the mail. Three months later I received my (30) 3×5 cards back to me in the mail with a sweet little rejection note. My (30) cards sit in my file cabinet to remind me of my brief greeting card career.

The history of the greeting card is quite interesting. Okay it’s moderately interesting. Okay, it just is. The first greeting cards were supposedly made in ancient Egypt on papyrus scrolls. Can you imagine The Far Side on papyrus? Or maybe that great birthday card with the monkey. Then you open it up, and there is a mirror, so you’re the monkey– this was a classic 70’s card. Would it have been just as funny on papyrus?

In the early 1400’s there were New Year’s cards sent in Europe. Apparently, the Germans made greetings out of wood carvings. Can you imagine the postage on those wooden cards?

There are some other things going on in the next 400 years, however, the actual greeting card business then started in the 1800’s. The Christmas card was then produced for a willing market in England.

Jump up another 100 years or so, and in the 1950’s humorous cards started to gain popularity (This disproves my Dilbert on papyrus vision –oh, no, it was Far Side–you didn’t believe me anyway.)

Basically, after all of this journey down greeting card history lane, I have come to a conclusion that I would have had a stellar career making papyrus scroll greetings. I write pretty fast, which is essential in scroll writing, because the scroll keeps rolling up on you as you write.  

(the historical information was compiled from the Greeting Card Association website)

Grocery Lists and Christmas Songs

When my husband gets into the Christmas spirit and decides it’s time to decorate the house with colorful shiny things, I leave the house. This usually happens right after Thanksgiving. It’s not that I’m a scrooge but I don’t like the clutter and chaos. I also don’t want the Christmas music playing too early. I can enjoy it all for a few weeks, however, the day after Christmas I am ready to clean up. In Spain the Christmas season is even longer because you have to wait for the kings to come on January 6th.  Way too long for me, but I survived for many years.

The other day my son heard a Christmas song on the radio and he said, “Hey, I just heard that one yesterday.”I used that moment to explain why I don’t like to listen to Christmas music so early because there are only so many Christmas songs, and you have to hear them over and over and over. I think my son finally understood me. My daughter and husband will never understand.

Doesn’t anyone else get tired of the same 50 songs all month long? Of course there is variety in that you can hear 30 different artists spanning decades singing the same lyrics. I know it is exciting to hear both Bing Crosby and Gloria Estefan singing about sleigh bells in the snow.

Now the song “Winter Wonderland” preplexed me for many years. You know the line “In the meadow you can build a snowman, and pretend that he is Parson Brown.” I thought it was “parse and brown”. I thought saying parse and brown was a like saying he was tan and human-like. I couldn’t figure out why the snowman would care if we were married and who is “we” anyway?

I have to admit my favorite songs are the ones sung by these rockers that really can’t sing. They do a great job yelling out “I’m a rocker” and “I hate your mama” or whatever they normally sing, but give them one of these Christmas songs with a mellow melody and it’s painful to hear.

Speaking of Christmas songs, did you know that you can go to a website and read other people’s grocery lists? Now, why would anyone want to do that? So why did I actually go to that website? I enjoy baking and cooking. I hate planning what we are going to eat for the week, and making the lists. I guess I thought I could just borrow someone else’s list and follow it and maybe it would lend itself to a week of meals. It didn’t work. I ended up with a list with vodka, pasta and dish soap. My husband didn’t like the vodka with pasta or the pasta with dish soap. So the moral of the story is, that you can’t steal someone else’s grocery list, and you can’t sing about Parson Brown without confusing the kids.

Grammar 911

I came upon some information about a website when I was reading one of my writing books. There is a website called the grammar lady. Now I think it is very helpful to have grammar help. Believe me, I know I have a run-on sentence habit like no one else. However, what I found so interesting about this website is that they also have a hotline available M-F from 9 to 5. Well, apparently, they used to have one; however, I couldn’t find it on the current website. I imagine they got bombarded with urgent phone calls and had to discontinue the service. Can’t you just hear the frantic phone calls?

“Grammar lady, my husband just split an infinitive. Should I leave him?”

“I can’t remember how to diagram a sentence and my in-laws are staying the weekend.”

“Should I not never use a double negative or is it not never helpful?”

“I’m having a dinner party tonight and can’t get my subject and verb to agree.”

“My son’s modifiers have been dangling for weeks now. Does he need treatment?”

“Grammar lady, Tom has been speaking in the third person, what should Tom do? Tom would not being calling you if Tom wasn’t serious about needing help. Tom is annoying everyone Tom speaks to.”

Yep, the Emily Post of grammar could get no rest. The phone was ringing off the hook with grammar emergencies. And you thought your life was difficult.

Camponotus nearcticus

ant.jpg

Let me introduce you to the guys that seem to be carrying the house we live in on their shoulders. This is the small Carpenter ant, formerly known as Camponotus nearcticus or “Campo” for short. I am assuming that most of the ants that are entering our kitchen are worker ants although I must admit I haven’t had a chance to get a magnifying glass and flip them over to check. I also must admit I don’t know what I would be searching for. I do know that male ants and queen ants do all of the reproducing. The male ants die shortly after getting to know the queen ant. And the queen ants have little wings that they break off after mating. Now I’m sure there is some type of moral in there somewhere, but I will leave it for now.

So anyway, while I have been trying to write on a very uncooperative computer, I have also been murdering ants in the kitchen:

I can bring home the bacon,and fry it up in a pan, and murder all those ants with my other hand. Cuz I’m a W-O-M-A-N. (Although my writing doesn’t quite bring home the bacon–it only brings in a cocktail weiner.)

So we clean up the ants, spray them with peppermint spray (so they smell fresh) and then my husband puts duct tape over the little holes in the tile. He assures me he will buy calk one day and use that. Of course the duct tape is silver and does go quite nicely with my Christmas decorations.

I must admit though, that I’m afraid to kill too many of these ants because I really do think they are keeping the house together somehow. If we disturb them too much they might pack up and leave us and then the house could just break in half and that could be a problem.