A March Mélange: Googly Eyes, Passing Grades, and Snazzy Socks

I bugged out of blogging last week.

I didn’t mean to neglect you, my gentle readers, but it was a spontaneous decision on Monday morning. I wanted to finish my online self-directed college class and decided to just do it, get all the reading, research, and writing over with. It took me a few hours every day causing my eyes to blur and spin in my head, but I finished the class a few weeks early, earning a passing grade of 93%.

And that, as they say, is that.

It was fascinating to see lectures, read assignments, do homework, and write a research paper again. It took me outside of my usual thinking patterns, so the mental challenge was a good one. For winter. During a pandemic.

Was it worth it? Will I do it again? That is, take another online university class with homework?

Welp, I’m going to say probably NO.

I didn’t hate being a student, but I didn’t love it either. Fortunately I understood the subject matter [history learned through the interconnections among antique objects and academic disciplines in a museum] but I vehemently disliked the computer user interface for this online course. It was clunky and awkward, visually cluttered– and there were typos and inconsistencies that bothered me, a writer.

The mediocre system made every assignment a struggle and as such sucked the fun out of this whole adventure in higher education. No matter really. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In fact, continuing on with the idea of something gained, much to my delight while in the process of researching my final paper I stumbled on the word SNAZZY used in an advertisement in the current Vermont Country Store catalogue. Don’t ask how I ended up there, but I did and it was worth it.

Yes siree kids, it’s my all-time favorite word spotted in the wild.

In this case the best word ever is used to describe mild-compression support socks. Granted the topic of socks had nothing to do with the project I was working on and I don’t think I need these particular ones, but I am getting older so maybe I do and just don’t know it yet.

Anyhoo, that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. And you? Whatcha been doing?

Spill the beans in the comments below. Missed ‘ya. Mean it.

A Small Adventure In An Old Cemetery, Because My Curiosity Must Be Satisfied

Many people have Bucket Lists of things they want to see/do before they die. I’m not one of those people.

Instead I have what I call a Measuring Cup List of things I’d like to see/do if I get around to it and can do so without too much inconvenience.

The following is an example of a Measuring Cup List item. 

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ON A WHIM AS WE were driving by Union Cemetery in Symmes Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, we went into it to see what we might see.

I knew of this cemetery because many years ago there was an article about it in our local newspaper.  In the article the reporter interviewed a township trustee about this historic cemetery, asking specifically about the size of the chapel that you can see from the road.

The trustee said something to the effect of: the chapel is big enough to hold a dozen Brownies or seven Girl Scouts. 

Naturally with a memorable description like that I knew I needed to see this building in person.  Sometime.  And now that I have, he did not lie.

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WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT this cemetery is that there are Revolutionary War Veterans buried there.  It was only after we walked around the exterior of the chapel that I/we began to wander through the cemetery.

Close to the chapel I saw the following tombstone and was immediately drawn to it.  It’s in good shape, which suggests family or some organization is tending to it.  Also as you can see, John Ross died 200 years ago in 1820.

That’s trippy if’n you ask me.  He died centuries ago, yet there I stood looking at the grave of someone who helped shape the world in such as way as to allow me to live in a democracy, instead of a monarchy.

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AS WE CONTINUED TO MOSEY around the cemetery we realized we had parked in the oldest section so we walked over to a newer section, that is to say an area with burials dating around 100 years ago.

Here we found a mausoleum with a healthy peony bush growing beside it.  On the mausoleum, a rather basic one, were the following two plaques with thoughts that are relevant today.

Mother’s plaque says: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”  [This a quote from Luke 6:31 in the Bible.]

Father’s plaque says: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor;  therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” [This is a quote, complete with a semicolon, from Romans 13:10 in the Bible.]

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And with that we left the cemetery to get on with our day.  I felt inspired and pleased with myself for taking the time to notice what’s been in front of me for years.

You may consider this item crossed off my Measuring Cup List.

A Quandary Regarding Mental Health + Tattoos + Modern Etiquette

“NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We are the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.”

Thanks to the efforts of NAMI it’s Mental Illness Awareness Week here in the USA. This year’s theme is #CureStigma. 

In light of this theme here’s something I’ve been thinking about. I’m unclear about what I should do when I’m in situations like the following one.

I was at a doctor’s office, in the examining room, with a medical assistant who was settling me onto the examining table, getting things ready for the doc.

When she reached across me to grab the blood pressure cuff I noticed that she had a tattoo on her inside left wrist.  What caught my eye was that the tattoo was of a semicolon.

As you probably know, that is the tat one gets when you have, or someone you love has, engaged in self-harming behaviors;  OR when you or a loved one have attempted to commit, or possibly in the case of a loved one succeeded in committing, suicide.

[More on the semicolon tattoo meaning here and here.]

In general I’ve found that people with visible tattoos seem pleased when you notice the tattoo.  They often have a story to tell about their tattoos and I’m willing to listen.

However, in this particular case I was reluctant to say anything, so I said nothing and just smiled like I didn’t know what I was seeing.

So my questions are:

  • Would you consider a visible semicolon tattoo to be an invitation for conversation about what it means to the person with this tattoo?
  • Or would you not say a word about it unless the person with the tattoo brings up the topic?

Anyone got any experience with or advice about how to handle this type of situation? I feel like there might be some kind of modern etiquette involved here, but I don’t know what it is.

5 Unique Words Presented For Your Edification + 1 Nice Quote

I don’t have much to talk about today, but I believe that one of my strengths as a personal blogger is the fact that I show up to my blog consistently regardless of what is, or isn’t, going on in my life.

Therefore, adhering to my own self-imposed blogging principle, I shall share with you, my gentle readers, 5 unique words that I’ve stumbled across in my research and reading.

I had to look them up in the dictionary because I hadn’t a clue about what they meant.

So far I haven’t found a way to slip any of these words into everyday conversation, but I’m working on it.  Because a wordy girl has to use the words, you know?

  1. WEBQOOF –  someone who believes everything they read and see on social media
  2. SOCKEROO – a notable success
  3. OPSIMATH –  someone who begins to learn or study late in life
  4. ZEMBLANITY – predictable unpleasantries [the opposite of serendipity]
  5. PLUVIOPHILE –  someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

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A gold star for any commenter who can weave these words into one coherent sentence… that’s not a list of these words. The use of semicolons is encouraged.  

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In Which I Grouse About Punctuation & Think Fondly Of Erma Bombeck

I RECEIVED an invitation to attend a talk, at a university, given by an author.  Profits from the talk go to support the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, so it’s a good event to attend.

However, I find the invitation to be lacking, in a most disturbing way.  A way that displeases me, an English major and blogger extraordinaire.

A way, I have to believe in my educated-by-this-very-university heart of hearts, that would also displease Erma, a newspaper columnist and author.

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AND HERE is what I’m talking about.  One of my pet peeves is that periods [as in punctuation] are disappearing, inexplicably, from the end of sentences.

  • Look at most billboards anymore.
  • Look at tag-lines on advertisements.  On the sides of trucks.  On the packages which hold the food you eat.
  • Look at this invitation in which many lines of words are sentences, but WHERE ARE THE PERIODS?!!

Invitation with no punctuation

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HEAVEN KNOWS that I’d have flunked out of this university if I’d indulged in such disregard for punctuation.  I’m trying to not take this personally, but the evidence in this invitation shows…

A total lack of concern. For the very thing that I hold dear. Proper punctuation. Used almost frivolously. Stylishly. And without regard for cost.

Which is the only reason that I can fathom for why periods are disappearing from the end of sentences.  I have to suspect that in these economically challenging times, the up-charge for adding them to any written communication is so costly that leaving them out helps the bottom line.

That’s the reason, right?