Showing posts with label Musings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Musings. Show all posts

Friday, May 11, 2012

Truth or Fiction? Take It With a Grain of Salt

Do you wonder where some of the expressions we use everyday come from?  I do.  So when I used the expression "take it with a grain of salt" in a post, I knew I had to explore it further.  In my ongoing quest to find the answers to life's everyday questions, I turned to Google.  Doesn't everyone?  As with most expressions, there are variations on the origin.

First we find that having "salt in your pumpkin" is a good thing.  Now when I think of pumpkins, I naturally think of pie, don't you.  Anyway, in Italy pumpkin is another way of saying head, and "a grain of salt" often refers to intelligence.  All of which is a roundabout way of saying that if you have salt in your pumpkin you are someone with intelligence and good reasoning skills.

Wieliczka Salt Mine by Anna Strummillo
In it's Latin form, "cum grano salis" is often used when the situation at hand requires care and good personal judgment.

The Modern English version of "take it with a grain of salt", is really saying "don't take this seriously".  In other words, don't believe everything you hear.  When I was a kid, Mom would sometimes say that when I would tell her something I'd heard from some of the neighbors who were apt to embellish a bit on the facts.

Going all the way back to 77 A.D. it was written that a grain of salt was an ingredient in an antidote for poisoning, indicating that the effects of the poison may be moderated by taking a grain of salt.  Along these same lines, salt was once believed to have healing properties, and thus eating or drinking anything with a grain of salt was a form of preventative medicine.  Now we are told to limit our salt intake for health reasons, but it is also said that history repeats itself. 

What are some of your favorite expressions?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It Finally Happened!

You may remember several years ago I had a Day of Mourning after my car died.  That led to two years of searching (some might say I'm too picky) for another car.  As you know, we keep our cars for a long time, so I searched high and low for a car that would meet my wants and needs.  You can read about some of my adventures in My Quest for Wheels and More Car Stuff.  

Fast forward to the present.  The search is finally over, and I am the proud owner of a 2006 Toyota Highlander.  

Happy Birthday to me!
It has the power seats I need, and it even has a sunroof!  Now we have two reliable vehicles and hubby can actually drive his "new" car...after nearly two years.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Day at the Zoo

Who needs breakfast?  That would be me.  Sure that we would find breakfast somewhere along the way, we headed out to zoo and our meeting with Jen, who writes the humor blog, Redhead Ranting.  Unlike where we live, there was not a McDonalds or BoJangles on every corner.  What to do?  We drive and drive...growl.  I can't go to the zoo on an empty stomach.

Just when we were about to give up and just eat whatever we could find at the zoo, we stumbled onto a nice little bagel shop in a shopping center.  A cinnamon raisin bagel toasted with butter, please! just hit the spot.

Now we backtrack to the fairgrounds where we could pick up a shuttle to the zoo.  There is on-site parking, but we had read that is highly recommended to take the shuttle.  They run some wildly decorated buses that leave no doubt as to their destination.  This one is giraffe spotted; the other is a zebra.

They had a posted schedule, and it appeared it would be another half hour, and we barely had time to make our meeting with Jen.  I called to let her know we'd be late, and she offered to pick us up.  About that time another bus pulled in - so much for their schedule.  

It was a short ride to the zoo, even though the bus felt like it had a square tire.

We hung out for a few minutes while Jen and her daughter caught up with us.  Like I said, parking is available, but getting a space isn't always easy.

I gave her a call to tell here where we were waiting, saying I would be the gal wearing a blue top with penguins on it, next to a guy in a blue Hawaiian shirt - what a pair!

Yay, the long-awaited meeting.  Jen is a warm, down to earth lady, who was in "mama mode" that day.  She had her lovely daughter with her, who added an interesting perspective on our activities.  We had a great time looking at the animals and reptiles and watching Sparky the sea lion perform for a packed arena.  It was a picture perfect day, but it began to get hot in the bright sunshine.  
It's lunch time.  There was a decent snack bar with a good selection of the typical zoo foods, burgers, hot dogs, pop corn, nachos and of course, ice cream.  We enjoyed lunch where we talked blogging, compared notes about the differences in our weather, and shared pet stories - hubby and I are never lacking for weird pet stories.

You can only ask so much of an 8-year old, so they left after our visit to the Como Town amusement park.

Afterward, hubby and I walked through the many rooms of the conservatory, a building filled with all sorts of unusual plant life.  This room was filled with ferns of all kinds, including the largest fiddlehead I've ever seen.

It was a lot of fun to meet fellow blogger, Jen, face to face, and enjoy some beautiful Minnesota weather.  There was so much more to see but, alas, not enough time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Breakfast at the Wienery

It's not just for Hot Dogs!

You don't judge a book by its cover so don't judge a restaurant by its exterior, or even its interior.  We were hungry and not interested in having to track down breakfast, so we asked at the front desk of our hotel if there was any breakfast within walking distance.  The desk clerk said there wasn't much in the way of breakfast, but that The Wienery did serve breakfast.  We had walked by it the night before and hadn't given it much thought.  Now it seemed like our only option if we had any hope of getting breakfast before lunch time.

414 Cedar Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN

Here's a look at the inside.  It is simply laid out, bordering on worn out.  But don't judge it before you sit down and enjoy a unique breakfast experience. 

The Wienery has changed hands several times since it opened in the early 1980s, and is now owned by Pat Starr.  The Wienery was voted the city's best hot dog for 3 consecutive years. 

This morning, however, we wanted breakfast and we wanted it fast (at least I did).  We studied the menu for something that would be filling and on the table quickly.  We chose the #6 Wienie MacMuffin, an egg and cheese sandwich on an English Muffin with your choice of meat.  Of course I chose bacon!

Now all these items are prepared fresh to order while you wait.  It is pretty much a one-man show, and he had to make a quick trip to his car across the street for the groceries.

Was it good?  You bet.  It was like walking into a friend's house and having them whip up breakfast for you right on the spot.

And...he has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

This place gets two thumbs up from me, so if you find yourself in the Minneapolis area, I highly recommend checking out The Wienery.  Click here if you can't see the video.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Did She Really Ask That?

Image source: Miriella's photostream
Back before hubby and I were married we went to visit some of his old friends, a get together held in the home of one of the guys.  The location - a former slave cabin...deep in the South Carolina.  No, it wasn't creepy, just different

I was a little nervous about meeting these particular friends because I wasn't the super outgoing, confident woman I am today [wink], and they were all super brains, you know the kind who can make you feel inadequate just by looking at you.  Did I mention they were musicians, too?  I felt a bit  like a goldfish who had just flopped out of his bowl - can someone give me a hand here?

However, this is what really made it  different.   Would you like fries with that?  Can I buy you a drink?  These are normal questions asked by strangers.  Upon our arrival, and at the point where one would be escorted inside and offered a drink, our hostess asked?  "Would you like to use the bathroom?"  

Pause.  What?  Um- maybe later, but I will take a jumbo-sized margarita if you have one...thanks!  No, I didn't say that...I just accepted her unique hospitality.

What was even more strange than the question, though, was the facility itself.  It was separated from the rest of  the room by a curtain.  Just a curtain to flap in the breeze.  No door, no lock for privacy, just a curtain.  Hubby-to-be  stood guard.  That was our first and last such get together.

Got a "strange" story to share?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My House is a Fortress

Tuesday was just another day, or so I thought.  It was one of those picture perfect days, not too hot with a nice breeze.  The yard needs mowing so I change, grab a bottle of water and head out the door. What makes today different?  I close the door (I usually leave the inside door open).  OK, so you know that sinking feeling you get when you realize you've accidentally done something stupid?  That's how I felt the moment I heard the door click behind me.  I was just going to mow the yard...why did I close the door?

I reached back to check, hoping against hope that I hadn't done what I thought I just did.  Yep...locked.  Grrrr!  

Now what?  I assess what I have with me.  My pocket knife, chap stick, nail clippers and a bottle of water.

A cardinal who often visits my window sill.
Being the resourceful gal that I am, I pulled out my pocket knife.  Just for the record, I have no lock-picking skills and the knife didn't do anything anyway.  I walked around the house...thinking.  We have a few basement windows, but they don't open from the outside.  Neither do any of the other windows - they are securely locked from the inside.

There's no choice...I must call hubby and confess.  Since I don't have my cell phone, I trudge up the street to the convenience store to use the phone, make the call, and trudge back.  As usual, he takes it all in stride, explains his need to take an unplanned half day of vacation and heads home.  

It'll take at least an hour for him to get home, so I figured since I came out to mow the yard, I might as well do it while I waited.

The good news from all of house, although a modest brick ranch, is really a fortress.  With the doors locked, no one (especially me) is getting in.

Care to share your best lock out stories?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

June 8, 1925 was a very important day in my life.  I wasn't actually born then - that is my mother's birth date.  You can see the significance for me, right?  I'd like to share with you a little about the woman my mother was.

She grew up on a farm in a small town in Maine during the Depression years, and life on the farm gave her a great love of nature. 

During her teen years, she watched her two older brothers leave to serve in World War II, and she graduated high school two years before the end of the war. 

She didn't talk much about her early life, so I don't know a lot of the details.  After finishing school, she worked different jobs before going to work for the phone company.  During this time she met my father, who was in the Air Force and stationed in Maine.  When his service was completed, he moved back South to work for a trucking company (he was originally from Virginia).  She followed him to Winston-Salem in 1952, and they were married in 1956.

In the 1960s, she saw the assassinations of President Kennedy in 1963 and Senator Kennedy in 1968.  Together we watched the first man walk on the moon, and played badminton and kickball in the back yard.  Some of our best times were outdoors, and I got my love of nature from her.

She was a smart, talented and creative woman, but she never nurtured her talents.  Everything was put aside for me.  I was her focus.  She was completely selfless to the point of going without so others didn't have to.

I still have the Halloween treat bag she painted for me.  It is one of my treasures.  I used it as an example to make Halloween bags of my own a few years ago.  Sometimes it is the little things that mean the most as we get older.

One year we spent long hours making Christmas decorations from styrofoam shapes, beads, glue and old Christmas cards.  That was such fun, and we decorated our tree with them.  I even used them as a history project in school.

My high school graduation fell on her birthday, and I thought that was cool.  I also thought I was grown.  It took a while for me to realize how wrong I was.

She watched with much trepidation as I grew up, got my license, got a job, and eventually moved into an apartment.  I was still her little girl, and that never changed.

When I married, she acquired a son whom she loved.  She and Daddy always referred to us as "the kids", and continued to do for us even though we both had jobs and our own home.

There are many times when I still wish I could ask her something, tell her what I've been doing or just have her over and cook for her, like she did for me for so many years. Many of our conversations centered around food.

There never comes a time when you stop being your mother's child.  That bond is always there.  She taught me values and to treat others with kindness and respect, and filled my head with knowledge you don't get from books and school (common sense).

I am proud to be her daughter, and even more proud to have been her friend.  If I ever manage to be half the woman my mother was, I will consider that I have succeeded in life.

Happy Birthday Mom.  I miss you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Then and Now

Won't you join on a trip down memory lane?  My parents built this house over 50 years ago.  This first picture was taken prior to 1963.

Early 1960s

Note that there are two front doors.  This put some puzzled looks on the faces of people going door to door.  They would go to the first door, ring the bell and Daddy would answer, politely decline whatever they were offering and they would leave.  A couple moments later the door bell would ring again.  Imagine their surprise when Daddy opened the other door.  I guess they thought it was two separate residences, like a duplex.

The reason for the two front doors was because there was supposed to be a carport on the left, but they told the builder they wanted that as a room instead.

The tree in the front yard is a pecan and has been there well over 50 years.  Part of the neighborhood used to be a pecan orchard, and there are five trees in the yard.  The one you see here was struck by lightning, and survived.

April 2011

This bush can be seen in the first picture to the left of the front door.  It's kind of small, but it's been there ever since I can remember.  I don't know what it is, but it never loses its leaves and has white flowers and small blue berries.

50-year old bush

So how long do azaleas live?  I don't know, but these are over 50 years old.  You get the theme here.  A lot of plants and trees have come and gone over the years, and some have survived and are as beautiful as ever.  These surround another of the pecan trees.

One of my favorite plants in the yard is what Mom always called an old fashion snowball.  It is showing its age a bit, but still has beautiful snowballs.

Old Fashion Snowball

While my friends, Ashley and Kevin were living here, Kevin worked some of his gardening magic shown in the picture below.  This area was always grass and somewhat of a mowing challenge.

Some things have changed!

Thanks for joining me on a tour of some of the things that made home special.  Are there some special memories of your home place that you'd like to share?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

Recycle the cat?  You wouldn't?
Today is April Fool's day, a traditional day of jokes and pranks, ranging from simple jokes to elaborate and convoluted stories.   As a fan of NPR's "All Things Considered" my husband related this story to me back in 2005.  I think it even had him going for a minute because this is usually a serious news show.  The story that day was on the danger of exploding maple trees and they reported that the decrease in the consumption of maple syrup was a contributing factor in the increase in exploding maple trees.  Since less syrup was being made and fewer trees were being tapped for their sap, the pressure of the rising sap would build to the point the tree could no longer support it and would explode.

The story goes on to tell about a rival company in Samoa that was cutting up used maple furniture, and boiling it down to make a cheap knock-off called "table syrup".   

You can hear the live broadcast here.

I guess this just goes to show that if you hear an incredible story today, remember it's April Fool's day and take it with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wine Tasting in Charlottesville, VA

Last weekend was filled with fun, friendship, and wine tasting.  It was a nice, albeit cold, weekend in Charlottesville, VA where our group of 13 tasted our way through some really good Virginia wines.  Please join us on our journey.

We kicked off the weekend on Friday night with dinner at the Aberdeen Barn.  The food and service were excellent, and it was conveniently located near our hotel.  We were all given consecutive rooms on the same floor so our enthusiasm wouldn't disturb the other guests.  After dinner we commandeered the breakfast room to meet and discuss our plans for Saturday.  The wine and conversation flowed freely around the tables we had pushed together, and we nailed down the wineries we wanted to visit.  This was our first visit to the area, so we were fine with whatever was decided upon.

We met in the parking lot after breakfast the next morning and sorted out riding arrangements.  It was cold but sunny, and a good day to be out and about.

The first stop of the day was First Colony Winery.  The tasting room was in a beautiful setting with gorgeous trees in full bloom, and daffodils and grape hyacinth dotting the walkway.  We tasted an array of wines including an interesting Tannat which is seldom used as a stand alone, and petted the resident cat as he dozed in his chair in the sun.  We walked out of there with several bottles of their more interesting varieties.

Next it was on to Blenheim Vineyard & Winery.  They were having an event in the tasting room, so our tasting took place outside.  Yes, it was cold, but we did have a gas heater to warm our hands and/or glasses of wine.  Blenheim  has a lovely selection of wines, and we enjoyed them all thoroughly.  We picked up a couple of our favorites whites, Chardonnay and Painted White.

By this time we were beginning to feel the need for lunch, and there was a small deli just a few miles down the road.  The sandwiches were yummy, but I think we overwhelmed them, so lunch took a little longer than anticipated, and to stay on schedule, it was decided to forgo the next winery.

We soon arrived at the much-anticipated White Hall Vineyards, and it was everything it had been described to be and more.  There was a crowd around the tasting bar where the pourers were holding court.  The guy who was pouring for us was an absolute hoot, and had us all laughing.  We tasted a lot of excellent wines and made more purchases.  One of the group favorites was Edichi, a sweet dessert wine with flavors of plum, walnut, and raspberry with a rum raisin finish.

Just when you think it can't get any better, we made our way to Veritas Winery & Vineyard just before they closed.  This was our first seated tasting, and we were divided between two tables.  We tasted six wines, which were all excellent, and guess what?  Yep, we bought more wine.  My favorite here was a sparkling wine called Scintilla, made from Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay grapes.

That brought an end to our tasting adventures, and we headed back to the hotel to regroup for dinner.

Sunday morning we awoke to an inch of fresh snow, and thus there was a snowball fight in the parking lot as we loaded the cars.

It was a wonderful weekend.  We ate, we drank, we bonded in ways that simply meeting for a couple hours once a month can't accomplish.  I am looking forward to more such getaways.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Now That's Red

With Spring comes all the yard cleanup from Winter, because quite frankly I don't go outside in cold weather to keep up with it.  That's not to say that I hibernate, I just don't go hang out in the yard.  Mother Nature's winds, rain and other foul weather managed to bring down more dead sticks than you could...well...shake a stick at.  Between that and last year's garden debris, and leaves that never made it to the street for collection, I've been busy.

Since we live in the city, we are provided with yard waste collection carts, and when I say provided I mean we pay for the carts, and pay for the city to empty them each week.  The yard waste used to be collected for free (after purchase of the cart) from Spring through Fall.  That was then... now they collect them every week for a yearly fee.

Anyway, we have a total of three carts, one at our place and two at my parents' house which I still have and maintain.  Over the last two weeks I have filled all three, emptied them twice and they are full again for next week.

We have another cleanup issue.  At the corner of our property, well technically it is on the lot next door, there is a Locust tree.  Now this Locust tree is stately and full of character...that is until it drops it's seed pods.  If these were edible, we'd be in tall cotton.  However, they have a sort of leathery texture, turn dark brown,  and are upwards of 12 inches long.  They don't rake well and you can't blow them.  There's not much to be done but pick them up.  This is a big tree and nature blesses it well in the area of  "go forth and bear fruit".  Little Locusts pop up everywhere all summer.  There is one bright spot in that it only bears the pods every other year.  Odd isn't it?

Anyway that is what I've been doing this week, and why the only thing I have to offer is this rambling and a pretty tulip I snapped a picture of this week.  

Ta ta, 'tis off to have fun this weekend!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Stockpile Advantage

Stockpiling...I guess it kind of runs in the family...remember the toilet paper in the bookcaseA little organizational skill and a second refrigerator go a long way toward keeping up with the every day supply and demand.  

Here's part of my stash.
Last Friday Cardiogirl shared her intense feeling of gloaming (think gloom) over possibly running out of some of their morning staples.  Imagine her relief at finding her backups.

I know the panic of running out of something you depend on every day!  That is why I have my stash of everything from food items, to paper goods and laundry supplies.

Having a stash doesn't have to break the budget either.  I shop at both Costco and grocery store sales, and I use coupons at both.  Good money-saving strategies add even more value to your stockpile.

So, do you stockpile, and if so, what's in your stash?

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Faces of Spring

This started out to be a post on Spring and the different faces it presents.  I was about to state that Spring arrives every year on March 20, but decided I should check my facts.  What I found out was that March 20 has not always the definitive beginning of Spring.  Traditionally March 21 was hailed as the first day of Spring, but in recent years that became the exception rather than the rule. 
The vernal equinox landed on March 21, only 36 out of 100 years. And from 1981 to 2102, Americans will celebrate the first day of spring no later than March 20.
In the years 2008 and 2012, those living in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific, Mountain and Central time zones will see spring begin even earlier: on March 19. And in 2016, it will start on March 19 for the entire United States.*

Crocus, one of Spring's pretty faces.
Simplified, some reasons for this include the fact that a year is not made up of an even number of days, nor are the seasons.  Also contributing is the fact that the earth's elliptical orbit is changing relative to the sun.

Spring's face can also be fierce.
Another interesting seasonal fact is that Spring and Summer total more days combined than Fall and Winter, but actually Summer and Fall are gaining ground each year.  Spring is losing one minute and Winter is losing one-half minute per year, respectively.  Summer is gaining the minute lost from Spring and Fall is gaining Winter's half minute.

In many parts of the world, Spring's faces are in evidence before the calendar date, and in addition to the pretty flowers and trees and milder temperatures, she is also unpredictable, unleashing drenching rains and violent storms. So go forth and experience all the faces of Spring.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's Bacon to the Rescue

We decided to remodel the bathroom at my parents' house.  The house was built in 1959, and much of it remains original.  In those days, many walls were made of plaster instead of drywall.  What we found when hubby opened the wall around the faucets was that the plaster had become not much more than dust, and the grout was all that was holding the tile in place.

Remodeling can be hazardous work, especially on 50-year old plumbing.  In the process of removing the old faucets, tile and grout, hubby sustained an injury to his finger and a shard of grout was the culprit.

I wasn't there when it happened, and when I called to see when he was coming home for dinner, that's when he told me he had cut his finger.  I was ready to rush over with first aid supplies, but he insisted it would be fine.  Thanks to Kathy at The Junk Drawer, I was waiting with just the thing to soothe his injured finger; it was bacon band aids to the rescue.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Charlie Sheen: Don't Feed The Frenzy!

Photo Credit:  David Zellaby
Today, we are addressing a serious situation.  The star of the long-running Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen, has taken to the airwaves and he has a lot to say.  We have all read and heard the outrageous statements that he's making.  By now we all know his history and the lifestyle choices which have contributed to the cancellation of his show, and today's media frenzy.  It may be considered entertaining until you realize that it has gone too far.

His recent actions have led those close to him to fear for his sanity, his safety, and know that he cannot continue on this path.  The focus now should be on the seriousness of his situation rather than to snicker, point fingers and eagerly watch as the events unfold.  This is a man's life we are talking about. 

The more technologically advanced we become, the quicker we get the latest news on the event of the moment, be it a kidnapping, civil unrest, or natural disaster.  Yes, it can bring about a call to help, but do we need the most minute details of someone's life unraveling? If this hadn't all suddenly "hit the fan" I would not know what has transpired.  We are all human and call it curiosity, or just plain nosiness, we feed on the details.  Media involvement to this degree is not helping.

So today I am making a plea to the media to please back off of the sensationalism.  At the end of the day, he is simply a man who needs help, so let's stop adding fuel to the fire.  

I am participating in the Tribal Blog's Blog Carnival.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I am reposting this from last year for those who may have missed it.  Since Valentine's day falls on Monday, I am including  my "Valentine" Quote of the Week.

Loving is not just looking at each other,  it's looking in the same direction.  - Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939

Is it real, or is it Hallmark?  There are those who think that Valentine's Day is just the creation of greeting card companies as another occasion to buy and send cards.  Florists also do a booming business, and what about candy?  All those heart-shaped boxes with ribbons and bows filled with delectable morsels trying desperately to attach themselves to our thighs.  Woe unto ye who forgets this day!

riptheskull's photostream
However, while cards, flowers and candy dominate this seemingly invented holiday, according to various historical accounts, there really was a St. Valentine who was believed to be a martyred priest.  He was said to have been caught marrying Christian couples.  At that time, about 270 AD, Christians were being persecuted by the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, and helping them was considered a crime.  Thus, Valentine was imprisoned.  However, the Emperor liked Valentine, that is right up until he tried to convert him.  For this, Valentine was beaten and stoned, and when that didn't kill him, he was beheaded.

Another version tells that he was beheaded for refusing to deny Christ before the Roman Emperor.  Validity of these stories aside, St. Valentine is listed in the Martyrology, which is the Catholic Church's list of Saints.

Now why did this come to be celebrated as a romantic day?  One account states that Valentine fell in love with a girl, possibly the jailor's daughter, and before his death he wrote her a love letter that he signed "from your Valentine", a phrase that is still used today.  So in honor of St. Valentine, we send cards, flowers and candy to show our love for that special someone in our life.

So where do you stand?  History or historical fiction?  Stay tuned for more thoughts on Valentine's Day and a special recipe.

Now I leave you with another special Valentine thought.

Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart.  - Author Unknown

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Well Do You Know Your ABCs?
Today is one of those days that I said "Wow, today is Wednesday and I have nothing prepared.  What to do?  I have been absorbing all the hints, tips and tricks for finding topics found in the forum at Tribal Blogs.  I decided to utilize some of what I've read, and the result is today's post.

Jumbled Words

Now we've all seen this kind of thing before, but it seems there was an unsubstantiated study into how the human brain interprets words.  It takes the position that only the first and last letters are needed for us to translate the text.  Take a look at the following paragraph and try to read it like you normally would. 

"Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."*

So, did it make sense?  It seems fairly simple, and I think that the context of the sentence has significant influence our ability to interpret this.  As the "study" indicates it is because we do not read individual letters, but the entire word.

I tried my hand at a nonsensical jumbled word sentence.

The gnait tdedy baer csuemond smliy fsih form a snaagtnt pnod, and sqsetnelubuy tosfrenaemrd itno a pophatchyisc sraeil knlilig mtsoner.

Did your brain translate as you read?  What does it say?

Whether or not there have actually been studies done on this, it is still amazing that despite all the misspellings, we can still read it.  What are your thoughts and theories?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Does Chinese Food Leave You Empty?

You know what they say about eating Chinese food?  That you'll be hungry an hour later.  Well, this is an actual fortune from a Chinese fortune cookie.  I'd say someone had quite the sense of humor.

But seriously, haven't you wondered why?  You eat and eat until you can't stuff any more in, and in a short time you are feeling munchy again. 

Here are several theories regarding this widely experienced phenomenon.
  • MSG acts as an appetite stimulate, so you may feel hungry shortly after eating.
  • Carbs, especially those with a high glycemic index, makes you feel full but they digest faster than vegetables and do not keep you full as long.
  • Chinese meals tend to be less rich in fat than what our bodies consider the norm.  Since it takes fats longer to move through the digestive system than carbs, a less fatty meal will leave you feeling hungry sooner. 
Do any of these theories hold water, or are we just programmed by years of hearing the phrase "you will be hungry again in one hour", leaving us with that expectation?
    Does this happen to you?  What are some of your favorite Chinese dishes?

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Old Faithful

    We're not half way through winter and we’ve already had three snows, one of which was on Christmas Day.  Every time it snows, I dig out my trusty, old boots.  They’re like a faithful old friend, always there to keep my feet warm and dry.  They have great heart and soul…well actually great soles.  I never slip or slide, and they keep me going through sleet, snow and freezing, that's the mailman.  At any rate, they've seen me through long walks in the woods, up and down icy steps, and hours of sledding and snowman building.

    So what sparked a post about my snow boots, you ask?  It's like this.  I have had these boots for well over 30 years, (I probably got them in high school), and I mentioned them in a comment to my friend Cardiogirl, who's new boots have been possessed by the dreaded sock-twisting monster.  (She has since professed her love for her new boots despite the twisted lump of sock beneath her left foot. )

    She was amazed that I’d had the same pair of boots for that long, and wanted to see a picture and hear more about this phenomenon of 30-plus year old boots.  To start with, they are not fancy, slick or shiny.

    They are brown suede with a furry/fuzzy lining.  They lace up the front which makes them much easier to get on over your jeans, and at just under 12 inches, they have plowed through snow deeper than they are tall.  Yes...even in the South!  I absolutely adore my boots, and may have them another 30 years.

    The label shows they came from JC Penney, and I guess I paid around $10 for them – a good price even then.  They also have the distinction of being made in the U.S.A.  Sadly, not something you see so much today.

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Detergent Bottle: Fail

    Does this ever happen to you?  Here you are about to tackle that mountain of laundry for which you would sacrifice your first born…a week’s worth of wine if you didn’t have to do it.   

    Your washer is filling as you reach for the detergent…you just opened a new one last week…and you open the bottle and start to pour the detergent into the measuring cap.   

    But wait…there’s no spout.  That’s funny, I could’ve sworn these bottles have pour spouts.  Anyway, you go ahead and pour because you’ve got to get the laundry started so you can get back to your wine go walk the dog.   

    Remember to pour carefully because, you know, there’s no spout.   

    And that’s when you see it!  Floating in the detergent…inside the the missing spout. 

    OK, this bottle is defective.  It happens sometimes.

    Did I say sometimes?  Try around a half dozen bottles over the last year.  At first I thought ALL was using crappy bottles.  Then my next bottle of WISK did the same thing.

    Dear ALL and WISK,

    I think you need to have a little one-to-one with your bottle supplier because consumers are getting tired of looking at this in the bottom of their bottle.   

    That’s where the worm is supposed to be.   

    Oops - wrong bottle…