When my English friend e-mailed that she was having her neighbors over for drinks on July 4, I asked her to send a photo.   Remembering her Burns Night Supper a couple of winters ago, I suspected that having friends over for drinks didn’t mean setting out a keg and some Solo cups under a tree.

While we celebrated our independence with cookouts and picnics, she and her husband  invited their neighbors to a garden party.  The photo upped my Anglophile feelings another notch.

Have a look:


Absolutely lovely, isn’t it.

The British are much more current on international news than we are, so they probably know more than they want to know about our absurdities, our crazy politics, etc.  Do you think they might, like the parents who pull out the champagne when the last kid finally leaves the nest, the Brits might have enjoyed a toast to our Independence?

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat. – George Carlin

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.
– Winston Churchill

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
– H.L. Mencken

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
James A. Baldwin

And a Fine 4th to You, Too!

My Dearly Beloved and I are sticking close to home this holiday.  Camp Granddad was open for our Georgia grandchildren during much of June and we loved every second of it.  This week we’re running Camp Granddog, as their goldendoodle, Ivy, is here to romp with our girl, Scout.  Ivy is a squirrel chaser and I had high hopes that she would tutor Scout in the finer points of tree rat elimination.  Instead, Scout seems to be having some success in showing Ivy the joys of lying on the deck and watching the damnsquirrels climb the feeder poles.


Happy Independence Day from Camper Ivy and all of us at Camp Granddog!

Little Prairie On the House

In early spring, my Dearly Beloved and I were full of plans for our garden.  I was going to whip the flower borders and beds into shape and he was going to have the perfect lawn this summer.  I don’t know his methods, but on several different occasions he’d head for the hardware store, then spend countless hours applying whatever he’d bought with his spreader.

His efforts were rewarded.  Soon, he was mowing the lawn two or three times a week.

Then came the record heat and drought.  His beautiful lawn began to look more like an over-grazed pasture in August.  The perfect grass disappeared altogether as rival gangs of violets and clovers battled for dominance, although there is plenty of grassless red clay soil for another skirmish, another day.

I worked on my flower beds, mainly watering them, even as the heat toasted the hosta leaves to a crisp brown and some of my flower buds didn’t even bother opening.  It’s been less than rewarding, although most plants are still alive.

By the time the pansies fizzled out in the hay rack planter on the deck railing, I was reluctant to spend money on more new plants to fry, so I bought 12 from the Reduced rack at Lowe’s– the shelf where neglected plants are sent to die.  I bought 12, hoping that perhaps half of them would make it.


All of them showed their gratitude for my mercy mission by flourishing. Now I’m hoping that the hummingbirds might find some tasty morsels in the $12 assortment.

As I’ve explained before, even though we live in a ranch style house, our sloped lot means that our deck is second story.  I’ll show you a photo.  (Pretend you don’t notice the hose and junk lying around.)


There is a sidewalk at the bottom of the steps which encircles my rose garden.  Beyond the roses is the used-to-be lawn.  My point in telling you all of this is that when DB was spreading all those seeds, my little planter up there should have been off limits to any straying seeds, right?

So one would think.

Take a look at the back of the planter from the deck.


That’s how the grass down there in the prairie is supposed to look.

Poor DB!  I wonder if he’d feel better if I let him mow the back of my planter.

There’s one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn
look as nice as your neighbor’s.
– Clyde Moore

Oh, Say Where You Pee. . . .

Help me out here.

I’ve already taken my blog to the toilet lately, so while we’re talking under the stalls, maybe you can enlighten me about something.   Not that I’m trying to call the grammar police, I’m simply trying to get out of the Twilight Zone.

Everyone else is already on the bandwagon and I’m still standing by the side of the road, scratching.  It would be one thing if I had noticed things evolving over time, but no, it’s more like someone sent out a memo and something ate my copy of it.  Probably the damnsquirrels.

Brave Nancy Drew didn’t, of course,  but I remember that when things were very scary or very funny, the rest of us almost peed in our pants.  That doesn’t happen any longer.

Now, by unanimous consent,  people simply pee their pants, not pee in them.  Here, I get a mental picture of a pair of underpants sitting on a potty seat.  If something is super-scary,  people don’t worry that they’ll poop in their pants.  Nope.  They poop them.   Seriously, the picture that comes to mind is that pooping one’s granny pants would be painful.   Besides, I think it would clog the plumbing.

We don’t graduate from high school these days.  We graduate it.  So, does high school go off to college at that point?

It used to be that one played golf.  Now they simply “golf.”  (Dearly Beloved’s theory is that anyone who “golfs”. . . shouldn’t be out there.)  Will people “soccer” and “basketball” before long?   Could be.  One doesn’t play bowling, one bowls.

People aren’t “in the hospital” any longer.  They’re “in hospital.”  I think that’s from the Brits.  Remember when “runways” were commonplace until a European reporter said the word, “tarmac.”   Pouf!  The word runway disappeared.

It isn’t just language that has left me in the dust.  I’m in the dust bunnies now, too.  For instance, several months ago, The New York Times had an article that bedskirts are passé.  Not falling out of favor, but kaput!  Passé!  Not pencil skirts or miniskirts, but bedskirts.  What is the logic there?   Where I am supposed to put all the out-of-season sweaters and any too-small pencil skirts stored under ours?   Here, I got the memo, but I don’t “get” it.

photo photo

Passé we are.  Up one side of the hall and down the other– all four bedrooms.  Don’t lift my skirts–please!

And the bacon memos!  Do you receive those?  After decades of being told that bacon is bad for us, suddenly it’s appearing in everything from aperitifs to desserts.  Did I miss a memo about the previously overlooked health benefits of bacon?   Or is it that being bad is good?  sigh.

When I asked DB these questions, I could tell that he was thinking that perhaps I missed another memo–the “get a life!” one.   He’s right.  I’m missing too many memos.

Better text me.

From My Ivory Stall

Pardon me for taking this conversation back to the toilet.  Ever since I wrote that post about accidentally using a public men’s room, I’ve been much, much more observant, probably a severe case of PMRS–Post Men’s Room Syndrome.

To reiterate, please understand that I did not walk into a single-toilet men’s room where I could lock the door and no one would be the wiser.   Nope, I breezed into a large restroom and marched into a stall without so much as a glance around me.  I had no clue that I was in the wrong place until I walked out to see three men standing in front of urinals.  Gave a very literal meaning to the phrase, “standing around with his dick in his hand.”

Now that I’ve become preoccupied with public restrooms beyond whether or not they’re clean and their toilet tissue is recycled sandpaper.   For instance, the neighborhood pub where my Dearly Beloved and I go for fish and chips has three bathrooms in a row– Men, Women, Unisex.   We’d never noticed that Unisex option before.  It’s obvious why it’s there: for overflow, so to speak, not to mention that no one has to certify their sexual orientation.

I had another unusual restroom experience recently, on our last return trip from Atlanta.  I was washing my hands in a ladies’ room when a white-haired woman of soft voice and gentle face peeked in and asked was the handicap stall empty.   It was.

She explained that she needed that one because she had to bring her husband in so that she could help him.   A  tall, frail, elderly gentleman waited just outside the door.  Of course  I knew that mothers take their sons into the Ladies’ Room, but I’d never considered that help may be needed at the other end of the life cycle.  Bathroom designers must not have, either, coming up with stalls so small that anyone of ample proportion may need to back in.

Image 1  (No wide stances, Joe Bender!)

Remember pay toilets and the terror when you didn’t have a dime or later, a quarter, before the days of change machines?   I’ve read that by 1970,  America had over 50,000 pay toilets.  Ten years and some lawsuits later, there were almost none.  However, just last year a a system in Midtown NY offered– for a membership fee and $24–a three-day pass to clean restrooms.

Talk about a stinky deal!

Ever been to a locked restroom in an establishment where the key had to be requested from the cashier at the front counter. . . and it was handed to you attached to a broom handle or yardstick so that you had to walk to the back of the store carrying the monstrosity?   Oh yeah, good times!

Rest areas along Interstate Highways in our area don’t have Unisex bathrooms, but they usually do have offer roomy stalls.  The nice ones have staff to keep them clean and safe.  That makes them a target of legislative budget cuts.

You’d think that a post about toilets would surely have an end.  This one doesn’t.  What do you think?  The public restroom situation could use a good cleanup, but I don’t have any answers.  Do you?  Think on it and then, as the sign on the inside door of a bathroom stall advises. . .  Rise, go forth, and conquer. 

  • You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar. – George Carlin
  • It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline.
    George Lindsey

Whack the Hack!

The year is not even half over and there is a four-letter word ending in -ck that is about to push me over the edge.

No, not the F-bomb. People wouldn’t even be able to communicate without that one any longer.  It’s decidedly imprecise, like an effin’ car that won’t start.  What IS an “effin’ car?”  Or even “WTF.”  WTF does that even mean?!  Colorful, creative cussing has been replaced with a single, boring word.

Well, poot!  (that one is a favorite of my friend Dirtwoman, who doesn’t seem to have succumbed. )

But I’ve digressed.   H-a-c-k is showing up everywhere, replacing some much softer and more accurate words.  Remember when “runway” was where a plane sat, until until some British reporter used tarmac and every American reporter swooned?  There’s nothing wrong with tarmac; it was simply the speed at which it took over which surprised me.   These days, the only thing a runway is good for is modeling clothes.

Sheesh!  I’ve digressed again.  Perhaps my brain waves have been hacked.

Hack has a negative connotation to me.  If a surgeon does a hack job in removing a tumor, one thinks malpractice. When a cat hacks up a hairball, who wants to keep it around?  If a stylist hacks up one’s hair, there goes the tip.  There are dozens of other uses, involving axes, hoes, horses, cab drivers, computers, sports penalties, shin kicking. . ..   And we’re supposed to switch gears and embrace that?

How did this happen so fast?  Who made that decree?!  It’s an invasion of the body hackers!

Life Hacks, Household Hacks, Gardening Hacks?  Really?   I’d prefer mine in HINT form, thank you.  Any other way is a hairball.