Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh, Darn

Quick – what is a darning egg? Oh, my gosh, that’s right. I can’t believe you are THAT old. What, Betty? No, it does not come from a darn chicken.

According to one of my favorite sites, Wikipedia, “A darning egg is an egg-shaped ovoid of stone, porcelain, wood, or similar hard material, which is inserted into the toe or heel of the sock to hold it in the proper shape and provide a firm foundation for repairs. When the repairs are finished, the darning egg is removed.”

I remember seeing my grandmother pulling socks from her mending basket and sliding the handy little tool into the toe or heel before expertly weaving a patch of soft thread. My mom, too, mended socks but didn’t always have a matching thread. On the days when I wore the light blue socks with the red thread repair I always made sure my shoelaces were double knotted.

You would think the skill of sock mending would be passed down from mother to daughter. Somewhere between my mom and me, that knowledge and desire flew out the window (along with the passion for dusting).

Shortly after I got married someone gave me a sturdy darning egg made of wood with a handy handle for quick retrieval. Yeah, like you can loose one of those things in a sock. My young husband was thrilled with the prospect of my darning his socks “just like mama” and I soon had a lap full of socks to go with the egg.

Being a crafty, but unwilling sock darner, I quickly figured out that being an expert sock darner meant an endless supply of socks to darn as my groom was an expert toenail grower.

I set about to end the ridulous practice of spending nine cents a skein on yarn for every color of sock imaginable and hours with needle, thread and darning egg. The tradition of sock darning stops here.

My first few darns were okay, but as more socks appeared in my new mending basket, I began to make lumpier and lumpier repairs. Oh, gee, seems a badly darned sock is a bit uncomfortable. Complaints from the wearer only resulted in more lumps. Finally I suggested, in a volume readily heard, that he just go buy new socks and throw the old ones away. The cost of new socks in those days was about the same as a skein of mending yarn.

“What?! And waste a perfectly good mate to the holey sock? Mama always darned my socks.”

After a brief and lively conversation about sock repair, I knew our marriage would eventually spiral downhill.

The topic, and additions to the mending basket, stopped for several weeks, then one day raised it’s ugly head with a pair of dark blue socks with holes in both toes. I offered to go that very minute and buy new ones, but nooooo, these had to be “mended” – and mended right now.

I quickly mended the socks, but not with the traditional needle, yarn, and stupid darning egg. My darling put on his socks, finished dressing and out the door he went. He never, ever asked me to darn his socks again. He even bought two dozen pairs of socks in assorted colors.

I bought a new box of staples.

P.S. (Added January 2, 2008) My sentiments were echoed in one of my favorite cartoons, Pickles, today.

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blog Block

I read somewhere that the word “blog” comes from saying “web log” real fast. What is it called when a blog writer has writer’s block? I think I have “Ogbloc ” or “Gloc” because for the past few weeks I’ve had no desire to write.

Maybe it’s the weather. Here in North Florida, it’s hot and dry one day and dry and hot the next. The lawn is crispy, the plants have wilted and some of the dogwoods are dropping leaves. I would water more, but we're in the middle of a serious drought and I don't want to add to further depletion and pollution of the Florida Aquifer.

My friend in Oklahoma said their area is covered in lush green and water overflows the banks of the North Canadian River. When I lived in Oklahoma City some years ago, at this time of year, the clay soil had cracked into miniature canyons and there was only a trickle of water in the river.

There was even a joke about the North Canadian whose riverbed was often crisscrossed with tire tracks. “Hey, do you know why there are so many cats in Oklahoma City?” “No, why are there so many cats in Oklahoma City?” “Ever try to drown a bag of kittens in the North Canadian!” (Get it? Dry river bed … oh, never mind. It’s a joke, folks, just a joke.)

Television news programs give prominence to stories about the rich and famous – over and over and over. Maybe they should find out how many of us actually care about rich people in rehab. Most of us are too busy trying to keep the electricity on, gas in the car, and food on the table.

Entertainment programming is either a “challenge” of some sort, young women vying for the attention of some past-his-prime entertainer, or just plain filth or violence or both. Some of the so-called comedy programs are so laced with profanity and vulgarity that it’s hard to know what the punch line is. And we wonder why our kids are nuts. Thank goodness for PBS and the few channels that run old sitcoms and movies.

Air pollution, water pollution, floods, droughts, global warming, wars, famine, poverty, terrorists, drugs, child abuse, elder abuse, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Ackkkkk!

And politics … oh, geeze … what is there to say other than can adult men and women who aspire to the presidency of the United States get any sillier?

As soon as the weather cools down maybe my blogability will return along with some nice rain showers that aren’t defined by a “category.” In the meantime, I’m avoiding the things that I can’t change that tick me off. Well, almost everything. Okay, just a few things. To avoid everything, I would have to live in a cave – in a different country – on a different planet.

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled life. Do not adjust your brain. Plenty of people are willing to do that for you.

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Guest Blogger on “Time Goes By”

One of the first sites I found when I started blogging two years ago was Ronni Bennett’s Time Goes By. Wow, I thought, what a terrific writer and what great issues she chooses to champion. Ronni’s focus is on topics important to us elderly folks: health care, retirement, discrimination, even other bloggers. She recently started a second site for us to tell our stories at The Elder Storytelling Place.

Ronni has also been pivotal in changing our vocabulary. I never liked the word “senior” when applied to us; it sounds like we skip about in caps and gowns, grey hair aflutter in the breeze, as we graduate into the unknown. Along came our Ronni using “elder” and we enthusiastically embraced the new-old word and celebrated as it morphed into other terms like “elderblogger.”

I, like many of Ronni’s devoted readers, have received her generous pats on the back, words of encouragement and sage advice. I am a better writer and much better elderblogger because of her examples and enthusiasm.

My ego soared when Ronni published two of my stories on her Storytelling site. When her invitation came to be one of five guest bloggers while she was on vacation from Time Goes By, I drove family and friends crazy with my elation. Me, little ol’ me! OMG!

Now it’s official. Today is the day my guest shot (well, what would you call it?) appears. While I’m off being goofy with ego-itus, mixed with strong shots of humility, for the rest of the day, please come visit my contribution, “A Dose of Laughter.”

Thanks, Ronni, for making one elder gal feel very “spechul.”

Oh, and if you haven’t already, be sure to bookmark Time Goes By and The Elder Storytelling Place to visit again and again.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Have you ever been in a crowded grocery checkout line and one person’s cell phone “rings” and fifteen people dig for their own phones, even though the chances are good that their ringtone is not the same?

Have you ever wished for a magic wand to wave and mutter “cellphoneusringossameos” (Why, yes, I am a Harry Potter fan. Why do you ask?) to change all the ringtones in the surrounding area to one tune? Can you just imagine all those people scrambling for their phones, looking at the Caller I.D, then slapping the device against their free hand as they try to figure out what went wrong? Can you also imagine what the sound would be like if all those phones chirped out “I Like to Move It” from the movie Madagascar or the sequence of cannon fire from the 1812 Overture?

Have you ever wondered why the people who get the most calls have the most difficult time finding their cell phones? You’ve seen them – women digging in the bottom of large purses or men patting jackets and back pockets. Then there are the people with their phones clipped to belts or onto, not in, purses. They are usually the ones who don’t get many calls.

How about the loud talkers? Don’t you just love ‘em? Want to have some fun? Make a call or pretend to make a call, get up beside the loud talker, then shout into your phone that you can’t hear, that someone is shouting into your other ear. Be prepared to run, just in case.

A loud talker with an ear phone can be quite interesting. They can also give really dirty looks if you try to get into their conversation or interrupt to ask directions. Have a good exit plan just in case they don’t appreciate your interest.

When was the last time you left your house and realized you forgot your cell phone? Kind of like being naked in public isn’t it? Thoughts race through you head. Where did I leave it? What if I get a call? What if I need to make a call? What if I really am naked on this street corner? What if that guy next to me has one of those camera phones?

What about the people who don’t have cell phones? They function quite nicely. They seem to be much calmer and are much safer drivers. No ringtones to anguish over, no worry about battery life, no dropped calls or dead zones to explain. Ah, the good life.

Then there are . . .

Oh, wait, is that my ... yes, yes, I have to get that. I know it’s here. I can hear the cannons firing.

© Copyright 2007 Suzzwords