Who Needs Punctuation??? (Yes–We Do!!!)

This and That

Punctuation is one of my most favorite topics.

I regularly yell at signs posted on businesses along the roadway who declare such comments as WE HAVE WATERMELON’S TODAY.  Or worse yet SUNDAY SERVICE’S, or even… 4 SAIL SHOE’S.

Yep, the culprit–misuse of apostrophe’s.  (Yes I spelled it on purpose…just sayin’.)

Wrongly spelled words bug me.  Especially when  posted on a SCHOOL sign!!!   Once I actually did a wheelie and turned around to go into a school and discuss their spelling… CORNGRADULATIONS!!!  OK, I didn’t even see the “corn” part of the word.    The school principal and a teacher happened to be in the office when I entered (yes, I really did!) and I explained the error on the sign.   They blithely explained that the sign was advertising a Fall wing-ding of some kind, and that the “CORN” was a pun.

So I explained…it is the GRAD part that is in error.   It was supposed to be “congraTulations.”

Blank looks… “oh,” said one of the educators… “I missed that.”    The luke-warm response only echoed their shocked expressions….ALSO–they did not seem to “get it” as when I passed later in the day the sign had not been corrected.

I love punctuation, especially elipses (the little line of three dots) and I try not to confuse them with dashes–,  or with parentheses.    English teachers and college professors are always so serious and narrow-minded about such things.

When I graded students’ papers I usually noted misplaced punctuation or corrected it…on the premise that since it was a History exam, dealing with something like the Sedition Act for example, it was over-kill to expect proper spelling and grammar.  Some of my fellow teaching assistants leaned heavily on bad commas or misspelled words… I just clearly wrote the word Sedition over their “Cedision” or other invented word.    One said he never counted or even marked bad spelling because he was not a very good speller himself, and usually didn’t notice.

I love exclamation points!!! and don’t ya love question marks ???  CAPITALS, italics, bold, color, ♥, or ℘ (which is the symbol for Weierstrass p (in case ya ever need it…one never knows!!!) NOTE: on the WordPress editing page the symbol to bring to your fingertips (I guess every one in the world?) is the  Ω .   It’s on the chart by the indent keys on the second line.   DISCLAIMER: I’m going to quit while I’m ahead there…it’s not at all confusing if one knows what they are looking for, but a little voice is whispering to me that I’m getting dangerously close to silly.  

Seriously, this is really a wonderful collection,  and one I would have welcomed when writing in Spanish.  There was a way to manually “build” a system of characters into a regular WordPerfect set-up, and I did so…and I could use the normal keys for adding accented vowels by using the CTRL key (or other)  and capital and lower case letters.   Also the ñ Ñ ¿ ¡ and
others.   This was very convenient when working with these characters.    The trick worked on the computer keyboard, and when I got a new computer I’d have to re-set my shortcut system.

Yes, this WAS before Word was even a twinkle in Microsoft’s eye.   WordPerfect was the industry standard, and the word processing system required by Cleveland State U, and which we were able to learn in the CSU computer lab free of charge.  Prior to WordPerfect I had used WordStar, which was an excellent system that came with early home computers.  I have written about that elsewhere, if anyone is interested.  https://mumbletymuse.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/by-the-dots/”>By the Dots</a>

A story involving a dog named Bob…


 A Tall Tale, told in jest, on a sort of a “dare.”  

The mail carrier arrives in her little truck about one p.m.   We have a big mailbox, which will hold good-sized packages along with lots of regular mail, which sits out by the road.  Except for watching on-coming traffic, which I avoid by standing behind and to the side of the box.

Sometimes our mail-lady is off, and another carrier fills in for her.   The substitute whips up to the box, jerks it open, and tosses the mail inside.  There is often a letter intended for someone else, a neighbor or down-the-road addressee.   The sub can be as late as six p.m., and is rarely here earlier than noon.

So when  I heard the mail truck at about 10:30, with its distinctive motor sound, from the kitchen where I was making pancakes for breakfast, and had just served myself a tall stack of pancakes– it encouraged me to run out to see what treasures the mail carrier was depositing in my mailbox.

Dashing out the front door, completely forgetting the bluejay who was concerned about her nest, which she had built in a tree near the porch.  We could hear the baby birds chirping, but I had forgotten them on my haste to get to the mailbox.

The bird, apparently surprised and quite agitated, did a bombing run over my head, diving and squawking as bluejays will do.  I did avoid the bird, which returned to her nest when I had passed.

When I got to the mailbox, I saw that the lazy substitute had decided to just hang the rather large package by its string, from the flag meant to indicate the presence of out-going mail.

It had started to rain, and when I got to the package the ink which had been used for addressing the package had a few drops of rain which had smeared the address, causing the black ink to smudge, and when I extricated the package from the flag, I managed to get black ink on my hands, and on my clothing.

As I dashed back to the house, the bluejay squawked loudly but did not bother to threaten me with its dive-bombing technique.

I could hear Bob, our Irish setter, barking inside the house, and as I entered the kitchen the cat, Trinket, jumped off of the table…knocked over the plate which was holding my stack of pancakes, and accidentally tracked syrup all over the table and when she jumped off the table the whole thing crashed to the floor: the dog, the cat, the plate, the syrup bottle, the pancakes spread with butter and syrup…and the sticky sweet syrup blended unpleasantly with the running ink from the package.

What a mess!  And guess what–there was no mail, only the package.

Housekeeping…blog edition

My Place

It’s about time I changed my blog around, even it is only a new header image and a new background color.  There is a lot of other tweaks and major renovation to be done, but that will have to wait awhile.   The Big Job around here is that the contractors are finally going to get here on June 8, ready to rip out half of my ceilings and replace drywall.   Nationwide paid on my claim months ago, and it is really amazing that they trusted me with sole discretion in dispersing the money.   The delay is largely my fault…being as how I preferred not to deal with major renovation while sick in bed with some mysterious illness…even my doctor didn’t commit himself to its nature, and basically said I would just have to deal with the hallucinations from the heavy-duty cough syrup…or do without and cough my guts out.  That illness took three weeks to conquer.

There is a silver lining in the Big Job…I have been forced to clear out tons of stuff (boxes of stuff) and books, out of my bedroom and the china cabinets in the kitchen/dining room.  On my  behalf I would like to say that the influx of “stuff” had two sources: namely my flea market indoor shops and antique mall shop, which were closed by me two years ago or so, resulted in moving all that stuff, including at least a thousand books, out of the shops into my garage, basement, and every room in my house.

Whew!  Thus the silver lining…all that stuff is being funneled back out to the garage, and later to other destinations.  Such as the Goodwill, maybe a yard sale, a now-is-your-chance-get-it-now-or-forget-it invitation to my family.

It is noteworthy that the trash cans and once-a-month-pick-up trucks have already gotten their share of discards.

Any way, to get on about the Blog.   I like the new color.   The header image change has been delayed by the sad facts concerning my suddenly forgetting everything I ever knew about camera-to-computer work.  The solution to that was really rather obvious (I’m a great follower of Occam’s Razor) in that the camera I was using had never been introduced to the computer!  Yes, I should be ashamed to admit it.  It’s easier to just blame Windows 8.1 for my failing computer skills…but that is another story.

My search for a new theme for Sometimes continues, however.   I keep returning to Bold Life theme.

well Bunky, that’s life at my place–both Cyber and Real.

Passwords and User Name Woes


(original title:


Every one of the accounts I have…personal, business, creditors…requires a password.  I have three Yahoo accounts that I use frequently, and each has a separate password.  Today I changed the password on one of the account’s three times.  I didn’t write it down, forgot it, it just plain slipped right out of brain.

It’s not easy to come up with these passwords.  They…you know, “They,” warn of dire consequences for using the same password in ALL accounts…they send little messages with snide remarks such as “Sorry, you have used that password before,”  “you may NOT use certain characters but there must be at least one number, one apostrophe, one hash mark, one capital letter, and an original unique character,” … and my personal favorite:  “that is the most used password on the internet.”

OK, so they usually don’t add “Dummy!” to their warnings….but it is strongly implied.

Yes, I do write down new passwords as I create them.  The issue with me is always WHERE I wrote it.  Sometimes in my password notebook, which is almost indecipherable by now–and thus perfectly safe from any snooping eyes.  But its the passwords scribbled on envelopes, the phone book, calendars, mail, or slips of paper with cryptic notes that may or may not be a password.

While I’m on the subject–I hate creating email addresses and User Names.

Creating a new user name is always a challenge.  One can always use their own name…. say Agnes.   On comes the snarky note: “Agnes is taken.   You can use Agnes389, or Agnes.389 (that’s a DOT,)  or Agnes_389…  (that’s an underscore, but no one who ever learned typing ever heard of an underscore, it’s just a classy name for underline….I hate that, too for what it’s worth.)   That system depends on all the other Agnes’s remembering their own numbers…I have often wondered if numbers used that way are really a viable system, whereby theoretically there is an Agnes_388.  If indeed there is, couldn’t that lead to confusion?

And no matter how obscure my choice for a user name name happens to be–there is always someone with the same name.  Really.

Another thing, once an address is created for an account it appears to remain forever, and requests to have it deleted defy solution.  I had a great email name once, about ten years ago, that I thought was ingeniously clever in its simple beauty.  Somehow, some dastardly evil tekkie, with too much time on their  hands, allowed the account to start sending out spam to all my friends, relatives, acquaintances, and utility bills, and credit cards.    So I called the ISP and although the support person was at least nominally sympathetic, they assured me that my problem was completly unique…had never happened before in the history of the internet.

I get that a lot.   🙂

High Noon: The Brownie Emergency


[Today’s DAILY POST: Write about what you are doing, or thinking, at exactly High Noon today.]

One of good character qualities (yes, I do have some) is that I make every effort to be at appointments at exactly, or a little before, the appointed hour.  Sure, the key words are “make every effort,” but I really am good about being on time…unless I have forgotten and miss the date completely.

Today is no exception.  My Easter lunch date with my sister-in-law and a couple of her friends at the retirement center where they all live, was set for Noon.  High noon.  So I duly completed the shower, and got dressed–which included searching for some decent pants to wear, as blue jeans are frowned upon if not banned from the dining room at dinner.  Fortunately my navy blue Crocs surfaced in time, on the last-ditch search, so I didn’t have to wear the really ratty old tan Crocs…which would have ruined the perfect ensemble: a Kelly green top, navy dressy- cardigan sweater, and dark navy pants.  OK, they were jeans, but no one noticed.   Oh, in case any one is wondering: white socks…I really need to get some dark blue socks.

Any way, by about 11:30 I was looking about as spiffy as I get, and was scurrying to get out of the house before my son got home from church with the crisis of the day.   We had baked brownies last night, but due to me supervising and lecturing about reading directions and measuring correctly, the result was something like sweet coffee grounds mixed up with a lot of oil.  They tasted ok, but there was no way they could be allowed to travel to anyone’s home for Easter dinner.

Too late.   My motherly instincts got the best of me, and I suggested that I help measure out the Brownie mix ingredients properly, grease the pan with Crisco instead of nasty spray crap, and set the timer.  For good measure I turned on the oven, set the timer, and beat it out of the kitchen before something else came up.

The drive is about seven miles (I clocked it.)  Which reminds me, my odometer passed 66,666 miles at almost exactly HIGH NOON.   I was afraid that I was late, but when I looked at the clock inside the lobby while meeting my dinner dates, it was… exactly 12:00 NOON GMT-5.   Eastern Standard Time here in Ohio .

Brunch was wonderful…rare prime rib, Yum, scalloped potatoes, buttered carrots, super duper REN salad (whatever that is, it is good…) ubiquitous zucchini/carrot/green bean vegetable mix, Ham w/Raisin Sauce– nice, and bread, muffins and full salad bar.   PLUS… scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage–brunch food.

Don’t ya just hate people who insist on elaborating on every stinking detail about the menu?

I’m really glad I found my navy blue Crocs–there were women there with crystal-studded high heels, fancy swirling skirts and gorgeous dresses.   And the men!  Well I never saw so many great looking guys with spiffy shirts and bright ties…I don’t think there were any suits, maybe a sport coat or two.

As for the blue jean ban.  Originally, as I understand it, jeans were banned in the dining room…period.  But apparently there was an uprising which resulted in the ban being relaxed, and now… well bring on the denim.

I think I was the only one wearing Crocs, though.  I don’t care.  Really.  The very first time I saw the ugly duckling shoes it was love at first sight.   For the first time in my entire life I can walk or stand for hours in my shoes and not have my feet killing me.  End of gratuitous mention….  🙂

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Three Letter Words.”

As long as I am trying to respond to today’s post without using three letter words, I think I will employ this same venue to address a regular post that I have planned.    (Ha! thought I’d be tricked into using this word “utilize” which I hate.  My BFFs vocalize that since I tend to hate everything, they tend to be correct.)

Up to this point I am afraid  my writing is stilted, also awkward.    Sorry about that, I didn’t make this rule.

[Also, a caveat is that I hereby state:  three-letter words herein definitely slipped by– tend to be accidental brain-editing.].

What I want to write about is further exploration of yesterday’s post about re-arranging, also generally spruce-up, my blog.  I have been, in past times, an active member of what is called “Grammar Police.”  As a card-carrying member I have been sworn to uphold certain rules of speech.  1. Spelling. 2. Punctuation. 3. Clarity–or Making Sense.

Spelling is a bugaboo in English language.    I won’t speak to other languages, although  I have been told that Spanish is largely free from mis-use of vowel pronounciation. Letter  A is ” ah”  regardless of position.  If this is true, which I admit to being unsure of  factually,–it is darn good planning on whoever achieved Spanish grammrar rules.

I once made a poster-size chart of 21, that’s  TWENTY-ONE, different pronounciation uses of  Letter “I” (or maybe “E”…in many cases both…purpose of lesson used both in conjunction to produce an “e” sound.  Long “e”, that is.)   Unfortunately that chart disappeared years hence, although those kinds of facts tend to live on in my brain’s filing cabinets (also known as  cardboard boxes.)

This chart involved a newspaper article I wrote which explained a teaching tool used by local schools, known as Initial Teaching Alphabet .  Three of my five children learned to read (also write) by this method of reading instruction.  I hear some “ah-ha!–just three instead of five?”  Oldest learned elsewhere in a different school district; other enrolled in mentally challenged school where they refrained from teaching reading at this time.

I want to elaborate by saying I found this method to be excellent.   Altough  I admit to being a loyal member of “lunatic-fringe” minions in many issues, it needs to be said that I found myself in very good company…school people as well as “furriners” such as reportedly Royal Family kids (remaining obscure until I re-check my facts) that became readers through being taught with Initial Teaching Alphabet materials.

As an added incentive, my post will include a dynamic illustrated story called: PLEECEMAN JOE, written by a first-grader using some special characters.  Absolutely, shamless exploitation!

That is a whole different blog post…those even vaguely interested should consider themselves hereby invited to stay tuned.

Just being “lunatic fringe” doesn’t mean I’m wrong…


OK, OK, where’s the darn space button?


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.”

This prompt is especially appropriate, as my friend in Virginia and I are exchanging cell numbers after at least 15 years of being email BFFs.   Yesterday in fact when a strange text came across I suspiciously replied to her question asking if I had received the text.   Fearing a dreaded bill collector or some other suspicious sender, I managed to spell out “Who?”

Being as how I don’t text much, having sent illiterate comments in reply to birthday greetings or such from the kids.   I was embarrassed to tap out something like: whoisthisandwhatdoyouwant… which actually isn’t too bad, the letters are all run together but easy to read, thanks to having managed to hit the right keys…so a simple word WHO conveyed my message.

After a few minutes trying to find the <space> button, my friend figured out that I had gotten the message, which was her purpose in sending the text in the first place.

But seriously, my daughters and nieces manage to plan very complicated holiday get togethers and birthday bashes, rock concerts, picnics, and roll-calls for attendance….all with text messages.  They can tell within a few minutes (providing all are available of course) who will be there, the nature of the occasion, and who will bring the deviled eggs.  Plus assorted other pertinent details.

Yes, I have a phone with a slide out section, and I do know where the space key is on there.  However, I rarely use the keyboard there, although it is a QWERTY keyboard that I have used for 70 years and know and love.

I can’t seem to get over the tiny keyboard, and have never typed with my thumbs.

So up until now I have only used my text capability to get number codes from tech support, and for forgotten passwords.

In my defense, I will point out that I had my first computer in 1983, and taught myself everything I knew up to Windows 8.1–which is impossible.

I have blogged about my history with computers in a post called Rise of the Machine, which in case anyone is interested, can be found at http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

So OK, I will learn to text.  But the thought of typing with my thumbs just strikes me as weird.  🙂

Thinking about Winning the Lottery


Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?”
  (  DailyPost idea for today.)

The Day I thought I won the Lottery.

Every now and then I buy some scratch-off lottery tickets, and once in a while occasionally I win a dollar or two, which I almost always put in my pocket instead of buying a new ticket.  The most I ever won was within a one period week a few years ago, when I got $100 from a lottery ticket at the flea market, and later that same week won another $100, plus two $20, at the little store near home.    Very nice, but highly unusual.

Then last year, at the same store, I splurged $5.00 on a lottery ticket.  It was one of those deals where there was a bonus grid, in addition to the main one.  The bonus numbers somehow corresponded IF certain conditions were met.  So when I scratched off winning numbers, I was pleased to find that I had managed to win the basic combination–about $5, which meant I had recouped my investment.

But then, believing I had qualified to scratch off the bonus game, I was thrilled to see that as I cleared each number it was one of the winners.   The total prize was $150,000!   I couldn’t believe my good fortune.   The clerk was busy with other customers, and as I stood there with my wealthy ticket clutched in my hand, I ran through my daydream sequence in my mind about what I would do if I won a lot of money.

Talk about excited…my heart was pounding.   But when I handed the ticket to the clerk to validate it, she sort of nonchalantly handed me a $5 bill.  I was crushed, and positive that she had made a mistake.   I asked her, rather stupidly in retrospect, “is this not a $150,000 ticket?”   She said no, and explained to me that I had read the lottery instructions wrong, and had not met the rules for the big prize.

By this time we had drawn quite a crowd…well, just a couple people, but still…and I felt really stupid. They were all looking at me, stuttering and crushed– I was so disappointed.

I was reminded about that experience this morning when the insurance adjustor was here inspecting the water damage on most of my ceilings.    The phone rang, and it was a computer announcing:  “You have been selected to receive a $250,000 CASH business loan!”   I said “yeah, right” and hung up.   The adjustor asked me what? and I told him.

Boy, I could sure use that kind of money.   Let’s see, I’d pay off the house, give my kids each a few grand, buy a place in Tucson…. buy some new shoes, get some gravel for the driveway, new carpeting…lots of places for some extra money!  🙂

Getting the most from Photography practice


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Third From the Top.”

Make sure I use these parcels of enlightenment to gain as much knowledge to make my blog photographs….as good as they can be.”

(This is the third sentence (slightly paraphrased) from Mark Bialczak’s blog, at http://markbialczak.com/2015/03/25/photo-101-keeping-my-edge-aligned/  which I highly recommend.)

(Actually Mark is referring to his photography using his camera phone, but in keeping with the assignment I elected to edit his words to adapt to my own post.   I hope he won’t mind 🙂

The hints and tips offered by bloggers and WordPress support people are invaluable to me  in improving my own photography skills.  In fact the very concept of being “required” to do the exercises is extremely helpful as it brings some order into my chaotic work schedule.   The word required in this useage refers to my own personal requirements, forcing me to participate–. there are NO mandatory requirements to the DailyPost feature. only suggestions.

I have been taking photographs for a very long time.  Haven’t won any prizes, but have  learned a lot through trial-and-error, and instruction here and there– from my staff photographer buddy at the newspaper where I worked years ago, and from my husband, who was an accomplished and experienced photographer.

My original working camera was a Yashika-Mat, which I still have.  However, I can’t find it at this moment when I want to take a photo of it.  [To see my search method of operation please see  http://mumbletymuse.com/2015/02/23/mad-woman-searching-for-lost-things/  which pretty much sums it up.]

Anyway, I supported five kids for two years with use of that camera…(not well, but adequately.)     It was recommended by my friend at the paper, as being relatively easy to use, and indeed it was quite serviceable.  The Yashika-Mat paid for itself several times over in the years I used it.  I was not a staff photographer, but as a reporter and then features writer I did personally take a lot of the casual photos used with my articles.

Later I had a variety of 35-mm SLR cameras, including a Nikon, a couple of Hewlett-Packards, another Nikon, and now my Sony Sure-Shot, which has a Carl Zeiss lens, and 4xZoom, plus a “no shake” feature to compensate for my…well, shaking.  🙂  Once I used some of the excellent advice and tips found here from Mark and other real photographers (and reading the instruction manual) I have come to respect this nice little Sony.  Still no prize-winning photos, but so far I have been very pleased with its range and versatility.

It is important to say that I depend heavily on automatic cameras, and it has been years since I actually tried to use the 35mm settings.  One of my difficulties was that it is hard to stay still, and my vision has not really been conducive to good focusing skills.    My proficiency with f-stops and lighting has never been excellent, either.

Nevertheless, over the years I have managed to take photos that are at least passable, some of them pretty high quality at least as far as esthetics, if not technical skills…if I do say so myself.  I would add, that my short-comings as a photographer have not particularly worsened with advancing age, so I can’t use that excuse.  🙂

Something that I have learned over the years is that skilled operation of almost anything comes with practice.  I know that’s pretty mundane, but still, part of my issues with photography has been lack of preparation, and neglecting to “get to know my camera.”

That means it wasn’t the best idea to take a brand new camera on a trip to Mexico and read the instruction manual in the van riding to and from wonderful photo-ops.  Sure, my photos that resulted were not all really bad, they just could have been better with a bit of effort on my part.

That’s the story of my life, photography chapter.