Questioning Questions For Good Reason . . . . .

I wonder if I am the only one who has this problem. Crazy as it sounds, if I forget my password to enter an account, I can’t answer the most common security questions that are asked of me. Recently I was presented with a very long list of questions, but could not respond to a single one of them. For instance:

What street did you live on as a child?  Lived on a farm, no street address.

Name of your first pet?   5 barn cats, all without names

Model of your first car?   I was a girl.  I never had a car in my own name.

What is your favorite food? I have no idea. Everything’s good.

Last 4 numbers of your childhood telephone number? I can’t remember a number, but I know how many rings.

On what street does your nearest sibling live? All my siblings are in heaven. I don’t know if they have streets.

Who was captain of your football team? We didn’t have football.

Who was your homecoming queen? We didn’t have homecoming.

What was your favorite CD?  Are you kidding?

What was your favorite TV show as a child?  Are you kidding?

The list goes on and on without a single one I can use. So I wonder if someone should not make up a new list for seniors. Like:

  1. How many longs and shorts were in your telephone ring?
  2. As a child, what was your favorite cake?
  3. Best kind of pickles your mother canned?
  4. How many of your brothers and cousins were in WWII?
  5. Who was your favorite crooner?
  6. What was the name of your schoolbus driver?
  7. What was the name of your Sunday School teacher?
  8. How many town drunkards were in your town?
  9. Name an occasion for which you wore a hat and gloves.
  10. What was your favorite after-school radio show?

At least, if someone gets into our accounts it will be someone our own age or thereabouts, and that is highly unlikely because by then it will be time for a nap and when they wake up they will have forgotten all about it.

A Shoe-in as Potential Customer . . . . . . .


These things happen, despite anything we do, and patterns are set in place that cause funny stuff we didn’t ask for.

Like, the other day I thought it about time to replace my comfortable old, old walking shoes.  So I shopped online for that specific same shoe which I’ve bought more than once in the past.  It is apparently a popular shoe that’s been made for years by Rockport, because every site had a record of the shoe but none had one in stock for women.  They all had the exact same walking shoe for men, and displayed them from every angle, but of course I’m not a man so I dropped the search.

But the computer didn’t.  Now the computer thinks I am searching for men’s walking shoes, and their ads are creeping into my mail and sneaking around the edges of any story I pull up online.  If I check the weather, or the stockmarket, my screen will revert briefly to pictures of men’s shoes.  If I check out a recipe I must first check out men’s walking shoes.

It’s a trap I’ve been in before with other searches.  I want to scream at my computer “I am not searching for men’s shoes!” but there’s no one there to hear me.  There is no general complaint department for cyberland, as far as I know.  If you get into trouble online it is of your own doing.      When I see how easy it is for a simple tiny thing to lead to such a complete misunderstanding, I wonder how many big misunderstandings came out of a simple screw- up in communications between family members, governments, countries.

Maybe Dad says you know we haven’t had tomato soup for a long time.  Just a passing thought.  Now he eats tomato soup every night for a week.

Dad asks Mom what she would like for Christmas, and after many sighs she finally says, “Well, I could use some new pans.”

So Dad goes shopping, painful as it is, and wanders into places he’s never been, painful as it is, and buys a gift, and when she opens it Mom says “Oh, isn’t that nice?”  And tucks it away rather than passing around her package of three pairs of silky under pants.

Stepping up to communications between congressmen, or between countries, I can’t even begin to imagine the slip-ups that take place. Nor do I wish to.  Like no, no we said to return the captives …NOT burn the captives.  Or a congressman who says “Come vote with me” NOT “come on my boat with me.”

And if the government orders guns it won’t want to be plagued with ads for toy guns at Walmart.  Bad, bad substitution.

Dumber Yet . . . . . . .

Yes.  My daughter reminds me that I did once do something so dumb it puts me in the running for top prize.

This was years ago when the children were small.  They were upset because a storm had taken out our electricity.  We will freeze, they said.  And I said no, we’ll just open the oven door and it will be warm in the kitchen.  Duh.  The stove was electric.  We can’t watch TV., the kids said.  And I said well you can just listen to the radio like I did when I was your age.  Duh.

Sara says I told them to crawl into bed with the electric blanket, but I disagree.  I’m not THAT dumb.

Dumb and Dumber . . . . .

I did a dumb thing today.  Sorta’.  I’ll tell you about it in a minute.

I think every family has stories they pass down about dumb things they did.  We tell them at reunions.  The stories start out “Remember the time that (name) did (such and such) and there’s always someone who doesn’t know the story, so it has to be told  in colorful fashion, probably by the person with the best memory..

I. adored my grandparents and learned so much from them.  Grandad was a former teacher and could do complicated math problems quickly in his head with no pencil or paper.  Grandma cared for a big house and a big garden, canned enough food to last the winter, made gorgeous quilts.  But they each did a dumb thing.

Grandad bought a new pair of pajamas and when he found they were too long he decided he could fix them himself without bothering Grandma.  So, home alone one day, he went to work with scissors and Grandma’s sewing machine.  He did the cutting, made new little hems and stitched them as he had seen his wife do.  Then, when he decided to try them on, he found to his surprise that he had shortened one leg and one sleeve.  That was a dumb thing.

Grandma once called Mom and said she had hurt her hand rather badly when she shut the car door on it.  Mom rushed to her house, took Grandma out to the car and asked exactly what had happened.  Grandma said “Look.  I will show you  exactly how it happened.”  And she did.   Oooooooooooh..  That was a dumb thing.

Well, my dumb story isn’t that interesting, but it’s true.  I was paring potatoes with a potato parer, the kind with two blades and a slit in the middle that the peelings go through.  I pared my finger.

That’s the end of the story.  I pared my finger.  Just the tip, but it did spoil the day I’d planned to finish typing the final copy of my forthcoming book.  That was a dumb thing.

But not quite dumb enough to make a good story, and I can be glad for that.


Looking Out At Autumn . . . . .



It is a lovely October day.  I should go for a walk.  But I’m here at the computer still preparing my book to go to print.  We may make it yet before Christmas.  When they say self-publish they mean it.  You do most of the work yourself.  Can you imagine my dismay after typing a complete book to find that it can’t be submitted if typed in an early version of Word?  (I’m using the early version because I hate the newer ones.)

A trip to my favorite geek may or may not have solved the problem, as he was able to transfer the script to a newer version.  We’ll see if it flies.

Speaking of flying, my youngest son flew in yesterday and had lunch with me.  Tom flies for Southwest, but this week he is in Nebraska not to fly but to bike with friends over the Nebraska Cowboy Trail, the route going across Nebraska on that narrow strip that used to carry trains.

Since I’ve been rather homebound and rather busy, I did my autumn photo through my front door.  My maples are red again and soon will be naked.  I must have started My Notebook a year ago because one of my first posts was about these trees.  My,  time goes fast.

Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge for the pot 2 minutes old

I am not into exchanging recipes right now, something I did years ago as a new housewife.  In fact, I don’t even cook as much as I used to, but I do cook every night. . . for one.  Now, there’s an art to that.  I look for quick and easy ways, and I’ve got to tell you that one of my answers I found on TV ads.

You know that neat little brown pot with a lid that was championed and you probably said, “Uh huh.”.  Well, it really is as great as they say.  To order online it costs somewhere around $20 or more, with postage, but I  found this little magic pot at Walmart for $8.00.


Tonight I sliced into it a small potato, some green pepper, some onion, and slices of zucchini. I seasoned and added a little butter (because I’m an Iowan).   I put it into the microwave for somewhere between 2 and 3 minutes and then added a slice of cheese to melt while I put the rest of the meal together.  I had a hamburger patty simmering on the stove, and I did a makeshift salad of cottage cheese, fruit and a sprinkling of dried cranberries.  It was a great meal, done in just a few minutes.

I have also enjoyed  baking slices of apple with cinnamon and sugar and butter in my cute little brown pot, in two or three minutes.   Heaven knows what else you can think of, but to me it is indeed a magic pot.  I keep one as well in my Honolulu home, and I’ve given several for gifts.

Just sayin’.