Flash Fiction #164

DC Tour

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

DAY TO DAY GRIND

We visited a couple of friends in Washington, DC, for the first time.  I left our tourist itinerary in his capable hands; a day to see the White House, a day at the Washington Monument and the National Mall, a day to explore the Smithsonian, a day to marvel at the Pentagon.

He warned us that there would be a lot of foot-travel.  Anything in DC worth visiting, is on a walking tour.  He urged us to, “Rest up; by the time we’re done, you’ll be worn to a nub.”

I just thought that he meant from the bottom up.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

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30-Day Challenge To Like

Another Challenge

The challenge list composer has committed double jeopardy, so I’m going to join #3, and #6 together.

#3  What kind of person attracts you?
#6  The person you like, and why you like them.

It seems to me that, the kind of person who attracts me, would also be the kind of person that I like.  The wording of #6 also confuses me.  Does the list compiler feel that I can only “like” one person at a time, or is this question supposed to be cumulative, like #3, and better worded as, The kind of person you like?

A lecturer at a company seminar explained about ‘the range’ of people that we can reach and get along with.  He had us imagine a peg-board with one peg in it.  Over the peg was a loop of string.  You could put your finger inside the loop, and swirl it around the peg.  You would only reach a limited number of other peg-holes.

You could move the peg, but you would only reach the same number of other holes, and they would be a completely different set from the first lot.  The most successful salesman types were the ones who could make their personality like a large elastic, and stretch to reach the entire board.

Like Mary’s little lamb, the kind of person that I like, is one who likes me.  I am not much interested in turning my personality into a rubber band.  Too soon, my scope would include Kardashians, Bible-thumpers, and penis-envy jerks who drive Hummers while wearing civilian clothes.

I like folks who like me for me, psychoses, warts and all.  I am what I am.  In a conversation with my son recently, he said, “I wonder what normal people are like?”  Those who I like, and would want to like me, would have to be intelligent, independent, free-thinking, educated, open-minded, and capable of handling the English language like a fidget-spinner.

I have been so fortunate with this blog site to, at least virtually, attract a considerable number of people like that.  I’ve had the good fortune, to travel and meet a couple of fellow-bloggers in person, and I’m whirling like that fidget spinner myself, at the thought of meeting another Dynamic Duo of them.  I only hope that, having attracted them, they will not find me a challenge to like in person, the way they did through the filter of the internet.  I’ll keep you posted.  😀

 

’18 A To Z Challenge – G

 

Challenge '18Letter G

For the letter G, I want to take you from Sheep to Socks, through

GADGETS

In my Rapunzel post, I told of my daughter, who is a spinster – literally a woman who spins yarns.  While she also does it with cotton, bamboo, milkweed silk, dog fur, angora, llama and other, more exotic fibers, she most often spins wool.  There’s a lot more to it than just spinning, so I thought I’d show you some of the gadgets necessary to get from a naked ewe, to a well-clad me.

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Most sheared fleece the daughter obtains, has already been washed.  If not, she has to soak it clean to remove dust, dirt, and the natural lanolin.  The above picture is of two hand carders.  Like giant, curved brushes, handfuls of the raw wool are placed on one of them, and then ‘combed,’ to align all the fibers.  Hand-carding is a long, tedious operation.  She also has a hand-cranked drum-carder, but needs the moved-away grandson, to run it.  Usually she just purchases ‘roving,’ which is a commercially produced, loose, fluffy rope of fiber, already for spinning.

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This is a drop-spindle.  Hung vertically, and brushed against the leg to rotate it, the yarn grows ‘up’ until it’s wound onto the spindle to hold it, and the process is repeated.  This one is fairly small, for producing delicate yarns.  Depending on the size, these can produce anything from the finest yarn, up to ships’ ropes.

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These are slightly larger drop-spindles for heavier yarns, one wound with thread the daughter has already produced.  These are all commercially made, but the daughter has several that she built herself from readily available household items.

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This is the smaller one of the daughter’s spinning wheels.  Her larger, better one has two foot treadles, to prevent a sore, tired leg from pumping with just one foot.  Through gear-ratio, the large wheel rotates the small spindle quite quickly, and the thread/yarn flows off as fast as the spinner can keep up.

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This little storage bobbin hangs off the side of the spinning wheel.  As the loose yarn accumulates, it can be temporarily wound on here, until the batch is finished.

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This is called a Knitty-Knotty.  The finished yarn is wound on from the bobbin, up-down, back and forth, then slipped off as a skein.  A loose skein of yarn is not handy to knit from.  The yarn can tangle, or it can fall to the floor.

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This gadget is known as a swift.  A skein can be held in the Vee of the center.  The shaft slides up and down to change its spread, and match the circumference of any skein.  You may notice that all these gadgets are made of wood.  Spinners and craftsmen developed and built their ancestors from wood, long before metal crafting became cheap and commonly possible, so there has been little reason to change what works in wood, into metal.  Steel/aluminum swifts are available, but they are not as inexpensive, tend to jam or tear yarn, and fall apart sooner.

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At this point, the daughter’s yarn reels off the wife’s swift, and goes onto her winder, to produce a small, firm, easy to find and control ball, that will sit on her lap, or drop into a knitting bag.  This is about the only gadget which has successfully been fabricated from plastic and metal.  Like a little sewing machine, the wire arm shuttles back and forth, to produce that round, even ball.

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The daughter knits a variety of things.  Her hand-spun yarns and knitted items can be viewed online at http://www.facebook.com/frogpondcollective .  In the past, the wife has also knitted a wide range of clothing items, but now concentrates on custom-fitted socks.  Non-elastic socks don’t ‘fit all.’  She makes them for the daughter, our son, the grandson and now his fiancée.  The above pair were lovingly crafted for me, when it became apparent that my aging body couldn’t pump enough blood to my feet at night to keep them warm enough so that I could sleep.

***

In last year’s A To Z Challenge – K I included information about Herbert, Lord Kitchener, for whom this city is now named.  While not a very nice man, he did accomplish one nice thing.  Hand-knit socks, the only kind available back then, were basically tubes.  The toes were sewn closed, leaving a protruding, rough ridge on the inside.

Kitchener found that, after marching his men for hundreds of miles, their toes were raw and bloody, and the men would refuse to march further, or be unable to manoeuvre when needed.  He went to some women who knitted socks, explained the problem, and asked if there was a solution.  At least one of them said that there was, and explained it to him (or his aide.)

Without being able to knit a stitch himself, he is given credit for “The Kitchener Stitch,” which is not really a stitch, but rather, a type of grafting, or weaving, which closes the ends of socks smoothly.  Of course, the wife knows all about it, and uses it on every pair she knits.

Th-th-that’s all folks – for this time.  I hope to see your electronic footprints back here soon.  They could even be in a special pair of socks if you play your cards right.  😀

WOW #33

Dictionary

This week’s word is for the Millennials.   It is

BLAMESTORMING

Once upon a time, not really that long ago, most folks possessed honesty, and strength of character.  They took responsibility for their own actions and mistakes.  Now, with entitlement piling up like Trump’s tweets against the non-existent Mexican wall, nobody admits to nuthin’.  No matter who you ask or accuse – they were facing north, when things went south.

Definition of blamestorming

The process of assigning blame for an outcome or situation.

Origin of blamestorming

Blamestorming was originally a colloquialism in American English, modeled on the much earlier (1907) brainstorming. It entered English in the 1990s.

“I cannot tell a lie.  I chopped down the cherry tree.” was a loooonngg time ago.  ‘No guts – No glory’ is taking on a sadly different meaning.  Far too few people have the guts to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions.  President Harry Truman would be disappointed to find an America populated with consequence-avoiding wimps who have changed his famous slogan to ‘The Buck Passes Here.’  😛

 

Helicopter Parents

Helicopter

Helicopter parents, stop hovering and come in for a landing.  You’re not doing your children any good.

After a bit of anecdotal research, a local community service group is organizing Basic Life Skills seminars for youngsters this summer.  Parents who do everything for their children forget that they’ve never taught the kids how to do things for themselves.

A smart and accomplished 17-year-old neighbor did not know how to use a can opener.  An otherwise bright 15-year-old nephew tried to microwave a plate of spaghetti, with a fork in it.  A female Uni student singed her eyebrows off, when a baked potato exploded in her face.  She thought that the fork holes that her mother put in them were just for decoration.

One young lad used the dining room table as a makeshift bench, to cut a piece of wood, forgetting that, in cutting the board, he would also cut off a giant slice of the table.  His sister once called her dad to ask how she would know when water on the stove was boiling.  He hung up on her.

Courses will include
How To Iron Clothes.  Turns out that there’s more than one way to mess this up.  One college lad tried ironing his shirt while he was wearing it.  Another used the new couch as an impromptu ironing board, and melted the foam in two of the cushions.

How to set a table properly:  Also, how to wash dishes by hand, and load and unload the dishwasher – and what soap to use.  One woman says that a couple of college interns at her work have poured dishwashing detergent into the dishwasher.  “Bubble for miles!”

How to use a paper map:  One woman was driving her son across town to a soccer meet, when both their cell phones died.  They dug a street map out of the glove compartment and, with a little help from her, managed to get where they were going.

How to order food (like pizza) using a landline phone:  This will ensure that they know how to use the land line, how to politely order something over the phone, and how to interact with a delivery person, and calculate a tip.

How to mow the lawn:  Also how to identify/pull weeds, and plant/water flowers.

How to do the Heimlich on yourself:  There is nothing scarier than choking while you’re alone.

How to cut up common fruits and veggies:  And how to do it without requiring medical attention.  This course goes over basic knife skills – also, how to wash fruit and vegetables properly.

How to shop for groceries:  How to compare prices, the value of store brands, how to choose fresh produce, how to interact politely with a cashier, and how to bag the groceries without crushing the bread.  One woman waits in her car, and sends the kids in with money, and a list.

How to write – and mail – a thank-you note:  What to write beyond, “Thank you for the ______.”  How to address the envelope properly, write the return address, stamp it and mail it.  One office manager says she has college-aged interns who don’t know where to put the stamp.

How to do laundry:  What to wash in hot or cold, where to put the detergent, the magic of drying things slightly, then hanging them up (no ironing), how to fold clothes for a trip.  A young woman who moved to Arizona to attend University, was so befuddled by laundry, that she shipped it home – to Minnesota – by train.

If you haven’t taught your kids these things, and many others,

How to turn off water to an overflowing toilet
How to plunge said toilet
How to turn off water to an entire house
How to make a few simple meals
How to relax when you can’t sleep
How to be a good guest
How to politely address adults
How to recognise the smell of propane and natural gas, and what to do when you smell it
How to show good etiquette
How to resolve a dispute
How to make an important decision

it’s time that you started.  I’ll be here when you get back.

Sleeping with one-liners

Comedy

Some days I wake up grumpy…
….other days, I just let her sleep

What do you call a fake noodle?….
….an impasta

The stars are now in perfect alignment….
….for me to break my addiction to magical thinking

What kind of mistakes are common at a blood bank?….
….typos

What does a vegan zombie say?….
….grainnns

A man runs in front of a car, he gets tired….
….he runs behind a car and gets exhausted

My wife says I have two major faults….
….I don’t listen, and something else

I have the best Egyptian Dad joke….
….actually, it’s more a mummy joke

My friend doesn’t believe in Santa Claus….
….does that make him an eggnog-stic?

My therapist told me that a good way to release my anger was to write letters to all the people I hate, and burn them….
….I did that, and I feel great – but do I keep the letters?

What’s the capital of Texas?….
….the T

What’s more impressive than a talking dog?….
….a spelling bee

Baldness?  I’m not losing more hair….
….I’m gaining more head

There’s a lot of unrest….
….in the insomniac community

A family goes to a hotel.  The father goes to the front desk and says, “I hope the porno is disabled.”….
….The clerk says, “It’s just normal porn, you sick fuck.”

What do Michelangelo and Curt Kobain have in common?….
….The both used their brains to paint the ceiling

I didn’t know what type of hammer to get my Dad….
….but I think I nailed it

Somebody stole my bagful of new AA batteries….
….there was a hefty charge when the culprit was located

How many Amish people does it take to screw in a lightbulb?….
….I don’t know

What do you call a dog with no legs?….
….Doesn’t matter what you call him.  He ain’t gonna come.

What do you call a cow with no legs?….
….ground beef

 

WOW #31 – MUMP

 

Mumps

One potato – two potato
One

MUMP

Two mumps

Definitions for mump

  • to sulk; mope.
  • to grimace.
  • to mumble; mutter.

 

Origin of mump

The rare English verb mump is akin to the equally rare Dutch mompen “to mumble, grumble,” and the magnificent German verbs mumpfen “to chew with one’s mouth full” and mimpfeln “to mumble while eating.” The Germanic verbs most likely derive from a Proto-Indo-European root meuǝ- “be silent,” from which English also derives mum “silent,” Latin mūtus “silent, mute,” and Greek mustḗrion “secret rite, mystery,” a derivative of mústēs “an initiate,” a derivative of mueîn “to initiate, instruct, teach,” itself a derivative of múein “to close the eyes, mouth, or other opening” (lest one reveal what is not to be revealed). Mump entered English in the 16th century.

When the wife saw the beginning of this post, she immediately declared that I am just an old MUMP, a much better word than ‘grump,’ to describe me, as I sulk and mope and mutter and mumble.  When you have

  1. an infectious disease characterized by inflammatory swelling of the parotid and usually other salivary glands, and sometimes by inflammation of the testes or ovaries, caused by a paramyxovirus.

and both sides of your throat (and perhaps your nuts) are sore and swollen, you can sulk and mope, you can grimace because it hurts to eat/swallow, and you have to mutter and mumble because the swollen throat makes it difficult to talk…. then you have a double serving, and the medical plural is called

Mumps – noun (used with a singular verb) Pathology.

And neither of these have anything to do with my WOW #11Mumpsimus, which was about officially not knowing what you’re talking about.  (Also see – Trump) 😯

I’m still trying to find the line where I can be different, without crossing over into weird.  While I appreciate the homespun attraction of ‘Mump,’ I still want to be a ‘Grump.’  I like being G.O.D. much more than I would, being a M.O.D.  See you in a couple of days with more prosaic words.  🙂