Not The Target Market

There are Yankees and then there are The Yankees

Recently The Son, who has always been independent minded, posted a picture of himself and The Moose. The Moose was dressed in a Yankee’s shirt and there was an immediate outcry because of all the teams the immediate and extended family supports – the Red Sox, the Nats, the Giants, the Cubs, the Mets, the Twins – the Yankees are not among them. (more…)

Better Be Without Sense Than Misapply It As You Do*

In Memory of JANE AUSTEN, youngest daughter of the late Revd GEORGE AUSTEN, formerly Rector of Steventon in this County. She departed this Life on the 18th of July 1817, aged 41, after a long illness supported with the patience and the hopes of a Christian. The benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper, and the extraordinary endowments of her mind obtained the regard of all who knew her and the warmest love of her intimate connections. Their grief is in proportion to their affection, they know their loss to be irreparable, but in their deepest affliction they are consoled by a firm though humble hope that her charity, devotion, faith and purity have rendered her soul acceptable in the sight of her REDEEMER. (Jane Austen’s epitaph in Winchester Cathedral)

Jane Austen died 200 years ago today. Much has already been written about her and so much more is pouring forth in commemoration of this anniversary. A great deal of it is complete nonsense and utter rot. (more…)

We’re All Marketers Now

The pressure to have a perfect house and perfect garden and perfect children used to arrive only once a month or so with the home or food or gardening or parenting magazines.

The beauty of these old-style guilt trips was that they were eminently ignorable and small-scale. Only a few “perfect” families or houses or gardens were on display each month. And when you tossed the magazine, you were done with them. (more…)

Some Things Just Don’t Work

In the grand scheme of things I have absolutely nothing to complain about. All my problems are First World Problems. I know that. Still, I don’t understand why someone would design something that is so clearly not suited to its purpose. And then sell it. Sometimes I spot these design flaws before I hand over the credit card; other times I don’t. Lately I have been really annoyed with some of the times that I didn’t. (more…)

Customer Service Adventures

We are all a bit ruffled around here these days.

My agitation started with trying to contact Aer Lingus on their “customer service” line to order a gluten-free meal for a soon-approaching trip across the pond for The Engineer’s First Communion.

So far I have waited 46 minutes, 28 minutes, 10 minutes and 7 minutes on hold, each time being interrupted and having to hang up before getting through, if in fact one can get through, which I am beginning to doubt. I’m not even counting the innumerable times I got a busy signal or a “your call didn’t go through” message. (more…)


The weather is dithering: we have been late spring hot in February, winter cold in March, hot and cold in April, with that alternating pattern continuing to whiplash us into May. I was silly enough to pack away all the winter things in April. I had to burrow for a fleece top last weekend. And now it is 95 degrees and humid. If I didn’t know better I would say it’s July, which is why I maintain the weather is dithering. (more…)

Grammar Tip: Use Does Not Equal Utilize

Consider this line from Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse:

“Her ladyship wishes you to convey it to its destination personally, realizing that, should she entrust it to the ordinary channels, the gift will be delayed in its arrival beyond the essential date.”

No one talks like this. Certainly not in the 21st century and I doubt very much in any preceding one, either. P.G. Wodehouse uses this hyper-correct and overly formal style as a signature for Jeeves, his hyper-correct and overly formal ‘gentleman’s personal gentleman.’ When reading a Bertie and Jeeves novel, you don’t need the tag “Jeeves said” because you know it’s him speaking. Every time. (more…)

Pop of Color

The phrase pop of color: I think every decorator in the world and every writer who writes about decorating must use it; it appears in just about every article in every home design magazine. I can only think that it was on the decorator final exam and repeatedly stressed as something that must be said to show one’s serious credentials.

To put it simply and brutally – pop of color is twee and overused and banal and lazy. I thought writers and interior designers and style mavens were supposed to be creative. Creative is not using the same old words over and over. (more…)

Setting a Date

Setting a “firm” date of “next week” always seems like a good idea when you need to begin something you really don’t want to do. It gives you the feeling not only of progress, but also of virtue – as if you have begun already. If you want to really get specific, you can always pencil it in “a week from next Tuesday.”

I thought about this this morning as I rocked The Grandbaby Moose while he slept. I have been rocking this young Moose for the past seven months and it is just about my favorite thing to do. The Moose has skin that might as well be made of rose petals; he is cuddly plump with creases and dimples in all the right places; and he snuggles right in. What’s not to love? (more…)

Three Spring Goals

The Hunter has three standing goals every spring.

The first is to build a fire that can be seen from space. He is always eager to light that match, and for the past five years, we’ve managed some pretty spectacular fires.

This is largely due to the crazy weather we had in 2011: a tornado on June 1, a microburst at the end of July, an earthquake in August, followed a few days later by Hurricane Irene and finally, in October, 18” of heavy, wet snow, which left us without power for a week. (I should say ‘which left me without power for a week’ as The Hunter conveniently left for a conference in Reno the day after the snowstorm. Had I been blogging then, I imagine I would have had quite a lot to say about the differing quality of our lives during that cold, dark week.) (more…)