Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Halloween Treat

I was greeted this morning with the arrival in my inbox of a sweet, sweet video of Baby Katy in her Halloween costume. I could not download it as a video, and am instead sharing as a photo of her in her Minnie Mouse costume.

In the short video, she was cooing and gurgling, and it was the sweetest way to begin my day!

On this last day of October, on Halloween, the weather is wet and nasty, but we've had a glorious October, replete with blue skies and beautifully colored trees. 

Here are a few images I selected from Pinterest that reflect the glory of the season. The poems are two that I committed to memory in grade school, third grade to be exact, and they are very special to me.

I do love these vintage images; reminds me of the pictures we saw in our textbooks/story books long ago.

Moving right along, we'll greet November tomorrow. Where has the year gone?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

See You In the Funny Paper

Sometimes you repeat a word or phrase – one that you haven’t used, or even heard in many years – and are left wondering, “Now what made me think of that?”

It happened today as I was leaving my mother’s house. Instead of the usual, “see you later” or bye” as I left, out came “I’ll see you in the funny paper.”

You may or may not be familiar with this phrase as words of parting. But it was in common usage at the house where I grew up.

Saying it today after not having uttered it in too many years to count not only made me question why it resurfaced after all these years, but also how it came to be used this way.

After a bit of reading at the Word Detectivehere’s what I learned about the etymology of the phrase:

"It is a jocular farewell that dates, as far as anyone has been able to determine, to the early years of the 20th century, probably the early 1920s because the term “funny papers/pages/sheet” itself apparently didn’t appear in print until roughly that time. 

A glossary of humor published in 1926 included 'See you in the funny sheet,' and William Faulkner also used the phrase in his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury ('Ta-ta see you in the funnypaper'), so it must have been widespread by that time. 

One reason that 'See you in the funny papers' sounds so dated to us today is because 'funny papers/pages/sheets' was eventually largely replaced by the term 'comics' for that part of the newspaper, a process that probably began in the 1940s and was complete by the 1960s.

The interesting thing about 'see you in the funny papers” is that originally it may not have been a very friendly thing to say. Saying “see you in the newspaper' or 'See you in jail' when parting, for example, carried the sardonic implication that the person being addressed would next be heard of for committing a crime or attaining some other newsworthy notoriety. 

Similarly, the original intent of 'See you in the funny papers' was probably to imply that the speaker considered the person either so ridiculous or so odd in appearance as to belong in a comic strip.

By the 1940s, however, 'see you in the funny papers' had become so common that it lost whatever hostile edge it had and became a good-natured humorous farewell. If 'see you in the funny pages' had any deeper implication after that time, it was that life in general was as silly as the Sunday comics section.

Are you familiar with this usage of the phrase as a goodbye term?

And on a similar topic, what comic strips did you read and enjoy when you were a kid?  My favorites were Priscilla's Pop, Blondie and most of all, Peanuts and Charlie Brown. In the 1970s I became addicted to Doonesbury.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Summer

While most people correctly tie the end of summer to the calendar, for me it is marked by the first frost of the season. Where I live, that usually means the third or fourth week of October and that time is here.

I’ve spent the past few days dragging/lifting/situating into the sun room the plants I want to overwinter. This, after I had loudly proclaimed I was not bringing much inside for the winter!

Here’s what “not much” looks like:
Many aloes and a few begonias. I colored and dried hydrangeas during the summer (top shelf) and now I don't know what to do with them! 

Creeping Fig

Brazilian plume plant
The three kitties who formerly stayed in the garage have taken up residence in the sun room for the winter. Here's Myrtle, sleepy after not showing up last night (worry!) but now ready to sleep all day and pull the same trick tonight, no doubt.

One day ago the mid-morning temperature was 53F; last night the temperatures was high-30s, but tonight we anticipate a full-blown frost.

The fishpond has provided much pleasure this season. The fish have grown from half-finger to half-a-hand size. The white impatiens and sweet potato vine have softened the edges.

The Sweet Potato Vine has really done well at pond side.

Here's the fish. Can you see them? There are 10.
The potted impatiens have gone from this:

 To this:

The cold weather will put an end to these two Diamond Frost plants:
 And the white petunias, which have already dwindled drastically:
 The hydrangea have turned a nice purple:
 Bocappia, a new favorite, will soon be history:
 The white moonflower on the arbor has tried to outdo itself this year. 
 Oh well, at least the ivy around the little water fountain will provide a spot of greenery throughout the cold months:
This little creeper, whose name I've now forgotten, is "supposed" to stay green all winter. We'll see!
Surprisingly, one of the gardenia plants has formed a ton of buds at this late date. One bloom, with others to follow. I don't believe the low-30s will hamper the blooming, but a hard freeze will.

OK, the yard/garden has been winterized. Now it's time to snuggle in with blankets, books and indoor endeavors.

Monday, October 21, 2013

POLIO An American Story

This month’s selection of the book discussion group I attend was Polio: An American Story. When I first saw the title I thought it was not a book I would particularly enjoy, but boy, was I wrong.

Credit: David M. Oshinsky
It was an engaging read and hard to put down once I started. Having lived through the yearly polio epidemics of the mid- to late 1950s, I recall so well admonitions to stay out of the mid-day summer heat, stay clean and avoid swimming pools. I have such a vivid memory of being herded into the school auditorium and lining up to be given the sugar cube that contained the vaccine.

I learned many things I didn’t know about polio, such as the furious rivalry between Salk and Sabin to find a cure. The book also gives an insightful look at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was founded in the 1930s by Franklin D. Roosevelt – himself a polio victim and later President of the U.S. – and his law partner Basil O'Connor.

I actually remember seeing a duplicate of this this poster in my school back then.
Credit: wikimedia

In baby-booming America--increasingly suburban, family-oriented, and hygiene-obsessed--the specter of polio, like the specter of the atomic bomb, was a cloud of terror over daily life.
Oshinsky states that polio was never the raging epidemic portrayed by the media, but in truth a relatively uncommon disease. I do not agree with this statement, however. Thousands of children came down with polio each summer, and many suffer its after affects to this day. Many children died.

Once a successful vaccine was found and the disease eradicated, research on the disease pretty much ceased, thereby leaving many unanswered questions such as why were more boys than girls affected? why did it occur mostly during hot summer months? why were children and young adults more susceptible?

Iron lungs provided temporary, or sometimes permanent breathing support for polio victims.
Credit: Smithsonian magazine
In addition to a gripping scientific story, the book provides a provocative social and cultural history of postwar America. I highly recommend this book, which was the 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Best History Book.

Polio exists in only four countries today: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday with Katie

Yesterday we spent a pleasant day visiting Little Katie, the new granddaughter who is now almost 8 weeks old.

Love the hat!

A smiling Katie

The happy father with his sister Melissa who was also visiting to see her new niece.

Mommie Jennifer -- with Katie in her Halloween costume! 

I got to spend quality time holding Katie, but don't seem to have any pictures of that! Here, just casting an adoring glance her way.

How did you spend your Sunday?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall Decorations

It's that time of year again when streets in my town are decked out for the season. Here are a few photos:

Jack-O-Lantern Chimineas. This is the first time I've seen these.

This garden decor shop has many of them. What would you do with one after the season is over?

A bit pricey for a Halloween decoration, in my opinion.
 Along the main street, each shop has an outdoor display:

This isn't really a fall decoration, but a pot of unusual coleus now going to seed. I thought it was among the prettiest things I saw today. 

And finally, here's a late blooming zinnia in my back yard. It's from a packet of seed and I think it's one of the prettiest one I've had all season.

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