Tag Archives: Random thoughts

Mixed-up Titles

The Thesaurus is my favorite dictionary. I often use it to find the best word for what I am trying to say. What if authors didn’t use the best words for the titles of their books? I took some classic book titles and made them more complicated. Can you figure them out? I added some author hints for some of them.

Children’s book titles: 

The Rodent and the Minibike

Aged Tawny


Pedro Dish

Trio of Small Porcines

Diminutive Home on the Plains

The One-Year-Old

Small Scarlet Mounted Bonnet

Tropical Forest Novel

Diminutive Heir to the Throne

A Period of Time With Winter Weather

Hal and the Plum-Colored Wax Stick

The Zephyr Through the Salix Trees

A Textile With a Distinct Raised Texture

A Hare Composed of Luxury Fabric

The Mesh Belonging to the Largest City in North Carolina

Classic book titles: 

Left With the Breeze

The Scuppernongs of Acrimony  

Ensnare XXII

A Shade of Amethyst

The Nonfiction Journal of an Under-employed Indigenous Person

A Century of Seclusion

Aged Julius

An Association for Amusement and Fortune by A. Beige

You Homesteaders!

A Triad of Mercenaries

Creature Grange

The Spherical Home

The Temperature at Which Paper Burns

Companions of the Band


Ego and Partisanship

The Journey

Butchershop V

The Stowaway’s Instructions to the Star System

Popular books or books from 2022:


Attractive by D. “Iron and Carbon Alloy” 

Location of the Serenading Cambarus

Instruction in the Practical Application of the Components of the Periodic Table

Archive of the Witching Hour

Descendent of the Planet Venus by Cliff Johnson

Faltering Penumbra by C. J. Carton

Truth by C. Vacuum

A Dark Colored Confection

A Recent  Decade

The Academy For Benevolent Parents

You can send your answers to my email: spreston@gering.library.org or drop them by for a chance to win a small prize. I won’t penalize you for it, but I am interested to know how many you got without help. (I used the Thesaurus to make the mixed up titles, so it only seems fair that you would use it to solve them). Enjoy!

Weird Coincidences

Our library page, Jada, told me she learned the word “calumny” this week because she is reading “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller. (I had to look it up.) It means a false or slanderous statement. Then she picked up “Hamlet” for some light reading and came across this, “Be thou chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shall not escape calumny.” All of the sudden she felt really smart because she already knew this word. 

Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (sometimes called frequency illusion) is what happens when you learn something and then see it again right away, like what happened to Jada. She may have seen the word “calumny” before but she didn’t take the time to look it up so it seemed new when she learned the definition. Then she saw it again shortly afterwards.

How often do we fail to notice something until it is pointed out to us? Once we learn something, we often see it again. I have experienced frequency illusion in some of my reading lately- either that or some weird coincidences.

Earlier this year I read two books back to back with a main character named Rafe (well, one was Rafer). One book was historical fiction and the other was by Janet Evanovich. I don’t know that I have ever read a book about someone named Rafe before. It’s possible, but it didn’t click until I read two in a row.

Shortly after that I read two books that both had recipes for sauerkraut and corned beef and discussed Tabasco sauce. Neither one was a cookbook. One was a book about the food immigrants ate, and the other was about salt.

The weirdest book coincidence I can think of happened last month. My minister preached on Luke 14:26. Later that day I picked up a horror novel where one of the characters quoted the same Bible verse. I know I have heard Luke 14:26 in church before. I might have read a book that mentioned the verse, but the two together on the same day seemed like a very weird coincidence.

I wonder if this is the same thing that happens when you talk about buying something and then see an advertisement for it on your phone. Do our phones listen to us, or is it Baader-Meinhof? Is our technology listening to us or is it simply a weird coincidence? I don’t know how technology works, but I do know technology doesn’t have anything to do with which books I am reading. 

Have you encountered any weird reading coincidences? I would be interested to hear about them if you have. Yesterday I finished a book about a bunny who was a vampire. Tune in next week to see if my current book, “Ray and Joan: The man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman who gave it all away” also contains a vampire bunny.


November 2007

I believe my father is the consummate list maker. He used to keep his list on several pages of a legal pad, and we would take it to town once a week, a big deal for us, since we lived 30 miles away. He had a system that involved an asterisk when he needed to have something along to accomplish a particular item, for example depositing a check. Since the advent of the computer age, I am sure his list is on his laptop. I completed my apprenticeship to him, and now have struck out on my own as far as list making goes.

Since I started staying at home, I bought a white board for the fridge and I use it for all my jottings, it is very handy for when you need to add to the grocery list, or remember a hair appointment. I need to make a list of chores for the kids to complete each day.

My friend Old Hat invited us to make a list of our proudest moments, and since then I have been thinking of the lists I have all over the place. Scatterbrained before having four children, I am now a sieve when it comes to remembering things. Following are lists I actually have around the house and refer to

TV shows I like to watch and what time and day they are on (7 a week all on ABC)

The time pre-school starts and ends, as well as dance classes

Books I have read since November 1 last year (118)

Books I want to read (no number that big yet)

Movies I want to add to my Netflix queue (about 50)

When they have baby story times at the library

Being a visual person, I can make a list and lose it, but remember most of what was on it, for example tonight I got into the grocery store (by myself!) to find that my list was waiting for me in the pickup with four kids, an Australian Shepard dog and a husband who had slipped off to fuel up the pickup. Hmm, well I just now slipped out to retrieve my list from the pickup and laughed thinking of myself riding home with my feet on the cat food, so Jake didn’t have a snack on the way home. I forgot Parmesan cheese and Saran Wrap from a nine item list, and the only thing I bought that wasn’t on the list was…Oreos. I use Saran Wrap maybe once a month or less, and I am sure the cheese can wait too.

Some of my recent thoughts have presented themselves in lists, so here they are.

Things my husband has brought home from work, free

3 huge boxes of lettuce

1 big box of crab legs, enough for several meals


Jelly Bellies

Raw popcorn, I haven’t purchased popcorn since 1997, and my kids have never seen microwave popcorn

2 cases of canned cat food


1000 pounds of potatoes (not a typo)

Raspberries and Strawberries (nearly free)

Ground corn suitable for livestock feed

Enough coats and hats and shirts to clothe a platoon

Wodka (Russian vodka)

Things I, as a mother of three other children, should have remembered when the fourth one came along…

Don’t buy an outfit that buttons down the back, they are a pain for everyone involved. (In my defense, it is really cute, and has one of those front pockets where you can put both hands in the same pocket, never mind that my one-week-old has yet to find his hands much less his pockets.)

Put nursing pads in the diaper bag.

Make sure to look at the back of your shirt before leaving the house.

Things about my babies that I probably shouldn’t share.

As infants their profiles have all looked like Alfred Hitchcock

I read a book by Jennifer Weiner where she described a newborn baby as looking like a very angry old man. It took my breath away, as I have had the same exact thought

When we get two kid legs in one pants leg while dressing, I tell my kids they are mermaids

I told them our kitty Pumpkin didn’t look both ways before crossing the road and that is why she died.

Mae slept in a dresser drawer at my mother’s house

I call breast milk nummies, for example, “Baby is eating his nummies”

My kids like Mary Poppins a lot better than Sponge Bob

Babies don’t have morning breath

I sung a Kenny Rogers song when they were cranky in the middle of the night, “I know it’s late, I know you’re weary, I know your plans don’t include me, still here we are, both of us lonely, both of us searching for something …..”

The ladies can quote large parts of Old Possum’s Guide to Practical Cats

I made up a parody to the Goldfish jingle about breast milk, don’t remember it now, something about “the food that fights back, breast milk”

Tommy has pink and purple jammies

Tommy’s jowls jiggle when he runs, and he runs like Frankenstein – arms outstretched

When the ladies play dress-up I put Tommy in Lydia’s old Pebbles Halloween costume, and he looks a little like Fred Flintstone

Last year for Christmas, Lydia told Santa she wanted a baby doll. This was because we don’t watch broadcast cartoons, so she had no idea what she “should” be asking for. Thank God for PBS Kids, and the networks’ apparent unwillingness to broadcast decent cartoons on Saturday morn (and Barney tapes)

SUBLIST of TV stations we get with the Prairie Package Plus





FOX (the plus part)

I also have a list of things I want to blog about.

September Thoughts

October 2007

This must be a good year for toads. We have them all over the place, and the darn things eat mosquitoes, so I hate to step on them, but it is hard to avoid. They are quarter sized on up to prince-kissing size (maybe that was a frog). We probably have nearly one per square foot of lawn, well maybe less than that, but they are everywhere. Maybe we are low on garter snakes…Dad always said the coyote and rabbit populations were dependant on each other. I haven’t seen many snakes this year, but not because I was looking for them either.

I am ashamed to admit it, but we have had 17 extra inches of rain this year, timed pretty well. Our annual rainfall is around 22 or so. I feel bad for the people at the other end of the state with 5 inches so far this year, about half of what their average is. We did not water our lawn this year, until last weekend, and then just a few dry spots under the trees. The rest of it looks pretty healthy, but we aren’t expecting a Golden Spade Award any time soon.

It is a good thing we live in the country, otherwise our neighbors would be calling the city on us for not maintaining our property and causing adjacent property values to decline. We let our lawn get way too tall sometimes, then I have my homemade automatic mulcher, which involves a tarp strap holding the grass shooter up so the grass scatters. When the lawn gets too tall this leaves attractive windrows of dead grass in the lawn. I let it cure for a day or so then mow again, scattering the dry grass further. I have learned that if I don’t fertilize my lawn, I don’t have to mow it as often, same goes with watering. Our garden can become an eye-sore being right along the road and full of 6 foot weeds.

Somewhere in Nebraska there is a line, on the west side of the line, rural people just have a yard that looks ok, not especially nice. East of that line (where we live) rural people haven’t got the memo that they live in the country and they keep their lawns up like town folk do, but probably using stronger chemicals, available only to farmers. Our neighbors water their lawn pretty much every day, and mow it probably twice a week. Sounds like a waste of water and fuel to me, but their lawn looks great.

I lived on a farm in Wyoming where my boss actually ran the swather across my lawn a couple times a year, followed by the bailer. It doesn’t take long to mow when you have a 30 foot wide mower. The bales were pretty small though. We have too many trees for that to work here, otherwise I would be tempted…

Right now I am outside, and one-year-old Tommy has the hose. He is learning all about fluid dynamics, and how to spray himself in the mouth. He is having a blast. He is a mower man as well, climbing up on the lawn tractor every chance he gets. I turned my back the other day then when I looked back, all I could see was the soles of two feet disappearing on the far side of the mower. He has some sort of rolling head-first dismount figgered out, because he was not upset in any way and he landed on the concrete. We better keep it parked on the grass I guess.

I looked out on the deck the other day, and there was Ariel the Mermaid sunbathing in the nude. It seems her natural pigmentation would preclude such behavior. When Sarah went out to get her, she wasn’t even burned. Now I am jealous. Most of my ancestors came from England, so I didn’t develop the tanning gene. I don’t do much of anything, unless I burn, so I stay out of the sun. I guess it is probably safer that way. My husband never burns, he just gets darker and darker. Someday we will probably be visiting a dermatologist as a result of this, but he isn’t worried.

Tommy moves so fast these days, the other day he disappeared. He decided to walk around the corner of the house, and down the driveway to greet Daddy returning home from work in his huge pickup. We need to put a little fence thing in that part of the yard. He doesn’t come to his name yet, so if he wanders, you have to go searching. We have asked the county to put a Slow Children sign in front of our house, but they are not in a hurry to do that. Even if people don’t slow down, maybe they will keep an eye out, if only because they think my kids are slow.