Being Nosy

Back in the early 1980s I lived in Alameda, CA.

One evening there was an explosion and fire a few blocks away and all gas lines on the island had been turned off, but as quickly as possible that power had been restored.

For several days afterward I kept smelling gas and called the gas company several times. They checked my house and couldn’t find anything wrong.

But I had a family daycare home at the time and was concerned about the safety of the kids, so I kept calling them.

They finally discovered that when gas service had been restored to the city an old gas main that hadn’t been used for decades had been turned back on by mistake.

A friend who lived a few miles away had also been smelling gas, though she hadn’t reported it, and another antique gas main near her house had also been turned back on by mistake.

If I hadn’t kept nagging the company it’s very likely that there would have been several explosions and fires started in that city, so because I kept smelling the odor and nagging the company lots of lives may have been saved.

Sometimes being nosy isn’t a bad thing.


American Flag

Back in the 1940s and ’50s it was unacceptable to fly the American flag after dark or on a rainy or snowy day. But not flags stay up all the time.

I guess modern synthetic fabrics hold up in spite of weather conditions, but I’m not sure why it’s okay to leave flags up all night.

And we all learned we should absolutely NEVER let the American flag touch the ground.

But after 9/11 when people were putting flags out everywhere I saw several huge ones draped over parked cars and touching the ground on the edges.

All public school kids in America used to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, but today lots of schools no longer do that because of the phrase, “Under God. Those words were added to the pledge when I was a kid.

And the flag only had 48 stars back then. Two more were added when Alaska and Hawaii became states.

Now I hear and see on the internet rumors about California leaving the United States, or an additional State of Jefferson being added.

I guess if both those very unlikely things happened the number of stars wouldn’t have to be changed. But if only one of them did the American flag would have to bee redesigned with either 49 or 51 stars. I wonder what that would look like?

And I hope we can keep our flag as it is now.




When I was a kid the only frozen foods were small boxes of vegetables. My mother cooked everything from scratch, although she did sometimes use Bisquick for baking.

Our family always ate together at the table. All families did back then.

When we (finally) got a TV sometimes we would eat in the living room with our plates on the coffee table, but that only happened when there was a show we especially wanted to watch.

When I grew up and had my own family we ate together at the table. I think that helped us know and understand each other better as we talked about our experiences of the day and other things of interest.

But today many families almost never eat together. Some don’t even eat dinner at the same time since members can grab something and heat it in the microwave whenever they want.

And I think that’s sad.

Did your family eat together when you were a kid?

Do they now?

Boot and Toenail

A few weeks ago I broke a bone in my foot. It’s only a tiny hairline fracture, but I have to wear a clumsy boot until it heals, which is a big nuisance.

I mentioned to my pastor that it reminds me of  the selection in the Bible (Romans 12 verses 4 & 5) that says the church is like a body and if something is wrong with even a small part, it affects the whole thing.

The next Sunday the pastor gave me a book for kids on the same topic.

The Tail of the Runaway Toenail by Leah Pauls is about a strong man missing a toenail.

The toenail, who is the main character in the book, thinks it has no value and feels sorry for itself.

Then the man stubs his toe and some germs decide to rush in to cause an infection.

Some grapes remind the toenail of the Bible verses and the toenail realizes it is needed after all. It gets back in place and prevents the man’s toe from getting infected.

This is one of the most creative concepts I’ve ever seen in a picture book. Who would have imagined a toenail and germs as characters?

The illustrations by Michael Earl are well done.

I hope lots of kids will understand their own value as part of the Body of Christ as a result of reading The Tale of a Runaway Toenail or hearing it read.

Childhood Pets

When I was a little kid, about three years old, my grandfather gave me some fish. Those were the very first pets I ever had!

I named the angel fish Flaggy because it had stripes like the American flag.

Grandpa pointed to each of the little guppies and said, “That one’s male and that one’s female.” I had no idea what those words meant and assumed they were the names of the fish. So I always referred to them as Male and Female.

Several years later after we moved, those fish were gone and I got a goldfish. I named it Silly because it kept jumping out of the fish bowl.

Then I got a pet hamster and named it Hampstead.

Finally I got a cat. It was a tomcat but I named it Susie because I hoped to convince it to become a girl so it would have kittens. Obviously that didn’t work.

What pets did you have when you were a kid?



Hospital Corners

Raise your hand if you remember hospital corners.

I think it was during the 1950s that “contour sheets” with elastic corners are invented. Before that, all sheets were flat.

In hospitals people who made the beds for patients made sure the bottom sheets would stay tucked under the mattresses by pulling and folding the corners at an angle before tucking them in. The corners of the top sheets at the bottom of the beds were folded and tucked in the same way.

Sorry I can’t describe the process more clearly.

People used the same method at home, and called them hospital corners.

When I worked in the dorms at California School for the Deaf in the late 1960s and early ‘70s all the sheets were still flat. The children were taught to make their own beds using hospital corners.

Once a week they would remove the bottom sheets, which would be sent to the laundry. Then the top sheet would be used on the bottom and a newly washed sheet would be placed on top. Each sheet was washed every two weeks.

Lots of people today would think that shameful because they wash all their sheets at least once a week.

How often do you think sheets should be washed?

Who Decided?

I picked up a ball that looks like a globe of the Earth with all the continents on it. It was upside down, and that made me wonder who decided that the North Pole is the top of our planet and the South Pole is the bottom. That has nothing to do with gravity.

And there are other things I’ve often wondered about.

For instance, years, months, and days happen naturally because of the Earth rotating and traveling around the Sun. But who invented weeks, hours, minutes and seconds?

Years ago I worked in the dormitories at California School for the Deaf and the kids with ancestry from warmer areas always threw off their covers at night while those with northern European ancestry huddled into theirs. Why would people who live in cold areas like Scandinavia feel the cold more than people who live in hot places like the Mediterranean and Northern Africa?

Why do we have five fingers and toes on each hand or foot?

Do you know any answers to these questions?

Or do you have any questions of your own?



Showers and Baths

When I was in Second Grade a book we studied in class said boys could take showers but girls had to take tub baths. The illustration showed a brother and sister with the boy in the shower and the girl in the bathtub next to it.

But we lived in a little cabin in the woods and didn’t have a bathtub. Was I somehow doomed because I couldn’t take tub baths?

Well, I survived.

Most of the places I’ve lived as an adult have had both showers and bathtubs. Usually the showers were over the tubs.

But I’ve usually taken showers in spite of what that book said and never had a problem as a result. So nyah nyah to whoever wrote it.

Do you prefer showers or baths?

Yard Sales

We’re having a neighborhood yard sale this weekend where I live.

When I was a kid there were some “rummage sales,” but those were few and far between.

Today yard sales happen all the time when the weather is nice.

I wonder why they didn’t have as many of them in the past? Maybe people didn’t have as much stuff back then as they do now.

Yard sales help people unload things that are no longer needed and make a little money while, at the same time, helping others get things they can use for low prices. It’s always fun to find something special or get something you needed at a bargain price.

And I think yard sales, especially group ones like this, are great opportunities for people to get to know their neighbors and some strangers.

This should be a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.




When I was a kid my father died and my mother had to go to work. She told me over and over again that I should become a teacher so if my husband died I could be home with my kids when they weren’t in school. Obviously she had no idea how many hours teachers had to work while their students weren’t there.

I thought it was stupid to plan my life because a husband I might never have might die, so I ruled out teaching as a career.

But I did become a teacher.

I started as a counselor and instructional counselor at California School for the Deaf, had a home preschool while my daughter was little, taught in several preschools, was a substitute teacher for years, and taught summer school classes, among other things.

And now I’m planning to start a home preschool again.

Even though my mother was wrong about the reason, she was right to tell me I should become a teacher.