"" Writer's Wanderings: August 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts--Cookie Recipe

Okay, so when we started this book and the call went out for recipes, I panicked. They were asking a gal who can't make Jello. Here's one of my favorite recipes for the cooking challenged at A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts blog.

Friday, August 29, 2008

O-H-I-O !

I had no idea those folks in the late 1800's were so rowdy. Apparently, according to all that I could find on the matter, that's when the O-H-I-O cheer began.

Now there are several ways it is done. At the beginning of the game, the Horseshoe is divided up into four sections and each one yells out a letter in turn, round and round, until the ball is kicked.

Then there is the shout, "O-H!" answered by, "I-O!" Often this is shouted back and forth between the closed end of the Shoe where traditionally Block O sits and the South Stands where faithful alumni who can't afford better seats sit.

O-H! I-O! has become a recognized greeting among Buckeye fans--true Buckeye fans. As we travel we often see someone wearing an Ohio State shirt and we immediately yell out "O-H!" We can tell if they are wearing the shirt with pride if they yell back "I-O!" So, a word to the wise: If you're gonna wear the shirt, know the right response!!

By the way, O-H-I-O is showing up in some strange places. Take a look here.

Hang on Sloopy and let's go Bucks!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Shoe--the Ohio State Football Stadium

With all of its expansion and remodeling, The Shoe still resembles a horseshoe and is the center of all activity on football Saturdays in Columbus, a city that lives and breathes Buckeye football.

Back in 1913, when OSU joined "the big nine," officials at the university began to talk about replacing the old Ohio Field that fronted on High Street. It wasn't until August 3, 1921 that ground was broken for the stadium after a quite vigorous campaign to raise funds.

At the same time as the building of the stadium the bridge over the Olentangy River which many fans cross today to get to the games was also constructed.

The site chosen for the stadium was subject to flooding so there was a seven foot high earthen wall made along the Olentangy. Eventually the river was also straightened some and a dike built along the east bank.

The stadium was completed in time for the 1922 football season at a final cost of almost $1.5 million. Expansion projects have included field and box seats and the addition of the south stands which brought the seating capacity to around 89,000 from the original 66,000. Lowering the field and adding onto a few other places brought seating capacity to 98,000. But on football Saturday, more than 100,000 usually pack the stadium.

My husband's fondest memories of the Horseshoe--aside from the wins over that school from the North--are of the ham radio club that had their equipment in one of the towers at the open end of the Shoe.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Brutus is Back!!

It's just about time to unpack Brutus and set him up again. The first Ohio State Buckeye football game is August 30 against Youngstown State. Our neighbors know us as the people who put that inflatable in the front yard during football season. Most of them are intelligent enough to know that it is the Ohio State Mascot--except for the Michigan fan who lives down the street.

The real Brutus has been around since 1965. Originally he was just a big buckeye made of paper mache (obviously not a good choice for outdoor weather) with holes cut for the student's arms and legs. The next year he was made of fiberglass. Eventually his appearance was updated to a large head shaped like a buckeye with a face and the scarlet and gray outfit with the block "O" cap.

Brutus had the honor of being inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2007. As it says in his bio there, "As a nut, he of course, is the life of the party, and loves being with people – especially fellow Buckeyes!"

Go Bucks!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts--

Today I'm posting at A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts. This week's theme has been all about money saving ideas for Christmas. Find out how to make your packages look beautiful for less!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Book Trailer for A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts

I was playing on Animoto.com again and this time made a longer version of our book trailer including some of the pages from our book. Have a look!

The Handwriting on the Football Field

When Ohio State University Coach Tressel first arrived, it was rumored that he had a difficult time explaining what TBDBITL meant. Somehow saying "The Best Darn Band In The Land" doesn't have the same impact. That band however, impacts the football season as much it seems as who are chosen as starters in the game.

Tressel has strongly encouraged the football players' participation in tradition and part of that is showing up for the band's pregame Skull session at St. John's arena. He also gathers the team at one end of the field postgame to meet with the band and sing the alma mater.
One thing the football team does not participate in though is Script Ohio. It is a tradition that has been around for 72 years now. Begun back in 1936, the band's original formation had a trumpet player in the last position who strutted out and dotted the i. It didn't take them long to realize that a sousaphone would be more visable from the stands. The honor goes to a different senior sousaphone player each week and has been surrounded with great fanfare including "My son dotted the i" tee shirts.

While the team may read the coach's handwriting on the wallboard in the locker room, the handwriting on the field belongs to the band and is read by over 90,000 fans on a football saturday in Columbus. Can't wait! Go Bucks!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


In all the years (9-10) we've been diving at Grand Cayman, we've never seen a seahorse. . .until now. This little gem was posed so perfectly in front of a blue sea fan it made us wonder if it was real or something straight out of Disney World.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Daddy Long Legs of the Sea

On our recent dive trip to Grand Cayman, my husband snapped some great pictures. Here is one of an arrow crab. He looks like a daddy-long legs spider and moves much the same way except that he swims too. It always amazes me how some of God's smallest creatures can live so far under the water's surface. We were diving around 60-70 feet here I think.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Caribbean Road Signs

Spending ten days in the East End, Grand Cayman Island, has been, well, grand. But several times we have passed two signs that just make me chuckle each time I see them.

One sign is at the approach to the "old folks" home on the island. I blogged about it last year when we were here but if you missed it, here's the photo.

The other sign is a new one we noticed this year. It is in front of a local bar/carry out:

"Buy one Jerk, Get one Free!"

They mean jerk--as in spicey spicey chicken or pork or fish--I think. Maybe I should go back and ask next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Writing on the Wall

My monthly grandparenting column has been posted at Positively Feminine.org and displays the artwork of my talented grandchildren.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beijing--"on a stick"

Our olympic athletes and visitors will experience many tasty treats, I'm sure, while they are in China. And perhaps they will even be brave enough to try some of the delicacies we found our first night in Beijing. Here's another excerpt from my China journal:

After dinner, a short walk from the hotel leads us to a pedestrian mall a couple blocks away. Just a block from our hotel, we pass a Catholic church (St. Joseph Cathedral). Lots of people stroll through the gardens in front of it and take pictures. I am surprised to see a church here that has obviously been extablished for quite some time.

The mall has lots of shops located in buildings but we find an alleyway that looks interesting. It is crowded and narrow but lined with all sorts of booths selling food items. This looks like the “real” China. There is everything you can imagine on a stick and fried. I literally gasp as I see seahorses displayed on a stick—obviously a delicacy. There are all sorts of meat products, raw and ready to be fried. Next we pass bugs on a stick, scorpions, and trays of other things we can’t identify. The one thing that looks appetizing resembles small apples on a stick with a clear candy glaze over them. Lots of people are munching on them. I’m afraid to try it.

The farther into the alley we walk, the more awful it smells—a mix of hot cooking oils and exotic foodstuffs including many seafood products like squid. Past the foodstuffs, there are booths like a flea market but this is all new product—mostly cheap souvenir items mixed with clothing and handbags and small electronics. It would be more fascinating if it wasn’t so crowded and we weren’t bumped along. I clutch my purse under my armpit.

Dodging cars and buses we cross the street successfully again on our return to the hotel. Thankfully, at one corner there is a traffic control person. I think the word oxymoron fits here. There is no control of traffic. And pedestrians are low on the food chain.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Our Beijing Visit

Last October, we did an eight day precruise tour of China including Beijing, Xian, the Yangtze River area, and Wuhan. This is a little excerpt from my journal on our first morning in Beijing as we boarded a plane for Xian. Is it any wonder that many athletes showed up wearing masks for the Olympics?

Our group boards the buses for the airport. There are three buses for 78 of us and our bus, #2, has only 18 on it making it nice and roomy. Our local guide, Maggie, introduces herself. She warns us of pick pockets and teaches us some Chinese words: zao—good morning, ni hau (pronounced nee-how)—hello and used like “How are you?”, xie xie (pronounced shea shea)—thank you.

We arrive at the airport about 7:30 a.m. Our tour guides, Fred and Duan, have already checked us in and pass out our tickets. We board another bus that takes us out to our plane. Even though the sun is coming up, the fog is too thick for it to penetrate. We board the plane and begin our wait. We cannot see the plane sitting next to us.
Maggie had explained to us that Beijing is nestled between mountains and they not only hold the smog in but cause the fog to roll in often. The smog she said is from industry (they burn coal for energy) and is a sign of the improving economy.

As we wait, the question we ask each other is “Will they take off in this stuff?” It’s a frightening thought. What are their safety standards? Are their margins less defined than ours?
We are served a meal while we wait. It is some kind of bean and rice dish and very hot. I pass. It smells a little funky. There are a few other things in the box that look interesting and I nibble on some as I watch the plane next to us reappear slowly and then fade again into the fog. I test the black egg. One bite is enough. Although it doesn’t taste horrible, it doesn’t taste good. There is a salad under some kind of meat, a carton of yogurt, something that resembles a cinnamon roll, and a container of water.

Gradually the shape of the plane reappears and I begin to see more lights beyond that plane. At 11:05 a.m., we finally take off for Xian. Because we waited on the plane, we are among the first flights to escape the fog on the one runway that is open.

At 12:45 p.m. we arrive in Xian. It is foggy here as well but not as bad as Beijing. The smog is nasty though and it smells. Three buses await us for the trip to the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

An Irishwoman's Tale

Surprises come in all sorts of different ways. I had the most outstanding and pleasant surprise when I agreed to read a new fiction book by Patti Lacy, her first, An Irishwoman's Tale. There was a lot of buzz in some of my writers' online forums about the book and since St. Patrick's day is my birthday, I thought it would be fun to read a book about an Irishwoman and Ireland.

One of the most intriguing things I heard about this book was that it was based on a true story. Patti had said it started with a story told to her by an Irishwoman. But, it is her first book. How good could it be, I wondered? The answer: REAL GOOD!!

From the very first chapter, I fell in love with Mary, the Irishwoman whose story is touching, revealing, inspirational, and heartwarming. I smiled. I cried. I learned. I even traveled to Ireland through Patti's beautifully written words.

This is the reason I read. To find books like this. Great storytelling. Good characterization. A place to lose myself for a few hours and find refreshment in between pages of wonderfully scripted words.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pelicans, Ibis, and Shells, Oh My!!

Just wanted to share a few shots from our recent visit to the Fort Meyers area.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Don't Feed the Pastor?

I love reading church signs. Some of them have made me think. Some have made me laugh until I cried. Others, well others sometimes are just hard to figure out.

For the last several weeks, each Sunday on our way to our church, we pass another with a sign that has read:

Do not feed the Pastor chocolate.
Do not feed the Pastor Donuts.
Do not feed the Pastor French fries.
And this week:
Honk if you see the Pastor exercising.
Curious? I sure am. Can't decide if it's a new diet strategy for their Pastor or if he's cleverly come up with a series of messages about. . .hmmm. Diets?
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