I’M JUST CURIOUS: My mother’s like this….

by Debbie Walker

We will get to the “Mother” part of this story but first we’ll do the background.

Most of you know I am part of the Foster Grandparent Program and I volunteer in a first and second grade class. I think I have mentioned before how much I enjoy the kids and the teacher. Today I had an amazing experience.

I walked in the classroom to find a gift bag on my table. I opened up the card to find a note from the mother and a note from her child, one of our students.

The mother spoke of her child and that she knew her child enjoyed spending time with me. I believe the sentence that really got to me was she said he always has a smile on his face when he talks about me. She thanked me for all I do. His note was thanking me for being there in his class.

Tears were building up in the corners of my eyes as I finished reading. It got worse when I opened the gifts. There were two gifts in that bag. One was a beautiful little fairy sitting and holding a gem in her hand. The other gift was a fairy cottage that even lights up. They are beautiful. Then I really had to work at holding back the tears. I was hoping the kids would all go outside without seeing me break down in tears!

My main reason for telling this story is because, without their names for privacy, I would like to honor both mother and child with this writing.

Maybe I shared with you about how I read these kids a couple of the fairy stories I’ve written. My stories do not have illustrations yet. I told them to close their eyes and use their imagination to “see” the story. That’s a lot to ask of kids in this age bracket. They did wonderful! Their teacher looked in on us because the kids were all so quiet. After the story they asked to have time to draw the things they “saw.”

The pictures they drew were so cute! One of them, this boy, drew a picture of the house, a sun and the tree of “Apple Tree Notch,” home of the Bailey family fairies from my series. He gave his drawing to me and said, “Will you draw in the fairies and their friends.” So we finished it and he took the original home to show Mom.

The thing that truly inspired me to write this is the thoughtfulness and understanding of this Mom. It was months ago that we did the activity and yet Mom had not forgotten.

Mom understood that her son has a “connection” over something to me. “Connection” is a term they learned this year to connect them to different aspects of a story. To me this Mom is amazing and will help her son travel miles over the educational highways of his life. With Mothers like this there is hope for all of our futures.

I’m just curious the “trip” this boy will have with the obvious understanding of his Mom. I love questions and comments!! Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading!! Don’t forget we are also on line.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Mosquitoes and black flies – OH MY!

by Debbie Walker

We live in Maine. We know we are going to have to deal with snow, ice and inconvenient road construction. I believe the most difficult of Maine life is the Black Flies and the Mosquitoes and “Oh My” is saying it lightly!

I tend to believe critters are each here for a purpose. So….. of course, I had to do some reading. This is what I found out about these critters

It is the female black flies we are upset with. The males feed on nectar. The females feed on mammals including us.

We know that mosquitoes need standing water to prosper, however, the black flies prefer running water. How do you folks who fish the streams stand it?! We know that from April to July the little nuisances make gardening, boating, camping and any other outdoor activity a nightmare. The one good thing is they don’t follow us into the house or tent, etc. Mosquitoes want us wherever we are!

There is even a song written by Wade Homsworth titled The Black Fly Song. I found the song on YouTube. It was written about Canada but I believe it applies to us as well. It tells about the Black Flies “picking our bones clean”.

I’ll bet woodsman didn’t have to worry about walking into the woods I’ll bet the black flies were more than willing to gang up and carry them in!

In reading various things on the internet I learned (and remember) the only state that doesn’t have black flies is Florida. Don’t get all carried away about how lucky they are in Florida because they have their curses too. They have the dreadful no see ums. You might not see them but you will certainly feel them and their after effects for days. They have fire ants. Horrible little suckers! They have Love Bugs; they don’t bite but will plaster your entire windshield if you do much traveling in May or September. Oh, and they will pit the paint on your vehicle!

Okay enough of that.

Mosquitoes: I probably can’t tell you much about those little suckers! There are several songs about them. Mosquito Song says “Swallow and chew, Eat you alive, All of us food that hasn’t died.” Truthful little song, I am surprised we didn’t learn it as kids!

Body odors entice the critters to you. Sweat, perfume, scents and the higher the body temperature the more likely the critters will find you.

Their only purpose, as I read, is to make more mosquitoes!

My friend, Otis, from Florida, when I was complaining about them, said “What are you complaining about, don’t you people saddle and ride your mosquitoes?” Oh yeah, he is a funny man!!

I read that camping is nature’s way of feeding mosquitoes. I haven’t been camping yet but I have fed a few anyway. But I will tell you that I got Ken to experiment for me. I gave him a couple of dryer sheets and said wear these and see if it works to ward off the bugs. According to Ken they seem to work. I haven’t tried them yet.

I am just curious but not about those critters and I don’t care what their purpose is anymore. I don’t want to deal with them! Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com with questions or comments and thank you for reading!

I’M JUST CURIOUS – Muckraking: to be explained

by Debbie Walker

I believe IT has started. The IT is dirty politics for an upcoming election of one sort or another. I can’t even pay attention to what the election is for; I was just immediately put off by the nasty comments. I couldn’t even tell you what the comment was about. I have started a check list of the office and then the candidate and give “credit” where credit is due. If they all do it I guess there will be no one left.

There is history involved in the dirty politics, all levels I would guess. It didn’t start with Hilary and Trump, even though that continues to be a mess. I don’t have patience for any of it.

I do wish my history buff Dad was still alive. I would love to pick his brain on the subject. He’s not so I am relying on my attitude, a friend and The Farmer’s Almanac Special Edition, 2017 (https://www.farmersalmanac.com/crazy-president-elections-25625)

The article in The Farmer’s Almanac had to do with histories of presidential election: “Hair Splitting, Mud Slinging and Duels, Oh My.” I found an interesting word that I had to look up: “Mudraking.” I found it to be: “the action of searching out and publicizing scandalous information about famous people in an underhanded way.”

Mudracking. How do you feel about it? The link to the article is provided for you to possibly get your latest history lesson. The article talks about presidential elections that are one level. My recent upset was about a much lower level (just a term of definition) of the election system, but I liked the term muckraking.

I am sure you have the idea now. I don’t know about you but I am tired of it all. I find it a waste of my time. I am not likely to look at it as any kind of reliable information.

Candidates must pay for their commercial time. They use this time to talk trash? As a voter, I would rather hear what they think they can offer us as “responsible and credible” candidates. “They propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and by extension, it’s people” (Wikipedia).

I have been told that I am quite naive. I tend to look at things simply. I have never been a “game player” and I am too old to start now. I would like to hear the candidates’ own thoughts on what they can do for us and I doubt that I am alone on that one. The muckraking may be part of an excitement that some people enjoy. I’m not one of them, are you? This article was simply wrapped around my attitude, opinion and belief, and in no way represents this newspaper.

“When he took the job labeled responsible, he thought he had gotten the breaks; he wasn’t aware that it meant he’d be responsible for all mistakes,” by George O. Ludcke.

As always I am just curious how you feel about the whole process. Comments are welcome at dwdaffy@yahoo.com . Have a great week and thank you for reading.

I’m Just Curious: How long thingz last

by Debbie Walker

Have you ever wondered how long kitchen ingrediantz are useful? I found an article written by Charlez Kelsey in a magazine; COOK’S Illustrated and and it has the answerz.

I picked up the magazine intending to send it on to my granddaughter, Tristin, because of some of the really interesting articlez and this one caught my eye: “Keeping Kitchen Staples Fresher Longer.” Loved it, of course, I knew mine were far from fresh but….

Spices & Dried Herbz: Whole Spicez: Two year shelf life. Ground Spicez and Dried Herbz: One year. Whenever possible possible buy whole and grind before using. Don’t store on counter close to stove.

Vinegarz: shelf life: Long lasting – indefinitely. Sediment in vinegar is harmless and doesn’t affect taste. You can alwayz strain if you would rather.(coffee filter would probably work).

Olive Oil: Unopened: One year (goes rancid after). Open: three monthz. Keep in dark cabinet.

Other Oils: for optimal flavor, replace after opened for six months. Store in pantry: Canola, Corn, Peanut, and vegetable. Store in refrigerator: Sesame and Walnut.

Beyond Pantry:

Butter: kept in refrigerator no more than a month. Any longer, in freezer in a baggie for up to four monthz. Eggs: Never put eggz in the egg tray on the fridge door. – too warm. Keep in carton. Store in fridge for 3 – 5 weeks.

Soy Sauce: Shelf life: one year in pantry. If unpasteurized store in fridge.

Sweetenerz: Shelf Life: Sugar, honey and molasses = long lasting. Maple Syrup – two yearz unopened, one year open. Granulated sugar in airtight container. Molasses and honey in pantry. Opened maple syrup in refrigerator.

CHILL: These items stay fresh longer in freezer: Bay leavez , flourz with heavy germ content and cornmeal. Nutz and seed, and yeast.

Leavenerz: Shelf: Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Six monthz (Tested true despite manufacturer’z suggested datez). Instant or Active Dry Yeast: Four monthz in the freezer.

FLOUR: Shelf Life: All Purpose Flour: One year (in airtight container). Whole Wheat flour And Cornmeal: One year (in freezer in airtight container).

CHOCOLATE: Shelf Life: Unsweetened and Dark Chocolate: Two Yearz. Milk and White Chocolate: Six monthz.

VANILLA: Shelf life: Long lasting. (Testz proved it might last as long as 10 yearz and still be good).

Okay, enough of that for tonight! While thumbing through magazinez and bookz I came across this little saying and I think it fits us great! “It’z not the lionz and tigerz that’ll get you … It’z the MOSQUITOEZ!

We are nearing the end of the school year. The kidz I have been with this year have progressed so much, as all the other students. Everyone improvez their life with reading. For the children it couldn’t be more important. Please encourage the children in your life to read to you. If you are a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle or a family friend allowing them to show you their skillz is sooooooo important. You be amazed at how this will make you feel, as well.

As usual I am just curiouz how your pantriez will do with the column information! Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com with any questionz or commentz. (I was just playing with the s/z stuff, I saw it on a local business: CONE’Z and liked it).

I’m Just Curious: Interesting facts?

by Debbie Walker

Kids have some really good books. My latest example would be National Geographic KIDS, 5,000 Awesome Facts (about everything). Kathy is lucky; she gets any work out of me at school with all the books! I love books but you may have figured that out already. Anyway, the following is my latest and I hope you find some of it interesting to you.

North America’s only marsupial, the nocturnal Virginia Opossum, pretends to be dead = “Playing Opossum” – for up to six hours when threatened.

If a dolphin becomes sick, other dolphins will take turns pushing it to the surface so it can breath.

British author Ian Fleming, who created the character James Bond, was a spy himself during World War II.

A palindrome is a word that is spelled the same backward as forward such as noon, kayak, and race car.

Sign language is not a universal language – each country has its own sign language and vocabulary and grammar vary by region.

The word Quiz also means “odd person.”

A group of prisoners is called a PITY.

An Australian slang, “Bingle,” is a car accident, a “Captain Cook” is a look around, and a “whinger” is a complainer.

A Canadian Ice Breaker Ship weighs 33 million pounds and can break through thick ice sheets that are 62 feet thick. (Do we need one of those in Maine?)

Here are some survival facts. But I would check and double check on these before you rely on them.

Drinking salt water is worse than not drinking at all. Saltwater actually dehydrates you.

The International sign of distress when using fire is to build three fires in a triangle.

Quick sand can be an issue in some parts of Maine. The best way to escape Quicksand is to calmly lean back as if doing a back float. Slowly move your feet in small circles until you free yourself and can paddle to safe land.

Moving your arms like you’re swimming and keeping your mouth shut so snow doesn’t pack into your throat can help you survive an avalanche.

Compacted snow is like a recording studio sound proofed. When buried in snow, it’s a waste of oxygen to shout for help unless someone is very close by.

You are more likely to survive a shark circling your surf board if you stay calm. Thrashing around makes you look like its favorite food – a seal.

I love this one: A bear cub that survived a New Mexico forest fire in 1950 was nursed back to health and taken to the National Zoo. He became known as Smokey Bear!

If you count the seconds between the Lightning flash and the thunder and then divide by 5, that’s how many miles away the lightning is. It’s closer than you think.

Well, I hope some of this was informational for you, I enjoyed it and I haven’t gone a quarter of the way through the book. I probably won’t do much more of it unless you ask. Needless to say I’m Just Curious if I will hear from you. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com and don’t forget to check us out online. Thanks for reading!

I’m Just Curious: What were you doing?

by Debbie Walker

What were you doing Monday night at 5 p.m.? Well, Humpfree and I were getting our 2.8 minutes of fame on WABI.TV, 5 o’clock news; actually we were on at 5:08 p.m.

Humpfree, if I haven’t already told you, is a stuffed moose. We found him in a box at the thrift store. His head was sticking out. Since our theme for the classroom is Maine Animals, the stuffed moose Patsy found was perfect! Perfect, even better, when we noticed he is a bag. The rest is history, he became my pocketbook!

Humpfree has put smiles on an unbelievable number of faces, however, most important is the reactions of the kids at school. Sometimes they just run their hands over the soft fur. If they need to they can hug him. Sometimes Humpfree just makes the day go easier.

As I said we were at WABI. TV, what a treat. The people who run the news are just wonderful. Jim and Emily, and even the producer just wanted to help us be at ease.

Mary-Ann (my area supervisor) and I were being interviewed for the Foster Grandparent Program. It is through the Penquis office in Bangor. Mary-Ann is the project coordinator for the administrative office. Marsha and I (in our school) are “Professional Volunteers” (Sounds good, huh) And, no, we are not taking in foster children in our homes as a lot of folks believe when they see or hear this title Foster Grandparents Program.

Being a volunteer in a school is not something I saw myself doing at this point in my life. I too brought up my child and enjoyed my grandkids (still do!) but never thought I would willingly go into a classroom once my kids were out.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did. Yes, we are there to give attention to the children. I give them that extra reading time needed to increase their skill and confidence. I support whatever concept the teacher, Mrs. Cloonan, is teaching them.

Whatever attention you might think I give these children, you can’t imagine the love I get back. When I go in the mornings I volunteer I am greeted by an excitement for my just being there! It takes a little while for the excitement to quiet down a bit, but that’s okay because Mrs. Cloonan is glad to see me too!

We could talk about it but you would get the best information about becoming a FGP and the benefits (yes benefits!) by calling Mary Ann or Maria at Penquis, 1-800-215-4942 and ask for Foster Grandparent Program.

Recently a family friend passed away. He had all but lost his complete memory. I came across this saying that I would like to share with those who have lived a similar situation: “What the mind can’t remember the heart never forgets.” I thought it was beautiful.

As usual, I’M JUST CURIOUS if you might be a wonderful addition to any classroom. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com . Thank you for reading.

I’m Just Curious: “Sayings” and “Fixes”

by Debbie Walker

Tonight I am starting out with “a saying” then I’m doing “fixes” and then back to “sayings”. Wow this is sounding like a preview to a movie!

Have you seen this before “We are all a little broken, but the last time I checked, broken crayons still color the same.” (I love colors!)? I have some projects coming up that broken crayons will be best!

Ready for the fixes? This first one has made my shopping a bit easier. Do you ever have trouble pulling a bank card or ID card from your wallet? I have had problems. No more! Make pull tabs of tape or I used the multi-colored pull tabs from office supplies. This helps you ‘gracefully’ slide the cards out instead of my usual fumbling. Love that one, it’s my newest tip!

Possible hiccup cure? I haven’t tried it. Well, give it a try and let me know, please. You don’t need to hold your breath, try sucking on a slice of lemon a few seconds. The jolt to your systems will interrupt the spasm. Good Luck!

Some may find this one upsetting. Ken did! So, you come home with sore, achy, smelly feet. You pop the top off a beer – NO! Don’t drink that! Put it in the foot soaking pan and soak your feet in it for 10 minutes. No, I did not dream that up! The carbonation, cool temp and hops, all work together for your physical relief. Put one in the foot bath and drink one for physical and emotional relaxation. (Ken is counting his beers now to see if I have had aching feet!)

In the past some of my friends would lose a button on a shirt or find a small tear in a seam. To them it was time to throw away, to me; it was time to get out the needles and thread. My brother was known to staple a hem. Someone else came up with a binder clip, clip it and remove the metal handles. It would work on dark pants. (I actually carry pre-threaded needles in my pocketbook!)

Okay back to the “sayings” (?)

I had to have some place for this one, so – “His wibbling pin came out of his wobbly hole”. (It was on a TV show but I don’t know which one. )

How about – Clutter is the evidence of life. (I am a Master of Clutter!)

Ever feel like – Your life is one tent short of a circus?

Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved!

I can guess who the 5, 6 and 7 years olds are now. They are the ones with various front teeth missing.

Well that is enough rambling for tonight. As usual, I am just curious, what type of sayings and fixes you haven’t shared with me yet. Thank you for reading in the paper or on line. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Looking forward to it!

I’m Just Curious: Myths!

by Debbie Walker

Some weeks I could probably get into trouble if it wasn’t for the full crew of “Keepers” in my world. I’ll admit some of the things I have an interest in others just shake their heads; I enjoy living in a continued childhood even if it is only in my head. Books for children can be very interesting and I have found things in their books that I did not know. It’s all fun.

This week I was looking at the National Geographic KIDS Almanac 2014. There was a caption on the front, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Everything!”

Animal Myths Busted:

Adult opossums do not hang by their tails. (I haven’t seen any up here but I did in Florida.)

Porcupines do not shoot their quills. (but they sure can put a hurt on a dog!)

How about “Elephants are afraid of mice.” Myth!

I read that the elephant’s eyesight is so bad they would never even see a mouse!

Another myth, one I hadn’t heard was that goldfish only have a three second memory. (imagine that test!!) I can tell you from experience they can remember who will feed them and when they expect it. I saw it in person as grandson’s fish knows son-in-law is the feeder. The fish swims to whichever direction son-in-law is walking in the kitchen.

And yet another myth:

“Bulls charge when they see red.” (They prefer VISA!) Sorry, I couldn’t resist! It was never the color of the bull fighter’s cape, it was actually the motion.

How about the myth “eating carrots improves your eyesight.” That was a hoax in World War II. British soldiers claimed to have excellent night vision because they consumed carrots. The carrot bit was used to confuse Germans. It was to take their attention away from British radar.

Okay, so much for all that stuff.

Last week I printed “A TEST for OLD KIDS” and I promised the answers would be here this week. I am sure you are anxiously awaiting the answers! (If you missed The Test you can find it online here.) For all others the answers follow:

ANSWERS:

01. The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet.
02. The Ed Sullivan Show
03. On Route 66
04. To protect the innocent.
05. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
06. The limbo
07. Chocolate
08. Louis Armstrong
09. The Timex watch
10. Freddy, The Freeloader and ‘Good Night and God Bless.’
11. Draft cards (Bras were also burned. Not flags, as some have guessed)
12. Beetle or Bug
13 Buddy Holly
14. Sputnik
15. Hoola-hoop

I am, as usual, just curious! I would love to hear how you made out!! Contact me with questions or comments at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to look over The Town Line.

I’m Just Curious: A test for old kids

by Debbie Walker

This is a test for us ‘old kids’! The answers will be printed next week, just in case you need them.

01. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, Who was that masked man? Invariably, someone would answer, I don’t know, but he left this behind. What did he leave behind?________________.

02. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. In early 1964, we all watched them on The _______________ Show.

03 ‘Get your kicks, __________________.’

04. ‘The story you are about to see is true.. The names have been changed to ___________________.’

05. ‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ________________.’

06. After the Twist, The Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, we ‘danced’ under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the ‘_____________.’

07. ‘N_E_S_T_L_E_S’, Nestle’s makes the very best . . . . _______________.’

08. Satchmo was America ‘s Ambassador of Goodwill.’ Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was _________________.

09. What takes a ‘licking and keeps on ticking’? _______________.

10. Red Skelton’s hobo character was named _________________ and Red always ended his television show by saying, ‘Good Night, and ‘________ ________. ‘

11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam War did so by burning their______________.

12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the VW. What other names did it go by? ____________ &_______________.

13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, ‘the day the music died. ‘This was a tribute to ___________________.

14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit.. The Russians did it. It was called ___________________.

15. One of the big fads of the late 50’s and 60’s was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the __ ______________.

Answers next week! The only time I really enjoy these little tests is when I get to pass them along! Then it’s really fun. Hopefully this will bring some fun memories to your mind. It made me smile.

Different uses for regular things make me smile too:

I’m just curious when you will use this: I don’t like to redo something that isn’t necessary so: Take a clothes hanger and two rubber bands. On each end of the hanger attach a rubber band. I would use a band that is long enough to wind over the hanger two or three times. Your clothes will now stay on the hanger and it was a cheap fix. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading.

I’m Just Curious: Shoe facts to keep you on your toes

by Debbie Walker

The kid’s books and magazines give me some different things to write about! Some of this column is from a World Magazine. I believe it is an off shoot of National Geographic World.

So we are going to start out with information about shoes:

Sneakers:

A few years ago there was a ship carrying about 40,000 pairs of sneakers in the Pacific Ocean, headed for the United States. A storm struck and the sneakers went overboard. Sometime later beach-goers from British Columbia to Oregon saw hundreds of sneakers had washed up on the shores – “they were the ‘sole’ survivors”!

Symbols:

Shoes were symbols of ownership years ago. At European weddings, the bride’s parents threw shoes to ‘say’ they didn’t own the bride any longer. Shoes became a symbol of good luck. Sometimes all the wedding guests threw shoes at the happy couple. “Maybe throwing shoes helped a marriage start out on the right foot”.

Right or Wrong

Eighteenth century people didn’t have to worry about right or left shoe. Both shoes were exactly alike. Both shoes in a pair were identical!

Someone Else’s

Napoleon I didn’t have to get blisters. His servants wore his boots to break them in for him. “They spared his imperial tootsies a royal pain.”

Fashion

About 500 years ago in Europe men wore shoes with extremely long pointy toes. Some were so long that the wearer had to fasten them to his knees – or he’d trip.

“Walks of Life”

People give shoes a real workout. Each day most people take about 9,000 steps. And over our entire lifetime we may walk far enough to circle the Earth three and a half times. That’s enough to make your feet sore!”

Altitude Footwear

Platform shoes are not new to fashion. Years and years ago in Europe decorated platform shoes were a status symbol for wealthy women. The style “peak” was called the chopine (shah-PEEN). Sometimes rising more than two feet high, this was a shoe with a view!

Okay, I guess that is enough shoe business for one day. Although I could add that my Dad used to tell Mom to take me shoes shopping. He said they would throw away the shoes and I could wear the boxes. I have big flat feet with bunions! Used to have bunions but those were taken off, yehaw! Me and shoes still don’t get along really well. And, NO, it was not my mother’s fault. She always made sure our shoes fit well.

As usual I am just curious if you have any great “shoe” stories. For questions or comments you can contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com . Thanks for reading!