A Blog By Any Other Name

Because I enjoy giving myself random and pointless assignments, I decided to change the name of my blog every day for one month.  It started out as a creative challenge, but almost immediately I realized that it offered a valuable lesson in impermanence.  In the last month, I came up with a few winners, but no matter how much I liked a title, I had to chuck it in the morning and find another to take its place.  The forever changing blog name challenge taught me not to get attached, to enjoy and appreciate each name fully, and then let it go.  Whatever the name that day; that was the name.  Yesterday's name ceased to exist and tomorrow's name didn't matter.  The blog lived in the moment of its present title.  

Accepting the impermanence of any given name was a good experience for me, because life is like that too.  To live fully, we must be present in the moment.  The moment is all we really have.

After a few weeks, however, changing my blog's name started to become a pain in the ass.  It felt more like a chore than a lesson in impermanence.   I would occasionally whine about having to do it.  This was ridiculous because, in reality, I didn't HAVE to change it.  I had created this chore for myself.  And when you think about it, we create unnecessary work for ourselves all the time.    Sometimes we do it to scratch a creative itch.  Sometimes we do it for the greater good.  Still other times we do it because of a sense that we ought to.  I felt  like someone who decides to grind all her own grain and then complains about how much work it is to make pancakes, when all-the-while flour is sitting there on the shelf of the market, readily available.  I gave myself the assignment of naming and renaming and then felt sorry for myself because I had such a high maintenance blog.

In the last few days, however, when I began to realize that the month was almost over, I began to feel sad about the imminent close of the change a day blog experiment.  It wasn't a chore any longer.  It was something to be savored.  My opportunities to rename were dwindling and each renaming seemed precious.  I had grown attached to it.  

And now...the experiment is over.  Impermanence once again.  I did it for 4 weeks.  Now what?  

I will ponder this.  You can ponder it too.  You can send me suggestions.  

Blogger didn't save the names.  When I renamed, the old one was gone.  But I saved them.  Here is a list of the 28 names that were used.

  1. Apropos of Nothing
  2. AoN
  3. Ampersand
  4. Fanciful Nanciful's Dance-Along Blogfest
  5. Callithump Thunderblog
  6. Stepping In Puddles
  7. The Unscrabbled Mind
  8. The Adventures of Snark Cat and Smug Dog
  9. Walking on the Ceiling
  10. A Blog Named Sue
  11. Timid Pajamas
  12. Exploding Hairdo
  13. The Plight of the Raisins
  14. You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Blog Is About You
  15. Illegal Petrissage
  16. Take Note
  17. Your Reason to Get Up in the Morning
  18. Read, Rinse, Repeat
  19. Ask not what this blog can do for you, but what you can do for this blog
  20. Miss Sandra Stinglash's Guide to Manners
  21. Unmotivated Steps
  22. Ampersandwich
  23. Icosahedron Blog-o-sphere
  24. The Sunshine Day School's Annual Fundraising Cookbook & Nutrition Guide
  25. Rambling Ramsey's Roadside Reader
  26. The Return of the Bay Leaves
  27. Gambol Hop Gallumpha
  28. The Blog Fairy Underground

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Dear Followers

Dear Followers,

I am writing in order to bring your attention to changes that have been made to this page.  As you can see, your pictures have gotten bigger and you now have an option to sign in and connect with the other followers.  None of this is my doing.   All I know is that this new design is not pleasing to the eye and I am not happy with Google.  My discontent is so strong in fact, that I have decided that I am not going to invite Google to my birthday party.

I hope, however, that the changes that Google has made do not give you pause.  In fact, I beg you not to leave me.  I am on my hands and knees right now.

If you look over to the right, you will now see my smiling face beside yours, as I have temporarily become my own follower in order to understand the new following features that Google has decided that we need.  After a short exploration, I have determined that now my followers can become "friends" with other followers.  And I am not certain about this, but it appears that these newly found "friends" can, through the magic of internet communication, "chat" with one another.  

I would like to strongly discourage you from doing this.  

I can assure you, dear followers, that you have nothing to discuss.  There is absolutely no reason for you to communicate with one another, whatsoever.  Let me repeat this.  You have nothing to talk about.   

There is no reason you could possibly have to do this.  This is a fine blog.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.   There is no reason to start little rumblings of discontent among yourself that spread from one faction to another until the entire group is organized and speaking as a singular voice, making one demand after another to type out this stuff faster, to be funnier, to use fancier fonts, to mention your beloved pets in my posts, and to provide you with healthy recipes that are easy to prepare, taste great and cost just pennies per serving.

I won't cave to these demands.  If you don't like this blog as it is, then you can just go find a new blog to follow.  Just click on that little "Stop Following" button and be done with it then.  NO!  STOP!  WAIT!  I didn't really mean that.  What I meant to say is that if you are unhappy with anything at all, big or small, just keep following anyhow, so that you don't hurt my feelings.  

To sum up, then.  Following good.  Chatting bad.  

So again, dear followers,  thank you so much for your support.   I couldn't do it without you.  


Sandra Stinglash

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Where's Waldo....I mean Oscar?

Strange turn of events today.  I needed to check the tire pressure in my car so I popped open the glove compartment to get the tire gauge.  I was shocked to find Oscar stuffed inside.  His head covered with a latex glove and his body limp and lifeless.  

It was an August when Oscar mysteriously disappeared.  I remember my son, Edison, staring at the kidnapper's note with disbelief.  "How could I let this happen?" he cried.  

For six months, each time we have gotten in the car, Oscar has been within reach, but his presence has gone undetected.  And as the months have passed, so has the memory of that tragic event. As often happens with teenage boys, Edison's attention has turned to other things.

But, you remember Oscar, don't you?  

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200 Words About Snow

Unlike most of my readership, who live on sunny tropical islands, I live in the snow belt.  Since you tropical island dwellers don't know what you are missing, let me fill you in.

Oh that very first snowfall- so magical.  It sends school children to the windows excitedly shrieking "It's snowing!"  And for weeks after the first flakes fall, you marvel about the snow.  You catch the cold, wet flakes on your tongue.  You examine each perfectly formed crystal that falls on your sleeve.  They are miraculous.  "The Inuit have 200 words for snow," you remark, not knowing if your number is on the mark or not.  It is ok.  It is forgivable.   You don't need to be certain of the number.  Just speaking the phrase illustrates your reverence.  As you look at those tiny, intricate crystals, each one unique, you have an experience that can only be described as religious.  Talk about wow-factor.  Holy shit, is Mother Nature amazing.  Life is just extraordinary; nature so full of wonder.  You are surrounded by miracles that can only be seen if you are paying attention.  And on this day, you are truly paying attention, and it is all so deeply beautiful.

It feels great to be alive.

You vow to buy cross country skis and to take daily walks.  What could be more peaceful than being out in the quiet; snow gently falling, far away from any computers, no ringing cell phones and zero responsibility.  Ah, yes the winter.  You used to think that the winter had a personal vendetta against you, but then you realized that it was all about the gear.  You are now warm and snug in your layers of high tech textiles.  And you are glad to live in the climate you are in.  

The quiet.  The peace.  The world nestled by a blanket of snow.  It is so beautiful it takes your breath away.

As the weeks go by, the snow continues to fall and the temperatures drop.  You don't get out as much as you planned.  But you know that the snow is out there waiting for you,  patiently waiting to be formed into stacked spherical figures with carrots for noses.  It is waiting to be slid down and formed into small projectile balls and recycle box forts.  It is there, waiting for you to glide through on your skis, or hike about on your snowshoes.  

It waits.

And as you go about your day to day, work a day life, you take comfort in knowing that you are one of those people who appreciates the gifts that the winter brings.  You are the kind of person who puts on the gear and gets out there in the elements.

Although, you don't really get out there so much, do you?  I mean, you did get out there that one time, and even a few times after, but seriously, how long has it been now?  

The sad truth is snow doesn't stay white and pristine.  It gets slushy, and brown, and it piles up in places where you don't want it, and you have to shovel it to new places.  And you have to trudge through it day after day, and worse yet, teeter-tooter on sheer ice on some days.  Mother Nature doesn't consider driveways and sidewalks and such when she decides to blanket us.  Her blanket covers all.

You trudge.

You trudge for weeks.

And then it comes to you, in a flash.  You are completely sick of winter.  And moreover, you are washing your hands of the entire season.  You become passive aggressive.  You start forgetting where your gloves are.  You lose your scarf.  You stop wearing a coat altogether and instead dash from your warm car into the safety of a warm building.  Never mind the earmuffs.  Forget the snow boot thing.  Fuck it.  You will just fall down.  You are done.  

Never mind that the temperatures have not changed.  It is still snowing.  It is still cold.  

But the hell with it.  You are a rebel.  You are no longer going to let the weather dictate how you dress.  You are going to dress however you feel like dressing.  To hell with winter.  

The resentment sets in.  You start to take the cold personally.  You are certain that the winter is trying to kill you.  And the thing is, you are right.  The simple fact of the matter is that the winter has no regard for you.  So why the hell were you holding winter in such high esteem?   Why did you even decide to live in such a stupid place, anyway?  You could be eating pineapples and wearing some kind of sarong wrapped around your body. You must be some kind of idiot.

I have to stop writing and go out and greet my day.  It is 22 degrees outside.   But I am done with winter.  So, here I go then, in my shorts and flip flops.  I open the door.  The cold blasts through my bones, yet a smile of satisfaction spreads across my face.  Ah, the pure delight of sticking it to the man.

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watz going on?

Seriously. I'z help u. 

I'z got mad skills. I'z trained in co-counseling, non-violent communicashuns, and empathic liss'ning. 

I'z tell u watz u shood do.

U needs 2 do positive affirmashunz.  

Positive affirmashunz iz watz u shood tell urself each and ev'ry day.  

U sez like, "I'z very cute and peepels like to pet me," or "I'z a feeline God. My master worshipz me 'n' attendz to my ev'ry need," or "I'z takes lotz of napz. I'z sleep like a champ."  

Positive affirmashunz will help u 2 feel good 'n' not be so down in teh dumpz.

U shood give positive affirmashunz a try. U will feel better.

Or maybee, U cood pee on teh masterz bed.

That always werks.

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A Message to My Followers

Valentine's Day is almost over.  It was such a fun packed, extraordinary day and I was just about to go to bed when I realized that I almost let the day slip by without publicly wishing my followers a happy Valentine's Day!  

I know that we spent the entire day together, and I wished you all a happy Valentine's Day when I gave you your gifts.  I know that you were surprised by my generosity and you said that it wasn't necessary for me to give you such nice things, but I just had to do something special for you, followers.  After all, you have been the most loyal, wonderful, undemanding, best looking followers around.

Seriously.  Look over to the right.  Look at that bunch of handsome people.  You just couldn't get a group of people together that would be cooler than you guys.

Followers, did you get the chocolate and the flowers I had delivered?  I bet you were surprised when you got home!  Wish I could have seen the looks on your faces!   Aren't you so glad that you decided to follow?  I bet all those other people, the non-followers, are going to want to be followers now, but we know that you were one of the first, and that will always make you special to me.  

On other blogs, followers are just a bunch of thumbnail photos with user names that pop up if you hover over them, but here, followers get the special treatment they deserve.   

So Happy Valentine's Day, you followers you!  And mark your calendars, because, as we discussed today, we are all going to hang out together again on April Fool's Day and play tricks on the non-followers.  I can't wait!

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If You Were My Boyfriend

I wrote this one years ago. I thought it would work for Valentine's season.

If you were my boyfriend, we would like each other an awful lot, so much, that we’d call each other up all the time. You would think I was very, very pretty and I would think you were so very handsome. We’d have all sorts of inside jokes. If you were my boyfriend, I would occasionally wear your sweaters, but you wouldn’t ever wear mine, because that would be weird. If you were my boyfriend, I would cook you nice dinners, with asparagus and everything, and after dinner you would tell me how delicious it was. And you would mow my lawn and fix stuff for me because you liked me so much and it made you happy to help me. If you were my boyfriend, I would call you up when there was a bat in my living room, and I would shriek, and you would come over with a tennis racket and catch it and I would say, “That bat looked a lot bigger when it was flying around.” And we would laugh.

If you were my boyfriend, we would go on picnics together, with cheese and baguettes and a blanket and grapes too. We would lie on the blanket, looking up at the sky and talk about our dreams and our fears.

It would be a great thing, if you were my boyfriend. We would be so happy and we would pity everyone else for not being us. We would marvel at how well we got along and we would trash our ex’s together, and say things like, “My ex and I never got along this well.” And, “You are so much funnier than my ex.” We would spend all kinds of time cuddling and saying sweet things to one another.

One day, if you were my boyfriend, you would be eating corn on the cob and I would notice that you had a strange way of spreading your butter on your corn and I would wonder if I liked you anymore. Then another day, if you were my boyfriend, you would say something really, very stupid. We would talk about it a lot and finally sort it out, but then I would start to realize that there were all these things about you that were really starting to get on my nerves. If you were my boy friend, I would try very hard to get you to change, but you would refuse to change, and we would break up. Then I would start spending time with my friends again and they would be so happy because as it turns out, they never really liked you anyhow.

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Lost in Translation

This morning, I visited Babelfish. If you have never tried it out, it is a very fun and only a wee bit useful program that translates text into other languages.  Foreign language teachers have strict rules against their students using the translator.  You will soon see why.  I took my recent  post "Bad News" and translated into a few other languages.  Then I translated the translations back into English.  Here is the original, in case you missed it:

I found out in school today, that once someone becomes a licensed massage therapist, it is illegal for them to massage an animal.  The good news is that they can still pet their dog or cat.  
The bad news is that once I get my massage license, I will have to give up my squirrel massage business.

And here are the various translations.  Enjoy them.  I did.

English to German, back to English:

I found at school today, that once, someone the authorized Massagetherapeut become out, it am invalid, so that they mass an animal. The good messages are that they know pet still their dog or cat. The bad messages are that, as soon as I mean Massagelizenz receive I must give up my Eichhörnchenmassagegeschäft.

English to Italian, back to English:

I have uncovered today to school, that one someone becomes once that an authorized terapista of massage, it is illegal so that they massages an animal. The good news is that their dog or cat still can pet. The defective news is that once that I obtain my authorization of massage, I will have to give in on my commerce of massage of the scoiattolo.

English to French, back to English:

J' discovered with l' school aujourd' today, that once quelqu' one becomes an authorized therapeutist of massage, he is illegal for qu' they mass an animal. The good news is qu' they can still cherish their dog or cat. The bad news is qu' once j' obtain my licence of massage, I will have to give up my businesses of massage d' squirrel.

English to Japanese, back to English:

As for me in the school, way that those can massage the animal, you become the medical therapy loyal retainer of the massage which is approved, illegal today which that is you inspected one time someone. Good news is still to be possible to love the dog or the cat. As for bad news if I obtain my massage license, as for me massage business of my lith must be abandoned, gently is.

And finally, English to Dutch, back to English:

I came today in school, namely that as soon as a someone license given massage therapist becomes, it for them illegitimate is mass an animal. The good news is that they still house animal are possible their dog or cat. The bad news is that as soon as I get my massage license I my matter of the squirrel massage will have give up.

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Bad News

I found out in school today, that once someone becomes a licensed massage therapist, it is illegal for them to massage an animal.  The good news is that they can still pet their dog or cat.  

The bad news is that once I get my massage license, I will have to give up my squirrel massage business.

Have fun reading! Feel free to pass these scrawlings on, but make sure to give credit. This is copyrighted material.

25 Things- A Tutorial

There is a note called 25 Random Things that is circling Facebook. Once you have been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things about yourself. You then tag 25 people and send them your note. Each person who is tagged creates their own list and tags more people. And so it goes.

This is a wonderful thing. It gives you an opportunity to get to know your friends at a deeper level. It inspires meaningful conversation. However, It can be stressful when you get tagged because like most of us, you are well intentioned and do not want to let your friends down, but you have such little time. 25 random things is a lot. No worries. Here are 25 suggestions to make this task a little easier for you.

1. Confess something from childhood, for instance, that time when you were in Middle School and did a science report on unicorns. Remember how you thought your biology teacher was pulling your leg when she told you that there was no such thing?

2. Talk about something that has never made any sense to you like why people can go to war at 18, but cannot drink, or how the words flammable and inflammable can mean the same thing. Bring up something that you just don't get, like the child abuse or fractions.

3. Talk about music. Just remember, most people love Ray Charles, so don't make that joke that you always make. It isn't really very funny.

4. People will feel closer to you if you make a confession. Tell them about the time you plagiarized your wedding vows, for instance.

5. If you choose to write about those recurring nightmares that you have, you might not want to mention the mysterious beetles that you often find in your underwear when you wake up.

6. Mention the book that you are reading, unless you are still reading The Impotence Sourcebook.

7. People are always interested in what you do for a living. Just try not to use the phrase "Ponzi Scheme" in your explanation.

8. Don't limit yourself to qualitative information, include quantitative information as well. Nothing will let your Facebook friends know how much you trust them quite like including your social security number as a random fact about yourself. Better yet, use the social security number of an ex-spouse.

9. Mention a classic piece of literature as your favorite book of all time. Presenting yourself as a reader will make you come off as smart. Make sure you spell the title correctly.

10. Write about some strange, idiosyncratic habit that you have, but not the goat thing.

11. Name your favorite TV show if you wish, but it is always better to say something like, "I don't watch TV, as I am way too busy performing deeds of selfless altruism to waste time in front of a screen."

12. Talk about your blog. You don't have a blog? Talk about mine, then.

13. Tell YOUR Continental Airline horror story. (Written before the terrible crash near Buffalo. This joke was much funnier before that happened.)

14. Say something that will make everyone in your life wonder if you are talking about them, something like, "I hate when I think I hate someone and it turns out that they are really just misunderstood or going through a really hard time. I also hate when I think I like someone and they turn out to be a big fat jerk."

15. Throw in a distracter- something like, "Hey! Look up! Isn't that Abe Vigoda?" Then, when your reader looks away, skip a number.

17. Apologize. You know why.

18. Explain why you love your feet so much.

19. ˙ןooɔ ʎןןɐǝɹ ǝɹɐ noʎ ʞɥʇ ןןıʍ ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ ˙uʍop ǝpısdn ƃɥʇǝɯos ǝʇıɹʍ

20. Claim to either love or hate making lists. An item, in a list, that refers to lists, is a sure-fire winner.

21. Talk about your latest alien abduction experience.

22. Do that complain-brag thing, where you "complain" about something that would make most people envious, like being tired of getting massages every single day or having no idea what to do with all that money you have just stolen.

23. Talk about the book you are working on- Feng Shui For Gerbil and Hamster Cages.

24. Once you get to 24, you can get away with saying something like, "I am almost done with this list."

25. Talk about what you are going to do after you are done with this list. Something like, "Now that I am finished with this list, I can get back to compiling data for my numerical analysis of bowel movement frequency."

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What's In a Name?

I have been exploring changing my own name.  Exploring.  Not insisting.  Not declaring.  Turns out that doesn't really work so well.  I love the name that I chose for myself, but it turns out that I am pretty attached to the name that people have been calling me for all these years I have been on the earth.  My friends and family seem pretty attached to it as well.  When someone asks me what my name is, I like to have an answer, a clear answer.  So, I am going to follow the easier path and stick with it, despite the fact that I never felt like my given name quite suits me.  I guess that I can live with a little incongruity.

However, I have no such attachment to the name of this blog.  And no argument can be made that it actually suits the material presented.  So,  because I can, for the next month, I will be changing the name of this blog daily.  

You can determine whether it still smells as sweet.

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