Monthly Archives: December 2022

A Humorous Post

The medieval apothecary could not be trusted to prepare prescriptions correctly, remember? (We wrote about this here a couple of weeks ago.) While he might substitute an equally effective medication, he might instead slip a cheaper, even poisonous herb into … Continue reading

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Another Marvelous Thing

Laurie Colwin wrote memorable, funny novels (Happy All the Time, Family Happiness); ironic, pithy short stories (The Lone Pilgrim and other collections); and two volumes of essays about food: Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen and More Home Cooking: … Continue reading

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Honoring the Bleak Midwinter

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “In the Bleak Midwinter.” The verses are by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), an English poet. They were set to music by Gustav Holst in 1906. The Pre-Raphaelites, of whom Rossetti was a part, strove … Continue reading

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The Day the Sun Stands Still

Today is the day the sun stops. Ever since September, as the sun gradually moved south in the sky, the daylight has ineluctably become briefer and the darkness has lengthened. In the culmination of that journey, the night lingers for … Continue reading

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Baking Cookies, Remembering Dee

Christmas is a time for joy, but also a time for grief. Holiday preparations remind me of my mother-in-law, Dee Ewing, who died in 1993. My childhood Christmases were fine, certainly not traumatic, but sometimes strained and stressful. My Christmas … Continue reading

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Learning from Chaser

I used to introduce my Latin students to fundamental grammar by telling them about Chaser, the dog who knew a thousand words. Chaser, I would explain, learned the meaning of verbs such as fetch, paw (as in pawing her toys), … Continue reading

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Caveat Emptor

My sister reports Latin-related Jeopardy questions (oops, I mean “answers”) to me, the former Latin teacher. She told me that Monday’s show ended with the category “Latin Phrases.” Here’s the clue: “Originally, this 3-word phrase referred to when a doctor … Continue reading

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Kid Lit

Note to subscribers: You receive my posts in your email. I see your comments on my blog page at my website ( That’s also where my replies to your comments appear. I reply to most of your comments, but you … Continue reading

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A Christogram

I promised a while back to explain why Xmas is not “taking the Christ out of Christmas.” This spelling doesn’t need to be controversial or offensive. The X may look as though it’s eliminating Christ. People may think that modern, … Continue reading

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Hummus, ATK Style

I like watching America’s Test Kitchen videos on PBS or YouTube. Sometimes the recipes are too fussy, with lots of steps I can’t be bothered with. But when Becky, one of the chefs, tells me to do something, I’m willing … Continue reading

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