Wednesday, February 22, 2017

KIDS: A big fat misconception

Yesterday I overheard a group of middle-school girls chatting after school.
"Oh my God! She is so fat!" shrieked one.
"I KNOW! Have you seen her eat?" asked another, making loud gobbling noises.
Wow, how cruel kids can be, I reflected sadly, recalling a book on eating disorders I'd recently edited.
The girls' conversation continued.
"Remember how little she was when she was a puppy?!"

Monday, February 20, 2017

QUAKERS: A Presidential connection

In response to my item last week about how Quakerism is far less common in California than it is in Chester County, an astute reader commented that "Richard Nixon, born in Yorba Linda, California, was the son of a Quaker mother. He attended Whittier College, near his home, a Quaker school."
I'd forgotten about President Nixon's Quaker roots.

SLANG: Young Relative update

If you hear your Unionville High School student using the adjective "nifty," you can thank the Young Relative. At dinner on Sunday he used it, quite aptly, to describe an especially neat solution to a crossword puzzle and then explained that "nifty" has been on frequent rotation in his vocabulary playlist recently.
I looked up the word's origin on "Online Etymology Dictionary" and found that "nifty" first appeared in the middle of the 19th century, "perhaps theatrical slang, first attested in a poem by Bret Harte, who said it was a shortened, altered form of magnificat."
Who knew!
By the way, the Young Relative said he is looking forward to running outside again after a winter of competing indoors. Although he enjoyed the track team's road trips to various colleges with indoor facilities, he much prefers the fresh air.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

WEST MARLBOROUGH: A baffling encounter

Late Saturday afternoon, we were just pulling into my road when a middle-aged woman at the intersection rolled down the window of her dark-blue BMW and asked us, very politely, if this road led to The Whip Tavern.
Not really, I said, but I can get you there.
Well, she wasn't quite sure: that might be where she wanted to go -- or perhaps the Landhope in Willowdale.
(My house is only a few minutes away from both of those fine establishments, but they are in completely opposite directions.)
I tried to pin her down: Where exactly did she want to go?
After several rounds of asking the same question and receiving vague answers, we managed to learn that some friends of hers had built a new house somewhere in Unionville -- did we know them? -- and she thought that by simply driving around the countryside she could find it. Apparently she didn't think to ask for the address, and the idea of phoning them didn't occur to her.
We finally gave her directions to downtown Unionville -- a straight shot -- but I'm not at all confident she made it there.

Friday, February 17, 2017

UNIONVILLE: Book sale Feb. 24 and 25

Just a reminder that the Unionville High School's Used Book Sale is coming up Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25.
I had fun selecting books to donate and dropped off a giant box of them at the high school the other afternoon. For years I'd thought it was mandatory to acquire all the works of my favorite authors, but I've come to realize that there's really no point in keeping the ones I don't like. The layer of dust and the pristine spines made them easy to spot on my shelves. Even a couple of Barbara Pym novels and some Agatha Christie mysteries (both of whom I adore) ended up in the donation pile.
The sale, held at the high school, runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Feb. 24 and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25, with the $10 "bag sale" to follow from 3 to 5 p.m.

WEST GROVE: A wonderful meal

We can always count on Twelves Grill and CafĂ© in downtown West Grove for a special evening. I love everything about the restaurant, from its setting (a former bank) to its top-notch food, distinctive service and relaxed, calm atmosphere.
For appetizers we had the mushroom soup and the cheese plate (I'd never before had smoked Goudam [not a typo]), followed by crab cakes with grilled asparagus, roasted baby carrots and smashed potatoes, and incredible home-made cinnamon ice cream for dessert.
Everything was wonderful; in fact, just writing this makes me hungry again.

SPRING: It'll be here soon!

I did a double-take when a formerly very blonde friend showed up at the gym on Thursday evening: her hair was now a pretty auburn color. She said she'd dyed it spontaneously as a way to celebrate the lengthening of the days and the approaching spring (the Spring Equinox is on Monday, March 20).
I agreed that a few minutes more of daylight each day is adding up and really makes a difference in our outlooks. Also, my snowdrops are in bloom, and when filling the bird feeder I need to be careful not to tread on the tulips, crocus, and daffodils, which are up maybe an inch. The hellebores should be flowering presently.
(A friend reminds me darkly, though, that we usually get our heaviest snowstorms in March.)