A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Sometimes our thoughts are comprised of a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Nothing big or major is going on. No big ideas. Just minor stuff, seemingly inconsequentially strung together sort of like this…

A few months ago I thought I was squirrel-proofing my apple tree when I hung disposable pie tins on the branches. A lot of good that did. Given relentless squirrels and wind, my tree once loaded down with apples barely provided for one small apple crisp. Not only that, now the sound of those darn aluminum pie plates knocking in the wind is driving me crazy.

When we were teenagers, we would describe our mixed emotions with phrases, like "I 'm happy sad" or "I'm up and down" or "I'm feeling out of sorts." Have you noticed the way young people describe their feelings these days? Listen closely and you'll hear crossover language from the internet.

In web-speak, forward slashes "/" and backward slashes "\," along with other symbols, identify locations or addresses.

Today, the slash has totally replaced the use of conjunctions to make statements that sound like this: "I'm happy-slash-sad-slash-mad." In web language, the same statement appears like this: "I'm happy/sad/mad."

Speaking of our use of the language, we've lost our bearings when it comes to adjectives. Instead, we are inventing new easy words as we go. The other night on a fashion reality show, a judge described a long flowing dress with an empire waist as being "too pageanty," as in beauty pageant. There's more. I've heard people describe food as being too mustardy, too ketchupy and too oniony. Or perhaps we're becoming too couch potatoey.

A couch potato is one thing I've never been called. In fact, I made this list of things I love to do that most people would rather put off: I love to do housework, cook from scratch and do dishes. I look forward to mending, sewing and hemming skirts and trousers. I'm entertained by mowing grass, racking leaves and trimming bushes. I get big satisfaction from washing the windows, doing the laundry and scrubbing the toilets. I work hard to sweep corners, cobwebs and closets. I better stop here; otherwise, some might describe this column as too "listy."

I don't mind lists. They serve a purpose. My list for addresses of family and friends is a prized possession. When I can't find it, I start to twitch. Over the years, I've revised it and created new ones, but I have never thrown away the originals.

Years ago, I kept addresses in an address book. People don't use address books anymore, mainly because email and cell phones have rendered correspondence through the U.S. Post Service pretty near obsolete.

I'm sure some of you still have ancient dog-eared address books stuffed away in a drawer or next to your rotary phone. These days, I keep addresses on an excel spreadsheet, which replaced my book, which I know is here somewhere, but can't seem to find it. I'm still looking, not because I need to – I want to.

It's the closest thing I have to a family tree. Inside its worn and wrinkled pages, are penciled names, addresses, birthdays, anniversaries for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, distant relatives, pastors, church members, friends and neighbors.

Old timey address books are relics to be cherished for their historical time lines, revealing trails of friendships, travels and services.

Address books hold more than simply names and numbers for important people and places in our lives. They are our compasses locating where we have been, publicizing our connections and revealing where we are headed.

I must admit that I am feeling unsettled-slash-sad-slash-hopeful over my lost address book. I'm still searching, because at the risk of sounding too drama queeny, it's got to be here somewhere.

2012 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email  boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at my-story-your-story@blogspot.com and find her on FaceBook.

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