Friday, April 12, 2013

Random Thoughts ....

from Jacqueline

My God-daughter came to stay with me during the holidays. She’s currently on a year abroad, studying here in the USA and soaking up life on this side of the pond. I think she and her pals are soaking up cheap wine in copious quantities too, and having a lot of fun!  But I noticed, while she was with me, that the “in” word of the moment is “random.”   Everything was “random.”  People she met were “random” or a restaurant was “random.”  Along with BRILLIANT! and “MASSIVE” it seems “RANDOM” is an in word among Brits at home.  

So, in honor of all that randomness, here are some of the really random thoughts that ran through my mind this week – and I promise you, there are more where this little smattering came from.  Maybe it’s all that book tour travel and airports that does this to me.


I want to know why, when commenting on football games here in America, the announcers refer to the line of defense as “deeee-fense.”  In no other situation is the word pronounced in this manner here in the USA.  There is no Department of Deeee-fense.  There is no Secretary of Deeee-fense, and people do not arm themselves for the sake of deeee-fense. So, why in football?  I really want to know. My husband’s response, when asked the question was, “Well, it’s just how we do it here.”  

Sorry pal, not good enough.  Someone must know the answer. What say you?


I was watching television while hotel-bound this past week.  I do not have a TV at home, so I feel rather good when I surf those channels and realize I really am not missing much.  However, during these rare few moments of viewing, I watched an advertisement for a certain type of super-glue.  There was a demonstration of the glue fixing the broken handle back on a jug, and the jug then being put through its paces and not falling to bits again.  I wondered about that, because I had used the same glue to attach a broken handle back on my favorite mug.  It did not work.  Then … THEN … the kicker.  “As used by airlines across the country.”  This announcement was followed by a close-up of an aircraft mechanic liberally slopping the glue all over an engine at the place where it meets the plane.  This was not a very good thing to watch, was it?  Every time I boarded a ‘plane after that, I felt the handle of my favorite mug falling off in my hand.  Not terribly comforting.


I’m getting a bit fed up with the word “did” messing up our sense of tense.  More and more you hear and read a line such as the following:  “He did say that there would be a moratorium (or whatever).”  What happened to “He said?”  By the time I was about eight, you would have been loudly corrected in class for saying, “Did say …” or committing a similar act of tense demolition.  

There are loads of similar errors in speech from people who should know better, but “Did say” gets to me a bit.   Even my mother is doing it.


This is something I used to try to ignore – that when I first came to America, I discovered there was a collective known as a “bunch.”  You would hear people talk about their friends who came in bunches.  “I went out with a bunch of people.”  Or, “I saw a bunch of movies over the weekend.”  “We went out for a bunch of food.”  Daffodils come in bunches, not people or food.  

However, I have become very used to this locution, but was reminded of it while in the line at the Post Office a couple of weeks ago.  A man walked to the counter and said to the clerk, “Give me a bunch of stamps.”  (Apart from anything else, I always think “Give me … “ sounds so rude).  But a bunch of stamps?  The clerk seemed quite confused and asked how many would be in his ideal bunch, to which he had no answer.  Eventually after some prodding, he said, “Well, I guess 700.”  A whole bunch of people in the line thought that was pretty funny.


My brother is at it again.  Ever since I was a kid, he has been able to pull the wool over my eyes, to have a bit of fun at my expense by telling me something that is far from true, but with such a straight face that I have believed him.  I know, I should have learned my lesson, but I fall for it every time.  I remember, when I was about 12 and John 8 years old, I was reading a book, but looked up from my page and noticed that he was sitting on a chair with his finger in his eye.  Frankly, he was probably scratching his eyelid or something.  “Get your finger out of your eye,” I said.  “You could hurt yourself.”  To which my brother replied, “Did you know, if you press onto your eye hard enough, you can see upside-down?”  Needless to say, I put my finger in my eye and was pressing really hard, saying, “It’s not working for me.”  Then my brother was curled up laughing.  My mother came into the room, looked at me and said, “Get your finger out of your eye, you’ll do yourself some damage.”  There are more stories where that one came from.  Now, of course, we are older, much older.  Last week I was telling my brother that I might need to have a biopsy on my eyelid (an infection caused by flying horse manure won’t heal properly).  I recounted how I had been informed that the biopsy might cause one eyelid to droop a bit, and that the doctor had then told me, “You have droopy lids anyway.”  I was so surprised, and shared the whole story with my brother – that I apparently have these droopy lids. He replied, “It’s a feature of people who have origins in the area of London that Dad came from, you know.”  He then proceeded to name all these people with droopy eyelids, including Michael Caine.  “Don’t worry about it,” he said, “it goes back to tribal London, and your eyelids are just something you’ve inherited from the tribe.”  I’ve been thinking about it, and I do believe he’s kidding me.  But it seems I may well have eyelids like Michael Caine.

I’ve had many more silly random thoughts this week, but only had space for five - plenty, I hear you say!  Now you know – I’m becoming unhinged.

And an update!  Last week’s post about my Carry On bag, designed by the amazing Yali Derman (, led to a good number of the gorgeous Carry On bags being sold – which means more money for the hospital where Yali endured treatment for leukemia as a child.  

Here’s an update I received from  Dori Meyers, a Board Member for the organization which receives proceeds from sale of the bags:

Yali's personal journey of inspiration and healing continues still today.  Recent milestones include a return last summer to Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children's Memorial) for an internship on the hospital's hematology and oncology floor.  It was a way for her story to come full circle, giving back to the hospital that saved her life 13 years ago.  This spring she graduates from Penn's nursing program and in the fall, will begin graduate school and work at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  Despite a busy schedule, her passion for design and philanthropy continue through her work with Yali's Carry On® and K.I.D.S.S. for Kids.”

I just love toting that bag around with me – it gives me another chance to tell someone about Yali and the great contribution she’s made with her carry on bag.

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. Jacqueline, your link should be: Wonderful information, and bags. Thank you for sharing Yali's story.

    I always wondered about deeee-fense, too. Men are weird, that's all I can come up with. ;-)

    Just started reading your newest Maisie last night. Love that series!

  2. Deee-fence. Well, it's for emphasis. As any fan-banger or footballer would tell you. So we have something to chant in the stands when the other team has the ball and we need to hold the line. We split the word into two syllables. For em-fa-sis. Get it?

    Your comment about the bliss and joy you experience as a writer, which you mentioned at Yee Ol' West Portal Book Nook will never leave my heart. You da' bomb! Now get your finger out of your eye and kiss your horse for ol' Prasad ;-}

  3. Very entertaining! More are welcome!

  4. from Jacqueline

    Ah, so I'm not the only one who wonders about the deee-fense thing! I would bet there are LOADS of people out there who are thinking, "At last someone has brought that one out into the open." But Peter, your explanation works pretty well - it's all about the yelling. Glad to know you enjoyed the event at Bookshop West Portal - what a great store that is!

  5. I got my bag yesterday! It's lovely and I didn't expect it to arrive so soon - a nice surprise to be sure. Have decided it will be my summer bag. Summer which, btw, is not anywhere close to arriving. We got 8" of snow on Tuesday!

    I always figured the DEEE-FENCE thing was similar to the exclamation of GOOOOOAAAALLLLLL in soccer. Overexuberance?

  6. from Jacqueline

    Thank you ayjay! The thing about deee-fense (or fence, dependent upon your country of origin), is that it is not only yelled, but spoken. GOOOOOAAAAALLLL is a bit different - that signals shock, or exuberance. And what I think is really funny, is hearing an American football commentator following soccer, using terminology that you would never hear in the UK - not that I listen very often, but it's just interesting. Wait until that US cricket league really gets going ...

    Enjoy those Yali Carry On bags, for those of you who've ordered them!

  7. Our J, you made me laugh with your Random Thoughts--a very good thing on a Friday morning.

    I got my Yali bag, too, and have been using it for the past couple of days. It's very cool. Should we form a Naked Sisterhood of the Traveling Yali Bags? New members welcome. P.S. to our male readers: you could score some points with spouses, girlfriends and BFFs with your purchase.

  8. from Jacqueline

    Oh, good for you, Patty - I bet that bag really suits you! And I think a Naked Sisterhood of the Traveling Yali Bags would be a great idea. I wish I had lots of those little cards that come with the bag, the ones telling Yali's story - I could just give them out to everyone who asks. I think I sold another one while at the dentist yesterday! And as Patty says - you guys out there now have the perfect gift for the women in your life.

  9. As for DEE-fense, as the Brits would say, "Brilliant!"

  10. from Jacqueline

    Paul, that would be "Massively brilliant!!!"

  11. I wouldn't mind but they're starting to do it in rugby commentaries as well now :-(

  12. Pardon my mention of it, but the "what say you" always gets to me. LOL. We all have our little quirks.

  13. from Jacqueline

    Oh no, not rugby as well!!! That's terrible. And "What say you?" I just love it - my grandmother used to say it after she'd made her opinion known about something. She would open her hands and look at us, and then say, "What say you?" Just love it. Will probably keep doing it. Quirky, yes, I suppose it is, but affectionately so.

  14. To spread the Yali bags story, you could print 250 free business cards online at Vistaprint. As long as you don't mind thei logo on the back side of the card, the only thing you pay is shippng and handling. If you keep a supply of cards in your bag, I bet you could sell even more.
    Sorry to hear about your eye injury. My latest pair of contacts had to be refitted twice, owing to a right eyelid that was slightly droopier than 3 yrs ago. I feel your pain!

  15. OH NO! I love "what say you" and use it all the time. Anon, why does it get to you? Dish.