The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


Gatwick: Before and After

Enough with the comments on the last post! I am back in blogging style. Isn't it enough for you people that I work two jobs and just spent the last two days at a conference?? Persecution indeed! (thanks for the random facts. i do appreciate the effort, pal.)

So here you go...

My big fat kitty cat proves once again that he is mostly fur. The poor guy's hair was so long that it was matting in what I call his armpits. He couldn't even effectively lick his own butt. He could reach, but he just couldn't get past all his hair.

Gatwick is so much happier with his new crew cut. Even though it took 40 minutes of James wrestling him into the carrier, the grooming trip was a success.

I present to you Fat Cat...

And Skinny Cat:

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add to kirtsy | 12:20 AM | 12 comments


Peach Oo-la-long

What do you get when you mix a beret-wearing penguin, Oolong tea, and peach puree? A tasty beverage with a fun name and cute label.

Try it in the glass bottle -- it tastes better than the same stuff in plastic bottles. This continues to confirm my husband's theory that all beverages taste better when packaged in glass. However, I'm still a bit dubious about his claim that a square pizza tastes different than a round pizza from the same pizza shop.


add to kirtsy | 11:46 AM | 10 comments


Whiffles and Sniffles and Sneezles, oh my!

I am a veritable cornucopia of germs. For over two weeks now I've been battling some germy little invader. It was playing hide-n-seek. Appear for a day as the flu. Come back three days later as a sore throat. This went off and on until this past weekend when it decided to show itself in all its phlegmy glory. I'm a wreck. And I'm seriously thinking about investing in Kleenex Brand Tissues and bottled water.

If anyone feels really bad for me and wants to buy me a present to cheer me up, here are a few good ideas from Anthropologie (which unfortunately, I can't just link to). So here's how to view my little wish list: 1) Visit this page; 2) Enter (The Seven Star Pendant is especially fetching this time of year.)


add to kirtsy | 5:57 PM | 4 comments


One cannot simply begin calling a person a banana and expect to be understood.

You just have to laugh at some spam messages. They are little gems of broken English. They are evidence that translation software isn't as good as human translation. Some are poems. Here's one I got this morning.

Morning evit,

show ur significant other now and discontinue hearing nagging in the
bed. Don't be anymore about ur unit, I'm not. Come see what other are

do not agree with every guideline that the Bible sets out for them.
They have to decide how large.

a role religion is going to play in their lives. Holden says that he,
in some ways, is "an atheist" . single individual cannot create a language ? one
cannot simply begin calling a person a banana and expect to be understood.
here would Emerson be

Hope is was of some help

And here's one of my favorites. I liked it so much I printed it out and hung it by my desk:

Subject: Pampered and dissolvable tablets for literal

Our tablets are only like usual lozenges but they are specially explicated to be spoiled and dissolvable under the lingua. The lozenges is sorbed at the rima oris and gets in the blood instantly instead of progressing through the breadbasket. This effects in a quicker more vigorous effect which yet up to 44 hours!


add to kirtsy | 9:44 AM | 2 comments


March may be the second cruelest month

Walking to my car today after work (it's Spring Break, so there's actually parking on campus within reasonable walking distance this week, which means I don't have to take the little shuttle-bus), I felt like I was coming out from down under. Down under the blankets. Or out from a dark hole. Up for air.

Maybe it's because the light doesn't fade until after 6:00pm these days. Or maybe it's because spring is nearly palpable. Or maybe it's because I'm prone to unexpected mood swings.

Photo from Angela in Europe,
who got me thinking
about "The Waste Land"
with this picture

I have felt weighted down for at least the last four or five months. Maybe I'm finally surfacing. Or maybe not. It's always hard to tell.

I know it's only March, but I'm restless. I'm anxious. I hear T.S. calling to me:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu.
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?

'You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
'They called me the hyacinth girl.'
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Od' und leer das Meer.

~The Waste Land, lines 1-43; T.S. Eliot

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add to kirtsy | 10:03 PM | 0 comments

Goodbye Rocky-dog

A really great dog has left us. I feel so sad for my friends Allyson and Chad, who shared their home and family with Rocky for so long. It's sad to see him go, even though I haven't actually seen him in many years.

Chad muses about the impact of Rocky's life on others and makes an interesting point about wanting his own life to touch people. Some people will say that Rocky was just a dog. But when a dog has this kind of an effect on people, he is a gift from God.

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add to kirtsy | 10:59 AM | 0 comments


Promises, promises...

My home office is torn apart, undergoing a paint facelift. My computer has been relegated to the dining room table. The newer computer, which has all the photos from my new digital camera on it, is temporarily decommissioned.

I'm not sure if there are any photos worth posting (unless you want a whole album of my adorable cats!), but I will try to get some interesting images up here relatively soon, after all the kings horses and all the kings men put Jennie's office back together again. Maybe I'll even post "before" and "after" office shots.

add to kirtsy | 10:16 PM | 0 comments