A Mouse Is A Mouse — Or Is It?

I originally posted this poem about 2 years ago, but I got into a conversation last night which brought me face to face with the fact that I have never yet solved this dilemma. The experience reminded me of the poem, so I thought I’d drag it out of the archives and back into the light today.

Is it mouses, or is it mice?
I’ve asked this question more than twice.
As I sit before my monitor,
I’m quite sure I am just not sure.

When two computers I must use,
All the appendages come in two’s.
I shuffle keyboards, arrange them nice, 
But then I must hook up the … mice?

My only other choice is “mouses.”COMPUTER MOUSE WITH COLOR EDITED
My sensitive nature that arouses.
For an English teacher I’ll always be,
And “mouses” chafes and nettles me.

Surely “mice” should be allowed,
But then I start to laugh out loud.
Confound that name! How did it start?COMPUTER MOUSE WITH COLOR 3
Bill English and Doug Engelbart!      

It’s all their fault; they must admit.
And foolish names are such a hit.
And dictionaries help not at all;
They make it an individual’s call.

So back again to where I was,
More frustrated now because
As I struggled to name the counterfeit,
Its namesake from my sandwich bit.


Daily Post Prompt: Object Lesson – OR – What’s Life Without a Cup of Coffee?

The “Daily Post” prompt today challenges us to write about an object strongly associated with us personally.  Here is the challenge in their own words:  “Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?”
Okay, let’s see. There are a number of things I could suggest, but most of those would be red herrings, because I’m pretty positive that nine out of every ten people would say that if they had to choose one object they immediately associated with me, they would say a cup of coffee.
Yep, coffee. And I’m not talking about cappuccinos, lattes, or any of the myriads of other specialty drinks that people clump into the category of coffee. Nope. I’m talking plain old, unpretentious, unsophisticated coffee. However, it has to be fresh-brewed and just the RIGHT temperature. I don’t want it to scald my tongue, but I want it to be hot enough to stay that way for a while. And my day always goes better if I have a microwave handy somewhere so that I can warm it up if necessary.
Why is coffee so much a part of my life?  Am I addicted?  Well, I don’t think so — at least not in the usual sense. I can drink either caffeinated or de-caff, and I generally can’t tell the difference. Of course, I’m sure if I never drank anything except de-caff, I would eventually be able to tell. But the thing is that I seldom actually DRINK more than 2 or 3 cups of coffee in a 24-hour period. (And some days, I actually drink hot tea instead).
Here’s what happens: I carry a cup around with me — during my morning rituals, during my working day, sitting at my computer or with a book in the evening, visiting with friends, conducting a meeting. It’s just there. I take a sip or two, maybe another, and then half an hour later look for a place to warm up the remainder so that I can take another sip or two.  I don’t seem to feel the need for caffeine as much as I feel the need to have something warm to sip on throughout the day and evening — or maybe even to just hold in my hands, knowing I can take a sip if I want to.
I think maybe there is an “addiction,” but it is an addiction to the comfort of that cup of coffee. It goes way back to the days of earliest child hood. My parents were big coffee drinkers. They always made a pot in the morning, often another at noon, and another in the evening. The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee actually has the power to soothe and comfort me more than any other aroma I can think of. Because all those years of being safe and loved and treasured in a home where peace and security were dominant environments in my life are indelibly connected to that delightful aroma.
I can remember so many happy experiences in my life — family meals, visits from beloved friends and relatives, quiet evenings on the porch, when that cup of coffee was so much a part of the experience that it just would not have been the same experience at all without it. And other times when some kind of trauma had come into our lives — severe storms and time spent in storm shelters, the death of a loved one, a local or national catastrophe that affected everyone in our town — during those times, the one thing that often pulled our thoughts and emotions back into balance was someone putting on a pot of coffee.
My sister and I were allowed to have coffee on some of those occasions, but only if we put in lots of cream and some sugar. Mom and Dad figured that if our cup was only 3/4 full, and half of that was milk or cream, then we weren’t getting too much coffee. As I grew into adulthood, of course, I was able to decide exactly how much cream and sugar balanced out the coffee, and gradually, I left off the sugar as one more way to avoid gaining weight. Many years after I reached adulthood, I was battling a nauseous stomach and, on a whim, tried a little coffee black. That cup settled my stomach so effectively that I’ve taken my coffee black every since.
I’m great friends with many people who do not drink coffee. And, in fact, my husband of 22 years could not stand it at all. (However, he was very gracious about buying it and even making it on occasion for me and any visitors who did enjoy it.)  I also know people who insist that coffee is bad for our health. But several recent scientific and medical research reports have come to my rescue on that score. There are numerous articles in print right now that praise the health benefits of coffee on several different levels.
And my personal response to people who try to defame coffee because of its caffeine is that God says he made the seeds and fruit of the trees for man to eat. That coffee bean is the fruit of a plant, and inherent in that been is the caffeine. It is not something we humans added. If God put caffeine into that coffee bean, then it has something in it that’s good for us.
I need to add that I’m sure people can live a totally happy, and delightful life without ever drinking one cup of coffee. I tried to write that as my closing remark, but — to be honest — really, really honest — I’m not sure I believe that.




Lucy’s Wish

My great-niece, Lucy, is 3 years old. She has two older brothers, but she has been wishing, this whole past year, for a little sister. When I was with the family recently, her mother told me how serious she is and how fervent is her wishing.
After I returned home, I was still thinking about little Lucy and her wish — and about how happy my sister and I were to have each other. We got along admirably together from the time we were mere toddlers, and have shared each others joys and sorrows all of our adult lives. I am so blessed to have her and cannot imagine my life without a sister.
So as my heart went out to Lucy, I began to write this poem. I gave her a copy, of course, but I thought I’d share it here as well just as a way of celebrating sisterhood.


Photo by Brenda Calvert



I wish I had a sister who could play with me.
But all I have are brothers; there are two.
A sister, though, would understand me perfectly,
And want to do the things I like to do.

We’d surely play with dollies and have them to tea,
And make believe we’re mommies, she and I.
We’d clean our house and cook our food so pleasantly,
And after working sit down with a sigh.

We’d both pretend that we were princesses so fair,
And dress up in high heels and crowns we’d wear,
And dream that someday we’d each meet a darling prince,
And, with them, happiness forever share.

I love my two big brothers; I’m so proud of them,
And to them with my love I’ll always cling.
But, oh, to have a sister of my very own –
Why, that would be an almost perfect thing!



Five-Sentence Fiction — ‘The Next Page’

This week’s 5-Sentence-Fiction prompt is “Pages.”





He turned the crusty pages of the 100-year-old biography he’d found in his great-great grandfather’s library – his touch gentle – reverent even – and his eyes anxious. The title – The Exceptional Life of Benjamin Stonewheeler – had grabbed his attention immediately because that name was also his. He had first assumed the book must be the biography of his grandfather, who had been Benjamin Stonewheeler the First, but none of the events in the story were descriptive of his grandfather’s life.

Instead, they described every major aspect of his own life through this current year – his 50th – but as the story continued, he was already another twenty-seven years into the future, living through experiences that he felt he should remember, but, of course, did not. This 15th chapter was recounting one particularly fateful day in that future – a day that found his life literally hanging in the balance – and with only two chapters remaining until the end of the book, he held his breath as he turned to the next page.



`Lillie McFerrin Writes


Counting Countries

It just dawned on me today that when I changed my theme a couple months ago, I did not put my flag and visitor counter back into my sidebar. Unfortunately, that means I didn’t get a count of all the fine folks who have stopped by to spend time with me lately. So I’ve remedied that situation, but all this thinking about flags and countries reminded me of something I learned this week in connection with the flag counter on my “Healing From Jesus” blog. That counter shows visitors from 95 different countries, and I got to thinking that I don’t really know exactly how many countries there are in the world.

Now, that fact made me feel a little bad, because most of my life as a teacher, I taught, not only English and writing, but also various history subjects, including world history. And, naturally, I felt a little guilty not knowing the exact count of countries. But I consoled myself with the fact that, after all, I have not actively taught those subjects for at least 15 years, and we do have changes in countries from time to time. Periodically, we get a new one or two when another group of people declares their independence, and then we also occasionally see the development of federations of two tiny countries into one governmental entity.

So, now that I don’t feel so bad, I thought perhaps there are several other people out there who may not know exactly how many countries we have either. And perhaps you would like to know, so I found out. We have 242 countries in our world. And actually, nine of those are some form of federation formed by two smaller countries coming into agreement to unite under one government.

Now, the nicest thing about this knowledge is the fact that, through my blogs, I have come to know and appreciate so many, many, many people from quite a few of those countries. And now that I realize there are 242 countries in all, and that I have so many more countries to acquaint myself with in the future – and so many more wonderful people to get to know – I find that I feel quite excited and expectant.





21 Items the Well-Prepared Woman Has With Her at All Times

WOMAN'S FACE1. Chocolate

2. Peanut Butter & Crackers

 3. Small package of Kleenex

 4. Individually-wrapped anti-bacterial wipes

 5. Extra chocolate

 6. Bottle of water

 7. A delightful book

 8. Dental floss

 9.  Two Pens

10. Notepaper

11. Extra chocolate

12. Two Band-aids

13. A nail file

14. Two Safety pins

15. Two paper clips

16. Extra chocolate

17. Compact with mirror

18. Comb

19. $5.00 in immediately spendable currency

20. A big smile

21. Extra chocolate




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