“Off the Cuff” Musings


There are a few adages, expressions and  sayings we all use in the course of

our everyday lives. I am sometimes amused how people are not familiar with

some of them. Like someone in their twenties, the other day looked at my work

shirt as I was entering my apartment building, having been in the dusty, dirty

warehouse working all day.

I laughed at the way she glanced down at my shirt saying, “I must look like Pigpen

to you!”

She looked at me askance, like, “Huh?”

I said, “You know the character in Peanuts?”

Still a blank look, then I mentioned Charlie Brown’s friends in the different

specials, listing Halloween (with the Great Pumpkin) and Christmas.

This was more of a cultural reference than a saying, but times are changing,

some of the next generation are not going to remember the comic strip,

“Peanuts,” by Charles Schulz, sad to say…

I have included some examples of when one or more of my grandchildren

‘misinterpret’ the meanings of different expressions or put their own

little ‘spin’ or twist on them.

At the end of this, I hope you will be able to add a few of your own and

may even have a story to share about one or more of these!


“Kids’ Logic”

When I recently found a penny on the sidewalk, I just could not resist

saying that old Benjamin Franklin adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Dear Marley (age 5, in kindergarten now) looked solemnly up at me and

replied, without missing a beat:

“I think  you need to find a better job, Nana!’


When I was singing the “Clean Up” song, made famous by Barney, the

purple dinosaur sung at daycares and preschools everywhere to get

the boys ready for the pool. I mentioned that I like to leave the house,

“picked up” so when I get home, I can sigh in relief. My oldest grandson

asked me if I needed the song to pick up things, “Does singing that song

motivate you, Nana?” Being 10, I should get used to his witty comments

but I had to smile for that one!


Then, since Micah was moving slowly, just plunking one toy at a time into

one of the little containers that collects toys, Skyler ‘told on’ his little

brother that he ‘wasn’t doing his job.’

I looked at Micah and said, “Are you passing the buck?”

He said, “You mean you hid a buck for us to find if we cleaned hard


That cracked me up!


When we got to the pool, I mentioned that I had 3 cold bottled waters

and two cookies apiece for our first rest break. I explained we would

buy a snack at the 3:00 break. When it was approaching 2:45, I asked

whether the boys would like pizza or what is called, a “Walking Taco?”

They both asked for this, so I headed to the snack area, telling them

to meet me back at the towels or to come meet me to carry their snack.

Micah (age 5) scrunched up his face, “You are confusing me, Nana!

Which way do you want us to go?”


While we were lounging in the grass on our towels, Skyler made me


“Shouldn’t we be walking around with our taco?”

I replied that he was ‘so corny.’

He said, “Corny is, as corny does.”

I looked at Micah to see if he was confused but to him this made perfect

sense, I am corny, therefore my descendants will be, too.


Later, (just FYI, my 10 year old grandson is considered a Husky size 12)

when we were walking to the car leaving the pool, Skyler mentioned

a  fact I did not realize he was aware of,

“Now, Micah, we need to take off our bathing suits as soon as we get to

Nana’s house. Remember how I got ‘chafed’ the last time I wore my suit

around the house?”


When we were leaving to go to my house for a sleepover, I mentioned that

we were going to be able to go to a fast food place for dinner and should

choose it now, then we could do what Skyler suggested, wear our pajamas

and play a game of monopoly.  I added since I had just been paid I could do

this, when usually I try to cook when they come over. I asked the boys,

“Where would you like to go to order dinner?”

Micah got excited and said,

“I saw a commercial for McDonald’s and the fish sandwiches are “Buy

One, Get One For a Penny!” (also true of Big Mac’s, this past week.)

I smiled and nodded my head, watching the people in their cars trying

to maneuver out of the Mingo Pool and Park area.

Micah added with a tone that sounded very ‘knowing’,

“And Nana, I will have the one that costs you only a penny!”


When we were in the drive-thru, I ordered salads and sliced fruit,

then asked if the boys would like to have one of the $1 yogurt parfaits

later for dessert or I could buy them cones in a cup?

When Micah made a face, as the words, “yogurt parfait” came out of

my mouth, I could see his face. Skyler could, too. I had put the car in

park, behind a line of thru. I started to describe the layered parfait

that has strawberries fat vanilla flavored


Sky piped up,

“Don’t knock ’em, till you try ’em!”

When we were finished ordering, I made mention that I had never

eaten biscuits and country style sausage gravy. I was looking at the

breakfast menu for the morning.

Then I remembered I had milk and cereal. No pancakes tomorrow morning

but maybe I could make them cinnamon toast.

I went on to chat about at our work there is an annual fundraiser where the

breakfast includes this item, when you buy the meal the money goes to JDRF.

(Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.)

I mentioned that my ex-husband, their other grandpa, “Poppy,” is diabetic.

He would not even be able to eat this food they serve, though the money may

help people with diabetes in the future.

Then I asked, “Do either of you like biscuits and sausage gravy?”

Instead of answering, Skyler asked why I had not tried this breakfast

food before? I replied back that my Mom and Dad, with my brothers

had grown up in Cleveland, where there are many Polish citizens. I have

had a lot of breakfasts where we ate kielbasa sliced up and fried or bacon

with our eggs. Oh, I love kielbasa cooked up with onions and potato with

cheese pierogis, too.

I reminded them that “Papa” (another grandfather) was a West Virginia

man. They like sausage and gravy. I do know how to make hamburger gravy,

which he liked very well, served over buttered toast.

Micah then retorted, “Those are two different things, that is like comparing

apples to oranges!”

Skyler told me this is one of his newest favorite expressions that Micah picked

up at the babysitter’s. He also encouraged me to try sausage gravy, since it is

like Sam, the guy in “Green Eggs and Ham,” (Thanks to Dr. Seuss for this one!)

who eventually tried green eggs and ham and loved them both, everywhere you

could imagine.

When I was out with my four grandchildren a couple of weekends back, we

headed to first one park (Blue Limestone) and then to another one, (Mingo

Park),  went to get ice cream cones for 59 cents each at McD’s, except for

Marley who makes a bargain with me, trying to finagle something else for

more money, since she is lactose intolerant. When I glanced down at my

cell phone while we were in line, she smarted off,

“What’s the matter, do you have somewhere else you need to be?”

(She is a little parrot, has been since she was 3! You just know her Mom or

Dad said this one to someone, not necessarily to one of the kids, though.)

When we sat down with our ‘treats,’ I again looked at the phone, but

this time Lara asked me why I was checking my phone so often?

I answered, “Usually your Mom will let me know when they have finished

eating dinner out, give me a ball park time for when you need to be home.”

Landen, (age 9) said another adage, “No news is good news!”

While they had finished their desserts, I handed out gum to help remove

the food particles, they usually ask for gum often. I looked at my dwindling

supply left and said, (my frugal self often says this anyway)

“Now try to make this last!”

It could not have been more than 6 minutes of them playing on the McD’s

play tower, when Kyah, (age 3) came running over to me, her piece of gum

on the tip of her pointer finger,

“Here Nana, I know you are running out of gum, can you save this for later?”


When I was leaving them at home, I hugged and kissed each of them,

saying goodbye and until we meet again.


We walked up to the door as they entered, I reminded them to take their

shoes off, which was hurriedly acknowledged by Lara, (age 10):

“You know if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!”


Were any of these expressions ones you repeat often? What are some

common sayings or adages you associate with your family?



25 responses »

  1. I find myself using familiar comments when I am most tired and least able to think of something sassy to say on my own. I can’t say “witty” because I don’t think I’m very witty. 😉

    • Familiar comments are kind of trite and overused, but it is okay to use them, even helpful while tired… I think that being around children, I say things my grandparents or parents used, despite my best wishes NOT to! Smiles and hoping to tell you I feel you ARE witty, Colleen! Hugs, Robin

      • 🙂 I love love it when the little ones sound like their parents or grandparents. One of my daughter’s daughters said something over the weekend that truly sounded like her mother. It was both precious and funny.

        And thanks for thinking I’m witty! 🙂

      • I like how children ‘echo’ the words they hear, especially when they are funny or ‘good things’ to say! (There was one day awhile back, when I accidentally said the word for poop, “sh__” and guess what, the littlest one kept saying it, even when I tried to tell her (a fib) that I had said, “Shoot!”

  2. Robin, I know exactly what you mean. I was telling my daughter that the man who was after her was a Mrs. Robinson. My daughter is almost 19, this guy, 39. She had no idea what I was talking about. Not should she! (From the movie, “The Graduate.”) I was just thinking today that I used to call my daughter “sweet meat” and her friend’s mom said “My daughter’s grandmother uses that expression!” Great huh! (My daughter was five)

    There are countless times. I guess having raised a child “late in life”, as I have, I have grown with her, so the expressions I use are not that out of sinc. Um….but she is not a grandchild. There, would be a generation gap for sure. I loved your grandson saying that he’s have the hamburger that cost a penny. They sound so charming. You must have fun!!!!

    • Hollis, my friends who still have children are so in tune with them! I think it makes them very mellow, too! I appreciate your sweet meat saying and exactly know what you mean about the older man. My daughter is 28 and she is being ‘courted’ but she says he is just a friend of 48!! I am not crazy about this, either! Gotta go, library is closing talk to you soon!

  3. I love these, Robin – really made me chuckle this morning! Especially little miss thing with her, “do you have someplace else you need to be?” wisecrack… classic! 🙂 At the minute, my youngest grandson keeps heaving huge, lusty sighs and declaring to the universe, “Aaaaah…. this is the LIFE!” I can only assume this means he is feeling unaccountably happy. I take that as a good sign. The other day, I greeted the boys at the door with my best French accent, “Entrez vous!” … to which I received an immediate reply of, “BUMPY POO!”

    I guess that does kind of rhyme, when you think about it… kids. They really do say the darndest things! 🙂 Lovely post, Robin – always such a pleasure to read your musings. Mother Hen

    • I loved the funny line, “Bumpy Poo!” and also, the very satisfied sound of a long exaggerated, “Aaaah!” So funny: he is sounding like he is a ‘old soul’ MH! Love kids and their special ways of expressing themselves. Thanks for laughing at little miss thing, too!

    • You may be right, since they are talking about getting rid of pennies! Also, laughing that they do sometimes say things that they don’t quite understand. Thanks, Lulu!

  4. I don’t mind that the twentysomething gives a blank stare for PIgpen, Robin. When they get talking about stuff from their video games, say, I give them the same who-the look!

    I love the fact that your grands know all these sayings that come out of their mouth to you. This proves to me that the important little phrases that mean everyday happenings will live on to their kids, too.

    • Good way to look at the Pigpen dis-connect, since I am like you, not so interested in video games. It is a 2-way street, my friend! Smiles!
      I have hopes for your lovely thought that these little ones will be training up the next generation on the old sayings that really have some merit. I am not sure how many times, Mark, that there were funny wise-crackers asking me (Robin) if I was the one to get up early to get the worm. That one is not as funny, over time. But “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” makes more sense as we get older. A great way to encourage discipline and good work habits/ethics. Have a grand weekend, Mark!

  5. Robin, how do you REMEMBER all these conversations?! I could never keep all this in my head! I was surprised that they knew what corny means! And it was cute to hear expressions coming out of their mouths.
    I’m a little sad about Pigpen though . . .

    • I am sad, too, Luanne, for the possible loss of Pigpen. I am so glad that Kohl’s Cares had the Peanuts books for only $5 (last Christmas) and they are big, colorful and so lovely in their titles and content. It is all about being Special and Heroes. I have them at home, so if I think about it, I will do a post about them. They are about 16″ x 20,” almost the size of coffee table books, I bought two for my nieces’ children, two for my own coffee table, and one for each of the grandies…
      As far as remembering, you just think of the situation, then be present in that moment, I have a recorder in my mind. But I have been told by both my brothers that I am always amazing them with remembering conversations from our past. There is that woman from Taxi, shoot! I can picture her, Marilu Henner, I think is her name who is able to do this and does it on talk shows. Interesting that you mentioned this, I guess I need to help readers know I don’t make up the stories, I just hold them in my head! Smiles, Robin

      • What an amazing talent, Robin! Yes, I knew that about Marilu Henner. I didn’t know you had that ability! I wish I could do that!

  6. Our niece who just started kindergarten is typical of the child who picks up a word or saying and works it into a conversation. She has a response for everything. Too bad I cannot remember any of the more humorous ones. Anyway, I loved the quips from your young ones. – Mike

  7. I used to sing the Barney clean up song with my kids too. They would sing along. It made a much more pleasant chore. Your grandchildren are very wise. The first thing that came to mind about sayings in our house was when my mom got angry over one of our shenanigans, and said she was going to mobscribble us. Never knew what that meant except we better toe the line 😉

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