Category Archives: “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”

“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?


Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth!


I was very excited to see my friend, Amy, at work today and hear

her news. This Amy is the one who owns three horses, I wrote about

on April Fool’s Day. About how Amy and her horses, Spirit, Lokie and

Sapphire were filmed by a French international company on the

Morrow County farm she boards her horses on.

This news, I could tell from her face glowing and her increased pace

to reach me across the zone where I was working, was going to be


“Robin, guess what? My favorite dream is going to become fulfilled!”

Since she had mentioned guessing, I replied,

“Did you finally hear when the short film about American horse

farms in Ohio will be released?” (We had big hopes that this would

bring her some fame or fortune…”)

“No! Still have not heard back from that French director that filmed

the short film. We still will have to watch the Academy Awards next

January, 2014 to see if it ‘made the cut’.”

Amy continued in a raised voice that sounded like I do, while hyped

up from Mountain Dew or a shot of espresso,

“My son in law, inherited from a relative, over $2 million dollars!  And,

one of the first things he wants to do is buy the farm that we board

our horses on!”

I knew that Amy and her husband, Paul, had been saving to buy the

property since it had been up for sale. I was very pleased since they not

only rented their home, miles away from the horses, but the property

seemed very reasonably priced, $300,000 with acreage and a house to

live in on the property. They could board horses along with saving that

monthly cost of renting their home and paying boarding.

This was a dream come true for Amy and her family! I was ‘tickled pink’

for her!

There was a swift, but brief, cloud that passed across her eyes.

I asked her, “What is the matter, is there something wrong or a ‘catch’

in this piece of news?”

Amy relayed a dilemma. She knew not only was their family saving

but the manager, who helped clean the stalls, took the horses out and

fed the horses was also saving to buy the property.

She asked, “Is it okay to buy something while knowing someone else’s

dream may be crushed by doing so?”

I was quiet, thinking on this. She followed me as I picked for the five

hamper area, heavy liquids and cases of oil dropped into hampers,

filling out.

Finally I turned and answered,

“Amy, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!”

She laughed, “What does that mean?”

I had to look it up, so I will answer this. You may know the answer if

you are a farmer’s family member or an actual farmer or horse lover.

It means that when you open a horse’s mouth up, if you inspect the

teeth, and find them healthy, the horse is “worth” purchasing. It is

therefore an excellent horse.

Therefore, if a special and fantastic gift is offered you, you should

accept it and appreciate its “value.”

Neither of us, earlier today, knew the answer to the meaning of this

colloquial expression but I explained my thoughts on this. I am

discarding the concept of “karma” or “kismet” for this answer. I don’t

want to think about “What goes around, comes around.”

“Amy, your son-in-law wants to share his money that he inherited.

This will help improve your husband’s and your life. It will enhance

and enrich your grandchildren’s lives. He wants to share his wealth

also, making his wife, your daughter happy, too.

How can you turn that down? How can you not accept the gift of the

farm, house and place for your horses to live?”

She smiled and seemed relieved, ” I was afraid it would be wrong to take

the possibility of the farm’s purchase from the manager, we cannot offer

her a salary so not only will we be buying the property, we will be taking

her job away.”

I replied, “I guess you could offer free boarding for her horses and offer

a good reference letter, but my belief is that you need to support your

family and their welfare is your primary obligation.”

Amy’s story of the horses and their different personalities can be found

by looking at the April posts or clicking on the  word “horses” to the right

of this post!

This fantastic ending is that she called her husband at lunch today and

he made arrangements to meet with the property seller. I hope that

those three horses will feel like their lives are vastly improved due to

a closer daily visit from Amy, her daughter, and grandchildren!

The horse shoe is definitely pointing up for Amy’s family and their luck

will hopefully flow through her contacts, including the manager.