If “Ifs” and “Buts” Were Candy and Nuts . . .

. . . We’d All Have a Hell of a Christmas!

Has anyone else hear that expression? My grandmother used to say this to me when I was a kid and I recently threw it out in a conversation only to find that not a soul knew what on EARTH I was talking about! Suffice it to say, I metaphorically launched my way into a self-discovery epiphany. It turns out I am living a bizarrely anachronistic life. Let me explain.

Lets imagine you find yourself walking down the crowded hallway of Middle School in Anywheresville, USA during dismissal.          (Not your favorite fantasy, maybe, but work with me.)

To you, even if you’re only a few years past it, this is a strange new world. Nauseating amounts of smart phones extend from every hand, you might hear scandalously unfamiliar words like “sexting” bandied about and you would probably find yourself appalled at the get-ups some of these kids have the audacity to call clothing. . . and the scary come-back fads you thought were finally dead. Now as these short little gremlins mill about to the sound of Ke$ha and GaGa leaking out of earbuds and eensy-weensy speakers, lets say you try to strike up a conversation. I promise you, it wouldn’t matter how young and up-to-date you are, if you made a joke you might make with friends, referred to your favorite TV shows or even talked style with any of these kids, you’d be way over their heads in content and the proverbial sound of crickets chirping might just overwhelm you internally. Unless you’re Demi Moore, there is just no surmounting the age gap. THIS, my friends, is being out of your niche. None of your upbringing or life experiences prepared you for this moment and if you draw on any of them, you will only prove that you are woefully out of your depth and you just don’t fit into this scene. . .

(If you are mentally flashing to Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, Good Job – you’re  getting the picture!)

So now that you know what I mean, take that feeling and apply it to me but with a funky twist. Apparently, based on my upbringing, I am culturally familiar with certain things that went out of the lexicon decades or even CENTURIES ago. Teaching high school has taught me a lot, but it’s thrown into sharp contrast how random my background knowledge is. SO, with only this much ado (since it’s already been a bit of setup) I would like to share with you:

10 Things I Always Thought Were Common Knowledge But Apparently Aren’t.

1.) Every Expression I Use.

The Other day I told someone I was waiting on tenterhooks and they looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to take quite a lot of time to interpret my English. Apparently the expressions I use are a little dated!

2.) Punch and Judy

I always thought Punch and Judy were part of the common knowledge lexicon. Who hasn’t heard of the little puppets who spend most of their time beating eachother over the head? Apparently, though, Punch and Judy origins are in the early 1400’s! What’s worse, when I finally looked it up, I had been arguing their relevance to this era and I may never live down making a cultural reference that precedes my era by 5 centuries 

3.) “Doing it Yourself”

Last week my roomates watched me wash walls, spackle, sand,  tape off  and paint the livingroom  a lovely green. THey are both capable, wonderful women who handle immense responsibilities on a daily basis . . . but every time they walked through and saw another step of the process they were in awe. After hearing “I could never do something like that!” and “Wow, Ab, You’re so intense!” countless times, I realized that people actually don’t know how easy doing things yourself can be!

4.) How To Follow A Recipe.

If I had a nickel for the number of times I have heard people say “Oh, I can’t cook.”, I would be a wealthy woman. I just don’t understand! Recipes are practically the only necessary savvy. If you can read, you can cook.

5.) Cat’s Cradle 

Okay, I guess I can see how this is a little obscure, but it’s not unheard of, right? I am no cat’s cradle expert, but I can make at least 5 or 6 basic set-ups…

6.) Why and how to wear a Petticoat.



I adore my petticoat and wear it frequently, but get the mickey taken out of me regularly for it. How do you explain to people that some dresses and skirts need a petticoat to look their best?

7.) How to be a Thrift/Secondhand Shopper 



8.) Classic Fairytales

fairy books


Little Red Riding Hood, The 12 Dancing Princesses, Anything from books by Andrew Lang! These stories are the broad base of a whole world of imagination and whenever I spend time with kids I am downright appalled by how little kids know the stories that are the bread and butter of my childhood!

9.) Specific Names

Call me crazy, but apparently I have developed an extensive vocabulary of the random! A few examples which leave people calling me quirky when I talk about them in regular conversation:

Milk Glass

milk glass





Dutch Ovens

dutch oven


Cameo Brooches



10.) Curling Hair with Hot Rollers 



I do it. It works. What’s the big deal? Aren’t there other people that use hot rollers on a daily basis?

Published by Abby

Dabbling in decoratives is an ongoing obsession. I love having a go at This, That and the Other. . . tackling projects that tickle my fancy, hoarding costumes (for the "Someday" that I own a dress-up tea-house for grown-ups) and hosting themed parties whenever I am not immersed in teaching French and Writing to high school students. In the interest of full transparency, there's something serious you should know: I overuse the ellipsis . . . frequently. Embarassingly enough, it seems to be the punctuation that best captures my stream of thought as it flits off of one subject and towards the next!

2 thoughts on “If “Ifs” and “Buts” Were Candy and Nuts . . .

    1. Gosh… case in point of needing to explain all my expressions, huh? To take the mickey out of somebody means to make fun of them… its a common term in the UK and could be used sort of interchangeably with “making fun of ” . . . it’s not offensive or anything, but etymology-wise (I’m such a nerd), it’s origins aren’t perfectly pristine, the “mickey” is taken from the not-so-nice slang term “mick” for irishmen, who are classically known for their pride, vigor and vim, right? So taking the “mickey” out of someone would be removing their pride, literally. I think I picked this up from my friend Sophie (who’s from Scotland) and it just stuck!

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