Doni’s Random Spring List: Audio Texting, Favorite Guests and Confederate Flags

• Whether driving a car, or negotiating with a horrible company in an attempt to return a cheap purse to China, never back up any more than you absolutely have to. You’ll regret it otherwise.

• There’s trouble on that two-block stretch of three lanes along California between Shasta and Tehama streets. Some people driving south sometimes think there’s an extra left turn lane, when really there are two sound-bound lanes and one northbound lane. Three times I’ve seen cars sitting there, pointing south in that northbound lane, waiting to turn left onto Tehama. Each time, I cross my fingers that another car heading east on Tehama doesn’t make a legal left turn onto California because there’d be a head-on collision.

• Speaking of Tehama Street, we can tell if you’re new here by how you pronounce a few words. Tehama gets a long a, so it’s TeHAYma, not TeHAMa, while Placer gets a short a, like apple, not like, well, place.

•  I can plant something, water it and fertilize it and it still dies. On the other hand, lush grasses grow with abandon in my rock pile. It’s not fair.

• When I am buried by multiple messages in a Facebook group conversation that I flee to escape, this message pops up when I choose to opt out, something that borders on a threat:

So? Is that supposed to make me think twice and change my mind and want to stay? Never.

• Some of my best inspirations come to me as I’m falling asleep or waking up. The easy part is keeping pen and paper at my nightstand, at the ready.

The difficult part is deciphering what I’ve written. I  used to keep a tape recorder (remember those?) by my bed to record my dreams. Come morning, when I’d hit playback, I’d hear a drunken sounding voice speaking absolute gibberish.

• Have you ever noticed that when little kids name a pet, they almost always choose names that are descriptively obvious, and end in ie or y? Blackie or Whitey or Fluffy? Case in point, I have two little hummingbirds that visit my feeder. My grandkids have named them Brownie and Greenie.

• Oh, the ups and downs of living in Redding. The up was leaving Riverfront Playhouse after seeing “Of Mice and Men” – a moving, expertly directed and performed play. The down side was walking out to the parking lot, looking over a back fence to a nearby porch and seeing a Confederate flag flapping in the wind.

• Some things I’ve relearned this month about assumptions and mind-reading: Sometimes, if someone doesn’t return my call, it’s not that they’re blowing me off, but that they died or had a stroke. Sometimes, if someone doesn’t return my text, it’s not that he’s ignoring me, but that he accidentally left his cell phone in the rental car.

• I used to laugh about my methods for getting rid of a Jehovah Witness at my door, until I became friends with a Jehovah Witness. Game-changer.

• One of my passive workout techniques: Avoid using my hands to assist myself to rise from a seated position.

• I love texting, but I love audio texting even more. However, I must not enunciate very well, though, because I’m shocked at how badly my phone interprets what I’ve said, even while completely sober. Luckily, people closest to me don’t judge the audio errors, such as when “guest” routinely turns into “gas”. Also, I’ve been audio texting so long that sometimes, when I’m leaving a voicemail message, if I’m not paying attention or if I’m sleepy, I find myself throwing in “comma” and “period” and “happy face”. So embarrassing. (Exclamation point. Sad face.)

• Another audio texting frustration: Hitting record and talking, talking, talking “period”. Only to look down and find an empty screen, and having to start all over. Dang!

• Speaking of phones, I hate to admit it, but I’m really not a fan of talking on the phone. Never have been. It’s really a bummer because more and more friends and loved ones are leaving Redding. That leaves emails and texting. I may have to resort to snail mail again.

• Knitting wisdom: Don’t quit working in the middle of a row. Finish the row. Then put down your work so when you return, you know exactly where you are when you begin again.

• Just because the little green circle light is lighted up on Facebook page doesn’t mean I’m on Facebook, or home, or on the computer, or even awake. It just means I opened a tab for Facebook, and left it open. Maybe for hours.

• I’ve lived alone for almost 10 years now, but I still catch myself putting my name on a file folder: “Doni’s Medical” or on a favorite object: “Doni’s scissors”… as if there’s someone else in the home.

• When I’m throwing a party or having guests over, the guests I love the most are those who are a tad late, and if they bring food that requires no further preparation, and if they bring flowers that don’t require me to climb on a step stool and fetch a vase. Do I sound like a bitch to say that? Maybe. Oh well.

• I work from home and I’ve finally learned that it’s best for me to get up and get dressed asap, because otherwise, if I get stuck on my computer, the day zooms by and the next time I look up it’s 3 p.m. and I’m still in my pajamas, which depresses the hell out of me. Plus, there’s a high probability that the day I stay in my pajamas until Happy Hour is the day that someone pops by unexpectedly.

•  Which reminds me, would I sound like a horrible person if I said that I’m not a fan of unexpected company, unless it’s FTD, UPS or FedEx?

• Whoever said, “Time flies while you’re having fun” must not be a regular tax-filing procrastinator. (See messy note, above.)


Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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23 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    I don’t like phoning because I never know if I’m interrupting something: a meal or nap or project. We just had a landline installed at our Redding bungalow and immediately the scam calls started. The latest one actually showed on the caller ID as “Scam Caller.” Normally I don’t answer if I don’t recognize the number. However, if I’m feeling cranky, I say to the caller, “You know this is a scam. Why do you allow yourself to be involved?” Does no good, of course, but I feel better.

    • Yeah, part of the reason I don’t like phoning is I’m afraid it will be a bad time. The other reason is that I’m not much of a chatter, so my ideal phone calls have a purpose.

  2. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    What are you, my doppleganger????
    Ditto about thoughts in the night (but they seemed like such good, logical thoughts at 3:00 a,m,)
    Ditto about phone calls.
    Ditto about auto-text. What language does Seri think I’m speaking?And if it’s someone I know (like my kids) I leave in the mistakes because they are waaaay funnier than what I was going to say anyway.
    Ditto getting dressed right away in the a,m.,. . . . What you said, exactly!!! Which then leads to
    Ditto about unexpected visitors.

  3. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    For the last couple of months, my eighteen year-old son has been talking on the phone with his friends instead of texting with those lightning-fast thumbs. It’s downright bizarre to witness.

    My last profound thought that startled me awake at 3 a.m., and that I just had to write down, was “Horses know the truth.”

    Yep. “Horses know the truth.”


  4. Avatar Candace C says:

    I know the rule of thumb is to not bring a host/hostess gift that will require more work for that person, but I’ve found the “flowers in a vase” thing can be a double edged sword. Anyone need a vase? The get sidetracked, stay in your pj’s (thus not relishing uninvited guests) thing definitely resonates with me.
    Disclaimer: I do think it’s lovely that someone was thoughtful enough to bring me flowers.

    • Hal, if your 18-year-old is choosing a phone conversation over texting … then that gives me hope.

      And I’ve had “profound” thoughts that turned out to just plain bizarre, not to say that yours are.

      “Horses know the truth …”

      I’ll be horse people would agree with you.

    • Candace, yeah, I knew that saying that thing about the flowers would make me sound like an ungrateful bitch. I was just saying in a perfect world … and yes, of course, I am always touched if anyone brings me flowers. I know it’s a lovely gesture. I guess I was just thinking of a situation with guests arriving and me running late as usual and then my vases are on the top shelf that require a pull-out step ladder. I suppose I could plan ahead, and have a vase on the counter at the ready for flowers, and none arrive, then I put the vase back.

      I know my comments are out of order. Dang. I hate when that happens.

      • Avatar Candace C says:

        Doni, oh shoot, I wasn’t meaning you sounded bitchy, I get what you were saying, sorry if it came across that way. I added the “flowers are lovely” mostly just to cover my ass after I said the “vase” thing, lol.

  5. Avatar Candace C says:

    Sidebar: Doni, in your case I more than likely would not bring you flowers to something you were hosting simply because your home is always warm, inviting and beautifully decorated with attention paid to every detail when you have people over.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      What Candace said. I figure a bottle of wine is always appropriate – except that time I took wine to a couple who were not just AA members but were leaders of the local AA meetings. The served it to the other guests, but I did feel foolish when someone told me later of their involvement with AA.

    • Candace, I think you’re very sweet to try to make me feel less like like an ungrateful bitch about the flower thing.

      Thank you.

  6. Avatar Candace C says:

    Beverly, ya alcohol is tricky unless you know for certain that they drink. I find that simply asking “what can I bring” and following their lead works. That said, I need to get out of pj’s now…

  7. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Years ago I woke up from a dream in which “all was made clear” to me. Of course I didn’t remember what I had learned in the dream so I started keeping a note pad and pencil by my bed. A few years passed, and I had the same experience. This time I was prepared. I grabbed the note pad and wrote out what had been revealed to me in the dream. The next morning I checked the pad as soon as I woke up and was surprised to find, instead of sage and brilliant words, a drawing of a snarling dog intead! A really mean snarling dog with a mouth full of big teeth. Oh dear.

    • So funny how our brains work. Maybe your snarling dog had a deeper meaning. You’re an artist, so you’re lucky you can express yourself with a drawing. I think my drawings would be even more difficult to decipher than my nighttime words.

  8. Sorry for the late replies. I was traveling all day and just returned home. 🙂

  9. Avatar erin friedman says:

    Oh, I’m with you on the flower thing. I had invited some dear friends for Thanksgiving a few years ago. He had promised to make his mother’s Famous Dinner Rolls to go with our meal. But he ran out of time and they showed up with flowers (requiring a vase that I didn’t have) and brown-and-serve rolls (requiring oven space that I didn’t have). I laughed it off — but learned my lesson about assigning dishes. My favorite hostess gift to bring is Tomorrow’s Breakfast: A bag containing tea, yogurt, fruit, granola or muffins.

    • That’s a good lesson to learn.

      Sometimes, instead of bringing flowers I’ll bring some potted flowering thing, like a hydrangea or lavender or even an herb that can be planted later. I know as a hostess I love getting things like that.

      And yeah, I’ve had that situation where it’s potluck, and someone shows up minutes before dinner’s to be served with a bag of ingredients and needs a cutting board, knife, measuring cups, and on and on, and then the stove top and oven space. Call me a control freak, but it drives me a little crazy.

      I’ve also learned that when hosting a potluck, to know who the dependable people are, and not assign something important to someone who’s inclined to forget or cancel.

      Your hostess gift is one I like to do, too, so the hosts have something to look forward to the next day.

  10. Avatar Candace C says:

    I assigned mashed potatoes to someone one Thanksgiving. They brought a bag of potatoes, placed it on the counter and left the kitchen. It was a vacation home with a large kitchen set up to accommodate many “cooks” to help with prep, etc. Sigh.

  11. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    To combine two of your musings above– husband left for errand; I’m still in nightgown, slippers and bed-head and a Jehovah Witness knocked. I ignored but then realized she could hear the TV (news) so I should answer– whatever, I didn’t invite her. Don’t they usually travel in pairs? It was only 10:30 am.