Cliche Sunday

Here we are again, on a lovely Sunday night. Once more I had a busy weekend. I guess that is just par for the course at this point. Hmmm, I didn’t do that one when I did the “Ps.” Guess I can’t get them all! I do seem to be adjusting to this hectic weekend pace, I guess we can get used to anything 🙂

So on to “S.”

safe as houses: to be completely safe and secure.  I have always wondered about this one. I mean, I do feel safe in a house during, say,  a thunderstorm; but still an odd saying overall. This particular phrase came from our friends in Britain, and from  a time period when safe was more commonly used to mean certainty rather than our current usage, with safe meaning security.  When picking a simile, one does tend to be over the top; so large and conspicuous houses were an easy fit.

No uncertainty here, guv’nor,” answered one of his captors. “You’re booked, safe as houses.
                                James Friswell, Out & About, 1860

one sandwich short of a picnic: an amusing way to indicate that someone is not all that smart. There are quite a few phrases that use ‘X is short of Y,’

with the meaning that someone is not clever. I rather like this one, however, it just sounds funny. It also comes from across the pond, with the first noted usage in 1987 in  BBC’s Lenny Henry Christmas Special.

scarper: to depart hurriedly. I have read this one before, where a character would scarper off, but I didn’t think it would be a cliché, as it was one word versus an actual phrase. I do seem to be picking ones for my own enjoyment today, as I also find the idea of anyone scarpering completely hilarious 🙂 The word comes from Italian word ‘scappare’, meaning to escape.

He must hook it before ‘day-light does appear’, and then scarper by the back door.
                                                         Swell’s Night Guide, 1846

season of mists and mellow fruits: a lovely, wordy way of saying autumn. Once more, this comes from Britain, in the 1820s. British poet John Keats used the phrase:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
To Autumn, 1820

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Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Well, I am very late to the party, but I made it! I looked up the photo prompt from Priceless Joy on Thursday, but apparently it had to percolate before I was happy with it. As always, the idea is to write 100-150 story based on the photo, nicely provided by Dawn M Miller this week. Check all the other (on-time) stories HERE!

Number 19. It was empty now, waiting to be bussed. Jana had arrived way early.

She focused on the cups and napkin to keep herself from running.

Was there lipstick on one of the cups? Had it been a couple that had been sitting there?Did they leave together, or had it been a final meeting? That napkin had been crumpled in anger. But why? And did they make up?

A waitress came to the table,  wiping away the previous customers while cleaning the plastic tablecloth. Jana looked around nervously, wondering who would sit there next.

Stupid Robert, installing that app on her phone and swiping left. She hadn’t even seen the picture of whoever he had set her up with. Just a date and time. Why was she even here?

She found herself tearing her own napkin to bits as she waited. Finally, a man approached #19, glancing around. He looked uncomfortable, and Jana smiled before walking over.

“Hello, Robert.”



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Cliche Sunday

Well, I would like to skip today, but as I skipped last week, I guess I will be a good girl!

My husband and I built a small greenhouse out back by the vegetable garden. It came out good, but the instructions were not top-notch, and it took from 9:15 am to 5:30 pm today. I got nothing done besides that, and unfortunately, no napping either! Ah well. Pretty sure I complained last time I did clichés too; that means it must be spring and we are busy, busy, busy getting things done for the farm.

So on to the clichés of the day:R!

rank and file: ordinary people in the group rather than the leaders. This phrase originated in the military, from the soldiers who formed ranks when doing drills in front of the officers. It comes from as far back as the sixteenth century:

To learne to keepe his ranke and file orderly
Robert Barret, The theorike [sic] and practike of moderne warres, 1598

revenge is a dish best served cold: vengeance is most satisfying when done after the fact, when well planned out. Although this sounds like it might be Shakespearean, or an even older classic phrase, it comes from the 1800s. The first written example is an English translation of a French text, so the actual origin is up for grabs.

And then revenge is very good eaten cold, as the vulgar say.
Eugène Sue’s novel Memoirs of Matilda,  translated into English by D. G. Osbourne 1846

rise and shine: getting up and heading off to start  your day in  timely fashion.  And who hasn’t had a parent tell them that it was time to rise and shine? I know I heard it a lot as I rolled over  and tucked myself deeper in my blankets. The phrase itself comes from the Bible, although it is found in many other religious texts as well:

They [the Christian saints] shall so rise and shine, that the glory shall rise upon them
The Testimony of William Erbery, 1658

rock and roll: of course, we all know what rock and roll is. But when and how did the term come into being? The phrase was used in a  1930s movie, and had some other meanings as well before a dj named Alan Freed was came up with a radio show named “Moondog’s Rock n Roll Party in 1951.


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You might have noticed that I skipped Cliche Sunday this week. Not only was it Easter, but we worked outside around the house all weekend and I was whipped. Clichés will return this week–and almost thru the alphabet we are too! Never thought I would get there. What shall I do next?

However, speaking of alphabets, if you are jonesing for some phrases this week; I invite you to check out my fellow blogger, Prakash Hegade. He is doing the A-Z challenge for April and has chosen to do an idiom a day: in alphabetical order, of course. Not only does he provide that meaning of the idiom, he provides a poem for each one too! Definitely worth a read or two 🙂



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April 19, 2017 · 7:30 pm

Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers rides again! Our photo prompt comes from Dale Rogerson this week as we all follow Rochelle on a mad romp through the fictional alleys of our minds. Make sure to check out all the other stories to see where they ended up here.

 100 words–on the nose this week!

“Hey, Vino Noble,” Nick said conversationally. “Mind if I have a glass?”

Without waiting, he snagged a glass and poured.

“Yes, my grandfather used to drink this. Came from the same part of the old country he did. Good man, my grandfather. Passed the family business down to me. Dad passed away young, guess Gramps pinned all his hopes on me.”

Sighing, Nick put down his glass. Picking up his gun, he tightened the silencer before pointing it across the table.

“It’s just business, you know,” he told the frightened  man. Nick took the bottle with him as he left.


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United Airlines and the Internet Mob

Exceedinly well expressed outrage! Read, enjoy and pass it on.

Author Amie Gibbons

neganWe all know the United Airlines story by now. It’s a tale of woe, of a man trying to get home, an airline at the mercy of federal regulations and just trying to survive the internet mob sicced on it by those silly peons who think they have the right to something if they pay for it.

Yeah, if you can’t tell by my intro where I’m going with this, well, it’s okay, you’ll get it soon and I’ll get a chuckle 🙂

I did a post on FB about how the doctor’s past was irrelevant and it blew up, got shared over 20 times (hey, that’s a lot for little ol’ me!) and it really went into the rough in one friend’s share especially. There were a lot of arguments around the whole thing, when I was addressing one part of it, so I’m here to address more of…

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Cliche Sunday

Here we are again. Sunday already, after a very long weekend. Am I hedging, to let you know this might be a short post?

Yup, I am! I ran about yesterday doing errands, getting the horses’ manicures, walking the dog and practically steamcleaning the house. Today my husband decided it was time to get out and start the logging for the year. I didn’t complain, since we were cutting down the trees that shade my vegetable garden in the late afternoon.

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and natureThis is before. And yes, I am standing in roughly the same place. Also, look at that 6 foot ladder leaning against the tree we cut down–tree makes it look like a toy, doesn’t it?? Sadly, that tree did not go to plan, but we all walked away–well, except for the tree, that is 😉

Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature

Anyhoo, on to the reason we are all here-cliches!! And since we are on “Q,” the alphabet is helping me keep this short. Not a lot of “Q’s” out there anyway.

quick and the dead: all souls, living or dead. Many of us are familiar with the phrase from recent movies, particularly westerns. Quick in this application is not referring to speed, but rather the “quick” of life. The first time a baby moves in the womb is called the quickening, while quicksand means that the sand it has life, moving.But the phrase far predates any movies, being first found in the Bible. In the Bible it notes that only the Almighty can judge the quick and the dead–meaning all souls, whether they still live or have passed.

quid pro quo: to do something with the expectation of a favor in return. This cliché is an original Latin version that has become popular, literally meaning “something for something.”  But there are many versions in English as well;

One good turn deserves another.
           H. L’Estrange’s The Reign of King Charles, 1654

Or there is always “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” or even  the basic “I do for you, you do for me.” In recent years, the English versions have been used in many crime movies, giving them a rather Mob flavor. The Latin quid pro quo,however,  being used in law and legal contracts, sounds classier and has become more popular.

quality time: spending time with a neglected child/spouse/friend to make up for the neglect. This is an American phrase with roots in the ’70s.  The family was expanding in the  1970s, with women entering the workforce. The idea of quality time was to ensure that she felt she really could do it all:

How To Be Liberated–

The major goal of each of these role changes is to give a woman time to herself, Ms. Burton explained.”A woman’s right and responsibility is to be self fulfilling,” she said. She gives “quality time” rather than “quantity time” to each task, whether it be writing, cleaning the house or tending the children.
                                           Maryland newspaper The Capital, January 1973

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Cliche Sunday

Spring seems to have sprung in our corner of the world (if you ignore the threat of mixed snow/rain on Tuesday). I couldn’t be happier. We went down to our local flower show today, and I still have the energy and will to write about clichés. How marvelous. Love this time of year! So where were we again?

Oh yes, “P. ” Here we go:

pass the buck: to put the blame on someone else and slough responsibility. So who hasn’t heard this one? I admit, I always thought the “buck” was a dollar, without stopping to think why that would make sense. Are you  paying the next person to take the blame? No, actually, you aren’t. The “buck” is actually an article used during poker. In order to keep a game honest, the tradition of having the deal pass from player to player was formed. The next dealer was given a marker, often a knife, as they were easy to hand. If a player didn’t want to deal, they were allowed to “pass the buck” on to the next person. The nickname “buck” most likely came from the fact that many knives in the late 19th century had buck’s horn handles. The fashion later became given silver dollars as the marker, which is probably how money also became known as “bucks.”

panic stations: a call to alert, often exaggerated; ie: a retail store might call “panic stations” for its employees as it opened the doors on Black Friday. This is a naval phrase, a station being a part of the ship a sailor was assigned to. The Royal Navy, in particular, had several calls to orders; one of which was “action stations” if the ship came under attack.  “Panic stations” was an actual order as well:

Alarm gongs had already sent the guns’ crews to their invisible guns and immediately after the explosion ‘Panic stations’ was ordered, followed in due course by ‘Abandon ship’.
                         Behind the Veil, published in The Times, November 1918

pooped: battered and tired. This phrase also has naval, um, roots. The foredeck of a ship is called the poop deck. As it faces the storms and waves, it is most likely to be battered and worn during a tough journey. The damage was called “pooped,” and sailors took that phrase home with them. They would say they were “pooped” like the ship when they were exhausted. The colorfulness of the phrase took hold, and was used on land almost more than on the waves.

pulling strings: to manipulate a situation to one’s benefit. This term, of course, comes from puppeteering. While everyone is entertained by the puppets on the stage, they all know that there is someone backstage choreographing the activity. An excellent puppeteer can give a flawless performance and no one will pay attention to him being backstage.

play ducks and drakes: to squander your money. Ducks and Drakes is the official name for the old-fashioned skipping of stones across water. It was given that name as a properly skipped stone looked like a fowl rising from the water. But even the best skipper can fail to get a run across the water, and all eventually lose speed and drop beneath the water. Therefore, a person who suddenly has an abundance of money, and enjoys it quickly, can be said to be playing “ducks and drakes” with his money.  The phrase itself it old, first being found in The Nomenclator, or Remembrancer of Adrianus Junius:

a kind of sport or play with an oister shell or stone throwne into the water, and making circles yer it sinke….It is called a ducke and a drake, and a halfe-penie cake
       Hong Higgins, 1584

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Door to Adventure, the fifth

This was supposed to be the last episode, however, the story  took a bit of a left turn. I am sure I have at least one reader (M) who would be most unhappy with me if I left it as is. So the story will continue–I just don’t think it will be tomorrow!


The lavender door opened to reveal an expanse of flat plain, grass floating tall. In the distance a white tree glowed, even with storm clouds gathered above it. The clouds tapered out to an oddly pewter sky.

Haily glanced at Irene, expecting disappointment. Irene was staring at the storm clouds, an odd look on her face.

“We need to get to that tree, “she said.

The tree stood, tall and bright. Must be a birch, Haily thought. She sighed, then gathered her bag.  Billy grabbed one of Irene’s and they started walking.

Irene seemed driven, leading the way. As they finally reached the tree, Haily heard a rumble.

A single horseman galloped over the rise behind the tree, but he was swiftly followed by more that fanned out around Frankie, Haily and Irene. The riders blocked them from the tree. Irene made a sound of frustration.

The lead horseman sat, relaxed, watching them. His lean face made Haily think of Native Americans-tanned, with deep eyes and spiky dark hair. He reminded her of someone, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.

Irene shook off Frankie’s restraining hand. She stared at the horse in front of her, looking from it to the one next to it. She put her hand up, tentatively, almost as if she thought it might go through the horse’s face, instead of resting on soft hair. She looked wonderingly at the lead horseman, ignoring the other riders.

“How do you do it?” she asked.

The horseman looked surprised. Haily looked at intently at all the horses surrounding them, wondering what Irene saw.  That horse was brown, the other looked tan, and the last, well, Haily didn’t know anything about horses, but it was a darker brown. The riders looked similar, lean men sitting comfortably looking at them solemnly. Warriors, Haily thought, unsure why that word came to mind. But it fit.

Another man, on foot, came to stand beside the first rider; placing his hand on the rider’s knee.

“What do you see?” he asked Irene in a deep voice.

The man looked like an older version of the rider, Haily thought. In fact, she thought, her earlier thought on the rider’s familiarity rising again, they both look like—she turned to look at Irene again. Irene who always looked slightly tan, who had always hated her long rangy legs and torso, Irene who was wiping her sleek dark hair out of her face as she turned to face the new man.

“They aren’t real,” she said simply. “I don’t know how, but they aren’t really there.”

She walked past the rider in front of her. The rider made no move to stop her as she walked past, although the lead rider looked like he would jump off his horse as Irene approached the white tree. The older man restrained him, watching interestedly.

Haily went to follow Irene, who walked towards the tree with a bemused look on her face. Frankie reached out to grab her, shaking his head when Haily gave him a dirty look.

“Um, Irene? There is something you might not know,” Haily called. “Have you noticed-“

“NO,” the young rider burst out, “you must not!”

The other horse and riders disappeared. Frankie and Haily whirled, trying to figure out where they had gone.  The older man still held the rider, although he was on foot now, and struggling to reach Irene.

“Uncle, she cannot! You know this-she will be killed!”

“Frankie!” Haily screamed.

Frankie raced after Irene just as she reached out her hand. He stopped, a horrified look on his face as Irene placed both hands gently on the trunk, taking in a deep breath.

The clouds roiled, twisting upon themselves above the shining tree. They suddenly dissipated, fleeing outward in a circle towards the edge of the  pewter horizon, leaving a bright blue sky behind.

“Ah,” the older man whispered. “Blood will tell.”






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Doorway to Adventure, Four



Haily raced down the tunnel, wanting to be the first one there. They hadn’t had a chance to explore any more doors because of all the graduation hoopla. She couldn’t wait to try the next door.  Her bag bumped her leg as she ran. Wouldn’t Irene be surprised, Haily was prepared today!

Haily came around the last curve and stopped, disappointed. Irene sat, her back straight against the wall as she stared at the lavender door across from her.

Haily frowned, alerted by the tension in Irene. Dropping down next to her, Haily saw the large duffel next to Irene.

“Hey,” Haily said. “You beat me.”

“That’s cuz I got ready last night and you had to pack this morning,” Irene smiled. She seemed distant, even when she leaned her head on Haily’s shoulder.


“I don’t want to live in this town any more. My mom, well, she won’t even notice. You’re going to SCU, Billy only has a year left.”

“I thought that you were going with me! SCU isn’t that far away, I thought we’d be roommates off campus.”

“And do what? Serve beer to the college boys and girls? We see how well that worked for Mom. I can’t afford college.”

Haily sat, stumped. It had never occurred to her that it wouldn’t be her and Irene against the world. They had been together since first grade.

Irene was always with Haily’s family, her mom being what Haily’s mom nicely called a  “barfly.” She waitressed at the local bar, and went home with whatever man she found that night. Sometimes it lasted a month, sometimes only a weekend, but it was never good for Irene. So they had grown up together, Haily’s parents happy to bring Irene into the fold of a real family.

“So, what are you planning?”

Irene indicated her duffel and backpack. “I got everything important in there. I cashed out my account, since I wasn’t sure if my debit card will work in there. I have a pay cell, figuring if yours worked this one will too.”

Haily was stunned. Footsteps down the tunnel stopped her from saying anything. Frankie came around the corner and saw Irene’s bags and nodded.

“I thought this might be the one,” he said.

“What?? And you didn’t say anything?” Haily demanded, staring at the pale purple door as if it had the answers. “You don’t even like purple.”

Irene smiled. “I know we have one more, but this one just feels like the one.”

“Ok,” Frankie said, “lets do it.”

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