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Gwin Paden: On caring for cats, the new In-Shape gym and grammar

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Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:00 am

It’s odd how one suddenly discovers things that have been right under one’s nose for a while. I have just discovered that I have West Point cats — colorwise. No, they don’t line up in formation or salute, but that may come! Who knows?

West Point colors are black, gray and gold. Molly is black, Oliver is gray, and Geordie is sort of gold. He is pale orange, and the WP gold is a very rich, deep color, so, for me, it works. Jack would have liked this idea.

Caring for them is getting complicated. Each one eats a different food, dictated by age, ailments and just plain choice. By the time I feed everybody dry food, let at least two cats out and then in, change three water bowls, feed everybody canned food, pick up bowls to be washed, and then feed the squirrels, open the curtains, turn off outside lights, and bring in the papers, it’s a good hour and a half into the day. Then I start on my breakfast!

It’s like bringing up four children all over again! The dinner routine is a lot less complicated, thank goodness.


I had a look inside the new In-Shape gym the other day while I was waiting with other committee members to go next door and surprise Darrell Drummond with his Citizen of the Year award announcement.

It certainly looks different from Apple Market (which I miss dreadfully). Except for a mezzanine on one side, it is open to the roof — a vast space. The registration desk is very impressive, as are the rows of machines. If I were exercising there, I would be glad of the House of Coffees next door, where I could revive with a mocha and a muffin! Obviously, I do not take shapeliness as seriously as some! But then, at my age, who cares?

While waiting, I ran into Kevin Parrish and Calixtro Romias from The Record, who were there to do a story on In-Shape and to ask patrons about New Year’s resolutions. We had a high old time reminiscing about that paper and its news staff in the old days when I worked there. Kevin came on staff just before I left, I think, and Calixtro some years later.


Speaking of Apple Market made me nostalgic for other places that are no longer here: Parrett’s gift shop, The Toggery, Newfield’s department store, Downtown Penney’s, Wright’s Stationers, Orchard Supply and Ace hardware stores, Lakewood Drugs, Blasting Blenders, Wrappin Up and DeGrande’s Café.

In Stockton, I miss Livingston’s (great linens and china), the Islander, Maxwell’s Book Shop, Ben Bukowski’s art gallery and Pollard’s Chicken Kitchen. When we first moved here, the Kitchen was the only place we could afford to take four children to dinner — and the chicken was so good!


I get a lot of comments about how some people enjoy my remarks on the use and abuse of our English language, so here’s something for them: I have always said that English is a very complicated language, and errors can be forgiven, but when in doubt consult a dictionary or a thesaurus. I have seen “bizarre” where “bazaar” would have been correct; “waist” for “waste;” and of course, the omnipresent “lay” for “lie,” particularly in photo captions. And there are so many typos lately. Everybody needs to proofread!

It is more and more common to see “there is” when “there are” is correct. If there is more than one subject being discussed, then the plural “are” is the right word. And my pet peeve is, as I have written many times, the use of “done” for all occasions, when “finished,” “over,” “through” and “completed” might be better and certainly more graceful words to use. “Have you finished?” is certainly nicer to hear from a waitress or waiter than “Are you done?” I always want to say, “No, not quite. Turn me over and let me cook for another 10 minutes,” but I don’t.


And two to end with:

“... a time when uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Heard on the Megyn Kelly news show in a discussion about Iraq/Afghanistan.

“Nature, time and patience are the three great healers.” — Chinese fortune cookie

Gwin Paden has been writing this column for a while now. She has been writing in different forms since she was a child — poetry, prose, advertising copy, song lyrics, essays, news stories, letters to the editor, etc. She has found writing to be very satisfactory, and suggests everybody try it, starting with thank-you letters and messages on birthday, Christmas and sympathy cards. This keeps the art of handwriting alive, also.

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1 comment:

  • Victor Ferrise posted at 1:34 pm on Sun, Feb 23, 2014.

    Symbiont Posts: 6

    Proofreading is a lost art I'm afraid, especially with the advent of programs used with spell checkers. Often times a program will recognize a word as correctly spelled but not used correctly in a sentence. I've actually witnessed people search for underlined misspelled words and completely overlook grammatical errors in the process. That said, I certainly don't claim to be an expert in creative writing as you may have noticed so far.

    One thing I did raising my children is insist on using a program called Pagemaker as opposed to Word for school projects. Pagemaker at the time did not have a spell check module and forced my children to carefully proofread every word in anything they ever wrote. There's something to be said about people becoming more lazy as technology becomes more sophisticated. I find myself constantly needing to carefully scrutinize what I have written by means of texting since my Android device insists on auto-completing words that are often completely off the mark and sometimes embarrassing to say the least.

    If that's not enough, I recently took it upon myself to actually write a few postcards to folks on the east coast that don't usually use email or smartphones to communicate - I used to have beautiful cursive writing skills. [wink]


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