Putting Up in Happy Valley

Preserving [My] Sanity in Central Pa.

What’s in a name

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Coming up with a blog name is like a make-believe band name popping into your head. There is never just one—there is an ever-evolving list.

  • The Three Katies
  • ZaZu and the Pits
  • Finn McCool and the Giants
  • Punk Domestics


Oh, wait; that last one is taken.

Finally, you settle on one you think is perfect—says everything about your off-beat vision, your seasonal obsession, YOU in a few words.

  • Jarhead Chronicles


Jarhead: think slang term for someone who is highly enthusiastic about canning fruits and vegetables, can’t get enough homemade jam, and likes to tinker with recipes year-round. Think cheesehead, crackhead, motorhead, respectively. Also, a canning jar aficionado.

At my first reveal,  however, a few friends immediately made ouchy faces. “This could be an insult to Marines,” they said. “Crap,” I said. I had already done my research. The way I saw it, there was only one degree of separation between Jarhead the Marine and Jarhead the Super Canner. As legend and the Internet have it, this nickname for a Marine may have come from how their tight-collared dress blues gave them the appearance of a Mason jar (see Gunny G). It certainly made sense to me.

In a few days, I was feeling insecure enough in my blog-name choice to ponder a politically correct retreat (these are tough political times, after all). Before I changed it (to WHAT, for God’s sake!), though, I thought I’d better ask, say, someone who actually knew a Marine. My neighbor Cathy Spahn’s husband, Joe, was a Marine, and she didn’t think he would have been insulted at all. I was vindicated, right?

After all that, then, why didn’t I go with “Jarhead Chronicles”? Not to be PC.  You see, I have this tendency when I’m in a restaurant with friends to make the perfect menu choice and then, when the server finally gets to me, to change my mind. The second choice is inevitably more delicious. More e-relevant, however, is that even after I posted entries to my “Jarhead Chronicles” blog I was lost among the many, MANY links for the 2005 Sam Mendes film Jarhead, based on the memoirs of Gulf War sniper Anthony Swofford and starring cute-as-a-button Jake Gyllenhaal. (Rotten Tomatoes lists it as 61% on the Tomatometer.)

Why I picked THIS name is another story. . . .


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