“We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.”

Looking out the window this morning, I knew the day would be chilly. It is definitely bleak. The trees are silhouetted in the darkness of the day, in the grayness of a sky filled with clouds. The lighter limbs at the tops of the trees are blowing in the breeze. The heavy oak tree limbs barely move. The birds are elsewhere, somewhere sheltered. I will follow their example and stay warm and cozy.

I find myself talking to the television. Luckily I don’t hear it talking back to me so my sanity is not in question. Mostly I correct grammar. I have a friend who says it doesn’t make any difference if the grammar is correct or not. I totally disagree. So many people watch TV that using good grammar is essential just so people can hear it spoken. Him and I is very common. That makes me cringe. My friend is a musician, and he objects to music badly played or songs poorly sung on television. I don’t get it: I don’t get why he believes only music need be done well and grammar can be whatever. I guess I never will. I love the sounds of language well-spoken just as he loves the sounds of music well-played.

Gracie gets to come with me today while we do errands. We have three stops to make, and she gets to come inside the last stop, Agway, with me. She loves all the smells and she greets everyone. It’s a big shopping day for us at Agway: canned and dried dog food, dog biscuits, pine cat litter and canned cat food. I’ll need a loan to pay the bill.

I think I’m going to put out my mouse trap. I haven’t seen any indications they’ve returned, but I figure with the cold they might be looking for winter digs. My bedroom will be first because that’s where the bulk of them lived last winter. I just hope this time the trap remains unoccupied.

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15 Comments on ““We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.””

  1. Erin Apostolos Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Grammar, handwriting, correct spelling: who needs it when they can just text or Facebook their thoughts in one cryptic sentence? But, when it comes to the real world, like resumes, cover letters, critical thinking…they are lost. I received over seventy resumes for one of my Library Aide positions. Maybe ten had a cover letter. Maybe five had a cover letter detailed to the position. Those were the only five I considered. Of the five I interviewed, one showed up in flip-flops with hair in her face who couldn’t look me in the eye. One answered every question put to him with a one or two word phrase. This narrowed me down to three candidates. Of those, two told me when I asked “where do you see yourself in five years” that they saw themselves in professions that did not include librarianship. Really? So why would I hire you and invest all of this time in you if you don’t even want to do this type of work? What are you even doing here? At least lie to me for God’s sake! Pretend that you’re interested.

    It’s a sad world. I feel very bad for this generation. And for my generation because we’ll be old people when they’re running the world.

    Erin

    • katry Says:

      Hi Erin,
      I was dumbfounded but understood why cursive is not taught in many schools. Kids don’t write anymore. All they need is to write their names. Grammar is not taught in isolation but in context. That is part of the reason that anything goes, any case whenever. When news shows started using poor grammar I knew all was lost. Many shows hire consultants in the field of the show such as law or medicine. I think now they need a proofreader for scripts-never happen though.

      Kids dress appallingly for everything. There was that White House flip-flop controversy a while back when a girls’ championship team was received by the President and many were wearing flip-flops. Most people didn’t see anything wrong with that.

      Like you, the look of the candidate was the first indicator. Being well-spoken was another-all before the resume.

      Good luck to the English language!

  2. olof1 Says:

    23F here this morning and if those clouds they promise will fly in from north don’t fly in it will most likely be even colder tonight. But I bought fire logs on my way home so my cottage is warm and cosy now.

    I’m the same way when it comes to Swedish, if they speak correct Swedish on tv people will hear it and most likely speak and write better too. But the influence from the English language is very big now so most people can’t spell and I don’t think they even know what grammar is 🙂 But I’m not that cranky about my English grammar 🙂

    I heard mice in the only closet I have in my cottage so I’ll buy some traps and place them there. From the sound they made I think they are at least as big as beavers 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      That is winter cold, and I can’t think of it getting even colder! I’m glad you’ve heated up your cottage. Now the dogs can nestle and be warm!

      You are amazing when it comes to English.

      People don’t know what is right anymore. Languages are taking a huge hit from electronic media. Kids use spell-check which spells the wrong words and many don’t notice. They can’t because they don’t know the different.

      My trap is a have-a-heart. I can’t do kill them traps. Ha, as big a beavers!

      • olof1 Says:

        The problem is that the old boys don’t want it warm here 🙂

        Google translate destroys the way we write Swedish since it separates words in to several that actually is one long word in Swedish.

        I can’t find my have-a-heart trap so I’ll buy a few new ones as soon as I come to the super market, I hate those other traps and I rather take a long walk to release those little beavers 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Christer,
        I totally agree abut kill traps. Last winter the dog and I took the mice we caught away from the house and let them go free. I couldn’t kill them.

        Most translation programs can’t do the nuances of languages.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I will be first one to admit that my grammar probably needs help as does my punctuation. I’ve gotten a bit sloppy since I retired and no longer have to write training material or reports. But I am still annoyed at what I see and hear out there from people who are paid to know better.
    Proof reading seems to be a career that has gone the way buggy whip makers. The lack of proofreaders is especially apparent (and particularly annoying) in e-books. Usually it’s ebooks that have been scanned in but I see it all too frequently in ebooks that have been designed for the platform from the start. It’s as if the publishers feel that ebook readers are too stupid to notice these things. I almost want to flag every one that I find and send the publisher an email with the attachments.

    No mice up in the main part of the house yet. Not many spawns in the neighborhood either. The walnut and acorn crop is very, very sparse this year so they may be in for a tough winter. There isn’t much else around for them except bird feeders.

    Rocky and I have just come back from the dog food resupply. He was very happy to wander around the pet store and greet all the people and things. Now he’s curled up asleep on the couch. I have some mums to put somewhere and then perhaps I will join him.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      When I hear newscasters mangle English, I want the head of the person writing copy. The same goes for TV writers who don’t know the difference between when you use me or when you use I. In doubt, use I seems to be the new rule of thumb.

      I was reading a print book, and the error was horrific so I wrote the correct wording over later. Later in the same book, the dead person’s name was substituted for one alive. She has risen from the sea, but no, it was just a mistake the proofreader missed. I wrote a correction over it. I gave the books to my mother next and then she gave them to my sister who called me and was laughing. She had just read my corrections.

      I haven’t seen many spawns as road kill, and that’s usually the sign of a sparse crops of acorns. They run across hoping to find food. The numbers of acorn on my deck seem more than enough for a small family.

      Gracie and I too went to get her food, and she wandered. We got everything we needed to the tune of 162.00. The one good thing is the next bag of dog food is free, and I got two $5.00 coupons.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Times change and language changes. The dress code is more informal now, also the behavioral code, so why not grammar too? Let’s see how much grammar rules we really need to keep a language understandable.
    The German language still has too many rules and even more exceptions to remember all, so we are used to hear slightly wrong grammar in everyday life. Well, some mistakes hurt. The region where I live is known for mixing up the grammatical cases. Sometimes unintended, sometimes just for fun.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I agree that language is fluid, changing with the times. I also accept many of those changes have become common usage, but I also believe that some grammar shouldn’t change. “He gave it to him and I,” is a prime example of really bad English which I’ll not accept. “Hopefully” is used incorrectly al the time but I know it has now become part of the language so I don’t fight it.

      I have a t-shirt which says, “Lets eat grandma. Let’s eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.”

  5. Beto Says:

    Sunflowers of September

    I watch the petals fall from grace
    As evening calms the day
    A Sunflower late in finding root
    An innocent bouquet

    The seeds are scattered in the dusk
    And with its dying curl
    The Sun will shine where beauty stood
    To prosper this new world

    And little birds that God adorned
    Who live upon the wing
    Draw life from these who do not toil
    Then to their God they sing

    So we who by their beauty gain
    Must follow paths of Grace
    Like Sunflowers of September
    As new ones take our place

    • katry Says:

      Beto,
      I found this poem so poignant. The imagery of the sunflower is what I loved the most. Your last verse touched my heart.

      • Beto Says:

        I was watching the birds wrestle the seeds from the Sunflower’s face and how the tiniest birds were the most successful. Little Finch and Titmouse with plumage so vibrant.
        The beauty of the moment was magnificent.

      • katry Says:

        Beto,
        That is why I stand on the deck in the morning: I watch the chickadees at the feeders.


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