Posted tagged ‘words’

“My grandma always said that God made libraries so that people didn’t have any excuse to be stupid.”

January 6, 2015

I’m still waiting for the celebration. Bring on the balloons, the cake and the conical hats. I did it. I took down almost all of Christmas yesterday. Only the trees are left for tonight’s lightning, for the celebration of the Epiphany.

I carried empty boxes up the stairs and filled boxes back down the stairs to the cellar. Some boxes were so heavy I couldn’t carry them so I slid them down the steps one step at a time. The block Christmas tree was the scariest to carry downstairs. Given my history, I was afraid of falling and scattering all those blocks, but I didn’t. It is safely secured until next year. The special ornaments went into individual small boxes then into the ornament box. The snowmen are still around the house and will stay a while longer. With the tree lights, the house still has a bit of the festivities about it. Wednesday will be a dark day. I miss Christmas.

I am not good with numbers, never have been. I counted on my fingers until at least college. If I hadn’t worn shoes, my toes would have extended my math ability. Words are my strength. When I first learned to read, I read everything I could at the Dick and Jane stage. I got to know their animals and their little sister. The more I read, the better I read so Dick and Jane were left in the dust. I read real books, not the ones filled with pictures. The books in school were boring so I went to the town library. That began my love affair with libraries. The college library was for studying and research though I often ran into friends who convinced me it was time to grab a drink or two after all that academic effort. My town in Ghana, Bolgatanga, had a wonderful library. It was designed by award-winning American architect J. Max Bond Jr. The design of the library always made the inside feel much cooler than outside. I was a frequent visitor.

I still go to the my local library and am on the board. I used to buy books all the time, but now I borrow most of them unless I just can’t wait to read the newest book from a favorite author.

I’m tired today, and I have PT which in this case,. after yesterday, might just mean physically tired.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.”

July 12, 2014

Yesterday and today have been delightful days and last night was cool, low 60’s cool. Today is sunny with a sharp light. The sky is dark blue and cloudless. Tonight will be in the low 60’s again. It is my first movie night of the season. The War of the Worlds, the original with Gene Barry, is on the big screen. We’re having hot dogs and chorizo and a salad or two. We’ll munch a few appetizers beforehand and have candy and popcorn for the movie. I love movies on the deck.

I do a crossword puzzle everyday. Some of the clues and answers are anachronisms. One of the Bobbsey twins is a frequent clue. The answer is always Nan, twin to Bert. Today Look-alike was the clue. The answer was carbon copy. I have no memory of the last time I used carbon to copy anything. I do remember using them years and years ago when I taught, and I remember how the kids always smelled the papers when they got them. They had a peculiar smell from the carbon. I think carbon copy for many people will have to come from the clues around it. Card catalog was another answer, but the clue acknowledged it no longer exists: Part of a library once. My mother would sometimes but not often yell, “Ash truck,” so we would hurry to get the trash barrels out. The need for haste brought back a place in time, a childhood memory. My dad always called the cleaners the cleansers, a word also dating from his childhood. We always knew what he meant.

Words and phrases are born then fall out of usage and finally disappear. I remember having Chinese fire drills at red lights. I still call a bottle opener, the simple metal one, a church key. Police were heat and then pigs. I remember, “Oink, oink I smell bacon,” when police were around. Submarine races were popular viewing except they didn’t exist. I can’t remember the last time I said groovy or when I last rapped with anybody.

My dad would call someone a good egg. My sisters say it now and then in a deep voice like my dad’s just for the memory. I remember heebie-jeebies and ants in my pants, neither of which I get any more.

I grew up outside of Boston. Wicked good is common. I still use it all the time. That one, I think, will never fade and disappear.

“A great many people think that polysyllables are a sign of intelligence.”

July 29, 2011

We all slept in this morning. It was nearly ten before I woke up, and my moving around rousted Fern and Gracie sleeping beside me on the bed. They got their morning treats then we all came downstairs together. As I was going to the door to let Miss Grace out, I found a gift in the hall: a dead mouse. One of the cats had had quite a busy night. I disposed of the deceased, put the coffee on and went to the driveway to get my papers; hence, the lateness of my posting.

It is a cloudy, still day with the sort of humidity which carries a bit of a chill. Rain is forecasted for this evening so I figure the day will stay much like this morning. I don’t expect the sun.

The paper had a great column the other day about the misuse of words and the word literally took front and center. I understood exactly what the author meant as I hear it literally all the time (just kidding). The article also mentioned the misuse or overuse of words. Two examples stood out for me: moot and iconic. It’s a moot point is used to stop any further discussion or argument. It’s been said to me, and it drives me crazy, literally. In that context moot means still open to discussion, but somehow that meaning has been lost. I once had an argument, debate?, with someone about him using the words “a moot point” incorrectly, but I lost. The argument was moot.

Iconic was discussed next and described as one of the latest, trendy overused words. I see it written far more than I hear it, and I figure if so many things are iconic, none really are.

Some words and phrases just disappear. People stop using them. When was the last time anyone was referred to as no spring chicken? We wore blue jeans and sneakers when I was a kid. My mother sometimes told me to stop being a prima donna. I didn’t know what a prima donna really was, but I knew what she meant. Why don’t you just take a picture? I remember using that if someone stared. When I visited my grandparents in the city, I sat on the stoop. I don’t think houses have stoops any more. My grandmother wore galoshes. I wore boots. How about wazoo? My mother often had it with us up to her wazoo. Maynard G. Krebs was a beatnik. A decade later he’d have been a hippie.

I figure all those lost words and phrases are floating around in the cosmos just waiting for the day of their return. That would be, for all of them, a red letter day.


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