Month: February 2016

Cee’s Share Your World: Week 8

It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my responses for week 8.

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Clean the refrigerator. No one else will do it, so it falls to me, and I do it far less often than I should.

The other thing I hate is to tackle a big messy pile of stuff – papers, random items, CDs without covers, CD covers with no CD inside, etc. I’ve been doing a lot of this lately!

However, in spite of hating the above chores, I feel so proud and content when they are done – and I have a beautifully clean ‘frig, or a table or desk whose surface is finally visible and cleaned up!

What was the last URL that you bookmarked?

Smetana’s Moldau

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

My neck- I’ve had a sore neck for over a week. I think it is telling me to watch my posture when I’m reading or watching a show. Or maybe to do a shoulder stand (yoga posture) which always seems to help, for some reason.shoulderstand

Would you rather have a two-bedroom apartment in a big city of your choosing or a mansion in the country side in the state or country where you currently live?

I would rather have the apartment – in Copenhagen (Denmark), Rio de Janeiro or Curitiba (Brazil), or in Edinburgh (Scotland). These are some of my favorite places in the world. Having an apartment in a beautiful city gives you the freedom to go out and explore that city and other places nearby. Most of the abovementioned cities have good public transportation systems to get around, or I would walk, or ride a bike (in Copenhagen at least).

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for all the cultural events I’ve been to in the last week and the music I’ve discovered. This week I’m looking forward to attending a recital by our church’s new choir director, Natasha Stojanovska, who is an awesome pianist!

Natasha at pianoI’m also looking forward to being able to relax a little bit after spending over a week cleaning up our house after having painters redo our entire downstairs! Tonight we had family and friends over to celebrate my son’s birthday, and finally the house looks pretty good. So I hope to do less housework and have more down time this week!

Trump – The Monster we created

This is a very thoughtful essay about what American politics is like today. It’s definitely worth a read, which is why I’m reblogging it!

The happy Quitter!

trump gif

Donald Trump recently spoke about American football. No other game more fully embodies this country’s character. The sport is about capturing territory, and players need to be tough and fearless to win. A player who is afraid of being tackled by someone from the opposing team while running has already lost the game. “I don’t even watch it as much anymore,” Trump told a crowd of his supporters in Reno, Nevada. “The whole game is all screwed up.”

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Word of the week: shrift

English speakers have heard and occasionally use the expression “short shrift” as in giving “little or no attention to”: He gives short shrift to the work of contemporary composers, or “quick work” such as: They made short shrift of their homework, so they could go outside to play. 

The implication is that it is something little, brief or non-existent. But what exactly does the word “shrift” mean? We don’t use it in any other context today, except when combined with “short”.

Here is Merriam-Webster‘s definition of shrift:

  1. archaic(n):  a remission of sins pronounced by a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation :  the act of shriving: confessional

  2. 2obsolete:  confessional

Dictionary.com defines it:

noun, Archaic.
1. the imposition of penance by a priest on a penitent after confession.
2. absolution or remission of sins granted after confession and penance.

3. confession to a priest.

 

Confession

Picture downloaded from Google images.

This is something we may want to keep short! But the word has fallen out of use in other contexts. The expression “short shrift” actually came from a confession that a condemned prisoner made before his execution (first appeared 1685-1695). The executioners probably wanted this to be short, but perhaps the prisoner did not!

noose1                                                        Google images: rollingout.com

But the word shrift itself comes from Old English scrift (before AD 900) meaning “penance.” This is a false cognate of German and Dutch schrift, which means “writing”. (It’s a false cognate because although it is a similar word, it doesn’t mean the same thing.)

The idea for this post came from a post I got on Facebook: “12 Old Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms.” It’s true that we would never use or even have heard of the word shrift if it weren’t part of the idiom short shrift.
I love learning about words!

Word of the Week: snowbird

The word for this week is snowbird.  Very common, right? Why am I picking this word for word of the week?  Most people already know what it means!

Actually, the word snowbird has FOUR meanings.

The first meaning is the one most people know – and which I wish I were!! – which is: a person who travels to a warmer region for the winter. Most of these people are older and retired. Often it is due to physical pain in their joints that they need to go where the weather will be gentler on their arthritis.

gI_89530_The Secret Life of a Snowbird
SnowbirdHomepageWBermuda

Now that I am retired, I ask myself: Are my husband and I going to become snowbirds? And if so, where will we go in the winter?

Sedona would be a great place to retire!
Sedona would be a great place to retire!

We haven’t decided yet whether we will invest in a winter property, probably in Arizona, or just settle permanently in a warmer climate (like Mexico or Brazil). Or we will stay put and travel a lot! Each of these options has its advantages.

 

Meaning no. 2, which some readers may know, although I didn’t, is: a cocaine addict.

cocaine_addiction_symptoms-250x166This is American slang and this use of the word snowbird has been used since the early 20th century, when the use of cocaine was becoming popular and moreover, it was completely legal at that time. There was a recent series on television, called The Knick, the nickname of Knickerbocker, a hospital in New York. In this series, the main character, a doctor at the hospital, becomes addicted to cocaine.

Clive Owens plays Dr. John Thackery, a surgeon addicted to cocaine.
Clive Owens plays Dr. John Thackery, a surgeon addicted to cocaine.

#3: According to The Free Dictionary, a snowbird is also a type of finch, of which the dark-eyed junco and snow bunting are two examples.  This was the earliest known meaning of the word.

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Finally, the 4th meaning of snowbird is a type of small sailboat, which, according to Wikipedia, was made popular in the 1920s by a yachtsman who was looking for a boat suitable for his young sons to sail. He saw a set of plans drawn to scale in the 1921 issue of Rudder magazine. He had a builder make several in 1926, and in 1928, the National Snowbird Yacht Racing Association was formed.  In the 1932 Olympics, the snowbird was a racing class. The gold medal in this class was awarded to Jacques Lebrun of France. The silver medal went to Bob Maas of the Netherlands, and Santiago Amat of Spain won the bronze medal.

snowbird_photo

Flight of the Snowbirds
Flight of the Snowbirds

I found a fifth use of the word Snowbird: It is the name of a ski resort in Utah.

Snowbird-Utah_2399686b

Photo Essay: Santa Cruz, California

On December 23, 2015, my family and I visited Santa Cruz. I’d been here before, but never had a chance to look around town. This is what we saw on that cool December day.

The first place we went was our daughter’s request: The Mystery Spot. It was in the hills and quite cool. 20151223_111428

The grounds were lovely, and they even had hiking trails, which I would have liked to hike, but there wasn’t enough time before our tour was to start.

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Redwood trees
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There was a creek with a small bridge over it.
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Flowers
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Ferns

The Mystery Spot was actually more interesting than I thought it would be. It’s a place on the hillside where the laws of gravity aren’t what they should be.  Our guide was also quite humorous.

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Our tour guide stood in front of this cabin, which was on a slant. However, he is standing upright!
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My son, Jayme, inside the cabin. He is also standing upright, although it looks like he’s leaning.
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Here Jayme and the guide do back bends – VERY difficult when gravity is not what it’s supposed to be!
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Standing up straight and walking in that crooked cabin was very difficult and I was glad to get outside again.
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This is how crooked the cabin looked from the outside.
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Our daughter, Tam, tries to keep her balance on a board that is actually straight.
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My husband, Dale, on the same board

From there, we went into town. We spent considerable time walking up and down the main downtown street, which was very charming. We had coffee or related holiday drinks at Starbucks. I took pictures of people’s artwork on display on the street and always asked their permission – no one objected and they were in fact glad to have me do it. They were aware of the power of social media!

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Mural in downtown Santa Cruz

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Artists:

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Musicians too:

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The Boardwalk

Unfortunately, we didn’t stop anywhere at the Boardwalk, where there were lots of colorful buildings and photo opps! But we were in a hurry to get to Monterey, as it was now past lunch time and we hadn’t eaten. And there were only about three hours of daylight left!

(Next post: Monterey Peninsula and the 17-mile-drive)

Word(s) of the week: types of fog

I am pairing two weather-related words from two different places. The first is:

pogonip (noun). According to dictionary.com, it comes from a Shoshone word which refers to an ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys in Western USA. Being a “flatlander” in the Midwest, I of course had never heard of this term. I like the sound of it, though, especially the “nip” – when that fog comes in, the weather is quite nippy! A pogonip will nip at an exposed nose or ear!

pogonip1
Pogonip covering a mountain valley

The origin of pogonip in the Shoshone language (the Numic language group) is paγɨnappɨh, which means “thunder cloud.” Pogonip became an Americanism – in general use in that region – by 1865.

The pictures above show pogonip crystals.

The Shoshone people come from the Pacific Northwest. They may have several words derived from this root – just as the Inuit have many words for snow.

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Crossing the Atlantic, another fog-related word comes from  eastern Scotland and Northeastern England.  A thick, white fog that comes onto land from the seacoast is called haar. It usually happens on the east coast of the British Isles between April and September, according to Wikipedia. The warm air comes into contact with the cold North Sea, causing the air to condense and creating the fog, which can spread several miles inland. This causes a substantial drop in temperature.

Haar_forth_rail_bridge
Haar covering half of the rail bridge over the Firth of Forth, Scotland
haar in Edinburgh
Haar descends on the city of Edinburgh.

The web site dictionary.com, dates this word to the late 1600s. It is a variant of the word “hoar.” Perhaps if we close our eyes and listen to what this fog sounds like, it might resemble haar– like a exhalation of air. This is, of course, pure speculation, since I have never seen – or heard – this fog.

The origin of haar may be Low German/Middle Dutch “hare”.

Here’s an especially dramatic picture of the haar:

haar-Queensbury-Edinburgh