Last winter was a mild one for the Chicago area in comparison to others in recent memory. We got some snow, after which it thawed a bit, then turned cold. This made the roads and sidewalks icy and slippery. It became easier and less hazardous to walk on the crunchy snow than on the sidewalks – as long as you had your boots on!
I have lived in the Midwest most of my life and have never liked winter. It looks pretty after a snowfall and I appreciate the cycle of life with the changing of the seasons, but it’s just too COLD! Plus at my age, I am in danger of falling, especially when it’s slippery out!
I took this shot from a local park district walking track, looking down at the deserted park in back of the building. Most seasons, I love to walk on that path, which makes a 3/4 mile loop, but there was no one out there when I took this picture. You can see by the footprints in the snow that both human and animal had recently been walking through it, but not on the path, which was icy and slippery that day!
The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is sobriquet, a fancy word for nickname.
I have always had the nickname Katy – not so unusual today, there being a number of famous young adult Katys. But when I was a kid, it was a rather unusual nickname. Most people whose “real” name was Katharine (or any of the many other ways of spelling it) were nicknamed Kathy in those days. There were a few named Katie (not spelled the way mine was) and even fewer Kates at that time. I was named after my maternal grandmother, whose nickname was Kate.
Because my nickname was unusual and because people who didn’t know me well would automatically call me “Kathy” (which I hated), I didn’t like either my real name or my nickname very much. This probably had something to do with my low self-esteem in general. At the time, I tried to come up with a better name for people to call me. I decided I liked the name Karen – a much better name than Katharine/Katy! I tried to get people to call me Karen, but no one would, and soon it became embarrassing, so I went back to Katy.
Now I like my name – although I wish my parents had decided to nickname me Kate – like my grandmother and like Katharine Hepburn. If someone calls me Kate, I’m fine with that. Just please don’t call me Kathy!!
Here I am in my namesake town, Katy, Texas, in 2013.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is labor. Labor unions are a vanishing breed these days, particularly in the United States, where corporate interests have instilled negative and often false information about unions in the American public. Several states have busted unions and then became “right to work” states. This euphemism is meant to be a positive alternative to labor unions – after all, you won’t have to pay union dues! But in fact, “right to work” means “right to work” for low wages, “right to work” for no raises, “right to work” for no health insurance, “right to work” for no vacation. “Right to work” is the antithesis of the role labor unions have traditionally played to protect workers’ rights:
Most of the things labor unions won for the American worker we now take for granted. Yet, the corporate interests who want to destroy labor unions want to substitute the “benevolence” of one’s boss to provide whatever benefits he/she wants. Because many companies provide paid vacation, health insurance, etc., these things have become a standard to which most companies will adhere in order to be able to attract good employees. Still, “right to work” laws pose a great threat to the rights and benefits workers have. Let’s look at some history…
At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, working conditions were appalling. Child labor was common. I am reposting here a post from my blog We Are Such Stuff IV, which is devoted to my family history. My 4-greats grandfather, I found out from research, worked for some years as a coal miner in England at the end of the 18th century. Just as a reminder of how far we’ve come in protecting workers since that time, this is what life was like for young coal miners. (Note: to see the sources I used for this account, please see the original post: Trappers, Hurriers, and Hewers: Working in a Coal Mine.)
The Industrial Revolution really got its start in Great Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century. A great many workers were needed in the burgeoning factories and in coal mines to provide the fuel for the factory machinery. Our ancestor came of age in the late 1700s, and would have been accustomed to working to help provide for his family – with a widowed mother and several siblings, there was no other option. Many jobs were available, although working conditions were appalling.
Thomas Thomas’ (my ancestor) early life, his employment – first as a shepherd, later as a coal miner – is mentioned in family held sources, but we have no details of how old he was when he took each of these jobs. Clearly, working in a coal mine would have been chosen out of necessity – it must have paid a lot better than herding sheep. He might have been sixteen to eighteen years old at the time, or he may have been younger. Surely people knew something about working conditions in mines – even today, these conditions are quite severe – but would have been attracted by the abundance of need for workers and the higher salary offered. However, children as young as five were employed in mines and they received merely a cent or two per day.
If Thomas was in his mid to late teens at the time of his taking the job at a coal mine, he would have been assigned to any number of jobs requiring strength and perseverance, including “hurriers” and “hewers”. …
As the demand for coal increased, the mines went deeper and deeper, reaching up to two kilometers below the surface. The deeper they went, the more dangerous they became. Once a seam of coal was located, it was mined horizontally. This meant that miners often were forced to work lying down.
Flooding was one of many dangers in the mines, and children often had to work in water up to their thighs while underground. Poisonous gas escaping or causing explosions was another. Explosive gas, called fire damp, would be found the deeper the miners got. One spark from a miner’s axe or candle could lead to disaster.
To clear the mines of gas, a crude ventilation system was used: The job of “trappers”, most often young children, was to sit underground, opening and closing trap doors located across the mine. These trap doors allowed coal trucks through, but also caused drafts which could spread a cloud of noxious gas. The mine owners believed the system of trap doors might help the blast of an explosion from damaging more of the mine (their first concern was their investment, not their workers!). Unfortunately, this system was very ineffective and there were many accidents.
Child trapper A third serious danger was the threat of collapse: Mines were only held up by wooden beams, and the sheer weight of the ground above a mined coal seam led to many pit collapses.
A report on deaths in coal mines to Parliament gave a list of ways miners could be killed: falling down a mine shaft, being hit by falling coal, being crushed to death in collapse, explosions, suffocation due to poisonous gas leaks, and being run over by a tram carrying dug coal.
In spite of these dangers, demand for child labor was great as coal production increased. Whole families worked in the mines. Besides trappers, coal “hurriers” pulled carts filled with coal over long distances and through very narrow tunnels. These coal carts could weigh as much as 500 lbs., and they were hauled using chains attached to the worker’s waist; or two men would be employed, one in front to pull and one behind to push.
They would exit the mine via the trap doors, held open by the trappers. Girls were often used for this work, because their smaller bodies could fit through tighter spots than their male counterparts. Men and boys were often “hewers”, using pick axes to cut the coal from the seam. …
From the scant information I have about that period of his life, I estimate that my ancestor could have been working as a coal miner for ten years or more. With the harsh conditions and hazards of this work, it is no wonder that [having Sundays off] would have been a welcome respite!
Nice – another word with all five vowels to add to my collection! 🙂
I had never heard of the word sequacious before, so I checked several dictionary definitions.
The American Heritage dictionary defines sequacious as follows: se·qua·cious (sĭ-kwā′shəs) adj. 1. Highly impressionable or unquestioning, especially in following a leader or embracing an idea: “False philosophers … have beclouded educated but sequacious minds” (John Gardner). 2. Coherent or flowing smoothly from one part to the next: “I make these notes, but am tired of notes … I want something sequacious now & robust” (Virginia Woolf). ________________________________________ [From Latin sequāx, sequāc-, pursuing, from sequī, to follow; see sekw- in Indo-European roots Collins English Dictionary‘s definition: (sɪˈkweɪʃəs) adj 1. logically following in regular sequence 2. ready to follow any leader; pliant [C17: from Latin sequāx pursuing, from sequī to follow]
Random House Kenerman Webster College dictionary says: (sɪˈkweɪ ʃəs) adj. easily led; servile. [1630–40; < Latin sequāx, s. sequāc- following closely, pliant, derivative of sequī to follow; see -acious]
Dictionary.com gives this definition: adjective 1. following with smooth or logical regularity. 2. Archaic. following, imitating, or serving another person, especially unreasoningly.
So my question is: Are Trump supporters sequacious? Indeed, are most people sequacious?
Although “readily following any leader” seems to be an archaic definition of sequacious, I pursue this definition after reading an opinion piece in today’s online Washington Post which says that people tend to vote identity, rather than ideology. Party affiliation is, to most people, more important, than whether or not one agrees with the ideas of the party. Thus one forms a sort of “generic” image of one’s own and the others’ political parties, attaching labels to simplify. According to this perspective, the average Trump voter tends to ignore his boorish behavior, but rather voted for him – and continue to support him – because he was the Republican Party’s nominee for president.
Logically following in regular sequence, Collins English dictionary’s first definition, makes me think of seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall or anything cyclical in nature: flowers, insects…
I saw this cute yellow caterpillar one day:
Today I found out it will become a boring-looking American dagger moth, like this:
Nevertheless, the life cycle of the fuzzy yellow caterpillar is sequacious and it will always become the common American dagger moth.
Here’s another caterpillar I spotted yesterday:
Sequaciously, it will probably turn into another common kind of moth, although I have been unable to find out which one. I’ll keep searching!
About a month ago, I made direct contact with the pavement of a sidewalk about a mile from home. The pictures that were taken of me are gruesome and so I am posting another photo of pavement, with a wee caterpillar crossing it, taken just a few days ago!
Anyway, here’s what happened: My husband plays golf on Mondays, and I was proud of myself for getting up and dressed and out of the house by 10:00 am for a walk! I wanted to get to my Fitbit step goal and was very motivated. It was a beautiful early July morning, still not too hot to take a long walk.
About half an hour into the walk, I was on a street about a mile from home. It wasn’t my usual route, but I wanted to go to someplace different, perhaps find different flowers to photograph. I didn’t stop to take pictures of anything, though, and was not paying particular attention to where I was walking. Suddenly, I realized I had tripped on the sidewalk where one of the blocks was raised a little due possibly to tree roots underneath. Usually, I can regain my balance before making contact with the hard ground but this time I didn’t. I fell flat on my face and felt my right knee take the brunt of the fall.
Photos of a couple of Des Plaines sidewalks:
A bare tree behind the tree with an orange canopy makes it look like one tree with a ” ‘fro”!
I said the s-word to myself, wondering how on earth was I going to get home, over a mile away? My knee was scraped and bleeding and I had a bump already rising on my forehead. I felt certain I had broken my nose and my glasses had gotten scratched and all bent out of shape. But then I was vaguely aware of two men who were asking me if I was all right.
“No, not really,” I said as they helped me up, each lifting me up under my arms. Why lie?
One of the men was driving a truck, and he had apparently arrived just then to take the other man to a work site. The second man had gone out into the street toward the truck when they heard and saw me fall.
They asked me if I wanted to go to the ER. “No,” I managed to say through a paper towel one of the men had given me and that I was pressing to my scraped nose. “I just want to go home.” I had my cellphone with me and certainly would have called my husband while lying on the ground but he usually doesn’t keep his phone on when he’s on the golf course.
So the second man helped me to his car, which was parked next to the curb. I limped over and very gingerly pulled my right leg into the car without bending my knee. It hurt to bend it. I was not even aware at the time that I had also sprained my ankle!
When I tell this story, people ask me if I wasn’t worried about getting into a strange man’s car. I never even thought about it. These were both middle aged men, very friendly, and we live in Des Plaines, Illinois! Bad things like what could happen never happen in Des Plaines! (Although I’m sure they do, sometimes. It’s just that most people feel safe in this friendly community.)
I directed the man as best as I could toward my house, still holding the paper towel over my nose and at the same time looking through one lens of my glasses which I held in my other hand.
It wasn’t until we arrived in front of my house that I realized that the man in the truck had followed behind us. They both saw that there are several steps up to my front porch so they once again supported me, one on each side, and I hopped to the stairway and up it on my one good leg. The man with the truck advised me to have that bump looked at, because I could have a concussion.
“If you start feeling dizzy or disoriented, that’s an early warning sign of a concussion.”
I thanked the men and made sure I had my hat (which had mostly fallen off, but was still clinging to the hairband of my ponytail) and my water bottle – still over my shoulder, and my phone and keys. They waited until they were sure I was in the house before they left.
I limped over to the recline and practically fell into it, lifting the lever to bring up the piece in front. Who could I call? My sister – no, I think she plays bridge on Mondays; one of my two friends named Marcia? Good idea – I called one, no answer; I called the other one, who did answer, but she was sick. She was very sympathetic and told me to call her back if I needed help and she’d get her daughter to come over after work.
I suddenly thought of my son! He doesn’t have a fixed work schedule and it was past 11 am so there was a good chance he’d be up by now. To my surprise, he answered!
He immediately freaked out when he heard my muffled voice (I still had the paper towel over my nose) say that I was badly hurt and needed his help. So then I had to calm him down, and ask him to come over right away.
He did. He got me wet washcloths and put large bandages on my knee and a small band-aid over the bridge of my nose. He got me frozen vegetables from the freezer to ice my knee, with a dish towel wrapped around the package. He even went to the eye doctor to have my glasses fixed! He stayed until the other Marcia came over. I then found out he’d missed a doctor’s appointment because of me!
Anyway, my husband came home eventually, took me to the ER, where they (five hours later) took X-rays of my knee and femur and a CAT scan of my head. No broken bones, thank God! I returned home with a splint for my left wrist (which hurt because I’d used it to try to break the fall) and a cane, which I used for the next couple of weeks.
Below I am posting a photo of what my knee looks like now, a month later – I went to an orthopedic doctor who diagnosed a hematoma and a sprained ankle, the best possible outcome! He told me it could take up to six months to heal completely! But fortunately, I can now walk normally and have resumed my walking exercise….….but now I walk “mindfully” because I’m still afraid of falling again, and have taken to walking on a solid, continuous bike/walking path instead of neighborhood sidewalks!