Category Archives: Words

Saying “No”

I have a hard time saying “no, I can’t do that”.  I tell the intake people at my work that my schedule is too full to take on new clients, and then I get a phone call from our county social services that they have five children who need therapy, and I am the only one in the area who sees children as young as the ones they are referring, and guess what? I have five new appointments for next week. People at work just laugh at me when I tell them I am going to put my foot down and not take any new clients. I have no one to blame but myself.

Is it hard for you say “no”?  How do you manage to do it if you are able?  What is hard for you to communicate to others?  What is your favorite scene or song from Rogers and Hammerstein?

 

Libraries – A Love Fest

Yesterday was the anniversary of the opening of the first free public library, the Peterborough Town Library in 1833. The decision to purchase books and open a tax-funded library happened at the Town meeting and for the first sixty years, the books were housed in the general store.  In 1893 they were moved to the current location and there have been two expansions since then.

Here are a few fun library quotes:

“Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.”  Zadie Smith

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein

“Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul.” Library at Thebes, inscription over the door

“My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.” Peter Golkin

“I have always imaged that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Jorge Luis Borges

I’m a complete library junkie. One of the biggest selling points when I bought my house was that it was a block and a half from the Washburn Library.  On the average week I am there twice.  I know the hours by heart, am friendly with the librarians.  I even have my library card number memorized.  Twice I’ve had the opportunity to spend an afternoon in the Central downtown library in the upstairs reading rooms – times when I wanted to read resource material that they don’t allow you to check-out.  It was warm and wonderful; so relaxing that I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave at the end of the day.

Tell me about your favorite library memory?

 

I Can Spell That Word in 3 Letters

“A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.”
Baltasar Gracian

Baltasar Gracian was a Spanish Jesuit, writer and philosopher who lived in the first half of the 1600s. There are many wonderful quotes by him but when I stumbled across this one yesterday, it made me laugh.

I type A LOT for my job – letters, agendas, rosters, briefing notes, website information – in addition to the day by day routine of emails to suppliers, clients and internal teams.   Over the years I’ve had  trouble typing various words correctly.  Some of these problems with words resolve themselves after a few years but a few of them have been with me for as long as I’ve been doing this:

Deposit
Worldwide
Rolls
Accommodations
Hors d’oeuvres

Unfortunately there aren’t good synonyms for some of my words, at least not that are accepted throughout my industry. Hors d’oeuvres is a good example.  I can’t use “canapes” because that actually means something specific .  “Appetizers” is more work to type and I can’t really go with “morsel”, “tidbit”, “finger food” as these would throw my hotels and supplier for a loop.

That means I have to have work-arounds. For “hors d’oeuvres” I have an auto-fill set up – when I type “hors” and a space, then the computer fills in the rest, spelled correctly every time.  Typing in “accom” will get me to “accommodations”.  I also have an auto-correct so that any time I type “rools”, the computer changes it to “rolls”.  “Deposit” and “Worldwide” I just have to struggle with as they are too similar to other words, so the shortcuts are just as long as slowing down and typing more carefully.

Any words defy spelling for you?

 

All in a Row

Photo Credit: Sadiq Nafee on Unsplash

I just finished the latest installment of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. I adore this series, so much so that I am often frustrated while I wait for Louise Penny to write the next one.  In fact, I didn’t rush out to read The Kingdom of the Blind when it was published because I knew I would have a wait for the next one.

At the library over my lunch hour, I found books on CDs by Preston and Douglas; they have four separate character series, but none of the ones that are next on my list were on the library shelf. I’ve read online that you can probably read Preston and Douglas out of order, but I can’t bring myself to do that. Gotta do them in order!

So now I have the next P&D on request from the library and came away from the CD shelves with some other items – a comedy memoir and a young adult fiction that has magic and dragons. Hopefully those will keep be going in the car until my next series arrives!

What’s your favorite series? Do you like to read them in order?

Potentiality

My brain knows that English is a flexible language and I know that all the words we use today were at some point made up. But when I saw the above banner, I don’t know what upset me more – that there is a banner with a made-up word hanging on the side of a school or that it was going from down to up!

Anything outraging you today?

A Wonderful Life?

Today’s trail post comes to us from Occasional Caroline.

My aunt died at the end of January. She was ninety-onederful and a truly remarkable woman. She lived her life with purpose and gusto. In the late 60s, she created one of the first on-site daycare centers in the country, for the children of employees at a large hospital in her city. She marched with MLK in Selma. She was a trailblazer, a world traveler, an adventurer, a humanitarian, an influencer, a sailor, an animal lover, and an avid reader who instilled a love of reading in countless children. She had strong beliefs in justice, equality, and human rights, and she didn’t just believe in them, she lived them.

My cousin’s son wrote a wonderful tribute to her, that he read last week at her memorial service. Another eulogy read at the memorial, was written by the minister of the church she had attended for many years, before moving to Florida about 4 years ago. The eulogy started out normally enough, stating her date and city of birth, the names of her parents and sibling (my mother), and some accurate biographical information. Then, random events from someone else’s life began to be interspersed with the things we all recognized. I thought throughout the reading that there were things there that I didn’t recall, but I had never lived in the same city as my aunt, uncle and cousins, so even though we kept in touch quite well through the years, I accepted that I might have missed out on hearing about some aspects of their lives. However, the description of a family road trip when she and my mother were children, I couldn’t explain away.

My cousins and I discussed the service later that afternoon and we had all had the same reaction; WTH? There were life events scattered through the eulogy that none of us had ever heard of, and certainly had not submitted to the minister for inclusion in the service. When I got home, I went to see my mother, almost directly from the airport, and read a copy of the eulogy to her. My burning question was about the story of my grandparents and their two daughters taking a road trip to Mexico, having car trouble, eventually locating a mechanic who was able to order parts but couldn’t get them for several days, so he (the mechanic) invited the family to stay at his home until the parts arrived. When the car was fixed, the road trippers bid farewell to the kind mechanic and continued on their journey to Mexico. Enroute, they saw a man painting a mural and stopped so my grandfather could chat with the artist, who turned out to be Diego Rivera! My mother assured me, in no uncertain terms, that this was not something that had ever happened in any family she’s ever been a part of, or known about.

It’s a mystery, but we have two possible theories as to how this and several other heretofore unknown “family” events made it into the memorial service. Perhaps my aunt wrote her own augmented obituary, left it at the church with instructions that it be opened in the event of her death, just to mess with us. Or, more likely, the minister used a eulogy for another recently deceased woman with the same first name, as a boilerplate for the one she wrote for my aunt, and forgot to delete all the bits about the other dead lady.

In any event, the random additions to my aunt’s life story make for a quirky memory that will live on (and possibly be embellished) in family lore for years to come.

How would you “enhance” your obituary?

If I were I Carrot

Husband and I ordered all our seeds for this year’s garden, but still peruse the seed catalogs to see if we missed anything. We received a new catalog this year from a place in Missouri (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), and we noticed they had the most delightful descriptions  of their seed varieties. You can tell they love the seeds they sell, and we thought the blurbs for some of the seeds sounded like descriptions of people. Here are some examples:

Cold hardy old variety from Denmark (Strawberry)

Earthy and spicy (Carrot)

Exceptionally sweet, tender, and above all-tough (Cucumber)

A Dakota variety,  so you know its rugged (Pole Bean)

Arrives fashionably late (Parrot Tulips)

A classic pear shape (Paste Tomato)

A reliable keeper (Cabbage)

Large and elegantly showy (Cosmos)

Husband just wants to be a reliable keeper. I like to think of myself as a rugged, Dakota variety. I want to avoid pear shaped.

Write a seed catalog blurb of yourself or someone else.