A tree lover. An appreciator of their grace, shade, and mesmerizing swish when the winds converse with them; however, I am not a fan of the annual migration of downward accumulation.
This year my strategy of waiting for all the leaves to fall before raking backfired. We received an early snow and the leaves frisked about the snowfall, creating a decorative touch of color. A bit like sprinkles on vanilla frosting.
I was momentarily charmed.
But then the snow melted, the rest of the leaves fell within one week–somewhat of a follow the leader venue (is that snickering I hear?) and the momentous task of dealing with two towering aspens, a birch, a linden, and a maple tree. Certain evergreens wanting in on the game shed their dagger needles as well.
I contemplated leaving the leaves alone this year. Scientifically, don’t they mulch and return to the soil as the snow blankets them all winter? I image more time is needed than the four months of dozing under the snow would render them inert.
The yard must have started looking pathetic because I had a group of church kids stop by and offer to rake my leaves. Oh. That’s so nice. Do I look old enough where I can’t handle taking care of my yard anymore? I’m thinking they were being nice.
Okay, November is here. Snow is lurking down the pike. It’s a rousing 46 degrees and I’m going to do this.
Leaf blower at the ready. Rake, snow shovel (it’s the best for leaf scooping), and wheelbarrow are standing by.
I managed to get the leaves in four or five major piles and then it’s always the dilemma of burn, mulch, tarp or ? This is the only time of the year when I am envious of city folk, who are only 7 minutes down the line, jurisdiction wise. They get to cart their leaves to the curb and have city garbage haul them away. While us county folk have to figure it out.
This year it’s the giant pile and tarp for a spring burn. It’s getting them into that giant pile.
Having been called away by a Mother errand (glasses needed tightening, and while we are out, she says, I need a pedicure and some new tops), I did not return until almost three hours later. My hopes of the leaves somehow Disney-like traipsing into “hi ho hi ho” parade and forming themselves into that desired leaf pile momentarily tickled me.
No such luck.
I will give full credit to my Hubs who managed to corral the leaves and tarp them. At least most of them.
“Thanks for doing the leaves.”
“What are your plans for the rest of the leaves?”
“What other leaves?”
“The ones over there.”
“Oh, I didn’t see those.”
Okay, he’s wonderfully managed to organize and tarp the leaves. Am I going to point out that there is still a significant amount of leaves left to deal with?
Continuing on with the exploration of everyday words and phrases that may baffle, irritate, or even amaze us, is a selection from the “D” chapter of Dictionary of Word Origins by Jordan Almond.
We save the last course of a meal as “dessert” which comes from the French word desservir: to clear the table. The practice was to remove the table cloth to serve the last course. Today we remove the dinner plates to make room for that sweet end to a good meal.
Desserts spelled backward is stressed. Don’t stress out about eating desserts.
No surprise here–dirt is cheap because it’s free. That is, unless you decide to have it delivered from one of the schmancy garden places.
Dog Days of Summer
Those really hot searing days that pop up during summer? The ones where being outside is misery? The Romans blamed those toasty times on the stars–Siriusly. That would be Sirius, the Dog Star. It was thought that Sirius got a bit hotter due to its rising with the sun. Those hot dog days were called cuniculares dies.
I think of Jimmy Cagney when I hear “double-cross.” Actually I think of Bugs Bunny imitating Jimmy Cagney saying “you dirty double-crossing rat.” Then again. Monty Python gets it right as well:
What’s it mean? In prize fighting, if a fighter intentionally lost a fight he “crosses up” both the spectators and those who bet on him. If he wins after the cross up he affects his manager and those who bet on him to lose. The two cross ups make for the “double cross.” Why Jimmy Cagney says it is a bit perplexing, although one could argue he is a bit of a fighter.
Down a Peg
The British Navy had a custom in which the ship’s colors were raised to recognize visiting dignitaries–the higher the colors, the greater the honor. Taking the colors down a peg indicated a decrease in honor.
Dressed to the Nines
Old English is responsible for this one. Someone who was “dressed to the eyne” was dressed “to the eyes” which is basically being dressed “up to the ears” something we just don’t say, even though logically we basically are.
Having dressed up (to the ears) it makes sense that taking off clothes would be “dressing down.” Not so. A butcher preparing beef for market will slice the animal’s carcass. In the same manner, a person who receives a tongue lashing full of cutting remarks is getting a “dressing down.”
One of the most obsequious words going. This word stems from dudde, the Middle English word meaning “to dress.” Later down the road, an Easterner who went West in a fancy outfit discerned an attitude by the Westerners. Basically “dude” is a smash up of “dud” and “attitude.” Somehow that works for the Simpsons.
Tune in next month for more explanations, descriptions, and epiphanies.
The mystery of William Shakespeare’s “lost years” are revealed in the 2015 film Bill.
Be forewarned though, this is merely a presented supposition. A hilarious one at that. Why couldn’t William of Stratford be an aspiring lute player hoping to make it big on London stages? Seems to fit right in there with the other theories of him being a teacher, lawyer, sailor, butcher, baker, candlestick maker. Well, maybe not actually a candlestick maker, more of a candlestick consumer (burning those late night candles writing, writing, writing).
But in Bill, William is not penning plays, he’s tuning up songs. And many of his plays do feature songs, so perhaps he was a frustrated musician. The lute being the forerunner to the guitar suits him as it can be soulful, playful, and even rock n roll in approach. I think he would prefer the Beatles over the Rolling Stones. However, in the movie, Bill is terrible at playing the lute. Horrible, in fact. Good thing he’s got this play he’s been working on, especially since Good Queen Bess is demanding a new one for her courtside entertainment.
This is where the story get going. Bill does have a play. Well, most of one. Other people want it as well for their own nefarious purposes. Intrigue, slapstick, punnery and foolery ensue. Think Monty Python meets Studio C on the skewed History Channel.
Family entertainment at its best and a must for Bardinators. A bonus is the various Star Wars lines that are woven into the dialogue.
[Nicely done, Cricket–you managed to squeeze in your Monthly Movie Musings and your Shakespeare-for-the-23rd post]
Nope. This is no expose on Mick Jagger. We’re looking into semantics today.
Did you know when you are picking up souvenir rocks at the beach you are actually picking up stones? Truly.
Rocks from morguefile
We may only think that “rock” and “stone” are interchangeable. They technically aren’t, yet like most of our language, we throw actuality out the window and go for ease of saying.
Stones by morguefile
Here are the distinguishing facts:
Rock: Usually large, immovable natural material made up of one or more minerals that is hard or soft in composition.
Stone: Most often a harder, smaller, moveable mineral matter.
A rock is comparatively larger.
A stone is comparatively small.
A rock is not usually moved, being it is part of the earth as in The Rock of Gibraltar.
A stone can be picked up as in gemstones.
A rock can be hard or soft in material composition.
A stone is hard.
Now–how does that transfer into everyday expressions?
We say, “He’s solid. He’s a rock of strength. He’s immovable, and can’t be swayed.” And right about here is where the Rock of Gibraltar is bandied about.
Looking over the checklist of facts, it looks pretty good, metaphorically speaking.
Let’s move on…
“She’s got a heart of stone.” This is not a compliment. To be solid as a rock is considered a positive attribute; however, your heart should not be hard and it should be movable. Wait, stones are movable. Wouldn’t that mean that person could change her outlook?
Or doesn’t it follow that a rock solid person would have a heart of stone because the heart is a part of the body and is smaller and can be moved more easily?
Bookmark that thought.
A. We collect rocks along the shoreline to perhaps add them to our rock garden.
B. A diamond is a precious gemstone and set in a ring it’s touted as “quite a rock.” [right for gemstone, wrong for rock]
C. Loud electronic music is considered “rock” and some will enhance the listening experience by being “stoned.” [not sure]
Now that you know the difference, be sure you don’t get caught between a rock and a hard place in your terms.
Yes, I do hope you look inside. Especially if you are a mom, know a mom, have a mom, know someone who will someday become a mom–that covers just about all of it, doesn’t it?
Moms. Busy people. The “M” in “Mom” stands for “multi-tasking.” Let’s see: answer homework questions while checking the meatloaf in the oven after asking the table to be set amid soothing a sibling squabble–this all takes place in the span of heartbeat for many moms. Yup, been there, done that.
This is why I submitted an essay to the Chicken Soup folk when they announced they were putting together a new book about moms and multi-tasking. Like most submissions, I forgot about it as the months rolled by. So–it was quite a pleasant surprise to receive the news my essay “A Little Piece of Quiet” (#10 in the TOC) had been accepted and would be included in the forthcoming book.
This is not my first publishing credit–and yet this one is extra-special since most people recognize the Chicken Soup series. What I especially like is being able to walk into a Barnes and Noble and find the book on the shelf. Even though my story is one of many, I still get that “YAY!” moment seeing my book keeping company with other ready-to-purchase selections.
This is a great mom present and Mother’s Day will be here before you know it. On the other hand, this is a great gift for showing appreciation to any mom anytime of the year.
Although my kiddos are all grown up and out of the house now, I do remember those days when my longing for peace and quiet was turned around when I realized the blessing of having a little piece of quiet.
Hope you pick up the book for the certain mom-person in your life, and I hope you find your way to reading my contribution.
I am discovering something shocking about myself. A habit that I never thought I would succumb to. And one I am not sure I am steeled enough in resolve to remedy this habit. Oh, my, how did it happen. Yes, I will admit it: technology. I’ve grown sloppy in my dependence of that little red underscore telling me I’ve slipped in my spelling. I used to be an excellent speller–pride goeth and trippeth me up. But I got quite cheered up when I came across this ditty by Samuel.
A plan for the improvement of spelling in the English language
By Mark Twain
For example, in Year 1 that useless letter “c” would be dropped to be replased either by “k” or “s”, and likewise “x” would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which “c” would be retained would be the “ch” formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform “w” spelling, so that “which” and “one” would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish “y” replasing it with “i” and iear 4 might fiks the “g/j” anomali wonse and for all.
Generally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeiniing voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez “c”, “y” and “x”—bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez —tu riplais “ch”, “sh”, and “th” rispektivili.
Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.
And there you have it, my students will embrace this plan for sure. I think some of them are on the trial plan already. I wonder how “vacuum,””anoint,””disappearance,” and a few other pesky bugs fair under Sam’s plan?
BookRiot became another 2013 discovery, and I am hooked. How could I resist posts delivered free to my mailbox which concern all things books? I definitely found this one by Rachel Cordasco a saver. It will be incorporated into my AP warm-ups where I have students create micro-précis statements as a ready-set-go for the May exam. Here are some pull-outs from Cardasco’s post:
Posted by Rachel Cordasco from BookRiot
30 One-Sentence Lessons from Literature
1. Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Just make up your mind already, dude.
2. Anything by Stephen Crane: It doesn’t matter what you do- the Universe still thinks you’re super lame.
3. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: You can never read too many novels…oh wait, maybe you can…
4. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser: Cluelessness is not something you want to broadcast when you’re a young woman in strange new city, for you’ll just become a skeevy-guy magnet.
5. Dracula by Bram Stoker: If you have a choice between Count Dracula’s castle and the Holiday Inn, stay at the Holiday Inn.
6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: If you absolutely must create a freakish monster thing, be sure to make a girlfriend for it, cause if you don’t, he’ll be really, really mad.
7. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: Sucks to be a bug.
8. Macbeth by William Shakespeare: You should treat your guests well by, you know, not murdering them in their beds.
9. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: When you travel around in a boat with a friend, away from human civilization, when you do run in to people you realize just how crazy they all are.
10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: When it comes down to choosing between the hot guy who treats you like crap and the not-as- hot guy who treats you like a queen, it’s really not a choice at all.
11. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: Don’t frighten the natives.
12. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells: When the freaky alien things come swooping down on Earth and shooting lasers or whatever at everyone, run as fast as you can cause those aliens are mean.
13. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Yeah, yeah, money can’t buy happiness- check.
14. Anything by e. e. cummings:
15. King Lear by William Shakespeare: Don’t bother arguing with your parents. Or your children. Just don’t bother.
My own contributions:
Beowulfby John Gardner: growing up in a cave with a fiendish mother definitely changes your perspective
Daisy Miller by Henry James: It’s true, when in Rome, or at least in Italy, as a single American girl, who should do as the Romans–Italians do–then again, maybe not.
Room with aViewby E.M. Forester: what is about Italy and young women anyway?
“The Lovesong of Alfred J. Prufrock” T.S. Eliot: What if, What if, What if Hamlet hadn’t been your poster boy of decision-making?
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydeby Robert Louis Stevenson: getting in touch with your inner feelings definitely deserves a second thought
This guy is famous for his own one-liners (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I learned from a blogger that Saturday February 9th is National Library Appreciation Day. Very much excited about this new and most needed celebration I quickly Googled the event only to discover it is a UK holiday–not a USA one. At least not yet.
However, while researching I happened upon some incredibly funny cartoons about libraries. Hope you chuckle, giggle, laugh, and enjoy as much as I did.