Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Foot in mouth ~ in this day in age?

I try not to put my foot in my mouth, not that I could literally do such a thing at my age.  I'm no longer as agile as this baby.  To put one's foot in one's mouth means to say something foolish, embarrassing, or tactless:  "Charlotte put her foot in her mouth when she called him by her first husband's name."  Read this article (where I found the photo) for what to say and do when you have put your foot in your mouth.

The basis for writing this post about words was something garbled on Facebook about "this day in age."  Read it carefully:  "day in age."  What does that even mean?  It should be "this day and age."  Grammarly says:
Simply put, “in this day and age” means “now, at the present time.”  An age is a period of time, such as the Middle Ages, the Axial Age, or the Dark Ages.  While those times are all in the past, “this day and age” refers to the current time — “this day.”  Remember, a day is not necessarily a 24-hour period of time.
Obviously, the person on Facebook heard "in" rather than "and" in the phrase.  And remember, we aren't talking about my age (78) or your age.  We're talking about NOW.  Right now.  This period of time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Chanukah Dinner ~ an update

Here's a photo of the two friends (Gail and Sandy) sitting across the table from me at the Chanukah Dinner last night. The dining room was indeed packed, and the six of us at my table were delighted with all of it, from the latkes with applesauce before the main meal to the not-so-miniature jelly donuts at the end.  Thanks, Crown Center!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Hannukah and Christmas

This evening, the Crown Center is providing a Hannukah dinner.  I have no idea how many signed up to eat tonight, but I'm one of them.  It's also open to the community, so I expect we'll have a large crowd.  I plan to get down there early, so I can sit with friends.  Here's the menu:
  • Apricot Chicken
  • Latkes
  • Green Beans
  • Tzimmes
  • Miniature Jelly Donuts
I came across the brilliant design above on Facebook, showing Merry Christmas with a star on top of a tree and ― when the design is flipped ― Happy Hannukah with the lighted candles for the eight days.  What about that ninth candle in the middle?
During Hannukah, on each of the eight nights, a candle is lit in a special menorah (candelabra) called a "hanukkiyah."  There is a special ninth candle called the "shammash" or servant candle, which is used to light the other candles.
NOTE:  I've tried to be consistent, using "Hannukah" in this blog post because that's what's in the illustration at the top.  The Crown Center calls tonight's meal a "Chanukah Dinner."  When I looked up information about the nine candles, it said "Hanukkah."  There are many spellings, but it's all about the Jewish holiday which began this year "in the evening of Sunday, December 2 and ends in the evening of Monday, December 10."  Learn more from Wikipedia, which shows this Hanuka Memorah by Gil Dekel, 2014.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Creative Christmas trees

Donna made a tree in the Coloring Together group.

Here's her door open to the festive lights inside,
including her small tree on the divider.

Marie's tree is on a wall inside her apartment.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Meditating on the limits of human language

A Woman's Meditation
by Ruth F. Brin

When men were children, they thought of God as a father;
When men were slaves, they thought of God as a master;
When men were subjects, they thought of God as a king.
But I am a woman, not a slave, not a subject,
not a child who longs for God as father or mother.

I might imagine God as teacher or friend, but those images,
like king, master, father or mother, are too small for me now.

God is the force of motion and light in the universe;
God is the strength of life on our planet;
God is the power moving us to do good;
God is the source of love springing up in us.
God is far beyond what we can comprehend.

That's from the 1986 book Harvest: Collected Poems and Prayers by Ruth F. Brin (1921-2009).  It's the second poem in the book (p. 4), following "God of Rain and Wind" (p. 3), in which are these lines:
I pray to You for myself, for well I know
That when a person dies a world is destroyed.
In the third (p. 5) of the five poems Amazon allowed me read of this book, I found these lines to ponder:
Help us through study and thought and meditation
To find the direction we are to travel,
With the same sure sense You have given the flying birds.
I first read the original poem (at the top) today, a week after Wilda Gafney shared it in her blog post Majesty, Mercy, and Mystery.  I found it again here, shared with the permission of the estate of Ruth F. Brin, z"l.  What does that z"l mean?  Why is it there?  A search gave me an answer:
It's the abbreviation of the common honorific "of blessed memory."  The Hebrew transliteration is "zikhrono livrakha" (m.) / "zikhronah livrakha" (f.).  In Hebrew that would be (f.) זיכרונה לברכה‬ \ (m.) זיכרונו לברכה.  It is often abbreviated in English as either OBM or z"l.  The Hebrew abbreviation is ז״ל‬.
Ah, yes, I've heard my Jewish friends say "of blessed memory" when mentioning someone who had died.  Back to Ruth Brin's poetry.  I am intrigued and have been meditating on these words, these concepts, these thoughts of a poet.  From the back of the book:
"Today it is difficult to find a Reform, Conservative, or Reconstructionist prayer book or anthology that does not include her writings."
Looking through the copy of the Jewish prayer book I got at the JCC book fair in 2015, I don't know how I'd ever determine which prayers had been written by any specific person.  The focus is on God, not which person composed each prayer.

To continue meditating, go read Wil Gafney's Majesty, Mercy, and Mystery.  By the way, I found someone online selling a used copy of Harvest (which seems to be out of print) and ordered it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday Word ~ plethora

Plethora = a large or excessive amount of (something).

Synonyms include  excess, overabundance, superabundance, surplus, glut, superfluity, surfeit, profusion; too many, too much, enough and to spare.  Informally, you could use the phrase "more than I can shake a stick at."

I don't know the exact source of this 2014 cartoon by Scott Kilburn (whose name is at the bottom left), but I've run across it several times on the internet.  I love that the character Nichols defines the word while acknowledging the boss.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Bulletin board volunteers

Click to enlarge the photos
Have you ever thought about who does the bulletin boards you see around you?  I live in a ten-story building (attached on the ground floor to an eight-story building, but that's another story).  Each floor has a bulletin board beside the elevators, and volunteers change them periodically.  I change the one on my floor once a month, though occasionally I add or exchange things.  Notices from the office are also put up as needed, telling us about sign-ups and inspections and pest control.  The photo above shows what's on our floor this morning.

Top center is the December "happiness" calendar, which you can read in my earlier post.  At top right is a list of residents on our floor.  The rest of the board is filled with puns; if you groan about puns, you'd better quit reading right now.

At top left is one I left from late November because so many people have told me they love it.  Under a photo of Romaine lettuce are these words:  "The Romaine empire has fallen.  Caesar is dead.  Lettuce pray."  You know, of course, that romaine lettuce was pulled from grocery shelves just before Thanksgiving.  Across the bottom of the bulletin board are three more punny pictures:
  • Over a sleeping dog:  "iTired."  Below the dog:  "There's a nap for that."
  • Subway sign:  "Lettuce meat olive your eggspectations."
  • A family of bullets, Mom wearing an apron with two little bullets behind her:  "What happened to you?"  A flattened bullet with a briefcase:  "I got fired."
I didn't start out with puns, but when I posted "Tearable Puns" a few months ago, people tore them off and shared the humor with others.  They hadn't had such fun since April 2017 when I featured Earth Day and said "Take One" with word puzzles along the bottom of the board.