Thursday, December 31, 2020

Imagine celebrating tonight

Drenda and Donna were celebrating some other New Year's Eve, since this kind of partying is impossible this year.  So let's just smile with them and imagine sitting across the table as the new year arrives tonight.

Ponder this
My friend's husband was out shopping yesterday and found this at the store.  Candy for Valentine's Day is already on the shelves.  Really?  Are you kidding me?  Noooo, it's still December, people!

Worse, ponder this tonight

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

You made me smile ~ thank you

On this penultimate day of a difficult year, I felt I should thank all of you who made me smile this year.  You are one of them, so here's a big


for being you.  Special thanks for smiles from these family members during the holidays:  Getting that "Peace on Earth" card with a peace dove on it (above) from Sandra made me smile.

Getting this Christmas card on Monday from Barbara made me smile, once the US Postal Service began to catch up with their overload of holiday mail and got it delivered.

Getting the toilet paper Christmas tree from Brandy that I shared with you on Friday made me smile.

Getting a card from Whitney's family in the mail addressed only to "Grandma Bonnie" (without my last name) actually made me laugh out loud.  I love all of you, including family that I didn't mention in this post, and I enjoyed ALL the cards people sent me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(Did you notice I'm already practicing my focus words for 2021?  The first two are Gratitude and Love.)

Wednesday Words ~ sobriquet and multivalent

"Euphemisms and nicknames ... resolve, in almost every case, to cliché."  I love words.  This morning, the first article I read was about words:  "I Can't Stand These Words Anymore" by David L. Ulin in The Atlantic.  The words illustrated above are among the ones he can't stand.  And here are a couple of excellent words I found for us to think about, using quotes from Ulin's article.  He began this way:
"Recently, I noticed a headline in The New York Times that featured the word tasked.  This is among my least favorite rhetorical strategies — the verbing of the noun.  Contemporary American English is rife with such constructions:  to journal, to parent, to impact, to effect.  I wince a little every time I come across one."
Let's think about a couple of the words I noticed in his article.

sobriquet / sow·bruh·kei / noun = descriptive name or epithet.  Synonyms:  alias, byname, cognomen, epithet, handle, moniker, nickname, surname.  Example:  "... the sobriquets attached to the city where I live, Los Angeles.  La La Land, Tinseltown, Lotus-land, El Lay."

multivalent / mul·ti·vā·lent /ˌməltēˈvālənt,ˌməlˌtīˈvālənt / adjective = having or susceptible of many applications, interpretations, meanings, or values.  Example:  "Language has limits, but it is rich and multivalent nevertheless, which is to say that it has power."

Now go read those words in context.  That's the best way to learn new words.  By the way, "SRIBE" in the words at the top is a deliberate typo for "scribe" in an illustration.  You can see the words as a GIF being corrected when you take a look at Ulin's article.  Okay, one more definition, of the word I used here, a word that is not in the article:
GIF is an acronym for "Graphics Interchange Format."  It's a short, animated picture, without sound.  GIFs are often used as memes, to portray an emotion or a reaction.  How is the word pronounced?  The inventor of the GIF format, Steve Wilhite of CompuServe, prefers "Jif" for a very strange reason.  This article explains why the word should be pronounced "GIF" like the word "GIFT" without the "T."  Enjoy this GIF of Newton's cradle.
By the way, today is the penultimate day of a difficult year, as Jan Edmiston wrote on her blog.  Do I need to define "penultimate" for us?
pe·nul·ti·mate / pəˈnəltəmət / adjective = last but one in a series of things; second last.  Example:  "Today is the penultimate day of a difficult year."

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Reading with tea and cats ~ or imagination

The only time I remember my legs being this short, I was at church on a Sunday morning, bored to tears by the proceedings, which seemed to be droning on and on and on.  I entertained myself by swinging my feet — which activity, I soon discovered, was reflected in the polished wood of the pew in front of me.  I was fascinated by the fact that my legs appeared to be walking.  There I was, stuck in a boring situation with my mother sitting to my right, others to my left, and no way of escape except through my own inventiveness.  So I "walked away" from my boredom into my own mental adventure.

The woman in this illustration has a book.  And cats (notice the second tail under the chair).  She has snack crackers and a cup of tea and, best of all, she has a book to get lost in.  Maybe my need to always have a book with me traces back to that day in church when I realized I had no way of getting lost in a story without dreaming one up myself.

TWOsday repeat

Here's the kicker:  Use your imagination for another one, since today is TWOsday.  Today, Facebook showed me a memory from four years ago — and this was it.  I had set up everything above, including the exact title of this post, before it occurred to me that maybe I had also posted it here as well as on Facebook.  Yep, I did.  And it is EXACTLY the same, from the title to the picture to the words I used here and on Facebook.  Take a look.  Since nobody commented, maybe none of you saw this on my blog, so I'll repeat what I've already posted.

Tuesday Teasers ~ Q&A style

Question #1:  Noah asked the two owls, cramped in their little compartment, "Why don't we hear any sound from you?"  What was their palindromic retort?  (Gen.7:9)
Answer:  "Too hot to hoot."

Question #2:  On which day of the week were the twins, Esau and Jacob, born?
Answer:  On two's-day.

Question #3:  Why is a trip to Egypt only for the very old?  (Exodus 7:17)
Answer:  It is a see-Nile experience.

Quotes are from pages 42, 72, and 92 of Encyclopedia of Biblical Humor by Rabbi Maurice Lyons, 1990, humor

One more laugh:
  There's a typo on the cover.  The rabbi's calligraphy wasn't perfect, so some e's look like a's.  In the Prologue he wrote:
"Zeyde (never "Grandpa"), how about composing a Bible riddle-book and general, humorous observations of the Bible?"
The cover says "Zeyda Moshe," but Zeyda means Grandma.  The two words together say "Grandma Moses."  But she's an American folk artist who has absolutely nothing to do with this book.  Maurice Lyons was a rabbi in St. Louis.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

You can fight fire with fire

National Geographic has an article on fighting fire with fire the way the indigenous tribes had done it, by controlled means.  That may be key to putting a stop to California's wildfires.  The tribes have fire-lighting brigades to carefully set fires in order to manage the forest as their ancestors did.  Did you notice they are fire lighters rather than fighters?
"Fire was a tool to be used for the common good rather than a disease to be eliminated" (National Geographic).
Last year, the Guardian had a similar article on controlled burning the way indigenous people did.  These two articles explain the many reasons for burning the undergrowth.

Sunday in the Park, 2020

With apologies to Georges Seurat, who painted "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte" in 1884, when the people weren't socially isolating themselves to avoid spreading the Coronavirus.

It was a very different world, even nine months ago.  We look forward to seeing that world again some sunny day.  In the meantime, here's a repeat of a coloring page I shared on the blog back in August, so you'll have something to do while staying home, if you are able.

Share with us in the comments some of the things you feel have been left out of YOUR daily life, changes brought on by this pandemic.  In my case, the first thing that came to mind was not getting to eat with my friends in the dining room or Café.  What else?  Not being able to go on shopping trips on the Crown Center bus — or exercise together in our fitness center — or color with friends in the art center.  I miss walking a block to the grocery store to do my own shopping, now that I've been paying Instacart to shop for me.  And I have learned what it's like to be a pet, shut up within four walls unless you can convince your "owner" to take you for a walk, hoping to see a friendly person who'll pet you.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Another Caturday, another door

It's Caturday again, and here's Clawdia at the door of another of her friends.  Last week, she waited hopefully at a different door on our floor, only to be disappointed.  She waited at this door without any luck, too.  Yesterday, as a special Christmas treat to Clawdia, we went for a walk early enough that her friends were still awake, and I texted Sharon we were "walking."  When Sharon opened her door, Clawdia was startled and so surprised that she started running home until I called after her, "It's Sharon!"  Clawdia stopped, turned to look at Sharon, and hurried back down the hall to be petted.  If you ask Clawdia, Christmas this year turned out to be a very special day, indeed.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas

May your Christmas day be merry and bright.
Charlie Brown and Snoopy are ever-so-much better
than the 2020 Christmas tree I posted earlier.

Christmas 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

With love and thanks to my granddaughter Brandy
who sent me this 2020 toilet paper Christmas tree!

Beginning ~ with nary a smile

"Don't you hate it when everybody talks about the joy of the Lord — but nobody smiles?  Me, too."
Bible Knock Knocks and Other Fun Stuff ~ by Mary Lou Carney, illustrated by Charlie Cox, 1988, humor
This little book is a collection of jokes, riddles, puns, and limericks for juveniles, focusing on biblical characters and events.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click the blue link for more book beginnings.

Update:  After setting this to post at midnight, I sat down and read the whole book in an hour or so.  It's not particularly good, so I rated it as average.  I don't recommend it to you, so don't waste your time.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thoughts after reading

The Christmas Shop ~ by Nancy Naigle, 2018, fiction (North Carolina), 9/10
"It was Christmas Eve morning" (p. 315).
I read those lines near the end of the book, realizing that this morning really happened to be Christmas Eve morning.
"He squinched his eyes" (p. 302).
I have used the word plenty of times, but I don't remember ever seeing "squinched" in print.  In the book, the main characters were putting lights on a Christmas tree.  He told her to squint (a related word) while looking at the lights, so they would notice any gaping places that needed a light or two.  So what does the word mean?

Word of the Day
squinch / skwin(t)SH / verb (North American) = tense up the muscles of (one's eyes or face); narrow one's eyes so as to be almost closed.  Example:  "He suggested she squinch her eyes while looking at the Christmas tree lights."
Plague Ship ~ by Frank G. Slaughter, 1976, fiction (Peru), 9.5/10
"The heart sounds, too, although a little distant, were clear except for a murmur over the area of the mitral valve that often went with chronic rheumatic heart disease" (pp. 38-39).
Charlotte, an elementary school friend of mine, had rheumatic fever.  I thought they said "romantic fever."  Here's the definition I found online:
"Rheumatic fever is a disease that can affect the heart, joints, brain, and skin.  Rheumatic fever can develop if strep throat and scarlet fever infections are not treated properly.  Early diagnosis of these infections and treatment with antibiotics are key to preventing rheumatic fever."
Charlotte had poor health after that illness.  As an adult, I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.  Reading this book makes me wonder what caused my medical problem.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Focus for 2021

I found this on Facebook last night and posted it there.  After finding her four words, one of my friends commented:  "This is going to be an interesting year!"  Here are the four words I saw first:

  1. Gratitude
  2. Love
  3. Health
  4. Self-care

I wonder how it will play out, if I focus on these four words in 2021.  First, I'll focus on gratitude.  Yes, I am grateful for many things, just like the person who drew up this image:

What about love?  One definition of love is "to hold dear or cherish" something.  I could make a list of everything I hold dear and ponder it.  My list would, of course, include the people I love and cherish.

Paying attention to my health is especially important during this year's pandemic, which goes right along with the whole idea of self-care.  One thing I could do is take another look at the Self-care September calendar I posted on this blog.  The calendar shows a whole month's worth of ways to care for myself, including this:
"Forgive yourself when things go wrong.  We all make mistakes."
Your turn

What are the first four words you can see in the chart?  You should be able to enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Clawdia on Caturday

Last night, when I took Clawdia on a walk to the other end of our hall and back, she stopped at this door.  She knows where her friends live.
  • She nearly always leans her head down to sniff or listen under Sharon's door to determine whether she's home or not.
  • She always enjoyed getting invited into Gail's apartment to look around and explore while Gail and I talked.
  • And she used to insist that I knock on Tiny's door, until she finally figured out that Tiny no longer lives in the apartment just a few steps from our own door.
I sent this photo, saying, "Clawdia misses visiting you."  Unfortunately, her caregiver is allergic to cats, so we probably couldn't go inside her apartment to visit, even if we didn't have this pandemic lockdown with social distancing.
Another friend named Sharon emailed me a musical Christmas card of cats on a player piano.  I love the lively tune and the antics of the cats.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Beginning ~ with a letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

It's me, Chrissy, again.  I'm still being good.  I'm going to have a Christmas tree in my room.  You can put my presents there so I don't have to wait until Daddy wakes up Christmas morning.  He sleeps way too late.  Be careful on the stairs.

The Christmas Shop ~ by Nancy Naigle, 2018, fiction (North Carolina)
Angela Carson wants nothing more than to be the third-generation to run her family’s holiday store, Heart of Christmas, successfully.  They’ve weathered over sixty tourist seasons, major hurricanes, and urban sprawl, in their old decommissioned lighthouse.  But the national chain that set up shop in their small North Carolina town of Pleasant Sands may be more than Heart of Christmas can survive.  Encouraged by her niece to ask Santa for help through the Dear Santa app, Angela gives in and lets the words fly in a way that, if Santa were real, would no doubt land her on the naughty list.  What’s the harm when it’s just a computer-generated response?

Geoff Paisley has been at his mother’s side running the mega-chain Christmas Galore for the last ten years.  When his mother falls ill, Geoff promises to answer the Dear Santa letters in her stead.  Soon he realizes the woman he’s been corresponding with on Dear Santa is Angela.  How could the woman that grates his every last nerve in person have intrigued him so deeply through those letters?  When Geoff reveals that he’s her Dear Santa, will Angela be able to set aside their very public feud to embrace the magic of the holiday and possibly find true love?
Dear Santa is billed as a "heartwarming Christmas story about finding your passion for life and love."  The book I'm reading now is a heavy one about plague — yes, like the one we're living through.  I'm not sorry I'm reading it, but this one is Christmassy, light-hearted, a beach read (literally, since the main character's Christmas store is in an old lighthouse), and fits this jolly season a bit better than a book about a plague in Peru.  So I bought it for my Kindle a few minutes ago.  The two books are so different that I think even if I alternate reading them, I wouldn't confuse the characters in the least.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click the blue link for more book beginnings.

Beginning ~ along the northern coast of Peru

The local plane of the Compañía del Aviación Faucett had been field-hopping up the northern coast of Peru from Lima during the morning, nearly always in sight of the Pacific Ocean stretching endlessly to the west.  To the east the heights of the Andean Cordillera sharply defined the coastal plain, now quite close to it and again many miles away.

Plague Ship
~ by Frank G. Slaughter, 1976, fiction (Peru)
High in the Andes Mountains of Peru an archaeologist stumbles upon an ancient tomb, unwittingly releasing the germs from a civilization doomed by a plague over 5,000 years ago.  Dr. Grant Reed and the dedicated crew of the international hospital ship Mercy, set about the task of quarantining the first victims of a hideous plague.  Set adrift by frightened Peruvians, the aging and crippled ship faces a hurricane, mutinous patients, and even a pair of great white sharks, grisly mascots of a ship of death.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click the blue link for more book beginnings.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Feline Guide to Feeling Fine

"Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life.
Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me
make my dreams come true." — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wear Holiday Socks Day

Do you have holiday socks?  National (International) Wear Holiday Socks Day is an online event today.  I managed to lie on my back with a foot up in the air to get a photo of my green socks with red cardinals on them.  Can you see they are wearing red Santa hats and green scarves around their necks?  Show me — or tell me about — your holiday socks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Peace on earth ~ two songs

Ring bells at noon on Christmas Day to tell the world:
"Peace on earth, good will to men" (and women).
I found this version on YouTube, sung by Bing Crosby.

Sing along with this 2-minute hymn on YouTube that is also
found in the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal on page 431:
"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

Four of my six great-grandchildren share the same birthday

Shelby, age 7, was born 12-13-13.  Jaxon, age 10. was born 12-13-10.

Twins Jonathan and Micah, age 6, were born 12-13-14.

Jaxon and Shelby sang at church Sunday (12-13-20).

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Ocho Kandelikas ~ Eight Little Candles

"Ocho Kandelikas," which literally means "Eight Little Candles" in the Ladino language, is a Sephardic Jewish song that celebrates the holiday of Hanukkah.  It was written in 1983 by the Jewish-American composer Flory Jagoda, shown in this photo.  She has recorded it many times, but this is the best version I've found.  It's only two minutes long, so listen to it on YouTube at the bottom of this page.

#1:  Hanukah linda sta aki
Ocho kandelas para mi
Hanukah linda sta aki
Ocho kandelas para mi, oh...

Chorus:  Una kandelika, dos kandelikas
Tres kandelikas, kuatro kandelikas
Sintyu kandelikas, sej kandelikas
Siete kandelikas, ocho kandelas para mi

#2:  Muchas fiestas vo fazer
Kon alegria i plazer
Muchas fiestas vo fazeri
Kon alegria i plazer, oh...

Chorus:  Una kandelika, dos kandelikas
Tres kandelikas, kuatro kandelikas
Sintyu kandelikas, sej kandelikas
Siete kandelikas, ocho kandelas para mi

#3:  Los pastelikos vo kumer
Kon almendrikas i la myel
Los pastelikos vo kumer
Kon almendrikas i la myel, oh...

Chorus:  Una kandelika, dos kandelikas
Tres kandelikas, kuatro kandelikas
Sintyu kandelikas, sej kandelikas
Siete kandelikas, ocho kandelas para mi
#1:  It's here, beautiful Hanukkah, eight little candles for me,
It's here, beautiful Hanukkah, eight little candles for me, oh...
#2:  I'll throw plenty of parties, full of joy and pleasure,
I'll throw plenty of parties, full of joy and pleasure, oh...
#3:  I'll eat little pastries, with almonds and honey,
I'll eat little pastries, with almonds and honey, oh...
One little candle, two little candles, Three little candles, four little candles, Five little candles, six little candles, Seven little candles, eight little candles for me.
The fourth day of Hanukkah begins at sunset this evening, so use the helper candle to light the fourth candle on the menorah.  The sun sets today at 4:40 p.m. in St. Louis, Missouri.