Friday, October 29, 2010

Odds and Ends and Why are Ends Odd?

I love words. I love the sound, the imagery, and the complexity of them. I love language. Not always the diva of communication, however, but I try. I've been known, in the midst of a conversational exchange to ask, "Where do you suppose that word came from?" This tends to make all but my close friends shy away as if I'm harboring some sort of communicable disease.

However, words are fun. I've just bought the entire Rosetta Stone program for German and am valiantly slogging through it. I've lost a great deal of my vocabulary over the years (one of the major problems of living in a country that parades English as the ONLY LANGUAGE WORTH KNOWING OR SPEAKING. Ahem...

When I was a child, Danish and German were spoken by the adults around me. I listened and learned the speech patterns, but children were spoken to in English. So now I am determined to reclaim the language I heard but couldn't use as I was growing up. It's tougher now but I've got a goal. Next year we're going to Europe (my first time) and I'm determined to have my German (Deutsch) up and running at top speed. Working on it every day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Toilet Seat

No, this isn't about the eternal male/female war over leaving the seat up or putting it down. This is about my major mechanical victory. This morning I uninstalled the old toilet seat in my bathroom and installed a brand new one. The entire job only took me half an hour and I am basking in the glow of my mechanical achievement.

If you are saying, "So what?" and "Half an hour? That's a five minute job." - you don't understand. I am not mechanically inclined. At all. My husband tells me I am mechanically absent. I don't understand how things work. He's right in some regards. I can do many things. Some things I do very well:

1. I am an excellent food preserver.
2. I sew very well.
3. I quilt like a pro.
4. I am one of the best gardeners of vegetables you will ever find.
5. I speak a bunch of languages.
6. I earned a Ph.D. at the age of 55 just because I wanted to.
7. I ....

Okay, running out of Major Accomplishments here. The point is, we're all good at some things, average at many others, and totally inept at a whole lot of the rest of the stuff there is to know and do in the world.

What's the lesson here? Humility for one. Admiration for people who have a skill and use it for the good of others.

Question du Jour: What's your greatest skill? What's the area of your life where you're not just challenged, but buffaloed?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

I love the name of this award: Honest Scrap. It brings to mind all sorts of questions - Are there dishonest scraps? What is an honest scrap? Is there an organization of honest (or dishonest) scrappers? Regardless, it sounds feisty and that works for me. Thanks to my good blogging friend Nancy R. Williams who blogs honestly scrappy enough at: for bestowing the honors upon me.

I'm going to do this in stages. Today, as per the requirements, here are 10 things about me you may not know.

1. My illustrious ancestor, John Boyle O'Reilly, (the Irish poet, patriot, and orator) was on the last convict ship to Australia. He chose transport over hanging. Smart lad.
2. I love strawberry ice cream sodas.
3. I attended more grammar schools than there are grades in those things.
4. I hate my hair.
5. I still have my best friend from the 4th grade.
6. Been married to the same guy for over 40 years. He's a keeper.
7. I respect my adult children. They've turned out well and do me proud.
8. I cannot add a simple sum of numbers without making stupid mistakes. Math and I are sworn, eternal enemies.
9. I can get by in 4 languages. Especially if I use gestures and intense facial expressions.
10. I believe that faith is the strongest ally we have in this world.

For the next part of this award, I must inflict this duty on 7 other fellow and fellowette bloggers. That will happen Thursday. Beware, friends.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dated Books and Film

Yesterday's post took one of those bends in the road and got me to thinking about what dates books and movies. It's a problem I'm having right now with my work in progress. My characters have cell phones. They don't play a huge role, but difficulty in communicating does.

I don't have an iPhone, Blackberry, or anything of that nature myself, and I'm not sure exactly what these devices are capable of - except they seem to be capable of everything except molecular transport. I thought my wip was set in modern times, as in right now, but now I'm wondering. Do I need to begin with stating the date: 1990 or something of that sort? Seems like a cop out.

With technology moving so quickly now, things seem to be outdated the minute they're on the market. You can't wait for the technology to slow down so we mere mortals can catch up. So you write. When the book is finished and published, it's going to be dated.

Questions du Jour: Is that a bad thing? To have your work dated? If so, what's the solution?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Baby and the Bathwater

Traditionally published magazines and newspapers struggle to remain solvent in this new digital age. You'd have to be oblivious not to notice their dwindling numbers, when you're browsing the newstands in Barnes and Noble or Borders. Many of them are going online and that's convenient and inexpensive, but it's a loss for those of us who love the printed page.

Last week I read an interview, online of course, where the interviewee whose name escapes me, cheerfully predicted that traditionally published books will disappear within five years. It seems that there's a stampede on to embrace the new and erase the old.

Many years ago on an old Star Trek episode, Captain James T. Kirk was guiding the Enterprise through its weekly encounter with mayhem and evil. Bones was beside himself, as usual, trying to find the elusive cure for the deadly outbreak that was consuming the crew and several small planetoids. Nowhere in the vast stores of the ships computer systems that held the intelligence of the universe, was the answer to be found. So McCoy traveled to a musty library to search the tomes of the past. And indeed it was in a book that he found the answer.

Science fiction may become science fact. In this case, as with many instruments and technologies on the old Star Trek series, we're seeing life imitate art. Well, it may not have been art, but it sure was a fun series. There are lessons here, I believe. We'll need to read them. Perhaps in a book in a musty library somewhere on a distant planet.

And now, judging by my Dick Tracy wrist radio/television, I must be off to see what others are blogging about today.

Question du Jour: What marvels of the present can you trace to a past tv series?