Rare Words and Odd Birds

A Word to Not Remember

This morning when I saw the e-mail from Merriam-Webster Dictionary reposing in my Inbox — M-W’s Word of the Day: objurgation — I thought this might be a great word to learn. Maybe even write a post on. Apparently even the great Anne Bronte used this word in one of her novels.

She was British, mind you. I looked up objurgation in my Canadian Oxford Dictionary and didn’t find it. Which means few people one in Canada know it. So, I ask you, why should I? In some ways I’m all for going with the flow. The last thing I want to do is obfuscate (confuse) my listeners with unfamiliar words.

To whom would I speak this new word if no one I know knows it? According to M-W it means a harsh rebuke. If truth be told I may have even done such a thing at some point in life without ever knowing what to call it. I’ve been objurgated myself a time or two. (Yes, it’s also a verb.) You can make objurgatory remarks. (American politicians do this a lot during electioneering. The Press love it.)

I’d like to keep this word in mind in case it would ever come in handy — except that my mind doesn’t “keep” so well anymore. So much I try to cram into my mind doesn’t abide there, but ends up like the stuffing those poor sisters used to fill their Thanksgiving turkey.

A Very Odd Bird Indeed

They sat the raw turkey on the counter ready for its stuffing, a big bowl of which had already been prepared. One sister shoved the seasoned stuffing in, but, though she thought she had made lots, the cavity wasn’t full.

“This isn’t quite enough,” she squealed to her two sisters. “Quick! Make some more.”

The other two threw more bread crumbs, onions, and seasonings into a pan and stirred it up with butter and water to moisten. “Here,” one of them said, handing her the bowl. She grabbed it and stuffed in more, but it still wasn’t enough.

“This turkey must have had an enormous set of innards,” she grumbled. “It still isn’t enough.”

One of her sisters walked around to the other side of the counter. “No wonder,” she said. “See what’s happening.” They hurried around and groaned as they saw dressing poking through the neck hole, and a pile on the floor.

Word Press Advertising

Now on to my newest discovery while exploring at Word Press. A few days ago when I clicked Linda’s Writing Blog to read her latest post, at the bottom of the page I saw side-by-side ads for two other blogs. I saw this again today when I went to read the latest post on Faith Rising.

Anyway, when I clicked back on it later the post was as usual, with room for comment at the end and no blog ads underneath. Interesting. Have any of you other readers seen this?

My husband and I were debating whether bloggers pay for this type of ad. Have you seen any offers for purchasing this kind of ad? The one ad I checked, from Michelle Malone, was a .org blog. Maybe that makes a difference?

The article she posted was interesting, as was this one on prayer. I thought it would make an interesting devotional to read on a Sunday morning, if you’re interested.

Pancake

Today’s Word Press Daily prompt, Missing, reminds me of this story about the missing ingredients in the cake Allen — my birther father — tried to bake one day. (“Mom” was actually my aunt.)

Christine's Reflections

My response to today’s prokitchen-74243_640mpt is a story my Mom told me about when she and her brother Allen were still school children. Grandma, a widow at that time, must have been away housekeeping for someone when Allen got a craving to eat cake.

One day she’d had been later home from school than Allen for some reason, and he came running down the road to meet her. “Myrt,” he announced, “I baked us a cake.”

“You did!” Her mouth was already watering at the thought. “Oh, that was really good of you.”

“Yeah, but, umm…..it looks funny. And it doesn’t taste very good.”

“Oh? Did you remember the flour?”

“Yes.”

“You didn’t forget the baking powder, did you?”

“No.”

“Did you remember to add the sugar and the eggs?”

“The recipe didn’t call for any sugar.”

“What? It didn’t call for sugar? What kind of a cake was…

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Happy Family Meals

I woke up early this morning and thought of our US friends, for whom the Thanksgiving holiday is over. I came across this lighthearted poem by Edgar Guess and thought I should post it for those moms who are busy cleaning up and washing tablecloths after the family feast.

Table-Cloths

Some people, when they sit to eat,
prefer to see the table neat.
They want the linen spotless white,
the glasses dazzling in the light,
the silverware in trim array.
But as for me, I often say,
“Give me glad childhood’s tablecloth
well stained with jelly, milk and broth.

Not long in peace could I abide
in houses cold with pomp and pride
or dwell where dignity commands
precision’s care from little hands.
I much prefer the happier place
illumined by a smiling face—
the dining room where soon, I know,
a glass of milk will over go.

Be mine the room with laughter filled
where no one frets o’er what is spilled.
For what are tablecloths that they
should drive all merriment away?
And why think accidents a crime,
especially at dinner-time?
They gather sorrow for their pains
who make too much of jelly stains.

I should not like to always dine
where silverware and glasses shine
and linen white outlasts the meal—
too sad and lonely should I feel.
In tablecloths I take no pride;
I want the children at my side.
My joy is in those splotches red
when jelly dances from the bread.

.
From his book Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

A Saucy Post

I had to look up today’s Word Press prompt word: vegetal, since it wasn’t formerly registered in my memory banks. Now I’ve deposited it, but my memory banks aren’t what they used to be.

Merriam-Webster gives the first meaning as vegetable and the second as vegetative. Well then I had to look up vegetative, which means of, or pertaining to, plants. No surprise there. So vegetable is the noun, vegetal and vegetative are the adjective form. Handy to know.

farmers-market-vegs

Since I’ve eaten vegetables all my life, I could say I have a partially vegetal diet. At our house we eat pasta with a vegetal sauce. Oh, wait a minute! Tomatoes are technically classed as a fruit so tomato sauce wouldn’t be vegetal in the true sense, would it? Would onions and garlic redeem it? What about mushrooms?

I’ll have to clarify my original statement. At our house we eat pasta with a fruit & vegetal sauce with fungi added at times. At this rate we might as well throw in the ground beef, too.

It would be perfectly correct usage to write, “All attempts to get our dog to accept a vegetal diet have met with failure. Since he totally rejects soy substitutes, he gets the T-bone steaks and sirloin tip roasts while we consume a healthy, planet-saving diet of legumes and vegetables.”

Correct — but not the best use for those juicy steaks and roasts I’m rather fond of myself. Which reminds me of a story…

I read an account once of a young NY couple all gung-ho on vegan food who tried to persuade their new pup on the matter. The pup just didn’t thrive so they took him to a vet, who soon determined the problem. He explained to the pair that dogs are built to be carnivorous creatures; their digestive system is naturally designed to handle a meat diet.

Some time later he saw this couple in a restaurant and went over to say hello. They grinned at him when he eyed the hamburgers they were chowing down. Their answer went something like: “We decided if our dog can, we can too. And we discovered we LIKE meat.”

Vegetarian, mixed, carnivorous. To each his own, I say.

The “It’s Over” Party

I woke up with a headache again this morning; between my cat wanting to go out and the pain I was prompted to get out of bed at 5 am. My first cup of coffee helped a lot. Apparently caffeine dilates the blood vessels slightly, allowing more blood to flow through whatever muscles are in spasm-mode and that eases the pain. A friend of ours who spent time in Haiti told me once that a lot of times strong coffee was the only pain reliever the poorer Haitians had.

A train chugged by soon after I got up, heading north toward the main railway lines. Still too dark for me to see how many cars but, judging by the number of lights at front, there must have been at least three locomotives. It wasn’t a really long one, though; it passed fairly quickly. Yesterday afternoon Bob saw another train heading north: two engines pulling a hundred cars.

My “It’s Over” party is over. A sedate affair, such as a sedate grandma would like. A nice supper together with the family followed by a decorated chocolate-caramel cake & ice cream. For me everything tasted good and there were no serious after-effects food-wise. I’m glad there’s a treatment for my leukemia and thankful I could receive it, but still, “So glad it’s over!”

My part of the meal prep was easy. Around 3pm I seared pork chops and sausages in a pan, layered them in a casserole, poured BBQ sauce over all and baked them at 325̊ F. I got my granddaughter to help me set the table and do up the few dishes, then we both relaxed while the meats cooked They were tender and ready to serve by 5:30pm so I turned the heat down to 250̊ F and left them sit while I made a lettuce salad. In the afternoon my daughter had picked the last of her sweet corn from the garden, so we had corn on the cob to feast on as well as the mashed potatoes she brought.

I’d bought some “blow-outs” for the children, those paper things that curl up and then stretch out full with a whistling sound when you blow into the small tube at one end. They were quite a hit. All four of the grands got one and proceeded to amuse us all for a good while, especially the youngest grandson. Finally his dad told him, “You don’t have to blow it all the time.” Grandpa suggested I could have gotten the ones with a small horn inside but their mother said, “No, the quiet ones are just fine.” (I thought so, too, actually.)

After supper I took it easy while the other females did the dishes, though we’d made the task simpler with plastic plates & cups. Then I showed the grandchildren Helen’s last few posts on tinylessonsblog.com. They were awed by the scenes of the ocean as the hurricane approached, and the flooding afterward. They thought the colorful legs of the ibis and egret were “so cool,” then laughed at the funny neck of the great blue heron. Such birds as we’ll never see here! Nice posts, Helen!

A thunderstorm was predicted for late yesterday evening, supposedly starting around 10pm. At 10:30pm I was reading in the recliner when Bob asked if I could hear the thunder rumbling. Unfortunately my hearing is so poor that even with my hearing aids I rarely do hear thunder unless it’s banging away right overhead. Which it soon was — then I did hear it. In some ways it is an advantage to be hard of hearing: I can sleep through a lot of storms.

It’s 7:30 now and the day has dawn clear and bright. Doesn’t look like we got a lot of rain out of that storm, but It did knock out the electricity for close to three hours. At least the stove clock read 2:10 when I reset it at 5:18am. Sound asleep, we never noticed anything, and it wasn’t cold enough outside for the interior temp to drop enough to wake us up.

Now it’s time to get dressed, have breakfast, and face the new day.

Of Allergies & Environment

Slowly, Slowly…

Our landscape was in a fog this morning, but the sun has dealt with most of that. Patchy cloud cover, otherwise there’s potential for a fine day. We were told there’d be a risk of frost last night, but when I peeked out at 7am I didn’t see any evidence of it.

Slowly I’m putting the yucky tastes behind me; food flavors are pretty much back to normal. I foolishly slathered my toast with peanut butter and honey this morning and now have the yucky stomach again, so I still need to avoid anything that oily. Otherwise, last week with its various woes has “come to pass” and I’m feeling my energy return — which brings with it more enthusiasm.

It’s Wednesday morning and that means Ladies’ Coffee Hour at the Villa. This is an informal friendly time; whichever ladies in the congregation wish to come should just show up. Being it’s Fall and gardens need taking care of, the attendance has been sparse, though last week we were eight.

Health Woes: Bad, Worse, Worst

I’ve been thinking… Leukemia may seem like such a frightening disease when you first hear the word, but I’m realizing I’ve gotten off pretty easy compared to some. The ladies at the Villa last week got around to the subject of food allergies, minor and serious, and we learned that quite a few were dealing with something.

One wife mentioned that her husband gets an upset stomach from eating sour cream added raw to some food like a salad. However, if a dish containing sour cream is cooked or baked, like enchiladas, the sour cream doesn’t bother him at all. That’s easy enough to understand: all the bacteria is killed by the cooking.

One woman, we heard, was so allergic to nightshade plants that walking past a bin of potatoes or tomatoes in the Produce section is an absolute NO-NO. Likewise sitting at a dinner table with a bowl of potatoes or a plate of tomatoes in front of her. Tobacco being is in the nightshade family as well, I suppose she’d have to be very careful about anything that may have lingering traces of smoke. And that could be anywhere, though not so much nowadays.

Which reminds me of one day long ago when I got on a city bus, dug out my Hershey’s Peanut Butter Cups candy bar and opened it. The lady sitting right behind me shot up like a spring and went to sit at the back of the bus. I didn’t take it personally — at least I hope it wasn’t just the sight of me eating! But I’d never given a thought to someone with a peanut allergy being anywhere around.

I myself am allergic to ginger. Not seriously—more of an annoyance. Just let me eat a couple of fresh ginger cookies and my gums and the roof of my mouth swell with water blisters. But allergies like that are much easier to deal with than effects that hit you deep inside, like severe stomach pains or headaches.

There are also food-related diseases like Celiac disease. One lady was mentioning how she had to be very careful eating out, or when invited to dinner, not to take anything that might contain gluten. I hardly know how I’d cope with something like that, which affects practically every bite of food you take every day.

Environment or Hereditary Weakness?

I think everyone wonders where this multiplicity of allergies and new diseases comes from. Have we North Americans brought this on ourselves by our super clean lifestyle? By our consumption of so many exotic foods? Or by our exposure to so many environmental irritants like perfumes and dyes? One allergist I visited one time, a native of South America, talked about all our scents. “You people here in North America need to have everything stinking!”

Did the weaker people just die in years past, leaving only the strongest to carry on the human race? Or are we an especially weak strain of humans now, having been so often preserved by our many antibiotics? Medical science has done wonders to prolong life — and I, for one, am all for that. So what can you say?

Last night my husband was reading a book review about a new book on the market, titled, LET THEM EAT DIRT: Saving Our Children From An Oversanitized World. The writers take the approach that we’re killing ourselves with clean. Not a new thought, but these are researchers who’ve done a fair bit of study on the subject. They say that in killing off all germs we’re killing off the beneficial bacteria that would have given us immunity to a lot of health woes. If you’re interested in what they have to say, you can check it out here.

Meanwhile other scientists are concerned about the long-term effect of adding all this anti-bacterial stuff — containing low levels of pesticides — into the water supply. So with environmental issues and all, I can see the day coming when anti-bacterial products containing pesticides will be banned. (If they haven’t been already. I’m not always up with the latest.)

At any rate, our world is as it is. But my sympathy goes out to people who struggle every day with allergies and diseases that severely limit their enjoyment of life. For myself, I’m looking forward to getting better now and enjoying life as much as possible.

My alarm just played its musical tinkle. It’s 9:30 am; time to quit writing. Time to take my pill. Time to get ready for my Coffee Hour outing. Oh, I like this alarm!