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.

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An Autumn Landscape

by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman

No wind there is that either pipes or moans;
The fields are cold and still; the sky
Is covered with a blue-gray sheet
Of motionless cloud; and at my feet
The river, curling softly by,
Whispers and dimples round its quiet gray stones.

Along the chill green slope that dips and heaves
The road runs rough and silent, lined
With plum-trees, misty and blue-gray,
And poplars pallid as the day,
In masses spectral, undefined,
Pale greenish stems half hid in dry gray leaves.

And on beside the river’s sober edge
A long fresh field lies black. Beyond,
Low thickets gray and reddish stand,
Stroked white with birch; and near at hand,
Over a little steel-smooth pond,
Hang multitudes of thin and withering sedge.

Across a waste and solitary rise
A ploughman urges his dull team,
A stooped gray figure with prone brow
That plunges bending to the plough
With strong, uneven steps. The stream
Rings and re-echoes with his furious cries.

Sometimes the lowing of a cow, long-drawn,
Comes from far off; and crows in strings
Pass on the upper silences.
A flock of small gray goldfinches,
Flown down with silvery twitterings,
Rustle among the birch-cones and are gone.

This day the season seems like one that heeds,
With fixed ear and lifted hand,
All moods that yet are known on earth,
All motions that have faintest birth,
If haply she may understand
The utmost inward sense of all her deeds.

Sunday Morning Walk

My 201st Post on this Blog!

I was up and around early this morning, enjoying the beauties of nature. Several times I saw a hummingbird dart over to drink from the feeder by our side door. I watched a brown thrasher and a mourning dove devouring the seeds I scattered under our bird-feeder pole outside the kitchen window. The thrasher was living up to its name, whacking away at something with his bill much like a flicker does when digging up ants.

For the past several mornings I’ve taken note of several magpies strutting around beside the garage. I wondered what they were finding over there, but it occurs to me that they are cleaning up the exhausted and dead bugs that fall around the light pole. As I saw last night, this yard light is quite an attraction to fluttering things.

The King of the Castle games are over now for the young swallows. It appears the parent birds in both nests are sitting on a second batch of eggs.

There’s a fair wind again this morning, so the wildfire smoke isn’t heavy. A fellow blogger from southeast of here has posted more about this haze we’re living with right now, including a photo she took.

I went for a walk and noticed a few wild gaillardia (blanket-flower) blooms at the edge of the road. Missed by the lawn mower the last time it made its circled around. It’s been so dry that our lawnmower hasn’t been out and about much this summer. We don’t water our lawns like some do, so most of our grass is crisp and a nice tan colour. We did get a few sprinkles overnight Friday, I think the gauge read 4/100ths of an inch.

Now to get ready for church. Click here to read an inspiring post for Sunday morning, written by blogger Janis Cox, about the need to be still and waiting on the Lord.

Wally the Writer

I’m doing something different this afternoon: I’m posting my response to today’s prompt at The Write Practice. The prompt:
Today I want everyone to focus on the same fledgling writer. His name is Walter and he wants to write a novel. In fact, he’s dreamed of it for years. But he’s terrified to do so. He carries too many demons. What happens to Walter when he finally sits down to write the rough draft of his novel?

Wally the Writer

The house was quiet. Wally had given his wife and children tickets to the Fun-Fan-Fare downtown so he could spend the next several hours writing. In his mind he’d plotted out the novel, written scenes, arranged details, mixed a bit of humor into the suspense. Now to sit down at the computer and “open a vein,” as someone termed it.

He heard a scratching at the door, followed by a plaintive “meow.” He got up to let their cat Tibbins in.

Tibbins led Wally straight to the kitchen and sniffed at his food dish. “Okay, Tibbins. Here it is.” Wally poured some Tuna Nutries into Tibbins’ bowl. “Now don’t pester me. Tonight I’m going to begin my novel.”

Wally sat down at his desk again and typed, When Tommy poked his head through the fence that morning, he never expected to see a tiger glaring back at him.

Wally nodded. Great hook! But Tommy is such a common name, he thought. Shouldn’t my protagonist be have a more profound handle? He googled http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/ and chose ‘names1960s’, seeing Tommy is supposed to be twelve and his story is supposedly set in 1978.

Hmmm… Michael, David, John, James, Robert, Mark, William, Richard, Thomas. Nothing outstanding here. None of those other names struck his fancy, so Tommy the boy would remain.

“Ouch!” Wally jumped out of his chair as he felt a cat claw dig into in his leg. He looked down. “Now I suppose you want out, Tibs?”

Tibbins headed for the door; Wally, feeling like an obedient slave, obligingly held it open for him. For a moment the cat stood in the doorway trying to decide, then headed off toward the hedge. Wally sighed and went back to his computer.

He reread what he’d written: “…tiger glaring back at him.” But was glaring the best verb? He picked up his thesaurus and thumbed to the G’s. “Frown, glower, gaze, look daggers, scowl, stare.” Hmm…

Maybe I should begin with more details about Tommy. He tapped the keys enthusiastically. “When twelve-year old Tommy looked through the fence in his backyard—that is, the fence surrounding the bungalow his parents had recently bought in Canto, Ohio — he was surprised to see a tiger glowering at him.”

Or is that too much info dump? If only I knew how much is too much, he thought. He wiped out that line and glanced at the clock. Half an hour and his first paragraph wasn’t done yet. He could hardly say he’d opened a vein; barely a drop of blood had splashed on the page. No wonder they say writing is so time-consuming!

And Tibbins was scratching at the door again. “My next novel is going to be Who Murdered the Cat?” he mumbled as he got up to open the door.

To Live, Perchance to Talk?

“I thought we’d never come back from that one.”

So says today’s Word Press Prompt. And so said Me to the ship’s captain as he led Me, Myself, and I along the deck of his vessel. By this time we were so thankful to be rescued that we almost fell on our faces and kissed the planks.

The First Mate frowned as he contemplated our foolish predicament. “However did you get stranded on this island in the first place? Don’t you have more sense than to wander off by yourselves like this?”

Myself sighed. “We were banished to this island by WordPress, all in the interest of blog posting.”

The First Mate’s frown deepened; he was convinced that the three of us were hallucinating — or insane.

I began the long explanation. “You see, WordPress — that’s our blogging platform — sent us off to this desert island a number of times in the past few months. First we were required to choose which five pieces of equipment we’d need, then which five foods our captors should feed us. Oh, wait…that may not have been on a desert isle. I’ve forgotten.”

“And you actually agreed to go?” The Captain, dumbfounded, shook his head.

“But we took the Thesaurus along. Now we can commiserate more articulately and promulgate more professionally.”

He sighed. “Let’s put these women in the brig until we get to port,” he told the First Mate.

From fiction to fact….

A few days ago we were supposed to give our first thoughts of the morning. Mine threw me back onto this deserted island, where I found myself thinking about those five foods and five pieces of equipment. I began to wonder just how long a person would survive all alone, even given twenty foods and twenty pieces of equipment. How long before you’d go crazy from pure isolation.

How big might the island be? If it were a tiny place with one lonely coconut palm, such as they show in cartoons, I’d soon die of heat stroke or sunburn or thirst or some combination thereof. Even if it were a huge place, if it were all sand or volcanic rock with no significant vegetation, I likely wouldn’t survive long. If it were an island off the coast of Alaska I’d be toast — er, icicles — by the end of October.

So let’s say Me, Myself, and I woke up one morning all alone on the sandy beach of a nice BIG, TROPICAL island with sheltering palms, birds twittering in the branches, maybe the odd monkey swinging on a vine, timid gazelles (or whatever — hopefully not a tiger) peering out at us. We’d get up and dust myself off, then wander around some. We’d likely eat one of the five foods provided.

Actually it wouldn’t matter if we had five foods or twenty, if that’s all you had day in day out for years, we’d be so sick of it… Oh! Maybe I shouldn’t say that. Some people do live on about five foods — rice, beans, a bit of grain, maybe a few greens — all their lives. Mustn’t be so picky here.

We would definitely talk to God. How would He respond? Would He come down and “walk and talk” with us like He did with Enoch, Noah, and Moses? I believe in a situation like that His presence would feel so near. We’d be so glad for all the Bible verses and songs we’ve learned!

Would I talk to Myself? And would we get along with Me? What if there were internal struggles to contend with, as there are sometimes now? 🙂 Would we be quick to search for other castaways? (After all, how many remote Islands does WP have, anyway?)

I know we would desperately want to talk with someone. However, as most husbands and wives can tell you, as soon as you get two people in the same setting, you get a certain amount of CONFLICT. So maybe I’d be better off only arguing with Me and Myself. Or maybe I’d befriend one of those timid deer — they can’t dispute anything. Monkeys, I’ve heard, can get pushy.

But no, if we knew there was another human being on the island, sooner or later we’d set aside our fears of potential conflict and reach out, make some efforts to communicate. (They may be just as lonely, right?)

For us, isolation on a desert island would be a death sentence. (All right, it really would be for anyone if they stayed there long enough. No one lives forever.) But our health condition, lymphocytic leukemia, would very likely get worse and worse. We’d get sicker and weaker, probably succumbing in the end to some infection my body could no longer fight off.

Now, the same thing could happen to a healthy person who’d, say, seriously cut their foot with a slice of their machete (if they’d thought to bring one) or on a seashell. (Mind you, salt water would be a natural antiseptic.) Or someone who, trying to harvest some coconuts, might fall out of a tree and break bones. No one can say how long an otherwise healthy person could survive on a desert island without fatal injury?

But my original question this morning was, How long could a person live all alone and not just die? Obviously it has happened, but we human beings are made to interact with others. For those of us who “live to talk,” how long could we survive talking to ourselves? No, I’d have to at least tame some kind of a pet.

I might last a month alone on a remote island, but after about a week, I’d be waving frantically at any ship I could see anywhere in the ocean. Sending smoke signals, even.

One parting, practical thought:
Even in my own home, surrounded by all the amenities of civilization, I’d have a hard go of it if I were all alone and isolated. If I were elderly and couldn’t get out to meet people — or if I were new in a big city and had no friend to talk to. Man, I’d be lonesome. I’d probably get more and more eccentric as time went on. The motivation to do anything would dwindle fast.

Say, this has been an enlightening experience for me. Now I’m asking myself, “Do I have a neighbor who might be in this situation? Maybe they feel like they are on a desert island all alone. Why don’t Me, Myself, and I set aside all those fears of potential conflict, just drop in or call and say hello?”

Maybe this is what it means when the WordPress people tell us to “personalize your prompt”?

Pancake

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 it?”

Allen shrugged. “I don’t know. The recipe was just called “Pancake.”

Reblogged from christinescollection.com
Nov 21, 2013