Thursday, November 30, 2023

What A Great Morning!

This morning's grocery shop was going to be a big one. I made sure to get up early and be on the road by 9AM, headed to the nicer store since produce was prominent in my list. There was still snow on the ground and ice in the driveway, leftovers from the storm earlier in the week. But the temperature was forecast to be at least 52 today, so I knew neither would last much longer.

Sadly, I hit an icy patch coming out of the garage and before I knew it, I had bumped into the corner of the house. My backup camera was no help, either, since it was caked with dirty salt residue. Luckily, it was such a soft bump that there was no damage to the car, and that corner was hit long ago by Rick, so any new damage to that piece of siding was hard to discern. I straightened out and carefully pulled down the rest of the drive. 

I still couldn't see well out of the backup camera, so I decided I'd better stop and clean it off. Parking at the foot of my driveway, I saw a young man and his dog waiting to go past. He waved me by, but I got out of the car. "Go ahead," I said. "I have to clean off my backup camera so I can see what I'm doing." In an instant, his dog, a Bull Terrier mix, ran up to me joyously. "Sorry," he said, "I'm trying to train him to walk off-leash." 

I bent and petted the wiggly dog. "Oh, that's okay. It's not his fault that I suddenly came on the scene." In an instant, the dog disappeared, and his owner groaned. "Sammy, no! Get out of there! Sammy, come! Aw, geeze, he's in your car. Sammy! That's not our car. You're not going for a ride! I'm so sorry."

I turned around to see Sammy, happily perched in the driver's seat of my Prius, smiling widely, tail wagging furiously. He jumped out and ran to me, jumping up to lick my face. His owner was mortified. I was completely delighted.

"It's been a pleasure to meet you, Sammy!" I really meant it. "I hope I see you in the neighborhood again soon." 

Sammy's owner sighed. "I'm really sorry about your car."

"It's nothing! Have a good walk. You have a terrific dog," I said. It really was nothing, just a few wet pawprints that wiped away with a tissue. But the encounter kept me chuckling and smiling to myself for the rest of the morning.

Honestly, that just made my day.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Decluttering Saga Continues: How My House Is Becoming Audrey Hepburn, And I'm Ready To Junk Precious Metals

 The decluttering and streamlining continue at the Dept., and I have to tell you:  my house feels alien to me. Right now, instead of looking Uncluttered and Airy and Streamlined, it looks more like I'm Moving Out. It's less cozy and more cool. I feel like my house is becoming aloof and might start smoking a cigarette using one of those long holders.

My living and dining rooms now

Have I gone too far in the name of Simplicity and Pseudo-Minimalism? Maybe I just need some time to get used to it. After all, I've lived with that stuff for decades. It was just sitting around for decoration! It wasn't useful! All it did was collect dust and make it hard to clean and vacuum!

Do you know I have a silver casserole dish in the basement that has been sitting there, unused and still wrapped, for almost 40 years? It's sitting on top of a silverplate pie dish, also never used. They were wedding presents from 1981 that travelled to the house when we bought it in 1985. Today they were joined by a silver tray, badly tarnished. I just want to throw them all out and stop thinking about the ridiculousness of them all. (I already threw out a set of silverplate salad tongs; I mean, come on!)

I also have dozens of Very Old Books, circa 1900-1920s, that I want to get rid of. I can't bear to think of tossing them, but they are not in terrific condition and likely not worth anything. Small volumes of classics, Shakespeare's plays, Poe collections, essays by obscure authors--all school texts from long ago. What to do with them? 
Who is Macaulay? Who is Dr. Frank Crane? No idea.

Right now, they are cleverly stacked on a chair slid under the dining room table. They are in a Transitioning Phase. I have to gird my loins and steel my spine for what I know I must do. It will be impossibly hard. But go they must. Perhaps I'll send them off with the silver pieces so that they feel Honoured and Worthy and In Good Company.


When Rick gets home from work, he will help me carry the breakfront out of the living room. It truly was serving no purpose other than decorative, holding tchochkes and more old (but beautifully bound) books under the faux Vermeer. It's going into storage in the basement or upstairs. I honestly think we bought it because it was lovely and matched other tables we bought at the time.

Pretty, but just a dust collector

I'm letting it go. It will either be donated or sold at the lake community garage sale in the spring. The faux Vermeer can have the whole wall to itself. It deserves it.

I think I'll give myself a couple of weeks to get used to the decluttered spaces, tweaking things here and there. It's a Process. But I'm fully committed. Tomorrow, I'm tackling the living room closet and all the junk that's accumulated in there. (Do you know there's actually a coonskin cap in there someplace? Trust me, that's gone, too.)

Buoy my spirits in Comments, or at least tell me what to do with that Stuff!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

It's The Word Of The Year!

Editor at large Peter Sokolowski of Merriam-Webster (the dictionary of record, apparently) made a big announcement this week that we finally have The Word Of The Year for 2023. Before I tell you what it is, let me assure you that this Word isn't chosen at random by some Word Nerds in a dusty room full of card catalogs. Heavens no! Mr. Sokolowski and his team pore over vast quantities of data, watching spikes in the words that people look up and the events in the world that correspond to those words. This year, it would seem that there was a constant interest in The Word overall, and people were always looking it up to find out exactly what it meant. What word were they looking up?


That's your Word Of The Year, ladies and gentlemen.  Let's now take a look at the Words that AUTHENTIC beat out. These words also spiked the lookup data, but are also-rans:

1.  RIZZ:  slang for romantic appeal; possibly short for Charisma. (never once heard/read this out on the wild)

2.  KIBBUTZ:  communal farm or settlement in Israel. (this has a sad reason for being in the news lately; I already knew what this was from my reading)

3.  IMPLODE:  to burst inward. (probably spiked during the Titanic submersible tragedy; I thought this was a fairly common word)

4.  DEADNAME:  the name a transgender person was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning. (this is a term that I learned from being an ally and trying to educate myself)

5.  DOPPELGANGER:  a double; a lookalike. (it's so fun to say! I think it also has some nuance, like the double can also be your alter ego or opposite personality)

6.  CORONATION:  the act or occasion of crowning, as a royal. (probably spiked during the ascension of King Charles)

7.  DEEPFAKE:  a manipulated recording/video made to look like someone or something did/said something they did not. (these things are scary, and I worry about the election cycle and social media platforms like fb and Xitter, which are not very responsible or discerning)

8.  DYSTOPIAN:  relating to an imagined state of intense human suffering and misery, usually brought upon by injustice and inhumanity. (I think we can all imagine why this word spiked)

9.  COVENANT:  a formal, solemn, and binding agreement. ( Lots of talk of covenant marriages--a Supreme Court Justice has one, the new Speaker of the House has one, and the latter even uses a software app called Covenant Eyes to track his and his son's porn viewing and report back to each other. Not creepy at all!)

10. INDICT:  to formally accuse of/charge with a crime. (I can think of 91 reasons why this word spiked, can't you?)

The Word Of The Year--Authentic--is always my word of the year. As Miss Maudie said about Atticus Finch, I'm the same in the house as I am on the public streets. I was raised on it. My father always quoted Polonius to us from William Shakespeare's Hamlet--"To thine own self be true." He never quoted the rest, but I will here:

“This above all: to thine own self be true

And it must follow, as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man/"

My dad was Authentic to a fault. Still, he had a lot of Rizz.

Chat me up about the Word(s) of the Year in Comments. 

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