A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rainy Day and Orlando's Solution to Obtain World Peace

Many years ago, Rainy Day had the marvelous opportunity to throw coins in the Trevi Fountain, in Rome. One is an automatic wish to return to Rome, which would please Rainy Day no end if it would come true sometime, but alas.... The closest Rainy Day can get to Rome these days is having her hair done by Orlando, a stylist at the Trevi Salon & Spa in Kennewick. Sigh. The other coin and wish was for World Peace.

Through the years, Rainy Day has wondered if world peace is even achievable? And then she met Orlando. What makes Orlando interesting is not his great sense of humor, or his marvelous sense of style (and why in heaven's name is he working with Rainy Day's hair when he's both the stylist and as stylish as he is? But, that's another question, for someone else to figure out and write about on their blog!).  

What Rainy Day Wants to Look Like
What makes Orlando so utterly fascinating, to Rainy Day, is his solution to obtain World Peace. Yes, he has a solution, and it does not involve warfare! (Warfare for Peace just doesn't make a lot of sense to Rainy Day. Does it to you?) And, it just might work, if we could pull it off. You see Orlando believes if every woman in the world had her hair and makeup done every morning before she starts her day, that World Peace would be a natural outcome. And, if she can't get her hair done, then she should have a variety of spiffy and stylish wigs to wear!

There would be no 'bad hair days,' every woman would get a shampoo, set, comb out, whatever it takes. She would know she looked her absolute and stunning best, and be smiling and confident.

And if the women of the world were all smiling and confident, the men of the world would soon follow suit. Perhaps they, too, would get their hair done? Perhaps they would at least find a comb (some look like they haven't seen a comb in years, if ever! Rainy Day isn't sure what all hides in that hair, and doesn't want to get close enough to find out!)

The Other Wig Rainy Day Wants
Since the news is full of stories about boys not maturing into men, and since those boys are not going for college degrees like they used to, perhaps they should go to trade schools, and those with aptitude should become stylists? They could work for room, board, and Game-boy time. That's all they seem to want, so why not give it to them?

And the women can run the world, with confidence and well coiffed heads! May you never have another Bad Hair Day!

May your New Year be filled with Peace, Joy, Laughter, Dance, and Song! (And may testosterone poisoning continue to decline;-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rainy Day and the Winter Solstice!

Yes, Gentle Readers, today is the Winter Solstice, the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year. And, in keeping with that spirit, Rainy Day thought you might like some almost-winter photographs from her yard.
Maple Leaf with Snow Dust

The First Snow of the season fell (okay, it dusted) a few weeks ago.

And then, we had Hoar Frost to coat everything in fairy dust.

Japanese Maple with Hoar Frost
And, Last but not Least, today is Wednesday, 21 December. You know what that means, don't you?

Shrub in front of house with Hoar Frost
We are already into Chanuka, the Festival of the Lights (20-28 December)
Christmas is 4 days away; New Years a mere week later.

Kwanzaa begins on Boxing Day (26 December)

Same shrub, turning leaves and Hoar Frost
There are many Holidays in the Winter, and whatever Holiday you Celebrate, Rainy Day hopes this year's will be the best, and your New Year will be filled with much song, happy dances, and daily laughter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rainy Day, Tacoma Blue, and the Morphing of Our Language

First, a bit of a brag: Lenora won first prize in a poetry contest! She wrote the winning poem to go with the photo the magazine posted. Click here to see the inspirational photo and Lenora's poem.   And now, back to our regularly scheduled nattering.

Last week, Rainy Day and Tacoma Blue ranted about being Word Snobs. In the rant, it was mentioned how our language has changed through the years, and Rainy Day thought you might like to read an example. Those of you who write Science Fiction/Fantasy, especially time travel, pay attention—your hero may have more than the usually thought of problems as they are zapped to an earlier time. The same would hold true to the future, just more difficult to predict.

Several years ago, Rainy Day read a fascinating book, African Exodus by Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie. She laments her copy is now lost; however, before said loss happened she copied a very dramatic demonstration of our language as it changes and morphs and grows, something she is fairly sure you all know, the Lord's Prayer.

According to the authors—and who are Tacoma Blue or Rainy Day to argue?—our language is perpetually changing to the tune of about 20% per thousand years (losing about 20% of the common words). For a truly dramatic example, read on, Dear and Gentle Readers:

"[The Lord's Prayer]... in modern English:
Our Father, who is in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom
come into being. May your will be followed on earth, just as it is in
heaven. Give us this day our food for the day. And forgive us our
offences, just as we forgive those who have offended us. And do not bring
us to the test. But free us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the
glory are yours forever. Amen.

"...King James Bible of 1611:
Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily
bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass
against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For
thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, amen.

"...Middle English from around 1400A.D.:
Oure fadir that art in heuenes holowid be thi name, thi kyngdom come to, be
thi wille don in erthe es in heuene, yeue to us this day oure bread ouir
other substance, & foryeue to us oure dettis, as we gorgeuen to oure
dettouris, & lede us not in to temptacion: but delyuer us from yuel, amen.

"And, finally, contemplate the Old English version, of the period around
Faeder ure thu the eart on heofonum, si thin nama gehalgod. Tobecume thin
rice. Gewurthe in willa on eorthan swa swa on heofonum. Urne
gedaeghwamlican hlaf syle us to daeg. And forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we
forgyfath urum gyltedum. And ne gelaed thu us on contnungen ac alys us of
yfele. Sothlice."
(Used by permission from Prof. Stringer, from African Exodus –by Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie)

Tacoma Blue found the above fascinating, and noticed how "quickly" and thoroughly the language morphs – how the vowel shifts and is pronounced: heaven = heuenes = heofonum. How the Old English seems more like our current "heaven," probably due to the 'f' in the middle. As she says, who would ever have thought "heuenes" would be pronounced with an 'f' or 'v' sound in the middle?

She once had a friend who could rattle off Old English as if it was his native tongue, and Tacoma Blue assures us Gentle Readers, that it was incredibly beautiful – far softer on the ear than contemporary German, with a softer guttural sense about it. A truly lovely language to hear.

She goes on to suggest we consider meanings: our "offences" (how mild that seems!); the King James era "trespasses" (which sounds like the sort of thing one might be shot for), Middle English "dettis" (debts, which we now would consider money owed but then indicated a much broader sense of indebtedness), and Old English "gyltas" (guilt), which is harsher, farther reaching, and nearly impossible to either avoid or atone.

The Danes in the time of Beowulf spoke of "geas," which signified an undeniable burden or task (often the seeking of blood price or atonement) laid upon a person, especially a warrior. Not a particularly forgiving lot, those old Danes. If the warrior succeeded, he then bore a gyltas every bit as heavy as if he had failed.

Now look at the phrase, "forgive us our debts (or offences) as we forgive our debtors (those who offend us)" -- in Middle English, it's "foryeue to us oure dettis, as we gorgeuen to oure dettouris", in Old English, "forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfath urum gyltedum".

Likewise, "evil," "yuel," "yfele." And what's this "Sothlice"? Sounds less like our later "amen" and far more like the Masonic pronouncement, "So mote it be"!

At least "and" stays the same, a landmark of sorts that lets us know where and when we are, and that some things don't ever really change.

Fascinating -- if Tacoma Blue lives long enough, She'll study languages, linguistics, and history! (Rainy Day will sit at her feet;-)

And there, Gentle Reader, you have it. Why Tacoma Blue and Rainy Day are Word Snobs.  Not that either are experts, not by a long shot, and they don't sit around reading Old English while drinking their tea and eating their crumpets, but they do find language interesting, especially the one they speak, and try to use it with a modicum of correctness.

And again, Rainy Day gives Great Thanks to Professor Stringer for permission to use the Lord's Prayer excerpt from African Exodus. (Y'all really should find and read the book!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rainy Day and her friend Tacoma Blue, are Word Snobs and You Should Be Too!

Rainy Day ranted the other day about how our language is, like, becoming, y'know, sloppy. Today, she rants on words in general. Standardized spelling came about because of Gutenberg and moveable type. Yes, Brits and those possessed by them, add a superfluous 'u' in many of their words, and Rainy Day doesn't mind them. They're, well, cute (sometimes). Cute? You may well aks. Would that be cute words or cute Brits? Hmmmmm....

She saw a tee shirt advertised a while back, and now is somewhat sorry she didn't order it. The tee in question said something like (y'know?) "Differences Exist Between There, They're, and Their."

Rainy Day and her friend Tacoma Blue, wonder. They belong to a variety of LinkedIn Groups and have noticed an increasing number of professionals from Engineers (who barely speak intelligible English) to Writers (who darned well should speak, or at least write, intelligible English) who either don't know the differences between those words, or don't care. If Spell Check doesn't correct them, why they seem to ask, should they bother?

Elocution is no longer taught in schools (Rainy Day isn't sure what is taught, that is truthfully useful or fun, if anything). People no longer recognize the difference between then and than.

Or pin, pen, and pan.
Ask the question, don't aks it.

It's not just the professional athletes who can't, or won't, speak beyond rudimentary Ebonish. Mispronunciations and incorrect tenses are very common on the radio and television; even the highly paid professional newscasters-entertainers sprinkle their talk with incorrect usage and pronunciation. I certainly hope they don't do it on purpose.

Rainy Day reads a lot of news articles online and frequently reads the comments, at least some of them, but many are so poorly written as to be unintelligible. Tacoma Blue comes close to shedding tears as past, present, and future tenses are all mixed together with great abandon; words are misspelled, and frequently the wrong word is used.

Just the other day, someone quoted the Bible, "And than the Lord..." uh, no. "And then..."

No, I don't want a shot, but you should know that!

And then, along came Jones, rather than Smith.

There they stood.
They're really nice people.
Their ball is the one being used for the game.

The pin holds the fabric together.
The pen writes the words.
The pan holds the soup.
Do you notice the different letters – pin, pen, pan? They are not pronounced the same;-)

"That will be three hundred four dollars AND fifty-seven cents." Note the placement of the 'and.' It is not used in numbers until, and only until, one gets to the decimal point. (Will someone please point this out to the various hosts and hostesses of TV shows on how to sell your house?)

Rainy Day could go on, but doesn't think she should have to, and besides, Tacoma Blue thinks it's about time to stop. Now, for those who speak English as a second (or third or fourth) language, Rainy Day is willing to cut some slack. Those who were born here, however, well not so much.

Rainy Day thinks if you don't know how to use a dictionary, learn to. Write her. She'll send some hints. Tacoma Blue says learn to use a dictionary and a thesaurus.  And, no, a thesaurus is not an extinct dinosaur.

Nor do Rainy Day or Tacoma Blue want you to think they are perfect when it comes to words. They are not. And should you ever see them misuse one, or mispronounce one, please, Gentle Reader, let them know.

Learn to treasure our language. It is a dynamic and growing organism. Words are constantly being added to our lexicon – learn to use them properly – and words are constantly being dropped – in the meantime, use the words we have. Use them correctly.  Our language changes about 20% over a couple hundred years.

Still, Tacoma Blue reminds Rainy Day, language changes and Rainy Day and you most Gentle Reader, must change with it. They and their fellow Word Snobs will always have trouble with, "Hopefully, you will too," which is a complete grammatical disaster. Hopefully means full of hope, and we should say, "I (or We) hope you will too." And let us not forget, "Over 6,000,000,000 hamburgers sold." Tacoma Blue and Rainy Day hope against hope that someone will correct it to read, "More Than 6,000,000,000 hamburgers sold."

It is easy to become a Word Snob. Tacoma Blue and Rainy day suggest an easy, fun, and painless way to begin is by signing on with the Wordsmith, Anu Garg and receive his free A.Word.A.Day newsletter.

Do you agree with Rainy Day and Tacoma blue, or are they just too old and set in there ways? Please note, neither Rainy Day nor Tacoma Blue ranted rant against texting and the (to them) unintelligible letter-number combinations therein. They know that for some, it is a separate language in which neither is conversant. Are you?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rainy Day and the Bestest Ever thanksgiving Dinners

Many years ago, Rainy Day and her Dearly Beloved spent all day preparing a Thanksgiving Feast. There was enough food to feed the entire Batallion! Imagine the surprise when Rainy D, her Dearly Beloved, and their two children sat at the table, and all that lovingly prepared food didn't suit anyone's taste! The kids ate because they were starving, but they didn't eat much. The turkey was dry, the vegetables over cooked, this was bland, and that was too spicy; if you can think of an excuse to not eat something, believe Rainy Day when she says she's heard it before.

The best thing about that Thanksgiving is it ended without bloodshed.
Fried Tofu, Spring Rolls, Chicken Satay

The next Thanksgiving, Dearly Beloved told Rainy Day not to bother with shopping, as he had Thanksgiving handled. Dearly Beloved 'handled' lots of things, and not always to the liking of Rainy Day, or their children. However, Rainy Day had peanut butter and jelly on hand.

Thanksgiving Day arrived. And nary a turkey nor a ham to be found in the house. Hmmmmmm??????? Breakfast came and went, lunch came and went, and nary a sweet potato graced the oven. Not even a package of Hawaiian rolls on the kitchen counter! Hmmmmmmm???????

Turn Computer on side to see BBQ Honey Duck
"Okay, everyone in the car!" Dearly Beloved yelled his summons and into the car everyone piled. Dearly Beloved drove to a restaurant. Number One Daughter ordered shrimp off the menu, Number One Son ordered a cheeseburger, Dearly Beloved and Rainy Day went through the buffet line – he ate perfectly prepared turkey, and she ate wonderful ham. Everyone ate what he or she wanted to eat, not what he or she had to eat, and Rainy Day didn't have to clean the kitchen afterwards! Oh, the thrill of a Thanksgiving Feast was, at last, realized!

Phd Khee Mao Hong Kong & Thai Tea
Thus began Rainy Day's tradition of dining out on Thanksgiving Day. True, there is no turkey for Rainy Day to pick at for three months, which is fine by Rainy Day as she isn't all that fond of turkey. True, there is no left over mincemeat pie to add 36 pounds to Rainy Day's more than ample girth. But, most importantly, THERE IS NO MESS TO CLEAN when the meal is over and everyone else is napping or watching the television!

So, while you, Gentle Reader, planned your Thanksgiving Feast, drew up complicated time tables of when to prepare what in order to get it all to the table at the same time, while you, most Gentle of Readers, sat at a board groaning with a surfeit of food and ate entirely more than you planned, know that Rainy Day found a great Thai Restaurant that was open and serving from the menu! While you sat at said groaning board, with your family gathered around, Rainy Day did likewise. It's just that her table wasn't groaning, and Dearly Beloved is no longer included. Rainy Day didn't slave in a hot kitchen for hours and days ahead of time. She paid the chef at Thai Garden to slave. She paid the waiter at Thai Garden to bring the food, and to clear the table.
Number One Daughter & Number One Waiter!

Best Thai Chef in the World!
Yes, Rainy Day and her friend had BBQ Honey duck with spring rolls, fried tofu, and chicken satay appetizers, for dinner. She was served an amount that was perfect – there was even a bit left over to come home in a box to be devoured later. Number One Daughter had Pad Khee Mau Hong Kong. All were sufficiently suffonsified at the end of their meal and all took boxes of leftover delights home for later.

And, when Rainy Day got home, there was no mess to clean. No 57 bowls of stuff to be carefully balanced in the refrigerator. No 8,264 dishes, with correspondingly high numbers of silverware, to wash. And Rainy Day was truly Thankful for all the restaurants and their staff who forfeited their traditional, family Thanksgiving for her and others. To all those who worked on Thanksgiving so those of us who don't want to cook the feast but can still enjoy it, Rainy Day shouts out, "Thank You each and everyone one!"
Best Thai Chef and Best Support Husband;-)

Rainy Day hopes your Thanksgiving Feast was exactly what you wanted it to be, and that you enjoyed it tremendously. Rainy Day certainly enjoyed hers at the Thai Garden Restaurant!! She also recommends any time you are in Kennewick, and looking for a good meal, you, too, go to the Thai Garden! And if you are new to Thai food, this is the place to get introduced. Talk to the waiter, he'll help you decide what to order.

And what was your bestest ever Thanksgiving Dinner, and why?