Might He?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MIGHTY

Sad to say, I feel anything but mighty today. For the past while I’ve felt more like I’m falling apart, with a couple medical issues taking front+centre stage in my thoughts. On Wednesday I had a couple of medical appointments: a blood-flow-to-the-heart test to figure out why I’m so short of breath these days; the other about a hernia I’ve developed. The Dr tells me this calls for me a surgery to repair that issue. And a wait of several months until that can be done.

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge this morning is INTANGIBLE. For some reason this morning I’m feeling an intangible blue fog. Lots to do but don’t feel like doing anything kind of cloud. Maybe I need a long walk. For most of the past week we’ve been afflicted with a howling, chilling wind — even the cats haven’t wanted to set foot outside. No rain or snow, so yesterday the dust was blowing. Thankfully today’s calm and I should take advantage of that.

Now back to the title of this blog post. “Might he” and mighty. This morning I read a thread on GoodReads where a reader was reviewing the query letter of a wannabe author. Reviewer comments on the plot where the “pro-tag” (supposed to be protag, short for protagonist) “looses it” (loses it) when his parents disappear. And she reminds the writer that for his query letter, he must present his summary in “present tenths.” (present tense)

I had to laugh! I won’t be hiring this reviewer to beta read my book. 🙂

Merriam-Webster has been doing a series about this sort of mix-up. They’re calling words and phrases like this EGGCORN words. Explaining that “egg horn” was once the mixed-up version of ACORN. They also use the example of “to all intensive purposes” — which should be all intents and purposes. “All over sudden” instead of all of a sudden. Makes me think of my cousin, who was wont to say, “the whole toot’n taboodle” instead of the whole kit and caboodle. What eggcorn words have you heard lately?

Where would we be without our daily chuckles?

The Worst Ever!

For Goodness Sake, Read History (Part 2)

A few days ago I received an interesting phone call from some lady wanting to share a few Bible verses with me. She started out by quoting Jeremiah 29:11-12, then began talking about having peace during these troubled times. Especially with this pandemic – the worst that’s ever been!

Reader of history that I am, I reminded her of the Black Death. In the 1300’s the Bubonic Plague was brought back to Italy by sailors returning from the orient; it subsequently swept through Europe in several waves and wiped out about a third of the population of the western world. A person could argue that Covid-19 could have been as bad; however, we’ve taken extreme precautions and also have access to an infinitely better health care system.

Plus, our lot is easier because we have less corruption. I read once that in some Italian cities men were hired to go house to house and bring out any that were diseased. These toughs were given free rein to “diagnose” and haul away anyone they didn’t like or demand payment – in whatever form – from the home’s occupants. Occupants unwilling to pay risked being tossed on the cart with those already infected and/or dying.

Pardon me, but the only reason anyone can say this is the worst pandemic in history is because they don’t know history. Even the Spanish ‘flu was worse, as health care was limited and whole families sometimes died. People may be pretty panicked now, but there’s nothing like the superstition of the Middle Ages. No one has resorted to self-flagellation as some did during the Bubonic plague, going from town to town whipping and slashing themselves to gain the sympathy of the gods in hopes of averting the plague.

Climatic Disaster and Famine

Last night in Bible Study we were going over Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt and Pharoah’s dream, which Joseph interpreted. (Genesis Ch.41) Joseph predicted seven years of plenty, followed by seven lean years. According to the Bible account, this was a widespread catastrophe. It dawned on me that the drought and famine in Egypt would have been a lot like our “Dirty thirties” years.

People in the Thirties may have said, “This is the worst climatic disaster in history,” but I suspect there have been various climatic disasters before that one. Most of us have never heard about them. In most cases records weren’t kept; the accounts became simple folklore.

Thankfully, the Great Plains people learned a lot from those dry years; farming practices have changed drastically since the drought and soil moisture conservation has become a priority.

As to the Middle East famine, Joseph was able to guide Egypt through those years and preserve his own family as well. But over all, the land that was once a breadbasket is now desert sand.

Buying, Selling, and Lessons Learned

One good thing is that Egypt didn’t have a stock market to crash like ours did in 1929. In that sense the Thirties delivered a double-whammy here in North America. Then with a war looming — things must have looked pretty bleak indeed to our grandparents.

In the 1920s the sale of stocks was booming, investors were making piles, and bankers came under pressure to make collateral-free loans to wannabe stock-buyers. All these new players drove the price of stocks up, but seasoned traders were keeping a nervous eye on the trading, knowing stock prices had to level off and maybe even drop.

On “Black Tuesday” Oct 29, 1929 someone(s) got so nervous he/they dumped thousands of stocks on the market. Others investors saw this and figured, “Ah! Someone knows something. Prices are going to drop. We’re selling, too!” Sixteen million shares were thrown on the market that day and more during the rest of the week. By Friday the market was flooded with shares no one wanted to buy. The rest is history.

In the 1990’s the US government, under pressure from builders, increased the sale of new houses by urging bankers to give collateral-free loans with very low interest rates. Mortgages were contracted right and left; new home buyers gave the housing market the shot in the arm builders were hoping for. But when those mortgages came up for renewal at the regular interest rate… The rest is history.

The housing market crash and ensuing depression didn’t hit us as hard here in Canada because a) Canadian bankers are far too cautious to make collateral-free loans and b) you can’t legally walk away from a mortgage you’ve contracted here in Canada. If the mortgage holder defaults, the bank may repossess and sell the house but the holder is legally liable to pay whatever is still owing.

Fifty years from now will someone again come up with some new purchase people must make and urge bankers to make low-interest, collateral-free loans so people can have this new necessity? And it will lead to another depression? Or will our descendants read these histories and learn that this hasn’t worked well in the past?

Of Birds and Bruises

“They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word.”
–Daphne Du Maurier, from her novel Rebecca

Remember those days?

This morning I scanned the writing prompts, hoping someone would have posted BRUISE or GROUSE as a prompt word so I could write about my latest sightings. Nada. Well, I’ll just file them to use someday as prompt words over at RDP.

Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: TAX
Fandango’s FOWC: ENSCONCED
Word of the Day: CORYBANTIC

WORDS LIKE BRUISES

Because I was thinking of bruises, I searched the Goodreads quotes to see what I could find. Here’s an intriguing one from Anne Sexton’s poem, “Words”:

“…they can be both daisies and bruises,
yet I am in love with words.”

I get that — being a lover of words myself.
I’m also getting bruises. Right now I feel somewhat like the “she” in this tale:

“She was so delicate that, while we sat beneath the linden branches, a leaf would fall and drift down and touch her skin, and it would leave a bruise.” – Roman Payne

When I saw a cardiologist last week Monday, he asked about my family history, especially heart and diabetes issues. I told him that my birth mom had diabetes and heart trouble for years (she died of a heart attack), my next-younger sister Donna’s had diabetes for some years now, and my third-youngest sister had a heart attack 8 or 10 years ago. Not the kind of history that will cheer a cardiologist! Also I had cancer (1980), leukemia (2014-6) and Rose died of cancer last December.

After I’d done the treadmill stress test, he said there were some little irregularities and thought I might have a bit of plaque in my veins. I’d already told him I never take aspirin because it makes my veins pop, but he prescribed the low-dose “baby aspirin.” Well, maybe…

Nope. I’m getting blue. I have an odd – and very itchy – wiggly line that marks a vein on my tummy for several inches. Yesterday I had a bruise on the sole of my foot and when I was doing my hair I noticed a huge pink “blush” circling my elbow, which has now turned to a gray-brown bruise. I won’t think about what internal bruising I may have — that would really make me ‘blue’. So I’m unilaterally un-prescribing the aspirin.

ANOTHER TYPE OF GROUSE

The small wood to the east of our home hosts a variety of birds. A family of grouse, likely ensconced in the shelter of the trees at night, wanders through our yard now and then. I’m not sure if they are corybantic (beside themselves with joy) at the chance to run around in the open, but it delights us to watch them.

About five days ago I happened to glance out the back window toward the newly harvested field behind the house. Between our trailer and the field is a strip of lawn and some small trees we’ve planted; there I spotted a group of small grouse frolicking and sparring with each other and generally enjoying life. A few moments later they’d heard the call to smarten up and get ready to move. All heads went up, they gathered in a group and advanced across our lawn.

Yesterday morning Bob called me to look out the window and there they were again, advancing across our driveway. He grabbed the binoculars while I tried to get a head-count as they straggled across the road, snatching at fallen seeds. I counted sixteen initially, and the same number later with the binoculars. They wandered among the poplars for a few minutes, then mom must have ordered a march. Their heads all went up, all facing south, and they scurried down the driveway.

I’m calling them lesser prairie chickens because of their red “neck sacks” when they flashed at one another. Apparently these are considered an endangered species, and rare, so we were quite privileged to see them.

Because it’s been so dry, I’ve put dishes of water in the garden: two deep dinner plates and a huge plant saucer. They empty out quite fast since the birds use them to bathe in as well as drink from; I clean and fill them twice a day. I can call it the tax I must pay for having the birds linger in our yard.

I wonder if the grouse have been drinking there, too? The smaller birds must be harvesting the local bushes, as I always find a number chokecherry seeds in the bottom of the plates. Yesterday I noticed the water from the cat’s bowl outside had been splashed all over the tiles, indicative that some birds had been having fun. The garden plates were empty, but the smaller birds have discovered the cat’s bowl and occasionally use it as their fountain. I saw a magpie drinking out of it one day, too.

Anyway, enough said about bruises and grouse. On now to dinner and house. 🙂

Saturday Chat

Yesterday morning, standing in front of our south picture window letting the sun warm me, I had to think, “How the worm has turned!” Just last week all the drapes were drawn and we were trying hard to stay cool, the temp outside being 35̊ C. But yesterday morning the house was actually chilly.

After a few cooler days, I understand the worm is turning back again. I’m writing this at 2pm Saturday and it’s quite warm outside. Thursday afternoon we had a wild storm with 3/10″ of rain; in spite of that two hummers have decided to stick with us – our generous feeder, that is – for awhile longer. There’s one I think of as “old mother hummer” because she looks like one. When it comes to feeder-rights she’s obviously at the top of the pecking order; she sits on it like she owns it. I’m thinking this is the same hummer that stayed into Sept last year.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is GLITCH. Which reminds me, how are you all making out with the new Block–Ed. Still encountering glitches when you try to post? I still miss the one-shot Block & Justify feature. Doing it paragraph by paragraph is tedious, but it works. Now, if only I could see that is has worked, but that doesn’t show up in the draft. On the other hand, I really like the way I can shuffle paragraphs around with a click, click on the little arrow.

For me this week had a unique glitch in it when I discovered a lump appearing where it shouldn’t and we had to go to the hospital Wednesday morning. Thankfully it was never painful, just out of place, as hernias are. I was thinking this may require a quick minor surgery and went prepared, but the doctor was able to re-place it without too much distress to me. Now I need to do some exercises to strengthen the muscle that should be holding it in place. Fellow couch potatoes, be warned!

One good thing came of it, though. Sitting several hours in Emergency waiting to see a Dr, I finished the e-book I was reading. And when I got home, in the course of taking things easy, I finished a couple more. I’m a bad one for having several books on the go at a time. OCD? Just read another Jeeves and Wooster tale, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, trying not to laugh too hard.

Covid-19 cases continue to decline here after the last round of fresh ones. To date Saskatchewan has had 1,165 cases, with1,548 recovered and 24 deaths. Out of a population of 1.182 million, so thankfully for us Covid-19 hasn’t been the “grim reaper” some folks were predicting. Most everyone’s wearing a mask now and some stores like Walmart & Costco insist. With my hearing problems, I’ll be so glad when a vaccine is found and we can talk face-to-face again. I can’t imagine how deaf people are making out!

The fields not combined are all golden, but a lot of fields are just stubble now as harvest continues, seemingly unhampered by Thursday’s storm. The crops have looked really lush this summer; now fat round bales are appearing in fields all around us.

And that’s about all the news from our small corner. Take care, everyone, and I hope you all have a great weekend.

Slow Down, Oh Speeding Clock!

It’s almost suppertime here on the prairie. The day has hastened on, as days seem to. It’s Saturday and the municipal landfill (aka “dump”) was open, so we filled our car with garbage & recycling and hauled it all to the dump. Every farm and acreage must look after their own out here in the country.

I rode along with Bob just for the fun of it. 😉 The weather today has been intermittently sunny and overcast; as we drove the maybe-sixteen miles there and back I observed the sky full of lumpy clouds that seemed to bumble along. They have passed on and the sun came out.

Right now my half of our office looks rather shambolic — a new word I picked up over at Merriam-Webster. As you can guess, it comes from shambles and means “a great confusion or mess.” In reparation for hauling recycling to the dump, and just on the general principle of getting rid of clutter, my husband (a bookkeeper) went through a bunch of old records yesterday and piled them at my corner, next to the shredder. Last night and this morning I was shredding and filling garbage bags with paper recycling — to be made into who knows what? I got half done; the rest awaits my attention.

But back to the title of this post and the incident that sparked it. Have you noticed that the days, weeks, months go by WAY too fast. I decided a few days ago to just make my morning coffee instant. I checked the date, as I do once every blue moon, I discovered that the almost full jar of instant coffee, which I bought about six months ago, expired Feb 1st, 2019. When six months turns into a year and a half, is that not proof that time goes by WAY too fast?

Speaking of blue moons, and other heavenly times, are you planning to watch the solar eclipse on Sunday?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was CLOISTERED, which comes from cloister, a religious enclave, a place or state of seclusion, which comes from the Latin root verb, “to close.” Since I rarely make tea for myself, I’ve cloistered a number of misc. assorted teas up in a top cupboard. Waiting there for me to get the notion for a cup of tea, the leaves are likely returning to the dust from whence they came.

However, my jar of instant coffee is in the main traffic area, right by the cocoa mix and peanut butter. How could I have neglected it so long? Not to be wasteful, I’m now drinking a lot of instant coffee. After all, those grounds are good forever — or at least another six months.

I have to admit, though, that apart from the swift flight of time, my problems are small ones — for which I’m very thankful. I had a blood test last week Monday followed by a phone consultation with my oncologist on Thursday, and she says my blood counts are all perfect: she can’t see from my blood-work that I ever had leukemia. And that’s something to rejoice about!

So I’ll close with this little poem:

We thank Thee, Father, for the care
that did not come to try us,
the burden that we did not bear,
the trouble that passed by us,
the task we did not fail to do,
the hurt we did not cherish,
the friend who did not prove untrue,
the joy that did not perish.

We thank Thee for the blinding storm
that did not lose its swelling
and for the sudden blight of harm
that came not nigh our dwelling.
We thank thee for the dart un-sped,
the bitter word unspoken,
the grave unmade, the tear unshed,
the heart-tie still unbroken.