Word Prompts Whirl

Good morning everyone!

I woke up and looked at the clock, which read 7:01. After a moment’s pondering, I rolled out of bed, got to my feet, and enjoyed a moment of gratitude because I CAN get up and stand on my feet. I CAN move around. When you’ve worked in a nursing home as I have, and seen people who lie in bed for months and even years, you do appreciate the ability to move around.

I recall a time when I was twenty-something. I’d just woken up and was pondering rather ungratefully how life wasn’t going well for us. My husband had to give up his job as a grain buyer because of allergies; at that time he was taking odd jobs with farmers to keep us afloat. We could hardly pay bills; we were living upstairs in his parents’ home. No, our life just didn’t look very rosy at that moment with us being so broke. Then I got out of bed and looked out the window, across the houses and tree tops of Moose Jaw, and the thought came to me, “You have something wonderful. You can see.”

Remember that old poem about the person who was feeling envious until she met a lad who was blind. The last line being, “Oh, Lord, forgive me when I whine. I have two eyes; the world is mine.” Not that my gratitude should be based on what others don’t have and can’t do, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to count your physical blessings. Mr Google tells me you can read the poem here.

Anyway, I headed for the kitchen for my morning coffee, my thoughts still flitting around my experiences in the nursing home. Breakfast: I can do it. I can fix myself, and enjoy, cereal, toast an egg. I recall how we’d feed those folks mush because they couldn’t swallow anything solid. Thank you, God for the ability to move, to swallow, to see – even if the season’s changing in a way I don’t appreciate.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: FRUSTRATION. Not at all this morning, thankfully. As I was saying, I’m feeling grateful rather than frustrated at all at the start of this new day – except maybe by the fact that the week has flown by so fast. Being retired, I can’t say like many others are morning, “Thank God it’s Friday!” But I will say a special thanks to you bloggers who supply us with new writing prompts every day. 🙂

Your Daily Word Prompt: PERFIDIOUS. Ah! This weather. This morning I opened the front door, looked out and took note of my coleus plant in a pot on the deck. Yesterday when I watered it, this plant had lush green leaves, swirled with appealing red tones as coleus are. This morning it’s limp and solid purple. Yesterday when the sun was shining brightly and the evening was fairly mild, I didn’t even think about frost. I have been taking in some nights so it wouldn’t freeze, but wasn’t thinking of frost last night. “Haha,” said the perfidious temperature as it dipped down and dealt my coleus a death blow.

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge: RECONCILE. Yes, I need to reconcile myself to the idea that autumn is here. The leaves are going to fall – in fact the maples have shed a lot already – and my plants are going to freeze. I need to get outside and do some fall clean-up before the snow flies. And the snow will fly, though it’s been so dry we may not get a lot. Back in 1976 we had a really dry fall here on the prairie and got no snow to speak of until February.

Word of the Day: AGASTOPIA. I saw this and wondered, what on earth is that? Neither Lexico nor Merriam-Webster can help me out. According to the prompter, this word means “The visual enjoyment of the appearance of a specific physical aspect of another person.” It can have a sensual context.

When we lived in Montréal I had this friend, a delightful person, with a real weakness for colours and textures. Today we’d call her “bipolar”; back then it was “manic-depressive”; at any rate, she was apt to react more strongly than most of us to visual or textural stimulus. Walking through a mall with her one day I had to be patient, as she’d see some fabric that excited her and she’d have to stop and handle it. A fur vest – she just had to rub it.

She told this story on herself: she was riding home on the subway one day when a man sat in front of her. Well, he had the thickest, darkest, most appealing mop of hair. She was fascinated and tried to restrain herself, but finally she couldn’t anymore. She reached out and buried her fingers in it as she exclaimed, “You have beautiful hair!” I gather he was surprised, but thankfully more flattered than alarmed. He just said – perhaps with a bit of uncertainty, “Thank you.” But she was such a cheery, likeable person that he didn’t take offense.

Lastly, Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day this morning is DELVE. I’ve been delving into Bible prophecy – the different ideas that have been embraced by Christians – and plan to post an article on premillennialism and dispensationalism later today. What huge words, eh? The first word means “before the thousand years” and the second refers to ages or eras.

I want to say a hearty thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to read this ramble of mine. But now it’s 10:30 and I’ve journalled enough. I’d better get on with some real work of the day. I hope you all have a great weakened weekend. (English is so much fun! )

Verbalizing English

As often happens, an article on another blog has fired my mental cylinders and — coupled together with some peeves I’ve already petted — has generated enough sparks to inspire a story.

The culpritical article in this case, is Merriam-Webster’s Great Big List of List of Words You Love to Hate. All your favorite pet peeves in one location.

This has touched a nerve. My past musings, after seeing the word HEROIZE in an article, were about how some writers have such a love of making nouns into verbs, and/or mangling both. Heroize is actually an old word that’s never caught on well, but M-W’s article has given me a few new words to grind my teeth on: CONVERSATE, COMMENTATE, and INCENTIVIZE. Shriek!

Biff has done another Whatnot Wednesday prompt post again; since this post definitely fits in the “Whatnot” class, I’ll give him a nod for that inspiration.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is ZEPHYR. I think I can work a few of those into my tale.

A Page from Mrs Ditz’s Longsuffering Diary…

My car was running rough, so at 10 am I took it to the mechanic to see if he could figure out what was wrong. And since I didn’t want to loiter at the shop while he was mechanizing it, I decided to go for a walk. The morning was warm and sunny with zephyrs swirling around, I felt inspirated to meanderate through the park and enjoy the flowers.

I wonder if my daughter is finding the prom dress fabric she’s looking for. I left her at the mall where she planned to materialize at Fabric Haven. This girl is definitely an accomplished seamstress. You should have seen the gorgeous fitted blazer she seamed for herself last month. A perfect fit!

I’d thought of going back to the mall myself and grabbing a coffee in the food court, but you know how it is when everybody’s cacophoning on their cells. You can’t hear yourself think! So I’ll just stroll along and appreciate these morning breezes zephyrating the flowers and shrubs. I just encounted a nice old lady taking her young grandson for a walk and she commentated, too, on the lovely weather.

This morning my son is engaged in an important work. He’s together with several other scientists who want to scientize a report on our local environment. They’ve got a lot of data to analyze and categorize, then they’ll compilate their findings and present their report to some committee that wants to improvate air quality in our city.

I hope it doesn’t take that fellow long to mechanize my car. My dog’s having pups and the vet tells me Drowsy could be litterating any moment now. Drowsy’s a purebred English Terrier and I was hoping to sell the pups, but I suspicion that the mongrel down the street may have illegitimatized this batch.

I think I’d best rotate and head back in the direction of the garage. I don’t want to incentivize him to bill me for any more time than what’s strictly necessary.

A Unique Editing Encounter

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge for today is REPLACE
The Daily Spur word prompt yesterday was EDITOR
The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was WOODSY

Fandango had an interesting story as his response to these prompts, the furious reaction of a writer who’s sent his manuscript off to an editor and it comes back thoroughly red-penned. He calls the editor, irate about all the marking and even replacing of sections. So I’ll credit Fandango for my tale. His story got me thinking down this line. I do feel a bit of sympathy for that editor, though he overstepped his role.

One day, after reading a story by a multi-published author, I asked my eight-year-old grandson, “How can a person fall off a train and land in front of the train? And furthermore, land far enough in front of the train that the train can stop in time to not run over the person’s body?”
He thought for a moment and said, “It would work if the train’s going backwards and the person fell off the engine.”
A certain writer should engage my grandson as technical advisor.

A Unique Editorial Encounter

I was wandering my way through an Ontario woodland path one morning, taking in the sound of birds, the woodsy smell of the trees and earth, listening to the wind fluttering the leaves, when I came upon a penguin weaving its (its – not it’s) way among the trees.

“What on earth! Oh, I’m losing it,” I exclaimed. “Penguin! What are you doing in these woods?”

“I don’t usually do woods,” the creature replied. “I seem to have gotten lost.”

“Big time. You’re over half a planet from home.”

“Can you tell me the way to Puddleville?”

“Puddleville? I can, but what do you want to do there?”

“A writer who lives in Puddleville wants a penguin for her story; she ordered me from e-Bay. She’s writing something about Hudson Bay and she wants me to do a guest appearance in her story.”

“But there are no penguins in Hudson Bay. Ever,” I protested. “Never have been.”

“You’ll have to take that up with the writer. I’m just one of the cast. I’ve supposedly stowed away on a fishing boat going into Hudson Bay. Now I’m to fall off the boat and flail around in the bay so her brave main character can save me from drowning in the frigid water.”

“Save you from drowning? But you’re a penguin – you can swim. And as far as frigid waters go, the water in Hudson Bay is a lot warmer than the Antarctic.”

“Say, you really like to find fault! What are you, an editor? What have you got against an exciting sea rescue? She’s writing it in a very dramatic style readers will love.”

“I like my drama to be realistic, even in fiction. A lot of readers do, you know. She should have at least hired a seal.”

“But I’m way more interesting than a seal any day.” He took a moment to preen a bit. “Anyway, I’m just going to do what I’m told, then grab the bucket of fish she’s offering as payment, and head south.”

“I think this whole story is going to head south. What’s the name of her book so I don’t spend good money on it.”

“She’s calling it Igor’s Alaskan Adventure. I’m Igor. “

I shook my head. “Why am I not surprised? Anyway, how be you follow me home, then I’ll drive you to Puddleville in my car. You’re never going to get there hobbling through the woods like this. I might even have a word with this writer about geography. Alaskan Adventure indeed!”

“You’d better watch out. Writers don’t always react well to some ‘slash and burn’ editor type finding holes in their plots.”

“You’re probably right.” I sighed. “Well, come on, Igor. Your adventure awaits.”

Forest Image:
F Richter & S Hermann at Pixabay

The Lost Cabbage Leaves

And now, dear readers, here’s a story that’s 100% silly. When I opened my e-mail first thing this morning I saw word prompts from several sites, plus a big one from Merriam-Webster giving their Word of the Day and their Words of interest this week. So I’ve decided to write a tale incorporating all these words:

From M-W: Docile, Joke, Manipulate, Synonym, Soup, Besot, Hair-trigger
From Word of the Day: Dilatory; from Your Daily Word: Loyal,
From Ragtag Daily Prompt: Again, and from Fandango (FOWC): Excuse
And because the image of a snail on a rock popped into my head…
this one is from Pixabay, shared by photographer Carpi23auto.

So now I give you…

“The Saga of the Snail Siblings”

Sally snail made her way over the rock in a dilatory manner.

“You’re such a dawdler!” her brother Sangster called from the ground below. “Why did you have to go over that dumb rock, anyway? Honestly, the snow will be blowing by the time you get over to the cabbages. You’ll miss munching all those delicious leaves.”

Another brother, Sander, added his reproach. “Yeah. They’ll all be chopped up and in the soup before you get halfway across the garden.”

“Well, there’s more to life than cabbage leaves,” Sally told them as she slid off the rock. She joined her sister Salvena who’d opted to go around the rock and had found a few discarded green beans near the base.

“Just ignore them, Sally.” Salvena, ever loyal to her sister, offered to share her find. “Help me eat this green bean. It’s a bit limp, but still lots of flavor.” She nibbled on an end in her careful way.

Sander hooted. “Beans are blah! That’s just an excuse for quitting. There’s nothing like a cabbage leaf for flavor.” He started off again toward the cabbage heads that so besotted him.

“Race you,” Sangster shouted at him.

“Those guys racing. That’s such a joke,” Sally muttered to her sister. “Well, I’m not going to let them manipulate me into rushing around, getting my lovely shell muddy. Or have those flea beetles jumping on my head.”

“Oh, I hate those fleas! That’s why I never go near the radish row,” Salvena told her. “They have such hair-trigger paranoia. Anything sets them off and they spring willy-nilly all over. Next thing you have one or two riding on your antenna.” Salvena shuddered. A docile creature by nature, she eschewed sudden or erratic movement.

“A flea on your antenna is like red ant on your foot. A nuisance you want to get rid of as soon as you can.”

“That’s a really good synonym, Sally.” Salvena turned her eyes toward the cabbage patch. “It looks like the boys have almost made it.” Then she gasped. “Oh no! One of those monsters! Oh, I do hope the boys will be safe.”

“It’s picking them up,” Sally exclaimed. The two sisters watched as the monster flung their brothers out of the garden. Sander and Sangster flew over their heads and landed in the grass just beyond the onion row.

Ten minutes later the boys came crawling out of the grass, back to the rock where their sisters were still working on the beans.

“Maybe we’ll join you after all,” Sangster said. “Though I’m still feeling pretty dizzy. I’ve never moved so fast in my life! I used to think it would be fun to be a bird, but not anymore!” Sangster wiggled his antenna to test them.

“You poor things.” Kind-hearted Sally moved over to give her brothers some space. “So much for the cabbage leaves, eh?”

“Yeah. Guess we can’t always have our first choice. But this is okay,” Sander admitted, chomping into the fat bean.

Words of Fervor & Folly

Good afternoon, dear readers. I’ve been looking at the word prompts for today, plus I read an interesting article at Pocket, now I’ll try to gather all the thoughtlets that are bouncing around.

First, I must thank Fandango for his FOWC prompt today, which is ARCANE. I thought I understood this word, but decided I’d check in the dictionary and be certain. And I was SO WRONG! Somehow I’ve gotten this word confused with INANE.

Sue’s JibberJabber prompt for today is CHANGE and I’ve had to completely change my thinking after this little visit to the dictionary. I’ll know better now if I happen to read in a story: “After making an arcane remark in answer to his question, his assistant left the room.”
How I’ve misjudged the poor person! I always thought they’d said something stupid or sarcastic.

According to Lexico, ARCANE means
Understood by few; mysterious or secret.
synonyms: obscure, deep, profound

INANE means:
Lacking sense or meaning; silly
synonyms: empty, insubstantial

ASININE, going even further, means:
Extremely stupid or foolish
synonyms: silly, brainless, nonsensical

The Your Daily Word prompt for today is PLETHORA, so I’ll tack this all together for a bit of linguistic history.

Owing to its tendency to gather words from all nations, the English language has a plethora of words that mean, or sound, almost the same — synonyms, we call them. Check out any thesaurus and  you’ll see dozens of synonyms for some words, especially slang expressions. I counted 48 shorter variations of “drunk” and a few longer ones like “in his cups.”

Quite a few dictionary words are archaic, or regional and thus arcane — do you know what a SCOP is? — while most are widely known to English speakers across the globe. Some words have shifted, like HAGGARD, which meant wild or untamed, but has shifted over time and is now understood as “having a gaunt, worn appearance.”

Over the centuries the Bible has had a profound effect on English, giving us the Ten Commandments and the  Golden Rule, along with many other expressions and lines. And poets have enriched the language with expressions that became part of everyday vocabulary.

Like Bobby Burns, with “the best laid plans of mice and man go oft astray…” Even though he wrote his “Ode To A Mouse” in 1785, I still see these words in articles today. Charles Dickens gave us Scrooge, who will forever represent the quintessential miser.

Sitcoms and stand-up comedians have added a lot of witty and/or inane wisecracks, like “He’s quite fond of John Barleycorn,” and “The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor,” and punch lines like “Been there; done that.”

Now for a thought on FERVOR, which I gleaned a few hours ago from an article at POCKET. Here’s a list of six “weak verbs” we should use sparingly in our speech. Using these expressions make us sound INDECISIVE.* Something to consider.
I think
I need
I want
I hope
I guess
I suppose

*Synonyms: ambivalent, conflicted, doubtful, dithering,
faltering, skeptical, wishy-washy, uncertain, wavering

And now I guess…oops!…I…er…definitely WILL go and do something else. 😉

Interambling

It’s a beautiful, semi-sunny afternoon here and I have a short while to write before I head off to make supper for the folks at the Villa. Our landscape is lush and green after several heavy rains this last week; the crops look beautiful at this moment and the sloughs have some water in them again. Wrens nesting in the yard greet us with bursts of song as we step out the door.

I was looking at the various prompt words this morning and have decided to do a “conflation” — which was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day yesterday. A conflation is a blend or fusing. So I’m going to interfuse the various prompt words with a rambling account of life at our house. So this will be an inter-rambling. (“Rambleflation” just didn’t cut it.)

Life has changed  for me in the past week, as I’ve left the comfort of my office chair and well situated PC keyboard for a more nomadic life with a laptop at the table. And this setup is not ergonomic, but hopefully will only be for a season.

Sue’s Jibber Jabber prompt word for today is TRIP. Unfortunately for me, some microscopic organisms — aka “mites” have hitched a ride into the house on our cat and decided that
a) — the location where they hopped off seemed promising re: settlement. (This being my vinyl office chair where the cats love to curl up when I’m not in it. (I’ve mentioned this issue before.)

b) My flesh tastes about as good as any other. (A fact the mosquitoes have already established.) A tiny nip now and then seems to satisfy them. It doesn’t satisfy me, however.

Merriam-Webster’s word for today is STALWART, and I’m not, when it comes to getting bitten. Summer is hard on me in that respect; mosquito and other bug bites never used to cause me the grief they do now.

As I said, they are microscopic. I feel a tiny itch and see nothing, but a dot soon shows up and swells into a red lump. A few days ago I was typing on my computer and felt that tiny itch on my hand. I looked down and, sure enough, a red spot was appearing. Must have had my hand on the chair and the thing migrated. Hubby either never gets bitten or doesn’t react, but I’m allergic to bug bites, mosquito bites, etc., and get big red lumps. I’m apt to get a bite around my thighs at the edge of the chair.

Thankfully the rest of the house is okay — Thanks much, Mr Vacuum, or whoever invented said device. But a small colony of mites must have established itself in the folded seams of the vinyl of my chair at one point. I’ve liberally sprayed the whole area several times, blocked the cats’ access to my desk chair and vacated, leaving the critters to starve. I’ve set up my laptop  in the dining room for the duration, but it’s not quite so easy, nor comfortable, to ensconce myself and write to my heat’s content.

On to a better subject. Being a lover of history, I was very tempted when I saw these books offered as Book Cave special this morning: ANGLO-SAXON KINGDOMS. These days when I’m very tempted, I put the books on my wish list — though I fear I’ll never live long enough to make it to the end!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is ALMOST — a word that suits almost every circumstance. For example, “It’s almost time for me to leave for work.”

And the Word of the Day prompt is READY, an equally multi-purpose word. Once I put in the links, this post will be ready to publish.