Tuesday, October 31, 2006
For those who don't quite remember what homographs are, I did a little research (without looking up tons of examples) to provide a review of a few terms.
homophone: words that sound the same but are spelled differently
Example: Two, to, too
homonym: words that have the same spelling and sound but different meanings
Example: Stalk (corn stalk) and stalk (excessively follow someone)
homograph: also words that have the same spelling but have different meanings (similar to, if not the same as, homonym)
Example: Cleave (can mean separate/divide or can mean adhere to)
Last night, we kept using the word homograph for the words we were exchanging back and forth. But, in my research, it seems I have found a more exact name.
Heteronym (also sometimes called heterophone): words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings. (In other words, they are homographs which differ in pronunciation or, technically, homographs which are not homophones.)
Example: Desert (abandon) and desert (sandy place)
Again, same spellings, different pronunciations, different meanings.
So, the challenge is to think of heteronyms (known as homographs or heterophones to some)...but to NOT LOOK THEM UP ON THE INTERNET OR IN BOOKS! You, of course, can look at the Wikipedia page where I did my "research"... but try to refrain from looking at the links on that page or at other sites. From my experience in the past seventeen hours, it is exciting to think of them on one's own. See what you can discover.
My meager findings so far (as examples):
sow (female pig) and sow (planting seeds)
dove (past tense of dive) and dove (bird)
bass (fish) and bass (instrument or singing voice)
close (proximity) and close (shut the door)
dingy (dirty) and dingy (small boat)
address (speech) and address (mailing location)
Bonus fact: I also liked reading about capitonyms, which I had never heard of before.
Capitonym: words that are spelled the same but have different meanings when capitalized (and may or may not have different pronunciations.)
Example: polish (to make shiny) and Polish (from Poland)
Monday, October 30, 2006
First, here's my pa...pictured here with my ma (from last Christmas.) They drove down this weekend, and we had a great time visiting. Like always, I just wish the time together was more abundant. Thankfully, Dad is feeling better, and I think this next year - leading up to a big birthday in 2007 - is going to be a great one for him. Sorry about the flopped birthday cake, Dad! (I tried.) But, I am glad that Mom and you were able to go back to my house after church to retrieve the "birthday chunk creation" I made for you. I'll hope for better for you at next year's celebration.
And, then there's Brother John. God is blessing John with great liberty while speaking to many churches around the country. He makes me laugh, and he's a good friend. And, he helps me out around my house (which I greatly need!) I'm currently waiting anxiously for John's birthday present to arrive in the mail. (So is he!) It's been a great week for him... with his birthday and with his team, the Cardinals, winning the World Series. He should be smiling from ear to ear. (I'll have to check on that!)
In an impromptu effort this past Friday night, Mom, Dad, John and I headed out to a new restaurant in town: Mr. Curry's Indian Cuisine. Even though we ended up not even mentioning the birthdays, we celebrated with good fellowship and delicious food. I hope to head back to Mr. Curry's in the NEAR future...and John and I will be coaxing other Little Flock members to join us. YUM YUM!
Happy birthday, Dad! Happy birthday, John! I love both of you very much....and pray each of you will be blessed with a year of happiness!
Similar sentiments stated in various ways...
It's easy to grin
When your ship comes in
And you've got the stock market beat.
But the man worthwhile,
Is the man who can smile,
When his shorts are too tight in the seat.
- Judge Smails
I want to be remembered as the girl who always smiles even when her heart is broken. And the one that could always brighten up your day even if she couldn't brighten her own. - Anonymous
'Tis easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows along like a song;
But the man worth while is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. - Thich Nhat Hanh
S M I L E
Words by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons
Music by Charlie Chaplin
(I've been attempting to smile despite some tough situations today. It would have been easier to do if Blogger hadn't had technical difficulties all day long!)
Friday, October 27, 2006
He has been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a rare condition that is absolutely baffling to me. As I understand it, the condition is caused by spasms of the vocal cords which cause interruptions in speech or diminished speech quality. (Specifically, it may cause jerky, quivery, hoarse, tight, or groaning voice. Periods of no sound (aphonia) in the voice may also occur.)
The most fascinating part? Symptoms sometimes improve or disappear when an individual does the following:
For more information, please refer to the NSDA (National Spadmodic Dysphonia Association) or the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) web sites.
(Maybe our good friend Liz, the speech pathologist, can chime in with more information.)
It is the story of a grieving widower, Paul Iverson, who does not understand how or why his wife fell from an apple tree in the backyard. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? With only their dog, Lorelei, as a witness, the linguist tries to piece together clues while attempting to train the dog to talk.
I did not buy this book at a store, nor did I purchase it online. Instead, I think it was sent to me through a "Bestsellers Book Club" that I once joined. I was surprised to find out that this was the #12 selection for the Today Show Book Club Series.
I sure wish I could understand what animals are saying. I wonder, are my cats, Penny and Simon, just telling me over and over, "I'm hungry. I'm hungry. I'm hungry. I'm hungry..."? It seems I will never know for sure. When I was in Arkansas, we played one of the board games that I took on the trip. It was Would You Rather...? (Classic Version), and one of the questions posed that night has remained with me: Would you rather.... automatically understand all foreign languages or understand all animal languages? Unanimously, we agreed on the foreign languages...but I keep rolling the options around in my head - weeks later. Hmmmm.....
The book's lead character carries out various attempts at teaching the dog to speak the English language, and that reminds me of Talk to the Animals by Sammy Davis Jr. (I can't find a site with him singing the song, but here are the lyrics.) It also reminds me of several talking animal jokes I've heard.
One day a man went to an auction. While there, he bid on a parrot. He really wanted this bird, so he got caught up in the bidding. He kept on bidding, but kept getting outbid. So, he bid higher and higher and higher. Finally, after he bid way more than he intended, he won the bid. The parrot was his at last! As he was paying for the parrot, he said to the auctioneer, "I sure hope this parrot can talk. I would hate to have paid this much for it, only to find out that he can't talk!" "Don't worry." said the Auctioneer, "He can talk. Who do you think kept bidding against you?"
A man and his dog walk into a restaurant. The man proclaims, "I'll bet you a $1000 that my dog can talk." Waiter: "Yeah! Sure... go ahead." Man: "What covers a house?" Dog: "Roof!" Man: "How does sandpaper feel?" Dog: "Rough!" Man: "Who was the greatest ball player of all time?" Dog: "Ruth!" Man: "Pay up. I told you he could talk." The waiter, annoyed at this point, throws both of them out the door. Sitting on the sidewalk, the dog looks at the guy and says, "or is the greatest player Mantle?"
Two roaches were munching on garbage in an alley when one engages a discussion about a new restaurant."I was in that new restaurant across the street," said one. "It's so clean! The kitchen is spotless, and the floors are gleaming white. There is no dirt anywhere. It's so sanitary that the whole place shines." "Please," said the other roach frowning. "Not while I'm eating!"
Q: What's smarter than a talking horse? A: A spelling bee.
Q: What does a frog say when it washes car windows? A: Rub it, rub it, rub it.
Q: How do you get a parrot to talk properly? A: Send him to polytechnic!
A guy driving around the countryside and saw a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog For Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador Retriever sitting there. “You talk?” he asks. “Yep,” the Lab replies. The man asks, “So, what’s your story?”
The Lab looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired”
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. “Ten dollars,” the owner replies. Astonished, the guy yells, “Ten dollars?!?!?! This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?” The owner retorts, “Because he’s a liar. He never did any of that stuff!”
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Who said the following?
A. "I vant to eat your cereal!" Count Chocula
B. "Just follow your nose!" Toucan Sam
C. "Finger lickin' good" Colonel Sanders
D. That his place was "where a kid could be a kid!" Chuck E. Cheese
E. "Have it your way!" Burger King
What is the name of...
F. the main Keebler elf? Ernie
G. the Sargento Cheese mouse? Moppy
H. Buster Brown's dog? Tige
I. the Domino's crazy character we were supposed to avoid? The Noid
J. the U.S. Forest Service's character that told us not to pollute? Woodsy The Owl
What did ______ wear?
K. ...Charlie Tuna (on his head)... Beret
L. ...the icon "Jack" for Cracker Jack... Sailor suit
M. ...the Pilsbury Doughboy... Chef hat and kerchief
N. ...Mr. Peanut... Cane, top hat, and monocle
O. ...McGruff the Crime Dog... Trench coat
P. What jumps through a 9 on an Eveready Battery logo? Black cat
Q. What's the famous line said by the Stork on Vlasic commercials? That's the best tastin' pickle I ever heard!
R. Who was especially attentive to "His Master's Voice?" Nipper the Dog (RCA)
S. When Sugar Bear took a vacation, who replaced him? Dig'em Frog
T. Who were the two characters created for Ken-L-Ration pet food? Fido & Fifi
U. What icon was the first registered trademark for breakfast cereal? Quaker Oats Man
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Philosophical statement within Discourse on Method (1637)
René Descartes' original French statement: "Je pense, donc je suis."
Common Greek translation: "Cogito Ergo Sum"
English translation: "I think, therefore I am."
I began thinking about this phrase at the end of last week when I was having a conversation with a co-worker about all of the chores and projects I was attempting to complete at my house before our upcoming November church meeting. I said the following to her:
I think, therefore I am.
I didn't think, therefore I am collecting lint rollers.
As most know, I have two cats. And, I love my cats. But, before I adopted them, I didn't realize what changes they would be creating in my normal cleaning schedule, my comfort with visitors stopping by unexpectedly, my daily clothes inspection routine, and so many other aspects of my life. I just didn't think about it. But, every day since, I've thought about it a lot. Case in point: After searching through a couple of drawers and under the desk in my closet-size office, I found four lint rollers (two depleted, two close to the end of the roll). I have one or two in my car. I have at least three more at home in various locations. Yes, I obsess about this at times, but I have never seen two cats shed as much as the two I have. So, the point I was trying to (not-so-cleverly) make was that lint rollers have now become a huge part of my life.
However, my co-worker peered at me with squinting eyes and told me she didn't have a clue about what I just said to her. I asked a few more, and they had never heard the phrase, "I think, therefore I am." I went to a co-worker that I was SURE would know, and he had no idea.
I cannot recall where I learned about it. Maybe it was in my freshman honors humanities class. Maybe I just looked it up one time after hearing someone else talk about it. I do understand that it is considered the "first certainty" or "first truth" carried out through the steps below.
If you would like to understand this further, I would recommend you read the short but informative article about this principle at the Wikipedia site. I especially appreciate the joke posted in the Common Errors section of this explanation.
It's very possible that I started reading and learning about this statement after seeing it on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or coffee mug. These are some humorous variations that I've seen from time to time.
I think, therefore I blog.
I think, therefore I am a vegetarian.
I think, therefore I recycle.
I think, therefore I compost.
I think, therefore I vote.
I think, therefore I don't know.
I think, therefore IM. (instant message)
I think, therefore iPod.
I think, therefore I roleplay.
I think, therefore I am misunderstood.
I think, therefore I am a Christian.
I think, therefore I communicate.
I think, therefore I am single. (?)
I think, therefore I read.
I think, therefore I write.
I think, therefore I have a headache.
Have you seen any others? (And, if I am not clearly understanding the basics of this statement, please correct me.)
Update on the Apple Dumplin's sign: Dad went back to the Red Brick Schoolhouse the very next day. But, by the time his playing job was over, all signs were taken down. We were hoping to scan one in and post it here, but no! Maybe next year...
In the meantime, the number of 'Pumpkin's for Sale' signs have seemed to multiply. I wish I had a digital camera with me at all times so that I might post some of the other funny ones here. There's one at my bank right now that has 3 large glaring errors in it. I had hoped to mention it to the manager last week, but she was with a customer each time I was at the branch.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Under the heading of Monthly Entry Contests, you will see "Common Answers." Unlike most exercises, your goal is not to think of the most brilliant or unique answer. Instead, your goal is to answer the question in the way that you think most other users of BrainBashers will answer the question. (Example: Name a color within the rainbow. You might like indigo best, but most folks - according to a common answer quiz in January 2003 - thought of red. If you think red will be most common, you'll want to enter red.) If you don't quite understand, be sure to check out the previous months' quizzes and answers - along with the names of the winners. You will need an email address to participate in the competition, but your email address will not be shared with anyone. It is used solely to send your entry to you so you can verify it. Check back every month for a new Common Answers questionnaire.
Another of my favorite Monthly Entry Contests is "Whosat?" A portion of a famous person's face will be pictured, and you are being asked to identify the person. You may also view the previous month's Whosat picture along with the name of the winner.
If you're constantly completing IQ tests, trying to use (or just plain remember) theorems you learned back in high school, or you love being challenged in new areas, be sure to look under the heading Play With Your Mind to find BrainBall. You may create an account in the system to compete against other geeky puzzle lovers each day or feel free to check out the demo game. Each day's test will include 10 rounds of fun and will be completely different from the day before so that all parts of the human intellect will be challenged. Frustrating to me? YES! Fun to me? YES!
Impress others with your typing skills? Then, take a try at Typo, also located under the Play With Your Mind heading. Type a sentence well, and you will receive bonus words to type for points. Type poorly, and you will soon be kicked out for your mistakes. (This is always a good humility check that no matter how fast I type, I rely way too much on the backspace key!)
If you love word games, check out Broken Words. Like Soduko? Sign up to receive a daily puzzle. Kakuro, Nonograms, Puzzle Loops... Name your poison. What about your favorite board, strategy, and arcade games from the past? They have it all..and something for all interests and abilities.
Have fun on the BrainBashers site. But, don't get addicted. (Don't say I didn't warn you!)
Here, big sister Paige is delighted to meet her new brother at the hospital. I can't wait to meet him also!
Monday, October 23, 2006
It seems there is one and only one person in the U.S. with my first and last name: me! I wonder if that is really true. I did know of a basketball player in Canada who had the same name, but I thought she moved to California....and I thought there was a woman in KS with my name that was in some trouble with a court case. Other than that, I don't know of anyone else. If you know of someone with my name, please introduce us.
The site provided the following information about my first name:
There are 778,419 people in the U.S. with your first name.
Statistically the 56th most popular first name.
More than 99.9 percent of people with that first name are female. (With that spelling, I should hope so!)
Here's what is provided about my last name:
There are 510 people in the U.S. with the same last name.
Statistically the 48525th most popular last name. (tied with 4686 other last names)
Feel free to comment to tell me how many individuals with your name exist in the U.S.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Who said the following?
A. "I vant to eat your cereal!"
B. "Just follow your nose!"
C. "Finger lickin' good"
D. That his place was "where a kid could be a kid!"
E. "Have it your way!"
What is the name of...
F. the main Keebler elf?
G. the Sargento Cheese mouse?
H. Buster Brown's dog?
I. the Domino's crazy character we were supposed to avoid?
J. the U.S. Forest Service's character that told us not to pollute?
What did ______ wear?
K. ...Charlie Tuna (on his head)...
L. ...the icon "Jack" for Cracker Jack...
M. ...the Pilsbury Doughboy...
N. ...Mr. Peanut...
O. ...McGruff the Crime Dog...
P. What jumps through a 9 on an Eveready Battery logo?
Q. What's the famous line said by the Stork on Vlasic commercials?
R. Who was especially attentive to "His Master's Voice?"
S. When Sugar Bear took a vacation, who replaced him?
T. Who were the two characters created for Ken-L-Ration pet food?
U. What icon was the first registered trademark for breakfast cereal?
The Steamboat Arabia - Hands down, this is my favorite. In short, two families worked to find the location where they believed a store-delivery steamboat became caught on a tree snag in 1856. 123 years later, the river had changed its course and corn fields stood where the river once ran, but the families took a risk and found their treasure. Still filled with goods (perfume, cognac, china, buttons, needles, eyeglasses, umbrellas and so much more) that were intended to be delivered to general stores along the river, the families' finds provide a rare glimpse into American life in the 19th century. DO NOT MISS THIS!
The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum - Known for the unique shuttlecocks (or birdies) on its front lawn, the museum is beautiful, inside and out. (Be sure to visit on a clear day so you can enjoy the sculpture park.) There are so many unique collections to enjoy and separate galleries for locations around the world that you are sure to see art that you'll love - no matter your taste. The staff is extremely involved in the community, and I participated in many of their cultural programs for the area youth. Currently being renovated, with an anticipated unveiling of June 2007, the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum is something I hope to return to see!
Kansas City Zoo - Opened in 1909, this attraction has a rich history. Today, this 202 acre zoo is one of the most unique I've seen. The zoo is divided into continents, featuring animals solely from those areas, and the designers have worked hard to create large habitats natural to each species. Be sure to take time for the zoo AND its surrounding Swope Park, the second largest urban park in the United States. These 1805 acres of historic land feature several golf courses, the zoo, a theatre, several athletic fields and a nature center.
Union Station - When I lived in Kansas City, the Union Station was a big, beautiful but empty building. I would often walk around its perimeter, just wondering about all that happened in the station long ago and what would become of it. I didn't have to wait long, as renovations began soon after my departure from the city, and it's been a hit ever since. Complete with a railway exhibit, restaurants, and theatres (3-D movies & LIVE THEATRE!), the site's main attraction is Science City. Be sure to save time for the planetarium and special historical displays at the Kansas City Museum (affilitated with Union Station) - inside Corinthian Hall, a local mansion.
12th Street & Vine - A trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at this special landmark noted in the tune, "Kansas City." (Kansas City, Kansas City, Here I come.... Standin' on the corner, of 12th Street and Vine....) My parents and I had a fun time tracking this down so we could take a picture of Dad by the street signs. Nearby, don't miss the 18th Street & Vine Historic District. The American Jazz Museum is surrounded by a string of joints that look like they're still jumpin' every night, just like they were back in the 20's, 30's and 40's. The Negro League Baseball Museum preserves the rich history of so many who played America's favorite pasttime but who are often forgotten.
There are too many great sites about which to write...so I won't go on and on. (I just hope our friends Liz and George are beginning to enjoy these now that they're living in K.C.) But, I was SOOOO EXCITED to hear a new attraction that will open in Spring of 2008 (0riginally set to open Fall of 2007): The Advertising Icon Museum.
Need important info on Mr. Peanut, Cap'n Crunch, or Big Boy? This is the place you'll want to visit! The features will include - of all things! - a rare, seven-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant, one of only three known to exist. Be sure to check out their gallery of icons. You'll be surprised to see who and what is included on the shelves and shelves of characters.
I can't wait to return to Kansas City to see some of my old favorites - along with this new museum that is sure to be a new favorite!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Well, I arrived at the box lunch social and sat right next to Adam and Ashlie to watch the program. Anna and I had spoken earlier about the hard work that her mom had put into creating a slide show that would review the previous years of the Wednesday School. And, Anna had talked to Sister Terri about finding lively music to accompany the slides.
Right in the middle of the presentation, my ears perked up after hearing just a few notes of one song, and I asked Brother Adam to join me in singing it (quietly, of course, so not to interrupt the show.) He gave me the strangest look and said, "I have no idea what this song is!"
Before going on, I must explain that Dad has hundreds (if not thousands) of records. And, he always kept a stash of them downstairs right with the record player. At times, there would be sudden exchanges of records from the downstairs to the upstairs, especially around the holidays or when Dad would begin to reminisce about particular artists. But, one record seemed to stay in the stereo case almost all of the time, and it was one of John Denver's. I think it was the "Back Home Again" album of 1974, but I'm not quite sure. Either way, I played this record over and over. And, the song that was definitely played most often was "Grandma's Feather Bed."
Our junior high decided to have a talent show, so Dad helped my friends and me put together a performance of this song - complete with overalls, pigtails, eyeliner freckles, and Piggly Wiggly dolls. (These were the KMart take-off of Cabbage Patch Dolls, but we LOVED them! We used them for the pig part of the song.)
Later on, my best friend Susan and I headed off to Illini Girls State, and we heard there would be a talent show. So, we decided to resurrect the number...with a few major changes. The crowd seemed to love it. Then, when we realized the Fulton County Fair talent contest was right around the corner, we decided to enter just for fun. We had no idea that we'd win!
So, here's a hilarious picture of Susan (left) and me at the county fair:The overalls were from Susan's neighbor, Elmer. The t-shirts were from Dad. The freckles and blacked-out teeth were supplied through various ladies' eyebrow pencils and eyeliners. And, our heftiness was created by a complicated stuffing technique with pillows, blankets and towels. We could barely walk at times, so you can imagine how funny the "dancing portion" of our routine was. Dad, as always, did a wonderful job accompanying us on piano, and Susan and I took turns with solos, harmonies, and our best southern accents. It is fun to think about the number of times we performed this and how many laughs we received. In fact, sometimes WE laughed so hard it was difficult to sing through the song.
For those that don't know the words, the following is how I remember them. And, for those who don't know the song at all, here is a first and a second excerpt of other artists' recordings. (I cannot find a recording of John Denver singing the entire song.)
When I was a little bitty [girl],
Just up off the floor,
We used to go down to Grandma's house
Every month or so.
We'd have chicken pie, country ham,
Homemade butter on the bread.
But, the best darn thing about Grandma's house
Was her great big feather bed.
It was nine feet high, six feet wide.
Soft as a downy chick (bawk! bawk! bawk!)
Made from the feathers of forty'leven geese.
Took a whole bolt of cloth for the tick.
It'd hold eight kids and four hound dogs
And a piggy we stole from the shed. (snort! snort!)
We didn't get much sleep, but we had a lot of fun
On Grandma's feather bed.
After supper we'd sit around the fire.
The old folks'd spit and chew.
Pa would talk about the farm and the war.
Granny'd sing a ballad or two.
I'd sit and listen and watch the fire
'Til cobwebs filled my head.
Next thing I'd know I'd wake up in the morning
In the middle of the old feather bed.
Well, I love my ma, love ma pa,
Love Granny 'n' Grandpa too.
Went fishing with my uncle, wrastled with my cousins.
I even kissed Aunt Lou! (EWW!)
But, if I ever had to make a choice
I guess it ought to be said:
I'd trade them all plus the [boy] down the road
For Grandma's feather bed.
I'd trade 'em all plus the [boy] down the road
For Grandma's feather be-e-ed! YEEE HAWWW!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
One for the master, one for the dame,
One for the little boy who lives down the lane.
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
Alternate versions: Some use the pronoun 'my' before master & dame. And, some use the line 'But none for the little boy, who cries in the lane.'
Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck one, the mouse ran down,
Hickory dickory dock!
Alternate versions: Instead of 'the mouse ran down,' some use 'and down he run' so that it rhymes. I like that!
Rock-a-bye, baby, in the tree top.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
Alternate versions: I've heard many sing "Hush-a-bye, baby" in the first line.
I'm a little teapot, short and stout.
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, here me shout.
Tip me over, and pour tea out.
Alternate versions: I guess the big "controversy" is whether one says 'TEA' or 'ME' in the last line.
Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can.
Roll it...Pat it...
Mark it with a B.
And, put it in the oven for baby and me.
Sometimes we also ended it this way:
Roll it... Pat it...
Mark it with a T.
And, put it in the oven for Tracy and me.
(It always worked out well if the first initial of the baby rhymed with 'me.')
Alternate versions: This seems to be the rhyme with the most variance. Some folks throw the cake in the oven, and others simply throw it away. Some folks don't pat it at all and say "Roll the dough." There's all sorts of endings after that. I just heard some new ones while I was down in Arkansas.
So, the big questions are the following: How did you learn Patty Cake? Are there other nursery rhymes that you were taught that seem different from the versions that others were taught?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
My brother and I were performers. We were musicians. We were artists - in the widest definition of the term. In fact, one of my earliest memories of Aaron was the morning after watching the circus on TV. Mom and Dad recall him jumping into their bedroom early that next day, making the oddest request, "Stremmel me! Stremmel me!" They had no idea what Aaron meant until they realized he wanted to be introduced - just like the ringmaster introduced each act the night before. Then began the family tradition of introducing each of our adventures, each of our creations, and each of our performances around the house, whether it was hanging upside down from our feet on the swing set or our attempts to coax the dogs or cats over our long line of jump ropes. Of course, the funniest times were when Aaron insisted that Dad introduce or "Stremmel" members of our family that didn't have the last name of Stremmel. "Ladies and Gentleman, introducing...uh, uh, uh, (building the announcement with anticipation) Uncle... Maurice... Stremmel! YAYYYYYY!" I still laugh out loud when I think of that.
Some of artistic ability seemed to come naturally. It's true that my parents do have recordings of me singing (and crying in protest at the songs Dad wanted me to sing) at age 2, 3, 4...and I am sure music was sung and played to me from my earliest days. And, I did win a poetry contest in first grade. But, my other arts efforts weren't so successful or natural. I remember glaring across the classroom as Angie Martin was repeatedly praised for her coloring skills. The teachers would sing, "Angie, it is so wonderful how you've outlined the picture sections with a dark line" or "You've added shading with your crayon? How delightful!" I knew I'd never be as good in coloring as Angie, and my pictures proved it. Uneven fills. Sudden darts outside of the lines. Bad color choices. Dark blots where it was clear to everyone that my Crayola had broken - ONCE AGAIN. (OK, OK. Maybe I was expecting too much from myself as a kindergartener, but it was important to me.) It's probably because of these circumstances that I started focusing on my penmanship or, rather, the 250+ fonts I've practiced in my life. Pages and pages of my notebooks are filled with letters and numbers of every shape and size. Sharp. Slanted. Smooth. Funny. Light-hearted. Excited. Sad. No matter how bad (or good) they actually were, it seemed that my made-up styles of letters and numbers could convey feelings that my drawings and my coloring never could.
Then, there was our obsession with the tape recorder. I think it all started when Dad pulled out the old reel-to-reel recorder and showed us how we could sound just like The Chipmunks. I remember the strange faces that Dad and Aaron would make trying to speak as low and as slowly as possible when recording so that the chipmunk voices would turn out well when played back on high speed. I would laugh so hard at those funny faces, which, in turn, would make Aaron giggle, and it would make the chipmunk recording reach an extremely high, ear-aching pitch. So, we'd start over. No big whoop. It was fun, and we had the time to spare in the summers. But, the few weeks or so of reel-to-reel experiences led to months and months of creativity in the upstairs theatre of our house on Dean Court. I had two twin beds in my room at the time, so we'd do our most imaginative dramatic and comedic writing on one bed...and then move to the other ("soundstage") to carry out the acting and recording on Dad's tape recorder. These were serious endeavors - with commercials, music swells for suspense, and everything! We'd tape all sorts of TV shows and radio programs we had imagined, and most of our efforts were focused on regular installments of our very own soap opera, 'As The World....STOPS!' (I really need to find those tapes to prevent future blackmail for both Aaron and me!)
The fun never stopped and led into arts classes at College for Kids, pottery and arts weeks at Dickson Mounds, special performances with Mr. Etter, The Playhouse Children's Theatre, band, drumline, chorus, madrigals, speech team, Model U.N., plays, musicals,...the list goes on and on. And, I loved all of it, and I wanted it to continue.
But, the time for college came. And, it became more and more clear that I was being forced to make some choices - that I would not be allowed to continue in all of the activities that I loved so much - especially in the arts. Even worse, my voice - my own body - wouldn't allow me to participate in the portions I loved the most. No matter how many urged me and no matter how much I secretly wanted to do so, I could not become a vocal music major. So, I tried to do the next best thing: become a theatre major. But, the nodules on my vocal cords would barely let me do even that. So, I took art classes, and surprise of all surprises, I was fairly good at it. But, for so many reasons, it was all too difficult to be around even the art majors because I couldn't do what I really wanted to do and what I felt I was made to do.
So, instead of being artsy, it seems I just became busy. Busy, busy, busy. B-U-S-Y! BUSY! And, I've been living like that for quite some time. I've moved from place to place, taking in events here and there, participating a little here and there. But, I have not lived anywhere long enough to truly get settled and feel like part of the community. There's been a long list of "I Wishes" surrounding this topic, but for years, the artistic part of my life has mostly lain dormant.
That is, until now! I've been living in the same area for 4 years now and have lived in my same house for over 3. My cats most assuredly are hoping that I will go somewhere else to sing, because they must be tired of constantly hearing me at home. My vocal cords seem to be healed. I'm only a month or two away from having that at-home "craft room" I've always wanted. And, I just found my big box of drawing and painting supplies. In short, there is no excuse for me not to jump back into this very important part of my life from which I've been disconnected for so many years. When I do all of these sorts of activities, I feel more....ME! And, it's about time. I WANT TO BE PART OF THE ARTS AGAIN!!!!
So, I've joined the Sacred Harp group, which I am continuing to love, and we had another great night of singing last night. I just sent out some of my photographs to be framed for my house. And, this weekend, I hope to visit with many local artists in a yearly event presented by the Madison County Arts Council: ARTEAST. "ARTEAST was initiated in 1998 by a group of artists as a way to pool their resources and bring attention to the extraordinary artists in the Metro East area of St. Louis." Last week, the tour focused on Alton, while this weekend the tour is centered around Edwardsville. I am very excited, as I have wanted to attend for many years. But, this year, I hope to move my intentions into action. Yippppeeee!
Who knows? Maybe, by next year, I'll have some "stuff" or "things" to show during the ARTEAST event. Maybe some felt craft items will be ready. Maybe I'll finally get around to painting and decorating all of the wooden chairs I've been stockpiling in my garage. Maybe I'll have my notecard and stationery business up and running by then. Maybe I can make something mysterious and wonderful out of the 300 wire hangers I have collected (also in my garage.) And, maybe, just maybe, I can show off some of my stellar origami. (Little Caesar's Employee: "Ever hear of Origami?” while folding and unfolding pizza box rapidly. Customer: (looking at pizza box) “What’s that?” Employee: “A pterodactyl! Caw! Caw! Caw!…” Customer: “A what?…”)
In October 2007, I hope I can look back on a fulfilling, more-genuine-me year of taking part in the arts community around me. It makes me excited to wonder what opportunities could be right around the corner.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Here we go...
In the past, I realize that I've focused on certain types of purchases. Some years, most of my finds were crystal and glass serving trays. Some years, I've purchased many books. One year, I bought tons of drinking glasses. I don't know why, but I guess my mind was focused on runners and cloth items this year. I am beginning to put the finishing touches on my upstairs remodeling project...making one big room into a medium-size bedroom and a small craft room/ bedroom combo. Almost all of the cloth items will be used in those two rooms, and I cannot wait to find a home for them!
Mom found her favorite Spoon River Drive purchase that she seeks out year after year: soy candles at the Red Brick Schoolhouse in Smithfield. Mom asked Dad to look for her usual scents when he was playing piano last weekend, but they were not present. So, Dad made the special request to have the candle maker bring in Mom's favorites this weekend and set them aside. It was nice for Mom to walk right up to the booth today and see that her preferred scents were waiting for her.
Unfortunately, our trip was very short compared to most years. We began later than usual, and we had to head back to the house earlier than usual this afternoon so that Mom can go with Dad to another playing job/special event this evening. Even worse, Mom is not feeling very well because she had a root canal on Wednesday. Everything was fine that day and Thursday, but her pain has increased Friday and today. We pray she does not have an infection and that she will receive a call back from the dentist very soon so that she may receive some antibiotics and/or pain killers. Even though the time was shorter and not as active as our usual Spoon River Drive experience, it was still a nice time spent with Mom in the brisk autumn breeze. And, already, we look forward to next year!
Just as a sidenote regarding my previous post about apostrophes: As I mentioned another time, the Red Brick Schoolhouse serves their "famous" chicken and noodles each year...along with a delicious dessert. All over the building, we saw signs for "Apple Dumplin's." This is how someone printed them by computer. What was funny, however, was that someone found error in the use of the apostrophe - thinking that it was incorrectly indicating possession. So, all over the building, we found signs with the apostrophe scribbled out. Mom and I smiled at each other when we saw the "corrections"...because we knew the writer could have intended to type the apostrophe to represent the missing "g" in the word. We don't know the typer's intention, but we thought it was funny after having a long discussion about the subject with Dad last night.
Tonight: Dad will leave soon for his second piano gig, and Mom will decide to either stay home or accompany him. I'm heading out to the store to purchase some last-minute items for a weiner roast tonight. Aaron and Ketra will be meeting me at my cousin's house in about an hour, and I am happy that I will be able to see many members of my family. This unexpected treat will cause me to stay here in Canton for a little longer than I thought, but it is well worth the extra time. Then, late, late tonight, I hope to head back to my house to receive some rest and to find new locations to place my new finds. Hope many of you are able to see my finds soon!
Friday, October 13, 2006
Then, there's the Mother-Daughter Weekend in the fall when I trek home so that Mom and I can go on the Spoon River Drive. For those not familiar with the event, it is a long string of towns, centered mostly in Fulton County, IL, filled with yard sales, flea markets, antiques, craft tables, delicious food, historical sites, and music. All of this occurs near the beautiful banks of (you guessed it!) the Spoon River, in proximity of rolling hills, corn fields being harvested, and gorgeous leaves turning for autumn. Mom and I have our usual route we take, and we love the familiarity of it. It seems our purchases and "just looking" are especially focused on the yard sale, antique, and flea market tables, but we love all of it. In recent years, much of our time has been spent in Smithfield, IL - one of the 15 main stops on the drive. We usually see Mom's old bowling friend who sells bittersweet and Sweet Annie - along with linens and dishes. Of course, we stop by to hear Dad play the piano for a little while during the annual chicken and noodles dinner at the Red Brick Schoolhouse. But, we can't stay long, because there are too many booths and towns to visit and too much food to eat. The food....the thought of it brings up memories of those thinly sliced homemade onion rings, the kettle corn, the butterfly porkchops, the baked apples, the homemade ice cream, the cider, the elephant ears, the jams and jellies.... Too many delicious treats to mention! But, tomorrow, I hope to be enjoying a lot of it because tonight I am heading home to Canton so that Mom and I can have an early start tomorrow. I love the Spoon River Drive (first and second full weekends of October each year.)
For the last few years, I have brought some friends home with me to experience the Spoon River Drive for the first time. And, I hope to introduce more friends to it in the future. But, this year, it was important that I spend the day with Mom and only Mom so that we could get back to our Mother-Daughter weekends. It seems like it will be a cold one, so we'll bundle up. But, Mom and I know it is on these types of weekends that we get the best deals, and we're sure to have a ton of fun together.
Many ask, thinking they already know the answer, "Well, do you have Father-Daughter Weekends too?" The answer surprises most. YES! For a few years, Dad has come to visit me for a weekend in the summer, and during that weekend, we'll often spend time on the interests that we have in common. We've either enjoyed (or plan to enjoy in future years) going jazz and blues clubs, watching movies, attending concerts, talking about current events or TV shows, visiting museums, going to the bookstores, and touring old parts of St. Louis. We were not able to have a Father-Daughter Weekend this year because Dad was recovering from his knee surgeries, but I hope we can continue this tradition next year.
Of course, Mom and Dad often come together to visit me, and I go home and see both of them. But, there's something very special about knowing a parent in a one-to-one relationship. I love that I can do things with Mom that we both love that Dad may not especially like....and then do things with Dad that Mom doesn't count as her favorites. These times have created very special memories that I will cherish for years, and I pray that we'll have many more years together to make more memories.
P.S. If you have not yet gone on the Spoon River Drive, please consider it! Families drive from many states away to enjoy the fun. Mom and I would be delighted to be your tour guides!
I had begun making the point that most of us accept what our parents and teachers say to us (in pronunciation) and follow the rules (of grammar and punctuation) that our parents and teachers teach to us. And, those rules seem to stick - no matter how wrong the teacher is, no matter how many years pass, and no matter how many new sets of rules are published in the world. For instance, to this day, I still put a comma after the last item in a list right before a conjunction.
...lions, tigers, and bears... vs.
...lions, tigers and bears...
I know that new rules for writing (and, specifically, lists) have been created, but this first version is what was taught to me day after day in school and driven into my brain by many writing, grammar, and English teachers. It's a hard habit to break.
What I cannot understand, however, is the world's tendency to misuse, misplace, overuse, or omit apostrophes. Come on! They're our friends. Let's get to know them! The following is what I learned about apostrophes in grade school.
Apostrophes are used for two purposes: to show possession and to create a contraction.
"hat of a boy" = boy's hat
"shoe the girl owns" = girl's shoe
Just add an 's after the singular noun who possesses the object. The same goes for proper names. Ex: Lydia's baseball, John's truck, etc.
"room where the children sleep" = children's room
"organization for men" = men's organization
Again, just add an 's after the plural noun who possesses the object.
Plural or singular possession ending with S.
I learned there are exceptions when you speak of someone whose name ends in an s and that one should add only an apostrophe when showing possession. Ex: Chris' bible or the Reynolds' house. Today, however, it is now also accepted to add an 's: Chris's bible or the Reynolds's house. (I just prefer the former versions because that is how I was taught.)
Joint or separate possession.
Use "Jeff and Tracy's van is in the driveway." (joint ownership)
Use "Jeff's and Tracy's clothing is in the dryer." (separate ownership)
The apostrophe is also used to represent numbers that are omitted or letters that are left out when two words are joined together in a contraction.
'76 = 1976
'06 = 2006
can't = cannot
I'm = I am
let's = let us
she's = she is or she has
won't = will not
Note: One word can sometimes be a contraction and sometimes indicate possession.
Strem's blog is green. (The blog that belongs to Strem is green.)
Strem's adding a post to her blog. (Strem is adding a post...)
There are many who confuse the following words:
it's = it is and its = possession
who's = who is and whose = possession
they're = they are and their = possession
you're = you are and your = possession
I was surprised to find out that my teachers had taught me everything correctly (regarding apostrophes) according to several on-line grammar sources. However, I had never been taught what to do with plural signs, symbols, letters, or references to particular words. According to www.dailygrammar.com, the following sentences are written correctly.
Your f's look like b's when you write.
Your speech had too many uh's in it.
Your 3's and 5's need to be clearer.
Always spell out your and's and don't use &'s in your writing.
There are too many etc's in this paper.
I was never taught this last set of rules, so I'm a little puzzled. Were you? Usually, I would have written the first sentence like this: Your fs look like bs when you write.
This is on my mind especially often right now because I cannot begin to estimate how many signs I've seen this week about "Pumpkin's for Sale" or "Large Pumpkins! Their Right Here!" or "Mum's, 4 for $10." It's even more perplexing when large businesses pay big money to have permanent signs made with these types of errors.
Disclaimer: This post is probably loaded with grammatical errors, so I probably shouldn't be the one to create a post on punctuation or grammar. Please forgive me for any errors that I've made. At the same time, please feel free to note any funny signs or apostrophe uses that you've seen lately.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I had the pleasure of meeting Kamarin, Bethany's friend, and fellow first-timer at the Box Lunch Social.
The newest daughters-in-law, Jessie and Alisha, gather with mother-in-law, Sister Lisa.
My wonderful hostess for the weekend, Anna, with sister-in-law Alisha. Don't they look pretty!
Sister Lisa is armed and ready with her ladel in case the crowd gets out of hand.
Josh and Matt try to keep the men under control as each box lunch is auctioned off.
Philip was showing off his finest duds right after the social.
Sarah and Renee get ready for the hay ride up to the pavilion.
Our group had a lot of fun on the ride up to the dance.
Seth, Jesse, Brother Evan, John, and Matt entertained us the entire evening. Wonderful music!
Bethany, Stephanie, Jessie, Alisha, Anna, and Christi were kind enough to show us the steps to the Virginia Reel.
We weren't always together, but we did have a lot of fun.
The Electric Slide to bluegrass? You betcha. And, Lacey is leading the way!
Sister Debbie and Thomas look like they're sure having a good time.
Seth steps away from the stage for a slow dance with Christi at the end of the night.
Aunt Leah shows young Allison the ropes.
We never thought we'd see the tango at the square dance, but Sister Lisa and Celia prove us wrong!
John kicks up his heels a little.
Some numbers allowed the dancers to do whatever they'd like: Two step, Waltz, Cotton Eye Joe... Andrew, Lacey, Rachel and Eleanor are trying out some new steps.
Lisa and Granny B chuckle about an irregular situation.
Brother Kevin and Sister Laurie enjoy some fellowship at the Green household.
Alisha, Stephanie, and Eleanor join the group in some Sacred Harp singing.
Logan and Lacey chat, while Abby gives Pepsi some much appreciated attention.
Lydia and Eleanor enjoy the cool breeze while sitting on the back deck.
Brother Kevin attempts to figure what is WRONG with this group in a round of Psychiatrist.
Thomas is still smiling....! I wonder what he's up to?!?!
The Poe Family was also visiting. Mollie, Lydia, Rachel, and Laurie appreciated Celia showing them around.
Brother Rex led Emily and Rachel around on Toad.
Then, Zack got his turn. Emily loved the horses.
So, Aaron and Renee each took their own turn on Raider.
Raider is such a beautiful horse!
Later, at the Poe house, the hounds were going wild because John had trapped and delivered a raccoon to use for hunting later. Poor racoon.
Even later, Matt finishes up some paperwork so he can be ready to do some mechanicin' early Tuesday morning. Thanks to Matt and Anna for always making me feel so welcome!
Tuesday morning, it was hard to head out toward home - as Arkansas also always feels like home and everyone there is always so kind to me. Hope it won't be too long before our next visit with each other! Miss you!