27 December 2014

Making do...

Today's prompt:  Time to show off your handiwork: what did you make this year? 

Seriously, the only thing I'm really good at making is a mess.  I'm secretly very jealous of crafty folk. I've tried knitting; my stitches get too tense and tight.  I think I crocheted once.  Maybe I could handle that.  I managed to spray paint a frame without ruining anything.  I did find a latch hook when I was cleaning a couple weeks ago.  Maybe I could hook an obnoxious rainbow rug.  
I did make a few resolutions, some of which I actually kept for a while.  Nothing really earth shattering, just stuff like paring down my junk mail by actually unsubscribing from emails every once in a while rather than just trashing them.  
I manage to make do pretty well.  I'm good at using something slightly akilter from its original purpose, or getting by with worn or slightly damaged items that still work.  I've been using a three-legged stainless electric frying pan for years, not because I'm some kind of martyr, but because those things rock, and they're hard to find.  Ugly end tables and worn out chairs are still quite sturdy and useful; a little wood glue and a comfy blanket hide many ills.  So, that's what I make.  I make do.  

24 December 2014

Today's prompt:
What are you thankful for? Maybe it's from this year – or maybe it's something in your past that resonated with you recently. And – we hold people, places, and things in equal regard: a sense of gratefulness can take many forms. 

After the Thanksgiving bandwagon on November, it seems trite to count my blessings in a blog.  However, I shouldn't disdain the concept of gratitude simply because it needed to be nudged.  Let's boil the concept down to people, places and things, just as the prompt suggests.

People:  I am immensely grateful for my family, both those immediate to me by blood, and the extended clan we call ours by choice. We have our bumps, our feuds and fallings out, and our joy, sometimes all mixed together.  We may not get it right all the time, but we love each other.  We are lucky to have an extended circle to give us encouragement and advice when needed, and to share our joys.

Places:  Connected with those people are the places, and we got to return to Holland, and discover Scotland this year, where we rekindled one love and found another one. Saving our pennies to return as soon as possible.

Things:  Our poor old van may be on its last legs, but it has been reliable for for many years.  I'm thankful for all the use we've gotten from ol' Bessie, and hopeful she still has some time left if we can pin down her problems.

Here's wishing a Merry Christmas to you and yours,

21 December 2014

Good intentions renewed!

As I tick projects off my list, I am renewing my own focus on reading and writing for pleasure.  Nora over at Chez Pez unwittingly tipped me off to Think Kit, so I joined the party late, but will use the prompts to kickstart my own narcissistic writing efforts!

First prompt:

A Thousand Words
Nothing like a strict word count to kick off our month of blogging...just kidding! Share your year in photos. Was there a moment of unrestrained happiness? An unexpected encounter? What role do photos play in your life – were you more selective with your phone (er...camera) this year? Or are you the King of Selfies? Dig into the deeper meaning of a moment frozen in time.

Although it was only two weeks of the year, we focused our time, energy and finances on a family trip to Scotland and Holland this summer.  As I mentioned previously, I didn't take many photos, but the rest of the family especially my husband and my daughter's boyfriend, really came through.  After a security check, I'll link our Flickr album.  Another project will be going in and tagging and captioning the photos, so if you're confused, check back later and your questions may be answered. Also, the photos are in no logical order, as they came from several sources.  


     Sometime in the past twenty years or so, it became de rigueur for a restaurant server to check in with a table after the food arrives, and ask, "How is everything tasting?"  This has irritated me from the first time I ever heard it.  I could never quite put my finger on why it bothers me so much.   Does it focus too much on the food and not enough on the rest of the dining experience?  This is a possible factor.  As a server myself, I have probably wondered about this far more than any rational person should.  I have not-so-silently nursed this pet peeve for many years, and deeply pondered the way it annoys me.  I have been waiting on tables (and cars) off and on since I was 15, but I have never drunk this particular Kool-Aid.  I ask my customers, "How is everything here?" or some variation on that theme.
     We'll go out to eat, and inevitably, the question comes: "How is everything tasting?" My longsuffering husband will smirk at me across the table, knowing full well what's happening in my brain.  I find myself creating, and then (usually) stifling, snarky retorts.  "It's not tasting anything (anymore); it doesn't have a tongue." "It tastes great, but it's cold," and so forth.   I have been known to write tirades about it on the back of a guest check (note:  I am always careful to rest blame on whoever taught the server to say it, not the server, personally, unless the service also sucks; then, all bets are off).
     Last night, as we sat at a Perkins, the unwitting server dropped the "tasting" bomb, and after he walked away, everything came together for me. It was something I had known all along, as evidenced by those retorts I created, yet the reason rattled around, unarticulated,  in my subconscious just out of my grasp until it finally decided to reveal itself last night.  The phrase bothers me so much because when servers say it, they are using a transitive verb in an intransitive manner.  It was a headslap moment.  Duh!  The reason for my undue irritation all these years is that this particular infraction takes place at the intersection of my superior server and grammar Nazi personalities.  To get more complete information, you can go here, here (This one has "snarky" in the title! Bonus!), or here. Allow me to sum up with a couple of examples: I am tasting my food; it isn't tasting anything, unless I am a very bad hunter, in which case, my (intended) food might actually be tasting me.  When you use the verb "tasting," it needs to take an object or it just doesn't work, no matter how often you repeat it.  It tastes (intransitive) just fine, thank you (or maybe not, but I digress).
     This epiphany will not stop me from continuing to rail against this grammatical infraction; in fact, it will likely rally my spirit to fight against the verbal abomination with renewed vigor!  Now, dear reader, you will hopefully never hear it again without recalling this information, and it will bother you, too!  Together, we can stop this grammatical travesty from becoming further ingrained in the vernacular.  This use is not as firmly lodged as "15 items or less," so we should yet be able to undo the damage.  Twenty years is but a mere blip in the evolution of language.  There's still time to nip this in the bud, one poor, unaware server at a time.