Cobwebs, the Way I Talk, and Shallow Rabbit Holes

So, yeah… it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and just in case I decide one of my resolutions is to resume blogging, I thought I should see if everything is still working. It is.

WordPress is updated and it took most of the afternoon to rid the place of spam comments. I’m not sure I got them all. I also updated the spam blocker.

To get things started, here’s something that has caught my interest this week: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.

Big picture last q roundabout

Oddly enough, I did not answer “y’all” to the first question. It’s still “you guys” most of the time even though I’ve lived in the South for over 40 years after growing up in SW Colorado. So, the general geographic area is OK, but the shading is all wrong. I have never lived more than 10 miles east of the Texas border. I have never been to Columbus  GA, I drove through Mobile AL once about 20 years ago, and visited Montgomery AL for the first time this past September.

I was so surprised by the results that I’ve taken the test several times. My very first results were Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile. When I answered “y’all”, I got Jackson, Birmingham, Columbus. The results can’t be compared exactly, because the questions vary a bit each time.

So many things to question about this test. First, the ultimate map puts me so firmly in the South when more than half my answers to questions were accompanied by small maps that either orange or light blue all over. Two other questions yielded maps that were decidedly blue in the area the test decides I’m from, my choice of “you guys” being the prime example.

Several cousins took the test and we compared the results on Facebook to further reduce the scientific validity of this whole thing. It was fun. Some of the results were exactly where the person lives now and has for his/her whole life, along with their parents. Where the results got interesting were among those of us who were born well away from where we now live. Even though we don’t perceive our speech changing all that much, the fact that there chinks the test noted but classified in ways that stuck us as odd is interesting. Interesting without much depth, but I am noting the results in the genealogy file just for kicks.

Haphazard Links And Whatnots

I caught a cold. Maybe it would be more accurate to say it caught me because I certainly wasn’t chasing it. It morphed into a raging bull of a sinus infection and is threatening bronchitis. So I finally called my doctor today. I’ve got drugs!

Had I not really wanted to go to S. Carolina in a few days to attend a beach wedding and get to see some of my favorite people, I might have suffered in silence for another week or so until this thing clears itself up. Well, not exactly in silence. Between the hacking cough, moans, groans, and complaints of why me, why now, and… well, suffering in silence is not my forte.

Speaking of silence… remember this sound? If you do, you are either an old (but connected) fart or you live in some totally boondocks area. Or you could be younger and remember this as a sort of lullaby because Momma was going online as soon as she could get you to bed!

Boondock is an interesting word. It’s derived from Tagalog bundok, meaning mountain and came into use in the U.S. after WWII. I’m thrilled to learn another Tagolog word that I can remember other than “utot“.  

Speaking of smelly — Glenn Beck really let one go when he said that evolution is being forced down our throats because he’s never seen a half-monkey, half person. A few of the more strident “lefty” sites have ridiculed him without really laying out why he is “not even wrong“. Elisheva Hannah Levin is explaining everything clearly in a series of posts. The first two are Glenn Beck’s Monkey Show: Overview and Glenn Beck’s Monkey Show: Not Even Wrong. Check Ragamuffin Studies for the third in the series.    

From not even wrong to just plain wrong… Amity Shlaes explains the rules of the game. Will politicians ever learn to play fair?

Heck, politicians have trouble playing in tune at all. They don’t know what the frequency is any more than did Dan Rather’s assailants.

The Art Of The Written Word

Margaret Shepherd, artist, calligrapher, author, is trying to bring civilization back with the stroke of a pen.

Being essentially uncivilized myself, is anyone surprised that I hadn’t heard of her before now? Writing thank you notes fills me with dread and anxiety. I can count the number of personal letters I’ve written in my life on one hand easily. Complaint letters are my forte, but I’ve stopped writing them too.

I have been on the receiving end of notes and letters that thrill me when I picked them out of the mailbox, so that makes my not returning that joy even more egregious. I’m a bit ashamed of myself right now. Blogging and short emails make up for this not one bit.

Margaret Shepherd’s Amazon Page. You can view more of her calligraphy art (bigger images) at Neatorama. I’m especially fond of what I think of as the “childbirth series” at the bottom of that page. I found this artist thanks to a civilized man who writes The Fire Ant Gazette.

Complaining About ___ (fill in the blank)

Yeah, I’m not in the mood to write anything uplifting or illuminating or even entertaining.

Today I just want to complain.

My left shoulder hurts. There’s no reason it should hurt. It’s not like I’ve been engaged in any athletic activities that would promote this, unless you include sleeping as an athletic activity.

And… the tremor in both my hands has not lessened noticeably since I’ve been off Lexapro for five days. Nothing else has changed much either except that it’s been easier for me to *twist* my knees. I will be walking what I think is straight, when suddenly one of my knees will decide it wants to go left or right. This is sudden, excruciatingly painful for a moment and sore for an hour or so.

But, back to the tremor. It’s been diagnosed as an “essential” tremor, which means that essentially the cause is unknown. Discontinuing the Lexapro was my own idea… and it’s part of my idea of discontinuing all medications that do not have a proven effect. I’m staying on my blood pressure medicine and on Singulair. I’ve tried going off Singulair before, but I disliked waking up with my eyes swollen shut.

I’m also not liking what is a recent (within the past year) sensitivity to noise. I react to a slamming door almost as if it were a gun discharging.

But most of all, I’m tired of pain. Sitting, standing, prone in bed… there is not position that most of my body is not in pain of varying intensity. The worst is in my neck, shoulders, and upper back. Even when I’ve had surgery on lower parts of my body, the pain relievers given didn’t ease the aches in these areas.

Whether there is a diagnosis or not… the pain is here and nothing (not even opiods) helps long-term. I’ll live with it.

But… this tremor thing. That bothers me. It’s been bad enough a few times that I can’t type. I thought I was hiding this symptom (of whatever) quite well until relatives asked me… why is your hand shaking like that. Frankly, I hid this from myself so well, I wondered why they asked. I would reply “What shaking?”

The fact that I can put aside this pain to do what I must do… or what I truly want to do (hold a newborn grandchild in my arms without moving for an hour) leads me to think this pain is all in my brain.

Yet my brain is not that weak. When I push myself to a level of physical activity that my body does not like, it punishes me for a day or two with extra pain. When I will myself and muscles to hold my grandchildren, my body seems to find a few extra natural pain relievers.

Please remember that I’m complaining here…  Complaints are not necessarily meant to be alleviated, merely acknowledged. And, as far as cradling my infant grandchildren in my arms, no amount of muscle pain could possibly overwhelm the joy. In fact, there’s something emanating from the infant that mitigates whatever pain might be there… perhaps if we could bottle the joy, comfort, exhilaration, and awe that pours off a cuddled and happy infant we’d solve all the world’s problems.

All I ask is acknowledgement of the pain. I really don’t want sympathy. But I don’t want to be judged as wimpy or lazy when I must rest for a while.

And thus ends this complaint.

Dear Family: Where Are My Books?

So far, I’ve broken down and bought my second copy of From Dawn to Decadence. Dearest brother, I believe my first copy is buried somewhere in your pile of books or you left it in the patio “cabinet” that Dad took, contents and all, and burned like he’d been threatening to for years. Who to blame? You or Dad? hmm… it’s not like I would have loaned the book to Dad is it?

Again, dear brother, did the same thing happen with The True Believer?

The last I remember seeing of The Scotch-Irish: A Social History and How the Scots Invented the Modern World is when a daughter or two and a son-in-law or two were looking them over. I’ve since searched both daughter’s bookcases and not found my books. I’m at a loss here. I can’t help but wonder if they left them in their uncle’s care.

How is it that Born Fighting, a book I’m not as likely to re-read is still safely on my shelf?

Now I’m not really complaining too much here. My daughters and my brother have provided me with lots of reading material. It’s just that I can’t understand why books I refer to often disappear. Maybe there’s a bookmouse in my house.

Words We Think We Understand

Etymology. Callimachus explores word-pairs. His post led me to wonder what the etymology of “punish” is. That search led me to Etymologically Speaking, where I’ve spent the last two hours.

Some of my favorites:

From the Spanish “charlar,” to chat.
From the Latin Candidus word meaning, “bright, shining, glistening white.” The ancient Roman candidates for office would wear bright white togas. This same word also gave rise to “candid,” which candidates rarely are.
From the French “Crétin,” which originally meant “Christian.”
French for “of good air.” In the Middle Ages, people’s health was judged partly by how they smelled. A person who gave off “good air” was presumed healthier and happier.
From the Latin elire, meaning “to choose,” from which we also get the modern Spanish word meaning the same, elegir.
Originally meant “placed on the knees.” In Ancient Rome, a father legally claimed his newborn child by sitting in front of his family and placing his child on his knee.
Greek for “Choice.”
Kampf (German) Struggle
From the Latin “campus” — for their type of fortification, where the Roman soldiers had their military drills — from which we also drive the English words, “camp,” “campus” and “champion.” Thus, when we talk about a “college campus,” there are subtle militaristic overtones.
From the Old English “cniht,” which meant “boy, servant.”
Kopf (German) Head
From Latin “cuppa,” meaning “cup”; the Romans used the cup as a metaphor for the upper part of the head. Similarly, another Latin word for “cup,” “testa,” has now become the French “Tête,” for “head,” too. Note that both the Germans and the Celts used a “skullcap” “top of the human head”) as a drinking vessel; this was part of the honoring of the enemy ritual. Thus related to “chief” and “capital” (and “testicle” as well).
The Latin words “Liber,” “Libera,” and “Liberum” — with a Long I — came from the root meaning, “to pour.” From this, we get the word “Liberty” (hence pronounced with a short I), from the freedom we feel when we get drunk.
From the French “Maîtresse,” which originally meant “bride.”
From the Latin word “moneta” which originally meaning, “warning.”

From the Latin “nescius,” for “ignorant,” and, at various times before the current definition became established meant “foolish” then “foolishly precise” then “pedantically precise” then “precise in a good way” and then our current definition.

From the Latin Occasion, meaning, “accident, or a grave event.”
Old; and Alt (German) Old

“Alt” originally meant, “Grown up”; the participle of “growing”; related to “Alan,” which meant, “to grow” but no longer exists in modern German. In Old English, the word “Alan” was also used in this same sense of growing or nourishing. Related to the Latin “alt” meaning “high.”

From the Latin paganu(m), for “someone who is not from the city, rather from the country.” In late Latin, this turned into pagensis, “one who is from the country,” and this utimately became the French pays and the Spanish País, both meaning “nation.”

Pay goes back ultimately to Latin, “pax” peace, by way of, appease, pacify. So “pay” originally meant “pay off,” to keep the peace.

Salary; Salt
In the early days of Rome its soldiers were given a handful of salt each day. The salt ration was subsequently replaced by a sum of money allowing each man to buy his own, and relieving the commisariat of the trouble of transporting it. The money received was referred to as their “salt money” (salarium in Latin). Eventually, the term would make its way into medieval France, where a soldier’s payment was known as his solde (which is still in use today as the term for a soldier’s or sailor’s pay), and it was in paid for with a special coin called a sol. By extension, the word also came to refer not only to a soldier’s wage, but also to the soldier himself, evidenced by the medieval French term soldat, which itself came from the Old French soudier. For its part, the English word “soldier” comes from the Middle English souder, which also derived from soudier [Footnote: Contrary to popular belief, salt–necessary as it was and unlike other spices–was never very expensive. It only became expensive towards the end of the twelfth century A.D., when it was used as a means of taxation and people often went without it, as a result–a fact not unconnected with the famines and deficiencies that afflicted so many generations of Europeans at the time).].
From the Latin “senex,” meaning “old”; thus related to “senile.”
From 1550 to 1675 was “very extensively” used in the sense of deserving of pity and compassion, helpless. It is a derivative of the Middle English “seely,” from the German “selig,” meaning happy, blissful, blessed, as well as punctual, observant of season.
From the Latin “sinister” for “left.” Hence, left is evil. 
The Eastern European region of Silesia was known for its fine cloth. Eventually, so many low-quality imitations wound up on the market that Silesian turned into sleazy.
Greek for “no where.”
From “Villaneus,” meaning, “inhabitant of a villa,” i.e., a “peasant.”
From the Old English “witan,” meaning to know; intelligence.

Oh, and “punish.”