Rope to Baby Clothes


Old English gearn, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch garen .

Image result for spinning a yarn

Always curious about words, this one has me intrigued because  of what seems to be two totally unrelated usages. BUT. . . . . .

Maybe not so different after all. In the days of sailing ships, one of the ongoing jobs of sailors was to repair ropes, A yarn, for them, was one strand in a rope that was twisted together with other yarns to make whatever length was required.  In order to repair a frayed or broken yarn, they would take a new strand and, using  oakum, (a preparation of tarred fibre used to seal gaps) seal it to the broken yarn and then spin it out, twisting as they went, for the complete length of the repaired rope.  Sometimes they would spin a short yarn, other times a very long one.  It was a ceaseless task.

Somewhere along the way, as they worked at spinning the yarn into rope, they began passing the time by telling stories of their experiences at sea. And those stories became part of the process of spinning the yarn.  They also became more fantasy-like, and have become part of the legacy of that era.

So, that’s the connection between spinning a yarn  and knitting with yarn.  I love to knit, so I’m very familiar with the construction of, say four-ply yarn. If you separate it out, you will have four separate threads that have been twisted together.  Three-ply, or sport-weight yarn, is used for lighter-weight garments; and baby yarn, whose threads are very fine, is used for very soft blankets and garments.  Four-ply is more your standard yarn,  but yarn has evolved over the last 50 years so that there are more varieties than you can imagine.

We’ve come all the way from the great sailing ships to baby clothes in one post, all related by the word yarn. Gotta love language 🙂

RDP: Yarn


Old Chicken


late Middle English (in the sense ‘attendant, nurse’): from tend2 or shortening of attender (see attend).

The actual first meaning of the word, someone who takes care of someone else, did not occur to me at all. What did occur to me was chicken.

Chicken?  Yes.  You’d have to understand my husband.  He’s always on the lookout for a bargain. A friend of his told him where he could buy stewing hens for an amazingly low price.

He didn’t check with me.  He should have. And he’s not allowed to buy anything else from that so-called friend.

He brought the birds home, plucked and cleaned them and passed them on to me.  I thought they smelled kind of funny, but I knew they were freshly killed.  I cut up a chicken and fried it for supper that night, planning to freeze the rest the next day.Image result for eating old, tough chicken

I sure wish I’d had the internet back in 1976!

I have NEVER had chicken quite like that before.  Tough as shoe leather, tasted awful.  The kids were trying not to laugh; I was trying not to brain my husband with a war club (aka drumstick). And I had nine more in the refrigerator.  I was all for using them as fertilizer, but Terry talked me into canning them.

I had a big pressure canner, so that was my all-day project the next day, Cutting up chicken, stuffing the pieces into jars, and canning them. The hardest part was cutting up the tough old birds.   And we did discover that they were indeed elderly, which is why they were so cheap.

I used up the canned meat in a variety of ways, and it tasted surprisingly good.  Casseroles and soups  hid the strange taste quite well, and canning it also tenderized it.

So all’s well that ends well.

Right? 🙂

RDP: Tender


A Soft Answer


late Middle English: from Latin respectus, from the verb respicere ‘look back at, regard,’ from re- ‘back’ + specere ‘look at.’


If you’re my age, you remember Rodney Dangerfield’s iconic line, “I don’t get no respect.”


(I would suggest you listen to just the first few minutes of this video. I did not vet it for language/decency, and there may be something you really don’t need to hear.)

Perhaps he would have gotten more respect if he’d clean up his grammar, but that’s another topic.

The word has come to mean having a high regard. It’s something we’re sadly lacking in American society today. Agree with me, I’ll respect you. Disagree with me, I might kill you; but if I can’t do that, I’ll destroy your life, hurt your relationships, do whatever damage I can do because you don’t deserve to live, you filthy so-and-so,

There seems to be no filter, no “holding-back strap” any more. You can’t feel safe on social media, that’s for sure. Say anything, no matter how innocuous, and somebody out there is going to explode all over you.

I’ve been thinking about all this quite a bit in the last few days. Why are we so willing to fling insults at each other on social media? Is it because we’re not face-to-face, and we feel safe from retribution?  There is so much ugliness in cyberspace.  Maybe it’s because we can be anonymous. Cyber bullying is a real thing, and it’s just as ugly and underserved as any other bullying.

In my opinion, such disrespect and lack of common decency shows a level of cowardice.  Real-life bullies tend to operate with a posse of followers to back them up, but cyber bullies don’t need to do that. That can operate solo because the possibility of having to answer for their behavior is pretty slim.

I refuse to engage in a word fight online.  It’s pointless.  There’s so much verbal garbage thrown around that no one is really willing to listen to a voice of reason. I won’t even read comments on articles in the news,  So much anger, so much vitriol!

Proverbs 15:1 says,

“A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

We need to learn to stand for what we believe in, but we need to do it without all the ugliness and hatred.

RDP:  Respect



A Circuitous Route


to make or put in a circle


This is one of those fascinating words that can be used in countless different ways. The first one I thought of was “Circle the wagons!” as used in old cowboy movies and TV programs.

Image result for circle the wagons images

The prefix cir- shows up in literally hundreds of words.

Circumlocution: to speak around, in a circular manner, avoid the main point.

Circumnavigate: to  steer around.

  • circumvent:  find a way around an obstacle
  • circuitous.–in a round-about way
  • circumflex.–bending around something else
  • circumfuse.–to pour a liquid in a way that it forms a circle
  • circulate.-move or cause to move continuously or freely through a closed system or area.

You see?  Look in a dictionary, there are dozens more. Even a circus is called a circus simply because the performance takes place in large circles.  As in, a three-ring circus.

We wear rings on our fingers. Children play Ring Around the Rosie.  When we skip flat rocks across the surface of a lake, if we’re really good, we can make circles.  We learn all about circles in geometry–diameter, pi, circumference, area.  We bake round pies, and we circles to teach fractions. We make pie charts which are shaped–you guessed it–in a circle. A few years back, we installed a traffic circle in my little town.  It was quite an innovation for us. In the UK, they’d call it a round-about.

Then there is the merry-go-round, and the ferris wheel, and roller skates, hula hoops, and frisbee.  All depending on the circle.

And finally, our prompt:  Encircle.  To make a ring around.

This could be a very long post, so I think I’ll stop 🙂

RDP: Encircle 

Yours Ends Where Mine Begins


Old English frēodōm (see free-dom).


(Author’s note:  This is NOT a true story, but it could have been!)

“It’s a free country, right?”  queried the adolescent boy in front of me who had just dropped his jeans so he could scratch his rear more effectively. “There’s no law against scratching!”

He turned away from me, certain he had steamrolled over my quiet objection to  being exposed to his privates.  I shook my head in dismay.  What world we live in!

Apparently, though, he was gathering a head of steam.  “You old fossils need to DIE!” he hollered.  His face was bright red, eyes aflame, fists clenched. He was scary, but it’s been a long time since a teen boy was able to intimidate me.

Smiling, I agreed that all of us “old fossils” would eventually die, to make room for his generation. “You are going to be an old fossil sooner than you think.”

Not wanting any further conversation with him, I backed my cart out of the checkout and looked for a different one, thinking that would be the end of it. But no, he wasn’t finished. He followed me, ranting at the top of his lungs about being sick of people telling him what to do.  He wasn’t going to take it any more. Did I hear him?  DID I HEAR HIM?

It would have been possible to hear him out in the parking lot, but I was saved from having to answer him. A couple of security guards came up behind him and  rather forcefully showed him the exit.  He was still ranting and making threats.

By this time, the guards had found me getting ready to push my cart out to my car. One of them said he wanted to walk me to my car, just in case the guy was still out there and watching for me.

Of course I thanked him, and we had a pleasant conversation  along the way.
“I knew that guy in high school,” said my escort. “He’s always been a jerk, and anytime he was caught he’d holler about this being a free country, and he had a right to do whatever.”

“That’s really too bad,” I said. “What he doesn’t understand is that when he steps into someone else’s space and misbehaves, he’s  stomping all over their freedoms, including the freedom to do a grocery run without having to see some kid’s skinny behind.  If we want to maintain our freedom, we need to respect everyone else’s as much as we treasure our own.”

RDP: Freedom



Choose your Poison

                             PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

The empty liquor bottle, the unlit scented candle,  the overflowing ash tray; what a mess!

Lori watched and listened as her mother coughed, loose and rattly, into a tissue.  The cough seemed to come up from her belly, it was so deep and thick.

“Mom!” Lori shouted.  “Mom!  You are killing yourself with your cigarettes!”

“Leave me alone, Lori.  Lucille Ball smoked, and she lived to a grand old age. So did George Burns. Now go do something.  I want to read this article about losing belly fat.  Don’t want to die of a heart attack!”


RDP # 75: BLUE

Middle English: from Old French bleu, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to Old English blǣwen ‘blue’ and Old Norse blár ‘dark blue.’


 A client of mine who is very fashion conscious came in last week, looked me over, and said, “Blue is your color.  You should wear it more often.”

Well, okay.  I thanked her, and we got down to business.  But the remark stayed with me, because there is such  a wide range of blue, and some of it isn’t good for me at all.

Image result for shades of blue

My best blues are indigo, midnight, navy, oxford, royal, and Zaffre.  Baby blue makes me look pale and tired.

According to the seasonal theory of color and skin tone, I’m a winter.  I love it.  I can wear true red, black, pure white, emerald green, lemony yellow, almost every shade of pink, and royal purple.  I’ve been paying attention to the right colors for me for so many years now that almost everything in my closet goes with everything else in my closet.

And I don’t see a single thing wrong with wearing purple and red together 🙂

Image result for The Red Hat Club

When I Am Old.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

Jenny Joseph
When I am old .. I shall wear purple!



RDP: Blue