Modern Conveniences

Astonish

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Yesterday on my Bible study blog I wrote a little bit about all the electronic/electrical gadgets we had accumulated over the years, especially in the last 20 years as we have become part of the digital world.

Today’s prompt has set me thinking about how astonished my parents’ generation would be at all the ways we communicate today.

My mom loved letters.  She wrote them, she loved getting them, and she saved them.  To her, they were tangible links to the people she cared about. Today?  Letters are typed and sent into cyberspace via email or any other number of digital forms, and typically once they are read we delete them.  I don’t know many people who write the kinds of letters my mom did, detailing her life and the lives of her family to the person who would receive that letter.

I’ve been watching Victoria on Amazon Prime.  It’s a PBS production, and Masterpiece Theater.  Victoria was Queen of England long before anyone thought about the internet. The biggest new things in the early part of her reign were the trains that were being built to traverse the island; also, a calculating machine that could compute numbers accurately.

A machine that operated on gears and levers, it was a marvel of its time. It was quite large, I’m guessing maybe three or four feet cubed, and it was the precursor of the pocket-sized calculators that were such a wonder when I was in high school.

Astonishing, indeed.  Those Victorians were pretty bright 🙂

My parents were excited about the first TV set we had when I was about eight. Tiny little screen in a huge cabinet, rabbit ears, no remote control, and knobs to control the quality of the picture.  It took some learning to work those knobs just right.

Image result for 1953 RCA television in cabinet

Here’s what the rabbit ears looked like; they were used to bring in the picture, and could be turned and shortened or lengthened as necessary.

Image result for old-fashioned TV rabbit ears

Cell phones?  Never heard of them in my parents’ day, and I really can’t imagine my dad going around with a cell in his pocket, checking it every few seconds while ignoring the people around him.  I think he would have been disgusted 🙂

I think, though, that both my parents would have loved a computer once they got the hang of using one.  It’s such a time saver, compared to typewriters, changing the ribbons, and using mimeographs to make copies.  But then, all that was pretty astonishing too, in its own day.

These past 100+ years have been full of astonishing inventions.  Most of them have made our lives a little easier, a little better. Also, they have opened up a whole new field of work for the people who build and repair them.

There are those who reviled telephones, automobiles, radios, then TV sets, and then computers as being tools of the Devil. It’s true they can be used for wrong, harmful behaviors. But they don’t have to be. There was plenty of wrong, harmful behavior in this old world long before these modern miracles came along.

Little Rivers of Life

Rivulet

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 A tiny little river, like tears dripping from the eyes of a person in physical/emotional pain.

Like the drops of rain hitting a window and leaking down to the edge of the pane.

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Like the pain from an injury that just won’t completely go away—what used to be a flood is now a rivulet, letting you know it’s still there and you won’t escape any time soon.

Like the milk from a cup that a child has knocked off the table.  A puddle first, then rivulets of white.

Like the trickles of fear that riddle your system when you are faced with your own personal nightmare:  A snake, a spider, a centipede, a mouse or rat;  an elevator, a sheer, unguarded drop from  a high place; lightning,  tornadoes, floods;  having your face held under water, being in a boat,  flying in an airplane.  It’s a very long list, the things we fear, and everyone’s fears are his own, different from everyone else’s.

Or, better, the rivulets of excitement and joy when something good is about to happen:  Your wedding,  the birth of a child, a trip you’ve always longed to take; the grandchildren are coming to visit;  or even something as commonplace as a recipe turning out perfectly, or that your husband actually remembered your anniversary 🙂

Rivulets of joy, sorrow, fear, excitement, pain and happiness.  Life’s little rivers.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rivulet/

Famous and Infamous

Notable

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I really don’t know why, but for some reason this word puts a picture in my mind of someone with a rather sniffy attitude.  No clue why, but there it is.

Actually, it’s a perfectly good word.  Many things, many people, in this life are worthy of mention, are notable, have made a lasting impact for both good an evil.

Notables in history include the good, the bad, the absolutely evil.  Good?  Well, I’m watching a movie about Queen Victoria right now, and  I’m learning some things I didn’t know about Prince Albert.  He was a good guy.  Concerned for the poor, interested in the common people, he didn’t place himself above and separate from the ordinary folks.  I had not idea he had been as active as he was in Victoria’s long reign. He had a notable positive influence on her.

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Bad?  Oh, so many.  Notable in the last century, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot and so many more.  Why is it easier to think of the bad than it is of the good?

Evil?  Well, already mentioned.  But I suppose we could add convicted criminals to that list, like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.  People who harm helpless children.  People who are willing for others to die so they can gain what they want.  That’s evil.

If I’m ever notable, I want it to be for the right reasons. But I don’t suppose I will go down in history books, after all.  Very few of us do. And that’s probably a good thing.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/notable/

Ugly Behavior

Cur

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I’ve always wondered where this word came from, but never looked it up before.  It denotes an aggressive, angry, or mongrel dog.  Or an amoral, unpleasant man.

From the Old Norse, kurr meant grumbling.  Put that together with the mangy, aggressive dog and you have a rather scary picture.

I’m thinking that perhaps there is a connection between cur and churl  in reference to a disreputable, angry man who hasn’t much of a conscience.  That’s a rather scary picture, as well.

I was talking with a perfectly pleasant young man the other day about an abusive situation in which a woman was beaten by her husband. The young man shocked me by wondering aloud if perhaps she had provoked the abuse.

“No!”  I responded.  “He has been abusive before.  This is in him, and the responsibility is on him. No woman is to be blamed for getting beaten up!”

He didn’t argue, but I could see that he wasn’t sure he agreed with me.  And I find that rather scary, as well.  That there could still be decent men around who believe that if a woman provokes you it’s understandable to work her over is just amazing to me.

Does a woman, then, get to take a baseball bat and conk him over the head if HE provokes HER?

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/cur/

Language

Elaborate

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Elaborate, long “A”, is a verb.  When you elaborate on an issue, for instance, you go into more detail, filling in important information.  Or perhaps you just bloviate, which is not such a good thing.  To bloviate is to be long-winded and pompous, boring and irritating as you go on and on, expounding to everyone who can’t escape.

But elaborate with a shorter “a” sound is an adjective.  Isn’t that fun?  An elaborate feast is what we in America enjoy on Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas, or a birthday, or just because we are celebrating life.unnamed-2_orig

How can two identical words, with just a tiny difference in pronunciation, be two different parts of speech?

Dunno.  It just is.  It’s something we learn from the first moment we recognize that making certain sounds will get us some kind of attention. As we grow up, we learn the words and speech patterns of those around us.

English isn’t the only language that uses intonation or short/long vowel sounds to create different meaning for the same word.  I’ve read, for instance, that some languages give words different meanings by the raising or lowering of pitch at the end of the word.  How on earth does anyone learn all that?  Same way we learn English.  You imitate what you hear, and you learn by trial and error.

Language is a wonderful thing.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/elaborate/

 

 

 

 

 

Memories

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

He stood gazing across the land that unrolled to the far mountains.  His long black hair, secured by the band around his head, blew in the gentle breeze that tugged and pulled at him.  He inhaled slowly, savoring the scents that rose from the ground, the underbrush, the trees.

In his mind, he replayed the stories of his ancestors as they lived and died in this same land. So much joy, so much pain, so much lying, so much death.

A single tear tracked his lined cheek.

Time to go home. Back to the reservation.

(I hope you won’t mind if I leave Zing and Zang waiting in the sidelines now and then. This picture  was so evocative, partly because of a book I’m reading, that the story insisted on being written.  Zing and Zang, with Zinnia, will return when the photo prompt doesn’t take my heart and mind in a totally different direction.)

Gifted

Bestow

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To confer or present an honor, right, or gift.

The first thing that came to mind was the story of Sleeping Beauty.  The good fairies  bestowed, or gifted her, with beauty and a happy disposition, among other things. The bad fairy promised her a sleep that would last 100 years, and could be broken only when Mr. Handsome Prince kissed her.

Beautiful smiling cute baby ylgbk baby-calm-21 idbi-3

The story lead me to think about babies.  Why?  Beats me, but it did.

Babies are all born with a particular temperament, disposition, personality hard-wired into their little brains.  You can usually figure them within the first three weeks or so.  The calm, peaceful, easy-going baby is the first one to sleep through the night.  The worried, fretful, fearful baby  doesn’t want to be put down.  Ever.  The strong-willed baby doesn’t just whimper.  He yells, screams, and hollers until you figure out what he needs, which is often nothing more than your attention.  The happy, outgoing baby is the first to smile, the first to make others laugh.

And the beauty of it is that we need all the different personalities to make this old world run smoothly.  We need the strong leaders, the people-oriented lovers, the detail-oriented fretful ones, and the peaceful, calm and contented ones.  They all  can, and actually sometimes do, work together  to create communities, cities, nations.

Think about it.  Would you want a people-pleasing, happy-go-lucky doctor, or would you prefer one who is analytical, detail oriented, perfectionistic but perhaps a little remote?

I’ll take the remote one any day.

But where would we be without the entertaining people-oriented folks who make us laugh?  What a dreary world.

How about the strong-minded, take-charge leaders?  We need them, too, or nothing would ever get done.  And those calm, peaceful ones help keep everything oiled and running smoothly.

All these gifts are bestowed on each  of us by the Creator Who designed us to begin with.  No good or bad fairies involved.  We need to learn to appreciate and accept each other, and quit trying to impose who we are, ourselves, onto everyone around us.

Vive la difference!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bestow/

Her Happy Space

Vague

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Mrs. Leigh had become somewhat vague in her words, and in her behaviors.  She tended to drift through her days without any particular plan or direction, yet her pets were always fed and groomed; her flowers always looked well-tended; and any visitor could enter her dainty parlor and find no dust.

Since her family and friends felt that she was becoming a bit–well, disconnected–everyone wondered how she managed it all.  They never noticed that she exerted herself.  Often, in good weather, she would sit in her porch rocker for hours at a time, sipping  tea or lemonade, staring vaguely into the distance.

Image result for white-haired old lady in a porch rocker

How did she always manage to look so lovely?  Her snowy white hair was always neatly combed into its bun.  Her cheeks were always lightly dusted with a rosy blush, and she never forgot a light application of lipstick. Her clothes were clean, comfortable and ladylike at the same time.  She always had a plate of cookies to share when a friend stopped by to check on her.

Yet her responses could be so random, her comments not always consistent with the conversation.  How did she manage to keep up with her house and yard and her personal grooming when it seemed her mind was somewhere else?

Well, if they had been inside her head, they would have understood.

It was an orderly space, inside her head.  It just wasn’t  keeping up with everyone else’s.  She carried on long conversations with her beloved Andrew, who had been gone for several years.  She went about her chores just as she always had, without thinking about what she was doing.  She lived in yesterday, always polite, always a lady, always welcoming to those who stopped by.

But inside her head she was still living the life she’d had before Andrew died.  It was her happy space, and she retreated into it just a little bit more deeply every day.

Her children were concerned.  They needn’t have been.  She was completely happy, completely at peace.  THEY were the ones who worried.

Playing Croquet

Mallet

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I’ve never been much of an athlete in the sense of being a fast runner, a gymnast, a classy basketball player.  But there are some things I did very well.  I played a mean game of volleyball.  I was the tetherball queen.  I could hopscotch and hula hoop with the best.

And I was pretty good at croquet.  Does anyone play croquet these days?

We used to set up the game on our  nice big lawn on a summer’s day.  We set it up an adequate distance from the badminton net so that friends could choose what they wanted to do. 10971621-croquet-mallet-and-ball-over-white

The point of croquet is to smack a wooden ball with a wooden mallet, make it go through wire hoops, and garner the most points  as you went around the circuit.  You could get  three points, for instance, if you hit your ball through the two hoops AND hit the wooden stakes behind the hoops. You also got points if you “sent” your opponent’s ball by placing your own right next to it, putting your foot on your own ball, and smacking your ball with the mallet.  The trick was to not break your toes, so if your aim wasn’t the best, you did this very carefully. croquet

We spent many delightful hours outdoors, playing with family and friends.  It was a competitive game, but it didn’t require the players to run or throw a ball.  My kind of game.

Women used to play it in long white lacy dresses and high button shoes, wearing gloves and wide-brimmed hats to protect their  porcelain complexions.  Glad those days are over 🙂

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mallet/

Parallel Ideology

Parallel

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The word comes from two Greek roots meaning alongside and one another. 

It has been said that parallel lines never meet. d7b

I’ve been thinking about that in relationship to the deep divide in American politics that grew dramatically under Obama.  It continues to grow as our mainstream media continues to mount the most vicious attack against any President in our history, including the tirades against Abraham Lincoln during our Civil War.

For a time, I truly believed that at some point we would manage to agree to disagree and work together for the greater good of our country, but that time lasted for about a nanosecond.  The determination of those who want to subjugate America to a philosophy that represses everything we hold dear is not going to give up.  I can only hope and pray that those of us who love freedom will not give up, either.

As parallel lines never meet, neither do parallel ways of thinking.  Parallel, but never moving closer together.

As I write, I’m listening to Vice-President Pence talk about the horrors of the dictatorship in Venezuela.  As always, the Communistic-style dictator made glowing promises that have not been kept. Mr. Pence just described a grandmother who told him how her grandchildren had to stand in line at 5 a.m. to get a ticket to purchase one slice of bread at 5 p.m. Go ahead, read that again.  This is a scenario that has happened over and over again throughout the history of the world when government promises the people that “we’ll take care of you.”  As the wonderful Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually it runs out of other people’s money.”  Yet those in power never lack for food, and live in wealth on the backs of the people they’ve promised to take care of. It’s nothing new.  Why some people continue to think it is the answer to the world’s problems continually amazes me.

Well.  I don’t often venture into the realm of politics here.  I already know there are many of my fellow bloggers who disagree with me completely, and that is the beauty of the freedoms we enjoy in America. We still have the right to say what we think, to stand for what we believe.  There is ongoing war against that freedom.  One of these days,  we may lose it, and only then will we truly understand the immense value of what we had.