Take a Break

PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

The best parts of the conference were the coffee breaks.

The rest of it? Deadening. Boredom that left one’s backside just as numb as one’s brain. The only one enjoying it was the speaker. He never acknowledged a raised hand or suspected anyone  might have a question.

He was the expert. All questions would be answered if  people would just listen!

At the last break, Lorie  had filled a go-cup to the brim,  figuring it was good for at least two trips to the facilities in the next hour or so.

It was the only escape she could think of.



What’s Your Muse?

Wednesday RDP – INSPIRE

Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare‘breathe or blow into,’ from in- ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe.’ The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense ‘impart a truth or idea to someone.’

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To breathe into.  In Biblical terms, when we say scripture was inspired by God, we mean it was literally God-breathed, the living Word of God. For me, that means my Bible is the ultimate authority on all matters of faith, behavior, belief, human relationships.  It’s my ultimate counseling textbook. It inspires me every day to live by its precepts, and make each day count for God.

I understand, however, that what I find is inspiring may not be so for everyone else.  So, what inspires you?  The beauty of nature?  The immensity of an ocean? the amazing height of a towering mountain?  Or maybe it’s architecture.  Wonderful, solid old buildings that manage to maintain their grandeur even as they decay?  Or modern architecture, where buildings of glass seem to defy all the laws of nature.

Maybe you’re inspired by a simple cup of good coffee.  Or the fragrant aroma of correctly brewed tea. Either one goes well with chocolate, which I find very inspiring 🙂

Or maybe it’s good, hard physical exercise that inspires you and keeps  your heart pumping even after you’re done with your run.

Maybe you’re inspired to come up with a glorious  gastronomic feast as you browse through a grocery store.  Or perhaps you love flowers, have a green thumb, and you’re inspired to create a beautiful arrangement, enjoying the color, texture, shape and aroma of each bloom.

Is it music?  Is there music running in the back of your mind all day long?  Do you play an instrument  that gives you limitless pleasure as you immerse yourself in your favorite music?

Art?  So many kinds of art.  I’m not an artist in the classical sense–can’t draw a straight line 🙂  But I love textiles, and I knit. Or crochet, or do embroidery.  I enjoy quilting, though I haven’t had much time for it lately.  I used to sew almost all my clothes, and my daughter’s too, but it’s not the money-saver it used to be.  Now, I’ve transferred that love of sewing over to a love of finding a fabulous bargain on the  sale racks.

Well, maybe I haven’t found what particularly inspires you.  Maybe it’s nothing more than a 15-minute power nap.  I hope there’s something, whatever it is, that inspires you to activity or to contemplation.  We need both in our lives, because balance is important, too.

RDP: Inspire

Emigrant or Immigrant?


early 17th century (in the general sense ‘move from one place to another’): from Latin migrat- ‘moved, shifted,’ from the verb migrare .


It’s coming into the season of migration for creatures who are smart enough to get out of the sub-zero temps to a warmer climate.  Including human creatures.  Look out Florida and Phoenix!  The snow birds are coming!

Seriously, I’ve always enjoyed watching the huge flocks of geese, in particular, that arrow their way south in the fall. I’m fascinated by their organization, and the way one will fall back from the front and another takes its place.  Of course, you can always find a rogue or two that don’t want to stay in formation, just like people.

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I think there is gypsy blood in my family. We have certainly done some migrating down through the years. I was born in Colorado, but my parents migrated to Minnesota, then Oregon, then back to Minnesota.  I married a guy from the Upper Peninsula who had migrated from Michigan to Minnesota. Eventually we migrated back to the UP, then to Pennsylvania, then to Minnesota, and finally back to PA again.

My kids?  One’s in Germany, one in England, one in South Dakota.  My daughter is about 30 minutes away from us, the only one who hasn’t migrated to some distant shore;  but she married a guy who grew up in Kenya.  As far as I know, he doesn’t have an itch to go back there.

Why do we move around so much?  I don’t know.  I know I hated being “the new girl” so often, going to school with kids who were born in the same hospital, played together from infancy, and who also had siblings and cousins by the dozens who were all local. It’s not easy being new, and I never wanted to have my kids go through that.  Circumstances intervened, however, and I did repeat my parents’ pattern to a lesser degree.

And just in case you were wondering, to emigrate is to leave one’s own country and go to some other country to live permanently.  An immigrant is one who enters another country to live permanently. Which word you use depends on the point of view of your sentence.

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This young man is emigrating. and his parents aren’t happy.

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These people have immigrated to America and are taking the loyalty oath to become legal citizens.  They have emigrated from many different countries.

Maybe that was more information than you wanted.  I can’t help it.  Once an English teacher, always an English teacher 🙂

RDP: Migration

Normal for Them


c. 1200, cointe, “cunning, ingenious; proud,” from Old French cointe “knowledgeable, well-informed; clever; arrogant, proud; elegant, gracious,” from Latin cognitus “known, approved,” past participle of cognoscere “get or come to know well” (see cognizance). Modern spelling is from early 14c.


Interesting how this word has changed over time.  Now,  it’s usually  an adjective meaning “a little old-fashioned,” and is used to describe something which with we’re not familiar because it’s no longer applicable to modern life. An example, here in my corner of Pennsylvania, would be the Amish.

Their manner of dress, for instance is quaint, from our perspective.

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I’m guessing that these  young ladies did not know their picture was being taken. The Old Order Amish consider pictures  to be graven images, and do not allow cameras.

Here’s the typical clothing for Amish men and boys:

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We live about an hour or so from Lancaster County, and it’s a beautiful area. Their farms are lush and productive, worked the old-fashioned way with horse-drawn plows. As you drive through the area, you’ll see horses and buggies; little kids out working in the yard, or someone riding a scooter.


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They can really fly on those scooters!  I’ve seen them riding these things barefoot, too, because that’s how they usually are.  Barefoot. You can see little kids running barefoot down a gravel road.  Ouch.  Doesn’t seem to bother them a bit, though.

Amish cooking is amazing.  There is always a feast if you find a family-owned Amish restaurant.  You will not leave that table still feeling hungry! We enjoy eating at the Bird in Hand Amish Restaurant.  Delicious!Image result for Amish feast on the dinner table

You can even visit an old Amish house, and of course I love looking at the incredible

quilts the women make.

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You will notice no pictures on the wall; there is no electricity used in an Amish house, and it is spotlessly clean.Image result for Amish quilts

This is a traditional Tree of Life quilt pattern.  Amish women can use foot-treadle sewing machines if they have one, but all the quilting and applique is done by hand.  I got to sit at a quilting frame once and do some quilting with Amish women of all ages.Image result for Amish quilting bee

Well, I’ve just scratched the surface of this quaint, to us, way of life. For them, it is normal.  They believe in family, hard work, and clean living.  Not such a bad way to live.

RDP: Quaint


RDP for Sunday= Panoply

late 16th century (in the sense ‘complete protection for spiritual warfare,’ often with biblical allusion to Eph. 6:11, 13): from French panoplie or modern Latin panoplia ‘full armor,’ from Greek, from pan ‘all’ + hopla ‘arms.’

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I love it when I learn something new.  I knew  something of the meaning of today’s word, but I was not aware of its  original meaning  as an array of military arms, as it is used in Ephesians 6.  In that passage,  the Apostle Paul uses the various pieces of armor a Roman centurion would use to describe the way  a Christian should prepare himself to ward off the attacks of Satan.

Perhaps I just lost some of you, if you do not believe Satan exists. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn this into a sermon.  I’m simply fascinated by the word and its connection to something with which I am very  familiar. Every piece of the centurion’s armor is used as a simile with a spiritual application, and I just never connected all that with the word panoply. 

I tend to associate panoply with a rich, impressive display, such as one sees at the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace in London.  I had the privilege of seeing that over 25 years ago.  It’s really quite amazing, and I’m glad I got to see it.


RDP: Panoply

Dandy Dandies

RDP Saturday – POSH

Origin. Early 20th century: perhaps from slang posh, denoting a dandy.

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Two quite posh gentlemen all duded up for dinner and an evening at the opera, the theatre, or perhaps their gentlemen’s club for some gambling  without their wives or female companions getting in the way.

I’ve always associated the word posh with the British.  Not sure why, as most wealthy Americans tried their best, back in the 1920’s to look as British as possible.

It’s even more interesting to go waaaay back and look at painting of posh gentlemen before the term was coined.  I’ve always thought these guys look ridiculous, even  though they all followed the same trends.

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Especially love the guy in pink, don’t you?  I’d love to see Terry all decked out like that, but I really think he’d die first  🙂

RDP:  Posh

Poor Mona Lisa


Old English sme(a)rcian, from a base shared by smile. The early sense was ‘to smile’; it later gained a notion of smugness or silliness.

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I’ve aways thought this woman’s famous smile was more of a smirk.  For centuries now, we’ve been trying to figure out what’s behind  her smile.  Maybe she just had bad teeth and didn’t display them–quite a common problem in her time.

But I really think what was on her mind was, “This is SO boring!  Sitting here for hours and hours without moving a muscle.  Well, I’m going to give them something to think about long after I’m dead and gone.  HA!  Gotcha!”

RDP: Smirk




Don’t Slip!


“having a slippery surface,” c. 1500, from Middle English sliper (adj.) “readily slipping,” from Old English slipor “slippery, having a smooth surface” (see slip (v.)) + -y (2). Metaphoric sense of “deceitful, untrustworthy” is first recorded 1550s.
So, where did the word slippers come from?  You slip  your slippers on, so does that mean they’re slippery?
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And how about the undergarment ladies used to wear, but don’t seem to bother with too much these days?  I’ve always enjoyed a pretty, silky slip, but why is it called a slip?
And then you get a pink slip, which no one really wants unless there is another job in the offing.
You slip and fall on a slippery surface.
You slip a secret  word, hint, or clue to someone else. If you get caught, you say, “It just slipped  right out of my mouth.
If you make a mistake, you might say you slipped up. 
But if you trip and fall on a staircase, you’d say you slipped down the stairs.
If you’re doing dishes and you drop one, you might say it slipped out of your hands.
If you want to incapacitate someone, you might slip him a mickey.  And if you’re making a decision that someone else thinks is dangerous in some way, that person may tell you you’re headed down a slippery slope. 
And let’s not forget the useful slip knot. 
You know, every time I get started on one of these rambles, I’m always surprised at far it takes me.

Just for Nice

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Zing sighed, shaking his head at the strange sight.  He knew they were called umbrellas, but he didn’t understand why the were way up there when all the people were way down here, and it wasn’t even raining.  His logical mind could make no sense of it.

Zang on the other hand, was entranced. “It’s just for pretty,  Zing.  It’s nice to look at.  Like flowers floating down from the sky; like children’s lollipops in the sky; like a bouquet of flowers  floating overhead.”  He loved the colors.

“It’s not practical. It’s just pretty,” Zang said.



He Cheated!


“the exclusive right to make and sell copies of an intellectual production,” 1729, from copy (v.) + right (n.). As a verb, “to secure a copyright of,” from 1806 (implied in past-participle adjective copyrighted).


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This is a familiar symbol  to  anyone who reads, writes, does art,  anything that can be considered intellectual property.  What is really surprising is how much copyright law has been developed since someone first had the idea to protect intellectual property from being plagiarized, copied,  wrongly claimed or attributed.

I’ve never applied for a copyright on anything, but from what little I know it’s a lengthy process–one of the many examples of the red tape and bureaucracy  that has grown with time in our country.

There are two sad aspects of all this.  I am not a lawyer, and I don’t have any  specialized legal  knowledge.  But I do understand the human heart quite well, and am rarely surprised at what contrivances people are capable of  in order to steal something from someone else.  Art, for example.  There are people who are truly gifted, but they make their living by copying the old masters and selling them at  quite outrageously high prices. If they would spend as much time and effort creating their own work, they probably wouldn’t become millionaires overnight, so they choose the  dark side instead.

On a lighter note, I taught English and history for high schoolers for several years. Because I taught both subjects, I assigned a paper that would draw from both  subjects, and the students were given a grade in history for content, and in English for mechanics, spelling, grammar, and appropriate form. There was a young man who thought the whole assignment was stupid, and I guess he thought I was stupid, too.  He wrote the first couple of pages on his computer, and then he stuck in several pages that were copied out of an encyclopedia. A couple more pages of his own were at the end.  I don’t know for sure, but my best guess is that he didn’t think I would really read all those pages, and that as long as the required number of pages was met, he’d get a good grade.

He was furious when I handed it back to him with a big, fat red zero   on the cover.  Did you get that?  HE was furious with ME!  He came storming up to my desk after class demanding to know why I’d given him a zero.

“Well, Stanley, (not his real name, of course)  that would be because most of it wasn’t your own work.  You cheated.  You tried to pass of an encyclopedia as your own writing, which you and I both know is nothing like your own writing. You didn’t complete the assignment, and you cheated. That’s a zero.”

“You can’t do this!  I’m going to tell my dad what you did to me!”  And he went charging out of the room in a temper

What I did to HIM?  Good grief.  As it turned out, I had a short chat with his dad,  and Stanley turned in a second paper a week later.  It met all the requirements of the assignment,  but it was a week late and it was full of grammatical errors.  Gave him a C-.  Again, he was furious, but this time he had the sense not to confront me.  His dad was on my side, glory be!  Parents aren’t always willing to back up the teacher in these situations, which I find very sad.  What the kid learns is that the teacher doesn’t matter, has no authority, and that he doesn’t need to waste any effort on any assignment.

I used to laugh when some kid came up to me wanting to know why I “gave” him such a low grade on his report card.  My stock answer?  “I don’t GIVE you a grade, my friend. You EARN that grade, and here is your line in my grade book which, if you look, you will see there are many assignments you didn’t turn in. That’s what the zeros are for. Then, take a look at your major test grades.  They hover between C and F.   You earned that grade.  And I will also remind you that I sent regular notes home, alerting your parents that you were not doing well.  I’ve done my job.  You didn’t do yours.”

That kid would usually walk away muttering “no fair” under his breath.

And isn’t it amazing where one little word can take a person?

RDP: Copyright