Slashing Syllables

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That tears it. When not one, not two, but three to five friends tell me I use a lot of big words in my books, I have to throw up my hands and fess up.
I am a big-word fiend.
Not a big word SNOB.
Don’t think I mean to make you think I am smart.
I’m not, you know. Smart, that is.
But words are SO GREAT.
Some are JUST RIGHT.
Why not, I think, use one big word if it fits? If it says what I want to say?

Now I know why. Folks don’t like the big words. At least not the way I use them. Not in the light weight books I write about love and crime and snow and dogs.
I hear you.

So as of this date I turn o’er a new leaf.
I vow to tone down the length and breadth and width of the terms I use in the books I write.
I shall look at each word.
If it won’t pass the snob test I pledge to slash and burn. To pare down to words that make the heart glad of each gal (or guy) who reads my work. Words that don’t tax the brain past where it wants to be taxed.

Of course, I would not have known how vexed folk can get, had not I asked some of those good folks to proof read my tales (those not yet in book form). They seemed to think I have a poor chance that these tales get put to print lest I cut the fluff of out sized words.

So it starts. I wrote this blog post to work on my vow to toss those big words. Only one beat per word. Feel free to proof read. Did I miss some long words? Are some still so big that you must clap twice or more as you read each one?
Give me your feed back. Please. Feel free, too, to use words with more than one beat. ‘Cuz it is quite tough to keep those beats down to one. Trust me on that.

(I made free with the name of this post. A two beat word and a three beat word. At times, one must be kind to ones self.)

40 Winks and the Woman

Refurbished from an old post (November 1, 2012) on my old blog.

Want to see a twinkle in the eye of a lady on the plus side of 50?
Brawny-chested men won’t do it.
Chocolate? Possibly, but there is a more immediate craving.
Jewels? Vacations? A lifetime supply of Oil of Olay Deep Wrinkle Remover? Is that the best you have?
Fuzzy slippers, an afghan and a recliner?
Oooooohhhh.
Now you are talking.
We don’t always want our pulses to race, our taste buds to quiver or our social status to elevate.

We want a nap.

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Not a long one. Enough to release stress but not so long that we forget what year it is. Or which millennium.
Our sleep should be deep enough for little cherubs to do a happy dance in the corners of our mind, but not so deep that the cherubs metamorphose into winged dust globules with digestive issues.

A satisfying nap will do a woman more good than a shot of Botox, a shot of 5 Hour Energy or a Valium shot. It will give her brain a chance to clear, her creativity and energy a chance to recharge and those funny little wrinkles along her top lip a chance to relax.

We’ve been storing away missed nap opportunities for years. Now, with kids a bit older and fewer commitments, we want to cash in on all the naps we pined for during our education years, our child-rearing years, our career-building years.

The nap helps build stamina. It is good for our hearts. It helps make up for sleep lost at night because of demented hormones, a snoring spouse or a barking dog.

Ladies. Throw off the shackles of guilt, the fear that we’ll be labelled as lazy and libeled as slugs.
Stonewall Jackson, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, JFK, and Napoleon Bonaparte all benefited from naps. They achieved greatness.
And they are all men.
This, my friends, is why women our age do not get the notice we deserve.

We aren’t famous because we’re behind on our naps.

Let’s change all that, starting about 1pm today.
Cuddle down, cover up, and snooze. Rise up, go forth, and change the world.

A grateful nation may name an airport for you.

Or at the very least, a dessert.

 

 

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

The n-word (or, the fully unclothed truth)

The “n” in the title is deliberately lower case, to differentiate it from the very Nasty N-word that makes most of us grit our teeth.

Nevertheless, this particular lower case n-word has great power over me. The power to make me blush.

No. I am not going to write it out. I’m relying on my favorite way of dealing with words that offend my prudish sensibilities—
the euphemism.

Two of my favorites for this particular n-word are “birthday suit” and “in the altogether.”
Figured out what it is yet?
No? How about a synonym.
Never mind. I don’t like any of those either.

Here’s one of my own.
“Fully unclothed”

The first time I remember reading the n-word was maybe in 2nd grade? One of the Little House books, I think. The description of a tornado and the devastation it left hit me hard. I’ve been terrified of twisters ever since. But then. THEN. The narration described a survivor of the storm as being “n-word as a jaybird.”

Well. Yuck. That was my first reaction. I didn’t want to be caught up in a tornado and I especially didn’t want it dropping me off fully unclothed.
Hot on the heels of that gut-level prude reaction came judgement.
How could a book for kids print a word like that? I think I half expected it to incinerate before my eyes.

Cartoon birth

“Ick” and “that wasn’t nice!” are two of the natural-born prude’s natural reactions to things of the flesh. The final is embarrassment. What if someone—say God—caught me reading the n-word?

(This is a good time to take the blame for my prudishness off my parents and put it squarely where it belongs. An unknown genetic anomaly that develops freeform and randomly in a limited number of human children. [The animal kingdom appears immune. To my consternation. Many is the time I wished Rhesus monkeys were partial to pants.] If you’re worried that your offspring might be susceptible, don’t be. The prude gene is becoming increasingly extinct. My point is, my parents, although never given to swearing or vulgarity, are not responsible for my prudish nature. I was born this way.)

Maybe other prudes can handle the n-word. Prudes who don’t so closely link spoken or written words with mental images. When I hear or read the term “birthday suit,” a picture of someone crowned with icing and a candle on the head cavorting in confetti pops into my mind. The phrase ‘In the altogether’ springs into my minds eye a pleasingly plump individual, slightly pink, and tastefully blurred from the neck down. No, I don’t know why.

Cartoon Buster

But the n-word? Or any of its synonyms? When I hear or see it or its associates— say ‘nudy-rudy’ word or the homonym for “bear”—and my mind runs madly for a beach towel or nice opaque sheet to cover the vision flashing in my head.

I have never been happy with the mess Adam and Eve led us into, but I’ve always been intensely grateful that in the aftermath, God at least let us wear clothes.

 

Note- the above cartoons are from “Cartoon Cavalcade” edited by Thomas Craven and published by Consolidated Book Publishers in 1945. Which means that although the cartoons I used were created before 1919 they may not actually be in the public domain and I could be in violation of copyright.  But dug-nub-it. I worked so hard on finding appropriate—in more  ways than one—images and adding text. I’m going to live dangerously.

To every decoration, there is a season

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I knew I should have been taking more vitamins. Practicing those limber-up moves and establishing regular sleep habits. Repeating positive thoughts at regular intervals to myself.
Because the Big Day is tomorrow. March 1. The day that will require every bit of energy and organization and perseverance.
It is the day the winter decorations come down.

People, I have a lot of winter decorations. These are not to be confused with the Christmas decorations that come down January 2. After ditching everything attendant on that season, I perform a hasty cleanse and pull out the Winter Box.
Down with the Christmas tree, up with the Winter trees. Away with reds and greens and golds, in with silvers and whites. Angels are replaced with snowmen. So. Many. Snowmen. Poinsettias make way for greens and frosty pinecones.

 

For almost two months I enjoy the cozy season and my cozy decorations. Then, the last week of February, a strange restlessness sets in. The snow might still be up to our windowsills, the temps might still hover around freeze-your-nose-off, but I’m beginning to cast glances of disfavor at the snow globes, the ice fishing moose, the ice skating American Girl outfits.
That’s when I know. It’s time to strip my shelves and walls and tables of all things winter. The St. Patrick’s Day decorations, though paltry in number, will come out. The green reminds me that spring will come. In spite of the aforementioned sill-high snow.

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But before the greens and the shamrocks can claim their rightful places, hundreds of winter things must come down. Did I mention that a family of four could easily live in the Winter Box?
Tomorrow, March 1, you’ll find me chugging the coffee and repeating positive phrases and stopping for deep, cleansing breaths. At the end of the day nary a snowflake will be seen. Everything winter will be packed away, waiting, (Lord willing) to be greeted with shouts of approbation and great affection on January 2, 2020.

Version 2

Ode to a Germ

Two weeks ago, I WAS SO SICK. Every possible symptom of the flu attacked me, from the tips of my hair follicles to the ends of my toes, and every major and minor organ between. I was so, so sick that I couldn’t talk about how sick I was when I was sick, and now that I’m better I fight the urge to tell family, friends, casual acquaintances and our mail carrier about every symptom. In detail.

When I was sick I was too sick to really worry about how sick I was but now that I’m better I’m worried when a little grandson is down with fever and chills. This poem is for you, sweetheart. Get better soon and we’ll swap symptom stories.

 

THE GERM

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.

Ogden Nash

 

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Ode to my Valentine

I found this poem…somewhere…when my husband and I were engaged. (Not on the internet/Pinterest/a meme—how did we stumble on things back in those prehistoric times?)

I wrote it out and gave it to him and I think he got a kick out of it. Hope you do too!

 

All Because You Kissed Me Goodnight

I climbed up the door
And opened the stairs
Said my pajamas
And put on my prayers
Then I turned off the bed
And crawled into the light
All because you kissed me goodnight.

The next morning I felt normal again
So I picked up the eggs
And toasted the phone
Fed the dog papers
And threw dad a bone

Then came midnight
And the sun was still shining
So I hopped on the door
And opened my bed
Switched on my book
And read the light
All because you kissed me goodnight.

Author Unknown

 

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