Wondrous Words #343

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I encountered a new form of meeting new-to-me words this week. It happened Monday at Toastmasters while we did a fun Table Topics exercise. (Table Topic is a part of the meeting where members take part in short extemporaneous speeches.)

When a member was called to the front, the person in charge gave him or her a weird word to define. The words were all so weird that no one knew what they meant so it was a chance to be creative and make up a definition. It was a great chance to ad lib our way through a one-to-two minute speech.

Here are a couple of the words we tried to define:

gorgonize:

The member’s creative definition:  “The sound you hear at a drive-through speaker after you give your order. It sounds like this: “sg*x@lsg#gi%em#$mm!!” After a couple of those exchanges, you just have to drive up to the window and really order.”

That’s not right? Okay, what does gorgonize really mean? To turn into stone; to paralyze with one’s gaze.

ktenology:

The member’s creative definition:  “This word means the science of environmental change from the perspective of wild animals around the world”

What does ktenology really mean? It’s the science of putting people to death.

That was a lot of fun to do. Try it out at your n ext gathering of friends and/or family.

All the words came from The Dictionary of Weird Words.

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Okay, that’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the

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What Am I Reading? Journey To Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

There seems to be a lot of buzz out there about this book. I’m seeing it featured in almost all the major book places. At first I was surprised as this is the twelfth book in the Maisie Hobbs series. And then I began reading the book. It’s good, very good. I’ll tell you about it next Monday (the 18th) as part of a TLC Book tour.

Here’s the first paragraph:

Journey to MunichCHAPTER 1
Holland Park, London, February 1938

The day was bright, the air crisp, with sunshine giving an impression of imminent spring, though as soon as a person ventured out from a warm, cocooned indoors, a nip in the chill outdoors soon found its way to fingertips and toes.

Maisie Dobbs—as she preferred to be known, though she was now the bearer of a title through a marriage cut short—opened her eyes and decided it was mid-morning, given the way the sun was shining through a crack in the curtains. No one had disturbed her, no one had come to her room with breakfast or tea, though she supposed Priscilla would bring a tray soon, afraid to leave her friend alone and awake for that long.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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A Good Food Book: New York in a Dozen Dishes

New YorkOne of the best parts about visiting new places is tasting new foods and/or visiting new restaurants. It’s been ten years since I was last in New York City and I doubt I’ll be there anytime soon, but when I saw this little gem of a book at the library, I snatched it up.

In the 70s the author left grad school in Wisconsin and moved to the East Village. The area was in decline so the rents were low. Since Robert had little money he soon discovered that the best and least expensive entertainment was the local food scene. He began touring the five boroughs of New York City looking for food made by the most recent immigrants. And then he began writing about it.

The book is filled with a baker’s dozen of essays devoted to various foods. It is an international list of special foods. Here are the chapters:

  • Pizza
  • Egg Foo Yong
  • Clam Chowder
  • Thiebou Djenn
  • Pastrami
  • Masala Dosa
  • Fried Chicken
  • Pambazo
  • Barbecue Brisket
  • Guy
  • Pho
  • Scrambled Brains
  • The Black and White Cookie

Each essay analyzes the food, gives a little history, tells you some of the best places to find that dish, and then he gives us a recipe with plenty of tips. Five of these dishes were completely new to me. How can I lived this long and not know them? There is so much in this world I have yet to explore. For an old Foodie like me, this book was educational and thus exciting.

I’ve come to expect full-color, close-up, mouth-watering photos in the food books I read. There are none in New York in a Dozen Dishes. I didn’t even think of it until after I’d finished the book and was describing a dish to a friend. What makes the difference in this book? It’s good old-fashioned word usage. Robert Sietsema is so accomplished at using his words that he created pictures in my mind. I could see the dishes! Isn’t that amazing? It is in today’s food world.

This is a great book for someone who lives in or around New York or someone who is planning a visit. Of course, Foodies could read it just for the fun of it the way I did.

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I’m linking this post to Weekend Cooking. You can find more Weekend Cooking posts at Beth Fish Reads.

weekendckng2

 

Posted in B+, Foodie's Reading Challenge, Weekend Cooking | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Come Meet Two Female Senators

I love following politics and the workings of government. I really do. Always have. But, as many have already said, it’s tough this year. For me this is the craziest year I’ve seen in a very long time. The impression many people have is that the whole thing is non-functional and that all politicians are bums. I often think that too, but then the saner side of me disagrees. Something must be getting done and they can’t all be bums. What about the women in Congress? I decided to take a closer look at two of the female leaders in the Senate.

Elizabeth WarrenThe first woman I looked at was Elizabeth Warren. Her memoir, A Fighting Chance, made me lift my arm in the air and shout “Yes!” several times during the course of the book. I also cried, laughed out loud, and shook my head. I feel as if I’ve met this woman before. She was raised in similar  circumstances. She didn’t start out as a law professor at Harvard. She had lots of things to overcome before she got there. Now I understand why she is so passionate about fighting for the issues of the middle class. Best of all, I have to say that, by the end of the book, Elizabeth Warren made me feel positive and hopeful. Here’s a few details from the publisher’s blurb:

“As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher—an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but fifteen years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington DC to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws? . . . She came up with the idea for a new agency designed to protect consumers from predatory bankers and was denied the opportunity to run it. Finally, at age 62, she decided to run for elective office and won the most competitive—and watched—Senate race in the country.”

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Amy KlobucharThe second woman I looked at was Amy Klobuchar. I heard her interviewed when her book, The Senator Next Door, first came out. She was so charming and funny and smart that I got the book immediately. It felt like I already knew this woman. Like me she was raised in a middle class family in the Midwest. I was amazed at how hard she always worked. The senator spent a lot of time in her book talking about her various jobs and the things she has been able to accomplish. I found it fascinating, but I shook my head at the many long days she puts in. (The woman flies home to Minnesota nearly every weekend in addition to a long week in Washington D.C.)  What is her passion? It’s proving that things can be accomplished and problems solved by bringing opposing parties together. That’s a very tough task these days. Go Amy!  Here’s a few more details from the publisher’s blurb:

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has tackled every obstacle she’s encountered–her parents’ divorce, her father’s alcoholism and recovery, her political campaigns and Washington’s gridlock–with honesty, humor and pluck. Now, in The Senator Next Door, she chronicles her remarkable heartland journey, from her immigrant grandparents to her middle-class suburban upbringing to her rise in American politics.

I felt so much better after “meeting” these two women. I actually listened to both of these books via audiobooks. The Senators each narrated their books which, in my opinion, made them much more powerful. I heard the passion and other emotions in their voices.

If you also have been feeling negative about this year’s political craziness, I’d like to recommend reading both or at least one of these books. They are both well written and are well worth the time to read or listen to.

Posted in A+ Books, Library Challenge, Memoirs, Social Justice | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Wondrous Words #342

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I only found one new word this week. While reading a blurb about My Brilliant Friend by Elana Ferrante I found this word:

tetralogy: Book one in Ferrante’s Neapolitan tetralogy begins in 1950s Naples and introduces us to two childhood friends, Elena and Lila.

I believe this word was new to me because I have never read books in a series of four. It’s usually three—a trilogy—or a series that runs into the teens. So I checked the dictionary and found that tetralogy is a group of four related literary works,

Now I know.

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Okay, that’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the

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What Am I Reading? What You See by Hank Phillipi Ryan

The moment I started reading the first paragraph of this fourth book in the author’s Jane Ryland series, my mouth turned up in a smile. I could feel the excitement growing – that excitement I get when I meet familiar characters –  the ones I like. It’s like meeting up with truly good friends. I don’t exactly know where or what we’re going to do, but I know I will love whatever happens.  In this series the friends are Jake Brogan, a homicide detective, and Jane Ryland, a news reporter. And yes, they do have a thing for each other.

Here’s how this new adventure begins:

What You See“Somebody saw something. And most of them took pictures of it.” Detective Jake Brogan watched the uniforms try to corral the chaos of tourists and brown-bag-toting Bostonians while two crime scene units unspooled parallel rolls of their yellow plastic tape. Sirens wailed, three EMTs leaped from a red-and-white ambulance, the beeping Walk signal ordered clustering pedestrians to cross Congress Street and angry drivers honked disapproval as police cadets in orange bandoliers signaled all cars to stop.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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Update From the Last Couple Of Weeks

I’ve had a couple of crazy weeks and I thought I’d catch you up on what’s going on. I took a blogging vacation and went to visit my eldest daughter’s family in Portland. It’s only been a couple of months since I was there, but I just had to see my granddaughters. They’re growing up so fast.

A few days after I left, my husband, who stayed at home, began to have a stomach ache. It grew worse and, when he couldn’t stand it any longer and without telling anyone about it, drove himself to the hospital. (What can I say – he’s of that generation.) It turned out he had a ruptured appendix and they had to operate. As if that weren’t bad enough, while he was in the hospital, some person stole his truck – right out of the hospital parking lot! What kind of person does that?

My husband is now home and recovering nicely. He’s a tough guy, but now we have to deal with the aftermath of it all. Thank God we have our son here. He’s taken charge of dealing with the police, the insurance company and so forth. All we can do is go forward.

Back to more pleasant topics. As you know I took the train, the Coast Starlight, to and from Portland. I really love traveling this particular train. Although the windows are dirty, I took some pictures to share with you.

Train 1Here’s the view I saw while the train was pulling into a curve.

Train 2

The landscape on the trip is often spectacular. There was still quite a bit of snow in the mountains.

Building Art

Portland is a very eclectic town. It’s vibrant and fun. Here’s a photo of the side of a building. Isn’t that fun?

Ocean

We spent a day at the Oregon coast. This is Cannon Beach. It’s a treat for all the senses.

Lou & MuffinsBest part of the trip was time with family. Here’s eleven-year-old Lou making blueberry muffins.

B MuffinsYummy! Life is good

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Triple Dog DareOne More Thing: I successfully completed my To Be Read Triple Dog Dare Challenge! Between January 1st and now I only read/listened to books that I already owned. That made a 31-book dent in my over-crowded stash. It feels good. Thanks to James at James Reads Books for sponsoring the challenge.

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I’m linking this post with others who participate at Saturday Snapshot located at West Metro Mommy Reads. For more information, visit her website.

Saturday Snapshot

Posted in Photo Meme, This and That | 8 Comments

Wondrous Words #341

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

Retirement has given me plenty of time to follow all the  political maneuverings. This year it’s been at least interesting. It’s even better now with all the online news magazines. I must say it’s not where I expected to find new words, but there they are.

From The Huffington Post:

1. nihilistic:   “He is, quite simply, a particularly embarrassing manifestation of the party’s aversion to fact, appeals to fear, immunity to reason, and nihilistic denunciations of government as the source of all our problems.

Nihilistic means rejecting all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless.

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While reading the online magazine Slate, I came across this headline:

2.  schadenfreude:    “Against Liberal Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude means pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune. I’m not sure that this word will fit right into my everyday vocabulary.

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Okay, that’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? The Memoirs of Two Senators

I’ve just finished reading two books by two female senators. I started writing the word “politicians” instead of senators, but I no longer think of these two women that way. After reading/listening to Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, I think of them as women – fellow wives and mothers.  Having women leaders in government is still in it’s infancy and I wanted to know something about these new female senators. Here’s how the two books begin:

A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren

Prologue

Elizabeth Warren“I’m Elizabeth Warren. I’m a wife, a mother, an grandmother. For nearly all my life, I would have said I’m a teacher, but I guess I really can’t say that anymore. Now I’d have to introduce myself as a United States senator, though I still feel a small jolt of surprise whenever I say that.

This is my story, and it’s a story born of gratitude.

My daddy was a maintenance man and my mother worked the phones at Sears. . . . “

 

The Senator Next Door by Amy Klobuchar

When Everything Was New

“My parents wallpapered the last room in their house on 1315 Oakview Lane in 1960 when everything was new. The house was new, Oakview Lane was new, and even the frontier-town-turned-Minneapolis-suburb of Plymouth, Minnesota, was Amy Klobucharlooking new. Barns and silos were giving way to tracts of attached-garage houses, and what were once cow paths had become streets with names like Kirkwood and Evergreen and Jonquil. With its exposed wood ceiling, my parents’ three-bedroom, one-bathroom house was so 1960s modern that one visitor—my grandma—would always ask my dad, “Jim, when are you going to finish that ceiling?” Every single appliance in the house—from the butter yellow-colored oven to the aqua countertop stove to the side-by-side washer and dryer—was new, fully paid for by my dad’s GI loan.”

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What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

Posted in First Paragraph | 11 Comments

I’m On The Road – Railroad, That Is

TrainI’m off to Portland to see my granddaughters, and their parents. I’m taking the Coast Starlight, one of the best train routes anywhere. I love train travel. It’s one of my favorite places to read, nap, meet interesting people, and then read some more. I’ll be off the blog for a week or so. See you then.

 

*Photo from Amtrak

Posted in This and That | 5 Comments