Saturday, December 10, 2005

I had no idea

An AP wire item dated today reads in part

Pakistan's Supreme Court has extended a ban on making, selling and flying kites that it imposed two months ago after ruling the sport had become increasingly deadly, an official said Saturday.

While the court was hearing the case, which it decided on Friday, police swung batons and lobbed tear gas shells outside the building to disperse about 500 kite-makers and kite-flying enthusiasts who were trying to attend the proceedings.


How is it deadly, you might ask?

The sport sometimes turns deadly when people fall from roofs or are wounded by metal-lined strings. The strings are popular for use in kite battles where people try to cut each others' lines.

I had no idea. Not only that kites could be deadly, but also that kites were an important political issue elsewhere in the world. I also hadn't the foggiest that people battled using kites.

volatile
adjective
1. Tending to violence; explosive.
2. Flying or capable of flying; volant.
"volatile." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 11 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/volatile

This really adds another layer of meaning to the phrase

go fly a kite
idiom
Go away and stop bothering me.
This somewhat impolite colloquial imperative dates from the first half of the 1900s.
"go fly a kite." The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992. Answers.com 11 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/go-fly-a-kite

Artsy Christmas to you

This year, I have decided the Christmas tree is to be decorated solely in homemade ornaments. Accordingly, we spent all morning cutting out snowflakes, watercoloring paper to cut into shapes, experimenting with walnut shells, and separating the youngest's fingers when he repeatedly affixed them to one another with a gluestick (washable, no worries).

What a lovely tree we'll have! How much togetherness while we handcraft ornament after ornament!

Did I mention I cannot find the box with all of our ornaments from years past?

ad rem
adjective
Relevant; pertinent.
adverb
To the point; relevantly.
[Latin : ad, to + rem, accusative of rēs, matter, thing.]
"ad rem." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 10 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/ad-rem

I know the box is here. I just don't quite know where. It's not really lost. Rather, it's

mislaid
adjective
Lost temporarily; as especially put in an unaccustomed or forgotten place Synonym: misplaced.
"mislaid." WordNet 1.7.1. Princeton University, 2001. Answers.com 10 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/mislaid

Friday, December 09, 2005

Munificent


Honestly, I'm pretty ambivalent when it comes to the whole Microsoft-is-evil thing. 'Fraid I really don't much care about that.

Nevertheless, India's favorite Bill (not that one, the other) was just in town and I was reminded of one thing that I love about the Gates--their generosity and civic-mindedness. With the backdrop of seedy stories of some politicians' petty, graft-soiled paws grasping for more ill-gotten lucre, I enjoy seeing someone like Bill the Munificent and this.

mu·nif·i·cent (myū-nĭf'ĭ-sənt) pronunciation
adj.

1. Very liberal in giving; generous.
2. Showing great generosity: a munificent gift.

[Latin mūnificēns, mūnificent-, from mūnificus : mūnus, gift + facere, to make; see fact.]

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=munificent&answers.x=0&answers.y=0


http://www.gatesfoundation.org/default.htm

Lukewarm?

Those of you who have been reading here for some time might recall this post.

I have another conversation to relate:

Peter takes a bite of alphabet pasta. "Ooo, ooo!"

"Was that a little hot?"

Nodding.

"You can take a sip of either the cold water or the cold milk to help cool down your mouth."

Peter sticks his fingers in his water. "Water no is cold, Mommy. Is tepid."


tepid
adj.
  1. Moderately warm; lukewarm.
  2. Lacking in emotional warmth or enthusiasm; halfhearted: “the tepid conservatism of the fifties” (Irving Howe).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

The road ends here

London's doubledecker Routemaster buses will run no more, iconic status notwithstanding.

iconic
adjective
Of, relating to, or having the character of an

icon
noun
An important and enduring symbol.
"iconic." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 09 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/iconic
"icon." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 09 Dec. 2005.
http://www.answers.com/topic/icon

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My angel

Some of you may recall the youngest's disdain for Halloween costumes. Today was his preschool's Christmas pageant. My son's class wore angel costumes. My son, however, did not.

He sang along willingly enough and made the hand movements, but wings? Nope. Halo? Uh-uh. White, flowy gown? Don't even think about it.

On the issue of forced costumes, he remains

steadfast
adjective
1. Fixed or unchanging; steady.
2. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving.
[Middle English stedefast, from Old English stedefæst : stede, place + fæst, fixed, fast.]
"steadfast." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 09 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/steadfast

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's c-c-c-c-cold

Last night our furnace died. We bundled up and threw extra duvets on the beds. It went down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which is -6.67 Celsius, overnight.

The furnace man came today. It doesn't look good. He had to order a new gas valve. It might come tomorrow. It might not. That might not even solve it. We might have to replace the whole thing. We might not. Nobody can say until the valve comes in.

We have a fire in the fireplace and fuel to keep it lit as long as we like. We have duvets. We have warm dogs. Our house's walls keep the wind out.

We have no working furnace, but reading the news, I wish I could share the warmth we do have.

dire
adjective
1. Warning of or having dreadful or terrible consequences; calamitous.
2. Urgent; desperate.
[Latin dīrus, fearsome, terrible; akin to Greek deinos.]
"dire." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 08 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/dire

More on the earthquake survivors
Still More

I've changed my mind again, I think...

I have the hardest time making a decision and then when I finally do make one, I change gears fairly quickly. After all these years, I still surprise myself! I have no idea what I'm doing, when I'm going to do it, or if I'm going to keep doing it. I haven't a clue. I'm one of those people that loves lists, but can't stick to it. I'm one of those people that say "Oh, yeah, let's do Thai food tonight" and then in the next couple of breaths, just as you're dialing the number to the restaurant for pick-up, I'll say, "Nah. I don't know... I feel like Thai, but I don't. How about we get some pizza?" complete with a huge grin on my face.

I annoy people with this frequently, I'm sure, but all of those people seem to love me anyway. I think...

Indecisive:
adj.

1. Prone to or characterized by indecision; irresolute
2. Inconclusive: an indecisive contest; an indecisive battle.
3. Not clearly defined; indefinite: indecisive boundaries running through mountainous terrain.

in'de·ci'sive·ly adv.
in'de·ci'sive·ness n.

Answers.com

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Putting it in R

I cannot drive well in reverse. And our driveway requires one to reverse down an incline. Without fail, I wobble the wheel left, then right, then left as I alternate which side of the lawn I careen across. I scratch the driver's door on the bushes halfway down. I frequently run the car up onto the walkway steps.

Last night, as I left with the oldest well after dark, I asked for utter silence so I could concentrate as I reversed. "Please, honey," I pleaded, "It's pitch black out." He acquiesced until we reached the bottom, only having hit one side of the lawn, plus the stairs. Then he asked, "What does pitch mean?" I explained that the word pitch had several meanings, but that the one pitch black refers to is

pitch
noun
Any of various thick, dark, sticky substances obtained from the distillation residue of coal tar, wood tar, or petroleum and used for waterproofing, roofing, caulking, and paving.
"pitch." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 06 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/pitch

Monday, December 05, 2005

Postcard to Heaven

To: Mom
c/o Heaven

Hi, Mom! How's the weather in Heaven? As you may have noticed, Clyde moved in with you quite suddenly last night. It was a surprise to us, too, as he never stopped eating or drinking or gave any indication at all the time was nigh. Your son-in-law was petting his head and Clyde just quickly collapsed, and it was over.

Please take care of him.

Love,
Your Daughter, who misses you intensely

I'm sad, but I'm glad he's no longer sick. I am also greatly relieved he went so quickly that I didn't have to make the decision to

put (him) down
idiom
Kill a sick animal. [Mid-1500s]
"putdown." The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992. Answers.com 05 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/putdown

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Bad Guy: 1

The oldest and his father are playing Good Guy, Bad Guy in the other room. This consists of the oldest, Bad Guy, whomping on his father, and his father, Good Guy, pretending to be hurt, then catching the oldest and tickling him mercilessly as punishment. Only the oldest is growing up. His hits and kicks, once darling and futile, actually hurt sometimes now.

I hear the oldest land a good one, and my husband laughingly call out "Uncle! Uncle!" The oldest, still in his role, replies in a Bad Guy voice "Your family can't help you now!"

cry (or say) uncle
informal, idiom
To indicate a willingness to give up a fight or surrender.
"uncle." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 04 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/uncle

Bathtime

I bought a package of twelve inexpensive washcloths yesterday - 2 purple, 2 hot pink, 2 bright blue, 2 chartreuse, 2 electric orange and 2 bold yellow. This morning, the youngest watched them coming out of the dryer and said, in a breathless voice, "Oh, colors! My colors!" He grabbed a purple and demanded to bathe immediately.

He's still at an age where his favorite colors are the ones most adults would deem

garish
adjective
1. Marked by strident color or excessive ornamentation; gaudy.
2. Loud and flashy.
3. Glaring; dazzling.
"garish." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 04 Dec. 2005. http://www.answers.com/topic/garish