Happy Birthday, Dad

Today would have been my dad’s 94th birthday. I think of him every day. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone 4 ½ years already.

I ended my last blog post with “Maybe the moment to show that you care won’t come again. Because you never know.” The best example of this in my life is my siblings’ and my decision to celebrate Dad’s 89th birthday. When we were thinking about it, I said to my sister, “There’s no guarantee there’ll be a 90th.” And sure enough, there wasn’t.

One of the highlights of our time together was all of us going to buy Dad’s present – a birthday suit, which he thought was pretty funny. He always had a great sense of humor.

My dad always liked to look nice, especially for church. He wore a suit and tie every week. Over the years, as he lost muscle mass and height, his dressy suits no longer fit him. So we decided it would be a great birthday present to take him to a men’s store and have him fitted for a tailored suit. We all hung out at the store while he got measured, and when he was finished he said to us, “You kids are going to bury me in this suit.” And indeed we did, only seven months later.

So this is another reminder to love the ones you love, now. Because you never know.

We wanted a commemorative photo, and we chose this colorful tie display at the store for our background. Left to right – Lars, Bryan, Dad, Vassie, and me. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Dad

Honey, Your Tea Is Ready

For years and years, we had a triple timer in the kitchen. Handy if you’re cooking and more than one thing has to be timed at once. One of those three timers, though, was always set to 4:30, the amount of time I steep my tea every morning. Alas, that favorite timer of ours finally gave up the ghost. You had to press the buttons so hard that sometimes it hurt your thumb. Sometimes the alarm sounded like a wounded bird in a distant forest. It was definitely time to move on.

The Professor couldn’t find the same timer for sale anymore, and we ended up buying this fancy-schmancy one with four (!) timers instead. We set one, of course, for 4:30. (For those of you playing at home, it’s a Thermoworks Timestack.)

One reason it’s fancy-schmancy is that it has a unique feature – you can actually record something to play when time is up, rather than having an alarm sound. I guess this would be handy if you wanted to differentiate between “Rotate the pan!” and “Add such-and-such an ingredient now” without having to remember that the first timer was the rotate instruction and the second, the add-the-ingredient one.

One morning soon after we got it, I was steeping my tea, and when the 4:30 had passed, I heard The Professor’s voice saying, “Honey, your tea is ready!” Isn’t that about the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard? She tends toward considerate things to do, knowing me, and this is a good example. In the past, if I walked up to the timer within a few seconds of it sounding the alarm, I would just turn it off. Not anymore. I let her tell me my tea is ready every day.

I recently had a conversation with a good friend who had reminded me that no future is guaranteed. That was in the context of not putting off travel, because maybe you’ll never have another chance to see that destination. But really, it can apply to anything. The timer voice recording was such a small thing for her to do. But I want to let the conversation with my friend inspire me to do small, kind things often for those I love. Or maybe even for acquaintances. Or strangers.

Maybe the moment to show that you care won’t come again. Because you never know.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Honey, Your Tea Is Ready

Leaning into your strengths…and weaknesses

I had a childhood friend who really enjoyed acting in her high school plays. She once told me that after being excited to be cast in her first play, she happened to see the teacher’s audition notes. By her name, it said, “Can’t act, but has good, strong voice.” Lucky for her, this didn’t discourage her. She just thought it was funny. If she had reacted differently, she might have lost out on all the enjoyment being in high school theater ended up giving her.

Sometimes I’m tempted to do only the things I’m good at. But if I were to always do that, it would limit my horizons, and I would never learn anything new. Today, think about something that you haven’t tried before, and might not even be very good at if you did try, but that you might enjoy. Do you dare?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Leaning into your strengths…and weaknesses

Where does mayonnaise come from?

Answer: Menorca, some say

Every day, I get the Palabra del Día (Word of the Day) email from elcastellano.org, a website dedicated to the Spanish language. It not only reveals the etymology of the word, but also discusses something about the history behind it.

Today’s word: mayonesa.

Its history is given as this:
In April 1756, the French rolled into Menorca to take over. There they became acquainted with a sauce made of olive oil and egg yolk that Menorcans served on fish. The capital of Menorca was Puerto Mahón (now just Mahón), and the Duke of Richelieu dubbed the delicious condiment sauce mahonnaise. Before long, it became known in Spanish-speaking countries as salsa mayonesa.

Like many food-related words, our mayonnaise was borrowed from French. My nephew Larry hates it and I’m sure wishes we would give it back.

The people at etymonline.com question this etymology due to its late arrival in French (1806). I dunno, is it a folk etymology*? Did it take 50 years to cross the sea? Or did the word just not make it until then into written form where the linguists could find it? People could eat mayonnaise without writing about it. Though there’s the cookbook genre that linguists use. Etymonline also includes in its description, “An inferior sort of Miracle Whip,” which is pretty funny if you ask me.

It’s interesting to me that you can now buy olive oil mayonnaise, which, if this etymology is true, brings it back to its origins. Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment. Oh, wait. Sorry, you can’t; because of spammers I had to turn comments off.

If you are interested in subscribing to Palabra del Día, click here.

*Technically, a derivational-only popular etymology

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Where does mayonnaise come from?

Survival Instinct

We have a standard dachshund, Tucker, whose nickname (one of them anyway), is Security System. We live on the back side of a subdivision that’s built out in the desert. We see lots of wildlife around our house. Tucker is sure to alert us to every rabbit, quail, or whatever animal he sees, as well as barking at things like fireworks, which are clearly (in his opinion) encroaching on our private space. It probably goes without saying that he also goes nuts when UPS, FedEx, or USPS shows up.

But when the coyotes yip, he lies very still and very quiet. He’s never actually encountered a coyote, but something deep in his genes must holler, “Danger! Stay still and maybe they won’t see you!”
It’s hard sometimes, though, to take a coyote seriously. A video from our night vision outdoor camera:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Survival Instinct