Monday, November 28, 2016 Word of the Year 2016: Xenophobia

I receive a daily email from giving me their choice for Word of the Day.  The words are chosen, I'm sure, for their distinctness, current event interest or literary opulence.  Sometimes the word of the day is one I recognize and use in my vocabulary, sometimes it's a completely new word for me.

In today's group of emails came the Word of the Year for 2016:  xenophobia, a noun meaning (according to 
1.  fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers:  Xenophobia and nationalism can be seen as a reaction to the rise of globalization.
2.  fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself:  Learning a foreign language can help to overcome xenophobia.

Here's the link to's explanation of the choice of the word as Word of the Year: Word of the Year: Xenophobia

What are you thoughts about the choice of the word and the reasons for the choice?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Little Vivaldi to Begin the Christmas Season, Guatemala Style

Cousin Linda and I went to la Iglasia del Hermano Pedro (Brother Peter Church) last night to enjoy a Vivaldi concert.

First, let me tell you a little bit about Hermano Pedro, the patron saint of Guatemala.  He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on July 30, 2002.  Born in the Canary Islands in 1626 he was a shepherd until his early 20s, when he set out for Guatemala, hoping to find a relative there.  First he arrived in Cuba practically destitute and stayed there to earn money for the remainder of his quest to get to Guatemala.  When he arrived in Antigua he entered the Jesuit College but was unable ("unqualified") to complete the course to become a priest.  He became a Franciscan brother and became known as Hermano Pedro.

He spent his early years visiting the sick in hospitals, jails and their homes; later, in 1663,  he founded the first hospital for the convalescent care of the poor and homeless.  Obra Sociales del Hermano Pedro (Social Work Hospital of Brother Pedro) is alive and well in Antigua to this day, four centuries later.  The hospital receives no aid from the Guatemalan government, relying solely on donations for its operations.  The church and the hospital are havens for Guatemala's poor and inform; Linda has been a volunteer in the pediatric department for all of the eight years she's lived in Guatemala, never tiring of her dedication to make a positive difference in the lives of these needy children, some of whom pass their entire lives inside the walls, receiving incredibly good care and love through the continued dedication of the followers of Santo Hermano Pedro.  It is truly an inspiration to visit.

Last night a string quartet (with the addition of a trumpet and oboe) and a wonderful chorale group came to Antigua to perform a lovely concert of works by the Italian Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741).  What a lovely beginning to the Christmas season, Guatemala style.  The concert was performed with the group actually on the altar of the church.  Donations of any amount, large or small, were accepted but not mandatory.

Linda and I sat in the first row of pews.  In front of us were several adult convalescent residents of
Hermano Pedro Hospital, who were mesmerized by the performance

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Received the link to a very interesting blog post this morning and thought I'd share it.  I, like many, was distraught over the recent presidential campaign and election.  Now it's time to come to grips with WHAT IS and move forward.

Maybe you'll enjoy this article / post too.

Seven Ways to Create a Positive Path Forward after This Election

The day before the election I was doing some last minute shopping in the great Roseville Mall (knowing I'd not see the likes of it upon my return to Guatemala); it was just a day before the election and I saw, in a gift-store window, the perfect present for my cousin Linda in Antigua.  It was a pair of "Hillary" socks.  I walked into the store and found that the pair in the window was the last pair; the sales lady was happy to climb into the window display to get them for me.  $13 later I had the socks in hand an couldn't wait to give them to Linda upon my return.  Well, yesterday I did give them to her and I thought she was going to cry, which she says she's done a lot of since November 8th.  Finally, she said, "I will wear them to bed since there won't be an inauguration party for this girl."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PLEONASM - Word of the Day 11/16/16

Pleonasm:  \PLEE - uh - nah - uh m\
1)  the use of more words than necessary to express an idea; redundancy.
2)  an instance of this, as free gift  or try fact.

As the standard of mentality has risen, just so has the dictum of man gone forth that he must and will do his own thinking.  He no longer wishes to have thought iterated and reiterated and hammered upon him again and again.  Pleonasm is repellent to him.
-- Jack London, "Phenomena of Literary Evolution,"  The Bookman,  Volume XII, September 1900 - February 1901.

After having spent time with Jeff's family (Jeff, Alice, Malia and Samantha, almost 17) and Kari's family (Kari, David, Quinn (28), Addison (24), Holland (22), Avery, Tate and Spencer (17 next week)), I've been reminded that my texts, emails, blog posts, etc. are too WORDY.  Well!  My son-in-law, David, even tells me that he knows people who don't even read past the first two lines of an email! And, some people who don't read their emails at all!  Yikes!

Those of us from the generations who actually wrote letters to friends and relatives who didn't live within our telephone no-long-distance-zone thought we were ever so modern when we graduated (or lowered ourselves) to email.  Now, some people don't read it!

I've enjoyed having the time to study a bit more about my language, as well as Spanish and French; I've come full circle from thinking mine is the most reasonable language - to - mine is impossible to spell and pronounce - to - mine is a pretty great language after all.  I intend to keep up my enthusiasm and endeavor to better my grammar, spelling, punctuation and pronunciation - in Spanish, French, and especially English.

If I develop the ability to make my written word more fluid and pleasant to read, I fully intend to do so - even if I resort to 


Thinking About a Return to Blogging

November 16, 2016

A long time has passed without a single word from me.  I've been thinking about all my 'virtual' friends a lot lately; a few weeks ago I started thinking about jotting down some thoughts in blog-land.  Well, here goes:

I returned Monday from over 10 weeks in California, having finally had my second total knee replacement, this time the left.  Now I have two bionic knees and am happy as I can be with both of them. I flew to Sacramento on the 1st of September and had the surgery on the 13th.  Because I'd spent the last year being very diligent about my gym participation, I'd lost considerable weight and had built some really good muscle mass, making both the surgery and the recovery much easier than even I'd hoped.  I was in and out of the hospital in just over 24 hours and was up an walking right away (with a little protection help of a walker - I didn't like the idea of being bumped into!).  I even started walking outside my daughter's house in the second week; even made it to a restaurant or two that week too.

I was completely discharged from MD care about three weeks ago and spent the last two in California visiting friends and having fun. I so enjoyed seeing my grandchildren - the twins and triplets are all getting ready to turn 17!  That, in itself, is hard to believe.  All five of them are driving and going every which way from morning 'til night.
This is 5'7" Mimi with (from Left) Tate 6'3", Avery 6'1"
 and Spencer 6'5"

 The photo was taken in September on the occasion of Quinn's engagement brunch.  Yes, Quinn, who had the disastrous "left at the altar" episode in her life has found love again.  This time with Jordan, who will be welcomed into the family on April 29, 2017.  I'll leave that story for another day.  Suffice it to say we're thrilled and here they are:
Quinn and Jordan.  Quinn met Jordan a while after the disastrous
wedding call-off and he offered to be a friend!  Voila!
To Jordan's left is Quinn's dad David, very interested in the brunch
menu.  All this in Napa, California.
Jordan had asked David for Quinn's hand and then planned a whole weekend in the Wine Country.  He proposed in a vineyard (with photographer at the ready) and we surprised Quinn by arriving for the engagement brunch the next morning.  Fun, fun, fun!

More to come!