The Word Monster

I think I’ve created a monster.  What started off in obscurity as a “let’s see if I can keep up with this” has quickly become something quite different.  I don’t want to call it a burden or a responsibility or a duty because of the negative connotations those words sometimes have.  But I have come to realize that in creating this blog that way I have, starting it off as a daily feed, in essence I created for my readers, all 4 of you, mostly family mind you, a expectation of what was to come.  Sorry for all the comma splices in the previous sentence.  Anywho, by posting daily, I informed the readers that this would continue to be a daily endeavor.  And when I started, it was an easy task to keep up and even ahead of.  But with time and other responsibilities and brain drain and you name it, I wasn’t as daily as I had started out to be.  And I have no one to blame but myself, I set up the rules and I allowed them to be broken.  I made a commitment I wasn’t keeping up with. I’m disappointed at this turn of events.  I had every intention of staying at least one day ahead.  But the road to heaven is paved with good intentions right?  And the minutes turn to hours turn to the next day and crap!  I got nothin.

I’m reminded of the movie Little Shop of Horror when the giant plant Audrey II keeps wailing to Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) “feed me, FEED ME!”.  She is insatiable in her constant need to feed.  Just like the fact that the next day will come and another post needs to be created.  But I made a commitment, and commitments need to be honored.  Otherwise where would we be?  Being eaten by a giant plant that’s where.  Not a fate I want to share.  Now where was I?

Spell Check

I find myself in a quandary.  I’ve always considered myself a good speller and grammarian although I successfully hid these talents from my teachers throughout my academic progression.  The spelling talent was a gift of my Mother (along with a great sense of direction) and the grammar via my Dad, the English major turned surgeon.  Because of these gifts, I am quick to spot errors in the writings of others.  This isn’t a talent guaranteed to win you friends so I’ve worked very hard over the years to suppress my need to be right when confronted with the mistakes of others.  Although I was an absolute snot recently at a fancy party where I corrected a delightful gentleman on his pronunciation of Hermes.  Some things just can’t go mispronounced, it’s a crime against fashion and sacrilegious to boot.

However recently while reading several blogs and daily e-blasts from sources I respect and reference consistently, the spelling and syntax errors were so glaring and blatant they took me right out of the story and the experience it had been providing to me.  It was jarring to say the least.  And disappointing.

The quandary comes from the fact that I have recently taken on writing in a fairly consistent and public manner.  I am coming to realize the challenge of feeding this word monster regularly.  And the fact that sometimes in my haste, I may make a error just like I’ve been reading recently.  Top it off with the fact that I HATE to be found wrong.  I know, that may be a shocker to you but if you need confirmation, just ask any of my siblings.  My sister says I need 3 facts to back anything up before I’ll reverse myself on a statement.  I have no idea what she’s talking about.  But, statistically over time, I’m bound to make an error or three.  And that stinks.  I need to invent a thought check so what I’m thinking comes out coherently, structured correctly and spelled to perfection.  Not likely to happen, so maybe I’ll just slow down, re-read what I’ve written and if I do make a mistake, strive to do better next time.

Olympic Dreams

I live in a city that was almost the host of the 2016 Olympics.  We were THAT close to having the world come to our doorstep to see how amazing our town was.  Unfortunately we were not selected today.  I have mixed emotions about the non-selection, immense pride at being one of the final 4 cities, embarrassment at having been knocked out first (really?  we are despised that much?!) and relief because I’ve lived in this “city that works you over” for a long time and I know how ripe the situation was for graft and corruption.  But through it all, I have one overriding thought, at least we tried and we gave it our all.  If we never would have even made a sincere attempt, we never would have made it to Copenhagen because they don’t let dilettantes and pretenders that far into the process.  It was a good effort, one that we can look back on with satisfaction that no stone was left unturned, no question left unanswered, it just wasn’t our time.  Too many slights and old wounds still healing in the world.  There will come another attempt, perhaps by Chicago, perhaps by another US city, that will be more successful.  But we can not feel any shame or remorse for having tried and failed.  The motto of the Special Olympics points to the honor of trying “Let me win but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt”.  And if we had never attempted, we fail before we start.

Giving everything you have to an endeavor is the highest achievement any person can accomplish.  Trying in the face of overwhelming odds is the apex of courage.  Something to keep in mind even when failure seems to be the only consistent and summoning the strength to try again and again seems unattainable.  I’m not one to litter these posts with multiple quotes but I have to include this one from Teddy Roosevelt which is one of my favorites and always brings a lump to my throat “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”

We’ll get ’em next time.

The year without a summer

It’s cold here.  Not cool, we went right to cold-with a wind chill thank you very much.  We really didn’t have a summer and that’s a stinker.  Here in the upper Midwest, we live for our summer because the winters are so blasted awful the thought of warmth is the only thing that keeps us going through the long, cold, dark days.  Every year about this time I plant approximately 800 tulips in my front yard and plan them for early, mid and late spring blooming.  That way I have color for about 6 weeks.  There have been years I’ve almost waited too long to plant and thought about blowing them off but then I remembered how much seeing their little leaves poking through the snowy frozen ground lifted my spirits each spring.   Out came the shovel and the bulbs, sometimes getting the job done in the dark.  It’s a big job but the payoff is so worth it.

The summer is our long thank you from Mother Nature for putting up with the cold grey skies for what seems to be endless months.  There’s a trade off, if the sky is clear blue and the sun is beautiful, you know the temp is most likely in the single digits.  If it warms up to the upper 20’s-low 30’s bye-bye sun, hello lake induced low cloud cover.  So we wait in anticipation for the weather to break and the 15 pounds of additional clothing to be cast aside.  I live behind a grocery store and one of my past times is seeing when the first pair of shorts and flip flops will appear in the parking lot.  It’s pretty much guaranteed to happen if we get a sunny day in the mid 40’s.

But this year, no summer.  When I drove through the South I got a big dose of the heat, temps in the upper 90’s with matching humidity, and it followed me north for a few days.  We did have a heat spurt in mid June for about 5 days but then nada.  July and August were below average in temps and above average in rain.  Nice.  It’s been cool and humid for about a month now and my hair is over all this foolishness.  And now we get to deal with the ever darkening days.  It’s enough to send a body into decline.  I used to laugh that Chicago winters weed out the faint of heart.  I just hope this poor heart can take 8 months of yuck.

Too much of a good thing

Several weeks ago I mentioned I was working my way through my iPod’s long list of music with some fun and interesting juxtapositions.  I’m still on the B’s, having never really realized just how many artists there are with name’s that begin with a B.  Or how prolific those “B” artist are.  Not just the Beatles and all their album iterations, but Bob Marley, Bob Seger, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and of course Bon Jovi.  Since I am insisting on listening to all 5970 songs in my catalogue alphabetically, my entire run can sometimes be musiced, not really a word but it is now, by the same artist.  The other morning, with apologies to my sister and SIL who are BIG fans, I’d had just about enough of Bon Jovi.  I fast forwarded through all the remaining songs sung by the group and was never happier than when the sultry tones of Bonnie Raitt filled my ear buds and was followed up by the throaty voice of Bonnie Tyler.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob Marley, Bob Seger and Bon Jovi, not so much Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, just not their entire body of work all at once.  I needed to have some other artists and genre’s interspersed throughout so I could listen to them in contrast to another.  I’m still going to work my way through the iPod alphabetically, although I am going to skip the 5-600 French vocabulary and phrases, but once I’m done with that, I’ll be on perma shuffle mode.  After all, variety is the spice of life.