Monday, June 01, 2015

Sunday Stuff at the Smuckers

--Two people in this house are unable to pronounce FAFSA right.  They say FASfa.  This is the federal financial aid program, so these are educated people we are referencing.  They talk about FASfa applications and FASfa deadlines and getting more FASfa grants after you're 24 years old.

Often, operating under the delusion that maybe after the 500th correction they will finally say it right, I interrupt with an emphatic "FAFsa!"

Other times I scrinch my shoulders and think fffffffffff sounds at the hamburger I'm frying.

Neither method has changed things so far.

Rhonda Strite, whom I know only from afar via Facebook and also through her being a friend of Amy's roommate Kimberly in Thailand, recently posted about annoyingly mispronounced words.

This is one of my pettest of peeves.
When people pronounce "strength", "strenth". Same way with "length".
It just sends me. And my throat makes the "nkgth" sound silently, over and over, desperately trying to repair the damage.
So please, don't be one of those people.

This sent the conversation down a long trail in which people brought up many more such words.  Warsh for wash, pitchers for pictures, mirra for mirror, li-berry for library.

"Just don't forget "strenGth". That's all I ask," said Rhonda, about 40 comments in.

To my family: It's FAFsa.  That's all I ask.

--There's lightning in the southern sky this evening. I wonder how many Willamette Valley families were, like ours, out in the yard, wrapped in blankets, watching, gasping at the sudden flashes.

Iowa families would not do this, I'm quite sure, especially for lightning so erratic and far away.  They probably don't get quite so excited about snow either.

Funny how this works.

In Oregon, families don't go out and dance in the rain like some people do in arid places like the Middle East.

Most winters, if the sun happens to come out in January or February, I go to the window and just Look.

I doubt they do that in Oman.

--If you've lost a loved one, the strangest things can instantly take you back.  Right there.

Last week I washed some throw rugs, including one of the many Mom crocheted for me.  It started unraveling, so after it dried I got a crochet hook and started working that long dangling rag strip back in.

Just like that, I was back in Minnesota, and Mom was on the couch with a rug in her lap and a sturdy steel crochet hook in her hand.  Stab, loop, pull through, wrap, pull through again.

My hands were her hands, even though I don't think she ever formally taught me to crochet.  The motion of the hook was hers, the firm grip on the rag strip, the determined yank to free the hook from the thick, just-formed stitch.

Grief that takes your breath away, just that quick.

Today we sang Abide With Me in church, and I was instantly back in that country church at my nephew's funeral, drowning in loss, and then big, blind, black Mr. Bear stood and sang eight verses of Abide With Me in a voice that came from the depths and reached to the heavens, a splash of stunning beauty in an ocean of pain, and years have passed and with the first note of that song in a normal Sunday service, I am right there again.

--Another woman whom I know only online, named Stephanie Leinbach, wrote about how she rebelled at being seen as a blogger.  

I want to ask one thing of you.  Please. Don’t call me a blogger. . . .
What Tropical Breeze is among Mennonites, blogging is on the world wide web. In February 2014, there were 75.8 million WordPress blogs, and that was only for WordPress. The world doesn’t need another blog, and when I signed up with WordPress in May 2014, I became (approximately) blog # 75,800,001.. . .
It took me four months to publish my first post. And during those four months, I told only one person what I was up to.
I found the whole situation mortifying. I still do.

You can read more here.  Ironically, I think she has stopped blogging and now posts via email.

When I first read this post, I thought, "What? Surely that's just making a very big deal out of something inconsequential."

I am not like that.

Except I am, I realized a day later. Not with blogging but with cruises and Keurigs.

I have a horror of both.  Not that I'd judge you for going on or having one, but if I succumbed to either I'd feel like I had finally been enslaved by utter American materialistic worldliness.  Plus I'd be like everyone else, and I have this secret pride about being above such common things.

But then I saw a flyer for a Mennonite musical cruise, going from Seattle to Alaska I think, on which the great John Schmid would be featured, and also my old friend Dorcas Stutzman and her family, and other such people, and I was tempted.

If they asked me to speak on a Mennonite cruise to Alaska, I think I could justify it.  Especially if they paid my fare, and Paul's too, and we could eat for free.

But the Keurig doesn't tempt me, not even the little tubs of Earl Grey tea.

Quote of the Day:
Me: What class are you taking at the University of Maryland?
Matt: Spacecraft Attitude, Dynamics, and Control.  Only slightly easier than the teenage version.
Me: ??
Matt: Teenage Attitude, Dynamics, and Control.
Me: Ah. Indeed.


  1. The mention pronunciation reminds me of the problem of water. Most people say it "watt-er" yet my mom's side of the family says it "wudder" and I never knew why.

    However, I was in the area of the country (near Philadelphia) where my grandparents had migrated from, I was talking to a guy there and out of his mouth comes the familiar sound: "wudder"

    Must be a regional thing...

  2. Nick and I can go on ad nauseum about people using words that aren't actually words. Like "conversate" and "irregardless." It drives us bonkers!

  3. Mispronounced words can bother me, but I think poor English bothers me even more. A common one here in central PA. is I "seen" that. I saw a shirt once that said "I am silently correcting you grammar!" Maybe some of us should get one...

  4. There is a television game show I like to watch where the host says "theyselves" and I am transported to my childhood home next to "hood" in a large city. I don't want to be there, so I try to miss the first 3 minutes of the show so I don't have to hear the host say "theyselves"

  5. Those Keurigs!!!!!

    I saw the first Keurig in a thrift store two months ago. It's always interesting to see how many months/years pass between a new appliance craze, and the first time I see one at Goodwill! I'm looking at you, pasta makers, panini presses, ginormous juicers...

  6. The Baritone6/03/2015 8:03 AM

    Excellent post! You defiantly have a point, Dorcas. People these days just don't know they're grammar! Surely someone can show them theirs a better weigh!! Grrr...

  7. This reminded me of the article I just read recently where it said that typos are emotional amplifiers and they make you seem more sincere, albeit they also make you seem less intelligent. I usually am the grammar police so I couldn't resist reading this article..

    A quote" It's possible, though, that there may be a time and a place for a strategic typo or two. "I haven't tested a situation yet where there are clear benefits to using typos over the intelligence loss," he says, but theoretically the idea makes sense."

  8. Ah, but Keurigs don't make very good tea so you are safe! I clicked on a survey online one day about 2 1/2 years ago and ended up being asked if I wanted to be part of a test group for them. They sent me a free machine and a generous K-cup supply over a years time. We still have some of those have never bought a single one. The amount of them going into landfills sickens me. We pretty much use it as a hot water dispenser now. I would have never bought one myself.

  9. oh my...I love hearing about mispronunciations. (I am sure I have some of my own) But, the thingy in the middle of your truck is a console, not a counsel. Which means that the service before Communion (for all you Mennonites) is a Council Service, not a Console Service. :) Hehe And the all-time best word is Flustrated, which is a combination of Flustered and Frustrated. :) Love your posts Dorcas!!

  10. Have to laugh about the blogger thing. I started blogging in the very early days thereof--on AOL in 2003. I remember distinctly, catching up with a much younger friend whom I had not seen in a couple of years, back in about 2005 or so... I told her, "I have a blog." And she (a school teacher, yet) looked at me quizzically and asked, "What's a blog?" The world of blogging has changed drastically in twelve years...and, yes, it seems like everyone has one. But for me, it has been the most miraculous place for a frustrated writer to get the ramblings out of my head and before the eyes of others. An incredible gift...

  11. I graduated college with a degree in English Literature, so I'm definitely a member of the grammar police. "I seen" drives me crazy, but ... FASFA is simply the way we pronounce it, all around the college, even by those who know better. Anachronisms are often mispronounced because a certain pronunciation is either easier and/or that is what catches on.

  12. Another word is "pasture" for "pastor." Honestly people.
    And someone not long ago, like in the last 6mo, asked me what a blog was, and I had to consciously put my jaw back up.
    And the inventor of the Keurig is horrified at how many people use them. He doesn't for a minute think they're economical or worthwhile...there, you don't need or want one! I'm enjoying your posts:)