I base much of what I do on a reason, maybe not a good one, but it comes from a memory, advice or experience. The best times are when I do something for no reason at all.
When I was younger, my family declared I was a finicky eater. (As an adult, I’d say I was discerning). I didn’t like my mom’s spaghetti sauce. Every time she made the dish, I’d remind her that I just wanted plain spaghetti. She would nod and proceed to wash the sauce off. I was young and watched silently until the time that she exclaimed in horror, “Oh, Abbe, I just washed your spaghetti down the drain.” In my smallest voice I replied, “Mom, why don’t you make me some without the sauce?”
In my innocence I discovered, a hole in her thoughts. She had repeated her recipe of combining the noodles with sauce for years. It never occurred to her to find a simpler way to accommodate my request. My mom hugged me and boiled water.
Recently I learned of a new way to make corn on the cob. Reed, a farmer in the valley, brought hot corn on the cob to a family reunion. He simply husked the corn, filled a cooler with hot water, and let the corn cook as he traveled to the party. The corn remained hot, and the kernels perfect—not hard or mushy. His reason was practical.
I discovered another trick from my sister-in-law who cans pickles. She takes the box of cucumbers and dumps them in the washing machine and puts it on the gentle wash cycle. No soap but the water takes away the grime, the spikes and saves a ton of time. Her reason was to expedite the process and she bought an old washing machine for the cause.
As an author, I hold these snippets in my story bank, waiting for the perfect character. This is where I can show the depth, humor, and quirks of a life. We all need these quips to keep us grounded.
I usually have a cloth rubber band around my wrist, a habit I acquired when I became a mother. My girls often lost theirs just when it was their turn on the soccer field. Now I keep the rubber band for security. My past employees often came to work at my restaurant not prepared. I’d whip out the hair-tie and send them back on the floor to prep food. My old habit comes in handy. When the weather turns hot, I rely on the rubber band to pull my crazy hair into a ponytail. Reasons change but not habits.
After I retired, I changed my time that I set off to swim. Who in their right mind would leave the house at 5:00 am to exercise? But a creature of habit finds change difficult. I compromised and discovered a new world. Instead of just laps, I added water aerobics. I find myself laughing with all the women and a few men. The instructor works us hard and I’m relieved when the class is done, because I’m left with an empty pool and just myself lapping the lanes while I pretend, I’m a mermaid.
This minor change in time allowed for other discoveries. The pool is the same, but in fact my Monday experience allows for new friendships, different patterns. I even drive down different roads to avoid traffic. Still, I keep to my schedule on Wednesdays and Fridays. Changing a habit is hard.
Summer is gone but here the Pacific Northwest, September is a gift. They call it Indian Summer when autumn should be knocking at our door, but the weather is unseasonably warm, the sun shines. We get a second chance. Our tendency of assigning names that might be offensive strikes me as another habit. Some call this time the gossamer or the goose summer. Others say it’s the time for spiders where their glossy webs are seen in the early mornings. Coining a new name for an old habit will take time. I’ll start today, celebrating for no reason at all. SSG– Summer’s Second Gift.
If you look carefully at the characters in my novels, you’ll discover many of my observations of daily life. I assign the quirks to them and give my idiosyncrasies purpose. My reason—to ensure that my craziness will endure.
The Magic of Words
Thanks to www.Wordmith.org and A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg, I have received for the last twelve years in my in-box a “word” with pronunciation, meaning, etymology, and usage. I must confess that the words eek into my brain and sometimes into my stories. Here are two words that struck me as noteworthy:
Transitive: Pronunciation: (TRANN-zi-tiv)
Meaning: adjective: relating to a construction in which an action passes to an object. Involving transition. Changeable; transient. Concerning a relation such that if it holds for A and B, between B and C, it also holds between A and C.
Etymology: From Latin transire (to cross), from trans-(across) + ire (to go). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ei-(to go), which also gave us exit, transit, circuit, itinerary, adit, ambit, and arrant. Earliest documented use :1571.
MEANING: adjective: Extremely eager and enthusiastic.
ETYMOLOGY: From Chinese gonghe, and acronym from the Gongye Hezuosh (Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society). The term gonghe was interpreted to mean “work together” and was introduced as a training slogan by US Marine Corps officer Evens Carslon (1896-1947) Earliest documented use: 1942.
The three sisters were so gong ho about practicing tennis, that they believed a win for one would be transitive and the other two easily win the tournament, as well. What was good for one and two certainly would be good for three.