Chillin’ with a good book!
Categories: Avatar Friday
Tags: Kathi Appelt, Keeper, Middle-grade Books
Tags: Words and Expressions
Words are everywhere. What would we do without them? It would surely be a dull and silent world. On Friday, I wrote about outdated words and phrases from Nancy Drew Mystery Stories and Dana Girls Mystery Stories, which got me thinking about words and expressions people use.
Things that pop out of people’s mouths are sometimes priceless and sometimes need to be filtered. Whatever the case, certain words and expressions can be music to a writer’s ears.
When I was growing up, if I said something my mom and dad thought was pure nonsense, my mom would exclaim, “Oh piffle!” On the other hand, my dad would be saying “Hold the phone! Hold the phone!” And when my grandmother, who came to America from Slovakia and spoke mostly Slovak, was searching for the correct English word, she’d look at us and say, “How call it?”
Through our lives we are exposed to lots of different words and expressions. Some are memorable – some not so much. Just off the top of my head, I came up with these words and expressions I’ve heard over the years. Here are some that use body parts – talk to the hand, I’m all ears, one leg up on you. Here are some one-word expressions – sweet, bummer, jeepers, groovy, cool, dude, neat-o, awesome, NOT, rad, daddy-o, chill, heavy, weirdo, and square. Still more – wicked cool, holy cow, wack job, right on, shut up, far out, not tonight, gag me with a spoon, it’s all copasetic, and shut the door.
Words and expressions come and go, but some leave lasting impressions. If you love language and are a writer, some of these priceless sayings just might find a place in your writing.
It’s time to put up or shut up on this subject, but I bet you can add to this list if you try.
Categories: Classic Books
Tags: Carolyn Keene, Dana Girls, Nancy Drew, Outdated Words and Phrases
My chums and I donned our coats and piled into the family roadster to post some letters. “Hypers,” you say. “What is this person talking about?” I’m talking about outdated words and phrases from The Dana Girls Mystery Stories and Nancy Drew Mystery Stories written by Carolyn Keene.
Once again, I was in the basement perusing my wall of books, trying to decide how to condense them when I pulled out some old copies of Nancy Drew and The Dana Girls. These books had been passed along to my sisters and me when we were young. I considered these books classics and devoured them. I was convinced I wanted to be a detective when I grew up. I even carried around a pocket knife, matches, and little flashlight in my purse – always ready in case a mystery happened along.
I thought the author was the bee’s knees, until I found out, much to my dismay, that “Carolyn Keene” was a pen name for the many different authors who wrote both series.
Through the years, many of these books have been updated, but I still love the originals. The outdated language is a hoot. I browsed through the books and chortled as I came across words and phrases that are not often heard in America today. The word chums has been replaced by friends and roadster by car. We no longer post a letter, we mail a letter. Instead of the word rouge, today’s woman calls this cosmetic blush. And what about these phrases – a delightful colored woman, a young Negro maid, a woman of foreign birth? Would we consider these phrases politically correct today?
Sitting By the Light of the Study Lamp, I donned my glasses and had a swell time searching for outdated words and phrases. Do you have any you’d like to share?
Categories: Laughter, Life
Tags: Alan Durant, Family, Food, Fun, Picture Books
Feeding a family is always a challenge. Take Burger Boy by Alan Durant. Burgers are the only thing Benny wants to eat. He eats so many he turns into one, and that’s when the trouble begins. Then there’s my family. They just like to eat, and that’s when the trouble begins.
The Stefanec side of the family was at our house for dinner this past weekend. I carefully planned what I thought was a great Wisconsin taste treat for those members who live on the east and west coasts. We began with several Wisconsin cheese appetizers to tease the taste buds. For the main course, we had a barbecue. There were racks of ribs, brats with a variety of condiments, chicken breasts, corn on the cob, homemade potato salad (my mom’s recipe), cole slaw, Jay’s Potato chips (a special treat for my Florida sister), and for dessert we had a traditional family favorite – Jell-O cake (decorated in a patriotic manner with blueberries and strawberries by my daughter). Of course, we also had a large variety of adult and kid-friendly beverages.
There was so much food I knew I would be in leftover heaven for the next few days. Wrong! I miscalculated the eating power of my family. The food magically disappeared from serving dishes to plates. The Stefanec Clan then proceeded to inhale their dinners. When a request was made for more, I checked pots, pans, and containers and informed them there was no more food in the inn. That’s when family members began grabbing uneaten corn from other people’s plates, and someone who had a rib section left took a bite of it and tossed it back into the serving dish to be passed along for others to nibble on – which they did.
As I watched my crazy family pass, toss, and gobble food, I thought of something we used to say, “Would you eat like this in the White House?” Of course not, but we can do it here because we’re family.
In Burger Boy, Benny learns his lesson and switches from eating burgers to eating vegetables. I guess I learned my lesson, too. Don’t count your leftovers until everyone has licked their share of the platter clean. I love my family. We’re not stuffy. We’re just stuffed!
Tags: Dads, Family
Tags: Family, Picture Books, Relatives
Quick! Hide the mess. Wash to windows. Spit shine the floors. Polish the furniture. Change the linens. Tomorrow the relatives arrive. Planes and cars will bring relatives from California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin.
Who are these people? They’re my daughter, brother, sisters, and nieces. Why should I care how my house looks for my brother and sisters? I grew up with them. I’ve seen them at their worst and I’ve seen them at their best and vice versa. But there’s something about wanting your brother and sisters to see you as the mature grown up you’ve become and not the hopelessly naive space queen from your youth.
As a family we all have our quirks and we don’t always get along. There will be some banter, some wise cracks, some rants, some tears, some good memories, and, hopefully, lots of laughter. So what’s the reason for the east coast meets west coast meets in the middle get together?
On Friday, we’ll memorialize my dad’s life. He passed away on January 8th of this year. Yes, it took us a bit of time to get organized. That’s part of the quirkiness of our family – getting it all together. Tomorrow would have been my parents’ 65th wedding anniversary. My mom passed away nine months before my dad, and on Friday we will lay him to rest next to her.
As we gather together as a family, we owe it to my parents to be the best that we can be for at least a few days because they were the best part of our lives!
Here’s a book young readers might enjoy about relatives:
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2001)
Categories: Special Days
Tags: Fourth of July, Nonfiction Picture Books, Picture Books