1

Foiled by a French Word

Hey y’all, I’ve emerged from the crazy place I’ve been over the last week or so, alternating between stressing, running up and down the library stairs, sleeping in/staying up too late, sneezing/sniffling/dehydrated, and seeking out random places to get work done (including 1 hour of grading last night at Hurts Donut in Middleton, and 2 hours of reading/writing in a booth at Perkins) while trying (and failing) not to have too many sugary snacks. Even though I want them.

Today was actually relatively productive. Even though I didn’t get my day really started until about 12:30, at least I was up around 9 or 10. I headed over to Colectivo to get a cappuccino (yum), a sandwich (meh), and a cup of onion soup (…nasty), and proceed to discipline myself to work. First, I decided to read a book I’ve been meaning to send out for awhile. I gave myself one hour, and by the time the hour was up, I was 5 pages from the end of the 230-ish page book, so I finished it, ordered a mocha, and steeled myself for an hour of working on some of the most difficult writing I’ve ever done.

So, there I am, typing away, click click click la di da di da, when all of a sudden my brain just comes to a screeching halt. I need a word that refers to an incredibly talented and versatile individual, but I cannot think of one. There is a specific word I’m looking for, but it’s in the wrong section of my brain and I can’t find it. I know it either is or sounds French, so I run through every possible French word I know. Panache? No. Savoir-faire? No. Je ne s’ai quoi? No. AUGGGHHH.

It’s. Right. There. But I can’t find it.

I call for backup. My parents are in Ocean City, and my dad and I have a several-minute long conversation about this word, which neither of us can think of. He asks my mom, who asks one of her friends who is fluent in French which is convenient because today is that friend’s birthday and she lives all by herself and my mom almost forgot to call her.

I get off the phone and start frantically writing words. Virtuoso. Au courant. Tour-de-force. One of these may or may not be the answer, I feel like I’ll know it when I see it.

I open up Google Translate and try out some French words, go to dictionary.com and thesaurus.com, make yet another call to my dad, and now twenty minutes have been spent on this one word and I’m so desperate that I open up the Wikipedia page on English words of French origin and go down the list, starting at A and getting up to C before realizing how ridiculous I’m being. After trying out a bazillion different possible words, I settle on “tour-de-force” and continue onward.

Up to now, I still have no idea what that word might have been, although tour-de-force is probably the closest I got. However, I came across some other French words that, in my opinion, should have different meanings.

Blancmange. It refers to a type of sauce, but I think it should refer to someone who is sophisticated enough to order the correct wine for the meal.

Legerdemain. It’s a lovely way to refer to trickery, but what it should means is, someone who is incredibly skilled at bookkeeping or journaling/blogging.

Demimondaine. It refers to something sordid. What it should mean: an aging leading lady (think Ms. Moore)

Peignoir. It has to do with a hairdo. It should refer to someone whose hair is so perfect that others doubt it’s natural.

Joie de vivre. Means “joy of living.” Should mean “let’s all jump around like we’re young lovers frolicking around Paris in the spring.”

And on a final, quite random note:

While I was grocery shopping today, I walked past the school supplies and for a moment, my eyes saw the word illegal pad” on a small notebook; upon closer examination, it was just an ordinary legal pad with an oddly placed logo. Who decided the legality of pads, anyway? What if I wanted an illegal pad? What would it look like? Would I have to declare it at customs? Would it be considered contraband? Would I have to throw it across the border into Mexico? So many questions.

9

Feminism, In Its Purimist Form

Well, after sleeping for almost 24 hours straight from Friday to Saturday, I woke up just in time to go to the Ovation Purim party last night. It was pretty enjoyable, plenty of hamantaschen to eat and a very nice megillah reading, then back home and to bed.

But this morning, I realized that us Jews and our holidays – well this one in particular – are surprisingly progressive for such an ancient religion. Allow me to explain.

Purim is a day when we celebrate the Book of Esther, and specifically, its heroine, the Queen herself. She was pretty much a bad-ass bitch, making her way into the palace to replace the dethroned queen, hiding her true identity, and then pulling off a pretty covert mission in order to uncover the wicked Haman’s plans to jettison the Jews. Long story short, Haman got hanged from a tree, the Jews of the Persian Empire were safe and happy, and in her honor, we dress up, get drunk, and eat cookies which are supposed to be shaped like three-cornered hats but sometimes end up looking like vaginas.

To me, feminism means disruption of the status quo in order to ensure a greater good, benefiting a marginalized group. And it’s no coincidence that it was a woman-led effort. I mean, what other mainstream religion has a day celebrating a woman, and only a woman?

I hear the arguments that Judaism is whatever, demeaning to women, second class, all that, but at the end of the day, without women like Esther and Ruth, we wouldn’t have some of our best holidays and our religion would lose a significant part of its meaning and importance.

I hope these inside-out hamantaschen turn out all right.

 

4

Call Your Doctor if Your Annoyance Lasts for More Than Four Hours

Maybe it’s a function of watching reruns on Hallmark every night, but I’m getting so tired of seeing commercial after commercial advertising medicines. All with phone numbers and “please call your doctor.”

I mean, what is this all about? These commercials have been around for so long, and yet I don’t think I’ve met a single person who got on a medication after seeing it on a TV commercial. Well, I don’t think I’d know, but I feel like the kind of person who’d have done that is also the kind of person who would tell you about it.

Plus, there’s that gentle female voice reading you a laundry list of symptoms that sounds like a graduation ceremony at a private school for diseases. The commercial I saw tonight that got me thinking about this was for some anti-diabetic medicine, whose list of symptoms was so long and rushed that it took up the majority of the airtime. And what’s with all the background stock footage? A couple walking on a beach? An old man and a little boy fishing off a pier? A girl at her first piano recital? What do any of those have to do with anything?

Also, I hope you caught SNL last week, there was a bit starring Octavia Spencer, Leslie Jones, and Sasheer Zamata on medicine names. Sasheer played a character called Seasonique with a son named Dayquil. Who comes up with these things?

Anyway, now I’ve got a headache. Please excuse me while I get something to treat it. And by something, I mean a nice cold drink.

10

Egads!

So yeah, November’s sort of been a slog so far. For more reasons than one, but a conversation today made me miss blogging. And even if I’m not putting out the most quality content, as long as I can put out some sort of content about something or other, then I’m doing okay. Or so I think. Something along those lines.

Also, inspired to possibly start a sub-blog/companion blog to go with TSJ to detail my teaching adventures, both at the college and elementary school level…not with a That’s So title, maybe more like…oh, I don’t know…Teach Blanket Bingo? Goals Within Teach? Help, I’m Trapped in a Never-Ending Cycle of Theater Called Life as a Teacher of All Ages? Not With That Kind of Attitude You Won’t? Blog of A Selfish Individual Who Enjoys Inflicting Arts-Based Education on the Innocent? My Teaching Philosophy is Screw You All I’m Going to Do What I Want in the Classroom Because it’s Not Hurting Others? Peeing In My Pants Excited About Teaching? One of these is probably a winner. Something along those lines.

Anyway, glad you’re here and reading this because just like the United States of America, my blog-spiration has sort of hit rock bottom these past couple of weeks. I have been hearing your prayers though, so thank you for those, and I feel a post of good quality brimming at the surface.

Unless it’s just those fish tacos I ate for lunch.

Going to check up on some other blogs now, and maybe make some salad.

6

I Can’t Breathe Easy…

…because that’s not how you say it!

Everyone’s got their language-related pet peeves, and for some reason, I’ve heard this phrase like ten times this week, and I just want to say…

Breathe. EASILY. Breathe. Easily. Breathe. Easily.

I know that this post was kind of random, but I’m just a little worn out from Week 1 of school, which is finally done – even though it was only 3 days.

Onto Friday and the weekend!