Tuesday, September 25, 2018

You Say Norge, I say Norway

          Here’s the deal with Norway.  It’s honestly so gorgeous it hurts your eyes. You cannot imagine the sweeping beauty of this land, and I know because I went there when I was 19. In fact, I will be there as you read this (although I am no longer 19). I’ll have been there for two weeks, with side trips to Sweden and Denmark. Check out this waterfall, just one of many there (and the teeny tiny person in the picture). 
          The main reason was to go with our daughter, Nicole, because she lived there for 18 months while serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
Here are some photos to show you some of what I hope to see there. 
It looks like a perfect fairy tale village, doesn't it? 
Then there's this:
And this:
I might even kayak in a fjord!
But I will definitely not do this:
 I scheduled other blog posts to run each week while I’m away, including this one. My plane touches down tonight and I’ll get to tell you next week about what will surely be disasters, if only in my attempts to say a few Norwegian phrases (which Nicole tells me I am doing with a Russian accent).
For one thing, I’m trying to learn how to say goodbye.  But in Norwegian it sort of sounds like “How da goat?” which makes me want to say, “My goat is fine; how’s your goat?”  And I guess we’re all pretending to have one. I am also troubled by the fact that "expensive" and "animal" are one letter off and sound the same-- "dyre" and "dyr."  Luckily I won't be trying to buy an expensive animal there. Then again, English is littered with such duplications: bass, park, leaves, bat, down, fine, bowl, wave, second—we could do this all day.
So enjoy this scenery which is free, and buy my books, which are not. Although they’re darn close. Oh, and "darn" is another one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Exercise Made Easy

          People who spend a fortune on exercise equipment have no idea how inexpensive fitness can actually be.  Here are three ways I get zillions of extra steps into my day:
          Step one:  Buy a water bottle.  This is mine, set on my desk in front of my “Youtube Mom” sign. 
          We won’t even count the steps you took to buy the thing, just the steps you will take afterwards. BECAUSE IT WILL NEVER BE WHERE YOU THOUGHT YOU LEFT IT.  You will walk all over the house, upstairs and down, out to the car, back in again to the kitchen, out onto the patio hunting for it, and FINALLY you will see it in the laundry room or some other unlikely location.
          Step two: Live where it’s sunny.  This will force you to buy sunglasses, which will also vanish into thin air and cause you to walk all over, looking everywhere they could possibly be. Finally you will find them on your head.
              Step three: Believe that you must have your cell phone within reach at all times (this requires no imagination, but instead the ridiculous belief that you much be reachable in an instant, by anyone). Suddenly discover that you cannot see your phone and dash through the house in an aerobic workout that will get your heart pumping more than an escape from an armed robber.            Ultimately ask someone else to call you, then listen for the ring tone that will guide you on a stretch under the sofa to retrieve the lost phone.  This can also prove profitable if you don’t sweep under there very often, and you entertain guests who keep coins in their pockets.
          See? Not only have I saved you money, but I’ve made you money.  Ka-ching!
          Now you can spend it on my books.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Death of Enunciation

          Well, it has finally happened.  Clear speech is being trained out of us by the dictation feature of our cell phones. We already know that no matter how distinctly you speak into that device, it will come out, “You are the breast!” and worse (see my blog about St. Bob’s blunder here).
          But now we have to slur what we’re saying just to get the correct words to appear on our screen.  If I say “question mark” it does not place a ? at the end of my sentence.  It spells out question mark.  If I want it to actually use the ? symbol, I have to hurry along and say, “Queshamark.”
          And if I want it not to write out exclamation mark, but to print ! I must say, “exlamashamark.” And if I want extra ones it sounds like I’m drunk, cursing, and hacking up a hairball. Make that hairball !!!
Elocution teachers must be turning in their graves.  And then, when you don’t want a punctuation symbol, it gives you one, anyway.  As a substitute high school teacher I dictated, “I’m teaching first period” and it came out, “I’m teaching first.”  And when I wanted to commiserate with a friend who couldn’t get a response from HR I said, “It’s like they’re in a coma,” but it came out, “It’s like there in a ,” with “they’re” misspelled as well.
What if you’re making a list and you want to say, “Here’s what to pack:”?  It will say, “Here’s what to pack colon”.
If you say, “Quotation mark” it will write that out.  You have to say, “Quote” to actually get a quotation mark.  But then how can you say, “I’d like to quote you”? It comes out, “I’d like to “ you.”
And all this extra back-spacing and correcting is eating up our time! So, no offense, but I have to --.
Have you ever scrolled through my blog posts?  Give it a try; hilarity has been happening for years.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Oh the Tangled Web We Weave

          What do you think of when I say the 1920s?  Flappers? Gangsters?  Then you’d be right on the money to attend the recent charity gala where St. Bob and I, plus great pals Nancy and Alex Theriault, went in full costume.
          But, being Joniopolis, you know something had to happen. First of all, Bob was the emcee of the event. Excellent choice.  But then I won for Best Costume—not so excellent a choice since now it looks like Bob had a hand in the selection, which he did not.
          I went up on stage to collect my prize and Bob whispered, “Do your New Jersey accent” as he shoved a mike in my face.  Earlier in the evening I’d been pretending to be a gangster’s moll, and talking with the thick accent I’d seen in the movies.  So I said to the audience, “Dis is da way we Tow-uck!”
          No sooner had I gotten back to my seat than a lady dashed by and said, “I’m from New York—we’re taking over!” and I realized that she actually believes I’m from New Jersey and we are somehow compatriots from the East Coast.  Now I’m in a pickle because I’ve evidently passed myself off as an Easterner and if anyone comes up to talk with me I either have to continue this fakery, or admit I was lying up on stage. And what if that woman comes back and wants to find out where I was born?  And what will she think when I say, “San Diego”? Why couldn’t she have spoken to Alex, who actually is from New York?
          So now I am sweating in my heavy, sequined dress (which is really from the 80s, but kind of looks like the 1920s—more faking) and I can’t wait to get out of there before my ruse is discovered. Not only that, but I’ve used the dress’s belt as a headband, and who knows how long before it unwinds and I’m like Cinderella falling apart at the stroke of midnight.
          Finally we go to the car and I open my prize. And it’s perfect—it’s a bottle of expensive wine which I, as a Latter-day Saint won't use, but which makes a lovely pass-along to our very tolerant friends!
In my defense, fiction writers basically lie for a living. Check out my tales in two dozen books you can find right here.