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Elementary School Stuff

When you learn a language as an adult, you learn about trains, planes and automobiles...about exchanging currency...about hotels and bathrooms and itenários...

But you don't always learn the basic stuff that children learn in elementary school! Today, I asked my Brazilian friend how to say these things. His first response was: soma, subtração, divisão, multiplicação, not realizing that I wanted to know how to say 1 plus 1 and 50 divided by 2...

1 + 1 = 2
10 - 1 = 9
50 / 2 = 25
2 * 3 = 6

Once he realized what I wanted, and after listening to his response, here is my rendition:

Only the 1st one is a little different than English -- we say 1 plus 1, and they say 1 more 1.

I replied with a voice response of how we say these in English.


Introducing "Adventure Chip"

Still no power, so I can't upload pics from the Canon. So here's a picture of the display on the Canon. (by the way, the 7D Mark II is in the shop, so this is the old Rebel.)

There is a particularly adventuresome chipmunk. Let's call him "Adventure Chip".

Truth be told, I wish there were a lot more hawks in the neighborhood to take care of this large population of chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels!

I recently cut my hedges down to about 5 feet, and that means that the trunks have these flat tops to them.

I came downstairs one day last week, and I look out the kitchen window and there's this chipmunk sitting on top of the flat tops of the hedges.

I got the distinct impression that he had climbed the chipmunk equivalent of Mt Everest! He was sitting there enjoying the view, first watching me through the kitchen window and then when I checked back a few minutes later he had turned around to enjoy the view from the other direction.

He's been a little too bold lately in other parts of the yard as well!


Day 2

Day 2 and still no power! But I'm realizing that I kinda like roughing it.

We've lost touch with nature. We keep ourselves in these refrigerated boxes in the summer, and we don't know or understand what nature means to our lives.

We get upset over a gorilla or a dolphin or a bear being euthanized, and then we happily pay for mosquito protection for our yards and we spray pesticides throughout our houses.

It shows a lack of understanding.

Not having power right now means that I am finding alternative ways to live my life.

For example, I really like having coffee in the morning! So I've been making cold press coffee. I was surprised at how much I liked it this morning!

As part of cleaning up the yard after the storm, I bought these hydrangea blooms into the house. I love how they look, but they drop these little blue balls all over everything!

I've been trying to use up food before it goes bad. Here was my dinner from last night --

Overall, I haven't been too inconvenienced by the lack of power. But I have been juggling ways to keep my iPhone charged!

Bad Storm - No Power!

Bad storm last night! Seriously! Tornado warning, strong wind & rain, many trees in neighborhood down!

Scary stuff! Some houses have serious damage. I feel bad for my neighbors!

No electricity yet - I'm expecting another day or 2 based on how bad the trees are.

I had to throw out most of the food in the freezer. But I have been salvaging as much as I can.

Dinner tonight --

I found a recipe for cold water coffee- 12 hours in water. So I just put the coffee and water into the French Press.

I'll find out tomorrow how it turns out!
Last night, a friend was over and mentioned the sweet smell he was smelling. I guess I just assumed it was normal for Summer in the neighborhood to have this fragrance and had never investigated where the scent came from.

Turns out, the big tree out back, covered in yellow blooms was the, um, culprit :) It is an American Linden / American Basswood: Tilia americana.

The leaves are edible for things like salads, and the blooms are used for tea. It has medicinal uses for blood pressure, etc. There is one warning from a study about too much tea causing cardio-toxicity, so do you research if you decide to try this.

In any event, the tree is BIG, so I could not reach enough blooms to dry for tea. The trees live around 200 years, evidently becoming nicely "old" and full of holes for animals as they get older. The leaves have a fairly pleasant, although definitely 'green' taste to them. I think younger leaves would have been better -- the one I chomped down on was pretty tough chewing.

Here are the leaves:

And the blooms. The 3 long "leaves" are special leaves for the bloom -- I think they are called bracts.

Size of the tree, and you can see all the blooms on it:

How do you say 'misunderstanding'?

I had asked my Brazilian friend and his wife if they wanted to have ice cream Wednesday because I knew I had plans for Thursday night.

This morning, he sent me this message.

Unfortunately, I was rushing at work, and maybe just maybe, I was a bit overly cocky about my Portuguese reading skills, so I skimmed the message.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see the word ‘tomorrow’ — amanhã. So I read the message as if he were asking if we were still on for tonight — “Our ice cream is able to be? You will be free?” instead of “Our ice cream is able to be tomorrow? You will be free?"

I sort of took it as a confirmation question about tonight. So, I showed up at the ice cream place tonight...and after waiting 15 minutes, I re-read the messages and realized that I had misunderstood!

Here's me trying to explain that I read the message too fast and that I have plans for tomorrow...maybe let's do this on the weekend?

Porch People Watching

I recently bought a couple of Metal Lawn Chairs -- actually gliders -- for the front porch. These are those old style 'grandma' metal lawn chairs with the 'tulip' pattern that older people had.

I believe we can now call them 'retro', and I figured given the age of the house, somebody sometime has owned chairs like these at the house. It seems they have been around since the 30s(?), but I think they became more popular after WWII.

Anyways, long story short, I have been sitting on the porch either eating breakfast in the morning or drinking wine at night sitting in a glider.

It's been fun for people watching, but also several people I know have stopped by -- a friend drove by the other day and stopped. A friend was walking her dog this morning and chatted. And yesterday, a former co-worker walked by, so I got to catch up at the doings of the previous gig.

They've been a good investment!

Cheio de Ódio

Full of Hate. That's how I described people to my Brazilian friend today.

The Orlando killings hit me a little more today.

I'm tired of this shit.


Hibiscus Sawfly

I identified a worm in the yard that is eating on my hibiscus -- the larva of the Hibiscus Sawfly. Evidently, this type of larva will eat both hibiscus and mallow (hollyhock0 -- both of which I have up front.

I noticed the leaves were getting eaten, and then I saw these small little green worms.

Because I hate the idea of using pesticide, I'm going to watch and pick them off / wash them off as I see them.


Say X!

As I was taking a picture of him and his wife, I asked my Brazilian friend what they say when they want people to smile.

In the US, we say 'Say Cheese!' or just 'Cheese!'.

Evidently, the Brazilians say 'X!' -- sort of like 'SHEES' Which sounds a lot like 'cheese' ... which is odd to me. They say the letter X, which sounds like cheese in English.


Enjoying the pleasant evening

Friend over earlier for wine, and now I'm sitting outside watching the Lightning Bugs beam. Not a bad way to start the week!

When I WhatsApp with my Brazilian friend, I try to type without using a dictionary. What that means is that I make LOTS of errors. Tonight, I tried to say that I was 'sitting (sentado) outside'. What I actually said was that I was 'watching (assistindo) outside'. He answered 'What?' -- I assume, what was I watching? Of maybe he meant 'What are you talking about?' lol!

I realized I must have made an error and looked up the word. I think I mixed the words up because when you are watching a movie ('assistindo a um filme'), you're seated -- so in my mind I mixed up the words, lol!

The flowers in my garden are starting to bloom --


I took my Brazilian friend and his wife to botanical garden yesterday because I knew they would enjoy it. You know...my Portuguese is still really raw...I just don't have the vocabulary yet. I mean, even if you don't get the tense right on the verb, but if you have the vocabulary, you can still make yourself understood. Unfortunately, my vocabulary is still really limited!

Example, if someone said in English "I come Richmond next week" -- you'd get it. Not correct English, but you'd understand. What if you couldn't remember the word for "week"? You're sort of stuck -- knowing lots of vocabulary covers a multitude of sins.

Both my friend and I have trouble understanding each other at full speed. Yesterday, he did a little test -- he spoke to his wife at full speed in Portuguese and wanted me to tell him what he said. I got 1 word. Just.One.Word.

They laughed a bit at my expense, and I laughed with them. He told me that's why he liked talking to me because I understood the trouble he has in English!

Here are a couple of pictures from the garden. First is an orchid with an ant.

And a Goldfinch taking a bath.

I've been a bit down lately. Maybe all the rain? May was the wettest ever here -- broke a record from 1889. And we have already gotten more rain in June than is typical for the month, and it is only the 5th!

And my social life has been a bit limited lately -- I have had some, but not always at the times I would like. Sometimes I think I have just been 'going through the motions' lately -- meaning, a bit of depression has set in.

I've been reading a reprint of an old herbal by Culpeper. He was typically at odds with the establishment. This quote is from Wikipedia --
Three kinds of people mainly disease the people – priests, physicians and lawyers – priests disease matters belonging to their souls, physicians disease matters belonging to their bodies, and lawyers disease matters belonging to their estate.
Although the herbal is not terrible useful anymore, I find it interesting. It reminds me how far away from nature we have become. We don't realize that the plants around us can be used medicinally or can just be eaten.

Sometimes, I have to remember different names for plants I know -- for example, he would call a Hollyhock a "Marsh Mallow".

As an example from the book, here's what he says about Periwinkle, which I have growing in abundance --

I was surprised to get any hydrangeas at all this year. We had hard, late freezes which killed the blooms on 1 of the hydrangeas, but this one seemed to have had some luck keeping the buds it formed last year!

May-December Romance?

Or in my case...I like to think of myself more in October...but that would put the other guy more around St. Patrick's Day...

I met this guy who is much younger than me. He hasn't hit 30 yet! He likes older guys...and I have pointed out that I am really older, not just a little. He has always been the initiator of our interactions - showing his interest in me.

Tonight for the first time, we made out for like an hour and 1/2. He's a great kisser. And I initiated the kissing...but only after he asked if I liked to cuddle. And he totally got bonus points for recognizing the Lord Huron music that I had playing -- he even had some of the tracks saved to his phone from Spotify!

I enjoyed the time together, but I'm wondering if this is the direction I want for us. I think I may let this play out and if I do, I intend to follow the 'campsite rule' -- leave no trace. So, I won't do anything to hurt him or mess up his head or anything -- not that that is normal M.O. or anything; I just think I should extra careful in this situation.

I'm putting this in the category of 'being open to new experiences'.


My Sayings

You know how sites let you put in your favorite "saying"? I was just thinking that my sayings do sort of reflect me, and reflect when I first adopted them as my own.

The first is to the lower right of this page...it came from a time when I was gravitating towards Buddhism and was grappling with the falling of my previous belief system:

In order to be effective truth must penetrate like an arrow — and that is likely to hurt.
-Wei Wu Wei

This one that I use on another site reflects my interest in French, and also serves as a reminder not to think my own life is more important than others:

On est bien peu de choses: French for something along the lines of "You are just s speck in the universe. Here today, gone tomorrow".

This one that I use on another site, which my interest in Portuguese.

O seguro morreu de velho: Portuguese for "The safe one died of old age", meaning be safe -- don't act in a risky way. You'll live longer that way :)

And some "cow-related" sayings from lately: These are not necessarily reflections of my life, but are just sayings that I learned lately. And I find it interesting how often cows show up in sayings :)

Ném que a vaca tussa -- Not even if the cow coughs, Portuguese for something that means along the lines of "Never in a million years".

And the phrase from the Belgian couch surfer from last Fall: "Truth like a cow", meaning something that is so obviously true that there is no need to explain it. I don't know the Dutch for this phrase, and am too lazy to look it up :)

Just Pics

A bunch of photos from lately and the previous few weeks --

Circle of Life....

I came home early today -- we were dismissed a few hours early for the holiday. When I arrived home, I saw a robin standing on my deck, but a robin who looked way too young to fly. He was sitting on one of the railings for the deck, not all the way at the top, but not all the way down on the deck platform either.

I'm not a huge fan of birds, but I also felt bad for the chick. As I was looking at him, I was weighing in my head how I was going to the clean up the mess later if he croaked on the deck.

I didn't want to handle the bird, nor try to somehow raise him until he could fly. But I did put out a saucer of water for him -- in this heat, he needed water! But he would not hop down off the railing to get to the water. Ten minutes after I left the saucer, I looked out side and he had sat down -- as opposed to standing.

I went upstairs, and in a few minutes, I heard 'cheep, cheep...cheep,cheep,cheep...cheep!" -- I would translate that to "Bloody Murder!" When I came down, there was no sign of him -- just a pile of poop where he crapped when whatever ate him grabbed him.


Growing Old...

I'm really glad for the 3 day weekend...I need the extra day.

The medical issue has been prodded, discussed and diagnosed -- I'm not dying yet, at least that I know of knock wood, but it IS something that will require surgery. So, I need to schedule that appointment to talk about my options.

You know, sometimes I worry that growing old means giving up on the simple pleasures in life. For example for the issue I am having, I saw a recommendation to give up caffeine and alcohol.

Really? I mean, really? No café com leite (coffee with milk) in the morning? No verre du vin (glass of wine) in the evening? What is the point after all?

Will I start looking backwards at some point?

I like to think that I will always be a 'young'-whatever my age happens to be at the time...but I'm just starting to feel older.

Looking forward to my vacation in July!

To pull on someone's sack

Too funny...today, I had an idea to start sending my Brazilian friend some common English phrases.

I started with "to butter someone up". He immediately laughed, and said he didn't have the slightest idea what that meant.

So, I explained that it means to flatter someone a lot, with the goal of having them do something for you. Like, I flattered my boss today because I want a raise" -- "I buttered my boss up because I want a raise".

He answered with the Portuguese version: "puxar o saco" -- "to pull on the sack".

So....I looked at that phrase, and thought about it a second. I know that 'o saco' means 'the bag'...but I suspected it was more. And I answered "...I think 'o saco' means a different thing -- a different sack" lol -- and he answered "yes" lol.

So, "to pull on someone's ball sack" is how you say in Portuguese!

And by the way "kkkkk" means "hahahaha" in Portuguese. K is pronounced "ka", so "kkkkk" is "kakakaka" which is how you write it.



Celtic Knot

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June 2016


In order to be effective truth must penetrate like an arrow — and that is likely to hurt.

-Wei Wu Wei

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