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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Word List #13

[Norma photo]
It is a lovely, rainy afternoon, perfect for reflecting upon those words that make us raise one eyebrow, make us think and remember. Along the creek, where I was when rain began, each drop produced a little ringing noise on the water. Then, as drops got bigger, they became French and made deeper, more substantial pluies. I know there is a Norma-photo of a daffodil up there but let's first examine this bit of onomatopoeia.


La pluie désigne généralement une précipitation d'eau à l'état liquide tombant de nuages vers le sol. Well, you know that. What I have always found enchanting is the French word for rain, pluie. It's so much more fun to run indoors after a long dry spell and shout, "There's plooey out there!" If you remain in the rain as it pours in earnest you find pluies compound to roars, and that's when language gets fun and aerobic and soaks your head. I admire the French; they must have so much fun just saying things.


Since learning I share 33% of my genetic code with daffodils I consider them relatives. Norma's photo shows a brilliant specimen asserting itself in gravel. Daffodils are strong and beautiful and I am proud to be related to them. They make me happy but they have enemies: aphids, bulb-flies, scale-mites, nematodes, snails, slugs and thrips! Still, they seem to live as long whether one assaults these irritants with pesticides or not --that is strength and artistic restraint. My human relatives host a greater catalogue of vermin than daffodils but that is just showing off. Do I throw them out for the odd tick, flea or genital rodent? Yes, to my credit, I do.


Presbycusis is the loss of ability to hear high frequencies as one ages. It begins in early adulthood, but does not usually interfere with ability to understand conversation until much later.

Thought I'd tell you about my vision checkup yesterday. No change this year, just like last year and 5 years before that. Dr. Green and I see each other around --his kids and my grandson attend the same school. He was standing with me, at his receptionist's counter after my examination, as she scheduled my next appointment. With her head turned away from me toward her computer, she asked, "Did the doctor violate you?"

I was taken aback and said, "Pardon me?"

At which point Green says, "Yes, I did." Then hurried off to the examination rooms to see other patients.

Receptionist bent down, opened a drawer and said, "Well, since the doctor violated you, you'll need these to go outside."

She came up with a pair of spectacles made of tagboard and dark plastic.

When I got home, I had Norma say the words "violated" and "dilated" with her back to me. Sure enough, I've been reading lips without even knowing it.


  1. Lovely light essay for a rainy Spring evening! Thanks, daffodil!

  2. You're welcome, Willie. What a long strange thrip it's been!

  3. "Rain", whether French or English, is a word seldom heard in West Texas.

    I'm getting to the age where it's difficult to tell the difference between dilation and violation...(sigh)...

  4. Mais oui, Jon, that is the heartbreak of presbycusis. There should be telethons, fundraisers, but I hear nothing.

  5. Geo., once again you leave me smiling and aphasic....

  6. Wow, now your wit is extending into another language ... impressive! (dude) Love the word play. I took five years of French and learned a lot of the fun stuff ... the literature, arts, music, idioms, even French drinking songs. But in retrospect, I wish I had taken Spanish instead. Not much opportunity to use French around these parts.

    On the hearing, you may already know this, but I found it fascinating. I have tinnitis, and the frequency of the ringing in my ears corresponds to the frequency of my hearing loss. Isn't that cool? But I must admit, it does get me in trouble sometimes. I respond to what I hear. (i.e. violated? ... um, I don't think so.)Turns out, our brains "fill in the blanks" to make sense of what we hear. So, while my hubby may say one thing, I may "hear" another. (darned brain!) He was an engineer. He no like me answering what I "think" he said. Very frustrating. For both of us. But the doc says I don't need a hearing aid yet. (Which reinforces darling hubby's belief that I'm simply not paying attention.)

    Oh, the A-Z challenge will be running through the month of April. Starts on the first, but that's the only Sunday involved. Each day, the participants write a post based on a letter of the alphabet. Some have themes for their posts; some don't. (I'm doing amateur radio.) There are close to 1000 people signed up for it, I think, and the idea is to visit and be visited by other participants. Everybody gets to "meet" other bloggers, and most pick up a bunch of new followers. Cool, huh? Not sure if it's too late to register or not, but if you're interested, check the A-Z blog. (There's a link to it in my blog roll.)

    Whew, didn't mean to write a BOOK!

  7. Thank you Austan and Susan. Aphasia and Tinnitis? I will have to write louder. I appreciate the info --which all visiting bloggers should find useful-- and being called dude again. Altho I do answer to "Geo."(Austan) and "daffodil"(Willie).


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