Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Learn something new every day

I've mentioned before my Indian friends (dot, not the feather) with whom I work, editing their butchered English for American audiences. They provide me with immense opportunities for private giggles while I'm working when I stumble across some of their unintentional language gaffes.

Some of the most recent word goodies from India:

  • sample over-baked pizzas
  • and soft lightening and background music
  • easy to read and comprehend, concise in concepts and clear in apprehension
  • Keeping backyard chickens is easy with our kits that include handle and wheels for easy maneuverability
  • Workers compensation insurance covers injuries and occupational diseases picked up at work
  • In order to overcome numerous challenges to attain the intended results, the business scenario has changed to a larger extent.
  • As per the requirements any evolving business needs and to match its services to the specified requirements, these professionals have the required ability.
  • Exotic shades along with ecstatic reflection of jewelry
  • and a continental dinner served the next morning
  • obtain financial support for a variety of unexpected problems that may come snooping around
  • you can also opt for throw pillows and lumber pillows (should be lumbar)
  • and the facilities of a 5-start hotel
However, within the past week, among their gaffes were two English words that I did not know. Both of which were used correctly in context. I have a fairly large vocabulary and, while I'm not conceited about it, believe that there are not all that many words that crop up in the English language with which I'm not familiar. 

The words are

cynosure  |ˈsīnəˌ sh oŏr; ˈsin-|
noun [in sing. ]
a person or thing that is the center of attention or admiration : the Queen was the cynosure of all eyes.

apposite  |ˈapəzit|
apt in the circumstances or in relation to something : an apposite quotation | the observations are apposite to the discussion. Also appositely (adverb) and appositeness (noun)

As I said, they were both used correctly but I changed them anyway since I figured if I didn't know them, the average American reader would probably not know them either.

This is just to give credit where it is due -- not all the writing that comes from my Indian friends is bad. And any time you want to sample some over-baked pizza (I think they meant oven-baked) or get some lumber pillows for your room at the 5-start hotel, I can hook you up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy birthday Joycie

If she were still alive, my sister would be 78 today. She passed away three years ago after a difficult life, topped off with a short, painful end. Joyce was my half sister and I didn't even know I had a sister until I was about 12. I was thrilled when I learned that I wasn't an "only" child.

Her upbringing and mine couldn't have been more different and that was the genesis of her tough life. Needless to say, our relationship once I was an adult (while we were dealing with our mother's decline) was rocky as well.

Anyway, I really miss her and wish often that I could pick up the phone and listen to her laugh. She was a great sister.

Joyce, me and our cousin Molly

at Erin and Mike's wedding
Goofing around
Joyce hated having her picture taken so it is miraculous and unusual that she sat still without making funny faces on three different occasions.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Powerful words

I received an email this morning from a client with whom I am working very closely to write a book. He has all the ideas and information and I'm doing the writing. It's an interesting partnership and he's such an incredible manager (and human being) that it's really a treat to work with him. I want to make him succeed.

Anyway, I received this email (as part of a several email exchange) and all it said was

"I believe in you." 

How frickin powerful is that? Such a simple message and such an incredibly powerful one. It puts lots of responsibility on me but it also conveys his trust in our relationship.

Such an impact from four small words. Try it on someone you believe in today.

Monday, June 20, 2011

One for the bucket list

Johnnie has always been fascinated by the Segway, those two wheel stand up vehicles you saw in Paul Blart, Mall Cop and, if you live in California (or other warm states), you might see them in malls, on trails or on the sidewalks. Anyway, I was thrilled when a month ago I saw a Groupon advertising Segway tours in our area. I missed the Groupon deal but decided to sign us up for a tour for Father's Day.

We went on our tour on Saturday and it was a blast. I never told Johnnie what we were doing and had him completely mystified. I told him this was one for the bucket list -- probably not at the top of the list but on there nonetheless. He was blown away when we pulled into the parking lot where we were meeting the person (Joe) who would lead our tour.

We started with a few minutes of safety discussion and individual lessons getting on, off and learning to drive it. It's all done with foot pressure and the upright is merely there as something for you to hold onto -- there are no controls in the handle at all. Lean forward, you go forward. Lean back on your heels, you are in reverse. Move the handle to one side or the other and you turn. Zero turning radius. Way cool. Silent operation.You wear a bicycle helmet (they provided although we brought our own) and reasonable footwear -- no flipflops.

I have pictures of Johnnie that I'll post as soon as I remember where I put the camera.

It was a beautiful day for this -- about 80 degrees, sunny and no breeze. Just delightful. We went on the Genesee Riverway -- a hiking/biking path and about half a mile of it is suspended above a marshy area where we saw turtles, swans and cignets (baby swans), ducks and geese. On the paths, the top speed (governed) is eight miles per hour but the Segway ungoverned will get up to 12 miles per hour. Eight miles an hour was plenty fast for us.

There were six of us, three couples, in the group and everyone did really well. It's a mix of balancing like you do on a bicycle -- there are no brakes -- and the balancing of water skiing. The more you lean forward on the balls of your foot, the faster you go. When you balance flat on your feet, you stand more or less still.

The worst part, I think, was standing still on our legs - they got sore after a while and Joe recommended we not stand stiff-legged but unlock our knees a bit to take bumps better and relax our legs. That worked but both Johnnie's and my legs still got tired.

Unfortunately, being the klutz that I am, when we stopped on an uphill incline, I got flustered when my Segway started rolling backwards and I forgot to shift my weight forward to stop the thing. I ended up running into the woman behind me -- in reverse -- and I fell off the Segway. Duh. She fell as well but she didn't hurt herself. Me? I landed on my right elbow and scraped the skin off an inch-long by 1/4 inch wide area directly over my elbow bone. And of course collected a few new black and blue marks. I'm very lucky I didn't break my elbow. Incredibly, the Segway never tipped over - they're incredibly stable.

Joe came to the rescue with gauze pads and tape so we could continue. I was shaken up but didn't want to go back. It was way too fun. When we got home, I soaked my elbow in epsom salts to clean it out then doused it  with peroxide and ultimately slathered itNeosporin and gauze pads wrapped in paper tape.

Fairly sore even two days later because of where the cut/scrape is and it's difficult to pad it sufficiently to make it comfortable. Anyway, enough about my injuries.

It was a real blast and it is rare for someone to fall. Unless they're me. Then it's just a matter of time. However, I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything, even the cut and road rash isn't a big deal.

If you get a chance to go on a Segway tour, do it. It's such fun. If you want more information, just let me know. Awesome!