The Mind of Bluesleepy

Be the hammer not the nail 15 October 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 11:40 pm

Kurt’s playing Madden ’09 for the Wii right now.  I got it for him for our anniversary on Sunday, and this is the first chance he’s had to play it.  It’s really neat!!!

He’s doing practice drills right now, and you can hear the players talking to one another.  And I kid you not — one guy just said to the other, “Be the hammer, not the nail!”

Sage words, really.

I actually accomplished something today!  I am so proud.  A while ago, I realized my linen closet wasn’t very well organized.  I have two bins full of medicine and other necessities, and they were on a shelf that was eye-level for Kurt.  And since he’s a tall son of a gun (did I mention he’s 6’3″??), it’s not like I could see what was in the bins without pulling them down completely.  Not only that, but every time I pulled the bins down, things would end up falling on my head.

This is not a good thing.

Today I decided that was not the best of systems.  I pulled down both bins and devoted the smaller one entirely to medicine.  I checked the expiration dates of the meds and chucked out some ibuprofen that expired in August.  There was also two bottles of saline to use as a nose spray that had been prescribed to Grace three years ago.  I figured those could probably be thrown out as well.

The bigger bin contains bars of soap, Band-Aids, gauze, ace bandages, razors, and other odds n’ ends of a toiletry nature.  And now both bins reside on a lower shelf so that I can see into the bins without pulling them down and dropping things on my head.

You’d think I would have realized this before I lived in this house for a full year, but sometimes my best ideas need time to percolate.

So this illness thing I have going on.  I’m feeling better, which is a good thing.  I would say I’m at about 80% right now, maybe 85%.  Yesterday I thought I was going to die.  It was awful.  I couldn’t stay awake, my nose was running, my throat was killing me, I couldn’t breathe, my eyes kept watering, and the constant sneezing was driving me batty.  Today I have a bit of a cough still, but my nose is dry — though I don’t know if that is the Sudafed working or what.  The cough is also productive, which is something that wasn’t happening yesterday.

The thing is, I can’t talk today.  I mean, I can, but I sound awful.  Kurt says I sound like a prepubescent (neener!) boy, what with my voice cracking all over the place.  I can’t even drop my voice to make it carry farther; my voice will just break and crack, and the sound drops out completely at times.

I was on my way taking Grace to swim lessons, and a good song came on the radio.  As I always do, I started singing along.  Only I couldn’t sing!!  Talk about a distressing development to someone who sings constantly.  Later tonight we were on our way home from dinner, and Extreme’s “Hole-Hearted” came on — and again I tried to sing.  Again I failed miserably because apparently I have the attention span of a gnat and can’t remember anything longer than five minutes.  I was so sad; “Hole-Hearted” is one of my favorite songs to sing to.

Speaking of voices carrying….  My mom has a very high-pitched voice.  Well, not very; she doesn’t sound like a child or anything.  But she sings soprano, and her voice just doesn’t have any kind of depth to it.  As a result, it’s incredibly hard to hear her if you’re not paying attention to her, or you’re not facing her.  But she’s aware of the fact that her voice never carries, so when she shouts for one of us, whether it’s up two flights of stairs or calling us in for dinner, she will drop her voice an octave in hopes we’ll hear her.

I have a friend back in Washington who also has a high-pitched voice.  She’s a referee for college basketball, and she has learned that she too has to drop her voice and make it deeper so she sounds more authoritative.  If she doesn’t, the players and coaches tend not to take her seriously, and a ref who isn’t taken seriously is just asking for trouble.

I find that interesting, that we as females have to make our voices louder and deeper in order to sound authoritative.  In other words, we have to simulate as much as possible sounding like a man.  Think about it, though.  The voice of God coming down from the heavens in every movie is low and deep and resonant.  It’s never a high-pitched, soft voice unless it’s meant to be a comical situation.

Remember the mother on “That ’70s Show,” Kitty Forman?  She has an incredibly high-pitched, almost annoying timber to her voice.  Could you see a woman like that as a teacher?  In politics?  As President of the United States?

No, I didn’t think so.

I wonder what it’s like in a more female-dominated society, one in which the women are the ones in charge.  Do higher-pitched, softer voices sound more authoritative?  Are lower voices more likely to be dismissed and ignored?

Hmm.  I’m sure an anthropologist has studied this already.  That’s one thing I sorely miss about college, is taking random classes that simply tickle my fancy.  I took several anthropology courses, which made my anthropology-major mother quite proud of me.  But my true love was linguistics, which ended up being the minor to my computer science major (don’t ask.  It was the late 90s.  Everyone majored in computer science).  I even took a course in Old English!

Just so you know, Old English isn’t Chaucer.  That’s Middle English, which is fairly well intelligible to speakers of modern English (who include Shakespeare), though the vowels were rendered completely differently.  Here is an excerpt from the poem “The Ruin,” written in the 8th century in Old English:

Wrætlic is þes wealstan, wyrde gebræcon;
burgstede burston, brosnað enta geweorc.

That, my friends, is Old English.  It translates to: “This masonry is wondrous; fates broke it / courtyard pavements were smashed; the work of giants is decaying.”  It’s much closer to German, its parent language, than our current modern English.

And that, my friends, is why it is so different from French, Spanish, Italian, etc.  It is not a Romance language, derived from Latin, no matter how much philologists in the 18th and 19th century tried to make it otherwise, since Latin was seen as a more perfect language.  But alas, we were stuck with our Germanic tongue.

Wow, I can’t believe I went from talking about Kurt playing the Wii to my linguistics studies in college in one blog post.  I guess it’s never dull over at Casa de Bluesleepy!


6 Responses to “Be the hammer not the nail”

  1. Blue Opal Says:

    I’d forgotten that English was Germanic in origin, but you’re right. Though over the years, the English language has assimilated flotsom and jetsom from every corner of the world. Now if we could just figure out where the corners are on a sphere, we’d be on our way to understanding what the heck we’re talking about.

  2. cardiogirl Says:

    I wonder if that’s why German came more easily to me in high school and college. Everyone else was taking Spanish which was a mystery to me. I always thought there were a lot of words, in German, that were similar to English.

    And now I know I am right 🙂 Thanks blue!

  3. sleepyjane Says:

    “You’d think I would have realized this before I lived in this house for a full year, but sometimes my best ideas need time to percolate.” <- that is cute. I laughed when I read that.

    This was an interesting post Blue! Old English looks like something I’d love to learn.

  4. purple chai Says:

    I had a professor in college who read to us Chaucer in Middle English, which he apparently spoke fluently. It was one of the language requirements for English majors at Princeton, where he had gone.

  5. michele Says:

    1) I am SO SO SO SO sorry that I didn’t call you yesterday to check on you. I know, I’m a bad sister. I got home from my First Aid training and because it was a little early, I thought I’d knock out some homework. By the time i finished it was throw together dinner and off to bed. Sorry sweetie!

    2) I am the same way about throwing out expired medicines, etc. While I realize that things don’t magically go bad just a week after an expiration date, I definitely throw things out that are months and months overdue.

    3) Not sure you realize this, but the lady from “That 70s Show” doesn’t talk like that in real life; just in character. Maybe you knew this.

    4) Glad that you’re feeling better even if it’s not 100% yet!

  6. Shear Says:

    Glad you’re feeling better!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s