February, Library, Besmirch, research

January 31, 2013

“Barry knew that  meant many hours in the . His less academic peers  his efforts in .”

Conventional wisdom says “spell it like it sounds”.

For February and library, this is a convention best defied–these words are pronounced differently around the country.

In some places, library may sound like “lye-berry”–that first ‘r’ has disappeared. It sounds like a fruit, not a building full of books.

Similarly, February may sound like “Feboo-wary”. “Feb-roo..” or “Feb-yoo..” are the most commonly accepted pronounciations for those first two syllables.

You could even drag Wednesday into this theme. Quite often you hear “Wins-day” “wenz-dey” or “Winds-day”. This creates a spelling challenge because the “d” is silent, the n dominates, yet you know that “d” is in there somewhere.

So, if spelling is a challenge–and to be fair I think it is for everyone spelling American English words–here’s some rhyming devices:

  • RaRe book at the libRaRy.
  • FEBRice and BRyce, both born in FeBRuary.””
  • They WED NEStled in bed on WEDNESday.

**=Maybe I could have said “FEBReeze on sale in FEBRuary”, but “Febreze” wasn’t a word until that fabric refresher spray came out on in 1998. It’s a hybridization of actual words “fabric” and “breeze”, and yes, some liberties were taken in the spelling.

Besmirch and research were chosen for this tweet because they rhyme, and they fit the “studying” theme of the tweet. To besmirch means to detract or tarnish an object’s finish or a person’s reputation, by the way; this is what tabloids do every day, but if they used that word in their branding, that would mean besmirching themselves.

For these grammar and spelling themed tweets, I try to think of name that blends with the sentence through sound, or has some literary signficance. Hence Barry, over Mary, Carrie, Kerry, or Larry.

January in Charleston–12 Beautiful Things

JANUARY 24, 2013

Just 12 beautiful things about this time of year in Charleston, and to me, personally:

  • Blooming Camellias. Camellias, ranging from white, to soft ‘ballet shoes’ pink, to the richest berry and fuschia hues. Magnolia Plantation has hundreds. 
  • Brewing hot tea. It’s also National Hot Tea Month, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Charleston Tea Plantation, which makes American Classic Tea. Tea plants are a type of camellia, by the way.
  • Blooming bulb flowers: It’s also daffodil and narcissus season for this area. Magnolia Plantation and Brookgreen Gardens (off Hwy 17 on the way north to Myrtle Beach) have some lovely ones.
  • Enjoying sunny weather that is sometimes warm, to boot. ‘No need for a Caribbean cruise, ‘sometimes it feels like “Junuary” here. I wish I could take credit for that term, but it’s not mine, I saw it online.
  • Spying a hooded Merganser. With it’s black and white crested head, it’s a duck with a striking appearance. For a native species, I only see them when it’s cold, unlike mallards and wood ducks. 
  • Eating Girl Scout cookies. I am a lifetime member of Girl Scouts. The only thing better than singlehandedly devouring a box of Thin Mints is knowing I don’t have to knock on people’s doors or spend a weekend in front of Walmart selling them anytime soon. I have years of experience, but I don’t know if selling ever felt natural or comfortable to me. (‘Guess I need to pick up Dan Pink‘s latest book. And maybe eat a box of cookies when I finish it.)
  • Enjoying the outdoors, free of bugs and consequently, bugspray. 
  • Being a Tourist in Your Own Town. For one price, locals get free admission to see multiple historic sites this entire month. Free is great, so is avoiding lines ahead of tourist season.
  • Roasting and shucking oysters. As a Navy kid, I am more of a comeyah versus a binyah. I don’t hunt or fish, but I do shuck given the opportunity. There’s been a expansion of locally made cocktail sauces (and bloody mary mixes) too. 
  • Anticipating Valentine’s Day-someone in my family has a Valentine birthday. It’s not me, but I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day just the same. ‘Growing up, our kitchen was all decked out in pink and red streamers, crepe paper hearts, muppet Valentine-themed decorations, conversation heart candies and plenty of chocolate. There was always a pink carnation or a rose bouquet on the kitchen table. And on the big day, a heart-shaped strawberry cake with strawberry ice cream.
  • Anticipating new traditions- February is International Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. Via work, I learned that PetHelpers has a Spayghetti and Neuteroni (S&N) pasta partnership with local restaurants. This year’s event will happen February 7-9th. By ordering one of the S&N specials at participating restaurants, part of your meal’s proceeds go to PetHelpers. This enables them to offer discounted or free spay and neuter services to the community for its pets. PetHelpers has been in the Lowcountry over 30 years. It aims to control the domestic and feral animal population by prevention instead of euthanasia. 

           I do always eat pasta. If I can do it for charity too, it’s even more of a treat.

*=Blues Bash doesn’t have an official brochure this year, so I didn’t link to its website above in the bullets. However, you can catch blues shows this February (2013) in Charleston by seeing Shrimp City Slim‘s website, and checking out what’s going on at Home Team BBQ’s locations in West Ashley and Sullivans Island. The Pour House, The Mill, The public library, Bowens Island, Morgan Creek Grill‘s Blues on the Creek, Mad River Grill, the Circular Congregational Church have been venues for Blues Bash in the past. The Lowcountry Blues club blog lists weekly live music happening all over town, and lists even more locations to see live music.

If you love blues and want to play with a band, there’s the Lowcountry Blues club jam at HomeTeam West Ashley Wednesday nights starting at 8pm, and Smokey’s Bar and Grill in North Charleston Sunday nights at 5pm. 






JANUARY 8, 2013

I had the pleasure of interviewing a chef/restaurateur just before Christmas. He said that one of the things he loves about the field of food is that there is always more to discover; you will never know everything, even if you study it your whole life.

I feel the same way about words, stories, and language. Especially an ever-expanding language like English. Terms, slang, accepted usage, all three are in flux. There are rules, but they aren’t the hard and fast variety.

In 2012, I started working independently.

I launched two twitters–BakingKookys and Currying_Favor. BakingKookys is about baking and food news. Currying_Favor is about communication, word puns and other word humor. I haven’t written a companion blog piece to every Currying Favor twitter. But I’m thinking this year I might.

Two blogs, BakingKookys and KathleenWCurry. Again, the first is food focused, the second is words and communication focused. Sometimes I think of topics that cover both areas, and I dont know which blog should get the post. This year I am tempted to put it on both blogs, just a few days apart.

For samples, exposure and notoreity, I also wrote for 2 Charleston area food magazines–Eat This Charleston and Wiser Time Publishing’s West Of and James Island Messenger. Total stories written and published: 14

I also started researching for a cookbook I want to produce. It’s really easy to keep researching, overanalyzing that you’re not there yet, instead of making final decisions and produce the thing. It’s not the Declaration of Independence.

In 2012 my family moved to the west side of Charleston.

For 2013, I want to be a lot more prolific. I have a lot of ideas, but that’s not evident in the post volume–I was very selective about what I wrote about and even more selective about hitting that green “PUBLISH” button on my screen. In 2013, caution is being thrown–no, hurled–to the wind.

For 2013, I want to read more old-school, printed books. I think the hardest thing is giving yourself permission, putting off housework staring you in the face, and disconnecting from technology.

For 2013, I want to get out and walk more. We have a really pretty lake right outside our door and we aren’t taking advantage of it.

For 2013, I want to finish my book and self-publish it.

For 2013, I want to donate time and talent to charities in my community. Which if you noticed is baking, writing, cooking, drawing, crafting, painting…