Biographical, Easily Confused Words

Post 1001: Thank you

Well I’ve reached post 1001 for Easily Confused Words. My to-do list isn’t over, but I wanted to acknowledge another milestone for this blog series. So I am taking a moment to say:

Thank you so much for reading.

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Photo from Pexels.

When I initially started blogging here, I started with current events and how I felt about them. I quickly learned that, as good as it feels to write, that’s not really captivating, “come back for more” reading. The viewing stats affirmed that.

So I tried to find a way to square my interests and background with something that would be useful, engaging, and entertaining. I’ve always been interested in words and language. I studied advertising, journalism, and graphic design in school. I’ve worked in local food journalism and technical writing.

Initially “Easily Confused Words” posts involved cheesy puns on twitter, and up to four words.

Along the way:

  • I scrapped the cheesy humor
  • I realized two word comparisons would be better. Keep it simple.
  • On rare occasions where homophones and homographs align, up to three words in a post, but no more than that.
  • Posts that refer to the same words, or other similar words, needed links at the bottom to those posts.

And the stories were to be an example of the two words in action. It was a challenge, and a way to write at least one piece of “short, spontaneous fiction” several days a week. No matter what your professional tasking is at any given time, something that is a creative diversion is fun to just go with, or take for a drive.

 

 

 

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Biographical, Excerpt from Real Life

Sorry I’ve Been Away…

MARCH 23, 2017

We were going to do some traveling. We got into a bad accident.

But now I am wearing a foot boot and I am on the way to recovery. My husband sustained tougher injuries, but he is also on the road to recovery.

I will be back on schedule here at the kathleenwcurry blog soon.

Biographical, Excerpt from Real Life, Wildcard Friday

Fall Has Arrived

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Fall arrived last week.

The days have been growing shorter. It won’t really feel like Fall (temps in the 40s-60s versus 80s-90s Farenheit) until Halloween is here. But signs of late summer and early fall have appeared.

Partridge pea flowers are blooming. Morning glories are blooming. Sulphurs and Swallowtails have been here all summer. But tiny butterflies, stout butterflies, and harvest colored butterflies (in orange and yellow and brown), are flying all around in the late morning and well into the late afternoon.

It won’t be long until the swamp marigolds are blooming around waterways. Acorns, hickory nuts, and sweetgum balls will soon be underfoot.

As pedestrians crush the acorns, the sidewalks will be covered in saffron yellow crumbs. The acorns and other seeds that were spared pavement and hungry squirrels will nestle down in a thick blanket of old leaves until spring.

Nature is always beautiful thing. This season brings with it a mixed bag of other likes (and a few dislikes) for me.

DISLIKE: I don’t look forward to being cold. Not so much outdoors, but indoors. The only beverages most restaurants offer are cold, and they are running an odd combination of AC and heat. I ask them to hold the ice. I carry decaf tea packets in my purse, and I hope restaurants have a tea spigot on their coffee machine, or a microwave to heat up some water. Many restaurants don’t have decaf coffee on hand and I try not to drink caffeine after 4pm.

LIKE: I have a collection of crazy patterned socks to wear everyday. Wearing tights or other spandex also holds in heat without adding bulk.

DISLIKE: The cold and flu bugs that go around.

LIKE: The changing leaves are beautiful, especially when the sunlight streams through them. New England and the Blue Ridge are bracing for record traffic. But anywhere cool and at higher elevations has a brilliant show all its own.

DISLIKE: Christmas overkill arriving too early. Hearing Christmas songs in stores on November 1.

LIKE: Fall and winter are seasons offer more people opportunities to showcase their individuality and creativity.

  • Carved pumpkins are beautiful. Extreme Pumpkins out of Detroit always has a impressive show of last year’s carvings.
  • People’s costumes for Halloween. People who don’t have $30+ to throw at a store bought costume can get pretty creative.
  • Every year I see more Day of the Dead food, decor, etc. appearing in stores, its awesome to see this Mexican cultural phenomenon take off in the US.
  • There’s some really beautiful woven work at Interweave. It’s not cold enough to wear it here, but I love the slideshows.
  • Seeing Northern Lights online. [One day we’ll see them in person.]
  • New plays come out. New art comes out. A lot of Oscar hopeful films come out.

For all the likes. For all the fun, beautiful things, I’ll put up with some cold. In the meantime, I am watching for butterflies.

Biographical, Excerpt from Real Life

Sorry I’ve Been Away. . .

I’ve been creating an e-class with my husband called The Remote Worker IT Toolbox. If you want to check out some free lectures for our class, here’s some links: the first is Google Drive and the second is Security and Passwords.

There’s also a companion website, WifiWorkerBees.com, and a Twitter account, @WifiWorkerBees. We’ve both been posting stories about remote work, digital nomads, co-working spaces, and remote working trends in our own Twitter feeds as well to build a community focused on remote work.

The last six months have involved brand brainstorming, doodling logos, fine-tuning said doodles in graphics software (for a final logo I am very proud of), writing courses, creating presentations, and rehearsing presentations to sound more at ease on camera, then editing those videos and posting them online. That was all a lot of work, a lot of I hadn’t done before (talking to a webcam, video editing, writing a class) and next comes the marketing!

Easily Confused Words will be making a return in the next couple days.

Thanks for reading!

Archives, Biographical, Time of the Season

Graduation, or Findings

JUNE 4, 2013

You don’t have to go to college to find graduation speeches inspiring.

You also don’t have to be 18-25 to get something out of them. Thankfully in the digital age you can watch them on Youtube over and over.

Sometimes they’re so awesome and well-received they get printed into books, like Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts 2012 commencement. Or they are audio-recorded and played on pop radio two years later, like Mary Schmich’s “Advice Like Youth Is Wasted On the Young” from 1997, which became the hit single “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” in 1999.

Other times, context is everything. I think Conan O’Brien’s Dartmouth speech in 2011 was epic for two reasons. One, he’s amazing at what he does, but two, his life’s biggest dream up until that point (The Tonight Show) ended far too soon. It all played out on a very public stage, and he lived to tell the tale. How O’Brien handled it is what it means to not to wait for the storm to pass, but instead, dance in the rain. And everyone of us can expect rain.

Allow me to also point out that you don’t have to be a millionaire or celebrity to try to give counsel to younger people or other people. It’s not an issue of being so wise and wonderful, you ooze brilliance like Texas tea, and never make any mistakes.

Actually, there’s a good chance that if you have any advice to give at all, it’s because the opposite is true–you have experienced failure. You didn’t get what you wanted, or you got what you wanted, and it didn’t last.

You have made the mistakes, you learned, and it’s possible those failures still sting a little upon reflection. It’s not much stinging, just enough so you don’t forget.

So here’s some nuggets from my 30-something life, which is still very much a work in progress. I don’t see it as advice so much as reporting findings, and you can do with them as you like.

  • Stay in touch with your old friends, but try to make new ones all along the way.
  • Respect that the old friends will change, and you will too. The movies would have you believe the people you spent the first 18-25 years with are the same ones you will spend the next 20, 30, 40 years with. This is likely not going to happen. It’s a convenient plot device, saves cash on casting, and viewers can only follow or care about a finite set of characters.
  • If you admire individuals, let them know. Write them a letter. Watch for typos–you will look illiterate, and that’s not the point of the letter. I am not a celebrity, but I think a letter is better than the in-person “scream/gush and ask for a selfie” routine.
  • There is a balance to consumption and creation. Depression usually results from overconsumption, and a lack of creation to balance it out. This isn’t just eating and then failing to burn all those calories. I think it also applies to watching television, scanning the internet, etc. There’s energy there, and it needs to keep moving.
  • Don’t live to work, work to live. Rest and time off are essential to delivering 100%; without them you’re delivering 90%, 80%, 70%, 60%, 50% with each day. All the Red Bull and protein shakes in the world can’t change that (sorry Red Bull and protein shakes.)
  • If you’re an employee, don’t hide in your office or cube and expect to get noticed for working hard, or being the good little worker just like you were a good little student. Be visible, talk to your superiors at least once a week–even if it’s terrifying, tedious, or seems like highly conspicuous slacking off. People who aren’t seen, aren’t remembered, and those who aren’t remembered are easily forgotten and dismissed.
  • Don’t expect to make lots of lasting friends at jobs. If you do, good for you, but it hasn’t been my experience.  Once you leave that job, it’s often a case of “out of sight, out of mind” for both parties.
  • You will probably fall in love, or think you’ve found the ONE multiple times before you really have. As sweet as the idea of committing to your first love sounds, it’s tragic to think you could outgrow the other person because you both still had so much changing and finding yourselves to do between the ages 15-30. We live so much longer than our great grandparents did. At least if you commit later in life, you’ve found someone who knows themselves better, understands life better, and is more confident about adapting to change and disappointment than say, an American 15-year-old suburbanite is capable of.
  • If you are an employee, expect to change jobs a lot. If you work for yourself, expect every social encounter to be somewhat of a marketing opportunity. This has been hard for me, because who wants a used car salesman stereotype for a friend? It goes against my nature to boast. But it is worthwhile to tell people what you do, find out what other people do, and offer to be of help. No evangelizing, no pressure. Just sharing to be memorable and be of help later.
  • If you feel life has lost its meaning, the solution is not ending it. It’s finding new people, experiences, and ways to be useful to new sets of people. Adopt a shelter cat or dog if you don’t already have one. Volunteer to help at an athletic event or if you’re physically up to it, participate in an athletic benefit event. Volunteer to help rebuild a community after a natural disaster. Take a class in a subject out of character for you. Take CPR/CCR classes. Get training in emergency preparedness. Volunteer with an animal shelter or another cause that means a lot to you. Get involved in community theater. Teach English in your community. Help people with their reading, secondary language, or math literacy. Get involved in voter registration. Work for a political candidate or other positive social activist “change-maker” that you really admire.
  • Make a list of things you must do in life, for you. Start working on them immediately. There’s no sense in saving them for retirement. The 20th century idea of retirement doesn’t exist for the 50 and under crowd. For the 50 and over crowd, if they have the income to retire from a lifelong career, they’re not done with life’s obligations, they have other goals.
  • Pick up a copy of the Book of Me and answer the questions.
  • Travel. Whether it’s your own country (ours is enviably big, and it’s worth seeing up close) or a foreign one.
  • Ancaro Imparo were allegedly Michelangelo’s last words. Know that, you too, are just a beginner and will never stop learning.

 I know I will think of others, but I need to close this post for now. What would your “graduation/findings speech” have to say?

Archives, Biographical, Excerpt from Real Life

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.