Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My Name Is ...

My name is Janet. When I was a kid I wanted a nickname, but nobody would call me Jan because everyone “knew” Jan was a boy’s name in Holland. They didn’t realize the J was pronounced like a Y over there.
Now sometimes I’m Jan and sometimes I’m Janet, depending on if there’s another Jan or Janet in the group.
I have to stop and think which name I should use every time I go to a meeting or social event.
And there are lots of similar names besides Janet and Jan. Girls may be named Jane, Jean, Joan, Jeanette, Janice, Juanita, Joanne, Joni, or Shawna. And boys are often named John, Juan, Sean, Ian, Evan, Jack, Hans, Johan. And those aren’t even all of the related names.
Probably the reason there are so many people in the world with similar names is the original meaning. Those names are all derived from Hebrew words meaning God, gift, and grace. So the names mean God gives grace, or gracious gift of God.
I guess originally a lot of people were very happy to have the babies they gave names to with that meaning.
Of course over the centuries lots of babies were named after other people who had those names. 

Do you know what your name means?

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Murderer’s Ape

I hesitated to check this book out of the library because it’s probably the longest Middle Grade book I’ve ever seen - 588 pages. But The Murderer’s Ape was so well written I finished it in two days.
The book is unusual in more ways than its length, too.
The main character is a gorilla, and the book seems to have been written by him. The actual author, Jakob Wegelius is human and he originally wrote it in Swedish, but it was translated into English by Peter Graves.
The story takes place in the area of India, Arabia and Africa, which is also rather unusual. 
While the book is sort of fantasy since the gorilla can read, write, and do many other human things, it happens long ago, so it’s also historical fiction.
But the plot is so exciting none of that matters. The characters are realistic and I cared about them, too.

In my opinion, this is a wonderful book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


We’ve certainly had more than our share of natural disasters in the last few years. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, etc., etc. have been making the news.
I’m afraid that, because of all the volcanic activity in Hawaii, the tectonic plates below the Pacific Ocean will be moving and the small earthquakes along the coast are precursors to a big one. 
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a major earthquake in California in the next few months. And then there might be another big one on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in a year or so.

I hope everyone is prepared for an emergency and knows how to duck and cover.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


In about a month this year will be half over.
Way back in January did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
If you did, have you kept them?
I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions because I usually forget about them by the time Summer - or even Spring - comes around. 
This year perhaps I’ll try making New Season’s resolutions. There are quite a few things I’d like to accomplish by the end of Summer.
Of course every day, week, and month I have a list of things I want to get done and, sometimes I actually do finish them. But it seems like there is always something more I wish I’d done. There’s always something to write, edit and submit, files that need to be cleaned out, piles of stuff in the garage to sort, sell, or give away, housework, shopping, cooking, meetings to attend, e-mail messages to read, people to contact, etc., etc., etc.
Instead of making resolutions, I think I’ll resolve to relax and take one day, hour, or minute at a time. I’ll probably never get everything done, but I’ll enjoy my life a lot more without the pressure.

How about you? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


As elections are approaching people in my area are encouraged to vote by mail.
I won’t.
People with day jobs find it difficult to get to polling places before or after their jobs. Voting by mail is probably more convenient for them.
And it’s possible that a few people might become seriously ill on election day and have to stay home.
But, a few years ago in the area where I live, a candidate was discovered to be involved in shameful, illegal activity a few days before the election, and he was running for an important office.
Many of the people who voted by mail had probably already cast their ballots for him. Fortunately, most people still voted in person.
Imagine what a mess it would have been if he’d won the election!

That’s why I intend to take my ballot to one of the few voting places and cast it on election day.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Yes, I know this is another post this is not on one of my usual topics, but it’s something I’m curious about.
The celery greens, aka leaves, have a much higher nutritional value than the stalks. They become bitter the farther out from the stems they grow. 
Most stores today cut them off completely, but I prefer to buy celery with some greens left on because they’re healthy. 
I cook the celery, including the greens, in a mixture of water and apple juice with some spices added and eat them with dinner. In my opinion, they’re yummy!
Why doesn’t some agricultural scientist develop celery with greens that aren’t bitter?

If people found out how healthy and delicious those are there would be a much bigger market for celery. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

No More

I have decided to close down my home preschool due to lack of clients. There's not much demand for part time child care where I live. Now I'll be free to spend more time writing, attending conferences, etc.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Good and Bad Teachers 4

I’ve been trying to choose a teacher to mention here as the second best one, but I’ve had so many good teachers in my life I can’t choose just one.
From grade school through college I’ve had many teachers who were interesting, shared lots of useful information and cared a lot about their students.
In retrospect, I think that last feature is the most important. Good teachers are passionate about helping their students learn.
I’ve been a teacher myself in many ways. I’ve taught preschool, worked with students at California School for the Deaf, taught first grade, led workshops at conferences, and substitute taught in too many classes to count. 

I hope my desire to help the students learn showed through everywhere I taught.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Good and Bad Teachers 3

The second worst teacher I ever had was my High School Algebra teacher. 
I’ve never liked math (One of my earlier posts tells a reason for that) but he made that subject even worse. 
He always spoke in a monotone and went on and on every day talking about things I had no interest in. 
I could hardly keep my eyes open in his class it was so boring, and sometimes other students did actually fall asleep there.
Because I missed so many days due to illness in the first semester of High School I flunked Algebra and had to take it again the following year, with the same boring teacher.
Later when I took advanced algebra I had to endure him yet again. 
And, even though I passed those classes, Algebra never made sense to me.
Several years later when one of my college Linguistics professors used algebraic formulas to explain sentence structure I suddenly understood what Algebra was really about. 

If only my High School Algebra teacher had  told us things like that I would have enjoyed the subject, and had an easier time staying awake in his class.