Thursday, November 26, 2009


Children have interesting ways of expressing themselves, with their interesting phrases, words, and pronunciations. For example, why do "Wal-Mart" and "lawnmower" sound the same coming from a child's mouth?

My two oldest children have a fun word in their arsenal: butcept. This is a portmanteau of "but" and "except." While they are remarkably advanced in their communication skills (imho), this is one word that I never correct them on because I think it is fantabulous (a portmanteau of "fantastic" and "fabulous," of course).

Speaking of their speaking skills, they are the only little ones I think I've ever seen who seem to understand the proper uses of lay and lie (refresher? click here). I'm certain that one day I'll hear a report that they corrected a teacher at school for their improper use ("Would you like to lay down?" the teacher may ask; "I think you mean 'lie down'!"). This, by the way, is one of those grammar things you learn and later wish you had never learned because of its almost universal butchery... especially if you're part of the self-appointed grammar police.

Interesting fact: there's a big difference between the words "repository" (definition) and "suppository" (definition). In working on my dissertation proposal, I was writing about an online suppository for the storage and dissemination of data, and something just didn't feel right... As I thought on it, I was reminded of the line from The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means."

There are many other examples I would love to touch on, butcept it's time to go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

People Are Good

When looking in a old magazine tonight, I came upon an eBay ad that simply said, "People are good." Apparently the push was to get people to trust someone they've never met by buying from them (with the help of the seller rating, of course). While I don't recall seeing any of these ads when they first ran, seeing it tonight reminded me of what I saw earlier today.

We took a trip to the Zilker Botanical Gardens to take our annual family pictures, hoping to get enough fantastic shots to put them together in a Christmas picture. We brought a little tripod to help us take loads of pictures (with all of us in them).

During our "photo session," many people offered to take our picture for us. I guess eBay was right: People are good.

Apparently we're not, though, because we politely turned them all down—we were using a custom setting to take a burst of five shots after a ten second timer, and our children are notoriously shy around strangers (they were the only children not nearly wiggling out of their skin trying to get called on as volunteers at a science demonstration we went to at the elementary school last night). I just hope that I'm not single-handedly undoing the good that is out there, embodied in the pervasive anomalous "people" that eBay cited.

It's always awkward being turned down when you offer to help someone.

Keep offering, anyway!

If you're dying to see the pictures we took, you can get a glimpse of two of them on our family website main page (link). If that's not enough for you, we added some pictures from our October adventures to our family website (link), like the cute one below.