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18 April 2000

Today has been a grind. One of those days when, whatever you want to do, something else has to be done first... did you ever look up the definition of a word and then have to look up every word in the definition? Or, even more apt, you start to fill out your income tax forms, and, being a logical person, you start at the beginning, but six lines down you are being asked for information from some schedule you didn't even know you had to fill out, and as you're filling out that schedule, you find it asking for information from a line on the first form that you haven't gotten to because... Yeah. Like that. I really wish I had a bottle of wine. Taxes were a piece of cake compared to today.

Speaking of dictionaries, on a better day, I was looking something up in Ma's big ol' Random House dictionary-- what exactly I don't remember-- recidivistic! Some bozo on the news used it wrong-- and I came across some really neat French words whilst I was looking. Recherché. Réchauffé. Then the word étouffée popped into my head, so I looked that up, too...

Isn't it strange how words stick in your head? And how sometimes you can use the word in a sentence but not quite know exactly what it means? I remember reading a science fiction story (Formula for a Special Baby by Julian Grow) in which the main character (Hiram Pertwee, M.D., of East Randolph, Orange County, Vermont) "learned" German using an alien device, and afterwards he marvelled that he knew German words for things he didn't know the English for-- anyway.

Ma was making dinner while I was messing with the dictionary. When I went to the table I remarked, "Ah. Meatloaf Réchauffé. How Recherché. Perhaps next time we can try it Étouffée." Ma got a kick out of it. And réchauffé has definitely entered our vocabularies. Very useful word around here.

And that's about all I can stand. You have no idea how much searching I had to do to find online definitions for those words-- especially since I refuse to use Merriam-Webster. I have a feud with them over pronunciation. They bow to popular whim; I don't. The only hope we have of continuing to communicate clearly is to make sure that we're all pronouncing the words the same way-- never mind the spelling benefits! Sarah used to have a terrible time learning to spell because people on TV-- people who ought to know better-- would mispronounce words like "entertainment" as "intertainmint" and "senator" and "sinater"-- but that's another rant. I'm going to bed.


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