Author Archives: Kathy

Confronting Slavery

If you think you’ve already confronted America’s history with slavery, perhaps you should read Clint Smith’s How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. Here are some things I learned from the book. Frenchman … Continue reading

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Idiotic Idioms

Idioms are not really idiotic, but they don’t make a lot of sense when taken literally. The two words have a common etymology. Idios in Greek means “one’s own, private, unique.” A Greek idiotes was a private person, that is, … Continue reading

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Getting at the Heart of Blood Pressure

Fortunately, when nurses take my husband’s or my blood pressure, they simply say it’s good. When the occasional nurse quotes the actual numbers at us instead, we don’t pay much attention. High blood pressure is not among our health concerns. … Continue reading

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Next Time Won’t You Sing with Me

An abecedarium is an alphabet book, which we more commonly call an ABC book. The origin of the word, dating from the 17th century, is obvious from its spelling. It’s pronounced like the first three letters of the alphabet–ay, bee, … Continue reading

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Sea Monsters on the Brain

Everybody knows that medical terms, including names for parts of the body, are frequently borrowed from ancient Greek and Latin. Often, the terms derive from what the body part looks like. The tibia, or shin bone, comes from the Latin … Continue reading

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Embarrassment of Riches

As I’ve said before, sometimes people ask me how I choose what I’m reading. The easiest answer is to mention my book groups, which choose about eighteen titles a year for me. (One group meets every month, and one every … Continue reading

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What’s Your Bailiwick?

We took a couple of weeks hiatus because our website was down. My friend Pete resuscitated us by updating some things (and I played hooky for a couple of extra days), and now we’re back and pretending it’s Wednesday, the … Continue reading

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Viva la Etymology

I just learned about a restaurant whose mission includes “conviviality,” in addition to good food and service. Naturally, the Latin root word came to mind. Vivere is Latin for “to live.” Think of some other -viv- words, and chances are … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday Cake

My twin grandchildren turn two today, and I got to make the cake for their party yesterday. They don’t eat sweets often, so they were pretty excited. The recipe seems like a good fit for a Monday Meals blog post … Continue reading

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Imagining a Father

(Readers–I revised this post a little, not realizing that it would have to re-post and re-publish. Sorry you’re receiving this slightly changed version of this in your email.) Imagination is the beginning of creation. George Bernard Shaw As I continue … Continue reading

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