On Learning Spanish

I have a story about learning Spanish…..

I took a couple Spanish courses in high school and enjoyed it, so when I went to uni for languages, I took a bunch more. I was to the point where I could have decent conversations in the classroom, and could understand a fair bit.
However.
One year my parents and I are in a Florida supermarket. My mom is searching for her butter-like margarine that will melt when she puts it on toast. Now if you knew my mom, you’d know this was very important to her….. :-D  So I go to ask the guy stocking the shelves, but he indicates he only speaks Spanish. So, being the educated lady I am, I start to speak Spanish with him. The only problem was, I didn’t know how to say “butter”. It had never come up in my school teachings about El Cid or Spain or any other normal topic taught in Spanish courses. To make matters worse, I also didn’t know the word for toast, or melt.
What I did know was the words for ‘hot bread’ and a heckuva lot of hand gestures.
The poor stock clerk had no idea what I was talking about and soon, he had a couple coworkers trying to understand me and my crazy-talk, and finally he beckoned his English-speaking boss over, who recommended a kind to my ever-persistent mother.

For that reason, I will never forget the Spanish word for butter ever again: mantequilla :-D

Informal Disaster

bold lies
of life intersected
a pretty impression, worn out and connected

tall tales
they crumble when eaten
their taste an astringent, unlikely to sweeten

bald truth
your yearning’s not normal
a city disaster no more, just informal

lame duck
adrift in the crosshairs
continues to swim, anywhere, unawares

L.M. 4:25 p.m., January 20th, 2015.

Where Are You, My Peaceful Mind

Where are you, my peaceful mind?
you call on me, from time to time
you make me question what is mine
through fields of corn, and city grime

where are you, my active mind?
you dart, you dash, you intertwine
my habits, as I’m so inclined
but choices, hardly worth my time

where are you, my precious mind?
to what decree are you assigned?
to what degree are you aligned?
and are these questions really mine?

L.M. 1:03 p.m., January 20th, 2015.

Ms. Compy Fix-it – Dates Converting to Numbers

Hello again!
Today I encountered a really annoying problem in Excel. In switching between open files, suddenly some of my dates were converted to numbers. September 3rd, 2014, became 41885, and all my columns expanded. I knew I’d hit something by accident, but no amount of Undo would fix it, and even changing the column’s Number Format to Date didn’t make them appear as dates!

Turns out, I had accidentally hit Ctrl + ` instead of Ctrl + Tab to shift between open Excel files. This turns on Show Formulas! So simple, yet it took me a good few minutes to figure it out. So if you’ve searched for this issue and found this post, Ms. Compy Fix-it is here to tell you you’re not alone!

So, if you find your columns unexpectedly expanding, and weird things happening to your data, check to make sure you haven’t accidentally turned on Show Formulas!

Quiet

In the country, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by quiet.

Sure, you hear crickets, cicadas, tree frogs, but you also notice a general hum so deep it’s almost dizzying.

It doesn’t turn off.

You tilt your head to triangulate its origin, to no use. It feels as if your ears are being pulled backwards, stretched, straining, listening from the back of your head. You hear it even where you don’t.

After a while, you start thinking again. 

But not in the regular way, not linear.

Like your ears were stretched in new directions listening, your mind is stretching, hearing its subconscious mumbling. Seemingly random, encompassing almost embarrassing extremes, you are sure it is only showboating; there is no way your stream of consciousness is that obtuse!

It is, and it’s beautiful.

Here, these sparks are your originals, your treasure chest of creative thought. These tingles of innovation, of personal discovery, of reassuring empathy. In between the crickets and cicadas and tree frogs, more than any other thing, they are who you are.