I just learned a new word from a piece of spam: sintering, to heat a powdery material (like ceramics or metal) below its melting point until the particles adhere into a whole.

Why did I open the spam? Because my Gmail’s gone wonky and won’t let me “mark as spam” from my inbox, only from the email itself.

Why did I continue reading it?
A) They didn’t actually indicate any way for me to throw large fistsful of money at them, and I wondered where the hook was buried;
B) sintering, dude. Strange words catch my eye.


A selection of words and phrases used in a wholly positive discussion of our wedding day plans:
– “messy”
– “noisy”
– “ridiculous”
– “a whole mess of kids squealing all the way around!”
– “[Best Woman] promises to cram me full of coffee first.”
– “boisterous”
– “howling”
– “It might be hot as a crotch in that hall.”
– “barefoot”
– “whore’s bath
We are such romantics.


Frankly, I’m heartily sick of three expressions: frankly, with all due respect, and no offense, but…
With all due respect, it’s not the words that offend me. The words themselves are perfectly useful and civil expressions.
No, what offends me is the widespread use of them as magic words excusing the speaker from the social compact. They operate as disclaimers, relieving the speaker of the constraints of both civility and accuracy. For some people, phrases like frankly, with all due respect, and no offense, but… serve as a warning bell. They mean “In a moment, I’m going to step outside the bounds of civil discourse, and I won’t feel a scintilla of remorse, because I’ve uttered the magic word.”
No offense, but that’s a sad excuse for debate.


Terms ’round these parts:
monkey: a general term of endearment, used as anyone else would use “honey.”
out in the world: the area outside our threshold, e.g., “I’m going for ice cream, monkey. Do you need anything out in the world?”
Jive Turkey: the neighborhood market, a charming little shop with a deli, a proper butcher, spices in bulk, and fresh vegetables. Its name (initially misremembered by me as Fresh Happenings) smacks of a ’70s sit-com a la What’s Happening? Happening!! or Good Times. After many, many attempts to call it by name, one day I waggled my hands in frustration and said “You know! Fresh Places! Happy Happenings! Uh, Jive Turkey!” The last one stuck.
cash money: a term employed only because “cash American dollar bills” proved too wordy. Used to distinguish from virtual money (i.e., debit card, credit card). Doing laundry requires cash money, as does feeding a parking meter or running over to Jive Turkey to pick up a $1.29 coffee.
the internerds: describes to The Fella the tiny people who live in my computer. If you’re reading this, this might mean you.

Test anxiety beaten to pulp

Ha! In spite of horrendous nerves, I managed to pass the ZMP with 103 out of a possible 120 points. I totally rocked listening comprehension with 28.5 out of 30 which is odd because usually reading is my strongest area. I’m not complaining though. As I wrote in a few celebratory e-mails earlier,

it was a thrill just to be nominated. Oh wait, that’s the Oscar line… It was a thrill just to pass!


Testing is done and I never have to speak another word of German again! Well, not true since I live in Switzerland, but the days of German class and studying for the Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung are over. Results arrive mid-September — stay tuned for reports of great joy or else the gnashing of teeth, followed by a deep funk and the nursing of many Dr. Peppers.
Now I’m at a loss. Should I re-learn French (which immediately departed my brain after college) or Spanish?
Below is a photo I took atop a crane.We went a little too high and wide, stalling the thing. Aaaaah. The operator, who was up there with me, had to call his wife on his cell phone to get her to restart the truck. I took this shot for posterity, hoping it wouldn’t be my last.

Open doors

Today I heard my favorite German idiom used for the first time: “Sie rennen offene Türen ein,” translated as “you’re running into open doors.” It’s the perfect way to say, hey, you don’t have to convince me of that, I think the same. I saw it while flipping through my dictionary a few months ago and say it to myself all the time. Today the bookstore clerk said it to my husband as he was expounding the virtues of American bookstores, what with their late hours, fancy sofas, and built-in Starbucks. We’re lucky to have one night a week where we can stay until 7:00 with nary a hot beverage or stool in sight.