Monday, October 29, 2012


When I was little (ages and ages ago!), I loved books and I could hardly wait to learn how to read.  That way I didn't have to rely on anyone else in order to tell me a story.  As soon as I learned how to read, I quickly went through as many books as I could and just as quickly got bored with the little kid books.  I wanted to read Fairy Tales!  I wanted to read about Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and the like.  I encountered so many words that I didn't know and so I was delighted when I learned how to use a dictionary.  As I worked my way through the school library, the dictionary was always next to me.
Soon I graduated to more advanced books and my favorite stories were written in the 1800's, books like Little Women, Alice in Wonderland, Beautiful Joe and The Secret Garden.  I ended up with a more archaic vocabulary than most little girls.  Some words I loved to use just because other people didn't use them.  Starting about 5th grade, I used 'twas and 'tis as often as I could fit them into conversation.  And I just liked the sound of other words, words like betwixt and frippery!
That habit has a tendency to raise it head to this day.  I wrote a poem the other day, well, I guess I should say the other night.  I can suffer from horrible insomnia.  I just can't shut my mind off, and words will go round and round making sleep impossible.  Sometimes, I can turn my mind off and get some sleep by "using" the words in a poem.  I titled the poem "Agrypnotic", I thought, appropriately, as it means wakefulness or sleeplessness.  It is Greek for chasing sleep.  I like that word, I like the sound of it.  Agrypnotic.  Agrypnia.  A lovely word.  I like it much better than insomnia; chasing sleep is so much more descriptive than insomnia!
But I found out that the word was rather archaic.  People reading my poem had to look the word up in the dictionary.  So I decided what a wonderful word to Google!
Agrypnia also means vigil: keeping watch, a nocturnal exercise before a feast or festival.  Agrypnotic is also used for items that prevent sleep such as strong coffee.  There is a neuropscychiatric syndrome called agrypnia excitata that is a life-threatening form of insomnia.  There is a musical group called Agrypnia.  As far as I can tell, they play classical music and I found a lovely piece by Bach on a six-string electronic bass (BWV639).  And the last thing I am going to mention is a Greek movie about a corrupt cop, originally called Agrypnia but renamed The Wake.
Oh, this was fun!  Hmm, I wonder if I should post the poem that inspired this blog?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hoosier Cabinet

I like finding new things, not new in terms of age but new as in "I have never seen/heard this before!" Today, the new thing is Hoosier cabinets! But let me back up a little... I was reading a story on Lillian Gilbreth. Back in the beginning of the last century, she worked with her husband as an industrial engineer; they invented motion study. In the early 1900's women were not accepted as professionals in the workplace so even though Lillian Gilbreth was a full and equal partner in their endeavors, she stayed in the background allowing him to be the "frontman" and get all the credit. But after he passed away, she had to support the family (twelve children!). She was not accepted in the industrial sector anymore so the business changed direction and she focused on the home.
Now I had heard of Lillian Gilbreth before but I did not remember many details and as I was reading the article I kept thinking "Oh, yeah, I had forgotten about that!" Lillian Gilbreth was responsible for designing the layout of the modern kitchen! In describing how she came up with the layout, the article described what kitchens were like back then and it mentioned Hoosier cabinets. I have never heard of that before! What was it? So I started googling.
Hoosier cabinets were freestanding pieces of kitchen furniture, the precursor to our modern kitchen cabinets! Back in the day, they were considered the very model of high tech efficiency. There were all sorts of options available and the cabinets could be customized to fit the needs of the cook! In looking at old advertisements and various pictures of Hoosier cabinets, I can see where we get the look of our modern kitchens!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I want to do an introductory post before I start this new blog. Call me MJo.
I think getting started is difficult and awkward, so I will just plunge on in.  I have a couple of online blogs but they seem limited in scope - one is my Bodie Blog (posts about Bodie, my German Shepherd puppy) and another is my posts on Gamespot (a video game website).  But I want a forum to talk about what interests me.  So I decided to start a new blog that will allow me to talk about whatever has gotten my attention, whatever I end up googling about.
So, let the adventure begin...