October 20, 2018: Ciana’s New Friend and Ain’t

Saturday. The sun is out today for the first time in forever.  No rain at all today, everything is still wet from the rain last night, though.  It will take a day or two before things will dry out.

I did some cleaning this morning, the house is looking better.  Having sunlight makes me want to clean.  I tried some cleaning outdoors, as well.  I want to get at least half of the chairs, and the misting fan, moved into the garage this week if they dry out enough, so that we don’t have the atrium and patio full of unneeded furniture just getting abused for the next season.  We’ve started collecting chairs outside to the point that rather than our old problem of not having enough chairs in which to sit, we now have the problem of having so many chairs littering the outdoor spaces that there isn’t room to sit in the ones that are there!

The herbs growing in the atrium are a bit waterlogged and showing it with some of the leaves displaying a notably yellow tinge.  I moved the herbs onto a firm bucket and into the middle of the atrium to expose them to more airflow and more sunlight.  With any luck the combination will assist in drying out the soil a little more and keep them in healthy shape.  I have gone nearly a month without needing to water them and they are still drowning out there.

Without the rain, I had a chance to do just a little mowing, as well.  The lawn mower was acting funny, though, and I can’t tell if the battery died on me or if there is something wrong with it.  But I did mow successfully for a while and it is looking better.  Another couple of runs at it and it will be potentially ready for the winter.  If it stops growing like it has been.

Luciana wanted to go to the playground this afternoon.  I had wanted to walk there, but the girls just wanted to drive.  So I gave it and we drove down to Mary Head Carter and spent a few hours there.  The girls had a great time and I spent my time working hard on my DuoLingo Spanish .   I did over a thousand points today, and after over a month of work, I am now at the top of my leaderboard in it.

Luciana made a new friend, Abigail, at the playground today.  I exchanged numbers with her parents and we texted back and forth, so hopefully they will be able to get together next weekend at the playground, too.  Liesl has been doing well at making friends of her own recently, but Luciana has been struggling more to find friends closer to her own age.  So this is very good.

I made pasta for dinner, both girls wanted that after a couple of hours of exercise on the playground.  So we came home and I cooked.  I just had pasta too since I made enough.  We put on Growing Pains and watched that all evening.  We finished the third season and are into the fourth, now.  Both girls are really into it and get upset if I suggest trying to watch anything else.

Tonight for reading time, the girls requested Tom Sawyer.  We read three chapters and are making very good progress.  It moves more slowly than it should because the language is so obtuse and I have to explain so much as we go.  It really is a very advanced book and I wonder what age range it is actually appropriate for given how incredibly difficult the language used in it is.  It seems advanced enough now, seeing it through the eyes of my children, that I wonder if even when it was written it could have been widely understood.  It would be a serious struggle for most adults to just easily read it today, that’s for sure.  But the subject matter is more tuned for children.  It’s an interesting mix of things.  But then the slang is so thick, but that likely was easily to understand back when it was first written.  Today, the bad English used in the dialogue makes no sense as we’ve not carried on with those mistakes in the language.  Being “afeared” doesn’t sound like anything to modern ears, but at the time, it probably sounded like normal bad English.  The use of “ain’t” is one of the few non-words that has survived enough to make sense when reading it naturally.

Which brings an interesting point.  When I was young, “ain’t” was used so popularly that it finally moved from “not a word” to being added to the dictionary.  You heard it all of the time and teachers would always correct you when using it.  Since that time, it became accepted as finally part of the language, even if a bad part, but in my lifetime went from unaccepted, to accepted, to fallen into disuse.  My children will easily never hear it used outside of literature of a certain era.  It simply isn’t a word used any longer, from what I can tell.  They added it to the dictionary prematurely, or perhaps in doing so it became no longer the rebellious verbage it once was and those using it no longer cared to rile folks up by injecting it unnaturally into speech.  It saves no time when talking compared to the proper “am not”, even though it has one fewer syllables, because the tongue has to do more gymnastics whereas “am not” flows more easily from the muscles.

What’s interesting is that when we were young it was made out to be slang so fervently, as if it was not a standard contraction.  But just as “is not” became “isn’t”, it makes sense that “am not” should become “ain’t” and without it there is a gap in an otherwise standard trend of contractions involved a state and “not” trailing.  When it was first used, it was probably simply an obvious application of existing linguistic patterns.  I expect the first practitioners of it were likely shocked to find that people did not consider it to be proper.

The windows are all open and the weather is just lovely.  Fresh air blowing through the house all day.  It was still seventy in the house when we went to bed tonight, but with some air movement and not as humid as it was.  I always love so much when finally we can exchange all of the stale air in the house for fresh outside air.  That is one of my greatest dislikes of living in Dallas, there is just so much of the year when the windows must be closed up and we just recycle the same air for months on end.  I hate it.  I like the fresh air and the silence that comes with not needing to run the furnace blower.